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A bill in Congress Would Protect Firearms Companies from Lawsuits; Is Airline Security Up to Par?

Aired October 25, 2003 - 13:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY: sharp objects and tough points. As a college kid's box cutter stunt fires up the airline security debate, we'll look at whether you're flying safe or flying blind.

And spin is in. The White House out to put its media image on a tight leash. We'll find out what that means for you and the way you look at the folks inside the beltway.

Also today, bullet proof. A bill in front of Congress would protect firearms companies from lawsuits over gun violence. See if big business is getting set to target the little guy. Something different; almost never happens.

Joining me today, a couple of familiar faces here on IN THE MONEY, CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz and my pal, "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer.

So the third quarter earnings were supposed to be the greatest thing since either sliced bread or earnings of about four years ago. They're probably both; better than sliced bread and -- the stock market is doing a big yawn. It's not exactly swooning, but it sure isn't celebrating earnings. Why not?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, just last week, in your absence, Jack -- and you were missed.

CAFFERTY: Yes, thank you. Acutely.

LISOVICZ: There were whispers of Dow 10,000. And now people are talking about support levels for the Dow at 9,250. What happens when you have this kind of run-up is the air gets a little bit thin and the expectations are so high. If the forward-looking guidance isn't really robust, you see a sell-off. And that's what we're seeing this week.

ANDY SERWER, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yes. And some of these stocks, you know -- to your point, Amazon, I mean, they say great things, the stock holds off. Merck, a little bit of problems. Microsoft, a little bit of problems.

But then you are seeing some blowups, like LeapFrog, you know the kids' computer company. Seagate has got some problems.

So you're right. It is a world looking for perfection. And of course, on Wall Street and the markets you're never going to get perfection. And a lot of people are concerned about follow-through to the end of year, Jack.

I think it's -- without a doubt, we're going to see an up year. Now I'm jinxing it. But it would be pretty hard not to have an up year.

CAFFERTY: That will be the end of that.

SERWER: Let's think about it. It's pretty hard not to have an up year, but still, you know, it could be a blah to January 1.

CAFFERTY: Well, the calendar's working against us, too. October is a historically a very skittish month for the market. We had the two crashes that both happened in October. And it's not...

LISOVICZ: Haven't seen anything like that, Jack.

CAFFERTY: No. Not for a while. All right. Well, we'll see what happens as we move forward here.

Everybody knows that in our locked-down, hyped-up, post-September 11th world you cannot take a box cutter onboard a U.S. passenger airplane. Everybody knows that or everybody should know that.

Well, don't believe it. It they confiscate your nail clippers the next time you're getting ready to fly and make you take off your tennis shoes and look at your feet, just remember this, a Maryland college student named Nathaniel Heatwole is due in court next month. He smuggled box cutters and fake explosives on to a couple of jets, told the authorities where they were, took them five weeks to read his email.

The Feds say that he wanted to show the flaws in U.S. airline security, and, boy, did he ever. Now he's just a kid, but even the pros are out to make the same point. But there is a debate on what's going to happen to him. Some people say he ought to be prosecuted for a crime, other people say he ought to show the government what's wrong with their security.

Earlier this month, undercover agents reportedly sneaked guns, knives and a bomb past security screeners at guess where? Logan Airport up in Boston. That's one of the airports that the hijackers on September 11th flew out of after boarding the aircraft there in Boston. So there are still some problems.

LISOVICZ: No question about it, Jack. And stories like that make you wonder just how safe you are when you get on a plane these days. To help us answer that question we're joined from Denver by Michael Boyd. He is the president of Boyd Group Consulting, which advises airports on security.

Welcome. MICHAEL BOYD, BOYD GROUP: Good morning.

LISOVICZ: I don't know what's more disturbing. The fact that this college kid got all of these box cutters on which were exactly the instruments that were used by the 19 hijackers, or the fact that the kid emailed officials weeks before. Is security really that bad? Have we not seen any progress since 9/11?

BOYD: You know, people point to things like cockpit doors being strengthened, but when push comes to shove, that will just be another piece of wreckage when the bomb goes off. We are not safer because we have the same flaws we had before.

We really should be looking now not what to do with the kid, but what to do with Admiral Loy, who, up until yesterday, ran the TSA, has now been promoted to the number two guy in homeland security. We've got a real problem out there of non-accountability at the government level, and this Clearasil-using kid isn't my problem.

LISOVICZ: Well, there's a follow-up here. Is this the Peter Principle at work? I mean, why is Mr. Boyd being promoted when any one of us would be fired immediately?

BOYD: Well, It's not Mr. Boyd. It's Mr. Loy, or Admiral Loy. What it boils down to is we have an administration that's more concerned with security at Baghdad Airport than we have in opposition. The Democrats are more concerned about making politics out of it.

No one's really looking at the flaws in the system. And this kid just happened to show those flaws. And because of that, he's going to probably do hard time, and the people involved, as we just saw yesterday, are going to get promoted.

SERWER: Michael, I've got a little bit of a beef to pick with you though going through some of your comments. You're very quick to criticize all of these people, but I think you're a little short on exactly what we should do.

BOYD: Well, that's not true.

SERWER: What do you think we should do here though?

BOYD: Well, that's not true. From the beginning, we've always been very long on what to do.


BOYD: We have to have security at the top run by professional security people.

SERWER: But what should they do? What do they look for then? How should they do it?

BOYD: Well, number one, we have to have an anticipative security program at every airport. What could a terrorist do? The airports we work with, most of them don't even have the vulnerability analysis yet.

We haven't looked at things like fuel lines. We haven't looked at what a terrorist could do to shut down our system down. We haven't looked at anything other than pointy objects.

We brought that up the past two years over and again, myself and Brian Sullivan (ph), Charles Slepian (ph) and several others have brought this up. They've just been ignored.

The problem is we have to start at the top with professional security and accountable security. And until we get that, where somebody can get fire rather than promoted, we're not going to have a safe system.

CAFFERTY: So what's the answer? Do we disband the Department of Homeland Security and use the billions of dollars to fund that government department, that agency to hire outside professional security people to do this job? Can't have both, probably.

BOYD: Well, no. The problem is, what we did -- certainly with the TSA, what we did is took all the flaws of the FAA, which is people not knowing their jobs, oversight that was very, very sloppy, and non- accountability, and transferred it. We have to move into a direction where we rebuild the TSA from the top down. And basically, both sides of the congressional aisle don't want to do that; they just want to play politics with it.

CAFFERTY: Let me ask you this. And I'm inclined to agree with most of what you're saying, but there's another point of view that suggests, hey, we haven't had any more incidents since September 11th. We have increased the awareness of all of our citizens of the potential problems that exist with these terrorist groups. We have taken the fight to them overseas and perhaps kept them off our shores, at least for the time being.

There was a case the other day of a guy trying to hijack an airplane, and the passengers jumped him in a heartbeat and subdued him. They turned the plane around and brought him in. I mean, you can lay awake 24/7 worrying about what might happen.

The fact of the matter is nothing's happened since September 11th in this country. Somebody should get some credit for that.

BOYD: Well, maybe the credit is there hasn't been a terrorist organization that wanted to do it. Again, we had a 20-year-old kid being able to pull it off. So the question is, are we still vulnerable is the issue, whether or not someone wanted to do it or not.

But it's quite true, we do have terrorism on the run I believe overseas. But we're still vulnerable in this country at our airports, and the people in charge of that, of dealing with that vulnerability can't even spell the word. And that's where we have a problem.

SERWER: Michael, quick last question here. What about those hand-held missiles that we've heard so much about? Is that a threat here in the United States?

BOYD: I don't believe it's as big a threat as people think. It's a possibility, yes. How big a possibility? I don't know.

We have a bigger threat with other areas of the airport, like the butterfly preserve at the end of the runway at LAX in Los Angeles, where someone could go there with a rifle and start shooting at airplanes. We need to talk about a little more basic things rather than hand-held missiles right now.

That needs to be looked at. But is it a big threat? I don't think so right now.

CAFFERTY: Michael, we've got to leave it there. I appreciate very much you taking some time to visit with us on IN THE MONEY. Thank you.

BOYD: Thank you, sir.

CAFFERTY: Michael Boyd, president of Boyd Group Consulting on matters relating to national security.

Coming up on IN THE MONEY, as we continue, watchdog or lap dog? President Bush trying to tame America's news media. Hey, that's been done before. We'll look at whether reporters are going to roll over and play dead for this White House.

Plus, ricochet insurance. A new bill under consideration would block lawsuits against gunmakers. Find out where that would leave shooting victims.

And dressed to chill. We'll tell you how Halloween spooks are making dollar bills disappear.


LISOVICZ: It's a complaint almost as old as politics itself. Every president at some point accuses the media of harsh and unfair reporting. And President George W. Bush is no different. He's criticized the national media for focusing too much on the problems of post-war Iraq. And so, in an attempt to "speak directly to the people," President Bush recently invited five regional broadcasters to the White House.

Joining us today to talk about whether this is a smart strategy is Mike McCurry. We know that name. He was White House press secretary during the Clinton administration and is now a partner at Public Strategies Washington.

Welcome, Mike. Good to see you again.


LISOVICZ: OK. Well, we have an election year coming up. You may be on camera quite a bit. You know, the complaint really is, as long as I can remember, every president has complained about unfair treatment. But -- and also, so many presidents have done the same thing that the current president has done. But it's a strategy that can backfire.

MCCURRY: Well, it can backfire if you try to go beyond or over the White House press corps that's there to carve you up every day. And every president suffers under their torment, that's correct.

But on the other hand, I give them some credit for wanting to reach out to all those news organizations that don't have a presence in Washington. Many with news budgets the way they are today, many news organizations do not have full-time correspondents in Washington. So making the president available to some of those regional media outlets I think is very important.

It takes him out to the American people. At the same time...

LISOVICZ: But it's not like they're getting softer treatment by these regional broadcasters.

MCCURRY: Well, that's true. There are a lot of those regional broadcasters that want to make it to the networks. So carving up the president is -- you know, they enjoy doing that, too. But my point is that, if you're sitting there watching your 11:00 news and you see an interview with your local anchor and the president, that means something to you, because you recognize the president as coming to you on your terms.

I don't think that's a bad thing. Now, I do think it's difficult to try to do that as the expense of dealing with that press corps that is at the White House. You have to somehow or other figure how to serve the needs of both sets of journalists.

CAFFERTY: You know I have a little personal knowledge. Mike, this is Jack Cafferty. Back when President Carter was running for re- election against Ronald Reagan, I was doing local news here in New York at WNBC television, and the Carter White House invited three or four local New York anchor people down to interview the president.

Now, for this young kid from Reno, Nevada, I mean, that was like dying and going to heaven. But I was so bad in that interview and I was so overwhelmed with being in the presence of the president in the White House, he could have told me anything, and I'd have gone, "Oh, thank you, Mr. President."

But I thought I'd really done something. The point being, it doesn't really work in terms of -- I mean, it's a way to perhaps take advantage of young, gullible people, like I was then and perhaps still am now. But in the end, there's always the guys in Washington saying, you know, get the local yokels out of town and we'll go back to covering the news here.

MCCURRY: Yes. But, I mean, we did. I can tell you one story from the Clinton years. Remember, we brought all the local weather forecasters down to the south lawn to talk about global warming. And it kind of worked. But my point is, you've got to do both.

You have to deal with Sam Donaldson and Helen Thomas and Wolf Blitzer and all the people who are there in that White House press briefing room, but you also have to deal with the local press that's out there that really does expect to have some access to the president.

I think, as a general point of criticism, the current White House, I think, keeps the president too far removed from those who really hold him accountable on behalf of the American people. And every president sooner or later has to face the music.

They don't like it. You're really right about that. Every president, going back to George Washington, has had nasty things to say about the press.

SERWER: Mike, I just want to follow up on that a little bit. It's interesting. I mean, I think the whole game changed in the '60s, didn't it? I mean, the press had this relationship with JFK. Things changed with Lyndon Johnson, and then with Nixon.

Very different ball game today. How would you rate the president and his people in terms of his relationship to the press, not in terms of how the press likes him, because we don't really care about that, but in terms of communicating to the people?

MCCURRY: Well, actually, I think those two are related. I think, by and large, this press corps likes George Bush as a person. He jokes around with them. I think he has a collegial relationship with them.

Some of you have seen the film that was made of the president's relations with the press corps that covered him during the campaign. So it is a close and more familiar relationship, and I think that worked to the president's advantage.

Remember also, though, that the way the American people see our president as commander in chief changed dramatically after September 11th. And I think that had an impact on the way this president has been covered and gave him a longer stretch of perhaps more favorable press coverage.

One of the big journalism reviews has a cover story in this current month's issue about, why is the press so soft on Bush? I mean, I would have asked, why were they so hard on Clinton? But you know, look, at the end, it all comes home to roost.

I think now that things are a little bit tougher for this president, he's facing criticism, some of the press chafes at being bottled up in that press room every single day with very little news coming out. And it makes it a little tougher when you start hitting the bumps in the road that the current White House is beginning to hit. LISOVICZ: Can you talk, Mike -- can you compare, because you have such a unique experience, where you were press secretary for the Clinton administration, and clearly there were a lot of problems, especially personal problems that you had to face the music with on a daily, if not hourly basis, what your approach to handling the press was, versus say the folks like Ari Fleischer, the departing press secretary for George W. Bush? Because you had very different philosophies.

MCCURRY: Well, that's true. We had somewhat zestier subject matter to deal with. But I'd say the Mike McCurry school of thought was treat them as professionals. Give them access, try to bring out people to brief them. Try to engage them as professionals, and see what happens.

The Ari Fleischer school, and I've teased him about this, is treat the press like caged animals and let them out once a day. Give them a feeding of -- a diet-controlled feeding, and put them back in their cage.

Now, there's absolutely no evidence that the Mike McCurry kill them with kindness approach works. I mean, comparing the two presidents, I think you'd have to say President Bush has received by and large more favorable coverage. But again, I would quickly make the point that the times are much different.

The events of September 11th, the fact that we've now been at war twice, really puts a different tonal quality into the coverage. And that probably had the biggest difference. In the end, I think every White House reaches some kind of happy medium.

You have to deal with the press. They're a reality, they're an important part and way the process works. You have to figure how to get them, what they need, so they can report accurately to the American people. This is at the end, of course, about making sure the American people have good, solid information about what their president and the White House is up to.

SERWER: All right. Mike McCurry, former White House press secretary, fascinating stuff. Thanks a lot.

MCCURRY: Nice to be with you.

SERWER: Coming up on IN THE MONEY, firefight or Capitol Hill. Lawsuits over gun violence are hammering firearms companies. We'll tell you about a new bill that would stop the lawyers cold.

Also ahead, she's the boss. Hear from business guru Tom Peters on why women have what it takes to take companies to the top.

And orange and black and green. Find out why these days Halloween has three colors.


LISOVICZ: Let's take a look at the week's top stories in our "Money Minute." Immigration agents are sweeping Wal-Mart stores across the country looking for hundreds of illegal workers. The Feds are looking into charges that subcontractors who work for the world largest retailer are hiring illegal immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe.

The immigrants in question work on cleaning crews at the stores. Wal-Mart says it requires all of its subcontractors to hire legal immigrants. Wal-Mart is the nation's biggest private employer.

If you think all the good American factory jobs are just going overseas, maybe you should think again. A new study by a group of New York economists shows millions of factory jobs have simply disappeared completely since 1995. Technological advances are a big reason why, as manufacturers are able to make more with fewer employees.

And if you're interested in becoming a major player in the smut business, have we got a deal for you. Creditors are forcing "Penthouse" creator Bob Guccioni to sell his publisher empire. "Penthouse" has seen sales shrink thanks to the booming Internet porn industry and trendy magazines like "Maxim."

SERWER: All right. Shifting gears here, Susan. And what could be seen as real sign of economic recovery, the nation's biggest transport and shipping companies are reporting stronger profits. United Parcel Service had a jump in earnings in the third quarter and expects domestic shipping to pick up considerably over the next few months. And that news is pushing UPS shares close to their year high and not far from where they when the company went public in 1999, and that makes UPS our stock of the week.

So what do you think, guys? Big Brown's coming back, but it's a very competitive business.

LISOVICZ: Yes, and FedEx is coming on strong. And that's for sure, too. So you have to consider that. The competition is strong. And some folks looking behind the numbers saying that it was actually an easy comparison.

One analyst actually puting a sell rating on the company, saying that the people there, the culture there, that they've been there their whole lives. But one thing you have to remember is that this is a company that is owned by the employees. Ninety-percent of it owned by employees.

CAFFERTY: They spent a lot of money to change their logo. I'm not sure if that's necessary. I mean, It's UPS. Everybody knows who UPS is.

And you mentioned they think that shipments are going to pick up. Once they get past the holiday season, what exactly are they going to be shipping, I wonder?

SERWER: Well, it's not stuff from the Internet. Of course, they were kind of Internet (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they and Federal Express. And what I'm seeing right now is these two companies getting into each other's business. I mean, UPS dominated the ground business. FedEx Air, now they're both competing against each other. And they really are sort of tied to the economy. You're right, Jack, absolutely.

FedEx has been a pretty good story over the past 20 years. And UPS has not been that great in terms of stock price performance since 1999. It kind of went down, and then came back up, and it's basically right where we started.

LISOVICZ: Well, that's terrific, though. They had a huge IPO when it went public a few years ago.

SERWER: It's in trouble with that IPO I think.

CAFFERTY: The other conventional wisdom is, you want to know what the economy's going to be doing, watch the truckers and the people who ship the stuff.

LISOVICZ: Exactly.

CAFFERTY: And if their order books start to fill up, things are on the mend big time. So maybe that's a good indication where we're going.

SERWER: And UPS, actually, I don't know if you saw recently, they just cat back on the number of days that you get stuff delivered. Remember we talked about that, Jack? Why does it take five days?

You order a bowling ball from texas. It takes five days. So now they're cutting back, because, again, they're competing against...

CAFFERTY: The other question is, why would you order your bowling ball from texas?

SERWER: They've got good bowling balls down in Texas.

CAFFERTY: And the third question is, why would you order a bowling ball at all?

SERWER: Did you ever see the movie "The Big Lebowski?"

CAFFERTY: I missed it.

SERWER: That's the bowling movie. Rent it this weekend. It's a very good one.

CAFFERTY: But I'll get it this weekend and we'll talk next week or not.

Coming up, as we wander forth here into the wilderness, a new bill in Congress looks to sock it to the lawyers, but it could be giving the gunmakers a free pass.

And for all of the talk of women's progress in the corporate world, some say most companies are not getting the most out of their female employees. We'll tell you why, or at least what some people think is the reason just ahead. Stick around.


CAFFERTY: You might want to think of this as a bulletproof shield for the companies that manufacture firearms. A bill that would protect those companies from lawsuits over gun violence is looking set to clear Capitol Hill. Supporters say the gunmakers should not be held responsible for how their products are used.

Joining us from Washington with the counter-argument to that is Dennis Henigan, who is the legal director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Dennis, nice to have you with us. Thanks for joining us.


CAFFERTY: This is not a thing that would grant blanket immunity. And to the degree that we can decipher this into plain English, exactly how will it work?

HENIGAN: Well, it really is sweeping unprecedented immunity to this industry. It gives this industry an exemption from probably the oldest principle of our liability law, which is that if someone or some company behaves negligently, and that negligence leads to the injury of an innocent person, that victim has the right to recover damages in court.

CAFFERTY: Does that mean, then, that the golf club manufacturer of the golf club that was used to kill Martha Moxley could be sued by her family because that club was used in the commission of a crime? I mean, I'm not sure I get the logic of this.

HENIGAN: Well, the lawsuits that we're talking about here against gun manufacturers and sellers do not allege that all gun manufacturers and sellers should be liable simply because guns can be used in violent acts. If that's all they said, they would lose. And, in fact, it would be easy to legislate against that kind of frivolous lawsuit.

The lawsuits that are affected by this bill talk about specific negligent conduct that leads to violence. For example, we represent the victims of the D.C. sniper shootings in a lawsuit against a gun seller, Bull's Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma, Washington. Now, that was the gun seller that had the Bushmaster assault rifle used by the snipers in its inventory.

When they confiscated that rifle from those snipers, they traced it back to Bull's Eye. At that point, Bull's Eye became aware for the first time that the gun was no longer in its inventory. It had no idea what happened to that gun. It had no record of selling the gun, no record of a background check, it had not filed any report of a missing and stolen gun.

And sure enough, when the federal law enforcementation agency, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, audited the gun shop, it found that in the last three years alone there were 238 guns mysteriously disappearing from that gun shop.

LISOVICZ: So Dennis, then shouldn't that gun dealer be held responsible for not only what happened with the D.C. sniper attacks, but also for the past three years of negligent recordkeeping and just overall negligence? Not necessarily the gunmaker.

HENIGAN: Well, but this bill doesn't apply simply to gunmakers. The immunity bill now pending in the Senate, S-659, applys to gun sellers and would prevent the victims of the sniper shootings from suing that gun dealer even though a court in Washington state has already held that that case should go to a trial.

As to gun manufacturers, what we're saying in that case is that Bushmaster, the manufacturer of that gun, which sold not just any kind of gun, it sold military-style, high capacity assault weapons. It sold 40 round ammunition magazines. It advertised one of the accessories to go with the gun as the ultimate sniper grip.

We're saying, if you're going to engage in the sale of that kind of military-style gun, you ought to do the minimum to assure that you are dealing with responsible retail gun sellers. And if they had even been the slightest bit interested, they could have found out from Bull's Eye that it was continually being cited for violations and could have taken some action. We think gun manufacturers have a responsibility to know who they're dealing with and not take this attitude that it's not our problem.

SERWER: All right. So that's your point, Dennis. Because I was going to ask you, I mean, how in the world could you suggest that a gun manufacturer, since it's legal to make guns right now, could they be responsible? But you're suggesting the way they might be culpable is because they're selling to an irresponsible dealer.

HENIGAN: That's right.

SERWER: I mean, shouldn't we just -- I agree with you that I think that people should be allowed to sue the gun manufacturers. I don't think they'll get anywhere, and I think we should let the free market decide this so people will sue the gun manufacturers, those cases will continue to be thrown out of court, and then they'll just give up. I mean, as long as people are still allowed to make guns, how can you possibly say that you can sue them?

HENIGAN: Well, you're absolutely right that it should be left to the courts to decide. But what you're wrong is suggesting that these cases necessarily always lose. That's not true at all.

In fact, we have achieved major appellate court rulings in states like Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey in the last few years that have basically said, yes. If you can make a case that a gun manufacturer has been negligent in dealing through irresponsible gun dealers, then you can have a jury trial. So we're not -- we're not losing these cases. In fact, if these cases were hopeless in court, the gun industry would never be seeking immunity from Congress. CAFFERTY: You know, there's a mentality in this country, and I jut want to get your take on it, that says, if I choose to smoke cigarettes and I die of lung cancer, it's the tobacco company's fault. It I eat three Whoppers a day and die of clogged arteries, it's McDonald's fault. If a gun dealer sells some guy a gun and he uses it later to go out and commit some kind of crime and he wasn't honest, then that's somebody else's fault.

What about the fact that the stuff people do in this country is maybe their own fault? And the responsibility stops there, and the solution to every wrong created in the society is not to rush into a court and see if we cane shake somebody down for a bunch of money?

HENIGAN: You know, I don't understand that point of view at all. Nobody is suggesting that the snipers who murdered all of those people should not be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This is not a matter of shifting the blame from them, but it is a question of why in the world would you want to let Bull's Eye gun shop off the hook, when neither of those snipers was a legally valid buyer of a gun?

They were both prohibited from buying guns. The only way they could get a gun was through the negligence of a gun shop like Bull's Eye. Why do you want to let them off the hook?

CAFFERTY: That's not the only way they could get a gun, but I hear what you're saying. But that's not the only way they could get a gun. Come to New York; we'll show you a place on the street where you can buy all those guns you want.

HENIGAN: Yes. And where do you think those guys come from? Do you think they fall from the sky into the hands of criminals? They start with gun dealers.

CAFFERTY: Most of them are stolen.

HENIGAN: Well, but the fact of the matter is, many of them are stolen from gun dealers because they don't have sufficient security. And that actually may very well have happened at Bull's Eye.

Mr. Malvo, one of the sniper defendants, has said that he shoplifted the gun. Mr. Malvo was 17 years old. He was not allowed to buy any gun in that gun shop, and yet he walked out of that shop with a three-foot long assault rifle worth over $1,000.

Was there any kind of security any that gun shop at all? I mean, I can't go into a department store and take a leather jacket out without having some clerk unlock it. Is there any kind of security in that shop at all?

SERWER: Well, obviously, a very controversial subject, Dennis. But we have to leave it at that. Dennis Henigan, legal director, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Thanks much.

HENIGAN: Thank you. SERWER: Up next on IN THE MONEY: taking on the world by thinking on your feet. Business guru Tom Peters says women improvise better, and that's what today's corporate clients and climate demands. We'll ask him why.

And the money behind the mask. We'll look at what's driving Americans to spend more on delivering the right fright for Halloween.


LISOVICZ: From Hewlett-Packard's Carly Fiorina to eBay's Meg Whitman, women continue to make strides in corporate America. But our next guest says there's still a long way to go. In fact, management guru Tom Peters believes it is the natural strengths of women, cooperation, sustaining relationships, and flexibility that will count most in the 21st century economy. Shush.

But to his dismay, old school CEOs have not caught on. And women remain a largely untapped resource. Peter writes about all this and more in his new book, "Re-Imagine: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age." And he joins us today.



LISOVICZ: You describe yourself as a prince of disorder, a champion of bold failures, a maestro of zest.

PETERS: I said that?

LISOVICZ: Yes, yes you do.

SERWER: The publisher wrote that. Come on.

LISOVICZ: Well, someone wrote it about you. Don't deny it. The fact is, in your book, there's a really rather confessional conclusion from this woman. I mean, women make better sales people. Well, of course they do.

PETERS: Well, fine. Then we're done. It's settled.

SERWER: Very short interview.

LISOVICZ: Women are not a niche.

PETERS: Listen, I was doing a seminar in New York two or three months ago and I had a guy who's a leading stock broker and he started to reorient his practice towards women as clients. The average male who used him as a broker recommended him to 2.5 people. The average woman recommended him to 21 people.

There is that. Listen, there are some men who can actually listen. We haven't discovered one yet, but there is an entire possibility that's the case.

CAFFERTY: Most of us get a lot of practice at it.

PETERS: Well, there is that. But I think there are some truly distinctive differences between the two of us. And kind of my bias in this book is, I am still. I lived in Silicon Valley for 35 years. I'm a Vermonter now.

I'm still a believer in the new economy. I really believe we're inventing new kinds of organizations. I think they're flatter, I think they're more network oriented. And I think they play into the strengths that women bring.

There was something in that "Fortune" article this week where -- I don't remember who it was who said women are more interested in influence than rank. And there are different ways of leading. And that just -- you know that made sense to me.

CAFFERTY: Given the fact that they say the business of America is business and we are a nation obsessed with profits and quarterly reports and the bottom line and stock price, why has this been so slow to dawn on the boardrooms in this country?

PETERS: Have you ever seen a picture of the people in the boardrooms?

CAFFERTY: That's a good answer.

PETERS: When I'm doing my seminars, I describe it as my porn collection. And it is the picture of boards of directors. I mean, literally, it's male-designed organizations, organization structures.

The boards are basically old white guys with a token woman, a token African-American, and that hasn't really changed much. I mean, your point is great because I am interested in this topic because of is bottom-line impact.


PETERS: And women buy the stuff. They buy every damn thing in the world. They not only buy all the consumer goods, which is not a great surprise, but the intriguing kind of statistics are that over 50 percent of purchasing officers, public and private, are now women. Over 50 percent of admin officers are. And so they're buying all the commercial stuff as well.

CAFFERTY: Is this a cultural phenomenon then? I mean, it was proven in the Enron scandal and some other recent corporate stories that these guys would throw little children to their death in a burning pit if they could make a couple of extra dollars. Why can't they overcome this inertia about women?


PETERS: Well, we'll take a classic example. In this book, the trend-spotting guru, Faith Popcorn, along with Liz Marigold (ph), co- wrote a book that was called "EVEolution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women." Now, what's interesting to me about that book, the most interesting thing, is it's the only one.

Why in the hell are there 3,250 on total quality management, and then this, which deals with literally a $5 trillion to $6 trillion sector in the U.S. economy alone? And you guys don't do stories on it. We rarely do stories on it.

SERWER: We do some stories.

PETERS: You do, of course you do. You'd do the cover story right now.

But I've argued -- and I really do believe this -- that in many respects the most underreported business story around is -- depending on whose statistics you see -- the 6 to 10 million businesses that are owned by women. I mean, that's serious news.

SERWER: What about this one other point you make in your book? You make a lot of points, but one point I picked up on, you said that everyone has got to go out there and -- you know, sort of the culture me, me inc., and can get out there and do different stuff. But you're one of the mostive creative, energetic people around.

Don't a lot of people want to just go to work every day at the sort of same boring, repetitive job? And don't people like that?

PETERS: Well, it may be, but it's irrelevant. And it's irrelevant because I don't think kids -- regardless of what their SAT scores are -- I don't think kids are graduating from college today and imagining that they'll spend 30 or 40 years at Time Warner or at Exxon Mobile. And that's totally different than in the past.

And so I've gotten into a debate about this. People said, well, you're writing about the old dot-com economy. I'm writing about reality. You can't go on this show or in any print medium, you can't go more than five days now without reading a story that IBM has shipped $80,000, $100,000 jobs offshore to India and so on. And so I don't think people have an option, except to look at their careers.

Now, the cool thing about it, in my mind -- and I am a Vermonter these days -- is this isn't arguing that everybody's got to be Einstein. Because if you live in Vermont -- and I own a farm in Vermont, we have people work on the farm, and they're stone masons and they're carpenters, they get this stuff. You're as good as your last show. They're as good as their last job.

And the really strange people I think, in retrospect, are the people who for the last 80 years have been Scott Adams' (ph) (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cubicle slaves who fundamentally did live in indentured servitude in tall towers from Manhattan to Miami.

CAFFERTY: Facingating stuff. And you have had this knack for seeing it the way it is, as opposed to the way most of us think it is in some of the books that you've written before. We're going to have to leave it there. I thank you for coming by. Come in again and we'll kick this around some more at some point.

PETERS: Thanks.

CAFFERTY: Tom Peters, "Re-Imagine: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age," the name of the new book..

Up next, being the ghost with most means selling -- shelling out a lot of cash, he tried to say, but he's old and it's late. We'll break down the cost of Halloween as we move forward.

And we're still willing to hear your scary thoughts. So you can email us as at We'll read some of that stuff in a few minutes.


CAFFERTY: Well, boys and girls, we are now less than a week away from Halloween. And for kids of all ages, it means it's almost time to dress up and eat candy until you just get a little sick to your tummy. And for adults, the holidays is quickly becoming a time to spend money until you are sick to your tummy as well.'s Allen Wastler, my old buddy from CNNfn, joins us now with a look at just how much people are spending and what they're spending it on. People don't realize, or at least I didn't, how much dough you tend to traditionally part with on this holiday. Big bucks.

ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: Oh, yes. People just shell it out. And you know -- well, we've got the average is about $41, OK, for the average family.

Then it's about $14 and change for the costume, $14 and change for the candy. About $10 and change for decorations. And some people throw in Halloween cards for about $2 and change in there.

CAFFERTY: Halloween cards?

WASTLER: Halloween cards.

SERWER: You know why Jack doesn't think it costs that much, because he always just buys a big bag of apples for $2.99.


WASTLER: He's the one, "Oh, don't go to his house. He's going to...

CAFFERTY: I used to hate when I was a kid and I would go and get an apple. Who the hell wants an apple on Halloween?

WASTLER: It's $6 billion...

CAFFERTY: How about the price of the visit to the dentist after the kids' teeth begin to rot?

WASTLER: Well, sooner or later, that's going to catch up with you. But Party City, they say that Halloween's their big sale time. You would think it would be other times like, you know, birthday parties and whatnot. No.

Halloween. Lots of costumes. And because this year Halloween's on a Friday, they're hoping for a big boost because we're going to have a lot of weekend parties and holiday parties.

LISOVICZ: It's second only to the Christmas-Hanukkah spending, which is just astonishing.

WASTLER: That's right. And actually, a lot investors use Halloween as kind of gauge to see where Christmas is going to be. Some people say it works, some people say it doesn't. And it goes...

LISOVICZ: What are the hot costumes?

WASTLER: Well, for kids and for adults, last year it was the big soldier thing because of the war and whatnot. But this, it's getting more and more into movies and TV type of costumes, OK?

SERWER: Sponge Bob.

WASTLER: Sponge Bob. They've got an adult Sponge Bob costume for $40.


WASTLER: Hey, Andy...

SERWER: No, it doesn't fit me. Sorry, Allen. Sorry, I already checked it out.

WASTLER: Something a little bit cooler, the "Matrix" movie is out this year. A lot of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Neo and Trinity, looking very slick.

SERWER: Trinity.

WASTLER: It words for me.

CAFFERTY: What's the Web site of the week?

WASTLER: The Web site of the week?


WASTLER: Jack, I decided to go out there for you a little bit. How about some Viking Kittens?

CAFFERTY: Some what?

WASTLER: Viking Kittens.

CAFFERTY: What are you talking about?

LISOVICZ: Those words go together, Viking and kittens?

WASTLER: Viking Kittens. They're going, and they got a Led Zeppelin...


CAFFERTY: That's good, Viking Kittens. OK, Allen. You haven't changed much since a year or two ago when we worked together. Have you?

WASTLER: No, maybe a little more twisted...


SERWER: Freaky, deaky (ph) stuff, by the way. Oh, there you go.

WASTLER: There you go.

CAFFERTY: All right. Thanks, Allen. Good to see you, my friend.

WASTLER: Surely.

CAFFERTY: Just as we continue, the Senate approves yet another pay raise for itself. Ain't they something? We'll have the details on that.

And we'll check your emails from the past week. If you want to get in on the email fun -- and let's face it, it is a lot of fun -- drop us a line here at


CAFFERTY: The hard-working U.S. Senate got a raise this week from the hard-working U.S. Senate. The lawmakers voted themselves a pay raise for the fifth year in a row, fattening their annual salary to almost $160,000 for next year.

Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat, is speaking out against the pay raise. He says that given the weak economy and many Americans having a tough time making ends meet, it's the wrong time for the Senate to hand itself more money. Now, there's a senator who knows a little about what he's talking. That stinks.

LISOVICZ: My senator happens to be a multi-millionaire. And there are few of them in the Senate, as I recall.

SERWER: Hundreds of millions of dollars. It's the wrong signal. It's such a little amount of money, they don't even really need it. It's crazy.

CAFFERTY: Yes. Somebody said, are all those people who are screaming about the tax cuts for the rich turning down their pay increase? It would be interesting to know the answer to that. I think I do.

Time now to check the viewer email. Last weekend, we asked whether you thought the number of people getting plastic surgery is getting out of control. Alan in Vancouver wrote: "I don't think plastic surgery is out of control. But the root cause of it, everyday young women and men are overwhelmed by images that tell them they are inadequate. If the number of women's magazines alone were reduced, there would be fewer plastic surgeries in America."

Debbie from Hawaii wrote this: "You want to know if I think plastic surgery is getting out of control because it's getting more affordable. I have a more important question: where are you finding affordable plastic surgery?"

And several of you wrote in saying, "Jack you could use some."

LISOVICZ: Oh, no, they didn't.

CAFFERTY: Now it's time for this week's email question: Are the gun manufacturers in any way responsible for gun violence in America? You can weigh in on that. And send your answers or other comments if you have them to We pick a few, read them for you next week.

That's it. Thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to our regular gang around here, CNN correspondent, Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer, and from, Allen Wastler.

Join us tomorrow at 3:00 Eastern Time, when we'll take a look at the new SAT tests and whether the college board's new college entrance exam will help eventually to build a better national curriculum. Weighty stuff.

We expect you to be on time. Bring your notepad and a number 2 pencil. See you then.


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