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Campbell Brown

Evan Bayh Leaving U.S. Senate; John McCain Challenged

Aired February 15, 2010 - 20:00   ET


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody.

In Afghanistan tonight: coalition forces beating back the Taliban in the largest military offensive since the war began.

That news tops the "Mash-Up." We're watching it all so you don't have to.

It is being called the first big test of President Obama's troop surge. And four days in, the military is cautiously optimistic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started with a massive air assault, thousands of mostly British and American troops as well as Afghan soldiers landing deep in Taliban territory. But the insurgents had prepared and riddled the area with homemade bombs and land mines.

The Marines say they are still facing scattered pockets of resistance as they expand their control over the area. The goal is to get an Afghan administration in place as fast as possible to provide services to the people of Marjah and convince them to turn their backs on the Taliban.

ATIA ABAWI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's easy to say resistance is light and little when it is coming from safe areas. When you're in the battle itself, when you're witnessing it with your own eyes, they may be sporadic, it may not be constant, but it's strong. It's there.

By using mortar fire, the Marines are able to keep the Taliban under pressure. Some Afghan units seem motivated to play their part, but, for the most part, many of the Afghans with Alpha Company are often spectators.

And it's the Marines who are taking the lead in what could be a turning point in the eight-year war.


BROWN: Twelve civilians were killed Sunday in a rocket attack by coalition troops. General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, said he deeply he regretted this tragic loss of life.

On Capitol Hill tonight, a big surprise in the political world. Democratic Senator Evan Bayh announced he won't run for reelection in the fall. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: I do not love Congress.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: With $13 million in the bank and a recent poll indicating healthy double-digit leads over his top two Republican challengers, Bayh was well- positioned to win reelection, but the senator is, in a phrase, fed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those close to Bayh say he had been wavering for months on whether to run again. He telegraphed his frustration with Congress in a recent Q&A with President Obama.

BAYH: And are we willing to make some of tough decisions to actually head this country in a better direction?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The 54-year-old two-term senator from Indiana was periodically touted as presidential material, but he was passed over for the V.P. slot by three consecutive Democratic candidates.

BAYH: I don't think running for president or vice president is in my future at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bayh's is only the latest in a series of unexpected and premature retirements, Patrick Kennedy over the weekend, Senators Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd last month. Republicans now have a shot of winning nine, perhaps even 10 Democratic seats, enough to win back control of the Senate, something that was unthinkable one month ago.


BROWN: Bayh is the fifth Democratic senator to call it quits this year, as you just heard. We're going to tell you what his surprise decision will mean for his party coming up in a few minutes.

And we are learning more tonight about the biology professor who allegedly shot and killed three colleagues during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. And this is not the first time Amy Bishop Anderson has been questioned about a violent incident.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police also revealed she shot and killed her younger brother when she was 19 in an incident which a shotgun was fired twice.

And the last two words she told police, she heard her brother say, "Oh, God."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, in 1993, as a doctor student, Bishop was questioned after a package containing two pipe bombs was delivered to the home of her professor, Dr. Paul Rosenberg. The device never detonated and authorities cleared Bishop and her husband of any wrongdoing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Bishop was reportedly upset that she was recently denied academic tenure, job-for-life security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tenure process was fair and complete.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody understands what happened. Nobody knows. I can't sit down and talk to her and ask her, what happened, what went wrong, what broke?

BALDWIN: I spent my morning up here in Boston banging on the mother Judy (ph) Baker's front door.


BALDWIN: She was home. She didn't come to the door. Obviously, we want to hear from her. I did finally manage to get her on the phone, Rick. And through tears, she said, look, we are very distraught. Please, leave us alone.


BROWN: Authorities won't say if they believe tenure may have been a motive for Friday's shooting.

Southwest Airlines has a big, fat P.R. mess on its hands tonight. The airline apologized for the second time today to Hollywood director Kevin Smith after bumping him from a flight over the weekend apparently because they thought he was too fat for his seat.

The whole thing blew up when Smith, who directed the movie "Clerks," tweeted about his troubles.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A quiet character in his movies, yes, but director Kevin Smith is not holding back on being kicked off a Southwest flight because of his size.

SANCHEZ: Southwest says Smith was a safety hazard. Imagine being called a safety hazard. Wow. He didn't fit between the armrests, which are about 17 inches apart, by the way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The airline says Smith had bought two seats for his original flight, but when he decided to catch an earlier flight, there was only one seat available. Smith says in a podcast on his Twitter page, when he bought the two seats, it wasn't because he needed them.

KEVIN SMITH, DIRECTOR: If I have to, I could fly one seat in Southwest. I just opt not to, because it's way more comfortable. And I got enough money to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He snapped this puffed-up shot of himself after he was told he was a safety risk and had to get off a Southwest flight. SMITH: What safety issue are you talking about? I am not fat enough to eject off of a Southwest Airline flight.


BROWN: Southwest put Smith on a later flight and sent him home with a $100 voucher. We are going to have more on this story a little bit later in the hour.

And that brings us to the "Punchline" tonight. And this is courtesy of David Letterman. Would it surprise you to learn he takes a somewhat cynical view of Valentine's Day? Check this out.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Valentine's Day is transcendent. Everybody celebrates Valentine's Day, whether you want to or not, even President Barack Obama. The Republicans got together and bought him some candies for Valentine's Day. We have a shot of them. Here, take a look at the candies, little candy hearts. You lie. Not true. Those are the Republicans.




BROWN: David Letterman, everybody. And that is the "Mash-Up."

Next up, John McCain fighting for his political life perhaps. He's got a brand-new Republican challenger who says the maverick has gone mushy. McCain's opponent, J.D. Hayworth, is coming up next.


BROWN: Tonight, the man who gave America Sarah Palin fights off charges that he is a weak-kneed liberal. I am talking about John McCain, who now faces the toughest challenge of his Senate career -- his Republican opponent, J.D. Hayworth, a former congressman and radio hospital. Hayworth officially kicked off his campaign today. Check it out.


J.D. HAYWORTH (R), ARIZONA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: You could say there are two John McCains, the one who campaigns like a conservative and the one who legislates like a liberal.


HAYWORTH: In fact, when it comes time to debate, I'm going to ask for a third chair, in case both John McCains show up.



BROWN: And Senator McCain was campaigning in Arizona himself today, certainly sounding 100 percent Republican. Listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I stand ready to sit down for meaningful negotiations and bipartisanship, and the American people want it. And I have a long record of it. This administration, this president promised change in Washington. There's been change, all right, change for the worse.


BROWN: Again, John McCain from earlier today.

And I'm joined now by his Republican challenger, former congressman J.D. Hayworth.

Congressman, today, you portrayed John McCain as a liberal Democrat who hangs out, in your words, with his leftist pals in the Senate. Forgive me here, but where has that John McCain been all year? From health care to national security, he's been giving Democrats nothing but giant headaches.

HAYWORTH: Well, again, Campbell, he's undergone a campaign-year conversion.

In the words of one of my constituents, he said, that John McCain, always there when he needs us. And I'll tell you, the skepticism here has given way to cynicism, as you see John actually vote in so many other directions, whether you take the bailout bill for the banks, $850 billion all told, $150 billion in earmarks, the very type of spending John claims he opposes, or of the tax cuts that I helped write as a member of the Ways and Means Committee on the House side in 2001 and 2003.

John went to the well of the United States Senate and said they were -- quote -- "tax cuts for the wealthy," sounding a lot more like John Kerry than the John McCain I knew. Now, we seeing -- I guess in lieu of the Straight Talk Express, this time around, we are going to have the Zigzag Express.


BROWN: But this is still the man who was the Republican Party's presidential nominee, its standard-bearer. This was less than two years ago. And now you're arguing he's too liberal to be reelected as a Republican.

HAYWORTH: Well, again, let me gently correct the lead sentence you offered. I'm not portraying John McCain as a weak-kneed liberal.

I'm simply saying what Arizona voters have a choice of now in the Republican primary is a consistent conservative or a moderate who claims to be a maverick, and on issue after issue John McCain is out of touch with the base of the Republican Party.


HAYWORTH: Indeed, a Rasmussen poll in the fall said -- or in the winter earlier said that fully 61 percent of Arizona Republicans don't believe John McCain shares their values.

BROWN: But Sarah Palin doesn't think he's out of touch. Dick Armey doesn't think he's out of touch. Grover Norquist doesn't think he's out of touch. Even the newest GOP superstar, Scott Brown, is endorsing him and supporting him. What are they missing that apparently you can see?

HAYWORTH: Well, let's break that down into two groups.

First of all, with Governor Palin and Senator Brown, there's the simple human impulse of gratitude. And I understand that. And I don't begrudge them that in the least. I look forward to working with Senator Brown in the days ahead in the United States Senate.

And with reference to Governor Palin, with all due respect, it's not Sarah Palin of Alaska, but Sarah Boyd (ph) in Scottsdale and thousands of other Arizonans like her who will decide who the next United States senator will be.

In terms of Dick Armey and Grover Norquist, yes, the Washington establishment is going to weigh it on the side of John McCain, the Washington establishment supporting open borders and amnesty. And with all due respect, I will take the voters here in Arizona over the Washingtonians, who can't vote here.

BROWN: At one point, Senator McCain did have this reputation as being a Republican who could reach across the aisle, who could work with Democrats. And given the way people are feeling right now, just crying out to see Washington do something, to get beyond this extreme partisanship, isn't that quality a good thing?

HAYWORTH: Well, I think it's always important to sit down and find practical terms of agreement. I don't think we're going to find them on health care, because I don't believe that the left is going to be willing to engage on issues like medical liability reform and other key issues that really would bring compromise.

No, the sad thing is, Campbell, too often in Washington bipartisanship is defined as Republicans and conservatives caving in to what Democrats and their cheerleaders in the media want to see.

But let me give you an example of true nonpartisanship. And Republicans sit down, because it involves Harry Reid. Now, look, Harry and I have our differences, but my Education Land Grant Act, a Western state senator, a Democrat, put a hold on that bill some years ago. Harry went to that senator and said, hey, take your hold off J.D.'s bill, because his bill, the new Education Land Grant Act, will help with education in your home state and my home state and J.D.'s state and others. And the hold was lifted. It's now law. And those schools are helping out. So, there is nonpartisanship where you can solve problems.


BROWN: But let me ask you about that, then. Do you see Harry Reid as someone who you could reach out to, if elected, and work with across the aisle?

HAYWORTH: Well, for purposes of full disclosure, I spoke Thursday night at the Washoe County, Lincoln Day dinner in Nevada, and obviously Harry has been friendly in the past. We have cooperated.

But I believe we will see a Republican in that seat. Whomever is in whichever seat in the United States Senate, when I join that, I will look for commonsense solutions that are non-ideological, but I will not abandon my principles.

BROWN: Congressman, let me switch gears for a moment here. In an interview last month, you still seemed to have some doubts about whether President Obama is an American citizen. And I just want to get you on the record on this. Is he or isn't he, in your view?

HAYWORTH: You know what? The only people raising that question, Campbell, with all due respect, are people in the media. That question has never come up at any town hall or any campaign stop. There's so much more important issues, with double-digit unemployment here.


BROWN: Stop right there, because you were very -- I can read you some of the quotes from your last interview, which seemed to suggest that you still...

HAYWORTH: No, I will be happy to recall them. No...

BROWN: ... you still have questions about this.



HAYWORTH: Let me clear this up.


BROWN: And it's amazing to me, in all honesty, that this is still an issue for you, if it is.


HAYWORTH: No, no, no, no, no. All I said was this, and I'm responding to what constituents write me about. And they're looking prospectively at every office, from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to city council.

For example, in Scottsdale, we had a situation where we had somebody running for the council under an assumed name who was a fugitive from justice. All I'm saying is, for every race across the country, especially with identity theft in the news, it would be great that people can confirm who they say they are.


BROWN: Identity theft? I mean, come on. Is that honestly what this is about?


HAYWORTH: I understand.


BROWN: Can you put it to rest once and for all? Are you comfortable with the fact that he's an American citizen?


HAYWORTH: Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He's our 44th president. I have no qualms about who he is or who he says he is.

I know who he is in terms of policy, in terms of reckless spending that will drive up hyperinflation, in terms of a so-called stimulus that led to incredible unemployment, and in terms to a guarantee of higher taxes on the American people and debt that is going to choke off generations yet to come.

That's the Barack Obama that concerns me, not some esoteric argument about birth certificates and eligibility.

BROWN: Well, he is the president, and he's certainly not going anywhere.

HAYWORTH: That's right.

BROWN: If you do get elected, are you going to be able to sit across from him to work with him, having flogged this issue a little bit? Do you think that you can have a working relationship with him?

HAYWORTH: Look, you're assuming something. I'm simply answering questions from the media, not my constituents.

I have the utmost respect for Barack Obama and I have profound disagreements. I'll tell you an interesting story. Last time I happened to see him in Washington, it was really in the early part of the presidential campaign. He wasn't traveling with an entourage.

He happened to come to a hotel where he was going to speak. He came over to me. He said: "Hey, J.D. You are looking good. Looks like you lost weight." And I said, "Well, you're riding high now, pal, but I will be back."

BROWN: All right, J.D. Hayworth, it's going to be interesting. We appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Congressman.

HAYWORTH: Thanks very much.

BROWN: And when we come back, today's other political bombshell from Senator Evan Bayh. The Indiana Democrat was a shoo-in for reelection, so why is he calling it quits? Lots of questions tonight. We're going to have some answers.


BROWN: Here's something the Democratic Party needs like a hole in the head, a popular two-term senator with plenty of money in his war chest and ahead in most of the polls taking himself out of the running for reelection? Why? Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana told us himself.


BAYH: I love working for the people of Indiana. I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives. But I do not love Congress. There's much too much partisanship, and not enough progress, too much narrow ideology, and not enough practical problem- solving. Even at a time of enormous national challenge, the people's business is not getting done.


BROWN: And joining me right now is CNN's Gloria Borger and our own Tom Foreman as well.

And, Gloria, partisan gridlock not exactly a new phenomenon in Washington.


BROWN: So why is it suddenly hitting him that it's time to step down? What was the tipping point?

BORGER: Well, Campbell, he has been thinking about this, I'm told, for quite sometime, but people close to him told me that there actually was a tipping point here.

That is, first of all, that the Senate couldn't get its act together on establishing a deficit commission, something he was really, really pushing. And, also, the Senate hasn't been able to get its act together on a jobs bill. The Democrats have been fighting each other on that.

At a certain point, his frustration runneth over, I think, and even though he was likely to win this race, as you said, he decided, you know what? I'm done. I'm getting out. I can't do it anymore. BROWN: But here's what I don't get, though. There was this big story in Politico very recently about how he, Senator Bayh, has spent the last two weeks tearing into his probable who he thought would be his Republican challenger Dan Coats.

BORGER: Right.

BROWN: This was all-out political assault. And if Bayh is really so frustrated with all the mudslinging in Washington, what was that all about?

BORGER: Well, he also had to win a race, and maybe he found that sort of not attractive.

Also, look, he was set to tape campaign ads next week. He did internal polling last week that showed him, I'm told, about 20 points ahead of Senator Coats. So, if you're going to run a race, you have to run a race to win. He talked to folks at the White House. He talked to the president. The president tried to get him to stay in.

But, clearly, this is someone who has been in the Senate for a dozen years, used to be a governor, where he got things done in the state of Indiana, and he's not getting much done in Washington.

BROWN: But he -- you said he talked to the president. And I know he didn't give him much of a heads-up and he didn't give Harry Reid any heads-up, right?

BORGER: No. He didn't. He didn't, actually. And I think they're not too happy about that at Harry Reid's office.

And, look, for the first time they're really worried about, gee, could they actually lose control of the Senate? They feel with Bayh now saying that he's going to retire, he's not as much of a dependable vote on health care, if there is any health care policy to come out of the Congress, that he's sort of somebody now they have to sort of scratch their heads about and say, where is he going to be, because he's not running for reelection?


So, Tom Foreman, let me bring you in here, because this is where it gets a little confusing. It's sort of hard given how fast it's all happening to keep track of all the incumbents stepping down. So, walk us through it. Where do we stand now going into the midterms? Sort of give us the lay of the land, if you can.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Campbell, Gloria hit it right on the head there. It's control of the Senate. That's what matters here.

All the blue over here, those are all the seats controlled by the Democrats, a couple of independents. These are the ones controlled by the Republicans. You can see the Democratic advantage. But these are the seats they're going to have empty going into the fall, Illinois, Delaware, North Dakota, Indiana, and Connecticut. And of all of these, probably the only one the political analysts say they can pretty much feel somewhat better about right now is Connecticut, and they can feel that way because Chris Dodd stepped down. He was running a rough race. Things were not looking good for him.

Over here for the Republicans, you've got Florida will be in play, Missouri, Ohio, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Kentucky. Probably Kansas and Kentucky look pretty positive for the Republicans. You could say it's an even mix here, but it's not an even mix, because the Democrats are the ones who had that 60, Campbell, and that 60 was all- important.

And there are a lot of indications they certainly won't have that. The question is, can they even hold the 50 when all of this washes out with those empty seats out there?

BROWN: Whole new ball game.

Tom Foreman for us tonight, along with Gloria Borger.

Thanks, guys.

Coming up next, the Texas town that has become an absolute cash cow for doctors. They have run up the biggest bill in the country using your tax dollars. We have a special investigation when we come back.


BROWN: Tonight, a special investigation into one Texas town that has become a cash cow for doctors. It's the very picture of a medical system out of control.

We sent Drew Griffin to find out why your tax dollars are being squandered away. Take a look.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look on almost every street corner here in every strip mall, and you will see the business of health care is booming.

In McAllen, Texas, they spend almost twice as much per Medicare beneficiary as the national average. According to a Dartmouth University study, health care costs are growing faster here than anywhere else in the country. For some physicians, this town in cattle country has become a medical cash cow.


GRIFFIN: Dr. Javier Ramirez came to McAllen 30 years ago. He helped found this county's neonatology program. He thinks some doctors here have lost their way.

RAMIREZ: I want to say that they forgot to practice medicine. GRIFFIN (on camera): They forgot to practice medicine?

RAMIREZ: Yes, the way they're supposed to. You need to assess patients before you do tests.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): His office is full. He often tries to treat his tiny patients here as outpatients, spending the time to teach parents how they can care for their children themselves. It's good health care, but he admits it's a poor way to run a business.


RAMIREZ: If I have a baby in my office and I bring him back to my office the next day, and the next day, I get paid very little. If I put him in the hospital, just the simple fact I put him in the hospital, I get paid more.

GRIFFIN (on camera): A lot more?

RAMIREZ: Yes. Plus, the hospital makes money.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): That's because higher-cost services and facilities receive higher reimbursements from insurers.

Dr. Elliott Fisher is a lead researcher for the Dartmouth health cost study.

DR. ELLIOTT FISHER, DARTMOUTH ATLAS PROJECT: Hospitals tend to emphasize those kinds of services where they will -- they can be sure they will make a profit. And they need to keep those beds full.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Ramirez found that out the hard way. He's now involved in a lawsuit with one of the biggest hospitals here, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, saying it hurt his business and his reputation. Though Ramirez is actually one of the doctor owners of the hospital, he was once barred from practicing there, he says, after complaining staff ordered tests and procedures for his newborns that he found unnecessary.

DR. JAVIER RAMIREZ, PEDIATRICIAN: Listen, on my babies you don't do this. You call me first, I will see them. And if I think a baby needs a test, I'll be the first one to order it.

Well, it didn't work that way. They made it mandatory. So I couldn't stop them. I could not stop them.

GRIFFIN: Because of privacy laws, it is hard to determine if all those babies Dr. Ramirez talks about actually needed the tests or not. The hospital denies the allegations in court documents and will not comment on the case. But the hospital's chief financial officer, Susan Turley, did take us through this immaculate, high-tech and well- staffed facility.

(on camera): And the critics who say, look, this is a procedure factory, they do a ton of tests here, the billing is very high -- SUSAN TURLEY, CFO, DOCTORS HOSPITAL AT RENAISSANCE: Come look at the numbers. They're not. Compare what I bill to any other hospital in this county. It's publicly available. You can get it from Medicaid, their Web sites, also in the news. I don't get paid any more.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): What's hard to believe is that this state- of-the-art hospital keeps expanding and profiting, even though 75 percent of its patients, according to Turley, are on Medicare or Medicaid. Turley says the privately-owned hospital thrives because of reinvestment, patient satisfaction and efficiencies. But the researchers at Dartmouth found that most providers in high-use areas like McAllen thrive off of volume.

DR. ELLIOTT FISHER, DARTMOUTH ATLAS PROJECT: The physician in the hospital is paid for each individual service. They're rewarded for more services, not better services. They're rewarded for more care, not better care.

GRIFFIN: More care was one thing that brought Dr. Jorge Zamora to the attention of the Texas medical board. He's in private practice with three offices in Texas and a jet to fly between them. Zamora apparently does pretty well. Though he and his lawyer would not talk to CNN, medical board records detail a case that seems to illustrate exactly what critics say is wrong with health care.

Last year, the Texas medical board fined him $30,000 for failing to meet medical standards including ordering care the boards complain called "excessive."

(on camera): What does the Texas medical board consider excessive treatment? Well, take a look at just one of Dr. Zamora's patient, who came in with a swollen ankle and complaining of pain in both feet. That person got a nerve conduction study, immunoglobulin levels were tested, testosterone was tested, uric acid tested, urine analysis, an antibody panel, lupus panel, hepatitis virus panel, screening study for bone density, even an ultrasound of the abdomen for a swollen ankle.

FISHER: Health care will not be affordable for the middle class in another 10 years if costs keep growing as they are now. And what's unfortunate is that it doesn't need to be that way. You know, we can have much better care at much lower costs if we have the will to get going on redesigning our health care system.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Back at Dr. Javier Ramirez's office, it's more hands-on care with one of his brand-new patients. This takes a lot of time, time Dr. Ramirez will be paid little for. Changing health care, he believes, will require rewarding doctors for this, not unnecessary tests and hospital admissions.

RAMIREZ: We have excellent physicians. We have good facilities to provide services, but we need to change certain patterns. You cannot put money before the patients.

There you go. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Drew Griffin joining us right now. And, Drew, just explain to me why McAllen, Texas, I mean, how did health care costs in this little Texas town become so expensive?

GRIFFIN: Those who study this, Campbell, say there are these pockets of medical entrepreneur areas. And in McAllen you can really put a number on it. In 1992 and before, it was pretty much in line with the rest of the country for medical expenses. After that, hospitals began to expand there. A new hospital is born and suddenly these beds need to be filled. The patients start flowing in. The doctor bills start going up. Other doctors see it and they start coming in. And so one doctor, one like-minded doctor follows another, follows another, and you have a literal culture that develops there of like-minded medical delivery systems driving which are driving these costs up.

BROWN: Pretty amazing. Drew Griffin with a great investigation. Drew, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

When we come back, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof helped draw the world's attention to the genocide in Darfur. Well, now, he is the star of a fascinating new HBO documentary. He's going to be with me right after this.


BROWN: Every day in our newsroom we wrestle with questions about which stories to cover and how best to tell them, and it is the same for ever journalist including two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof. His "New York Times" columns helped draw attention to the crisis in Darfur, and he is now the subject of a new documentary "Reporter" that is airing this month on HBO. And here is a moment from that documentary. Watch.


VOICE OF NICHOLAS KRISTOF, PULITZER-WINNING N.Y. TIMES COLUMNIST: In a career of reporting, I've heard a lot of really wrenching stories about murder and rape and everything else. And at this point, I'd say I'm really not proud of it. I'm a little embarrassed about it that I can listen pretty dispassionately to the most inhumane stories. And they, most of the time, don't, you know, really bother me. Maybe that's the clinical role of a surgeon somewhere in operating theater, but I can, you know, approach things normally as a journalist and treat it with a certain amount of professional distance.


BROWN: He and the documentary. Nick Kristof travels to Eastern Congo where fierce fighting between militia groups has killed millions of innocent people, and he is here with us now just back, I should mention, from a trip.

And let's start there. Give us your overview of what's happening there now. What struck you on this trip?

NICK KRISTOF, PULITZER-WINNING N.Y. TIMES COLUMNIST: It was wrenching to go back to the same areas and see things actually had deteriorated. There was one family that I visited. A 9-year-old girl told me about how late last year she had been at her home, a militia had attacked the home. They killed her parents in front of her and kidnapped the rest of her siblings. She had escaped into the woods, eventually took refuge with her aunt and uncle.

Well, a couple of months later, the same militia came back. This time they killed her uncle, dismembered him, and they raped her aunt and raped her. 9 years old, and she's been through this already. And I think what breaks my heart is this keeps on going on day in day out, month after month, year after year.

BROWN: So much of what you write about -- and I think this is on display in this documentary -- is really bringing to life these often horrific stories, especially when they involve women, victimizing women and children, and how they often die in the end even despite your efforts to go out of your way as a journalist to try to help them. And I want to show people one more clip from the documentary, which is of you traveling to a hospital with one of these women. Let's take a look.


KRISTOF: It's worth writing about it, because I think you can end up saving more people if you call attention to the problems than if you -- I mean, this woman may or may not be saved.


KRISTOF: But one can't say, you know, there have been four million people just like her.


BROWN: And this woman didn't make it. I know that.


BROWN: And I heard you say in that clip in the very beginning that you're able to view this with a certain amount of dispassion, but I don't know how. This is tough.

KRISTOF: I mean, the things you see just break your heart, but here and there you can take somebody to a hospital as I did in that case. But mostly --

BROWN: And feel like you're doing something?

KRISTOF: And feel like you're making a little bit of difference. But it really does feel as if we can fight that kind of mass slaughter at times with camera, with notebook, with pen. You're not going to necessarily solve the problem, but it really can make a difference. BROWN: Talk to me about your role as a journalist here and how you get, given how tough this material is that you write about so often, how you get your readers to pay attention to it?

KRISTOF: There are two things that I really try to look for. One is the storytelling. I find the most moving anecdote and tell the larger picture through that, but also find somebody who is ultimately where a possible, kind of a triumphant story, somebody who plums the depths of despair but also shows that change and improvement are possible.

BROWN: What do you think is needed most in the Congo right now, especially?

KRISTOF: You know, what we need isn't some kind of magic solution. We know how to solve the problem. It's putting it on the agenda. It's political will. And I think what we as journalists have is essentially a spotlight. And if we shine it on something, deeply uncomfortable like that war in Eastern Congo, then I think we can make people spill their coffee, feel upset, and ultimately get policymakers to pay attention.

BROWN: But let me raise that with you, because you'll remember when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited there, what became the news from that trip was a comment she made about her husband. That's the media environment we live in and so very little attention was given to what she was there to highlight.

KRISTOF: Yes, I mean, we dropped the ball periodically all the time. But just the fact that she did go to Eastern Congo really did resonate there. And it really did put pressure on the warlords. They feel they have to behave better and --

BROWN: Even if it wasn't on the front page of the paper here or --

KRISTOF: Absolutely. You know, if you're a warlord there, then you're really calculating what you can get away with. And you engage in massacre and mutilation because it works, it terrorizes people, and it doesn't leave a pile of bodies that can send you the international criminal court. But if there is some indication that impunity is going to end, that people care about that, then you end up, you know, being a lot more careful about what you do.

BROWN: Nick Kristof, it's great to see you. The documentary is fascinating. Really appreciate it.

KRISTOF: Thank you.

BROWN: And the HBO documentary "Reporter" premieres Thursday night at 9:30 Eastern.

Coming up, Silent Bob versus Southwest Airlines. Director Kevin Smith of "Clerks" fame booted for being too fat to fly when we come back.


BROWN: Southwest Airlines apologized to Hollywood director Kevin Smith again today. Should he have been pulled off of a plane because he's too fat? Before we get to that, Mike Galanos, though, here with tonight's "Download."

Hey, Mike.

MIKE GALANOS, HLN PRIME NEWS: Hey, Campbell. First off tonight, rescuers are trying to get to a mountain climber who fell into the crater of Washington's Mount St. Helens volcano. The man called 911 after he fell down the steep slope. And a helicopter that does contract work for the U.S. Geological Survey spotted him near the bottom of the crater but has really been unable to reach him because of high winds and white-out conditions. You kind of picture that there.

Well, never before seen film of President Kennedy's arrival in Dallas has surfaced. This is just an hour before he was assassinated, November 1963. The arrival was filmed by William Ward Warren. He was 15 years old at the time. And Warren has donated the footage to a museum at the site of the assassination.

Well, five people are dead after a small plane crash in New Jersey. Police say the plane broke apart and crashed while trying to land at an airport near the Jersey Shore. The FAA says the weather was overcast but it was not snowing or raining at the time of that crash.

And this is some incredible video. California, dozens of surf contest spectators nursing injuries, some with broken bones. A massive wave swept the shore, inundated the man-made jetty where they were watching a surfing contest over the weekend. Safety officials say it was just luck that nobody was swept out to sea. And the person who won this, Campbell, said he's never taken a beating like that in his life with the waves out there. So it was something to see but see from a safety distance.


GALANOS: And obviously these people were not in a safe place for it.

BROWN: Oh, yes. I've been watching that video all day. I think you brought us some new angle there.


BROWN: Mike Galanos, Mike, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

GALANOS: Thanks, Campbell.

BROWN: Also ahead, Southwest says it's sorry, but director Kevin Smith isn't about to forgive and forget. He got kicked off a plane for being too fat, and he can't stop tweeting about it.


BROWN: You may know him as "Silent Bob" or the director of the cult classics "Clerks" and "Mall Rats," but for Southwest Airlines, Kevin Smith was just another oversized passenger.

The airline apologized a second time today for pulling him off a flight because of his size. This weekend a flight attendant kicked him off a plane saying he was too large to fill just one seat, and that didn't go over well with Smith. He immediately took to twitter tweeting, "Dear Southwest Air, I know I'm fat, but was the captain really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?" He did use his podcast to describe his showdown with the flight attendant. Listen to this.


KEVIN SMITH, DIRECTOR: He goes, there is space allotment for each seat, and you were taking up more than your space allotment. I said don't (expletive deleted) do that. Just say fat, then. She said I didn't say fat. That's your word, not mine.

I said, lady, I ain't going to sue you for calling me fat. I'm sitting here telling you I'm fat. But you're telling me, don't sit here and dance around like I'm taking up more space. Lady, that's a euphemism for fat. Like, just be honest with me.


BROWN: And joining us now to put a little more perspective on this situation is Kate Hanni from

And, Kate, first of all, I guess explain Southwest's policy to us. It's been in place for a long time, right?

KATE HANNI, FLYERSRIGHTS.ORG: Southwest actually has the most clear policy of any airline. You have to be able to sit between the armrests or you have to purchase a second seat. And they eyeball it. I think the problem here is that it's a subjective interpretation by the gate agent as to whether or not you're going to fit.

BROWN: You're going to fit.


BROWN: So how often do they actually enforce it, I guess? How unusual is this to have somebody kicked off?

HANNI: Very rare. It's very rare. Now, it's come up lately because in Canada they just passed a law that says that if you're morbidly obese, if you have a doctor's note, you automatically get a free second seat. And so this has become an issue, because people are getting larger and believe it or not, you know, seats are getting smaller. So there is an issue growing here, pun intended, and it needs to be addressed and there needs to be clear policies.

It's my understanding he bought two seats, but then he opted to go stand-by on another flight.

BROWN: On an earlier flight.

HANNI: Yes, and was allowed on the flight and whoever made that subjective interpretation should have thought before they did that. They should never have allowed him on the plane if they thought he was too large.

BROWN: Right. But we should also note Southwest did apologize to Kevin Smith. How in your view did they handle his situation? I mean, what could they or should they have done differently?

HANNI: Well, remember those two gals that were kicked off of Southwest for wearing the mini skirts and then a couple months later Southwest put the posters on the side of the planes from the swimsuit models from "Sports Illustrated"?


HANNI: I think their messaging is a little confused, and I think what they need to do is really reward him and try to win back his service. And I know Southwest pretty well. They are customer service-oriented. They're a very good airline. So I think they just really blew it on this one, and they're going to need to do something more for him than what they've done.

BROWN: Well, let me talk Twitter with you a little bit.


BROWN: Because, you know, he sent out this blast and Southwest responded in less than 20 minutes. And OK, he's a celebrity, but more than that airlines are really monitoring Twitter for complaints these days, aren't they?

HANNI: Well, they are, because it's the fastest way for them to get a handle on something before the media gets it. See, if they call us at Flyers Rights, the first thing we do is we call the media and say we've got photos, video, audio of something going on inside a plane. But when somebody tweets it and the airlines can follow those tweets, then they know something is wrong and it's about to go public. So it's to their benefit to get on top of it quickly.

BROWN: So you advise anybody -- forget about the celebrity. Anybody should -- you know, if they have an issue with an airline should use social media?

HANNI: Absolutely. Use social media. You have to speak up and advocate for yourself. Also, always take a camera. If a flight attendant tells you that you can't take pictures, that's just not true. You can take photos of what's happening. You can take audio. You can take video unless it's takeoff and landing when there's no electronics permitted. You are allowed to take videos.

BROWN: Right.

HANNI: And you should. Absolutely.

BROWN: All right. Kate Hanni from Really appreciate you coming on. Thanks so much, Kate.

HANNI: Thanks so much, Campbell.

BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few minutes. But up next, tonight's "Guilty Pleasure." The video we just can't resist.


BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few moments, but Jeanne Moos has tonight's "Guilty Pleasure" first.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the show where the people tend to look like the dogs, and the dogs tend to look like people. From the hairless to the hairball, they are sprayed, powdered, petted and given mouth-to-mouth treats.

The jaws dropped here at Westminster when they heard the story of an alleged New York dog napping.

(on camera): How much will you give me to bring your dog back?

(voice-over): It happened during last week's blizzard. A Brooklyn family was out in Prospect Park with their beloved 3-year-old dog Sugar when she managed to take off. Their phone number was on Sugar's collar and soon after the family got home, a man called.

DRUCIE BELMAN, SUGAR'S OWNER: He said how much are you going to give me for her? And I said I don't know, $50. What is it that you want? And he hung up.

MOOS: A rescue group has offered a $5,000 reward, but Sugar is still missing. Here at Westminster with all the pricey show dogs, they practice low-tech security.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't let her out of my sight.

MOOS: And high-tech.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do have him chipped. Oh, yes, he's microchipped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're all chipped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They microchip right there.

MOOS: Some don't worry about dognapping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think you could steal a dog like that?

MOOS: And some hire a security guard to keep an eye on as many as a dozen dogs.

(on camera): Now, are you armed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I love dogs. I have two of my own.

MOOS: Are you armed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a weapon?

MOOS: Do you have a weapon?


MOOS (voice-over): She was watching one of three breeds new this year to Westminster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pier (ph) and Shepherd. You can just call them Pier Shephs (ph) --

MOOS: Then there's the --




MOOS (on camera): Buhund.


MOOS (voice-over): Which means farm dog in Norwegian. The third new breed is the Irish red and white setter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a typical Irish. It means a clown. Aidan. He's an Irishman, too.

MOOS: Some of the dogs here are famous.


MOOS: Star of dog food commercials, this bulldog is named "Munch" after the character in "Law and Order." Munch would be a breeze to steal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would walk off with you right now if you took the leash.

MOOS: Let's go, Munch. Come on, Munch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing, Munch? You go walking off with strangers.

MOOS: But when he shakes, Munch has a secret weapon and it landed on me.


MOOS (on camera): A slinger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll give you a baby wipe. You've been slung.

MOOS: Oh, boy.

(voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN.




MOOS: New York.


BROWN: That's it for us. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.