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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Twists, Turns in Democratic Primaries; French Debate Banning Head Scarves in Schools

Aired February 4, 2004 - 01:00   ET

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

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone. It isn't over yet. It might have ended for all intents and purposes tonight. A John Kerry sweep might well have done that, but he didn't, and it isn't. But Kerry didn't need to end it tonight. He ran well enough, very well in two big states. And so, the wind that has been at his back since Iowa is still there.
He may also feel a bit of the hot breath. John Edwards is not going away. It was make or break for the North Carolina senator, and a sweeping win in the South, combined with an impressive showing in Oklahoma, means Edwards is still alive.

And there is more. Wes Clark had his best night yet and lives to fight yet another day, which is more than can be said for Joe Lieberman, who called it quits tonight.

It is, of course, the election that tops "The Whip" and dominates the program.

And we begin with Kelly Wallace and the John Kerry campaign. A headline, please.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John Kerry and his aides are very happy. One advisor calling it a show of force, a sign that Kerry can win in every part of the country. But the front-runner also has to contend with this: He was not the only candidate with something to celebrate tonight.

BROWN: Kelly, thank you.

The Edwards campaign is celebrating their first win of the primary season at home in the South. Frank Buckley is there.

Frank -- a headline.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John Edwards said he had to win here in South Carolina, and he did. It was the first test in the South. It was the first test among a significant group of African-American voters. But the bigger test is still to come. It will answer the question: Can John Edwards win outside of the South?

BROWN: Now, to the Dean campaign, which is already looking ahead to this weekend's contest.

Candy Crowley is following that campaign.

Candy -- a headline.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, the man who led most of the polls just a month ago is now 0 for 9, but Howard Dean is going on.

BROWN: Candy, thank you.

And an important night for General Wesley Clark. He got himself a win.

Dan Lothian is with that campaign.

Dan -- a headline.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, it's a razor-thin margin here in Oklahoma, but retired General Wesley Clark is declaring victory and gearing up for his next fight in the South -- Aaron.

BROWN: Dan, thank you.

Still ahead tonight, we'll have a lot more on tonight's primary elections and caucuses, some interesting non-election stories in the program as well, including what Kobe Bryant said to the police in the immediate aftermath of an alleged sexual assault and what they did or did not say to him.

Later, a fascinating story from France, as the country debates a ban on any form of religious clothing in schools.

And later, a big dose of your morning papers for this Wednesday morning. We're on so late tonight we may actually go out to the newsstand and pick them up.

All of that and more in the hour ahead, a lot of politics, and here we go.

We begin with the end of a very long day at the polls, the end of the line for one candidate, a major, if not unexpected, disappointment for another, a pretty fair surprise in Oklahoma, and for John Kerry, an exclamation point behind the word "front-runner."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): Begin with the obvious. It was a good night for the front-runner, John Kerry. Not good enough to close the deal to be sure, but good enough to say he is still the man to beat.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For the second time in a few days, a New England Patriot has won on the road.

BROWN: Kerry won big in Missouri, the largest delegate prize of the night, and CNN projects him a winner in Arizona as well, the second-biggest prize. He has now moved on to the Northwest, to Washington State, which had been Dean country, but may now be up for grabs.

Kelly Wallace is covering the Kerry campaign.

WALLACE: John Kerry and his advisors were clearly pleased with what happened tonight. One aide is saying that winning five of seven states, along with a strong showing in South Carolina and Oklahoma, show that John Kerry can win in all parts of the country and with all ethnic groups, and aides saying he goes home with the largest number of delegates tonight.

BROWN: It was also a good night, maybe even a very good night, for John Edwards. He said he had to win in South Carolina, his backyard, and he won there big. But the night was more than a win in his backyard. He performed far better than anyone imagined in Oklahoma as well. And tonight, John Edwards may have turned this into a two-man race to the finish.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a long way from that little house in Seneca, South Carolina, to here tonight.

BROWN: CNN's Frank Buckley covered the race in South Carolina.

BUCKLEY: Well, this was a do or die state for Senator John Edwards, who was born here in Seneca, South Carolina, who represents North Carolina. One of his major campaign themes: the loss of jobs in South Carolina, more than 58,000 manufacturing jobs lost since 2001.

Here's what he had to say about that tonight.

EDWARDS: Tonight, all of you said that protecting America means protecting American jobs, that building one America means providing opportunity to all of our children, no matter where they live, no matter who their family is, no matter what the color of their skin. Tonight, you said that the politics, lifting people up beats the politics of tearing people down.

BUCKLEY: Edwards believes that South Carolina is what he calls a critical bellwether state. He says the results here indicate that he can attract rural voters, African-American voters and voters in the South. But the question remains: How well will he do outside of this region? Is he a regional candidate?

BROWN: After Kerry and Edwards, things get a bit messy. Howard Dean didn't win a thing tonight, though no one thought he would. But even he thought he'd do better than he did, and now with money tight, a quick jump starting of his once formidable campaign is an absolute necessity.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to pick up some delegates tonight, and this is all about who gets the most delegates in Boston in July, and it's going to be us.

BROWN: These are now very difficult days for the Dean camp. Long gone are the heavy days of the front-runner.

Candy Crowley is covering Dean. DEAN: Well, the votes are starting to come in, and we're going to have a tough night tonight. But you know what? Here's why we're going to keep going and going and going and going and going, just like the Energizer bunny.

CROWLEY: In fact, right after his loss in New Hampshire, Dean decided to look beyond February 3 to the Saturday states, Wisconsin and Michigan, where the campaign figured they would stand a better chance with the eclectic and diverse voting patterns in both of those states.

The problem is, of course, that Dean also envisioned that he would be the last man standing against John Kerry. And at this moment with the strong showings from Wesley Clark and John Edwards, there are others in the race.

BROWN: And then there was Oklahoma. The numbers there tell a very simple story. It is very, very close and served to crowd up the picture. Is a showing in Oklahoma enough, not just to keep Wes Clark alive, but to make him a threat to the top tier?

Dan Lothian is covering Clark.

LOTHIAN: He had always said that it was important for him to win here and was confident that he would win. While CNN is not yet ready to call him a winner until it is certified by the state because of the razor-thin margins, Clark himself is claiming victory.

WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oklahoma is OK by me!

BROWN: It all ended tonight for Joe Lieberman. His failure to impress in New Hampshire was compounded by a poor showing across the board tonight.

From the start, he never seemed to find a foothold among an angry Democratic electorate, who may have found him too moderate, if not too nice. Surrounded by family and friends, he did that which is the hardest thing in politics to do. He ended the run.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have decided tonight to end my quest for the presidency of the United States of America. Am I disappointed? Naturally. But am I proud of what we stood for in this campaign? You bet I am.

BROWN: Politics is about ideas and image. It is also about being the right person at the right time. This was not Joe Lieberman's time.

Bruce Morton covered the end tonight.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lieberman and his soft voice, something of a centrist. He got very favorable notices when he was Al Gore's running mate four years ago. This time, the voters seemed to want somebody more confrontational, and he is not that kind of man. BROWN: There are still many big election nights ahead, surprises are always possible. Maybe Howard Dean can regroup. Maybe General Clark used tonight as a springboard. Maybe those things will happen. But tonight at least it seems the race, more so now than it was this morning, has a clear front-runner in John Kerry, a clear chaser in John Edwards, as they head on to points west and south and in between.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Right. But there is more to the story tonight than simple math might suggest. Yes, who won the most races and how many delegates they got is that important part of the story, but so is who voted for whom, who showed up to cast a vote, what they thought was most important.

To put it another way, why they chose the guy they chose, which brings us to the exit polls. And a master of them, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Good morning -- Mr. Schneider.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Aaron.

Let's take a look at the map of the states that have been won by John Kerry, and you'll get an impression of the sweep that this man has enjoyed in this primary season.

Look at this. In the East, he won New Hampshire and also Delaware today. In the West, Arizona, New Mexico and North Dakota. In the Midwest, he won Iowa last month and Missouri. A major battleground state today, the only other state that was won by someone else, clearly one, was South Carolina, where he did come in a credible second. So, there's a pretty strong sweep to all of this.

Now, take a look at how John Edwards won that race in South Carolina. He did it by dominating moderate voters, moderate Democrats. He clearly got almost half of the vote in that category. Moderate Democrats are something that the Democrats have to keep in line, and that is why a lot of people are wondering, wouldn't he be a good addition to a ticket if John Kerry is the nominee.

Finally, what was the real motivation behind the victories for John Kerry? Take a look at the Missouri voters, where he enjoyed a big victory. Among those who said the most important thing to them was defeating President Bush, two-thirds voted for John Kerry, more than 3 to 1 over his closest competitor, John Edwards.

Electability. Electability. That was Kerry's strong suit. It enabled him to rally the Democratic base in Missouri and other states. Union members, minorities, seniors, partisan Democrats all flocked to John Kerry because they all desperately want to beat George Bush, and they think John Kerry is the best qualified to do that.

BROWN: I saw -- I was looking through exit polling stuff tonight, and one of the things I saw is something like 80 percent of Democrats, regardless of who they voted for, would be happy or content or not upset about -- I'm not precisely sure of the adjective -- if John Kerry was the nominee. What that says to me is -- and we don't say this often about Democrats -- they are quite united.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. John Kerry is not a niche candidate. He's not a candidate of the left or of the center. He's a candidate with broad appeal across the party. Look, he won African-Americans in several states, not South Carolina, but in Delaware and Missouri. He won Latinos in Arizona. He also won white voters. He won union voters and non-union voters. He won seniors, and he won non-seniors.

The situation he finds himself in is he has broad appeal across the entire spectrum of the Democratic Party, and all of his competitors have or had niche appeal, like Howard Dean, whose appeal is really limited to the left-wing of the party. He's looking for states like Washington and Wisconsin, where those voters are strong.

Joe Lieberman depended on Bush Democrats. There aren't enough of them for him even to make a showing. John Edwards, of course, has southern appeal. He's got to show he's beyond that niche. Al Sharpton's base is among African-Americans. Wesley Clark does have support among those Democrats who vote on national security. That's his strong suit, but that's not the paramount concern of most Democrats these days.

So, here's a guy who appeals to everybody, being sort of pecked to death by these candidates in their various niches.

BROWN: We've had three nights like this now. Has there been any interesting or noticeable change in what the exit polling data is telling us?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there is a rallying effect we see around John Kerry. He's become more and more acceptable to Democrats. They like him. They don't like Howard Dean. I think Howard Dean collapsed, because while his message was very popular -- the message of empowerment for Democrats who are intensely disempowered right now -- the message was good. And it sold. But once they got a look at the man, they said, huh-uh, we can't elect this man president.

I think with Kerry, the more they look at him, the more they like. He's a tough guy. He's a very masculine Democrat. He has a war record. And they think he can stand next to President Bush and talk credibly about national security, match him on that issue, and then go on to what Democrats really want to talk about, which is two and a half millions jobs lost and the growing health care crisis in America.

BROWN: Perhaps this is redundant. Will -- does the data suggest to us that they will vote in a general election, should it come to this, for John Kerry or against George Bush?

SCHNEIDER: Against George Bush. Whenever an incumbent is running for re-election, the incumbent is the issue. And right now, Americans are closely divided about President Bush. The most interesting thing I know about these primaries so far is that they have taken a real toll, this fight among Democrats has taken a toll, but not on Democrats. It's taken a toll on President Bush. His ratings have really plummeted over the last months. He's at the lowest approval rating of his career.

And, look, you can't say he was totally out of the picture. My recollection is he gave his State of the Union speech. But as you'll recall, the State of the Union speech didn't seem to go over very well, and his ratings have really taken a tumble.

So, this election will be a referendum on Bush. And right now, that election looks very close.

BROWN: Well, in just trying to put these polls in context a little bit here, that State of the Union speech was sandwiched, literally, I think, between Iowa at one end and New Hampshire on the other.

SCHNEIDER: Right.

BROWN: And you're right that it didn't seem to play great, and the attacks started the day after. And these attacks do have a way of influencing polls.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. And, of course, the White House argues correctly they haven't even begun to fight back. They have over $100 million and no primary opponents.

So, I'd say sometime in the next few weeks, since Kerry is now the likely nominee -- not certain, but likely, only 10 percent of the delegates have been chosen -- but you're going to see the White House beginning to run some ads, probably tough ads, against John Kerry, trying to label him as another Massachusetts liberal Democratic in the mold of Ted Kennedy and Michael Dukakis. They've got to be digging into his record.

I mean, you know what? I'm able exclusively to reveal John Kerry speaks French.

BROWN: Oh, my goodness.

SCHNEIDER: He went to a Swiss boarding school.

BROWN: Oh, my goodness.

SCHNEIDER: And you can be sure that's going to come out.

BROWN: Well, it's out now. Thank you, Mr. Schneider.

I reminded someone today, a viewer today, that Michael Dukakis left the convention in Atlanta with an 18-point or a 16-point lead.

SCHNEIDER: Right. Exactly right.

BROWN: So, the attention they get does have an effect on how polls play. Bill, thank you for staying up late.

SCHNEIDER: Sure.

BROWN: More to talk about here. It is February 4 the last time we looked.

CNN analyst Donna Brazile is with us. She was Al Gore's campaign manager back in 2000. Representative Darrell Issa of California, a Republican, joins us from Washington. We're glad that both stayed up late to spend some time chatting on what has been an interesting night.

Donna, is the end near?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't believe it is. Look, over the next six days, you have some very important contests, including the Michigan caucuses, the Virginia primary. You also have Tennessee on the horizon.

I believe these candidates will continue to cherry pick states that they believe they can win in order to try to catch up with John Kerry, who will continue to run a very strong national campaign.

BROWN: I heard rumblings today that within organized labor, there is a desire now to start to move behind Kerry a little more forcefully to try and put pressure on some of the others to perhaps end it earlier than they might like. Did you hear any of that?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. Look, the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest unions, will be endorsing John Kerry tomorrow. We keep hearing word that the Service Employees Union is looking to, you know, help Howard Dean over the next, you know, two or three days, but they are not going to spend all of their resources on a lost cause.

I am sure that organized labor, which, as you well know in the Democratic Party is a very, very important element of the Democratic victories, the house of labor will want to come together and unify behind one campaign and one candidate.

BROWN: Congressman, weigh in on all of this. You must be a little bit bemused by it all to see this fighting going on, on the other side. At the same time, it is a bit sobering to see Democrats so united, I would think, for a single cause, which is to defeat the president.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I certainly agree with Donna that the unions are going to play a heavy part in making this final cut in all likelihood in favor of Kerry.

What I think is interesting tonight, though, is that once and for all, if you will, the Clinton legacy has been rejected. The idea that you can run the way Joe Lieberman did, as a centrist or a conservative Democrat, has been resoundingly defeated.

Basically, it's going to be a question of -- and you said it earlier -- liberal or more liberal. Dean isn't acceptable because he's unstable and unpredictable. But Kerry has on key issues a 100 percent voting record with Senator Kennedy and a 94 percent lifetime voting record with Senator Kennedy.

So, there's no question that even though he talks tough, he's voted seven times against supporting the military. He's voted for reductions in military spending. He promises veterans now, but where has he been for, you know, the last two decades?

BROWN: This -- you get -- your talking points sound pretty well, Congressman, and honestly I mean that respectfully. I understand the game that's in play here.

What you are setting up, it seems to me, is a classic, almost literal redo of where we were in 1988.

ISSA: Well, I think there is a legitimate redo. The question is, the president has been faced with a war that we didn't ask for, an attack that we didn't expect, and a history of al Qaeda-building under the previous administration. He has reacted strongly and firmly with the best intelligence available. The American people know that.

Would they like the war to be going better? Would they like yellow alerts to end? Of course. But I think when they start evaluating, albeit a war hero, in Senator Kerry against a strong leader who has conducted this war in the best possible fashion that anyone, including Senator Kerry can actually talk about, what would he have done differently?

Nobody has a, well, I would have done this specifically. They say, well, I would have talked longer. I would have done this longer. The fact is, you know, Senator Kerry right now is getting a bump because he's able to do things like imply that service in the National Guard isn't equivalent to service in any other part of our active or reserve forces.

BROWN: Well, just on that point. I really don't want to go down this road. But come on here for a second. A lot of us -- and I include myself in this -- were able to avoid service in Vietnam because we got into the Reserves. Now, I'm not saying the president was AWOL or any of that stuff. But if that's going to be the issue, that's a kind of dangerous road for you guys to be walking down, isn't it?

ISSA: No, it's not. Look, itís not my issue. It's Senator Kerry's issue. It's Terry McAuliffe's issue.

The fact is, when I served in 1970 and went through basic training, I went through with National Guardsmen, Reservists, and active guys like myself, regular Army. And I didn't know whether I was going to Vietnam in 1970. What I did know is some of the National Guardsmen going through basic with me their units were already in Vietnam.

BROWN: I understand.

ISSA: And to sell short Reserve or National Guard duty as dodging the draft when so many people I serve with in the House and the Senate, so many people, including our last president, clearly avoided all military service, I think is doing a disservice to the National Guard and to the Reserve forces, particularly at a time when Iraq and Afghanistan are filled with those forces.

BROWN: That's different times, but a fair point. I really don't want to go -- I'm going to let the candidates go down that road if they want.

ISSA: Fair enough.

BROWN: Donna, take the last word on this. Can the Democrats, do you believe in your heart, neutralize the national security issue so that they can make this a campaign ultimately about those other things that polls suggest they run better on -- the economy, health care, and you know the rest?

BRAZILE: That's correct. Look, I do believe that Democrats can make a credible case that as a party that and that we can both -- we can lead America into a new century of peace and prosperity.

I also believe that Senator John Kerry is not Michael Dukakis. I worked for Michael Dukakis. He's not Michael Dukakis. He's not going to allow the Republicans to paint him as some liberal out-of-touch, out-of-the-mainstream type of individual. This is a guy who, when Bill Clinton wanted to balance the budget, he was there. When Bill Clinton wanted to end welfare as we knew it, he was there.

John Kerry is someone who is in the mainstream of our party. Just because he grew up and lives in Massachusetts does not mean that people in America and middle-America will not embrace him. Look at what happened today in Missouri. And, of course, Congressman, he's coming out to California soon, and I'm sure he's going to wipe some cross out there as well.

BROWN: Donna, it's good...

ISSA: I look forward to seeing him there. But let's not forget that in 1991, this was Senator Kerry who voted against the first Gulf War, and now he wants to talk about how he'd be tougher on defense. When we had a clear and present danger with Saddam...

BROWN: Congressman...

ISSA: ... and the world rallied, he went away.

BRAZILE: That's going to be a debate...

BROWN: All right, both of you...

BRAZILE: That's going to be a debate that John Kerry will likely have with George Bush.

BROWN: I'll leave the line open.

ISSA: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). BROWN: You guys can keep going, but I've got to take a break here. Thank you both for staying up. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Tomorrow's headlines have already been written, of course, deadlines being what they are. And the candidates are not looking back. There are big races ahead and soon. On Saturday: Michigan, Washington State. Sunday: Maine. Next Tuesday: Tennessee and Virginia. That's where we go now to the next stop, the next steps for the candidates.

Joel Connelly is the national correspondent and a columnist for "The Seattle PI," the "Post-Intelligencer." He's been with the paper 28 years, and his good work is a reminder that not all political wisdom resides in Washington, D.C. We're glad to see him again, an old friend.

Seattle, Washington, western Washington certainly is Howard Dean country. Is it Howard Dean's last stand?

JOEL CONNELLY, "THE SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENGER": It's likely to be. Bill Bradley put on his last stand against Al Gore here four years ago, went to ground for a week and ended up with 35 percent of the vote.

Dean, I think if he is to win anyplace, he has to win here. This is a place where they've been having their blighting sessions, their meet-ups. They've cleaned up beaches. They've rocked. They've turned out in great numbers for the candidate. And now they have the final and the most important job, which is perhaps to rescue him.

BROWN: Look, you're a pretty smart political guy. Does anyone out there believe Howard Dean at this point can get the nomination and win the election?

CONNELLY: There tends to be a certain kind of insularity to the liberal movement in this area. It goes back many, many years. Franklin Roosevelt's political strategist, James Farley (ph), once talked of an America of 47 states in the Soviet Republic of Washington.

Still, Senator Kerry has been gaining in leaps and bounds. Our junior U.S. senator has bounded on board his campaign. Our governor has leaped on his campaign.

BROWN: Yes.

CONNELLY: Three members of the House have endorsed. So, there is a surge toward Kerry, and we've had one brave congressman here who stuck with him through thick and thin, Adam Smith, who has put together a first-rate organization.

BROWN: I asked somebody earlier if he thought that Democrats were going to vote for John Kerry, if it came to that, or were going to vote against the president, that they had this strong anti-Bush feeling. I gather, I suspect -- I know Seattle reasonably well -- that Democrats ultimately, if it's Kerry, will be just fine up there.

CONNELLY: I think they'll unite behind him, but there is still some fussing, some factionalism, some, ideology. I remember four years ago, feminist demonstrators outside Al Gore's limousine chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, patrimony has got to go." And we'll still have a little more of that than elsewhere in the country.

But ultimately, this has been a contest that has raised rather than spilled the party's blood.

BROWN: As you look at the race overall from your almost perfect corner of the world out there in Seattle, what has surprised you?

CONNELLY: Basically, the enormous shifts being in first. Secondly, the practicality of the Democrats of Iowa and New Hampshire, again, looking for somebody sturdy enough to defeat President Bush. I was amazed when I went to Iowa and went to the university towns, which I expected to be great centers of the Deaniacs (ph), instead to find far more sober, practical considerations going on. It had people divided between Kerry and Edwards.

Also, that the seemingly initially undistinguished field has somehow turned into one that has captured the attention of the country. And we have now seen the president's job approval ratings going way down, not simply where we live, where there is active opposition to him and always has been, but also in all of those red states between us and the East Coast.

BROWN: Good to see you. Thanks for joining us tonight.

CONNELLY: Thanks for having me.

BROWN: Thank you. Joel Connelly writes for "The Seattle PI," one of the two morning papers in Seattle, at least for now.

Coming up on NEWSNIGHT, some of the day's other top stories, the latest on the Kobe Bryant case, some key information about conversations between Mr. Bryant and police. That and more as NEWSNIGHT continues from New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: A quick look at some of the stories that made news around the country today, starting with the poison, ricin.

Tests have now confirmed what was found yesterday in the Senate mailroom was ricin. So far, no one who was in the area has reported any ill effects, thankfully. Three Senate buildings were closed today and a criminal investigation is under way.

Florida investigators say they now believe that 11-year-old Carlie Brucia was kidnapped, and that her abductor planned the crime. The sixth grader disappeared Sunday while walking home from a friend's house. Surveillance video taken outside a car wash that evening shows her being approached and then led away by a man with a tattoo on each arm. The FBI hopes to get more clues by enhancing the video -- the images on the video.

And Texas Tech officials say, earlier rumors notwithstanding, they have not suspended basketball coach Bobbie Knight. Think of the tantrum he'd throw if they did. But they are looking into an argument he had yesterday with the school's chancellor, the day before yesterday, at a grocery store. One of college basketball's most successful coaches, Mr. Knight is also infamous, to say the least, for his temper.

In a Colorado courtroom today -- it was July 2, 2003, 25 hours after a 19-year-old woman was allegedly raped by basketball star Kobe Bryant -- another day of testimony in another pretrial hearing. This one to determine whether information and evidence was obtained illegally from the defendant, Mr. Bryant, in the days just after the accusation. What was said and what was done could dramatically shape how this trial unfolds this spring.

Reporting for us is CNN's Gary Tuchman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty- four hours after he allegedly sexually assaulted a hotel employee, did Kobe Bryant tell sheriff's deputies to -- quote -- "Do the best investigating you can," and then shake their hands? That's what two detectives said under oath in court, testifying they secretly audiotaped Bryant talking to them consensually.

The Los Angeles Lakers star, who looked under the weather one day after calling in sick and missing court, heard detectives testify that he went for a sexual assault exam after the police interview; once again, emphasizing it was not consensual.

CRAIG SILVERMAN, COLORADO ATTONREY: It's pretty ironic that this motion's hearing gets down to an issue of consent, much like the trial will. Here, the issue is: Did Kobe Bryant consent to his activities with the detectives? At trial: Did this young lady consent to her activities with Kobe Bryant?

TUCHMAN: The prosecution wants to use the still sealed taped interview with Bryant in the trial, despite the fact he was not read his rights. Prosecutors say since he was not under arrest or in custody, that wasn't necessary.

Defense attorneys want the interview and evidence gathered from it thrown out by the judge, saying police made several errors, including making Bryant feel like he was in custody.

Bryant, who showed up in court with a bandage around a finger he injured from an accident he says he had in his garage, reserved the right to give his side of the story when the hearing resumes on March 1. But his attorneys have not indicated if that will happen. If it doesn't, it might be hard to overcome testimony from the lead detective that he told Bryant -- quote -- "You are not under arrest, and you free to leave." SILVERMAN: I don't see how the defense can succeed. After all, both detectives testified that they told Kobe Bryant, hey, you're not under arrest. You are free to go.

TUCHMAN (on camera): There was one other topic discussed during this two-day motion's hearing: whether the accuser's medical history should be left confidential. The judge will likely make his decision via a written order. When is unknown.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Eagle, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: A quick look at some business headlines before we go to break, starting with the much-anticipated moment in the Martha Stewart trial. The prosecution's star witness, Douglas Faneuil, testified today that his boss ordered him to pass along a tip to Ms. Stewart just before she sold her shares in ImClone Systems. Mr. Faneuil's statements contradict the claims of Ms. Stewart and her broker that there was a pre-existing agreement to sell the stock once it hit a certain price.

Still smarting from the now infamous wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl half-time show, CBS today said Sunday's Grammy Awards will be enhanced tape delay. CBS did not mention the Super Bowl or Janet Jackson or any body parts in its statement.

Finally to Wall Street, all of the indexes, or indices -- I'm never sure which is right -- were up slightly, I am sure of that.

Still to come on NEWSNIGHT, or news morning, separating church and state and the question of whether banning religious clothing is carrying things too far. The story from France as we continue around the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: The French parliament today began debating a bill outlawing conspicuous religious symbols in public schools. Jewish skullcaps, Yanikas (ph) and Christian crosses would be banned, but it's understood the bill is aimed at Muslim head scarves. France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe. The move to ban the head scarves has triggered protests around the world.

Interestingly, both sides say freedom is the issue. As you might imagine, they see it very differently.

Here's CNN's Jim Bittermann.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After years of discussion and months of investigations, the French National Assembly now faces days of debate over what to do about banning religious symbols from schools, most notably Muslim head scarves. It's a measure of the emotions surrounding the issue that Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin himself opened the arguments with an impassioned plea.

JEAN-PIERRE RAFFARIN, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Secular education represents the freedom of thanking the teacher. It allows a serene and peaceful dialogue between religions and the states inside our own country. The values of our secular education guarantee the neutrality of the state and all of its agents.

BITTERMANN: The government argues that young girls are being coerced into wearing head scarves by their peers, or parents, or, in some instances, fundamentalist Muslim groups. A presidential commission investigated the issue for six months and concluded after hearing closed-door testimony that pressure is being put on young Muslim women.

REMY SCHWARTZ, SECRETARY, PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION (through translator): It is more of a political battle than a religious one, from groups whose objective is to combat the values of the foundation of the republic -- notably, equal rights between men and women and against racism and anti-Semitism.

BITTERMANN: But some Muslim women, and even more Muslim men, have taken to the streets to show they feel just the opposite. Both sides say freedom is the issue. Those in favor of the law are saying young girls must be free to choose not to wear head scarves. And those against are saying women should be free to choose what they wear.

SAIDA KADA, AUTHOR (through translator): Do you know what bothers me? To protect those who don't want to wear the head scarf, while telling those who do to take their head scarves off. Itís not coherent.

BITTERMANN (on camera): The legislators will discuss the law until Thursday, and then take a vote on it next Tuesday. But it seems highly unlikely it will be defeated. Two-thirds of the National Assembly belongs to the government party, and even some opposition socialists say they are going to vote in favor of the legislation, perhaps because public opinion polls indicate 7 out of 10 French are in favor of banning head scarves in schools.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Ahead on the program this morning, we go back to politics. We'll hear what the candidates had to say tonight. A break first. From New York, this is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: In the end, days like this come down to words, what to say when the projections are in and the races have been called, when it's clear who's won and who's lost. Everyone knew at the start of the day the field could -- probably would be smaller by day's end, and it is. All of the candidates hoped for a mandate to go on.

How they defined it and what lies ahead came down to words.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EDWARDS: Tonight, we stand at a crossroad. Will we have a leader, a president, who actually understands the problems of working people? Will we have the courage to use new, fresh ideas to solve old problems like poverty? Will we have the strength and conviction to make this vision of hope and optimism into a reality? If the American people give me a shot at George Bush November -- next November, I will give them back the White House.

DEAN: Well, the votes are starting to come in, and we're going to have a tough night tonight. But you know what? Here's why we're going to keep going and going and going and going and going, just like the Energizer bunny. We're going to pick up some delegates tonight, and this is all about who gets the most delegates in Boston in July, and it's going to be us.

LIEBERMAN: For me, it is now time to make a difficult, but realistic, decision. After looking at the returns and speaking with my family (AUDIO GAP) team, I have decided tonight to end my quest for the presidency of the United States of America. Am I disappointed? Naturally. But am I proud of what we stood for in this campaign? You bet I am.

REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We came to South Carolina with no money, no paid staff, no TV ads, preached in about 25-26 churches. They brought every official they could in, put them on television commercials, and not only did we come in three in double digits, which no one thought we would do, we doubled Howard Dean, tripled Joe Lieberman. I think that this has been an astounding boost in the arm for the Sharpton campaign.

KERRY: Everywhere I have been, the people of our nation are determined to restore hope and to change the direction of our country. Together, we can lift our country up to the America that it can become. And at the heart of this campaign -- at the heart of this campaign is a commitment to an America, where a future is built on fairness for all, not on a privilege for few.

CLARK: Today, across the country, Democrats went to the polls. And tonight, the people have spoken, and the message they sent couldn't be clearer. America wants a higher standard of leadership in Washington. And there is no party more committed to that, no party more committed to the American people, no party more committed to lifting people up than this party, my party, this Democratic Party.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: General Wesley Clark and the others on how they viewed the night.

The morning papers, how editors viewed the night after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: OK, time to check the morning papers from around the country, and because we're on so late, we've got a lot of papers that we don't normally see, because their deadlines -- well, because their deadlines usually are too early. They just don't cooperate.

"The Kansas City Star," a nice newspaper: "Kerry rolls onward, wins Missouri, four other states." "Edwards, Clark also victorious." We'll see that headline in various forms a lot.

Over here just for a second: "Poison threat stymies Capitol." OK, I will give you that the election is a huge story today and deserves this, you know, front page and all of that, but just think about how times have changed that the ricin story -- essentially a terrorist attack -- is just the sidebar on the front page. And it is in most papers.

The "Hartford Courant" in Hartford, Connecticut: "Kerry builds lead, Lieberman out." That's the right front-page story for them. And a picture of Joe Lieberman as he conceded that it wasn't going to happen this time around. He's a good man, and it was kind of painful to watch.

The "New York Post," we never see the "Post," but we love the "Post": "Star witness bombshell, panic calls to Martha. Oh, my god! Get her on the phone." That's the headline in the "Post." It's just a hoot to read, I've got to tell you. I wish it wasn't, but it is.

"The Dallas Morning News": "No sweep, but Kerry rolls on." I think that's a pretty good headline also.

The "Delaware State News," we haven't had this before, the down state daily": "Democrats Kerry-ed away." "Huge night adds to lead, Lieberman drops out of race." That's the way the "Delaware State News."

"The Arizona Republic," we never see this one either: "Kerry wins Arizona, takes 4 other states." And they were still working to figure out the rest of the paper. That's why all of these things are blank. But if you're out in Arizona watching, trust me. When the paper comes to your house tomorrow, they will have filled that in. Thank you for sending that.

"The Forum," which is the newspaper for the twin cities of Fargo and Moorehead. Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorehead, Minnesota, I'm pretty sure that's right. Moorehead, Minnesota, right there on there on the border. I should know that. I grew up in that state. "Kerry takes 5 of 7." "In North Dakota, Senator tops Clark with 51 percent." "Turnout of 10,508 elates North Dakota Dems."

The "Tulsa World" in Tulsa, Oklahoma": "Momentum Kerry's." What is interesting about this is they didn't lead with the Oklahoma primary. They led with the big story. Over here: "Clark squeaks by with win in Oklahoma."

Now, how are we doing on time? OK. A couple of others. "Kerry wins 5 states," the "Sun-Sentinel" in South Florida. I love this story. "Marino: 'I'm out.' Dolphins great changes mind, leaves front office." About three weeks ago, he took the job of running the Miami Dolphins, and then he found out he had to come to work everyday. Trust me. Once a week on TV is a lot easier.

"Bengals give up on real grass." That's the big headline in "The Cincinnati Enquirer." No, it's not one of those athletes-in-trouble stories. They're going to install artificial turf.

Fifteen seconds, let me find the -- there it is. The "Chicago Sun-Times." I could have gone on for another minute or two. The weather tomorrow in Chicago is deja vu. "Kerry takes 5 of 7" is the headline. And there's Bobbie Knight yelling at somebody. What's with that guy anyway?

We'll wrap up the day in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Before we say good-night, a quick recap of the races. Most of the numbers are in. Here is where things stand.

CNN is projecting victories for Senator John Kerry in three primaries -- Arizona, Delaware and Missouri. Missouri is tonight's largest prize, 74 delegates. Senator Kerry also is the projected winner in the caucuses in New Mexico and in North Dakota. A very good night for John Kerry.

South Carolina -- in South Carolina, rather, John Edwards is the projected winner. He had to win there. He did win there by 15 points. He said he had to win there, because that's the state he was born in. He is in the race. He did well in Oklahoma as well.

All of the votes are counted, and retired General Wesley Clark is claiming victory. But as you can see, not much separating General Clark and Senator Edwards. Edwards will be left at a percentage point behind, so we'll hold off until the vote is certified.

That's the long story short.

Tomorrow, on this program, an interview we've been working on and looking forward to, former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, one of the chairs of the September 11 commission, the 9/11 Commission. He's already said he thinks the attacks could have been prevented. He's trying to get the deadline extended to file the final report. It's supposed to go out of business in May. They will never be done by then.

He joins us tomorrow at 10:00 Eastern Time here on NEWSNIGHT. And I hope you will join us as well. Until then, good-night for all of us.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.

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