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State Department: Terrorism Increasing, Not Decreasing; Clinton's Memoir Expected to Break Records; Some Democrats Comparing Selves to Reagan

Aired June 22, 2004 - 08:00   ET


JACK CAFFERTY, CO-HOST: Let me ask you this. The State Department tells us terrorism is declining. Now terrorism is not declining, it's increasing. What is -- What's up with that stuff?
BILL HEMMER, CO-HOST: Secretary of State Colin Powell tried to explain it this way yesterday: it's a new division, a new department and they got their numbers wrong. And they're going to try and make amends with that.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CO-HOST: It's hard to explain, basically.

CAFFERTY: Yes. Yes, it is.

OK. Coming up in the "Cafferty File," we will tell you why the state of Florida is lying when it calls itself the Sunshine State. It's not the Sunshine State. It's another state that's the Sunshine State.

And Republican supporters working on an alternative to Heinz ketchup. It's kind of a cute story, actually. They got their own deal going on.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Jack.


O'BRIEN: Well, terrorism -- the State Department says, is going to reverse its report on terrorism 2003 to show an increase rather than a decrease.

At the time of the April report, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said, quote, "Indeed you will find in these page, clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight."

Well, the State Department error may cost President Bush one his most powerful political weapons. Dana Bash, live for us at the White House this morning.

Dana, good morning.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

And a visually perturbed Secretary of State Colin Powell was forced to admit that the data in this terror report that they put out annually where his, as you saw, his officials, his deputies touted it as proof of how well they're doing in the war on terror, and he was forced to admit that they were wrong.

And let's take a looked at some of the data, some of the wrong data that they put out.

First of all, in 2003, they said 190 terrorist attacks occurred around the world. That would have been the lowest since 1969. And it did, we have found out since, leave out some major attacks like two bombings in Turkey, 13 in Russia.

Also, it said 307 people were killed in terrorist attacks around the world. That would have been more than a 50 percent drop since 2002. That number then was 725.

Now, Soledad, the State Department today is expected to release the revised data, showing that -- that the number of people killed in terrorist attacks around the world is dramatically more than originally reported.

And the bottom line for the secretary of state is he denies that anyone was actually trying to pull a fast one, anyone was trying to cook the numbers. And they say that this was merely a technical error by the group, the organization that puts these numbers together.

But certainly, administration officials admit that this is quite embarrassing, particularly because of the fact that they did hail this as proof that the president's No. 1 political asset, his campaign thinks, is actually working for him, and that is his fight against the war on terrorism.

And Soledad, interestingly, today, there is some new polling that shows perhaps that is not true for the president anymore. Take a look at the latest "Washington Post"/ABC News poll, asking, "Who do you trust better on the war on terrorism?"

President Bush and John Kerry are now virtually in a dead heat, where just one month ago the president had a 13-point lead over John Kerry on the war on terrorism. That is a number that is not going to look good from across the river at Bush campaign headquarters -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: No question about that. Dana Bash for us this morning. Dana, thanks.

HEMMER: There's a new report criticizing the White House in the effort to reduce the global nuclear threat. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace issued the report during a two-day conference on non-proliferation.

Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn delivered the keynote address yesterday. He's now cochairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threats Initiative. Sam Nunn is with us from Washington.

Senator, good morning to you.


HEMMER: Where is the biggest threat on this planet today?

NUNN: I think the threat is the threat of weapons of mass destruction or materials from which they could be made in the hands of terrorist groups, because those groups are much more likely to use those weapons if they get them.

And the long pole in the tent for terrorists, their hardest job, is to get nuclear materials. The nuclear materials can be safeguard. It's a matter of will, and it's a matter of priority. So to me, that's the No. 1 security threat.

We talked a great deal at conference yesterday about U.S. and Russia leadership because, as I see it, we are in a race between catastrophe and cooperation. We've got to have cooperation, starting with the United States and Russia, because we have the most in terms of nuclear weapons and materials, and we have to show a real leadership role.

One of the real paradoxes in the aftermath of the Cold War is that we still have the same kind of nuclear force posture with thousands of weapons on what I call hair trigger alert that could be launched in 30 minutes at each other. And our political relationship is fundamentally changed, while the nuclear posture relationship has not.

Now, that increases greatly the chances of an accident, much more now because the Russian warning systems have deteriorated. But it also creates a very, very bad kind of example for the world, because it's in our interest, the United States and Russia, to de-emphasize the possession of nuclear weapons.

So while we're reemphasizing it, it's very hard to convince other countries that they should de-emphasize it.

HEMMER: You're saying an awful lot in that answer. Let me try and be a little more specific. Where is the greatest threat at this point? Can you pinpoint a country?

NUNN: Well, I don't think you do it by country, because I think the threat to the United States is more likely to be from a group that doesn't have a return address.

Everywhere there are nuclear materials that are not properly safeguarded to me is where there's the greatest threat. Now that's primarily the former Soviet Union, but it's really all over the world.

Because those nuclear materials, when they're not properly safeguarded, are the raw materials for terrorism. If they get the materials, they can make a bomb. If they get a bomb, they're going to use it.

HEMMER: Between a nuclear threat, a biological threat or a chemical threat, is there one that eclipses the other in terms of your concern?

NUNN: I think in the long run, the biological may be the most challenging. Because that, the biological materials, as well as chemical materials, have dual use. They can be used and are used every day for good, legitimate purposes, saving many lives.

Nuclear, on the other hand, materials are primarily in the hands of governments or in the hands of research reactors that are controlled by governments, or they're in the hands of utilities, which are large corporations that work with governments and they're regulated.

But the biological and chemical materials are pervasive throughout laboratories all over the world, college campuses, pharmaceutical, biotechnology community, and that in the long run may be our most difficult challenge.

HEMMER: Senator, on a different topic here in the short time we have left here, you've been out of Senate for some time. Do you want to get into politics? Would you run as a vice presidential candidate with John Kerry, if asked?

NUNN: I have -- I really -- there are two roadblocks to that. One is that I have no interest in going back into the government. And the other one is that, as far as I know, Senator Kerry has no interest in me on the vice presidential ticket. So those are two big roadblocks.

I think somebody is just having a little game with the name throwing around these days. But I'm vitally involved in public policy now. I'm enjoying what I'm doing in the private sector, and I have no interest or plans to go back into politics.

HEMMER: Just to be clear, have you talked to him it? Have you been interviewed?

NUNN: No, no, I have not. I have not. No, I have not. I've talked to Senator Kerry. I have certainly discussed issues with him.

Our organization, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, is available to discuss issues with any candidate, Republican or Democrat, because we're trying to put the focus on what we think are the greatest security challenges to our country and the world.

HEMMER: Thank you, Senator Sam Nunn.

NUNN: Thank you, Bill.

HEMMER: Good to see you -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Bill Clinton's new book "My Life" went on sale at midnight. Buyers in New York City have been lining up for hours now to snap up copies of the much anticipated memoir of the former president.

Kelly Wallace joins us live from the Barnes & Noble, just a few blocks away, a stone's throw, literally, 48th and 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

Hey, Kelly, good morning.


Well, here it is, all 957 pages in all. Bill Clinton's "My Life". As you said, Soledad, people waiting in line for hours. Just take a look at this line. It runs all down 48th Street, a full city block long. People waiting in line for a copy of the book, and many of these people hoping that they can get in line and that they can get a copy signed by the former president, Bill Clinton, who will be here later this afternoon.

I want to talk to someone here who happens to be named John Fitzgerald Kennedy Powell. And I checked his passport, so I know he's telling the truth.

You got here at 3 in the morning. Why did you want to have to come here?

JOHN POWELL, WAITING FOR CLINTON BOOK: You know, I have a big -- I don't know, my father named me. My father is actually a Republican. He named me John Fitzgerald Kennedy Powell.

And, you know, I just have a big respect for the presidency. Even the presidents that I don't necessarily agree with, I still, you know, respect them.

Bill Clinton, for whatever reason, you know, you either really, really love him or I guess you don't, and I'm one of those people that I worship the water he walks on. And I love his wife; I love his daughter. I love the whole family.

And mostly here, he's an idol to me, and I want to, you know, hopefully say hello, and -- and just show my support.

WALLACE: Well, Soledad, everybody is wanting to know exactly what the former president says about a range of subjects, including his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Here's the president in his own words about why he says he was lying about it for months.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I had done with Monica Lewinsky was immoral and foolish. I was deeply ashamed of it and I didn't want it to come out.

In the deposition, I was trying to protect my family and myself from my selfish stupidity. I believed the contorted definition enabled me to do it.


WALLACE: And the former president and the former first lady, now Senator Clinton, and daughter Chelsea were at a star-studded book party last night. This is all part of a full scale PR blitz, the former president beginning his full month-long book tour today.

Soledad, he's expected to break all kinds of records easily. Expectation is more than two million copies expected to be sold -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: That's impressive. But also, back to your guy. You know, does he realize he's got to wait 9 1/2 hours total to get a chance at all of running into the president, the former president, and getting him to sign his being book? I mean, he knows that, right?

WALLACE: Right, right. No guarantees, first come, first serve here. He's hoping he gets a copy and hoping he gets it signed.

O'BRIEN: Well, that's dedication. As he says, he loves him; he's his idol.

Kelly Wallace for us. Kelly, thanks -- Bill.

HEMMER: Connecticut Governor Ted Rowland announced that he will resign. All this coming in the middle of a federal investigation that he took gifts and awarded state contracts to friends.

He could have been impeached, we are told. Rowland talked about that decision late yesterday afternoon.


GOV. TED ROWLAND, CONNECTICUT: The months leading to this decision have been difficult for all of us. I acknowledge that my poor judgment has brought us here.

There comes a time in everyone's life when you realize it's time to take a new path. This is our time. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your governor.


HEMMER: Rowland officially steps down first of July, and the lieutenant governor, Jodi Rell, will take his place then -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Well, a Supreme Court ruling gives police more power to stop and question suspects. The court ruled yesterday, 5-4, that Americans have no constitutional right to refuse to give their name to a police officer who's investigating a crime.

Earlier I asked CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, whether he thinks this ruling essentially gives the police much more power.


JEFF TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This resolves a kind of gray area. If you are stopped by the police, if they have any sort of reason to stop you. They can't just walk up to you randomly on the street. But if you are at all part of an investigation and they ask for your name, have to give you the name. O'BRIEN: At the same time, people who support this say, "Well, this is a very small intrusion that's balanced by the state's needs to know about criminal investigations."

Privacy advocates, of course, completely disagree with that?

TOOBIN: That's right. And the Supreme Court tends to move incrementally on these things. Today it's the name. The interesting question will be, well, maybe they'll say you have to give your address, too. You'll have to say whether you're a citizen or not. Those are the questions that are now in play as a result of...

O'BRIEN: The slippery slope issue. It's the start of something bad down the road, potentially.

TOOBIN: It's not necessarily bad. Many advocates of law enforcement say, "Look, we have police doing important investigations. They need to get information on the street. We shouldn't hamstring them." You know?

So bad isn't necessarily the case.

O'BRIEN: So as it stands right now, if you are stopped by a police officer and he says, "What's your name?" You have to give your name. And if you don't, what happens?

TOOBIN: You can be arrested for violating a law that says you have to give your name. A lot of states have these laws. They're very rarely enforced. But they're called stop and identify laws.

And the Supreme Court basically gave the green light to all these laws yesterday.

O'BRIEN: You said police need to have a reasonable suspicion. How does reasonable suspicion and probably cause, how are they the same and how are they different?

TOOBIN: They're different. Probable cause is more evidence. Probably cause is a higher standard for the police to meet. Reasonable suspicion is very low. Basically, it's a rough idea that you are somehow connected to a crime, either as a witness or as a possible dependent. It's almost always something the police can articulate.

As long as they can articulate a reason, essentially, for picking you out of a crowd as opposed to some random person on the street, that's enough for reasonable suspicion.

O'BRIEN: Does this change, then, all these arguments about probable cause? Because as we well know, lots of cases hinge on this. If the police aren't able to show they have probable cause, that case can be tossed right out of court.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Although, again the police are -- it's rarely enforced against the police. The police generally are allowed to do what -- what they want to do. And this just gives them even more discretion.

O'BRIEN: Let's turn, sharply.


O'BRIEN: And talk a little bit about Kobe Bryant's case. They now have a trial date for late August set.

His lawyers now say they want to ask the jurors' opinions on interracial dating. Prosecution says, "We're not talking about dating here. We're talking about rape."

TOOBIN: Very interesting. You know, this -- the racial issues have been somewhat below the surface in this case.

O'BRIEN: Not any more.

TOOBIN: You can be sure that they're going to come out more and more in the open, because this was, of course, an interracial -- I don't know if you want to call it a relationship -- an interracial interaction.

The defense, of course, is that it was consensual. The defense wants to know what do jurors think about interracial dating.

It's one of those questions you're unlikely to get a lot of candor from jurors. On a lot of questions, jurors sort of know what they're -- what the correct, socially correct answer is. But you can see why the defense wants to ask the question.

O'BRIEN: What do you think the judge is going to rule on this?

TOOBIN: I think the judge will probably let them ask in a general way about it. It's such an incendiary issue, and jury selection is going to be so difficult in this case. It's going to take weeks and weeks.


O'BRIEN: In our final hour, we're going to take you live to Eagle, Colorado, as Kobe Bryant returns to court for the conclusion of his latest pretrial hearing -- Bill.

HEMMER: About 15 minutes past the hour. Daryn Kagan looking at the other news today.

Daryn, good morning to you.

DARYN KAGAN, ANCHOR: Good morning once again, Billy.

A pretrial hearing moving forward in Baghdad for a soldier accused in the prison abuse scandal. Proceedings for the court martial for Staff Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick taking place today. His original hearing was postponed yesterday when his civil attorney failed to show. Meanwhile, more Iraqi detainees being released from Abu Ghraib prison. U.S. Humvees escorted at least three buses out of the detention facility today. More than 2,000 prisoners have been set free in the last two months.

Here in the U.S. testimony resuming today in California in Scott Peterson's double murder trial. More friends of Laci Peterson expected to take the stand today. Her friend Stacey Boyers testified yesterday, saying that Laci tired easily in the days leading up to her disappearance. Prosecutors are trying to counter Scott Peterson's claim that his wife was kidnapped while taking her dog for a walk.

And in Italy, check out this. A sleek new edition to the police squad. It's a brand new, 500 horsepower, two-seater Lamborghini. It comes complete with a flashing blue light and a siren. Top speed: 192 miles per hour. No joy rides, though. In addition to it catching speeders, the car will be used to transport organs for transplant.

So Soledad, they're saying emergencies only. Organ transplant, OK; need a cappuccino, no. You can't have it.


KAGAN: And hot date with the town cutie, can't have the keys. No.

O'BRIEN: Also, no. A hundred and ninety-two miles per hour, wow.

KAGAN: That is fast.

O'BRIEN: That is not slow. Daryn, thanks.

KAGAN: Sure.

O'BRIEN: Over now to Chad Myers at the CNN Center with the latest forecast for us.

Hey, Chad. Good morning.


O'BRIEN: Chad, thanks.

HEMMER: In a moment here, Jack is back here on the Sunshine State. What is truth in advertising? We'll get to that in a moment.

O'BRIEN: Also ahead this morning, we're going to talk to Ralph Nader's new running mate, find out why he says the Democrats need to stop blaming their problems on voters.

HEMMER: Also, when lightning strikes, the -- know what to do. Elizabeth Cohen stops by. Important safety tips.

Back in a moment, after this.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back. Let's get right back to Jack and the "File." Good morning.

CAFFERTY: Good morning.

Florida officials may want to rethink the license plate motto that calls the state the Sunshine State. It turns out that Florida is not as sunny as a lot of other places.

According to the National Weather Service, Florida ranks behind six other places: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. In fact, Florida has more days on which 20 to 70 percent of the sun is blocked by clouds than anywhere else in the continental U.S.

Some GOP supporters, that would be Republicans, have created an alternative to Heinz ketchup. Company founder Bill Zachary says he and his buddies realized at a barbecue recently every time they brought out the famous ketchup, they were supporting Teresa Heinz Kerry to some extent.

So W ketchup was born. It features the likeness of George Washington. It costs $12 for four bottles of this stuff.

Zachary says he used the first president's image to avoid accusations that his product was an overt campaign ad. Well, it didn't work.

Officials in Thailand found a way to enjoy a game of soccer without betting on it. They brought out the elephants to play the prisoners.

Authorities have organized a soccer game between elephants and inmates. The game was a reward for some of the inmates. I guess risking by getting stepped on one of these is better than the place they call the jailhouse.

They scored first, but the game ended in a 5-5 tie. The elephants are trained to kick the ball and avoid stepping on the people. The inmates are trained to kick the ball and avoid stepping in the -- well, you know.

One trainer said, quote, "The elephants quite slow, but they try their best."

HEMMER: That is a classic. That's in Thailand?

CAFFERTY: That would be in Thailand.

HEMMER: And those elephants are pretty darn good, too.

CAFFERTY: Not too bad.

HEMMER: And a 5-5 tie. Do you brag about that at the office the next day?

CAFFERTY: I don't know how they...

HEMMER: A tie.

CAFFERTY: They don't have an office. They go back to the license plate factory.

O'BRIEN: I was going to say, an elephant?

HEMMER: Not the elephants.

CAFFERTY: Oh, the elephants. I don't know what the elephants brag about the next day.

HEMMER: Thank you, Jack.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Jack.

Still to come this morning, two weeks after the death of Ronald Reagan, a political twist.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really reprehensible. I mean, I just think it's disrespectful for them to be doing something like this.


O'BRIEN: Republicans are up in arms over inherits the mantle of Ronald Reagan. Stay with us. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


HEMMER: Get the latest news every morning in your e-mail. Sign up for AMERICAN MORNING quick news at

In a moment here, Ralph Nader's new running mate actually ran for president once. How come you may have never heard of him, though? We'll talk to him in a moment on AMERICAN MORNING.


HEMMER: Welcome back, everybody. Just about half past the hour here in another AMERICAN MORNING. Good morning to you. How are you doing today?

O'BRIEN: Very well, and you.

HEMMER: Peachy. Like your sweater today. Very nice.

O'BRIEN: Peachy. Thank you.

HEMMER: Kind of peachy, isn't it?

O'BRIEN: Good enough, close enough.

HEMMER: In few moments, an unlikely political battle over the legacy of Ronald Reagan. Some Democrats now crossing party lines to get a bit of a piece of the Reagan mantle, has Republicans a bit ticked off about it. Look at that in a moment here.

O'BRIEN: Also ahead this morning, Ralph Nader has made a choice that he hopes will boost his standing with voters. We're going to talk this morning to the man he's chosen to be his running mate.

HEMMER: Also in medical news, the worst of luck in a blinding flash. We'll look at what really happens when someone is struck by lightning and what you need to know. A big story earlier in the week, and we'll get to that in our medical segment in a moment.

O'BRIEN: But first, in the weeks since the death of Ronald Reagan, tributes to the late president have come from both sides of the political aisle. So, too, have claims to his political legacy. And not everybody is happy about that.

Here's congressional correspondent Ed Henry.


ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before Ronald Reagan died, Republicans were make the case that President Bush is the rightful heir that the Reagan legacy, given their similar crusades for large tax cuts and defense buildups.

But in a political twist, Democrats are now trying to wrap themselves in the Reagan aura on select issues, infuriating Republican leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really reprehensible. I mean, I just think it's disrespectful for them to be doing something like this.

BRADY: Democrats have already been touting Nancy Reagan's support for stem cell research.

Now they hope to get mileage out of a letter from gun control advocates Jim and Sarah Brady, that uses Mr. Reagan's name to urge Congress to extend the ban on assault weapons.

And during last week's battle over the corporate tax bill, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer, claimed Mr. Reagan would have opposed the bill.

Boyer laughs off the Republican charge he's engaging in political opportunism.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), HOUSE DEMOCRATIC WHIP: Heaven forbid anybody would exploit Reagan's name.

I don't think we have to wait for the Republican National Convention for George Bush to wrap himself in the Reagan legacy. Ronald Reagan was a very popular individual. George Bush would like to be as popular. He is not.

HENRY: Democrats have also dipped into the Reagan playbook to borrow a signature line from the 1980 campaign.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

HENRY: Democrats are vowing to use those words as a weapon in the current battle for the White House.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Speaker, that old question remains relevant: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

HENRY (on camera): Democrats say there's nothing new here. They point out that it was only last year that a conservative group ran a television ad claiming that the late President John F. Kennedy would have endorsed President Bush's tax cuts.

Democrats say if that ad was inbounds, it's certainly fair game for them to point out where they agree with the late president.

Ed Henry, CNN, Capitol Hill.


O'BRIEN: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry campaigning yesterday in Denver mentioned Nancy Reagan's support for stem cell research and saying he would lift barriers against such research if we were elected.


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