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Signs Bush campaign's TV Ads Working; Interview with Interior Secretary Gale Norton

Aired March 30, 2004 - 08:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. It is exactly half past the hour on this AMERICAN MORNING. After 2 1/2 years of being seen from a distance only, the Statue of Liberty is now just a few months away from reopening. In just a few minutes, we're going to talk to the secretary of the interior, Gale Norton -- there she is, about the schedule, and also more importantly, some of the security changes that have been made.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: About as close as you can get to it these days is a boat in the New York harbor.

Also this hour, the very real controversial over artificial blood. The substance could buy a trauma patient the needed time after an accident and before getting to the hospital, possibly saving lives. But the way the research is being conducted might and bit of a problem.

Sanjay explains that in a moment, let you know what you need to know, in a few moments.

O'BRIEN: Let's get to our top stories this morning, though. First, eight suspects have been taken into custody following a series of early morning raids in the London area. Police sources tell CNN that the suspects are linked to possible Islamist terror. One of the raids taking place at the warehouse, which is seen in this videotape. Police also seized a half ton of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used to make bombs. Police say all of the suspects are British citizens.

Massachusetts has taken the first step to block same-sex marriages. State lawmakers gave their approval yesterday for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, but allows civil unions. However, another vote is required by the next legislature before it goes on the ballot in November 2006.

Basketball Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy has temporarily stepped down as the announcer for the Houston Rockets after being charged with sexually abusing his daughters. Authorities say the incidents occurred between 1988 and 1991. Murphy blames the accusations on a dispute over money.

And baseball fans needed a wakeup call to catch this year's season opener. The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays played the first official game in Tokyo, Japan. The Yankees, with all their expensive new players, they got killed -- they lost 8-3. Money out the window. HEMMER: Lot of folks in Milwaukee right now really happy. Alex Rodriguez playing third base. I guess he doubled from what I understand. So it's a long season.

O'BRIEN: Wait, how much does he make again?

HEMMER: A little bit.

O'BRIEN: For a double?


HEMMER: Signs of the Bush campaign's TV ads are working today. The latest CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll show the voters, when surveyed, prefer President Bush to Senator Kerry by 4 percentage points. Also the newest ad uses record high gas prices to try and paint Senator Kerry as a tax raiser.


ANNOUNCER: Wacky ideas like taxing gasoline more so people drive less. That's John Kerry. He supported the 50 cent a gallon gas tax.


HEMMER: Senator Kerry says he'll spell out a plan to lower gas prices, in California yet again. Last night, again, also talking there. During that speech, the Democratic candidate blamed the high fuel prices on the president's economic policy.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Notice that gas is now close to $3 a gallon here in California. If it keeps going up like that, folks, Dick Cheney and President Bush are going to have to car pool to work together.


HEMMER: Senator Kerry also noting the number of jobs lost during the Bush administration. Today in Wisconsin, President Bush will talk about the economy. Senator Kerry continues his campaign in California.

We can clearly gauge the results of last week's 9/11 hearings now with new poll numbers today, and our senior political analyst Bill Schneider here with more to talk about it this morning.

Welcome back, Bill. Nice to see you.

First question, we'll go to the full screen here, show our viewers. When asked who to believe, President Bush versus Richard Clarke, a virtual tie within the margin of error, 46-44. Why do you believe the split is clearly seen here, 50-50?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POL. ANALYST: Well, one word: partisanship. Everything gets absorbed by this great partisan battle we're having in the country. We're in the middle of an election season, so what do you expect? The Richard Clarke allegations created a controversy, and people instantly galvanized along party lines. Republicans say overwhelmingly believe President Bush, and Democrats say they believe Richard Clarke's allegations. So this split predictably has just continued to divide the country.

HEMMER: And now, that was last week. Three weeks ago, in a head-to-head match between Senator Kerry and President Bush John Kerry, on the screen we can show what it looks like three weeks ago, John Kerry wins that battle 52-44 percent. Now, President Bush has flipped that. Now 51 to 47 percent. Why does it appear that there is not much damage as a result of these hearings from last week in d.c.?

SCHNEIDER: Well, the first thing that a viewer might conclude is, whoa, it looks like there has been a backlash against Clarke, and it's helping President Bush, he's surging ahead in the polls. That's not quite the case. What's really happening is the Bush campaign's effort to define Kerry in the voters' minds, who's still largely unknown, is working, because we're finding growing numbers of Americans saying, Senator Kerry is too liberal, that he would raise your taxes, that he flip-flops on the issues. There have been preemptive strikes, like the one you just reported on gasoline, and they appear to be paying off.

HEMMER: Meanwhile, the questions continue about Dr. Rice. Will she testify? Will it be public? Will it be private? Will they disclose some of this testimony, or will they not? On the screen, the question about whether or not there was a cover-up involved here, whether or not something was hiding. The question is, is the Bush administration covering up something about handling intel on terrorism prior to 9/11? 53 percent say yes. What do you think the fallout is?

SCHNEIDER: I think the fallout is pressure on the administration to do something to make a compromise, which apparently is in the works now, to allow Condoleezza Rice to testify in private, but to have the transcripts made public. Look, Americans, this poll just suggests, Americans don't understand why, if she has nothing to hide, she can't testify on the record, not to the families, not to Ed Bradley on "60 Minutes," but to the Commission, which is official officially invested with the responsibility of what went on. I think sooner or later -- probably sooner -- her testimony, if not in public, will be made public.

HEMMER: Bill, if I can go back to the poll numbers, too, the Ralph Nader factor is something you're going to be looking at for the next seven months up until the election. When he's thrown into the mix here, it does not seem to be that big of a deal. He pulls away from President Bush, he pulls away from Senator Kerry, but it's still a four-point spread. Can you make rhyme or reason of that?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. Well, a lot of people who say they'd vote for Ralph Nader probably wouldn't be voting at all. He gets a lot of votes from people uninvolved in the process, very unlikely to vote. And most likely, if given a choice between Bush and Kerry, those people say I wouldn't even bother. With Nader in the mix, they say there is an interesting possibility. A lot of them are young people. A lot of them are rare voters. It's not clear what impact Nader has, or would have in the end, but clearly, he's a bigger threat to Kerry than to Bush, because he elected bush in 2000. It's very clear from 2000 that he hurt Al Gore, and Kerry's worried that he could do the same thing again.

HEMMER: All right, Bill, we'll wait for the new poll numbers, as I'm sure you will as well. Bill Schneider in D.C. -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: The Statue of Liberty has welcomed millions of immigrants to a new life in America, and millions more tourists to Liberty Island in New York Harbor. But the statue itself has been closed to tourists since the 9/11 attacks. That is close to changing now, too.

Joining us this morning to talk about that is Interior Secretary Gale Norton. She is in Ellis Island for us this morning.

Nice to see you, Secretary Norton. Thanks for being with us.

GALE NORTON, INTERIOR SECY.: Good to see you. It's a pleasure to join you today.

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.

Your department, folks in your department, have said it's going to open soon, it's going to open imminently. When exactly do you plan to reopen the Statue of Liberty to tourists?

NORTON: We have a lot of construction work that needs to be done before we can actually open the doors. But we're working hard. We're hoping that in four months we will be ready to invite people to come in. They'll be able to see the museum and the base of the statue, to go up to the observation deck level which is 150 feet above the ground, and to be able to see into the wonderful work inside the statue that Eiffel, who designed the Eiffel Tower, was able to design. And so it's going to be a great experience for visitors.

O'BRIEN: You're listing everything, but I see you're not listing the crown. Will people be able to get into the crown, or is that going to be off limits still?

NORTON: At this point, we will not be opening up to the crown. We have not made a decision about what will take place as to the entry to the crown. But for now, we are going to be opening up much of the area of the statue, and it will be a terrific experience for visitors to come to see.

Lady Liberty has been so much a wonderful symbol for this country, and it will be a balance to make sure that she is well protected and the safety of our visitors is also well protected.

O'BRIEN: Forgive me for coughing through what you're saying a little bit. I'm battling a little bit of a cold here.

What's changed specifically about the security and the safety that you've been working on?

NORTON: When we closed the statue after September 11th, we looked at the overall safety of the area. We reopened the island itself, and that has been open for quite a while now. We also had to look at fire safety, at fire exits. There were a number of things that really were not done according to the way we usually take care of visitor safety, and now we've had the opportunity to go back and to correct many of those things.

O'BRIEN: You raise $5.9 million in private funds. It angered actually some people here, certainly in New York, who felt that some government money should have been used. Why private funds, and was any government money used?

NORTON: We've had the government funding available for a number of the things that we're doing. Certainly all the staffing is paid for by government funds. The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation has been a terrific partner for us in the centennial of the statue back in 1986. They did extensive refurbishing of it. They've helped us with Ellis Island, and it continues a tradition that began when the statue first came to the United States, when the private sector raised the funds for the pedestal.

O'BRIEN: Wonderful.

Can I take just a moment to ask you a question? We were talking a couple weeks ago about Jessica Simpson visiting the White House. And it was reported that she had said to you, really congratulated you on the fine job had you done decorating the White House. Is that true?

NORTON: Some people who were standing next to me heard her make some comments along those lines. But it was nice to meet her and it's not exactly what I do, but it was still fun.

O'BRIEN: No, I think the Statue of Liberty thing is a little more in what you're doing.

Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton joining us this morning. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.

HEMMER: That's a good two-word answer.

O'BRIEN: It's not exactly what I do, Jessica, but thanks anyway.

HEMMER: In a moment here on AMERICAN MORNING, it's been called a life saver. A new blood substitute used in emergency matters stirring up controversy. Dr. Sanjay Gupta back in a moment with details on that.

O'BRIEN: And in the next hour, more on the turmoil about whether national security adviser Condoleezza Rice should testify publicly before 9/11 Commission. That's ahead.

Stay with us. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING.


HEMMER: For years, scientists have been trying to develop artificial blood. If accomplished, it would and critical breakthrough in the treatment of accident victims, injured soldiers or any time blood supplies run out. It finally looks like researchers are a bit closer to an answer.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta from the CNN Center has more on this.

Are they close, Sanjay? Good morning.


Well, the question is this: If you were bleeding, found yourself in a trauma and no blood was available, would you rely on an experimental therapy to try and save your life? That's the question people in five cities are now being asked.


GUPTA (voice-over): After an accident or trauma, replacing lost blood immediately is critical. Organs in the body need the oxygen it carries for survival. Every second counts.

But it's often not practical for ambulances to carry blood. There are too many types, and it's perishable. Instead, paramedics buy time with saline, but that doesn't carry the oxygen the body is starved for.

So, not surprisingly, there is a lot of enthusiasm for a new blood substitute called polyheme. Created in a lab, it's made from expired blood. Scientists extract the oxygen-carrying substance hemoglobin from red blood cells to create the substitute. Polyheme's shelf life is over a year. It's compatible with every human blood type, saving the 30 to 60 minutes it normally takes to type in matched blood. It's also free of any harmful viruses.

But as with most seemingly perfect things, there is controversy. Turns out polyheme is being used in clinical trials in five cities. But most of the time, the patients who need it most are unconscious and can't give consent. Under a rarely used law, the FDA allows patient consent to be waived so scientists can develop desperately needed emergency treatment.

Lead investigator and trauma surgeon Ernest Moore says research in the field is the only way to prove that artificial blood can save lives.

DR. ERNEST MOORE, CHIEF OF TRAUMA SURGERY, DENVER HEALTH MEDICAL CTR.: Unless we conduct research under these conditions, it'll never get done.

GUPTA: Patient advocates object, saying patients should always get their choice.

ARTHUR CAPLAN, MEDICAL ETHICIST: It's also not clear that the only way to try artificial blood is in this particular setting. You could have people volunteer, you could have restrictions only to people who are somewhat conscious or have a family member there and could give consent to this.

GUPTA: Dr. Moore says consent is already implied for IVs and breathing tubes. This should no different.

MOORE: Hopefully in patients who previously died because of blood loss we will now be able to save them.

GUPTA: The blood substitutes manufactures is handing out bracelets in the test cities to anyone who does not want it. But doctors involved in the study are hopeful a blood substitute will have broader use.

DR. MICHAEL PASQUALE, CHIEF OF DIV. OF TRAUMA, LEHIGH VALLEY HOSPITAL: The hope is that eventually you could potentially use this for any procedure where blood was required.

GUPTA: And potentially save many more lives.


GUPTA: Twenty other cities are going to be added to that list soon, Bill, 20 other cities, a decision or sort of the results of these studies by December of this year as to whether or not polyheme will become more widely available -- Bill.

HEMMER: That's a good, interesting story. Any adverse events that we know of regarding this?

GUPTA: Preliminary studies suggest probably not so far. About 171 patients have been tried so far on this substance. They say the statistics show that half of them would have otherwise died without polyheme. The numbers seem promising. That's why the studies are being done to find out if any adverse effects sort of declare themselves with the larger numbers of people -- Bill.

O'BRIEN: On more thought here -- on that map you showed in your story that we just watched, is the public in these areas aware that the trials are under way?

GUPTA: Yes, really interesting how this works. You know, they find a city, they have an internal review board, and then they basically put out notices in the newspapers, shopping markets, things like that, basically saying that if you don't want to be a part of this study, then you can get one of these bracelets. Interestingly, a lot of ethicists say, you know, that's exactly backwards, what they should do is give bracelets to people who do want to be a part of this study. Nonetheless, that's another point of contention -- Bill.

HEMMER: Good story. Thank you, Sanjay. Good to see you, as always -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, how much will the hot new X-Box games cost you this year? Andy Serwer gives you the lowdown on that, up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

CAFFERTY: Microsoft sort of hoisted on their own petard. And Disney wins a big fight over Winnie the Pooh and a market preview and oh so much more. Andy Serwer is here "Minding Your Business."


ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE": Interesting stuff here about Winnie the Pooh and Disney. Who would you bet on? Winnie the Pooh or Mickey Mouse? A 13-year battle royale between these two characters. Here is the story. It's kind of insipid, I think. I mean I like the old A.A. Milne books. But what Disney has done, anyway, that's another story.

Decades ago, Disney licensed the rights to these characters from a family called Slessinger saying that they had the right to sell towels and shirts and all the like with Winnie the Pooh's likeness on it. The only thing is, Jack, what they didn't do is they never included DVDs and VHSs on that because they simply didn't exist.

The family said you owe us money for that, Disney said no. And that precipitated a 13-year legal battle.

What happened is the Slessinger family, according to the judge though, started doing stuff like dumpster driving, altering documents. And the judge has said I'm not going to even rule on the merits. You people are a little over the top. Threw it out. They threw it our of court.

CAFFERTY: You would think though that Disney might win that. How can you expect to collect royalties on some technology that doesn't exist...


SERWER: ... offered them 20 cents on the dollar and said take it or leave it and the family said no. And now they're probably regretting it.

CAFFERTY: Microsoft played a trick on themselves. Didn't they?

SERWER: This is what happened with the X-Box. Of course this business is even bigger than movie business. The video game business is absolutely huge and growing like crazy.

But what happened with Microsoft which makes the X-Box, an analyst came out late last week said guess what? Microsoft is going to cut the price of the X-Box. What happened? People stopped buying it, waiting for the price cut to happen, forcing Microsoft's hand.

So Microsoft had to cut prices. They cut it $30 to $1.49. Here are the priced of the big three. Sony Playstation dominates the business, you can see. The X-Box and Nintendo fighting for No. 2. Game Cube very successful, Jack. Cutting prices to below $100 which is a big price point for consumers.

And you can see now the Game Cube is now ahead of the X-Box right there. This is cumulative sales through the end of the year. And what's interesting is that Microsoft loses money in this business. And they've got a ton of cash sitting there on their balance sheet. Investors saying instead of spending it on these businesses, could you give it back in a dividend?


SERWER: Big day. The Dow was up 116, Blue Chips like GE, Hewlett-Packard and Citi leading the way. This morning though, a little bit of weakness. So we'll be watching that.

CAFFERTY: Thanks, Andy.

Time for "The Cafferty File." The British have come up with something new to whine about, something called irritable desk syndrome. Symptoms include back pain and an inability to keep your desk clean. BBC says 67 percent of their workers are more tied to their desk than two years ago, 40 percent bothered by clutter on their desk but can't do anything about it, 35 percent say their backs hurt because of the way they sit at their desk.

It is curable. All you need to do is set up and personalize your desk, sit up, stretch every now and then, leave every now and then, clean up your mess.

You know, some days these are not great, it occurs to me.


CAFFERTY: Yesterday we told you about a guy in Oklahoma, could be America's dumbest criminal. Today, a man competing for the title of world's dumbest criminal in Germany. He was arrested trying to buy $90 worth of beer and cigarettes with a stolen credit card. Not unusual there.

The problem was the credit card had been stolen from the store's cashier. The cashier had ordered the card, it never came in the mail. This guy robbed the mail, got this guy's card. The cashier locked him up and called the police.


CAFFERTY: Irish pub will never be the same. We told you yesterday Ireland, the first country in the world to ban smoking in almost all public spaces including pubs. I mean there is something sacrilegious about not being able to light a cigarette in a pub in Ireland.

Pub goers in Dublin held a mock funeral yesterday for their friend and drinking buddy, the cigarette.

This is serious stuff. If you light up in violation of this, you can be fined 3,000 euros, which is like $3,825. The irony of the story is the cigarette and the coffin.


CAFFERTY: Lindsey Newman, filling in for my producer wrote the file today and I said, come up with something in the way of a last line for the cigarette story. She did that all by herself.


CAFFERTY: Did you teach her that clever...

O'BRIEN: I didn't teach her anything about good writing. But I did teach her to suck up to Jack.

CAFFERTY: And your reward for this will to be work overnights booking guests from Europe and setting up the satellite feed at...

HEMMER: Next hour, more chicken and feathers, Jack.

In a moment here, U.S. officials say Saddam is not talking. The attorney who says he will defend Saddam Hussein in trial talks to us about what he would do in the event of a trial. That in a moment. Top of the hour on AMERICAN MORNING.



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