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THE SITUATION ROOM
Pentagon Criticizes Leak of Afghan War Documents; Arizona Appeals Immigration Decision
Aired July 29, 2010 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: The nation's top military officer says those who leaked and posted tens of thousands of Afghan war logs may already have blood on their hands, some very strong words from the Pentagon brass.
And it may have been weakened by a federal judge, but Arizona's law is now in effect, and protesters are in the streets. Our CNN's John King rides along the streets with an Arizona sheriff.
And President Obama speaks frankly about race, saying Americans need a national discussion aimed at overcoming biases.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The Pentagon's top brass today slammed the leak of tens of thousands of Afghan war documents. We heard from Defense Secretary Robert Gates who says that the leaks could have severe consequences for U.S. troops and their allies.
And Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen says those who leaked and posted the material may already have blood on their hands.
I want to go straight to our CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
Barbara, those are some very strong words coming out of the Pentagon today. They obviously must be quite worried with what has been revealed. Tell us more.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, very strong words, but let's be very clear here. These were preplanned words. Both men read opening statements, all of this very planned and well thought out by their handlers. These are the words they wanted to say. This is the message they wanted to get out, but heartfelt.
Secretary Gates making very clear how angry he was and saying, look, even though these documents are fairly old and fairly classified at a low level, there are real consequences. There are consequences for other countries wondering if they can cooperate with the United States. Afghans who helped the U.S. in Afghanistan maybe now targeted by the Taliban and he believes these documents set out a road map for the Taliban to follow U.S. troop tactics and procedures.
Admiral Mullen, that phrase blood on their hands. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADMIRAL MICHAEL MULLEN, JOINTS CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I think we always need to be mindful of the unknown potential for damage in any particular document that we handle.
Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.
Disagree with the war all you want, take issue with the policy, challenge me or our ground commanders on the decisions we make to accomplish the mission we've been given. But don't put those who willingly go into harm's way even further in harm's way just to satisfy your need to make a point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: So, a shot across the bow from here at the Pentagon to Mr. Assange, the editor of the WikiLeaks Web site, where all of this has taken place.
A little surprising, however. Make no mistake, the Pentagon knew for weeks that a large volume of documents, classified documents, had been illegally downloaded, but, today, Secretary Gates said he only found out about it recently -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: So, Barbara, what happens now that we have heard from the defense secretary, the Joint Chiefs chair, that they have publicly expressed their anger?
Well, the secretary underscoring that he phoned the FBI director, Bob Mueller, yesterday, asked the FBI to get involved in this investigation. They want to find out if this is the work of one person.
They believe Private 1st Class Bradley Manning, already under arrest for downloading documents and videos, he is likely to be at the center of the expanded investigation, but did he have accomplices. Who else might have been involved? And what do they need to do now to really understand the scope of this, come up with a damage assessment and move ahead?
Does classified material, as low-level classified as it may be, need to be more strictly controlled? -- Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Barbara.
Well, CNN spoke with a few soldiers about those leaked reports. Atika Shubert sat down with one British soldier who actually pulled up his own reports on WikiLeaks. And he says he wrote them about incidents that happened during his tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2007, but he still does not think that the document dump will do that much harm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK HENNESSEY, FORMER BRITISH ARMY CAPTAIN: Part of the sensationalism of this story is the impression that it is a massive coup and that something that was deliberately hidden from the public has been revealed.
I don't think any of this was deliberately hidden, any more than the company accounts of some boring insurance firm are hidden. They are just internal, rather than external. If troops will feel anything, it will be a slight frustration that people without really the kind of qualifications or the responsibility or the experience to know the difference between what is and isn't sensitive have just flooded the Internet with mostly unimpressive, uncontroversial stuff, but amongst which there may be nuggets which affect people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Joining me now, CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend. She was President George W. Bush's homeland security adviser and also served in the Clinton Justice Department. She is currently in unpaid external board adviser to the CIA and Homeland Security Department. Fran is also partner in the D.C. law firm Baker Botts, where her clients include the military contractor Raytheon.
Fran, thank you for joining us.
Obviously, we have heard a lot about the WikiLeaks and very strong statements coming from the secretary and the Joint Chiefs here. What do we make of what they have said? Is that possible, it is likely now that because of the information that is out there that there may be American soldiers who are in real harm's way?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely.
Suzanne, I think what happens, whenever you see 91,000 pages of documents, the problem is nobody had a good idea what was in them, I suspect, including WikiLeaks, when they put them out there. They had shared them with some members of the press before they made them public, but the likelihood that anyone would have had sufficient time to go through them and identify sources, locations, the sorts of things that our enemies could use to target people who cooperated with us and catch that before publication is remote.
And I think what you are hearing both the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs say is, there is real identifying information out there that will put people and soldiers at risk.
MALVEAUX: So, this is not hyperbole, this is no exaggeration, this is potentially very dangerous? TOWNSEND: Absolutely. And the last person who was on in that interview, there may be lots of noncontroversial reports in there.
The problem is hidden among will be these horribly revealing pieces of information that do put people at risk. And that is why we have a process for declassifying information, so that individuals don't wrongly choose to share classified material publicly.
MALVEAUX: Now, the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, he says now that he is afraid to travel, he's afraid to leave for being harassed or potentially arrested. Has he committed a crime? Can he be arrested? He is an Australian citizen. How does the world or the United States treat this person?
TOWNSEND: He probably is the most difficult case legally.
The soldier that is under arrest, PFC Manning, had an affirmative obligation by virtue of his access to protect the classified information. There will be -- as the FBI gets involved in this investigation, as Barbara Starr reported, they will look to see, did he have help of civilians. Whether they're Americans or not, regardless of that, if people helped him to public this information publicly knowing that it was classified, the FBI will see whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prosecute them as well.
MALVEAUX: OK, Fran, thank you so much for joining us.
Arizona's controversial immigration law went into effect today minus some key provisions blocked by a federal judge. Now, Governor Jan Brewer, she has already filed an expedited appeal of that ruling. Tensions are still high. And while opponents say that the law has been gutted, there were fresh protests today against it.
Police in riot gear were deployed throughout Phoenix. Some protesters joined a pre-dawn march to the state capitol to Phoenix Trinity Cathedral, rather, in a small town outside Phoenix. Residents blocked the main artery, preventing cars and buses from passing before they were dispersed.
Well, one focal point of the protests, the Maricopa County jail run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a tough supporter of the immigration law.
Our CNN's Dan Simon is there and joins us live.
Dan, what has been going on today? Set the scene. What is the mood? What has been happening?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Suzanne.
First of all, behind me, you can see a team of sheriff's deputies guarding the entrance of the jail here in downtown Phoenix. They are here because, earlier today, there was quite a dramatic scene. You had a few hundred protesters swarm the jail, at one point so many people blocking the entrance of the jail preventing anyone from going inside or coming out.
At this point, about a few dozen sheriff's deputies raced to the scene and these are deputies who were planning to enforce Sheriff Joe Arpaio's planned immigration sweep. Well, they had to come here and for a brief period of time, that operation was delayed. Sheriff Joe Arpaio announcing that 23 people were arrested after order was restored. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: It was not very civil, in front of a jail, just interfering with our people, law enforcement, coming through here and booking people into our jail? It is not going to happen. So, if they keep coming back everyday, doing the same thing, they will be arrested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Well, today, all throughout Phoenix, it has been, Suzanne, sort of a cat-and-mouse game with the protesters if you will. When police come, they just go somewhere else and as long as they are peaceful, according to the sheriff, there won't be any problems -- back to you.
MALVEAUX: All right, Dan, thanks for keeping up with all the developments on the street.
President Obama is talking about race and says Americans need to do the same around kitchen tables and watercoolers across the country.
And inch by inch, they are getting closer to killing the blown- out well in the Gulf of Mexico. We are going to show you how they hope to do it.
MALVEAUX: President Obama today said his own administration was at fault in last week's ouster of veteran Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod. She was pressured to step down after a conservative blogger posted a video clip of comments she made about race. Her comments were later found to have been taken out of context.
The president spoke to the National Urban League. Want you to take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now many are to blame for the reaction and overreaction that followed these comments including my own administration.
And what I said to Shirley was that the full story she was trying to tell -- a story about overcoming our own biases and recognizing ourselves and folks who on the surface seem different -- is exactly the kind of story we need to hear in America. (APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: It is -- it's exactly what we need to hear because we've all got our biases. And rather than jump to conclusions and point fingers, and play some of the games that are played on cable TV, we should all look inward and try to examine what's in our own hearts.
We should all make more of an effort to discuss with one another in a truthful and mature and responsible way the divides that still exist. The discrimination that's still out there. The prejudices that still hold us back, a discussion that needs to take place not on cable TV, not just through a bunch of academic symposia, or fancy commissions or panels, not through political posturing, but around kitchen tables and water coolers and church basements, and in our schools, and with our kids all across the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Joining me now is the president of the Urban League, Marc Morial.
Marc, good to see you, obviously.
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Thanks for having me.
MALVEAUX: Congratulations to the National Urban League, 100 years of good service.
MORIAL: Appreciate it.
MALVEAUX: You heard the president. Do you think this national discussion that he is talking about, race, at the kitchen table, in churches, in schools, should it come from the White House? Should he say, we need to have this kind of conversation, I'm going to use the bully pulpit to do it right here to bring the country together?
MORIAL: I think that there has to be presidential leadership on issues of race, but I also think it is a broader responsibility.
I think we need leaders at every level to do it. I don't think the full burden should fall only on President Obama to have a discussion about race. But I think what is interesting is that this week, while we are talking about it here, over at the Convention Center in Washington, we have got 4,000 people having a discussion about race and education, race and jobs, race and health care, and talking about how we can act.
And maybe what we need is not only dialogue, but dialogue that leads to action.
MALVEAUX: We are going to talk about the education component. But, in terms of the president's responsibility, do you think that he handled the situation, the controversy with Shirley Sherrod in a way that you are satisfied? Did he need -- did he jump in at an appropriate time now that he is talking about race today or did he need to do more?
MORIAL: Let me tell you what I think. I think that when he found -- found out that an injustice had been carried out with respect to Ms. Sherrod, when people had overreacted to a doctored tape that was designed to create confusion and ill will towards the NAACP, his administration very, very quickly recanted.
And he had that personal conversation with Shirley Sherrod, which I think was important to her, important to him. And I think it demonstrates an important human quality about President Obama which I think is important. When you have these kinds of issues, sometimes the toughest thing for people to do is to talk about it and look each other squarely in the eye.
MALVEAUX: We heard from Shirley Sherrod today. She was at the -- in San Diego, the National Association of Black Journalists.
MALVEAUX: In an interview, she actually said that now she would pursue a lawsuit against the blogger Andrew Breitbart for putting that edited tape out there that began this whole controversy in the first place. Do you think that is an appropriate response?
MORIAL: I absolutely think it's an appropriate response, because what Andrew Breitbart did was absolutely wrong. To doctor a tape and to put the tape out in an effort to portray an innocent private citizen in an inappropriate, hateful fashion is absolutely wrong.
And I think she owes us -- I think she -- by taking legal action, she is going to send a message to others who might be thinking about these kinds of mischief, about any issue, but particularly the issue of race, that there are consequences. There have to be consequences to doing it, not just public criticism, but I think consequences.
Ms. Sherrod, her story with the Spooners is exactly the kind of thing the Urban League lifts up, and that is the idea of people working together, the idea of cooperation, the idea of reconciliation.
MALVEAUX: And, Marc, what you talked about a bit about in the whole conference with the National Urban League is really about the state of black America. And we know from your own statistics, your own studies that the state of black America, you have more unemployed, you have less educated, more incarcerated, that there are still deep- rooted, deep-seated problems in the black community.
Some would say, look, we have an African-American president here. What is the problem? What is the most pressing issue now that is facing the black community that needs to be addressed, so that you can get folks out of this circumstance?
MORIAL: You know, I think it is jobs and it is education.
Education is a long-term situation. It is going to take a long time to fix the deep educational disparities, but we have to work on it. And the president talked about that. Secretary Duncan made an important commitment yesterday towards an equity and excellence commission.
But, in the short run, I think it is jobs. I am deeply concerned, for example, that a jobs bill has been filibustered in the Senate that would have put maybe a million teens to work this summer. On the issue of jobs, we need to put some of the politics aside, and do the things that are necessary to help the economy.
MALVEAUX: Has the president done enough? Because there are a lot of people I talk to in the black community who say, look, we don't think that the programs that he has put out there adequately focuses, targets on African-Americans who need the help.
MORIAL: You know, I would like to see more targeted programs. There's no doubt. I have been very, very candid about that, from the design of the stimulus.
MALVEAUX: Have you told that to the president?
MORIAL: I have said that to the president. I have said that to members of Congress.
My experience at the Urban League and as mayor of New Orleans teach us -- has taught me that if you really, really want to deal with the problems of unemployment in distressed urban communities, you have got to target the response. In other words, you need the most medicine where the problem is greatest.
And I think that, as things evolve, I think that those are the kinds of things we're going to have to. To a great extent, a lot of the stimulus -- and I think the stimulus has had a good benefit -- was placed in the hands of governors, state governments to implement.
MALVEAUX: I want to talk real quick about education, because you brought that up and that was obviously a point that the president was making. Here in D.C., the D.C. public school system, we saw the superintendent just last week announcing firing 241 teachers. That is about 5 percent of the teachers in the District of Columbia. Do you think that that was a good idea, that approach?
MORIAL: You know, I'm not familiar with the specific circumstances of it. I believe teachers should be well paid and held accountable.
What I do have a problem with is utilizing one single test as a measuring stick on either students or teachers. So, not absolutely familiar with the specifics of the situation in the District of Columbia. But, from a principled standpoint, I believe we should pay teachers well. I believe we should train them well. I do believe they should be held accountable.
Charlie Rangel, Congressman Charlie Rangel, obviously, 40 years serving his community in Harlem, we have got 13 now accusations, counts, if you will, of misconduct. What is your reaction? What is your response today? Should he have tried to cut a deal to help save the party? Perhaps, should he resign? MORIAL: You know, I think that you used the operative word. They are allegations. And I think he is entitled to have a fair shot, a fair hearing on those allegations.
Whether he should cut a deal, since these things are shrouded in a degree of confidentiality, we are not sure what the specifics are and what evidence is behind those allegations. One thing I do know is that, when I walk the streets of Harlem, the people of Harlem are still behind Charlie Rangel.
MALVEAUX: All right, Marc Morial, we will have to leave it there.
MORIAL: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Thank you so much.
MORIAL: Thanks so much.
With midterm elections around the corner, the White House has a message for congressional Democrats -- details of what the West Wing hopes will be a path to victory.
And former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is facing more than the loss of his freedom as he awaits the verdict in his corruption trial. He may also lose his Elvis statue. Well, we are going to explain.
MALVEAUX: Well, charges laid out against one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, and, for the first time, we are learning details now of Charlie Rangel's 13 alleged ethics violations.
And we will go back to Arizona. We are following developments there, as the state's controversial immigration law takes effect, with some major modifications.
MALVEAUX: Veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel whose autobiography notes that he has not had a bad day since his Korean War experience well he now says that he may have to reassess that statement. The house ethics committee today accused the 20-term Democrat of 13 violations of house rules. I want to get the latest from our CNN Congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar who is following the development. What happened today?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a public airing of the violations that he is facing, but more importantly, Suzanne is this. This was released today and it is about more than 40 pages. It is a statement of alleged violation, and this is really the source of Charlie Rangel's woes, because it details exactly what the ethics committee says it found to be alleged violations. The big problems for him have to do with how he raised money for the city college of New York. Specifically for a public policy center that they are building that is named after him, and it is called the Rangel center, and some of the significant ethics issues are that he solicited donations from companies doing business with his committee.
He had personal meetings -- and I want to give you coupe of examples, because they really stand out. He met with the CEO of a company who himself gave half a million dollars and his company gave half a million dollars to the Rangel Center, and a few months later that company was pushing for a tax loophole with Rangel's committee, the ways and means committee. And then there was another meeting with a lobbyist for AIG, the objective of the meeting according to a memo was to secure $10 million for the Rangel Center, and according to this right here, Rangel, himself, asked the AIG lobbyists at least twice what was necessary to get done. Now, he also used official Congressional letterhead which is certainly not allowed, and he additionally submitted repeatedly incomplete and inaccurate financial disclosure statements, and something we knew, but it was confirmed here under investigation, failed to pay taxes on rental income on a vacation home he has in the Dominican Republic. He says he did not target donors with business before his committee and he did not ask for anything from them.
MALVEAUX: All right. Brianna, we will see what Charlie Rangel's fate is obviously in the weeks and months to come.
Charlie Rangel was born in 1930 in Harlem, the neighborhood he represents in Congress. He received the Purple Heart and bronze star for valor while serving in the army in Korea. Rangel was elected to Congress in 1970 and has served 20 consecutive terms. In 1971 he co- founded the Congressional Black Caucus and a few years later served as the chairman. He was the first African-American to serve on the house ways and means committee and chair the committee from 2007 until March, and that when he stepped down due to ethics investigation.
Arizona's law designed to crackdown on illegal immigrants is now in effect, but without the most controversial provisions that would have had police enforcing immigration policy. Governor Jan Brewer is appealing an 11th hour injunction that blocked them and despite their absence, there are hundreds of opponents of the law who took to the streets in protest today. Our CNN's John King is there, and his show "JOHN KING USA" is going to broadcast live from Arizona at the top of the hour. John, obviously, you have seen a lot on the ground from the law enforcement, the protest side, what is happening there today?
KING: It is a dramatic day, Suzanne. It is the d-day or the SB 1070 day as the senate law was called here in Arizona. As you notice the most controversial aspects did not go into effect, and it clearly had an affect. There were hundreds of demonstrators on the streets today and several dozens arrests, but not the thousands that would have been here had this law taken effect in full force.
What else are we seeing? I had a conversation a few moments ago with the Republican governor Jan Brewer. She has filed an appeal to the court ruling she lost yesterday and she promises to be relentless in her words in fighting this all of the way up to the Supreme Court if necessary.
We also took a ride today with the Tucson police department south of Phoenix and two hours south and 30% Latino in the community, and the police chief there opposed the law, but we took a ride around asking the sergeant who took us with him, how might you have handled this situation differently if the law went fully into effect, and how do you enforce the provisions of the law that did go into effect? Very interesting because the police are nervous about this. Their chief is Roberto Villasenor who is one of the law officials who opposed SB 1070. He says it would have taken resources away from fighting violent crimes and responding to other issues and force the police to focus too much on illegal immigration. He is Latino himself, He has lived in Tucson all of his life and he says that he does not like the play the race card or question people's motivations in pushing the tough new law, but --
CHIEF ROBERTO VILLASENOR, TUCSON POLICE: But I do sense that there is a growing, I don't know what word I am looking for here, but a growing separation here almost, and I would hate to say that is the reason, but it concerns me that I read the papers and the stories and the blogs and listen to the radio shows and I think that there is an underlying feeling there that it could be an anti-Hispanic wave that's pushing some of this.
KING: Now, to be clear, Chief Villasenor did say that the federal government is failing along the border and should do much more for border security, but Suzanne, he is one of the voices and you know this a fierce emotional debate, and this chief is one of the voices who said he is perfectly willing to crack down more on illegal immigrants, but the only way to do it is to also deal somehow with the millions and hundreds of thousands here in this state of Arizona who are here illegally and living in the shadows. He said you can't do it piece meal. But again, Chief Villasenor is one voice. There are others and the court fight goes on and so does the political battle.
MALVEAUX: It is interesting that you have chief acknowledging that there is some kind of anti-Hispanic feelings in the community, and that must be a tough position for him to be in.
KING: Sure is. It sure is. He says it is mistrust. The thing he dislikes most is the prospect that his white officers on the street are not trusted in the Latino communities and it is a problem sometimes and he believes that the debate is making it worse.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much, John.
We're slowly carefully measuring progress in inches, they are closer to killing the blown out well in the Gulf of Mexico. We will show you how they plan to do it.
And how much would you pay for a set of used dentures? Well, what if they belonged to Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: The gulf oil disaster is the far from over, but with a permanent fix now in site, there are some operations that are shifting from response now to recovery mode. Officials plan to remove some of the boom deployed along the Mississippi coast citing lack of oil and potential danger from hurricanes. Another positive sign, at the top of the hour, Louisiana will reopen part of the Mississippi River delta to recreational fishing. But the most crucial development has to do with the relief well. National incident commander Thad Allen says that the crews will start to lay casing pipe into it sometime tonight.
Well, for more on that relief well, I want to bring in our CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. Chad, give us a sense of what is going to happen here. What do we know so far?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we know that they have drilled most of the well, all of the way down to about 100 feet from the intersection point. They have been casing wells, casing pieces of metal there, almost like an antenna, and you know the old antennas in the car and click, click, click, and get longer and longer, and the bottom part of the antenna was fat and by the time you got to the top part of the antenna, it was skinny, and they kind of all slipped into each other. That's what happens with casing pipe. They skinnier and they get skinnier as they go down. Well, the very last piece of the casing pipe will be starting to be laid down tonight as we get down to the last 100 feet of drilling. Well, that is significant, because that means that the whole thing is just about over. Then they will cement this casing pipe. Let's go back to the one I had on top, and this is the pipe, and smaller and smaller and smaller and then they cement them in.
What does that mean? Well, they have to do is they have to make this thing stronger, so that as this is the hole that the bit made, all of the way down there and there is going to be gaps in between where the casing is and where the hole is. The hole is pretty big, and that is how the bit is and now the casing is getting smaller, and they will fill that void here with cement, and make the whole thing a whole lot stronger, and then they will be able to drill the last 100 feet down into the well, itself, down into the bottom of the first well that doesn't have a blowout preventer that's working on top. When they do that, they will be able to pump more cement, more mud down to the bottom called the bottom kill. Before that even happens, because they are so close, and because this is almost done, they are going to try, and they think they will try over the weekend the top kill, and the top kill will pump the mud from the top into the blowout preventer and fill the entire shaft with very heavy mud, and heavier than water when that mud goes all of the way down, it stops the oil from trying to come back up, and they can cement the top of it with concrete and cement all of the way through here, and that cement basically puts a cork in it.
MALVEAUX: Chad, thank you so much. I know that I need this. I need these graphics with the explanations, because it is excellent and we get it and it is good news.
There are new developments in an oil spill in Michigan now where a broken pipeline spilled almost 20,000 barrels into the Kalamazoo River and as many as 50 homes are now being evacuated due to benzene in the air because of the oil. Residents in another 100 homes are told not the drink the well water, and the spill is contained now, and not a danger of reaching Lake Michigan.
A rare sighting at Arlington National Cemetery. Details of what set one soldier's funeral apart from so many others.
And why a leading maker of toothpaste blames Venezuela's Hugo Chavez for its financial problems.
MALVEAUX: Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Hey, Lisa, what are you working on?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Suzanne. Police in Tennessee confirmed to CNN that a body found in southeast Memphis yesterday has been identified as that of former professional basketball player Lorenzen Wright. Wright played for several times in his 13 years as a professional basketball player including the L.A. Clippers , Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers. The police are investigating his death as a homicide. No cause has been reported yet.
It is pretty rare that defense secretary Robert Gates personally at the gravesite services for fallen members of the military, but today at Arlington National Cemetery he honored this soldier's ultimate sacrifice. In the meantime on Capitol Hill, senators continue to probe the cemetery's mismanagement of graves. There may now b more mislabeled graves than originally thought. Earlier management admitted errors with 211 plots, but one senator suggests that figure may be closer to 6600.
And the world's largest toothpaste maker Colgate Palmolive is blaming the country of Venezuela for a disappointing second quarter. Worldwide sales are up two percent from this time last year but the company believes Venezuela's hyper inflation in currency devaluation hindered their bottom line. Last January, President Hugo Chavez created a two tiered exchange system for imports. The system placed higher value on items deemed essential such as food, medicine and industrial machinery.
Here is British history that you can sink your teeth into. Winston Churchill's dentures have sold for $23,000. Yes, according to an auction house official, Churchill required very complicated dentistry, and even nominated his dentist for knighthood, and coincidentally the sale took place on the same day plans were announced to put Churchill's paper archive online for the first time.
And out going white house budget director Peter Orszag likely won't miss this part of his public life.
OK. That was a mean spirited serenade that he received from a heckler earlier this week. Peter Orszag leaves the white house for the last time tomorrow. Suzanne? MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Lisa, very much.
The president's top adviser has some advice for Congressional Democrats as they face the coming midterm election. We have the details of what he says is going to be a winning message.
MALVEAUX: Are Democrats getting tired of playing defense ahead of the midterm elections? The president's top adviser was on Capitol Hill today for a strategy session and it looks like he wants to see some changes. Our CNN senior white house correspondent Ed Henry joins us. Tell us all about this meeting.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne you're right. David Axelrod, the president's senior adviser, went up to Capitol Hill we're hearing for a private lunch with Senate Democrats. And basically he was trying to dispense some advice about the upcoming midterms but he got some advice as well, as you can imagine, from some of these Democrats who are nervous about what's going happen in these midterms. What Axelrod was basically saying, we're told, was that he believes Democrats will have to go on the offense and have to really drive a message home that you can't vote for Republicans, because in his estimation, they're going to pull the country backwards not forward. We've heard the president try to start making this message out there across the country. But I'm told by a senior administration official that Axelrod made clear the president's going to go out there a lot more after his vacation in August. Coming September, October, he's going to be hitting the road a lot more and really trying to show Democrats he's willing to lead that message and say that you've got to really take the message directly to the American people. The Democrats are on offense, not sitting back just on defense, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: And Ed, the president obviously is going to go to Detroit, he's going to talk about the auto industry. You mentioned a lot of travel, a lot of fundraising. Obviously, this is part of the white house strategy.
HENRY: It is, because it's interesting, what I'm told that David Axelrod heard behind closed doors in part from Democrats was that they've been trying to go on offense about the stimulus about health care reform, wall street reform, and the American people are just not listening. Senator Evan Bayh who's retiring told my colleague Ted Barrett, our Congressional producer, that basically in this meeting it was made clear Democrats are finding out on the campaign trail that the American people are so negative right now about the direction of the country. They won't listen to those accomplishments. So what the president's going to do, as he tries to push back, is tomorrow, he's going to Detroit. That's all about the auto bailouts, one of those negative factors out there in some of the polling where people have a negative attitude about it. And white house aides say the president's going to go to a GM plant, a Chrysler plant and point out that if he had not bailed these companies out, we'd have lost about 1 million jobs. And he's also going to try to make the case that some of the T.A.R.P. money, the bailout money, $60 billion for the auto companies, he believes the taxpayers are going to get that money back. So in the end, it will be a net-plus on jobs and the taxpayers will get their money. As you know, it's a very tough message. A lot of people are just not buying it right now, Suzanne.
MALVEAUX: All right. Ed, thank you so much. We'll see you on the road next week.
What not to wear in Cleveland. One Lebron James fan found out the hard way. Our CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.
MALVEAUX: It is the ultimate fashion faux pas in Cleveland. Who knew? Our CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what happened when a guy picked the wrong basketball jersey to wear to a Cleveland baseball game. 29-year-old Matthew Bellamy had the audacity to wear a Lebron James shirt at a time when Cleveland fans are setting them on fire, burning posters, eradicating his image, after he moved to Miami. When Matthew showed up in a Lebron jersey this YouTuber reported --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got [ bleep ] of steel. He's already been booed several times.
MOOS: But when they put Matthew on the jumbo screen and the whole stadium booed, that's when things really got started.
MATTHEW BELLAMY, LEBRON JAMES FAN: Having beer thrown at me and peanuts come flying from every direction. I don't take any crap, you know. Like, I thought it was absolutely hilarious. Because everybody's got their own opinion. You can wear whatever you want.
MOOS: Matthew, a factory worker, was at the game with his girlfriend Wendy. She doesn't take any crap either. She started pushing a guy for allegedly throwing peanuts at her. Police escorted the pair from the stadium as Wendy repeatedly wagged her middle finger. Matthew wasn't just wearing a Lebron jersey. It was a Miami Heat Lebron jersey. Now, if the guy had really wanted to avoid feeling the heat in Cleveland, there are plenty of other t-shirts we could recommend that the crowd would have loved. Instead of Lebron, he could have worn LeBoob, LeBrutus, LeBum James or Lebron Shames. But Matthew still loves Lebron, though he's disappointed he went to Miami. Now Matthew's talking to lawyers about suing the stadium for ejecting him. Or were they protecting him? It's enough to make you want to crawl in a hole. Maybe not that one.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
MALVEAUX: I'm Suzanne Malveaux in THE SITUATION ROOM. "JOHN KING, USA" starts right now.