Take 5's Michelle Cottle: Surrogate parenting and Gary Condit
Michelle Cottle is a co-host of CNN's Take 5 program. She joined the chat room from Washington, D.C.
CNN: Good afternoon Michelle Cottle and chat audience. Welcome to Take 5 chat.
MICHELLE COTTLE: Hello, everyone. Happy Friday!
CNN: Michelle, what are some of the topics you are going to be talking about on the show tomorrow night?
COTTLE: We are going to talk about Gary Condit (of course), the parents who decided they didn't want the twins being carried by a surrogate mom, the Miss America pageant, the tax rebate checks that people are getting this summer, and a little about the Middle East conflict.
CNN: What's your take on this situation with the surrogate mother and twins -- is this an isolated case or will we start seeing lots of unusual cases like this in the future?
COTTLE: It's definitely going to get more complicated and more common. This case is particularly outrageous, because the couple seems to have just decided to back out of an agreement in which they had essentially created a child with another woman, and then backed out, leaving the child's future in complete limbo, or in this case, the children's future, because they're twins.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Will they force the surrogate to keep the children?
COTTLE: The legal question that came up was that she couldn't put the children up for adoption. She wasn't planning to abort. In fact, the couple's request that she abort one of the twins in the second trimester, despite an agreement that they would tell her if they wanted her to do so in the first trimester, is what ostensibly caused this problem. Now, the fight is over where exactly the babies will go once they're born.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: What's the latest on Condit?
COTTLE: [We'll talk] a little bit about how, despite the fact that he hasn't been talking to his constituents about his problems, he's still gearing up for a big fundraiser. So, he's not willing to talk to the people, but he's happy to take their money.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Does the Condit camp have grounds for a suit based on the statements made by the parents [of Chandra Levy]?
COTTLE: It's very hard for a public figure to charge libel, and in this case, it would cause Condit more publicity, and more trouble, than if he tries to let the whole thing drop. Especially since police still have no idea where Chandra disappeared to. So Condit, while in no way proved guilty of anything, hasn't officially been proved innocent, either.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Do you think that the new Miss America format will be a farce?
COTTLE: Obviously, the Miss America people are trying to update their image, but it's hard to look modern when you have women parading around in swimsuits, with Vaseline on their teeth to make their smiles look shiny.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Ms. Cottle, I've been very impressed recently with Senator John Edwards in North Carolina even though I'm here in Ohio. I hope he runs for President. Is there a chance? Thanks!
COTTLE: Very good chance. He has been making a lot of noise. He's a very attractive candidate for the Democrats. For one reason, he's from the South, and they need help there. He's media savvy, and doesn't have the personality problems that Gore faced, and he's not considered the same type of "traditional liberal" that, say, John Kerry is. The one potential problem is that he was a trial lawyer, and George W. Bush in particular likes to talk about the evils of lawyers, and how all they want to do is sue everyone for their hard-earned money.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Why does so much of America's coverage of the Middle East conflict have a pro-Israeli slant? When ten Palestinians are killed in one day it's a news item -- when ten Jews are killed it's a major story?
COTTLE: Part of the issue with the recent bombings is that it's a deliberate attempt to harm civilians, which makes everyone more uncomfortable than when, say, official buildings or military installations are hit. That said, the media is also frequently criticized for exactly the opposite slant, showing pictures of unarmed Palestinians cornered by Israeli gunfire. The problem seems to be in such an emotionally charged issue, that it's hard to cover, period.
CNN: Michelle, do you have any final thoughts for us today?
COTTLE: On the show we'll talk about what people are doing with those tax rebate checks we've all been waiting on, and whether the $300 or $600 was worth the budget crunch that we may now be facing. ... as the surpluses disappear.
CNN: Thanks for joining us today in the chat room, Michelle Cottle.
COTTLE: Thanks very much, everyone! Have a good weekend.
Michelle Cottle joined CNN.com chat room via telephone from Washington, D.C. CNN provided a typist for her. The above is an edited transcript of the interview, on Friday, August 17, 2001.
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