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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Officer Vouches For President Bush's Military Service; National Day of Purity For Teens
Aired February 13, 2004 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Daryn Kagan, in for Paula Zahn.
The world, the news, the names and the faces and where we go from here this Friday, February 13, 2004.
"In Focus" tonight, an officer comes forward to vouch for President Bush's service in the Air National Guard. Is this the proof the White House has been searching for? We have an exclusive interview.
Also, a national day of purity. Some high school kids say not yet to sex, but are other teens listening?
And is it ever OK to lie? Should you rat our your cheating boss? The Ethicist drops by with some answers.
All that ahead and some fun also as well on this Friday the 13th, but, first, here is what you need to know right now.
President Bush has ordered the release of all his Vietnam-era military records, hoping to dismiss charges that he neglected his duty in the National Guard.
For more on this developing story, let's go live to CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, these document dumps were popular and common during the Clinton administration, we used to call them the Friday night follies. This certainly qualifies as one of those evenings.
More than 400 pages released. We are old that the president simply said, put it out, that he's been watching and listening to the briefings, and he believes much of the issue is silly, a lot of these questions silly.
Here's what these documents show. They are medical records. They are personnel records, details that include President Bush's request to transfer from the Texas Air National Guard to Alabama in May of 1972. It also shows that he was suspended from flying in August of '72 because he failed to take a medical exam.
We were showed his medical records in the Roosevelt Room. We were not allowed to take those documents out. But what those showed is that he was in good health during that time, that there was no reason to show that he was unfit to fly. And that really backs up the White House case, the story that he was not suffering from any kind of strange medical condition to try to skip out on this exam, but that he chose simply that he didn't want to fly again, so he chose not to take that physical.
It also shows he was honorably discharged in October of 1973. That is eight months early, to attend Harvard Business School. There are some things, still some questions about this document. There are some periods that are unaccounted for. That is what Democrats are taking a close look at. We have already, Daryn, gotten the Democratic response from the Democratic National Committee, this statement coming out saying that: "Each revelation of material from the Bush White House has raised more questions than it has answered. It remains to be seen if these newest documents will provide any answers" -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Well, Suzanne, as if this 300-page free reading assignment on a Friday night before a holiday weekend wasn't enough, there is other news coming out of the White House concerning the president and the 9/11 Commission.
MALVEAUX: Oh, absolutely.
That is another big story we just found out this evening, is that the president has agreed to sit down and meet with the chair and the co-chair of the 9/11 Commission. They are looking into what the administration knew before those September 11 attacks, whether there was anything they could have done to avoid those attacks. The president has not agreed to publicly testify, but simply to meet with them and answer some questions.
KAGAN: Suzanne Malveaux, a big news night at the White House, thank you for that.
"In Focus" tonight, more on the president's military records.
As reporters are searching through those, we turn to our CNN military analyst, retired General Major General Don Shepperd, in Winter Park, Florida, who we pulled out of some swank event to come talk to us.
General, good evening. Thanks for being with us.
RETIRED MAJOR GEN. DONALD SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good evening, Daryn.
My food is getting cold. You owe me a dinner.
KAGAN: OK. And we'll make this as quickly as we can, as quickly as you make 300 pages of documents. As the reporters look through that, what should they be looking for to tell the story?
SHEPPERD: Well, I'll tell you, they are in for some really boring reading, going through this.
It is like going through the courthouse and reading property records. They are going to find a bunch of orders that appointed him to his initial commission, accepted him into the Guard, assigned him to a unit, then switched him between units, dated orders and that type of thing, very unremarkable stuff.
I haven't seen the records, I don't know if his personnel files are in there about his performance. I don't know if his flying records are there. You said his medical records are there. But it's going to be the same thing. If you look at your medical records, you are going to see numbers and things written by doctors in scratchy handwriting.
Remember, also, these are 30 years old. And some of them were even mimeographed. That probably came before your time and then inserted manually, so you may find gaps. You may find things missing. There will still be a lot of questions, Daryn.
KAGAN: Well, what kind of documents could tell the story of President Bush's service? Certainly, you are familiar with the Air National Guard.
KAGAN: And so what kind of paper could tell the story on what he did or didn't do?
SHEPPERD: Yes. Right.
Unfortunately, you're going to be left with exactly the same question that you're dealing with right now, which is, he pulled paydays in Alabama. The question has been, well, what did do and did anybody see him? You are going to find people that are coming forth now that say they saw him. But I talked to the deputy commander for operations and the squadron commander yesterday.
And they said, look, we had 20 or 30 people at a time pulling duty with us because we were close to the Air War College in Montgomery. And we had all kinds of people, in fact hundreds over a period of two or three years. Unless there was something remarkable about the individual or there was an accident or something, we wouldn't have known who was there. We were glad to have the extra labor for our projects. But we just simply don't remember him.
So you are still not going to get a definitive answer on what did he on that day, unless somebody actually saw him there.
KAGAN: Well, you talk about somebody coming forward. And we're going to talk with him in just a moment. We're going to thank you for your time and tell you, you look very nice, General, and let you get back to the party in Orlando, Florida.
Thanks for coming out tonight.
SHEPPERD: Pleasure, Daryn.
KAGAN: Appreciate it.
Well, now to that very type of person, now to someone who says that he does remember serving with George W. Bush in the Air National Guard in Alabama during the '70s. He is Bill Calhoun, who was a flight safety officer back then.
Now, it wasn't that hard -- or that easy to find him. We tracked him down at the Daytona 500. So, as you listen to our conversation, you will hear cars going by.
I started asking why he is only coming forward at this point?
JOHN "BILL" CALHOUN, FORMER AIR NATIONAL GUARDSMAN: Well, in 2000, I was in Arkansas on business. And I was in a hotel room. And I saw the article. It came up on the news.
I sat up in the bed and I said, that's not right. He was there. So I got on my cell phone and I called the -- I got information and called the campaign headquarters in Austin, talked with the -- he said he was the campaign manager for Bush. And I told him my story. He said that -- I said what they are saying is not true and that he was there. And they said, well, we know that and we think it won't be an issue, because it's not true.
And they said, if it -- we think it will die. If it doesn't we'll, call you. And I never heard from them again. And I never talked about it or thought about it again until a week -- about a week or 10 days ago.
KAGAN: Could you tell us exactly, then, what you do remember about George W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard in Alabama in the '70s?
He was assigned to come to the -- to Montgomery to our Guard unit to make his drills. His commander called our commander and asked permission for him to make his drills at our unit while he was there. This is -- was and is common practice in the Guard.
KAGAN: In terms of his actual service in the Guard, do you remember what he actually did?
CALHOUN: He came -- he came to the unit. I was -- he was asked to report in to me. He came into my office and signed in.
We talked a little bit about what he was going to be doing there. Since he was a pilot and his job in the Guard was flying and that is all, we didn't have the airplanes in Montgomery that he could fly. So, his duties while he was there -- he had no assigned duties from our unit, but he studied his manuals. He read flying -- safety regs, accident reports, things that pilots do quite often when they are not getting ready to fly or they don't have other duties.
KAGAN: Do you find it odd that, of all this time and all the people who might have come across George W. Bush, that you're the only one who has come forward, that you are the only one remembers his being there?
CALHOUN: A lot of the people that were there have passed away or gone on with their lives, because most of them are retired. And a lot of them are very elderly, because I was not the oldest person in the Guard.
KAGAN: Understandable. Also understandable, these are not easiest conditions to have this conversation, with the warmup for the Daytona 500 going on in the background.
We thank you for making time for us, Mr. Calhoun.
CALHOUN: Thank you.
KAGAN: We're going find out why Michael Jackson's defense team says it was a good day today, as we get the latest on the case from Jeffrey Toobin.
Also, they use a sketch pad and a pencil to help solve crimes. We are going to meet one of America's top forensic artists, who has helped put away nearly 1,000 criminals.
And a movement to send a message about abstinence, as high school students around the country don white T-shirts and devote the day to purity.
But, first, shedding a little light on what some say is a dark day, Friday the 13th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: I think we had a good day. We have a good judge, who is fair and very efficient. And we respect the way he runs his courtroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: Listening to one of Michael Jackson's attorneys, sounding optimistic, after the case took some small steps forward today.
Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, was in the courtroom in Santa Maria, California. And we have found him there this evening with the details.
Jeffrey, good evening.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Hi, Daryn.
I'm standing about 30 feet away from the infamous spot where Michael Jackson danced on top of the SUV a few weeks ago. But, as you know, Michael was not in court today. It was a much calmer scene out here and inside the courtroom. And it was just a bunch of lawyers talking.
KAGAN: Well, those lawyers did some talking, talking about the timing of when this trial should not only get started, but when it should wrap up.
TOOBIN: That's right.
Very interesting. The judge took a very aggressive stance on that. He said, my view is that this trial needs to start by the end of the year. And by the standards of California justice, that's actually a fairly rapid pace, given the complexity of this case. I think the subtext of what was going on, there was actually something very sad. Everyone knows that the main witness in this case, the accuser, is a young man with cancer, a young boy.
And there's really no guarantee how long he is going to be able to be testify. So I think the defense, who says they want a trial, and the judge feel that it's time to get this -- this is not a case that needs to be delayed. So, they want to have a trial start by the end of the year.
KAGAN: And what about the revelation that the defense has the accuser on tape answering questions?
TOOBIN: Very interesting exchange in court about that today.
A private investigator hired by Mark Geragos, who is, of course, the other lawyer defending Michael Jackson, apparently has a tape of the accuser and perhaps his family, two hours of videotape, being interviewed about the accusations. The prosecution today, as part of the discovery process, said, we want to see that tape. The defense said, no, that's part of our work product. It's like the attorney- client privilege. We don't want to disclose it.
The judge agreed to consider it. But that's really quite an advantage, when you think that the defense in this case has the accuser on tape, presumably saying things favorable to the defense. That's something the defense has in its pocket and presumably will use if this case goes to trial.
KAGAN: Well, and speaking of seeing, no one saw Michael Jackson in court today. When's the next time he might show up at that courthouse?
TOOBIN: Well, I think the answer is not for a long, long time. Defense sources have told me, they want no repeat of this crazy scene with all the fans. He has been excused from court basically indefinitely.
The next time there will be a hearing in this case is April 2. That's the day the judge will set the preliminary hearing. But, as far as I can tell, Michael Jackson will not be in court until the preliminary hearing. And I think both sides, but especially the defense, don't want him here. They want this to be an orderly process. And as when we all -- as we all saw, it's not orderly; it's quite bizarre when Michael Jackson comes to court. KAGAN: Yes, much calmer today.
Jeffrey Toobin, in Santa Maria, California, thank you.
TOOBIN: Have a good weekend, Daryn.
KAGAN: She has helped lockup nearly 1,000 criminals. And she does with a pencil and a sketch pad. We'll meet one of America's top forensic artists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOIS GIBSON, FORENSIC ARTIST: Every time a witness comes in my room and I close the door, almost the first thing I tell them is, well, somebody tried to kill me for fun. And they immediately relax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: And teenagers and sex and the debate over abstinence is in the news today because of a nationwide movement in which high school students wore white T-shirts to promote purity.
KAGAN: This next story is one of amazing courage, strength and depth of soul.
Paula Zahn introduces us now to one woman who is fighting crime one sketch at a time.
ZAHN: Thanks, Daryn.
Lois Gibson has helped catch about 700 criminals, not with a gun or badge, but with her sketchpad. For her, it's not a job. It's a personal mission, payback to a violent man who almost ended her life.
GIBSON: Someone tried to kill me for fun when I was about 21 years old. It was a torture-rape. He strangled me. He made me black out four times during the attack. I thought I was going to die. And then I would come to again. And he probably didn't care if I did die. And after that, I was destroyed.
ZAHN (voice-over): Scared, embarrassed, even ashamed, 21-year- old Lois Gibson never reported her attack.
GIBSON: I thought, well, they will think I deserved it or I asked for it. I couldn't have hacked that.
ZAHN: The trauma didn't stop Lois. She finished her college degree and started a sidewalk stand in San Antonio, painting portraits of passersby.
GIBSON: You get fast and you get good at picking up on those unique features. And by the time I moved to Houston, I was a major portrait artist.
ZAHN: Yet, Lois was still haunted. But then, one day, that changed. She was watching a news report about a criminal on the loose.
GIBSON: All they were saying was, 5', 10'', brown hair, brown eyes over and over. And I thought, wow, I could draw a picture and show that unusual nose. What about the hairstyle? What about the facial structure, the lips, the chin?
This is going to be real easy. Just relax.
I realized I wanted to catch people because I wanted to get back at that guy who hurt me and tried to kill me.
How tall do you think he was?
ZAHN: Surprisingly, she says police departments didn't want someone who had never been a cop helping on major criminal investigations. They saw her as just a mother, a housewife, and an artist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On his nose, when I was talking about that scar...
GIBSON: I had to force myself on them. And it was not -- it was oil and water. But all that is water under the bridge. Suffice it to say, it took me 7 1/2 years before they gave me a full-time job, even though one out of every three sketches I would do would solve the case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that he's looking at me right there.
ZAHN: Since then, more than 3,000 sketches and more than 700 convictions.
Look at the sketches and compare them to the mug shots of the person arrested and ultimately convicted of the crime. You don't have to be an expert to see how strikingly accurate they are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's able to relate and to show compassion to people. And she has the ability to build a trust quickly with people. I think that allows people to be relaxed and comfortable with her and recall facts of their experience.
GIBSON: My attack gives me an edge, because every time a witness comes in my room and I close the door, almost the first thing I tell them is, well, somebody tried to kill me for fun. And they immediately relax.
ZAHN: Pam Minks (ph) was one of those witnesses. In 1996, she was brutally beaten by a stranger outside her drugstore one spring night. Fortunately, Pam saw her attacker. With no eyewitness, only Pam's memory and Lois' talent stood between the attacker and justice. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's difficult to talk about this, to begin with. At that point, it was so fresh and raw that it was very difficult. And she was very empathetic, without being condescending.
ZAHN: It took Lois a little over two hours to transform Pam's memories into a composite.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she actually showed me the finished sketch, I couldn't believe it. It gave me goose bumps. It was so frighteningly real, so frighteningly him.
GIBSON: Do you see how...
ZAHN: For more than a year, Pam carried the sketch around with her, showing it to strangers. And one day, a friend of a friend recognized it. The man was tried and convicted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a relief, an enormous relief, to have him off the streets.
GIBSON: And that's why I go through this work, because I want the people that I'm with to feel what it feels like to get justice, because I know what it feels like to want it so bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was so close to him. It was scary. Without that sketch, we wouldn't have caught him. And I just can't thank you enough for your gift, because you gave me my gift. You put him behind bars.
GIBSON: That's all I wanted for you.
ZAHN (on camera): Lois is named in the "2004 Guinness Book of World's Records" as the world's most successful forensic artist.
Surprisingly, according to Lois, there are only about 19 full- time forensic artists nationwide. She's hoping that will change. Forensic artists have been credited with helping crack some very high- profile cases, the Unabomber, Ted Bundy, and Elizabeth Smart.
KAGAN: High school kids wearing white to make a point and putting off sex until marriage, the debate over teens, sex and abstinence.
Also, another visit from Randy Cohen, the Ethicist, to answer your moral quandaries, like, should you rat out the boss when you know he's cheating on his wife?
And, on Monday, a chilling look inside Saddam Hussein's most notorious prison from a journalist held there during the bombing of Baghdad.
KAGAN: Here's what you need to know right now at the half-hour. President Bush has released hundreds of pages of his military records to the media. The move comes as he tries to quiet criticisms about his duty in the National Guard during the Vietnam era.
Suzanne Malveaux is at the White House. She has seen some of the records -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: Daryn, President Bush earlier today said, put them all out, release them.
He had been watching the briefings. He thought they were rather silly. And he is trying to counter all that criticism about whether or not he completed his military career honorably. Some of those documents -- some highlights here -- there are about 400 pages or so. That includes Bush's request to transfer from the Texas Air National Guard to Alabama in May of 1972, shows that he was suspended from flying in August of 1972 because he failed to take the medical exam.
His medical records, which were also shown to a group of us in the Roosevelt Room, we were not allowed to take those documents out, but were allowed to take a look at them, show that he was in good physical shape, that he was fit to fly. It backs up the White House story that he did not skip out on his physical for any kind of untoward reason, but that he just simply didn't want to fly anymore and he was doing administrative work afterwards.
He was honorably discharged in October of 1973 -- that's eight months early -- to attend Harvard Business School. Of course, a lot of questions over some missing period of time in Alabama. At least some of these documents seem to close the gap on that period in a bit. October, November, twice in January, and April of '73, it shows that he did show up for duty.
Of course, there are some Democratic critics, however, who are saying that this poises more questions than answers, the Democratic National Committee this evening releasing a statement saying that: "Each revelation of material from the Bush White House has raised more questions than it has answered. It remains to be seen if these newest documents will provide any answers."
It's fair to say, Daryn, that some of these documents very detailed, other patches, very little information at all.
KAGAN: Suzanne, the other big story coming out of the White House tonight, that President Bush has agreed to meet with the 9/11 Commission and answer their questions.
But if you could advance the story for us, when is that going to take place, where, and how?
MALVEAUX: Well, we anticipate, because their deadline is about the summertime -- it was recently extended -- that it is going to have to be sometime before the summer.
It is likely going to take place here at the White House. It is going to be a private interview, not public testimony, from what we have learned. If it's any indication, what they have done before, as in the case of Dr. Rice, it is the chair and the co-chair who will sit down with the president, ask him those questions in -- in the White House, in the comfort here, on his own territory probably not any kind of public testimony.
KAGAN: Suzanne Malveaux, with 2 big stories out of the White House on this Friday evening. Thank you for that.
In a sea of red Valentine decorations, a modest wave of teenagers wore white today to celebrate a Day of Purity. It's an attempt to encourage teens to abstain from sex before marriage, and it's sponsored by a group called the Liberty Council, a conservative civil liberties group devoted to religious freedom and family values. It also comes at a time that the government is spending tens of millions of tax dollars on abstinence programs. Is this the right tactic to take?
Joining us from Orlando, D.A. Myers, a student who, as you can see, wore white today; Rena Lindevaldsen of the Liberty Council; and from Washington, political consultant Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women.
Good evening to all three of you. Thanks you for being with us.
PATRICIA IRELAND, FORMER PRES. NOW: Hey (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
RENA LINDEVALDSEN, LIBERTY COUNCIL: Thank you.
D.A. MYERS, DAY OF PURITY PARTICIPANT: Good evening.
KAGAN: D.A., I'm going to start with the gentleman in the group here. Tell me about wearing white, about your commitment to abstinence and why you thought it was important to wear that type of T-shirt today?
MYERS: It's really important because media and society is telling us that sex is OK, and it's really not, that teens need to wait for sex until they're married.
KAGAN: You look like...
MYERS: Is really the main point.
KAGAN: You look like a pretty cool guy with a goatee and the whole -- and the great haircut working. Is it OK to have an attitude like that and share those values in your high school and not be considered a freak?
MYERS: Oh, definitely. Definitely. All my friends know that I'm never -- I'm not going to have sex until I'm married and they know my beliefs, and they know that I'm cool and I don't have to have sex to be cool.
KAGAN: All right, Rena, let's bring you in. To hear D.A. talk, that must be music to your ears because the message that you're trying to get out to young people clearly is getting through to some of them, like D.A. Do you think the answer, though, is just to teach abstinence in the schools?
LINDEVALDSEN: Absolutely. And I have to say, I'm glad that he can speak out at school and stand up and feel that that's OK because the reason we started the Day of Purity project is we've heard from thousands of kids across the country who are afraid to stand up because they're chastised for what they believe in. So the Day of Purity gave them that opportunity to stand up. And we do believe that teens should be told they should wait for marriage and that they can, in fact, do that.
KAGAN: Patricia let's bring you in here. I see you shaking your head while the others are talking. Are you telling me that you're going to encourage teenagers to go out there and have sex?
IRELAND: Not at all. And I want to congratulate the students for taking action in support of their beliefs. But I want to say to the adults in the Liberty Council shame on you for exploiting these young women and men as a front for your ultra-conservative political agenda.
On the one hand, out of one side of your mouth, you say, like President Bush, We want to double the budget for so-called family planning and sex education programs that are abstinence only until marriage. And then out of the other side of your mouth, you say, Oh, but we really don't think lesbians and gays should be able to get married. It's saying that people who don't wear white must not be pure, and I'm not sure what they are supposed to do, wear a T-shirt with a big "A" on their chest?
KAGAN: OK, our time is short. D.A., I want to get you in here, since you're the young person. First of all, do you feel exploited?
MYERS: No, not at all. I mean, I know what I believe in, and I -- that's -- I'm willing to stand up for that because -- I'm willing to stand up for that because I know what I believe, and I'm willing to stand up for it.
KAGAN: And you sound comfortable with that. Let me ask you this. How many kids at school today were wearing white, like you, D.A.?
MYERS: I was surprised. There weren't that many. But the people that were wearing them -- I think I knew about all of them. And there are a lot of people that were asking, and they didn't know about -- about the Day of Purity. And that was -- I got my chance to share with them what the Day of Purity really means.
KAGAN: So the...
KAGAN: Hold on one second, Patricia, because I want to talk to D.A. because he's on the front lines here. I want to...
IRELAND: Sure. KAGAN: I want to hear from you, D.A. So do you think, even though you believe in staying abstinent and you're very strong in your convictions -- do you think it's realistic that young people should only be given that information, that there -- if there -- in fact, there are millions of kids out there who are having sex, do they need to be armed with the information to stay safe and not get pregnant?
MYERS: Oh. Well, I believe that they should -- I really don't know. I believe that there's only one way to stay 100 percent pure of premarital sex or pregnancy and that's abstinence. And any other way that you -- that you try to have safe sex, it's not 100 percent positive.
LINDEVALDSEN: You know, I'd like to chime in here. She said that we were exploiting these kids. And what we're -- we're not exploiting them. We're giving them an opportunity...
IRELAND: No, you're making up a story that there are thousands of kids who are being chastised for saying that they don't want to have sex before marriage, and that's simply...
LINDEVALDSEN: Oh, I'm not making it up. I've...
IRELAND: That's a fantasy.
LINDEVALDSEN: I've personally taken the calls from the kids...
IRELAND: Thousands of them?
LINDEVALDSEN: ... who've been -- I take -- we take calls, about 200 calls a day in our office, and many calls are on this issue. And I personally know a person who received a death threat for standing up...
LINDEVALDSEN: ...for sexual purity.
KAGAN: And with that, before this turns into a fight between the two women there, we're going to say thank you to all three of our guests -- to D.A., to Patricia and also to Rena. One thing that all three of our guests have in common, wanting the best for young people across America, and clearly, one of our guests, at least, having a different vision of how that should take place. So I say thank you to all three of you.
IRELAND: Thanks, Daryn.
LINDEVALDSEN: Thank you.
KAGAN: We're going to move on to presidential politics and how the White House will deal with the latest poll numbers that show fewer Americans trust President Bush. And if you know your boss is cheating on his wife, would you rat on him -- or her if, it was a husband? We'll put that and more questions to "The Ethicist," Randy Cohen.
But first: It is Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious? In some corners of the world, that wasn't always the case.
KAGAN: President Bush's most imminent threat these days could be his own credibility. Tonight he ordered the release of his military records, but his presidency is under fire on several other fronts and his trustworthiness is being questioned. Our Judy Woodruff has that story.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): He came into office vowing to restore honor to the presidency.
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The role of a leader is to stand on principle!
WOODRUFF: But now, with his reelection campaign in full swing, George W. Bush finds himself fighting to restore his own credibility. A new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll shows just a slim majority of Americans describe the president as honest and trustworthy, only 52 percent. It's a 7-point drop since October. What's brought on the fall? In a word, Iraq.
BUSH: Year after year, Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate length, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction.
WOODRUFF: But those weapons haven't been found. And as the president's Democratic rivals pound away...
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He misled us about the information and about how he would go about this.
WOODRUFF: ... Americans are losing patience. Most say they believe the Bush administration intentionally exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. Now the Democrats are singing a tune the president may remember.
HOWARD DEAN (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you make me commander-in-chief of the United States military and president of the United States, I will restore the honor and the dignity and the respect of that this country deserves around the rest of the world.
WOODRUFF: Begging the question of whether what worked for the Republicans in 2000 could work for the Democrats this time. Judy Woodruff, CNN, reporting.
KAGAN: the trust factor is also being played out in President Bush's decision tonight to release all of his military records. To talk about that decision and the poll numbers on President Bush, here in New York, "Time" columnist and show contributor Joe Klein, and in Washington, Jonah Goldberg. He is contributing editor for "The National Review." Gentlemen, good evening. Thanks for being here with us.
JONAH GOLDBERG, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Hi.
JOE KLEIN, "TIME": Good evening.
KAGAN: Joe, I'm going to start with you. Let's start with the free reading assignment the reporters at the White House got on this Friday night, a 300-page document dump. Is this going to help or hurt the president's credibility, in your view?
KLEIN: Well, I don't know that it's going to have a major impact either way. You know, this whole instance has enabled the Democrats to put the president on the defensive, and it's probably not going to go away anytime soon. But it also isn't that relevant to the major issues that people are concerned about with regard to the president's trust, which are not just the war in Iraq but also the economy.
KAGAN: And people want jobs. Jonah, let's bring you in here. In fact, there were two developments tonight, not just the document dump but the president also announcing that he will answer questions of the 9/11 commission. Do you think this White House knows it has a credibility problem?
GOLDBERG: Oh, I think they know they have a problem, and one of them is this credibility stuff. I think right now the White House is just off of its stride. It's had a bad few months. The primaries were basically just a festival of Bush bashing, and the numbers reflect that. I'm not sure, on the document dump, that it's all that big a deal because I'm not sure this whole story is that big a deal. I mean, my guess is if it goes on for another week or if it goes on even for another month, people are going to get tired of it and it's going to be long forgotten by time the election really gets going.
KAGAN: Well, what is going on now are the primaries, as you were pointing out. And John Kerry seems to be increasing in strength and getting closer and closer to the Democratic nomination. Of course, we've seen a lot of surprises so far. But we're seeing signs that the White House and the Republicans are taking John Kerry seriously. We're seeing the first Internet ad talking about John Kerry's credibility. Let's take a little bit of a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More special interest money than any other senator? How much? Oh! For what? Nominations and donations coincided. Wait! Watchdog groups -- facts -- Kerry. Brought to you by the special interests. Millions from executives at HMOs, telecoms, drug companies -- ka-ching! Unprincipled?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: This one got a big smile out of Jonah. I'm going to get to you in just a moment. But first, Joe, should the Kerry campaign -- should they be flattered that he doesn't -- he has a quarter of the delegates right now he needs... KLEIN: Hey, look...
KAGAN: ... for the nomination, and he's already getting this.
KLEIN: That's -- they're expecting this kind of stuff, and that's what this National Guard story is really all about. It's Democrats saying to the Bush White House and to the Republicans, Hey, we're going to play rough this time, too. And so, I mean -- the interesting thing about that ad is that it's probably appeared more on CNN tonight than people have seen it in the rest of the country.
And the other interesting thing is, is that the Kerry campaign put out a counter today in which they said that the president has taken more special interest money in this year than Kerry has in his entire career, and they had the numbers to back it up.
KAGAN: Well, speaking of numbers, I want to go to some numbers that Jonah was talking about earlier, and this is a new CNN poll talking about credibility and "Who do you trust?" And if you look at those numbers -- pretty even on Bush and Kerry. But I think -- and Jonah, I'll have you jump in here. I think what's interesting is the "unsure" category under Kerry. To me, that looks like a lot of room to maneuver either way, either to gain ground for Kerry supporters or for Bush and the White House and the Republicans to do some damage against Kerry.
GOLDBERG: Yes, I think that's exactly right. I think a lot of people are forgetting that, you know, Howard Dean had wrapped up all of the -- you know, had frozen everything in place for almost a year, and John Kerry was very low in the polls until almost, basically, a week before the Iowa caucuses. And so in many ways, Kerry never got the beating that the frontrunners in the primary process normally get. He hasn't been vetted. He hasn't -- he hasn't been held to account. Dean took all those slings and arrows.
And so in many ways, it's a huge disappointment to the White House, which was hoping for a battered and bruised nominee. But in many ways, this also puts the onus on the White House to start going after Kerry a lot earlier because a lot of the American people don't know anything about Kerry, which shows that Kerry is vulnerable, but it also creates an opening or vulnerability for the White House if they go too negative too early.
KAGAN: And also this is why it's so fascinating to watch. You're going to have to save your comments right now because you have a "Time" column to write, and we got to go. Out of time.
You're excused from the table. You can go write your column...
KLEIN: Happy to go and suffer upstairs.
KAGAN: There you go. More work for you. Joe and Jonah, thank you so much, gentlemen, for joining us on this Friday evening. So consider this. What if your boss is having an affair, cheating on his wife? What do you do with that information? It's a question for "The Ethicist," Randy Cohen, and he'll join us coming up.
Also, the glitz, the glamor and the stars. We're not talking OSCARS, we're talking the BAFTAs, darling. Richard Quest gives us the lowdown on Britain's biggest movie awards.
KAGAN: Seems like some of you out there have your conscience keeping you awake at night. Maybe Paula Zahn and her next guest can help you out.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Doing the right thing is the right thing to do, of course, but it's not only an easy choice, as letters to "The Ethicist" prove every Sunday in "The New York Times Magazine." Randy Cohen, who answers questions about right and wrong and the shades in between, joins us again tonight. And this time, we have a few of the questions that flooded our e-mail box after his last appearance. Welcome back. Ready?
RANDY COHEN, WRITER, "THE ETHICIST": Uh-huh.
ZAHN: Why don't we start off by listening to one of those questions from one of our viewers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Randy, is it ethical to be writing you ethics questions while I'm at my job?
ZAHN: Is it OK to do that?
COHEN: Well, I guess it depends on your job. If he's a cross- country trucker, probably not. You really want to keep your eyes on the road. But for most other jobs, I guess the question is, can I do personal errands at work? Can I make a personal phone call? Can I send a personal e-mail. And I think the answer is yes, as long as you don't abuse the privilege.
ZAHN: But there seems to be a level of tolerance for that in today's workplace?
COHEN: Well, your boss might not like it. My job is to say what I think is reasonable, not what your boss will permit. But people are human. People have lives, and everyone at some point needs to make a doctor's appointment or e-mail a child's teacher. And I think you should be permitted to do that. You can't abuse it. You shouldn't use your work time to lounge around and spend the day making personal phone calls. But if you do it every now and then, I think it's fine.
ZAHN: So you're not ready to set a limit on the time that you can take?
COHEN: An absolute number? You think a little timer on the... ZAHN: Ten minute a day, seven minutes a day -- no.
COHEN: No, I think you need to listen to your heart and your supervisor, I suppose.
ZAHN: Let's move on to another question that was e-mailed to us. What do you think about this one? "A co-worker is involved in an adulterous relationship. He's my boss. I'm afraid to confront him. I hate what he's doing. He's running from his family. What should I do?" This is a tricky one.
COHEN: You should do nothing, that you do not have a say about your boss's private life. This is not your ethical obligation, to be a morality police for what your boss does off the job. You do have an ethical obligation about your co-workers' on-the-job performance. If you knew, for instance, your boss was a terrible doctor and was routinely killing his patients just for a lark or stealing from their bedside tables, that you do have an obligation to come forward and report. But you're not there to comment on his private life.
ZAHN: How about a co-worker's private life?
COHEN: No. I'm sorry. No. And they shouldn't be commenting on yours. Your boss shouldn't be scrutinizing you about what you do in private. They have a right to judge your professional work, but not your private life.
ZAHN: Another viewer writes this. "I received an unsolicited catalog of healthcare products which consisted mainly of socks, hair removal creams, watches, wheelchairs and walkers, et cetera. On page 29, the catalog takes a disturbing turn by offering books and videos to achieve a one-hour orgasm. Now, is it ethical for this company to bury these types of products in a seemingly innocent catalog?"
ZAHN: This is a pretty common tactic, isn't it?
COHEN: But these are innocent products. You're not suggesting there's something shameful or wrong about human sexuality or human happiness. Although an hour? I...
ZAHN: You want that product, don't you!
COHEN: Well, I'd need a sandwich about half-way through. That's a long time. I don't think I have the stamina for it anymore.
COHEN: I don't think the catalog has done anything unethical. This person is presumably an adult, is interested in human sexuality. Why not? There's nothing wrong with that. As a courtesy, the people who put out the catalog might want to put a little sticker on it, so people understand what it is, if anyone's cautious about their children being exposed to it, they can. But that's a practical task. That's not an ethical obligation. ZAHN: And no one should be too surprised this is happening.
COHEN: That there's a book that gives some sexual advice?
ZAHN: That they're disguised as other products after...
COHEN: But I don't accept that they are disguised. Why aren't these just perfectly ordinary regular products? What surprises me is the socks. Who's going to buy socks by mail? That's what I want to know.
ZAHN: Very good point, Randy Cohen! Always great to see you.
COHEN: Nice to be here.
ZAHN: Thanks for your insights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: And we're going to wind up the week in Britain with Richard Quest and England's version of the Oscars -- Richard.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Daryn meet BAFTA! BAFTA is a cousin of Oscar! And like all the best families, the two don't always agree!
KAGAN: Well that's easy part, Richard. Also ahead, we're going to ask you if you know what this means, let alone do you know how to pronounce it. We have the answers and why it is important, especially today.
KAGAN: Of course, we Americans have the Oscars coming up on February 29, but the Brits have the BAFTAs, and they're being handed out this Sunday. Of course, you probably never heard of some of the British films that are in the running. The list of nominees also does include the films that Americans are familiar with. And the BAFTAs also have their share of controversy. That's where we bring in Richard Quest from London, yet another gent wearing a tuxedo for me. I so appreciate that.
Good evening, Richard.
QUEST: Well, good evening, Daryn! I hope you appreciate, I've decided to take things a little bit upmarket! I felt standards were slipping!
Well, the reason, of course, is this weekend it's the BAFTAs! This is what a BAFTA looks like. It's very heavy, and we in Britain like to think that they are the equivalent of the Oscars. And anyone who might think that they'll get a taste of who will take home an Oscar by who picks up a BAFTA, well, I've got news for you. Think again! (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
(voice-over): They are the best the British film industry hands out. The British like to think their BAFTAs recognize the cream of the movies, but don't look to the BAFTAs as a barometer for the Oscars. In 2002, BAFTA and Oscar only agreed in one of the top six awards, that of Jennifer Connelly, the Best Supporting Actress. The tally was more together in 2003. Half the top six winners were the same. But the two academies failed to agree on the best picture or best actor. The reason, of course, for the difference, has little to do with art and everything to do with politics. The British prefer to back their own, which is why the betting in London is very different to that in Los Angeles.
ED POWELL, LONDON BOOKMAKER: We always look like lambs to the slaughter, going out to the Oscars and coming away disappointed. So the BAFTAs are a way of us sort of giving ourselves a slap on the back.
QUEST: So it may be perverse, but this weekend, look at the BAFTAs and then go in the opposite direction and you could well get a good idea of who will sweep the boards in Hollywood.
And if you look at this year BAFTA nominations, what you see actually is a completely different -- in the Supporting Actress category, only Holly Hunter makes both BAFTA and Oscar. And in the Supporting Actor, it's only Tim Robbins. So watch your BAFTAs and go in the opposite direction.
KAGAN: Well, how about that? Jude Law, a Brit -- he's nominated here in the States. We'll have to watch on February 29. But Richard, you stay with us for just a moment. You sound like someone who has kind of a decent command of the English language, so we're wondering if you know what this word means? We've been putting it up on the screen. It's not supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (ph). Do you know what this particular word means?
QUEST: I've got a hunch and a suspicion that paraskevidekatriaphobia might have something to do with the date!
KAGAN: Well, that's -- it is for Friday the 13th. It does sound like you have a little hairball there. Let's listen to some New Yorkers who took a shot at pronouncing the word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paraskevi...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... deska...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... tria...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... phobia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paraskevidekatriaphobia?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paraskevidekatriaphobia?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paraskevidekatriaphobia?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paraskevidekatriaphobia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: Well, here's a trick. You just kind of break down the word -- paraskevidekatriaphobia. It means fear of Friday the 13th. But as long as you're along, Richard, we have no fear. Hey, you have a great Friday evening. And happy Valentine's Day to you, my friend.
QUEST: And to you. Me, suspicious? As long as I've got him with me, never!
KAGAN: No problem. Well, you and Teddy have a great weekend.
Thanks so much, Richard. Thanks to all of you for being with us tonight. On Monday: inside Saddam Hussein's most feared prison. We'll meet a journalist who was locked up during the bombing of Baghdad. He'll tell us his terrifying story. I'll be right here with you on Monday, my regular slot, as well, 10:00 AM Eastern. "LARRY KING LIVE" is up next.
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