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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Interview With Major General Galen Jackman; Supreme Court Rules No Change For Pledge of Allegiance

Aired June 14, 2004 - 20:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Through all the sadness, he stood at her side, a citadel of strength and comfort for a grieving first lady.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bless you, Nancy.

COLLINS: Tonight, Major General Galen Jackman.

And:

CHILDREN: One nation under God.

COLLINS: One nation under God, the Supreme Court says those words can stay in the classroom and, at least for now, the Pledge of Allegiance will not change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for joining us tonight. I'm Heidi Collins. Paula is on assignment in Washington tonight.

As the nation mourned the death of President Ronald Reagan, I was struck by one man in particular who was by Nancy Reagan's side almost every time she appeared in public. His name is Major General Galen Jackman.

And Paula joins us in Washington now with his story.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Heidi.

Throughout the week, we have seen the seamen, privates and airmen who carried the coffin of her husband, but it was Major General Jackman's steady, gentle hand that helped guide Nancy Reagan through her grief.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): In the beginning, they were strangers. By now, you'd imagine they'd become lifelong friends.

Major General Galen Jackman was first lady Nancy Reagan's official military escort throughout the weeklong national farewell to her husband. The two first met in California the day after the president passed away. Each step of the way, he was by her side, guiding her through the formalities. He traveled with her to the nation's capital, offering his steady arm as she walked down the street, drawing cheers from a supportive crowd.

All week, General Jackman was a tower of strength for her through every emotional moment. He held the former first lady steady as she said goodbye to her husband for the last time. Galen Jackman is 53 years old and commands the Military District of Washington. He is the public face of the unit that oversees all of the ceremonies in and around the capital involving visiting heads of state and high-ranking personnel.

And when a veteran is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, his spit-and-polish troops are the pallbearers. He commanded the 4,000 men and women needed for President Reagan's state funeral. just two weeks ago, General Jackman coordinated the dedication of the national World War II Memorial and stood side-by-side President Bush during the 136th observation of Memorial Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

But General Jackman will be best remembered for those six days with Nancy Reagan, a bonding of strangers now linked for all time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And joining me now, Major General Galen Jackman for his first prime-time interview.

It's an honor to be with you tonight. Welcome.

MAJ. GEN. GALEN JACKMAN, COMMANDER, MILITARY DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: When you met Nancy Reagan for the first time, it was basically the day after her husband had died. Was it intimidating to know that she was going to lean on you during such a turbulent time of her life?

JACKMAN: Well, you know, it was a great honor for me to escort her and it was a privilege to represent all of the military men and women in our armed forces.

I was confident, because, frankly, we rehearsed this about twice a year, and I also had the great assistance of my mother. I called her early in the process and asked her for some advice on the approach. So, when I met her the first time, I was confident that we were going to get through this in good fashion.

ZAHN: You knew that, at times, your role would be pretty invasive. So what did your mother tell you to do to make Mrs. Reagan feel comfortable?

JACKMAN: Well, she told me to approach this with love and dignity and respect and play it by ear. She's always been a great one in terms of compassion, and so I've learned a lot from her over the years.

ZAHN: Did Mrs. Reagan tell you what she needed from you? JACKMAN: She did.

As we progressed a little bit further, I think my instincts grew. I knew how much to tell her and how much not to tell her. She did not want a lot of detail. And so we progressed, I think, very, very well. And after a while, we just went through this without -- without talking a lot about the major dance steps that we were going to do together.

ZAHN: Without violating her privacy, what kind of details did she need to know?

JACKMAN: She wanted to know the basic movements.

For example, when we arrived out here at the airfield in Washington, she wanted to know, you know, what we were going to do. And I told her basically that we would go up to the head of the cordon, that her husband would be lifted down from the aircraft, and the coffin would be moved through the cordon and loaded on the hearse, and then we would depart, go in the vehicle.

She did not need to know a lot of the details of all of the timings and the cues that we were using to make sure it went smooth.

ZAHN: Describe to us what it was like once the two of you had more interaction with the public. I remember in particular covering the procession, where there was that moment where the only thing you could hear in this hushed crowd was, "We love you, Nancy."

JACKMAN: Well, we often just talked about the tremendous outpouring of support from the American people. I think she was very taken by the support, whether it was the crowds that would say something, or the signs that we would see, or the displays of the American flag, or, frankly, just the numbers of people that we saw out there.

And she continued to remark throughout the entire ceremony how touched she was by the outpouring of support from America.

ZAHN: There was another moment I remember during her early hours in the Rotunda where she walked up to the casket and smoothed out the flag on the casket and then lowered her head onto the casket, as though appearing to be kissing the casket. You were right there beside her. How overwhelmed were you with not only the emotion of what you were witnessing, but certainly the history that you were seeing?

JACKMAN: I think that, when you're close to a lady like that, it was very apparent that she had deep and abiding love for her husband and her family. And that was apparent, I think, in just about everything that she did.

She often referred to the president by his first name, Ronnie. You know, where are they going to take Ronnie now, you know? And so, I just had a great appreciation for how deeply in love she was with her husband. ZAHN: Did she talk much about that?

JACKMAN: She didn't talk a lot about that, but it was just apparent, I think, in her mannerisms and when she was around her family and some of the things that she discussed with her family. It was very apparent.

ZAHN: What is it that will be seared into your memory about this experience, the one who had the most intimate contact with Nancy Reagan throughout the week?

JACKMAN: I think that there are a couple.

The first is, I am so very proud of our service men and women and our civil servants. We had about 4,000 people that were involved in this ceremony, a total of 11 events from beginning to end. They performed magnificently, and that will always stand out in my mind. I can remember back during the Kennedy funeral watching those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marine and Coast Guardsmen performing then. And so I was very proud to see that.

I think the second thing is, when we left the limousine on Constitution Avenue, when we transferred the casket from the hearse onto the caisson, there was some great outpouring of support, remarks. We talked a little bit about Sergeant York, the horse, her husband's boots there. And that was just a tremendous procession, so I think that was a second.

And I think, third, and probably the thing that struck me the most that I wasn't prepared for, was the ride from Point Mugu up to the library on the last day, the numbers of people that were lining the highway. They had signs. They had flags. They had hands over their heart. Some of them were crying, but it was clear that the Californians and America absolutely loved this president. And I think that it was just a tremendous, tremendous time for our country.

ZAHN: Do you think you and Mrs. Reagan will stay in touch with each other?

JACKMAN: I certainly will. I plan to sit down and write her and tell her, again, what an honor it was for me to escort her.

ZAHN: Well, it's an honor for us to have you share your story with us tonight.

General Jackman, we saw many, many hours of you by her side. Thank you.

JACKMAN: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Heidi.

COLLINS: Nancy Reagan may have seemed frail during her husband's funeral, but she's leading a vigorous charge for stem cell research.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NANCY REAGAN, FIRST LADY: There are so many diseases that can be cured or at least helped. We've lost so much time already and I just really can't bear to lose anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: The clash between stem cell science and politics just ahead.

Then, a bit later, Saudi Arabia was once safe for Westerners. Now the kingdom is plagued with kidnappings and killings. What's happening and why? When we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Welcome back, everybody.

Earlier today, the White House rejected calls to relax the rules for using stem cells in medical research. That is bound to be a disappointment to the family of Ronald Reagan and millions of others.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS (voice-over): Ronald Reagan's death from Alzheimer's disease put the debate over embryonic stem cell research back in the spotlight and in the process dividing a usually cohesive Republican Party.

MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR: For your tireless, loving care of your husband, our former president, Ronald Reagan. Mrs. Reagan?

(APPLAUSE)

COLLINS: Nancy Reagan spoke about the need for stem cell research just weeks before her husband's death.

N. REAGAN: I just don't see how we can turn our backs on this. There are so many diseases that can be cured or at least helped. We have lost so much time already, and I just really can't bear to lose any more.

COLLINS: Mrs. Reagan is among a number of recognizable names. Actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve have long supported the research.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE, STEM CELL ADVOCATE: I think we're about five years behind where we could have been in this country because of controversy over kinds of research, particularly stem cell research.

COLLINS: But Mrs. Reagan's position contradicts President Bush's, who, in 2001, put strict limits on stem cell research because it requires the destruction of human embryos. The president did allow studies on a group of stem cell lines that were already available for research.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Embryonic stem cell research offers both great promise and great peril. So I have decided we must proceed with great care.

COLLINS: Fifty-eight senators, including 14 Republicans, recently wrote a letter to the president, asking him to reconsider his position, requesting that he free up more stem cell lines for research into cures for diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. More than 200 House members signed a similar letter earlier this year.

Among those who want broader use of stem cells is Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who opposes abortion.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: There is no question it's a human cell, but it doesn't have a chance of becoming a human thing unless it's implanted in a womb.

COLLINS: But other conservative senators, like Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum, say they are firm in their opposition to embryonic stem cell research.

SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: If he would authorize or any future administration would authorize the deliberate killing of a human being for purposes of research, they would not have my support.

COLLINS: It's no surprise stem cell research has emerged as an election-year issue. John Kerry spoke about it in a radio address over the weekend.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we pursue the limitless potential of our science and trust that we can use it wisely, we will save millions of lives and earn the gratitude of future generations.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: With Nancy Reagan and her family taking a stand in opposition to the Republican administration, this debate is bound to get quite a bit hotter.

Joining us now are two people on opposite sides of it. From Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania medical ethicist Arthur Caplan, who is in favor of stem cell research.

Mr. Caplan, thanks for being here.

DR. ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR BIOETHICS: Thanks for having me.

COLLINS: And, in Washington, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women For America, who is against it.

Ms. Wright, thank you also for being with us tonight.

I want to begin with you, if I could, Wendy. What do you say to people like you saw in the piece that we just did, Nancy Reagan, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Reeve, or even the parents of a diabetic child? How do you tell them to stop holding out hope? WENDY WRIGHT, SENIOR POLICY DIRECTOR, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: Well, actually, there's hundreds of millions of tax dollars already being spent on stem cell research. And it's the research that's producing results, including repairing heart muscle and repairing patients with diabetes.

But there is one form of stem cell research that we're not funding. And that is embryonic stem cell research. And that's by restrictions from Congress. President Bush actually expanded that to allow for tax dollars to go for funding of some embryonic stem cell research, so he didn't limit the research. He actually expanded it.

But it's expanded into an arena that has produced no cures or treatment. There have been adult stem cell research that's produced cures for Parkinson's, for heart problems, for strokes, for cornea, and literally giving sight to the blind. But embryonic stem cell research has been done in mice studies for 20 years and there has not been a single mouse that's been cured. In fact, there not a single human trial going on yet using embryonic stem cell research.

COLLINS: OK.

WRIGHT: So, clearly, what is happening is, patients are being manipulated and abused to push a form of research that is not producing results and is unethical.

COLLINS: All right, are patients being abused here? Do you agree with any of this? Why can't we just use embryos that already exist?

CAPLAN: Well, I don't agree with any of it.

I think that, since we just found the first human embryonic stem cell five years ago, it would be amazing if anybody was cured already. We're at the beginning of a research possibility here. It's true it's a possibility. But if you want to grow nerve cells, if you want to try and repair spinal cord injury, if you want to offer things to people who suffered damage to the brain, it's tough to get adult stem cells and it's bogus, in fact, to suggest that as an alternative.

WRIGHT: Oh, it's already happening.

CAPLAN: Some things are going to have to be done with embryonic stem cells. There's no way around it.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: Wendy, hang on one second.

Art, let me just ask you this. Now, as an ethicist, that is what you are and you appear here for us as that, can you understand some of the issues that Wendy and others like her address?

CAPLAN: Not really, because I think what they're trying to do is say to the American people, treat an embryo as a person. And I think there are some who believe that, but I don't think the majority of Americans do. I think most people think an embryo in a dish is a potential person, a possible person. But if you're going to try and sacrifice that to save a real person in a wheelchair, that's a tradeoff that they would accept.

COLLINS: Wendy, what do you think about the idea of an embryo being a potential person? Is there any difference for you?

WRIGHT: Well, embryo is a stage of life. We have infants. You have adolescents. You have adults. If you work your way backward, you have a newborn. You have a fetus. You have an embryo. We all were embryos at one point in our life. It's simply a stage of life.

And I do need to correct something Art Caplan said. Dennis Turner, a man in Southern California, has already been treated with adult stem cells for Parkinson's. He's had an 80 percent reduction in the symptoms. A young woman in Portugal with a spinal cord injury is now able to move her feet. So there are already cures being used with adult stem cells.

(CROSSTALK)

CAPLAN: But, in all fairness, this is a silly argument, because the scientific community, not me, not you, but the scientific community has said, we've got to pursue both options. And that's really where the best bet is to find cures for things. Why put all your chips on one line of research? We've got two ways to go.

WRIGHT: But it's not.

COLLINS: OK, let me ask one quick question, you guys. And I want you to think about this carefully, if you would.

It seems that, when I hear you both talking, on one side, you have those who are trying to preserve life, if you will. On the other side, you have those that are trying to save lives. Is that not the same thing or middle ground, can it be found here?

Wendy?

WRIGHT: Actually, that's an incorrect way of summarizing it.

COLLINS: How so?

WRIGHT: We are wanting to do both, save and preserve life. We want to save life by putting the money and the research into areas that are working. We don't want to drain money and resources away.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: Hold on one moment.

We're not talking money right now. I'm talking about the difference between preserving life, as you say, the embryos that are frozen, and saving lives or at least improving lives. (CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: And that is happening with adult stem cell research. No, I'm not just talking about money. I'm talking about the scientists who will be diverted away from research that is working.

(CROSSTALK)

CAPLAN: No one will be diverted away.

COLLINS: Hold on. I'm going to give you the last word in a moment.

Last word, Wendy, is, quickly?

WRIGHT: Yes.

Embryonic stem cell research is unethical. And it's not going to produce the results that are being promised by scientists. Patients can't wait for the kinds of promises that embryonic stem cell research are being put forward by scientists. We need to be putting our money and resources into research that's working.

COLLINS: OK, Art, last word.

CAPLAN: Well, it's really a red herring to say that adult stem cell research is an option. We want to do all the options that we've got available.

It's only those who would argue that embryos are people who have the objection. And we have got 400,000 frozen embryos in the United States that no one wants. That's our source to go for.

(CROSSTALK)

WRIGHT: ... not available for research.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: Unfortunately, that is all the time we have. We will be discussing this a lot more in the future, I'm sure.

Arthur Caplan and Wendy Wright, thanks to the both of you tonight.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

CAPLAN: My pleasure.

COLLINS: When we return from our break tonight, a legal battle over two words in the Pledge of Allegiance is finally over. Or is it? I'll talk with the man who fought the words "under God" next.

Then, President Clinton and his portrait make White House history. The artist makes history, too. That's coming up in just a bit. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Today, on Flag Day, eight Supreme Court justices delivered a unanimous ruling that keeps the Pledge of Allegiance as is. They reversed a lower court's decision that had deemed the pledge unconstitutional. The high court's ruling closes a chapter on the heated debate over the words said in your child's classroom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHILDREN: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

COLLINS (voice-over): Every morning, schoolchildren across the country recite this pledge. Many don't even give it a second thought.

CHILDREN: And to the republic for which it stands.

COLLINS: But four years ago, atheist Michael Newdow challenged a phrase that Congress inserted 50 years ago.

CHILDREN: One nation under God.

COLLINS: Even though public school children are not legally forced to say "under God," Newdow argued that a government-funded school shouldn't force his daughter to hear those words. He says it goes against freedom of religion.

MICHAEL NEWDOW, PLAINTIFF: "Under God" in the middle of the Pledge of Allegiance violates the Constitution.

COLLINS: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. And that sparked a national controversy. Some lawmakers called the court's ruling outrageous and stupid. President Bush said it was out of step with America's traditions.

BUSH: America is a nation that is -- that values our relationship with the Almighty.

COLLINS: Both the Bush administration and Michael Newdow asked Supreme Court to get involved. And, last October, it did.

But there was a big problem with Newdow's case. Newdow is in a custody battle with his daughter's mother, who has said she has no problem with the pledge. The Supreme Court ruled on a technicality, saying Newdow doesn't have legal authority to speak for his daughter and couldn't sue on her behalf to ban the pledge from her school.

For now, schoolchildren will continue to recite the pledge unchanged.

CHILDREN: One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: For more on the Supreme Court's ruling and its potential impact, we go to national correspondent Bob Franken in Washington.

Good evening to you, Bob. Thanks for being here.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Heidi.

COLLINS: Let me ask you this now. The Supreme Court ruled on a technicality today. They did not come down and say that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. Does that leave the door open for other cases?

FRANKEN: Well, indeed it does.

As a matter of fact, those who continue to oppose the "under God" reference in the Pledge of Allegiance say that there are other cases that they hope to put before the same circuit court, by the way, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the most liberal of the circuits in the United States. And they're hoping that there will be another case. But, of course, if there is another one, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether it wants to take it.

I should point out, by the way, Justice Scalia decided not to take part in this case because he had expressed strong opinions about it prior to its being heard. But three of the justices, three of them, came out with different opinions agreeing that it should stay in, but arguing that, because of what is called a ceremonial deity, that it, one that is not advocacy, there is no problem with "under God" any more than there is than "in God we trust" on coins.

COLLINS: Interesting perspective there.

Bob, let me ask you how this played, if you will. Were court- watchers surprised by the ruling?

FRANKEN: Well, as a matter of fact, many of us had said that the Supreme Court -- I'm going to use a legal term here -- would probably punt and do just exactly what it did and decide not to come up with a declarative ruling on the constitutionality, that it just wasn't necessary given that there was that other issue about the standing of Michael Newdow, the standing meaning his right to actually take the case to court in the first place.

And, in fact, five of the Supreme Court justices did punt.

COLLINS: All right, Bob Franken, thanks so much for that tonight.

And here now to talk more about the case is the man who set it in motion. Michael Newdow joins us from Sacramento, California, tonight.

Michael, thanks for being with us.

NEWDOW: Thanks for having me. COLLINS: Two years ago, the courts ruled in your favor. But today, the highest court dealt you a pretty major blow. How are you feeling tonight?

NEWDOW: Well, it's obviously disappointing.

However, there's some good aspects to it. First of all, we know what three of the justices are thinking and we can address that when we bring the challenge again. There's no problem in bringing the case right back. I have numerous people who have expressed a willingness to be plaintiffs, so it's just going to go right back.

And then the other issue is that -- the family law issue. The family law that we have in this nation, this best interests of the child standard in this entire process is completely unconstitutional. And, hopefully, this will raise some awareness as to that issue. No one has ever asked in the media, why did the guy not have the right to bring this case? What did he do? And the fact is, I've done nothing.

And this is -- it's an incredible. I let my kid urinate in the bathroom and was accused of child neglect.

COLLINS: Well, Michael, let me ask you this. Since the ruling did not really address the merits of your case, if you will, do you think the Supreme Court just copped out?

NEWDOW: I think punted is a good word. Especially in an election year, people had said that if I had prevailed, there was a good chance it could conceivably change the result of the election and I think the justices were aware of that.

COLLINS: Let's put this up on the screen so the viewers understand what the verbiage was today, if you will. Justice John Paul Stevens said this, "when hard questions of domestic relations are sure to affect the outcome, the prudent course is for the federal court to stay its hand rather than reach out to resolve a weighty question of federal constitutional law."

Do you see any merits or do you have any understanding of what he said there?

NEWDOW: I have a lot of understanding of what he said there. I mean, the fact of the matter is that there is a fundamental constitutional right of parenthood and to infringe upon fundamental constitutional rights, you need a compelling state interest to narrowly tailored laws.

COLLINS: But Michael, should parenthood or should a custody case, if you will, dictate to the entire country?

NEWDOW: It's irrelevant. I have a fundamental constitutional right of parenthood like every parent. I heard you have a 3-year-old child and you should understand how this process works. Some person all of a sudden decides we've decided it's in the best interest of your child that you get to see your kid every other weekend...

COLLINS: But you're trying to change something that will affect children all across the country not just your own daughter.

NEWDOW: Why does my custody situation have anything to do with that? I still have a right as a parent. Why is this even relevant?

COLLINS: All right. Let me ask you...

NEWDOW: It's a way to punt.

COLLINS: As you move forward here, will you allow your daughter to recite "under God" or get a cell phone? Pardon me.

NEWDOW: I'm sorry.

COLLINS: Will you allow her to recite "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance from now on?

NEWDOW: I have always allowed my daughter to do anything she wants. This issue is not about whether or not people are forced to say anything. The issue is whether or not government is taking a position. The establishment clause unlike any other clause in the Bill of Rights talks only about government. Government is not allowed to take a position with regard to religion and you just said there is a God. It's not allowed to do that.

COLLINS: Michael Newdow, we appreciate your time here tonight. Thanks so much.

When we return, a kingdom under attack. Saudi Arabian forces struggle with a surge in terrorist attacks. What it means for the Saudis and Americans is next.

Then in Alabama, the last widow of a Confederate army soldier is laid to rest. Her incredible story later on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: The level of fear seems to be rising in Saudi Arabia after Islamic militants apparently kidnapped one American and killed another over the weekend. Contractor Paul Johnson disappeared Saturday. What appeared to be his passport photo and driver's license, that is, have turned up on a Web site linked to al Qaeda. A statement on the Web site also says another American was killed. All this comes two weeks after 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed in an attack in Khobar.

The increasing targeting of westerners raises questions about the security of the Saudi regime and Americans there as well as the future of oil prices. Joining us from Washington, Mamoun Fandy. He's with the U.S. Institute of Peace and author of "Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent." Mr. Fandy, good evening to you.

Also in Washington a critic of the Saudi regime, Ali Al-Ahmed of the Saudi Institute. Good evening to you as well. And in Austin, Texas, Lawrence Wright, a writer for the "New Yorker Magazine" who got a sense of Saudi opinion while living there and teaching journalism. Thank you also for being here with us tonight. I want to begin, if I could, about the sympathy that there might be for al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. In fact, I want to talk about a poll that we've been looking at. About half of those surveyed in a poll done for the Saudi government last year, the most recent poll conducted, said they had a favorable opinion of Osama bin Laden's sermons and rhetoric. Mamoun, let's begin with you. Why is bin Laden's message so potent in Saudi Arabia?

MAMOUN FANDY, SENIOR FELLOW, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE: I think bin Laden is a Saudi, for one, but also the message is part of a regional message. You can't take Saudi Arabia out of a regional context that's gone ablaze, you know, since the war in Iraq and the situation in Palestine and different fight that the Islamists conducted against governments in the region from Algeria to Egypt to other places so bin Laden is a part of a crew that's been there since 1979. That message is resonating against governments, as well as against America.

COLLINS: Let me ask another question or at least bring it forward about what the pollsters asked here. What is your opinion of strong and close relations with the United States? And here is the answer there. 41 percent said it was favorable, 57 percent said it was unfavorable. Lawrence, in the time that you were in Saudi Arabia, what did you learn about why Saudis embraced bin Laden's ideas and resent America?

LAWRENCE WRIGHT, STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, there are two parts to his ideas. One is a domestic agenda and that is about overthrowing the royal family and there is a certain message of social justice and that has a lot of resonance there simply because nobody else says those things. You know, there is not a lot of public spokesmen in Saudi Arabia, except for the royal family. So that gives him automatically an audience that no one else is claiming.

And then about America, it's surprising to me that there are that many people in favor of favorable relations with the U.S., given all of the difficulty and propaganda that we've had over the last several years, but a lot of Saudis feel very upset with America because they feel like, in some respects, we were their older brother. And it's a phrase I heard many times and that they felt betrayed by us, that we had turned our backs on them and castigated them because of the war on terror.

COLLINS: Ali, I want to get to you tonight. We were told that Saudis viewed 9/11 as a wake-up call, if you will. Then we heard the May, 2003 bombings in Riyadh were a wake-up call. What is the royal family doing? Are they listening to these wake-up calls, in your eyes?

ALI AL-AHMED, SAUDI INSTITUTE: I don't think so. Every day, they say this is a wake-up call. The problem with Saudi Arabia is structural. We have very weak government led by extremely old gentlemen with very limited education, so they're not really able to compete with these young ferocious terrorists who are able in one day to kill an American, videotape it and put it on the Internet in a few hours. These leaders are extremely incapable of competing with those young terrorists.

Secondly, the government of Saudi Arabia itself has a lot of elements inside of it that is sympathetic to the message of bin Laden and this is the information I at least have is that there are even ministers who are very sympathetic to bin Laden, at least in his campaign against the United States. So we have really a confusing -- a confused government that really does not know what to do. We have -- for example, in Khobar, the attack, three terrorists were able to escape from 400 special forces surrounding them. This tells you that the soldiers...

ZAHN: Well, that brings up an excellent point, Ali. Let me ask you this, I mean, after hearing about all of these different incidents and reminding us of them, do you feel the ruling family has gotten the message that al Qaeda has to be dealt with and dealt with forcefully?

AL-AHMED: I really think al Qaeda, so far, has been serving the ruling family in many ways. It has allowed the ruling family to crack down on democracy leaders and allowed -- these attacks have allowed the oil price to rise, which means more money for the ruling family. And it had allowed them to crack down on internal peaceful dissent and allowed them to gain sympathy around the world. So, so far this managed violence has been very -- very helpful for the ruling family to consolidate their power. Maybe tomorrow that they will break -- the terrorists will break from that containment and will attack them.

So far, we have to really understand that, so far, none of the ruling family have been targeted, although there are some thousands of them. When they do, then we'll see a different policy.

ZAHN: All right. Mamoun, I want to ask you, talking about power and money here, quickly.

How far has the Saudi economy actually fallen since the boom years and what sort of impact does that have on all of this?

FANDY: Well, I think the numbers are declining. I mean, the Saudi average per capita was $13,000 per individual, now it's fallen to $6,000. So there is a decline in the economy in Saudi Arabia. But the issue of Saudi Arabia is as Ali pointed and Lawrence pointed out, is both security, as well as political. It's not just security alone. It is also a political question. I mean, you have to deal with this. You have to crack down on terrorists, but also you have to open up to moderates and create an alternative power base.

ZAHN: All right. A very complex issue no doubt there. To the three of you, Mamoun Fandy, Ali Al-Ahmed, and Lawrence Wright, thank you so much.

Coming up tonight, a return to the White House. President Clinton unveils his official portrait, making White House -- White House history in the process.

And later a poignant reminder of the war between the states, the last Confederate widow is laid to rest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He filled this house with energy and joy. He's a man of enthusiasm and warmth, who could make a compelling case and effectively advance the causes that drew him to public service.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: President Bush praising a former president today. But he wasn't talking about Ronald Reagan or even his father. Believe it or not, President Bush was describing the man who unseated his dad, former President Bill Clinton. The tribute came during a light- hearted ceremony at the White House before the unveiling of the official portrait of the 42nd president and former first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Clinton said the pictures were quite a step up for him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I started out, they drew me in a baby carriage in Arkansas, then I graduated to a tricycle and then a bicycle. And when I finally got elected president, the guy that had started me out in the baby carriage actually put Hillary and me in a pickup truck with a hunting dog to come to Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: And we are now joined by the portrait artist who did this wonderful art work, Simmie Knox. He has made history, by being the first African-American to paint an official presidential portrait.

Mr. Knox, thanks for being with us. So glad you're here tonight.

Want to ask you...

SIMMIE KNOX, ARTIST: Thank you for having me.

ZAHN: You bet. Want to ask you right off the top, what was it like to have your portraits unveiled in the White House and, instantly, become a part of history?

KNOX: Well, for a portrait artist, it's one of the highest honors you can have. And I am -- I was pleased and I'm extremely honored to have been asked to paint the president's portrait and I'm very proud of that.

ZAHN: Were you nervous?

KNOX: Oh, very much so. That's quite an honor. That's quite a club of artists there. And -- and many of those artists are artists that I have admired over the years and I wondered, for a while, if I could come up to the standard there. I truly admire John Singer Sargent and some of the early artists. ZAHN: I want to ask you. I know you spent quite a bit of time with Bill Clinton in order to understand him and get to know him a little bit better.

What did you learn by observing him so closely?

KNOX: Well, you get a mind's eye image of your subject when you have the opportunity to talk with them, to meet with them, to carry on a conversation, because what you'll get is a more than frozen image that you may have to work with, but you get a mind's eye image of the way they smile, the way they move, the way they move their head, and gestures that you wouldn't normally have. And having all of that information in your head, you try and portray them, using that information.

ZAHN: I know that you also felt like you had a pretty special connection with Bill Clinton. Tell me a little bit about that.

KNOX: Well, he's -- he's from the south. I'm from the south. He and I had humble beginnings. Mine may be a little different from his. But I felt the connection with him. In fact, when he came into the -- Oval Office during the beginning of his presidency, I had the feeling that if I would ever have an opportunity to paint a portrait of a president, this president would give me that opportunity. And it did happen, but I was shocked when it happened. And so I'm extremely proud of this.

ZAHN: I'm sure you are and you have every right to be. Now, let me just ask you. The portrait is finished, it becomes time to unveil it, the Clintons are there, they see portrait, what is their reaction?

KNOX: Well, they liked the portraits. And that is quite a moment for a portrait painter also, because at that moment, you either feel that you have done it or you feel that I missed it. And usually when you hear the applause, you can tell how that portrait is received and, in this case, the applause was very good, and I felt very good, and, you know, having had this out there for three years, I feel as though, tonight, I can go home and feel good about it and get a good night's sleep.

COLLINS: Mr. Simmie Knox, we certainly appreciate your time tonight and congratulations to you.

KNOX: Thank you very much.

Still ahead tonight, the passing of the last Civil War widow. A remarkable life story when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: While the nation focused on the state funeral of our 40th president last week, there was another funeral of note, it was a reminder of just how young the United States really is. It was also a reminder of the war that nearly destroyed our young nation. Here is Bruce Burkhardt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was 139 years ago that the Civil War came to an end. But on this blazing hot Saturday in south Alabama, another end is being marked. 97 years old at her death, Mrs. Alberta Martin was the last, the very last widow of a Confederate veteran and her story tells us much about the South of old and the South of now. Alberta Martin was not a child of the plantation South. This is the place she grew up in, the daughter of sharecroppers and like many such children, she was in the field picking cotton almost as soon as she could learn to walk. It was not an easy life. She married as a teen, had a baby and a husband who ran off and died six months later, so it was as a 21-year-old single widow mother that she accepted the marriage proposal of an 81-year-old Confederate veteran named William Martin.

KEN CHANCEY, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS: The old man had $50 a month pension. He needed a wife and she needed someone to help her.

BURKHARDT: In a 1998 radio interview, Mrs. Martin was asked if she loved him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't know. It ain't the same love that you got for a young man. He slept in one bed, me in another. Even when they get old, they actually don't require kissing, hugging and necking and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BURKHARDT: There must have been some hugging and kissing because they had one child, Willie. That's him sitting by the grave. But the marriage lasted only four years before the old man died. She then married the old man's grandson from his first wife, a marriage that lasted more than 50 years. She is being buried next to him. But it was that brief marriage in 1927 that brought these people out to honor her.

Before the funeral, a viewing at her home church in Elba, Alabama, a ritual observed as it might have been during the war. Many came in period dress. But not her son Willie. For him, he was simply saying goodbye to his mother, but for the Sons of Confederate Veterans who organized all this and others here, they were burying part of the South.

WAYNE FLYNT, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, AUBURN UNIVERSITY: To some degree, the tragedy of her death to them is not about the Civil War and about the Confederacy. It's about a certain set of values that are rooted in agrarianism and it thrived for a long period of time and are gradually being eroded by the rise of urbanization.

BURKHARDT: Dixie, a land of contradictions. Young Jesse Garcia (ph), one of the reenactors, standing guard at the church door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seeing part of history and she is part of history, too, it's kind of exciting.

BURKHARDT: But for others, it is still about the Confederacy.

CHANCEY: Those principles outlived Jefferson Davis, they outlived Robert E. Lee and they're going to outlive Ms. Alberta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS: That was Bruce Burkhardt reporting. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Thanks for being with us tonight, everybody. Paula's back tomorrow. Among her guests, a defense lawyer who says he can prove high-ranking military officials knew about abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Good night, everybody.

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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