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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Deadly Form of Tuberculosis Sets Off Global Health Scare; Will Fred Thompson Run?

Aired May 30, 2007 - 20:00   ET

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


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us tonight.
Here's what we're bringing out in the open.

I'm going to be talking with a passenger who happened to be on the same plane as the man who's now quarantined for a deadly form of tuberculosis. He's worried and upset. What does he want health officials to do now? And why did that other man disregard what health officials told him?

And what does this frightening tuberculosis scare tell us about the country's readiness to handle really deadly diseases, like Ebola and smallpox?

And, today, some new clues that we could have another actor running for the White House.

We are starting with one of the most frightening health questions that has been asked in decades: How many people may have been exposed to a tuberculosis germ that is so dangerous, the U.S. government has ordered its first quarantine in more than four decades, but not before the infected man took airliners across the Atlantic twice, as well as several shorter flights within Europe?

How did he get away with that? And how many people could have been exposed to this deadly disease? Those are just two of the disturbing questions that are out in the open tonight.

And we are going to devote a good part of this hour getting you some of those answers, and to talk with one of his fellow passengers, who is very scared tonight.

First, Rusty Dornin brings us up to speed on this incredible story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, an armed guard stands outside the infected man's room. It's a room like this one, with double-sealed doors and the air carefully scrubbed.

The patient told "The Atlanta-Journal Constitution": "I'm a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person. This is insane to me, that I have an armed guard outside my door." It's unclear where the man contracted a deadly drug-resistant form of tuberculosis that landed him in isolation. Officials at the Fulton County Health Department tell CNN, the man's personal doctor first told them on April 25 that the man had T.B. Further tests showed it was a multiple drug-resistant form of the disease.

On May 10, the county's doctor, Eric Benning, and the man's own physician warned him not to travel.

DR. ERIC BENNING, FULTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT: We are not a -- a police authority. But we did tell him, in no uncertain terms, that he should not to travel. And we told him the reasons why.

DORNIN: But their man insisted he was getting married and going on a honeymoon. And he said he would wear a mask while flying.

(on camera): The day after that meeting, health officials say, they sent a letter to his house and tried to contact the infected man by phone to advise him again, please, don't travel.

(voice-over): But they said they couldn't reach him. On May 12, he boarded an Air France flight to Paris with his fiancee.

Health officials say the strain is only infectious over exposures of at least eight hours. The flight to Paris is eight hours and 45 minutes. During the next few days, he took five flights from Paris to the Greek Islands, and then to Rome.

On May 16, four days after he had left the country, Fulton County health officials discovered the man had XDR, the most extreme form of drug-resistant T.B. That's when the Centers for Disease Control took over and reached the man in Rome on May 23. They told him to turn himself in to Italian health authorities.

But, as the man told a reporter for "The Atlanta Journal- Constitution," he couldn't stay there.

ALISON YOUNG, "THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION": He was very concerned that this would make it impossible for him to have some cutting-edge treatment in Denver that was planned. And -- and he -- he said he feared for his life.

DORNIN: So, as the CDC tried to figure out how to get him back to the United States, the man flew from Rome to Prague.

On May 24, he took a Czech Air flight to Montreal, then drove across the U.S. border. Reached by phone, a CDC official told him to drive straight to an isolation facility at Bellevue Hospital in New York. From there, he was transported to Atlanta.

CDC officials say, no charges will be filed.

DR. MARTIN CETRON, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: There were no legal orders in place preventing his travel. And no laws were broken. Since we have issued our our -- our federal isolation order, he has been fully compliant. DORNIN: The CDC says the man, who has not yet been publicly identified, will be transported next to a Denver hospital, where he could undergo surgery to remove the infected part of his lung -- no word on when.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And one of the scary things about all of this is that tuberculosis is a lot more common that you might think. Even though the T.B. rate here in the U.S. is at an all-time low, there were still nearly 14,000 cases just last year.

And not all T.B. germs are equal. Some are what they call multi- drug-resistant, or MDR. The quarantined man has an even more dangerous form called XDR, for extensively drug-resistant. It is so dangerous, that specialized equipment was needed to bring the infected man to the hospital in Atlanta.

And to bring that part of the story out in the open now, I want to go to medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, who's outside Grady Hospital in Atlanta, to walk us through some of these paces.

It's quite a process, isn't it, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is quite an ambulance, Paula. This is the ambulance that was used to transport the man with the extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis just on Monday.

And I'm here with Dr. Alex Isakov.

And you're the head of the biosafety transport team here at Grady Memorial Hospital.

DR. ALEX ISAKOV, ASSOCIATE MEDICAL DIRECTOR, GRADY EMS: I am.

COHEN: Most ambulances aren't draped in blue.

ISAKOV: You're absolutely right.

But this is the Grady EMS biosafety transport unit. And it's draped out and prepared in a way, so that it can be easily cleaned if we have to transport another patient who doesn't have a -- a serious or contagious disease.

COHEN: So, if -- if you have a patient who has some terrible disease, and they cough, the droplets hit the blue drapes?

ISAKOV: That's right.

The whole idea behind draping the ambulance out in this manner, so that, if someone coughs, if someone vomits, and they have a serious contagious disease, it can be easily cleaned up.

COHEN: Because you have got material. You have got machines back here. Let's take a look.

ISAKOV: Sure.

COHEN: This is what you're protecting.

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: You don't want to droplets to get into this machine and later infect somebody else who touches the machine.

ISAKOV: Typical ambulances in this country are designed in a way that really makes them difficult to be cleaned. They have a lot of exposed equipment, drawers and shelves. And, so, we try to protect all of that equipment, make it easy to decontaminate the ambulance after we transport someone with a serious contagious disease.

COHEN: And, now, behind this wall right here is the driver. Talk about how you protected the driver.

ISAKOV: We follow CDC guidelines to try and protect the driver compartment from the passenger compartment.

So, we have sealed it, so that there's no mixing of air between the driver and passenger compartment. And -- and the drape is there, of course, to just help -- help clean the ambulance...

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: So, you have rigged the air-conditioning system, so the air in here does not get to him?

ISAKOV: That's right. There's no mixing of air between the driver compartment and the passenger compartment.

COHEN: Now, this ambulance itself is not just special. The people who work in this ambulance are also special.

And we're going to have Jeff (ph) come up here. Jeff (ph) is a medic here. And you can see that he's wearing quite a suit. Tell me about the suit.

ISAKOV: Yes. Let me actually -- it's -- it's important to emphasize that the individual that was transported with extensively drug-resistant T.B. did not require this level of protection.

But this is the level of protection our biosafety transport team can go to. He's wearing a PAPR, which is a powered air-purifying respirators, and Tyvek. It prevents him from contracting a contagious disease by breathing in droplets or getting in on his skin and getting it in his mouth or in his eyes.

COHEN: Because, I mean, every centimeter of him is covered.

ISAKOV: Absolutely right.

(CROSSTALK) ISAKOV: And that allows for him, with the proper training, to take off that garb, and not get contaminated.

COHEN: And this tube right here, tell me about this tube and what it does.

ISAKOV: Yes.

Jeff Dipolt (ph) is breathing filtered air through a HEPA filter. And that tube is providing that -- that filtrated air to his face, so that he can breathe.

ISAKOV: Well, Dr. Isakov, thank you.

Paula, this ambulance has been used not just to transfer the man with the extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, but it was used to transport someone who might possibly have had SARS, and another person who they thought might possibly have a hemorrhagic fever. That's -- Ebola is in that family. So, they have had to use this several times -- Paula.

ZAHN: Well, I hope they have changed the blue drop cloth since those trips. It's really frightening...

COHEN: Oh, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: ... to hear the -- what they have to go through to keep, not only the workers there safe, but the patient from getting sicker.

Explain to us what happens now to this man with this very rare form of T.B., once he gets to Denver.

COHEN: Once he gets to Denver -- and we don't know when he's going to Denver -- but, once he gets to Denver, he's scheduled to have a highly, highly specialized surgery they do very few places, where you -- they actually remove the section of the lung that's the most infected.

That will make it much easier for them to treat his T.B., because, right now, they can't do much. He's resistant to so many drugs.

ZAHN: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

We're going to continue to follow this story throughout the hour.

I want to turn now to someone who was watching the response to this very closely. Dr. Irwin Redlener is director of Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness, which is dedicated to studying just how to deal with major disasters.

And I spoke with him just a short while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: And Dr. Irwin Redlener joins us now.

Always good to see you. Welcome.

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY'S NATIONAL CENTER FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Thanks.

ZAHN: How nervous should we be about this case?

Well, this case is actually representative of some scenarios that could be a lot more serious than this one. But, on the other hand, this is a situation where there's actually a person who has an extremely dangerous illness, dangerous to himself and potentially dangerous to other -- to his -- to others.

The thing about it, though, is, as opposed to, say, smallpox, or some other bioterrorism issue, or even epidemic pandemic flu, this is a disease that is transmitted very, very slowly. And, in a certain sense, it gives us a lot of time to test some of the systems that we would have to put in play if we had a much bigger and more dangerous event that we were facing.

ZAHN: One of the first critical steps we're facing right now is the ability of the system to track down people who were on two of these flights this very sick man traveled on.

REDLENER: Exactly.

And, as we watch this sort of unfold in more or less slow-motion here, we're getting a sense of the details of what it takes to actually say we're going to find the context of this individual, bring them in for testing and, if -- if necessary, treatment.

ZAHN: How do they do that?

REDLENER: Well, they have to contact every airline where the man traveled. They have to get the passenger list. They have to track down where these passengers live, not only where they live, but where did they go when they got off the airplane?

Some are tourists. And who knows where they are. And, if this was something that required very immediate attention, let's say a smallpox, for example, just to use that example, we would have hours and a couple of days to find them.

Now we have -- you know, because it's stretched out, this tuberculosis kind of strain would be much more slowly transmitted, so, we have some time. So, this will give us a chance, really, to see how we function with a situation that's potentially very dangerous, but moving slowly.

ZAHN: Help us cut through some of the confusion, Doctor.

On one hand, they tell us the risk of infection of passengers who traveled on the same flight as this man is -- is low. On the other hand, even the head of the CDC admitted that they don't really understand the transmission pattern of...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: ... this very rare form of T.B.

REDLENER: That's exactly right.

And this particular form of T.B., first of all, we should say has an extremely high fatality rate. So, for people that get infected with this strain of T.B., the chances of dying are about 50 percent. If you have something like HIV, or you're immunocompromised, your immune system is not working at full function, that may go up to 90 percent fatality.

So, it's pretty dangerous. But, on the other hand, as you're saying, the transmission rate is very, very slow. And we don't really know a lot about this specific strain. And some of it is waiting and see how it progresses in this particular patient.

And that's why he's really got to be kept under very close scrutiny in an environment where the chance of him transmitting to others is extremely limited.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your dropping by.

REDLENER: Glad to be here.

ZAHN: Always good to see you.

REDLENER: Likewise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And we have some breaking news for you now.

CNN can now confirm that the man who was quarantined at this hour is a lawyer. He lives and works in the Atlanta area. And, while -- why that is important information is that -- and you're going to hear this a little bit later on in the hour -- there are a lot of concerns about privacy here and at what point the American public is entitled to know the name of this man who is infected and possibly contaminated other people.

And you want to stay with us, because, coming up next, we're going to meet a passenger who was actually on that plane for over eight hours. What are the chances he was infected by the man who is hospitalized now in Atlanta?

And that man's travels are also raising national security concerns tonight. How was he able to cross the border from Canada into the United States, despite a government alert?

And what happens if a germ-carrying terrorist tries it next? Also ahead:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRED THOMPSON, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: You wouldn't think you would have to make the lower-tax case again, but you have to make it every day in Washington, D.C.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: You probably know this man. He's on TV's "Law & Order." But will his stand on Iraq get him to the White House? Yes, looks like he's going to be running.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Tonight, we focus on the tuberculosis scare nationwide.

As we have said -- worldwide, in fact -- a T.B. patient remains under federal quarantine in Atlanta tonight, after taking seven airline flights, even after he was warned not to fly.

I think we're all wondering what's going through the minds of the hundreds of people who were on those flights with the T.B. patient.

Joining me now is one of them. Mark Hill happened to be on the Air France Flight 385 from Atlanta to Paris.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

MARK HILL, SHARED FLIGHT WITH TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: You're welcome.

ZAHN: How many hours do you think you were exposed to this man?

HILL: Well, it wasn't just -- I think the flight was eight-and- a-half.

And the flight was actually late leaving Atlanta by three hours, so there was a lot of people in airline -- in the gate area for at least an hour. We were crushed together before we went on the flight. And then, when we got off the flight in Charles de Gaulle, we were herded into a transfer area, where we had to make new connections to our ultimate destination.

And that was -- we were really like sardines. So, my concern, which I expressed to some people, was, not only -- I -- I understand I may not have been very close to the passenger on the flight, but it was the period pre-flight and post-flight...

ZAHN: Sure.

HILL: ... that I think that they may not have taken into consideration.

ZAHN: But I understand they have determined that you could have been as close to 16 rows away from him. What does your doctor say about any of this exposure to this man, whether on the plane or off the plane?

HILL: Well, he didn't really say too much about that.

He just -- he -- he -- they had downloaded a lot of information from CDC, were trying to keep me relatively calm this afternoon. They did the -- the tests, and seemed to suggest that, you know, everything was OK, still have to get the results, still have to do a skin test, but got some X-rays and his general examination.

He didn't think there was going to be a problem.

ZAHN: Well, that must be a tremendous relief to you. But you're really going to not know...

HILL: Absolutely.

ZAHN: ... for sure until you get the skin test back.

In the meantime, what has he told you to look out for?

HILL: Really nothing. He doesn't think that anything would show up anyway for, you know, the next couple of weeks.

ZAHN: Well, we hope you're that lucky.

But, even if that is the case, I'm wondering how bitter you are that this man was warned repeatedly not to fly. He wasn't banned from flying, but he was told that he could make passengers like you at risk of contracting T.B.

HILL: Well, I'm -- I'm bitter only because, as the story has unfolded in the last 24 hours, it's gone from him suggesting that he -- he was told that he should not fly -- and that story seems to not be consistent with what the authorities are saying.

So, if he was told definitely that that could be a problem for other passengers, then, I think it was somewhat irresponsible for him to get on that flight and endanger people like myself.

ZAHN: And how about the fact that he was able to get into this country from the Canadian border without being stopped, after all these warnings were out about his condition?

HILL: Well, I...

(LAUGHTER)

HILL: I find that pretty amazing. You know, they now -- you have to have a passport if you fly. You don't necessarily need a passport to drive.

And I would have thought that, the -- the systems being what they are, and the controls, that they would have been able to flag his passport on any flight going across the Atlantic, or anywhere. I mean, isn't Interpol or -- supposed to do something like that?

ZAHN: Well, they are, indeed.

And that brings us to a great transition, because that's what we're going to talk about next, which is homeland security.

Mark Hill, I hope you find out in a couple of weeks that you really are off the hook. Again, thanks for...

HILL: Thank you.

ZAHN: ... your time tonight.

HILL: Appreciate it.

ZAHN: There is an awful lot we don't know about how this T.B. patient got back into the U.S., even though he shouldn't have been flying, as you have just heard. And that is very disturbing, because you can look at this case as a test of America's defenses against an epidemic, like bird flu, or even against bioterrorism.

So, we asked homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve to bring out in the open why this system failed to stop this T.B. patient.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man with tuberculosis slipped out of Rome on Wednesday, May 23. He tells "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" he intentionally eluded authorities, after being told his name was on the no-fly list and his passport flagged. Health authorities say they immediately tried to find him.

CETRON: We reached out on Thursday afternoon to -- to federal partners to see what options there were to get help in identifying where the individual may be, and what we could do to alert, potentially, folks at -- at international airports, so they would let us know if they had found him.

MESERVE: But it was too late. The individual was already on a Czech Air flight from Prague to Montreal. He then traveled by car from Montreal to the Champlain border crossing in New York.

At that point, Customs and Border Protection had already been asked by the CDC to look out for the individual, isolate him, and contact public health authorities. Although the information had been disseminated to all air, land and sea ports of entry, including the one in Champlain, the man was not stopped.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Why wasn't he stopped, Jeanne?

MESERVE: Well, there are a couple of different possible explanations.

One, the man could have been deceptive. After all, he's admitted that he was trying to slip into the country unnoticed. Two, you don't have to show a passport at the U.S.-Canadian border. It's possible he showed a license, was asked a couple of questions, and flagged -- flagged through the border.

Or, third, they might have swiped his passport. If they did that, this information that he should be isolated was in the system. It would have popped up in the computer during primary checking. But an agent might have missed it. An agent simply might have made a mistake here.

That's why the Department of Homeland Security has its internal affairs and its inspector general looking into this matter...

ZAHN: Well...

MESERVE: ... to try and figure out why it happened.

ZAHN: Yes, it's incredibly embarrassing, isn't it, Jeanne, and -- and frightening. What if this had been smallpox?

MESERVE: Well, you know, there has been a lot of progress. There's been a lot of talk in the federal government, because of the great concern about pandemic flu. There have been memorandums of understanding that have been executed between various agencies, certain authorities that have been granted, so people can stop people who are sick.

The U.S.-Canadian border has, historically, been a very open border. There's something called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Your previous guest mentioned that, when you fly into Canada now, or -- or fly into the U.S., rather, you have to show a passport.

But, at land borders, you don't have to do that yet. As of January 1, you will have to show a passport. And, then, hopefully, something like this would have been caught. But, if it's human error, what could you do?

ZAHN: Not a whole lot, as we discovered in this case.

Jeanne Meserve, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

MESERVE: You bet.

ZAHN: We're going to turn our attention now to some politics.

Sometimes, 10 just isn't enough. Why is Republican presidential candidate number 11 out in the open tonight?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe Senator Thompson is a strong, rock- ribbed conservative who would represent our values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Yes, he's talking about that Thompson, the same Fred Thompson that's on the TV show "Law & Order." What does he stand for? Can he get elected president? That's out in the open next. And what's the hottest party in Tinseltown tonight? Here's a hint. You're looking at the guest of honor. Who will she be entertaining? You will see.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: All right. So, how about this idea in politics tonight: a mainstream conservative who just happens to be a well-known actor running for the White House? Shades of Ronald Reagan, no?

Well, I'm actually talking about actor and former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson. And a lot of Republicans think he could be another Ronald Reagan. And they want him to run for president.

Well, tonight, CNN has learned that Thompson could file the paperwork to enter the race as early as next week.

Now, a lot of you can probably name Thompson's TV shows and movies, like "Law & Order" and "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." Those are the most recent. But you might be a little fuzzy about where he stands on critical issues.

So, let's bring that out in the open tonight.

In 2002, during his last year in the Senate, Thompson voted for the use of force in Iraq, but now he says we went to war with the wrong strategy and too few troops. He's against abortion and gay marriage, but thinks civil unions should be left up to the states.

On immigration, Thompson wants stricter enforcement of existing laws, and opposes blanket amnesty, but he would let some illegal immigrants earn citizenship.

So, will that script get Fred Thompson to the White House?

We're bringing it out in the open tonight with two members of the best political team in TV, senior political correspondent Candy Crowley and chief national correspondent John King.

Welcome, both.

Candy, I'm going to start with you tonight.

Obviously, Fred Thompson wouldn't do this unless he thought there was room for him. How crowded is the picture, though, tonight?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you go by the numbers, it's pretty crowded, 10 Republicans.

But, if you go by the numbers, and you look at the polling, what you will find is a very unsettled field. And take a look at this poll, which came out in early -- earlier this month. And what you see is nearly one in four Republicans are not satisfied with the field, 26 percent of Republicans not satisfied, 50 percent somewhat satisfied, only 20 percent satisfied with the people in the field.

So, there is a huge vacancy here that Fred Thompson could take.

ZAHN: And there's another poll, I think, that shows just how much maneuvering room he has, John King. And this is our own latest CNN poll, showing Thompson in third place.

Which candidates need to worry the most about him once he jumps in?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they all need to worry, for different reasons, Paula.

I have talked to several people in the McCain campaign today, who say, in the short term, their already struggling finance operation, the fund-raising effort, will likely be hurt -- hurt by Fred Thompson.

Governor Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is trying to reach out to social conservatives. Many question his flip- flop, they would call it, on abortion. They're looking for a candidate. They say they will wait a little longer now and look at Senator Thompson.

If you are Rudy Giuliani, you were the star in this race, the former mayor of New York City, the glamour of his leadership post- 9/11. Now there's a big Hollywood figure coming in, who could take some of the star quality away from Rudy Giuliani.

So, as Candy noted, Republicans are still looking. They're not locked in yet. Fred Thompson will freeze the race. It's still very, very early, 10 in the field, but look for 11. I was told a short time ago, likely to announce within days of July 4.

ZAHN: Well, I guess that -- that would make sense around that most patriotic of -- of all holidays.

Candy, a lot of people know about Fred Thompson's work as an actor, but may -- they might be a little less familiar with his record in Congress. Is that going to hurt him?

CROWLEY: Look, a record in Congress always hurts candidates because you can go through anybody's record. He's got an eight-year record in the U.S. Senate. And you can pull out votes that hurt. It's why so many senators fail when they try to grab that brass ring for the White House. So obviously once you -- you know, candidates always look great when they're not running. Voters love candidates who aren't running. Once they're in the arena, that's when they start to pick apart the record and really see who voted for what when. So obviously any kind of paper trial is going to be rife with a number things for people to pick on. So it only gets harder from here when Fred Thompson jumps in.

ZAHN: And if and when he does, John King, let's talk about what he has to do over the next several weeks as he continues to test the waters.

KING: He has to raise a lot of money first. They put a finance operation together today at a meeting in Washington. They believe he will be quite successful there. He needs to prove that he can organize in key states and that could be a problem, Paula, even though Senator Thompson is well-known. Many of the activists that do the grass-roots work in a place like New Hampshire, in a place like Iowa, have already signed up with other campaigns. He's from Tennessee.

Remember, Tennesseans tend to have others who run for president, those who were going to support the former majority leader Bill Frist who decided not to run, many of gravitating toward Senator Thompson. Lamar Alexander, now in the Senate, a former governor of Tennessee, ran for president a few years back and some of his supporters here in New Hampshire say they have been getting calls in the past few days from Thompson supporters. Many of the big names have already signed up. So he's going to have to do it in the non-traditional way, if you will, in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Many of the retail politics activists are signed up. He's going to have to come in as the Hollywood guy and hope his star appeal makes in for coming in late. It's hard to say he's late, this campaign is still so early, but there are already 10 in the race.

ZAHN: All right. John, Candy, thanks so much as you can see those two fully immersed in the politics of New Hampshire, as well. They are, of course, there getting ready for the CNN/WMUR/"New Hampshire Union-Leader" presidential debates. Lots of sponsors for that debate. Tune in Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern for the Democratic candidates and then on Tuesday for the Republicans.

Now, when it comes to politics, Hollywood just loves getting into the act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The large majority in the entertainment industry is Democratic and are going to support the Democratic candidates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: All right. So who is Tinsel Town's favorite this time around?

And should Hollywood stars and their money really have so much political clout? Or is that an illusion. That's all "Out in the Open" next.

And then a little bit later on, a diagnosis that many doctors miss. This is an astounding story. It caused one woman to make what she calls the biggest mistake of her life. Could it happen to you? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: By the end of tonight, Democrat Hillary Clinton will have another million dollars in her campaign war chest. She happens to be in California tonight for two major Hollywood fundraisers. The first one is getting started right now in Santa Monica, hosted by, among others Steven Spielberg. And later at the home of Brett Ratner, young Hollywood is the theme and the hosts include Eva Longoria of "Desperate Housewives."

Penelope Cruz, Christina Aguilera and Jeremy Piven of HBO's "Entourage." That kind of star power and money is "Out in the Open" like never before in 2008. Presidential race as we hear now from entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Such a beautiful moment.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This scene from the HBO show "Entourage" features a Hollywood pool party complete with blaring music and bikini-clad women.

This fictional fiesta was filmed at the mansion of director Brett Ratner, which happens to be the site of tonight's real-life party for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NY: Thanks, everybody.

ANDERSON: The fundraiser dubbed by the Clinton campaign as a young Hollywood reception promises plenty of glitz and glamour. Actresses Eva Longoria and Penelope Cruz, singer Christina Aguilera, Will I. Am of the Black Eyed Peas and fittingly, Jeremy Piven of "Entourage" are among the scheduled co-hosts.

NOAH MAMET, DEM. POLITICAL CONSULTANT: The vast majority of people in the entertainment industry are Democrats, so they tend to support Democratic candidates.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) IL: Thank you, Los Angeles. I love you.

ANDERSON: Clinton's efforts to reach a new pool of young, hip donors comes a month after a fundraiser for her Democratic rival Barack Obama at a Hollywood nightclub drew the likes of Jessica Beale and Taye Diggs.

RAPHAEL SONENSHEIN, CAL. STATE FULLERTON: I think Hollywood is more influential this year than it has ever been.

ANDERSON: Clinton hopes to raise more than $1 million between the Ratner bash and another fundraiser this evening co-hosted by Steven Spielberg and Haim Saban, the 98th richest American thanks to his TV shows, including "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers."

These Tinsel Town movers and shakers are critical to a campaign because they donate and lock in other donors. A phenomenon known as bundling.

MAMET: They're sort of magnets. These people are out there on the phone or sending e-mails or faxes, trying to get their friends, their family, co-workers, anybody they know to write checks for the candidate that they support. ANDERSON: The contributions can really add up. In the 2004 election, Hollywood donated more than $33 million to candidates. More than two thirds of that sum to Democrats. Chevy Chase, Candace Bergen and Michael Douglas are among those who have given the maximum amount of $4,600 to Clinton's campaign, while Obama has Tom Hanks, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines and Jennifer Aniston in his corner.

SONENSHEIN: Hollywood and the whole west Los Angeles complex that is not just Hollywood is probably the number one source of funding for Democrats.

ANDERSON: Some high-profile donors including Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg are hedging their bets by contributing to both Clinton and Obama. Prior to tonight's event for Clinton, Spielberg co-hosted a fundraiser for Obama that netted the Democratic candidate a cool $1.3 million. And the Democrats aren't alone.

SONENSHEIN: Even Republicans are coming out here, trying to get some of this money as well.

ANDERSON: Among them, Rudy Giuliani, who boasts big money Hollywood backers like Kelsey Grammer, Adam Sandler and John O'Hurley (ph). So what are these show biz heavyweights banking on?

SONENSHEIN: I think they want to be taken more seriously and I think they feel that some of their issues that bigger out here such as environmentalism, global warming, issues like that, don't get enough attention in Washington.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, (R) CA: The main players in deciding who the candidates will be.

ANDERSON: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill moving up his state's primary from June to February 5th, which may only increase the entertainment industry's value to campaigns.

SONENSHEIN: That has turned Hollywood from wannabes who want to get closer to Washington to possible king or queen makers in these races.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Oh, yeah. There's a whole lot of money up for grabs in Hollywood and we're going to debate its influence on politics in a moment with our panel.

And then on to a medical subject. All of us who have been pregnant have unfortunately probably suffered from morning sickness. You're not going to believe how bad it was for this woman. We're going to meet a little bit later on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the plush carpet patterns, I began to see faces. I began to hallucinate and see faces coming out of the walls, stucco walls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: What did she have? Have you ever heard of extreme morning sickness? It caused one woman to make what she calls the biggest mistake of her life. She'll explain when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: We're bringing Hollywood and politics "Out in the Open" tonight. Senator Hillary Clinton raising a million dollars tonight with two separate fundraisers in L.A. And raising money there is critical for any presidential candidate, but is Hollywood's influence on the election a positive, a negative thing or just a neutral thing?

Let's go to tonight's "Out in the Open" panel. Niger Innis is a political consultant as well as national spokesman for CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality. Roland Martin, CNN contributor. And Laura Flanders host of "Radio Nation" on the "Air America" network and is the author of "Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians."

So are you going to tell me tonight that Hollywood money is any more tainted than any other kind of dollars the candidates receive?

LAURA FLANDERS, AIR AMERICA: I'm absolutely not. Let's get very clear, 99.75 percent of all Americans never give more than $200. All of these candidates are getting 79 percent of their money so far from people giving $1,000 or more. So we have a popularity contest being decided by one quarter of one percent. It's not Hollywood that's the problem. It's the donor elite that's the problem. And that's what we should be talking about.

ZAHN: Hasn't that always been the case, Niger?

NIGER INNIS, CORE: It has. And I think the influence of Hollywood is more than dollars. What's more important, to get Babs' $1,000 check or to get her solid endorsement?

ZAHN: That's going to make me vote for a candidate because Babs is supporting you?

INNIS: It may not you because you are far too intelligent to be influenced that way. But there are others out there that are influenced by Alec Baldwin, by Barbra Streisand, by Rosie O'Donnell, and not only just in terms of politics in an election season, but policy. Important issues. Pandemics like malaria, tuberculosis. It's a constant that the U.N. and these global institutions will go into the Hollywood community because they believe that the power of celebrity sells that.

So I think it's more than a question of money. It's a question of Hollywood influence that we've got to discuss as well.

ZAHN: Well, Roland, when was the last time you heard of someone voting for a candidate because they heard Barbra Streisand or Alec Baldwin - you don't mention any conservatives, ever. You just nail the liberals. There are some Republicans in ...

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And, Paula, that's what this boils down to. Every election cycle, you have conservatives who target Hollywood and say Hollywood money, Hollywood money. Remember, you have lawyers who are giving money. Wall Street. You have doctors. You have dentists. You have unions. There are people all across this country who give to candidates. So we need to stop acting like Hollywood somehow is giving all of this money.

In fact, in that report, we had a gentleman that said that Hollywood probably gives more money than any other constituency. No, unions give more money to the Democratic Party in terms of money, personnel, and those kinds of resources. So, look, everybody gives money. Come on. Everybody gives.

FLANDERS: Let's talk about health insurance companies. Let's talk about drug companies. Everybody gives money. I think the reason that, you know, Niger doesn't like Hollywood is that it's the last part of America that people outside of the country actually like. You can't have the president's popularity and the Congress' popularity is in the dump. This is the only export ...

INNIS: Rosie O'Donnell is one of the most popular people in the country. I don't think so.

ZAHN: She's going to come back with a syndicated show that's going to blow those ratings away.

INNIS: You know, Paula, I am not a proponent of suppressing speech, so God bless Hollywood and all of the lefties in Hollywood doing their thing and supporting their left-wing candidates.

MARTIN: Whoa. What about all the right-wingers giving money?

INNIS: Hold on a second. But the problem is, the solution to bad speech or speech you disagree with is more speech and the problem is the disproportionality of the influence versus you and me. What has McCain Feingold done?

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Cut, cut, cut. We could go on and on. We are going to have to come back and finish this conversation. We were just getting started, but I have got to move on. Niger Innis, Roland Martin, Laura Flanders, thank you so much.

INNIS: Thank you.

ZAHN: LARRY KING LIVE coming up in just a few minutes. Hi, Larry. Haven't seen you for a while. Who's joining you tonight?

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Hi, Paula, you look -- That's a good color for you.

ZAHN: Well, thank you.

KING: I like that.

ZAHN: Brought out that Halloween orange sweater, you know, on a 90-degree day. Wasn't thinking.

KING: Coming up, Paula, they say breaking up is hard to do, but what is it like when you're a celebrity and see your ex with somebody else everywhere you turn? We'll ask Donald Trump's ex-wife Marla Mapes, Sylvester Stallone's ex fiancee Angie Everhart and Kevin Federline's pre-Britney baby-mama Shar Jackson. It's all at the top of the hour on LARRY KING LIVE, Paula. What do you think?

ZAHN: I think it could be pretty interesting. I wonder how many secrets you're going to hear tonight, Larry. Do share them with the open mike, OK?

KING: I will learn everything.

ZAHN: All right. Details Coming at you 12 minutes from now.

KING: Deep secrets. Deep, deep.

ZAHN: All right. Thanks, Larry.

KING: You got it, Paula.

ZAHN: We've got to move on to a quick "Biz Break" right now. The Dow closed up 111 points, the NASDAQ gained 20 and the S&P 500 up 12, passing a record high set seven years ago.

The pet food recall is spreading again. This time the FDA says products used to make animal feed are being called back because they contain the same chemicals that forced the recall of 60 million portions of dog and cat food.

Former deputy secretary of state and trade representative Robert Zoellick is President Bush's pick to take over at World Bank president. Get this. He used to by my mail man on Naperville, Illinois. Did you guys know that? That is true.

FLANDERS: Was he good at delivering the mail?

ZAHN: Always on time. I don't think he ever took anything out of the mailbox either. He'll replace Paul Wolfowitz who is stepping down. He was very nice to us because he went to school with my brother.

INNIS: ... the man who will run the World Bank ...

ZAHN: Exactly. No doubt about that. Moving on to a really, really important medical story. Morning sickness is probably the worst thing any of us have to go through when we are pregnant, but for this woman, it was pure torture. It got so bad, she made a drastic decision that she still regrets to this day.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: "Out in the Open" now, an astonishing story about a pregnancy gone horribly wrong. Morning sickness, of course, is something a lot of us have dealt with. You don't want to hear my boring stories about dealing with it eight months each time I had a baby but doctors say there is an especially severe form of morning sickness called H.G. It often goes under-diagnosed. It led one woman to an extreme step that turned out to be tragic. Susan Candiotti has her story in tonight's "Vital Signs."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ASHLEY MCCALL, MOTHER: All right. Let's go fill her up. You want to water the strawberries?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ashley McCall is a proud mother of two. Alise (ph) just turned three. Emil (ph) is eight. If things had gone as planned, they would have had a big brother.

(on camera): What was your baby's name to be?

A. MCCALL: Tennessee Elijah McCall.

CANDIOTTI: But Tennessee would never be born because McCall had an abortion. And the would-be mother says it was the worst mistake of her life.

(on camera): Describe for me what your life was like during that first pregnancy.

A. MCCALL: It was -- it was torture. It was isolating. It was alienating. Torture. I began getting morning sickness on Thanksgiving Day. I was six weeks along.

CANDIOTTI: And what was the morning sickness like?

A. MCCALL: It was like the flu, but it never abated.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): This was way beyond what a few saltine crackers could cure.

A. MCCALL: I couldn't eat anything. I was vomiting six times a day.

CANDIOTTI: Six times a day?

A. MCCALL: Six times a day.

CANDIOTTI: McCall's husband was stunned.

DARYL "BUBBA" MCCALL, HUSBAND: It started to get really scary real quick.

A. MCCALL: I lost about 14 percent of my total body weight. I was 109 pounds at the end of the pregnancy. I'm 150 pounds now. So imagine me dropping that much weight. About 40 pounds.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): How bad did it get?

A. MCCALL: I began to hallucinate and see faces coming out of the walls. Stucco walls. In the plush carpet patterns, I'd see faces.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Even light and some smells would send her spinning.

(on camera): What did your doctor say was wrong with you?

A. MCCALL: My doctor said that I was pregnant, not sick.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): After 15 weeks into her pregnancy ...

A. MCCALL: We decided to terminate the pregnancy.

CANDIOTTI: But her greatest shock was yet to come. She discovered she was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a debilitating form of morning sickness experienced by only about five of every 1,000 births. Doctors say the exact cause of H.G. is unknown. And what's more, it's treatable. Doctors say H.G. is a severe disorder that's under-diagnosed.

A. MCCALL: I was horrified by what I found, that I had options that were not afforded to me and that I did not know about and that I could not ask for because I didn't know about them. And I was furious.

CANDIOTTI: After discovering she had H.G., McCall found doctors who would treat her. Pregnancy would still be difficult and painful. Yet McCall said she had to prove to herself she could carry to term.

A. MCCALL: I knew that if I did it again, I could never be sorry for the first one. All of these years I've been grieving in my heart and have been saying how sorry I was. I knew if I did it again, all that sorrow would mean nothing. It wouldn't have been real.

CANDIOTTI: So suffered a miscarriage her second pregnancy, but later Elise and Emil were born. She's written a book about H.G. that tries to answer questions she had.

A. MCCALL: Every sweet thing my children do now, it's tinged with a little bit of sadness because I know there was another one. I just have to live with it. And I will. I am. And I'm trying to help other people so they don't have to.

CANDIOTTI: Help them, she says, to avoid her mistake. Susan Candiotti, CNN, Quincy, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Ahead on LARRY KING LIVE, fresh from the "Ex-Wives Club" reality show, celebrity ex wives sit down with Larry and share their secrets. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: That's it for us. Thanks for joining us. Good night.

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