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PAULA ZAHN NOW
The Hidden Jane Fonda Revealed; President Bush Chooses Supreme Court Nominee; Designer Babies
Aired October 31, 2005 - 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 and thank you all for joining us on this Halloween night. Happy Halloween.
Tonight, though, brace yourself for what could be the most divisive political brawl yet.
ZAHN (voice-over): The president's second choice.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States Senate will be impressed by Judge Alito's distinguished record.
ZAHN: The stage is now set for an explosive battle over the Supreme Court.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Now, it's sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America.
ZAHN: What does it mean for the way you live?
Starving for attention. Jane Fonda went from sexy starlet to exercise guru, hiding a painful secret.
(on camera): I find it absolutely staggering that you have fought bulimia for almost 30 years.
(voice-over): Tonight, the Jane Fonda You Never Knew.
And designer babies -- it's a boy and it's just what mom and dad ordered.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We increased the -- the chances of a boy before the egg was even paired with the sperm.
ZAHN: If you can choose the sex of your children now, can brains and beauty be far behind?
ZAHN: And I want to start with a very simple question tonight: Why Samuel Alito?
By now, you have heard that he's President Bush's new nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed, he will be making decisions that touch all of our lives on race relations, education, gun rights, free speech, stem cell research, gay marriage and, quite possibly, abortion.
Our team in Washington has been digging all day on the man who would be a Supreme Court justice. Dana Bash is looking at how this pick affects a Bush White House under fire. John King is checking out the judge's stance on abortion.
But we begin with our White House correspondent tonight, Suzanne Malveaux, on the search for answers to our very simple question: Why Samuel Alito?
Good to see you, Suzanne.
I guess about the only thing not being debated tonight are his raw qualifications for the job.
What are they?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, Paula, you are absolutely right -- the White House certainly playing that up.
He is not only a judge, but, also, he was a Justice Department official, a U.S. attorney, someone who had the nickname, by some, given "Scalito," a reference to comparisons to Judge Antonin Scalia for a conservative philosophy, as well as an -- an Italian background -- the White House rejecting that characterization.
But many people who you talk to simply say that he is the anti- Miers -- where Miers, of course, was skewered by some of the conservatives for being an unqualified Bush crony who lacked a judicial record, President Bush today emphasizing that he felt that Alito was the kind of person who has the judicial philosophy, but as well as the experience that the conservatives will be satisfied with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Judge Alito has served with distinction on that court for 15 years and now has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And, Paula, interestingly enough, as well, of course, that the -- when did his name first come about? It first came about five years ago, when President Bush first took office, as someone who would be on the short list.
After that, of course, after Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her intention to resign, it quickly went to the top of that list and, then, of course, put back, put on hold after John Roberts, as well as Harriet Miers -- Paula.
ZAHN: But, in the second go-around, just recently, given everything that you have just reported, why, then, would the president have picked Harriet Miers over Judge Alito?
MALVEAUX: Well, as you know, of course, there was a lot of pressure on a lot of sides to pick someone who would be diverse, who would be loyal to the president, somebody, of course, that he would feel comfortable with, that being Harriet Miers.
But also, of course, if you look at the switch here, why Alito in this case, simply, a lot of people were telling me that the Republicans, the conservatives, in particular, just needed the kind of red meat, this kind of battle, to help define the party, to help bring back the base, to help reinvigor the party, and, of course, also to save the president from becoming a lame duck. There are even some people who say it will help define some of those GOP candidates in election 2006.
ZAHN: Going to be a very interesting fight to follow.
Suzanne Malveaux, thanks for the update.
Now, meanwhile, Samuel Alito was born on April Fools Day, nominated for the Supreme Court on Halloween. And conservatives are acting like it's Christmas.
As our other White House correspondent, Dana Bash reports, that helps the president just when he really needs it.
JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: Mr. President, thank you once again...
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you listen carefully at just about this moment:
ALITO: ... and for honoring me with this nomination.
BASH: ... you may be able to hear a collective sigh of relief inside the White House . With that announcement, they changed the subject, step one in the post-Harriet Miers, post-indictment White House recovery plan.
ALITO: I really look forward to working with the Senate during the confirmation process.
BASH: With Samuel Alito, the political planets realigned. Beleaguered Bush aides say, they can fight who they're supposed to, Democrats, not fellow Republicans revolting against their leader.
But Mr. Bush still faces a long list of problems.
Just Monday, six more troops were killed in the increasingly unpopular Iraq war. And he still has problems in his own party. While conservatives like Alito, they have other complaints.
TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, "HUMAN EVENTS": President Bush has not done a good job restraining the growth of government. He has not done a good job securing our borders.
Then there's the question of the CIA leak investigation, one aide indicted, another still in legal limbo. But the White House would not, said they could not answer credibility questions stemming from past statements by the president and his spokesman, who told reporters, former Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby and top Bush aide Karl Rove had no role in the leaks.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If we were to get into that, we would -- we could be prejudicing the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial hearing.
BASH: On this day, Mr. Bush, determined not to step on his new Alito message, would not answer questions about Democratic calls to fire Rove, who, sources say, did talk to reporters about classified information. But Republican strategists, especially those familiar with second-term slumps, say the president still must consider replacing some of his tired, insular staff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That doesn't mean a wholesale changing of the guard, but it does mean some new energy and some fresh ideas and fresh faces.
BASH: One Bush adviser tells CNN the president is disappointed in staff for missteps. And aides say he will likely make changes at the top as soon as the end of the year.
NICHOLAS CALIO, FORMER BUSH LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: If people have to leave, they'll leave. They will be replaced. The president will move on. There is a lot more that he wants to get done.
BASH: And 10 months into the president's second term, no one here disputes the Bush agenda is largely stalled. And aides say they hope to recover step by step, initially trying to focus on less partisan things.
Tomorrow, Paula, will be a great example. Mr. Bush will talk about his plan to combat the bird flu pandemic.
ZAHN: Something a lot of people are awfully afraid of.
Dana Bash, thanks so much.
Now, one of the few people who didn't stick to the very specific political talking points today is Judge Alito's 90-year-old mother. All mothers should be able to talk off point. She says her son was upset when he was passed over for the nomination earlier this month. She also says -- quote -- "Of course he's against abortion."
And that could be the heart of a very heated debate in Washington, as this nomination moves forward.
Here's chief national correspondent John King.
John, always good to see you. We should make it clear that Judge Alito is nominated for the seat now occupied by Sandra Day O'Connor, a seat that is considered a swing vote on abortion.
What is the judge's record on abortion?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, his record is a bit mixed. His mother might end up being called by the Senate Judiciary Committee if she keeps speaking out on these issues.
There is one key decision that conservatives seize on when they believe in making their case that Judge Alito would be more conservative -- or more to the right, if you will -- on the issue of abortion than Judge O'Connor.
Judge O'Connor has frustrated conservatives, anti-abortion conservatives, since she was put on the bench by President Reagan. She is right now the fifth vote in favor of Roe on the court. Judge Alito, in a Pennsylvania case, said that he saw no problem with the Pennsylvania legislature saying, passing abortion restrictions that included a spouse, a woman would have to inform her spouse, notify her spouse before she received an abortion.
Those who want to strip back abortion rights view that as a positive. Now, what Judge Alito's former clerks say is that he was following past Supreme Court precedents. But that is the one case that abortion opponents look at and say, this judge, Alito, would be more conservative than Justice O'Connor.
ZAHN: But there's also a New Jersey case that -- that muddies this up a little bit more. Describe to us what his decision was in that case.
KING: It muddies it up quite a bit.
That was one of many challenges to state laws banning so-called late-term abortions. Abortion critics call those partial-birth abortions. Judge Alito ruled in majority with the rest of the appellate judges on his court, throwing out the New Jersey state law, because it did not have an exemption when the health of the mother was at risk.
Now, again, conservatives say, in that case, he was an appellate judge who had no choice but to follow the edict of the Supreme Court, which set the precedent in a case involving Judge O'Connor. But that is -- that -- his record is mixed on this issue.
We talked to one of his former clerks today, who said that, if people are looking for an ideologue in Judge Alito, they have the wrong man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM CIONGOLI, FORMER LAW CLERK FOR JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO: If they think that -- that this is going to be an opportunity for someone to go in and wholesale change the culture, then -- then, they may be looking for somebody else. I mean, Judge -- Judge Alito is going to be a restrained judge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A restrained judge is someone who doesn't go looking to pick a fight, Paula.
And that's one of the reasons we were also told by this former clerk and several other friends that the judge is very mild-mannered. He doesn't lose his temper much, but he bristles when that "Scalito" nickname is used. He doesn't like it, because he doesn't think he's like Judge Scalia in temperament.
ZAHN: So, when that gentleman you just interviewed said he won't make wholesale changes to the court and, if people are expecting that, they're going to be mighty disappointed, is there an expectation that he would move the court at all to the right?
KING: I don't think there's any question by those that know him well that he is more conservative than Sandra Day O'Connor, at least the Sandra Day O'Connor of the last 10 years or so on the bench.
She has proven to be a more moderate swing vote. But many describe Judge Alito not as a conservative in the mold of Thomas and Scalia, but a conservative more in the mold of Roberts, someone who will shape the court and move it to the right, but not in an aggressive, confrontational way at all. So, yes, most believe that this is a man who will take the court to the right, but not as far, Paula, I think, as many of those conservative groups rushing out those praises for the president today are anticipating.
ZAHN: I have got to give you a six-second cue here. Will this confirmation -- will the confirmation go through?
KING: Based on everything we have heard today, yes.
ZAHN: John King, you got three more seconds to use. Anything else you want to say?
KING: Happy Halloween.
ZAHN: Thank you very much. Look forward to having you back, John King.
The big question now is, can Samuel Alito win Senate confirmation? -- which John just answered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: A preliminary review of his record raises real questions.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I am always concerned about a filibuster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: How big a fight is coming? We are going to tackle that next.
But there's much more ahead as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jason Carroll.
Parents are turning to doctors to try and find new ways of choosing the sex of their babies. I will have the new technology and the controversy coming up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Also ahead, just in time for Halloween, one town's extraordinary warning to sex offenders. Should this happen everywhere?
ZAHN: This beautiful shot of the Capitol certainly belies the heat of the debate that we're going to see unfold on the heels of the president's announcement today of his new nominee to the Supreme Court.
On the face of it, Samuel Alito seems a safe bet for the Supreme Court. Conservatives like him. And Republicans have the majority in the Senate. And, as Dana Bash showed us a little bit earlier on, the judge wasted no time in getting up to Capitol Hill today, where he received a warm welcome from Republican leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: What we guarantee you is a dignified process here, a respectful hearing, and, at the end of that process, up-or-down vote, as has always been the case on Supreme Court nominees throughout the history of the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Majority Leader Bill Frist escorted the judge past the coffin of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, which was laying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda this morning. Democrats took notice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: Judge Alito's visit to Rosa Parks this morning was appropriate. His record, as I'm sure Rosa Parks would agree, is much more important. A preliminary review of his record raises real questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: This afternoon, the judge met with the Senate's Democratic leader, Harry Reid. He was noncommittal on camera, but, earlier, he questioned whether Alito was -- quote -- "too radical for the American people." Will Judge Alito's nomination turn into an all-out battle?
Joining me now from Washington, Mona Charen of Americans For Better Justice -- she supports the nomination -- and Alito opponent Nan Aron, president of the Alliance For Justice.
Good to see both of you. Welcome.
NAN ARON, ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE: Thank you.
MONA CHAREN, AMERICANS FOR BETTER JUSTICE: Thanks.
ZAHN: So, Nan, what kind of fight do you think the president has on his hands here?
ZAHN: Will this confirmation go through?
ARON: I think he's got a very big fight on his hands.
You know, last week, unmasked -- it's Halloween -- it unmasked the true intentions of the radical right. And a president who has been trying for five years, in a very covert, quiet way, to transform the judiciary, the Supreme Court...
ARON: ... came to grips with the radical right's agenda and nominated Sam Alito, someone who will jeopardize...
ZAHN: All right. But...
ARON: ... our rights.
ZAHN: ... come back to the core question of what kind of debate we're going to see in Washington.
ZAHN: We -- we just saw what -- what Senator Reid had to say about this nomination. Is that pretty much what every single Democrat is going to have to say?
ARON: I think Democrats and Republicans, not just the Democrats, once they have the opportunity to review his record, I think will come to the conclusion that he's just not the right judge to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat.
She was the moderate voice on the Supreme Court on a whole number of issues, women's rights, civil rights, reproductive choice. And...
ZAHN: All right.
ARON: ... he has taken...
ZAHN: Well, let's come back to Mona...
ARON: ... very different views.
ZAHN: ... on that key question.
Mona, a lot of people are very concerned about what this judge might do on the issue of Roe v. Wade. Do you think his record is that clear? And do you think it's a slam-dunk for the conservative side that he would attempt to override Roe v. Wade?
CHAREN: I don't think anyone...
CHAREN: I don't think anyone has any idea how he would vote on that subject.
As a court of appeals judge, he has very diligently and conscientiously applied the law, as it was handed down by the Supreme Court, and specifically followed the rulings of Sandra Day O'Connor, because, as the swing vote in some key cases, like Planned Parenthood v. Casey, her jurisprudence turned out to be the one you had to examine in order to understand what the court meant.
And that, by the way, with Justice O'Connor, was no easy task in many instances, because she would come down sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other of very similar issues. There was no clear philosophical -- there were no clear philosophical guidelines in her reasoning.
But, you know, I would like to draw your attention to the voices of moderation that we're hearing from the Democratic side tonight. You have Schumer invoking the just-deceased Rosa Parks and suggesting that she somehow would not approve of Alito, which is -- which is really quite a smear and a little slight of hand there, especially since Ms. Parks can no longer speak for herself. And...
ZAHN: But, Mona, you have to concede...
CHAREN: ... now -- one second. One second.
ZAHN: ... that's not the only voice saying that...
CHAREN: ... one second. Let me finish.
ZAHN: ... Judge Alito might not necessarily...
CHAREN: Let me -- let me finish.
ZAHN: ... support civil rights legislation.
CHAREN: Let me finish.
Furthermore, we have Nan Aron saying that -- that people who opposed Harriet Miers, or people who are conservative, represent the radical right. That's name-calling. It does not increase our understanding. It does not add to the conversation at all.
I wish she would define who she thinks is the radical right.
ZAHN: I want to move on to another issue.
ZAHN: And that is the comments made by Senator Reid, where he basically said...
ZAHN: ... that this move would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an all-boys club.
Are you disappointed the president didn't put -- pick a woman or another minority.
ZAHN: And then we want to give Nan a chance to respond to that -- or Mona. Excuse me
ARON: It's too bad that he didn't appoint a person of color or a woman. This is the third time he has bypassed appointing a -- a Hispanic to the Supreme Court. And just imagine how historic and wonderful that would have been.
And, of course, he also bypassed the opportunity to name a woman. So, I think it is very regrettable. And I think Harry Reid's comments say it all. It really does look very much like an all-boys club.
ZAHN: Mona, do you...
ARON: And I think that's taking us backward.
ZAHN: Need a real brief answer to this.
Do you think there was any other woman qualified that could have replaced Harriet Miers as the president's choice?
CHAREN: Oh, sure.
ARON: There were many, many women. And, in fact, we...
CHAREN: There were -- there were lots of women who could...
ZAHN: Mona -- Mona gets the last word here. CHAREN: There were lots of women the president could have chosen.
But I'm glad that he didn't feel obliged to do anything out of political correctness and chose the candidate that he thought was the best qualified.
ZAHN: Got to leave it there tonight.
Mona Charen, Nan Aron, thank you for both of your perspectives.
ARON: Thank you very much.
ZAHN: Our pleasure.
The Senate had originally planned to adjourn for the year by Thanksgiving. The Alito nomination probably means they will have to interrupt their holiday vacations.
Coming up next, the secret torment that affects millions of women and close to one million men, even rich and famous women like Jane Fonda. She's going to tell us about the struggle she kept secret for decades, her battle with bulimia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Deborah Feyerick in New Jersey. The kids are out. The sex offenders are in -- a controversial new curfew in place in Jersey. But is it really working?
We will tell you coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: We wanted to let you know that, on Wednesday, we have a very special program for you on something that affects more than 10 million Americans, including close to one million men. We are going to devote the entire hour to eating disorders.
I don't have to remind you that most Americans are overweight. And, at the same time, of course, we're under constant pressure to look thin. And that pressure can be devastating.
No one better understands the need to look slim than Hollywood legend Jane Fonda. In a very personal and revealing interview, I sat down with Jane Fonda to talk about the eating disorder that plagued her for many decades.
ZAHN (voice-over): In her 60-plus years in the public eye, Jane Fonda has become almost as well known for her buff, toned, sexy body as for her Oscar-winning roles. But, for more than three decades, this daughter of Hollywood royalty was hiding a painful secret.
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: You try to fill the hole with something. Some people fill it with alcohol and drugs or sex or gambling or whatever. And many girls, including me, filled it with food.
ZAHN: Jane Fonda struggled with anorexia and bulimia.
FONDA: I was made to feel that I wasn't good enough, not by mean people, but just -- I had to be perfect in order to be loved. And, if I wasn't perfect, I would be -- I would end up alone.
ZAHN (on camera): Who expected you to be perfect?
FONDA: I think my father did. And I don't think that he meant to or realized or -- you know, I just think that, down through the generations of Fonda men, there was a tendency to not like women who weren't really thin.
ZAHN: It was that simple?
FONDA: It was -- it was that simple. And I -- I didn't know that before, but I talked to a lot of the Fonda girls. And, apparently, two of his wives suffered from bulimia, as I did for 30 years, striving to be perfect.
ZAHN (voice-over): Fonda's battle with bulimia began, as it does for millions of girls, in adolescence.
She discovered that her famous father thought she was fat and thought that the only way to be loved by him was to be perfect, to be thin. In prep school, she learned how to do that. Fonda tells of her first time binging and purging in her no-holds-barred autobiography, "My Life So Far."
FONDA: We would only binge and purge before school dances or just before we were going home for the holidays. And then we would manage to ferret away all the chocolate brownies and ice cream we could get and gobble them up, until our stomachs were swollen as though we were five months pregnant. Then we would put our fingers down our throat and make ourselves throw it all up.
ZAHN: It became Fonda's ritual, binging and purging, all the while believing that she wasn't damaging her body.
FONDA: And it becomes a -- a real addiction. And until you realize, which I did late in life, that the hunger is not hunger for food -- it's hunger for spirit. It's hunger for wholeness.
ZAHN: And, in college, Jane discovered a tool to kill that hunger. While cramming for exams, she became addicted to stimulant Dexedrine, which kept her awake. It also suppressed her hunger, an addiction she didn't understand until years later.
FONDA: What an illusion that there were no consequences to be paid. It was years before I allowed myself to acknowledge the addictive, damaging nature of what I was doing. Like alcoholism, anorexia and bulimia are diseases of denial. You fool yourself into believing you are on top of it and can stop any time you want.
Even when I discovered I couldn't stop, I still didn't think of it as an addiction. Rather, it was proof that I was weak and worthless.
ZAHN: Fonda alternated between long stretches of anorexic starvation and frequent bouts of bulimia, some days, eating just an apple core or a hard-boiled egg, on other days, binging and then purging as many as eight times a day.
Like millions of others, Fonda's eating disorders continued into adulthood, through two marriages, two children, 20-plus movies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Meet the most beautiful creature of the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN (on camera): When you look at pictures of yourself in "Barbarella" today, what do you think?
FONDA: As bulimics usually are, you know, you are -- you are thinner one day than you are the next. And I could usually see what kind of period of time it was.
It was -- it was -- it was not altogether fun. It was a difficult film to make.
ZAHN: I find it absolutely staggering that you have fought bulimia for almost 30 years.
FONDA: And then a point came in my -- in my 40s. I now had -- I was in my second marriage. And I had two children. And I had an amazing life.
A lot of people and projects depended on me. And I suddenly realized that I was either going to die, I mean, maybe not physically die, because it was never as severe as it is for people who -- girls who are hospitalized, but spiritually die, sort of fall into darkness. Or -- or I had to opt for life and light. And I opted for life and light. And I went cold turkey. It was very hard.
ZAHN: Was that the impetus for your fitness empire?
FONDA: Yes. In a way, it was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FONDA: Walk your feet together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FONDA: It replaced the -- the control that you feel binging and purging with compulsive exercise.
And it was compulsive in the beginning, until I started to make peace with myself and my body. And, you know, we're not supposed to be perfect.
ZAHN: There's such an irony that you, as a woman who struggled with bulimia for some 30 years, would launch a fitness empire.
FONDA: You teach what you need to learn.
March out and in.
ZAHN (voice-over): Despite overcoming her eating disorders and launching a successful fitness empire, the woman underneath those tight leotards and signature leg warmers was still dealing with self- doubts and a need to please.
FONDA: You know, I was fit and I was successful and I was all these things. I still had a lot of self-doubts inside.
ZAHN: To this day, Jane Fonda credits her third husband, billionaire Ted Turner, for helping her to finally overcome these lifelong issues and accept herself, imperfections and all.
At 67, through healthy eating and nonobsessive exercise, Jane Fonda's bulimia is under control. She is stunning, fit, and recovering.
(on camera): It is stunning to me that this is the first time in your life that you really feel whole.
ZAHN: Is this a good time of your life?
FONDA: It's the best. Isn't that nice? At 67?
ZAHN: It is nice.
ZAHN: Jane Fonda's battle with bulimia is just one of the many moving stories we're going to share with you on Wednesday night. I'll also introduce you to a top male athlete who struggled with an eating disorder for decades, sometimes eating 300 calories a day. And we're going to even meet a little girl who started starving herself when she was just 5 years old -- unbeknownst to her parents, living off 15 pages of paper a day. That's all she ate in some cases.
Please join me Wednesday night for an hour-long special on eating disorders, "Walking the Thin Line." It gets under way at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up, we shift our focus quite a bit. A town where authorities are going out of their way to keep children safe. Tonight, it is Halloween, isn't it? Its registered sex offenders have been told to stay at home tonight after 7:00, even if they've done nothing wrong since they got out of prison. Some critics saying that's going too far. Is it? Or should it be followed elsewhere around the country?
And a little bit later on, the technology that lets you choose your baby's sex. It's legal, but is it right? And does that lead all of us down a slippery slope? We'll debate.
ZAHN: As you all know, it's Halloween. Millions and millions of children out there tonight going out and about, trick-or-treating. And here's a number that I think is probably going to surprise you. Those kids could end up knocking on the doors of a half million or so registered sex offenders. And officials in New Jersey are working very hard to keep those doors closed tonight.
Let's turn to Deborah Feyerick, who joins us tonight from Hamilton, Jersey -- that would be New Jersey, with the latest on that.
Ooh, I'm frightened. What is that noise in the background, Deborah?
FEYERICK: I think somebody was just murdered, but I'm not quite sure.
But you know, there are still tons of kids out on the street here. And it's all about protecting the kids, this curfew. But some critics are saying, it's not. There's a lot more controversy than you might think.
FEYERICK (voice-over): In Hamilton Township, New Jersey, like virtually every other American city this Halloween, about the only thing kids have on their minds is candy. And New Jersey officials want to make sure the only monsters they see are the ones in costumes. They've put sex offenders on notice, sending letters to more than 2,000 of them with a warning to be home by 7:00 p.m. And stay home, tucked away from trick-or-treaters.
ED BRAY, NJ STATE PAROLE BOARD: We didn't think we had to wait for another child to get murdered to get ahead of the curve.
FEYERICK: This is the neighborhood where 7-year-old Megan Kanka went to school before she was raped and killed more than a decade ago. Strict laws against sex offenders were enacted after her death. New Jersey, one of a half a dozen states going even farther this Halloween to keep sex offenders away from kids.
(on camera): Clearly you are sending the message to the sex offenders that you are watching, so they better be where they are supposed to be. BRAY: We're watching them. We're serious about their supervision. This is not a cakewalk for them. It's very serious, that they have been sentenced to supervision.
FEYERICK (voice-over): This is the only knock many sex offenders are hearing tonight.
(on camera): So these people all know that you are coming?
SGT. EDWARD JACKSON: They expect that we're coming, yes.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Sergeant Edward Jackson, checking to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be.
But critics, like public defender Yvonne Segars, say the new rules, which also include no Halloween parties and no trick-or- treating for sex offenders, are virtually impossible to enforce. And because New Jersey already has some of the strictest sex offender laws in the country, she says all the new rules do is create fear and paranoia.
YVONNE SMITH SEGARS, NJ STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER: They should not walk around with this false sense of security that all is clear, all is safe because this directive has been issued. And that is unfair to the public.
FEYERICK (on camera): Here in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, there are 67 registered sex offenders, and hundreds of children like these who are going to be going door to door trick-or-treating. It's not clear weather the new rules will have any real impact, but parole officials and many parents would rather be safe than sorry.
(voice-over): Parents like new mom Christine Bischoff.
CHRISTINE BISCHOFF, NEW JERSEY PARENT: It makes me feel like I can go back out again and the kids will be safe. And you know, I hope that they keep this intact, as my son grows older.
FEYERICK: But Cindy Dunn, whose daughter marched in her elementary school parade is not convinced.
CINDY DUNN, NEW JERSEY PARENT: I honestly don't think it's necessary. What's tonight as opposed to other nights? As long as the child is with their parents, especially the younger ones, is it really necessary?
FEYERICK: Any sex offenders caught violating the rules could face a maximum year and a half in prison.
FEYERICK: Now, critics point out that there are 8,000 registered sex offenders who aren't even subject to the curfew. That's because they were convicted even before Megan's law went into effect. Still, the parole chief says, checking on one out of every five is a start -- Paula. ZAHN: And I know there are a lot of people around the country that would like to see this kind of program repeated elsewhere around the country.
Deborah, you couldn't see it, but even as you were talking about very important things, the little ghost behind you popped out and said boo. You'll have to watch it on videotape when you get home tonight. Perfect timing.
FEYERICK: It's a scary night.
ZAHN: Deborah Feyerick, thanks so much.
For as long as I can remember, there has been some talk that some day, science will find a way to let prospective parents actually choose the sex of their baby. Well, that day is here now. But would you go out of your way to have a boy or a girl if you could? And what happens if you made the choice and you ended up with the wrong sex? What would you do?
And then a little bit later on, the answer to a question I bet we all asked this weekend together: Why is the guy at the center of Washington's hottest scandal called Scooter?
ZAHN: I have a question for you now, I want you to do a little bit of work and think about this. If you were trying to have a baby and you could choose whether to have a boy or a girl, would you actually make that choice?
Well, science now makes that choice possible. You can increase the chances of having a baby boy or girl. In fact, we've just learned the doctors at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have started a clinical trial to look at the long-term health effects of gender selection and the impact on families who do this. But it is OK to tamper with nature? Here's Jason Carroll on one Ohio couple who made that very tough call.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can help him get his mask on.
CARROLL: The Mandolesi family is getting ready for Halloween, dressing their 5-year-old boy's Antonio and Angelo for a custom party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Isn't that neat?
CARROLL: There was a time when they thought they would never have a boy, let alone two. There are only girls in Matt's family. He worried there would be no one to carry on the Mandolesi name.
His wife Beth has two daughters from a previous marriage. So when the couple decided to have children together, they turned to their doctor for advice. BETH MANDOLESI, MOTHER OF TWIN BOYS: So I asked him. I said, we're going this whole route in hopes of a boy. Is there any way you can help increase the odds with that? And there again he stated we can, but it's not guaranteed. It's still kind of experimental.
CARROLL: Doctors did the procedure here at the Northeastern Ohio Fertility Center. They used a sperm sorting technique called density gradient separation. Basically a sample of Matt's sperm is spun in a centrifuge. The spinning separates two types of sperm, one that will likely create a boy from one that will likely create a girl. Doctors implanted several of Beth's fertilized eggs hoping she'd give birth to a boy. She ended up with twin boys.
But there are no guarantees. Doctors say it's about 60 percent to 70 percent effective.
MATT MANDOLESI, FATHER OF TWIN BOYS: I would have been happy if it was a boy or a girl. I just to give it a little boost, to greater the odds.
CARROLL: The procedure is legal, but is it ethical?
B. MANDOLESI: To me it's the same as adoption. If you go to adopt a child, don't you choose, I want a boy, don't you choose, I want a girl? We increased the chances of a boy before the egg was even paired with the sperm. So, to us, it didn't make any difference.
I don't think we messed with God's will or whichever. We just increased the odds.
ZAHN: That's exactly what they did. Jason Carroll, the Mandolesi family used a different gender selection technique than the one Baylor researchers are now looking at and doing clinical trials on. But the issue is still whether people should be able to choose the sex of a baby. Joining me now, two people on opposite sides of the debate. First Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg of the Fertility Institute in Los Angeles, which bills itself as the largest self-sex selection program in the world.
Uh oh, it looks like we just the doctor shot here. On the other side of the argument, Harvard professor Michael Sandal who is on the president's counsel on bioethics.
I'm going to start with you, professor, first. What is your chief concern about the technology that allows this to happen?
MICHAEL SANDAL, HARVARD: Two concerns, Paula. And I should emphasize I am speaking for myself, not in any representative capacity. First, sex selection can be and already is an instrument of sex discrimination. And we know this from many Asian countries where there is a powerful cultural preference for boys. In China now, there are 117 boys for every 100 girls. In parts of Northern India, it's 140 boys for every 100 girls. A second objection is that using sex selection when it's unrelated to any medical purpose or health reason, essentially begins to turn children into consumer products, where we pick and choose the traits we want. When we order a car or a toaster as consumers, we're used to specifying the color and the features. But I'm not sure we want to turn children into commodities.
Some $18,000 you can pay to choose the sex of your child. I understand there's a 99.9 percent guarantee, according to the Web site of the fertility clinic of the good doctor. And I wonder, here's a question you might put to him, if he returns, how do they back the product guarantee? Suppose something goes wrong, you don't get the sex that you want, you get a girl rather than a boy or vice versa.
ZAHN: And it's an excellent question.
SANDAL: Do you get the $18,000 back?
ZAHN: It's a question I'd like to pose to the doctor. But unfortunately that live shot has come down. Why don't we go back to the issue of the Mandolesi family who basically believed that if they didn't get the gender they wanted, they would have gone through and carried on with the pregnancy anyway. So why is that not legitimate?
SANDAL: Well, I think in any given case, it's perfectly possible for a loving -- for loving parents to devote the kind of love and care and unconditional love to a child, even if they bought its sex, even if they paid $18,000 to get a girl rather than a boy.
But I think that over time, if parents get in the habit of picking and choosing the sex, or as science advances, the hair color, the eye color, the sexual orientation conceivably, of their children, that we will begin to erode the norm of unconditional love that is associated with the old-fashioned way of being surprised.
ZAHN: Professor, what does it mean to you that Baylor College is now studying these couples using clinical trials to see perhaps what the long-term impact would be on these babies' health down the road? Does that mean we're a lot closer to these scenarios you are talking about, than perhaps one or two years ago?
SANDAL: I think the health considerations are obviously important, but they are not the only consideration here. Because, after all, the parents that we're talking about are paying huge amounts of money to specify in advance the sex of their child for reasons unrelated to health.
So even if a study shows that there is no adverse medical effect or even psychological effect on these children, there still is the broader question of ethics and of social values, really, whether we want to be turning childhood into something that we control to such an extent that it becomes an extension of the consumer society. I think that's the real question.
ZAHN: Professor, we've got to leave it there tonight. Sorry that you lost your debating partner. We had a rough time with that signal out of Los Angeles. Technology in this day and age often effects all of us in television land. Thank you again for your time.
And we're going to change our focus again. Have you figured out why the man at the center of the CIA leak scandal is named Scooter? Don't feel alone if you haven't. Jeanne Moos went out to see if anyone knows -- wait until you hear the answers she got.
And at the top of the hour, veteran news man Mike Wallace is the guest on "LARRY KING LIVE" talking about his long distinguished career.
ZAHN: A lot of big mergers are in the news to talk about. But the biggest news of all is what's happening to oil prices.
Here's Erica Hill with the "Headline News Business Break."
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, confidence about the economy, it pushed the Dow up 66 points today. Lower oil prices didn't hurt either. December oil futures settled below $60 a barrel, that's the lowest price in three months.
Dell, the world's biggest maker of personal computers, says it is expecting lower earnings for the third quarter due to weaker sales in both the U.S. and Britain.
Sprint/Nextel, that new company betting cell phones that double as music players, are really going to take off. The service provider is offering a music library with thousands of songs that can be directly downloaded to your phone, $2.50 a pop.
Meantime, America Online founder Steve Case leaving Time Warner's board of directors to start a new business. Case was a major player in the controversial merger of AOL with Time Warner. Of course, that's the parent company of CNN.
And E-bay CEO Meg Whitman, once again "Fortune Magazine's" most powerful woman in business. It's the second year she's been at the top of the annual list. Oprah Winfrey was fourth. Martha Stewart made her return, Paula, at number 21.
And those are your "Business Break Headlines."
We'll hand it back over to you. Enjoy the rest of your Halloween.
ZAHN: Yes, I'm going to celebrate it for about the 55 minutes I have between this show and the next one I do at 10:00 when I fill in for Aaron and Anderson.
For the sentiment anyway, please stay with us and learn the answer to the question that probably has a lot of you stumped out there. I know it did us.
Why is Scooter Libby called Scooter? Jeanne Moos found out.
ZAHN: He is a former top White House aide in a lot of hot water. His real name is I. Lewis Libby. But, even the president calls him Scooter.
Well, Jeanne Moos just couldn't resist.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's one thing for a scooter to get a ticket. But to be indicted for perjury?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Scooter Libby.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I. Lewis Scooter Libby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Irving Lewis Scooter Libby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also known as Scooter Libby.
MOOS: You'd think with all the coverage, folks would know who Scooter is.
(on camera): Word association. Scooter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Libby.
MOOSE: And some did. But more didn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Booter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scooter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scooter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pie.
MOOS: That scooter's heyday was back when Scooter Libby was just a boy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I get where you are going. Scooter indictment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That SOB in Washington. MOOS: Some call the nickname inappropriate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Too cute for somebody who is so manipulative.
MOOS: It's the butt of jokes.
TINA FEY, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: Making false statements, five years. Perjury, five years. Going to jail with the name Scooter, priceless.
MOOS: There are at least two versions explaining the origin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nicknamed Scooter after famed baseball player Phil Rizzuto.
Apparently, though Scooter, himself, mentions the former Yankee shortstop.
LEWIS "SCOOTER" LIBBY, FORMER CHENEY CHIEF OF STAFF: It goes way back to when I was a kid. Some people ask me, as you did earlier, if it's related to Phil Rizzuto. I had the range, but not the arm.
MOOS: Libby told "The New York Times" his dad coined the nickname when Scooter was in his crib.
(on camera): He used to scoot around his crib.
(voice-over): The one place you won't see the name Scooter is on the novel he published in 1996 entitled, "The Apprentice." No relation to that apprentice.
DONALD TRUMP, THE APPRENTICE: You're fired.
MOOS: Besides, Libby wasn't fired. He resigned. His apprentice got pretty good reviews except for the sex scenes. Scenes that even include bestiality and incest.
As a writer for "The New Yorker" noted, "The brothers of a dead samurai have sex with his daughter. Many things glisten, quiver and are sniffed."
And speaking of fiction, how about the "West Wing"? Its current plot about the White House communications director leaking secret information is eerily close to reality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to fire you.
MOOS: And the scenes at the press briefings...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did any of the White House senior staff know that Toby Ziegler was leaking national security secrets?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's an ongoing investigation. MOOS: ...are practically indistinguishable from the real thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the same Democrats are saying that the president should fire Karl Rove.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: There's an ongoing investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did any senior staff know Toby was lying from that very podium?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A falsehood wittingly or unwittingly was told from this podium.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll dodge your questions now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's such an artful dodge. Whether there is a question of...
MCCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.
MOOS: Speaking of dodging, when you say the name Scooter Libby beware.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lewis Scooter Libby, I'm just looking to see.
MOOS: Be prepared to stew.
ZAHN: That's it for all of us. Good night.
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