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CNN Live Event/Special

Idaho Senator Denies Role in Sex Scandal; Martin Luther King Statue Outsourced?

Aired August 28, 2007 - 20:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: By the way, we're going to be keying in on senator Larry Craig words. And, of course, you have seen the mug shot already. That is probably going to be in newspapers all over the country tomorrow.
But what about the police officer? What does he have to say, the police officer, he seems to be having an argument with?

The best way of figuring out a story, we know, is to read the actual police report. We know you want to probably see it for yourself, so we have got it right here. This is the incident report released.

You see at the very top there, it says Minnesota report, used as either an arrest, an incident, or an offense. So, we're going to be breaking this down for you, the undercover cop's own words about what really happened in the bathroom stall. We will have that for you.

And then there is this story that is coming out of Seattle. You see those two mysterious men right there? Police in Seattle say they urgently need to know who those men are. But here is where the story gets interesting. Some Muslim-Americans want to know why the police want to know who they are. They're crying foul. They're crying profiling. And, tonight, we're going to bring it out in the open.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Also tonight, the secret world of sexual trysts played out in public bathrooms across America. Who, why, and what is with the hand signals?

He had a dream of equality. But Martin Luther King's statue is causing a stir. Some blacks say, if they're good enough to dig the site, why shouldn't they be good enough to make the statue? That will be outsourced. Can you say outrage?

And disorder in the court. Wait until you see what happens when an accused killer is confronted. It is out in the open.


SANCHEZ: And hello, again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Well, last night, we told you that this thing was going to be a bombshell. Tonight, the boom is still echoing. A standing member of the U.S. Senate holds a news conference to announce that he's not gay and he was not looking for sex in a bathroom stall. Here it is.


SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I did nothing wrong.

Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay.


SANCHEZ: By the way, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, but now says that that was a mistake to do so. The undercover police officer who arrested him says it was not a mistake.

Here is how he describes what he saw. We have got the report right here. So, we're going to be taking some chunks out of it for you.

Here is the first. He writes: "I could see an older white male with gray hair standing outside my stall. Craig would look down at his hands, fidget with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. I was able to see Craig's blue eyes."

And the undercover police officer says then that Craig entered the stall right now next to his. And he quotes -- or we quote him here to say: "Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. He moved his right foot, so that it touched the side of my left foot."

So, now they're making contact between the stalls.

Senator Craig, he goes on to say, was walked out of the courtroom and arrested.

Now, let's take you to Idaho, where our congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, has been following the story from Boise.

Dana, what it seemed that the senator was saying today at his news conference is: I have done nothing wrong, I'm really the victim here, and I'm going to fight this thing, right?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. He was very defiant today. At times he was emotional. And, quite frankly, the whole scene was a little bit bizarre to watch because what the senator is trying to say is that he is innocent, despite pleading guilty.

And if you read into the police report you were just quoting from, it makes it pretty clear that at the time of his arrest in the Minneapolis airport, he was very testy about it and denied the allegations that the plainclothes officer made, even threw his business card on the table that says he's a United States senator and said something to the effect of, what do you think of this?

Now what the senator said today is that part of the reason why he did decide to plead guilty is this newspaper, his hometown paper, "The Idaho Statesman." And today they published the results of a six-month investigation into rumors and allegations that the senator is gay and has been involved in lewd conduct in the past.

Now, the senator today called that a witch-hunt and also went on to explain more about why he decided to plead guilty, despite saying he's innocent.


CRAIG: In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis because of the stress "The Idaho Statesman" investigation and the rumors it has fuelled all around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake, and I apologize for my judgment.

Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and I should have told my family and my friends about it. I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have anyway.


SANCHEZ: You know, as I listen to him, I'm thinking about his congressional correspondents -- or pardon me -- his congressional colleagues and some of the other guys in the Senate who work with him and what they're thinking about what has been going on in the last couple of months and whether they might want to try and kick this guy out. What are you hearing?

BASH: Well, what we saw in Washington today really was remarkable, Rick. What his fellow Republicans, the leadership in his party, this is a group of people who really protect one another -- they issued a statement saying that they, they, the Republicans, asked the Ethics Committee in the Senate to investigate this particular incident.

That is really pretty much unprecedented. And it sends a big signal to the senator about how his colleagues in Washington feel about him. And I can tell you, it is the same kind of thing here in Idaho. I talked to Republicans, influential Republicans. They watched today, and they said -- one even said to me point blank, Larry Craig's political career is probably over.

SANCHEZ: Dana Bash following the situation there in Boise.

Now, part of the reason that the allegations against the senator are shocking is because of his voting record on social issues. It is really straight-arrow conservative. Look at this. In the past few years, he's voted for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only a union between a man and woman. Some call it the anti-gay- marriage amendment. He voted against federal funding for comprehensive sex education, against expanding Medicaid coverage of low-income HIV patients, against a hate crime bill that included provisions for crimes against gays.

The thing is, if the allegations against Larry Craig are true, he wouldn't be the first or only prominent public figure who got tripped up by his own actions. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Remember him? Senator David Vitter, a first-term Republican from Louisiana and champion of the family values agenda, anti-gay rights, anti-abortion, perfect ranking by the Christian Coalition. This past June, his phone number turns up in the records of an alleged D.C. madam scandal, the scandal of Deborah Jeane Palfrey.

SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: I'm completely responsible, and I'm so very, very sorry.

SANCHEZ: Vitter apologizes for what he calls a very serious sin in his past.

It isn't just politicians. The Reverend Ted Haggard was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, with direct access to the Bush White House. Last November, he steps down in shame after confessing to being a deceiver and a liar with a lifelong sexual problem. He allegedly paid a male prostitute for sex. Haggard now says he's completely heterosexual.

It happens to Democrats, too. In 2004, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey announces that he was resigning and comes out as a gay American. McGreevey now says that 34 days after he was elected governor of New Jersey he began a secret affair with a male aide. It destroyed McGreevey's career, ruined his marriage, and, he writes, "helped me discover who I really am."

Last month, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa admitted that he's having a relationship with a Spanish-language television reporter.


SANCHEZ: The admission came after Villaraigosa's wife of nearly 20 years sued him for divorce.


SANCHEZ: Well, this is certainly something that we need to be able to talk about. So, for more now on the public figures, the private lives and the fallout from Senator Craig's arrest, let's bring in some of our own experts here.

And we got them.

Keith Boykin, author of "Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America." He's also the host of BET's "My Two Cents." And he's been with us here before. Also Kevin McCullough, syndicated radio talk show host and author of "MuscleHead Revolution: Overturning Liberalism with Commonsense Thinking."

All right, Kevin, let me begin with you. He makes a statement, reads it, and doesn't take any questions. What do you make of that?

KEVIN MCCULLOUGH, AUTHOR, "MUSCLEHEAD REVOLUTION: OVERTURNING LIBERALISM WITH COMMONSENSE THINKING": Guilty as all get-out. There is -- he's acting like someone who has pled guilty, confessed to his sins, and now just doesn't like the consequences of what he's dealing with.

SANCHEZ: And I guess the biggest question here is, why would someone sign a statement that says I'm guilty...

MCCULLOUGH: You don't.

SANCHEZ: ... and then come back and say, that's a mistake; I shouldn't have done that?

KEITH BOYKIN, HOST, "MY TWO CENTS": Because he got caught. That's really what happened here. He knew he was guilty when he signed the statement.

SANCHEZ: So, wait a minute. You're telling me that he was going to and hide and hope nobody would find out about this?

BOYKIN: Apparently so.

SANCHEZ: Which, by the way, worked for a couple of months.

BOYKIN: Apparently so. You know, he said he didn't seek counsel or attorney. That's not true, according to the police records, because a month -- a few weeks after this happened, he was back in the Minneapolis court, Minneapolis airport, basically, saying to the police there, I need to talk to my lawyer about this.

And then it took two months before he actually signed this statement where he acknowledged that he did wrong. It took two months. That gave him plenty of time to think about it. He did wrong. He lied.

pope Let's listen to more of what he has to say. Here he's trying to appeal to his family values, I suppose. We will listen to it and we will see what we have to say on the other side.


CRAIG: I love my wife, my family. I care about friends and staff and Idaho. I love serving this great state. Over the years, I have accomplished a lot for Idaho. And I hope Idahoans will allow me to continue to do that. There are still goals I would like to accomplish. And I believe I can still be an effective leader for our state.

Next month, I will announce, as planned, as many of you have already been told, whether or not I will seek reelection.


SANCHEZ: What do you think, Kevin? Do you think they're going give him a break? You think they're going to buy that argument? MCCULLOUGH: I don't think he's getting a month. I think he will be done before the end of the week.

SANCHEZ: Really?

MCCULLOUGH: Yes, absolutely. And there is a big reason why.


MCCULLOUGH: Because, when liberals embrace leaders that embrace adultery and other immoral activities, conservatives reject and discipline and whip and say, enough is enough. And there is no way that the base of his state party or the national party is going to tolerate this. There is just no allowance for it.

SANCHEZ: Is that fair, though?

Go ahead.

BOYKIN: I think he's exactly right. It is about hypocrisy here. That is what is taking place.

SANCHEZ: But what he just said is that liberals would embrace it and conservatives wouldn't.


MCCULLOUGH: ... and look at Mr. Craig...


BOYKIN: Well, there is a slight dig in that. But Larry Craig voted for impeachment for Bill Clinton. Larry Craig voted guilty.

And he said at the time -- I have his statement here -- he said the most serious threat to the order of society is when the people who make the laws become lawbreakers themselves.

That's exactly what he just did here. And that's not acceptable. I agree with him on one point. He's out by the end of the week.

SANCHEZ: Do you think there is a difference, though, culturally speaking -- let's be honest now...


SANCHEZ: ... between a man having a relationship with another man in a bathroom and a man having a relationship with a woman? Both, obviously, are wrong, but isn't one different from the other?

MCCULLOUGH: I wouldn't say that there is. Both are married. Both are obligated to their families and to serving the country at the time.

SANCHEZ: But even the anonymous gay sex thing you don't think hits harder with Republicans? (CROSSTALK)

MCCULLOUGH: I think adultery, gay sex in a gross bathroom, it doesn't matter -- if it is immoral and your base thinks it is immoral, you're done. Your goose is cooked.


BOYKIN: I don't think it's about immorality. I think it is about hypocrisy. He's an anti-gay senator who is involved in gay activity. The public isn't going to buy it. His constituents aren't going to buy it. He is going to be out of there soon.


SANCHEZ: Kevin McCullough, Keith Boykin, we thank you, both, for your thoughts. We appreciate it. All right?

Well, this story is bringing in something in the open as well that most Americans really have no clue about. It is the men's room hookup.

We asked CNN's Dan Lothian to find out more about this and how common this thing really is.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It is not the primary function of public parks, restrooms and rest areas. But for men in search of anonymous same-sex partners, they are popular destinations.

RICHARD TEWKSBURY, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE: There is also the idea that there is sort of a thrill to the hunt, to the excitement of sex in a public place, of doing something that potentially does have negative consequences for you.

LOTHIAN: Web sites like this one offer a kind of adult travel guide, including rules of the game and secret signals to make a connection in a public restroom, like waiting in a stall at the farthest end of the bathroom, and, when someone approaches next door -- quote -- "move your foot so that you know the other person can see it and slowly start tapping it."

(on camera): Professor Richard Tewksbury of the University of Louisville has published...


SANCHEZ: All right.

Joining us now, Dan Savage, who writes this syndicated sex column. It's called "Savage Love."

Thanks for joining us.


SANCHEZ: How big a problem is this?

SAVAGE: Well, it is a big problem in the lives of a lot of the men who do it. It is not the problem in the lives of most openly gay men.

Invariably, when there is a bust in a public restroom where there is lewd activity going on, reporters are shocked to discover that the men who have been arrested are heterosexually identified, straight identified married men frequently and priests. Very rarely do you hear about openly gay men being busted in a place like that.

SANCHEZ: So, what are you saying?


SANCHEZ: What are you saying with that? What...

SAVAGE: I'm saying it is a release mechanism for guys who are closeted.

This is once again a la with -- as with Ted Haggard, who claims to be heterosexual now, with Bob Allen, the Florida...


SANCHEZ: And whose fault is it that they're closeted?

SAVAGE: It's the culture's fault. Gay men and gay lesbians don't construct a culture that encourages people to remain closeted all their lives.

It is also, however, this individual's responsibility. I think that Senator Craig has been an adult for, you know, since the gay- lesbian civil rights movement has achieved remarkable successes. And he chose to remain closeted, if he is, in fact, gay, which I believe he is, and I think most sensible people are going to conclude. And he chose a life of furtive sexual contacts to get his sexual needs met in places that are, frankly, kind of revolting and not fair to other people who may be in the bathroom for its intended purpose.

SANCHEZ: I suppose so.

By the way, just to be fair, Bob Allen has not been charged with this, and he has said he said all along that he's not guilty. He's pleading not guilty in this case, just to be fair on that count. I know that there's a lot of names that have been thrown out there.

When you look at this, though, couldn't you just say, these guys, the ones who actually are found guilty of something like this are just plain wrong and it has nothing to do with the culture forcing them to do these things? Because, after all, going into a bathroom to have anonymous sex with somebody you don't even know is in and of itself just creepy, isn't it?

SAVAGE: Oh, it is creepy.

For some men, as your expert said earlier, that is the thrill. Part of the thrill is the risk. But it is an inappropriate kind of acting out. And it is the way the culture used to accommodate gays and lesbians. For 1,500 years, you couldn't live as an openly gay person and you were -- your -- heterosexual was compulsory.


SAVAGE: So, people lived heterosexual lives, gay people did, and then had gay sex in places where the culture said, OK, there, and nowhere else, bathhouses, bathrooms, some public parks. And that cultural compact has now shifted, where you can live an openly gay life and there is less tolerance for this sort of activity, even among gays and lesbians.

Gay people don't like hearing that he was arrested doing something gay in a bathroom. There's nothing gay about what he was doing.



SAVAGE: ... pathetic and desperate in a bathroom and something that very few gay men do.

SANCHEZ: Right. It has nothing to do with that. And you make a very good point. That's important.

By the way, how do these guys know where to go? Are there specific bathrooms that they know to go to?

SAVAGE: There are now, thanks to the Internet, lists of cruisy toilets that are constantly updated and Web sites. And again these Web sites really do facilitate and make it possible for men who choose to remain closeted because they believe Jesus hates them if they're gay or their constituents won't for them if they come out, which is very likely in this case, makes it possible for them to live a double life and facilitates that double life.

SANCHEZ: What about the -- this officer? Did you read the police report? The officer talks about tapping the foot, and then, you know, holding with his hand the bottom of the stall?

Is this true? Are there actual hand signals and gestures that you make when you want someone to engage in something like this with you?

SAVAGE: Well, I never engaged in this, but from what I have read, there is an escalation of contact when people are trying to cruise. One of the things that most people don't realize about these cruisy bathrooms, your reporter showed a clip of children in a park to create the impression of children in peril.

SANCHEZ: Right. SAVAGE: Most of this stuff is very subtle and people have no idea it is going on because the persons engaging in contact don't want to be arrested, don't want to be busted, and also don't want to alarm people unnecessarily.

And so what there will be is, there will be this initial contact, a little initial eye contact, which is where the police report begins, and then the subtle and slow escalation of welcomed and reciprocated subtle signals, the tapping of feet.

The police officer didn't -- you know, as most -- if somebody stared at me through a crack in a bathroom stall as this began, I would give them a dirty look and they would go away, as most people would. The police officer did not welcome the contact, and the senator escalated the contact, which is how these things play out. People don't just leap on each other in public restrooms.


SANCHEZ: That is what the police report says. It is what is alleged. We will follow the story.

We thank you, Dan, for bringing us your insight on this.

SAVAGE: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, we focus on a mystery. Who are these two guys that we're about to show you right here? And what are they really up to in this picture? Is it linked to terrorism? This one has some people crying profiling.

Then why is a statue honoring Martin Luther King being outsourced? So, they couldn't find an African-American or any American for that matter to do the job? What? We will bring it out in the open for you.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Here is a story we told you about out in the open because this is about -- it's a controversy and a mystery both going on at the same time in Seattle. It focuses on fear of terrorism and also on the other side, fear of discrimination against Arab-Americans. It starts with a couple of guys on a passenger ferry. Are these nefarious characters or just victims of our own fears or someone with a camera?

We sent CNN's Ted Rowlands to Seattle to investigate.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is a chance, according to the FBI, that the ferry system near Seattle, which shuttles more than a million passengers a month through scenic Puget Sound, is being targeted for attack. There is also a chance that these two men have a perfectly good explanation for what they were doing earlier this summer, taking picture after picture on board passenger ferries.

CAPTAIN STEPHEN METRUCK, U.S. COAST GUARD: It is very, very interesting and odd what they were doing, so we really would like to locate these individuals.

ROWLANDS: So odd, says Coast Guard Captain Stephen Metruck, that authorities feel they absolutely need an explanation. Here is why. The two men were scene on several different ferries on multiple routes taking notes and photographs, and apparently measuring different areas of several ships, including the cargo hold of one boat.

One ferry employee became so concerned he took photos of the two men using a cell phone camera.

(on camera): According to the FBI, some of the specifics as to the two men's behavior included, according to witnesses, them pacing off different areas of the ship, seeming to measure different areas. They were also seen taking photographs of things like this, restricted areas that only employees can go, and they were also seen in one instance studying an emergency evacuation poster like this one.

CAPTAIN MARK THOMAS, WASHINGTON STATE PATROL: When a pattern of behavior starts to develop with numerous reports, that obviously causes greater concern.

ROWLANDS: Concern enough to launch an investigation to find them including according to the FBI an exhaustive surveillance operation. But after the cell phone photo was taken of the two men, they seemed to vanish, leaving their identities a mystery.

While investigators acknowledge there could be an explanation, they say without one they have to assume the worst.

LARRY CARR, FBI: When we vetted out this through the traditional investigative techniques, and we got no answers, at that point in time we have got to step it up, because the result of not doing anything at that point in time is a ferry blowing up, capsizing, and thousands of people lose their lives. We can't let that happen.

ROWLANDS: With so much concern and no sign of the two men, the FBI decided to go public, releasing the camera phone photos to the media, in the hopes that someone would recognize the men. Their pictures appeared in local television and newspapers, prompting almost 200 tips, but no positive I.D.

Meanwhile, several groups in Seattle are criticizing the decision to release the photos, saying essentially that the two men haven't done anything illegal and the photos only further the stereotype that people who look Middle Eastern are possible terrorists.

NASEEM TUFFAHA, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: We just want to ensure that there is one standard being implemented for suspicious behavior for both people who are appear to be Middle Eastern and those who appear not to be Middle Eastern.

ROWLANDS: Don't expect an apology from the FBI, which says they never publicly speculated about the men's ethnicity.

CARR: We have had some criticism. Unfortunately, we can't let that stand in our way. When you break it down to just the facts and you separate yourself from any personal issues or agendas that may be present, you look at the facts, and I don't know how we can determine that there is any other way that we can go about it. We simply have to I.D. these individuals.

ROWLANDS: And find out exactly what they were doing.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Seattle.


SANCHEZ: And, just to be clear, we here at CNN were among the many media outlets that broadcast the pictures of the two unidentified men that you just saw in that report after the FBI released the pictures asking the public for some type of help. But was that the right call?

That's something Kareem Shora wants to weigh in on. He's an attorney with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. And he's good enough to join us now.

You know, what is interesting about this is the FBI really never mentions the ethnicity, but I imagine there's people in the Arab- American community who might think that they probably shouldn't have released these pictures to begin with. Are you among those?

KAREEM SHORA, AMERICAN ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: Rick, we have heard the concerns from the local community in Seattle.

However, overall, we think that we're an asset to the FBI's efforts and in this incident and other situations in the past.


SANCHEZ: So, do you see this as profiling?


SHORA: Not at all. Not at all, Rick.

I think the idea is that we have been able to establish bridges with the FBI in other situations, and we feel that we can become an asset in this situation, calling on our community to cooperate and work with the FBI to make sure that any suspicious behavior regardless of who the individual may be is reported to law enforcement.

SANCHEZ: So, what is your beef then?

SHORA: The situation is that we're used to working with the FBI so closely in other incidents, and in this situation, the FBI chose not to reach out to the community ahead of time. Given the post 9/11- world we live in, let's all be realistic. We know what we're talking about. We're talking about terrorism. And it is a threat against all Americans regardless of whether you're Arab-American or not. We feel that we could have been an asset in helping law enforcement reach out and see if the community is aware of those individuals or whether we can help in that...


SANCHEZ: So, I get it. You're saying, look, it is OK to do what they did, but they should have come to us first; they should have tipped us off, right?

SHORA: Not tipped us off, just work with us as partners. This would not be first time. Again, there have been situations in the past around the country where we worked with the FBI very closely and have been successful in helping their efforts out.


SANCHEZ: So, what do you think you would have done? They would have come to you with a couple of pictures and said, hey, check and see if anybody in your community knows who these two guys are?

SHORA: That is very true. It is a very small community. And again let's not get ourselves where -- we all know we live in a post- 9/11 world. And we feel that we have an obligation...


SANCHEZ: Well, you said that before. But let me stop and ask you. You have seen the pictures now. Do you know who these guys are?

SHORA: Obviously, I personally do not. But the job -- there is no real gripe.

The issue is that the situation has been made -- you mentioned yourself that CNN actually played those pictures over and over again.


SHORA: And it seems like the media is definitely publicizing the situation a lot more so than it is. I think it's the job of everyone to help out.


SANCHEZ: Let me ask you, then, because you're kind of being -- you're on the edges of this argument, and I want to see if you can attack it a little more directly. Do you think it was proper for the media to report this, for the media to show the pictures and for the police to say we have got a couple of guys on a boat; we don't know much about them, other than the fact that they may have been acting a little bit mysteriously, and we have got this picture? Is that right?

SHORA: As long as -- absolutely. As long as the standard is being applied of suspicious behavior, then you did your job, the police did their job, and we need to do our job as a community to work with the FBI and try to resolve the situation.

SANCHEZ: So, you're saying all we want to do is help. And we appreciate that.

SANCHEZ: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Kareem Shora, thanks so much for your insight. Good guest. We will get back to you.

SHORA: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: With all the horrible news about mines lately, it's nice to be able to show you some good news, some actual rescues. Let's start off in West Virginia.

Take a look at this guy here. He's been digging now for two days to try and find his dog caught in a landslide. It is underground. And finally, as you're about to see here, his reaction when he finally gets the dog. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got my dog. I got my dog.


SANCHEZ: He's crying like a little boy, but he's finally reunited with the dog that he has been looking for. Apparently, they had to bring in a backhoe and they finally were able to get him out.

Now let's take you to New Zealand. This is not about a dog. This is about a real live human being. A cave climber is alive tonight after spending three days trapped under a rockslide deep underground. They pulled him out today. But you're not -- you can't see it in these pictures, what this guy had to go through to actually get out.

The rescuers -- listen to this -- had to haul the guy on a stretcher for nearly three days through narrow twisting passageways in the cave, 1,300 feet underground, all this, by the way, while he had a broken pelvis and some serious head injuries. They say he's now doing much better. Those are our top picks.

America's wounded warriors, facing enormous challenges when they get home. Like relearning how to defend themselves. That's where our hero comes in. You are not going to believe this teacher's amazing story. It is next.

And then later, the latest outrage over outsourcing. Martin Luther King? Made in China?


SANCHEZ: Welcome back to OUT IN THE OPEN. I'm Rick Sanchez. A lot of controversy of late about tying Iraq and Vietnam. So tonight there is a link. This one is both honorable and justified. This is a story of a man, a Vietnam veteran, who is devoting himself to helping veterans of the Iraq War. We call him a hero.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did this start?

BOB KUNKLE, VIETNAM VETERAN: The new injured have no idea how dramatic their lives have been impacted. And I have experience in that area. And I knew I had to do something.

I was with the 9th Infantry Division. The knee joint was blown out so they took the bottom part and welded it to the top. I did not cope well. You name the self-destructive behavior, I did it. Times ten. Now I view all that experiences as training for what I'm doing now.

My name is Bob Kunkle. I have the privilege and honor of being allowed to interact with the new injured at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I function as a friend. I teach jujitsu so the injured person can become empowered and protecting themself.

He went that way. So you step here.

There is a connection. Been in combat. I've been in combat.

They're laughing. They know.

My purpose is to steer someone to make better choices in life. If you're injured, you're still the same person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, I feel fortunate to have met somebody like Bob. Someone that can kind of understand the disability, but that can also teach me a skill that I can pass on to other people.

KUNKLE: Brings my hand back together, like I'm praying.

I've taken soldiers out for coffee, out for a drive. And dinner.


KUNKLE: And you can just see people relaxing. It is my way of showing my true appreciation for their sacrifice.


SANCHEZ: Great story. Great man, wouldn't you say? For more about Bob Kunkle's work, go to our Web site at

A lot more ahead including this controversy raging over who should design the nation's memorial to Martin Luther King.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They chose a Chinese artist over all the artists in this United States. That really got me upset.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Are we outsourcing American history? Or is King's legacy being smeared by racism?


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. It is an important day today because today is the 44th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'S immortal "I have a dream speech." And who doesn't remember it? In one of his most famous lines he says he dreams of a day when his children "will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

So it is really kind of beyond ironic tonight that there is a controversy over who should design the memorial that is being made for Martin Luther King. Should the job go, for example to someone who is not African American? Not even American for that matter. Maybe even outsourced? We get the story from Susan Roesgen.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Denver sculptor Ed Dwight has made probably more statues of Martin Luther King than anyone else. Through years of practice, he knows the shape of King's face as well as his own and he has designed King memorials all around the country.

ED DWIGHT, SCULPTOR: Out of this one of these things, there is characteristic you can associate with one thing or the other.

ROESGEN: The tallest King monument in the country now is right here in Denver. It is this one. And the sculptor is Ed Dwight. With so much experience, Dwight thought he would design the statue for the new national King memorial in Washington. A 3 0 foot tall monument which will stand between the statues of Lincoln and Jefferson. The catch is the memorial will be carved in granite. And Dwight works only in bronze.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We looked all around for artists who could do this in America. We found that there were a lot of African American artists that were able to do it in the medium of bronze, but not in granite. And we were looking for someone who could do this in granite.

ROESGEN: The memorial foundation contacted Dwight initially and Dwight says he believed he would be named the sculptor of record. While some anonymous sculptor would carve Dwight's design in the granite. Instead, the committee chose sculptor Lei Yichin who lives and works in China to do the whole thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got enamored with the Chinese guy. And they thought they were going to offend him by asking him to do something that somebody else had already done.

ROESGEN: The foundation says Lei is an award winning sculptor whose work has been on display at China's national art gallery. But that doesn't satisfy critics like Gilbert Young. GILBERT YOUNG, ARTIST: They chose this Chinese artist over all the artists in this United States. That really got me upset.

ROESGEN: Young says he's gotten 800 investigates on an online petition to replace Lei Yixin with an African American sculptor. But the memorial foundation says the criticism isn't fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forbid it for us as African Americans to say that we're going to take the bigotry role and say that only Africans Americans ought to be involved in this process. This ought to be a process that is inclusive of all people if they bring something to the table.

ROESGEN: Memorial foundation president Harry Johnson says Dwight's disappointment is sour grapes. But Dwight says Lei's initial design is just a copy of one of Lei's earlier works.

DWIGHT: Exactly the same stance.

ROESGEN: Dwight points out that this figure's arm and sleeve seem almost identical to Lei's design for the King memorial. To Dwight it looks as if King's head is stuck on someone else's statue. In Lei's defense, the foundation says the design is not nearly finished, and two African American artists will be consulting with Lei on the project. But there is one more thing that bothers critics. The centerpiece for the memorial, the figure of King himself, will be made from granite that comes from China. When it is finished, critics say the base of the sculpture should say made in China. Susan Roesgen, CNN, Denver.


SANCHEZ: Joining me now is Gilbert Young. You just saw him in Susan's report, he's the master sculptor who started the online petition drive to try and give the job to an American sculptor. Also, David Hamilton, he's the project manager for the King memorial. All right. Let me just try and referee between you two guys because I understand you both have some very important points to make. And Mr. Young, let me begin with you. What do you think they did wrong and what do you think they should have done? When preparing this project?

YOUNG: Number one, I think the first thing that they did wrong was they went outside our community, outside our culture and outside our country to depict something that is in American history.

SANCHEZ: Let's stop you there. How about that, Mr. Hamilton?

DAVID HAMILTON, KING MEMORIAL PROJECT MANAGER: Well, what I would like to say is I would like to read to Mr. Young what Dr. King's words actually are. And Dr. King, I quote, "If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend race, our tribe, our class, our nation and this means that we must develop a world perspective."

So the idea that he has to come from our community is just diametrically opposed to what Dr. King was about. SANCHEZ: There you go, Mr. Young. How about it? Should it be color blind when it comes to art or anything else for that matter?

YOUNG: This is not about race. This is about the process of -- that they used to select this artist. There was no competition involved in this. We don't know who could have done this other than the person that they picked. They also picked a person that is associated with their government being a Chinese treasure. We also understand that the artist that they picked has spent a lifetime and a history of doing Mao Zedong, which is a man who has committed all kinds of human atrocities.

SANCHEZ: Let me stop you right there, real quick, before we get into the geopolitics of Chinese revolution and Mao Zedong. Mr. Hamilton, you're an African American, you must understand why there might be some controversy over something like this. I even understand that some African Americans are going to be involved in putting this project together. In doing the foundation work. And, you know, I hear people saying, well, you know if we're good enough to digit ditch to prepare this statue, aren't we good enough to actually make the statue? How do you argue against that?

HAMILTON: Let me clarify that for you and I'm glad you asked that question. The architectural firm that is going to do the design build is McKissic and McKissic (ph), which is the oldest African American firm in America and it is also woman-owned. And they're going to do more than just dig the foundation. And I might add the foundation work in that location is one of most sensitive areas in the National Mall. It is a very, very difficult, challenging site in order to construct a memorial with the weight that is involved.

SANCHEZ: But their argument would be that they're going to be working under the direction of a man from China who is going to build the statue.

HAMILTON: That is not true. As Mr. Young said earlier, there is going to be a collaborative effort of artists, African American artists, working with Master Lei.

SANCHEZ: Before we run out of time, let's give Mr. Young a chance to respond to that. Mr. Young, you feel good about the fact that it is going to be a quote "collaborative effort" as Mr. Hamilton says?

YOUNG: Well, it is not about my feeling. It is about the facts of who this artist is associated with.

SANCHEZ: But, no, stick to the question I just asked you. He says, look this guy is coming in and doing the work but he's going to be surrounded by a bunch of Americans and African Americans who are going to be part of a major collaborative effort. It is unfair to say it is all on one guy. Is he right?

YOUNG: No, he's not right.

HAMILTON: That is absolutely -- that is absolutely ludicrous. You see, the problem is, these kinds of spurious, disingenuous statements cast such a shadow on Dr. King. The architectural firm, as I told you is the old evident African American firm in the United States.

SANCHEZ: Mr. Young, we'll give you the last word.

HAMILTON: The two artists ...

SANCHEZ: Mr. Hamilton, go ahead and give Mr. Young a shot here. Go ahead, Mr. Young.

HAMILTON: First of all, the people that they have -- that he's touting has just come on board. The original architectural people was the Roma Group who had won the design to do this. And now we're saying that we have the oldest architectural group in the country.

SANCHEZ: Gentlemen, we'll have to leave it there. A spirited debate, thank you, both, David Hamilton, Gilbert Young, we're going to be right back with more news. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Time to bring you up to date on some of the best video picks of the day. Watch what happens. This is in a Vermont courtroom where a man is being arraigned on murder charges. This is Monday in Bennington. Suddenly a huge fight breaks out. You hear the bleeping there. It is between the family of the suspect.

I'm stopping here for a moment so you can listen to some of the arguments. Then it gets nasty. They suddenly start rolling around on the floor. The victim's family is fighting with the suspect's family. There is fighting and punches are thrown until security is called in. By the way, the accused, whose name is Michael Christmas is suspected of shooting his brother-in-law to death in front of the victim's own children.

Can you believe it now has been two years since Hurricane Katrina? Up next, how do Americans feel about the prospects for New Orleans's future? We'll find out and so will you. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back everyone. I'm Rick Sanchez. Tomorrow, the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall in Louisiana. The start of a disaster that nearly wiped out New Orleans. The city is still a fraction of its pre-Katrina size. Most Americans have doubts about the city's future. Look at the CNN/Opinion Research poll we found.

Forty-four percent say they think New Orleans will ever completely recover from Katrina. You may be wondering how the kids in New Orleans are doing. CNN's Soledad O'Brien has been working on a special project with director Spike Lee giving 11 New Orleans kids cameras to record their lives in the wake of the storm. This is for a special called "Children of the Storm." It's going to be airing tomorrow night. And Soledad is, as you can see, good enough to join us now from New Orleans. You know, you can almost call this beyond the French Quarter, couldn't you, because things are different there.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Absolutely. The French Quarter looks great. The hotels on Canal Street look great. But if you're in a neighborhood like this one in Gentilly in New Orleans' east or any of these neighborhoods, you can see just the devastation of the homes. Some of these homes look like they have not been touched and they have not been touched since the hurricane. We handed out cameras to 11 kids and Spike was so critical in really inspiring them and telling them what they needed to do which was to not just think they're telling the story for themselves or their families or even their community.

The job is to tell a story for the rest of the country about that is happening here in this, the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. And they listened to him. I have to tell you, we were so proud of them. One of the young women who we profiled, her name is Amanda. She was a senior, just graduating, in fact, from high school. And her family has been grappling with horrible poverty and really dealing with just massive bills. Here is a little bit of her story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible). I'm very, very depressed about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ever happy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to be, but not no more. Not since Hurricane Katrina got over on us.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Dolores had a hard time finding work when she returned to St. Bernard Parish. The job at McDonald's was the only one she could get and she doesn't make enough work to pay all the bills.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She told me she doesn't know how she's going to pay the bills this month. And it is enough to make someone want to commit suicide. All I can say was it is going to be OK. But I don't think it is.


O'BRIEN (on camera): Our young people range in age, Rick, from 12 to 20. They were so incredibly honest. Again, Spike Lee told them just shoot and shoot and shoot and be honest with the story of what is happening here in New Orleans. They did a fine job. And you'll see their stories tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Rick?

SANCHEZ: You too, Soledad. Good job. As usual. Soledad O'Brien, "Children of the Storm" airs tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN and we are going to be right back.


SANCHEZ: That's it for us. Thanks so much for being with us. Here's Larry.