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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Bird Flu Fears; Major League Baseball Under Fire

Aired December 7, 2004 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome to PAULA ZAHN NOW. Glad to have you with us tonight. Thanks.
And under pressure from Washington, Major League Baseball is finally tightening up the rules against steroid use. It's an explosive issue. Tonight, a personal view from one tarnished star athlete. My conversation with sprinter Kelli White.

And then, on the CNN security watch, after Monday's deadly surprise attack on the U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia, we will be asking one American diplomat who worked there about the dangers he faced daily.

But we begin tonight with the threat of different kind. Take a look at the numbers. According to some medical researchers, one billion people could die from a worldwide outbreak of avian or bird flu. Not everyone agrees. The World Health Organization says, in the worst-case scenario, you're talking maybe 100 million deaths. And while just 32 people have died from the bird flu so far this year, health officials worry because it does kill up to 70 percent of its victims.

All of this brings up frightening reminders of past worldwide flu outbreaks.

Here is CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's hard to imagine now.

KAREN WILBUR, 1918 FLU PANDEMIC SURVIVOR: She said it was so bad that many of the houses had the caskets lined up on the porch, one, two, and some even had to make their own caskets.

COHEN: Karen Wilbur (ph) was a tiny baby just a few weeks old when the 1918 flu epidemic hit.

WILBUR: Well, I was very young when she told me the whole story. And she said it was terrible. Most people, most houses were afflicted with at least someone getting the flu.

COHEN: Wilbur was lucky. Half-a-million Americans lost their lives during the 1918-1918 flu pandemic. Some 40 million people died worldwide. DR. KANTA SUBBARAO, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: The 1918 pandemic was the most significant infectious disease event in the last century.

COHEN: In just a few months, more people died of the flu than in all four years of World War I. The deaths mounted from October through January; 851 people in New York City died of the flu in one single day. It attacked the young and the healthy. People were afraid to go out on the streets, afraid to send their children to school. And now the World Health Organization warns another pandemic is on the way. It's only a matter of time.

These big global epidemics occur on average about four times every century. There was the 1918 Spanish flu, then the 1957-'58 Asian flu, which killed 70,000 Americans, then the 1968-'69 Hong Kong flu, which killed 34,000 Americans. A flu pandemic happens when a virus appears that is genetically different from previous viruses. People's immune systems have never seen anything like it.

Scientists around the world are always on the lookout for these viruses, like the avian flu. Kanta Subbarao at the National Institutes of Health is helping develop a vaccine against it. The H5N1 virus jumped from chickens to humans and was first recognized in 1997; 40 people have died so far. It's a virulent bug. Some 70 percent of those who get infected die. Luckily, there's been only one suspected case of human-to-human transmission.

While scientists work on a vaccine for the next possible flu outbreak, Karen Wilbur is still contending with this year's. Wilbur, who survived the greatest flu pandemic ever, who has a hole in her heart because of it, couldn't find a flu shot.

WILBUR: I didn't get one. They didn't have it. The doctor said he'd give it to me if I needed it. And, of course, I did, but he said he couldn't get it.

COHEN: And this points to one of the greatest weaknesses in global flu readiness. Even if scientists did come up with a vaccine fast enough, could it be manufactured and distributed in time to save lives?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Boy, some of those pictures really tell the story, don't they?

So, Elizabeth, what is the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic?

COHEN: It's a difference of scale, Paula. A pandemic just affects more people, an unusually large number of people. There's no one number that lets you know, but just an unusually large number of people across many parts of the world, and, also, as we talked about in the story, just a virus that is really genetically very different, so the immune system says I have never seen anything like this before. It doesn't know what to do with it. And so the virus is unusually deadly.

ZAHN: We're going to bring right now Dr. Stephen Corber into our conversation. He's the manager for disease prevention with the Pan American Health Organization, a branch of the World Health Organization.

Good of you to join us tonight, sir.

DR. STEPHEN CORBER, PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Thank you for having me.

ZAHN: Thank you.

What is the bird flu? And how do you get it?

CORBER: Well, so far, the only people who have got it are people who have worked with poultry or fowl. And you get it presumably from close contact, either by direct transmission or through the air.

ZAHN: But you had a member of the World Health Organization basically saying there's a chance you might have human-to-human contact at some point or contraction, which could lead to 100 million people getting sick. Do you share that view?

CORBER: Well, I think it's a hypothetical issue.

And, of course -- and most experts would say that having another pandemic of influenza is likely. The question is, how likely is it now or at any given time?

ZAHN: How likely is it, Elizabeth? You have talked with a lot of folks about this who are concerned about it. Are they optimistic or pessimistic?

COHEN: Well, they are pessimistic in that they say it is going to happen. They say, this happens about four times a century. We're due. There hasn't been anything, any pandemic since the late '60s. And so they say every 20 to 30 years, you get one. They say in fact we're overdue.

However, there are reasons for optimism. When we talked about the pandemic in the 1900s, they got smaller. The number of deaths went down with each pandemic. And the reason for that is that health care got better with each pandemic.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: ... significantly better.

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: Exactly.

And now we have antivirals, which we didn't have before. Antivirals, of course are useful. Flu is a virus. Antibiotics are better than they were before. And so for those reasons, they think that things really wouldn't be as drastic as they were certainly in 1918.

ZAHN: Doctor, from what I understand, flu vaccines are pretty much manufactured the way they have been since the 1940s and they are harvested in chicken eggs. And I want to share with our audience now something else Secretary Thompson had to say about that issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOMMY THOMPSON, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Using the egg-based way of doing it is just too slow and laborious in order to make the changes necessary. This is a really huge bomb out there that could adversely impact on the health care of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Obviously, what you are trying to do is stop that bomb from exploding, Dr. Corber. Is there anything that can be done to speed up the manufacture of these vaccines and increase their effectiveness?

(CROSSTALK)

CORBER: Well, there's a lot that can be done to speed up their manufacture.

And the World Health Organization convened a meeting approximately two weeks ago or three weeks ago with representatives from the private sector, the public sector, governments and academics to look at the problem of how to speed it up. And there is work going on, on developing new techniques, although I don't think they will be ready for another couple of years, anyway.

There have been agreements on what is needed to be done to speed up clinical trials to produce mock vaccines, so that the approval process can be faster, and to get vaccine manufacturers to collaborate with each other in developing new vaccines. So there's a lot that has been done that will speed up production. But, fundamentally it is a slow process that, at best, could produce about one billion or slightly more than that vaccines per year at the current -- with the current technology.

ZAHN: So, Doctor, that's not very comforting to me. So as we consumers hear this, what are we supposed to do?

CORBER: I think we support our government's efforts to get on the program and to do all that we can to preventing influenza. There's more to prevention than just having vaccines.

It is important for each country to have a pandemic influenza preparedness plan, which involves early detection or surveillance, good laboratory to confirm it, good communication with the public, so that they know what to do, available isolation practices, good hospital practices to reduce the spread, and excellent communication around the world, so that we can identify the first cases, where they occur, and try to control them right there. So there's a lot that can be done to reduce the impact. ZAHN: Elizabeth, is there anything we can do on an individual basis to protect ourselves?

COHEN: On an individual basis, what you can do is basic things, like, you can wash your hands. You can make sure that you get a flu shot, which I know sounds like such a duh thing to say. But many Americans don't get it. Many Americans, most Americans who are supposed to get flu shots don't.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But there's a good reason for that, Elizabeth. A lot of them couldn't get their hands on it.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: But there's a new batch available .

COHEN: Even when they can -- that's what is so interesting, is that, even when they can, even when there are plenty of flu shots, people tend not to get them. So that's an important message.

And, as you said, more flu shots available. Today, Tommy Thompson announced four million more. There's still going to be a shortage, but now the shortage won't be quite as severe.

ZAHN: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks.

Dr. Stephen Corber, appreciate your time as well.

CORBER: Thank you.

ZAHN: There's much more ahead tonight, including:

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Two different views of Iraq. The president says democracy is still on track.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The success of democracy in Iraq will also inspires others across the Middle East to defend their own freedom.

ZAHN: But our spies tell a different story, more deaths, more doubts, more warnings that the worst is yet to come. Tonight, Iraq, the perilous path ahead.

And stripped of her medal, deprived of her Olympic dream. Champion sprinter Kelli White speaks out on the drug scandal that's shaking up the world of sports.

And our question of the day: Do you think most major athletes use steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. Let us know by clicking on to CNN.com/Paula. Results and much more ahead on PAULA ZAHN NOW.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And we are back.

Less than an hour ago, after a long, hard fight, the House passed the intelligence reform bill, based on many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The vote was 336 to 75. It took pressure from the president and days of negotiations to overcome the objections of two Republican congressmen. The Senate votes on it tomorrow. And, if approved, it would put most of the nation's intelligence system in the hands of one person, a director of national intelligence.

It would also establish a national counterterrorism center. And it would call for improvements to the nation's human intelligence capacity. Missing from the bill, a provision that would keep illegal immigrants from getting driver's licenses. That issue was one roadblock overcome this week.

And joining me now from Washington, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, chairwoman of the Governmental Affairs Committee and her party's chief negotiator on the intelligence bill.

Good to see you. Welcome back.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: COLLINS: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Senator Collins, this stalemate took a month to break. How does this showdown with members of his own party make the president look?

COLLINS: Well, the president has been involved in this bill from the beginning. He's given us legislative language. His staff aides have been involved. I think it's understandable that prior to the election the president was caught up not only with his official duties, but also with the campaign.

But I'll tell you, without the president's strong involvement and intervention, we would have never broken the deadlock and gotten the bill.

ZAHN: Even though the deadlock is gone, one of your chief critics, Representative Sensenbrenner, is basically blaming you and Senator Lieberman for making this country more vulnerable to terrorism. Let's review something he said earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R), WISCONSIN: People should be asking Senator Collins and Senator Lieberman why they didn't put something in that is supported by an overwhelming majority of the American public and more importantly essential to prevent the same thing from happening that happened on 9/11?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The representative is referring to driver's license reform, asylum reform. How do you respond to that attack?

COLLINS: Well, first of all, let me make clear that we took several provisions from the bill that were authored by Congressman Sensenbrenner. So several of the law enforcement provisions, the increase in Border Patrol agents, he ought to take pride in.

I agree that we need an overhaul of our immigration laws, but I also agree with the president that that is scheduled to occur next year. These provisions, many of which were opposed by the administration and which were highly controversial and have not been the subject of hearings, were not the core elements of the bill. They were really poison pills. And whether I agree with Mr. Sensenbrenner on the merits or not, I was not about to let the most sweeping reform in our intelligence community in more than 50 years go down because of these controversial provisions that could be dealt with early next year.

And the president strongly endorsed that position as well.

ZAHN: But this was a very personal attack on you and your Democratic colleague. Did it make you angry to hear him say what he had to say, almost as though you were inviting attack by watering down this bill?

COLLINS: Well, I was very disappointed in the congressman's comments. But I look forward to working with him in the future. I know he feels very strongly about this. I know, also, that he is mistaken, as he believes, that the reforms proposed would have prevented the 9/11 hijackers from getting driver's licenses.

ZAHN: So, in the end, do you think this bill does justice to our nation's security?

COLLINS: I think this bill is a landmark piece of legislation that will significantly improve our intelligence capabilities.

We will have for the first time a single person who is responsible and accountable for our intelligence efforts. We will set up a new national counterterrorism center. I think that this legislation will help us improve our ability to respond to and counter the threat of terrorism and other emerging threats.

ZAHN: Senator Collins, thank you for your time at the end of a very long day. We appreciate you joining us.

COLLINS: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: And, in Iraq today, an American soldier was shot to death while on patrol in Baghdad, yet another example of the very shaky security situation there with less than two months to go before elections.

Still, American officials are focusing in on the positive. The commander of U.S. forces in the Gulf, General John Abizaid, told "The Washington Post," "What is encouraging to me is that despite the very high levels of intimidation that there are plenty of people within the Sunni Arab community who are coming forward both politically and militarily to play a role in the future of their country."

And President Bush surrounded by Marines at Camp Pendleton, gave some qualified praise to Iraqi security forces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Some Iraqis have been intimidated enough by the insurgents to leave the service to their country. But a great many are standing firm. In Falluja, Iraqis fought alongside our soldiers and Marines with valor and determination. One American soldier who saw them up close in combat said they really excelled, kicking in the doors, clearing the houses, running out into fire to pick up wounded Marines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: But, today, a leaked CIA report paints a much bleaker picture.

Here's national security correspondent David Ensor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The classified cable from the outgoing CIA station chief in Baghdad warns that the situation is deteriorating and is likely to continue to do so. It warns of more violence, say U.S. officials, and sectarian fighting among Iraq's Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, unless there are clear improvements soon and the control of the Iraqi government and in the economy.

Bad news for the Bush administration.

FLYNT LEVERETT, SABAN CENTER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: They are literally between a rock and a hard place right now. And I think that's an accurate reading of the situation. And I think the CIA is doing its job to paint that picture as accurately and as vividly as it can for policymakers.

ENSOR: U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, U.S. officials say, added a dissenting note, saying he thinks the cable does not give enough credit to coalition efforts against Iraqi insurgents.

U.S. officials say the CIA cable's assessment is mixed, in that it caused the Iraqi people resilient and says political progress towards elections is being made.

But the station chief's bleak tone overall is in marked contrast with some of the administration's public statements on Iraq.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The schools are open. The hospitals are open. The clinics are open. The stock market's open. The currency is stable. And awful lot's going well.

BUSH: The terrorists will be defeated, Iraq will be free, and the world will be more secure. ENSOR: Bush administration officials could hardly be pleased by the leak of an unvarnished CIA assessment. The cable was widely distributed in the government, though, so the leak could have come from a number of places.

LEVERETT: People leak in this town for a lot of different reasons. My experience is, actually, that the CIA leaks a lot less than most of the policy agencies in town do.

ENSOR (on camera): Despite the uproar recently about intelligence chief Porter Goss' memo to staff saying they should -- quote -- "support" the Bush administration, officials note that Goss approved distributing the CIA station chief's warnings around the government.

And, you know, Paula, there was another line in that Goss memo, which said to CIA officials that their job is to tell truth to power and let the facts speak for themselves.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Our national security correspondent David Ensor.

Joining me now, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. He is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He has just returned from Iraq, his fourth trip to that country.

Always good to see you, Senator. Welcome back.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: So we heard a pretty bleak assessment from the outgoing CIA station chief, saying that he expects things to get worse in Iraq. You have maintained for many months that we are in deep trouble over there. How much worse can things actually get?

HAGEL: Well, I don't think the CIA evaluation that was recently noted in that report is unexpected, or at least not unexpected to me and I think a number of the military commanders on the ground.

Obviously, the insurgents are doing everything they can to intimidate the Iraqi people from participating in the scheduled elections on January 30. I think it will get worse. There are parts of Iraq where security has deteriorated and it is more dangerous.

ZAHN: But, Senator, you have acknowledged these elections will be imperfect. Why hold them at all?

HAGEL: Well, I think we start with the reality of this point. These elections will be imperfect, probably raggedy. But when you judge it from the total perspective of should we go forward with imperfect elections or try to wait until we think the time is exactly right, I think it comes down on the side of let's move with those January 30 elections, because the longer you defer the Iraqi people an opportunity to make choices for themselves to select their own government, I think it develops a wider, deeper vacuum of danger in Iraq.

ZAHN: You have consistently been critical of the Bush administration for not having an adequate number of troops on the ground in Iraq. Now there will be a rotation of 12,000 more American troops. Is that enough? Some of your colleagues think you need multiples more of that.

HAGEL: When I was in Iraq last week, I had an opportunity to talk with many of our commanders. I respect those commanders on the ground. They are the ones closest to it. I think they are grateful, whether they say it or not, that we're going to have another 12,000 to 13,000 troops in there. We need them. We may need more.

ZAHN: How many more troops?

HAGEL: Let's just take one example, the road from the Baghdad Airport to downtown Baghdad. It's 10 miles. We can't secure that. After almost two years in Iraq, we still can't secure that vital artery.

Now, I believe, if you had more troops, you could secure it. But nonetheless, we are where we are. We've got to move this forward and work with the Iraqis so that they can develop their own confidence and their own infrastructure and security forces, because, in the end, it will be the Iraqi people that will determine the outcome of Iraq.

ZAHN: Finally, tonight, I want to talk about you. You have talked about the potential of running for president in the year 2008. If you end up doing so, how do you think the Bush administration will view that run?

HAGEL: What the landscape politically looks like in 2007 and going into 2008, I don't know, Paula. I said I'll make a decision regarding my political future at that time. I won't hold it captive to what the Bush administration thinks or anyone else.

But that will be a decision we'll defer until we can work together through some of the big issues of our time.

ZAHN: But, Senator, a lot can happen over the next four years. And even you yourself has said your that party has lost its moorings. How fed up are you with the direction this party seems to be going in?

HAGEL: We must readjust, it seems to me, as a party, as a governing party, to focus on not just the international and domestic challenges, but the overall fabric of government. How much government do we want? How much government can we afford? How much government are we willing to pay for? Entitlement reform is part of that.

And I'm pleased that President Bush has talked about making Social Security reform, entitlement reform, as a top priority of his second administration.

ZAHN: It also sounds to me like maybe the faint outlines of a campaign platform there, too, Senator.

(LAUGHTER)

HAGEL: I have been saying these things before I was a candidate for the United States Senate.

ZAHN: All right. Thank you so much for your time tonight, Senator Hagel.

HAGEL: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: Always good to see you.

Next, we move on to the CNN security watch and that devastating attack inside U.S. diplomatic headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, what that tells us about our performance in the war on terror right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And now tonight's security watch.

The State Department is warning Americans against traveling to Saudi Arabia. And the Marines will station an anti-terror team at the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, following Monday's attack.

The American ambassador says the terrorists clearly did their homework, studying how trucks and cars routinely got into the compound. They were able to breach security and start a gun battle that killed five consulate employees, no Americans among the dead. But the attack is another stark reminder of how life has changed for Americans in the region.

State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel sat down with a veteran diplomat who spent years in that part of the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHEN BUCK, FORMER U.S. DIPLOMAT: When I was in Oman, we didn't have Marines. People could just almost walk into the embassy. We were in this lovely old building. And it was more open. And now, you know, the consulate, it's a fortress.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Sixty-four- year-old Stephen Buck should know. For 39 years, Buck served on the front lines as a U.S. diplomat until he retired two years ago. From 1996 to '99 he was the consul general in Jeddah in the same compound that was attacked by terrorists on Monday.

STEPHEN BUCK, RETIRED DIPLOMAT: I just felt so sad. I mean I was glad that Americans weren't killed but it's not just Americans that the consulate was a whole community. I just learned this morning of those that we call foreign service national employees, one of them was my driver Ali (ph).

KOPPEL: Just three weeks before Buck took the Jeddah posting 19 U.S. service members were killed in the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. BUCK: The whole point of being a diplomat is to get out and put yourself in the other person's shoes and particularly go beyond the usually suspects to people as we had in our election, the undecideds and that means you have to get out and around. And it's very difficult if you have to go in an armored vehicle.

KOPPEL: Fluent in Arabic he served in eight Arab posts. He made a point of immersing himself in the local culture.

BUCK: A friend of mine, we went 6,000 kilometers all over western Saudi Arabia, there, that's a camel race.

KOPPEL: Why is it important that you are able to go out?

BUCK: Because the whole thing of diplomacy is swimming in the pond. You need to swim in their pond. You need to go with their hours. Even when I was there, Americans have 9:00 to 5:00 hours. Saudis stay up until 2:00 in the morning. So I finally look, I'm staying up until 2:00 in the morning. I'm going to be coming up late. You have to adapt to their hours.

KOPPEL: Among Buck's first postings was Beirut, that's where he met his Lebanese wife in 1967. Working in the foreign service was very different then. When you talk to younger people these days, is this a profession that you tell them they should go into despite the security concerns?

BUCK: Absolutely. I say, yes, I mean, you are putting yourself at risk, putting your family at risk. You have got to live with that decision as I live with that decision when I took my family to Baghdad and they could have been killed.

KOPPEL: Why did you do it?

BUCK: I guess I was dedicated and she loved me so much that she came with me.

KOPPEL: But in the wake of the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 which killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and after September 11, it was clear American diplomats everywhere were now target number one.

BUCK: When you have known somebody who has been injured or killed, I mean, that's very much in your mind just like this morning I think of Ali, and that means you have got this whole security thing going on in your mind which 20 years ago was there but it was really a minor consideration. Whereas now it's an absolutely major consideration.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: That was Andrea Koppel telling that story for us. Tonight from the war on terror to the war on drugs, steroids, that is. Steroids and sports and some champions are clearly paying the price. Next, my conversation with the dethroned track star Kelli White.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Pressure is mounting on Major League Baseball to crackdown on the use of steroids by players. Already there are threats if baseball can't clean up its act Congress will. But this growing scandal isn't limited to baseball. Olympic star and field star Marion Jones is now under investigation by the International Olympic Committee. She is accused of using performance enhancing drugs at the Sydney Games in the year 2000 when she won three gold and two bronze medals. Jones denies the allegation. One champion sprinter who has admitted using illegal drugs has paid a very steep price. Kelli White was stripped of two gold medals she won at the 2003 world championships and she was barred from the Olympics in Athens. Kelli White joins me now. Good of you to join us.

Why did you take steroids?

KELLI WHITE, WORLD CHAMPION SPRINTER: I wanted an edge. I wanted to be better than I already was. I wanted to be consistent.

ZAHN: You had to be aware, though, the risk -- of the risk you were taking, not only to what might happen to you physically but what might happen to you professionally. Was that something you gave much thought to?

WHITE: I didn't. Because I had faith to the people around me that nothing would happen.

ZAHN: They had convinced you that even if you did something illegal they were going to protect you? How so?

WHITE: Yes. They were sure nothing would go wrong and I believed that.

ZAHN: The first time you took steroids were you aware of exactly what it was you were doing?

WHITE: No.

ZAHN: How did it start off?

WHITE: It was in December of 2000. I was told it was flaxseed oil and it wasn't. Then I was finally told what it really was and I stopped taking it then.

ZAHN: You took it for a two-week period.

WHITE: Correct.

ZAHN: How did you perform athletically during that period of time?

WHITE: There was no real effect then. When I began taking it again in 2003 there was a dramatic effect and within two weeks I did see, two, three, weeks I did see a difference.

ZAHN: What did you see? We have some pictures you can look at tonight. You say you barely recognize yourself.

WHITE: Right.

ZAHN: Just to give us a sense of what happened when you built up a residue of this in your system.

WHITE: My muscles were almost two or three times bigger than they were before. I was much, stronger. Much, faster. I can train so much longer.

ZAHN: Was there any part of it that scared you besides getting caught?

WHITE: No, not really. No.

ZAHN: How desperate were you the second time around. So the first time you were misled. You thought you were taking flaxseed oil. You didn't feel real effect. Then you went into a slump a couple of years later, came back. Went to some guys and said what, I'm desperate to win again?

WHITE: No, I wanted no more injuries. I wanted to stay very consistent over the season, which I hadn't been able to do before. And I told them that I needed little bit of help.

ZAHN: Do you feel any sense of guilt about that?

WHITE: Oh, very much. Very much. It was a very bad mistake. I wish I would have never made that choice.

ZAHN: Obviously, you have to know kids in America and parents see the pictures of you, you were so brilliant to watch. You were so graceful. Like a gazelle to watch. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to those fans who you let down?

WHITE: I really do. And I sincerely apologize to all the people I misled, the people that I hurt. And I do hope that they can forgive me for what I did.

ZAHN: But the other part of this story as far as you're concerned is that there were a lot of other athletes abusing their bodies and breaking the law the way you were.

WHITE: Right.

ZAHN: Give us a sense along the way what you were exposed to. Particularly among the folks you competed against.

WHITE: I really don't like to point fingers at other athletes. I just take responsibility for my role in the whole Balco scandal and I do hope that I have an opportunity to teach others that this was not the way to go.

ZAHN: What's the worst part of all of this for you?

WHITE: The hurt. ZAHN: Particularly now that you've come clean.

WHITE: The hurt to my family and to my friends, and that is -- that is the most thing that bothers me.

ZAHN: The hurt of knowing you let them down?

WHITE: Yes.

ZAHN: Do you think you can win that back?

WHITE: I do. They love me still. They tell me every day that they love me.

ZAHN: Hopefully, through your coming clean through your own situation it might discourage some other athletes.

WHITE: You know, I really do hope so.

ZAHN: Because of something you did.

WHITE: I really do hope so. I think that there are a lot of voices out there that can be heard. We can -- a lot of us can teach other children that this isn't right. And I -- I think if we band together we can have a positive effect.

ZAHN: Well, I hope you can have a positive effect.

WHITE: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thank you, Kelli, for stopping by tonight.

Once again, our web site question of the day, "Do you think most major athletes use steroids or other performance enhancing drugs?" There's still time to vote at CNN.com/Paul.

And "NEWSNIGHT WITH AARON BROWN" is working this story from another angle tonight.

Aaron, what's up?

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": Well, track and field has been dealing with this, as you know, and that was just a fabulous interview, by the way, really good sitting here listening to it.

Track and field has been dealing with it in many respects since the '60s and the East Germans. Baseball now has it squarely on its plate with the revelations last week about Jason Giambi's testimony before a grand jury, Barry Bonds' testimony before a grand jury.

We'll look at the impact on baseball, on baseball fans and how the two sides, the players and owners now will deal with steroids as spring approaches, though, not as quickly as we all wish. That's coming up on "NEWSNIGHT," 10 Eastern time tonight.

ZAHN: Thanks, Aaron, for the compliment. I had nothing to do with that interview. It was all Kelli here this evening.

All right. We move on now to a different story about women struggling for something millions of us do every day, the simple right to leave your house and go to work or school. A special story from Christiane Amanpour when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: History was made today as Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were there, as well.

And in his inaugural address Karzai said his nation was beginning a new chapter but warned that terrorists are still a major threat.

Well, despite the dangers, the ousting of the Taliban regime and Karzai's election victory this fall presents some new opportunities for Afghans, especially women.

Here is chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Expectations that every last Afghan woman would throw her burka to the winds of change have been dashed.

But in the capital, Kabul, and some other cities, women are entering the workplace. And young girls, who were banned by the Taliban from going to school, are back in class again.

And during October's historic Afghan elections, half the voters in some cities were women. It was this election that for the first time allowed them to believe their lives actually might improve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so happy. I mean, I should say I am very, very happy because now we -- I'm sure we will have a good government in the future. And especially for me, because I'm a young girl, now I can make my future. I can make my life by myself.

AMANPOUR: These women were energized further by the fact they could even vote for a woman. Masuda Jalal, a 41-year-old mother of three, was making history by standing as a presidential candidate.

MADUDA JALAL, AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Three years back I couldn't even dream about being a presidential candidate.

AMANPOUR: Of course, she lost the election to Hamid Karzai, but her candidacy was all about change, especially in this patriarchal society. When we met her, her husband was helping her campaign.

JALAL: Yes, he's proud. He's very much educated, very highly educated. An enlightened person. And he's a lecturer in law. And he knows the importance of what I am doing by his profession. He's proud. And -- and it is an honor for him. AMANPOUR: But we found that Masuda and women like her are still an exception in Afghanistan. In many rural areas, where people are poorer and virtually uneducated, women and girls are still restricted by tradition and culture, as we heard in this shelter for abused women in Kabul.

Faruda (ph) is 20 and a schoolteacher. She fled her forced marriage last year.

"I was married off to the governor of our province," she said. "And afterwards he treated me very badly and threatened to kill me. He told my brothers that if he finds me, he'll execute me in the main square. My father hates me now and he won't take me back."

AMANPOUR: Faruda (ph) and the other girls here covered their faces to talk to us. They are terrified of being recognized and hunted down.

Sharara (ph) told us she ran away from her own mother.

"No girl wants to leave her mother," she said, "but I was forced to. My mother and my brothers made me work like a slave in the house, and they beat me all the time."

AMANPOUR: This young woman told us that she was gang raped, and she and the baby she bore are also hiding in this shelter.

These are not unusual stories. And even in some hopeful scenes, there is much room for improvement. Girls' schools like this one we visited say only a few high school age girls are enrolling, because that's when they get married off.

But, at a Kabul hospital, Doctor Razia (ph), an ob-gyn, who brings girls and boys into this world, took some time out from her exhausting day to tell us that no matter how hard it is, or how many generations it takes, Afghan women will fight and eventually win their rights.

"Women are part of this country, and we must have our rights. And we must defend them," she told us. "Whoever is elected will be responsible for protecting our rights and for respecting us."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Powerful messages there. Christiane Amanpour reporting for us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: We told you last night about the protests over Denver's holiday parade because it was scrubbed free of references to Christmas. Well, those protesters aren't, alone as our Jeanne Moos found out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over) (singing): 'Tis the season to be angry.

MANUEL ZAMORANO, COMMITTEE TO SAVE MERRY CHRISTMAS: Put merry Christmas back where it belongs.

MOOS: And where might that be? Stores where Christmas has been replaced by holiday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get ready for the holidays at Marshall's.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two-day holiday sale at Sears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beat the holiday rush.

MOOS: In their rush to avoid offending non-Christians, you will see stores using everything but Christmas.

(on camera) Christmas is the new "c" word.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

MOOS (voice-over): And so was born SaveMerryChristmas.org.

ZAMORANO: Removing "Merry Christmas" is political correctness gone amok.

MOOS: California resident Manuel Zamorano founded the Committee to Save Merry Christmas and says it has a thousand members. They're pushing for a boycott of Federated Stores, which owns, among others, Macy's, "Miracle on 34th Street" Macy's.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Merry Christmas.

MOOS: But that was 1947. This is 2004 when everyone says...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy holidays.

ZAMORANO: "Season's greetings" and "happy holidays" is never a substitute for "merry Christmas" and never will be

MOOS: But Federated Stores says these expressions of goodwill are more reflective of the multicultural society in which we live today. After all, this is the age of Christmas and Hanukkah merging in Chrismukkah, greeting cards for Christian-Jewish families that feature reindeer with menorah antlers and kosher fruitcake.

MO ROCCA, COMEDIAN: The disappearance of the words "merry Christmas" is forcing us all to be a little more creative.

MOOS (on camera): What do you say to people?

ROCCA: All hail the birth of Christ.

MOOS (voice-over): Well, we didn't find that one when we scoured dozens and dozens of holiday ads, searching in vein for the "c" word somewhere in the fine print. At last we found one brave advertisements for diamonds. Getting rid of Christmas will mean some adjustments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Have yourself a merry little holiday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Have yourself a merry little holiday.

ROCCA: Have yourself a merry little visitation of the three wise men to the birth of Christ.

MOOS: The folks at Save Merry Christmas say we can expect to see the "c" word when it's time for the after Christmas sales. They suspect so customers would know the last date the sales start.

Sure would drive Bing bonkers.

BING COSBY, ENTERTAINER (singing): I'm dreaming of a white Christmas --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm dreaming of a white holiday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm dreaming of a white holiday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm dreaming of a white holiday.

ROCCA: I'm dreaming of a white federal holiday.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (singing): And I think you are going to get it this year, Mo.

That was Jeanne Moos reporting for us tonight. Well, there is certainly no shortage of religious references when it comes to this late night disciple of comedy. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": I want to get right to it. There's a major story out of the Middle East getting all kinds of attention. It is the cover story of both "TIME" and "Newsweek" this week.

We're just confirming now Jesus Christ is born. Both magazines are currently -- are currently reporting some type of savior, perhaps a close relation of God born in what is tentatively being described as a stable like structure.

Very interesting "Newsweek" claiming the mother may be less sexually experienced than one might suppose. "TIME" magazine interesting side story on how all this is going to affect the myrrh trade in the region.

Obviously a big story. Both of America's leading news publications fighting to break this developing story that happened only 2,000 years ago. We're going to bring you any new information as soon as we're -- but, I'm being told right now. He's King of the Jews.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And that was not the end of the segment. I wish you could have seen the whole thing. But I think it gives you a pretty good idea of what Jon did last night. We're going to be right back with the results of our question of the day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: As we leave you tonight, the results to our question of the day. Eighty percent of you believe that most major athletes use performance enhancing drugs. Twenty percent said no.

Not a scientific poll, just a representation of those of you who logged on to our web site. Thanks so much.

And appreciate all your joining us tonight. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow night. Thanks again for joining us tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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