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'New York Times' Endorses Kerry; Gunfire, Explosions Reported in Fallujah

Aired October 17, 2004 - 07:00   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: With just over two weeks to go until election day, we have some new poll numbers for you. Plus a key endorsement from "The New York Times."
From the CNN Center in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING. It is 7:00 a.m. here on the east and 4:00 a.m. out West. Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Betty Nguyen. Thanks so much for being with us today.

Now in the news, gunfire and explosions are reported in Fallujah hours after last night's air strike on a terrorist checkpoint in the northern part of the city. Witnesses say U.S. tanks are in the battle, as American ground forces fight insurgents armed with mortars and rocket propelled grenades. There are no casualty reports just yet.

Secretary of State Colin Powell is off to Asia on Friday with stops scheduled in Japan, China, and South Korea. Powell will meet with senior leaders of those countries to talk about regional security, the war on terror, North Korea's nuclear program, and the ongoing war in Iraq.

Pierre Salinger has died of a heart attack at his home in southern France. A one time San Francisco newspaper reporter, Salinger was press secretary to President John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and later was chief European correspondent for ABC News. Pierre Salinger was 79 years old.

HARRIS: And here's what we have coming up for this hour. Don't shop until you drop. Female activists are hoping women nationwide will take that message to heart. We'll tell you why.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once I'm home, I become the primary caretaker. If you're not married, the oldest next of kin, so it was another -- it was pretty crazy little bit there when I came home. It was pretty tough.


HARRIS: Hmm, and we will bring you the story of a young veteran of the Iraq War on a new mission as he copes with life off the battlefield.

Also coming up, it is as American as well, you know the rest. Apple pie is the subject of a new book. The author joins us live.

NGUYEN: Now to our top story this hour. A big time endorsement in the hotly contested presidential race. "The New York Times" has thrown its support behind Senator John Kerry, saying the presidential race is mostly about George Bush's disastrous tenure.

"The Times" said in part, "We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role. And time and again, he chose he wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better."

Well, two new polls show the presidential race is still a virtual tie 16 days before election day. A new "Newsweek" poll of likely voters shows President Bush is favored by 50 percent to Senator Kerry's 45 percent.

And a "TIME" magazine poll has Bush with a two point lead over Kerry among likely voters. But when you factor in the margins of error in both polls, the race is a statistical dead heat.

HARRIS: Meantime, a new issue has needled its way onto the campaign trail -- the lack of flu vaccine in the U.S. People are packing clinics across the country, as federal health officials say the vaccine supply has been cut in half. That's because they can't insure the safety of a major batch of vaccine that was intended for the U.S. market.

In the final presidential debate, George Bush urged healthy Americans not to get flu shots this year. He says it is now a matter of priority, making sure that people most at risk of getting sick are the ones who get vaccinated.

Now to the campaign trail today. John Kerry attends church this morning in Columbus, Ohio. Then he heads south to Florida.

CNN's Ed Henry is covering the Kerry campaign in the Buckeye state. He joins us from Columbus. Good morning, Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. That's right, in these final 16 days of the campaign, the final stretch, John Kerry really wants to zero in on the domestic agenda that is mostly included the economy, health care, jobs, education.

He's been hitting those issues over and over here in the Midwest. Some of these key battleground states like Ohio, that has 20 electoral votes.

But as you mentioned, this flu vaccine controversy has now been added to the list. John Kerry's campaign yesterday unveiled a new ad. They rolled it out. And it's accusing the Bush administration of mishandling the situation that has now resulted in the nation facing a shortfall of about 48 million flu vaccines.

The Bush campaign counters that John Kerry as a senator has voted against increasing vaccine production, and that he's the last person who should be attacking the president.

But at a rally yesterday here in Ohio, that did not stop John Kerry from really going on the attack over this issue, saying that it is symbolic, a metaphor of other problems created by the Bush administration.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Even after a year of warning signs that something was wrong, even after warnings that we were vulnerable to shortages, what's that sound like? Sounds like the policy on Enron and Halliburton. And now, now he tells healthy Americans not to get their flu shots. What's that sound like? Sounds like his health care plan. Pray you don't get sick, right?


HENRY: John Kerry wakes up this morning to the endorsements of two big newspapers. As you mentioned, "New York Times," as well as "The Boston Globe." Not unexpected, though, that "The New York Times" would endorse him. Also "The Boston Globe" obviously being his hometown paper in a Democratic state, Massachusetts. But he's still wakes up with those endorsements. The campaign is feeling good. They feel like they have some momentum. They feel that John Kerry won the three presidential debates.

And this morning, as you mentioned, he will be attending church services here at this Baptist church in just a few hours. And we're told by his campaign, he will be hitting yet another domestic issue -- the future of Social Security -- Tony?

HARRIS: Ed Henry, reporting live from Columbus, Ohio this morning. Ed, thank you.

NGUYEN: President Bush is taking a break from the campaign trail. He's spending the day at the White House. While campaigning in Florida yesterday, though, the president accused Senator Kerry of using scare tactics by suggesting Bush would bring back to the draft. The president insists the Army will remain all volunteer under his administration.

And CNN's Elaine Quijano is covering the Bush campaign. We'll have a live report from the White House next hour.

Which leads us to our e-mail question this morning. Has the debates helped you decide who to vote for? Send us your responses. Our address is And we'll read your replies throughout the program.

HARRIS: In the air and on the ground this morning's Iraq hot spot is Fallujah. The city west of Baghdad is now believed to be a terrorist headquarters. U.S. forces have been waging an air campaign to root out militants associated with master terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

And after last night's air strikes on a suspected terrorist checkpoint, a ground battle erupted. U.S. tanks are pounding insurgent positions on the eastern edge of Fallujah. The rebels are firing back with mortar rounds, rocket propelled grenades, and with machine guns.

In Baghdad, the bombing of five churches this weekend is adding to fears among Christians and could accelerate their exodus from Iraq.

CNN's Brent Sadler reports from the Iraqi capitol.


BRENT SADLER, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): St. George's Roman Catholic Church, Baghdad, one of five churches blasted by powerful bombs, gutted by fire but no casualties, the latest in a series of attacks on Iraqi Christians. In August, though, car bombers struck four other churches in the capital, killing 12 people and injuring 61 others.

Fear is cumulative. Anguish is mounting. Last month, the machine gun slaying of seven men sent shutters through Iraq's dwindling communities of Christian believers. Part of a systematic and brutal campaign, they say, perpetrated by suspected Islamic extremists.

"Yes, there's fear," says this mourner. "There's worry and there's immigration and escape."

Between 10 and 30,000 Iraqi Christians are reported to have left the country in 18 months of killings and bombings.

(on camera): Christians make up a tiny fraction, just three percent of Iraq's majority Muslim population. Many are now running scared from attacks like this, fleeing communities where they say they could once practice their faith in peace.

(voice-over): Now, Christians face escalating hostility from hard line Islamic groups who accuse them of being sympathetic to western occupiers. Amma (ph), a Christian too afraid to reveal his identity, quit his job with westerners after a death threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I found a notice paper in the garage. Its contents, a warning not to deal or work with Americans and Jews.

SADLER: It's not just their faith that's under attack, their very way of life, too. Christian owners of liquor stores have been attacked. Music stores bombed. The way women dress harshly criticized or punished. Mounting pressure also to renounce their religion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's written in the threat, be a Muslim, you will be safe.

SADLER: But for many Christians, to stay and survive in Iraq today is no longer a sensible option. They say they're afraid and exposed. Many more wanting to leave because there's no reliable security to protect them.

Brent Sadler, CNN, Baghdad.


HARRIS: It is all about the power of the purse and women coming together.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a powerful way of just demonstrating to the world that, you know what? We are neglected, but we are powerful consumers.


HARRIS: They want women to just say no to spending for one day. Find out why here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

NGUYEN: Plus, he went to Iraq when he was only 17 and it changed the course of his life forever. A soldier's story when we come back.

HARRIS: Plus, get your pencils out. Here are recipes for traditional all American apple pie.


NGUYEN: Well, good morning, Washington, D.C. The flags blowing in the wind this morning. Your forecast for today's Million Worker March, that is coming up. You're looking at a live shot at the White House.

However, events kick off at the Lincoln Memorial at 10:30. Guest speakers include actor Danny Glover, comedian and activist Dick Gregory, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Some of the other stories making headlines this Sunday morning. Twisted medal, shattered glass, dozens of injuries. A traffic nightmare along a highway outside Baltimore on Saturday. More than 90 vehicles, that's right, 90 crashed in 17 separate accidents. 50 people were hurt. A fast moving sleet storm apparently triggered those crashes.

HARRIS: In sports, the Yankees are going for a sweep tonight in the American League Championship Series. Who would have predicted that at the beginning of this thing? New York put on a record breaking show Saturday with a 19 to 8 whoopin' over the Boston Red Sox. 19 runs. That's a post season record for the Yanks, as well as a league championship record.

In the National League, the Houston Astros are making some headway in their series with the St. Louis Cardinals. How 'bout the old man Roger Clemens pitching the Astros to a 5 to 2 win yesterday in game 3 of the NL championship series? The Cards are still up in the series two games to 1. It is a phrase you've heard repeatedly. American as apple pie, this tasty dish is without question an icon. So what's the big deal? We're talking about apple pie here. Why are we so fascinated with apples baked in pie crust? Coming up live in about five minutes here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING, the author of "Apple Pie: An American Story," John T. Edge.

NGUYEN: Well, in our series on heroes this morning, the personal story of a young Army war veteran. He went into the military as a teenager and came out as a man. Change by experiences on the frontlines and on the home front.

CNN's Casey Wian has the 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.


NGUYEN: And we bring you the story of a true hero every week right here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING. Tony?

HARRIS: Politics and journalism, the two fields are sometimes at odds, but Pierre Salinger rose to prominence in both of them. Salinger died Saturday at a hospital near his home in France. He was press secretary to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and was also chief foreign correspondent for ABC News. Salinger's wife tells "The Washington Post" they left the U.S. because her husband opposed George W. Bush's presidency. Pierre Salinger was 79.


HARRIS: Well, this election season has been one of the bitterest and most divisive in recent memory. Perhaps a sweet reminder of what unites us as Americans is in order. And nothing says America quite like apple pie.

For generations, it has been an icon of everything that is good and simple about the U.S. Award winning food writer John T. Edge went from coast to coast to uncover the truth about apple pie. Discovered a recipe for the Democratic ideal. That experience is the subject of his new book, "Apple Pie: An American Story."

John T. Edge is the director of Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. And he joins us this morning from New Orleans.

John, good to see you.

JOHN T. EDGE, "APPLE PIE: AN AMERICAN STORY": It's my pleasure to be with you.

HARRIS: Well, John, you found a recipe for the democratic ideal. Can you find all that in a slice of apple pie?

EDGE: You can. I mean, this is one of the foods that we embrace from the Atlanta to the Pacific. This is one of those foods that conjures hearth and home. It conjures childhood memories.

And it's also one of the foods that I found that as I travel from coast to coast, it varies. You drive a couple counties over and apple pie changes. What someone thinks of apple pie changes, based on locale and based on local products.

It comes to be a symbol for that heterogeneity of American experience. HARRIS: Well, John, give us a sense of what you found as you traveled from coast to coast. How does the experience of apple pie differ from region to region?

EDGE: Well, let's say you're in New Mexico and you happen to be in Albuquerque. You'd meet a gentleman named Senor Pie, who because Albuquerque is this great place where you find green chiles, he puts a little green chile in his pie. And it kind of sneaks across your palate. It doesn't whop you upside the head. It's got some heat to it. But he puts a little green chile in it. He makes it even more of New Mexico when he does it.

If you go up into the Northeast into New England, you might encounter something called Marlboro Pie, which is goosed with a little bit of sherry and made with shredded apples.

All these are still apple pies. They still recognize what the canonic apple pie is, but the variations bespeak place, bespeak individual bakers.

HARRIS: And John, you got to goose it with something, right? You...

EDGE: You got to goose everything.

HARRIS: Goose it with something. And what was that iconic moment, if you can sort of paint that picture for us of when the apple pie moved from sort of -- well when it moved into the mainstream, it became more than just dessert?

EDGE: Well, you know, we think about apple pie as not even an American institution or invention. You know, it's an English invention, arguably. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin," said that "apple pie is an English institution, which planted on American soil forthwith, ran rampant and burst forth into untold genera (ph) and species."

It's a florid way of saying we didn't come up with it, but we embraced it as our own. And I think the period in which apple pie becomes distinctly American is at that time when America's becoming ascendant throughout the world. It's the time when we're kind of co- opting the industrial revolution. It's the time when I found a German sociologist who said that on the shoals of roast beef and apple pie, socialistic utopias founder. You know, it became the synonym of prosperity in America.

HARRIS: Yes. All this and apple pie, huh?

EDGE: I think too deep sometimes, but I eat deep, too.

HARRIS: Well, John, it's good to see you. You've written two books. "Fried Chicken" and then "Apple Pie." What's next for you?

EDGE: Hamburgers and Fries, followed by Donuts.

HARRIS: OK, John T. Edge and donuts. Good to see you this morning.

EDGE: My pleasure to be with you.

HARRIS: I'm going to dig into this slice of apple pie and see if I can find some of the democratic ideal. Good to see, John.

EDGE: Thanks.

NGUYEN: Well, you better save me a piece of that apple pie.

EDGE: Absolutely.

NGUYEN: Boy, that sounds pretty good this time of the morning.



NGUYEN: Reading, writing, arithmetic. The candidates' stands on the three R's comes into focus as the campaign winds down. We want to welcome you back. I'm Betty Nguyen.

HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. That story in a minute.

First, headlines at this hour. They are leaving by the busload. More than 200 detainees have been freed this morning from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. It is the latest in a series of releases from the prison in the wake of the prisoner abuse scandal involving U.S. troops.

Is the world safer because of the Iraq War? U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says it is not. Annan tells a British TV network this morning the war has done little to halt terrorism around the world or boost security.

And finally, remembering Pierre Salinger, who died Saturday near his home in France. Salinger was press secretary to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and he also served as chief foreign correspondent for ABC News. Salinger was 79.

NGUYEN: John Kerry may not get much help from Bill Clinton in this final sprint for the White House. "The Washington Post" says the former president's recuperation from heart surgery is going slower than he had expected. "The Post" reports Clinton will likely make just a few cameo appearances on behalf of Senator Kerry. And even that's not a sure thing, according to Clinton friends.

Each week at this time, we bring you an in-depth look at some of the major issues facing voters this election year. And today, we want to turn our focus to education and Social Security, two issues that have taken a back seat to terrorism and the economy.

Here's CNN's Bob Franken.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One would think that the president's No Child Left Behind education reform would make a few waves in this time of no voter left behind, but one would be wrong. It's just an occasional ripple. After all, John Kerry backed the legislation. However...

KERRY: Two months after the law was signed, this administration started to break its promise by shortchanging the law by $27 billion. Millions of children have been left behind.

FRANKEN: Local officials complain they get little financial help with this major accountability exercise, as they scramble to avoid the dunce list of schools whose students don't pass their proficiency tests.

Kerry says he would provide $200 billion federal dollars over 10 years for education, with $30 billion earmarked for teacher training and incentives.

The Bush education secretary contends that No Child Left Behind has put students and teachers ahead.

ROD PAIGE, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: We could either build on these achievements, or we can return to the days of excuses and indifference. Our opponents supported for no child left behind. Now they try to attack it.

FRANKEN: Other differences -- Kerry would expand after school programs and expand tuition tax credits for college for most households. The president has proposed cuts for after school programs, while offering a slight increase in grants for low income college students.

Still in all, educating the youngsters has not really been a burning issue. Out of the other end of life, there have been a few political sparks over to provide for senior citizens or how not to.

KERRY: Let me make it clear. I will never privatize Social Security ever.

FRANKEN: The president does support allowing workers to use some of their Social Security payments for private investment.

Kerry cites a study, which charges that would mean hundreds of millions in new profits for the financial services industry, which happens to be one of the major Bush-Cheney campaign contributors.

But the president argues nowadays, Americans need to have some control over their retirement.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe younger workers ought to be able to take some of their own money and set up a personal savings account that earns better interest than the Social Security trust.

FRANKEN: The polls indicate that voter confidence in Bush and Kerry is just about evenly divided on most domestic issues with Bush ahead on education, but it's often difficult to discern their differences.

(on camera): Education, all the candidates are for it. Protecting retirement benefits, ditto. And now, it's back to the wars.

Bob Franken, CNN, Washington.


HARRIS: Well, one of the major battleground states in next month's election is Pennsylvania. So what are the key issues in the Keystone State? We will find out when two Pennsylvania lawmakers join us live here on CNN SUNDAY MORNING.

But first, it has been a year and a half, 18 months, since the fall of Saddam Hussein. In that time, many ordinary Iraqis have grown disenchanted and mistrustful of U.S. motives.

Our Baghdad bureau chief has been gauging the mood of arrested people.


JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Hi, I'm Jane Arraf in Iraq. It won't come as a surprise to many people that Iraqis view American foreign policy with a very deep distrust.

There was a brief honeymoon after the war, when a lot of Iraqis were grateful that the United States had rid them of Saddam Hussein, but it hasn't eclipsed the memory of all those years that the United States supported Saddam. And it hasn't overshadowed the belief here that the U.S. came in for its own purposes, to secure its oil supply. Iraqis say one thing the U.S. will never understand is that until policy changes towards Israel, nobody here, no matter how many good works the U.S. does, will ever be grateful. They will never get credit for it because of what people here and in the region see as unwavering U.S. support for Israel, no matter what.

One of my favorite quotes was from a woman I talked to, who was waiting in line for cooking fuel. And she said, "We want a democracy, but we changed our minds. Now all we want is fuel and bread. And we want the Americans to leave." And there's a belief here, a fear, that no matter how grateful they are to the U.S., no matter how happy they were to have the forces here, that they will never leave.



NGUYEN: In gambling, blackjack 21 wins the prize. But in presidential politics, well, Pennsylvania's 21 electoral college votes are a very big jackpot. Al Gore won the battleground state in 2000 by a mere 4 percent.

Pennsylvania is over 80 percent white and over 13 percent African-American and Hispanic.

The textbook definition of keystone is something that provides a critical level of support. But Pennsylvania's so critical in presidential politics, it's fitting that it be called the keystone state. The past few Sundays, we have been focusing on battleground states in this year's election. And this morning, our focus is of course on Pennsylvania.

We're joined now by state representatives Jeff Coleman, a Republican. He's in Pittsburgh. And Democrat Thomas Petrone, who is in Philadelphia.

Good morning to you both.


REP. THOMAS PETRONE (D), PENNSYLVANIA STATE HOUSE: Good morning. Good to be with you.

NGUYEN: Well, Representative Coleman, let's start with you. As we just mentioned, we've been talking to representatives throughout the show over the past few weeks about their issues, what the people of their state want to know from these candidates.

So as we direct this one to you, what is of most concern to the constituents?

COLEMAN: Well, I think broadly, Pennsylvania's economy and the economic recovery we're experiencing all throughout Pennsylvania is a major issue. But I think a little more closely when you're looking at Pennsylvania, you have to look at the values grid of.

What people are talking about in my district are things like the right to keep and bear arms, the protection of traditional marriage. Those are issues that are playing essentially in the heartland of Pennsylvania. And I think it's often a mistake when people lump Pennsylvania in with kind of the traditional northeastern liberal states, when really Pennsylvania minus Philadelphia is more or less a heartland state, a little closer in its politics to Ohio and West Virginia.

NGUYEN: Representative Petrone, what are the issues that people of your state are telling you? Is it not a liberal state that shouldn't be lumped in like Representative Coleman just said?

PETRONE: I wouldn't agree with that, but I would say that our people in Pennsylvania are looking for a safe, predictable, secure future.

We're going through the throes of a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) economy. The loss of U.S. Air is hurting us tragically with the possible loss of 15,000 jobs. We have many seniors in our state who are worried about Social Security. They're worried about accessible health care. Our parents are worrying about the cost of education, which is skyrocketing. These are all critical issues that have to be addressed by whoever is the president. NGUYEN: Want to stay with you for a moment there, Representative Petrone. Now you mention a lot of domestic issues. What about the war in Iraq? How does that rank?

PETRONE: I'm sorry, Betty?

NGUYEN: I was asking about the war in Iraq. How does that rank among the people of your state? Is that a major concern or is it mainly domestic issues?

PETRONE: No, I would say it's domestic issue, you know.

NGUYEN: Representative Coleman, do you agree, though?

COLEMAN: No, this is a pretty patriotic state. And there are a lot of sons and daughters of Pennsylvania in harm's way. And you can see by 22,000 people turning out to support the president in Erie, 14,000 people in Allentown, a traditionally Democratic community.

What is driving and motivating these people to turn out in such huge numbers is patriotism. It's support for this president and the commander in chief -- as the commander in chief.

NGUYEN: And on the issue of health care, which Representative Petrone just mentioned, how does the constituents -- what are they saying to you about health care and the needs in that state?

COLEMAN: Well, one of the reasons that the race in Pennsylvania is in play, and why you're seeing a statistical two point or a point dead heat between Senator Kerry and President Bush is really because of the issue of medical malpractice. There's a great concern in Pennsylvania that we're losing good doctors, orthopedic surgeons, OB/GYNs. And it's those cholera counties, the suburbs of Philadelphia, that in addition, you're combining that with conservative Pittsburgh, conservative -- the conservative T in the heart of Pennsylvania is making Pennsylvania pretty competitive.

People don't want to lose their doctors. They want a quality affordable health care, but they want to make sure they have a skilled physician available to treat their family member or themselves if they're in trouble.

And President Bush is the only candidate that is signed on to an aggressive plan to reform Pennsylvania and America's medical system.

NGUYEN: Affordability obviously is key. Representative Petrone, do you believe that President has the plan for this? Or is Kerry's plan a bit better?

PETRONE: Well, I haven't heard anything clear-cut from President Bush regarding this situation at the present time. It is very critical and of a big concern to our people.

Regarding the Iraq War, Betty, let me show you. This is a picture of me in front of the St. George Hotel in Beirut in 1956. We are sowing the seeds that we planted in our foreign policy in the Middle East from the '50s. That's what we're sowing today, sadly.

This country and this city was destroyed not too many years after I was there. We have got to change our attitudes about the rest of the world. We can't guarantee freedom for one people and not for another. We can't guarantee liberty and all of the wonderful things that our constitution guarantees for one part of the world and not the other.

NGUYEN: All right.

PETRONE: This is what we are about.

NGUYEN: Well, as we run out of time this morning, I want to give you both equal time here. What is the message from Pennsylvania to these candidates? And Representative Petrone, let's start with you.

PETRONE: I just hope whoever's president, when they wake them up in the middle of the night and say what do we do, he had the right answer.

These are troubling times. These are trying times for the -- not only for Pennsylvania, but for all of our country. And we have to calmly find deliberate ways out of the problems that we're suffering at the present time.

NGUYEN: And I'll give you the last word, Representative Coleman.

COLEMAN: Well, I agree with my colleague. These are difficult and troubling times for Pennsylvania and for America, but we have a steady, strong commander in chief that has proven through consistency and through core convictions that he is the right man for the next four years.

NGUYEN: All right, Representative Coleman, Representative Petrone, we thank you so much for your insight on the state of Pennsylvania this morning. Thank you.

COLEMAN: It's been a pleasure.

PETRONE: Thank you.


HARRIS: Well, are you a woman who likes to shop until you drop? Well, one group has a message for you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We influence what they buy. So definitely, I'd be willing to do it.


HARRIS: And here's a quick look at the morning's headlines in Iraq. U.S. forces pound Fallujah. U.S. tanks hit insurgent positions in a heavy firefight with guerrillas. The Iraqi government is demanding that insurgents hand over master terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi or face a major offensive. Senator John Kerry picks up high profile newspaper endorsement in "The New York Times" and "The Boston Globe." The Democratic presidential candidate campaigns in the key swing states of Ohio and Florida today.

Former Kennedy and Johnson press secretary and ABC News correspondent Pierre Salinger has died. He suffered a heart attack at his home in France. Pierre Salinger was 79.

NGUYEN: All right, if American women are the ultimate consumers, can they go all day Tuesday, cold turkey without buying anything they don't really need? Hmm, that's a tough one.

Well, the woman in New York is pushing the buycott, as they call it, to make a point about equality in the workplace.

CNN's Jason Carroll has the story.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prada, Dior, Burberry, Joan Salar gives new credence to the term "shop 'til you drop."


CARROLL: But this Tuesday, she's giving the credit cards as break, in order to help prove a point, that in more ways than one, women are a critical part of the economy.

JOAN SALAR, SHOPPER: Anything for, you know, the strength of women. And I think we are the ones who set the tones, because even for our spouses or significant others, we influence what they buy. So definitely, I'd be willing to do it.

CARROLL: Salar is joining other women in support of Buycott, a day in which its creator, Janet Hansen, hopes women nationwide won't buy anything.

JANET HANSEN, CEO, BROADS: We're hoping that on October 19th, women will choose that day to not buy any non-essential goods, so that they can reflect on their enormous purchasing power, which so far has not translated into economic power in the workplace.

CARROLL: Statistics show more than 80 percent of all purchases are either made or influenced by women, but less than 15 percent of top executives in Fortune 500 companies are women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, that looks really nice on the fingernails, too.

CARROLL: Christy Kang grew frustrated with the corporate world and left. Now Kang runs her own business. KRISTIE KANG, OWNER, LOTUS SPA: Good morning, Lotus Spa.

CARROLL: She thinks Buycott is a good idea.

KANG: That is a powerful way of just demonstrating to the world that, you know what? We are neglected, but we are powerful consumers.

CARROLL: Buycott's critics worry that some of the businesses that could be hurt by the demonstration are owned by women.

So come Tuesday, Deepha Goella will not buycott.

DEEPHA GOELLA, SHOPPER: I don't think that's going to make a difference for women and their position in the world just by shopping.

CARROLL: Hansen says Buycott is not about being economically hostile. It's about companies finding ways of thanking women who buy by promoting women who work for them.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


HARRIS: Interesting exercise.

NGUYEN: Cold turkey.

HARRIS: Cold turkey.

NGUYEN: Just for one day, though.


NGUYEN: So I think some women may be able to handle it.

HARRIS: Oh, yes.

NGUYEN: It's could be hard, though. Very hard.

HARRIS: Got to tell you, we've been getting some interesting e- mail comments from you this morning. You're up early and working the computer. We appreciate it. We'll read a few of those after the break.

NGUYEN: But we do want to say good morning to Washington, D.C. Want to give you a live picture now of the capitol there and the White House with the flag blowing in the wind.

Rob Marciano will have the forecast straight ahead. So stick around.


HARRIS: Well, there was once a man who planted a seed. It spouted some leaves. Well, he pulled the weeds. One day, there appeared something totally new. A tiny little gourd that grew and grew and grew. With water and care by leaps and by bounds, it soon tipped the scales at more than 500 pounds.

Now it's a wonder to all passers-by, who gawk at the board and think pumpkin pie.

NGUYEN: Where did that accent come from?

HARRIS: Seuss. Dr. Seuss.

NGUYEN: I get a little nervous here.


NGUYEN: Maybe you guys -- a couple personalities in there.

HARRIS: They're pretty, they're pretty. But you know what?

NGUYEN: That thing was huge.

HARRIS: You know, I feel like I took a little bit of a beating with the apple pie. It was so good. It was so good.


HARRIS: A lot of e-mails this morning. We were asking the question of whether or not the debates helped you frame your discussion in your mind and maybe helped you come to a decision about who you might vote for.

We have a couple of e-mails we're going to share with you. First, from Eddy. And he's in Cuyahoga Park, Ohio. "I watched all three presidential debates. I was undecided until then. I cannot understand why everyone says Kerry won."

NGUYEN: And we have Steve from Austin, Texas who writes, "No, three debates did not make a difference in my decision. Four years of CheneyRoveBush was enough to convince me to vote for Kerry."

And of course, we want to get your responses all morning long on our e-mail question of the day. All you have to do is send those in to and we'll read them on the air.


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