CNN WOLF BLITZER REPORTS
Olympic Judges Give Gold to Canadians; Sport Leads to Violence in Afghanistan; Vice President Warns Terrorists
Aired February 15, 2002 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Now on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS: turning silver into gold.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We took a decision that was one of justice and of fairness for the athletes.
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BLITZER: After skating on the thin ice of controversy, Olympic officials suspend a judge and make a judgment. I'll ask a former skating judge how to clean house.
In Afghanistan, even sport leads to violence.
And a who's who from the government and military: suspects in a political assassination.
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DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This conflict can only end in their complete and utter destruction.
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BLITZER: Vice President Cheney vows there will be no summit meeting, no negotiation, no peace treaty with terrorists.
Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. With the uproar escalating and threatening to overshadow everything else at the Winter Olympic Games in Utah, officials there belatedly have awarded gold medals to a pair of Canadian figure skaters, and that tops our news alert.
It's double-gold in the pairs. The International Olympic Committee, hoping to end nearly a week of controversy, awards gold medals to the Canadian skaters, as well as to the Russians. The International Skating Union has suspended a French judge for misconduct. Much more on all of this, in just a moment.
In Afghanistan, officials now are calling the killing of a cabinet minister an assassination. Abdul Rahman was attacked yesterday by a mob that stormed his airplane at Kabul airport. Three high-ranking government officials are under arrest, and interim chairman Hamid Karzai has implicated five others.
The American who fought with the Taliban will go on trial in the United States in August. That was decided today during another court appearance for John Walker Lindh. He's pleaded "not guilty" to 10 charges, including conspiracy to kill Americans overseas.
Also pleading "not guilty": retired U.S. Air Force sergeant, Brian Regan. He's accused of trying to sell military secrets to Iraq, Libya and China. He allegedly wrote a letter offering sensitive U.S. military secrets to Saddam Hussein for $13 million. Regan was arrested back in August.
Back to our top story: the awarding of another pair of gold medals in pairs skating. It has happened once before in another sport in another Olympics, but never amid such controversy. CNN's Rusty Dornin has been following every twist and turn. She joins us now live from Salt Lake City -- Rusty.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there have been a lot of twists and turns since last Monday night. But it did come as a shock to us today, when the IOC and the ISU did announce they were having a joint press conference, and did announce that they would award a second gold medal to the Canadian skaters, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.
Now, Thursday night, apparently, the Canadian skaters have launched an appeal with the court of arbitration for sports. They were asking for those nine judges in their event to testify. Also the Canadian Olympic Association was asking that they also be awarded a gold medal.
Well, it was last night also that the International Skating Union had sort of an emergency council meeting, and that's when they voted to award a second gold medal. Of course, the Canadian skaters were very shocked, but very happy with the outcome.
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JAMIE SALE, CANADIAN FIGURE SKATER: We're truly honored that they decided to award us the gold medal, or another gold medal. But again, we feel a little bit shy about it because, like Dave said, the other Olympians are doing their personal best and winning medals, and this is what everyone is talking about. And that's not what the Olympics is supposed to be about.
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DORNIN: Now, apparently, the French judge did sign a declaration admitting that there had been some kind of misconduct, but they would not go into what that misconduct was. An investigation will continue into that event. The French judge, we are not sure whether she has left Salt Lake City or not. She has been suspended indefinitely.
There will be a medal ceremony for the Canadians, either before or after the women's figure skating, on February 18th -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Rusty, there were nine judges. Five of them voted along the lines of the suspended French judge. What about the four hers who voted as she did?
DORNIN: Now, you're talking about the skating panel, not the International Skating Union, correct?
BLITZER: The judges at the event, yes.
DORNIN: What happened was, they threw out the marks of the French judge, so it was a tie. They decided not to bring in the Czechoslovakian judge, who was the alternate. If they had done that, it would have meant the Canadians really did win the gold medal, and would have marks above the Russians.
But they really wanted them both to be on equal footing, for them both to have the gold medal. So they just threw out the French judge's marks in this case.
BLITZER: But the point is that none of the other judges were accused of any wrongdoing or misconduct?
DORNIN: No, not so far, but they said the investigation will continue into what actually went on. But no one else has been accused of wrongdoing yet.
BLITZER: And the award will be given to the Canadians when?
DORNIN: They're saying February 18th. It will either be before or right after the women's figure skating event. Of course, the Canadians are saying they're hoping their flag will be raised, which I'm sure will happen during that ceremony.
BLITZER: All right. Rusty Dornin, thanks for that report.
Joining us now from Salt Lake City with her perspective is Kathy Casey. She's been coaching U.S. Olympic and professional ice skaters for 30 years. Kathy, thanks for joining us. What's your take on what just happened?
KATHY CASEY, PROFESSIONAL ICE SKATING COACH: Well, I think it was the only way to handle this. I'm very, very happy. I would have been appalled had they taken away the gold medal from the Russians. The skating community is rather surprised that a judge's judgment was overturned, but in this case I think it was the right thing to do.
BLITZER: Why would you have been appalled if they would have taken the gold medal away from the Russians?
CASEY: Well, it had already been awarded and, you know, it wasn't their fault. They weren't accused of a faulty drug test or whatever. They did the best they could, and I hope that the skating community, and the American public and the public around the world, does not take it out on Elena and Anton. It was not their fault. It was awarded to them. BLITZER: And the French judge who has been suspended for misconduct, some sort of wrong-doing -- do you have an idea of specifically what happened?
CASEY: No, I don't. I have hearsay that perhaps there was some coercion between giving a mark for the pairs in return for a mark for the ice dancers. But that's all gossip.
BLITZER: What should be learned from this experience? In other words, how can we be sure down the road that these judges aren't coerced, that there's no funny business going on?
CASEY: Well, I think block judging has been going on in our sport for a long, long, long time. And I think we're going to have to really give our scoring system some serious consideration, and perhaps have two different panels, like they are for ice dancing now. A panel for the short program, a panel for the long program, would help a little bit.
BLITZER: And, where do these panels of judges come from? How are they trained for this?
CASEY: Well, in America, I know they're trained by starting at the bottom and trial judging low-level competitions, and then moving up to the next live and trial judging those, until they become very efficient. And they have to attend judging schools, and they're very educated. In other countries I'm not too familiar with their system.
BLITZER: In all the years you've been involved in figure skating, have you ever seen anything similar to this?
CASEY: No, I've never seen a mark overturned. I seen Linda Frattianne, from America, should have beat Annette Poetzch some years ago. I think that Nancy Kerrigan should have beat Oksana Baiul in Lillehammer. But nothing was ever done about it.
BLITZER: Why do you think it's taken this now, to try to deal with this whole issue of the judges, where they're coming from, the block voting, if you will?
CASEY: Because I think it was more blatant than ever before. It was an obvious mistake. And I say this, I'm very good friends with both pairs, I'm very good friends with both coaches. I think the Russians clearly won the short program, and I think the Canadians clearly won the long program, which would have given them the title.
BLITZER: Kathy Casey, thank you so much for joining us.
CASEY: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you. And just minutes from now, we'll be joined by someone who knows all too well the pressures and difficulties of judging that sport. Ida Tateoka was an Olympic judge in 1984 in Sarajevo at the Winter Olympic Games. Stay tuned for her insights.
And former Olympic silver medalist, Debi Thomas, will join me in a special edition of WOLF BLITZER REPORTS. That's at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, tonight, 4:00 on the West Coast.
And now to the war. It's been a violent week in Afghanistan. One day after Afghanistan's minister of civil aviation and tourism was killed in Kabul, the country's interim leader is calling the death an assassination. Also today, dozens of people were hurt in a riot that broke out at what was billed as a goodwill soccer game. CNN's Brian Palmer reports.
BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alarming and potentially destabilizing news for the fledgling government here in Afghanistan. Earlier tonight, Hamid Karzai, the chairman of the interim government, announced that Thursday's murder of a government minister was an assassination. And he implicated 20 high-ranking members of the military and the government, five of whom were from the top echelon of power.
HAMID KARZAI, INTERIM AFGHAN LEADER: We had a very tragic incident yesterday, in which Dr. Rahman, our minister of civil aviation and terrorism, was assassinated, martyred. God bless him.
PALMER: Three of the accused have fled to Saudi Arabia, but there are several others here in custody in Kabul. Chairman Karzai has promised swift justice for the murdered minister, Dr. Abdul Rahman. Brian Palmer, CNN, Kabul.
BLITZER: And joining us now to talk about these violent incidents in Afghanistan, and how well the country's interim government can provide security, is Rob Sobhani. He is an adjunct professor of politics at Georgetown University here in Washington.
Rob, it does look like the situation is very chaotic right now, under the interim leader Hamid Karzai.
ROB SOBHANI, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: I think Karzai has two fundamental problems. Internal, the Taliban still have their agents, their proxies. External, you have predatory countries like Iran and Pakistan trying to fill in the vacuum that was left. So I think he's got two of these major problems, and I think he needs more U.S. support, more European support, if he is to overcome this continuing cycle of violence.
BLITZER: But this assassination, as Hamid Karzai calls it, of the aviation and tourism ministers, is that an isolated incident? Or are political assassinations going to be the norm over there?
SOBHANI: I don't think it's going to be isolated. I think we're going to see more of this type of assassination, simply because there is still a lot of lawless throughout Afghanistan. But more importantly, I think there's an effort by those inside, members of Taliban, and outside Iran, Pakistan, who are trying to maybe undermine the interim government. Particularly so, reports we've seen over the past several weeks, of the Iranian government trying to undermine Hamid Karzai, because there's some concern in Teheran that, on March 15, the former monarch of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, is going to come back. So I think there's a little concern. And maybe what we're seeing is a cycle of violence that has to do with the deliberate attempt to destabilize Karzai.
BLITZER: Well, when the exiled king comes back from Rome next month, is that going to be a source of stability for Hamid Karzai's government, or will that be a source of divisiveness?
SOBHANI: I think internally, it will certainly be a source of stability, because he is a figure where everyone is going to rally around. And he was a respected figure. There's a lot of nostalgia.
Outside, however, I think are the wild cards. Pakistan and Iran are the countries we need to watch once the monarch comes back, because they may not be happy with what happens with the monarch.
BLITZER: Is there anything the international peacekeeping force, led by the British, or the U.S. -- not directly involved in that peacekeeping force -- the U.S. military there on the ground should be doing?
SOBHANI: I think we probably should be doing more intelligence gathering, on both the people we've arrested, but also the borders of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan-Afghanistan. Find out who is coming in and out. I think if we could do that, we probably could help Karzai a little better.
BLITZER: Karzai's interim government, that was assembled outside of Bonn, Germany, brought in all the various ethnic faction. He himself is a Pashtun, but all of us remember, during the weeks and months of this war, the Uzbeks and the Tajiks, all the other factions. Is there some sort of ethnic unity going on in the country now, or are they going back to the bad old days?
SOBHANI: I think there's this element that is pulling towards the loyalty to the tribe, pulling towards the ethnicity. But that's why the monarch's return is so important for Hamid Karzai, because he hopes that with the return of the former monarch, there might be some unity. Because if there is not, the experience of Afghanistan could very well fail, unfortunately.
BLITZER: All right. We'll be watching. Rob Sobhani, thank you very much.
SOBHANI: Thank you.
BLITZER: This note: please join Martin Savidge tonight for "LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN." He'll show you what's etched on these hellfire missiles, right there, and why it means so much to the pilot of this U.S. Army helicopter. That's at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific.
Vice President Dick Cheney today traded in his undisclosed location for a place in the spotlight. He addressed the council on foreign relations here in Washington, speaking about the economic benefits of the Bush tax cut and other issues. CNN national security correspondent, David Ensor, joins us now with a look at what the vice president had to say. You were there today, David. Tell us all about it.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the foreign policy area, Wolf, though some of America's European allies and Russia strongly oppose military action against Iraq's Saddam Hussein, the vice president predicted that if push comes to shove, the U.S. will have the support that it needs.
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CHENEY: We don't talk about prospective future actions, but I think if aggressive action is required, I would anticipate that there will be the appropriate support for that, both from the American people and the international community.
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ENSOR: In fact, next month the vice president is going to be traveling to 12 countries, most of them in the Middle East and southwest Asia, in part to work on international support for actions against Iraq. should it come to that. He's going to three neighbors of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, as well as to Egypt, the Gulf states and Israel.
Cheney also said the recent actions of Iran have not been encouraging. You will recall they took some positive steps after September 11th, promising to rescue American pilots if any were shot down and had to land in their territory, and playing a positive role in the talks forming a new Afghan government.
But a senior administration official says Cheney was referring to the arms shipment that was meant for the Palestinians, from Iran, but was caught by the Israelis, to evidence that Iran has been giving arms to Afghan warlords, and to reports that some al Qaeda members may be in Iran, with or without government help.
There was one other question about Cheney's life since September 11th, spending so much time in a secure, undisclosed location. You may have seen the Maureen Dowd (ph) column, that called him "secret agent man" and criticized him for being too secretive about where he is and who from Enron he's talked to -- his "James Bond" life, as the questioner put it.
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CHENEY: I'm just sitting here thinking about the analogy to James Bond. There are certain features of his lifestyle that I've not been able to avail myself, I'll put it in those terms.
CHENEY: Although I am hopeful.
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ENSOR: Laughter on that, but none on Iraq. A very serious point from the vice president, that he hopes and believes there can be an international coalition against Iraq if it comes to that. Warnings on Iran, as well. And in the talks that he hopes to hold next month with some of the leaders in the region, officials say he will be also discussing the very worrying situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- Wolf.
BLITZER: David Ensor here in Washington, thank you very much for that report.
And for a little bit more on the relationship between the United States and some of the countries mentioned today by the vice president, we go now to our military analyst, the former NATO supreme allied commander, retired Army General Wesley Clark. He joins us from Little Rock, Arkansas.
General Clark, is the U.S. military, as far as you can tell right now, gearing up for a major offensive against Iraq?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET), FMR. NATO SUPREME COMMANDER: Well, the plans are certainly being looked at now. We've had plans on the book for a long time. It's a matter of making sure we've got everything in order after the action in Afghanistan, and then choosing a course of action and moving toward it. But I would say we're very much on a path to do that.
BLITZER: Does the president, assuming he gives the go-ahead for some sort of military action against Saddam Hussein, does the president have the international support that his father had more than a decade ago?
ENSOR: No, he doesn't. Not yet. It doesn't mean he can't get it, but there is a perception abroad that the U.S. is acting in an excessively unilateral fashion. They expect U.S. leadership, but they also expect our allies and friends abroad to have a voice. So this is why the vice president's trip abroad is going to be so important.
And I suspect we'll see some more action at the U.N. I hope that we'll bring our NATO allies in on this. After all, we always talk about Turkey, but Turkey is a member of NATO. And that means that action in Iraq would be on NATO's flank. And NATO, after all, is the bedrock alliance of the United States. We share more with our European allies than any other group in the world, and they are a major force for good, and assistance to our diplomacy. So I hope we'll bring NATO in.
BLITZER: I've spoken to a lot of so-called hawks on Iraq, both in the U.S. government as well as outside the government. They say the only two countries the U.S. really needs to bring in, militarily, would be Turkey, a member of NATO -- to launch strikes from Turkey -- as well as Kuwait. They're not even saying that Saudi Arabia would be all that essential. Is that your sense?
CLARK: Speaking strictly in a military sense, yes, those strikes could be won. But what are we going to do with other countries in the region? What's their action going to be? What's going to happen in the post-conflict phase? Who's going to do the peacekeeping, and what is the government going to be? And what will happen if Saddam Hussein really is cornered?
Will he use nuclear or biological or chemical weapons, if he's got them? And who is he going to use them against, and what will be the ramifications of all of this? So I think that, while it's militarily feasible to strike Saddam Hussein with only a couple countries supporting, it certainly isn't the best course of action. I'm sure the administration is going to try to create as broad a coalition as possible.
BLITZER: You probably read that piece in "The Washington Post" the other day by Ken Adelman, a former Pentagon official, who said it would be a "cakewalk," in his words, to go in and get rid of Saddam Hussein this time around. Militarily speaking, is he right?
CLARK: Well, I think the truth is that Saddam Hussein is weaker than he was in 1990, and we're much more capable of dealing with his forces. You don't fight against the American military capability in open ground and in the desert, and that's what most of Iraq is. I think we're in very, very good shape militarily. That gives us the leverage we need to lead diplomatically, and use international law, our NATO alliance and our other friends and partners around the world, to put the pressure on in many other ways, as Secretary Powell has suggested. We can hope that our resort to force will be a last resort, not a first resort.
BLITZER: And just to button it up, everything I've heard from high-ranking officials in the Bush administration does point to the fact that the president has not yet made any final decision on whether to launch any sort of military action against Iraq. General Clark, always good to have you on this program. Thank you very much.
CLARK: Thanks, Wolf. Good to be here.
BLITZER: Thank you. And our Web question of the day is this: How often do you worry about a terrorist strike? You can vote. Go to my Web page, cnn.com/wolf. While you're there, let me know what you're thinking. There's a "click here" icon on the left side of the page. Send me your comments. I'll read some of them on the air each day. Also, that's where you can read my daily five-day-a-week column, at cnn.com/wolf.
Back to Salt Lake City next, and resolving the skate debate. A former Olympic judge joins me next to examine the IOC's decision.
And Colin Powell on MTV, endorsing condom use: should he instead be preaching abstinence? The debate at the half-hour.
And a royal farewell for Britain's Princess Margaret.
BLITZER: Welcome back. Now that the International Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union have determined there was misconduct by a French judge and awarded gold medals to the Canadian skating pair of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, we'll take a few minutes to examine the relationship between skaters and judges. A former skating judge joins me in a few minutes.
But first, anyone who watched figure skating knows ability and performance are just part of what influences the scores. The crowd, the music, all of that can certainly play roles. And so, too, can the skaters, before they even compete. CNN's Carol Lin has that.
CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie Mulvaney learned to skate when she was 5. Last year, at 14, she learned to work the system, competing in the Junior National Championship.
KATIE MULVANEY, ICE SKATER: The judges come and watch your practice sessions, and I just show off like crazy. And I just show everything -- every move that I'm great at, and...
LIN (on camera): What are you trying to do with the judges?
MULVANEY: Trying to catch their attention and say, "look at me!"
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to feel the top of the jump. Hit the top.
LIN (voice-over): Chris Sherard is Katie's coach.
CHRIS SHERARD, ICE SKATING COACH: You want them to start watching you right away, and get on you, thinking, oh, that's one to watch. That one looks good. Especially if they don't know you.
LIN: Because, if the judges don't know you, Katie says you will lose.
MULVANEY: The judges pick who they want to win ahead, before you even skate.
LIN (on camera): During the warm ups?
MULVANEY: Right. So, it is rigged, in some way.
LIN (voice-over): How does Katie know? She's been competing for eight years, more than half her life. She's lost some competitions she thought she should have won, and she has been given breaks, even when she skated badly.
Allegations that 2002 Olympic judges conspired did not shock her. The deck is stacked. You just don't know for whom. Young skaters are taught to feel out the judges for every edge.
LIN (on camera): Do the skaters try to work it a little with the judges?
IDA TATEOKA, FMR OLYMPIC JUDGE: I think the smart skater would. LIN (voice-over): Ida Tateoka has judged figure skating for 50 years, including the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. She says charm and bravado don't influence her, but judges she's met are different.
TATEOKA: They are talking to each other, and so what are they talking about?
LIN (on camera): Does it kind of break your heart though, that you've got to, at some point, tell the most talented kid that the judging isn't always going to be fair?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I still think that life is a lot like that. If it happens, then you deal with it.
LIN (voice-over): Katie deals with it by focusing on Olympic gold in 2006. If judging reforms come out of the 2002 Games, she hopes skill, not luck, will determine her fate. Carol Lin, CNN, Salt Lake City.
BLITZER: A lot has been made this week of the judging. Many call it subjective, but judges say much of the process is, in fact, objective. For a judge's insight, we go back to Salt Lake City. Ida Tateoka is standing by. We just saw her in Carol Lin's report. She's a former Olympic judge. She still judges on the state level.
Ms. Tateoka, thank you so much for joining us. Were you surprised by the decision of the International Olympic Committee today?
TATEOKA: Not really. I was hoping that they could do that. Because as long as I've judged, we've never had any changes in the final outcome. But when this happened, and the disappointment from the Canadians, who did such a perfect job, and it was such a close call, because four judges to five judges. And it was nice -- I thought at the time, and this was about three, four days ago when I was interviewed by somebody else -- that it certainly would be nice if the Canadians got a gold medal in addition to the Russian couple.
And sure enough, this happened. So I'm quite tickled that it did. It gave both of them a gold medal to take home. Although it's the first time it has ever happened in my years of judging, it was a nice, nice change to happen at an Olympic competition. And I think maybe from now on, maybe the scoring system might be watched a little more carefully.
BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a second and ask you, when you watched the competition Monday night. From a judge's perspective -- and you've been a judge for many years -- which pair was better, in your opinion?
TATEOKA: Well, let me say this: they were both very good. The Russians have very beautiful style. But I thought the Canadians, who made no mistakes that night, and they are graceful, too, probably should have won. Our American judge placed the Canadians first, and I'm sure, if I were on the panel, I would have done the same.
BLITZER: Because we did see the Russian figure skater, the male figure skater, he appeared to stumble at one point. But the Canadian pair was flawless.
TATEOKA: That's right. But you have to consider, not only what they did, but how they did it. And the Russian couple certainly are very graceful skaters, and you can't take that away even if they made a little mistake, so...
BLITZER: You've been there -- as I was saying, you've been a judge for so many years, how much misconduct, if you will, how much funny business has been going on with these judges over the years, what we heard earlier from Kathy Casey, this block judging, if you will?
TATEOKA: Well, you know, in the U.S., I haven't noticed that at all. Maybe I'm blind, but I know that in Europe, maybe their system of judging and what they think are important might be just a little bit different, and so they may not agree with you like what's number one, the most important number two, the next important, and so forth. And so it's just different maybe training as a judge to see what you think is most important in that skating number.
BLITZER: And your bottom -- the bottom-line lesson, you think that the International Olympic Committee has learned from this is what?
TATEOKA: That they have learned from this?
BLITZER: Have they learned something from this incident?
TATEOKA: Well, I think -- it's hard to say, but maybe we should go to the judges schools together with all the other world, you know, that have skating -- skaters and go to the same schools and maybe go to the same clinics and watch the skaters so that we know we put the same emphasis on the same thing. That might be...
BLITZER: Ida Tateoka, I was going to thank you very much for joining us and bring us the perspective of a former Olympic judge. Appreciate it very much.
TATEOKA: You're welcome.
BLITZER: And up next, the condom controversy. Colin Powell speaks out, and abstinence advocates are angry. Our morality debate just ahead. And later, the games go on in Salt Lake. Today's results and the latest medal count live from the Winter Games.
BLITZER: Welcome back. The issue of safe sex front and center on MTV. Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on an MTV international forum yesterday; it aired today. An Italian woman asked the secretary if he supported the pope's policies against condom use. Here's what he said.
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COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I certainly respect the views of the holy father and the Catholic Church. In my own judgment, condoms are a way to prevent infection, and therefore, I not only support their use, I encourage their use among people who are sexually active and need to protect themselves.
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BLITZER: Conservatives were quick to jump on Powell's remarks charging he's out of line with the administration's support of abstinence education. The White House was just as quick in backing the secretary of state.
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ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the secretary made it perfectly plain and so did the questioner. The question was in the context of for people who practice sex. It was not a question about everybody in our society. It was a question just those who are sexually active. And so, obviously, if someone's sexually active, they've already made a decision not to practice abstinence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: At least one conservative group says the Bush administration is sending out, quote, "mixed signals." And in related news, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, says New York's public hospitals will begin offering abortion training to all OB-GYN medical students. According to National Public Radio, the Republican mayor says this sort of training would make abortion more available nationally, and that fact has many abortion opponents up in arms.
Two high-profile Republicans on the record here -- Colin Powell endorses condom use for sexually active young people, and New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, presses for abortion training.
Let's open up our debate here. With me now, Republican congressman Mike Pence of Indiana; Democratic congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
Congressman, first to you. What's wrong with what Secretary Powell have to say about endorsing condom use for those who are sexually active?
REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Well, Wolf, I think it was -- given the enormous stature that Colin Powell rightly has, not only in America but in the world community, it was a sad day. I don't think any administration has had a worst day since boxers and briefs on MTV. And the truth is that Colin Powell had an opportunity here to reaffirm this president's commitment to abstinence as the best choice for our young people, and he chose not to do that in the first instance, but -- and so I think it's very sad. The other part is that, frankly, condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases, and in that sense, Wolf, this was -- the secretary of state maybe inadvertently misleading millions of young people and endangering lives.
BLITZER: Well, congresswoman, let me bring you in. The secretary did say he does support abstinence education, but he simply said that as far as sexually active people are concerned, condom use would help. The congressman, though, congresswoman, says condoms don't help much.
REP. JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, first of all, the debate isn't between abstinence and the use of condoms. We're talking about using condoms to save lives. That's what Colin Powell pointed out, that we want to save lives. And, of course, it's not true. Condoms will prevent disease. They are a good way to prevent AIDS. Will they in every instance? No. And that's why we have to continue the kind of education that should go along with dispensing condoms or encouraging their use. But to say that they shouldn't use them at all, that's the option, are we saying you should have unprotected sex or sex with condoms? Obviously, the answer is condoms.
BLITZER: What about that, congressman?
PENCE: Well, I just simply believe the only truly safe sex, Wolf, as the president believes, is no sex. And we ought to, with leaders of the stature of the secretary of state, we ought to be sending a message to kids across the country and the opportunity had across the world that abstinence is the best choice for young people. But let's be clear, last year, the National Institute of Health, Wolf, and some 28 separate experts said at least a half dozen to ten sexually transmitted diseases for which condom use has zero preventative value. The secretary of state is simply wrong.
SCHAKOWSKY: That's like saying we shouldn't flu shots because it doesn't protect against anything else. There are 34 million people in Sub Sahara and Africa alone who are infected with AIDS and millions more in the United States. We're saying, let's not make it any worse; we could make it better. This is one way to do it. Is it the cure all, is it the perfect solution? No, but it's obviously something that will help. This is a -- he was making a 21st century, humane and responsible answer to a 21st century problem.
PENCE: The problem is it was too modern of an answer, Wolf. It was -- it truly was a modern, liberal answer to a problem that parents like me are facing all over America, and frankly, all over the world.
BLITZER: Well, congressman, how disappointed you that the White House, Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, not speaking simply for himself but speaking for the president, went out and endorsed precisely what Secretary Powell said?
PENCE: Well, I'm very grieved about it, frankly, less as a congressman and simply more as a parent that the White House seems to be sending mixed signals on this message that is affecting so many families because, you know, far beyond we can argue about the science here, and I think that speaks for itself. You know, there was a tone to the secretary of state's comments that was troubling to me, because he talked about putting away taboos and conservative ideas and move on to condom use and condom distribution. As someone who believes in traditional marriage, it's hard for me to see traditional marriage as an antiquated, conservative view.
SCHAKOWSKY: I think what he was saying is that taboos and conservative ideas are causing people to die, young people, married people as well, who don't have access to condoms, who don't know about them. I think he was talking about saving lives.
BLITZER: Congresswoman, we only have a few seconds, but I want to get your opinion about what the Republican mayor of New York, Mayor Bloomberg, is advocating, that all OB-GYN students, medical students training in New York City public hospitals should learn how to perform abortions. What if someone Catholic or on a moral basis simply opposes abortions, why should that medical student either be forced into doing that or look for another medical school?
SCHAKOWSKY: No, absolutely the medical student can opt out. What it says, it must be part of the curriculum at all the public hospitals. And at Belleview, where it is already, only one student has ever opted out. We're saying this is a medical procedure; doctors should know about it. They train one out of seven doctors in the city of New York. And so this way, most all will be trained in that medical procedure.
BLITZER: What about that, Congressman Pence?
PENCE: Well, as you know, Wolf, I'm very strongly pro-life. Jan and I have an honest difference of opinion on the issue. I'm glad we agree on this, that doctors ought to be able to have a choice, but we ought to be careful about using public resources to promote an education in a procedure that even doctors, the majority of many OB- GYNs around the country find morally objectionable.
BLITZER: Mike Pence and Jan Schakowsky, two members of the House of Representatives, thanks to both of you for joining us.
PENCE: Thank you.
SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.
BLITZER: Have a good weekend.
And whip around the world, we'll do that when we come back: from the Milosevic war crimes trial to the funeral of a princess.
BLITZER: A quick look at these headlines from around the world. Palestinian officials say at least one person is dead, 25 others wounded, after an Israeli attack on their security headquarters in Gaza. The Israelis say it was in response to continued attacks against their citizens. For a second a day, Slobodan Milosevic says he has done nothing wrong, that it's NATO that should be on trial, not he. The former Yugoslav president is charged with crimes against humanity in Croatia and Kosovo, and genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Fifty years to the day, as she buried her father, Queen Elizabeth II paid a final farewell to her only sister. The funeral service for Princess Margaret was private and brief. Breaking with royal tradition, her body will be cremated, her ashes at her request buried by her father's side.
BLITZER: Back to the Winter Games and a look at the action outside of skating. It's been a record-setting day for Team USA. CNN's "Sports Illustrated's" Phil Jones is standing by in Park City, Utah to tell us all about it -- Phil.
PHIL JONES, CNN, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Well, Wolf, it's been a record-breaking day for the U.S. team. The best ever Winter Olympics medal hold was 13, but on day eight of these 19th Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, they've already surpassed that with 14. Three more medals on the day, one a most heartwarming story from the sport of snowboarding. Chris Klug, in fact, is one of the more remarkable stories of these or any other games. He was diagnosed with a rare liver disease in this very state of Utah in November, 1999, which brought him to tears. And he had a liver transplant in the summer of 2000. He won a bronze medal in the parallel giant slalom today. And if the 1980 U.S. hockey team is the miracle on ice, he has to be the miracle on snow. Yesterday, when he qualified for the final, it was the national donor day.
Elsewhere, silver and bronze for the USA in men's luge doubles. Mark Grimette and Brian Martin finished second to a German team to improve on their bronze of four years ago. The bronze this time went to Chris Thorpe and Clay Ives. Thorpes only the second slider to win Olympic medals with different partners. Aftewards, Grimette talked about the teamwork, which has brought this U.S. team its success.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK GRIMETTE, SILVER MEDALIST, LUGE DOUBLES: We've worked pretty hard, and I think it's our whole program. The whole program is coming around. And everybody has really been working together with doubles, men's singles and women's singles. We've all been working together as a team, and I think that's really helped us push ourselves to get these medals today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: We've had seven full days of competition, and the medals board looks like good reading for the USA already. Fourteen medals, one better than their best ever. They set a target of 20 medals for these games, and quite honestly, Wolf, that's now looking like a conservative estimate. Back to you in the studio.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Phil Jones, in Utah with that report.
Let's check some other stories now in today's "Newswire." Some of the nation's busiest airports are among the first group that will be screened by federal employees. A federal workforce is taking over a passenger and baggage screening from private companies at 15 airports, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and New York. By November, the higher paid, better trained federal workers will be in place at all 429 commercial airports in the United States.
Tours resume today at the White House for the first time since September 11th, but not everyone is allowed to visit the executive mansion. For now, tours will be limited only to school groups that first make a request through a member of Congress.
A man who served 15 years in prison for two rapes was released today after the results of DNA tests. They show Bruce Godschalk could not have been the source of the incriminating evidence. During a news conference today, Godschalk said he understands the true meaning of freedom. You can hear more from Bruce Godschalk live on "News Night" with Aaron Brown. That's at 10:00 Eastern tonight, 7:00 Pacific.
Another state has dealt a blow to former heavyweight champ, Mike Tyson. His application to box in Texas was denied today based in part on his history in other states. Nevada also recently rejected Tyson's fight application. Promoters have been searching for a place to stage a fight between Tyson and Lenox Lewis.
And how often do you worry about a terrorist strike? The results on our online poll question and your e-mail comments when we come back.
BLITZER: Let's go to New York now and get a preview of "Lou Dobbs Moneyline" which begins right at the top of the hour -- Lou.
LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE": Wolf, thank you.
We'll be joined tonight by Tom Donahue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who says he will fight campaign finance reform in court. President Bush heading for Asia this weekend. Former defense secretary William Cohen will join us tonight. Denzel Washington's new movie, "John Q," has HMOs on the offensive. We'll hear from "Variety's" editor-in-chief, Peter Bart. And accounting concerns sending stock prices lower again today on Wall Street. We'll have a special report and a lot more for you at the top of the hour. Please join us.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Lou. We'll be watching.
And results now from our Web poll question of the day: How often do you worry about a terrorist strike? Look at the results. Forty percent say they never worry. We'll have a new question Monday at cnn.com/wolf. And checkout the page. Drop me your comments. That's where you can go to tell me what you think.
By the way, here are a few of your more recent comments. Bill from Oklahoma writes this: "I feel that John Walker Lindh is a traitor... the Taliban and al Qaeda trained to kill and destroy American targets...he should be tried in a military court. He doesn't deserve American citizenship or to be called an American."
But Paul from Virginia says, "John Walker is not a killer. He is a good soul who happened to get involved with the wrong people. Many Americans think he should be put to death simply because he believes in Islam. The prosecutors in this trial must look at what Walker did, not what he believes."
And Steve writes this: "You got the best news show on TV. Keep it going.
Thank you very much, Steve.
James, however, strongly disagrees. Look at this: "Wolf Blitzer is the worst anchor I have ever watched."
James, you have to tell me the next time how you really think.
I'll be back in one hour to talk with Olympic medal winner figure skater, Debi Thomas. And don't forget, Secretary of State Colin Powell will join me Sunday on "Late Edition." That's at noon Eastern, 9:00 Pacific. He'll be in Tokyo; I'll be in Washington. Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" begins right now.
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