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Political Sex Scandal; Interview With Pat Summerall; 'Minding Your Business': Wal-Mart; '90-Second Pop'

Aired June 23, 2004 - 07:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everyone. Seven-thirty here in New York. Welcome back to another edition of AMERICAN MORNING.
Thinks those folks are still standing in line for Bill Clinton's book?


HEMMER: You think?

O'BRIEN: Probably.

HEMMER: I don't -- it's on sale today. You can get it tomorrow.

O'BRIEN: Go to

HEMMER: You can get it next week if you like.

O'BRIEN: You can point and click and have it send it to your house. But that's me.

HEMMER: That's right. Also today, some Republican leaders accusing Illinois senate candidate Jack Ryan of not coming clean. Some embarrassing details becoming public in his divorce. Accusations from his wife, actress Jeri Ryan about sex clubs and whether or not this could derail his campaign starting to heat up in the state of Illinois. We'll get to it.

O'BRIEN: Also this morning we're joined by a legend in football and in broadcasting as well, Pat Summerall. He's has traveled a very rough road in the last few years. He's now recovering from a liver transplant. We're going to hear his story in his first live interview since that surgery.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: And he has a story to tell, too.


HEMMER: Also, "90-Second Pop" today looking at news that Mary Kate Olsen, one of the Olsen sisters, the one on the left, is now being treated for an eating disorder, long rumored in the tabloids, 18 years young, has been under a whole lot of pressure. We'll talk about that this morning. O'BRIEN: Well, before any of that, first this story. A major sex scandal is rocking the state of Illinois. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan says he plans to stay in the race after lurid allegations were released revolving around a bitter custody battle.

CNN's Jonathan Freed has the story for us.


JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Illinois Senate race has been sideswiped by that three-letter word. But Jack Ryan is asking voters to look beyond the headlines and feel for him as a parent.

JACK RYAN (R), ILLINOIS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I think about my boy we're trying to protect.

FREED: The Republican's campaign is reeling from allegations that he once pressured his then wife, actress Jeri Ryan of "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Boston Public," to have sex in front of other people at risque nightclubs, which she says she refused. She alleged it in 4- year-old court documents unsealed by a California court and released late Monday. He denies it.

RYAN: There's no allegation of infidelity or of breaking any laws, kept all civil and criminal laws, kept my vows to my spouse.

FREED: But there are questions about whether he kept the details from the state's GOP leadership. For months, Ryan, a millionaire and political neophyte, insisted there was nothing damaging in the divorce documents, which both he and his ex-wife fought to keep sealed.

BRUCE DOLD, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": The Republican Party leadership in this state is livid with Jack Ryan, because they felt like that he didn't tell them the truth on this.

FREED: The Illinois seat could help shift control of the Senate, and Ryan was already trailing Democrat Barack Obama, who chose his words carefully Tuesday.

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Over the next week, I'm sure that this is going to get a lot of attention, but it's not what we're going to be focused on.

FREED: Political watchers here expect the party leadership to wait until the end of the week before deciding if they should pressure Ryan to quit.

Jonathan Freed, CNN, Chicago.


O'BRIEN: Some political analysts are warning Jack Ryan that he cannot recover from the negative press. Ryan was already trailing his Democratic opponent in the polls.

HEMMER: About 20 minutes now before the hour.

Pat Summerall's storied career in the world of pro football, from his playing days as a kicker for the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants to his longtime association with John Madden as the NFL's premier broadcast team. Through it all, Summerall struggled with alcohol abuse. That battle finally landing him at the Betty Ford Clinic in 1992. After 12 years of sobriety, Summerall's liver shut down. A liver transplant two months ago helped save his life.

And today, Pat Summerall is live in Dallas for his first live interview since that surgery.

And good morning to you, and congratulations I should say as well. How do you feel?

PAT SUMMERALL, FORMER NFL BROADCASTER: Well, it's great to be alive, Bill. I'll tell you what. This is the first time I've been live really since the liver transplant.

HEMMER: Is that how you feel, huh?

SUMMERALL: I feel well. I get tired very quickly, but they tell me that will go away. But all in all, I feel very good.

HEMMER: Pat, I heard you say back in 1992 or sometime after that, you said, I stayed at the Betty Ford Center five extra days, because they told me I was so mad, the first five days did not count. What do you understand about alcoholism now, Pat?

SUMMERALL: Well, I understand that it's a terrible disease. I could have stayed anonymous, they tell me. I could have not said anything about it. But like Mrs. Ford, I think that the more people realize what a difficult and what an insidious disease it is, the sooner people will start to correct that situation. And thank God I did.


SUMMERALL: Thank God I went to the Betty Ford Clinic.

HEMMER: Yes, Mary Carilla (ph) is a reporter. I think she asked you at one point, do you think you deserved that liver? Do you think you were bumped up the list? Or how do you respond to those who say because of your status, nationally-known, that you were given, let's say, priority?

SUMMERALL: Well, I know how the system works. I know that there's something called the MELD system, which is nationwide. There are zones as far as evaluation of need for liver transplants. My MELD score was pretty high. And the worse you get on that scale, the sooner you get a transplant. It's based on how sick you are. And believe me, I was pretty sick.

So, I didn't get moved up because of celebrity status or anything like that. I got in line, and I passed the test. And they realized that I was sick enough, and as soon as the liver became available, I got one.

HEMMER: Pat, this disease afflicts so many millions in this country.


HEMMER: What can you share with them about what they need to know about what you experienced?

SUMMERALL: Well, I think the first thing you have to do is be honest with yourself, which is a very difficult thing to do. I know I had been successful in football. I had been successful in broadcasting. I didn't think that anything could touch me. I thought, I can beat anything.

I didn't realize what an insidious disease, as I said, alcoholism is. And when I finally realized it and went to the Betty Ford Center and got the help I needed, I became a Christian, a reborn Christian I guess you'd have to say. I'm not sure I was ever born the first time, but a newborn Christian. And since then my life has been so much better, so much healthier until this liver transplant business took place. It's just a new life that I've taken since then.

And I think the message that I'd say is, it's never too late, because I was well up in years by the time I went to the Betty Ford Center. I was still working at CBS at the time, and they saw a need for me to go. I didn't see the need to go. It was an intervention that sent me there. And thank God, as I said, I did go. And I did get help, and I did realize I needed help.

HEMMER: Thank you for being so candid. Good luck to you. I know you're much closer with your children now, and I like what you said at the very beginning. You feel like you're alive again. Good to know. Thank you, Pat.

SUMMERALL: And it's a great feeling.

HEMMER: Indeed.

SUMMERALL: Thank you.

HEMMER: Pat Summerall in Dallas, Texas, this morning.

O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning on AMERICAN MORNING, the nation's biggest retailer gets hit with the biggest class-action lawsuit ever. We're "Minding Your Business" just ahead.

HEMMER: Also in a moment, there's a problem on board the International Space Station. Astronauts have to do something they have never done before to try and fix it. We'll fill you in.

O'BRIEN: And in "90-Second Pop," after much speculation, one of the Olsen twins is getting help for her eating disorder. That story is ahead as AMERICAN MORNING continues right after this.


HEMMER: The nation's largest private employer is now the defendant in the nation's largest private civil rights case in U.S. history. Andy Serwer back here with more on that, "Minding Your Business."

Good morning.


Big news. We reported this, first of all, yesterday late in the show, and now, in fact, we're finding out that Federal Judge Martin Jenkins yesterday in San Francisco has certified 1.6 million current and former female employees at the world's largest company, who worked there since 1998.

The plaintiffs allege that Wal-Mart discriminated against women both in terms of pay and in terms of promotion.

Let's take a look at some of the statistics that the plaintiffs' lawyers put together. You can see here, regional VPs, female regional VPs made $139,000 less than male employees. And you can see the pay differential there -- a 16,000 difference for a store manager, 2,400 for assistant manager.

Also interesting, you guys, they allege that the regional VP level, only 10 percent of them are women, whereas cashiers, 92 percent of them are female.

What does the company say? The company says, No. 1, the judge has not ruled on the merits of the case, merely saying that the case can go forward. They're also saying the judge has made a mistake, and they're also saying they will appeal.

This could cost the company billions of dollars, though, going forward. This is typically a threshold situation when the judge says, yes, you can certify and move forward. So, this is an important step here.

HEMMER: It's been out there for a while, too.

SERWER: Right.

O'BRIEN: Have they answered any questions though? When you put that graphic up and you see this huge difference in the salaries of men and women.


O'BRIEN: I mean, have they -- they say the judge, you know, hasn't done x, y and z. But the question is: Why are men making more than women?

SERWER: Well, the company has its own statistics. But the judge said, you know, these statistics that the plaintiffs' attorneys have put up are compelling enough to go forward. He sort of dismissed some of the company's statistics.

HEMMER: I wonder how much those numbers reflect America...

SERWER: Well, that's true.

HEMMER: ... and businesses across the board.

SERWER: And other retailers are looking at this very, very closely. I mean, you've got Target. You've got Home Depot, which has settled other cases as well. So, it's a huge, huge issue.

HEMMER: Markets were up slightly yesterday?

SERWER: Markets were up yesterday. Futures are mixed this morning. We'll come back and tell you more about that later.


O'BRIEN: Andy, interesting case it's going to be. Thanks.

SERWER: Indeed.

O'BRIEN: Appreciate it.

Still to come this morning, tired of those long lines at the airport? Yes, of course you are. Well, there could be some big changes in store for security. We'll explain as AMERICAN MORNING continues.


HEMMER: Welcome back, everyone, 46 minutes past the hour. To Daryn Kagan at the CNN center.

Daryn -- good morning for other news now.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you Bill.

New threats against coalition troops, Iraqi security forces and the interim Iraqi government. An audiotape believed to be the voice of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been posted on the Internet. Al-Zarqawi is a Jordanian terrorist suspect with possible links to al Qaeda. The CIA has not verified that recording.

South Korea's government is standing firm on plans to dispatch troops to Iraq despite the beheading of a South Korean hostage. Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil in Los Angeles yesterday after learning of his death. The hostage's body was found west of Baghdad yesterday by U.S. troops.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is accusing Republican leaders of playing politics. Senator Kerry skipped a campaign event yesterday to support a measure funding veteran's health care. But Republicans ended up postponing the vote. Kerry calling the delay -- quote -- "Politics at its silliest." He's been criticized recently for his dual roles as senator and presidential candidate.

Private airport screeners may soon return to U.S. airports after the September 11 attacks. Airports were forced to use federal screeners hired and trained by the Transportation Security Administration. But some lawmakers and airport officials criticized that switch. Guidelines for the return to private screeners will be unveiled today in Las Vegas.

And a repair mission is back on, according to NASA; that, despite a last-minute dispute over equipment. U.S. and Russia will take part in a spacewalk to repair the International Space Station. That is set to take place tomorrow. It will be the first time that Russian spacesuits will be used to repair the U.S. side of the space station.

Soledad -- back to you.

O'BRIEN: All right, Daryn, thanks.

Still to come this morning, is it really true love? Of course, we're taking bets on J.Lo's latest marriage ahead in "90-Second Pop." Stay with us. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Are we going to play the song for the entire segment? I actually bought the CD because of this song. This is a good song, remember way back when?

Welcome back...


O'BRIEN: Exactly. Welcome back to "90-Second Pop." Today, we're putting the price on J.Lo's love, also Mary Kate's health crisis and "American Idol's" true believer.

Here to discuss this morning, humorist Andy Borowitz, the star of


O'BRIEN: I got it right.


BOROWITZ: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Sarah Bernard is a contributing editor for "New York" magazine.

Good morning.

And B.J. Sigesmund, staff editor for "US Weekly."

Good morning.

SIGESMUND: Good morning, Soledad.

BERNARD: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: Well, you're all kind of quiet and laid back. What's going on?

BERNARD: We're just...

SIGESMUND: We have good stuff to talk about.

Yes, let's get right to it. Andy, let's start with you. An online gambling Web site...


O'BRIEN: ... says, they bet that J.Lo and Marc Anthony aren't going to last. Shocker.

BOROWITZ: Yes, which is really going way out on a limb.

O'BRIEN: I'm glad we're leading with this. BOROWITZ: That defines gambling. Well, you know, I just think -- I guess this site is saying that they're willing to give $100,000 to charity, I don't know which one, but $100,000 if these guys make it to December, 2005.

O'BRIEN: So that's not very...

SIGESMUND: That's a really long time in J.Lo years.

BERNARD: Exactly, in J.Lo years that's like 20...

BOROWITZ: Yes, it is.

O'BRIEN: And that's 18 months.


BOROWITZ: You know, I think you could really get burned by betting on celebrity marriages, because I remember I bet on Liza Minnelli's marriage, and I bet that she would win by a technical knockout in the third round, and I was way off. I lost my shirt on that.

BERNARD: This site is unbelievable. So, it's, like, trying to get people like me who are not interested in the sports stuff into gambling.


BERNARD: They have things that you can bet on, like who's going to get the first interview with Martha Stewart after her sentencing? And is Osama bin Laden going to be caught before the election? They have all of these other things like that. It's criminal. BOROWITZ: Right.

SIGESMUND: My concern is with Ben Affleck having won this huge poker tournament over the weekend. He won 350,000...

O'BRIEN: Right, he won $300,000, right.

SIGESMUND: Is he betting? Is he in on it? What does he...

BOROWITZ: Oh, that's all he needs. He starts betting on other people.


O'BRIEN: Yes, he's like no way it's going to last.

SIGESMUND: He knows.

O'BRIEN: Eighteen months for her would really be -- I mean, I think that would be the longest ever.

BOROWITZ: That would be amazing.

SIGESMUND: But probably...

O'BRIEN: But you know what? Again...

SIGESMUND: They're probably going to have that baby in February.


O'BRIEN: That's what I was going to say.

SIGESMUND: So, you know, I hope that...

O'BRIEN: A baby in the mix.

SIGESMUND: ... with a 10-month-old baby they do make it past New Year's Eve, 2006.

BERNARD: Why wasn't that on the site?

O'BRIEN: B.J. is my spokesman this morning, because that's exactly how I feel. Let's talk a little bit about Mary Kate Olsen.


O'BRIEN: There were lots of rumors that she was just getting so skinny. I mean, she's obviously an identical twin, so you could see how much skinnier she was than her twin sister, who looked much healthier than she did. Her spokesperson didn't say specifically that she's gone in for treatment for anorexia, but that she's getting medical treatment.


BERNARD: Right. Well, he said a health disorder.

SIGESMUND: These rumors really plagued her for the last few months, and the girls graduated high school and then they turned 18. The weird thing was Ashley went on vacation for five days to Mexico right over their 18th birthday, and that's when people in the media knew that something was up. And, yes, her spokesman confirmed to "US Weekly" exclusively on Monday of this week that she had gone in for health-related issues.

BERNARD: This is something -- you know, they've been trying to separate for so long. They want to be called by Mary Kate and Ashley.

O'BRIEN: Are they identical or fraternal?

BERNARD: They're fraternal actually.


BERNARD: But, I mean, it's really hard to tell them apart honestly. There is one-inch difference in height with them. And if they hadn't dyed their hair, I think it would be (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

O'BRIEN: Thank god they dyed their hair.

BERNARD: But what's happening now is this really is the split. I mean, now Ashley has to go to Australia and New Zealand and promote "New York Minute" by herself. I don't think they've ever taken a trip by themselves.


BERNARD: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) months ago, I guess.

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, and they're also -- you know, they're going off to college.


O'BRIEN: They're two separate people. I mean...

BOROWITZ: You know what? I never thought I would say something serious about the Olsen twins, but this is a serious thing. Why don't they take a year off? I mean, seriously, when I was 18, I was like lying on my parents' sofa watching reruns of space...

O'BRIEN: And look at where you are today.

BOROWITZ: I know. But, I mean -- I know. I know.

BERNARD: You should be right here.

BOROWITZ: I'm not a role model for anybody but, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) take the first 17 years off, and the Olsen twins have been working. I mean, why not take a year off?

BERNARD: Well, they have this $3.5 million apartment in the city.


BERNARD: Maybe they want to come and be it. I would.


SIGESMUND: I mean, it's a very sad thing.

O'BRIEN: It is.

SIGESMUND: And this is going to take her like two to seven years to get over, doctors say.

O'BRIEN: Right.


O'BRIEN: And it is a tough time. I mean, you know, 18-year-old girls about to start college. That's sort of the worst time in your life.

BOROWITZ: Yes. BERNARD: That's kind of when a lot of eating disorders come out apparently, when there are all of these changes.

O'BRIEN: Right.


O'BRIEN: And all of this pressure.

BERNARD: They are real girls.

O'BRIEN: Well, we wish her the best. Yes, they are. And, you know, as a mother of twins, I hope that people just leave them alone, let them separate as twins to be.


O'BRIEN: You know!

BOROWITZ: Hear, hear.

O'BRIEN: Like, let them grow up on their own and do their own thing. We're with you, Mary Kate. We love you, girl.

Fantasia Barrino, let's listen to a little bit of what she's saying. This is "I Believe." Roll tape.

BERNARD: Or we're going to have to sing it.


FANTASIA BARRINO, "AMERICAN IDOL" (singing): And did you find your pot of gold? (END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: This is such a hairbrush song. You know, you're in your bathroom with your hairbrush. Did you find your pot of gold?

BERNARD: This song was actually written by Tamara Gray, who was from the first season of "American Idol."

O'BRIEN: Right. It's a beautiful song.

BERNARD: So, it's all in the family. And people who watched the last couple episodes, like I did religiously...


BERNARD: ... will recognize it, and you, will recognize it, because that's actually the song in the finale that Diana had to sing and also Fantasia. So...

O'BRIEN: It's her first single.

BERNARD: It's her first single.

O'BRIEN: What do you think is going to happen with her?

BERNARD: I think that she's going to do probably better than Kelly Clarkson and Ruben, because she seems to me to actually have more talent and more of a personality than any of them so far.

SIGESMUND: And she also seems to be willing to work harder than everyone else, because she came really from nothing.

O'BRIEN: From nothing, yes.

SIGESMUND: I mean, a year ago she was sitting at home taking care of her daughter and watching movies. There was no day care for her kid, nothing.

BERNARD: She said we were playing -- I was playing with her hair all day.

SIGESMUND: Playing with her kid.

BERNARD: That's what she said.

SIGESMUND: Right. And now she is...

O'BRIEN: I was rooting for her, because you say good for you, all of this hard work paid off.


BOROWITZ: Well, you know, I want to put this out right now. If we're still talking about her in December of 2005, I will donate Marc Anthony to charity. I will.

BERNARD: Which charity?

O'BRIEN: There are a lot of women who will take you up on that.

BOROWITZ: I'm putting that out right now.

O'BRIEN: And that's our final word this morning, because we're out of time. You guys, as always, thank you very much. Appreciate it -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, thank you, Soledad.

Next hour here, former President Bill Clinton says Ken Starr got a free ride. We'll have our own political guru. He says he does not buy that, though. We'll talk to him about it when we continue.


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