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THE SITUATION ROOM

Samuel Alito's Confirmation Hearings Gets Under Way; Explosive Device Found in San Francisco Starbucks

Aired January 9, 2006 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: To our viewers, you are in THE SITUATION ROOM where new pictures and information are arriving all the time. Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you today's top stories.
Happening now, the first round is over, but the sharpest jabs at Samuel Alito are expected in the days and hours ahead. It's 7:00 p.m. here in Washington where the fight for the Supreme Court is underway.

Also this hour, a timeline of the tragedy at the Sago Mine. Were the 12 who died anywhere close to safety and survival? We have the latest on the chain of events and on the miner who lived.

And a fat lip for action hero turned governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. We'll tell you what happened and why the California Republican says he won't change his ways.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We'll get to those stories in just a moment. First, though, there's a developing story in San Francisco we're watching right now. An explosive device has been found inside a Starbucks.

CNN's producer Chuck Afflerbach is on the phone for us. He's joining us with details.

Very mysterious, Chuck. What's going on?

CHUCK AFFLERBACH, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Wolf, I am at the Starbucks on Van Ness Avenue, a busy thoroughfare here in San Francisco. And a few hours ago the police received a call about a suspicious device found in the Starbucks public restroom here at the restaurant.

It was described by police as looking like a flashlight or perhaps a pipe bomb. And they are saying it was an explosive device. About two hours ago it was removed by the San Francisco Police Bomb Squad and detonated outside.

A witness, who is a mechanic across the street, heard the explosion, said it made a loud pop. Currently, there are several police officers, investigators and some executives from Starbucks going in and out of the restaurant.

But we've had no official comment from either the police or Starbucks and so far no idea about who did this or why.

BLITZER: Chuck, and there's no comment yet from anyone representing Starbucks. Is that right?

AFFLERBACH: That's correct. There are a number of people with Starbucks I.D. badges on, and when approached they all said no comment. And they had been coming and going from the restaurant, but so far, no word from them or the police.

BLITZER: Chuck Afflerbach is our producer on the scene. Chuck, we're going to get right back to you if you get any more information to update our viewers on what happened. Some sort of explosive device discovered at a Starbucks in San Francisco. We'll move on though.

Right now, fasten your seat belts. Senate Democrats are signaling things could get rough in Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings here in Washington. The Supreme Court nominee and the Judiciary Committee members made their opening statements and took their opening shots earlier today. And that wasn't the only hot button story unfolding here in Washington.

Suzanne Malveaux, our White House correspondent, standing by over at the White House.

But let's go to--our Candy Crowley is here, as well. She's following another story, involving the Republicans on Capitol Hill.

But let's start off with our congressional correspondent, Ed Henry. He's standing by on the Alito hearings--Ed.

ED HENRY, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Judge Alito had to wait patiently at the witness table behind me for several hours as one Democrat after another shredded his record as a federal judge.

When it finally came time for his chance to speak, he was short and to the point.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY (voice over): Judge Samuel Alito finally got his chance to speak and immediately sought to blunt criticism he'll be a rigid conservative on issues like abortion.

JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: A judge can't have any agenda. A judge can't have any preferred outcome in any particular case, and a judge certainly doesn't have a client.

HENRY: Alito is trying to find common ground on a judiciary committee bitterly divided on social issues. Democrats hammered away at a 1985 job application, which Alito stated his personal view that the constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: In 1985 you clearly stated that you believed Roe should be overturned, and that the Constitution does not protect a woman's right to choose.

HENRY: Republicans, meanwhile, gently reminded Alito that he should not stray too far from his past views.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: But the right to an abortion is not in the constitution. The court created it. It created a constitutional right.

HENRY: Alito, who started the day at breakfast with President Bush, will also be grilled about his long support for a muscular executive branch.

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: In an era where the White House is abusing power, is excusing and authorizing torture and is spying on American citizens, I find Judge Alito's support for an all-powerful executive branch to be genuinely troubling.

HENRY: Key Republicans suggested a more cautious approach to this issue.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R),JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: In the time of war I want the executive branch to have the tools to protect me, my family and my country, but also I believe even during the time of war the rule of law applies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter expressed concern after this first hearing that senators on both sides seem to be in concrete on how they will vote before Judge Alito has even answered one question. That questioning starts tomorrow morning, 9:30 a.m. Eastern time--Wolf.

BLITZER: And we will have live coverage here on CNN.

Thanks very much for that, Ed Henry.

Even before the Alito hearings got under way, Americans had mixed views about the Supreme Court nominee. We have some new poll numbers that are just coming out.

When asked if the Senate should confirm Alito, almost half of those surveyed said yes, 30 percent said no, 21 percent were unsure.

But take a look at this number. When asked if Alito should be confirmed if he'd overturn Roe versus Wade, more than half, 56 percent, said no.

Coming up, a strong voice of concern on the judiciary committee, Senator Ted Kennedy. He'll weigh in on the Alito nomination. We'll get a different perspective from the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. They are here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Now to the White House and a new but brief health scare for the vice president Dick Cheney. He was hospitalized for more than four hours very early this morning because he was short of breath. But by day's end, he was back at work.

Let's bring our viewers up to speed. Our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, is standing by--Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you know, he is 64 years old. He's had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery and an implanted pacemaker. Today a health scare for the vice president.

Early this morning, his aides say it happened around 3:00 in the morning, he had shortness of breath. He was quickly rushed to George Washington University Hospital. That is where aides say that he was experiencing that his breathing problem was retaining fluid. These are side effects from an anti-inflammatory drug that he had been taking for a reoccurring foot problem rather.

Now you may recall that it was just last Friday we saw Vice President Cheney hobbling from stop to stop in Kansas using a cane. A spokeswoman from Cheney's office saying that doctors monitored his heart condition. That it is unchanged, treated him with a diuretic.

Released this statement giving more details, saying that he has occasional bouts with inflammation in his left foot, sometimes in the heel. He's been diagnosed with tendonitis sometimes in the joint of his big toe. Some doctors suggesting gout or osteoarthritis.

President Bush was notified before his early Oval Office meetings and then he immediately went out to try to reassure the public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, how is the vice president?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Doing fine. I talked to him this morning. His health is good. Should be coming into work a little later on today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And that's exactly what the vice president did around 2:00 or so attending meetings, a full day of meetings, here at the White House, Wolf, and, of course, his aides say that he'll continue a very robust schedule. Many historians say that he is the most powerful vice president in our history--Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, thank you very much.

Ali Velshi is joining us from New York now with a quick look at some other news making headlines.

Hi, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf.

Well, the bulls have been running on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrials closed above 11,000 today for the first summer of 2001. Now the index is up about 300 points. That's a little less than three percent for the year. Analysts say -- that's this year, by the way. Analysts say the surge is being driven by stabilizing oil prices and expectations of interest rates falling.

Well, the Texas woman who admits to drowning her children in 2001 has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. A jury rejected Andrea Yates' insanity defense and convicted her of murdering three of her five children, all whom drowned in a bathtub.

That verdict was overturned. Her attorney said she had severe postpartum mental health issues. Yates will be retried beginning March 20th.

A federal appeals court today dismissed a defamation suit filed by a former lover of Bill Clinton. Prior to the 1992 presidential election, Gennifer Flowers went public about a 12-year-long affair with Clinton. In her suit, she claimed that Clinton's wife, Hillary, and two top aides falsely accused her of lying.

The court ruled that she filed her claim against Hillary Clinton too late and failed to show that the aides to Clinton knew that their accusations were false.

And a three-month-old Iraqi girl, who U.S. troops helped bring to Atlanta for treatment of spina bifida, is recovering from the first of a series of operations. She was nicknamed baby Noor. Her backbone and spinal cord did not fully develop before birth.

She was discovered by troops during a raid last month. Now, earlier today, those troops who rescued her in Iraq were able to watch the news conference on baby Noor's condition live from Camp Victory on CNN Pipeline. And you saw it all live right here in THE SITUATION ROOM--Wolf.

BLITZER: And our best wishes to baby Noor. I think that goes without saying.

Thanks very much, Ali. We'll check back with you soon.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty right now for "The Cafferty File." Hi, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have a question before I get to my question. Does -- is Zain Verjee still on the CNN payroll?

BLITZER: She'll be back tomorrow.

CAFFERTY: Where has she been?

BLITZER: She's been on vacation. Her parents are here. She's been spending a little quality time with them.

CAFFERTY: How do you know all that stuff?

BLITZER: Because I speak to her, and she's a good friend, and she loves THE SITUATION ROOM, and she's really happy and looking forward to speaking with you, tomorrow, Jack. CAFFERTY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Multitasking. We were talking about distractions at work, and I was going to suggest, Zain used to be a distraction, but she's never here anymore.

So multitasking at work is reaching epidemic proportions. You talk on the phone while reading an e-mail, while researching something online, while getting another call, all done in the name of productivity. "Time" magazine reports a couple of studies show a lot of time and money are simply wasted on distractions while at work.

One study found that interruptions take up about two hours of the average worker's day, and that costs about $588 billion a year for the U.S. economy. The second study, led by researchers at the University of California, found the biggest reasons for the interruptions are a colleague stopping by, being called away from your desk or leaving voluntarily, getting a new e-mail, switching to another task on the computer, and of course the telephone.

So here is the question this hour. What is your biggest distraction at work? You can e-mail us at caffertyfile@cnn.com, or you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. You can send us his name, too, if you want to.

BLITZER: Thanks, Jack. See you soon.

Coming up, an explosive device found in a Starbucks bathroom in San Francisco. We told you about this story. We're following it. We're checking to see what's going on. We're going to bring you all that as soon as we know anything else.

Also, inside the mine rescue. Could an escape route have saved the lives of a dozen men who died in West Virginia? We have new details on the underground disaster.

Also, why the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has more than a dozen stitches? We'll show you what happened to him and to his son.

Plus, Howard Stern's satellite debut. The shock jock now free to speak his mind. We'll have the details of exactly what he said. Our Mary Snow is standing by. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There's new developments in last week's tragic mining accident that claimed the lives of 12 men. Could they have actually gotten through an escape route? CNN's Brian Todd, who was in Virginia all of last week, he is investigating, looking into this story. What are you picking up, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the definite answer to that question may not come out until the investigation that just started is over. But today, a man who was on site during those crucial hours gave us a riveting account of the options the miners likely had and didn't have.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): A union official with inside knowledge of the rescue efforts tells CNN the trapped miners had two possible escape routes after the explosion, but those tunnels were both contaminated with carbon monoxide.

DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS ASSOCIATION: What they encountered was dense, dark smoke, dust in the air, smoke, and they couldn't see their hands in front of their face. I mean, that's how bad it was.

TODD: Dennis O'Dell of the United Mine Workers Association was on site during the rescue operation, talking to rescue teams as they came out. We asked him, given that those two fresh air escape routes were contaminated, could the miners have used their oxygen supplies to walk out unobstructed?

O'DELL: If they could have continued to walk out in the direction that they needed to go, and if the respirators, the self- rescuers, would have given them oxygen for 60 minutes, like they're supposed to, all probability, they would have been OK.

TODD: But O'Dell says in the face of all that smoke and heat, the miners might have felt barricading and waiting was safer.

One of the trapped miners reportedly left a note that suggests he survived at least 10 hours after the explosion. But O'Dell says based on what rescuers told him about conditions in the mine, he doesn't believe rescuers could have gotten in any sooner.

Meanwhile, federal and state officials announced a joint investigation into the Sago mine explosion, the miners' deaths, and the communication breakdown that followed.

GOV. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I never want to be in this position again, where I have to see the pain and the suffering that goes from every family member, to the oldest to the youngest, of losing a loved one, and one that they thought may -- could have been prevented.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: One of their best sources of information could be the only survival -- survivor, Randal McCloy, if he recovers. Doctors in West Virginia say he has a fever, but is making slow progress, beginning to open his eyes and slightly moving his arm. We have live pictures now of a candlelight vigil in Philippi, West Virginia, for the victims and their families. That's being brought in, as we say, live -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Thank you very much, Brian Todd reporting.

And we're also waiting for new updates on the condition of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon right now. Doctors are gradually pulling him out of an induced coma. They're reporting what they call slight but significant movement in his right arm and leg.

Let's go to CNN's John Vause. He's joining us in Jerusalem. He has all the latest at the Hadassah Medical Center -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ariel Sharon has been responding to tests, but he's still on a ventilator, he is yet to regain consciousness. And so, tonight, his life is still in the balance.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE (voice-over): In the intensive care unit on the seventh floor of this hospital, Ariel Sharon is living up to his reputation as a fighter. Doctors say he is slowly coming out of a medically induced coma.

DR. SHLOMO MOR-YOSEF, HADASSAH MEDICAL CENTER: The first reaction was a spontaneous breathing of the prime minister, even though he's still connected to the ventilator. And during the day until now, his response to pain that we evoked, he started to move minimally his right hand and right leg.

VAUSE: According to the prime minister's doctors, that means there are signs of brain activity. Even so, he remains in a critical condition.

DR. FELIX UMANSKY, CHIEF NEUROSURGEON: We need to be very cautious when talking about the prognosis, but we are going to do everything we can to help him to pull through this situation.

VAUSE: Nonetheless, it's encouraging news for those who have maintained a vigil outside the hospital, praying for a miracle which now seems maybe just a little closer.

But in Gaza, Palestinian militants were hoping Ariel Sharon would be dead by now. So instead, they burned his picture. The caption read, "Sharon, to the garbage bin of history."

But the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, says he is saddened by what is an almost certain end to Mr. Sharon's political life.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT (through translator): We regard Sharon as a neighbor and a partner in the peace process. We worked with him in different circumstances, and we are very sorry that he is departing the political life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Now, in talking with the Sharon family, doctors are speaking less in terms of whether or not the prime minister will live or die. Instead, what his condition might be like if and when he wakes -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, John Vause, in Jerusalem, for us. For more now on the prime minister's condition, we're joined by our senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who himself is a neurosurgeon.

Give us your assessment on both of these cases. Randy McCloy in West Virginia, suffering clearly from some serious problems in his brain, and ironically, Ariel Sharon. It's almost a tale of two very, very different men, but they're both being removed from this induced coma.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's very interesting, Wolf. In some ways they are very different and in some ways very similar in the sense that they've both had essentially strokes of their brain.

Randy McCloy had a stroke of his brain because carbon monoxide probably kicked oxygen out of his brain and that caused a stroke. Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, having a stroke because of blood actually inside of his brain.

The treatment for both those things, Wolf, is or can be a medically-induced coma, giving medications to actually put the brain at rest, saying to the brain, "OK, let's just cool it for a while, heal for a while. While we let you heal, we'll go ahead and give medications so that you don't demand as much." And that is the purpose of a medically-induced coma.

A couple of things. One is they talk about actually taking breaths on your own. That's an important point that they're making. But keep in mind, Wolf, that's also something that is a brain stem activity. It is a reflex essentially.

And also the movements that the prime minister made to deep, painful stimuli was how I understood it, actually given a painful stimulus and seeing if he moves. That is also a reflex. What you'd like to see is either spontaneous movement or even better, Wolf, being able to say, "Look, hold up two fingers," and have someone hold up two fingers. That shows that they understand and it shows that they can make purposeful voluntary movements. We're not seeing that as of yet, Wolf.

BLITZER: Our wishes for a speedy recovery hopefully for both of these very different men in West Virginia and in Jerusalem.

Dick Cheney, at 3:00 a.m., this morning, he's complaining apparently of shortness of breath. They take him to George Washington University Hospital, he spends about four hours there. You heard Suzanne Malveaux's report. Apparently some of the medication he's taking for a foot caused this. But he's had four heart attacks. What do you make of this?

GUPTA: Yes, first thing I thought when I started following this very early this morning, Wolf, was that this has to have something to do with his heart. He's had four heart attacks, as you mentioned. The first at the age of 37. So clearly, he's had problems with his heart. But it sounds like, from everything now, I've made a lot of calls on this, that the anti-inflammatory medication, one of the potential side effects of anti-inflammatory medications is actually to cause the body to retain fluid.

Who is most vulnerable for that? Well certainly people who have had previous histories of heart condition, like the vice president has. So what happens is you actually build up fluid and your heart because it has more fluid in the body, just can't pump that fluid as well.

So it has a harder and harder time. That is called congestive heart failure, your heart actually starts to gets congested. The treatment, which the vice president got, which is essentially to get a water pill or water medication, took some of that fluid off. He felt better, and like you said, was out of there in four and a half hours, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's hope he has a speedy recovery as well. Sanjay, thanks very much for that report.

Still to come, explosive device found in a Starbucks bathroom. We're following this developing story, some new information.

All banged up, Arnold Schwarzenegger got some stitches in his face after a motorcycle accident. Find out why he's still smiling.

Plus, high-tech Viagra. Find out why they're using computer chips now to track those little blue pills. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: I want to update you on that developing story we've been reporting from San Francisco. An explosive device has been found inside a Starbucks there. CNN's Sumi Das is on the phone with us, she's trying to get some more details. What are we learning, Sumi?

SUMI DAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Well, we just heard from the San Francisco Police Department, a sergeant with that police department said that there is an ongoing investigation. They have some pretty good leads. He did not say whether or not they have any suspects.

That device, of course, was rendered safe by the bomb squad of the San Francisco Police Department. There's an ongoing investigation by the special investigation division. The Starbucks was evacuated. The building above it, which is an apartment building, was also evacuated.

And Starbucks has also released a statement. They said that they are cooperating with the local authorities. They want to ensure the safety and security of their employees, their customers and the store and that everyone who evacuated was safe. That is what we know at this time. No word on the motive. There have been no threats that were made to the Starbucks either prior to the incident or after the incident. So it's still a bit of a mystery as to why this improvised explosive device, that is what the police department have called it, ended up in the bathroom of a Starbucks here in San Francisco -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, let's be grateful that they found it and they detonated it outside and no damage to anyone. Sumi, we'll get back to you as soon as you get more information. Thanks very much.

Let's check in with CNN's Anderson Cooper for a look ahead at what's coming up on "A.C. 360" later tonight. Hi, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Wolf. Yes, at 10:00 Eastern time, we're of course keeping an eye on that developing story out of San Francisco about a possible bomb in a Starbucks bathroom.

We're also going to take a look at a case out of South Carolina where a group of teens stand accused under state law of attempting to lynch another young man. The accused are white, the defendant black. You can imagine, it has a lot of people up in arms. We'll bring you all the angles on that.

And Wolf, how many shows do you do a day now? What, you're on like what, for 10 hours a day now?

BLITZER: Only when there are confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito. Then we're on all day. Tomorrow we'll be on from 9:30 in the morning until 6:00 p.m. at night. Take a break, and then come back at 7:00.

COOPER: You need to take a break. Because I think we can consider you a multi-tasker. The question is, when does multi-tasking stop being productive and start being a problem? A new study's out, we're going to take a look at that tonight. All that and a lot more, Wolf, at 10:00 Eastern.

BLITZER: I've been a good multi-tasker. You've been a good multi-tasker yourself.

COOPER: They say it's not good for you though, it's not good for your family, it's not good for your life. We'll show you why.

BLITZER: All right, we'll see what happens. Anderson, see you at 10:00. Thanks very much.

Coming up, supreme battle, the future of the high court at stake. Senator Ted Kennedy, Majority Leader Bill Frist, they're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Plus, Arnold Schwarzenegger in stitches. The Terminator has his face sewn up after a motorcycle accident with his son. He's smiling, but look at that. I'll tell you what's going on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Welcome back. CNN's Candy Crowley is following the latest developments on what's happening with the Republicans in the U.S. Congress in the aftermath of Tom DeLay's decision to step down formally as the House majority leader. Here's Candy's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tom DeLay resigned as House Republican leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politically was it the right move for DeLay to step down?

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, this was his decision. And we respect his decision.

CROWLEY: Which is to say dang straight, Republicans think DeLay made the right move, especially the ones running for reelection.

AMY WALTER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Essentially what Republicans are trying to do right now is cut off as many angles as possible for Democrats to make this scandal a purely Republican or purely partisan scandal.

CROWLEY: The issue, as they say, is beginning to show some legs. In the latest CNN poll, Americans say corruption is a top tier issue, extremely important to their vote this year. A majority thinks the case of Republican super lobbyist Jack Abramoff is a major scandal.

What good news there is for Republicans is that most Americans think both parties will be hurt, which might mean voters move to throw everybody out of office, which explains why Republicans and Democrats are trying to so hard to find an edge.

WALTER: It is a struggle for defining this debate going into 2006, and really campaigns are all about who gets to do the defining.

CROWLEY: In a letter launching his bid to take DeLay's old job, Congressman Roy Blunt said one of the first things Republicans must do is enact lobbying reform.

"Unfortunately," he wrote, "the recent scandals have caused some to question whether we have lost our vision and whether the faith they have placed in us is justified."

For their part, Democrats are not about to let go of their favorite bogeyman. As one of their top strategists said, it's not like we're taking DeLay out of our talking points. In fact, while planning a protest over alleged Republican corruption, Democratic activists are debating whether to wear prison suits or DeLay masks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Even Republicans admit DeLay's departure from the leadership is a mini respite. This doesn't close a chapter, said one K Street lobbyist. It just opens the book--Wolf. BLITZER: Candy Crowley reporting for us. Thanks, Candy, very much.

Up next, Arnold Schwarzenegger all stitched up. The governor survives a motorcycle accident with his son. See why he was laughing the whole thing off. We'll tell you what's going on.

And serious Stern. The shock jock drops the F bomb on his first day at work. We have the story. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: It's likely not a ride for what the governor of California calls girlie men. We're talking about Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has one. He got some stitches to prove it. But he says that won't stop him from riding.

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez is joining us now live from Los Angeles. She has the details on what happened--Thelma.

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I can tell you that the governor was definitely in good spirits today. He actually joked about his stitches. He joked about his fat upper lip, and he also was told by his doctor not to hold any public speaking events for at least three days, but it was advice that he chose to ignore.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you feeling?

GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Terrific, thank you.

GUTIERREZ (voice over): Governor Schwarzenegger was all smiles for the cameras while touring this community health center in north Hollywood. But it was hard to ignore his swollen purple upper lip.

SCHWARZENEGGER: No plastic surgery just a simple accident.

GUTIERREZ: The accident happened Sunday on this Canyon Road near Schwarzenegger's Los Angeles home. He was riding his motorcycle with his 12-year-old son, Patrick, who was in the side car when his neighbor began to pull out of her driveway.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We were going 20 miles an hour up the Canyon and there was just a woman who drove out, stopped, looked to the left, saw me, looked me right in the eye and looked to the right, and then drove out anyway.

GUTIERREZ: Schwarzenegger says he couldn't stop his Harley and the two collided.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I was very lucky, because it could have been different.

GUTIERREZ: The governor says once he knew his son was OK, he then drove the motorcycle back to his house then had to answer to his wife, Maria.

SCHWARZENEGGER: She just--weeps her eyes. I mean it's like, you know, here's another one.

GUTIERREZ: Schwarzenegger says both he and his son were wearing helmets. He then went to St. John's Hospital where doctors gave him 15 stitches for the gash in his lip then released him.

SCHWARZENEGGER: The doctor then told me that I should not do any events for threes days, and also said to me that I should not speak for three days. My wife said make it seven. But anyway, I told her that would be impossible because we have a very exciting event here today.

GUTIERREZ: One political analyst says while she credits his work ethic, the governor may have suffered more harm with the flopping defeat of his special election last November than this accident.

ELIZABETH GARRETT, USC: He's already out making speeches in the state even with a bummed up appearance. The question is was he so injured in November that he can't come back and govern?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GUTIERREZ: But the governor is back today. He defied his doctors, and he announced that the state would budget some $70 million to enroll some 400,000 of the California's poorest children in health care programs. Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Thelma, thanks very much. Thelma Gutierrez on the scene for us in L.A.

He's back on the air, and if you thought Howard Stern was speaking his mind before, you should hear him uncensored. CNN's Mary Snow is joining us now from New York. She's got some of the highlights of Howard Stern's debut on satellite radio -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. Well, Stern has made his highly anticipated first broadcast today on the Sirius satellite network, where he is no longer subject to FCC standards. And even though he's now free to say just about anything he wants on the air, today the controversial shock jock wasn't so shocking.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I feel that this is the culmination of a dream for me. And this represents a dream for all broadcasters.

SNOW (voice-over): The honeymoon has begun for Howard Stern and his new employer, the Sirius satellite radio network. The controversial shock jock made liberal use of expletives he couldn't say before, but was otherwise fairly tame on his debut show, and he sang the praises of Sirius.

STERN: When management now holds you by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and says there's no place for you, now there's a place to come.

SNOW: Stern's move to satellite follows years of fines and run- ins with the Federal Communications Commission over his show's sometimes raunchy content.

STERN: You go get a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) job.

SNOW: Now, Stern has a five-year deal with Sirius that could be worth as much as $500 million. His new bosses apparently are getting their money's worth. Stern said today that the $13 a month subscriptions have jumped from 600,000 to more than 3 million since his move to Sirius was first announced. And while fans can anticipate Stern's shtick being more explicit than ever, he says his show is about more than cussing.

STERN: And where that takes us, it's only as limited as our minds. So we are going to go to new places, and that doesn't mean the "F" word. If that's what satellite means, then that's ridiculous.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: And for Howard Stern, satellite means big bucks. In addition to his deal, he also received $220 million worth of stock last week -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Mary Snow, reporting for us. Thanks very much. Mary Snow.

And coming up, Senator Ted Kennedy, a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, very different assessments on the confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel Alito. We'll tell you what they're saying. They're here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: My interview with Senator Ted Kennedy and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. That's coming up on the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings.

But let's check another story we're watching in the meantime. The drug company Pfizer is taking some unusual steps right now to counter an unusual problem, namely counterfeit Viagra. Let's go up to Ali Velshi in New York. He's got the bottom line -- Ali.

VELSHI: Hey, Wolf. Well, they're doing this by putting RFID tags on the bulk packaging that the pharmacists get. This is what the pharmacist gets. This is not what you get if one gets Viagra. You get it in a little normal bottle.

Now, this is the same technology that's used in toll booth tags like this. This is the ID that we use to get into CNN. It's the same technology that's used.

Now, the technology is a little microchip, a very tiny microchip with an antenna, that exchanges data with a receiver using radio waves. Now, this receiver converts those waves into digital information, and that is passed on to a computer.

Unlike little bar codes that we're used to, like this, you don't have to see the RFID tag to scan it. These little microchips can be implanted inside virtually anything. In fact, they're typically used for cats and dogs.

Now, the Food and Drug Administration actually, you know, have used it for people -- and I'm going to show you, Wolf, I think -- I may have told you this before, but I've actually got one of these in my arm. So if I use this scanner and I scan it, a little number comes up, and that's the number which can be, you know, you can track my own medical information on.

What they're doing is they are using this to track Viagra to make sure that from the factory all the way to the pharmacist it's real, it's not counterfeit.

That's what Pfizer is doing. Wal-Mart's done it in the past. The Pentagon's done it. And it's just another step in trying to keep it safe -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Ali, thanks very much. Very interesting material. Appreciate it.

Still to come, cell phones, e-mail, annoying colleagues. What's your biggest distraction at work? Jack Cafferty's been going through your e-mail. That's coming up.

Plus, Senators Kennedy and Bill Frist. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. Now two very different views on Judge Samuel Alito and what he would and would not bring to the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Jeff Greenfield, Jeff Toobin and I, spoke with a leading Democrat in the Senate Judiciary Committee. That would be Ted Kennedy and the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Here's an exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: It sounded, based on your opening statement, as if you have already made up your mind. You are going to oppose this nominee. Is that -- is that right?

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No, that's not true.

I do think there's a steep hill for this nominee to climb. He's been on the Circuit Court of Appeals now for 15 years. He's written more than 300 cases. He has made numerous speeches. He has written articles. And I think, when you read those articles, read those speeches, and read the cases, you come to the conclusion that he has been, basically, hostile to individual rights before his court.

He has been very favorable to special interests. And he has also bent over backwards, in terms of executive power and police power. Those -- that's the -- that's not only my analysis. That's the analysis of "The Washington Post," the Knight Ridder, the Alito Project up in -- up at Yale.

So these are the -- going to be the areas we are going to inquire of him.

BLITZER: Senator, Jeff Greenfield, Jeff Toobin are here in THE SITUATION ROOM with us as well.

Jeff Greenfield has a question.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Hi, Senator.

When your brother, President Kennedy, appointed Arthur Goldberg to succeed Felix Frankfurter, that -- the shifted the balance of the court substantially, to a more judicial what we would call activism or broader sense of constitutional rights.

When Bill Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg to replace Justice White, that clearly shifted the balance of the court in a more liberal direction. If, after the election of a conservative president and a relatively conservative Senate, is there anything wrong with a president and Senate confirming a justice who will shift the balance of the court the other way?

KENNEDY: Well...

GREENFIELD: I mean, does it -- does it only count when it shifts the wrong way, in your view?

KENNEDY: Well, there is a number of important points to consider.

First of all, we had the -- President Clinton checking with a Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee to try and find who would be acceptable to those on the other side. And they -- the -- those two were acceptable to the Republicans.

It wasn't just being jammed, which is a process issue, but, nonetheless, I think is a very reasonable process. I voted for 170 -- I voted for 95 percent of this President Bush's nominees for the -- for the courts. And I have voted for more Republicans nominated by Republicans than I have for Democrats.

The question is, where do these nominees stand? We are not going to be a rubber stamp. The -- the Constitution requires that we not be a rubber stamp. And I am not going to vote for someone that believes that the president has unfettered powers in the areas of torture, or in terms of wiretapping, or denying American citizens their rights to counsel, being put in jail, and being kept isolated.

We ought to be able to ask questions. We should not accept it. This judge is going to have an influence over the well-being of your children and your children's children. We have one time to get it right. There's no issue that is more important, outside of sending men into combat, than who we vote for to the Supreme Court of the United States.

And every nominee that comes up here ought to understand it, because it is one of the great honors, to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Senator, this so- called gang of 14 senators, who preserve the rule on filibusters, said there can only be a filibuster in extraordinary circumstances. Do you think these are extraordinary circumstances...

KENNEDY: We will certainly know...

TOOBIN: ... in the Alito nomination?

KENNEDY: We will -- we will -- we will certainly know at the end of the -- end of the hearings, won't we?

I always feel that the nominee either wins it or loses it. There is a great deal of chatter and talk about the expressions of different members of the Judiciary Committee or outside groups. It is basically, this nominee has to -- to earn the -- the ability to sit on the Supreme Court by the American people. And I hope they are going to pay attention.

And if he is responsive, if he answers, if he demonstrates that he believes and understands that we have made the most extraordinary march to progress over the period of the last 50 years, and we're not going to go backward, we are going to continue that march for progress, he will be approved overwhelmingly.

BLITZER: Senator Kennedy, thanks for spending a few moments with us from this hearing. Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrat, Massachusetts, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee.

Let's bring in the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, right now. He's joining us from Capitol Hill.

Mr. Leader, thanks very much for joining us.

Is it appropriate, and is it necessary, in your opinion, for this nominee to explain what he wrote in 1985, when he said, the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion? The Democrats and some Republicans are going to press him on that, including the chairman of this committee, Senator Arlen Specter.

Is it appropriate for him to go and explain what his personal views are on abortion?

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: Wolf, I think anything is fair game, in terms of -- of questions.

And I think a lot of people are -- are waiting, with appropriate anticipation, to see how well he does in the questioning which is playing out behind me right now and will over the next several days.

I think it is clear, because he has not just this most recent American Bar Association recommendation of -- of -- of its highest rating, but, also, 30 years, as you point out, of public service in various capacities, which leaves a lot of room for Democrats and Republicans and the chairman of the committee, as you mentioned, to look at, what is this man's character? What is his -- his -- his integrity? What are his qualifications? What is his mastery of the law, which, I can say it is -- it is of the highest level, but we are going to see it play out in the next several days.

And I think, yes, and people go back to the 19 -- early 1990s, 1980s. And, as you know, over the last several weeks, people are going back into the late '60s and early '70s. And I'm sure all of that will be brought up.

I am confident, because of his qualifications, his integrity, his judicial temperament, that his colleagues that we will hear about over the next couple of days, people like Judge Becker, who know him the best will lay out. He will -- is imminently qualified.

And, as Senator Kennedy just said, as he closed, he is -- he is competent, believes he will be confirmed if he answers those questions in an appropriate fashion. And I believe he will.

BLITZER: Jeff Toobin has a question for you, our senior legal analyst, Mr. Leader.

TOOBIN: Senator, when you are at home in Tennessee and the voters ask you, would you like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, what do you tell them?

FRIST: I tell them -- I tell them, in terms of philosophy, that I disagree with Roe v. Wade and that it is -- it is an issue that is hotly debated here, will be hotly debated.

I think people's view, such as myself, it is fine for people to ask and to explore. I think that, for Samuel Alito, we will see how he actually handles the question.

What is important is that he will handle it with judicial temperament, with a -- a philosophy that shows he is not going to be legislating from the -- the bench, that his job is to interpret the law, based on -- on -- on precedent and what that law actually is.

TOOBIN: But isn't the reason why he was nominated and why you support him is because he will overturn Roe v. Wade?

FRIST: No.

And, you know, you're trying -- and I -- not -- not you, but I think many people -- and you will see it among some of the Democrats questioning -- is trying to capture a single issue and -- and use that as a litmus test, in terms of determining whether or not an individual who is highly qualified, demonstrated the utmost integrity -- his mastery of -- of legal opinion and legal judgment have been demonstrated -- that all of that should be negated or supported because of a single issue.

And I disagree with that. And I think the American people disagree with that.

BLITZER: Senator Frist, thanks very much for joining us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Bill Frist and Ted Kennedy joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM. Now joining us, Jack Cafferty in New York. Hi, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Good stuff starts tomorrow, right, on those hearings?

BLITZER: Excellent stuff tomorrow.

CAFFERTY: Oh yeah. "Time" Magazine, Wolf, says a couple of studies out show a lot of time and money are wasted on distractions in the office. The question is, what is your biggest distraction at work?

Patricia writes: "The biggest distraction is junk e-mail. I spend an hour a day just cleaning my inbox of junk e-mail."

I don't get nearly that much.

Jean in Jersey City writes: "Believe it or not, CNN is my biggest distraction. I'm constantly logging onto the CNN Web site with my head phones on, so I can hear the latest news. I'm so hooked on CNN since the 2004 election, I feel like it is a drug to me."

There's something to ponder. If CNN was a drug, what drug would it be? Not now.

V. writes: "Pornography, Jack, pornography."

D.W. in Crescent City, California: "It's my boss. He keeps cutting into my quality time by giving me stuff to do."

Michael writes: "Zain Verjee on the CNN Pipeline. It doesn't matter what the story is, my work comes to a screeching halt."

Blair in Richmond Hill, Ontario: "My biggest distraction to work is having to listen to five-minute voicemail messages on my phone that could just as well be said in 20 seconds."

Mark in Pittsburgh: "The idiot who sits in the cube adjacent to mine, announcing the latest utterance of Howard Stern at 15-second intervals. That's her sole function, as far as anyone can tell."

And Anna in Kernersville, North Carolina: "My biggest distraction at work is trying to think of clever answers for "The Cafferty File."

BLITZER: Did we tell our viewers Zain Verjee will be back with us tomorrow?

CAFFERTY: Well, it's about time. She's been off for about a month, hasn't she? BLITZER: Well, I'm glad you miss her and a lot of our viewers miss her. But she'll be back tomorrow in THE SITUATION ROOM. Jack, thanks very much. Don't forget, we'll have a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern tomorrow morning, for extended coverage of the Samuel Alito hearings. Until then, thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Paula Zahn standing by, getting ready to pick up our coverage. Hi, Paula.

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