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Rush Limbaugh Enters Rehab; Gloves Come Off in Kobe Bryant Case; The Really, Really, Really Bad Movie Festival Opens This Weekend In Yonkers, New York

Aired October 10, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Rush Limbaugh admits he's hooked on prescription painkillers and vows to enter drug rehab. Why did he admit it today? What does the conservative talk show host face as he tries to beat his addiction?
The man who brought Siegfried & Roy to Las Vegas sheds new light on what set off a 600-pound tiger that nearly killed Roy Horn.

And killer tomatoes, giant crabs.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The most horrible thing I've ever scene in my life.


ZAHN: Cannes, it's not. We have got your ticket to a film festival where bad is good.

Good evening. Welcome. Glad to have you wrap up the week with us here tonight.

Also ahead: The gloves come off in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case. We're going to show you what's next for defense and prosecution strategies.

And our debate. We're used to seeing candidates campaigning on late-night comedy shows, but did Jay Leno go too far by publicly celebrating with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Plus: an intimate look at first lady Laura Bush through the eyes of her departing press secretary.

Now here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

Army Captain James Yee is charged with two counts of disobeying an order. Yee is the Muslim chaplain arrested last month allegedly carrying classified materials into the U.S. from the Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has been held for nearly a month now on suspicion of espionage and aiding the enemy.

President Bush is talking tough on Cuba and Fidel Castro. In a Rose ceremony today, he announced steps that he hopes will speed up the arrival of democracy in the communist country, among them, a crackdown on prohibited travel to Cuba and a panel to plan what for Mr. Bush calls the happy day of Castro's fall.

And government sources tell CNN that Philadelphia Mayor John Street is the subject of a federal investigation into alleged public corruption. Police found a bugging device in Street's office earlier this week. Sources say the FBI planted it.

Well, we start tonight with Rush Limbaugh's admission that he is addicted to painkillers, under investigation, and, as of today, checking himself in for treatment once again. Revelations about Limbaugh's illegal drug use were first reported in "The National Enquirer," then picked up by other media. Limbaugh himself confirmed it on his program today.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST: I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read in the past week is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.


ZAHN: "In Focus" tonight, Rush Limbaugh's drug use.

Joining us from Florida is "TIME" magazine's Miami bureau chief, Tim Padgett.

Good to see you, Tim. Welcome.


ZAHN: Do you think Rush Limbaugh ever would have admitted to what he did to today if it weren't for "The National Enquirer" breaking the story?

PADGETT: Well, what he said today had all the markings of a sort of lawyer-choreographed admission.

He was very careful with his words. He made sure that he mentioned nothing about the fact that "The National Enquirer" story, etcetera, had cited his own purchasing of illicit prescription painkillers, which is the claim that his former housemaid had made in "The National Enquirer." so it had the markings, as I said, of a very lawyer-choreographed admission. And it had all the blessings, obviously, of his lawyer. So, in turn, one can surmise that this is part of his and his lawyers' efforts to let's say lessen whatever kind of legal problems he may or may not be in with Palm Beach County authorities now in Florida.

ZAHN: Sure. And I think what you're just describing is easy to understand from a strategic point of view. But, in the end, what drove the timing of the admission today?

PADGETT: Oh, of course, the fact that it would -- it exploded in "The National Enquirer" last week.

We have to remember that Palm Beach County authorities knew about this claim by Rush Limbaugh's former housemaid months before "The National Enquirer" story came out. And the reason that we hadn't herd about this before was because Palm Beach County authorities are looking at Rush Limbaugh as part of a much larger investigation into black-market rings that peddle prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Hydrocodone. particularly down here in South Florida.

And one of the things that sources tell us is that they're more interested at this point in communicating with Rush Limbaugh, in the sense of getting cooperation from him in helping them identify doctors and suppliers of these prescription painkillers, not so much in terms of nailing him in a prosecutorial sense.

ZAHN: So, do you suspect, then, there will be no charges against him for illegally purchasing these drugs?

PADGETT: I wouldn't say that.

The fact is that there is a strong allegation out there by this source, this former housemaid against him, accusations of buying not just a little, but quite a bit, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tablets of OxyContin and other illicitly gathered prescription painkillers. So there is that accusation out there against him.

However, as I said, in cases like this that we have seen in Florida, particularly South Florida, where we have a burgeoning problem with black-market prescription painkillers, prosecutors have shown themselves to be far more interested at this point in, as I said, nailing the doctors and the suppliers.

For example, last year, a doctor who was convicted in Florida of -- in the deaths of four people by eliciting describing too much OxyContin got 62 years in prison. So I think that shows you how much more interested prosecutors are in getting at the sources of these prescription painkillers, rather than the addicts at this point.

ZAHN: All right, finally -- we have to do this quickly -- so, basically, what you're hearing from these prosecutors, then, is that perhaps the humiliation is enough for Rush Limbaugh and they'd much rather go after and frame their argument around these doctors who have been illegally getting rid of these drugs for years?


There is a palpable sense that this is how Rush Limbaugh is going to be paying for this, at least at this point, unless they can really prove what the housemaid is claiming, that there was this extent of a problem with him buying illicit painkillers.

ZAHN: Tim Padgett, thanks for the update tonight. Appreciate your dropping by.

PADGETT: Thank you.

ZAHN: And to help us better understand what Rush Limbaugh faces in trying to beat his addiction, I'm joined from Los Angeles by Dr. Drew Pinsky. He is an addiction specialist and a frequent guest. Always good to see you, Doctor.


ZAHN: I wanted to start off our part of the conversation off tonight with something else Rush Limbaugh had to say about his addiction today.

Let's listen together.


LIMBAUGH: Over the past several years, I've tried to break my dependence on pain pills. And, in fact, I've twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so.


ZAHN: All right. And he also said, immediately following that broadcast today, he'd go straight back into rehab for a third time.

What is he up against physically as he tries to beat this addiction? What's going to happen?

PINSKY: Well, the first thing that's going to happen is, he is going to have to detoxify from these very, very powerful agents. And the opiates, of which OxyContin is one, Vicodin, Hydrocodone, the opiate withdrawal is really quite intense.

People feel crushing bone pain. They're agitated. They're dysphoric. My opiate addicts tell me they feel as though somebody they loved has died. Now, as miserable as that is, the opiate withdraw syndrome is actually not the tough part of the treatment of opiate addiction. The tough part is the staying-off part.

Now, I suspect -- Rush didn't says he's been in rehab before. He said he's been in medical facilities twice before. So I suspect he was just previously detoxed twice and tried to sort of get by or kick it on his own, when, in fact, the treatment of the addiction, the inability to stay stopped, is something that takes many, many months to do. He is going to be in treatment, hopefully, for six, 12, maybe even 24 months.

ZAHN: And that means no working during that period of time? Or can you back to work on a part-time basis?

PINSKY: Absolutely, he could return to work.

The 30 days that people think of -- there's nothing magical about this 28-day model. But it is a way of sort of getting people indoctrinated into the treatment process. It's getting him going and then into an outpatient environment, where he can continue his treatment at a lower level, a lower intensity of care. And, yes, many times people can work in that environment as well.

ZAHN: And what is the percentage of success for people who go through this 30-day program?

PINSKY: Well, for opiates, it's not good. For opiate addicts, the recidivism is phenomenally high. In fact, because of that, there's great controversy in my field whether or not we should even be trying to have an abstinence model for opiate addicts.

We should be perhaps putting them all on methadone or putting them on buprenorphine. I don't believe that. I think abstinence is absolutely the proper model. I'm sure it's the one that Rush is going to go for. It's a chronic condition. The hallmark is relapses. So he's likely to relapse in the future. But those people that are willing, honest and follow direction -- he's shown us this already.

I believe what he said on the radio this morning. He showed humility, honesty and willingness. And for those people, as long as they stay with it, most of them do get well. They remit.

ZAHN: If he has been addicted to these pills for that period of time, how has it affected his ability to think?

PINSKY: Well, it's a drug that affects the motivational priorities of the brain. It doesn't necessarily affect your cognition.

It will eventually. But early on in the disease, people can function quite well for very long periods of time. That's one of the extraordinary things about opiate addiction. But, eventually, the way it alters the motivational priorities of the brain, it starts coloring and affecting everything. So all day, all they think about -- maybe not directly, but it colors everything they're doing -- is the pursuit of the drug.

And, eventually, they start having consequences. Relationships fail, legal problems. But they can't stop. That's addiction. It's about not being able to stop, even when you want to in the worst way.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your helping us better understand what all folks who are addicted to those kinds of opiates are up against.

Thank you for the house call tonight, Drew. Have a good weekend.

Now to Roy Horn and the white tiger who nearly killed him on stage last week. Roy's partner, Siegfried Fischbacher, now claims the mauling was actually an accident and that the tiger's real motivation was to protect Roy.

That is also the opinion of Steve Wynn. He is the legendary casino developer in Las Vegas who actually brought Siegfried & Roy to town and remains a close friend to this day. He's also one of the few people to see that video from night. And he joins us from Las Vegas.

Always good to see you, Steve. Welcome.


ZAHN: Now that you've seen this videotape, what makes you so convinced that this tiger was in fact trying to protect Roy, not kill him?

WYNN: I didn't say he was trying to protect him. I said that the tiger didn't attack Roy. That's for sure.

What the tiger was thinking of is another story. He picked Roy up and exited the stage, exactly the way he does every night in the show. He followed the blocking almost perfectly, walked offstage carrying Roy and went into his transport box that they take him back to his big area in. And he tried to take Roy with him.

We all know -- everybody's who's interested in cats knows what a cat attack is like. They cats grab the prey, they lock down, and then they shake. There's not any speck of evidence. The cat leans over, picks up Roy, carries him offstage in exactly the same pattern he follows every night. I've seen Roy. I see him every day several times a day. He doesn't have a mark on his neck, except for the two puncture wounds where the cat picked him up on the side of his neck.

But when you see Montecore on the film, Montecore doesn't do any violence whatsoever to Roy.

ZAHN: I know you also -- at least, I've been told this -- when you looked at the videotape, it became clear to you that Montecore was distracted by a woman with what is being described as big hair in the audience. Is that obvious as you watch this videotape?

WYNN: No, what you see is, there are people sitting on the right, among them, a lady with a hairdo that's sort of Jackie Kennedy- type. But there are several people sitting together on the right. And Montecore seems to be fascinated by those people and turns towards the lady, which puts the cat at an angle that's incorrect.

And then Roy walked in front of Montecore. And when he did, he put himself between the cat's front paws. Montecore was laying down in a prone position, and two paws out in front. Roy stood between the two and is working on getting Montecore to get back up and go into position, when the cat grabs him by the arm in the way that he does when he plays with him -- and, incidentally, not a scratch on Roy's arm or on his costume.

ZAHN: Wow.

WYNN: And Roy gives the command to release and he pulls on the cat. And when he releases, Roy falls back. And the cat's paw was behind his leg. And he falls over backwards, with his feet towards the audience and his head towards the curtain. And he's laying flat on his back, which Isabel bad position.

The cat gets up. And by this time, there are four handlers outside, out on the stage. And they're pushing Montecore by the shoulders. And Montecore doesn't really quite know what's going on. He leans over, picks up Roy and makes the exit that they made for -- the cat's 9 years old.

ZAHN: Right. WYNN: The cat has been in the show for seven years. And Montecore makes the exit at exactly the same pace that he makes the exit every night, off on stage left, and then walks into his transport cage that they take him back to his big house in.

ZAHN: Wow.

WYNN: And when Roy was in that position, that's when the cat was separated from Roy, and Roy is laying on the ground bleeding from an artery that was severed by the pickup. And Montecore is sitting in the cage looking around.

And that is how this awful episode took place. And it's bad enough the way it happened. But to suggest that a cat viciously attacked Roy and tried to maul Roy because of something that happened is a ridiculous statement, if you know anything about Roy Horn and the 44-year history of these animals with this man. Cats don't attack Roy.


ZAHN: We never made that accusation here.

WYNN: Oh, I know you didn't.

ZAHN: Finally -- and I can only give you a little bit of time to answer this question -- if the show is canceled permanently what it means to Las Vegas economically.

WYNN: Like all great institutions, when something is so important -- the town has matured around these two men -- I think it's very difficult for all of us to understand what it's like when they're not here. And I think part of the emotional outpouring we're seeing is the confusion that's associated with this realization that maybe they won't see them again.

ZAHN: Well, we are rooting for Roy.


And, Steve Wynn, we appreciate your spending part of your very busy Friday with us tonight. Always good to see you.

WYNN: Sure enough.

ZAHN: Thanks, Steve.

The preliminary hearing in the sexual assault case against Kobe Bryant resumes next Wednesday. It was adjourned last night, after an explosive day of graphic testimony. So who came out ahead?

Well, we are joined now live from Eagle, Colorado, by Dan Simon. He's covering the case for the show "Celebrity Justice" and was in the courtroom for the hearing on Thursday, and, more importantly, had his ears open today, when he got the spin coming from both camps.

What else new did you learn today, Dan?

DAN SIMON, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": Well, good evening, Paula.

Everybody wants to know what the accuser felt after the hearing, after she heard about these statements that she allegedly slept with three guys in three nights. Well, I talked to a very close friend of the alleged victim. And, not surprisingly, she was very upset by those statements. In her words -- quote -- "It was totally bogus." She was also very upset that her name was mentioned six times in court.

On the other side, though, she was relieved that her story finally came out. In a sense, a weight had been lifted off her chest, because there's been so much pressure put on her and her family to kind of air these allegations in public. But, finally, they came out yesterday in the courtroom, Paula.

ZAHN: Do you think the defense's strategy will backfire, not only using her name, the accuser's name, some six times, but dangling out the possibility that perhaps some of the injuries she sustained were the result of having sex with multiple partners over a three-day period?

SIMON: Well it all depends.

The defense clearly is trying to suggest that the alleged victim is promiscuous and engaged in consensual sex. Obviously, the prosecution, they were upset about it. And, of course, it is going to be up to a judge to determine whether or not that evidence is admissible. From the defense's point of view, if they can determine that the trauma to the vaginal area was inflicted by someone other than Kobe Bryant, it seems to me that would be relevant testimony, Paula.

ZAHN: You just described what you were told the accuser's reaction was to some of this testimony yesterday. Describe to us what Kobe Bryant's demeanor was like and what, if anything, we can glean from that.

SIMON: Well, very stoic. From time to time, he talked to his lawyer. He looked straight ahead, really didn't show much reaction at all.

And I think that was part of the strategy from the defense. I think everything in that courtroom yesterday was deliberate, from the defense's point of view. You would often see attorney Pamela Mackey sort of pat Kobe Bryant on the back, as if to say: This man is OK. I'm not afraid of him.

ZAHN: And, finally, particularly now that you have heard the spin from both camps today, what do you suspect will be harder to find, a jury that will meet the satisfaction of the defense or the prosecution?

SIMON: Well, I think the defense will want to have this trial moved. I think the prosecution, they obviously want to have the trial here in Eagle County.

But the defense will want to have it moved. Less than 3 percent of this county is African-American. And, of course, they're going to want to have some African-Americans on that jury. So, once again, that is going to be up to a judge to decide whether or not it will be moved out of Eagle -- Paula.

ZAHN: Dan Simon, I know you've had a long couple of 48 hours here. Thank you for spending a little more time with us this evening.

SIMON: Thank you.

ZAHN: We're going to take a hard look at Arnold Schwarzenegger's transition team, Republicans, Democrats, even the director of, yes, "Ghostbusters." And did comic Jay Leno break an unspoken rule by celebrating with Arnold Schwarzenegger on election night? That's our debate.

And first lady Laura Bush: a personal view from the Democrat who has been one of her closest advisers.


ZAHN: Arnold Schwarzenegger has named a 65-member transition team to help him prepare to assume office as California's governor. The team spans the political spectrum and beyond, from San Francisco's Democratic mayor, Willie Brown, to movie director Ivan Reitman -- you know him from "Ghostbusters" -- to my next guest.

In Los Angeles is former two-term Republican governor of California and former mayor of San Diego, I might add, Pete Wilson.

Welcome. Thanks for wrapping up the week with us here, sir.

PETE WILSON (R), FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: Delighted to be with you, Paula.

ZAHN: So let's talk a little bit about this transition team that Mr. Schwarzenegger has assembled here. What are the chances of it succeeding?

WILSON: Well, I think that it will help him to concede. He's got, as you point out, 65 people. It's large. It's extremely diverse. It represents not only geographic diversity, but political diversity and also expertise diversity.

These are people who I think who can help him find other experts to help him run what is admittedly a large and very complex government.

ZAHN: The lieutenant governor made it quite clear on the night he made his concession that he was not going to give Mr. Schwarzenegger much help. What are some of the obstacles that are going to come the governor-elect's way as he tries to not only build his transition team, but try to start to govern? WILSON: Well, obviously, every governor needs the cooperation of the legislature. And it is always offered early on. Whether it's a sincere offer remains to be seen.

But I think this legislature should have been chastened by the results of this election. They weren't on the ballot. And, frankly, it's a good thing, because they might have been recalled, as well as Governor Davis. The people wanted change. And the change that they wanted was responsible government, not people spending money that they don't have, whatever the purpose.

ZAHN: Governor Wilson, a lot has been made of so-called White House connections between the Schwarzenegger team and folks like David Dreier, who was the former co-chair of the Bush California campaign, George Shultz, of course, a Bush confidant, and Donna Arduin, the former budget director to the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush.

Whether you agree with that assessment or not, will those White House connections of any stature help bring more aid to California?

WILSON: I'd like to think so.

But just as I mentioned the legislature a moment ago, I have to mention the Congress in response to your question. The Congress has to decide that they are going to be willing to help. And they have not been notoriously generous in doing so in the past, even when they were, I think, responsible for creating debts that should have been paid by federal -- the federal government, rather than California taxpayers.

I have in mind the fact that they have never really provided anything in the way of reimbursement for federally mandated services, for services to illegal immigrants. They have provided a little bit to reimburse us for the cost of incarcerating alien felons who first enter the country illegally and then commit a felony sufficient to get them in prison. That's about one-fifth of our -- or now I think now one-quarter of our state prison population, apart from some small and long-since-discontinued reimbursement for that purpose, nothing for health care, nothing for education, which is what, really, Proposition 187 was all about.

ZAHN: Sure.

WILSON: So I would like to think that it would mean a change, but we'll have to see.

ZAHN: Well, we know there's a lot of work to get done in your state. And thank you for dropping by tonight to tell us a little bit of what your whole team is up against. Always good to see you, Governor Wilson.

WILSON: Thank you. Pleasure.

ZAHN: Our pleasure as well.

Vacations don't last forever, and so it goes for hundreds of U.S. troops on leave from Iraq. We're going to spend some time with one soldier from his homecoming to his last day stateside.

And a painful anniversary. The mother of Matthew Shepard speaks out about the troubles facing gay teens, five years after her son's brutal death.


JUDY SHEPARD, MOTHER OF MATTHEW SHEPARD: It absolutely breaks my heart. I look into their eyes and there's such fear and lack of self- esteem. And they just so want to belong to somebody, someone to care about them.



ZAHN: Vacation is over for hundreds of U.S. troops, that means it's time to head back to Iraq. The first batch of troops to take part in the military's largest leave program since Vietnam must return to work now.

And Jason Bellini spent some time with one of them.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Specialist John Perkins stepped off this flight from Iraq with an American flag dropped over his shoulder. He hoped it would shield him from television cameras, so he could surprise his parents. Instead, he was a magnet for journalists.

The story behind the flag? A platoon mate and friend lost both his legs in the war. John brought him a flag signed by buddies whose turn to return is still to come.


SPEC. JOHN PERKINS, U.S. ARMY: Oh, there's my mom right here.

BELLINI: His was a picture-perfect American homecoming.

(on camera): If you could please tell me, how does it feel to be home?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relieved, completely relaxed. I still don't know how to -- I still don't know exactly what to do, constantly looking for my weapon.

BELLINI: Perkins is the son of a Vietname War vet and remembers stories of his dad's homecoming more than 30 years ago.

PERKINS: When he stepped off the plane coming home finally, he was greeted with protesters standing outside throwing dog feces on him.

JOHN PERKINS SR., FATHER: I'm proud of the way the people are supporting him.

BELLINI: Much of his precious time home was spent talking about the place he just returned from.

PERKINS: Yes, I've been shot at several times.

BELLINI: And where, by Sunday, he'll be again.

PERKINS: Being in Iraq has really changed my outlook on life, and I know here it's very difficult for you guys to even know what I'm talking about.

BELLINI: Perkins says he understands like never before, how good Americans, how good he has it here.

PERKINS: It's hard when I'm over in Iraq and seeing all the kids all the time and, you know, I see them all the time and I don't see mine at all.

BELLINI: What's the hardest part about going back after these 15 days at home?

PERKINS: Missing good home-cooked meals.

BELLINI: I asked Perkins if he found so short a visit it to be a tease? His attitude, when you're in the army, you take what you can get.

PERKINS: You know I've got to go back today, right?

BELLINI: Perkins doesn't know when he'll be home again, but he says he's less worried about his own safety.

PERKINS: I'm scared for my family back here. I found on out yesterday my brother has cancer, and so that's the main reason why I'm nervous about going back.

BELLINI: For now, his army buddies will be his surrogate family and immediate source of comfort. The home leaving is the lonely part. Jason Bellini, CNN Macon, Georgia.


ZAHN: We salute them all as they head back to Iraq.

Jay Leno looked like a happy man when he introduced Arnold Schwarzenegger as California's new governor, but did the comedian cross a line with that appearance?

And if there aren't enough good movies out there for you this week end. Check out the Bad Film Festival with us. Yes, indeed, very, very bad.


ZAHN: Welcome back. Here's some of the headlines you need to know right now. A surprise winner for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, she is Shirin Ebadi from Iran. She tells reporters the most important issue in her country is freeing people jailed for voicing their opinions.

The U.S. government still isn't done with the insider trading cases, sent drug company mogul Sam Waksal to jail. The Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Waksal's father Jack for selling stock after allegedly getting an insider tip-off. Martha Stewart faces similar charges.

Executives at NBC have come out to defend "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno. The late-night comedian has been criticized for his close ties to California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, including his decision to introduce Schwarzenegger before his victory speech Tuesday night.

Our debate tonight, is Leno really out of bounds? I'm joined from Washington by Matthew Felling of I'm also joined by columnist Adam Buckman of the "New York Post."

Welcome, gentlemen. Good to have you both close out the week here. Matthew, I'm going to start with you this evening. What's this big controversy about? There were newspaper articles across the country about whether Jay Leno has crossed the line. Has he?

MATTHEW FELLING, NEWSWATCH.ORG: It sounds harmless enough, because it's just an event and just Jay Leno, doing what he does, which is entertain people and getting in front of the public eye. But when you see him on stage there with all of Schwarzenegger's followers and voters and appointees and groupies, it starts to look like an endorsement.

And if you have an endorsement, that in and of itself is fine, too, except for the fact that Leno is one of the people who is on that fuzzy line between political journalism and entertainment, where he has candidates come on his show. And it doesn't make him less of an entertainer, about but at the same time it has to make you wonder if you are a candidate and you walk on that show, do you think you'll get a fair shake?

ZAHN: Well, you almost, Matthew, had Adam laughing as I watched him on the monitor over there. I think when I heard you characterize what Jay Leno did as a political journalism, I think that's when I saw Adam break out in a smile. You don't see the job that way at all?

ADAM BUCKMAN, "NEW YORK POST": I'm not laughing at Matthew.

FELLING: That's okay. Everybody else does.

No, they're fine. It's just that, I don't get really that concerned about the so-called blurring of lines between entertainment and journalism and who's a journalist and who's an entertainer.

And, you know, Jay Leno made this public appearance at the victory party, Schwarzenegger was already elected. Leno was not out there as one of the celebrities campaigning for Schwarzenegger like Rob Lowe and Dana Carvey. He had Schwarzenegger on his show technically before he was a filed and registered candidate. I don't see where Leno's involvement is in the Schwarzenegger campaign that everybody's talking about.

ZAHN: Matthew?

FELLING: Adam, I take your point completely, but at the same time I went through the old Leno transcripts ever since Arnold told the world he was going to be running for governor, and I saw that in this close, very vital recall race -- and I had no dog in it whatsoever -- they did not have Arianna Huffington, they did not have Gray Davis, they did not have Bustamante. They didn't have Gallagher or porn stars, they didn't have anybody. So insofar as they didn't campaign for him, I agree, but he didn't allow the same forum to be shared with anyone else in this very close race. I think that starts to border on something dangerous.

BUCKMAN: Well, actually he had an audience full of the minor candidates, just as a case in point during the campaign.

ZAHN: You have to admit they almost didn't fit on the stage, did they?

BUCKMAN: And Jay and NBC, they were constrained by certain equal-time rules. I wish I was better-versed at them to tell you the taste, but you know what, technically I think he played by the rules. Cruz Bustamante and Gray Davis were registered candidates, and Schwarzenegger announced he was a candidate at the end of the segment he was on. He was not registered or filed yet. He did that a couple days later, so technically Jay was within the rules.

Arnold is a popular movie star. TV shows are free to book the movie stars and personalities they want in order to pursue the ratings. It's the free marketplace of television, and that's what Jay was doing. And Jay's not ashamed to say that he has a neighborly relationship with Schwarzenegger. I guess they both move around in the same kind of Hollywood circles, and again, no law against that.

ZAHN: And Matthew, you'd have to acknowledge it all comes down to the ratings in the end. Let's all be reminded of what Jay Leno had to say during the night.


JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Tonight is a testament of just how important one appearance on the "Tonight Show" can be, ladies and gentlemen.


ZAHN: So Matthew, he really, really, really likes his show, doesn't he?

FELLING: Sure. He's the No. 1 fan. To the point raised earlier about he wasn't a candidate when he came on the program, but he was when he walked off. I think that's splitting a very fine hair. We had Bush and Gore and Nader in '00 when they were running for presidential election. And we had, just last week, we had Howard Dean, coming on to put his pitch out there for the Democratic candidacy.

And we've had Dana Carvey talking about politics on the Schwarzenegger side, we've had Dennis Miller talking about how great Arnold Schwarzenegger would be. So it's not as if Jay Leno is backing away from the race and just letting these people come on and have their time. It almost starts to seem like he was forcing everything down a certain direction. I don't think he was, but he did -- he should have given equal time to the people that probably had 8 percent ratings or higher.

ZAHN: And we have got to give some equal time here, but with some brevity here, Adam Buckman, you get the last word.

BUCKMAN: It's just that, you know, I think that some of the qualifying statements Matthew says is sort of feeds into my argument. You know, Jay doesn't hold the gun to the head of Dennis Miller or Dana Carvey, and tell them what they should say about any candidate, so again, I just don't see how Jay kind of engineered campaigning on his television show for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

ZAHN: Adam Buckman, Matthew Felling, thank you for both for your perspectives this evening. Have a good weekend, both of you.

FELLING: You too, Paula.

ZAHN: We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, victim of a crime that drew condemnation from around the world. Two men brutally murdered the college student in Laramie, Wyoming, because he was gay. The repercussions from his death are still being felt today.


ZAHN (voice-over): A passerby found Matthew Shepard that October night in Laramie, Wyoming. Eighteen hours before, he had been beaten unconscious, tied to a fence and left to die in the cold. It became clear that Matthew was murdered simply because he was gay.

His violent death set off a storm that was felt around the world. There were protests and vigils, debates over the treatment of gays, and new measures adding sexual orientation to anti-discrimination laws.

JIM OSBOURNE, UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING GAY ADVOCATE: His death this morning was definitely a moment that -- I think it's taken the sadness and the pain that everyone's feeling to another level.

ZAHN: The 21-year-old University of Wyoming freshman was lured from the Fireside bar in Laramie by two men, Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. Both are now serving life terms. But the brutal death of Matthew Shepard, a quiet young man, touched countless lives and gave a new urgency to the fight against anti-gay violence.


ZAHN: Joining us now is Matthew Shepard's mother. After her son's murder, Judy Shepard and her husband wanted to take a stand against hate crimes. So they started a foundation in their son's name. Judy Shepard now speaks to audiences across the country about the dangers of intolerance. Good to see you. Thanks for dropping by.

JUDY SHEPARD, MATTHEW SHEPARD'S MOTHER: It's my pleasure, Paula. Thank you.

ZAHN: Have you seen any change in attitude toward the gay community during the last five years?

SHEPARD: I think I really have. I mostly speak to audiences of college age, universities, and the attitudes of the younger generation are absolutely more positive and growing all the time.

ZAHN: How much bias still remains today, though, in this country?

SHEPARD: Well, it's out there, that's for sure, and it's in pockets everywhere. I'm not sure we'll ever be able to eradicate it, but we're making a good try of it.

ZAHN: I want to talk now a little bit about the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which really is geared towards teens, and as part of that, you've helped fund a documentary called "Out in the Cold," which talks about what you call throw-away kids. Let's listen to some of those kids talk tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My parents were very homophobic. And I thought if I told them, that's being honest with them instead of lying and pretending. So my mom started crying. She was very upset, and I told her, I said, don't tell dad, don't tell my dad. And well, she did, that night. And my dad says, so you're a queer? And he says, well, you've got such -- so many days to get out of here, or I'm going to have you removed by the police, and stuff like that. And I said, where am I going to go? You know, where am I going to go?


ZAHN: How hard is it for you to listen to these kids who have come out of much less tolerant environments?

SHEPARD: It just breaks my heart. It absolutely breaks my heart. I look into their eyes, and there's such fear and lack of self-esteem. And they just so want to belong to somebody, someone to care about them, and they feel alone and rejected, and, you know, every place they think they can go to be accepted, no matter what, doors are shut in their face. They lose all faith and trust in the older generation, sometimes even their friends. It's heartbreaking.

ZAHN: And how is it that you want this foundation to touch those young men and women's lives?

SHEPARD: Well, ultimately the goal of the foundation is to build a series of shelters, as an alternative to the street, so they have somewhere to go where they can be safe and protected and continue on with their regular life, as opposed to going to the street, where we absolutely lose them.

ZAHN: I want you to be as honest as you can with us tonight. When your son came to you at the age of 18 and said he was gay, did you personally feel any loss of expectations?

SHEPARD: I think you always feel a loss of expectation, but that's really all it is, expectation. It's not real life anymore. Your life is going to be different now, but not worse, and maybe not even better, but different. There was no bias. We totally accepted Matt for who he was, understanding that he had always been the same young man. He didn't grow horns and a tail, you know, after he came out to us. He was -- he was always like that, and it was just -- you know, as a parent, that's your job, is to be there for your kids no matter what.

ZAHN: You have been a tower of strength and dignity throughout this horrible, horrible chapter of your life. And thank you for dropping by tonight to educate us all.

SHEPARD: Thank you, Paula, I appreciate it.

ZAHN: And best of luck to you with your work at the foundation.

SHEPARD: Thank you.

ZAHN: We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: For the past three years, Noelia Rodriguez has been a spokeswoman for the first lady, Laura Bush, but she was an unlikely choice to be the first lady's confidante. She is a Californian in a White House full of Texans, and she also happens to be a lifelong Democrat.

Well, now she's moving on to her next big challenge. She's the director of external affairs at the Brod Foundation which focuses on education issues. She joins us now to give us a look inside the first lady's role and the presidency. Congratulations on your new job.


ZAHN: So, today is the day that the president has to say good- bye to one of the his favorite Democrats. How much grief has he given you over the years about your prominence as a life-long Democrat? RODRIGUEZ: Absolutely none, I'm happy to report. The president and Mrs. Bush have been so inclusive and incredibly welcoming from the beginning when I had my interview back in January of '01 in Austin at the governor's mansion before he was sworn in as president.

And I actually think Mrs. Bush enjoyed, with a twinkle in her eye, whenever she would introduce me to some of the campaign reporters and say I had been the president and CEO for the Host Committee for the Democratic Convention. It was almost she was revealing a secret that nobody else knew in the White House. So it's been a lot of fun since the very beginning.

ZAHN: So you didn't protect her from the bad stuff, she saw it all she heard it all?

RODRIGUEZ: Mrs. Bush is incredibly in tune with what's going on, and is able to, because of the strong relationship that she and the president have, really able to connect with the president and support him whenever he needs it, and he her.

I can think back to September 11 when I was with her when we learned about the terrorist attacks, and her first priority was to really reach out to her family, the president, her mother and of course the twins. And then after that, she made sure that those of us who were with her on her staff reached out to our family members.

So really showed that Mrs. Bush's focus, first and foremost, on others, and her strength and her comfort in her own skin really is a source of strength for the rest of us.

ZAHN: You and the first lady just back from a trip to Paris, where you generated probably one of the most talked-about images of this president's presidency, and that was, of course, Jacques Chirac kissing the first lady's hand. You have to be honest with us tonight, how much of a cringe factor was there for you, because you knew photo was going to be taken and talked about.

RODRIGUEZ: Actually we were very much looking forward to this visit, because Mrs. Bush has this incredible ability to connect with people, whether here in America or overseas in faraway places. So when we saw Mrs. Bush getting out of the limo and the president stepping up to greet her, we knew that was going to be one of those great moments people would talk about for years to come.

And so, she did that. She had a great visit with President Chirac. During the meeting, he said to her that he really wanted to have bygones be bygones, because at the end of the day we all know that America and France have a longstanding relationship dating back to the infancy of our nation, and, of course, through the last World War. And now as we move forward with rebuilding a new Iraq and the new democracy in Iraq. So it was a great experience that I think was really the photo op of the trip.

ZAHN: No cringing though?

RODRIGUEZ: No. ZAHN: No icky factor?

RODRIGUEZ: No, icky factor. It was very much a positive experience.

ZAHN: Well, you certainly have had a front-row seat to a lot of history over the last few years, and we thank you for looking back with us this evening. And best of luck to you in your new job.

RODRIGUEZ: Thank you so much, Paula. Good to be with you.

ZAHN: Noelia Rodriguez.

On to some weekend entertainment now, killer tomatoes, huge shellfish, enormous blobs of goo; meet the mega stars of the bad movie festival. Jeanne Moos takes us beyond the velvet rope for all the glitz and glamour.


ZAHN: There are a lot of good movies out there this weekend. Then, of course, there's the film festival in Yonkers, New York. Jeanne Moos reports.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Cannes Film Festival it's not.

(on camera): Do you guys know about the really, really, really, really bad film festival that's starting tonight?

(voice-over): From the "Attack of the Crab Monsters" with its talking crustaceans, to the "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." Bored with quality? Then really, really, really bad movies are for you.

For instance, "Them!" These are them, giant ants. Them wasn't exactly packing them in on opening night at the Riverfront Library in Yonkers, New York. The movie buff who dreamed up the festival says she just wanted to do something goofy to promote Yonkers.

JOAN JENNINGS, YONKERS BUS. IMPROVEMENT DIST.: We have with us tonight our very own special guest, we have a killer tomato. I'd be careful it might snap at you.

MOOS: Or worse. The night "The Blob" is scheduled, Joan plans to serve jell-o. One of the really, really bad films actually got an Oscar in 1950, "Destination Moon" won for special effects.

Some festival goers stood up for films like "The Day The Earth Stood Still."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not bad. They're not bad at all. They're, just old movies with lower budgets.

MOOS: Though "Them" left us feeling a bit antsy. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an absolute classic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one of the better, bad movies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ants themselves were great.

MOOS: Is there one that you think is the worst of the bad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our grand finale.

MOOS: What plan will you follow now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plan 9. It's been absolutely impossible to work with through these earth creatures.

MOOS: At least no one left saying...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the most horrible thing I've seen in my life.

MOOS: ...they may be really, bad, but not bad enough to cause a stampede from the theater. Jeanne Moos, CNN, Yonkers, New York.


ZAHN: Oh, Plan Nine, my favorite movie. All-time favorite.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Next week we will join you from Rome for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II papacy. Have a great weekend. Appreciate you dropping by tonight.



Case; The Really, Really, Really Bad Movie Festival Opens This Weekend In Yonkers, New York>

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