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Pakistan on the Brink; Oprah Speaks Out; Interview With Pastor Joel Osteen

Aired November 5, 2007 - 22:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: an ally in the war on terror armed with nuclear weapons and on the brink. The chaos in Pakistan, mass arrests, martial law, a government under fire from its people and al Qaeda, why it means just so much to us.
Also tonight: feel-good faith. My one-on-one interview with Joel Osteen, the televangelist behind the largest church in America.

And Oprah's anguish -- speaking out for the first time about the school scandal, the allegations of abuse, and her emotional remarks -- just ahead.

But, first, imagine a nuclear time bomb perhaps ready to explode. That is Pakistan tonight, the White House partner in the fight against terrorism ripping apart at the seams. Its military government led by President Pervez Musharraf continues to enforce emergency law. The result? Thousands arrested, violence spreading.

Musharraf says he wants to make his nation safe from extremists and al Qaeda. Others, though, suspect it is a last attempt to hold on to power. President Bush is urging Musharraf to return to democracy as soon as possible. But will he listen and is it too late?


KING (voice-over): Violence and chaos across Pakistan today, as Pakistani security forces clash with lawyers protesting President Pervez Musharraf's weekend declaration of a state of emergency.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: Inaction at this moment is suicide for Pakistan.

KING: General Musharraf cited what he called a growing terrorist threat to justify suspending the Constitution. But critics in Pakistan and around the world saw the timing as more sinister, just ahead of a supreme court ruling on whether Musharraf's recent election was valid. He remains both president and military chief, in violation of the constitution.

VALI NASR, ADJUNCT SENIOR FELLOW FOR MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Fearing that the supreme court was going to give this verdict, he preempted and suspended the constitution, dismissed the judges, and essentially said that, if the Constitution is not going to do what he wants, then Pakistan doesn't need a constitution. KING: Police put the number of arrests by Pakistani security forces at more than 1,500 lawyers, many who have backed the supreme court's attempt to limit Musharraf's power. But senior Pakistani officials tells CNN several thousand lawyers, as well as journalists, opposition leaders and human rights activists, have been taken into custody.

Caught up in the sweep, at least 60 members of Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. The former prime minister told CNN she is free for now.

BENAZIR BHUTTO, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN: I hope General Musharraf won't take that step, but I can't rule it out.

KING: Bhutto has condemned the arrests and called on countries to pressure Musharraf to reinstate the constitution and released jailed opponents.

NASR: He's not arresting and beating up extremists. He's beating up lawyers, secular civil society activists, people in suits and ties, the middle classes that we would like to actually promote in the region as our cause of moderation.

KING: Freedom of the press is another casualty. Reports critical of the government are now banned, and broadcast transmissions of local and international networks have been blocked, hardly the restoration of democracy the United States had hoped to see from its ally in the war on terror.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We expect there to be elections as soon as possible, and that the president should remove his military uniform.

KING: Conflicting signals about whether parliamentary elections will go ahead in January. Pakistan's prime minister said they could be delayed by as much as a year.

Musharraf has again promised to remove his uniform, but he has repeatedly fallen short of his promises. And with the decision to impose a state of emergency, the Bush administration says it has no choice but to review aid to Pakistan, which has totaled nearly $10 billion since 20001.

Even so, U.S. officials concede their options are limited. As angry as they might be with Musharraf, the United States needs his help. And if his government falls, things could take more a dangerous turn.

NASR: The United States may dislike what General Musharraf did, but in the end the United States needs the Pakistan military in the fight against Taliban in Afghanistan and in the fight against al Qaeda within Pakistan's borders. And that means that we cannot really push General Musharraf too hard. In many ways, General Musharraf has checkmated us.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: One State Department officials tells CNN they are looking at all the options with Pakistan. None of them are good.

A major part of the problem is al Qaeda. It has thousands of fighters in the country. Washington is paying hem billions to President Musharraf to fight them. Well, what happens if they win?

CNN's terrorism analyst Peter Bergen has more.


PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST (voice-over): It's the Bush administration's greatest fear: Today's Pakistan will become tomorrow's pre-9/11 Afghanistan, a lawless home base for extremists, where al Qaeda can regroup to plot and prepare future large-scale terrorist attacks.

After September 11, the White House relied on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to eliminate or at least contain the radical elements in his country. Today, with Pakistan now operating under virtual martial law, President Bush offered more support to the Pakistani president, despite worries that Musharraf might be destabilizing his own country.

BUSH: President Musharraf has been a strong fighter against extremists and radicals.

BERGEN: Well, yes and no. Pakistan has provided the United States with valuable intelligence, but in the past few years, the Taliban and al Qaeda have been rebuilding in Pakistan's wild tribal regions and attacking U.S. troops over the Afghan border.

Musharraf had vowed to drive the extremists out, first through military force and then by negotiating through tribal leaders. Meeting in Washington last year, President Bush sounded confident.

BUSH: When the president looks him in the eye and says the tribal deal is intended to reject the Talibanization of the people, and that there won't be Taliban and there won't be al Qaeda, I believe him.

BERGEN: But Musharraf's government hasn't delivered.

STEPHEN COHEN, SENIOR FELLOW IN FOREIGN POLICY STUDIES, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The cooperation in the so-called war on terrorism has been mediocre at best.

BERGEN: Terrorist attacks on the border have escalated. Pakistan expert Stephen Cohen argues the Bush administration expected too much of Musharraf.

COHEN: We wanted him to round up al Qaeda. We wanted him deal with Taliban. Now we want him to expand democracy in Pakistan. No Pakistani leader could have delivered all of those items.

BERGEN: Now the terrorist threat has spread throughout Pakistan. Look at the devastating October attacks in Karachi. And with a country in crisis, the United States fears a post-Musharraf Pakistan could become dominated by radicals, opening a major new front on the war on terror. The nightmare scenario?

COHEN: Larger and larger amounts of Pakistani territory will be in a sense ungoverned. And in those areas you would see Taliban, but also al Qaeda units moving into those regions as a safe haven. There, we would be back exactly where we were with Afghanistan before 9/11.

BERGEN: A potential catastrophe. So, American hopes for a democratic Pakistan may have to wait.


KING: Peter Bergen joins me now, along with Reza Aslan of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy and author of the book "No God But God."

Peter, let's start by setting the stakes first.

Is Musharraf as good an ally in the war on terror as the White House says? And does this emergency declaration impact his abilities in that specific context, the war on terror?

BERGEN: Well, I think it's very hard for even the major players to know what's going to go on. Musharraf has taken a huge gamble by this declaration of emergency. He's already one of the least popular politicians in Pakistan.

I don't think this emergency measure is going to make him any more popular. In a sense, he's doubling down. And it's a very risky strategy. How it affects the war on terror I think remains to be seen. At the end of the day, that is conducted by the Pakistani military. It is conducted by the Pakistani military intelligence agency, ISI.

And, for the moment, they are still responding to President Musharraf. But you could imagine a set of circumstances where Musharraf has basically annoyed so many people in Pakistan that the military distance themselves from him and come up with a new leader, because at the end of the day, for the Pakistani military leaders, the institution of the Pakistani army is going to be more important than the rule of one man, John.

KING: Reza, Peter just soberly laid out the nightmare scenario. And you know the argument. Some say, well, we need to support Musharraf because, if we don't, his government collapses. It could get worse.

But you take the view that America's best chances for a stable ally in Pakistan would be open, free and fair elections. Why?

REZA ASLAN, AUTHOR, "NO GOD BUT GOD: THE ORIGINS, EVOLUTION, AND FUTURE OF ISLAM": Well, it's been about six years now that Musharraf has laid the -- what the U.N. refers as the legitimacy of blackmail upon us, the whole question of, if it weren't for me, the fundamentalists would take over.

Of course, this is a common refrain that we hear from a lot of dictators in that region. But, unfortunately, in this case, there just seems to be very little truth behind it. And the longer that we support the dictatorial regime of Musharraf in Pakistan, and the longer that we continue to push aside the democratic aspirations of the very large, politically sophisticated, quite secularist middle class in Pakistan, the more we're going to see I think not so much pre-9/11 Afghanistan, but perhaps 1978 Iran, a situation in which the secularists, the intelligentsia, the democratic forces begin to align themselves with the more radical and more religious forces in order to create one large opposition to the rule of Musharraf.

And, unfortunately, as we saw in Iran, in post-revolutionary, chaotic situations like that, it becomes much easier for religious groups who, in a fair and free election, could never come to power to come to power in those kinds of circumstances.

KING: Peter, in the context of that, how much responsibility, blame, would some say, rests with Bush administration policy, meaning, did they ask too much of Musharraf to begin with, to crack down in al Qaeda, while also trying to implement democratic reforms, or did they not push him hard enough perhaps?

BERGEN: Well, I think the president's stated policy is democratization as a way of marginalizing the Islamic radicals throughout the Muslim world.

And this is, after all, not only the second largest Muslim country in the world. It's also the second largest democracy when it's not being ruled by military rulers like Musharraf.

And, so, if he had had the courage of his convictions, I think he would have been making the kinds of statements he's now finally making, which is calling for free and fair elections and asking for a return to civilian rule. But we really haven't heard much from the president on that subject until now, with this declaration of emergency rule by Musharraf.

And it may be too little too late, unfortunately, because that particular horse has left the barn.

KING: Well, Reza, then how do you see this playing out? If the horse has left the barn, how long can Musharraf impose this state of emergency? And should the United States be pushing harder?

ASLAN: It seems to me Musharraf has got pretty much three choices at this point.

He can maintain the martial law until the parliamentary elections in January, and then return to some sort of civilian rule after that. He can try to hold on to power as long as he can, and do what Mubarak did in Egypt, and that is to create a permanent imposition of emergency rule.

Or the worst-case scenario is the one I just mentioned, John, and that is that things backfire and that there is some sort of coalition between the religious and secularist parties that leads to some kind of bloody revolution. And, in that case, I don't think anyone will win.

KING: So, then, Peter, what does the United States do? The secretary of state spoke to Musharraf. Admiral Fallon of the Central Command met with him personally, along with the U.S. ambassador. The national security adviser at the White House has spoken to his counterpart in Pakistan.

And, yet, at least so far, the -- the government in Pakistan is not doing what the White House wants. What can the White House do?

BERGEN: Well, it could revoke some of this aid, more than $11 billion so far since 9/11.

But, unfortunately, Musharraf may have the American administration sort of over a barrel at this point, because, you know, it's sort of too late now. As Admiral Fallon did -- did meet with the Pakistani officials and said that -- on Friday, saying, the state of emergency was not the right way to go.

But, clearly, Musharraf has basically said essentially to the American administration, get lost. So, this message, you know, the people in Washington right now must be quite flummoxed about what is the right approach. They're basically being told that Musharraf is just going to ignore them.

KING: And, Reza, as the United States and indeed the world debates its options right now, one of the question is, who is the opposition? Benazir Bhutto just returned to the country not that long ago. Is there a unified, strong enough opposition for the world to turn to, or does the world have pretty much very limited options in this case?

ASLAN: No, there isn't a strong and unified opposition party.

I think, right now, I guess our best bet would be been Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. But we -- we tend to, I think, exaggerate how popular Ms. Bhutto is in Pakistan. She is still widely reviled. Her poll numbers are, frankly, not all that much higher than Musharraf's.

She's also seen to be somewhat in bed with the United States. And, also, we shouldn't ignore the fact that, you know, the corruption charges that were dropped by Musharraf in the power-sharing deal that brought Ms. Bhutto back to Pakistan, those were not made up.

Benazir Bhutto's tenure in Pakistan was one of widespread corruption and dissatisfaction amongst the very same people who are looking to her right now as some kind of saving -- some kind of savior. But it's hard to say that that's going to actually play itself out at this point.

KING: Gentlemen, I want to ask you both to stand by. And we will continue this discussion in just a moment. Now, Pakistan says it's a democracy. You be the judge. Here's the "Raw Data."

"BusinessWeek" says Pakistan's military makes up half of the country's budget. Twelve percent of the land is owned by the army. It's also believed to be the nation's largest corporation, with business interests valued at more than $4 billion.

Pakistan isn't just a haven for al Qaeda. It's also a nuclear nation.

Tom Foreman is looking at that part of the story -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, in places like Des Moines, where I'm standing right now, that's really what matters, two things, terrorism and nukes. We will tell you all about it when we come back.


KING: More now on Pakistan, a nuclear nation in a state of extreme turmoil tonight.

Earlier, police officers armed with batons and tear gas attacked thousands of protesting lawyers around the country. The situation is drawing serious concern here in Washington and around the world. Not only could this have major implications for the war on terror, but there's also the fear of what could happen to Pakistan's nukes.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a closer look.


FOREMAN: There are two geographic reasons why the troubles in Pakistan are really America's troubles, too. The first, Pakistan shares a violent border with Afghanistan. That's where the 9/11 attacks were launched by bin Laden. He was there under the protection of the Taliban government.

The Taliban and al Qaeda are waging a comeback in that border region, launching attacks against the new Afghan government and also against the Pakistani government as well, both our allies in the war on terror.

And the second reason why Americans should be concerned, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Ever since archrival India first tested nuclear devices in the early 1970s, Pakistan has been catching up. Starting under the watchful eye of a German-trained scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan has spent three decades developing a nuclear arsenal. And military analysts say, with the help of China, Pakistan has an estimated amount of materials to make 25 to 50 nukes.

So, where are they? Well, nuclear facilities are located in places around here. We know about those. But the Pakistan government says it has broken up its weapons. They're not assembled. They have the detonators, the warheads and the missiles all in different places. And military analysts in the United States generally believe them. They say that, after 9/11, there was so much concern about these weapons, that they were spirited away in parts to at least a half- dozen super-secret locations in Pakistan.

The problem is, those same weapons, analysts say, could be quickly reassembled. And that brings us back to the Taliban. If Pakistan descends into chaos, the Taliban and other extremists could rush into the country and try to seize those nukes. And then what? -- John.


KING: Thank you, Tom.

Now, we just made contact with a journalist on the ground in Pakistan. We will talk to her in a moment.

First, though, joining me once again, CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen and author Reza Aslan.

Reza, Tom Foreman discusses the nuclear situation. What are the security, the command-and-control, meaning, are you confident on this day that, if the Musharraf government, say, were to collapse, that the nukes would stay in safe hands?

ASLAN: I feel fairly confident of that.

I think Peter could probably speak better to this, but we have to understand that the military in Pakistan goes far beyond Musharraf. In fact, one could argue that Musharraf has even managed to weaken the military as an institution in Pakistan.

And I don't think that the military, despite the fact that, certainly, there are those, particularly within the Pashtun tribe in the military, who have certain sentiments that may be positive toward the Taliban or to even al Qaeda, but it's -- it's very unlikely that the military is going to allow those nuclear warheads to get in the hands of terrorists, because to do so would essentially mean the end of Pakistan.

KING: Peter, what is your assessment of that threat? And not so much on the issue of nuclear warheads, a smaller amount of materials that could be used in, say, a dirty bomb?

BERGEN: Well, certainly, Osama bin Laden was meeting with senior retired nuclear scientists before the 9/11 attacks. And there were two Pakistani nuclear scientists. And that was quite disturbing.

On the other hand, you know, getting the material to an al Qaeda, it's not an easy thing. You would need a fairly substantial amount of highly-enriched uranium. We have never seen the kinds of transfers to terrorist groups of the amount of highly enriched uranium you would actually need for a nuclear weapon.

So, I'm pretty sanguine that this -- while this is something to be concerned about, it's not a live possibility right now. And, indeed, the Islamists in Pakistan, while they make a lot of noise and they kill a lot of people, right now, they're polling at 3.5 percent, the Islamist parties that are sympathetic to Taliban and al Qaeda.

And, so, you know, if we -- if there is indeed an election in Pakistan in January, you know, we might actually see a kind of positive outcome, which is the Islamist parties doing pretty poorly, the return of the secular parties, the PPP under Benazir Bhutto, and, to some degree, Nawaz Sharif's party as well.

KING: Peter Bergen and Reza Aslan, gentlemen, thank you both for your thoughts and insights tonight.

And we want to take you now inside Pakistan, where the situation is getting worse.

With me on the phone from Karachi is Beena Sarwar, a journalist who was at one of the protests earlier today.

Help us understand now, a little after 8:00 a.m. in Karachi. Set the scene. What is going on, on this day? And how worried are the Pakistani people about the situation inside the country?


I think that there's general outrage about what's going on, and people are worried. There's a lot of uncertainty. The stock market has plunged today. And we just don't -- people just don't know what's going on. There's a news blackout, as you know, in the electronic media.

The newspapers are being, I think, very bold, and reporting as it is. But then we have to wait for the next day to see what's going on. And we got used over the last two years to a certain amount of freedom. There's over 30 independent television channels. And we have been getting blow-by-blow accounts of politics and of the political situation all this time.

And, suddenly, nobody knows what's going on. There have been rumors since yesterday that Musharraf -- that there's been a countercoup within the army, that Musharraf has been urged to hand over power to the senate chairman. But Musharraf has termed that the biggest joke. And he has denied those rumors.

Otherwise, life goes on as normal. There's these protests out in Lahore, in the high court bars, and in -- all over the country, in the district bars, the press club -- journalists and lawyers getting arrested, beaten, detained, human rights activists getting picked up.

And I think that is -- right now, that is the protest that you're seeing right now to the emergency, is Pakistan's secular forces, the people that have always opposed not only Pakistan's nuclear program, but also any form of military government and have -- and continue to resist that.

Now, it's a small movement, but that's what's really being targeted and crushed. And, as Asma Jahangir, the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, said -- and she's under house arrest in her -- in Lahore right now -- and she said, it's very ironic that Musharraf is negotiating with the militants and beating up the secularists.

KING: And, Beena, help us understand. The president declared a emergency, state of emergency, over the weekend. Is he the -- is he communicating on a daily basis with the Pakistani people? And I -- as you said, his opponents obviously can't do that, at least directly.

So, what are the everyday, average citizens of Pakistan hearing from their government right now?

SARWAR: From the government, we're hearing that all is well. There's no problem.

Musharraf addressed the nation. He's not -- he's not in regular touch with the nation. He addressed the nation very late night on Saturday, about an hour after scheduled. And he spoke for about half- an-hour, something like that. And we haven't seen or heard from him since, except for the press release that termed the rumors about his -- about him being arrested as a joke.

But the prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, has been -- has held press conferences, and he has announced that the elections will be held on schedule.

The issue is that what Musharraf has termed as an emergency, many people term that as martial law, because, basically, it's the judiciary, the legal arm of government, that has been rendered virtually nonfunctional, with all the judges who refuse to take oath under the new provisional constitution order being dismissed, including the chief justice, who had led a huge movement against Musharraf in March, when Musharraf had first suspended him.

So, there's different dynamics at play, different things going on. And -- but Musharraf did yesterday, on Monday -- because this is Tuesday morning in Pakistan right now -- on Monday, Musharraf met with about 80 Western and international diplomats, including, I believe, the U.S. ambassador, and tried to justify or to explain to them why he has done what he has done.

But the people, as a whole, don't really know what's going on. A woman yesterday asked me that she -- said that she had heard that Benazir Bhutto is coming back to Pakistan. And I told her that Benazir Bhutto had already landed in Karachi on Saturday night from Dubai and that she was in Pakistan already.

So, that's the kind of news blackout. There's -- people who don't read the newspapers don't know what's going on. People who don't have access to the Internet or to cell phones don't know what's going on.

KING: Beena Sarwar, thank you for your insights tonight. And we will keep in touch as this crisis unfolds.

Beena Sarwar, joining us from Karachi, thank you. Now, the United States gives Pakistan billions of dollars in military aid. Do you think the Bush administration should cut that aid off? We want to hear from you. Go to Link to the blog and post your comments. We will read some of them coming up.

Now to a dispute here on U.S. soil. The president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps making big promises, asking for millions of dollars to build a fence and patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Here's CNN's Abbie Boudreau.


ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a reaction to the horror of 9/11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If elected officials will not lead, then it is up to the citizens of this great state and this nation to lead.

BOUDREAU: A way for people to really do something to make America safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secure our borders and enforce our laws.


BOUDREAU: One man actually mortgaged his home, donating more than $100,000.

"Keeping Them Honest," we went looking for the fence. We did find the fence the federal government is building, but where was that 14-foot-high Minuteman fence?

Paul Newman, the board supervisor of Cochise County, Arizona, says Simcox's fence was a pipe dream from the beginning. After all, the border is a patchwork of public and private land. And a fence- builder could never get permission to cross all of it.

PAUL NEWMAN, BOARD SUPERVISOR, COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA: In actuality, for people who are still giving him money, they should know that that money is not going to building a fence.


KING: So, where is the money going? Well, it's not a simple answer. We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- tomorrow on 360.

Now a man of God with enough followers to fill a sports arena. He's popular, but some say he's too accepting. Here's what he told me about welcoming homosexuals into his church.


PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN, AUTHOR, "BECOME A BETTER YOU": I think the worst thing we could do is say, well, this group can't come because they don't believe exactly like me. I want them to come to be able to receive help. That would be like saying that somebody has a drug addiction, and you know what? I don't believe that's right. I believe that's harming your body. But you know what? Come to our church. I want to give you help. I want to give you encouragement in any walk of life.

So, I think that's what the church is all about. It's not a museum to display perfect people. It's a hospital for the hurting and the wounded.


KING: The rest of my interview with televangelist Joel Osteen after this short break.


KING: His smile is wide. So is his reach. In just a few years, Joel Osteen has emerged as the most popular and visible televangelist in the United States. He has the largest church in the country in Texas. Osteen's Lakewood Ministry is booming, beamed across the airwaves and around the world.

Much of his success is from self-improvement style of preaching, a manner that has left him with many fans and many critics. His newest book is called "Become a Better You." I talked with Joel Osteen a bit earlier.


KING: Three million advanced copies of the book. Many would say, "Wow, that is a remarkable figure." But as you know, others are critical of you. They say, "This man is more a motivational speaker than he is a minister." Answer those critics.

JOEL OSTEEN, AUTHOR, "BECOME A BETTER YOU": Well, John, you know, when I took over for my father eight and a half years ago, I didn't change who I was. I've always been an encourager, a motivator. Playing sports growing up, I used to be the one saying, "Come on. We can beat these guys."

So this is just the message that comes out of me, I think, just to naturally motivate people. And I do want people to become better fathers and better husbands and better employees and better leaders.

KING: As you know, some of your critics say that you want to become wealthy in the process. I want to read you something Rick Warren, the author of "The Purpose Driven Life," he said this about your type of Gospel.

"This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy, there's a word for that: baloney. You don't measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn't everyone in the church a millionaire?"

Why such criticism, and how do you answer it? OSTEEN: Well, one, Rick is a good friend of mine, and I think we tend -- we agree on 99 percent of the same things. I don't ever think that -- I've never preached that God wants everybody to be wealthy and to be rich. I think God wants everybody to be prosperous, to be healthy, to have good relationships.

I mean, it's the love of money that's the root of all evil. So, you know, we do believe in God's force, and he wants us to be blessed.

KING: How, then, do you deal with those in your flock who might be disappointed if they follow your advice and they try to make themselves better every day and yet wealth does not come their way? Do they come to you and say, "Joel, what am I doing wrong? Why is the Lord passing me by?"

OSTEEN: No, I don't think so at all, because it's not about wealth. I've never preached one message on money. It's about having good relationships. It's about having peace in your mind. It's about having healthy bodies.

I mean, if we put wealth only to money, then you know, that's the -- that's the wrong attitude. To me, I'm saying that God wants you to be blessed and just to be happy in every area of your life.

KING: Some would say if you look at the Bible, homosexuality is wrong. Some use the term evil. You say gays are welcome in your church, even though you might not agree with their lifestyle. How do you deal with that as a person and as a minister and someone who many in your community look to for guidance?

OSTEEN: Well, the way I would -- I would deal with that is that I think the worst thing we could do is say, "Well, this group can't come, because they don't believe exactly like me." I want them to come to be able to receive help.

That would be like saying that somebody has a drug addiction. You know what? I don't believe that's right. I believe that's harming your body. But you know what? Come to our church. I want to give you help. I want to give you encouragement.

KING: Joel Osteen, a Democratic, Republican, an independent?

OSTEEN: You know what? I've voted all different ways. You know, I look at the person and their core values and what they stand for. And so I really can't say I'm -- I'm one or the other.

KING: As you know, there's a bit of a struggle -- some would call it a civil war -- in the Republican Party because the national front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, is someone who supports abortion rights. When he was mayor of New York City, he supported and implemented taxpayer-financed abortions.

Is he somebody you could support as a presidential nominee? And do you get questions about that in your congregation?

(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: His answer coming up. We'll have a whole lot more, including a few surprises from Joel Osteen when 360 continues.


KING: Joel Osteen's feel-good approach to religion has led some to call his Lakewood ministry "Christianity light." Osteen serves up positive messages and usually steers clear from talking about tough issues.

Tonight that changed. Before the break, I asked the televangelist about Rudy Giuliani, the pro-choice Republican candidate who was mayor, supported taxpayer-financed abortions.

Would he vote for Giuliani for president? Here's the answer.


OSTEEN: You know, there's a bit of a struggle -- some would call it a civil war -- in the Republican Party because the national front- runner, Rudy Giuliani, is someone who supports abortion rights.

When he was mayor of New York City, he supported and implement the taxpayer-financed abortions. Is he somebody you could support as a presidential nominee? And do you get questions about that in your congregation?

OSTEEN: Well, I get questions about all of them, and I don't -- I don't rule one in or one out. I think, again, you have to look at the person and their whole leadership skills. And I'm not a one-issue person that would probably stop me, because I look at the whole person.

So I'm not real sure, but I'd just encourage people to search their own hearts. I believe people are smart, and God gives us wisdom and that we'll make right decisions.

KING: And so when an evangelical minister or Christian conservative like Dr. James Dobson comes forward and says, "On that issue alone, on abortion, the scripture and God's guidance is no, that is wrong; therefore, I can under no circumstances support that person," you would not make that statement?

OSTEEN: Well, I probably would not. And I love Dr. Dobson and respect him and read all of his books. But you know what? There are just -- you know, different ones have different passions about different things. He may be right. I may be wrong. But I just -- you know, in my heart of hearts, I'm probably looking at bigger overall, you know, who's the best person for our country.

KING: And one of the Republican candidates for president is a Mormon. Are Mormons welcome in your congregation? And do you view that as a valid religious faith or do you attach the word "cult" to it like some do?

OSTEEN: You know what? I haven't studied the Mormon faith enough. I always say anybody's welcome to come to our church. And I don't know about Mitt Romney, except some of the things I've read in the papers. So I don't -- I don't know that I can make a valid judgment on that.

KING: Followers of Mormonism believe that Christ at one point came here to the United States. Do you find that at all plausible?

OSTEEN: I don't believe that's what the scripture teaches, no. I don't think so.

KING: How would you answer, then, someone who says, as a man of God and someone who is trying to now sell a book to people, saying make yourself better, if people want guidance on those issues and come to you for them, saying, "I believe you. You're my minister. Help me understand how views on abortion should affect my politics, or views on same-sex marriage should affect my politics," do you tell them to go elsewhere? Or do you counsel them privately and just not talk about it in public?

OSTEEN: No. We have a team of people that counsel people all the time on many different issues. I'm mainly given the vision for the ministry and speaking every week on hope and encouragement and forgiveness and things like this. But I'd probably just not -- I don't delve necessarily into those issues.

KING: To make one more run at it, at this point in time, does Joel Osteen think he knows who he's going to vote for, for president of the United States?

OSTEEN: No, I don't know yet. I probably won't decide until just a little bit before. But I don't know. The right one will emerge, but I don't know just yet.

KING: Is it a good thing that the candidates talk about faith in their politics, or do you hear them saying that and saying, "That's my job, not yours"?

OSTEEN: No. I think it's good. I love to know where they stand on their issues of faith, because I don't see how you can separate faith from a person. I mean, I know I was raised a preacher's kid. And you know, that influences me.

So I love to hear about their faith or their lack of faith. So it doesn't bother me a bit. I like to hear it.

KING: Joel Osteen, thank you very much for your time.

OSTEEN: Thanks, John.

KING: Thank you.


KING: Oprah breaks her silence, speaking publicly for the first time about the sex abuse scandal at her school in South Africa.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOT HOST: I spent about a half hour crying, moving from room to room in my house. I was so stunned I couldn't even wrap my brain around it.

But as I said earlier, within the hour I pulled myself together and started making calls and preparing for what to do next and how to best look after the girls.


KING: Find out just what she did after this short break.


KING: Today Oprah Winfrey spoke publicly for the first time about the abuse allegations involving her all-girls school in Africa. It was an emotional address in which she vowed to make sure the children -- her children she called them -- would be safe.

CNN's Erica Hill reports.


WINFREY: This has been one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating, experience of my life.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): Her voice heavy with sadness, Oprah Winfrey speaks about the scandal that has shaken her to the core.

WINFREY: What I know is, is that no one, not the accused nor any persons, can destroy the dream that I have held and the dream that each girl continues to hold for herself at this school.

HILL: The school is Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg. Founded in January by the talk show host, it is now at the center of a criminal case against a school matron.

Her name is Tiny Makopo. Today the 27-year-old stood before a judge and pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen charges of assault and abuse. Oprah called the defendant a predator and indicated some of the accusations were of a sexual nature.

WINFREY: When I first heard about it, I spent about a half hour crying, moving from room to room in my house. I was so stunned I couldn't even wrap my brain around it.

HILL: When she did, Oprah hired a team of investigators to fly to South Africa and meet with officials and students. She also spoke directly to 15 girls who stepped forward to report the abuse. Today, she said she thanked them personally for their courage.

WINFREY: I told them that, although they had apparently been living in an atmosphere that repressed their voices, that this was a chance for them to break the silence and to take their voices back. HILL: Oprah promised changes at her academy. There will be a new head mistress next semester. Every one of the 152 students will be given a cell phone. And Oprah says they can call her anytime they want.

As for the school and her students, Oprah vows both will overcome this.

WINFREY: It will become a model for the world. With each girl who graduates, we will show that the resilience of the human spirit is -- is actually stronger than poverty. It's stronger than hatred. It's stronger than violence. It's stronger than trauma and loss, and it's also stronger than any abuse.

HILL: Erica Hill, CNN.


KING: We'll keep following that story.

And now this programming note: Thursday on 360, it's your chance to get involved in our "Planet in Peril" investigation. Last month we aired a four-hour documentary on the environmental issues impacting earth. Now we want you to take part in the discussion by sending in questions for our panel of experts.

Check out this one from a father and son in Anderson, California.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My son wants to blame me for global warming. So could you tell him...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That it's his fault for global warming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or it's just natural, that global warming is naturally going to occur?


KING: That's a good question, and it's easy to submit one of your own. Just go to Click on the link.

Act quick, though. Time is running out.

Now, "Raw Politics" is next. Tom Foreman is following the campaign up in Iowa tonight -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John, I'm on the banks of the Des Moines River, where at dawn all the candidates will strip off and swim across, in a tradition as old as the caucuses.

Well, no, they won't, but that gives you an idea of just how raw it's getting out here. We'll have it all when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: When it comes to politics, all eyes are on Iowa. Just two months now to go until the first of the nation's caucuses launch a presidential nominating season. There's a chill in the air. Raw weather, just perfect for "Raw Politics."

Here again is Tom Foreman. He joins us now live from the Hawkeye State.

Hi, Tom.

FOREMAN: Hey, John, we're out here with the Election Express. It is hard to believe that, in exactly one year from this week, we'll be voting for president. But you know, time completely flies when you're cold and you're standing in Iowa.


FOREMAN (voice-over): The candidates must think so. Democrats and Republicans are working Hawkeye-land hard.

On the Dems' side, big Joe Biden, no interest in being vice president if the Hill gets the nomination. With first gentleman Bill, what would he do?

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it would not be something where the next vice president is going to have all that much input. And I don't want to, you know -- I'm not looking for a ceremonial post.

FOREMAN: Biden is way down, but listen to what some students from Drake University say about the upcoming caucuses here.

KATE BAIER, STUDENT: I think a lot of people are going to be surprised. I don't think it's going to be Giuliani and Hillary. I think McCain is going to surprise a lot of people, and I think Biden is going to surprise a lot of people.

FOREMAN: President Bush, facing another tense situation overseas, meets the prime minister of Turkey to discuss Kurdish rebels. Members of the PKK have been attacking Turkey from Northern Iraq. The prez says he'll crack down.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe the PKK are terrorists and they should be stopped.

FOREMAN: A top aide to Fred "Law & Order" Thompson has quit amid headlines about drug charges 20 years ago.

And "Newsweek" is suggesting Michael Bloomberg may yet join this race, calling him the billion-dollar wildcard.

And Ron Paul gets bombed. Internet fans launch a fundraising blitz and say they raised nearly $2 million in 12 hours.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN: Well, we don't have any way to check out these numbers, but they called it a money bomb. And it's enough to warm things up on the campaign trail, even out here in chilly Iowa, which is where you need to come back to, John, because we're holding your seat on the bus. And it's your turn to buy gas.

KING: I'll be there soon, and maybe I'll send you first an ethanol-powered space heater. Tom Foreman in chilly Iowa for us. Thank you, Tom.

FOREMAN: Wouldn't that be grand?

KING: It's on the way.

Erica Hill joins us again, this time with a "360 News and Business Bulletin".

Hi, Erica.


HILL: John, there's a new terror warning from the head of British intelligence. The chief of MI-5 says at least 2,000 people in Britain pose a security threat by supporting al Qaeda, and some of them could be young as 15.

Well, we are back to $3 a gallon for gas. AAA says the national average has climbed almost 25 cents in just the last three weeks. The reason here: crude oil costs are up 39 percent since August. Now hovering around $96 a barrel.

And if that wasn't enough bad news for you, how about some reruns? Movie and TV writers walking off the job today. The big issue here is what writers are paid for their work that goes out via new media, on things like DVDs and on the Internet. Many of the late- night talk shows, that means, are going to start airing reruns tonight because their writers are striking.

And former Yankees manager Joe Torre trading in his pinstripes for the dress whites of the L.A. Dodgers. You may recall, Torre quit the Yanks, calling his last contract offer an insult. With Torre, the Yanks played at four World Series. The Dodgers haven't won a series in almost 20 years.

And for a little more baseball trivia here, only Torre and Casey Stengel can claim, John, that they managed bong the Yankees and the Dodgers.

KING: Erica, I can now root for Joe Torre. I'm a Red Sox fan. When he was with the Yankees, I could respect him, not root for him. Now we can wish him all the best with the Dodgers.

HILL: I'm sure he's very happy to hear that.

KING: I'm sure he will be.

HILL: That he's got John King behind him.

KING: That will save everything.

Now stay right there, Erica. Time for "The Shot of the Day". Remember this guy? As Steve Martin would put it, had a condo made of stone-a. Yes, I didn't think I could pull that off.

But a lot has changed for King Tut over the last 3,000 years. For the first time ever, look at this, the public is getting to see just how much changed. The mummy of the teenage pharaoh unveiled briefly in Egypt over the weekend. Not looking all that bad for someone who's been dead since around 1320 B.C.

HILL: You know, not too shabby, actually, when you think about it.

KING: Not too shabby. No more stone condo, but the boy king will be resting comfortably inside a climate-controlled Plexiglas box to keep his mummy from turning to dust. And finally, something that makes me feel young.

HILL: Oh, John.

KING: I was waiting. I'm waiting. Help me out.

HILL: You don't have to worry about feeling young, John.

KING: Much better.

HILL: Didn't you just have your 30th birthday or something in.

KING: Thank you, Erica. The 21st is next week.

HILL: There we go. I think maybe I should leave now.

KING: We'll all leave now.

Remember, for those of you home, who are bored with this one, send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video, tell us all about it at

And now what's on the radar? Earlier we asked do you think the Bush administration should no longer give Pakistan military aid?

Stephen of Dallas, Texas, says, "Musharraf pulled off the 'Big Con,' just like Saddam did. All the dictators in the Middle East read from the same How to Con the U.S. and Get Paid handbook."

In Knoxville, Tennessee, Ronnie says, "We're giving $150 million each month to Pakistan. Please make me president. I will stop this foreign aid fiasco my very first day in office."

A different take from Anna in Westchester County, New York: "I still support Musharraf; if he leaves, a more violent government will form, based only on Islamic fundamentals, which will NOT include friendship with the United States, and we don't want another violent enemy of our country."

While Rodrigo from Tucson, Arizona, says: "Come on, it's not as if the U.S. hasn't supported evil dictators in the past. What's a few billion here and there when you're buying friends? If it was spent here, it would just be wasted on things like infrastructure, maintenance, job creation and energy conservation."

Suspect perhaps a little sarcasm there.

To weigh in, go to Link to the blog or send an e- mail through our Web site.

Up next on 360, chaos in Pakistan, a state of emergency. Now there's dozens of arrests. President Bush urging Pakistan's president to restore democracy. But will he listen? And how his actions affect our safety right here in the United States. Our experts weigh in, next.