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Sarah Palin Overseas; President Obama Addresses United Nations

Aired September 23, 2009 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're waiting to hear from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Also ahead, Sarah Palin, a long way from her comfort zone in Alaska. The former governor gives her first big speech overseas. Was she playing to a political audience back home?

And CNN's top doctor said he woke up one morning and he could hardly walk. Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives us his firsthand account of what it's like to suffer from swine flu.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in CNN's command center for breaking news, politics and extraordinary reports from around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

This was the president's big chance to show the entire world U.S. diplomacy Obama-style. His debut speech at the United Nations General Assembly amounted to a warm embrace with a few gentle jabs thrown in. The overriding message: George W. Bush doesn't live at the White House anymore.

Let's bring in our CNN political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

Candy, it was a major address.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a major address and certainly his biggest platform that he's had so far.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama liked to say, a president needs to be able to do more than one thing at a time. And that's certainly one of the underlying messages this week, as the leader of the Western world turns from his domestic agenda to talk on the world stage.


CROWLEY (voice-over): A call to the barricades at the United Nations.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone.

CROWLEY: It was the crescendo to the president's 24-hour tour around the world in a couple of New York City blocks. He's looking for the Russian president to help rein in Iran. He talked trade with the Chinese president and chided the president of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli prime minister for failing to begin negotiations. And he sought to strengthen ties with Japan's new prime minister.

KENNETH POLLACK, SENIOR FELLOW IN FOREIGN POLICY STUDIES, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: And it may be that what the administration is thinking of doing is getting out there, having the president lead the way, make some very bold initiatives on three, four, five dozen different issues, to see where he gets traction, to see where other countries are willing to step up to the plate.

CROWLEY: After a summer full of health care, the president took to the international stage, trumpeting a new tone in U.S. policy and laying out his great expectations.

OBAMA: We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. And our work must begin now.

CROWLEY: But what if a president changed the tone, and nobody came to the table? Will a softer U.S. touch in diplomacy make the world step up in Afghanistan.

OBAMA: We have set a clear and focused goal to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its extremist allies.

CROWLEY: If all the diplomacy in the world fails to get North Korea or Iran to shelve their nuclear ambitions, where will the U.N. be?

OBAMA: The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise and that treaties will be enforced.

CROWLEY: And will anything approaching peace happen now that the U.S. is fully engaged?

OBAMA: Upon taking office, I appointed a special envoy for Middle East peace. And America has worked steadily and aggressively to advance the cause of two states.

CROWLEY: The president is all in with his new approach to foreign policy. But it's a risk.

POLLACK: He has set up a number of very high-stakes meetings with very high profiles. And if he is seen as failing in every single one of them, what it could convince the rest of the world is that this is a president who simply doesn't have the strength.

CROWLEY: Sooner or later, a new, more inclusive foreign policy will have to produce more tangible results, lest it begin to look like a failed, more inclusive foreign policy.


CROWLEY: But the president has plenty of time, three years, in fact, to see his approach play out. And he has to be pleased with today's observation by Russian President Medvedev, who said -- quote -- "Sanctions rarely lead to productive results, but in some cases are inevitable" -- end quote.

One foreign policy expert called that delphic, but also added it sounds like progress, an indication the Russians might be amenable at some point to sanctions against Iran. Interesting.


BLITZER: And -- very interesting, because I want you to listen, Candy, what the president said following those remarks from the Russian leader.


OBAMA: I believe we also share the view that this should be resolved diplomatically. And I am on record as being committed to negotiating with Iran in a serious fashion to resolve this issue.

Russia, as a major leader, I think, believes that such an approach is possible as well. But I think we also both agree that if Iran does not respond to serious negotiations and resolve this issue in a way that assures the international community that it's meeting its commitments and is not developing nuclear weapons, then we will have to take additional actions, and that sanctions, serious additional sanctions, remain a possibility.


BLITZER: The president wants to take harsher action against Iran if those six-nation talks on its nuclear program next month are not successful. A lot of people fear they won't be successful.

The Libyan leader reminded, Moammar Gadhafi, reminded the world today why so many nations had shunned him for so long. In his first appearance over at the United Nations, Gadhafi delivered a long, rambling tirade, his top targets, the U.N. Security Council and the United States. We're going to hear from Gadhafi. That's coming up.

But there are also new developments in the controversy over a tent put up for Gadhafi's visit.

Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow. She has got the latest for us.

What is the latest, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fast-moving developments, Wolf.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi now has one last place to pitch his tent. A plan to put up a tent on Donald Trump's property has now been scuttled after a big outcry.


SNOW (voice-over): Protesters outside the United Nations demonstrated not just against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. They also took aim at Donald Trump, this after a tent for Gadhafi went up on property belonging to Trump about 40 miles north of New York City in Bedford.

RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, "THE KOSHER SUTRA": What message do you send to them, Mr. Trump, by housing Gadhafi's tent on your property?

SNOW: Trump's office said Tuesday it was unaware that its property was being used for Gadhafi, that Middle East partners had acquired a short-term lease. Officials in the town and county were furious and moved to block Gadhafi.

ANDY SPANO, WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, EXECUTIVE: This guy is a terrorist. He's maimed and killed innocent people. He really doesn't belong here, let alone in Westchester, in the United States.

SNOW: An for the town threatened to take action against the Trump Organization, saying the required building permits were not obtained.

The lawyer told CNN he spoke with Trump on the phone to get him to dismantle the tent. Then the Trump Organization issued a statement saying -- quote -- "We have requested that the tenant occupying the property in Bedford, New York, remove the tent that was erected. They have complied with this request."

It was just the latest snub to Gadhafi, who was shunned from other places in and around New York, including Englewood, New Jersey, where town officials a few weeks ago successful fought to prevent Gadhafi from setting up shop in their town.

And the town's mayor joined protesters outside the U.N. as Gadhafi spoke.

MICHAEL WILDES (D), MAYOR OF ENGLEWOOD, NEW JERSEY: I did my job as mayor. If I were a member of Congress, I would ask whether or not the intelligence threat and the vulnerabilities that we have when we admit visitors like this to our country actually yields any significant gain or puts us in greater jeopardy.


SNOW: Wolf, Westchester's county executive had said earlier today he had been told by Secret Service Gadhafi would be in Bedford at some point, but now he's saying it is not anticipated Gadhafi will be going there after all, which leaves him to be staying at the Libyan Mission in New York City -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary Snow, thanks very much.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty right now. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, all these countries have missions to the U.N., right?


CAFFERTY: So, that's where they ought to say when they come here, period. Ahmadinejad and the rest of these mutants that crawl out of the woodwork to come here once a year, go to your mission at the U.N. Stay there. Go to the U.N. Do your meeting. Go back to the mission. And then get the hell out of our country until next year.

Everybody's saying no to the American president these days. That is the start of a fairly scathing piece in "The Jerusalem Post" about where President Obama stands on the international stage just as he addresses the U.N. and gets ready to meet with world leaders in Pittsburgh at the G20 summit.

Amir Mizroch has plenty of examples, the Saudis saying no twice to the president's request for normalizing relations with Israel, North Koreans saying no to repeated attempts at talks by firing off test long-range missiles, Russia and China continuing to say no to tougher sanctions against Iran, and Iran itself saying no to talks about stopping its uranium enrichment.

They march merrily on toward nuclear weapons, it's supposed or presumed. Mizroch suggests the reason that all of these countries are saying no to President Obama is because the U.S. economy has made him a weak president. If the president manages to turn around the economy in the next two years, and then manages to get reelected, at that point, he might be able to focus on international trouble spots with more success. That's if Iran hasn't managed to blow up half the world by then.

Along the same lines, a piece in the British newspaper "The Guardian" titled "Obama the Impotent" says many in the U.S. and abroad are impatient with the pace of progress under this president. It points out Mr. Obama has not even been able to get health care reform passed in his own country and then questions his ability to lead internationally on big issues like climate change and regulating international financial systems -- quoting now -- "It appears the wheels may be coming off the world's post-war leader, and not even Barack Obama can stop it from happening" -- unquote.

So, here's the question. Why is everybody in the international community saying no to President Obama?

Go to and post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty, thank you.

Fear of threats to the most powerful leaders in the world. Pittsburgh steels for protesters over at the G20 summit.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, this is the heart of the maritime security zone?

COMMANDER RICHARD TIMME, U.S. COAST GUARD: This is right here. This is where we want to make sure that we have complete control of the maritime domain.


BLITZER: You're going to go behind the massive preparations for the summit that begins tomorrow, a summit that will bring President Obama together with lots of other world leaders.

And Sarah Palin follows in Bill Clinton and Al Gore's footsteps, speaking at a high-profile foreign conference, but Palin reportedly goes so far as to blame the U.S. government for last year's financial meltdown.

And did the Bush administration lay the groundwork for the Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, to be in the United States? What does Dick Cheney's daughter, Liz Cheney, think about that? Liz Cheney will be here this hour in THE SITUATION ROOM with James Zogby.


BLITZER: The city of Pittsburgh is getting ready for some angry protests. Officials have zones of tight security in preparation for the G20 summit that begins tomorrow. President Obama certainly will attend along with some of the world's most powerful leaders.

Let's go to Pittsburgh. CNN's Kate Bolduan is standing by.

I take it, Kate, the security is already intense?

BOLDUAN: Already in town and already beefing up. You can see it on the streets here, Wolf.

Law enforcement here have roads, bridges and water to secure, with dignitaries, the public and protesters to account for. We have a map to give you an idea of how they're handling it. You can see the Convention Center is situated right next to the Allegheny River. And to deal with that, law enforcement there are completely closing off the immediate area all around the Convention Center.

Talk to any of the law enforcement in charge and they will tell you it is a massive security operation.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): Riot training these men and women hope they don't have to use.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as you get in up, they're pulling you. You're out. He's in. You're done.

BOLDUAN: Twenty five hundred National Guard troops, up to 4,000 police officers and federal authorities all converging in Pittsburgh to brace for the G20 summit, any possible threats to world leaders, and the potential for thousands of protesters.

LUKE RAVENSTAHL (D), MAYOR OF PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA: Our biggest challenge quite honestly has been security around the G20 summit. But we have been very aggressive in putting a public safety plan together.

BOLDUAN: Pittsburgh's mayor and the Secret Service overseeing security say they're ready, setting up a strict three-block security perimeter around the Convention Center where the leaders, will meet with tight restrictions on traffic elsewhere. The Coast Guard is shutting down a five-mile stretch of Pittsburgh's famed rivers running close by.

(on camera): So, this is the heart of the maritime security zone?

TIMME: This is right here. This is where we want to make sure that we have complete control of the maritime domain.

BOLDUAN: And about 40 agencies are monitoring it all from a command center outside the city center.

ED DONOVAN, SECRET SERVICE SPOKESMAN: We have to be prepared for everything, so that comes from a lone person that is going to try to disrupt the event, up to someone who's going to commit a criminal act, all the way up to an organized group or a terrorist group that's going to try to bring real harm to attendees.

BOLDUAN: At the same time, protests have already started, here, demonstrators dangling from the West End Bridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would say that that banner is about a third of the way down. It's not a safe situation.


BOLDUAN: Now, police arrested those dangling protesters, the people that were helping them, and a second group that were attempting to rappel off another bridge.

According to the FBI, though, there are no significant threats against the G20 summit. Wolf, you can probably hear it. There is a rally going on, on one side of me, a protest going on behind me. The activity is definitely picking up here in Pittsburgh.

BLITZER: It will be lively there in Pittsburgh when all those leaders arrive tomorrow.

Kate, thanks very much.

The former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin delivering a big new speech with some of the ingredients her conservative fans certainly will love. But will that kind of thing play well in front of her new audience? That would be an overseas audience.

Our national political correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is more -- is joining us now with more on Palin's speech in Asia of all places. This is one of her paid speeches.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin, she resigned there two months ago and today she chose Hong Kong to make her debut on the paid speaking circuit.


YELLIN (voice-over): On the streets of Hong Kong, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is no celebrity.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have never seen her before?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever seen her before?

YELLIN: She might be better known there today. Palin just headlined a Hong Kong investment conference whose past speakers have included Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Al Gore, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. This year?

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: ... diversity of ideas.

YELLIN: There were no cameras inside, but someone snuck out this cell phone video. Now "The Wall Street Journal" reports, Palin had governments from East to West in her sights, telling the audience of business leaders that China "rightfully makes a lot of people nervous."

And, according to Bloomberg News, she said Japan, not China, "must continue to be the linchpin of U.S. foreign policy in the region."

But Palin saved her most pointed attacks for -- quote -- "liberalism" and the philosophy that -- quote -- "there is no human problem that government can't fix." Her charge? That the U.S. government caused last year's financial collapse. "The Journal" quotes Palin saying, "We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place."

And she reportedly said: "We're not interested in government fixes. We're interested in freedom."

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE DIRECTOR: She gets a chance to try out her ideas and see what the response is.

YELLIN: Doug Holtz-Eakin was a top economic adviser in the McCain-Palin campaign. He says the government did make mistakes, but disagrees that government was solely to blame for the collapse, and says of Palin's theory:

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, you don't want to take it to its logical conclusion, which says, we don't need a government. YELLIN: He believes the former governor has great gifts, but the question is:

HOLTZ-EAKIN: How will she combine those skills with a set of ideas that will be more appealing to a broader demographic in America? We know the Republican Party has become too narrow.


YELLIN: Now, former Governor Palin did work in a moose reference during the question-and-answer session at the speech. She joked about the contrast between very urban Hong Kong and Alaska, where she said she saw a moose on the way to the airport.

Now, those who were in the audience say she seemed to get a mixed reaction, Wolf. Some people actually left early, calling the speech boring. And other people said they were very impressed with her remarks.

BLITZER: Yes. But she obviously doesn't necessarily believe that politics stops at the water's edge, because there was some political stuff in there.

YELLIN: Good point. That's true.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Jessica, for that.

One of CNN's own coming down with the swine flu -- Dr. Sanjay Gupta's account of coming down with a virus he's been warning us about for months.

And a group of minority kids sent home from a swim club, now a Pennsylvania state panel finds probable cause of racial discrimination. We have the details.

And, in Tennessee, a Memphis-style welcome for the Dalai Lama.



BLITZER: President Obama is calling for a new era in global relations.


OBAMA: We must insist that the future does not belong to fear.


BLITZER: Will his U.N. appeal fall on deaf ears in the Middle East conflict? The former vice president's daughter Liz Cheney, she squares off with James Zogby. That's coming up.

They will also discuss whether improved relations with Libya under the Bush administration was a good or bad idea. And Dr. Sanjay Gupta as patient -- he explains what it was like to come down with swine flu.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A cough was the first thing. Then I started to have body aches. I got nauseated. I just wasn't feeling well. The lightheadedness and sort of the freezing cold feeling, I think, were the most memorable for me.



BLITZER: President Obama on the world stage today telling the United Nations General Assembly he wants to lead the United States into a new era in global relations.


OBAMA: Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone. We have sought in word and deed a new era of engagement with the world.


BLITZER: Let's talk about this and more with Liz Cheney, former principal deputy assistant secretary of state during the Bush administration, and James Zogby, the president of the Arab-American Institute.

Anything wrong with that approach, Liz, that the president outlined today?

LIZ CHENEY, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think that you have got to focus on what the U.N. actually could deliver.

And I was concerned about a number of places in the president's speech where he really sort of seemed to take shots at the previous administration, but also talk about things like nuclear disarmament, in the sense that, if the United States disarms, somehow, it will encourage the Iranians, the North Koreans to disarm.

I do think that there was some naivete in this speech. And I think there was a lot of sort of places where he could have done more to talk about freedom, he could have done more to talk about democracy. Those words seemed to me to be missing from the speech.

So, you know, I think he got applause at the United Nations. And I think people are expecting him to deliver in a way that we, frankly, haven't seen so far (INAUDIBLE).

BLITZER: It was a very different speech that President Obama gave, Jim, than we heard from President Bush. JAMES ZOGBY, PRESIDENT, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: But it was expected to be different because this is President Obama and he is setting a different tone. He's rebuilding relationships and reconstructing America's role in the world and I think, in some important ways, helping to lay the foundation for accomplishing many of the things that -- that we all want to see -- disarmament, movement on the climate, movement on international trade and Middle East peace.

I mean the point is, is that this is a president with a mission. The mission is to get us out of the hole and enter, as he said, the pivotal age that we're in with a new era of cooperation -- not bringing over the baggage of the last century, but moving forward and being a generation that makes change.

BLITZER: And on the Israeli-Palestinian front, he said this today.

Listen to this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States does Israel no favors when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.


OBAMA: And -- and nations within this body do the Palestinians no favors when they choose vitriolic attacks against Israel over a constructive willingness to recognize Israel's legitimacy and its right to exist in peace and security.


BLITZER: A fair and balanced approach, right?

CHENEY: Yes. You know, I think it was interesting, though, you didn't hear any mention of Hamas. And I think it's -- it is very naive, frankly, to think that you can work out some sort of arrangement between the Israelis and the Palestinians with Mahmoud Abbas and ignore the fact that that Hamas, in fact, rules...

BLITZER: What do you want to do with Hamas?

CHENEY: ...rules Gaza.

BLITZER: What should he have said?

CHENEY: I think what you need to do is build Palestinian institutions. And I think the real problem with the approach that we're seeing now -- two problems. One is that it takes the focus away from building the institutions that the Palestinians need to have a real state -- things like security institutions, things like a civil society. And secondly, it ignores the real threat that we and Israel face together, as well as our Arab allies across the Middle East, which is the threat of Iran. And I think by forcing this intensive focus on, you know, bilateral meetings and bilateral photo-ops, in fact, you're taking attention away from the things that might actually help to bring peace between these two nations.

BLITZER: He did get a handshake between Netanyahu and Abbas.

ZOGBY: Well, the handshake is -- is not the point. The point is, is that the president has laid out a track and he's determined to move on that track -- final status negotiations, he wants to see them happen.

But with regard to what Liz said, the fact is, is that the Palestinians are building institutions. And they are making a determined effort, despite living under an aggressive occupation, to move forward. The two year plan to move forward by Prime Minister Fayyad is impressive and deserves to be supported and it supported by this administration. The president made mention of the progress in security. He made mention of the progress on building a new economy. And the role of the private sector in the West Bank is something that cannot be ignored. They are doing great work...

BLITZER: Even...

ZOGBY: ...under the most difficult circumstances.

BLITZER: Liz, yesterday, even Prime Minister Netanyahu alluded -- referred several times in the interview here in THE SITUATION ROOM to the economic progress of the West Bank.


ZOGBY: Let me just finish, though, Liz.


ZOGBY: Let me just finish Liz.

BLITZER: All right. Hold on. One at a time. Go ahead...


CHENEY: Prime Minister Netanyahu...

BLITZER: Hold on one second.

CHENEY: -- also said in your interview in THE SITUATION ROOM was that it would be a tremendous step forward in this peace process if the Palestinians would simply acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. You know, he's asking for something that -- that seems to be, you know, very doable.

And I guess I would ask, you know, Jim, why won't Mahmoud Abbas say that -- that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state? ZOGBY: Because the issue of how you define yourself as a state is something for the people of that state. You recognize Israel, which the Palestinians have done and the PLO signed several agreements and renounced their charter three different times. One, I was there and in the face of President Clinton, making it clear that they recognize the existence of Israel.

But the question of a Jewish state, again, is an issue for Israel. Two reasons -- two problems. One is 20 percent of the population is Arab and what we'd be saying if we were not...

CHENEY: So you don't think it should be a Jewish state?

ZOGBY: ...if we are not careful. The question is...

CHENEY: Then that's news, Wolf...

ZOGBY:'s a state for...

CHENEY: ...if that's what Jim is saying today.

ZOGBY: No. It's a -- it's a state for the people of Israel. There also is a debate in Israel over what it means to be a Jewish state between orthodox and reform, who have a problem in how you define it. The question...

CHENEY: But I would imagine if you took a poll in Israel...

ZOGBY: The question is not...

CHENEY: would find a vast majority...

ZOGBY: not for the Palestinians to do it...

CHENEY: ...of Israeli citizens who said they think they're a Jewish state, actually.

ZOGBY: I'm reading the press in Israel, they're saying we define ourselves. We don't need the Palestinians to define us. And so that is not an issue to be on the table. It is not the deal...

CHENEY: Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks it's an issue.

ZOGBY: Well, I think that he throws it up there as a camouflage for the issues that have to be dealt with, which are Jerusalem, settlements, final status issues like -- like borders and -- and refugees.

BLITZER: Let me...

ZOGBY: Those are the issues...

BLITZER: Let me just...

ZOGBY: ...that have to be negotiated between the parties, not how each state defines itself... BLITZER: You -- you...

ZOGBY: ...whether a Muslim state, Christian state, a Jewish state...

BLITZER: You made the point.

ZOGBY: ...that's something that the people of Israel will do themselves.

BLITZER: ...Liz, that Iran is the big issue right now. We're getting ready to hear from Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, right now.

Do you believe this outreach from the Obama administration, from the Europeans, trying to establish a dialogue, working, trying to get the Iranians to stop a nuclear weapons program, if, in fact, that's what they're doing, has a chance of success?

CHENEY: No. And I think it's been very damaging so far. In fact, I think if you look at the track record of this administration since January, each moment when we have reached our hand out and said we want to negotiate, the Iranians have rejected it. The Iranians have either made speeches condemning us or they have sent letters condemning us. They've rejected it.

Now, we also had news yesterday that President Obama met with President Hu Jintao of China. And the White House tells us he was forceful in demanding sanctions.

Well, in response, we learned today that the Chinese, in fact, are now providing up to a third of Iran's gas supplies.

BLITZER: Can -- can this...

CHENEY: So the sanctions...

BLITZER: ...diplomacy work with Iran?

CHENEY: The only way the diplomacy will work -- let me just finish -- is if the Iranians and the rest of the world believe that we're going to use force if the diplomacy fails. They don't believe that now.

ZOGBY: We've not given it a chance and we are now giving it a chance. But at the same time, Iran's behavior is isolating it, actually making our outreached hand, their bizarre and aggressive behavior is making it more possible to achieve the kind of international isolation that we want to pressure the regime.

BLITZER: All right...

ZOGBY: Understand that in the last eight years, nothing was done to help retard Iranian development. In fact, everything was done to increase both extremism in the region and the war in Iraq, which emboldened Iran, has put us precisely in the situation we're in today. It is a threat...


ZOGBY: ...but this administration is dealing with this...

CHENEY: That's absolutely not true.

ZOGBY: ...threat, I think...

CHENEY: But when is...

ZOGBY: a smart way.

CHENEY: When are you going to say, OK, they've had a chance?

Are you going to give them I mean like, what, we're going to give them 12 months to see if the Iranians said...

ZOGBY: Well, your administration had eight years...

CHENEY: ...say you're right. Right.

ZOGBY: And this administration has had eight months...

CHENEY: And we freed 50 million people.

ZOGBY: And, actually...

CHENEY: We liberated the people in Iraq.

ZOGBY: the last eight months...


BLITZER: All right...

ZOGBY: ...had more progress in building international...

CHENEY: from attack.


BLITZER: Here's what I want. I want both of you to come back. We've got a lot more to talk about. I wanted to ask you about Moammar Gadhafi and the Bush administration opening up the door, but we'll leave that for another occasion.

CHENEY: But Moammar Gadhafi gave away his nukes because he saw that we went in and we took down Saddam Hussein. That's a lesson that ought to be something that they learn in the Obama White House.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Thanks very much for coming in.

We'll continue this down the road.

CHENEY: Thanks.

ZOGBY: Thank you.

BLITZER: Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta fighting for his own health in a war zone.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a tough way to get vaccinated, to actually get the -- get the -- the whole infection, the full blown infection. But, in fact, you're right, I probably am essentially vaccinated against H1N1 now, having had the disease.


BLITZER: You're going to hear Dr. Gupta's harrowing firsthand account of coming down with swine flu thousands of miles from home.

And who do the sons of the late Ted Kennedy want to fill his seat in the U.S. Senate?


BLITZER: You've heard about the cases, the infections, the fear, even the deaths. But perhaps nothing hits closer to home than actually catching swine flu yourself. One of CNN's own caught the virus he's been reporting on for many months.

And joining us now, our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- Sanjay, good to have you back.

You were pretty sick and all of a sudden I discovered, like a lot of folks, you had the swine flu -- the H1N1. Walk us through what that was like.

GUPTA: Well, you know, it was a -- it was a miserable few days, Wolf, there's no question about it. I'm not someone who gets sick very often, so this was something that really hit me like a ton of bricks.

I'll tell you, there was a couple of things. You know, when you're in a war zone, there's lots of different ways that you might catch something like this. You know (INAUDIBLE)...

BLITZER: And I just want to remind our viewers, you -- you detected -- you got sick when you were in Afghanistan on assignment for CNN.

GUPTA: That's right. So I was -- I was covering these stories out there. And, Wolf, you've -- you've been out in war zones like this, as well. You know, you're not getting much sleep. Your immune -- your immunity system may be depressed a little bit, as well, as a result of all the work that you're doing.

But, you know, the -- what I came to learn, Wolf, is that the H1N1 virus is circulating around Afghanistan much like it's circulating in many countries around the world. And there are people who are getting sick from it. And I became one of them. It's a contagious virus, so touching something, touching your hand subsequently to your mouth or your nose, that's -- that's how you get it. That's how people are spreading this.

BLITZER: And be -- because, obviously, you're more aware of the potential for infection than anyone else. You're a doctor, so something obviously happened and you got -- and you got the swine flu.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, well, doctors aren't always the best patients, Wolf. I'll be the first to concede that. And I tell you, in the beginning, I was trying to explain it away with anything, I started to have a cough was the first thing. Then I started to have body aches, I got nauseated. I just wasn't feeling well. The light- headedness and sort of the -- the freezing cold feeling, I think, were the most memorable for me. Wolf, it was over 100 degrees outside and I was chilly all the time. That -- that's what really struck me.

But I, you know, I thought maybe it was just the lack of sleep. My bullet-proof vest didn't fit very well. Maybe it was that causing the body aches. I tried to explain it away with lots of different things. But eventually, I woke up one morning and I just simply couldn't hardly walk. I was stumbling. I -- I just couldn't take a few steps even. So that's what really clued me in that there was something going on here. And it felt like the flu. I haven't had the flu in years, but it just -- it really hammers you -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And you went to the hospital or the infirmary in Afghanistan. And we've got a picture of you lying in a bed. They -- they hooked you up to I.V.s, it was that bad, wasn't it?

GUPTA: Yes, you know. And it's sort of interesting, with this flu, like with any other flu, there's not a lot doctors can do for you. In my case, I, you know, I was having a hard time keeping anything down. They did hook me up to an I.V. and, you know, I took fluids and I -- and it definitely made me feel better. They also gave me medications to bring down my fever. It was over 102 and -- and just medications for the congestion.

But, you know, it was an important lesson, I think, in some ways, Wolf, because as much as we've talked about H1N1/swine flu and talked about seasonal flu, they're both still the flu. And for the most part, they're indistinguishable. And -- and the doctors really aren't going to do anything that's probably different, depending on your diagnosis.

Most doctors, incidentally, Wolf, won't even test for this because they, you know, they figure what's the point?

We're not going to do anything differently, why test for it?

BLITZER: The -- but you did survive, obviously.

(LAUGHTER) BLITZER: There are people out there who don't survive the H1N1. This could be deadly. I mean, what's the difference, basically, between those who survived -- and most of the people will survive, it will just be the regular flu -- but especially young kids, pregnant women, they're susceptible to a much greater danger?

GUPTA: They -- they are. And that's something that's started to emerge, you know, in terms of figuring this out. You know, you remember we were down in Mexico, Wolf, looking at the first cases of H1N1. And now we have a much better idea of how this virus behaves. And exactly to your point -- young children; now, pregnant women, as well, seem to be the most susceptible to this.

And that's why a lot of the stories that we've been doing, Wolf, have focused on the -- the clinical trials that are being done for the vaccine for children and pregnant women. That vaccine, they say, is going be available by the middle of October.

You're right, the vast majority of people who are going to get this may not even know that they have it. There will be a smaller segment of the population who will feel like they need to go to the hospital or see the doctor, at least. And then a very, very small fraction as far as we can tell so far that are going to have, you know, some of the deadliest ramifications of this particular virus.

Wolf, you know, something that we talk about all the time and you've mentioned is that seasonal flu kills about 36,000 people a year. We don't talk about that very much.

But that -- you know, flu can be a killer if it's not attended to quickly.

BLITZER: And so now that you've had the H1N1, you don't have to get the shot anymore, you're immune to it down the road, you don't have to worry about it anymore?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, it's sort of interesting. It's a tough way to get vaccinated, to actually get the -- get the whole infection, the full blown infection. But, in fact, you're right, I probably am essentially vaccinated against H1N1 now, having had the disease. So I probably won't need that vaccine again.

But, you know, again, the -- the experts say that H1N1 will likely become the dominant flu strain over the next several years. So next year it will be a slightly different flu strain and they need a shot to try and protect it next year and again the year after.

BLITZER: Sanjay has written a terrific piece about this at entitled, "I Went To Afghanistan and All I Got Was H1N1."

Sanjay we're -- we're really happy you're fine.

Thanks very much for joining us.

GUPTA: It's good to be home, Wolf.

Thanks so much for having me.

BLITZER: All right. Let's go to Lou Dobbs right now to see what's coming up at the top of the hour -- Lou.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": And you're right, Wolf, Sanjay wrote a very interesting article.

President Obama telling the United Nations si se puede, we can solve all the world's problems, and promises the United States will no longer act alone.

Also, Republicans saying only fools rush in. They want to slow down Senate Democrats pushing hard to get health care legislation passed.

And bullets flying at the U.S.-Mexico border -- vans packed with illegal immigrants trying to crash through the border -- a possible sign of things to come. We'll have the story for you and its implications.

We'll also have complete coverage of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech to the United Nations tonight. That will be coming up here over the next hour.

Join us for all of that, all the day's news and much more -- Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Thank you, Lou.

We'll see you in a few moments.

So who will be Senator Ted Kennedy's successor in the U.S. Senate?

His sons have now made their choice now and we'll have an update on that.


BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack once again for The Cafferty File -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is, why is everybody on the international stage seemingly saying no to President Obama?

Jonathan writes: "We have lost the respect of the rest of world over the last nine years. The rest of the world is questioning the capitalistic greed of our corporate leaders. Our domestic politics have weakened our image abroad and we are a fading global power. So far, foreigners have been polite. But their true feelings are reflected in their policies and their dealings with the United States. Payback from the rest of the world will not be pleasant."

Ron, from Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley's birthplace: "Obama has been in the Oval Office eight months. Give him a break. Just because he hasn't achieved world peace, ended world hunger, cured cancer and stopped climate change doesn't mean he hasn't accomplished anything."

Scoop writes: "Because money makes the world go around and the U.S. dollar has no value. Power is no money and you have no power when you have no money. We're no longer the nation we used to be. The rest of the world realizes that. When will we?"

Chuck writes: "The bully on the block that this country has become has been bluffed for too long. You're either with us or against us -- unless your oil is more important. We want sanctions, but we don't dare close our ports to the Chinese, Russia or any other economic power that might hurt the bottom line of some billionaires. We send our youth to wars created for profit. We can't have health care reform because profits for parasites are too important. Obama can't fix it. It's gone too far."

Ryan writes: "I don't think they're saying no to President Obama anymore than previous presidents, it's just that people are surprised everyone isn't saying yes just because it's President Obama now."

Matt in Wisconsin says: "The world does not consider the a U.S. leader because we don't set an example that is to be followed -- health care, national finance, education, international relations, torture, environment, you name it. Nobody is going to follow the commands of a would-be leader that can't create a prosperous and just country."

And Cheffe writes: "We need a Madam President, not a Mr. President. Don't worry, Hilary will fix this. Stay tuned."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, go to my blog at and look for yours there among hundreds of others.

I'm going to take a few days off, Mr. Blitzer.

I will see you on Tuesday.

BLITZER: Well deserved. Enjoy and relax.

Thanks very much, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Yes, I'm going to.

BLITZER: On our Political Ticker, Massachusetts lawmakers have given final approval to a bill allowing a temporary replacement in the U.S. Senate for Senator Ted Kennedy. The bill now goes to Governor Deval Patrick, who says he'll sign it. Before Ted Kennedy died, he pushed for an interim senator to fill his seat until a special election could be held in January. Two family associates say the Kennedys want Governor Patrick to appoint former Democratic Party Chairman Paul Kirk to fill the Senate seat for the time being. They tell CNN's John King that Senator Kennedy's sons have both expressed their wishes to the governor.

Meantime, former Boston Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling said he won't run for Kennedy's Senate seat. Earlier this month, he had expressed an interest in competing in the special election. That's coming up in January.

A Washington memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. is be -- is a step closer to becoming a reality. The NFL Players Association today pledged $1 million to build a memorial on a site on the National Mall here in Washington. The gift brings the fundraising total to $107 million of the $120 million needed for the project.

We have another way for you to follow what's going on here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm now on Twitter. You can get my Tweets at -- wolfblitzercnn -- that's all one word.

Coming up, the unexpected -- it always happens at the United Nations General Assembly. Certainly, this year, we had some Moost Unusual moments.


BLITZER: World leaders are focusing in on serious matters at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. But there have been some silly moments, as well.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has the Moost Unusual of the bunch.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): It's the U.N. version of the red carpet. Instead of Brad and Angelina, it's Barack and Michelle.

QUESTION: Hi, Michelle.

How you are?

Good morning.

MOOS: Entering separately and biggest commotion...


MOOS: Comes when a rogue leader makes an entrance.


MOOS: Libya's Moammar Gadhafi had the press foaming at the mouth.

(on camera): But our number one entrance is really a lesson in how not to enter.

(voice-over): We can all learn from a gentleman who faced the wrong way on the escalator as he arrives with his delegation. At least at the U.N., they're diplomatic enough to pick him up.

(on camera): Now, we think we've detected a retro trend -- flashing the peace sign. (voice-over): Iran's president did it and so did Libya's leader. But the kind of peace Gadhafi offered in his speech was a piece of his mind -- banging on the podium.


MOOS: Though some managed to snooze through the harangue. In the hour-and-a-half speech, the Libyan leader took five drinks of water, went through two different interpreters and tugged at his robe countless times. At one point, someone from his delegation passed up a note that people may have hoped said, "Hurry up," but which Gadhafi ignored.

He symbolically ripped a copy of the U.N. charter then dumped it. He seemed fond of tossing things around. You can bet that President Obama was thrilled to learn that Gadhafi called Obama "our son."

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN PRES (through translator): From relations to our son, Obama.

MOOS: And we offer congratulations to the U.N. secretary-general and Argentina's female president for the longest handshake -- 15 vigorous seconds. As diplomats streamed into the world leader's luncheon, U.N. security had its hands full.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up means back up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait on this side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get these people out of here.

MOOS: But if anything got manhandled at the U.N....


MOOS: was Libyan leader Gadhafi's notes. They took an hour-and-a-half of abuse -- shuffled, reshuffled, fumbled and finally used to gavel his own speech to a close.


MOOS: Note to aide -- don't forget to pick up his notes.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Tomorrow here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the filmmaker Michael Moore has words of advice for President Obama.


MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: If he doesn't believe that Gorbachev's number is in the book. I don't think he can get a hold of Genghis Khan. That goes all the way back to that time. But this -- I'm telling you, there is -- there's no way to win this, President Obama. And it's going to have to be decided by the people in Afghanistan.


BLITZER: That's it for me.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Up next, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf.