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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Colin Powell Calls it Quits; Explosive Scene Caught on Tape in Falluja
Aired November 15, 2004 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
And, tonight, right here on PRIME TIME POLITICS, seven months after the Abu Ghraib shocked the world, another disturbing and potentially explosive scene caught on tape in Iraq. The military is investigating whether a Marine shot and killed a wounded, unarmed insurgent at close range during the battle for Fallujah.
Also, Colin Powell calls it quits. We're going to look at the legacy of the man who made the case of the war to the U.N., and we will consider the makeup of the president's new national security team.
And the debate to come, as Arnold Schwarzenegger's backers launch a campaign to change the Constitution, so that he may some day run for president.
We start tonight with shocking new pictures from the battle of Fallujah, pictures that could have a big political impact here at home and affect the world's perception of U.S. forces' conduct in Iraq.
Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins us from Washington to show us and tell us exactly what happened.
Good evening, Jamie. Why don't you walk us through what investigators believe might have happened?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this, again, back on Friday, when U.S. Marines in Fallujah began to take fire from a mosque. They returned fire.
They stormed the mosque. They killed 10 insurgents and wounded others, five others. Now what we're seeing is, on Saturday -- this is the next day -- a different group of Marines goes in. And it's not clear whether they know that the people inside had already been captured and disarmed the day before. And now we're traveling with the original Marines who were first there on Friday, along with an embedded television reporter. He is taking these pictures.
And, as you see here, they meet up with the other Marines in front of the mosque. They're talking about what's going on inside, two people -- people shot. Do they have weapons, they asked. A marine shrugs. And they go inside. And this is where we find out what happened. Here, we see -- when we get inside, there are -- several insurgents who had been lightly wounded the day before now appear to be dying of gunshot wounds.
They're wounded that were never picked up, said one of the Marines. And, at this point, the television camera records one of the Marines that just got there earlier believes that one of the Marines is faking his death, and he shoots him at very close range with his rifle right there. And we stopped the video at that point, because we didn't want to show you the very explicit video of that Marine shooting.
And that's the incident that's under investigation, Paula.
ZAHN: So, describe to us, then, what the next step is in this process.
MCINTYRE: Well, they're going to be interviewing witnesses, including one of the prisoners who was in the best shape of any of them. And he was talking.
In fact, he told the television reporter, look, we're the ones who were here yesterday, remember? And when the television reporter told that to the Marine, you just shot one of the people who were here yesterday, he said, I didn't know that. I didn't realize that.
So this investigation is going to turn on what that Marine knew. Did he think that these were freshly wounded insurgents, that he had just been wounded in a battle, who might be a threat or did he know that they had been disarmed the day before and that they posed essentially no threat? And that is where the crux of this investigation is going to be.
ZAHN: And briefly here in closing, Jamie, I guess the one thing we don't want to lose sight of is the fact that insurgents were taking positions in mosques. We've heard a number of stories that suggest the insurgents were holding up white flags to lure American Marines into the mosques to fake them out.
In fact, at the same time this incident takes place, there's another separate incident nearby which Marines come across that they think is a dead body. It turns out it's a booby-trapped dead body and it kills one of the Marines and wounds five others.
So it's very difficult to put yourself in the position of these Marines in the kind of intense urban combat that they're going through and then second-guess what they did. But an investigation will look at this incident and try to piece together the whole story.
ZAHN: Well, this is the probably the best representation, I guess, on tape that we have of what it must be like for these Marines to confront these insurgents.
Jamie McIntyre, thanks so much for the update.
Now we're going to turn our attention to the changing faces of the Bush administration. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is apparently in line to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state. A pair of senior administration officials tell CNN that she is the president's choice and her nomination could be announced as soon as tomorrow. Powell's resignation was announced earlier today.
ZAHN (voice-over): From the moment he was nominated, Colin Powell gave the administration credibility, both at home and abroad. A career soldier, he served two combat tours in Vietnam and later became chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff before putting on a diplomat's suit and tie.
But, over the last four years, Powell often found himself outside the Bush administration's inner circles. His world view and preference for international cooperation sometimes put him at odds with others' go-it-alone approach. Although he was always a loyal soldier, it's no surprise that he's leaving. The subject had often come up in Powell's discussions with the president.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I always indicated to him that I thought I would serve for one term. And, as we got closer to the election and the immediate aftermath of the election, it seemed the appropriate time. And we were in mutual agreement that it was the appropriate time for me to move on.
ZAHN: When a reporter asked Powell to look back at his career and name his most satisfying experience and his greatest regret, his answer was, well, diplomatic.
POWELL: In every one of these jobs, there have been high points and low points. And what you have to learn to do in government or in life is to work through problems, seize the opportunities as they come along, deal with the crises and challenges as they come along. And that's the way I've always tried to live my life in public service.
ZAHN: Powell's resignation overshadows the departures of three other members of the Bush Cabinet also announced today.
Education Secretary Rod Paige oversaw the No Child Left Behind reforms that emphasized higher standards and frequent testing. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham weathered the Northeastern blackout of 2003. And Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman dealt with the scare over mad cow disease late last year.
But, both at home and abroad, today seem reserved for praising Colin Powell.
JOHN DANFORTH, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: I think Colin Powell is a great person, a great person.
JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Colin's got great energy. He's a man of the utmost integrity.
ZAHN: As for who will be the new face of the Bush administration's international policy, two senior administration officials tell CNN that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is President Bush's choice to replace Powell. They say an announcement could come as early as tomorrow.
ZAHN: And for more now on the international implications of Colin Powell's departure and of Condoleezza Rice's possible move to the State Department, I'm joined by Richard Haass. He's a former director of policy planning at the State Department and is currently president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Good to see you.
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: I want to start off by reading something that Slate.com has in its online version tonight in reaction to Condoleezza Rice being the president's pick -- quote -- "In her four years as national security adviser, Rice has displayed no imagination as a foreign- policy thinker. She was one of the worst national security advisers ever as a coordinator of policy advice. And to the extent she found herself engaged in bureaucratic warfare, she was almost always outgunned by Vice President Dick Cheney or Rumsfeld. If Rumsfeld and his E-Ring gang survive the Cabinet shakeup, Rice may wind up every bit as flummoxed as her predecessor."
Does she have enough foreign policy experience to be secretary of state?
HAASS: Of course. She's been national security adviser four years. Before that, she was the principal adviser during the campaign. Before that, she had been an academic and she had also worked on the National Security Council in the previous Bush administration. So, yes, she has plenty of experience.
Plus, more important, perhaps, or as important, she has a close relationship with the president. And there's no substitute for that.
ZAHN: So, if there's no substitute for that, is she, in fact, the best choice for the next secretary of state?
HAASS: Yes, best choice in some ways. If the president thinks she's the best choice, I'd almost say by definition then she is.
It's important that the president feels comfortable with the secretary of state, because, at the end of the day, the secretary of state is the one person around the table who is most likely to recommend using diplomatic instruments. And it's important that the president get a full menu of possibilities.
ZAHN: Richard, I want to share with you and our audience right now an excerpt of an interview I did with Secretary Powell back in February. And let's all listen to this together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: If President Bush is reelected, do you see yourself playing a role in a second administration?
POWELL: I always serve at the pleasure of the president.
ZAHN: Does he like you?
POWELL: We're great buddies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Was he dumped by the president?
Secretary Powell made clear that it was a mutual agreement. And by that, I took just that, that he wasn't desperate to stay on. I think he was prepared to stay on if the president really asked him to. Clearly, the president is ready to move in a different direction. My reading is, the president really wants a foreign policy team that, perhaps, is more all on the same page, is more of more similar thought. And he also -- if he does choose Condi Rice, that will be a signal that he wants someone who is very close to him running the State Department.
ZAHN: Don't you want countervailing voices in an administration?
HAASS: Sure. And we have had countervailing voices over the last few years.
ZAHN: Countervailing? There was a constant war going on between Secretary of State Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld.
HAASS: Countervailing is a euphemism for many things.
And even with Condi Rice at State, if that is how it turns out, he'll still get countervailing voices. You'll see them -- there's inevitable differences around the table. There's also Congress. There's also the media. Foreign policy is not going to be made in some vacuum where the president is only going to get one set of voices.
ZAHN: The secretary of state pretty much staked his reputation on the run-up to war when he went before the U.N. and pled the U.S. case for war against Iraq. Let's listen to that together now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: How difficult is it for you to deal with having said that?
POWELL: What I said on that day reflected the best judgment, not the cooked judgment, the best honest, well-sourced judgment of the intelligence community.
Intelligence work is not perfect. Sometimes, you get it right. Sometimes, you do make mistakes. Clearly, there were some errors that were made.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAHN: Clearly, that speech you did not hear part of where he got up and he said, my colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources, these are not assertions, what I'm giving you are the facts, that stained his reputation. That hurt his credibility.
HAASS: I wouldn't exaggerate it for two reasons. First of all...
ZAHN: It didn't help him.
HAASS: Certainly, it didn't help.
On the other hand, it was 100 percent what he thought was the case. There was zero effort to mislead the United States or the world or anybody else. Secondly, he vetted that statement carefully. And all I can say is, even though it turned out to be, in part, wrong, Colin Powell took out a lot of information which would have made it far, far worse.
What I'm basically saying is, he did what he thought was his professional best to vet it, to clean it up, to make it accurate. It turns out that pieces of it were not correct. But it wasn't because he or anybody else involved thought that at the time.
ZAHN: So is it painful for him, though, to live with that?
HAASS: Well, it's clearly one of the things that he's going to have to live with, that event.
That said, Paula, take a step back. He was instrumental in bringing the U.N. into the Iraq issue. He got Resolution 1441 passed, which set a much higher standard for Iraqi behavior. So, clearly, yes, Colin Powell wishes that had never happened. On the other hand, I don't think he has anything to be ashamed about when it comes to his role in getting the U.N. involved and bringing about some elements of an international coalition in the run-up to the Iraq war.
ZAHN: You are a friend of Colin Powell's. You worked with him at State Department. I know you spoke with him today. To the extent that you're comfortable sharing any of that conversation with us, can you tell us what he's thinking, what he's feeling?
HAASS: This is a guy who is as comfortable in his own skin as any person I've ever met. He's comfortable with what he did in those four years, both with what he accomplished and what he tried to accomplish.
And I think he's very relaxed with the idea of moving on. This is not someone who is going to be uneasy about it. He gave 100 percent. He feels good about his record. He's comfortable with how history is going to judge him and he's ready to move on to the next phase in his life.
ZAHN: It strikes me that there's got to be a little relief on his part. Here is a man who was diagnosed with cancer and came back to work weeks before anybody thought he would be at the office. And, as Richard Armitage, his deputy, once told me, he was there on a Sunday morning at 7:00 in the morning working.
HAASS: Look, as someone who has left government himself many times, you always leave government with mixed feelings. On one hand, as you say, there's relief.
No one misses the interagency meetings. Trust me. On the other hand, you always leave with a sense of unfinished business, because you never leave at a time when peace has broken out. And my hunch is, Colin Powell will leave with mixed feelings, on one hand, again, relief he doesn't have to go through it all. On the other hand, he sees the possibilities in the Middle East. He sees the job ahead in places like Iraq. And this is somebody who has given a lot to this country and perhaps again will one day have more to give.
ZAHN: If it ends up being that Condoleezza Rice ends up going to State, we hear your name bandied about as someone who might replace her as national security adviser. Is that something you would consider?
HAASS: I think the odds of that happening are somewhere between slim and none, but thank you all the same.
ZAHN: Has anybody asked you in that scenario?
HAASS: No one has asked me.
ZAHN: And you're not expecting it?
HAASS: I'm not sitting by my phone waiting for a call, but, again, thank you very much.
ZAHN: All right, Richard Haas, great to see you. Thanks for stopping by tonight.
Colin Powell's legacy and much more still ahead on PRIME TIME POLITICS.
We'll be back.
ZAHN (voice-over): The storm inside the CIA. As the war on terror rages on, top spies are walking out. Is politics compromising the spy agency?
And the campaign has begun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")
TIM RUSSERT, HOST: If you could, under the Constitution, run for president, would you?
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I have no idea. I haven't thought about that at all. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Should we change the Constitution so one man can run for president?
And that brings us to our PRIME TIME POLITICS voting booth question tonight: Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to allow foreign-born citizens to run for president? Cast your vote at CNN.com/Paula. The results at the end of the hour.
ZAHN: To both his fans and detractors, Colin Powell's place in the Bush administration remains something of a puzzle. The secretary of state has been far more popular than many of the policies he's defended.
He was the point man at the U.N. when he presented evidence of weapons-building in Iraq that proved to be wrong. And his so-called Pottery Barn warning, you break it, you own it, seemed uncannily prophetic as Iraq spun out of control. But though he was often the odd man odd on the team, he remained steadfastly loyal.
POWELL: This is evidence, not conjecture. This is true. This is all well documented.
ZAHN (voice-over): Square-shouldered, the consummate soldier, Colin Powell staked a big part of his reputation on the Iraq war. And, as he once told me, he carries the burden of that choice.
POWELL: Intelligence work is not perfect. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you do make mistakes. Clearly, there were some errors that were made.
ZAHN: But, again and again, he soldiered on for this president as he had in different roles for three before them. And each time, his credibility carried the day.
JAMIE RUBIN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Colin Powell was a moderate voice. He was a voice of caution and prudence and wisdom. And because of the respect he had built up internationally, because of the fact that he had the highest approval ratings of perhaps any figure in American politics, he was listened to.
ZAHN: He is, after all, a man whose doctrine spells out modern military policy on war-making. Don't go it alone. Fight to win. Then win the peace as well.
Colin Powell is the American dream sprung to life, the son of immigrants, raised in the Bronx, schooled at a public college, a Vietnam hero who kept collecting medals. As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he directed the first Gulf War, but could speak to the war in the language of peace. As secretary of state, most foreign leaders trusted him, even while many would not support his call for a second Iraq war.
HERALDO MUNOZ, CHILEAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The diplomatic international committee would recognize him as a man that was responsible, that was capable of listening, as a good negotiator and as a team player because he implemented the policy of President Bush, even though perhaps sometimes he did not fully agree.
ZAHN: Now Powell rejoins a public life where he's free to disagree once again.
ZAHN: And joining me now from Washington to take a closer look at Colin Powell's legacy, former Secretary of Lawrence Eagleburger, who served under the first President Bush.
Always great to have you on the air with us. Thanks for joining us tonight, sir.
LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Good to be here. Right.
ZAHN: So why do you think the president wanted someone new at the State Department?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, I think it's fairly clear that Colin Powell probably wanted to leave and I think it's equally clear that the president probably wanted someone who was more in -- who thought more along the lines the president did. I guess it's as simple as that.
ZAHN: Why do you think Colin Powell was so marginalized during President Bush's first term?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, marginalized, yes, as long as we don't say so marginalized.
He really did make a difference in a number of areas, particularly in Asia, the Middle East. But I think there's no question he was marginalized to some degree on some of the critical issues, including, I suspect, Iraq. I think the answer to that is, he was faced with a combination of the vice president, the secretary of defense, Condoleezza Rice, and most of the time, the president. And that's a pretty tough combination to beat.
ZAHN: Some people say it's a trio or quartet that's all but impossible to beat. Is that in the end what maybe made this job so frustrating for the secretary of state?
EAGLEBURGER: Yes. I think I -- I'm guessing. I don't live with it.
But I would have to say I think that's probably the principal reading, as long as we understand, I'm not writing Colin Powell off as an effective secretary in a whole host of different areas. But, in the end, yes, I think he was beaten by this combination.
ZAHN: What do you think he did right as secretary of state?
EAGLEBURGER: Oh, I think he was very good in his dealings, particularly with issues such as North Korea, where he, in fact, was very instrumental in bringing the Chinese into the six-power talks, which is I think is an absolutely critical move.
I think he's been a sensible advocate on the Middle East and most issues, Asian. And, indeed, I think he's been instrument, to some degree, at least, in taking off some of the rough edges of the way most Europeans look at us right now.
ZAHN: How do you think history will view his legacy, particularly as the U.S. -- in the run-up to war, he led the case for the U.S. before the U.N. and then, just a year or so later, had to admit that the intelligence on which that decision was made was false.
EAGLEBURGER: See, this is one issue on which I just simply don't think there's any importance to the question, in the sense that he went before the U.N. and indeed before the American people and he said what he thought was true.
It turned out to be false. The president said what he thought to was true. It turned out to be false. The vice president said it. The fact of the matter is, I don't think Colin Powell at any point thought he was lying or misleading. And I think any rational person looking at that whole record of his would have to say, OK, he had the wrong information. It was interpreted badly. But that was not Colin Powell's fault. And I, therefore, don't think he can be blamed for anything.
ZAHN: Do you have any insights as what to -- and he clearly has not talked openly about this -- but what it must have been like for him to go up against this troika you talked about or quartet of people who were not in agreement with him, particularly on the issue of Iraq?
EAGLEBURGER: Well, the best I can tell you is, having watched some of it in earlier times, it is very frustrating.
But as has been indicated in your conversations already, he's a very loyal man. He must have been frustrated on occasion. But at the same time, he soldiered on, as he should have. And, by the way, any secretary of state would have to do the same sort of thing, if he was worth his salt, and certainly Colin Powell was a loyal advocate and he did a good job.
ZAHN: What is your thought about Condoleezza Rice? Would she make a good secretary of state?
EAGLEBURGER: That's being too blunt. I have to be careful how I say this because.... (CROSSTALK)
ZAHN: Well, you're not running for anything now. You can be as honest with us as you want to be tonight.
EAGLEBURGER: No, I was hoping maybe I'd get a phone call tomorrow.
EAGLEBURGER: But, anyway -- I'm kidding.
But, anyway, my point is this. She's very bright . She's very capable. I do not believe that you should have in the secretary of state someone who has spent their last four years in the White House next to the president. Unlike some of the conversation you had earlier, I do believe you need some tension between the State Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council.
And if the rumors prove correct and her deputy becomes National Security Council adviser, what you've got there is, everybody is going to speak the same language, talk the same things. And I think what that means is that, whatever influence, for instance, Colin Powell had is going to be much less under these new circumstances.
It is not that I dislike Condoleezza Rice. I think, however, she is not the person for that job for these reasons.
ZAHN: So what are the consequences when you don't have the countervailing voice and you have everybody on the same page? What does that mean for the American public? What does that mean for the safety of this country?
EAGLEBURGER: OK, and this is a tough one to answer because you have to steer between an administration where everyone is at each other's throats all the time and one in which there is too much commonality in their views.
I thought that the first George Bush, he managed a system with General Scowcroft that was superb, in the sense that everybody got to make their case. And everybody got to make the case before the president. And in the end, the president would make his decisions. But nobody ever felt they had been cut out.
I have to tell you, looking at it from afar, my view of this is that it is not always -- and not, in fact, I would say often -- that the president has been given all of the alternatives and given a chance to make his own choices. I want to be careful not to indicate that I think that all this was cooked for him. But when you have everybody thinking the same way, with the exception of the secretary of state in this case, you're bound to get less broad advice than I think the president ought to have.
Well, somehow, I have a feeling that phone call you were hoping for isn't going to happen after this interview, Mr. Eagleburger.
EAGLEBURGER: I'm quite sure of that.
ZAHN: Thank you for your unvarnished look at all of this, this evening.
EAGLEBURGER: All right. Thank you, ma'am.
ZAHN: We appreciate it.
Coming up next, how Powell's resignation and his likely replacement are playing around the world.
ZAHN: For many people around the world leery of President Bush's foreign policy, Colin Powell was the face of moderation. He seemed a lone voice for cooperation in an administration that often appeared determined to go it alone.
To consider how Powell's tenure has been perceived overseas and how Mr. Bush's choice to replace him, Condoleezza Rice, might be received, we're joined by Massimo Calabresi, the diplomatic correspondent for "TIME" magazine. He comes to us from Washington tonight. Also with us from Austin, Texas, Wil Hylton, writer at large for "GQ" magazine. Earlier this year, he interviewed Powell for a revealing article which appeared in "GQ"'s June issue.
Great to have both of you with us.
Wil, I wanted to start with you this evening.
Were you surprised when Secretary Eagleburger just told me on the air he did not think Condoleezza Rice was the right choice for secretary of state, the president's first choice?
WIL HYLTON, "GQ": I'm surprised to hear him say it. I'm not surprised at the content.
What's so strange about the place where we are in the modern discourse is that it's absolutely shocking to hear somebody say something that is as obvious as that. Clearly, the president is tightening his grip and putting somebody who has almost become a mouthpiece for this administration in the State Department, replacing someone who has been incredibly independent. And Eagleburger is absolutely right to point that out. But I was completely surprised to hear him say so publicly, and that's I think a reflection of where we are.
ZAHN: Massimo, though, let's talk a little bit about what Colin Powell has been up against as he's tried to deal with this administration. How lonely has it been for him?
MASSIMO CALABRESI, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, the impression one gets speaking with his aides, the people close to him, the people who know him inside and outside the administration is that he's been very, very frustrated. I think he came in with high hopes of setting a very internationalist agenda, and has been flouted at every turn. So I think it's been frustrating. He...
ZAHN: What changed that, though, Massimo, in the beginning? He came in with those high hopes. Those were dashed pretty quickly.
CALABRESI: They were. It's interesting to go back and read his acceptance speech back in December of 2000. He lays out a very optimistic foreign policy agenda, talks about the opportunities facing the United States. And we learned even back then that Vice President Dick Cheney was very unhappy to see Powell step forward and sort of try and take the reins of foreign policy so aggressively. He didn't mention the president much in the speech. And we understand it was at that moment that Cheney decided it was going to be necessary to rein Powell in. The first time you really saw that was over the Korea issue after the inauguration.
ZAHN: And you basically saw Colin Powell getting a big slap in the face.
CALABRESI: Well, you use the simile you like, but it's -- he said the administration was going to follow the Clinton administration's policy of direct bilateral engagement with the North Koreans, and within 24 hours he had to come out and do a 180-degree turn on that. It was very embarrassing.
ZAHN: Dick -- excuse me, the vice president wasn't the only guy that he had problems with. He also was almost at daily war with Donald Rumsfeld as well, right?
CALABRESI: Yeah. It's sort of ironic. Here's someone with a lot of military experience, Colin Powell, and what ended up happening was Donald Rumsfeld reached across out of the Pentagon and tried to impose his will on a lot of foreign policy issues. So that was a major, major problem for Secretary Powell in his tenure.
ZAHN: What other insights do you have as to what led to the president's decision to allow for him to announce his resignation in advance of the Iraqi elections? Because as I understand it, it was always the feeling that the secretary would stay on at least through the elections, to make some cohesive action there for the new administration.
CALABRESI: Yeah, I can't say I have any piercing insight into the timing of this. I know that Powell was very eager to move on. Friends and colleagues said he was counting the days. So I was a little less surprised by the timing. I think a lot of the talk before the United States presidential election can be seen, perhaps, as a way of protecting Bush from the fact that Powell was planning on leaving, which would have been a political liability for Bush. ZAHN: Well, Massimo Calabresi, we thank you for your insights tonight. I don't think it's anything you or I said, but we did lose Wil Hylton there for a moment. His signal went down, and we apologize to him, that we weren't able to get that back up.
Coming up next, Colin Powell could run for president if he wanted to, but one of the most popular Republicans in the country can't. And now there is a campaign to change the Constitution so Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for the White House down the road.
The controversy over that, next.
ZAHN: Arnold Schwarzenegger is riding a wave of popularity as California's governor, and that has led some people to speculate about his chances of winning a higher office. But under the U.S. Constitution, as it stands now, he cannot become president, that's because Article II says the chief executive must be a natural-born citizen. Well, now some fans of the governor want to change that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You cannot choose the land of your birth. You can choose the land you love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve million people have chosen America. Now America wants to choose them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help us amend the Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: A group called AmendUs.org is behind this ad, which started airing, this particular ad, in California today. Its members say change in the Constitution would give 12 million naturalized citizens a chance to run for president. And to make sure you know which citizens they have in mind, the ad bears the word "AmendForArnold.com."
Joining me now from San Francisco, the woman you just saw in that ad, Lisa Morgenthaler-Jones, co-founder of AmendUs.org. Appreciate you joining us tonight.
LISA MORGENTHALER-JONES, CO-FOUNDER, AMENDUS.ORG: Thank you for having me, Paula.
ZAHN: So do you think the Constitution is flawed, or do you just want to see Arnold have the opportunity to become president?
MORGENTHALER-JONES: You could easily say that the Constitution is not complete. The founders were extremely liberal for their times. They wrote it in a very generous, immigrant-friendly fashion, but 85 years ago, half of the adult population of the United States could not vote. That is you, that is me and that's every other woman in this country. And because we couldn't vote, incidentally, it was assumed we couldn't run for president.
So the founders created the amendment process knowing that this was an imperfect document that future generations would have to fix and adjust slightly.
ZAHN: But you certainly have an uphill battle here, because the reality is, if you're going to get this thing to pass, it has to be approved by two-thirds majority in both Houses, and then you have to get some 38 states to also go with that. It may take seven years to go in effect. Do you think that really is going to happen?
MORGENTHALER-JONES: I actually believe it. I had been saying four to six years. For various reasons, I think we may be closer to four yeas at this point, but it's very interesting what happens when the American people make up their mind.
In 1972, we adjusted the voting age down from 21 to 18. It was ratified three months after Congress passed it. That's how fast that can happen. I do not expect us to set that kind of land speed record, but I also that the 27th Amendment, which we did in 1992, that went right by, I never heard of it, I never saw it, and that was the one that says when Congress can vote themselves a raise. So you know what, looks like this can get done, and sometimes we citizens never even notice.
ZAHN: Let's talk about what the governor of California had to say about this prospect of this perhaps happening down the road when he spoke to "Meet the Press." We'll listen to it together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM RUSSERT, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": If you could under the Constitution run for president, would you?
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, if Sly would help me, I mean, of course I would. I have no idea. I haven't thought about that at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: He hasn't thought about it at all? Come on. He's thought about it, hasn't he?
MORGENTHALER-JONES: He certainly has at this point. I think what you just showed was early February, it was about February 22nd. And since then, that is now, nine months later, yes, he has thought about it, and he loves being governor. He loves doing good things for a state that really needed some good things done for it. And he would like the ultimate compliment that the American people could give, which is that he and the 12 million like him who had enough gumption to get themselves here are worthy of our highest honor.
ZAHN: Do you think he's qualified to become president?
MORGENTHALER-JONES: Well, you could argue he's a lot more qualified than some of the folks we just saw running for president, but I would say he will be far more qualified anywhere between four and six years from now, assuming California decides that they want to reelect him.
Because he -- California is not only the biggest state in the nation. We've got every problem. You want security problems, immigration problems, agriculture, technology, pollution. You name it, we got it. We're the sixth largest economy in the world. It is the best training ground for the United States president.
ZAHN: I know you have a chance to talk to the governor from time to time. What does he think of this campaign? He must be really pleased with you, Lisa.
MORGENTHALER-JONES: I don't know that he's pleased with me. He might have been better pleased if someone who really knew what they were doing was running this. Because we are private citizens. We do not have -- I come from a politically active family, but we -- we tried to things that we think will help the world and then we go back to being private citizens as opposed to some serious political folks like the ones you know, who know how to run a grass roots campaign nationwide.
ZAHN: We appreciate you joining us tonight to talk about your campaign, Lisa Morgenthaler-Jones.
MORGENTHALER-JONES: Thank you for having me.
ZAHN: Appreciate it.
And don't forget to let us know what you think about this. Our PRIME TIME POLITICS "Voting Booth" question tonight is "Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to allow foreign-born citizens to run for president?" Go to CNN.com/Paula to cast your vote. The results at the end of the hour.
The turmoil at the CIA, top spies quit amid rumblings of partisan politics. What's behind the rush to the door at CIA headquarters? I'll be talking with Senator Hagel.
ZAHN: Some significant departures over the CIA seem to have a cloak and dagger aspect. Two agency veterans, Steven Kappes and Michael Sulick, who ran the CIA's clandestine services, resigned today, reportedly after angry clashes with aides brought in by the new CIA director, Porter Goss.
Some intelligence insiders say the Bush White House has ordered Goss to purge the agency for political reasons.
For more perspective on the shakeups in the Bush administration, both at the CIA and the State Department, I spoke with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: Senator, the White House denies there's any purging under way at the CIA. Yet, you and I have seen the same quotes of unnamed CIA officials who say the Bush administration is targeting people it believes are obstructing the president's agenda. What's the truth?
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Well, I don't know what the truth is, Paula. But I would hope that what you have just stated is not true.
The world that we live in today is far too dangerous to be trying to purge intelligence community agencies, something as important, especially, as the CIA. I hope that Porter Goss is working his way along through a realignment and reorganization.
When new directors come in, people leave. Those things happen.
We have to be very careful here that we do not eliminate an entire top level of experienced, knowledgeable CIA people, because this business is not about rearranging boxes. It's about culture and experience and relationships and people. So it has to be done carefully.
ZAHN: Do you have reason to believe that some people will be let go because they're perceived as too liberal and not serving the president's agenda?
HAGEL: Well, I -- I hope that isn't the litmus test or the conditions under which Porter Goss is reorganizing the CIA.
It seems to me the most relevant question to ask is each individual in our intelligence community competent, accountable and responsible for the security of this country. That's the first issue here.
Obviously, the president is the president of the United States. Obviously, he is the CEO of our government. But just as important as the president is, so is the Congress. We have oversight responsibilities. We are constitutionally mandated to that.
So we need to work this in a team, not just one part of the government making all the decisions here.
ZAHN: Some of your colleagues seem pretty distressed by what's going on in the CIA, Representative Jane Harman saying over the weekend that the CIA was in a freefall. Senator McCain, a close friend of yours, saying that the CIA is dysfunctional.
How would you characterize the state of the CIA today?
HAGEL: Well, I think the CIA has absorbed a lot of body blows, Paula, that maybe they don't deserve.
Let's go back to September 11, 2001. I think -- at least it is my opinion that we all must bear some responsibility for what happened there. Let's go to the FBI. Let's go to the Justice Department.
HAGEL: Mr. Clarke wrote a book about what was going on or not going on in the White House. The Congress has to take some responsibility.
So I don't think the CIA is dysfunctional. Does it need some reshaping, reorganizing and refocusing? Yes, institutions do. But to say it's dysfunctional is just not true.
ZAHN: Senator Hagel, finally tonight, we talked an awful lot about the resignation of Colin Powell. He has always said he served at the pleasure of the president. Do you think, had the president really wanted him to stay on, he would have stayed on?
HAGEL: Well, I think that that's correct. I don't know all the insight of that, but I think if the president wanted him to stay, he would have stayed.
I always have believed that the president should have his own team. He deserves that. He must have his own team.
But I think Colin Powell leaving is going to put a big hole in our national security apparatus, our operation, our foreign policy. His four years of service there was very critical. He gave a dimension of wise council to the war council that was, I think, very important. And with his absence, I hope there's another voice that can fill in with the same stature that Colin Powell had.
ZAHN: A lot of speculation that person may be Condoleezza Rice. Can she fill his shoes?
HAGEL: Well, again, we'll let the president make a decision and make an announcement as to who he's going to replace Colin Powell with. Certainly, Dr. Rice has strong qualifications.
I don't know how all this plays out from the bigger perspective of where these new secretary designates are going to come from. But I would say this.
I think it's always important for an organization to have fresh new energy and ideas to come into that structure. I'm always concerned about using the same people and recycling the same people, just putting them in new jobs.
ZAHN: Do you think the secretary of state was marginalized by the Bush administration?
HAGEL: I would say that the Bush administration did not listen to Colin Powell as much as some of us would have liked him to listen to Colin Powell. But that said, the president makes is the final choice on all the issues, and that's as it should be.
I believe when the history is written over the last four years, it will be remarkable as to the contributions that Powell made in the sense of probably what he stopped from happening.
ZAHN: Senator Hagel, always good to have your perspective.
HAGEL: Thank you.
ZAHN: Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
ZAHN: We want to make it clear that the senator and I spoke earlier this afternoon before administration officials told CNN that the president wants Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state.
In just a moment, we're going to head up to Capitol Hill where it's a whole new world for newly elected members of Congress. Today is freshman orientation. We're going to tag along with one new member right after this.
ZAHN: Congress convenes tomorrow for a lame duck session. A class of newcomers will be waiting in the wings, hoping to make its own mark on Capitol Hill.
And Ed Henry looks at one new arrival who's already created quite a buzz for knocking off an incumbent with a glamorous show biz name.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Freshman orientation for new members of Congress is just like the first day of school. There's the class photo and long days in the classroom, learning the nuts and bolts of setting up offices.
REP. ELECT GEOFF DAVIS (R), KENTUCKY: Reminded me a lot of starting my business. A lot of basics. We're looking at staffing requirements, budget needs.
HENRY: When you're one of 38 newbies, it's hard to stand out. But Congressman-elect Geoff Davis doesn't have that problem. He beat Nick Clooney, father of Hollywood star George Clooney.
That was satisfying, and Davis says his new colleagues are already teasing him about it.
DAVIS: It was a great experience. We were very pleased with that.
HENRY: This Republican is also easy to remember because he has the same name as the former president of the confederacy.
DAVIS: I tell people Kentucky is famous for two Jefferson Davis'. We can be bipartisan.
HENRY: Like the first day of school, everyone's dressed to the nines, in this case, mostly the standard Washington uniform of a blue suit with red tie. It takes some getting used to for this former manufacturing consultant.
DAVIS: I don't know. Working in the factory, you never wore a tie. So it was a slightly more formal environment, just the uniform for the job.
HENRY: These Democrats and Republicans arrived at the airport on Saturday brimming with idealism. They believe they can do anything, and they're actually getting along.
HOUSE ADMIN. CHAIRMAN BOB NEY (R), OHIO: Everybody's a freshman, so at least this week it's friendly.
HENRY: That's likely to change, of course, when they get down to business in January. For now, the gentleman from Kentucky is taking it one step at a time.
(on camera) Do you have a parking spot yet?
DAVIS: I haven't thought that far in advance, but we did get our Blackberries. So we're -- we're now connected.
HENRY: Davis is dreading his real estate search in pricey Washington. Renting a studio apartment, he says, will cost more per month than the mortgage on his house in the Bluegrass State, a price he's willing to pay to take his seat in the class of 2004.
ZAHN: We wish that brand new class a lot of luck. That was Ed Henry, reporting for us tonight.
We'll be back with results of our "Voting Booth" question. Please stay with us.
ZAHN: And here are the results of tonight's PRIME TIME POLITICS "Voting Booth" question. We asked, "Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to allow foreign-born citizens to run for the president?" Twelve percent of you said yes; 88 percent said no.
Remember, this isn't a scientific poll, just the opinions of those of you who went to our web site. We always appreciate your logging on.
And that is it for PRIME TIME POLITICS for tonight. Tomorrow night, a woman who was beaten and abused during 16 days as a hostage in Iraq until she finally talked her way to freedom. She'll be telling us her story for the first time. We hope you'll join us then.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. "American Idol" star Clay Aiken joins him tonight.
Again, thanks for joining us tonight. We'll be back same time, same place tomorrow. Good night.
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