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CNN NEWSROOM

Prominent Evangelical Leader Steps Aside After Gay Male Prostitute Goes Public With Claims Of Sexual Liaison; President Bush Trying To Help His Party Hold Onto Congress; Senator Joe Lieberman Looks To Be Headed For Reelection As Independent; Art Buchwald Celebrates His Life; Michael J. Fox Continues Campaign For Stem Cell Research

Aired November 3, 2006 - 14:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Don Lemon.

A bombshell of biblical proportions or a dirty political trick? A prominent evangelical leader steps aside after a gay male prostitute goes public with claims of a sexual liaison.

WHITFIELD: Now the powerful Protestant pastor accused by a man of paying for sex. Last night, the church official temporarily assuming the Reverend Ted Haggard's pulpit said Haggard made "some admission of guilt" to allegations raised by a man who says he's a former prostitute, but wouldn't say more on it.

Haggard has publicly denied the allegations, but he resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He also has temporarily stepped down as a pastor at his church.

A Denver man, Mike Jones, says Haggard paid him for sex for about three years, ending last August, and also used methamphetamines. For a third straight day, Jones spoke this morning to a Denver radio station and the listeners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE JONES, ACCUSER-MALE PROSTITUTE: I have said everything that has happened is the truth. Again, if I wanted to make up some even additional story, I could embellish many more things. I could -- I could talk about kinky sex or something. You know, I could have made it even worse than it was.

But I'm just telling you what happened. And I was with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Jones, the accuser, says he went public because of Haggard's vocal opposition to gay marriage, an initiative in that state. A polygraph expert who gave Jones a polygraph test during his radio appearance today said several of Jones's responses indicated deception, but also said he wants to rerun the test because Jones was under stress, and that could have affected the results.

The Reverend Haggard gave an interview on Wednesday to CNN affiliate KUSA in Denver.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. TED HAGGARD, NEW LIFE CHURCH: I've never said that I'm perfect. But I haven't had sex with a man in Denver. And I've been faithful to my wife.

I've never had a gay relationship with anybody. And I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife. And so I don't know if this is election-year politics or if this has to do with the marriage amendment or -- or what it is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: KUSA had a voice analyst listen to phone voicemail messages provided by Haggard's accuser, Jones. The analyst says the voice is probably Haggard's.

Here is part of one of the messages provided to CNN. The context isn't clear, however, and neither is the content itself. What you'll see is Jones listening as the clip is being played.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I also wanted to get your address so I could send you some money for inventory, but that's not -- obviously not working.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: KUSA says a more detailed analysis of the messages is under way to try to determine definitively whether the voice is that of Haggard.

The Reverend Ted Haggard's influence extends far beyond his Colorado pulpit, to the national stage. Here's a profile of the pastor.

He is 50 years old, married, and the father of five children. Until his decision to step down temporarily, Haggard served as senior pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Since starting the church back in 1985, it has grown to 14,000 members.

As head of the National Association of Evangelicals, Haggard participated in weekly conference calls with White House staffers. He also campaigned against same-sex marriage and lobbied Congress for conservative Supreme Court judges.

Now let's get more on this potential scandal with CNN's faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher, who has been following this story -- Delia. DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka.

Well, as you say, it's absolutely something that's at least seeming to be a scandal at the moment because, of course, an allegation against somebody, even though he has denied it and his community is still behind him, still taints the person a little bit. And so this is unfolding throughout the day, has been since yesterday.

And we have heard that essentially the allegation is twofold. There is the sexual allegation that there was an alleged relationship between these two men for the past three years, and then there is also an allegation about drug abuse. And the accuser is saying that drugs were sold and used in his presence.

So you've got two sort of very serious charges going against this pastor, Haggard.

WHITFIELD: All right, Delia. I think you lost our audio transpondence (ph) there. So I'll defer on questions for now.

Thanks so much, Delia Gallagher -- Don.

LEMON: All right. We're getting some information in.

Apparently, Ted Haggard has done an interview, a new interview with our affiliate in Colorado, KUSA. Let's listen for the details, and we'll talk about it on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAGGARD: As we talked the other night, we're so grateful that he failed the polygraph test this morning. And -- my accuser did. And we have gathered together this outside board of overseers, and they're going through the process of investigation and finding out what needs to be done to me.

You know, I've put myself on an extended...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suspension.

HAGGARD: What do we call it -- suspension of my senior pastor's role. I resigned from the NAE because both of those roles are based on trust. And right now my trust is questionable. And so...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. And the man who's making the accusation, Mike Jones, did fail part of the polygraph. It said deception about having any kind of relationship. He did not fail or did not directly address the aspect of any use of illegal drugs.

HAGGARD: Yes. And all of that's...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the question that's out there.

HAGGARD: All that's got to be processed through, and I'm sure they're going to do that. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I know that Nicole asked you, but I have to ask you again, have you used meth?

HAGGARD: No, I have not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And the voice expert that is in Denver that was hired by KUSA has...

HAGGARD: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... matched now 18 of the words left on the voicemail message.

(CROSSTALK)

HAGGARD: Yes. I did call him. I did call him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what did you call him about?

HAGGARD: I called him to buy some meth but I threw it away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who were you buying the meth for?

HAGGARD: No one. I was buying it for me, but I never used it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever used meth before?

HAGGARD: No, I have not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So...

HAGGARD: And I did not ever use it with him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you ever have sex with him?

HAGGARD: No, I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And at what point did you decide to throw away the meth?

HAGGARD: Right after. I never kept it very long because it's -- it was wrong. I was tempted. I bought it. But I never used it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how did you know that he would sell it to you?

HAGGARD: He told me about it. I went there for -- I went there for a massage. So -- OK, we're late for our appointment. And so -- but thank you for your work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you find him to get a massage from him?

HAGGARD: A referral.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From? HAGGARD: From the hotel I was staying at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hotel where?

HAGGARD: I've stayed at a lot of hotels in Denver because I write in Denver. So -- OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

HAGGARD: All right, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Pastor.

HAGGARD: All right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. You were listening to it coming in as we were listening to it.

Apparently, Ted Haggard doing an interview there with KUSA, saying that -- admitting that he did buy methamphetamines from this 49-year-old, Michael Jones, or from a male prostitute. But he's saying he did not use it. He threw it away.

He said he also went for the services of this person for a massage as a referral from a hotel. Again, he's saying he did not use meth, but he is saying -- he is saying that he did call him, when asked about those voicemails, one of which you heard just moments ago. And also talking about an outside board at his church which is going to investigate this.

Let's bring in, again, our faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher, to talk about this.

You heard there was some question, Delia, about the voicemails and about this. How do you think this is going to play out now, especially for the evangelicals with him admitting this?

GALLAGHER: Well, I think, first of all, just watching that video for the members of his church, it's going to be painful even to hear that admission from their pastor. And I think the people that I've spoken to in the past two days have said they really have been shocked by these accusations, some of them angry that -- that their pastor has been pointed out so publicly and these allegations have even been made.

And so you see there that he has at least admitted to buying these drugs. He says he threw them away. So that was part of the allegation. The full allegation was that he was using these drugs, of course. And then denying that he was engaged in any kind of sexual activity with this man.

So certainly I think for evangelicals, they'll be looking at that with a sigh of relief, because if that is the full extent of it, then that is something which they will say, you know, can be forgiven, as, indeed, all sins can be forgiven. And so I think that that's probably where they're going to be coming from, listening to that.

LEMON: And Delia, that's exactly what I wanted to talk you about, because that's really one of the precepts of faith, is to forgive. Listening overnight and this morning to some of the interviews from KUSA and also reading some of the stories, it appears that folks in the congregation from his church were saying, hey, you know, innocent until proven guilty, and we're on his side now.

I'm wondering if this will sort of tip the balance one way or another. You being the faith and values correspondent, maybe you have some insight on that.

GALLAGHER: Well, I think certainly the evangelical members of his community and evangelicals, in general, across the country, and, indeed, Christians across the country, would say that everybody sins. And this is something that I've heard time and time again.

It doesn't matter here if we're talking about using drugs or if we're talking about homosexual sex. In their eyes, the sin is the sin, and the sin it be forgiven. So that is something you will hear quite a lot from Christians when it comes to their leaders sinning.

And that that in itself doesn't affect -- for example, we've been talking a lot about whether this will affect the vote. You know, that's not the first question for them. The first question for them is the sort of moral stature of this leader, and they say there's a lot of forgiveness in these communities.

So whatever the end result ends up here for Pastor Haggard, I'm quite sure that within his community, he will find that the people are fairly sympathetic. I mean, they've been very strong in supporting him, and I expect that that would continue.

However, you could also say that in the larger picture, this represents a very important evangelical voice in this country and a leader for those people. So there will be some questioning of, you know, what are our stances on some of these issues, and is it hypocrisy for somebody to sort of publicly proclaim something and then not follow through in his private life?

But those are allegations that have yet to be proven.

LEMON: All right.

Delia Gallagher, thank you so much for your insight.

And you're watching the CNN NEWSROOM, and you just heard, just coming into our newsroom, Pastor Ted Haggard admitting on tape that he did call someone and ask for methamphetamine, but he's saying he threw it away, he never used it, but he's also denying ever having sex with a male prostitute.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. We're back in a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAGGARD: I called him to buy some meth but I threw it away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who were you buying the meth for?

HAGGARD: No one. I was buying it for me, but I never used it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever used meth before?

HAGGARD: No, I have not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So...

HAGGARD: And I did not ever use it with him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you ever have sex with him?

HAGGARD: No, I did not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Democrats say they are hopeful, Republicans say they aren't giving up. And President Bush is trying to help his party hold on to Congress any way he can.

Our Kathleen Koch is standing by for us at the White House.

Hi, Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don.

Yes, President Bush today is in the middle of his final campaign swing, hitting as many states as possible, the states in particular where the administration believes he can make a difference as the clock ticks toward Tuesday.

First today in the Midwest, he hit two different -- made two different stops in Missouri, campaigning for incumbent Republican senator Jim Talent. Now, Talent is neck and neck with Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill. That makes Missouri one of the key battleground states that could determine which party controls the Senate next year.

Now, President Bush hit familiar themes in his speeches today, insisting that Democrats would let his tax cuts expire. And leading a chant implying that Democrats have no plan to fight terrorism or to win the war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They say they want to win the war on terror but call for America to pull out from what al Qaeda says is the central front in this war. Ask them this question: What's your plan?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: What's your plan? BUSH: The truth is the Democrats can't answer that question.

Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory. Second-guessing is not a strategy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: Now, the White House is well aware of the fact that the Iraq war is pulling both the president's and the Republican Party's poll numbers down. So the president was very quick today to tout some good news, and that was the fact that unemployment in the month of October fell to just 4.4 percent. That is the lowest number in more than five years. And President Bush said that that was evidence that his economic policies are working -- Don.

LEMON: Kathleen Koch at the White House today.

Thank you, Kathleen.

KOCH: You bet.

WHITFIELD: Well, I think everyone is in agreement, the Connecticut Senate race is unlike any other. Joe Lieberman, the incumbent Democrat, was abandoned by his own party. Now he looks to be headed for re-election as an Independent.

CNN's Mary Snow is standing by for us with an update.

And how and why did it get so close with Republican Ned Lamont?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you, Fredricka, this has been one of the most unusual races this election year and one of the more dramatic ones.

Now, Senator Joseph Lieberman has served in the Senate for 18 years as a Democrat. He has promised -- even though he is running as an Independent next Tuesday, he has promised to remain with the Democratic Party. That is why this race really isn't seen as affecting the landscape of the Senate, but certainly anger over the war has affected the landscape of this race.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Praise the lord. And praise the voters of Connecticut.

SNOW (voice-over): Senator Joseph Lieberman thanked Hispanic clergymen for endorsing him in what he called a pivotal moment of his difficult campaign. The 18-year veteran senator is leading the polls as an Independent candidate against Ned Lamont, the political newcomer who launched a stunning upset and defeated Lieberman in the Democratic primary.

LIEBERMAN: I'm encouraged because the poll shows that I'm continuing to enjoy support across party lines from people who are fed up with the partisanship in Washington. SNOW: The main issue has been Iraq, an issue that put Ned Lamont on the map.

NED LAMONT (D), CONNECTICUT SENATE CANDIDATE: I got in this race about a year ago because I really believe that George Bush is driving this country into a ditch. And Joe Lieberman has one hand on the steering wheel.

SNOW: Lamont has tried to portray Lieberman as being too cozy with the Bush administration. And even though Lieberman has tried to distance himself from the White House, it is clear he gets the president's support.

BUSH: This summer we saw what happens when a Democrat rejects his party's doctrine of cut and run. Senator Joe Lieberman, a three- term Democrat from Connecticut, supports completing the mission in Iraq.

ALAN SCHLESSINGER (R), CONNECTICUT SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm Alan Schlessinger.

SNOW: Republican Allen Schlessinger has barely registered with voters. So Lieberman has Republican and Independent support that's put him 12 points ahead in the polls, despite the fact colleagues like Senator John Kerry, seen here last month, traveled to Connecticut to support Lamont.

Lieberman portrays his challenger as a one-issue candidate who is inexperienced, but is not taking anything for granted.

LIEBERMAN: But this ain't over. I mea, I'm running against a guy with very deep pockets who is willing to say and do about anything to get elected.

SNOW: In this final push, Lamont is bringing it back to the Iraq war.

LAMONT: A vote for Joe Lieberman means more war.

SNOW: Lamont is touring the state in his bus, hoping for a late upsurge, putting another million dollars of his own money into the campaign.

LAMONT: We thought it was important, you know? Joe is hitting us pretty hard on TV right now. We've got to be able to respond. But more importantly, we've got to give people a voice, a voice for real change in Washington, D.C.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: And with more money pouring into the campaign, there are more ads. Actor Paul Newman is now airing an ad in support of Ned Lamont, saying that Connecticut needs someone who is fresh, young and spunky. This is all part of a campaign of which Ned Lamont has personally put roughly $12 million of his own money into this race. Senator Joseph Lieberman's campaign also hitting the airwaves. One of the latest ads showing voters where to find Lieberman on the ballot since he will be running as an Independent for the first time. His campaign has outspent Lamont with roughly $14 million into this race -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So Mary, what about the polls? What are the most recent polls saying, and how closely are the folks in Connecticut watching that?

SNOW: Well, the latest two polls that came out this week show that Lieberman has a 12-point lead over Lamont. Now, some of Lamont's supporters, though, are taking a bit of relief into one of those polls that show Lieberman's lead tightening by five points.

Lamont also points out that he was really unknown at the start of this race. And no one really thought that he could even unseat Lieberman in that Democratic primary. So he says that he is convinced and is going to be remaining optimistic until the very end.

Both of them, though, saying they're going to work until 8:00 p.m. here in Connecticut Tuesday night, when the polls close.

WHITFIELD: All right. Mary Snow, thanks so much, in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Some are wondering how much of this might affect the race -- the outcome on Tuesday, the Bush administration and the evangelicals. A former White House player says it was not exactly the marriage that many people thought.

That's coming up in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: And an American soldier missing. Searching the dusty, dangerous streets of ancient Baghdad. CNN's John Roberts rides with troops as they look for one of their own.

That's ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you ever have sex with him?

HAGGARD: No, I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And at what point did you decide to throw away the meth?

HAGGARD: Right after. I never kept it very long because it's -- it was wrong. I was tempted. I bought it. But I never used it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. In addition to that latest comment coming from Ted Haggard, perhaps one of the most influential conservative Christian leaders in the country, in that tape admitting to purchasing methamphetamine, not using it, but indeed calling a former prostitute for a massage. An associate of the Reverend Haggard is now saying this, that Haggard made some admission of guilt to the allegations raised by the former male prostitute, Mike Jones, in public.

Haggard has denied most of the allegations except for what you just heard about the methamphetamine and the massage. But he promptly resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And stepped aside as pastor of his Colorado church.

Mike Jones of Denver, the man right there, says Haggard paid him for sex for about three years, ending last August, and also used methamphetamine. But again, you just saw in that latest tape that Haggard is saying he purchased the methamphetamine, but he didn't actually use it.

A polygraph has apparently raised questions about the former prostitute, Mike Jones's, truthfulness. At this hour, a Denver television station is analyzing the voice recordings provided by Jones that are purportedly phone messages left by Haggard.

Here is Haggard's denial of Jones's allegation delivered on Wednesday.

All right. So we don't have that, but you did at least hear the latest information coming from Haggard, according to KUSA in an interview. They caught up with him while he was in a truck.

As a measure of Haggard's prominence, the group whose leadership he has been leading now has resigned. And that church -- or rather group, boasts some 30 million members. And Haggard took part in weekly conference calls with White House staffers as part of the Bush administration's outreach to evangelicals.

Joining us now is David Kuo. He served as deputy director of the White House Office on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He is also author of the recent book, "Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction".

And David joins us now from Washington.

All right. Lots of moving parts on this story, David, but we're going to try and simplify it when we talk about the kind of influence that Ted Haggard had, not just in the church community, but also in the political community. Given your experience at the White House, just how influential of a religious leader as well as political leader is Ted Haggard?

DAVID KUO, AUTHOR: You know, this is so much more significant as a spiritual story than a political one.

WHITFIELD:: Really?

KUO: Absolutely, because at the end of the day, history will not long remember whatever happens on Tuesday. But at the end of the day, the person being -- what's being questioned here isn't so much Ted Haggard, it's really the person who Jesus Christ -- Jesus...

WHITFIELD: But, really even when are talking about someone who, as powerful as he has been, not just in the church, but someone who has the ear of President Bush or at least has had the ear of President Bush, until fairly recently.

KUO: You know, again, things that I talk about the book is how evangelical leaders were given the impression of access but really had so little influence, that evangelical leaders were seduced by the White House, by politics, into really thinking that politics was, you know, akin to God.

And so when I hear this story, my heart breaks really because this is, again, this is a spiritual story. And my concern here is a spiritual concern because at the end of the day, what happens on Tuesday is so trivial compared to the larger questions of faith being raised here.

And my hope, my dear true hope is that these allegations aren't true. But at the end of the day, what's important here is that regardless of whether they are true or whether they are not, the thing on trial here is the reputation of Jesus. And that's the danger for any Christian who gets involved in the political arena. They have to be aware of what they're really doing is representing Jesus in the political arena, and that's a very dangerous thing to do.

WHITFIELD: Let's further analyze a bit of what you said on your blog posted today. And you're saying right now, if politics is not the reason, I think most people would at least agree that it may at least be a byproduct of this series of allegations.

In your blog, you write, the bottom line being religion, which you're supporting again right now, we're going to put up your quote on the screen, "Ted Haggard may or may not be an exception no matter what the news brings in the coming hours, but since he has spent so much time lately focusing on politics, his private sins may further involve Jesus in matters that Jesus might well have wanted to avoid."

First, explain what you mean by that, and secondly, when we know that gay marriage, the initiative, is being taken very seriously and being debated in Colorado, and he was practicing, you know, his faith in the state of Colorado and had been very outspoken against legalizing, you know, gay marriage or at least recognizing it, then, indeed, politics, again, is injected into this.

KUO: Politics, of course, is injected into this. That's part of the point that I write in the blog. Whenever any religious leader gets so involved in politics, they are not just taking a spiritual stand. You know, they are taking, you know, a political stand on behalf of Jesus. And that raises it to this whole new level. And obviously, what's going on in Colorado right now with the anti-gay marriage ballot or an initiative raises the stakes.

But again, the danger for a Christian, a Christian leader in politics, is the danger that he will corrupt or she will corrupt the name of Jesus because of a political agenda. And if you look at what Jesus talks about in the New Testament, you know, Jesus' message, the good news. The good news is a fairly clear thing. Believe in me, and I'm going to give you new life. I'll give you life, and I'm going to give you new life in full.

Jesus really doesn't talk about a political agenda, and to whatever degree he does, it's frankly an agenda of economic liberation, of economic justice, of racial justice, and of social justice. And so, again, when this issue comes up around someone like Ted Haggard, who's had such great spiritual influence around the country, it's really not about Ted so much as it is about Jesus.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, it certainly has invoked a lot of passionate discussions no matter which way you look at it. David Kuo, author of "Tempting Faith" and also former special assistant to President Bush and deputy director of White House office of faith- based and community initiatives at one time as well before resigning back in 2003. Thanks so much, David.

KUO: Thanks.

LEMON: All right, let's talk about someone we can definitely call an icon. he's won two Pulitzer Prizes, written more than 30 books and produced millions of laughs around the world. Humorist Art Buchwald's column with its biting satire and politics appears in newspapers around the world and he's written a book chronicling his recent stay in hospice care after doctors told him he only had a few weeks to live. Kyra Phillips, boy did he show them, she joins us from his house in Washington, D.C.

Hi, Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there. We're in his office. This is where it all happens. This is where he writes that famous column for the "Washington Post." Of course, he's been syndicated in hundreds of newspapers, but this is his comfort zone.

Artie, can you -- you can't even name how many articles or how many columns you've written in this office.

BUCHWALD: No. Because I don't keep count anymore.

PHILLIPS: It's too many to count.

BUCHWALD: Yes.

PHILLIPS: Well, you know, you've met a lot of interesting people in your life, wouldn't you say?

BUCHWALD: There's a lot.

PHILLIPS: Yes, there is. And I believe we have a special friend on the line right now. Don, is that right?

LEMON: We do, but ...

PHILLIPS: OK.

LEMON: We do. Are we going to get to it now?

PHILLIPS: We do, OK. I am told we have Sharon Stone on the phone. Sharon, can you hear me?

SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: I can. Hi.

PHILLIPS: Sharon Stone. You know, when I asked Art Buchwald who one of his favorite actresses is, he said, well, of course, Sharon Stone. So that's why we called you. And I want to know, how did you meet Art Buchwald?

STONE: Oh, we met through friends. I think maybe the first -- I don't remember the first time, but I remember lots of fun that we've had together. I had -- of course, Art always beats me in chess and so I'm so glad that he's decided to give life a rematch because I really want another opportunity to try to have a rematch with Art. We've had so much fun together. We've traveled and spent some great times together. We had a really terrific time in Paris together. I guess I'm giving away some of our romantic secrets, Art.

PHILLIPS: Oh, my goodness.

BUCHWALD: Yes. I don't mind anymore. I think being tied up with Sharon Stone at this stage of the game is as good as I can get.

PHILLIPS: You were in Paris together? What did you do to -- what did the two of you do in Paris together?

BUCHWALD: Well, we were there for different reasons. I met her on a vineyard and we played chess. And that was the connection was chess.

PHILLIPS: You bonded over chess?

BUCHWALD: Bonded over chess. And one story I remember is that John F. Kennedy Jr. was on a bicycle and we went by and Sharon Stone and John Kennedy, (INAUDIBLE) they spoke for about 10 minutes. When I got back to my house, the phones were ringing off the hook. What's going on between Sharon Stone and John F. Kennedy?

PHILLIPS: Sharon, is that true?

BUCHWALD: I said, we can't talk about it.

STONE: It is, it is. But, you know, if I had a conversation with Mickey Mouse, they'd think it was a romance. But they missed our romance, Art. I don't understand that.

PHILLIPS: That's what I want to know, Sharon. Do you find -- I mean, come on. You can't compare John F. Kennedy and Art Buchwald, right? There's just no comparison.

STONE: Well, I have to say, my heart still remains with Art.

BUCHWALD: Isn't that wonderful that she married the newspaper guy in San Francisco. I thought she'd give me up. But now she's out on the loose again. And I'm going to make my pitch again.

PHILLIPS: Well, Sharon, what do you think? He wants to make his pitch again.

STONE: You see? I always go for the guy with the brains and the humor, that's me.

BUCHWALD: That's great.

PHILLIPS: So what do you love the most about Sharon Stone, Artie?

BUCHWALD: What do I like the most about her?

PHILLIPS: What do you like the most about her?

BUCHWALD: Well, she's smart, the brains. She's beautiful. But she has a lot of pictures that I could get very excited about.

PHILLIPS: And she can beat you in chess, right -- you respect that.

BUCHWALD: I can beat her.

PHILLIPS: Oh, whoops. Sharon, did I get it wrong?

STONE: He beat me. He walloped me in chess. Hey, Art, we have a picture coming out you're going to love. We have a picture coming out about Bobby Kennedy.

BUCHWALD: Oh, good. I'm looking forward to it.

STONE: Yes, that's your kind of thing, Art.

PHILLIPS: That's definitely, the Kennedy family has been -- Art and the Kennedy family have been very close. You've been a part of that as well. It's been a special relationship hasn't it? Did we lose her?

STONE: Well, yes. I think, you know, Art has a great comprehension of the political arena and a great sense of style about humanity and thoughtfulness about politics.

PHILLIPS: Ah, Sharon Stone, thank you so much for being with us. You want to say something finally to Art, and Art, you want to say something to Sharon?

BUCHWALD: I'll see you later at the store.

STONE: I love you, darling. And I couldn't be more thrilled that you've written this book, because it is a choice to live. And it is a choice how you live when you choose to live. And I've thought about that a lot since my brush. And I can't be more thrilled that you've chosen to set such a fine example. I'm proud of you, Art, and proud for you. I love you, honey.

BUCHWALD: Thank you. Thank you, dear.

PHILLIPS: Sharon Stone, thank you so much.

All right. You're going to see each other soon.

BUCHWALD: I hope so.

PHILLIPS: Hey, we've got some more special guests coming up. Are you ready?

BUCHWALD: Yes.

PHILLIPS: All right. We're going to have more with Art Buchwald and, of course, talking about his book, "Too Soon to Say Good-Bye: I Don't Know Where I'm Going, I Don't Even Know Where I Am". We'll have more after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The fight for Iraq, top U.S. and Iraqi officials talk up security while events of the day illustrate the lack of it.

U.S. national intelligence chief, John Negroponte, is in Baghdad. He reassured Iraq's prime minister of the Bush administration's support for the new government. That's despite Nuri al-Maliki's recent criticism of the U.S.

Violence unchecked in Baghdad. Just today, police found 56 bodies dumped throughout the city, all of them shot, some of them tortured. Also today, more American military fatalities make a total of 11 U.S. service members killed in Iraq in the past three days.

A U.S. soldier tried and convicted of abuses at Abu Ghraib won't be going back to Iraq after all. Sergeant Santos Cardona is an M.P. dog handler, photographed earlier in the war threatening Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib.

He has served his 90-day sentence and was with his unit in Kuwait on his way back to Iraq, but the Pentagon just this morning announced he won't be going back to Iraq. It's keeping him in Kuwait while it reviews these orders.

LEMON: Well, now there is a ransom demand. CNN has learned, has confirmed, that a group believed to be holding an American soldier wants money: $250,000 to be exact. That's what the family of Army Specialist Ahmed Altaie was told will free their son.

Witnesses say the Arabic interpreter was nabbed from a Baghdad residence October 23. Specialist Altaie was born in Iraq and has a wife and relatives there. No official response from the Army on the ransom demand.

He says he bought methamphetamines but didn't use them. He says he contacted a man for a massage, but he didn't have sex. New details continue to break in the story of the Reverend Ted Haggard. We'll have the latest ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Pretty extreme weather conditions all across the map.

LEMON: Don't you think? A little freezing, a little snow, a little rain.

WHITFIELD: This makes sense for this time of year, right?

LEMON: What do you call -- what would you call this, a potpourri of weather?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This would be called, if you don't like the cold weather and the fall, you typically go to a place like Hawaii.

WHITFIELD: Ooh la-la.

MARCIANO: Well, they've gotten their fair share of rain in the past couple weeks.

WHITFIELD: Or should I say aloha.

MARCIANO: Aloha. Mahala (ph).

WHITFIELD: Mahala.

LEMON: Mahala. Thank you.

MARCIANO: Our iReport for you this hour. Chad Myers showed these a little bit earlier.

This is a still photo from Steven Wright of a funnel cloud, something you rarely see in Hawaii. He caught it from a shot taken from the back of his deck. He said it happened very quickly, just in time to grab his photographic lens.

He's lived in Hawaii for 20 years. He's a professional boat captain, a photographer, and he's never seen a water spout before. This is Maalaea Bay.

All right. From the still pictures to video we go. Probably the same -- the same water spout there. You can see it live and in action, or at least on tape. Jeff Melcher sent us this picture. He also took this from his own home in the same area.

And you can see it swirling like a tornado. That's exactly what it is. It is -- it is a small, weak tornado. And the reason it looks so -- so clear and so white is because, instead of picking up junk and dirt and debris like it would on land, it's just picking up water. So water spouts are typically pretty cool to look at for that reason, and especially when they're that small, they typically don't do damage if they do run onto land. No damage reported from that particular water spout.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WHITFIELD: So, he says he bought meth, methamphetamine, but he didn't use it. He says he contacted a man for a massage, but they didn't have sex. New details continue to break in the story of the Reverend Ted Haggard. We'll have the latest straight in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Actor Michael J. Fox is a fixture on the campaign trail leading up to Tuesday's elections. You may have seen his ad promoting Democratic Congressional candidate Claire McCaskill of Missouri. But he's also in places like Iowa and Virginia promoting congressional candidates who favor advancing stem cell research. Fox explained to our Anderson Cooper what life is like with Parkinson's Disease and why embryonic stem cells holds more promise than existing adult stem cells.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR/STEM CELL ACTIVIST: The cell lines that we got were, you know, we're working with them now, is like working with Windows 95 in this world, in this computer world. They're old. They're polluted by mouse feeder cells. They just aren't as viable. So it's hard to get a full -- like I said, a full appreciation for what's possible.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over):

Carolyn, Peoria, Illinois wrote, "What is the individual Parkinson's experience internally? What does it feel like to be inside a body afflicted with Parkinson's? If anyone has the verbal skills and sensitivity to make us understand what it's like, it'll be Michael J. Fox."

FOX: Well, I was saying to someone the other day -- it's like you're in a car, and a bunch of teenagers get it and go for a joyride, and you're in the car. The car is going to get back when it gets back, and you've got to make the most of it. Listen to the radio, do whatever you've got to do. You're not going anywhere until they're done with it. And that's what it is. When you're trying to talk sometimes, trying to have a conversation, it's like someone's shaking you while you're trying to talk.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Make sure you watch ANDERSON COOPER 360 weeknights at 10:00 eastern. We have a programming note about our CNN election coverage. We will have a complete election preview on Monday at Noon eastern. It's a special edition of CNN NEWSROOM. Tony Harris, Heidi Collins, Fredericka Whitfield and myself, that would be me, Don Lemon. More from the NEWSROOM straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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