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Discussion with Zell Miller; '90-Second Pop'

Aired May 4, 2005 - 09:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: It is 9:30 here in New York. Good morning, everybody. It is -- in a moment here, get you out to Wichita, Kansas. The BTK suspect has been charged with 10 counts of murder. His appearance yesterday stirring deep emotions, as one can imagine, in Wichita. Some people have been waiting for more than 30 years for justice in this case, and we'll find out whether or not they think they may get it now.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, we're talking with former Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat who helped President Bush get re-elected. He has a new book out that talks about the values that lead him to turn away from his own party. He's right there in our studio this morning. We'll chat with him straight ahead.

First, though, let's get another check of the headlines with Carol. Good morning again.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Good morning to all of you.

Now in the news, crews cleaning up after a bombing attack in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Officials say the bomber laced his body with explosives and set them off outside a police recruitment center. The blast...

O'BRIEN: All right, you know what, Carol, it looks like we're having a little audio trouble. So we'll pick up on your read and fill people in on what's happening in Philadelphia.

Police there are promising no cover-ups. They're investigating that incident that was caught on tape. We showed you a little bit earlier this morning. It involves of course one of their own. Videotape from the scene. You can look at it here. It shows a suspect being punched by a police officer after he was handcuffed. A spokesman for the Philadelphia police talked with us a little earlier today.


INSPECTOR WILLIAM COLARULO: We're trying to conduct our investigation. We want to interview everyone that's involved in this incident, and we're affording everyone, including the officer and the subject, the same rights as we would anyone else. After all, the officer is entitled to the same due-process rights as anyone else. But they are going to be interviewed and we are going to do an investigation. And once our findings are done, they will be submitted to the police commissioner and possibly to the district attorney's office for any appropriate action.


O'BRIEN: The officer's been reassigned to desk duty pending the results of the investigation. Prosecutors expected to wrap up their case today in the Michael Jackson trial. They're focusing on Jackson's apparent financial problem, claiming money problems drove him to desperation. Actor Macauley Culkin is among the first witnesses expected on the stand once the defense starts presenting its case.

A Hispanic advocacy group is calling on the so-called runaway bride-to-be to apologize. Jennifer Wilbanks originally told police she'd been kidnapped by an Hispanic man and a white woman. Well, one of the leaders for the group, Hispanics Across America, says Wilbanks story adds up to racial stereotyping, and he wants to see her do some community service for a Spanish group as part of any punishment handed down.

And, finally, actor Kelsey Grammer nursing some bruises from Disneyland's 50th anniversary bash. The star of the long-running comedy "Frasier" was emceeing the event -- do you see that there? Boom, disappeared. He wandered a little bit too close to the edge, slipped right off the stage. Grammer was able to hoist himself back up and eventually continued on with the event.


KELSEY GRAMMER, ACTOR: OK, I'll tell you what, I'll finish this and then we'll take a look at what I've done to my body.


O'BRIEN: They did take a look at what happened to his body. He's OK, not seriously hurt in the accident. In fact, he joked, I'm not going anywhere near that corner again. Probably a good idea.

HEMMER: The man suspected of being the BTK killer now arraigned in Wichita, Kansas on 10 counts of first degree murder. Dennis Rader did not utter a word in court on Tuesday.

Jonathan Freed has more now.


JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Dennis Rader walked into a Wichita courtroom Tuesday, you could almost feel the community hold its breath, waiting to see how the man accused of being the city's infamous BTK serial killer would plead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll enter a plea of not guilty.

FREED: The plea of not guilty, entered by the judge at Rader's request, triggered the setting of a trial date, June 27th. But the district attorney...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be no trial in June.

FREED: ... quickly warned the date would slide until at least the fall, due to the complexity of preparing to try a case spanning three decades.

Rader, a 60-year-old former city compliance officer and dog catcher in the Wichita suburb of Park City is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder in a killing spree that lasted from 1974 to 1991. Prosecutors say the 1991 murder could qualify for what's called a "hard 40" sentence, 40 years with no possibility of parole. The other nine counts could bring a maximum of 15 years each.

District attorney Nola Foulston was adamant there would be no plea bargain for Rader, and insisted the community would be best served by a jury trial.

NOLA FOULSTON, SEDGWICK CO. D.A.: I think that is the most important thing that can bring the closure that we need on this case.

FREED: About a dozen members of the victims' families were in the courtroom. One of them spoke out in Rader's direction, quote, "Don't worry, you won't last." Prosecutors later called that comment inappropriate.

The D.A. is dismissing the suggestion Rader might not be able to get a fair trial here, confident that even if it takes a while, an impartial jury will be found.

Jonathan Freed, CNN, Wichita, Kansas.


HEMMER: Rader is not eligible for the death penalty because the murders all occurred before the death penalty was reinstated in Wichita.


HEMMER: Zell Miller has looked at life from both sides of the aisle. The career Democrat delivered a fiery keynote speech at the Republican convention last summer. Miller's got a new book out. It's called "A Deficit of Decency." The former Georgia senator and governor, my guest now.

Good morning.

ZELL MILLER, FMR. GEORGIA GOVERNOR AND SENATOR: Good morning good, Bill. Good to be with you.

HEMMER: Nice to see you again, too.

You had a health scare a few days ago, about a week and a half ago. How is your health?

MILLER: I was making a speech in Gainesville, Georgia when about five minutes into the speech, I got sick. Usually, it's the other way around. The audience gets sick about five minutes into my speech. But this time I got sick and had to stop. I just gave out of gas.

HEMMER: How you doing?

MILLER: I'm doing fine.

HEMMER: On the screen for our viewers, I want to show just a short clip from your book, that you talk about the state of the Democratic Party. And essentially what you suggest is this, "If they can't win in 2008, the Democratic Party is going in the way of the whooping crane and the Whig Party by 2020, if not earlier? What are you suggesting that they're doing wrong?

MILLER: I'm suggesting that this is a shrinking political party, and 2008 is their last best chance. The Democratic party is no longer the party of Jefferson and Jackson. It's become the party of George Soros.

HEMMER: Can Hillary Clinton save the party in your estimation?

MILLER: Well, there's no doubt that she can get the nomination. Now whether she can win the general election, of course, will be difficult. Because in order to be elected president, you've got to get quite a few votes outside your base. George Bush, for example, one-third of the voters that voted for him were not Republicans. I don't know if she can get outside her base enough votes to be elected.

HEMMER: Another thing I'm curious about here, what is your relationship with Democrats today? Do they have a sense that they want to welcome you with open arms, or are you pretty much persona non grata?

MILLER: Oh, I guess it's persona nongrata with some people, and other people, they still are beckoning me to come back into the party. And I'm still talking with my old friends with my old friends from the Democratic Party, those that I served together with governor, those Democrats back in Georgia that I've known all my life.

HEMMER: You gave quite a speech at the convention here at Madison Square Garden.

MILLER: Well, this book is a continuation of that. People who liked that speech will like this book. People who did not like the spitball speech will not like this book.

HEMMER: You wrote a whole chapter, not just on the speech, but also what you did with Chris Matthews right after this. And you know, you said you wanted to let the speech stand on its own, but you went on TV and you got into that nasty little debate, live on television. Part of it goes like this: Matthews says, "Senator, please." You say, you know, "I wish we'd live in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel." And then you write about how much regret you had about doing that interview.

MILLER: That's what Jackson used to do, who was founder of the Democratic Party; he got into all kind of duels. No, I regretted it for this reason. I lost it. And the reason I regret it the most is because I had my 15-year-old grandson with me, Brian, and he got to see his papa lose it on national television, and I hated that.

HEMMER: Want to roll a clip here from Saturday night live, and I want to get your reaction to it, because a lot of people are having a lot of fun...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what makes me angry, Chris! Saddam Hussein! Osama bin Laden makes me angry! John Kerry makes me angry with his $200 haircuts, his fancy ketchup wife, and his big, bright nose!


HEMMER: You're laughing while that's playing. You're amused by that or offended?

MILLER: I'm amused. The guy has got good hair, and he's got the tone of voice down. He looks like he needs a little fiber in his diet.

HEMMER: Still got a sense of humor, don't you?

So good we'll watch it twice. The title is called "A Deficit of Decency." What are you suggesting in that book, with that title?

MILLER: I'm suggesting that I'm worried about the nation that we're going to leave my grandchildren and those who come after us. And I'm worried that Washington doesn't care. I think D.C. stands for doesn't care. They go their merry way, playing all this petty partisan politics when there are things that really need to be done, and we need to be getting some solution to some problems.

HEMMER: Take care of your health.

MILLER: I will, Bill, thanks.

HEMMER: Seventy-three, right?

MILLER: Seventy-three.

HEMMER: And still going. Zell Miller, nice to see you -- Soledad.

MILLER: Thank you, Bill.

O'BRIEN: Coming up this morning, Nike decides it wants nothing to do with blue-light specials. Andy's going to explain, as he "Minds Your Business" just ahead.

And is Paula Abdul ready for her extreme close-up? "The 90- Second Pop" panel has got the latest dish on tonight's expose. That's coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.



O'BRIEN: Pipe down. Pipe down, team. Everybody is getting a little rowdy here. It's time once again for "90-Second Pop." The gang is all here this morning. Toure is CNN's pop culture correspondent. Karyn Bryant is the co-host of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." Andy Borowitz from also with us.

Good morning.


O'BRIEN: Let's get right to "American Idol." Here's what happened yesterday. Vonzell Solomon sang Elvis Presley's "Treat Me Nice." Bo Bice sang Ben E. King's "Stand By Me." Let's show the picture. There she is. Scott Savol sang Brian McKnight's "Every Time You Go Away." There he is. Anthony Federov sang The Coasters "Poison Ivy." And Carrie Underwood sang the Elvis song, "Trouble."

Why are you snoring?

TOURE, CNN POP CULTURE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're already bored just doing the list.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it's long and complicated.

TOURE: OK, Vonzell...


TOURE: ... is clearly the best of the group. She's a whole class veteran, the look, the sound, the way she feels.


O'BRIEN: The look?

TOURE: Yes, even off, she's still a whole class ahead of everyone else. Bo has something sexual and different than I've ever seen on "American Idol," and I don't...

O'BRIEN: Long, long, long hair.

BOROWITZ: More than Clay Aiken, you think? I don't know.

TOURE: I mean, he's a total other direction.

BOROWITZ: He is hot!

TOURE: If he wins, if Bo wins, he'll be on the cover of "Rolling Stone" with his shirt off, right?

BOROWITZ: OK. TOURE: That's the kind of guy he is.

BOROWITZ: Give me fair warning when that happens.

O'BRIEN: OK. But, you know, with all of this, the true drama is actually not about the show.


TOURE: Of course.


O'BRIEN: It's about another show.

TOURE: As always. As always. ABC "Primetime" -- I love this story. They're doing a whole thing, bashing "American Idol." I love one network attacking another. We should do more of this sort of thing.


TOURE: One of the former contestants, who you don't even -- you've never heard of unless you're a watcher-watcher, is saying that he had an affair with Paul Abdul.

BRYANT: Right. And that Paula gave him special preference and coached him.

BOROWITZ: OK. Now, I do not believe this in a million years...

TOURE: Me neither.

BOROWITZ: ... because, like, if Paula Abdul was coaching you, when you got on stage, wouldn't you be like slurring your words and going like this? I mean, come on.

TOURE: But she does not...

O'BRIEN: Oh, she has a neurological disorder.

BOROWITZ: Oh, OK. That's what it is.

TOURE: She does not vote, right? She's not on the phone calling a million times. She doesn't vote. It doesn't matter. It's not like the integrity of the show has been corrupted. Come on.


BOROWITZ: I think we're all going to be happy to have this national nightmare behind us.

TOURE: Wait, before we go, right? The last time I was here, we were talking about Ryan Seacrest. I went to Jamaica. And now I'm back. I just want to say that I do have respect for him, because there's nobody in show business who is that uncool who has gotten that far. So, you have to have some level of respect for what he's done.


O'BRIEN: The diss...

BRYANT: Andy is saying he'll give him some props on that one.

BOROWITZ: A star is next.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about "Shrek 3," a new movie.


O'BRIEN: Justin Timberlake is in it. Is it just because his girlfriend, Cameron Diaz, is the star, so now she's kind of hooking him up with a little work?

BOROWITZ: Well, they are like the big couple now. They're like Bennifer, you know, except we don't have a name for them yet. I was thinking about that, because it's like Timberlake and Diaz. Let's call them Timber-Az. I think that would be awesome.

TOURE: Can we say that on TV?

BRYANT: Timber-Az.

BOROWITZ: Sure we can, Timber-Az.

O'BRIEN: Timber-Az with a "z."


TOURE: But that's...

BOROWITZ: We've inaugurated it.

TOURE: They're a good couple that people like. They're not tomcat. They're not Bennifer 2.

BRYANT: No, they are very likable.


BRYANT: Are they going to get married?

BOROWITZ: I don't -- you know, there are these rumors they're going to get married this weekend. But the thing is, Cameron actually has not been seen for the last few days, and she just turned up in this bus station in Albuquerque. So, I do not think that's in the cards.

TOURE: This is, like, one of the situations, like, we will have children, our children will be models.

BRYANT: We will breed. Yes, exactly.

TOURE: Our children's children will be models. Like, just they will rule the world.

BOROWITZ: Right. It's a breeding experiment.

BRYANT: Well, there was a rumor, too, that she already had a wedding ring on. There were pictures of that. And, you know, that they were, in fact, already married.


O'BRIEN: I hope they let us know and clear up all of the confusion.


BRYANT: Right.

O'BRIEN: I, for one, would like to be clear on this, if she's married or not.


O'BRIEN: Let's talk about Paris Hilton, because you know what? Didn't we say we weren't going to talk about her anymore?

BRYANT: I know, but this woman -- that's the thing.

TOURE: We did. Yes we did.

BRYANT: She is a businesswoman.

O'BRIEN: God bless her.

BRYANT: She plays, you know, the ditzy angle. And obviously, she's getting the last...

TOURE: She's playing the angle.

BRYANT: Well, no, she is. But she plays, you know, this larger- than-life sort of super silly girl on her show. She's making tons of money. She's got, you know, a perfume.


BRYANT: She's got a jewelry line.

O'BRIEN: "House of Wax" is her new movie.

BRYANT: "House of Wax."

O'BRIEN: It got bad reviews of her acting.

BRYANT: Yes, well, did you expect anything more?

TOURE: What you go to "House of Wax" for is to see Paris get killed and then you go. BRYANT: Right. But supposedly the story is, too, that they filmed one of her scenes with that grainy green, you know, sort of night-vision thing, and she didn't know that, supposedly. But that, you know, she knows when to play, I think, play the joke on herself and capitalize on that.

TOURE: She is the girl in class who will sleep with boys to be popular. She's not playing a role. She is that.

BRYANT: Well, she makes $100,000 to $200,000 to show up at a party for 20 minutes.

O'BRIEN: She's doing all right.

BOROWITZ: Right. She's doing fine.

BRYANT: Twenty minutes, Toure.

TOURE: OK, but none of this...

BRYANT: You can't get on the guest list.

TOURE: No, but that doesn't change her financial situation at all.

O'BRIEN: She's an heiress.

TOURE: Right. She's already a multimillionaire. Right.

BRYANT: For sure.

TOURE: So to get $100,000, that's a pay cut for what she's used to getting.

BRYANT: Well, I'm just saying for 20 minutes, the girl is doing something right.

O'BRIEN: I'm not sure we're ever to talk about Meryl Streep...

TOURE: She's still on the Gulfstream.

O'BRIEN: ... and Paris Hilton in the same sentence except for the one I just gave you. You guys, as always, I thank you very much. We're out of time.

We want to mention, of course, that you can catch Karyn Bryant every night, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." Tonight, Paris Hilton, in fact, is talking about her new movie. Did I say bad acting? I mean, she's a fabulous actress. "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" on Headline Prime. That's at 7:00 Eastern Time -- Bill.


HEMMER: All right, Soledad. Coming up next hour on CNN's "LIVE TODAY," Daryn Kagan has a preview.

What you working on, Daryn?

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Bill.

Coming up at the top of the hour, protecting your identity at home and at work. As we Time Warner employees are finding out this week, it is something everyone needs to think about. We have the top- five tips on keeping your personal information private.

And, as religious revivals go, there is nothing like what T.D. Jakes pulls together. Megafest is a vision of him, and he will be feeling the spirit when he joins me later on CNN's "LIVE TODAY."

For now, back to you.

HEMMER: A lot of spirit there. Thank you, Daryn. Nike's running away from a national retailer, why the company is saying no to blue-light specials. Andy has that in "Minding Your Business," after a break.


HEMMER: Well, (INAUDIBLE) splitting from Sears, CostCo getting deeper into the bereavement business, and an update on the market. Andy Serwer's got it a potpourri for us.


HEMMER: Got it all.

SERWER: Don't know if I've got a potpourri, but I've got it all. Potpourri.

OK, let's talk about the markets, first of all, Bill. Dow's trading up at this hour, 27, from an unlikely source. General Motors up nine percent this morning, from $27 to $30. Why? Because billionaire Kirk Kerkorian is upping a stake from about three percent to eight percent. Hard to figure out what old Kirk is up to, but he was involved in Chrysler years ago. Now he's involved in G.M..

Nike is pulling its products, shoes that is, from Sears. Apparently, it does not want its shoes to be sold at Kmart's. Remember that Kmart and Sears merged. Interesting stuff. Now, of course, Nike just did a deal with Wal-Mart. Very interesting stuff here.

And finally, let's talk about CostCo. You may remember that CostCo has been selling caskets, as in the funeral business. Now they've expanded their line and they're now selling funereal urns. That's right, urns. Maybe we'll get a picture of the urns. There they are. These are the -- they've got two kinds. These are the silk box urns, the plastic line, and these are the ashes of your loved on an airplane. They're FAA-approved so you can bring them on with you instead of checking them and scattering the ashes in the Pacific kind of deal. These are the pebble and marble urns, more of a permanent nature, if you know what I'm talking about. It's a business that is always with us. HEMMER: You know, it's always going to give, too.

O'BRIEN: And it's expensive. I was going to say, this has shaved off a lot of the price.

SERWER: You're so right, Soledad. You know, that $64 silker in the funeral homes charged $250, $600, for those things. You know about the mark-ups in that.

HEMMER: CostCo out of California?

SERWER: Seattle.

HEMMER: Seattle. West Coast.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: So you could go to CostCo and get your own little container and then just go to crematorium, and say, when he comes out, just put him in here.

SERWER: Please. That would be one way of thinking about it.

CAFFERTY: Because I mean, take out the middle man.

SERWER: Fill her up, yes.

HEMMER: A wonderful potpourri.

O'BRIEN: "Question of the Day." Can we move on? "Question of the Day."

CAFFERTY: "Question of the Day" is -- pardon me, should Texas ban sexually suggestive cheerleading? There's a representative named Al Edwards (ph) down there in the Texas legislature. The House actually has passed this thing, thinks that the cheerleaders in Texas are just out of control.

Dave in Louisiana writes: "Now we're going after cheerleaders for their cheering. This country is truly turning into a conservative mess of stupidity. Next thing you know, they'll ban online shopping because you can do it in your underwear."

Pam in Texas writes: "As a mother of two cheerleaders, I'm glad there's someone to say enough is enough. I watched in horror as children younger than six were doing what I would call a pole dance act at a national competition in San Antonio, Texas."

And Michael writes from New Mexico: "Great. Another self- righteous Texan out to tell us how to live our lives. Let's give him a show, call him Dr. Al."

O'BRIEN: You think the parents of the cheerleaders would just put their feet down and say no, I don't want my kid doing that and then kind of just end it right there.

HEMMER: And we get Al on tomorrow. Figure it out.

Next hour on "CNN LIVE TODAY," five tips for avoiding I.D. theft. A lot of this Time Warner story been talking about.

Also, tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," meet some citizens who say the military is not telling recruits about the real risk of enlistment. Counter-recruiting on the college campus. Part of our series "Battle Fatigue," that's tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. Eastern. We are back in a moment right after this.


O'BRIEN: Described as an iron lady, this outspoken Kenyan became the first African-American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. As part of CNN's 25th anniversary series "Then & Now," Miles O'Brien give us a look back at the achievements of Juana Gari Masai (ph) and also what she's doing today.



MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's got the right stuff. The first American to orbit the earth, John Glenn, became an instant American hero. Later, inspired by Bobby Kennedy, he ran for political office, becoming a U.S. senator from Ohio. He served for 24 years until 1998. Glenn left Capitol Hill and the surly bonds of earth one more time.. At the age of 77, he became the oldest person ever to go into space.

Now 83, Glenn is far from retired, dividing his time between Ohio and Washington, where he serves on a NASA advisory board.

JOHN GLENN: I don't think retirement would be much fun anyway.

O'BRIEN: He and his wife, Annie, have founded the John Glenn Institute for Public Service at Ohio State University, where he serves as an adjunct professor.

GLENN: Mainly involves just letting the students know the value of public service and public participation in politics.

O'BRIEN: Glenn is also still involved in politics, serving as a delegate at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

GLENN: Been a very active life, and one that I could not have foreseen at all when I was a kid growing up back in New Concord, Ohio.



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