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Candidates Prepare for Third Debate; Controversy Over Sinclair Group's Anti-Kerry Film; Botox to Help Breast Cancer Surgery Patients

Aired October 12, 2004 - 08:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Eight-thirty here in New York. Good morning. Welcome back. Nice to have you along with us today.
There was controversy that continues today over this film accusing John Kerry of betraying American POWs, slated to be shown now on 62 TV stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Democrats say it's illegal. We'll hear from the vice president of Sinclair in a few moments, find out why the company is taking this action now. We'll get to it in a matter of moments here.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Also, Sanjay Gupta coming up, today looking at a possible use for Botox in breast reconstruction surgery. It could help women fighting serious illnesses, and that may be just the tip of the iceberg, actually, for what Botox can do. So, we'll have more on that in a bit.

In the meantime, want to check on the stories now in the news once again with Kelly Wallace this morning. Kelly, good morning.


COLLINS: Gas prices are...

WALLACE: Yes, possibly paying more at the pump. Good morning, everyone.

World oil prices have reached record highs as the nationwide strike in Nigeria enters its second day. Streets in major cities in the country are empty today as labor unions protest the rising cost of fuel. Nigeria is the fifth largest source of oil imports to the United States.

A jury in Iowa is set to begin deliberations today in the murder case against a drug kingpin. Dustin Honken is accused of the 1993 execution-style murders of five people to protect his drug trade. Honken is already in jail for drug charges, but federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

And the future of an infamous building in L.A. will be decided today. The Los Angeles School Board will vote tonight on whether to demolish part or all of the Ambassador Hotel. That is the place where Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for president. The city plans to build schools on the hotel site. The senator's family wants it demolished. We'll, of course, have to let you know tomorrow what the L.A. School Board decides to do.

COLLINS: Actually, we're going to hear from the senator's son Max about that coming up.

WALLACE: Very interesting.

COLLINS: ... rest of the show today. So, Kelly, thank you for that.


COLLINS: Now, though, presidential candidate Senator John Kerry is taking a break from the campaign trail today. Instead, he's preparing for tomorrow's final showdown in a third debate with President Bush.

CNN's Ed Henry live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, now. Ed, good morning.


There's been a little bit of change of plans for Senator Kerry today. He was supposed to head to Arizona tonight to be in place for the debate. He instead has decided to stay one more night in Santa Fe. Aides tell us that part of the reason actually is that Senator Kerry wants to be able to watch the first game of that Red Sox/Yankees series in peace rather than be traveling during the game. But also, more importantly, he wants to stay in Santa Fe for one more night of debate prep.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have come for fresh air and good, clear thinking to get ready for the next debate.

HENRY (voice-over): And he came to sharpen his rhetoric on the domestic front, the focus of tomorrow's third debate. On Monday, Kerry slammed President Bush. He pointed out gas prices are up 30 percent. Home heating costs have soared 91 percent.

KERRY: And when it comes to developing a real energy policy, George Bush has run out of gas.

HENRY: That was just one of a litany of issues Kerry says the president has mishandled here at home.

KERRY: The only people George Bush's policies are working for are the people that he's chosen to help. They are working for drug companies. They are working for HMOs. And they are certainly working for the big oil companies.

HENRY: But Kerry opened with an emotional reference to another domestic matter, by paying tribute to Christopher Reeve.

KERRY: Chris was a beautiful, hopeful person, full of zest for life, full of a caring for other people. He was a great, engaged, creative spirit. I know that if we put our minds to it, one day we're going to realize Chris's inevitable dream, and that's our mission for all of us. HENRY: In Friday's debate, Kerry hammered the president for not pushing harder for stem-cell research and invoked the name of Reeve.

KERRY: Chris Reeve is a friend of mine.

HENRY: A Kerry aide told CNN that Reeve left the senator a message on Saturday, saying, "Keep up the fight," something Kerry now plans to do.


(on camera): John Kerry is also now thinking about potentially going to Christopher Reeve's funeral, depending on whether he can work it out in the schedule. Stem-cell research was already a major issue in this campaign, in part because of Ronald Reagan's death. Aides to Kerry now say that, given Reeve's death, this is going to be a larger issue in this campaign -- Heidi?

COLLINS: Ed Henry from Santa Fe, New Mexico, this morning. Ed, thank you.

HEMMER: Democrats also crying foul over the decision by Sinclair Broadcasting over a documentary attacking John Kerry on its stations just before the election. Question this morning: Is this news, or is it just propaganda?

Mark Hyman is the vice president for corporate relations for the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and he is my guest now. And Mark, welcome. Good morning to you.

MARK HYMAN, SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP: Good morning, Bill. Thank you very much.

HEMMER: What's the motivation behind this airing now?

HYMAN: Well, this is definitely a newsworthy event. These Vietnam prisoners of war had suffered horrific abuse and unspeakable torture for many years. And they -- most of them maintained silence for 31 years and felt a need to respond to claims made by John Kerry.

They have only recently come forward and, as you may know, they've approached the broadcast networks who all said, "We're not interested in speaking to you folks." Nobody has earned a right to speak on the Vietnam experience more so than these men. There are a pair of Medal of Honor winners in this particular group. So, these folks have some standing.

Now, our goal here is to get John Kerry to sit down and talk with these guys, get a chance to tell them why he branded them as war criminals, why he accused them of committing wartime atrocities. These are questions...

HEMMER: Let's see clear here. You've invited Senator Kerry to follow up on this film, right?

HYMAN: The only thing that's carved in stone with this entire program is we've invited John Kerry. The ball is really in his court. If he decides he wants to spend two hours with us, then it's going to change the whole format is how we...

HEMMER: At this point, have you gotten a response from the Kerry campaign?

HYMAN: The Kerry campaign has not responded to us directly. We're still hopeful that they may change their minds and join us, because we think it's an important debate issue that needs to be addressed.

HEMMER: Well, we don't really need to tell you the Democrats are fuming about this issue. Listen to Terry McAuliffe from last hour here on AMERICAN MORNING.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: This is a clear, partisan attack on Senator Kerry, and they offer the opportunity for Senator Kerry to come on after the 90 minutes and talk. Now, we'd be interested if they would give us 90 minutes at primetime, also. But understand, Bill, they are preempting all of their shows a week before the election to do a 90-minute attack on Senator Kerry.


HEMMER: Democrats say this is illegal. Clearly, you do not. Why not?

HYMAN: Well, a couple of issues. First of all, we haven't even looked at a 90-minute program. But if John Kerry wants to spend 45 minutes or an hour with us, maybe we have a 90-minute program. Again, no formal format has been decided upon.

However, the accusations coming from Terry McAuliffe and others, is it because they are some elements of this that may reflect poorly on John Kerry? That it's somehow an in-kind contribution of George Bush?

If you use that logic and reasoning, that means every car bomb in Iraq would be an in-kind contribution to John Kerry. Weak job performance ratings that came out last month would have been an in- kind contribution to John Kerry. And that's just nonsense.

This is news. I can't change the fact that these people decided to come forward today. The networks had this opportunity over a month ago to speak with these people. They chose to suppress them. They chose to ignore them. They are acting like Holocaust deniers, pretending these men don't exist.

HEMMER: Mark, let me try and cut through this a little bit. Is there a bias at Sinclair against John Kerry?

HYMAN: Why would you say that? Because we're presenting a side...

HEMMER: I'm just asking it. Is there, or not?

HYMAN: I certainly hope not. There shouldn't be. There are going to be people who are going to want to get this story out. We want to get this story out.

I think the question should be asked of the networks: Why aren't they talking about this issue? Probably perhaps more importantly: Why won't John Kerry speak with these Vietnam POWs? He has been avoiding them for 31 years. If he's afraid of a bunch of 60 and 70- year-old men who were wounded and tortured in Vietnam, what does it say about his ability to respond to al Qaeda if they were to attack the U.S. if he were serving as president?

If he's afraid of Americans -- you know, what's the story here? Why can't he sit down and speak with these Americans who deserve to have their voice heard?

HEMMER: The reason I asked the question about bias, why not allow the individual stations to make up their own mind on this?

HYMAN: Because you know better, Bill, and don't be absurd about this whole thing. Just like Sears tells all of its stores, "You will sell Craftsman tools." McDonald's tells all of its restaurants, "You will have a sesame seed bun." That's the business we're in.

We make programming decisions on a day-to-day basis. We sell advertising on a day-to-day basis. This is the way networks operate. This is the way all television stations operate. This is the way most businesses operate when you have a number of affiliates or a number of franchises. It's the way the business operates.

To suggest that our TV stations are all simply stand-alone franchises and the local general manager can make any decision he wants about the program he carries is actually factually incorrect. Because CBS News has -- rather CBS network, as an example, makes certain all of its stations carry CBS programming, not ABC's "The Bachelor."

HEMMER: Let me try and go back to April, then, for a second here. "Nightline," when ABC and Ted Koppel aired all the dead in Iraq to date back in April, Sinclair had a big problem with it, ordered at least seven stations, I believe -- if I have my facts right here -- not to air "Nightline" that evening. Sinclair believed that was a political statement disguised as news.

Can you understand how some may see the same act now the same way?

HYMAN: Well, that wasn't us that made that original decision. That was George Stephanopoulos who announced on his program that is was a political decision. He said this was aired -- this was going to be aired to coincide with the president's "mission accomplished" statement.

George Stephanopoulos, five days earlier, said on his program -- he made it very clear this was a political statement. We asked ABC News what are your intentions; they refused to speak to us. So, that certainly created -- heightened our concerns about their intention behind this program.

But let's get back to the real issue at stake, which is these prisoners of war. They have earned their right to be heard more than...

HEMMER: All right.

HYMAN: ... anybody else when it comes to Vietnam. John Kerry can put this whole issue to rest if he simply decides to sit down and speak with these people...


HYMAN: ... address their concerns. He can put this entire issue to rest.

HEMMER: We've got to go. Mark, thanks.

HYMAN: Thank you, Bill.

HEMMER: Mark Hyman, Sinclair Broadcast Group there in Hunt Valley, Maryland, this morning. Thanks.

Another reminder for you, third and final debate tomorrow night, Tempe, Arizona. Our primetime coverage starts at 7:00 Eastern time. Debate starts at 9:00 -- Heidi?

COLLINS: Want to check on the weather now. Chad Myers at the CNN Center with the very latest forecast. Good morning to you, Chad.


COLLINS: All right, Chad Myers, thank you. Talk to you again in a moment.

A home invasion in Oklahoma City was staged by a man thinking it could save his marriage. The story made headlines, but it turned out to be a big hoax. Now, the charges against him -- well, you bet, the real thing. Trent Spencer is accused of paying two former students 100 bucks each to stage a home invasion. He would fight them off and be a hero to his wife. His neighbors, though, not so impressed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... just to do that to impress your wife maybe. That's going to the extreme.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is shocking. I can't imagine anybody having that kind of thought processes going on where they have their wife tied up, and then, you know, chase these kids out apparently that they had brought in to do this.


COLLINS: Police found out about the hoax when one of the pretend robbers told his parents. See, he's reformed immediately.

HEMMER: Yeah, I bet he was.

In a moment here: Wish the movies were a cell phone-free zone? If so, someone is doing something about that. Andy checks in in a moment on that.

COLLINS: Plus, researchers think they found an important new use for Botox, and it might surprise you. We're "Paging Dr. Gupta" on that, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


COLLINS: It's a board-certified treatment for wrinkles, but Botox could also play an important role in breast surgery. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now from the CNN Center with details on this. Sanjay, good morning.


Yeah, everyone associates Botox with wrinkle reduction, but did you know they are also getting into the realm of pain reduction, as well?

Very interesting study coming out of the University of Arkansas. First of all, women who under go mastectomies and undergoing reconstructive surgery after that typically have to undergo a painful process of actually expanding the skin around that mastectomy site to make room for the implants.

Now, researchers at the University of Arkansas tried to figure out what if you inject Botox into the muscles surrounding that area to see if you could cut down on pain?

Here's what they found actually -- a small study. They found 90 percent fewer painkillers were needed in the women who got Botox before the expansion operation. Also, 40 percent hospital time reduction. And also, they found that the entire process was sped up. Women got out of the hospital more quickly. They also expanded the skin more quickly, as well.

Heidi, about 80,000 women undergo this sort of operation every year. Botox hasn't previously been used to cut down on pain specifically for reconstructive surgery, but this may be a study that shows that maybe it could, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yeah. There's some other, though, new uses for Botox that we've heard about recently in the news, right?

GUPTA: Yeah, you know, again, it's only FDA approved really for the glabella lines -- those are the lines right between your forehead -- to try to cut down on the wrinkles there.

COLLINS: Not my forehead!

GUPTA: Not your forehead, of course not, Heidi. I wasn't saying that.

But there are all sorts of other uses for Botox, as well. Talking about things like headaches, for example -- migraine headaches. That's an example of where Botox has actually been pretty -- works pretty well. Again, not proven for this, but works pretty well, at least by certain doctors who are using it. Neurological conditions, such as strokes. Cerebral palsy, as well, and back and neck spasms.

Again, only approved for those glabella lines -- not yours, Heidi -- also excessive sweating. But other uses -- this could just be the tip of the iceberg for Botox, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yeah, well, that's definitely exciting, Sanjay. Thanks so much for that.

But before we let you go, our viewers want to improve their overall health, as usual. So, they may want to join you and us in this year's "New You Revolution." This was such a big deal last time around. So, tell us how viewers can get involved now this time.

GUPTA: Yeah, we are calling it the "New You Revolution." It was called the "New You Resolution" last year, this year "Revolution."


GUPTA: It's going to focus on breaking bad health habits, hard habits to break. If you'd like to be a part of CNN's "New You Revolution," go to

The question is this: Are you in a desperate battle with weight or struggling with other health issues? Are you ready to make the commitment to get fit, stay healthy, and live life to the fullest?

We're looking for men, women, family, singles -- in other words, anyone who is ready to step up and just take this challenge. Again, the "New You Revolution" right here on AMERICAN MORNING, Heidi.

COLLINS: It's a big challenge, because we come back and visit them. And we really track what they're doing and their progress.

GUPTA: We are going to keep tabs on them. That's right.

COLLINS: All right, love that. Sanjay, thanks so much.

And watch CNN's AMERICAN MORNING during the month of November to see who will be selected for the eight-week get fit journey with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The series will air every Tuesday beginning in January.

Still to come now: Kids, watch your language, because in some spots it could land you in jail. "The Cafferty File" just ahead.

And don't forget, all next week, AMERICAN MORNING is in the Windy City. Join all of us, including Soledad, for a special week of shows from Chicago.

AMERICAN MORNING is back in a moment.


HEMMER: All right, welcome back.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Those annoying jerks who don't turn off their cell phones at the movie theater, the French have figured out what to do about them -- and it's about time they made a contribution to something. Andy Serwer is here "Minding Your Business." Good morning, sir.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning to you, again. Pro French, Jack Cafferty. Yes, indeed.

All right, let's talk about the markets. First of all, yesterday, a little bit of a rally: Dow is up 26 points; Nasdaq trying to hit 2000 again.

Futures much lower this morning, though. Higher oil prices again. We're over $54 a barrel. I'm not sure why this isn't a bigger campaign issue. And if it doesn't become a big campaign issue, it will become a big issue for the economy as we close out the fourth quarter, believe you me.

Yes, silence is golden in France. The French are about to legalize devices that will silence cell phones in theaters and cinemas...

CAFFERTY: That's just a wonderful idea.

SERWER: ... so you can't call people up at cinemas and theaters. They will allow 911 calls through. But what happens if your babysitter says the kid -- I don't think it's a very good idea. Listen to this.


SERWER: Patrick Devedjian, the French industry minister, said, "You know how sit when thugs let their phones ring during a concert."

CAFFERTY: Oh, those thugs.


SERWER: I mean, maybe you're going to Beastie Boy concerts or something. I'm not sure what's going on over there. Well, you know, it's -- any time -- hang on, I'm sorry. I told you never to call me here.

CAFFERTY: I'm on television.

SERWER: That's my producer -- right. We need some jamming equipment here, don't we? Anyway...

CAFFERTY: That's a terrific idea.

SERWER: And we could have it here, too.

HEMMER: ... la cell phone, Andrew.

SERWER: Oh, stop it!


CAFFERTY: Time now for "The Cafferty File." The rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees -- are we done?

SERWER: He isn't; I'm done.

COLLINS: It's all you, Jack.

CAFFERTY: The rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees will not be worn on any Yankees' fan's sleeves, at least not in the form of a T-shirt.

Red Sox fans were rubbed the wrong way by a Major League Baseball sponsored shirt with a Yankee logo that read, "Hey, Red Sox, who's your daddy?" Well, yesterday a few thousand of the T-shirts were recalled by the wimps that run Major League Baseball. They have no cojones, you know what I'm saying?

So, now you can't get the shirts. The shirts might have enhanced an otherwise quiet evening in the Bronx. They showed both a Yankee logo and a picture of a Red Sox pacifier with the letter "B" on it, a reference to remarks made by Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez made after a recent loss saying, quote, "Call the Yankees my daddy. I can't find a way to beat them at this point."

SERWER: Very good.

CAFFERTY: That's going to be a good series.

SERWER; Oh, yeah.

CAFFERTY: Red Sox may win that.

SERWER: They might.

CAFFERTY: Former NBA loudmouth and all around goofball Dennis Rodman says that he is worried that his image may be hurting his chances at a basketball career comeback. That, and the fact that you're too damn old to play anymore.

SERWER: How old is he?

CAFFERTY: Rodman hasn't been on the court professionally since 2000. He has been in the headlines. He says, quote, "They think I'm uncoachable, and I -- I just don't know why. I'm just a free, independent person."

COLLINS: In a wedding dress -- in a wedding dress.

CAFFERTY: Yeah, just -- he's a moron. Seventeen-year-old student Glenn Gattis from Wilmington, North Carolina, was late for class. The teacher reprimanded him, and he flew off the handle with a few choice curse words, including the F- word. Well, now, this kid has been charged with a criminal offense of using language intended to incite violence and could go to jail for 30 days.

The family's hired a lawyer to fight the charges. The school has yet to release a statement on any of this. Perhaps it's interesting to note -- perhaps not -- that the vice president of the United States used the same word on the floor of the Senate to a fellow senator. And instead of apologizing, he said that saying the word, quote, "made him feel better," unquote.

SERWER: He never met Edwards there, though. And Edwards is probably lucky, because if he did, he might have used that word, right?

CAFFERTY: What was that all about, "We never met?" They have pictures of them at several different things together. So, that was just an out and out...

SERWER: A distortion.

CAFFERTY: A distortion.

HEMMER: Pretty memorable. Thank you, Jack.

Break here in a moment. The race for the White House neck and neck. We are 21 days and counting. How much momentum does John Kerry really have at this point? Bill Schneider checks in on that, sorts through the numbers in a moment.

Top of the hour here on AMERICAN MORNING.


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