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CNN SUNDAY MORNING

Kerry Takes Aim at Bush, Rice; Air America Launches Liberal Talk Radio

Aired March 28, 2004 - 07:00   ET

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


CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. Thanks for joining us, everyone. It is March 28th and I'm Catherine Callaway.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks for waking up with us. Here's what's happening or coming up in this hour. John Kerry hasn't hesitated to take aim at President Bush. Now Condoleezza Rice is also in his line of fire.

And from the left, Air America launches liberal talk radio. Will programs such as "Al Franken" be O'Franken Factor catch on? In Ireland, a nation famous for its smoky watering holes faces a ban on smoking in all public places. When the smoke clears, how will the pubs deal with the fallout? We'll get reaction from Dublin.

But first, the headlines.

CALLAWAY: Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai postpones Afghan national elections from June until September. The decision comes after the U.N. says it was concerned about security at the polls. The Taliban threatened to disrupt the presidential and parliamentary elections.

And food shipments and child health care in Gaza are among the benefits threatened by a spat between Israel and U.N. relief agencies. A spokesman for the agencies says that those operations could stop tomorrow unless Israel relaxes its ban on non-diplomatic vehicles as they're crossing into Gaza.

Well that big storm in southern Brazil is about to hit a wall of mountains that should drain its power. The storm sank a fishing boat. And its crew of seven is still missing. U.S. meteorologist call it a hurricane, but Brazilian officials refer to it as a cyclone.

Grand jurors convene tomorrow in the Michael Jackson child molestation case. A judge has released 18 heavily edited search warrants in that case, warrants used to seize computers, disks, tapes and documents. The judge acted on motions by the media, including CNN.

WHITFIELD: Our top story this hour, Senator John Kerry is chastising Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's National Security Adviser. Kerry takes Rice to task for refusing to testify publicly before the commission investigating the 9/11 suicide hijackings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well if Condoleezza Rice can find time to do "60 MINUTES" on television before the American people, she ought to find 60 minutes to speak to the commission under oath.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The Bush-Cheney campaign says Kerry's attack on Rice is part of the Democrat strategy to politicize the work of the 9/11 commission. Senator Kerry holds a jobs rally in St. Louis and is joined by a former rival, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt. Kerry says he wants to eliminate the loopholes that let companies move their operations overseas to avoid U.S. taxes and then ship their goods back to the United States.

A few decades ago, the FBI and the Nixon White House were among those paying close attention to what John Kerry was saying. That was when Kerry was active in a group called Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

That story now from our national correspondent Kelly Wallace.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KERRY: We're going to keep coming back until this war ends.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As John Kerry stepped into the national spotlight in 1971, the Nixon administration's FBI stepped up its monitoring of Kerry and the group he helped direct, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, also known as VVAW.

GERALD NICOSIA, AUTHOR, HOME TO WAR: Nixon and the FBI saw VVAW as a major, major threat to the United States.

WALLACE: Gerald Nicosia is author of the book, "Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans Movement."

NICOSIA: They really believed that these veterans were going to come to Washington with, you know, rifles and armaments and storm -- and create a coup, you know, storm the White House, kill the president, take over the government.

WALLACE: But it wasn't until Nicosia recently reviewed 20,000 pages of FBI documents he obtained five years ago that the extent Kerry himself was followed by FBI agents became public.

The documents note the mundane, like how many people Kerry talked to and what he said. Like here, calling for a political process to bring an end to the war. Through a spokesman, the senator told CNN, "It is almost surreal to learn the extent to which I was followed by the FBI."

White House tapes show President Nixon keeping tabs on Kerry. Here, he talks with his special counsel, Charles Colson. CHARLES COLSON: He was in Vietnam a total of four months...he's politically ambitious and just looking for an issue.

RICHARD NIXON, FMR. PRESIDENT: Yes.

COLSON: Came back a hawk and became a dove when he saw the political opportunities for sure.

NIXON: Well, anyway...

COLSON: Keep the faith. We'll keep hitting him, Mr. President.

WALLACE: The documents also do something else. They place John Kerry at a November 1971 convention in Kansas City, Missouri, where three Vietnam Veterans tell CNN there was discussion at some point of an idea to kill U.S. leaders who support the war. Nicosia says veterans told him the idea was viewed as ludicrous.

NICOSIA: People were screaming, throwing chairs in the air. This is mad, this is crazy. What do you think, we're going to be assassinating people?

WALLACE: There is no confirmation that Kerry heard any of that. He says he has no memory of attending the Kansas City gathering.

(on camera): The FBI never linked Kerry to any violent activity and ended its surveillance in May 1973. But the question now is could the Vietnam era path that Kerry is touting on the campaign trail also end up causing him some harm?

Kelly Wallace, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CALLAWAY: A "Newsweek" poll indicates criticism by his former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke has not changed how most Americans view President Bush. But the poll shows public support for the president's anti-terrorism policy has dropped eight points in the past month from 65 percent to 57 percent.

And the Clinton administration fares less well in the public view. 61 percent say the Bush administration took the terrorism threat seriously, but only 26 percent believe the Clinton administration took it seriously.

WHITFIELD: That brings us to our e-mail question, is an eight month presidential campaign too long? E-mail us with your comments at wam@CNN.com.

Other stories making headlines this morning, Jan Berry of the Jan and Dean duo of the 1960s is dead at the age of 62. Berry suffered a seizure at his home in California. Among Jan and Dean's hits, "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and "Dead Man's Curve."

More gay marriages in New York state. In Albany, a Unitarian minister oversaw the marrying of two same sex couples in what he describes as civil ceremonies. In New Paltz, New York, 11 same sex marriages were held.

Six months after a white tiger mauled Roy Horne of Siegfried and Roy, they say they'll be back together and back in business soon. The Las Vegas duo will promote an NBC animated series titled, "Father of The Pride." It features a family of white lions.

CALLAWAY: And in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, fire destroyed a downtown movie theater, but no one was injured. The fire may have been sparked by a major thunderstorm there.

And that may have been part of a system that brought some tornadoes to western Oklahoma, signaling the start of the severe weather season there. Funnel clouds were reported in four counties, but there are no reports of injuries of damage. Amateur video there.

WHITFIELD: In Fort Myers, Florida, an American Airlines flight had to be canceled after a psychic thought a bomb might be on the plane. The flight was supposed to go to Dallas, Texas. The Transportation Safety Administration called the psychic story unusual, but still searched the plane for explosives. Nothing was found on board. The delay, however, pushed the flight crew over its allotted hours, forcing the cancellation.

You know the passengers were upset about that.

CALLAWAY: Yes, but you know, something had happened. They would have said we should have checked the plane.

WHITFIELD: They've got to check everything, especially this day and age.

CALLAWAY: That's right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The biggest change was and hard to deal with is seeing how tall my kids are, and how big they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CALLAWAY: Well, after a long tour in Iraq, a reality check back at home. The story of a military mom in today's "Heroes" series coming up next on Sunday morning.

WHITFIELD: And later, Ireland is making its first step on the smoke-free road, but are the Irish breathing a sigh of relief?

CALLAWAY: And no relief for the former World Champ. Michelle Kwan completes her routine with no major mistakes, but barely makes it to the podium? What went wrong? We have the results coming up later this hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CALLAWAY: Each week at this time, we bring you a story of an American hero. And this morning, it is Sergeant Dana Kohfeld. She made a sacrifice few single parents could imagine, leaving her children for a year to go to war in Iraq. Well now she's back home, struggling to leave the war behind and become a mom again.

Here's CNN's Casey Wian with the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Piano practice, a sweet sound to Army Reserve Sergeant Dana Kohfeld. She built bridges over the Euphrates during her year in Iraq. Now she's trying to build a bridge back into her son's lives.

SGT. DANA KOHFELD, U.S. ARMY RESERVES: I think the biggest change was and hard to deal with is seeing how tall my kids are, and how big they are. And that was a big wake-up call to see how long we've gone.

WIAN: During the year, Kohfeld was away, sons Damian, nine, and Brandon, seven, left their home in Portland, came to live here with their grandparents outside Seattle.

KOHFELD: I'm trying to figure out what they're doing in school, teachers, friends, middle of moving, just overabundant change. It's overwhelming some days.

WIAN: Adjusting to the demands of being a full-time mom again, Kohfeld also struggles to leave memories of Iraq behind. In a particular day last July when she tried unsuccessfully to save another soldier's life. He was badly injured in a truck rollover. Kohfeld performed CPR under desperate conditions until medical help could arrive, but it was too late.

KOHFELD: It's very difficult to lose somebody, especially when you've worked so hard. So I think that's very difficult for me to deal with. And letting go and making sure I did everything that I could, but I don't personally take credit for being a hero. I think everybody who responded is a hero in my eyes.

WIAN: Kohfeld has been in the reserves for 14 years and says she'll stay on for at least another six. But she doesn't want to go back to Iraq. After a year of service to her country, she says it's time to get back to the job of being a mom.

Casey Wian, CNN reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CALLAWAY: And we bring you hero stories every week on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

WHITFIELD: Exactly 25 years ago today, world attention was on Pennsylvania, the world's meltdown and Three Mile Island became practically synonymous. The legacy of the accident ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

But first, what does an Irish pub bring to mind? Lots of beer, laughter and cigarette smoke, right? Well, come tomorrow, the smoke will have to go. Find out what the Irish have to say about it when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MARTIN, IRISH MINISTER OF HEALTH: There's a very strong public health agenda here that we would actually improve the health status of the Irish people.

PETER CONWAY, PUB CUSTOMER: I think it's too politically correct. It may be all right for America and places like that, but the Irish mentality, I don't think we accept it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: When Irish eyes are smiling and smoke fills, something's got to give. Tomorrow, it will and not everyone is happy about it, as you could hear from them. Just 11 hours from now, Ireland becomes the first European nation to outlaw smoking in all work places. The ban, taking effect at midnight local time, includes clubs, private clubs, and even the cabs of moving trucks.

It's the most sweeping nationwide restriction in the world, but not everyone is happy to be smoke-free. Fred Raynert joins us by phone from Johnnie Fox's Pub in Dublin to explain all of this.

And Fred, what's a pub without cigarette smoke or you know, pipe smoke? It seems like ale and smoke go hand in hand?

FRED RAYNERT, JOHNNIE FOX'S PUB: It does seem like that, doesn't it? We're going to see how this all settles in. And we're going to give it what we call -- or what we termed to coin the phrase, "burning in time."

The legislation's going to -- it's in place.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

RAYNERT: As of tonight, midnight tonight our time, but it will take time for it to settle in. Because some of it seems a little draconic. Some of it seems to be a little bit loose worded, whatever.

Johnnie Fox's Pub, we're the highest pub in Ireland. And what we're doing is we've decided to make it a little bit higher as well. We've brought a double decker bus in.

WHITFIELD: Yes, I understand you're calling it, what, the happy smoking bus?

RAYNERT: We have called it the happy smoking bus indeed.

WHITFIELD: All right, so if you can't, you know, beat the system, somehow you come up with nice creative way in which to...

RAYNERT: But isn't that the Irish way?

WHITFIELD: ...kind of get around it? Yes, I guess it is. You guys are leading by example. All right, so you guys got this old bus. You've refurbished it right. And how have you made it so that this is not considered a working place, because I understand a lot of moving vehicles, such as moving trucks, are not allowed to have smoking in the cab. So how are you going to make this one work?

RAYNERT: That is correct. Moving vehicles or places of work or anything like that or vehicles for hire are places of work. Therefore, you cannot smoke not only in the cab area, but in the actual passenger area you cannot smoke.

The non-smoking on buses in Ireland have been a long time. But you see, this bus is not for hire. This bus is not for hire. This bus, although it does move and it will drive around, when it's being used by us for the purpose of smoking for our patrons, it is stationary and it is parked in the car park, in one of the three car parks we have.

And the way it works is basically people can have their normal pint and enjoy a bit of music in the Johnnie Fox's bar. Or they can watch the show, "The Houley (ph)," a live dance show. Not a problem. If they go outside and feel like they'd like to have a cigarette, instead of standing outside and braving the elements on top of a mountain outside Dublin, OK, now they can climb on top of a bus and go even that little bit higher, OK, and really enjoy themselves.

Because the thing is there are no staff on the bus.

WHITFIELD: Aha.

RAYNERT: Now, I've been asked...

WHITFIELD: That's how you've gotten around it.

RAYNERT: That's how we've gotten around it, but I've been told well how does it clean itself? It's not a self cleaning bus surely. And the only way we could get around this, and this was the owner's idea, was the owner is not a member of staff. The company director will come in and clean the bus.

WHITFIELD: Ah.

RAYNERT: He's the only person. So we have approximately...

WHITFIELD: And of course not when anyone is smoking.

RAYNERT: Exactly, but there won't be anyone there in the morning when he comes in. And we have approximately 100 staff at Johnnie Fox's Pub. And we're thinking to ourselves, you know, this law, it's going to take time to phase in but boy oh boy, are we going to have fun with it, because we're going to see...

WHITFIELD: Clever.

RAYNERT: ...our boss with little rubber gloves on, cleaning the bus.

WHITFIELD: So I guess there are no laws that are prohibiting any kind of drinking on those buses, even though, you know...

RAYNERT: No, there are no laws prohibiting that. We even buses that go around with bars in them.

WHITFIELD: Oh, boy.

RAYNERT: But that is again the Irish way, isn't it?

WHITFIELD: Yes, you guys have proven that indeed to be the case. The happy smoking bus. And I guess it goes into business this evening when the law takes effect at midnight, doesn't it.

RAYNERT: It does indeed, yes.

WHITFIELD: Well, that's going to be interesting. You guys are going to corral all your patrons in the pub. If they want to smoke, then you know, you point the arrows to the bus if they want to smoke.

RAYNERT: Absolutely. The way it's going to work is if people would like to light up a cigarette, we will very gently guide them and remind them of the new law that has come into place, although you'd have to be on another planet if you didn't know this was happening in Ireland right now. But we guide them to the bus and say, there we have bought this 1952 and refurbished it. And it's a beautiful British Layland Puma Arctic 100 bus. Up you go and enjoy yourself. Have your cigarette. Come back and then join us. That's the way we're looking at it.

WHITFIELD: So indeed the Irish eyes are smiling...

RAYNERT: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: ...even if they are smoke-filled.

RAYNERT: The way we look at it also, I must say to you and to your viewers and everyone, is that Johnnie Fox's Pub has been there since 1798. And if we haven't learned to roll with the times, then nobody has.

WHITFIELD: All right, Fred Raynert of Johnnie Fox's Pub. Thanks very much for joining us on the phone.

RAYNERT: You're so welcome and...

WHITFIELD: You guys enjoy the new rules and you know, old traditions.

RAYNERT: And a little saying for your viewers. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you'll always get that in Ireland. Enjoy.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks a lot, Fred.

CALLAWAY: Thrilling with the times, is that pun? WHITFIELD: Get it? Bus, except that it's part.

CALLAWAY: Yes, do you think like they have a self serve tap in there?

WHITFIELD: Well, they may come up with that.

(WEATHER REPORT)

CALLAWAY: It is time now for a quick check of the headlines this morning. Senator John Kerry uses the campaign stops, calls for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify in public to the independent 9/11 Commission. Well, Rice declined to appear during last week's public hearings.

And NASA was successful in yesterday's attempt to break the sound barrier seven times over. The unmanned hyper x flight was launched to test a design that could allow planes to overcome earth's gravity or make the trip from London to New York not at 5,000 miles per hour, but in five hours. Then we could go to London. And then we could hop over to Fred in Ireland, right?

WHITFIELD: That's right. Hang out in Dublin.

All right, have you been to Disneyland or Disneyworld?

CALLAWAY: Yes.

WHITFIELD: And you know about the sticker shock.

CALLAWAY: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Well, it's going up. It's going to cost you more to enjoy the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland or Disneyworld. Why in the world is it happening? We'll explain coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was surreal because you're leaving your home, you're being evacuated and no one could really give you any answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CALLAWAY: Also coming up, painful memories still alive 25 years later. We'll have the details. Stay with us.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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