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THE SITUATION ROOM
Does the Pentagon Have a Plan B in Mind? George McGovern says He's Not Sure if an Anti-War Democrat Can Win in 2008. Senator Vitter's Telephone Number was Found in Deborah Jeane Palfrey's Little Black Book. Prince William County, Virginia is Trying to Get a Law Passed to Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants. China Approves the Death Sentence Against it's Food Chief, Accused of Taking Bribes and Dereliction of Duty. Interview with Filmmaker Michael Moore
Aired July 10, 2007 - 1900 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.
Happening now, turning up the heat on the president -- lawmakers from both parties calling for a pullout from Iraq. The president says the new strategy just got started. But does the Pentagon already have a plan B in mind?
A day after his passionate appearance right here on THE SITUATION ROOM, we have more of Michael Moore coming up. The director of "Sicko" is back, defending his criticism of America's health care system.
And a staunchly conservative senator says he committed what he's now calling a serious sin now that his phone number is linked to the woman known as the D.C. Madam.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Tonight, many lawmakers lining up to show just whose side they're on. Some are standing against the president saying now is the time to change course in Iraq. While others are standing with Mr. Bush, saying his troop increase plan should be given more time. That's what the president said himself today telling members of Congress they ought to wait to see what happens and appealing to Americans for patience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wouldn't ask a mother or a dad, I wouldn't put their son in harm's way if I didn't believe this was necessary for the security of the United States and peace of the world. And I strongly believe it. And I strongly believe we will prevail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: But some Democrats say the Bush administration has had more than enough time to prevail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: We continue to send our kids in a middle of a meat grinder, based on a policy that is fundamentally flawed. I don't think there's a dozen Republicans on that side of the aisle who agree with the president's strategy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're watching all of this drama unfold from several angles. Dana Bash is watching this up on Capitol Hill. But let's go to Suzanne Malveaux at the White House first.
The president, clearly, Suzanne, sticking by his guns today at that town meeting where he simply refused to back off and he still speaks about victory in Iraq.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well that's right, Wolf. I mean he's essentially saying that this is just a snapshot of the progress, that he's going to wait until General Petraeus, David Petraeus, his top commander in Iraq, gives him a better sense of the kind of progress that's being made. But, Wolf, I have to tell you, already speaking with several sources who are familiar with this Iraq progress report that is expected to be delivered to Congress on Thursday, we are get some ideas about, general ideas, about what is in that report -- several sources saying that it's going to be about 50/50 or so.
Some of those benchmarks met, others not. That it's going to be in measurements of satisfactory versus unsatisfactory. You're going to hear things about the oil revenue sharing, deals that have not come through, but you will hear about the sectarian violence in Baghdad that has increased, the move in Anbar province to work with some of those people inside of Iraq to go against al Qaeda.
These are just some of the things that will be coming out in that report. I already spoke with a senior administration official who responded to some of those comments. He said that this is just a snapshot. This is an early progress report. This is the benefits that we get from the surge.
And he emphasized that Congress mandated two things. A report now and a report in September. And that this is really just the beginning -- Wolf.
BLITZER: People will be reading that report Thursday very, very closely. Suzanne thanks very much.
Let's go up to Capitol Hill right now. Our congressional correspondent Dana Bash is standing by. Some major Republican defections in recent days from the president's strategy, Dana. But he's also getting some support from his fellow Republicans. What's going on?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Republican supporters do still exist. They're harder to find but they do exist. Essentially today what they tried to do is prove and show that they exist. There was a concerted effort to go to the Senate floor and try to have their voices heard. Break through the growing chorus of opposition that we've heard lately to the president's Iraq strategy.
Not only that, Wolf, some of those Republican senators, the supporters of the president's policy, like Senator Jon Kyl, Senator Lindsey Graham, they summoned some of the top advisers to the president here to Capitol Hill to talk to them, like the national security adviser Stephen Hadley and Lieutenant General Douglas Lute. And what we're told by one of those senators, Lindsey Graham, is that what they essentially wanted to hear from the president's team is that they still have the resolve to continue on to give General David Petraeus the chance to let this strategy continue, despite the opposition that they are hearing from their colleagues here.
That really tells you something in terms of how the political dynamic has changed, that Republicans senators felt the need to make sure that the White House was still onboard with this strategy.
BLITZER: Dana, one independent senator, Joe Lieberman, saying here in THE SITUATION ROOM earlier, the insurgents are on the run and the U.S. is winning right now. Dana, we'll watch this with you. Thanks very much.
While the president is not ready to pull the plug on his Iraq strategy, is the Pentagon already working on a plan B? Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Officially, none of this is happening. Officially, the Pentagon and the military is sticking with the current strategy.
STARR (voice-over): CNN has learned that some Pentagon planners are quietly considering a revised Iraq military strategy if the so- called surge doesn't result in significant progress by September. And given the violence it's unlikely that quick progress will happen.
The leading ideas are part of the Iraq Study Group's analysis. Get the troops out of deadly day-to-day combat, and instead, have them focus on fighting al Qaeda terrorists, training Iraqi security forces and securing Iraq's borders with Iran and Syria. The Pentagon knows this potential plan B is one of the best chances for bipartisan congressional support.
JON ALTERMAN, CTR. FOR STRATEGIC & INT'L STUDIES: We'll have some garrisoning around Baghdad. We'll have some border patrol responsibility. We'll have the training responsibility. And then we'll have an attack capability for insurgent groups.
STARR: But experts say telling the troops to just go after al Qaeda could be a security nightmare.
JIM CARAFANO, SR. FELLOW, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: If it's a domestic bomb factory, you're going to leave it alone. I mean you know you can't really tell these things. You're going to go after bad guys who are trying to kill innocent people, so trying to say we'll parch this and we'll only go after the bad guys that we you know that we care about, that's almost impossible to do.
STARR: Some military planners are already crunching the plan B numbers. How many troops would it take? Where would they be positioned and could the U.S. give up some of its bases in Iraq?
STARR: Officially, none of this is happening. Officially, the Pentagon is sticking with its current strategy. Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates is keeping his distance from Capitol Hill. Aides say that the secretary doesn't want his public presence to stoke the political fires any further -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Barbara. Thank you.
Let's check in with Jack Cafferty, he's watching all of this unfold in New York -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Haven't we supposedly been training Iraqi security and military for the last four years...
BLITZER: That's correct.
CAFFERTY: But now this is suddenly part of plan B...
BLITZER: They're going to increase the training.
CAFFERTY: Oh. Here's a quote "I'm not sure that an anti-war Democrat can win. We haven't proved that yet" so says George McGovern, remember him? He's talking about next year's presidential election. Keep in mind, McGovern is a guy who knows a few things about losing presidential elections. McGovern was trounced by Richard Nixon in 1972.
McGovern tells the Politico -- quote now -- "Some people point to the fact that the war in Vietnam was dreadfully unpopular but that when I came out for an immediate withdrawal, it helped me win the nomination but not the general election. And there may be some truth about that" -- unquote.
Some experts think what happened to McGovern might happen again next year. While the Democratic contenders try to get the votes of anti-war Democrats for the primaries it could leave them open to charges of weakness come the general election. The Politico points out that's why some of the top Democratic candidates are trying to run as both hawk and dove simultaneously, like Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who speak out against the war in Iraq while calling for more troops to go after terrorists in Afghanistan.
Then again, maybe this time will be different. The public is pretty fed up with the war in Iraq. Polls show many trust the Democrats as much or more as they do Republicans to keep the country safe. So here's the question this hour.
George McGovern says he's not sure an anti-war Democrat can win in '08, is he right? E-mail CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile.
A little blast from the past there, Wolf, George McGovern.
BLITZER: You and I certainly remember that campaign in '72.
CAFFERTY: Oh, yes.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Jack, for that.
Coming up -- Michael Moore. He's hitting back at the U.S. health care system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People hate their HMOs. They hate this lousy system. Doctors hate it. Doctors are demoralized. And it has to be fixed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The "Sicko" director is back here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Part two of our interview. You're going to want to see what he has to say.
Also, the senator, the escort service, and "Hustler" magazine, find out their connection and why one of them is apologizing now for sin.
And Sprint drops complaining callers. Hear why it's pulling the plug on some customers for speaking up about some bad service.
Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: He often talks family values and high morals, but Republican Senator David Vitter says he committed a serious sin. Now that his phone number has been linked to a woman accused of running a prostitution ring. And in a strange twist "Hustler" magazine is said to be involved.
CNN's Brianna Keilar is following the story -- Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the man who is helping Deborah Palfrey write a book says he's the one who discovered Senator Vitter's phone number in Palfrey's little black book.
KEILAR (voice-over): Busted, Republican Senator David Vitter. Dan Moldea (ph), the independent investigative journalist helping Deborah Jeane Palfrey write a book says he informed publisher Larry Flynt that Vitter was a client of Palfrey's company. He says an editor from Flynt's "Hustler" magazine contacted Vitter's office Monday night.
According to Moldea (ph), that was shortly before the junior senator from Louisiana came clean. In a statement, Vitter apologized and said several years ago I asked for and received forgiveness from God and from my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there, with God and them.
Vitter, a staunch conservative, first came to Washington in 1999, as a member of the House of Representatives. In 2004 the father of four won a seat in the Senate, becoming the first Republican senator from Louisiana since reconstruction. Palfrey is facing federal racketeering and money laundering charges, but told CNN she released the information of her clients to battle hypocrisy.
VOICE OF DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY, ALLEGED D.C. MADAM: The who's who list here is separate from my criminal and my civil cases. I did this really as a patriotic gesture and none other.
KEILAR: Vitter says his quote, "sin", happened before he ran for the Senate in 2004. About four years before that, Vitter's wife, Wendy, told the Newhouse News Service that unlike wives of politician who have looked past their husband's transgressions she would be a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt (ph) than Hillary Clinton. But even if Vitter's wife has forgiven him, now the question is will voters.
LYNN SWEET, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": The biggest thing that the senator has going for him right now is time. And where he's lucky is that he's not up for re-election in '08.
KEILAR: CNN has tried to contact Senator Vitter's office, but so far, his staff has not returned our calls -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Brianna, thank you for that.
Carol Costello is off today. Betty Nguyen is monitoring stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Betty is joining us with the latest -- hi, Betty.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, Wolf. We may be able to get some answers in the case of a mysterious bank robbery in Erie, Pennsylvania four years ago. Here is what it involved. A man who claimed gunmen locked a bomb around his neck and forced him to commit the robbery, well he died when that bomb exploded and it's never been clear if he was an innocent victim or in on the plot. Now sources tell CNN that indictments will be handed down tomorrow.
And just hours ago a Los Angeles judge sentenced a convicted serial killer to death. In April, a jury found Chester Turner (ph) guilty of murdering 10 women between 1987 and 1998. Prosecutors say he preyed on prostitutes and poor women with drug problems. He's already serving an eight-year sentence for a rape that occurred in 2002. Look at this. A small plane crashed into two homes in a suburban neighborhood near Orlando today, exploding into flames and killing the pilot, passenger, and at least three people on the ground. At least two of those killed are small children. Four people were also injured. The pilot of the plane was the husband of a top NASCAR executive. And the passenger worked for NASCAR aviation -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Betty, thank you for that.
Coming up, Michael Moore, not holding back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And let me tell you, I didn't have to go very far to show just how bad the system is here. I think just about any one of your viewers can tell you a story that they've had with the health care system or a story that a family member or a neighborhood has had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Part two of my interview with the controversy film director. You're going to want to hear what he had to say after yesterday's show. Also, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be joining us.
And killer corruption, China executes its former food and drug chief. What's going on in Beijing right now?
Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: As the debate over immigration continues here in Washington, just a few miles away, a large community may soon enact some very tough measures aimed at illegal immigrants.
Our Brian Todd is joining us from Woodbridge, Virginia. It's not far from the nation's capital. Right now, Brian, significant development tonight, what's going on?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this started when a county board supervisor got what he says were endless calls from constituents complaining that illegal immigrants were making crime skyrocket, were crashing neighborhoods, were draining resources. Well just a short time ago that legislator led a unanimous vote, a first key legislative hurdle to what may eventually become a very controversial law targeting illegal immigrants.
TODD (voice-over): Hundreds of protesters converge on a government building in Prince William County, Virginia, channeling their wrath toward one man. The crowd mostly Hispanic accuses county supervisor John Stirrup of racism, harassment.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
TODD: Stirrup is trying to pass a new law, which would turn police into defecto (ph) immigration agents.
JOHN STIRRUP, PRINCE WILLIAM CO. VA SUPERVISOR: When they encounter an individual involved in a violation of a crime or ordinance to ask that question, among other questions that they ask during a typical preliminary interrogation, ask that question of their immigration status.
TODD: That may apply even to routine traffic stops. Then the police would send that information to federal agencies with the idea of getting that person deported. But Stirrup is not stopping there. He eventually wants people applying to send their kids to local schools to be asked the same questions about their immigration status, as well as people using fire and rescue and other emergency services.
Under federal law, the county cannot deny anyone these services, but Stirrup wants to use those services to flag any illegal immigrants. These protesters and other immigrant advocates say this is nothing short of profiling.
RICARDO JUAREZ, MEXICANOS SIN FRONTERAS: Why do they ask that to us, to the brown people, to the Latino people, so I don't know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this law, the white officials or the white workers in the county will request the same questions to a white person?
TODD: The county police are also against the proposal. They say it will add too much to the officers' workload and turn the immigrant community against them.
TODD: Still, this proposal now has legislative momentum. The staffs of these supervisors will now hammer out the details. They'll hold public hearings and town hall meetings, then it will eventually come back to a full vote of the county board supervisors, but Wolf, they have signaled tonight they're intent, unanimously to pass this into law eventually.
BLITZER: So what's the other side going to do, the immigrant advocates, now that this first hurdle has been overcome?
TODD: Well, the leader of this one group who was here today told me that they are weighing every legal option. They're speaking with their attorneys. Now they're going to try to possibly sue the county, do anything that they can legally to stop this. It may be very difficult for them, but they're going to give it every shot they can, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much -- Brian Todd reporting.
Meanwhile, as complaints mount about poisons found in its food and pharmaceutical products, China has now launched a crackdown by -- get this -- executing a top official.
CNN's John Vause is in Beijing -- John.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's the first time in seven years that such a high-ranking official here has actually been put to death, and aside perhaps that China is at last trying to clean up its act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VAUSE (voice-over): Zheng Xiaoyu is the latest victim of China's appalling food and drug standards, only his death was ordered, planned and carried out by the government. Last month, the former head of China's Food and Drug Administration was found guilty of accepting almost a million dollars in bribes for approving substandard and deadly medication. Execution too for Cao Wenzhuang (ph), he worked for the same department and last week was also found guilty of taking bribes.
YAN JIANGYING, STATE FOOD AND DRUG ADMIN.: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
VAUSE: A few corrupt officials have brought shame to our whole administration, this spokeswoman says. Their scandals have revealed some very serious problems.
At the same time, a rare admission from officials that this country's food and drug safety procedures are inadequate after one government report found 20 percent of all goods which were tested failed to pass inspection. Many food products, for example, carried high levels of bacteria or additives.
RUSS MOSES, POLITICAL ANALYST: There's a clear signal that's being sent to people who are paying attention here in China that the government is trying to take care of problems that affect everyday people.
VAUSE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) execution has been put on hold for two years, which means his sentence will most likely be commuted to life in prison. Even so, the death penalty in both cases is seen as unusually harsh, even by Chinese standards, but critics argue both men could end up being very public scapegoats for a system riddled with corruption and next to impossible to fix -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. John, thanks very much -- John Vause reporting from Beijing.
Up ahead -- the filmmaker Michael Moore, why he highlights the foreign health care in his new film "Sicko."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't usually see those stories in our American media about what they're doing right and so I thought, wouldn't this be a good idea for me to be the balanced one, to provide the balance that the American people haven't received through their media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Part two of my interview with Michael Moore. If you saw part one yesterday, you're going to want to see part two tonight.
Also -- consumer groups outraged after a major cell phone company simply cuts off customers because they made too many phone calls asking for help.
Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, Mexican officials are increasing security after what they say were a series of explosive attacks on pipelines belonging to the state-owned gas company. A leftist rebel group is claiming responsibility in an Internet posting and demanding the release of two men it calls political prisoners.
Also, new terror threats again in Britain over an honor for controversial author Salman Rushdie (ph). An audiotape on the Internet reported to be from al Qaeda's second in command. Ayman al- Zawahiri says Britain will face, quote, "a very precise response for knighting Rushdie (ph) last month."
And a major shakeup in Republican Senator John McCain's presidential campaign, leaving two stop strategists forced out, according to sources. Two others resign. McCain was asked if it's a sign of his campaign being in trouble. He says, quote, "I think we're doing fine."
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The filmmaker, Michael Moore lashing out at the news media in general, CNN, in particular, in a passionate, and sometimes, heated interview right here in THE SITUATION ROOM yesterday. We talked about his new film "Sicko," taking a critical look at U.S. health care and getting some criticism in turn.
Moore was clearly fired up and had lots more to say, so we kept the cameras rolling. Here's part two of my interview.
BLITZER: And joining us now, Michael Moore, the documentary entitled "Sicko." Michael, thanks for sticking around. We had part one of the interview yesterday. This is part two. Let's go through some of the criticisms of the film "Sicko" because I want to give you a chance to respond to the criticism.
MICHAEL MOORE, DIRECTOR, "SICKO": Yes, sure.
BLITZER: Here is... MOORE: Wolf, can we all -- can we just out though, first, that even though this is today and we are saying it is part two, we actually taped this yesterday. Because I don't want people to think I slept in these clothes, and you know, didn't change for you there.
BLITZER: No, OK then, fair enough. We taped it after the first part. And we are going to run this interview as is. We are not going to edit it. We are not going to cut it up or anything like that.
MOORE: OK, good.
BLITZER: All right. So let's talk about, one of the criticisms, and you have heard it, is that you have taken the best of the Canadian system, the best of the British system, the French system, best of the Cuban system and highlighted that in the film, and you have really taken the worst of the American system and highlighted that.
Is that a fair criticism?
MOORE: Well, first of all, when you are trying to find a better system, you would actually look for the best things in those other systems. So that is what I went and did. Because all we have heard for how many years -- you know, all the bad things about the Canadian system, all the bad things about the British system.
I mean, really, I think if you went through your own archives here at CNN, I would thrilled to see if the piece in the past that said, look how great the Canadian system is here, or look at the French system and how they take care of their people, not just with health care, but free college, low-cost daycare, et cetera, et cetera.
So we don't usually see those stories on our American media about what they are doing right. And so I thought, wouldn't this be a good idea for me to be the balanced one, to provide the balance that the American people haven't received through their media.
And so in this film, you get to see Canada the way it has never been shown, and France, and Britain. And you learn how they are doing so many things that are right. Yes, are there problems with their systems? Absolutely. There are flaws in any system that is run by human beings.
But we know what those are. We have heard a lot about them. I want to know what is good about them, because we need to fix our system here. And let me tell you, I didn't have to go very far to show just how bad the system is here.
I think just about any one of your viewers can tell you a story that they have had with the health care system, or a story that a family member or a neighbor has had. I mean, this is so predominant throughout the country.
People hate their HMOs, they hate this lousy system. Doctors hate it. Doctors are demoralized. And it has to be fixed.
BLITZER: And one of the most powerful parts of the film, right at the beginning of the film, when you make the point, this is not a film about those 40 million or 50 million Americans who don't have health insurance, this is a film about the $250 million who do have health insurance.
Another powerful part was when you took those 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba. And they got some treatment there. It was a very emotional ending to the film. What is the latest on the U.S. government's complaints, if there are serious complaints, that you broke the law about A, going to Cuba, and B, that those three rescue workers may have violated the law by going with you to Havana?
MOORE: Well, first of all, the law says that you can go to Cuba for journalistic endeavors. That is what this is. It is a non-fiction film. It is a work of journalism. So whatever trouble the Bush administration is trying to cause is -- they are just using their federal agency for political purposes, that is not unusual for them.
I accept that that is how they behave. And we will deal with them. And I'm not worried about it. For them to think about going after the 9/11 rescue workers who received treatment down there, I just can't imagine that they would do something as crass and disgusting as that.
So let's hope that that doesn't happen, because they were able to get care down there from the Cuban doctors that they weren't able to get here in our own country. And of course, the reason we went there wasn't to go to Cuba, it was -- if you have seen the movie, it was to go to Guantanamo Bay, which is American soil there on the Cuban island.
We went there because we found out that people -- al Qaeda detainees, or those who are accused of being al Qaeda there, in Gitmo, get better care than the 9/11 responders who ran down there to save lives. It just made no sense to me. So I just wanted to take the rescue workers down to Gitmo to get the same care we were giving al Qaeda.
BLITZER: That was a powerful part of the film. The Iranian news agency is reporting you are going to go to Iran and show the film there. I wonder if that is prudent (ph)?
MOORE: Really? I couldn't tell.
BLITZER: That is what they are saying.
MOORE: Really? Are they saying that? Or is that FOX News?
BLITZER: That is what apparently they are saying. I have no idea if that is true or not.
MOORE: No, no, no, I'm not going to Iran.
MOORE: Ooooh! Scary, is that our next boogieman?
MOORE: Hey, let's the war drums going. And no one is going to fall for it anymore, are they? I don't think so.
BLITZER: Are you satisfied, are you happy with the response you have gotten from this film?
MOORE: Absolutely. Oh man, I will tell you, it has been incredible. And the letters I'm receiving from people, there are so many stories. God, I would love to share some of them with you. I would love to see you guys do some of the stories on the things I'm hearing and seeing of what people are having to go through with our health care system.
Would you be willing to do that, if I shared some of this with you?
BLITZER: Yes. We would very happy to...
MOORE: I mean, I can't...
BLITZER: We would love to follow up -- this is a critical issue. I have seen the film and I have covered this story for a long time. I was the White House correspondent during the Clinton administration when Hillary Clinton tried to get something going. And I remember what she did and I remember the aftermath, very, very personally because I was right there watching all of it unfold.
And I know what has been tried and failed over these many years. This is a serious problem that we face in the country. And I think everyone agrees. The only question is, how do you fix it? You have some ideas. Mayor Giuliani has some different ideas, as we pointed out in part one of this interview.
Let me just wrap it up with Iraq right now, because you have leveled some serious charges, and "Fahrenheit 9/11" was a powerful film as well. What do you see happening right now? Because the country clearly has turned dramatically against this war and they would like U.S. forces out as quickly as possible.
MOORE: Well, that is what has to happen. We have to bring our troops home. No mother, no father tonight should have to get a knock on the door saying that their son or daughter died for what? I just -- I can't imagine that happening to myself and I don't want that to happen to any parent in this country.
And frankly, I would like to see, you know, a few of our elected representatives, especially the Democrats, who were elected in November to do a job -- the American people gave them direct orders, end this war. And they haven't done it. And believe me, that hasn't been lost on the average person who has watched the Democrats.
That is why your polls show that Congress gets even a lower approval rating than Mr. Bush. They are not happy and the members of Congress and the Senate had better figure this out, because they are not going to find people storming to the polls next November to support them if they feel that they have been deceived and conned by people who said that they would end this war and then didn't do it.
BLITZER: And on this issue, you like Al Gore as well?
MOORE: Well, Al Gore is good on so many issues. I mean, whether it was about the war, global warming, health care, I mean, you know, I'm not endorsing him or anybody else, but I'm just saying that I would like to get the debate and the discussion going here with -- I don't want to see cookie-cutter candidates saying the same thing here, and being afraid to be bold leaders.
I mean, what has happened to this country? I mean, Wolf, we used to have (AUDIO GAP) like FDR, who defeated -- with our allies, defeated the Nazis and Mussolini in less time than our commander-in- chief has been able to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.
I mean, that is just -- that should just disgust everybody. But we used to have real leaders then. We had another president who said we are going to put a man on the Moon in eight years. And it happened.
Government used to work. The problem isn't government here. The problem is that we have elected people who appoint "heckuva job" Brownie to fill a position that then ruin it for everyone. And that is what has to change. And I think that is what people are hopeful about a lot (ph), at least.
BLITZER: Michael Moore's film is called "Sicko." Michael, thanks for sticking around.
MOORE: Thank you, Wolf. And thank you for telling me during the break that you really liked the film.
BLITZER: I thought it was a powerful film. Thank you.
MOORE: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: Still ahead tonight, our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he's going to be joining us. As you may remember, from yesterday's SITUATION ROOM with Michael Moore. Michael Moore made some serious charges against Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay Gupta has his chance to respond. That's coming up.
Also, a major cell phone company decides the customer isn't always right and cuts off hundreds of them. We'll have the details of Sprint's explanation. Stick around.
You are in the SITUATION ROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: With filmmaker Michael Moore unhappy with criticism of his new film on the U.S. health care system entitled "Sicko." Our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta checked out some of the facts in the film. He's joining us now from the CNN center in Atlanta.
We did a setup piece if you will, a background piece, going into the interview yesterday. You heard Michael Moore make some angry comments, Sanjay. Tell us what you think about the charges that he leveled against you.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, look, there's a lot of interest in health care. Where the system is going and what can be done about it. There are people very concerned about health care in his country, obviously, Michael Moore is one of them.
In that fact-check piece that you're talking about, Wolf, I did make a mistake that I've talked about, and apologized for. There was a misquoting of Michael Moore, with regards to per capita spending in Cuba for health care. He said it's about $251, I misquoted him as saying it was $25. I got the number wrong there.
And as a doctor and a journalist, I want to get the numbers right. Because I think it's important to make this discussion go forward. That's why we're going to have this discussion tonight. Hopefully, a concrete, productive discussion with Michael on Larry King Live to get at more of these issues, Wolf.
BLITZER: So let me just be clear with the viewers. You're going to be together with Michael Moore later tonight on "Larry King Live" and you're going to go through a lot of these points. His criticisms of you and where you see the situation standing?
GUPTA: Yes. Absolutely. And I think this is a worthwhile discussion. Look, this isn't a debate. It's a discussion. I think the one thing that I'm pretty confident we agree on, is that the health care system in this country is not where we want it to be.
There are a lot of people who are going without basic health services, and that's something that we need to fix. I think everyone agrees on that.
I think that this film, it's done a lot of things, but one of the things it does is brought this discussion back in the forefront. We want to make sure we use this as an opportunity to educate people about this. So, hopefully again, it's a concrete, productive discussion.
BLITZER: You've seen the film. I've seen the film. But do you think it's really going to have an impact and really change the nature of the health care system here in the United States?
A, people who have no insurance are going to be able to get insurance. But, B, people who do have insurance are going to be able to get the kind of treatment, the types of benefits that they really need to stay healthy and survive?
GUPTA: Well, I think you bring up two very important points. As far as whether it's going to make a change, I hope so.
Look, there's been a disconnect for a long time between what people understand the health issues to be, and how they vote when the important elections come. People don't always vote their conscience at the ballot box. Hopefully, that will change this time around, with regards to what people want out of their health care system.
But also with regards to the services that they need. We've spent so much of our health care budget towards taking care of people after they've already become sick, instead of preventing some of those diseases in the first place. Medically and morally, it makes a lot of sense to keep people from getting sick in the first place. I think that's got to be a big component of fixing the health care system overall, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We'll see you and Michael Moore together with Larry King, later tonight. Here on CNN, 9:00 p.m. eastern. Sanjay, thanks very much for doing this.
And still ahead, how many complaints are too many? One cell phone company draws a controversial line. You're going to want to see this.
And an former American idol contestant parodies a parody all in support of Hillary Clinton. Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look. Stay with us. You are in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Normally, a company courts customers, but in a new twist, Sprint is cutting some cell phone customers. Let's go to Mary Snow. She's watching all of this. What's going on, Mary?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is a very unusual step. Sprint is giving the boot to customers who complain too much.
(voice over): It's not the message you expect from your cell phone provider. You're disconnected and it's because you've called customer service too much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to Sprint, now together with Nextel.
SNOW: Sprint penned the equivalent of a Dear John letter to about 1,000 customers. Telling them, the number of inquiries you've made has made us determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs. Some consumer groups are seeing red.
CHRIS MURRAY, CONSUMERS UNION SR. COUNSEL: If customers are calling into the care center, there's generally a reason. And companies shouldn't just be terminating people willy-nilly because they feel that they are calling too much.
SNOW: But Sprint says, hold the phone. The people affected call customer care 40 to 50 times more than the average customer every month over an extended period. Does the company have the right to fire its customers?
MICHELLE SALAMI, SPRINT CUSTOMER: I would say if someone is calling their cell phone service 40 to 50 times a month, I wouldn't blame Sprint for cutting them.
RYAN HOPE, SPRINT CUSTOMER: If I need their customer service, I want them to be there. I don't want to be dropped just because I'm asking questions.
SNOW: A spokeswoman for Sprint told us, "We need to make sure that the other 53 million customers who are, on average, calling less than once a month are being serviced to the best of our ability, and that we are able to service them."
ERIC DEZENHALL, CRISIS MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT: This really is a landmark decision. Because the old rules of thumb are, the customer is always right. And the old rules of public relations are, make nice, make nice.
SNOW: But before it shows it's customers the door, Sprint tells them one more thing, if they have any questions regarding the transfer of their number to another wireless carrier, please call the customer care department.
SNOW: Could increase calls to customer service. Now as to whether the company will show more customers the door, a spokeswoman says Sprint is keeping its options open, but says these customers are calling anywhere from 25 times to a month to 300 times a month. Wolf?
BLITZER: Lot of complaints. Thanks very much, Mary, for that.
Let's go to Jack Cafferty. He's got the Cafferty File in New York. Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: I don't have that kind of time, I don't know about you.
BLITZER: Yes, do you know how long it takes to wait to get on those on those calls?
CAFFERTY: Yes, I know. It takes forever.
The question is this, George McGovern says he's not sure that an anti-war Democrat can win in 2008. Is he right?
Gary in Michigan says, "A Democrat who is pro-war on terror but anti-war in Iraq can win. The American people have had lots of time to see Iraq for what it is: lunacy, hopeless, needless and stupid." Ken in California, "By next year, there probable won't be any anti-war Democratic candidate. Anti-war will mean anti-oil. That will be the trump card taht keeps us in Iraq. The race for oil is on, and only a fool would pull out our entry in the world dash for the oil. Face reality, our future economy hangs in the balance here. Pullout's not only a threatt for staggering gas prices but a crippling threat to our economy. The question is, is that worth fighting for, our economy?"
Gerald in Florida writes, "McGovern might be right, but not necessarily because of any anti-war stance. The Democratic strategists just seem to have a genius for losing important elections."
Donna writes, "McGovern makes a good point, but the analogy misses the mark. In the end, domestic issues will carry the day. Nixon got reelected because people were satisified with the economy and conditions on the home front, despite their growing opposition to the Vietnam war at the time. That's not the case. now. Americans loathe the Bush administration's handling of domestic issues as much as they hate its foreign policies.
Tony in Louisville, Kentucky, "Let's be realistic, Jack. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats deserve to be president. We need a candidate who wants to serve the American people for a change."
And Jack in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, "In 2008, because of the mismanagement of Iraq, a trained monkey running for president can beat the GOP candidate."
Harsh. If you didn't see your e-mail here, go to CNN.com/caffertyfile. We post more of them online, along with video clips of the Cafferty File. Wolf has them all.
BLITZER: Yes, I certainly do. Thanks very much, Jack. See you tomorrow. Let's find out what's coming up at the top of the hour, Paula is standing by. Paula.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Wolf. Straight off the top, we'll talk about the ongoing debate about Iraq and when U.S. troops should come home.
7-Eleven, meanwhile, is actually renaming some of its convenience stores to cash in on the new Simpsons movie. Why are some people saying that that is absolutely racist.
Plus in this age of open secrets about sex and drugs, we're going to look at an addiction tonight that people are still ashamed to admit. Some very painful stories to share tonight. Out in the open coming up at the top of the hour.
BLITZER: We'll be watching, Paula. Thank you very much.
Still ahead here in the SITUATION ROOM, she's hot for Hillary. Some passionate support for Senator Clinton online. Jeannie Moos takes a most unusual look at this new video. Stick around. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the hot shots coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press. Pictures likely to be in your hometown newspapers tomorrow. In India, workers of Kashmir's Social Welfare Department run for cover as police spray them with colored water during a protest demanding higher salaries.
In Afghanistan, a nomad baby crawls in a tent at the outskirts of Kabul.
In Sri Lanka, troops fire a rocket launcher aimed at the Tamil Tigers rebels.
And in San Francisco, check it out, a man dressed as a hot dog dances as baseball players arrive on the red carpet for the All-Star baseball game.
Some of this hour's hot shots, pictures often worth a thousand words.
A supporter of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton is going to a most unusual length to demonstrate passion for the candidate. Jeannie Moos has the story.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Obama girl, meet hot for Hill.
TARYN SOUTHERN, ACTRESS (singing): I've got a crush on a girl named Hill. But she's not with me, she's with a guy named Bill.
MOOS: Oh, he won't mind.
SOUTHERN (singing): Hillary, I think I need you.
MOOS: Actress Taryn Southern was inspired by the "I've got a crush on Obama" video.
SOUTHERN: I thought it was brilliant.
MOOS: So the former American Idol contestant did a parody of the parody.
SOUTHERN (singing): I could be your maid or your White House aide or the soldier who marches in your first parade.
(speaking): I would vote for Hillary.
MOOS: Though we're not sure this is the best way to help her get elected.
SOUTHERN (singing): H-I-L-L-A-R-Y. I know you're not gay but I'm hoping for a ride. MOOS; We opted for a bicoastal connection. The whole angle of a girl writing about a crush on a girl, is it safe to assume you're acting?
SOUTHERN: I am actually straight.
(singing): The USA would be a better place if everyone could just get a taste of you.
(speaking): When I was writing this video, I knew that the comedy would come from the fact that it's a girl singing about how she has a crush on a girl. That's what made the parody different from the Obama girl video.
(singing): You're into border security. Let's break this border between you and me.
MOOS: It's hard to keep up, not too long a Condoleezza Rice video was big. A Condi imitator rapped on subjects ranging from Iraq to her Condolicious shoes. From Condi's shoes to Hillary's skin. The gain(ph) is seen to get under the skin of some, though who most who commented online seemed amused.
She may be hot for Hill. But Hillary wasn't hot to comment. The campaign had nothing to say about the video. They never returned our call. There was competion between Hillary girl and Obama girl, but while Obama girl featured bootie shorts, Hot for Hill focused on pantsuits.
SOUTHERN (singing): I like your hair, the pants that you wear and the shape of your derriere.
(speaking): I do like her pantsuits.
MOOS: Derriere is just a nice rhyme. Jeannie Moos, CNN New York.
BLITZER: Thank you for that and thanks to all of you for watching. Remember, we're here in the SITUATION ROOM weekday afternoons from 4-6 p.m. Eastern, back for another hour at 7 p.m. Eastern. See you tomorrow. Till then, I'm Wolf Blitzer. Let's go to Paula in New York.
ZAHN: Thanks so much. Good evening, everybody. Glad to have you with us. Tonight, a passionate debate six months into the troop surge.
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