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CNN LIVE SUNDAY

Shooting Occurs At Tacoma, Washington Mall; President Bush Wraps Up Asian Trip

Aired November 20, 2005 - 16:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN MURTHA, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: It can't be won militarily. It has got to be won politically. You have to give them the incentive to take back their own country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Political debate and growing doubts about the war in Iraq. Is immediate troop withdrawal the answer?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look down here, you can kind of see the black mold kind of taking over the weaker mold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Mold taking over thousands of homes along the Gulf Coast. Why demolition and rebuilding may not be the only solution for property owners.

And got a great idea? Well, you're not the only one. Hot new inventions, not all of them practical, but cool nonetheless.

Hello and welcome to CNN LIVE SUNDAY. Thanks for joining us. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A look at our top stories right now in the news.

President Bush continuing his Asian tour is toning down his attack on critics of the Iraq war. Speaking in Beijing, Mr. Bush said there's nothing unpatriotic about Americans expressing opposing opinions about Iraq. His comments came after talks with China's president Hu Jintao. And that happened today.

Political friction in Tel Aviv: Israel's Labor Party has voted to with withdrawal from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition government. Labor ministers are likely to deliver formal resignation letters to his office on Monday. The move sets the stage for early general elections.

Gamma is losing its punch. The record setting 24th named storm of the Atlantic season has been downgraded to a tropical depression. It is blamed for a dozen deaths in Central America. Forecasters had expected it to hit South Florida as early as tomorrow. Now it;s not happen as a tropical storm.

Diplomacy in China, questions about Iraq: President Bush tackled both today in Beijing. CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash is traveling with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In China for intense talks, the president dove into the debate back in Washington over Iraq. Unsolicited, he called an influential Democrat who wants U.s. troops home from Iraq a good man but wrong.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know the decision to call for immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position.

BASH: A noticeably toned down response compared to a White House statement just days earlier linking hawkish Congressman John Murtha to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.

Growing doubts back home about Iraq have distracted Mr. Bush throughout Asia as he tries to focus on monumental issues in this region, especially in China.

The president spent Sunday morning at church in Beijing, one of five sanctioned and censored by the communist government. A move used to press China's leaders for more religious freedom.

BUSH: My hope is that the government of China will not fear that Christians who gather to worship openly.

BASH: Later, Mr. Bush took the call to broaden rights for China's 1.3 billion people to its leader, President Hu Jintao. But with reports of a pre-Bush visit crackdown on dissidents, the secretary of state expressed dismay.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We've certainly not seen the progress that we would expect. And I think we'll have to keep working on it.

BASH: The president spent much of his talks pouring over economic differences with the Chinese powerhouse puts the U.S. at a huge disadvantage. He won no concessions from China on it's undervalued currency or the expected $200 billion trade deficit. Bush aides did report some promises from China's premier about another major issue: piracy.

(on camera): Counterfeit products sold freely in markets like in Beijing and exported around the world are estimated to cost Americans 750,000 jobs and U.S. businesses $250 billion a year.

(voice-over): Experts say that China makes the bulk of pirated copyrighted material.

After a series of tense talks, the president shed his suit for a pair of shorts.

BUSH: How do you say take it easy on the old man?

BASH: And met up with six Chinese Olympic hopefuls, a little time-out for his favorite sport.

BUSH: Just getting warmed up.

BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld weighs in on the fight over Iraq. He says talk of an early pullout only encourages insurgents and discourages troops.

He tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer things are getting better in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: What I see is progress being made on the political side. I see progress being made with the Iraqi security forces. And I think that it's fine to have this debate, it's important to have the discussion, but when we look back a year from now, we'll see that progress was, in fact, made.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Meantime in Iraq, 450 U.S. and Iraqi troops are taking part in Operation Bruins in Ramadi west of Baghdad. The mission: to stabilize the area in time for next month's elections.

The U.S. military says the troops are searching for weapons caches and blocking off escape routes for suspected insurgents.

Insurgents in other parts of Iraq are using gun, bombs and rockets to get their point across. Here is CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson in Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one British soldier was killed in the southern town of Basra when a roadside bomb went off as his patrol was passing. Four other British soldiers wounded in that attack. Basra has generally been relatively quiet in the south of Iraq.

To the west of Iraq today in the town of Haditha, one U.S. marine was killed when a roadside bomb went off near his convoy. Fifteen Iraqi civilians were also killed in that blast. It appears as if the insurgents have also laid an ambush. Just as the roadside bomb went off, they started shooting at the marine convoy. There was an exchange of gunfire. And according to U.S. military, eight Iraqi insurgents -- or eight insurgents were killed in that exchange of gunfire, one was wounded and managed to try and flee the scene. Roadside bombs also causing casualties in Baghdad. One roadside bomb went off killing a child, wounding five Iraqi civilians in the area. Another bomb -- roadside bomb again wounding five Iraqi civilians who were in the area.

And a task force Baghdad soldier -- a U.S. soldier -- killed in small arms gunfire just north of Baghdad. An Iraqi police major, the target of an assassination in the south of Baghdad this morning. He was driving his car about 9:00 a.m. in the morning, his own private car wearing civilian clothes. He wasn't in uniform, gunned down by unknown assassins.

And on the eastern side of Baghdad early this morning, three bodies were discovered. Their hands had been bound. They'd been shot in the head.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: The debate over if and when the U.S. should pull out of Iraq is suddenly everywhere. How did it get back into the spotlight? We'll explore that question along with others later this hour.

Rebuilding New Orleans: The hurricane-ravaged city is no longer under water, but the city has a long way to go. One of the issues taking over in some parts, toxic mold. The creative way one restaurant seemed to get rid of it.

Plus, a growing war of words over Iraq is all the talk. More about politics than policy?

(WEATHER REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Walk the talk: that's what New Orleans' largest newspaper is telling the federal government to do when it comes to the city's hurricane-damaged levees. In a rare front page editorial, the "Times-Picayune" says, quote, "we need the federal government. We need our Congress to fulfill the promises made now the past. We need to be safe," end quote. It continues, "we need better protection next hurricane season than we had this year. Going forward, we need protection from the fiercest of the storms, the category 5 storms that are out there waiting to strike." That coming from the "Times- Picayune."

More criticism of the rebuilding process is leveled in "Time" magazines new cover story: "New Orleans Today: It is Worse Than you Think." The article describes a city not even close to being back on its feet.

Joining us from Washington is "Time" magazine correspondent Timothy Burger who contributed to the article. Timothy, good to see you. TIMOTHY BURGER, TIME: My pleasure.

WHITFIELD: What did you find most shocking?

BURGER: Well, in a way, the everyday mundane details of major American city that's just been devastated. It's a city of about 500,000 people. During the day you're up to a maximum of about 150,000 people working there. And at night, many of those people leave and go sleep elsewhere. So you have about 60,000 overnight there. So it's really sort of ghost town war zone. And the feel of it is just incredible as our correspondent Cathy Booth Thomas is reporting from the scene.

WHITFIELD: And part of the problem is of the many people who have decided to come back to help put this city back together, there is no place for a lot of folks to stay. So therein lies the problem of the whole ghost town effect. so, a lot of these people who have come back to try to contribute to rebuilding, are they getting any hope as to how they're getting assistance on housing?

BURGER: Well, there's still 75,000 households that are without electricity. And lot of areas where you can't even hook up a temporary trailer to electricity. So that's one of the barriers. And the local power utility is trying to get that up and running. But you know, it's really reminiscent of Baghdad after the early part of the war when it took so long to get things back going.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And remember, there was a warning that came out almost immediately after Ray Nagin said we want everyone to come back. That's the new slogan of the city, come back. But then it was revealed they don't have enough hospitals to even give basic medical care to those if they did come back and step on a rusty nail or cut themselves on a piece of glass in trying to survey the damage. Any progress being made on if medical front there?

BURGER: Well, you're absolutely right. Only about 15 percent of the medical personnel, at least in some areas, are back on the job. There was about eight hospitals running in New Orleans before August 28. Only two of them are up and running now.

One of the doctors we talked to joked that to get a category 1, the most urgent care, if you get shot or hit in a car accident, you better schedule that at a certain hour of the day in order to be able to get into a bed.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And now FEMA says it's out of money. Not only can it afford to continue to pay the hotel bills of people, but it really can't afford to give the money that many of these cities expected from the start. Is it an issue of not having enough money or is it misappropriation?

BURGER: Well, it's actually quite a complicated matter to come in and try and clean up after a disaster of this magnitude. FEMA does have billions and billions of dollars that it has not obligated. In fact, only about 10 percent of the checks -- 10 percent of the money has been cashed in the form of checks to contractors. What you have is they don't want to just dump a pile of money in the center of New Orleans. They want to try and put it in places that it will have a strategic recovery. And so President Bush is sending Donald Powell out there to try and develop a vision for the recovery.

You also have a problem, unfortunately, Louisiana has a reputation and a history of great corruption there. So there's reluctance on the part of Washington to just send money down there and let it disappear.

WHITFIELD: And quickly, did you get a sense from any of the people who decided to come back or who were there to help rebuild, et cetera, are they feeling encouraged enough to want to stay and stick it out? Or are you already starting to hear rumblings from them who are saying, I don't know how long I can do this?

BURGER: That's really the big question of the future of New Orleans. Because if the people stay there or go there, I think that the recovery will follow. But a lot of people may not want to go back and sit there and wait to see if their house is going to be rebuilt or whatever. As people form lives elsewhere and get jobs, there may be a reluctance of some people to return.

WHITFIELD: Wow. All right. Timothy Burger of "Time" magazine, thanks so much for being with us.

BURGER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: This story just coming in out of Tacoma, Washington. Reportedly several people have been shot at a shopping mall in downtown Tacoma, Washington. This information coming from the dispatcher of the Tacoma Police Department. No other details are being given right now. But of course when we get them and when we get a better understanding of the circumstances of this shooting, we'll be able to bring them on to you.

Now, back to more of the recovery efforts in New Orleans. Mold: While it still blankets homes and businesses throughout the Gulf Coast, demolition or rebuilding may not be the only solution for property owners. Reporting from New Orleans, here's CNN's Rusty Dornin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's growing in the Lombard house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mold grew about four or five feet here. It's black mold. The say it is really toxic, really bad.

DORNIN: It covered parts of Bob Defelice's restaurant.

BOB DEFELICE, NEW ORLEANS BUSINESS OWNER: If you look down here you can kind of see the black mold kind of taking over the weaker mold. DORNIN: As it has in thousands of homes on the Gulf Coast. Like this one, outside it looks relatively untouched. But inside there are heartaches and headaches for those trying to rebuild. Wes Alden, a local doctor, has two children who suffer from asthma.

WES ALDEN, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: You know, I was concerned that the house might not be livable.

DEFELICE: We might be able to salvage those.

DORNIN: Like many, Bob Defelice, owner of Pascal's Manale, a New Orleans restaurant institution dating back to 1913, was facing weeks of work, ripping out and rebuilding all his interior walls. That's the standard treatment. Then he heard about a gas fumigation system, a system that would sterilize his restaurant every nook and cranny without rebuilding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually we can come in over here...

DORNIN: The company, Sabre Technology, used the same gas to decontaminate Capitol Hill following the 2001 anthrax attacks. Turns out chlorine dioxide kills everything from termites to mold.

Parts of this house were flooded with eight feet of water.

(on camera): You can smell it. It is everywhere. Can you save a place like this?

KAREN CAVANAGH, SABRE TECHNOLOGY: Absolutely. Absolutely. And structurally most of these places were sound. They sat with water and were incubators for uncontrolled mold. But these places did dry out, and particularly lath and plaster construction very typical around here remains hard even on the water board.

DORNIN (voice-over): Back at the restaurant, Defelice's employees were told they could bring any moldy items.

CARMEN PROVENZANO, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: All the mold in the closet.

DORNIN: So we went along with sous chef Carmen Provenzano to grab some clothes at his wrecked home.

PROVENZANO: I'd rather take a chance and see if it can be saved.

DORNIN: Provenzano hung the clothes in the restaurant's closet. The building was then tented. And the gas pumped in. Twelves hours later, the gas is gone. And we follow Defelice into his restaurant.

DEFELICE: This is incredible. I'm just totally blow away. Look at this wood here. I mean, that was just so dark before. And it's -- you can see all the grain.

DORNIN: About what Carmen's Provenzano's clothes?

PROVENZANO: Everything a little dirty still, just given the situation, but it's definitely clean. You can smell the difference. You can see the difference in the -- there's no mold on anything.

DORNIN: Chlorine dioxide is a pesticide approved by the USDA for everything from purifying drinking water to keeping baby carrots from getting slimy. It costs about $8 per square foot to treat mold with chlorine dioxide putting the price at under $40,000 for an average house. It won't repair water damage, but it does eradicate mold. And for Bob Defelice, that means the famous barbecue shrimp will be back on the menu by January.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: There are growing concerns over bird flu in the U.S. And one idea that could keep you safe.

Plus, he was missing for three days. How a Colorado snowboarder stayed alive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: More now on that reported shooting at a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. Police have said now that they have ordered a lockdown of the entire shopping mall. Fire officials on the scene are telling CNN that eight are reported wounded. No one, however, is in custody as yet.

So again, a reported shooting taking place in the middle of a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. When we get more, we'll be bringing that to you on CNN.

Meantime, Canadian officials confirm today a domestic duck has been infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus. The duck in British Columbia is in addition to two birds found with the virus in Manitoba. Health experts emphasize the virus is not the same form of H5N1 that's killed more than 60 people in Asia. They say this subtype poses no threat to humans.

There is more concern, however, over the deadly Asian strain of bird flu. U.S. officials acknowledge today it will be years before the country can make enough vaccine to protect everyone against a flu pandemic. So what can be done to keep people safe? CNN's Gary Nuremberg takes a look at one idea under consideration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY NUREMBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the deadly bird flu now blamed for dozens of deaths in Asia, American health officials said Sunday the United States isn't prepared to protect its citizens from a widespread outbreak.

MICHAEL LEAVITT, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: It will be three to five years before we have vaccine manufacturing capacity to deliver 300 million courses of a pandemic flu vaccine. We simply lack the capacity to do it as rapidly as necessary. NUREMBERG (on camera): That makes essential early detection of flu that could potentially cause a pandemic. And some scientists believe that great places for early detection are American zoos.

DR. DOMINIC TRAVIS, VETERINARY EPIDEMIOLOGIST: The fairy blue bird it's actually an Asian bird that lives in the range that influenza is in right now.

NUREMBERG (voice-over): Dominic Travis is trying to coordinate national efforts from Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo.

TRAVIS: Zoos are actually incredibly well suited for that. Because to be a good sentinel you need to have a stationary population of susceptible animals. And you have to have the infrastructure and the resources to watch the health of those animals.

NUREMBERG: The Department of Agriculture also watches animals closely and thinks zoo guidelines issued Friday for bird flu detection could be helpful.

DR. JOHN CLIFFORD, U.S. DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE: It's a very excellent and go step in the right direction that would tie in well with the national pandemic plan.

NUREMBERG: Local authorities sprayed to prevent West Nile Virus several years ago after zoos helped detect that disease. Those protocols for quickly notifying human health authorities are already in place.

TRAVIS: It is not to scare you, but it is a little scary.

NUREMBERG: The bird flu hasn't yet developed the ability to spread consistently from human to human in a way that could cause a pandemic. But that remains a possibility. A reason health officials want to know immediately if it reaches the United States.

TRAVIS: The point is by implementing good surveillance, you have a chance at early detection. And therefore a chance at early response. And therefore the best possibility of minimizing the impact of it if it's introduced.

NUREMBERG: And now if it is introduced, zoos may well be the first places to find out.

Gary Nuremberg, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Taking a look at stories across America now. Did Texas execute an innocent young man? The Houston Chronicle" is reporting a dozen years after this man Rubin Cantu was put to death, the lone witness and a co-defendant in this case are changing their stories. Next hour, I'll talk to the reporter about the case and the new revelations.

Gusty winds have whipped up again in Southern California, but so far, haven't slowed firefighters' progress against a massive blaze. A 3,700 acre fire burning in Ventura County is now 72 percent contained.

A missing snowboarder found after three days in snowy Colorado says he doubts he could have survived another night. John Ryan was found yesterday after getting lost outside the Keystone Ski Resort. Ryan says he survived by building a snow fort. He's in good condition, but could lose some toes to frostbite.

Now in the news, plenty of talk but no breakthroughs as President Bush wraps up his trip to China. Several contentious issues were discussed, including Beijing's human rights policies and the United States massive trade deficit with China. Mr. Bush leds to Mongolia next.

A slew of attacks in Iraq today. Iraqi police say a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed a child and wounded five others. An Iraqi police officer was killed in a drive-by shooting. And a U.S. soldier died after being hit by small arms fire outside the capital.

And in the U.S., gas prices continue to fall. The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular is now $2.25. That's more than 18 cents lower than prices were just two weeks ago.

And more now on that reported shooting in the middle of a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. On the telephone with us from the Tacoma Fire Department, John Lendoski. Thanks so much for being with us.

What's the situation? A shooting that took place in a very popular mall there?

JOHN LENDOSKI, TACOMA FIRE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Yes. At approximately 12:15 this afternoon, we got a response to the mall for a shooting. At this time we've transported -- or there's been transported five patients from the mall with minor injuries. There are still people in the mall. And we're on scene with about 40 firefighters and about 15 units right now.

WHITFIELD: People in the mall including the alleged shooter?

LENDOSKI: As far as I know, yes.

WHITFIELD: So, this mall is on lockdown, is that correct? That's according to one of the merchants there in the mall.

LANDOSKI: That seems to be the case. Yeah, I'd have to refer you to Tacoma police for that, but yes right now. But as of right now there's no one entering or leaving the mall.

WHITFIELD: And about how many folks do you have in this mall? Is this a rather sizable mall? Any way of describing for us in volume what we're talking about.

LANDOSKI: It is a typical huge shopping mall, you know 100-some stores. So I have no idea how many people might have been shopping, quite a few I would imagine. WHITFIELD: How do you go about trying to lock down this mall, closing off all the entrances being able to keep people from going and coming? Then what about the parking lot activity?

LANDOSKI: Well, I guess that would be better answer from the police department. I'm with the fire department.

WHITFIELD: What kind of assistance are you, the fire department, being able to provide here?

LANDOSKI: We're certainly here to provide any medical needs that may come up, if there's any further victims or injuries.

WHITFIELD: All right. So again five patients, you said have been transported as a result of this shooting in the mall?

LANDOSKI: Correct.

WHITFIELD: All right. John Landoski of the Tacoma Fired Department thanks much for joining us.

LANDOSKI: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: As we try to get more information about this shopping mall shooting taking place in Tacoma, Washington.

Now, the U.S. role in Iraq. Is the war of words on Capitol Hill actually helping the insurgency? We'll explore that when we come back.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: It's a debate you can't escape these days. After more than 2 1/2 years in Iraq should the U.S. start pulling out? Democratic Congressman John Murtha made waves last week by saying yes, and as soon as possible. House Republicans responded by trying to force Democrats to take a stand on an immediate exit from Iraq. Not what Murtha supported.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN MURTHA, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: When I introduced this resolution, I didn't introduce this as a partisan resolution. I go by Arlington Cemetery every day. And the vice president, he criticizes Democrats. Let me tell you, those gravestones don't say Democrat or Republican. They say American.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S: Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man. Who served our country with honor and distinction as a marine in Vietnam and as a United States Congressman? He is a strong supporter of the United States military. And I know the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining me now to talk about the fight for Iraq, Democratic strategist Julian Epstein. Good to see you Julian.

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to see you Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And president of the Center for Security Policy Frank Gaffney. Good to see you Frank.

FRANK GAFFNEY, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right gentlemen. When listening to the words of Representative Murtha, do you consider his words to be one that represents him taking a very courageous move or a dangerous one? Frank.

GAFFNEY: Well, I think it's certainly courageous in the sense that he's staking out a position. I think it is frankly an indefensible position and, more to the point, that it would be very counterproductive from America's national security interests if he were to be able to prevail upon others to follow him, which he has not to this point. Three reasons why.

WHITFIELD: It would be dangerous to do an immediate withdrawal, which is what he's requesting.

GAFFNEY: Yes but for three reasons. One is that it will unquestionably demoralize our allies not just in Iraq but elsewhere around the world. People are counting on us to help them survive and to bring about freedom. Secondly, it will unquestionably embolden the enemies who are trying to prevent that from happening. And third, it will result; I'm convinced, in more Americans being killed, not just in Iraq, where the premium on American lives is being measured by these kinds of comments. But also elsewhere including the United States.

WHITFIELD: How much of that you do agree with, Julian?

EPSTEIN: I agree with a little bit of that, Fredricka. I agree as a general policy that Congress should not be setting timetables for withdrawal in Iraq or anywhere else for the matter. But I think the issue is much larger than that. I think the real issue here is that this White House and this president have lost credibility. Majority of the public does not believe in the truthfulness of this White House. Majority of the public does not believe in the competency of the White House to handle matters like Iraq or other big matters like Katrina.

Independents believe that we should withdraw. One out of four Republicans now thinks that the Iraq war is being handled badly. And rather than really trying to pick up the pieces and build coalitions the way, say, a Tony Blair would what this White House has done in engaged in real weasel-like arguments. Attacking Democrats and other critics saying that if you criticize this president the way most -- and reflect what most of the public believes right now, you're somehow undermining national security.

The argument that the president didn't have any more information prewar intelligence information than the average member of Congress. These kinds of arguments just aren't cutting it anymore. And the fact that the White House continues to engage in this is only further eroding its public support. And at a certain point once public support goes so far, then you just don't have enough public support to maintain a troop presence in Iraq and the matter is lost at that point. So I think this president is digging himself deeper into a hole here.

WHITFIELD: Go ahead, Frank.

GAFFNEY: This is not just about Iraq, unfortunately. There's a certain tendency to say this is about the war in Iraq. We need to withdraw our forces from Iraq. We lied to get into Iraq. The reality is -- and I don't disagree, the president needs to do a better job of explaining this and enlisting the American people in it. We've just done a book called "War Footing, Ten Steps Americans Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World," which I think is what this is about. We've got to address it as a much.

WHITFIELD: But Frank, isn't what this is also about is Representative Murtha is saying there shouldn't be anything wrong with asking for this government, asking for the commander in chief to say what's the exit strategy? What is next? And what kind of explanation is owed to the American people?

GAFFNEY: Well, the fact of the matter is -- there is something wrong with that. If I may, just to respond to the question.

WHITFIELD: What is wrong with that? GAFFNEY: The thing that is wrong with it is to the extent that we focus on an exit strategy when we should be focusing, as John McCain said the other day, on winning. We are creating a dynamic that I think will cause everything we've invested so far in trying to help this one front in this war for the free world come out right.

WHITFIELD: You see that as surrendering to the terrorists?

GAFFNEY: I think it will embolden the terrorists and make it more likely --

WHITFIELD: Well then Julian, what about assessment reports? Is there anything wrong with an assessment report? You said you agree that you don't necessarily think there should be an announced deadline or exit strategy that reviewed when U.S. troops will be pulling out, but is there anything wrong with the American people being able to hear about an assessment report on a regular basis, what is the progress of this war?

EPSTEIN: I think that there is nothing wrong with that. I probably differ from many Democrats with my view that there shouldn't be congressionally announced timetables for withdrawal. But I think there should be assessment reports and again the major point here is that the public has lost confidence in the truthfulness of this president and the truthfulness of this White House. And unless the president makes steps to re-establish that trust and credibility of the White House, and I think an assessment report would be one way in which they could begin to repair that, then it's a foregone conclusion that we'll have the premature withdrawal because there won't be public support for this.

GAFFNEY: The support has to come, if I may, from leadership. And I'm happy to have the president provide assessment reports. I'm happy to have him doing a better job of explaining what we're doing there in Iraq and elsewhere.

WHITFIELD: OK hold that thought, Frank and Julian. Hold that thought because we'll continue this conversation on the other side of the break. In addition to talking a little bit more about that, we want to talk a bit more about the timing of this discussion and this ongoing war of words. Is it political? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: We're still following developments out of Tacoma, Washington, where a reported shooting has taken place at a shopping mall. Five people injured have been transported. The mall is on lockdown and still at large, according to authorities there, the shooter. More on that when we get it.

A haven for terrorists, that's what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Iraq would become if the U.S. leaves soon. But he admits the invasion was based on faulty intelligence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The sanctions were obviously not working very well, which sanctions tend not to after a long period of time. You've read what's been going on with oil for food in the United Nations.

WOLF BLITZER: But based on the fact that the United States didn't find any stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

RUMSFELD: It's clear the intelligence was wrong.

BLITZER: And it's clear that he didn't really represent much of a threat?

RUMSFELD: If you're talking about whether or not the intelligence was correct, everyone has agreed it was not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: We're continuing our discussion about the fight over Iraq. Back with me now Democratic strategist Julian Epstein and president of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney.

All right gentlemen, Iraq is taking front and center. It's dwarfing just about every other national issue. Is there anything to be said about the timing? Does it have anything to do with upcoming midterm elections? The next presidential race? Or even the president's slumping polls? Julian.

EPSTEIN: I think it reflects a growing public impatience with the competence of this president. Again, I think the reason why you didn't see a vote by Republicans wouldn't allow a vote last Friday on the House floor is because the vote would have likely shown a majority expressing a vote of no confidence in this president. If you look at Rick Santorum, the Senator of Pennsylvania who has been very close to this president, he's running away from the president.

There's all kinds of indications right now that the Republicans are trying to distance themselves from this president. So I think this is largely what's happening is the natural process when you see the public and the Congress losing confidence in the president.

WHITFIELD: Frank.

GAFFNEY: The problem is we're devoting already early in the cycle an enormous amount of energy to waging political warfare against each other. One of the themes of our book is that we really ought to be directing that same energy and that same competence towards our enemies, because, unfortunately, whatever we decide to do back here, we are going to reap the whirlwind if we do, in fact, lose in Iraq. You know, part of the problem here is that many of these enemies we face in Iraq and elsewhere have already been persuaded that we don't have the resolve to stay the course. That would be a serious mistake.

EPSTEIN: You will then condemn what the president did on Veterans Day by attacking Democrats, the first president to do this in centuries? WHITFIELD: But then at the same time, gentlemen -

(CROSS TALKING)

GAFFNEY: What I'm suggesting.

EPSTEIN: He responded in kind on Veterans Day?

GAFFNEY: What I'm suggesting the president do now is call for a cease-fire on political war against each other and wages it against our enemies because we have too much at stake right now. I thing the American people when properly led about what is at stake, which really is the free world, we will see them come together and I think whatever it turns out the polls next year will be to the good of the country.

WHITFIELD: All right. Frank Gaffney and Julian Epstein thanks so much. Sorry I've got to cut you off because we've got this other breaking story that we have to follow.

EPSTEIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks so much gentlemen.

On now to this story that we continue to follow out of Tacoma, Washington. A reported shooting taking place in a busy shopping mall. Joann Wood is on the telephone with us. She's an employee in one of those stores inside that mall. Joann, what's taking place?

JOANNE WOOD, KRISPY KREME EMPLOYEE (via telephone): We got police on every corner here. And we've got the whole vicinity locked down. So we're actually on lockdown also. Yeah, there's police on every corner.

WHITFIELD: OK. I'm sorry, let me correct this. Joanne so your business is not inside the mall, but it's near the mall.

WOOD: Yes.

WHITFIELD: So you're outside and you've got a view of what's taking place there?

WOOD: Well, the people have been evacuated already. But there were people running outside earlier. We've got police on every corner here just now taking place. So I can't see what's going on inside the mall, but I understand that they're still inside, the shooters.

WHITFIELD: Did you hear anything earlier?

WOOD: I did not hear anything at all.

WHITFIELD: And we have since learned that five people have been transported from the mall.

WOOD: Yeah, I hear --

WHITFIELD: To get some sort of medical attention. WOOD: Uh-huh.

WHITFIELD: Have you seen any of that kind of activity of the injured coming out?

WOOD: Yes, I did see the ambulance, uh-huh.

WHITFIELD: All right. Describe what this mall is all about. What kind of community are we talking about, how busy is this mall at this time of day?

WOOD: It's a great community. It is busy on the weekends. You know we got the holiday season coming in. This happened out of now where, it is sad that people got hurt. But it's a nice neighborhood, you know?

WHITFIELD: All right. Joanne Woods, thanks so much, working in a business across the street from the shopping mall --

WOOD: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: Across the street from the shopping mall where a reported shooting has taken place. Five people who have been injured have been transported according to authorities out there. And of course we'll bring you more information as we get it out of Tacoma, Washington. Short break right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The great sales of Black Friday don't happen until later this week. But before you head out, our Jeanne Moos has some inventive gift ideas that savvy shoppers may want to add to their list.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sure, you can live without a robot that plays music. And you don't really need land rollers, skates with overgrown wheels for extra stability. And something called a flavor spray a really must have item.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get that cucumber.

MOOS: Still they all made it into "Time" Magazine's annual most amazing inventions of 2005 issue. The most amazing invention of all, Snuffy the puppy. The afghan puppy that South Korean researchers cloned from another Afghan's ear cell. Forget about seeing double. Feast your eyes on Nike's maxi sight contacts. The amber makes tennis and baseballs really show up. They are so freaky to look at. They have to be this color, right?

MARYANNE BUECHNER, "TIME" REPORTER: They do have to be this color. This is how they filter out the blue light.

MOOS: And for ultra sharp underwater images, the Sea Life DC500 made the list. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smile, fishes. We've had a request for someone who specializes in nude photography under water.

MOOS: We kept our clothes on and later had our picture taken by a robot. At first, his framing was a bit off. Another robot called I- Cat made the list for its unrobot like ability to make official expressions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy. Sad.

MOOS: I-Cat got your tongue? No, don't run. I want no know what you think of it. It is Toyota's concept vehicle, is it a chair, is it a car? Shaped like a leaf powered by lithium ion batteries, you steer by moving this ball. The I-unit has two positions. Sort of like a dentist. The reclining position is for faster speeds. You like it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would you do with it?

MOOS: Who knows it's for the future. Back in the present, tattoos etched by laser on fruit made the most inventive list. Stores get all the product information without customers having to pick off those annoying stickers. If you want to add taste without adding calories, try flavor sprays by Chef David Burke. They come in flavors ranging from root beer, to bacon to ranch dressing. Well, it's all right. If you make a mess in the kitchen, there's scuba. Scuba mops. This is the floor's eye view. Robots that mop, robots you can dance robotically to. Nouveau even tells time. Novae what time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 12: 34 p.m.

MOOS: But even a robot with 15 motorized joints takes a beating. It's enough to make a robot pick up smoking.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And coming up within minutes, the very latest out of Tacoma, Washington, where at least five people have been shot at a local mall. We will have the late breaking details.

Also, did Texas execute an innocent man? That question is being raised today. We'll talk to the "Houston Chronicle" reporter who has new details on that story. When CNN LIVE SUNDAY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Hello and welcome to CNN LIVE SUNDAY. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Ahead this hour, more deaths in Iraq as the war of words in this country escalate. And an Arab TV soap opera tackling subjects once taboo, suicide bombers, insurgents and holy war.

Also ahead, the world's largest aquarium opens this week in Atlanta. What happens if any of the 1,000 creatures gets sick? A look inside their ER. A Tacoma, Washington shopping mall is in lock down after an afternoon shooting spree. A fire department official says at least five people were shot and wounded inside the mall. He says the situation is still evolving; we'll have more on this fluid situation in a moment.

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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