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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Interview With Colin Powell; Democrats Debate
Aired February 26, 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. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I'm Paula Zahn.
The world, the news, the names and faces and where we go from here on this Thursday, February 26, 2004.
ZAHN (voice-over): "In Focus" tonight, part one of an exclusive interview. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks out on intelligence failures, on the war in Iraq, and on the crisis in Haiti.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I regret to say that President Aristide I think has made some mistakes.
ZAHN: Also, just one hour from now, the Democratic presidential candidates will debate live on CNN. Our political insiders will join me for a preview.
And Howard Stern, the king of radio shock jocks, off the air in some markets for indecency. On his show today, Stern answered his critics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't this moving toward communism type of government?
HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Absolutely. And the Republicans the ones who are supposedly for less government interference.
ZAHN: All that ahead tonight, but, first, here's what you need to know right now.
As the unrest continues no Haiti, more than 500 refugees from the island have now been picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard. Most are expected to be returned to Haiti. There are growing concerns that thousands from the country will also try to make their way to the U.S.
"In Focus" tonight, part one of my exclusive interview with Secretary of State Colin Powell. We started off with the worsening situation in Haiti.
ZAHN: Mr. Secretary, always great to see you. POWELL: Paula, great to see you.
ZAHN: Thank you.
I want to start off with Haiti this evening. I interviewed President Aristide's wife last night. And she said under no circumstances will he step down. Is the United States encouraging him to do so?
POWELL: We want President Aristide to do what he thinks is best for his country.
What we are looking for is a political solution to end the violence. We've been pressing a Caricom approach, which would require both sides to enter into negotiations to form a new kind of government. Unfortunately, we haven't had any success with that, because the resistance, the political resistance really wants to see President Aristide leave. And so we're still sort of in a stalemate with respect to finding a political solution.
Meanwhile, we're concerned about the situation in Haiti. We are working with the international community. I've been in constant touch with the United Nations, the Organization of American States, with the French, the Canadians, and a number of other countries, to begin putting together a police force, a security and monitoring force that would go into Haiti, once there is something to go into Haiti on, and that is some sort of political resolution.
What President Aristide may choose to do or not do, that is up to President Aristide.
ZAHN: Under any scenario, do you see him surviving this politically?
POWELL: Well, I think the situation has become very, very difficult. I regret to say that President Aristide I think has made some mistakes over the years.
I went to Haiti in 1994, and -- with President Carter and Senator Nunn. We talked the generals out of power and President Aristide to reassume office. So, over the ensuing 10 years, there hasn't been enough progress made toward democracy, toward clearing out all of the political turmoil that existed in the country.
And so legitimate political opposition arose to his leadership. And time was lost as they talked to one another.
ZAHN: We spoke with a number of folks today who suggested that Mr. Aristide at this has two options, either leaving in a Learjet or ending up in a body bag. Is it that dire?
POWELL: I wouldn't make that dire of a statement.
I mean, we have to keep all options open for a political settlement. And that's what we're going to do. And we continue to work hard at it. We've been deeply engaged in this process for a long time. President Bush and I spoke to President Aristide and to all of the Caricom leaders in Monterey in January at the Summit of the Americas, pleading for movement toward a political solution.
And Caricom has been involved putting forth proposals that would lead to a solution. But, unfortunately, attitudes become quite hardened and polarized. And it's becoming a much more difficult situation.
ZAHN: On to the issue of Iraq. Do you think the June 30 deadline will be met for transfer of power to the Iraqis?
POWELL: We hope so. We hope so.
And it's certainly achievable. I was communicating with Ambassador Bremer this morning. There's progress on the basic administrative law that we need. The real challenge is, what kind of transitional government do we pass sovereignty to? And that's where the real work is going to take place over the next month or so. But it's still achievable and we'll still shooting for 30 June.
ZAHN: When you say you're hopeful...
ZAHN: ... it doesn't sound like you're 100 point certain.
POWELL: In this business, no one can be 100 percent certain. But that is our goal and it is an achievable goal. And we're working toward that goal, 30 June, turnover of sovereignty.
ZAHN: The United States has now lost more than 500 men and women in this war. We have seen a resurgence of violence among insurgency groups. Has this war been worth the human cost?
POWELL: Yes, it has.
We mourn the loss of every young American or coalition soldier who has died in the cause of peace. But sometimes peace requires that kind of expenditure of life, unfortunately. We've seen it throughout our history. And what these young men and women died for is for a nation, a people who want to be free, who want to have democracy.
And when we are through with our process of reconstruction and have turned this country back over to its own people, and Iraqis have full sovereignty, and then they go on and have a Constitution and election (AUDIO GAP) and it will be worth it. And I hope that the families of these young men and women will be proud of what their loved ones did to accomplish this goal.
ZAHN: What has been the cost of this war to the United States diplomatically?
POWELL: I think that people -- people sometimes conclude that we have paid a terrible price in terms of our position and the respect that is accorded to us around the world. And that's not accurate.
The fact of the matter is, we went into Iraq and we're in Iraq now with most of the nations of NATO supporting us. They have put troops there. With most of the European Union nations putting troops and other financial resources at the disposal of our efforts or at the disposal of the Iraqi people. There is no shortage of foreign ministers and heads of state in government who are coming to the United States to build a better relationship with us.
And so I think that America has shown that, on a matter of principle, we will defend ourselves with like-minded other nations, or we'll do it alone, if it's a matter of principle to protect ourselves. Now, does that create a certain degree of anti-Americanism? Yes, it does. Will we be able to counter that over time? Yes, we will.
ZAHN: So you will concede this has made your job tougher.
POWELL: My job is always made tougher by something that happens. It's not an easy job. But it's something that we will prevail over time, because people will see, we did the right thing in Iraq. And so we are now starting to see democracy take root in a country that had never known it before.
And so, when people see that happen, I think they will see, over time, this was the right thing to do. These terrorists that are coming in, the old regime elements that are still hanging around, they'll be dealt with over time. And, increasingly, they'll be dealt with not just by coalition forces, but by Iraqi security forces, who want to take control of their country, and they want to build a better nation for themselves.
ZAHN: Tomorrow, as my exclusive interview with the secretary of state continues, Colin Powell, the man and his future.
In less than an hour, the final debate among the Democratic hopefuls before Super Tuesday will get under way. What is at stake and what are the issues?
Joining us to discuss that now, we have Republican strategist Ed Rollins and regular contributor and "TIME" columnist Joe Klein.
Good to see you both.
ZAHN: First, let's talk a little bit about what the secretary of state just had to say. He's hopeful and he think it's achievable to transfer power over to the Iraqis, but he said nothing is certain.
What would be the consequences of the administration not meeting that June 30 date?
JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there might be political consequences. I don't know that there would be consequences on the ground.
The significance of this is, up to this moment, June 30 had been a date set in stone. This was when sovereignty was going to be turned over to the Iraqis. But what we have there is a mess. And it's not just the remnants of the Baath regime, as the secretary said, and it's not just al Qaeda. It is the basic fact that the Sunni and the Shiite majority do not get along.
And we haven't figured out a way to make them get along. And they haven't figured out a way to agree with each other. And this is going to be -- this was extremely difficult when the British tried to do it in 1919. And it's going to be very, very difficult for us now.
ZAHN: Do you think the secretary of state was preparing us for the possibility of it not happening on that date?
KLEIN: Well, I think that they're beginning to acknowledge that what they thought was going to happen on June 30 is not going to happen. And what they thought was that there would be a process of caucuses that would lead to a new national -- a provisional national assembly. Well, Iraq ain't Iowa. It's not going to be that easy.
ZAHN: Let's move on to what lies ahead for the Democrats. We've sort of heard the opening salvo from the Republicans on what they're going to do with John Kerry, accusing him of flip-flopping on everything from the Patriot Act to his vote on the war.
What do you think we'll see tonight.
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think you'll see -- first of all, a lot people ought to pay attention to this debate I think because this is sort of the last debate before the big primaries next Tuesday. And I think people are kind of curious.
John Kerry is about to the nominee and, who is this guy? And who's the guy chasing him? Who is Edwards? I don't think it's really a contest between the two anymore. I think it's really Kerry. I think Kerry is going to be tested in the next 90 days. Bush is sitting there with $100 million that I think he'll spend and go out and try and exploit the flip-flops, and the misvotes -- or we would cast them as misvotes.
At the end of the day, it's about -- reelection is about incumbents. And if the president basically can tell his own message and defend himself, some of these problems we just talked about, the June 30 deadline, I think if he pulled out of there early and it became a chaotic situation before the election, it would be far worse than staying in there. So there's a lot ahead of us.
ZAHN: Let's talk about what's at stake for John Edwards tonight. As far as you're concerned, it looks like John Kerry has this nomination wrapped up. So what is it that John Edwards
ZAHN: You're not convinced of that? Most pundits are. KLEIN: That may well be true. But my position throughout, Paula, as you remember...
ZAHN: I know.
KLEIN: ... is that, I would like us to have elections and then comment on what happened in the elections. I don't do predictions.
And, in this case, you know, I don't know what kind of election is going to take place on Tuesday. You have 10 states. You don't have candidate presence in most of these places. You don't have advertising in most of these places. I don't know how much of an election is actually going to take place.
For John Edwards, tonight, you know -- for each of these guys -- what Ed said is exactly true. Even though we've seen 20 debates so far, for most of the public, they haven't seen one. And this is a chance for both candidates to define themselves. And John Edwards has been having a tough time of that. The only thing he's been able to establish is that he's the nice guy. He's not going to attack John Kerry. But he hasn't given voters a rationale for not voting for John Kerry, who just keeps on winning these things.
And so we're going to see -- the most important thing to watch is to see if that dynamic changes at all tonight.
ZAHN: Do you see this as John Edwards, if he doesn't get the nomination, as this whole process as auditioning for the 2008 ticket or a second spot on the ticket, although he says that's not what he wants?
ROLLINS: Well, they always say that's not what they want. But he's gone a lot further than I think he ever anticipated going. And I've known very few people that have ever turned it down.
I think the reality is that he's -- as I said, he's got a lot further. I think Kerry's come back and really done a very effective job of solidifying the Democratic Party. Democrats want to win. Republicans are unified. And I think the Democrats realize they got to get this over pretty quickly and put it together.
ZAHN: Ed Rollins, Joe Klein, we appreciate your joining us tonight.
Coverage of tonight's CNN Democratic debate gets under way at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up, the tragedy of Columbine. Five years later, newly released evidence brings shock and raises some painful questions. Did police ignore signs of the massacre to come?
The biggest name in offensive radio is on the defense. Howard Stern goes silent in six cities. We'll look at why it happened and that battle to clean up broadcasting and whether he should have been punished at all. And it's almost over for you, my pretty, the ball that many fans say cost the Chicago Cubs the playoffs is just minutes away from being blasted to smithereens, ending the curse of the Cubbies forever. Well, maybe.
We'll show it to you live.
ZAHN: Nearly five years after the massacre at Columbine High School, Colorado officials are releasing some new information on the tragedy.
In the two years before the killings, they say authorities had at least 15 contacts with the killers. The state also today released thousands of pages of documents and physical evidence, including shell casings and home video of the teenage killers. Police hope the report will help prevent school shootings, but many say it only brings back horrific pain.
Joining us now from Denver is Darrell Scott, whose daughter Rachel was killed at Columbine. Joining us as well from Golden, Colorado, are Randy and Judy Brown, the parents of Brooks Brown. Their son was threatened by Eric Harris.
Thank you all for joining us tonight.
DARRELL SCOTT, FATHER OF COLUMBINE VICTIM: You're welcome.
ZAHN: Darrell, I'm going to start with you this evening.
It must have been overwhelming for you to walk through room after room of evidence, shell casings, bullets, pipe bombs. Of all of the horrific reminders of this tragedy, what was the most difficult thing for you to take?
SCOTT: Well, the most difficult was just looking at the gun that had killed Rachel -- or the gun that was used to kill Rachel. The gun didn't kill her. It was a young man who killed her, but he chose a weapon to do it with.
And looking at that gun and just knowing that that was the instrument that was used was very difficult.
ZAHN: It had to be so painful to absorb any of this. Why was it so important for you to experience that?
SCOTT: Well, I'm the kind of person that needs to know as much as I can for complete closure. And some people want to avoid those kinds of things. And I just need to have answers to questions.
And I think there was a certain amount of closure from just seeing -- one of the things that shocked me was how many bullets were there, how many weapons were there. And even in their cars, things that they didn't use, there were just gallons after gallons of gas that was not used, four 20-pound propane tanks, and a number of other weapons. It was just overwhelming.
ZAHN: Did you leave those rooms, I mean, obviously, emotionally exhausted, but just bitter and angry?
SCOTT: No, I think my emotion has been -- from the very beginning of this tragedy, has been a deep sadness and just wanting to have answers as to why two young men could choose to do what they did.
And it's been a quest over the last five years. Part of that quest has developed into a school program that we have where we go into high schools and middle schools. And I think my daughter had part of the solution, which was kindness, compassion, reaching out to people who weren't being reached out to.
ZAHN: I know Randy and Judy have had a remarkably different experience, because they don't feel a lot of their questions have been answered.
You contacted, Randy and Judy, authorities after Eric Harris threatened your son. You said they didn't do enough. Why?
JUDY BROWN, SON THREATENED BY ERIC HARRIS: I don't believe they took any action at all. I don't believe they in fact even went to the parents' house to let the parents know what their kids were doing.
I don't believe they followed up on their report. And what we're finding out today is that there is a cover-up and some of the files are missing. There's been indication today that the files did exist. They have admitted they exist, and no one can find them. So we still don't have our answers as to what happened, even with this investigation.
And we're waiting for Lieutenant Kickbush's (ph) interview. And I guess that's going to be supplemental, too, because we believe he is key to what happened here.
ZAHN: Randy, what important evidence do you think remains hidden or covered up?
RANDY BROWN, SON THREATENED BY ERIC HARRIS: Well, there are many, many examples and probably too many to discuss here.
But, as an example, there are 100 bullets that were fired by the police that were given evidence numbers that never show up on the ballistics maps, which means 100 police bullets were fired into that school by policemen. And they were identified, but never mapped.
Another question would be why the SWAT team can fire automatic weapons into a school at innocent children blindly after Eric and Dylan are dead and not be charged with violating Colorado law, many, many questions that have not been answered here.
ZAHN: And I know, Darrell, that you wanted to bring something tonight to basically reinforce your daughter's legacy and share with our audience tonight. What is that? SCOTT: Well, you know, I saw all of the evidence that was left by Eric and Dylan. And one of the pieces was simply -- my daughter's diary was with her the day that she was killed.
And on the front of this diary, she wrote. And she said: "I write not for the sake of glory, the sake of fame or the sake of success, but for the sake of my soul." And she poured her heart out into these six diaries that she left behind. This was in her backpack the day she was killed.
And on the back of this diary in big letters that reflected her personality, she said, "I won't be labeled as average." And beside those words, there's a hole in her diary where a bullet had entered after it passed through her body, as though it's an exclamation mark to that statement, "I won't be labeled as average."
ZAHN: You are one courageous man. I have long admired your strength. What a testament to your daughter's legacy.
SCOTT: Well, thank you.
ZAHN: Darrell, thank you for joining us tonight.
And, Randy and Judy, thanks for your time as well.
We'll be right back.
R. BROWN: Sure.
J. BROWN: Thank you.
ZAHN: Now the fourth in our series of reports on intelligence in the war against terrorism.
Israel has learned the hard way. Three years of unrelenting suicide bombings have spilled blood and shattered lives. But the Israelis say, they've learned to get the upper hand on collecting information to foil terrorist attacks.
John Vause reports from Jerusalem.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On buses, at cafes, in shopping malls, at universities, nightclubs, and marketplaces, 139 suicide bombings in almost 3 1/2 years. The peak came in March 2002, 17 in that month alone, the worst at Netanya, 29 dead.
But since then, the untold story, say Israel officials, is the number of foiled suicide bombers. Between the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000 and March 2002, Israel intercepted 31 would-be bombers. But in almost two years since, it says it's foiled 283. At the same time, the number of successful suicide missions has fallen dramatically. MAJ. SHARON FEINGOLD, ISRAELI ARMY SPOKESPERSON: I don't think this is measured in terms of winning or losing. I think both sides are losing, but the Palestinians are losing more.
VAUSE: Sources within Israeli intelligence tell CNN they were caught off guard in the first few months of the violence, but not now. Efran Lerman was a senior officer with military intelligence.
EFRAN LERMAN, FORMER INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: We know literally every house in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. And we -- if we are told a story, we are in a position to check it.
VAUSE: Lerman says it's a combination of high-tech surveillance from drones, video cameras and observation posts, combined with extensive human intelligence on the ground, including information from Palestinians themselves.
LERMAN: There are many Palestinians who bring information. It can be money. It can be, you know, a small operator caught in a dragnet and just starts talking. And even the great heroes of the revolution end up telling us quite a lot one way or the other.
VAUSE: Every piece of information, he says, is methodically recorded to create a detailed picture, not only of every Palestinian city, town and village, but also the social infrastructure, who's talking to whom.
MICHAEL TARZ, PALESTINIAN LEGAL ADVISER: There's undoubtedly a huge collaborator network within the Palestinian society. This is nothing new. In occupations around the world, this is one of the ways of controlling the population.
VAUSE (on camera): Israel says the suicide bombers and other militants are still trying every day. Intelligence sources estimate that, at any one time, about 300 militants are actively preparing attacks. According to the Israelis, most of them are either caught in the act or sent running -- most, but not all.
(voice-over): Bus 19 blown apart in Jerusalem last month. Despite an average of 60 terrorist alerts a day, Israel authorities were caught totally off-guard, 11 people dead, 50 wounded. Three weeks later, another suicide bombing, another eight people killed. Here, when there's an intelligence failure, it can often have deadly consequences.
John Vause, CNN, Jerusalem.
ZAHN: Tomorrow, our final part on the intelligence gap: Where is he? The search for Osama bin Laden.
He's always shocked and offended. That's what made him rich and famous. Now a broadcast company tells Howard Stern to tone it down. Can he do it? Should he do it? And there no escape this time for the ball that lots of fans say cost the Chicago Cubs a shot at the World Series. But will explosives be enough to erase the curse of the Cubs? We're going to show you the destruction live.
And tomorrow, Colin Powell, the man and his future, the second part of my exclusive interview with the secretary of state.
ZAHN: Welcome back. Here are some of the headlines you need to know right now. Secretary of State Colin Powell joined me tonight for an exclusive interview. Earlier I asked him about the situation in Haiti, and what the U.S. is doing to help restore order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Begin putting together a police force, a security and monitoring force that would go into Haiti, once there is something to go into Haiti on, and that is, some sort of political resolution. What President Aristide may choose to do or not to do, that's up to President Aristide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Also tonight, the Democratic presidential debate live on CNN less than half an hour away. Stay with us for complete coverage. And Rosy O'Donnell married her partner Kelly Carpenter (ph) in San Francisco today. The entertainer called President Bush's support of the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages vial and hateful.
Well, for Chicago Cubs fans, it is a painful memory. Steve Bartman's deflection of a foul ball during the playoffs last year -- well, many say it cost the team a trip to the world series. Now, in just a moment, that infamous ball will be blown up, and fans hope a decades-long curse on the club will go with it.
Let's go to Keith Oppenheim who joins us live in Chicago as fans are going wild there as they await this moment. Describe to us what you're seeing, Keith.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Your timing is perfect, because they're done singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." And let's take a look at what's going on the stage behind me. Because the ball, which is inside a case, where they are going to use the combination of heat, pressure, explosives, and labors, and any second now, the foul ball will be destroyed. There it goes!
ZAHN: It's gone!
OPPENHEIM: It's gone.
The idea is to clean the slate of history, Paula. That's why people are here in Chicago and so hopeful. Back to you.
ZAHN: So the question is, do the fans really believe the curse is gone?
OPPENHEIM: Well, that's the way the thinking goes here. That if you can get rid of a foul ball, you can get rid of one of the foulest stretches in baseball history. The Cubs haven't won a World Series in a very long time. And haven't even been there since 1945, when the first curse of the billy goat got under way.
And now you have a crowd outside of Harry Carey's Restaurant. The restaurant that's named after the late, great broadcaster. And the wife of Harry Carey was the one who lead everyone in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
They're thinking a combination of these people, and just said the ball's dead, will remove the cursed history of the Chicago Cubs.
ZAHN: So Keith, having grown up in Chicago, I can fully appreciate the sense of joy there this evening. But for folks not that familiar with it, just describe how serious onlookers are tonight about the process of getting rid of this ball.
OPPENHEIM: Well, the ball, by the way, was bought for $113,000 by Harry Carey's Restaurant. So, that's an expression of how serious people around here are about trying to get it destroyed. It was bought for that money just so it can be destroyed.
Now they're singing, "Hey, Hey, Good-bye."
I should also mention that they are trying to raise money for a good cause here, too. They're trying to raise $1 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. So it's not only about getting rid of curses, it's about doing something positive as well.
ZAHN: Keith, we're going to come back to you mid-season and see how it looks for the Cubs. Thanks for the update.
ZAHN: Take care.
The suspension of shock jock Howard Stern's show in six cities may be causing as much uproar as anything he's ever said. His show was yanked off the air after an on air discussion two days ago about Paris Hilton and sex. Using some graphic language, including a caller who used the N word.
Now, in a post-wardrobe malfunction world, broadcasters are under pressure to clean up the airwaves. Is it a crackdown long overdue? Or political correctness gone amok.
Our debate tonight pits radio host versus radio host. Janet Parshall has a show on WAVA in Washington and in Chicago, Nancy Skinner hosts the syndicated Good Day USA. So, Janet, I think -- I'm told that you think Clear Channel did the right thing here. Why?
JANET PARSHALL, WAVA RADIO: Well, my show's nationally syndicated as well. I hear from folks all over the country who have said, enough is enough. Howard Stern hasn't changed. He's always had a filthy mouth, he's always denigrated that is not new. What's new is the clarion call across the country, and the Janet Jackson incident was the straw that broke the camel's back.
We really have to say to the Federal Communications Commission, an agency that's funded to the tune of $285 million a year by you and me, you've got to put those regs in place. The regs have been constitutionally upheld. We've got a standard. Just implement it. Do your job. And if you don't, than we're going to go to Congress and nudge the FCC to put those regs in place.
The idea all along has been self-regulation. So what the Clear Channel did, is exactly what needs to be done. They are self regulating. Here's the line, they said. You cross it, and you're going to get in trouble. Howard crossed it, he's in trouble.
ZAHN: So Nancy, were you offended by what happened on the air?
NANCY SKINNER, GOOD MORNING USA: Well, I'm always offended by Howard Stern, but that's not the point. This is America, Paula. I am more concerned, I'm more afraid of Michael Powell and his ability to continue to further concentrate the media, than I am anything Howard Stern says.
Honestly, you know, look at what's been happening lately. We have a CBS rejecting the Reagan mini series. We have the Dixie Chicks debacle where they were banned because of politically incorrect speech. Now we're monitoring indecency, which is a hard standard to follow.
You know what, this is America. We really cannot allow censorship to take over here, or else we will be just like the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Janet, if you don't like it, turn the channel. That's what you do.
ZAHN: You say let it go, turn the channel.
SKINNER: Well, yes, I mean, I'm offended by it. I never listen to Howard Stern. But you know what, these airwaves are sacred. We should have diversity of viewpoints. I'm more concerned that talk radio, for instance, is all right-wing talk radio. That's more, I think, detrimental to a democracy than some comment, although terribly offensive -- we can survive Howard Stern and Janet Jackson. But we can't survive censorship.
ZAHN: Speaking of radio talk-show hosts, let's listen to Rush Limbaugh had to say about this controversy today.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Smut on TV gets praised to the hilt. Smut on TV wins Emmys. Smut on TV gets critical acclaim, the smuttier the better. And then, on radio, there seems to be a little bit of a different standard. I haven't ever heard the Howard Stern show, but when the federal government gets involved in this, that's when I start getting a little frightened.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ZAHN: Janet, what about that? Should the federal government be telling us what we can put on the air and what we can't?
PARSHALL: You know, Paula, the federal government's been doing that for quite some time. The United States Supreme Court has done the same thing. The United States Supreme Court has said from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., if we know, we presume that kids are in the audience, you're not supposed to be using offensive language regarding sexual or excretory activities, because of the greater good.
What about the folks that talks about, it takes a village. We're so interested in free speech we forgot about the village kids. And the kids are the concern here, which is why the Supreme Court said, when it comes to the first amendment, you can put parameters in place because of the presumption of kids in the audience.
And by the way, Rush is wrong, we've got some parameters now in place when it regards TV. And the classic example is Janet Jackson, 90 million folks watching the Super Bowl, nobody expected the wardrobe malfunction to take place. And the sensibilities of the American public to the right and to the left got fired up, which is why in December the Senate passed a resolution unanimously saying to the FCC, implement those regs and we're going to up those fines so that broadcasters get the message.
By the way, being a broadcaster is a privilege. We are stewards of the airwaves.
ZAHN: So Nancy, what would you do about this? I know you say the airwaves should be open to distinctive voices, and the first amendment rights should be protected, and valued and honored. Would you have done anything about it?
SKINNER: Well first of all, I'm shocked, that I agree with Rush Limbaugh on anything. But I find myself in the same camp as Rush Limbaugh. Go figure. We have five media companies. And against the overwhelming opinion of the American public, and both the Senate and the House who did not want for the consolidation. This administration pushed through further consolidation of the media. That is scarier than anything we're hearing from Stern or anyone else.
You know what, what I say, Janet is grow up. We have to grow up. We have 40 million people with AIDS, fiscal crisis out of control, global warming the Pentagon said is going to devastate the Earth. And we're all fighting over what is politically correct and what isn't on the airwaves. I think we have to grow up and accept that freedom is the best avenue to a democracy. And censorship is absolutely going to take...
PARSHALL: It's not censorship. It's not a censorship issue.
ZAHN: Thank you for both of your viewpoints. We appreciate it.
PARSHALL: Thank you.
ZAHN: Critical acclaim for the glamorous Charlize Theron. But vigorous criticism for the movie she starred in. Is the film "Monster" meant to get sympathy for one of the most notorious serial killers. Another real story behind the Oscars.
ZAHN: Charlize Theron has been sweeping the award secret for her amazing transformation from glamour to gutter in the movie "Monster." She plays a serial killer Aileen Wuornos. A controversial role as we see in tonight's edition of our series, "The Real Story Behind The Oscar."
ZAHN (voice-over): It's not the kind of role you would expect from Charlize Theron. She's far too glamorous and beautiful to suggest that she could look like this.
CHARLIZE THERON, ACTRESS: Thou shalt not kill and all that. That's not the way the world works, Selby.
ZAHN: But what is most surprising is that she took a woman who made headlines as the '80s Highway Hooker, a woman who hunted down her prey on a Florida state turnpike, the woman who died by lethal injection, and made her sympathetic.
THERON: I'm not a bad person. I'm a real good person.
ZAHN: A woman who suffered childhood abuse. A woman who tried to get out of prostitution. A woman who killed trying to defend herself.
THERON: Man, circumstance, that's exactly it. That's exactly it.
ZAHN: Who is the real Aileen Wuornos.
One of the things that I like about "Monster" is that it doesn't have a simple answer.
ZAHN: Documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield has a unique perspective.
RICK BROOMFIELD, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: How do you do? This is Aileen when I first interviewed her...
ZAHN: For more than a decade, he exchanged letters with Wuornos. And interviewed her dozens of times. Ending in her last interview on death row.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been trying to tell the truth. And I keep getting stepped on.
BROOMFIELD: I think this anger developed inside her. And she was working as a prostitute. I think she had a lot of awful encounters on the roads. And I think this anger just spilled out from inside her. And finally exploded. Into incredible violence. That was her way of surviving.
ZAHN: And while Broomfield does not excuse the murders, he thinks for the first time people are seeing another side of Aileen Wuornos.
BROOMFIELD: I think Aileen really believed that she had killed in self-defense. I think someone who's deeply psychotic can't really tell the difference between something that is life threatening and something that is a minor disagreement, that you could say something that she didn't agree with. She would get into a screaming black temper about it. And I think that's what had caused these things to happen. And at the same time, when she wasn't in those extreme moods, there was an incredible humanity to her.
ZAHN: But John Tanner believes there was nothing human about Aileen Wuornos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The movie portrayed Aileen as really a victim. Certainly she didn't have the ideal life, but she was not a victim of these crimes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State Attorney Tanner was the one manipulating the jury.
ZAHN: Tanner was the Florida state attorney who prosecuted this case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was a predatory prostitute who turned robber to killer. And that's exactly what was proven in court. That's what all the evidence showed and ultimately that's what she confessed.
ZAHN: He says the moviemakers got it all wrong, that Wuornos testified she was not sexually abused as a child and that despite earlier statements that she killed in self-defense, Wuornos recanted that at trial. Yet self-defense is the cornerstone of the movie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The public walking out of that movie by and large believes that Aileen was a victim, that she was a person who was not responsible for what she had done, and that the men she killed by and large deserved it. I think that's what the movie tells the public. And nothing could have been further from the facts. The truth is, they were victims.
LETHA PRATER, SISTER OF WUORNOS' VICTIM: I knew my brother wouldn't have raped her. Wouldn't have tried to rape her. I'm sure she had a bad childhood. I don't doubt that. But that is no excuse. She was an adult. She wasn't a child anymore. She was an adult. This is my brother right there. That portrays him so much.
ZAHN: Letha Prater's brother was Wuornos' fourth victim.
PRATER: The movie should never have been made. These families have suffered enough from her. Now all of this comes out.
ZAHN: She hopes that the success of the film and any awards won will not overshadow all that she and others have lost.
PRATER: She changed my life forever. I've never been the same since. And I never will be. A part of my heart is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll never forget the pictures of the men she murdered either. And I'm the only voice they have. They don't have Hollywood.
ZAHN: A footnote. In trailers, credits and interviews, the filmmaker behind "Monster" reminds viewers that the movie is fictionalized and it is only based on a true story. Tomorrow we wrap up our series of "Real Stories" with Sofia Coppola's real-life ups and downs that led to her history-making nomination.
And with Super Tuesday coming up, the stage is set in Los Angeles for the crucial debate among the four Democratic candidates. Exclusive CNN coverage just moments away.
ZAHN: Just a few minutes to go before the final Democratic debate before super Tuesday. A CNN exclusive.
Time enough to check in with senior analyst Jeff Greenfield, who is in New York tonight.
And "CROSSFIRE" co-host Paul Begala in Washington.
Good to see both of you, welcome.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Paula.
ZAHN: So, Paul, I'll start with you this evening.
What does John Kerry have to do tonight?
PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST "CROSSFIRE": He's got to have fun. He's won 17, I think, primaries now. He's going to be the nominee, most people believe. But he's got a serious challenge from John Edwards. His problem is, he's been great as a come from behind horse. He's been great as Seabiscuit. But now John Edwards is making him look like war admiral. That is to say as a frontrunner He's starting to stiffen up, more formal. I think I would tell him, look, you're going into a conversation with the world's largest conversationalist, Larry King, just relax and enjoy the conversation.
ZAHN: And Jeff, you used to be a political operative, what kind advice would you give to John Edwards tonight, a man more widely considered casual than John Kerry in performance.
GREENFIELD: He's been saying for months, the campaign has been saying, we want to get Kerry one on one. And despite the presents of Kucinich and Sharpton, that's who's got. Now he's has to do with Democratic voters, a closing argument as powerful as any he will have had to have made in all those years as a lawyer. He has to say, look don't do what your colleagues have been doing the last five weeks, here's the reason why. Here's the reason why this 20-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, this Vietnam War hero is not the right nominee to run against President Bush, and here's why. He has to do it on substance as well as style.
ZAHN: Paul, you've got to be getting sick of these stump speeches played over and over and over again.
Do you think we'll hear much fresh tonight or hear all that stuff repeated?
BEGALA: I hope so. I'm not just trying to suck up to Larry, but if anybody can bring it out of them, it's him. These guys do sort of have a metal jukebox. When they hear social security and they press B-17 and play the standard answer. They need to break out of that. And again, one of the things that Kerry has going for him, as Jeff mentioned is Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich are there. Neither of them are going to win. But Al Sharpton has been the best performer in these debates. So, one thing perhaps Kerry ought to do is play with Sharpton. Have a little fun with him. He's done that in the past. One of the debates Sharpton, they asked, who would be your running mate, and he said, maybe Teresa Heinz Kerry. And Kerry laughed and got into it, and said, stay away from my wife. It was a fun moment. So, I think he can do stuff like that. Maybe have a little fun and break up his own pre-canned stumps speech.
ZAHN: Jeff, talk a little bit about the format of tonight's debate. They'll be seated at a table, which looks more casual and less imposing to people standing at a podium. How effective do you think that will be?
GREENFIELD: It might help John Kerry do what Paul Begala wants him to do. One of Kerry's problems is that he tends to orate, as senators do. He stands at a podium, points his finger out, talks about, my friends, let me say, much harder to do that when you're sitting down at a table just a couple of feet away from your interrogator and adversaries. So that helps. I remember back 20 years ago, when Walter Mondale and Gary Hart faced offer in a debate. And Gary Hart got so angry it looked like he wanted to reach over and rip out Walter Mondale's lungs. This is not a good thing to do when your sitting that close. So I think that if Paul is right and I think he is about what Kerry needs to do, the format might be less senatorial, and a little more human.
ZAHN: Lets talk about the other overarching goal tonight, Paul, over 1,000 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday night. As John Kerry really debating John Edwards, or President Bush tonight?
BEGALA: Well, a little of both. You don't want to ignore the Democratic challenge. Kerry's best argument to Democrats has been, I can beat George W. Bush. So, I think he would be well served to take the fight to President Bush in this debate, that's what's music to Democrats' ears. They like Kerry, it's fine. But what they like most about him is he seems to be the guy, not John Edwards they believe, who can best take it to President Bush. That makes it harder, I think, for Edwards to get the moment he wants. If your John Edwards, you want to have a moment alone with John Kerry, as Jeff suggested a moment ago. If you're Kerry, you want to pull away from Edwards and turn your guns toward the president.
ZAHN: Does John Kerry try to ditch the flip-flop tag that the Republicans have nailed him with so far tonight, Jeff Greenfield?
GREENFIELD: I'm sorry. That was a little bit hard for me to hear. But I want to make one point to follow up Paul. George W. Bush, President Bush gave his campaign speech opener the other night, and was very tough about the Democrats and Kerry in particular. It would be very helpful for John Kerry if he could at the same time he's addressing John Edwards and Larry King and others, to find a way to respond conversationally, and not indignantly, but with a certain kind of relaxation and poise to some of the very tough points the president made.
ZAHN: Do you think he can do that tonight, Paul?
BEGALA: Oh, I think Jeff's right, he has to. And I think he's got an opening, yes. President Bush's greatest claim has been thus far in his political career that he's a truth teller. But now for the first time CNN's own polling starts to show huge percentage of Americans, around 50 percent even, that start to wonder if maybe he's misled us. I think the problem has been the war particularly. But if Kerry is smart, he can turn the flip-flop charge right back to George W. Bush, and say, look, you flip-flopped this week about gay marriage. You used to say you didn't want to amend the constitution. In fact, he told Larry King that twice, both on Larry's show, and in a debate Larry, moderated in the 2000 election. So he can turn that flip-flop argument back on President Bush. He's going to need to, again if he wants to show Democrats that he's the guy that can beat Bush.
ZAHN: Jeff, what else are you going to be looking for tonight?
GREENFIELD: I'm looking for a sense of grace and humor. When Paul talked about the jukebox in these people's heads, this is something that is a former operative, and now a virgin journalist drives me nuts. I would like to hear either of these guys respond to a question or a comment in a way that suggested they had listened to what was being said and will were responding spontaneously rather than from one of the 500 tapes that have been stored in their heads by their advisers. I think the voters, by the way, would respond with enormous affection to a candidate who actually sounded like he was not only enjoying himself, but participating in an honest conversation instead of a recitation of talking points.
ZAHN: What a novel idea, Jeff.
ZAHN: I hope they listen to you and run with it.
GREENFIELD: Yes, I wrote that down this afternoon, Paula.
ZAHN: Yes, I'm sure you did. I've heard that harangue over and over again.
Thanks, Jeff, so much.
And hey, hey, Paul, great to have you on the air tonight.
BEGALA: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: All right. The debate's coming up, just a couple of minutes away from right now. Larry King hosts. Stay with CNN at 10:30 p.m. Eastern for debate analysis with a special edition of "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown. Please stay with us.
GERRI WILLIS, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS: It's Oscar season again. And if there were a golden statue for largest theater owner, it would go to Regal Entertainment. The cinema chain controls over 20 percent of screens in the U.S. on which best picture nominees play. Beyond its Regal brand, it also controls United Artists and Hoyts Multiplexes. Rival's AMC and Lowe's recently broke off merger talks that would have threatened Regal's claim to the top spot.
ZAHN: And this wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us. Tomorrow, part two of my exclusive interview with Secretary of State Colin Powell. Larry King is standing by in Los Angeles with CNN's exclusive coverage of the Democratic presidential debate. We hope you'll stick with us tonight. Again, thanks for dropping by tonight, hope to see you back again tomorrow night.
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