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CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN

Harkin: Cheney Is a 'Coward'; Federal Aid Starts to Flow Into Florida; Sadr Refuses to Meet With Peace Delegation

Aired August 17, 2004 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
We can't seem to escape Vietnam. Today, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin called Vice President Cheney a coward. He used the word several times in several forms, cowardly attacks for one, but coward was the word and the application was about Vietnam.

"He was a coward," said the Senator "because he didn't serve in Vietnam" and the vice president didn't. He used his deferments, five of them, and said serving in Vietnam was not a priority, a phrase we suspect he now regrets.

We can't escape Vietnam. Moveon.org, the liberal advocacy group, is out with a new ad now attacking the attack on Kerry's war record, an attack that made certain we would fight Vietnam all over again and we are.

To what end we do not know except to prove that the war is not over. As long as my generation is around it won't be. Old wars and new on the menu tonight, we'll get to them soon enough.

But the whip begins in Florida where the water and the federal aid money are starting to flow. CNN's John Zarrella is in Punta Gorda, so John start us with a headline.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: Aaron, the Florida National Guard spent a year in Iraq. They've only been back for a few months and they already have another mission, helping the people of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte -- Aaron.

BROWN: John, thank you.

Iraq next where the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr today refused to meet with a peace delegation, John Vause the watch in Baghdad, so John a headline.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, that last ditch peace attempt appears to have gone the same way as all before it, nowhere, a lesson for the Iraqis as they take control of their own destiny. Criticizing the U.S. is easy. Dealing with people like Muqtada al- Sadr is hard -- Aaron.

BROWN: John, thank you.

In Illinois, the governor fired a shot today in the battle over cheaper prescription drugs and a legal shot at that. Jonathan Freed worked the story from Chicago, so Jon a headline.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, it used to be that the United States looked to other countries for their huddled masses. Well, today in Illinois anyway it's all about masses of those cheaper drugs.

BROWN: Jon, thank you.

And the campaign trail, a war of words, which got uglier today, words about war and military service of each candidate. Our Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield has the headline tonight -- Jeff.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Aaron, a week after a group of Vietnam veterans opened fire on John Kerry's record in Vietnam a liberal group has returned fire and now the question is will either Kerry or President Bush be the victim of friendly or unfriendly fire -- Aaron.

BROWN: Jeff, thank you. We'll get back to you and the rest shortly.

Also coming up on the program tonight, hatred for the west, young radical Muslims take to the streets to denounce what they call the fake concepts of freedom and democracy.

Also tonight, upping the ante, advertisements for erectile dysfunction have come a long way since the days of Bob Dole, tonight, the evolution of an ad campaign and where it might go next.

Goodness, that makes morning papers seem tame even to the rooster but we'll have them too before the hour is done, all that and more in the hour ahead.

We begin tonight in Florida where federal aid money is now flowing into areas hit hard by Hurricane Charley, a few million today, many more millions to come but a welcome development just the same and not the only one, a legion of volunteers on the ground, an army of roofers above.

There were some creepier elements too, the price gougers and the conmen that always seem to come out of the woodwork but that said all of it, good and bad, pales tonight against the bigger picture.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE LOUCKS, CHARLOTTE COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR: We got our butt kicked. We got our butt kicked hard.

BROWN (voice-over): It is rare to hear a public official be quite this candid in public but if anyone has the right to it is the administrator of Charlotte County, Florida, where from Punta Gorda to Arcadia to Port Charlotte the relief residents felt at simply being alive is giving away now to anger at what they've lost.

Workmen from around the country have begun the process of rebuilding. National Guard troops are handing out food and water and ice and government officials are promising help is on the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our job is to bring the checks.

BROWN: But 600,000 people are still without power, 100,000 have no telephones and even where water is flowing again residents are being warned to boil it before drinking.

The financial toll will be very, very heavy, an estimated $11 billion total and this could balloon as the citrus industry tallies up the damage to almost a third of Florida's trademark groves.

Along with the loss of cherished belongings and in many cases jobs, there are reminders that not everyone was helping out. Twelve hundred complaints of price gouging have already come into the state and at least six people have been arrested for looting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Along with the looting the dislocation itself is raising tempers. That was the backdrop of a scene that played out in Fort Myers. A man cut off since Friday from his island home tried to drive through a police roadblock. They used a taser to stop him. It was caught on tape by an amateur photographer.

So far we've been unable to pin down which police department was involved or get any comment from any of the parties. With that as the footnote here is the moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have three kids at home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave him alone man. He's frustrated. Oh, come on, man. He's frustrated. He's frustrated man. What the hell are you doing? That is so wrong. Why do you got to do like that in front of children, man, oh come on man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. (AUDIO GAP.)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that man was wrong. That was wrong. That man was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're wrong. He's frustrated man. He's frustrated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks, we understand that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't understand man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. I haven't been home since Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't been home since way before that. I take it you saw you house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven't seen my house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been stuck on this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) island since Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, we all want to go over there and help clean up but you all are keeping us from helping that island.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you guys just need to settle down and give us a break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us a break.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just trying to avoid this (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care. I don't want to hear one thing. I don't want to see one camera. You people can't behave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't have a camera?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to tell you why not. You get in my face. You listen to me. We don't want you here. You understand that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We live here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better shut up. We've had enough of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So have we. We're just trying to get over to the island and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand that. The city council is telling us what to do, OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Plenty of frustration on all sides. It goes without saying the picture has many pieces tonight. There is that and there is what CNN's John Zarrella found while out and about today with members of the Florida National Guard.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Specialist Henry Tobar (ph) spent a year in Iraq, most of it in the hotspot of Ramadi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were hit by everybody's explosive devices. We were shot at. We were RPG'd. ZARRELLA: At 22, he has a purple heart. Now, Specialist Tobar and the other men and women of the Florida National Guard's 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Division, who returned from Iraq in March are on another mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just making sure you guys are all right in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're fine. I mean, you know, we're out of power but so is everybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were supposed to get married.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just got married?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were supposed to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Supposed to get married Saturday. We're getting married tomorrow afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something nice comes out of this.

ZARRELLA: By the time Hurricane Charley's winds had died down, Charlie Company was conducting search and rescue missions in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. Today's mission...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if he needs any water or anything.

ZARRELLA: ...taking care of people in need, protecting property, clearing debris and looking for elderly in distress. What do they say to you when you're out here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless us, you know, thank you. You know, they know -- they know that the Florida National Guard just got back from Iraq, so they take that in consideration. Now we're activated again, so they know what we've been through and they really, really appreciate it. You can see it in their eyes.

ZARRELLA: Sergeant Joe Sowers (ph) is at 24 a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq. He and the other men of Charlie Company have witnessed a lot of hardship and suffering. This is no exception.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How bad is the property damage?

ZARRELLA: But this is different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You actually feel like you're helping people a little bit more because it's your people and they appreciate it, you know, more than, of course, the Iraqi people and there's not people shooting at you.

ZARRELLA: There is no outdate for this mission but the soldiers say that's OK. They're used to that. At least they are home walking the streets on U.S. soil. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZARRELLA: The men of Charlie Company say that being out here is a way for them to say thank you, thank you to all the people who have helped them through the long times and struggles that they had while they were in Iraq -- Aaron.

BROWN: John, thank you, John Zarrella who is in Florida.

On now to Iraq, two threads playing out tonight, one tangled within the other, nation building in Baghdad and the obstacle to it in Najaf. Today, one paid a call on the other, the report from CNN's John Vause.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE (voice-over): The delegates arrived in a city under siege, smoke rising from buildings around the sacred Imam Ali Mosque, the sound of gunfire and explosions echoing through Najaf as heavy fighting continued for most of the day, especially around the sprawling cemetery.

This was a last attempt to end the standoff through negotiation but the man at the center of the uprising, Shiite cleric Muqtada al- Sadr, refused to meet with the group of eight religious and political leaders from Baghdad.

Al-Sadr's aides blamed the U.S. for the fighting and said it just wasn't safe for a face-to-face meeting. So, there they were Muqtada al-Sadr in one part of the huge golden domed mosque, the peace delegates in another. For three hours that's as close as they got.

The delegation was sent from the Iraqi National Conference, a gathering of more than 1,000 people in Baghdad. For three days they have debated little else apart from the standoff in Najaf.

It has overshadowed the election of an interim council, a parliament of sorts, meant to advise the Iraqi government but now these delegates may have just learned what the U.S. has known for more than a year. Dealing with Muqtada al-Sadr and trying to bring democracy to Iraq is more than just complicated and difficult. At times it can seem impossible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: We don't know if the delegates there in Najaf will try again to speak with al-Sadr. They are expected at the Iraqi National Conference in Baghdad a few hours from now to take part in that vote for the interim assembly.

It has been delayed for another day. It is now expected to take place sometime today but it could be delayed again. There is a great deal of infighting over the voting procedure -- Aaron.

BROWN: John, two quick questions. Has the conference issued any sort of statement about the failed talks and did aides to al-Sadr meet with the negotiators today?

VAUSE: The conference has not issued anything because we heard from the delegates around midnight our time, so they'll be informed of the failed mission, if you like, a few hours from now.

And, aides to al-Sadr did, in fact, meet with the delegation but really that's of little point when the man at the center of all of this, al-Sadr, is the man who is the one who can call off his troops.

BROWN: John, thank you, John Vause who's had a long duty now in Baghdad.

Ahead on the program tonight, we'll have more on Iraq.

Also coming up, importing drugs, some states are now helping to fill prescriptions by letting residents import cheaper drugs. The federal government is not happy.

Also coming up, a band of brothers, comrades of John Kerry fight to protect a war image from fellow veterans who challenge his military service, both sides tonight.

From New York this is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: On the campaign trail the past continues to shape the present raising questions about the future of each candidate. The military records of both men are the past part of the equation, the present an ugly ad war, and the future we leave for our Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: The decisions that he made saved our lives.

GREENFIELD (voice-over): From this first ad on the primaries to this reunion in Iowa some 35 years after a lifesaving rescue to this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with his band of brothers at the convention, John Kerry has put Vietnam at the center of his claim to the presidency, which is why this book and this commercial is a blow aimed at the heart of the Kerry campaign, Vietnam veterans who claim they served with Kerry and who charge in essence that his claimed heroism is a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is lying about his record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry lied to get his bronze star.

GREENFIELD: The men who served with Kerry on the swift boat he commanded say these charges are false and the Bush campaign says it honors Kerry's service in Vietnam but denies any connection with the ad which it did not produce and did not pay for but neither does the campaign denounce the ad's content as Republican John McCain urged the campaign to do. (on camera): So, how to judge the impact of these charges. Well, the Senator's opponents seem to have demonstrated one instance where the Senator's account of his service may be inaccurate but is it a direct hit or just a glancing blow? Moreover, might this whole dispute wind up raising questions, not just about Senator Kerry, but about President Bush as well?

(voice-over): Kerry has often spoken of spending Christmas Eve of 1968 in Cambodia, where American forces were not supposed to be. "It is," he once said, "a memory which is seared-seared in me."

Faced with claims that he could not have been in Cambodian territory at that time, the Kerry campaign now says that his boat was in or near Cambodia in the Mekong Delta, a boat that came under fire.

His story and Doug Brinkley, who wrote an admiring account of Kerry's Vietnam service, says the future Senator was in Cambodia ferrying CIA operatives but a month or two after Christmas Eve of 1968.

Today, moveon.org, a liberal group that has spent millions of dollars in independent pro-Kerry, anti-Bush ads, released a commercial in three battleground states with a very tough charge about President Bush's own military service.

ANNOUNCER: George Bush used his father to get into the National Guard, was grounded and then went missing. Now he's allowing false advertising that attacks John Kerry.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD: Now late this afternoon, Senator John McCain called on Senator Kerry to denounce that ad. Senator Kerry did so in a written statement but, Aaron, you know it's not entirely clear that the Bush campaign wants the military records of these two men put on the table. Indeed, I sometimes think of that old political saying, "I can protect myself from my enemies but God save me from my friends."

BROWN: Well, if the campaign does not want it out there why doesn't it just come out and say that?

GREENFIELD: That's a very good question. The Bush campaign's response is to say we denounce all soft money ads.

BROWN: Right but that's...

GREENFIELD: I understand. That's not the same as denouncing the content. They also say we respect and honor his service in Vietnam. A cynic might say they were trying to have it both ways.

But the question is, and I've not really understood this, the Senate record of John Kerry is problematic for the Senator. That's why he only talked about it for about 45 seconds in his acceptance speech but why anyone supporting President Bush wants to have their respective military records on the table in 2004 frankly I can't figure that out. BROWN: That whole part of it is a mystery. Let me ask you one more question. Why are we still fighting Vietnam?

GREENFIELD: Well, for the same reason that we fought the Civil War for about 80 or 90 years. You know, Republicans won for decades by arguing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you shot. I think you put it very well in your introduction and I'll put it more morbidly.

Until we all die off this is going to be astonishingly 30- something years, 30 years after the war ended an emotional, wrenching issue for people no matter what side of that conflict they were on.

BROWN: Thank you, Jeff, Jeff Greenfield tonight.

Coming up on the program a mission of peace, an Iraqi delegation extends an olive branch. It's rebuffed. Heavy clashes in Najaf intensify. We'll talk with eyewitnesses.

Also, Iraq is just one of many stories that will appear on the front pages of your morning papers we hope, a break first.

This is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: We rarely seem to be reporting on the area around Fallujah but that's the area where most of those casualties continue to come from.

Returning now to Iraq and the situation in Najaf, we've heard Muqtada al-Sadr called lots of things by lots of people. No one is calling him stupid. He clearly wants something for himself and his followers and he is playing hardball or chicken, if you will, to get it.

What that is and how far he'll push to get it make this the story of the moment, as do the larger stakes involved and so does the texture of the scene itself in the holy city.

Scott Baldauf recently returned from Najaf. He files for the "Christian Science Monitor." He joins us from Baghdad, good to see you.

We tend to see this story from here as two-sided. There are the forces of al-Sadr and there are the Americans but there's actually a third side which are the people of Najaf and where are they in all of this? Have they taken sides?

SCOTT BALDAUF, "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": I don't think you can afford to take sides in Najaf. The battle lines shift over you and back again constantly. When you have to talk with both sides, deal with both sides and appear to be sympathetic with both sides, you really have to keep all of your own opinions interior.

BROWN: You went through a day of firefights, of shelling, of gunfire, of death in the home of an Najafi. Did you get a sense for sort of deep down what they thought of the Americans, what they thought of al-Sadr?

BALDAUF: Well, the opinion about the Americans is very complex. They look at the Americans and say, "Well, thank God for getting rid of Saddam Hussein but on the other hand what have you been doing for the last 18 months or so?"

There hasn't been any improvement in their lives, if anything it's worse in terms of gunfire just outside their home. They see the Americans as a big disappointment.

For the Mehdi Army they see them as very brave but very foolish, not very well trained. They criticize the Mehdi Army for just firing foolishly into civilian areas not really aiming very well and not really caring where the shells landed and, as a result they aren't that fond of the Mehdi Army as well. So, it's a very complex picture on both sides. I don't think they see anybody out there that represents them.

BROWN: People adapt in the most difficult of circumstances. Certainly, Najaf right now is the most difficult of circumstances. To what extent have people simply adapted to life there?

BALDAUF: Well, it's amazing how you can adapt to life. You know, you just sort of move on and pretend that it's not going on but, of course, you're restricted to your home. You can't -- every once in a while you can go out shopping to the market to buy some food to get you by but you have a very narrow window of time before the fighting erupts again and you can be caught outside as we were when we arrived in the old city of Najaf.

BROWN: Tell me how many -- have reporters by and large heeded the order to get out of the city?

BALDAUF: Not really. There are -- we visited a hotel that was chock full of reporters, particularly the freelancers and a lot of the TV networks are moving in, especially Al Arabiya, Al-Jazeera and the local reporters are there in droves.

The problem, of course, is that you're taking security into your own hands as a result and we were put into a position which was very uncomfortable. We were stuck for about 22 hours. If we had a security company looking after us they would not be pleased.

BROWN: Scott, I said this before we went on the air, the piece on that day and your experience, an extraordinary piece of reporting and writing. Good luck to you. Stay safe. Thanks for joining us.

BALDAUF: Thank you.

BROWN: You can read Scott's work in the "Christian Science Monitor."

More politics now, as distracted or diverted by events in Najaf as the delegates to the National Conference in Baghdad have become they've also managed to make progress towards a new political framework for the country. No one said it would be easy. It certainly hasn't been, demonstrations, mortar shells, peace delegations and all.

Certainly not the walk in the park one delegate was planning for when it began. She was asked how long she expected all of this would take, all of it, "about an hour" she said.

Well, it's taken a fair amount more than that with the events in Najaf. Sending a group, that delegation, to try and negotiate somehow an end to the standoff with Muqtada al-Sadr, which at least for now seems to have failed, has just complicated the work of trying to build a political process in the country and a political process is enormously important to the Iraqis, of course, and also to the Americans.

Covering all of that for us -- well actually for the "New York Times" is John Burns. It's always good to see John, John, good morning to you.

JOHN BURNS, "NEW YORK TIMES": Good morning.

BROWN: Is this conference going to end successfully or will it end chaotically?

BURNS: I think you'd have to say that just having the conference convene in the first place is something of a success under the present war conditions in Iraq. They got more than 1,000 delegates representing almost every strain of religious and secular opinion, Arabs and Kurds.

It's been a clamorous occasion, of course dominated by the fighting in Najaf. They got a delegation down there. Muqtada al-Sadr would not see them but they did get all the way into the Golden Shrine and make their demands, and this is unarguably a political process. It's a form of democracy, clamorous as it may be. Whether they will get a result today, I don't know.

There's going to be a lot of -- a lot of argument. The larger question, of course, is does it make any difference? Can they hold elections under these circumstances even if they can elect now an assembly to supervise the Allawi government until January? That's an open question.

BROWN: Let me -- I've been wanting to ask you this for a long time. We, all of us in the news business, focus on all the things that go wrong. Are there places in the country that are, except for the Kurdish north where it was pretty normal before the war frankly, that are safe where people aren't being kidnapped, where people get up in the morning, go to work, where kids go to school, where there's food in the grocery, all the rest, where normal life goes on?

BURNS: Well there are, of course, and I would say that even though Baghdad itself is embattled people find a way nonetheless to continue relatively normal lives. The city is a bustle during the working hours of the day. It is an absolute desert and ghost town at night. But to the north, at least so I was told by the commanding American general there, John Batiste (ph) of the first infantry division when I went up to Tikrit on a Blackhawk the day before yesterday, he said we have real momentum here. The places that were very difficult through last winter and into the spring, Tikrit amongst them are now beginning to turn. Baqubah was another one despite the recent car bombing there.

He said there's real good news there, that they're getting on with some of their construction project, that he feels that the populous is turning and I myself attended a meeting with some local community leaders, Bedouin leaders and others from the most troubled times sometime tomorrow. That was a tough meeting. The general told them in no uncertain terms that not a dime of American money was going to go into Samarra until the local community leaders helped them to clear the terrorists out. It is clearly finally balanced in Samarra. The game is not lost yet, but it is also far from won.

BROWN: What seems to be -- just a final question, in these places that seem to be better, what is turning the tide? Why is it better?

BURNS: Well, I'd have to say I think the central equation here, regrettable as it may be, is the balance of force, that opinion -- Iraqi opinion will not solidify behind the Americans until the Americans can prove that they're really in control of this country militarily until they can provide security. Much as Iraqis want their electricity and water and schools rebuilt and hospitals with medicines and doctors and all the rest of it. All of which, by the way, they have now in far larger numbers and volume than they did a year ago, as much as they want that, the first thing they want is security. So the difficult thing for the United States forces here is to be tough enough to provide that security and yet not so tough that they alienate -- further alienate the population. It's a devilishly difficult job.

BROWN: So is yours, John, thank you. John Burns at "The New York Times" with us.

Still to come on the program young, radical, Islamic, uniting against western ideals. Muslims looking to the east to solve many of the problems they see in the west.

And later still, Viagra and Levitra are just two. The industry for erectile dysfunction is now worth many, many millions. We'll look at the evolution of an ad campaign. This is NEWSNIGHT on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Columbus Circle on a late summer night. Ever since the words new and normal began being used one after the other, people have been grappling with what in fact the new normal really means. There are both good and bad aspects to be sure, greater security, a feeling of solidarity perhaps. But almost always at a cost, including difficult questions about who the enemy is and who he is not. And it's not just an American question. From London tonight, here's CNN's Walter Rodgers. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many in Britain, including some in the Iraqi Shia community, say they were shocked recently to see these two young British Muslims announce they went to Iraq to kill Americans. Leaked government reports in Britain estimate a thousand young British Muslims take part in Islamic military service abroad each year.

Whether in Britain or on jihad in Iraq or killing Russians in Chechnya or Jews in Palestine, they see themselves as a new force in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope that the people of the world will one day live under a system that will free their minds from, you know, from the traps that we see in the western world.

RODGERS (on camera): You're talking about Islam?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

RODGERS: And Islam will replace capitalism?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will one day, yes. That's right. That's what I believe. That's what every Muslim believes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is apparent. This idea of freedom is what is sick. And surely we should look to an idea that can liberate society. We should look to ideas...

RODGERS: Islam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam, of course.

RODGERS (voice-over): Listening and talking to some of Britain's young Muslims, some things remain unclear.

(on camera): It is difficult to gauge whether these views are the tip of an Islamic iceberg or just an irrelevant minority. Those British Muslims who feel this way, however, say the west would be in a state of self-denial if it believes these opinions are just those of a few cranks.

(voice-over): Chatting with these two British Muslim activists, they said political Islam has engaged the west in essentially a life and death struggle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not just a hatred for America. It is a hatred for the whole of western philosophy and western civilization. Freedom, democracy, human rights, international, all of these fake concepts that have been passed to us and behind that we have been oppressed. It is a hatred for all of this.

RODGERS: Listening, they told me Muslims do not need western democracy in Iraq or any other Muslim land. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam is complete. It covers every single aspect. Therefore it does not need anything to be injected in it to make it complete. So we are not looking to introduce democracy into Islam in order to purify it. Rather we see the introduction of democracy with Islam as superfluous, as something extra, as something peripheral, as something which will actually pollute it and degrade it.

RODGERS: In Britain, these militant Muslims assure themselves Islam is a sleeping giant, only now waking up. They say the 21st century belongs to Islam.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: These are questions the British have now been asking for quite some time before the shoe bomber Richard Reid entered the picture and long before local authorities arrested 13 people in a series of raids earlier this month. Today, eight of them were charged with conspiracy to murder and violations of the British Terrorism Act. U.S. officials describe one of the original 13, Esa al Hamdi, as a senior member of al Qaeda. The name itself, which is a pseudonym, was not listed in today's statement from authorities, but apparently the man's real name was.

Still ahead on NEWSNIGHT tonight, Bob Dole used to be the face of Viagra. Now the ads have more sizzle. We'll examine the ads and the reasons for them coming up.

Also, morning papers at the end of the hour. Some dandies, as always. This is NEWSNIGHT now on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: There's plenty of debate these days over prescription drug advertising. Are the ads misleading? Do they cause doctors to prescribe too many drugs? Might they be creating a nation that expects a pill to cure anything and everything that ails? All important questions surely, but not our focus tonight. This is about a crisis of identity. In the competitive universe of erectile dysfunction drugs, the founding father is losing ground to the younger rivals. So will playing naughty help him get his groove back?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): The first Viagra ads were all about medicine. Not all about fun.

BOB DOLE, FMR. SENATOR: There are many treatments available for ED.

BROWN: The pitchman, a well known older man, prostate cancer survivor.

DOROTHY WETZEL, VICE PRESIDENT, PFIZER CONSUMER MARKETING: The initial ads were all about establishing erectile dysfunction as a legitimate medical condition that men could go to their doctors and talk to their doctors and get treatment.

BROWN: Viagra laid the groundwork. Levitra upped the ante. Old Bob Dole was replaced by tough guy Mike Ditka, a football being tossed through a tire was symbolism with very little subtly.

BARBARA LIPPERT, ADVERTISING CRITIC, AD WEEK MAGAZINE: Then they have these men jumping up and down in slow motion to Queen's "We Are the Champions" which was not a good idea in my mind because you see everything droop on the way down.

BROWN: As the target audience appeared to grew younger, sales grew larger and more fragmented. Viagra used to have 100 percent of the market. Now it has around 75 percent. The racier ads for Levitra and Cialis have had an impact.

LIPPERT: It is hundreds of millions of dollars, so that when Viagra has two new scrappy competitors and they're losing 10 or 12 percent of their market share, that's huge.

BROWN: So Viagra is fighting back. A print ad showing the ends of the V in Viagra looking a bit like a pair of horns above a man's head. And this brand new television commercial. The announcer asking, remember that guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember the one who couldn't resist a little mischief?

LIPPERT: This whole thing with the mischief and the devil horns does not appeal to me. It's like meet my husband Lucifer. Why would you want that and the whole thing about being a little randy is kind of creepy to me.

WETZEL: We found that people were very excited by and interested in the whole idea of sexual revitalization. I think someone in our focus group put it best. A woman said, I get my fun husband back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Viagra isn't the first product to get a makeover in the face of competition. Jerry Della Femina is the chairman and CEO of Della Femina, Rothschild, Geary & Partners. "Advertising Age" recently named him one of the 100 most influential advertising people of the century. Which century, which is to say he knows something about selling the sizzle. We're always glad to see you. Welcome.

JERRY DELLA FEMINA, DELLA FEMINA, ROTHSCHILD, GEARY & PARTNERS: Good to be here.

BROWN: You worked -- you did some of the early research, focus group research on Viagra.

DELLA FEMINA: We did ad sets. We took ads for Viagra and showed them to focus groups. We did not do the original ads, and what we went back and said -- talked to younger people, make sure that you're not talking to anyone over -- be sure that you stop calling it erectile dysfunction and call it impotence, because that's what people remember. So...

BROWN: They did neither of those things.

DELLA FEMINA: They went out and got Bob Dole.

BROWN: So here is my question on that. Could they have done what any of these companies are doing now? Could they have done what they're doing now if they hadn't first done the kind of stodgy, medical driven, it's OK to talk about this stuff sort of ads that they ran at the beginning?

DELLA FEMINA: I think that they had to start -- there's a period where people were wondering, is it safe? But this is a great product. Viagra is a great product. They just dropped the ball. It is not unlike -- Emory Air Freight and Federal Express came in and said when it absolutely positively has to be there, which would not be a bad line for Viagra either.

BROWN: What have the other guys done right?

DELLA FEMINA: The other guys had gone to school on Viagra, they realized that Viagra was positioned with the Bob Doles and the first thing they do is they have a football coach. And they have somebody throwing a football through a tire. God, what symbolism. That brings tears to my eyes.

BROWN: At first you didn't see women in the ads. Now you see lots of women in the ads. In one of the ads Levitra, it is essentially a woman driven ad. Who are they selling to right now?

DELLA FEMINA: They're really -- they're still selling to the guy, but they want somebody to nudge him. And the fact is when we did our original research, we insisted that there be women in all of the focus groups. And they were really -- they thought it was a great idea for a product and they thought this was great. It just was positioned a little too old, a little too serious. And they left themselves open to having someone come in and really do what they're doing. This is still a great product. But it has to really come back. I don't know...

BROWN: But it has 75 percent of the market. I wouldn't exactly be panicking.

DELLA FEMINA: Well, if I had 100 percent, I would.

BROWN: OK. Where do they go with these ads now? They can't say -- I read somewhere the other day where -- I wish I could remember exactly the number. A very high amount of these drugs is used for essentially recreationally by people who don't really need them. They can't obviously market that way.

DELLA FEMINA: Well, we tried to do something in that area. We said even a healthy 35-year-old can have a bout of impotence. And the people in the focus group said, we think that's a great idea, but we never want to see this used as a recreational drug. And so the people looking at that did not like the idea of a 35-year-old -- it is like bringing coals to Newcastle.

BROWN: So where do they go?

DELLA FEMINA: Where do they go? I think that ...

BROWN: Honestly, after you've done the thing with the devil's horns you may be at the end.

DELLA FEMINA: No, I think you need the real devil, actually. He's available for testimonials.

BROWN: I see, OK.

DELLA FEMINA: The fact is that I think they went a little too far. It is sort of saying, be naughty. And this is the way people really spoke in the 1930s, maybe 1940s, but this little mischief. These aren't words that I believe are going to reach the people that they really want to reach, 40-year-old, 45-year-old. When they position themselves with Bob Dole, they immediately told the world that we are for people in their 70s and they lost a lot of people. With every year that they can get someone to try this, say someone at 50 tries it, that's 20 years of people. That's a lot of people. So I think Viagra has to hope is that the market does, pardon the expression, expand and at the same time that they can keep that 75 percent of a growing market. I can't say the right word.

BROWN: I'll pardon the expression. Nice to see you.

DELLA FEMINA: Nice to see you.

BROWN: Thank you. One other note before we head to break here. Today Illinois became the first state to openly defy the Federal ban on importing prescription drugs, I assume Viagra and others. The state's governor announcing a plan to help residents buy cheaper drugs from Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Residents will still be able to buy the drugs through a state-operated online clearinghouse which the state says could help people save as much as 50 percent on their drug purchases. States in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and New Hampshire have similar programs. We'll probably see headlines like that in morning papers which are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Time to check morning papers from around the country and around the world. A confession, I was goofing off some in the break, so I didn't have a chance to meticulously prepare, as I generally do. "International Herald Tribune," Lots of Olympic stuff on the front page Phelps dreams meet not so bad realities, Michael Phelps. These swimmers, could they -- I mean, they are so strong looking. Anyway, the relay team had a good day today. Eight charged in Britain with terror conspiracy. I can't say that either. There's a whole -- I'll explain it in the e-mail tomorrow.

The "Philadelphia Inquirer," Greek drama is how they head the Olympic story. This is the Michael Phelps and company in the 4x200 freestyle relay. If you are hoping to see that later on television, I'm sorry I spoiled it for you. Sadr aides get peace offer. The cleric did not greet the team in Najaf where violence raged is the "Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Christian Science Monitor," I like this story, good campaign story. Bush goes on the offense. His main current campaign thrust is to cut Kerry's credibility on fighting terror. Fighting terror is a big issue and it's an issue that in theory plays strongly to the campaign. So why not go with your strength? How are we doing on time, by the way? OK. Thank you.

The "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," wary airlines look to Delta. Turnaround plan goes on board today. CEO says it will plot unchartered territory. Delta's based in Atlanta so that's a good local story for them. Olympic glory is their headline on the Olympic story. And down at the bottom, Americans seem to have had their fill of low carb diet craze. Is that true? So-so. OK.

The "Detroit News," big three cut health costs. Think about this. Detroit automakers, lobby Washington hard for reforms. Its medical tab for the big three auto makers hit $9.9 billion. Wow.

Burke County "Plain Dealer" OK in Burke County, Nebraska. Summer is over. School starts today. That's the lead story today in this week in Burke County. God bless them. And "Chicago Sun-Times," Oprah's day in the jury box. We told you yesterday Oprah's on a jury. The weather tomorrow in Chicago. I'm not sure I can say this but I will. It's scuzzy.

We'll wrap it up in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Time to plan your morning. Here's Bill Hemmer with a look at tomorrow's "AMERICAN MORNING."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL HEMMER, HOST, AMERICAN MORNING: Aaron, thanks. Tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING, more on that shocker from New Jersey. Less than a week after the governor, Jim McGreevey, announced he was resigning because of an extramarital affair of another man, the New Jersey governor feeling the heat from fellow Democrats. Can he last as a lame-duck governor? Our political gurus have a look at that, tomorrow morning, 7:00 a.m. Eastern time. Hope to see you then -- Aaron.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Bill, thank you. That's actually a fascinating political story, personal story and a political story. Lots of talk that Senator Jon Corzine wouldn't mind being governor of New Jersey. I'm sure that they will get into all of that tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING, 7:00 Eastern time.

"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" is next. For most of you, we are back here tomorrow, 10:00 Eastern time. Hope you join us. Until then, good night for all of us at NEWSNIGHT.

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