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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Al Qaeda and Iraq; Presidential Interview

Aired February 9, 2004 - 20:00   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Paula Zahn. Welcome.
The world, the news, the names, the faces, and where we go from here on this Monday, February 9, 2004.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): "In Focus" tonight: al Qaeda and Iraq. The military says a newly discovered document details an effort to bring the terrorist group into Iraq to start a religious war.

Also, President Bush on jobs, the war and his own military service.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did report. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: We'll read between the lines of the president's comments.

And the power of positive thinking. Does your spirit help in the fight against cancer?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: All that ahead, but first, here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

The Pentagon says U.S. forces in Iraq have caught No. 48 on the top 55 most wanted list this weekend. The captive is described as a one-time regional chairman in Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

Ohio investigators, meanwhile, say a highway sniper is getting more brazen, and they're asking the sniper to call them. Investigators believe two shootings on Sunday are linked to 21 others, one of them fatal. Most have been in and around the Columbus area.

And the judge in Scott Peterson's trial says he will hear argument this week about whether some of evidence is admissible. And within two weeks, a jury could be selected to decide whether Peterson murdered his wife and unborn child.

"In Focus" tonight, a discovery in Iraq that could link al Qaeda to attacks on American soldiers. The U.S. military says that computer documents show a connection between methods used by Osama bin Laden and attempts to trigger widespread violence in Iraq. And U.S. officials believe they were written by a top terrorist.

Mike Boettcher reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The reward for his capture, just $5 million, compared to the $25 million offered for Osama bin Laden. But Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has emerged as the world's most active and perhaps dangerous terrorist, and like bin Laden, issuing his own recorded messages of jihad.

In Iraq, al-Zarqawi has become the de facto leader of Ansar al- Islam, which, according to senior U.S. officials, has been responsible for at least two dozen terror bombings of coalition targets. But Zarqawi has expertise with chemical weapons, too. CNN has learned that he took a page right out of the al Qaeda chemical weapons manual. Obtained by CNN, the manual describes how to permeate paper with a lethal cyanide-based poison.

CNN has learned that coalition intelligence agents late last year broke up a Zarqawi plan to use poison paper to assassination top civilian and military leaders in Iraq and surrounding Arab countries. Terrorism analyst M.J. Gohel has extensively studied Zarqawi.

M.J. GOHEL, TERRORISM ANALYST: He has virtually been in every part of the worlds, recruiting, arranging, funding, and planning.

BOETTCHER: In recent months, Zarqawi's extensive network, according to coalition intelligence analysts, has been more active than al Qaeda itself. Besides bombings in Iraq, Zarqawi-affiliated groups are suspected of a series of bombings in Turkey late last year. And Zarqawi was actively recruiting jihadists in Europe for missions in Iraq.

(on camera): But capturing Zarqawi himself will be difficult. According to one U.S. intelligence source, Zarqawi is even more secretive than bin Laden and perhaps more dangerous.

Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So is this document the link that connects continued violence in Iraq with al Qaeda? We're going to answer that in a new style called "High 5," five short questions, five direct answers, straight and to the point.

Michael O'Hanlon joins me now from Washington. He's a senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution.

Always good to see you, Michael. Welcome.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: To the best of your knowledge, is there an Iraq-al Qaeda connection today?

O'HANLON: Not much. One of the things we're learning from this memo is that the terrorists in Iraq would like to establish more of a link. And so all the allegations there may have been one for the last 10 years, if they were true, would why would this memo be written now? Why would the proposal only be forthcoming now that we should establish a much greater al Qaeda presence in Iraq to go after the Americans?

That seems to be the real message here. And, therefore, it's a new one, and it's not something al Qaeda has turned into a strategy before.

ZAHN: So was there one before the war?

O'HANLON: Not much. There may have been occasional links. There may have been this or that low-level Iraqi intelligence officer who visited a camp in Afghanistan. And, therefore, there was more than there should have been. It's not certainly any testament to Saddam's humaneness that he avoided all these contacts.

There was some low-level links. But there was no operational planning, no meaningful strategizing together, and no high-level contact that we're aware of, and certainly no Iraqi role in 9/11.

ZAHN: Is the U.S. shutting down terrorists in Iraq today?

O'HANLON: I think the United States is making progress, but it's very slow. Frankly, it's slower than I expected.

And the main problem here is still the former Saddam loyalists who are really not terrorists in the way we think of them. They're trying to get back into power. And they are probably 80 to 90 percent of the total resistance fighters that we're facing. And we are making progress against them and against the terrorists, or whatever al Qaeda links may already be in Iraq, however limited they are.

But the progress, as we know, is slow. We're arresting and killing a lot of these people, but we're also getting a lot of Americans still killed. The pace of U.S. losses has really not diminished in the last six months.

ZAHN: In a broad sense, has war in Iraq strengthened or weakened al Qaeda?

O'HANLON: War in Iraq has had very little to do with al Qaeda.

I give the Bush administration a lot of credit for the war in Afghanistan and for intelligence cooperation in Pakistan that's led to the arrests of others there and elsewhere. But the war in Iraq, however justified it may have been on other grounds for stabilizing the Persian Gulf, has made very little difference in regard to the broader global war on terror. Iraq was never a major focus of al Qaeda's efforts or associations in the past.

ZAHN: It is, of course, June 30, power changes hands to the Iraqis. Are terrorists done?

O'HANLON: Terrorists are going to keep trying, I think, as long as they think there's the possibility of success here. The good news about this memo, if there's some good news, and it is that they don't feel like they're succeeding right now.

They feel like they need a new desperation strategy and they better hurry up and get it done before June 30 and the transfer of sovereignty. But my guess is that, even if they fail to make a big impact between now and then, they may still try a while longer. And some terrorists, unfortunately, will continue to be a thorn in our side, even for several years down the road.

However, again, my guess is that, on balance, we're winning, and they know it, and that's reflected in this memo. And we've just got to tough it out, because, someday, we will prevail.

ZAHN: Michael O'Hanlon, thanks so much for your information tonight. Appreciate it.

O'HANLON: Thank you, Paula.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")

BUSH: They had the capacity to have a weapon, make a weapon. We thought he had weapons. The international community thought he had weapons. But he had the capacity to make a weapon and then let that weapon fall into the hands of a shadowy terrorist network.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The president makes his case for the war in Iraq. Was it a success or did the interview gamble backfire?

Plus, surviving cancer and a positive attitude, what one new study is saying about the link.

ZAHN: Also, some of the jurors who sentenced a California man to death are saying, not so fast. I'll talk with two of them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")

BUSH: I strongly believe that inaction in Iraq would have emboldened Saddam Hussein. He could have developed, you know, a nuclear weapon over time. I am not saying immediately, but over time, which would have then put us in what position. We would have been in a position of blackmail. In other words, you can't rely upon a madman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The president's rare hour-long Sunday morning interview was a chance for Americans to get direct answers to some very important questions in this year's presidential campaign, questions about sending troops to Iraq based upon weapons that have not been found, questions about the president's own military service and the economy.

We're going to look at them "In Plain English" tonight with "TIME" magazine columnist, regular contributor Joe Klein.

Always good to see you, Joe. Welcome.

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: Let's look at what the president had to say when Tim Russert asked him directly whether this was a war of choice or necessity. Here's what the president had to says: "It is a war of necessity. We -- in my judgment, we had no choice when we look at the intelligence I looked at that says the man was a threat."

How significant is that distinction?

KLEIN: That is the most significant distinction for the year 2004. That is what this election, this presidential election, is going to be all about.

George Bush says that this was a war we had to enter. We had to go there. It was a necessity. However, all of the intelligence that we now have shows that Saddam wasn't an imminent threat. And John Kerry or whomever the Democrat is will argue that we should have given the U.N. inspectors more time, that there might have been other priorities, that this wasn't a war that was necessary for us to go into.

ZAHN: Tim Russert also asked the question of why it was the president gave the American public the sense that there was an immediate threat from Saddam Hussein.

The president said: "I think, if I might remind you, that, in my language, I called it a grave and gathering threat. But I don't want to get into word contests. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a danger to America." Is he parsing language here?

KLEIN: Well, he is getting into word contests here. And this is another significant one.

Not just the president, but also Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, they were saying things like -- that Saddam Hussein was an imminent nuclear threat, even though the intelligence had no indication of that. Rumsfeld said that we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. It was a very clear sense that the Bush administration gave us that Saddam Hussein was just bristling with weapons and eager to use them, and we had to move in right then and there.

ZAHN: Let's also see how the president addressed the issue of the vice president's claim that Iraqis perceived Americans as liberators. The president said: "Well, I think we are welcomed in Iraq. I'm not exactly sure, given the tone of your questions, we're not. We are welcomed in Iraq." Is the president making a miscalculation here in downplaying that?

KLEIN: Well, I think that a lot of Iraqis are happy that Saddam Hussein is gone, especially the Shiites in the South and the Kurds in the north.

But we haven't quite been greeted as liberators. There have been more than 500 Americans who have been killed. And I think that, over the next few months, this is another major issue that the president is going to be facing, the transition from an American-led coalition authority to an Iraqi-led government. And there are tremendous land mines ahead as far as that's concerned.

ZAHN: I was really struck by what the president had to say about his vision of foreign policy. He said: "I've got a foreign policy that is one that believes America has a responsibility in this world to lead, a responsibility to promote freedom, to free people from the clutches of barbaric people such as Saddam Hussein."

Isn't that a departure from everything we've heard up until this point?

KLEIN: It's a departure from American foreign policy through most of the last century. This is a very idealistic foreign policy. And it offers a real choice to Americans.

People are going to be asked to decide whether they want a foreign policy that seeks to bring democracy to places like Iraq or a more realistic foreign policy, where American interests are protected above all else. The president has taken tremendous risks, and this election is about the choices that he made.

ZAHN: I know the administration always says it doesn't watch the polls, but they put the president out there for a reason. Do you think what he had to say will have traction with potential voters out there?

KLEIN: Well, that's what the rest of the year is going to be about. I think that the president seemed very defensive and sort of shaky, but it was a very courageous thing for him to do to go on the air for an hour with Tim Russert, who is regarded as the toughest questioner in Washington.

ZAHN: Joe Klein, thanks so much.

Meanwhile, President Bush's service record in the National Guard seems to be gaining some political traction as a campaign issue. In his interview this weekend, the president said, he showed up when he was supposed to and received an honorable discharge. We're sending in the truth squad on this one.

Here's national correspondent Bruce Morton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard, flew the F-102, a good pilot, an instructor said. But he quit flying in April 1972, two years before his enlistment was up, when he transferred to an Alabama unit.

He went to Alabama to work on the unsuccessful Senate campaign of Winton "Red" Blount, a family friend. "The Boston Globe" reported, "The records contain no evidence that Bush performed any military duty in Alabama." His Alabama unit commander in an interview, in the year 2000, said that Bush never appeared for duty. The officer, retired Brigadier General William Turnipseed, hedged that to "The Washington Post" last week, saying he could not recall if he, the general, had been on base much at that time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")

BUSH: There may be no evidence, but I did report. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORTON (on camera): Back in Texas, Bush was suspended from flight status in August of 1972 for failing to take his annual flight physical. In May of '73, his two superiors in Houston wrote, they were unable to perform his annual evaluation because -- quote -- "He had not been observed at this unit." They wrote that they believed he was fulfilling his commitment in Alabama. The two, one a friend of Bush's, are both now dead.

(voice-over): The president on "Meet the Press" said he would authorize the release of pay stubs, or tax records or other documents to show that he did serve in Alabama.

"The Dallas Morning News" reports, Mr. Bush's Guard application included a check mark in the box for those not wanting to volunteer for overseas duty. But a clerk may have done that. Bush says, and colleagues confirm, he signed up for a program which eventually did send pilots, though not him, to Southeast Asia.

Mr. Bush referred on "Meet the Press" to Guardsmen now serving in Iraq. And, of course, they are. But Vietnam was different, a bigger Army, half a million soldiers in Vietnam, a draft. The Guard was a shelter for some. Dan Quayle, the first President Bush's vice president, faced the same kind of controversy about his Guard service when he was on that ticket in 1998.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So, at the end of the day, will the president's Sunday interview push his approval ratings back up?

Joining us tonight from Boston, Bob Kuttner, co-editor of "The American Prospect" magazine, and our regular contributor, former Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke in Washington.

Good to see you both of you.

VICTORIA CLARKE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: Hi.

Bob, I'm going to start with you tonight.

We are told that part of the reason the White House put the president out on Sunday was because of his falling poll numbers, and they wanted to give him the opportunity to fight off some of the Democratic attacks that have beat him up so badly over the last couple of weeks. Did this do anything to his credibility?

BOB KUTTNER, CO-EDITOR, "AMERICAN PROSPECT": No.

I think, if anything, for the first time in three years, it put him in a situation with a fairly tough-minded reporter who actually had the ability to ask follow-up questions. And I think the president came across as surprisingly weak. On the one hand, he's saying, I'm a war president. He repeated that over and over and over again. But, on the other hand, he seemed evasive, defensive. A lot of what he said just wasn't convincing.

He didn't answer the question of why he was allowed to leave the Guard early. He said he was going to Harvard Business School. Well, unfortunately, that's not available to your average National Guardsman. He didn't have answers for the questions of why the budget numbers were so badly out of whack, didn't have a good answer for why he characterized the intelligence the way he had.

And he looked kind of squirmy. I don't think they're going to repeat this. That's going to be the test of whether this was a successful strategy, whether you're going to see him sitting still for other hour-long, unscripted interviews with reporters. I don't think you're going to see that.

ZAHN: All right, Torie, let's respond to some of what Bob just said.

CLARKE: Sure.

ZAHN: For starters, distill this part for us. He described the president as evasive and defensive. How did you read the president's performance?

CLARKE: First of all, I'm a little amused at the deconstruction and the focus on one interview. It is one interview in a long effort to try to help people understand the kind of issues that are out there.

ZAHN: All right, but let's focus on this interview for starters.

(CROSSTALK)

CLARKE: No, I am focusing on this interview.

And if you really listen to it -- and I actually think the whole thing got better as it went on. I think Tim Russert got better. I think the president got better as it went on. For one of the first times ever, you had a really elevated discussion about what is at stake here. This is not business as usual. This is not politics as usual. In the year 2004, this country is facing the most awesome challenges it has ever faced in its history.

So, thank God the president is trying to raise and elevate the level of discussion. And if you listened and if you paid attention and you weren't deconstructing it the way some Hollywood producer would, then you heard some important issues being discussed there.

(CROSSTALK)

CLARKE: And if it is one part of an ongoing effort to raise the level of discussion like that, then I think you'll see it as something very successful.

ZAHN: Were you satisfied, Torie, by the president's explanation of his National Guard service? Bob had some problems with that.

CLARKE: Look, plenty of people have problems with it. You always have to tap into their motivations. Like Turnipseed, the fellow who caused problems in the back, who admits that he doesn't even know how often he was on the base. He's the commander of the base.

He served honorably. He was discharged honorably. And I happen to know that there are millions and millions of people who have served in the Guard and Reserve and serving today who are proud that their commander in chief was in the Guard. That is not going to be a take- it-or-leave-it issue.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Bob, Republican Congressman Chris Shays has said that the biggest problem the White House has right now is the perception of hubris surrounding it. Do you read it that way?

KUTTNER: Yes, I do.

I think this is a president who overreached, who came into office having gotten a minority of the vote, who promised he'd be a uniter, not a divider. And, as soon as he took office, he abandoned that stance and moved to the extremes. His tax program, his foreign policy, a lot of his appointees to the courts, this is not the action of a centrist, moderate president.

And I think what you saw in the past week was the chickens really coming home to roost for George W. Bush, and the press, which has been fairly gentle on this president, giving itself permission for the first time to be more skeptical.

ZAHN: We have to leave it there this evening. Victoria Clarke, Bob Kuttner, thanks for both of your perspectives. Appreciate it.

CLARKE: Thanks, Paula.

KUTTNER: Thank you.

ZAHN: Martha Stewart's attorneys fighting back today against the government's chief witness. We're going to tell you about today's tearful testimony.

And a visitor -- and a visit with actor Chris Noth. With a new movie out, will Mr. Big make one last visit to "Sex and the City"?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Another day of dramatic testimony in the Martha Stewart trial. The home maven returned to court, where her secretary cried on the witness stand. Earlier, her defense team went on the offensive in their cross-examination of the prosecution's star witness.

CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was in the courtroom. He joins us now.

Welcome.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Hey.

ZAHN: So, how did Martha Stewart's attorneys do today?

TOOBIN: You know, I thought they did not so great.

ZAHN: Why?

TOOBIN: I mean, he is a really good witness. He did not change his story. He seemed to me a very believable witness.

I think, to the extent that the lawyers for Martha Stewart tried to make him look like a liar, they failed. Where they may succeed is suggesting that he just didn't know what he thought he knew, that he thought there was more of a cover-up than he could possibly have known, given the facts available to him. But in terms of his credibility, he looked pretty good to me.

ZAHN: And did you start to see a split between Martha Stewart and Peter Bacanovic today?

TOOBIN: Absolutely, very dramatic. Robert Morvillo, Stewart's lawyer, began his cross-examination by saying, "It was Peter Bacanovic who told you to lie, wasn't it?" "Yes." "It was Peter Bacanovic with whom you agreed to obstruct justice?" "Yes." "It wasn't Martha Stewart, was it?"

So it was very much Stewart's lawyer saying, hey, if there was any conspiracy here, Martha Stewart had nothing to do with it. That's a big change from how this trial started.

ZAHN: Now, what's the deal with Martha Stewart's assistant breaking down on the stand? And, being the tough former prosecutor that you are, did the booboo work for you?

TOOBIN: It really did work for me.

What happened, Ann Armstrong is actually still her personal assistant. That's her job. She's done it for six years. And she's testifying about the phone messages on December 27, 2001, the day of the transaction. And she was asked about it. And she was asked about getting a phone call from Martha Stewart that day. And she said, well, you know, the first thing I did was thank her for the plum pudding she sent me.

ZAHN: Aww.

TOOBIN: And you know what? Saying that, she just broke down in sobs. And three times, she tried to recover her composure and couldn't. And the judge finally just ended testimony for the day.

ZAHN: And it did not appear to be feigned?

TOOBIN: Absolutely not.

ZAHN: Rehearsed? None of that?

TOOBIN: No.

And we have spent a great deal of time talking about what a horrible boss Martha Stewart is, how difficult she was to work with. Remember those e-mails that Faneuil wrote about what a problem she was. And this was a woman saying that, Martha Stewart is such a good boss that I break down in tears thinking about it. And it was just a different picture of her, and I thought it was kind of real and interesting.

ZAHN: But, when you look at how a jury ultimately puts that into the equation, does her testimony mean much?

TOOBIN: Well, in fact, tomorrow, she will testify about how Martha Stewart sat down at her desk, Ann Armstrong's desk, and changed the phone message from Bacanovic that day, suggesting a guilty conscience. She then changed it back to its original state.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Well, that might make you really cry.

TOOBIN: Well, it's Martha Stewart who may cry from that evidence.

You know, I think one reason why Ann Armstrong was crying on the witness stand is, she knows she has negative information to impart, and she's an honest person, and she has to turn it over.

ZAHN: Will Martha Stewart eventually testify?

TOOBIN: Maybe.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Maybe. Oh.

TOOBIN: I'm sorry. I'm going to wimp out on that. I just don't know at this point. It's a really hard call.

ZAHN: All right, thank you for being honest.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Jeffrey Toobin.

ZAHN: Our experts on all things Martha Stewart.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: A new study challenging the conventional wisdom about a positive attitude and surviving cancer.

Also, from calculus to the courtroom, high schoolers are getting a real education in justice.

And tomorrow, the race for the Democratic nomination turns to Tennessee and Virginia. Will John Kerry claim the South?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back. Here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

The nation of Haiti is being rocked by violent clashes between police and protesters. The uprising spread to nearly a dozen towns tied to protest against President John Bertrand-Aristide.

In Arizona, the former archbishop testified he had no idea he hit someone in a car accident last June. Thomas O'Brien is on trial for killing a jay walker in the hit and run. O'Brien says he thought a rock or dog might have hit his car.

Also in Arizona, a Tucson judge decided today that singer Diana Ross will have to spend two days in jail. Ross pleaded no contest to driving under the influence in December of 2002. Official say Ross will probably be allowed to serve time in a jail near her home in California.

Moving on to other news now, people are with cancer are often told a positive outlook can help them get better. Well, a new study in the journal "cancer" disagrees saying expecting optimism may expect too much from patients. What is the power of positive thought.

To look at that question tonight, from Dallas, Diane Balma, breast cancer survivor, and director of pubic policy with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

And joining us here, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a frequent contributor, medical journalist, vice president with Johnson & Johnson. And Dr. Jimmy Holland, founder of the Division of Psychology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

The two of you couldn't have loftier titles if I had gone digging for them. Welcome all.

First of all, Nancy, what do you think of the study?

Do you think thinking positively makes any difference at all?

DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN, MEDICAL JOURNALIST: This is a small study. It's a well done study. It basically looked at lung cancer which has a lousy survival anyway, and only five -- I think seven or eight people were alive after five years.

Is optimism a separate factor for predicting how well you'll do with cancer?

This study says no. My real caution is, though, you can't throw out optimism when it comes to quality of life, and this is looking at lung cancer, not breast cancer, not heart disease, not rheumatoid arthritis. So, I caution everyone not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

ZAHN: What's your take on this?

Are doctors not supposed to encourage their patients to be optimistic?

DR. JIMMIE HOLLAND, MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER: My take is the culture that we live in, we suddenly have put all of this emphasis on thinking positive. I've had patients tell me, if one more person tells me to think positive, I'm going to hit them on the nose. I can't think positive when I feel lousy and vomiting. I feel terrible. So, we put a new burden on people, I think today, they don't need. And I want people to express how they really feel because, as a psychiatrist, I want to know so we can help people if they're not coping well.

ZAHN: You treat cancer patients. You also have to deliver some pretty grim news from time to time.

SYNDERMAN: I don't disagree with that. I think there's a difference between saying, look, I'm here with you. I'm your partner through this. There is a window for optimism. Some body makes up that 2 to 3 percent of a lousy diagnosis. That's a lot different than saying you have terminal cancer, but buck up, bucky. To tell somebody to be optimistic and not give them the tools to go through it is a very unfair thing for any doctor to do. And you have the right, if you're a patient, to come into a doctor's office and say, you know what, I feel lousy, and I want you to know I feel lousy, and I'm angry, and I have the right to be able to voice that. That patient does. But you still, no matter what you do in life, need hope. And that's the responsibility of the doctor.

ZAHN: Let's talk about that with Diane, and we'll come back to you in just a moment.

Diane, here you are, eight years and more than almost a dozen surgeries later. You've survived breast cancer.

How much do you think your positive attitude had to do with your recovery?

DIANE BALMA, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR: Let me also add two mastectomies and eight months of Chemotherapy. But I want to reiterate something first, Paula, and that is this was a lung cancer study. And we know that the mortality rate for lung cancer is quite low. Therefore, the inexplicability of the data on breast cancer is an unknown and irrelevant. I'm not ready to concede that, as a breast cancer survivor, that having a positive attitude plays no role whatsoever, in either short term disease free survival or even long term survival. I will also add that I'm personally disappointed that the study did not address the issue of quality of life. For many of us as patients, it's not just that you live, but how you live. And I do believe, as was the case in my situation, that having a positive attitude can enhance one's quality of life, particularly if the patient is able to tap into things that are important to them, such as faith in god and family and friends.

ZAHN: But, Diane, did you ever feel like anybody on your team put pressure on you to go out there and be positive when you were feeling absolutely wretched?

BALMA: There were times, Paula, when I wanted to say I am positive. I'm positive that I'm scared to death. And we have to be careful not to send patients the wrong message, not to give them a false sense of hope, not to make them feel even more burdened by not letting them express their feelings, their fears, their anxieties, their grief because all of these are natural by products of cancer, and they're certainly quite normal. And to do otherwise can create a very lonely and isolating feeling for the patient, and I did experience that quite often.

Dr. Holland, I see you nodding in agreement, and yet you take...

HOLLAND: Somewhat.

ZAHN: ... this thought even further when you talk about the tyranny of positive thinking. That sounds pretty extreme to some folks out there.

HOLLAND: Yes, it is our society today that says the only way you can beat cancer is to be positive. I think there are people who by nature who are pessimistic, and there are people by nature who are optimistic, which is what this study really tested. So, that you can't really take a pessimist and turn them into an optimist overnight just because they have cancer. And my bottom line is respect the way that people cope and listen to what are their true emotions. Yes, I agree with Nancy, they have to have hope. The human spirit can't survive without hope. That doesn't mean it's unrealistic hope. It doesn't mean you're telling people to think in one way. It's like one size fits all kind of coping skills. If you're not positive, you're not going to make it. That's simply not true. And this study, I think, shows it didn't really author the length of survival. You would have expected maybe the optimist would have lived on the longer end of the scale, but that didn't happen.

SNYDERMAN: It's interesting. Something happens in medicine, when you get sick, the medical profession and society in some ways turns and says you must have done something wrong. Certainly, that's true for lung cancer. So, you smoke. You get your lung cancer. You're already responsible for getting sick. Then you're supposed to be responsible for getting yourself well. We have to separate all of it. I have firm belief that there's good science out there that says how you believe and how you live your life can affect your immune system and maybe the ripple effect of cancers. But we have to look at the science and separate it all out. That's the only fair way to take care of patients.

ZAHN: It's a very interesting discussion.

HOLLAND: I think the issue of guilt is a very real well.

ZAHN: Absolutely. I think Diana has addressed that as well. We need to move on here.

Diane Balma, thanks for sharing your personal story for us this evening.

Dr. Nancy Synderman, and Dr. Jimmie Holland, thank you for your personal and profession expertise.

On the eve of a condemned man's execution, we hear from two of his jurors who want his death sentence stopped.

Also, the verdict may be out for teen courts. We are going to tell you why the system maybe in danger.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: In California, a federal appeals court blocked tonight's scheduled execution of Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row 19 years for murdering four people. Now, some of the jurors who convicted him are happy with that decision. Joining us now from San Diego to explain why, two of the cooper jurors, Kahloah Doxey and Donna Randle. Welcome. Donna, you voted for Kevin Cooper's execution, now you have rallied for his stay. Why?

DONNA RANDLE, COOPER JUROR: I feel like it's the right thing to do. I think there was a lot of questions left unanswered with the whole investigation, and I think it's just the right thing to do.

ZAHN: Kahloah Doxey, you found Kevin Cooper guilty, sentenced him to death. What evidence convinced you of his guilt some 18 years ago that you're troubled by now?

KAHLOAH DOXEY, COOPER JUROR: It's nothing we convicted him of those years ago, it's what we found out three years ago.

ZAHN: And so you're wholly comfortable with the decision you made based on the evidence you had 18 years ago.

DOXEY: Yes.

ZAHN: What is it that alarmed you three years ago?

DOXEY: If I might say, we were on "48 Hours," and we were blindsided by Erin Moriarty when she told us, did you know that Jessica Ryen who was the 10-year-old victim, had blond hair clutched in her hand? We didn't know that. That wasn't presented to us at the trial.

ZAHN: And that would have suggested what to you?

DOXEY: It would have suggested that either someone else was there, and it could have suggested reasonable doubt. We had a right to that evidence. As jurors, we needed to hear that argument on that hair, and we didn't hear that.

ZAHN: Donna, you also believe there was police misconduct in that case. Is there a chance that Kevin Cooper could be innocent?

RANDLE: No.

ZAHN: Absolutely not?

RANDLE: No. No. I think there was some misconduct, you know, things being misplaced, thrown away, possibly tampered with. We don't know if that's one of the questions we have, as far as the preservatives in that blood vial, but they had enough to convict him. I believe that Kevin Cooper is guilty. But I also believe that he has the right to pursue any avenue up until the very end.

ZAHN: Would you have any explanation for this blond hair and what that might suggest?

RANDLE: I haven't got a clue, but I do know that it's probably not Kevin Cooper's, and I don't know that it's any of the victims in the home, and we kind of toyed around, since we had found out about it, that perhaps it was one of the dogs came up as they were lying there or something. I don't really know. The picture doesn't really look like dog hair. It actually looks like human hair. But that's one thing we would like to have answered.

ZAHN: And Kahloah, if testing is finally done on it, and it seems to be definitive, then will you be at peace with the decision you made 18 years ago to execute this man?

DOXEY: It depends on whose hair that is. We've got to find out whose hair that is. Like I said, that wasn't presented to us at trial. We need to know whose hair that is, if it's Jessica's, well, they said it was inconsistent with her hair. If it's none of the victims' hair and it's not dog hair, whose hair is it? I don't know if you saw a picture of her hands, but the hands were clutched with that hair, fist. So we need to know that. That should have been brought to us. ZAHN: And, Donna, in closing, you must have some empathy for what the families of the victims are going through now as they have waited for 18 years for this man's execution and now it's been stayed. What would you say to them?

RANDLE: Absolutely. That we have thought about you all these years. We have prayed for you. We are with you 100 percent. But in order for everybody to have closure, we need this done. We need this done. And then we can all move on.

ZAHN: Well, we know this isn't easy for either one of you to talk about and brings back old wounds. Unfortunately we need to move on. Donna Randle and Kahloah Doxey, thank you very much for your time tonight.

We're going to take you to court where teenagers are being prosecuted, defended, and judged by their peers.

And then Chris Noth joins me. Mr. Big. He talks about a new role and his love scenes with Sarah Jessica Parker on "Sex and the City."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS NOTH, ACTOR: Our sex on the show is rather tame if you compare to the other girls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: A system that may be making a difference for young people in trouble could be in trouble itself. Budget cuts are threatening youth courts even though the crime intervention programs seem to help teens more than going through traditional adult courts. Maria Hinojosa has a look inside youth courts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's after dark, and court is in session.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All rise.

HINOJOSA: With a 15-year-old judge, a 16-year-old prosecutor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, have you ever stolen anything before?

HINOJOSA: And the youngest juror, 12 years old. Welcome to the Youth Court in Colonie, New York, where teens are prosecuted, defended, and sentenced by their peers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...is willing to accept the consequences.

HINOJOSA: Now a growing number of youth courts across the country handle minor first-time offenders, whose cases might not even be heard in an overloaded family court system.

WILLIAM PERICAK, PRESIDENT, COLONIE YOUTH COURT: They are perceived as being so minor that they would be forgotten.

HINOJOSA: But in youth court, these petty crimes are dealt with seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're feeling it.

PERICAK: Not only do they feel it, but they feel it through their peers. We see a lot more severe punishment meted out through the youth court than we would through any family court throughout the state of New York.

HINOJOSA: Take the case of Javy Martinez. Tonight, he is the court clerk. But 2 1/2 years ago he was on trial in this same court. His crime, throwing a bag with white cooking flour at a house as a Halloween prank. But it was 2001, at the height of the anthrax scare.

JAVY MARTINEZ, YOUTH COURT MEMBER: I threw it across the street.

HINOJOSA: And you hit the house?

MARTINEZ: Yes. So that caused a full hazardous response team and a forensics unit from the police station to go out and investigate.

HINOJOSA: His sentence...

MARTINEZ: I received 300 hours.

HINOJOSA: Three hundred hours of community service, because the youth court sentences aren't just about punishment, but giving back to the community.

ROBERT FLORES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: One of things that youth court allows us to do is it allows us to really send a message that even small delinquent acts or minor criminal acts have consequences.

HINOJOSA: And, say experts, it works.

JEFFREY BUTTS, URBAN INSTITUTE: I started out as a skeptic. I think in the end we learned that the effectiveness on behavior of offenders seems to be strong enough to justify continued investment in the program.

HINOJOSA: Javy Martinez says youth courts steered him in the right direction.

(on camera): What's the thing that you want other kids to see in you while you're sitting here being the clerk?

MARTINEZ: I want the kids to see that everyone can still have another chance. Because I messed up a couple of times, and I'm just here as a normal kid doing the right thing. HINOJOSA: Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Colony, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And coming up, I'll be talking with "Sex and the City's" Chris Noth about his new movie and the possible final return of Mr. Big.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SEX AND THE CITY")

SARAH JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: Hi.

NOTH: I started reading your column after we met.

PARKER: You did?

NOTH: Yeah. Cute.

PARKER: Cute.

NOTH: Well, yeah, cute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Will Mr. Big return to Carrie Bradshaw in the final episodes of "Sex and the City"? We'll ask Mr. Big himself, Chris Noth in just a moment. The actor is also taking on a new role playing an undercover FBI agent in "Bad Apple," a TNT original movie that premieres February 16. Here's a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BAD APPLE")

NOTH: You know, I thought you and me, we could have had something together. Guess I was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, you got that right, businessman.

NOTH: I am a businessman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Porno?

NOTH: All right. Well -- you make that sound a little worse than it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should have known anyone to get involved with (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

NOTH: Come on. It's strictly soft porn. It's very wholesome stuff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: I asked Chris to talk a little bit about his new film and the character he plays in it. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NOTH: It's a very kind of not complicated, but complex plot. But basically, I go undercover, and my partner is monitoring me. I give my partner, you know, acid reflux. It's that kind of partnership. And the guy that we flip to get into the inner chambers of the Mafia, his sister, I had an affair with. And the main bad guy, Tommy Bells, played by Robert Patrick in a brilliant, brilliant interpretation, is in love with her also. And so there's this complicated kind of -- the boundaries get a little mixed up.

ZAHN: What I want to know now, though, when you see Sarah, or Carrie run off with Mikhail Baryshnikov, as we will see in this next scene, I just wonder how jealous you are. Let's watch together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SEX AND THE CITY")

MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV: I'll be in Paris for sometime with my exhibition. I'm going next week, and I'm not sure when I'll come back.

PARKER: Unfortunately, having a man leave me for Paris was not foreign to me.

BARYSHNIKOV: I'm hoping you will come.

PARKER: Well, sure, I'll come for the opening. And maybe another weekend also.

BARYSHNIKOV: No. You misunderstand. I'm hoping you'll come and be with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOTH: Well, he reminds me of my attitude first and second season, except I would have said, listen I'm going to Paris, and I'll see you next year.

ZAHN: Take me or leave me. So how is Mr. Big going to compete with him?

NOTH: You know, I don't think he is. He's just going to -- he may fade into the distance. I don't know. There's three different endings and...

ZAHN: And do you have a preference? Three different endings. She either ends up with Mr. Big or Mikhail Baryshnikov, or alone.

NOTH: Or neither or both. All together.

ZAHN: Oh, that could be interesting.

NOTH: You know, you never know where the show is going to go.

ZAHN: Is the show going to come back? NOTH: I really think they've finished. I think they've -- I think six years, they've done everything they could do. I mean, my God, she and I came back together three or four times, I think. I got married. I had an affair. We became friends. We had an affair. I think they've spun as many tales as they can. It might look silly if it kept going. But you know, it's up to them. I'm just riding the coattails.

ZAHN: And sworn to secrecy.

NOTH: And sworn to secrecy.

ZAHN: And you can't even tell us what your preferential ending would be?

NOTH: I think Carrie and Big forever. But you know what? Life isn't always like that. I think that they'll always be in each other's hearts in a little secret chamber of each other's, whether they're together or apart.

ZAHN: So close to Valentine's Day, so nice to hear that. Just share with us the emotionalism of filming the last three endings. And I've seen pictures of all the cast members pretty overwrought with emotion.

NOTH: Well, you have to remember for the girls, six very intense years. Sarah Jessica, who's literally almost in every frame of it. No, I mean, there are -- the other girls have their storylines, but Sarah figures as the centerpiece of the show. So -- and she's also an executive producer.

But all of them were extremely committed. And I mean, look what this show has done. I mean, it's an entertainment shot heard around the world. You know? But for me, I've sort of weaned myself. I've been able to, in the fifth season, I was only in one episode. So I've slowly sort of weaned myself off it. It's not quite as painful to me as I think -- but I'm very wistful about it. I mean, you know, in "Law and Order," like I said, I was finding dead bodies in alleyways, and wearing, you know, Mo Ginsberg's (ph) suits, and I went to "Sex and the City," I am wearing Gucci suits and silk ties and going to some of the best places in New York to woo Sarah Jessica, and it was just -- it was a great gig.

ZAHN: And how many women faint on the street when they see you?

NOTH: Sometimes they give me a good smack, you know. Leave her alone, schmuck. I get yelled at a lot. Nothing prepared me, actually, for the response, that this is -- you don't know...

ZAHN: It's got to be kind of bizarre.

NOTH: It's...

ZAHN: People refer to you as Mr. Big and...

NOTH: Yeah, they call you that... (CROSSTALK)

NOTH: You feel a little bit like a tropical fish, you know. People are pointing at you and you go by a window in a restaurant, all of a sudden everyone is turning, yeah. You know, pretty soon you feel like you should be an animal, you know. And the only bad part of that is you want your -- in public, to have a certain anonymity, but you know, that's...

ZAHN: And dignity too.

NOTH: Yeah, yeah.

ZAHN: Well, we wish you the best of luck.

NOTH: Well, thank you.

ZAHN: With "Bad Apple" and anything else that comes your way.

NOTH: Thanks a lot.

ZAHN: Congratulations.

NOTH: All right.

ZAHN: And we look forward to seeing one of those three endings.

NOTH: One of them. Or all of them.

ZAHN: Don't surprise us before. Chris Noth, thank you again for stopping by tonight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And thank you all for being with us tonight. Tomorrow, join us live for our coverage of the Democratic primaries in Virginia and Tennessee. Hope to see you then. Have a great night.

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