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CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER

Interview With Senators Hagel, Feinstein; Interview With Bob Dole

Aired April 17, 2005 - 12:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 6:00 p.m. in Rome and 8:00 p.m. in Baghdad. Wherever you're watching, from around the world, thanks very much for joining us for "LATE EDITION."
We'll talk with two key members of the Senate Intelligence Committee in just a moment.

First, though, let's get a quick check of what's in the news right now.

(NEWSBREAK)

We're joined, now, by the two key members of the Senate Intelligence Committee: in Los Angeles, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California; and here in Washington, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. He's also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senators, welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, I'll start with you. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, will you vote to confirm the nomination of John Bolton as the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N.?

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: At this point, I will, Wolf, but I have been troubled with more and more allegations, revelations, coming about his style, his method of operation.

We need a uniter. We need a builder. We need someone who will reach out to our friends and our allies at the United Nations.

No question the United Nations needs reform. It badly needs reform. But we need someone who will go up there and develop confidence with the other ambassadors.

And when you think of the people that we have sent up there in the past, people of immense status: the first President Bush, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Adlai Stevenson. These were unifiers and builders and that's a rare skill set that needs to be applied.

So, right now, if there's nothing more that comes out, I will vote for Bolton. BLITZER: One of the issues on the agenda is how he treated subordinates while he was at the State Department in the Intelligence Committee, including one of your own staffers right now, a young former State Department analyst, Rexon Ryu. I think that's how his last name is pronounced.

That if he disagreed with some of these analysts, some of the Democratic members of the Foreign Relations Committee alleged, he simply tried to get them fired. Talk a little bit about that specific issue and your thoughts on Rexon Ryu.

HAGEL: Well, first, Rexon is a fellow over in my office from the State Department. He is a highly regarded State Department official. He worked closely with Secretary Powell, Deputy Secretary Armitage and others when he was there.

He never mentioned this to me, to his credit. He's a professional. He never once tried to influence my sense of where Bolton was or anything about Bolton.

This came out independent of any allegation that Rexon made to me or any information he gave me about this. So, there's no question about how well thought of this young man is.

Now, the allegation itself, it is a disturbing pattern of things that have come out about Bolton's management style, this intimidation. We cannot have that at the United Nations. That should not be anywhere in our government. If there's disagreement, there's disagreement. But to intimidate or to bully people is something that is not what we want in our government, especially at the very senior, responsible, high-level positions.

BLITZER: Senator Lugar, Senator Lugar says he will hold a vote in the committee on Tuesday. Is that adequate, enough time for you to weigh all these issue?

HAGEL: Well, we've had a couple of weeks to really look in-depth at these issues. Now, some of these revelations have just come out. The Rexon issue has just come out in the last few days. There's another allegation by a woman in Texas as to how Bolton handled an issue while he was in private practice. The Democrats will work that out with chairman Lugar. But I think Chairman Lugar's been fair here. And I think he's given the Democrats enough time.

BLITZER: Let me bring Senator Feinstein into this discussion. I wanted you to listen to what a former State Department intelligence official, Carl Ford, told the committee in recent days. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL FORD, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL: He's a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy. There are a lot of them around. I'm sure you've met them. But the fact is that he stands out, that he's got a bigger kick and it gets bigger and stronger the further down the bureaucracy he's kicking. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Senator Feinstein, you're not a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. But if it comes to a vote on the full floor, how will you vote?

FEINSTEIN: I will not vote for him. What was dispositive for me was a letter that I received signed by 60 former ambassadors, which in essence said don't do it and laid out rationale for that conclusion.

You know, the United States has many problems with most of the world today. And it seems to me that the type of person you would send to be our ambassador to the United Nations would be a uniter, not a divider, would be someone who can get along, who can work with colleagues, who has an understanding and appreciation and is able to practice diplomacy. I don't see that in John Bolton.

You know, he sort of cracks the crockery. And I don't think that's what we want up there right now.

So I really think that the basic point is whether he can be effective in the environment in which he's going to have to work. And I think his past, you know, episodes with people who are below him on the spectrum are an indication of how he might, perhaps, treat small countries, other people in the United Nations.

Because we have real points of difference with the U.N. on many subjects. And I think you want someone that can fire away to patch up the differences and put together a working, solvent, effective United Nations where the United States can play a respected role of leadership. I don't see this man doing that. And for that reason, I will vote against him.

BLITZER: All right. Let's move on to other issues. Both of you are members of the Intelligence Committee. There was that recent report put out by a presidential commission on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or lack thereof.

Among the conclusions, among the various conclusions of the commission, one is this: "The flaws we found in the intelligence community's Iraq performance are still all too common. Across the board, the intelligence community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the world's most dangerous actors."

"In some cases," the report says, "it knows less than it did five or ten years ago."

Senator Hagel, that's shocking, that given the amount of money, the resources the U.S. intelligence community is devoting to this nuclear issue after 9/11, that this report comes up with that conclusion.

HAGEL: Well, the good news is, Wolf -- not to diminish your analysis, which I think is the conclusion that we all have come to, that it's shocking -- the good news is that we have structured a intelligence community dynamic with the new law that the president signed in December, to bring our intelligence capabilities under one accountable, responsible individual.

Fifteen intelligence agencies were all over the place. In many cases were not talking to each other; in many cases, intentionally playing games with each other. Now we have a structure that could deal with this. That doesn't fix it. But it goes a long way at least structuring it.

BLITZER: It does suggest -- let me bring Senator Feinstein in -- that when it comes to North Korea and Iran and their nuclear ambitions, there's so much the U.S. simply does not know right now.

FEINSTEIN: Well, I think the basic problem is that our intelligence structure was basically developed post-World War II to deal with state-to-state intelligence -- KGB versus the CIA.

We're now in a world where nonstate actors have a really unprecedented role, in a culture that we do not understand very well; namely the Muslim Islamic culture. And our inability I think so far to develop an effective human intelligence structure is really what's come out in this report and other reports for me.

Additionally, I think the system of so-called "collecting the dots collection" and then, secondly, analysis, where intelligence differs, is not adequate. I think that's really the first job. I have a lot of faith in Ambassador Negroponte and General Hayden. I think General Hayden is an excellent detail man. He has a very sound reputation.

I think if he can develop and coordinate the mission managers provided for in the intelligence reform bill to really be effective and develop an oversight over the entire community, where you can set strategy, where you can determine who's doing what and you can adequately red-team intelligence to develop the most accurate, pin- point intelligence is where we need to go.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, John Negroponte is going to be the first national intelligence director. General Michael Hayden will be his deputy, the outgoing director of the National Security Agency.

When I was in Iraq, though, a couple of weeks ago, I came away based on all sorts of briefings that I was getting that, even in Iraq right now, despite the presence of 150,000, 140,000 U.S. troops, despite a government now that's emerging, an Iraqi government that supports the U.S. and its coalition partners, there's still incredibly poor intelligence on the nature of insurgency, who these insurgents are, where they're coming from, where they're getting their equipment and money. In other words, human intelligence in Iraq seems to be lacking.

HAGEL: It is lacking. It's lacking in most all of these very complicated, dangerous parts of the world. You have just named a couple of them. Senator Feinstein talked about a couple. And that is our weakness. There's no question about it.

We're going to have to develop and work and build a human intelligence network that we've let erode over many years. That's why I mention, Wolf, the good news being not just the structure, but I think the focus on this. Intelligence is about relationships. It's about hard work. It's about culture. It's about people -- all these things coming together.

And that is, I think, the largest gap and most vulnerable gap in Iraq for us today. We still do not understand this insurgency, who's behind it, how many, where the power base is, where the financing comes from. And it's going to take time to build that capability.

BLITZER: What about that, Senator Feinstein? We'll take a quick break, but let me press you on this point. Is the intelligence information you're getting on what's happening in Iraq now adequate?

FEINSTEIN: No. I don't believe it is. But I think it's a struggle. I think developing the kind of human intelligence we need is a struggle. I think Senator Hagel is absolutely right. You know, I think we're very good in signals intelligence and tracking armies as they cross continents, that kind of thing.

But getting into an insurgency is a whole different thing. And when I was last in Iraq, in December, and I think this insurgency, at the time, in any event, we were told was 75 percent Sunni; the remainder, perhaps foreign fighters. But we have not yet come to terms with the vanquished.

In other words, I am very worried about an outbreak of sectarian violence that is perpetuated and grows in these next few months. And I think it's really necessary for the Shia leadership to bring the Sunnis and some of the former military really out of where they are today, into a focus, so that the constitution, when it goes to the ballot in the fall, can pass.

The constitution can't pass if there are three provinces which, by two-thirds vote, vote against the constitution. It will not pass. And that would be a very hard point to move over. So, I think it's very important what happens in this next month in dealing with the Sunni part of the insurgency.

BLITZER: Senator Feinstein, Senator Hagel, both of you please stand by. We have lots more to talk about. We're going to take a quick break. We'll raise the issue of the house Republican leader Tom DeLay and charges of ethics, ethical problems.

Then, picking the next pope. We'll get special insight from three experts on the eve of the papal conclave at the Vatican. And later, former Republican presidential candidate and senate majority leader, World War II veteran Bob Dole talks about his new book, "One Soldier's Story."

"LATE EDITION" will continue right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Our Web Question of the Week asks this: Will the new Iraqi government bring more stability to the country? You can cast your vote. Go to cnn.com\lateedition. We'll have the results later on this program.

And we welcome your questions about choosing the next pope. You can e-mail us right now. Go to lateedition@cnn.com. That's where you can mail your questions. We'll try to read some of them on the air to our guests.

Straight ahead, more of our conversation with Senators Chuck Hagel and Dianne Feinstein.

You're watching "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION." We're continuing our discussion with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.

Are you among...

(AUDIO GAP)

HAGEL: ... when ethics charges are leveled against any one, especially a leader of your own party.

BLITZER: Enough that you think maybe he should step down as leader of the Republicans in the House?

HAGEL: I think that's an issue that Majority Leader DeLay and the Republican caucus in the House have to decide.

BLITZER: So at this point, you just want to stay away from that?

HAGEL: Well, at this point, I'm a United States Senator. And I'm on the other side of the Capitol, and I think it's really up to the House Republicans to work this out.

BLITZER: What do you think, Senator Feinstein? You've heard all the allegations, the charges. No criminal wrongdoing, at least nothing formally filed yet.

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't know all the particulars. I do know some of the charges.

What bothers me is the Republicans, when things aren't going their way, tend to try to change the rules. And that certainly happened in the Ethics Committee. And I think that's responsible for a lot of the concern. If that hadn't been done, the regular process of handling these things in the House would have taken place.

And of course, over in the Senate, with respect to judges, we have somewhat a similar problem. And that is that because out of 205 judges, we haven't confirmed 10 submitted by the president and have chosen to filibuster those, the Republicans want to break the filibuster rule. And I think that's a big problem. During the Clinton years, I was on the Judiciary Committee. I've been there for 12 years now. There were 60 Clinton judges that were essentially pocket-filibustered. One person would keep that individual from getting a hearing, a markup or going to the floor. And 60 Clinton judges went down because Republicans wouldn't move them out of the committee.

BLITZER: If they, Senator Feinstein, if the Republicans change the rules and prevent the filibuster from being used to kill a judicial nominee, will you go nuclear, the Democrats, and really bring the Senate to a halt?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't think -- I have heard no discussion of that whatsoever.

And I think my hope is that there are reasonable Republicans who understand that it's not the right thing to do. When you can't get your way, to change the rules.

And much of how the Senate is set up, is different from the house. We're meant to be a deliberative body. The filibuster is there for a reason. It has only been used on occasion, and those occasions are few and far between.

Nonetheless, it serves to provide the minority with certain rights that are not present in the House. And we've always taken pride in that the Senate is different from the House.

BLITZER: Senator Hagel, your friend, Senator McCain, Republican, good conservative, says it would be shortsighted for the Republicans to go ahead and change the rules regarding a filibuster. Because one of these days, the Democrats are going to be in the majority. The Republicans will the in the minority. And guess what, you may want to use that filibuster then.

HAGEL: Well, I think Senator McCain's argument is a good one, but I would make a little deeper argument here as to how we have to be very careful.

It seems to me, we have two very important issues that are about to collide unless cooler heads prevail.

One is the rights of minorities in the Senate, and Senator Feinstein is absolutely correct. The United States Senate is a very unique institution. One of the reasons it is, it is at the core of its responsibilities, the protection of minority rights. That is very important.

And the other interest that is important, and we have some constitutional obligation for, is advising consent for presidential nominees, including giving those presidential nominees a vote.

So, those two interests are about to collide here, and I think what Senator McCain is saying is obviously correct. But I would go even deeper to say, it's important that we protect the institution of the Senate and the tools of minority rights because if those are eroded, you will then put the institution on a slippery slope to keep -- by straight majority vote. By saying this rule's going to change. This rule's going to change.

BLITZER: So, let me just try to pin you down on this. If it comes down to changing the rules on a filibuster, will you go along with Senator McCain or your majority leader, Senator Bill Frist?

HAGEL: I've said that I have not made a decision. I have not made a decision. If I have to make one, I will. But I've said to both sides, don't include me in your count right now.

I do not like this approach. It's a dangerous approach. It's an irresponsible approach. And it further erodes the constitutional minority rights element of the Senate.

BLITZER: Senator Frist, the majority leader, Senator Feinstein, is participating next Sunday, a week from today in a religious event to try to get the rules changed, to eliminate the filibuster, arguing that this filibuster, among the sponsors of this event, and I'm quoting now, "is being used against people of faith."

Is he going too far in aligning himself with that concept?

FEINSTEIN: Yes, I think so. I think it's a very dangerous, extreme thing. I think there is no telling what it might launch. It's entirely false.

You know, we saw for the first time -- this cropped up in the Judiciary Committee some time ago, when members were called anti- Catholic because they wouldn't consent to approve a certain judge. That was, I think, bone-chilling. This carries it even a step further.

And I just cannot believe that Bill Frist would do this. I think Chuck Hagel, you know, has really stated the case very reasonably and very well and very accurately.

This goes beyond the pail. And I think to touch on something that is deeply personal with people, their religion, their respect and belief in God, how they practice their religion, what religion they are, is really out of bounds. And I think if certain leaders are going to use this to get their way, it's going to launch a very terrible time in American politics.

BLITZER: Let me let Senator Hagel respond. Go ahead.

HAGEL: Well, I would only add that we have to be very careful here, it seems to me.

BLITZER: When you say "we," you mean Republicans?

HAGEL: The country. The country. Certainly, I'm a Republican. And I would include "we" as Republicans in the larger "we." When we talk religion and government, neither should become an instrument for the other. And I see drifting here in different directions that are I don't think healthy, for our country. BLITZER: Would you be happier if Senator Frist didn't participate in this event next Sunday?

HAGEL: Well, I'm not going to second-guess Bill Frist's decisions. He makes his own decisions for his own reasons. I know Bill's very responsible. He's a very effective leader. He makes decisions not only based on what he believes but what he thinks is in the interest to the Republican majority in the Senate. And I respect that.

But again I say neither religion nor government should become an instrument for the other.

BLITZER: One final question to you, Senator Hagel: Are you thinking of running for president in 2008?

HAGEL: I'd said that I'd make a decision about my political future after the election next year.

BLITZER: After the election in November of 2006?

HAGEL: Yes.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Senator Hagel, for joining us, as usual. I appreciate it very much.

Senator Feinstein, thanks to you, as well.

FEINSTEIN: You're welcome, Wolf.

BLITZER: And this follow-up to our newsmaker interview last Sunday with Iraq's new president, Jalal Talabani in Baghdad. At one point, I asked him whether there was any difference in his mind between the Jordanian-born terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the Iraqi Shiite military leader, Muqtada al-Sadr. His reply was "no."

His aides later told us that President Talabani misunderstood the question. He does see a significant difference, they say, between the two, noting that al-Zarqawi is a hard-core terrorist who randomly kills women and children while al-Sadr, according to them, has, quote, "laid down his arms and uses peaceful means," they say, to express his opinion.

Coming up, as we count down to tomorrow's conclave at the Vatican, we'll get insight into who has the inside track to succeed Pope John Paul II. But up next, a quick check of what's in the news right now including the latest on Shiite hostages being held by Sunni militants in Iraq. Stay with "LATE EDITION."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION."

Tomorrow 115 cardinals from 52 countries will begin the conclave to elect the 264th successor to Saint Peter. For some perspective on how this historic conclave might unfold, we're joined now by three guests. In New York, John Peter Pham; he's a former Vatican diplomat, and author of the book, "Heirs of the Fisherman: Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession." Here in Washington, Chester Gillis; he's chairman of the theology department at Georgetown University, and the author of the important book, "Roman Catholicism in America." And Father David O'Connell is the president of the Catholic University of America, which is here in Washington.

Welcome to all of you to "LATE EDITION."

Father O'Connell, I'll begin with you, and there's no way of predicting how long this will take, the election of a new pope, but do you suspect it will be a matter of a few days or a few weeks?

FATHER DAVID O'CONNELL, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't think it's going to be a matter of a few weeks. If you look at the last several conclaves, you know -- Pope John Paul II, six ballots; Pope John Paul I, four ballots; Pope Paul VI, eight ballots -- and if you track them back, a relatively brief amount of time.

I really don't think this is going to carry on for a long time.

BLITZER: So, by this week, two, three, four days, do you think, we should know?

O'CONNELL: If I were a betting man, which I'm not, I'm guessing that maybe by Thursday, April 21st, we'll have a new pope elected.

BLITZER: John Peter Pham, what do you think?

JOHN PETER PHAM, AUTHOR: Well, I agree with Father. The modern age calls for a rapid movement: the news cycle, expectations of people are now connected in a way never before. And I think that's why John Paul built into his legislation in 1996 governing the election of a successor the possibility that, if things get out of hand, if one goes to very old historic patterns of a drawn-out conclave, a mechanism to speed things up. It's a very complex mechanism, but it's put in there. So I couldn't anticipate a scenario where this would go much longer than a week.

On the other hand, those new dynamics introduced by the new mechanisms could play havoc with our historical speculation.

BLITZER: And you're specifically referring to the fact that right now you need a two-thirds majority to be elected pope, but that could go to a simple majority after several ballots.

PHAM: Right, Wolf.

Currently, in fact, since 1179, it's required a two-thirds or two-thirds plus one majority of the cardinals to elect a pope.

However, John Paul provides for the possibility that, after 34 ballots, which is really just over a week, since they take four ballots a day, if a supermajority of two-thirds is not achieved, the cardinals may by simple majority decide how to proceed.

Now, what's important to note is that it's not simple majority to elect. They could decide by simple majority, for example, to limit the options to the top two vote-getters in the previous ballot or some other means.

And so that introduces a whole new question and a whole new dynamic into this process.

BLITZER: Do you want to weigh in, Chester Gillis, on this?

CHESTER GILLIS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I agree that I think it will be a relatively short conclave.

In this scenario that Professor Pham just described, it would mean that they really were deadlocked about, for simplicity purpose, you might say a conservative, or against a progressive. And they may say, we're going to hold out until we can agree on a simple majority, and those who might know they have sufficient votes could hold out until the 34 votes are over and get their person in, even without two- thirds.

I think it's very unlikely. I think they are already thinking this through. People will emerge within the first day or two. But sometimes the person who's first on the first day, it appears, at least historically, what we can discern, falls back in the voting, and then someone comes to the fore.

John Paul II was one such candidate.

BLITZER: And all of this is happening totally behind closed doors. We will have no idea what's going on unless somebody leaks any of this information to a friend or a colleague or another senior cardinal over the age of 80, not directly participating, and word gets out. That's possible that could happen, but it's probably pretty unlikely. Is there any way of knowing, Father O'Connell, whether Pope John Paul II indicated a preference to all these cardinals, almost all of whom he personally appointed?

O'CONNELL: I think it's highly unlikely that he would have done that. It just...

BLITZER: That would be a powerful impact on these cardinals, if he had said, you know, I like X or Y.

O'CONNELL: Yes. I think he was very concerned about the process. He wrote that constitution to make some adjustments to the process.

Not only do I think it would be unlikely, but I think it would be unseemly for him to have done that. I just don't think it would have been in character for him to give the nod to someone or indications or hints about that.

BLITZER: Professor Pham, do you agree? PHAM: I would agree. I think definitely popes may influence the succession by who they appoint as cardinals, but they also recognize that, in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church, there's one proverb that keeps popping up with regard to conclaves: "He who enters the pope leaves a cardinal."

And the cardinals have historically been very jealous of their electoral privilege and their right of franchise, and very often a candidate who is favored too much finds himself facing the ire of his confreres.

So I think John Paul may have indicated certainly by his life and his example, and also perhaps some of the issues that he left unaddressed, the way to go, or the candidates to whom they might have to look to to resolve those unresolved tensions, and as well as to carry on what has already been begun.

But I don't think there has been a candidate who's been appointed or anointed, so to speak.

BLITZER: Professor Gillis, I want to put some numbers up on the screen to show our viewers the breakdown of these 115 cardinal electors.

If you take a look: 28 are from Europe, not including Italy; another 21 from Latin America; 20 from Italy directly; 14 from the U.S. and Canada -- 11 of those from the U.S., 3 from Canada -- 11 from Africa; 11 from Asia.

This is a big election for Italy. Chester Gillis, how important is it to the Italians that the next pope is Italian?

GILLIS: I think that for many Italians they think it's the kind of natural seat of the papacy is Italy. They've had it for 455 years consecutively until John Paul II. I think many of them would like it to be back.

Also, you notice the preponderance of the cardinals are European, still 49 percent European. Now, they don't all agree with each other on the direction of the church or even on the legacy of this pope particularly, if they want to follow it exactly. So you may find some division there.

But if the Italians were to gather together and say we really need to bring the papacy back to Italy and had some alliance with a number of Europeans, it would be a significant voting bloc.

Now, they don't always vote in blocs per se. They vote independently, one person one vote. But over time, blocs do tend to naturally...

BLITZER: Father O'Connell, there's some suggestion, though, that they don't really care that much about the nationality of the candidate. They care about the candidate and what he brings to the table. Is there an Italian, for example a cardinal, that is so popular, so prestigious, so important that he comes to the table as the frontrunner?

O'CONNELL: I think in this particular conclave, we don't have what we've seen in other conclaves: a really clear frontrunner. I think there is some questions, and I think you're right when you say the nationality is not the most important thing. I think the age question is going to be a factor.

I think...

BLITZER: You think they'll want somebody a little bit older than the 58 years that John Paul II was when he became pope.

O'CONNELL: That seems to be the feeling that is emerging, that they want someone who is a little bit older, a little bit more seasoned and tested.

I think the question of whether a person is a member of a religious order, versus a member of the diocesan clergy is a serious question. The ability of the person to speak multiple languages, the ability of a person to travel, the ability to of the person really to reach out to a global audience, these are going to be the things that are of major concern to the cardinals and not so much where the cardinal is from.

BLITZER: All right, we're going to pick that up with Professor Pham and continue our conversation.

But let's take a quick break. When we come back, we'll take a closer look inside the conclave with our panel. "LATE EDITION" will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The final Mass for Pope John Paul II held yesterday at the Vatican. The service marked the end of nine official days of mourning for the late pope.

Welcome back to "LATE EDITION." We're continuing our conversation with former Vatican diplomat John Peter Pham; Georgetown University theology professor Chester Gillis; and Father David O'Connell, the president of Catholic University of America.

Professor Pham, the whole notion of an Italian pope is one thing. But what about this debate that the next pope should be non-European, should come from Latin America, Africa or perhaps someplace else?

PHAM: Well, certainly what will be important will be the qualities that the next pope brings to his office. Father O'Connell mentioned some of those: linguistic quality, his perspective and vision, his ability to communicate the ideas that he's called upon to speak out about.

That being said, however, there's a lot to be said about the concerns of the developing world, the global south, the parts of the world where the Catholic Church is growing. Whereas growth has essentially stagnated in Europe and to a certain extent in North America, the church is growing by leap and bounds in places like Africa, South Asia, Latin America.

In Africa, the church grows at approximately five percent per year. The number of its clergy have nearly doubled during the 26 years that John Paul was pope.

So there's something to be said about giving that dynamic part of the church greater attention. Most definitely that will be a priority, no matter who is pope. But certainly it will be a powerful sign that the pope himself came from that part of the church.

BLITZER: Professor Gillis, is it your thought that this notion of a -- and you raised this issue before: liberal versus conservative pope, the kind of thinking that Americans have on some of these sensitive issues. Whether, you know, the ordination of women or birth control or homosexuality -- are these issues that will be under the microscope as these 115 cardinals weigh their options?

GILLIS: Not through the prism of the American eye, I don't think. What we consider to be the most principal issues for the church are usually not at the top of the agenda for the universal church. It isn't, after all, a world church. And some of these issues do play out in other places.

But sometimes they don't. That won't make them disappear, however. Everyone knows that these are issues that the church will have to face, among other issues, such as the shortage of priests, even though...

BLITZER: The issue of celibacy, for example.

GILLIS: Well, celibacy is related to or can be related to the shortage of priests. Some would argue if there were a noncelibate priesthood you would have more priests entering and, therefore, that would be, that would address that issue of the shortage.

BLITZER: And if women, for example, could become priests.

GILLIS: Well, if women were ordained, I think that's highly unlikely after John Paul's pronouncements on this issue. Although he advanced women in many ways, here there was a certain barrier that he put up I think that's a very high one, that I don't think that these cardinals...

BLITZER: I guess what I'm trying to get to, Father O'Connell, is this notion: Are these issues which are so debated among Catholics and non-Catholics, here in the United States and around the world, are these issues that are really debated in a conclave that's about to begin tomorrow?

O'CONNELL: I don't think they'll be issues that will be debated in the conclave. But I do think they are issues that are very much in the minds and hearts of many of the cardinals who will be there. Their focus is going to be: Who can lead this global church in the 21st century? That is going to be their concern.

Who can command respect? Who can provide the vision and the sense of hope for the church into this century and into this new millennium? I think that's going to be the primary thing: Who can be a leader?

And I think also the question of how the Vatican will be structured and administered will also be an issue that they will have in their minds.

BLITZER: Professor Pham, I know this is dangerous territory to even start mentioning names. But go ahead: Give us some names that you think we should be on the lookout for, as potential, potential popes, beginning with the two or three you think are highest possibilities.

PHAM: Well, if you look at the bookmakers -- and like Father, I'm not a betting man -- but if you look at the bookmakers, they're giving Cardinal Ratzinger, the dean of the college, very high marks. I still don't see him as elected pope, but I see him as a kingmaker. That's unlikely that a man would be elected pontiff who Ratzinger would oppose or would put out that he did not favor the candidacy of. Looking back to the Italians, certainly Dionigi Tettamanzi, the archbishop of Milan, is another figure who stands out there. He heads the largest diocese in Europe, and he's been careful to be opening to both sides. When he was archbishop of Genoa he welcomed the anti- globalization protesters. Yet he also maintains very close ties with the conservative Catholic movement Opus Dei.

Another Italian that pops up there is Angelo Skola, a little younger, 63, the patriarch of Venice, which has given the Holy See three popes in the 20th century. Skola's an intellectual. He's also been quite active in dialogue with Islam. He founded a magazine that's published in English, Arabic and Urdu to encourage Catholic- Muslim dialogue.

BLITZER: So those are three names. Unfortunately, we are all out of time. But those are three names we'll be looking for. And I'm sure there will be other names, lots of other names that will be coming up. But we have to leave it, unfortunately, right there.

We'll be talking about this extensively over the next several days. If you're right, only the next few days. If you're wrong, we'll be talking about it for the next few weeks. And we'll see what happens.

But Father O'Connell, Professor Pham, Professor Gillis, I want to thank all of you for joining us. Appreciate it very much. We'll be watching the conclave. And stay with CNN for continuing coverage, beginning tomorrow morning, of the conclave in the Vatican.

Don't forget our Web question of the week: Will the new Iraqi government bring more stability to the country? You can cast your vote. Go to cnn.com/lateedition. We'll have the results in the next hour. You can also e-mail us some questions for our guests. Simply e-mail us at lateedition@cnn.com. We'll try to read some of those questions on the air.

Coming up, we'll talk with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski about Iraq and other global flashpoints. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: This is "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking forward to the next four years, working on this agenda, working with friends and allies to continue the spread of freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: From Osama bin Laden to nuclear nations to Middle East peace, we'll assess the international flashpoints with two senior statesmen: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

On the eve of the first meeting of the conclave, we'll speak with CNN's Vatican analyst, John Allen, about the century's old tradition for choosing the next pontiff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT DOLE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: A lot of heavy stuff coming at us. Some of it hit my radio man, Corporal Sims (ph), and I tried to go out and bring him back, and that's when I felt a sharp stab in my shoulder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: "One Soldier's Story." Former presidential candidate Bob Dole opens up about his near-death experience during World War II, his message for military troops serving in Iraq and the ever-present partisan battles in Washington.

Welcome back. We'll talk with Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski in just a few minutes. First, though, let's get a quick check what's making news right now.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: Joining us now, two guests who've been top advisers to American presidents on diplomatic and national security matters. Henry Kissinger served as secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Zbigniew Brzezinski was national security adviser during the Carter administration.

Gentlemen welcome to "LATE EDITION." Good to have both of you here in Washington.

Dr. Kissinger, I'll begin with you. Should John Bolton be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations?

HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I signed a letter together with other former Republican secretaries of state urging the Senate to confirm him.

BLITZER: Why do you like him so much?

KISSINGER: I didn't say I like him so much. I barely know him. But from what I have heard about him, I think the president generally should get his nominees. And I think this is one that should be approved and should not be stigmatized by not being approved.

BLITZER: Even though there are these allegations that he tried to get analysts fired because he disagreed with their assessments?

KISSINGER: Not every aspect of John Bolton is something that I'm enthusiastic about. On the other hand, he has written some extremely thoughtful pieces on the international criminal accord and on the so- called universal jurisdiction.

And I believe, and certainly from everything I've been told about him, is that he's an honorable enough man so that he will carry out his assignment with ability and with care.

BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, do you know John Bolton?

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No, I have not met him.

BLITZER: What do you think of the nominee though? Should he be confirmed?

BRZEZINSKI: You know, I'm not dodging your question. But I have to ask myself: If he's not confirmed, what will he get in the administration? In other words, maybe we're better off with him sitting in New York at the U.N. than with him having an important post either in the State Department or in the National Security Council in the White House, actually shaping American policy. I don't think he's a very good choice.

BLITZER: What you're suggesting, though, is the ambassador to the U.N. is a meaningless position? Is that what you're suggesting?

BRZEZINSKI: It's not a great policymaking position. It's essentially America's face to the world. He, of course, conveys to the White House and the secretary of state what the world thinks. I think they could have chosen a better person. But I'm afraid that if he's not there, he may end up having an important post making policy.

BLITZER: All right. Let's move on and talk a little bit Iraq. On this program, Dr. Kissinger, last week the new president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani was on the program. I asked him about efforts to perhaps bring some members of the Baath Party into the new government, into the military despite the de-Baathification program that occurred over these past two years.

Listen to what president Talabani told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JALAL TALABANI, IRAQI PRESIDENT: We have some groups of Iraqis, from the Baath Party and some people who were angered by some act of the Iraqi government or police forces. Those Iraqis, I hope we can reach agreement with them to ask them to come to participate in the democratic process in Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Basically, what he's saying is that there are Baath Party members and there are Baath Party members. Some you should bring into the new government but others would be unacceptable. Does that make sense to you?

KISSINGER: I think, as a general rule, that is right. The experience we had in the occupation of Germany was that...

BLITZER: The de-Nazification.

KISSINGER: The de-Nazification. The people who had a rank in the Nazi Party above a certain level were generally considered unsuitable for service in the democratic German government. And the people who were technically members of the Nazi Party or were low- ranking members of the Nazi Party could be employed.

As a general rule, it is better not to have people from the Baath Party but it could be that there were so many that one should, in general, let the prime minister have his way.

BLITZER: Dr. Brzezinski, what do you think?

BRZEZINSKI: You know, the Nazis were in power for about ten years. The Communists in Eastern Europe were in power for 40 years. The Baath Party was in power for 40 years. If you exclude all of them, who do you have left? And you have great many people on the outside of this system intensely dissatisfied, probably trying to subvert it.

So I think common sense dictates a course of action similar to the one, as Henry says, was pursued after the fall of Nazi Germany.

BLITZER: What do you think of this new Iraqi government? We know the new president, President Jalal Talabani. We know that Ibrahim Al-Jafri is going to be the new prime minister. That's where the day to day power will rest. What do you make of this new Iraqi government?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, it's clearly a matter of political reality: a dominant combination of Shiites and Kurds with the Sunnis nominally present. So we have now a political system in Iraq that represents the majority. It's not going to be all that democratic, in my view. It's going to be structured. It's going to be groups and tribes and identities dominating the political system.

BLITZER: Could it slip away -- that government -- into chaos or sectarian civil war?

BRZEZINSKI: No, I don't think so. I think more likely is that, as time passes, it will become less and less nominally democratic and more traditional.

That is to say, the Kurds will govern the north; the Shiites will dominate the rest. And before too long, some of the politicians in the government will start gaining political support by advocating that we leave, by talking more and more openly about the occupation and the desirability of us to leave. I think they will play that game.

BLITZER: What do you think, Dr. Kissinger?

KISSINGER: There are two potential dangers. One, it swings toward a theocratic government.

BLITZER: If Islamic law becomes the law of the land?

KISSINGER: If Islamic law becomes the law of the land and if the Shiites decide that they want visible domination of the government.

Secondly, I agree with Zbigniew that in some measurable time, agitation about American withdrawal is going to be the way politicians are going to seek favor. And we will have to adjust our own presence to this growing reality.

BLITZER: And begin the process of pulling out: Is that what you're saying?

KISSINGER: I think we cannot stay there indefinitely. And we should get ahead of that political process -- provided we have a problem. We don't want to unleash the insurrection in such a way that the government topples. So hopefully, we can continue the process that is going on now in which we seem to be gaining on the insurrection. And then you said, as a way to stabilize the political situation to start some withdrawal.

BLITZER: All right. Let's take a quick break. But we have much more to talk about. We'll continue our conversation with Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski in a moment.

Then, preparing to pick a new pope. We'll get the inside story on papal politics. Our Vatican analyst John Allen standing by live in Rome.

And later, former Republican presidential candidate, Bob Dole, speaks out about the increasingly ugly political atmosphere right here in Washington and his new book.

"LATE EDITION" will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. We're continuing our conversation with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Gentlemen, listen to what President Bush said on Monday, following his meetings with the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, on the sensitive issue of Israeli settlement activity on the West Bank, and that'll be followed by what Sharon told me in an interview I did with him when he was in Washington on Wednesday.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told the prime minister of my concern that Israel not undertake any activity that contravenes road map obligations or prejudices final status negotiations.

Therefore Israel should remove unauthorized outposts and meet its road map obligations regarding settlements in the West Bank.

ARIEL SHARON, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: I believe that Israel understand its commitments, and I believe that they will be discussing this issue also in the future.

But Malaa Dumim (ph) no doubt that's one of the major blocks, and, according to the Israeli position, it will be part of Israel in the future, and it should be contiguity between this town and Jerusalem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The Israeli prime minister, Dr. Brzezinski, basically saying that this one huge settlement or town, as it is, outside of Jerusalem on the West Bank, Malaa Dumim (ph), that he wants to see it expand so that it goes right up to the outskirts of Jerusalem, something the Palestinians are deeply opposed to.

Do these two allies, the U.S. and Israel, see eye to eye on this issue of settlements?

BRZEZINSKI: No, my sense is we do not. I don't think that we're fundamentally apart, because the president wrote a letter to Sharon about a year ago last March, saying that the major settlements -- contiguous, close to the '67 lines -- probably will end up in Israel.

In this particular case, however, it is really a further stretch, and it poses the risk of really dividing the West Bank, essentially, into two halves. So I think that is a more sensitive problem.

But we'll have to find some way of both including the major settlements in Israel and of getting compensation territorially for the new Palestinian state, in some parts of the Negev perhaps, perhaps in the northwest of the West Bank, where there could be changes in favor of the Palestinians providing equivalence.

BLITZER: Dr. Kissinger, the Israelis in July will start withdrawing completely from Gaza, removing about 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza. I spoke with the new Palestinian foreign minister, Nasir Al- Kidwa, the former Palestinian representative at the U.N., and he said the Palestinian Authority is ready to work with the Israelis on this withdrawal. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NASIR AL-KIDWA, FOREIGN MINISTER, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: We welcome the Israeli withdrawal from any place, any part of the occupied Palestinian territory. And that of course includes Gaza. And as I said, we are ready to negotiate that with the Israelis in a serious way, not only to receive information from them, but to negotiate and to reach agreement on the whole thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: That sounds pretty encouraging, like that could be a significant step forward, although, as you know, Sharon also said that the atmosphere in Israel right now, because of this withdrawal from Gaza, is approaching that of a civil war: Jew versus Jew.

KISSINGER: Well, both sides are facing enormous psychological obstacles: the Israelis about the removal of settlements; the Palestinians about the so-called "right of return" of the refugees to Israel. And so each side has to maneuver with some care.

But in the process, the fundamental outlines of a possible settlement are emerging. It is a line that includes the settlements that are near the '67 border, some compensation to the Palestinian state for the territory that they're giving up for that; the removal of settlements beyond the new agreed dividing line; and de facto no return of Palestinians into Israel.

And that agreement is almost within reach, provided the parties can overcome their own internal obstacles and provided that the United States and our allies do not have a discordant position within the Middle East so that it becomes difficult for especially Arab parties to make the concessions they have to make.

BLITZER: All right. We don't have a lot of time, but I want your thoughts, Dr. Brzezinski, because I know you have some serious thoughts on this subject: 60 years, the end of World War Two. There's going to be a big meeting coming up in Moscow, in Russia. What do you anticipate, the opportunities, the pitfalls of what's about to happen?

BRZEZINSKI: The opportunity is for reconciliation between Russia and its neighbors in Europe, particularly those who were occupied by Stalinism. The risk is that a celebration of the defeat of Hitlerism might become a celebration of the victory of Stalinism.

And just consider who is invited. In addition to the democratic leaders, foremost President Bush among them, standing with him there near the mausoleum for Lenin will be Kim Jong Il of North Korea, whom the president has described as a despot -- he's been invited now; Niyazov, the dictator of Turkmenistan; Lukashenko, the dictator of Belarus; and General Jaruzelski, the repressor of solidarity in Poland.

These have been invited as official guests to be with the democratic leaders.

BLITZER: So what your fear is that Russia, that Russians, could get nostalgic for Stalin? Is that what you're saying?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, there is a tendency in Russia in that direction. I don't think it should be internationally sanctioned.

But more importantly, I think what is being missed here is the opportunity for denunciation of Stalinism, reconciliation with the Baltic Republics and the others who harbor grievances for being occupied by Stalin. And I think Putin is missing that, and I think the president runs the risk of being embarrassed in the photo opportunity of the kind I described.

BLITZER: I'll give you very briefly the last word, Dr. Kissinger. You want to weigh in on it?

KISSINGER: I think the fact the president is stopping in Latvia on the way in and in Georgia on the way out symbolizes that there is a new order in Eastern Europe and...

BRZEZINSKI: That's right.

KISSINGER: ... that the Stalinist domination of Eastern Europe is decidedly over. There is that danger, but I think fundamentally the itinerary of the president is more significant than the visits of these relics of the Stalinist system.

BLITZER: We'll leave it right there. Dr. Kissinger and Dr. Brzezinski, thank you, to both of you, very much for joining us. Always an interesting conversation -- we always learn something when both of you are on this program. Thanks very much.

When we come back, John Allen, our Vatican analyst, he's standing by to explain what is about to begin tomorrow in Rome when the conclave meets. Also, we'll get a quick check of what's making news right now, including an update on a deadly viral outbreak in Africa, specifically in Angola.

Then "One Soldier's Story," former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole talks about his new book and recounts his days as a wounded U.S. Army lieutenant.

More "LATE EDITION" straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: In less than 24 hours, 115 of the Roman Catholic Church's cardinals will begin the solemn task of electing a new pope. It's a process steeped in intrigue, as well as the most ancient traditions of the Catholic faith.

Joining us now from Vatican City with a preview of the conclave is John Allen. He's a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. He's our CNN Vatican analyst. He's also the author of the important book "All the Pope's Men."

John, thanks very much for joining us.

Walk us through the process specifically tomorrow morning, when these 115 cardinals begin the process. What exactly happens behind closed doors?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, Wolf, the first important thing is actually going to happen tonight. The cardinals are moving into the Casa Santa Marta. That's the hotel on Vatican grounds they will be living in for these days.

And everything that we have been hearing from cardinals in the last several days is that while they have come to clarity on issues, they don't yet have much clarity on candidates.

So we imagine those conversations this evening over dinner could be quite important. Tomorrow morning, they will gather in St. Peter's Basilica for the traditional Mass for the election of the pope. That Mass will be presided over by the dean of the college and a man tipped as a kind of leading candidate himself, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He'll deliver a homily. It will be his last sort of public address before the conclave begins.

They will then have a break for lunch and potentially a nap, and then at around 4:30 Rome time, they will gather in the Apostolic Palace in the Hall of Benedictions, will process toward the Sistine Chapel, singing the Litany of Saints. They'll enter the chapel. They will sing the "Veni Creator Spiritus," meaning "Come, Holy Spirit" referring to the Catholic belief the election of the pope unfolds under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

And then after some other ritual business, including swearing of oaths to protect the secrecy of the conclave, they'll begin the hard political work of casting ballots. They have the option of casting one ballot tomorrow afternoon. And we assume if things hold to form they probably will. Then beginning Tuesday morning, it will be two ballots every morning and two ballots every afternoon until we have a pope.

BLITZER: And we won't know whether a pope has been elected until we see the smoke, the color of the smoke. Walk us through that process. Because this year they've added an additional wrinkle to it.

ALLEN: Yeah, that's right. I mean, essentially what happens is that after a ballot or beginning Tuesday morning after those two ballots in the morning or two in the afternoon, assuming the process has been inconclusive, all of the ballots will be gathered, along with any notes that may have been taken.

And all of that will be burned in that stove in the back left of the Sistine Chapel. Traditionally, they will then add materials to the ballots to produce black smoke, assuming it's been inconclusive, meaning no pope has been elected; white smoke indicating that a pope has been elected.

Now, in the past, in 1978, the smoke kind of came out an indistinct gray causing a lot of uncertainty as to what had actually happened. You may be able to tell, actually. And an additional factor is that these are cold, rainy and gray days in Rome. And so everyone's a little bit worried about exactly what the smoke is going to look like against this backdrop.

So what the Vatican has done is they've added a new feature, which is that when the smoke is white, bells will also ring out. So we'll all be clear that a pope has been elected. From that moment forward, then, the world of course will be waiting for that famous habemus papum announcement. That is: We have a pope.

The senior cardinal deacon, a Chilean by the name of Jorge Medina Estevez, will step on to the central balcony of St. Peter's Square and announce the name of the new pope. And that, of course, is the moment that, in a sense, we're all anticipating.

BLITZER: Our Vatican analyst John Allen will help us understand what's happening every step of the way.

John, thank you very much for that.

And once again, to our viewers, please stay tuned to CNN for complete coverage as best as we can, starting tomorrow morning from the Vatican.

Let's go over to CNN headquarters in Atlanta for a quick check of what's making news now. Zain Verjee is standing by.

Zain?

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks a lot, Wolf.

I'm Zain Verjee at CNN Center in Atlanta. Now in the news, the mother of 13-year-old Sarah Michelle Lunde attended an informal memorial at a Florida community church this morning.

The missing girl's body was found on Saturday. It was in a pond not far from her Ruskin, Florida, home. Officials hope an autopsy will reveal how Lunde died. Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee will hold a news conference in about 30 minutes. CNN will carry it live.

The Army says it will maintain the status of missing American soldier Keith Maupin, listing him as "Missing: captured." He was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents last April. Several months later, militants released a videotape which they claimed showed his execution. But U.S. officials couldn't identify the man on the tape as Maupin.

The Marburg outbreak in Angola is getting even worse. The ebola- like virus has killed everyone contacted it. That is more than 200 people so far, many of them young children. Angolan priests are urging their congregations to seek treatment if they think they may have the virus. Many residents fear poor infection control at hospitals. But officials say conditions there have improved. They insist that isolating victims is vital to controlling the outbreak.

Those are the headlines. I'm Zain Verjee. More headlines in 30 minutes. Now back to "LATE EDITION" and Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Zain.

Just ahead: Are house Republicans worried about Tom DeLay? We'll ask the former GOP presidential candidate, Bob Dole, about that and much more, including his new book, "One Soldier's Story," when "LATE EDITION" returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to "LATE EDITION." There are few people with better insight into the political and policy battles here in Washington than Bob Dole, the former Republican presidential candidate and Senate leader.

He is also the author of a powerful new book about his time as a World War II army lieutenant. The book is entitled "One Soldier's Story." You see the book jacket on the cover. You see the cover right now. But Bob Dole is good enough to join us here on "LATE EDITION."

Thanks, Senator, very much.

DOLE: Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: We'll talk about the book shortly. Let's talk about some politics. First, the House majority leader, Tom DeLay: Can he survive? And you're a good tea-leaver -- tea-reader. You understand politics in Washington about as well as anyone. Can he survive this brouhaha?

DOLE: I don't know. I think what Tom needs to do is just to come out somewhere and to just lay out everything. I know he's offered to go to the ethics committee. But I don't think there is an ethics committee that can function right now.

BLITZER: Because the rules have changed?

DOLE: Right. The rules have changed.

BLITZER: There's a stalemate in that committee.

DOLE: And I haven't followed it on a day-to-day basis. But it's probably going to come to a head. If Republicans in the House, House members, get a little shaky about Tom DeLay, then he's going to have to -- my advice would be the sooner you can get out and tell your story, the better. Lay it all out. I think maybe the long knives are out for Tom DeLay. BLITZER: So you would just tell him to go have a news conference, answer all the questions,...

DOLE: Answer all the questions.

BLITZER: Or go on a TV show and answer all the questions. Something...

DOLE: Go on your show and answer all the questions. According to the L.A. Times, there are 39 other members of Congress who have family not on the federal payroll but on campaign money payroll.

BLITZER: On their political action committees or whatever?

DOLE: Political action committees. And there are a lot of members of Congress and both parties who take trips that are probably financed by somebody other than you're told. That shouldn't happen. I don't think it's a good policy to put your relatives on campaign finance payrolls. But sometimes you have your wife or your daughter or your son may be an expert in that field. In that case, there's nothing wrong with it.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little about Senator Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader. He wants to change the rules of the game now to prevent filibusters where you need 60 votes out of 100 to move legislation or action forward because of the stand-off on these judicial nominees.

Is he right -- Senator Frist -- should they eliminate the filibuster?

DOLE: Not eliminate the filibuster. In fact, I was a little worried about this when I first heard it. But now it's been limited just to judicial nominees. As I understand it, if you can filibuster a Cabinet nomination or any other nomination -- whatever the president sends up to Congress.

But now I think the stage of play now is that it applies only to judicial nominees. It's very limited. And my advice to Bill Frist is: That's got to be a last resort. You've got to make every effort to come to terms. I checked and I'm told that during my 12 years as a Republican leader we never held up anybody for a vote, a judicial nominee. So I do think the Democrats are sort of going against tradition here.

BLITZER: Well, former President Bill Clinton repeatedly points out that whole dozens of his judicial nominees weren't filibustered but they were just...

DOLE: Well, they...

BLITZER: ... sort of kicked aside. And they didn't even come up for a hearing or a vote.

DOLE: They came up late. And you know, a lot of his nominees came up late. And I think he doesn't tell you that. But I can recall, you know, you have sort of a shut-off date, particularly in a presidential year. It used to be about July 1st.

If you didn't get your hearing in a vote in a committee, in judiciary committee, your guy probably -- or lady -- wasn't going to be sent to the floor. Because I remember pleading with the then majority leader to get a Kansan confirmed before we left. I finally worked it out.

BLITZER: Senator McCain and other Republicans say this can be shortsighted. Because you know what? The Republicans aren't going to be the majority in the U.S. Senate forever. There presumably could be a Democratic takeover and they could play the same kind of games as the Republicans.

DOLE: And I've thought about that a lot. I've said you've got to use extreme caution. It's got to be a last resort. You've got to try negotiation. You've got to try everything with the other side.

But the bottom line is the president ought to nominate judges not the minority party, whether it's Republicans or Democrats. It seems to me what's fair to report out a nominee with no recommendation or whatever and let the full Senate vote. That would ensure the Democrats would have the same treatment the Republicans have. Maybe make this for eight years. It would be four Bush years and the Democrats probably hope there'd be four Democratic years.

BLITZER: For some conservative -- religious conservatives -- this is a religious issue: this whole issue of the judicial nominees because of some of the issues that are coming before the courts like abortion rights or ten commandments, other issues along the lines. Senator Frist next Sunday will participate, albeit briefly in a video appearance, before one group when they talking about these Democrats who want to use the filibusters.

DOLE: Right.

BLITZER: People against faith, in effect.

Is this something you feel comfortable with?

DOLE: Well, I don't feel comfortable with any religious group that starts taking over our party. I don't think that's the case.

I don't know much about this event that Senator Frist is going to attend. But, you know, I don't know how you persuade your Democrats like Chuck Schumer, for example, we ought to have a vote on the nominees, because there are some highly partisan people on both sides of this issue.

But it seems to me that, if you limit it to judicial nominees and then try everything you can to work it out with the other side, then they ought to be given a vote.

BLITZER: All right. Let's take a quick break. When we come back, we'll talk about the book, "One Soldier's Story." Bob Dole standing by.

We'll also tell you who this book is dedicated to and why.

We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A World War II veteran remembers a day that changed his life forever, April 14, 1945.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOLE: It was a bad day for the 10th Mountain Division -- a lot of heavy stuff coming at us. Some of it hit my radio man, Corporal Sims (ph), and I tried to go out and bring him back, and that's when I felt a sharp sting in my shoulder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Lieutenant Bob Dole had a long road to recovery. It took him several years and many surgeries to walk again and recover limited use of his arm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOLE: When I finally became independent, when I could do everything myself, that was about five years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Sixty years after World War II, another small-town boy who loved basketball would end up in the hospital with similar injuries.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOLE: Craig Nelson was 21 years old, weighed 185 pounds, about 6'2", I think. And he was hit with some fragment of some shell and he was paralyzed from the neck down. I had a chance to say hello and said we'll pray for you. And, no, he couldn't speak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Sergeant Nelson wasn't as lucky as Bob Dole.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOLE: Three days later he passed away. So my book is dedicated to Craig and to all those who are serving in the Armed Forces today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And we're continuing our conversation with Bob Dole, the author of this new book, "One Soldier's Story."

That was very moving, Sergeant Craig Nelson. You have a message in this book for soldiers, military personnel, serving in dangerous areas like Iraq and Afghanistan right now. DOLE: Do I have a message? Well...

BLITZER: You do have a message, and that comes through strongly in the book.

DOLE: Well, first of all, we thank them for their service. They're risking our lives. In my view, they are the greatest generation. We were for a while, but now it's sort of passed the baton to this generation fighting in Iraq, fighting in Afghanistan and to let them know we support their efforts. I mean, they're risking their lives just as much as we did. And...

BLITZER: It is a moving dedication to this Sergeant Craig Nelson. That's something that's highly unusual, but it means a lot to you.

DOLE: It means a lot to me. It means a lot, I hope, not just to Craig Nelson's family. I know his mother Lois and his sister Carly, it certainly means a lot to them.

But hopefully the message is broad enough to cover all those who are risking their lives now anywhere in the world so that we may have a better life at home.

BLITZER: Almost exactly 60 years ago, April 14, 1945, you write this in the book "One Soldier's Story," you write this, "For a long moment I didn't know if I was dead or alive. I sensed the dirt in my mouth more than I tasted it. I wanted to get up, lift my face off the ground to spit the dirt and blood out of my mouth, but I couldn't move. Then the horror hit me: I can't feel anything below my neck."

And that was the beginning...

DOLE: That was the beginning.

BLITZER: ... of a long ordeal.

DOLE: Long, 39 months, in and out of hospitals and about a year and a half after I was discharged in 1948 before I became sort of independent, where I could get up and get dressed on my own -- it would take a while -- and sort of walk haltingly. But it was a great moment when I was able to do that.

BLITZER: Did you ever want to just give up and say, you know what, it's not worth it?

DOLE: I think I shed a few tears from time to time. You sort of go through this, "Why me?" The war was almost over April 14th. The war ended May 8. And why did this have to happen to me. You don't want it to happen to anybody else though so -- I had a doctor named Dr. Colickian (ph) who operated on me several times and would never let me pay him because he had lost a brother in World War II, Armenian-American Dr. Colickian (ph). And he in effect told me one day in a nice way -- he always called me captain. I wasn't a captain. But he said you have to grow up and get on with your life. It's the best advice I ever had. BLITZER: Your mother came to visit you the first time...

DOLE: Oh, my mother's a star, yes.

BLITZER: Let me read to you from the book, page 172, "The moment she stepped into my room and caught sight of me she gasped. Stopping in the doorway, she stared in silence a moment and then burst into tears. She may have wept bucketfulls outside my hospital room, but mom never again cried in front of me."

She really was the glue that kept you together?

DOLE: Oh, no doubt about it. She moved to Topeka, was three blocks from the hospital. She was there morning, day and night. She even held cigarettes. She detested cigarette smoke, but I'd picked up that habit in Italy.

But that's the only time I ever saw her cry uncontrollably, and she left the room, came back smiling and said, "Bob, you look great."

Well, I didn't. I'd lost 70 pounds and I was in a body cast, my neck down to my waist.

Mothers, in my view, always carry the burden silently, whether it could be their husband, their son, their grandson, their son-in-law, mothers weep quietly, and are the glue that holds it together.

BLITZER: Your dad, you write this about your father.

DOLE: Yes.

BLITZER: "Dad taught us kids that in life there are doers and there are stewers.

DOLE: Doers and stewers.

BLITZER: "Dad was definitely a doer. He didn't jabber about doing what was right. He just did it."

And he had a powerful influence on you as well.

DOLE: He had a powerful influence. My parents, neither one ever graduated from high school. But they were great people, hardworking people. My mother sold sewing machines, gave sewing lessons. My dad ran what they call a cream and egg station, worked six days a week; missed one day of work in 42 years. He wore his overalls every day to work and was proud of it.

BLITZER: I was impressed by the comment, the statement that you wrote in this book, referring to General Eisenhower and the whole concept of leadership. If D-Day had not worked, he had a whole statement ready to go. And you write this in the book: "Think how many of our country's problems would vanish overnight if we could just get those words straight: 'The responsibility is mine and mine alone.'"

DOLE: Right.

BLITZER: "In the final analysis, that's what great leaders do, not just in the Senate, but also in daily life. They face life without flinching. They make tough decisions. They live with the consequences, whether good or bad. They make the most of what they have. That's the kind of leader I have always tried to be."

And you keep that statement pretty much framed in your office.

DOLE: Right. I keep the statement framed from Eisenhower. He dictated this little note in case the landings failed. And he said, as you say there, if there's any fault for the failure, it is mine alone. And he talked about leadership accepting responsibility. It's all right there in one statement.

And if that was followed by business leaders, labor leaders, the leaders in journalism, we'd probably be a much better country. We're a pretty good country right now.

BLITZER: You spent a lot of time in recent years helping to establish, created that World War II Memorial here in Washington on the Mall.

DOLE: Right.

BLITZER: And when people go there, the veterans especially, their children and their grandchildren -- and you go there quite often...

DOLE: I go there quite often.

BLITZER: ... it's quite a moving monument.

DOLE: It's heart-wrenching, and I took -- you know, Wolf, there are only about 16 World War Two vets still in Congress. There were 14 of them in town. We took them all down there before the memorial opened. Frank Lautenberg, Ted Stevens, my friend Dan Inouye, and there wasn't a dry eye there. They could all sort of think back when they were young and what they were doing and how they were affected by World War II. It was a great day.

BLITZER: The book is entitled "One Soldier's Story: Bob Dole, a Memoir" -- powerful reading, especially now, 60 years later. I suspect it's going to be powerful reading for many years to come.

Senator, thanks very much.

DOLE: Thanks, Wolf, I appreciate it.

BLITZER: Thanks for joining us. Thanks for all your work for the country.

DOLE: Thank you.

BLITZER: Up next, the results of our Web question of the week: Will the new Iraqi government bring more stability to the country? Plus, "LATE EDITION's" Sunday morning talk show roundup. If you missed the other four Sunday morning shows, guess what? We'll give you the highlights. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: And now, in case you missed it, let's check some highlights from the other Sunday morning talk shows.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," U.S. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt and Democratic Congressman Barney Frank differed on House Republican leader Tom DeLay's political future in light of allegations of ethics improprieties.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. REP. ROY BLUNT, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Tom DeLay will stay as leader. There are some significant differences in where we were and where we were when Jim Wright was the speaker a fewer years ago. Tom DeLay is not going to run away from a fight.

U.S. REP. BARNEY FRANK: My guess is that he will not quit soon. And I do not think he will be a candidate for leader in the next Congress. I think too many Republicans will decide that this is a problem in marginal districts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Tom DeLay was also the subject of debate on CBS' "Face the Nation."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. REP. DAVID DREIER: The thing is he wants to be investigated. He wants to have a chance to clear his name before going before the House ethics committee so that whatever question is out there can in fact be addressed.

U.S. REP. CHARLIE RANGEL: Tom DeLay take no prisoners. Tom DeLay is called a hammer. He loves it. He says that his supporters should have arms and he takes no prisoners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: On "Fox News Sunday," U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar and the panel's Ranking Democrat, Joe Biden, weighed in on whether President Bush's choice to be the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is the right man for the job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR: I would simply say that John Bolton, because of his very strong views on the U.N. appeared to me to be an unlikely candidate. But at the same time, I'm impressed with the fact that John Bolton has affirmed very strongly that he does favor a strengthened U.N. U.S. SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN: What happens when our ambassador has to stand up and make the case on intelligence relating to Iraq and North Korea? Do you think John Bolton is going to be believed? And do you think it matters? I think it matters a great deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: On ABC's "This Week," Democratic Charles Schumer and Republican Senator Trent Lott squared off over the role of religion in politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER: To say that people of -- you know, that religion is here and it dictates you be a Republican, that you be against a filibuster. There are people of faith, as I said, of all different parties, of all different political views. And the beauty of America is we've separated the two.

U.S. SENATOR TRENT LOTT: How you view your faith does affect who you are and how you vote. What has made people uncomfortable is that people that have strong feelings about their faith, regardless of the denomination or, you know, background of that particular religious group, if they feel strongly and live and support the positions that reflect their faith, then you're disqualified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Some highlights from the other Sunday morning talk shows, here on "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk.

Our "LATE EDITION" Web question asked this: Will the new Iraqi government bring more stability to the country? Here's how you voted: 25 percent of you said yes, 75 percent of you said no. But remember, this is not a scientific poll.

And that's your "LATE EDITION" for Sunday, April 17. Please be sure to join us again next Sunday and every Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk. I'll also be here Monday through Friday, twice a day, at noon and 5 p.m. Eastern.

Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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