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CNN CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT

Witnesses Point Finger at Robert Blake; KISS Speaks Out on Tragic Rhode Island Club Fire; Iraqi Troops on Move to Prepare For U.S Attack

Aired February 27, 2003 - 20:00   ET

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

CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening. I'm Connie Chung.
Tonight, if Robert Blake is innocent, why are witnesses testifying he wanted to kill his wife?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Robert Blake had his night on television. Now, he's having his day in court. Recorded phone conversations...

ROBERT BLAKE, ACTOR: You lied to me, you double-crossed me, you dumped me and that's who you are.

ANNOUNCER: And witnesses point the finger at the man accused of killing Bonny Lee Bakley.

Iraqi troops move to defend Baghdad. North Korea defiantly fires up its nuclear reactor. How will the U.S. respond to an international double threat?

KISS.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: One of the world's most explosive acts. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, leaders of the legendary rock band and 30-year veterans of fiery stage displays speak out on the tragic Rhode Island club fire.

A businesslike approach to losing weight. Tonight, is belief in oneself the key for successful weight loss? Jim Karas says so and takes "The Diet Challenge."

And, our "Person of the Day." A sad day in the neighborhood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, Connie Chung.

CHUNG: Good evening.

Tonight, prosecutors have brought on more witnesses to make the case against Robert Blake, who's accused of killing when was wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.

Today, one witness said Blake was willing to pay $10,000 for a hit. And the prosecutors have also tried to lay out evidence about a possible motive.

But in an interview with Barbara Walters last night, Blake said someone else could have had a motive. And he suggested maybe that someone had been looking for her and found her after seeing news reports of her engagement to Blake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLAKE: I think she destroyed a lot of lives. And I think one life that she destroyed saw her on television. Because don't forget, she wasn't Bonnie Bakley. Nobody ever knew who she was. She had 25 or 30 I.D.s and a whole bunch of names. And all of a sudden he said, There she is, because we got engaged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: CNN's Charles Feldman is covering the hearing and joins us now from Los Angeles.

Charlie, I understand one of those stuntmen testified today. He's described as a friend of Robert Blake. Was the testimony incriminating?

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Connie, good evening.

Gary McLarty is somebody who says he worked with Robert Blake, was an acquaintance of Blake and was actually a little bit stunned, he says, when he was summoned to a meeting with Robert Blake through an intermediary.

And when he met with Blake, he says Blake started complaining about Bonny Lee Bakley and started coming up with schemes to have Bonny Lee Bakley killed.

Then, he says, that at one point he goes back to the home that Robert Blake has here in Los Angeles and that Blake actually took him through the guest house where Bonny Lee Bakley lived and came up with a scenario on how to have her killed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY RAYMOND MCLARTY, HOLLYWOOD STUNTMAN: Showed me how to enter the house and the stairway up to the bedroom where she slept. Somebody could go in there and dispose of her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What words did he use? Do you recall?

MCLARTY: He used...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, asked and answered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overruled. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What words did he use?

MCLARTY: He used, "to go up the stairs and pop her."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FELDMAN: Now Connie, there were several scenarios, apparently, that according to McLarty, Robert Blake came up with, and one, according to McLarty, was very close to what actually happened.

He says that Blake came up with a plan where he would take his wife to a restaurant to eat, leave her parked in a car, leave the car, and then have somebody else come along and kill her -- Connie.

CHUNG: Charles, did the defense attorney challenge this man's credibility?

FELDMAN: Oh, I'll say he did, because, you know, credibility is at the heart of this case, of course, and the testimony of McLarty is going to be crucial when this comes to trial.

So Tom Messoro (ph), that's Blake's attorney, is trying very hard to show that this man lacks credibility. One way he did that was he mentioned the fact that McLarty had an episode two years back where he apparently killed a man in self-defense, he shot him six times in self-defense.

But here's the important part, Connie. He testified at the preliminary hearing that initially, after killing the man, he lied to police. That's not too good for credibility.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just clarify, if you would, the purpose of your lying to the police.

MCLARTY: I don't really know why I did that. It was very stupid. I should have never done that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no reason for it? Weren't trying to save yourself at all, were you?

MCLARTY: Again, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You weren't just trying to save yourself?

MCLARTY: That's what I was trying to do. I was trying to find no guilt in doing that, you know, what I had done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FELDMAN: Now McLarty also testified that he's used cocaine as early as 1991 and as late as a few months ago -- Connie.

CHUNG: Charlie, in just 15 seconds, I understand the judge was concerned about Robert Blake because he was a bit wobbley. FELDMAN: Yes, he was. He was wobbly. He asked Blake whether or not he was in need of a doctor.

Blake stood and up said that he wasn't and that he assured the judge he would be just fine and that he's not -- quote -- "going anywhere" -- Connie.

CHUNG: All right. Thank you, Charles Feldman.

Let's go over to Jane Velez-Mitchell now. Jane, I want to talk about the Barbara Walters interview last night with Robert Blake. It appeared to be somewhat really disturbing, because he seemed very troubled. So we're going to show everyone a little clip and then we'll come back and talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLAKE: So you think I'm a monster too?

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: No.

BLAKE: That I can't -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

WALTERS: No, Robert.

BLAKE: I knew the second I put my hands on her, and I asked God to take care of her right at that minute. She was my baby. She was my daughter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: Jane, during the interview, he kept looking at the camera and talking to his daughter, Rosy. Have you talked with Bonny Lee Bakley's relatives and asked them what they thought of it?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, CORRESPONDENT, CELEBRITY JUSTICE: I have, and they are furious. They said this was just one giant acting job. They even contend the fact that he lost a lot of weight -- was just him prepping for this role as innocent man falsely accused.

And I think the real question here is, Who is the real Robert Blake? Is he this man who whimpers and cries and sings lullabies into the camera for Rosy? Or is he this man who was described in testimony today in court, a man who was cold blooded and calculating and calls people over to take walks or go into his home and discuss whacking or popping his wife?

That is the question. And even somebody as familiar with Blake as Stephen J. Cannell, who is a famous writer and producer and who knows Blake, says he can't tell that Blake is such an incredible actor, that when he was watching Barbara Walters last night, he was trying to figure out where the acting ended and the real man began.

And I think that part of it is that it may be a combination of both. Great actors use real emotions. And they tailor those real emotions to a script. And there may have been a little bit of that going on.

CHUNG: Jane, one of the things I thought was so fascinating was how he described his mother and how unwanted he was. Can you tell us about that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, it's really fascinating. And this is certainly not the first case that we've seen a very famous person talk about being a victim, talk about having a very unhappy childhood.

Certainly, he struggled. He was a vaudeville performer at the age of 2, then went on to become an extra in Los Angeles and landed a role in "Our Gang" and then went on to make movies like "In Cold Blood," and then went on to commercial success with "Barretta."

But at the heart of it, he's saying is a very lonely, lonely boy who never got love, whose toys were taken from him.

CHUNG: Let's go back to the testimony in the courtroom. I understand an LAPD detective testified and will probably continue tomorrow. What did he have to say about a supposed prenuptial agreement?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this is really fascinating because every body has been saying, If you didn't like Bonny Lee Bakley, why, Robert Blake, didn't you divorce her?

Well, apparently, according to the testimony of Detective Ito (ph) today, there was a prenuptial agreement which he discovered in Robert Blake's home that said if Robert Blake were to divorce Bonny Lee Bakley, then Bonny Lee Bakley Rosy back. And, as we found out last night, he does seem to have very genuine, genuine affection for Rosy and wanted Rosy above all else. SO, that eliminates that option.

CHUNG: Jane Velez-Mitchell, I thank you so much for being with us. It's good to see you, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It's good to see you too, Connie.

CHUNG: Dramatic testimony on Capitol Hill today. Lawmakers had hard questions for NASA's top man concerning the red flags raised about Columbia, as late as the day before it disintegrated.

CNN's John Zarrella reports on the sometimes angry exchanges.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe went before the House Science Committee to talk about his agency's 2004 budget. For most of the three-plus hours O'keefe Was grilled.

REP. ANTHONY WIENER (D-NY), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Have you fired anyone for not bringing them to your attention sooner?

ZARRELLA: The them Congressman Anthony Wiener referred to are chilling what-if e-mails between engineers and flight controllers in the days before the Shuttle Columbia broke apart over Texas. E-mails released by NASA late Wednesday.

SEAN O'KEEFE: We're trying to get it out as fast as possible.

WIENER: I have eight seconds. I'm not interested in what the "New York Times" got it. I'm interested in when you, the guy we put in charge of this, got it.

ZARRELLA: O'Keefe acknowledged he didn't know about the e-mails before the accident. The e-mails which were not forwarded to senior managers, went into grim detail how Columbia"might break apart if foam debris that hit the left wing on liftoff caused more serious damage than engineering teams concluded. Landing gear engineer Robert Dougherty suggested a space walk. What NASA calls an EVA, to check the shuttle.

He wrote quote, "Seems to me that the benefit of an EVA to look at damage has more pros than cons. Can't imagine an astronaut, even on a tether arrangement, would cause more damage than he's going out to look for."

(on camera): During his testimony, O'Keefe defended the agency, insisting that the e-mail dialogue went on at the proper levels within NASA but didn't go any higher because everyone accepted the engineering analysis right up until the last day, that the shuttle would be OK.

(voice-over): Before the House Committee, O'Keefe, also announced the international space station's crew size would be reduced from three to two. And that Russian spacecraft would be used to ferry crews up and back for at least the next year. An acknowledgement that the shuttle program is going to be grounded for quite some time.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: Still ahead, they say pyrotechnics have a place at rock concerts, when it's done right. They should know. They're Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley from KISS. We'll talk to them later. Stay with us.

ANNOUNCER: Next, Iraqi troops on the move.

Power up in North Korea.

How will the U.S. respond to the threat of two defiant nations?

CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: The news that North Korea had fired up a reactor at its main nuclear facility stoked fears that it wants to expand its nuclear arsenal beyond whatever weapons it has. CNN State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel reports it was the latest in a string of setbacks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT (voice-over): One day after confirming North Korea had restarted its five megawatt nuclear reactor, a potentially significant step towards developing more nuclear weapons, the Bush administration refused to call it a crisis.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We can't simply allow North Korea to make threats, present demands, from a position of disobeying the will of the international community.

KOPPEL: The North Korean move came only hours after Powell wrapped up a four-day swing through Japan, South Korea and China, where he failed to forge a common front to prevent a crisis on the Korean peninsula from spiraling out of control. On his way home, Powell justified the U.S. approach and said there was still no reason to panic, telling reporters North Korea had chosen not to start the reactor or reprocessing facility at Pyongyang where 8,000 spent fuel rods are being stored. U.S. officials say North Korea's decision to start up the reactor the very next day was pure coincidence.

RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: I wouldn't tie it particularly to the secretary's trip. It takes some time to restart a reactor. It's not flip of the switch stuff. Probably started -- certainly the preparations would have start before his trip. And probably started before he even announced his trip.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOPPEL: Even so, officials say, far more serious would be if North Korea were to begin to reprocess those 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods. If they did that, they could have a nuclear weapon within a matter of weeks. But, as things stand now, the reactivation of that nuclear power plant, we'd still be at least 18 months away from having half a dozen nuclear weapons or a year away from having a single nuclear weapon -- Connie.

CHUNG: Would U.S. intelligence know if activity was occurring at that reprocessing plant that is more of a threat?

KOPPEL: They say they would. And in fact, a number of weeks back, they said that looking at satellite imagery, they could see that there were trucks that were parked just outside where those fuel rods are being stored. And that they were -- there was some movement, but they believe that if they were to begin reprocessing, they would know that -- actually those trucks would be moving to another facility where they would actually be doing the reprocessing itself -- Connie.

CHUNG: If war with Iraq were not looming, certainly the administration would be calling this North Korean situation a crisis.

KOPPEL: In fact, just because the U.S. isn't calling it a crisis, that doesn't mean other countries and in fact many legislators on Capitol Hill are calling it one. They say that in fact, they're amazed that the administration isn't treating this as a crisis, that it's not a more urgent threat. But the U.S. maintains North Korea has never attacked one of its neighbors, and they don't believe that it poses the same kind of risk in terms of selling any of this fissile material to tests or Saddam Hussein. So, that's their rationale.

CHUNG: And finally, U.S. intelligence is telling us Iraq is really gearing up for war. That troops are repositioning in the north and that trenches are being dug in and around Baghdad.

What can you tell us about this?

KOPPEL: Well, according to the reporting done by our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, she said her sources have told her that the U.S. is able to see movement by thousands of Iraqi Republican Guard units in the north of Iraq, that this is the first significant major movement of Republican Guard troops that the U.S. has been able to document. And that in addition, they've seen that there's a trench that's being dug around Baghdad. And they believe that trench will be filled with oil and then lit on fire so that the smoke would be able to protect Baghdad from any of those missiles that the U.S. -- heat- seeking missiles the U.S. might choose to fire at Baghdad if they make the decision to go ahead with war.

CHUNG: Any idea how long these troops have been on the move?

KOPPEL: The U.S. says they have been seeing this sort of intelligence, the movement, for the last couple of days and that it's near Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. And that that's -- they're about 20 kilometers outside his hometown, which would make sense in that Saddam Hussein has always tried to protect those from his hometown, and in fact, some of his closest guards are from his hometown because he's hoping that the blood ties will prove thicker than water -- Connie.

CHUNG: Andrea Koppel, thank you.

A closed door meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Iraq ended without agreement tonight. The 15-member body was reportedly unable to agree on a timetable for future reports on weapons inspections and remain split on the use of military action against Iraq.

Also tonight the U.N. said it would seek to clarify a letter from Baghdad in which Iraq agrees in principle to destroy missiles that exceed U.N. limits on range. Iraq has until Saturday to begin destroying the missiles.

A new CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup Poll found no change in the last month in the percentage of Americans who support invading Iraq. It's steady at 59 percent already

Right now, new developments in the war on terror top tonight's "Look at the World in 60."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHUNG (voice-over): The U.S. lowered its national terrorism threat level from Orange, or High, to Yellow, Elevated. But New York City, site of the World Trade Center attacks, remains on High alert.

Investigators have identified the remains of two of the ten hijackers involved in those attacks. Officials aren't saying which ones.

A vote by Turkey's Parliament that would allow U.S. troops on its soil has been postponed again until Saturday at the earliest. U.S. ships carrying military supplies already are off the Turkish coast.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented his new right- leaning government to parliament. President Bush has said Israel should support the creation of a Palestinian state. But two of the parties in Sharon's coalition oppose the idea.

Senator Bob Graham of Florida has filed papers to form a presidential campaign committee. He's the ninth Democrat competing for his party's nomination in 2004.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Next, to explosive rock legends KISS, fiery stage shows are as much a part of rock as guitars and drums. But Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley also say pyro can be deadly in the wrong hands. CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT returns in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: The Rhode Island nightclub fire became a federal case today. The National Construction Safety Team, a new federal agency, is looking into the blaze that killed 96 people. A grand jury is also investigating. And members of Great White are back in Rhode Island to testify under subpoena about what they know about the fire started by onstage pyrotechnics that killed their guitarist Ty Longly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK RUSSELL, LEAD SINGER, GREAT WHITE: ... the most horrible experience of my life. That's all I can say. There's nothing else I can say.

MARK KENDELL, GUITARIST, GREAT WHITE: I've had little time to grieve at home. I don't feel like I've grieved, you know, properly yet because it seems to be going so fast. But when I get home, I'm going -- I'll be praying with my pastor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: The state has imposed a moratorium on pyrotechnics in clubs.

Fireworks have been a staple of rock and roll shows since they were first used by theatrical arena acts like KISS, whose singer and bassist Gene Simmons made breathing fire a trademark. KISS still uses pyrotechnics today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: And Simmons has agreed to join us today along with KISS lead singer Paul Stanley from Melbourne, Australia. Thank you both for being with us.

Gene, I know Great White had toured with KISS. You know these guys. What went through your mind when you saw that video?

GENE SIMMONS, BASSIST, KISS: You know, tragedy is something that just grabs ahold of all of us in the same way. This is one of the most unfortunate things that I've ever seen. In tragedy, unfortunately, people will tend to look for just a target to blame. There are probably a myriad of reasons why this tragedy happened.

And I would imagine the legal system is going to take its time and they should, to find out what went wrong. Any tragedy deserves due diligence, and I hope everybody takes care.

People want to talk to us a lot about pyrotechnics and stuff because we've been doing it for 30 years, safely, in the largest arenas in the world.

CHUNG: Have you ever had any kind of accident? Have you caught on fire? Any band member? Or anyone in the audience?

PAUL STANLEY, LEAD SINGER, KISS: We've really had no problems, so to speak. It's important for people to remember that pyrotechnics by their nature are combustible and volatile. They should only be in the hands of licensed pyro technicians.

That being said, if you follow the letter of the law, even more importantly, you must use common sense. And common sense should dictate, even with being within the realm of the law, does what you're doing make sense? Is it prudent? When you have lives at stake, just because something works a hundred times in a club, doesn't mean it's going to happen 101 successfully.

Pyrotechnics have been used in Disneyland, Las Vegas, the Stones have used them, we've used them. It really is not something to be taken lightly. These are dangerous, dangerous chemicals. And we urge everybody to leave those to people who know what they're doing. This is not for the weekend hobbyist.

SIMMONS: This is professional stuff for professionals. Everybody on our crew, especially our pyro people, are licensed. That's No. 1.

No. 2 is, we always make sure that we talk with the fire marshals and fire department of every local town that we play in. That's very important. They're not adversarial in tone. They're always about making sure that first and foremost, the people are safe, and of course the band is safe.

CHUNG: Paul, when you have performed with the group, have you ever performed in a small club and used pyrotechnics?

STANLEY: In the early days, the infancy of pyrotechnics, certainly there were times when we did things that thankfully we got away with. But since then, there's been laws and legislation and there were requirements that really helped to ensure the safety of both the band and all the people who come into a club.

CHUNG: Weren't there a few times that your hair caught on fire?

SIMMONS: I have a point in the show where I foolishly go up on stage and try to get the excitement level to go up a new notches by going out there and spitting fire. Now this has been done for centuries and I learned it from a magician. Again, a professional.

But foolishly, because I also wanted to look grand, I used to spray a lot of hair spray so to get that big hair look in the early days. So on occasion, my hair would catch fire. But it was my fault. It had nothing to do with the safety precautions we had.

We had a professional staff who would immediately run out on that stage with CO2 and cover me and it was out in a few second. Again, even though we put on spectacle and bombast, at the center of it is safety first and foremost, every time.

STANLEY: See, we can afford, Connie, to have a large enough staff where we have people on stage with fire extinguishers. We're well supplied in any emergency.

You know, the problem and the sadness that comes with a tragedy is, we tend to learn more from things that go wrong than the things that go right. And it's unfortunate so that many lives have to be lost to really give people a wakeup call that fireworks must be done under supervision of people who are licensed and qualified. And any time you take them indoors, it's suspect. And if you don't know the materials that a building is made out of, you're really playing Russian roulette.

CHUNG: Both of you had mentioned that there will be and was a lot of finger-pointing: Was it the band's responsibility? Was it the club owner's responsibility?

Whose responsibility was it for your band to make sure that everything was safe? Perhaps we can learn from you.

STANLEY: We certainly do everything possible to make sure that the people most qualified are in charge. We are not the people who are most qualified. But we certainly have enough money to make sure that we can ensure, or as much as possible, the safety of people at the show and ourselves. You have a case here where the guitarist in a band couldn't even make it out. It's a horrific, horrific tragedy.

CHUNG: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, I thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate your thoughts on this.

And still ahead: televangelist Pat Robertson, how he faced his potentially deadly cancer. Stay with us.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up: Entrepreneur and best-selling author Jim Karas says the best way to lose weight is treat it like a business.

Take the "Diet Challenge" when CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: You know, it wasn't so long ago, it was considered rude to talk about cancer. But that's been changing. It's relatively recently that people have talked openly about prostate cancer, people ranging from Yankees manager Joe Torre to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Senator and presidential hopeful John Kerry, and a previous presidential hopeful, Bob Dole.

Now another famous figure has joined their ranks, after beating prostate cancer, spreading the word that no one can consider himself immune. It's Pat Robertson, host of "The 700 Club" and founder of the Christian Coalition, who joins us tonight from Virginia Beach to talk about his recent surgery and his new book, "Bring It On."

Well, good evening, Mr. Robertson. You know, I have to tell you, you look terrific.

PAT ROBERTSON, FOUNDER, CHRISTIAN COALITION: Well, Connie, I feel terrific. I am one happy guy. I had the offending organ out of my body. And my surgery was just 10 days ago and I was on the air seven days after surgery.

CHUNG: Well, that's the amazing part. I'll bet the doctors were just bowled over that you came back to work so quickly.

ROBERTSON: Well, I'm very blessed.

But, you know, I found this Israeli-born doctor named Arnon Krongrad down in Miami. And he did the first one of these what they call laparoscopic radical prostatectomies only in 1999. So I was sort of a guinea pig on this, but it's been a wonderful operation, very little blood loss. It's just tremendous. I can't -- I thank him and I thank the lord for sparing me.

CHUNG: Well, absolutely.

Take us back to the day that you were told that you had prostate cancer. I think it was the day after Christmas.

ROBERTSON: That's not exactly the way you want to wrap up the presents and the turkey. The day after Christmas, I went to see the urologist. He said: I have sort of bad news for you. You have a Gleason 7 on a scale of 10, a Gleason 7 cancer. And he find that, essentially, every sample he took had cancer in it.

CHUNG: And your wife was with you at the time? ROBERTSON: She is a former assistant professor of nursing. And she's a great support. And they really want wives to do this, because this affects the marital relation quite a bit. So, it's husband and wife that need to go into it.

CHUNG: Your brother died of prostate cancer. So were you forewarned in some way that you might have to watch your PSA tests?

ROBERTSON: Well, I'd been having the PSA right along. And I thought I was really healthy, because I am very strict on diet. I take all kinds of vitamins and supplements. I lift weights. I exercise.

And this gives you no clue at all. But he had radiation. And I was there at his deathbed and then performed the funeral ceremony. And I knew I wasn't about to play with this thing. It was deadly. And if I didn't deal with it, it was going to kill me.

CHUNG: So that's why you chose surgery?

ROBERTSON: Exactly. I had no choice.

The doctor -- I said, what would you recommend? He said, well, if you were 60, surgery, I'd surgery. I said, well, basically, let's believe I'm 60, because I'm going for surgery.

(LAUGHTER)

CHUNG: Will you tell us how old you are?

ROBERTSON: Well, I'm 72. I'll be 73 in another few weeks.

CHUNG: So there were no symptoms; is that right?

ROBERTSON: None. Connie, I was lifting big weights. The 1st of February, I hit a new record on an incline bench press of 2,000 pounds. And I thought I was really a he-man. And I didn't have any symptoms that I could tell at all. I was perfectly healthy.

CHUNG: You are so marvelously open about this. Was there any time when you thought to yourself, no, no, this is too private; I'm going to keep it to myself?

ROBERTSON: Oh, exactly.

The minute I heard it, I said, look, we're not going to let this thing out. And I shared it with some of the key staff members here at CBN. But I said, look, we're going to keep this quiet until we know exactly what we're going to do. But a couple days before I went for the surgery, I told the audience -- I said, it's time to let the American people and our friends know what's going on, so that they'll be supportive and understand what's happening.

But I wanted to keep it quiet. But my family knew and they all gathered around me. It was a wonderful thing. When I got that report, I had my children, my grandchildren, and they all volunteered. They said, look, we want to come and surround you and pray for you. It was one of the most touching things of my entire life, to have that happen.

CHUNG: That's wonderful.

Let's turn to Iraq for a moment.

ROBERTSON: OK.

CHUNG: Because I'm wondering if you believe the United States should invade Iraq without U.N. backing.

ROBERTSON: Connie, I have, over the last year or so, been quite concerned about entering into this war. We should have gone in after him in the Gulf War I.

This thing is fraught with danger. And I think we need to understand that. I told the president that just recently, that we have got to prepare the American people for civilian casualties, for possibly our casualties, for gassing, for various chemical weapons against them.

CHUNG: And, sir, in the last 15 seconds, do you believe we need U.N. backing?

ROBERTSON: Connie, I think the U.N., frankly, is a joke. And I think they're becoming impotent and I think they're becoming ineffective. And the dithering on this matter just proves it. So I don't think that's necessary. We've already got Resolution 1141. That's all we need.

CHUNG: So are you saying to the president, go ahead, but warn...

ROBERTSON: I think that's it. We're too far along the way to stop back now. And you have no choice but to go forward, so be resolute, but please tell the American people to expect trouble and don't think it's going to be a cakewalk.

CHUNG: All right, Pat Robertson, I thank you so much for being with us.

ROBERTSON: Thank you, Connie.

CHUNG: And thank you for your inspiration.

ROBERTSON: All right.

CHUNG: Still ahead: Oprah Winfrey has good news for readers and for her bank account.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: All week, we've been sort of picking different diets in our "Diet Challenge" series. What's the percentage of carbs? What kind of fat? Stuff like that, usually from folks with some kind of background in nutrition or biochemistry. Well, not today.

Today's diet is all business, no excuses, no gimmicks. Jim Karas didn't go to Harvard Med. He went to Wharton Business School. And in his book, "Flip the Switch," he says that, just like business, you've got to crunch the numbers. And abdominal crunches couldn't hurt either.

I spoke with earlier to put his business plan for the body to the "Diet Challenge."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: Jim, thank you so much for coming.

JIM KARAS, AUTHOR, "FLIP THE SWITCH": Thank you for having me.

CHUNG: I've heard so much about you, have seen you on television.

And this is a typical day in sort of the Jim Karas diet?

KARAS: Yes, it is.

CHUNG: What is it?

KARAS: OK.

I like to start off the day with a little bit of protein, the egg whites, lots of vegetables. That's in an egg white omelet. You can do it in an egg white scrambler as well. And then include some fresh fruit. I think fruit is very important. It's high in water. It's high in fiber, as is the vegetables.

But about the protein, what's important is, it keeps you full longer, that little bit of protein. And that's why I like egg whites, cottage cheese, yogurt, those types of things for breakfast in the morning, and a big bottle of water. I think it's important to start the day off that way.

CHUNG: Gotcha. OK, lunch?

KARAS: Then -- before the lunch, a little afternoon snack.

CHUNG: Oh. Oh.

KARAS: A little bit of 100-calorie yogurt just around 10:00 in the morning to keep you full, especially for those who get up early.

And then we get into a big salad, all the greens, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, lots of different fiber, water, antioxidants, which are the vitamins and nutrients, topped with some grilled chicken. Any type of protein is really fine.

CHUNG: You know, I don't feel very full on these. To me, this is girly food. Only wusses eat things like that. KARAS: Well, this is what I would tell you to do. I would, first of all, tell you, you can bulk it up with more vegetables. And then you definitely can add some crackers, some 60- or 50-calorie bread, some toast. You can do different things and you'll get a heartier meal. It definitely works.

CHUNG: OK. Oh, I'm loving -- potato chips, my favorite.

KARAS: Love chips.

CHUNG: These are Ruffles.

KARAS: These are Ruffles.

CHUNG: They have ridges.

KARAS: Very low fat. They have ridges. This is about 120 calories for this whole serving. I eat chips almost every day, these baked chips. I like the crunch. I like the salt. I just like it.

CHUNG: Good. Dinner?

KARAS: And then, finally, what I had for you is 5 ounces of protein. It can be grilled fish, grilled chicken, turkey. Red meat is absolutely fine if you don't have any type of cholesterol issue, lots of asparagus, a big baked potato with cottage cheese.

CHUNG: Cottage cheese. I know. At first, I thought it was sour cream, but that's cottage cheese. That's weird.

KARAS: It's different. Well, it gives a different taste. It gives you more flavor sometimes, if you mush it up all together. You can even add salsa to this, for people who like spice. And don't forget, spicy food also bumps your metabolism.

So, what I like to do is give people as much food as humanly possible. And I did include wine, because so many people -- we know the benefits of wine.

CHUNG: So, if I really don't drink wine that much, I can have a scotch?

KARAS: Absolutely.

CHUNG: How about a beer?

KARAS: Absolutely. Keep it a light beer rather than one of the big dark ones. But, again, look at the calories of what you are eating and drinking.

CHUNG: If we're counting calories, how many calories should I eat a day? And then how many should a man eat?

KARAS: Sure. There are average guidelines I give to people. For most women, a 1,200-to-1,400-calorie-a-day diet should successfully enable them to lose weight. For men, it's more. It's between 1,500 and 1,700 calories.

CHUNG: You know what, though? You've said that awful C word.

KARAS: Yes.

CHUNG: Calories. I cannot deal with calories. I'm sorry, Jim.

KARAS: OK.

CHUNG: If that's the basis of your diet, can't do it.

KARAS: Can't do it? Now, what is hard about it for you?

CHUNG: Well, I don't know how many calories this is or that is. And I'm not going to sit there and count them, not going to do it.

KARAS: Not going to do it.

Well, I think what is important is, you have to realize, most Americans, as a country, we have suffered from what I call portion distortion. It has just gotten out of hand. And this is where the food diary comes into play.

CHUNG: Food diary?

KARAS: Food diary.

CHUNG: Get out. No way.

KARAS: It's not a bad word.

CHUNG: Not going to happen.

KARAS: Here's what the food diary does. It does two things for you.

First of all, it helps you to see in black and white what you're doing. It's just like balancing your checkbook. And most of us don't balance our checkbooks, and should.

CHUNG: Can you give me a tip on keeping the diary? Because that sounds just -- I can't possibly spare the time to do something like that.

(LAUGHTER)

KARAS: OK, for one day, Connie, one day, you put a piece of paper in your jacket pocket, in your purse, briefcase, whatever. And after you eat something, you jot it down. Again, it really helps you to actually self-police yourself.

CHUNG: If you wanted to try and convince me to do the diary and to count calories, can you give me easy ways to do it?

KARAS: Absolutely. Take a deck of cards. The average deck of cards or the palm of your hand... CHUNG: Aha. I happen to have a deck of cards.

KARAS: And have one right there -- or the palm of your hand, right there, is approximately 3 ounces of protein. For fish or chicken, that would be approximately 120 to 130 calories. So when you look down and you see that portion size, this is slightly larger, as it's a little thicker. That's 120 to 130 calories.

Another good tool is a tennis ball.

CHUNG: I happen to have one.

(LAUGHTER)

KARAS: There you go. It's approximately the average size of a piece of fruit. That's about 100 calories -- ditto with rice and pasta.

If you want a portion size of rice or pasta, think of it being approximately the size of a tennis ball. That's what's not going to hurt you, because everyone's talking about how carbohydrates are so bad? Carbohydrates are fine, Connie. It's our portion size of carbohydrates that's the problem.

CHUNG: Gotcha. This is good.

KARAS: Yes.

CHUNG: All right, let's go to some questions from our viewers.

KARAS: Sure.

CHUNG: Here's the first one and it has to do with motivation.

KARAS: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know, how do I get into a diet and stay into a diet, not stop and keep going, keep motivated?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: This is such a good question.

KARAS: Absolutely.

CHUNG: And it's so typical.

KARAS: I believe she should always add 200 to 300 calories a day of the food she really loves. Let them be chocolate. Let it be candy. Let it be chips, a donut, whatever, because then she physically and mentally -- it's important -- you've got put the mind and the body together -- won't feel deprived.

CHUNG: Let's listen to our next question. KARAS: All right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get my exercise by playing sports. Will that help me lose weight?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARAS: We have thought for years cardiovascular was the key to weight loss.

CHUNG: Yes. Sure.

KARAS: We were wrong. We were wrong.

CHUNG: No?

KARAS: Absolutely.

CHUNG: It's got to help.

KARAS: Connie, it helps. I'm not saying it doesn't help.

But if you're going to allocate time to exercise, you only need to exercise two to three times a week for between 20 and 30 minutes to make significant, significant changes in your body. You don't need this...

CHUNG: Only -- I can't believe...

KARAS: Absolutely. And case study really supports this theory.

CHUNG: So what kind of exercise are you talking about?

KARAS: You have to do strength and resistance training exercises.

CHUNG: But no treadmill?

KARAS: About 25 percent of your time should be spent on the treadmill. Muscle can burn between 35 and 50 calories per pound per day. A pound of fat only burns 2 calories a day. So muscles are your big spenders. They're really spending a lot of calories in your body, which keeps the body's metabolism elevated.

CHUNG: All right, thank you so much, Jim.

KARAS: Thank you so much.

CHUNG: Appreciate your being with us.

KARAS: I appreciate you having me. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG: Tomorrow: the man they call the diet shrink.

Right now, tonight's "Snapshot" starts off with a step ahead for the future of ground zero.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHUNG (voice-over): Officials have announced the winning design to replace the World Trade Center. It includes a memorial and angular towers, one of which will be the world's tallest building.

A sign of the times: State Farm Insurance is telling its customers it will not cover auto damage caused by nuclear bombs or radioactive fallout.

"The San Francisco Chronicle" reports National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is considering a run for California governor in 2006. But she reportedly ruled out a Senate bid next year.

The former Long Island Lolita, Amy Fisher, has a new cause. She says she'll campaign to keep handguns away from kids. Fisher served seven years for shooting her lover's wife.

And Oprah Winfrey says she's reviving her popular book club, this time focusing on the classics. And just announced, Oprah made four billionaire lists, a first for an African-American woman.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Still ahead: our "Person of the Day," a sad day in the neighborhood.

CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHUNG: We don't usually do this, but tonight, we want to say goodbye to our "Person of the Day."

Television pioneer Fred Rogers died today at 74, leaving behind his wife of 50 years, two sons, and two grandsons. For more than 30 years, his message never changed: Each child mattered. Each was special. And each always had a place in his neighborhood, which was big enough to include a make-believe kingdom and the reality of children's fears.

His secret wasn't knowing how to talk to children. He could talk to anyone. An ordained minister, Rogers didn't use TV to judge others, but to serve them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED ROGERS, "MR. ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD": We all long to be lovable and capable of loving. And whatever we can do, through the "Neighborhood" or anything else, to reflect that and to encourage people to be in touch with that, then I think that's our ministry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: His grandfather once told him: "You know, you made this day a really special day just by being yourself. There's only one person in the world like you. And I happen to like you just the way you are." It was a sentiment he shared every day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MR. ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD")

ROGERS: I like being your television neighbor.

(singing): It's such a good feeling to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling. You're growing inside. And when you wake up ready to say, I think I'll make a snappy new day, it's such a good feeling, a very good feeling, the feeling you know that I'll be back when the week is new and I'll have more ideas for you. And you'll have things you'll want to talk about. I will, too.

Be back next time. Goodbye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHUNG: Goodbye, Mr. Rogers, our "Person of the Day."

And tomorrow: Remember the struggle to free Pennsylvania miners? Why has one of them gone back underground? And a new wrinkle for an unapproved anti-aging treatment.

And coming up next on "LARRY KING LIVE": Dan Rather on his interview with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

That's our program for tonight. Thank you so much for joining us. And for all of us at CNN, good night and we'll see you tomorrow.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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