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CNN NEWSROOM

Terror Plot Investigation; Mail Bomb Addressed to Sarkozy; GOP Targets Dems in New York; Pot Has Star Power; Security Pat-Down Complaints

Aired November 1, 2010 - 16:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: A new poll, from Quinnipiac University has Strickland at 47 percent, excuse me, Kasich at 47 percent, Strickland at 46 percent, 6 percent of likely voters still undecided. That's a really close race in Ohio. A lot of national attention is focusing on that. Finally, what's the president of the United States doing on this day? He's basically behind closed doors over at the White House.

He's phoning into a lot of radio interviews around the country. He's having some other meetings as well. The president will make phone calls to Democratic volunteers according to Robert Gibbs in Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Hawaii. One final note for you, Brooke, at 5:00 p.m. eastern right after you go off the air in the "Situation Room" among our guests, Bill Maher. We're going to have a lot to talk to him about he's always, as you well know, lively and always politically incorrect.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Very lively, indeed. And I'm sure, perhaps, he'll be talking about the joint smoking incident and Prop 19 in California.

BLITZER: We'll ask him about it.

BALDWIN: Yes, ask him about that. Let me go back to Ohio real quickly. You mentioned, Kasich, an incumbent, has Strickland running, and we know that the white House has been to Ohio many, many times, most recently, Cleveland this weekend, also Bill Clinton targeting the state as well, working the state very heavily. Is that, perhaps, what's helping Strickland here in his gubernatorial race?

BLITZER: Well, he's the president since taking office has visited Ohio 12 times. It's a key battleground state. The president captured it in 2008. If he's going to get re-elected, he's going to need Ohio desperately the next time around 2012. They believe it's helping, the democratic -- these democratic candidates. Otherwise, they wouldn't be going in. The president's staying away from those states in the districts where he could hurt the Democratic nominee.

But in Ohio, there are major urban areas like Cleveland and Columbus, maybe, some other places where they think the president can help, and that's why the president's been going there, the first lady, the vice president, former president Bill Clinton. They've all been going to Ohio. That's the place to be on the eve of this election.

BALDWIN: Wolf Blitzer, thank you very much. Looking forward to that Bill Maher interview. See on "Situation Room." By the way, we want to remind you, we're going to get another Political Ticker update in 30 minutes. You can always hop on the internet. Go to CNNPolitics.com for the latest ticker. And also, they're on Twitter, so go to @PoliticalTicker.

And with that, I want to welcome the men and women watching us right now here, top of the hour on American forces network all around the world. We're going to move fast, so let's get started.

I want to begin with Germany and Britain now banning all flights from Yemen days after authorities uncovered that plot to send bombs here to the U.S. The explosive devices here discarded, or rather disguised as toner cartridges. Yemen right now stepping up efforts to capture the al Qaeda bomb maker suspect in the plot as well as militant cleric, anwar al-Awlaki. The country also saying it's intensifying security at all airports.

Next, over to France, President Nicolas Sarkozy, the apparent target of a separate plot involving mail bombs, and the plot doesn't stop with him. Authorities in Greece arresting two Greek men after they were discovered carrying the package. Two other bombs were found near them, one addressed to the Belgium embassy, the other to the Dutch embassy.

Their arrest came after a package exploded at a mail center in Athens. That was one that was addressed to the Mexican embassy. We're also told here that the suspects were wearing wigs, they were carrying guns. In fact, one of them suspected to belong to an anarchist group.

That terrorist who ties to al Qaeda believed responsible for the bloody standoff inside that Catholic Church in Baghdad. Iraqi officials say gunmen stormed the church taking dozens of people hostage for hours. We are told some of the militants were wearing explosive vests which were going off just before the security forces finally raided the church.

Our latest number here, 58 people reported dead as a result of this, most of them the victims here, women and children. The pope calling the attack ferocious and absurd. The gunman apparently wanted the Iraqi government to release prisoners.

Next, to Indonesia, Mt. Merapi erupting yet again. This is the third time in just over a week. Forcing tens of thousands of people to leave their homes behind, get out of there. The eruption sent a cloud of ash nearly a mile into the sky. You can see all the aftermath. Look at these pictures here. This is from a CNN iReport. All told, at least 39 people have been killed. Officials are telling people who live there stay calm, that the eruption is a marathon, not a sprint. Of course, as soon as we get updates on Mt. Merapi we will get them to you.

Next, listen to this -- they are in San Francisco. These are protesters lining the streets there. They're speaking out against Arizona's controversial immigration law. You see, a federal appeals court hearing arguments on key parts of the law. That includes the ability of police to stop anyone they suspect of being here illegally. Talk to critics, they say that's racism. The Obama administration filed a lawsuit against Arizona, and after the court's ruling, the case could go to a circuit court, and then as you guessed, all the way to the highest Supreme Court.

Next, lawyers for the former Rutgers students accused of videotaping their classmate's sexual encounter are now reportedly saying no one else saw the video. You know this story. Freshman Tyler Clementi, there he was. He committed suicide after the video apparently surf aced online. So, prosecutors say Duran Ravi and Molly Wei posted the live stream of the whole thing.

Well, their lawyers say they only watched it for a couple of seconds. The students have since withdrawn from the university, withdrawn from Rutgers. They are charged with invasion of privacy.

Next, she was one of Brazil's most wanted fugitives. Now, she is the country's first female president. Dilma Rouseff, a former guerilla fighter, who took on the Brazilian government back in the 1960s. She was later arrested and says the government tortured her to spill secrets. The torture apparently even included electrical shocks. She was released in 1972, eventually walked on in to politics. One phrase for handling Brazil's energy resources. Also worth noting here, Rouseff is a cancer survivor. She officially takes office in January.

Next --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 41st president of the United States of America.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Well, that's just pretty decent arm, right? There we go. Two former presidents kicking off game four of the world series in Texas. George W. Bush throwing the first pitch at the Rangers/Giants game as his dad watched on. You remember, Bush 43 once held a stake in the team's franchise. Rangers lost the game, by the way, and are one game away from elimination.

Next, the man who wrote many of John F. Kennedy's most famous lines has died. Ted Sorensen served as JFK's speechwriter and one of his closest advisers. In fact, many referred to him as the president's alter ego. Sorensen helped JFK write the promise to put a man on the moon, but of course, perhaps the greatest of all line, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

JFK once called Sorensen his quote "intellectual blood bank." His wife said he suffered a stroke last week. Ted Sorensen was 82 years old.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN (on-camera): Next, so what is more dangerous than heroin, crack cocaine? Here's the answer. Booze. That is according to a brand new study by a British medical group. Yes, the experts found that alcohol is more harmful when it comes to the physical, the psychological, and social problems that come along with it. In other words, too many beers, too many drinks can lead to addiction, career and relationship problems, and oh yes, liver and heart damage. It is also worth noting know, one of the study's experts also says horseback riding is more dangerous than ecstasy.

OK. What could possibly have been going through this man's mind here when he killed a mother and her two daughters in that brutal home invasion? It's a critical question for jurors here in Connecticut considering the death penalty for him. We're going to have the latest testimony there.

Also, one of the most notorious kidnapping cases finally many, many years later going to trial today eight years after Elizabeth Smart was snatched right out under her family's nose, out of her bedroom. More on those cases next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: I know we've all really been following that brutal home invasion story out of Connecticut. So, jurors in this murder trial, they're getting a lengthy look at what makes a killer. (INAUDIBLE) the penalty phase here. Steven Hayes has already been convicted in the horrific killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, that was the wife, and her two daughters Hayley and Mikaela.

So, now this is the sentencing phase, the jurors must decide if Hayes will live or will die. Sunny Hostin is a legal contributor to "In Session" on TruTV, and has been in the courtroom there. She's now in a very cold New Haven, Connecticut, with more here. And Sunny, let's just begin with the length of time here. This is the start of this third week of testimony here in the sentencing phase. Is this taking longer than normal?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: It isn't taking longer than normal, but it certainly is taking a bit longer than the trial. But the Supreme Court, Brooke, always says that death is different. And this is the death penalty phase of this trial, and so, the prosecution has to show aggravating factors. And this defense team has really geared up trying to save Steven Hayes' life. So, while I won't say that it's taking an unusually long time, it is taking quite a bit of time here in Connecticut.

BALDWIN: And in terms of how the defense has been portraying Hayes versus, you know, who will then be the co-defendant, Jason Komisarjesky, are they still trying to portray him as, perhaps, the lesser of two evils, if you will?

HOSTIN: There is no question about that, Brooke. Today, we heard about the man, Steven Hayes. We heard a letter that he wrote to his son who is also named Steven, trying to explain to his son who he is, that he's a drug addict. That he's been addicted to drugs almost his entire life. We heard from a social worker, document from a social worker today, outlining his history.

He started taking drugs at 13 years old, start it burglarizing people at homes at 14 years of age. We are really getting a picture of who this man is. He has two children, a son, Steven, 20, a daughter, Alicia, 18 and his ex-wife, Rosily. We heard about his relationship with her. She calls him a good father, and she has also been the only visitor that he has had while he's been incarcerated for this.

BALDWIN: Interesting. Let me ask you about this last alternate juror almost got the boot off the trial. What happened for people who don't know?

HOSTIN: Brooke, it was just unbelievable. Today, we have one alternate juror left. And today, the judge indicated that he had some serious reservations about this juror. He calls her to the witness stand and tells her that he knows that sent a note, try to send a note to one of the marshals that said Sunday, 5:00 p.m., Side Street Grill, can we?

BALDWIN: What's going on there?

HOSTIN: She had some amorous interest for one of the marshals and tried to reach out to him. That didn't happen. The defense, of course, wanted her struck from this jury. The judge said that he would not grant that motion right now, but he may revisit it. If this alternate juror gets bounced from this jury, Brooke, and another regular juror, perhaps, is taken off the jury, this could very well lead to a mistrial in this case, the death penalty phase. And it was really just -- we were just all shocked here today.

BALDWIN: Unbelievable. Over this one note. Wow. Let me ask you about this other trial. Trial, you know, it's a story we all followed, what, nine years ago. Chandra Levy's murder, and I want to ask you about. I know, Gary Conduit, former California congressman, allegedly had an affair with then intern, and we're now hearing he's refused to address the question of whether he had sex with Levy. What do you make of that?

HOSTIN: You know, I think that's probably the worst possible answer that he could have given. People wanted answers today, because again, he was really the suspect, I think, for a very long time. And the prosecution said that in the beginning, in their opening statements, that the police may have made a mistake. They made mistakes sort of honing in on Gary Condit.

He gets on the witness stand and refuses to admit whether or not he had a relationship or sexual relationship with Chandra Levy. I think that puts his credibility at issue in front of this jury, and that could very well lead to reasonable doubt in this case. That, I think, was probably a very bad move by Gary Condi today.

BALDWIN: You say bad move. Let's talk Elizabeth Smart. Remember, she's a young girl. She was snatched out of her family's home out of her bedroom. That was eight years ago. Today, the trial begins for the man who took her. Sunny, why has this trial taken so long to get going?

HOSTIN: Well, this was going to be a state trial, Brooke. This -- these were charges that were going to be brought by the state, and he was found to be incompetent to stand trial. Now, it's in federal court. And that's a different place. These are kidnapping charges, other charges. And so, it took a very long time for this to move through the system, and now, it's in federal court. And I think what is going to be very interesting is that there's going to be an insanity defense.

And so, while he has been found competent to stand trial in federal court, there's still an insanity defense that we're going to hear about. And I think that's probably what took so long for Elizabeth Smart to finally get her day in court.

BALDWIN: Unbelievable, so many years later. Sunny Hostin, we thank you. And I'm sure we'll see you a little later. We're stand very closely with you to the Steven Hayes' penalty phase. So, we'll check in with you as soon as the jurors rule there. Sunny, thank you.

Back to that frightening story from Friday here. You know, the devices that were found onboard cargo planes have really renewed fears about a powerful but almost undetectable explosive. It's called PETN. What is it? And how can passengers be protected? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I want to tell you about a deadly explosive. It's hard to detect, and it's easy to transport. And would be terrorists can get their hands on it pretty easily? I'm talking what the stuff is. It's called PETN. It's the explosive used in that failed plot to mail bombs to the U.S. And our Nic Robertson knows a whole lot about it. Watch this with me.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The white powder, a powerful explosive PETN. The target, apparently the cargo aircraft carrying the bombs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that the device was designed to go off on the airplane. We cannot be sure about the timing when that was meant to take place.

ROBERTSON: It's the same explosive used by the failed underpants bomber last Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a fine -- it doesn't compress down very well.

ROBERTSON: Back then, British explosives expert, Sydney Alford, showed me its power. When I call him now, he tells me the bombers are improving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're getting technically better. As the means of initiation appears to have been mobile telephones, they will go off wherever they happen to be when you dial the number.

ROBERTSON: And something else. Just as these devices were being discovered Friday, he was in the U.S., got called in to help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just happened to be in the right place yesterday and saw one of the scenarios evolving.

ROBERTSON: He's seen a photograph of one of the printer bombs released by a police in Dubai and calculates the amount of explosives 30 to 40 times that used by the underpants bomber.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I calculate the volume to be enough to accommodate between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 kilos of the stuff, according to how well it's compacted. That will be a murderous amount in an airplane.

ROBERTSON (on-camera): Several kilograms of explosives. So, imagine this. The end of my pen here is big enough to take about six grams of PETN, which, alone, is enough to blow a hole in the fuselage of an aircraft. So, take this toner cartridge full of explosives. Imagine what that would do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see how sensitive it is. Not very.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): In his lab last year, Alford showed me what makes PETN an explosive of choice for terrorists, because it's not volatile. It's perfect for transporting long distances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, it wouldn't -- if I were carrying a pocketful, possibly (ph) package of just neat powder in my pocket, it flaring up would be the last of my worries.

ROBERTSON: Alford calls the circuitry tying in the mobile phone messy, has another criticism, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are a bit behind the times in explosives, I think, fortunately.

ROBERTSON: Fortunately, this time, the bombs were intercepted.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: So, the PETN in those printer cartridges that originated in Yemen, and so, we're digging deeper here. We want to know exactly how do Yemen have ties to terror groups and is the U.S. ready to increase it's Intel within the Arabian peninsula? Chris Lawrence has more on that. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Yemen needs a lot of help to fight al Qaeda. That is the word today from an aide to the country's prime minister. The investigation into that failed plot to mail those bombs to the U.S., it is intensifying today, and something else that's really under scrutiny today is the U.S. military's role in Yemen. How are U.S. forces helping in the fight against terrorism, and should they do more? I want to bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence.

He's there to talk about this investigation and the U.S. role in Yemen. Chris, if I may, I'd like to just go back to Friday, because really it's the perfect example, and I think you may agree of intelligence sharing, right? So, you have this tip. Apparently, it comes in from the Saudis. They check the veracity. They relay it to the White House. The action is taken. It's a vast improvement from what we saw Christmas day.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. It's basically the way it is supposed to work. And I can tell you that a U.S. official confirms that the CIA has been, you know, vastly increasing its intelligence presence right there in Yemen by putting more operatives and analysts into the area. And another official says that there have been an astounding number of high-level talks at the White House specifically concerning Yemen and the inability or ability of its government to go after some of this high value al Qaeda targets within its borders.

On the military side, just go back to 2006, the U.S. military spent less than $5 million equipping and training the Yemeni army. Today, this year, that numbers roll over $150 million. So, the money has drastically gone up. U.S. special forces teams are there training some of the Yemeni forces, helicopters and other equipment has been provided. Now, the big question is whether the U.S. will increase drone strikes, targeted drone strikes.

It's under discussion within the Obama White House, but I spoke with one analyst who says, if you're trying to compare Yemen to, say, Pakistan where there have been an increasing number of drone strikes, he says, it's not the same, and it runs the risk of sort of turning some of these tribes within Yemen against its government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN FISHMAN, FELLOW, NEW AMERICAN FOUNDATION: What we got to take into account in Yemen is the fact that this is still a relatively upstart organization. And we don't want to take steps that allow it to entrench itself more deeply in Yemeni society. And a drone campaign that will be tied directly to the United States is going to allow AQAP to say to the Yemeni tribes and to say to the Yemeni population, look, the Americans are coming after us. They're coming after us and that's why you need to support us as al Qaeda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE: Yes, because the way the Yemeni government governs its area is not sort of this high-fisted approach. It really allows a lot of the local tribes to sort of govern themselves. There is a danger, he feels that by increasing and drastically increasing drone strikes, it sort of takes away the incentive of the Yemeni government to actually get into some of these areas that al Qaeda controls and try to assert some measure of governance there.

BALDWIN: And Chris, isn't there also concern, you know, in terms of infiltrating and stamping out AQAP, you know, sending in those drone strikes you mentioned, send in the marines, and a lot of people were saying if only it were that easy?

LAWRENCE: Well, that's true. I mean, A, you got the marines will operate, you know, only with the consent of the government. That's the big difference between say the military and covert operations that the CIA runs. So, to send in, you know, a contingent of marines highly, highly unlikely that the Yemeni government would ever publicly accept that.

And if you got U.S. military on the ground there in Yemen, that runs a real risk of destabilizing or sort of turning some of those areas that already have sort of an anti-American bent completely against the United States, and then by extension, perhaps Yemen's government, itself.

BALDWIN: Chris Lawrence, that was quite an impressive number you mentioned the U.S. has, you know, poured into Yemen. You said more than $150 million. Unbelievable. Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence. Thanks, Chris.

To New York, has one of the most entertaining governors races in the country. You remember Carl Paladino's e-mail scandal and the rent's too damn candidate. You remember him, right? And the GOP not so much amused. Dana Bash has details on that when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: One whole day to go here until Election Day, and CNN has your latest political news with "The Best Political Team on Television." CNN Equals Politics."

And Dana Bash is in New York for us.

It's a blue state, New York State, a blue state that's very important for Republicans if they are to take over the House. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN SR. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic Congressman John Hall knows all about election year waves. Four years ago he rode one into office, unseating a Republican in this suburban New York district. Now he's fighting a GOP tide.

REP. JOHN HALL (D), NEW YORK: People are not happy because we're not out of the recession yet. And my answer to that is, we shouldn't give the keys to the car back to the people who drove us into the ditch.

BASH: Hall is neck-and-neck with a political novice, an ophthalmologist who preaches Republican doctrine.

NAN HEYWORTH (R), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: We are becoming, we, as citizens are becoming the servants of our government. They are taking far too much.

BASH: This Westchester congressional district is one of half a dozen Democratic House seats in New York Republicans are trying to snatch. A huge number in one state, and crucial to a GOP House takeover.

(on camera): Can the Republicans win the majority without winning these six seats?

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I think it's possible. But this makes it extremely probable.

BASH (voice-over): The Republicans are poised to pick up former Congressman Eric Massa's seat after he resigned amid sexual harassment charges. Democratic Congressman Scott Murphy represents a conservative district in upstate New York. So does Michael Arcuri, they are prime GOP targets as is Bill Owens who took his seat from Republicans in a special election last year.

Democrat (INAUDIBLE) is a freshman who has gotten help from Bill Clinton, but like others in too close to call races is being bombarded by GOP outside groups. Back in suburban New York, the candidates are duking it out on health care. Democrat John Hall eagerly defends it.

HALL: It's a good bill in most respects and I don't apologize for it.

BASH (on camera): You are one of the few Democrats who I've talked to, who I've even heard this election year who is not afraid to campaign on health care.

HALL: Well, that's why people elected me.

BASH (voice-over): His opponent called repealing it her top priority.

HEYWORTH: It will take away choice and control. It will thwart innovation. It's really not what Americans deserve or desire from their health care.

BASH: Hall isn't a lifelong politician either. He was in rock 'n' roll and hopes his '70s hit "Still The One" is what voters say to him.

HALL (singing): We're still having fun, and you're still the one.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: He can stick to his day job I guess.

Dana Bash there in New York City.

And Dana, with Republicans at the top of this ticket like New York's Carl Paladino here, in that gubernatorial race, would that possibly hurt other GOP House candidates' chances?

BASH: It very well could. And I'm telling you, that is what Republican strategists who are very focused on the state of New York say, that they are very excited about the possibility of picking up a lot of seats in this state.

You know, I talked about a half dozen in the piece, but there are more than that that are in play and could fall into Republican hands if they do have a stellar night. But they are worried about the fact that Carl Paladino, for example, is double digits, maybe like 25 points in the latest poll that I've seen behind Andrew Cuomo. And they're worried that that really could hurt these otherwise formidable House Republican candidates.

They are hoping New Yorkers are ticket-splitters, but you know what? You never know.

BALDWIN: We don't know how many numbers we'll be seeing after tomorrow, but, you know, you said at the top of the show -- I asked you about net gain, net loss with regard to Republicans, you said net gain. I think a lot of people would agree.

Dana Bash for us in New York.

Dana, thank you.

BASH: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll get another political update coming for you next hour. You can also get the latest political news. Go online to CNNPolitics.com or on Twitter at @politicalticker.

And thanks to the underwear bomber, flyers have to go through this, go through even more embarrassing, aggressive security pat-downs. What's allowed, what's out of bounds? Why is the TSA doing this? And could any of this prevent or thwart another terror plot?

That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We have been talking today about how the TSA is now starting these, as some would say, very aggressive pat-downs when you go through the airport. So, nowadays, you kind of have a choice. You either go through the full-body scanner, which I definitely did this weekend, or you have this pat-down.

And TSA says look, they're doing it because some people can hide some explosives in some places that perhaps the normal hands can't just check. So I tweeted to you about that, if you have been through this. And I've got a couple of tweets I'd like to share.

First, coming from Freaky Fran. She obviously hasn't endured this. She says, "I have not flown since 1992." Wow. "So I have no clue as to what you have to do or be subjected to anymore. Sad, eh?"

Got another one from Curious 1966. "Not sure if it was a pat-down or bra fitting."

Jeff says, "I went through the naked image thing which I think is the scanner, and it was easy and fast."

And one more tweet from Kevin. Kevin says, "What terrorists want is to screw up our economy. U.S. might be able to 'absorb' deaths, but not a dive in Wall Street."

So we're going to talk a little bit more about the pat-downs coming up in a little bit, a couple minutes here. It should be interesting.

Also coming up, take a look at this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm for the legalization of marijuana, absolutely. We have got a lot of things that we need to be putting our focus and attention on, and it would be really great to take it off of joints.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Hollywood is the town that gave us "Reefer Madness" and "Up in Smoke." It could also be the town that convinces Californians to pass a controversial pro-marijuana proposition. We're hearing from Hollywood next, here in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: If you have not seen this yet, I want you to check out what happened on HBO. This was Friday night, when the conversation on Bill Maher's show turned to Prop 19. That is the California measure that would legalize recreational marijuana use for people over the age of 21.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZACH GALIFIANAKIS, ACTOR: -- think politically to jump on that bandwagon, because I think that maybe people se it as taboo still. So I --

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: It's why it's a ballot measure, Bill, because no politician, even if they thought it was a good idea -- oh my -- yes.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. I have some friends who have been growers in Humboldt County, and the growers in Humboldt County are getting out the vote against the proposition. And honestly, I think --

BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": Right, because the profits when you have prohibition, just like liquor with Al Capone, is a lot higher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is totally legit, but --

GALIFIANAKIS: Oh my God, look at those dragons! But that's my point. I think that's what people think of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So I'm sure you recognized him. That was Zach Galifianakis on Bill Maher. Pulled out a joint. People concurred, yes, indeed, it was marijuana.

By the way, I want to add, Wolf Blitzer will be talking to Bill Maher, and I'm sure they'll be talking Prop 19 and that moment from Friday night on "THE SITUATION ROOM" at the 5:00 hour.

But back to Prop 19, it would basically allow county and local governments to tax the profits of marijuana growers. And one or two things we know for sure about California, they've got budget problems and they have star power. So it should certainly come as no surprise here, Hollywood coming out in full support here for Prop 19.

Here's CNN's Brooke Anderson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROSARIO DAWSON, ACTRESS: Number 19. Yes on 19.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Hollywood, stars are giving major props to a controversial proposition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it a good idea or a bad idea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good idea.

ANDERSON (on camera): California's Prop 19 gives adults the right to use marijuana recreationally. They could even grow their own. Some of the prop's biggest backers are in the entertainment community.

DAWSON: I'm for the legalization or marijuana, absolutely.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Actress Rosario Dawson argues the proposition would free up law enforcement to pursue more serious crimes.

DAWSON: We've got a lot of things that we need to be putting our focus and attention on, and it would be really great to take it off of joints.

ANDERSON: For singer Melissa Etheridge --

MELISSA ETHERIDGE, SINGER: This is an issue of personal freedom.

ANDERSON: -- she took part in a forum touting Prop 19 alongside actor Danny Glover. Etheridge said she began using marijuana to cope with the effects of chemotherapy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But she thinks it should be legal for more than just medicinal purposes.

ETHERIDGE: I think historically, the prohibition of cannabis has been a disaster and doesn't work, and makes criminals otherwise law-abiding citizens.

ANDERSON (on camera): The pro-pot message comes not just from famous faces. Films have also played a role in the debate over marijuana acceptance.

(voice-over): In the 1930s, "Reefer Madness" famously sounded the alarm about pot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You government men have got to find some way to put an end to it.

ANDERSON: But in recent decades, many films have portrayed pot smokes as basically harmless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement.

ANDERSON: "The Big Lebowski," for instance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A great time to be feeling groovy.

ANDERSON: "It's Complicated."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hands down, dopest dope I've ever smoked.

ANDERSON: "Pineapple Express."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love weed.

ANDERSON: "Knocked Up," "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle," "Zombieland." The list goes on.

LOUIS VIRTEL, MOVIELINE.COM: Well, as the years have progressed, I think it's become less and less scandalous.

ANDERSON: Louis Virtel covers the film industry for movieline.com.

VIRTEL: I don't remember the last movie where marijuana use occurred and I was meant to be scandalized by it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is freaky.

ANDERSON: In movies from "American Beauty" to "9 to 5" and "Risky Business," uptight characters achieve emotional breakthroughs once they try pot.

Opponents of Prop 19 are using some Hollywood-style production values to get their point across. And some current and former law enforcement officials are campaigning against it.

ROBERT BONNER, FMR. DEA ADMINISTRATOR: We don't need in California more people in our schools and in our workforce who are stoned.

ANDERSON: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, once Hollywood's top draw, is also against it. But within the entertainment industry, he may be in the minority. Our informal survey of stars found broad support for Prop 19.

SNOOP DOGG, SINGER: I really believe it would take California to another level.

ANDERSON: Snoop Dogg told George Lopez he approves. And reportedly, so do Willie Nelson, Sting, and comedic actor David Cross.

DAVID CROSS, ACTOR, COMEDIAN: I think it's absolutely time to at least see if it works, experiment. Let California be the experiment.

ANDERSON: Voters will make that call, and polls show the proposition in a very tight race. Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Again, Prop 19 on the ballot if you're in California tomorrow.

Let's get a little bit more of the politics of pot with Wolf Blitzer. We'll have that talk next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Election Day is a mere hours away. And in California, as we just mentioned, voters will have the chance to vote on Prop 19.

And just a couple of minutes ago we saw you Brooke Anderson's piece showing video. This was from Friday night, HBO, Bill Maher, with his actor/comedian -- there he is -- Zach Galifianakis, lighting up a joint on TV.

Bill Maher, as I just mentioned, he'll be a guest with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM" coming up this next hour. And so I wanted to talk to Wolf about the politics of pot.

And Wolf, I don't think you would have had quite a nice reaction if somebody lit up next to you as you were trying to do an interview. But, I mean, give me a little preview here of what your conversation may be with Mr. Maher.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, one thing I want to ask him, was it really marijuana? Was it something else? Was he trying to be funny?

BALDWIN: Right.

BLITZER: A lot of attention on that Proposition 19 in California. The polls say it's going to do down, it's not going to be approved. It would allow legal marijuana use for recreational purposes.

Right now it's approved with a prescription for medical purposes. But the polls say it's not going to be approved by the voters in California. We'll see, obviously, tomorrow night. We should get the results fairly soon after the polls close, 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time. That's 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.

But we'll watch it closely. A lot of money being poured in on advertising on both sides of this debate. We'll see what, if anything. And I'll ask Bill Maher about that incident and get some insight into what really happened on the set of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher" Friday night.

BALDWIN: Yes. We will all be watching for that moment when you dig deeper with Mr. Maher.

Let's totally switch gears. I want to talk Bill Clinton.

And we've seen a whole lot of him during this election cycle. You and I were just talking about how he's been in Ohio a lot. We know he's been in West Virginia trying to help Governor Joe Manchin win that Senate seat.

BLITZER: You know, he's become a very popular figure in this political cycle, this campaign cycle right now, even more so than the president. His job approval, his favorability numbers in this most recent poll we had are considerably higher than the president. And a lot of Democrats whoa re in tough re-election or election bids, they would prefer to have Bill Clinton come in and campaign for them, as opposed to the president of the United States, who might not necessarily be as popular in some of these states or some of these congressional districts.

It's been a good campaign cycle for the president. He did get the former president. But that whole issue in Florida with Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist, whether he tried or didn't try to get Kendrick Meek to step down so that Charlie Crist would have a better time -- better chance of beating Marco Rubio, the Republican Tea Party favorite, that obviously was a source of significant embarrassment. We'll see what happens in Florida in the race tomorrow night.

BALDWIN: Wolf Blitzer, see you at the top of the hour, sir. Thank you.

BLITZER: Thanks.

BALDWIN: So how much of a pat-down should women -- and we should say men here as well -- how much should you have to put up with here to just get on the plane? Even with new security concerns, when does the touching get a little too personal, too offensive?

We're going to go there. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The TSA says it is a new level of security, a necessary one, but airline passengers say it's a new level of invasion and humiliation. I'm talking about these new aggressive pat-down procedures now in place at airports across the country. And if you talk to some people who have been through them, they're pretty intense, and some people actually feel violated.

I want to bring in Kate Hanni. She's with me via Skype. There she is. She's founder of flyersrights.org.

And Kate, I know you've been getting all kinds of e-mails, but if you can, just tell me your personal story. You were at JFK in New York, Friday. You got the pat-down. How invasive was it?

KATE HANNI, FOUNDER, FLYERSRIGHTS.ORG: Unfortunately, very invasive. They touched all of my private parts. I did set off the metal detector when I went through, apparently because of my brassiere. And so they checked every area of my breasts to ensure that I didn't have an explosive.

BALDWIN: And that -- HANNI: It was very unbelievable.

BALDWIN: Very invasive. Unbelievable.

And you know what? The TSA is saying this is something they feel they need to do because people could come through, i.e. underwear bomber from Christmas Day, you know, hiding bombs in places most people don't really check.

But you say that's too far?

HANNI: That's too far and it's ineffective. If anyone is going to get through there with a bomb now, after what happened with Abdulmutallab, it's going to be in a crevice or inside the body. It's not going to be detectable in the same manner that he had his sewn into his underwear. It's just not going to happen again.

BALDWIN: I want to just -- if we can throw up -- we have some bullet points just to make sure we're playing both sides here. And the TSA is explaining that not everybody has to go through this. So, the TSA is essentially saying if you buzz when you go through the metal detector, you would have this pat-down.

They're also saying you could opt out of -- you can take the scan, a full-body scan. And also, they point out, look, if you're going to have this aggressive pat-down, the person who's going to be patting you down will be of the same gender.

And some people say, Kate, you know, look, given what happened Friday with these bombs on board -- granted it was a cargo plane and it's not directly related -- but it very much shows there are loopholes in our traveling, in our security. We're vulnerable. And if this is going to stop a terrorist, so be it, pat me down.

HANNI: It's not likely going to stop a terrorist. And I think that's what most of our members are sensing, is that this is something that's really not going to prevent a major event from happening. And people are really mystified as to why our intelligence community hasn't gotten our act together better to prevent terrorists from even arriving in a security line.

There have been so many red flags before each of these events, that these terrorists had no business even being inside an airport, frankly. And I think for most people, unfortunately, the travel industry is going to be hurt by this.

The e-mails we're getting are, "I'm not going to fly again." A doctor called and said it was akin to molest, what happened to him a week ago. Our hotline director was also patted down in the new pat-down, and he said it was akin to foreplay.

And so, you know, these are not the kinds of things that people are willing to tolerate as they go through security. And just as many of our members don't like the body scanners and the potential for a stored image. So, we really have a problem, I think, now, with many travelers just deciding not to fly. BALDWIN: Kate, 30 seconds. We're coming upon a very, very busy travel time, with Thanksgiving, on through the holidays. And for people who haven't traveled and no matter what they feel about this, they may have to be patted down. And what's your quick advice to them?

HANNI: Don't wear any metal. If you don't set off a metal detector, you likely won't have to be patted down unless you're selected for another reason for secondary screening. If you don't mind the scanners and if you don't have any metal like a pacemaker or something else that will cause you to have secondary screening, use the scanners.

Pick your best method. Advocate for yourself.

BALDWIN: Kate Hanni, thank you so much for giving all travelers out there a heads up. Really appreciate it.

Now I'm going to send it up to Wolf Blitzer in New York with "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.