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Interview With New York Congressman Charles Rangel and New York Congressman Gregory Meeks; Crazy For Love; Mitt Romney Under Fire

Aired February 14, 2007 - 20:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Here are some of the stories we're bringing out into the open tonight. We will tell you why some high-powered black Democrats are shying away from their party's black presidential candidate.

Also: outrage over Mitt Romney's official start of his presidential campaign at the museum of a notorious anti-Semite, Henry Ford.

And, this Valentine's Day, you have heard of crazy in love, but, like lovelorn astronaut Lisa Nowak, can love make anybody just crazy?

The first question out in the open tonight: Where is the love? Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama drawing big, friendly crowds on the campaign trail, but we can't help but noticing that some prominent black leaders are not rushing to jump on the Obama bandwagon.

The holdouts include the Reverend Al Sharpton. Just last weekend, he cautioned voters to check out a candidate's record, as well as their skin color.


AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Just because you're our color don't make you our kind. We want to know what you're going to represent.



O'BRIEN: And check this out.

South Carolina State Senator Robert Ford, who is black, says, "It's a slim possibility for Obama to get the nomination., but then everybody else is doomed." He went on, "Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose, because he's black and he's the top of the ticket."

Ford is now apologizing for those remarks. He is still supporting Senator Hillary Clinton for president.

And so are my first two guests this evening, New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel and also Gregory Meeks. Gentlemen, nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us this evening.

Let's start with you, Congressman Rangel. You're endorsing Hillary Clinton. You have made that clear. Should we all read this as a big lack of confidence in Barack Obama?


I encouraged the senator to run. I told him, with the type of popularity that he had, if he did not run, he would regret it the rest of his life. But I also explained that Gregory Meeks and some of us, we helped to bring Hillary Clinton to the Senate ball. And, so, therefore, we have some obligation to try, not only to support our favorite daughter, but to bring our congressional delegation together.

So, I haven't formally endorsed, but there is no question that's where I'm going to end up.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Meeks, isn't there a message that is being sent? If the black leadership is not endorsing the black candidate, then, well, why should anybody else in America get behind Barack Obama?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Well, listen, it's not about -- Barack Obama is not running as the black candidate.

Barack Obama is running to be president of the United States, just like Hillary Clinton is not running to be the woman's candidate. She's running for president of the United States.

And, when you talk about our country and the situation that it's currently in, what we need to do is evaluate who we believe would be the best candidate for this country, at the time that we're in. And I have concluded that that is Hillary Clinton.

So, it's not a black-white thing. It's not a woman thing, you know, even though either one of them would make history. It is that I believe that Hillary Clinton, given her experience and what I have seen her do in New York, as well as here in the Senate, would be the person that is best fitted to be the next president of the United States of America.

O'BRIEN: OK, so, then, doesn't it follow that what you're saying is the white woman is the better advocate for black America than the black guy?


MEEKS: No, because, I mean, there was black candidates that have run before.

Last year, I supported John Kerry, and my friend Al Sharpton was running for president. So, it's the same thing. I have picked, select -- I continue to pick not based upon race, based upon -- you know, I think that Barack Obama has a lot and will contribute a lot to this country.

He's going to be a very significant person for a long period of time. It's just that, in my judgment, at this time, I'm supporting Hillary Clinton, because I think that, you know, she has the wherewithal. I have seen her operate in the Senate. I have seen her work across the aisles, as Charlie Rangel is doing now as chair of Ways and Means.

You know, she came in, and people was wondering what she was going to do. And she became the ultimate workhorse, and was able to cross and work with Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich, when it came time to deliver things. And that's what we need to bring this country together.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Rangel, there are many people who would say Barack Obama is essentially the embodiment of all the people that -- who were involved in the civil rights movement were hoping to get to. I mean, he is the -- the end result, somebody who has taken advantage of all the opportunities that people fought and, frankly, died for you, as you well know -- I'm not telling you something you don't know -- so that it, to them, doesn't make sense that he wouldn't get your support.

RANGEL: You know, it really surprises me, this line of questioning.

I can't imagine a black moderator asking a white why he would not vote for a white, merely because he was white. And, so therefore, this line of questioning -- it is true that African-Americans will identify some sense of pride, because of the color of -- of the senator.

But it borders on being insulting that you would think that we care so little for -- for our country, that we would not be seeking who appears to be the best qualified candidate, notwithstanding the fact that they didn't look like us.

O'BRIEN: There have been people, Congressman Meeks, who have said that Barack Obama's experience doesn't represent -- quote -- "our experience," the black American experience.

Do you agree with that?


You know, that's just people that's wanting to make a story for the news media, et cetera. You know, no matter your color of your skin, when you're here in America, you know, you have experienced it all. And, so, no, I don't buy that at all.

And I think Barack, as I said, he does. I'm supporting Hillary Clinton. Does he make me proud because he happens to be an African- American? Absolutely, he does. He made me proud when he was elected to be a U.S. senator.

So -- but that does not mean that I automatically will just go for Barack Obama or anyone else, for that matter, to determine who I'm going to support for president is based upon race. I believe that Hillary Clinton, you know, is the best person to lead this country at this time, period.

O'BRIEN: Representatives Charlie Rangel and Gregory Meeks talking with us tonight -- thank you, gentlemen.

RANGEL: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: The presidential candidates will be speaking for themselves when CNN and WMUR are going to have the -- and "The New Hampshire Union Leader," as well, sponsor the first back-to-back debates for the Democrats and the Republicans. The dates are April 4 and April 5.

So, you heard it from the two congresspeople, telling -- explaining why they're not backing Barack Obama.

And, of course, we are going to put that question to our panel this evening as well, our "Out in the Open" panel. Constitutional lawyer Michael Gross joins us, Republican political consultant Reverend Joe Watkins, as well, and Sandra Guzman. She's the associate editor at "The New York Post" and the author of a new book, "The Latina's Bible."

All right, let's get right to it.

It almost sounded like Congressman Rangel was offended that you would even talk about race. But, in some ways...


O'BRIEN: You think so.

GROSS: Yes, because it's really the dumbest reason that anybody can have for voting for or against anybody is that they're the same color or a different color, or that they're the same gender or the different gender, because if anything was ever disconnected from the ability to perform a public office, it would be their color or their gender.

O'BRIEN: Whenever I hear people say that race doesn't matter, 99 percent of the time, it's white guys.

GROSS: They do...




O'BRIEN: With all due respect, it's white guys.

(CROSSTALK) GUZMAN: That's right.

O'BRIEN: I'm telling you, that's the way it is.


GROSS: I'm not saying that people don't vote for the same people that are in their group.

GUZMAN: It does matter. And religion matters.

GROSS: What's more insulting is that political leaders say: Wait. I'll deliver you with my group.

And what are they getting in exchange for that? Worse than voting for somebody that's in -- of the same color or gender is voting wherever your group leader tells to you vote, not as an individual, not for who you really like.

REVEREND JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Soledad, the truth of the matter is that Barack Obama is going to be a strong and credible candidate, whether he has the endorsement of black members of Congress or not.

There are a whole lot of folks around the country that are very excited by his candidacy. I -- I happen not to be a supporter. I'm a Republican. And I worked for a Republican president in the White House,.

But, nonetheless, I think that Barack Obama is a -- certainly, a very, very -- a brilliant politician, and somebody who is going to make a big splash. It's not surprising that some African-American leaders would choose not to support him.

For the most part, the ones that are coming out and saying that they are going to vote for him are those who share his ideology. Jesse Jackson has come out and said: He's got my vote.

And that's because I think he and Barack stand similarly on a whole host of issues.

O'BRIEN: Do you think it's an insulting question?

GUZMAN: I don't think it's an insulting question.

I think race and gender will be an issue in this race. I think it's insulting that they would say it's insulting. And, as a matter of fact, I think having Obama run for president is truly exciting. And he is the embodiment of what was fought for in civil rights.

And race an issue -- and is -- race is an issue. Gender is an issue. And it's exciting that we're talking about it.


GROSS: Why isn't it insulting to ask a person who is black, how can you not support somebody else who is black, when we're talking about a political office here?

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, I think that there's certainly, in the civil rights movement, the whole goal was to open up doors to people.

And you can't tell me that, if Barack Obama or any black man were elected president, that black people in the neighborhoods would not be celebrating? I mean, come on. I'm not making this up.


GUZMAN: Absolutely.

WATKINS: When Joe Louis was fought in the 1930s and '40s, and beat Max Schmeling, for instance, in 1941, African-Americans all around the country celebrated, because of what Joe Louis did...


O'BRIEN: They said, there is pride for our race.

GUZMAN: Absolutely.

O'BRIEN: I that's fair to say.

I mean, I think what you're pointing out is sort of a nirvana. Wouldn't it be great if race didn't matter?


O'BRIEN: But the reality is, if a black man were elected president, people in the black community would be celebrating in every way.

GROSS: I agree. But what direction do we want to go in? Towards idealism, what you call nirvana. So, the suggestion that we should be going backwards is what is difficult to deal with.

Why not make it clear that what we -- yes, we deal with racism enough. Let's try and reduce it.

O'BRIEN: But, then, if you -- if you don't think that way, then why push for any diversity at all, I mean, right, because if anybody could represent everybody, then, why all these people are saying, listen, we need to have more women in leadership positions and more blacks in leadership positions, and more Latinas in leader -- right, because anybody can represent anybody?

GROSS: Because -- because minorities have been discriminated against.

And, so, one of the ways we reduce that in the future is to have diversity.

WATKINS: Well, we have -- we're beginning to have diversity. And it's great to see the playing field being leveled in the country. I -- I -- even though the members of Congress that just spoke didn't particularly like the line of questioning, I thought it was perfectly valid -- perfectly valid questions.

O'BRIEN: Thank you, Joe.




WATKINS: You're welcome, Soledad.

GUZMAN: I agree, Soledad.

I'm glad you went there.

WATKINS: But, nonetheless...

GUZMAN: I think you should continue to go there.


O'BRIEN: Oh, I ask inappropriate questions all the time. I'm fine with it.

WATKINS: They made perfectly valid points themselves. They said, you know what? It's not about color. It's about where he stands on issues.

GUZMAN: She's the hometown girl. And she can raise a lot of money.

WATKINS: There we go.

GUZMAN: It's party politics. It's completely party politics.


WATKINS: Think about it. She -- Hillary Clinton has raised $13 million or $14 million. She's given a lot of that money. She didn't need all of it for her Senate race. And a lot of members of Congress have been beneficiaries of that.

O'BRIEN: Could be just politics.



O'BRIEN: All right, guys, going to ask you to stay right there. Got lots more to talk about this evening.

Also want to get you in on our conversation. You can e-mail your thoughts to us at Panelists, we are going to put them to work, have them read through them for us.


O'BRIEN: We will read some of them a little bit later on this evening.

Out in the open up next: You know what they say? It's all about location, location, location, but people are upset because Mitt Romney kicked off his presidential campaign at a museum that honors one of the most vocal anti-Semites in American history.

And later: What makes astronauts like Lisa Nowak and ordinary people like you and me do crazy things for love?


O'BRIEN: Another story that's out in the open tonight: crazy love.

Her story was shocking, but experts say any of us could be driven to what astronaut Lisa Nowak is accused of doing -- coming up, the shocking truth about romantic obsession.

Out in the open right now: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney coming under fire tonight for launching his campaign yesterday at the Henry Ford Museum near Detroit. Now, while everybody agrees that Ford was a great innovator in the auto industry, few people know he was also a rabbi rabid anti-Semite who was honored by Adolf Hitler.

So, why did Romney decide to make his announcement at the Ford Museum?

We asked Deb Feyerick to find out.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With the fine people of Michigan in front of me, and with my sweetheart at my side, I declare my intention to run for president of the United States.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One day into his candidacy, and controversy has already found Mitt Romney.

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: I just think that it showed a stunning lack of sensitivity and pretty poor judgment to decide to kick off his campaign and link himself with a guy who won an award from Adolf Hitler.

FEYERICK: That guy is Henry Ford, whose museum in Dearborn, Michigan, Romney used as a backdrop to launch his presidential campaign.

ROMNEY: And if there ever was a time when innovation and transformation were needed in government, it is now. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

FEYERICK: True, Henry Ford, the maker of the Model T and inventor of the assembly line, was an industrial genius. But he also an acknowledged bigot and Jew hater, who called Jews parasites, sloths, lunatics, and apostles of murder, and who received an award from the Nazi dictator.

So, it's no wonder some Jewish groups today were upset.

IRA FOREMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL JEWISH DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL: Americans, I think, understand that part of the power of the presidency is understanding how to use symbolism. And it's unfortunate that Governor Romney either didn't know, or, if he did know, chose to ignore that part of Henry Ford's legacy.

FEYERICK: Romney's campaign called the criticism absurd and little more than a partisan attempt to -- quote -- "score cheap points."

Stumping in South Carolina today, the Republican contender said he chose the museum, because, as a child, it was a place he visited with his dad, a former Michigan governor.

ROMNEY: So, yesterday, the reason I had my first event of my new campaign in the Detroit area was in honor of him. And he had it in a place where he and I used to go now and then to look at cars.

FEYERICK: Some Republican Jews defended Romney, saying he has a strong record of supporting the Jewish community, and reminding people that no one attacked President Clinton in 1999 when he praised Ford.

ISRAEL: I don't believe for a moment that Governor Romney is anti-Semitic or believes in anti-Semitism. But to choose this place at this time just shows a really troubling lack of sensitivity. If you want to be president, you should know better.

FEYERICK: Others say, anti-Semitism aside, there's another reason the location backfired.

HANK SHEINKOPF, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: The auto workers know they're losing their jobs. They know the state of the industry. And now that he's chosen to talk about his future candidacy, attached to a location with Henry Ford's name there, he's going to have to explain how he's going to force the three big automakers and the rest of America to pay attention to what is quickly becoming the largest unemployed place in America, the industrial heartland.

FEYERICK: Something that may prove to be an even greater campaign challenge down the road.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: It's controversial. Let's turn it right over to our "Out in the Open" panel, constitutional lawyer Michael Gross, Republican political consultant Reverend Joe Watkins, and "New York Post" associate editor Sandra Guzman.

Did you have any idea? Did you know this, that Henry Ford was a raging anti-Semite?


O'BRIEN: You knew?


WATKINS: But, of course, we all know now.

I think the bigger thing is that the museum houses all these incredible artifacts. And it's the site that was important for Mitt Romney.

I mean, consider this. Martin -- the rocking chair that -- that Abe Lincoln sat in when he was assassinated at Ford's Theater is there. The bus that the woman...

O'BRIEN: Was it the...

GUZMAN: Rosa Parks?

WATKINS: Rosa Parks.

GUZMAN: It was insensitive to announce...

WATKINS: Her bus -- her bus is there.

I mean, the museum has all these wonderful American artifacts there. And the whole idea was to talk about innovation, because Henry Ford, sadly, was what he was. But he was a...

O'BRIEN: Yes, innovation from the anti-Semite.

WATKINS: ... wonderfully innovative guy.

GUZMAN: I don't buy it. I don't buy it.

O'BRIEN: OK. Wait. Wait.


O'BRIEN: Listen to some of the things That he wrote, because we really should just kind of underscore them for people. Here is one of the things he said.

"Jews have actually invaded hundreds of American churches with their subversive and impossible social ideals."

He also wrote this: "As soon as the Jew gained control of American liquor, we had a liquor problem, with drastic consequences. As soon as the Jew gained control of the movies, we had a movie problem."

I'm not sure what that means, a movie problem.

"It is the genius of the race to create problems."

This is...

WATKINS: That's bad stuff. That's bad stuff, no doubt about it.


GROSS: Now I'm the one that doesn't have a problem.


GROSS: Wait a second.

This man is dead and buried a long time ago. Ford Motor Company, which is where this took place, has a great record. They were the ones which lost a huge amount of money because, when the Arabs boycotted any company selling to Israel, Ford refused to honor that boycott for decades, from the '67 war on, sold cars to Israel. And so no...

O'BRIEN: So, you're saying actions speak louder than the words of a dead guy.

WATKINS: Of course.


GROSS: Exactly. And there are crazy people.

You know, Richard Wagner, great musician, also a vicious anti- Semite. We're all a little bit of each. These people have it in the extreme in both.

But don't blame -- I drive a Ford. I mean, anybody that wouldn't drive a Ford because Henry Ford was an anti-Semite I think is looking for problems.

Mitt Romney's got religious problems -- it's interesting -- but not with Jews.

O'BRIEN: Not the Jewish problem.

GROSS: With Christians, who think that Church of the Latter Day Saints is.

O'BRIEN: A Mormon issue.

GROSS: ... is a cult, an anti-Jesus cult. So, he's got problems. He doesn't need more...


O'BRIEN: But it's not with his friends in the Jewish community?

GROSS: I don't think...


GUZMAN: Can I just tell you, I just feel it was insensitive for him to announce his bid...

GROSS: Stupid.

GUZMAN: ... because we're living in very sensitive times and dangerous times in America.


GUZMAN: We need leaders to bring people together, not divide.

GROSS: And times not to be so easily offended.


GROSS: It's one thing to say the sin of the father.


GROSS: This is the grandfather.


WATKINS: This is a guy that can do that.


GROSS: The great-grandfather.

WATKINS: This guy made his announcement in Michigan, the state where his dad was governor for -- elected three times governor in Michigan.

His father was a guy that ran AMC, American Motor Company, and did great things. This guy himself, Mitt Romney, was the head of Bain & Company, a wonderful and innovative company, solved problems for the U.S. Olympic Committee back in -- from '99 to 2002.


O'BRIEN: Just came back from Israel. He met with the prime minister. He met with the foreign late minister.


O'BRIEN: I mean, so, he obviously -- and -- and Alan Dershowitz, in his post for "Huffington Post," said that he's, you know, a friend of Israel, a friend of the state of Israel. WATKINS: He is. He is. He is all of that.

GUZMAN: But...


O'BRIEN: OK, so, then...


GROSS: Why do we have to be so thin-skinned?

WATKINS: Well, the reason why -- I will tell you why people are upset.

The reason why Democrats are upset is because Mitt Romney, on January 9, had his first fund-raiser for the presidency. He raised $6.5 million, more than anybody else had raised in a single day. That's why they're afraid. Mitt Romney has a good chance...

O'BRIEN: So, this is about the fact that he's a Republican?

WATKINS: He's a Republican who has a chance to be the Republican nominee for the presidency. That's why they're afraid. That's why the attack.

O'BRIEN: So, it's not -- not about Henry Ford at all?

WATKINS: I don't think so.

GUZMAN: It's always about politics, isn't it?



GROSS: Not just color, not just gender, but religion also.

O'BRIEN: Oh, we're covering it all tonight.


O'BRIEN: And, of course, we want you to stay tuned. There's, of course, much more to discuss tonight.

We are going to hear your thoughts, as well, on all of the topics that we're bringing out in the open tonight. you can send us an e- mail at The panel is going to read them and weigh in on them a little bit later on tonight.

Bringing the next stories out in the open just for Valentine's Day -- coming up, romantic obsession. We will tell you why experts say there's a little bit of wacky astronaut Lisa Nowak in all of us.

Plus: a warning from Dr. Sanjay Gupta tonight. You have heard of people suffering from a broken heart. But what you might know is, it can be fatal.


O'BRIEN: The recent misadventures of astronaut Lisa Nowak left some of us kind of shaking our heads, the cross-country drive, the diaper, the confrontation with another woman she apparently felt was a rival for the interests of a male astronaut.

Well, perhaps there is a little bit of a Lisa Nowak in all of us. There's some fascinating Valentine's Day science now out in the open.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): What caused Lisa Nowak, an accomplished NASA astronaut, mother of three, to drive 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront another woman?

Nowak is charged with the attempted murder of her perceived romantic rival. She's now out on bail and has been ordered to stay away from the other woman and wear a monitoring device.

So, was she madly in love, or maybe just mad? Some scientists who study brain activity suggest there are striking similarities between being in love and mental illness.

DR. HELEN FISHER, AUTHOR, "WHY WE LOVE: THE NATURE AND CHEMISTRY OF ROMANTIC LOVE": Your friends can look at you and say, well, this is not rational behavior. But, from your perspective, it is.

O'BRIEN: In the past, love has made people do some crazy things, even criminal.

Clara Harris, a dentist from Houston, suspected her husband was having an affair with another woman. When she caught him with his lover, she said anger and pain took over. She intentionally ran down her husband with her car, and killed him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... very, very good mood.


O'BRIEN: A new documentary called "Crazy Love" tells the story of a New York couple. When Linda Riss tried to leave Burt Pugach, he became obsessed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said that, if I can't have her, I will see to it that nobody will.


O'BRIEN: He hired men who through lye in her face and left her blind. He spent 14 years in prison. Surprisingly, Riss married Pugach when he was released, and they're still married today.

When in love, the area of the brain associated with feeling pleasure is active, and stays active when being rejected. At that point, areas linked with taking big risks, pain, obsession and anger, also spike. But the area of the brain associated with decision-making shows a drop in activity. Put them all together, and you get a dangerous combination.

FISHER: I think that a good -- good many people suffer deeply from romantic love, and have the impulse control, so that they will never go over the edge. But I think that an awful lot of us have gotten close enough to that edge to wonder.

O'BRIEN: Under the same circumstances, would any of us do the same thing?


O'BRIEN: That documentary, "Crazy Love," directed by Dan Klores, is going to be out in theaters this June.

But, of course, the big question is, would any of us do the same thing, both out in secret and out in the open?

Belisa Vranich is a psychologist, also "New York Daily News" columnist, writes about love and sex and relationships. She's with us tonight.

Nice to see you.


O'BRIEN: I mean, do you that that is true, that there's this edge, and all of us are much closer to the edge than we admit?

VRANICH: Oh, yes. We are much closer than we would like to think we are.

And, in seeing this case, I think one of the reasons we're so fascinated is because we can identify with her, even though, when we replay it in our heads, of course, would be a little more subtle and a lot more effective.

O'BRIEN: Well, maybe not the diapers, not the tubing, not the knife, et cetera, et cetera.

But do you think anybody could really go crazy over love?

VRANICH: I think that -- well, I have felt sort of crazy when I have been in love. And you have probably had moments, too, where you feel crazy in love. And we hear about it in songs, crazy in love, and over and over.

People make monuments. They do paintings. They have entire buildings about love. So, can it make you crazy? Can it make you creative? Can it make you do awful things? Yes.

O'BRIEN: People you see in your practice, when their relationships start to fail, do you see them start to crumble, come closer to that line, even go over the line?

VRANICH: They come close, but they're in my practice, you have to remember, so they don't get that bad.


VRANICH: But what happens is that, because they can vent, and because they can problem-solve with someone else, they can get closer to intellectualizing it, take it sort of out of the emotional, and put it somewhere where it's safer.

O'BRIEN: What's the thing that sends people over the edge? I mean, what makes someone go from -- from being sort of fantasizing about it, revenge on the other woman, to actually becoming a criminal?

VRANICH: Well, if it hits a nerve with them.

And, with Lisa, what I think happened is that it hit a nerve. Abandonment -- she probably had some kind of an issue as a child, as an adolescent, with abandonment. Then, she's in a job which is a high-profile job, where there's tremendous stigma around stress or mental illness.

So, if she has any stress, she's not going to talk about it. And then this happens, that the perceived rival...

O'BRIEN: What I thought was interesting -- I thought was so interesting about this, here is a woman whose career as a shuttle astronaut is essentially over, because the program is going to stop.


O'BRIEN: So, they're not going up anymore in the shuttle. She probably wouldn't be called to do that -- 19-year marriage also coming to an end. They had filed for separation. It was falling apart, you know, sort of -- sort of these big, big losses, in a way...


O'BRIEN: ... in -- in her recent...

VRANICH: And colleagues -- in 2003, she lost three colleagues in the shuttle crash.

VRANICH: Absolutely. And then...

O'BRIEN: High-powered more susceptible, do you think?

VRANICH: No, absolutely not. It goes across the board. It does not matter if you're high or low.

O'BRIEN: More women than men? VRANICH: No. No. We actually see more men -- it's more glorified in men.

O'BRIEN: What makes people -- I mean, I think people sit around and fantasize all of the terrible things they'd do to the other woman or a romantic rival or whatever.

VRANICH: Or other man, yes.

O'BRIEN: You know, whatever. But what -- what's the thing that makes somebody fantasize about it and the other thing that makes somebody act on it?

VRANICH: Desperation. If you really feel cornered -- and with Belisa, this person was a chance at a new life for her, and someone was getting in the way. And like we've seen with the brain studies, it's less about emotion and it's more about drive. You don't have as much control over it as you think you do.

O'BRIEN: Is it normal, if you're sitting there plotting revenge on somebody but you don't actually act on it?

VRANICH: I think we've all plotted. I would say, yes, plotting is normal. Going out and buying the things and putting them in your trunk and taking that drive, not normal.

O'BRIEN: The 900 mile-drive in the diaper not so normal.

VRANICH: Yes. Not so normal.

O'BRIEN: Belisa Vranich, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Nice to see you tonight.

Well, maybe love won't make you crazy, it could literally, though, make your heart sick. "Out in the Open" is next. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains Broken Heart Syndrome.

And then later, a dating service you've got to see to believe. Only the rich and beautiful need apply. Is that discrimination against the poor and plain?

We want you to join in our conversation tonight on the stories we're bringing "Out in the Open." You can send us an e-mail at Our panelists will read and respond to some of your comments in just a little bit.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back. Some of the stories we're bringing "Out in the Open" this half-hour.

A dating Web site where all the men are rich, all the women are beautiful. Nobody else has a ghost of a chance.

And at the top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE," Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards and members of the best political team on TV. Up first, though, this is the day of course to celebrate romance, but now we're bringing another side of love out in the open. They call it Broken Heart Syndrome. Would you believe a broken heart could be as dangerous as a real heart attack and has exactly the same symptoms?

Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how in tonight's "Vital Signs."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two years ago, Karen and Denny Schillings took a family trip on a pontoon boat, much like this one in the Baltimore Harbor.

DENNY SCHILLINGS, FATHER: Suddenly we're all under the water and under the boat.

GUPTA: Karen thrashed below the murky water under the boat struggling to reach the surface. Denny had already reached the surface, but no sign of the Schilling's daughter Corrine and her boyfriend, Andrew.

Karen and Denny Schillings were rescued and Karen treated for hypothermia at Johns Hopkins.

KAREN SCHILLINGS, MOTHER: Then later in the evening, Denny came back in to tell me that they had called off the efforts that night to find Andrew and Corrine. And not too long after that is when the chest pains started.

GUPTA: Karen's first thought, I'm having a heart attack.

(on camera): When it comes to chest pain, numbness down the arm, as physicians that's the one thing that you sort of immediately react to because that's a heart attack.

K. SCHILLINGS: That's right.


GUPTA: But they were saying sounds like a heart attack, looks like a heart attack, but not a heart attack.

K. SCHILLINGS: I knew something wasn't going right, that something was happening that they hadn't seen before.

GUPTA (voice-over): What they were seeing was called broken heart syndrome.

DR. ILAN WITTSTEIN, JOHNS HOPKINS: Now a person can come in with all the same signs and symptoms of a heart attack. But unlike a heart attack where there's permanent damage done to the heart muscle, with broken heart syndrome you really have a temporary dysfunction of the heart muscle. GUPTA: It's caused by a sudden stress or trauma. And unlike a traditional heart attack, people with broken heart syndrome have no evidence of heart disease. Dr. Ilan Wittstein was a consulting physician on Karen Schilling's case.

WITTSTEIN: She experienced stress perhaps on multiple levels. The physical stress of being under water, being in freezing cold temperature, the absolute fear of trying to survive the drowning episode.

GUPTA: Cases like Karen's illustrate the profound impact that the brain and emotions can have on the heart.

DR. JAMES YOUNG, CLEVELAND CLINIC: We know that there is clearly a link between emotions, emotional stability, and well-being.

GUPTA: Karen has not had any heart problems, any episodes whatsoever since Corrine's funeral.

K. SCHILLINGS: There are a lot of things about this that may be of -- changed my perspective on life. I'm happy that Corrine and Andrew are together, because that's what they wanted. So that's a good thing.

Also, the idea that I should live my life now to make Corrine proud. And that's what I've tried to do.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: "Out in the Open" up next, a dating service that sets the bar awfully high, even if you aren't playing the field. See if you have what it takes.


O'BRIEN: "Out in the Open" on this Valentine's Day, you can call it "Survivor" meets "The Dating Game." It's the latest twist on speed dating, and when we heard about it we just couldn't believe it.

Have a good personality? Forget it. It doesn't matter.

Got a terrific sense of humor? Nobody cares.

For this match-making session you need to be one of two things, either wealthy or sexy. But is this really discrimination against the poor and plain?

We asked Jeanne Moos to check it out.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Think of it as speed dating on steroids. Only rich men and hot women need apply.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm not embarrassed at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise you that I'm not embarrassed.

MOOS: It sort of makes the dating game seem quaint.

Only 40 of the more than 900 women who applied for natural selection speed dating made the cut based totally on their photos.

JANIS SPINDEL, SERIOUS MATCHMAKING, INC.: Pretty blonde lawyer, big eyes, pretty face, great hair, pretty skin. In.

MOOS: And to get in, the men had to submit financial data to prove they're loaded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, big papa, $113 million.

MOOS: The cream of the dating crop, approximately 40 men and 40 women, ended up in a Manhattan club, speed dating, three minutes per partner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies, it's time to rotate to the next highest table.

MOOS: The men paid $500 for this night out. The women $50. Organizers dismissed hate mail they've gotten from feminists and anti- elitists.

JEREMY ABELSON, POCKETCHANGENYC.COM: We are giving -- I feel like Moses. We're giving people what they want.

MOOS (voice over): And what is it they want, Moses?

ABELSON: Women want successful men. Men want beautiful women.

MOOS: Well, I would assume you would have zero trouble meeting men.

ANA NACVALOVAITE, NATURAL SELECTION SPEED DATER: I have no trouble meeting men. I have trouble meeting quality men.

MOOS (voice over): Hannah is a human rights lawyer.

(on camera): Where are our human rights?

We're headed downstairs, while we're being sequestered while the event is under way.

(voice over): TV crews could only shoot a few minutes of the speed dating. Few of these elite speed daters wanted their faces shown. Those with blue dots were off limits to the press.

(on camera): Are you after a rich guy?

SAILA SMITH, NATURAL SELECTION SPEED DATER: No. Am I after a rich guy? A good, smart, intelligent, successful...

MOOS: With a net worth of over $1 million?

SMITH: Yes. What's wrong with that?

MOOS (voice over): Midway through the event.

(on camera): So how is this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It depends on the person.

MOOS: No, I mean...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five seconds, you know.

VEKRUM KAUSHIK, SPEED DATER FRIEND OF ORGANIZER: Interesting is the best way to describe it.

MOOS: Any nice girls?


MOOS: You're straight, right?


MOOS (voice over): To placate detractors, organizers have another speed dating event in the works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sugar mamas and boy toys.

MOOS: Women 45 and older worth $4 million speed dating poor guys 28 and under.

It's too soon to tell if true love blossomed here.

(on camera): Have you two met?



SINGH: Who knows. This might be the match made in heaven.

MOOS: They did meet for a nice follow-up date.

SMITH: Men are visual. Let's just face it.

MOOS (voice over): And I see you've dressed for the occasion.

SMITH: Why thank you.

MOOS (voice over): Deep cleavage, deep pockets, nothing shallow about that.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a few minutes.

Larry, who are you talking to tonight? Good evening.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Hey, Soledad, night and day with you, huh?

O'BRIEN: Twenty-four hours, man.

KING: Oh, we who toil in the vineyards of mediaville.

Hi, Soledad.

Coming up, Rudy Guiliani not only telling us whether he's really in the race for the White House, but what he'd do as president about Iraq and abortion and gay rights and more.

Plus, Democratic candidate John Edwards on his blogger controversy and how he'd handle Iraq if elected.

Oh, it's going to be something. All at the top of the hour, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right. We'll see you right at 9:00 Eastern Time.

Thanks, Larry.

KING: Thanks, dear.

O'BRIEN: Tonight's panel has got lots of e-mail from you. Not all of it is love letters. You could still join the conversation.

Send us an e-mail right now at Our panelists are reading in. They're going to respond to some of your comments coming up next.


O'BRIEN: Oh, our "Out in the Open" panel is really taken by Jeanne Moos' report on the dating service. All the hot chicks, basically. You know, men have to be rich, women have to be beautiful, nobody else is allowed.

Let's introduce them once again -- Constitutional lawyer Michael Gross; Republican political consultant Reverend Joe Watkins; and "New York Post" associate editor Sandra Guzman.

You have all these hot, hot women, "No, I'm not looking for a rich man. I'm looking for intelligence and wit and charm and a big account. It's totally different."

Come on, you don't want to date one of those women, do you?

WATKINS: I'm a minister and when people say the vows, they say, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse. O'BRIEN: For hotness.


O'BRIEN: "As long as she stays hot, I'm in."

GUZMAN: Absolutely.

O'BRIEN: Come on. That can't last. It's a gimmick.

GROSS: Rich, beautiful and stupid, and frivolous and superfluous and superficial, and how about...

O'BRIEN: Oh, come on.

GUZMAN: No, no, no.

O'BRIEN: I'm with you on that.

GROSS: ... loving and kind and sincere and...


GUZMAN: Well, no, they know what they want. Women know what they're getting, and men know what they want. Come on. It's very exciting.

WATKINS: Yes, but love is more than about looks. Let's face it, love is a whole lot more than about looks.

O'BRIEN: Says the reverend.


GUZMAN: Love is about looks, love is about money, love is about companionship, love is about a lot of things. I think...

GROSS: If this is where they start...

O'BRIEN: You cannot tell me you think that the bulk of these relationships and the speed dating are going to work out. Because you know what? You just cull through all the other stuff. Why bother with compatibility? He's rich, she's hot.

GROSS: I want the prenuptial franchise for that group.



GROSS: For six months.

O'BRIEN: A divorce lawyers would get in on that. Yes. That's -- that's not going to last. I put money on that. Absolutely.

GUZMAN: Well, they're both going in knowing what they want. O'BRIEN: Yes.


O'BRIEN: All right, let's move on, because I've got some e-mails that I want to get to.

Here's a guy who supports you, but not me. "The Ford anti- Semitism piece was ridiculous."

Hi. Thank you.

"That's a great museum. Ford is an epitome of the all-American car. George Washington owned slaves so I guess you should take him off the dollar bill, too, while you're at it."


O'BRIEN: "The fact is, the vast majority of Americans see no problem with what Mitt Romney did and have no grudge against Henry Ford."

GROSS: Well, we should know that George Washington, as well as Jefferson and Madison and the others, owned slaves. It's important to understand that and it's important to understand the hypocrisy of Henry Ford, but not to destroy Mitt Romney's campaign start because he was ignorant of...

WATKINS: Well, that's not going to destroy -- let me tell you, political correctness is not going to destroy Mitt Romney's campaign start.

GROSS: Or criticize it.

WATKINS: Yes. Mitt Romney is going to have a very, very strong one for the Republican nomination for president. He's already raised a substantial amount of money, and he has got great ideas. This is a guy that knows how to make things happen, how to solve problems.

O'BRIEN: Oh, your Republicanism is showing.

GUZMAN: I know.

O'BRIEN: You just went into a little campaign pitch for Mitt Romney right there.

GUZMAN: You don't think it was a little insensitive that he announced his campaign...

O'BRIEN: Well, with (ph) the chief of staff, yes. OK. I buy that.


O'BRIEN: Stupidity. Right. You know?

GROSS: I don't see it as intentional.

GROSS: But think about it.

GROSS: Because if...


WATKINS: The only people that criticized it were Democrats. I mean the Democrats were the ones that criticized it. I mean...

O'BRIEN: You're saying -- your politics. Can we turn -- let's get into more politics, shall we?

Here we go. "The South Carolina state senator," this guy writes, Ken in Las Vegas, "was right. If Obama is at the top of the ticket, in many communities it will spell doom for the rest of the down-ticket races. To assume race isn't going to play a role is to assume there's no more racism in the United States," says Ken.

GROSS: We do have a problem here because you were hurt by Charlie Rangel's comment that you were assuming and...


O'BRIEN: He did. What did he say? He said I was insulting. Yes, I guess I was a little hurt by that.

I thought that was a fair question, because, you know, you're trying to walk this line. On one hand, he's saying as black -- as a black person you're insulting me by assuming that I would automatically go for the black guy.

GROSS: Right.

O'BRIEN: On the other hand, the reality is one of the very interesting and compelling issues about Barack Obama is he's a very viable black guy. You can't ignore it. And everybody seems to want to play both sides of this issue.

We don't notice his race, right? We're going with Hillary.

GUZMAN: Only when it's convenient we don't notice his race.

GROSS: Nobody said we don't notice his race. What we said was, you don't vote for somebody or deliver your vote to a group leader because of race, color, gender. That's really bad. It's really bad for everybody -- or not to vote for somebody.

WATKINS: It's where a candidate stands on the issues that's most important, but clearly Barack Obama, while he hopes to be a candidate running for the presidency who happens to be black, also is a black candidate running for the presidency.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. And the minute he walks in a room people don't know where he stands on issues immediately. They see a black guy running for president. GUZMAN: That's right.

GROSS: Wait a second.


O'BRIEN: I've got another e-mail. We can take this outside later.

Let's move on to our final e-mail. This is from Akim (ph) in Toronto.

"It is insulting" -- thank you, Akim (ph), maybe I won't read this after all -- "that because there is a black presidential candidate, all black leaders should support him. It perpetuates the stereotype that our ideology, views, et cetera, are all the same. No one discounts that race or gender is of great concern."

"It's insulting to assume because he's black he'll express what is black. It's insulting to assume that Hillary is a woman and she'll fight for all feminine concerns."

GROSS: Agreed. And it's dangerous to perpetuate that idea.

That's why I do really ask, as Charlie Rangel does, that you reconsider the effect of that question as a major assumption there. I'm not saying it isn't true, but it's the ugly side of our behavior.

Let's improve.

O'BRIEN: But you know what? There are women's groups everywhere who have backed Hillary Clinton.

GUZMAN: That's right. That's right.

O'BRIEN: And if they were (ph), wouldn't you say, wow, that's unusual? Let's say women groups decided not to support Hillary Clinton. We'd all be saying, well, what's going on that they won't support her?

GUZMAN: Absolutely.

GROSS: Because it's discrimination in the first place that creates those groups. It's anti-Semitism that created this sensitivity that makes for the Jewish PAC groups and the Jewish lobbyists. And it's discrimination and suppression against blacks that creates black voting blocs.

Drop all that discrimination, go in that direction not to perpetuate it.

O'BRIEN: You operate in a perfect world.

GROSS: Yes. I'm only going -- driving in that direction.

O'BRIEN: I am just a realist, man. Nice to have you guys. Michael Gross, Reverend Joe Watkins, and Sandra Guzman.

WATKINS: Thanks so much.

O'BRIEN: Thanks to all of you.

It's time for a "BizBreak."


O'BRIEN: Just a few minutes away from "LARRY KING LIVE." Tonight he's going to be talking to two men who would like to be the next president. Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards are among Larry's guests right at the top of the hour.


O'BRIEN: That's it for tonight. Tomorrow, a courtroom controversy comes out in the open when Muslim witnesses swear to tell the truth. Do they have to swear on a bible?

We'll take you to a state where some Muslims tried to donate Korans and the court rejected them. What kind of a message does that send? We're going to debate it tomorrow.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.


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