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Aired October 11, 2001 - 04:30   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone, welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tom Haynes.

It has been four weeks since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and United States President Bush is not letting up on the quest for justice. Wednesday, he unveiled a most wanted terrorist list. There are 22 names on it beginning with Osama bin Laden. Meantime, military operations are still underway.

As the air campaign against terrorism continues, U.S. forces are setting up camp just across the border from Afghanistan. Pentagon officials say more than 1,000 U.S. troops, including special forces, are on the ground at a military base in Uzbekistan. President Bush has not confirmed anything in regards to ground troops but officials in Washington have indicated that they could play an important role.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This is going to be a long operation. It's clear to me that you use air and you use covert and you use paramilitary operations eventually to get this done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYNES: If and when U.S. ground troops enter Afghanistan, sources tell CNN the emphasis would be on special operations forces.

CNN military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre provides a closer look at what may be next in terms of the military campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On day four, U.S. bombers shifted focus moving from disabling air defenses to attacking troops, their barracks and military maintenance facilities. Warplanes from two U.S. aircraft carriers circled the skies waiting to strike any movement of al Qaeda or Taliban forces. The idea, say Pentagon officials, is to keep bin Laden and his backers on the run.

GENERAL DAVID GRANGE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: We're going to force a movement. They're going to have to move. They're going to have to talk to each other. They just can't hide in caves and just shut down everything or they're going to lose control of the country.

MCINTYRE: Sources tell CNN that two adult male relatives of Taliban leader Mohammed Omar were among several Taliban leaders already killed on the first night of the bombing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, its deck cleared of planes, is arriving in the waters off Pakistan, part of a plan that would put U.S. special forces on the ground. Sources say the Kitty Hawk will serve as a floating air base for special operations' helicopters to ferry U.S. Army commandos into Afghanistan to launch quick strike in-and-out raids. And officials say the United States is working to get permission to use special operations troops already based in Uzbekistan for combat missions and is hopeful neighboring Tajikistan will agree to that as well giving the United States several forward bases from which to attack.

GRANGE: If you see any direct action with coalition forces, it'll be very quick raid-type operations, again, against targets of opportunity to accomplish our mission.

MCINTYRE: Sources say U.S. commanders are reluctant to send low- flying helicopter gunships against Taliban targets in direct attacks because of their vulnerability to shoulder-fired missiles such as U.S. stingers provided to Afghan rebels during the Cold War. And Pentagon sources say in Tuesday's attacks, a B-2 Stealth bomber dropped a 5,000-pound bunker-busting bomb designed to bore through several layers of concrete on a concentration of Taliban troops and equipment.

(on camera): The powerful bunker-buster bombs may yet be used to attack the caves where Osama bin Laden and his followers like to hide. But in this case, the idea was to demoralize the Taliban troops with a deadly display of U.S. military might.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Bombs aren't the only things falling from the skies over Afghanistan, U.S.-led forces have coupled their air assaults with a humanitarian effort. American planes have been dropping packets of food into the country. Taliban officials claim angry Afghans are destroying the packets rather than eating anything they contain, but U.S. military officials say the supplies are reaching needy families.

Bettina Luscher reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETTINA LUSCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mission accomplished, two C-17 cargo planes landed Ramstein Air Base in western Germany after a 14-hour roundtrip to Afghanistan.

COL. ROBERT ALLARDICE, U.S. AIR FORCE: For the past three missions we've flown, it's kind of neat to think of how many supplies now we've delivered to Afghanistan -- over 100,000 meals to feed families and I think that's a tremendous thing. LUSCHER: The cargo planes fly at what pilots call a super high altitude to avoid antiaircraft missiles but low enough to deliver the food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We come in, we slow down, we hit our coordinates, our point and we hit a button and stuff goes out the back.

LUSCHER: They're packing boxes for the next flights. In the boxes, small yellow food packs. They're culturally neutral, so to speak, no meat so no religious rules can be violated. A daily ration of rice, beans, even peanut butter, worth 2,200 calories and they're labeled as a food gift by the people of the United States.

(on camera): Some international aid organizations have criticized the airdrops by the U.S. military as an ineffective way of delivering humanitarian aid. They say there are better ways of reaching the people in need.

(voice-over): Military officials say that much of the humanitarian aid flowing to the Afghan people by traditional means already bears a U.S. label and U.S. military officials say airdrops are the only way to reach refugees in the mountains.

ALLARDICE: The airdrop provides us the opportunity to get food to people that cannot receive food from the traditional ground method. And so I guess my thinking is if one family that was starving last night got to eat tonight, that's certainly a success in my mind.

LUSCHER: They plan to drop off some 400,000 food packs within the next two weeks.

Bettina Luscher, CNN, Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALBERT VAZQUEZ, DALLAS CITY, ILLINOIS: My name is Albert Vazquez. I'm from Dallas City, Illinois. And I wanted to Ask CNN: When looking up maps of the Middle East, Afghanistan isn't listed as a Middle Eastern country but rather an Asian. Is Afghanistan an Asian or Middle East nation?

ALAN CARROLL, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: That's a challenging question. It's kind of like asking what states are in the Midwest. So just like the term Midwest, Middle East is a general regional term. And if you ask a Middle East expert, you might get a different answer for -- from each expert.

Traditionally, the Middle East tended to extend farther to the east to include Pakistan and India and even Burma and Afghanistan. These days, most of the time the Middle East refers to the southwestern part of Asia and the northeastern corner of Africa and doesn't really extend through Afghanistan into the other more eastern nations. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: The organization of the Islamic Conference, a special meeting of Islamic leaders, ended on Wednesday. Some worry the U.S. military response to the Taliban could become less of a retaliatory attack and more of a political power play. There are concerns from some that a U.S. grip on power in the area would be worse than the actual threat of terror.

CNN's Jane Arraf explains why leaders of some countries are choosing their words very carefully.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Close to 60 states and an empty chair. Afghanistan's seat has been empty at the biggest grouping of Muslim nations since after the Taliban seized power. With U.S. bombs targeting the country, sheltering Osama bin Laden, the Taliban's former friends and their enemies struggled with the right message to send. They settled on a safe one.

ABDUL SATTAR, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We have endorsed the global consensus on condemnation of terrorist acts, condolence and sympathy with the United States and a commitment to eradication of international terrorists.

ARRAF: What was left out from the final communique, any statement on the U.S. bombing. Pro-western Muslim states said it was the only way to prevent anti-western states from condemning the U.S. retaliation. And even states that have always opposed the Taliban said the U.S. attacks won't stop terrorism.

DR. AHMED KHARAZI, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: It should be proved that this military attack on Afghanistan has been useful. I don't find it useful. That is why our position was that this war is not acceptable.

ARRAF: As Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat addressed the foreign ministers here, his presence offered them something to agree on, that they see a difference between terrorism and a struggle against occupation. Although chief suspect Osama bin Laden has linked to the attack to the Palestinian struggle, Palestinians say he has nothing to do with Palestine and has hijacked their cause. But it's the Palestinian cause and U.S. support for Israel that fuels protests in the Arab world.

(on camera): Some foreign minister said the statement that avoided mention of the U.S. attack bowed to public opinion. That public opinion, in many countries, sees U.S. power in the region as a greater threat than terrorism that's why if the conflict widens beyond Afghanistan, many officials here will have a much harder time keeping quiet.

Jane Arraf, CNN, Doha, Qatar.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HAYNES: Dissent is already being expressed in articles appearing in magazines and in newspapers, articles that set out to explain why many in the Arab world harbor resentment toward the United States.

Ben Wedeman reports the efforts of some Arab nations to clampdown on public expressions of support for the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, at least publicly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush goes up in flames. The American campaign against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban doesn't have many supporters in this crowd.

Egyptian security watched the demonstration at Cairo University but didn't intervene. This is the exception in the Arab world where many regimes are doing their best to clampdown on public expressions of support for the Taliban and bin Laden.

In Gaza, following pro-bin Laden demonstrations that left at least two dead, the Palestinian Authority temporarily barred international journalists from entering the area.

(on camera): Many area regimes are trying to hide what they're treating as a nasty little secret that while most Arabs don't agree with the methods of Osama bin Laden, many do share his rage against the United States.

(voice-over): After a year of violence between Palestinians and Israelis, Arab anger at what is seen as an American bias toward Israel was already intense. The strikes against Afghanistan have only intensified that anger.

Added to the problems, say some, has been a failure to communicate.

WALID QAZZIHA, ANALYST: I would say that the United States has until now failed to provide the Arab public and the public in Muslim countries with a direct link between the -- you know the attack against the U.S. and bin Laden.

WEDEMAN: Officially the strongest Arab support for the U.S. strikes has come from Egypt, but even here leaders insist the terror attacks against the U.S. did not materialize out of the blue.

HOSNI MUBARAK, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT: There should be a Palestinian state. The problem of the Palestinians should be solved (ph). The problem (INAUDIBLE) should reach a comprehensive settlement. This one of the causes of creation of terrorism in the world.

WEDEMAN: Osama bin Laden has only recently been forceful in support of the Palestinian cause, but it's support that has added more fire to the already angry streets of the Arab world.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Cairo. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: In other news, attendance is climbing once again at the Smithsonian Institution Museums, and the Smithsonian is taking the learning experience beyond the walls of the museum. Voyage: A Journey Through the Solar System offers a detailed look at the solar system built at one-ten billion of its full size. The permanent exhibition stretches more than six football fields outdoors.

Three men are sharing the Nobel Prize in chemistry this year. They won the award for showing how to better control chemical reactions, a key process in making medicines. Their discoveries are useful in making a wide variety of drugs, including antibiotics, heart medicine and a treatment for Parkinson's disease.

ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segment that fits your lesson plan. Plus there are discussion questions and activities and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming desk segments.

It's all at this Web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

HAYNES: Earlier we talked about the potential next steps in the war on terrorism. In Washington, Congress is advancing the fight on a political level, putting partisan politics aside and focusing almost all of their effort on fighting terrorism and propping up the U.S. economy. President Bush has enjoyed almost full cooperation from members of Congress, but how long is that going to last and what role is the vice president playing in all of this? We get two reports beginning with Bill Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): In the new political world, politics has acquired a new gravity. It's about important things like life and death. Politicians who were tiring of the game now see an opportunity to make a difference.

SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: Now, it's clearly not the time to leave.

SCHNEIDER: For the time being, politics has been suspended. Petty bickering and ideological posturing are bad form. What's good form? Bipartisanship...

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: Democrats and Republicans will stand shoulder to shoulder to fight this evil that's been perpetrated on this nation.

SCHNEIDER: ... and more government. SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We, Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, stand strongly united behind the president, and will work together to ensure the full resources of the government are brought to bear in these efforts.

SCHNEIDER: More government to deal with terrorism and more government to deal with the economy.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm confident we can work with Congress to come up with an economic stimulus package.

SCHNEIDER: The nation's agenda is, No. 1, terrorism, and No. 2, the economy. Anything else?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Important priorities, like prescription drugs, securing Social Security and Medicare, strengthening education, paying down the debt, or giving a sensible tax cut to the middle class.

SCHNEIDER: Nope. Those are not priorities right now. As a result, the playing field has tilted back toward the Republicans and toward incumbents. At a time of crisis voters want stability, not change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Mark Earley, experienced leadership we know and trust.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: For eight months, President Bush has been dogged by questions about his legitimacy and his competence. Those questions have been laid to rest.

BUSH: We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.

SCHNEIDER: War is above politics. A war president is above politics. But underneath it all there is still politics.

The record shows that even popular presidents fighting popular wars still face setbacks at the polls. Abraham Lincoln's grand new party, the Republicans, lost ground during the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt's Democrats were handed a big setback at the polls just a year after Pearl Harbor.

And how did a grateful nation show its thanks to President George Bush a year after the Gulf War? They fired him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a familiar yet now rare snapshot of the Bush White House, Vice President Dick Cheney on hand for a major event. This is Sunday, just after the president announced strikes on Afghanistan. Moments later, the vice president left the White House as a security precaution and he has not returned since.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The vice president remains at a secure location where he is fully and completely informed of all events and is participating.

KING: Cheney is hardly out of touch. He speaks with the president several times a day, participates in national security meetings through a secure video conference link and is making calls to world leaders and key members of Congress, but his absence speaks volumes about the extraordinary security precautions in place in the month since the September 11 attacks.

From day one of the administration he has been the president's top lieutenant, a key player in relations with Congress, the architect of the administration's energy plan. The president was in Florida when America came under attack, Cheney was at the White House and directed the initial response. But when Mr. Bush returned, the administration implemented continuation of government protocols, a list of precautions that sometimes includes keeping the president and the vice president at separate locations. So he was absent from the president's speech to Congress and canceled plans to swear in the administration's new point man in the war on domestic terrorism, an added security precaution even as the president urges everyday Americans to get back about his business.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), ARMED SERVICES CHAIRMAN: Where he is placed is a matter of a professional decision by Secret Service and others and something that is properly in their hands, not in my hands. Whatever their decision is necessary for his and the nation's safety, I'm for it.

KING: Aides describe the vice president as in relatively good humor, occasional complaints about the food and the disruptions to his routine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Voters head to the polls in New York today in the runoff of the Democratic mayoral primary. The campaign, of course, has been eclipsed by the attacks on the World Trade Center one month ago. But in a sign of life returning to normal, politics is beginning to take center stage again in New York and elsewhere.

As NEWSROOM's Joel Hochmuth reports, Hispanics are paying close attention to two races in particular.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a mayor's race unique in New York history, dominated by current Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his handling of the attacks on the World Trade Center. His newfound popularity led him to consider finding a way to run again even though because of term limits legally he can't.

His other idea, given the extraordinary circumstances, convincing the other candidates to let him serve an extra three months.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: The offer is to make that a much smoother transition, and I think that would also satisfy the large group of people in the city who have to also be considered who are begging me to stay and to run for another term which I'm not going to do.

HOCHMUTH: One Democratic candidate, Mark Green, has agreed. But the other, Fernando Ferrer, has said no and that if elected, he's ready to take over December 1 as scheduled.

FERNANDO FERRER (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: That's the way this city should proceed, on a constitutional framework as provided in the rule of law as we have done in times of crisis and even war of the centuries.

HOCHMUTH: In another unique twist to this race, if he wins, Ferrer, a Puerto Rican-American, would become the city's first Hispanic mayor. National Hispanic leaders are hopeful about his chances.

LARRY GONZALEZ, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LATIN ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS: I think that the more Latinos there are, whether it's in Congress or at the state legislature level or becoming mayors, it's good for our community because our community is seeing people that look like them that they feel will better represent their needs.

HOCHMUTH: A victory by Ferrer would be a high-profile boost for Hispanics who are still vastly underrepresented in many levels of government, especially nationally. There are no Hispanics in the U.S. Senate and only 19 in the House.

GONZALEZ: And those numbers will come to fruition somewhere down the road whether it's 10 years from now or 15 years now -- from now, but we are on that path towards full political empowerment and equal representation.

HOCHMUTH: Hispanics are eyeing another big prize, this one in the nation's fourth largest city, Houston.

Orlando Sanchez is hoping to make history, never before has a Hispanic been mayor of Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in the United States.

(on camera): Do you think it's time for Houston to have a Hispanic mayor?

ORLANDO SANCHEZ, HOUSTON MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I -- you know I think it's time that Houston have a mayor that takes care of the issues and if that's, you know, a Hispanic, so be it.

HOCHMUTH (voice-over): But his shot of history isn't simple ethnic politics. Sanchez is a Cuban-American Republican in a city where the Hispanic community is dominated by Mexican-American Democrats. How he fairs in the upcoming non-partisan election could indicate what's more compelling to Hispanic voters, ethnicity or politics.

RICHARD MURRAY, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON: The Hispanic populations came here from a lot of different places, under lots of different conditions. The huge difference at how the Cuban-Americans arrived in the United States versus the Mexican-Americans is critical. So there is much less cohesion than with the African-American community.

HOCHMUTH: But it is a large community. The city's Latin population has boomed to nearly three-quarters of a million strong, outnumbering blacks and non-Hispanic whites.

SANCHEZ: I think they say you know it is time that we have someone represent us and it is time in this diverse community that we give a Hispanic a shot, and I think that in and of itself is going to raise the awareness and the excitement.

HOCHMUTH: And Sanchez contends both he and Mexican-Americans share the immigrant experience.

SANCHEZ: My family has gone through the same struggles that they have gone through. I know the difficulties. These people understand that I understand.

HOCHMUTH: A sentiment backed up by at least one voter.

CAROLINE PONCE, HOUSTON RESIDENT: But I would like for him to be in office being that he is Hispanic. I'm going to be honest.

HOCHMUTH: What if I told you he's Cuban and not Mexican- American?

PONCE: Well, he's still -- he still speaks Spanish and he's Latin. I figured he was Cuban, though. I really did.

HOCHMUTH: That's just one vote in an uphill battle against incumbent Lee Brown, the city's first African-American mayor, and another councilman, Chris Bell. Both are better financed.

MURRAY: He's still a potential candidate. He hasn't yet demonstrated at this level he can play in the big leagues, a very high-cost campaign with serious competitors. You know this is going from AA ball to the majors.

HOCHMUTH: If nothing else, Sanchez' candidacy has Mayor Brown on the defensive.

LEE BROWN, MAYOR OF HOUSTON: I think the key thing to remember is I have a Hispanic adviser committee that works with me on a day-to- day basis and keeps me up to date on what goes on. I know my way through the Hispanic community, my opponent probably does not.

HOCHMUTH: Both candidates would prefer to talk about issues other than race. Sanchez has slammed the mayor for failing to do anything about downtown streets, which seem to be in a perpetual state of repair or construction. Brown fires back at Sanchez for opposing a variety of social programs.

BROWN: He votes against after school programs and keeping in mind that after school programs education is extremely critical for the Hispanic community. For someone to vote against it, someone to vote against affirmative action, they can't really represent a very important segment of our community.

HOCHMUTH: Mark Campos is a second generation Mexican-American and a political consultant to Mayor Brown.

MARK CAMPOS, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: This mayor has done a lot in our community. For us to turn our back on him would be something that -- you know it's just not in the character of Hispanic leaders in Houston, Texas.

HOCHMUTH: Even if Sanchez can generate enthusiasm within the Hispanic community, that probably won't be enough. In the last mayoral election, less than 10 percent of the ballots were cast by Hispanics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't win by mobilizing Hispanics yet in Houston but they are year by year becoming a more significant voting block in the city. So that's the number one target for the Sanchez campaign is getting upscale Anglos to join with Hispanic voters in an unusual voter coalition.

SANCHEZ: We've just got to get the percentages up in the Hispanic community, peal off some of the Anglo vote, get a small percentage of the African-American vote, we'll be fine.

HOCHMUTH: It's a tricky formula and the election November 6 will determine if Sanchez can add it all up. Even if he can't, Sanchez considers his candidacy itself part of a larger victory.

SANCHEZ: We're just part of the fabric that is America. I see many cities across the nation now putting up Hispanic candidates, some winning, some not, but the fact of the matter is that the Hispanic community is going to participate and is going to make a contribution in the political process in this country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: And Joel's series, Hispanic Power Beyond the Numbers, continues out in cyberspace. If you want to know what Hispanic young people are thinking politically, check out CNNfyi.com. There you can watch a roundtable of your Hispanic peers.

And tomorrow on NEWSROOM, we'll round out our coverage with a look at Hispanic culture. Be sure to check it out.

And be sure to keep your TV tuned to CNN for the very latest on America strikes back.

We'll see you tomorrow.

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