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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Investigating Mark Foley's Past; Coping With Scandal

Aired October 4, 2006 - 20:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us tonight. Paula has got this evening off.
Tonight, we go in-depth on the top stories of the day, new revelations in the congressional sex scandal. Tonight, two former congressional pages are speaking out for the first time with their stories of instant messages from former Congressman Mark Foley and an evening at his house. One of those ex-pages is also talking to the FBI.

Also, late-breaking and damaging information about what House leaders knew and when they knew it -- House Speaker Hastert's office may have been warned about Foley as much as three years ago.

And, in Pennsylvania's Amish country, they're making plans for funerals for the five girls killed in this week's school shooting -- tonight, a firsthand account of what it was like inside the schoolhouse after the killings.

With each day, we're getting more and more information about Mark Foley and his communications with teenagers.

Now, let's get right to those former House pages who are speaking out for the first time tonight.

Our Brian Todd interviewed the men today. He joins me live from Washington now.

Brian, what are you learning?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have confirmed that one of the men you're about to hear from, Tyson Vivyan, has been interviewed by the FBI about former Congressman Foley.

Here's the account from Vivyan and another former page of some of the contact they say they had with Mr. Foley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): Tyson Vivyan says, when he was a page in 1996 and 1997, Congressman Mark Foley didn't speak to him. But Vivyan says, shortly after he left Capitol Hill, the congressman initiated contact with instant messages. Vivyan says he was 17 at the time, a minor.

TYSON VIVYAN, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: The conversation turned sexual almost immediately. TODD: It went on for years, according to Vivyan -- e-mails, brief phone conversations, instant messages.

VIVYAN: We're probably talking upwards of 40 to 50 instant message conversations that took place over that entire period, some of them sexual in nature -- the majority of them sexual in nature, some of them not.

TODD: Vivyan tells CNN, on one occasion, after his tenure as a page, when he was about 19, he returned to Washington, and was invited to Foley's house. He says he brought another former page with him to make sure things didn't get out of hand.

VIVYAN: He and I went together to Congressman's Foley's brownstone on Capitol Hill, a few blocks away from the Capitol. He ordered pizza for us. He offered us beer, but we were minors at the time. We both declined.

TODD: The other former page who went with Vivyan that night, Josh Abrons, tells CNN he doesn't recall alcohol being present.

Vivyan and Abrons both say nothing inappropriate happened. But Abrons also says Foley had exchanged instant messages with him after he left the page program, but while he was still a minor. Abrons says he initiated contact with Foley, but only to talk about politics. He says Foley did talk politics, and:

JOSH ABRONS, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: He did make explicit references. He talked about anatomy, his own and other people's. He did enjoy talking about sex frequently, and asking questions, making statements. And he did ask if I was attracted to him physically or if I would ever be interested in him in the future.

TODD: Neither Abrons, nor Vivyan could provide copies of their alleged communications with Foley from that time. Vivyan showed us correspondence he said he had with Foley when Vivyan was in his mid- 20s.

Abrons and Vivyan say they made it clear they were not interested in physical relationships with Foley. But why didn't they report this contact to authorities?

ABRONS: For a 17-year-old to receive instant messages from a member of Congress is quite something. And you do not want to -- want to burn that bridge with a member of Congress.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: We tried to reach Mark Foley's attorney, David Roth, for reaction to Tyson Vivyan and Josh Abrons' accounts. Mr. Roth did not return our phone calls.

Tyson Vivyan tells us he is a liberal Democrat. Josh Abrons says he has been both Republican and Democrat, but now considers himself an independent -- John.

ROBERTS: Brian, were either one of these pages warned about Foley when they first started there on Capitol Hill?

TODD: They both say they were not warned, formally or informally, about Mr. Foley. They said they had heard gossip about him.

One of them says that he was possibly told by maybe one or two other pages, hey, you might want to watch out for this guy, but nothing really serious at that time about Mr. Foley.

ROBERTS: The scuttlebutt was getting around.

Brian Todd, good reporting. Thanks very much.

The congressional page program is the one of the oldest institutions on Capitol Hill. The first page was a 9-year-old boy appointed in 1829 by Senator Daniel Webster. Sixty-three young men and women are admitted to the page program every year.

Since the Republicans have congressional majorities, they get to pick 45 pages, the Democrats only 18 of them. To be a page, you have to be 16 years old, a high school junior, and get good grades. Pages live in a dormitory near the Capitol. They're basically congressional gophers, running errands and attending classes.

For all their work, they earn a little over $1,400 a month before taxes, and, of course, before paying a monthly $400 dorm fee.

Mark Foley has not been charged with any crime. In fact, the FBI hasn't even started a full investigation yet. And some people are wondering why, because agents were first tipped off about suggestive e-mails from Foley months ago.

Justice correspondent Kelli Arena was that part of the story for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind this door, in what used to be Mark Foley's office, sits his computer, disks, and other materials that could be considered evidence.

A senior Justice official says the Justice Department requested it all be kept under lock and key, and not touched, pending a full criminal investigation. When the time comes to remove it all, agents want to do that themselves. And don't expect any challenge from Congress.

In the meantime, investigators are questioning former congressional pages about their relations with the former congressman.

DAVID SCHERTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: To the extent that the FBI gets information from pages, leaving them to conclude that there was e-mail correspondence between a particular page and Congressman Foley, it could provide the FBI the necessary probable- cause basis for obtaining search warrants. ARENA: Officials who have been briefed say investigators have enough information to warrant a full sex crimes investigation. But the attorney general is refusing to comment at this stage.

ALBERTO GONZALES, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Obviously, we consider these -- these allegations very seriously. It's early in the process. And, so, please give us an opportunity to do our jobs, to ensure that our -- that our children remain safe.

ARENA: The investigation has been moving very quickly over the past 48 hours. The woman who first brought the original e-mails to the FBI's attention back in July says she doesn't know why it took so long.

MELANIE SLOAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: It took, you know, literally less than 24 hours after the first set of e-mails were revealed for all the rest of the instant messages to come out. So, if the FBI had done even just a modicum of digging, they would have found out much more about Mark Foley.

ARENA: She alleges the FBI dragged its feet. And her watchdog group sent a letter to the Justice Department's inspector general asking him to investigate.

(on camera): The FBI is refusing comment, but government officials insist that the FBI did investigate. In fact, they say, three squads looked at the e-mails, a public corruption squad, a criminal squad, and, finally, a cyber squad. We're told agents determined that there wasn't enough evidence at the time to suggest any criminal activity.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: This scandal is more -- about more than just Mark Foley. It's also threatening House Speaker Dennis Hastert, too.

And, tonight, developments are coming very quickly. There's new information about when Hastert's office may have been warned about Foley.

Congressional correspondent Dana Bash joins me now with tonight's bombshell.

And, Dana, what are you hearing up there on the Hill.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is definitely a fast-moving story, John.

And, tonight, a top House Republican aide is alleging that he told the speaker of the House chief -- his chief of staff more than two years ago that he was concerned about inappropriate conduct on -- on the part of Mark Foley. Now, that aide is Kirk Fordham, who, at the time, was actually Mark Foley's chief of staff. And Fordham's attorney tells CNN that he had this conversation with Hastert's chief of staff, whose name is Scott Palmer, either by phone or in person. He says he can't remember exactly when, and won't be specific about the content of that, except to say that it was about inappropriate conduct that Mark Foley was having with some congressional pages.

Now, in a statement, Fordham himself describes how, several times, he tried to raise this with senior Republican leadership aides. He says -- quote -- "Even prior to the existence of the Foley e-mail exchanges, I had more than one conversation with senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives, asking them to intervene when I was informed of Mr. Foley's inappropriate behavior. One of these staffers is still employed by the House -- by the senior House Republican leader," he said.

Now, if that is true, that would directly contradict a timeline released over the weekend by the House speaker's office, saying that they only found out about Foley's conduct at the end of 2005, that after a former page complained about an e-mail that he got that has been described as -- quote -- "overly friendly."

Now, in response to these allegations, Scott Palmer, the chief of -- the chief of staff to the House speaker, said -- quote -- "What Kirk Fordham said did not happen" -- short and sweet, his -- his flat denial of what Kirk Fordham is alleging tonight.

Now, the speaker's office is trying to make the case that Fordham isn't telling the truth, but I can tell you, tonight, they are simply scrambling to try to respond to this. They're back on the defense. And that comes just hours after, earlier in the day, one of the other top leaders of the Republican leadership tried to distance -- distance himself from the speaker.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH (voice-over): The number-three Republican in the House is the latest member of the leadership to distance himself from House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Congressman Roy Blunt told reporters back home in Missouri he would have handled the Foley matter differently, had he known about it.

"You have to be curious. You have to ask all the questions you can think of," Blunt said.

In Texas, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who left Congress in the wake of his own ethics troubles, told CNN that calls for the speaker's resignation are premature.

TOM DELAY, FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: When we know all the facts, then you might think about those kinds of things. But to jump on people, not knowing the facts, is irresponsible. BASH: That as Hastert continued his damage-control effort, calling into a radio show and blaming political opponents for timing revelations about Foley to come close to the election.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Somebody held information for one or two years, or I don't know how long, to -- to drop out on the last day of the legislation -- legislative session, right before a big election, to change the topic out there.

BASH: Hastert aides are relieved that, so far, no GOP lawmaker has called for his resignation. But Republican anxiety over the ramifications of the Foley scandal is still palpable. GOP candidates are being bombarded with questions all over the country about Foley's conduct and how Republican leaders handled it, from Florida...

REP. JEFF MILLER (R), FLORIDA: The first e-mails that came out have been described as overly friendly. I would say they were probably a little more than that.

BASH: ... to Tennessee...

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: If anybody participated in a cover-up, whether it was a member or whether it was a staffer or whether it was somebody who was holding e-mails, they -- that individual needs to resign immediately.

BASH: ... to California.

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: It's just like when, you know, someone of the cloth or a teacher violates the trust. A congressman violating this trust is an outrage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Now, earlier today, the speaker's office was -- they were feeling pretty good about where they stood, in terms of the fire that he's been under, calls for his resignation.

For example, one conservative lawmaker who had been making calls trying to get the sense of things on the ground among the rank-and- file -- that congressman is Mike Pence -- he came out and -- and said that he did not think it was appropriate for the speaker to resign.

But that was hours ago, John. Things have changed, as we have been talking about, dramatically, since this new revelation -- allegation that the speaker's office hasn't -- essentially, hasn't been up front about what they knew and when they knew it with regard to Mark Foley's conduct.

ROBERTS: Yes. Every hour seems to bring a new revelation.

Dana, stay with us now, because we want to bring in the other members of our "Top Story" political panel, senior political correspondent Candy Crowley and our chief national correspondent John King.

Let's go back to you, Dana.

Is it looking increasingly likely at this point that Hastert is not going to survive, particularly given these new revelations by Kirk Fordham?

BASH: You know, that is a -- that's really a hard question to answer.

I will tell you, I -- as soon as these allegations came out, I talked to a couple of -- of senior Republican strategists, one of whom said: You know, I -- my best is that he won't last the end of the week.

However you know, right now, we are seeing the -- the speaker's office try to fight back, try to make the case that Kirk Fordham is simply not telling the truth. He was fired today -- excuse me -- I should -- I should rephrase that -- he resigned today.

ROBERTS: Mmm-hmm.

BASH: And, behind the scenes, GOP leaders are trying to suggest that perhaps, you know, he was upset about that, upset about the fact that there had been a report earlier that one Republican leadership aid was blaming him for this, saying that he tried to stop a full investigation.

So, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes intrigue. But the bottom line is, it is the speaker that everybody is still pointing to who has responsibility. And things really have changed from this morning to now, in terms of where he might potentially stand.

ROBERTS: Candy Crowley, as far as the midterm elections go, are Republicans increasingly worried that this is going to put a bullet in their chances to maintain control of Congress? They -- they -- they have to rally the base to the polls in order to maintain control. And one of the groups that are most angry at Republicans for this are those conservatives.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a problem, because Republicans' ace in the hole has always been turnout, or -- or, at least, over the past eight years, it has been, you know, we can get these people to the polls. We can -- you know, they -- they stand by the polls, and they say, oh, this Republican hasn't voted, and they go get them.

Well, you know, they may not answer the door this time. We are talking about conservative Christians, conservatives, evangelicals, who the Republicans count on to put them over the top. So, they have -- they may have lost their ace in the hole, unless they can try and pull this thing out.

ROBERTS: John King, you got back from Texas. You talked to Tom DeLay -- no stranger to scandal, Mr. Delay.

What -- what was his take on this whole thing? And -- and, also, how is the White House responding to this? JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's no stranger to politics either, John.

And his take is that this is a distraction that's hurting the Republicans right now. He said a few hours ago: It's not time to say the speaker should resign. Let's let the facts come in.

How is the White House responding to this? For now, they are standing by the speaker. And they're encouraging all Republicans around the country to turn up the volume in the contrast with Democrats, say: You might be mad at us, but, if you elect the Democrats, they will raise your taxes. They will be weaker in the war on terrorism.

It is directly to Candy's point. They are trying to throw more red meat, if you will, excite their base. And you can't stay home. Even if you're mad at us about the Foley allegations, you cannot stay home, because consider the alternative.

But officials also concede, John, no matter how much they turn up that volume, unless they can stop this trickle, trickle, trickle of damaging allegations about the Foley matter and the speaker's handling of it, they can't drown it out.

ROBERTS: And -- and there's going to be more trickle, which perhaps could turn into a flood a well, because Kirk Fordham says he's going to go talk to the FBI tomorrow.

Dana Bash, that's really got to be raising the agita meter on Capitol Hill tonight.

BASH: You know, if that were true, that would be -- that would be certainly the fact. But, you know, that's -- that's a report on another network tonight.

His attorney tells us that he doesn't know about any plans for Kirk Fordham to actually go to talk to the FBI yet. Having said that, we know that the FBI is investigating. It -- it would be unimaginable for them not to talk to Kirk Fordham at some time in the near future.

ROBERTS: I -- I would expect it.

Candy Crowley, what -- you have seen your fair share of scandals. Do you feel that more people -- what's your gut tell you on this? Are more people going to get caught up?

(LAUGHTER)

CROWLEY: Gosh. Just given today, you know, yes, I mean, because what happens is, the scrutiny becomes intense, first of all, from us, second of all, from the members themselves going: Holy cow. What else is out there?

And when you tend to go looking for it, you usually can find it.

ROBERTS: All right. Candy Crowley, John King, Dana Bash, as always, thanks very much -- all part of the best political team on television.

Growing up: other top stories that we're following, including growing up Mark Foley. The former congressman claims he was sexually abused. Did the people who knew him then have any inkling about it? And what about his very open secret?

And Washington sex scandals are nothing new, but there is a difference when Democrats and Republicans get caught. And we will show you.

Plus: the heartbreaking details just emerging in the Amish school shootings from those who saw the horror firsthand.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Another "Top Story" that we're following tonight, the first inside stories from rescuers who rushed to the Amish schoolhouse after Monday's massacre in Pennsylvania. Stay with us for that.

Continuing our "Top Story" coverage now of the Capitol Hill scandal, since his sudden resignation last week, Mark Foley has confessed to alcoholism, having inappropriate communications with pages, being gay, and having been abused by members of the clergy when he was a child. But all those confessions only seem to add up to more questions.

Rusty Dornin has been digging into Foley's past, and the filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight years old and grinning for the camera -- Mark Foley, the face of innocence as an altar boy at Sacred Heart School in Lake Worth, Florida.

Five years later, Foley now confesses, he was molested.

DAVID ROTH, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER CONGRESSMAN MARK FOLEY: Specifically, Mark has asked that you be told that, between the ages in -- of 13 and 15, he was molested by a clergyman.

DORNIN: That leaves questions. What denomination? Was it a priest, minister? Where did it happen?

Foley's attorney says no further details will be given until the former congressman finishes rehab. But, during the years in question, the late '60s, Bill Brooks was a priest and Mark Foley's high school guidance counselor.

DORNIN (on camera): He claims that he was abused by a clergyman between the time he was 13 and 15. Did you see any sign of that?

BILL BROOKS, PALM BEACH CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: No, I did not.

DORNIN (voice-over): Brooks later quit the priesthood, married, and says he remained close to Foley for more than 40 years. He saw only one flaw in Foley, a propensity to being a workaholic, but no sign of being abused, then or now.

(on camera): Do you think he would have come to you...

BROOKS: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

DORNIN: ... if he had, had something like that happen?

BROOKS: He's -- perhaps I'm naive. But Mark and I have a very strong relationship that grew as he grew, and especially into politics. I don't know.

DORNIN: Do you believe it happened?

BROOKS: It could have happened. I don't know. I can't say it happened or it didn't happen.

DORNIN (voice-over): A spokesman at Palm Beach Catholic Diocese told CNN Foley's allegations were too vague, and it would be inappropriate to comment.

Confession number two, Foley says he's an alcoholic.

Former colleague Congressman Peter King told FOX News he has trouble with the idea of Mark Foley's secret life as an alcoholic. He told them: "I don't buy this at all. I think this is a phony defense."

Even Foley's own brother-in-law told reporters he didn't know about the drinking.

Then, there was this confession about something he had kept secret for years.

ROTH: Finally, Mark Foley wants you to know that he is a gay man.

DORNIN: That wasn't news to Tony Plakas, who used to run the local gay and lesbian community center.

(on camera): It seems like it was a secret, but it wasn't really a secret.

TONY PLAKAS, GAY COMMUNITY LEADER: Right. I think it was something that just wasn't talked about. I think people had a lot of respect for him politically, and it was part of his private life.

DORNIN: The secret confessions of a man whose life is collapsing around him, the pressures of a guilty conscience or a man desperately seeking to place blame elsewhere.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: A deep mystery.

"Top Story" coverage of the Foley scandal continues in a moment.

First, Melissa Long joins us from the Pipeline studio for our CNN.com countdown.

Hi, Melissa.

MELISSA LONG, CNN PIPELINE: Hey, John.

Some 22 million people stopped by the site today. And a lot of readers were interested in a black bear's tipsy tour through a Colorado town. Check out the video. The story is number 10. The animal had eaten too much fruit, apples or plums, making it seem to be drunk. Apparently, the acids in fruits can do that. Wildlife officials say the bear was found stumbling around when they finally caught him.

Story number nine -- top fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld weighing in on the recent efforts to ban ultra-thin models. He says the fashion industry should not be blamed for eating disorders.

And story number eight is about a baby-sitter in Long Beach, California. She picked up the wrong boy after school, triggering an Amber Alert. The boy went willingly. It was her first day on the job. And, eventually, the mixup was resolved once police located the parents involved. And she said she didn't really find out until the parents came home and said, who's this kid?

Amazing story.

ROBERTS: It is -- not as good as the tipsy bear.

LONG: No.

ROBERTS: And that tipsy bear, while very funny, still not as good as the one that came off the trampoline.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: Melissa, thanks very much. We will check back with you soon.

LONG: Sure.

ROBERTS: Sex scandals in Washington, D.C., go back -- way back. But are Democrats more likely to survive politically than Republicans? We have got an in-depth look that may surprise you.

And later on: some of the most vivid and shocking descriptions of what rescuers found at the Amish schoolhouse where a gunman shot 10 young girls.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: An old rule of thumb in Washington predicts that scandals over power involve Republicans. Look at Watergate or Iran Contra.

But scandals involving sex -- JFK, Gary Hart, Bill and Monica -- well, those are the realm of the Democrats. Times, though, have changed.

Let's take an in-depth look at whether Republicans handle sex scandals differently than Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): Months before ex-Congressman Mark Foley's instant messages began playing out on the American airwaves, Republican insiders were already worrying that a sex scandal could cost them a previously safe seat in Congress.

Four-term Republican Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania was such a sure bet, the Democrats let him run unopposed in 2002 and 2004. But that was before Sherwood, who is married, admitted to having an affair with a much younger woman. This time around, Sherwood has Democratic opposition. And recent polling has him eight points behind.

As far as back as President Grant in the 1860s, Republicans, the party of big business, had scandals involving money, power, and influence. They still do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DORNIN: But, in the 1980s, Republicans started winning big as the party of family values, or, more recently, as the party that defends the sanctity of marriage.

So, when it comes to sex scandals and marital infidelity, are Republicans less tolerant than Democrats?

Democrats rallied to defend President Bill Clinton from impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And he's still one of the party's most highly regarded figures.

Democratic Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts is openly gay and in his 13th term, even though he was reprimanded by the House back in 1990 for fixing the parking tickets of a male prostitute he had hired as an aide.

For Republicans, divorce and remarriage find the most tolerance. Ronald Reagan was on his second marriage when he was elected president. Among the 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls, Senator John McCain is also on his second marriage and nobody seems to mind. One time House speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are on their third marriages. If they run in 2008, will anyone mind?

Until yesterday's announcement that disgraced ex-Congressman Mark Foley is gay, Arizona's Jim Kolbe was the only openly gay Republican in Congress. That never seemed to bother the voters in his Arizona district. They elected him to 11 terms, five after he announced he was gay.

Extramarital affairs and sexual harassment are clearly dangerous ground. Sexual harassment allegations forced Republican Bob Packwood to resign from the U.S. Senate in 1995. Louisiana Congressman Bob Livingston's 1998 bid to succeed Newt Gingrich as speaker of the House failed and Livingston resigned from Congress when he admitted to having extramarital affairs.

Mark Foley's problems speak for themselves. The voters will speak on Don Sherwood's problem in just under five weeks. So are family values Republicans less tolerant of sex scandals in their own ranks?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: We're going to put that question among others to a scandal hardened top story panel. Lanny Davis was a special White House counselor to President Clinton. His latest book is "Scandal: How Gotcha Politics Is Destroying America." Columnist Cliff Schecter is a veteran campaign strategist and pollster. He worked for the 1996 Clinton campaign. And Ronald Kessler is the chief Washington correspondent for the online news site Newsmax.com. He's written facts about the Bush White House and a biography of the first lady.

So Ron, let's start with you. Are Republicans less tolerant of sex scandals than the Democrats are?

RONALD KESSLER, NEWSMAX.COM: Sure, there's a wide segment of Republicans who are very big on family values. I don't say the whole party is, but that's a major tenant of the party, and tolerate anything really serious is hypocritical, and I think that Republicans expect to be judged by a higher standard because of that, because they do stand for values.

ROBERTS: Here's the way that Chuck Todd, editor-in-chief of "The Hotline" put it, when talking to the "Washington Post" today. He said, quote, "The reality is that Democrats seem to get away with more. They can have an affair and bail themselves out. There's a lower threshold for Republicans. It's more of a hypocrisy thing."

Cliff Schecter, do Republicans box themselves in? Do they set their standards so high that they can't live up to them?

CLIFF SCHECTER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, they certainly set their standards high, and I would certainly say they don't live up to them, but I don't agree.

Look, it depends on the situation. Newt Gingrich was cheating on his second wife with his third wife. You brought him up earlier in your segment and we would have been reelected. He chose to step down of his volition because he failed to gain seats back in 1998. You've got a congressman right now, Steve LaTourette up in Ohio who left his wife of 28 years and was actually living with his mistress who was lobbying his committee and they voted him back to office with 61 percent of the vote and I see him going back.

So I just really think it depends on the situation. Here you've got a sex scandal that's different, you've got a minor, and you've got a sexual predator, someone who's supposed to protect kids is not doing it, and I think that's a different case.

ROBERTS: But let's also not forget the case of Congressman Gerry Studds who back in 1983 was censured by Congress for having a homosexual affair with a 17-year-old page. He was reelected to office five more times, so both sides of the aisle I guess has their own scandals and their own quirks and ideosyncrises about how they're dealt with. But Lanny Davis, let me ask you this question. Is it -- because you went through this with President Clinton. In the media harder on Republicans than Democrats when it comes to these scandals?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: No, I think the media is pretty even-handedly hard on both sides. And as I write in my book, these scandal issues are dangerous for the party that tries to overexploit them.

One of the best things Bill Clinton had going for him and he himself said that his conduct was not defensible was that the Republicans made such a partisan effort to destroy him. What I want to warn my fellow Democrats is that this issue involving Mr. Foley is a tragedy for him, for the young people involved.

We should not be touching this issue politically. There is certainly a valid question to be asked of the speaker and his colleagues, why they weren't proactive as soon as they learned about this problem, gone to Mr. Foley months ago, had his get counseling or even asked him to resign, they wouldn't be where they are tonight. So there needs to be some fact-finding about their reaction, but no political exploitation certainly not by me. There's no comfort, there's no joy in this tragic situation, and no Democrat should exploit this whatever. No press releases, no extrapolation, no rhetoric, we ought to get out of the way and let the facts come out as well as they can.

SCHECTER: I don't think Lanny, it's about exploiting it. I think you've got someone here who is charged with protecting kids. He sat on the particular caucus for Missing and Exploited Children and was using that position and frankly exploiting that position and putting children in a horrible situation.

We don't even know the full extent -- let me finish for one section. So I agree -- on that I disagree. When you're talking about we need to look into Dennis Hastert, well, of course we do. I mean there has not been accountability in this Congress, and that is a problem. And I think the fact of matter is that Denny Hastert and Shimkus and Reynolds and the rest of them, we need to know why when they found out about this, everybody else didn't find out because yes, before partisan politics, children should come first. KESSLER: I think that's where the bias comes in, because the impression you get from the press is that Congressman Hastert knew everything and did nothing, and really he actually acted very appropriately. His office told the clerk's office, told the person over the page board of Congressman Shimkus about this so-called innocuous e-mail, which was so innocuous that the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Miami Herald," when they say it, didn't even see a story in it. But nevertheless they did...

DAVIS: ... John, may I just.

ROBERTS: Actually gentlemen...

KESSLER: ... Foley and say, cut it out. As far as we know, he may have cut it out.

ROBERTS: I'd love to talk about this all night but unfortunately we're out of time so we're going to have to leave it there. Lanny Davis, Cliff Schecter and Ron Kessler, thanks very much, really appreciate your time and your insight.

We're going to continue our top story coverage in just a minute. Right now, it's back to Melissa Long for our CNN countdown.

LONG: And John, the fallout from the Mark Foley scandal is story No. 7. House Speaker Dennis Hastert coming under heavy fire for his handling of Foley's e-mails to pages.

Story No. 6 is about Madonna. The icon is visiting the African nation of Malawi. Her publicist denies reports that the performer will adopt a child there, but she does say Madonna will help to build a center for AIDS orphans.

And story No. 5. In New York, the prosecution resting in the trial of a man accused of driving a truck that collided head-on with a limousine. A 7-year-old girl and a limo driver were killed. Among the pieces of evidence, a tape showing the final moments of the victims' lives. The video came from a dashboard mounted camera. Prosecutors say the defendant's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit, John.

ROBERTS: Thanks very much, Melissa.

We're going to get more of the countdown coming up, but right now let's take a "Biz Break."

(BUSINESS HEADLINES)

ROBERTS: In just a moment, our top story coverage focuses on a massacre. For the first time, rescuers describe the appalling sights they found inside the Amish schoolhouse.

And later, they have fled some of the most brutal crises in the world. Will the rest of the world forget about them?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: In this half-hour of our top story coverage a rare close-up look of victims of crises that have world leaders talking, but when will anyone take action?

And there's much more about the Mark Foley scandal coming up at the top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Our top story tonight Outside the Law, heartbreaking new revelations about the shooting of ten Amish school girls in Pennsylvania. As we speak, the families of five of those girls are preparing their funerals, while praying for the five injured survivors, and tonight those who rushed inside the school after the killings are going through the first stages of grief counseling. Our Allan Chernoff spoke with one of them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deputy county coroner Janice Ballenger was among the first witnesses to the horrifying scene inside the little Amish schoolhouse on Monday. Seared in her memory images she wants to forget but says she never will. Blood splattered across the one-room schoolhouse, the nearly 20 bullet holes she counted on the body of a 7-year-old girl and amid the carnage a terribly ironic welcoming sign on the wall that read --

JANICE BALLENGER, DEPUTY CORONER, LANCASTER CO.: Visitors bring joy to our school. And I kept looking at that, thinking this visitor didn't bring joy to the school. They're so open. They're so trusting.

CHERNOFF: The trusting, old fashioned Amish community is in a state of collective grief. Through the day hundreds of mourners paid their respects at homes of the five murdered girls, aged 7 to 13. Charles Roberts, himself a father of young children, shot the girls as they stood before the classroom blackboard and killed himself as police stormed the building.

Today a group of Amish women came there to pray for the families. Mid-wife Rita Roads knew two of the victims from the moment they were born.

(on camera): You delivered two of the victims. How are you feeling in your heart right now?

RITA RHOADS, MIDWIFE: Shocked and sad.

CHERNOFF: Tell me a little more, if you could, about how they're coping.

RHOADS: They're devastated, they're sad, and yet they're coping.

CHERNOFF (voice-over): Coping with the help of one of the closest knit communities in America, one that also believes fervently in forgiveness, no matter what the crime, choosing to appreciate the time they had with their children. WES YODER, LANCASTER COUNTY NATIVE: What I'm finding is a deep love among the Amish and a deep desire, a determination to make sure that their community forgives the perpetrator, the shooter in this case, realizing that that's a very difficult process, but they have taken the first step.

CHERNOFF: A step in what may be a lifelong process for all those exposed to the violence. Wednesday night Janice Ballenger planned to attend a counseling session, hoping it would help her cope.

BALLENGER: I'll be back with the people that were there, too.

CHERNOFF (on camera): I'm sure it's just terrible.

BALLENGER: And I'm sure a lot of us will cry tonight. And we'll pray.

CHERNOFF (voice-over): Allan Chernoff, CNN, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Four of the girls will be buried tomorrow, the fifth on Friday. Three survivors are showing some signs of progress. The other two, though, are still critical.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in just a few minutes time. He's with us now. Larry, who have you got on the show tonight?

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, John. The very latest on the Foley scandal, Bob Woodward's bombshell book and more with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, John King, Candy Crowley, J.C. Watts and James Carville.

Plus, a friend of the killer's widow in that Amish school massacre and a midwife who helped deliver some of the young victims. It's all ahead at the top of the hour, John.

ROBERTS: It's a terrible tragedy, that shooting. It's so difficult as a parent to comprehend and how they have forgiven this person, too. It's just --

KING: Incomprehensible.

ROBERTS: It is. Larry, we'll see you at the top of the hour, thanks.

KING: Thanks John.

ROBERTS: Now let's take a quick break from our top story coverage to check in with Melissa Long for the CNN.com countdown. Hey Melissa.

LONG: The story about the school shooting, it will be in the top ten, but now much lighter news makes story number four. The latest Paris Hilton drama. Now, she's getting accused of getting into a fight at an L.A. nightclub. Police say Hilton told them it began when Shanna Moakler (ph), a former contestant on Dancing With the Stores, punched her in the jaw.

A bizarre story out of Utah, story number three. The parents of this young woman right here are facing kidnapping charges for forcing her to miss her wedding. Prosecutors say Julianna Red's (ph) parents drove her to Colorado. They told her it was to go shopping, and kept her there because they didn't want her to get married. Well, she did eventually marry and they're expecting a child next year, John.

ROBERTS: I think I'll try to same thing with my daughter when it's time.

LONG: It didn't work after all, though.

ROBERTS: I don't mind going to jail to keep her from getting married. Thanks very much, appreciate it, join you in a bit.

Tonight there are places in the world where thousands of people are terrified of going home, and so they gather in refugee camps, under conditions that you have to see to believe. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: We move on now to our top story in health, the growing medical crisis in Central Africa. This week, senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in the Congo as part of an "Anderson Cooper 360" special. He has just returned from camps filled with families struggling to survive after escaping unimaginable violence. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now from the town of Rachuro (ph) with tonight's "Vital Signs."

Sanjay, yesterday you were in a refugee camp in Chad that took in a lot of people from the Darfur region. Tonight, you checked out another refugee camp in the Congo. What kind of medical challenges have you been seeing along the way?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting, if you look at medical challenges overall a lot of it's what you'd expect to see in refugee camp. You certainly have a lot of malnourishment, you have a lot of infectious disease. You also have a lot of psychological trauma, as you might imagine.

The thing that sort of surprised me a little bit was the acute trauma sort of associated with the war, you know, gunshot wounds and knifings and things like that. But most of all, you don't see -- and part of the reason is that, unfortunately, a lot of those people die. They never actually make it to the refugee camp. The few that do make it actually are a lot of times transported out to various hospitals or other locations by various NGOs and governmental organizations. So it's a lot of the infectious disease component that's really striking and sort of highlights the need for antibiotics and water in these places.

ROBERTS: It's actually kind of surprising to me, Sanjay, that they had the facility to be able to evacuate people and get them to hospitals. What are the differences that you've seen between the camps in Chad and there in Congo?

GUPTA: You know, it's interesting. In Chad, you have, you know, some quarter of a million people that have come across the border from Darfur as refugees. And for the most part, they're taken care of by refugee camps. There are other camps, for example, in Congo that are more of what are called IDP camps -- internally displaced people camps. And the U.N. makes a distinction between the two. A lot of the governmental organizations, for example, do have specific refugee camps for these people who come across the border.

What's interesting, John, is that the status of health care overall is so bad in many of these places that people who are citizens of countries like Chad and Congo, even though they're not necessarily refugees, will actually go to the camps because they know that they can get a better life there in terms of health care. They can get medications and things for free.

ROBERTS: You mentioned at the very beginning of this, Sanjay, that one of the critical things that you see very often in refugee camps and you've seen it for years, are infectious diseases. You were at a camp yesterday which recently had a cholera outbreak. How did they deal with that?

GUPTA: You know, it was actually surprisingly good. I actually went to the doctor, one doctor for 50,000 people, but still I went to that doctor, and he actually showed me a record of what he called essentially patient zero, the first patient that had the disease, and how basically it sort of spread to about over 100 people and why they died and things like that.

But they're able to diagnose it, they are able to isolate people, and they're able to get the antibiotics to people fairly quickly. So in some places, it does seem to work and it seems to be fairly easily -- you know, people still die here, but still, in the scheme of things, fairly easily contained.

ROBERTS: Is that a new technique, Sanjay, to really try to find who patient zero is, isolate the immediate group of people, and that way it's much easier to treat?

GUPTA: Yes, absolutely. I mean, these are sort of basic epidemiology things that we do in many parts of the developed world, but bringing some of those here, it's working and it's happening for the first time.

ROBERTS: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in Rachuro (ph) for us tonight. Sanjay, thanks. We'll see you a little bit later on.

GUPTA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: You can see more of Dr. Gupta's report on "ANDERSON COOPER 360: The Killing Fields, Africa's Misery, the World's Shame," tonight 10:00 Eastern.

Now, one last look at the CNN.com countdown. And let's go to Melissa Long. Hi, Melissa. LONG: Hi once again. Story No. 2 this evening, you heard about it earlier, four of the victims of Monday's massacre at that Pennsylvania Amish schoolhouse will be buried tomorrow. The fifth girl killed in the shooting will be laid to rest Friday.

And story number one tonight, possible manslaughter charges for two American pilots of an executive jet that collided midair with a Boeing 737 in Brazil on Friday. Brazilian authorities investigating the crash have ceased the pilot's U.S. passports. All 155 people aboard that Boeing plane were killed. The other jet landed safely, John.

ROBERTS: Still remarkable that that plane actually touched down after getting clipped by a 737.

LONG: Yes, it is in fact remarkable.

ROBERTS: Melissa, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

We're just minutes away from "LARRY KING LIVE" now. Tonight, the best political team on television weighs in on the Capitol Hill scandal and the bombshells that Bob Woodward dropped about President Bush in his new book. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: CNN will keep following developments in the Mark Foley scandal. The House Ethics Committee holds a secret meeting tomorrow morning, but you can bet the cameras are going to be waiting outside. Then there's the guessing game on whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert is going to keep his job. For now, Hastert is staying out of the public eye, but some rumors he might not last until the weekend.

We're going to have much more on that tomorrow.

That's all for tonight. For Paula Zahn, I'm John Roberts. Stay tuned. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.

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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