This partial transcript from The Edge with Paula Zahn, July 20, 2001 was provided by eMediaMillworks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Gary, go home and tell it to your daddy!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Resign! Resign! Resign!
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Your preacher daddy, he'll be proud of you
PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Welcome back to The Edge.
We're back with more on the search for Chandra Levy. The D.C. sex scandal is playing out in Gary Condit's home district of Modesto, California, commonly referred to as "Condit country." As you just heard, not everyone in Modesto is standing by their man.
Joining us now is the mayor of Modesto, Carmen Sabatino.
Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.
CARMEN SABATINO, MODESTO MAYOR: Good evening. You're welcome.
ZAHN: I'm going to put up on the screen a sample of a poll that CBS News just conducted, and the question they posed to folks in your community is, "Would you vote for Condit in 2002?" And 53 percent of those polled said no. Now, I also recognize there were people protesting in favor of Gary Condit in front of his office, as well, yesterday. How conflicted is your community about the behavior of Mr. Condit in the last 11 weeks?
SABATINO: Well, of course, the poll is quite a bit different than the actual election results. Condit usually enjoyed victory margins of 70-30, you know, 64 percent of the vote.
ZAHN: Oh, sure. But how about today?
SABATINO: Now, today, as you just said, polls are indicating that it has swung the other way. You know, I -- as I said before, in October Gary Condit will have what he calls his "Condit country" fund-raiser. It's the third Saturday in October. And 4,000 to 5,000 people show up for that fund-raiser.
ZAHN: Yeah, well, do you expect that to happen...
SABATINO: Local politicians and...
ZAHN: Do you expect...
SABATINO: Well, I...
ZAHN: ... that to happen this October?
SABATINO: That'll be the barometer. That'll be the barometer. We'll see by then, you know, exactly what kind of support the congressman will have at election time.
ZAHN: The feeling that I get...
SABATINO: But you know, I...
ZAHN: Yeah. Go ahead, Mr. Mayor.
SABATINO: Well, you know, I sort of agree to the fact that this -- the matter's between Gary Condit and the -- his constituents. It's the constituents that are going to decide his fate.
ZAHN: Oh, absolutely.
SABATINO: And so we'll see what happens.
ZAHN: Yeah, and the feeling I get from talking with some of those folks is that a large part of the reason why they're hanging in there with him now is they say because he holds such an important position on the Agriculture Committee, they have to hang in there with him because that has a tremendous impact on your local economy. Do you think that's part of the reason why he continues to hold some support in his community?
SABATINO: Well, you know, that's partially true. Congressman Condit has been bipartisan most of his career. And in that spirit, he doesn't enjoy a lot of clout at Capitol Hill. He certainly doesn't have the power that our last representative, Tony Coelho, enjoyed. Coelho was able to bring to the district much more than Congressman Condit.
ZAHN: But he is delivering on the agriculture front, isn't he?
SABATINO: Well, yeah. I can say that. But I also have to say that a more partisan congressman could probably deliver more, but...
ZAHN: Would you like to see Mr. Condit resign?
SABATINO: ... he certainly -- no, I'd like to see him finish out his term, and then I'd like the voters to decide what should be done.
ZAHN: One of the greater mysteries of this story is Mrs. Condit and how she is dealing with the tremendous scrutiny of her family. What can you tell us about Mrs. Condit? Does she leave her home? Does she continue to go to church?
SABATINO: You know, I haven't seen her or had occasion to talk to her. At all times when Carolyn Condit was out in public, she was amicable, warm, loving, friendly. I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Carolyn Condit.
ZAHN: Did she appear to be healthy? Because there are a lot of conflicting facts about her medical status.
SABATINO: Yeah. I think that if she was sick, she'd stay home. But in her public appearances, she looked healthy.
ZAHN: And have you spoken with any of her friends, anyone at all who's had contact with her lately?
SABATINO: Actually, I haven't talked to anybody who's had contact with any of the Condits. You know, this story really has impact for the Condit family and for the Levy family. Other than that, I can't see any great social significance to the story...
ZAHN: All right.
SABATINO: ... any great consequences.
ZAHN: Mr. Mayor, one last question for you tonight. Reverend Otis Thomas has now retracted his claim that Gary Condit had had an affair with his daughter and sired one of her children. Do you know the Reverend? And why do you think he changed his story? Why do you think he said, "Oops, I was lying"?
SABATINO: You know, I don't know. I didn't give the story~ much credibility, to begin with, so I'm not surprised that he recanted it. I'd be interested in his reasons. I don't know if he's told the media that.
But you know -- this city, a reporter asked me about the city of Modesto being stigmatized by this, and I was taken aback. You know, I have to tell you that Chandra Levy grew up here safe. The congressman campaigned here. So she disappeared in Washington, D.C. The congressman's lifestyle was in Washington, D.C. And it certainly wasn't the fault of the Modesto Police Department that this case hasn't been resolved.
ZAHN: Point well taken.
SABATINO: So we should be looking to Washington, D.C., for the stigma and not the city of Modesto.
ZAHN: Well, we really appreciate your joining us. We know you're a very busy man. Thank you for dropping by.
SABATINO: Well, thank you for the work you do. Thank you.
ZAHN: My pleasure.
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