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Tuberculosis Patient Apologizes; What Does T.B. Scare Say About America's Homeland Security?; Democratic and Republican Presidential Candidates Prepare For Debate

Aired June 1, 2007 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us tonight.
Here's what we're bringing out in the open.


MIKE ACEVEDO, AIR TRAVELER: I usually come out of here sniffing, coughing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the air is disgusting.


ZAHN: But is airline air really that bad for you? What if one of the passengers has something really dangerous, like drug-resistant T.B.? Wait until you hear the results of a CNN investigation.

We are also going to show you what may be the sleaziest reality TV show ever. Just how far will people go when they need a transplant?

Plus: What is that dark thing in the water? Is the Loch Ness monster finally out in the open?

We're starting with a drug-resistant form of T.B. and the scare, because of some major developments and some big surprises just keep on coming.

Tonight, Andrew Speaker's doctor -- that's the man who is infected -- says the extensively drug-resistant, or XDR, tuberculosis is lodged in a tennis-ball-sized area of one lung. He's been treated and will probably be in the hospital for about eight weeks.

Also tonight, the mayor of the Greek town where Speaker says he got married insists there was no wedding at all. The mayor says permission for it was denied.

And Speaker has even more problems tonight -- a lot of people still outraged because he flew to Europe and back, even though he knew he was traveling against medical advice.

So, what kind of guy would do all of that?

Rusty Dornin has more on the man in the eye of this storm tonight.

So, what is the deal? Was he warned by the local officials that it was very dangerous for him to travel?

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They told us that, on May 10, that they did tell him not to travel.

Now, of course, he's claiming that there was some kind of a tape, and that they taped the meeting, and that they -- he was not told to travel, that it was all right. Now we understand that there is a letter the day after that meeting on May 11 that Fulton County officials sent to him that shows -- it says: "It is imperative that you are aware that you are traveling against medical advice."

But, bear in mind, Paula, that Andrew Speaker did not receive this letter, because it was sent in the mail on May 11, the day after he had the meeting with the county. And then they hand-delivered it on the 12th. But that was the day he left for Europe. So, he never received that written document that told him not to travel.

ZAHN: What seems strange to me, though, is that he has said that he has a tape-recorded conversation where officials weren't as specific as that letter just suggested.

DORNIN: They have told us that they told him three times during the meeting that they -- that he should not travel, but that they are not a police authority, and that they could not stop him from traveling.

Apparently, any tape recordings that were made were made without the permission or the knowledge of the county officials. At least, that's what they have told us.

ZAHN: You also had the opportunity to speak with some of Andrew Speaker's friends, including one of his roommates. What did he have to tell you?

DORNIN: Well, there are several of his friends that are standing up for him, and feeling like he's been painted as sort of an international T.B. villain, that he's being much-maligned.

We spoke with Greg Fancler (ph), who was his roommate from 2004 up until last December.

And let's listen.


DORNIN: You lived with him for two years, perhaps during the time that he contracted tuberculosis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We're not sure.

DORNIN: Did the CDC contact you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I contacted them when I actually went and visited with Drew on Wednesday, and called them Wednesday night, and then was on the phone with them yesterday, and just gave them names of people that he was close with.

DORNIN: Did they ask you to be tested?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They -- as a person who lived with him, I'm probably a little bit more wanting to be tested than the other folks, but no real urgency.


DORNIN: Two of his other friends spoke with us. They also said they are not worried about the fact -- they don't believe that they have contracted T.B.

They also stood up for his decision, after he was told that he had the XDR, the extreme-form-of-resistance tuberculosis, to fly back on a commercial airliner.

Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I truly believe, knowing Drew like I do, that he would never have got on that plane, or any plane, for that matter, if he had been ordered not to go by any health official and/or thought that he generally would pose a risk to them.


DORNIN: They're standing up for him now. They say that he's been receiving some really nasty, threatening e-mails, saying that they hope -- that people are hoping that he will die as a result of this.

They said he's trying to be strong through this whole thing. And they say that they will stand by him -- Paula.

ZAHN: Rusty Dornin, thanks so much for the update.

Meanwhile, 40 of the passengers who flew with Andrew Speaker have now come forward. They are being told to get a T.B. skin test, because the germ grows so slowly, though they're going to have to be retested in a few weeks.

Now, one of the scariest parts of this story is how easy it was for Andrew Speaker to get on a plane, despite the warnings that he might be a threat to other people's health. It got us wondering, does the government really have enough power to keep people from spreading dangerous medical threats?

We asked medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen to check that out. What she found may surprise you.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Let's face it. The chances Andrew Speaker got anyone sick are relatively low.

He's just not that infectious, according to the CDC. So far, he hasn't even gotten his wife sick. But what would have happened if he had been infectious with something really horrible, like SARS, cholera, or Ebola, and been a passenger on seven planes?

LAWRENCE GOSTIN, GEORGETOWN LAW SCHOOL: I think this case does show us that we have a long way to go before we're prepared.

COHEN: Lawrence Gostin at Georgetown Law School is one of the country's leading authorities on quarantine and isolation laws.

GOSTIN: There are a lot of powers that the government really needs, but doesn't have.

COHEN: First, he says the government can't require anyone to reveal who they have had contact with, which can make it tough to trace the spread of disease.

Second, the always makes it very difficult to get passenger manifests from airlines.

DR. MARTIN CETRON, DIVISION OF GLOBAL MIGRATION AND QUARANTINE DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: This takes time, longer than we like and longer than is necessary, in an era where we have to track emerging pathogens across air flights. And we hope that system will be fixed and streamlined and improved in the future.

COHEN: But what how about the powers health authorities do have? Health officials could have stopped Speaker before he got on that plane. They have the authority to isolate people, quarantine them, force them to wear masks. But they're extremely hesitant to do so.

GOSTIN: We're just too afraid to take strong action.

COHEN: This wasn't always the case. Historically, public health officials made all sorts of demands.

GOSTIN: They would require people to have masks. They would close school buildings. They would issue quarantine orders. And we barely see those today.

COHEN: And the reason? Concerns about civil liberties. It's very serious to take away someone's right to travel or to put them in an isolation room.

GOSTIN: Civil liberties are exceptionally important. The right to privacy, the right to liberty are critical in our society. But it's just as critical that we protect the public's health.

And what we need is to restore a balance, a commonsense balance that refines and recaptures the notion of the common good. COHEN: The CDC says they're looking into those issues, using Andrew Speaker as a learning experience for the next time, which could be a whole lot worse.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


ZAHN: So, how do you strike a balance when it comes to private rights, the public good, and government power?

Well, that's the first question for my "Out in the Open" panel tonight.

Julie Roginsky is a Democratic strategist. Both Robert Traynham -- hey, Robert.


ZAHN: ... and Leslie Sanchez are Republican strategists.

Good to have all three of you with us tonight.


ZAHN: I wanted to start off by playing for our audience doing that Dr. Julie Gerberding had something to say about Speaker traveling.

Let's listen together.


DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: ... usually rely on a covenant of trust to assume that a person with tuberculosis just isn't going to go into a situation where they would transmit disease to someone else. But the patient really was told that he shouldn't fly.


ZAHN: So, should the government have had more authority to stop him from flying?

LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think, historically, the government does have a responsibility here.

But this gentleman, he's a personal trial attorney, who knew better. He has somebody in the family who is an expert on this issue. And, if it was his client that was in that position, he would sue the pants off him.

I mean, that is the irony of the whole thing. You can't -- you know, what is it? Ignorance is no defense. And he knew that and knows that. So, yes, we can have personal responsibility, but, if they're not going to take it, I do believe the government has a role to protect us.

ZAHN: Are you comfortable with the role taking...


ZAHN: ... the government taking on a greater role?

JULIE ROGINSKY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I'm more than comfortable with it.

Look, if somebody has AIDS and they knowingly infect somebody else with AIDS, the government steps in and penalizes that person. This form of tuberculosis, potentially, is as deadly as AIDS can be. I'm not sure if it is. But it has the potential of being that.

This person knowingly got on a plane. I assume he's not -- he's an educated man. I assume, if he found out he had tuberculosis, he at least Googled it. I mean, I Googled it. And guess what you find out? You find out that it's transmittable through air.

You don't go into an airplane, where the air recirculates over and over and over again, and then proceed to think that everybody is going to be immune to you. It's just selfish, and it's irresponsible. And, yes, the government should have stepped in and should step in now in the future with these kinds of situations.

ZAHN: Are you worried about that creating a slippery slope, Robert?

TRAYNHAM: Well, there's no question about it. It could cause a slippery slope.

But the fact of the matter is, is that this is the ultimate homeland security issue. The government should have the responsibility, as well as the power, to detain someone, if, in fact, they feel as though that this person is a threat to the common good.

Could you imagine, Paula, if this was a terrorist? Could you imagine if this was a terrorist that had the flu, or perhaps some other deadly disease, where he or she deliberately wanted to get on a plane and -- and cause panic and pandemonium with our health care system?

This is a big, big deal. And, frankly, the federal government has a black eye.

ZAHN: Absolutely. It certainly exposed a lot of failures in the system.


ROGINSKY: I will say this. And this border guard who cursorily took a look at him and said, you know, no problem, he looks healthy to me, I wonder, if this were not a good-looking, young white man, whether we would have the same kind of problem.

We're -- we lack -- we suffer from a lack of imagination. Robert is absolutely right, because the problem here is that we anticipate Muslims flying planes into the World Trade Center. We don't anticipate something like this happening. If I were al Qaeda, the lesson I would learn is, get a white guy. Get a good-looking, Southern-sounding white guy, and have him carry...


ROGINSKY: Look at how easy it is to do it.


SANCHEZ: You know, the bigger issue, as well, is, this is the height of irresponsibility and narcissism.

I mean, this is somebody who says, I'm basically going to do something for myself, irrespective of how it might affect hundreds, if not thousands, of people, just completely disregard the fact, if you really want to get married, what about move, you know, the wedding to your country, to your hospital room?

But, as soon as he gets back, he gets the most immediate, urgent care. And that's all of a sudden available to him. And he knows exactly what resources to call. You can't, you know, cry ignorance.


ZAHN: Well, it certainly helps that his father-in-law is an expert on T.B. as well.


SANCHEZ: And he would never have thought to ask him.

ZAHN: I want you all to listen to the apology he made yesterday in an interview with ABC News and Diane Sawyer, which aired for the first time this morning.

Let's watch.


ANDREW SPEAKER, TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: I don't expect those people to ever forgive me. I just hope they understand that I truly never meant to put them at harm. I never meant to hurt their families or them.

And I just hope they -- they can find a way to forgive me for putting them in harm, because I didn't mean to.


ZAHN: Robert...



ZAHN: ... had you been on one of those flights, would you have forgiven him?


The fact of the matter is, is that he was very, very, very selfish to do this. The fact of the matter is, is that he deliberately got on the plane, went over to Europe, obviously to get married. This was obviously a very important part of his life, or an important milestone in his life.

But he deliberately flew to Canada, and then drove across the border. So, he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew exactly that he was trying to evade public health officials. And that's very, very selfish, to put not only you, but also, frankly, your country at risk.

ZAHN: You're not willing to give him any benefit of the doubt tonight? You have heard Rusty Dornin's reporting that perhaps that very specific letter written to him arrived after the time that he got on the plane.

ROGINSKY: I'm very happy for him. He's a lawyer. He knows full well that, if he asked for forgiveness after committing a crime, which, essentially, this man has, if he's infected somebody else with this virus, knowing what he knew when he got on the plane -- you know, I'm -- I'm very sorry for him, and I'm very sorry for his illness, but the reality is that, if I were sitting next to him, and I had gotten infected, an apology wouldn't be enough.


ZAHN: What if you were his wife?

SANCHEZ: This man is an ambulance-chaser. Let's remember what he does for a living. He's putting his techniques and skill of deception -- I would say that harshly -- to work to try to manipulate the story, and -- and grow some sympathy. And he doesn't deserve an inch.

TRAYNHAM: You know, Paula, the interesting thing about all...

ZAHN: I want you all to stay with me. We have got a lot more to talk about tonight.


ZAHN: The T.B. scare has a lot of us wondering, what kind of air are we breathing when we fly? One doctor says, things may be worse than you think. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID STREITWIESER, AIRLINE MEDICAL CONSULTANT: I think our access to easy travel will make an airborne contagious disease, like avian influenza -- it will spread more rapidly. And we have to be prepared for that.


ZAHN: Scary stuff.

Coming up next: the results of a CNN investigation out in the open tonight.

And then a little bit later on, you have got to see the huge surprise ending to what may be the most outrageous reality show ever.


ZAHN: Any of us who has ever been on a plane has experienced the dread of sitting next to somebody who's sick. Whatever it is, you don't want to get it. And it's usually nothing more serious, fortunately, than a head cold, so it's really no big deal.

But, this week, the tuberculosis traveler raised the stakes. And I think we're all wondering just how easy it could be to pick up a deadly disease just from sharing a plane ride.

We asked Jason Carroll to bring that out in the open tonight.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a top complaint among air travelers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the air is disgusting.

CARROLL: Long lines, delayed flights and the feeling the air circulating on planes is unhealthy.

MIKE ACEVEDO, AIR TRAVELER: I usually come out of here sniffing, coughing, and stuff like that.

JULIE NEGRELLI, AIR TRAVELER: It smells funny sometimes. You know, definitely, my eyes get all itchy.

CARROLL: Concerns go far beyond the fear of catching the common cold. Questions of air quality on board commercial flights made headlines four years ago during the SARS scare in Canada.

Now more concerns, since a man with a rare form of tuberculosis took flights in the United States, Canada, and Europe -- and passengers are asking, just how clean is the air you breathe on board? None of the major airlines we contacted would comment.

But a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told us, U.S. airlines are required to provide a sufficient amount of uncontaminated air. Most newer planes do that with high-efficiency particulate filters, HEPA filters, for short. They are also used in hospitals. And federal officials say they remove 99 percent of airborne contaminates.

Dr. David Streitwieser helps airlines handle medical emergencies, and says, the reality is, there have been few cases of diseases transmitted on board. But the risk is there. It's small, but it's real.

DAVID STREITWIESER, AIRLINE MEDICAL CONSULTANT: I think our access to easy travel will make an airborne, contagious disease, like avian influenza -- when and if that ever comes, that will make it much more of a threat. It will spread more rapidly. And we have to be prepared for that.

CARROLL: The FAA funded a study to develop a new sensor, seen here in this animation, which should identify a passenger carrying an airborne virus. This red cloud shows how this sensor tracks the animated passenger. It's still years away from development.

For now, travelers like the Hendricks (ph) say they worry most about the common cold.

(on camera): So, do you have a cold?


CARROLL: You sure do, don't you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's annoying.

CARROLL: What, that your mom has a cold?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's been annoying us the whole time. It's like, stop coughing.

CARROLL: Airline officials say that the air inside the cabin is actually recycled every three minutes, and that air might actually be cleaner than the air you might find in most office buildings.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


ZAHN: Well, that's not so encouraging, is it?

Coming up, we turn our attention to politics. A key battleground state is hosting debates for both parties' presidential candidates. And the voters' anger is out in the open.


REP. PAUL HODES (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I wasn't prepared to give this president, who has no credibility with my constituents or with me, a blank check. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Coming up next: What do the candidates tell the people of New Hampshire about the war in Iraq?

And you have got to see how a reality show that was already controversial shocked everyone tonight.


ZAHN: Tonight, we're just two days away from the first presidential debate in New Hampshire. And it is an important one, because New Hampshire has the first presidential primary, and the winners there always walk away with a huge advantage in the race for the nominations.

The Democrats debate first on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. You will see it right here. And the Republicans have their turn on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., also on this very network.

New Hampshire is a small state, as you all know. And that means just about every voter knows someone who has either served in Iraq or Afghanistan. And that weighs heavy in political decisions there.

Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley brings that out in the open right now.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the steps of her home in Exeter, New Hampshire, Natalie Healy says she never really thought about running for office. Then Dan was killed in Afghanistan.

NATALIE HEALY, REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST: I knew from the minute I heard that news.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chinook helicopters were dispatched, but one crashed after being hit by what the military believes was a rocket-propelled grenade.


HEALY: I wasn't -- you know, everybody says, well, it's a mother's intuition. I don't -- I just -- I don't know what it was. I just knew.

CROWLEY: She became a Gold Star Mother in an instant, a political activist over time. She decided to run for the New Hampshire State Senate.

REP. PAUL HODES (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: It is too infrequently that we take the time to acknowledge the bravest among us as individuals. CROWLEY: At a Memorial Day service at the Cathedral of the Pines, Paul Hodes reads the names of New Hampshire's war dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HODES: Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel R. Healy, Exeter, New Hampshire.

CROWLEY: The war pushed Hodes into running for U.S. Congress.

HODES: I was swept in on a wave of sentiment in the state that demanded a new course of -- a new course for Iraq.

CROWLEY: Hodes and Healy, two players who tell the story of the changing face of New Hampshire politics, she, a Republican who ran for state Senate to support the troops and their mission.

HEALY: And don't you think our men would -- would feel a whole lot better knowing that this country was really behind them?

CROWLEY: He, a Democrat who ran for U.S. Congress to end the war.

HODES: I wasn't prepared to give this president, who has no credibility with my constituents or with me, a blank check to keep on doing what he was doing.

CROWLEY: She lost her race in a tsunami-style election which put Democrats solidly in charge of the statehouse for the first time since the Civil War.

He won his race for the U.S. Congress, also making history.

KEVIN LANDRIGAN, "THE NASHUA TELEGRAPH": There's no question that the war, and the unpopularity of it, I think, helped power the sentiment to elect Democrats, and the first time we have had two Democrats elected to the Congress, our only two congressional seats, in more than 50 years.

CROWLEY: The wave of anti-war, pro-Democrat politics is so complete, the Granite State survey showed more than two-thirds of New Hampshire's powerful independent voters say they will vote in the Democratic primary.

HODES: ... more important to our future.

CROWLEY: U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes recently again voted no on war funding without timetables.

Natalie Healy thinks it was a mistake. The tide is with Hodes. Healy doesn't think she will run for office again, but she's glad she did. She think she did right by Dan.

HEALY: He would be fine with that. I have no question whatsoever. He would be loving it, actually, you know?

(LAUGHTER) CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


ZAHN: And our own Wolf Blitzer will be moderating the debates in New Hampshire on Sunday and Tuesday.

And Wolf joins me now.



ZAHN: Glad to have you with us tonight.


ZAHN: So, how much of the focus of the debate will be on Iraq and the mounting death toll there?

BLITZER: I think a big chunk of it will be on Iraq. This is, by far, the biggest issue. It's hanging over the election, the campaigns right now. Americans are dying in big numbers in Iraq.

It's a war that's going on. So, it certainly deserves a lot of attention. It's not going to be all of the two hours Sunday night with the Democrats or all of the two hours Tuesday night with the Republicans, but it will be a sizable chunk of them.

ZAHN: And, at this point of the debate process, do you think voters really are able to make a differentiation between these candidates' position, particularly those who voted for the war and now say they would like to get the troops out?

BLITZER: I think that people out there are increasingly beginning to focus. And people say, well, it's so long until the election in November of '08. And it is long until November '08.

But it's not that long until January of '08, and maybe December, if they accelerate the primary -- primaries and the caucuses even more. It's, what, six months or so. So, people are beginning to focus in right now. And that's certainly what the eight Democratic candidates, the 10 Republicans, and probably an 11th, Fred Thompson -- they all know that these early decisions affect fund-raising and affect support out there.

So, people are paying attention. And the campaigns are paying attention, as well.

ZAHN: And, of course, historically, New Hampshire has always given us a very good read of who might end up in the White House.

I was fascinated to hear that statistic in Candy's piece that two-thirds of the folks who describe themselves as independent voters in New Hampshire will vote in the Democratic primary. That's got to have Republicans concerned. BLITZER: Yes, it doesn't bode well for Republicans at all.

In New Hampshire, independents can vote. They can decide. They can vote for the Republican primary or the Democratic primary. And, when you have two-thirds, 70 percent or so, saying they want to vote with the Democrats this time, that does not necessarily indicate a big surge, if you will, for Republicans coming any time soon.

ZAHN: Well, we will be watching you Sunday night, and Sunday morning, too, when you do your show. Look forward to the debates.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Paula.

ZAHN: Appreciate it, Wolf.

Once again, the Democratic debate from Manchester, New Hampshire, gets under way 7:00 p.m. Sunday night. And then, again, at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, it is the Republicans' turn. You will see both debates live right here on CNN.

And back to tonight's panel right now, Democratic strategist Julie Roginsky, plus Republican strategists Robert Traynham and Leslie Sanchez.

And, since you are outnumbered, you get to start...



ZAHN: ... this time.


ZAHN: I want to take a look now at a latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, which shows which issues matter the most to Democrats. Iraq is number one. Senators Obama, Clinton and Dodd all voted against funding the troops without a timetable for withdrawal. Joe Biden voted in favor of it.

What is one promise you want to hear from each of these Democratic candidates about the war?

ROGINSKY: I want specifics about when we're getting out.

And I don't want specifics about what happens in '08. I want to know what these Democrats are going to do now to make sure that they live up to whatever promise they have made.

Now, John Edwards thinks we need to get out immediately. Others have different ideas. And I want to know exactly what those ideas are. And I want them to be held accountable to them, because we have heard a lot of different things, both on the Hill and from the presidential candidates.

And I would really love to know exactly what they're going to do. And I think the Democratic Caucus will hold them to it, not just on the Hill, but, also, obviously the Democratic voting public, because they need to know. They're getting pretty fed up. We were elected back in November of '06 to do something, and I don't think that many Democrats, including me, feel we have done enough.

ZAHN: Robert, do you think we're going to really learn anything new? Or will these candidates continue to play it pretty safe in this debate forum?

TRAYNHAM: Well, first of all, Paula, let me say, thank goodness for CNN for having a debate that's two full hours. Hopefully, that will give all the candidates that are running for president enough time to really answer the question.

You know, Julie has it right. The fact of the matter is that the Democrats really have to be specific as to how they're going to get us out of Iraq.

They have these talking points and they say that the president has been a colossal failure. They say that Iraq is a big mess. But they never talk about specifics as to how to stabilize that region. They never talk about how to make sure that Iraq, which is a very young democracy, continues to prosper.

ZAHN: All right, you're not going to tell me that's exclusively a Democratic challenge, are you, Robert? Aren't the Republicans guilty of the same thing?

TRAYNHAM: If you take a look at Senator McCain and Mayor Giuliani, they are very specific about the war. They support it. They say that we should be over there. They don't want us to pull out.

The question really becomes is whether or not when Senator Thompson gets into the race, what he says about Iraq. But the fact of the matter is, Republicans for the most part are specific in terms of why we're over in Iraq, why we need to stay there. But Democrats have yet to be very specific as to why we need to leave.

ZAHN: Leslie, the Republican Party has been highly critical of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's vote against funding of the war as we just talked about, the one as related to time tables. And that is playing out in an ad in New Hampshire right now. Let's listen to that ad right now together.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few weeks ago, Barack Obama said he didn't want to play chicken with the troops. Last month, Hillary Clinton said of course she would fund our troops and John Edwards said in mid- May it's time to support our troops. When they're in New Hampshire for their debate this weekend, the question I want to hear them answer is why the sudden about face, is politics more important than our troops in harm's way?

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: This was a veteran who made this ad.


ZAHN: Is that going to hurt any of those three candidates that he just mentioned?

SANCHEZ: You know, New Hampshire's such a fascinating state because you can have clearly have upsets. Obama is the poster child for New Hampshire like John McCain was in 2000. You have a lot of crossover voters, independents, Democrats, who can cross to either side to vote in the primary.

ZAHN: But two thirds of the independents say they're going to vote in the Democratic primary?

SANCHEZ: They can vote in the primary because they want to influence the debate. You have a lot of people -- Obama is putting a lot of pressure on Hillary Clinton because she can't decide what side, which is the real Hillary.

Is she somebody who votes to authorize the war in Iraq or is she somebody who votes to defund the troops once they get there? And Obama is still very green and the details, just like we heard from my colleague on what he proposes - this is not -- the Democrats and Republicans see this so differently. Is it state-sponsored terrorism? Is there a war on terror, which Republicans are talking about, or is it something that let's you and I set up a date? You and I could set up a date for withdrawal, if that's going to make the liberal fringe on the left happy.

ZAHN: You've got to do this briefly. Another poll basically shows that the issue of terrorism is more important to Republicans. Number one of their list of concerns over the issue of Iraq.

ROGINSKY: Then they should realize that they've been fomenting terrorism by allowing this anarchy in Iraq to happen. The Iraqis that we are training, the very same Iraqis that we are training, the "New York Times" reported, are the same Iraqis that are going out and killing our own soldiers. And so I think it's facetious for any Republican to say Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama aren't supporting the troops. Supporting the troops means that we get them out of harm's way because these troops are being killed by the very same military that we're purportedly funding, and that to me is unacceptable.

ZAHN: Got to leave it there, Julie Roginsky, Robert Traynham, Robert Sanchez, thank you all.

Think reality TV can't get any worse? Well how about a show where the contestants need a kidney donation? They are so desperate, they go on TV to plea for one. Many of them claiming to be very close to death. But it also brings a medical crisis out in the open tonight. I'm going to talk with a man who is one of those people who is so desperate for a kidney, he happens to be advertising on a billboard. And what's in the water? Check that out. OK guys, do you think that's the Loch Ness monster or is it little bitty sea otters? I don't know, that debate coming up.


SANCHEZ: All right, how's this for a disgusting idea for a reality TV show? A terminally ill woman interviews three people who each needs a life-saving kidney transplant and the winner gets one of her kidneys. Too offensive to be true? Yes. Well in fact the show aired tonight on Dutch TV, but it turned out to be a hoax set up by TV producers to draw attention, they say, to the desperate need for organ donors. Correspondent Phil Black brings this out in the open tonight from Amsterdam.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight's show started off as expected, what many have been calling this a new low.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A very good evening and welcome to the big donor show. Tonight, we're going to make one kidney patient very happy with a new kidney.

BLACK: From the creators of "Big Brother" came "The Big Donor Show." Three kidney patients, Esther Clair, Vincent and Charlote battling for sympathy, battling for a new kidney. And Lisa, described as the show's heroine wanting to give one of her kidneys away to one of them before she dies from a brain tumor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Now that I know I will die, I know how important life is and I want to donate a kidney to someone who really appreciates the value of life.

BLACK: For the next hour, the contestants shared their life stories and passionately explained why they were most deserving of Lisa's life-saving organ.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why I think the kidney is suitable for me, my ambitions are bigger than the body I have available.

BLACK: Viewers opinions were tallied on a scoreboard and it was only at the very end, when the tension was at its peak, and Lisa was about to reveal the winner, that the host revealed all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We do not give away a kidney tonight. Even for us, that's going too far.

BLACK: It was all a hoax. Lisa wasn't really dying. She was an actress. The three contestants were all really ill with kidney disease and really looking for kidney donors.

ESTHER-CLAIR SASABONE, CONTESTANT: This may be a joke for the whole world. It wasn't real, but the message is real and very serious. And a lot of people are dying while they are on the waiting lists and it's not necessary.

BLACK: This show made headlines around the planet and the world's media was waiting outside the studio expecting to talk to the winner. Instead they heard from its producers, explained why they took everyone for a ride.

PAUL RUMER, ENDEMOL NETHERLANDS: We did the show because there's a huge shortage of donors in the Netherlands and all the normal means don't work. So we wanted to do something really outrageous and special to get this topic high on the political agenda again.

BLACK: The program's inspiration was Bart de Graaff, the founder of broadcast BNN who battled kidney failure and lost precisely five years ago at the age of 35.

The program has been a fierce talking point in the Netherlands. It was debated in Parliament. Some wanted it banned, Dutch doctors vowed not to help with the transplant.

(on camera): While the arguments raged across the Netherlands and around the world, there were persistent rumors this show might not be as it seems. It could be a hoax, a publicity stunt. Now the people behind it admit that was their intention all along. They just never dreamed it would be so spectacularly successful.

(voice-over): The producers achieved their goal of sending a powerful message. Now they will find out who was listening. Phil Black, CNN, Amsterdam.


ZAHN: Meanwhile, thousands of Americas are waiting for a kidney transplant. I'm going to ask a man who is using a billboard to advertise for a donor, what he thinks of the big hoax we just saw.


ZAHN: We're bringing a kidney transplant hoax out in the open tonight. Reality TV producers in the Netherlands had promoted a show in which a terminally ill woman offered a kidney as the prize for one of three contestants who were severely ill themselves. It turned out to be a hoax designed to draw attention to the need for organ donors. Well my next guest's search for a kidney is no joke. He's on dialysis four times a day as he waits for a kidney transplant. And he's been so desperate, he's paid thousands of dollars to buy billboard space in the Houston area asking for a donor to help him. Butch Morgan joins me now. So glad to see you sir, how long have you been waiting for a kidney?

BUTCH MORGAN, NEEDS KIDNEY TRANSPLANT: I've been waiting 14 months, Paula.

ZAHN: So the system, you think, has failed you completely and that's why you've turned to soliciting for one on a billboard?

MORGAN: I just believe this was the best way for me to look for a kidney. And I think that's a lot of people, there's 97,000 people waiting for kidneys right now. And I felt this was the strongest way for me to find a kidney.

ZAHN: Have you had any luck?

MORGAN: I've had luck. I've had a woman find out she had cancer going this route. And that was the only way -- the only person I found that was a match for me. And we decided to go a different route.

ZAHN: Help us understand as you realize that you've got 71,000 patients waiting for a kidney transplant and so far this year, just about 2,500 of them have actually been given organs, what it's like to sit and wait and do what you're doing, running ads on a billboard, in addition to that, putting on information on a Web site and you're still waiting.

MORGAN: Well, I've been waiting 14 months, like I say. And there's 97,000 people waiting. And I just decided that this was a way for me to reach out and make it aware that there is a problem.

ZAHN: Well, let's bring Dr. Bromberg in to the conversation right now. I haven't been able to introduce you so far, but he happens to be the chief of transplantation at the institute of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. And Dr. Sally Satel, an M.D. who happens to have had a kidney transplant herself. Good of the two of you to join our conversation.

You just heard Butch tell his story. He's been on a waiting list for over a year. He hasn't gotten anything. And you'd have to understand why some people would think the idea of that reality show is probably a good one, particularly when you look at the statistics in the United States, over 71,000 folks waiting for kidneys. Only 2,500 plus got them last year. How desperate is this situation?

DR. JONATHAN BROMBERG, MT. SINAI HOSPITAL: The situation is very desperate. As you said, there's 70,000 people waiting. Most people wait several years, many people wait more than several years. Five or 10 percent or even more of those patients will die on the waiting list each year waiting for their particular organ. And there is definitely a crisis in this country.

ZAHN: So we'd not resort to what Butch is doing or some hokey, fiction reality TV show?

BROMBERG: Well, there were some comments made earlier this week about this TV show before we even knew it was a hoax. And some people said, well, any kind of attention to this is important. But I don't know of any compelling reason that even something that's in very poor taste and questionably ethical and moral is good attention and good advertisement for something that's so serious.

ZAHN: Well Dr. Satel, you more than anybody else understand this as well, not only from a medical point of view but a personal point of view. We mentioned you are a kidney transplant recipient yourself. Had this not be a hoax, is it a pretty good way to call attention to the desperation of so many patients out there?

DR. SALLY SATEL, KIDNEY TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: Well, now that we know it was a hoax, I think it was a brilliant hoax. And even before we knew that, I felt that even though it was very discomforting, it was clearly somewhat a sick kind of idea, I felt that on balance, it was definitely worth pursuing because the situation is so desperate.

And half the people who are on our list in this country won't even survive the five to eight-year wait. So desperate measures are needed to call attention to this.

ZAHN: I hear you think that people might even consider being paid to donate their kidneys?

SATEL: Well, yes, I've come to the conclusion and I'm not alone. A lot of bioethicists and transplant surgeons and nephrologists and legal scholars agree with me, that unfortunately there are limits to altruism, and that is the mechanism by which it occurs in this country.

It's illegal to give somebody compensation for a kidney. And I really do think that it's time to reconsider the law and start pilot projects of offering incentives to people.

This would be government regulated. It would be first-come, first-serve, so it wouldn't privilege people could who could afford a kidney. Everyone would be eligible. And we should try -- I think we have to expand the pool some way and we have to try creative and bold steps.

ZAHN: If people were paid for their kidneys, Butch, do you think you would still be waiting for one now?

MORGAN: Yeah, I think I'd still be waiting for one right now because I've had a few health issues on the side that would have altered my -- to receive a kidney right now.

ZAHN: We wish you a lot of luck. I know you've been patient and I know you're going to keep the billboard up there and keep the information on your Web site as well. We wish you the best of luck. And Dr. Jonathan Bromberg, thank you for your time and Dr. Sally Satel, yours as well.

Right now we're going to take a quick "Biz Break."


ZAHN: All right, tough question for you all out there tonight. Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster? We've got some brand new pictures. Is that really Nessie? What are we looking at there?


ZAHN: Well, it's been ages since we had a good sea monster story to share with you. Check out this video shot by a British tourist in Scotland. Could it be last proof of the infamous Loch Ness monster? Well, there have been thousand of reports sightings of the Loch Ness monster, but no real proof yet. Will this tape settle the question?

With me now to bring Nessie out in the open, Loren Coleman, a cryptozoologist, which means he studies creatures that might not exist and author of "The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep."

Also, Joe Nickell, columnist for the "Skeptical Inquirer" magazine and author of "Lake Monster Mysteries." Good to have both of you with us.

So Loren, a lot of believers out there are saying this is it and the video proves it. What do you see when you look at these pictures?

LOREN COLEMAN, CRYPTOZOOLOGIST: I definitely see an animate object under the water. It seems to look like something that's bopping up and then its head comes out, a long neck. But I have to say, we don't still definitively know what it is. There's many possibilities We also don't know exactly how long it is. And so it's still an open question.

ZAHN: So you're not inclined to believe it is the Loch Ness monster as much as some believers out there would like to believe?

COLEMAN: Well, belief has a lot to do with religion. I'm really open to investigating it, to listening to this man, Mr. Holmes (ph), and to further analyze it through computer enhancements.

But right now, it's not definitive proof of Nessie until we have a body. But it certainly raises a lot of questions and is quite exciting.

ZAHN: Joe, you aren't so impressed with these pictures, are you? Tell us why?

JOE NICKELL, AUTHOR: No. Paula, I'm underwhelmed. If you took this video and looked at it out of the context of Loch Ness, you would say it looks like a beaver or an otter.

You wouldn't be impressed with it at all, and in fact the large European otter is in the Loch and is responsible for many sightings.

Look, you have to have a breeding population of an animal to continue to perpetuate it over the centuries and if you have that, eventually a carcass or a skeleton will show up.

We have done, and the BBC examined with sonar from one end of the lake to the other and side to side in 2003, and saw no large creature. So at some point, we have to be skeptical.

ZAHN: Well Loren is shaking his head, no. And I know you said there's still a lot of questions raised by the images. But certainly these pictures, are they not more convincing than ones we've seen in the past, Loren?

COLEMAN: I think they're more convincing, I think they're compelling. And also, Joe knows very well that it's six miles to the ocean that these animals have been seen on land and crossing land. If we're talking about a breeding population, they could be breeding in the oceans and it's not necessarily a land-locked prehistoric monster like the strong man arguments want to give us.

NICKELL: Yes true, but before we conjure up such an elaborate explanation of them breeding outside and then swimming up the river Ness and getting into the Loch and then leaving again, before we do all that, we need to have some evidence that there is something to explain.

And so far, the otters, in fact some of the best sightings around the world of lake monsters, are probably otters swimming in a line, creating this illusion of a large, maybe 70-foot long undulating creature. They're just these cute little critters that we all love and they're impersonating Loch Ness.

ZAHN: Well as the debate rages on gentlemen, I guess I was relieved at least to see some pictures, having lived over there and gone 29 days in a row at sunrise to check out the Loch Ness monster. That was the first time I saw images of any sea monster or sea otters or whatever the heck they are. Loren Coleman, Joe Nickell, thank you so much for your time, appreciate it, we'll be right back.


ZAHN: That's it for all of us, good night.


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