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CAMPBELL BROWN

Interview With Martina Navratilova; Religious Extremism Behind Fort Hood Rampage?

Aired November 10, 2009 - 20:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, here are the questions we want answered.

Was religious extremism really behind the Fort Hood rampage? Tonight, more clues the alleged gunman didn't want Muslims fighting other Muslims.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts. No just and loving God looks upon them with favor. For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice -- in this world and the next.

BROWN: Right now, more finger-pointing. Why didn't the military catch any of the suspect's warning signs, even his way-out-there lecture to the Army brass?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to have folks who are not necessarily on anyone's radar screens who are coming up with their ideas on their own and then acting on some of those ideas.

BROWN: Also tonight, are white Republicans really scared of African-Americans? Listen to what the head of the party says.

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: You are absolutely right. I have been in the room, and they have been scared of me.

BROWN: Michael Steele caught in a moment of truth.

Plus, our newsmaker tonight, Martina Navratilova. She has called Andre Agassi a liar for covering up his crystal meth habit. He is asking her for compassion.

And E.T.'s phone Rome. The Vatican holds a special conference on extraterrestrial life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hi there, everybody.

We are going to start tonight as always with the "Mash-Up," our look at all the stories making an impact right now and the moments you may have missed today. We're watching it all, so you don't have to.

And our top story tonight, the execution of John Allen Muhammad. He is the mastermind behind the Washington area sniper attacks in 2002. His execution set to happen tonight, and it appears all possible appeals are exhausted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES GIBSON, HOST, "WORLD NEWS": He is scheduled to die this evening by lethal injection. His accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, is serving a life sentence.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Shortly after 9:00, they will go to his cell, which is right next to the death chamber. He will be escorted by guards into the death chamber. And then those drugs will be administered.

One will put him to sleep, one will stop his breathing, and a third one will stop his heart. When that is done, prison authorities will step out here to the podium and they will tell us that John Muhammad has died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that what you will see in the final moments is the death of a dignified man who maintained his innocence to the very end and fought for his freedom every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Muhammad spent day meeting with his family and attorneys. Some of his victims' families do plan to witness the execution. We're going to have more on the story coming up a little later.

More new details and more questions about the suspect in the Fort Hood shooting rampage. Major Nidal Hasan lectured senior Army physicians about what he called adverse effects if Muslim soldiers are sent to fight other Muslims.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On at least two occasions, we're told Nidal Hasan was supposed to give presentations on health issues during his medical training, but, instead, he discussed his views on problems faced by Muslims in the military.

A classmate who attended one of the presentations told CNN Hasan made several people uncomfortable and they objected. The classmate says Hasan's superiors, who he did not identify, let him finish any way. Here's an excerpt from of the presentations in "The Washington Post."

The military -- quote -- "should allow Muslim soldiers the option of being released as conscientious objectors to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events."

Hasan's attorney told CNN his client has not yet spoken to investigators. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: At Fort Hood today, President Obama spoke at the memorial service for the 13 victims. He denounced the twisted logic of the attack and vowed that justice would be served.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today we gather to mourn the loss of 13 American heroes drawn from 11 different states across this nation. They answered the call of service to others.

We will never be accustomed to losing one of our own. But we can more easily accept it when it happens on foreign soil against a known enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, as we grieve as an Army family, as we wrap our arms around the families of our fallen comrades, I would say to you all, grieve with us. Don't grieve for us. Those who have fallen did so in the service of their country. They freely answered the call to serve, and they gave their lives for something that they loved and believed in.

OBAMA: So, we say goodbye to those who now belong to eternity. We press ahead in pursuit of the peace that guided their service.

May God bless the memory of those that we have lost. And may God bless the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Suspect Major Nidal Hasan remains in intensive care at an Army hospital. Investigators still haven't identified a motive in Thursday's attack.

A change at the White House announced today -- President Obama's communication director is leaving. Anita Dunn was at the center of the White House fight with FOX News that started last month after an interview she gave on CNN. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANITA DUNN, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: When he goes on FOX, he understands he's not going on it really as a news network at this point. He's going on to debate the opposition. And that's fine. He never minds doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The White House says Dunn had taken the job on an interim basis. She's going to be replaced by her deputy.

Former President Bill Clinton visited Capitol Hill today to sell Democratic senators on a topic he has some personal experience with, health care reform -- his message today, resolve your differences and pass this bill. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats worry if fellow Democrats will support health reform, so leaders say it's essentially time to bring in the political big gun. That would be Bill Clinton.

GIBSON: The former president called the bill an economic imperative. He warned senators there will always be unintended consequences from whatever they do, but the worst thing to do, he said, is nothing.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whatever their differences are, I just urged them to resolve their differences and pass a bill.

And I also believe, you know, people hire us to come to work in places like this to solve problems and to stand up and do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The House passed a health care reform bill Saturday, but senators haven't even begun to debate their version and may not start until next week.

A medical revelation from one of basketball's greatest stars. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a rare form of leukemia. He talked about it on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What were some of the symptoms you felt that made you think I better go to the doctor and see what's going on here?

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I was having hot flashes and sweats. And, you know, I'm not -- I'm not having menopause, you know.

So, they said, your white blood cell count is sky-high. You need to go see a specialist and find out what's going on. A lot of people are faced with this condition, and they think it is a death sentence.

You have to get your blood checked regularly. And you have to take your medication. If you do that, you can manage this particular form of leukemia and live a very productive life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Abdul-Jabbar said he hopes being open about his diagnosis will encourage others to go see a doctor. We wish him, of course, the best of luck there.

More praise tonight for the Boston subway driver who stopped her train inches from a woman who fell on the tracks. The Massachusetts governor called Charice Lewis today to send his congratulations. The incident was caught on closed-circuit cameras. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A woman loses her balance -- there you see it -- and literally falls right off the Boston subway platform into the path of an oncoming train.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frantic onlookers who had just left a Celtics basketball game raced to help, desperately signaling the train, just seconds from the station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazingly, the train stopped halfway over her body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And look at her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the fact, she comes up with like a big smile on her face. And I'm like, oh, my God, like, you really scared me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The woman is pulled to safety thanks to her fellow commuters and a conductor who was on the ball.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The woman who fell got only a few scrapes and she told authorities what seemed pretty obvious there, that she had been drinking.

And now a trip to "Sesame Street." Today is the show's 40th anniversary. Michelle Obama made an appearance. And a street in Manhattan was renamed Sesame Street for a few days. The Muppets and a lot of their friends were there.

The show is now seen around the world in 140 countries.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Today, I'm here with the 23rd letter of the alphabet, the letter W.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hello, Larry. How are you doing?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": This is Anderson Cooper in for Oscar the Grouch, who is on assignment at the dump.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, you have got a lot to learn about grouch journalism, Cooper.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I love sees. I didn't know you ate them, too. Are you part bird?

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: No, Big Bird. I'm not. UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You sure? You and I are both really tall.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Let's hear it for the first lady.

(CHEERING)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And one of Sesame Street's stars made an appearance on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" last night. It is tonight's "Punchline."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon."

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": I love it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON: Welcome. Welcome. Hey, congratulations to former President Bill Clinton. He traveled to North Korea today, met with Kim Jong Il, and won the release of those two female journalists. They're free.

You're good. You're good, Elmo. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON: No, no, no, I'm giving you a hug. I'm giving you a hug.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No, you wasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hey, Jimmy, just hang around with me, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm just going to stay with...

(CROSSTALK)

LAURENCE FISHBURNE, ACTOR: Stay with me, Elmo. Stay with me.

FALLON: No, I love you, too, Elmo.

FISHBURNE: I will protect you from him.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON: Elmo, we are good buddies. Can't we hang out?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: OK. Maybe that's what happens when you keep Elmo up past his bedtime.

And that is the "Mash-Up."

When we come back, we have some breaking news to share with you tonight. A United Airlines pilot has been arrested at Heathrow Airport for allegedly being drunk before takeoff on a flight to Chicago. A co-worker turned him in. We are going to have the latest details on that.

Plus, tonight's newsmaker, Martina Navratilova, she has some tough words for Andre Agassi, who has admitted to using crystal meth and lying about it. Find out why she says he's as bad as Roger Clemens.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Breaking news tonight from London: A United Airlines pilot has been arrested after a Breathalyzer test found he was too drunk to fly. Apparently, he was caught just in time. A spokesman at Heathrow Airport says the airliner with 124 passengers and 11 crew members aboard was about to take off for Chicago.

Joe Johns is here with us now. He has more details on this.

We have also got on the phone with Joseph Balzer. He's a pilot and author of the book "Flying Drunk."

First, let me go to Joe and see what he has got, though.

Joe, tell us.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Campbell.

Noontime -- it sounds like this happened around noontime. What they are saying is pretty clear. The authorities are alleging that a United Airlines employee, apparently the pilot from Colorado, was arrested for being over the legal limit, having too much alcohol in his system to operate a plane.

And we are talking about a 767 here. It was a United flight, Flight 949, we are told, from Heathrow to Chicago, apparently getting ready to take off, with passengers, as you said, already on board -- several media outlets reporting that there were more than 100 passengers who had to be booked on another flight.

The pilot has been identified as Erwin Washington of Lakewood, Colorado. Now, Scotland Yard says he has been released on bail -- the Associated Press reporting that pilot may have been reported by another member of United staff, though CNN hasn't been able to confirm that, at least so far.

Commercial pilots, as you know, are not supposed to drink alcohol for several hours before they have to fly, certainly across the Atlantic. United Airlines put out a brief statement. It says: "Safety is our highest priority. The pilot has been removed from service while we are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full investigation. United's alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry." They say they have no tolerance for violations of this what they call well-established policy -- Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Joe Johns for us.

And let me do in bring in Joseph Balzer now.

And, Joseph, you were busted for flying drunk. You served a year in jail. Now another example today. Give us your take. How common is this really in the airline industry?

JOSEPH BALZER, AUTHOR, "FLYING DRUNK": Well, I think it is common among all professional aspects of American industry. I mean, alcoholism doesn't discriminate amongst...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: I hear you, but you are -- I mean, most of industry is not taking, you know, people's lives in their hands when they get in that cockpit in the way a pilot is.

BALZER: Well, actually, think about it. Think about all the people performing brain surgery and the like on a daily basis.

I mean, you can't justify someone showing up for work under the influence.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: I completely agree. But I'm trying to get your take on how common this is in your industry.

BALZER: Well, I think we have rehabilitated thousands of pilots prior -- since 1972, over 4,400 pilots have been rehabilitated and returned safely to the cockpit. And that's the idea, is to educate people about alcoholism, so this doesn't happen.

I'm hoping that scenario about a fellow employee bringing this out, that's good. That's what we want. One of the reasons I wrote my book was to help people understand and identify alcoholism. There's three fairly distinct stages. In later-stage alcoholism, people do things like this. And it is important.

BROWN: All right. But let me drill down on this a little bit, because it is true that this guy was reported by a colleague. And in May at the same airport it was airport security who reported an American Airlines pilot. He was arrested. I mean, ultimately, do you think it ought to be left up to the staff who just sort of happens to notice that someone is drunk? Or should pilots be tested, given the responsibility that you are taking on?

BALZER: Well, if it was up to me, I would have my own personal Breathalyzer.

And, you know, back in '90, when my incident occurred, I did ask a federal safety inspector before the flight left to be blood-alcohol tested. And that's a very important point. He determined that there was no reason to prevent the flight from leaving. The flight left. And, you know, we did have some residual alcohol in our systems.

If I had my own device, it would never have happened. I would have been able to tell my own -- preflight myself. I preflight the airplane. I could preflight myself.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Yes, but you about shouldn't somebody else be in charge of that, rather than a drunk pilot?

BALZER: Well, what if I test my co-worker? I think he is capable of testing me. I mean, if I'm...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Two pilots who have been drinking testing each other? Are you kidding?

BALZER: Well, you are assuming both pilots are drinking?

BROWN: Well, it sounded like that's what you were saying.

Look, let me fast-forward a little bit here. You know, I think that a lot of people would assume that a pilot who is arrested for flying drunk loses their job. But, clearly, that's not the case. You are flying again for American, after serving time, as we said earlier.

Why shouldn't flying drunk be a career-ending move?

BALZER: Actually, flying drunk was a -- anybody that was reported for alcohol or alcoholism prior to 1972 was removed for life.

But what we found out was that all that did was just drive it underground, so people would enable their friends and they would get them home, so they wouldn't get into trouble and lose their careers. That is probably the number-one reason.

The solution is education and teaching people about the disease. People who do things like this generally are suffering from alcoholism. And once they get help, they -- they turn out to be outstanding employees. And they are in a position to prevent this from happening again. Think about this, Campbell. This is what -- the last time you interviewed me, I kind of got cut off at the end. If one pilot had been sober and in recovery the morning of our flight in 1990, that flight would have never left the ground, ever. All it takes is one guy working the program.

BROWN: All right. Well, we appreciate your insight here. You certainly have the experience with this, Joseph Balzer, who is the author, again, of "Flying Drunk," currently a pilot for American.

Thanks for your time tonight.

We are following another breaking news story tonight. It is the execution of the D.C. sniper. It is set to take place at the top of the hour. You are going to hear what the lawyer who is fighting to keep John Allen Muhammad alive just told reporters.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Tonight's newsmaker, the tennis legend who slammed Andre Agassi for lying about his crystal meth use. Martina Navratilova is going to join me in just a little bit.

(NEWS BREAK)

BROWN: The head of the Republican Party says white Republicans are afraid of black people and they're sometimes afraid of him. Why would he say it? Is he for real? We have got the tape when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: The first black chairman of the Republican Party says some white Republicans are scared of him. Really?

Listen to what Michael Steele told Roland Martin on Roland's weekly radio program, "Washington Watch." They were talking about Republican efforts to win over black voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But you can (INAUDIBLE) talk to him.

And one of the criticisms I have always had is...

STEELE: Absolutely. Absolutely.

MARTIN: ... Republicans -- white Republicans have been scared of black folks.

(CROSSTALK)

STEELE: No. You are absolutely right. I have been in the room and they have been scared of me. I'm like, I'm on your side.

(LAUGHTER)

STEELE: So, I can imagine going out there talking to someone like you, who -- you know, say, OK, I will listen.

And they are like, well, you know...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: So, is he serious? Are white Republicans really afraid of Steele and other African-Americans?

We are going to bring in Roland Martin, who you of course also know as a CNN political analyst. And also with is Robert Traynham, who is host of "Roll Call TV" and a featured contributor on Roland's TV One show. He's also a former senior Republican adviser on Capitol Hill.

And, Roland, we are going to get you and this pretty astonishing interview in a minimum.

But, first, Robert, I guess, before we go any further, is there any truth to what Steele is saying? You worked as a Republican strategist. Have you ever felt Republicans were uncomfortable around you?

ROBERT TRAYNHAM, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Absolutely not. I think the chairman, with all due respect to the chairman, probably misspoke.

To make a broad statement...

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Misspoke how? It certainly didn't sound like he tripped over his words or anything.

TRAYNHAM: Well, I'm not his spokesperson.

But, with all due respect, I think to make a broad statement and to say that white people are afraid of black Republicans or of black people, that's just not fair. And it is certainly not accurate.

Is there a segment of the population that are afraid of black people? Probably. But, you know, that's a segment of all populations in this country.

But the real issue is whether or not the premise of the question should have been asked that way. And Roland is a very dear friend. I'm a contributor to his show. And I'm not going to question the motives behind the question.

But, again, I think that's a really, really broad statement to say that white people are afraid of black Republicans.

(CROSSTALK) BROWN: I know, but come on a minute.

And Roland, I'm sure, can defend himself in a second. But you are going to blame Roland for the way he asked the question and not Steele for the way he answered it?

TRAYNHAM: Well, no, not at all.

In fact, look, Roland asked the question. The chairman answered the way he did. And I'm certainly not going to apologize or speak on anyone's behalf. But, again, I think the premise of the question was just a little bit -- a little broad. Let's leave it at that, and certainly was the question -- the answer.

BROWN: But, beyond that, Robert, Steele has said that he wanted to bring more black people into the Republican Party. But many of his public efforts to do that have been pretty widely ridiculed.

There's the time he called for a -- quote -- "off the hook" public relations campaign to -- quote -- "urban suburban hip-hop settings," and then when he started this short-lived RNC blog that was called "What Up."

I mean, frankly, it all felt pretty disconnected. Is he doing more harm than good?

TRAYNHAM: Well, I will let others speak to whether he is doing more harm than good.

But I think his intentions are well-intentioned, which, he is trying to speak to a different segment of the population that, quite frankly, where a Republican has never spoken to them before. If you take a look at what Chairman Steele I think is trying do, he's trying to speak to the hip-hop community. He's trying to speak to the African-American community.

And keep in mind, Campbell, again, this is a segment of the population that's never, ever, ever been reached out to or touched by a Republican before. So, you do have to give the chairman a little bit of credit for at least trying.

Now, again, his word choice, well, that's a little bit left to be desired.

BROWN: Roland, what do you...

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: OK. Right.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: I mean, can I -- let -- let me -- let me get in here, so I can clarify or explain...

BROWN: Let -- let me give you your due, and then I got a couple of questions for you. Go ahead.

MARTIN: Well, yes. Here's why I asked the question. Because they have been scared.

And what Robert just said speaks right to it. The Republican Party has been unwilling to engage African-Americans.

Remember last year during the campaign when Republicans would not go to the NAACP or the National Urban League. Newt Gingrich and J.C. Watts (ph) both said the Republican party if they are going to expand their base, they have got to be able to engage and talk to African- Americans about their issues. The other day after the election, Ari Fleischer and I were talking after we got off the set and he said he gave a speech several years ago, where he said the GOP needs to be dealing with social justice issues. They have to be able to deal with African-Americans on a wide variety of issues.

And so I know many black Republicans I have talked to personally, people who have served in the Bush administration and the Reagan administration, individuals on the state and local level who have said that frankly, when they have tried to get white Republicans to engage in different issues, folks have frankly ignored them and blown them off. And so that's happened consistently.

And I know Michael Williams right now is running who's probably going to be the next U.S. senator, you know, came in and resign. He is going to have a fund-raiser at his home in Texas. He tried to get a candidate to release a statement on the burning of black churches all across the country. They said no, we don't really think so. It's pandering. His wife, Donna, said, "I will not welcome any man to my home who doesn't have the courage to at least issue a statement on black churches burning.

BROWN: All right.

MARTIN: So the point is the GOP must go further and engage and not ignore and run away from African-Americans.

BROWN: OK. I'm going to give you the last word here, Robert. I mean, the bottom line is your party did, you know, reach out to Steele in the hopes that electing the first black chairman of the party would bring in more African-Americans. Do you feel like now he's the right man for the job?

TRAYNHAM: Well, look, I think the question is -- should he be measured upon results? And the results we'll see in two years or so when he's up for re-election as to whether or not more African- Americans, but even more minorities and more Americans look at the Republican Party a different way.

BROWN: Do right now, do you think he's doing a good job, Robert?

TRAYNHAM: I agree 100 percent with Roland that there needs to be more work done in the African-American community by Republicans. Is he doing a good job? That's not my job to answer that question.

BROWN: Why? You're a Republican. You are party leader.

TRAYNHAM: I can't --

I think it's up to all Americans to make that decision. Not me, Campbell.

BROWN: OK. That was quite a dodge, Robert.

MARTIN: Campbell, also --

BROWN: But I'll let you have it. Roland, I'm sorry, we're out of time.

MARTIN: I've got some --

BROWN: Quickly, go ahead.

MARTIN: Yes, real quick. African-Americans also have got to stop calling black Republicans Uncle Toms and sellouts because they choose to be Republican. It's a two-way street to have this conversation.

BROWN: All right. Roland and Robert, appreciate it. Thanks, guys.

TRAYNHAM: Thanks, Campbell.

Tonight's newsmaker, Martina Navratilova. She's going to join us in about 10 minutes. But first, China holding on to communism even though most of the world has abandoned it. And yet, they have gotten an economy the U.S. could be downright jealous of right now. A closer look at what China may have to teach us when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: This week with a whole lot of fanfare we marked 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall announced the end of communism in Eastern Europe. But before we get too gleeful, let's look a little further east where last month the People's Republic of China celebrated its 60th anniversary.

China, a repressive communist regime now a dominant global superpower. China's economy is growing at an average rate of nine percent a year, more than twice as fast as ours. The disparity so vast it is almost a joke. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huge economic news. The Dow hit its highest point in a year today. China was like oh, don't spend it all at once, little guy. OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Seriously, China has the world's largest labor force but an unemployment rate of only four percent. Compare that to our 10 percent. What's more, China is the second largest source of American imports and, of course, our biggest creditor.

All of which begs this question. If democracy is the ideal, why is an authoritarian communist regime running rings around us right now economically?

And with me to talk about that is Ted Fishman, the author of "China Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World." And with me here, Gordon Chang, whose books include "The Coming Collapse of China." Different perspectives to share with us tonight.

Ted, let me start with you, though. I think here those of us in the U.S. automatically assume a certain superiority to China by virtue of the fact that we're a democracy, they're not. But given the state of our economy at the moment, you probably got more than a few people asking whether we should learn to be a little more humble when examining China's approach. You know, as an autocratic regime, talk us through the kind of flexibility China has when it comes to making economic policy. What -- what's the difference here?

TED FISHMAN, AUTHOR, "CHINA INC.": China just has an enormous tool set as a government. And it controls all of the wealth that's in China's land. It has a state-run banking system. It controls all of the key leaders in the economy.

We don't have that. We have a much more diverse system. A lot of different decision-makers. We're also starting at a very different base. You know, China started as one of the -- it's before one of the poorest countries in the world so can get enormous multiples. You know, there's -- per capita income is still about one-tenth of ours. So to double that per capita income is not quite the task it takes to double a per capita income of $40,000 a year.

At the very same time, China is a learning economy. And it is very devoted to studying the success and failures of other countries around the world. It has very, very smart people working in government think tanks, setting policy, often Harvard educated, Princeton educated, Berkeley educated. And they have a direct line, two people with real decision-making powers. They don't have a legislature in which they have 535 different opinions to deal with.

BROWN: Right,

FISHMAN: They have a top down leadership and it's very streamlined when they have a consensus. They can go ahead and move on it.

BROWN: Democracy is messy indeed. Let me bring Gordon into this, though.

Over the past 30 years to the point that Ted was making there, some -- you know, millions of Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty. You know, a lot of people look at China as sort of the model for the future in many ways. And yet, you think they are on the verge of collapse. Or maybe not on the verge, but it's coming. GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA": Yes, it is coming. First of all, you know, they did have 9.9 percent average annual growth over a period of 30 years. But because they have this authoritarian political system there have been massive dislocations, like rampant corruption, degraded environment, mountains of bad loans are still in the banking system and political turmoil.

For people to say that for China to have a sustainable economy, it needs a bigger consumer sector but consumerism has been going down in China as a percentage of the economy. And that's because China's political leaders don't want to trust consumers and give up control. And that's why there's been a re-nationalization of the Chinese economy because of the stimulus program. The private sector has been getting smaller. They're moving the economy in all the wrong directions.

BROWN: And to that point, Ted, I mean, what happens when, you know, that the government and the way it operates is so tied to the economic prosperity that China is experiencing? I mean, if all this crumbles as Gordon suggested it will, you know, doesn't it disintegrate?

FISHMAN: Yes. I mean, the one promise the Chinese government has made to the Chinese people is economic development and economic fulfillment of every family's dreams in China. But dislocation alone doesn't undo a government.

Think of any industrialized economy. They've had dislocation. They've gone from rural economies to urban economies. You know, we shifted from 90 percent rural to 10 percent rural or name the country that statistics are pretty much the same.

The Chinese government is very, very good it's staying in power. You know, I made the mistake over and over again of thinking when they might become undone and they always undo my prediction.

BROWN: And I guess very quickly, and I assume I know what you're going to say to this. But is it all worth it? In the end, obviously, the messiness of democracy that we hold on to our First Amendment. Is there anything we can take from this and learn from this or you think that we should sort of ignore in the path given where it's headed?

CHANG: I think one of the things that is very strong about America that we Americans don't understand that we've got a country which is incredibly resistant and resilient. We've seen so many times when people said the United States is in terminal decline.

You know, we saw this during the Arab oil embargo in the '70s. We saw this with the Japanese. And now we have this same hysteria with China. But the United States is resilient and it always comes back.

BROWN: Well, we will see how this ends if Gordon is on track. Gordon Chang, Ted Fishman, appreciate it, guys. A very interesting conversation

When we come back, tennis legend Martina Navratilova says she doesn't care that Andre Agassi used crystal meth. She just cares that he lied about it. What's worse, the drug use or the coverup? Martina Navratilova here to talk about that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Tonight's newsmaker is not one to shy away from controversy. She is tennis great Martina Navratilova who recently took a swing at another tennis legend, Andre Agassi. His admission about using crystal meth and lying about it didn't sit well with her at all.

She describes her response to the news as, quote, "not as much shock that he did it as shocked that he lied about it and didn't own up to it. He's up there with Roger Clemens, as far as I'm concerned."

Well, no surprise that didn't sit well with Agassi. And listen to what he told Katie Couric. This is on "60 Minutes."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDRE AGASSI, TENNIS CHAMPION: Well, that's, you know -- what you don't want to hear. But when somebody takes a performance inhibitor, a recreational drug --

KATIE COURIC, CBS ANCHOR: Versus a performance-enhancing drug.

AGASSI: The one thing that I would hope is not that there aren't rules that need to be followed but along with that would come some compassion that maybe this person doesn't need condemnation. Maybe this person could stand a little help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And joining me now to talk about the controversy, Martina Navratilova.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA, TENNIS CHAMPION: I put my foot in it again, didn't I?

BROWN: Well, what -- what was it? Welcome to you, first of all.

NAVRATILOVA: Thank you.

BROWN: But what was it that bothered you so much?

NAVRATILOVA: Well, first of all, let me just say that I compared Andre to Roger Clemens, only that they both lied about having taken the drugs. But now Andre has come clean. Roger still hasn't. And, of course, it's a big difference because Roger was using performance- enhancing drugs whereas Andre was using a recreational drug which I don't think should be on the list anyway as a no-no.

So I did not know at the time that he was depressed which is why he was taking crystal meth. I didn't know what crystal meth looks like. I just know that, you know, labs blow up. I know that from "CSI." So I didn't know what the drug was for. I didn't know he was depressed.

Again, I was never upset that he took it but that once he got caught, then, I wish that he had more respect for the sport to own up to it. But perhaps because of who he is, he was afraid that it would hurt the sport. You know, so he may have had actually felt less reasons for not coming clean at the time.

BROWN: But he did come clean.

NAVRATILOVA: And, you know, I think they keep him as handily but that's not the story.

BROWN: He's asking -- you heard him there asking for compassion.

NAVRATILOVA: For compassion. Of course. He was depressed. Apparently he tanked some matches. To me, that's a disservice to the game, too, but most of all to himself and his opponents. And he had to be really down to be tanking matches and had to be really down to be taking this drug which is extremely dangerous and, of course, would only hurt his game.

I just -- maybe perhaps come clean sooner, you know. Not 12 years later. He did not take -- take the punishment, take the three months. He would have gotten the compassion then. I'd say, you know what? You need to be clean. You need to get off the stuff, and it's great that you owned up to it. And please, get your game together because you are a great champion. We want you on the court and not taking crystal meth.

And I think he could have actually elevated himself in that way. It would have hurt him perhaps early but in the long run it would have helped him. How this plays out for him in the long run, I don't know. But I wish he had not lied to the authorities that he had taken it. That's all.

BROWN: You said that you don't think that professional tennis should be testing for recreational drugs.

NAVRATILOVA: Yes.

BROWN: Performance enhancing drugs is one thing.

NAVRATILOVA: Absolutely.

BROWN: But for recreational drugs, no. Why not?

NAVRATILOVA: Well, because they may not be against the law. M in Holland, you can smoke pot. It's not against the law.

BROWN: But here you can. It is against the law here.

NAVRATILOVA: Well, it depends what country -- I mean, what state or if you've got other problems. I mean, you know.

BROWN: Crystal meth is pretty much against the law. I mean, isn't it? NAVRATILOVA: Well, recreational drugs, I mean, is one thing. But again, we can't even take like Benadryl, you know, when you have hay fever. You can't even take Benadryl to be normal again because that's against the rules as well. And the drug system the way it works right now, I don't like it at all. I think it punishes you too severely

We have a Belgian player now that got disqualified for a year because she did not test three times. She was not available for testing. We had a player, like, Martina Hingis who got punished for two years for having cocaine in her system which she couldn't explain how it got in her system. It was a minute, minute, minute amount but they couldn't barely discern that she had it in her. Richard Gasquet, a year later, he gets busted for more cocaine in his system but he said oh, I got it from kissing a woman and they let him off.

Martina didn't know how she got in her system. The system is draconian. You are guilty until proven innocent.

BROWN: So you don't think it could help in any way flag situations like Andre Agassi and maybe get help for people who are headed down that path?

NAVRATILOVA: Do it quietly. But absolutely help. I mean, absolutely Andre needed help.

BROWN: But to that question, like why do it privately? Because I remember -- I played tennis when I was a kid. I worshipped you. I watched you and Chris Evert. I mean, it was -- you guys were my heroes.

Don't you think these people -- I mean, know what a role model you are. And if you do it publicly and people can see it as a learning experience it means so much. It can have such a powerful effect.

NAVRATILOVA: Absolutely. It could have helped I think if Andre talked about it, you know, 12 years ago. But obviously, you are in the depth of misery when you take crystal meth and you're not thinking about what it's going to do to the tennis game, what's it going to do to the public. You are in -- you know, so depressed that you are -- you know, you're just totally desperate and this is what you do and then you're not thinking clearly after that either.

BROWN: Well, let me ask you about Michael Phelps then, because it's a similar situation. This picture comes out of him...

NAVRATILOVA: With the bong.

BROWN: ... you know, with the bong. And he lost a lot of sponsorships and endorsement deals because of that. Was it fair?

NAVRATILOVA: You know, yes and no. When you're an athlete, a professional athlete, and you make a lot of money because you're good at your sport and you need to play the rules. And I don't agree that those recreational drugs should be on the list but they are. If they weren't, you'd take your crystal meth or your pot and if nobody finds out about it, you're OK.

Again, you're doing a behavior that is not responsible, that is not a good role model behavior for kids growing up. So all of that comes into account.

So I think Michael probably got punished more than he should have been but, you know, you've got to -- you've got to be able to take the knocks with the pluses and the minuses. You're a professional. You're making a lot of money. There is a responsibility that comes with that, at least to your sport, at least to the kids that are idolizing you. And it is to yourself, of course.

BROWN: So many people were so stunned when they heard Andre Agassi, crystal meth. That sounds crazy.

NAVRATILOVA: Yes.

BROWN: Is this happening far more often, maybe not crystal meth, but other recreational drugs in professional sports than we realize?

NAVRATILOVA: I don't know. I'm not worried about recreational drugs as much as I'm worried about the performance enhancement, the EPO, and the steroids and whatever else they take to train better, to be faster, to be stronger.

BROWN: And we know that's happening a lot more.

NAVRATILOVA: That's cheating.

BROWN: Right.

NAVRATILOVA: That's cheating and that has got to stop. The recreational stuff, the players are hurting themselves. The athletes are hurting themselves particularly individual sports because we have to win to make money. You know, the professional basketball players, some of the players, they get a guaranteed salary. You know, and then I'm sure they are, you know, doing stuff that they wouldn't be doing if they had to earn that money every single week that's guaranteed.

For us, we're only hurting ourselves.

BROWN: Right.

NAVRATILOVA: So it behooves us to not do it, whether it's against the rules or not. But especially when it's against the rules, you just got to own up to it. That's all.

But my sympathy totally goes with Andre, what he had to go through. He was ranked 150th in the world, so we know that he was going through some tough times. And it was just great that he was able to get over it and win a few more grand slams after that and be one of the best players, you know, in the world.

BROWN: Martina Navratilova, it's great to have you here.

NAVRATILOVA: All right. BROWN: Thank you.

NAVRATILOVA: Thanks, Campbell.

BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" just a few minutes away. And, Larry, I know you are on top of tonight's breaking news. The execution, of course, of the D.C. sniper.

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: We sure are, Campbell. We're just minutes away now from the scheduled execution of the D.C. sniper mastermind, John Allen Muhammad.

We're going to bring that news live as we receive it. We'll talk to the witnesses, some of the witnesses, at the execution, family members of those murdered, two police chiefs who went after Muhammad, and his teenaged accomplice as well and they helped bring him down. It's all ahead on "LARRY KING LIVE," Campbell, right at the top of the hour.

BROWN: All right. Larry, we'll see you in a few minutes. It is a different story for the D.C. sniper's accomplice who Larry just mentioned, Lee Malvo. You are about to hear from a woman who says he has reinvented himself in prison, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Breaking news tonight. D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad is scheduled to be put to death just minutes from now at 9:00 Eastern Time. This is a live look at the prison in Jarratt, Virginia.

While Muhammad's life ends tonight, the families of his victims as well as his accomplice have to live on with the pain. And CNN's special correspondent Soledad O'Brien has their stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A suburban park in Wheaton, Maryland, an ideal location for a memorial to the 10 people killed in the D.C. sniper shootings.

VICKI BUCHANAN-SNYDER, BROTHER SHOT BY D.C. SNIPER: I think it's a beautiful place. And I think it represents so much of who my brother was.

O'BRIEN: Vicki Buchanan-Snyder comes here often. Her brother, Sonny Buchanan, the landscaper shot dead on that first terrible morning.

BUCHANAN-SNYDER: They shot him in the back like a coward. I mean, you know, he didn't even know what hit him but I know he ran for help. I know he struggled to survive.

O'BRIEN: Nonetheless, Vicki Snider is not out for revenge. She is content with the fact that at age 17, Lee Boyd Malvo did not receive the death penalty for his role in the killings. Malvo is serving life without parole. CARMITA ALBARUS LINDO, SOCIAL WORKER: He will never forgive himself for what has happened. He just hopes that through his writings, through his drawings, people will understand.

This is supposed to be Lee and his father. You know, father and son.

O'BRIEN: Social worker Carmita Albarus Lindo who spent many hours counseling Malvo believes he is now a very different person.

LINDO: I believe that the monstrous thing that John Muhammad created when he had him, spotted while he shot from the car, I think that thing no longer exists.

O'BRIEN: Malvo has spent much of his time taking college correspondence courses and drawing. Always drawing. This is the first time anyone outside a handful much friends has seen his prison self-portraits. Nearly all have one thing in common.

(on camera): Almost all of his pictures show him crying.

LINDO: Yes. Yes. Those are the tears. The tears that he shed for the victims.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: That was CNN special correspondent Soledad O'Brien. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few moments. He is talking to two former police chiefs who helped catch the D.C. sniper.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)