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CNN WOLF BLITZER REPORTS

How is the President Making His Case for War With Iraq?

Aired January 29, 2003 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The day after, warning of war.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein.

BLITZER: How is the president making his case? CNN looks at the evidence.

Have the inspectors been compromised? I'll tell you what I learned at the White House.

Abandoned in Utah...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to know who his family is, where he lives, where he's from.

BLITZER: Can young Jacob identify the man who left him? We have exclusive video.

His pregnant wife disappeared Christmas Eve. Today, more revelations from Scott Peterson.

And he's gone from mayor to king of tabloid TV. Does he now have his sights set on the title U.S. Senator? I'll speak live with Jerry Springer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: It's Wednesday, January 29, 2003. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

There's a breaking development right now in the case of that abandoned boy in Utah. We told you this heart wrenching story 24 hours ago.

We check in now with CNN's Rusty Dornin. She's in Salt Lake City. Rusty, tell us what's going on.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes they have been able to identify the man who did bring little Jacob into this Shopco (ph) store, which is in Salt Lake City, Utah, and abandoned him in a shopping cart on Saturday afternoon. Let's take a look again at the store surveillance video. The man you see walking in holding the young boy's hand is Lyle Montgomery (ph), apparently the boy's stepfather.

Now, Salt Lake City police are now saying that he will be liable for child abandonment charges.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF RICK DINSE, SALT LAKE CITY POLICE: The two people who were identified as having removed the child or taken the child from its mother apparently walked into one of our local agencies. I believe it was the YWCA here in town and brought the child with them.

We were subsequently notified by the YWCA that they were there. We responded, picked them up. We have both of the two suspects in custody, as well as the child who's being looked at at a local hospital. And, as I said, the child appears to be physically unharmed at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DORNIN: Now, this is actually the door that apparently Lyle Montgomery came in and brought little Jacob in and also walked through. He ended up coming over, taking a shopping cart out, and leaving the boy at that time where he came over and picked up one of these Sponge Bob Square Pants toys. He then put them in the shopping cart and took it to the back of the store where he was left for about 45 minutes.

Customers told store employees about this and they ended up in this exclusive you can see. They take him back to the surveillance video room and they sit him down and they begin reviewing the tapes. Well, when they find the spot where they see the man bringing the child into the store, they bring little Jacob up onto their lap and they ask him who is that, and the little boy says that's Lyle. That's my friend.

Now that's what police had to go on initially, but apparently Lyle Montgomery - the boy is from Reno, Nevada. They are not telling us what his last name is and they are also not telling us right now - they have not located either his mother.

So they're looking for both the stepfather in the child abandonment case and also for the mother. They said the child could be released to his biological father - Wolf.

BLITZER: Rusty Dornin in Utah for us on this heartbreaking story we broke yesterday here on CNN. Thanks Rusty. We'll be back with you if there are additional new developments.

But we're also following another breaking story right now, a desperate effort underway to find workers who may still be trapped in the shattered debris of a pharmaceutical factory that was ripped apart in a giant explosion this afternoon. Hospital officials say at least eight people are now confirmed dead. Joining me by phone with the latest information from Kinston, North Carolina, is Ralph Clark, the city manager. Mr. Clark, what exactly is the latest development?

RALPH CLARK, CITY MGR., KINSTON, N.C. (via telephone): The latest development - hold on just a second. I've got too many ears here, too few ears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold on for just a second.

BLITZER: Mr. Kinston, if you can hear me, can you hear me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold on for just a second.

BLITZER: Mr. Clark, excuse me. It sounds like you're on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he...

BLITZER: Let me...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello?

BLITZER: Well, let me tell our viewers what's going on in this videotape that we're seeing right now. We'll get Mr. Clark on the phone and he'll bring us the latest information.

This was a pharmaceutical explosion at this plant that we were covering all afternoon here on CNN. Yes, Mr. Clark I know you're very busy, but tell us the latest information on this pharmaceutical explosion.

CLARK: Well, it appears that we have the first at least under control, you know most of the fire, not all the fire is out but most of the fire is out and it's - we still have a few people trapped inside the building, inside the facility.

Most of the ones that have gotten out have been either transported to hospitals local or statewide hospitals with the burn centers or whatever, and those that are OK, we've sent them to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BLITZER: Mr. Clark, I know it's an emotional moment, a very, very sad situation. Our information, at least eight people are dead, are confirmed dead. Is that your information as well?

CLARK: We don't - I don't have any confirmation of any fatalities at this point and I'm not sure where that's coming from. You have to remember, I'm dealing with the police and the fire side so if there is medical information coming out or confirming deaths, I don't have that.

BLITZER: Do you know how many people may still be trapped inside?

CLARK: The list that I can confirm is less than ten.

BLITZER: Less than ten. How many people worked, as far as you know, at that plant?

CLARK: The best we can tell, it was about 75 on the shift today.

BLITZER: And I assume there are people in hospital right now recovering from injuries, being treated for injuries. Do you know how many?

CLARK: No, I do not. As I said, the medical personnel are on the site and they're determining where they need to go and some of them are being released. I know that they have a location that they're releasing them to so the families can come and meet them.

BLITZER: Do we know the cause of this explosion, Mr. Clark.

CLARK: Do not and I think anything we said would be pure speculation. It's a pharmaceutical plant and they dealt in plastics and I think some rubber products, so we would have to speculate as to what might have caused it.

BLITZER: But the headline that you can give us is that it looks like that fire is now under control, is that fair?

CLARK: That would be a fair - I don't know if it's under control, but we have it where we can at least, we feel like it's manageable now.

BLITZER: Mr. Clark, Ralph Clark the city manager of Kinston, North Carolina, good luck to you. Good luck to all the people there. We'll continue to follow this story as well. Thank you for joining us, taking a few moments away from your obviously very, very busy afternoon.

There's a third breaking story that we're following with special interest to all of us here at CNN. Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, says he's stepping down as the vice chairman of AOL Time Warner our parent company.

In a brief statement, Turner said he wanted to make room for other people. The founder of CNN, Ted Turner, says his resignation will be effective in May. Ted Turner, a legend to all of us, a legend in the whole world of television stepping down as vice chairman of AOL Time Warner. We're going to continue to follow that story as well.

But let's now turn to the situation involving Iraq, the showdown with Iraq, which by all signs is moving into its final phase. After throwing down the gauntlet last night, President Bush today took his case for a possible war to the American heartland but there are others he'll need to convince.

Let's go live to our Senior White House Correspondent John King. He's joining me from the White House -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, the president making his case today to audiences here at home in the United States and to critical audiences overseas as well. Some key Democrats this afternoon questioning the president's approach saying he should come back to Congress to permission, authorization, if he decides on the military option.

Mr. Bush saying today in public he hopes to resolve this peacefully but Mr. Bush also saying that if he decides on the military option, he will use the full force and might of the United States military.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): On the road the day after the big speech, health care the major focus but also a direct challenge to the United Nations.

BUSH: The risks of doing nothing, the risk of assuming the best from Saddam Hussein is just not a risk worth taking. So, I call upon the world to come together and insist that this dangerous man disarm.

KING: Now comes another phase of difficult diplomacy, a window of three weeks or so to lobby skeptics. Next Wednesday, Secretary of State Powell will make a presentation to the Security Council, including newly declassified intelligence the White House says proves Iraq is spying on U.N. teams, racing to move evidence and sanitize sites just before inspectors arrive, and has ongoing ties to al Qaeda.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think a rather comprehensive presentation.

KING: Russia is open to supporting military action if Secretary Powell can show Iraq is obstructing inspections.

SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN AMB. TO U.N.: We would like to see undeniable proof, OK.

KING: Key council members, Germany and France, have already seen much of the intelligence and still want to give inspectors more time. A major U.S. goal in making a public presentation is to pressure them and warn their credibility is at stake because the Security Council unanimously agreed in Resolution 1441 to give Iraq a final opportunity to disarm but warned of serious consequences if it did not cooperate fully.

BUSH: I want the United Nations to be something other than an empty debating society.

KING: The president will compare notes over the next three days with two close allies, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: And the White House is not ruling out one new resolution from the Security Council setting one final deadline for Iraqi compliance. But senior administration officials are stressing today this final diplomatic window is open for several weeks, no longer -- Wolf.

BLITZER: John King at the White House thanks very much John. So just how will the Bush administration go about making the case against Iraq?

Here is our National Security Correspondent David Ensor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sources say the evidence from Secretary Powell will likely include surveillance imagery showing the Iraqis clearing out sites just prior to the arrival of U.N. arms inspectors, and possibly images too of the secret mobile biological weapons labs the U.S. says the Iraqis use to keep ahead of inspectors.

Powell will also include information from prisoner interrogations and from Iraqi defectors.

POWELL: You can be sure that we will be as forthcoming as we can next week but also mindful of sources and methods.

ENSOR: Sources and methods, there is the rub for the CIA. They are the holy grail of U.S. intelligence to be protected at all costs. That's why officials say there is a spirited debate over how much to reveal from voice communications intercepted by the U.S. National Security Agency, and from human agents, Iraqis working for the CIA.

What if, for example, Powell reveals something known about a specific facility that could only come from one of a few employees there?

FRITZ ERMARTH, FORMER CIA OFFICER: What does Saddam do to anybody he has doubts about or mistrusts or feels offended by? He kills them and, you know, kills their family.

ENSOR: And when it comes to interceptions of Iraqi communications, a cautionary tale. When a story came out that Osama bin Laden's satellite phone was being monitored he stopped using it and U.S. intelligence lost an invaluable source.

ERMARTH: It's very fragile. If you disclose your capacity to intercept certain kinds of communication, well you know the target, the bad guy will not use it anymore.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR: Another intelligence problem, officials say, is that there are no stark smoking gun photos, and most of the evidence from multiple sources has to be woven together by an expert to be convincing.

Still, Secretary Powell has promised to be comprehensive and one intelligence official said his colleagues know they need to, as he puts it, show some more leg -- Wolf.

BLITZER: David Ensor, David thanks very much for that report.

Coming up, did President Bush successfully make his case? Congressman Duncan Hunter and Congressman Dennis Kucinich disagree. They'll face off. That's coming up.

Also, fears of a chemical attack drive some American servicemen to take some highly extraordinary precautions.

And a talk show host in the U.S. Senate, Jerry Springer is considering a run in 2004. He'll join me live, but first today's "News Quiz."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER (voice-over): Which is the longest running talk show in television history, "The Sally Jesse Raphael Show," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Jerry Springer Show," "Meet the Press"? The answer coming up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: You're looking at live pictures at New York's Times Square where an anti-war demonstration is underway right now. This protest is in response to the president's State of the Union address which demonstrators are calling a war speech.

The protest is being organized by a group called International Answer, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. It's the same group behind nationwide anti-war protests January 18, which it says drew half a million people in Washington, although others say the number was a lot, a lot smaller than that.

Meanwhile, administration officials are working to shore up congressional support for a possible war with Iraq.

Joining me here in Washington to weigh in on all of this two special guests, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, thanks to both of you for joining us.

Congressman Kucinich, I'll begin with you. You're very anti-war. You made that clear on this program the other day. Did the president say anything that convinces you maybe to reconsider?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: The president did not make his case. Nothing the president said indicated there was any new information. As a matter of fact, what he said was actually contradicted by Mohamed ElBaradei of the United Nations who has had the inspectors there.

Iraq doesn't have any nuclear capabilities and the president knows that, so there's no case for war. And, there's a case for inspections, however. The inspections should continue and the United Nations process should continue to work. BLITZER: All right. Congressman Hunter, I don't believe the president ever said last night that the Iraqis do have a nuclear capability already, although they might one day. But go ahead, Congressman Hunter, and tell Congressman Kucinich why he's wrong.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, you know, I think one of the best bets in show business is that those inspectors will not find anything, and I predicted that before they started out. They're being shown a host of big, empty facilities.

Nine-tenths of them are facilities that we inspected in the 1990s, and if there's any Iraqi bureaucrat dumb enough to have weapons of mass destruction out in the bays of those big empty facilities by the time the inspectors get there, he's going to be two things, one the dumbest bureaucrat in Iraq, and number two shortly thereafter probably the deadest because he will have made a major mistake.

So, they're going to continue to go look at this big empty facilities and the expectation that you're going to find weapons in there is about similar to expecting the drug lords of Washington, D.C. to pile up all the cocaine in Pennsylvania Avenue so it can be scooped up by the authorities.

BLITZER: Let's let...

HUNTER: It's not going to happen.

BLITZER: Let's let Congressman Kucinich respond. Go ahead, Congressman.

KUCINICH: Well, the fact of the matter is that this administration has been spoiling for war with Iraq whether or not there's been any evidence at all, and they tried to connect Iraq to 9/11. They tried to connect Iraq to al Qaeda's work on 9/11, and they have not been successful in doing that.

They have not been successful in convincing the world community that they should go to war against Iraq, so what are they doing? They're basically creating their own case for going to war notwithstanding that they're lacking in evidence and they're lacking in support from the world community.

The world ought to be taking a stand against this war. We have to find a way to make the U.N. process work and avoid any type of military action against Iraq. It's just not necessary.

BLITZER: All right.

HUNTER: They're not lacking in evidence and, Dennis, one thing that is absolutely true, and this came out in Hans Blix' report, is that Iraq itself declared 8,500 liters of anthrax. That's enough anthrax to kill a million people. They've shown no evidence that they destroyed that. They have that anthrax. They produced zero weapons.

This disarmament move has produced zero weapons, zero disarmament of Iraq. It's got everything that it had before the inspections started. It will have all those weapons intact when this so-called inspection tour is finished.

BLITZER: Let me just...

HUNTER: That's their own statement. That's their own document.

BLITZER: Let me just interrupt. Congressman Kucinich, they did find 16 empty chemical warheads but the president says there are probably 30,000 others that they haven't found.

KUCINICH: Well, first of all there weren't any chemicals in those warheads so you can't call them chemical warheads. Secondly, I'd like to point out that the "Wall Street Journal" today said that the president offered no specific details to back up his claim about the intelligence sources, secret communications and statements by people now in custody that pointed to Iraq being involved in either terrorism and/or these weapons programs.

HUNTER: Well, let's go to Iraq's own statements. By Iraq's own statements, own admissions, they said they had 8,500 liters of anthrax. We know that. That's their statement. That's not President Bush's statement. It's not the United Nations' statement. That's enough anthrax to kill a million people. They've shown according to the inspectors no evidence whatsoever that they destroyed that anthrax.

So, Dennis, how are you so sure they destroyed it?

KUCINICH: Well, I think that's why you need inspections, and first of all we don't know that they have usable weapons of mass destruction. That has not been demonstrated by the United Nations inspections and it has not been demonstrated by our own government. If our own government has...

HUNTER: It's been stated by their own reports, their own documents. They turned these documents over to the United Nations and said we have 8,500 liters of anthrax (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KUCINICH: They may have said that but that doesn't mean that they're weaponized. That doesn't mean that they're ready to launch it at some country. So, I mean there has to be a difference between what they admit to in their documents and conclusions that are drawn that suddenly those substances somehow pose a threat to another country.

BLITZER: All right.

KUCINICH: And that's where it's important to continue to have inspections and to approach this analytically and not through a passion for war.

BLITZER: I'll let you have the last word, Congressman Hunter.

HUNTER: Well, let me just say if you don't believe the admissions coming from the Iraqis themselves, then you simply don't want to look at the facts. But once more we're being shown giant empty facilities and the Iraqi nuclear inspectors, who in '93 were working on the nuclear programs, told us that even while inspectors were in country, a few miles away they were working full bore on weapons of mass destruction programs. Obviously, they haven't changed that. If you take the Iraqis' own statements, they still have these weapons.

BLITZER: Congressman Duncan Hunter thanks for joining us.

HUNTER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Congressman Kucinich thanks to you as well. Any change by the way since Monday on your presidential aspirations?

KUCINICH: Still opposed to the war.

BLITZER: Still opposed to the war. What about becoming a Democratic presidential candidate?

KUCINICH: Stay tuned.

BLITZER: How much longer before you make up your mind?

KUCINICH: Stay tuned.

BLITZER: All right, we're staying tuned. Congressman Kucinich, Congressman Hunter thanks for that solid debate.

HUNTER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Here's you chance to weigh in on this story. Our web question of the day is this. Did President Bush adequately make his case against Iraq last night? We'll have the results later in this broadcast.

Vote at cnn.com/wolf. While you're there, send me your comments. We might read some of them on the air each day at the end of this program. We'd also love to hear from you. That's at cnn.com/wolf. Also, by the way, that's where you can read my daily online column, cnn.com/wolf. There it is.

U.S. troops taking bold steps to protect their future offspring from chemical attacks.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Frank Buckley live in Los Angeles where some soldiers have decided to freeze their sperm before deploying. You'll hear from one soldier who told us why he did it.

BLITZER: Also coming up, will he or won't he? Jerry Springer is thinking about running for the Senate. Find out whether or not he's made up his mind. I'll ask him live on this program. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: More emotional words today from Scott Peterson, whose wife Laci vanished Christmas Eve in California. Peterson sat down at his home with local reporters in the Modesto area to talk about the case.

CNN and other national networks were not invited. Here's CNN's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scott Peterson orchestrating a Modesto media blitz inviting local reporters inside his home for personal one-on-one interviews.

One common question, what does he have to say to his in-laws, the family of his wife Laci who after learning of his extramarital affair continued to doubt his credibility, calling on him to tell police all he knows.

Scott's reply, we're told, is that he is doing that, cooperating fully with the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did the interviews go this morning, Scott?

MATTINGLY: Reporters also remarking on his unflappable demeanor under at times aggressive questioning. One reporter asked, why aren't you angry that police have been unable to clear you after more than a month?

Scott reportedly says he isn't angry. He is sad. Reporters say the only time he became emotional was when talking about his wife and child similar to his response in a nationally televised interview in which he referred to his marriage as glorious.

SCOTT PETERSON, HUSBAND OF LACI PETERSON: Driving along the highway for no reason I was just smiling, the biggest smile, and she asked me what the heck were you smiling about? You know the thing was that she was there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: Earlier, Scott Peterson said that he hopes that more of the attention will be paid in the future to his wife's disappearance. That doesn't seem to be happening right now because his every move is captured on videotape as he comes and goes from his Modesto home here.

Those taped interviews will be hitting the air in a little under four hours from now. When they do, police will be watching, but they tell us, Wolf, they will not be publicly responding to anything that Peterson tells reporters, back to you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much David Mattingly for that report.

Did President Bush make a strong case for sending U.S. troops into harm's way? We'll go across America and across the world for reaction.

Plus, talk show Senator? Jerry Springer is considering a run in 2004, but can voters take him seriously? I'll ask him. He'll join me live. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to CNN. I'm Wolf Blitzer.

Coming up, I'll tell you what I learned at the White House yesterday about the showdown with Iraq.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: As the Pentagon makes preparations for a possible war in the Gulf, military personnel are making some preparations of their own. Our national correspondent, Frank Buckley, is standing by in Los Angeles to tell us about a precaution some of the troops are taking -- Frank.

BUCKLEY: Well, Wolf, these are soldiers who plan to father children when they return from their deployments. And given the possible risks they may face in the months ahead, they've decided to take an unusual step to make sure nothing gets in the way of their plans.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUCKLEY (voice-over): Deploying troops have always squared away their wills and other legal affairs before going into harm's way. But now, a small number of soldiers are also doing this, saving their sperm. Among the sperm frozen in this tank in Los Angeles, the potential prodigy of Patrick Atwell.

SGT. PATRICK ATWELL, ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: You may never use your deposit. But it's always good to have that option there.

BUCKLEY: Sergeant Atwell is an Army National Guardsman who expects to deploy to the Gulf. His fiancee, Angela Cruz, urged Atwell to preserve his sperm after a 1991 Gulf War veteran in his unit told the sergeant, he came back from Desert Storm to find he was sterile.

ANGELA CRUZ, ATWELL'S FIANCEE: I feel more hopeful with our future. And if God forbid he doesn't come back, then I'll be able to have a piece of him here still, a little Patrick running around.

BUCKLEY: Atwell believes the military should include information about sperm storage in pre-deployment preparations.

ATWELL: They prepare for your death, but what they don't prepare for is your life after you've done your service and perhaps you've been exposed.

BUCKLEY: But a Department of Defense official told CNN that "based on what we know from the Gulf War, there are no medical indications that infertility should be a concern of deploying service members. In fact, studies of Gulf War veterans' health have shown that male Gulf War veterans had a higher rate of birth compared to those who did not deploy."

But some Gulf War veterans do blame sexual dysfunction and fertility problems on their service in Desert Storm. And a Duke University Medical Center study released just this month concluded that a combination of the insect repellent, DEET and insecticide, and an anti-nerve gas agent that was used in Desert Storm, caused extensive cell degeneration and cell death in the testes of laboratory rats. The study's author is saying that the combination in 1991 may have inadvertently damaged testes and sperm production in some soldiers and may explain why some veterans experienced infertility, sexual dysfunction and other symptoms.

A medical director at California Cryobank where Atwell's sperm is stored says the potential risks involved in any conflict should at least cause soldiers to consider saving their sperm.

DR. CAPPY ROTHMAN, CALIFORNIA CRYOBANK: It's an insurance policy. If anybody could tell these soldiers honestly, you don't have to store the sperm because there's nothing bad that's going to happen to you, then I'll say, OK. But I don't know who could ever say something like that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BUCKLEY: A spokesman for the Department of Defense says the Pentagon neither encourages nor discourages soldiers from doing this. And for now, it appears to be a very small percentage of the tens of thousands of servicemen who are deploying who are taking this option. At California Cryobank, for example, they say 30 military men have made deposits --Wolf.

BLITZER: Frank Buckley with that story. Thanks very much, Frank, for all that information.

More now on the showdown with Iraq. I was at the White House this week and got some insight into President Bush's thinking.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER (voice-over): There's a specific reason why President Bush doesn't believe the U.N. inspectors are going to find any so- called smoking gun in Iraq. A senior administration official puts it this way -- "Saddam Hussein's got UNMOVIC penetrating." The U.S. has evidence the Iraqis know precisely where the inspectors are going long before they go there with plenty of time to remove weapons or documents.

The senior administration official was also candid in discussing Israel. "This man puts a weapon on Israel," the official said, referring to Saddam Hussein, "Holy hell breaks out." In other words, unlike the 1991 Persian Gulf War when Israel remained on the sidelines even in the face of 39 SCUD attacks, expect the Israelis to respond forcefully this time around.

The president continues to insist a war with Iraq can be avoided. There are four ways. If President Bush backs down, if Saddam Hussein has a change of heart and actively eliminates his weapons of mass destruction, if the Iraqi leader goes into exile, or if he's overthrown by his own people. I was told the first two options won't happen. But a senior Bush administration official says the last two are indeed possible. Secretary of State Colin Powell offers his own twist.

POWELL: Well, if he were to leave the country and take some of his family members with him and others in the leading elite who have been responsible for so much trouble during the course of his regime we would, I'm sure, try to help find a place for them to go.

BLITZER: The president says he understands his role as commander-in-chief.

BUSH: The idea of committing troops is my last option, not my first. I understand the terrible price of war. I understand what it means to put somebody into combat.

BLITZER: What I was told at the White House was that Mr. Bush was especially moved the other day when he visited with wounded U.S. troops at the Army's Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. He met with one young soldier who had a leg blown off by a landmine in Afghanistan. The soldier said he always loved to run just as the president loves to run.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: So what are people across this country saying about a possible war with Iraq? We took to the streets to find out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he made some strong points regarding Iraq. And it looks pretty inevitable that, I think, we are going to be having a confrontation with Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody wants war, but sometimes you have to do it. And this is one of the deals that we have to do. We have to get rid of him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would support the military, because I'm part of the military and I believe in the military. But I don't believe that this administration is legitimate and has any justification for what it's doing. I think that it is basically pushing its weight around and making America a bully.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: President Bush's State of the Union address was of course delivered not only to Congress and the American people, but also to a worldwide television audience. We have a sample, an unscientific sample.

Here's what we found around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER (voice-over): In China's capital, Beijing, where shoppers were out in force three days before the Chinese New Year, we met a brother and sister who, after seeing the Bush excerpts, had different takes.

Raleigh Xen Cho (ph) is a high school junior who's skeptical of Mr. Bush's motives. He believes President Bush may launch a war for reasons he's not stating, although he's not sure what those reasons are. He's just suspicious.

His older sister, a junior in college, says launching a war against Iraq now is not ideal, but that the U.S., which she called the superpower, must put American interests first.

BUSH: For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement.

BLITZER: In London on this rainy day, we caught up with the lunch crowd of professionals and office workers in the area known as Chelsea Circus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will support him in this country if there's proper evidence and that's not clearly been proved yet. And I think that's a great shame. I love America. I've been there many, many times. And I understand their -- you know, I understand their position because they're feeling very vulnerable. But we do need to really think it through carefully before we do anything.

BLITZER: In Paris, in the city's posh opera district, home to the stock exchange, offices, and high-end shopping, it was coffee break time at a neighborhood cafe. The general sentiment here, invading Iraq should not be up to President Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This message is for his citizens. I'd rather like him to say this to the United Nations. And again, as I stated before, we should follow the United Nations.

BLITZER: Follow the U.N., exactly what the French government is saying, at least for now.

And finally, in Moscow, a retired woman who lives on a small government pension summed up a common thread in many of our interviews. Referring to President Bush's announcement that Colin Powell will present more evidence next week on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, she said, more evidence should be presented before so many lives are put at risk. "On February 5," she said, "we'll see what evidence they've got."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Scandal, affairs, yelling, screaming, fighting. That's just Jerry Springer's day job. So is he the right man for the United States Senate? He's thinking about running and we'll find out if he is seriously thinking about it. He'll join us live when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. Jerry Springer says of himself his greatest asset is that everybody knows him and his greatest liability is why they know him. But that's not what's slowing down the former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. The controversial talk show host says he'll decide this summer whether to run for the U.S. Senate from Ohio. Jerry Springer joining us now live from Chicago.

Jerry, thanks so much for joining us.

JERRY SPRINGER, TALK SHOW HOST: Thanks for having me.

BLITZER: Maybe you want to advance your decision making process. Tell our viewers right now, are you going to run for the U.S. Senate from Ohio?

SPRINGER: I'm going to make up my mind this summer. I'm awfully -- I've never stopped being interested in the issues. But I'm going to make that decision, as I said, this summer and not before it. But what I see already is that there's, you know, a vast number of Americans that are not part of the political system, that don't see it working for them.

I was watching your show Sunday morning and a couple of the reporters you had on, you know, almost -- you know they joke about me and the show, which I understand. But then in an almost derisive manner, you know, they talk about the slack-jawed, low lives of -- you know out in Middle America. And my God, we can't have them voting, you know. I would suggest that we have to have all of Americans voting. And the fact that we don't is the reason that we have a government that tends to reflect the interests of wealthier people more than it does the interests of Middle America or low-income people.

BLITZER: All right. Jerry, tell us what you bring to the table as a possible U.S. Senator from Ohio that George Voinovich, the incumbent, doesn't necessarily have. There's a Democratic Congressman, Eric Fingerhut, who's obviously running as well. What do you bring, for example, that they don't have?

SPRINGER: Well, I think they're very -- you know they're fine people. I don't have anything personally against them. But I do know that the government right now is not being responsive.

Let me give you a number of examples. Right now, for example, we're getting ready to go to war against Iraq when we're in the middle of a war against terrorism. And the debate -- no one seems to be articulating the point that the debate shouldn't be around the issue of whether or not Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, he probably does. The real issue is whether going to war with Iraq is the appropriate remedy. I mean Saddam...

BLITZER: The president says there's no difference. Iraq is part of the war on terrorism, no difference between Iraq and al Qaeda.

SPRINGER: There may very well not be. But going to -- bombing Iraq is not a way to fight the terrorists.

Let me explain. There are three possible options. Either Saddam Hussein doesn't have weapons of mass destruction and if he doesn't, then why are we going to war? The second option that is he does. If he has weapons of mass destruction, and we don't want these weapons used, the best way to get these weapons of mass destruction used is to start a war with him.

The third option is that he had these weapons, but he gave them away to terrorists or to other countries. If that's the case, then again, bombing Iraq or going to war there and having an American presence there isn't going to stop the terrorists who now have these weapons of mass destruction from ultimately using them. In fact, the only...

BLITZER: So basically -- what you're basically saying -- excuse me for interrupting -- is stay on the sidelines, try to contain him through these inspections, but don't go to war?

SPRINGER: Yes. I wouldn't say stay on the sidelines, no. I think war against the terrorists from this point has been working but that means keeping together a coalition of the world because we need the intelligence network of the Arab countries, of the Islamic countries in the Middle East.

We need to keep the whole world together because that information permits us to find these guys. As the president said last night, "One by one, we'll hunt them down." That's the way you fight terrorism.

You don't fight terrorism by starting a war and bombing people. That's how you stop an invading Army. That's why it worked in World War II. That's why it worked in the war in 1990. But it's not going to work when you're trying -- where are we going to bomb? We don't know where these weapons of mass destruction are. If we knew where they were, the inspectors would get them.

BLITZER: We might know more next Wednesday when the secretary of state delivers his classified information, declassified before the U.N. Security Council.

Jerry, stand by. I want to take a quick break. We have a lot more to talk about. I'm going to also ask you this question -- given the nature of your TV show, why should voters in Ohio take you seriously? We'll ask you that question right when we come back.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The popular talk show host, Jerry Springer, is back with us now live from Chicago talking about why he may, may, run for the U.S. Senate.

Jerry, a lot of us have watched your show over the years. There's a lot of zany things going on there. Why should voters in Ohio take you seriously, given the nature of your TV show?

SPRINGER: Well, if I'm just being judged on the show, they shouldn't take me seriously. It's a silly show. It has no relevance to what's really important in life. I don't know that I'm going to run. But if I ran, it would be my job. It would be my job to articulate a point-of-view that the public can relate to. If I'm not successful in doing that, if I don't espouse the views that people have and if they don't think that I'll be a strong fighter for them, then I will lose and I would deserve to lose. That has to do with what kind of a candidate I would be.

So ultimately, I'm going to be judged on the effectiveness of my message and my ability to be a fighter. If I'm good, I'll win. If I'm bad, I'll lose and I'll deserve to lose. And there's -- you know I'm not looking for a job. I just really care about this stuff.

And you know we can joke about the show, and I'll joke along with everybody else. But in the end, it's not the show that's going to determine whether we go to war or not. It's not the show that's going to determine whether or not we turn the economy around. I mean that's what's really important in people's lives not a stupid television show.

I'm not -- you know I'm running to be king of television. I'm running to help participate in making decisions that affect our lives in the government. And I'm willing to be judged on that. If I'm not judged on that, I'll lose. I'll get beat. I won't get one vote.

BLITZER: Well, you were in politics. Before you did the TV show, you were the mayor of Cincinnati. So you have a record that the people can judge you on as far as being mayor of Cincinnati. And there were circumstances at the end that weren't all that pleasant, as you well remember.

Is that likely to be a factor?

SPRINGER: No.

First of all, you're wrong. You're referring to the fact that I once wrote a check to a prostitute, which was five years before I ever became mayor of Cincinnati. I had a wonderful...

BLITZER: I stand corrected. I stand corrected.

SPRINGER: Yes, I had a wonderful term, and I think the people were very happy with my performance as mayor. I was the largest vote getter in the city's history. So you know -- and that keeps getting repeated and repeated. And the truth is, it was 30, 35 years ago, well before I was mayor of Cincinnati.

BLITZER: And so right now, you're ready to invest a lot of your own money in a potential campaign, or is the Democratic Party being receptive to your overtures?

SPRINGER: Well, one, the Democratic Party in Ohio is being very receptive. Two, if I run, I'd prefer other people to contribute. I'd rather not spend all my money. But that's not going to be the issue.

Look, if I'm good enough, I'll get elected. And if I'm not good enough, I won't. And that's the way democracy works. That's the way it ought to be. I only want to be helpful. There's nothing -- look, running for office isn't going to make me famous. Running for office isn't going to make me rich. Running for office isn't going to do anything for my career. It's just something I might care about and...

BLITZER: Public service is a good deal. I admire people who do it and will admire you if you decide to make that decision as well. We hope you'll join us again when you're ready to talk about it.

SPRINGER: I will. Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Good work. Thanks very much, Jerry Springer, for joining us.

The results of our "Web Question of The Day" is up next, but first, the answer to today's "News Quiz." Earlier we asked you this question -- which is the longest running talk show in television history? The answer surprisingly to some at least, "Meet The Press." The show doesn't cover much sex, scandal, or diet remedies, but it is in fact the longest-running television show of any kind.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here are the results of our "Web Question of The Day." Did President Bush adequately make his case against Iraq?

Look at this, 35 percent of you say yes, 65 percent say no. This is not, of course, a scientific poll.

That's all the time we have today. Tomorrow I'll be live from the new Bioterror Command Center here in Washington.

Until then, thanks very much for watching. "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" up next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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