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Collateral Damage From Foley Scandal; Florida State Senator Negron Running for Mark Foley's Former Seat; Fidel Castro May Have Terminal Cancer, Congo's Future Written in Its' Past

Aired October 7, 2006 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Next in the CNN NEWSROOM, more fallout from the Mark Foley scandal. A Republican congressman apologizes in a new ad out today. You will see it here.
Five years ago today, America fired its first shots in the war against Osama bin Laden.

And he never played in the majors, but Buck O'Neil will till be remembered as one of baseball's greatest.

Hello and welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All of that and more in a few minutes, but first a look at the top stories.

A prominent Russian journalist was found shot to death in her apartment building's elevator. Prosecutors suspect the killing was linked to her work. She had published many stories critical of the Russian military's campaign in Chechnya.

You may want to skip the burgers this weekend. Five thousand pounds of ground beef is being recalled. The meet may be contaminated with the same strain of E. coli from the recent spinach scare.

Meanwhile, a third death is being blamed on that bad spinach. The elderly Nebraska woman died in late August, but tests only confirmed the spinach link this week.

The chemical plant fire in North Carolina has finally been extinguished and thousand who live nearby were allowed to return to their homes. There are reports of injuries, although a few people were hospitalized for respiratory problems.

And now to the latest developments in the Mark Foley e-mail scandal. Here is what we know right now.

A former page who allegedly received suggestive e-mails from the ex-congressman says he'll cooperate with federal investigators. Meanwhile, New York Republican congressman Tom Reynolds takes to air waves today, apologizing to voters for not catching Foley's lies.

The so-called Foley fallout may be hard to quantify until after Election Day, now exactly a month away. But as we just mentioned, New York Representative Tom Reynolds has a new ad out trying to minimize any collateral damage from the Foley scandal.

CNN's Sumi Das is live from Washington with the very latest -- Sumi.


Congressman Tom Reynolds is one of seven Republicans under fire for having knowledge of Mark Foley's questionable messages to House pages but not doing more to address the problem. Tom Reynolds is seeking reelection in upstate New York. With a month to go before elections, a contrite Reynolds is making an unusually impassioned public apology.

In a new television ad, Reynolds says although he never saw a single e-mail between Foley and a page, after he learned about "odd but not explicit" e-mails, he reported what he had been told to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.


REP. TOM REYNOLDS (R), NEW YORK: Last week we all learned of other e-mails worse than anything I had heard before. I immediately forced Foley to resign. Nobody's angrier and more disappointed than me that I didn't catch his lies.

I trusted that others had investigated. Looking back, more should have been done, and for that, I am sorry.


DAS: Though Reynolds says he told Hastert about the nonexplicit e-mails, in an interview earlier this week Dennis Hastert told CNN that he didn't recall the conversation.

There are also others who are claiming that Hastert's office was made aware of Foley's behavior earlier than Hastert has claimed. A former chief of staff for both Foley and Reynolds, Kirk Fordham, has said he alerted Hastert's office more than two years ago. Today, "The Washington Post" reports that a current congressional staffer supports Fordham's claims, saying Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, met with Foley to discuss complaints about the conduct well before November 2005.

In response to the claims in "The Washington Post" story, Hastert's spokesman, Ron Bonjean, says, "The Standards Committee is investigating this matter and we are confident in its ability to determine the real facts."

The stakes are high and time is of the essence. Midterm elections are four weeks away and Democrats need 15 seats to tip the political balance of the House into their favor. And in the wake of the Foley scandal, several additional seats are now in play -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Sumi Das in Washington.

Thanks so much.

The Foley effect is rippling far beyond the D.C. beltway. In fact, a new "Newsweek" poll suggests the Foley factor may be a big issue for many voters in the coming weeks. And that could be bad news for GOP incumbents like House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

More than half of the Americans polled believe Hastert knew of Mark Foley's inappropriate conduct and tried to cover it up. In addition, a majority of Americans polled say they want the Democrats to take control of the House and Senate in November.

Well, 10 days ago, Mark Foley's congressional seat was considered safe, almost untouchable. Now the GOP will have to fight hard to keep it.

CNN's Rusty Dornin is live in West Palm Beach with the district's new Republican candidate who is trying to weather the Foley fallout.

Rusty, how is he doing?

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, Joe Negron didn't think he was running for any more public offices this year. He already had bowed out in July running for attorney general and was not running for his seat as a state legislator. And then along came a scandal.


DORNIN (voice over): Last week Joe Negron had no idea he would be running for Congress. Then Mark Foley resigned.

JOE NEGRON (R), FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: I found out about this the same time the country found out, and obviously all of us were shocked and outraged at what happened. But this election was no longer a referendum about Mark Foley.

Thank you for coming back again. Hey, how are you?

DORNIN: It is about catapulting a candidate into a congressional campaign in five weeks. That means no Web sites and no ads yet.

(on camera): There are no "Joe Negron" signs here in the Republican headquarters. Is that going to be a problem in your campaign? They're not up yet.

NEGRON: I don't think so. They're ordered, and we expect to get them over the weekend. We have hundreds of volunteers that want to get them put up.

DORNIN (voice over): Voters will still find Mark Foley's name on the ballot. It was too late to change it. Republicans plan to put up signs in the polling places letting voters know a vote for Foley is a vote for Negron. Democrats have protested.

The only poll conducted so far just after Foley resigned showed Democrat Tim Mahoney ahead of a then unnamed candidate by three percentage points. That doesn't seem to worry the new candidate.

NEGRON: This district has been Republican for more than 25 years. I don't see Republicans and conservative Democrats crawling into a fetal position and saying, "Oh," throwing up our hands, "What are we going to do? Mark Foley resigned from Congress. Now we've got to go vote for a Democrat."

DORNIN: Negron has been a Florida state representative for six years, but launching a campaign takes money. He already had a war chest of $600,000 left from his campaign to run for Florida attorney general earlier this year.


DORNIN: So, Joe Negron is just hoping that the Foley fallout doesn't affect his seat, of course. And he is just hoping that people take him for what he is, which is an experienced politician here in Florida -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And is there any way of knowing exactly how people are receiving this?

DORNIN: Not really at this point. The funny thing is, Tim Mahoney, the Democratic candidate, took off this weekend. He's not even campaigning. He went to Oklahoma to see his daughter.

And, of course, Negron is trying to get up and running as quickly as possible and visiting all the different areas of the state, but he doesn't have any signs, as I said, no Web site, no ads yet. So he is depending on what people know about him as a state legislator.

WHITFIELD: All right. Rusty Dornin, thanks so much from West Palm Beach.

Well, stick around as we take a closer look at IM'ing. That's instant messaging. A new study shows three-quarters of American teens do it, but how do you know whether your kids are OK as they IM.

That's tonight at 6:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

Now to another big story today, growing suspicions that Cuban leader Fidel Castro has terminal cancer and will not be returning to office. Before abdominal surgery in July, the 80-year-old handed off day-to-day duties to his younger brother Raoul. Now a "TIME" magazine report citing U.S. intelligence officials says Castro may have cancer.


TIMOTHY BURGER, TIME.COM: What's going on now is that the U.S. government has received more credible and more detailed reports than in the past about the Cuban dictator's health. And you put that together obviously with something you don't need intelligence reports to understand, which is that he has been sidelined and out of the public view since the summer -- and they say he won't even be out for another couple of months. So obviously something grave is going on.


WHITFIELD: And so far, no response from Havana to TIME's report.

Five years ago today, America launched its first strikes in the Afghanistan war. Next in the NEWSROOM, the wins and losses in the war against terror. We're headed live to Washington.

Plus, North Korea is not backing down on its plans to test nuclear weapons. Now threats of military action if the tests do happen.



WHITFIELD: It's been five years since President Bush ordered the first strike in Operation Enduring Freedom. The military mission, to draw the Taliban from Afghanistan and destroy the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Well, despite a recent surge in violence, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is giving an upbeat assessment of the war in Afghanistan. In an opinion piece in today's "Washington Post," Rumsfeld cites progress in a number of areas, including the economy, healthcare and troop strength.

Rumsfeld says five years after the fall of the Taliban, "The trajectory is a hopeful and promising one." But not everyone agrees. Administration critics point to daily attacks they say make Afghanistan look more and more like Iraq.

And tomorrow we focus on that war. We ask CNN's military analysts to lay out the challenges in Iraq and what they would do different if they were in charge. That's starting at 7:00 a.m. Eastern, with analysis throughout the day, right here on CNN.

And now to North Korea, where there have been several developments concerning the communist country's threat to test a nuclear weapon. South Korea says its troops fired warning shots today after five North Korean soldiers crossed a boundary in the demilitarized zone separating the two countries.

Friday, the U.N. Security Council issued a warning to North Korea: don't test a nuclear weapon or else. But the warning didn't say what the consequences might be. And Japan is sending strong hints North Korea could face harsh sanctions if it doesn't abandon the weapons test.

That test could come at any time.

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr looks at what it could mean for the regional balance of power.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-il, happily waved to his military commanders as world pressure mounts for him to cancel plans to conduct his country's first nuclear test.

Pyongyang's announcement has thrown diplomatic efforts at the United Nations into a frenzy. If there is a nuclear detention, the world changes.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: This immediately affects the calculations of South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, all of whom might decide that they need to have their own independent nuclear arsenals, as well. If North Korea gets away with this, Iran would be encouraged to go forward.

STARR: Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill sounded ominous this week, saying: "North Korea can have a future or it can have these weapons. It cannot have both."

But the Bush administration is avoiding talk of a preemptive strike or a military response afterward.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: That's -- it's a decision for the country. It's a decision for presidents.

STARR: There is plenty of U.S. firepower in the region -- 28,000 troops in South Korea and some 20 warships based out of Japan. Half a dozen B-52 bombers are in Guam.

But what is the target?

U.S. intelligence shows North Korea is preparing several sites for a potential test. But one intelligence analyst told CNN it's a game of nuclear Three Card Monte -- trying to force the CIA to guess which hole in the ground is the right one.

The first signs of a nuclear detonation will come from more than 100 underground monitoring stations around the world. Spy planes such as this nuclear sniffer are already flying overhead and satellites are trained on the region 24-7.

(on camera): But will the intelligence community be able to quickly tell what North Korea has done after a missile test?

Intelligence analysts tell CNN that little useful information was ever collected after North Korea's July missile test.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


WHITFIELD: And now we're just hours from the only debate in the California governor's race. A live preview from Sacramento next.

Plus, roll up your sleeves. Immunization shots are not just for the young anymore. Dr. Bill Lloyd joins us to tell you why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: With elections just weeks away, political campaigns are in overdrive. Candidates are scrambling to win your support, but are you in a listening mood? Coming up, the results of a new public opinion poll, and we'll hear from some independent-minded voters.

But first, one of the most closely watched races in the country. That would be the governor's race in California. It stars former action hero and current California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Democratic underdog Phil Angelides. The two face off in a debate this evening, and a lot is at stake.

CNN's Chris Lawrence joins us live from Sacramento with more on that -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, the way this debate is set up, the candidates will be able to challenge each other's responses. And for challenger Phil Angelides, it may be the last time that he's able to reverse some of the numbers and get back into this campaign.


LAWRENCE (voice over): Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and challenger Phil Angelides face off for the first, and only, time Saturday night. And there's no debating, the stakes are different for both men.

ARNOLD STEINBERG, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Angelides needs a home run. All Schwarzenegger has to do is just kind of coast.

LAWRENCE: Recent polls have the governor leading his Democratic opponent by anywhere from 10 to 17 points.

(on camera): But even some Republican strategists say Schwarzenegger himself could reduce that lead during the debate.

STEINBERG: The governor has an uncanny ability to create his own crises by saying something utterly preposterous. So we can never underestimate the possibility he'll make an issue of himself in that debate.

LAWRENCE: Recently that included his caught-on-tape comment about a "hot Latina lawmaker." But in other areas, Schwarzenegger has been shrewd. The governor has rebuffed accusations he can't work with Democrats. In fact, he's been photographed with actor George Clooney, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and union officials, but would not meet with George Bush when the president came to California.

ART TORRES, CHMN., CA. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I think the people see through that.

LAWRENCE: Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres is spending millions on TV ads trying to tie the president and governor together in voter's minds.

TORRES: What the governor cannot walk away from is the fact that his entire top staff is from the Bush and Cheney staffs of the White House.

LAWRENCE: There's still a small number of undecided voters and a month to go, factors that may be more beneficial to California State Treasurer Phil Angelides than the incumbent.

JOE MATTHEWS, POLITICAL AUTHOR: Now just because it's an incumbent that we get this an incumbent that everyone on planet Earth has heard of. So it's, you know, a tougher road for Arnold to make converts.

LAWRENCE: But if the current poll numbers are anywhere close to accurate, he may not have to.


LAWRENCE: In fact, Schwarzenegger has completely turned around his numbers from a year ago. Around this time last year, polls showed him with a 59 percent disapproval rating. Today, 56 percent of the likely voters say they approve of his job performance -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: So, Chris, what's believed to be the reason for the turnaround?

LAWRENCE: Well, he's moved a lot towards the center. This time last year, Governor Schwarzenegger was advocating a lot of policies that appeal to a more hard-core Republican base. In that time he has bridged a lot of gaps with the Democratic Party and Democratic legislators. And he's moved his campaign more towards the center and really staked out a very firm position in the center that has undercut some of the traditional Democratic base that Angelides would normally count on.

WHITFIELD: Chris Lawrence, thanks so much -- part of the best political team on television.

We'll have more on the Schwarzenegger debate. A live report also coming up at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

Nationwide, Americans are almost evenly split on how they feel things are going in the country right now. A CNN poll conducted Opinion Research Corporation found 51 percent of Americans think things are going well. Forty-nine percent say things are going badly.

Asked about how things will be going in the country a year from now, 51 percent said things will be going well, and 44 percent said things will be going badly.

Well, they are full of hot air in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but it's a good thing. The city's 35th annual International Balloon Fiesta is under way and runs throughout next weekend. Seven hundred hot air balloons are expected to fill the sky.

Also in Albuquerque, the CNN Election Express Yourself Tour, which is stopping at several cities and giving Americans to voice their opinions.

Here's what some self-described independent thinkers had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, independence equals the ability to think for yourself. That's what made this country, free thinkers that thought outside the box.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an independent thinker because I don't think in terms of a party or any particular issue, but just how I feel about something and what my experience brings to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an independent thinker because, you know, I'm a regular voter, also, and I met Gary Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, I met Gary Hart, a former presidential candidate, so I think I have, you know, very independent thinking and decisions of my own also, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To find out where the tour is headed next, go to


WHITFIELD: And we will have more from the road next weekend as CNN's Election Express Yourself Tour heads to Las Vegas.

Well, it was only the very young or very old who needed immunization shots. But that was then. This is now.

Up next in the NEWSROOM, Dr. Bill Lloyd tells you why it's time for everyone to roll up their sleeves.

Plus, a fond farewell to one of baseball's greatest players. A tribute to Buck O'Neil next in the NEWSROOM.



WHITFIELD: And now a look at the headlines. The former page at the center of the Mark Foley e-mail scandal expects to talk to investigators next week. We'll have more details on that in a moment.

And more than 5,000 pounds of beef is being recalled by an Iowa company. The meat was distributed in seven state. The company, Jim's Market and Locker, thinks the ground beef might have the same deadly E. coli contamination that recently tainted spinach.

And a third death is being blamed on E. coli-tainted spinach. An elderly Nebraska woman died in late August. Health officials are linking her death to the same batch of bad spinach that killed two other people.

White House adviser Karl Rove is losing his long-time executive assistant. Susan Ralston quite her job on Thursday. A White House spokeswoman says that Ralston was concerned her ties to Jack Abramoff would be a distraction. Ralston worked for Abramoff before working for Rove. Abramoff pleaded guilty to corruption charges back in January.

North Carolina fire and hazmat crews have a chemical fire now under control. The fire, at a waste management facility, forced the evacuation of several thousand people in the town of Apex on Thursday. They have now been given the all-clear to return to their homes.

CNN has been taking a hard look at the violence and turmoil plaguing parts of Africa. Rich resources have fueled wars that have led to widespread death and destruction in the Congo for years.

Our Anderson Cooper reports that may be changing, but we have to look at the past to understand Congo's future.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Nearly four million people have died from war-related causes in Congo in the past eight years alone according to the International Rescue Committee -- many, many times more deaths than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, the world's deadliest conflict since World War II. It is the continuation of violence that has raged for more than a century here. Congo expert Didier Gondola explains why.

DIDIER GONDOLA, AUTHOR, "HISTORY OF CONGO": The short answer would be that Congo has been cursed by its natural resources and that why -- one of the reasons why so much violence has taken place in that country.

COOPER: King Leopold II of Belgium was the first to exploit the rich resources, taking the Congo as his personal possession and leveling the land to cultivate rubber used to make tires. In the late 1800s, Leopold's forces enslaved the Congolese people, cutting off limbs to enforce rubber quotas. Millions died of exploitation and disease.

Protests prompted the Belgian government to take control from Leopold in 1908, turning Congo into a Belgian colony. But the Congolese rejected colonial status, and violent riots in 1960 led to Congo's independence. The fledgling country though, got off to a rocky start. Within months, the first elected prime minister was assassinated. After years of rebellions, U.S.-backed General Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in 1965, renaming the country Zaire.

GONDOLA: He was quite a corrupt leader. At one point, Mobutu had -- his personal fortune was equivalent of the national debt of the country.

ANDERSON: His reign of corruption would last three decades, spawning the term kleptocracy, rule by thieves. Toward the end of his reign, violence once again rocked this country, as decades-old conflict between the rival Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups spilled over from neighboring Rwanda. Rwanda and Uganda invaded Congo in 1996, under the pretext of stamping out Hutu militias. As the armies advanced, slaughtering Hutu refugees, Mobutu fled.

The invaders made a local rebel leader, and brothel owner, Laurent Kabila, president in 1997. Kabila renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One year later, Uganda and Rwanda invaded again in what became known as Africa's First World War. At least eight other African nations joined in the fighting.

Kabila was gunned down by his own bodyguard five years ago. His 29-year-old son Joseph took over as president, and the next year, signed a peace deal with warring factions.

Now, there are more than 17,000 United Nations troops in Congo, trying to keep that peace and the United States provides aid through relief agencies -- $39 million budgeted this year, but still the deaths continue.

Corrupt military units and rebel factions still terrorize, rape and murder the Congolese people. The United Nations estimates more than 1,200 people die a day from malnutrition and disease, which is why it's been said that in Congo, this peace looks an awful lot like war.


WHITFIELD: Well, tonight, Anderson Cooper hosts a CNN special report from Central Africa, "THE KILLING FIELDS: AFRICA'S MISERY, THE WORLD'S SHAME." It airs at 8:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

A look at the life of former Negro League Star Buck O'Neil coming up next.

Plus, remember when it was only the very young and the very old who needed to get immunized? Well, coming up next in the NEWSROOM, Dr. Bill Lloyd tells you why it is time for everyone to roll up their sleeves.


WHITFIELD: Stories across America now. A slight bump on the road to damage recovery for the Indiana Pacers. Police say that the team's guard, Stephen Jackson, fired shots in the air after an apparent self-defense move after he was hit by a car outside of a strip club. The Pacers are still trying to improve their image after a fight between the Pacers and Pistons' fans two seasons ago, and including some of the players.

And the U.S. Navy christened its newest ship today earlier today, a $6 billion aircraft carrier named for first President Bush. The 82 year-old former president and much of his family, including the current president, attended the ceremonies.

This unexpected 5 pound 6 ounce package arrived express delivery at an Arizona airport. The mother, who was an airline, flew the short distance from Phoenix to Tucson and was trying to get to the hospital when her water broke. Well, airport firefighters helped to deliver the baby girl. They nicknamed here Jet.

Flu shots and immunizations. Doctors say, they're not just for the very young or the very old anymore. They say everyone needs a shot in the arm, sometimes including you. Dr. Bill Lloyd joins us live with more on that.

So how do you make the determination, Dr. Lloyd, as to whether it's time for you to get immunized?

DR. BILL LLOYD, UNIV. OF CALIF.-DAVIS MEDICAL CTR.: Well, Fredricka under the age of 18, they tell you what shots you need. And over the age of 60, your doctor tells you. But now there are more immunizations that younger adults and middle-aged people ought to think about.

In addition to the usual tetanus booster, they have two new, brand new vaccinations I want to talk to you about. The first one is for varicella zoster, which is shingles. According to the Harvard Men's Health Watch, one out of six adults who had chicken pox as a child gets shingles, which is a eruption on the skin that can be very, very painful. But now there's a vaccine available this year for the first time. And adults who get that vaccine can protect themselves from painful shingles.

The second one is whooping cough, or pertussis. Back in 1986 there were only a thousand cases of pertussis in this country. Now it's 25,000, 50,000 cases. And even though young children get the vaccination, your immunity wanes over time. And so now they're saying all adults ought to get an adult pertussis shot, which is now available, again, for the first time in 2006.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So folks need to be making appointments with their doctors, consulting with to determine, you know, when it's time to get some of these things that you recommended.

LLOYD: This is going to be part of the checklist of your annual physical exam, in addition to bringing all your medications and exchanging ideas with your doctors about all the different pills you are taking. It's also a good time to ask, say, are all my immunizations up to date?

Don't trust your doctor's records. Keep records yourself, look at your passport, maybe from past travel documents, and in 2006, ask your doctor, hey, am I eligible for the new shingles vaccine, and what about whooping cough?

WHITFIELD: Wow. Now Bill, being concerned about the elderly and the very young, because they are usually the most vulnerable, are there any new vaccinations that perhaps they need to be considering that perhaps, otherwise, we're not?

LLOYD: Well, those are the two new ones that we should be thinking about this year that weren't available previously. But there's a couple of other vaccinations that adults should also think about as well. What about hepatitis A and B? These diseases are totally preventable by getting those routine vaccinations.

And the extra one we want to talk about is pneumococcus, which is a dangerous bacterial infection. Older adults need the pneumococcus vaccine actually twice to protect them from the serious dangers that can come from having pneumonia in older age. WHITFIELD:: And now what about the flu vaccine this year? We know in winters past there have been concerns about whether there was enough of a stockpile or only a certain segment of the population needed to get the vaccine. Where are we now on that now?

LLOYD: It's all goods news this year, Fredricka, it's all good news. As you said, in past years, they didn't have enough, they weren't shipping it to the right places. Some of it was contaminated. They already have 75 million doses up and ready to go. And they're ready to go to 110 million doses if it is necessary. So children over age six months and older and everybody else should start thinking about getting in line, getting that flu shot, and protecting themselves as we approach winter months and that peak flu season.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Bill Lloyd, thanks so much.

I don't know what makes me more squeamish, me actually getting a shot or watching someone else get a shot in that video.

LLOYD: I hate getting shots, you're right.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks a lot.

LLOYD: We'll talk again, soon.

WHITFIELD: All right.

Much more of the NEWSROOM coming up. Carol Lin is here to give us a preview now.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We have a lot of stuff on this whole controversy about Congressman Tom Foley and who knew what, the ad campaign by now the man who's in charge of actually getting Republicans re-elected in the House has a new campaign pointing to Dennis Hastert, he knew, he knew, he knew. That is the whole point of that ad campaign. So we've got a terrific segment coming up in the 5:00 hour with the blog buzz, what are they saying on the blogs.

And I feel sorry for the National Review Online blogger whom I'm going to be interviewing, because last week, he's like, well, you know, what can I say? But we've got new polls coming out, so lots of reaction, we'll find out what's happening on the blogs.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll be listening and watching.


WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Carol.

Buck O'Neil. He had an outstanding career as a Negro League baseball player and manager. Name sound familiar? Well, he was also a ground-breaking figure in the Major Leagues. He found new stardom years after he retired even. One of the sports best ambassadors, O'Neil passed away last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BUCK O'NEIL: I have been to a lot of places, I've done a lot of things that I really like doing. I hit the home run. I hit the grand slam home run. I hit for the Cyclone. I've had a hole in one in golf. I've done a lot of things I like doing. I shook hands with President Truman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baseball was John Buck O'Neil's life blood. Born in rural Florida in 1991, O'Neil began his professional baseball career in 1937 with the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League. He moved to the Kansas City Monarchs a year later as a player, and eventually took over as coach.

Despite the indignities imposed on this black American, O'Neil never lost his love for life.

O'NEIL: They always said to me, Buck, I know you hate people for what they did to you or what they did to your folks. I said, no, man, I never learned to hate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While most know that Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier for players, few know it was O'Neil who became the first black coach in Major League Baseball, with the Cubs in 1962. It was his role as a narrator for Ken Burns' documentary on baseball that made him famous again.

O'Neil became an unofficial spokesman, talking about the Negro Leagues and the men who played there. Long heralded as an excellent manager and player, he fell one vote shy of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this past year. But once again, the 94 year-old put the disappointment into perspective.

O'NEIL: Shed no tears for me, man. No, no. This is old Buck. God has been good to me. You can see that, don't you? I couldn't attend Sarasota High School, that hurt. Yes, I couldn't attend the University of Florida, that hurt. Yes. But not going into Hall of Fame, that didn't hurt me that much, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love of life, love of baseball, love of mankind. Those are the things that defined Buck O'Neil, and it was never more apparent than when he led a packed audience in song at this year's Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

O'NEIL (singing): The greatest thing in all my life is loving you. Thank you, folks. Thank you, folks. Thank you, folks. Thank you, folks. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


WHITFIELD: More rain is possible tonight for soggy Richmond, Virginia. Heavy storms have already washed out roads and bridges and caused ferry service in the area to be shutdown. A number of residents have had to evacuate.


WHITFIELD: Well, no surprise, comedians and Internet jokesters are having a field day with the Foley scandal, despite its seriousness. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ah, for the days when a page was something you turned, not something that turned someone on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Foley. Everything unholy.

MOOS: But the scandal has given political jokesters lots of material.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): A 16 year-old boy, he be your sexual toy.

MOOS: There are songs. There are puns about it being time for the GOP to exfoliate. And there are games, like "Help Hastert Hide the Perv", where you move the House Speaker around in an effort to hide Mark Foley's interactions with congressional pages.

We're accustomed to police tip lines but now we have:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A page tip line. There's a hot line set up for anyone with leads concerning Mark Foley.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for calling the tip line for the United States House of Representatives. If you have information regarding former Congressman Mark Foley...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They must be getting tons of crank calls, you know, can you help me, I lost my page?

MOOS: The anti-Bush forces are having a field day even as the president delivers another speech on...


MOOS: There's a tee shirt for sale, "Please, leave the children behind". It's one of a few dozen on the web. One features Foley's most famous alleged instant message quote -- move over Austin Powers.


MIKE MYERS, ACTOR: Do I make you horny?


MOOS: For more on the page scandal, you can look on the editorial cartoon page.

Never accept candy or a ride from a strange Republican Congressman. The "New York Post" showed gay former Governor Jim McGreavey saying, look on the bright side, Foley, you'll have a best- selling book.

Note the picture of the village people on the wall. The village people make for popular parody. This one topped the charts on the "Huffington Post".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Young man, are you listening to me, I said young man, what do you want to be.


MOOS: Gone are the innocent days when if you wanted a congressional page...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything else you want, just snap for a page.

MOOS: Just snap instead of sending a lurid e-mail.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): It is fun to stay at the YMCA.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: And leave it to Jeanne Moos to find the lighter side of an otherwise very serious subject on Capitol Hill. And what makes it even more serious for politicians, the upcoming election.

So we want to hear from you. Will the Foley scandal affect your vote in November? E-mail us at

Carol Lin will read some of your responses in the next hour.

From the CNN Canter in Atlanta, I'm Fredricka Whitfield. More of CNN in the NEWSROOM right after this.


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: E-mails, IMs, and more talk of a GOP cover-up. Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, the Foley scandal. We've got the talk on the blogs, the talk on the Hill, and the talk on whether it will even matter come November. This is CNN LIVE SATURDAY and I'm Carol Lin.

Let's catch you up first on the headlines.

We are talking about more fallout for Mark Foley. A child safety advocate running for Congress in Minnesota slams Congressional leaders over their response to the scandal. Paddy Weatherly (ph) gave this weeks' Democratic radio address. And the head of the Republican House Campaign Committee is apologizing to his constituents. New York Congressman Tom Reynolds says in a new T.V. ad he is disappointed that he didn't catch on sooner to Foley's contacts with teenage Congressional pages.


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