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SHOW: CNN SATURDAY NIGHT 20:00
July 3, 2004 Saturday

HEADLINE: Saddam Hussein Loyalists March Through Sunni Strongholds; Bill Cosby Courts Controversy; Marlon Brando's Last Performance

GUESTS: Frank Rubino, Jesse Jackson

BYLINE: Carol Lin, Jeanne Meserve, Jason Carroll, Drew Griffin, Gloria Gomez, Alina Cho, Bruce Burkhardt, Donna Tetreault

HIGHLIGHT:
Saddam Hussein loyalists march through Tikrit and other Sunni strongholds. Then, Bill Cosby courts controversy. Finally, a look at Marlon Brando's last performance.

BODY:
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Global Headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SATURDAY NIGHT. Who would come out and support Saddam Hussein?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: You say the word (EXPLETIVE DELETED), this is an accepted word used so hip with (EXPLETIVE DELETED), but you can't even spell it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LIN: Can only a black man deliver this message? The Reverend Jesse Jackson is here tonight to talk about Bill Cosby.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

CARROLL: At least it has raised inspiring discussion.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIN: Well, Reverend Jesse Jackson is known to stir the pot. His Rainbow/PUSH Coalition invited Bill Cosby to speak. The Reverend Jesse Jackson is my guest tonight.

Reverend, did you know what Bill Cosby was going to say when you invited him?

JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Of course, I did. Bill has said it before. It's clear that you must fight inferior opportunity with superior effort. I mean, Bill is thoroughly aware that we're at a disadvantage when leave no child left behind has left $2 million behind, and 300,000 children don't have after school programs.

Having said all of that, you must fight these odds. The history of our struggle has been to be a dream maker and to be an odds buster. And we cannot fight the odds for self degradation and surrender.

LIN: But some people think that he was degrading. And some people think, as you saw in Jason Carroll's piece, that what is this rich, black man doing up on the stage, telling us what real life should be?

JACKSON: Well, what I want-the fact is, Bill Cosby comes from very humble beginnings. Bill is aware of the journey. And strong minds break strong chains.

Literacy's a weapon. And in this struggle to offset the odds, one cannot self destruct. And so, that is a big mission.

Even the poorest parents can take their children to school and meet their child's teachers, exchange home numbers, and turn off the TV three hours a night and pick up a report card.

Matter of fact, the poorer you are, the more determined you must be. We must, in fact, fight these odds with sobriety and determination.

And above all, we cannot degrade ourselves with the kind of references to ourselves, that reflect the kind of broken (UNINTELLIGIBLE) complex. We must fight the odds.

LIN: If the message contained the facts, reverend, if somebody else-President Bush, as you might know, went out today and was recruiting for minority votes in his campaign to be re-elected. If a white president said those words to a minority audience, how do you think they would be received? If a Jewish comedian said those words to an audience...

JACKSON: Because he doesn't have the moral authority to say the same thing. His thing would be disingenuous, after all, he has shown no commitment to racial equality and to racial justice.

But Bill Cosby has. And so, he was talking really as a parent.

It's interesting to me how many whites see this as an attempt to justify why you have racial inequality in our schools or class inequality in our schools. And so, there's an attempt of separate Bill's challenge to parents in terms of the condition in which we live.

He talked, for example, about three and four schools and one psychologist is not enough. And Bill is for prenatal care, Headstart, daycare, after school programs. And this must be put in perspective, it seems to me.

LIN: Really? Because it sounds like you're saying that we really miss the message, that we're focused on what sounded like racist comments from an African-a well known famous, well respected African-American man.

JACKSON: You know, Bill was at the-what's the very little secret is he was at the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of 1954. And Bill reflected the fact that for 335 years, living officially race supremacist society. And against those odds, people like Thurgood Marshall and attorney Houston beat the odds (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- they beat the odds about being more determined and brave and willing despite.

And you look at how today, even in 2000, a million black votes were disenfranchised. That determined the presidency.

So Bill understands odds, but...

LIN: You're talking about the votes that weren't counted in Florida?

JACKSON: A million were discounted across the nation, not just Florida. But against those odds, what you do when you're behind except run faster. You may not be responsible being down, but you must be responsible for getting up. And that's an age old message.

The message really is not new. And the challenge has met with great response among black people.

LIN: Really?

JACKSON: But we're not just one to be an excuse, however, to not build upon schools.

Now Mr. Bush's tax cut took a big (UNINTELLIGIBLE) out of refurbishing schools and has left two million behind and no child left behind, and 300,000 children without after school programs. That's probably a message that must be heard as well.

LIN: Well of course-yes. And you know that the Bush administration is hitting the campaign trail this week and Dick Cheney in the Midwest. John Kerry also there as well.

I have to ask you, reverend, what do you think is going to happen with John Kerry's choice for VP? Who do you think it's going to be?

JACKSON: Well, that's not-no, it seems that it was as odds on favor, but you just really never know it. Right now, it's probably the mystery.

LIN: Who's...

JACKSON: My concern, forming about his VP candidate, is in the year 2000, 35 years into the Voting Rights Act, a million black voters were disenfranchised. If this had happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, South Africa...

LIN: But reverend, what does that have to do with the VP choice?

JACKSON: What?

LIN: What does it have to do with the VP choice? Who do you think...

JACKSON: Well, the fact is the VP choice is not as important to me as our vote counting, because when our votes count, you determine the winner. And our votes did not count in determining the winner. And so, our right to vote reserves all other rights and privileges.

LIN: All right...

JACKSON: That's what it has to do with.

LIN: So I can't get a VP candidate out of you, huh, tonight?

JACKSON: Well, I mean, there are some outstanding names that are surfacing. The real issue is to contrast between Kerry and Bush.

For the last three years, Mr. Bush, not Mr. Cheney, not Ashcroft had met one time at NAACP, leadership conference, or the Congressional Black Caucus, or organized labor.

LIN: All right.

JACKSON: A closed door policy. And so...

LIN: Reverend...

JACKSON: ...the contrast between Kerry and Bush is the real deal...

LIN: Yes.

JACKSON: ...in 2000.

LIN: And we're trying to make that distinction on our programming.

JACKSON: Indeed.

LIN: Thank you very much, Reverend Jesse Jackson.

JACKSON: Thank you.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

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