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Rescuers Attempt to Reach Trapped Coal Miners; Is Rudy Giuliani's Daughter Backing Democratic Presidential Candidate?

Aired August 6, 2007 - 19:00   ET


Happening now, the breaking news out of Utah, the race to reach six coal miners trapped after a cave-in. Rescuers now where they are but are they still alive?

Also tonight, Rudy Giuliani's daughter takes their family feud to a new level. Is she really backing a Democratic candidate for president?

And a Florida lawmaker explains his arrest for allegedly soliciting sex. He says his fear of black men made him do it.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

At this very moment, crews in Utah are using tools, drills and blazing determination to break through walls of rock in a desperate race to find six miners. They are trapped underground and officials say they know where they are. The miners were trapped after a coal mine cave-in. Let's go straight to our Brian Todd. Brian, what is the latest at this very moment?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, federal officials are coordinating the rescue operation with the mine's owner. The good news is that no explosion or fire have been reported so far, so some danger is eliminated, but there are plenty of challenges left to this rescue effort.


TODD (voice-over): Rescue teams have received no communication yet from the trapped miners but the owner of Crandall Canyon Mine says rescuers know where they are and he tells how close they've come to them.

ROBERT MURRAY, MURRAY ENERGY CORP.: Our rescue crews have been able to come up here and get within 1,700 feet of them. Then the debris from the rips (ph) and the roof they couldn't go any further.

TODD: Robert Murray says they plan to have rescuers go in four different ways, drilling from the top of the mountain, drilling horizontally, sending other miners to clean out fallen debris and by breaking seals and moving through old mine chambers that might get them closer. It's not clear whether the miners have usable oxygen with them or not but a mining executive tells The Associated Press if they survived the collapse they could have enough oxygen to last several days.

A federal official says they believe the miners were about four miles in from the mine's entrance when the collapse occurred. A top mine safety investigator and officials with the United Mine Workers of America tell CNN this facility conducts so-called retreat mining, cutting into the mine in a checkered board pattern, taking out alternate blocks, then...

CECIL ROBERTS, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: When you are finished mining, you start retreating backwards and mining those blocks of coal that you left. And as you remove those blocks of coal, the roof will fall.

TODD: Experts say it's a very dangerous practice that state and mine officials have been warned to stop.


TODD: But retreat mining continues all around the country because experts say you can mine about twice the amount of coal from that as you can from other methods -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And Brian, what about the seismic event? I understand there were conflicting reports initially.

TODD: And there still are. An earthquake measuring 3.9 was reported, the epicenter about 20 miles from the mine. We were initially told this might have triggered the collapse but experts say it is not unusual for the opposite to be true, for the collapse of a mine to cause that seismic activity.

MALVEAUX: Brian, thank you so much. I understand we also have a live press conference that is taking place in Utah. Let us listen in on the very latest.


MALVEAUX: We don't have any audio at the moment. We'll go back to it when we actually get that audio, but flashback to January of 2006, explosion at Sago Mine. There were 13 men that were trapped underground almost two days. Only one made it out alive, Randal McCloy, making him one of the longest known survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Afghanistan's president has a message for Americans about his country and the Taliban's terror threat. Hamid Karzai paid a visit to President Bush at Camp David today.

Our senior White House correspondent Ed Henry joining me now -- Ed, obviously these two leaders painting a pretty picture about the state of the Taliban but certainly you know different.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that's right Suzanne. This is a stark contrast from just yesterday when Mr. Karzai was much blunter on CNN's "LATE EDITION" in declaring that security in his own country has just deteriorated.


HENRY (voice-over): Hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Camp David, President Bush boasted that the Taliban's vaunted spring offensive never materialized.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is a spring offensive all right. It was conducted by U.S., NATO, and equally importantly Afghan troops.

HENRY: Karzai was just as bullish, actually trying to claim the Taliban has been beaten.

PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: Progress has been made. We'll still continue to fight terrorism. Our enemy is still there, defeated but still hiding in the mountains. Our duty is to complete the job.

HENRY: But the optimism belies the fact that Karzai's country is in crisis. The drug trade is still booming and the Taliban resurging. Insurgents are currently threatening to kill 21 Korean hostages unless jailed rebels are released. In private Mr. Bush and his Afghan agreed they will not give into the demands raising the specter of more violence. Nevertheless, Karzai stood by comments four years ago that the Taliban poses no danger to his government.

KARZAI: They are not posing any threat to the institutions of Afghanistan or to the build up of institutions of Afghanistan. It's a force that's defeated.

HENRY: In fact, the Taliban has not been defeated. The U.S. still has over 23,000 troops in Afghanistan nearly six years after the war started.

BUSH: There is still work to be done. Don't get me wrong.

HENRY: While Karzai told CNN he believes Iran is a positive force in Afghanistan, Mr. Bush made clear he disagrees.

BUSH: From my perspective the burden of proof is on the Iranian government to show us that they're a positive force.


HENRY: Now President Karzai says he hopes to make progress on Thursday when he sits down for talks with his Pakistani counterpart President Musharraf, but as you know this is going to be a long, hard slog. You have got the Taliban resurging in Afghanistan, meanwhile next door in Pakistan you have both the Taliban and al Qaeda finding safe harbor -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Ed, thanks so much for keeping up with the realty and the spin as well. Thank you, Ed.

HENRY: Thanks, Suzanne. MALVEAUX: And one Republican presidential contender got a scolding today from the State Department. New questions are being raised about the way several candidates are contradicting U.S. diplomatic policy. Here's our State Department correspondent Zain Verjee -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, the State Department is not too happy about some of the comments presidential candidates have been firing off.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be a long campaign season.

VERJEE (voice-over): Here we go again. In the heat of presidential campaigns diplomacy doesn't matter. Tough talk that grabs headlines does. Democratic Senator Barack Obama says he wouldn't hesitate to use military force in Pakistan.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we had actionable intelligence about high value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will.

VERJEE: Senator Hillary Clinton says she won't rule out the option of using nuclear weapons against terrorists in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Republican Tom Tancredo has threatened to target the holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina, to deter any nuclear attack on U.S. soil. The State Department blasted Tancredo's strategy as quote, "crazy."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The remarks are simply outrageous.

VERJEE: Tancredo may not mind running against the Washington establishment.

REP. TOM TANCREDO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, the State Department, boy when they start complaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things I say.

VERJEE: The U.S. is trying to convince many in the Muslim world that the war on terror is not a war on Islam.

Would you prefer they shut up when it comes to sensitive issues?


SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: This is a democracy. There's a thing called free speech but there's also a thing called the executive branch and we have responsibility for what U.S. government policy is.


VERJEE: McCormack also says it's important for people abroad who just hear the headlines and not the details of the campaign to be aware that it's not the U.S. government's position -- Suzanne. MALVEAUX: Thank you, Zain.

We want to take you straight away to Utah, that briefing on a rescue effort of those missing coal miners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This mine has only one entrance then?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's one set of portals that we go into to access the mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have all of the resources you need for this recovery or are you bringing in additional resources?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well you guys have seen lots of equipment coming in. We're getting everything we need. We're getting backup equipment also. So right now we probably have more than we need but we're making sure that we have backup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're bringing in resources from our other mines that we have here as well as mines owned by other companies. Everyone has been real cooperative in giving us the resources that we need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talk about just the mining atmosphere, how it does appear that everyone seems to help each other out during a disaster such as this one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's very true. There are a lot of people here from other mines and everybody is working together trying very hard to get the men out. Everyone has the same goal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people do you have working on the rescue effort?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have four rescue teams. Two teams in the mine right now and we have about 25 to 30 of our own people in the mine. There are probably 200 people at the mine site.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So does the mine have specific rescue teams that are onsite at the mine all the time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each mine has at least two rescue teams. The Utah American rescue teams are underground. There is teams from Energy West, which is the mine just down the canyon that are also here and there are other teams ready to come up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people are on a team...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are six people on a team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you clarify, are there then members of the two rescue teams you said are working now. Are they underground working?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they doing the drilling? What are they doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have reached the seal that you were asking the questions about. And now they're going into the sealed area and trying to advance and see if it's safe to go into these parallel entries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So is there only one seal that they had to break through or are there several seals they have...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have breached one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have breached one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They may breach others depending on what they find as they explore the entry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how many seals they would have to breach to reach the men?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well what they would do is break two seals, so they (inaudible) one and out the other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then by that, by the second seal they would have reached the men (inaudible) drill over?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they sealed every 20 feet or are they...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The seal would be at the same location where they breached the first...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... about 80 feet apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So another way to put it is that Mr. Murray said they were within 1,700 feet this morning of the trapped miners, how close to you think they are now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the progress going in and cleaning up the (inaudible) have been fairly slow. They are not -- in that effort they are not a whole lot closer than the 1,700 feet. They are setting a belt-tail piece so that they can move the coal out more quickly and more efficiently. And we're at a point where we're hoping to get that going and hopefully make some more progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it comes to oxygen, to food, water, those kinds of things, do you know how much you may have or...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. The area that they're in is a fairly large area depending how much of the area the ribs came in on, they could have a fairly large area. We just don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do they have oxygen packs with them and if so, how much air is in that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every miner carries a self-contained self rescuer that has one hour's worth of oxygen. That's used for escape, walking out of the mine and there are extra units there in the section.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) the section.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long do they last? Are they also an hour each?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're all one hour each.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're optimistic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to be optimistic, absolutely so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will you hear something more (inaudible)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know. We wish we could tell you, but it would be pure speculation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... having to work around the clock. Again, we're at a critical point right now where a lot of decisions are being made. We'll update you again in two hours.

MALVEAUX: We were just hearing from officials from the Murray Energy Corporation that owns the mine. They were giving some details about the rescue efforts saying there were four rescue teams. Two that are underground at the time that they have managed to breach a seal. Earlier just a couple of hours ago it was reported that the rescue workers were about 1,700 feet of these trapped miners.

This official stated that the process to clear out the coal and the debris is going rather slowly so they are about the same place where they were several hours ago about 1,700 feet from those six miners. He also said that each miner would have several oxygen tanks. Each one of them would last about an hour or so. It was unclear just what that means for each one of those miners, just how much time they have to breathe.

He said he did not know the kind of space that they were in if it was a very big space, then it might give them some more time, but he says if they were equipped each one of those miners with those oxygen tanks for emergencies just like this when they are exiting the mine so that if they had several tanks at least they would have several hours, but he did say that this effort to clear the debris is going rather slowly but they are still remaining optimistic about this. We will bring you details of course as they unfold.

Jack Cafferty now joining us from New York -- Jack. JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The Bush administration is raging a phony war on terrorism, so says Newt Gingrich. Remember Newt, former House speaker addressing a conference for collegiate conservatives when he said this.

"We have to take this seriously. We used to be a serious country. When we got attacked at Pearl Harbor we took on imperial Japan, fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. We beat all three in less than four years. We're about to enter the seventh year of this phony war and we're losing", unquote.

Gingrich says a more effective approach to dealing with Islamic radicals would be to start with a national energy strategy aimed at weaning the U.S. off imported oil and off some of the regimes where that oil money goes. He also had harsh words for his fellow Republicans in Congress saying that you can't call their six years in control of Congress a great success.

Of course it's worth noting Gingrich has not entirely ruled out a run for the White House himself and if you average out a bunch of the national polls among Republicans he's running about even with Mitt Romney, who is already a candidate and has been in the race for awhile.

So here's the question. Do you agree with Newt Gingrich's statement that the Bush administration's waging a phony war on terrorism? E-mail your thoughts to or go to -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jack.

Sex, race and a busted lawmaker, a Florida legislator accused of offering money and sex to an undercover cop. Find out why he says fear of black men made him do it. We have the tape.

Also, Rudy Giuliani's daughter backing Barack Obama, the Republican favorite for president may not get the votes of his own kids.

Plus, a CNN exclusive, an all-out assault down South that Iraqi police trained in Mississippi. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


MALVEAUX: Tonight Rudy Giuliani's daughter appears to be rebelling against her dad in a whole new way by reportedly sealing her support for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Our Mary Snow is here. What do we know about Caroline Giuliani's feelings about her dad and the campaign?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know Suzanne, for any teenager to disagree with their parents on politics, any parent will tell you it's not uncommon, but in this case it speaks to a larger personal story.


SNOW (voice-over): The message from the daughter of Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani to her father, I'm supporting a Democratic rival. The online magazine, "Slate", reports 17-year-old Caroline Giuliani listed her support for Democrat Barack Obama on her FaceBook page. "Slate" says she with withdrew her profile when they questioned her about it. As for reaction about his daughter's posting, Giuliani said my daughter I love very much. I have great respect for her and I'm really proud of her and I don't comment on children because I want to give them the maximum degree of privacy.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: I don't think that this overall will have a terrible affect on his campaign.

SNOW: When we asked about the FaceBook message, a spokesperson for Caroline Giuliani said it was not intended as an indication of support in a presidential campaign and she has removed it. Caroline is not commenting on the 2008 election, but Caroline's 21-year-old brother Andrew has commented. In March he told "New York Times" his schedule as a professional golfer would prevent him from working on his father's campaign. He added he had problems with Giuliani's third wife, Judith Nathan. Giuliani married Nathan after a messy divorce from Donna Hanover, the mother of his two children. Journalist and Giuliani critic Wayne Barrett says these personal relationships are a part of the presidential race.

WAYNE BARRETT, SENIOR EDITOR, "VILLAGE VOICE": I think a person's private life in any walk of life is some indication of how they will handle complex and difficult issues. Many complex and difficult issues do involve relationships.


SNOW: Now this spring when questions were raised about Giuliani's relationship with his children, he said many blended families face challenges and they are best worked out in private -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And Mary, interesting talking to the Democratic Paul Begala as well and Terry Jeffrey in a "Strategy Session", both of them said that they didn't think it was going to hurt Giuliani in the long run. Way to go for an independent kid, so we'll have to see.

SNOW: Yes, absolutely.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thanks, Mary.

A Florida lawmaker is launching an unusual defense in the wake of his recent arrest on a sex charge. CNN's Carol Costello joining us now.

Carol, what is the state lawmaker saying about what happened and why it happened? It's very controversial.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It is controversial, Suzanne. He says he did it because he was afraid of black men. This is a guy who touts himself as a family man, who co-sponsored a bill called The Lewd and Indecent Exposure Act, which would make things like public sex illegal. Well today an explanation as to why he's charged with that very thing.


COSTELLO (voice-over): State Representative Bob Allen, the lawmaker voted representative of the year by a Florida police association is now accused of offering 20 bucks to perform a sex act on an undercover cop in a park bathroom. He's now telling Florida detectives it's all a huge misunderstanding.

VOICE OF BOB ALLEN (R), FLORIDA STATE HOUSE: This is something that -- you know this is my life on the line.

COSTELLO: What you're hearing is Allen's tape police interrogation. He tells the officers he walked into that park bathroom not for sex but because he was afraid of the undercover cop who was black.

ALLEN: There's a pretty stocky black guy, there is a lot of other black guys in the park, you know.

COSTELLO: Later Allen adds...

ALLEN: I'm about to be a statistic here.

COSTELLO: Allen says he was so intimidated he would have said anything including offering to pay sex with a stranger, a defense not exactly winning praise from civil rights attorney Richard Ugelow.

RICHARD UGELOW, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: It's laughable. In this day and age for somebody to suggest that they committed a crime because they saw a black person is just unbelievable and unimaginable. It's entirely racist quite honestly.

COSTELLO: And police aren't buying Allen's defense either, charging Allen with cruising for sex in Space View Park, according to their report, it was Allen who approached the undercover officer while he was inside of a bathroom stall and said, this is kind of a public place, isn't it? Then police say Allen proceeded to engage the officer in a conversation in which it was agreed he would pay me $20 in order to perform a sex act.


COSTELLO: One more note, according to this police report as Allen was being loaded into the police car after his arrest he said I don't suppose it would help if I said I was a state legislator, would it? The answer was no. I did call Allen's office for comment today and Suzanne, I have not heard back yet.

MALVEAUX: Thank you very much, Carol.

Coal mine disaster in Utah, the race against time to rescue six miners trapped underground. Find out what they need to do to survive. Plus a CNN exclusive, an all-out assault down South, Iraqi police trained in Mississippi. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



Happening now, the Government Accountability Office says the Pentagon has lost track of almost 200,000 weapons. The AK-47 rifles and pistols were handed over to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005. The GAO report raises concerns that the weapons might fall into the hands of Iraqi insurgents.

A helicopter is photographing the Minneapolis bridge collapse from all angles while Navy divers help with the search for victims below. Heavy equipment including a huge crane is poised to begin removing slabs of concrete, cars and debris. Eight people are still unaccounted for.

And if you fly, you're waiting longer than usual to get off the ground. The Transportation Department says U.S. airline delays are at their highest level in at least 13 years. Analysts say you can expect more of the same for the rest of the summer.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Crews are on a desperate search to find six miners trapped below ground in Utah. More now on the breaking news we are following. Officials say they know exactly where those miners are. Our CNN's Brian Todd is tracking that rescue effort. And Brian, what are you hearing at this moment?

TODD: Well Suzanne, we heard a short time ago from mine officials there at the site one crucial thing that's happened we believe in the last hour or two is that they have breached one of the seals that would lead them into a chamber, an old mine chamber near where they believe these miners are trapped. That's crucial because they say if they can get into I think one of three old mine chambers that are near where they believe these miners are, that can cut the amount of time that they would need to get to them drastically.

There are three other methods that they were talking about of going in and trying to get these miners and those other three methods would take much, much longer. But breaching these seals to get in to these old mine chambers, the owner of the mine said that they could possibly get to within about 100 feet from where they say they know these miners are.

Very, very crucial, they now say they have broken through one of those seals, so they are apparently inside one of those mine chambers. Now another key question here was whether these miners had oxygen with them or not. They seem to have answered that question in this news conference a short time ago when a mine operator talked about that. Here's what he said.


DOUG JOHNSON, MINE OPERATOR: Every miner carries a self- contained self-rescuer that has one hour's worth of oxygen that's used for escape walking out of the mine. There are extra units there in the section.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long do they last? Are they also an hour each?

JOHNSON: They're all one hour each.


TODD: And of course these miners have been trapped for several hours so we're not clear exactly how long and how sparingly they can use those oxygen chambers. What we do know is that rescue workers have gotten within about 1,700 feet of where they believe the miners are, so of course this as always Suzanne is a race against time and they're going to be working fiercely throughout the night.

MALVEAUX: Brian, thank you so much. And joining me now on the phone is mine safety inspector Davitt McAteer. He's in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Thanks for joining us. Obviously, a lot of questions still. Our own Brian Todd saying that first they have broken a seal of one of those old mine chambers, that they could perhaps get within the miners about 100 feet or so. How significant is that that they have broken one of those seals?

DAVITT MCATEER, MINE SAFETY INSPECTOR: Well, I think Suzanne in fact it is significant. There has been some progress. Unfortunately, I heard part of that interview -- news conference. And they said they have only made it to about within 200 feet or inside the seal. And they were looking further down and didn't have any knowledge yet of what was there. Because the sealed area is an area that's obviously not been worked for a period of time and you can have roof falls and other conditions in there that can slow them down. But our hope is they get through that very quickly and are able to get toward the location. It is a chance but in an old mine like this, conditions do change and you have to be cautious and the rescue teams have to take into account the consideration for their own safety as well.

MALVEAUX: And we had heard from the officials that were on the scene earlier today that they are still about the same place where they were before. They said 1,700 feet from the trapped miners. They said it was a very slow process in actually removing coal and the debris. Does it look like they are in danger of running out of time here?

MCATEER: Time is the enemy of course in all of these circumstances. We know what we've learned from Sago and other accidents is that if we have a sufficient amount of time, we will be able to get to them but the fact, is that if they have to cut through rock, not just the coal, but if rock has fallen and blocked these entryways, that's a slower process and that kind of rock cutting and driving through rock area will be a very slow process and will take days. So it's a race against time.

MALVEAUX: Now, when they drill, can they make things actually can they make matters worse if they spark -- if a spark happens cause some sort of explosion? What is the risk there?

MCATEER: Well, the risk is that you would get some ignition source if you hit a mineral that caused an ignition source. And they will be able to examine that from the standpoint of does that pose a risk and they will make a determination based upon that.

MALVEAUX: I want to understand how much time you think these miners have. One of the officials tried to clear it up. He said they would be -- each one of the miners would be carrying an oxygen tank or unit and that perhaps each one of them would have several but he said they would last for about an hour or so. So knowing that, how much time do you think they have in that trapped location before things get very difficult when it comes to breathing?

MCATEER: Well, you have two sources of air. You have one is a self-contained self-rescuers and those devices are established for under duress for you to breathe one hour. They can last longer. In case of other instances, they have lasted up to five or six hours at rest, when the miner is at rest. So that if you coupled together several of these, you might have an opportunity to have a number of hours put together. The second is that you have -- if you could have a pocket of stable area behind the roof fall itself or behind the rock fall itself. Then you might have a chance for there to be an air trapped in there and they could breathe the air that was there naturally. You don't know that. You won't know that until you get in there and so those are the kinds of things you're going to have to take a look at. How many hours, you just don't know. What we found again at Sago was that you know with 40 hours it took us that long to get in. Now we don't have the explosion potential here so much so that gives us a better chance. We know they have some air and some water. That gives us a better chance. But you know, we still rush against time.

MALVEAUX: Mr. McAteer, thank you so much for your insights. What we want to do as well is go to our own Ted Rowlands, who is on the ground in Utah. But we're going to do that in a little bit. So far what we would like to do is transition to another story and that is Iraqi police are now training in the deep south of the United States. We are going to take you to Mississippi for this life or death training.

Plus, your tax payer dollars at work to send a message to communist Cuba but is anyone listening?


MALVEAUX: Some Iraqi police officers are in the heart of Mississippi far from their homes and their homeland. They are on a training mission which could mean the difference between life and death when they return to Iraq. Let's go to CNN's Chris Lawrence for this exclusive report. CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, how many times have we heard officials say American troops can stand down when the Iraqis stand up on their own? Well, we found some potential leaders of Iraq's police force in of all places, Mississippi. It's an all out assault on the river banks. Three troops pinned down by insurgent fire. Two teams of Iraqi police race to the rescue. Only these bullets aren't real and this isn't the Tigris River but the Pearl.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember when the first boat comes off the beach. They want to stop shooting so that other boat can come on in there.

LAWRENCE: These Iraqi police officers have traveled more than 7,000 miles to Mississippi to learn how to patrol the rivers that run through Baghdad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're backing off the beach, don't throttle it; just give it a little bit.

LAWRENCE: It's a crash course for this class of 11 officers.

COMMANDER LANCE BACH, U.S. NAVY: Some of them have just been assigned to the river patrol for the first time and have never driven a boat before.

LAWRENCE: So the missions don't always work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came in a little over-exuberant, so to speak, and he got his engine stuck on the bottom and killed the engines.

LAWRENCE: Only a few hundred Iraqi police currently patrol the Tigris and insurgents have been using the rivers to launch attacks. Back in Iraq, they don't have enough boats and/or equipment to spare so this level of training would be difficult if not impossible.

BACH: There's a fine line between you know real bullets flying over your head and trying to practice something.

LAWRENCE: Here Naval special warfare instructors teach them how to board suspicious vessels and evade ambush on the river banks. This police officer said he's learned not only tactics but how to trust his team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I'm not scared at all especially after this training. We are learning how to be more confident to deal with insurgency in Iraq.


LAWRENCE: Back home he'll have to be. Because the bullets there could be just as loud and lethal. Now they're the second small group to come through the program and they graduate at the end of the week. The goal is to create a small group of qualified leaders who can go back and teach other Iraqi police officers and ultimately open up their own school right on the Tigris River.


MALVEAUX: Chris thanks for that exclusive report. And life goes on in Cuba. Television is beaming into the tiny communist nation with an all-American message. But is anyone watching TV Marti and what many thought might happen, didn't quite happen. We are talking about reaction to Barry Bonds making history. Our own Jeanne Moos will explain.


MALVEAUX: For 17 years, TV Marti has been aiming its news and information signal at communist Cuba. It's a project funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars but there is much debate whether it's worth the time, effort and cost. CNN State Department Correspondent, Zain Verjee has more on that story.



ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, a U.S. media strategy in Cuba could be a waste of your money. American taxpayers are shelling out at least $15 million a year for TV Marti to undercut the Castro regime in Cuba but is anyone watching? No says Jozel (ph). She can't see or hear TV Marti in Havana. Cuba has giant antennas jamming the U.S. funded TV transmissions, the video twin to long time radio Marti. Penn State University Professor John Nichols has studied TV Marti in Cuba and says it's a flop.


VERJEE: Alberto Mascaro with the office of Cuba Broadcasting that oversees TV Marti insists it's getting the job done.

ALBERTO MASCARO, OFFICE OF CUBA BROADCASTING: If it was a failure, the Cuban government would not even try to jam us.

NICHOLS: Unless you know a few hundred cows on the countryside are the target audience of TV Marti, it's not being seen and the money is being wasted.

MASCARO: It's very difficult to say. Doing a survey in Cuba is next to impossible.

VERJEE: A draft state department report says more Cubans are watching Television Marti broadcasts because of new technologies. Getting the U.S. message across has been a technical struggle since 1990. Now, a Gulf Stream plane beams the TV Marti signal while circling around the Florida straits. It replaced a C130 military plane and the Fat Albert balloon shredded in a 2005 hurricane. This Havana man was too nervous to tell us if he watched TV Marti saying only, "What? Do you want to get me jailed?" Ernesto (ph) says Cubans are not interested. She says she can't see it and doesn't want to. The biggest supporters of TV Marti may be Cuban exiles in the U.S.

NICHOLS: It's just a classic political pork barrel to a very important political constituency in south Florida that has driven the last two U.S. elections.

MASCARO: We're used as a political football in many instances but we have a lot of people that support us and it's bipartisan support for us.


VERJEE: The Cuban government in a statement to CNN says transmitting from a plane is a gross violation of international law and interferes with several Cuban television services legally and properly registered. Counting TV Marti really depends though on who you ask. One Cuban official we talked to just laughed and said he would give us 100 bucks if we actually found anyone who watches it. The state department though is saying people do watch it and they are constantly looking for new ways to get the signal across as well as using satellite technology.


MALVEAUX: Thank you Zain. Zain Verjee at the State Department. Now, CNN is on the scene of the coal mining disaster. Our Ted Rollins is tracking the rescue of six trapped miners who each have one hour's supply of oxygen in their tank.

Also, Newt Gingrich says the Bush Administration is waging a phony war on terrorism. Jack Cafferty has your e-mail.


MALVEAUX: And our own Ted Rowlands in Utah on the ground for that coal mining disaster, the latest on the rescue effort. Ted, what can you tell us?

TED ROWLANDS, CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, obviously this is a race against time and for the folks living in this area, it is a complete nightmare as they wait patiently for word on the fate of these six miners that have been trapped now in excess of 14 hours and there is still no word. We just received a briefing within the last 20 minutes here at the command post. We're about a mile away from the entrance of the mine. And from there, the miners are trapped about four miles in as we've been discussing throughout this hour. There's a four- pronged approach. We just saw a truck filled with oxygen tanks and hoses come in. That is going to be used to provide ventilation for those that are trying to use the old mine to access these trapped miners. We just literally saw them go up the hill and the pace at which they went up you can tell it was frenzied. We've seen locals come in with baked goods and food for volunteers and for all of these people that are working desperately to find these miners. As we heard the operator say before, they are doing everything humanly possible to try to get these six miners, get to these six miners. They will work around the clock. And we're seeing evidence of a very concerned, very tight knit mining community here waiting desperate word on the fate of these six. We just talked to the sheriff. In fact, the sheriff is an individual here who is kind of running the show and he says you know what? I know these guys up here. We all know these guys up there and everybody is just hoping and praying for the best.


MALVEAUX: Thanks. Ted Rowlands bringing us the very latest. Now let's go to Jack Cafferty in New York with the Cafferty File.


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The question this hour is do you agree with Newt Gingrich's statement that the Bush Administration is waging a phoning war on terrorism? Ida in Wall, New Jersey, "Jack, the war in Iraq was started as a phony war that's distracting us from improving security at home and from building international alliances that could help us deal with terrorism. We need to behave in a way that modern Muslims can join with us. We can't win against terrorism without them. We've got to cut the incentive for young Muslims to join the other side." Marcus in San Antonio, "Jack, after he took us to war, Bush never had a clue as to what to do next. A real war has a plan." It sounds like Newt has a plan. Time for a new contract with America perhaps. Mary in Duluth, Georgia, "I agree with Gingrich that Bush is waging a phony war on terror. It's ironic this statement is coming from another "phony"." Mark in Washington, "Jack, I guess Newt has it right. There's no al Qaeda, no terrorist in the world that are trying to kill people. We're all living in a blissful utopia." Roy in Tacoma, Washington, "Where is Osama?" I think that answers the question. Chris in Worden, Illinois, "I have seen it all. When I see eye to eye with that eye of Newt, it's time to ease off the news for a while." And Robert in New York writes, "I don't like being put in a position to agree with this crackpot. The fact is Gingrich is right on this one. Now put him back in his cage." Thank you. If you didn't see your e-mail, here you can go to file. We post more of them online along with video clips of the Cafferty File.


MALVEAUX: Thanks Jack. It will be interesting to see if he jumps in the presidential race. We'll see what happens then.

Big stars as we know get booed from Barry Bonds to Hillary Clinton. The crowds are letting them know how they really feel. Jeanne Moos listens to all of those boos next. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

And here's a look at some of the Hot Shots coming in from our friends at the Associated Press, pictures likely to be in your newspaper tomorrow.

In India, a security force soldier stands guard with his gun ready in a busy market.

In Japan, a mother and her son pray for world peace on the 62nd anniversary of the 1945 Atomic Bomb attack in Hiroshima.

In Greece, deer walk through a charred forest. The country has been hit by 3,000 forest fires this summer.

And in Portugal, a climber known as Spiderman hangs out on Lisbon's April 25th Bridge before being detained by police.

That's this hour's Hot Shots, pictures often worth a thousand words.

When people in a crowd aren't happy, they let be it known these days. It seems to be happening a lot lately. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes us on this most unusual look at why we're on a booing binge.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a relief for Barry Bonds. Not that he got the home run, but that he didn't get booed. Ok, maybe a few boos. But so few that Bonds expressed gratitude for the crowd's attitude.

BARRY BONDS, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: I want to thank the San Diego fans.

MOOS: There seems to be a booing binge lately from the arraignment of quarterback and alleged dog fight operator, Michael Vick, to the floor of the House, to a convention of liberal bloggers razing Hillary.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D) NEW YORK: Seriously believes I'm going to be influenced by a lobbyist or an interest group. Now you know I've been waiting for this.

MOOS: And Hillary supporters have occasionally booed her detractors like the heckler with the sign.

CLINTON: Then let's make sure that we put it to work.

MOOS: From the denials on the street, when's the last time you ever booed anybody?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't boo people. I ignore them.

MOOS: It kind of makes you wonder who's doing all of the booing. Who booed Roseanne Barr for her rendition of the national anthem and pity President Bush's former chief of staff. This is what happened when Andy Card stepped up to get an honorary degree at the University of Massachusetts. These Frenchmen told us in France they don't boo. They whistle their disapproval. Ms. USA is used to approving whistles. Remember how she got booed after falling in what seemed to be an anti-American outburst at the Ms. Universe pageant in Mexico. Ms. USA kept smiling but not this tenor when he got booed. At the famous La Scalla Opera House in Italy, he stormed off the stage in the middle of his performance. Barry Bonds at least seems resigned to the boos. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I booed him and I was like Barry steroids.

MOOS: And did it feel good?


MOOS: Maybe this could be considered canine booing. The owner jokes he can sniff out performance enhancing drugs and if booing doesn't satisfy animal lovers up upset with Michael Vick, there's always the Michael Vick doggy chew toy. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: Well, there will be no booing here. Rick Sanchez is coming up at the top of the hour. But first, here's a look at some of the other stories making news. Driving and texting, apparently many Americans don't practice what they preach when it comes to texting at the wheel. In a new poll, 91 percent say sending text messages while driving is just as dangerous as driving after having a couple of drinks. But 57 percent admit they still do it. A slightly larger number say they don't send texts but they have read messages and e- mails while driving.

And vacationing French President Nicolas Sarkozy blew up at U.S. news photographers while on vacation in New Hampshire. He jumped onto their boat from his own and began yelling at them to leave him alone. The photographer said they couldn't understand him because he was yelling at them in French. But they apparently could read his body language because they did promise to stop taking his picture. And thanks for joining us. We are on everyday from 4:00 to 6:00 and at 7 p.m. Eastern. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Up next, Rick Sanchez with "OUT IN THE OPEN."