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PAULA ZAHN NOW

California Recall Hits Snag; Images From Inside Womb May Spark Controversy

Aired September 15, 2003 - 20:00   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome.
Tonight, the California recall is in doubt, as a federal court postpones the election, setting the stage for a showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court.

An unprecedented look at one of America's most dangerous outposts, Korea's demilitarized zone.

The Vatican is praising it, but is "The Passion" anti-Semitic? The debate over Mel Gibson's new movie continues on the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ.

And remarkable new images from inside the womb. You can even see a smile. We're going to show you why these pictures may spark controversy.

First, though, some of the headlines you need to know right now.

One of the most powerful hurricanes in years is slowly churning its way toward the East Coast. Forecasters say Hurricane Isabel on course to hit North Carolina's Pamlico Sound by Thursday afternoon. But people as far north as New England are getting ready for the worst. Forecasters say a large section of the country could see extensive damage if Isabel stays on its current path.

Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of the older sister of Venus and Serena Williams. Police say Yetunde Price was shot and killed during an altercation in Compton, California, early yesterday morning. Authorities say they are looking for as many as four others in connection with this case.

And authorities have released a sketch of a man they say may be a suspect in that serial arson case in the Washington, D.C. area. They say it is a major break in the case.

Now on to the California recall. Suddenly, it is on hold. A federal court today postponed the October 7 election because some voters would have had to have used outmoded punch card ballot systems, the same kind that help make a mess of things in Florida during the 2000 presidential race. The decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a moment, we're going to be speaking live with one of the candidates, Arianna Huffington.

But joining us now from Los Angeles is Judy Woodruff, and here with me in New York, political commentator Joe Klein. Welcome, all. Glad to have all you with us tonight.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: Judy, we'd love to get started with you this evening.

First of all, what was the basis for this ruling today?

WOODRUFF: Well, essentially what the 9th Circuit said is that the fact that six counties in Florida (sic) rely on these so-called punch card ballots -- and we're all very familiar with those from the 2000 presidential campaigns. Those are the ballots with the little holes that you literally punch through. And from that came the whole dispute over the hanging chads and dimpled chads and so forth.

Essentially, this court said, those ballots have a high error rate and we don't want this election to go forward as long as there are six counties with something like 40 percent of the California electorate in those counties. They include Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento. We don't want the election to go forward as long as those ballots are being used.

ZAHN: So, Joe, what does this mean to the candidates? One would assume that it would help the incumbent governor. But if this date doesn't stick and you're looking at a March election, who wins, who loses?

JOE KLEIN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All I can say is, yikes!

This is mind-boggling. And it's hard to say for sure exactly what it's going to mean to each of the candidates. But you have to think that Arnold Schwarzenegger got into this because he thought it was going to be a very short campaign, where he wouldn't be tested on all the issues and have to come up with all the answers.

ZAHN: Surprise.

KLEIN: You betcha.

On the other hand, Gray Davis, people are saying, would be better off if the election were held in March. And we should say, by the way, that the day that they want to hold this election is the next time California votes, which is the Democratic primary in March, which means a gazillion Democrats are going to be out there voting, which would be very good for Gray Davis.

However, over the last few days, over the last week, Davis seemed to have been turning this around a little bit. Bill Clinton came to help him out. And he might have been getting stronger. So who knows how this is going to work?

ZAHN: Judy, I know you've spent a lot of time today talking with members in the Democrats' campaigns, as well as Republicans' campaigns. What are they saying tonight?

WOODRUFF: Well, this is a whole new ball game, Paula. What people are saying out here is that, if this election is truly postponed, if it is not -- if this decision is not overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is a possibility, because the people who don't like it are definitely going to appeal to the Supreme Court -- if it is postponed, it is a whole new ball game. Around Schwarzenegger has to come up with a new game plan. So does Gray Davis.

As Joe just said, everybody was on course for this election to take place three weeks from tomorrow. If that doesn't happen, and it's a six-months election, it's a very different landscape.

ZAHN: But the legal wrangling isn't over. There's a small window of possibility that the Supreme Court could take action on this and we could see an October 7 recount?

KLEIN: Of course. And there is a precedent.

They did get involved in Florida. But that was a federal election. This is a state election, which is a different kettle of fish. And the Supreme Court may well choose to stay out of this. There's another thing that we have to bring up here, which is governance. The state of California has to be governed over the next six months. And putting this off puts off a whole bunch of problems that the governor of California has to deal with right now.

ZAHN: Well, of course, all of this was going on. And more than 1,000 miles away in Chicago, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife were making some news, as they did one of their first joint interviews ever on "Oprah" this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "OPRAH")

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: Are you like getting a crash course in government?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It's amazing. I get up at 5:30, 6:00 in the morning. I used to ride the life cycle and watch television. Now I ride the life cycle for an hour and I have a stack of briefing papers in front of me and study the issues and get briefed and all those things.

Then you go and make phone calls for two hours. Then you go and ask people for their support and for their endorsements. Then you go to a fund-raiser. Then you go to an interview. Then you fly up to San Francisco. So it's like all day long. And so it's very intense, the whole thing. But I'm in shape. I'm ready to pump it up.

WINFREY: Oh, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

MARIA SHRIVER, WIFE OF SCHWARZENEGGER: Our daughter the other night, I was putting her to sleep, and she said, "I feel so bad for daddy." I said, "Why?" She said, "He has so much homework."

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: All right, Judy, anybody following the polls out there would know that, in one poll, you have Arnold Schwarzenegger running some 13 points behind the lieutenant governor, Bustamante, with women. How did that appearance today play?

WOODRUFF: Well, it's probably early to say, because it played on the same day that we had this earth-shattering court ruling, which, by the way, is knocking Arnold's "Oprah" interview probably off the front pages tomorrow, though there may be a picture.

But the big story is clearly the possibility that this election is going to be postponed. There's no doubt, Paula, Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a problem with women voters. And they -- if this election goes forward on October the 7th, he's going to continue to have to reach out to women, because some of those interviews, some of the stories that came out decades ago are still going to be out there.

ZAHN: And his wife seemed to confront some of those today in that appearance.

KLEIN: Well, yes.

This was a very heartwarming sort of thing. But if you're talking about homework for Arnold, he's got a lot of homework to do. For example, he's got to learn how the referendum that he supported last year that forced more money to be spent on after-school programs, which is a good idea, but it helped unbalance the budget. He's got to learn how this whole referendum process has tied the hands of politicians in Sacramento and made it almost impossible to govern this state.

ZAHN: Joe Klein, Judy Woodruff, thank you so much for your time tonight.

Joining us now from Culver City, California, is Arianna Huffington, one of the candidates in the recall election.

Always good to see you, Arianna.

You always said -- or have said today that this is pretty good news. But don't you have to acknowledge that, in the long run, it gives Gray Davis more time to shore up his Democratic base?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON (I), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's definitely good news, Paula, for two reasons.

First of all, it's good news because this is the dirty little secret of American politics, the fact that so many of our votes end up getting discarded election after election. So, even before we look at the recall election here, it's really good news, because Congress passed the Help America Vote Act, but it hasn't been properly funded. And no money has gone to it for 2004. So if we're really going to get the machines ready for the 2004 election, this could be a wakeup call.

Now, when it comes to California, I think it's really good news, because it will be a fairer result if it goes on in March. I don't know what's going to happen to Gray Davis. That's really the big unknown. As Joe said, he was doing better in the last couple of weeks. It's definitely bad news for the front-runners.

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON: Bad news for Arnold and for Cruz.

ZAHN: But, in your judgment, is this really about empowering voters, or is this just that you don't want Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the next governor?

HUFFINGTON: Well, this is definitely about empowering voters.

And I absolutely do not want a Bush Republican to be the next governor. That would be disastrous for this state, because Bush's economic policies have been, to a large extent, responsible for the plight of this state. The repeal of the estate tax alone, Paula, cost us $3.4 billion. So the last thing the state needs is another Bush Republican like Arnold.

But beyond that, it's really good to make sure that especially minority voters and low-income voters, which is where a lot of these dysfunctional machines are to be found, get the right to vote, and especially right now. We've had an unprecedented surge in new registrations. I did a college tour all last week. My Web site, VoteArianna.com, has been flooded with registration requests.

This is something which hasn't happened before. So now we have more time to register voters. We have more time to galvanize disaffected voters; 13 million Californians had not even voted in the last election. I think it's good news all around, except for the front-runners. It's not just Arnold. Cruz Bustamante is coming under growing scrutiny because of his over $3 million that he got from Indian gaming interests. Now the public will know more about that.

ZAHN: When you look at the horse race now, I know you mentioned -- you followed up on a little point that Joe Klein made about Governor Davis making some headway in the last couple weeks. In the end, is it the governor this helps the most?

HUFFINGTON: We don't know about that.

I think the governor's fate -- I have always thought, Paula, despite what the polls says, which I actually don't believe at all, because they look at likely voters -- and the great mystery of this election is who's going to turn out to vote -- I have always thought it was a 50/50 chance for the governor. I don't think that has changed. And I don't think it's going to change. There are so many imponderables. But on the second part of the ballot, I think this is going to be a great opportunity for the people of California to really scrutinize all the candidates. It will be very hard for Arnold to run a Rose Garden strategy of interviews with Oprah and platitudes. He will really have to answer questions. And, actually, Joe Klein was wrong. That after-school initiative that Arnold helped passed has never been funded, because there was never a funding stream for it, which is one of the problems with Arnold Schwarzenegger's politics. It's all window-dressing.

There was all that attention paid to the after-school initiative. And do you know how many children have received after-school classes because of it? Zero.

ZAHN: Well, on that note, we've got to end. Arianna Huffington, thanks so much. You're getting to be like Ross Perot in there. Remember how he used to slip in that 1-800 number? You got that Arianna.com in there a couple of times.

HUFFINGTON: No, VoteArianna.com.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: I, oh, I left the "vote" off. OK. Thanks, Arianna.

Still ahead: a rare look at life on Korea's DMZ, where American troops have to be ready to go to war in 90 seconds.

Amazing new pictures from the womb. You can even see a smile. Do the images hold the key to fighting birth defects?

And a teenager mobilizes her community to battle poverty nearly 800 miles away.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Forty years ago today, the civil rights movement was rocked by a deadly bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. And for some, the pain still runs deep.

Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us tonight with more.

Good evening.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hey, Paula.

It's really an extraordinary story. Even in a nation with a history of racial violence, this bombing stood out for its sheer brutality and its long and bitter legacy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOOBIN (voice-over): Two weeks after Martin Luther King electrified the civil rights movement with his, "I have a dream speech," Americans woke up to a nightmare.

On September 15, 1963, four young African-American girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, were killed when a bomb exploded there. The racially motivated murders, which came just days after Birmingham schools were first integrated, tore apart families, shocked the nation, and accelerated the movement to eliminate segregation across the South.

A Ku Klux Klansman named Robert Chambliss was quickly arrested and just as quickly acquitted of the murders. The case wasn't reopened until 1977, when Chambliss was finally convicted and sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 1994. It was not until more than 20 years later that two other Klansmen, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry, were also convicted of the crimes.

Justice delayed gave the bombers a chance to grow old in freedom, something denied to the four young victims whose lives were taken 40 years ago today.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOOBIN: The bombing changed the course of the civil rights movements and left scars that have really never healed -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jeffrey, thanks so much.

The anniversary, of course, especially emotional for Chris McNair. His daughter, Denise, was killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. He joins me tonight, as does former U.S. attorney Doug Jones. Jones led the prosecutions of two of the former Klansmen convicted in the bombings.

Glad to have both of you drop by this evening.

CHRIS MCNAIR, FATHER OF CHURCH BOMBING VICTIM: Thanks for having us.

ZAHN: Mr. McNair, it took almost 40 years to track down the killers of your daughter.

MCNAIR: Yes.

ZAHN: How do you reconcile that?

MCNAIR: Well, some things, you don't reconcile. You live with it, and you go along with the legal end of it being taken care of, as far as the courts are concerned, to give you some kind of closure.

ZAHN: How bitter are you?

MCNAIR: I don't know how bitter I am. I don't know if bitter is the word at this point.

Reconciliation and trying to move forward and trying to make sure that our community moves forward, I think that's where I am.

ZAHN: I know this is painful, but remind all of us of what happened that day, where you were, how you found out.

MCNAIR: Well, believe it or not, I was in church, but not that church. And I left earlier going to the church I attend.

And so I was hoping that -- we didn't have but one car. I don't even remember how I got to church. And so, when I found out that the church had been bombed, I was hoping that my wife was late that morning and didn't make it. But it wasn't so. So, at the end of Sunday school, where I was, somebody had found out where it -- what had happened. And so, my studio was about a block from the church.

And I walked down there and got camera and film and proceeded to hitch a ride over to 16th Street. I got within a block of 16th Street and I saw a cousin of my wife's. And she said: "Come on, go with me. We can't find Denise."

And so I took the steering wheel and then we drove over to the hospital and -- University Hospital. And that's where we found a morgue -- a room they were using as a morgue, where four bodies lay up there. And one of them was my daughter.

ZAHN: Mr. Jones, what is the best explanation for why it took 40 years to convict two of these men?

DOUG JONES, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Oh, I think it's a combination of a number of things.

There was a lot of information at the time. The FBI really did a pretty decent -- incredible job, actually -- of interviewing as many people. But these old Klan members, they kept to themselves. They kept quiet. They didn't talk. Even to this day, we didn't have any information from old Klan members to might solve this. And I think, as time went on, the case just got put on a shelf. And it took a couple of cases in Mississippi to resurrect and to really realize that you can go back.

And we've got a new jury pool and a new society. And I think you can go back and take the same evidence, add some to it, and get a fair jury and get a conviction in the case.

ZAHN: Mr. McNair, what is the legacy of your daughter Denise?

MCNAIR: Well, the legacy is that, after 40 years, she would have done some good things here herself. And we feel that the scholarship that we have formed -- or did it in '83. And 48 children have received parts of that scholarship, to the tune of $172,000. And we think that that would be a major thing. And we certainly hope that the people would contribute to that, so that we can keep on helping these kids go to school. And I hope you've got it where you're going to put it on the screen or on your Web site, or whatever.

ZAHN: We have made a point of doing just that, sir.

MCNAIR: Thank you.

ZAHN: Mr. McNair and Mr. Jones, thank you for spending a little time with us this evening.

Still to come: It is the dangerous divide. Coming up: an unprecedented look at the DMZ between North and South Korea, where soldiers shoot glances like bullets. There's a live look there right now. Martin Savidge will join us.

And then, a little bit later on: the passionate debate over Mel Gibson's "The Passion." Is it film anti-Semitic? I'll be joined by Rabbi James Rudin and Deal Hudson, publisher of "Crisis" magazine.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: For more than 50 years, troops on both sides of the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea have dutifully stood guard. And while the two sides don't talk, sometimes, the eyes can tell the whole story.

Martin Savidge has been granted unprecedented access to the DMZ and has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Korean soldiers prepare for battle in the DMZ. It is a fight where the only weapon is a pair of eyes and the only thing shot is a glance.

(on camera): The DMZ stretches 150 miles, separating north and south. But nowhere else do the two sides come close as they do here in Panmunjom, literally separated only by inches, 16 inches of concrete.

(voice-over): Soldiers who serve on the southern side are handpicked to be imposing. The minimum height for Americans is 6 feet. South Koreans must be at least 5'8. That's two inches taller than average in their country.

South Korean guards stand in a martial-arts stance, their bodies are only half-exposed to the north, making them less of a target. Across the way, the North Korean soldiers are said to be the best fed in a nation that has suffered years of famine. But a number of them still look gaunt and drawn. They often stand sideways, facing each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason for that is, if one of those soldiers decides he wants to defect, the other soldier's duty is to shoot that soldier and prevent him from defecting.

SAVIDGE: Tensions rise during official meetings on the DMZ, as more guards come out. North Korean soldiers occupy a nearby building which American soldiers have called the monkey house, referring to how the guards inside peek out. U.S. officers suspect the building houses heavy weapons, which are outlawed under DMZ rules.

Looking for possible violations of the armistice is a favorite pastime of both sides here. Cameras sprout almost everywhere, adding eyes that never blink. The weather may change, but not the dangerous game. American soldiers bring their own level of psychological warfare. Unlike the South Koreans, they prefer not to wear sunglasses to hide their eyes. They don't wear raincoats in the rain or winter coats in the snow, believing that projects weakness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's almost a demonstration of your mental and physical toughness always out here.

SAVIDGE: Whether the American tactic earns North Korean respect isn't clear. But U.S. soldiers believe they have earned something else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say that they hate us. You can see it in their eyes when they look at us.

SAVIDGE: At Panmunjom, if looks could kill, the body count on both sides would be high.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: And, Paula, you're looking live now as the face-off continues. This is a ROK soldier, Republican of Korea soldier, looking directly across to a North Korean soldier.

Let me go over the ground rules real quickly here for all of those involved. No. 1, nobody crosses the border. No. 2, you don't point, gesture or wave in any way to the North Koreans. No. 3, you don't talk to the North Koreans or try to shout at them. And, lastly, as a civilian here, there's even a dress code. You can't wear anything too provocative, can't wear anything too revealing, and you don't wear no blue jeans, strict rules, because, as anyone knows, the slightest misstep here could have disastrous consequences -- Paula.

ZAHN: Thanks for a fascinating look at something we've never seen before, Martin Savidge. And we want to remind you all to tune in again tomorrow night, when Martin takes another rare look at the dangers U.S. troops face along Korea's very dangerous divide.

Coming up in a minute: the very latest on that big storm out there churning in the Atlantic.

Then: It is supposed to be inspiring, but will it also inspire anti-Semitism? We'll debate the possible impact of Mel Gibson's upcoming movie "The Passion."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back. If you're just joining us, here's the news you need to know tonight. The California recall is on hold but the candidates are still campaigning. A federal appeals court panel says the elections should be put off until punch card machines could be replaced with more modern technology. The October 7 election could be delayed until March. Nothing certain, however, because today's ruling is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Hurricane Isabel is heading for the U.S. East coast. Everybody from North Carolina to New England have been told to keep a close eye on the forecast. It could hit land as early as Thursday. Its top winds have weakened slightly today to 125 miles per hour. But still a very dangerous storm.

Hollywood usually loves it when a movie generates buzz. Word of mouth that builds anticipation for a new film. But the buzz about Mel Gibson's new film is building apprehension, and still months away from release. Gibson, produced, directed and co-wrote "The Passion," which retells the story of Jesus' crucifixion. If you listen to the buzz it's very violent and it could be construed by some as anti-Semitic.

To debate it, I'm joined here in New York by Rabbi Rudin, and Deal Hudson the publisher of Catholic magazine called "Crisis." And he joins us from Washington tonight.

And welcome, gentlemen.

RABBI JAMES RUDIN, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE: Welcome, delighted to be here.

DEAL HUDSON, PUBLISHER, "CRISIS": Good to be here.

ZAHN: Rabbi Rudin, do you think Mel Gibson has made an anti- Semitic movie here?

I don't think so. This debate, if it is a debate, is not between Christians and Jews, a fair and reconciling view of a story that means a great deal to millions of people. And those who want to continue the long line of medieval passion plays which have historically brought out anti-Jewish (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's also not a question of censorship as some people have said. It's really whether this film will follow the long line of toxic radioactive kind of films, or will it break that tradition and present a thoroughly Christian passion plate, which does not transmit anti-Jewish images and stereotypes.

ZAHN: Mr. Hudson, you've seen the film. What do you think it does?

HUDSON: I agree with the rabbi. And I do think this film is a positive portrayal of the last 12 hours of Jesus. I don't think it in any way carries on the anti-Semitic tradition that he speaks of, and is a historical fact. I think by the time you finish this film, you're really thinking about the cruelty of the Roman soldiers much more than you're thinking about the role that the Jews played in bringing him to trial, or in leading to his Crucifixion. Once Jesus is handed over to the Roman's Pontius Pilate soldiers, really as an audience, you kind of lose any conscious awareness of the Jews' role because of the level of sadistic cruelty against the body of Christ, is something that really is what you're focused on by the time that movie is over.

ZAHN: In spite of -- excuse me, despite what Mr. Hudson is saying, Rabbi Rudin, do you think that will be the impression film goers will be left with or do you think they will be left blaming Jews for death of Jesus?

RUDIN: Well, the rough cut that I saw last month in Houston, Texas, clearly makes the Jewish priesthood, the high priest, the instrument of the of Jesus. And there's a real transfer of power, which happens in all these traditional passion plays where Pilot is a kind of weakling and vacillating figure which was not in history. He was really blood and cruel. And he is really a cats paw, an instrument of Jewish villainy, and that's simply not true. Also, every time one does a passion play, there are many sources in the four gospels to choose from, some of which are very anti-Jewish, and some of them are very reconciling.

It seems to me the rough cut I saw in Houston, this film follows the pattern of choosing the worst kind of anti-Jewish nullification. And therefore, I disagree. I think through my eyes and through the eyes of many Christians who were there and saw the film, it does make the Jews culpable, something that the Roman Catholic Church has spoken out again and again and again to repudiate.

ZAHN: But the Vatican has come out defending this film through a spokesperson. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. Here is the quote, "Gibson's artistic choice, choices make the film faithful to the meaning of the gospels, as understood by the church." Mr. Hudson, can you explain something to me?

Mel Gibson is a member of an ultra-conservative movement of Catholicism that actually rejects the Vatican leadership.

Does that make any sense to you that the Vatican would put itself in this position?

HUDSON: I don't think the movie expresses Mel Gibson's particular take on the Catholic Church. In fact, when I first saw the movie, I had my doubts, and my own level of skepticism about the kind of portrayal of the life of Christ, the death of Christ he would make. But I was totally convinced by the film, I think it's a great film, beautifully made. I think it's a classic movie. I think the Vatican is stepping in simply because the Vatican has reached out to the Jewish community during the 25 years of John Paul II's papacy. He has had good relationships. He has apologized over and over again for any role the Catholics may have had -- did have in the holocaust. And so they're trying to say the Jewish friends look, we think is a balanced view of the role of the Jews in that particular moment in history with the death of Jesus of Nazareth. And let's get on to debating the real questions that separate Jews and Christians, which are not Mel Gibson's film. Film, mind you, "The Passion."

ZAHN: Well, we've got just about five months for most folks out there to debate that themselves. That's about when the film is expected to hit theaters. Rabbi James Rudin and Deal Hudson, thank you for both of your prospectives this evening.

RUDIN: Thank you.

HUDSON: Thank you.

ZAHN: Coming up, Tucker Carlson takes on politicians, parasites and cable TV.

We'll meet a 17-year-old girl on a mission to help one of the poorest communities in the nation.

And tomorrow, new report cards in school may be giving kids failing grades just because of their weight. We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back.

We have some pictures that will certainly fascinate you. But they also happen to be extremely controversial.

The newly published images show fetuses in the womb at 26 weeks, barely into the third trimester, exhibiting familiar expressions, and what happen to be -- or appear to be emotions.

Joining me from Marin County, California, is Dr. Nancy Snyderman. She's vice president of Johnson & Johnson. She's also spent 18 years as a medical journalist.

Also with this evening from Minneapolis is Jeffrey Kahn. He is the director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics to talk about how this may affect the abortion debate.

Welcome to both of you.

NANCY SNYDERMAN, V.P. JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: So Nancy, when you look at those pictures, what do you think those fetuses are doing?

SNYDERMAN: Well, I think they're fascinating and this is technology that continues to evolve. And we should tell people, in the future, you're going to see more and more and more.

This is really a noninvasive way to look at fetuses while they're developing. And we're seeing more things than before. We've seen finger movement before when fetuses were 15 weeks of age. We've seen yawning when they're 20 weeks. And now at 26 weeks, we've been able to see eyes blinking, and facial movements that look like smiling.

But I would daresay now that that's all we know. That's all we see. It's the science. That's the data, if you. Our interpretation of those things, I think, puts us on somewhat sketchy ground.

ZAHN: Well, what is your interpretation? Are these fetuses capable of feeling emotions?

SNYDERMAN: We don't know, Paula. We obviously know that they're fetuses capable of making facial expressions that we recognize and that we ascribe qualities to. But there's not a scientist on the face of the Earth that can tell you that a fetus is happy or sad or feeling emotion the way we think fetuses do. So to see these pictures, and then to take that next big step, that's the one that people are going to continue to argue about. But I think it's the one that is most precarious.

ZAHN: I can't take my eyes off these images. They are...

SNYDERMAN: They're really extraordinary.

ZAHN: They're incredible.

SNYDERMAN: They really are extraordinary. It's a huge leap forward in the ability to see fetal development.

ZAHN: So Jeffrey, when you look at these detailed images, I imagine you think that this will do much to inflame an already heated abortion debate.

What will be the impact of these graphic images that we're capable of seeing now and analyzing?

JEFFREY KAHN, U. OF MINN. CTR. FOR BIOETHICS: I think you're right that it will certainly inflame the debate. And I think I would put it as a raising of the temperature of the abortion debate. It certainly will change our emotional response to what we think of as a fetus versus as a baby. And in fact, some people have been talking about these images as showing a baby in the womb. And that, I think, blurs a line about how we've thought about when it's appropriate to think about abortion and when it's not.

And while it may change our emotional response to that fetus in the womb, I think we have to remember, it won't change, really, the whole construct of how we've thought about abortion, which is staked to the viability of that fetus outside the womb. So while we can look inside and see these pictures, which are remarkable, it won't really change how we've thought about when the line ought to be drawn for when it's acceptable to perform an abortion and when it's not.

ZAHN: But certainly, Nancy, these advances in technology have got to change the way people look at a fetus versus a baby.

SNYDERMAN: Well, I think you have to continue the word. If you want to play the scientific role, to continue talking about a fetus as a developing embryo in utero. And once that fetus is delivered, it's then a baby.

And I know that's going to really irritate some people. But I say that distinction for a real reason. And that is, because medicine and technology continue to push the envelope.

When I was a young pediatrician, babies didn't survive if they were born at 30 weeks. Then it was 28. Then it's 27. Now it's 26. So the viability aspect that Jeffrey talked about is absolutely right. So I would caution both sides of this debate not to use the science for propaganda, but to understand the significance and the beauty of it all, and to talk about the interpretation of these movements with great caution. ZAHN: Jeffrey, a final word on where you think this technology is taking us?

KAHN: I think it's going to change our relationship, the mother's relationship with her future child because it will really push back our sense of when baby pictures are possible. And I think, you know, looking into the womb and seeing what a baby will look like in the future, will alter how we think about that relationship, and when it's appropriate to make decisions about the future of your pregnancy.

So that, I think, is a very important new stake in the ground.

ZAHN: So Nancy, I have copies of all my sonograms. Do you, too?

SNYDERMAN: You bet I do.

ZAHN: You probably taped into a scrapbook there that you're never going to let anybody get a hold of?

SNYDERMAN: You bet I do. And I don't think there's a woman who finds herself pregnant, and either course she chooses, to continue with the pregnancy or to abort -- there isn't a woman who doesn't sit back and ponder the meaning of both of those tracks, and this just adds a little bit more pressure, a little bit more significance, but should make us all sit back and talk about this debate fairly and reasonably.

ZAHN: Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Jeffrey Kahn, thank you for your time tonight.

KAHN: Thank you.

SNYDERMAN: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: We're going to take a short break here.

Listen. Is the faint noise on the right the sound of dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush? In a minute, we'll be talking with this guy. Can we look at him? There he is. Tucker Carlson. We're going to hear what he's talking about tonight.

A little bit later on. the story about of a school that did more than adopt a mile. The students went the extra mile -- wait, you'll see the students -- here they are -- adopting a town, and they made a huge difference. You'll meet them.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: The latest polls show President Bush's popularity eroding because of the problems in post-war Iraq. No surprise, the Democratic presidential candidates are piling on. But what are Republicans thinking? What is their strategy? Joining us tonight is co-host on the right of "CROSSFIRE," Tucker Carlson. He has some thoughts about the president's political problems, as well as a new book out. It is called "Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News."

Always good to see you. Welcome.

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: Do you think President Bush will get elected?

CARLSON: Well, he has to be beaten by somebody. I think he could lose. I mean, I think if there were a strong candidate who people believed would protect them, that candidate could beat Bush. I don't know who he is, exactly. I mean, Wesley Clark -- General Wesley Clark may join me. He is completely different than the other nine so far in the race.

But I think that, you know, the White House realizes that the president is not so strong he can't be beaten. But again, is Howard Dean going to beat him? Is that really plausible? I mean, I'm a Dean supporter. The doctor is in. But...

ZAHN: So you're a Dean supporter and a president supporter?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Journalism compels us to at least offer moral support to the most interesting candidate. That's how I feel about Howard Dean.

But do people look at Howard Dean and Say, You know, he'll make my family safer? I don't think do. Maybe they will.

ZAHN: The vice president made it clear that the president has staked his presidency on what happens in the war on terror and what happens in Iraq. Is that a mistake?

CARLSON: No, I think it's -- I mean, it's unavoidable, it's honorable. I mean, the president went into Iraq presenting it as part of the war on terror, and essentially saying, Trust me. This is an abstract argument we're making in favor of this war. But go along with me. I know what I'm doing. And if it turns out that he didn't know what he was doing, I think he'll lose. And maybe he would deserve to lose. He probably would deserve to lose if this turns out to be a massive debacle. We don't know now. I don't think it will turn out that way, but if it does, yes, he could lose over it, and fairly.

ZAHN: You talked over the last week or so the number of issues that conservatives seem to be upset with, with the president over, the key one?

CARLSON: I don't know. Government has grown pretty dramatically. But there's a war on, that makes sense. It's axiomatic that war makes government grow. I don't think there's going to be a revolt on the right. Because at the beginning of the primary process in 1999, a different Republican interest groups, to the extent they existed, rolled over for George W. Bush, governor of Texas and said, we're on board. There was never a real fight last time around.

ZAHN: And they got the tax cut, right.

CARLSON: They got the tax cuts, that's right. So I don't see a revolt from the right. I think conservatives know that this president is kind of conservative, not super conservative.

ZAHN: In this book, you take on the cable TV industry. Dead aim at some of the players in industry it self. Are you one of these self-loathing cable guys, Tucker?

Are you embarrassed to be on cable TV?

CARLSON: This is -- you got me Paula. This is just a vulgar interlude in my life. My real love is modern dance, and I intended to return. No, I love -- are you kidding? I love cable TV. I mean, it's ad hoc. I love news. It's interesting. I mean, things just sort of happen and you have to respond to them. I have a problem with inappropriate laughter, sometimes, on the air.

ZAHN: Did someone write that about you and you can't get it out of your head?

CARLSON: The inappropriate laughter thing? No, it's night after night after having people -- actually, it happened during the Florida recount when probably one out of every three guests referred to the electoral college as the electrical college. And I just had this -- I just always wanted to come back with something about plumbing school, but I could just feel the laughter welling up deep within. No, I love it, it's a great job.

ZAHN: Well, the book has gotten some good reviews. Here it is right here, "Politicians, Partisans and Parasites. Look for you on TV tomorrow.

CARLSON: I'll be there.

ZAHN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 4:30 Eastern time. Always good to see you.

How many bow ties do you own?

CARLSON: Hundreds.

ZAHN: Hundreds.

And we're going to see them all rolled out in the upcoming election year.

CARLSON: That's exactly right.

ZAHN: There is more to come after this very short break. When the children of the impoverished township of Pembroke, Illinois need at helping hand a teenager from suburban New York reached out. A very touching story of a 17-year-old girl. Her name is Meredith Brown. When we came down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Pembroke Township, Illinois, is just about an hour south of Chicago. To some outsiders it may be inconceivable that this is middle America. People living in shacks with dirt floors, no running war. Well, to one 17-year-old girl in New York, it was more than appalling, it was simply unacceptable. And she set about to change that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Pembroke Township, Illinois, is a town of great poverty, where half of the families live below the poverty line. A town Where Many children go to bed hungry at night. But when school started this year in Pembroke Township, there was hope. It came from an unlikely place. From a high school student in an affluent suburban New York high school. Her name, Meredith Brown, a young girl who wanted to make a difference, to adopt the town. These boxes of school supplies were delivered today. Things that these kids normally don't have.

GLORIA HAMILTON, PRINCIPAL LORENZO SMITH ELEM.: Pencils, papers, markers, notebook, folders, they have it.

ZAHN: Today's shipment is the second wave of school supplies that have arrived in Pembroke Township. Thanks to Meredith and her group, Students Offering Support. More than 180 kids have been given school supplies so far this year. And there is the promise of much more to come.

GENOYA SINGLETON, PEMBROKE TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR: The people of Rye, New York, I just can't thank you enough that all that you have actually done.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And that very smart high school student joins us tonight, 17-year-old Meredith Brown, a student in Blind Brook High School in Westchester County, New York. She is founder of Students Offering Support. Also joined by her mother, Celia, who is with us tonight.

Welcome to both of you. Congratulations.

MEREDITH BROWN, STUDENTS OFFERING SUPPORT: Thank you.

ZAHN: How did you hear about this place?

M. BROWN: Last September there was an article in "The New York Times" concerning the poverty in Pembroke. The article talks about a 6-year-old boy who went to sleep at night hungry. That he wasn't able to have three meals a day. And as soon as I read it, I knew I had to help.

ZAHN: And when you went there for the first time, what were your impressions?

M. BROWN: It was incredible.

ZAHN: Was it worse than what you had read about?

M. BROWN: Yes, it was really hard to imagine. I am very fortunate to have come from an affluent community, and I've never seen anything like this. And I am thrilled that I'm doing this project.

ZAHN: You've got to be proud of what your daughter has accomplished here, from your point of view, what is the impact of this gift on this very poor community?

CELIA BROWN, MEREDITH'S MOTHER: Well, it's a start. And it's amazing. We learned when we were there that the people feel a sense of hope, because communities are reaching out to them, and trying to help, particularly, in this case. And it's an amazing feeling to have a child who's willing to reach out herself and see what an impact she can have on other people.

ZAHN: So, what comes next?

You're going to try to get more active involvement of corporations maybe so you can make these gifts bigger?

M. BROWN: That, and I'm actually starting a school club at Blind Brook starting in the fall. And in the upcoming months we're going to work to collect more supplies, and help as much as we can.

ZAHN: We wish you tremendous luck. You're certainly setting a very powerful example for all of us this evening.

M. BROWN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thank you for dropping by. Meredith, good luck.

I can't think more rewarding than getting some of the notes you've gotten from these students, who have no idea why a stranger would send them these kind of school supplies.

M. BROWN: They don't understand. But I read this article, and I knew I had to help them, I had to do something.

ZAHN: Well, keep it going and coming.

M. BROWN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thank you.

C. BROWN: Thank you very much.

ZAHN: We'll be keeping an eye on you.

And we want to thank you all for joining us this evening. That wraps it up for all of us. Tomorrow on this program more of Martin Savage's exclusive series of reports from Korea's the demilitarized zone.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next.

Again, appreciate you joining us. Have a good night.

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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