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Bush to Visit Florida Today; Iran Defies U.N.

Aired September 19, 2004 - 07:00   ET


BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning on a Sunday from the CNN Center in Atlanta. This is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is September 19, the last week in a summer, 7:00 here in the East, 5:00 a.m. in Denver. Good morning. I'm Betty Nguyen.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Drew Griffin. Thanks for being with us this morning.

Here's what's happening right now. Air Force One will touch down less than four hours from now at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. And President Bush will begin an air and ground tour of Florida and Alabama coastal areas heavily damaged by Hurricane Ivan. He's going to see first hand the damage we've been showing you at Gulf Shores, Alabama, where the eye of the storm made landfall.

Iran is defying the U.N. It says it will run its nuclear program as it sees fit. The U.N.'s Atomic Energy Agency demands that Iran suspend uranium enrichment and other activities that could lead to nuclear weapons. Iran calls that demand illegal.

At the United Nations, a watered down resolution on Sudan has passed. The Security Council voted to consider oil sanctions unless Sudan actually ends ethnic violence in the Darfur region. The vote was 11 to nothing. China, Russia, Algeria and Pakistan all abstained.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...2005 is Miss Alabama.


GRIFFIN: There she is, Miss Alabama, now Miss America, Deidre Downs wants to be a pediatrician. She put off medical school to enter this contest. She beat out Miss Louisiana in the final showdown of the competition for that crown.

NGUYEN: Coming up this hour, saluting America's hero. You'll meet one soldier who was injured in Iraq and is now helping other wounded veterans readjust to life at home. We'll tell you about his very important and personal cause.

Also, in Arizona, political ideologies can run as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon. In our political brief, we'll talk issues, implications, and ideas, as we bring our ongoing series, "The State of the Debate." And that driving in the fast lane before we can give you some video of this. It's wild. We'll tell you why this creature was on the lamb -- it's a bull actually. And we'll try to get some video of that a little later on in the show.

GRIFFIN: I'll top story this morning, Betty, the wife of Jack Hensley, an American hostage in Iraq, is appealing for his release and that of two men kidnapped with him last Thursday.

Pictures of Hensley and fellow hostages Eugene Armstrong of the U.S. and Kenneth Bigley of Britain appeared on al Jazeera. The network reports that the kidnappers threatened to behead the three in 48 hours unless all female prisoners are released from two jails in Iraq.

Patty Hensley talked with CNN's Colleen McEdwards.


PATTY HENSLEY, WIFE OF JACK HENSLEY: Please understand that these three men are very gentle, very kind men. They were very honored to be in Iraq and helping the Iraqi people. They wanted to provide a better world for everyone that was over there. And they certainly don't deserve a fate that is hanging over their head that -- I know all three of them will gladly come home if they're released. And you know, please realize that they are loving family men who have people who want them back terribly. And please let them go. They need to come home.


GRIFFIN: We will hear more from Patty Hensley's interview an hour from now at 8:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN SUNDAY MORNING. 10 other hostages are reportedly being threatened with debt if the company they work for doesn't leave Iraq. The Turkish embassy in Baghdad confirms 10 employees of a Turkish and American firm have been kidnapped, but the embassy is not releasing any other information about that.

NGUYEN: Joining me now to the damage left by Hurricane Ivan in Florida, and lots of debris filled mess at Pensacola's Naval Air Station, one of the sites President Bush is visiting this morning.

Our Chris Lawrence is covering Ivan in Pensacola. And he joins us now with the latest.

Chris, this will be the president's third trip to Hurricane ravaged Florida in a little over a month. Very busy down there.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's something he's getting quite familiar with, too familiar with I'm sure. And he's going to see a lot of damage and a lot of very frustrated people. You know, 90 percent of the people here have really pulled together. But it's been tough.

No water, no power, no fuel. We're standing at one of the few gas stations that is open. And people are literally, you know, lined up around the block. The station hasn't even opened yet. And some of these folks have been here for four hours, waiting just to fill up their tank.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): With temperatures soaring near 90 degrees, hundreds of people are standing outside up to four hours, just a few gallons of gas.

Most operators still don't have power to run the pumps. But one of the few gas stations that is open has frustrated some residents with its membership policy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was told that because I was not a member of Sam's Club, I could not get gasoline. I ended up paying someone to get my gas.

LAWRENCE: In addition to fuel, hundreds of thousands of Florida residents still have no water or power. And as many line up for free supplies at Red Cross stations, there have been almost 100 complaints of price gouging.

CHARLIE CRIST, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Somebody was trying to get him a price to clear the trees out of their yard for $1200, when it was actually worth $300.

LAWRENCE: Florida attorney general Charlie Crist arrived in Pensacola promising to prosecute anyone who's caught price gouging. He's also urging the legislature to increase the punishment for looting, after police arrested 15 people in one county since Wednesday's mandatory evacuations.

CRIST: Somebody shouldn't take advantage of you when you're forced out of your house and home.


LAWRENCE: Come off the pump and pull out -- come out to me. Like this -- yes, right now, you can see the gas station just opened a couple minutes ago. These are the first few people starting to pull up here. And like I said, you know, some people have taken advantage of the situation, but for every one of them, there's a good Samaritan, like one man, who drove all the way here from Mississippi, just to give away free food, water, and gas to anyone who needed it. Again, we're going to see a lot of long lines throughout the day. People just getting here said -- some of these people have been here since 2:30 in the morning -- Betty?

NGUYEN: And as you can tell by the reaction to the folks behind you, they are happy to be there and filling up with gas. That's going to be a busy place today.

LAWRENCE: Very much so.

NGUYEN: Thank you, Chris Lawrence. Well, people up and down the East coast are cleaning up in the wake of Ivan. The storm triggered floods and landslides in western North Carolina, destroying homes and turning hillsides into rubble. Ivan killed eight people in the state. And workers are still searching the debris, fearing there could be more victims.

The threat of flooding remains this morning in most of New Jersey, where the remnants of Ivan dumped heavy rain. Officials have evacuated hundreds of people from towns along the Delaware River, including 200 from a nursing home.

And in northern Maryland, a sign of how strong Ivan remained, as it headed up the East coast. The storm uprooted a house or a huge tree, I should say, which crashed on to a house, killing two women.


GRIFFIN: Well, let's fast forward now, take a look at some of the stories that are going to be making headlines. In the coming week, President Bush will address the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday. He's also going to meet with Iraq Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

A preliminary hearing for Mark Hacking gets underway Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah. He's the man accused of killing his wife, dumping her body in the trash bin, after she confronted him about deceptions about his education.

Also Thursday, a House Committee holds a hearing on the FDA's role in protecting public health. It's going to focus on the recent FDA recommendation that anti-depressants for children carry a strict new warning label about suicides.

NGUYEN: Well, take a look at this. This young man nearly lost his life in Iraq after just three weeks of service. Now he is sharing the lessons he learned to inspire and comfort others. We'll meet him in a just few minutes.

GRIFFIN: And what's wrong with this picture? It's been called a lot of things, but I don't think a saint. Find out who came up with this idea and why.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically he just -- he hit me with his head, knocked me down. He never stepped on me.


NGUYEN: We told you we'll show it to you. And what happens when a bull gets on a Texas interstate? Ouch. This is not a joke. Wait until you hear this story that next right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


NGUYEN: We're asking you this morning in the wake of CBS and memogate, what do you think the network's next move should be? Send in your replies. All you have to do is e-mail us at And in the next hour of CNN SUNDAY MORNING, the wife of an American hostage in Iraq pleads for his release. Hear her story at 8:00 Eastern on CNN.


NGUYEN: Here are some other stories making headlines across America. Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approve a state constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages and civil unions. About 78 percent of the voters supported that ban. Court challenges are expected.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage to $7.75 over the next 16 months. That would have been $1.00 increase. Now Schwarzenegger also vetoed a bill requiring local governments to conduct impact reports before approving superstores like Walmart. Both he says would hurt the state's economy.

A Kentucky artist says his depiction of former President Bill Clinton as St. Clinton was meant to be funny and provoke thought. Well, at least one Catholic priest was not amused. He banned students who attend his church school from showing up with the image on any of their belongings.

And the red carpets are rolled out. Hollywood is partying all weekend ahead of tonight's Emmy Awards. The 56th Annual Awards to honor television's best will be presented live from the Shrine Auditorium. HBO's "Sex and the City" leads the comedy nominations with 11 nods. The most nominated drama series is HBO's "The Sopranos." It gets 20 bids.

"Will and Grace" is one of the Emmy contenders in the comedy category. So will the show bring home gold tonight? Our Sabila Vargas sits down with the cast a little bit later this hour.

GRIFFIN: State of Texas known for rodeos, but they usually don't take place on the highway. Burt Lozano from our Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate WFAA has more on a raging bull.


BURT LOZANO, WFAA NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Traffic came to a curious crawl on the westbound lanes of I-20. The cause? A runaway cow or make that a bull, judging by the size of his horns. The brave bovine, running alongside 18 wheelers and not backing down.

The lost bull took up several lanes on the interstate, running for more than two miles, stubbornly ignoring drivers trying to veer him off the road. At one point, the driver of a big rig tried to corral the bull off to the axis road, as another truck attempted to block the lanes. The bull kept running, but finally exited off the interstate at Bonnie View Road.

He trotted down the street and looked worn out. But just as you figured he'd given up, something caught his eye. A man wearing a red shirt got in the wrong path of this raging bull.

DONALD MORGAN, PEDESTRIAN: I saw he had a rope tied to him. Thought maybe I can draw his attention, off in the grass over here, get a hold of him, get him tied up. But at that time, he charged me.

LOZANO: What did you think when he was staring you down?

MORGAN: Get the hell out of his way.

LOZANO: And so did our photographer.

MORGAN: Basically, he just -- he hit me with his head, knocked me down, and -- he never stepped on me.

LOZANO: The bull jumped back on the interstate, this time, followed by Hutchins Police.

CPL. GARY MCCLAIN, HUTCHINS POLICE: Yes, he charged the car, hit it with the horn and kicked the mirror off side of the car.

LOZANO: The horn left a dent in the patrol car, but officers in Dallas County Sheriff deputies did finally manage to steer him off into this field where he walked toward a patch of trees, just as a trailer full of curious cows passed by.


GRIFFIN: That was Burt Lozano reporting from our Dallas affiliate, WFAA. And we made a call to WFAA this morning and found out the bull is still officially on the loose, and it may have another bull on the loose...

NGUYEN: Another one.

GRIFFIN: ...this morning, northeast of the city.

NGUYEN: Note to self, do not wear red anywhere near a bull.

GRIFFIN: I don't think so. Well...

NGUYEN: Crazy.

GRIFFIN: Keep you posted on the bull.

NGUYEN: Yes, exactly.

GRIFFIN: One of the hot issues in November elections is Iraq and the future of U.S. troops there. So where do the candidates stand? We're going to break it down for you in the next half hour.

NGUYEN: And speaking of Iraq, meet a purple heart hero who's newfound mission is helping others live after devastating injuries. His story, ahead on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) GRIFFIN: No one doubts Iraq's a dangerous place. More than 1,000 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives there. More than 7,000 have been wounded. One of them is J.R. Martinez from Dalton, Georgia. He was badly injured when his vehicle hit a mine in the city of Karbala. Last year, less -- in Iraq less than a month. He joins us. He was awarded the purple heart. And you're going to talk to us about your experience and also your involvement in this group that's helping people like you, who are coming back from Iraq beaten up pretty much.

CPL. J.R. MARTINEZ, PURPLE HEART RECIPIENT: That's right. And you know, our (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is to all these wounded and the same who have come back, we want America to recognize these men an women, these brave, courageous men and women who have put so much on the line for our freedom. And this is what the Coalition through America's Heroes is here to do, is recognize these men and women, appreciate everything they've done.

GRIFFIN: Before we talk about your re-entry into the U.S. way of life, let's talk about what happened in Iraq? You were there, what, three weeks or so?

MARTINEZ: Roughly, yes, about three weeks, not even a month. What I was doing was patrolling through the southern cities of Iraq on the 5th of April, 2003 when my vehicle hit a landmine.

GRIFFIN: You were driving it?

MARTINEZ: I was driving it -- I was a driver of the humvee. And we hit the landmine. And immediately, once they pulled me out of the vehicle, I sustained 40 percent burns, as you can see. From there, I went to Landstuhl, Germany. Once I was stable, they brought me down to Brookgarden Medical Center. Well, I've been there for 17 months and been through 27 surgeries. And they tell me I got about 18 more months to go of cosmetic surgery.

And that's where I recognize that you know what? Yes, I am the way I am. And you know, I wouldn't want to be here, you know. Of course, anybody doesn't want to go through life the way they are when something terrible happens to you this way, but I realize that I was left here in this world for a reason. And that reason is, is to help the rest of the buddies that are coming back. And so I'm going to use my personal experience to help them overcome what they've been faced with.

And that's why Coalitions through America's Heroes is something that I took part in, because I know it's going to -- is going to help so many of the wounded and disabled out there.

GRIFFIN: And a great attitude. I'm wondering, when you were in Iraq, out on patrol, were you frightened at that time? Did you think this would happen to you?

MARTINEZ: You know, you always think in the back of your mind, there's always something that you think something might happen. You don't know exactly what it may be. Of course, I was frightened. I was 19-years old. I just didn't what to think, didn't know what to expect. First time, first tour.

A lot of nerves. A lot of shaken up. But you know, you're always prepared in case something does happen to you. And that's why even though you got to have reality in the back of your mind, yes, that one day, something could terrible happen to me.

GRIFFIN: You're a young man. You probably weren't even alive when Vietnam was going on, I imagine? And you've heard the stories, though, about soldiers coming back. What's your experience coming back to the United States?

MARTINEZ: My experience personally has been great. You know, I've had the nation accept me with open arms and said, you know what, we don't care about the politics. We care about you. And we appreciate everything you've done for us.

And that's what I've been able to -- I want to take and have the rest of these wounded then, you know people don't hear their stories all the time and say you know what, it's not just me that's wounded. It's not just me that's hurt or scarred for life. It's the rest of these men and women who have come back. And the battle may only last a few minutes or a few hours, but to all these men and women, the battle lasts for a -- is just now starting.

GRIFFIN: And J.R., what do they need for that battle? What do they need from us, from the rest of the...

MARTINEZ: Support. Support, support, support, support. And support to know that people out there you don't even know are behind you 100 percent and accept you and appreciate everything you're doing for them, and appreciate that sacrifice you made for them. And they're going to help you in any way they can.

GRIFFIN: But other than a slap in the back, what are you talking about? Special homes, adaptive...

MARTINEZ: Oh, exactly.

GRIFFIN: ...wheelchairs, that kind of thing?

MARTINEZ: Exactly. You know, the -- some guys that -- who are paralyzed, and if you're on active duty or if you know anybody that's paralyzed, that was paralyzed in Iraq or Afghanistan, and wish to attend our conference in December, which is December 8-12 in Orlando, Florida, this December, I encourage them to please visit our Web site which is

And the first 50 paralyzed attendees who qualify are going to be put up for -- or have priority placement in our Homes for War Heroes Program, which what pretty much they're going to do is renovate or build homes for these paralyzed vets who have been seriously wounded in this Iraq or Afghanistan conflict.

GRIFFIN: Seven thousand troops so far coming back home injured. All of them need help in some way or another?

MARTINEZ: That's right.

GRIFFIN: And you're their spokesman?

MARTINEZ: That's right. And I encourage everybody to please go to our Web site, which is and learn more about us and learn how you can help to make a contribution and everything is going to be appreciate by not just me, but by the rest of the troops out there and their families.

GRIFFIN: Corporal, good luck.

MARTINEZ: Thank you.

GRIFFIN: Nice talking to you. Thanks for coming in now this morning -- Betty?

NGUYEN: A remarkable man.

The House Speaker makes an al Qaeda connection to the outcome of the November election, but is there a reason to believe that the threat is real?

And don't forget our e-mail question this morning. After the memogate, what should CBS' next move be? Write us at


GRIFFIN: A GOP leader says al Qaeda is the reason you need to vote Republican this year. Welcome back. I'm Drew Griffin.

NGUYEN: And I'm Betty Nguyen. That story in just a minute. But first, headlines at this hour.

The wife of an American being held hostage in Iraq is pleading for his release. Jack Hensley was seized Thursday in Baghdad, along with another American and a British citizen. Al Jazeera aired video of the three. The Arab network says the kidnappers are threatening to kill them unless female Iraqi prisoners are freed.

Meantime, the Turkish embassy in Baghdad says Iraqi insurgents have kidnapped 10 employees of a U.S.-Turkish company. We'll continue to follow that.

Explosions have rocked the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Coalition officials say U.S. war planes struck a fake checkpoint that insurgents had set up. They say there's evidence the checkpoint was used to kidnap and kill Iraqi citizens. A local hospital official tells CNN the air strike killed four men.

And in Russia, final numbers in that deadly terrorist siege at a school that may be a lot larger than officials first reported. A Russian newspaper says teachers working with a refugee group have counted more than 1300 people who were held hostage. That's much higher than any other government numbers to date. More than 330 people were killed. Nearly half of them, children. GRIFFIN: Well, despite the ongoing turmoil, Iraqis are scheduled to elect a new government at the end of January. It's against the backdrop that Iraq's interior prime minister arrives today in London, where he was formally welcomed by British leader Tony Blair.


AYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI INTERIM PRIME MINISTER: We definitely are going to stick to the time table of the elections in January next year. We are doing our best to ensure that we'll meet the time of the elections. We are adamant that democracy is going to prevail. It's going to win in Iraq.


GRIFFIN: Ayad Allawi's next stop is New York, where he will attend President Bush's address to the U.N. general assembly. That's Tuesday. The Iraqi leader then travels to Washington to visit Mr. Bush at the White House. And he will address a joint meeting of Congress Thursday morning.

Well, he was responding to a question, but another Republican leader is implying that terrorists would like to see Democrat John Kerry elected U.S. president. It happened before a fund-raiser yesterday in Illinois. House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he thinks al Qaeda will try to influence this election.

When asked if the terrorist network might be more comfortable if Kerry won the election, rather than Bush, Hastert said, "That's my opinion, yes."

Earlier this month, Vice President Dick Cheney warned that if we make the wrong choice on election day, the danger is that we'll get hit again.

Meanwhile, Senator Kerry tells hometown crowd he's in a fighting mood. With six weeks left in the campaign, Kerry reminded donors at a fund-raiser in Boston that he has come from behind to win elections before. And he said he feels those October juices flowing.

NGUYEN: Some neighboring Midwestern states differ in presidential preference. In Illinois, a poll for the "St. Louis Post Dispatch" shows John Kerry the choice over George Bush, 54 percent to 39 percent, with 7 percent undecided. But across the Mississippi River in Missouri, Bush is preferred over Kerry 49 percent to 42 percent with 9 percent undecided.

Now despite a grim intelligence report this week warning civil war could break out in Iraq, President Bush insists the U.S. is on the right course in the war torn country.

In an interview published by the union leader in New Hampshire, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying, "what I'm assuring you of, and assuring your readers of, and assuring the Iraqis of, and our troops in harm's way, is that we're on the right path and I intend to keep us there.' GRIFFIN: Each week at this time, between now and the election, we're going to explore important issues facing the country. Today, we examine where the candidates stand on Iraq.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): A recent Gallup poll shows Americans practically split down the middle when it comes to the issue of Iraq this election season.

When asked whether it was a mistake to send U.S. troops into Iraq, 50 percent said yes, 47 percent no. Here's a look at where the candidates stand on some key points when it comes to the issue of Iraq. On funding, Congress approved spending more than $18 billion on Iraqi reconstruction. But President Bush says Iraq is paying part of that bill, too.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Iraqi war revenues have now reached more than $11 billion since liberation. Those revenues are now being used to build Gotti palaces for Saddam Hussein. They're being used to serve the Iraqi people.

GRIFFIN: Senator Kerry says the president should seek what he calls "real support with sufficient personnel, troops, and money to help in the training of security forces, and guarantee a rapid transition.

On reconstruction, Senator Kerry says the reconstruction of Iraq should include more international help.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 90 percent of the coalition on the ground is American. And 90 percent of the cost is being born by the American people.

GRIFFIN: President Bush says America will stay the course in Iraq. He initially opposed U.N. forces participating in the reconstruction. 16 NATO members are already in Iraq.

Troops are our armed forces, stretched too thin. 40 percent of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are citizen soldiers from the National Guard and Reserves. President Bush says U.S. forces will stay in Iraq as long as required. He says length of stay should be dictated by how long U.S. troops presence is requested and needed by the Iraqi government.

Mr. Bush has not proposed increasing the Army size. And the Army has delayed soldiers' retirement for the time being to allow them to finish out their duty in Iraq.

Senator Kerry says the Army should be increased by 40,000, to meet the demands of overseas deployments. The senator also says it's important to get other countries to commit troops to the mission, in order to get U.S. troops home quicker.

For more on the election and issues, log on to (END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: And next week, we're going to tackle the debate over alternative fuels, whether high gasoline prices make alternative fuels a viable campaign issue.

NGUYEN: All right, on smaller scale, what are the issues that may decide the election in crucial battleground states? Arizona is an our spotlight. We'll check with the states' representative on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.


GRIFFIN: Seems like same old rerun at the Emmys, the mob against the White House. And once again, "The Sopranos" will try to topple "The West Wing" for best dramatic series, but it's the best comedy category that has our attention this morning.

CNN's Sabila Vargas talked to the cast of "Will and Grace," big contender for the award.


WILL: What the hell?


GRACE: Give us a minute.

VARGAS: Well, let's talk about your Emmy nomination. Congratulations again. Five consecutive years. What is it? What's the secret?

MEGAN MULLALLY, "KAREN WALKER": Well I do think we have...


MULLALLY: ...really good writing. Really good comedy writing. And I'd put it up against any other comedy writing, television or film. And consistently funny and good.

VARGAS: After a while, do you just kind of say, you know what? Been there, done that? I don't need another Emmy on my mantle. Let's be honest.


ERIC MCCORMACK, "WILL TRUMAN": Everybody needs another one. It's just kind of gravy though. I mean, it's -- there is a certain -- for me, anyway, there's a sense of like OK, I achieved that. If it doesn't happen again, that's -- I'm OK with it. It'd be nice if it did. It'd be great, but it's not crucial.

MULLALLY: It's just -- you know what it is? It's just nice. It's flattering. It's a great recognition for all of us on the show and all -- you know, everybody who works so hard on the show. SEAN HAYES, "JACK MCFARLAND": It keeps the morale up. You know, we all feel very -- when we go back to work, we feel confident and font and like we're still doing the right thing.

MCCORMACK: It's nice to be invited to the parties.

MESSING: I think it's against an actor's DNA to actually expect adulation or any sort of...

MCCORMACK: Yes, you almost expect the opposite.

VARGAS: Talk to me about the CD. It seems very fabulous. Music seems to be very important to all of you? I mean, that's something that not -- I mean if you watch the show, OK, you know that music is definitely has an influence.

MCCORMACK: I think if you're on the set for long enough, you'll eventually hear all of us sing something stupid. I mean, we just naturally -- it's just...

MESSING: Every week, at some point.

MCCORMACK: Part of the way we rehearse is we're just very silly with each other. We allow ourselves to goof around. And a lot of that's singing.

VARGAS: Do you think perhaps that is one of the secrets why you guys are so great together?

MULLALLY: I think that does have a lot to do with it. Yes, we all have the same feel...


MULLALLY: ...for the timing of the words.

MCCORMACK: Yes, the writers write a very certain way, but they give us each our own sort of voice. And it kind of like a real quartet of instruments.

VARGAS: And you can buy the CD. "Will and Grace," let the music out at record stores. And of course, the whole cast will be here tomorrow at the 56th annual Emmy Awards.

GRIFFIN: For a complete list of the Emmy nominations and profiles, the nominees, log on to The number one online destination for news and information,

Did you know that, Betty?

NGUYEN: I know. But now I know it.


NGUYEN: Numero uno. We're number one. All right, thank you Drew. Well, as we move into the home stretch of this presidential election season, what are the issues in the battleground states? Last week, we looked at Arkansas. Today, Arizona is in the spotlight. We'll check in with some local politicians from the Grand Canyon state next on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.



GRIFFIN: A recap of our top stories this morning. The wife of Jack Hensley, one of the three Westerners kidnapped in Baghdad last week makes a personal plea for the men's freedom right here in an interview with CNN Patty Hensley also says the U.S. government should consider meeting the captors' demand of freeing female Iraqi prisoners.

President Bush does travel to Florida and Alabama today to get a first hand look at damage caused by Hurricane Ivan. And there she is, the new Miss America is Miss Alabama, Deidre Downs. Downs, an aspiring pediatrician. She put off going to medical school to compete in the contest and it apparently paid off.

Some North Carolinians are still missing in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. We're going to take you there live at the top of the hour.

NGUYEN: But right now, they call it the Grand Canyon state. And with very good reason. Arizona is also home to grand political traditions that run deep and wide on both sides.

In our ongoing Sunday morning look at battleground states in this year's presidential election. We're raising Arizona, it's issues and ideas.

Weighing in are Republican state representative Franklin "Jake" Flake and Democratic state representative Leah Landrum Taylor. They both join us now from Phoenix.

Good morning to you both.


NGUYEN: Representative Flake, last week, we spoke with the people of Arizona, the representatives there. And they said many folks in Arizona worried about health care, the economy, the war on terrorism. Of your constituents, what are they worried about?

FLAKE: In Arizona? Well, maybe the same things. The economy is a big part of it. Health care is a strong part of it. We have a large Ponderosa forest in Arizona. And we're concerned about catastrophic fires. And the president has done a lot to stop that with his Forest Health initiative.

But these are some of the issues that Arizona's concerned about.

NGUYEN: Representative Landrum Taylor, what do you think?

LEAH LANDRUM TAYLOR (D), ARIZONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I strongly agree with what you're saying, Betty. Quite frankly, the economy is a big concern of the opportunity to have more jobs and jobs that have good wages.

We have a situation in Arizona, where even though we're doing a little better on average as far as unemployment rate goes, we have a lot of depressed wages.

And so, that's something that we want to work on. Health care, definitely, is a big issue as well, when you think about the high cost of premiums that are now escalating through the roof, it's being for difficult for people to be able to afford the health care costs.

And not to mention the high cost of the prescription drugs and how this is really hitting hard on our population, and particularly our senior population.

And quite frankly, I would have to say one other thing, as we are here in the dessert in Arizona, a big issue and concern has to do with our water and making sure we're going to have enough of that when we think about the amount of growth that's going on here.

NGUYEN: All right, Representative Landrum Taylor, let's stick with you just for a moment. How is the Bush administration planning to tackle this, in your opinion?

TAYLOR: Well, quite frankly, I see that there needs to be more of a push to be able to create a situation of more security when it comes down to the American public and feeling comfortable about having jobs and of having a strong economy.

We just have not seen this. And quite frankly, there's a high number of individuals that I speak with on a regular basis and that call my office that have been laid off, that are struggling businesses that are having a tough time making it, particularly small businesses.

And I'm not exactly sure if the solution has been made or not through the current Bush administration. I really feel that there has to be a stronger plan out there, one that truly can resonate with the average American public.

NGUYEN: So Representative Flake, she has a lot of concerns about the Bush administration's plan. Do you think the Kerry plan can tackle the issues of your state?

FLAKE: Well, I have strong confidence that the Bush plan is working. His tax cut has done a lot for America and for the state of Arizona.

Let me give you just a figure or two. There's 54,600 more payroll jobs in Arizona than a year ago. 84,700 more payroll jobs than when he took office what three -- a little over three years ago.

And these are good paying jobs. These are jobs that are paying somewhere around $18 to $20 an hour. When a year ago, the unemployment rate in Arizona was 5.7 percent. Today, it's 4.4 percent. I think we're making great progress. And we're doing well in Arizona.

NGUYEN: But in answering my question, you don't think the Kerry camp has a good plan for Arizona at all?

FLAKE: Well, I haven't heard any plan, any Kerry plan for Arizona. I don't know what that is.

NGUYEN: All right, Representative Landrum Taylor, do you want to respond to that? Do you think the Kerry camp has a plan?

TAYLOR: Well, I absolutely do feel that the Kerry camp has a plan. And I know one of the issues that you spoke about earlier had to do with health care. And I think the Kerry plan and the opportunity to have the reimportation of the prescription drugs, that's going to be something that can help with immediate needs that we can take care of, not to mention the fact that the Kerry camp has a lot of strong plans that are going to help increase our economic and our -- our economic foresight. That's something that's really important.

And just so you know in Arizona, there has been a catch like on fire here as far as the energy for having Kerry as being the next president of the United States. We talked about the fact that Arizona is a battleground. Well, it truly is. And when you think about the growth that we have had here in Arizona, there's been a really -- a strong change in the whole political landscape. A lot more of a progressive change and more inclusive in nature.

And so people are really excited and looking forward to a change. They're very much concerned about what's happening here within our state and within our country and with the amount of individuals that are really, truly suffering.

I mean, quite frankly, we look at the average minimum wage. And in Arizona, in order for anybody to just have a typical livable wage, it would need to be about $13.54 an hour. We're not even remotely there. So that's something that we need to push forward and to take a look at the fact that in 1996, Clinton took the state of Arizona. In 2002, our current governor is a Democrat governor. There is certainly a plan here. The Kerry camp has not ignored Arizona. And we certainly have appreciated that from Kerry and Edwards.

NGUYEN: All right, let's talk specifics now. Representative Flake, final though, what do the people of Arizona need to hear from these candidates before going to the polls in November?

FLAKE: Well, I think we need to continue with the economy. I think that's a great thing. But I think the people have to be comfortable with their new president. And I see them being very comfortable with President Bush. They're comfortable with what he's doing to combat terrorism. And we're a state that's very susceptible to that because we're a border state. And a very porous border that we have. And I think that's being addressed by President Bush, the war on terrorism worldwide, and especially in America, it's being addressed by President Bush. And I think the people of Arizona feel very comfortable with him now as they did four years ago when they voted him in as President of the United States.

NGUYEN: Representative Landrum Taylor, I'm going to give you the last word here?

TAYLOR: Well, I -- you know, my colleague here just mentioned about the word comfort. And I think that's a very poignant point right now. Quite frankly, there are a lot of individuals who do not feel comfortable. They do not feel secure. They do not feel that things just -- their basic job security isn't there. Are they going to be laid off tomorrow?

These are the types of concerns that are out there. Can they actually afford the health care? What if a catastrophe happens in the family? Someone gets very ill. You know, living day to day. This is what's happening. And the American public does need a sense of comfort.

And so, the Kerry-Edwards plan that's out here, this is something that truly the public is responding to, and is very excited about the fact that something is coming that, and I'd have to repeat the phrase about the hope is on the way. People really feel that there has to be some type of hope. And there has to be a strong plan that they are included in, the everyday working person. And I think that's something...

NGUYEN: All right...

TAYLOR: ...that's been lacking in the Bush plan, because it's not including the everyday working person.

NGUYEN: We're going to leave it there. Representative Landrum Taylor and Representative Flake, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

TAYLOR: You're welcome.

FLAKE: Thank you, Betty.


GRIFFIN: Well, trust is on the line over at CBS. And we've been asking you this morning to send us your thoughts about the memogate issue. We're going to share some of your e-mails when we return.



GRIFFIN: We have been asking you questions about CBS and their whole memogate issue this morning and what they need to do. Well, we got a response from Will in Brooklyn, New York. Here's what he said. "They would probably need to get other experts to testify that the information about Bush is true, even if the memo isn't. Dan Rather would need so offer some kind of public apology on 60 MINUTES and CBS should land some other blockbuster story to divert attention away from this."

Will, I'll bet they're trying. If you want to get in on this you can write us at


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