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Massive New Toy Recall; Day 8 of Mine Rescue Effort; Immigration Duel: Giuliani vs. Romney

Aired August 14, 2007 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, mine rescuers dig and drill as fast as they can toward a last pocket of air and hope. Six miners now trapped for more than a week. New pictures and more frustration.
Plus, a massive new recall of toys from China. Millions of popular products may be putting your children at risk.

And Rudy Giuliani makes new promises about border security. Will it help defend himself from attacks by Mitt Romney? I'll talk presidential politics and more with former House majority leader Tom DeLay.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

In Utah right now, drillers are boring toward the farthest section of a caved-in mine, but after 8 days and no signs of six trapped miners, the front man for the rescue operation acknowledges they are running out of possibilities.

Our own Brian Todd is in Huntington, Utah.

Brian, what is the latest?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a bit of a contradiction, Suzanne. He does say they're running out of possibilities. They're drilling, they're digging, but the rescue effort, he says, is progressing faster than it has in recent days. The main reason for that, there's been no seismic activity in this mine for a while now.

As you mentioned, there is drilling and digging going on. Those are the two main tracks. Here's where we are on those tracks.

On the drilling, a third hole is being drilled through right now from the top of this mountain toward a chamber where they think these miners might have retreated to if they survived this collapse. That drill rig is only about halfway down to the 1,400-foot mark where it needs to go.

A separate track is the digging. Much slower pace, about 700 feet in. That's only a little bit more than a third of the way in to where they believe these miners are trapped.

Just how slow and dangerous is it? The owner of this mine, Bob Murray, shot a special videotape early this morning where he narrates a part of this. And this part that we're going to show you is an area where they have to dig and then reinforce the walls and the ceiling.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY CORP.: Here we are, setting one of these water jacks or rock props that we use to support the roof. First they dig out into the solid bottom. Then they get down into (INAUDIBLE). Then they set a base under the prop, then they hook a water line to the prop, then this prop in the base.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Then they have to inject water into those water jacks, up to 1,100 pounds of water. Now, that process they have to do every couple of feet just to reinforce the roof and the walls of this mine.

Right now, they are progressing very slowly. They wanted to show this videotape to the families and to us, to make everyone realize just how slow and dangerous this job is -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: So, the update here, did Bob Murray or anybody else on the site give you a sense of just how much longer this is going to take in light of the fact that this is going so slowly?

TODD: We pressed him on that toward the end of the news conference. He says given all this, he says maybe five to seven days before they reach them. He was quick to qualify that. He said that's an estimation, but they could have more bumps in the mountain, more shifts in the earth which would set them back.

So, again, dangerous, slow work. Twelve miners have already asked to be reassigned to other parts of this mine because it's so dangerous.

MALVEAUX: Tough, tough work.

Thank you so much, Brian Todd.

And Brian will be back in our next hour with a look at the life- and-death question that is now being asked in Utah. Is it possible for those trapped miners to still be alive?

Well, they are cute, colorful, and they may be dangerous to your kids. Mattel is recalling more than 20 million toys made in China. They include Polly Pocket dolls, Batman action figures, and Sarge toy cars.

Let's go straight to Allan Chernoff in New York -- Allan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: There are two categories of toys that are being recalled. First of all, toys that have little magnets that can come loose. And if they do, if small children actually ingest those magnets, that can cause some serious intestinal problems. The company also worried that kids might actually inhale these little magnets.

Among the toys being recalled, Polly Pocket, Doggie Daycare, and Barbie and Tanner. Indeed, the magnet that comes loose in that toy is in the pooper scooper for Tanner, who is Barbie's doll.

Now, this, apparently, according to Mattel, was a design problem. They are not blaming this on the Chinese manufacturer.

The other problem involves this toy, and this is Sarge, the jeep from the movie "Cars". It's painted with lead paint, and Mattel says that was done improperly by a subcontractor in China. So it's recalling that toy as well.

This after only two weeks ago Mattel had recalled a whole batch of other toys made in China, manufactured with lead paint. And as the head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission pointed out earlier today, lead paint has been outlawed here for years.

NANCY NORD, CHAIRWOMAN, CPSC: There is absolutely no excuse for lead to be found in toys entering this country. It is totally unacceptable and it needs to stop, and this agency is going to take whatever action it needs to take to address that problem aggressively.

CHERNOFF: Mattel says it has toughened its standards and is now checking every batch of paint used on toys manufactured in China.

Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: And let's now bring in our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton.

Abbi, I don't know very much about toys, but obviously we can go online for more information about the toy recall.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Suzanne, we've put it on CNN.com, this great list of toys affected by today's recall and earlier recall.

First of all, those affected by the Mattel recall today due to magnets coming loose, like the Polly Pocket that Allan Chernoff mentioned, also due to lead poisoning hazards like the Sarge vehicle. But you're also going to find on this list details of earlier recalls because this just the latest in a series.

All of these linked to information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. What they are saying today, immediately take the recalled toys away from children -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Abbi, thank you so much.

And now time for "The Cafferty File". Jack Cafferty now joining us from New York.

Jack, what are you looking at?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Last November's election gave Democrats control of the House and Senate and gave fed-up American voters hope that things could change in Washington. After all, the Dems hadn't controlled Congress since 1994. But the sweeping reforms promised by party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid is nowhere to be found.

One of the mandates the Democrats were given in that election was to end the war in Iraq. Instead, they caved in to President Bush, handed him another $97 billion of your money with which to wage war.

Before the month-long August recess, the Democrats caved in yet again. Threatened with being ordered to remain in session and miss some of their precious time off, they promptly shredded the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and actually expanded President Bush's powers to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant. Oh, and they allowed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to be in charge of that newly-expanded spy program.

Immigration reform is nonexistent. Some Hispanic groups are saying Democrats are sending out mixed messages on that issue.

War policy and fuel efficiency standards are on the docket for September, but don't hold your breath for anything meaningful to get done then either.

The baby steps taken by the Democratic Congress would fit on a cocktail napkin, and you wouldn't even need that to list the challenges they've mounted against President Bush. Those don't exist at all.

So here's the question. Why haven't the Democrats made more progress on their campaign promises?

E-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@cnn.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jack. A lot on your plate there.

It is a major issue among Republican hopefuls in the 2008 race for the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You've got to learn English and you've got to learn the basics of American civics and what we're all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Rudy Giuliani zeroes in on immigration reform, fighting back against Mitt Romney's claims that is he too soft on the issue. When Karl Rove announced his retirement yesterday, some said it was the beginning of the end for the Bush administration. Former House majority leader Tom DeLay joins us to talk about the fallout from Rove's departure and the future of the Republican Party.

And right now, Hurricane Flossie is on a collision course with the big island of Hawaii. We are tracking that storm.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Republican Rudy Giuliani is trying to sharpen his focus today on border security, an issue that plays into his 9/11 war on terror credentials. It may also help the GOP presidential frontrunner to deflect fire from rival Mitt Romney.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is here.

Bill, I think we are seeing a full one-to-one duel at this point.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, we are between the two candidates. But also, each candidate on his own is fighting a duel with his past.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Executive experience...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: I have no audio. I have no audio. I lost audio.

MALVEAUX: Obviously, we are having an audio problem. We'll go into our next story.

Current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is jumping into the political showdown over immigration, even as he continues denying that he is weighing an independent presidential bid of his own. Bloomberg was asked about Mitt Romney's claim that New York is a so-called sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. He strongly defended the city's policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK: This city and this country were built by immigrants, thrived with immigrants...

(APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: ... and without more immigrants, we don't have a future. We are going to lose the international battle to have science and education and medicine and creativity here if we don't have a constant influx of immigrants from around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: Bloomberg says New York is the best possible example of why the nation needs immigrants.

Now, the wealthiest presidential contender is putting out details of his finances. A newly-released disclosure report shows Republican Mitt Romney and his wife have assets valued as high as $287 million. Most of their money is held in blind trusts to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The Romneys have between $5 million and $25 million in three joint checking accounts. And they established a trust for their children valued at about $100 million.

By way of comparison, the high-end estimate of Romney's assets are valued four times higher than those of GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani's assets are valued at up to around $70 million.

New developments in those dogfighting charges against football star Michael Vick. Could the Atlanta Falcons quarterback be working out a deal to avoid jail time?

And the National Guard is on standby as Hurricane Flossie bears down on Hawaii. We'll get the latest details ahead.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Let's go back to our Bill Schneider, who was covering that story about the duel between the two frontrunners in the Republican race.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. Each candidate is actually fighting not just with each other, but with their own past.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice over): Mitt Romney made this charge against Rudy Giuliani...

ROMNEY: At the same time, Mayor Giuliani made New York City what's known as a sanctuary city, where illegal aliens were allowed to come -- and he instructed the leaders of the city not to enforce the law. Not to enforce immigration law there.

SCHNEIDER: Giuliani defends his decision as mayor of New York to continue a policy started by his predecessor to allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend public schools, receive medical attention, and cooperate with the police without fear of being deported.

GIULIANI: If you came and reported a crime, we weren't going to turn you in.

SCHNEIDER: The idea is to protect public safety first. In South Carolina Tuesday, Giuliani proposed tougher border controls and a tamper-proof I.D. card to keep out terrorists and criminals.

GIULIANI: If even one or two of them are very dangerous criminals, just one or two out of 1,000, then we've got a really serious problem.

SCHNEIDER: As mayor, Giuliani was a passionate advocate of immigration, saying in 1994, "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect."

There's been a shift in his emphasis, you might say. Why? Two reasons -- 9/11, which highlighted the need to protect public safety, and John McCain, whose support for comprehensive immigration reform cost him dearly in polls of Republicans.

Meanwhile, the Giuliani campaign accuses Romney of running away from his own past, asking, "Why should the American people believe Governor Romney has the right kind of executive experience for America when he claims he was powerless to take action against three sanctuary cities in Massachusetts who refused to enforce illegal immigration laws?"

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: That's what happens when you have the former mayor of New York and the former governor of Massachusetts, two very liberal places, running for the Republican nomination. They have to run not just against each other, but against things they said and did in the past -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks. And obviously very important in the primary.

Thanks again, Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Sure.

(NEWSBREAK)

MALVEAUX: And Hawaii is bracing for Hurricane Flossie. A state of emergency is in effect for the big island, and a 5.3 earthquake has already jolted residents.

(WEATHER REPORT)

MALVEAUX: Former House speaker Dennis Hastert is set to make a big announcement. Is the congressional heavyweight about to call it quits? We'll tell you what we're learning about Hastert's future.

And I'll ask former House majority leader Tom DeLay what he knows.

And immigration smackdown. Mitt Romney says Rudy Giuliani has created a sanctuary for illegal immigrants in New York City when he was mayor. Now Giuliani is firing back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: Happening now, concerns about touch screen voting machines you may be using in the next election. Many of them may be defective. Dan Rather joins us next hour for a special look at the safety of your vote.

And insurgents in Iraq are getting help from teenagers. The U.S. wants to change that. Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, will tell us how imprisoned youngsters could remake their country.

And Americans love their bottled water. But will they love it enough to pay a 25-cent tax whenever they buy a bottle? Well, we'll tell you who is betting -- or maybe not.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The Republicans lost control of Congress on Denny Hastert's watch. And Hastert lost the speaker's job. Now Hastert may be ready to quit Congress altogether.

Let's bring in our congressional correspondent, Jessica Yellin.

Hastert is scheduled to make an announcement Friday. Clearly, a lot of people looking at this with great anticipation.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Suzanne, Dennis Hastert sent out a letter to supporters over the weekend, inviting them to hear him speak in his district this Friday. And a number of Republican and Democratic staffers here on the Hill fully expect him to announce his retirement.

Now, Dennis Hastert's office will not confirm that. They only say that he will be announcing his future plans.

Dennis Hastert was elected to the speakership unanimously. He is the longest-serving Republican speaker in history.

Folks here, Republicans say that he'll be remembered as a leader who did not seek the limelight. They said after the divisive Gingrich years, it was nice to have a leader who was not a bomb thrower. That's how one person describes Hastert.

Now, there was a question raised about Hastert's leadership during the page scandal that involved Congressman Mark Foley. An Ethics Committee said Hastert could have done more, his office could have done more to try to prevent that in the early days, and there was speculation some time ago that Hastert might step down after his party lost control of Congress in the most recent election.

Now people are questioning whether, in fact, he will make that announcement this Friday. Hastert's district, you should know, is solidly Republican district. At least two Republicans have already indicated they would like to run for his seat if the former speaker does not choose to seek re-election -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK, Jessica. Thank you so much.

And we're going to be -- continuing with that, joining us now, the man who was majority leader when Hastert was speaker, and who's faced his share of political fights, as well as losses, former Republican congressman from Texas, Tom DeLay.

Thank you so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

TOM DELAY (R), FMR. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: My pleasure, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: What do you know about Hastert's future? Do you have any inside track you can share us with?

DELAY: Well, I've had a lot of private conversations with Dennis Hastert over the years, and even recently, and I would just as soon wait until he makes his announcement Friday. But no matter what his announcement is, Denny Hastert will go down as one of the most effective speakers of our time.

As you said before, he was a speaker that was absolutely the perfect man for the Republicans in the House of Representatives when he became speaker. We needed a calming influence, a coach, if you will. He was a wrestling coach, he's in the Hall of Fame as a wrestling coach, and we needed that. And he guided us through eight years of very effective legislation on very small margins, was able to work with the president and with the Senate to get things done.

MALVEAUX: Would you be surprised if he still ran? Or does it seem like this is probably the time that he should call it quits?

DELAY: Well, I -- Denny Hastert is the only one that really knows that. And he'll -- Friday he will make that -- that announcement. But whatever the announcement is, Denny will make the right decision.

MALVEAUX: Congressman, one of the stories we're following is this huge recall of toys from China. Clearly, Congress has a role in all of this. It's one recall after another after another.

Do you think that Congress is in a position where they should fight for stricter regulations instead of what we're seeing, kind of this piecemeal solution?

DELAY: Well, certainly, we need to look at our trading partnership with China. There already are regulations on the books that the toy companies are -- are taking very seriously. That's why you're having millions upon millions of toys being recalled. But China needs to know that, if they are going to participate in the global economy, and if they are going to participate in trade with the United States, they are going to have to consider our consumers as number one and not just the almighty buck.

MALVEAUX: Obviously, that hasn't been working. Do you think President Bush needs to step it up, put more pressure on China?

DELAY: Absolutely. I think China -- there's a -- we have a lot of problems with China. And we have been very tough...

MALVEAUX: How do you suggest he do that? How do you suggest he do that?

DELAY: Well, certainly, through diplomatic means and through our trade representatives, and the president can make public announcements.

But a lot of statements can be made to let them know that, if they are going to trade with us, they are going to take the consumer into consideration.

MALVEAUX: One of the statements, obviously, the United States could make is perhaps boycotting the Olympics. Where do you stand on that?

DELAY: Well, I'm not sure we're at that right now. Frankly, I hate to see the Olympics used as a political tool.

We have got plenty of tools in our quiver for us to deal with China. We don't need to denigrate the Olympics and bring it into the political arena.

MALVEAUX: As we know, Karl Rove resigned yesterday, announcing that he was stepping down. Clearly, a good friend of yours, a good colleague. About a year ago, he said he was considering with the president -- they sat down and talked about the right time for him to leave.

Around that time, as well, there have been a lot of things that have not worked well for Karl Rove, the CIA leak investigation, found to be one of the leakers, not legally charged, obviously, and losing control of Congress to the Democrats. Was there a point where he was more of a political liability to the administration?

DELAY: Well, Suzanne, you can't -- you can't put all that on Karl Rove.

I think we all had a part to play in the losses in 2006. And -- and Karl Rove, this whole CIA leak thing has proven to be nothing. No one was charged with a crime. Libby was found guilty of something that had nothing to do with the crime of leaking the identity of a CIA operative.

MALVEAUX: But one of the things that some White House officials were saying at the time is that he had become a distraction, that perhaps he wasn't charged with anything -- obviously, you're right -- but that he had become somewhat of a distraction.

DELAY: Well, that's -- that's the strategy of the Democrats. This whole criminalization of politics, that's the new level of politics now that the Democrats have exhibited.

They can't beat you at the ballot box, so they try to beat you in a jury box. They -- they have no ideas and no agenda, so they try to destroy and you and put you in jail. That's -- that's the new strategy of the Democrats.

And Karl Rove, being the strong individual that he is, stood up to them, stood for what's right and what's good for the country and for his president.

MALVEAUX: Well, he's leaving now. So, do you think he's capitulating in some way?

DELAY: No, I don't think so.

I -- I'm -- I'm glad he's leaving, to be honest with you. I'm now -- I'm glad that he is going to be out and free of the White House, and he can be involved in the upcoming presidential elections and other elections here in the state of Texas and elsewhere.

He's going to be a force. He's not going away. I know Karl Rove. He's going to be involved, and he's going to be involved in a big way, and probably the Democrats' worst nightmare.

MALVEAUX: Do you think that immigration reform is doable now, or is it still dead?

DELAY: No, I think it's doable, if -- if people realize that you have to secure the borders first before you can reform immigration. And I know there's a lot of work being done on that regard.

You know, the House passed in 2005 a very strong border security bill. You could pick that bill up right now, and it could be law within a few months.

MALVEAUX: Want to go, quick wrap-up here, back to Karl Rove. Obviously, a lot on his plate. He was really at the center of a lot that happened at the White House.

But, also, immigration reform died. Social Security reform died. What kind of grade would you give Rove walking out of the White House?

DELAY: Well, you have got to point to successes, too, you know.

MALVEAUX: Obviously.

(CROSSTALK)

DELAY: The president held the line on spending , and was very good at it. The president cut taxes without one Democrat vote and -- and spurred this economy.

The president has stood strong on the -- on Iraq. The energy bill that he signed in 2005 was a mammoth piece of legislation modernizing Medicare, so that seniors now are getting prescription drugs.

These are all things that were very, very hard to do. Sure, people are blaming him with Social Security. But that wasn't Karl Rove's fault. That was -- that was the fault of the Senate, who didn't have the backbone to deal with Social Security, so it just fell on its own accord.

MALVEAUX: Congressman, I have to leave it right there.

So, thank you so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

DELAY: My pleasure, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

The 2008 Democrats agree the health care system needs serious reform. So, if they all agree about reform, why can't they agree on a way to do it?

And holy smokes. Which powerful senator will appear in the new "Batman" movie?

And which presidential candidates have taken a crack at the big screen? Well, we have got that story ahead.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: A new television ad out today by Hillary Clinton and tough new comments by Elizabeth Edwards are heating up the battle over health care.

Our Don Lemon is keeping an eye on the candidates.

And, Don, where do they stand on this particular issue?

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, it's an issue that mostly divides along party lines, and it's an issue that's getting more and more play out on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON (voice-over): Hillary Clinton in her very first presidential campaign commercial, promising to make health care affordable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CLINTON CAMPAIGN AD)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All the Democratic presidential hopefuls promise to fix or overhaul the current system and cover most, if not all, of the roughly 44 million people without insurance. Most of the candidates want to achieve this by shoring up the employer-based system.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We ought to have universal health care in this country. We need it in the worst kind of way. SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will finally make sure that every American has affordable health care that stays with you no matter what happens by passing my plan to provide universal health care.

LEMON: John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, is taking aim at her husband's rivals. In an interview with the "Progressive" magazine, Edwards calls Obama's plan inadequate, because she says it leaves 15 million people without insurance. And she criticizes Clinton for not yet unveiling a formal health care plan.

The Republican hopefuls have similar goals, but a different way of reaching them. They want tax incentives to allow consumers to purchase private insurance. And some of them are critical of the Democrats' plan.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: when you hear Democrats in particular talk about single-payer, mandated health care, universal health care, what they're talking about is socialized medicine.

CLINTON: I have never advocated socialized medicine. And I hope all the journalists hear that loudly and clearly, because that has been a right-wing attack on me for 15 years. And it is wrong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Right now, health care appears to be a more pressing issue for Democrats. Fifty-one percent of Democrats we questioned in a May poll say health care is extremely important when it comes to their vote for president. Only 36 percent of Republicans feel that way -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Don, thank you so much.

And I want to bring some breaking news here that we're learning from Reuters, as well as CNN, three suicide attacks, bombings, that have happened in Iraq today, making it one of the worst single attacks. According to Reuters -- the numbers are higher from Reuters -- they say 175 people killed, 200 wounded.

Now, CNN has confirmed numbers that are slightly lower, 100 dead and 150 wounded. But, once again, we are just learning, getting this breaking news story here, three suicide attacks, bombings, all happening today inside of Iraq, really a terrible situation here. We are looking at a death toll very high.

Whether or not you use Reuters or the CNN numbers, this is really kind of an extraordinary situation, one of the worst single attacks here. And, as we get more information, we will certainly bring it to you.

Now, Rudy Giuliani is trying to hone his image as Mr. Security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: We can end illegal immigration. I promise you we can end illegal immigration.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: But Mitt Romney says Rudy Giuliani was too soft on illegal immigrants when he was mayor of New York City. Who is winning that war of words?

Donna Brazile and Terry Jeffrey break it down for us in today's "Strategy Session."

And the Republican candidates for president will meet up in Florida for another CNN/YouTube debate. We have got the date, and we will tell you how to submit your questions to the candidates.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Breaking news. We're bringing this to you right now, a series of attacks, three suicide bombings inside of Iraq, all today.

We have Reuters, AP, as well as our own numbers on this. From Reuters, at least 175 people killed when three suicide bombers driving fuel tankers attacked a town, home to an ancient minority sect in northern Iraq today, one of the worst single incidents of the four- year-old war, those bombings, 200 wounded in separate neighborhood towns west of Mosul.

Are own numbers that CNN is confirming here that there were 100 people that were killed, 150 people that were wounded. Clearly, this is a developing story, a tragic story -- story. We're looking at three separate suicide attacks in Iraq, one of the bloodiest days of this four-year-old war. We will be getting back to that very shortly as we get more details.

And now Republican hopeful Rudy Giuliani is firing back at rivals who accuse him of waffling on immigration.

Joining us in today's "Strategy Session," Democratic strategist and CNN political analyst Donna Brazile, and Terry Jeffrey, editor at large of "Human Events."

Now, who wins when we come down to this? Obviously, Mitt Romney is just giving it to him, saying, look, Rudy Giuliani, you were too soft before, and now, all of the sudden, you are changing your tune.

TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, "HUMAN EVENTS": Well, I think Rudy is very vulnerable on immigration.

This is a guy who is basically trying to run his campaign positioning himself as the security candidate, the guy who is most qualified to keep us safe. Yet, even during this campaign on another network, in fact, on "Hannity & Colmes," Rudy Giuliani earlier this year said he was in favor of regularizing illegal aliens. That means he's in favor of an amnesty. I don't think conservatives are going to buy that the candidate who is best on security is also a candidate who is favor of amnesty for illegal aliens. It won't fly.

MALVEAUX: Is this a competition of who is stricter on illegal immigrants at this point?

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, Rudy is leading in all the national polls. Mitt Romney is leading in Iowa. And, so, what he's trying to do now is to set up a contrast with Rudy Giuliani in South Carolina, which is a very conservative state.

Rudy is in that state, saying I'm more like Jim DeMint and not like Lindsey Graham.

But, unfortunately, he has his entire mayoral record to dispute, because, when he was mayor, he once filed a federal lawsuit challenging the government on giving undocumented workers city services. And now he supports strong, you know, border security. So, which Rudy, which position, which tone, who knows?

MALVEAUX: OK, let's switch to another topic here, controversial, obviously. The only candidate who seems to be getting this question over and over is Barack Obama, people asking him whether or not is he black enough, somewhat of a litmus test of his identity, perhaps, or of his agenda.

Michelle Obama is sick and tired of it. She made that very known, very well known today.

Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: What are we saying to our children? If a man like Barack Obama isn't black enough, then who is? Who are they supposed to be? So, we have to cut that nonsense out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Donna, she says, just because he grew up in Hawaii, because he's of mixed heritage here, people are still caught up in this, and they're too caught up in it. She says it's time to let it go.

BRAZILE: I don't think they are caught up into whether or not he's black. But they're caught up into knowing, who is Barack Obama? What does he stand for? Will he champion the issues that many other leaders have championed?

So, I think the real legitimate issue is, is Barack a fighter? Will he help to eliminate those gaps between blacks and whites? He should not be upset that people are raising this issue. Rather, he should own it and get out there and prove to everybody who he is, and he's the candidate of change. (CROSSTALK)

JEFFREY: You know, I think Mrs. Obama has an excellent point.

Martin Luther King famously said in his "I Have a Dream" speech that he wanted his children to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. As much as I oppose Barack Obama on almost every single issue, one thing I think is very positive about his campaign is, here is a guy who went out there. He's obviously black and he's obviously a viable candidate for president of the United States.

Ideally -- it may be utopian, but, ideally, we would get to a point where someone like Obama could run and people wouldn't notice his race and talk about it. They would just look at where he stands on the issues and how he's qualified to be president. Obviously, we haven't gotten there yet.

MALVEAUX: I had a chance to ask Senator Clinton the same question, essentially trying to turn this question and this issue on its head.

Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Are you black enough to sustain...

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: ... to sustain the kind of support that you got from your husband? And what makes you the better candidate over a black man in representing the issues regarding the African-American community?

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I am really thrilled to be running at a time in our history when, on a stage, you can see an African-American man, a Hispanic man, and a woman. You don't see that on the other side of the aisle when they have their debates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: It seems to me as if what she's saying, the real question, the real issue here is about agenda, not so much about race here, because you could ask almost anybody that -- that question.

JEFFREY: Look, I'm Irish. I would never vote for Teddy Kennedy.

I mean, I -- I really think it's insulting to blacks to think that they will vote for Obama because he's black or they won't vote for Hillary Clinton because she is white. I just don't think people look at it that way, no matter what their race. They are going to vote for someone who shares their values.

If Obama can communicate with black Americans that he shares their values, that he is the best candidate to advance their agenda, they will vote for him. And he's not going to get all black votes either, because there's going to be a lot of blacks who are a lot more conservative than Obama and profoundly disagree with him, just like I do, on some issues.

BRAZILE: Terry, the key here is, Barack should own the issue. He should be able to address these issues without talking about blackness or talking about anything other than his values.

JEFFREY: No, it's true.

BRAZILE: But, unfortunately, he sidestepped a great moment back in the spring to deal with it, and now he's still talking about his blackness, which, by the way, he's black enough for me.

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: Well, obviously, it means different things to different people.

JEFFREY: He's too liberal for me.

BRAZILE: Well, see, we can't have...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: I want to -- I'm going to wrap this up.

Of course, there was one quick thing Elizabeth Edwards said on the -- with "The Progressive." She went after Obama, saying that, essentially, he is -- he's extraordinarily popular, but, when it comes to the Senate votes for funding, he -- he really isn't true, when he says he's against the war.

And she also attacks Hillary as well, saying that she should say, I made a mistake.

Is this effective, to have Elizabeth Edwards out there going on the attack?

JEFFREY: Well, it's probably more effective than having John Edwards himself do it, because, if he goes out there and he brutally attacks Hillary and Obama, he's going to bring himself down.

It would be better to have a surrogate who is not his wife attacking the other candidates.

BRAZILE: I think I agree with Terry more today than I have agreed all year.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: Look, I...

MALVEAUX: Is that a good thing?

BRAZILE: Well, it's a good thing sometimes.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: But, look, John Edwards is fighting for one America. He should fight for one message coming out of his campaign. And it should come from the presidential candidate, not his wife. I love Elizabeth Edwards, but we need John Edwards to talk to the American people.

MALVEAUX: OK, thanks. We're going to have to wrap it up there.

Thank you so much, Donna Brazile, Terry Jeffrey.

And up next, Jack Cafferty answers your e-mails.

And, in our next hour, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather had some very strong words for his former boss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN RATHER, GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT, HDNET: I have never been critical of Ms. Couric. I did -- some criticism of the CBS program in the beginning of her tenure there -- Les Moonves runs CBS -- and that they decided that they wanted to bring portions of "The Today Show" to the broadcast. And it didn't work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Always outspoken, Dan Rather's out with a new documentary, and he speaks out on the demise of democracy in America.

And we're following a breaking news story out of Iraq where at least 100 people are dead from a series of suicide bombings.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: CNN and YouTube are teaming up again, this time with the Florida Republican Party, for a presidential debate on November 28, just two months before the Florida primary.

Internet reporter Abbi Tatton is here.

Abbi, how can viewers send in their questions?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Suzanne, again, it's the YouTube users who are asking the questions in this debate. And it's easy. YouTube.com/debate, that's where you can record your video and upload it.

Three thousand people did so before the South Carolina debate with the presidential -- the Democrats last month. And, already, we have had 1,200 submissions for the -- ahead of the Republican debate on all kinds of topics here. People urged along by conservative bloggers, who have been encouraging people and candidates to get involved in this, and also the Republican partner -- Party of Florida, who has teamed up with CNN and YouTube to put this all together.

So, who is going to be answering these questions already submitted online? Rudy Giuliani, Senator John McCain amongst those who have already signed up. The date is November 28. And we are going to accepting submissions right up until the day before -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Abbi. If it's like the last one, it should be very exciting. Thanks again.

And Senator Patrick Leahy is about to become a movie star. The Vermont Democrat has landed a role in the newest "Batman" movie coming out next year. Leahy is apparently a big comic book buff and was an extra in the 1997 movie "Batman and Robin."

Three current presidential candidates have also made it on to the silver screen. Senator Chris Dodd plays himself in the 1993 movie "Dave." Rudy Giuliani acts alongside Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in the 2003 film "Management" -- "Anger Management." And John McCain has a cameo in the 2005 hit "Wedding Crashers."

Now, Jack is in New York with "The Cafferty File."

Jack, what are you looking at?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is: Why haven't the Democrats made more progress on their campaign promises?

Bill writes from Madison Heights, Michigan: "Wimpy, misguided leadership. They better change it. And they better start delivering on promises soon, or they are finished in 2008. Our patience is at the breaking point."

Diane writes from Pennsylvania: "Because they have taken their eye off the ball totally. Stop the grandstanding nonsense. We're not impressed, and you look like idiots. We know this administration is crooked. We don't need hearings that go nowhere. We voters are actually smarter than you think. And, yeah, we also noticed you snuck out of D.C. for a month. So, get back to work. Do what we told you to do, handle Iraq, immigration, health care, and education, and secure the damn borders already."

Matt in Verplanck, New York: "I agree the Democrats have utterly failed since taking over Congress. However, I cannot put all the blame on them because any meaningful legislation they attempt, like a stem cell bill or Iraq troops withdrawal, gets either filibustered by the Republicans or gets a veto from the president."

Kenny in Miami writes: "The answer is simple. They don't have the backbone to stand up to Bush."

Soni writes from Oregon: "Nancy Pelosi pulled impeachment off the table, stating it would divide the nation. Until the Democrats realize the only thing holding us together is our contempt for this administration, nothing will be done. Unite the country. Impeach now." "Jack, I usually agree with you," Stephen in British Columbia, "on most matters, but not this time. Give the Democrats a break. They only have a simple majority to work with. They don't have enough to override Bush's veto power. And, in the Senate, the numbers are even more precarious."

And George writes from Florida: "Voted for change, got blindsided again. They are there just to line their pockets. Laws of the land, the American people do not count. End of story" -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Jack.

And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: breaking news out of Iraq, at least 100 dead in a series of three truck bombings. U.S. military helicopters are helping to evacuate dozens of wounded.

Nine million more toys made in China posing new risk to America's children. From lead paint to tiny magnets, we will tell you what is behind this latest recall.

And, every year, Americans drink billions of gallons of bottled water.

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