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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Michael Musto, Paul Bedard

Aired July 2, 2003 - 20:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: For the second day in a row the nation's newspapers are dining out on the steamy details of yet another Kennedy marriage yesterday. It was all about JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette before their deaths. Now it is the breakup of Kerry Kennedy's and Andrew Cuomo's 13-year marriage.
For a time their's seemed to be a marriage made in political heaven, but the end turned ugly. Once the breakup was announced with accusations that Kerry Kennedy had been unfaithful. Joining me now to sort through all this mess is Paul Bedard, he writes the "Washington Whispers" column for "U.S. News and World Report." He hears more whispering than anybody I know in Washington. Here with me in New York, gossip columnist, Michael Musto of "The Village Voice." Welcome to both of you.

Michael, I'm going to start with you this evening because of the bulk of the coverage was on the east coast and in particular, New York City. Let's talk about some of the accusations that were flung out there today and then we're going to put up the screen what Andrew Cuomo's attorney had to say. Andrew Cuomo was betrayed and saddened by his wife's conduct during their marriage.

Now what's the truth of what that brought on? Her announcement which was a violation of some alleged agreement they had about how they were going to go public with this.

MICHAEL MUSTO, THE VILLAGE VOICE: Right, well Monday Robert Kennedy Jr. announced that the couple was splitting amicably. That went out of the window almost immediately. And according to Andrew Cuomo camp, she then spoke to a reporter and gave her version. And that broke their bond. So he came forward saying that she had betrayed him during their marriage. And then came to even uglier accusation from an anonymous source, a friend of Andrews that she had actually slept with a married friend of Andrew's for a while and that Andrew was such a victim he actually walked in on the two of them twisting (ph).

ZAHN: Ooh! Ugly stuff. Paul, did anybody care about this in Washington today?

PAUL BEDARD, WASHINGTON WHISPERS: They do care about it because....

ZAHN: Why?

BEDARD: This guy thinks he's going to be president some day. And so you know, people are sizing up what does it mean politically? And politically, guys are like, hey, finally it was a woman who got caught and apparently women are saying to the -- and Democratic women are telling me, this kills him and it kills him because he's the one who blew the whistle on her and revealed this well known and fairly secreted fact that he's mean as a snake and they need to keep that quiet.

ZAHN: Well do you think there's any truth to that? Would that potentially alienate female voters down the road if he makes a run for something that's -- after all he ran for governor and didn't get too far.

BEDARD: He didn't get too far and that blew kind of blew off in his face, but probable not. I called a pollster prank once and I said, OK, now does this does this kill him down the road? I mean we're talking '08, maybe further down. And he said no this all gets forgotten when he runs for office. But the problem is he showed at the worst possible time this mean streak that he has and now his own aides are saying, listen, the problem -- how are we going to deal with this down the road?

ZAHN: Michael, put this into perspective for us this evening. Given the context of Camelot and why this got the amount of attention it did today.

MUSTO: This isn't just a breakup. It's a breakup of high profile figures; one of them is a Kennedy. Some people think all Kennedy's cheat. That's not true. But also it's so ugly because they're going public with accusations against each other and the height of good gossip is conflict. As a gossip columnist this is ideal. It makes great copy.

As a decent person I'm not happy to see it because there are three children involved. But it came also the same week with a book with nasty revelations of the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Another Kennedy who they say was cheating. She was a drug addict and there all kinds of slimy spins from this book which seemed to be written from John F. Kennedy's point of view.

ZAHN: And in the end it sells a lot of newspapers and books.

MUSTO: It sells books and papers.

ZAHN: Paul, I know you were on the phone with your buddies from the DNC. What were they saying about this today?

BEDARD: They're saying here's the advice. And they're already starting to call. And the advise is listen, get out there, apologize for this comment, say the subject right now should be taken care of their three kids and just go into hiding. And that may save the situation right now.

ZAHN: And Michael I know you like to write about these people. You are not necessarily crazy or keen on giving advice, but just a final word tonight. MUSTO: I would agree with that advice as a person to just take it all back and make things nice. But as a gossip columnist I would say keep throwing rocks at each other. It's great copy.

ZAHN: You live for this stuff.

MUSTO: I am a nasty, evil person.

ZAHN: Michael Musto, thank you, and Paul Bedard, thank you for your time tonight.

BEDARD: All right, thanks.

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