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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Expensive Full-Body Medical Scan Might Not Work, Experts Say; Green River Killer Admist To Murdering 48 Women; White House Downplays Comparison Of Iraq To Vietnam

Aired November 5, 2003 - 20:00   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: In focus tonight, the worst serial killer in U.S. history. The Green River killer admits in court he murdered 48 women.
From how it runs the war to what it tells the American public, how is this White House playing down any comparison to Vietnam?

And would you pay $1,000 for a high-tech, full-body medical scan, even though some experts say it might not do any good at all?

Good evening. Welcome. Good of you to join us tonight.

Also ahead, our debate whether presidential candidate Howard Dean was out of bounds in his appeal to Confederate flag-waving voters.

Plus, surface-to-air missiles in the hands of terrorists. Is al Qaeda using Iraq as a training ground to bring down airliners?

And a community divided over naked men, including an ex- congressman, on a calendar to raise money for the local high school.

And CBS drops the controversial Reagan miniseries. Did the network cave in to political pressure?

First, here's what you need to know right now.

President Bush signed into law today a ban on some late-term abortions. Within an hour, a federal judge in Nebraska blocked enforcement of the law, based on a challenge by four doctors. Other legal charges have been filed in California and New York.

And in a Seattle courtroom today, a dramatic scene as accused Green River killer Gary Leon Ridgway admitted murdering 48 women over two decades.

Gary Tuchman is standing by in Seattle. Gary, describe to us what it was like to be in the courtroom today.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very emotional, Paula, because inside the courtroom, 200 people, most of them family members of the victims. Gary Ridgway says he killed most of his victims in 1992 and 1993, but one as recently as 1998. He says he killed prostitutes because he hated them and did not want to pay for sex.

Prosecutors gave him a plea bargain. He will not get the death penalty because he was cooperative. He gave details of each and every one of the killings and he personally went out with investigators this summer and helped them find three bodies that were missing for more than 20 years.

Very tough for the family members today. Within the last hour, about 70 family members held a news conference. We talked with the mother, father, and sister of one of the victims, Shirley Cheryl (ph).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am appalled at reading this memorandum, because, having served on the committee for eight years, I can tell you that...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: We apologize, that wasn't the exact thing we wanted to listen to. But we can tell you that they said that nothing will ever bring back their girl, not even this day in court today.

We do want to tell you, it's very interesting, we told you that each one of the women who was murdered had a story that was told today inside the court. Shirley Cheryl, that particular woman, her story was that Gary Ridgway killed her and then dumped body in Oregon to throw police off the trail.

Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: Very painful to think about any one of those killings. Gary Tuchman, thank you very much for the update.

Joining us from Seattle is King County Sheriff David Reichert, finding the Green River killer has been a personal quest for him for 20 years.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, sir.

SHERIFF DAVID REICHERT, KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON: Happy to, thank you.

ZAHN: Was justice served today?

REICHERT: Absolutely.

ZAHN: And what do you say to the families who think this man doesn't deserve to live?

REICHERT: You know, over the last three days I have had the opportunity to meet with every one of the families, starting on Sunday morning at 8:00 and finally ending last night at 8:00, and we all had a chance to share all of our thoughts around this case and our emotions. And they will never forget.

ZAHN: And when you say none of these families will ever forget Gary Ridgway, how much conflict was there among this group whether this was the appropriate sentence, and whether he should have been sentenced to death?

REICHERT: Well, there was -- there were a few people, a few families who were very adamant about wanting to see the ultimate punishment leveled against Ridgway. The majority of the families were understanding and in agreement that it was probably the best decision given the circumstances, in order that the other 41 families would have the same resolution.

And I would -- I guess more specifically, answers to the questions that they've had for years. And that is, Where is my daughter? in the cases of three families whose victims -- whose daughters were never found, who were unknown victims. And also in the cases of those who had been missing for a while, who are now located. And then knowing, finally, that this is the person responsible for their daughter's death.

ZAHN: In 1984, law enforcement actually had Mr. Ridgway in for questioning, then he was let go. How hard is that for you to accept, even tonight?

REICHERT: Well, I think that in this case, you know, we had 12,000 to 15,000 suspects, and the piece of information that brought us -- brought him to our attention was the arrest through a john patrol, his contact with a prostitute. And we had hundreds, thousands of suspects who had that same connection to this case.

ZAHN: And sheriff, while you say that while today provided some closure for some of these families, you're a man who really has been very committed to solving this case. Just a personal reflection on what this means.

REICHERT: Today is more a reflection I have, experience is more of sadness and reflection upon the families and all those who have been hurt by this. It's really not been a day of celebration, it's more of a day of remembrance.

ZAHN: Sheriff Reichert, we appreciate your spending some time with us this evening.

REICHERT: Thank you.

ZAHN: And more now on the man responsible for the Green River killings, and what it took to close a case open for the better part of 20 years. Former FBI profiler and author and host of Lifetime TV's "What Should You Do?" Candace DeLong, joins me from San Francisco.

Thanks for being with us tonight.

CANDACE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER/AUTHOR: You're welcome, Paula.

ZAHN: The streak of this man's horror is significant in and of itself. But what stands out in his profile?

DELONG: Well, this was a man, who, like so many other serial killers, just blended right in with the society where he lived, wasn't particularly noticeable. The FBI did research on serial killers in the late '70s, early '80s.

And one of the things that they found, not in all cases but in many cases, is that many serial killers were abused as children, either emotionally, physically, and sometimes sexually, at the hands of their own mothers. And these boys grew up to be men that have a very, very profound hatred for women.

ZAHN: What motivated him to kill them?

DELONG: Probably the ability to take a life or to let the victim live. Other serial killers have told us that the -- sometimes the sex with the victim was perfunctory to the actual act of taking their life, that that is what they really got off on emotionally, was the power that they had.

ZAHN: And of course, who he preyed on were such vulnerable women.

DELONG: Yes.

ZAHN: They were easy targets, right?

DELONG: Very easy targets, because streetwalking prostitutes, as opposed to higher-class call girls, if you will, will get in a car. That's -- they generally have no problem doing that, because they need to relocate from where they're being picked up. And so they are far more vulnerable. And oftentimes these are the prostitutes that do end up getting murdered.

ZAHN: And I know over the years on your job, you've had to look at all this information quite clinically, but when you saw the closure to this case, did this just make you physically ill?

DELONG: It's difficult. One of the things that always strikes me in cases like this that makes it difficult for me as a women when I hear about prostitutes being murdered is that the vast majority of streetwalking prostitutes are women who, as girls, had pretty difficult lives.

Many of them were abused by their own fathers or close family members when they were little girls. They oftentimes run away from home to get away from a bad situation. They have nowhere to live. They end up prostituting just to buy a Hershey bar or a glass of milk.

And this is the end of a horrible life for them.

ZAHN: Certainly unsettling all the way around. Candace DeLong, thank you for your insights tonight.

DELONG: You're welcome.

ZAHN: And we're going to move on now to Iraq. One of the GOP's leading supporters of the war in Iraq is now leveling blistering criticism at the Bush administration, and in doing so, Senator John McCain has invoked the specter of Vietnam.

Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We lost to Vietnam because we lost the will to fight...

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraq is not Vietnam, insists John McCain, but he says there are ominous parallels.

MCCAIN: An exit strategy became more important than a victory strategy, in the eyes of many.

MCINTYRE: As in Vietnam, McCain says, the U.S. is failing to fully commit to winning.

MCCAIN: The number of American troops on patrol in Iraq at any given time is under 30,000. This is an insufficient number of troops to even play defense, much less take the fight to our enemy...

MCINTYRE: The former of Vietnam POW says it's an illusion that enough U.S. troops are in Iraq, and labels "irresponsible" the Pentagon's argument more Iraqi forces are the answer.

MCCAIN: When our secretary of defense says that it's up to the Iraqi people to defeat the Ba'athists and terrorists, we send a message that America's exit from Iraq is ultimately more important than the achievement of American goals in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a Vietnam, sir.

MCINTYRE: The U.S. rejects the suggestion commanders don't have enough troops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the field commanders say they need more, I can guarantee you that we'll get them...

MCINTYRE (on camera): McCain also suggests the administration is vastly overstating the number of Iraqis actually providing security. The current estimate, 115,000, he says, smacks of cooking the books.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, at the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: The steady stream of bad news out of Iraq has some voices making comparisons with Vietnam. We are putting that in focus tonight. One of those voices is "New York Times" columnist Frank Rich. In a recent column, he said, "You can tell that the administration itself now fears that Iraq is becoming another Vietnam by the way it has started to fear TV news."

Frank Rich of "The New York Times" joins us now. Good to see you.

FRANK RICH, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Good to see you. ZAHN: So, Frank, how, in your view, is the White House creating an atmosphere of Vietnam?

RICH: The war in Iraq is not the Vietnam War for all sorts of reasons, including insturations (ph), casualties, and even its political underpinnings.

Yet, by trying to sort of have -- screen out the real news of it, not be candid with the country, the administration is sort of creating this cultural atmosphere that they have too much to hide, and that brings back memories, I think, of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, when there was this credibility gap, and we weren't told realistically what was going on.

ZAHN: You just brought up Lyndon Johnson, it's interesting, because there are some very distinctive parallels in language used. Let's remind our viewers of how Lyndon Johnson referred to Vietnam. He said, "If we quit Vietnam tomorrow, we'll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week we'll have to fight in San Francisco," which sounds an awful light like President Bush. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are fighting that enemy in Iraq, in Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Will that approach work?

RICH: No, I don't think so, because I think the public is smart and sees through it. I think what hasn't helped is similar loose talk about weapons of mass destruction in the runup to the war is now coming back to undermine statements like that.

ZAHN: Frank, you've talked about this administration fearing TV news. To what extent does that impact the decisions made, whether the president will attend the funeral or whether they'll allow for pictures to be taken of some of the caskets coming in to Dover?

RICH: I think it affects it a lot. I think they know how important those pictures are, that they speak more than 1,000 words, and they want to censor them, basically.

ZAHN: If you're trying to avoid comparisons with where we are today in Iraq and where we were in Vietnam a long time ago, what would you do differently?

RICH: I would explain more clearly and more accurately why we're there, what sacrifices are required, both in terms of troops and then finances, and explain the real reasons, the real rationale for this postwar period.

ZAHN: What do you think this White House fears it will lose in taking the approach you've just suggested? RICH: They fear they'll lose support for it, because it is going to require sacrifice, it's going to require time, probably years, and it's going to be costly. But if they believe in it, and we've done it, we can't go back now, they've got to come and 'fess up. They can't just keep, as the Johnson administration did, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, when, let's face it, there, you know, there isn't that light yet.

ZAHN: Well, Frank Rich, we appreciate your point of view. Thanks for dropping by tonight.

RICH: Good to see you.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

And joining us now with a different view of all of this is John MacArthur. He is the publisher of "Harper's" magazine and comes to us from our New York bureau.

Welcome.

JOHN MACARTHUR, PUBLISHER, "HARPER'S" MAGAZINE: Hi.

ZAHN: Do you believe we are in a quagmire right now in Iraq?

MACARTHUR: Oh, absolutely. We're in an impossible military situation that is very Vietnam-like, in that we have a lot of, in this case, over -- already over 100,000 soldiers in uniform who are sitting ducks for a guerrilla movement, that's becoming a movement, made up of people who don't dress in uniforms, who blend in with the people. They look like everybody else.

ZAHN: So, militarily, how do you make this comparison, when in Vietnam, we lost some 50,000 troops, and the war raged on for 10 years.

MACARTHUR: Well, it started out slow in Vietnam. It was hundreds, not thousands. But if you listen to what some of the senators are saying, the more hawkish senators, they're saying, Let's send more troops, which, of course, would lead to more casualties, and eventually we could get up into the thousands.

ZAHN: John, Frank Rich just made the charge that this administration openly manipulates the media. Was it any different with Lyndon Johnson?

MACARTHUR: Yes, it was different, because in his arrogance and in his self-confidence about fighting communism, and in -- because there was a consensus in the early years, he didn't feel the need to manipulate information quite as aggressively. There was no censorship in Vietnam, to speak of. You could see all the corpses and body bags you wanted. Reporters could go anywhere, and they saw all sorts of horrible things.

All you had to do was pick up a copy of "Life" magazine in 1965, and you saw all sorts of terrible combat footage, which we're not seeing now.

ZAHN: How much censorship do you think there is today by this administration?

MACARTHUR: There's a lot of censorship by the administration. They won't let us even see coffins. But just like in Vietnam, the images are important, but they're not that important. Let's not exaggerate. What's really important is the reality of it, that it's unwinnable against a guerrilla army, and that a lot of people are being killed.

ZAHN: And finally, how concerned do you think this administration really is about any analogies to Vietnam and what's going on in Iraq today?

MACARTHUR: Oh, I think they're very concerned about it. Now they're saying we're going to have to be there for many, many years. That's very upsetting to the people at -- the wives and the children at Fort Hood, that their husbands and fathers are going to have to be in Iraq for a long time.

ZAHN: John MacArthur, we're going to have to leave it there this evening. Thank you very much for your perspective. We appreciate it.

MACARTHUR: Thank you.

ZAHN: And another take on the story now. I'm joined from Washington by regular contributor and former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke.

Welcome.

VICTORIA CLARKE, FORMER PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: Victoria, you've heard what everybody had to say this evening. Is it fair to compare what's going on in Iraq to what this country witnessed in Vietnam?

CLARKE: I don't think so. And I'll tell you, interesting theories, but if you just look at the facts, they don't back up the theories.

And this is the administration that put hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of journalists at the front line with our troops in the major combat operations in Iraq, and to this day continues to encourage as many people from the news media as possible to get over there and cover everything, the good things, the bad things...

ZAHN: But, but you even added the other night that you wish the administration would allow the press more access to the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

CLARKE: Well, let me finish.

ZAHN: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? CLARKE: The point should be made that not that many people in the news media are taking them up on their offer. But not only are they not censoring anything, they are encouraging the news media to cover the situation more.

I do believe that the senior leadership in this country should be out there regularly, frequently talking about what's going on. And I dare say if you added up the briefings, the interviews, the radio addresses, the news conferences, more have focused on Iraq and the situation there and what we're trying to get done than anything else.

I think there is some shared responsibility here. I think some people look at just slices of the coverage and say, Oh, somehow this administration is trying to manipulate it. Just not so.

ZAHN: All right, Victoria, if you don't mind hanging around for a...

CLARKE: Got it.

ZAHN: ... through a break here, we're going to talk politics and the Democratic Party along with Joe Klein, as we look at the fireworks at last night's Democratic forum.

And then the controversy over Howard Dean's comments about Southern voters and the Confederate flag.

Also, controversy of a completely different kind, the naked truth behind a bizarre fundraiser in Virginia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I regret pain that I may have caused, either to African-American or Southern white voters, in the beginning of this discussion. But we need to have this discussion in an honest, open way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Today Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean came close to apologizing for his remarks about the Confederate flag. During last night's forum, Dean caught a lot of flak for saying his party needs to attract white Southern voters who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back.

A couple of our regular contributors join us now to talk about this, "Time" magazine columnist Joe Klein, who joins us from Manchester, New Hampshire, and Tori Clarke is back with us again from Washington.

Joe, did that come as close to as apology as some of the candidates were demanding last night?

JOE KLEIN, "TIME" MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: Well, Paula, as we're speaking, as (UNINTELLIGIBLE), right across the street, they're debating again. The Democrats are having another debate up here in Manchester. And one of the first things happened was that John Edwards, who really bombed and strafed Dean on this issue last night, graciously accepted Dean's apology. And Dean thanked him for it. So, you know, in that sense, it's a, you know, it has been accepted.

ZAHN: So is that over then, Tori?

CLARKE: I doubt it. I'll tell you, I saw three things last night. One, a very clumsy attempt by Dean to try to appeal to Bubba more than Ben and Jerry from his home state, an opportunity for his opponents to whack the heck out of him, which is a sign they're clearly concerned about his front-runner status, and I think they still will be for some time.

But it raises an important issue. Why isn't race an issue at these debates? Why isn't it something that they're debating and discussing at this high level of politics? I think it should be.

ZAHN: Joe, walk us through what happened last night with some of the big Republican wins in the South. What are the implications of that for these Democratic candidates?

KLEIN: Well, well, it only serves to reinforce, you know, the victories in both Kentucky and Mississippi, the problems the Democrats have had with white voters in the South.

Now, what Howard Dean was trying to appeal to was the kind of alienated populism that a lot of working-class voters feel in the South and throughout the country. He may have done it clumsily, but it's a real phenomenon. There have been times when those people have been angry enough over the past 20 years to switch over to the Democratic Party because they're angry at the fat cats who are getting, you know, a lot of the benefits in Washington.

Dean's speech today in New York at Cooper Union was a direct assault on those fat cats. It clearly is becoming a major theme in this Democratic campaign.

ZAHN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) toy do the president's advisers believe Howard Dean will be the ultimate nominee?

CLARKE: Oh, I think there are as many different opinions as there are advisers.

ZAHN: And there are a lot of advisers, aren't there?

CLARKE: That's right.

ZAHN: All right. We're going to leave it there this evening. Tori Clarke, Joe Klein...

CLARKE: Thanks.

ZAHN: ... appreciate both of your dropping by.

Could Iraq be a training ground for al Qaeda terrorists planning to shoot down airliners with surface-to-air missiles?

Also, our debate tonight whether Howard Dean was out of bounds with those comments about Southern voters and Confederate flags.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Military investigators still aren't sure who fired the surface-to-air missile that shot down a U.S. Chinook helicopter over Iraq on Sunday, killing 15. But terrorists linked to al Qaeda and operating in Iraq are certainly on the suspect list.

National correspondent Mike Boettcher looks at al Qaeda's expertise with surface-to-air missiles, and the danger that comes with it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): April 11, special forces hunt for and find stashes of surface-to-air missiles in southern Iraq. The missiles are stacked, and explosive charges are set.

That cache of SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles is rendered useless.

However, U.S. military sources say thousands of the lethal Iraqi weapons have never been found.

U.S. forces in Iraq are concerned that they are in the hands of the Iraqi insurgency and al Qaeda-backed jihadists, who might use the missiles outside Iraq. The latter group concerns al Qaeda analysts like London-based M.J. Gohel.

M.J. GOHEL, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION: They have a great deal of experience in using this particular weapon and with lethal effect.

BOETTCHER: Al Qaeda's experience with SAMs is extensive. Guerrilla warriors, the Arab mujahadeen, the eventual core of al Qaeda, used U.S.-supplied Stinger missiles to turn the tide of the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the late 1980s.

Al Qaeda says it was behind the 1993 shootdown of U.S. helicopters in Somalia, although that was with rocket-propelled grenades.

The videotape archives of al Qaeda recovered by CNN last year included an comprehensive instruction video in the use of surface-to- air missiles.

Al Qaeda tested SAMs in Afghanistan. And al Qaeda-supported Chechen insurgents, who've been using SAMs to shoot down Russian helicopters...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allah Akbhar (ph).

BOETTCHER: ... are trying to stockpile the weapons, according to Gohel. GOHEL: They are trying to collect these weapons, and many of them are being used against the Russian forces in Chechnya, and others are finding their way out into other countries.

BOETTCHER: One of the world's leading experts in improvised explosive devices and terrorist tactics, who helped analyze CNN's al Qaeda tapes, fears that Iraq, like Chechnya, is becoming a weapons laboratory for al Qaeda.

TONY VILLA, EXPLOSIVES EXPERT: It's my feeling that they're using these areas as proving grounds to bring -- to refine their tactics and bring that to the United States.

ZAHN: Although an immediate threat to U.S. forces in Iraq, surface-to-air missiles already have the attention of the world's airlines. Suspected al Qaeda terrorists narrowly missed shooting down an Israeli airliner a year ago in Kenya, and tried to use another in Saudi Arabia.

And al Qaeda adapts after failures.

VILLA: They have a propensity of going back to the targets that they failed to hit the first time for takeouts, and that those same targets are going to be revisited by al Qaeda.

BOETTCHER (on camera): The concern now among coalition counterterrorism officials is not just surface-to-air missiles in Iraq, but those in the hands of al Qaeda terrorists elsewhere in the world.

Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Howard Dean and his Confederate flag comments. Our debate tonight, whether the stars and bars stand for racism.

And they cost hundreds of dollars, and some experts say they may not work. Why are so many people getting full-body medical scans?

And tomorrow we'll look at the growing trend of men marrying older women.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Here's a quick look at some of the headlines you need to know right now. U.S. officials now believe al Qaeda tried to send reinforcements in for the September 11 hijackers. The revelation is in a footnote of documents filed in the case of alleged September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

Insurgents targeted U.S. troops in northern Iraq today. At least five U.S. soldiers in Mosul were wounded. The Pentagon is expected to call up thousands of fresh troops for service in Iraq.

There were angry words in the U.S. Senate today over a leaked political strategy memo. It advises Democrats to make an issue out of what the memo calls "misleading, if not flagrantly dishonest use of intelligence" by the Bush administration before the Iraq war. Angry Republicans accused the Democrats of playing politics with pre-war intelligence.

ZAHN: Just who was Howard Dean talking about when he said he wanted to be the candidate for people with Confederate flags on their trucks? Jason Bellini looks at the people targeted by Dean's Southern strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a small Georgia town, we met a man who likes what Howard Dean was saying about the Confederate flag.

(on camera): Now, you told me before that you mostly vote for Republicans. You voted for Bush in the last election. Could you see yourself voting for a Democrat like Howard Dean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, most definitely. Most definitely. I voted Republican because the last Democratic candidate, I couldn't vote for him.

BELLINI (voice-over): Shirley Payne, however, took offense to Dean's comments.

HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there are a lot of poor people who fly that flag because the Republicans have been dividing us since race since 1968 with their Southern race strategy.

SHIRLEY PAYNE, HARALSON COUNTY, GEORGIA: It made me feel like I was a poor white person and that I was a redneck hillbilly, or something like that, and I just drove around in a truck.

BELLINI: Most of the people we approached in Haralson County, Georgia, said they'd never considering voting for Dean, or any Democrat, for that matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially with all the war that's just happened. I really like Bush's angle. You know, I'm glad we're over there and I'm glad we did what we did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's my husband.

BELLINI (on camera): That's your husband's pick-up truck?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's my husband's pickup truck.

BELLINI: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) find a lot of stereotypes right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever.

BELLINI (voice-over): When it comes to stereotypes, as Howard Dean knows, whatever you say, it's hard to win. Jason Bellini, CNN, Haralson County, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And to debate the issue now, I'm joined by Martha Zoller, talk show host at the Atlanta radio station WDUN (ph), and Nancy Skinner, co-host of "Good Day USA" and candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. Good to have both of you with us this evening.

Martha, you probably heard what Al Sharpton had to say, referring to the Confederate flag last night as "America's swastika." Do you view the Confederate flag as a racist symbol?

MARTHA ZOLLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think it's become that since the Civil War. I think that, unfortunately, the lessons of the Civil War sometimes get clouded. We are a great republic that has survived a civil war, which was -- which is a great thing, but we, as white people in the South, have to accept the fact that since the Civil War, hate groups, racist groups, the Klan used the symbol, the St. Andrew's cross, as a symbol of intimidation. And it wasn't until 1981 that the Sons of the Confederacy took that action to court to try to get the Klan to stop using that symbol. But then the damage was done.

So is it a racist symbol? I guess it is, if folks look at it that way. It's unfortunate that it's gotten to that point. It belongs in a museum. We can't forget our history. But it is divisive.

ZAHN: Well, let's, Nancy, talk a little bit more about those voters that Howard Dean was going after. Is he going to get their votes? Is any Democrat going to get their votes?

NANCY SKINNER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I'll tell you, Paula, he wasn't going for the KKK vote here, as it's being portrayed. And again, I see...

ZOLLER: I agree with that.

SKINNER: What I see is election 2000 strategy in the works, where they did to Al Gore, what they did is, they constantly had him on the defensive with the "Love Story," the Internet, the Buddhist temple, the brown suits. And I see that happening out on right-wing talk radio. Howard Dean is the guy, and they're going to tear him apart. And the Democrats shouldn't help them in doing this. They should focus on President Bush.

You know, President Bush, during his primary, went to South Carolina and said, It's up to the states. I'm not going to condemn their flag. And it was President Bush who spoke at Bob Jones University without apology. So Howard Dean misspeaks, and he apologized for using the flag, but what he meant to say is that Democrats need a big tent, that we need our left and need our...

ZAHN: All right...

SKINNER: ... our conservative Democrats all together. (CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But Martha, realistically, which of those votes are in play?

ZOLLER: I tell you what. As far as the folks that he's shooting for, which are basically white male Democrats in the South, which are guys that have voted predominantly for Republican presidents and Democratic local folks, and it's not going to happen. I don't think Howard Dean's going to get those votes, mainly because of his position on the war.

But I disagree with Nancy. I mean, it's not right-wing talk radio that's been after Howard Dean, it's been his colleagues that have been after him because he's the guy to beat. He's a governor. That's who people like, as far as electing presidents. Since Watergate, we have only elected governors. And he is the guy that's ahead in the polls right now. It's not right-wing radio that's attacking Howard Dean, it's his colleagues.

SKINNER: Well, they're fueling it. Yes, his colleague -- I agree with you, Martha, that...

ZOLLER: How are they fueling it?

SKINNER: The Democrats -- the Democrats should not be making -- if they want to take on his gun policy, for instance, that's fair game.

ZOLLER: I agree.

SKINNER: But clearly, Howard Dean misspoke. And if they want to talk about whether -- you know, because that is an issue with the Democratic Party. There are different views on whether we should, as the Democratic Party, just accept -- because some people in the South, and I know in my state of Illinois, hunters, they want to make sure that their gun rights are secure. And so there's just disagreement there. But in the city of Chicago, if you're going to sell guns to gang-bangers, you're going to jail.

ZAHN: All right...

SKINNER: There are different views on this. But it's not fair game to take something like this, where he misspoke, and make political hay out of it.

ZAHN: Need quick yes or no from both of you. Martha, you first. Based on what Howard Dean said today in his speech, is this debate over for him? He was as close as he could to making an apology.

ZOLLER: Well, I think it's enough for him to say it.

ZAHN: All right.

ZOLLER: And let's hope we get onto real issues.

ZAHN: Nancy?

SKINNER: Yes. He's got to convince people that they should make sure that their pockets aren't being picked while they're playing the race card. That's what he should focus on.

ZAHN: Nancy Skinner, Martha Zoller, thank you so much for your time.

ZOLLER: Thank you.

SKINNER: You bet, Paula.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

And why are so many people paying hundreds of dollars -- in fact, thousands of dollars -- for full-body medical scans that some experts say might do no good at all? And of course, their insurance doesn't pick it up, either. We'll ask Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

And we'll see why showing a little skin has divided one community in Virginia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: A lot of you out there, many without obvious health problems, are shelling out their own money to take advantage of new medical technology. What are full-body scans? The details in plain English.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): At medical centers and roving vans across the country, millions of people are paying up to $1,200 to get a 3-D glimpse of themselves and perhaps some peace of mind. Full-body scans are high-resolution CT scans, and the images they project are sophisticated and highly detailed.

But what exactly can be diagnosed? That's where it gets confusing. Experts in the medical community say it may not pay. The American College of Radiology, at this time, does not believe that there is sufficient evidence to justify recommending total body CT screening for patients with no symptoms or a family history suggesting disease. But it's hard to ignore the stories of patients who believe their lives were saved by what was detected by a full-body scan.

JERRY SENEKER, CT SCAN PATIENT: Nobody could convince me that it wasn't a good idea for me or anybody else to do it.

ZAHN: More research is in the works to determine whether scanning of individual organs is helpful in diagnosing early disease. But even before all the evidence is in, healthy people nationwide are still flocking to be scanned and footing the bill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

So are these full-body scans good science or a marketing ploy aimed at getting people who are already well to worry needlessly? For answers, we turn to Dr. Nancy Snyderman, who's actually gone through this test herself on camera -- Johnson & Johnson vice president with 18 years experience as a medical journalist.

Welcome to town.

DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN, VP, JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Thank you.

ZAHN: So what is the deal? If an insurance company's not going to pick up this cost and are people willing to shell out this kind of money for the test, what's the harm here?

SNYDERMAN: Well, it sounds like it's no big deal because you want to pay your 750 bucks and go have the test. But what if something is found, a little shadow on your lung, and then all of a sudden, you need to have it biopsied, and then you need to recuperate from that, and then there's a ripple effect to something else, and it was nothing more than a little scar from pneumonia years ago? It sounds like it doesn't cost any money at all, but in fact, there could be a ripple effect, to the point that some people reported total bills of $45,000 by the time they've chased these little things that pop up.

The problem is, everybody wants a grade card. They want a "Go to jail, do not pass go, you're going to be fine, you'll never die" card.

ZAHN: Right.

SNYDERMAN: The reality is, you can have a scan and it could be totally normal and you can get diagnosed with leukemia tomorrow. Or you can have a scan, it'll find something that you could live with for the rest of your life and never know. If you have one, it's like asking your boyfriend his entire sexual history from his whole life. It may be more information you ever wanted to know...

ZAHN: Are you going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

SNYDERMAN: ... and it may not matter.

ZAHN: Because the stuff that showed up here is...

SNYDERMAN: No, I could care less that I did it!

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDERMAN: I did it because I was doing a television story. I found two things wrong with me that are probably how I was born. I could care -- in fact, I wish I didn't know.

ZAHN: But is there a certain type of patient or a population of patient that would benefit from this type of screening?

SNYDERMAN: Not...

ZAHN: People with a history of heart disease in their family or cancer in their family. SNYDERMAN: Well, if you're really going to make a niche group, you can say people who really think they might be at risk for something. Let's say you come from a family where people really do drop dead from heart attacks at 35 or 40, and you really think you're at risk. If it will make you change your lifestyle, see if you have anything cooking in your heart, that may be one thing. But it shouldn't be a fishing expedition.

And you know, two other things. This is not great for pelvic stuff, so women who think they can quit their pap smears by getting this scan, it's not a good trade-off. And if you think you don't want your colonoscopy because you hate the prep the night before, you still have to have the prep for this. You have to clean out your bowel. And if they find something that looks wrong in your colon on this scan, guess what? You still...

ZAHN: You get to go back...

SNYDERMAN: ... get the colonoscopy!

ZAHN: ... and do the -- oh! Gee! What fun!

SNYDERMAN: Because at least on a colonoscopy, they can take it out. So for general healthy population, it is not money well spent. And this is happening on East Coast, West Coast, people with expendable income. No good insurance company is going to step up to the plate and say, oh, boy, let me spend millions of dollars on you.

ZAHN: Thank you for the broad view...

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDERMAN: You're welcome!

ZAHN: Nancy Snyderman, telling it to us straight.

How's this for a high school fund-raiser? The naked men of Virginia. We're going to meet one of them -- actually, two of them. And you know, this guy wasn't arrested for being naked on a motorcycle, it was another reason. We'll explain that.

And a network pulls the plug on a presidential biography. Did it cave to political pressure?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: The 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan is just one of the real-life events depicted in "The Reagans." That was a mini-series that was supposed to air on CBS this month, but yesterday the network announced it was pulling the plug on "The Reagans," calling it "unbalanced." Instead, the show will air on cable. CBS says the decision was not the result of criticism from the Republican National Committee and others.

I'm joined now by Michael Wolff, media columnist for "New York" magazine and the author of the book "Autumn of the Moguls." Good to see you. Welcome.

MICHAEL WOLFF, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: Thank you. Thank you.

ZAHN: So did CBS cave in here, or is it a possibility that the performances were so bad, as some TV critics have suggested, they couldn't let this thing go on the air?

WOLFF: Absolutely not a possibility in the entire world. It was...

ZAHN: So you think this is pure...

WOLFF: ... complete...

ZAHN: ... censorship.

WOLFF: ... complete cave. Absolutely. They capitulated. They got on the hot seat, and they jumped off it.

ZAHN: There is a precedent, is there not, for people to have campaigns on Web sites to try to discourage a network from airing a program? Is this the first time you remember where a project was shelved so late into the process?

WOLFF: Well, I mean, in -- there are other things. We know the Smothers Brothers -- that was taken off the air. "Murphy Brown" -- remember that controversy? There's lots and lots of controversies. It is very rare, and I've been kind of searching the annals to find if there has ever been such a thing yanked as this, and I couldn't find an example.

ZAHN: But didn't CBS see this coming?

WOLFF: No.

ZAHN: I mean, even the president...

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFF: They obviously...

ZAHN: ... the script.

WOLFF: The obviously...

ZAHN: Everybody knew that it was...

WOLFF: Everybody knew...

(CROSSTALK)

WOLFF: Everybody knew. It was on -- it was on schedule. I don't think it occurred to anybody because -- and believe me, I'm not defending this as a piece of art. I'm sure it was like any other biopic.

ZAHN: Oh, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) critics just savaged it!

WOLFF: It was horrible. I mean, but just let's go back into -- the thing I always think of is the Kennedys. Two generations, they have been -- they have endured how many biopics, from old Joe to John Jr....

ZAHN: Sure.

WOLFF: ... again and again and again and again, as -- as -- and I cannot imagine that this one about Ronald Reagan took more liberties...

ZAHN: All right...

WOLFF: ... than the ones about the Kennedys.

ZAHN: But it was mean to be a drama. It was not a documentary. Let's look at the final draft of the script, where the screenwriters have Ronald Reagan saying to his wife, as she begs him to help an AIDS patient, quote, "That they live in sin shall die in sin." On a subject as important as AIDS, do these companies have any responsibility to be true to history?

WOLFF: If they have a responsibility -- and I think we can maintain that there is a responsibility -- they have it throughout -- through all of the similar shows that they have done. To put themselves in the position of having this one show killed means only one thing, which is that, you know, We're here. We're a target. If you can organize yourself and come after us, we'll run away.

ZAHN: So the question is, how much other groups are emboldened by that, when they see coming on TV-land that they disapprove of.

WOLFF: Well, it's -- you know, it's also the conservatives, who are very good at this. And they are great.

ZAHN: Michael Wolff, thanks.

WOLFF: Thanks.

ZAHN: Appreciate your dropping by.

We're going to find out why a high school fund-raiser has one Virginia community up in an uproar. A hint -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bunch of naked guys.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: When you think of high school fund-raisers, bake sales and car washes come to mind, but not in Rappahannock County -- I hope I said that right -- Virginia. To raise money to repair a high school track, more than a dozen men posed for a nude calendar. Peter Kreyling is one of them. He has one of the more memorable shots. He is Mr. January, and we're going to show you his calendar picture right now.

Nice to see you in person, and I'll hold my judgment about this photo in the privacy of my own home.

PETER KREYLING, POSED FOR NUDE CALENDAR: Oh, thank you.

ZAHN: Now, this was your wife's idea.

KREYLING: Yes, it was.

ZAHN: Why did she want to share you with the world here?

KREYLING: Yes. Well, my daughter's on the track team, and the track is really dismal. So we had engineering plans for the track that required $250,000 to $300,000, and we weren't going to make that with car washes and bake sales. She got a calendar from her sister last Christmas, from "The Men of Maple Corners," and they raised quite a bit of money up there on a similar venture. And considering the press...

ZAHN: All right...

KREYLING: ... the Rappahannock's getting, we thought it'd be a great idea.

ZAHN: Oh, there -- OK. I should have heard you say it before, so I didn't butcher the name of your county so badly going into this.

KREYLING: It's all right.

ZAHN: We're going to cycle through the rest of the calendar now...

KREYLING: Sure.

ZAHN: ... as we speak. The number of calendars in print jumped from 5,000 to 7,500, which would indicate that you may make that money. But is it true, because of the controversy surrounding these pictures, the school might not take the money, after all?

KREYLING: That's correct. They've reserved that decision. There was a recent election. We'll have to see. I kind of feel that if we come up with a sizable amount of money, they're not going to turn it down.

ZAHN: And what was the comfort level of all these men that were involved in this project posing in the nude?

KREYLING: I think everybody was pretty comfortable with it.

ZAHN: Anybody feel the pressure to suck in their guts?

KREYLING: No, we let it all hang out. You can see from the picture. The models range from about 27 to 82, and some of us are more buff than others, but...

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Peter, before we let you go, there's a great story involving your being stopped by a police officer in the process of riding...

KREYLING: Right.

ZAHN: ... your Harley naked. What happened?

KREYLING: Well, we actually weren't stopped. We'd done this shoot early in the morning on a back road, and we were done and sort of sitting around and heard a car coming. I said, That would be the cops. And sure enough, they drove up, and the young deputy assessed the situation. He wasn't sure how to deal with it, and so his first question was, Where's your helmet?

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Did he notice you were naked?

KREYLING: Well, at that point, I had a bathrobe on.

ZAHN: Oh. Oh. OK.

KREYLING: But he had -- the police had been called with an indecent exposure report.

ZAHN: Well, all in day's work trying to make money for the school district there. It'll be interesting to see whether that check is ever accepted by the school.

KREYLING: We'll...

ZAHN: Peter Kreyling, thank you...

KREYLING: We'll keep you posted.

ZAHN: ... for sharing your story with us tonight.

That wraps it up for all of us here. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Thanks for being with us tonight. We'll be back again tomorrow 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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