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PAULA ZAHN NOW

New Jersey Governor Resigns, Reveals Homosexuality; California Supreme Court Voids Gay Marriages, Scott Peterson's Mistress Shares More Secret Tapes; U.S. Raids Radical Cleric's House

Aired August 12, 2004 - 20:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, on the East Coast, the governor, with his wife at his side and the bombshell.

GOV. JAMES MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY: My truth is that I am a gay American.

ZAHN: Stepping out of the closet and out of office.

And on the West Coast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do.

ZAHN: Thousands of gay marriages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is going to be taken away from us?

ZAHN: Thrown out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is very upsetting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Good evening. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

We were planning to bring you an extensive story on two FBI whistle-blowers and the war on terror. We will do that tomorrow because, as we sometimes say in the business, news happens.

And today, the news we can't ignore is the resignation of New Jersey's governor. Governors don't step down every day, but still when they do it's not generally stop-in-your-tracks news outside their home state. So you're forgiven if you weren't paying attention this afternoon when James McGreevey called a news conference. Rumors were out there that he might step down because he'd been juggling a half- dozen scandals, most of them in a fairly routine statehouse politics thing.

But then he started talking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCGREEVEY: Throughout my life, I have grappled with my own identity, who I am. As a young child, I often felt ambivalent about myself, in fact, confused. By virtue of my traditions, and my community, I worked hard to ensure that I was accepted as part of the traditional family of America. I married my first wife, Carrie (ph), out of respect and love. And together, we have a wonderful, extraordinary daughter. Carrie then chose to return to British Columbia.

I then had the blessing of marrying Dina, whose love and joy for life has been an incredible source of strength for me. And together, we have the most beautiful daughter.

At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is.

And so my truth is that I am a gay American. And I am blessed to live in the greatest nation with the tradition of civil liberties, the greatest tradition of civil liberties in the world, in a country which provides so much to its people.

Yet because of the pain and suffering and anguish that I have caused to my beloved family, my parents, my wife, my friends, I would almost rather have this moment pass.

For this is an intensely personal decision, and not one typically for the public domain. Yet, it cannot and should not pass.

I am also here today because, shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony. It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable.

And for this, I ask the forgiveness and the grace of my wife.

She has been extraordinary throughout this ordeal, and I am blessed by virtue of her love and strength.

I realize the fact of this affair and my own sexuality if kept secret leaves me, and most importantly the governor's office, vulnerable to rumors, false allegations and threats of disclosure.

Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign.

To facilitate a responsible transition, my resignation will be effective on November 15 of this year.

I'm very proud of the things we have accomplished during my administration. And I want to thank humbly the citizens of the state of New Jersey for the privilege to govern.

Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Well, you've just heard Governor McGreevey's words. Here is what led up to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN (voice-over): It was the kind of slow-moving train wreck American politics has come to expect.

MCGREEVEY: So my truth is that I am a gay American.

ZAHN: Married with two children, his mother, father and stone- faced wife standing beside him, perhaps New Jersey Governor James McGreevey's last words in politics will be:

MCGREEVEY: And I want to thank humbly the citizens of the state of New Jersey.

ZAHN: But the citizens were the ones who had turned on McGreevey, telling pollsters he lacked integrity, that the man who took office two and a half years ago with a $5 billion deficit, promises to tax the rich, had instead been consumed by scandal.

His chief of staff and former counsel and two close friends all gone following allegations of fund-raising irregularities. One even faced federal charges he hired prostitutes to compromise witnesses. The last draw was the case of Golan Cipel, a 33-year-old Israeli man McGreevey met on a trip, then brought home as a security adviser. He couldn't get a federal security clearance or justify his three aides or top-level salary, so he also resigned.

Two New Jersey Democratic sources told CNN that Cipel was about to sue McGreevey for sexual harassment. Slowly, McGreevey was also being undone by rumors, nasty rumors, of soap opera proportions. Today, he confronted at least some of them, acknowledging that he is gay, that he had cheated on his wife. James McGreevey's political life had come to an end.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And joining us now from Princeton, New Jersey, a close friend of Governor McGreevey, George Zoffinger, who is CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Good of you to join us, sir. Welcome.

GEORGE ZOFFINGER, FRIEND OF MCGREEVEY: Thank you.

BLITZER: Take us back to the weeks leading up to this decision by the governor today?

ZOFFINGER: Well, Jim McGreevey has been a good friend of mine for a long time and Dina is also a good friend of mine. And I really feel for the family today.

And if you look back over the past number of weeks, those of us that were fairly close to Jim in terms of setting state policy and working on the things that we work on every day had no inkling with regard to this issue. So it was very shocking to a lot of us in the room today. I had an opportunity to be with the governor before and after the speech.

And I can tell you, he feels relieved. I think he is -- you know, his family is very resilient, very supportive. And he's very supportive of them. And I think we all today just have to really think about the family.

ZAHN: It was clear from listening to him that it was cathartic for him to talk about coming out of the closet in a public way. And yet, did he acknowledge to you the fact that he probably had let down hundreds and hundreds of thousands of constituents with his behavior?

ZOFFINGER: You know, Paula, that's the most difficult part of this whole process, is that Jim McGreevey has basically done a lot of very, very good things for the state of New Jersey.

Some of his economic reforms, some of the things that we're doing in the northern part of the state in terms of economic development all were very positive things. So I think he does feel, you know, bad about the fact that he did in fact let people down. And I think if you look back over the last number of months, I think that Jim will be the first to admit that he has made some mistakes in judgment with regard to some of the people that he brought into the government.

But having said that, it's very disingenuous to paint the picture, a bad picture of everybody that's in the state government, because there are so many good people that have really worked very hard for New Jersey and for Jim.

ZAHN: And in spite of the relationship you had with him, which said was a close one, you were shocked by the news today. Have you been able to talk to him since the announcement about what it was like for him to lead this double life?

ZOFFINGER: Yes.

And that's the interesting -- I talked to him before the speech and after the speech. I was with his family before the speech. And I basically said to him at the time that I don't think he should resign. I think that he should -- basically, there is a place for gay Americans in the political process and that he should not resign over this issue. He is the one that said very clearly that he did not want to compromise the governorship with regard to this and that I think the culmination of many of the things that you just spoke about in your report just became so overwhelming.

And this became an extraordinary day, even by New Jersey political standards.

ZAHN: Do you think the outcome of this would have been different if he admitted to an affair with a woman and not a man? You were the one encouraging him to not resign.

ZOFFINGER: I -- I would hope that I would have encouraged him not to resign over something in his private life, because I believe that he's done so many positive things in his public life. You know, people will not appreciate for some time the great economic strides that New Jersey's made when he faced this $5 billion deficit. I think it's a shame that today in the political process that, you know, some of these personal and private things have become so front and center, but that's the life that we've chosen. As I said to the governor today, it's the life that we've chosen and you have to live with it.

ZAHN: And you don't think it would have made any difference in public perception whether he'd been cheating on his wife with a man or a woman?

ZOFFINGER: Well, I don't want to make a judgment with regard to that, Paula. I think it probably would have, frankly. But, at the end of day, I think he's done so many good things for the state that really will be unrecognized now, because this will overshadow, you know, what really -- what he's accomplished.

ZAHN: George, a final question for you tonight. And that is about this name that has surfaced in connection with the potential lawsuit, a former Israeli adviser by the name Golan Cipel that we mentioned a little bit earlier on a report.

What can you tell us about him and his relationship with the governor?

ZOFFINGER: Well, I can't tell you very much, actually, Paula. I can tell you this, that Jim did appoint him to a very sensitive position and a lot of us raised our eyebrows at that time. But I think, at this point, I really can't tell you very much else.

ZAHN: And when you raised your eyebrows, why? Why did you have that reaction?

ZOFFINGER: Well, frankly, he seemed to be unqualified at the time with regard to the post that he was appointed to.

ZAHN: And just one last question. You talked about how his family is standing by him. Did you have a chance to talk with his wife today about what it was like to stand there by his side when he had to make, you know,, what many would say was a humiliating public announcement?

ZOFFINGER: Paula, I don't think it was so much humiliating as it was courageous.

It is very difficult for a political figure who has spent his entire life working as a public official and public servant to face up with the fact that, you know, that he has to expose something in his private life that is not generally accepted. There are those of us that are around him who did speak with his family today who do support him in his decision to make this public.

And, you know, I think, at the end of day, I think he'll remember that. And people will remember him for having the courage to come out and say -- by the way, I also think, Paula, that this was a tremendous relief for him. Can you imagine having this burden, if you will, this deception for so many years and not being able to be honest about it?

And, you know, I think today, he was able to be honest about it and I think it took a lot of courage.

ZAHN: George Zoffinger, thank you for dropping by tonight to help us better understand all of this as it came out earlier today. Appreciate it.

And as news about the New Jersey governor rocked the East Coast, thousand of gay marriages dissolved in the West -- that story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Between February 12 and March 11, more than 8,000 gays and lesbians got married in California. And today, that state's supreme court revoked all those same-sex marriages and barred San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom from handing out any more marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAVIN NEWSOM (D), MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO: My heart is heavy, because, today, based upon the supreme court's determination, decisions, their relationships as it relates to their status as a married couple, have been invalidated.

I respectfully disagree with the supreme court's decision, but I respect the court and will respect the order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Well, the court ordered San Francisco officials to notify those 8,000 newlyweds that their marriages are void.

Joining us now from Atlanta are two people who will be getting those notices, Kevin Roush and Michael Cox, who were married in California on February 20. Good to see both of you.

Welcome.

So, Kevin, what was your reaction to this decision?

All right, Kevin, we're going to have to break away here a moment.

Folks, there's nothing wrong your television sets, having a slight audio problem here. We're going to try to fix it in the break and come back to you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Before we went to the break, we mentioned earlier this year, some 8,000 couples, gay couples, had been granted marriage licenses in the state of California, among those, Kevin Roush and Michael Cox, who join us from Atlanta tonight. They were married February on 20. They got the news today that the state Supreme Court of California revoked all those licenses.

So, Michael, I was in the process of asking you before the break what your reaction was to that news.

MICHAEL COX, MARRIED IN CALIFORNIA: We were very saddened.

You know, while we knew that this was a possibility, we had grown very hopeful that these were going to be able to stand and that we would be honored, the licenses that we deserve, the wedding we deserve.

ZAHN: Kevin?

KEVIN ROUSH, MARRIED IN CALIFORNIA: It was very disheartening. I was really extremely disappointed. I went from a state of shock to a state of trying to sift through my emotions, because my relationship to Michael means a tremendous amount to me.

We've been together for 21 years. And we finally had an opportunity to marry. And we took that opportunity. And we came back two different people when we came back from California. And we deserve that our relationship be honored by the nation.

ZAHN: But, Kevin, there was a fear on many couples' parts that the state Supreme Court might eventually take this action. Did you completely remove that possibility from your mind?

ROUSH: Oh, absolutely not. But I have to keep my faith in the courts because it is the courts that set people free. It's not the courts that deny people rights and benefits. Over the history of our country, that's what -- that's what our founding fathers created here, was a system of courts, to where the courts would listen and not so much agree with the populace, but agree on principle. And so, in that sense, I was disappointed with the decision of the Supreme Court.

ZAHN: Michael, is there any part of you that thinks perhaps the San Francisco mayor allowed for these marriages to happen maybe prematurely?

COX: Well, people have been wanting to get married for many, many years. And every Valentine's Day, there are a group of people that go to San Francisco City Hall and ask to be married, ask for a marriage license.

And I think it was great that Mayor Newsom had the courage to do this, to stand on the principle. You know, we knew that this was a possibility, but it is -- we were hopeful that the courts would look at the constitutionality of this and of the issue and not of the action. And so we're a little disappointed in that regard.

ZAHN: And, Kevin, a little bit earlier, you talked about how you and Michael came back a changed couple after you had the official ceremony and were married in San Francisco. Would you go as far as making your marriage or attempt to make it legal in another state? ROUSH: To make my marriage legal in another state, if the opportunity would knock at door, yes.

COX: I mean, we would continue to try to get married. We want to be married. We believe we have that right. And so we are going to continue to try. You know, right now, Massachusetts, we could go up there, but it's in doubt right now if we're out of state. So it isn't something that's a real viable option for us.

ZAHN: And I guess the one thing I'd love to understand tonight, Michael, is that your marriage was never considered legal in the state of Georgia, where you live. So what will be the direct impact of the decision in California?

COX: Well, I guess the direct impact is that the marriage that we hoped would eventually be honored is not going to be honored. So we are going to have to keep trying and keep getting married until eventually it's legal. And we'll just keep getting married and one day the court will uphold those.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate the two of you sharing your story with us tonight.

Kevin Roush, Michael Cox, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

ROUSH: Thank you.

COX: Thank you.

ZAHN: When we come back, more secret tapes in the Scott Peterson trial. An ex-mistress tells of tears and confessions.

That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: At Scott Peterson's murder trial today, Amber Frey, the star witness, appeared to shed a tear as jurors listened to tapes of her phone calls with Peterson.

On the tapes played today, Peterson admitted lying to his mistress and assured her that he was not an evil person. Frey was taping the calls at the request of police as they investigated the disappearance of Peterson's wife, Laci.

Joining us now from Redwood City, California, "San Francisco Chronicle" reporter Kelly St. John, who has been covering the trial for us all week.

Always good to see you, Kelly. Welcome.

What made Amber Frey cry today?

KELLY ST. JOHN, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": Well, you know, she was hearing herself crying on the tape and Scott crying along with her at a very emotional moment where -- after he's confessed that he was married.

She really ripped into him and just pour out her heart, that, how could he have deceived her like this? She had worked so hard to raise her baby and put herself through school. And he dragged her through this mess. And she really wept openly in the court when she was hearing herself crying on tape.

ZAHN: So that seemed to be the toughest part for her to hear replayed in the courtroom?

ST. JOHN: It seemed like it to me. She had her head in a handkerchief in her hand. It was...

ZAHN: And how did Scott Peterson react to the playing of these taped phone conversations?

ST. JOHN: I would say, through most of it, he was following along with the printed transcript, really just listening without reacting strongly in any way. He smiled at a few points, but mostly just kind of read along quietly.

ZAHN: And I know you kept a keen eye on the jury. Were you able to glean any reaction from the jury pool as it listened collectively to these conversations?

ST. JOHN: Well, you know, it's funny.

There were some moments in this conversation where, at one point, Scott said something that sounded so absurd -- I've never lied to you, that several of the jurors actually laughed out loud, along with other folks in the courtroom. But they were definitely interested in this conversation. It was almost like a soap opera. This is what they've been waiting to hear, the nut of the case, you know, for so long.

ZAHN: And how much more of Amber is this jury going to hear from, either through these taped telephone conversations or on the stand?

How much more of Amber is this jury going to hear from, either through these taped telephone conversations or on the stand?

ST. JOHN: This is going to go into next week. We're going to hear more secretly taped audiotapes on Monday and Tuesday. And then we can expect Amber to face a tough cross-examination by defense attorney Geragos some time later next week.

ZAHN: When she says that she will face a tough cross- examination, what is it the defense is going to try to do to her?

ST. JOHN: Well, you know, it's hard to know. I mean, they may try to attack her credibility. They may run some risks with that, though, you know, because she came across as a very sympathetic witness and she actually came across pretty sharp when she was questioning Scott. You know, someone outside the courtroom said she sounded like a lawyer at times when she was grilling him.

ZAHN: So does that mean she lived up to her billing as a star witness?

ST. JOHN: I would say these tapes were -- you know, there was no smoking gun, but it was sure interesting drama, and Scott Peterson looked pretty bad.

ZAHN: And I know the horse race question is always a tough one, because the dynamics change on a daily basis in these trials, but just give us a sense of what people were saying today about the strength of the prosecution versus the defense.

ST. JOHN: Well, this week was the prosecution's week, but I think it's too early to say that this is a slam-dunk, because No. 1, Scott never admit on these tapes so far that he had anything to do with his wife's disappearance. He maintains his innocence.

And we haven't heard yet what his defense is going to say. And so I mean, I'd say it's a good week for the prosecution.

ZAHN: Analysts are always poking holes in the prosecution's strategy, saying, "Yes, you proved it. He was a cad, and he was a horrible date, but that doesn't necessarily, you can make the leap to murder."

ST. JOHN: That's true. I mean, I think what they're hoping is that some jurors will see that his behavior is so beyond the pale.

You know, the question is yes, maybe he's a cad, but he had actually told Amber, you know, well before his wife went missing that he'd already lost her. And that's what she was repeatedly questioning him about on this tape.

You know, "Why did you tell me three weeks before Laci disappeared that you'd already lost your wife? Were you planning something?"

ZAHN: And Kelly, finally tonight, were you observe any members of Peterson's family today in the courtroom?

ST. JOHN: They were listening attentively from the front row. They left seemingly in, you know, better spirits than you'd seen them in other weeks, but they kind of keep their emotions in check. So it really wasn't easy to tell whether there was any extreme reaction that they had today.

ZAHN: Well, we will continue to rely on your observations in the days to come. Kelly St. John. Thanks so much.

ST. JOHN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

Coming up, a deadly and delicate operation in Iraq. U.S. Marines tighten the noose, but tread carefully near sacred ground. We'll explain why when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: And we are back. U.S. Marines in Iraq today made a house call. It was part of an offensive against an Iraqi cleric and his militia in the city of Najaf.

Matthew Chance has exclusive pictures of today's raid.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go! Go! Go!

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how the U.S. Marines made their house call at the gates of the Mehdi Army leader in Najaf. These are exclusive CNN images of a raid on the home of Moqtada al-Sadr.

He was long gone, but as this new offensive against his Mehdi Army rages, it was a strong message: back down or be hunted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go! Go! Go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are currently now moved over to this private hospital here, which we believe Sadr used as another headquarters for his bodyguard. And right now we have just gone through Sadr's house. The house was clean. We -- and we're currently exploiting anything we can find inside.

CHANCE: U.S. forces have now unleashed awesome power to crush the Shia uprising. Military officials say thousands of troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships have been raiding Mehdi Army strongholds.

And when the insurgents hold out, like at this Najaf school, air strikes are called in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes!

CHANCE: For many Iraqis this is overkill. The U.S. military says it's using restraint.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason we're here is because the government of Najaf has asked for our help to restore law and order and control to the rightful Iraqi government. Being very careful to stay away from the mosque area. Definitely not going to do any damage there. We're using a lot of restraint in our operations, but...

CHANCE: On the streets of Najaf, the fighting is intense. Civilians have been urged to stay in their homes, but many have been fleeing the city. This has been a display of overwhelming U.S. firepower, but the battle for Najaf is far from won.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And Matthew Chance now joins us from Najaf this evening.

Matthew, you mentioned in your report that some Iraqis saw this action today as overkill, but the U.S. officials you spoke with said they are using restraint. Which of the two is correct?

CHANCE: Well, certainly the U.S. officials that we've spoken to here in this military camp in Najaf who have been conducting this operation, say that they're using as much restraint as they can. They say they're trying to avoid areas where there may be civilian casualties.

But the fact is that many of these areas where civilians are living and many of the sacred shrines in Najaf where the fighting has been centered around are there for a reason, and that's because the Mehdi Army are holed up, for instance the Imam Ali mosque, one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam.

And they're firing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades from that mosque towards the Iraqi police and the U.S. forces, as well as from other sort of residential areas, as well.

What they're saying is, "Look, we're using the force we're going to use, but what we're asking you to do is lay down your weapons and to disband."

ZAHN: Is there any hope that will happen? There have been made, you know, repeated attempts to get them to lay down their arms. That hasn't happened.

CHANCE: You're right, there have been repeated attempts. My understanding is that from the interim Iraqi government that an offer is still open, certainly to Moqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Mehdi Army, to come into the political polls, to order his men to disarm and to disband and to adopt a more sort of civil approach to the future of the new Iraq.

If he doesn't do that, though, I think what we're seeing today is what the response of both the U.S. and the Iraqi interim government, who are supporting the U.S. in this, will be, which is very strong military action indeed.

ZAHN: What I'm having trouble understanding tonight, though, is the express purpose of raiding al-Sadr's home if it was to not kill or capture him. What were they hoping to accomplish from that?

CHANCE: It's not altogether clear, because when this mission went down, it's the reason why we got the exclusive pictures is because we were on this mission.

It was intended to go and take a hospital, a maternity hospital which had been taken over by the Mehdi Army. And indeed they did go out and do that. And they seized the weapons cache there.

But only after that weapons cache had been seized and the initial objective had been achieved, the sort of commanders on the ground, it seemed, whether they were working from orders given from above or not, decided to go to Moqtada al-Sadr's house.

They sort of were of the understanding that he may not be there. They certainly weren't expecting him to be there. They didn't know for sure that he wasn't. And so I think they were just trying to send a strong message that, you know, even the topmost leadership of the Mehdi Army will be targeted in this crackdown.

ZAHN: Matthew, you have covered a lot of combat in your career. Describe what it was like to tag along as this raid unfolded.

CHANCE: Well, certainly the fighting in Najaf has been extremely, extremely fierce, extremely intense. As I mentioned, thousands of troops on the streets, saturating the streets in Najaf.

The fighting is still continuing right now, as we see, into the night with this kind of rotation of forces, to keep as much pressure as possible on the Mehdi Army.

In the daytime -- you can't see it now, but in the daytime a plume of black smoke or several plumes of black smoke are hanging over the city of Najaf, sort of testimony to the level of fighting that is continuing there.

ZAHN: Matthew Chance, we very much appreciate the update. Stay safe.

When we come back, September 11 and the race for the White House. The president and vice president often mention it, the message behind their message, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: On the campaign trail, President Bush and Vice President Cheney are putting a big emphasis on 9/11 and the war on terrorism. In a speech today, the vice president ridiculed Senator John Kerry for making this remark earlier in the week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Well, that was Senator Kerry on Monday. Here's what the vice president said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not in one of them was won by being sensitive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Here to talk about 9/11 and the presidential campaign, as well as today's stunning news out of New Jersey, our "Wall Street Journal" columnist John Fund. And the other John in Washington tonight, "New Republic" senior editor, John Judas. He is the author of a new book called "The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Have Learned from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson."

Good to see both of you. Welcome.

Let's all start off tonight by listening to a little more of Vice President Cheney's attack on John Kerry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHENEY: I listened to what Senator Kerry had to say in Boston and, with all due respect to the senator, he views the world as if we had never been attacked on September 11.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: John Judas, how's that going to play with voters?

JOHN JUDAS, SENIOR EDITOR, "NEW REPUBLIC": I'm not sure. Let me just say what I think about it, though.

I think we are fighting a war against al Qaeda, and one of the things we have to do in that war is kill the people who want to kill us.

But we also have to be sensitive to the fact that there are recruits for al Qaeda that are joining every day, and we can't create the conditions that create more recruits so that for every person we kill, five more people come.

And the problem with the Bush administration has been that they've been inattentive to the war on terror against al Qaeda, and by going into Iraq they've created more recruits. So it's a double problem.

ZAHN: But did John Kerry use the wrong words, John Judas, when he talked about fighting, among other things, a more sensitive war on terror, or was that a mistake?

JUDAS: I think that that's exactly the kind of point that he was trying to make, that we have to be sensitive to both sides of the war on terror. We have to be sensitive on the one hand, to the imperative to get the enemy and on the other hand to create the conditions to increase the enemy. And that's something that requires sensitivity.

ZAHN: Did you find that nuance on what John Kerry had to say, John Fund?

JOHN FUND, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": The sound you hear, Paula, is the sound of the Kerry speechwriter being taken to the woodshed. It was the wrong word.

Look, John Kerry's middle name is nuance. I understand that play very well in the Foreign Relations Committee. It does not play well on the campaign trail.

Fair or not, if you talk about fighting a war sensitively and you don't qualify it immediately, and Kerry didn't quite do enough of that...

ZAHN: But to be perfectly fair, John, you've heard the series of words he used in that sentence to characterize how he would fight a war on terror.

FUND: Paula, life is unfair.

ZAHN: It was like the fourth or fifth word he used in the sentence.

FUND: Paula, campaigns are unfair. Voters -- votes listen to sensitive; they don't like it.

And I think John Kerry has to be very careful in doing nuance, because in a campaign, a lot of that gets lost. Unfortunately, and I regret this almost more than anyone, campaigns are about sound bites. Ask Al Gore, who lost the 2000 campaign in part because he had the wrong sound bites.

ZAHN: Let's move on and talk about the broader issue here of what we're seeing unfold in this campaign. And that is the use, John Fund -- excuse me, not John Fund, John Judas, John Fund. We've got too many Johns here tonight -- about the issue of 9/11 and the war on terror.

We heard that Rudy Giuliani at the Republican convention will focus almost exclusively on 9/11. His former police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, the same thing.

JUDAS: Well, there's three issues in this campaign, the economy, Iraq and al Qaeda. As long as the campaign is being fought on the grounds of Iraq and the economy, George Bush is in trouble.

If it's fought solely and primarily on the grounds of al Qaeda and who was best in fighting the war on terror, he's in much better shape. So since the end of the Democratic convention, they've made a concerted effort to shift the atmosphere, to shift the political agenda and to make the war on terror the key consideration.

ZAHN: Is it going to work, John?

FUND: Rudy Giuliani is a very effective spokesman because everyone knows that he responded brilliantly after 9/11. Bernard Kerik was his right-hand man.

Bringing out these testimonials, these character witnesses, is a good way of reminding people that President Bush after 9/11 had a united country. He also made some mistakes, but the war on terror proceeds and we'll continue to make progress on it, even if not all of it is reported very much.

ZAHN: Finally tonight, gentlemen, I want you all to reflect on the bombshell news out of New Jersey earlier today from its governor. Let's listen to part of that announcement now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES MCGREEVEY, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: It makes little difference that as governor I am gay. In fact, having the ability to truthfully set forth my identity might have enabled me to be more forthright in fulfilling and discharging my constitutional obligations.

Given the circumstances surrounding the affair and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: And John Judas, for people not following this closely today, the affair he was referring to was the affair he was having with a man. He is a married father of two.

What was your reaction, John Judas, to his announcement?

JUDAS: I spent a day during the last campaign with McGreevey, and I'm very sorry to hear it. I think if he was a single guy, and it was revealed that he was having an affair with another man, he would be still remaining in office.

But, clearly, what he was doing posed problems both for his family and also problems that we don't yet know about and that are rumored.

ZAHN: And we have been hearing, John Fund, about the potential resignation for many weeks, not associated with this announcement today, but other controversy in the state of New Jersey.

FUND: Look, I feel badly for Mr. McGreevey. I feel badly for his family, but this is separate from the real problems in New Jersey, which are New Jersey has been badly governed by both Democrats and Republicans for a long, long time.

There is an inherent corruption problem in New Jersey and the McGreevey administration was riddled with people filled with conflicts of interest.

This is a brilliant, in addition to being a sad day, this is a brilliant tactic in the sense that it shifts all of the attention to the fact that he's gay and the tragedy regarding his family, away from the fact that the U.S. attorney is breathing down his neck and the neck of his aides.

George Ryan, the governor of Illinois, who was indicted, did much the same thing when he decided to oppose the death penalty and decided to try to free a bunch of people from Death Row. He made himself a hero in many circles and diverted attention from a lot of the other problems he had.

ZAHN: In all the time I've known you, John Fund, I think it's the first time you've done equal party bashing tonight.

FUND: Oh, no.

ZAHN: Beating up the Republicans and the Democrats.

FUND: I can give you -- I can give you 10 other states where the Republican Party is in bed with the same special interest they have in New Jersey?

ZAHN: Well, why don't you come back on another night and share that with us?

FUND: I'd be happy to.

ZAHN: John Fund, John Judas, thank you both tonight.

Coming up next, bracing for another hit with a dangerous storm on the way. Hundreds of thousands are getting out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE," you'll hear from President Bush himself about his campaign for a second term. He and Mrs. Bush will join Larry for the entire hour right after the show, and of course, the war in Iraq will be a prime topic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Free societies are peaceful societies. And so to answer your question, you bet.

LARRY KING, HOST: You can win the war?

BUSH: Yes, we can. And in the short-term we will secure our country by never relenting in our desire to bring people to justice. It's best that we bring it to justice overseas so they don't hit us here at home.

In the long run, free countries will end up listening to the hopes and desires of their people. Free countries will be peaceful countries. Free countries are countries that don't export terror, and it's vital that the United States never forget the power of liberty when it comes to transforming societies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: President Bush and first lady Laura Bush with "LARRY KING LIVE" at the top of the hour. Please stay tuned.

It's going to be an anxious, soggy night in Florida tonight. The northern part of the state is recovering from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie. It spawned tornadoes and caused flooding after coming ashore over the panhandle late this morning, but the worst is yet to come.

Hurricane Charlie now is expected across Cuba, brushed the Florida Keys, then hit the Tampa area tomorrow with 100 mile-an-hour winds.

Two storms haven't hit Florida this closely together since 1906. An estimated 800,000 people have been told to close up, board up and get out of the way.

And John Zarrella is standing by in Zephyrhills, Florida, about 30 miles north of Tampa, where there is a lot of fear tonight, isn't there? Good evening.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.

Well, there certainly is, you know, Zephyrhills north of Tampa is in Pasco County, and it would be right in the path of the hurricane if it continues on in the -- on the present track.

And we are in what is a mobile home community, community center where they're playing bingo tonight. And the folks here are telling us that they'll wait to see what happens tomorrow morning before they decide what to do, whether to leave or whether to stay.

The problem is that there isn't a lot of sheltering here in Pasco County, just enough for the people that they have to evacuate. They're telling the people here that if they're going to leave they should try to find residents, friends who have places that they can stay at. Not to stay in manufactured or mobile homes.

Manufactured or mobile homes are hugely popular here. A big retirement community in Pasco County. So a very serious problem here.

Emergency managers have a mandatory evacuation they're saying will go into effect tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. That's when they'll begin to open the shelters here for the people to get out.

The problem is a lot of the people we're talking to are staying -- saying they're not going to leave these mobile homes, these manufactured homes. They're going to stay.

The double problem is many of these people, most of them, a lot of them transplants from the northeast, have never been through a hurricane, let alone a major hurricane and really have no idea what to expect.

The management here is doing what it can to protect the property, throwing beach chairs, lawn chairs into the pool so they won't blow around tomorrow when the storm approaches.

But there's very little they can do to protect these manufactured homes if Charlie comes calling with 100 mile-per-hour winds or perhaps more.

So it could be a very, very long afternoon tomorrow and very -- potentially it's a very, very serious problems here in Pasco County -- Paula.

ZAHN: We hope that is not the case, John Zarrella and that Charlie will fall apart overnight. CNN, though, will keep you all posted on the strength of the storm, and we will track it for you all night.

John Zarrella, thanks so much for the update.

We've got some other stories coming up for you that you won't want to miss. Tomorrow night you will hear from two FBI whistle blowers who say they were punished for pointing out flaws in the FBI's anti-terror campaign. That is tomorrow night.

And then on Monday, the man who was the unlikely commander of the war in Iraq. General Tommy Franks looks back on the battles he fought and some of the lessons he has learned along the way.

And then next Wednesday we are holding a live one-hour town hall meeting in Canton, Ohio. That is a battleground state. We have invited 200 likely voters, most of them independents or at least undecideds, and representatives from the Bush and Kerry campaigns.

It is a chance for the people of Ohio and for you to find out where the candidates stand on the economy, jobs, health care, education, war and the issue of Iraq and how long we need to stay there.

You can join us for that next Wednesday on August 18, 8 p.m. Eastern.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight. We appreciate your dropping by. Once again, "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. His guests tonight, President Bush and Mrs. Bush. Have a good night.

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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