The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Why Are Politics So Partisan Today?; Acting Tips For Presidents; Back to High School

Aired June 12, 2004 - 12:59   ET


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks. Coming up on IN THE MONEY in just a bit, donkeys that kick elephants that charge. We'll look at what's making politics so partisan and vicious these days.
Plus standing on a world stage, we'll ask an acting coach to rate some recent presidents on playing the role of same.

And high school confidential. See what a reporter found out about today's kids when he went back to class and spent a whole year in high school. All that and more after this quick check of the headlines.

COLLINS SPENCER, CNN ANCHOR: An American citizen was killed in a drive-by shooting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia today. The man was the third Westerner killed in the Saudi capital this week. Islamic militants who have been battling with the Saudi government have warned of more attacks.

The prison population will soon shrink again at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib Prison. The U.S. military plans to release 650 more inmates from the facility Monday. There have been four major releases of prisoners since the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib became public in April.

Three people who were taken hostage this week in Iraq were found shot dead today near Ramadi. The Lebanese national and two Iraqis worked for a Lebanese telecommunications company. Meanwhile a hostage ordeal is over for seven Turkish contractors in Iraq. Their employer tells CNN they have been released.

Now back in this country, a new concern for the FBI. At least 10 cities have been warned to be vigilant for trouble from radical environmental activists. They plan an international day of action and solidarity. The FBI warns they may stage protests or commit vandalism in an effort to free an imprisoned environmental activist. That's a check of headlines, now IN THE MONEY.

CAFFERTY: Welcome to IN THE MONEY. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of the program. Call them party animals, political operatives who used to go for the vote, now they go for the throat. See why politics got very partisan in the years since Ronald Reagan left the presidency.

Plus the performer-in-chief. A big part of being the president is acting the part of the president. Watch a Hollywood acting coach rate some of the latest occupants of the Oval Office. And the night is long. The limos are longer. We're going to talk to a reporter for "Sports Illustrated" who went looking for a prom and found a whole generation. Discover what he learned about today's teenagers. Joining me today, a couple of the IN THE MONEY veterans, CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz and "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer.

A long week of national mourning and respect for the late president Ronald Reagan has come to an end. And there was a reluctance I think on the part of the media, and probably rightfully so, to address some of the more controversial issues surrounding his presidency, one of which is something called "Reaganomics," which in some form is still very much with us today.

ANDY SERWER, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FORTUNE": Yes. He's the only president since FDR to have an economic policy named after him. It was the New Deal back then, Reaganomics today. He cut taxes and the deficit ballooned, but the economy recovered. A lot of criticism there. But then spin it forward, I think you could say we got a peace dividend that paid the deficit down after the demise of the Soviet Union. So it all worked out. Now did the rooster make the sun come up, a lot of people suggesting that. But you've got to hand it to him a little bit, I think

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, deja vu all over again, cutting taxes and a ballooning deficit, gee, I wonder where we have that happening again. But you also forget that -- remember there was deregulation in a big way during Reagan's -- his two terms in office, and there were a lot of workers, especially a lot of union workers who have still not forgiven him. Remember there were I think 12,000 air traffic controllers who were fired summarily.

CAFFERTY: They were fired for violating the terms of their contract and going out on an illegal strike. And he said, if you don't come back to work you're fired. And that sent a very clear message that you have to live by the terms of the contract. They're not one-way streets, they're two-way documents.

SERWER: And there was the S&L crisis, too. One last point, for Republicans out there, if you think Ronald Reagan was a genius, then Bill Clinton was, too, because they both presided over two terms of prosperity.

CAFFERTY: Absolutely. And the other question is we don't have the peace dividend this time around to address the deficits that are accumulating today. All right, more to come on that.

This week's tributes to Ronald Reagan were not just about the man, they were also about an era that was stamped with his name, that would be the 1980s, a time when someone like Reagan could take on his political enemies by day and then go to dinner with them and hang out with them at night. Just imagine that in today's partisan free-for- all. It just doesn't happen much anymore. For a look at how U.S. politics got so nasty, we're joined from Washington by presidential historian Allan Lichtman who is a professor of political history at American University. Professor Lichtman, nice to have you with us. ALLAN LICHTMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks, Jack.

CAFFERTY: So what happened?

LICHTMAN: All right. Here's what happened, back in the 1980s, the parties were still very much mixed in their ideology. If you looked at things like liberalism scores by Americans for Democratic Action, Republicans and Democrats would be somewhat mixed. Today the parties have almost become entirely polarized, that is, the most liberal of Republicans is still more conservative than the most conservative of Democrats.

A couple of things happened. Number one, a fundamental transformation of the South where moderate Democrats were replaced by either much more conservative Republicans, particularly in the Senate, or in the House by much more liberal African-American and Hispanic Democrats.

Secondly, in the Northeast, the old Rockefeller Republicans are mostly gone, now replaced by liberal Democrats. So you have two liberal Democratic senators in New York and two liberal Democratic senators in Massachusetts. The other thing that has happened, is it's not that our society is more polarized than say it was in the '60s or even the '80s, but the party system has come to almost perfectly reflect our social divisions, not economic, but race and religion.

The Republican Party today is the party of white protestant Americans, counting on 70 to 75 percent of that vote, especially among church goers. The Democratic Party is African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans and those of no religious affiliation with the Catholic vote, the so-called "Reagan Democrats" the swing between them.

LISOVICZ: You've defined both parties very well and their differences and their allegiances, but both parties use the media quite enthusiastically, we should say. Where do you think the turning point came? I mean, you're talking about liberals from Massachusetts, gee, it reminded me of those campaign commercials against Michael Dukakis, letting murdering rapists out of prison, that kind of thing. Where did the decline vividly start in your view?

LICHTMAN: Well, certainly the 1988 campaign that you're talking about was a major turning point, in part because George Bush was 18 points behind Mike Dukakis in the summer of 1988 and came back to beat him by about 7, and the media credited all the negative ads and the negative attacks, the Willie Horton ad that I think ran only once but was riveted in the national consciousness of this black man who allegedly was released by Michael Dukakis, went on a rampage, the card-carrying member of the SCLU, the L-word.

But even before 1988, it was Lee Atwater, a brilliant political strategist and Ronald Reagan's political director, who perfected what he called "comparative politics." You may call it negative politics, and the consultants and the media believes it works. We no longer have political parties like we once had, organized down to the precinct level that actually get out the vote and canvass and campaign as you say. It is now the consultants, the ad men and the hucksters operating on television that do it. And some would argue it's like a plague of locusts.

SERWER: Allan, but to an extent hasn't it always been this way? I mean, you go back to Kennedy-Nixon, a lot of people didn't like FDR. On the other hand, you didn't have this hatred that you might have today. You say that Reagan was somewhat of a unifying figure. Doesn't it come down to personality, that Reagan was so disarming, same to an extent with FDR?

LICHTMAN: Personality is always critical. FDR wasn't so much disarming, FDR was inspiring with his eloquence. Ronald Reagan was the ultimate at self-deprecating humor, one liners identifying with the American people. You're absolutely right. Personalities are always critical. And look, negative campaigning, you can trace back to 1800 when Thomas Jefferson was vilified as an atheist. They said -- and a revolutionary, they said blood would run through the streets if he was elected. But I do think the rise of the media politics, the rise of the consultants, and the rise of the notion that negative ads work along with the collapse of the parties is a great turning point in American politics.

CAFFERTY: Well, what about at future? I mean, at the end of the day it's still the elected officials who are doing the public's business in Washington D.C. And in the middle of the afternoon in those committee rooms where things are being discussed, the media is not there and that stuff doesn't get on television. The nation's capital is gridlocked a great part of the time, the amount of productive social business that gets done there is negligible anymore. And everything virtually that's put forward is stymied by political opposition of the sternest kind. There's no consensus anymore of doing something, anything for the common good in this country.

LICHTMAN: That goes back to the points I made originally, that the parties have become so perfectly polarized ideologically that it's that very hard to find common ground, and that the parties reflect these underlying social divisions which also make it more difficult to find common ground. And because everyone is now in the perpetual campaign: They talked about Bill Clinton being on the four-year campaign. Everyone is on the perpetual campaign. And everyone's got to raise money all of the time. You're talking now about tens of millions of dollars for a Senate seat, millions of dollars for a House seat. And it's hard to do all that and kind of create common ground and create friendships across party lines.

CAFFERTY: Yes, I love the debate about limiting special interest campaign contributions. And they finally passed some sort of watered down bill that has more loopholes in it than a big thing of Swiss cheese. And they all stand around and pat themselves on the back saying, see, look what we did. Professor, it's nice to have you with us. I appreciate your thoughts on all of this. Thank you.

LICHTMAN: Thanks, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Allan Lichtman, presidential historian, professor at American University. We're just getting rolling here on in the IN THE MONEY. Coming up, high drama. We'll have ask a Hollywood acting coach to check some U.S. presidents and tell us who's best at playing presidential.

And teenagers without the attitude, there's a rarity. Find out what a "Sports Illustrated" writer discovered when he hung out at high school for a whole year.

Plus, drop the car keys. See why TiVo is out to save you a trip to the video store. You're watching IN THE MONEY, lucky you.


CAFFERTY: As the nation paid tribute to the late President Ronald Reagan this past week, we are reminded that history does not judge presidents on policy alone. You can say what you want about Reagan's legacy, but love him or hate him, his ability to communicate with an audience was almost unmatched. He spoke sincerely, directly, self-effacingly about the nation's problems and infected the country with his constant optimism. This guy never had a bad day, at least for public consumption. For a fresh take on the crucial role of acting presidential, we've invited Dennis Lavalle, to join us, he's an acting coach and director out in Los Angeles.

Mr. Lavalle, nice to have you with us.

DENNIS LAVALLE, ACTING COACH: Thank you for having me.

CAFFERTY: We have a little bit of a satellite delay. I apologize for that. Ronald Reagan was criticized his entire political life for being an actor. And when you look at a lot of his old movies, I think it would be fair to say that he probably wasn't the great actor that ever came down the pike, but when he stood up in front of the people of this country as their president, he was magical, why?

LAVALLE: Well, Ronald Reagan had a unique training period to be the president of the United States. This was a man who was witness and participant to films going from silent and black and white to sound and Technicolor. He was a pioneer in the golden age of radio as a radio announcer. He was a movie star in the golden age Hollywood. He was at the infancy of television and he knew how to use that medium probably better than any president before or after. So by the time that he ascended to the presidency, he was more prepared for that role as far as the communication skills than probably anybody else.

LISOVICZ: Let's fast forward to the current president, who is seen as very likeable, but also very uncomfortable at times when he certainly is dealing with the press, which is infrequent. He doesn't hold that many news conferences. But yet he does have this sort of likeable naturalness about him, which is one of the reasons why he did so well, it seems, against Al Gore, one of the reasons. Can you address his strengths and weaknesses, and also John Kerry who seems to be smart but has a shortage of charm according to many critics.

LAVALLE: Well, no, those are great questions. I think that the issue with our current president, Bush 43, is that when he's acting presidential, if you will, he's working against his strengths. When you see Bush up at Crawford or when he's having an off-the-cuff kind of conversation, he seems more presidential than when he's walking into a press conference. And I think that -- I've always felt that since he became president that probably his handlers should probably just let Bush be Bush.

SERWER: Dennis, I know you think that you could coach some of these guys. But some of this you are just sort of born with. Let's take a look. We've got Ronald Reagan, a natural. Clinton, a natural. JFK, a natural. FDR, a natural. I know that's a lot of Democrats. But you look at the Republican side, you've got the Bushes, you've got Ford, maybe not -- you know, I don't want to -- Wendell Wilkie might have been OK.


SERWER: Go a little bit far back. But some of this is you're just born with it. You're natural, you're loose, you're comfortable in front of a camera, isn't that right?

LAVALLE: Well, you know, I think that people who are great actors, like great politicians, they are born with it. I don't think you can teach someone to be great, but you can certainly teach someone to be better. You can teach someone to be more comfortable within their own skin. I think that as I was saying with Mr. Bush and with Mr. Kerry that if Mr. Kerry would have more of a sense of a humor, when he lightens up, he seems more accessible.

But when he is -- you know when he's speaking with his thumb and he's going, we need to change these things, it seems kind of put on in the same manner that when President Bush is striding down the carpet for a press conference, it seems put on. But when he's climbing out of a pickup truck with Tommy Franks as we saw before the current Iraqi conflict, he gets out of it, and he strides up to the microphone and he seems very presidential.

CAFFERTY: What about the difference between being able to act, in quotation marks, and project a presidential image and having the gut instinct and just the kind of humanity about you that allows you to continue to be who you really are under the pressure of dealing international crises, domestic problems, political opposition, debates, et cetera. At the end of the day, it's not really about acting at all, is it? Isn't it as much about who you really are on the inside, the core of the individual? Ronald Reagan was a mediocre actor, but he was naturally in front of a camera as good as it gets. He was as much at home at standing at a lectern in front of a joint session of Congress and a worldwide television audience as he would been out on the Reagan ranch clearing brush, it seemed.

LAVALLE: Well, and I agree with that. But one of the things that I try to teach my students is to make a strong choice and to follow it through, what we call a super-objective. Ronald Reagan was very clear with that. And he had a great deal of training doing it. You have remember that he didn't even enter politics until 1955, and he had been the president of the Screen Actors Guild, he had been giving speeches all around the country. He had given and written over a thousand speeches before he ever became president. So when you say he felt at home at a lectern, a lectern was his second home.

CAFFERTY: That's a good point.

LAVALLE: But sticking to your through-line and taking the heat if it doesn't come off right, I think that that is presidential. And I think that when a politician tries to back pedal, we instinctively know it, just as we mow when an actor is walking through a part and it bothers us.

CAFFERTY: There you go. Interesting stuff. Dennis, we've got to leave it there. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us. Dennis Lavalle, acting coach and director of the Lavalle Actor's Workshop, joining us from California.

Stick around, Madison Avenue steps in, does its song and dance, raises a couple of dollars for the home office. And then coming up after the break, you'll never drive alone. Find out why a boss from big oil says America cannot stay on the road without the rest of the world's help.

Plus, anybody here know how to tie a bow tie? Well, we'll talk to a reporter who went to document a high school prom and wound up staying for a whole year and learned more about the dancers than he did about the dance.

Plus sugar daddy. See how the humble jelly bean turned into an instrument of diplomacy in the hands of an American president.

Back after this.


LISOVICZ: Now let's take a look at the week's top stories in our "Money Minute." Pfizer's Warner-Lambert unit pleaded guilty to a rare case of criminal health care fraud. The company admitted to marketing the drug Neurontin for many ailments the FDA had not approved it for. The drug was only cleared to treat epilepsy. But marketers promoted it for headaches and psychiatric illnesses. A federal judge ordered Pfizer to pay a $240 million fine.

Former WorldCom Chief Financial Officer Scott Sullivan has pleaded guilty to securities fraud. Sullivan faces up to five years in prison. Sullivan has already pleaded guilty to several other criminal charges and may help the Feds in their case against former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers.

And with mortgage rates rising, a record number of home owners are using home equity lines of credit to get cash. Mortgage refinancing had been the method of choice, of course, but with home equity interest rates at or below the prime rate, that's changing. Rising home values are also giving home owners the ability to borrow more.

SERWER: In other news, ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Lee Raymond delivered some strong words to the American people. Raymond called the idea of American energy independence a myth and said the Middle East will remain the center of supply because it holds half the world's oil reserves. ExxonMobil shares have been on a steady rise since the end of last year, but can the stock stay strong as Americans are faced with record gas prices? That question and Raymond's comments make ExxonMobil our "Stock of the Week."

Now Lee Raymond, you guys, is blunt, he is outspoken. And unlike the people at BP, British Petroleum or Mobil before it merged with Exxon, he does not truck with the enviros. He does not care about those people...


LISOVICZ: I think he learned that in Alaska, I believe.

SERWER: I'm going to tell you something, I think he is dead wrong here. I mean, the idea that we shouldn't try to wean ourselves from Middle Eastern oil is wrong. There's a lot of things we can do, conservation, new energy sources. The war with Islam is so tied up with our dependence on Saudi oil, for instance, it's time to move forward.

CAFFERTY: Yes, but if you were running a big oil company, wouldn't you like to encourage the idea that you're going to need big oil's products for as long as the eye can see?

SERWER: See, I think that's right, but they're going to do just fine no matter what. And we can also talk about developing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well. Domestic stuff here. I mean, he likes to speak his mind.

LISOVICZ: I thought it was shocking. It's great to speak his mind at a critical time like this, where you can at least encourage some conservation, our men and women are getting killed in Iraq. And it was just shocking, actually.

CAFFERTY: Well, there is some conservation occurring as I read the newspapers. As a result of $42 a barrel oil, suddenly you've got Americans thinking about cars that get better mileage. They're changing their driving habits. There is some conservation in the system as a result of these prices that perhaps you never would have been able to get people to go along with it if you just said, hey we ought to conserve.

SERWER: Well, that's what happened in '73, '74, of course, Jack, in 1980 as well. It occurs naturally. And the fact that we couldn't take 10 percent off of our energy use in this country, of course, ludicrous. Any family, any business could take 10 percent of their costs off just like that. The oil companies do well no matter what. And the stock has done well over the past year. It's beaten the market over the past five years. It's a juggernaut, no matter what happens, these guys always seem to make out I think.

LISOVICZ: When he said those comments, I just said, consider the source. CAFFERTY: Sure. And of course that other phenomenon that's always interesting is as oil prices go from $30 to $40 a barrel, gasoline prices go from $1.30 to $2.50. But when they go from $42 to back down to $36 as they did last week, I didn't see much difference action the pump, did you?

SERWER: No, the message here is I think if you can't beat them, join them, probably buy the stock.

CAFFERTY: Good idea.


SERWER: Coming up on IN THE MONEY, wall flowers and queen bees, teenagers are America's hottest demographic. Find out what matters to them as we talk to a reporter who went back to high school.

And later, a little round candy that captured the Oval Office. We'll look at one president's love affair with the Jelly Belly.


SPENCER: Back to IN THE MONEY right after this check of the latest headlines.

An American has been killed in Saudi Arabia. He was shot to death as he was getting into his car in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The American is the third Westerner to be killed in Saudi Arabia in a week. Islamic militants are believed behind the attack. They've been battling the Saudi government and threatening to kill Westerners.

There has been another political assassination in Iraq. Bassam Kubba, an Iraqi deputy foreign minister, was killed this morning in an ambush outside his Baghdad home. Government sources say he had just returned from the United States. Coalition spokesman Dan Senor spoke about the security provided for Iraqi officials.


DAN SENOR, COALITION SPOKESMAN: The coalition does one of two things -- provides one of two things for Iraqi officials depending on the officials. We either provide security ourselves or we provide training and funding for security for the Iraqi officials to administer security or the respective ministries to administer security. And I don't want to specify case by case.

SPENCER: Convicted Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols has been spared the death penalty again. A jury in his state trial was deadlocked over a death sentence. Nichols also escaped a death penalty in his federal trial. One hundred and sixty-eight people were killed in the 1995 bombing.

More news in half an hour. Now back to IN THE MONEY.

SERWER: They're one of the great mysteries of the universe. No, we're not talking about the Sphinx or Stonehenge. We're talking about teenagers. Parents complain that they're moody. Companies say their tastes change overnight and no one can figure out their politics. Our next guest decided the best way to get a handle on American teens was to out with them for a year.

In his new book "Wonderland, author Michael Bamberger talks about what it was like to join the senior class at Pennsbury High School in Pennsylvania. Michael spent a year with the kids, doing everything from studying to planning the prom. Michael is also a senior writer at "Sports Illustrated."

Welcome, Michael, and thanks for joining us.


SERWER: You and I are about the same age, we graduated about 25 years ago, sad to say, and I want to know, with all the body piercings and the cell phones and the fashions and MTV and everything else, are kids today that much different?

BAMBERGER: I was really shocked to discover that the essential experience of going to high school is completely unchanged from our era to today. When you see kids hanging over their lockers or you see them in the cafeteria or you see them in the library or you see them in the parking lot, all trying to figure out who they are, what they're going to do with their lives, what they're going to that weekend, you see that the essential experience of being an American teenager is basically unchanged.

CAFFERTY: Michael, I remember my high school years as four of my most unpleasant years of my entire existence, I mean, fraught with all kinds of crises that most of which I've tried to suppress in my older age. Why would you want to go back and revisit those times, they were awful?

BAMBERGER: It's funny, a lot of people feel that nervousness for their high school period, and yet they have a longing for it as well. I think it's a chance where you're just old enough you can sort of glimpse your adult self, the adult that you're going to become and you're young enough that you can still dream about what you're going to become. I think it's a very interesting age. And socially I think it's an intense period because you're thrown together with so many different people from so many different walks of life. And you've got to really figure out a lot in a hurry and things change on a daily basis. So maybe it's one of the most interesting four years you can have, whether it's miserable or not.

LISOVICZ: And Michael, you asked for this assignment, if I'm not mistaken. Did anybody accuse you of having a midlife crisis? Getting any piercings of your own, perhaps?


BAMBERGER: You know, I'm happily married with two young children and a lawn that needed mowing so it was an odd thing at first for people to see this middle aged writer for "Sports Illustrated" in their hallways of their schools. And sometimes when I was interviewing girls at a local Starbucks, on one occasion a father did a drive-by at the Starbucks to make sure I was who I said I was. So yes, it was a little odd, but over time, they got used to me and I was very interested in them.

SERWER: Hey Michael, one thing that really interested me that you said was that parental relationships, if you will, are stronger today than when we were kids. And maybe that makes sense because with all the pressures of getting into college and everything, can you talk a little bit about that?

BAMBERGER: Well, I feel that's probably the most significant change from the late '70s when I was in high school to watching these kids today. I feel like the generation gap is just much more narrow now than it has ever been in the past. And I feel like the kids have a friendship with their parents, particularly girls with their mothers. But really across the board, a lot of boys who are athletic, particularly, or even if they're not so athletic, but someone involved in sports, just have a more collegial kind of relationship with their parents and they're talking about more intimate things. On occasion they're calling their parents by their first name. On occasion they're saying "shut up" to their parents in ways that I don't think in our generation we ever would have. But it's more -- it's more "shut up" more in the sense of friendship than in the sense of, "you're really bothering me."

CAFFERTY: This was in Pennsylvania, right?

BAMBERGER: This is in the -- yes, in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

CAFFERTY: Give meet sense of the genesis of the story. You're a writer for "Sports Illustrated." You went to the -- what did you do, go to your editor and say, I have a great idea, I want to go back to high school? I mean, how did this thing happen?

BAMBERGER: Well, it wasn't so -- the book was sort of separate from my work at "Sports Illustrated." But I live in Philadelphia. And on TV news one night I saw a brief clip local news of showing all these prom-goers going into their high school prom at Pennsbury High School where they still have the prom in the school gym. And I was fascinated by the different modes of transportation the kids took: Scooby-Doo mobiles and Oscar wiener mobiles and parachutes an all of the other things.

But the thing that really struck me was that there were literally thousands of parents and their grandparents and kids lining the sidewalks watching the kids come in. And I knew roughly where the high school was, I didn't know anything about it, but I knew it was it was in the sprawl of suburban Philadelphia. And I didn't think that thing sort of existed anymore, this really sense of the American village. And it very much intrigued me, so I went to the school and asked the principal if I could hang out there for the year, a man named Bill Katz (ph), and he welcomed me into the school.

LISOVICZ: And Michael, the best thing out of the assignment for a year after 9/11, after the jobless recession, is that these kids are optimistic. Michael Bamberger, the author of "A Year in the Life of an American High School." Not much has changed, it's kind of refreshing, actually. Thanks so much for joining us.

BAMBERGER: Thanks for having me.

LISOVICZ: Up next, cappuccino meets jalapeno, find out how a gourmet jelly bean made it all the way to the Oval Office.

And later, do-it-yourself, we'll show you a Web site where they take acting lessons to the limits.


LISOVICZ: When you think of Ronald Reagan, many images come to mind, Cold Warrior, tax cutter, movie actor, just to name a few, but perhaps one of the sweetest images is that of Ron Reagan the candy lover. In fact his passion for jelly beans helped make one small California company an almost overnight success. And joining us today is Herman Roland, chairman of the Jelly Belly Candy Company.


HERMAN ROWLAND, CHAIRMAN, JELLY BELLY CANDY CO.: Good morning, Susan. How are you?

LISOVICZ: We're fine, thank you. And we're happy for you to join us. You know, everybody talks about a beautiful relationship and they think it's Nancy and Ron, but it actually was -- in your opinion, it was Ronald Reagan and those Jelly Bellies, which did not occur quite naturally. It was a letter that the company wrote because the then-governor had quit smoking a pipe.

ROWLAND: Well, that's right. Actually a friend of mine attended a cocktail party, a fundraiser when he was running for governor and found that the president had quit smoking and we were informed later a pipe; and that he needed to have Jelly Belly to offset his smoking habit. And so we started sending the beans to him.

SERWER: Herman, I understand that licorice was his favorite. It's interesting. But I understand also that he invented, invented the blueberry jelly bean, is that true, sir?

ROWLAND: Well, let's put it this way, we needed blue for the blue in the American flag. And we knew we were doing Jelly Belly mosaics. And we did not have the proper blue color. So we invented blueberry which became a very, very popular flavor, and so that we could really produce a red, white and blue flag. And actually, we have portraits of the president standing in front of the flag.

CAFFERTY: Can you give as you sense of your company, Jelly Belly, pre-Governor Reagan versus Jelly Belly post-Governor Reagan?

ROWLAND: Well, in the sense of what happened to us?

CAFFERTY: The impact that he had on the growth of your company? ROWLAND: Yes, it was a terrific impact. It took us from a small United States company over to an international company. So it went from, let's say, in '81 to '82, it actually doubled our sales. Everything we could possibly produce we sold. And I don't think we did 10 percent of the jelly bean business in the world at that time because every manufacturer was making everything they could.

CAFFERTY: You do have, without a doubt, the greatest assortment of flavors of jelly beans, I'm not nearly the expert that the late president was. But I get into the jelly beans once in a while myself. What is the most -- never mind.


CAFFERTY: What is the most esoteric flavor in your opinion that your company manufactures?

ROWLAND: Well, "Very Cherry" is the number one right now. And "Buttered Popcorn" is right there alongside of it.

SERWER: "Buttered Popcorn"?

ROWLAND: "Buttered Popcorn" you either love or you hate.

CAFFERTY: How do you go about capturing the flavor buttered popcorn in a jelly bean, that must take like scientists and laboratories and all kinds of stuff right?

ROWLAND: Actually, a few of us get around, and we have buttered popcorn and we fix it like we want, with the right amount of butter, the right amount of salt. And we eat that. And then we check the samples that we have made. And it only took us about three runs to hit it. And actually it went to number one for about five or six years.

LISOVICZ: OK. So "Buttered Popcorn," big hit. We know you have "Cheesecake," "Champagne Punch" and "Jalapeno," come clean, what didn't fly?

ROWLAND: Well, "Pumpkin Pie" didn't fly...


ROWLAND: ... because your grandmother, some of them make it sweet, some of them make it with different spices, and "Pumpkin Pie" didn't fly.

SERWER: Hey Herman, I understand a whole ton of people come and visit your company that's out there in Fairfield, California, in the Bay Area, I believe. And you have sort of a visitors center. I saw a mosaic of Ronald Reagan's portrait, that famous picture of him in the cowboy hat that was on the cover of "TIME: magazine, all kinds of stuff like that?

ROWLAND: Yes, we do. We've had a tour at our factory ever since we've been there since '86. We also have a tour back in Pleasant Prairie in our warehouse retail area. We take about 700,000-plus people through our facilities a year.


ROWLAND: It's a real fun tour and everybody gets a free bag of candy when they...

CAFFERTY: Well, Jack will come.

CAFFERTY: Yes, I'll be there.

SERWER: All right.

CAFFERTY: How many jelly beans do you make in say a week or a month or a year? Do you have any idea? It must be in the jillions, right?

ROWLAND: Well, I don't know -- I'm not quite sure what a jillion is. But...

CAFFERTY: That would be a lot of jelly beans.

ROWLAND: I know what a billion is.

SERWER: He needs to get a bean counter.

ROWLAND: We're about 13 billion beans right now a year.

CAFFERTY: Thirteen billion.

ROWLAND: Right, can you imagine what that is -- I think, let's see, I've been told it's about...

SERWER: Bigger than the deficit.

ROWLAND: You put them end to end, it's about seven times around the world.

CAFFERTY: Every year you turn out that many, that's amazing.

ROWLAND: Well, we're increasing every year. So every year it goes up. It used to be, let's say in '80, it was like 1 billion. So we've grown a lot.

CAFFERTY: Yes, you have. And we appreciate your sharing an inside look at your company with us here on IN THE MONEY. Thank you.

ROWLAND: All right, thank you.

CAFFERTY: Herman Rowland, chairman of the Jelly Belly candy company. We're going to kick back now while the advertising industry shows you its chops. That won't take long.

Coming up after the break the box that can keep you glued to your seat by going online. We'll tell you about a brand new twist for TiVo.

Plus act natural. Our "Fun Site of the Week" has some tips on playing a part.

And I can't read mine so we will read instead some of your e- mail. You can tell us what you're thinking by writing to us at


CAFFERTY: The company that made life meaningful for television fans who can't program their VCRs, that would be me, had an eventful week. Webmaster Allen Wastler has the latest on all the happenings at TiVo.

I don't understand a VCR, I'm never going to be able figure out TiVo.

ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: Well, TiVo is kind of convenient because it's sort of like wired right into your TV set. So you say, oh, I want to watch "The Sopranos" every week, you set it in, and it will automatically do that are for you.

LISOVICZ: Does the work for you.

WASTLER: Yes, and also, if you know how to do it, they don't advertise this feature, but it will whip through the commercials, too, if you want to whip through the commercials, which advertisers don't like.

CAFFERTY: Right, but we don't want you to do that here on CNN. We want you to watch the commercials and then we want to go out and buy the products that are advertised.

WASTLER: Well, this week TiVo went a step further, OK? Already people are mimicking what TiVo provides. Lots of cable companies are coming out with their own sort of recording devices. Other consumer electronics makers are making these deals. So TiVo said, well, we'll go one better. We'll let you have an Internet connection so you can go to the various sites, particularly our own, and download your own movie, your own TV show and get it yourself that way.

Now on one hand, why what a wonderful product, this is great. More added value service. But on the other hand, especially for TiVo, because TiVo works arm and arm with cable companies, satellite companies, broadcast networks, now you're sort of cutting out your business partner, aren't you? Because you're giving the consumer -- hey, you can bypass these clowns and just go directly to your set.

LISOVICZ: Well, the consumers like that.

SERWER: And their subscriber base is still growing, but a lot people are wondering if ultimately they won't be taken out of the picture by the big cable companies.

WASTLER: There are only 1.6 million subscribers. There are still, you know, kind of -- now a lot of those they got through a connection with DirecTV. DirecTV sat on their board and had an investment in the company. This week also DirecTV dumped that. So even more friction for TiVo, it will be interesting to watch.

CAFFERTY: Let's go to the "Fun Site of the Week."




WASTLER: I noticed you were talking about acting and the presidency and stuff earlier.

SERWER: Thespians.

WASTLER: OK. I've got a site where this will help the candidates warm up. OK. It's the zefrank site. He has got an interesting little thing that helps you act to it. Now first of all, let's get your basic sneeze down, OK? It happens to everybody, so you need to act it.

SERWER: This is method acting, method.

WASTLER: And then you go "achoo." And you get the sneeze. Now more apropos for perhaps a political candidate would be the endorsement. You have to go and get your endorsement here, we're watching him, he's grabbing the bottle, takes a drink. Oh, there he goes. So that's the endorsement. Now this one in particular for John Kerry I kind of like, you have got to sort of win over, get more warm. So we have the seduction...

CAFFERTY: Yes, that would be a good idea for him.

WASTLER: Yes. So we have seduction. And there we are showing the seduction type of thing. Oh, what a lovely, lovely guy that is.

SERWER: That's seduction.

WASTLER: Oh, baby. It's doing it for me. And then finally maybe one for George Bush because critics have cast aspersions on his ability to cognitively think through certain subjects, we're got the thinking element here.

CAFFERTY: This is the thinking?

SERWER: That's the thinker, I like that.

WASTLER: There you go.

CAFFERTY: There you go.

WASTLER: A lovely little site. All sorts of...

CAFFERTY: Where do you find it again?

WASTLER: It's You can find the address on our show page. CAFFERTY: There you go. Thanks, Allen.


CAFFERTY: Coming up after the break, time to get to know your fellow viewers. We'll read some of your e-mails from the past week. And if you want to send us something for next week, go tickle the mouse and make it happen. You can e-mail us at


CAFFERTY: It is time now to read your answers to our question about who or what is most responsible for your political leanings.

Kunal (ph) in Minnesota wrote this: "I would have to say my own life experiences, which include watching CNN," good Kunal, that's why your letter got picked, "and other stations, reading newspapers, listening to the radio, I learn more from that than from anyone or anything else."

SERWER: We like that guy.

CAFFERTY: Yes we do. Another viewer wrote this: "None of the above. No matter what, when you're young you want to change the world, so you become a Democrat. When you get older, you realize there's nothing worth changing so you become a Republican."


CAFFERTY: And in Maryland, James offered this: "My politics mostly are dictated by my wife and her family. If I vote for the Democrats then all is well. If I vote Republican, then I have to sleep on the couch."

Now for our e-mail question of this week: "What great American figure deserves to have his or her face put on a U.S. coin or bill besides Andy Serwer?" Send your answers to And you should visit our show page at, that's where you'll find the address for our "Fun Site of the Week." There it is.

Thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor- at-large Andy Serwer and managing editor Allen Wastler.

Join us tomorrow at 3:00 Eastern time. We'll talk about rebuilding Iraq. Even if the political handover goes smoothly, things won't stay peaceful over there if the lights and sewers don't work. We'll find out if a massive new public works program is the answer to helping to resolve the Iraqi conflict. That's tomorrow at 3:00. Hope to see you then.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.