Skip to main content
U.S. Edition


Return to Transcripts main page


Rice Meets With Syrian Foreign Minister; Bloody Hijack Attempt in Havana

Aired May 3, 2007 - 19:00   ET


Happening now -- the Bush administration blasted Nancy Pelosi for talking to Syrian leaders labeling that country a sponsor of terror. Now the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice does the same thing. Is she rewarding bad behavior?

An airport battle and a bloody hijack attempt in Havana. This is a developing story. Cuba says its soldiers were on both sides on of the battle. We'll go there live.

And he's built a Hollywood career on controversy, now the Oscar winning director Oliver Stone takes on President Bush and the war in Iraq in a brand-new TV commercial. He'll be here in the THE SITUATION ROOM.

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

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with her Syrian counterpart though, even though the Bush administration says Syria sponsors terrorism and even though it recently scolded the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, for going to Damascus. The meeting took place in Egypt at an international conference aimed at trying to help Iraq.

Our State Department correspondent Zain Verjee sat down with Secretary Rice -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the U.S. still has problems with Iran and Syrian, but it's the violence in Iraq that's driving them to talk to the bad guy.


VERJEE (voice-over): Talks with the enemy for Iraq's sake.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: They were substantive but they were professional and business-like.

VERJEE: After a two-year deep freeze, Secretary Rice spoke with Syria's foreign minister to get Damascus to stop turning a blind eye to insurgents crossing its borders into Iraq.

RICE: He said that he understands that Syria has no interest an unstable Iraq, but of course, actions speak louder than words and I'm hoping that they will carry through. VERJEE: The Bush administration bashed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for reaching out to Syria last month, saying she was rewarding bad behavior.

(on camera): Did you just do that?

RICE: OK, it's one thing to go to Damascus and to have those pictures that suggest a relationship that doesn't exist with Syria. This was really very, very limited to Iraq.

VERJEE (voice-over): The hype over a possible Iran/U.S. meeting fizzed out. Rice just exchanged smiles and hellos when she ran into Iran's foreign minister over lunch.

(on camera): Do you want to have more candid discussions, potential one-on-one in this...

RICE: We're not seeking a bilateral with Iran nor are they seeking one with us. But the real breakthrough is that we're all here together at this conference to support Iraq.

VERJEE (voice-over): Disappointing to many here, hoping a thaw between the U.S. and Iran could ease tensions in the region. Rice admitted that the Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki isn't delivering on promises to include Sunnis into the political process to ease sectarian tensions. A concern Iraq's Sunni Arab neighbors expressed in Thursday's meetings.

(on camera): The message that you've been sending to Iraq's Arab neighbors is that look, there has been progress in Iraq, but many Arab leaders are saying we just don't see it.

RICE: I talked with Prince Saud, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, and with others about the fact that we're seeing a reduction in sectarian violence. We are seeing greater evenhandedness.

VERJEE (voice-over): She says the situation in Iraq isn't perfect, but...

RICE: The fact is that we have no choice for our own security as well as for the security of the region to support this government and to help them make it work.


VERJEE: Secretary Rice says it's important to reach out to those who have a hand in Iraq's future, even if it means sitting down with countries it considers trouble -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Zain Verjee on the scene for us in Sharm el-Sheikh. She'll be reporting tomorrow from there as well.

Tonight a new push to pull authorization for the Iraq war out from under President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton is a driving force behind it. While Senate leaders held talks with the White House today about crafting a possible compromise over war funding, Senator Clinton was teaming up with her colleague Robert Byrd. They're introducing a bill to cut off the president's congressional authority for the use of force in Iraq on October 11 of this year. That's five years to the day after the Senate voted to give the go-ahead for war.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is time to sunset the authorization for the war in Iraq. If the president will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for Congress to bring reality to him.


BLITZER: Let's bring in our congressional correspondent Dana Bash. What's behind Senator Clinton's move, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well you know Wolf, Senator Clinton may be in a position very soon where she might have to break one promise in order to keep another. Meaning, she might have to in order to vote to fund troops in harm's way, she might have to give on the idea, at least immediately of having a plan to bring troops home along with that. Now that is going to be a tough vote for any of the Senate Democrats who are running for president, but it's especially hard for here because she of course voted for authorization for war in 2002 and has not said point blank that she regrets that vote, unlike many of her colleagues, so, this is another avenue for the senator to voice her opposition to the war.

BLITZER: This is not necessarily a new idea, Dana, to de- authorize the war.

BASH: It's not at all. In fact, another candidate for president, Senator Joe Biden proposed this back in January. In fact, he was going to -- he started to write this up in legislation for the party, the Senate Democratic Party, but it didn't happen for a variety of reasons. But the bottom line here is that this is all about timing. And the timing of this is such that Democrats are looking at these negotiations for a bill to fund the war. Realize that they're probably going to have to give ground and are looking for other ways, other vehicles to voice their opposition to the war -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Dana -- Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.

A dismissive response to the Clinton/Byrd legislation from the White House tonight. The deputy press secretary, Dana Perino, issuing a statement, saying -- and we're quoting now -- "Here we go again. The Senate is trying another way to put a surrender date on the calendar. Welcome to politics '08-style."

From Cuba tonight, word of a bloody hijack attempt at Havana's international airport. Officials say a hostage is dead and Cuban soldiers are under arrest.

Let's go to our man in Havana, Morgan Neill. He's standing by with the very latest. What happened, Morgan? MORGAN NEILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is story we have been following all day. AND just over a little hour ago, Cuba's government released a statement saying it had captured two men who tried to hijack a plane at Havana's airport and take it to the United States. Now the government says the would-be hijackers first forced their way on to a city bus, took all the passengers hostage, then somehow once aboard that bus, forced their way on to airport grounds, from there onto an airplane that was sitting on the tarmac.

Now at some point during the exchange with security forces, the would-be hijackers killed one of their hostages, an Army officer. Security forces then moved in and captured the men. Now the government says the two men it captured today were soldiers who had deserted their post late last week, killing another soldier as they did so and wounding another, taking their weapons with them -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Morgan, have you or your colleagues seen anything like this in Cuba in recent years?

NEILL: Well, the one case that springs to mind is in 2003. There were two successful airplane hijackings that wound up making it to the United States. There was also an attempted ferry hijacking in Havana Bay. The three people involved in that attempted hijacking were all executed -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Morgan Neill on the scene for us in Havana. Thanks, Morgan, very much.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty in New York. He's got "The Cafferty File". You know with Fidel Castro, Jack, ill as clearly he is, we're going to be paying really a lot of attention to what's happening in Cuba over the next weeks and months.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we have obviously vital strategic and not to mention commercial interest in the future of that place after Fidel Castro goes on to that great revolutionary playground in the sky.

President Bush, Wolf, has been bumped this year for the first time. He failed to make the cut of "TIME" magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world -- the president of the United States missing. This is a list that encompasses people including leaders, revolutionaries, scientists, heroes, builders, artists, entertainers, musicians, Oprah Winfrey, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, both on the list, four years in a row, more than anyone else.

Other names to make the list this year include Osama bin Laden, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Hillary Clinton, Pope Benedict XVI, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs, Virgin Airways CEO Richard Branson, businessman Warren Buffett, Al Gore, model Tyra Banks, actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Sacha Baron Cohen -- he is the guy who plays Borat -- musician Justin Timberlake, Rosie O'Donnell, and the New York City subway hero, Wesley Autrey.

All these people on the list of the most influential people in the world. The president of the United States isn't there. Here's the question. What does it say about the U.S. when a national news magazine thinks Rosie O'Donnell, Justin Timberlake and the actor who plays Borat are more influential than President Bush? E-mail or go to

Are you on that list, Wolf?

BLITZER: I did not make it. Did you?

CAFFERTY: And if you're not, you should be.


CAFFERTY: Absolutely.



BLITZER: Enough said. Thank you, Jack, for that.

Coming up -- an exclusive interview with the Academy Award winning director, Oliver Stone, who's sounding off on Iraq, comparing to what's happening in that war to the one in which he served.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same thing in Vietnam, the same argument. If we leave, what would happen? Well we left, and by god, it took a little time, it took two years, but it solved itself. And by 10 years later, Vietnam was in peaceful shape.


BLITZER: Oliver Stone takes on the war in Iraq. He takes on President Bush and now he's taking his protest to a new arena. Stand by for that.

Also -- Secret Service protection. Senator Barack Obama gets beefed-up security. Our John King is standing by to tell us what's going on.

Plus, Washington sex scandal, fear factor -- an accused madam supposedly ready to name names tomorrow. Is it witness intimidation or fair game?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: A new development tonight in the presidential race. Democratic Senator Barack Obama is being placed under the protection of the U.S. Secret Service. The agency says the request came from the Obama campaign. The Secret Service will not say why, but we are told there is no -- repeat, no -- specific threat.

Joining us now John King, our chief national correspondent -- John, why now?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As you noted no specific credible threat, Wolf, but there was rising concern in the campaign and among friends of Senator Obama, we're learning tonight from "The Chicago Tribune" and we've confirmed this, that Senator Dick Durbin, his colleague, became very concerned. He's seeing larger crowds, the campaign schedule is intensifying. He's traveling more. He had Capitol police helping him with security, but with the family about to have summer vacation time, his two young children, the bigger crowds, they just sort of hit a cumulative play where they thought you know what, we a little more concerned about this. We need more security, so they went to secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, the congressional panel and they approved Secret Service protection beginning today.

BLITZER: And the fact that he's an African-American, does that play into this?

KING: Sadly, it does. There's no specific threat, but because Obama is an African American, we are told that both before he was a candidate and since he has been a candidate, there is more hate mail, threatening phone calls and the like, not a specific threat to his life or a specific threat to his safety, but more because he's an African American, more ugly things simply put.

BLITZER: You and I have covered a lot of campaigns. We have seen a lot of Secret Service agents out there working with the candidates. Does this represent a hassle for him or not necessarily?

KING: It's a little bit of both. The downside is that with this protection the crowd gets screened a little more by the Secret Service. It's harder to reach out and touch a candidate, which is so important in the early states, Iowa and New Hampshire, but it actually helps a campaign logistically and from a financial standpoint, because once the Secret Service takes over your security, they also take over all your logistics because traveling is one of the points in time in which a candidate is most at risk, so your air travel, your motorcade, your in and out of buildings, all of that is now taken over by the Secret Service. Campaigns like that, if you will, handing off the difficult, complicated logistics work to the Service.

BLITZER: And, the junior senator from New York, Senator Clinton, she already has Secret Service protection.

KING: She already does because she's a former first lady and down the road, a few week and months, many of the other candidates will get it too. Senator Obama, the first addition, if you will, because Mrs. Clinton already brought that to the table.

BLITZER: Thanks very much -- John King reporting for us.

In the culture wars tonight Congress and President Bush have another battle looming, this time over hate crimes. The House has passed a bill that expands current law to include sexual orientation but appears destined for a presidential veto.

CNN's Carol Costello is here in Washington. She's watching the story for us. Carol, what is this controversy all about?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Well I'm telling you, Wolf, critics say if this bill becomes law, it will criminalize Christianity. They say it would muzzle people of faith who dare to express their moral outrage.


COSTELLO (voice-over): Just two days after the second veto of George Bush's presidency, the White House threatened a third. This time, it's a bill that expands hate crime laws to include violent attacks against people because of their sexual orientation or gender. It's something a coalition of pastors say would have a chilling effect on clergy, who preach that homosexual behavior is wrong.

BISHOP HARRY JACKSON, HOPE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: We believe that this legislation will criminalize our freedom of speech and our ability to preach the gospel.

COSTELLO: Supporters disagree. But the White House has another objection, saying state and local laws already cover such crimes and there is no need to federalize enforcement. Debate was heated on the House floor.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: They are more serious than a normal assault, because they target not just an individual but an entire group.

REP. TOM FEENEY (R), FLORIDA: What it does is to say that the dignity and the property and the person and the life of one person gets more protection than another American. That's just wrong.

COSTELLO: Both sides cited the case of Matthew Shephard of Wyoming, whose murder was linked to his sexual orientation.

REP. TAMMY BALDWIN (D), WISCONSIN: Matthew's death generated international outrage by exposing the violent nature of hate crimes.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: Those perpetrators that did that horrible act both got life sentences under regular murder laws.


COSTELLO: Now the fight isn't over. There is a similar bill in the Senate. No word on when it will voted on -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Carol will watch this story for us -- thank you, Carol. Carol Costello here in Washington.

Up ahead -- Oliver Stone takes on President Bush in an exclusive interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But basically it's the same loser syndrome. We're overreaching into an area we don't really belong. And we're extending our empire in a way that it won't work. Everyone knows it but the president.


BLITZER: And he's not just talking, Oliver Stone is taking action over his opposition to the war in Iraq. We're going to show you my interview with Oliver Stone. That's coming up.

Also, royal visit -- Queen Elizabeth II here in the United States and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: He may be hanging on by his fingernails right now. The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, blamed by an Israeli inquiry commission for blunders in last year's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. His own foreign minister has called on him to resign. Now the Israeli public is unleashing its anger with a protest rally.

CNN's Atika Shubert has the story from Tel Aviv -- Atika.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you can see behind me, tens of thousands have packed into Robin Square (ph) here in Tel Aviv, and the mood here is festive. There have been musical acts but also very emotional. People are angry and frustrated by what they see as a failure of leadership by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

We've heard speeches from family members who lost loved ones in the war, reservists who served in that conflict. There have been banners showing pictures of the soldiers that were kidnapped by Hezbollah forces and have yet to be returned. People here all demanding the same thing that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned immediately.

And there have been groups from the right, from the left, secular and religious, all overcoming their political differences all to achieve one goal. But the prime minister's advisers say he is watching this rally carefully and that he believes that this is a good way to vent public frustration, but they also say that this will not force him to quit -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Atika Shubert on the scene for us in Tel Aviv -- thanks very much. And lots of speculation already on who might replace Ehud Olmert if he or his government stepped down. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud leader among those candidates. The former prime minister, Ehud Barak, as well. We'll watch that story unfold.

Carol Costello is monitoring stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What do you have, Carol?

COSTELLO: Let's start in Venezuela, Wolf. Just days after seizing Venezuela's most promising privately owned oil field, President Hugo Chavez is now eying the country's banks and largest steel producer. He's accusing them of unfair practices and he says he'll nationalize them if they don't change. Mr. Chavez also started nationalizing Venezuela's largest telecommunications firm and the electricity industry. Wear a face mask just in case, that's the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the event of a pandemic flu. But in an unusual move, the CDC director says there's no scientific proof the mask even prevents infection. Dr. Julie Gerberding says the guidance is based instead on common sense and she adds the best way to avoid infection is to stay away from sick people.

Lost clothes at the dry cleaners, what can you do? One man here in Washington is doing something. He's suing for $65 million. He says his cleaner lost a pair of pants and he's citing a D.C. law that imposes a fine of $1,500 per violation. Now he's counting 12 violations, over 1,200 days, multiplied by three defendants. There's an actual trial going to take place, Wolf. It will take place next month.

BLITZER: Good. We'll take a look at that. Thanks very much. We'll watch it, Carol. Thank you.

Just ahead -- the director, Oliver Stone, outraged over the war in Iraq and with President Bush.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not even acknowledging it. He's not even saying I want to think about it. He's saying no. He was given more money. It's non-binding. What does he really mean? He's saying to hell with you.


BLITZER: Oliver Stone not only speaking, he's taking action -- my interview with him coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Also, we'll show you why clients of an accused Washington madam are probably very nervous tonight. Will their names be made public? Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


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

Happening now, the standard of course 500 closes above the 1,500 mark for the first time in more than six years and the DOW ends in a record high for the third time in a row. Stocks rallied as investors welcomed good economic news.

It fired him, so he's suing -- Don Imus planning a breach of contract suit against CBS Radio for his dismissal over his racially- charged comments. It alleges CBS actually paid Imus to be partly controversial. CBS says Imus' firing was appropriate and legal. Imus had $40 million left on his contract.

Etched in stone for Time Immemorial -- the Vietnam Memorial now has three new names. Two of the men are veterans who died in 2005 because of wounds they sustained during the war in Vietnam. The third man was killed during a friendly fire incident in Vietnam in 1966. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The antiwar movement is gaining a powerful new ally, Vietnam veteran and director Oliver Stone. He'll join us right here in THE SITUATION ROOM in just a moment to talk about all of that -- first though, our entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas in Los Angeles -- Sibila.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right Wolf, Oscar- winning Director Oliver Stone's at it again. This time it's not a film but a television ad that's getting attention.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You killed the president.

VARGAS (voice-over): From "JFK"...


VARGAS: ... to "Natural Born Killers", Oliver Stone's films have made him a lightning rod for controversy. His latest project is not likely to change that. He's directed a new television ad that takes direct aim at Bush administration policy in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Support our troops. Bring them home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your message?

OLIVER STONE, DIRECTOR: Support the troops. Listen to them. Bring them home. Give them a life. Not death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were told that we there to liberate these people. They were shooting at us.

VARGAS: Stone's ad created for the political action group,, features John Bruhns, an Iraq veteran whose tour ended in 2004.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To keep American soldiers in Iraq for an indefinite period of time being attacked by an unidentifiable enemy is wrong, immoral and irresponsible.

What I am hoping people will see with this ad is that there are veterans that are coming home from this war, that are very patriotic, that love America, but just aren't going to blindly follow this president and this failed policy continually.

STONE: Like in Vietnam, we're heaping a harvest of death and shame around the world.

VARGAS: Stone fought in Vietnam. An experience he turned into the Oscar-winning film "Platoon." He can become emotional comparing that earlier conflict to Iraq.

STONE: I get passionate (ph) sometimes about it. In my lifetime I have had two wars. You know, what's going to be next?

VARGAS: The release of the ad comes just days after President Bush vetoed a supplemental appropriation bill that would have set a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

BRUHNS: I don't think he has any excuse at all to veto this bill.

STONE: By vetoing it, he has said a defiant "to hell with you" to the American people.


VARGAS: As you can hear, strong words from Oliver Stone. Not likely to win him friends in the White House -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Sibila, thanks very much. And joining us out in Los Angeles right is Oliver Stone.

Oliver, thanks very much for coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. How angry are you right now about this war in Iraq?

STONE: Angry? Anger is an ongoing thing. You carry it, you know. Forty years ago I was in Vietnam at about this time. And it's a long policy, it's a long -- it's a lifetime, Wolf. You were around. You remember what it was like. There was a march to war. There was the war. It took seven years to get out of Vietnam. We're starting our fifth year in Iraq. And the news is bad, bad, bad. We get it.

The people who are there, the soldiers, many of them are saying they get it, the Iraqis don't want us. They have their own problems. They're so divided. It's almost as if we're bringing more pressure. We're bringing -- if we got out of there, I have the strong feeling that there would be less pressure and that they would solve -- they would seek to solve their differences.

BLITZER: Well, what happens if, as the president and the vice president say, you're wrong and if the United States simply pulled out, genocide or something close to that were to develop?

STONE: Well, it's pretty bad right now. People are being killed every day in huge numbers. And you can't be a civilian there. I mean, you can't get to work. You can't go to a market, you can't go to school. You can't go to -- it is not a livable civilization. We brought that havoc there. There's mess. What can be worse?

Bloodshed may go up for a while. But they will come to an agreement. They're very smart. They're not going to destroy each other. There's a point at which it stops. The same thing in Vietnam, the same argument, if we leave, what would happen? Well, we left. And by God, it took a little time, took two years, but it solved itself. And by 10 years later, Vietnam was in peaceful shape and still is, and is prospering. And is an ally of the United States. Where the hell is -- oh sorry, go ahead.

BLITZER: You can use that word, it's all right. Is this Vietnam, from your perspective, all over again?

STONE: You know, it is and it isn't. It always takes different conditions. But basically it's the same loser syndrome. We're overreaching into an area we don't really belong. And we're extending our empire in a way that it won't work. Everyone knows it but the president and his crew. And it's almost like Nixon and he is beleaguered in his last days.

You know, I made a movie about Nixon. I mean, there are a lot of similarities with President Bush in the sense that they have confused executive powers with dictatorship.

BLITZER: Explain what you mean by that.

STONE: Explain what I mean by it? Well, i don't know, there's a litany of years of -- you know, I mean, there was a -- look, there was a huge vote in 2006, in November, close to 60 percent of this country said no to Iraq. We don't want it. We want a change in policy. That president, by vetoing that bill the other day, is not even acknowledging it. He's not even saying I want to think about it. He's saying no. He was given more money. It's non-binding.

BLITZER: At what point -- at what point, Oliver, did you decide that you wanted to directly involved in producing this ad and working with

STONE: No, MoveOn came to me and they showed me -- they made 700 of these two-minute clips. They talked to soldiers. They talked to family members. And I saw many of them. There was a contest and they won. And the one with John Bruhns is the one they're showing.

And it's a wonderful simple plea from an ordinary American boy who went over there, and he saw, he fought, and he came back and couldn't believe what he saw. And he is saying -- the first thing he says is, I looked into the eyes of the Iraqis and they didn't want us. So it was those kind of testimonies. I looked at all of these films and -- not all. But so many of them.

There was boy with his -- back of his head was blown off. And he was so handsome. And he told me the story -- he told us the story of his -- what had happened there as if nothing has happened to him personally. He was hiding his wound. You see so many people -- in Vietnam -- if there's 3,000 deaths in Iraq, to me it's like 15,000 deaths in Vietnam. Because there is -- the body armor is such that they protect the soldiers, they defy death.

But they come back in these conditions like Ron Kovic came back in, in "Born on the Fourth of July." So we're going to have a lot more pain and a lot more distraught families, broken families. This is a horrible, horrible agenda of casualties that are building up in America. It is going to affect a generation.

BLITZER: You served in Vietnam. And you have written and spoken out about it at great length. Have you -- do you believe these U.S. troops who have died in Iraq have died in vain? STONE: No man dies in vain. You die because you believe for something. You hope that the cause is worth it. And in Vietnam we have reasons to question it. But you die hopefully with honor and with courage. And you should be remembered for your sacrifice. That is not to say the war was right, but you honor the men who fought in the war.

BLITZER: What's next for you, what else are you going to do beyond these commercials?

STONE: I think I'm -- now I'm -- I think I'm sufficiently angry, I will probably do the story My Lai.

BLITZER: Oliver Stone, thanks for coming in.

STONE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: And still ahead tonight here in THE SITUATION ROOM, anxiety building here in Washington. As some of the alleged "D.C. madam's" client list may be exposed.

And a bow to the queen. We are following Elizabeth II here in the United States, marking a milestone in America's historical break with Britain. Our Richard Quest is there in Virginia, Jamestown, covering the story. He's standing by to join us live. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Some nervous people here in Washington and beyond. Anxious they may soon be exposed as clients of an alleged "D.C. madam." CNN's Brian Todd is following the stories.

Brian, tell our viewers why more names may soon be revealed.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is because this alleged madam may soon be headed for a criminal trial where the names may come out. But even more urgently, a major network is about to run a special based on phone records she provided to them. The case is raising questions not only of who will be exposed, but why.


TODD (voice-over): From K Street to Capitol Hill, nervousness abounds. Will this woman, her alleged clients or employees, or the news outlets covering her case, expose a major scandal, or at least embarrass Washington's power elite?

DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY, ALLEGED "D.C. MADAM": Mine is a very bizarre and rather unusual case.

TODD: Deborah Jeane Palfrey, accused by the government of running a high end prostitution ring in Washington. She denies it. But some of her alleged clients are trying hard to keep their names out of this case. ABC News, scheduled to run a special based on phone records given to the network by Palfrey, says it has gotten a letter from the lawyer for one of Palfrey's alleged clients, saying he has reason to believe his client might be revealed in the story.

ABC says the lawyer didn't name his client, but demanded they not air the name. According to the network, the attorney claims his client is a government witness against Palfrey and airing the name would violate a court order preventing Palfrey from intimidating witnesses.

Legal analysts say it's a weak argument.

KEITH WATTERS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Remember, Deborah Palfrey and the attorney gave ABC the records prior to this order being issued. So they're not violating the order in any way.

ABC is not part of this case.

TODD: The news media also facing tough questions over whether they're really serving the public.

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN'S "RELIABLE SOURCES": This whole story makes me queasy because ordinarily journalists don't publicize, on a national basis, the names of clients of an escort service. And so then you get to the question of what is newsworthy about it?

What if it had nothing to do with somebody's job, had nothing to do with any federal money, had nothing to do with any official role?


TODD: An ABC spokesman tells us they're very mindful of that standard for newsworthiness and are proceeding very carefully. They point out that one of those exposed was a top State Department officials whose job had been to promote policies against prostitution -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Brian, we'll stay on top of this story tomorrow. Thank you.

We're also, by the way, learning more about the high-end escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton, is standing by.

Some of the business that we're learning about. What are we learning about, Abbi?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, according to court documents, Palfrey advertised her business and recruited escorts online. Here, the site says "serving all of metropolitan Washington seven days a week." The site is no longer operational. But archives show it went back several years.

On it, the Pamela Martin Agency, it says: "It is considered Washington's premier adult service." The potential escorts are told to contact Julia. There is a list of requirements here. Six different requirements. One of them being two or more years of a college education.

There is little we can glean about the clientele from this Web site. Although it does suggest that they were loyal. It says that they have a repeat clientele rate of up to 75 percent -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi, thank you for that. Washington, of course, no stranger to sex scandals. Here is a look at some of the ones that grabbed headlines over recent years. 1998, Bill Clinton impeached after he lied about an affair with the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In 1987, there was a boat called "Monkey Business." This picture of Gary Hart on his yacht with Donna Rice ended his run for the White House.

And in 1974, you will remember this, a powerful Democrat named Wilbur Mills was caught with stripper Fanne Foxe. The relationship became public after an officer pulled over Mills' limo late one night. Foxe tried to flee by jumping into a nearby water pond. He resigned as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. She continued stripping.

Up ahead, a royal message to America. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in Virginia tonight. So is her loyal subject, Richard Quest, our man on the scene. We'll go to Richard for the latest.

Also this, "le debat." CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a "Moost Unusual" look at politics, French style. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Right now many are hailing the queen. British Queen Elizabeth II landed in Virginia today to mark the 400th year old anniversary of the Jamestown settlement. During a stop in Richmond, the queen talked about the changes since her last visit to Virginia.


QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF ENGLAND: Over the course of my reign, and certainly since I first visited Jamestown in 1957, my country has become a much more diverse society. Just as the Commonwealth of Virginia and the whole United States of America have also undergone major social change.

The melting pot metaphor captures one of the great strengths of your country and is an inspiration to others around the world as we face the continuing social challenges ahead.


BLITZER: Joining us now from Jamestown, our man on the scene, Richard Quest.

How did her majesty do today, Richard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think she did extremely well, all things considered. You have to remember, Wolf, whenever the queen comes to the United States, it is a visit that's fraught with political correctness problems.

Native Americans, slavery, questions of aristocracy and class, it has got the whole lot in one fell swoop. But in this visit, so far, she didn't apologize for the colonial treatment of Native Americans. That wasn't expected. Instead she put it into context, Wolf. And let me show you what I mean.

I'm here at the Jamestown Memorial Church. And this really shows the difficulty. Over here, Wolf, we have the Common Law of England, introduced in May the 13th, 1607. We have a memory of Captain John Smith, who is widely regarded as being something barbarian where Native Indians and -- Native Americans are concerned.

But right next to it, Wolf, this stone commemorates Princess Pocahontas and talked about how she lived her life and then went back to the U.K. or back to England.

So, Wolf, a difficult time for the queen, but all in all, you have got to put it into perspective of this 80-year-old-plus woman. She did well.

BLITZER: I saw the speech. We had it live here earlier in THE SITUATION ROOM. And I thought she was great.

Jack Cafferty, I want you to weigh in as well. How do you think the queen did today?

CAFFERTY: I missed the speech. But I was just curious, Richard, she is aware that you guys lost the war, correct?

QUEST: You know, you can put it into that context, if you want to be -- if you want to always be sucking a lemon, Jack. There is no shortage of miserableness that you can heap upon an event like a state visit.

And I'm glad to see that once again that you have sunk to the level that I would have expected. However, what she said was that the settlers have been an inspiration. And there are many people here, particularly large ladies in big hats who are looking forward to meeting her. Maybe you should.


CAFFERTY: Maybe I should. I'm not sure I would know the protocol, though, Richard.

BLITZER: Jack, give us the "Cafferty File." Then we'll see how much time we have for you and one of your biggest fans to talk.

CAFFERTY: Oh, Richard and I go back a long way to -- we're probably the reason that CNNfn no longer exists. The question for this hour is, what does it say about the U.S. when a national news magazine things that Rosie O'Donnell, Justin Timberlake, and the actor who plays Borat are more influential than President Bush? Their list of the 100 most influential people in the world came out, the president wasn't on it.

Inga writes in from Dana Point, California: "You have your question badly phrased, Jack. What does it say about a national news magazine that says those yo-yos are more influential than the U.S. president. Can they get us out of the mess in Iraq? I know we are not having much success with the president, but Rosie O'Donnell? Give me a break.

Andre in Mississauga, Canada: "Jack, well, that is what happens when the president is in a lame duck year and spent most of his presidency antagonizing everybody but his base."

Stephanie in Pasadena: "Sad, yes. Surprising, no. Our current culture or lack thereof worships the superficial. To consider anything involving substance will require one to actually think. And that is a lot to ask of the many who can only handle instant gratification."

Gary writes: "The absence of President Bush from the list means that the team that put the list together has no idea what influential means. Justin Timberlake? What drivel."

Rigo in Los Angeles: "It makes as much sense as their choosing 'You' as Person of the Year in 2006." Not me, that was the year, remember, they put the mirror on the cover so that when you picked up the magazine, you were the Person of the Year.

Claire in North Tonawanda, New York: "Jack, it isn't what we think of the country, it really points to what the country thinks of President Bush. He certainly doesn't command respect. And to be influential a president must be able to speak. He must be able to think. And he cannot say that God talks to him."

And Doug in Washington: "Dear Jack, it probably says TIME is trying to be provocative in order to draw attention to its worthless list. If you had made the list, then we would really have reason to worry."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to file. We post more of them online along with video clips of the "Cafferty File" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And we've got Richard Quest down in Virginia still. Richard, have you got final thought tonight for Jack Cafferty and our viewers?

QUEST: Well, yes, the queen is most looking forward to, I think, her visit to Kentucky Derby on Saturday. I suspect there will be many viewers, Wolf, who will only be regretting that Jack isn't under the horse's hooves. BLITZER: Oh now, now. Behave yourself, that is not -- that is not the British elan that your country is known for. Did she make any reference at all to the fact that her third in the line to the throne, Prince Harry, is off to Iraq to serve in a combat unit there?

QUEST: No, she didn't. But of course as Prince Harry's grandmother, she attended his passing out ceremony. She will be of course aware of what's happening. And he will serve his grandmother and monarch suitably.

BLITZER: Richard and Jack, stand by. We're going to have a lot more of this coming up tomorrow here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Standby for that.

Let's go the Paula in the meantime in New York -- Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": No one says "Kentucky Derby on Saturday" quite like Richard Quest, do they, Wolf?

BLITZER: No, that's correct.

ZAHN: All right. Coming up at the top of the hour, why are protesters marching through the streets of New York? And why is my HEADLINE PRIME colleague Glenn Beck one of them? And could this march really have any impact at all in a way that rappers might clean up their acts and stop using their foul language?

And when the pros take the court for real, do the black players get whistled more often than the white for fouls? All of that "Out in the Open." Plus, allegations that the NBA referees may indeed have a racial bias. Hope you join us then, Wolf.

BLITZER: We certainly will, Paula. Thank you very much.

Still ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, this is something you're going to want to see. There is a debate in France under way for the leadership. And our Jeanne Moos has a "Moost Unusual" look at politics with a French twist.


BLITZER: French is language of the love. But little love at the French presidential debate. Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Voila, look who's running for president of...


MOOS: ... Segolene Royal versus Nicolas Sarkozy, not we're obsessed with their look or anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sarkozy and Royal are ridiculously good- looking, aren't they? MOOS: America is having its first decision '08 debates. While France just had "le debat 2007." The set was meant to resemble a boxing ring. And at one point Socialist Segolene Royal came out swinging against her right-wing opponent.

SEGOLENE ROYAL, SOCIALIST PARTY CANDIDATE FOR FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): And I'm very angry. No, I'm not going to calm down.

NICOLAS SARKOZY, UMP CANDIDATE FOR FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Don't put your finger at me.

MOOS: The finger-pointing was over schooling for the handicapped.

SARKOZY (through translator): What is quite clear is that you lose your temper extremely easily, madame.

ROYAL (through translator): I'm not losing my cool.

SARKOZY (through translator): I would never have dared speak of you in this way.

ROYAL (through translator): Don't be condescending.

MOOS: America's female presidential candidate hasn't had a chance to get mad during a debate.


MOOS: Right, but in the past Senator Clinton has had the occasional tense debate moments. Take the time her Senate opponent physically tried to get her to sign a campaign financing pledge.

Oh, I'm sorry.

RICK LAZIO (), 2000 SENATE CANDIDATE: Right here. Here it is. Let's sign it.

CLINTON: I admire that. That was a wonderful performance and you did it very well.

LAZIO: I'm not asking you to admire it. I'm asking you to sign it.

CLINTON: Well, we'll shake on it.

:LAZIO: No, no. I want your signature.

MOOS: He didn't get it. Senator Clinton famously favors pantsuits. Her French counterparts favors dresses. Both have been caught by paparazzi in their swimsuits. With the French election this coming Sunday, Royal was trailing Sarkozy, but not by much.

ROYAL (through translator): I won't calm down. SARKOZY (through translator): In order to be president of the Republic...


ROYAL (through translator): ... end this injustice. Some forms of anger are perfectly healthy because they reflect people's suffering.

MOOS: Pity the suffering interpreters when the two-and-a-half- hour marathon debate was over, you could hear congratulatory kisses and the commercials and the interpreters giggled

And during a weed killer commercial, who better to weed out the winner than those who played their parts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think yours did better than mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure, I thought yours did better. I thought he was very technical.

MOOS: Whatever you do, don't call the female candidate "hot."

ROYAL (through translator): I'm not losing my cool. I haven't lost my cool. I'm not losing my cool, I'm disgusted and I'm revolted.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Let's go to Paula in New York.


CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines