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PAULA ZAHN NOW

President Bush Lobbies For Immigration Reform on Capitol Hill; Kids Hooked on 'Cheese' Heroin?; Did Democrats Break Earmark Reform Promise?

Aired June 12, 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: Good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us tonight.
Something every parent needs to know about, it is called cheese heroin, and we are bringing it out in the open tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DETECTIVE MONTY MONCIBAIS, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: They call it cheese because it has a cutesy name.

FERNANDO CORTEZ, FATHER OF HEROIN VICTIM: No matter how you look at it, it's heroin. And it will kill you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: It also happens to be cheap. It's deadly. And it's coming to a school near you.

We have been featuring this story all day long on CNN.com. So far, more than a million people have checked it out. Coming up in this hour, you will get the full results of this important CNN investigation.

But there is also important news developing in Washington tonight. And it affects every town and city from coast to coast. Immigration reform may come back to life. President Bush himself made the case for it on Capitol Hill today, telling lawmakers, now is the time, but was anyone really listening?

Let's start with White House correspondent Ed Henry, who has the very latest for us.

So, how did both sides react to the president today?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, it is really interesting.

It was an extraordinary development, because it shows just how desperate the White House is to try to get a key legacy item for the president. Sending him up to Capitol Hill, something he rarely does, to go behind closed doors, not with the entire Senate, but with his own party, shows just how anxious the president is, how difficult it is for him to sell his own party on it. What he's going have to do is convince 15 senators to change their votes in order to move the immigration bill forward. And that may be insurmountable for a president whose political clout is shrinking fast, with the 2008 campaign about to overshadow his agenda. Nevertheless, he's making a last-ditch effort here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of effort. We have got to convince the American people that this bill is the best way to enforce our border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: But even Republicans are saying, after this meeting, they're not really sure the president changed any minds -- Paula.

ZAHN: And let's talk about the Democrats.

HENRY: Well, it's...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: What do they have to say?

HENRY: It is interesting, because what Republicans are trying to do is blame it on Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, because, you remember, he sort of forced an end to this debate last week. Republicans wanted to go further.

But, as Reid pointed out today, it was very few Republicans who supported the president last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I repeat, 80 percent of the Democrats support this immigration bill. We have done our job. It is a question of Republicans supporting their own president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: And you can see the anger on the Republican side, even with the president coming up.

Today, a very conservative Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, made clear that, despite all this lobbying from the White House, it is not getting through to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I think the president is wrong to push this piece of legislation so hard, after we have demonstrated the flaws that are in it. He needs to back off. He needs to help us write a better bill, and not push a bill that so many of us can't support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Now, if the president does end up backing off down the road, and has to move on to other legacy items, like health reform, energy reform, it will be interesting, as he might actually do better with Democrats than Republicans -- Republicans really splitting themselves from this White House. Democrats, though, have an incentive to try to get some things accomplished, now that they're running Capitol Hill -- Paula.

ZAHN: Interesting to see, Ed, how long the president is willing to fight this fight.

HENRY: That's right.

ZAHN: We will be watching right along with you.

Ed Henry, part of the best political team in TV, thanks again.

Now, to be perfectly clear, let's go over some of the major points of the immigration reform bill. It beefs up border security, lets guest workers, like immigrants who pick crops, come into the country temporarily, and it gives the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants already here a path to citizenship. Many conservatives call that amnesty.

The blogosphere and talk radio crowd were on fire about this today. Is it too late to change any minds?

Let's ask conservative talk radio host Lars Larson and William Gheen, president of Americans For Legal Immigration.

Glad to have both of you with us.

So, Lars, I am going to start with you tonight.

LARS LARSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Sure.

ZAHN: What is the most specific beef you can give us tonight with this reform package?

LARSON: Well, I think that Newt Gingrich said it best when he said, there is no way to start a citizenship by committing crimes.

We have 12 million people in our country who are here illegally. They identify themselves illegally. They work illegally. And they commit crimes disproportionately to the general population. This bill would immediately make them probationary status in the United States, which gives them a Social Security number, the right to work, and the right to stay.

And you know that, once they're here, and they're given the right to work, the right to stay, and a Social, there is not going to be any sending them home, even if the border fence is never built, even if the employer verification never happens.

ZAHN: William, do you take issue with that? WILLIAM GHEEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION: Well, there are hundreds of things wrong with this bill. And that's why the Senate wanted to ramrod it through in less than three days.

When the bill got delayed, and took another week, it gave Americans time, and people, through talk radio and the blogosphere, to alert the public to what is wrong with this bill.

But, most fundamentally, we're having the wrong discussion. The discussion is, why isn't President Bush enforcing our existing immigration laws, and what other federal laws would he like to not enforce unilaterally? The president's job is to enforce our existing laws. And, until he starts doing that, our nation has no immigration enforcement credibility.

ZAHN: Well, as you both know, the president is accusing critics like you as nitpicking this reform package. Let's remind our audience of what he has had to say as he tried to defend his agenda.

Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it. You can use it to frighten people.

Or you can show leadership, and solve this problem once and for all. Now's the time for comprehensive immigration reform. Now's the time for members of both political parties to stand up and show courage and take a leadership role and do what's right for America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: So, Lars, as part of the opposition, is the president calling you unpatriotic?

LARSON: Sure he is. But the fact is, he's wrong.

His administration has a way to get all of these 12 million to go home. And I will tell you what it is. Congressman Steve King years ago said, you tell every American company, if their workers' names don't match their Social Security numbers, they can't deduct their wages at tax time. That would get every American company to fire every illegal on their staff.

I will tell you that, ironically, today, in the city that I broadcast from, Portland, Oregon, they raided the Del Monte plant here. There are 600 workers there, and only 48 of them had legitimate Social Security numbers. That means the other 550 were using the Social Security numbers of disabled Americans, dead Americans, and elderly Americans.

And that's just dead wrong. America knows it. And, if the president was smart, he would know it, too. ZAHN: But, William, there are a lot of folks out there that think it is absolutely unrealistic that you can drive some 12 million or so people out of this country simply by putting pressure on corporations and employers.

GHEEN: No, actually...

ZAHN: They say it is just not going to happen.

GHEEN: Well, actually, what we have seen in the past history of the United States is, when we enforced our existing laws, millions of illegals left on their own accord.

And we have seen in the states that are cracking down, and the cities that are cracking down, the illegals start to leave when you announce that you're going to enforce the law. If President Bush would actually do his job, honor his oath of office and the United States Constitution, we would have less illegal aliens in America, instead of more, which have come in droves, unprecedented droves, under his administration, due to his failure to enforce the existing laws of the United States.

And, moving backwards, that means that every American has been deprived of a voice. He has nullified our elections, and he has nullified the congressional proceedings that led to create these laws.

ZAHN: Gentlemen, got leave it there tonight.

William Gheen, Lars Larson, glad to have both of you with us.

GHEEN: Thank you.

ZAHN: So, what is the bottom line here politically?

We made John King our chief national correspondent so he could tackle among other things, tough questions like that.

John, welcome back.

Let's talk about the politics of this for a moment. We have some graphics basically showing how the American public feels about this issue; 27 percent favor the immigration bill in Congress. Some 34 percent are opposed to it. And 42 percent are undecided. That is a sizable part of the electorate that hasn't made up its mind.

Is that what the president is banking on?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, the president is in a very uphill battle right now; 42 percent might not understand this, because it is such a complicated issue. And people don't pay attention to every little minutia, detail of what is going on in the Congress.

The president -- public opinion polling shows most Americans support fair treatment of those already in the country, and they would support some legal status, if they believed the border was being secured.

But the president can't make that argument anymore. He's weak politically. His argument now is with a small group of Republicans in Congress, who have decided their own survival comes ahead of anything the president might ask them to do.

So, the president is in a very tough bind. The big numbers favor the president's position, actually. But, in the small battle he has within his own party now, he simply does not have the stature and the power anymore to sway people.

ZAHN: Do you see any signs at all that -- you say he doesn't have the power to sway them -- that any of them will turn? Or is he -- is the president just wasting his time?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Well, you can't say the president is wasting his time. He's still the president of the United States for 18 months. And he has considerable authority and power.

But, look, his party understands, the war is a drag on them politically. The energy on the conservative base of the Republican Party is against this immigration proposal. And, so, if the president is looking for accomplishments, he's going to have to increasingly look across the aisle to the Democrats. And, even there, the price is getting higher.

They won't go back to immigration, the Democrats won't, unless the president can deliver a lot of Republican votes. He doesn't have them today. He's unlikely to get them in the future. They're going to send him an energy bill, if they can, that will have some things in it the president doesn't like.

If he wants to reauthorize his No Child Left Behind education bill, he's going to have to accept some things he doesn't like. And he's not going to get to the big things he promised the American people he would get to, like Social Security and Medicare reform, because the Democrats are not going to do that before the presidential campaign here. They're simply not.

ZAHN: John King, it seems that, every day, that we hear Republicans' criticism becoming stronger and stronger. We just heard a powerful senator saying, what the heck is the president coming up here and supporting a half-baked bill? We told him we had to start from scratch, and he still stands up there.

How much is this going to hurt Republicans at general election time?

KING: Well, most Republicans have calculated that, if they sign -- if the president signed the bill as it now stands into law, it would demoralize enough of the conservative base to throw some races the Democratic way. Either conservatives would stay home, they would be mad, they would be furious heading into the 2008 presidential cycle. Can you make that conclusion today? It is very hard so early on. But that's what the conservatives have decided, Paula. And the president can no longer look them in the eye and say, I need you to give me this.

They do not -- they are not swayed by the president anymore.

ZAHN: Need a real brief answer. How long will the president fight this, John?

KING: Well, he will fight it. He has believed in this from day one. And he's likely -- all indications are, he will fight it until the very end.

ZAHN: John King, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

KING: Thank you.

ZAHN: When you all paid your taxes this year, did you think that money was going for this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Chances are, you weren't a guest at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, last summer. But taxpayers spent $96,000 to help renovate it. Skiing more your style? You paid $250,000 last year to renovate a ski lift.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Well, those are some of the less outrageous things Congress is spending your money on. We're going bring even more of that flagrant spending out in the open next.

Also, a warning every parent needs to see -- do you know what this stuff is? Well, it has a cutesy little name, cheese heroin, and it can kill your kids.

Plus, the authors of the hottest and most controversial book yet out about Hillary Clinton, wait until you hear what they have to say about her listening to secretly recorded phone conversations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And we're back now to bring a mostly secret spending practice known as earmarking out in the open.

What exactly are earmarks? Well, they are little line-items that your electric representatives slip into spending bills during closed- door congressional meetings, earmarking money for pet projects that can help them win favor back home. But here is the rub. It happens to be your money.

Here is an example. In 2006, Congress earmarked $223 million to build a bridge from the Alaskan mainland to an island that has about 50 inhabitants and one airport, a bridge to nowhere, some say.

So far, lawmakers in the House have already submitted -- get this -- 32,000 earmark requests since January. That works out to about 73 per lawmaker. And, today, a much anticipated debate on next year's spending bills put Democrats on the defense about their plans for future earmarks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And the ones that we have today will be well known to the American people, and no one will be taken by surprise with them.

REP. DAVID OBEY (D-WI), HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: And, if you see any item that you think we ought to be squawking about, you let us know, and we will be squawking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Well, the Republicans say this isn't real reform, and they called the Democrats on that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Now, the American people are tired of earmarks that go for illicit purposes. They're tired of the spending levels in these bills. And Republicans today are going to declare war on our Democrat majority over these secret slush funds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: So, as we wait to find out how Congress is planning to spend more of our money with earmarks, we asked Drew Griffin to track down some of the most outrageous ones. You're not going to believe what he found.

Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN (voice-over): We're on a treasure hunt, looking for your money.

Let's start with $2 million, your tax dollars right here. Listen.

(on camera): I think I hear a plane.

(voice-over): This is the tiny airport in tiny and remote Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Pull up a chair, grab a magazine, a newspaper, because it's going to take a while to show you how your federal tax dollars were spent here.

JERRY STITES, AIRPORT MANAGER: It's a pretty slow day today. So, if we had known you were coming, I'm sure we would have been busier.

GRIFFIN: we will get back to how Congress spent your money in Rice Lake in a moment.

Meantime, here are more ways Congress has secretly spent your money.

Chances are, you weren't a guest at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida last summer. But taxpayers spent $96,000 to help renovate it.

Skiing more your style? You paid $250,000 last year to renovate a ski lift. In our treasure hunt, it was tricky to find that one. The money came out of last year's massive transportation bill -- no mention of skiing.

Instead:

TIM PHILLIPS, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: For the construction of the Alyeska Roundhouse in Girdwood, Alaska, $250,000.

GRIFFIN: In Congress, such treasure is called an earmark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, no -- no name. And, oftentimes, these earmarks are certainly a bit vague.

GRIFFIN: Annie Patnaude watched Congress for a conservative economic watchdog group. She found two earmarks for the Alyeska Roundhouse -- a total of $500,000 for the top of a ski lift.

That was last year. This year, the new open, Democratic Party- controlled Congress promised the earmark process would no longer be secret. All earmark requests would be made public, with plenty of time for debate.

And, in today's news conference, Appropriations Chairman David Obey said, there will be a 30-day period this summer when earmarks can be viewed by the public, squawked about, as he said, before they get a final House floor vote...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an omnibus appropriations bill.

GRIFFIN: ... which may be enough time to find another earmark like Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

(on camera): So, this is the Rice Lake Airport I asked you about?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure. Look for it on there.

GRIFFIN: And this is on page 1,384. And it's somewhere in this fine print, I'm taking it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look -- look for it.

GRIFFIN: The -- right down here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

(voice-over): Two million dollars in federal funds approved without debate to pay for a runway extension where we counted just seven small aircraft in four hours.

Why did they need to extend the runway? The manager, Jerry Stites, told us it was too short for corporate jets and executives, who wanted to get in and out of Rice Lake quicker.

STITES: Before we did the expansion on the runway, they couldn't land here. They had to drive an hour-and-a-half to get to their plan.

GRIFFIN: And which U.S. congressman decided extending the runway for a few corporate jets was worth your money? Wisconsin Democrat David Obey.

"My only apology," he wrote, "is that I can't do more for Wisconsin."

Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: All right, time to turn this over to our "Out in the Open" panel, contributor Roland Martin.

Welcome back

Lauren Lake, criminal defense attorney, you have been with us before.

Brand-new to us, though, Evan Coyne Maloney, a columnist for Brain-Terminal.com, a conservative blog.

Glad to have you with us tonight.

EVAN COYNE MALONEY, COLUMNIST, BRAIN-TERMINAL.COM: Thank you.

ZAHN: Let me read to you something that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to say about earmarks when she got her new job -- quote -- "We will work to restore an accountable, above-board, transparent process for funding decisions and put an end to the abuses that have harmed the credibility of Congress."

That was seven months ago. Now we hear that there are some secret 32,000 earmarks.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Dozens per lawmakers, 73, in fact, on both sides of the aisle, talking about funding these kind of projects we have just heard about.

Have the Democrats broken their word? Have they broken their promise? ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, they all lie. Understand something here.

ZAHN: They all lie?

MARTIN: They all are, because there is not a member of Congress who wants to get rid of earmarks. This is what they use to campaign on.

Now, the real people who should be held accountable are the American public, because they're the ones who demand these earmarks. They're the ones who reward them by sending them back to Congress by bringing the money back to their districts. That's who really is at fault here.

ZAHN: Well, but the American taxpayer doesn't even know what is being funded here.

MARTIN: Oh, yes, they do.

ZAHN: How can you blame the American taxpayer?

MARTIN: Oh, yes, they do, because every...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Look what it took our reporter to find out that...

LAUREN LAKE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Exactly.

ZAHN: ... those were ski lifts that were paid for in Alaska.

MARTIN: No, no, I understand that.

But, every time one of these initiatives gets funded, a press release comes back. They have a nice little congressional letter. They say, hey, we brought this and this and this and this and this.

ZAHN: That's after the fact.

MARTIN: Of course.

LAKE: Well, Roland, I think you're -- I think you're right that the American public is not paying the attention that it should.

However, we do have to remember that our citizens of this country are focused on working, taking care of their children, getting kids through college. They're not paying attention to every earmark.

And I think there's some underground, under-handed dealings going on that are being kept secret. And it is absolutely ludicrous that we're spending money. I mean, you know, we got ski lifts. I have never seen it. I paid for it.

(LAUGHTER)

LAKE: I have never been.

ZAHN: But we have to be fair here. It is Republicans and Democrats who are both abusing this process.

MALONEY: Absolutely. It tends...

ZAHN: So, who do you assign more blame to?

MALONEY: Well, when it comes to earmarks, there are two parties in Washington, the party in power and the party out of power.

The Republicans are complaining a lot about it now, because they can fight it, and they can make a stink, because they know it is popular to get rid of earmarks. But they had from '94...

ZAHN: But they're still sponsoring them.

MALONEY: Yes.

They had from 1994 to 2006. If they wanted to deal with earmarks, they could have done it then.

MARTIN: Right.

MALONEY: And they didn't do it.

LAKE: Mm-hmm.

MALONEY: And, really, it is a problem with the structure of government. There is no incentive not to have earmarks, if the American people can't find out about who asked for them and...

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: OK. Try this.

If you said to the American public, OK, we're going to uncover all of these earmarks, why don't you tell your member of Congress to give the money back? I guarantee you the American public in these individual towns are not going to give the money back. They're going to say, hey, somebody else is getting it, so we might as well get it.

See, that's the whole problem here.

ZAHN: Yes, but they might not to choose to spend it on lengthening the runway of an airport where very little private aviation comes in. You heard the manager of that airport.

MARTIN: Paula, if their local officials say this is going to impact economic development, trust me, they will. See, these are some examples.

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE: But it's like a trickle-down effect of manipulation, Roland. MARTIN: Of course. Of course.

LAKE: So, you can't blame the American people solely. I mean, yes...

MARTIN: I'm not -- I'm not saying you blame them solely. But the whole point is, that's where the money is going. And, so, when the American public says, hey, we're going to give the money back -- but what they are going to say is, well, hey, Alabama is getting it. Georgia is getting it. So, if I'm Tennessee, I'm not giving our money back.

LAKE: But this is why American people...

(LAUGHTER)

LAKE: ... vote more with "American Idol" than they do for a political office, because we...

MARTIN: Bring the pork home, you're going to back to Washington.

LAKE: ... we trust the voters of "American Idol" better than we do our politicians.

ZAHN: And it is much easier to understand, isn't it?

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: You go with what you really like.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: You bring the pork home, you're going to back to D.C. It's as simple as that.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Roland Martin, Lauren Lake, Evan Coyne Maloney, thank you so much.

Our next story has gotten more than a million hits on CNN.com. That is a lot. No wonder. There is a new street drug that is real cheap, very addicting, and deadly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is easy to mix. It is easy to hide. You know, if kids can take it into the school and give it away, what does that tell you, you know?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: And there's a lot of fear it could be coming to your child's school next. In a minute, we're bringing cheese heroin out in the open. You have got to see this report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back.

We have a frightening story to tell you about. You might have seen it on CNN.com. It has gotten more than a million hits today. Just when you thought, as a parent, you have heard it all about the dangers facing kids, we're bringing out in the open a new trend that is killing them: drug dealers marketing a mix of heroin and cold medicine under the wholesome cutesy nickname cheese.

It is cheap. It is highly addictive, and already has killed at least 21 teens in Dallas. All of you parents should be warned, it could be coming to your town next, according to authorities.

Ed Lavandera has our CNN investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALMA, USED CHEESE HEROIN: Because I felt like it was too much, and I would be embarrassed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It only took a few hits, and Alma and Fernando were hooked.

FERNANDO, USED CHEESE HEROIN: Cheese, I had to have it every day. It wasn't a choice.

LAVANDERA: Cheese, the drug took these teens so low, they would steal and cheat to pay for the next high. Now they're in court- ordered treatment in this Dallas facility, working to get clean. It was the cheapest high they had ever found, but it came with a heavy price.

ALMA: Like, I couldn't work. I couldn't stand up or anything. You can't even go sleep at night. You are just tossing and turning, and -- because you just need at least a line, just, you know, so you can feel a little bit better.

LAVANDERA: This is cheese. It sounds harmless and tasty. It is a drug that is sold as the new cool thing, but it is not.

Dallas Police Detective Monty Moncibais says, it is just a cute name for an old, nasty drug, heroin with a new twist.

(on camera): They're just making this stuff sound like candy.

DETECTIVE MONTY MONCIBAIS, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Exactly. And that's -- that's the point. It is a marketing device.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Dallas authorities say dealers are selling this drug to 12-, 11-, even 10-year-olds, kids too young to know the evil powers of heroin. It is all about marketing, drug officers say, and getting kids addicted at an earlier age.

MONCIBAIS: They call it cheese because it has a cutesy name. Totally different if somebody said, do you want to buy some heroin? You say cheese. Oh, cheese, well, it is not heroin. And, to a child that's 10 years old, 11 years old, 12 years old, they have no idea what they're even ingesting.

LAVANDERA: Cheese is black tar heroin mixed with cold and allergy medications containing diphenhydramine, which is found in products like Tylenol PM or Benadryl. The crushed-up medicine turns the pasty heroin into a yellowish powder. And, just like that, you have heroin that can be snorted -- no need for a needle.

MONCIBAIS: It's a double whammy. You're getting two downers from one. Eventually you going to slow down that heart until it stops and where it stops, you're dead.

LAVANDERA: That's how 15-year-old Fernando Cortez died in March, his father says he tried the drug, fell asleep and never woke up. He says it's the first time his son ever experimented with drugs.

FERNANDO CORTEZ, VICTIM'S FATHER: No matter how you look at it, it is heroin. And it will kill you.

LAVANDERA: In the last two years, the Dallas medical examiner says "cheese" killed 21 Dallas students. The drug is taking a firm grip of many. One Dallas treatment center says two years ago they treated three kids for cheese addiction. Since October, that number has already jumped to 62.

(on camera): For now cheese heroin has mostly just been found in Dallas. But federal authorities say it is such an easy drug to mix that they fear it could easily spread and become popular all over the country.

(voice-over): Cheese heroin is popular in part because it is so cheap. Usually sold in these little paper packets for $2. At that price, students can afford several doses a day.

CORTEZ: It's easy to mix. It's easy to hide. You know, I mean, if kids can take it into the school and give it away, I mean what does that tell you, you know?

LAVANDERA: Alma and Fernando say it's common to see students snort three or four lines a day in school and that it's easy to tell who's doing it.

FERNANDO, USED CHEESE HEROIN: Well, really they scratch a lot, they itch a lot, and then eyes will be (INAUDIBLE) out, they'll be in a bad mood and nose always be running. And just sniff.

MONCIBAIS: How many have heard of cheese?" One, two, three, four -- everybody. OK.

LAVANDERA: To combat the spread of cheese heroin, Dallas police officers, like Monty Moncibais, are warning students about the drug's deadly effects.

MONCIBAIS: I don't care if you call it lollipops, cotton candy, popcorn, peanut brittle, it's still heroin. LAVANDERA: Authorities say drug dealers push cheese on kids too young to know the destructive power of heroin. A lesson Fernando Cortez's father has learned the hard way.

CORTEZ: It's deadly. It's deadly. Anybody can try it one time and they can end up like my son, anybody.

LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: With me now, addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, who's a professor of psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Doc, we've seen how cheap it is. We've seen how deadly it is. You see about every bad drug come through your own clinic. How worried are you about "cheese?"

DR DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Well, I'm worried about it. In fact this is -- by -- you know, from one standpoint it's a cute name for something that's being distributed effectively and that kind of thing comes up all the time. There's something called "strawberry quick" out there, for instance, that's a form of methamphetamine. They try to attach catchy names to improve distribution.

These things come and go and they thought that would be the case with cheese heroin as well, but it's persisted much longer than people thought and that's why there's concern that it's really going to spread. As you see on the screen, it's inexpensive, it's heroin it's highly addictive, it's easy to make, easy to transport. And there's a lot of information about it out there. I talked to a number of heroin addicts today and everyone had heard of it, although no one had seen it out here in southern California, yet.

ZAHN: You say usually these newly packaged kind of drugs come and go. But the use of this could become much more widespread. How widespread?

PINSKY: Well, it's heroin. It's heroin that's snorted and people do snort heroin. In fact, I've got it tell you, though, the vast majority of people that begin their heroin addiction with snorting eventually get to a needle even with this drug. The expectation is that you're going to get a similar effect to a speed ball, that is to say you get a stimulant effect if you take a high enough dose of the Benadryl with the heroin. If you take a lower dose you just get sort of a nodding off effect, as you heard one of those poor young folks talking about.

It's heroin, it's addictive. It's out there, if kids don't perceive the potential harm of it, they will use it and become rapidly addicted.

ZAHN: So, if you had one little final thought for kids out there thinking about trying this stuff what would you say? PINSKY: I thought your piece was just excellent and the thought is, no matter how cute the name is, whether you call it cotton candy or peanut brittle, as that officer said, it is still a profoundly addictive drug and addiction is a deadly disease. Don't start it.

ZAHN: Dr. Drew Pinsky, thank you. Appreciate your time.

PINSKY: You're welcome.

ZAHN: There's more about cheese heroin on our website, cnn.com/paula.

Tonight, you can find out more than ever about the woman who could become this country's first female president. Coming up next, the authors of one of the most eye opening books yet about, Senator Hillary Clinton.

Plus a CNN hero who gave up the glamour of Hollywood to teach the women of his homeland how to support themselves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Let's turn to the presidential race and a surprising new poll out on the Democrats, taken just after last week's debate on CNN.

Pulling way out ahead of the pack, Senator Hillary Clinton, now at 36 percent, a huge gain since April. Senator Barack Obama trails her by 14 points, drop another 10, you've got where John Edwards is sitting. But if Clinton's fans think they know everything about her, they haven't read an explosive new book that's out in the open tonight. It is called "Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Clinton." Authors Jeff Gerth and Don van Natta, Jr. are here now.

Good to see both of you.

DON VAN NATTA, JR. AUTHOR: Thanks for having us.

JEFF GERTH, AUTHOR: Thank you.

ZAHN: You have talked to hundreds of people who have done a lot of original reporting on Hillary Clinton. What is the one word you would use to best describe the Hillary Clinton you've come to know?

GERTH: Enigmatic.

ZAHN: Enigmatic?

VAN NATTA: Complicated.

ZAHN: How complicated?

VAN NATTA: Well, there's two Hillary's. The one Hillary is the one that she's trying to project in the presidential campaign, the one that's tough and diligent and hard working and wants to do good for the American people. The other Hillary is one who's secretive, doesn't take well to criticism, and has played fast and loose with the facts, especially on the Iraq war resolution vote...

ZAHN: Give me specific examples where you figure she's played fast and loose. Is that the same thing as lying or shading the truth or manipulating -- what is that?

VAN NATTA: It is pretty close.

GERTH: Well, on the Iraq vote, she obviously voted for the war, but in the last five years, as the war has become more unpopular, she's tried to politically rehabilitate herself and pretend that she was actually against the war before she voted for it. And in doing so, she's rewritten some of her own legislative history and resorted to misleading and false statements about what she actually did in her own record and the legislation.

ZAHN: There is something you had in the book that I hadn't heard about before, and this was the idea that -- how she was involved in president Clinton's run for the presidency, when he was governor, going back to 1992 and you wrote, "she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics, plotting their next attack. The tape contained discussions of another woman who might surface with allegations about an affair with bill."

And then you go on to say, "Bill Clinton's chances were being jeopardized by rumors of his womanizing and yet again, it was up to Hillary to minimize the threat. And if that meant listening to a tape that had to be obtained under questionable circumstances, then she would just deal with it."

So if she would do these kinds of sneaky things to protect this man that she wanted to see become president, what might she resort to as president?

GERTH: Well, I think the '92 effort is interesting because she headed up a defense team that operated sort of secretly dealing with her husband and her liabilities, whether it was the draft record, the womanizing or her legal practice and the idea was to do whatever had to be done to get her husband elected president.

ZAHN: So, it diabetes didn't matter that the conversations were secretly recorded and probably illegal?

GERTH: Well, we don't know whether they were illegal and we don't say so in the book, but the more interesting thing is she had come a long way in the years in Arkansas. She started in 1974 as an idealist and working in Bill's first campaign and wasn't really getting mixed into the political fray and by 1992, when he was running for president, she was prepared to do most anything to get him elected president.

And we show in the book that as a senator, she's not been terribly behold tonight rules sometimes and has an attitude as described us to by people in the Senate as cavalier about the rules and not necessarily following them all the time.

ZAHN: And you refer to that as "Hillaryland." You also do an interesting job of reporting in showing the beginning of the so-called Hillary-Bill project dating back to the early days of the relationship you write, "in the earliest days of the romance, bill and Hillary struck a plan to work together to revolutionize the Democratic party and ultimately make the White House their home...eight years for her," eight years for him, of course. "Their audacious pact has remained a secret until now."

Well, didn't everybody think that the two of them were pretty ambitious and had full plans and what is wrong with that in?

VAN NATTA: They did, but in the mid '70s, when they were in Arkansas, before they exchanged their marriage vows, they exchanged their political vows. And they decided they were going to go out and make the Democratic Party and make Bill Clinton president. They did that.

We heard that from Leon Panetta. He heard it from Bill Clinton. The actual 20 year project is a quote from Bill Clinton to Leon Panetta. And he told us about that on the record, Panetta heard it in 1996 on Air Force One.

Now, in '93, after Bill Clinton's elected president and Hillary is heading up the health care reform effort, again, there is another idea. Let's have Bill Clinton be president for two terms and Hillary will be president for two terms. That shouldn't surprise us and there's nothing wrong with it. But in Hillary's own book, her autobiography of 2003, she doesn't indicate any impulses of ambition at all.

ZAHN: Yeah, very quickly in closing, Taylor Branch, a famous author, who happens to be a very good friend of Bill Clinton's, says that your notion of this project is nuts that he is close to the president, the president has never admitted to anything like that. He thinks you're pretty much making this up.

GERTH: Well, we had two people who told us this story on the record. They heard it from Taylor Branch in Aspen, Colorado, at a barbecue dinner at a rodeo. And I called Taylor Branch and he didn't remember the dinner. Now he says he remembers not saying this particular conversation. And I'll add he is a respected historian, but he's also admitted that when it comes to Bill Clinton, he can't be objective.

ZAHN: Well, it looks like at least half of the project they talked about was committed to and delivered upon.

GERTH: Maybe more. Maybe more.

ZAHN: Jeff Gerth, Don van Natta, Jr., thank you.

GERTH: Thanks very much.

VAN NATTA: Thank you so much.

ZAHN: The man we're bringing out in the open next will never be elected president, but he is a real hero. He when back to Afghanistan to help his country's war widows learn to help themselves. Wait until you hear what he's doing. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: We've been introducing you to people who are committed to making the world a better place. Right now we're taking you to Afghanistan where a top celebrity makeup artist has returned home to help war widows rebuild their lives. He's tonight's "CNN Hero."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATIN MAULAWIZADA, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: And explain to me everything you want to explain. OK? Great.

Afghanistan offered me a lot and I wanted to bring a little something back. It's a tiny project, but I wanted to really make sure to bring something.

Afghan women have survived years of war, years of suppression. Still they do and they prevail. So, to me the strength of Afghan women are just remarkable and I wanted to work with them.

Widows, in particular, rely on the mercy of their families to live and they become servants to them. I wanted to kind of change that, one person at a time, if I could.

My entire point was to make sure that widows and women are able to proudly work and be proud of their work and work outside their house and provide wealth for their families.

It's just amazing. It sells itself, really. They read and write equivalent of a fourth grader, now. Mentally they're prepared to go to work. They know how to take measurements; they know how to write measurements. Once they learn enough, they will basically be business women. And look at the embroidery on this. I'm hoping that I will send them to courses that they can actually manage a business, grow a business. My whole dream is for them to basically have the confidence to see beautiful objects that they're making and know that people are enjoying and appreciating them. They're doing the work. And all I'm offering is basically an opportunity for them to show what they have.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: What a great idea and great effort. There's more about Afghan Hands on our website, cnn.com/heroes. That's also where you can nominate your hero for special recognition later this year.

Tonight, LARRY KING LIVE has the latest on a story we've been watching and watching and watching. Larry Birkhead, you remember him, along with his and Anna Nicole Smith's baby daughter, Dannielynn, both Larry's guests here, now.

Hi, everybody.

LARRY KING, LARRY KING LIVE: Hi, look at her.

ZAHN: She's beautiful. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: She's gorgeous. You proud of her?

LARRY BIRKHEAD, FATHER OF DANNIELYNN: I'm very proud of her. Very proud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What a quest this was for him to get her and now he and her are both on LARRY KING LIVE at the top of the hour. She's gorgeous, isn't she, Paula.

ZAHN: She is a perfect little baby And doesn't seem to be shying away from that camera, pointed about two inches away from her face, Larry. I wonder where she got that.

KING: No, she's right with it. Aren't you?

Yeah. I'll bet.

ZAHN: We'll look forward to seeing...

You're going to be a star tonight. You, a star tonight.

ZAHN: Yes, if only she could tell us what she's thinking right now. Look forward to your show at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: We'll see you soon.

ZAHN: And welcome to town.

BIRKHEAD: Thank you.

ZAHN: We're going take a quick biz break first, though. The Dow lost 130 points, the Nasdaq down 22, and the S&P lost 16.

A new sign that the subprime mortgage meltdown is not going away, today we learned that home foreclosures in May were up 90 percent from last year. That finding comes from the real estate data firm Realty Track.

Today the Senate began work on an energy bill that could raise fuel economy standards for the first time in nearly two decades. That bill would force carmakers to boost their fuel economy to an average of 35 miles-per-gallon by the year 2020.

Something else I want to introduce you to now. He is a PE teacher who's making a real difference in the lives of kids and he can't even see. He almost has no sight at all and his amazing story makes him one of the people you should know. That's coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Now I want you to meet someone who's overcome a huge obstacle in his own life and he's now trying to turn around a health care crisis that's threatening so many of our kids. Here's Jim Acosta with tonight's "People You Should Know."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVEN SLOAN, PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER: Keep them up. Straight out.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gym class with Steven Sloan is no walk in the park.

SLOAN: I want those arms going up over your head.

I don't allow them to use those -- the excuses for being out of shape, for not being actively involved in things. And all they got to do is bring their heart and determination and they can get through anything.

I want to hear numbers.

ACOSTA: Sloan knows what it is like to overcome obstacles. He was born with a rare condition that only allows him to distinguish darkness from light. But his blindness doesn't keep him from seeing a serious problem with America's youth.

SLOAN: Look, you got -- there are kids who are young, but wind up with diabetes, (INAUDIBLE) is running rapidly, it's just mind boggling that we allow it to get this late. It's mind boggling. We just don't push. We don't say get out there and do something.

ACOSTA: Sloan says this lack of attention to kids' diet and exercise feeds a childhood obesity epidemic, one the National Institutes of Health says affects nearly 20 percent of kids from six to 11 in the U.S. That's why Sloan says it's more important to arm kids with healthy habits than to show them how to hit a home run.

SLOAN: Now, lie back and count to 10. I can't hear you.

ACOSTA: A tough love lesson from a man whose handicap has shown the kids anything is possible.

SLOAN: These kids don't want to leave the gym. That's the rewarding thing for me now. They love being in here. And I love having them in here.

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Why would anybody want to leave his gym?

We're minutes away from LARRY KING LIVE tonight. The father of Anna Nicole's baby gives his first live primetime end view since winning custody and he'll be joining us along with teeny tiny Dannielynn, they'll be joining Larry at the top of the hour. Please stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: And that is it for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. Tomorrow night, scientists has discovered that if they look into a certain part of your brain, they can know your thoughts and some decisions you might make even before you do, that amazing story tomorrow night. Thanks again for dropping by here tonight. Hope you'll join us again, same time, same place.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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