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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Brian Welch's Revival; Danica Patrick in the Fast Lane; Should America Trust Kevin Trudeau?

Aired December 22, 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: Hi, everyone. Glad you could join us tonight.
We have got a very special hour for you, stories you're not going to see anywhere else. You are about to meet some of the most fascinating and controversial people of the year. You are in for some real surprises, and it all begins right after these news headlines.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And topping the headlines, that big sigh of relief you may have heard this afternoon came from some seven million New York City commuters, when they heard the city's transit strike is finally over.

The buses and subways haven't been running for the past three days.

Adaora Udoji has the latest on when things will get back to normal and, hopefully, when you will be able to get back inside, where it's warm, Adaora.

(LAUGHTER)

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A great sigh of relief, Erica.

The folks here at Penn Station and those seven million people who rely on public transportation are going to have a much brighter day tomorrow -- the union leaders announcing this afternoon that they were ordering all of the transit workers back to work -- many of those transit workers having to make their way through snarling traffic and lots of pedestrian traffic because of the -- of the shutdown.

The mayor said that he expects -- Mayor Mike Bloomberg said that he expects the buses should get rolling tonight and that, by tomorrow morning, the subway should be back to its normal schedule -- the subway just being a far more complicated system. And they have got to wait and see how many of the employees can get in there as fast as they can to get that system up and running -- but, again, the mayor expecting that by, tomorrow morning's rush hour, this transit strike will be just a -- a bad memory for all those folks who have spent hours getting to work.

So, very good news here in New York -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good news, indeed.

All right. Thanks, Adaora. In other news on this Thursday, the U.S. Senate coming back into session this evening to debate a five-week extension of the Patriot Act. Senators had approved a six-month extension earlier, but the House rejected that idea this afternoon. President Bush says the Patriot Act is absolutely necessary to fight terrorism. But many lawmakers worry it infringes on Americans' civil liberties.

And a shocking story in the sports world -- Indianapolis Colts football coach Tony Dungy taking a leave of absence after getting word that his 18-year-old son was found dead early this morning. Authorities say James Dungy apparently committed suicide. His girlfriend discovered his body late last night in the young man's Tampa-area apartment.

And that's a look at the headlines at this hour. I'm Erica Hill.

Stay with us for a special edition of PAULA ZAHN NOW.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Controversial, provocative, driven to succeed. Tonight, Brian's revival. How did this man go from the top of the rock world to this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's on fire for Jesus.

ZAHN: The answer might surprise you.

Kevin Trudeau. Would you trust a convicted felon who tells you to throw away your medicine? Millions of people do.

(on camera): No medical training. You're a convicted felon. Why should anyone listen to what you have to say about health matters?

(voice-over): The natural world of Kevin Trudeau.

Danica Patrick, hell on wheels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's just going to kick the boys' butts tonight.

ZAHN: With the sex appeal.

DANICA PATRICK, RACE CAR DRIVER: I just want to be racing against the best all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: Go, Danica!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!

ZAHN: What drives this woman in the fast lane?

And homegrown terror. Her grandchildren died here. What she's learned since that day will disturb you. Oklahoma City, was there a larger conspiracy?

Four lives that will amaze you -- one special hour tonight on PAULA ZAHN NOW.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: We start tonight with this question.

How many of you have ever dreamed of becoming a rock star? Well, you are about to meet one who reached the top and then decided to chuck it all, all the sex, all the drugs and the multi-million-dollar paycheck.

Instead, he dedicated his life to God. I'm talking about Brian Welch, who was the lead guitarist for the group known as Korn.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Here on a roof, Bible in hand, Brian Welsh is a new man. But it wasn't long ago that this hard-rocking, heavy- drinking, drug-addicted rock star was at the pinnacle of his career and drowning, he says, in despair.

BRIAN WELCH, FORMER KORN GUITARIST: I was a junkie and a single dad and a rock star all in one. But, inside, I was dead.

ZAHN: That is how the former guitarist from Korn describes his old life, before he quit drugs, before he quit the band, before he did this.

(APPLAUSE)

ZAHN: Brian Welch was raised in a Christian home in the industrial farm town of Bakersfield, California -- his quiet childhood, a far cry from his wild future.

WELCH: When I was a kid, I was really, like, sad inside and I was kind of shy. I was weak. I was afraid to fight. I was made fun of a lot. And I started getting into music. It just made me feel like I belonged somewhere, you know?

ZAHN: Brian found his calling on the strings of a guitar and discovered a kinship with four other teens from Bakersfield, who, together, formed Korn in 1993.

WELCH: When all the guys in Korn hooked up back when we kids, it was like we were a part of something that was going to be our own, you know, and not -- it wasn't about the school. It wasn't about a church. It was about something that we're going to create and do something that we feel that we're gifted to do, just fun for us.

ZAHN: Korn's first record earned accolades from fans and critics alike, with a unique fusion of heavy metal and alternative rock that some called new metal. But their aggressive song lyrics told dark tales of drugs, sex and violence.

(SINGING)

ZAHN: They struck a chord with teenage fans. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Korn!

ZAHN: Awards soon followed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the winner is Korn, "Freak on a Leash."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ZAHN: Korn's songs topped music charts. Their albums went multi-platinum, and they struck Grammy gold not once, but twice.

WELCH: We played in front of like 200,000 people, and they were all going nuts. And we were like, wow.

I have dreamt about this when I was a kid. And 100 percent of it came true, all the fame and money and touring. It was crazy.

ZAHN: But Brian wasn't happy.

WELCH: To the outside world, I was just -- I had it all. I had money, Grammys. I had the house, cars, anything I wanted, but the whole time I was with Korn, when we had success, something at home was failing.

ZAHN: Life on the road took its toll: Brian's wife left. His marriage fell apart and he became a single father to their little girl, Jennea (ph). The pressure, he says, led to a deep depression and dependency on highly addictive crystal meth, or speed.

WELCH: I started doing speed full-time, every day. I was addicted to Xanax, too; sleeping pills. It's just like living in pure hell. I was so miserable. I was like: I just want to go to sleep and never wake up. Never. And I really wanted to die. I really did.

ZAHN: Late last year, a concerned friend invited Brian to this church in Bakersfield. Brian's pastor, Ron Vietti.

PASTOR RON VIETTI, VALLEY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP: I saw tiredness, I saw confusion and someone who just was really ready for a change in life.

WELCH: I was going after my demonic potential, you know and that was getting famous, worshipping money, worshipping fame, worshipping all this other stuff that I thought life was all about.

ZAHN: That realization prompted Brian to think about leaving the band. But when his 5-year-old daughter started singing sexual lyrics from a Korn song, he decided it was time to quit.

WELCH: I said, "You guys, I'm sorry. I can't do this anymore. I'm leaving. I've got to leave. I have to leave. I have no other choice." My bass player for Korn, he text-messaged me and he said, "You're going to get put on MTV. Everyone is going to laugh at you. They are going to say that you're crazy. Is that what you want?"

I was like: Yes. I'm ready to get laughed at, because God is not laughing at me.

ZAHN: That faith led Brian to check into a hotel for what he call as personal drug rehab with God.

WELCH: When I was laying in bed sweating and stuff, going through all the withdrawals and stuff, on speed. I was like: OK, God, I want you to strip this from me. You're the healer; take this from me.

I didn't know what it meant to be touched in the spirit or nothing, but I just -- I felt like he goes: I'm going to make you a star, by yourself, without Korn. You are mine now. You are going to sing for me.

ZAHN: Cured, he says, of his addiction, Brian joined his church group on a headline-making pilgrimage to Israel.

WELCH: Right when I got the gown on, tears started coming down my eyes and my stomach was contracted and I just felt pain. I was looking up just going: Oh, God, I'm sorry.

ZAHN: The change, Brian Says, was instant.

WELCH: I believe that my -- that evil spirits were lifted from me and now I'm peaceful. I'm at peace. I feel peace inside.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So, Brian Welch saved himself from his personal demons. Now he's taking aim at someone else's.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Bow your head in shame. You have disgraced your father's name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: And he's now using his music to slam one of America's biggest rap stars. I will tell you who next.

Also ahead, what you probably don't know about the controversial man behind a best-selling book of natural cures. He isn't a doctor, and the government has banned him from selling health products altogether. So, why are his infomercials all over late-night TV?

And, a little bit later on, do you know this woman? You will when we tell you what she does for her day job.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Tonight, we are talking about some of the most controversial and fascinating people we have met this year. Rock star Brian Welch is one of them.

As we just heard before we went to the break, he was Korn's lead guitarist, selling millions of C.D.s, making millions of dollars. But, at the height of his popularity, he took a deep plunge into the dark side of the business, into drugs and despair.

That's when he decided to make a drastic change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): He was a rock star at the top of his game, with all the trappings of celebrity. But today, Brian Welch plays a very different tune. Music awards that once filled his home are now in dusty piles on his garage floor. Painful reminders, Brian say, of a life he'd rather leave behind.

WELCH: I feel like this guy is dead. There's a lot of pain back there. And these unfortunately remind me of pain. And I don't want to look at them all the time. So they are in my garage.

ZAHN: In their place, religious symbols adorn Brian's walls, furniture and body.

WELCH: Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God." Matthew 6:19, "Don't store your riches on Earth and love conquers all."

ZAHN: And the man who once described himself as shy is telling his story to thousands.

WELCH: You don't have to be in church in a tie, because some man tells you that you need to dress like that. It's about having a relationship come as you are. He loves us all the same.

VIETTI: My e-mails have quadrupled since Brian has been here. A lot of young people writing us saying if God can do that for him maybe he can do it for me even though I'm not a rock star. So, yes, it has had an influence and an impact.

ZAHN: Brian's spiritual reawakening also led to a surprising new discovery, a talent for song writing.

WELCH: I never wrote lyrics in Korn. I never wrote lyrics in my life. I didn't know how to write lyrics. Now I'm writing songs and my phrasing is good. I sound like a singer. I'm not the best singer in the world, but in writing these songs, I never knew -- I never knew I had in me. That's my hidden treasure that God had for me.

ZAHN: One of his first composition is a love song to his little girl.

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now he's just a plain regular dad, except he's on fire for Jesus.

ZAHN: As he returns to the studio for his first solo effort, Brian's Christian theme music is already making news with a scathing critique of rapper 50 Cent. For doing what Brian calls the work of the devil.

And his new song, a cheap name takes direct aim at the rap star.

(MUSIC)

WELCH: I'm not saying I'm better than him. I'm saying God is telling me something. And God is telling me something to tell you. I'm the translator. You listen if you want, but things are going to happen.

ZAHN: Despite what some consider a narrowly targeted message, the recording industry is taking notice of Brian's new sound.

STEVE DELAPORTAS, FORTITUDE MUSIC: You could label it what you want. But music is music. And just because the lyric content in these songs happens to be uplifting, the music is really intense. His fans are going to love this stuff.

ZAHN: In the works, a major tour and a million records. But Brian vows that this time around his profits will be put to good use.

WELCH: There are 70 million kids on the streets in India. And I would rather spend my money getting them to know God.

ZAHN: Brian's former band mates from Korn's declined CNN's request for an interview. But in a statement said that Korn respects Brian's wishes and hopes he finds the happiness he's searching for.

WELCH: I miss those guys so much. I am reaching out to them. I know -- I scared them away a lot.

ZAHN: Today, Brian surrounds himself with a new group of friends.

WELCH: How is it going, brother?

I ran to my room. I grabbed my drugs and threw them in the toilet. And I just got on my knees. I go, did I pass?

ZAHN: Among those friends, born-again actor Stephen Baldwin.

STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR: What we're going to see is this new perception -- this new perception about God and faith in America amongst the youth culture with guys like Brian Welch, kind of leading the charge.

ZAHN: And to the naysayers who doubt Brian's sobriety, a message.

WELCH: People say, well, he's just coming off drugs, and he's crazy. He's a little off his rocker right now.

But, if I'm wrong, I have a better family life. My kid looks up to me. I don't want to die. I don't want drugs. I'm healed from all alcoholism. I have everything to gain. And the other way I was living before, I had everything to lose, including eternity. So, I'm pretty confident in my decision.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And what a journey it's been.

Moving on now, can a man whose book of natural cures has sold nearly three million copies be wrong? Well, a vast majority of doctors say yes. What does he say?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN TRUDEAU, AUTHOR, "NATURAL CURES": Of course medical doctors are going to say they don't believe in what I'm doing, because the whole book is about exposing the medical business for what it is, fraud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Coming up, Kevin Trudeau defends his controversial record and his even more controversial book.

And, a little bit later on, in a world where speed is everything, she's the fastest rising star. You will meet her.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Kevin Trudeau is one of the most controversial authors we have seen this year. You may wonder what it took for Trudeau, a convicted felon, a man with no medical training, to write a health care self-help that sold millions of copies. Well, try a solid half- hour of TV time, in other words, an infomercial.

And he reached the top of the best-seller list, despite scathing criticism from medical professionals, who say some of the advice in his book is downright dangerous.

I asked him about it all in an in-depth interview earlier this year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): If you have ever been up late at night channel-surfing, chances are, you know Kevin Trudeau.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, INFOMERCIAL)

TRUDEAU: This is the book we're talking about, "Natural Cures," they don't want you to know about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The infomercial for his "Natural Cures" book is one of the most frequently run in the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, INFOMERCIAL)

TRUDEAU: If you have acid reflux, blood clots, varicose veins, asthma, arthritis, migraine headaches, pain of any kind, insomnia, any type of disease you need to pay attention, because there are natural cures for virtually every disease out there.

ZAHN: So far, "Natural Cures' has sold at least three million copies, outsold only by the latest "Harry Potter" book. Natural Cures has been the best-selling advice book for weeks, remarkable for someone who isn't an author, a doctor, or even a scientist.

I sat down with Kevin and asked why, despite his book's success, the vast majority of medical professionals seem to view him as a quack.

TRUDEAU: Of course medical doctors are going to say they don't believe in what I'm doing, because the whole book is about exposing the medical business for what it is: fraud.

ZAHN: Fraud is something Kevin Trudeau knows about firsthand. In 1991, he served a two-year prison term for credit card fraud. He's also had several run-ins with the Federal Trade Commission for years over false claims.

In 2003, he was fined $2 million over claims made for his Coral Calcium Supreme. Trudeau was banned from selling products in infomercials and banned from selling health products in any format at all. But his constitutional right to free speech allows him to use infomercials to sell his book and newsletter.

ZAHN (on camera): You're the only person ever to have been banned from selling a product by the FTC. You have absolutely no medical training. You're a convicted felon. Why should anyone listen to what you have to say about health matters?

TRUDEAU: Why should anyone listen to a medical doctor about health?

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Well, one would assume they have training that would reinforce what...

TRUDEAU: You would assume that.

ZAHN: ... they're advising their patients to do.

TRUDEAU: You would assume that. These are the same experts who told us to use Vioxx that killed 150,000 people. These are the same people that kill 900,000 people a year.

ZAHN (voice-over): Claims that can't be substantiated.

(on camera): Kevin, what I would like to do now is run through some of the illnesses you talk about in your book and what you think are cures for them.

Arthritis, you say caused by heavy metal toxicity. Among some of the ways you think to cure it are parasite cleanser, crocodile protein peptide, removal of all dental metal in your mouth.

So, what do you say to the doctors who say, don't even think about this stuff?

TRUDEAU: Right.

ZAHN: Crocodile protein peptide is...

TRUDEAU: Yes. I know...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: ... a joke. And don't even think about taking the fillings out of your mouth, because that's going to make no difference at all.

TRUDEAU: I know.

I know. Doctors say that all the time. And, you know, what happens is, the doctors say that. The guy does it and he goes, all my symptoms went away. And the doctor says, well, it had -- one had nothing to do with the other.

ZAHN (voice-over): In chapter six, called "How to Never Get Sick Again," Trudeau lists over 150 steps to take. Some are good common sense: Drink eight glasses of water. Go for a walk every day. Stop smoking.

Others, like staying away from microwaves, wearing white, or sleeping on a magnetic mattress pad, are more controversial. And then there are those that physicians say could actually be dangerous.

(on camera): David Johnson, vice president of the American College of Gastroenterology, he notes that...

TRUDEAU: Drug pusher.

ZAHN: ... he notes that there is no evidence to support many of the book's claims. He says some of Trudeau's suggestions could actually be harmful.

TRUDEAU: Such as?

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Digestive enzymes. He says -- quote -- "These enzymes are very caustic and could burn the esophagus..."

TRUDEAU: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: ... and that they are typically only prescribed for people with pancreatic problems, to begin with.

TRUDEAU: OK.

Well, that's a doctor giving his opinion. Now, is it a fact or his opinion?

ZAHN: This is his opinion.

TRUDEAU: Does he say it's his opinion? He's presenting his...

ZAHN: And what you write in your book is your opinion.

TRUDEAU: Correct. And that's the point.

Should people have the option of reviewing opinions? First off, there's over 900 studies in the book that's listed. Under the chapter that says, "Still Not Convinced," I list over three dozen books. And each of those books lists virtually hundreds of studies that back up everything that is said in there.

ZAHN: And one of the things you recommend is getting 15 colonics in 30 days. According to this same Dr. Johnson: "There is no medical reason to have even one of these procedures. . ."

TRUDEAU: Sure.

ZAHN: "... which typically involve purging the bowels with enemas, let alone 15 in one month."

TRUDEAU: Horror. I know.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: He says -- quote -- "All that purging could lead to dehydration. . ."

TRUDEAU: Yes.

ZAHN: "... or electrolyte imbalances, which can disturb heart rhythms."

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: True or false?

TRUDEAU: It's false. That's his opinion.

ZAHN (voice-over): Ironically, Trudeau says its his lack of medical training that allows him to reveal these natural cures, cures some readers say aren't actually in the book.

(on camera): But, Kevin, even you have to concede you haven't won a legion of fans.

Let me read to you something a reader, Christina Miller (ph), had to say about your book. TRUDEAU: Sure.

ZAHN: She contacted the FTC to say -- quote -- "I recently purchased the book and feel like the whole thing is a huge scam. The book has vague information urging the reader to join the Web site for a fee for specific information. However, when you join the Web site, after you give your credit card info and your order is processed, then you get the disclaimer stating brand names cannot be mentioned, as promised. Also, the things that are promised upon joining are not available."

TRUDEAU: One person.

ZAHN: Well, I got a whole bunch of them.

TRUDEAU: Now, hold on.

ZAHN: Respond specifically to what...

TRUDEAU: No.

ZAHN: ... Christina Miller (ph) is saying.

TRUDEAU: Let's -- let's not mislead the public, Paula. Don't mislead the public. Three million people bought this book. The majority, overwhelming majority, of people that read my book are writing me letters by the tens of the thousands, thanking me.

ZAHN: What you're saying, I'm sure, is true. But there are enough of these letters, that we have been given copies of it. I just want you to respond to specific criticism that these people feel hoodwinked, that, once they pay a fee...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: ... to get on the Web site, they don't feel that the information that you promise in the book is there for the taking.

TRUDEAU: How do you respond to the criticisms of somebody who goes to the movies, sees an Academy Award winning picture and says, unwatchable. How do you respond to that?

ZAHN: But it's not a question of people saying that they don't like what they read. They don't think the information you've promised in the book is there.

TRUDEAU: No, you are misleading people.

The majority of people, Paula, believe that the information I promise is in the book.

ZAHN: On the Internet bookseller, Amazon.com, Natural Cures averages 2.5 stars out of five in reader reviews.

With some readers satisfied, others clearly not.

Kevin, one of the things I'm struck by in our conversation is the number of times you've mentioned the word, options, to consider. Yet the title of your book is Natural Cures. There's a disconnect between these two.

TRUDEAU: I don't think so. I think the reason I called the book Natural Cures, they don't want you to know about, is the book could be titled, there are natural cures out there...

ZAHN: There are options.

TRUDEAU: There are options. There are things to consider that I believe are natural cures, that I believe that the government, the FTC, the FDA and the drug companies don't want people to know about for profit reasons. And so, the whole book is about...

ZAHN: But you explicitly state natural cures.

TRUDEAU: There are natural cures in the book, categorically.

ZAHN: But not that they're options.

TRUDEAU: In my opinion, they are natural cures. In my opinion, they are categorically natural cures. And by the results of the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that are sending me the letters telling me how they were cured by doing what I say in the book, it seems to be working.

ZAHN: On the first page of his book, Trudeau says he's using all of the profits to educate people about natural health. On page 125, he revises that to, most of the profits.

Then there's that subscription-based Web site. An infomercial monitoring system estimates Trudeau spends as much as $1 million a week on paid programming airing on national cable and probably takes in many times that.

Kevin, you talked an awful lot about the greed that you think drives the drug industry. It has been reported that you run a $2 billion industry. Aren't you motivated by money?

TRUDEAU: I was motivated by money a lot, yes. Absolutely. And making money as I say in the book is not a four-letter word. But, when you make money like Ford Motor Company did with the exploding Pinto and you kill people? I think it's bad.

So making money is not, making money is not bad. But making money at the expense of people's lives, I think, is a terrible thing.

ZAHN: But what about some of the things you offer in your book that these medical doctors think are exaggerated and offer false hope?

TRUDEAU: The drug companies create false hope. My book is the real hope.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And we want to stress again that Trudeau's book is based only on his opinions. He is not a physician, nor a scientist nor a medical expert. He is a salesman with no medical training to speak of. Still ahead tonight, a rookie driver who got us talking because she suddenly found herself in front of the pack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANICA PATRICK, RACECAR DRIVER: It's come very quickly, and I'm only in race No. 6 right now, and I had this huge fanbase and I have so many kids that look up to me now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Danica Patrick is a star, even though she hasn't won a race yet. And what would drive this woman, who lost two grandchildren in the Oklahoma City bombing to forgive the bombers?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Still ahead, she's only five-foot-one and just 23-years- old, but she's already a sex symbol, a role model and she's made history. What drives racing star Danica Patrick?

First, though, let's get caught up on some of the hour's top stories from "Headline News."

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Paula, I'm Erica Hill in Atlanta. Drama on Capitol Hill tonight, where just moments ago, the Senate agreed to extend the Patriot Act for five weeks. Andrea Koppel is in Washington now with the latest. Andrea?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Erica, good evening. If you blinked, you would have missed it. From start to finish, the Senate was in session for only a total of four minutes tonight. The only senator present in the chamber, John Warner of Virginia. Still in that brief span of time, the Senate cleared the way for the anti-terrorism measure known as the Patriot Act to be extended for another month or five weeks.

Earlier this evening, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, threw the Senate a curveball, refusing to sign off on a six-month extension. Many of the key provisions of the Patriot Act were set to expire in December 31st.

Now the new date is February 3rd. The hope, that the extension will be able to enable Republicans and Democrats to hammer out remaining differences over civil liberties protections. But for now, Congress is finally closed for the holidays. Erica?

HILL: Finally on vacation. Andrea Koppel, thanks.

In Baghdad today, more violence to report as gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint, killing four Iraqi police commanders and wounding six more. Three Iraqi women were later kidnapped. One American soldier was killed by a homemade bomb. Now despite the continuing attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made a surprise Christmastime visit to U.S. forces in Baghdad, where he hinted at a small reduction in forces that could be announced as soon as tomorrow.

Plus, as promised, new transportation security administration rules went into effect today. Following air passengers -- allowing air passengers, that is, to have short scissors and tools in their carry-on bags. The TSA though said it will also increase the number of random checks of passengers. So make sure you have plenty of time to spare at the airport. That's a look at the headlines. I'm Erica Hill. Back now to Paula.

ZAHN: You probably don't remember who won this year's Indianapolis 500, but maybe you know who finished fourth. A lot of people who aren't big Indy car fans watched the race and Danica Patrick was the reason.

Women, of course, have raced at Indianapolis before, but none of them has ever come as close to winning as Patrick. And it was her first Indy 500. Here's Heidi Collins.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lady and gentlemen, start your engines!

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): If you want to see intensity, just look in her eyes. Danica Patrick on the track at the Texas Motor Speedway, doing what she does best.

BEV PATRICK, DANICA'S MOTHER: Look out boys, here we come.

COLLINS (on camera): Are you the real deal?

D. PATRICK: You tell me, I don't know. I'm out here to prove that I can be consistently fast and consistently in front, and go out and win races.

COLLINS (voice-over): Since her fourth-place finish at this year's Indianapolis 500, the world has focused on this 5'1, 105-pound 23 year old.

ANNOUNCER: Danica Patrick: She'll be the leader in turn number one.

COLLINS: She's the first woman ever to lead a lap in the Indy 500 and she did it for 19 laps.

CROWD: Go Danica!

COLLINS: Danica has become a media favorite. The cameras and fans are never far behind. In the headlines it's Danicamania. Her run at Indy improved ratings for the ABC broadcast by an astonishing 59 percent over last year. Danica Patrick merchandise...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sold out. COLLINS: ... Flying off the shelves. But before all of the fame and money, Danica was a little girl with a big dream.

D. PATRICK: From an early age: Probably about 13 years old is when I knew I was going be a race car driver.

B. PATRICK: It was like throwing a duck in water. And she was a natural at it and she never could get enough of it.

D. PATRICK: I am going to win.

B. PATRICK: Going to win.

COLLINS: Bev and T.J. Patrick, former snow mobile racers, soon discovered their daughter's talent for go-cart racing.

B.PATRCIK: She was a very typical little girl -- volleyball, basketball, cheerleading. You know, we tried to introduce them to everything, to see what they liked to do and go-carting was just one of the things that we did for fun.

COLLINS: By 16, Danica was well on her way.

D. PATRICK: The biggest moment in time and the most defining moment in which I knew that I was going to be a race car driver, had to be when I left school at 16 and moved to England. And that was where you make that final commitment of: OK, I'm not taking the normal path anymore.

COLLINS: Danica did not graduate from high school. Instead, she went to England for three years to race open-wheeled cars against the top young drivers from around the world.

David Letterman and racing legend Bobby Rahal, co-owners of the Rahal-Letterman team, recognized her talents and took a chance. In 2002, they signed her up.

D. PATRICK: Here I am, boss.

DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW COST: Nice to see you.

COLLINS: Danica hit the Indy Racing League circuit in March of this year, in Homestead, Florida. It was her first race and her first crash.

COLLINS: Amazingly, she walked away with a slight concussion and just a few scratches. But in a field of all-male race car drivers, Danica stands out. In April, 2002, as part of her marketing push, she agreed to pose for these pictures in the speed issue of FHM: "For Him" magazine.

D. PATRICK: I feel comfortable with photo shoots and the FHM. I enjoy being girly.

COLLINS: Behind that long hair, the makeup and the sexy photos, there is a fierce competitor. D. PATRICK: I hope to win races and I think that when you hope to win races, the end result of that is, you know, you win pole positions and you win championships and things like that. So, you know, that's my goal: Is just to win.

COLLINS: Does that bother you?

D. PATRICK: I'm trying to do an interview.

T. J. PATRICK, DANICA'S FATHER: When she's in a race car, she's a tomboy and when she's out of the race car, she's a lady. She's very good at it. She can somehow make the switch with no problem.

COLLINS: And Danica flips that switch instinctively.

(on camera): What are you thinking when you're out there?

D. PATRICK: Nothing. You really aren't thinking about much when you're in the race car. I don't, anyway. You're feeling the car. You're feeling what it's doing. It's very natural and it must be instinctive. To be a good race car driver, you have to have good instincts. I don't claim to know a lot about cars and I don't necessarily know if I have to know a lot about cars. It hasn't hurt me too bad yet.

I just want to be racing against the best, all the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Well, since Heidi Collins filed that report, Danica Patrick got married, finished the Indy car season, ranked 12th out of the 38 drivers and she's ready for more next year. The first Indy racing league race is in Miami in March.

Coming up next, she lost two grandchildren in the Oklahoma City bombing. Ten years later, she's determined to find out the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHY SANDERS, GRANDMOTHER OF OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING VICTIMS: I just don't want to go to my grave without having done everything that I possibly could to solve this crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: How Kathy Sanders search for answers has led her to a remarkable relationship with one of the Oklahoma City bombers. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Could you ever forgive someone who killed your grandchildren? Not very likely. But one of the most fascinating people we met this year is Kathy Sanders, who lost two grandsons in the Oklahoma City bombing 10 years ago. Her capacity for compassion is truly stunning, as you are about to see.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): The images are hard to forget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A third of the building has been blown away.

ZAHN: The bomb went off at 9:02 a.m., destroying the Alfred P. Murrah Building, destroying the lives of so many people. In the midst of the chaos, two red-headed women stood out in their grief, Kathy Wilburn Sanders and her daughter, Edie Smith.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two, three.

ZAHN: Edie's children, Colton, age 2, and Chase, almost 4, were at the day care center located on the ground floor of the Murrah Building. They were two of the 168 people killed that day.

SANDERS: We used to say that Colton would follow Chase to the end of the Earth. And I guess, in a way, he did. They are buried together now. When I watched their coffin lower into the grave, there was a part of me I left there that day. Those little boys, I can't tell you what they meant to me.

ZAHN: The family was full of despair. And they were very angry, angry at Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols for a despicable act of terror, angry at God for taking their boys, angry because they didn't believe the federal government was telling the whole truth about the bombing.

SANDERS: There were over 20-some-odd eyewitnesses that saw McVeigh downtown that morning. Not one eyewitness saw him alone. Now, if you were prosecuting McVeigh, wouldn't it be necessary that you place the man at the scene of the crime? Never during his trial was one eyewitness called to place him at the scene of the crime.

ZAHN: Kathy Sanders believes that was by design. Those eyewitnesses, she believes, would have implicated others beyond Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Her need for answers led her to research and writing a new book called "After Oklahoma City," in which she questions if the FBI and ATF had advance warning of the bombing and whether it was retaliation for the execution of a white supremacist, Richard Wayne Snell, who was executed in Arkansas on that same day.

(on camera): If it were ever proven than Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were part of a broader conspiracy, in your mind, would that make them any less guilty of what they were accused of doing?

SANDERS: It wouldn't make them any less guilty and it wouldn't make my babies any less dead, but it is the right thing I want my government to do.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will find the people who did this.

SANDERS: What it's supposed to do, what it was supposed to do.

CLINTON: Justice will be swift, certain and severe.

SANDERS: Bill Clinton got on TV. He told us everyone responsible for this bombing was going to be arrested and pay for this crime. And it hasn't happened.

ZAHN: I think what a lot of people would be surprised by are the lengths you have gone to try to get answers.

You befriended Timothy McVeigh's family. Why was that important for you to do? And what were you hoping to find out?

SANDERS: I wanted to know everything I could about Timothy McVeigh.

ZAHN (voice-over): While trying to find out everything she could about McVeigh and Nichols Kathy Sanders learned something about herself and her capacity for compassion.

SANDERS: Our family had the love of a nation. After the bombing, the whole world reached out to love us. And when I saw Mr. McVeigh, who is loving him? Who is reaching out to him? This poor man has been a good father, a good, hard blue-collar worker all his life. He's sitting around waiting for his son to be executed. Can you imagine anything more horrible? Nobody wants that kind of fate for their child.

ZAHN (on camera): Did you ask him point blank, why do you think your son did this?

SANDERS: I asked him if Tim ever told him about the bombing. And he said, no, ma'am, because I don't ever talk to Timmy about the bombing. And I -- I believed him.

ZAHN (voice-over): Even more surprising is that Kathy met with Terry Nichols, visiting him several times while in state prison and talking with him on the phone up to three times a week.

SANDERS: When I first started corresponding and getting to know Terry, I was willing to dance with the devil to get to the truth. But as I got to know Terry Nichols the person, instead of Terry Nichols the bomber, it put a face on this person and it changed. And I can't describe it any better than that. I don't know how to tell you.

ZAHN (on camera): You don't view him as the devil anymore?

SANDERS: No, I don't.

ZAHN (voice-over): Sanders even testified at Nichols' federal trial that he not be sentenced to death.

(on camera): And although he's expressed sadness about the loss of life that day, he has never admitted his involvement in the bombing.

SANDERS: He's going to.

ZAHN (voice-over): Her search for answers hasn't been easy. Kathy's husband, Glenn Wilburn, died from cancer two years after the bombing. She's convinced it was brought on by the stress.

She recently remarried, yet stays focused on learning everything she can about the bombing.

SANDERS: I just don't want to go to my grave without having done everything that I possibly could to solve this crime.

ZAHN: Today, Terry Nichols is in federal prison serving 161 consecutive life sentences. Now Kathy Sanders can only communicate with him through letters. She recently petitioned the prison to allow her to visit him, but that request was denied. She says she'll try again.

(on camera): What gives you hope that he'll ever come clean?

SANDERS: I think that he's had a change of heart and I honestly believe that he's going tell me everything that he knows.

ZAHN: What do you think Terry Nichols wants from you?

SANDERS: Forgiveness.

ZAHN: And you are willing to grant him that?

SANDERS: I forgave him.

ZAHN: How hard was that for you to do that?

SANDERS: It was just a lot easier than hating him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Since our report in April, Kathy Sanders tells us officials at the prison where Terry Nichols is being held continue to refuse her permission to visit him. And she says she and Nichols still write to each other regularly.

We're going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Fascinating, startling, sometimes controversial. We hoped you enjoyed meeting some of the people who got us talking. All of them, very different from one another. But all of them headline makers in 2005. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. That wraps it up for all of us here. We hope you have a good rest of the night. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Good night.

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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