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THE SITUATION ROOM
Rescuers Drill New Hole to Get to Trapped Miners; Rove to Resign
Aired August 13, 2007 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, HOST: And you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, a first look deep inside a Utah mine, where six men have been missing for more than a week. Rescuers will drill a new hole, but is there still hope for the miners?
We're on the scene.
President Bush calls it a big loss. The man critics call president's right hand political guru, Karl Rove, is leaving the White House.
Is he leaving under pressure?
Another shocking recall of products made in China. Toothpaste containing a poison used in anti-freeze distributed to hotel guests here in America.
Wolf Blitzer is off today.
I'm John King.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
More than a week now and still no sign of six miners missing since Utah's Crandall Canyon Mine collapse. Now engineers will drill a third hole into the mountain. And they've released dramatic video shot by a camera dropped down one of the previous holes.
Joining us now from Huntington, Utah, is CNN's Brian Todd -- Brian, what does this new video tell us, if anything?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it does capture just some of the atmosphere of what these trapped miners might be facing if they're still alive.
They lowered this through the second hole that they drilled. They sent a camera down three different times into that one hole to try to capture some of these images. We're going to show them to you.
You can see, it's a 360 degree view. The third time they lowered a camera down, this is what you saw. They showed some of this wire mesh. They showed some bags there that they described as tool bags, slice bags that miners might be using. This was the third time they sent a camera down. The first two times they couldn't get much of an image at all. We believe this is about 300 plus feet from where the miners are believed to be trapped.
They narrated this to say that this, you know, this -- when they were narrating it, they emphasized several times that the roof, as you see in this video, is intact, that it is holding.
But, again, this is in an area a couple of hundred feet, at least, from where the miners are believed to be trapped.
Again, a third hole is to be drilled this afternoon.
We asked them why they couldn't drill several holes simultaneously.
QUESTION: Bob, (INAUDIBLE) -- is there -- can more than one hole be drilled at once (INAUDIBLE)?
BOB MURRAY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION: No, they can't. And there would be no benefit to it either. The drilling rigs are sitting on very steep mountainside. We have to build the roads for each drill hole. And you can have that hole down by the time you could get another drill rig up there.
There's no advantage to it at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: So that's where we are right now. A third hole is about to start drilling at the top of this mountain. They're building roads to get up to that point. That hole, they hope, will get to the chamber where these miners might have retreated to if they survived the collapse.
But Bob Murray himself, the CEO of Murray Energy, described this drilling process as trial and error. That's what they're going through now, John, even with that video you just saw.
KING: And, Brian, as we follow the developments, the search, the rescue operation, I was struck last hour when I spoke to Bob Murray. And he says every now and then, every day, in fact, sometimes he takes a family member down with him when he goes underground.
What else do we know about what is being done, the support network for the families, which have to be quite on edge now eight days into this search?
TODD: They are being communicative with him as much as they can. They're speaking to them about twice a day. The families are being kept at a school down the road from here for briefings. And usually Mr. Murray will brief us after he briefs the family members.
So they did say that they showed him the same video that they showed us just before they showed it to us. So the family members are being kept apprised of what's going on. But they, again, are also very frustrated with the pace of work here. The actual workers who are digging toward the miners, again, separate from the hole digging that's going on. Rescue workers are digging toward the miners. They have only gotten about 600 some feet in from where they started in a week.
KING: Brian Todd for us on the scene in Huntington, Utah.
Brian, we will check back as developments warrant.
Thank you very much.
Now, after 15 years in a U.S. prison, former Panamanian dictator and drug lord, Manuel Noriega, is getting out on good behavior. He's due to be freed in a few weeks, but he faces more charges at home or, perhaps, in France.
Noriega's status as a prisoner of war.
CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti is with us live in Miami -- Susan, what's the latest?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, with just four weeks to go, as you pointed out, the question is where will that convicted Panamanian general, Manuel Noriega go? Will it be Panama or will it be France?
That's the question.
His hair jet black and slicked back and in full uniform, General Noriega was back before his trial judge, arguing that he wants to go back in Panama.
But the United States has sided with France on this issue. Judge Hoeveler, however, crystallized the argument by putting it this way to the Justice Department, saying now wait a minute here, France wants him on money laundering charges and Panama what wants him back to try him on murder, kidnapping and extortion.
Now, it seems odd the United States would be taking the side of France. But, nevertheless, in so many words, the court and the Justice Department is saying that Noriega should, in fact, be tried in both places.
The defense, however, is arguing that he should go back to Panama because he is being held as a prisoner of war and under the Geneva Convention it would violate his rights to send him to France when he should be going back home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON MAY, NORIEGA ATTORNEY: It is absolutely inconceivable that in any other case would the government of the United States make as a priority the extradition of someone for money laundering when they are -- when another country is seeking their extradition for murder and extortion. There is something very political going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: The French case involves charges that Noriega laundered money there in several banks and bought several homes there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENIS SIMMONEAU, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN: We have sentenced him to -- by a French tribunal. And so we request the extradition from the U.S. to France. So it's something which is to be decided by the American authorities. It's not a problem, again, between France and Panama, or between France and the U.S., or between the U.S. and Panama.
I mean he was sentenced and so we have this request of extradition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now, the Justice Department contends that if Noriega is sent to Panama first, he could not be extradited to France because the Panamanian constitution doesn't allow for it.
The judge says that he will make a decision about this on August 24th, just four days before his extradition hearing -- back to you.
KING: Susan Candiotti in Miami.
Susan, thank you very much.
A very complicated legal and, in one sense, it's a political drama, as well.
Susan, thank you.
Now, Noriega was on the pay of the United States Army and the CIA for more than 30 years, but he was a double agent, collecting money from the United States while working for communist governments, turning over U.S. intelligence materials to Cuba, facilitating the sale of restricted U.S. technology to Soviet bloc countries and selling arms to guerrillas to Latin America, all in addition to the millions of dollars he pocketed in drug trafficking.
In 1989, the U.S. military launched an invasion of Panama to oust Noriega. Twenty-five thousand troops were involved and the operation cost the lives of some two dozen U.S. troops and hundreds of Panamanians.
Jack is in New York now with The Cafferty File -- hi, Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, THE CAFFERTY FILE: John, nice to see you.
Remember when President Bush insisted he needed a war czar? The secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs not enough. The president wanted more bureaucracy.
So he got a war czar, you know, to help out with the war. And in an interview with National Public Radio, the war czar, Lieutenant General Douglas Lute suggested the U.S. should revisit the idea of a military draft.
Well, the White House couldn't wait to say absolutely not.
Kind of like all the other advice Bush has gotten and rejected out of hand concerning the war in Iraq.
The reason Lieutenant General Lute thought that a draft might be worth taking a look at is our military is simply being worn out in Iraq.
According to an article in the U.K. Paper, "The Observer," exhaustion is crippling the U.S. military in Iraq. Multiple deployments taking a huge toll. West Point educated officers are leaving the service at rates not seen in 30 years. Vehicle commanders often won't allow infantrymen to sleep on long operations, so the soldiers drink cans and cans of Red Bull type drinks in order to stay wired and awake. "The Observer" also reports the exhaustion is breeding increased disillusionment and that rates of desertion and unauthorized absence are both on the rise.
So here's the question -- what would it take for the United States to consider reinstituting the draft?
E-mail your thoughts to email@example.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile.
Doing some reading over the weekend, John, even the Democratic presidential candidates are all pretty much in agreement now that the U.S. military is likely to be in Iraq for years to come.
KING: Years to come. That, I think, is a fact. And we're glad you're working on the weekends, getting ready for the campaign to come.
CAFFERTY: I never let THE SITUATION ROOM very far from my consciousness. I work hard seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
KING: I think there's a pill for that.
More next hour.
Thank you, Jack.
Up ahead, toothpaste made with a poison used in anti-freeze given away free at American hotels. Yet another recall of a product made in China.
Is your health at risk?
The president's right-hand man -- critics call him the president's brain -- leaving the White House.
Can Mr. Bush get by without Karl Rove?
And a rapist confessed and apologized for a crime committed two decades ago. Now he's about to go free after serving just six months.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
KING: Critics call him President Bush's brain. But Karl Rove is the president's right-hand man, friend, political guru and architect of two election wins. And now the White House strategist and deputy chief of staff says he's leaving at the end of the month.
Here's our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux -- Suzanne, a huge impact for the Bush administration.
What is the impact there, do you think, immediately?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, you really can't overstate the sense of loss from White House officials. They just say that he is irreplaceable.
We learned that Rove was trying to find a way out as early as the summer of last year. That is when he told the president in the Oval Office.
But he got a little bit of nudge recently from Chief of Staff Josh Bolten saying, look, if you're going to stay after Labor Day, you'll be here for the remainder of the term.
That is the nudge that Karl Rove needed. But he said it was a decision that he struggled with.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MALVEAUX (voice-over): After 34 years by George W. Bush's side, his closest political adviser and friend is calling it quits.
GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been friends for a long time and we're still going to be friends.
KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: It has been the joy and the honor of a lifetime.
MALVEAUX: Karl Rove first met Mr. Bush in Texas in 1973 and 20 years later, he ran his campaign for Texas governor.
As an astute political operator, Rove was responsible for the hardball tactics that led to that win in 1994 and subsequently the White House in 2000 and 2004.
He is the last member of Mr. Bush's inner circle to leave the White House, one of three Texas loyalists who helped launch his political career. ROVE: Through it all, you've remained the same man. Your integrity, character and decency have remained unchanged and inspiring.
MALVEAUX: His fingerprints are on just about everything -- the successes and the failures. He is credited for making national security the defining issue that sealed Mr. Bush's re-election win in 2004. He is also praised for promoting the Republican base's so-called compassionate conservative agenda.
But Rove failed to deliver key legislation at the heart of Mr. Bush's domestic policy -- reforming Social Security and immigration.
As the president faces increasing pressure to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, some see Rove's departure as a significant blow.
WAYNE SLATER, COAUTHOR, "THE ARCHITECT": This is the end of the Bush presidency, absolutely. All lame ducks are lame ducks. This one, with Karl Rove now turning out the lights, is the most lame duck we've seen in a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he's so smart, how come you lost Congress?
MALVEAUX: During the course of the past year, Rove has faced a number of setbacks, including losing the Republican majority in Congress, being identified as one of the leakers of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, although he was cleared of any legal wrongdoing, and more recently becoming the focus of numerous Democratic-led Congressional investigations.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MALVEAUX: and, John, I asked Karl Rove in an e-mail exchange earlier today to respond to those who say that he is being run out of town.
In typical Karl Rove wit, he responded by saying, and I'm quoting here, "That sounds like the rooster claiming to have called up the sun."
Now, Chief of Staff Josh Bolten says he's unsure whether or not Karl Rove will be replaced. They may just divvy up all his responsibilities among numerous staff.
And Karl Rove said he is not going to officially endorse any kind of Republican candidate, but if he is asked for his opinion or advice, he is happy to give the candidates, as well as the president, that advice. He says they have his number -- John.
KING: And I suspect the phone will ring once or twice.
Suzanne Malveaux at the White House.
Suzanne, thank you very much.
Our Carol Costello is monitoring stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Carol, tell us what you have.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with a sad story, John.
Socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor has died. The author and civic leader gave away almost $200 million to support New York's cultural institutions and other humbler projects. A family lawyer says she died at her suburban New York estate. Brooke Astor was 105 years old.
A man charged with yesterday's shooting spree at a Missouri church has pleaded not guilty. The suspect entered the plea during a brief arraignment hearing today. Prosecutors have filed three murder charges against the Micronesian man, who said nothing during the hearing. Five people were also wounded when the man allegedly opened fire during services. He later surrendered to police.
Police are on standby but are hanging back as environmentalists stage a protest against a new third runway at London's Heathrow Airport. Hundreds of demonstrators have set up a so-called climate camp about a half a mile north of the airport. Participants plan activities the next week they say will end in 24 hours if an unspecified direct action is taken.
That's a look at the headlines right now -- John.
KING: Carol Costello.
Carol, thank you very much.
Hurricane Flossie is steaming toward Hawaii and the Big Island is right in its path.
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking Hurricane Flossie and joins us right now -- and, Chad, where is this storm?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know what?
This is a category three hurricane, John. It's just to the south and southeast of Hilo.
Here's the Big Island. And right here. I mean, Kilauea, this is what we're really worried about here, the southeast shore of Hawaii. And Kona is over here.
And as the storm rolls up here, it is now -- it was gaining strength overnight. We've lost a little bit of strength. We're down to 125 miles an hour. But that's still a cat three. It's still a big time storm. And we haven't seen a storm like this enter Hawaiian airspace, for that matter, since Aniki 1992.
It's forecast to say a category three, but miss the islands. You can see the island there. But don't forecast -- don't look at the line. Remember, we're talking about there's no crying in baseball and there's no line in hurricane forecasting. You have to look at the cone. And the Big Island is in the cone. It could be affected by a category two or a category three hurricane in the next few days.
We're also watching the possibility of a new storm. Tropical Depression Four could turn into Dean. It could be a tropical storm and that eventually forecast to be a hurricane over the Virgin Islands. We'll keep watching that for the end of the week -- John.
KING: And we'll keep checking back in.
Chad, thank you very much.
Up ahead, risky walks in space -- astronauts replace a 600-pound gyroscope, but can they repair a potentially dangerous gouge in the heat shield of their shuttle?
Plus, Hillary Clinton's weak spot -- Democrats may think she's a winner, but do they like her?
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
KING: Astronauts left the shuttle Endeavour today for a delicate and dangerous job replacing a 600-pound gyroscope. A more crucial repair job could lie just ahead.
Let's turn to our space correspondent, Miles O'Brien -- Miles, what's the latest?
MILES O'BRIEN, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we should know in about a half hour, when NASA officials will brief us after an all day meeting with the engineers trying to determine whether they will, in fact, try to do something about that big gouge in the bottom of space shuttle Endeavour's belly.
But, first of all, let me just bring you up to date with what's been going on in space.
Now, just about six hours into this spacewalk, spacewalkers Rick Mastracchio and Dave Williams successfully taking out an old gyroscope that was bulky on the International Space Station and putting in a new one. That's important because it allows the Space Station to fly straight and true without burning or using any rocket fuel. Instead, renewable energy, the solar energy and electricity from the solar panels.
Now, let's go back to launch day on Wednesday and walk you through the problem.
Take a look at the problems there with the space shuttle Endeavour. That spraying effect as it went across the bottom part of the underbelly. That's a softball size piece of foam off that external fuel tank. It ricocheted off a strut and then caused about four dings in the base of the underbelly.
Now, the biggest ding caught NASA's attention. You can see, also, on the solid rocket booster exactly -- if you look closely in those highlighted spots, you can see that softball sized piece there as it came off a pipe on the side of the external fuel tank.
Now, yesterday the astronauts went out there with a laser beam device and high resolution cameras and came up with a very good picture of the biggest divot, the one that has them concerned. That's about two by three inches. And what's most of concern to them is it is right down to the skin -- the aluminum skin of Endeavour.
So they have to run a similar piece of tile with a similar type of damage through a blast furnace, run some computer simulations and then decide if, in fact, they should do some sort of repair scenario.
They have three options if they decide to do it. They can attempt what is sort of a shoe polish type effect over the gouge itself. They can fill it in with sort of a Bondo type material. Or they can actually affix a steel plate over it, which will -- or not steel, but a metal plate -- which will protect it.
Now, one of the things they'll be thinking about is previous shuttle flights, previous orbiters that have come back with similar damage.
Take a look at this image. That goes back to 1988, the space shuttle Discovery then. And it came back with a similar piece of damage in the same spot; actually worse; and the shuttle was no worse for the wear.
So all of that will be considered. In about a half hour time, the engineers will report back to us, John and we'll let you know what they've decided. There may be, later in this mission, an unprecedented space walk to fix that top.
KING: A remarkable prospect.
And, Miles, we will check back with you when we get word from NASA.
Miles O'Brien, our space correspondent.
Thank you very much.
O'BRIEN: Thank you, John.
KING: Made in China, recalled overseas -- from toothpaste in your hotel room to toys your kids play with, concerns are rising over Chinese made products.
But is Beijing listening?
And he confessed to rape, but apologized. Now he's getting after prison after serving just six months behind bars. The woman he assaulted says she wants to know why. Stay right here.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
KING: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, two South Korea women are freed, released by their Taliban captors today in Afghanistan. The release came days -- after two days of face-to-face negotiations with a South Korean delegation. Two men in their group have already been executed. Fourteen women and five men are still being held.
No fiery message, but there were fireworks in Havana, as Fidel Castro turned 81 today. The ailing Cuban leader has not appeared in public for more than a year. His brother Raul is acting as provisional leader.
And baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken has a new job. He says he'll be pitching teamwork and cross-cultural communication as a special envoy for the State Department. Ripken will travel to China in October.
Wolf Blitzer is off today.
I'm John King.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Some Republicans say they are eager for Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the Democratic presidential nominee, believing she'll be brought down by her political baggage.
We have a new poll on Senator Clinton's strong points and her weak spots.
Here's CNN's senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, with the numbers -- Bill, do these polls reveal a problem for the senator?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they do, but it's not the problem a lot of people think she has.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Are Democratic voters worried that Hillary Clinton may be difficult to elect?
A majority Democrats pick her as the candidate with the best chance of beating the Republican next year.
Because Democrats also pick her as the toughest and most experienced contender. SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: For 15 years, I have stood up against the right-wing machine and I have come out stronger. So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl.
SCHNEIDER: But there's one quality where she does not stand out -- likability.
When asked which candidate do you find most likable, Democrats give the edge to Barack Obama.
Clinton's been in the spotlight a long time, but maybe voters don't know her as well as they think they do.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think that when Hillary Clinton says that she's the most famous person that people don't really know, I think there's a lot of accuracy to that.
SCHNEIDER: Senator Clinton's been to New Hampshire many times. Granite State Democrats agree that she's the strongest leader and has the best chance of beating the Republican. But they rate her even lower on likability.
A poll in June showed that across the country, 44 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton. Her campaign says all her negatives are already out there.
We know Democrats like her and Republicans don't. Now she has to win over Independents, most of whom don't like her. They're swing voters who can decide the outcome. But Clinton has a not-so-secret weapon.
CUTTER: There is a whole new segment of people that are going to come out and vote for her, including women.
SCHNEIDER: Women. Most women like Hillary Clinton. No likability gap there.
SCHNEIDER: The Associated Press reports that many Democratic leaders around the country, particularly in red states, are worried that Hillary Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket could hurt other Democrats. Most of the more than 40 Democrats interviewed by the AP would only express those concerns anonymously. Maybe that's evidence of her clout -- John.
KING: Beyond any doubt it is.
Bill Schneider for us.
Bill, fascinating numbers. Thank you.
And Hillary Clinton is unveiling the first ad of her presidential campaign and it accuses President Bush of ignoring many Americans of all walks of life. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As I travel around America, I hear from so many people who feel like they're just invisible to their government.
ANNOUNCER: Hillary Clinton has spent her life standing up for people others don't see.
CLINTON: You know, if you're a family...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That ad begins airing tomorrow in Iowa, which, of course, host the leadoff caucuses. Those caucuses early next year.
Now toothpaste made with a poisonous chemical distributed here in America the latest recall of a product made in China. It comes amid new shock waves following a massive toy recall.
Here's CNN's Keith Oppenheim.
Keith, that tainted toy scandal has claimed the victim of another sort. Tell us the story.
KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Well, first of all, to get to the suicide of a Chinese CEO, that may be a sign of a troubled individual. But others are pointing out it could also be a sign of trouble in the balance between product safety and production in Chinese manufacturing.
OPPENHEIM (voice over): In China, there is now a clear connection between the manufacturing of toys and tragedy. A state-run newspaper reports Zhang Shuhong, the co-owner of a company that made some plastic Fisher-Price toys in the form of Big Bird and Elmo, committed suicide. The company called Lee Der was under a recall of nearly one million toys and a temporary ban on exports because the toys contained lead.
Zhang, the CEO, was known to be under pressure because of that recall.
MIKE O'NEAL, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": To one extent it's a culture response to shame, is what it seems to be.
OPPENHEIM: Mike O'Neal is a reporter for the "Chicago Tribune" who co-wrote an investigative piece last week about lead paint in Chinese toys. O'Neal says this death in a sense symbolizes growing pressure on Chinese officials and executives to fix safety problems and perceptions with their products.
O'NEAL: I think they are scared. I think, you know, their first response was, we're not doing anything wrong. And you know, since then, they've really come around on this. And I think that they're very concerned that the great economic engine that has powered that country for the last, you know, 20 years, a decade, is definitely, you know -- that this is a threat to that.
OPPENHEIM: The toy story shared a headline today with toothpaste. Gilchrist & Soames, an Indianapolis-based company that makes toiletries for high-end hotels, is recalling small tubes of toothpaste made in China. After reports some toothpaste from China contained a chemical used to make anti-freeze, Gilchrist & Soames ordered testing on its own products. Lab tests showed evidence of the toxin which can be damaging to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
KATHIE DE VOE, CEO, GILCHRIST & SOAMES: Anybody who has the toothpaste, our brand or others on this recall list, should not take any chances and dispose of the product.
OPPENHEIM: That's what Gilchrist & Soames did. And if they hadn't done their own tests, the tainted toothpaste would still be found in your hotel room.
OPPENHEIM: John, Mike O'Neal of the "Chicago Tribune" pointed out that sometimes safety problems and quality problems can have to do with a company's lack of experience. For example, lead paint is sold widely throughout Asia, but the Chinese company that doesn't change its paint on its products and sells those products to the United States will obviously run into big trouble -- John.
KING: Keith Oppenheim for us on a developing and an unfolding scandal, as many would call it.
Keith, thank you very much.
Now, should U.S. consumers consider a boycott of some Chinese products until safety products improve? Joining me now is Ted Fishman. He's the author of the book "China, Inc."
Ted, let's start with the basic question. Americans certainly are outraged when they hear these reports about paint on toys or poisons in toothpaste, but how much should they be outraged to China and to what degree should they maybe be looking in the mirror?
TED FISHMAN, AUTHOR, "CHINA, INC.": Well, the mirror is the place to start. You know, there have been -- every multinational company in the world is now manufacturing in China, if they do manufacture, consumer products that are sold in American pharmacies, big buck (ph) stores, toy stores. And they make regular requirements of their Chinese suppliers to lower costs, to up production, and they are going to China because China lacks the standards that they are -- have to abide by at home -- labor standards, environmental standards, safety standards.
And when you tell your suppliers to lower the cost, they also lower oversight. They go to cheaper materials. And this is all done with a wink and a nudge from their multinational customers. And when those things come back to us and we put them in our mouth and they have what we don't like, you know, we should probably wonder whether we aren't part of the cause of this ricochet of poor products that is coming back into our country.
KING: And so, in your view, the average American consumer should wake up tomorrow morning and do what?
FISHMAN: Well, what we have to do is we really have to be vocal on the safety standards. We have very lax enforcement of -- there are very few industry standards where industries really do 100 percent inspection on their products. Customs officials are very undermanned in looking at products, not just for safe products that we think are essential, like medicines and drugs, but as the toy example shows, you know, even small things that we don't give a second thought to are mission critical in our lives because we put them in our mouths. If we give them to our children, they put them in their mouths.
And when things fail, even if they seem like peripheral objects to us, then we suffer. And if we don't have those standards, if we insist as consumers that we also need the lowest cost on everything and aren't willing to pay either as consumers or as citizens, then we are going to suffer the problems of poor products coming back here.
KING: The Chinese government obviously is under a great deal of media pressure, a great deal of political pressure. I want your sense of how much you trust the Chinese government.
And before you answer, here's a quote from "The New York Times" on Friday, when essentially the question was put to the Chinese government, what will you do about it? And a government official was quoted as saying, "The government will never tolerate but crack down firmly on individual cases of making exports in violation of the law."
So the Chinese government saying don't worry, trust us, we will find the problem and crack down.
Do you trust them?
FISHMAN: No. You can't trust the regulatory regime in China. There are structural problems.
The regulators are the very same people who are the regulated. Corporate structures there are very much intertwined with government structures. Financing is, ownership is. And you can't drive a wedge of regulation in that ownership structure.
The Chinese government always says they're vigilant, and yet there are always problems. You have to have a culture of compliance among the suppliers that are serving their multinational consumers. And until there's a culture of compliance there, then we won't get any satisfaction on safety in China.
KING: We have heard in the Chinese media of executions of officials of companies involved in this, suicides of officials of companies where the finger has been pointed at them. Take us inside the culture of China, if you will, as to how this will play out as this -- more and more reports of tainted products.
FISHMAN: You know, it's impossible to define what is the motives behind any particular punishment. Sometimes it's the, you know, kill one rooster to scare all the monkeys. You know, that's -- make an example of people, and sometimes it's a little more mysterious.
What looks to us like swift justice often in China, let's sigh a speedy execution, might, in fact, be a way to keep the person who is under the spotlight from naming names of others. Things that look like a suicide may or may not be a suicide.
You know, it's a part of the world where you don't know if people jump from planes or are pushed from planes, hang from ropes or are put in ropes. You just will never know. And that is very hard to define.
What you really have to do is focus on the compliance of the people who are bringing this quarter of a trillion dollars worth of Chinese goods into this country. And if they don't comply, you will get no satisfaction from regulators in China.
KING: So you don't trust China. Let me ask you in closing, if a consumer in this country should do what of its -- should demand what of the corporations? You say they're looking for lower costs, that they are to blame for this. How does a consumer put pressure on corporations to be the police?
FISHMAN: It's very, very hard to put pressure on those companies unless it is a very kind of public pressure, where you become a kind of citizen capitalist, where the demands are vocal, where, you know, you make those demands known at the store fronts, to the managers.
Companies respond to public pressure. They respond forcefully to public pressure. And yet, because of the migration of manufacturing in China, in a way we've become anesthetized to the manufacture of things. We don't look closely at the way, you know, our companies make things and send them back to us.
Maybe we have to apply the kind of pressure we used to apply in the United States when goods were made here and we could go to the shop door and peer into the window and talk to the workers. Try talking to a worker in China; you will never get in the gates.
KING: Ted Fishman, author of "China, Inc.".
Ted, thanks for your time today.
FISHMAN: Thank you.
KING: Thank you.
Apologizing for rape. A confessed rapist is about to get out of prison after serving only six months. Carol Costello finds out why and talks to his victim. That's next.
And what would it take for the United States to consider reinstituting the draft? Jack Cafferty is taking your e-mail.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
KING: When is an apology enough? A woman who was assaulted more than 20 years ago doesn't think it's nearly enough even though the man who made it did serve some time.
CNN's Carol Costello has this most unusual story.
Carol, what's this all about?
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, John, Liz Seccuro's story was big news. It isn't often a victim of an unsolved rape gets a letter from the man who assaulted her, apologizing.
Seccuro thought, finally justice. Well, tonight, she's fighting for it again.
COSTELLO (voice over): William Beebe confessed to sexual assaulting Liz Seccuro more than two decades ago. But he'll soon be a free man after serving only six months.
LIZ SECCURO, ASSAULT VICTIM: I'm not bitter or angry. I'm just in shock. How does this happen/ Who makes these decisions?
COSTELLO: Seccuro, who is avoiding cameras now, did agree to talk with me on the phone. These pictures were taken by CNN last year after she got a letter from Beebe apologizing for the attack. Since going public, she's received hate mail and death threats from those who feel Beebe's apology was enough.
SECCURO: I'm sorry. If you went and committed something heinous upon another person, does "I'm sorry" cut it?
COSTELLO: It was September 8, 2005, when Seccuro received a letter from Beebe at her home. It read in part, "In October 1984 I harmed you. My prayer is that you be free and happy in your life."
The letter frightened Seccuro and vindicated her. She was 17 and a freshman at the university of Virginia when she says she was drugged and attacked at a fraternity party by a man she had rejected.
SECCURO: Door closed, shut the lights, ripped my clothes off, threw me on the bed. It was that fast.
COSTELLO: Seccuro woke up wrapped in a bloody sheet. She went to authorities, but by that time William Beebe had disappeared. Twenty-one years later, that letter.
It led to charges and a sentence of 10 years for Beebe. All but 18 months suspended and returned for information from Beebe that more than one man had assaulted Seccuro that night. But there have been no more arrests. So why Beebe's early release? His attorney tells me his sentence and parole were calculated according to rules in existence when the crime committed. And she says, "The fact that Mr. Beebe followed the rules and served his time should not be held against him."
COSTELLO: Now, Beebe did give prosecutors information on others who attacked Seccuro, but that investigation remains open. No arrests were made.
As for how this 1984 formula shaved so much time off of Beebe's sentence, time for good behavior and time served were factored in. And the Charlottesville prosecutor is now trying to determine if anything can be done about it -- John.
KING: A remarkable story.
Carol, thank you.
Lou Dobbs is getting ready for his show right at the top of the hour, about 14 minutes away.
Lou, tell us what you're working on this evening.
LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Thank you, John.
The suspect in the execution-style murders of three young people in Newark, New Jersey, is in jail. He's a criminal illegal alien out on the street because local authorities refused to notify immigration officials. But some in that city want to change the sanctuary policy.
We'll have that report.
A group of free market economists says do away with our nation's borders all together. Let everyone in and the economy, they say, will thrive.
Just what in the world are they thinking? We'll have a special report.
And Karl Rove, the guiding force behind the president's failed amnesty compromise and so many failed policies, will his departure signal a change in the administration's direction?
And among my guests tonight, Congressman Silvestre Reyes will be talking about the administration's new immigration enforcement plan. And we'll hear more on the Rove resignation and the results of the Iowa Straw Poll from a distinguished panel of political analyst and strategists.
Please join us for all of that and all the day's news at the top of the hour here on CNN. John, back to you.
KING: We'll be watching, Lou. We'll see you in just a few minutes. Thank you.
And up ahead here, a new soldier could be coming to the front lines. Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr has the it least on robots joining the ranks.
And what would it take for the country to consider bringing back the draft? Jack Cafferty is taking your e-mail.
And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
KING: More now on the resignation of Karl Rove today from the White House. I'm going to be joined by a man who knows him quite well and the inter workings of the Bush White House, the former White House chief of staff, Andy Card, who joins us from Maine.
Andy Card, Karl Rove leaves the president's side today. Many say the president's alter ego. He's been called the president's brain, he's been called "The Architect".
What will the president miss most with Karl Rove not there?
ANDREW CARD, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I think he will miss the banter and friendly challenges that they give each other.
Karl is very, very smart. He's highly ethical and very responsible, but he also knows how to make sure the president relaxes.
He used to challenge the president with jokes and book reading contests, and not only would he challenge him on policy, but he would challenge him to the point that he could relax. That was very important.
Karl Rove will be missed, but no one is irreplaceable, and they will find a way for others to replace the tasks that Karl Rove performed. I don't think it will be performed by one person anymore. I think it will take a collection of people to do what Karl Rove used to do.
But he will be missed. But the White House and the president will go on and do a great job.
KING: What is the downside of Karl Rove? You were the chief of staff. Many said even when you were chief of staff Karl Rove had too much influence on this president. What is the downside of having someone so close to the president who is both a friend and a political strategist -- let me add one more -- and a policy geek and guru as well?
CARD: He is a policy geek and he's very, very smart and very well read. I don't think there was a downside.
The downside was probably that the myth wasn't really the reality. Karl Rove is very responsible, very ethical, very careful about everything that he does. And I do not find any problems the way he does his job. But there was more of a myth around Karl Rove, and I found the reality to be terrific actually.
The president and Karl Rove got along very well, but he wasn't the alter ego for the president. He was not the president's brain. He was a good, sound adviser. And I tell you, he is one smart guy and he's fun to be with.
KING: Well, Democrats say he's one guy who has a lot of information about controversies that they want to learn more about, including the firing of the federal prosecutors. Why -- tell the American people, why shouldn't Karl Rove go up, sit down at the witness table, and answer any questions the Democrats want to throw at him?
CARD: Well, I feel very strongly that the president deserves to have unvarnished counsel. And if any of the close advisers to the president are in a position where they have to go testify before Congress and answer questions about the advice that they give the president, it won't be a good day for this country.
So I think the president, as Article II says, should be separate and equal from members of Congress. And the president deserves to have some advisers around him that he can get unfettered, unvarnished advice from, and they shouldn't have to fear about appearing before a congressional committee.
After all, there's no allegation of any wrongdoing in this situation. It's just people have kind of a voyeuristic interest in finding out what's happening inside the White House.
The president makes the decisions as the president of the United States. It isn't Karl Rove or the chief of staff or counsel. The president does. But he should have the benefit of good, wise counsel that is unvarnished.
KING: Short on time, unfortunately. Need to leave it there.
It's good to see an old friend.
Andy Card, the former White House chief of staff.
Thank you very much for your time today.
CARD: Thank you, John.
KING: Take care, Andy.
And it sounds like something out of "Blade Runner," but it's real -- robots that repel deadly bombs and insurgent attacks. And the U.S. military is putting them to use now in Iraq.
Let's turn to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, for the details.
Barbara, what do these robots do, exactly?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the military hopes it's not quite "Blade Runner," but it looks pretty similar. Take a look at this video supplied by the contractor who is doing this work for the U.S. military.
These are little mini robots, if you will. They're called swords (ph). And they are armed, as you see, with a light machine gun. They're testing them out in Iraq.
Now, they haven't fired yet. They haven't been in combat. But these little guys can go into very dangerous areas, possibly where there are snipers or other threats. They could go ahead of the U.S. troops, keep the U.S. troops in a safer position, of course. That is really the goal.
But, John, there's plenty of technical and ethical questions here. Before a machine gun on top of a robot fires, they have to make sure, of course, it's very reliable, and they have to deal with the ethical questions of having a robot pull the trigger.
They've been using robots in Iraq for a lot of jobs, like detonating IEDs and dealing with hazardous materials. This is a little peek into the future of what may come next -- John.
KING: A fascinating glimpse at the future.
Barbara Starr will continue to check in as the Pentagon tries to answer those difficult questions.
Barbara, thank you very much.
KING: And up ahead here, what would it take for the United States to consider reinstituting the draft? Jack Cafferty has your e- mail.
KING: Time to check back now with Jack Cafferty.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: John, the question this hour is: What would it take for this country to consider reinstituting the draft?
Ed writes from Connecticut, "Good lord, no. With an inexhaustible supply of cannon fodder, the temptation to demonstrate their macho manhood with poor and middle class citizens in places like Iran, North Korea, France and Massachusetts would be irresistible. America would make the 100 Years War look like a photo-op."
Kate in South Dakota, "If the U.S. elects another president who supports this war it will have no choice but to reinstitute the draft. The real problem with that is, as in the past, the children of wealthy parents will be able to avoid service and the children of the middle class and poor will be sent as sacrifices to the oil altar."
T.D. in Nebraska, "The military ought not consider a draft. They need to wake up and seriously make arrangements to get of Iraq sooner rather than later. That means though the Democrats have to stand up to George Bush and we know they won't do that."
Gary in Ohio, "About four more years in Iraq ought to do it. By then, enlistments will be way down and reenlistment rates will as well. States will be fed up with their National Guard units and their associated equipment being depleted, leaving them vulnerable to no protection in case of local emergencies. At that point, I'd see no other alternative."
This from an active duty officer in Jacksonville, Florida. "From an active duty submarine officer, I can tell you that nuclear trained officers are going to be leaving the submarine force in record numbers over the next few years. Deployments are getting longer and the number of qualified personnel is going down. Once the submarines are forced to sail alongside a pier due to manning issues I think a draft will be reconsidered."
And this from D.J. in Illinois. "Why is anyone really worried about this? First, an effective policy on dealing with gays in the military will have to be reached in order to prevent non-interested draftees from prancing down to the recruiting office in boas and bad wigs claiming to be homosexual simply to save their lives."
Not to worry. That's not going to happen anytime soon.
If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. There's more of this stuff online for your reading pleasure -- John.
KING: Jack Cafferty, thank you very much.
We'll be back here in just an hour.
I'm John King in Washington.
"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now.
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