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VP Candidates Prepare for Debate; New Spin on Anger Management

Aired October 5, 2004 - 08:00   ET


Dick Cheney, John Edwards battle for their bosses later tonight. The vice presidential debate bringing yet another opportunity for possibly a breakout moment.

Did the U.S. put enough troops on the ground during the early stages of the Iraq occupation? Surprisingly, the man who managed the occupation now says no.

Also, sentencing violent offenders to tai chi classes. Is it light punishment or smart punishment?


ANNOUNCER: This is AMERICAN MORNING live from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Here's Bill Hemmer.

HEMMER: Good morning, everyone.

Live in Cleveland, where the vice presidential candidates Dick Cheney and John Edwards go toe to toe later tonight, their first and only debate of Campaign 2004.

Each man hard at work getting ready for the chance to help his boss. We'll have a look this hour at what they will be focusing on later tonight. And Bill Schneider joins us. The latest on these polling numbers and whether tonight's debate can change that picture even further.

Right now, back to my colleague in New York, and Heidi Collins -- and good morning again to you -- Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Bill.

Also this morning, Sanjay Gupta is with us. He's looking at a new study that points patients in a new direction when evaluating their heart health. He'll talk about that.

And, also, Jack is off this week. But later on we'll check in with Andy Borowitz for the "Question of the Day."

Meanwhile, though, we're going to check on the stories now in the news this morning. Libya is joining the effort to free British hostage Ken Bigley from his Iraqi captors. Bigley was kidnapped from his Baghdad home September 16, along with two Americans who have since been killed. Bigley's family asked Libyan leader Colonel Qaddafi to intervene. Representatives of the Qaddafi International Foundation are now believed to be speaking with people in the region who they believe may have some influence.

The Pentagon reacting this morning to comments by the former U.S. administrator in Iraq. Paul Bremer said yesterday, "Lawlessness in Iraq can be blamed on never having enough troops on the ground."

Bremer also says the shortcoming contributed to looting that ravaged Baghdad. But he admits that ousting Saddam Hussein was "the right thing to do."

To Tennessee now. Authorities are searching for an escaped inmate and a prison guard suspected of helping him. Edward McDaniel was last seen at a maximum security Nashville prison on Saturday night. He was serving 20 years for attempted murder. Officials say Vickie Sanford provided McDaniel with a guard uniform so he could walk out during a shift change.

One of basketball's greats is headed off court. Scottie Pippen will announce his retirement today, according to reports. Pippen played 17 NBA seasons, winning six titles in the '90s with the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. Pippen had knee surgery in December and played only 23 games last season. He will be missed, I am sure.

Bill Hemmer now back in Cleveland -- home, Bill.

HEMMER: He's still playing, Heidi?

COLLINS: Yes. Yes. Did you not know that, huh?

HEMMER: He's like my age. Well, good for him.

COLLINS: Oh, dear God.

HEMMER: Talk to you later.

The tightness in the polling after last week's presidential match up probably raising the stakes a bit later tonight for Dick Cheney and John Edwards.

We want to get a check right now, a report from each campaign right now.

Dana Bash covering the Dick Cheney campaign and Joe Johns covering the John Edwards campaign here in Cleveland.

Good morning, Dana -- let's start with you.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Bill, the Cheney camp insists that this was always going to be a very important debate because they say the role of a vice president in a post-9/11 world is absolutely key. So look for a theme tonight from the vice president that leadership matters and that the Bush-Cheney ticket can keep America safe, much more so than the Kerry-Edwards ticket.


(voice-over): It is this day, these September 11 images the vice president hopes to remind voters of in tonight's debate. He was the one directing response in the president's absence and he's the one you'd want if needed next time, not a one term senator.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FMR. REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: The first measure of a vice president, is he ready to step in and be president today? Not tomorrow, not next year, but today. I think Dick Cheney is going to demonstrate that yet again. And I think John Edwards has a big uphill climb.

BASH: Cheney aides say his debate strategy mirrors what he does on the stump -- defend and promote the president's policies, attack his opponents as liberal on taxes and weak on national defense.

DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When it comes to diplomacy, it looks to me like John Kerry should stick to wind surfing.

BASH: But Mr. Cheney's unparalleled influence is a target for Democrats. They say he embodies a highly secretive White House and aides are bracing to hear one name a lot -- Halliburton -- and the accusation the vice president helped his old firm get lucrative Iraq contracts.

But Cheney officials insist he didn't overly prepare a defense, calling it unnecessary.

While aides say 40 years of government experience is his greatest asset, they try to manage expectations by calling Mr. Cheney's liability John Edwards' debating skills.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He isn't somebody who is going to hit the oratory of the trial lawyer. He isn't somebody who is going to be the charismatic dynamic figure.


BASH (on camera): And although the fact that Cheney advisors are trying to downplay the idea that this is an important debate, and, more important, perhaps, than before because of what happened last week with President Bush, that's what their public line is. Privately, they do understand that Dick Cheney is somebody, Bill, who appeals to the Republican base and they hope that this will help boost the morale of those who were, perhaps, disappointed by the president's performance last week.

HEMMER: So that's the backdrop for Dick Cheney.

What about John Edwards?

What are we hearing?

Joe -- good morning.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Bill.

Even the aides expect this to be a real study in contrasts -- the older Dick Cheney with his vast experience in government against the younger John Edwards, who is an experienced trial lawyer with a very folksy style.


JOHNS (voice-over): Senator Edwards arrived Monday evening with aides, hoping he was prepped and ready to rock the debate in Cleveland. He spent the weekend cloistered at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, making only one brief appearance at a roadside country store.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's going fine. We're working hard.

JOHNS: Away from the cameras, the Edwards campaign set up a room that they said looks a lot like the debate site, complete with cameras, with Washington lawyer Bob Barnett playing Vice President Dick Cheney, a role he took on in debate preparations in 2000.

Edwards' chief goals for the debate, not to lose the momentum John Kerry appears to have picked up in the first presidential debate, to pain Kerry as steadfast and his opponents as favoring the rich over regular Americans.

Aides expect him to be attacked for his slim government resume. But they say the work he did as a trial lawyer is just as valuable and that Cheney's experience is susceptible to criticism.

TAD DEVINE, KERRY-EDWARDS STRATEGIST: Dick Cheney's experience, and certainly his judgment in respect to the advice he's given the president, has not been the best experience for America.


JOHNS (on camera): Vice presidential debates are often considered sideshows. But with this race deadlocked, a lot of people now are considering it a main event -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, stack it up for me.

First, Dana, how is Dick Cheney getting ready for John Edwards?

BASH: He's been practicing, Bill, regularly on weekends in Washington since mid-August. He's been working with a congressman he worked with last time around, Congressman Rob Portman. He had studied the mannerisms and the style of John Edwards so that he thinks he is prepared to go up against John Edwards. Of course, his people call him the man with the golden tongue. You hear them downplaying the idea that he's going to do well. HEMMER: All right, how's John Edwards getting ready, Joe?

JOHNS: Well, I'm told John Edwards really had to prepare for two Dick Cheneys, because in the last debate against Joe Lieberman, of course, Cheney came in very nice. They thought he was going to come in really strong. Now they had to prepare for both of the Dick Cheneys and they expect both of them to show up tonight.

HEMMER: Is this must see TV? I think this is either going to be great television or it's going to be downright boring.

JOHNS: I think you're absolutely right.

HEMMER: I don't know what we're going to get.

JOHNS: That's for sure.

BASH: For political junkies, of course, it's going to be interesting.

HEMMER: So true.


Great to see both of you, Dana and Joe.

BASH: Thank you, Bill.

HEMMER: Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is in Washington, D.C. -- Bill, good morning to you.

We're going to take a look at some of these polling numbers. And the first numbers we want to have a look at, John Edwards leading Dick Cheney 42-40 percent when asked whether or not who will do a better job in this debate later tonight.

Any surprises here, Bill?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, actually, I'm surprised that the advantage for Edwards really isn't any bigger. He has an appealing populist style. You know, he connects with people very well. He made his fortune connecting with juries as a trial lawyer in North Carolina.

Dick Cheney is known as an experienced Washington insider. A lot of people expect -- see that as reassuring. Some people see it as sinister. But, you know, the word populist has never been used to describe Dick Cheney.

HEMMER: On the favorable/unfavorable ratings, John Edwards is on top of Dick Cheney, essentially, 56 to 48 percent.

How does this play into how you size it up going into the debate?

SCHNEIDER: Well, what's interesting is Edwards is more popular than any of the four candidates on the national tickets, more popular than Bush, more favorably regarded than his -- the man at the top of his ticket, John Kerry, and, of course, Dick Cheney is at the bottom of the list, the one that people know the least about and who has the most shadowy image.

You know, Edwards' campaigned as a positive candidate in the primaries. That's why he -- how he made a name for himself. He didn't go negative on his opponents. And some Democrats have expressed disappointment that he -- Edwards has not been more of an attack dog in this campaign. That's the role that vice presidents are expected to play in the campaign.

Dick Cheney is the least favorably regarded of all the candidates. He's simply not a happy warrior.

HEMMER: Is this debate overrated, Bill? I mean so many times we talk about the top of the ticket and whether or not people were truly giving the vice presidential debate a competition here, simply because in three days you've got John Kerry and George Bush seeing each other again in St. Louis on Friday. It's a new story for now. I'm wondering where we are tomorrow afternoon on this.

SCHNEIDER: Well, it's a kind of a sideshow in the campaign. It's important because Cheney is under pressure to change the momentum since that first debate, which Bush clearly did not win. He dismayed a lot of his own supporters. And, you know, Edwards is under pressure to sustain the momentum coming out of that first debate.

But in the end, you know, people don't vote for vice president. This is a debate between surrogates, between the candidates' seconds. They are there to sell their guy, not to sell themselves.

HEMMER: Thank you, Bill.

Bill Schneider, our senior analyst, in D.C. this morning.

Thank you, Bill, for your time.

And later tonight on CNN, live debate coverage starts at 7:00 Eastern here in Cleveland. The debate starts at 9:00 Eastern, just like last Thursday night. We'll have it all for you then.

Back to Heidi now in New York with more -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right, Bill, thanks.

We're going to get to some news just coming into us now here at CNN.

CNN has confirmed that a Lufthansa passenger plane was escorted to the ground because of a bomb threat. Israeli F-16s escorted it down to Cypress. It was on its way originally to Tel Aviv. About 300 passengers on board. It is now being searched.

Once again, a bomb threat on a Lufthansa passenger plane. About 300 people on board there have been escorted to the ground in Cypress by F-16s, Israeli F-16s. We are going to stay on top of that story for you and bring you the very latest just as it comes to us.

Meanwhile, though, we want to get to the weather now.

Chad Myers in the CNN Center with the latest on all things fall weather like -- right, Chad?



COLLINS: Still to come, can a peaceful solution work for violent offenders? Or is it another case of getting off easy? Our week long series continues.

HEMMER: Also, in predicting heart health, is your sibling's history more important than your parents'? A good question. Sanjay has that this hour.

COLLINS: And the pooch who freed his friends, all so they could all have a feast. It's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


COLLINS: When it comes to crime and punishment, are some offenders getting off easy? We're asking that question this week in a series on alternative sentencing.

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Judge Frances Gallegos is putting a new spin on anger management, offering tai chi and meditation to people in domestic violence cases.

She is joining us now here.

And with us from Santa Fe, Joe Segovia, who participated in the program. We're going to speak with him in just a moment, as well.

Joe, stand by for just a minute.

Judge, I want to begin with you.

Some people would say tai chi, are you kidding me? I mean we are talking about cases of battery or road rage, things like that.

But tai chi?

JUDGE FRANCES GALLEGOS, SANTA FE MUNICIPAL COURT: Well, the whole idea is that before we were using things like anger management. It was the typical way to deal with crimes of violence. And studies have shown that that was not getting the effects or the desired results that we wanted. And so it led me to try and search for something different that I could use to try and create some kind of intervention for the people that were involved in these problems.

And that's where I ended up looking at the tai chi, meditation piece, and we created a program. And this is geared for 18 to 25- year-old people who are involved in everything from domestic violence to road rage. And what it is meant to do is to teach them a way of dealing with stress, a different way of thinking, a different way of interacting with the world around them and...

COLLINS: Is it tough enough?

GALLEGOS: Is it tough enough?


GALLEGOS: I think it's tough enough if it gets the desired results that we need. The result is that you want to be able to change behavior, you want to be able to change attitudes toward crimes of violence. And tough enough means, in my opinion, is that they need to get some kind of skills or tools that are going to help them keep from repeating these offenses.

They also have to do community service in addition to the tai chi and the meditation. So it's not just sitting there doing tai chi. As you said yourself, I'd love to spend two hours a week doing tai chi and meditation.

COLLINS: Right. Yes.

GALLEGOS: But, you know, there's a higher purpose for this kind of a program. And tough enough, as far as I'm concerned, if we can teach young people how to deal differently with their world, then for me that's what I want to do.

COLLINS: All right, I want to get to Joe in just a minute.

We'll get back to the success rate on this in just a moment.

But, Joe, you know, you pled no contest to a verbal domestic dispute. And the next thing you know, you're doing tai chi.

I mean what was your reaction to the sentence? Did you think the judge was nuts?

JOE SEGOVIA, PARTICIPATED IN ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING PROGRAM: Well, at first, you know, I didn't think it was a great thing. But after being involved in it for, you know, a period of time, you know, it was a good thing. Like Judge Frances said earlier, it's a way to deal with what's going on around and it really makes you think about everything.

COLLINS: Does it? Well, do you feel like now, after you've gone through the program, I know you completed it already, do you feel like it helped you?

SEGOVIA: Oh, definitely. I mean, you know, I stop and think about things before I react. You know, the meditation type of thing was pretty nice to kind of get to just, you know, sit there and just meditate and try to forget about things and just relax and just, you know, just think about what you're going to do. COLLINS: So when you have those feelings again, when you start to get angry, I mean all of us get angry, but some of us, you know, we don't act out the same way. Do you refer back, then, to the tai chi and the meditation? And does it keep you from acting that way again?

SEGOVIA: Well, I do. You know, when I do get angry I just, you know, stop and think about the question of what kind of -- what might happen if, you know, if you do react and that. So you stop and just think about things and yes, it does help you a little bit.

COLLINS: All right, Judge Gallegos, I want to get back to you.

You mentioned that there's a specific age group that you're going after here.


COLLINS: And a specific type of offense, as well.

How successful has this been?

GALLEGOS: Well, it's a preliminary point where we're at right now, because we're about 13 months into the program. And really to get a long-term recidivism study, it's going to take maybe two, three, four years to be able to track people.

But the initial responses that we're getting, the initial results from the pre- and post- tests are telling us that it is an effective tool and that it does have, at least I have great expectations that it's going to be able to deal and target with the problem.

What we're doing is we are -- we're measuring their aggression level. We're measuring their attitude toward violence and reactions to violence at the very beginning and then when they're done the class, then we do the same kind of a measurement. And we're able to gauge at least that there are some changes that are happening with, internal changes that are actually changing behavior.

As Joe was saying, you know, you learn how to breathe, you learn how to allow your cerebral process, your brain, to catch up with your emotions before you react. And that's what we're trying to do here.

COLLINS: Do you do tai chi?

GALLEGOS: Yes, I do. I actually did the first 90 days of the program with the actual defendants so I could learn what kinds of things maybe we needed to change and improvise and work with.

COLLINS: All right.

GALLEGOS: Plus it helped me, too, you know?

COLLINS: Yes. Well, it's going to take a little time, I guess, to see, you know, how it works as far as repeat offenders go and so forth. But we'll check back... GALLEGOS: Well, people act like this is a brand new thing, like it's a new age thing. But, you know, tai chi, meditation has been around for...

COLLINS: It's been out there.

GALLEGOS: ... over 4,000 years.


GALLEGOS: And so it's just applying the old principles to modern living.

COLLINS: All right, well, we appreciate your time today, Judge Frances Gallegos, and also Joe Segovia there in Santa Fe.

Thanks so much, Joe.

GALLEGOS: Thank you, Joe.

COLLINS: And tomorrow we will see how some criminals are being sentenced with shame.

We'll get to the that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, though, still to come this morning, the dog who made a break for it, but first stopped off for a feast.

Stay with us.

We've got it on tape on AMERICAN MORNING.


COLLINS: In London -- here's a story for you, Andy -- staff at a shelter for stray dogs thought a ghost was in the building after the pooches managed to get out of their cages about a dozen times. Now look at this. Closed circuit TV was installed to catch the crafty pooch. The footage reveals a 4-year-old dog named Red, yes, Red, reached up on his hind paws and used his nose and teeth to undo the bolt of his cage. And then he went around and freed his other furry friends and they hit the food -- I guess that's coming up here -- for a midnight feast. There they are, straight to the food bags. Love it. Is that, I can't really see, a greyhound possibly?

All right, we're going to check in with Andy now and the "Question of the Day," which is very similar to this.

ANDY BOROWITZ, BOROWITZREPORT.COM: That may give Martha a few ideas, I think. You know, take a look at that tape.

We've been talking about how Martha Stewart is spending her last days as a free woman before beginning her prison sentence. Now, she went to the Bahamas and as waiters like to say, excellent choice. But if you were in Martha's shoes, what would you do?

And so our question is: If you knew you were going to prison on Friday, how would you spend your final days of freedom?

And Angela writes from Virginia: "I'd do the same thing as Martha, although if I were a millionaire like her, I'd go someplace farther, like the Far East, say Borneo, then hope I'd miss my plane back.

Pascal from Queens, New York writes: "I certainly hope you meant if we were rich and powerful, because the last time I checked, common folks like myself do not have the luxury of being out of the country after being convicted of a crime."

Anonymous writes: "Living out a typical male fantasy, my last day of freedom would be spent in a women's prison."

And finally, one reader writes not on the subject of this, but on the subject of Elton John's outburst against Madonna: "Elton John appears to be going through a really rough menopause."


BOROWITZ: Ooh. Very mean. Very mean.

COLLINS: Switching topics on us there.

All right, well, Martha's got today, tomorrow, Thursday and Friday, that's it.

BOROWITZ: Right. That's it.

COLLINS: Yes. So that's why she couldn't go far, to Borneo, I guess.

BOROWITZ: Right. Exactly. But, you know, good choice, Bahamas. Not bad.

COLLINS: All right, Andy, thanks so much.

We'll check back a little bit later with you.

Meantime, though, we are going to send it back to Cleveland, Ohio, where, Bill, I have just learned -- did you know that Cleveland, Ohio is the hometown to America's first traffic light?

HEMMER: Isn't that nice?


HEMMER: I did not know that.

COLLINS: We have many more of these to go. We've got an hour and a half left.

HEMMER: That we do.

Hey, keep the camera on Elton for a couple of days, huh? You never know what he's going to say next. COLLINS: There's some news, right.

HEMMER: It's two in one week, right?

In a moment here, an administration insider critical about post- war planning for the peace in Iraq. Live to the Pentagon for that. Also, back live here in Cleveland. We're at the art museum awaiting debate number one, and the only debate, between the vice presidential candidates, Dick Cheney and John Edwards.

We continue in a moment here.



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