CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER
Interview With Condoleezza Rice; Interview With Richard Gephardt
Aired September 7, 2003 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: It's noon in Washington, 9 a.m. in Los Angeles, 7 p.m. in Gaza and 8 p.m. in Baghdad. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us for "LATE EDITION."
President Bush tonight will deliver a major address to the American people about the war on terror and the next steps in Iraq. It's his first such televised speech since he was aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1st declaring an end to major combat operations in Iraq.
Now, four months later, the White House is seeking support from the United Nations for a new Security Council resolution that would authorize fresh military and financial assistance from the international community. This is clearly a crucial moment in winning the peace in Iraq.
Just a short while ago, I spoke with the president's national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, about tonight's address, the war on terror and more.
Dr. Rice, welcome back to "LATE EDITION."
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Thank you.
BLITZER: Why is the president giving this speech tonight?
RICE: The president feels that it's time to give the American people a bit of an update on the war on terror, to remind everyone that we're still in the war on terror and to report on the progress that we're making in the central -- now central battle in the war on terror in Iraq.
He will talk about the strategy that we're pursuing, about the need to be absolutely resolute, recognizing that there are sacrifices to be made and that this is a difficult struggle ahead of us, but that the war on terror will be tremendously well-served by victory in Iraq, and we intend to achieve victory in Iraq.
BLITZER: Will he tell the American people how much he expects this to cost?
RICE: The president will talk about resources. He will talk about the fact that the cost of freedom and the cost of peace cannot be measured, and that it is important that we put adequate resources to this task.
The president will also talk about the elements of the strategy that we're pursuing. We are actively engaged to increase the participation of the Iraqi people in their own future. They have been involved in their own future; that's been increasing over time. The creation of ministries now headed by Iraqis, the creation of Iraqi police forces and an army. But that process will be accelerated.
He will talk about internationalization of this. We have had several U.N. resolutions that have permitted the international community to be involved. We are pursuing a resolution that would further that involvement.
And he will talk about the need to make certain that the reconstruction effort is on track. All of that improving the security situation in Iraq and helping us to get on to the task of helping the Iraqis build a better future.
BLITZER: We have seen a lot of numbers floated in the press: $60 billion over the next year in Iraq, $90 billion over the next year. What is the approximate number?
RICE: Well, the president will talk to the American people about what is needed in the near term in Iraq. But again...
BLITZER: He will give us a specific number?
RICE: The president will talk about the resources that are needed. Yes, he will. And -- but it is -- the key here is that we must remain resolute.
You know, there's a reason that foreign fighters are coming into Iraq. There's a reason that we're seeing evidence -- not really yet completely clear evidence, but evidence of terrorists trying to operate in Iraq.
They know that this is the central battle in the war on terrorism; that if you have a prosperous and peaceful Iraq that can be a linchpin of a different kind of Middle East, they know that the war on terrorism is over, and that they will be finished.
And the president will put it in those terms...
BLITZER: But somewhere between...
RICE: This is what we're fighting.
BLITZER: Somewhere between $60 billion and $90 billion?
RICE: I'm not going to get into the numbers here. The president will talk to the American people, and he will begin a process with Congress in talking about the resources that are needed.
BLITZER: How long do you believe U.S. forces in big numbers, as they are right now, about 140,000 U.S. troops, will have to remain in Iraq?
RICE: It is really difficult to put a timeframe on this, and I think we would be faulty to do so.
I can remember back to times when people said, for instance, in the Balkans, "Oh, we'll be out in a year." And we're still there.
The key is to get the job done. And what the president is going to talk about today and tonight is that this is a struggle in which America must remain resolute, in which the world must be resolute, in which he is resolute, and in which we will have a victory of the peace in the way that we've had a military victory in Iraq.
BLITZER: Does the U.S. have enough troops on the ground right now?
RICE: The generals in the Pentagon, who watch the situation every day, believe that we have adequate force on the ground. We may be doing some work on the mix of forces, because, of course, the same forces that won the ground war, large armored forces, are not the forces that are now needed for policing, for patrolling, for maintaining order.
It is also the case that more Iraqi forces are needed and that the international community, while not probably bringing very much in the way of combat power, could bring skill sets that are needed, civil affairs forces, police forces.
And so, Wolf, the more important thing here is the configuration of the forces post major conflict.
BLITZER: But fundamentally, if there are enough U.S. troops on the ground right now, why are you going back to the U.N. presumably, among other things, seeking more foreign troops to join the U.S. forces?
RICE: Well, the key here is to get not just the right number of forces, but to get the right mix of skills. And there are countries that can bring to bear certain kinds of military power, as well as some additional combat power, to help get the job done.
But the U.N. resolution, while it speaks to the need for a multinational force so that all countries can feel that they can share in these responsibilities, also speaks to other contributions; for instance, the international financial institutions getting more involved.
And again, most importantly, we all have to remember that the international community, the U.N., the Coalition Provisional Authority are all there to support the Iraqi people and to support the Iraqi people's role in their own future.
BLITZER: Since the start of the war way back in March until this moment have you found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
RICE: David Kay is doing a thorough job of putting together all of the evidence of what Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs look like, what happened, what became of his weapons of mass destruction. He's going to use documentary evidence. He's using interviews. He will use physical evidence. And he will put together a picture here.
The president told him when he saw him that there was no need to rush that; that the key is to do this in a coherent way so that we have a full picture of the status of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
BLITZER: David Kay is the former U.N. weapons inspector...
BLITZER: ... now working for the CIA. But can you just tell us, have you found any weapons of mass destruction? Because going into the war, of course, there was widespread expectation that Saddam Hussein's military was planning on using chemical or biological weapons.
RICE: We are not asking David Kay every day, "What have you found?" We want him to put this together over time in a way that will give us a full picture of the weapons of mass destruction.
But let's remember, there was no doubt in the minds of three administrations, the United Nations weapons inspectors, multiple intelligence services around the world that Saddam Hussein had had and probably still possessed and had used weapons of mass destruction, that he was actively pursuing weapons of mass destruction. That's why he was under U.N. sanctions for 12 years, that's why the world passed resolution after resolution after resolution telling him to disarm. There was no question going in that the overwhelming bulk of evidence and intelligence pointed to active weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
BLITZER: I want to get that a little bit further down the road. But let's talk a little bit about Saddam Hussein himself. How close do you believe the U.S. and coalition forces and the Iraqis are to finding him?
RICE: I don't know. And I read the reports, along with everyone else. But the important thing is that we are actively seeking and actively receiving intelligence on his whereabouts, and I think we will continue to do that.
The important point is that the Baathists are being booted out. Their infrastructure is being destroyed. And Saddam Hussein himself, I'm quite sure, just as we found his sons, we will find him.
BLITZER: Do you have any sense if you've gotten close in the past few months to finding him? Just missed, he slipped through your fingers?
RICE: I don't know, Wolf. My understanding is that we've had good leads on him from time to time, but we're just going to have to continue to pursue it. BLITZER: What about the timetable for the Iraqi Governing Council to take over and for the U.S. military to begin to withdraw?
RICE: The U.N. resolution that the United States would propose is ask the Iraqi Governing Council for a timetable for the establishment of sovereignty for the Iraqi people. And we think that it is best that the Iraqis themselves establish a timetable, that they establish benchmarks that they wish to go through: a constitution, the creation of a process for elections. And so we will see what that timetable looks like.
We want to transfer sovereignty as soon as possible and as soon as people are ready to take on those responsibilities.
BLITZER: But do you think that's six months, a year, five years?
RICE: I think we will wait and see what kind of timetable the Iraqi Governing Council, in consultation with others, comes up with.
BLITZER: Should the Arab League accept the request by the new foreign minister of the Iraqi Governing Council, Hoshyar Zubari, to attend their meeting as an equal?
RICE: Absolutely. The Arab League should certainly accept the fact that the Iraqi people are finally rid of a brutal dictator who oppressed the Iraqi people and who, by the way, attacked members of the Arab League itself, including trying to wipe Kuwait off the face of the Earth.
So I would fully hope, and frankly can't understand, why the Arab League would not want representation of a new Iraqi representative council that will be well on its way to building a free Iraq.
BLITZER: Because some Arab leaders are saying that this whole Iraqi Governing Council, that they're only so-called lackeys of the U.S.
RICE: Well, the Iraqi Governing Council is made up of people who suffered under Saddam Hussein. It is made up of people who went into exile and continued to carry the torch for a free Iraq. It's made up of people like relatives of the Ayatollah al-Hakim, who was killed just the other day.
These are people who are patriots and trying to bring together a new Iraq, and the Arab League should recognize that.
BLITZER: The new CNN/Time magazine poll asked if the military campaign in Iraq has been successful. Look at these numbers: successful, 32 percent; unsuccessful, 13 percent; in between, 53 percent. Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence that the military campaign is a success. And presumably, one of the reasons is because of the postwar developments.
The former U.S. Army secretary, Thomas White, who was in your administration, had some strong words on the lack of planning for after the war. Listen to what he said to our viewers on CNN International.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS WHITE, FORMER ARMY SECRETARY: The size and scale and magnitude of the challenge of postwar Iraq was not something that we adequately planned for. Now that we're in our current situation, I think the initiative to go back to the U.N. is precisely correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He said you didn't plan for this postwar operation.
RICE: Well, we planned a great deal for a postwar operation. There were several things that people didn't foresee. I don't think anybody understood the true nature and true status of the Iraqi infrastructure. The devastation that Saddam Hussein reeked on the infrastructure of Iraq is really extraordinary.
Just as an example, you know, we've had difficulties with electricity and power supply. Well, it turns out that the country never had adequate power supply. What Saddam Hussein was doing was powering Baghdad and starving the rest of the country. So we're having to address the inadequate power supply that was there. There are large parts of the country that had no sanitation.
This was a country that looked to everyone, when you saw the gleaming pictures of Baghdad, like a country that had resources. Unfortunately, what Saddam Hussein was doing with those resources was building palaces, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and starving his people. Now we're having to deal with that.
BLITZER: But the bottom line is you have to admit that you could have done a better job planning for this current environment.
RICE: The planning went on. Obviously, there were things that were not foreseen. They have now -- are now being addressed.
But I would just remind people, when you're dealing with a society like Saddam Hussein's, you're not going to know very much about it. Just think about how little West Germany knew about East Germany, sitting right next door, about the decay in the infrastructure there. And they had to adjust their policies to deal with that after they actually unified Germany.
So it's not surprising that there were things that had to be adjusted. It's not surprising that Jerry Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority have had to think about how to accelerate some of the activities that they undertook.
But the key is that the United States is resolute. The United States recognizes that this is a long-term commitment to Iraq, and perhaps we recognize something that I hope everyone will, which is that you cannot judge what is going on in Iraq in the daily news cycle or in the weekly news cycle.
I know that people would like to do that. You'd like to have a report card every day. But if you look at the overall trend lines in Iraq, you have to say, "Saddam Hussein is gone, his sons are gone."
You have to say that the Iraqi people are returning to freedom, life is returning to the streets, Iraqis are taking more and more of a role in their own lives, with taking over ministries.
We're building security forces. We're building military forces. The economy will start to come back. And this time, Iraq's resources will be for the good and the benefit of the Iraqi people.
You have to have a longer-term vision for an Iraq that is going to be free and prosperous than what you can assess three, four months after the military operations end.
BLITZER: Exactly one year ago tomorrow you were on this program, and you said this about Saddam Hussein. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICE: The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Now, a lot of people have said since then, since the war, that the fear of a nuclear capability on the part of Saddam Hussein was grossly inflated, exaggerated. That's what Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei testified before the U.N. Security Council, the head of the -- the chief nuclear weapons inspector.
Did you go too far in raising that alarm bell on this program a year ago?
RICE: There was no alarm bell here. I think we said that there was uncertainty. And of course there's uncertainty.
But the fact is, Saddam Hussein had been pursuing a nuclear weapon since the 1980s. It was found that he had a nuclear program that was much farther along than the IAEA thought in 1991.
And I would just remind people that the national intelligence estimate of the director of Central Intelligence, our best intelligence, was that left unchecked he would likely have a nuclear weapon before the end of the decade.
Now, that's an issue that an American president has to deal with. And it wasn't nuclear weapons. You asked me about nuclear weapons. But if you look back, you will see that what we were concerned about was his entire weapons of mass destruction program, unaccounted for chemical and a biological program about which we knew very little, except that it was getting more sophisticated.
When you're dealing with intelligence, you're dealing with data points. And you have to put them together in a picture. But this was somebody who had an appetite for weapons of mass destruction, had acquired them in the past, had used them in the past, was continuing to try to acquire them, and was a bloody dictator in the world's most volatile region.
That was a threat that the president was not going to leave unaddressed.
BLITZER: Still to come, more of my interview with the U.S. national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. I'll ask her about the stunning resignation of the Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, and whether Secretary of State Colin Powell had actually undermined him in recent days.
Then: targeting terror. As the second anniversary of 9/11 approaches, are people around the world safer today?
And later: On the campaign trail, Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt had some harsh words for President Bush this week. We'll ask the Democratic presidential candidate about those comments, his competition and the race for the White House and more.
"LATE EDITION" will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."
Now, more of my interview with the national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice.
BLITZER: The president, a year or so ago -- almost exactly a year ago -- also warned the United Nations that if they didn't support the U.S. and take action together with the U.S., the U.N. could become part of the so-called dustbin of history -- not exactly his words. But he did say this -- listen to what he said in Nashville almost exactly a year ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United Nations must act. It's a time for them to determine whether or not they'll be the United Nations or the League of Nations. It's time for them to determine whether or not they'll be a force for good and peace or an ineffective debating society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: They did vote after that speech in favor of that resolution, 1441. But later they refused to vote for a second resolution, which you sought and you still went ahead and invaded Iraq at the end of that.
But now you're going back to the U.N. So clearly, as far as the administration is concerned, it's not the League of Nations. RICE: Well, the U.N. did vote Resolution 1441, which was a very tough resolution. There was disagreement about whether it was time to act on the logic of Resolution 1441. But if you look back at 1441, in response to that presidential speech and to the speech at the U.N., this was a very strong resolution that mobilized the world against Saddam Hussein.
There were disagreements in the final analysis about whether it was time to use military force. But 1441 is a resolution about which the U.N. should actually be quite proud. And we also recognized that the Security Council has to keep working at it.
The president went to the United Nations because he cares about the institution, because he wants it to be active, and he wants it to not be the League of Nations.
I think that you're seeing in the Security Council now a recognition that whatever the differences we may have had about what it is time or not time to do with Iraq, that Iraq is a central battleground in the war on terrorism. It is a place where civilized nations and nations that care about freedom and nations that want to be secure are going to have to mobilize to create a stable and prosperous Iraq, which can then be a linchpin for an entirely different kind of Middle East.
That's why we're having good conversations with everyone in the Security Council and why the president has chosen to seek this now third resolution since the war, 1483, 1500 and now a third resolution, to affirm that and to move to the next phase in internationalization.
BLITZER: I want to get on and talk about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process momentarily, but a quick question. David Obey, a longtime Democrat in the House of Representatives, a senior member on the Appropriations Committee, says that it's time for Don Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, and the deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, to resign because of the failure in postwar planning.
I want you to respond to what Congressman Obey said.
RICE: I don't think it really bears a response. Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz are outstanding servants to this country and have done a fine job. They did a fine job in getting to the place that we are now, which was the dramatic victory of America's armed forces over Saddam Hussein's forces in a war that did really very little damage to the civilian infrastructure. And now we do have to win the postwar task.
But the postwar task here, while difficult, is neither undoable, nor is it something at which we can afford to fail. We will succeed.
And again, I would just remind people, you cannot judge any of this on a one-week cycle or a three-month cycle or a four-month cycle. If you were to look at Germany four months after World War II, you would not have ever believed that it would be the great success that it turned out to be for America's peace and security. And a lot of progress is being made in Iraq. I was watching Secretary Rumsfeld earlier on TV, when he talked about how different the place looks than when he was there in April. I hear that from congressional delegations that go. There are whole parts of the country that are completely stable. Life is returning to normal in many places.
There are pockets in which we have security problems. The reconstruction needs to be accelerated. And, most importantly, the Iraqi people need to take more responsibility for their own future.
We will get that done; we will succeed in Iraq. America finishes great causes when it begins them.
BLITZER: It wasn't all that long ago that the president was in Aqaba, Jordan, together with the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, and the then prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
But now Abbas has resigned; Arafat apparently has accepted his resignation. What has happened to the road map?
RICE: The road map is still there as a viable way for the parties to get to the president's June 24th vision of two states living in peace side by side. And we have made some progress. The creation of a Palestinian prime minister was an important step.
But, obviously, there have been serious difficulties, in that there has continued to be internal bickering and internal struggle inside the Palestinian leadership for the soul of the Palestinian Authority.
Is it going to be an authority that governs wisely, transparently? Is it going to be an authority that governs -- as Prime Minister Abbas said, that there should be one law and one gun and one authority?
Or is it going to continue to support terrorist organizations running all through the territories, and corruption? That really is the struggle that's going on.
We believe that in the final analysis, the Palestinian people, through their leaders, will choose to empower a Palestinian prime minister who can fight terror, who can unify the security services, and who can act on behalf of the Palestinian people.
BLITZER: Is Yasser Arafat the solution or the problem?
RICE: Yasser Arafat has been part of the problem for a long time. He's an obstacle. He was an obstacle to Camp David, when President Clinton tried to bring about peace, and he is an obstacle apparently to the unification of the forces and to letting the Palestinian Authority move forward on behalf of the Palestinian people.
But sooner or later, when the Palestinian people have made that choice, the road map remains, the path remains.
We are continuing to work with the parties. We continue to ask the Israelis to do everything that they can to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. They don't need to wait in order to do that, because the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people can be addressed now.
But the real path to peace is an end to terrorism. We made a very good step forward when the Europeans undertook the political decision to perhaps list Hamas as a terrorist organization and to freeze its assets, because the road blocks to peace are Hamas and the terrorists and internal bickering inside the Palestinian leadership.
The Israelis have responsibilities, too. We believe that all parties will be able to fulfill them if we can get the fighting of terror really under way here.
BLITZER: Some Israeli commentators, some Palestinian commentators, have suggested when Secretary Powell a few weeks ago, sort of, reached out to Yasser Arafat to try to calm the situation down he was, in effect, undermining Mahmoud Abbas and giving him, sort of, the end of his prime ministership in the Palestinian Authority.
Listen to these words from Secretary Powell after a recent terrorist attack. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN L. POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I call on Chairman Arafat to work with Prime Minister Abbas, and to make available to Prime Minister Abbas those security elements that are under his control, so that they can allow progress to be made on the road map.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Did he undermine Abbas by reaching out to Yasser Arafat?
RICE: I don't consider that reaching out to Yasser Arafat. I think what that says to Yasser Arafat is, "Give the security forces to the Palestinian prime minister, as you said you would."
And that's the message that we have been loud and clear about, and that we've asked others to be loud and clear about.
You cannot have a circumstance in which you have nine different security organizations running around the streets of the Palestinian territories when the goal is to unify them and to fight Hamas and the rejectionists.
The Israelis need to create political space in which that can happen, and indeed there was some progress made when Gaza was handed over. Fruit stands had begun to appear again in Gaza, people were beginning to turn to normal life. And then not too long after that you have the Jerusalem bombing, just as more towns are about to be turned over. So it is obvious that terrorists are trying to undermine the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian people have no future with Hamas. The Palestinian people have no future with the Palestinian Authority that will not fight terror.
And we're going to continue to make that message clear, and to show what is possible if the Palestinian Authority can get a prime minister who can really act on behalf of the Palestinian people.
BLITZER: We have a few seconds left. You've made no secret about your passion for football here in the United States. The NFL starting off these days a new season here.
Would you rather be the national security adviser to the president or the commissioner of the NFL at this moment, right now?
RICE: Well, at this moment I think they're both pretty good jobs. But, you know, as I was watching the opening of the NFL, Wolf, I thought you and I might have a future there. So let's keep our eye on it.
BLITZER: You and I as commentators for the play-by-plays, is that what you're talking about?
RICE: Well, if you're ready to leave, maybe we can go run the NFL sometime. But not until Paul Tagliabue is ready to step down. I want to be very clear. He's a good friend, and he's doing a great job.
BLITZER: But my loyalties to the NFL are different than your loyalties.
RICE: Yes. We would have that problem, that's true.
BLITZER: All right. Condoleezza Rice, thanks very much.
RICE: Thank you.
BLITZER: And for more on presidential policy in Iraq and the war on terror, please stay tuned tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern for CNN's special coverage of the president's address to the nation.
"Larry King Live" will continue our coverage at 9 p.m. Eastern. I'll be back at 10 p.m. Eastern for more in-depth analysis of the president's speech, as well a complete wrap-up of all the day's news. Stay with CNN all day today.
Just ahead, we'll get a quick check of the hour's top stories.
Then, as the second anniversary of 9/11 approaches, how much of a threat is al Qaeda right now? Our expert panel weighs in on that issue. The recent terror alerts, and much more. And you can weigh in on our web question of the week, do you approve or disapprove of the way President Bush is handling international relations? Cast your vote by going to our web site at cnn.com/lateedition. We'll have the results later in this program. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We must never forget the lessons of September the 11th, 2001, a sobering reminder that oceans no longer can protect us from forces of evil who can't stand what America stands for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A solemn vow from President Bush.
Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."
Joining us now for some perspective on 9/11, the latest terror alerts and much more, three special guests. Here in Washington, California Congresswoman Jane Harman. She's the ranking member of the Select Intelligence Committee. In Los Angeles, the terrorism analyst Brian Jenkins with the RAND Corporation. Also here in Washington, CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.
Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."
Congresswoman Harman, begin with you: What do you want to hear from the president tonight that will reassure you he's on course as far as fighting terrorism?
REP. JANE HARMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, let's start with postwar planning in Iraq. It's a shambles, despite the talent of Jerry Bremer. He has too little, and he's there too late.
I want the president to tell us what's really in store for Americans. How much are we going to pay? What is the possible loss of life going forward? And how is he going to repair the damage to our relationship with international organizations, so that they step up and bear a reasonable share of this?
I think they have to share in the economic benefits. One of the ways to get France and Russia back at the table is to honor some of their prewar contracts and give them some opportunities in the marketplace in Iraq.
BLITZER: The president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, on this program said the president will tell us how much he expects this operation, over the next year or so, will cost.
We've heard all sorts of numbers: $60 billion to, maybe, even $100 billion.
HARMAN: Well, I'm from California, and I know what a $38 billion deficit means. We're talking twice that or three times that in Iraq.
Also, our Homeland Security Department is in shambles. Front- page story in The Washington Post. The budget there's only $36 billion per year. If you think about where Americans might die in terrorist incidents, the real tragedy could be in America in our hometowns, and we're underfunding everything.
So there's no possible way that we can pay those costs in Iraq.
BLITZER: Brian Jenkins, what do you want to hear from the president tonight? You've been studying terrorism for so many years.
BRIAN JENKINS, TERRORISM EXPERT: Oh, I think the president, basically, is going to have to give the American people an honest appraisal of the situation.
We have made considerable progress in dealing with al Qaeda, although the threat remains. At the same time, we are now facing these new threats in Iraq.
Iraq itself is going to become increasingly a magnet for the religious extremists. I think it's going to, in the future, be something different from the primarily Saddam Hussein loyalist-based resistance. And we're going to have to deal with that. And we're going to have to deal with it fairly rapidly; otherwise, we're going to be looking at an even costlier future than Congressman Harman has talked about in Iraq.
BLITZER: Brian, we asked the American public, the latest CNN/Time magazine poll -- we'll put it up on the screen -- whether they expect a major act of terrorism in the United States over the next 12 months. Look at this: 72 percent of the American people say it's likely. Twenty-six percent say not likely.
What is your biggest fear, Brian Jenkins, about a terrorism attack in the United States? Chemical, biological -- what kind of terror attack is your biggest concern?
JENKINS: I don't want to discuss the specific scenarios.
The problem is that, number one, we can't predict what they're going to try. We can only look at what they have done in the past. And what we know from the interrogations and from the training manuals that were found what they are contemplating.
They are certainly -- we talk about 72 percent of the American people expecting an attack. Well, 100 percent of our terrorist foes are looking to carry out some kind of attack.
Whether it's the next year or two years, that's hard to say. We are an impatient people. This, for them, is a continuous condition. That is, we look upon warfare as a finite undertaking. They look upon warfare as a perpetual condition, and they mean to impose that upon us.
BLITZER: Peter, is al Qaeda forging an alliance of convenience, if you will, with secular terrorists out there -- Saddam Hussein loyalists -- that they get together and they go after any target that presumably could hurt the U.S.?
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: We still don't know exactly who is behind the various attacks against the United Nations, against the Iraq -- the cleric, against the Jordanian embassy in Iraq.
But I think that you have to identify al Qaeda as the leading suspect, particularly against the United Nations. That was a suicide attack. I don't see a lot of Saddam loyalists doing suicide attacks. The professionalism with which the attack was done -- al Qaeda has long been on the record about being against the United Nations.
In fact, we just have an audio tape now where they deny any involvement in the Iraqi cleric attack, but they take a pass on the United Nations. So to me that may indicate that they were indeed behind it.
BLITZER: What do you think, Congresswoman Harman? Because as we approach the second anniversary of 9/11, there's some speculation out there, is this the time when the U.S. should raise the threat level from the, sort of, the mid-range right now, the yellow to the orange, from elevated to high?
HARMAN: Well, first of all, let me point out the irony that one of the reasons the Bush administration now says we went into Iraq was to rid Iraq of any connections to al Qaeda, and instead it's become, as Peter says, flypaper, and al Qaeda is now possibly more active in Iraq than it was pre- the military action there.
BLITZER: So are you saying the American people are worse off now than they were before the war? Because you supported the war.
HARMAN: I supported the congressional resolution. I still support the congressional resolution. Let's remember what it said. It said a maximum effort has to be made to work through the U.N., and only as a last resort should military action be used.
Well, in hindsight, rolling back what we now know, there was no imminent mushroom cloud, I don't believe. I think a lot of the intelligence, prewar intelligence, was flawed, and we're investigating that, and we'll learn more later.
But I don't think if David Kay comes up with -- David Kay, the fellow in charge of the search there, comes up with some traces of programs that that's going to persuade me that that was close to this mushroom cloud, or the grave and growing danger the president said.
I think, looking at this now, Iraq is a very dangerous place, dangerous in a different way than it was pre- the war, and the U.S. in many ways is as or more dangerous than it was pre-9/11.
Our homeland security effort isn't working. As far as these threats go, there have been threat warnings made better than the color system. We know, for example, it's been declassified, that al Qaeda and others are still trying to use airplanes as weapons, and we're taking steps to try to be more vigilant about these transit visas and other ways that that could happen, and cameras and small explosive devices that could be on planes.
So I applaud that, but our threat warning system needs a lot of work in America.
BLITZER: Brian Jenkins, did the war in Iraq make the situation worse as far as terror threats against the American people?
JENKINS: Well, in one sense you'd probably want to deal with them in Iraq than deal with them here on our soil, or deal with them in Europe or elsewhere, so that may be the one useful quality out of this.
But the fact is the situation has become more complicated; no doubt about it. The current conditions in Iraq are going to attract these religious fanatics, the jihadists that swarm around bin Laden.
It doesn't require a central decision by al Qaeda. The recruiting has gone on anyway despite the pressure we've put on al Qaeda, and these people are eager for action.
Action for them is a path to redemption. It's an opportunity to kill infidels, and they're starting to show up there and will continue to do so regardless of even any central direction coming out of Afghanistan or Pakistan.
BLITZER: Peter, this past week, as you well know, the FBI put out a most wanted list for four suspected al Qaeda operatives that may be in the United States, may not be in the United States, but they're presumably seeking to go after U.S. targets.
We're showing our viewers the picture right now.
But what do we know about this specific threat, because there are four faces, four individuals who may be involved in plotting a terror attack right now?
BERGEN: Well, two out of these individuals have been people the FBI had already publicly said they were looking for. I don't think it's very clear exactly, they don't even know where they are, whether they're in the United States, whether they're outside the United States, so I think in terms of the generalized threat, I think the 9/11 anniversary is important for the following reason.
You look back to last year, Wolf. After the 9/11 anniversary, there were attacks in Indonesia, there was an assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, there was attacks in Kuwait. They took the opportunity, the anniversary, to release more audio tapes. We've already seen one today. I think we'll see more. It is an important anniversary for them. I think we will see heightened activity in the next few weeks.
BLITZER: And what about the next few days, on 9/11?
BERGEN: I don't think necessarily right on the anniversary, but in the time frame of 9/11, forward four weeks.
BLITZER: All right.
On the cover, the new cover of Time magazine, Congresswoman, they have a big cover story on Saudi Arabia. We'll show it to our viewers. "The Saudis: Whose Side Are They On?"
And CNN/Time has a poll asking the American public, is Saudi Arabia cooperating with the U.S. as much as possible on terrorism? Twenty percent say yes, 71 percent say no.
You're privy to inside information. Is Saudi Arabia cooperating fully with the U.S.?
HARMAN: Not adequately, not yet.
Part of the unfinished business of Congress is to implement the recommendations of the joint inquiry, which was a 37-member House/Senate bipartisan investigation into the plot of 9/11.
One of our recommendations is that we need to explore more fully whether foreign powers were or are engaged with terrorist activity in the United States. And I think that's top of our agenda in the House Intelligence Committee, and Saudi Arabia is not exempted from that investigation.
BLITZER: Congresswoman Jane Harman, we have to leave it right there. Thanks very much for joining us.
Brian Jenkins, as usual, appreciate your being with us.
Peter Bergen, of course, we appreciate you, as well.
Up next, an exclusive interview with the Democratic presidential hopeful Congressman Richard Gephardt. He was very, very outspoken at this past week's debate. I'll ask him about his harsh criticism of President Bush, what he thinks the U.S. plan in Iraq should be and much more.
And later, Arnold Schwarzenegger over easy. The gubernatorial candidate may have been egged on by some detractors, but he's still a very serious contender for the California statehouse. We'll get the latest on the recall effort from two guests.
"LATE EDITION" will continue after this.
ANNOUNCER: Time now for "LATE EDITION's" quick quiz. Last Thursday, members of the U.S. Congress voted to give themselves a 2.2 percent pay raise. What are members expected to earn next year:
or C, $158,000?
The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: Earlier, we asked, what is the expected salary for a U.S. representative next year? The answer is, C, about $158,000 a year.
The members also voted to give 1 million federal workers a 4 percent pay raise.
BLITZER: And just ahead, we'll check the hour's top stories.
And don't forget to vote on our web question of the week. Go to our Web site at cnn.com/lateedition.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: This is "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president is a miserable failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: As we wait for President Bush to address the nation and the world, we'll hear from one of his leading critics, Democratic presidential hopeful Richard Gephardt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm looking forward to the debates. It's going to be great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A notable no-show at the first California gubernatorial face-off. How will Arnold Schwarzenegger do when he does participate? We'll ask two California lawmakers: the man who started it all, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, and Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.
A judge unseals the arrest warrant in the Kobe Bryant case.
And judge or jury? Who should decide death sentences.
We'll get legal analysis from former Denver district attorney Norm Early and former prosecutor Wendy Murphy.
And Bruce Morton has the last word on a second anniversary.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN in Washington, this is "LATE EDITION" with Wolf Blitzer. BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION." We'll get to our exclusive interview with Democratic presidential hopeful Congressman Richard Gephardt in just a moment.
But first, let's check in with CNN reporters covering the top stories around the world. And we begin in Baghdad, where guerrilla forces attempted to launch a missile attack against a U.S. cargo plane earlier today taking off at Baghdad's International Airport.
Our senior international correspondent Walter Rodgers is in Baghdad. He's joining us now live with details -- Walter.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Wolf.
The U.S. Army now says two missiles -- shoulder-fired missiles were fired at a U.S. Air Force C-141 cargo plane when it was taking off from Baghdad International Airport. Actually, it was early Saturday morning.
Neither missile came near the plane, according to the U.S. military spokesman here in Baghdad. Still it's a bit unnerving.
That area west of the airport is a hotbed of resistance and was even during the war. I was there with the 7th Cavalry, and it was dodgy even then. So there are insurgents operating continuously against U.S. forces.
Now, these cargo planes have a way of deflecting these missiles, usually firing flares, so apparently it wasn't even a close call. Still, it's a bit unnerving.
U.S. military patrols continue throughout Iraq. It's been relatively quiet. No U.S. soldiers killed since September 2nd. Still, the Army says that there have been upwards of 12 to 15 incidents a day.
Here in Baghdad, the hostility level was high again. This Sunday, there was a demonstration of several hundred people from -- who used to work in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. They complain they have not been paid in six months, and so they're demanding the Americans pay them, even though they used to work in Saddam's palaces. They were carrying pictures of Saddam, saying, "With our hearts, with our minds, we support him." They even showed the soles of their shoes. That's an Arab sign of contempt -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Walter, as all of our viewers around the world will remember, you were one of the first journalists to get to Baghdad right after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. Now you're back there.
Tell us briefly the biggest differences that you've seen on the streets of the Iraqi capital and elsewhere.
RODGERS: Well, immediately after the American troops entered Baghdad, there was a very large U.S. military presence, very visible at the time.
That has been greatly reduced. Most U.S. forces are no longer visible here around this hotel. There are some M1A1 Abrams tanks.
But the American military profile here in Baghdad itself is much, much lower. There is not nearly as much shooting at night. You can still hear the occasional AK-47 at night here, eine kleine nachtmusik -- a little night music -- but it's not as bad, nearly as bad as it was just after the Americans entered the city -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Walter Rodgers, back on the scene for us in Iraq.
Thanks very much, Walter, for that report.
Let's turn to the White House right now. President Bush preparing to address the nation and the world tonight. He's expected to lay out a strategy for rebuilding Iraq and fighting international terrorism.
Our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, is joining us now live from the White House with a bit of a preview -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you know, the president really facing a critical juncture in his presidency -- questions and some criticism about his ability to handle the economy, bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the road map to peace, as well as his handling of the situation inside of Iraq.
There have been quite a few Democrats, as well as Republican lawmakers, have quietly told the president he needs to go forward to the American people to lay out his vision.
That is exactly what he is going to do. This is a speech that is catered to the American audience, but as well as the international one.
This comes as a time when the president is seeking broader international support for Iraqi reconstruction, also at a time when he is going to be seeking additional funding from Congress.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, as you know, who you spoke to earlier today, gave us somewhat of a preview of what we expect to hear from the president later this evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICE: He will talk about the strategy that we're pursuing, about the need to be absolutely resolute, recognizing that there are sacrifices to be made and that this is a difficult struggle ahead of us, but that the war on terror will be tremendously well-served by victory in Iraq, and we intend to achieve victory in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Now, Dr. Rice also confirmed that the president is going to talk about specifics, in terms of the resources necessary inside Iraq. She didn't give a dollar figure. But White House aides having say behind the scenes it could be anywhere around the $60 billion mark.
But Senator Kennedy and others this morning saying they are not willing to write a blank check. It is far from clear whether or not he'll have the kind of support he needs from Congress to actually get that money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We need a plan. We haven't got a plan. The administration is proceeding day by day. It's a makeshift operation over there. One day it's this plan. It's another day, another plan. And the people that are suffering are the American service men.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Now, the last time the president spoke formally before the American people about Iraq, it was aboard an aircraft carrier under a banner that said, "Mission accomplished." Well, Wolf, the message is going to be very different this evening.
BLITZER: What a difference four months makes. Thanks very much.
Suzanne Malveaux joining us from the White House.
Democratic presidential hopefuls blasted President Bush's policies during a debate this week, but it was Congressman Richard Gephardt who garnered the most media attention after calling the president, and I'm quoting now, "a miserable failure."
Let's take a look at the latest CNN/Time magazine poll. Among registered Democrats, Senator John Kerry leads the crowded field, with 16 percent of the vote, followed by Senator Lieberman with 13 percent, Howard Dean with 11 percent, Congressman Gephardt with 7 percent.
Joining us now here in Washington to discuss his campaign is Congressman Richard Gephardt.
Welcome back to "LATE EDITION." Thanks very much for joining us.
We'll get to presidential politics in a moment, but as far as the war is concerned, the war in Iraq, you were one of the most ardent supporters of the president going into the war. Was that a mistake?
GEPHARDT: It was not a mistake. We had intelligence over 15 years, from both the Clinton administration, the U.N., European countries, that Saddam Hussein had weapons or had components of weapons of mass destruction -- certainly had the ability to quickly make them. This was the right thing to do.
The problem now is the president did his photo-op, he landed on the aircraft carrier, declared the war was over. But he's never had a plan, and he's never gotten us the help that we need and our troops deserve from other countries. He said in his speech in September at the U.N., "This is a world problem, not just an American problem." He now needs to get that help.
BLITZER: If you knew then what you know now, would you still have supported the war?
GEPHARDT: Well, you never know then what you know now.
Look, we all believed and assumed that the president would do what many, many presidents have done through the years; that he would put together the alliance, the international alliance that we need to solve problems like this. We assumed that when he went to the U.N. and said it was a world problem, not just an American problem, that he was going to get the support and the help of these other U.N. nations.
BLITZER: He did have Resolution 1441, which was unanimously approved by the Security Council back in November.
GEPHARDT: He did, but it's the aftermath.
I told him one time when we had these regular meetings in the White House, as one of the four leaders, I said to him, "You're not going to need the U.N. going in, or NATO. You're going to need them in the aftermath."
We need their money. We need their troops. And we don't just need Indians and Egyptians and Pakistanis, although we need them. We need the French and the Russians and the Germans. They have the people. They have the money that we need, and he needs to work with these other leaders to get the help that we should have had months ago.
BLITZER: Let's play some excerpts from the debate in Albuquerque, this past week. Not once, not twice, but five times, you expanded on this theme. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEPHARDT: This president is a miserable failure. He is a miserable failure.
This president has to lead, and he is not leading. He's a miserable failure on this issue, and he must be replaced in the election.
This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Some people are suggesting you went way out on the line on that line in order to get some excitement going for your campaign, which may not be moving as rapidly as you would have liked?
GEPHARDT: I feel really strongly that this president is failing us. He's failing us on economic policy. The economy is in a mess. We're losing 100,000 jobs a month. He's lost over 3 million jobs since he's been president. He's lost more jobs than the last 11 presidents combined. This is the worst economic record since Herbert Hoover.
How can you say it's any other than a failure?
And he only has one idea; that's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
He will not change the policy. He will not do the things that I've been talking about, that we need to do right now.
We need to spend the highway trust fund faster. We need to have tax breaks for manufacturers to make things in the United States. We need to get rid of the Bush tax cuts and get health care that can't be taken away. So he's not succeeding on domestic policies.
BLITZER: You know what White House officials say, and some of your own Democratic colleagues, your competition for the presidential nomination, that when you were the Democratic leader in the House, you were a miserable failure. That's what they've been saying to me.
GEPHARDT: Well, let's look at that history. 1993, I led the fight, with Bill Clinton, on the floor of the House to get the Clinton economic program through. It just created 22 million jobs over seven years. We had unemployment at the end of the Clinton term at 3 percent, the best in 50 years. We took a $5 trillion deficit and turned it into a $5 trillion surplus. I think that's success.
Now, if people don't think that maybe President Bush is a miserable failure, we've set up a new Web site called amiserablefailure.com, I urge people to go look at it.
BLITZER: So this is going to be a new theme of your campaign?
GEPHARDT: Look, it is what it is. These are the facts. The facts are incontrovertible. He is failing us on the economy, and he's failing us on foreign policy.
BLITZER: We asked in our CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll the American public, if they want -- among registered Democrats, specifically registered Democrats -- if they want the party to nominate a candidate who supported the war, as opposed to someone who opposed the war.
Look at these numbers: 43 percent say they want a candidate who supported the war, but 52 percent say they want someone who opposed the war. And you supported the war.
GEPHARDT: Wolf, I try to always to do what I think is the right thing to do, and I believed, and I continue to believe, that this was the right thing to do.
Look, our highest, I saw the president in the Oval Office on 9/12, and I told him, "We've got to trust one another and we got to keep our people safe." I said, "Politics always intrudes on these issues, but we got to do what's right and try to cooperate to keep our people safe." That is what I always will do.
If you drag politics into this, then you get into, I think, not doing the duty that we're all sworn to do.
BLITZER: There are right now nine Democratic presidential hopefuls. There could be a 10th if the former NATO supreme allied commander, General Wesley Clark, throws his hat in the ring, and he's showing signs he might do exactly that. What do think of General Wesley Clark?
GEPHARDT: I think he's a great person. I think he did a great job for the American military. He's very bright, he's very accomplished and he would be a great candidate. I'd welcome him to the race. We've got lots of good candidates.
I think I'm going to be the nominee. I think I'm going to defeat George Bush in November.
BLITZER: If you're the nominee, would you want General Clark to be your running mate?
GEPHARDT: He's one that anyone who wins the nomination -- and I believe I will win the nomination -- would definitely look at as a possible good vice presidential candidate.
BLITZER: Now, you're optimistic you're going to win the nomination. Let's put some numbers up on the screen and show our viewers, second quarter fund-raising, you didn't do that well.
Obviously, the president got almost $35 million, and he doesn't even have an opponent in his own party, but John Kerry had almost $6 million, you had almost $4 million, Howard Dean, who's come almost seemingly out of nowhere, $7.5 million, and the others.
Why are you having trouble raising money along the lines, let's say, of a Howard Dean?
GEPHARDT: I'm doing great. We're meeting our budget. Our budget was $20 million this year. We achieved half of that in the first six months. We're going to get the second half in the next six months. This race is wide open, and I'm going to win this race.
Let me just say this also: I'm the best-equipped candidate to beat George Bush. If you're going to beat George Bush, we're going to win California and New York, the battleground is in those industrial states in the Midwest. That's where I'm the strongest.
There was a poll recently from Zogby that showed I do the best against Bush. In fact, the latest poll was Bush 48.5, I'm at 43.
There's a reason he's in Ohio and Missouri and Pennsylvania and Michigan every week. He knows that's where the election is. That's where I can defeat him.
BLITZER: This is not the first time you've run for president. In 1988, you sought the Democratic presidential nomination. You won the Iowa caucuses, but then the campaign collapsed basically after that.
What happens if you don't win Iowa this time? And very recent polls in Iowa show Howard Dean ahead of you.
GEPHARDT: I'm going to win Iowa. I'm going to win Iowa because I have a campaign of bold ideas that make sense to the people of Iowa and other states.
I'm going to go from there and do well in New Hampshire, and I'm going to do well in all the states you have to win. I'm going win this nomination, I'm going to beat George Bush.
I have the experience and I have the bold ideas that I think people can get really excited about in this campaign.
BLITZER: If you don't win Iowa, will you drop out?
GEPHARDT: I'm not even thinking of that. I'm going to win Iowa. That's a hypothetical question that isn't going to happen.
BLITZER: What's the biggest difference between you and Howard Dean?
GEPHARDT: I think I have more experience at the highest levels of this government, at the federal level.
I also think my ideas are sound, bold, and really solve the major problems, will get this economy moving again, create jobs in this economy.
And finally I think I can be a candidate that people will want to trust to be their president.
I think people will understand I can walk into that Oval Office tomorrow and do this job a lot better than it's being done today.
BLITZER: When you were at the debate in Albuquerque this past week, like most of the candidates, with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman, you focused your attacks on President Bush, not your Democratic rivals.
Won't you have to get a little bit more personal with Howard Dean, with John Kerry, with Joe Lieberman, in order to get the nomination, to contrast yourself from them?
GEPHARDT: We've had contrasts on issues, and that's legitimate. That should happen in any campaign. We've had some differences on trade policy. I feel that the rest of the candidates are, kind of, latter-day saints on this issue. I've been there all along, saying we need labor and environmental standards and trade treaties. They've just discovered this at the last moment. And there are other differences we'll have on health care and other issues.
But we don't need to get into personal kinds of dialogue. We need to keep the concentration on defeating George Bush. He is not doing the job as president. He is letting the country down, because he is not exerting the leadership that he needs to exert. And I hope to replace him to get this country moving again and to build the alliances around the world to solve the tough international problems we face.
BLITZER: We're going to have to leave it right there. Congressman Gephardt, thanks for joining us.
GEPHARDT: Thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead: The California recall; who was missing from the first debate? Two California congressmen weigh in on the candidates and the countdown to October 7th.
And later, a judge in the Kobe Bryant case keeps some records sealed but releases others. We'll review the evidence with our legal panel.
And you can still vote right now on our Web question of the week. Do you approve of the way the president, President Bush, is handling international relations? Cast your vote by going to our Web site at cnn.com/lateedition. We'll have the results later in this program.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We'll get to Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California politics in just a moment, but first it's time for letters to "LATE EDITION."
We received many comments about the California recall.
Michael from New York writes this: "People who support the California recall forget that our government already has a system of removing incumbents. It's called an election."
William from Arizona writes: "If California recalls Governor Davis, then voters in every state that is running a deficit should be able to recall their governor too."
On a national level, Lawrence in Montana pleads for a bipartisanship. This is what he says: "Democrats are using the problems with the economy for political gain instead of working with Republicans to find solutions."
We always, of course, welcome your comments. The e-mail address: email@example.com. And if you'd like to receive our weekly e-mail previewing this program, go to cnn.com/LATE EDITION and sign up.
We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: Time now for "LATE EDITION's" picture of the week.
Direct hit: California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger kept working the crowds Wednesday after a raw egg landed on his shoulder at a campaign rally in Long Beach, California.
BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION." I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
It's been another dramatic week in the California recall contest. Yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean announced he opposes the recall and supports the current governor, Gray Davis.
A panel of federal judges ruled Friday that it would not stop the election from taking place on October 7th.
And Arnold Schwarzenegger received an endorsement, an important endorsement, from the California Chamber of Commerce, after he chose to skip the first candidate debate on Wednesday.
Joining us now to discuss the recall effort are two guests: Here in Washington, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. He financed the petition drive that forced the recall vote and was an early candidate to replace Gray Davis. He's since decided not to run. And in San Jose, California, Democratic Congressman Zoe Lofgren.
Thanks to both of you for joining us.
Darrell Issa, let me begin with you. Who are you going to vote for on October 7th?
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I'm going to vote to recall Gray Davis. I'm certainly not going to vote for Cruz Bustamante. But, like every Californian, I'm busily keeping track of the three Republican candidates that really are making the case for lower taxes rather than higher taxes and holding back spending, something that the Gray Davis- Cruz Bustamante team won't do.
BLITZER: So, which Republican candidate are you going to vote for?
ISSA: Well, I'm doing the honest broker thing of looking at all of them. Right now, if an election were held today, clearly Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only one who could possibly win.
But a month is an eternity in politics, and I -- at least through next week's Republican convention, I think all of us should look at the candidates and give them a fair chance to be heard.
BLITZER: So you have open-minded about Tom McClintock and Peter Ueberroth and the others?
ISSA: Well, you've named the three. I'm not focusing on any of the others because I think the others are not making any sort of a real move as far as those who are for not increasing taxes.
Certainly, we have a plethora of people, like Arianna Huffington, who are in it only for her own benefit.
BLITZER: Zoe Lofgren, like all of the congressional Democrats from California, you say you're going to vote no on recall, but yes for Cruz Bustamante, the lieutenant governor of California, the only serious Democrat that's running to replace Gray Davis if, in fact, he is recalled.
But Senator Dianne Feinstein, also a Democrat in California, says that what you're doing is a mistake. You shouldn't even say who you're going to vote for. You should just devote all of your energies to opposing the recall.
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I have a lot of respect for our state's senior senator, Dianne Feinstein. But even the governor's wife, Sharon Davis, said that she was going to vote no on the recall and then go ahead and fill out the second part of the ballot and vote yes on Bustamante.
I've never -- and you never ask voters in California not to vote. If there's an election, we should vote on all the parts of it.
And by the way, we also need to vote no on Proposition 54, this terrible initiative that would strip the state of knowledge necessary for the medical professions.
BLITZER: All right. We're not going to get into that issue right now. We can leave that for another occasion.
Howard Dean was in California yesterday, Darrell Issa, of course, endorsing Gray Davis, opposing the recall. I want you to listen to what the Democratic presidential hopeful said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am here to ask the people of California to vote no on the recall. And the reason for that is really not about Gray's record. The reason for that is because I think this is the fourth attempt to undermine democracy in this country by the right wing of the Republican Party since the 2000 elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And you, of course, led the fight to get this recall going; spent more than a million of your own dollars. I don't know how much you spent -- a lot of money -- to get this going. And he's now saying this is part of that same right-wing conspiracy that's gone after so many Democrats.
ISSA: Well, this is smart politics for Dean. He's trying to appeal to Democrats. He's trying to nationalize what is a very local election.
But, I think, Wolf, what you had to hear there is he won't even speak favorably on behalf of the governor. He says, "I can't speak on behalf of the governor's record." Well, of course he can't, because Gray Davis has been a uniquely abysmal failure. There's no question that he deserves to be recalled.
More importantly, 30 percent of the petitions were signed by Democrats. This is not a right-wing thing by any means.
As a matter of fact, who's is going to call Arnold Schwarzenegger a right-winger?
BLITZER: What about that, Zoe Lofgren?
LOFGREN: Well, I think that Governor Dean is correct. I mean, there are -- clearly the situation in Texas where Tom DeLay has orchestrated or tried to orchestrate a redistricting to eliminate all the Democratic seats, the same mechanism in Colorado to do redistricting to benefit Republicans in the House and now this, which was funded, as Darrell acknowledged, by Washington to undo...
ISSA: Oh, no, no, no, no, I didn't.
LOFGREN: You funded...
ISSA: No, no, now wait a second. I funded it.
LOFGREN: You funded it -- no, don't interrupt me, Darrell.
ISSA: There was no Washington...
LOFGREN: I did not interrupt you.
BLITZER: Hold on...
ISSA: But I didn't -- you're misquoting me.
LOFGREN: You are a Washington congressman and you funded the recall petition. You've made that clear.
ISSA: I funded it with California money, money I made in California.
Zoe, don't be disingenuous. Washington absolutely shut us down, didn't contribute a cent. I have 25,000 contributors.
LOFGREN: We have...
ISSA: They're all Californians.
LOFGREN: Darrell, we know there's White House operatives out here, but it doesn't matter because is going to be decided by...
ISSA: You know that's not true.
LOFGREN: This is going to be decided by California voters.
And I think the issue that's being raised here by Governor Dean is an appropriate one. We know the papers were pulled for this recall five days after the governor was sworn in, after a legitimate election by people who were disgruntled about the results of the election.
If we are going to change from term elections, where we elect somebody and they do their job, and if we don't like it at the end of the term we pick somebody else, to we have elections whenever somebody can roll out $2 million to get petitions, we are going to have elections every year.
ISSA: Zoe, Zoe...
LOFGREN: And I think that's something that Californians need to contemplate, because it is a dramatic change to the system of government that has served us actually rather well in the United States.
BLITZER: All right, let's let Congressman Issa respond.
Go ahead, Congressman.
ISSA: Zoe, in all fairness, we've had 31 attempts at recalling governors. Every governor from Ronald Reagan, you name it, every single governor has faced it, some of them multiple recalls.
The difference here -- oh, and by the way, Gray Davis endorsed a recall of Curt Pringle back in 1988.
This isn't whether or not we do recalls in California. Of course we do, just like we do initiatives and referendums. It's part of California society. And just because it's your ox being gored suddenly you want to pretend that it's not part of California's everyday life.
Zoe, you've been in California...
LOFGREN: Well, Darrell, it's ridiculous to say...
ISSA: Zoe, we changed the constitution....
LOFGREN: I've lived here all my life.
ISSA: Right. And we change the constitution every two years by the initiative process. Some of them I like, some I don't like. But the fact is people shell out $2 million, we get things on the ballot and then the people decide. That's California.
And by the way, I don't know about this five days after the election. Ted Costa is not even a Republican. He comes out of the Prop 13 organization. And he began the recall, not me.
BLITZER: All right, go ahead, Congresswoman.
LOFGREN: I just would like to say this. This was an obscure provision of the California constitution. I've been a lawyer now for over 15 years; I actually never noticed that it was a part of the constitution, but now everyone knows that it is.
Steve Levy, who is a columnist down in Southern California, did a little experiment to see if you could get voters to sign some really extreme stuff outside of supermarkets and found in an afternoon that you could get people to sign anything if you can hire the signature gatherers... BLITZER: Are you saying, Congresswoman...
LOFGREN: ... because the threshold is so low.
BLITZER: Congresswoman, are you saying that people who sign the petitions are idiots?
LOFGREN: No, I'm not. But what I'm saying the threshold is so low to overturn an election that you can find that small of a group in California to overturn the majority election because of the threshold issue. We're going to have a chaotic political situation here if this takes hold.
BLITZER: Let's take a caller who wants to ask a question.
Go ahead with your question, caller.
QUESTION: Is that me?
BLITZER: Yes, go ahead.
QUESTION: Well, my question is, why is the Republican Party of California -- and I do live in California -- not supporting an actual Republican like Tom McClintock, but instead seemingly supporting Arnold Schwarzenegger? Is it a win at any cost?
BLITZER: All right, let's ask Congressman Issa.
You're a good conservative. Why do you want to support a liberal Republican like Arnold Schwarzenegger?
ISSA: Well, first of all, Wolf, I haven't endorsed a candidate. But, you know, mine is the party that goes from Bruce Hershinsen (ph) to Bruce McPherson. It goes from Tom DeLay to Tom Campbell. We are a very broad party, and Arnold Schwarzenegger clearly fits in as a Republican in my party.
BLITZER: So you're comfortable with his support for gay rights, for abortion rights, for gun control? Is that what you're saying?
ISSA: There are issues that Arnold and I do not come down exactly the same on. There are issues that Ronald Reagan came down on that I would come down on differently.
The Republican Party, though, is the party of smaller government, the party of lower taxes and of strong national defense, and we are in lock-step on that.
These other issues are the issues that we debate in our party and try to come to good compromise. Arnold Schwarzenegger, just like people -- Dick Riordan on his wing or Tom McClintock on the other wing, they're all welcome into the debate.
BLITZER: Congresswoman Lofgren, isn't Cruz Bustamante just as responsible for the financial problems in California as Gray Davis? LOFGREN: Well, the lieutenant governor's job is quite different than the governor's job. He serves on the regency at the University of California. He is a participant in putting things together.
But really the economy here tanked along with the dot-com boom, the collapse of the airline industries, the nationwide recession. And the economists have told us, and I think we all know it's true, that the nationwide recession was not caused by any governor, including the governor of California.
Now, we have to work together to solve the problems that these economic disasters have created. In our county, for example, we have lost 200,000 jobs since George Bush became president. We've got to work together to solve that, and I think Cruz Bustamante is prepared to be a partner in that effort.
BLITZER: Congresswoman, unfortunately we're all out of time.
Congressman Darrell Issa, thanks very much for joining us.
Zoe Lofgren, thanks to you as well.
We'll, of course, the next four weeks be watching this California contest very closely.
Up next, we'll get a quick check of the hour's top stories, then we'll go into the courtroom to analyze the latest court documents in the Kobe Bryant case with our expert legal panel. Please stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."
Joining us now to talk about the Kobe Bryant case and other legal issues of the week, two guests: in Boston, Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor, the founder of the Victim Advocacy and Research Group there; and in Denver, former district attorney Norm Early.
Welcome to "LATE EDITION."
Wendy, let me begin with you. We saw some -- got a little bit of insight into the Kobe Bryant case this week, with the release of some of the arrest warrants. One intriguing item suggesting that authorities, law enforcement, was possibly going to charge him also with a misdemeanor false imprisonment, supposedly for blocking the exit of the accuser from the room. Why wouldn't they do that?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, it's hard to know what made them change their mind, because it does look, at least on the surface, as though there was sufficient evidence to charge him with false imprisonment.
As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that I think of two things in a case like this. Number one, can I really prove this charge? Because it sounds as though he did block her way out, but only for the briefest period of time.
And, really, the law requires that you show that a reasonable person did not feel free to leave. And it sounds like, after a bit of time, when she promised him that she would come back in a little bit, that he did let her go. So that might not be a winnable offense, at least in terms of proving it beyond a reasonable doubt.
And, you know, the other thing I would take into consideration is, if I charge Kobe with both rape and false imprisonment, there's a real chance a jury could come up with a compromise verdict and find him guilty of the lesser offense and not guilty of the more serious crime, really, the crux of the crime in this situation, and you don't want to see that happen. You don't want them to feel like they gave a little to both sides. It's not good to set up that kind of strategy.
BLITZER: Norm, you've been in that situation. You're a former district attorney. The felony charge -- sexual assault -- rape, in other words, a much more serious crime with a much more serious penalty than the misdemeanor false imprisonment -- why can't you do both?
NORM EARLY, FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You could do both, and -- but, actually, whenever somebody is in a rape situation in a room, they are being falsely imprisoned under Colorado law. One really merges in the other.
The other thing you have to consider here is that it was the sheriff who was determining that false imprisonment charges might be appropriate in this case. Once there was a legal analysis, the district attorney decided that false imprisonment was not a charge that he wanted to file. You do not want a jury focusing on whether there was false imprisonment here. You want the jury focusing on sexual assault and whether or not this sexual assault was committed in the way the victim said.
So to file the false imprisonment charge would just detract from the sexual assault charge.
BLITZER: The other thing we've learned in recent days, Wendy, as you well know, is that the defense attorneys for Kobe Bryant have been seeking permission to get access to her, the accuser's, medical records, mental records, to try to find some sort of evidence to suggest perhaps that she's unstable and she's making it all up. How high of a burden will they have, the criminal defense attorneys, to get access to this information and then, potentially, to bring it in as evidence?
MURPHY: Well, Wolf, this is a very serious problem. I actually go to court all the time -- was in the court twice last week in two similar kinds of cases representing victims and protecting their counseling records. It is a growing and very serious problem around the country.
But, fortunately, Colorado has pretty good law on the books, such that the defense probably will not win access to these records unless they can show that they know there is something important in there. What's inadequate, clearly, under Colorado law, is for the defense to say, "We don't know what's in there. We hear she was depressed, suicidal, had medical problems. We just want to snoop around, see what's there and use it if we can."
That's not good enough. Because remember, the victim is not Kobe's opponent. The government is Kobe's opponent. So you're talking about using, really, the power of the court, the power of the government, through subpoenas and court orders, to reach out into the private, privileged space of a private citizen. That's a very serious encroachment...
BLITZER: When you say...
MURPHY: ... and it has to be justified. I haven't heard any justification thus far.
BLITZER: Well, Norm, the justification might be, from what many of her friends supposedly have said, not only to law enforcement but to the news media as well, that this was a woman that was somewhat disturbed, had a lot of problems.
EARLY: Well, Wolf, when you mention the fact that she has spoken to friends, the defense is going to claim that those conversations have waived her privilege of confidentiality in this case, that being the therapist/patient privilege.
However, in the state of Colorado, the therapist/patient privilege is one that is very, very, very sound. The case of Cisneros, which was decided in October of last year, indicates that the court that's looking at the case can't even look at the records, because there is such a fundamental right to privacy in those records.
So, if the Cisneros case is followed, there is absolutely no way they're going to get into this.
BLITZER: On that point, Norm, you know Colorado law well. If she had made emergency 911 calls long before she ever met Kobe Bryant, would those be made public as a routine matter?
EARLY: As a routine matter, no. I don't know that they are relevant to this case.
And, you know, we have the desire to know everything we can about what happened here, including 911 calls, but it's the court's responsibility to make sure that the amount of information that's in the public domain is, in fact, limited, so this case can be tried on the facts, and the 12 people who have to try this case hear those facts in a courtroom, hopefully for the first time.
BLITZER: Wendy, I was going to say you can't blame Kobe Bryant's attorneys now, for seeking to get as much information about her as they possibly can. MURPHY: Well, you know, actually, Wolf, I can blame them. I mean, I think it's wrong, and frankly unethical, for defense attorneys to attack victims in this way, because it's so gratuitous at this point.
EARLY: I agree.
MURPHY: If, in fact, they have a reason to know that there's something very important in that file that might prove Kobe's innocence, then that's OK. I mean, for me, I think that's an acceptable standard, and privacy has to give way.
But you cannot say to all the citizens out there who might become crime victims or even witnesses to crime, "If you opt to report crime and testify in the criminal justice system, we're going to force you to choose between privacy and justice," that's too great a cost to ask the public to bear, based on speculative claims by defense attorneys that they just want to look in and see what they might be able to find to whip the jury into a frenzy about some irrelevant piece of information.
Lots of people have been depressed and have had counseling and have been suicidal in this country. I mean, Tipper Gore. I can just list lots of very highly regarded people who are not insane, who are not hallucinating, who are perfectly credible. Are we going to say to all of those people out there, you know, "Unfortunately, if you think you're going to be a witness in a criminal case without having to give up these important privacy rights" -- you know, that's too big a cost to ask people to bear, frankly.
BLITZER: Wendy Murphy and Norm Early, unfortunately we have to leave it right there, but we'll have both of you back. Thanks very much for joining us.
MURPHY: Thank you, Wolf.
EARLY: Thank you, Wolf. Thanks, Wendy.
BLITZER: Up next, we'll have the results of our Web poll question of the week, when we'll reveal how you voted, as soon as we come back.
BLITZER: Take a look, see how your -- you've been voting on our Web question, the Web question of the week. Look at this: Only 12 percent of you approve of the way the president is handling international relations. Remember, this is not, not a scientific poll.
Bruce Morton now takes a look back at what has been gained and lost since 9/11.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been two years. The grief, the anger of those first days, haven't faded, but they are older. Emotions, like people, age.
An untested president was tested hard two years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: He was right about that. If Osama bin Laden thought, "Well, they got out of Somalia; they're easy," he misjudged us. This president, an experienced war leader now, sent troops into Afghanistan, troops into Iraq, and Americans tell pollsters they expect him to send them to other countries, too.
It will be, he has said, a long war, and Americans seem prepared for that.
There have been victories, no big terrorist attacks in the United States, though we tell pollsters we still expect some. There have been defeats; the car bombs going off in Iraq, for instance.
"Evil," the poet W.H. Auden wrote, "is unspectacular and always human." We've seen a lot of it, just like the goodness we've seen next to it, on battlefields, in hospital wards.
It's been two years, and we've lost some freedom. Just try taking a stroll around the White House.
It's been two years, and it is not just now the most important issue on our minds. The economy is, with Americans worried about a recovery which doesn't seem to be putting people back to work.
New figures last week showed productivity up, but unemployment compensation applications up, too.
Productivity means doing more with fewer people.
But the war goes on, and we know we're in it. It's something of a guerrilla war now, with the president seeking help from European countries, which, unlike American voters, mostly disagree with his policy in Iraq.
Victory? Particular groups like al Qaeda can probably be crippled, hunted down. Maybe after some long time, a Middle East could emerge in which radical Muslims don't hate the United States because they see it as Israel's friend and protector. But don't hold your breaths.
And some group somewhere will still be using terror on someone, that's been true for centuries. But we move on. It's been two years.
I'm Bruce Morton.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Bruce.
I'll be back 10 p.m. Eastern -- a one-hour special coverage of the president's speech. That's at 8:30 p.m. tonight. Stay with CNN. I'm Wolf Blitzer.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com