Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live At Daybreak

Preventing a Pandemic; Country Reacts to Newest Supreme Court Nominee

Aired November 01, 2005 - 06:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It is Tuesday, November 1. Preventing a pandemic, the president unveils his plan.
It may be bird flu. It may be another strain. It may mutate into something we've never seen before.

He's got his fans and his foes. The country reacts to the newest Supreme Court nominee.

And hold onto your money, the Fed meets today and we could see another change in interest rates.

ANNOUNCER: From the Time Warner Center in New York, this is DAYBREAK with Carol Costello.

COSTELLO: And good morning to you. We'll have more on the bird flu in just a minute.

Also ahead, job references are more than names on a list. Find out the myths that could cost you the job.

And the Italian prime minister comes to Washington, meets with the president, but it isn't what he said to reporters rather what he didn't say that's worth noting. We'll explain coming up.

First, now in the news, the viewing of the late civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is underway right now in the city she called home, Detroit. Thousands have been lining up at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History to pay their last respects. Parks will be buried tomorrow in Detroit.

Israeli security forces rounded up nearly two-dozen suspected Palestinian militants in West Bank raids overnight and Israeli military sources. Most of those arrested are members of the Islamic Jihad.

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla arrive in New York today. It's the couple's first official overseas trip since they were married earlier this year. They've also scheduled stops in Washington, New Orleans, and San Francisco.

To the Forecast Center, Bonnie Schneider in today. Good morning.


(WEATHER REPORT) COSTELLO: We'll be here. Thank you, Bonnie.


COSTELLO: Beating the bird flu, that's the president's focus this morning as he lays out his strategy for dealing with a possible worldwide flu outbreak. The White House press secretary says that strategy will include finding a flu outbreak as soon as it appears, containing it, and then treating it. The government will develop strong protections against the flu such as vaccines and anti-viral treatment.

Scott McClellan also says the government would respond quickly to save lives and he says the U.S. is getting ahead of the game to deal with the potential threat.


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This builds upon what we've already done as a country that is leading the way when it comes to addressing the threat from a pandemic flu outbreak.


COSTELLO: The president unveils his strategy for a flu pandemic at 10:10 Eastern this morning and of course we will bring that to you live right here on CNN.

It is hard to wrap your mind around the idea of a massive bird flu epidemic. If you're feeling overwhelmed, we've got you covered with a report from Dr. Sanjay Gupta. That will explain the whole bird flu thing. That's coming up in 30 minutes.

Well this won't come as a shock. Conservatives and liberals have drastically different viewpoints about President Bush's new Supreme Court nominee. In naming Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush was quick to point out that Alito has more judicial experience than any other nominee in 70-plus years. In other words, he's no Harriet Miers.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter is talking about the issue of precedence. That is whether Alito would vote to overturn established laws. But for DNC Chairman Howard Dean, some decisions Alito has already made are troubling.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: Judge Alito did not endorse super precedents or super, super precedents, but did say that he viewed it as a sliding scale and that the longer a decision was in effect and the more times it had been reaffirmed by different courts, different justices appointed by different presidents, it had extra precedential value.

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: He has upheld all white jurors trying African American dependent (ph) defendants, upheld a strip search of a woman and her 10-year-old daughter who happened to be in a house where there was a warrant given. There are some -- had some controversial cases that made it harder for people with disabilities to avoid discrimination. So there are some troubling decisions that he has made. We need to spend some more time looking into that.



COSTELLO: As you might expect, abortion rights activists took their message to the Supreme Court after Judge Alito's nomination was announced. The National Organization of Women says it's strongly opposed to Alito who they called anti-choice. The group is calling on people to contact their senators to voice concerns about the nominee.

So not everybody is happy about the nomination, but a lot of people are talking about it. Let's find out more about the president's latest pick from our national correspondent Bob Franken. He's with us live from Washington.

Morning, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are the queen of understatement here.


FRANKEN: You know all those millions of dollars that the special interest groups have been collecting and fundraising for a fight over the Supreme Court, well they're about to spend it on both sides. This could be the battle that hadn't happened thus far.

Samuel Alito is somebody who brings with him the intellectual qualifications of the minds of most people, but he also brings with him a point of view that is going to just cause an uproar those on the left side of the political spectrum, Democrats and their allies here. And the conservatives are almost unanimously saying that they've gotten the person that they want.

Somebody who has indicated that he might rule against the right to an abortion, that he is somebody who's a strong law and order man. In other words, what they've been looking for, for a long time to tilt the court to the right, which is just causing fear, fear on the other side of the political spectrum.

COSTELLO: Well you know you mention organizations like have already mobilized. In fact, it's already sending out an online petition, but did those things -- will those things really matter in this confirmation process?

FRANKEN: Well if I were somebody owning a television station, I might be very happy right now. We're going to see an awful lot of TV ads on. We're going to see a hugely organized effort on both sides over this nomination. This is the philosophical nomination -- philosophical fight that has literally been waiting for decades to happen. Sandra Day O'Connor is somebody who kept the court in the minds of most in the center of the political spectrum and those on both sides of this hike believe that Alito would move things to the right.

COSTELLO: Well let's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I mean let's just cut to the chase. I mean the Republicans have enough votes right to override whatever happens. I mean the Democrats could filibuster, but then the Republicans could pass a new law beating out the filibuster.

FRANKEN: Well those are not small things, in addition to which the Republicans have some so-called moderates in their ranks, people who for instance favor the right to an abortion and they're really the ones who might make the difference because their numbers, four, five or six, could swing this one way or the other. So this has the potential to be a huge battle.

What sets this one apart from Harriet Miers is that Samuel Alito does have this long record, does have -- has demonstrated an intellectual (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the many people questioned in Harriet Miers. So that issue probably is off the table.

COSTELLO: Exactly. So it all comes down to the issues now. Bob Franken, live from Washington. Thank you.

So what's it like to work for Judge Alito? We'll find out later this hour when we talk to one of his former law clerks, so keep it right here. That will come in the 6:30 Eastern half-hour of DAYBREAK.

Onto the CIA leak case now, the vice president's former chief of staff faces his first court appearance on Thursday. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the leak investigation.

In the meantime, Vice President Dick Cheney has named a new chief of staff to replace Libby. He's promoted David Addington to the post. He had been the vice president's general counsel, in other words, his lawyer. John Hannah has taken over Libby's duties as assistant to the vice president for national security affairs.

More deadly violence in Iraq to tell you about this morning, this time the target was a crowded commercial district in Basra, the country's second largest city. Police say at least 15 people were killed when the car bomb exploded on Monday night. At least 50 others were injured in the blast.

And the U.S. military has confirmed the death of the highest- ranking American officer to be killed in combat during the Iraq war. Colonel William Wood died last Thursday in the province of Babil, south of Baghdad. He'd responded to a roadside bomb and as his troops secured the area, a secondary blast went off and that blast killed him.

U.S. and Iraq, the officials hope November is far different from October. Last month was the deadliest since January for U.S. troops. At least 92 Americans were killed in October. A total of 2,027 U.S. military troops have died in Iraq. And finally, what some might call positive news out of Iraq. The Iraqi Electoral Commission holds a lottery drawing for placing candidates' names on the ballot. Since many Iraqis in poor rural areas are illiterate, the position of a candidate's name can be important. Voting for a new parliament is in December.

Still to come on DAYBREAK, what was missing from yesterday's speech with President Bush and the Italian prime minister? How about troops in Iraq?

And later, what is it about this Avian flu that has world leaders and parents so very concerned? We'll give you the 101.

And job references, what you think you know may be all wrong. We'll get some common mistakes that could cost you the job.

But first, here's what else is making news this Tuesday.



WALTER UPDEGRAVE, SENIOR EDITOR, "MONEY": If you're thinking of flipping, keep in mind that it's very possible that what you think may be a very quick venture, you could wind up holding that house for a longer period of time. You should have a good idea of how much money you have to put into this house.

The other thing is you should have a very good idea of the market or the number of houses on the market increasing in that area, has the time, the number of days that houses have been on the market, has that been on the increase. These are all things that can give you an idea of sort of the help of that market.


COSTELLO: Your news, money, weather and sports, it's 6:13 Eastern. Here's what's all new this morning.

President Bush unveils the government's strategy this morning for preventing the spread of a possible bird flu pandemic. More than four million doses of anti-viral treatment should be ready by the end of the year.

In money news, gas prices are below $2.50 a gallon for the first time in three months. A government energy survey found on average a gallon of unleaded regular gas dropped by more than 12 cents last week to $2.48.

In pop culture, Martha Stewart wanted to fire Donald Trump. Stewart tells "Fortune" magazine that she thought she'd be firing "The Donald" as part of her apprentice show. Well that never happened. Trump admits his show has lost viewers.

In sports, Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is leaving the club. He turned down a new three-year contract that would have quadrupled his salary.

To the Forecast Center and Bonnie Schneider.


COSTELLO: President Bush calls Italy's leader a strong partner in peace. The president welcomed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to the White House. His country is the third largest contributor of troops to the war in Iraq, not counting the United States of course.

The United Kingdom has about 12,000 troops there. South Korea has about 3,300 and Italy has 3,000 troops in the Iraq war, but that may be about to change.

Joining us live from Washington is Marco Bardazzi, a U.S. correspondent for the ANSA Italian News Agency. Good morning and welcome.


COSTELLO: We were curious about what Mr. Berlusconi said when he was in Washington with President Bush yesterday. He spoke in support of the Iraq war and we were wondering is there support on his part for the Iraq war still?

BARDAZZI: Yes it is, but the answer to that question very much depend who you're asking in Italy right now, because if you talk with Italian government officials, they will tell you that the position hasn't changed. Italy wasn't for the war in the beginning and the Italian forces didn't take part in the major military operation, so the Italian forces went there after their regime collapsed and just for a peacekeeping operation.

If you talk, on the other hand, with a -- opposition leaders, they will tell you that Mr. Berlusconi is changing his position because of the upcoming elections in Italy. There will be political elections on April 9 and everything right now in Italy has to do with politics.

COSTELLO: Well, I'm glad you said that because I'm going to go back to my previous statement about how confusing Mr. Berlusconi's message is to Americans. Like yesterday he said I personally admire very strong the leadership shown by President Bush. He has the same values and same principles I have and he is very consistent in the decision that he carries on.

But he told "Reuters" a completely different thing. And let's listen to that.



UNIDENTIFIED TRANSLATOR: I have never been convinced that war was the best system to make a country democratic and help it escape dictatorship even a bloody one. I tried many times to convince the American president not to go to war.


COSTELLO: So Italy still has troops in Iraq and it was part of the coalition of the willing. I mean what exactly does that mean? Does that mean Italy will very soon pull its troops out of Iraq?

BARDAZZI: Well Italian troops are already withdrawing. Three hundred soldiers left Iraq in the past few weeks, but Mr. Berlusconi was really clear yesterday saying that Italian troops will be there until the mission is accomplished.

The decision that was taken yesterday at the White House, according to what Prime Minister Berlusconi told us yesterday, was that in January the Italian defense minister will have a meeting with Secretary Rumsfeld to decide a timeline for the Italian withdrawal. Italy is looking forward to a general withdrawal of their troops because the popular support for the war is really at the lowest point right now.

COSTELLO: If there is a change in leadership, what will that mean for the relations between the United States and Italy, especially when it comes to military support?

BARDAZZI: Well the opposition leader, the opponents of Mr. Berlusconi is former European Union president, Romano Prodi, and he was really clear saying that the day after he wins the election, if he wins, he will pull out the troop out of Iraq. He will withdraw all the troops. So you will have a scenario that is like the one that you had last year with Spain when Prime Minister Zapatero won the election. So for sure, there will be a change in the relationship between Italy and the United States, but the link between Italy and America is so strong that maybe there could be a disagreement on Iraq, but on many other issues, the two countries are going to work together.

COSTELLO: Marco Bardazzi, U.S. correspondent for the ANSA Italian News Agency joining us live this morning. Thank you.

BARDAZZI: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Some information for you on the coalition in Iraq. It consists of 25 countries, not including the United States. It totals about 23,000 troops. Twelve countries have withdrawn from what President Bush calls the coalition of the willing.

Still to come on DAYBREAK, a high profile board member says goodbye to our parent company, Time Warner.

And later, the Fed meets today and what could that mean for your money?

But first, good morning Philadelphia and I know you're struggling through a second day without mass transit because of the transit workers strike, but still good morning to you.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Time now for a little "Business Buzz". AOL cofounder Steve Case resigns from the Board of Time Warner. Steve self-brokered the 2001 purchase of Time Warner, which of course is CNN's parent company. Steve says he wants to devote time to a new company he's launching.

Did retail giant Wal-Mart get off easy? The Labor Department's inspector criticized department officials for giving Wal-Mart significant concession in a settlement over a child labor law violation. The inspector cites a deal that requires Wal-Mart to get a 15-day notice before it's inspected.

Job hunters listen up. You've got a top-notch resume. You've boned up on potential employers, but what about your references? What you don't know can hurt you.

Anne Fisher of "Fortune" magazine joins me now to talk about some job reference myths. Good morning, Anne.

ANNE FISHER, SR. WRITER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE (via phone): Good morning.

COSTELLO: Well all these tips are pretty scary actually.

FISHER: Well it is pretty scary. I mean I didn't realize myself until I started really thinking about this, but it's using references in a job search is a lot more complicated than most people realize I think.

COSTELLO: Yes, you think you're going to get a good reference from someone and then like maybe you won't, so let's go down the six myths that you've spelled out for us regarding references.

The first one, company's lawyers will not allow them to say anything critical of a former employee. I guess that means if you leave a company under less than excellent circumstances, you just figure that legally they can't say anything bad about your character.

FISHER: Well the thing is that there have been a lot of lawsuits by ex-employees alleging that they've been slandered or impeded from getting another job. And so most big companies now do have a formal policy that says they can't say anything about you except what your title was, you know, what you did, how long you were there, and you know other sort of innocuous facts.

However, a lot of the time, about half the time probably, companies do, people in companies violate these policies. You can't count on the policy to protect you in other words.

COSTELLO: Well what do they do and if you find out that they're saying that, you know, I don't know, you're a thief on the job or something like that, I mean is there any recourse for you?

FISHER: Well the only thing that I can say is that if you know that somebody has given you a bad reference or you suspect that they may have, try to get together with them and discuss with them, first of all, the fact that you would like to be able to use them as a reference, see if you can sort of get them on your side.

If that is not possible or if you just can't bring yourself to do it, then your -- really your only recourse is to warn a prospective employer that they may get a bad reference from this person.


FISHER: I think most job interviewers are well aware that we don't always get along with our bosses and we do have problems with chemistry and with differences of opinion and so on, that's fine. But what they don't like is negative surprises. If you warn them, look, you know I had a little bit of a problem with this company, you may not get a glowing recommendation from them, at least they're prepared and...


FISHER: ... then you know you're being honest and up front about the situation, so...


FISHER: ... that's some protection for you.

COSTELLO: I don't know if I could stand to get together with bosses I didn't get along with.

FISHER: Well...

COSTELLO: Oh, it was nasty. OK, the second myth, most companies direct reference calls to the Human Resources Department and those people won't say anything bad. After all, they're the H.R. people.

FISHER: Yes, they're the H.R. people. Well the thing is that even a not so enthusiastic tone of voice can work against you. You know if someone calls and if you left under a cloud, and someone calls for a reference, even -- they don't even have to overtly say anything. They can just say oh yes, Susie, right, I remember her. You know, it's not even -- in other words, it's nothing that you could pin down that they said. It's just an overall impression that they gave.

There really isn't a lot you can do about this, however. I think the main lesson in all of this is try not to burn your bridges. Try not to leave a job on bad terms and then you won't have to worry about it.


FISHER: I think a lot of people, you know, thinks that it's not going to matter and they can quit in a huff or whatever and it's not going to come back and haunt them. Unfortunately, that's not true.

COSTELLO: Oh, you are right because man, did I burn a lot of bridges and they all came back to haunt me.


COSTELLO: Three, it's best to list references on your resume so they get distributed to every potential employer. Why wouldn't that be a good idea?

FISHER: Well, you know, sometimes when employers are trying to decide whom to hire, let's say there are several candidates for the same job, you know they'll just start calling all the references, whether or not they're really genuinely interested in you or not. And one way to lose a good reference is to have them get 13 phone calls in one week about you. You really want to be very selective because their time is valuable and you want them to know that you value their time.

COSTELLO: Got you. OK, once you're hired, references don't matter anymore.

FISHER: Oh, well, OK, there's a couple of things wrong with that. First of all, a lot of the time whether you're told so explicitly or not, you maybe in a 90-day probation period after you're hired and if they're still checking references after they hire you, if they get a bad one, you may not last out the 90 days. And the second thing is you know you want to keep in touch with your references. I mean you can't just use them and then drop them. That's not good.

COSTELLO: No, it's not. OK, five and six, we're going to whip through these. If you sued your former employer, they can't say anything negative about you. We've already kind of covered that. And six, once you have the job, there's no need to stay in touch with your references. And -- but it is important to always have them on your side, right?

FISHER: Oh absolutely. You want to be able to count on these people throughout your whole career and so, you know, take them out to lunch, call them once in a while to let them know how you're doing and find out how they're doing. You know, really cultivate these relationships because they're very important.

COSTELLO: Plus, you owe them. You owe them at least a good lunch.

FISHER: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Yes. Anne Fisher of "Fortune" magazine. Thank you for talking with us this morning.

Still to come on DAYBREAK, the Fed meets and there could be more changes to interest rates. We'll get the scoop from Chris Huntington later this hour.

And what is this Avian flu and why does it have the whole world taking action? We'll have an explainer from Dr. Sanjay Gupta when DAYBREAK comes right back.