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JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I`m Jim Lehrer.
On the NewsHour tonight: the news of this Tuesday; then, a Newsmaker interview with State Department official Nicholas Burns about today`s word on resuming nuclear talks with North Korea; a NewsHour report on how Korean-Americans view North Korea`s nuclear threat; a Choices `06 snapshot of Missouri`s tight U.S. Senate race; a look at NASA`s decision to fix the Hubble space telescope; and some graveyard tales for Halloween from guest essayist Julia Keller.
JIM LEHRER: North Korea has agreed to return to nuclear talks; the United States and China made that announcement today. It followed a day of discussions in Beijing and the North Korean nuclear test just three weeks ago. North Korea did not confirm the announcement, but in Washington, President Bush hailed the agreement to get back to the bargaining table.
GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States: I`ve always felt like it is important for the United States to be at the table with other partners, when it comes time to addressing this important issue. And so I thank not only the Chinese, but the South Koreans, the Japanese, and the Russians, for agreeing to come back to the table with North Korea.
JIM LEHRER: The president also said he`s sending teams to the region to make sure U.N. sanctions on North Korea are still enforced. In Beijing, Christopher Hill, the assistant U.S. secretary of state, said the talks could resume in November or December, but Japan said it would not agree unless North Korea disavows nuclear weapons. We`ll have more on this story right after the news summary.
Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki ordered an end to checkpoints around a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad today. They were set up last week to help find a missing American soldier. Yesterday, radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded the roadblocks end; otherwise, he warned, there`d be trouble.
Today, troops rolled up wire and took down the checkpoints in the Shiite stronghold. With that, residents took to the streets, cheering in celebration. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman acknowledged disagreement over the issue, but he said, "Iraq is a sovereign country."
This was another day of violence in Iraq. The U.S. military announced two more American deaths; that raised the total to 103 for October.
A suicide car bomber killed at least 11 Iraqis at a Shiite wedding celebration in Baghdad. Four of the dead were children; 21 others were wounded.
Just to the north, gunmen kidnapped more than 40 Iraqis traveling in minibuses. There was no word on their fate.
The debate on Iraq took a new twist today in the U.S. midterm election campaign. White House officials accused Democratic Senator John Kerry of bashing American troops. Yesterday, Kerry told college students in California, "If you study hard, you can do well. If you don`t, you`ll get stuck in Iraq."
Today, President Bush called the comment "shameful," and Press Secretary Tony Snow demanded an apology.
TONY SNOW, White House Press Secretary: Senator Kerry not only owes an apology to those who are serving, but also to the families of those who have given their lives in this. This is an absolute insult, and I`m a little astonished that he didn`t figure it out already. I mean, you know, as far as Senator Kerry -- I mean, you`ve seen me. If I say something stupid, I apologize as quickly as possible.
JIM LEHRER: Kerry fired back at a news conference in Seattle. He said he`d made a "botched joke," but he insisted he`d been criticizing President Bush, not the troops. He said it`s the administration that owes an apology.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), Massachusetts: I`m sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won`t take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes. I`m sick and tired of the whole bunch of Republican attacks, most of which come from people who never wore the uniform and never had the courage to stand up and go to war themselves.
JIM LEHRER: Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona also called for a Kerry apology. He said he rejects the suggestion that only "the least- educated Americans" would serve in the military or fight in Iraq.
In Afghanistan today, NATO reported three soldiers were killed in the east. They died in a roadside bombing in Nurestan Province. One other soldier was wounded. There was no word on their nationalities, but U.S. troops make up the main force in that part of the country.
A military raid in Pakistan triggered large pro-Taliban rallies today; 80 people were killed Monday in a helicopter strike on a school near the Afghan border. The military claimed it was a training ground for al-Qaida.
Today, rallies in a nearby town drew some 20,000 protesters. They threatened to send suicide bombers to attack government forces. A Pakistani army spokesman said today U.S. intelligence was used in the raid, but later he denied making that statement.
The former South African president, P.W. Botha, died today in Cape Town. Starting in 1978, he held power more than a decade at the height of apartheid. He pursued some race reforms, but he declared a national emergency in 1986, and security forces killed more than 2,000 people. In 1989, he was forced out by a cabinet rebellion. P.W. Botha was 90 years old.
NASA today announced a shuttle mission to repair the aging Hubble telescope. That reversed a decision to stop servicing Hubble after the Columbia disaster in 2003. Today, Administrator Michael Griffin said NASA now believes the repairs can be done safely.
MIKE GRIFFIN, NASA Administrator: We believe there are very small odds that we would have a problem on ascent for which the remedy would be a launch-on-need shuttle, a rescue shuttle. So we will have that option; we will prepare for it. And so the safety of our crew conducting this mission will be as much as we can possibly do.
JIM LEHRER: The repair mission is scheduled to launch in May of 2008. It would cost $900 million and would likely keep Hubble operating until 2013. We`ll have more on this story later in the program tonight.
In economic news, consumer confidence slipped in October. The Conference Board, a business research group, said today job worries offset falling gasoline prices.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than five points to close above 12,080. The Nasdaq rose nearly three points to close above 2,366.
And that`s it for the news summary tonight. Now: the news from North Korea; how Korean-Americans see it; the Missouri Senate race; repairing a space telescope; and a Halloween ghost story.
JIM LEHRER: North Korea`s surprise decision to rejoin the nuclear talks. We hear from the number-three man at the State Department, Undersecretary Nicholas Burns. I talked with him this evening from the State Department.
Mr. Secretary, welcome.
NICHOLAS BURNS, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs: Thank you, Jim.
JIM LEHRER: This decision today by North Korea to rejoin the talks, do you see it as a major development?
NICHOLAS BURNS: Oh, it`s certainly a major development. You know, we`ve gone through this extraordinary period with the North Koreans, of their missile tests on July 4th, of their nuclear test of a couple of weeks ago. And they decided that they wanted to have this meeting in Beijing with our ambassador, Chris Hill, and they decided that they would announce they`re coming back to the six-party talks, so it`s very big news.
And we hope it will lead now to the North Koreans agreeing to implement the agreement that we negotiated with them, you remember, back in September of 2005, and that is to de-nuclearize the Korean Peninsula, to have the North give up its nuclear weapons, and to then have, we hope, a more normal relationship, if that`s possible, in the future.
JIM LEHRER: I`m curious about one thing. You say North Korea said this, and yet the announcement was made by the United States and China. North Korea still hasn`t said anything officially about this. Can you explain that?
NICHOLAS BURNS: Well, it`s always hard to try to explain the behavior of the North Korean authorities. All I know is this: The Chinese government came to us last week and said that the North wanted to come back to six-party talks, they wanted a meeting today in Beijing, and they were willing to say at that meeting that they come back to the talks themselves, which is exactly what happened.
And, of course, the official announcement was made by the host of the meeting, the Chinese government, and then our ambassador gave a press conference. I assume that the North Koreans will give their own press conference probably in their own good time. It`s an erratic, unusual regime, but it is a regime we have to deal with if we want to see peace on the Korean Peninsula. And we certainly want to see them give up their nuclear weapons, which is the ultimate objective here.
JIM LEHRER: So they took the initiative to get this thing going? In other words, they asked for the meeting today that caused this announcement to be made?
NICHOLAS BURNS: That`s correct. In fact, it was a very short timeline. The Chinese contacted us late last week and said that this meeting was going to be possible, they thought, and the North would come and say the things that we`ve been asking it to say.
And so Chris Hill, our ambassador, our excellent diplomat, had a trilateral meeting with the Chinese and North Koreans, and then he had his own meeting with the North Korean vice minister, Kim Gye Gwan. And Kim Gye Gwan was very direct in saying, and businesslike, that the North wanted to come back to the six-party talks.
And what that means, Jim, is that there`s one document we work on, this September 2005 agreement. And as I said, it calls for many things to happen, for the North to give up its nuclear weapons, and to, in effect, give up its nuclear industry so that the Korean Peninsula can become a much more peaceful and unthreatening place. And that is very much in the national interest of the United States.
JIM LEHRER: So, in effect, Ambassador Hill had a one-on-one negotiation with a North Korean representative?
NICHOLAS BURNS: Yes, he did. He had several meetings today. He had a trilateral meeting, a trilateral lunch, and then he had a bilateral meeting with the North Korean vice foreign minister. This is a gentleman who many of us believe is one of the most important officials in North Korea, one of the most influential.
So we treated that as an opportunity to give the North a direct message. And one of the things that Ambassador Hill told him is that the sanctions in place will remain in place from the U.N. Security Council resolution that was passed two weeks ago because of the nuclear test.
We intend, and I think the Chinese, and the Russians, the Japanese and Australians intend to keep those sanctions in place as a firm warning to the North Koreans that they`re not going to get away with a nuclear test, but we were encouraged to see that the North appeared to have a more realistic idea about what it`s going to take to get back into the good graces of the international community.
JIM LEHRER: Do you see any connection between the sanctions and the deal today?
NICHOLAS BURNS: I do. There`s no question that the North has felt isolated. They haven`t had a single country, Jim, stand up for them since they conducted that nuclear test.
And, you know, most countries look at the North Korean regime and see it as unpredictable and, frankly, a dangerous regime, and so therefore everyone sent a common message to the North Koreans -- the Security Council resolution was relatively tough as these things go. The sanctions implementation has gone better than I think most of us thought it would.
And I think, Jim, maybe the crucial difference here was the attitude of China. China sent a stiff message to the North Koreans that they`d gone too far. And as you know, China has influence with North Korea. So it was perhaps that combination of factors that brought the North Koreans back to agree to these talks.
JIM LEHRER: Now, the Japanese issued a statement today saying they wanted a disavow of some kind from the North Koreans officially before these six-party talks resume. What`s that all about?
NICHOLAS BURNS: We`ll have to talk to the Japanese government. The Japanese, of course, have very strong feelings -- as they should, as a neighbor to North Korea and a country that`s been victimized by North Korea, with the children and young adults that have been taken hostage over the years by the North Koreans.
And so I think the Japanese believe, I`m sure, that the September 2005 agreement should be honored, and that would mean that the North would live up to that agreement. They have not done so.
And so all of us, I think, will go into these talks with a very realistic and tough-minded attitude that we need to keep pressing the North to honor the agreement they made with us over a year-and-a-half ago.
JIM LEHRER: And so you don`t see the Japanese position as being a hindrance or to some way prevent these things from going ahead?
NICHOLAS BURNS: I don`t think so, no. As Secretary Rice said earlier today, we hope that these talks could be held before the close of 2006. It could be possibly this month, probably more likely the next.
But it`s an opportunity for us to be working with China, with Russia, with Japan and South Korea together, to use our influence, our collective influence, to tell the North that they have to meet these commitments that they`ve made, and they`ve got to have a much more realistic way of looking at their future in East Asia.
JIM LEHRER: Why the delay? Why not just have them tomorrow?
NICHOLAS BURNS: Well, these things are difficult to set up when you have six different countries coming together. And I think it`s more likely, Jim, that we`ll have some discussions over the next week or two with the Asian allies.
And then President Bush and Secretary Rice will travel to Asia for the APEC meetings. They`ll be in Vietnam and in Indonesia, and that will give them an opportunity to talk to some of the leaders. This needs to be carefully prepared.
We`ve been down this road before: the Clinton administration in 1994; the Bush administration over the last year. We want to make sure we prepare these well enough and effectively enough so that these new negotiations will make a critical and positive difference.
JIM LEHRER: Do you have a feeling that they will be different, it will be different this time than it has been in the past?
NICHOLAS BURNS: We hope so. But, as President Reagan used to say, "Trust, but verify." We`ll want to verify that the North Koreans are ready to do what they said they would do, and that is to take apart their nuclear weapons system, to have the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, go back in and verify that the North Koreans are playing by the rules.
They have not followed the rules, as you know, and they have not abided by their agreements over the last 12 years, so we have to be realistic -- and we are -- and we have to be tough-minded, as we go back into these talks.
JIM LEHRER: Did Ambassador Hill in his either trilateral or bilateral talks with North Korea today get the feeling that North Korea was saying more than, "We`re just willing to talk"? Were they also saying, "Hey, we`re really ready to made a deal and honor it"?
NICHOLAS BURNS: Well, he felt -- I talked to Ambassador Hill earlier today after his talks -- and he thought that they were very pragmatic and businesslike. The tone was good. Sometimes in these meetings, the North Koreans can adopt a fairly aggressive tone. That was missing, fortunately, in this meeting.
And so the objective here is to convince them that they have no alternative but to honor these obligations. They might have been surprised, Jim, by the strength of the reaction of the international community to that nuclear test. It was condemned by every major power in the world, by President Putin, by President Hu Jintao of China, by the Indian government, the Brazilian government.
And so I think they obviously miscalculated. They made the wrong decision, and it may be that they realized just how alone they are in the world.
JIM LEHRER: What I`m really getting at here -- and, finally, is it your feeling and Christopher Hill`s feeling that these are going to be just talks for talk`s sake or that there is a feeling now that there will be an agreement that will be lasting and that will, in fact, resolve this rising crisis over the nuclear proliferation issue in North Korea?
NICHOLAS BURNS: Jim, we are not interested in talks for talks. We`ve had too many of those with the North Koreans over the years, and that`s why we`re going to take a couple weeks or many weeks to prepare these negotiations before we actually enter them.
We have got to know that, when the North Koreans come to that table, they`re going to be willing and capable of honoring the agreements that they`ve already made to give up their nuclear weapons, to take down their nuclear and scientific apparatus, to open themselves up to international inspection.
We`ve got to have a sense and an assurance that that`s the case, and we`ll be working towards that over the next several weeks.
JIM LEHRER: But you want to know that before the talks begin.
NICHOLAS BURNS: And it was Chris Hill`s opinion, based on his talks today, that the North does have that intention, but, as I say, we`ll need to verify that over the next several weeks.
JIM LEHRER: Secretary Burns, thank you very much.
NICHOLAS BURNS: Thank you, Jim.
JIM LEHRER: Now, reaction of Korean-Americans to the North Korea nuclear test. NewsHour correspondent Lee Hochberg of Oregon Public Broadcasting has that story.
LEE HOCHBERG, NewsHour Correspondent: Seattle is home to 50,000 Korean-Americans. And on Sundays, many gather to worship at churches like this one.
The nuclear showdown on the Korean Peninsula has made this a tortured time for some of America`s two million Korean-Americans, including Pastor Edward Park.
EDWARD PARK, Pastor (through translator): We are setting a foundation all over the world to set a conflict that cannot be solved by any nations.
LEE HOCHBERG: Many congregants at Hansarang Korean Church still have family in Korea. The pastor`s four sisters and two brothers live in South Korea. He worries about their future, now that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il said he conducted a nuclear test. Pastor Park says he begged his siblings last week to move away from Korea.
EDWARD PARK: What`s next? What`s next? And we`ve been so naive; we`ve been manipulated. We`ve got to confront them. There`s no other way.
LEE HOCHBERG: Congregants were worried, too: 67-year-old Jim Kim was born and raised in Seoul.
JIM KIM: You may not think that he would actually use it? How do you know he`s not going to use it? Does it not really hit you? It does hit me.
LEE HOCHBERG: Though the Bush administration has rejected American military action in North Korea, Edward Chong, who served eight years in the U.S. Army in South Korea, called for a U.S.-led regime change.
EDWARD CHONG: The United States, we have a superpower, the United States, in the world. We cannot just, you know, wait too long. Just finish it up; that`s what I would do.
LEE HOCHBERG: And Pukil Larson, who`s bringing up her two children in Seattle, worried about how Korea`s next generation would be affected by radiation.
PUKIL LARSON: Everybody going to be disability and sick and hurt. And I`m more worried about the, you know, third generation, is that they`re going to get hurt.
LEE HOCHBERG: The quest for news from Korea has been voracious in the Korean-American community since the nuclear test. Seattle`s 24-hour Korean TV station broadcast frequent updates from Seoul, shown in restaurants and grocery stores.
The community`s elders, first-generation immigrants with more than a half-century of Korea-watching, dismissed Kim Jong Il`s recent apology for the nuclear test.
YULMO DONG: Angry plus horrible things he feels.
LEE HOCHBERG: Yulmo Dong lived two years under communist rule in North Korea.
YULMO DONG: There`s no such a cruel dictatorship in the world, only Kim Jong Il.
LEE HOCHBERG: The men said the test should mean an end to South Korea`s sunshine policy toward the North. Under that policy, the South has tried to build relations with the North, promoting reunions between families divided by the border and sending millions in financial and humanitarian aid to the North.
Eighty-seven-year-old Won Cho says he assumes now that money was misused.
WON CHO: They tested the nuclear weapon. I think they need a lot of money for that. Where come from the money? They do not enough money for eat. Where come from money?
DAVID CHUNG: We sending a lot of foods and everything, but that`s not going to the bottom of the line. They`re still dying; they`re still starve to die.
LEE HOCHBERG: David Chung came from South Korea in 1971.
DAVID CHUNG: As long as we help them, cash or anything, foods or whatever, it goes to a special group over in North Korea. And also for the helping for the more weapons, more missiles, they`re using their money only for that.
LEE HOCHBERG: The nuclear test also rallied Korean-Americans across the country. Dozens gathered outside South Korea`s consulate in Los Angeles, demanding an end to North Korea`s nuclear development.
And in the suburbs around the nation`s capital, America`s third- largest Korean-American community, the nuclear test dashed support for a unified Korea.
Jonathon Lee grew up 10 miles south of the 38th Parallel, the border with North Korea. He immigrated to the U.S. 32 years ago. Today, he owns the Korean Bakery in Annandale, Virginia. He says that, even though peaceful reunification has been an important part of Korean national identity, the concept is now dead.
JONATHON LEE: We think, the majority in the United States and Korea, if we have the -- if North Korea has a nuclear bomb, I don`t think any nation want to be a united Korea.
LEE HOCHBERG: But some younger Korean-Americans, born long after the Korean War and coming to the U.S. as teenagers in the 1970s -- those Koreans call Generation 1.5 -- seem less distressed by the nuclear developments. Yoonmee Chang teaches Asian-American studies at George Mason University.
YOONMEE CHANG, George Mason University: It`s sort of an alarmist response that people have been having, and I think North Korea is a long ways away from actually having a viable bomb that they will use.
LEE HOCHBERG: Realtor Taupin Yun came from South Korea at age 18. He notes, for all of the worry in this country`s Korean community, there`s considerably less concern in his homeland.
TAUPIN YUN: Korean people living in South Korea, they see North Korea as a, you know, brother. So they never expect -- I don`t think they really expect that North Korea really attack South Korea.
YOONMEE CHANG: I think the test is just symbolic, right, so Kim Jong Il is doing this to, you know, to insult the international community and I think to insult the United States in particular. I mean, this is about national sovereignty in some way, right?
So it`s always the question of, why does the United States say, "Oh, you can`t have nuclear weapons, but these people can"? When India does it, it`s not, you know, alarming, but when North Korea does it, it is. The effect of what they did seems to be aimed not at South Korea, at least in my perception.
LEE HOCHBERG: It was a hopeful view that left Young Kim, the president of Washington`s Korean-American Association, unconvinced. He grew up in South Korea.
YOUNG KIM, President, Korean-American Association of Greater Washington: Most of the South Korean people is not realize how serious this testing is going to be or how serious it can be, changing their everyday life in the future.
LEE HOCHBERG: Unsure what to make of the news from their homeland, many Korean-Americans were left simply praying that the worst doesn`t come to pass.
JIM LEHRER: Next, with a week to go, a Choices `06 update on that very tight and very important U.S. Senate race in Missouri. NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman begins.
KWAME HOLMAN: With a week to go, freshman Republican Senator Jim Talent and his Democratic challenger, Claire McCaskill, find themselves roughly in the same spot they`ve been in all year: a dead heat.
According to two major polls released in recent days, the candidates are statistically tied. Despite a combined $10 million spent on the Missouri airwaves...
AD ANNOUNCER: Does that sound like Jim Talent is standing up for Missouri values?
AD ANNOUNCER: Claire McCaskill`s nursing home story really gets troubling.
KWAME HOLMAN: ... and even with big-name endorsements for each candidate, neither has been able to gain a substantial advantage.
Both are well-known and have strong statewide political operations. Talent spent eight years in the Missouri Statehouse and another eight in the U.S. House, representing the St. Louis area. McCaskill, currently the state auditor, has spent 20 years in Missouri politics and narrowly lost the race for governor two years ago.
When we talked with the candidates in August, Talent was aware of the anti-incumbent feeling this year and admitted that something in Washington wasn`t working.
SEN. JIM TALENT (R), Missouri: Well, my view is that people are concerned that the system in Washington is not responding to them, that neither party`s establishment is, and they want somebody who will stand up for them and their values and make the system work for them.
And I encourage them in that view. I think they should want that, and I have tried to offer that on a bunch of issues: methamphetamine, renewable fuels, prescription drugs for seniors. I said I was going to work on those things, and I did.
KWAME HOLMAN: McCaskill`s point was that Talent voted with President Bush 91 percent of the time and said Missourians are not being heard in Washington.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), Candidate for Missouri Senate: It`s about people who really feel like they`re being left out of the decision-making process, people who really don`t feel like they`ve got a voice anymore.
As they watch these CEO salaries climb, as they look at no-bid contracts, as they see the consolidation of industries to the point that we have no competition in our economy, Missourians are getting a sense of unease that this thing has gotten way too weighted to one side. And I think this is really about me bringing a message of balance and independence.
KWAME HOLMAN: Both candidates hope their positions on two closely watched ballot initiatives -- one to increase the minimum wage and another to encourage stem cell research -- will energize turnout at the polls. Two Missouri political consultants, Roy Temple, a Democrat, and Jeff Roe, a Republican, have been gauging voter enthusiasm on their respective blogs.
ROY TEMPLE, Blogger, "Fired Up Missouri": I think the general public is aware that Republicans control the Congress, Republicans control the White House. They are not satisfied with the way things are going, and they want change. And so change, I think in the minds of most voters, is going to be turning to an alternative to the Republicans.
KWAME HOLMAN: Jeff Roe predicted Senator Talent will prevail, despite the poor political climate for Republicans.
JEFF ROE, Blogger, "Take Two": If he was running 2002 or 2004, or even 2008, I think it would be an easier time to be on the ballot. But 2006 is tricky because of that confluence of events, the war, the president`s approval ratings, and just where our country really is right now economically and in the worldwide affairs.
KWAME HOLMAN: Both Talent and McCaskill will need help next Tuesday from independent voters, who make up a substantial 36 percent of Missouri`s electorate.
JIM LEHRER: And to Margaret Warner.
MARGARET WARNER: And joining us now are the two political strategists and bloggers we talked to in Missouri last August. The Republican, Jeff Roe, writes a Missouri-based blog called "Take Two." The Democrat, Roy Temple, writes a blog called "Fired Up Missouri."
And welcome to you both.
Jeff Roe, let me begin with you. Do you think the race is as close as all of the polls are suggesting it is? And if so, why, after all these months of campaigning?
JEFF ROE: Well, I think we have two well-defined, really incumbents - - one at the state level, and one at the federal level -- and Missouri has been a bellwether state really from its existence. It typically nominates the eventual president of the United States. And as Missouri goes, so goes the country, and I think we`re seeing that exactly here today.
MARGARET WARNER: What`s your take on why it`s so close?
ROY TEMPLE: Well, I think, just as Jeff said, Missouri has a history of being a bellwether state. But, look, this is a remarkably difficult year for Republicans, and if, in fact, Missouri is reflective of the national trend this year, Republicans are going to be in pretty difficult straits on Election Day.
MARGARET WARNER: Well, is -- staying with you for a minute, Roy Temple -- is the anti-Iraq war, the anti-Washington, the criticism of President Bush, that whole -- all of those sentiments that seem to be driving a lot of other races, are they driving this one to the same degree?
ROY TEMPLE: Yes, I think so. I think Missourians know that we`re off on the wrong track in the country. We have a policy in Iraq that`s made us less safe when it comes to fighting terrorism.
They know that we`ve got problems, like a drug plan that benefits the pharmaceutical companies, not the seniors. And so those issues are what` sort of driving voter anxiety. And now Senator Talent is left in a position of trying to defend his actions over the last four years, and he`s having a very difficult time doing so.
MARGARET WARNER: So, Jeff Roe, do you agree? Do you think those sentiments are strong? And, if so, then why hasn`t Claire McCaskill been able to make the sale?
JEFF ROE: Well, we have come through probably the toughest political climate in modern-day politics in Republicans, and she`s still down in the polls. And as the mood of the electorate comes back, as people realize that this is not a choice between George Bush and an unnamed Democrat but actually Jim Talent versus Claire McCaskill, they`ll eventually make that choice based on morals, and values, and honesty. And those are issues that Republicans dominate on the political landscape.
MARGARET WARNER: Jeff, the president is coming in later for Mr. Talent. Where is the president`s popularity in Missouri? Is that risky for him?
JEFF ROE: I think this political climate is obviously -- the president in any midterm election, in a second term of the presidency, people are looking to see who the next leader will be. But this election will be held, one, in Branson, Missouri, not in Baghdad, and the president has little to do with what happens in Branson, except to motivate our base.
And that`s exactly what he`s going to come in and do in the 72-hour program. The Republicans traditionally run well, as we I.D. our voters and turn them out at the polls. It`s a huge lift of the spirits of Republicans in Missouri, and it will have a dramatic effect on Election Day.
MARGARET WARNER: Do you agree that the president can actually be an asset with Republican voters in Missouri?
ROY TEMPLE: Well, I think it`s a mark of the weakness of Jim Talent`s campaign that the president of the United States is going to have to spend his time propping his campaign up here in the final hours of the election, but I`m not surprised that the president is willing to do so, because every time the president has needed Jim Talent, Jim Talent has done exactly what the president told him to do, even when it was decidedly against the interests of Missouri voters.
So I`m not surprised the president is willing to do it. I think it`s a sign of the state of the campaign that the president needs to spend his time there in the final hours of the campaign for someone who should be in good shape.
MARGARET WARNER: Let me ask you both about the two ballot measures, both of which were originally expected to help Claire McCaskill. One is raising the minimum wage, and the other is making legal or allowing to be legal any kind of stem cell research that is federally approved, as well.
Beginning with you, are those turning out to be the help to Claire McCaskill that she hoped?
ROY TEMPLE: Yes, I believe they are. One of the challenges in a non- presidential year is that there are a large number of Democratic and progressive voters that don`t turn out except in presidential election years.
I think both the stem cell initiative and the minimum wage issue are going to do things that stimulate those voters to get out and participate in this election that perhaps the Senate race alone would not. And from the information that I`ve been looking at, the intensity -- though the noise is often on the side of the anti-stem cell crowd, the intensity among voters is among those who support it. And that correlates strongly to support for Claire McCaskill.
So I think it will be a net benefit to her, but it won`t be without a great deal of noise and fury.
MARGARET WARNER: Jeff Roe, how do you think those two ballot initiatives are playing into the Senate race?
JEFF ROE: Well, in Missouri, the Republican Party has really been built on small businesses and small towns around Missouri and traditional value conservatives. And both those ballot issues play well into Jim`s hands in this election.
We have the minimum wage, which in a very short time will be over $10 an hour. That`s excessive by any stretch of the imagination, and the small business owners and the people employed there realize that. They will be turned out in that effort.
In addition, the stem cell initiative and how that has become really a moral battleground -- you know, we`re still in the Bible belt. And when turnout comes on Election Day, that will provide the inspiration, unlike around the nation, that we really need to turn out in Missouri.
You have to remember: This is a Missouri election. It has nothing to do with national politics from a turnout scale. It will have very motivated small business owners, very motivated moral and value voters, and those folks will turn out on Election Day based on those two issues, which can only help Jim Talent.
MARGARET WARNER: What about that? Could stem cell actually be an energizing issue for the social and religious conservatives?
ROY TEMPLE: Oh, without a doubt there`s some sliver of the electorate for whom that will be a strongly motivating issue, but there`s a larger sliver of the electorate on the other side of the issue.
I mean, you know, I think the anti-stem cell folks overplayed their hand. I mean, they`ve had Alan Keyes in churches comparing stem cell research to Nazi experimentation. They`ve run billboards and ads suggesting that we`ll have egg farms where women`s eggs will be harvested and sold if we pass the stem cell initiative.
I think fair-minded voters know that`s not what Amendment 2 is about. And so I think that will, in fact, turn off a great deal of voters that might have been available to Republicans who will now be turned off and might be likely to cross the line and vote for Claire McCaskill.
MARGARET WARNER: Jeff, finally, the tone of this campaign. As you`ve said, these are two seasoned veterans. They`ve never run against each other. What has the tone and tenor been like?
JEFF ROE: Well, I think that both people, when they both filed for office, particularly the partisans on each side, understood where both candidates stood on most of the issues. So, without a doubt, this campaign has provided an opportunity to examine both candidates` records.
And in Missouri, elections are really based on God, guns, and babies. And we have a candidate who`s against -- I`m sorry, Claire McCaskill is for gay marriage. She`s for partial birth abortion. And she`s against concealed weapons. And that`s 0 for 3, and in Missouri that`s not a good recipe, particularly when you have some of those exact type of issues on the ballot to motivate people for turnout.
MARGARET WARNER: But my question is: Is Jim Talent saying things like that? How negative is this campaign?
JEFF ROE: Well, I don`t know if it`s negative or not, but they have definitely contrasted each other`s positions, and they`ve definitely gotten into the dynamics of each person`s career. And they`ve done that with a huge amount of resources.
Both sides have been well-funded, Claire McCaskill, aided by her own loan, after pledging not to do so. So I guess $10 million wasn`t quite enough. She had to loan hundreds of thousands of her own dollars to the campaign to promote that, as well.
MARGARET WARNER: Roy Temple, the tenor of the campaign?
ROY TEMPLE: Well, to answer your question, this has been the most savagely negative campaign in Missouri`s history on the part of Senator Jim Talent. And many of his vicious personal attacks on Claire McCaskill have been beneath the dignity of a United States senator from Missouri.
He has savaged her. He started out by running ads suggesting that it doesn`t matter if you`re red or blue, Democrat or Republican. He probably should have said, "By the time I`m done with her, I`m going to see that she`s black and blue," because he has savagely attacked her on a personal basis, and it`s because he can`t defend his record of getting us into an Iraq war that he didn`t adequately ask the tough questions for.
He didn`t look out for seniors when it came time to give them a prescription drug benefit that benefited them, so he`s have to be personally, savagely negative.
And we`ve had some tough election contests in Missouri history. The John Ashcroft-Mel Carnahan race was no cakewalk, but this race pales in comparison, when you look at how savagely negative Jim Talent has been in this race.
MARGARET WARNER: All right, we`ll be watching. Thank you both very much.
ROY TEMPLE: Thank you.
JIM LEHRER: Now, new hope and help for the Hubble telescope. Gwen Ifill has our story.
GWEN IFILL: The $2 billion Hubble telescope vaulted into space aboard the Shuttle Discovery in 1990, and the spectacular images it`s beamed back to Earth ever since have captured the public imagination: enabling the earthbound to observe the universe as it was 12 billion years ago; peering into black holes at the center of galaxies; and observing the oldest burned-out stars in the Milky Way, colliding galaxies and roiling caverns of dust and gas.
Today`s NASA announcement will extend the Hubble`s life by several years. To discuss the history and future of the space telescope, we are joined by David Leckrone, Hubble senior project scientist.
DAVID LECKRONE, Hubble Senior Project Scientist: Thank you.
GWEN IFILL: So what is it about the Hubble telescope which, as I described, has captured the public`s imagination all these years?
DAVID LECKRONE: Well, I think there are many reasons, but perhaps the simplest is that it`s given the first clear view to humankind of what the universe really looks like.
I think we`re all very curious about where we`ve come from and where we`re going. We`re all attracted to the night sky, and what`s up there, and what`s beyond the next star. I think that at heart we`re all Trekkies, and although we can`t literally fly across the universe in a Starship Enterprise, the Hubble can take us across the universe as a vicarious trip.
And I think ultimately, though, Hubble has just inspired people from all walks of life. And I think it also makes Americans very proud, that this is something positive that we have accomplished as a people.
GWEN IFILL: OK, as one Trekkie to another, why was this decision made today to extend this mission?
DAVID LECKRONE: Fundamentally, the Hubble was originally designed to be launched and serviced by the space shuttle, by astronaut crews in space suits going out on spacewalks. And we have done that fully successfully four times in the past. We`ve had 18 completely successful extravehicular activities, EVAs, on past missions, but those missions were accomplished doing a period of time when we didn`t realize what the threats to safety within the space shuttle itself were.
And after the Columbia tragedy, that was a very sobering experience, horrifying experience for all people who work for NASA. And the NASA administrator, Sean O`Keefe, at that time elected to cancel the final servicing mission to Hubble out of genuine concern and unanswered questions about the future safety of shuttle flights.
GWEN IFILL: So have those questions now been answered?
DAVID LECKRONE: I think to a very large degree they have. I think Administrator Mike Griffin set a very high standard and defined a decision- making process that had great integrity to it.
He used to work on Hubble 20 years ago. And, of course, he loves Hubble, as we all do, and what it`s accomplished for humankind, and so he has stated on many occasions in public that he would like to find a way to service Hubble if it were possible to do it safely.
GWEN IFILL: So, in all of the years that the Hubble has been in space, what have we learned? For instance, I mentioned in the introduction the existence of black holes. What`s significant about that?
DAVID LECKRONE: Well, of course, black holes weren`t even proven to exist up until, say, the 1990s, and Hubble played a very major role in getting the first concrete existence proved that supermassive black holes exist at the center of galaxies.
The interesting thing is that scientists, for a number of years prior to that time, had really believed in their heart of hearts that there were supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies, but they just couldn`t prove it with ground-based telescopes. And this is one of many examples where Hubble, upon getting this much clearer view of the universe, and particularly the central regions of galaxies, was able in relatively straightforward way to show that supermassive black holes are there and to actually measure how massive they are.
One of the conclusions of that was that Hubble did what I call the first demographic survey of black holes, examining many different galaxies and showing that the bigger the galaxy, the bigger the black hole; the smaller the galaxy, the smaller the black hole. So nature is telling us something here about how galaxies form and how black holes form and how there`s a relationship between those two things.
GWEN IFILL: So when the scientists, the astronauts go back up with the next shuttle mission for this Hubble repair job, what exactly are they doing? I read somewhere today that one of the telescopes they have to repair involves taking 100 tiny screws off of the outside of a case in order -- in space. How do they do that?
DAVID LECKRONE: Well, that`s very -- that`s really a cool thing. The space telescope imaging spectrograph is a very powerful instrument that was placed onboard Hubble in 1997 during our second servicing mission, and it is widely used, very heavily used by astronomers. It`s a very versatile instrument.
Basically, it has the capability to take light from sources out in the cosmos -- galaxies or stars or comets or whatever -- spread that light out into its component rainbow of colors, and then, by measuring how bright the different colors are, you can learn a lot about what objects are made of, how hot they are, how fast they`re moving. So an extremely important scientific instrument that failed in 2004, the latter part of 2004.
So what we have tried to develop is a technique for perhaps repairing that instrument while it`s still within the Hubble space telescope itself. We`ve never done that before; that is, open the payload bay doors (inaudible) of the Hubble, going inside, removing a panel from the side of an instrument.
And in this case, we have to remove 111 screws to get that panel off. I say "we"; of course, these are astronauts in spacesuits with big, heavy gloves. So they have to remove this panel, having remove all of those screws, and then they have to go in and carefully pull out a failed electronic circuit board, and replace it with a new board, and then close it all back up.
GWEN IFILL: If all of that works -- and this is a very delicate exercise you`re describing -- and you were able to extend the life of the telescope, how much longer will it be able to operate and what more will we be able to see?
DAVID LECKRONE: We are nominally shooting for an additional five years of lifetime, with this mission to be carried out sometime in the springtime of 2008. So we`re hopefully going to about 2013. The way these things normally work, perhaps we`ll be able to go a bit longer than that.
But in that period of time -- and I should make this especially clear -- after the astronauts leave, after servicing mission four in 2008, Hubble will be at the absolute apex of its capabilities. There never will have been a time in its past history when it has been as powerful a scientific tool as it will be at that point.
This is in large part to the fact that we`re putting two very high technology new scientific instruments onboard Hubble, a new camera that`s capable of surveying the universe to very great depth over a very wide range of colors, from the ultraviolet, which is blocked by the Earth`s atmosphere, to the near-infrared, which is impeded by the Earth`s atmosphere, and all of the range of colors and wavelengths in between.
And a cosmic origin spectrograph that will be the most sensitive device of its type ever placed in orbit. And, therefore, we`ll be able to look farther out across the universe and take these rainbow-of-color measurements on objects much farther away than we`ve been able to do in the past.
GWEN IFILL: Well, we will all be waiting and watching. David Leckrone of NASA, thank you very much for joining us.
DAVID LECKRONE: You`re quite welcome. Thank you.
JIM LEHRER: And finally tonight on this Halloween, guest essayist Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune takes a not-so-scary walk through a cemetery.
JULIA KELLER, NewsHour Essayist: When I was a child growing up in West Virginia, my friends and I spent a great deal of time playing in the cemetery. We`d run along the winding blacktop path or weave our way amid the oblivious old trees.
Sometimes we would stop and, in hushed solemn voices, we would read the names on the tombstones, names that, because they come in capital letters, seem to plead with the living to be spoken aloud on this Earth just one more time.
Few adults, however, hang out in cemeteries. Oh, we stop by when we think we ought to, prodded by a guilty conscience or a widowed grandmother. We show up on Memorial Day or Veterans` Day, bearing flowers and a fading memory of the person before whose grave we stand. But visiting a loved one`s grave can be a bit awkward. Where do you look? What do you say?
Our vague unease with cemeteries reveals itself in familiar ways. This is the Halloween season. Trick-or-treat.
This is the time of year when you can walk in any Wal-Mart and come out with a cardboard tombstone and a glow-in-the-dark plastic skeleton. It`s almost as if we try to cut cemeteries down to size, to get a little revenge on these places that frighten and mystify us, by turning them into entertainment, by coming up silly stories about ghosts that rise with the evening mist.
But cemeteries don`t have to be scary or depressing. In the 19th century, cemeteries by and large weren`t seen that way at all. Many were designed by renowned landscape architects. They were intended to be public spaces, places of beauty and serenity, where one can find not just rows and rows of stone markers, but elbow room for the mind, for thoughts and reflections too immense and unwieldy for everyday life. Cemeteries were places for family picnics, for carriage rides on summer afternoons.
In the great American cemeteries built in the middle of the 19th century, you can sense this. Americans took their cue from European cemetery designers, especially the French who pioneered the concept of the garden cemetery in 1804. This wasn`t about sumptuous riches packed into the tombs of the pharaohs; this was about trees and grass and flowers.
Crown Hill Cemetery here in Indianapolis opened in 1864. Among the approximately 193,000 graves, set amid its 555 acres, are the final stops of President Benjamin Harrison, and bank robber John Dillinger, and author James Whitcomb Riley.
The Midwestern poet Edgar Lee Masters pondered this endless tumble of the cemetery. In his 1914 masterpiece, "Spoon River Anthology," he wrote, "Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Charley, the weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter? All are sleeping, sleeping on the hill."
Cemeteries are sad, but it`s a good kind of sad. It`s the illuminating sorrow of the falling leaf, the passing hour, the vanished loved one. No wonder ghosts feel at home here. And maybe we should, too.
I`m Julia Keller.
JIM LEHRER: And, again, the major developments of this day.
The United States and China announced North Korea agreed to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear program. On the NewsHour tonight, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said the agreement came out of direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea in Beijing. He also said U.N. sanctions will remain in force.
The U.S. military announced two more American deaths in Iraq; that raised the total to 103 for October.
And NASA announced a shuttle mission to repair the aging Hubble telescope.
Tonight`s edition of "Frontline" is about Burma, the Asian nation called Myanmar by its military government. Check your local listings for the time.
JIM LEHRER: And, again, to our honor roll of American service personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here, in silence, are 13 more.
We`ll see you online and again here tomorrow evening, when, among other things, we`ll resume our Iraq options conversations. For now, I`m Jim Lehrer. Thank you, and good night.
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
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Episode Description
The United States and China announced Tuesday that North Korea has agreed to return to nuclear talks, three weeks after conducting a nuclear test. Jim Lehrer conducts a Newsmaker interview about resuming talks with North Korea with Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state. Lee Hochberg of Oregon Public Broadcasting reports on how Korean-Americans view North Korea's nuclear threat. The guests this episode are Nicholas Burns, Jeff Roe, Roy Temple, David Leckrone. Byline: Jim Lehrer, Lee Hochberg, Kwame Holman, Margaret Warner, Gwen Ifill, Julia Keller
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To view the segment on Korean American perspectives on nuclear test, visit or jump to 00:20:55.
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Chicago: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” 2006-10-31, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 22, 2024,
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APA: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from