The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour tonight: Our summary of the news; then two views of President Bush's idea for sending manned spacecrafts back to the moon and on to Mars; John Kerry and Dick Gephardt campaigning in Iowa, with an overview update from there by Margaret Warner; the details and the possible implications of today's guilty pleas by former Enron officials; and a Newsmaker interview with Vartan Gregorian, chairman of New York City's ground zero memorial committee.
JIM LEHRER: The former chief finance officer of Enron pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Andrew Fastow admitted his role in hiding Enron's massive debt. The company collapsed in 2001. Fastow entered his plea in federal court in Houston; he now faces ten years in prison. In Washington, a top Justice Department official said it wasn't easy making the case.
JAMES COMEY, Deputy Attorney General: I know folks out there sometimes get frustrated, sometimes wonder why it takes so long. But these are hard cases and the government bears a very heavy burden of proof. On top of the fact that the Enron executives worked like mad to make their crimes complicated so they couldn't be caught, there was a mountain of paper for the investigators and prosecutors to climb in this case.
JIM LEHRER: Fastow had faced 98 counts. His plea bargain reduced that to just two counts. In return, he's agreed to cooperate with prosecutors against Enron's former chairman, Kenneth Lay, and former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling. Both men insist they had no role in rigging Enron's books, and so far neither has been charged. Late today, Fastow's wife lea pleaded guilty to tax fraud. She could get ten to sixteen months in prison. We'll have more on this story later in the program. The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed new standards today for mutual fund advisers. They'd have to report their own personal trades and they'd have to tell investors about any fees they receive from mutual fund companies. On Tuesday, the SEC reported widespread cases of brokers being paid to push certain funds. President Bush called today for sending men back to the Moon, and then to Mars. He proposed building new spaceships to replace the aging space shuttles. They would land on the Moon by 2015, leading to a long-term base. A manned landing on Mars would happen sometime after 2030. In a separate briefing, the head of NASA, Sean O'Keefe, welcomed the announcement.
SEAN O'KEEFE: This afternoon we got a mandate. We got a support for a set of specific objectives that very clearly identifies exploration and discovery as the central objective of what this agency is all about.
JIM LEHRER: There was no word on how much the new plan would cost. It does envision $1 billion in new spending for NASA over five years. We'll have more on this story right after the News Summary. The U.S. Military announced today it has captured number 54 on the list of 55 top fugitives in Iraq. Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad was arrested on Sunday. He's allegedly the paymaster for insurgents in Iraq's largest province. The region includes Fallujah and Ramadi, two towns where the resistance is strongest. In all, 12 fugitives remain at large from the list of 55. The most-wanted man remaining from that list is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. He's thought to be running the insurgency. And today, U.S. forces detained four of his nephews in a raid in Samarra, north of Baghdad. They're believed to be in close touch with al-Douri. There's a $10 million bounty on his head. In a separate incident outside Samarra, U.S. troops killed eight Iraqis after their patrol came under fire. And to the South, a car bomb exploded at a police station in Ba'quba. The blast killed three people, including the driver. 31 others were wounded. The U.S. Army's suicide rate is up sharply among its forces in Iraq. The Pentagon's top doctor reported today there were 21 military suicides in Iraq last year; 18 were in the army. That means the suicide rate in Iraq was 25 percent higher than the army's overall rate for the previous year. A Palestinian woman killed four Israelis and wounded seven today in a suicide bombing. It happened along the Israel- Gaza border. We have a report narrated by Louise Bates of Associated Press Television News.
LOUISE BATES: The Erez crossing is one of the busiest between Israel and the Gaza strip. It was inside this security office that a female suicide bomber blew herself up. She'd been taken aside to be searched because of a metal plate in her leg. Hamas, the militant Islamic group, identified a 21-year-old woman, Reem Raiyshi, as the bomber. The mother of two is the first female suicide bomber from Hamas. She blew herself up where thousands of Palestinian laborers cross each day. After the explosion, everyone was searched in case they had bombs strapped to their bodies. They weren't allowed through, and their future access to the industrial zone they work in now looks threatened.
JIM LEHRER: And later, Israel did close the border crossing to Palestinians. A new design for the World Trade Center Memorial was unveiled today in New York City. The plan still features two reflecting pools where the twin towers once stood. The architect has added trees and plazas around the pools, and an underground museum with artifacts of the 9/11 attacks. We'll have more on this later in the program. The Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean won the year's first primary on Tuesday. He had 43 percent of the vote in the District of Columbia. Al Sharpton was second with 34 percent. Most of the other major candidates did not take part. The primary was non-binding. In U.S. economic news, K.B. Toys filed for federal bankruptcy protection today. It struggled during the holidays and blamed price-cutting by Wal- mart and other discounters. K.B. Toys accounts for almost 5 percent of the toy business in the United States. It will close some of its 1,300 stores, and cut staff. Wholesale prices rose in December, due mostly to higher energy costs. The Labor Department reported today producer prices were up 0.3 percent. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 111 points to close at 10,538. The NASDAQ rose more than 14 points to close at 2111. That's it for the News Summary tonight. Now it's on to manned space flights to the moon and beyond, the Enron guilty pleas, the Democratic scramble in Iowa, and the plan for ground zero.
FOCUS - SPACE INITIATIVE
JIM LEHRER: The president's ideas for a future in space. Ray Suarez has the story.
RAY SUAREZ: President Bush went to NASA headquarters today, to outline his plans for astronauts to go to the Moon and beyond.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We'll build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the Moon, and to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own.
RAY SUAREZ: The president laid out several goals, including finishing the assembly of the international space station by 2010, with the help of the current space shuttle program. NASA would also retire the aging shuttle fleet in favor a new spaceship, called "The Crew Exploratory Vehicle."
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Beginning no later than 2008, we will send a series of robotic missions to the lunar surface to research and prepare for future human exploration. Using "The Crew Exploration Vehicle," we will undertake extended human missions to the Moon as early as 2015, with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods of time. Returning to the Moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the Moon could vastly reduce the cost of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth's gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the Moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus far less cost. With the experience and knowledge gained on the Moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: Human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond.
RAY SUAREZ: The first president to propose a manned lunar mission was John F. Kennedy, in 1961.
SPOKESMAN: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
RAY SUAREZ: Eight years later, two Americans walked on the Moon's surface. But in the 35 years since, NASA's space exploration has consisted of mostly unmanned missions. The Mars rover, which successfully landed on Jan. 3, is the latest. The agency's space shuttle program sent astronauts into space, often to the international space station. But the shuttle program was grounded last year, after the crash of the "Columbia." That accident, and the "Challenger" explosion in 1986, killed 14 astronauts, and hurt morale at the space agency. And many of NASA's programs have been plagued by cost overruns, especially NASA's participation in the international space station. Today, President Bush said he would ask Congress to increase NASA's budget by $1 billion over the next five years.
RAY SUAREZ: Now, a debate about this space initiative. It comes from Lori Garver, former associate administrator for policy and plans at NASA. She is currently vice president of DFI International, an aerospace consulting firm in Washington. And Robert Park, a physics professor at the University of Maryland. He's a director at the Washington office of the American physical society, the professional society of American physicists. Professor Park, you heard what the president had to lay out this afternoon. What do you make of his plan?
ROBERT PARK: Well, I'm a little puzzled. We're on Mars now. We've got a geologist up there, a geologist who never complains about the cold nights, never breaks for lunch. We're on Mars right now, and it's looking great.
RAY SUAREZ: So your quibble is with the idea of sending human beings onto Mars?
ROBERT PARK: Yes, exactly. It's a rather old-fashioned sort of idea. We judge the success of society by the extent to which work that is menial or dangerous is done by machines. And it doesn't matter if it's on Mars; that's still the way a society should work. And we can do it with machines. But, in fact, it's not really a robot that's on Mars; it's just an extension of a scientist back on Earth. And he directs the robot, he sees through the robot's eyes. It can do anything a human being can do. In fact, if a human being was on Mars, he'd be trapped in a spacesuit with no sense of touch or feel. There's nothing much to hear. He would have only the sense of his eyes. And that little rover that we've got on Mars has better eyes than any human.
RAY SUAREZ: Lori Garver, what was your response to the president's call to action this afternoon?
LORI GARVER: I'm very enthused about the initiative. This is what we should be doing with our space program. The reason mars is exciting when spirit land on it is because we believe we're going further. The space program is about so much more than science. I absolutely agree, we've been a great space science through the robotic program. But it isbecause we're going as a species that I think the public really can relate to this, and ultimately what has caused us a tremendous benefit.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, Professor Park points out that America is already on Mars. What are the hurdles that have to fall to get human beings there instead of machines?
LORI GARVER: Well, I believe we have fewer hurdles to getting to Mars today than we certainly had to get to the moon back in 1961 when President Kennedy called on us to do that. At that point, we had 15 minutes experience in space. We hadn't been in orbit -- only Alan Shepherd's flight-- and we were able to take humans to Mars -- to the Moon at that time. We will be able to take humans to Mars at this point with fewer technological challenges, and with less money because of the technological advances. The challenges are somewhat political, and whether or not we have the will as a nation to do this or, hopefully, as an international community.
RAY SUAREZ: Aren't they also physiological? Isn't there a lot we don't know yet about human beings going on a three-year journey to another planet?
LORI GARVER: One of the great things about this program as I understand it now, and as an initiative, it's new and we're learning the details-- the devil, as they say, is in the details-- but going back to the Moon first is going to allow us to try a lot of this. It's all a natural progression out of a space program we've had for 30 years. We said the space station and shuttle were to support future exploration. We have experience, as do the Russians, with people in space for more than a year at a time. That is really helping us, and that data will continue until we send people back to the Moon and to Mars.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, Professor, the president did commit the United States to completing its obligation to the space station, to sun setting the shuttle program.
ROBERT PARK: Yes.
RAY SUAREZ: Isn't this, as Lori Garver suggests, the logical next step?
ROBERT PARK: No, I think there are a lot of other logical next steps. But I'm glad that we're doing those things, and it will free up some money, money, for example, to build a new space telescope. If we talk about inspiration, nothing has inspired people like the images on the Hubble telescope. But we now have learned much more. We know how to build telescopes, vastly better than the Hubble space telescope, which is wonderful, but it's a very old telescope now. And we need to be building another one. That's what we need to get started on.
LORI GARVER: Well, NASA is building another telescope, the web space telescope. In addition, one of the great things about the moon would be a lunar telescope on the far side of the Moon. It is an ideal place.
ROBERT PARK: They're not building it, but they're going to build it.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, they're figuring out...
LORI GARVER: There's a budget allocation and a contractor, and absolutely plans to do that. I agree that's been an exciting aspect of this. But again, it's that inspiration that calls us to space, and by that it's not going to be just robots.
ROBERT PARK: But that call is romance. And it's certainly a romantic thing to do.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, today Sean O'Keefe was very enthusiastic when he talked about the president putting NASA on the path of exploration and discovery. He said that's what this agency is all about.
ROBERT PARK: Oh, I agree completely. I agree completely. And that's exactly what we're doing right now. But we're doing it at a much lower cost, with no risk to human beings. And it does a better job. Even when we putthat little "Sojourner"-- which was a very primitive robot on Mars a few years ago-- the "Sojourner" robot had a nose that could sniff the rocks to see what they were made of. It's just an extension of scientists back on earth.
LORI GARVER: But if you were to ask people today, especially students, about explorers, they're not going to name robots. They're naming Lewis and Clark, and we need those new Lewis and Clarks. We want kids to have somebody who is more interesting to them. The first woman who goes to the Moon-- we've never sent any women to the moon-- it's got to be more interesting than whether or not Britney Spears got married this weekend.
RAY SUAREZ: So when we do that cost/benefit analysis in your own head, it's adding the components of a fragile human being to that space flight that adds the magic to it?
LORI GARVER: To me, it's definitely more than magic. I believe as humanity, as a species, we are going into space. We have explored this planet, we will continue to explore this planet and, for our very survival, we must also leave this planet. Ultimately, a lunar base as the president announced today is going to help us build new things, like a solar-powered satellite using lunar materials. That will potentially end our dependence on fossil fuels on this planet. When they went to the Moon the first time, we turned around and saw the Earth. One of the best things that came out of our lunar program was Earth Day, not to mention the microchip. These are things that would not have happened without humans involved, and we're just going to be going. I feel a sense of excitement today, and I believe that we have some political challenges, but this is the start of something very important, not only for this country, but for humanity.
RAY SUAREZ: The political challenges, Professor, I guess come in the form of funding, right?
ROBERT PARK: It will certainly come in the form of funding, yes. You know, of course, this president's father stood on the steps of the Air and Space Museum in 1989 and made the same call. He said, "we're going back to the moon, we're going on to Mars." He said, "like Columbus, we dream of shores we have not seen." Well, if Columbus could have sent a drone, he would have. And, as a matter of fact, that program stopped as soon as they got the cost estimate. It went nowhere.
LORI GARVER: But there are a lot of differences today with that program.
ROBERT PARK: But the price is no cheaper.
LORI GARVER: The price is absolutely much cheaper. You have a NASA today that is willing to invest not only some of the current infrastructure that we talked about, it would be scaled back like the shuttle and space station investments, at that time we had a Democratic Congress with a Republican president who immediately zeroed the program. And it looks like this program has a lot more detail. This focus ongoing to the Moon was some real time dates without setting a Mars date allows me to believe they're going to do this the right way. This crew exploration vehicle, very exciting development of a vehicle that can have a lot of benefits to our national security, to our economic security, and I think this plan is much different than the one we saw 15 years ago from the father.
RAY SUAREZ: Does this have to be costed out to a Mars landing to a date, 2020, 2030, before it can proceed, or can it proceeded incrementally?
LORI GARVER: It's proceeding. I don't think they're going to be waiting for any Mars date or a long term budget, that was a mistake 15 years ago. Technology advances, costs drop, it all depends onhow much risk we're willing to accept. Getting the price from the Earth to low Earth orbit down is really key, and I see that as a very critical part of this plan.
RAY SUAREZ: And Professor, quickly, do you think the money is going to be found for this?
ROBERT PARK: I don't think so, no. I don't believe it will be. But again the great adventure of our time is to explore. These are places where no human can set foot. Mars is just one other place in the solar system. The rest the solar system is pretty much closed to us. The gravity is too great for a human being. It would crush us. The temperatures are too high, the radiation levels are much too high. Most of the solar system is closed to us. We need to do that with robots.
RAY SUAREZ: Professor, Ms. Garver, thank you both.
LORI GARVER: Thank you.
ROBERT PARK: Thank you.
FOCUS - PLEA BARGAINS
JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight: The Enron guilty pleas; the Democrats in Iowa; and the World Trade Center Memorial.
JIM LEHRER: Now, more on today's big plea bargains in the Enron case. "New York Times" correspondent Kurt Eichenwald was in the Houston courtroom today. Robert Mintz is a former assistant U.S. Attorney who specialized in white-collar crime. He's now in private practice in New Jersey.
Kurt Eichenwald, first put Andrew Fastow on the kind of executive power chart at Enron.
KURT EICHENWALD: Andy Fastow is about as close as you can get to the top of Enron, without reaching the top. He was chief financial officer, he was a close colleague of the former chief executive, Jeff Skilling, for quite some time. And as the prosecutors were saying today, Andy Fastow now gives them a seat at the table on the 50th floor of the Enron building, that's where the executive suites were, and now they have a witness who can tell them who knew what when.
JIM LEHRER: Now what did he admit that he did today in court?
KURT EICHENWALD: It's kind of interesting because after all the stumbling the last couple of years we actually went back to the original allegations that came up in February of 2002. He admitted two elements that have always been the two elements of the case: One that he defrauded investors by using a device to hide Enron's losses that didn't meet the accounting rules, and the other that he defrauded Enron itself through a complex series of partnerships that ultimately cheated the company out of millions of dollars.
JIM LEHRER: These are these find of phony subsidiaries that Enron allegedly created, right?
KURT EICHENWALD: Well, the series of off books partnerships.
JIM LEHRER: Not phony, right, wrong word. Off, you put it right, what did you say off the books?
KURT EICHENWALD: Off books partnerships. They were devices that under the accounting rules are appropriate, but Enron frequently used them for inappropriate reasons.
JIM LEHRER: All right. Now, he was originally charged with 98 counts, only two counts he pleaded to, he got ten years in prison, right,?
KURT EICHENWALD: Yes.
JIM LEHRER: He has to pay back the money, right?
KURT EICHENWALD: He hasn't been sentenced yet. It's a three to ten-year sentence. He has a forfeiture of $23 million, plus an additional $6 million in civil penalties. But the most interesting element of the plea agreement is that the 96 other counts that he has, that he was not pleading guilty to haven't been dismissed. They are still there and will remain there as charges that can be brought against him up and until the government decides that they are satisfied with his cooperation. That is a really rugged deal. I mean, the government got extremely good terms in this arrangement.
JIM LEHRER: So they're kind of keeping the guillotine over his neck, in other words?
KURT EICHENWALD: Absolutely.
JIM LEHRER: Now, Mr. Mintz, I'm sorry, Kurt.
KURT EICHENWALD: The way these usually work is that a defendant pleads and cooperates and then the government puts in a motion for what's called a 5k1 departure for substantial assistance in the investigation. This just inverts it. It says you're getting ten years no matter what and if you don't cooperate you're going to get more. So it's a very tough deal.
JIM LEHRER: Do you agree, Mr. Mintz, this is a tough deal, a good deal for the government?
ROBERT MINTZ: Well, it's a good deal for the government because it provides them with something that they've been pursuing for two years, and that is someone who can take them inside the Enron boardroom, shine the light into the far reaches of this scandal and bring them, Jeff Skilling and perhaps Ken Lay as well.
JIM LEHRER: Now, is it known that he can actually do that? Or is it just at this point in time hope that he can bring them Skilling and possibly Ken Lay?
ROBERT MINTZ: Well, based upon the record, it's not clear what information he can give to them. But you have to assume that the government would not have entered into this deal if they had already had some fairly substantive discussions with them and had a real compelling reason to believe that he can bring home charges against those upper echelon corporate defendants in this case. Usually that is what propels the government into striking a deal like this, and here we have to keep in mind that the government has been under enormous pressure virtually unparalleled pressure to bring charges against Skilling and Lay since this scandal burst onto the public scene. So you know that in striking this deal they were looking for that type of assistance from Andy Fastow, and as it turns out, he's perhaps the only one that can unlock the door that they've been trying to open for the past two years.
JIM LEHRER: So it would be a fair reading then, the fact that they have yet to charge Skilling and Lay means that without Fastow it probably wasn't going to happen, or at least that's what they believe?
ROBERT MINTZ: I think that that is exactly right. Usually the way these things play out is that a defendant has his strongest hand to play early on in the investigation. If here going to strike a deal you strike it early. Here as it turned out I think the Fastows's hands have actually strengthened a bit over time, because although the government tried to go around Andy Fastow to get to the very top of the corporate pyramid, the plea today I think suggests that they were unable to do that -- and in fact that all roads to Ken Skilling, I mean to Jeff Skilling and ken lay lead threw Andy Fastow.
JIM LEHRER: Yes, Kurt?
KURT EICHENWALD: I would be very careful with this, because one of the things, this is not a man who is going to jail for two or three years, this is a ten-year sentence. He is getting the sentence that is maybe slightly less than half of what he would have gotten had he gone to trial and been convicted on 98 counts. They are getting, you know, a huge sum of money, they are able to prosecute him again if they don't like his cooperation. I mean what we do know so far, and this I put in the paper so I can talk about it is that in his discussions with the government, Fastow has provided information about the former chief accounting officer, fellow by the name of Rick Causey, who last week had actually been told to surrender himself on Friday. But that has been postponed and has provided certain information about Jeff Skilling regarding accounting, but it's not really clear if that information in and off itself is sufficient to merit criminal charges. It doesn't mean they won't be brought, but again I think we need to be careful. We also need to be careful about saying this will go right to Lay. I mean, Ken Lay and Andy Fastow didn't have the kind of relationship where they were in close contact all the time. So I think the government what you have to look at is the severity of this sentence, or the severity of this deal, it's a very severe deal, as well as the fact that we mow they're getting some information from Andy Fastow, and the fact that you really couldn't have not en all that much more by going to trial.
JIM LEHRER: I got you.
Mr. Mintz, the Justice Department officials spoke today and we had it in the News Summary a moment ago, said that this, because Enron collapsed in 2001, we're sitting here in 2004. Why did it take so long? The Justice Department said you gotta keep in mine these cases are very complicated. Anything you would add to that?
ROBERT MINTZ: That's exactly right. This is a very complicated fraud, it involves some cutting edge financial transactions, and it also involved the overlay of the advice of outside professionals. That is Arthur Anderson. And the problem for the government--.
JIM LEHRER: Which is an accounting firm.
ROBERT MINTZ: Which is the accounting firm. And one compelling defense to all these charges is that all of these deals were blessed by the outside accounting firm. So the government has to sort of wend its way through this minefield and try to put together a clear-cut case of criminality and that will largely involve deals that were not blessed by the outside accounting firm.
JIM LEHRER: So you as a professional understand why it's taken so long, right, even though the public may not, you do? Is that what you're saying?
ROBERT MINTZ: The public -- that's right. I don't think anybody who knows about how these deals are put together can say that the Justice Department is dragging its feet. They were working as diligently as they could to bring this as quickly as they could.
KURT EICHENWALD: I write about fraud for 18 years, you know, Bob Mintz is out there doing it all the time. Those of us who are in this frequently talk about how amazingly fast the government has been in these cases.
JIM LEHRER: Let me ask you quickly before we go, Kurt, what about Lea Fastow, ma was that all about, she pleaded to ten months to 18 months, I think for tax fraud, why, what's going on there?
KURT EICHENWALD: She was a conduit in a deal that her husband put together involving another Enron executive named Michael Copper. And basically she received money or her family received money out of that, the Fastows received mope out of that deal. She signed the checks, she signed the income tax statement along with her husband, maintaining that this was not identifying this as income, so it's a tax fraud.
JIM LEHRER: But it's not linked to all these other things we've been talking about, right, not directly?
KURT EICHENWALD: It's related merely because the income was coming outs of one of these off the books partnerships.
JIM LEHRER: I got you. Gentlemen, thank you both very much.
SERIES - CANDIDATE WATCH
JIM LEHRER: Now, five days away from the Iowa caucuses, we have snapshots from the Democratic presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Dick Gephardt. Kerry spoke today in Davenport; Gephardt in Nevada.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: I don't come here today just to offer my resume-- that's not what this is about-- I offer my gut, I offer my heart, I offer my efforts that have sometimes taken great risks to stand up against those kinds of powerful interests that keep stealing from us the ability to deliver the full measure of our own democracy. From the moment that I came home from Vietnam, I have spent 35 years fighting, fighting for the real values of our country, not the distorted, pull-driven, consultant-driven, Washington- driven, strategy-driven, wedge- driven, lowest common denominator-driven values, but the real values of America. And I believe... I believe in standing up for people. I believe in taking on those powerful interests as a matter of conviction, and fighting day to day, and year to year, to try to make a difference in the history of our nation. Ladies and gentlemen, one thing I've learned in my life, in public life is that one problem we don't have in America is that the middle class has too much money. I think we need to protect it, and I intend to do that. And I will guarantee you that we will cut the deficit in half in four years, as Bill Clinton did; protect the middle class. But I'm going to roll back the tax cut for wealthy Americans so we can invest in education and health care and in our communities, and balance our budget and grow the economy of our country. That is what is important. I am asking you to measure candidates not by what they say, not by the positions that they adopt for the convenient purposes of a campaign-- some of which change month-to-month in the course of the campaign. I am asking you to measure me by a lifetime of fighting consistently for the values and principles of our party and our country-- the fight to make our workplace fair, the fight to be able to lift up the quality of life for all Americans, and the struggle for a foreign policy that makes us proud, wins us allies, makes us friends on this planet, and wins the respect and influence that the United States needs to make us safer in the world. (Applause)
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT: Every idea I've offered during this campaign has been grounded in both my life experience and my experience at the highest levels of government. My health care plan, inspired by Matt and all of those other children, is the only plan that covers all 43 million uninsured Americans. It also jumpstarts the economy with a $100 billion economic stimulus in the first year alone. The next closest plan, Howard Dean's, leaves 13 million uninsured, and has one-fourth of the economic stimulus. John Kerry's plan leaves 16 million uninsured with a $29 billion stimulus. And John Edwards would leave 21 million uninsured with no stimulus at all. To me, that is not good enough. There's a very strong case to be made against George Bush, but we as a party need someone who can make that case without hindrance or qualification. We must nominate someone who presents a clear contrast with George Bush on issues that can win the election for us. On the issue of free and fair trade, for instance, there are clear contrasts to be drawn with George Bush. Many of the three million jobs he's lost really aren't lost at all. We know exactly where they've gone: Overseas. Only George Bush could manage to alienate the world while he gives the world our jobs. You can't have fair trade without fair labor and fair environmental standards. And you can't take on George Bush if you're only a fair-weather friend of the American worker. (Applause) It's particularly troubling with Governor Dean. He's been so clearly on both sides of the trade issue, and many others. Today, he's campaigning against NAFTA because he knows that's what Democratic audiences want to hear. But as recently as last March, he said NAFTA was a good thing. It's become nearly impossible to know what Governor Dean really believes. Only a few weeks ago, it was reported that part of his strategy was to "give the Democratic crowd the red meat it craved." He said, "I won't be talking like this during the general election." Well, there's something new. I guess you can call yourself a straight-talker as long you tell people you're not talking straight with them. (Applause) Howard, Democrats are not animals in need of red meat. After four years of George Bush, we need honesty for a change. I've come to realize that Howard Dean isn't shooting from the hip. That's just making excuses. Howard Dean knows exactly what he's saying when he says it. And if you think he's contradicting himself, well, as far as he's concerned, that's your problem and not his. Democrats deserve a lot better than that.
JIM LEHRER: And to Gwen Ifill for more on the Iowa race.
GWEN IFILL: We get a firsthand look from the NewsHour's own Margaret Warner. She's been in Iowa covering the candidates this week, and joins us now from Des Moines. Margaret, in fact you were at that Gephardt event today, seems there's so much energy we hear about Govern Dean, but there seems to be so much energy happening with the next tier of candidates.
MARGARET WARNER: That's very true, Gwen. Gephardt's event today, and we had been at one two days ago, was very, very different than his usual one. Usually he speaks to these small groups of voters and it's all very earnest and quiet. And he doesn't use any notes, and they asked a few questions and then they all declare their support. Today, as you saw, if you caught that image, he had a teleprompter, he had a written speech and he was very, very tough on Howard Dean. In the past he's always gone through this litany of issues on which he says dean has flip flopped such as NAFTA, such as Medicare, but his phrase has always been Howard's been all over the lot on these issues, he's never gone further than that. Today as we heard, he really basically accused Howard Dean of tailoring his message to fit this democratic primary. Much much tougher, his staff wanted to make very clear that we were going to go and cover it. And I think it just tells you about the intensity in which this campaign is moving.
GWEN IFILL: Part of that intensity I gather is happening on the air waves, I know that Howard Dean had a new ad today where he attacked Dick Gephardt and John Edwards and John Kerry by name for what he considered was their support for the war in Iraq. So is this a little tit for tat going on?
MARGARET WARNER: Well, it is, and it's interesting, Gwen, apparently this speech of Gephardt's I'm told by his top advisors had been in the works for several days, but when that ad appeared on Iowa television stations yesterday morning, and when it appears you see it every five minutes practically, or it feels that way, the Gephardt folks really toughened up the speech and I'm told it wasn't just the staff, Gephardt himself was very involved in toughening up that speech.
GWEN IFILL: So there must be something happening here, some sort of trend that's going on right now in this last week before the real voting begins, these candidates are beginning to sense that they are all, you know, high hot on each other's heel.
MARGARET WARNER: That's very true, Gwen, and we always saypolls particularly in Iowa don't mean as much because you don't know how many people will participate, but setting that aside it is still clear there are all kinds of private polls and candidate polls and they are all showing the same trend, which is that Dean, who held a fairly secure lead just three weeks ago has fallen back into the wherever he is, I won't use any numbers, but let's say it's the mid 20s, Gephardt say stayed just where he is, but that Kerry and Edwards who had seemed to be kind of toiling in obscurity are suddenly starting to pick up support, or interest. And when these pollsters who are calling every night now reach people, they're starting to suggest they have a real interest in Kerry and Edwards.
GWEN IFILL: You've seen John Kerry out there on the stump, how much has his campaign changed?
MARGARET WARNER: That's a good question. I was out here in November and saw Kerry, and then again this week and the differences really clear. That excerpt that you ran or we ran tonight in a way wasn't as indicative of what I saw yesterday where I spent most of the day with him. Actually he now takes off his coat, he doesn't have notes, he wades out into the audience, he looks at the name tag of the person asking him a question and tries to relate the answer to that person's problem. These veterans are turning out for him, which he had always, it was always part of his strategy, but no one thought it would work, but it seems to be working, and his rooms are filled to overflowing.
GWEN IFILL: You know the Iowa caucus, we always talk about what a complicated process this idea of getting your neighbors to come out and debate who to vote for, for 45 minutes or longer on a cold Iowa night. But it's a very complicated process and that explains a little bit, I hope, I hope you can explain it to me, why there is such a grouping at the top now and such a fierce competition at the end.
MARGARET WARNER: Well, I'm not sure it explains why there's a grouping at the top, but it will explain why maybe the grouping at the top might not pan out on election night. That is because organization is so important. As you said we always say organize is important and it's complicated, but I had actually never been to a caucus, though I've covered the caucuses many times, so last night we went to a Kerry caucus training session, where these young organizers from out of state had a lot of Kerry supporters, maybe 50, at 7 o'clock at night, a few donuts and cookies, and they answered questions for a while about how the caucuses would work and then they directed them in this mock exercise in which they all went into different corners of the room and then showed them what would happen if in this group they didn't have 15 percent, how you're supposed to go over and try to persuade members of that group, who would not be counted otherwise to come and join your group. There are all these people milling around in the center of the room. It was really something to see. So that's the question, in other words, Gephardt and Dean both have a committed cadre of well organized people who basically know how this process works. The belief is that Kerry has a pretty good organization, Edwards maybe not as strong, and that is this daunting process so daunting that in the end organization wins.
GWEN IFILL: And even organization can't determine what the weather is going to be like on caucus night.
MARGARET WARNER: That's true. The prediction is actually for fairly good weather, plus it's a holiday, which may, you know, as the betting goes here, may actually help turnout.
GWEN IFILL: Okay, Margaret, stay warm. Thank you.
MARGARET WARNER: Thanks, Gwen.
FINALLY - REFLECTING ABSENCE
JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, the new design for a memorial at ground zero of the World Trade Center. Jeffrey Brown has our story.
JEFFREY BROWN: In New York this morning, a design by 34-year-old Michael Arad, an architect with the New York City Housing Authority, and landscape architect peter walker, was unveiled as the winner of a nine-month international competition. Their design, picked from more than 5,000 submissions, is entitled "Reflecting Absence," and features sunken reflecting pools at the footprints of the original twin towers. Thirty feet below ground, visitors will see the pools through a curtain of falling water, along with the names of the victims of Sept. 11 and the 1993 bombing of the trade center. Also underground will be a chamber for family members, with a vessel containing unidentified remains of those who died, and a museum containing remains from the original buildings and other artifacts. At ground level, the twin pools will be surrounded by rows of deciduous trees and benches. The memorial design is now the central feature of the 16-acre master plan for the entire World Trade Center site.
JEFFREY BROWN: The winning design was chosen by a jury of 13 members, including architect Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as artists, historians, and civic leaders. Its chairman joins us now. Vartan Gregorian is president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a major philanthropic foundation, and the former president of Brown University.
Mr. Gregorian, before I ask you about the particular design that won, tell us about the essential assignment that you were given. What had to be there in a design?
VARTAN GREGORIAN: We had to satisfy several demands. Number one, it had to recognize all the names of the victims. Second, we had to be national rather than New York alone because we included Pentagon and Pennsylvania victims as well as 1993 victims of the bombing of the World Trade Center. Then we had to have access to the bedrock which is very crucial to the families. Then we had to be international and national in nature because we have 85 different nationalities who had died in a terrorist act. On top of all of this we had to do something spectacular namely to satisfy the individual tragedies but then go beyond that and namely provide a memorial for the nation as well as the world.
JEFFREY BROWN: So out of more than 5,000 submissions, why did you pick the one that you did in the end?
VARTAN GREGORIAN: Well, we wanted to have something that marked the tragedy, something that was not a cemetery, something that also celebrated life, something also that was defiant, namely that New York would not be prostate, New York would not be vanquished, America would not be vanquished, but rather life and tragedy are hand in hand, but life always will be there, and that New Yorkers have been able to cope with the tragedy, but they want to go beyond it, remembering but then at the same time carrying the life and the progress of the life of New York.
JEFFREY BROWN: I understand that you asked for some revisions by the original design by Michael Arad, including an underground museum. Tell us about why those were added.
VARTAN GREGORIAN: We had 5,201 out of which we reduced it two hundred and fifty, then eight, and then three finalists. All the finalists were given assignments and questions, technical and other things, but also we wanted to be sure that the exact position of the memorial was understood clearly by everyone. So we asked the Arad Project that it had to develop a landscape because it was too arid, too dry, no pun intended as well as it did not have the kind of life, it only spoke about death and remembrance and void. But we wanted to also to have life and symbolically to show that the trees, and nature will always be there as symbols of life -- the kind of juxtaposition between that remembrance and life. So one of the demands that we had that Arad had to get a partner, a landscape architect, that happened. Second thing we wanted to be sure that the museum exists in order to have all the memorabilia, most important ones, the relics of firemen's badges, helmets, all of them and policemen's as well will be preserved. And last but not least we wanted also something private for the families. Those are all articulated by the commission that was given to us by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
JEFFREY BROWN: Now, there has as you know there's been a lot of criticism along the way of the quality of the final designs and a sense from some people that maybe we've moved too fast with such an important event. What's your response to those?
VARTAN GREGORIAN: Well, my response first of all, we're very happy about critical responses we have received. As I've told every reporter, a book not reviewed is a dead book. So there was so much criticism, good and bad critical reviews that we were very happy about it. Second, we were given a task to be democratic in our outreach, and the world. So we did not design this monument, we chose one. And we did our best to choose. And finally, the critics who have mentioned not completely all of them are antagonistic. There were many polls taken, some of them very, very favorable, on the Arad project and the cloud as well as the garden. So the critics we'll say New York is an impatient city, does not want to wait for a long time, it wants to repair its wounds and then move forward. And therefore we were given an assignment not to wait but to do now. But we also know that this monument will be evolving with time. It already has evolved a lot within six, seven months and I'm sure there will be more evolution in the years to come.
JEFFREY BROWN: Let me ask but the broader debate that you clearly tapped into, a question of how we create memorials today. There was an interesting statement in your jury statement today, a few lines I just want to read to you ,"Memory belongs primarily to the individual, at the same time we must acknowledge the extent to which the evolving process of memory also belongs to... communities and even entire nations. How to collect the disparate memories of individuals and communities together in one space and give them material from has always been the daunting challenge of any memorial site." How did you resolve that challenge, how do we as a nation now resolve that kind of challenge?
VARTAN GREGORIAN: Well, it's a most difficult question you're asking, because we through analogy, at least I did, about tragedy, when somebody suffers privately, it's a private reverse, private illness, private failure, but when does it become the private tragedy national tragedy, common tragedy? As a result, we resolved that collection of all the tragedies become universal and that's what memorial has done. It has to withstand the test of time, it has to withstand evolution of the feelings that go beyond individuals, we are not providing a cemetery where individuals can go and grieve over their own dead, we also provide a monument which transcends individual tragedies and becomes a monument for the time to come, for future generations, so we can remember from generation to generation.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Vartan Gregorian, thank you very much for joining us.
VARTAN GREGORIAN: Thank you.
JIM LEHRER: Again, the other major developments of this day: The former chief finance officer of Enron pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Andrew Fastow agreed to cooperate in the investigation of his former bosses. And President Bush called for sending men back to the Moon, and then to Mars.
JIM LEHRER: Once again to our honor roll of American service personnel killed in Iraq. We add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. Here, in silence, are six more.
JIM LEHRER: We'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Wednesday, January 14, 2004
- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
- Producing Organization
- NewsHour Productions
- Contributing Organization
- NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This episode's headline: Space Initiative; Plea Bargains; Reflecting Absence. ANCHOR: JIM LEHRER; GUESTS: LORI GARVER; ROBERT PARK; KURT EICHENWALD; ROBERT MINTZ; VARTAN GREGORIAN; CORRESPONDENTS: KWAME HOLMAN; RAY SUAREZ; SPENCER MICHELS; MARGARET WARNER; GWEN IFILL; TERENCE SMITH; KWAME HOLMAN
- Asset type
- Copyright NewsHour Productions, LLC. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode)
- Media type
- Moving Image
Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: NH-7842 (NH Show Code)
Format: Betacam: SP
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” 2004-01-14, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 25, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-dr2p55f387.
- MLA: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” 2004-01-14. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 25, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-dr2p55f387>.
- 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 http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-dr2p55f387