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Coretta Scott King's Funeral Service; Interview With Author Marianne Williamson; Southern California Firefighters Battle Ferocious Wildfires; GM Announces More Cost-Cutting Moves

Aired February 7, 2006 - 14:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR; As we wait for the musical performance, Jelani, he brought up Rosa Parks. I mean, this was -- oh, looks like -- they're going right to all the key speakers.
We're going to hear from the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Choir soon, but let's listen to Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, very good friend of Coretta.



I am neither a gambler nor better. But who could have brought this crowd together except Coretta?


LOWERY: I'm going to behave.


Lord have mercy.


How marvelous that presidents and governors come to mourn and praise. But in the morning will words become deeds that meet needs?


Leave me alone, Sharpton.


Shut up, Jesse.

I've been asked to recognize the board of directors of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and president Steele who are here.

Would you stand?


Coretta was the first lady of SCLC. What a family reunion, Rosa and Martin reminiscing.

They'd just begun to talk when Martin seemed to not to listen. He started to walk. The wind had whispered in his ear, "I believe somebody is almost here."

"Excuse me, Rosa," Martin said as he did depart. His soul was on fire, he just couldn't wait. His spirit leaped with joy as he moved toward the pearly gates.

Glory,, hallelujah. And after 40 years, almost 40 years, together at last, together at last. Thank god, almighty, together at last.


Thank you, Coretta.

Didn't she carry her grief with dignity?


Her growing influence with humility? She secured his seed, nurtured his nobility. She declared humanity's worth and vented their vision, his and hers, for peace on all the earth.

She opposed discrimination based on race. She frowned on homophobia. And gender bias she rejected on its face. She summoned the nations to steady war no more. She embraced the wonders of a human family from shoulder to shoulder.

Excuse me, Maya.

She extended Martin's message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar. We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there.


But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance, poverty abound. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor.

Well, Coretta had harsh critics, some no one could please. But she paid them no mind. She kept speaking for the least of these.

Now I'm about through.

As we get older, or so I'm told, we listen into he heaven like the prophets of old.

I heard Martin and Coretta say do us a favor, Joe. Those four little children I spoke of in '73, they are fine adults now as all can see. They already know but tell them again, we loved them so dear.

Assure them we'll always be near, their troubles to bless and sanctify to them their deepest distress. Tell them we believe in them as we know you do. We know their faith in god and their love for each other will see them through.

Assure them at the end of the tunnel awaits god's light, and we're confident that they will always strive for the right. Tell them don't forget to remember that we're as near as their prayer and never afar, and we can rest in peace because they know who and whose they are.


What a family reunion.

Thank you, lord.

Just the other day I thought I heard you say, Coretta, my child, come on home. You've earned your rest. Your body's weary. You've done your best.

Her witness and character always strong, her spirit a melody from heaven's song. Her beauty warm like the rays of the sun.

Good night, my sister. Well done. Well done.


PHILLIPS: Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery never holds back what he's feeling. And the first one to stand up, President Bush, to shake his hand.

That was an interesting moment, wouldn't you say?

WILLIAM JELANI COBB, HISTORY PROFESSOR, SPELMAN COLLEGE: It was an interesting moment, but I think it was one that was to be expected. I think that at some point the tension between the official proceedings and, you know, the moral stance that Coretta Scott King and her husband, Martin Luther King, championed, at some point that tension is going to be expressed.

I think that Joseph Lowery did it in a humorous way, but he got his point across, clearly.

PHILLIPS: Coretta Scott king always made it a point whether it was the Vietnam War or other wars that followed, she was against it 100 percent. She believed in nonviolence all the way.

COBB: I think that it was perhaps the most fitting tribute in some ways that Reverend Lowery just gave.

PHILLIPS: Let's listen in to Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Choir. Dr. David Moore (ph) is the director.


PHILLIPS: "Ain't Got Time to Die." "Ain't Got Time to Die" arranged by Hall Johnson. Now, that was Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Choir. Dr. David Moore its director.

It seems fitting, the old spirituals. Harry Belafonte well known for those. Very good friends with Coretta Scott King.

COBB: Certainly. And it's interesting that we haven't seen him. I don't know if he's in the audience or he's sitting here, but it would be surprising to not see him at this event since they had such a close relationship.

PHILLIPS: From music to beautiful poetry, another good friend of Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou.

MAYA ANGELOU, POET ACTIVIST (SINGING): I open my mouth to the lord and I won't turn back, no. I will go. I shall go. I'll see what the end is going to be.

In the midst of national tumult, in the medium of international violent uproar, Coretta Scott King's face remained a study in serenity. In times of interior violent storms she sat, her hands resting in her lap calmly like good children sleeping.

Her passion was never spent in public display. She offered her industry and her energies toward action toward righting ancient and current wrongs in this world.

She believed religiously in nonviolent protests. She believed it could heal a nation mired in a history of slavery and all its excesses. She believed nonviolent protests religiously could lift up a nation rife with racial prejudices and racial bias.

She was a quintessential African-American woman, born in the small town repressive South, born of flesh and destined to become iron. Born -- born a cornflower and destined to become a steel magnolia.

She loved her church fervently. She loved and adored her husband and her children. She cherished her race. She cherished women.

She cared for the conditions of human beings, of Native-Americans and Latinos and Asian-Americans. She cared for gay and straight people. She was concerned for the struggles in Ireland, and she prayed nightly for Palestine and equally for Israel.


I speak as a sister of a sister. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on my birthday, and for over 30 years, Coretta Scott King and I have telephoned or sent cards to each other or flowers to each other or met each other somewhere in the world.

We called ourselves chosen sisters, and when we traveled to South Africa or to the Caribbean, or when she came to visit me in North Carolina or in New York, we sat into the late evening hours calling each other "girl." Now, that's a black woman thing, you know.

(LAUGHTER) And even as we reached well into our 70th decade, we still said "girl."

I stand here today for her family, which is my family, and for my family and all the other families in the world who would want to be here but could not be here. I have beside me up here millions of people who are living and standing straight and erect and knowing something about dignity without being cold and aloof, knowing something about being contained without being unapproachable. People who have learned something from Coretta Scott King.

I stand here for Eleanor Traylor and for Harry Belafonte. And I stand here for Winnie Mandela. I stand here for women and men who loved her.

On those late nights when Coretta and I would talk, I would make her laugh. And she said that Martin King used to tell her, "You don't laugh enough." And there's a recent book out about sisters in which she spoke about her blood sister, but at the end of her essay, she said, "I do have a chosen sister, Maya Angelou, who makes me laugh even when I don't want to."

And it's true. I told her some jokes only for -- no mixed company.

Many times on those late evenings, she would say to me, "Sister, it shouldn't be an either or, should it? Peace and justice should belong to all people everywhere all the time, isn't that right?"

And I said then and I say now, "Coretta Scott King, you are absolutely right. I do believe that peace and justice should belong to every person everywhere all the time. And those of us who gather here, principalities, presidents, senators, those of us who run great companies, who know something about being parents, who know something about being preachers and teachers, those of us, we owe something from this minute on so that this gathering is not just another footnote on the pages of history.


We owe something.

I pledge to you, my sister, I will never cease. I mean to say, I want to see a better world. I mean to say, I want to see some peace somewhere. I mean to say, I want to see some honesty, some fair play.

I want to see kindness and justice. This is what I want to see, and I want to see it through my eyes and through your eyes, Coretta Scott King.


Thank you.

(APPLAUSE) PHILLIPS: Dr. Maya Angelou, author, poet, activist, great sense of humor. And as you also witnessed, she can sing those black spirituals as well.

She said we owe something from this moment on, making that promise to her dear friend, Coretta Scott King.

Coretta Scott King saying, "I believe all Americans who believe in freedom, tolerance and human rights have a responsibility to oppose bigotry and prejudice based on sexual orientation. Segregation was wrong when it was forced by white people. And I believe it is still wrong when it is requested by black people."

We're expecting Bishop Eddie Long to now introduce former president Jimmy Carter and then father George Bush, then Bill Clinton, and then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Let's listen in.

BISHOP EDDIE LONG, NEW BIRTH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: ... and wonderful, wonderful man of god.

Here (ph) is Jimmy.



Since we left the White House, my wife and I have visited more than 125 nations in the world.


They've been mostly nations where people are suffering. Almost 45 of them are in Africa, and we have found in those countries a remarkable gratitude for what Martin and Coretta have meant to them no matter where they live.

It's interesting for us Americans to realize that we do not have a monopoly on a hunger for democracy and freedom.


We'll soon be going back to India again, the largest democracy on earth which is a Hindu nation. My wife and I have helped to have democratic elections in Indonesia, the fourth largest nation on earth, the largest Muslim country in the world committed now to democracy.

And of course we have a country here with a diversity of religions, but predominantly Christian, which is also a democracy. So we don't have a monopoly on achieving the greatest aspects of human nature. It's not easy for us to realize what is the essence of human ambition that binds us all together in all those countries in the world that admired the King family and what they meant.

Coretta and Martin and their family have been able to climb the highest mountain and to realize the essence of theology and political science and philosophy. They overcame one of the greatest challenges of life, which is to be able to wage a fierce struggle for freedom and justice and to do it peacefully.


There is always a temptation to forget that we worship the prince of peace.


Martin and Coretta were able to demonstrate to the world that this correlation was possible. They exemplified the finest aspects of American values and brought upon our nation the admiration of the entire world.

This beautiful and brave woman helped inspire her husband, has been a worthy successor in carrying forward his great legacy. They led a successful battle to alleviate the suffering of blacks and other minorities. In promoting human rights, in promoting civil rights in our own country, they enhanced human rights in all nations. And at the same time, they transformed the relationships among us Americans, breaking down the racial barriers that have separated us one from another for almost two centuries.

My life has been closely intertwined with that of the King family. Our first ceremony together was in 1974 when as governor I dedicated Martin's portrait in the Georgia Capitol -- Joe Lowery and others were there -- which was surrounded outside with chanting members of the Ku Klux Klan who had too much support from other Americans.

The evidence of Martin and Coretta have changed America. They were not appreciated even at the highest level of government. It was difficult for them personally with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the targets of secret government wiretappings, other surveillance, and as you know, harassment from the FBI.

When Coretta and Daddy King adopted me in 1976, it legitimized a southern governor as an acceptable candidate for president. Each of their -- each of their public handshakes to me was worth a million Yankee votes.

In return, they had a key to the White House while I was there, and they never let me forget that I was in their political debt. They were not timid in demanding payment, but always for others who were in trouble, never for themselves.


In 1979 when I was president, I called for making January 15 a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. And Coretta was by my side.

(APPLAUSE) The following year we established the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

When I awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, Coretta responded to this honor for her husband, and I quote, "This medal will be displayed with Martin's Nobel Peace Prize in the completed Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change, his official memorial in Atlanta.

It will serve as a continuous reminder and inspiration to young people and unborn generations that his dream of freedom, justice and equality must be nurtured, protected, and fully realized that they must be keepers of the dream."

Years later in Oslo, I said the Nobel Prize profoundly magnified the inspiring global influence of Martin Luther King Jr., the greatest leader that my native state and perhaps my native country has ever produced.


And I was including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and the others.

On a personal note, I added in my talk it is unlikely that my political career beyond Georgia would have been possible without the changes brought about by the civil rights movement in the American South and throughout the nation.

This commemorative ceremony this morning and this afternoon is not only to acknowledge the great contributions of Coretta and Martin, but to remind us that the struggle for equal rights is not over. We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.


Those who were most devastated by Katrina to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans.


It is our responsibility to continue their crusade. I would like to say to my sister Coretta that we will miss you, but our sorrow is alleviated by the knowledge that you and your husband are united in glory. Thank you for what you meant to me and to the world.

PHILLIPS: Former president Jimmy Carter. We're here with Professor of History Jelani Cobb at Spelman College. Interesting that he said without the Civil Rights Movement, he felt he never would have made to it the presidency.

COBB: That's a very important point historically speaking, if we can just talk about the political implications of the Civil Rights Movement. The 1965 Voting Rights Act ensured that African-Americans would be able to vote and become a significant block in the Democratic base.

PHILLIPS: Let's talk more about that. Let's listen to the former president, George Bush.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I respected Coretta, like her husband, because they rejected race- baiting by those who opposed as well as those who supported the civil rights movement. And there was always a dignity, a wonderful grace, about Coretta, the way she carried herself. And for this she is mourned and eternally respected by millions, not only across America, but as we heard today from South Africa and elsewhere, across the entire world.

A few weeks ago, I had an uplifting experience, that I hope some of the young people here have shared. I saw a special screening of "Glory Road," together with members of the Houston Rockets and all the basketball teams around Houston -- high school kids, college kids.

And the film and its powerful message made a profound impact on this young group, particularly on the young players, but also on all the young kids who were there.

It only reminded us how far our society has come. And these kids didn't understand it. They didn't know what discrimination was until some of them seen this movie, "Glory Road."

It's also to remind us how in countless ways, large and small, we see the fruits of labors leaders like Martin and Coretta King, all round us.

Lord knows, Coretta led the way, stared down the hate-mongers, showed us how to reach the day, to use his expression, "man as man."

And that burden is now lifted. And Coretta has been called home to the Father.

We give thanks for her good life, a life that mattered, a life well-lived.

Thank you very much.

PHILLIPS: Former president George Bush getting a little frustrated there. First very overwhelmed by the ceremony and then losing a page of his address. Bishop Eddie Long is about to introduce the next president, one that, we were waiting to see how the church was going to respond to Bill Clinton, weren't we?


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thank you for that wonderful reception. You might not feel like repeating it after you hear what I've got to say.

Bishop, President and Mrs. Bush, Yolanda, Martin, Dexter, Rev -- we are honored to be here.

I'm honored to be here with my president and my former presidents.


When President Bush 41 complained that he was at a disadvantage because he was an Episcopalian, then he came up here and zinged Joe Lowery, like he did, I thought that ain't bad for one of the frozen chosen. He's done a pretty good job.



We've had a wonderful time running around the world doing good together. And I thank the president for giving us a chance to do it.

Let me say a couple things briefly and then ask Hillary to join in these remarks.

I don't want us to forget that there's a woman in there...


... not a symbol -- not a symbol -- a real woman who lived and breathed and got angry and got hurt and had dreams and disappointments. And I don't want us to forget that.

You know, I'm sitting here thinking, I wish I knew what her kids were thinking about now. I wonder if they were thinking about what I was thinking about at my mother's funeral. Said all this grand stuff.

I wonder if they're thinking about when she used to read books to them, or when she told them Bible stories, or what she said to them when their daddy got killed.

We're here to honor a person.

Fifty-four years ago, her about-to-be husband said that he was looking for a woman with character, intelligence, personality and beauty, and she sure fit the bill.


And I have to say, when she was over 75, I thought she still fit the bill pretty good with all those categories.


But I think that's important.

This is a woman, as well as a symbol, as well as the embodiment of her husband's legacy and the developer of her own.

The second point I want to make is the most important day in her life for everyone of us here at this moment in this church except when she embraced her faith, the next most important day was April 5, 1968, the day after her husband was killed. She had to decide, "What am I going to do with the rest of my life?"

We would have all forgiven her, even honored her if she said, "I have stumbled on enough stony roads. I have been beaten by enough bitter rods. I have endured enough dangers, toils and snares. I'm going home and raising my kids. I wish you all well."


None of us, nobody could have condemned that decision. But instead, she went to Memphis -- the scene of the worst nightmare of her life -- and led that march for those poor hard-working garbage workers that her husband...


Now, that's the most important thing for us.

Because what really matters if you believe all this stuff we've been saying is what are we going to do with the rest of our lives?


So her children, they know they've got to carry the legacy of their father and their mother now. We all clap for that; they've got to go home and live with it. That's a terrible burden.


That is a terrible burden. You should pray for them and support them and help them. That is a burden to bear. It's a lot harder to be them than it was for us to be us growing up. Don't you think it wasn't. It may have been a glory, it may have been wonderful, but it's not easy.

So what will happen to the legacy of Martin Luther King and Coretta King? Will it continue to stand for peace and nonviolence and anti-poverty and civil rights and human rights?

What will be the meaning of the King holiday every year?

And even more important, Atlanta, what's your responsibility for the future of the King Center?


What are you going to do to make sure that this thing goes on?


I read in the newspaper today, I read in the newspaper coming down here that there's more rich black folks in this county than anyone in America except Montgomery County, Maryland.


What are we going to do? This is the first day of the rest of our lives. And we haven't finished our long journey home.

The one thing I always admired about Dr. King and about Coretta when I got to know her, especially, is how they embraced causes that were almost surely lost right alongside causes that they knew if they worked at hard enough, they could actually win.

They understood that the difficulty of success does not relieve one of the obligation to try. So all of us have to remember that.

What are we going to do with the rest of our lives? You want to treat our friend Coretta like a role model? Then model her behavior.


And you know we're always going to have our political differences. We're always going to have things we can do.

And this has been, I must say, a brilliantly executed and enormously both moving and entertaining moment.

But we're in the house of the Lord.


And most of us are too afraid to live the lives we ought to live because we have forgotten the promise that was made to Martin Luther King, to Coretta Scott King and to all of us, most beautifully for me stated in Isaiah.

"Fear not, I have redeemed thee."


"I have called thee by thy name. Thou art mine."

We don't have to be afraid. We can follow in her steps. We can honor Dr. King's sacrifice. We can help his children fulfill their legacy.

Everybody who believes that the promise of America is for every American, everybody who believes that all people in the world are caught up in what he so eloquently called the inescapable web of mutuality, everyone of us in a way are all the children of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. And I for one am grateful for her life and her friendship.

Thank you.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: As we are called, each of us must decide whether to answer that call by saying send me. And when I think of Coretta Scott King, I think of a woman who lived out her calling. She lived her life as an extension of her faith and conviction. Now, when she met this young divinity student, and he told her what Bill has just reminded us, and proclaimed that he was looking for a woman like her to be his wife, I can imagine that she thought for a minute, "What am I getting myself into?"


And, in fact, she waited six months to give him an answer because she had to have known in her heart that she wasn't just marrying a young man, but she was bringing her calling to be joined with his.

As they began their marriage and their partnership, it could not have been easy. Because there they were, young, becoming parents, starting their ministry at a moment in history that they were called to lead.

Leadership is something that many who are called refuse to accept. But Martin and Coretta knew they had no choice, and they lived their faith and their conviction.

I think of those nights when she was putting the children to bed and worrying about the violence, worrying about the threats, worrying even about the bombs -- and knowing that she couldn't show any of the natural fear that any of us would feel.

The pressure that must have been for her -- and she would turn to the Lord, who would answer her call for support by reminding her of her redemption.

When she went to Memphis, after her husband was killed, I remember as a college student listening in amazement to the news reports of this woman taking up her husband's struggle on behalf of the dispossessed.

She said then -- and she lived for the rest of her life in fulfillment -- that she was there to continue his work to make all people truly free -- not just free from the obvious shackles, not just free from the legal segregation, not just free from the oppression that one can see, but truly free inside, knowing that each of us has a personal relationship with God that can take us through any darkness.


As we gather here to celebrate her life and mourn her passing, we do have to answer the question as to whether we would say, "Send me."

She has passed, but we must take up her burden.

We'll have to split it up, because it was a heavy burden to bear.

But together, we can carry it. We can carry on the struggle against racism and discrimination. We can carry on the fight to make sure all children know they are created equal in the sight of God.


We know that the work of peace never ends.

So we bid her earthly presence farewell. We wish her Godspeed on her homecoming. And we ask ourselves: Will we say, when the call comes, "Send me"?

I know what she would want our answer to be today.

God bless you, Coretta Scott King.


PHILLIPS: Former President Bill Clinton, his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, side by side. We definitely weren't surprised with the reaction from the -- or from the guests at the funeral with regards to Bill Clinton.

COBB: Yes, that was really to be expected, and it was kind of the Bill Clinton effect. And I think Clinton, as much as Carter, than anyone in the Democratic party recognizes how indebted they are to -- in terms of their political fortunes, to the work that Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King, did especially in terms of voting rights.

Had it not been for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and their efforts in Selma, Alabama and, you know, the bloody violence that took place there leading Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the act into law, the Democratic Party would not have been able to rely upon a substantial block of black voters. And that's just the reality.

PHILLIPS: As we continue to remember the legacy of Coretta Scott King.

CORETTA SCOTT KING, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: What we see in the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., is not merely the absence of war but the presence of peace that surpasses all understanding.

And so on this day we commemorate Martin's vision of the beloved community where all conflicts are resolved peacefully and where justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Martin showed us the way to the beloved community, and as we commemorate this holiday of hope and healing, let us pick up the pace of our march on the road to human liberations.

The long night of violence, injustice, and oppression will surely come to an end, and we will awaken to the dawning of a glorious new day when the morning stars will sing together and the children of God will shout for joy.


PHILLIPS: Our coverage continues now of the funeral of Coretta Scott King, happening right now at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, the church where her daughter Bernice is associate pastor.

It's been incredible all the people that we have heard from, the dignitaries, the special guests, four presidents, including musical presentations from orchestras to soloists to beautiful black spirituals. Maya Angelou in particular, very memorable.

Jelani Cobb, a professor of history at Spelman College is with us today, and I know that you have to run. And I love that you said during the break this has been really special.

COBB: Yes, it has been. I think we got to see a variety of the aspects of Coretta Scott King's life. I write a column for AOL BlackVoices, and a few weeks ago when -- days ago when I discovered that Coretta Scott had passed away, what I tried to talk about was the multifaceted character that she had, the layers of her personality.

And I think that this event really kind of talked about her as a person, her as a symbol, her as a political activist, her as an idealist, her as a mother.

And I think that it's a really wonderful and fitting tribute, especially for all of us at large, not just African-Americans and members of this community, but for the country at large. We've all benefited from her efforts, and I think that this is a really good expression of that.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's been wonderful to have you with us. Thank you so much, Jelani.

COBB: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Also with us, Earl Graves, founder of "Black Enterprise" magazine. Earl, we are back together again.


PHILLIPS: Thank you for being so patient. As we've been watching all the various speakers, musical presentations, specifically the presidents, the former presidents, including the president of the United States, anything stand out to you? I'm guessing you might say Reverend Joseph Lowery and his comments, but I'm curious, what did you think?

GRAVES: I think that there was a change in the tone of what we were hearing from earlier. From President Bush on, somehow it seemed to me that people were much more talking about the present. What are we going to do going forward? What is it that can happen in this country? What is it we can expect in terms of employment?

And some people were saying it in a subtle way, and others were saying it not so subtly. I hope that the president, as he stood and properly applauded each one of the speakers that hopefully he -- something will happen in terms of what he will hear. One would hope that.

And certainly, the other national leaders in this country, that they will also hear what was said today, because if we only have a euphoric service and nothing changes, then it will just be more of the same. And it seems to me that that would not be in keeping, obviously, with what it is that Dr. King and Mrs. King lived for and died for.

PHILLIPS: Senator Ted Kennedy, when he spoke, he received a standing ovation reminding everybody of the day that his brother got the phone call from Coretta Scott King, pleading with him to free her husband, who was in jail.

And the senator said, Robert called the judge. And, thank God, the judge saw the light.


GRAVES: I thought it was a great line.

You know, Teddy Kennedy continues to be one of those few senators who is speaking and saying those things that need to be said. We would only hope that more persons within the Congress and outside of the Congress, and business leaders, would continue to speak in the way he has, and continues to in an eloquent way.

I was fortunate to be invited by Mrs. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's widow, back to the celebration of his 80th birthday, actually, which was held at the Congress.

And it was striking to me that the person who was revered most, even by those of us who still remember that which Robert Kennedy represented, was Teddy, in terms of leadership, in terms of being the senior person that is -- that has the vision, still, for what can happen in this country.

It's just too bad that he could not have been fortunate enough to run for president, but there -- that's my bias, and I realize I'm in a -- I want to be not quite as biased, in terms of being on this newscast.


GRAVES: But, I mean, this is a day for looking at things that need to be changed and things that need to be remedied, in terms of the issues that face us.

And I think that, whether you're speaking of President Carter, and even the older Bush, we're seeing a feeling within the room and within that cathedral that says, something different can happen and ought to happen.

And I think it was President Clinton who said, if we leave here and nothing else changes, that much of this would have been for naught, because Mrs. King has done her job and done her duty.




PHILLIPS: ... we're looking at live pictures now, the -- all the presidents are leaving.

And, just for a moment, as we watch these live pictures, and the presidents are saying their farewells to various friends and other leaders there at the pulpit, did you find it interesting -- should I say interesting, tense, a step forward in the right direction -- I don't know how you would describe it -- the fact that, here's the funeral of Coretta Scott King, a woman that believes in nonviolent and peaceful means, the president of the United States speaking at her funeral, and someone that is very active in the war on terror.

GRAVES: He's the president of all the people of this country. And he's the only president we have. And he is -- you know, he's the leader of all the people in this country.

And, so, one would expect that he -- it was the proper thing for him to be here today. The fact that we don't agree with him politically, that's what makes this a democracy. We hope -- you would -- one would hope that some of the things that he heard here today are going to have some meaning which will change some things, and change it for not just people of color, but all the people in this country who have the issues and face the problems that they do.

PHILLIPS: Earl Graves, we're going take a quick break, as we continue our live coverage of the funeral of Coretta Scott King.

GRAVES: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: We will be right back.



PHILLIPS: Oprah Winfrey hails Coretta Scott king as a queen, a woman who embodied beauty, brilliance and grace.

Quoting author Marianne Williamson, Oprah described her longtime friend in a special tribute yesterday, remembering the unforgettable power of one woman.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": Marianne so aptly said, in her presence, you felt like you were privy to a spiritual secret. And that secret is that it's not always what a woman does, but simply who she is, that can rock the world.


PHILLIPS: Oprah and Marianne Williamson sure have a way with words, words easily expressed, thanks to the inspiration behind them.

Marianne joins us now live from Detroit.

Marianne, I love that, privy to a spiritual secret.

Tell me what you mean by that.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, AUTHOR, "THE GIFT OF CHANGE": Well, I felt, in the presence of Coretta Scott King, that there was a deep silence, a kind of feminine grandeur to who she was, and, whereas, I remember, when I met her, I expected to think more about her husband and the historic political impact that he had had.

But when I actually met her, I thought -- I found myself thinking more about the impact that she had had on him. And I felt I had insight into the man, in meeting the woman that he had chosen to spend his life with. She was a deeply feminine woman.

The feeling that you got around her was not so much about her politics. It was almost like she was a character out of literature. There was myth and magic. And there was something to me -- as Oprah quoted, there was something to me, not just about the doing of political activism, but about the being of a woman and what that very being could achieve, in terms of the harmony that it created around her.

PHILLIPS: And she actually asked you to come to Atlanta and speak at Ebenezer Church, right?

WILLIAMSON: Yes. I was very honored in 2001 at the official birthday celebration of Martin Luther King, yes.

PHILLIPS: What was -- how do you actually think about putting thoughts together for something like that? I mean, that is such a tremendous honor. And, I mean, what a beautiful moment in history, to be able to do something like that.

WILLIAMSON: Well, yes.

You know, I had studied a lot about Martin Luther King. And I had written about him in one of my books, so, I was very much a student of his teaching and his life.

And what interested me, particularly, was this transformation that he had made from a Baptist preacher, with an interest in politics, to a civil rights movement leader, who based his activism on a spiritual understanding.

And, you know, Coretta Scott King was not taught by him. I mean, he was not her political mentor, so much as, in fact, she was, in many ways, his. And, when he did undergo that transformation, where he achieved that extraordinary marriage of political activism and spiritual understanding, it was Coretta who, in many ways, guided him and illumined his understanding.

So, she was a kind of muse of sorts.

PHILLIPS: Yes, you wrote that Coretta was his muse.

And, I guess, when we think of today, we think of the funeral, and everything that she did throughout her life, and just looking at these pictures, particularly the one when she went to India, and met with leaders there -- her husband loved Gandhi, obviously, and his philosophy. So did she.

What do women do now, with regard to this nonviolent struggle that she represented? I mean, who takes the torch from here? Who carries on that powerful message?

WILLIAMSON: Well, you know, when someone dies, sometimes, you can see them even more clearly.

As you mentioned, Coretta Scott King did accompany her husband to India to study the political philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, and then brought those principles back to apply to the struggle for civil rights in the United States.

But while the desegregation of the American South was the political -- what Dr. King called the externalized political goal of the civil rights movement, the broader goal, as he and she so often said, was the establishment of the beloved community.

This notion of the establishment of the beloved community, you know, the Gandhian principle is that the end is inherent in the means. So, it's not just what we do; it's who we are that deeply matters. And I think, as long as Coretta was alive, there was a sense that the banner of nonviolence was held by someone.

So, it was almost easy to take it for granted, that this corner of things was sort of taken care of. Now that she has died -- I think, when people die, the spirit that they carried on the earth is received by whoever is capable and willing to receive it. So, I think, when it comes to nonviolence today -- and I think that the subject is ever bit as important today as it was when Dr. King was alive -- I think each of us have to look into our hearts, as Dr. -- President Clinton was talking about, what do we do now?

I think, if we want nonviolence, as a philosophy, to not just be frozen as some abstraction that had historic significance, but, rather, as a living, breathing thing, which is what King would want it to be, what Coretta would want it to be, then I think each of us have to ask that question of ourselves: Will we carry that banner?

You know, Dr. King said that, ultimately, the question is not whether there will be nonviolence or violence. He said that the question, ultimately, is whether there will be nonviolence or the extinction of the human race. And, in fact, if you think about it, that question is even more urgent today, it's even more critical today than it was when Dr. King was alive.

So, I think we are now forced to realize that, in the absence of Dr. King on this earth, in the absence of Coretta Scott King from this earth, it's our time. It's time for each and every one of us to step up, to ask the deeper questions that they asked, and also to put feet to our prayers, to take the philosophies that we say are meaningful to us, and address the most important issues of our own time...


WILLIAMSON: ... with that understanding. PHILLIPS: You talk about her spirit, and Coretta Scott King actually said: "There's a spirit and a need and a man at the beginning of every great human advance. Every one of these must be right for that particular moment of history, or nothing happens."

Spirit and a need and a man, very interesting, yet, we talk so much -- Bill Clinton even said this -- he said, let's remember that there's not a symbol in that casket, but a woman.

WILLIAMSON: Well, first of all, I think we want to remember, when she said a man, I think, in her heart, she would mean a human.

But I think there's something for all of us to see. When you look at the great social and political and justice movements in the United States during the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, the work that President Kennedy did, et cetera, it was the time of the soloist; it was the time of the charismatic personality that would lead this kind of social evolutionary impulse.

We are living at a different time. This not so much the time of the soloist, as the time of the choir. So, we needn't worry that we can't point to a particular man or to a particular woman and say, well, we're waiting for them to appear, in order to lead this next wave of understanding and evolutionary progress.

I think that this is a different moment, when it's necessary for each and every one of us to become who we can be and to do what we can do, so that this wave moves through all of us collectively.

You met Jackie Kennedy.


PHILLIPS: You met Coretta Scott King.


PHILLIPS: I know you wrote about the two of them, and how they were much alike. I want to talk about that with you.

We're going to take a quick break, as we continue our coverage of the Coretta -- Coretta Scott King funeral, and talking with Marianne Williamson.

We are going to take a quick break. We will be right back.



PHILLIPS: We continue to follow the funeral of Coretta Scott King, But we just want to take a look at some other news that is happening right now. For the past few hours, and for hours to come, the focus of the nation has been on that Baptist church in suburban Atlanta. But, right now, next door, in Alabama, someone is setting fire to churches, four more since this time yesterday -- local and federal investigators already on the case of five church fires south of Birmingham last week. Arson is confirmed in those cases and suspected in the new ones. A federal civil rights investigation is also underway.

A seven percent solution, not hardly, but it's a start, and, if the winds stay calm, firefighters in Southern California hope to gain even more ground today against a ferocious wildfire -- the fire barely seven percent contained, as of this morning -- and, in the past 24 hours, some 3,500 acres burned. More than 2,000 Orange County homes were evacuated, though none is thought to be in imminent danger.

CNN's Kareen Wynter has the latest.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Crews are beginning to get a handle on the situation with the wildfires burning here at the Cleveland National Forest, about 3,000 acres already charred.

Firefighters spent a part of that day battling the blaze from the ground, trying to form those controlled burns. They're hoping to get those choppers and planes up in the air, so they can attack the flames by air with those water drops. They're also keeping an eye on surrounding areas.

There's a main highway, a toll road, which separates this burning area from homes that are just less than a mile away. They say, right now, the lines there are holding, and the situation looks good.

Kareen Wynter, CNN, Orange, California.


PHILLIPS: The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it's no match for bullets, grenades and Molotov cocktails.

As fury only escalates over political cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, so does the violence. In Northwest Afghanistan, British soldiers rushed to defend a NATO base where U.N. staff members are converging, so they can fly out of the region. At least three people are reported dead and dozens hurt in other demonstrations across Afghanistan.

In Indian-controlled Kashmir, protesters torched flags and threw rocks. Police responded with water cannons and tear gas. And more than 6,000 people took to the streets Peshawar, Pakistan. Some shouted, "Hang the man who insulted the prophet." In Tehran, a mob marched on the Danish Consulate, as well as the Austrian Embassy.

A leading Iranian newspaper announced a competition for cartoons about the Holocaust. It says it wants to tests the West's commitment to freedom of expression. Four more U.S. Marines have joined the ranks of the fallen in Iraq. They were killed in two separate attacks in the heart of the insurgency, Anbar Province. Three were killed yesterday by a roadside bomb. The other died in a roadside bombing during combat operations on Sunday.

Their deaths raise the total of U.S. troops killed in Iraq to 2,256.

More blood and death at a Baghdad market -- two bombs exploded minutes apart today, the first near a C.D. vendors' stand, killing at least three people. Police say the bomber ran away seconds before that blast. About 10 minutes later, a second bomb exploded in a drain, killing four people. At least 20 people were wounded in those attacks.

A suicide bomber on a motorbike, not in Iraq, but the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, a former stronghold of the Taliban -- the former -- the bomber, rather, sped into a police post, killing himself and at least 13 others, 10 of them police officers. The Taliban claimed responsibility for this latest in a string of bombings in Kandahar.

Will democracy truly take hold in Iraq? Some things need to change before that happens, says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He faced a Senate panel today to defend President Bush's proposed military budget for the next year. But Iraq quickly topped the agenda. Rumsfeld acknowledges, corruption is rampant and the insurgents are always lurking.


DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Their priority is to force us to abandon Iraq before the country is ready to defend itself, so they can turn it into a base of operation, as was Afghanistan before September 11.

In a letter written by Zawahiri, he spelled out their strategy -- the first stage, expel the Americans from Iraq -- the second stage, establish an Islamic authority -- the third stage, extend the jihad -- unquote. And have no doubt, should these fanatics obtain the weapons of mass destruction they seek, the survival of our way of life would be at risk.


PHILLIPS: Rumsfeld says the Iraqis have to step up and take more control of their nation.

Meantime, his defense budget for next year does not include the war's growing price tag. And that has some senators upset. They say the costs in Iraq and Afghanistan should be included in the budget request, instead of relying on emergency requests.

Senior Republican vs. freshman Democrat, old guard vs. new blood -- two of the nation's best known senators are waging a war of words today, as only two senators can. Republican John McCain is accusing Democrat Barak Obama of partisan posturing on the issue of ethics reform. It's a charge Obama calls puzzling.

The exchange began with a blistering letter. McCain wrote: "I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere.

I initially believed that you shared that goal, but I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party's effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness."

Obama responded that, "The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable, but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you, nor my willingness to find a partisan (sic) solution to this problem."

The exchange comes as Republicans and Democrats try to come up with legislation that would governor relations between lawmakers and lobbyists.

Remembering Coretta Scott King -- our live coverage continues right after a quick break.


PHILLIPS: Tighten your belts, that's the gist of President Bush's proposed budget for next year. And, today, his staff is trying to sell it.

The White House sent the budget to Congress yesterday, and, already, critics are attacking planned cuts in health care, education and other areas not linked to the war on terror.

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary John Snow said the administration had to make some tough choice, but Snow says they will reduce the amount of the annual budget deficit. And he also answered senators who say the tax code must be reformed.


JOHN SNOW, TREASURY SECRETARY: I have traveled the country. And, everywhere I go, I hear all sorts of things from people. I have never heard one person say, Mr. Secretary, keep the code just the way it is. We love every word of it.


SNOW: I have never heard anybody say that to me.


SNOW: In fact, their sentiments are more like yours and more like the other members of the panel. It's time to fix it. We agree with it. We want to do it right. And we are hard at work.


PHILLIPS: Critics wonder if the budget will put a dent in the deficit, which will hit a record $423 billion this fiscal year.

Struggling car maker GM has announced more cost-cutting moves, including a big pay cut for its CEO.

Susan Lisovicz has details now from the New York Stock Exchange.

Hi, Susan.


And that is news, because we have long become accustomed to the rank-and-file taking pay cuts. But here it is, chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will take a 50 percent pay cut, and other executives will also see cuts in the 10 to 30 percent range.

Shareholders will also feel the heat. The company is slashing its dividend in half. That will save GM more than a half-a-billion dollars a year -- also on the cutting board, health benefits for salaried retirees and changes in pension plans for salaried retirees in the futures.

Many analysts say GM is making a statement with these changes, perhaps an overdue statement, signaling to the United Auto Workers union that management and shareholders alike are prepared to make sacrifices, too.

GM has been seeking concessions from the UAW on issues such as health care and job reductions. Last year, you may recall, GM lost $8.6 billion, and some analysts say today's moves are still not enough to turn the company around.

Turning now to the market, stocks are edging lower. GM shares, by the way, are down nearly 3 percent, perhaps because shareholders are seeing a drop in the dividend.

A warning from home builder Toll Brothers, that it will not start as many homes this year as previous -- previously forecast, is spooking some investors as well.

Checking the numbers, the Dow Jones industrials are off 43 points, or nearly half-a-percent. The NASDAQ is down nearly 15 points, or two-thirds-of-a-percent.

And that is the latest from Wall Street. LIVE FROM continues after this.



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