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Bhutto Vows to Confront Islamic Terrorists; Simultaneous Attacks Are Hallmark of Al Qaeda
Aired October 19, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: Happening now: She escaped with her life and now she's defying the terrorists behind that deadly attack in Pakistan. Tonight, the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, speaking out and vowing to fight on.
Also, a surprising source of Hillary Clinton's mountain of campaign cash. She's squeezing dollars out of some of New York's poorest neighborhoods. What's going on?
And it's no illusion at all, the superstar magician David Copperfield is under scrutiny by police and the apparent target of a raid after a mysterious allegation against him.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is speaking out tonight on the apparent attempt on her life. A deadly suicide bombing that the United States now says looks like the work of Al Qaeda. Let's go to our State Department Correspondent Zain Verjee, for the latest -- Zain.
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was a simultaneous attack, the hallmark of Al Qaeda, but there's no smoking gun.
VERJEE (voice over): She's still standing, defiant, after extremists tried to kill her.
BENAZIR BHUTTO, FMR. PRIME MINISTER, PAKISTAN: This was a dastardly and cowardly attack.
VERJEE: Her tough talk against terrorism made former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto a target even before she touched down in Pakistan. State Department officials say it's still too early to know for sure, but the attacks appeared to bear the hallmarks of Al Qaeda, a prime suspect.
The simultaneous attacks, officials say, are chilling, because they show extremists are still free to operate in Pakistan. One of the U.S.'s biggest fears is that the terrorists could wrestle control over the country's nuclear weapons and the latest attacks may threaten stability and U.S. hopes for a free and fair election.
TOM CASEY, SPOKESMAN, STATE DEPT.: We do not wish to see any actions take place that would undermine the democratic process in Pakistan.
VERJEE: It's a dangerous start to Bhutto's controversial deal to share power with President Pervez Musharraf.
TERESITA SHAFFER, CTR. FOR STRATEGIC & INTL. STUDIES: This is not a good beginning. It will make it very difficult for Ms. Bhutto to campaign.
VERJEE: Terrorists have tried and failed to kill Musharraf, too, now that Bhutto is in the same line of fire, the U.S. hopes the foes will join forces to fight a common enemy.
MAHMUD ALI DURRANI, PAKISTANI AMB. TO U.S.: Well, I think, what the attack has done, to my understanding, it has done contrary to what the terrorists wanted. I think it has galvanized the liberal forces, and it has galvanized all the liberal political parties, to work together.
VERJEE: Benazir Bhutto says that she's going to campaign as planned. That could be a lot harder for her to do now. And if that's the case, it could undermine the free and fair elections the U.S. has been pushing so hard for Pakistan to hold -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Zain Verjee reporting, thanks very much.
And 136 people, at least, killed in that horrendous terrorist attack. More than 300 people injured.
Also tonight, the woman at the center of the CIA leak controversy says the outing of her identity was much more than a political and legal uproar here in Washington. Valerie Plame Wilson suggesting people's lives may have been endangered, and at the very least secret sensitive cases involving U.S. intelligence were put at risk around the world. Let's bring in our Mary Snow. She's watching the story for us.
Valerie Plame Wilson giving her first television interview. What's going on, Mary?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, four years after her covert CIA identity was revealed, Valerie Plame Wilson is now speaking out. Until now Plame Wilson has kept silent as her husband, former ambassador, Joseph Wilson, has spoken out, blaming the Bush administration for leaking her identity.
The Wilsons claim the administration retaliated after Joe Wilson suggested the administration distorted intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs. In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" Plame Wilson was passionate about the fact that leaks in the intelligence community are bad news. And she talked about the damage the leak may have caused.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VALERIE PLAME WILSON, FMR. CIA OPERATIVE: I can tell you all the intelligence services in the world were running my name through their databases to see did anyone by this name come in the country? When? Do we know anything about it? Where did she stay? Who did she see?
KATIE COURIC, CBS ANCHOR: And what would be the ramifications of that?
WILSON: Well, it's very serious. It puts in danger, if not shuts down, the operations that I had worked on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now, the rest of that interview, can be seen on CBS's Sunday's "60 Minutes", this Sunday. Plame Wilson also has criticism for the Bush administration. Her book is due to be released on Monday. The investigation into her leaked identity led to a perjury and obstruction conviction against Scooter Libby. Vice President Cheney's then-chief of staff. President Bush commuted Libby's jail sentence -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Mary Snow on top of this story for us.
Also tonight, there are new questions about donors to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. At issue? Whether some of her donors from New York's Chinatown neighborhood can actually afford to make political contributions. CNN's Jim Acosta is in New York with details -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Clinton campaign is conceding it may have mistakenly accepted contributions from the unregistered and perhaps the undocumented. The law is clear. Political donors who want to share some of their green, must have a green card.
ACOSTA: New York's Chinatown neighborhood maybe more than a good place to find dim sum, for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, it's also a hot spot for political contributors, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"The Los Angeles Times" examined 150 Clinton donors from New York's Chinese community, some at events attended by the candidate. The paper discovered roughly one-third of those contributors could not be found. Some had wrong addresses. Others may not be registered to vote. And there were more found working in low-paying jobs with questionable immigration status. We looked up one of those wrong addresses in Chinatown. Not only did we not find the mystery donor, the building says one resident could use some updating.
(On camera): Do you think people here, generally, have enough money to donate to a political campaign?
SHUI LEUNG, CHINATOWN RESIDENT: A small amount, maybe but not large amounts. ACOSTA: Small amounts, possibly, but not large amounts?
LEUNG: Yes. Because you see this is not a very deluxe building, right?
ACOSTA: This is not a deluxe building is what you're saying?
LEUNG: Yeah, right, right, right. So, not many rich people live in here.
ACOSTA: Not too many rich people here?
LEUNG: Yeah, right, right.
ACOST (voice over): Over the years the Clintons have raised big bucks thanks to their close ties to the Asian-American community. But it's a connection that has also brought about the couple's worst campaign cash scandals. Whether it is convicted fundraiser John Wong during Bill Clinton's presidency or one-time fugitive fundraiser Norman Hsu, during Hillary Clinton's campaign.
MASSIE RITSCH, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: This story would appear to be about Chinese immigrants who are making contributions to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Some legitimately, some perhaps not legitimately. And that sounds a lot like what happened to Bill Clinton, during his campaign, when there were illegal donations coming from foreign nationals.
So, when it sounds very similar, that's the political problem. Because voters will say, oh, here we go again.
ACOSTA: As for Hillary Clinton's Chinatown connection, the campaign officials told us they actually flagged some of these questionable donors. And in seven cases where the contributors' identities could not be verified, donations were returned. But the campaign insists this is a small problem. And, remember, the campaign returned a substantial amount of money raised by Norman Hsu -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.
Let's check in with Jack Cafferty. He's in New York with the "The Cafferty File."
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: We've got some conflicting views from the United Nations, coming from a couple of the presidential hopefuls. Republican candidate Mitt Romney is calling the international body, quote, "an extraordinary failure of late." Saying the U.N. Human Rights Council has repeatedly condemned Israel while taking no actions against nations with repressive regimes.
Romney advocates withdrawing support for the U.N. Human Rights Council and instead replacing it with what he calls a new coalition of the free nations of the world and bring those countries together so we can act together, his words.
On the other side of the coin, Democratic contender Bill Richardson, who was a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. disagrees. Not surprisingly, Richardson says he wants to introduce some Republicans to the reality that the U.N. is a, quote, "necessary and important framework for building international cooperation that's necessary to confront certain problems."
Richardson says that more than anyone in the race, he understands the shortcomings of the United Nations, but he also knows the, quote, "incredible power in legitimacy of international cooperation".
So here's the question: Mitt Romney says the U.N. is an extraordinary failure. Bill Richardson says it's necessary and important. Who's right, and why? E-mail your thoughts to Caffertyfile@cnn.com, or go to cnn.com/Caffertyfile.
That's a debate, Wolf, that's been going on for as long as I've been in New York City, and probably even earlier than that.
BLITZER: It will continue for a long time as well.
CAFFERTY: Well, we'll get it sorted out here.
BLITZER: Yeah, hopefully. Thanks, Jack, very much.
Angry over health care for children, one U.S. congressman accused of crossing the line on Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETE STARK (D), CALIFORNIA: You don't have the money to fund the war, or children! But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people -- if we can get enough kids to grow old enough, for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off, for the president's amusement.
BLITZER: A Democrat slammed for going off message and over the top. We're going to have details what happened today.
Also, Senator Barack Obama wants someone fired. The Democratic presidential candidate says the government's voting rights chief said something way out of line about minorities.
Also, a top American scientist suspended after claiming that whites are more intelligent than blacks. Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: One U.S. congressman is defending some words his critics are calling stupid. It involves an outburst from Democrat Pete Stark of California, made in the heat of a debate over health care for many of the nation's children. Let's go to Capitol Hill. Our Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash is standing by.
Republicans are blasting this Democratic congressman. Some Democratic leaders are as well. What's going on, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, late today we got the first statement from those Democratic leaders. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Congressman Stark's remarks inappropriate. Her number two said he's hopeful Congressman Stark will express his regrets. And now Democrats are publicly conceding all of this is a distraction.
BASH (voice over): Democrats worked for months to hone their message on children's health, but when it came to the climactic debate, the most memorable Democratic moment was decidedly off message.
REP. PETE STARK, (D) CALIFORNIA: You don't have money to fund the war or children, but you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people, if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement.
BASH: Republicans jumped on the tirade. Issuing statement after statement calling on Congressman Pete Stark to apologize. But, the California Democrat refuses. In an interview with KGO Radio in San Francisco, Stark would only say:
STARK: Do I wish that I could have kept the focus more on health care? Absolutely.
BASH: Repeated answers like that prompted this from the host:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't be Clintonesque. I mean, it's just stupid. And it just gives the other side too much ammunition.
BASH: Stark's Northern California district is one of the most Democratic in the nation. He said his constituents do not want him to apologize. Stark even logged on to the liberal blog DailyKos, where his remarks are a hit. Stark wrote, "Wanted to drop by, say hello and thank you for your kind words of support."
STARK: Bush just likes to blow things up in Iraq.
BASH: This outburst is not Stark's first. Not even close. The 34-year House veteran is known for having perhaps the most explosive mouth in Congress. During a committee hearing two years ago, Stark called Republican Scott McGinnis a little wimp and a fruitcake. And Stark has also accused Connecticut Republican Nancy Johnson of being a whore for the insurance industry.
BASH: Saying the president blows people's heads off for amusement is so over the top, CNN is told that several Democratic congressman called Peter Stark to complain. This morning Democratic leaders, Wolf, had some hope that they could convince Congressman Stark to back off, to publicly apologize for his remarks. But he is saying his calls to his office are 4-1 in support of his remarks, and he's making it very clear he has no intention of stay saying he's sorry -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Dana on Capitol Hill. Thanks very much, Dana Bash.
The only African-American democratic presidential candidate is outraged over a comment about blacks he deems to be offensive and dangerous. Concerned Senator Barack Obama and something a top justice official said about blacks dying. CNN's Tom Foreman has more -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Obama is furious at the man who heads up voting rights issues at the Department of Justice. Two weeks ago at a forum on minority voters, John Tanner was talking about the elderly, and he said laws that require photo I.D.s to vote, affect older folks because often they don't have such I.D.s. But in a comment that is now on YouTube, he said, that rule of thumb does not apply so much to minority voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN TANNER, JUSTICE DEPT., VOTERS RIGHTS OFFICE: Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly, the way white people do. They die first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Obama is outraged over this. Says Tanner should be fired. Quote, "Such comments are patently erroneous, offensive and dangerous. And they are especially troubling coming from the federal official charged with protecting voting rights in this country."
The Justice Department says Tanner's comments are being grossly misconstrued by the Obama campaign. That quote, Tanner works to protect civil rights on a daily basis, and has been honored by more African-American citizen groups than any other attorney in the history of the civil rights division.
We should note, when Tanner made his comment, he mentioned disparities in health care between the races as a possible cause. And he was talking about real statistics. Life expectancy for white Americans is longer than it is for black Americans, about five years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Nonetheless, Obama is not relenting. Saying that Tanner should go -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And the Justice Department not relenting either. Tom Foreman, thanks very much.
They say he will stay.
A Nobel Prize-winning scientist caught in a scandal after he apparently made some racist remarks. Why are people on both sides of the Atlantic now demanding an apology? We'll update you on this story. Also, a mystery surrounding a magician, David Copperfield. What are the allegations that prompted an FBI raid on his warehouse in Las Vegas? Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Scientists on both sides of the Atlantic are now up in arms over comments quoted from the biologist and Nobel Laureate James Watson, suggesting that blacks are less intelligent than whites. Watson's British book tour is now cancelled. His prestigious research position now in jeopardy. Let's get the latest. CNN's Mary Snow is watching the story for us.
So what's next for Professor Watson?
SNOW: Well, Wolf, Watson has returned home here to New York to deal with the controversy. He's been suspended from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he serves as chancellor.
SNOW (voice over): Doctor James Watson has been called the godfather of DNA. But the Nobel Prize-winning scientist is now at the center of a racial controversy for suggesting black people are not as intelligent as whites.
Watson says he's sorry, and that his comments were misconstrued. But it hasn't quelled the outrage among fellow scientists.
HENRY KELLY, PRES., FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: This is really one of the icons of American science and it's extremely painful to have to have a conversation like this about him.
SNOW: Watson sparked a furor when the UK's "The Sunday Times" quoted him as saying, "I'm inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa." Adding, "All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really."
And that wasn't all. Watson is quoted as saying that he hopes everyone is equal, but, quote, "People who have to deal with black employees find this not true." Watson said he was misquoted. But "The Sunday Times" tells CNN it's taped interview with Watson supports the quotes used. The London Science Museum cancelled an event with Watson. And at leas one UK organization demanded he retract his words.
KOKU ADOMDZA, DIRECTOR, 1990 TRUST: We call on him to actually give an unqualified and unreserved apology to Africa, and all descendents of African heritage.
SNOW: Watson apologized saying that "To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa as a continent is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly, from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."
But some scientists say the apology doesn't go far enough.
KELLY: He really hasn't rebutted the notion that people of color have lower intelligence, whatever that statement meant.
SNOW: Watson is no stranger to controversy. He once suggested skin color is linked to sexual prowess. He also defended the idea that women should be allowed to abort their babies if tests could show they are gay. We reached Doctor Watson's home, but a family member said he declined comment -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Mary. Mary Snow in New York.
Tonight, Christian conservatives facing presidential candidates and some tough choices.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not vote for a pro-abortion candidate even if -- even if it's the only choice I have as a Republican voter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: An influential member of the religious right, Tony Perkins, talking about the abortion issue, the Rudy Giuliani problem, and whether evangelicals could vote for a Mormon.
Plus, Rush Limbaugh sells a piece of his latest controversy for mega-bucks; the money, a lot of it, going to charity.
Also, the raid and the mystery allegation now casting a cloud over famed illusionist David Copperfield. Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: The Dow drops almost 370 points, its third biggest drop this year. But that's nothing compared to the Black Monday crash 20 years ago today; then blue chips fell 23 percent.
President Bush says a vicious military regime killed spiritual leaders and beat men and women. He's announcing additional sanctions against Myanmar, also known as Burma. Among them, ordering the Treasury Department to freeze financial assets of more members of the Burma military regime.
And attention parents of children six years old or under: Don't give your children over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. That from health officials advising the FDA. The panel now says the medicines do not work in children in that age group. The FDA is not required to follow the advice. However, the agency typically does.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Less than three months before the first presidential contest, many Christian conservatives still aren't thrilled with their choices. So today Republican presidential candidates are trying to prove the so-called Values Voters that they're at least better than the other guys. And they all claim to be head and shoulders above GOP front- runner Rudy Giuliani.
Let's go to our Chief National Correspondent John King; he's watching this story for us.
So, how are these Republican presidential candidates pitching themselves to these Christian conservatives?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say they have, Wolf, excuse the cliche, the right stuff. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is on tap in the evening's program tonight.
The latest of the Republican presidential candidates to go before a very anxious social conservative base of the party, asking for help in a race that has no overwhelming front-runner.
KING (voice over): Outside the hall, a mix of God and politics. And a reminder of the one point on just about everyone here agrees. Inside a competition for the so-called values vote. Christian conservatives with a big say in the wide-open Republican race.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have been pro- life my entire public career. I believe I am the only major candidate in either party who can make that claim.
KING: Senator John McCain's relationship with the Christian right is lukewarm at best. In part, because he opposed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
MCCAIN: I'm going to tell you what I believe. And let the chips fall where they may.
KING: Like McCain, former Senator Fred Thompson believes states should decide the gay-marriage issue. And like McCain, Thompson emphasized opposition to abortion.
FRED THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president of the United States, no legislation will pass my desk that funds or supports this procedure without my veto.
KING: Thompson aides waved placards and played hardball. Distributing fliers noting Rudy Giuliani abortion rights and past Mitt Romney's statements promising to protect both abortion and gay rights. Fresh evidence of the intense competition for conservative support.
WHIT AYRES, GOP POLLSTER: There's no monolithic group that can be told what to do. Social conservatives are split in their preferences right now.
KING: Several GOP long shots also had crowd-pleasing lines. One, Congressman Tom Tancredo mocked Senator Thompson's slogan.
REP. TOM TANCREDO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The latest nonsense, common sense conservative.
KING: Amid all the buttons, the only public show of support for Giuliani was for sale in the hotel gift shop. He speaks Saturday just before the activists wrap up a weekend straw poll that asks them to pick a favorite and least favorite choice for president.
KING (on camera): And conservative leaders are not ruling out the option of mounting a third-party, anti-abortion candidacy should Giuliani get the republican nomination, but Wolf, they are playing down that option for now, in part because of that their ranks are divided on that question. Worried that taking such a dramatic step like that would not only splinter the Republican Party but also divide the Christian right. Wolf?
BLITZER: Thanks very much, John. Reporting for us from the conference. John, thanks very much.
BLITZER: And joining us now from the Washington Hilton Hotel here in the nation's capital is Tony Perkins. He's the president of the Family Research Council.
You've got a big meeting going on, Tony. Do you think it's conceivable if Rudy Giuliani is the Republican nominee you could vote for him?
TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: No, Wolf, I don't think I could. I do not believe that myself and other evangelicals would be supportive of a pro-abortion rights candidate. I just don't think that's going to happen.
BLITZER: Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, the founder and chairman, he said this the other day -- he said, "If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor party candidate."
Are you with Dr. Dobson on that point?
PERKINS: Well, I think that's one of the options. I think if the two choices from both parties, major parties, are pro-abortion rights candidates, that you'll have two, really two things that could happen. If there's a minor candidate on the ballot that's pro-life, they could get the support, or you end up having the third party of this engagement.
You just have a number of pro-life evangelicals that simply are not enthused and are not voting and not participating in the process. Although I do think that most of them will vote. They may vote on other issues, but there are other people on the ballot. They probably will pass on the presidential election.
BLITZER: In your particular case, would you just stay home and not vote for a president?
PERKINS: Oh, no, no, no, I would never stay home on Election Day. And I never encourage Christians not to go to the polls and vote. I would -- there are a number of minor candidates generally on the ticket ...
BLITZER: But you wouldn't vote for a presidential candidate.
PERKINS: I would not vote for a pro-abortion candidate, even if it's the only choice I have as a Republican voter.
BLITZER: If a lot of evangelicals just don't vote for a presidential candidate, given how important they've been to Republican candidates over these past several decades, wouldn't that effectively ensure the Democratic nominee? Maybe Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States?
PERKINS: Well, Wolf, I think that's something that people need to consider now. That's why we're raising this issue in October 2007, and not August of 2008.
And what we have simply said, Wolf, is that, look, there are three key elements of the conservative movement. You've got fiscal conservatives, you have foreign policy conservatives and you have social conservatives.
We have been very diligent going through this process. We have not embraced a candidate who's simply right on our issues. We've waited. We're hoping to find a candidate, and I think it's going to happen throughout this week, and at least we'll see movement where we can coalesce around a candidate that brings together all three elements of the conservative movement.
We wouldn't disrespect or allies in the conservative movement by advancing a pro-tax candidate, and so we're simply asking them to respect our views and not advance a pro-abortion rights candidate, which is something that is so critical and fundamental to our positions on life.
BLITZER: So when Rudy Giuliani says personally he opposes abortion, although he believes women do have a right to go have an abortion, but he also promises in almost in the same breath, as you will hear at this event over the next 24, 48 hours, as he promises that he'll appoint strict constructionists to the U.S. Supreme Court, that's not good enough, I take it?
PERKINS: Well, it doesn't all add up. It doesn't add up to pro- life.
I mean, I certainly respect Rudy Giuliani for his stances that he has taken on defense issues. Clearly, he has the admiration of a lot of social conservatives for his leadership in the wake of 9/11. But when we prioritize issues -- and those issues are important -- the defense issues, radical Islam, those are important issues -- but when we prioritize them, life is fundamental.
And I'm glad he's coming. I appreciate him coming and speaking and trying to find common ground. But the bottom line is I believe there is a line which many evangelicals will not cross, and that is giving support to a pro-abortion rights candidate.
BLITZER: Do you believe a lot of evangelicals will have a problem voting for a Mormon?
PERKINS: Not necessarily. I mean, I think it is an issue that people are grappling with. I think first what has kind of been surrounding Governor Romney has been that people see what he's saying today, they've heard about what his record was in the past, and they're trying to find out, is this conversion genuine, how did it come about? And I think as people hear him and he is consistently talking about these issues, I think people are believing, as I do, that these positions are genuine, that he's committed to them, and he will not go back on them. I don't think he can and maintain credibility.
I think then people move beyond that and deal with the issue of, can I support someone of a different faith such as the Mormon faith? I do not think it is a deal breaker like the issue of being pro- abortion rights. I do not think that people will mark off Governor Romney. I think he remains a very viable candidate in the eyes of many social conservatives.
BLITZER: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Thanks very much for coming in.
PERKINS: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Here's a big picture on the religious right vote. Back in 2004, 126 million Americans voted in November of that year. That was a record high for a presidential election. Of those voters nearly a quarter, some 23 percent, were white born-again or evangelical Christians. And among those, evangelicals President Bush won a landslide. Getting 78 percent of their vote in 2004 to only 21 percent for John Kerry.
Among all voters, the 2004 contest was considerably closer with President Bush getting 51 percent of the vote. John Kerry getting 48 percent.
On November 15, I'll be in Las Vegas, Nevada, to moderate a debate in that key western state among the Democratic presidential candidates. November 15th, in Las Vegas. With the Democratic candidates.
The magician, David Copperfield, the subject of a mysterious FBI raid in Las Vegas. What did agents find in his warehouse?
Plus, the radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, now selling a piece of his latest controversy for charity, a really good charity. We'll tell you what's going on. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: David Copperfield is in the business of illusions. But police and federal agents are apparently on the hunt for evidence that they can put their hands on. Let's go right to CNN's Brian Todd. He's following this very real but mysterious case. Brian, what's going on?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wolf, new information tonight. A very serious allegation against this world- famous performer.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
DAVID COPPERFIELD, MAGICIAN: I used to vanish this every night. Twice a night.
TODD (voice-over): A serious allegation against the superstar illusionist. Two law enforcement sources tell CNN David Copperfield is accused of sexual assault. Seattle police tell us a woman filed a police report over the summer and that the alleged incident took place in the Bahamas.
A top Bahamian police official told us there's no official record of there of any incident involving Copperfield. The performer's attorney won't say whether he was in the Bahamas over the summer. But he responded emphatically to the allegation.
DAVID CHESNOFF, DAVID COPPERFIELD'S ATTORNEY: We haven't even been told officially through the law enforcement the name of anybody. But since it wouldn't matter really what the name is, because it's categorically denied as a false accusation. An impossible kind of claim.
TODD: FBI officials tell CNN federal agents from Seattle and Las Vegas raided a Las Vegas warehouse owned by Copperfield this week. CNN affiliate KLAS, citing a source close to the investigation, reports the agents took a computer hard drive and a memory chip from a digital camera system, along with $2 million in cash that was inside a safe.
KENT ALEXANDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Federal authorities have to be really careful, and it looks like they are being careful. There's no charge against David Copperfield, and to, you know, sully his name or image with rumors and innuendo would be absolutely unfair.
TODD (on camera): A short time ago I contacted a spokeswoman with the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, she said federal agents also searched the theater there where David Copperfield performs. But would not say if anything was taken, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much, Brian Todd, with that story. Cash from a controversy. Rush Limbaugh now selling what he calls a smear letter from the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for more than $2 million. We're going to show you why it got so much.
Also -- a daughter's heartache turns into a hit song. We have details of unusual fallout from an election defeat.
BLITZER: Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is selling a piece of his latest controversy to the highest bidder. Limbaugh calls it the original Harry Reid smear letters. Democrats calling it something else and you won't believe the final price tag and where all that money is going. Let's go to CNN's Susan Candiotti. Susan?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is the letter, and apparently someone thinks it is worth just over $2 million. It's a letter written by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and it's written to the head of the company that airs the Rush Limbaugh radio talk show. It is signed by Senator Reid, and many other Democratic leaders, including Hillary Clinton. Now, the dust-up started when Democrats publicly criticized Limbaugh for using the term "phony soldiers."
They claim that Limbaugh was criticizing soldiers who publicly opposed the war in Iraq. The Democrats called this an outrage and demanded an apology. But Limbaugh denied that he was criticizing soldiers and said he was talking about just one specific person, who was convicted in Seattle of being a fake soldier. So, Limbaugh today after auctioning the letter on eBay announced that it was purchased by a philanthropist by the name of Betty Casey for just over $2 million and Limbaugh himself kicked in another $2 million. The letter was delivered to Miss Casey in a sealed briefcase, a Halliburton briefcase, and included a personal thank you note from Rush Limbaugh.
So $4 million will now be donated to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation which provides scholarship money to the children whose parents have fallen in the line of duty. And today on the Senate floor, Senator Reid credited Limbaugh with doing something constructive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID, (D) MAJORITY LEADER: Never did we think that this letter would bring money of this nature. And for a cause, madam president, that is extremely good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: But Limbaugh called Senator Reid a demagogue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: It wasn't your letter that raised this money. It was your abuse of power that was responsible for raising this money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: So, it doesn't sound like the controversy is over, but the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation will enjoy a huge donation. Wolf?
BLITZER: Susan, thanks very much. Susan Candiotti, reporting.
If you think politics in this country has gotten too ugly and heartless, you're going to want to hear our next story. It's about a provocative politician's defeat and his daughter's sorrow and how it all got turned into a country music song. Let's go to Carol Costello. She's watching all of this for us. It all started with former Senator Rick Santorum's loss in his bid to get re-elected in Pennsylvania back in 2006.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: That it did, Wolf, and it was so heinous, the controversy is still going. Former Senator Rick Santorum was a polarizing lawmaker. Someone that liberals loved to hate, and hate would be the appropriate word.
COSTELLO (voice-over): This is it. An AP photo of Rick Santorum's family. That's eight-year-old daughter Sara. It was snapped on the night he lost his re-election bid to the U.S. Senate.
RICK SANTORUM, FORMER SENATOR: Karen and I and the kids want to thank God.
COSTELLO: The Santorums were emotional. Sara couldn't stop the tears. At times she was so overcome she used her baby doll's dress to dry her tears. It wasn't long before her distress hit the Internet and prompted 1,000 nasty jokes. Some liberal bloggers who abhor Sara's dad for his liberal views used the little girl as a punching bag.
"Man," says one blogger, "I haven't taken this much pleasure of the suffering of a small child in days." Another read, "Santorum decided to use his spawn as political props. Now I see why tigers eat their young," said another.
The sheer nastiness of it has lingered for months. Prompting songwriter Leslie Thatcher (ph) to write a song called "For These Times."
COSTELLO: The lyrics were so powerful they attracted a country music legend. It's time to turn the tide
That's right Martina McBride chose to sing "For These Times" because the song seeks to soften the coarsening of our culture.
MARTINA MCBRIDE, SANTORUM SUPPORTER: It's kind of become our national pastime in a way to look at other people's misery, and that's what spoke to me about that part of the song.
COSTELLO: She did not know before recording the song that it was inspired by Sara's tears, but she hopes it helps.
MCBRIDE: Hopefully it will bring her some comfort or just feeling like somebody understands what she's going through.
COSTELLO: And she hopes the song will persuade people to think before they blog.
COSTELLO (on camera): Former Senator Santorum did tell me his daughter Sara is ecstatic over the song but he is disappointed that the political discourse in this country has devolved into attacks on a little girl. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, Carol, thanks very much. Carol Costello reporting.
Let's check back with Jack in New York for "The Cafferty File." Jack?
CAFFERTY: Wolf, the question this hour - Mitt Romney calls the UN an extraordinary failure. Bill Richardson says it's necessary and important. Who is write and white? Bernadette writes from New Hampshire. "Good question. If the U.S. would listen to what comes out of the UN instead of always wanting to be right and rule the world, we'd be much better off and wouldn't have as many enemies as we do at the present time."
John in Pennsylvania. "Mitt Romney, who has no experience in foreign affairs is one more example of the arrogance that Republicans show to the world. Richardson, who has been the ambassador to the UN, has conducted high level talks with North Korea among many other foreign achievements, understands the U.S. is but another country on this earth. The U.S. must continue to work through the UN, keep pressure on the UN to take action and make reforms."
Cory in San Diego, "Has the UN ever stopped a war or act of genocide? It was created with good intentions but now only serves the purpose of allowing other nations to have a forum to bash American and illegally skim UN money into their own pockets. Mitt Romney is right."
Aaron in Wisconsin. "We've used more vetoes in the past few decades than the other four veto-holding nations combined. We praise them when they parrot U.S. policy, ignore them when they oppose us and then dismiss them as worthless. We're responsible for more of its funding than any other nation. But we routinely withhold those funds. Basically if the UN is useless, it's mostly our fault for making it that way."
Frank in San Diego, "The UN has been absent on many major conflicts happening around the world. Why do we waste money on them and what good are they really doing?" And Paul in Brooklyn writes, "I am no fan of the United Nations for a lot of reasons. But any fool, apparently other than Mitt Romney, knows that the longer you talk, the greater the chance of avoiding violence. For all its faults, the UN affords country a little extra time for tempers to cool and for calmer heads to prevail. If for no other reason, that makes it a worthwhile institution."
If you didn't see your e-mail here you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. We post more of them online along with video clips of the "Cafferty File." And that be that for this week, Mr. Blitzer.
BLITZER: Have a great weekend.
CAFFERTY: You, too.
BLITZER: See you back here on Monday, Jack. Appreciate it very much.
CNN environmental correspondent Miles O'Brien has a very special program coming up right at the top of the hour. He's joining us now with a preview. Miles, what's going on?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks, Wolf. Even before Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, his stand on global warming was drawing both praise and criticism. Tonight, we're digging for the truth about everything from global warming's impact on droughts, floods, and storms, to just how thin the ice is for the polar bears. Alarmists, skeptics, and scientists, we got them all. We're keeping them honest. Wolf?
O'BRIEN: A special edition of climate change tonight, "Keeping them Honest. Coming up.
BLITZER: A very important show. We'll be watching, miles. Thanks very much.
Millions of people consider him a holy man, but that doesn't mean he can't enjoy a good laugh. The Dalai Lama giggling his way across the U.S. We're going to show you what's going on. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Here are on look at the "Hot Shots" coming in this hour. In Beirut a man pauses during a candlelight vigil.
In Rome the Trevi Fountain fountain slows after a man threw red dye into it.
In Kentucky, a fawn was protected by a horse after its mother was killed.
And check this out, in South Carolina, a three-year-old isn't satisfied with his pumpkin options. Some of this hour's "Hot Shots."
From the Nobel Peace Prize to the Congressional Gold Medal, the honors keep rolling in and Tibet's Dalai Lama just keeps laughing. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a "Moost Unusual" look.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We in the press couldn't resist picking on Hillary's laugh.
BLITZER: I wonder if you want to respond to the former mayor?
UNIDENTFIIED MALE: Would half ...
MOOS: But would it be a sin to go from Hillary's laugh to the Dalai Lama's giggle?
DALAI LAMA, TIBETAN CLERIC: And a scholar.
I'm looking forward to complete retirement.
MOOS: The Dalai Lama chortled his way through his five-day U.S. visit, chuckling at his own choppy English.
LAMA: A spokesperson. First mistake.
MOOS: Brushing off China's furious reaction to his visit with a laugh. Smiling with Nancy Pelosi, smiling with George Bush. The most down-to-earth most spiritual leader was forever scratching and adjusting his robe as he was being praised at the congressional medals ceremony, he kept gazing up at the Rotunda.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
MOOS: And what better way to pursue happiness than with a chuckle. As the Buddhist proverb said, "Laughter is the language of the gods. Even if you have a problem with the English language."
LAMA: However, I would -- no, no, no.
MOOS: And while the Dalai Lama was laughing, comedians were generating laughter at his and the president's expense.
CONAN O'BRIEN, TALK SHOW HOST: There was an awkward moment when Bush said, Who is the bald chick in the dress?
DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: The Dalai Lama visited the White House, he rang the doorbell and Bush answered and said, oh, let me get some candy.
MOOS: The Dalai Lama's niceness inspired this fake movie trailer on YouTube.
ANNOUNCER: No more Mr. Nice lama.
MOOS: Coming soon were to a temple near you.
Larry King asked the Dalai Lama about his secret for a healthy long life.
LAMA: Good sleep and good food.
MOOS: With an impish wave he left the medal ceremony on the arm of President Bush. He held hands with Richard Gere but there was no bend over backwards kiss.
The Dalai Lama may be the world's most playful spiritual leader and when you're a spiritual leader it doesn't really matter if you're the one who gets the joke.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: This Sunday on LATE EDITION, among my guests, Democrat Jane Harman, Republican Peter Hoekstra. We'll talk about what's going on in Iraq, Iran, a lot more, Sunday on LATE EDITION, the last word in Sunday talk. Until then, thanks for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
Up next, Miles O'Brien with a CNN special report, "Keeping them Honest, the Truth about Global Warming."
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