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Al Gore Testifies on Capitol Hill; Interview With Chuck Schumer

Aired March 21, 2007 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.
Happening now -- Al Gore back on Capitol Hill urging Congress to act quickly to help save the planet. But are lawmakers listening to his warnings about global warming.

Democrats take a step toward forcing White House aides to testify about the firings of those federal attorneys, but are they just on a fishing expedition. I'll speak about it with Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer.

And it's round two for Republican icons, as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rush Limbaugh take their war of words to the air waves. We'll have the latest on that story.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Al Gore bringing star power and causing fireworks on Capitol Hill today as he testified on global warming in a hearing that was part homecoming, part showdown. Critics slammed the former vice president, leading to a smack down between one Republican senator and a Democratic senator.

Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley has more on what this showdown is all about -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf in his years in Washington, Al Gore was a congressman, a senator, a vice president, and a presidential nominee, he returned to Capitol Hill today as a star without a title.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an emotional occasion for me to come back to this hearing room.

CROWLEY (voice-over): He is a new man in old haunts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George W. Bush state of the Texas has received for president of the United States 271 votes. Al Gore of the state of Tennessee has received 266 votes.

CROWLEY: The last time Al Gore was on Capitol Hill he certified the election results putting George Bush in office. He returns a multimillionaire, star of an Oscar-award-winning documentary, internationally recognized guru of global warming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These ice sheets are moving far more rapidly than anybody predicted.

CROWLEY: Gore is his party's most visible spokesman on the environment, a global warming expert before it was cool and Democrats greeted him like returning royalty or better.

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I obviously sat here with you 30 years ago. What you're saying about information technologies, what you were saying about environmental issues back then, now retrospectively really do make you look like a prophet.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: You really are in so many ways a role model for us all, just -- not just as elected leaders but really as citizens of this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you don't give out any kind of statue or anything...

CROWLEY: Republicans were less gooey. Senator James Inhofe was so anxious to grill the witness, he and the new chairwoman got into it over whether Inhofe could cut off Gore's answers.

BOXER: We're freezing the time just for a minute. I want to talk to you for a minute please.

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Why don't we do this...


INHOFE: Why don't we do this...

BOXER: You're not making the rules, used to do when you did this. You don't do this anymore. Elections have consequences.



CROWLEY: Gore is a man clearly enjoying the sunshine. And he got a lot of it.

INHOFE: There seems to be more interest in this hearing than in our previous hearings. Is there some reason for that?

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: Yes, well, I can give you a reason. It's about like when I came to the Senate with Elizabeth Taylor, this is what we had all the time.

CROWLEY: What with all of that attention and oh by the way, poll numbers showing him tied for third in the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, no wonder people won't stop asking if he's running for president. He continues to turn his back on the notion.

GORE: You know I have no plans to run for president again. I don't intend to. I don't expect to.

CROWLEY: Which isn't exactly won't run, but it's darn close.


CROWLEY: Now, most of the people who have talked to Al Gore in the past three or four months say they are pretty much convinced he's not all that interested in running. They always leave open the possibility, however, that he could change his mind -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And he left slightly open that possibility today as usual. Thank you, Candy.

There are also new developments tonight in the showdown over the firing of those federal attorneys. Is the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, finding a way to try to save his own job.

Let's turn to our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena. You're getting some new details on what the attorney general, Kelli, is doing today to help his cause.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know I can tell you it's a new day over at the Justice Department. Officials say the attorney general basically has a whole new attitude following President Bush's very public statement of support for him yesterday and it's a department that's very much on the offensive.

One example, justice officials say that Gonzales is starting a series of in-person meetings with U.S. attorneys beginning in St. Louis tomorrow. His message is expected to be similar to what he said on conference calls with U.S. attorneys last week when he apologized not for the dismissals, Wolf, but for the mishandling the situation including the suggestion that prosecutors had performed poorly.

BLITZER: What is he doing, Kelli, about the Congress?

ARENA: Well, today, he had lunch with four Republican members of the Judiciary Committee, but he hasn't had any meetings yet with Democrats. One senator who was at that lunch today said that the attorney general's spirits were good, but that he's very concerned about the controversy. Separately the Republican National Committee today sent a letter to Republicans trying to build support for Gonzales. Very interesting, Wolf, before the president said what he said yesterday, Republicans were largely silent, but now they really do seem to be rallying around Gonzales.

BLITZER: All right, we'll see what happens to the attorney general. Kelli, thanks.

Like two trains on one track, President Bush and congressional Democrats may now be headed toward a collision. Democrats today moved a step closer to ordering White House aides to testify about the firing of those federal prosecutors, but the Bush administration is not backing down.

Let's go to Capitol Hill. Our congressional correspondent Dana Bash is standing by. Dana, it looks like the Democrats are on this constitutional collision course with the White House. Update our viewers on what happened today.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well what happened was Democrats essentially wanted to make it clear to the White House that if the White House is saying their final offer is that they are just going to allow top Bush officials to come and talk to members of Congress in private, that they're not going to take it, no deal, they said.

And what they did was they voted to authorize the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to issue subpoenas. Now the chairman made pretty clear today, Wolf that he is not actually going to issue those subpoenas right now. He said he wants to use this as leverage to get the White House to come back to the negotiating table. He said this kind of offer that the White House from his perspective is ridiculous. He said he could have the conversation that the White House is offering with Karl Rove and others in a pub -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dana, are the Republicans on the Hill basically in lock step with the White House?

BASH: Well, it doesn't seem that way. I think the one to watch especially as we head into tomorrow is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter. He made it very clear to us today that he agrees with the Democrats.

That he thinks it's important to have an open hearing for Karl Rove and others to just exactly explain why these prosecutors were fired. He said at the very least there should be a transcript of the meeting that goes on. And he also said that he's not sure how he's going to vote because the Senate tomorrow, Wolf, is going to have the same vote that the House had today. They're going to vote to authorize Democratic chairman to issue subpoenas. And Patrick Leahy told me today that he says he is not going to be afraid to use those subpoenas if he feels he needs to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's one thing to authorize the subpoenas. It's another thing to issue the subpoenas to pull that trigger. We'll watch that closely with you.

Let's go to New York. Jack Cafferty has got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, you want to know if your doctor is taking money or gifts from the pharmaceutical companies. Well good luck trying to find out. A new study says even in states where there are laws about disclosing such payments, it's not easy to get the answer. There are only five states plus Washington, D.C. that require a pharmaceutical company to report these payments.

And only two of those, Vermont and Minnesota, provide this information to the public. A study in the Journal of American Medical Association focuses on those two states. Researchers found that even those these payments are often substantial the details of the transactions are vague or simply unavailable. Why is that, do you suppose?

Well, if your doctor accepts anything from cash to gift certificates, to meals, books, tickets, trips, conference fees, it could affect the kind of medicine he's prescribing you, couldn't it? Here's the question -- would you want to know if your doctor is accepting money and gifts from the drug companies?

E-mail your thoughts to or go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, the short answer is yes.

CAFFERTY: There you go.

BLITZER: OK, Jack. Thank you.

Coming up -- feasting for a fight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is this -- to paraphrase the "Godfather", they've made us an offer we can't accept.


BLITZER: Senator Chuck Schumer here in THE SITUATION ROOM, is he gunning for a show trial just to embarrass the president. I'll ask him.

Plus -- Castro's control. We're going to find out why one top U.S. diplomat now says Fidel Castro is still pulling some of the strings and why repression in Cuba has only gotten worse.

And Rush Limbaugh and Arnold Schwarzenegger on his day -- on his show today, a day after the "terminator" calls Rush Limbaugh irrelevant. Now Rush tells Arnold he's selling out. What's the governor's response?

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: We have a very important story coming up, but we must warn you first the images in this story are very, very disturbing. It involves Somalia and some scenes are eerily reminiscent of how Somalian militia members shot down a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter in Mogadishu back in 1993. Many of you will remember that incident. It involved American troops being dragged through the streets of the Somali capital. This current powder keg of unrest involves African troops.

CNN's Tim Lister has more.


TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sickening familiar site in Mogadishu, the corpse of a Somali soldier is dragged through the streets by masked men thought to be Islamic militants. Later the bodies of several soldiers were set on fire. Video too graphic to broadcast shows a crowd beating the body of one soldier as it burns.

Several civilians were also killed or injured in clashes that erupted early on Wednesday. The insurgents attacked Somali government forces and the Ethiopian army allies who responded with cannon and rocket fire. In a city awash with heavy weapons, it's often impossible to tell who's firing what, but the fighting once sporadic is now almost daily.

The growing insurgency appears to include Islamic fighters and disgruntled clans who see Ethiopian troops as foreign invaders. Ever since being installed in Mogadishu by Ethiopian forces in November, the government has struggled to establish its authority. In addition to the Ethiopian presence, about 400 Ugandan troops have arrived to try to provide security. But a planned deployment of some 8,000 African union peacekeepers has not materialized and Mogadishu now seems to be slipping back into the sort of chaos that has dripped it for much of the last decade.

Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.


BLITZER: The U.S./U.N. peacekeeping force, by the way, left Somalia back in 1995, two years after that Blackhawk went down.

Not attempts to overthrow his government nor attempts on his life have stopped he almost 50-year reign of the Cuban president, Fidel Castro. Now some say that the ailing Castro's control of Cuba is still firm.

Let's turn to our State Department correspondent Zain Verjee. She's getting new information -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, yes he's old. Yes, he's sick. But the U.S. says Fidel Castro is still a powerful force in Cuba. I spoke today to the assistant secretary of state, Tom Shannon, who tells us that Castro remains a controlling political presence. He added that repression has increased under his brother Raul, who's running the government now.

The new regime is putting its people in place just to show that it's in control. As you know, Raul took over in July last year after Fidel went through some major surgery. A senior U.S. official says 80-year-old Fidel Castro may not be in charge of day-to-day government, but he's still a political icon and the regime's not going to do anything that he doesn't like. The official says Castro's star power limits Raul and the people around him. Now it's hard to know exactly what Fidel's role actually is. It was described to me as being a little like the fantasy novel, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", quote, "People are working, but we don't know what they're doing" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: There is some suggestion that life for average Cubans has actually become worse under Raul, Castro, Fidel's brother. What are you hearing?

VERJEE: Well the State Department basically is pointing to some random detentions of independent journalists as well as youth activists. There are also reports of political prisoners that are being beating. People are also suddenly just being evicted from their homes. But this sort of thing has been going on for awhile in Cuba, but it appears now to have increased substantially under Raul Castro -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Zain, thanks for that.

I want to point out though also that in the streets of Havana, some prisoners' wives have been shouting, shouting for freedom. They were shouting to mark police actions that put their spouses behind bars and some pro Cuban government supporters verbally took on the ladies, shouting and I'm quoting now, "long live Fidel", all of it unfolded in Havana yesterday. We're going to stay on top of this unfolding situation in Cuba.

Up ahead tonight right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, serious allegations of patient neglect at a military retirement home right here in the nation's capital. We're going to have details of new developments and a new scandal over the care of American veterans.

Plus -- a congressman's office vandalized. Is it because of a stance on the war in Iraq?

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Carol Costello is in New York. She's monitoring stories coming into THE SITUATION ROOM from around the world. What's happening now, Carol?


The Pentagon says reports of sexual assaults in the military increased last year and more than twice as many offenders were punished than in 2005. In 2006 there were nearly 3,000 cases and almost 800 people received punishments, ranging from administrative sanctions to courts-martial. The cases involve members of the military accused of sexual misconduct and victims as well.

In Chicago a customer walks to a neighborhood bar and tries to order a drink. When the female bartender refuses him, he did not take it well at all. Take a look at what happens and then we'll tell you what the attacker does. See him there?



COSTELLO: That's just unbelievable. Get ready for this -- the man doing all that punching and kicking is a Chicago police officer. Anthony Abbott (ph), age 38, was arrested Tuesday night for this incident. This happened last month. As for the victim, she actually got up, gave Abbott (ph) a piece of her mind, and somehow walked away. The police officer stands charged with aggravated battery. He's been stripped of police powers pending the end of an investigation. At which time, he is expected to be fired.

According to a study just published tonight, nearly half of all on-duty firefighter deaths are caused by heart attacks. The research finds that sudden exertion, plus exposure to heat, smoke and chemicals make heart attacks the deadliest risks that firefighters face. The office (ph) wants fire departments to give more focus to mandatory fitness training and regular medical check-ups.

And meet the first artist assigned to the new record label launched by coffee giant Starbucks. Sir Paul McCartney says he's aiming for a June release of his brand new C.D. He says his move to the new label reflects the state of the ailing record business and the face of competition from Internet piracy and other forms of entertainment, so Wolf, you go to Starbucks.

BLITZER: You know you go to Starbucks, you get coffee, you get books, and you get records...


BLITZER: You get the whole nine yards, one-stop shopping. All right, Carol. Thanks for that.

Just ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, we have more on the potential constitutional crisis between the Congress and the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the president says he wants to get to the truth. Well, then what's wrong with an oath and what's wrong with transcripts.


BLITZER: I'm going to speak with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer about this showdown.

Also Arnold Schwarzenegger on the "Rush Limbaugh Show" today. Are they calling a cease-fire in their war of words?

Stick around. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now -- a top Iranian official warns Iran will go after what he calls illegal acts if the United Nations continues to insist that Iran stop enriching uranium. The Ayatollah also warning Iran will fight with, quote, "all its capacities if attacked by the United States."

Officials say the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, is on the offensive amid calls for him to step down. They say he'll soon start meeting with U.S. attorneys in person. He's meeting with some Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill today.

And how did this deadly accident happen? That's what officials want to know about a British nuclear submarine in the Arctic Ocean. Two British sailors were killed and another injured in an incident involving a piece of air purification equipment. Officials say the sub's nuclear reactor was not effective.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

There are new and disturbing developments tonight in the scandal over military care facilities. This time, reports of what are being called deplorable conditions at a U.S. military retirement home right here in Washington.

CNN's Brian Todd is joining us from outside that facility in the nation's capital -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, just what the Pentagon doesn't want in the wake of Walter Reed, new charges of mistreatment, this time involving America's oldest war veterans.


TODD (voice-over): On the grounds where Abraham Lincoln spent his summers, a living breathing testament to sacrifice, the armed forces retirement home. More than 1,100 military retirees live here, many of them veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam.

Are some being treated like the wounded from Iraq at Walter Reed? In this letter given to CNN by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the comptroller general in the Government Accountability Office writes to Defense Secretary Robert Gates that residents here may be at risk.

The GAO official writes that in a series of reviews health care professionals who treated retirees at the home reported a rising number of deaths, residents admitted to Walter Reed with the most serious types of pressure sores, and one admission with maggots in the wound, observation of blood, urine and feces-spattered rooms among residents who live alone. The man who runs the home, Timothy Cox, had this to say.

TIMOTHY COX, COO, ARMED FORCES RETIREMENT HOME: We have done everything that we can to provide very good quality care with realizing that (inaudible) our trust fund on which we run off of. We make sure we spend that money wisely.

TODD: Point-by-point Cox rejected the charges of inadequate care. For instance, the charge that one resident had pressure sores and maggots in his wound.

COX: It wasn't some pressure sore that was developed here, it was developed elsewhere.

TODD: Cox took us on a tour of the facilities, showing us well- equipped rooms, residents getting attentive care.

(on camera): I guess you know the natural skepticism is going to be this is a dog and pony show. You're showing us only the pristine parts of the facility where the care is terrific. What do you say to that?

COX: I say we're transparent and you can come any day. This is not a dog and pony show. This is not planned. The staff didn't know we were coming beforehand and you see what goes on here each and ever day.

TODD: Would we be able to go into some of the living facilities and other areas unescorted to see some of the conditions?

COX: This is a resident's private room, so we certainly will be able to take you, but because you're here in someone's home, it is escorted.


TODD: So what happens next? While we were here, we spoke to a Defense Department official who's involved in the Walter Reed investigation. He told us that the Pentagon had a four-person team here this morning. They are already looking into these charges, Wolf.

BLITZER: Any indication, Brian that the problems here at this retirement home in Washington, that there are similar problems elsewhere around the country?

TODD: Not so far. The letter from the GAO this week to the defense secretary, Robert Gates, only indicated there were problems here. We're starting to look into this now. We're going to be in touch with defense officials and others to try to determine how widespread this is. There is another facility affiliated with this home in Gulfport, Mississippi. I'm sure the Pentagon is now looking into that as well.

BLITZER: The armed forces retirement home here in Washington for distinguished veterans. We'll stay on top of this story with you, Brian. Thanks.

Moving on now, they can talk but they can't testify. The White House sticking to its guns about what kind of access Congress will get to administration officials over those fired U.S. attorneys. Listen to this exchange between our White House correspondent, Ed Henry and the White House press secretary, Tony Snow.


ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: These aren't actually interviews. That's your word. Senators like Senator Leahy say they want testimony. Testimony -- there is a transcript. This is not an interview. You want it to be an interview, but it's up to the Congress. They're the ones investigating and they say they want testimony, not interviews...

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Ed, what we're doing is we're trying to be accommodating to Congress by offering them extraordinary insight into a deliberative process. You also know that everybody who goes there -- the president expects everybody who talks to Congress to tell the truth and so does the law. And they know that it would be illegal not to tell them the truth.


BLITZER: The White House spokesman says Congress must ask itself whether it's trying to create a political spectacle. And he says that if the Democrats reject this latest White House proposal, all bets are off. That if the Democrats go ahead and issue subpoenas, the White House will withdraw its offer.

So what do Democrats make of this White House ultimatum? I asked Senator Chuck Schumer, who serves on the Judiciary Committee for a response?


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The bottom line is this. To paraphrase "The Godfather," they have made us an offer we can't accept.

BLITZER: The president is basically saying you want a show trial.

SCHUMER: Absolutely not. We just want to get to the bottom of it. And we can -- if they want to set some parameters on how these hearings ought to go, I think we'd welcome that.

But certainly let them show their good faith by saying we're willing to do transcript and oath, even if it's in private.

BLITZER: Well, so far they're saying that's not going to happen. What do you do next, if they say absolutely, positively no? And yesterday the president said he's willing to go to the mat on this.

SCHUMER: Well, presidents usually do. But remember, there's tremendous pressure on them. Many Republican senators, congressmen and leaders have been very upset with what's happening. The public is overwhelmingly on our side. And that may be their starting position.

I hope it's not their final position, because it's an untenable position. And I think just about all the commentators and editorials except those on the hard right think that the White House has not given us a very fair offer.

BLITZER: The House...

SCHUMER: We want a fair offer. BLITZER: The House Judiciary Committee today said they're going to go ahead with a subpoena. They haven't done it yet. Your committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, I take it, is supposed to act tomorrow.

What's going to be -- what's going to be the decision?

SCHUMER: Yes, well, both houses are going to authorize the use of subpoenas, but not issue them. And I think the White House has said that it's the issuing of the subpoenas that they hoped wouldn't happen.

So I would hope we can negotiate. I would hope that we could come to a fair agreement. Our goal -- get out the facts, get to the bottom of it. But let me just give you two examples of what they are trying to prohibit.

First, they want no transcript and no oath. So Karl Rove says black and somebody else says white. There is no way to prove the truth. There's no way even to prove what he said, except by people's recollections, which often differ. That's why we have transcripts in just about any -- even the most minor legal proceeding.

Let me give you another one. They don't want to give us any documents that are internal in the White House. So let's just say, and this is hypothetical, that Karl Rove said to Harriet Miers we have to get rid of Prosecutor Lam because she's working on a political case that makes us uncomfortable. But come up with an excuse.

And then Miers comes up with the excuse of immigration, sends an e-mail out to the Justice Department, oh, we're getting rid of Lam because of immigration. Well, we would get the second e-mail, but not the first one.

BLITZER: Well, is there an underlying crime here that you -- you're suspicious of?

SCHUMER: Well, I don't know if it's a crime. What has happened, and it has happened already, there is so much out there about the politicization of the U.S. attorneys that that strikes a severe blow. Remember, Wolf, people -- we need people in America to believe, as they always have, that the law is issued without fear or favor, that we're not some Third World country where some person can shift the law for his or her own political or economic gain.

And when U.S. attorneys believe that they were fired because they wouldn't prosecute a case that would benefit the White House or that they would prosecute a case that would hurt the White House, we have a serious problem.

So whether it's a crime or not, and it's too early to tell because we don't have the evidence, it has certainly done some real damage to the view rule of law without fear or favor.

BLITZER: You're being slammed by some Republicans, including Arlen Specter, who was here in THE SITUATION ROOM on Monday; Senator John Cornyn of Texas, another member of the Judiciary Committee; that you have a partisan stake. You're the chairman of the committee that's trying to get Democrats elected to the Senate, and that you're no objective observer. You're trying to politicize this.

What do you say to those Republican colleagues who want you to give up your political hat if you want to be serious about investigating this judicial matter?

SCHUMER: Well, every one of us wears both a political hat and a substantive hat. When you run for office, you do, et cetera.

But let me make three points here. First, our investigation is totally focused on the executive branch, the Justice Department and the White House. And so we have nothing to do with any wrongdoing of legislators, senators or congressmen, and that's up to the Ethics Committee. So there's no conflict whatsoever because we're focused on the executive branch.

Second, when names of legislators, congressmen, senators, were brought up, it wasn't by me or any other Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. It was brought up by the U.S. attorneys. So the idea that we're doing this to go after them, we didn't -- when I started this investigation, under Senator Leahy's leadership, we didn't know where it would lead. We didn't know anybody else would be involved.

And third and finally, the M.O. of the White House and their allies, not just in this investigation, but in every other, is when they get bad news, when they get things they don't like, they start calling names at the bearer of the bad news instead of solving the problem.

So I would ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, stop the name-calling. It's not going to deter us or divert us. This is too important. But, rather, join us so we can get to the bottom of this in a fair and non-partisan way.

BLITZER: Senator Schumer, we've got to leave it there. Thanks very much for coming in.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Chuck...

SCHUMER: Nice to talk to you.


BLITZER: And still ahead tonight, Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Rush Limbaugh show. Are the California governor and the radio talk show host calling a cease-fire in their war of words? We're going to update you on story we first reported yesterday.

Plus this just in, mystery solved. You're about to find out who's behind the Hillary Clinton YouTube attack video. Stick around, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: There are new developments tonight in that very public war of words between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rush Limbaugh. The California governor was a guest today on the conservative radio talk show host's program. Did they call a truce? Let's turn to CNN's Carol Costello. She has been watching this story for us -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Well, not exactly, Wolf. You know, it's a beautiful thing, though, Republican reaching out to conservative talk show guy. But instead of showing the love, the two showed this split in the Republican Party.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Call it round two in the battle between Arnold and Rush. This time, gentle jabs were thrown on Limbaugh's radio show.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You probably get a little flustered. Every time you go on these shows, they throw my name up at you.

COSTELLO: Was Hollywood movie star, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, flustered?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rush Limbaugh is just one of many Republicans out there who are saying that you're not really a Republican. You are a Democrat pretending to be a Republican.



SCHWARZENEGGER: Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant. I'm not his servant. I'm the people's servant of California.

COSTELLO: It was a shot aimed at Limbaugh's loaded term for Schwarzenegger, a "closet liberal."

SCHWARZENEGGER: No, you are absolutely wrong, Rush.

COSTELLO: But if Schwarzenegger he was flustered that first time, he isn't now.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I pay very little attention if someone criticizes me, or calls me -- you know, that I'm turning left and that I'm selling out, or whatever. I have to stay focused on results.

LIMBAUGH: Your compromise looks more like agreeing with liberals than maintaining your natural conservative beliefs.

SCHWARZENEGGER: It's not selling out, it is just doing the work for the people. I can understand from where you are coming from, where you look at just the ideology of, maybe -- you know, just more the conservative way. And I have always said during the time I was running, if I become governor, I will be the people's governor. LIMBAUGH: I believe conservatism is the best way to provide the most opportunity of success for the vast majority of people. You still accepted the premise of liberalism that minimum wage is somehow going to improve people's lot in life, and it doesn't.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have had many, many, I would say hundreds, of hard-working people in California come up to me and say it did improve their lives.

COSTELLO: Some political observers say the conversation between these two very different Republicans is a beautiful metaphor for the state of the party.

LARRY SABATO, UVA CENTER FOR POLITICS: The Republicans are divided. They are polarized into two factions that can't agree even on the basics. And it's going to mean that it's much more difficult for Republicans to get elected to the presidency in 2008.

COSTELLO: By the time the conversation ended, both had promised to smoke a stogie together. But Limbaugh couldn't resist one last jab aimed at Schwarzenegger's famously Democratic wife.

LIMBAUGH: I also want to apologize to Governor Schwarzenegger. After this interview, I'm not sure Maria gets a word in edgewise in their house.

COSTELLO: And that is how the battle ends. For now.


COSTELLO: Well, you could look at it like this. This is the year of pragmatic conservative. Do you want to win or do want to be right? Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to watch this story. We had Governor Schwarzenegger here in THE SITUATION ROOM last week. We invited Rush Limbaugh to join us. Maybe he will. That would be a good guest for us as well.

COSTELLO: That would be excellent.

BLITZER: Thank you, Carol, very much. Carol Costello watching this story.

About the same time, by the way, as all of this was unfolding, President Bush signed a law today naming the federal courthouse in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, after Rush Limbaugh's father (sic), Rush Limbaugh Sr. The radio talk show host's father was a very well-known attorney who practiced in that area for decades. He died back in 1996 at the age of 104.

And this just coming in, mystery solved, solved. We're getting new details just now about the man behind the Hillary Clinton YouTube attack video that we reported on yesterday. Jacki Schechner has this mystery solved, she has the information -- Jacki. JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. This just broke. The man's name is Phil de Vellis. He went by the nom de guerre online of "ParkRidge47," Park Ridge, named for where Hillary Clinton was born, 47 for the year she was born. He posted this 1984 ad.

He says quote, "to show that an individual citizen can affect the process." He posted a blog post on the Huffington Post blog. He says the campaigns had no idea who made it. He said he did it on a Sunday afternoon in his apartment, using personal equipment and then sent the link around to blogs. He says he's a proud Democrat. He supports Senator Obama.

But what he did do is work for a company called Blue State Digital, it was an Internet company that provided technology to presidential campaigns, including Senator Barack Obama's. He has resigned from that company. He says the company had no idea that he had done this -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, what is Blue State Digital saying about all of this, Jacki?

SCHECHNER: They have just put a statement online on their Web site as well. They say that the employee had gotten a call from Arianna Huffington. He didn't originally respond. But then he acknowledged to Blue State Digital that he was in fact the creator of the video.

They say -- Blue State Digital says that pursuant to company policy, they have terminated him. They say that the company is under contract with the Obama campaign for technology pursuits, but they are not currently engaged in a relationship with the campaign for services right now.

Also to note, one of their founding partners is on leave from Blue State Digital to work directly at campaign headquarters -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Any reaction from Senator Obama?

SCHECHNER: They have also issued a statement to us. They say that they had no knowledge and nothing to do with the creation of the ad. They were notified this evening by Blue State Digital that it was an employee of their company. But they have been assured, Wolf, that he did no work on their campaign's account.

I want to let you know, we did put several calls into Phil to try to talk to him specifically. We have not heard back from him yet.

BLITZER: Maybe we will. Thank you very much, Jacki. Might someone be trying to scare a Republican congressman into changing his mind about his support for the war in Iraq? That's what police want to know. And they want to know quickly about this. Our Brian Todd once again joining us with this story -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a real chill in Congress tonight. One congressman has his own personal security stepped up after he pays more than a political price for his support of the Iraq War.


TODD (voice-over): Blood red paint, bodies outlined in spray paint on the sidewalk and a chilling sign on the congressman's door, Rogers, you have blood on your hands.

This is what greeted staffers for Republican Congressman Mike Rogers in Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday morning.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: To call themselves peace protesters defies the very logic of what they're trying to accomplish. And we need to put an end to that right now. I mean, that is completely unacceptable.

TODD: Rogers says it is unclear if the vandalism was caused by Iraq War protesters, but passions on the war run high among his constituents. The congressman has supported the president on the war, but has opposed the recent plan to send additional troops.

ROGERS: We've gotten a lot of e-mails and calls saying hey, we may not be with you or on your stance, but we don't condone this. We're with you on this.

TODD: One local peace activist is no fan of Rogers, but says vandalism won't bring the troops home any sooner.

ERIK NELSESTUEN, PEACE ACTIVIST: There is a lot of anger about the war. But it just serves no purpose to really create violence or cause problems.

TODD: The office had security cameras installed after previous vandalism. Investigators are expected to check the tapes to see if they captured any evidence before they were disabled.

ROGERS: Well, you know, I'm an old FBI agent, so it's -- you know, you're not going to intimidate me, I'll tell you that. But I do worry about my kids having to worry about it. I worry about my staff.


TODD: Law enforcement officials say that security for the congressman's family has been stepped up. But Congressman Rogers tells us that his support for the war, his position on the war will not change -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Brian, thank you.

Still ahead, a testy confrontation between former Vice President Al Gore and a leading congressional skeptic of global warming.


SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Senator Gore, my time is almost expired completely, are you aware of that?

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: If I could complete my answer.

INHOFE: Well, if you do, then my time has expired. Are you aware of that?


BLITZER: And that was only just the beginning. We're going to show you more of the fireworks that happened today up on Capitol Hill.

And Senator Hillary Clinton finds a silver lining to the new YouTube attack against her. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a "Moost Unusual" look. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: We're going to have more on Al Gore and that dramatic confrontation he had with the Senator Inhofe earlier today on Capitol Hill in just a moment. But let's check in with Jack Cafferty for the "Cafferty File" from New York -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question is, would you want to know if your doctor accepts money and gifts from the drug companies?

Steve writes from Kentucky: "As a pharmaceutical rep for 25 years, I can attest to the fact that drug companies have grotesquely lavished doctors with gifts one way or the other over the years. Unless a drug is significantly superior, you can bet the rep is the driving force."

Lorraine from Fort Worth, Texas: "Since we have doctors in the family, I see this from a different point of view. I don't know of any who take money, but they do attend seminars and conferences about new drugs paid for by the drug companies. With the seminars, they can ask questions, get a better feel what the drug can and cannot do, and what is being worked on for the future. This information allows them to do their jobs better."

Doreen in West Virginia: "As a registered nurse, I know that doctors accept gifts in different forms from drug companies, medical supply companies, just about everyone. Gifts in the form of money, samples, sponsorship, conferences, freebies, all they offer the nurses is free pizza.

Kevin in Naples: "Here in Naples, Florida, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting 14 doctors and nine lawyers. Medicine is a huge business here in blue-hair heaven. On any given weekday, I cater an average 15 orders for breakfasts and/or lunches, ranging from $90 to $400 for drug reps buying lunch for doctors and their staffs, sometimes up to as many as 25 people. The drug reps are pitching new drugs, or reinforcing their old arrangement all on the expense account every day of the week."

A.J. in Idaho, who is a doctor: "Yes, I would want to know because in the next instant he or she wouldn't be my doctor anymore. I don't consort with prostitutes, not even those with medical degrees." And Pete writes from Arkansas: "Nah, I'll just assume it. I trust doctors as much as plumbers, FOX News anchors, and Republicans."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to, where we post more of them along with video clips of this here stuff we do -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Thank you. See you tomorrow, Jack. Good work. Let's find out what's coming up right at the top of the hour, that means Paula is standing by.

Hi, Paula.


"Out in Open" tonight, the widening scandal over government care for our country's wounded warriors. We are going to introduce you to three families who got fed up with how the V.A. system was treating their loved ones. In fact, the system had but all given up on their loved ones. Wait until you see what they did for their family members.

Plus, the most controversial card you'll probably ever see. Take a very close look, if you can, on your screen. They are sympathy cards for women who have had abortions. It's all coming up at the top of the hour. And a whole lot more than that, Wolf. We hope you join us then.

BLITZER: We always do. Thank you, Paula, for that. Paula coming up in few moments.

Up ahead, Al Gore fireworks. Things got very hot on Capitol Hill today over global warming. You're going to hear from the former vice president, himself, in action. What he had to say. Also, Hillary Clinton's anthem angst, turns she's not necessarily alone. Our Jeanne Moos takes a "Moost Unusual" look. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Now to the Al Gore showdown over global warming. It's heated exchange on Capitol Hill. You're going to want to see that exchange. It had the former vice president getting some words in edgewise and he had some problems because of this, watch.


SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Let the vice president answer your questions? And then if you want an extra few minutes at the end, I'm happy to give it to you. But we're not going to get anywhere.

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Why don't we do this...

BOXER: We're asking...

INHOFE: Why don't we do this, at the end, you can have as much time as you want to answer all of the questions.

BOXER: No, that isn't the rule of -- you're not making the rules. You used to when you did this. You don't do this anymore. Elections have consequences.




BLITZER: Smackdown from Senator Boxer to Senator Inhofe, the Democrats are the majority now. She controls that gavel.

Everyone has been watching what has been going on with Senator Clinton. Now there is an attack on Senator Clinton that has one upside to it. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the story of how "The Star-Spangled Banner" doesn't always make for a banner day. Let's start with that anti-Hillary commercial on YouTube that everyone has been talking about. Hillary laughed off the commercial with this comment.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am pleased that it seems to be taking attention away from what used to on YouTube, and getting a lot hits, namely me singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

MOOS: Well, actually, it's still there. Hillary is far from the first to fall victim to the octave-and-a-half anthem. Not knowing the words was what got former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.


Now it is understandable that a Canadian would have trouble with the words.


MOOS: She left, then bravely returned and ended up seeing stars rather than singing about them.

(on camera): Oh say can you sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"?

(voice-over): Apparently not. A Harris poll shows that almost two-thirds of Americans don't know all of the words to the National Anthem. For a politician like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, singing anything risks ridicule.


MOOS: And speaking of not soaring...


MOOS: ... Roseanne Barr called singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" the scariest moment of her career. She said she started too high and couldn't get out of it, so she camped it up.



MOOS: Whitney Houston did it right at the Super Bowl. But a performer named Lucy Lawless had a star-spangled wardrobe malfunction, oh say you can see. Off-color makes off-key seem minor.

Even those who can sing take no chances with the National Anthem. Whitney Houston was actually lip-syncing.


MOOS: Even for a diva, this is one anthem that can become "The Star-Mangled Banner."


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: That's it for us. Let's go to Paula in New York -- Paula.

ZAHN: Wolf, thanks so much.


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