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AMERICAN MORNING

Latest Developments with Kerry Campaign; Alan Keyes Discusses Race for U.S. Senate Against Barack Obama

Aired October 19, 2004 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
Turning up the heat with only 14 days to go. A very close election, and it shows in every word the candidates say. They're already voting in many states. Next come the lawyers.

Also, severe shootings in the flu vaccine, and we know that. But all right there other drugs you could take to stay flu-free this winter?

And that bloop hit that's now a monster shot for David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox. Going back to New York on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ANNOUNCER: From Water Tower Park, next to the campus of Loyola University in Chicago, this is AMERICAN MORNING on the road with Bill Hemmer and Soledad O'Brien.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning.

Welcome back, everybody.

We are joining you live from Chicago this morning, our second stop on our week long tour of this fabulous city.

HEMMER: Yesterday we were along the Chicago River.

O'BRIEN: Beautiful.

HEMMER: Two blocks that way. Today we're on the campus of Loyola University here, the Water Tower campus behind us, is the famed landmark, surviving the fire of Chicago back in 1871. Really a great building, too. It really kind of, you know, sets the stage for Chicago and how this city rebuilt itself more than 100 years ago. And one of the great, great landmarks here in Chicago also. So that's our location for today.

O'BRIEN: Conveniently located to all the fine shopping, too, by the way.

We're talking politics this morning. We heard from Barack Obama on our last hour. This morning, we're going to talk with Alan Keyes. He, of course, is the Republican in the Illinois Senate race. We're going to talk about his place in the polls, also, the different styles that he and his opponent bring to this race.

HEMMER: Also this hour, do you remember Thomas Hamill, kidnapped in Iraq last spring, managed to escape? He came home and wrote a book about his incredible ordeal. We'll talk to him about it this hour and how he felt from the very beginning he had to show his captors that he was not afraid. He believes that helped save his life. So we'll talk with Tommy Hamill this morning.

O'BRIEN: I'm looking forward to that.

Mr. Cafferty is with us, as well, not right next to us, but close.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ms. O'Brien.

O'BRIEN: Good morning.

CAFFERTY: How are you doing?

No wind here at the Carton Restaurant at -- what is it, Chestnut and -- where are we? Yes, it's early. Chestnut and Wabash.

Coming up in the "Cafferty File," the "Chicago Tribune" including the answer to the question about the 1,050 mob hits that have happened in Chicago over the years. How many of them do you think were actually prosecutable? We'll tell you in a little while.

And just a shout out to the guys who are making all those pictures over there where you people are, those pictures from Loyola, Chicago. Beautiful. I'm watching them on the monitor. We brought some of the New York crew with us. We brought John and Shane and Bruce, our stage manager, and Gary. But the crews here in Chicago, they're doing the lion's share of the work.

They've got to tear down and set up and move to a different location every day and I'm just sitting here watching the program and they're just doing a hell of a job, as you and Bill are, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Well, thank you, Jack.

HEMMER: As we say to our crew, well done.

O'BRIEN: Back at you. Awesome job.

CAFFERTY: Yes.

HEMMER: They're a little smarting after this loss last night, though.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

HEMMER: I mean big Yankee fans we're traveling with here.

COLLINS: Very loud Yankees fans, too, from yesterday. Hoo-ha! They were screaming.

HEMMER: Yes.

How are you doing? COLLINS: Hey, I'm doing great. But I just want to tell you, I've been inside while you guys were out here. And I was speaking with one of the security guards from lovely Loyola. And he said, you know, Chicago is windy, but it's never been this windy on this day. All right.

HEMMER: Just for us.

COLLINS: Yes, just for us.

All right, we want to make sure we get to the news now this morning.

The organization CARE International says the head of its operations in Iraq has been kidnapped in Baghdad. Officials say Margaret Hassan is a dual Iraqi and British national. And in Falluja, the U.S. military has launched another air strike targeting suspected hideouts of the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi terror network. It is not clear if anyone was hurt in the operation.

President Bush looking ahead to the January election in Iraq. In an interview with the Associated Press, the president says he would be willing to accept a fundamentalist Islamic government so long as Iraqis choose that government in free and open elections. The president says, "A democracy is a democracy."

More bodies expected to be found at a Mafia graveyard in Queens, New York. The New York City medical examiners office is looking at remains recovered so far. Authorities say they have found the skeletons of two Mafia captains from the Bonanno crime family killed more than 20 years ago.

And in baseball, the Houston Astros now have three straight wins after shutting out St. Louis 3-0. Game six in St. Louis tomorrow.

And talk about another marathon game, we had a late one the night before. But the Boston Red Sox beat the visiting New York Yankees 5-4 in game five of the American League Championship Series. That game lasted almost six hours.

HEMMER: No!

COLLINS: How late did you stay on for that one?

HEMMER: I got to, what, about 9:00 local time.

COLLINS: To where they were stuck at 4-4.

HEMMER: Yes, stuck at 4-4.

COLLINS: Forever.

O'BRIEN: I figured Bill would just tell me what happened.

(CROSSTALK)

COLLINS: He didn't make it.

HEMMER: Thank you, Heidi.

COLLINS: You bet.

HEMMER: Two weeks now and counting, 14 days from today. Both candidates turning up the fire on the campaign trail. Some of the most heated attacks to date, too. Today, back to the battleground state of Pennsylvania, with the Democratic hopeful, John Kerry.

And Kelly Wallace traveling with the Kerry campaign, with us live this morning -- hello, Kelly.

How are you?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Bill.

Good to see you.

You are right, we are seeing some of the sharpest attacks yet coming from both campaigns on issues such as Iraq and the war on terrorism.

The Kerry campaign hitting back hard today with a brand new ad featuring a woman whose life was forever changed on September 11.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM KERRY CAMPAIGN AD)

KRISTEN BREITWEISER: My husband Ron was killed on September 11.

WALLACE (voice-over): The ad features Kristen Breitweiser, one of the most vocal and politically active of the September 11 widows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM KERRY CAMPAIGN AD)

BREITWEISER: I fought for the 9/11 Commission, something George W. Bush, the man my husband Ron and I voted for, didn't think was necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: The appeal, a senior Kerry adviser says, could help with women voters and narrow the president's lead in the polls on the handling of the war on terror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM KERRY CAMPAIGN AD)

BREITWEISER: I want to look in my daughter's eyes and know that she is safe. And that is why I am voting for John Kerry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are here to make a change.

WALLACE: Team Kerry believes the question who can keep the U.S. safer could decide the election. And so, in the swing areas of central Florida yesterday, this from Senator Kerry.

KERRY: The bottom line, Mr. President, is that your mismanagement of the war has, in fact, made Iraq and America less safe and less secure.

WALLACE: That after the president, in a speech, said the senator's changing positions would lead to defeat in the war on terror. Kerry's advisers called the attack the most critical yet, one they said they won't let stand.

KERRY: Their whole strategy is to divert your attention and try to get you to think that these are such scary times that the only guy who can get you safe is the guy who got you into this mess in the first place.

WALLACE: Florida yesterday, Pennsylvania today, the senator's 20th visit since Super Tuesday. His target? Eastern Pennsylvania near Scranton. Al Gore won this area by more than eight points in 2000.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

WALLACE: It is an area filled with union workers, largely Catholic, mainly conservative Democrats who have voted Republican in the past, which is why both campaigns spending time in this area in these final days -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Kelly, thanks.

Kelly Wallace with the Kerry campaign.

President Bush expected to continue his attacks on Senator Kerry today, as well. In several stops yesterday, the president insisting that withdrawing troops from Iraq now would mean a failure in the war on terror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My opponent finally has settled on a strategy, a strategy of retreat. He has talked about artificial timetables to pull our troops out of Iraq. He has sent the signal that America's overriding goal in Iraq would be to leave, even if the job is not done. And that approach would lead to a major defeat in the war on terror. As long as I'm the commander-in- chief, America will never retreat in the face of the terrorists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: As for today, the president making three stops today in Florida. Then two it's on to Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. All four states at this point considered too close to call -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: We are talking this morning about the Illinois Senate race.

Alan Keyes is playing -- a candidate in the race for a U.S. seat in the Senate. Of course, he is going against Barack Obama, his Democratic opponent.

Some say it is an uphill battle. Some say that's actually an understatement sort of the size of the Sears Tower. But, still, Alan Keyes perseveres. And the question for many is why.

We're talking with Alan Keyes this morning.

Nice to have you.

Thanks for joining us.

ALAN KEYES (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: Give me a sense of what you think your shot is at victory.

KEYES: Well, actually...

O'BRIEN: Some of the polls...

KEYES: Actually, that's not the question. The question is why would anyone in Illinois vote for somebody who betrays the principles of the people of Illinois.

O'BRIEN: With all due respect, I'm going to ask the questions.

KEYES: Who doesn't believe in the common sense of the people...

O'BRIEN: Will the...

KEYES: ... of Illinois.

O'BRIEN: I'm going to stop you right here, because I'm going to...

KEYES: I mean so that's the question.

O'BRIEN: Because I'm going to stop. No, the questions are going to be the questions that I ask this morning. On your show, you can ask whatever questions you want.

Why run when you're 40 to 50 points behind?

KEYES: Actually, the truth of the matter is that somebody who believes that we should be killing babies after they are born, and he has voted three times against stopping this practice in Illinois hospitals; somebody who believes that you can create jobs in the State of Illinois by killing the businesses that provide the jobs; somebody who says to one group that he's for traditional marriage and to another that he's against the federal marriage amendment, the Defense of Marriage Act, and all that you need to do to defend traditional marriage; somebody who gets votes from black Christians and Roman Catholics in Chicago and yet abhors everything that they believe in is...

O'BRIEN: Is ahead by... KEYES: ... not going to win...

O'BRIEN: ... by 50 points in the polls.

KEYES: ... is not going to win the election in the State of Illinois. And the phony...

O'BRIEN: But the...

KEYES: Excuse me. The phony polls that you all put together to try to demoralize people from voting their conscience don't have any bearing on this race because people are going to vote their conscience.

O'BRIEN: So what do you think the actual numbers are? Because, here, we have a poll up here that's showing 69 percent of the folks going...

KEYES: I think the actual issues in this race are very clear. Barack Obama is a leftist extremist who has stood in the Senate of Illinois for things that include the state takeover of health care that would have bankrupted the state, things that include raising fees and taxes on the businesses in the state that have strangled the business environment in such a way that we are losing jobs.

Do you realize that nearly 20 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Illinois have been lost since 1998? Somebody who says that he's for fair trade but then goes before the Chicago Development Council and declares that he thinks free trade, which has been destroying the manufacturing base in Illinois, is a good thing.

O'BRIEN: You've had many kinds...

KEYES: This is somebody who talks out of both sides of his mouth and he's not fooling anybody.

O'BRIEN: You've had many people who talk about how you talk, which is very controversially at times, offending some people. And I guess, you know, any time you're going to have any kind of race, you're going to offend some people some of the time. Some people have suggested that that's a strategy, to be as controversial as possible because it brings media attention and general attention to your campaign...

KEYES: No...

O'BRIEN: ... which is...

KEYES: ... the truth of the matter is I simply speak the truth. I let people know facts that would otherwise not be known, such as, for instance, here's a candidate who was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, which is a group that has stood for the holocaust that has destroyed 14 million black lives since 1973; that accounts for the fact that the black population today is 25 percent lower than it would otherwise have been; that was founded by someone who declared her intention to wipe out the black population in the United States. And yet this is presented as somebody who's supposed to represent the black community and be the first or third black candidate in the United States Senate.

O'BRIEN: Fifth, actually, in history.

KEYES: None of this...

O'BRIEN: But there are many people...

KEYES: None of this makes any sense.

O'BRIEN: There are many people who say with comments like those, you're actually alienated any kind of moderate...

KEYES: Oh, so I should...

O'BRIEN: Let me finish my question. You're alienating moderate Republicans.

KEYES: Absurd.

O'BRIEN: And so that's why you're actually not able to...

KEYES: What I just said wasn't a comment...

O'BRIEN: ... to get a stronghold in Illinois.

KEYES: What I just said wasn't a comment. What I just said is the truth. And you and others in the media don't want to report these truths. You don't want to let black Americans know that you all have hyped up a candidate who actually supports a holocaust against the black community. You don't want to let them know that.

O'BRIEN: Well, we will see how the voters vote here...

KEYES: But people who know that are not going to support such a man.

O'BRIEN: And we will see how much support he actually gets when the election happens in two weeks.

KEYES: Yes, we will.

O'BRIEN: Alan Keyes, nice to chat with you, as always -- Bill.

HEMMER: It's about 11 minutes past the hour.

A check of the weather now with Chad Myers in the CNN Center.

We know what the weather is here -- Chad.

How is it in the rest of the country?

Good morning.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Remind me not to get in a fight with Soledad, OK? Because she's going to win.

HEMMER: Yes.

MYERS: Oh, that's like fighting with your wife.

Hey, good morning, everybody.

(WEATHER REPORT)

O'BRIEN: Well, we have got a look at the local papers this morning.

HEMMER: What's in the news?

O'BRIEN: You know, I could talk about the Olsen twins, who are at the very tippity top of the "Chicago Trib."

HEMMER: Right.

O'BRIEN: Apparently one of them is cutting classes at NYU.

But we -- oops. It's a little windy. Sorry.

But we won't. Instead, we're going to talk about a couple of stories that are dominating the papers. The flu vaccine still a big issue, even in spite of Tommy Thompson telling folks that they don't need to wait in line, that it's not going to be a big problem. And then another big local story here, as well, a zoo, an elephant at the zoo dies, they suspect, of tuberculosis.

Can you -- I'm not doing a good job of holding up these papers. I'm just not that coordinated, sorry.

HEMMER: There. It's working now.

O'BRIEN: And there are some big concerns there because tuberculosis, of course, can spread to other species.

HEMMER: The mayor is in China. We tried to get him on our program. He said I'm going to be in Asia. Mayor Daley is in Chicago trying to sell his city, obviously, to Asian investors. And we'll follow that trip and let you know how it's successful or not. That is from overseas. So that's what's happening in the newspapers here.

O'BRIEN: All right, let's tell everybody where we're going to be.

Later this morning, we're going to be talking to a man who was held hostage in Iraq for more than three weeks, Tommy Hamill, of course. And his story is truly one of faith and survival. We want to ask him what went through his mind while he was captive. We'll chat with him.

HEMMER: Also, people lining up for flu shots, as Soledad mentioned. But if you can't get one, you can take something else to prevent yourself from getting sick. We're paging Sanjay, the good doctor on that a bit later.

O'BRIEN: And we continue to talk politics. The race between President Bush and Senator Kerry tight. But could different rules in different states ensure that the race is decided in court? A look at that's ahead.

AMERICAN MORNING is back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CHICAGO: Saturday in the park, I think it was the 4th of July.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HEMMER: Lake Michigan, sunrise here in Chicago, right about 7:15 local time.

Good morning, everyone.

We are on the road this week in Chicago.

The last presidential election ended up in the Supreme Court. That was four years ago. This year, the legal challenges to how the votes will be counted have already started.

Two lawyers who were on either side of that battle back in 2000 are with us today. Laurence Tribe, law professor at Harvard's Carl Loeb University. He worked for the Gore campaign in 2000. He's in New York today.

Laurence, good to have you and good morning.

LAURENCE TRIBE, CARL LOEB UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AT HARVARD: It's good to be here, Bill.

HEMMER: Also, constitutional lawyer Barry Richard helped George Bush in 2000, back in Tallahassee, where he makes his home and his office.

It's been a long time, Barry.

How are you?

Good morning to you.

BARRY RICHARD, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: Fine, thank you.

How are you?

HEMMER: I'm doing just fine. A little chilly in Chicago, but it's a great morning here.

Laurence, I want to start with you about the lawsuit we're hearing -- Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, Ohio, Missouri. Why are we seeing this at this point and what does that indicate to you?

TRIBE: I think it indicates that it's an extremely close election and that our experience in 2000 led us to believe -- and I think that's both sides -- led us to believe that it is dangerous to wait until the last second to see whether the law is being obeyed. And, you know, secret balloting is a great thing, but secrecy about the balloting process for a long time hid all kinds of manipulations and pulling the curtain back inevitably unleashes people on both sides who want to make sure that the laws about how you register, who is eligible, whether absentee ballots get sent out on time, as they apparently did not in Pennsylvania, whether people are given the right kind of provisional ballots, as the federal law requires, all of that can inevitably be dealt with better now than if we wait until 8:30 in the evening on November 2, when you guys start announcing who is the winner, and then it turns out, if it's as close as it seems, that we guessed wrong.

HEMMER: Let me try and get Barry's take on that.

Is this an attempt on each side to manipulate the system or is it more complex than that?

RICHARD: I think the word manipulate is a bad term. I think some people who have filed lawsuits are doing so as a strategic tool because they think that the end result that they're seeking will benefit their candidate.

I agree with everything that Laurence said. In addition to that, I might note that all of the lawsuits that have been filed so far that I'm aware of have been seeking interpretations of new laws that were passed as part of the reform package following the 2000 election. And there have really been a pretty conservative number of suits. We had 47 lawsuits filed in 2000 in Florida in 36 days. And we're talking about a handful of lawsuits now, again, all of them designed to get interpretations of the new law and to do so before the election.

So I think that they've been pretty conservatively filed so far.

HEMMER: Yes, let me try to get to two more issues here. They're thick, too, so we're going to try and cut through them quickly.

Laurence, the issue in Colorado. If that ballot initiative passes and they split the electoral votes, does that hold up with the U.S. Supreme Court?

TRIBE: I think it's an open question at this point, because the federal constitution says that the state legislature is supposed to determine how the electors are chosen. But in Colorado, the constitution of that state says that the people act as the state legislature when they want to exercise that power. And here the proposal is that the people take the legislative power to assure a more fair portion than on a one person one vote principle.

There are very strong arguments on both sides and it's an issue that I have been studying.

HEMMER: All right, that's one issue.

Barry, I want to get to the issue of provisional balloting. In Florida, they have ruled essentially if you cast your ballot in the wrong precinct, it doesn't count. The exact same opposite conclusion was reached in Ohio. For Florida, we know which way they're going to go.

What is right, do you believe?

RICHARD: Well, I think Florida is right. I argued the Florida case, so obviously I have an interest in that side of it. But also the Ohio decision distinguished the law in that state from the law in Missouri, where the same decision had been reached as in Florida.

In any case, I think that Congress, when they passed the Help America Voter Act, which is the act that mandated the changes, never intended to dictate to the states how they should administer their voting process. The reason for the provision that we're talking about, for provisional ballots, was to avoid a recurrence of the problem that we had in 2000 when people appeared at the right polling place -- places, but their names were not on the voter lists and they were not permitted to vote. It had nothing to do with requiring the states to allow people to vote any place they pleased.

HEMMER: Well, listen, you taught us an awful lot four years ago. I hope it's not the same four years later. Hopefully we'll get this issue straightened out. But as you both point out, if the election is close, we're going to see the warts of the system again in 2004.

Thanks, Laurence Tribe.

TRIBE: Thank you, Bill.

HEMMER: Barry Richard in New York and Tallahassee, Florida this morning with us.

A break here.

In a moment, one Chicago native who serves double duty as a best selling author and a respected attorney here in Chicago. Scott Turow is our guest in a moment.

Also, another Chicago fun fact trivia for you. According to the legend, who started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871? We'll get to the answer in a moment as we continue, after this on the road on this AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: Everybody in Chicago knows this answer. According to the legend, who started the Great Fire of 1871? That was, Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

HEMMER: Bingo! Legend is the cow tipped over a kerosene lantern. The fire did begin in the vicinity of the barn there. But there is no proof the cow did it, apparently.

In 1997, did you know the Chicago City Council approved a resolution absolving the cow of all blame?

O'BRIEN: So it wasn't the cow?

HEMMER: Free and clear.

O'BRIEN: Oh. They vindicated the cow. Interesting. I like that.

HEMMER: Roaming free.

O'BRIEN: Jack Cafferty is with us, but not here, at Carton's Restaurant this morning -- hello, Mr. Cafferty.

CAFFERTY: How you doing, Soledad, Bill?

The presidential election just a couple of weeks away now. Mercifully, it's almost over. In a campaign where a lot of time has been spent on mudslinging instead of the issues, we were curious whether people are getting the answers that they want and need to make an intelligent selection at the polls.

So we asked some people here at Carton's what they'll remember most about this presidential campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There should be a greater focus on the issues actually discussed and not so much as the personalities of the two candidates. More issues, less personality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Using the vice president's daughter's name personally in that debate was not required to answer that question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gullibility of the American people in that they, you know, especially on the Republican side, they throw something out and these people just suck it right in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we had three times as many people at our caucus because of the students. And the beautiful thing was they were there, they were informed and they took a leadership role.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAFFERTY: All right, views of the voters from Carton's Restaurant.

Coming up a bit later as we read some of the e-mails, I've got to give you a hint of this, we got a letter from a guy who met this woman on an airplane flight into Chicago. And they had dinner and one thing led to another. And then the next day when he said can I see you again, she says, well, no, I'm getting married this afternoon. Wait until you hear this story. It's amazing. Wait until you find out who she married. That's coming up when we get to the e-mails. And the "Chicago Tribune" and the "Cafferty File," how many of the 1,000 plus mob hits were actually prosecuted? So we have a large bag full of things to share.

O'BRIEN: Can we take a guess on that?

CAFFERTY: What's that?

O'BRIEN: Can we take a guess on that?

HEMMER: Can we take a guess?

O'BRIEN: What did you say, a thousand...

CAFFERTY: You've got to guess on...

O'BRIEN: Over a thousand, right?

CAFFERTY: A thousand fifty mob hits, right. How many of them were prosecuted successfully?

O'BRIEN: Fifteen.

HEMMER: Zero.

O'BRIEN: We'll see.

CAFFERTY: I'm not going to tell you.

HEMMER: All right.

O'BRIEN: We will see.

All right, Jack, thanks.

CAFFERTY: It's a big secret.

HEMMER: Thank you, Jack.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who cannot get a flu shot, listen up. We're paging the good doctor today. Some advice in getting else -- something else that might help you fight the flu this year. So we'll get to that.

O'BRIEN: Plus, one of the very first Americans taken hostage in Iraq, Tommy Hamill. His story is one of faith and hope and survival and he's talking to us about it.

That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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