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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Guantanamo's Future; Joe Biden Interview; Arlen Specter Interview; Labor Union Problems; Iraq War Victim's Families Question White House
Aired June 15, 2005 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: The debate over Guantanamo Bay: is it an open and shut case?
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, (D) VERMONT: Guantanamo Bay is an international embarrassment to our nation.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, (R) ALABAMA: Our policy has been to treat detainees humanely.
ANNOUNCER: Senators weigh a U.S. military's future.
Paying their debt. Now that the Clintons have put their whopping legal bills behind them, can the senator give other '08 prospects a run for their money?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Summer's here, temperatures are rising and tempers will really rise if Congress doesn't pass an energy bill.
ANNOUNCER: The president tries to put heat on Congress, but his critics find new fuel in a Bush energy advisor's defection to the oil industry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The findings of Terri Schiavo are very consistent with persistent vegetative state.
ANNOUNCER: Terri Schiavo's autopsy report has some bloggers pounding their keyboards.
Now, live from Washington CNN's INSIDE POLITICS.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, INSIDE POLITICS: Well, thanks for joining us. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter suggests the problems at the Guantanamo Bay prison may be too hot or too complex for Congress to handle, but his panel took a shot at it anyway. Today's hearing follows reports of alleged abuse of war on detainees and calls for some lawmakers to shut that prison down. Here's our congressional correspondent, Ed Henry. Ed?
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Suzanne. Yes, a big day here on Capitol Hill. A fierce battle with Democrats charging that Guantanamo is an international embarrassment, that it is basically, in their words, a legal black hole where detainees have been abused. They say it's gotten so bad the U.S. image around the world has grown so bad because of this problem, that in fact the prison should be shut down.
But, Republicans today insisted once again that in fact the detainees are treated humanely. They said, in fact, they're almost treated like kings in some cases. If you remember back a couple of days ago, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter trotted out the menu for some of these detainees and pointed out they get to eat chicken and fish and vegetables. He said that they're treated well, and today, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, at this Senate judiciary hearing, picked up on that theme a little bit saying that in fact the prison is in such a scenic part of Cuba, he said it could almost be a magnificent resort. That stood in stark contrast to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy's description of the prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEAHY: This idea of changing -- changing the focus, producing props of chicken dinners and such, seeming to argue this is more a Club Med than a prison. Let's get real. These people have been locked up for three years. No end in sight and no process to lead us out of there. Guantanamo Bay is causing immeasurable damage to our reputation as a defender of democracy and the beacon of human rights around the world.
SESSIONS: This country is not systematically abusing prisoners. We have no policy to do so and it's wrong to suggest that. It puts our soldiers at risk who are in this battle because we sent them there. We have an obligation to them not to make the situation worse than it is. If we made errors we'll bring them up and we'll prosecute the people. But to suggest that we're in a wholesale violation of the rules of war, I suggest is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Senator Sessions there referring back a bit to what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had to say yesterday which is that there's no current alternative to the prison at Guantanamo, so you basically cannot just dump these terrorists back -- suspected terrorists -- back into society. That could be a threat to the United States' national security.
Democrats say they're not advocating pushing these suspected terrorists back out on to the streets; instead. they say, if in fact they are terrorists, these detainees should be charged with crimes instead. Democrats like Leahy say these prisoners have been kept at Guantanamo for up for three years with no charges at all.
But today, Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, who oversees the military trials at Guantanamo, testified that in fact these detainees could be kept as long as the conflict endures. When pressed for an explanation of exactly how they define how long the conflict can endure, a top Justice Department official testified that the Bush administration believes legally that they can keep these detainees in perpetuity. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: So, Ed, are they giving you any sense at all at what kind of intelligence they are getting from these detainees that they are holding?
HENRY: Absolutely. One case in particular that Republicans point to is Mohammed al Katani. He is the so-called 20th hijacker from 9/11. He was actually caught and was obviously not part of the terrorist attacks. Officials on the Hill say that in fact at Guantanamo he was able to give up a lot of information about Osama bin Laden's network, about al Qaeda. But, in fact, Democrats shoot back that he is the person who's featured in this time magazine cover story this week and in order to get that information, the interrogators had to prevent him from going to the bathroom. They also made him act like a dog at one point, allegedly.
So, there you see the push and pull with Republicans here saying this intelligence information is vital in the war on terror, but Democrats saying and charging that the administration is crossing a line by getting that information. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Ed, thanks very much for following that.
Now, of course, Senator Joe Biden is one of the more vocal Democratic critics of the situation at Guantanamo Bay. I spoke earlier with the Judiciary Committee member and I asked him if he is satisfied with the military official's testimony that the majority of detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been given hearings and are properly classified.
SEN. JOE BIDEN (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think their explanation is accurate but it misses the point. The point is, we're in a war. We're in two wars. We're in a war dealing with terrorists who are trying to figure out how to do harm to us, and we're also in a war, a public opinion war, with 1.2 billion Muslims around the world and we're being very damaged by what is going on at Guantanamo.
So, we should figure out how we're going to win both wars, and because, to the extent that we allow the rest of the world to think we're doing things that are very bad in Guantanamo and it's exaggerated in my view what they were -- is being stated about Guantanamo, it costs American lives around the world. You saw it just that one article in "Newsweek" magazine ended up with 100,000 people in the street in Pakistan, an ally. So, this is important stuff to figure out.
MALVEAUX: But, how do you square that? Because, the military officials testified today. They say, look, under the law legally we can hold these detainees in perpetuity and also, we believe we are treating them humanely. But you bring up the point that much of the rest of the world believes that this is a black hole, possibly a cesspool of abuse here. What do you do to change that image? BIDEN: That's the dilemma here. The United States being perceived as being someone who's going to hold people without a trial for the rest of their lives does not square. So, one of the questions that was raised today by a former -- an Army lieutenant colonel who testified in the second panel was, look, go back to what we used to do before. Have military -- it's called uniform -- go by the uniform code of military justice, and deal with it the way we have dealt with this before.
But -- there are options, but I don't think anything is going to be agreed upon until we have an independent commission that has the credibility to state what is going on and what should be done from here.
MALVEAUX: Now, Senator, let's talk about those options, because it was just yesterday that Secretary Rumsfeld, secretary of defense, said, really, that there is no other alternative but Gitmo. There's really no other place to put them, and I spoke with Senator John Cornyn yesterday, as well and he said, look, there's nobody who is suggesting that you put those prisoners in their state. I mean, what do you do with them? Where do you put them? I mean, Delaware?
BIDEN: I think it's not -- it's not so much where you put them. It's what you do in terms of determining how long you're going to keep them. Either convict them, move them on into the system, deal with the system of the uniformed code of military justice, transparently, and make judgments about their status, and then move from there.
It's not so much the closing of Guantanamo, because there's going to be a need to keep some people some places, but it's about whether or not there is any end date. What do you think would happen if we were in a situation where there's another country holding people and they are going to say we're going to hold them in perpetuity. They are not going to have any trial other than to determine whether they're an enemy combatant. If they are determined to be an enemy combatant, then we're going to keep them the rest of their lives.
MALVEAUX: Senator, if I could quickly change the topic...
BIDEN: That doesn't work internationally.
MALVEAUX: If I could quickly change the topic for a minute -- a quick question on Bolton, of course, the president's nominee for the United Nations. You and the Democratic leadership have said that you won't move forward until you get that information, the information you're seeking from the White House. The White House says it is not giving it up. How do you break that impasse?
BIDEN: Well, you don't. We just don't let them move forward. Period. Look, this is an arrogance on the part of the White House to tell the United States Senate what they're entitled and not entitled to. You will not find anybody out there other than possibly one senator who will tell you that the information we are asking for is unusual or inappropriate or is not been always given in the past.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: We'll have a Republican response to Senator Biden's concerns about Guantanamo Bay from Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter. What did he take away from today's hearings? Find out next.
Plus -- pay back time for the Clintons, years after Monica Lewinsky and impeachment. Have they turned their losses into profits?
And, later they could just promote their movie but Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have a broader view of the world including Washington.
MALVEAUX: As we said earlier, the Senate Judiciary Committee focused today on the growing controversy over the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Democrats are calling the prison an international embarrassment and a festering threat to American security.
Before the break, we heard from Democratic Senator Joe Biden, a member of the judiciary committee. With us now, of course, the committee's chairman, Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Thank you very much for being with us.
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: Nice to be with you, Suzanne. Thank you for the invitation.
MALVEAUX: Now I understand that -- I watched the hearings earlier today and it seems to me as if you are urging Congress to establish new rules and laws for handling prisoners captured in the war on terror. Now, when you look at these alleged abuses that are coming out of Gitmo, who do you blame? Do you blame Congress? Do you blame the Pentagon? Or is it a lack of leadership within the administration?
SPECTER: Well, the Congress has been derelict in undertaking its duties under the constitution, which is explicit that's up to the Congress to set the rules for these proceedings. And Congress hasn't done that. The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a number of decisions saying that these detainees have constitutional rights for habeas corpus, that is, to have procedures established.
And especially Justice Scalia excoriated the Congress for not doing its job, where we're in a much better position to evaluate the need for secrets, the need for interrogation, with the court really being the adjudicator of specific rights.
MALVEAUX: Now, Senator, there's some who say, look, you know, what are these hearings going to accomplish here? The secretary of defense has already said there's really nothing much left to do when it comes to Gitmo. You can't put them somewhere else. And some are saying this is just a political exercise here. What do you hope these hearings accomplish?
SPECTER: Well, specifically, we need to legislate. We need to establish what is the definition of the detainees, what their rights are under the Geneva Convention, what their rights are to counsel, what sort of evidence ought to be presented against them. You certainly aren't going to require the kind of evidence in a federal court. And there's always a balancing under the constitution.
We have a very serious threat from terrorism. We all know that. And here we have individuals who were caught on the battlefield for the most part, perhaps some not. And quite a number of peoples -- people have been released from Guantanamo who have gone back. Vice President Cheney said earlier this week that ten were caught on the battlefield. And one of the witnesses testified that if they have a statement that the individual not go back to fighting and killing Americans, they'll let them go. Well, that's not the kind of assurance I like.
One of the things that I believe our committee will say is don't take their word for anything. If you have reason to detain them, detain them. Detain them in a context where you give them a right to be heard, where they may have some access to counsel even though not a private lawyer and...
MALVEAUX: Are you confident that you're getting intelligence from these detainees, essentially? That it is worth it to keep them there?
SPECTER: Well, I think we are getting intelligence. To what extent, I don't know. That's an inquiry which we are making at the present time to get more of the specifics. But we do know that these people are by and large dangerous. I know that from the ones released going back to killing Americans.
MALVEAUX: Now, I asked Senator Joe Biden this question earlier today. And in all fairness, I'll ask you, as well. There has been a lot of talk here about closing Gitmo. And the joke seems to be that there is certainly no senator who is calling to move this facility in his or her state. Essentially, Secretary Rumsfeld saying that there is no other place. Essentially, where do they go?
SPECTER: Well, there are some who have to be detained. And if they are not getting due process now, not complying with what the Supreme Court says is in order, let's see to it that we comply with the law. There are frequently calls for commissions. And sometimes a commission is a good idea.
But really, it's up to the Congress, with our constitutional responsibility for oversight. The constitution says the judiciary committee ought to be taking a look at this. Maybe some other committee should be. So before we ask somebody else to come in, let's do our job.
MALVEAUX: Senator Spector, thank you so much for your time.
SPECTER: Pleasure to be with you.
MALVEAUX: I'm sorry, we've run out of time.
SPECTER: Well, they've worked for years to pay off their legal bills. Straight ahead, new financial disclosure reports show how much Bill and Hillary Clinton are worth.
Plus, we'll find out about other members of the U.S. Senate and their hefty bank accounts.
MALVEAUX: Welcome back.
There was action in the House today on two fronts: medical marijuana and the Patriot Act. House members voted 264-161 against an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have kept the Justice Department from spending taxpayer money to prosecute medical marijuana cases in states allowing its use.
Democrat Maurice Hinchey proposed the amendment after last week's Supreme Court ruling allowing Congress to prohibit medical marijuana use in the 11 states that now allow it.
And Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders plans to tack a proposed limit to the Patriot Act to a spending bill. It would end law enforcement access to records on books people read in libraries or buy at bookstores. Agencies would have to get get a traditional search warrant first.
Now, Bill and Hillary Clinton have reason to smile. New financial disclosure reports required each year for members of Congress, show they've cleared some tough financial hurdles. The new reports also shed light on other senators with big bank accounts.
Here is CNN's Bruce Morton.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Clintons have paid off their legal bills. Four years after leaving the White House, where because of White Water and Monica and impeachment, they wound up owing lawyers millions of dollars.
Senator Hillary Clinton's annual financial disclosure reports -- senators must file these -- shows them owing between 1.7 and 6.5 million at the end of 2002. All those reports show ranges of wealth and debt, not precise numbers. Between half a million and a million at the end of 2003 and no legal debt in the report for 2004, which is out this week.
The report shows that Mr. Clinton made $875,000 for six speeches and that Senator Clinton earned 2.37 million in royalties for her book "Living History." Her report listed assets of between 10 and 50 million, and no liabilities.
Other senators -- Republican Leader Bill Frist listed assets of at least $15,300,000. Liabilities of between one and five million. One Dr. Frist asset: between $2- and $30,000 invested in the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Company. Democratic Leader Harry Reid: assests between 2.1 and 5.5 million. Liabilities of between 50 and 100,000. Presidential hopefuls -- Republican George Allen of Virginia: assets are from 1.1 to 3.3 million. Liabilities are from 50 to 100,000.
Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana: assets of between 1.2 and 3.3 million. Liabilities: none reported.
Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas: assets of between 2.7 and 9.1 million. Liabilities: between 100- and 250,000.
Get the idea it's a Senate for rich folks? You're mostly right.
The richest is Democratic John Corzine of New Jersey -- assests: between $86- and $266 million. Liabilities: between 5- and 25 million. And he wants to leave the Senate and run for governor. That's expensive because in New Jersey you have to buy TV ads on New York and Philadelphia stations. So do his big bucks make him a big favorite?
But his Republican opponent Doug Forrester just spend $9 million of his own money to win the primary. So, maybe it isn't a mismatch.
You know who'd really understand American politics?
Joel Gray, the nightclub M.C. in "Cabaret." Just listen.
JOEL GRAY AND LIZA MINNELLI (singing): Money makes the world go around. The world go around. The world go around.
MORTON: He could have been a campaign consultant.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
MALVEAUX: Well the big battle over energy -- coming up, President Bush turns up the heat as he calls the Senate to pass his plan. But could a fight over global warming cool prospects for passage?
Plus, did the deeds of the father hurt the son? We'll take a look at how fall-out from the Senate cease-fire over filibusters is playing out in the voting booths.
PILGRIM: All that and more, 6:00 Eastern, on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," but for now, back to Suzanne. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Well, thanks, Kitty. Now, back to INSIDE POLITICS and a case of bad timing for the Bush White House. The president made another appeal today for the passage of the energy bill at the same time his critics had new reason to question whether the administration is too close to comfort with the oil industry. Here's our White House correspondent Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president argued long-stalled energy reforms would help consumers and the environment.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRES. U.S.A.: Americans will be better off at the gas pump. Future generations will breathe cleaner air, too.
BASH: But Mr. Bush's critics revived their charge his main goal is to help the oil industry where he once worked, seizing on word the official who set climate change policy, Del Cooney, traded his administration job for a post at Exxon-Mobil.
SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: The revolving door between the White House and big oil swung open again yesterday, just as a White House expressed opposition to key initiatives in the energy bill.
MALVEAUX: Documents disclosed just last week showed Cooney edited government reports in a way critics say tried to downplay a scientific link between industrial emissions and global warning. Cooney resigned from the White House Friday, though Bush officials and Exxon say his departure was long planned.
An Exxon spokesman tells CNN Cooney will work in communications in Dallas and was hired because his White House experience and previous work at the American Petroleum Institute makes him, quote, "valuable to anybody in the energy business."
The revolving door between key White House jobs and big business is hardly new. Wall Street executive Robert Rubin went to Citigroup after serving as President Clinton's treasury secretary. Clinton budget director Franklin Raines left the White House for Fannie Mae, a private mortgage giant backed by the government.
BASH (on camera): But energy ties of Mr. Bush and of the vice president has created a perception problem from day one here about the president's environmental policy. Today, the White House dismissed any talk of impropriety saying that the president's record is a strong one when it comes to climate change and, as a matter of policy in general, they say here that the president does certainly believe that global warming is a real problem, but the issue is whether or not that is caused by manmade issues or whether it's a natural one, and environmental groups say that is the problem, that the president needs to understand that they believe that these are manmade issues and that his policy is simply giving a pass to oil industry -- the oil industry -- and not having tougher standards on them.
MALVEAUX: Dana Bash at the White House, thank you very much.
Now, to the widening cracks in the labor movement. As expected, the heads of five of the AFL-CIO's biggest unions announced today that they have formed a separate coalition. Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is here with more on the move and what it means for labor and its political clout. A big deal today.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a big deal. Big trouble in big labor. This coalition is not quite a part of the AFL-CIO, but it's not outside it either. What many believe is that, in forming this coalition, what these five unions have done is sent yet another warning shot to AFL-CIO president John Sweeney.
These unions have great trouble with Sweeney's leadership. They say he has not spent enough time on organization, getting people into unions, and spent too much time, as one of the leaders said, throwing money at politicians. So, what these unions are seeking is a change in the AFL-CIO so that more money is put at the grassroots where they can get more people into the unions.
I spoke, after this news conference, with James Hoffa, who of course is head of the teamsters union, and asked him if this was just another way to pressure John Sweeney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES P. HOFFA, PRES., TEAMSTERS UNION: I think the answer is that the ball is in John Sweeney's court. He's the one that's dividing the labor movement. It's not the Change-to-Win coalition that's dividing it. It's John Sweeney, by not being responsive to our actions and requests to have more transparency, to direct more money from per capita tax. He's the one that's dividing the labor movement and the consequences are going to be what they are. I mean, we're going to have this convention coming up in July. We're going to be there and we're going to keep all options open, but if this doesn't work out, like I said, all bets are off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Now, the teamsters union and the SEIU, both members of this new coalition, together with the others, represent about one- third of the membership of the AFL-CIO. Their threat to walk out from the federation come July if Mr. Sweeney has not made further changes would seriously cripple the union, but as you can see, the question is whether, Suzanne, they are helping the union or whether they are hurting it. Certainly Mr. Sweeney believes that they're the ones hurting the union movement at this point.
MALVEAUX: And, certainly, is this going to hurt the Democrats in some way? Obviously, a big, big group -- very important.
CROWLEY: Absolutely, and what's interesting here is that one of the things that James Hoffa said was, look, I think we've been too closely aligned with the Democratic party. I think that we have union members in Republican districts where Republicans are going to get elected and we need to work with those. We have a pro-family, pro- worker agenda. And I said, boy, if I'm Karl Rove, I'm saying yippee, and if I'm the Democratic party leadership, I'm saying, holy cow, don't go (ph). He says he hasn't heard from the Democratic leadership but he expects he will because as you know the labor movement of the AFL-CIO is where the Democrats turn when they want to turn out the vote, and Hoffa's point is, that's great, except that we threw a lot of money at the last campaign and it didn't help. What we need are more members, and so it's a "where are you going to put the money" battle.
MALVEAUX: Right, right. Well, before we let you go -- good report, but we're going to have to recognize yet another honor that you received, and I was very happy that I was able to be there and to witness this with you last night. Candy was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Society of Professional Journalists and that is not all. Later this year, Candy will be presented with an Edward R. Murrow award by the Radio and Television News Directors' Association for her reporting during last year's presidential campaign. All the best to you. Big props, Candy.
CROWLEY: Thanks, I appreciate it.
MALVEAUX: OK, of course, now turning to today's "Political Bytes," even as Senator Sam Brownback continues to weigh a presidential bid in 2008, the Kansas Republican says he has decided this much -- he'll stick to his pledge not to seek a fourth term in the Senate.
In Maryland, Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele says he's forming an exploratory committee to consider a Senate bid next year. Top Republicans have been urging him to run, hoping to pick up the Senate seat now held by retiring Democrat Paul Sarbanes.
Virginia Republican Jerry Kilgore is launching his general election campaign for governor after easily winning yesterday's GOP primary. He's facing Democrat Tim Cane who was unopposed in the primary and President Bush has committed to campaign for Kilgore next month.
And in Ohio, former State Representative Jean Schmidt now is considered the front-runner to replace Congressman turned U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. Schmidt faces Democrat Paul Hackette in the August special election after beating 10 other Republicans in yesterday's primary.
And the son of Ohio Senator Mike DeWine was one of the Republicans who lost to Schmidt and that doesn't seem to bode well with either of DeWines' political futures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm working to hold the line against higher property taxes.
MALVEAUX: He was supposed to coast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sadly, Pat DeWine is rejecting Reagan's vision. MALVEAUX: But, instead, Pat DeWine flopped, big-time. Experts once predicted he'd sail to victory in yesterday's Republican congressional primary in Ohio. He is, after all, son of the state's senior senator, Republican Mike DeWine, but that asset recently became a huge liability, when just weeks before the election, Senator DeWine became one of the group some are calling the gang of 14, the bipartisan group of lawmakers who cobbled together the filibuster compromise, allowing votes on some of President Bush's judicial nominees.
SEN. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: I think this represents a major accomplishment.
MALVEAUX: Social conservatives at home didn't agree, and they seemed to have taken it out on Pat DeWine, even though he disagreed with his father. The senator's son who was supposed to finish first came in fourth.
AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: You know, for most Americans, the filibuster issue or the makeup of the courts not really defining issue, but for social conservative Republicans who do make up disproportionate percentage of the Republican primary vote, it's absolutely a major issue, and I think that this race helped to show us just how important the issue was.
MALVEAUX: Pat DeWine had other problems. His decision in 2002 to leave his wife for another woman was an undercurrent in the contest, and didn't sit well with Christian conservatives in Ohio's conservative second district. But the Mike DeWine filibuster angle is what's captured Washington's interest, as political watchers wonder if it's a sign of things to come for those with ties to the compromise. The senator himself is up for reelection in 2006.
MALVEAUX: And coming up, the controversy over the Downing Street memo. Coming up, we'll take a closer look why the story is staying in the spotlight.
Plus, the sale of this California congressman's home is raising some questions on Capitol Hill. We'll tell you why.
And later, the buzz over the Terri Schiavo autopsy. We'll go inside the blogs to find out what's being said.
MALVEAUX: Members of Gold Star Families for Peace have been meeting with members of Congress to press for answers about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Gold Star Members have all had family members killed in war, oppose the war in Iraq, and they're focusing on a controversial British document, the Downing Street Memo.
CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider gives us a closer look at the document and the questions surrounding it.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Six weeks ago, the London Sunday Times published leaked minutes of a July, 2002 meeting in the Downing Street offices of British prime minister Tony Blair eight months before the war in Iraq.
According to the notes, a high-ranking British intelligence official who had just returned from Washington reported "Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." The implication? The Bush administration had already decided to go to war before asking for a vote of Congress, before going to the United Nations.
At their June 7 press conference, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair addressed the issues raised by the memo.
TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: But the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go -- to use military force to deal with Saddam. There's nothing farther from the truth.
SCHNEIDER: End of debate? Not if Democratic Congressman John Conyers can help it. He's holding a forum Thursday to look into the allegations. What does Conyers hope to prove?
REP. JOHN CONYERS, (D) MICHIGAN: It may turn out that we got into a secret war that had already been planned and now that we're in it, we can't get out of it.
SCHNEIDER: There were a lot of reports during the summer of 2002 that the Bush administration was I be tent on going to war. What's so sensational about the allegations of the British documents?
CONYERS: Ironically, there are those now writing that we knew he was going to go to war all the time. But if we -- those who claimed that they knew that, he wasn't telling the Congress that. And it's in this crucible that we get the question of deception. Did he deceive us into a war? Were we tricked in a war?
SCHNEIDER: The difference is, the mood of the country. In June, 2002, 61 percent of Americans favored sending U.S. troops to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Now only 42 percent say it was worth going to war in Iraq. That's why questions about how the U.S. got into the war are being raised now. More than they were then.
SCHNEIDER: Representative Conyers is planning to present the White House with a petition signed by more than 500,000 Americans and 104 members of Congress asking President Bush to address the issues raised by the memo. This issue is heating up.
MALVEAUX: And Bill, what does this memo actually show? Does it show a difference in the way the United States and the United Kingdom were actually preparing for the Iraq war?
SCHNEIDER: For the United Kingdom, for the British, the legal justification for the war was crucial. They needed to have a war that was justified under international law. And that appears to be the reason why they insisted on going to the United Nations, which ultimately the United States agreed to even though the United Nations did not approve.
The question the memo raises is, did the United States and Britain go to the United Nations to avoid going to war or to justify going to war?
MALVEAUX: Important questions. Thank you very much Bill Schneider.
The sale of a Republican Congressman's home in California is raising questions on Capitol Hill and in cyberspace. Straight ahead, we'll find out what's being said when we go inside the blogs.
MALVEAUX: The sale of a Republican lawmaker's house in California to a defense contractor has raised some questions in Congress. Congressman Randy Duke Cunningham sold his home, north of San Diego, to contractor Mitchell Wade and Cunningham went on to support Wade's efforts to win millions of dollars in government contracts.
The house sat on the market for eight months with Wade taking a $700,000 loss when he finally resold the house. The timing has some Democrats asking questions.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: I don't know the actual facts of Mr. Cunningham's situation. I will only say this: The housing market in California is very hot. Mr. Cunningham's house seems to be the only one that has been -- had been on the market for a long time. Some might think it was overpriced.
MALVEAUX: Now Cunningham insists that the deal was legitimate and the Speaker of the House says it's one more reason Democrats should stop blocking the work of the House Ethics Committee.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We need to get the Ethics Committee or committee on standards up and running. It's imperative that this House has the ability to refer people to Ethics Committee. If people are trying to use a political advantage or use a political lever -- not having an Ethics Committee and just having all this stuff bubble up and not resolve it -- then there's a problem. And I have to also remind you that there's been problems on both sides of the aisle.
MALVEAUX: Now, the Cunningham story is creating a buzz among some of the bloggers. We check in now with CNN Political Producer Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter.
Jackie, tell us what you're seeing. JACKIE SCHECHNER, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Hi, Suzanne.
The story broke over the weekend in a local San Diego paper, "The Union Tribune," and the blogs have been talking about it since then.
The latest development is that Suzanne Todd -- I'm sorry, Elizabeth Todd -- forgive me -- the realtor who appraised Cunningham's house not such an independent source. Apparently she and her husband contributed thousands of dollars to Cunningham's campaign.
That's what's being talked about at TalkingPointsMemo.com. This is Joshua Marshall's blog. He's been on this story since the weekend. He's also fast to give kudos to the "San Diego Union Tribune" and specifically Marcus Stern who he says is doing some great reporting on what Marshall is now calling, "Cunning Scam."
ABBI TATTON, CNN BLOG REPORTER: And so, of course, Randy Cunningham -- we said he has made a statement saying that he's denied any wrongdoing. And that's over here Ittybird.Blogspot.com (ph) with a picture of the Congressman.
In an interview last week, they point out he said, "My whole life I've lived above board. I've never even smoked a marijuana cigarette." Well, there you go, is the point they make on that one. But you have to go over to some of the San Diego bloggers, on both sides of the aisle, to find out that they really don't think this can be legitimate. At QandO.net (ph) Randy Cunningham is the Congressman of this blogger here and they sum it up thus: Let's say Randy Duke Cunningham got a really good price for this house. They're pointing out how hot the real estate market is down there.
The same point being made over InfectiousGreed, this is Paul Kedrosky's blog. He blogs about venture capital and finance. He say the post is the best-worst real estate broker in California -- doing a bit of research there showing you the prices of Del Mar homes going up and up and up there. He says, "Is it possible that Del Mar's beach- side prices fell precipitously during the biggest real estate boom ever in Southern California?" As the figure shows here: No, it's not likely at all.
SCHECHNER: Steve Benin (ph) at the CarpetBaggerReport.com also weighing in. He's a writer, a researcher and a political consultant. He points out that Tom DeLay has now weighed in on Cunningham, according to the Hill. The quote was, "Duke Cunningham is a hero, he's an honorable man of high integrity."
Steve commenting, "What a relief. If DeLay says nothing untoward happened here, it must be true."
TATTON: And there is some comment from the right on this. Not so much as from the left, but over here at RightWingNews.com, they're saying they don't know if he's honest or not. But if he is honest in this case, they think that maybe he's just not smart enough to be in Congress because anyone can see the huge ethical morass that lies ahead in this one. Now on to another story that dominated the blogs earlier this year, this is the case of Terri Schiavo. We talked about how right- wing blogs were trying to use the Internet to push the case of Terri Schiavo's parents, who were trying to keep their daughter alive.
Today the autopsy came out and it showed that she died of dehydration, she had irreversible brain damage and that there was no sign of abuse. Now, we went back to some of the blogs we looked at earlier this year. BlogsForTerri.com was one of them on the right who got together a lot of the bloggers on the right to promote this cause.
Now, not all of them reacting immediately. A lot of them to start with just posting the autopsy report as BlogsForTerri.com does here.
SCHECHNER: As the day went on, two points coming up over on the right. One being that the autopsy itself is far from conclusive. That point being made at "DoubleToothpicks," this is ChristInYou.Org (ph) and Bebo over there, posting: He's going to look forward to the interpretation of other experts. The other argument being made is that this is nothing to negate the moral contradiction that went on here. And what Michael Schiavo and his side did was murder.
Just want to make the real quickly that John Cole, over at "Bloom Juice," is a conservative who is a little worried about the spin on right and says he's much more skeptical of Republicans right now.
TATTON: The blogs on the left were very quick to react on this one. At CrooksandLiars.Com you can see a huge round-up of all the different people. Some of the argument: first of all, that Dr. Frist, the Senate majority leader, must be a terrible doctor because of this case; another one saying that, "Will the right apologize to Michael as a result of this all this?"
So, blogosphere still divided on the Terri Schiavo case -- Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Abbi, Jacki, thank you, very much.
From the Internet to the mainstream media, you don't have to look far these days to see a picture of Angelina Jolie. Here in Washington, the actress took a break today from plugging her new film and fending off questions about her relationship with co-star Brad Pitt.
Instead she teamed up with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to commemorate World Refugee Day. As a good will ambassador for the United Nations, Jolie has come to D.C. before to tout international causes. Which brings us back to her Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-star, Brad Pitt. Whatever his connection to Jolie, they do have this common bond: He's been using his recent TV appearances to talk about his recent tour of Africa and promote efforts to fight poverty, AIDS and hunger on the continent.
The Senate takes on the issue of how the U.S. detains enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Is Gitmo a black eye for the American image overseas? Or is it the best way to keep potential enemies off the battlefield?
That's just one of the topics coming up in our "Strategy Session."
MALVEAUX: With us today, CNN contributor Donna Brazile and CNN political analyst Bob Novak.
Today's topics, shut down Gitmo: A Senate panel puts military and Justice Department officials on the hot seat. Just say no: President Bush blasting Democrats as a party of obstructionists. And energetic debate: The White House and Democrats offer up dueling energy policies.
Strong words on Capitol Hill today about the future of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee say the camp has become an international embarrassment and Congress ought to step in. Republicans say extraordinary steps are being taken at the camps, including a multimillion dollar makeover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: We spent $109 million building a new facility in Guantanamo. I visited the old, temporary facility, and they showed me the site where the new one would be. It would make a magnificent resort. It's a level land. It sits right out on the water. It's a beautiful site.
LEAHY: And this idea of changing, changing the focus, producing props of chicken dinners and such seeming to argue this is more a Club Med than a prison. Let's get real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Well, let's get real then. Because obviously, there's some people upset. We have heard descriptions about rice pilaf, chicken dinner, tea and all of this. Do you think the Republicans, Donna, have gone too far in actually trying to prove that look, you know, they're being treated well?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well first of all, I think that to try to describe Gitmo Bay as some kind of spa, some kind of resort is foolish. It is what it is. It is a place that was set up and designed to hold people for an indefinite period of time, to torture them, to try to get information out of them and to keep them behind bars until the United States figures out what to do with them. It's time to close it down, to investigate it, to figure out what happened at Gitmo Bay so that we can take this awful stain that has been placed on our reputation.
MALVEAUX: Bob, do you think these hearings actually accomplish that? Are we going to get to the bottom of what is happening at Gitmo? Or do you think it's been overblown here? BOB NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's strictly a political ploy by the Democrats to get at President Bush for his policy in Iraq. I want to stipulate, if I could, just to start, that I am not a political strategist, and the Republicans wouldn't claim me as one.
But I would say that -- I certainly hope they're not treated as well as the Republicans claim they are. I might want to go there and spend some time. But I'm sure they're not -- they should be treated badly. Most of them are enemy combatants. They shouldn't be treated well.
But I would like to see some of the liberals who are in such agony over Gitmo be a little more pain over the American boys being killed in Iraq everyday by the terrorists. That's the atrocity that bothers more than perhaps some unpleasant treatment of prisoners at Gitmo.
BRAZILE: That's precisely why Democrats would like to see this facility close the down. It's putting our soldiers at risk. It's ruining our reputation. It's not just Democrats, Martinez of Florida, the senator there, also said that this facility should be closed down. Senator Hagel and even President Bush last week opened the door that possibly there are some other alternatives on the table. So, we should investigate. And then Senator Specter is absolutely right, we should figure out how to legislate this -- the procedures down there so we have some laws and some standards.
MALVEAUX: But Donna, the Secretary of Defense said there is no other alternative. He says are we going to put these prisoners? And obviously, we've talked to several senators today who say, look, not in my backyard, not my state, I'm not volunteering here. So what is the options here? I mean, you talk about open options.
NOVAK: What they ought to do, they ought to be in the country they came from, in Iraq. And someday perhaps we'll have the Iraqi government able to confine these people there, but not today, certainly.
BRAZILE: We couldn't put them in Abu Ghraib, because that -- Abu Ghraib -- that prison is also under suspect. Look, the United States I'm sure has other options and it's time we explore those options.
MALVEAUX: Now, we've been watching these Senate hearings that took place today. And, you know, a lot of people have been asking what is the purpose of this?
I spoke with Senator Specter and he's saying, you know, Congress is responsible in some way here because they have not defined what are we doing with these detainees? Why are we holding them there? So, there seems to be joint responsibility. Others are saying this is just for scoring political points. I mean, what will these hearings accomplish?
NOVAK: It is restoring political points. It's obviously, it's as I said, it's people who -- I've never heard them talking about the absolute barbarous conduct of the Iraqi insurgents. What they're doing there is that they are enemy combatants. Most of them have been so regarded as enemy combatants. You can't just put them into downtown Washington and say enjoy yourself.
BRAZILE: We have too many other crooks running around Washington, D.C., it would create a traffic jam.
Look, the truth of the matter is they're looking to see if we're, you know, respecting international law, the Geneva Convention. Senator Feinstein said it in her statement today, she said is this policy right? Are we doing the right thing? Is it working? And it's time that we address some of these questions. And really, a lot of the administration to respond to them.
MALVEAUX: OK. We'll be addressing questions later. We're going to get a move on to our next topic, of course. The president calls for a little cooperation from the Democrats. He wants them to just say no to obstructing his second term agenda. Will they heed his call? Our "Strategy Session" has answers just ahead.
MALVEAUX: The "Strategy Session" continues on INSIDE POLITICS. Still here, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile as well as "CAPITAL GANG'S" Bob Novak.
Now, Republicans have a new name for their Democratic opponents: obstructionists. President Bush echoed that theme at a Republican fundraiser in Washington last night. He said, Democrats are bottling up too much essential legislation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: On issue of an issue, they stand for nothing except obstruction and this is not leadership.
BUSH: It is the philosophy of the stop sign, the agenda of the road block. And our country and our children deserve better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: So, he says that the Democrats are obstructionists.
Donna, this is not a new theme by the president. But we've heard it reemerge lately, because he seems to be having a bit of frustration moving forward with his domestic agenda in his second term. Do you think that -- do you think he's scapegoating the Democrats in a way, or do they really need to put some plans here on the table besides saying no, we don't accept the president's agenda?
BRAZILE: Well, many people believe that the president is tanking in the polls, the Republican controlled Congress is out of touch with everyday Americans and so they're just trying to deflect and to blame everything on the donkey, pin the blame on Democrats. The truth is that Democrats are not, you know, obstructing the president's agenda. The president's agenda on Social Security was having trouble in the Republican-controlled Congress. The Republican agenda on energy reform, well, there's no real reform. So, it's a sweet, wet kiss to the oil industry.
So, I don't think the Democrats are obstructing him. Democrats have their own reform agenda and when the president's ready to talk about it, perhaps tonight at the White House picnic, he'll have Harry Reid over with some barbecue and they can talk about our reform agenda.
MALVEAUX: That's right, he's having the obstructionists over to the White House for the congressional picnic.
BRAZILE: A free lunch and a free dinner. We like that.
MALVEAUX: So Bob, what's wrong with the Democrats simply saying no we don't buy this, we don't accept the president's plan, we're not signing up for it?
NOVAK: Nothing wrong with it a bit. Of course, they're obstructionists. There's nothing new in politics. It was a long time ago we had the Democratic president Harry Truman who was screaming about the Republican congress led by Senator Robert Taft -- we have a Taft Memorial out here. He was a great Republican, opposing everything he wanted, obstructing everything.
And you know what Taft said? Taft said the business of the opposition is to oppose. And all the liberal columnists just said that was so small-minded and nasty. But it is. That's what the opposition party does, it opposes.
It is the duty of the party in power to get the things through. And that's what the president has not done a very good job at. You hear that from the Republicans. There's a lot of complaints about not being very effective on Social Security. They botched up the nomination of John Bolton. And so they have permitted these obstructionists to do it.
So, I don't think the president should whine about obstructionists. I think they will have to devise a more clever strategy.
MALVEAUX: So, what is the alternative strategy? I mean, how does he change course here? .
NOVAK: Well, I'm not a strategist. I told you that. I'm an analyst.
MALVEAUX: Analyze, Bob. Tell us what you think.
NOVAK: I don't know how they can do it. That's their business. That's what they get the big bucks for. They've done a lousy job.
But I think the Democrats don't stand for anything. But opposition parties never stand for anything. The idea that they're going to with a minority get something through is nonsense. All they can do is block the administration. And they've done a good job at it so far.
BRAZILE: And let me just say this, Bob said it best, the Republicans are not, you know, crazy about the president's plan to privatize Social Security. They're not crazy about the deficits that are on the rise. They're not crazy about...
NOVAK: Wait a minute, I didn't say that.
BRAZILE: They're not crazy about the president's agenda. Now you're becoming a strategist.
NOVAK: No, no. I didn't say that. I never said that. If you quote yourself, Donna don't quote me, because I never said that.
BRAZILE: Well, they're not crazy -- the truth is the Republican- controlled Congress is not crazy. And it's time that -- look, if the White House was serious, they would sit down with the Republicans and then perhaps the Democrats will know what the Republicans stand for. We know what we're fighting for.
MALVEAUX: Why aren't the Democrats coming up with concrete ideas here, though. When it comes to the Social Security plan or energy? We've heard a lot of people say, look, we don't support what the president's doing or the Republicans, but they keep asking the Democrats give us a better plan here and we're not hearing it.
BRAZILE: Let's take off the table this effort to privatize which would destroy a great program and we'll come to the table. We'll meet you halfway. But we will not come if you want to destroy the program.
And secondly, look, Maria Cantwell of Washington state is putting forward a great amendment today to reduce United States dependence on foreign oil over the next 20 years by 40 percent. Let's see if Republicans will embrace that amendment.
MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much.
We'll move on to our next subject, of course, after the break. The president wants action from congress on an energy bill. Some worry parts of the bill will push up prices at the gas pump. When the "Strategy Session" on INSIDE POLITICS returns, we'll look at the energetic debated over that.
And an official leaving the White House to take a job at a giant oil company.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Coming up at the top of the hour, Iraqi forces supported by U.S. troops help free a hostage in Baghdad. We'll have the dramatic story in his own words. Doctors release the results of their autopsy on the body of Terri Schiavo. How did the findings affect the controversy surrounding her death?
And a powerful earthquake off California triggers a tsunami warning. All those stories, much more, only minutes away on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Now back to INSIDE POLITICS.
MALVEAUX: The "Strategy Session" continues on INSIDE POLITICS.
Donna Brazile, CNN contributor and Democratic strategist as well as Bob Novak, of course, syndicated columnist and member of the "CAPITAL GANG."
Now, debate over energy policy is picking up steam. President Bush again calling on Congress to pass his long-stalled energy legislation. Today, Democrats laid out their own plan for energy independence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: People got to understand, our dependence on foreign oil didn't develop overnight and it's not going to be fixed overnight. To solve the problem, our nation needs a comprehensive energy policy.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: We as Democrats believe that our highest priority on energy security is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We can do that. The Bush White House has said it's impossible. We reject that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: OK. Let's start with the story that's all the buzz today here, of course, and that is the story of Phil Cooney. He is the former White House official who we discovered -- or at least a watchdog group -- a government watchdog group presented these reports saying that he was altering these reports on global warming, the link to that in emissions. He resigned last week after this all came to light. Now we understand that he is taking a job with Exxon.
What does this say about the Bush administration, that the officials that are inside of the White House, that are essentially making those conclusions, determinations about science, about global warming, and the link with the oil industry? Donna, I'll start with you.
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, Mr. Cooney came from the oil and gas industry. He did their bidding while inside the White House. It's no secret that he altered these documents and made some changes. He's not a scientist. He's a lobbyist, and now he's returned back to the industry that he came from. Of course, Exxon-Mobile is the largest oil and gas industry company in the world.
So, I mean, this revolving door policy has to stop. I mean, it taints our reputation, but more importantly, it says something really awful about this White House and that is their cozy relationship with K Street, the special interests. And, once again, if you look at this energy bill, all it contains is tax credits and tax breaks to oil and gas industry and not enough, I believe, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil or to reduce gas prices.
MALVEAUX: Bob, is the White House too cozy with the oil industry?
NOVAK: Well, they support the oil industry. It's a Republican administration. Maybe you have some people that don't understand (ph). Let me tell you what the Cooney story is. They had a lot of these liberals in the Council for Environmental Quality in the White House, so they had this dopey report on global warming. It went much too far and he was assigned to edit it down. He was assigned to it. He didn't come in the dead of the night. And, so, when it got into the paper, the editor, not the White House, who would assign them became the culprit.
There's one thing about this administration is they don't always support their own. And so, he became the scapegoat and he had to be kicked out. He was leaving anyway to go to Exxon, but they had to -- they kicked him out early. I think it is a -- it shows some things about the White House, a little different take than Donna has, that are not very flattering.
MALVEAUX: Now, I covered this story last week actually, and one thing that some of the environmentalists and the scientists were saying is that they felt they were being left out of the process here, that you had somebody who essentially was a lobbyist for the oil industry who was making though kids of edits and many of the scientists who felt they were actually qualified to make these conclusions were being left out.
NOVAK: Let me tell you something. The scientists were not elected president of the United States. They were not elected to Congress. Mr. Cooney was ordered by the White House to make these edits and that is the policy of the administration. Thank god we don't have scientists running this country and the arrogance of them to say that they know best and the elected president of the people doesn't know is bad.
My problem is, I don't think they gave Mr. Cooney the support. I'd like to talk about the energy bill for a second, if I could, though.
MALVEAUX: I want to wrap -- I want to wrap this, real quick, though, however. There's some who say that Democrats do the same thing. They say that look, you know, Donna, if you put -- Republicans are in office, they're going to put people -- their friends -- in these positions and they come up with conclusions that support basically their ideology.
BRAZILE: Yes, but I don't believe any Democrat would alter a report and leave the scientists -- those who know best, and those who know about global warming. I don't believe that they would. Look, the administration report is full of hot air and that's probably why global warming is on the rice and not being reduced under this administration because they just don't care.
MALVEAUX: So, the president says he has a plan for reducing our dependency on foreign oil...
NOVAK: It obviously won't do that. The president wants to have a skin on the wall called the energy bill, but he isn't -- it's just something to pass. It isn't going to do very much. It does nothing about oil exploration on the West Coast where we know there's probably oil, on the East Coast where there may be oil. There's nothing in the Senate bill on ANWR. Can you believe that? The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
There is not enough in there for nuclear energy, for atomic energy, which is very important. It is filled with pork, all kinds of pork, and the idea of the ethanol proposal, it's a mediocre bill, and if they put in global warming amendment, it ought to die.
MALVEAUX: All right, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
BRAZILE: Well, Bob just gave a good reason why this bill should...
NOVAK: Don't misquote me.
MALVEAUX: I got to let you guys go. I got to let you guys -- Bob Novak, not a strategist..
BRAZILE: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Donna Brazile, our Democratic strategist. Thanks.
Just ahead, we have just talked about, Phillip Cooney is heading to Exxon-Mobile and the story is creating a stir in cyberspace. Straight ahead, we'll go "Inside the Blogs."
MALVEAUX: To continue with our "Strategy Session" story, a controversial former White House environmental official is going to work for Exxon-Mobile and the story is a big one on some of the blogs, as well. We check in now with CNN political producer Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter. Jacki, what do you have?
SCHECHNER: Hey there.
The blogs are having some fun with the Phillip Cooney story, and sometimes the headline says it all.
Over at blog.NormGregory.com (ph), "Exxon Announces Merger with White House," going on to point out that Cooney will still be at the White House energy meetings, he will just now be on the other side of the table.
Over at GridSurvey.org, with headline "Not Easy Being Green," noting that Cooney barely had time to update his resume before moving on. And finally, over at DemBloggers.com -- that'll pull up in just a moment -- but they note that if you try to push big oil through the White House and you get caught, where do you end up? Working for big oil.
TATTON: Now, DemBloggers.com is a liberal video blogging site -- we've talked about video bloggers here before -- people that don't just link to articles but they post the TV clips to make their political points.
We're also seeing a trend this week on some of the video bloggers on the left and the right -- they're doing their own interviews. The two fellows over there from North Carolina heading up to D.C. this week to interview Congressman John Conyers on the Downing Street memo.
Earlier this week, also, we saw at TrayJackson.typepad.com (ph), Tray Jackson, a conservative blogger who has teamed up with another blog, Red State Rant, to interview Newt Gingrich, just this week. And, it's posted all the video there on the site for you to see. A group of conservative bloggers, eight or 10 of them, submitted questions to Tray. Tray asked them of Newt Gingrich and all the results are posted there. That is TrayJackson.typepad.com, and Tray says this is one in a series. The next interview is already in progress. So, a couple of video bloggers there trying to give readers just a little bit more information. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Well, thank you very much. That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": "Happening Now," inside Iran. You're familiar with the ayatollahs and the anti- American rallies, but now you're about to meet other Iranians who share a very different perspective. Our Christiane Amanpour is in Iran. Stand by for hard news on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS.
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