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Massive March; Battleground Ohio; Shaky Security; Change of Direction; Quiet in Queens

Aired August 30, 2004 - 05:30   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The Republican Convention has drawn more than just politicians to New York, tens of thousands of protesters have also converged on the Big Apple.
And as CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports, they have been out in force.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more Bush. No more Bush.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crowds kept coming and coming and coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me what democracy looks like.

FEYERICK: A march so large, so dense, so unified, it covered two city miles. And those at the end didn't even cross the starting line until three hours after the march began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush and Cheney talk the war, but we know they're chicken hawks.

FEYERICK: The chants were strong, the slogans even stronger and the mood...

JODI EVANS, CODE PINK: It's so celebratory. It's people exercising their patriotic duty, which is to protest when America is being violated.

FEYERICK: There were suburban moms and military veterans. Some like Marine Sergeant William Hunt (ph) recently back from Iraq.

SERGEANT WILLIAM HUNT, MARINE: My friends lost their lives. I had 18 friends that lost their lives because of his mistakes, because he rushed into a war.

FEYERICK: There were children and churchgoers. There were those like Molly Altman who have seen other wars.

MOLLY ALTMAN, PROTESTER: I'm a grandmother. I have grandchildren of draft age. I don't want them fighting this nonsensical war. Let him send his children.

FEYERICK: And those like Jennifer Baker (ph) for whom the Iraq War is the first. JENNIFER BAKER, PROTESTER: And for people who were saying that you know they're chastising America's youth for being uninvolved and uninterested, we're to be an example that we are interested and that we're not interested in Bush.

FEYERICK: A small handful of Bush supporters did try getting out their own message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four more years. Four more years.

FEYERICK: And towards the end of the peaceful march, there were a few small pockets of violence from agitators.

(on camera): The police say they don't give crowd numbers and some in the crowd said it doesn't matter anyway since the numbers are never right. What is clear is that those who marched strongly believe, whatever the figures, they will make a difference on Election Day.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


COSTELLO: You saw the protesters in Deborah's piece, now we want to know what you think. Will these protesters have any political impact on the election? E-mail us, the address,

And we've already gotten a lot of responses in. Let me read a couple.

This is from Richard (ph) in Seattle. He says, Carol and Chad, if the protesters built a small campfire in Central Park and Bill Clinton goes in to play his saxophone, the election will not be affected. If the protesters built a small campfire in Central Park and Governor Pataki sends in the National Guard, the election will probably be affected.

This is from Patsy (ph) from Georgia from Loganville. She says I watched much of the protest march in New York City and I felt a real sense of freedom. I don't think it will make much difference in how people vote this November, however.

And this is from G. Baker (ph). I don't think the protesters will have anywhere near the impact the Swift Boat vets and other vets groups against Kerry will have.

Keep the e-mails coming,

Ohio is one of the key battleground states in this election. Polls have shown President Bush and Senator Kerry in a dead heat there.

CNN's Richard Quest went to Lorain County, Ohio to get an idea of what matters most to voters.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Motor cross racing is an important part of the Lorain County Fair. Here they mix noisy competition on bikes with noisy competition with animals. There are no politicians touting for votes. But ask the people what's on their minds and it's pretty clear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am concerned about jobs going out of the country. Mainly I'm from the generation where you could just graduate from high school, get a good paying factory job, and those jobs are all gone now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No overtime anymore, my brother lost his job, all my friends. There was -- we had 80-some people and I think there's 6 of us left.

QUEST: In fact, downsizing has cost Ohio more than 200,000 jobs in the past four years. So it's not hard to find those who have been affected.

(on camera): What to you is a big issue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd have to say jobs right now because jobs are real thin right now. Nobody has got any and everybody is hurting.

QUEST (voice-over): Security is another of those issues that comes up again and again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I'm going to vote for Bush, ain't no doubt in my mind. Yes, he might not be the greatest, but he's the best we got right now.

QUEST: The fair has given me one cross-section of views, but I wanted more. So I crossed town.

On a Sunday morning they get a good turnout at the First United Methodist Church. After services, it was time to bring them back to earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think jobs in the economy. It's strange we don't talk about that usually in the church but...

QUEST (on camera): Nothing wrong with that.


QUEST: These all the mattes of life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Getting rid of the war and getting it stopped right now I think would be a big issue. Get all of our men home and our countrymen back into our own country and safe and sound, I think.

QUEST: Now Wellington may be just a small corner of Ohio, but when it comes to the political issues, it's got everything. Whether it's a church or the county fair, again and again, you hear about jobs, the economy, the war in Iraq, terror warnings. It's a microcosm of what's happening in the United States, and that's why Ohio is so important.

As the pundits say, as Ohio goes, so goes Election 2004.

Richard Quest, CNN, Wellington, Ohio.


COSTELLO: And I'm sure they got a kick out of Richard Quest too in Ohio.

Certainly CNN will be there to bring you full coverage of the convention. Our prime time coverage begins tonight at 7:00 Eastern with Anderson Cooper. He is followed at 8:00 by Wolf Blitzer and at 9:00, "LARRY KING LIVE" from Madison Square Garden.

Also, if you're away from your television set, be sure to tune in to CNN Radio. Eighteen hundred affiliates across the nation. Kyra Phillips and I will be anchoring the Republican National Convention from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

With all that going on in New York, John Kerry is lying low in Nantucket. The Democratic presidential nominee does not have any public appearances scheduled today. His running mate, John Edwards, will deliver a foreign policy address though in North Carolina.

The new U.S. ambassador to Iraq reportedly says security should come first and John Negroponte wants to put his money where his mouth is.

Our senior international editor David Clinch joins us now with more. How much money?


Well, billions. You know billions have been allocated by the U.S. Congress for spending in Iraq, but there's a very specific spending agenda for the money that's been allocated. A lot of it allocated to the broad area of reconstruction, but a lot of those things have not happened. Rebuilding schools, some of that has happened, rebuilding dams, electricity, some of that has happened. But not all of it can happen and a lot of this kind of thing is happening.

Rebuilding pipelines because of the overreaching problem of security. Lack of security. And specifically the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte saying that he believes that a lot of that money should be diverted immediately to solving the security problem. In other words, there's no point talking about reconstruction in a general sense (INAUDIBLE) more for training of Iraqi security, Iraqi armed forces, solving the security problem before you move to the next level.

Interesting sort of behind the scenes of that, of course, is the Pentagon was in charge of Iraq up until the point that the new government came into place, the interim government. Now the U.S. representation in Iraq is State Department. So there may be some aspect of a difference of opinion between the State Department and the Pentagon, watching that.

COSTELLO: Yes, but who has control over where the money goes, is it the new interim government of Iraq? Do they have any say in this?

CLINCH: Well it is, it's a combination of the new Iraqi government. And he is, of course, in talks with Prime Minister Allawi. And we have an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Allawi, which we have just finished in Baghdad. We are going to feed that later on. And we're going to be asking him about that subject, does he think some of this money, some of this effort should be diverted to greater security now before they move to reconstruction? So it's a subtle point, but a very important one for the Iraqis.

COSTELLO: And for American taxpayers.

CLINCH: Yes. Now the other story we're covering is these French hostages that have been taken hostage. The hostage takers giving France 48 hours to lift this head scarf ban in schools in France or these two French journalists will be killed.

Now what's interesting to me is of course these are two journalists, and yet the French prime minister, president has been on television appealing for their release. The foreign minister has been sent to Iraq. Hard to imagine that you'd see that level of interest from the U.S. government if it was two journalists, not that they wouldn't be interested, but addressing the nation and sending them out to the region. It's obviously being taken very seriously by the French, and the reason is that head scarf ban in France is a huge domestic issue. And they want to solve this hostage issue quickly to get the tension down in France itself.

COSTELLO: But how strange that the hostages would latch onto this particular issue, which has very little to do with what's happening in Iraq right now.

CLINCH: Well that's true. It's almost as if they sort of have a shopping list of issues. When they grab somebody, they then check their list and say what's the issue we can use these people for.


CLINCH: So very frightening, of course, for the two journalists, and we'll be watching that very closely.

COSTELLO: David Clinch, thank you.


COSTELLO: Successful careers, big salaries, a beautiful home, why one couple decided to give it all up. A look at the price of happiness at 45 minutes past.

And the health benefits of dark chocolate, why a little cocoa isn't so bad for dieters after all. Details at 48 minutes past. And our DAYBREAK e-mail "Question of the Morning," will the protesters have a political impact on the election? E-mail us at

But first, here's a look at what else is making news this Monday morning.


COSTELLO: Your news, money, weather and sports. It is 5:43 Eastern. Here is what's all new this morning.

Oil experts from southern Iraq have been stopped due to attacks on pipelines. An Iraqi official says exports are not likely to resume for at least a week. The southern pipelines account for 90 percent of Iraq's exports.

In Russia's breakaway region of Chechnya, official election results show the Kremlin's favorite candidate is going to win the presidency. This vote comes on the heels of two jetliner crashes that many have blamed on Chechen separatists.

In money news, Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan is again calling on Congress to cut future Social Security and Medicare spending. "USA Today" reports that the Fed chief is warning that as the population ages, retirement programs will run huge deficits.

In culture, it was a big night for Outkast and Jay-Z who each won four Moonmen at the MTV Video Music Awards. The show was relatively low key, as far as MTV goes, with many performers and presenters using their airtime to encourage viewers to vote in the upcoming election.

In sports, Eli Manning will have to wait a while before becoming the so-called savior of the New York Giants. The team announced that veteran Kurt Warner will be their starting quarterback when the season opens on September 12. Eli Manning had some trouble at a preseason game -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Carol, did you hear the really big story in sports yesterday?

COSTELLO: Deion Sanders.

MYERS: Curacao beat the California team in the Little League World Series.

COSTELLO: That is good. Thank you -- Chad.

MYERS: You bet you.


COSTELLO: Thank you, Chad.

Those are the latest headlines for you this morning. Have you ever called in sick to work just because it's nice outside or you wanted to spend some quality time with your family? Well more and more Americans are looking for a way out of the rat race and into a slower pace.

CNN's Brian Todd takes a look at one couple who chucked it all for a barrel of peaches.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sue and Dan Gragan had the life so many of us are after. They like this one better.

SUE GRAGAN, FARMER: Taste this. The dark or the red one.

TODD: Their main worries now, picking the raspberries, peaches, nectarines, getting them to market on time.

S. GRAGAN: We've got to get the stuff done in the season. You can't take a day off.

TODD: But to them, it's nothing like the stress they used to feel.

DAN GRAGAN, FARMER: Always worrying about your job, stability, you know. I even got laid off.

TODD: The poster children from modern success, into their late '40s and early '50s. Sue, a lobbyist, Dan an engineer. Dual incomes, well into the six figures, living in the stratospheric real estate market of suburban Washington.

D. GRAGAN: The commute to the city was just outrageous.

TODD: When the Gragans finally moved to rural southern Maryland, then full-time into farming, they acted on an impulse that a growing number of Americans seem to feel.

GREGG EASTERBROOK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: In our society, where 150 to 200 million people are now materially secure, I think every year, more and more people ask themselves the question, is that all there is?

TODD: Several recent studies say our pursuit of wealth, bringing more success and comfort to so many, has also brought an overwhelming sense of stress and unhappiness.

A new poll by the Center for a New American Dream says more than half of those surveyed would be willing to give up one day's pay per week for one day off, and to spend more time with family and friends and...

BETSY TAYLOR, CENTER FOR NEW AMERICAN DREAM: Half of Americans say they've actually made choices in their own lives to take less money to have downshifting in order to get more time in their life. TODD: Experts admit scaling back isn't easy. They say taking small steps and listing priorities is a good start. Sue and Dan Gragan say the tough transition is worth it.

D. GRAGAN: Like I say, it's different -- completely different way of life, but much better than sitting in an office, living in the middle of a farm that's -- what's not to like?

TODD: Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


COSTELLO: Makes you ready to head out the door for the farm, doesn't it?

"Health Headlines" for you this morning.

Want to keep your blood flowing, grab some chocolate. Scientists in Greece say eating dark chocolate could make blood vessels more flexible, at least temporarily. But now the bad news, gaining weight from eating a lot of chocolate could cancel out all of the benefits.

Designed to treat blood pressure but could do a lot more, so says a study on a long-acting form of the drug Atalad (ph). The drug says -- the study says the drug may prevent heart attacks and strokes in some patients. Atalad was Bayer's second biggest selling drug last year.

He was just 13 when he died, but his legacy lives on. The Muscular Dystrophy Association has honored its late good will ambassador at an event in Maryland. Mattie Stepanek drew national attention with his best selling books of poetry. He died last summer from a rare disease that affected his brain and muscles.

For more on this or any other health story, head to our Web site. The address

Although it may seem like all of New York is focused on the Republican Convention this week, some natives are trying to escape. What they are doing to stay above the political fray next.

And we'll hear some of your thoughts on our DAYBREAK e-mail "Question of the Morning," will the protesters in New York have a political impact on the November election? You can e-mail us at

We'll be back.


MYERS: Me and Cameron Diaz are the same age.

COSTELLO: Isn't that something.

MYERS: That is really a miracle.

COSTELLO: And my husband is only 23.

MYERS: Wow! Anyway, e-mails.

COSTELLO: E-mails. We've been asking you this question like thousands and tens of thousands of protesters lined the streets of New York City protesting President Bush's policies, you know, on the eve of the Republican National Convention, which actually starts today.

MYERS: Right.

COSTELLO: And we've been soliciting your comments about these protesters, wondering if they'll have any impact at all on the November election. And we've gotten some e-mails in already.

This is from Andy (ph) in Walnut Creek, California. Said I'm so inspired by Sunday's protesters in New York City. I thought our democracy was pretty much dead after almost four years of George Bush. I started to feel like a real American again.

MYERS: And from Andrew (ph). I don't think it's the same Andy (ph). The only impact the protesters will have on the election is if they also get out there and vote.

COSTELLO: Got that right.

This is from John (ph) from Pembroke Pines, Florida. These protesters are more problematic than anything else. They make no difference in the election in the end. All they are successful in doing is disrupting people's lives by causing traffic problems and getting in everyone's way.

And certainly Saturday that happened, because these bicycle riders decided to protest by riding their bikes through the streets. They blocked intersections, they went through red lights and 200 of them ended up getting arrested for disrupting the peace.

MYERS: Right.

COSTELLO: And people of New York were angry at that.

MYERS: And the people that they were trying to protest against weren't even there yet.

COSTELLO: True, yet.

MYERS: Because it was Saturday.

COSTELLO: Keep the e-mails coming,

Marching in the streets, politicking in the Garden in Manhattan this week, thousands of activists of every strife, from every state, a good time for New Yorkers to be somewhere else, somewhere peaceful, somewhere quiet, like Queens.

CNN's Bruce Morton has more on that for you.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Manhattan, demonstrators with a cause; but in Queens, population 2.3 million, a different crowd. It's Shay Stadium, the Mets are playing, the fans think they have made the winning choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the place to be today, away from the city and the demonstrations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd rather be here today, because it's, you know, a great day, but you know there is some important issues that the country has to deal with. So you know the folks that are out there are exercising their rights and you know hopefully they'll make a difference in the way people are thinking.

MORTON: Down the road in Corona Park, people are doing all sorts of things, calisthenics, working out with a cricket bat. New Yorkers come from all over. Or riding the carousel. Some of the dads have to ride, of course, to make sure their kids are safe.

A man with his kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was in Philadelphia four years ago for the other Republican Convention. This is going to be 10 times worse, so no intent on going near the city this week.

MORTON: Some stop at the zoo. Kids imitating a sea lion or is it the other way around?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We wanted to go to the Central Park Zoo today, but my husband reminded me that we'd be better off, yes, staying in Queens. It's a little safer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not really too interested in all of that. And it's more hassle than it is good.

MORTON: And there's no petting zoo out where the demonstrators are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would never think about going into Manhattan this weekend. Even if it was something I would have normally have done, I wouldn't do it.

MORTON: So two groups, two different goals. In Manhattan, they want to change the country. In Queens, they just want to enjoy the fine day.

Bruce Morton, CNN, New York.


COSTELLO: So just how tight is security in New York? In the next half-hour of DAYBREAK, we'll take a look at how New York City police are making sure all of the bases are covered.


COSTELLO: The dawn of day one. In just a few hours, delegates will gather inside of this building. You are looking at a live picture of Madison Square Garden. Of course the Republicans are going to be there to show support for their president.

It is Monday, August 30. This is DAYBREAK.


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