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U.S. Military May Be Closing in on Hussein; Separated Twins on Road to Recovery; Will Addiction Hurt Limbaugh's Credibility?

Aired October 13, 2003 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much.
It's happening right now, the search for Saddam Hussein. He's been on the run since the fall of Baghdad in April. Now indications the U.S. military may be closing in.

Stand by for hard news on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS.


BLITZER (voice-over): Saddam sighted. U.S. troops may be closing in but the hunters are also the hunted.

Separated twins on the road to recovery but not out of danger.

DR. JAMES THOMAS, CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER DALLAS: To let your guard down I think would be a mistake.

BLITZER: Rush Limbaugh's rehab, will addiction hurt this conservative's agenda?

Base brawl...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody's should throw a 70-year-old man to the ground period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Unintelligible) wasn't there. How does he know what happened?

BLITZER: Tonight, round two.


ANNOUNCER: CNN live this hour, WOLF BLITZER REPORTS, live from the nation's capital with correspondents from around the world. WOLF BLITZER REPORTS starts now.

BLITZER: It's Monday, October 13, 2003. Hello from Washington, I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.

We're following several developments in Iraq, including the search for Saddam Hussein. Indications the U.S. military may be getting closer even as we speak but at the same time the hunters themselves are being hunted in Iraq.

As CNN's Harris Whitbeck reports from Baghdad there has been a flurry of attacks on U.S. troops.


HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A total of three U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq in the last 24 hours or so. The latest incident occurred in the town of Jalula, which is on the border with Iran.

A U.S. military convoy was on its way to a forward operating base in that region of the country when it apparently hit an improvised explosive device. Two soldiers were wounded in that incident and were evacuated to a combat support hospital.

Another U.S. soldier was killed and two others wounded when their patrol in downtown Tikrit came under attack. Four other soldiers were also wounded in separate incidents Sunday also north of Tikrit. Both incidents involved improvised explosive devices.

And, on Sunday night, another U.S. soldier was killed when his Bradley fighting vehicle hit a landmine near the town of Bijit (ph) north of Tikrit. U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel George Krivo says that while every effort is made to find out who is behind the attacks, he says the very nature of them makes that task very difficult.

LT. COL. GEORGE KRIVO, COALITION SPOKESMAN: It's hard to categorize this because the level of violence in any given attack can vary greatly and generally speaking criminal activity does not have the level of violence that a coordinated attack by former regime loyalists or others might have.

WHITBECK: Four additional soldiers, these from the 82nd Airborne Division, were wounded when their patrol was ambushed with small arms fire and hand grenades near the town of Fallujah. In that incident the patrol returned fire and, according to military spokesmen, killed three of their attackers and captured ten more of them.

Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Baghdad.


BLITZER: And with U.S. troops under fire on a daily basis is Saddam Hussein still calling the shots? We have new intelligence reports that the former Iraqi leader has actually been sighted perhaps in his own hometown. U.S. Army officers in Iraq say they're taking the reports seriously.


BLITZER (voice-over): For months, U.S. officials in Iraq have insisted Saddam Hussein can continue to run but eventually, they say, he will be found.

PAUL BREMER, U.S. CIVILIAN ADMINISTRATOR: His days are finished in Iraq. Wherever he may be hiding now or cowering at the moment we will get him either dead or alive. BLITZER: That hasn't happened yet but now comes this word from a U.S. Army spokesperson in Iraq. Military intelligence he says has reported recent credible sightings of the deposed Iraqi dictator in an area north of Baghdad.

It's a large area going from the Iraqi capital up to the northern oil field of Kirkuk, an area approximately the size of West Virginia. Some of the reported sightings have been in and around his hometown of Tikrit.

The spokeswoman for the Army's 4th Infantry Division says the information comes from a variety of sources, including the kind of human intelligence that led to the deaths of his two sons Uday and Qusay in a firefight with U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on July 22nd.

In Washington, Pentagon officials acknowledge to CNN's Jamie McIntyre Saddam Hussein is generally believed to be in the area around Tikrit but downplayed the notion that he was cited there recently.

The officials insist there has been no substantial piece of new evidence of Saddam's whereabouts.


BLITZER: And, as the search continues, coalition officials say Iraqi police are leading the investigation into yesterday's car bombing in the heart of Baghdad and that some arrests have actually been made.

Slowed by barriers and intercepted by armed guards, the vehicle detonated before reaching its apparent target a hotel housing coalition officials and members of Iraq's Governing Council. The death toll has been put at ten with more than 30 people wounded.

Looking for help in post-war Iraq, the United States, Britain and Spain are pushing a new resolution that calls on the United Nations to strengthen its role in providing humanitarian relief and promoting reconstruction.

The allies want other countries to contribute money and military forces and sources tell CNN the Iraqi Governing Council will be given a deadline of December 15 to come up with a time table for drafting a constitution and calling elections.

President Bush today continued his vigorous campaign to defend his Iraq policy, a campaign he's waging on several fronts. Let's go live to our White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. She's covering this part of the story -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, President Bush kicked off week two of this aggressive public relations campaign to try to convince Americans that it was worth it to go to war that the country is doing the right thing.

This comes at a critical time for the administration. This week, as you know, Secretary Powell really making the one last push for a U.N. Security Council resolution to get more international support; also at a week when the full House and Senate take on the legislation, the $87 billion post-war supplemental funding.

Now, this afternoon, President Bush did what he calls trying to get away from the national media filter. He talked to regional televisions reporters making the case that progress is happening inside of Iraq. This is all a part of a strategy, different reporters, friendly audiences, but essentially the same message.

And, earlier today, even in his observance of Columbus Day in a speech, he actually invoked the memories of 9/11, those attacks, saying that Americans must all now make sacrifices.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are willing to sacrifice for the country they love. They remember the lessons of September the 11th, 2001 and so do I. It's something we should never forget.


MALVEAUX: Wolf, there is some good news for the president. The latest CNN/USA Today Gallup poll showing the president's approval rating is actually climbing. In late September, Mr. Bush's approval rating was at 50 percent. That was the lowest level since the beginning of his presidency. Now it has shot back up to 56 percent.

Wolf, this is certainly something the administration is hoping for that this public relations campaign kicks in and that people will begin to show more support for the post-war effort in Iraq -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne, do we have any indication what the president told these regional television reporters earlier today? I guess the bottom line is did he make any news?

MALVEAUX: He didn't make any news, Wolf. As a matter of fact, in talking with some of the others they essentially say that he said the same thing that he says to us and that he said to many audiences over the last couple of months is that this is an operation that should not be rushed.

That it has to be taken in a deliberate fashion that, yes, they're looking for international support, although it's not absolutely necessary and that this is something that the American people are going to have to, quite frankly, be patient with, that it's going to be a dangerous, risky situation. But, nevertheless, he believes that progress is being made and that's part of the story he doesn't believe is getting out at least adequately.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, Suzanne thanks very much for that report.

And to our viewers here's your turn to weigh in on this story. Our web question of the day is this. "Is Saddam Hussein still in Iraq or in another country"? You can vote right now. Go to I'm anxious to hear what you have to say. We'll have the results later in this broadcast.

And, certainly while you're there, I'd also love to hear directly from you. Send me your comments. I'll try to read some of them on the air each day at the end of this program. That's also, of course, where you can read my daily online column,

Accused killer on the loose...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm actually really, really disgusted that this happened. I don't know how it could happen in a maximum security prison like this.


BLITZER: Residents on edge now an organized manhunt for the escaped prisoner.

Battling drug addiction, what lies ahead for Rush Limbaugh? Find out from a person who's recovering right now from that same kind of addiction.

And this...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's my own little daughter and I can't even cry for her.


BLITZER: A tale of childhood abuse, murder, and revenge. Hear from Clint Eastwood on his critically acclaimed new movie, "Mystic River."

All that, first though, today's News Quiz.


BLITZER (voice-over): Clint Eastwood received his first fame in what television series, "Bonanza," "Gunsmoke," "Rawhide," "Untouchables," the answer coming up.



ANNOUNCER: You talk about looking for a reason, absolutely. Oh, my goodness.

BLITZER: A bench clearing brawl and now the fallout, the Yankees and the Red Sox face off again tonight. Can the players and the fans get along? We're live from Fenway Park. That's coming up. Stay with us.


BLITZER: This is really an amazing story. Pennsylvania prison officials are deeply embarrassed. A prosecutor is understandably outraged and a suspect in five killings is still at large after a daring jailbreak on Friday.

CNN's Eric Phillips is following the story from the CNN Center in Atlanta. Eric, tell us what's going on.


People who live hear the Luzerne County Correctional Facility have at least three questions tonight. Where is Huge Selenski? How did this happen? And, what's being done to prevent this from happening again?


PHILLIPS (voice-over): Authorities are calling this a nationwide manhunt since 30-year-old Huge Selenski has already been charged with two murders and suspected in at least three others. They warn he is dangerous. Police are trying to track down Selenski along the river near the prison. Prison officials are promising locals there won't be a repeat.

GENE FISCHI, WARDEN: A thorough review of the main facility, including the cell tower, has been completed and we have determined that all cells, doors, and windows are secure.

PHILLIPS: Authorities say Selenski and his cellmate Scott Bolton busted the seventh floor prison window at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility and climbed down a rope made of twelve bed sheets tied together. Bolton fell five floors during the escape and was recaptured but Selenski got away.

FISCHI: We, the Luzerne County Prison Board and the prison administration accept full responsibility for it.

PHILLIPS: That acceptance of responsibility apparently not enough for those who live near the prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm actually really, really disgusted that this happened. I don't know how it could happen in a maximum security prison like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something's not right in this place. I don't know what it is.

PHILLIPS: Selenski is a convicted bank robber who served time for that crime. Back in June, authorities found the remains of five burned bodies in the yard at Selenski's Kingston Township home. Selenski had been charged in two of those murders.

Authorities say Selenski is also accused of scamming one of the murder victim's father out of tens of thousands of dollars saying he had information on the son's whereabouts.


PHILLIPS: The prison was supposed to be airtight. Lots of questions tonight, some of them coming from the district attorney there.


DAVID LUPAS, D.A., LUZERNE COUNTY: How does someone come into possession of all of these bed sheets? How does someone apparently come into possession of a broomstick or broom handle? Why is someone in maximum security allowed to have civilian type clothing rather than prison clothing, and some of the common sense questions that I think all members of the general public are asking? But those are questions I have. I don't know if you've posed those to prison officials or what explanation they have.


PHILLIPS: Authorities believe Selenski may still be in the northern Pennsylvania area but, Wolf, they're just not certain of that -- back to you.

BLITZER: CNN's Eric Phillips, good reporting. Thanks very much, Eric, for that.

Out of surgery but not out of danger, conjoined twins now separated and fighting for their lives.

Recovering from drug addiction the steps Rush Limbaugh will take to overcome his problems. I'll talk live with a person who's been through a similar struggle.

And, slimming down a new device that may help your body feel full; stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

They spent their whole lives together attached at the head. They're only two years old but in a 33 hour operation over the weekend the Egyptian conjoined twins were separated. Now, in a Dallas hospital, their new life apart has begun with hopeful signs.

Our Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is following the story. He's joining us now live from the CNN Center -- Sanjay.


A major obstacle has been crossed. The operation is over but certainly still, Wolf, lots of watching and waiting.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA (voice-over): These twin boys Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim (ph) born in Egypt spent the first two years of their life joined at the head, that is until Sunday. After a year of planning, 33 hours in the operating room they are separate and recovering. This morning brought a positive report.

THOMAS: Both Ahmed and Mohammed's brain scans look good.

GUPTA: No significant bleeding or swelling and now the boys will remain in a drug-induced coma for the next three or four days to minimize the risks. And, the road ahead is long with the risk of infection and the possibility of blood clots forming, which could trigger a stroke.

Of course everyone wants to know about the kind of life these boys may one day lead but everyone agrees it's too early to tell what, if any, brain damage the twins might suffer; however, the initial success of the operation was reason to celebrate and for the boys' father the news was overwhelming.

DR. NASSER ABDELAI, UNIVERSITY OF CAIRO HOSPITAL: When somebody came up and said that we have two boys the father, Ibrahim (ph), jumped to my neck and he hugged me and he fainted.

GUPTA: More than 60 people assisted in the separation surgery and the doctors, while cautious, are pleased with the boys' progress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to just take it a step at a time and this has been a giant step.


GUPTA: And another amazing part of this story is, well, it is just the story of these two boys coming from Egypt to the United States this operation a year in the planning. It cost about $2 million they're projecting for all of the care of these boys. About $125,000 of that has been raised already. The hospital and the doctors, incidentally, donating their services for this operation -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Sanjay, other than the fact these two boys are so young, two years old, is there anything else that makes this case different from those two Iranian twins that they attempted unfortunately unsuccessfully several weeks ago to separate them? A sad story unfortunately both of them passed away. What makes this different?

GUPTA: I think you're hitting it right on the nose there, Wolf. The youth of these two boys certainly pays a huge difference, a couple of reasons. First of all, a young person's brain is much more resilient to a significant operation like this, meaning that it will likely recover much better.

Perhaps even more importantly though is just that the brains and I have a model here to just sort of show you. The left side of one of the boy's brains, I don't know if you can see that, the left side of one of the boy's brains actually connected to the right side of the other boy's brain.

While it was definitely stuck together to a certain extent it wasn't nearly as stuck together as the Bajani (ph) twins you just referred to. When the brains are actually stuck together there can be significant bleeding along the surface of the brain here.

While there was some of that, not nearly as much so, making the operation much more likely to go well. They already got CAT scans, got CT scans, Wolf. It does not show any significant bleeding. That's certainly a positive thing as well.

BLITZER: And our prayers, of course, are with these two young boys. Let's hope they survive this rather well. Dr. Sanjay Gupta thanks very much for that.

Other medical news in the battle of the bulge a new study shows that the number of overweight Americans has doubled in the last ten years and the news is even worse for those Americans who are considered severely obese. The study shows that the number of people who weigh 100 pounds more than they should has quadrupled, quadrupled in the last ten years.

There's a new procedure though that may be of some help to those severely obese Americans. An electrical device implanted in the wall of the stomach seems to fool your body into thinking that it's already full. The device is called an implantable gastric stimulator. Study results on a group of test subjects show an average weight loss of 18 percent.

Speaking out find out what domestic diva Martha Stewart says about the possibility of a prison sentence, all that plus this.


DON ZIMMER, NY YANKEE COACH: That's all I had to say. I'm sorry.


BLITZER: Yankees coach Don Zimmer's tearful apology, now it's time to play ball. Can Boston and New York put their bitterness aside tonight? We're live from Fenway Park.

And, a tough plot with a director known for his tough act, hear from Clint Eastwood on his new movie "Mystic River." It's getting rave reviews. We'll get to that.

First a quick look at some other news making headlines around the world.


BLITZER (voice-over): Israel's three day military operation in a Gaza refugee camp has left more than 1,000 Palestinians homeless after their homes were bulldozed. Eight Palestinians were killed and dozens were wounded. Israel was searching for smuggling tunnels that were used to bring weapons into the camp.

In London, a 13-year-old Iraqi boy who lost both his arms in the war has been successfully outfitted with artificial limbs. He's learning to use them now and says he can't wait to get home to Iraq and be able to give his sisters a hug.

In northern India, here she comes, the new Miss Tibet. She's caused a crisis of sorts for the Tibetan exile community there. Many Buddhists say beauty pageants are demeaning while others see them as creating community spirit. In any case there were no losers. The current Miss Tibet was the only entrant.

Three humpback whales took a break from their normal migration patterns and visited Sydney, Australia's famous harbor. Locals say the two adults and a juvenile seemed to be taking in the sights.

In Thailand, a pair of pandas made their first appearance in a zoo. They've taken up residence there for the next ten years. They're on loan from a Chinese panda research center.

And, if a bagful of boa constrictors is your cup of tea then you should have seen them wiggle at the zoo in Munich, Germany. This was the baby boa's first media appearance and that's our look around the world.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got to be thinking inside his cockpit right now -- oh, a big crash.


BLITZER: What a terrifying scene on the racetrack. Find out how the driver actually survived this horrific crash. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back to CNN.

Dealing with addiction to painkillers, what steps may Rush Limbaugh be taking right now to try to recover?

We'll get to that, first though a quick check of the latest headlines.

Seven people are dead and at least eight others are hurt after a church bus ran into the back of a stopped tractor trailer truck. The accident happened today on Interstate 20 in northeastern Louisiana. A portion of the interstate was closed.

Several homes in a murdered Florida gun dealer's neighborhood are still evacuated today after police discovered hundreds of military weapons and bombs inside his house. Scott Quinn (ph) was found dead in the home yesterday. He was licensed to own the weapons now being recovered. Police are not releasing further details on his death.

Another announcement in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Congressman Dennis Kucinich a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio formally made his bid today from the chambers of City Hall in his hometown of Cleveland.


REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm running for president of the United States to challenge this system which traps so many of America's children and adults in fear, in violence and poverty and makes us pay for wars we don't want and causes us to sacrifice our children's futures.


BLITZER: Meanwhile, someone else is at Rush Limbaugh's microphone today as fans deal with their shock over the conservative talk radio super star's admission that he's addicted to painkilling drugs.


BLITZER (voice-over): A dominating presence clearly missing on the radio.

TOM SULLIVAN, GUEST HOST, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": This is the time to show your support.

BLITZER: While Rush Limbaugh's long-time friend, Sacramento- based radio host Tom Sullivan, filled in for him today, the airwaves are filled with talk of Limbaugh's future. Will he beat his admitted addiction to painkillers? Will he face criminal charges for allegedly buying painkillers on the black market? Can Limbaugh and the conservative movement as a whole keep their momentum in the media?

MICHAEL JACKSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don't think he will see a diminished audience at all.

BLITZER: But Limbaugh's credibility is a huge potential problem. He's now being lumped in with well-known moralists who have fallen from grace.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There's a lot of hypocrisy, at least in the eyes of the media who are covering this story. He's always had a very moralistic tone to his program, and as a result, I think that his credibility has been permanently wounded, in the same way that I can't look at Bill Bennett the way that I used to look at him talking about virtues, now knowing that he likes thousand-dollar pulls of the slot machine.

BLITZER: Limbaugh's past comments on a range of issues are being picked apart. But often, his defenders are right there, as with this remark made eight years ago. Quote: "Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

LARRY ELDER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: To be fair to Rush, a few years later, he pulled back from that position and suggested a licensing or regulation scheme. So I'm not quite sure what his position right now is on drugs.

BLITZER: It is now evident, Rush Limbaugh has reached that stature. Even out of sight and in treatment, he remains in our consciousness. And the one who may understand it all better than anyone is Limbaugh himself, whose remarks to me on CNN's "LATE EDITION" four and a half years ago now seem prescient.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: Let's face it, Wolf, the mainstream press plays a large role in determining what sticks to people.


BLITZER: To give us a little bit better idea of what people such as Rush Limbaugh face in trying to overcome their addiction, we're joined now by two guests. Jake Epperly is director of the Midwest Rapid Opiate Detox Center, and Will Stelcher is a recovering painkiller addict, who will share with us some of his personal experience.

Thanks to both of you for joining us. And William, let me begin with you. Tell us, briefly, what you went through. You believe you were addicted to this painkiller, OxyContin?

WILLIAM STELCHER, RECOVERING PAINKILLER ADDICT: Oh, absolutely. I don't believe it; I know it.

BLITZER: So what happened? How did you get off of it?

STELCHER: Through Jake's program, actually. I had to go through a rapid detox and 30-day program.

BLITZER: What did that entail? And obviously, what you went through is not necessarily what Rush Limbaugh is going through right now, but tell us the 30-day program you went through.

STELCHER: It's called new hope, and it's here in Chicago. And it was a bunch of people telling me a lot of things that I didn't want to hear. And I think that that's truly the only way I could have gotten through it. Because, you know, had I been doing what I wanted to do, I would have been doing the exact opposite and still be on medication.

BLITZER: Briefly walk through those 30 days. What was it like?

STELCHER: It was me fighting, kicking, screaming, not wanting to be there, telling everybody how much they didn't understand me and my physical problems, and just me trying to slowly unwrap the onion, if you will, kind of look at myself and the things that I had been doing.

BLITZER: How difficult was it to get off OxyContin?

STELCHER: It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

BLITZER: Well, describe a little bit, what kind of physical pain you went through.

STELCHER: Oh, OK. Just knowing that I would be sick was what prolonged me from getting off of it. It's the worst illness. And I know that they've portrayed these things on television, but it's like being sick with the flu for about 10 days straight, where you throw up from the very, very deepest parts of you inside, and throw it up and you sweat and, fortunately for my wife, being involved in my life, who didn't abandon me, she was there to empty the garbage of vomit, if you will. I'm sorry for being so graphic. But -- and just make sure I didn't die. You feel like you're going to die at any moment.

BLITZER: Jake, you run this detox center. Obviously, you've had a lot of experience in dealing with this problem that Rush Limbaugh is facing right now. What is the best way, from your vantage point, to beat this addiction?

JAKE EPPERLY, DIR., MIDWEST RAPID OPIATE DETOX CENTER: Well, you never quite beat the addiction, per se. You can get yourself into recovery, Wolf. And like, you know, William had talked about, he had many failed attempts at trying to get off of this drug, OxyContin and other narcotics, because of the severity of the withdrawal. And so just getting off the drug is only part of it. And like he said, going into a residential treatment was the second part of it.

What we have found is what's very effective, particularly with OxyContin, is anesthesia-assisted rapid opiate detoxification, where they are put under anesthesia, and probably 90 percent of the withdrawal, the stress and the length of withdrawal is greatly diminished, and they're able to enter into structured residential care much sooner and get onto the road to recovery.

BLITZER: Is this a struggle that they have to go through the rest of their lives, every single day, worrying about this addiction, from your vantage point, from your experience?

EPPERLY: No. I mean, it's not a daily struggle, per se. Recovery shouldn't be that. They talk about that, I believe, in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, about being recovered from this hopeless state of mind and body. And when someone is stick and addicted to this, you know, drug, and have a dependency, they have a hopeless state of mind and body. Their body is addicted to it, they're thinking about it, they're obsessed about it.

And today, I mean, Bill is a good example of the -- physically over the withdrawal from the drugs. He doesn't have this continuing obsession. But you know, like I'm sure Bill does, and many other thousands of people, you work a daily recovery program, whether it's from going through a 12-step program or continuing counseling, or whatever. BLITZER: A lot of people, Jake, take OxyContin. If they take it appropriately, based on the recommendations of the pharmaceutical manufacturer, based on what their doctors are telling them, they won't get addicted to this drug. Is that your assessment?

EPPERLY: I have found that not to be true. If an individual takes a therapeutic dose of OxyContin for more than 30 days, more than likely, they will have a physical dependence, whether they have a physical and genetic propensity for it or not.

BLITZER: We might get a different perspective on that, coming up. William, let me go back to you and ask you, how are you doing, how long has it been since you stopped using OxyContin and how you're doing right now?

STELCHER: It's been about seven months. And I'm doing well, fortunately, because of the structured program that Jake is talking about. And it really is a day at a time at times, because I'm dealing with the same similar problems as Rush. I've had three spinal surgeries. And once you get rid of the medication, you still have to deal with the pain.

BLITZER: And are you in pain right now?

STELCHER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: All right, well, we'll have to leave it right there. Hope you feel better. William Stelcher, thanks very much for joining us. Jake Epperly, appreciate your joining us as well.

Now, let's get a response from the pharmaceutical industry over these drugs that are getting such a bad rap, at least over these past several days. We contacted Purdue Pharma, and here are some excerpts of a statement that they gave us. "Media reports frequently describe OxyContin as highly addictive without distinguishing between the risk of developing addiction in pain patients who properly use the medication, under a doctor's care, to treat their pain, and the risk of developing addiction in drug abusers who misuse the medication to get high. The abuse of OxyContin," the statement goes on to say, "is a problem that Purdue Pharma takes with the utmost seriousness and is the reason why the company is working hard in cooperation with law enforcement and regulators to prevent or lessen the problem. But no federal database or study has ever listed OxyContin or Oxycodone, for that matter, as the most abused prescription pain medicine."

We requested to speak with a representative of Purdue Pharma. It instead offered the name of a guest that we contacted, and we agreed to invite her on our program. Dr. Sally Satel is a psychiatrist here in the Washington area. She's affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute. Sally, thanks very much for joining us. How dangerous of a drug is this OxyContin?

DR. SALLY SATEL, PSYCHIATRIST: For pain patients, OxyContin is a very effective and actually safe drug, if taken as prescribed. People do not have to take successively (ph) higher doses. They don't get high. The problem is when people chop it up and snort it or inject it. And then you can get a very powerful high.

BLITZER: But doctors prescribe it for a reason. It works. What is the regular dose? How long should people be on this medication?

SATEL: Well, doctors should have a very high threshold for prescribing it. In fact, the FDA has only approved OxyContin for moderate to severe pain. That's pain that comes with cancer, crippling arthritis, degenerative joint diseases. It's not for a toothache, it's not for post-op pain. And unfortunately, I have seen some doctors prescribe it for that.

BLITZER: And they shouldn't be doing that.

SATEL: That is definitely wrong.

BLITZER: The original prescription, assuming Rush Limbaugh took this medication after he had some back surgery, some severe back pain, was appropriate?

SATEL: Conceivably, yes. And there are some people with chronic, unending pain who are, literally, on it indefinitely. You think about it in the same way you might think of having to be on insulin if you are diabetic. And you would take it and function at a perfectly high level.

BLITZER: We just heard this gentleman who runs this detox center in Chicago, in the Midwest over there, say that if you take it for any prolonged period, you're going to get addicted. It's highly addictive, he says.

SATEL: There is a distinction between addiction, what Rush Limbaugh has talked about and what we think when we talk about drug addicts. That's compulsive use of a drug despite negative consequences, to regulate one's mood. What that doctor referred to -- and I agree with him -- so if you take these medications, if you took them, if I took them, for probably at least two weeks, we would become what's called physiologically dependent. Which would mean that if the medication were stopped abruptly, we would have withdrawal symptoms.

But that's why doctors don't stop these medications abruptly. They taper people off. And folks who were taking it for pain, taking it as prescribed, do very well with that kind of taper. I work in a methadone clinic, I think you mentioned, and I see, unfortunately, a number of OxyContin addicts. But someone who has a problem with abusing OxyContin, when you look back on the history, when you scratch the surface, you often find a previous problem with pills, or alcohol, or even heroin, or possibly even chronic depression, and people use it as self-medication.

BLITZER: Now, let's go back to Rush Limbaugh for a second. You obviously are not treating him. We don't know all the details of his case, but based on what we do know, based on the widespread reports and based on what he himself has said, give us a little sense of what he's going through now, and the challenges that he will face in the weeks, months, perhaps years, to come. SATEL: Well, the acute withdrawal, the patient you had interviewed gave a picture that I'm not that familiar with. He, basically, was not helped at all medically with the withdrawal period, which is usually one to three weeks maximum, if one has been on a medication for quite a while.

There are all kinds of medications we can use to make that a much less physically harmful -- not harmful but unpleasant experience. So I'm surprised he wasn't medicated. I would think that certainly if someone comes to see me and they want to be detoxed, we have all kinds of medications to take the edge off, so they're not in pain. Not anesthetize, that's another option, but something that will last about two or three weeks of slow taper. Then it becomes usually a matter of rehabilitation, of counseling, to get at what probably is an underlying problem.

BLITZER: Best case scenario for Rush Limbaugh. When do we hear him back on the radio?

SATEL: Depending how his treatment program is constructed, he can be back in a month, depending how much supervision he has and how he's feeling.

BLITZER: Twenty million of his listeners are hoping he will be back in a month. But we shall see.

SATEL: I hope -- wish him well.

BLITZER: Sally Satel, thanks very much for joining us.

Bitter feud between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Will players, coaches and fans just play ball? We're live from Fenway Park.

Martha Stewart's life in the shadow of a possible prison sentence. The kitchen queen speaks out. Her comments. That's coming up.

Plus this ...


KEVIN BACON, ACTOR: You say you spent most of the day Saturday with your daughter in the store, is that correct?

SEAN PENN, ACTOR: Yes and no. I was mostly (UNINTELLIGIBLE).



BLITZER: A bench-clearing brawl and a battle in the bullpen marred Saturday night's matchup between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Did last night's rainout put out the fire? Or will it be round two tonight? Josie Burke of CNN Sports is joining us now live from Fenway Park with the latest -- Josie. JOSIE BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at Fenway, the Red Sox and the Yankees, Wolf, are getting ready for game four, but as you point out, that game three isn't going to go away anytime soon. And that's for a number of reasons, including the fact that the Boston police are still looking into that ninth inning brawl that took place in the Yankees bullpen. It involved two Yankees players and a Red Sox employee. Again, the Boston police saying they are conducting an investigation. But at this point in time, no summons has been issued for either player, and a summons would precede any charges being filed.

In terms of what baseball has done, in terms of jurisprudence, well, they went ahead and they fined a number of players and personnel involved in that brawl in the fourth inning, including Pedro Martinez, the pitcher for the Red Sox, and Don Zimmer, the 72-year-old coach of the New York Yankees. They were involved in an altercation. Martinez actually threw the coach down to the ground. That is an image that will not go away anytime soon.

Martinez was fined $50,000, according to the Associated Press, and Zimmer was fined $5,000. Zimmer yesterday apologized tearfully. Pedro Martinez, we haven't heard from him, but his manager said that a number like that, that will make you talk pretty quick -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A lot of people are going to be watching that game tonight, including Josie. Thanks very much, Josie Burke, for that report.

What's it like to fear the possibility of a prison sentence when you're the face of domestic life, at least on television? Martha Stewart is speaking out about the high profile trial that's ahead of her.

And a star-studded cast in a dramatic new film. But it's the man behind the scenes that's getting much of the attention. That leads us to today's news quiz.


BLITZER (voice-over): Earlier we asked, Clint Eastwood received his first fame in what television series? The answer, "Rawhide." Eastwood played the second lead, Rowdy Yates, in the CBS show. The western series lasted seven years.



BLITZER: Indicted in a stock trading scandal last June, Martha Stewart readily admits she's scared. She spoke with Barbara Walters in an ABC News interview to air next month. For a preview, let's go live to CNN's Allan Chernoff. He's standing by -- Allan.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Barbara Walters spent two days conducting this interview, yesterday and today. And in the interview, Martha Stewart says, "of course, I'm scared. Who wouldn't be?" She says, "the last place I would ever want to go is prison, and I don't think I will be going to prison, though."

Now, these comments are slightly different than what Martha Stewart said to "USA Today" last month. Last month she told "USA Today," "I am not a fearful person." Now, normally, defense attorneys tell their clients to say nothing, but, in this case, it appears to be a defense strategy to put Martha Stewart out there, to somehow get her image a little bit softer. Columbia University professor Jack Coffey (ph) says the "USA Today" interview made her appear arrogant, and he says that potential jurors seeing Martha Stewart say that she's scared might perhaps feel some sympathy for her.

Her trial is scheduled for January 12. And Wolf, theoretically, she could face 30 years in prison, if convicted.

BLITZER: CNN's Allan Chernoff, of CNN Financial News, thanks very much. We have to tip our hats off to Barbara Walters. She continues to get all these exclusive gets, as they say. Good for Barbara.

Clint Eastwood has had two successful careers, as an actor noted for his tough guy roles, and as an Oscar-winning director who's not afraid to tackle tough subjects. His new movie fits that category. The critically acclaimed "Mystic River" river opened this past weekend. Clint Eastwood spoke about the film with CNN Espanol's Ana Maria Montero.


ANA MARIA MONTERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Mystic River," based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, takes the audience to the Boston neighborhood of East Buckingham, for a mystery involving three childhood friends. It's a tale of child abuse, murder and revenge. The plot is tough even for Dirty Harry.

(on camera): Was one of the things that attracted you to the story was the fact that it is so unrelenting?

CLINT EASTWOOD, DIRECTOR: Yeah, it is. I think child abuse is criminal, and child molestation is capital punishment time. I think it is the most heinous crime there is.

MONTERO (voice-over): Eastwood packed his film with audience favorites, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, supported by Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney and Lawrence Fishburn.

EASTWOOD: I've done a lot of films, and I've had some really good actors work with me, and none any better than this. They are very sympathetic to the problems of directing films, and the problems of doing this particular one.

MONTERO: He's already directed 24 films, collected a directing Oscar for one, and many critics are saying "Mystic River" could be his best effort yet.

MONTERO (on camera): There's so much expectation going back to the film about how great it's going to do at the upcoming Academy Awards. Does that sort of freak you out a little bit?

EASTWOOD: Yeah. Now, I don't want to even think about that kind of thing, because I don't know if it's going to do anything -- who knows. Maybe. That's a superstitious way to look at it, but maybe I'm superstitious that way. You know, I don't want to talk about it.

MONTERO (voice-over): But his actors couldn't keep their mouths shut.

LAURA LINNEY, ACTOR: Yes. I want Clint Eastwood to win the Oscar. Yes.

TIM ROBBINS, ACTOR: I want that, too. He is fantastic. I would do it again in a second.

MONTERO: Oscar or not, Eastwood has plenty of honors. And like Arnold Schwarzenegger, he has even dabbled in politics. The former mayor of Carmel, California, says those days are over. But at 73, don't think he's slowing down.

EASTWOOD: No, no, no. From politics, maybe. But not from the work life, no. Believe me, I have got a few things going.

MONTERO: Ana Maria Montero, CNN, Los Angeles.


BLITZER: I saw the movie Saturday night. It is an amazing, amazing film.

Is Saddam Hussein still in Iraq or in another country? You can vote right now, We'll have the results. That's just ahead. First, though, our "Weekend Snapshot."


BLITZER (voice-over): Train wreck in Chicago. A commuter train jumped the tracks in Chicago's South Side Sunday. The derailment sent 45 people to hospitals. Federal authorities are investigating the cause.

Arson in lumberyards. For the third time in less than a week, fire destroyed a lumberyard in northwest Missouri. Federal investigators who confirmed arson in two previous blazes say that's also the apparent cause for the fire on Kansas City's West Side.

California's grocery strike. Seventy thousand grocery store workers went on strike in Southern California over what they called major cuts in pay and benefits. United Food and Commercial Workers didn't reach a deal with three chains operating 850 stores. Workers say the chains want to shift $1 billion in health care costs onto workers. The supermarkets say they're trying to compete with other stores that provide lower wages and fewer benefits.

Legendary horseman dies. Hall of Fame jockey Willie Shoemaker died of natural causes at his Southern California home at age 72. Shoemaker rode four Kentucky Derby winners among his phenomenal 8,833 victories over 41 years.

Nasty raceway crash. Doctors say auto racer Kenny Brack's injuries from his horrific crash during the IRL (ph) season finale are not life threatens. Brack's car was hit from behind in the closing laps of the Chevy 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. It spun in the air, slummed into a fence, and broke apart. Brack had surgery for a broken thigh and ankles. And that's our "Weekend Snapshot."


BLITZER: Those the results of our Web question of the day. Remember, not a scientific poll. Let's get to your e-mail. Jack writes this: "I can't believe what I'm hearing about punishment for what you call addiction to pain medications. The proper word is dependence, and this is not a crime. Some people cannot live without the pain relief these medications provide."

M. Gilmore: "Why is Rush Limbaugh not being prosecuted for illegal drug purchase, possession and use? If this had been some poor minority, they would have been immediately dragged from their home, arrested and convicted. Guess it still pays to be rich when it comes to breaking the law."

"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now.


Twins on Road to Recovery; Will Addiction Hurt Limbaugh's Credibility?>

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