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Bush Supporters Spend Weekend Attacking Record of Kerry;'Paging Dr. Gupta'

Aired March 8, 2004 - 08:30   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Senator John Kerry says President Bush is stonewalling the 9/11 and Iraq intelligence investigations. He may even send his own fact-finding team to Iraq.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We'll look at that this morning.

Also, you don't have to join a fancy gym or buy a whole lot of expensive exercise equipment to get in shape. We'll going to find out how you can put together everything you need on a budget.

M. O'BRIEN: But first, we'll check the news for you. After several delays, Iraq's interim constitution has been approved. The Iraqi Governing Council signed the 25-page key document today. The ceremony had been delayed by nearly a week due to deadly violence and disagreements among the council members. The document a key step in the U.S. plan to handover power to Iraq by June 30th.

Crews say they'll use divers and dogs to search for two adults and a child missing in Baltimore Harbor. A water taxi carrying 25 people capsized there Saturday during a very sudden storm. Crews rescued 22 people. One of them died later in the hospital. The search is expected to resume in about a half an hour.

In Michigan, fire has destroyed the barn belonging to nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Fire officials said the blaze started early Sunday afternoon. No one was injured. Seven horses, nine dogs and six sheep died in the blaze. Not clear if Farrakhan was at home at the time. The cause has not been determined.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin today in the trial of former Tyco executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Schwartz. On Friday, the judge threw out the most serious charge, enterprise corruption. But the jury is still expected to consider the charges of grand larceny, falsifying records and violating state business laws. The jury could get the case by the end of the week.

A woman who organized a topless protest in Daytona Beach is facing charges. Elizabeth Book was the only woman who bared her soul during a protest of the public nudity ordinance by about 20 people. She was released from jail and ordered to pay a $253 fine or make a court appearance, presumably with clothes on.

S. O'BRIEN: It certainly drew a large crowd. No surprise there.

M. O'BRIEN: Expecting to see something there I guess.


O'BRIEN: President Bush's team on the offensive against his presumed opponent in the November election. Mr. Bush's supporters spent the weekend attacking the record of John Kerry, calling him an extreme liberal who flip-flops on the issues.

But as Candy Crowley reports, Senator Kerry is also throwing some punches.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, can I kiss you?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a campaign dedicated to the proposition that no presidential utterance go unanswered, John Kerry says he, too, will talk about 9/11 during the campaign. For instance, what's the administration doing to aid the investigation of pre-9/11 intelligence?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think they're slow walking it and I think it is, I think they don't want accountability. You know, they want to get it out of the way as fast as they can so the memory of Americans might be shorter.

CROWLEY: Before blasting the president to reporters, Kerry went to a Jackson, Mississippi church for a little scripture and politics.

KERRY: What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? As I look at the broken promises, as I look around and see people talk about uniting and then they divide, talk about bringing the country together and on Martin Luther King's birthday they attack affirmative action.

CROWLEY: Though well received, afterwards Kerry did run into one congregant less than enthused with his sermon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You openly ridiculed President Bush for his foreign policies. But isn't it true that you actually agreed with him on a lot of his domestic and foreign policies initially?

KERRY: No. I agreed that we ought to hold Saddam Hussein accountable.


KERRY: But I didn't agree we should do it the way he did it.

CROWLEY: Kerry's yes vote on Iraq is one of several under scrutiny as his star rises. The senator also voted yes on the president's education bill he now critics, and yes on the Patriot Act, that he and most of his audiences now rail against.

KERRY: Two words to describe what is most wrong with the Patriot Act -- John Ashcroft.

CROWLEY: Pushing back against Republican criticism he flip-flops on issues for political expedience, Kerry says it's the president who's a walking contradiction.

(on camera): On Iraq, Kerry says he'd like a group to go over there to assess the situation for him so he can put together a detailed policy position. He leaves open the possibility he might go himself, but the senator says he doesn't want to politicize the journey.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Tugaloo, Mississippi.


S. O'BRIEN: Joining us this morning to talk a little bit more about that fact-finding mission in Iraq and other campaign news is CNN political analyst Bill Schneider.

Nice to see you, Bill. Good morning to you.


S. O'BRIEN: How unusual is it for an ostensible candidate, a nominee for the party and senator, to send his own fact-finding mission over to Iraq, would you say?

SCHNEIDER: I can't remember a time that that has really ever happened. In 1952, during the Korean War, which was very unpopular, General Eisenhower, a candidate for president, said I will go to Korea, but he didn't send a fact-finding mission. During the Vietnam War when Richard Nixon was running in 1968, he was reported to have had a secret plan to end the war. He never quite used those words, but he intimated that he had a way to end the war, but again, no independent fact-finding mission.

So it's something new, it's a bit unprecedented, and it's of course fraught with political peril if it seen merely as a partisan trip that would interfere with American policy.

S. O'BRIEN: Outside of political peril, there are some who say it can also undermine what President Bush and the administration is trying to do in Iraq. Do you think that's a realistic complaint?

SCHNEIDER: Not unless something happens that they have something to complain about. What they're going on is a fact-finding mission. Lots of senators and members of Congress go to Iraq because they have to provide the money. Remember, Senator Kerry is a senator, as well as a presidential candidate.

Congresspersons go over to Iraq a lot -- Senator Clinton went over there -- because they have to vote on money and allocation for Iraq. Those are fact-finding missions. They don't interfere with anything, presumably, and neither would this, unless senator Kerry does something, says something, calls for a policy that would seem to undermine the mission of American troops over there. That would be politically dangerous.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting. We spoke last week about the president's 9/11 ad, one of his new ads that came out, or new last week. And he was being blasted by some family members, victims of 9/11. Today, there is an op-ed piece in "The Washington Post," and it's written by a woman named Deborah Burlingame, whose brother, Chip, was the pilot of American Airlines flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. I want to read a little bit of what she had to say. She said, "If anything, it's OK for the family members to invoke the loss, respect for their loss, but it's another thing for them to try to stifle the debate over the future direction of our country by declaring that the images of 9/11 should be off limits in the presidential race and do so under the rubric of the families of September 11. They do not represent me, nor do they represent Americans who feel that September 11th was a defining moment in the history of our country."

So the debate continues between the 9/11 families that go public with their dismay about what the president's done, and now there some who are coming forward, not necessarily to support him, but also just to say they disagree with those other family members. At the end of the day, do you think the use of those pictures is going to be a big problem for the president, or is it something that's easily overcome?

SCHNEIDER: So far, I don't think it's likely to be a big political problem. Look, if families of the 9/11 victims' families are divided, so is the country. It's unlikely that they'd be any less divided than the country is.

Those pictures the president has used have been limited in use, not particularly gruesome. If he crosses the line and shows bodies, people jumping out of windows, all the terrible tragedies and traumas that people associate with that date, then it would look like he was exploiting the issue.

Again, it's a matter of taste, it's a matter of degree. For the president to call attention to his leadership after 9/11, I don't think that's a serious problem, because he was the leader of the country. That was his defining moment as president, and many people think his best moment as president, when he picked up the microphone in the rubble and said, I can't hear you, but you can hear me, and he warned the perpetrators that they would pay a price. That was part of his leadership record, and I think he can easily run on that.

S. O'BRIEN: Bill Schneider, CNN's political analyst. Nice to see you, Bill. Thanks a lot.

SCHNEIDER: Thanks, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles?

M. O'BRIEN: A group of Utah Boy Scouts probably quite happy to be heading back to school this morning. There's some news right there. They were trapped over the weekend by an avalanche in caves. they Had dug into the snow during a winter survival camping trip. The avalanche hit while the group and their leaders were sleeping in those caves. The entrances were buried under six to eight feet of snow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUSTINE PETERSON, SCOUT: I was pretty panicked. Didn't know what to do really. We didn't have anything to really dig with. So I was pretty scared.

NATE PETERSON, SCOUT: I was terrified. We started hyperventilating, saw that we couldn't get out and how deep the snow was on top of us, and knew that we wouldn't be able to get out by themselves.


M. O'BRIEN: Make they all Eagle Scouts. Some scout leaders who were sleeping in a nearby trailer heard the avalanche. They called for rescue crews, who located the boys with the leader's help. Everyone was rescued and is just fine.

In Alaska, it's once again time to mush. The Iditarod got back under way with a ceremonial start Saturday. The serious racing began yesterday, however. It's the longest sled dog race in the world. They had to start a little bit north of Anchorage this time because of a lack of snow and ice. This year, there are 87 teams competing on the more than 1,000-mile course. It stretches from Anchorage to Nome. Top teams usually take nine to 10 days to reach the finish line. The winner receives $69,000 and a new pick-em-up truck, which is, I guess, what you want up there, right, that and a plane, right?

S. O'BRIEN: Absolutely. Still to come on AMERICAN MORNING, Martha Stewart back to a New York City courthouse today, facing the possibility of prison. We've got a live report on that in our next hour.

M. O'BRIEN: And is your morning cup of joe getting a bad rap? Coffee lovers will want to hear what one doctor is saying.

And how would you like to get your workout from the comfort of your own home? You might get some motivation once you learn how you can do it cheaply. Stay with us. We'll take a look at that ahead as AMERICAN MORNING continues.


M. O'BRIEN: This one is for the many Americans who have already abandoned their resolution to be healthier in the New Year. And we know who we are, don't we?

As Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us, there's a user-friendly way to keep those workout promises.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It only takes a few simple items -- a stability ball, rubber tubing, a few mats -- and you've got yourself a home gym.

SABRENA NEWTON, PERSONAL TRAINER: You can put together a home gym for less than $100. GUPTA: Personal trainer Sabrena Newton says resist the urge to buy expensive machines. After a few months they'll probably be collecting dust anyway.

NEWTON: Go about it the most inexpensive way first.

GUPTA: Start off purchasing a stability ball for crunches and lower body work.

NEWTON: Basically for resistance.

GUPTA: Rubber tubing also provides resistance and is good for squats.

NEWTON: It doesn't look like it weighs much, but it does.

GUPTA: Medicine balls work out the upper body.

NEWTON: Stepping basically up and off.

GUPTA: While a step bench works the legs, and a few small hand weights round out your home gym.

NEWTON: Even though these are very small, you can still definitely get a good resistance workout with them.

GUPTA: The price tag for this gym? Around $100. And if your budget is tight, use what you already have. Newton says chairs in the home are great for resistance. Cans of food can replace hand weights, and running up and down the steps can bolster your cardio. Of course, prior to starting any exercise regiment, pay a visit to your physician.

NEWTON: If you can access a quick workout just by grabbing something out of the closet, then of course you're going to be more likely to do it and stick with it.

GUPTA: A home gym may be key to keeping those New Year's resolutions.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York.


M. O'BRIEN: And have no fear if you're having that morning cup of coffee. One Italian doctor says the stronger the brew, the better. The doctor, who by the way, doesn't drink coffee herself -- remember that one -- believes the health benefits outweigh any possible risks. She does, however, say that she thinks no one should drink more than three or four cups of coffee a day. It's getting a little hot in here. That three or four cups thing, I've got to work on it.

You're probably off it right now.

S. O'BRIEN: No, no coffee for me. I love coffee.

M. O'BRIEN: You miss it, I'm sure.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, definitely. Like I miss many things, but that's a story for another day.

Still to come this morning, with Martha Stewart facing the possibility of prison, the folks at "Saturday Night Live" had a field day with the domestic diva. A look at that as AMERICAN MORNING continues right after this short break.


S. O'BRIEN: Andy Serwer is just ahead in a few moments with "Minding Your Business." But first, the Martha Stewart verdict came down on Friday, just in time for "Saturday Night Live" to poke some fun.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martha, what is coming through your mind at a time like this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Modeled gray cinder block walls, rough-hewn tangerine jumpsuits, a time-worn midcentury commode to be shared in plain view of others.

I'm Martha Stewart, and I'm on a boatload of antianxiety medication right now. It's a good thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martha, have the ramifications of this case hit home yet? You're probably going to be spending at least 18 months in jail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ted, I sincerely doubt I'll do any real time. Also, if I'm in jail, who's going to teach American women how to properly store their decorative holiday acorns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who indeed, Miss Stewart?


M. O'BRIEN: Do they serve flan in prison?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A boatload of antianxiety medication?

M. O'BRIEN: The top brass of one company getting big bonuses, even as thousands of workers are getting laid off. That is the American way, isn't it?

Plus, even vending machines going low carb. With that and a market preview, Andy Serwer "Minding Your Business."

So the big get bigger and the little guys get squashed.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Yes, we'll have to start keeping a list of these things, Jack, because the beat goes on. I'll get paid, you get laid off. Kraft, out of Chicago Way (ph), turns out the top five executives there got $10.6 million in bonuses at the end of last year. Meanwhile, 6,000 people lost their jobs, 20 plants closed. The stock was underperforming the market. I don't know how you justify this stuff. I mean, maybe they are eating a little too much Miracle Whip, because that's one of their brands.

Miles, you like Oreos, that's another one their brands. Altoids, another one. Curiously strong bonuses, I call those.

CAFFERTY: Oh things smell, curiously strong.

All right, when I go to the vending machine, I'm looking for the Cheetos, I want a Mounds bar. They're going to change the content?

SERWER: This was bound to happen. A low-carb Atkins-like vending machine being rolled out by a company out west, Pure Foods. And Atkins bars, snackaroos, shakes, and Jack's staying away. Not with a 10-foot pole is he touching these things. This is traditional. This is Cafferty fare right here. That's traditional stuff.

That's not. That's not.

CAFFERTY: The healthiest thing I ever get is like that trail mix stuff.

SERWER: Yes, trail mix. That's enough.

CAFFERTY: And they should have like one little thing with that stuff in it, and just leave the rest of the vending machine alone.

SERWER: Like an EZ Pass lane.


The markets today?

SERWER: Last week, we were up a little bit, but that's OK, because every little bit counts here. You can see that just .1 percent.

Now, this morning, futures are up a little bit. Deal, though, announced also in the food sector, Smuckers buying International Multifoods out of Minnetonka, Minnesota. They own Pet Robin Hood Flour.

CAFFERTY: But they're not going to change the name, are they? I mean, they're not going to leave it Smuckers, are they?

SERWER: Yes, it's going to be Smuckers, jellies and jams.

CAFFERTY: That's a great name.

S. O'BRIEN: With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.

Hey, that's a brand that works.

CAFFERTY: We miss nothing here on AMERICAN MORNING.

On to Iraq, where the Governing Council did sign that interim constitution today.

Thanks, Andy.

That could set the groundwork for elections and a permanent constitution. That's bound to be a major issue in the presidential race. "Time" magazine say that Senator John Kerry will almost certainly send his own team there to help him formulate his own Iraq position.

So the question is, if you were John Kerry, what would you do differently in Iraq? And here's what some of you are saying. Rebecca writes from Kennewick, Washington, "The only way to enlist the assistance of the international community will be to admit we were wrong about WMD and connections between Saddam and terrorism. Unless Bush does this himself, which seems unlikely, John Kerry will have to."

H. writes, "The president and our troops have performed a miracle in Iraq. Look at where we have come from. It's easy to criticize, but you can't argue with results."

Carrie of Buena Vista, Virginia, "Kerry should go back to his policy of 1991: put Saddam back in power, rebuild his WMD program and give Saddam Kuwait."

Rich writes, "Jack, you seem amused by the fact Kerry wants to send his own people to assess the situation in Iraq. What would you suggest, that he rely on the same intelligence agencies that misled the Senate the first time around?"

And Ken writes, from Nova Scotia, "The answer in Iraq is don't let the door hit you on the way out. By the way, if any of my stocks hit 60, sell, I just want that to be on the record somewhere."

SERWER: He's covered now.

CAFFERTY: He's covered. We got you, Ken. We've got a tape of this. You're all set.

S. O'BRIEN: How do you find those e-mails? I mean, earlier...

CAFFERTY: I find them on the computer. I go to

SERWER: I knew that was coming.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Jack.

CAFFERTY: You're welcome.

S. O'BRIEN: And I meant earlier, some seem like they really were sort of funny and spoofing the question. These seem like a much more serious tone. CAFFERTY: Except for the guy wants to...

S. O'BRIEN: Well, the first half.

CAFFERTY: You know, a lot of people are making reference to the fact that John Kerry tends to change his mind about things, and flip- flops.

SERWER: But do we know where Kucinich stands on that?

CAFFERTY: There is one about Kucinich which will be appearing perhaps in a future batch.

M. O'BRIEN: He's sending a fact-finding mission to mars.

CAFFERTY: And he can tell them right where to go when they get there.

M. O'BRIEN: You've got a problem with Mars, don't you, pal?

CAFFERTY: No, I have a problem with Kucinich.

SERWER: Put them together.

S. O'BRIEN: I knew that was coming.

All right, here's a story for you. Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, all these are men who played James Bond, but they actually would be too tall to work as real British spies if a new rule goes into effect. The actors are all 6 feet or taller, and Britain's MI-6 agency is now considering new rules for applicants that would require the men to be no taller than 5'11 and the women no taller than 5'8. Officials say they actually need to have spies who can blend easily into various backgrounds.

SERWER: It's a good rule. Yes, I like that rule, that shorter men rule.

S. O'BRIEN: They're all these hunky guys.

SERWER: I don't like that part.

M. O'BRIEN: Trying to infiltrate a basketball team, what do they do then?

All right, still to come on the program, on the Red Planet, you know, Kucinich Country, a Mars rover hits a snag, as it works on a Martian rock. We'll hear more about what's going on out there coming up. Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, a rocket attack in Baghdad, as Iraq's leaders sign an interim institution. We've got details on that coming to us live from Baghdad, just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


Kerry;'Paging Dr. Gupta'>

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