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Polls Show Increased Lead for Bush; Troubling Questions About E-Voting; Interview with David Boies, Chrissy Gephardt

Aired October 15, 2004 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, President Bush has a 4 percent lead over Senator Kerry in the latest opinion poll. Both candidates stepping up their attacks as they campaign in key battleground states.
Democracy at Risk: The threat to the integrity of our voting system. Tonight, troubling questions about the accuracy of electronic voting machines in a number of states.


REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA: They're telling us or asking us to believe that these are the first machines in the history of mankind that will never, ever have a problem.


DOBBS: Renowned attorney David Boies joins me. He says Florida could face even bigger problems this year than in 2000, when David Boies represented Al Gore.

And outrage and controversy still raging tonight, that after Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards both referred to the sexual orientation of the vice president's daughter in the so-called debates. My guest is Chrissy Gephardt, daughter Congressman Dick Gephardt and a prominent voice in the gay and the lesbian community. We'll be talking about politics, propriety, indecency.

An Immigration Nation: Three million illegal aliens will enter this country this year. It is nothing less than an invasion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I picked the name, "The American Resistance" on purpose. A lot of people tell me it sounds militant. Good.


DOBBS: Tonight, we'll have the special report.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Friday, October 15. Here now for an hour of news, debate and opinion is Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening.

President Bush and Senator Kerry today blasted one another on domestic policy as they fight for votes in the Midwest. Senator Kerry accused President Bush of being out of ideas. President Bush said Senator Kerry has failed to recognize the changing realities of the world.

Tonight, a new Reuters/Zogby poll gives President Bush a 4 percent lead over Senator Kerry. Dana Bash is covering the president's campaign and reports now from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In the post-debate world of trying to figure out what worked and what did not, the president's team thinks that drawing a very clear line between the president and John Kerry on domestic issues is something that works.

On taxes, on education, and especially on health care, trying to paint John Kerry as somebody who supports big government and has a plan that is simply too costly is something that is benefiting them with voters.

And so the president here in Cedar Rapids stepped it up.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Studies conducted by people who understand small businesses concluded that his plan is an overpriced albatross that will saddle small businesses with 225 new mandates.

I have a different view. We'll work to make sure health care is available and affordable.

BASH: Bush aides know that Senator Kerry's constant reminders about the millions who have lost health insurance on the president's watch and those who have seen their premiums skyrocket is resonating. But they say that research shows labeling Kerry's health plan as too costly strikes a nerve with swing voters.

Plus, attacking Senator Kerry's plan, as one top aide said, is the perfect way to put some meat on John Kerry as a liberal bone, and that's a bone the president is trying to throw to his base voters to try to get them out, and that is the critical thing for Republicans for the Bush campaign at this juncture with 18 days left to go.

And if you look at the president's travels both here in Iowa and next in Wisconsin to see what happened four years ago, we will see just how important that is.

Take a look first at Iowa. Election results show the difference,.003 percent, of course with Al Gore winning there. That was a mere 4,144 votes. In Wisconsin, just .002 percent separated the two, and that was just 5,708 votes.

Now polls show a statistical dead heat here in Iowa, but some have Wisconsin looking better for Senator Kerry, and that is a traditionally Democratic state, but one the president has put a lot of time and money into recently. So the question for that and other so- called blue states at this juncture is whether or not it's still worth it. Dana Bash, CNN, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


DOBBS: Upon leaving Iowa, President Bush traveled to Wisconsin. President Bush and Senator Kerry both in Wisconsin. President Bush has just stepped to the podium at a campaign rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The president is hammering his opponent on domestic issues.

He is campaigning, of course, in key battleground states. President Bush lost Wisconsin to Al Gore by only 5,000 votes in 2000. The president's campaign says the president's message is gaining traction among undecided voters.

Let's listen just for a moment here.

BUSH: ... out-of-the mainstream votes without many significant reforms or results to show for it. The records are important because our country faces many challenges, and the next president must recognize the need to reform and to be able to achieve reform.

On issue after issue, from jobs to health care to the need to strengthen Social Security, my opponent failed to recognize the changing realities of today's world and the need for fundamental reforms.

DOBBS: That is the message that President Bush is taking to each of the battleground states.

Senator Kerry also, as I said, in Wisconsin. He will be in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. We're going to be going to listen to some of his comments later here in the hour, coming up, I suspect, in the next 10 to 15 minutes.

Senator Kerry launched what his campaign is calling his closing arguments. Speaking in Wisconsin, Senator Kerry attacked the president's record earlier today on job creation.

Senator Kerry earlier sat down and talked with CNN's Candy Crowley. Candy in that exclusive interview asked Senator Kerry whether he will be able to create jobs for the unemployed.


SEN. JOHN K. KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Directly, day one, no. I'm not going to pretend that I can do that on day one, but what I can do is put in place policies that are going to expand the private sector of America, and I will do that.

I'll do that by closing the tax loophole that encourages companies to go overseas. I'll do it by providing a manufacturing job credit, which could have an immediate impact in helping companies to expand here in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DOBBS: Senator Kerry. And tonight on "PAULA ZAHN NOW" at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, the complete exclusive interview with Candy Crowley.

Just over two weeks now before the election, both the Republicans and the Democrats are trading accusations of voting fraud in a number of key states. One of those states is Florida.

Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler has filed a lawsuit to force Florida to equip e-voting machines with printers in order to provide a paper trail should a recount be necessary.

John Zarrella has our special report in Democracy at Risk.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): These images, county canvassing board members straining to figure out voter intent on a punch card with a hanging chad, came to symbolize the 2000 election fiasco in Florida.

That election also put an end to the punch cards in Florida and opened the door to new technology, electronic voting machines, but four years later, U.S. Representative Robert Wexler says he's not buying what elections officials are selling.

WEXLER: Effectively, they're telling us or asking us to believe that these are the first machines in the history of mankind that will never, ever have a problem. I think people said that about the "Titanic."

ZARRELLA: In a federal lawsuit that, after months of delays, is finally going to trial next week, Wexler charges that with these electronic touch-screen machines, there's no way to guarantee that the person you vote for is the person being recorded by the machine, and, because the machines don't come with printers, there's no paper trail to look at for a recount.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My vote will be cast once I push this vote button.

ZARRELLA: State elections officials argue that e-machines have an audit capability and have built-in redundancies to avoid system failures and are secure from tampering.

GLENDA HOOD, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: There have been no votes lost. There have been no problems with the equipment that has been purchased by those counties.

ZARRELLA: Experts on voting machine technology say paper does add a comfort level, but is still not foolproof.

KIMBALL BRACE, ELECTION DATA SERVICES: We know from Florida in 2000 that a recount exercise can in itself be problematic.

ZARRELLA: Fifteen counties use touch screen machines. That's half of Florida's nearly 10 million registered voters. The remainder use an optical system which scans a paper ballot. With two weeks to go before the election, Wexler's legal team acknowledges fitting the machines with printers won't happen.


ZARRELLA: But Wexler's legal team says if they win, the judge could order the 15 counties to switch to optical scanners. Now state elections officials and county elections officials say this close to November 2, that could be disastrous -- Lou.

DOBBS: John, Palm Beach County couldn't even test its voting system because of computer glitches earlier this week. Have those glitches been fixed? Are they ready for a task?

ZARRELLA: Well, actually, they conducted the test today. They had a software problem. They've corrected that in the server -- a server problem that crashed.

They corrected that, conducted what's called a logic and accuracy test, which basically, Lou, says that to ensure that whatever I touch that that's what machine is registering, and they conducted that test today.

The machines are now locked up, locked down, won't be touched again until Election Day, and officials there saying that, in fact, that logic and accuracy test carried out today successfully, thankfully, in Palm Beach County -- Lou.

DOBBS: John, reassuring, I think.

John Zarrella from Palm Beach County.

Ohio is another battleground state facing troubling questions about the integrity of its voting system. One of the key issues is whether voters who show up at the wrong polling place can, in fact, be permitted to cast their ballots.

Yesterday, a judge ruled voters can cast their ballots in different polling places, but only if they do so in the county where they are registered to vote. Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell disagreed with the ruling and immediately filed an appeal.

Later here, I'll be talking about the rising concerns about election fraud with David Boies, one of the most distinguished attorneys in this country. David Boies, of course, represented Al Gore during the election controversy of 2000, the case was before the Supreme Court, Bush v. Gore.

Turning overseas, American warplanes today launched a wave of new attacks against suspected insurgents' positions in Fallujah. On the ground, U.S. troops and Iraqi special forces tightened their grip on the perimeter of the city. American officials insist that there are no plans as yet to retake Fallujah from the insurgents.

Brent Sadler reports now from Baghdad. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: A strong military push on Fallujah aimed at breaking the hold of insurgents in the rebel stronghold. U.S. and Iraqi ground troops encircling the city on the back of an intense assault by American artillery and warplanes.

Still, a powerful car bomb aimed at Iraqi police detonated in southern Baghdad on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, killing at least 10 Iraqi civilians.

It is in an attempt to stop such carnage that stepped-up military action on Fallujah has begun. It is not, say U.S. military officials, the start of a much-anticipated, full-scale air and ground assault.

But it could be the shape of things to come, given blunt warnings from the interim government here that multinational forces are poised to smash Fallujah's deeply entrenched and well-armed insurgents.

It follows weeks of sustained American air strikes, targeting the network of top terror suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and failure by Fallujah's leaders to cut their ties with Zarqawi and his allies.

(on camera): Not since April, have U.S. forces moved into Fallujah, when a Marines-led offensive was called off, and a tenuous cease-fire installed that later broke down, allowing nationalist insurgents backed by foreign fighters to gain control.

(voice-over): In Baghdad, investigators now say the bomb attacks on the city's top security green zone that proceeded the Fallujah assault were carried out by suicide bombers, according to the U.S. military. Four Americans were killed and 27 other people wounded.

The green zone has been repeat repeatedly hit by rocket and mortar fire in recent months, but the suicide attacks break new ground, underscoring the vulnerability of even the most heavily protected places in Iraq.

Brent Sadler, CNN, Baghdad.


DOBBS: And reports tonight that member of an Army supply unit in Iraq refuse to go on a mission because they believed it was simply too dangerous. The soldiers are reportedly members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company. It's an Army Reserve unit.

Reports saying nearly 20 soldiers originally refused their orders to go on a supply mission to Taji, north of Baghdad. The number, however, of those refusing orders later dropped to five soldiers. The Army said that it has launched an investigation, family members saying that they refused that mission because they felt that they were not properly equipped.

Army officials call this an isolated incident. An investigation is, as I said, under way. Still ahead here, a critical shortage of flu vaccine is raising new serious concerns about our ability to defend against a bioterror attack. We'll have that special report.

And as many as three million illegal aliens will enter the United States this year. Some people call it nothing less than an invasion. We'll have the special report next.

And controversy still raging tonight after Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards both in the so-called presidential and vice presidential debates referred to the sexual orientation of Vice President Cheney's daughter. Chrissy Gephardt, daughter of Congressman Dick Gephardt, is my guest.


DOBBS: A troubling warning tonight from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA today ordered drug manufacturers to place a so-called black box warning label on all anti-depressant medications -- all of them -- detailing an increased risk of suicidal thoughts among children and adolescents.

The black box warning is the government's strongest safety alert. It does not prohibit the use of anti-depressants in children, but does urge medical professionals to carefully consider the heightened risk before prescribing certain drugs to children.

The unexpected shortage of flu vaccine due to this country's reliance on foreign drug manufacturing is raising serious concerns tonight about the country's preparedness to handle a bioterror attack. Experts are pointing to the flu vaccine shortfall as evidence of just how ill-prepared we are.

Jeanne Meserve reports.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mock newscast with a scary headline.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On day 12 of the worst public health crisis in America's history, demonstrations for more vaccine in hard-hit communities disintegrated into riots and looting around the nation.

MESERVE: It was part of a 2001 exercise in which terrorists attacked the U.S. with smallpox and vaccine as in short supply.

The current flu vaccine shortage, though nowhere near as extreme, shows, experts say, that the U.S. is still woefully unprepared for bioterrorism or a naturally occurring pandemic.

TARA O'TOOLE, CENTER FOR BIOSECURITY: The 1918 flu pandemic killed more people in with 24 weeks than AIDS has in 24 years. If we have a pandemic now in this age of globalization, that virus is going to shoot around the planet at the speed of a jet airliner. We're not going to have time to get prepared to deal with it once it's upon us. MESERVE: Experts say it's been clear for years that there must be a collaborative effort by government academia and industry to modernize and encourage vaccine and drug production.

TOMMY THOMPSON, SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I never want to have this happen again.

MESERVE: Since the 2001 anthrax attacks, the federal government has spent more than $14 billion on civilian biodefense, but one of the nation's leading experts in the field says the government effort involving multiple agencies suffers from lack of strategy, goals and leadership.

O'TOOLE: I couldn't tell you who was in charge of biodefense in this country right now.

MESERVE: Right now, flu vaccine is readily available in some places, not at all in others. Pointing up, experts say, the flawed and patchwork nature of the public health system.

STEPHEN FLYNN, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: The public health system we have is broken. It's not able to deal with routine disease, and it really gives me pause about dealing with the very scary and real threat of a terrorist attack on our soil that has a biological component.

MESERVE: The short supply of flu vaccine has shaken some Americans' confidence in government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't understand how this could happen, realizing how important it is to so many people.

MESERVE: Experts say a possible consequence is that the public will resist government direction in a genuine health crisis, whether delivered by nature or terrorists.


MESERVE: One expert says the current shortage could be a needed wake-up call, but probably won't be unless a significant number of people die because they could not get vaccine.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, McLean, Virginia.

DOBBS: Coming up next here, millions of illegal aliens invading communities all across this country. Tonight, a special report on the rising immigration crisis.

And then, are we headed for another contested presidential election? Attorney David Boies, author of the new book "Courting Justice," says he sees many reasons to be more concerned about election 2004 than 2000. He joins me.

And did Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards cross the line with their comments in the so-called debates about the vice president's daughter? I'll be talking with Chrissy Gephardt, a leader in the gay and lesbian community, daughter of another well-known politician, Congressman Dick Gephardt.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: An estimated three million illegal aliens will enter this country this year. Some people call it nothing less than an invasion. CNN has documented the immigration crisis gripping this country in a special report that airs this Sunday on "CNN PRESENTS." Tonight, we bring you one portion of the report, "Immigrant Nation, Divided Country."

Maria Hinojosa reports.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN URBAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): D.A. King is on a mission against illegal immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I picked the name The American Resistance on purpose. A lot of people tell me it sounds militant. Good. We are trying to resist the takeover of our nation.

HINOJOSA: The wave of immigration into places like Gwinnett County, Georgia, has made amateur activists out of ordinary citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For English, press one. For espanola...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to decide which language I want to speak here in Georgia. I'm less than pleased about that.

HINOJOSA: Citizens like D.A. King (ph) and Jimmy Hercheck (ph)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. How are you? Nice to see you, too.

HINOJOSA: ... who makes a living in real estate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ceiling fan in the living room -- that's standard.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's standard.

HINOJOSA: But even here, he can't escape illegal immigrants. He also can't escape the contradiction.

(on camera): You're selling homes that, for all intents and purposes, there's a good chance that a lot of these homes are being built by the illegal immigrants that you don't want in your communities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have kids and a family, so I've got to make my livelihood.

HINOJOSA: Why do you come here to look for workers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because this is the only place I know to go to get help. Because nobody else wants to help.

HINOJOSA: And you're not taking advantage of them because you're paying...


HINOJOSA: You're paying them a good wage?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I think.

HINOJOSA (voice-over): That's the heart of the argument here in Gwinnett County. Undocumented workers are hard for employers to resist. They work hard for less money and fewer benefits, and they don't complain.


DOBBS: Maria Hinojosa reporting, and, of course, her report this coming Sunday on "CNN PRESENTS" at 8:00 eastern.

Maria, the -- I think that's a wonderful summation. People hiring illegal aliens, paying them less than they would Americans in the same work, and, as he put it, they're not complaining because, frankly, they're illegal and can't afford to, can they?

HINOJOSA: No, they can't. What you're seeing in a place like the South of the United States -- this is where we based this documentary -- is the frustration is so, so gripping really that a lot of the anti-illegal alien activists, as they call themselves, are really directing their anger at the immigrants, but when you talk to them a little bit more, they'll say, well, really the immigrants aren't the problem. It's the governmental institutions that aren't giving us the straight story.

DOBBS: Neither candidate has talked straightforwardly or honestly about this issue, and we are now two weeks away from the election. Do you find that stunning?

HINOJOSA: I find it incredible. I mean, finally, the question was asked in the last debate, and Sam Donaldson said it's the one question we got the most amount of e-mail on. People want to talk about this issue, but it seems like the politicians don't want to touch it.

DOBBS: Well, touch it, they will have to in the months and time ahead because it is nothing less than a crisis, as you document.

And we thank you for being here.

HINOJOSA: My pleasure.

DOBBS: Maria Hinojosa. Tune in to "CNN PRESENTS" this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern to see Maria Hinojosa's complete report. We call it "Immigration Nation, Divided Country," premiering Sunday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Coming up next, are we headed for another court battle -- a Supreme Court battle -- in Election 2004? David Boies represented Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 contested election. He joins us next.

And did Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards go too far? Their comments about Vice President Cheney's daughter during the so-called debates has sparked outrage and controversy. I'll be talking with Chrissy Gephardt, a leader in the gay and lesbian community and the daughter of another well-known political figure.

And Driven to Run: One man so dedicated to improving our public education, he's decided he has to run for Congress. We'll have his story for you.

And your thoughts, a great deal more as well, still ahead.


ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Here now for more news, debate and opinion, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: My next guest has unique insight, to say the least, into the problems plaguing our national voting system. Attorney David Boies represented Vice President Al Gore in the contested 2000 Florida recount before the Supreme Court, styled as Bush v. Gore. Now, four years later, he says many of the same problems persist and may face us as a nation.

Boies is the author of a new book "Courting Justice: From the New York Yankees v. Major League Baseball to Bush v. Gore, 1997 to 2000." David Boies who is not only a terrific attorney and one of the country's very best, but a heck of an author as well.


DOBBS: Good to have you here.

BOIES: Thank you. It's great to be here.

DOBBS: You've already been retained, have you not, to represent Senator Kerry?

BOIES: Down in Florida, yes, assuming that more litigation is necessary.

DOBBS: Night after night, we're reporting irregularities, claims of fraud, claims of irregularities at the least. What is your sense?

BOIES: Well, I think you've got many of the same ingredients that you had in 2000. You have what's going to be a very close hotly- contested election.

You have it probably coming down Florida again. Probably -- probably Kerry's Pennsylvania. Probably Bush-Kerry's Ohio, if it happens.

Then it goes down to Florida. And you have a very partisan election official down there who has replaced Katherine Harris, but, again, is using the power of that office...

DOBBS: Glenda Hood, the new secretary.

BOIES: ... exactly -- to help the Republicans.

DOBBS: Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio also a prominent in the Bush- Cheney campaign. The stage is set. And, by the way, there are Democratic heads as well in various other states, but the stage, as you're pointing out, is set for quite a conflict in and contest.

I have to ask you, as I've read your book, which I think is absolutely fascinating. The fact of the mater is, some of the things you say about the Supreme Court justices -- I'm thinking David Boies is back before the Supreme Court, and they're thinking, well, now Mr. Boies, you've just written something very interesting about Rehnquist, Scalia, even O'Connor. Did that occur to you as you were writing?

BOIES: Well, it's a critical book, and it criticizes what the court did, but I hope it does so respectfully. Judges don't always agree with lawyers; lawyers don't always agree with judges. And part of what we have to do, I think part of what we have a responsibility to do is when we see a decision that we think is wrong, is to try to explain why we think it's wrong.

DOBBS: The idea that this election being this tight, and as you suggest, if it could well come down to Florida. It could also come down to Ohio, a number of other states, including Wisconsin. New Mexico. Colorado. The list goes on. What is in your judgment, the historical test here? You argued very clearly in the Supreme Court for obviously a different interpretation than the Supreme Court followed. What do you think will be determined at this time?

BOIES: Well, I would hope that the Supreme Court would stay out of it this time, because up until the last election, the courts -- the Supreme Court had never intervened in a presidential election. They'd always left it up to the states to count the votes. This was the first time you had that kind of intervention, and I would hope that doesn't happen again, because I think if it does, it is very damaging to the country and I think it's very damaging to the court.

DOBBS: Let's take the prospect that it goes to the House of Representatives, which is Republican controlled and likely to be -- and in point in fact, likely to be more so as a result of the election, based on the projections right now. That obviously could change dramatically, but right now.

BOIES: I don't think it can go to the House of Representatives. It only goes to the House of Representatives, really, if you have a failure to get a majority of electoral votes. Somebody I think will get a majority of electoral votes.

DOBBS: I was just looking at two of the most recent shots, we're looking at 213 to 220, 218 to 207, and I was thinking...

BOIES: That's how close it is.

DOBBS: That's how close it is.

BOIES: That's how close it is.

DOBBS: You've written a fascinating book. The fact is that your career has canvassed a remarkable period. But the cases, whether it be Microsoft, whether it be the Yankees and protecting their -- protecting them from that awful revenue sharing system, Yankees' fans would see it that way I think. Microsoft, which became a monopolist by -- officially declared as such by our court system, but hardly punished. You've seen just about every major, major event and have been a principal participant in it over the course of time.

I am going to ask it this way. What do you expect to be the next pivotal nexus in our society that David Boies will be either drawn to or sought out for?

BOIES: Well, it's really hard to predict, and I have never been able to predict that. In the beginning of 2002, I'd never done a real serious corporate governance case, and in the space of six months, I was hired by the boards of both Tyco and Adelphia to go after the people who were running those corporations that had abused their...

DOBBS: In point of fact, not only representing, but the special investigator for the...

BOIES: Exactly.

DOBBS: ... for the unlawful acts that were committed by some of the officers of those companies.

BOIES: Right. And since then, I have done a lot of that kind of work. And yet, six months before I started, I never would have predicted it. The first libel case I ever handled was General Westmoreland against CBS. So one of the great things about my career is I have gone from one kind of case to another without ever really planing it.

DOBBS: Well, let's -- I think we all hope that David Boies, as wonderful an attorney, as bright a fellow as he is, is not drawn back into the election before the court system. Hopefully, the people will decide clearly and resoundingly.

BOIES: That would be my hope.

DOBBS: And it's a terrific read. Great book. I can't recommend it too highly. David Boies, thank you very much.

BOIES: Thank you very much, I appreciate it. DOBBS: New York's Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is suing the world's number one insurance broker. The suit accusing Marsh & McLennan of rigging its bidding process and misleading its customers. Spitzer said he would not talk to nor negotiate with the leadership of Marsh & McLennan. He said this investigation demonstrates what he calls the quote, "craven disregard for ethics and the law amongst some of our largest corporations."

This lawsuit also implicates many of the world's largest insurers.

Still ahead here, crossing the line, whether Senator Kerry went too far with some of his controversial comments about Vice President Cheney's daughter. Whether Senator Edwards' comments were coincidental. I'll be talking with Chrissy Gephardt, a well-respected voice in the gay and lesbian community.

And "Driven to Run," the story of an Ohio man so disgusted, so frustrated with the state of education in this country, that he decided to challenge the system and chose to run for a seat in Congress. We'll have his story next. Please stay with us.


DOBBS: More controversy, continuing outrage tonight over a comment made by Senator John Kerry during the last presidential so- called debate, following one made by Senator John Edwards, his running mate, in the vice-presidential so-called debate. When asked if he thought homosexuality was a choice, Senator John Kerry mentioned Vice President's Cheney lesbian daughter, Mary. In a statement yesterday, Senator Kerry said he was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with the issue.

Earlier, I talked with Chrissy Gephardt. She's the daughter of Congressman Dick Gephardt, a prominent voice in the gay and lesbian community. And I began by asking her if she thought it was an accident that both Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards raised the sexual orientation of Vice President Cheney's daughter in these so-called debates.


CHRISSY GEPHARDT, DICK GEPHARDT'S DAUGHTER: I think that John Edwards and John Kerry are just being honest about the struggles of the Cheney family.

You know, it's not a secret. This is not something that nobody knows about. Mary Cheney is an open, proud lesbian. And it's not as if they're revealing a family secret. If anything, I think that they are complimenting the Cheneys on dealing, and dealing quite well with such a tough issue in any family.

DOBBS: And the coincidence, if you will, of Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards raising Mary Cheney's sexual orientation, is there a tactic in that, do you think? GEPHARDT: Well, you know, there may be. There may be. I don't know. But I do think that, you know, because George Bush has made such a deal about gay marriage, you know, I think that we all have to keep in mind that Lynne and Dick Cheney have a gay daughter, and that George Bush's constitutional amendment directly affects the vice president's daughter.

And I think that's outrageous. I think that she's a human being. She's an American, just like everyone else. And she deserves dignity and respect, just like any other American.

And perhaps it is something that they brought up to draw attention to the American people that this is wrong. Gay marriage has been used completely as a wedge issue by this administration.

You know, Dick Cheney has even said that people should have the freedom to enter into any kind of relationship that they want to. But yet the president has proposed a constitutional amendment.

I see this as just a tactic to energize his right-wing base, to get them out to the polls because that's what their goal is, is to have as much turnout as they can, and I think that's what this is, it's a ploy to get the base out.

DOBBS: We thank you very much for being here. We appreciate it.

GEPHARDT: Thanks a lot.

DOBBS: Chrissy Gephardt, and that brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. The question: "Do you believe Senator Kerry's and Senator Edward's remarks about the vice president's daughter during the so-called debates were mere coincidences?" Yes or no, cast your vote at We'll bring you the results later here in the show.

Taking a look now at some your thoughts on this very subject.

Patricia Hendryx of Rhododendron, Oregon: "John Kerry introduced -- intruded on, rather, on Mary Cheney's privacy with a comment about her sexuality. It is her business and hers alone."

Jessie Malecki of Schenectady, New York: "What I cannot understand is when the vice presidential debate was held, Edwards talked about Cheney's lesbian daughter and Cheney thanked him for his comments. But when Kerry mentioned Mary Cheney, her parents were all bent out of shape."

And Aaron in Belmont, New Hampshire: "If the Cheneys' daughter was out of bounds for mention as part of the general public debate, then why did Mr. Cheney invoke her name earlier in the campaign. I'm disappointed in both campaigns trying to politicize such a divisive issue."

We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts to or Send you us your name and address. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a free copy of my new book, "Exporting America."

We conclude our series of special reports this week, all week long, we've been focusing on those "Driven to Run." A look at what in other respects are ordinary citizens frustrated by the political system and then deciding to challenge it directly.

Tonight we introduce you to Greg Harris. He's a former teacher from Ohio, so determined in his fight to save education that he felt compelled to run for office.

Bill Tucker reports from Cincinnati.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's a slight chill in the air and it's wet, but Greg Harris and volunteers are out seeking voters.


TUCKER: Talks about jobs, health care costs, and the importance of education.

HARRIS: Investments in education are the best job creation policy. They're the best anti-crime policy. They're the best cultural enrichment policy. When we talk about education, we're not just talking about one issue, we're talking about all of the social needs that are met by educating our citizens.

TUCKER: He points to another time of America's history when the opportunity for college was opened up to millions of veterans returning from World War II, with the G.I. Bill. Harris said a new commitment is needed to make education a priority. One of his key supporters, former Ohio Governor Jack Gilligan, says recognition of the obvious is also required.

JOHN GILLIGAN, FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: It used to be possible to educate kids in a one room schoolhouse with a chalkboard and an eraser. Now you need enormous amounts of equipment and well-trained teachers and so forth and so on. The expenses are extraordinary.

TUCKER: To encourage students to enter the teaching profession, Harris would like to turn their loans into grants in return for a commitment in the classroom. And he wants to downplay standardized tests which he argues missed the point.

HARRIS: Students who go to Taft High School right here in Over- the Rhine (ph), a poor school district, are taking these standardized tests. Students at Cincinnati Country Day School, that costs $15,000 a year, are taking these standardized tests. Do you think they are getting a poorer education? No, they just have better resources.

TUCKER (on camera): While education is not a primary topic at the national level, Davis (ph) believes that it should be, because, he says, it is an issue that voters can connect with.

(voice-over): Organized labor which supports Harris agrees.

DAN RADFORD, AFL-CIO: Education is the number one issue for decent, good paying jobs in a middle class way of life.

TUCKER: Meanwhile, Harris works the district for every vote he can earn one door at a time.

Bill Tucker, CNN, Cincinnati, Ohio.


DOBBS: Coming up next, Election Day fast approaching, for more on the last weeks of this race for the White House, I'll be joined by three of the country's top political journalists.

And in "Heroes" tonight, the remarkable story of a veteran returning, struggling to return to civilian life after fighting for his country in Iraq.

Stay with us.


Just over two weeks until the election. The latest Reuters/Zogby poll now shows President Bush with a 4-point lead over Senator Kerry. For more now, I am joined by three of the country's top political journalists. Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent, "TIME" magazine, Roger Simon, political editor, "U.S. News & World Report," Mark Warren here, not exactly a political journalist, I probably oversated that just a tad, but a terrific executive editor, a role that is his at "Esquire" magazine.

Good to have you here.

Let me start, if I may, with you, Karen. The first -- let's start with three debates, which so many in the media declared, at least, Senator Kerry won, in most cases handily. And now in the Zogby poll he's 4 points behind?

KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME": But a lot of other polls have shown him dead even, and other ones even a point or two ahead. What these debates have done is really, I think, at least for now, changed the dynamic of this race. Because don't forget going in to the debates, Senator Kerry was being all but written off. He was 11 points behind in our poll. Maybe we all follow these things a little bit too closely.

But he very badly needed to do something dramatic, and I don't think we've seen this big of a change in the overall dynamic of a race maybe since 1980 as a result of debates.

DOBBS: Roger, do you agree?

ROGER SIMON, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Yes. I think the debates have had an impact. I think overall, judging by polls, by focus groups, by anecdotal evidence (UNINTELLIGIBLE) reporting, that these debates have diminished George Bush and enhanced can John Kerry.

DOBBS: I guess what I'm really asking here, though, Roger, is not whether they have had an impact, but that the Zogby poll, which has been the most accurate poll over the course of the last three elections, the tightness that's reflected in the other major polls, isn't it surprising that he isn't in a better position?

SIMON: Well, no, as Karen pointed out, after George Bush's convention, John Kerry was 11 points down in the "TIME" magazine poll. He was 8 points down in another poll. Now we're five weeks later and the race is basically dead even. That didn't happen on its own. That happened because I think people watched the debates, and more importantly, where John Kerry has made his greatest ground is among persuadable and undecided voters. And those are the type of people who usually decide elections.

DOBBS: And Mark, let me ask you this, the Mary Cheney controversy that has arisen as a result of both Senator Kerry, Senator Edwards bringing up her name in the so-called debates, what do you make of it?

MARK WARREN, "ESQUIRE": Well, it is required at this point in the campaign for too much to be made of it and so consequently too much is being made of it. As odd as it was -- and it's clearly tactical on their part for bringing it up, as odd as it was to do it, it isn't as if Mary Cheney has eschewed politics and is writing novels somewhere. She is essential to her father's campaign and strangely, Vice President Cheney did compliment -- thanked rather Senator Edwards for his words last week and now this week, he wants to beat Senator Kerry up.

DOBBS: Well, I think in fairness, we should point out, when he said thank you, it was with the first reference. The second reference as they say once, you know -- shame on you.

WARREN: True enough. I suspect that there's very little true feeling here on either side here though. I believe it is all tactical.

DOBBS: Do you agree, Karen?

TUMULTY: Well, first of all, I have been trying to figure out all week long whether it was tactical to bring her name in to it a second time and people who are close to Senator Kerry have suggested to me that they saw a discomfort on him, a rare in these debates, discomfort when the question was raised. And that they sort of think he was sort of reaching back somewhere into his brain and this is what came out. So I think overall if you were to ask, if you were to administer truth serum to people in the Kerry campaign right now, they'd wish that he hadn't done it because otherwise we would be talking about some of the things George Bush had said during that debate.

DOBBS: And Roger?

SIMON: I think this is such a tempest in a tea bag. I don't understand what all of the shouting is about.

DOBBS: Let me tell you. The shouting is amazing. Our e-mails are flooded from our straight audience, from our gay audience, from our liberal audience, our conservative audience. I mean this issue is driving them nuts!

SIMON: Well, that's bad news for John Kerry because I thought he made a rather innocent comment. I thought he was trying to be complimentary and doing exactly what his vice president running mate was doing.

DOBBS: When I say driving them nuts I mean they're representing all sorts of viewpoints here. It's not just one side or the other. But it has really hit a nerve with a disparate, diverse audience from all walks of life.

SIMON: As Mark pointed out, John Kerry was hardly outing Mary Cheney. She used to be in charge of gay and lesbian outreach for Coors Beer. She had a similar position with the Bush/Cheney campaign. And he was saying, you know, it's good that she's living the kind of life she ought to live.

TUMULTY: But could I say, I do not think given their druthers the Kerry campaign would be talking about gay marriage right now. There were some real openings that George Bush gave them in that debate that they would rather be talking about. His recollection that he had never said he was not concerned -- that he was unconcerned about Osama bin Laden, when he had. When he was suggesting bringing flu vaccine in from Canada when the debate before he was saying Canadian drugs were unsafe. These are the kinds of things the Kerry campaign would much rather be talking about right now.

DOBBS: And having lost that opportunity, can they really without the benefit of the debates now, marshal national opinion and attention really on those issues in your judgment, Mark?

WARREN: Well, certainly they will. First thing they have to do is stop talking about this. It was a mistake for Mrs. Edwards to make her comment yesterday I believe. It's prolonging the issue and the White House is probably really happy about that.

DOBBS: And with that said, Roger, let's turn to a couple of the issues right now. We're looking now at just about two weeks. Do you expect to see a significant shift, one way or the other, for either of these candidates in the two weeks ahead? Or will it be as close as many polls suggest right now?

SIMON: I think it's absolutely unpredictable. This is the part of the campaign that is usually just the safest, both candidates fall back on their stump speeches and try not to make any mistakes, but after the last debate I talked to Karl Rove and he said absolutely not. They can't do that. George Bush is going to be talking about substantive things and judging by their own polling they have to admit for the first time that there is the possibility, not the probability, not the likelihood, but the possibility that George Bush could lose unless they are very proactive in these last 18 days. DOBBS: And we were just now looking if I may say, point out to those pictures you were looking at, and in which I would like you to see now, this obviously Senator Kerry. He's campaigning in Wisconsin, as is the president of the United States tonight. Sheboygan, Wisconsin, it's going to be a while apparently before he steps to the podium there. He is running a little late there. But Senator Kerry, President Bush working hard to garner those votes in Wisconsin. I want to say, Mark, Karen, Roger, thank you all three. Wish you a good weekend as we close in on election day.

Now, heroes our salute to the men and women who protect us and this country. Tonight, the inspiring story of Matt Randle. He's a former army medic. He faced some unexpected challenges at home after completing his tour of duty in Iraq. Casey Wian has his story from Tucson, Arizona.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all comes from the first amendment.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former army medic Matt Randle has gone from the battlefield to the classroom. He joined the military as a junior in high school at 17. Now, after serving in Iraq, he's on a new mission with a new perspective.

MATTHEW RANDLE, FMR. ARMY MEDIC: We went over there without a question in our mind. We would never be sent into harm's way unless it was absolutely necessary, and I don't know that I feel that way anymore.

WIAN: Randle was about to be discharged when the war broke out. He didn't want to see his buddies go without him and so he re-upped and found himself on the front lines going into Baghdad. While he treated wounded soldiers, his family back home was left to fight battles of its own.

RANDLE: My mom suffered from clinical depression pretty badly. She had to be hospitalized. She wouldn't eat. She wouldn't get out of bed. I had at the time 15-year-old sister who was trying to fend for herself in high school.

WIAN: Randle completed his tour of duty and then returned to another tough job, caring for his mother.

RANDLE: Once I'm home, I become the primary caretaker because she's not married and I am her oldest next of kin and so another responsibility. It was pretty crazy a little bit when I came home. Pretty tough.

WIAN: Still, he enrolled in community college. Professor Ed Berger's class on understanding terrorism sparked a personal transformation.

RANDLE: I initially signed up for the class because I said, well, that'll be an easy A. I know a little something about that. And I probably sat quietly in that class for the first five or six weeks. Just amazed at the amount of knowledge that regular college kids had about something that I had a lot of experience with, I had very little knowledge about.

WIAN: Berger's class has so inspired Randle, he's now aiming for a college degree in international relations. With his mom better, he hopes to use his military experience for career in public service. Casey Wian, CNN, reporting.


DOBBS: Coming up next, we'll have the results of tonight's poll. Please stay with us.


DOBBS: Now the results of tonight's poll. 70 percent of you responding that you believe Senator Kerry's and Senator Edwards' remarks about Vice President Cheney's daughter during the debates. 30 percent do not. Thanks for being with us tonight.

Monday Ralph Nader will be here. We hope you will be as well. For all of us here have a very pleasant weekend. Good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next.


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