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Larry Craig to Resign Saturday; Fred Thompson Announces Candidacy; Korean Missionaries Released; Remembering Diana; Anvil of God; Most Powerful Women; Give Up Your SUV: Not

Aired August 31, 2007 - 1900   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Christine.
Breaking news happening right now, a senator embroiled in a scandal makes his decision. CNN has learned that Republican Senator Larry Craig will announce his resignation tomorrow. We have a live report. Dana Bash is in Boise, Idaho. This is a dramatic turn in the story of a politician, busted in a men's room.

Also this hour -- to the world she was a princess. To her sons, she was mom. Prince Harry delivers a very emotional tribute to Diana, 10 years after her death. We're going to play for you that entire tribute.

Also what housing slump you won't believe the asking prices of these virtual palaces. Find out what a cool $100 million can buy.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, the pressure on Senator Larry Craig may be just too great to handle. CNN has learned that the Idaho Republican will announce tomorrow morning his future plans. He will resign amid the firestorm of his arrest in a men's bathroom. Our congressional correspondent, Dana Bash is joining us on the phone now from Boise, Idaho. She's been working this breaking news. Dana, tell us precisely what your sources are telling you.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Well, a well-placed Republican source here in Idaho confirms to CNN that Senator Craig, in his press conference tomorrow morning, Saturday morning, will announce he intends to resign from the U.S. Senate, effective September 30th, so about a month away. This is a decision that we know was a very difficult one for him, and it came after enormous, enormous pressure, really, unparallel pressure from his colleagues, especially on a national level.

His colleagues in the Senate made abundantly clear to him, with their words, whether it was some of them calling, actually calling for him to resign or just not-so-subtle hints and also their actions, Wolf. Senator Craig would have come back to the United States Senate stripped of his top post on committees, a comeback under an ethics investigation, and comeback essentially as a pariah among his colleagues who in the last couple of days really have made it really clear to Senator Craig that he's essentially not welcome back in the Senate. That is why Senator Craig will announce we are told tomorrow morning that he will resign his seat effective September 30th. BLITZER: And is there any specific reason for September 30th? The Senate comes back into session on Tuesday, after the Labor Day weekend. Any reason why he's sticking out, sticking it out, at least, until the end of the month?

BASH: That's a very good question. We don't know the answer to that yet. That's one of the things we'll certainly try to get and might even hear from the senator himself tomorrow. It actually is interesting, Wolf, that he is going to go back, because it's going to, you know, just somebody who sort of walks the halls of the Senate and sees (UNINTELLIGIBLE) clubby atmosphere, especially for each party and within the party. Senator Craig is somebody who has been in the United States Congress for 25 years.

He was himself a member of the Republican leadership. He's somebody who, you know, got along until now, got along very well with his colleagues, so it is going to be very interesting to see him in the halls of Congress with his colleagues, given the brutal things, frankly, that they have said about him, given this embarrassing incident, in the men's bathroom in the Minneapolis airport.

BLITZER: And we'll of course cover his statement, his resignation statement tomorrow in Boise, Idaho. Dana, thanks very much.

Since news of his arrest in an airport sex sting came to light, Senator Craig has been under enormous pressure to step down from within his own party. CNN's Carol Costello is here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Was the pressure greater on Senator Craig or other members of Congress who have been involved in scandals?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I think it was much greater on Senator Craig. Look, it took just five days and Senator Craig is gone and it isn't surprising but not for the reasons you might think. Other politicians have weathered lurid sex scandals and stood to say another aye or nay. The question is why.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Craig should resign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should resign.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Calls for Senator Larry Craig to resign are deafening but now days after the scandal broke there is a voice, wondering if there's been a rush to judgment and it's the voice of Tom DeLay, who himself resigned from Congress after being accused of violating campaign finance rules.

TOM DELAY (R), FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: It's really unfortunate that people rush to judgment like they have, and I'm not defending Larry Craig. I have a great sympathy for what his wife and his family is going through right now, but the decisions that Larry Craig need to make are up to Larry Craig and his constituents in Idaho.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Viciously harassed.

COSTELLO: Craig insists there's a media witch-hunt to get him and on that part DeLay agrees as he told the "Today" show on NBC.

DELAY: The double standard in the media is amazing, the feeding frenzy, the sharks in the water that's going on right now because of a Republican.

COSTELLO: DeLay launched into the media, accusing it of not shining a light on the peccadilloes of Democrats like Congressman Barney Frank. In 1989 he admitted to a sexual relationship with a male prostitute.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I'm not going to resign because I think resignation is an acknowledgment of a very, very serious breach of duty and I don't believe that the stupidity I showed in hiring a prostitute and reacting as I did to the pressures that I didn't handle well reaches that level.

COSTELLO: Frank received a reprimand from the House Ethics Committee, but one of its members voted for the more serious punishment of censure, then House member Larry Craig. Conservatives insist that President Clinton's conduct in the midst of the Lewinsky scandal was no more credible than Craig's today.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.


COSTELLO: The difference? Democrats did not desert Clinton who was also determined to fight for his job.

JONATHAN HARRIS, POLITICO.COM: Bill Clinton said I don't care a whit about the conventional wisdom. I don't care what anyone says. I am going to fight and save my career.

COSTELLO: So why is Senator Craig more vulnerable than other politicians caught up in sex scandals?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is harder for a Republican politician to withstand because Republicans, their coalition includes a lot of social conservatives who are genuinely offended by homosexual conduct.


COSTELLO: And as you heard Dana say in the end Craig found he had no Republican friends left. Remember, Richard Nixon decided to resign not when Democrats moved to impeach him but when Republicans went to the Oval Office to tell the president they were backing the Democrats and they told Richard Nixon at that time it was time to go, and he did.

BLITZER: Yes, I certainly do remember that. Carol, thanks very much. Good reporting. Other political careers, by the way, have ended in men's rooms, Lyndon Johnson, when he was president, he a very close friend, a close aide, Walter Jenkins. He was arrested on a sex charge, caught with another man in a Washington YMCA. It happened back in October of 1964, just weeks before Johnson faced re-election. Jenkins quit as soon as his arrest became public. And conservative Republican Congressman Jon Hinson of Mississippi resigned back in April of 1981 after his arrest in a Capitol Hill men's room. He later became a gay rights activist.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty. He's watching all of this in New York. He may resign tomorrow, Senator Craig, but you know he's going to be on the payroll of the American people for a long time to come. He's going to get a nice hefty pension as a result of all of his years in the House and then in the Senate.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Hundred and thirty-two thousand dollars a year.

BLITZER: That's right.

CAFFERTY: Is that going to be a movie, do you think, careers that have ended in men's rooms?

BLITZER: I hope not.

CAFFERTY: Yes. It looks like Fred Thompson's flirtation with the 2008 presidential race is mercifully and finally over. The former Republican senator TV actor will formally announce his candidacy on the Internet next week and the announcement will be followed by a five-day campaign tour. His announcement is supposed to come just hours after Wednesday's Republican debate in New Hampshire, which he's not attending. That could cost him.

Supporters predict, nevertheless, that Thompson will quickly become the candidate to beat. Not everybody is convinced of that. The slow startup of his campaign has had some stumbling blocks, things like staff shakeups, lower fund-raising than expected and unexplained delays of this announcement, we're now expecting next week. There's also his work as a lobbyist and a lawyer that might not square with some voters.

Nevertheless, Thompson's finishing in second place right now in national polls, even though he's not in the race. He has strong support in some important primary states and it looks like his entry could set up a three-way race with Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. So here's the question.

How will Fred Thompson's entry into the Republican presidential field change the complexion of that race? E-mail your thoughts to or go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack. Thanks very much.

Christian hostages released by the Taliban but at what cost? The high price paid could put others at risk. Prince Harry speaks from the heart about the loss of his mother. Princess Diana remembered by her son. The young prince gets choked up in a poignant tribute that we're going to play for you in its entirety.

And the most powerful women in the world, Condoleezza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, find out who is at the top of the "Forbes" list and who is sliding down.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: A month and a half of terror over at last for a group of Christian aid workers held by Taliban militants in Afghanistan. Details of their ordeal and allegations about what it took to get them back are only now beginning to come out. Let's turn to CNN's Brian Todd. He's following this dramatic story with enormous consequences for a lot of people working in that part of the world, and elsewhere, Brian. What's the cost?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the South Korean government had to make serious concessions to get those hostages freed and that government is now on the defensive because of the security implications.



TODD (voice-over): Overjoyed at their release, terrified that two of their countrymen were killed as hostages of the Taliban, South Korean Christian missionaries are also apologetic.

SUH MYUNG-HWA, FORMER TALIBAN HOSTAGE (through translator): We caused so much anxiety to the people and their government.

TODD: Anxiety, which may be felt well outside the South Korean government. The Taliban walks away from this six-week ordeal with an agreement from the South Koreans not to send other missionaries to Afghanistan. An Asian media reports the Koreans paid the Taliban $2 million for their release. The South Korean government denies it.

CHEON HO-SEON, SOUTH KOREAN PRES. SPOKESMAN (through translator): There was no additional agreement made except for what has been made public.

TODD: Experts say that statement may be for public consumption.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Given the fact that the Taliban didn't get their central demand, which is the release of Taliban prisoners, it seems to me that money probably was exchanged.

TODD: An exchange that according to experts will likely have an immediate and deadly result.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other people's lives are now at risk because the Taliban will use that money to buy weaponry.

TODD: And to buy fighters. Between hostage taking and opium trafficking profits, analysts say the Taliban can pay four times what the Afghan police can afford. The Taliban have a broader strategy in mind. South Korea was already going to pull its 200 troops out of Afghanistan and the Taliban may now have a stronger hand in forcing other U.S. allies to crack.

BERGEN: They want to find the weak links in the chain, countries like Germany, whose citizens are not very happy about the German presence there, that's why we've seen attacks on the German soldiers in the north of the country.


TODD: A top Afghan official told me his government was not part of the negotiations, does not make deals with the Taliban, is not aware of any ransom and would be disappointed if the Koreans paid out here, Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, the Afghans themselves, they don't have a lot of leeway right now, a lot of room to talk.

TODD: They really do not. Now last March they agreed to free Taliban prisoners in exchange for one Italian journalist. When I pressed the Afghan official on that he said that was a very special circumstance at the time. He said they were under enormous pressure to help the Italians.

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Thanks very much.

We're also right now getting some new details of two terrorism indictments today. The charges involve Egyptian students studying at the University of South Florida down in Tampa and alleged explosives they had when police stopped them in their vehicle when they were driving in South Carolina. Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti is in Miami -- Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these two Egyptian students have said from the start that they were just carrying homemade fireworks but today a federal grand jury in Florida has charged them with a two-count indictment. Both are charged with carrying explosives across state lines without the proper permits, and also charging one of the two young men with teaching how to use an explosive device and how to put them together.

Now, law enforcement sources tell us that the suspects were planning to use these explosive materials inside model cars, miniature cars maybe the size of a bread box and they also had components with them that could have been used in an explosive device. The two students were picked up back on August the 4th in South Carolina, stopped for speeding at the time. The sheriff there said what they had in their car were pipe bomb-like materials. Here's what the sheriff had to say about today's indictment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHERIFF WAYNE DEWITT, BERKELEY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA: As an end result here, we have two that have been federally indicted, and I think, under substantial charges, and the only information I can probably reveal further would be that we feel like the charges and what the Federal Bureau of Investigation has is quite substantial to affect those charges, and keep them in force.


CANDIOTTI: Law enforcement sources also say they have not uncovered any plans to attack a specific target. In the meantime, the University of South Florida has suspended the students, pending the outcome of the case. Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Susan. Thanks very much, Susan Candiotti in Miami.

One hundred million dollar homes, there's a mortgage crisis in the country, but the super rich are trying to break the record for top price. We're going to show what you a small fortune can buy right now and what's being described as a down market.

And dump your SUV. John Edwards wants Americans to make the sacrifice for the environment. We'll find out if anyone's willing to listen. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Tonight a CNN exclusive, in the case of U.S. Marines accused of the unjustified killing of Iraqi civilians. We've obtained aerial video showing the fighting in the city of Haditha on the day two years ago when 24 Iraqi civilians died. The pictures do not show the actual killing but they do capture the scene afterwards, and provide dramatic visual evidence of the level of fighting.

CNN has learned the video will be introduced as evidence by lawyers for one U.S. Marine facing 18 murder counts in the Haditha killings. Our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has been working this exclusive report for us. Jamie, tell our viewers what you found.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know as you said this video doesn't show any of the alleged wrongdoing but it really does give a good idea of what the Marines were up against that day in Haditha.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): The bombings and strafing seen on this aerial video obtained exclusively by CNN shows Haditha was a hotbed of insurgent activity back on that day, November 19th, 2005. Early in the morning, a U.S. Marine died in an IED attack and shortly afterward, 24 Iraqi civilians were killed by Marines hunting the attackers, leading to murder charges a year later.

A small unmanned spy plane called scan eagle arrived about 30 minutes after the initial attack on the U.S. Marine vehicle, focusing on a house from which the military suspected insurgents triggered the bomb and showing the aftermath of the blast here, some 1,000 yards away. Just up the road is a white sedan and the bodies of five Iraqi men who Marines say refused to lie down and were shot while running away.

Villagers said the men were students in a taxi, but the Marines say their actions were consistent with insurgents about to detonate a car bomb. The video will soon be evidence in the case of squad leader Staff Sergeant Frank Woodrich (ph), accused of doing some of the shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I'm a juror, I'm not going to be impressed.

MCINTYRE: Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Gary Solis, a former prosecutor and military judge who teaches law at Georgetown and West Point analyzed the video for CNN.

(on camera): You've seen the tape. How significant do you think it is as a piece of evidence?

GARY SOLIS, MILITARY LAW PROFESSOR: It tends to prove that this was a violent place where you had enemy fighters where it was necessary to bring in air support.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): Throughout that day, Marines engaged in fierce firefights and called in air strikes to level entire buildings often with no definitive idea of who was inside. That could buttress defense arguments that the Marines clearing buildings on the ground with guns and grenades were just following the rules of engagement.

SOLIS: The defense can say hey, look, we had to do this later in the day, what's the difference between what happened later in the day and what our guys did earlier in the day.

MCINTYRE: And that might help explain why so far prosecutors have had trouble making murder charges stick. Charges have been dropped against two Marines, another is awaiting a decision.

(on camera): Is there a tendency to give Marine soldiers in combat the benefit of the doubt when it comes to these kinds of split- second decisions?

SOLIS: You have a military jury, probably most of whom, if not all of whom will have been in Iraq.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): The video shows how the military suspects anyone on the move during combat as being a potential enemy such as this motorcyclist who appears to be an insurgent messenger. But while prosecutors may be having a hard time winning convictions, Gary Solis believes someone should be accountable for the 24 civilian deaths in Haditha.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be difficult to say that justice has been served if no one is convicted for Haditha.


MCINTYRE: Now we asked military prosecutors for a comment and we were told through a spokesman that they are prohibited from discussing the evidence in the case, and the Pentagon simply declined comment, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jamie. Thanks very much. Good reporting, as usual -- Jamie McIntyre here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Prince Harry gives the tribute at a memorial service for his mother today, the late Princess Diana.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She will always be remembered for her amazing public work, the behind-the-media glare. To us, just two loving children, she was quite simply the best mother in the world.


BLITZER: You're going to hear his entire eulogy as tributes pour in on this, the tenth anniversary of Diana's death.

And "Forbes" magazine is now out with a new list of the world's most powerful women. Some of the people on the list may surprise you. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, the on again/off again right for gays to marry in Iowa is off again after less than a day. The judge has struck down Iowa's gay marriage ban, stayed his own order today. One couple managed to get their license, waived the waiting period and they tied the knot before the window of opportunity closed.

A judge in Durham, North Carolina sentenced former prosecutor Mike Nifong to one day in jail, that's for lying to a judge during the flawed Duke Lacrosse rape case.

And you might call it a White House light with the departure of one heavyweight aide and the pending departure of another. Bush adviser Karl Rove left the job today. The press secretary, Tony Snow, announced he'll leave in two weeks.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

One of our many admirers says she had the beauty of a model and the compassion of a saint. Princess Diana. Today many people around the world are remembering her life that was cut way too short, exactly 10 years ago. And that included her sons, as well as Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth. CNN's Richard Quest is watching events today in London -- Richard.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, royal occasions and events are usually so solemn and official it's pretty hard to work out if anyone had any heart at all. That certainly wasn't the case today, where we saw Princes William and Harry address the congregation of government, royal and celebrities about their late mother. Prince Harry said that Diana was their guardian, their friend, their protector. She had laughter, fun and folly. It was a deeply emotional moment, and one in which we got a glimpse and insight into the characters of Diana's sons.

There were also other memories of Diana at Kensington palace where she lived and in Paris at the tunnel where of course the accident took place, and even though the allegations of the circumstances of her death still swirl round, there was the reminder from the bishop of London that ten years is a long time and it's probably best now to let Diana rest in peace.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Richard Quest in London for us. Diana's death perhaps felt strongest by her two sons. They both spoke at the tribute event in London today and Prince Harry was especially emotional.

PRINCE HARRY, UNITED KINGDOM: William and I can separate life into two parts. There were those years when we were blessed with the physical presence beside us, of both our mother and father. And then there are the ten years since our mother's death.

When she was alive, we completely took for granted her unrivaled love of life, laughter, fun and folly. She was our guardian, friend and protector. She never once allowed her unfaltering love for us to go unspoken or undemonstrated. She will always be remembered for her amazing public work.

The behind the media glare, to us, just two loving children, she was quite simply the best mother in the world. We would say that, wouldn't we? But we miss her. She kissed us last thing at night. Her beaming smile greeted us from school. She laughed hysterically and uncontrollably when sharing something silly she might have said or done that day. She encouraged us when we were nervous or unsure. She, like our father, was determined to provide us with a stable and secure childhood.

To lose a parent so suddenly at such a young age, as others have experienced, is indescribably shocking inside. It was an event which changed our lives forever, as it must have done for everyone who lost someone that night. But what is far more important to us now and into the future is that we remember our mother as she would of wished to be remembered, as she was, fun-loving, generous, down to earth, and entirely genuine.

We both think of her every day. We speak about her and laugh together of all the memories. But put simply, she made us and so many other people happy. May this be the way that she is remembered.

BLITZER: Prince Harry speaking earlier in London. There will be a lot more on Princess Diana tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE." You'll hear from the doctor who was first on the scene to give her first aid, tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

A much lighter note, a list with some names you know but others you may never have heard of but they're still considered the most powerful women in the world. "Forbes" has a who's who of international affairs. Zain Verjee has more.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Condoleezza Rice star power seems to be dimming. After the start of the Iraq war, Rice topped the list in 2004, same in 2005. She dropped to number two in 2006, this year number four.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD, SENIOR EDITOR, FORBES: Condoleezza Rice slipped down in the rankings because of lack of support for the president's policies around the globe.

VERJEE: Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel clinched the number one spot. It was another good year for women in government overall, 29 on the list. It was another good year for women in government overall. At number two, vice premiere of china, Wu Yi.

MACDONALD: What we're looking at are woman's career accomplishments. Her title and money she swayed over and the influence she's wielding around the globe.

VERJEE: Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made 20, ahead of Oprah who is at 21.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I would be the first woman's I president. Think it's a good barrier for America to break.

VERJEE: She could become the next president but right now, Senator Hillary Clinton is only number 25. House speaker Nancy Pelosi took 26 and first lady Laura bush number 60.

LAURA BUSH: Thank you, so glad to be here.

VERJEE: And another interest note, Meredith Vieira was number 55. She beat Katie Couric at 63, and Christiane Amanpour at 74.

BLITZER: I notice there are a lot of women from the Middle East.

VERJEE: That's right. The number is increasing. It's increased quite substantially. On this list, you have the minister of economy of United Arab Emirates, Shaika Lubna, at 99, as well as the first lady of Qatar number 79. Also on this list are a number of women running major companies in the Middle East.

BLITZER: I've met both of those women in Qatar and Arab emirates they are very impressive and very powerful as well. Those countries are very important. All right, good. Unfortunately, Zain, you weren't on the list. But there's always next year.

VERJEE: And there's always 101.

BLITZER: That's right. Zain Verjee, one of these days we'll make it. Some Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages. Others are thinking of buying properties that cost far more than most people would northwestern a lifetime. You'll not believe these houses on the market right now. You certainly won't believe their price tags. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Right now, many Americans are hurting and President Bush says he understands. Today he outlined a plan to help struggling homeowners keep their homes. It involves thousand of sub prime borrowers who payments increased as their loans matured. President Bush outlined initiatives to help those borrowers with government programs and new legislation. Meanwhile some people shopping for homes won't need much help at all. CNN personal finance editor, Gerri Willis, is in New York.

GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Wolf, new numbers out this week from the federal government show existing home values are barely rising. In fact, it's the smallest increase in a decade but not everybody seems to be feeling the pain.

Listed at $100 million even, the 20,000 square foot Tranquility in Zephyr Cove, Nevada owned by the former CEO of Tommy Hilfiger. There's an indoor glass mosaic swimming pool, boathouse, pavilion, stable and two par three golf holes.

On the market for $125 million Flor de Lee in Los Angeles California, five acres, all steel construction with imported limestone exterior. The main house alone measures 41,000 square feet. Park nine cars in garage, or enjoy three rose gardens, a jogging path, 70 foot pool, 12 person spa or two tennis courts.

Also going for $125 million, Donald Trump's Maison de la Mutai in Palm Beach, Florida. It's seven acres with 475 feet of ocean frontage and includes indoor parking for 36 cars.

WILBUR RODRIGUEZ, BROWN HARRIS STEVENS: There's something in the abstract of combination of the location and sort of views, and the ability to duplicate that property somewhere else. The uniqueness factor. It's certainly not in the construction.

WILLIS: This ranch will cost you $135 million. This one belongs to Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia. It's 56,000 square feet with 15 bedrooms on 95 acres, views of the Elk Mountains, an eight- horse stable and a government level security system to keep it all safe. And the Beverly house compound in Beverly Hills, California formerly owned by William Randolph Hurst, 72,000 square feet on six and a quarter acres, will cost a cool $65 million.

ROBERT FRANK, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: My guess is that one of those properties will sell at over $100 million over the next three years. Not all will sell at the current asking price. Again, the market is soft. Even at the top the market is soft. The rich want to wait and be cautious and not going to overpay on a market that's not going up for them. WILLIS: What is the price to beat? The most expensive residential sale in this country to date is a 40-acre spread sold earlier this year in East Hampton, New York, for $103 million. There's no guarantee though that any of the houses you saw will fetch their asking price but you can sure bet their agents are looking to claim that top spot in the record books.

BLITZER: All right. Gerri, thanks very much. Gerri Willis reporting.

It was the longest battle in the war in Iraq. Troops far from home, fighting against the shadowy enemy. How one company of the marines, took the losses, won the fight and was changed forever. Tom Foreman with this incredible story.

Presidential car wars. One White House hopeful launches a drive that's getting SUV lovers hot under the hood. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: It was the longest battle of the war in Iraq, troops far from home, fighting against the shadowy enemy. It's the story of how one company took the losses, won the fight and was changed forever. Tom Foreman is here with a special preview of his special report "Anvil of God." This is one amazing story, Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is and I think it is a very important story. The battle of Falluja was almost three years ago now, but it's incredibly important now as we're look the at all of these reports about Iraq, about our future there, to remember what these young people are going through under our flag. Take a look at part of it.

The cultural center, a half mile in, is a stronghold to be taken and used as an anchor for bravo's charge. As they approach at sunrise, Sergeant Lonnie Wells is near the front. He's in his late 20s, always calm. The younger marines naturally follow him.

LT. CHRISTOPHER WILKENS, BRAVO COMPANY: He's been around a while. He's older. He knows what he's doing.

FOREMAN: The wide road in front of the cultural center is comparatively quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turning this way!

FOREMAN: Sergeant Wells starts running across, and the dawn explodes.

ASHLEY GILBERTSON, PHOTOGRAPHER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: There were bullets coming in from every side of us. From in front of us. From the east and west and then behind us. It looked, sounded, and felt like a nightmare.

FOREMAN: The heaviest interlocking fire is coming from a nearby mosque, and a building down the street. Shots, however, are all around, so bravo cannot sit. The center must be taken. But in the middle of the street, Lonnie Wells is down.

SGT. JOEL CHAVERRI, MARINE COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHER: The first sign of combat is extremely confusing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up, back up.

FOREMAN: Joel Chaverri, whose job is to record the battle for the military, sees Wells fall. And as he lifts his camera, he sees a gunnery sergeant run to Wells' rescue, a medical corpsman not far behind. The gunny is shot and thrown several feet. The corpsman is hit, too.

CHAVERRI: It was like a movie. It was extremely surreal. I didn't think. You don't think. There's no time to think. You just react.

FOREMAN: I cannot say enough good things about the marines of the one-eighth bravo company, the extraordinary things they did in this the only battle in the entire war in which large numbers of insurgents tried to hold ground, they tried to hold a city that they called their capital that was full of car bomb factories, hostage- holding facilities, torture chambers, places where they manufactured fake documents. Unbelievable things going on in Falluja and if you want to understand what's going on in Iraq I think you have to understand Falluja and what these brave young men have gone through.

BLITZER: I was there a couple of years ago in Falluja, amazing story. Tom Foreman's special report airs tonight, "Anvil of God" 10:00 p.m. eastern only here on CNN.

Senator John Warner says he will not seek another term. The Virginia republican today announced his decision to serve out his current term of office which ends early January, 2009. Warner will have served in the U.S. senate for 30 years.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty for the Cafferty File.


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred Thompson's going to get off the fence, announce he's in the race, sometime next week on the internet. We asked how his entry into the campaign will change the republican presidential field.

John writes in Deptford, New Jersey, "Thompson, Giuliani, Romney, they're all the same, divisive, corporate rich white men who don't give a rat's behind about the 'average' American who can barely afford to make ends meet. They're completely out of touch with the average American. Even their platforms reflect this."

Nick in Venice Beach, California, "Thompson's just another example of republican obsession in finding the next Ronald Reagan. Because Thompson's an actor doesn't make him the gipper. Thompson's resume is thin. His foreign policy background practically nonexistent, like the other Reagan wannabe, Mitt Romney, republicans will lose because there's zero authenticity in any of these stagnant candidates."

Jay in New York says, "Fred Thompson will have better makeup artists."

Don in Massachusetts writes, "Once voters find out that Fred Thompson is four years older than his mother-in-law, he will fall behind Ron Paul in the polls."

Eugene in California, "He'll have no effect on the campaign. He's a well known political hack Washington insider who will end up down at the bottom of the polls with McCain. It's getting ugly out here."

And finally, Calvin writes in Ohio, "It's not the boring republican candidates, Jack, it's their trophy wives that are the most interesting thing about them and Fred has the pick of the litter. I say skip the You Tube/CNN debate. Just turn the spouses loose in the same room. Bill Clinton could be the moderator."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to We post more of them online along with video clips of The Cafferty File.


BLITZER: Jack, thanks for making me the first on the block to have the new book. I got a copy of it right here thanks to you. "It's Getting Ugly Out There," by Jack Cafferty, the book will formally be out in a few days. I got some good reading this Labor Day weekend, Jack, thanks very much and congratulations.

CAFFERTY: Thanks, Wolf, my pleasure.

BLITZER: See you back here next week.

What's coming up at the top of the hour and "OUT IN THE OPEN," Rick Sanchez standing by with a preview.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Wolf, it was kind of interesting listening to what Jack was talking about with Fred Thompson. We decided to take up the Fred Thompson story. We take it to Times Square and talk to people on Times Square, I go out there with a microphone and ask people what they think Fred Thompson getting into the race. What we found is as many conservatives and as liberals in Times Square from places like Savannah, North Carolina, you're going to hear what they have to say.

But obviously we've been following this all week so we'll stay on the Larry Craig story. We're expecting new information. We'll go to Dana Bash standing by in Boise, Idaho.

Then we've got this report that we're preparing, we've been preparing now, Wolf, for months. It involves chemical plants that could become terrorist targets. We'll have that for you as well. BLITZER: Rick, we'll be watching. Thanks very much, Rick, coming up the top of the hour.

A presidential candidate is asking for sacrifice and many SUV don't like it. Jeanne Moos is coming up with voters who say don't touch my car.

We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Americans love their cars so you might think White House hopefuls would steer clear of anything that gets between voters and their vehicles but democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is suggesting that people should give up their SUVs and drive more fuel-efficient cars. It's most unusual. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here's a shocker, not a single SUV driver we asked said yes to this. John Edwards wants people with SUVs to give them up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't think so.

MOOS: No? In light of Senator Edwards' suggestion that Americans sacrifice, we've compiled the top ten excuses for not giving up your SUV. Excuse number ten, SUV what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sacrifice, I love my SUV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't give it up, I'm sorry, I love it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love sitting up high. You know what I mean? I love the space and the ride is smooth.

MOOS: Riding's a lot smoother than darting out in traffic. May I? Trying to squeeze in interviews. May I ask a question? Oh. Before the light changes. I am sorry to scare you. Excuse number nine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I put stuff from Home Depot in the car.

MOOS: Excuse number eight, blame the kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to keep it because it carries my nine kids.

MOOS: Number seven, blame the kids and the pets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got three kids. I got a dog and three cats.

MOOS: Excuse number six. Blame John Edwards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe he should give his up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has he given up his? MOOS: Actually Edwards drives a hybrid SUV, though the family keeps other less energy-efficient vehicles to occasionally haul thing. Energy issues can dog candidates. Mitt Romney launched his campaign in front of an American car.

MITT ROMNEY: Here is the Ford Hybrid over here.

MOOS: To make a point of our conservation and buying American, but when "The Boston Herald" went to the parking lot at Romney's campaign headquarters, the paper said it could be mistaken for a foreign car dealership with all of those Mitt Romney bumper stickers on BMWs and Lexuses. Excuse number five.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It isn't mine. It belongs to the company.

MOOS: Oh, we're very familiar with that excuse. News crews love SUVs. Number four?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess it's my money.

MOOS: Excuse number three, who needs an excuse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I like it.

MOOS: All this reminds us of the two Connecticut women who got so annoyed at SUVs that they penned this song. 90-pound suburban housewife driving in her SUV.

MOOS: The number two excuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's his right to tell us what to do.

MOOS: And the number one excuse for not giving up your SUV?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a rental.

MOOS: This guy doesn't own a car and says why stop at sacrificing just SUVs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody that drives a gasoline vehicle should give up the gasoline vehicle.

MOOS: Whoa, nothing like SUVs obviously. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

BLITZER: Jeanne Moos, what a reporter she is.

We're going to leave you with this little item. Ellen DeGeneres is about to launch a new season of her show and I couldn't help but notice the promo. Listen to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best part of your day gets even better. Tuesday, September 4th with the new season of "Ellen," starting in New York with Hillary Clinton's first daytime interview in a race for the White House. ELLEN DEGENERES, TV SHOW HOST: It's me I tell you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll bring you more famous faces keeping you more in touch.

DEGENERES: I'm like the Wolf Blitzer of daytime TV with less facial hair. How do you like it? How do you like it?

BLITZER: All right. She's like the Wolf Blitzer of daytime TV, Carol, with less facial hair.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Somebody had to tease you about this and it had to be me because frankly we were afraid of what Jack would say but.

BLITZER: I didn't want him to react to this.

COSTELLO: No we didn't but we want to say to Ellen DeGeneres, invite Wolf on the show because he was dancing in the newsroom and you know Ellen makes all of her guests dance. You saw them dancing.

BLITZER: You're a good day. I unfortunately am not necessarily such - although I'd be happy to go on her show if she invites me and I'm happy if she would like to come into THE SITUATION ROOM.

COSTELLO: She could dance here. You could dance there.

BLITZER: The Wolf Blitzer of daytime, well I'm on daytime too. I'm the Wolf Blitzer of daytime TV with facial hair, right?

COSTELLO: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Carol Costello.

COSTELLO: I'm still laughing at you dance.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to leave it right there. I'll be back Sunday for "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk. Among other things, we're going to take an in depth look at the upcoming Iraq progress report. "LATE EDITION" airs for two hours Sunday morning at 11 a.m. eastern.

Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Up next, Rick Sanchez with "OUT IN THE OPEN."