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CNN Newsnight Aaron Brown

Aired April 29, 2002 - 22:00   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Mr. King and good evening again, everyone.

Oh man, there were so many things to write about tonight. I wasn't sure where to start. This space could point out the sliver of hope that comes out of the Middle East tonight. It could have been used to talk about the death penalty. We're doing a piece on that this evening, and a little frank talk about the ultimate punishment might have been in order. Or we might have used the space to talk about the ten year anniversary of the LA riots.

First of all that it has been ten years is pretty remarkable. Time goes by pretty fast when you're starting to get old, and to us there is no issue more troubling and more perplexing in American life than race.

Even the Barbie doll might have gotten some time on this page tonight. The woman who designed the first Barbie, people have lots of feelings about this good and bad, she died over the weekend and we could have spent some time on that.

Instead, we've picked something simpler, maybe even something important, a number, one number. The number is 46,075. That is the number of priests in the United States, according to the Associated Press 46,075.

Now there is some dispute about this number. Some think its too high. Others say its a bit low. But its the AP's number and here's the point. Fewer than 300 of all those priests are suspected of any sort of abuse at all. Now 300 is too many, I wish it were zero or three or 23.

But when we talk about this scandal, and we will again tonight, we should all keep in mind that for all its horrors, and it is horrible, there are 46,000 priests and oh, how they must be saddened by the scandal and by the way their bosses too often dealt with it. It is yet another example of how easy it is for a very few, very few to shame many.

On we go to the whip to start the week. Jason Carroll is in Boston and another chapter in the priest abuse scandal is being written, so Jason start us off with a headline please.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, I want to show you something. This document here has really angered a number of people here in Boston, namely those who say they were abused by priests. The document, it's from the attorneys who represent Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law. The attorneys partly blame a victim and his parents for what happened -- Aaron.

BROWN: Jason thank you, back to you at the top tonight. To the Middle East next, Matt Chance is in Ramallah tonight covering the efforts to end the siege at Yasser Arafat's compound; Matthew, good to see you, and a headline please.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Aaron, wide anticipation in the region and, of course, around the world about the possibility of Yasser Arafat finally emerging from his besieged Ramallah compound. He's not out yet but, of course, those U.S. and British security experts here talking with Palestinian officials. The view here from Ramallah is that it could happen in the next 24 hours or so. We're watching that closely.

BROWN: I'll bet we are. Matt, thank you. On to Guantanamo Bay, its been a while since we've said that or gone there, a big change for the 300 detainees being held at Guantanamo. Bob Franken covering the story for us, Bob a headline from you tonight.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, Camp X-Ray now looks like a ghost town or should I say ghost prison camp. The detainees have been removed, taken elsewhere. We're told it went well, but do we really know for sure? We'll talk about that in a moment.

BROWN: Thank you, Bob. And finally on the whip Mesa, Arizona, Ed Lavandera with the story of a man freed after a decade in prison. Ed, a headline from you please.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, in the eyes of Arizona prosecutors, Ray Krone has always been considered a murderer. But today he was declared innocent and when you've spent ten years in prison, almost three of those on death row, that is a very sweet sound -- Aaron.

BROWN: Ed, thank you, back with all of you shortly. We can also tell you we have not one but two Frankens on the program tonight. We hope we can handle that. They're actually cousins, Bob Franken who you just met and the comedian Al Franken, who you'll meet shortly. He has a new book out, "Oh the Things I Know, a Guide to Success or Failing that Happiness."

Also coming up, a twist on their news, we'll call it our news. A look at the way CNN covered the Los Angeles riots that began exactly a decade ago tonight.

And we'll close with a goodbye to a woman who created a Fortune 500 company and a cultural phenomenon, thanks to one 11-inch doll named after her daughter whose name just happened to be Barbie; all of that in the hour ahead.

As we begin a new week, we begin with the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The story has been unfolding so fast it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. The Associated Press put it in sharp focus today. The AP reviewed all 50 states and found that at least 177 priests suspected of abuse have either resigned or been taken off duty in 28 states and the District of Columbia just this year, and bishops gave local police details of accusations against at least 260 priests.

In story after story, state after state, Catholics have suffered a double blow, that a priest would betray them and that their church leadership would cover it up, and nowhere is the anger more vivid than where this chapter in the scandal all began in Boston, where one family today faced yet another indignity, the suggestion by lawyers for Cardinal Law that they, the victims, were partly to blame for the abuse by a priest who vanished weeks ago. Once again in Boston for us tonight, CNN's Jason Carroll.


CARROLL (voice over): Rodney and Paula Ford are outraged over what they read in this document. It's a legal response from the Archdiocese of Boston to the Ford's civil lawsuit they filed against the church and Father Paul Shanley, who they say sexually abused their son Greg when he was a child.

PAULA FORD, MOTHER OF ALLEGED VICTIM: I think they're cruel. It's downright cruel. I mean these are the works of really, I mean they're out to get us. I can see that. It's their only defense.

CARROLL: The document in part says the Fords and their son were partly to blame for what happened. It says: "The negligence of the Plaintiffs contributed to cause the injury or damage complained of."

RODNEY FORD, FATHER OF ALLEGED VICTIM: And they want to blame my wife, myself and my son. What a disgrace. I'm ashamed again to call myself a Catholic.

P. FORD: We've been talking as a family saying to him, Greg you were six years old. It's not your fault, and in one fell swoop, a legal complaint comes out and just throws it all out the window.

CARROLL: Legal experts say what the Fords read is boilerplate legalese, common in these types of cases. But one attorney who represents 25 alleged victims of priest abuse says the language is unnecessary and confrontational.

CARMEN DURSO, ATTORNEY: It just flies in the face of common sense to enrage people with this kind of language.


CARROLL (on camera): We asked the Archdiocese of Boston to talk to us about this document. Aaron, they did not return our calls. We also asked the law firm that represents Cardinal Law to talk about this as well. Again, they did not return our calls. Cardinal Law is scheduled to be deposed in this civil suit on June 5th. Father Paul Shanley, well he's been living in San Diego it turns out, and he's scheduled to be deposed this Thursday. Aaron. BROWN: Jason, do we know, does the document say what it is the family or the boy allegedly did that would have made it or him negligent?

CARROLL: It does not. I can tell you that this document, this legal response basically is the defendant's chance really to basically outline a number of different possible defenses. They could, for instance, just deny all the allegations. They could claim not to have knowledge of any of the allegations, but in this particular case, there was no indication at all as to why potentially the victim in this case was partly to blame.

BROWN: Fascinating, Jason thank you, Jason Carroll in Boston for us tonight. Later in the program, we'll talk with a leader of a Catholic lay organization in Boston about his take on the sex abuse scandal and perhaps most significantly tonight at least, the church's formal response to the organization and what it's trying to do. That's coming up in a little bit.

We'll get through the rest of the news of the day. I'm beginning to wish I had one of those gizmos the football commentators use to draw diagrams on the screen, telestrators. They let you make the X's and O's and arrows to explain what's going on when words aren't enough. And in the Middle East, pretty often, words aren't enough.

Today, for instance, Israeli tanks made another foray into Hebron in retaliation for a weekend attack by Palestinians on a nearby Jewish settlement. Five settlers were killed on Sunday, seven Palestinians were killed today.

But there was another development as well, one that would show up as a nice straight line on the telestrator, Israel agreed to end Yasser Arafat's confinement in exchange for the transfer of some militants to a prison on the West Bank where they'd be guarded by British or American wardens. Matthew Chance is reporting for us in Ramallah.


CHANCE (voice over): At last, a chance for Yasser Arafat to leave his compound-turned-prison for the first time since March. He's meeting the Romanian Foreign Minister here, only the latest in a line of international dignitaries to show support.

As Israeli tanks keep their tight grip outside, security experts from Britain and the United States met their Palestinians counterparts in secret elsewhere. In accord with Washington's unexpected diplomatic initiative, once arrangements are finalized, this long running standoff will come to an end.

But before the Palestinian Leader can leave, Israel wants firm guarantees these wanted Palestinians, also holed up inside the compound, will not be set free once the tanks are ordered to leave. Last week, four were convicted by a makeshift Palestinian court of killing the Israeli Tourism Minister last October. Another is implicated in smuggling arms. SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: I imagine that he will wait until the arrangement for the prisoners will be established.

CHANCE: And when would this arrangement be effective?

PERES: I don't know. I hope it won't take too long. From our standpoint, he is free to move.

CHANCE: But there are Palestinian concerns too, that once responsibility for prisoners is transferred to the U.S.-British team the men will be kept secure and out of Israeli hands.

YASSER ABED RABBO, PALESTINIAN INFORMATION MINISTER: Most if not all prisons were attacked by Israeli planes and many prisoners, as well as police officers were killed in these attacks. So we are really interested in the safety of the prison and the guarantees that the United States and Britain will give to this effect.


CHANCE (on camera): Aaron, those are the guarantees being sought by the Palestinian side here, and just to give you an example of the kind of nuts and bolts issues that are being discussed, it's looking at issues of telephone access for the prisoners, visiting times for their families.

More importantly though, they're looking for a letter of guarantee from the U.S. or British team of personnel and monitors to insure that these people will be held safely to live out their sentences and will not be handed into Israeli custody.

Those security talks with Palestinian officials and the U.S. and British security experts have been put on hold for the rest of this evening. They're expected to resume again tomorrow, that's Tuesday local time. Before they're resolved, we're not going to see Yasser Arafat coming out of that besieged Ramallah compound -- Aaron.

BROWN: Well, it will be interesting to see when he does come out, what the reaction is. Just so that I'm clear here, the prison that these people ultimately will be taken to is a prison in the West Bank itself?

CHANCE: That's right. The facility that the Palestinians have suggested is one in the West Bank town of Jericho. They've got a bit of a problem, which is that of course over the past few months there have been, you know, very heavy strikes from the Israeli military against installations of the Palestinian Authority, and one of the things that have been taken out a lot are the prisons and the police stations.

So their options are pretty limited. They offered Gaza and also Jericho, which is we understand the preferred option for the Palestinians.

BROWN: Matthew thank you, Matthew Chance in Ramallah tonight for us. On we go. We thought we ought to remind you, remind ourselves for that matter that the country is still at war, at war in Afghanistan. War means prisoners or detainees and they have to be put up somewhere.

Until yesterday, the fighters captured in Afghanistan had been detained at Guantanamo in Cuba in what we called Camp X-Ray. For a variety of reasons that is not where they're being held tonight. CNN's Bob Franken is in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for us.


FRANKEN (voice over): The infamous cages at Camp X-Ray are empty now. The inmates moved over the weekend under stringent security and strict secrecy to their new indoor penitentiary, three miles down the road, right up next to the Caribbean coastline.

BRIGADIER GENERAL RICK BACCUS, JOINT TASK FORCE I&O COMMANDER: As of right now, in the area behind us, we have 300 detainees as we speak.

FRANKEN: Camp Delta, this is called, has 408 cells, 204 more are under construction. Each will have separate indoor plumbing, which means prisoners will no longer have to be escorted to an outdoor toilet.

Officials say security will be easier to enforce, that the interrogators from the CIA, FBI and defense agencies will have a more controlled environment.

Spokesmen say it will all in all be more humane, although independent media have been denied any access to confirm that. As for the move, officials report it took 17 hours with no mistreatment, no problems.

BACCUS: There were no accidents, no injuries on anyone's part and it was done in a very professional and efficient manner.

FRANKEN (on camera): Again, the limited access media had during previous movements was denied here. Journalists were kept in polite custody during the operation, far from here. Military officials cited operational security, what they like to call OPSEC.

(voice over): So reports of the transfer were provided only by the ones who were in charge of it. How can we know that you're telling the truth?

BACCUS: As you are well aware, the International Committee of the Red Cross is on station. They were informed of the move yesterday, and they have access to detainees as of today with no problem. So they could verify that.

FRANKEN: But, may I follow up? The International Red Cross, as you know, does not report to the public, nor do you report whatever their deliberations are. How can the public know that you're telling the truth about the move?

BACCUS: Well as a commissioned officer in the armed forces, I can assure you that what I've said is the truth.


FRANKEN (on camera): As for the security concerns, sources tell us that there is a genuine fear of some sort of attack from the nearby ocean, and of course, the concerns about the desperate detainees inside the prison, Aaron, who have no idea how long they're going to be here. Aaron.

BROWN: And, Bob are there still flights coming in now with people, or is that at least for now stopped?

FRANKEN: Well, it has been stopped because Camp X-Ray at 300 inmates was at capacity, but there is every expectation that with the more cells, we're going to have about another 300 available soon, there will be more detainees arriving from around the world.

BROWN: Bob, thank you, Bob Franken in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba tonight. Bob's question reminds me of something we're all taught as young reporters. If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out, and that's what Bob was doing.

Later on the program, Bob's cousin and we're not kidding here, Al Franken will be here. Also we'll mark the passing of the inventor of the Barbie doll. And up next, a man freed in Arizona as the debate over the death penalty flares up again. It's busy Monday night on NEWSNIGHT on CNN.


BROWN: Well you might think given all the attention they've been getting, the people who run the Catholic Church might be a little nervous these days. In the past week, they've been compared more than once to tight-lipped Enron executives.

One writer in Boston said that Cardinal Law had "out-Milhoused former President Nixon." But if they're scared of popular opinion, they continue not to show it. The latest controversy in Boston involves a letter Cardinal Law sent to priests, asking them not to back a proposal by church members to form an advisory committee made up of lay people.

We're joined in Boston tonight by Dr. James Muller, the President of the lay group called Voice of the Faithful. Nice to see you, sir, thanks for joining us. You had a meeting tonight. Let's talk about that. What kind of attendance did you get?

DR. JAMES MULLER, PRESIDENT, VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL: We had over 600 people in a school basement. We had an overflow room filled with about 120 other people we didn't expect.

BROWN: What does that tell you?

MULLER: It tells us that the laity of the Catholic Church are ready to use their voice, that there are many, there are millions of people, we believe that love the church that are horrified by what's been going on, by dual crimes, by the abuse of children by clergy and the cover-up and these two things are just not tolerable to the laity.

BROWN: One of the proposals it seems to me that came out of the Rome meeting in the press conferences and the press releases that followed was an acknowledgement that there needs to be greater involvement of the laity in decisions around this issue. Why not give the church a chance to sort this out without in a sense, you'll forgive me for this, butting in?

MULLER: We haven't been butting in. Basically Catholics have been putting money in the collection box and leaving all the power to the laity and that's why we're in this mess.

BROWN: Leaving all the power to the clergy?

MULLER: I'm sorry, leaving all the power to the clergy.

BROWN: I try and help where I can. I don't just create problems.

MULLER: I needed that.

BROWN: That's no problem. In this letter that ...

MULLER: No, it ...

BROWN: Go ahead.

MULLER: No, I mean the basic problem in the Catholic Church, we believe, is that Vatican too called for the laity to have a role, but the laity has not had a role, and so what our group has been doing is trying to figure out how the laity could find their voice.

BROWN: And what is it that the laity wants to do?

MULLER: Well, we have a mission statement. It's very simple. It took us four weeks to write, hundreds of us. We fought over every word, but the laity we represent want to have a prayerful voice, that's attentive to the spirit, that participates actively in the guidance and governance of the church.

And if we don't do that, we're going to have a situation where we have absolute power concentrated in one pair of hands, and throughout history, we have multiple, multiple examples when absolute power corrupts. That famous statement was made about the Vatican.

BROWN: Were you surprised that Cardinal Law sent a letter to his priests saying, do not be helping these people?

MULLER: He didn't say it to us. Our group is laity. He said that to a group of parish counsels who are laity but also part of church structure. He said they couldn't form an association. So we're not the direct target, but we're kind of close to that group, both are laity.

But we were surprised by it because Cardinal Law has said that he wants the laity to have more of a role. So we've requested a meeting with the bishop to ask exactly what the meaning of this is. It's surprising to us that the church, which is in such distress, would reject help from any quarter.

BROWN: It is surprising to you really? I mean the church is not --


BROWN: I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it's not been a democracy.

MULLER: The hierarchy is not a democracy. The hierarchy is not the whole church. The church is made up of the hierarchy plus the laity. The laity, our goal is to provide a democracy for the laity, so that the laity can decide what they want and then counterbalance the absolute power, which we have now of the hierarchy.

BROWN: Has the group taken a position on Cardinal Law and whether or not he should resign?

MULLER: We had a very controversial meeting about that. At the time we discussed that, we were using a consensus rule, 100 percent agreement on all decisions of our group. We fought for three hours. Most of the group wanted Cardinal Law to resign. Ten members did not. We ended up with a sense of the meeting that the people were in favor of resignation.

But our organization, which we want -- we want everyone to have a voice, all Catholics to have a voice, and then those ten people had a voice and therefore our group does not officially call for the resignation. But if you polled the individual members, it would be 95 percent in favor of it.

BROWN: Dr. Muller, it's good to talk to you. This is, I think for all of us it's a difficult issue. It's painful for certainly for Catholics and it is with some fascination we watch how Catholic faithful try and work through what is such a difficult time. Thanks for joining us tonight.

MULLER: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you. We have much more ahead on the program tonight. A little bit later, we'll hear about one Senator's fight for medical coverage for the mentally ill. This is a very personal story. When we come back, another man's fight to prove he never belonged on death row. This is NEWSNIGHT from New York.


BROWN: This is a story about the death penalty and people who were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. There are 100 of them now, the count beginning when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. One hundred people is a lot of people and one thing DNA has taught us all is that sometimes, perhaps even more often than we thought, innocent people do get sent to prison, and some of them get sent to death row. But when we talk about 100 people here, we are not saying that all 100 were innocent. We actually don't know that. Innocent means something else. We do mean wrongly convicted. Ed Lavandera tonight on the 100th, and on this one, innocence seems exactly the right word.


LAVANDERA (voice over): Ray Krone's twisted story started 11 years ago, when he found a neighborhood bar that quenched his thirst for throwing darts. So you didn't get to play this game for ten years?

RAY KRONE: No not for ten years. No they don't allow darts in prison. They don't allow anything sharp in prison, sir.

LAVANDERA: Krone would go to the lounge after finishing his mail delivery route. But on a December night in 1991, a waitress at the bar was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to death. That night, Ray was at home watching holiday football games with a buddy.

The next morning, police showed up at his door and started asking questions. Bite marks were used to prove he killed Kim Antona (ph). There was no other evidence, but there was an unidentified person's bloodstain at the crime scene. Still, a jury convicted and Krone spent the next ten years in prison, three on death row.

CHRIS PLOURD, KRONE'S ATTORNEY: It was poor police work. They initially focused on him as a suspect, ignored all other leads.

LAVANDERA: But years passed by. After a retrial, he was convicted again but sentenced to life in prison.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Is there any way to describe what prison life is like?

KRONE: No, it's hard. You have nothing in your life really could prepare you for that type of thing. It's isolation. It's loneliness.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Earlier this year, a judge allowed for DNA testing. Krone's DNA couldn't be found anywhere at the scene, and the test showed that bloodstain belonged to another man, who happens to be in prison for another crime. Despite public criticism, prosecutors say they've helped Krone.

WILLIAM GILBERTSON, MARICOPA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Twenty-twenty hindsight, you can look back and say this wasn't done or that wasn't done. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Krone is not guilty of this offense.

LAVANDERA: Ray Krone will now start looking for a new job. He considers himself a new born child about to set off into the world again. He says he won't waste any time being angry or bitter.

LAVANDERA (on camera): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when you have a bad day? KRONE: I won't have a bad day.


KRONE: You know what? I can remember. Throw anything at you, you can. Throw it all at me, whatever you can, because you know what? I was on death row. It ain't so bad.

LAVANDERA: Almost everywhere Ray Krone walks in Phoenix, there are unknown faces cheering him on, sweet sounds for a man who is about to take his first steps into a new world.

KRONE: Thank you. Bye now.


LAVANDERA: Ray Krone's attorneys say they will now start working on the civil litigation and in the words of one of the attorneys that he thinks that Ray Krone should be getting a lot of money considering what he has been through the last 10 years and as you might suspect before all of this happened to Ray Krone, he was a strong supporter of the death penalty. As you might imagine, Aaron, he's not any more - Aaron.

AARON BROWN, HOST: You want to try and explain the bite marks, just one of those lines that went by that I ...

LAVANDERA: Sure, there were two trials in this case, and there were bite marks found on the victim in the bar on the night of December 28. They used dental impressions and they used that evidence and according to defense attorneys and other attorneys who have been watching this case that that was the only physical evidence that they were able to use to convict Ray Krone of this crime. It turns out now that other tests have been done and the gentleman who's now in jail for this crime who's being held on other charges, but they're now considering charging him with this crime, that the dental marks are more in accordance with his markings of the man who is in jail now.

So it's evidence that Ray Krone's attorneys say should never have been enough to convict him in the first place.

BROWN: Wow, Ed, thank you. Ed Lavandera for us this evening, thank you.

We talked a lot on the program last month about mental illness because of the Yates' case. Mental illness one of those things many people seem pretty uncomfortable talking about. The president today out in New Mexico said that mental illness should be talked about and should be treated, covered in the same way other illnesses are treated and covered. And should that become law, it will be a huge victory for the mental health community and a great personal victory for New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici. The senator knows all too well what mental illness is and does to the people it strikes and to those who love them. Here's CNN's Kate Snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For Senator Pete Domenici, it's been a 10-year battle to get to this moment. The president landing in his hometown, here to endorse a bill fellow Republicans have blocked nearly every step of the way, at least until now.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Health plans should not be allowed to apply unfair treatment limitations or financial requirements on mental health benefits.

SNOW: The president's support is a personal victory for the senior senator from New Mexico, personal for him and his wife Nancy, a tireless advocate for the mentally ill. They are private people, parents of eight grown children, one of whom is mentally ill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us a little bit about your daughter?

SEN. PETE DOMENICI, (R), NEW MEXICO: Well I'll tell you this much, it's nothing to hide, but one of our eight children has a mental illness and it's not easily diagnosable but it's somewhere between manic depression and schizophrenia, but she's through medication and good care and a lot of loving care from her brothers and sisters and us, she's self-sufficient now and she's just a delight, everybody gives us all a cause in our household

SNOW: Like so many other families, Domenici says they struggled to keep good insurance coverage for his daughter.

DOMENICI: Suffice it to say, we know -- we know what mothers and fathers are going through who have a teenage daughter or son who gets schizophrenia or manic depression or serious depression and especially we are in tune with those where the disease stays around for a long, long time.

SNOW: Domenici's bill is simple. Tell insurance companies to cover mental illness the same way they cover any physical ailment. People should pay the same co-payment at a psychiatrist office as they would at a heart specialist he argues, but those on the other side say it's not that simple. The insurance industry says more than 90 percent of employers already cover mental illness in some way. If they are mandated to cover everything equally, it would drive up costs for everyone forcing some businesses to drop coverage all together.

DOMENICI: Well first, people who have no heart conditions in their families are paying for the heart treatment for those in society that have insurance that are covered. People that whose children never get diabetes are paying in their insurance policies, they are paying for the insurance coverage for young people with diabetes who have treatment. So, that argument is useless.


SNOW: For Domenici, it's difficult to see the other side. What he sees rights now is the opportunity to get rid of the stigma on mental illness, not just he says for his family, but for all of those thousands of parents out there who are also fighting the system more anonymously than he is.

Aaron, what's interesting about this story is how personal this cause is to so many people, not just to Senator Domenici, also to the president of the United States, President Bush recently lost a good friend to suicide after having battled a mental illness there. The co-sponsor of the bill with Senator Domenici is Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. His brother has battled mental illness. You can see the personal connection influences the policy. The question is going to be is that enough to now get this thing through Congress despite a lot of opposition from other Republicans-Aaron.

BROWN: Kate, thank you. Kate Snow, New Mexico tonight. Very good.

Later on NEWSNIGHT, Al Franken joins us, talked about his new book. Up next, we'll look back at how CNN covered the Los Angeles riots, which began 10 years ago tonight. This is NEWSNIGHT.

BROWN: Thank you Mr. Dobbs, coming up on NEWSNIGHT in the second half hour we'll look at the impact of a woman who changed the way American girls play. We'll also talk with Al Franken about his new book, and we'll look back at the Los Angeles riots 10 years ago today. There is much to do as NEWSNIGHT continues from New York.

This is the straightest lead of the night. It needs no fancy words or thoughts. Ten years ago today a jury acquitted the four police officers in the Rodney King case and almost immediately rioting began in L.A. What followed were three horrible days of rage and many long months of rebuilding and soul searching on all sides. Fifty-four people died. That number surprised me today - 4,000 were hurt, 12,000 arrested. Ten years seems like a very long time ago, yet somehow the riots seem like yesterday. Their news tonight is really news tonight. Here's a glimpse of how the riots played out and how CNN covered them.


ROBERT VITO: As we drove through here you'll see, you know, a quiet peaceful serene kind of scene and then all of a sudden you are just inundated by all of these people on both sides of the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Political and civic leaders have been appealing for calm in the wake of the not guilty verdict against the four Los Angeles police officers. But in south central Los Angeles it is not calm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very dangerous out here. The last time that we talked to you, I think it was about 20, 25 minutes ago, we just had hung up and as soon as I put the phone down and started to pull away, a car pulled up to us started screaming at us and throwing full bottles of beer at our truck and needless to say we turned the corner and got out of there quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What these people done (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a bomb, and what happens after this, people are going to point to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of the city will recognize that this is indeed our system of justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe for a minute that these jurors had any appreciation of what happened to Rodney King.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the biggest fire that we have at this point. The largest plume of smoke that we see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The looting continues. So far, however, there have been no confrontation between police and looters. Most of it has been concentrated in this area of south central Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It ain't all about race. It ain't all about the color. What it's about we're not being treated right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't have enough police out here to do what they have to do and all these people around here, we are over powering them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Angry people in the streets pulled at least four drivers from their vehicles and severely beat them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sends a signal to us that no matter what evidence is presented, it seems that no evidence is sufficient enough to convict law enforcement in terms of abuse, excessive force or murder of black and Latino people.

RODNEY KING, MOTORIST: I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we - can we get along?


BROWN: L.A. riots 10 years ago. Tomorrow on the program we'll spend much of it dealing with race -- black and white in America, 10 years after the rioting. We know there's not - we can't solve the race problem in an hour on the program, but we'll try and add something to the conversation that ought to take place in the country.

Joining us tomorrow among others Andrew Smith (ph), the mayor of Cincinnati, Charlie Luken, his city has been struggling with this now for many years, but particularly in the last year. Many more guests will join us as well. We expect it to be an interesting program. We hope you will join us for that. Black and white in America, a NEWSNIGHT special, 10:00 Eastern time tomorrow. We hope you join us.

Later on NEWSNIGHT the woman who invented "Barbie". Well we'll talk about it. She's not here, but Al Franken is here and we'll talk to him in a moment. We'll be right back.


BROWN: About a month ago we donned our snappy tuxedo and headed off to Washington for the TV and Radio Correspondence dinner - it was a very nice night and lots of good laughs thanks to Al Franken and he's up there working and I remember thinking man this is a tough audience. You're sitting there next to the attorney general and Franken makes a joke about the attorney general and you have to decide do I laugh at this joke or do I pretend to be upset? He was great. And as his reward, well actually I assume he was paid for that, but additional reward we'll give him four and a half minutes to plug his latest book called "Oh The Things I Know". I made a comedian laugh. That's really cool. There is the book and here is a fellow Minnesotan Mr. Franken.


BROWN: Nice to see you again.

A. FRANKEN: See what happens if you can make Aaron laugh, you get four and a half minutes.

BROWN: That's all - that's all - that's all it takes.

First of all, family, so Bob Franken is a relative?

A. FRANKEN: We're cousins. We're distant cousins. We can't figure out exactly, but we have cousins in common. So, sometimes every once in awhile I get -- someone asks me that Bob Franken on CNN, is he your father and I immediately call Bob.

It happened again, and he gets mad. But he's doing - he's doing a great job down in Guantanamo- he always does a great job.

BROWN: Yes he does.

A. FRANKEN: Evidently when they transferred the detainees they gave them my book.

BROWN: Did they?

A. FRANKEN: Yes they did.

BROWN: Was that a reward or was that punishment?

A. FRANKEN: It was either the Koran or my book ...

BROWN: No do that again, plug the book.


BROWN: And when you walked in I said OK because I'm a little sensitive to this, I said so have you already done "The Today" Show and the big network shows and what did you say?

A. FRANKEN: This is my first, it's sad really, my first big media hit. I think ...


BROWN: No, that's worth another 30.

A. FRANKEN: OK, thank you - thank you. No, I think I'm doing "The Today" Show on Thursday.

BROWN: Well ...


BROWN: ... that's a small audience day (ph) for them.


BROWN: There's like six million that day. Here's the book and that's what you get for that. Why -- this is an advice book, right?

A. FRANKEN: Sort of, yes.

BROWN: Oh, but sort of ...


BROWN: ... well ...

A. FRANKEN: I've actually -- it's obviously a little peg to graduation.

BROWN: Right.

A. FRANKEN: And I ...


BROWN: From the jacket ...


BROWN: ... cover.

A. FRANKEN: And I've had a number of college - interviews with college newspapers and I had a kid the other day say I really got a lot out of this and I said, oh man, that's a shame. That is -- that's too bad. Because it's really a -- it's a bit of a take off on advice. Because I - and I actually -- but I guess maybe there is some real advice in here. What I found is, is that a lot of these commencement addresses and those kind of things give bad advice.

BROWN: Really?

A. FRANKEN: Yes or useless, a lot of useless advice, but also I've read a lot of commencement speeches, for example, and they're all given by very successful people and they all talk about the fraudulence of success. So you'll hear things like it's lonely at the top, which is just not true. It's much, much lonelier at the bottom. You guys know.

BROWN: Yes. Because I'm feeling pretty good.

A. FRANKEN: Yes. Yes. Well you're at the top.

BROWN: Well I wouldn't go that far.

A. FRANKEN: Well ...




A. FRANKEN: When I saw it was a cute one, if you win the rat race you're still a rat.


A. FRANKEN: And it's cute, but it's really, you know, all- purpose excuse not to succeed. My version of that quote is," if you win a rat race, you'll never have trouble feeding your family". There's another one that you hear a lot, when a door closes, another door always opens.

BROWN: Yes, well that's true isn't it?

A. FRANKEN: No, no it's not always true, but sometimes when that other door opens, it's a trap door leading to that lonely place at the bottom. So ...

BROWN: Well those college students when they read this must feel real good about that possibility.

A. FRANKEN: Well I want - I don't sugar coat it like some self- help authors like the Dalai Lama. I don't - I don't do that.

BROWN: I think that's probably the first time that Dalai Lama has been referred to as self-help author.

A. FRANKEN: Yes, well this is a cradle to grave thing, like my last chapter is oh, the nursing home you'll wind up in. So it's not just for young people ...


A. FRANKEN: Well no, it has some parenting.

BROWN: How about marriage? Do you talk about marriage?

A. FRANKEN: Oh there's a chapter called oh, just looking at your spouse will make your skin crawl. And it's, again, it's just not sugar coating, but every marriage goes through a phase, skin crawling phase, as I call it and mine certainly did. And we made an accommodation and things are OK now, and I talk about, you know, especially if you have kids. It's important obviously to stay together, and I talk about the importance of quantity time. You know this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) quality time.

BROWN: Come on, this hits too close to home. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) A. FRANKEN: Well I - my theory of quantity time is quality time. Spend a lot of time but don't be a slave to your children. Nobody, Aaron, nobody respects a slave unless he's played by Morgan Freeman.

BROWN: Are you trying out material for "The Today" Show?

A. FRANKEN: Yes, I got it, OK Morgan Freeman, "Today" Show.

BROWN: That works.





A. FRANKEN: No, I'm just trying to talk and tell about the book. I got the four and a half minutes ...

BROWN: As well you should. Is the book - seriously is it in the bookstores?

A. FRANKEN: Yes, it went in today.

BROWN: Do you know what this book sells for?

A. FRANKEN: 19.95.

BROWN: In which country?

A. FRANKEN: That would be in the United States.

BROWN: What does it sell for in Canada?

A. FRANKEN: Oh it'd be 75 Canadian dollars. I have no idea.

BROWN: 28.99.

A. FRANKEN: Yes. Yes.

BROWN: It must be a good read because Molly (ph) didn't give it to me. That meant she read it over the weekend and ...


BROWN: I'm hearing great things from Molly (ph). It's nice to see you.

A. FRANKEN: It's good seeing you.

BROWN: You come back when you're not selling something just for the fun of it.

A. FRANKEN: Last time I was here I wasn't selling something.

BROWN: I know, but it wasn't - those were not funny days.

A. FRANKEN: That was why can't we be funny.

BROWN: Right ...



BROWN: You were - you were hysterical the other night. It's nice to see you.

A. FRANKEN: Thank you Aaron.

BROWN: Al Franken, a funny Minnesotan - there aren't that many of them.

A. FRANKEN: Garrison Keillor.

BROWN: There's two. We'll be right back with the woman who created Barbie. This is NEWSNIGHT.


BROWN: Segment seven plus a little, an update quickly on last week's story about a Brooklyn - about Brooklyn High School students who built the little red robot that could.

The science skill center took their plywood robot to the finals of the 2002 first robot competition at Epcot Center in Orlando over the weekend. Their robot performed well, yet was eliminated early in the competition. But the three seniors on the team were awarded $10,000 a year scholarships for college. And the juniors on the rookie team said they'd try again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next year - next year we're going to be twice as strong and twice as fast.

BROWN: Good for them, congratulations. Finally from us tonight, quite a resume for someone just 43 years old, successful businesswoman, astronaut, member of rock band, former presidential candidate. OK, this wonder woman doesn't really exist except in the toy chest all over the globe and in the minds of girls who own her. We're talking about Barbie whose accomplishments tended to be overshadowed by, well, her measurements, at least in the eyes of many feminists, but if girls were looking for a real life role model, they could have done a whole lot worse than the woman who created Barbie who died this weekend at 85. Ruth Handler (ph), successful businesswoman, indeed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barbie, you're beautiful. You make me feel ... BROWN: It's simply really. Ruth Handler's invention, this tiny figure with correct anatomy, not only changed the way most American girls played with dolls, it has played a role in American culture as well.

RUTH HANDLER, BARBIE CREATOR: I did not think this doll could ever be this huge. I thought - I thought the Barbie doll would always be successful. I thought it would be a great success.

BROWN: But how great not even Ruth Handler could have envisioned. More than a billion Barbies have been sold in 150 countries.

HANDLER: It's no longer amazing to me. I think hopefully she'll go on forever reflecting society as it changes forever.

BROWN: Barbie was invented in 1959 and then it was revolutionary. Ruth Handler insisted that her doll have breasts. Baby dolls had dominated the market until Barbie came along. Someone once figured out that had the original Barbie been human, she would have been about 5 foot 6 and her figure would have been 39-18-33.

Barbie was an immediate sensation. The company that sold the doll, Mattel, became an instant success story. Ruth Handler and a Barbie model even rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we're in style.

BROWN: After a time, some feminist groups objected to Barbie. Her too perfect figure, they said, might lead to low self-esteem among young girls. But Ruth Handler didn't seem to pay much attention, said her husband, it really didn't bother her. She thought they were wrong. From crystal Barbie to Dr. Barbie, Hawaiian Fun Barbie and of course there's Ken. Ruth Handler's invention kept changing as America changed. Through Barbie, she once said, a little girl could be anything she wanted to be or perhaps hope to be.

BROWN: A nice way to end the night. We think tomorrow, again, we'll spend much of the hour looking at race black and white in America. We hope you'll join us for that. That's our report for tonight. I'm Aaron Brown in New York. For all of us at NEWSNIGHT, good night.




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