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Thwarted Terror Attack in London: The United States's Reaction. the Pentagon Warns the Troops in Iraq Need Better Equipment to Deal with IEDs
Aired June 29, 2007 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST:. And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, breaking news
Two car bombs found in London. Officials urging vigilance after London police prevent what could have been scenes of death. We've got the latest, along with information on how you can stop a terror plot here in the United States. Keep your eyes open -- one piece of advice.
Iraqi insurgents continue to use a deadly weapon against U.S. troops. The defense secretary says that the longer it takes to stop it, "scores of young Americans are going to die."
And legions of waiting iPhone admirers are just minutes away from getting their thumbs on one of those machines.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Be on alert -- tonight, that's the warning from police in London, even from some officials right here in the United States. This after bomb squads in London defused two car bombs packed with fuel, propane and nails. Officials say if they had gone off, they would have caused certain disaster, possibly killing hundreds of people.
Let's go straight to CNN's international security correspondent, Paula Newton.
She's joining us from Scotland Yard -- Paula, update our viewers.
What's the latest?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is that Scotland Yard here, just a little while ago, confirmed what we've been reporting all afternoon, and that is that a second car bomb was found very close, originally, to where the first car bomb was found. It really is a bit of a carbon copy here, Lou, the same thing -- fuel, gas canisters and nails, perhaps tethered to a detonator of a mobile phone. And it's been incredibly unsettling for everyone here in Britain here tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) NEWTON (voice-over): With this light green Mercedes, Britain turned a corner. The new risk dead ahead chillingly uttered in two words -- car bomb.
PETER CLARKE, COUNTER-TERRORISM CHIEF: There was no intelligence whatsoever that we're going to be attacked in this way.
NEWTON: As crude as it was, security sources close to the investigation say the bomb would have worked. Gallons of gasoline packed in the front and back, gas canisters -- the kind used for barbecues -- stuffed inside, the whole thing laced with nails, and, CNN has learned, tethered to a mobile phone.
MICHAEL CLARKE, TERRORISM EXPERT: This was a bit different. This actually looks like the sort of bombs that we had in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was an IED, an improvised explosive device, which was good enough to kill quite a lot of people.
NEWTON (on camera): Investigators will now take this car away to continue to sweep it for any kind of forensic evidence that would give them more clues into this alleged plot.
(voice-over): That evidence will enhance hours of CCTV footage. There is no hiding from cameras on this piece of London real estate.
Still, Britain is now facing credible threats in the air, on the ground and, of course, underground -- all of it borrowing from previous plots.
The Gas Limos Project masterminded by Dhiren Barot. He is serving a life sentence, His plans, though, worryingly similar. In 2004, he was busted for intending to blow up limousines in Britain and the United States.
Then there is the fertilizer bomb plot, also foiled by police in 2004. One of the targets -- a nightclub, evidence showing the bombers thought it was a legitimate target.
Police say they are considering any and all links to other plots.
P. CLARKE: I'm keeping an entirely open mind about that. I have, of course, referred to some facets, some features of what's happened which resonate with previous plots. But I wouldn't, at this stage, try to speculate. I think that would probably will unhelpful. I want to investigate.
NEWTON: With security alerts now cropping up in other locations across the city, investigators are trying to rule out their worst fears -- there will be more.
SANDRA BELL, EXPLOSIVES EXPERT: Now, there was a huge community that we know, a spy (ph) community that actually, you know, will advise on how best to blow up a car. And so, therefore, it's not surprising that you see similarities in various waves.
NEWTON: As this investigation continues, it centers around the car bomb itself. New and sinister spin on the threat here -- one that is very difficult to prevent.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
NEWTON: Wolf, tonight Scotland Yard tells me that they won't be releasing any more information. But first thing tomorrow, they will have more information. In fact, the investigation is ongoing, Wolf. And we can tell you that police sources say they have a lot of DNA and forensic evidence and then, again, crucially, there is all of that CCTV video -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I know they're looking at all of the videotape. London and, in fact, all of England, has thousands, if not millions, of these closed-circuit TV systems around there. And we're showing some of them
to our viewers. Live pictures right now coming in from Piccadilly Circus, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Trafalgar Square.
This is all available out there.
The -- the sense that I'm getting -- and you've done a lot of investigation into this -- is that they have a car, they have all these canisters, they have a lot of DNA or fingerprints or whatever they have. They certainly have an enormous amount of clues, since those car bombs did not go off. Had they gone off, a lot of that evidence would have been destroyed in the process. But they certainly have a wealth of material to work from right now.
NEWTON: Absolutely. And add to that, Wolf, when you think about all the surveillance that they have -- keep in mind they have an idea that a lot of these plots are linked. And because they're linked, they will now gather all of that surveillance from undercover operations that they have ongoing right now and try and correlate it with a lot of the concrete forensic DNA and CCTV evidence they have -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Paula Newton at Scotland Yard.
Paula, stand by.
We're going to get back to you as more information comes in. The fears in London are reigniting fears of terror right here in the United States. The government says it considers the situation in London a localized incident. But it is warning Americans both here and abroad to be vigilant.
Our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, is here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
How is this incident over there -- two car bombs -- now reverberating here?
JEANNE MESERVE, HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you there's a meeting going on at this hour over at the White House involving administration officials involved in security matters, including Fran Townsend, who is, of course, the president's homeland security adviser. They're discussing the very latest on the British investigation. In addition, a bulletin has now gone out from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to state and local law enforcement bringing them up to date, also advising them on certain things they should be looking out for, advising them to be vigilant about possible truck bombs.
BLITZER: But there's been no elevation in the terror alert, as it's called.
MESERVE: No. Officials up and down the federal government tell me that to date, they have found absolutely no link to the United States. There is no specific and credible intelligence indicating any threat here, therefore no hike in the terror alert level. But the investigation is ongoing.
BLITZER: Now, this meeting at the White House with Fran Townsend, the homeland security adviser to the president, officials from all the agencies involved in homeland security, will be meeting and reviewing what they're collecting from the British government. There's close collaboration between the United States and Britain.
MESERVE: There is. And the United States has offered any assistance it might be able to give.
But I will say, U.S. authorities appear to be being very circumspect about this. They do not want to get out in front of the British. It is their investigation. They are very capable when it comes to these kinds of investigations, so very little being said at this point by U.S. officials.
BLITZER: All right, Jeanne, thanks very much.
Jeanne is watching this story and checking with all her sources, as well.
In another important story we're following, an ominous warning. The secretary of defense says if fast action is not taken regarding one problem in Iraq, American troops will die.
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara, Robert Gates is using very strong language about the insurgents' weapon of choice.
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You bet, Wolf.
It's IEDs once again -- a rush to get better equipment to the troops in Iraq to protect them from these roadside bombs.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
STARR (voice-over): The threat from improvised explosive devices -- IEDs -- suddenly is growing.
(VIDEO OF IED ATTACK IN IRAQ)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: IED! IED!
STARR: This attack caught on camera earlier this week. No one died. Insurgent videos show they're tailoring their attacks to military vehicles.
But on Thursday in Baghdad, five U.S. soldiers were killed and seven wounded when insurgents set off a deeply buried IED and then attacked with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.
MAJ. GEN. JOSEPH FIL, U.S. ARMY: It was a very violent attack and we thought it did show a level of sophistication that we had not often seen so far in this campaign.
STARR: IEDs are now being found buried in sewers, irrigation ditches and under roads, often so deep, military detection devices are useless. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is pressing industry to build hundreds of these new armored vehicles as fast as possible and get them shipped to Iraq.
ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Lives are at stake. For every month we delay, scores of young Americans are going to die. And so I think that's the biggest incentive of all.
STARR: But the new vehicles, defined to be the best protection yet from an IED attack, won't end the threat.
GATES: There is no fail-safe. These IEDs, these large IEDs, can destroy an Abrams tank. So there is no sure fire guarantee that anything will be -- provide absolute protection.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
STARR: But, Wolf, make no mistake, the absolute focus now for Bob Gates is to get this new generation of armored vehicles to the front lines in Iraq and at least try to further help protect the troops from this growing sophisticated insurgency tactic -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's hope they can do that and do it quickly, Barbara.
Jack Cafferty is off today.
Up ahead, we're following the breaking news out of London.
What role do everyday citizens play in stopping a terror plot?
We'll take a close look at examples of disaster avoided thanks to citizen action.
And just how vulnerable is the United States to a potential car bomb like these?
I'll ask CNN security analyst Clark Kent Ervin.
And Elizabeth Edwards standing by to join us live. I'll ask her if it was a mistake for her husband, the presidential candidate John Edwards, to call the war on terror "a bumper sticker."
Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Let's get back to our top story, two car bombs found today in London packed with fuel and nails powerful enough to have taken many lives. Officials say you can help stop a terror plot. They're looking at ways the public can, in fact, help.
Let's go to Mary Snow.
She's watching this story for us in New York -- Mary, there are a lot of examples how everyday citizens can take steps to stop terror attacks.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There really are, Wolf.
And, you know, here in New York and cities like Washington, D.C. people are encouraged to speak up if they see something suspicious.
But, some security experts are getting concerned that people may be becoming more complicate because there hasn't been a terrorist attack here in nearly six years.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SNOW (voice-over): Disaster was skirted in London when an ambulance crew noticed a smoking car and alerted explosive experts.
JACQUI SMITH, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: And this latest incident reinforces the need for the public to remain vigilant and to alert -- and alert to the threat that we face at all times.
SNOW: Here in the United States, it was a store clerk who told authorities about a suspicious tape that law enforcement said led them to foil a plot to kill soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I did was pick up the phone and make a call.
SNOW: In 2001, the so-called "shoe bomber" was stopped from blowing up a U.S. airliner after a flight attendant noticed something suspicious.
Security experts say public vigilance is crucial. In New York, for example, people are encouraged if you see something, say something.
But those same experts say it's not just the public side that can make a difference. Surveillance cameras can also play a key role.
CLARKE KENT ERVIN, FORMER DHS INSPECTOR GENERAL: London is the most heavily blanketed city in the world with surveillance cameras. We in the United States have only spotty coverage, at best.
SNOW: An estimated four million cameras are watching over Britain. Those cameras helped in the investigation of the 2005 London subway bombing and are now being used to look for clues in this latest foiled plot.
Compare that to New York City, the country's top terror target, which has less than 300 police surveillance cameras installed. The city's police commissioner is pushing for more.
COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NYPD: Certainly, cameras have been very helpful in investigations in the U.K.
I'm certainly a supporter of cameras.
SNOW: One roadblock in the United States -- civil liberties groups fighting against installation of too many cameras for fear of a complete loss of privacy. But some security experts point to car bombs like the kind found in London as reasons why it's crucial to strike a balance between civil libertarians and law enforcement.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SNOW: Now, police surveillance cameras used here now are usually used to just fight crime. But the NYPD wants to install about 1,000 extra cameras, also, license plate readers. But it's still about 18 months away from finishing the job -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What are authorities, including Ray Kelly, the police commissioner in New York, doing in response to what happened today in London, Mary?
SNOW: One thing, Wolf, is the police department stepped up vehicle checkpoints. This is especially true around tourist areas such as Times Square; also increasing security on the subways. And the police department pointed out that they had already planned to increase security because of the July 4th holiday weekend coming up.
BLITZER: Mary Snow watching the situation in New York.
A former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, Clark Kent Ervin, is also the author of "Open Target: Where America is Vulnerable to Attack."
Clark is a good friend.
He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
So what lessons should we be paying attention to what happened in London today?
Draw some lessons for us here in the United States.
CLARKE KENT ERVIN, FORMER DHS INSPECTOR GENERAL: I think there are at least two, Wolf.
One is that soft targets, I think, are going to become increasingly appealing to terrorists worldwide.
One of the...
BLITZER: Now, describe what you mean by soft targets as opposed to hard targets.
ERVIN: By soft targets, I mean things like nightclubs, like restaurants, like shopping malls, movie theaters, sports complexes. This first car bomb was found very near a popular nightclub. They're called soft targets because they are not protected as much as airports and seaports and nuclear power plants, that everybody knows is a likely to be a target, and that if attacked in the right way, would kill lots of people.
The importance of soft targets is that everybody frequents them at one time or another. I would argue the psychic impact of an attack on a soft target could dwarf 9/11, even if the number of people killed would be smaller, because the psychic impact would be big, suggesting that wherever you are, you're subject to a terror attack.
BLITZER: Because if, God forbid, a movie theater or something like that were attacked, it would discourage a lot of people from going to a movie theater.
ERVIN: Precisely. I mean the point of terrorism is not just to kill people, it's also to terrorize, to scare everybody else.
BLITZER: And, as you know, a lot of places in Europe -- certainly in Israel -- you go into a shopping mall, you go through metal detectors before you get into that mall. You go to a movie theater, you go through metal detectors. That has not happened here. But that would be a huge fear.
ERVIN: No question about it.
I think the second lesson is what Mary was talking about, and that is this plot can be investigated, will be investigated, is being investigated because of surveillance cameras. There's one for every 15 residents of London.
You heard only 300 or so in New York City. Certainly, there needs to be a balance between security and civil liberties. But we've got to have these surveillance cameras because, really, that's the only thing that can be done against something like car bombs.
BLITZER: Because a lot of Americans, as you know, don't like the idea Big Brother is watching. If they had video cameras, these closed-circuit TV cameras on every city block all over the country, a lot of people would be upset about that.
ERVIN: There is no question about that. But we have to do everything we possibly can do to minimize to as close to zero a terror attack. And, really, the only thing you can do about a car bomb is have surveillance cameras as a deterrent and an investigative tool after the fact. BLITZER: Now, you heard Jeanne Meserve report that at the White House right now, Fran Townsend, the president's homeland security adviser, is convening a meeting -- an interagency meeting -- to take the information they have from London and some draw lessons here.
If you were still at the Department of Homeland Security, if you were participating in a meeting of this nature, what would you be looking at?
What would you want to know?
Because the ramifications for us on this part of the Atlantic could be enormous.
ERVIN: Well, one of the things I'd want to know is whether this was conducted by a foreign-born terrorist who somehow got into Britain or whether this is another one of these homegrown plots. I've been very concerned about the threat of homegrown terrorism here in the United States.
BLITZER: Sympathizers to Al Qaeda, but not necessarily formal members, if you will, by Al Qaeda international.
ERVIN: Exactly. It's marginally harder for foreign terrorists to get into the United States today than it was six years ago. It's not as hard as it should be, but it's harder. Therefore, a premium would surely be placed on terrorists who are already here, people who are already American citizens or residents. And we're not doing enough, it seems to me, to root out potential terrorists right here in our own (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: A final question.
Are we safer now than before 9/11?
ERVIN: You know, I think Senator Clinton put it well the other night in the debate when she said we are safer, but we're not yet safe. We're marginally safer, but marginally safe is not safe enough. There's a lot more that we need to do. And soft targets, increasingly, I think, will be, as I say, a terror target. And we haven't done nearly enough in that regard.
BLITZER: Clark Kent Ervin, always good to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ERVIN: Thank you -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Coming up, children's television Hamas-style. Why Palestinian children won't be seeing this Mickey Mouse look-alike after today.
And here in the United States, it's almost the end of the political fundraising quarter. Candidates are making their mad dash for critical campaign cash. We're going to tell you who's up, who's down. Lots more news coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're going to get back to the breaking news out of London momentarily. Two -- two car bombs found today in London in heavily populated areas right in the central part of the city. Lots of fallout. We're going to get back to London momentarily.
But let's check in with Carol Costello.
She's monitoring some other stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
What have you got -- Carol?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a surprising about-face today by the Supreme Court. The justices agreed to hear appeals from two detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Now, the court rejected a similar appeal back in April. This is the first time in decades the court has accepted a rehearing petition after an earlier rejection.
Oral arguments will be held in the fall. A ruling could come by the end of the year.
Firefighters in California making headway against this week's devastating wildfire on Lake Tahoe's south shore. The U.S. Forest Service now says the fire is 70 percent contained. Calmer winds have helped crews get a leg up on the flame. If the weather holds, they hope to fully contain the fire by Tuesday. Since Sunday, the wildfire has scorched 3,100 acres and destroyed 255 homes and other buildings. No one has been seriously hurt.
On Florida's Jupiter Island, fire in a family's guest house on a 12-acre compound owned by golfer Tiger Woods. The fire broke out this morning. Investigators say there is no evidence of anything suspicious about the fire, which actually gutted the house. No one was living in the house and there was no sign of a break-in.
A royal visit today for flood victims in northern England in the midlands. Prince Charles met with people hit by the disaster. The Prince of Wales was met by brilliant sunshine as he arrived at the Catcliff Village (ph) center. Still, the already swamped areas are bracing for more rain.
That's a look at the headlines right now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Horrible raining over there going on.
Thanks, Carol, for that.
Coming up, the latest on that London terror scare. We're going to tell you what officials in London are urging everyone to do and what officials right here in the United States are saying to Americans. Also, Elizabeth Edwards -- she's standing by to join us live. I'll ask her about some of the controversial words from her husband, the presidential candidate, John Edwards, and about her own controversy involving Ann Coulter.
Lots more coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, London police say two vehicles found loaded with crude but deadly explosives are clearly linked. They were found parked half a mile apart, one near Piccadilly Circus, the second near Trafalgar Square. Officials are calling on people to remain vigilant. They're looking to see if other vehicles are also at large.
Sunni members of Iraq's fledgling government have decided to suspend their participation. They're unhappy with the way the Iraqi prime minister has dealt with a Sunni politician wanted in connection with a pair of killings. Dozens of Sunni lawmakers boycotted parliament last Sunday.
And anger still grows over gas rationing in Iran. People vented their anger about the new restrictions in Tehran today. Iran is one of the world's biggest oil producers, but low refining capacity forces it to import more than half the fuel it needs.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
All that coming up.
Also, politics. It's a mad dash for cash on the campaign trail. Tomorrow is the last day of the month and it's also the end of the second quarter of the year. The presidential candidates are trying to raise as much money as possible before the clock runs out.
Our Tom Foreman is watching all of these actions for us -- Tom, what are the candidates saying, the campaigns saying specifically about all the big bucks they want to raise over, what, the next 24 hours plus?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're getting some early estimates from these campaigns. But it's not really clear yet where they're going to wind up. They want to lower expectations, but keep building those war chests for the long race ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would expect this quarter you'll see mayor Giuliani is the largest fundraiser.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Mitt Romney was the big winner in the battle for campaign cash in the first quarter. But the former Massachusetts governor is sounding less optimistic this time around.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Campaigns are trying to lower their own projections at the same time elevating the expectations of their opponents. It's a classic campaign a tactic.
FOREMAN: John McCain finish finished a disappointing third in the money race earlier this year. And the Senator from Arizona is warning that his second quarter numbers may not be much better, saying: "It's always been difficult for me to raise money."
But McCain shot down rumors that he would drop out if his fundraising numbers were low, telling us: "Why in the world would I want to do that? I mean, that's just crazy."
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm so grateful that we would have the opportunity to be here with my husband and my daughter to thank all of you for investing in the future.
FOREMAN: Among Democrats, it's a battle between senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the big bucks. In round one, Obama raked in almost as much cash as Clinton, and that boosted his campaign. The Clinton camp says they'll bring in an eye-popping $27 million this time around. But, the campaign says, they expect Obama to outraise them.
Obama's group isn't showing their cards when it comes to the money, but they do say that more than a quarter of a million people have contributed to the senator from Illinois so far this year.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: That is a huge number. Right now Clinton is leading in most polls but Obama deserves a lot of credit for amassing such a huge donor list.
FOREMAN: And here's a CNN exclusive. We have just learned that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will raise about $7 million this quarter. That tops his first-quarter cash. Meanwhile, John Edwards hopes to rake in about $9 million. That's a lot less than his first- quarter total. But the former North Carolina senator is continuing to fund-raise off his wife Elizabeth's on-air clash earlier this week with conservative commentator Ann Coulter. A lot of people got unhappy about that and they may be willing to pay the Edwards to keep up their campaign just because -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We're going to talk with Elizabeth Edwards in a moment. Thanks very much about that, Tom Foreman.
Let's gets back to our top story as well. Police in London find two vehicles loaded with crude and potentially very deadly explosives. Investigators say it's clear the two car bombs are linked. Coping with the terrorism threat is a major issue in the '08 presidential race. Joining us now from Lexington, Kentucky, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards.
Mrs. Edwards, thanks very much for coming in. ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: It's great to be with you.
BLITZER: You know, your husband caused a stir, as you know, recently when he suggested that the war on terror is really nothing more than a bumper sticker. Given what's happening in London today, two car bombs found, no one hurt, thank God, as a result of that, but what do you make of the criticism he has faced because he seemed to be suggesting that there really isn't much of a war on terror?
E. EDWARDS: I think that it is easy to misconstrue what John said. He believes that there are terrorists out there and that we need a concerted effort and we are -- certainly everyone applauds the work of London police and London law enforcement officials who discovered these bombs and the work that was done, obviously, as a predicate to finding them.
But when we use words like a "war on terror," we create an awfully big frame. And what it has done is whenever somebody objects to torture or objects or objects to spying on American citizens or objects to the ignoring of the Geneva Conventions, they get hit over the head with this language, "but there's a war on terror."
There are terrorists, but when we have this slogan it stops us from behaving the way we ought to and it's used as a weapon against those who would like to complain about some of the methods. And it's not just people on the left who are complaining. People across the country are very unhappy with the things that are being done in our names, even as we applaud the legitimate law enforcement efforts and intelligence efforts that are made to locate terrorists where they are.
BLITZER: But I just want to make it clear, Mrs. Edwards, if he were president of the United States, he would vigorously go out after those terrorists.
E. EDWARDS: Absolutely. He has said that at every turn. And one of the terrorists he'd go after, I have to say, is Osama bin Laden. You know, somehow, we seem to have lost track. When we made this great big frame, we lost track of the fellow that we should have been going after with a laser.
BLITZER: Let's talk about a little bit about this controversy that has erupted in recent days, Ann Coulter and you, the conservative pundit. She was on FOX last night. And she was told that your campaign -- the Edwards campaign, is raising a lot of money as a result of this exchange -- a heated exchange you had with her the other day.
And she responded by saying: "not as much as I have off his attacks on me, and I mean as is evident even today, there are going to be a lot more Americans who like Ann Coulter than hate Ann Coulter, good luck with your fund-raising, John."
I wonder if you want to respond that she sees he as benefiting from this exchange that you had with her. E. EDWARDS: Well, you know, I have to say in the first place, it wasn't heated from my perspective. I hope I was very calm in asking on behalf of myself and mothers across the country who are trying to introduce their children to the political process that we not have a process filled with hate language and vicious personal attacks.
And this is not about the money anybody raises from it. It's about our political dialogue and the tenor of that dialogue. The things that she has said not just about me, she has said about the 9/11 widows, that they're enjoying their husbands' deaths too much? What an outrageous thing to have said.
She talks about Senator Clinton's physical appearance. There is no conceivable reason in legitimate political dialogue for that kind of language to occur. And somebody finally has to say, I'm not happy with this. I want you to stop and I want other people to ask you to stop too, to vote instead, to express their outrage in whatever way they find appropriate so that maybe we can put an end to this like we did to racist language as a part of civil dialogue in the South.
It no longer is because decent people objected.
BLITZER: But what about the criticism that you face that you're using this exchange as a fund-raising tool for your husband?
E. EDWARDS: Well, you know, I didn't put Ann Coulter on the air on MSNBC at the end of the quarter. We were going to be doing fund- raising at the end of this quarter no matter what, as your piece pointed out earlier. All campaigns are doing that. We would have had a push at the end of this quarter no matter what.
What she did was provide yet another opportunity for us to point out that we have a choice between the theater of politics, which distracts us from the real issues, and actual substance. I'm really proud of Kohn's policies.
He -- you know, I think that by any measure he has the most detailed plans with respect to health care, the eradication of poverty, global warming, the war in Iraq. And if you want to express your support for a campaign of ideas rather than a campaign of imagery or attack, we use that as a way of emphasizing what John and his campaign represents.
Honestly, we would have been making the same case to potential donors. We just now had a way of comparing it to exactly what it is we need to rid ourselves of and where we need to go.
BLITZER: How is he going to do in the second-quarter fund- raising?
E. EDWARDS: You know, I wish I -- you know, I do fund-raising events myself. And when I leave the events, I don't know how much that event raised. And I'm not being coy with you. I actually have no idea.
You know, we've tried to set a conservative budget because people -- we're asking people to contribute who -- a lot of whom are affected by these policies but don't have great means. I'm about to do a small-change fund-raiser here in Kentucky, and so we try to set a conservative, frugal budget.
Now I'm very hopeful that we meet that budget so that John can get his message out. Above that, you know, anything is gravy, but we really want to make certain we have enough to get the message out to the American people.
BLITZER: Was he really surprised though when you announced that you favor gay marriage and that your daughter does? How could he have been surprised? I know how close the two of you are.
E. EDWARDS: No, he was surprised that I had said it. You know, I'd actually said it before in previous interviews. Nobody paid much attention because honestly it's his opinions, not mine, that should matter in this election. People are not voting for me. They're voting for John. And primarily -- John is a messenger but primarily for his message.
And so, I think he was surprised that he read it -- when he read it in the papers. But it's not something that came as a surprise to him, my position about it. We don't -- but we don't sit around and talk about gay marriage at home.
Honestly, I don't think very many American couples do because it doesn't honestly affect our lives. It certainly doesn't threaten our marriage.
BLITZER: How are you feeling, Mrs. Edwards?
BLITZER: I feel great. I feel a lot of energy. It's great to go into a crowd of enthusiastic people who are interested in hearing about John's policies and plans. And buoys me, every place I go, feeling that energy.
The traveling stinks, I have to say, but -- in between, but the events energize me. And then after this, I actually have a few days off.
BLITZER: Well, good for you, Elizabeth Edwards, campaigning today in Lexington, Kentucky, for her husband. Thanks for coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM.
E. EDWARDS: It's always great to spend time with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you very much. The next presidential debate will be here on CNN, July 23rd. We're teaming up with YouTube. It will be the first debate where all of you can submit your questions to the candidates online July 23rd here on CNN.
Up ahead, a Mickey Mouse look-alike that preaches hatred in the Middle East, has the Hamas mouse made its last appearance? We'll update you on this story.
Also, what kind of a person recruits a 6-year-old child to put an explosive vest on and then commit suicide and murder? Carol Costello is next with some insight. Stick around, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We've been following this story of a foiled terrorist plot in London all day long. Two, repeat, two car bombs have been discovered, neither, fortunately, in went off.
Terrorism has no age limit, though. CNN's Carol Costello once again joining us with another part of this story that is really, really worrisome -- Carol.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It is worrisome, Wolf. It's not connected exactly to London, but it does speak to terrorism. A woman named Brooke Goldstein is on a mission. As a young law student, she traveled to the West Bank to make a documentary about child abuse, not the kind we think about here, but the kind that turns children into killers.
COSTELLO (voice-over): It's a small film but powerful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They showed me how to use the belt. They showed me out and said there were soldiers in a location and that I should jump among them.
COSTELLO: "The Making of a Martyr" is the story of children transformed into killers. Hussam (ph), just 15, was offered paradise, rides on a Ferris wheel, and 20 bucks. In the end he couldn't do it. Arrested by Israeli soldiers, he is now doing time.
Brooke Goldstein, who produced "Martyr," talked with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why did you disconnect the battery?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was concerned about my life. My sisters, my mother, my father, my house. Why should I die if there's peace tomorrow?
COSTELLO: Goldstein says she's on a crusade to bring attention to a growing problem. Just a few days ago, a 6-year-old boy in Afghanistan turned himself in to Afghan soldiers. He'd been lured by the Taliban for a suicide bombing he managed to foil.
BROOKE GOLDSTEIN, FILMMAKER: These children are not criminals. They don't deserve to be punished. They are victims of the most abhorrent human rights abuse, which is the intentional murder of innocent children.
COSTELLO: Hussam is serving an eight-year prison term. Goldstein describes him as physically handicapped and unpopular in school. Children like him are easily manipulated by terrorist recruiters who expose them to cartoons depicting violence and pictures depicting armed children as heroes.
Goldstein says she talked with terrorist leaders about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We refuse child martyrs, first, second, third, even the fourth and fifth time until the child reaches a point where he will use a knife, no one gives him a bomb belt.
COSTELLO: Goldstein initially interviewed Hussam four years ago when he regretted listening to those terrorists. But after a year in prison with hardened militants, Hussam explains what is he did differently today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): By the way, when I went on that day, I wasn't scared. My heart was not beating hard. When they drove me to the checkpoint in the car, I was giggling and jumping with joy. I couldn't stay still.
COSTELLO: Did you see the change in his body language? You know, that's the thing. The longer these kids stay in prison, the more hardened they become. Goldstein thinks Hussam will likely become a successful suicide bomber once he is able to leave prison -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So is there any solution to this, Carol?
COSTELLO: What a tough question, Wolf. But Goldstein says international outrage is certainly a start. And she says attorneys should band together to prosecute states that allow terror propaganda aimed at children. But most importantly, she says, families within these communities need to step up and loudly say this is wrong.
BLITZER: Carol, thank you very much. Several weeks ago, we told you about the character Farfour on a Hamas television children's show. The Mickey Mouse look-alike got global attention and condemnation for teaching violence and Islamic domination.
The final episode featuring Farfour aired today. In this story, he was beaten to death by an actor portraying an Israeli trying to buy his land. The teen presenter on the show called Farfour a martyr. Let's go to Lou Dobbs. He's standing by to tell us what's coming up at the top of the hour on his show.
It's pretty shocking, Lou, when you think about it. These little characters on this -- a Mickey Mouse-like character being beaten by an Israeli -- what is that going to suggest to a young generation of Palestinians?
LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": You know, the truth of the matter, we've seen 60 years of bloodshed and violence in that region, and cartoon characters, or whether suicide bombers of any age, it just seems to me that these are, if you will, tangential elements of what we should focus on, and that is what this nation, Europe and others, could do, and all of those Arab states, of course, in Israel, to reach some kind of reconciliation. It does not seem right that it would defy 60 years of the best minds in the Western world or the Middle East unless there is another agenda.
But perhaps that's for another time. At 6:00 p.m. Eastern here, Wolf, we'll be reporting on the continuing political shockwaves from the senate's votes against amnesty and its vote in favor of the rights of the American people. That vote appears, however, unlikely to improve the low standing of Congress or this president. We'll have complete coverage.
Also new demands for the federal government to enforce the immigration laws already on the books. Will the Bush administration begin to enforce the law and live up to its constitutional responsibilities, or will it once again ignore those responsibilities and the good of the American people? We'll have that story.
And the Congress standing up for working men and women, refusing to give the president a blank check to pursue his so-called free trade agenda. We'll also have that report tonight.
And three of the country's best and brightest political minds join me to discuss what has been a fascinating but terrible week for President Bush. Not so hot for the Democratic leadership of Congress either. All of that and much more at the top of the hour, please join us. Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: All right, Lou. Thanks very much. Up ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the lines growing longer as the wait gets shorter, iPhone admirers only minutes away from getting their wish.
And a day after President Bush said, "the good lord will one day take away Fidel Castro," Castro responds. Find out what he said. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're only minutes away from the event a lot of techies have been waiting for for a long time. Here in the Eastern time zone, the iPhone finally about to go on sale. Maggie Lake is in New York.
Maggie, I guess there's a lot of excited people behind you.
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of excited and tired people, Wolf. That's right. We're in the final countdown. Some of these people have been on line for days, but the spirits are pickling up. As you can see, the line is about five deep. There are crowds everywhere here. People have started singing. They have started clapping and cheering.
The doors are going to open up in a few minutes and they're going to get treated to a red carpet walk down the aisle. Let's hope they have some energy to open up those wallets, though. This iPhone doesn't come cheap, $500 to $600 for the device, and that is not counting the monthly service.
But these people say it's worth the money and the wait -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And there are a lot of lines not only where you are, but check it out, in Philadelphia, Chicago, in Cambridge, all over the country. People are waiting for this iPhone. Maggie, thank you very much. Let's bring in our Internet reporter Jackie Schechner. She's also watching this story unfold.
Jackie, what are you seeing?
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, Wolf, we're seeing what's happening online. It's just probably going to be a lot of relief in about 6:38 and counting. We want to show you the frenzy has been building online as well. We've also got people online who are sending us their I-Reports.
Michael La Calameto is at the Kenwood Mall in Cincinnati, Ohio. He sent us this report, said he was 10th in line, which by our estimation puts him about there. He's the one taking the photo. And then he sent us this photo today at 2:00, the Apple stores are all shutting down at 2:00 for a four-hour preparation. They open up again in about six minutes or so. So this is what it looks like now or when it opens up again.
Also online, you are a lot of people who are offering to wait in line. We saw a lot of this building over the last few days. And also online you're seeing people offer up what they've gotten from waiting on line. Their iPhones. They're going to wait and then they're going to sell them off.
We've seen people trying to give them away for about $1,500. But of course, Wolf, after all of this anticipation, Apple sending out these notices today saying, say hello finally to the iPhone -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Lots of excitement out there. Thanks, Jacki, for that. Here's a little history. The telephone has gone through quite an evolution since its inception. The count-operated pay phone was introduced in Connecticut back in 1889. The first rotary dial telephone was developed in 1891 but not widely available until after the turn of the century. The first touchtone system, get this, was installed in Baltimore back in 1941 but was not commercially available for another 20 years. The cell phone was invented in 1973, but it took decades before it was widely used by the general public. Now we can't live without it.
Up next, President Bush says the good lord will one day take Fidel Castro away. Castro says he has got some help staying alive. You might not believe who Castro is now crediting.
And in our 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour, some experts believe it's only a matter of time before enemies of the U.S. try to use car bombs right here. We're going to take a closer look at how the government is training for that worst-case scenario. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Carol Costello is monitoring stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
Carol, what do you have?
COSTELLO: Well, let's start with Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Wolf. He says, thanks to President Bush, he now knows how he escaped so many assassination attempts. Yesterday President Bush spoke of the 80-year-old communist leader's eventual demise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One day, the good lord will take Fidel Castro away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSTELLO: Yes, he was listening. In a short essay distributed to international media, Castro quipped about escaping death, saying sarcastically: "The good lord protected me."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says visits to the hospital and doctors have surged 20 percent over five years. The CDC report estimates that more than a billion visits were made to hospitals, emergency rooms and physicians' offices in 2005 alone. It says too that the most prescribed medications were antidepressants.
All right. Was she wearing diaper or wasn't she? We're talking about Lisa Nowak, the former astronaut police say wore a diaper on a cross-country drive to confront a romantic rival. Nowak's attorney now says the police got it wrong. She was not wearing one, they were merely told toddler's diapers that were in the car with her. Even so, Nowak is still charged with attempted kidnapping and assault and battery. There you have it, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We have got that. Thanks very much. See you back here in an hour, Carol Costello. She is with us every weekday in THE SITUATION ROOM, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern. We are back for another hour in one hour. Until then, thanks very much for watching, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now -- Lou.
DOBBS: Wolf, thank you.
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