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Document Request Stirs Dissent at Alito Hearings; Bush Explains Iraq Strategy

Aired January 11, 2006 - 13:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR: And we'll take you back to the Alito hearings here in Washington in just a few moments. First, though, let's go to CNN's Kyra Phillips at the CNN Center for a closer look at some other stories now in the news.

We're talking about Turkish health officials going house-to-house to cull poultry. At the same time that country confirms another human case of bird flu and sets up, rather, a bird flu crisis center in the capital city of Ankara.

Health experts there are concerned about the swiftness of this bird flu outbreak: 15 cases in a week and another 100 suspected cases being evaluated. Most of those confirmed cases are in children. The Turkish government has started an information campaign to teach people how to limit their exposure to diseased animals.

Evacuation orders are lifted, but a wildfire continues to burn near Denver, Colorado. Residents of about 130 Jefferson County homes are being allowed to return home but the busy Highway 93 remains closed because of smoke and downed power lines. Officials say that the 2,400-acre blaze is now 75 percent contained. That cause has not been determined.

DNA, guilt or innocence, life and death. Two decades after DNA became a routine element of crime investigations and prosecutions, the highest court in the land faces its first such appeal from Death Row. At issue in a case from Tennessee, do inmates have a constitutional right to seek new trials based on genetic evidence uncovered after their convictions?

Paul House was convicted and sentenced to death for killing a neighbor just north of Knoxville in 1985. He swears he didn't do it, and DNA analysis conducted years later casts doubt on a key piece of evidence while casting suspicion on the victim's husband, who also insists that he's innocent. Arguments were heard this morning. A decision should come this summer.

Wolf, back to you. We'll check in again in another about 45 minutes.

BLITZER: All right, Kyra. Thank you very much. The chairman, Arlen Specter, Senator Kennedy once again exchanging words over this issue of a subpoena that Kennedy wants concerning documents. SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Since you noted, you were kind enough to come and speak to me about it, I just asked for two minutes time to respond to comments made by members of the committee mentioning my name after I'd asked questions this morning. You've asked if I would wait until Senator Coburn returned to the committee. And in deference to the respect to my colleague, I will do that.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), CHAIRMAN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I appreciate it very much waiting for Senator Coburn. I think it is a good practice when comments are made about other members to do it while they are here or to ask their adjoiner. And that's why, if you have something to say to Senator Coburn, I want him here. Otherwise he'll have something to say when you're not here.

DURBIN: He did already, Mr. Chairman.

SPECTER: Now Senator Leahy is recognized.

LEAHY: Mr. Chairman, if I might. I came very close to objecting when Senator Coburn was speaking and referring to Senator Durbin. Senator Coburn is a new, is a valued member of the committee, of course, but new. And I wanted -- but I really think -- I've been here for 30 years. I have always made a point if I'm going to raise something to get word to the other party.

I think it's a good way of doing it. And you have been totally fair in that. And I would urge senators if we're going to start quoting each other, that maybe we have a quote time or something like that. Senator Durbin is absolutely right. Want to be able to respond to what was said.

SPECTER: Well, I think that we might agree on best practice. But when you deal with senators, my view is to give senators great latitude as to what they want to undertake to do. And if Senator Coburn wants to make a comment without Senator Durbin here, I think that's going to be his call, although my preference would be to the contrary.

But when Senator Durbin wants time to respond, I immediately sent word to him he would have the time that he requested. And then I sent for Senator Coburn, and Senator Coburn is in a meeting that he couldn't leave but we'll get the two of you together fairly promptly.

DURBIN: Thank you.

SPECTER: Lunchtime.

BLITZER: All right. They are taking a one-hour lunch break right now. The chairman gaveling this session to a close, at least for now, Arlen Specter.

But wasn't very long ago, about 20 minutes or so a half or hour or so ago when there was a very, very tough exchange between Senator Kennedy and the chairman, Arlen Specter, on this issue of these documents that are currently housed at the Library of Congress here in Washington, an arm of the U.S. Congress.

Let's listen to that tape. Let's listen to this exchange. Then we'll assess what it all means.



SPECTER: There's been no ruling of the chair, Senator Kennedy.

KENNEDY: My request is that we go into the executive session for the sole purpose of voting on a subpoena for these records that are held over at the Library of Congress, that purpose and that purpose only.

If I'm going to be denied that I want to give notice to the chair that you're going to hear of it again and again and again. And we're going to have votes of this committee again and again and again until we have a resolution. I think that this...

SPECTER: Well, Senator Kennedy I'm not concerned about your threats to have votes again,, and again. And I'm the chairman of this committee, and I have heard your requests and I will consider it. And I'm not going to have you run this committee and decide when we're going to go into executive session.

We're in the middle of a round of hearings. This is the first time you have personally called it to my attention. And this is the first time that I have focused on it. And I will consider it in due course.

And now we'll move to Senator Grassley for 20 minutes.


BLITZER: There was an exchange made by the chairman and Senator Kennedy. At issue is a letter that Senator Kennedy has now released, a letter that he has written to Arlen Specter in which he says the committee should go forward and subpoena those documents.

There are four boxes of documents that were given to the Library of Congress by William Rusher, the publisher of the "National Review," a conservative publication, himself active in this organization called Concerned Alumni of Princeton University. And Kennedy wants those documents, presumably believing there may be material related to Samuel Alito in those documents.

Among other things, Kennedy in his letter writes, "It is likely that the formal request for access directly from you," referring to the chairman, "on behalf of the committee would be received with more cooperation than the congressional research service has received so far. And we urge you to make such a request as soon as possible." William Rusher refusing to release those documents, at least for the time being.

It looks like this is a potential issue that could cause some serious fireworks.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What it can cause is delay in the committee deliberations. The threat of Senator Kennedy is to just keep raising this issue. Senators in general have a lot of latitude to take the machinery of the Senate and grind it to a halt with their objections and have just a series of votes on this, I guess, on every conceivable occasion.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The next question to ask, the next thing to learn is there anything -- is there any clue out there that suggests there's something in these documents -- in these boxes of documents other than the fact simply that Samuel Alito was a member of this organization? Do they believe that he wrote something? Do they believe that he contributed to something?

If it is simply a fact that he was a member of this organization, which he now says he only dimly remembers, it seems like it's going to be a tough sell on most of the members of the committee unless they can point to the -- at least the possibility of some document there that might be relevant.

GREENFIELD: You heard what Ted Kennedy is looking for, because he read Alito some of the more unpleasant quotes from this organization's publication. It disparaged gays, disparaged women, disparaged blacks. What are these people doing here?

And I think their -- their hope, if I can put it that way, or maybe their question is can we find something in these records where Alito was more closely tied to these kinds of sentiments? Because I do think if they could find that, that could be...

TOOBIN: That would be a very big deal. But as far as I'm aware no evidence that Alito has ever expressed those kind of views or written them down in some form that are in those boxes.

BLITZER: In the boxes, according to the letter that Kennedy wrote to Specter and in -- he's referring to what the library's register of that collection, four boxes including clipping files, background information, correspondence and memoranda, financial records, fundraising materials, issues and other items relating to this whole Concerned Alumni of Princeton University.

We're going to speak with Dianne Feinstein, the only woman member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She's a Democrat from California. She's standing by. Our coverage of the confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito here in THE SITUATION ROOM will resume right after this.


BLITZER: They are on lunch break right now over in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearings, the confirmation hearings scheduled to begin right around the top of the hour. Good opportunity for us to speak with Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, the only woman member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator, Jeff Toobin, Jeff Greenfield are here.

What do you make of this request from your Democratic colleague, Senator Kennedy, to subpoena documents related to this organization, Concerned Alumni of Princeton University, documents that are currently housed at the Library of Congress?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I think that's his right. I think he has the right to request the documents.

Now, Joe Biden was sitting next to me and he said, "Well, you know, everybody on the East Coast knows about this organization." We certainly don't know about it on the West Coast. So I think it's something that is probably restricted in terms of knowledge to people in the immediate area. If there is something there, I think the committee should see it.

Now, you know, Judge Alito's statement, well, he just doesn't remember it, I think is sincere but I think for some of us it's hard to believe. If you put an organization on an application it seems to me you're going to know what you're doing, because obviously this is going to be looked at. So you know I think this is a -- in a sense a dent in his armor.

However, I can say this, he gets an award for equanimity. I think he comported himself extraordinarily well. It's very hard for those of us that would like to flesh out his views on a number of subjects, because the responses have been cloudy in that area, and it's been difficult.

BLITZER: Are you satisfied with what you've heard him say so far on the issue of abortion rights for women?

FEINSTEIN: No. I'm going to try to clear that up a little bit more when my turn comes this afternoon. If you ask me, how did I think he would vote, I couldn't answer that question. I would have to say I don't know.

I do think the hearing is useful, because I think it's important for him to know that, with respect to stare decisis and specifically reliance in virtually every measure of public opinion I have seen, 60 percent or more of the American people support a continuation of Roe. And more than a generation have really come to depend on it.

One of the things that I see is younger women today really don't know what it was like when Roe wasn't in existence. So I think if Roe were to go, the culture shock would be -- would be very strong indeed.

BLITZER: Senator, Jeff Toobin has a question for you.

TOOBIN: Senator, you questioned Judge Alito closely about the issue of abortion, as you did Judge Roberts when he was testifying. Based on the answers do you think they have different views on Roe v. Wade, or do you think they have identical views on Roe v. Wade? FEINSTEIN: Jeff, that's a good question. I was just reading the Roberts transcript, where he said he believed that Roe had been well settled by the court. Senator Specter engaged in a line of questioning. And it's very interesting, because he did go that far.

Now, as far as Alito has gone, Judge Alito is to say he would keep an open mind and, of course he has sat on three Roe related cases where he sustained precedent and, therefore, voted against those particular -- those particular cases. So it's very hard to tell at this stage.

BLITZER: Can you bear with us for a moment, Senator Feinstein? Senator Kennedy is making a statement outside the hearing room. I just want to listen briefly. I want to get your reaction.

KENNEDY: That is known then as having a complete record. I indicated that I thought we ought to gain that information by subpoenas and the custodian of the information, Mr. Rusher, who is the one of the founders of CAP and also the "National Review," refuses to make it available to the committee. That we should go ahead, Republican and Democrat alike and subpoena that information, get it over here quickly and efficiently, be able to have the nominee respond to it and then move on to the other serious issues and subjects.

So at the earliest opportunity I will renew my motion to subpoena that information. I had written to the chairman of the committee in December requesting that information and that the information be made available to the committee, Democrats and Republicans alike. We've got a response from his staff indicating that the chair had reviewed that application and decided that he would not make that kind of effort.

And then we will submit as well in the record my response from my staff indicating that we thought that this was a mistake, that we ought to have that information so that there would be a full record.

I don't understand why those that are in charge of the nominee are attempting to hide, why they don't want the members of the committee to have that information. What is in that information that they are so concerned about and why are they trying to rush this nominee on through? So...

BLITZER: All right, Senator Kennedy making his statement, making his position clear, Senator Feinstein. And I'll give you another chance to respond to what we just heard from Senator Kennedy. Do you see any reason why Senator Specter should decline this request from Senator Kennedy?

FEINSTEIN: Candidly, no. I think he should accept the request and do it. And I'll tell you why. The issue is now joined. It's out there before the American people.

I've received correspondence from people who have known Judge Alito, who have real problems with this organization. I know nothing about the organization. There are papers; they should be brought forward. And I would hope that Senator Specter would not require an executive session and a vote to do this. I think we just do it. I think not to do it is going to make it a much bigger issue than it is already.

GREENFIELD: Jeff Greenfield. You cited that public opinion poll about the majority of Americans wanting Roe retained, but are you suggesting that prospective Supreme Court nominees should listen to public opinion polls rather than what they think the Constitution says? I thought the whole point of the Supreme Court was to protect rights even when a majority would take the rights away?

FEINSTEIN: No, I think that's right. I think what you said is right. But Roe has existed for 33 years. There have been 38 opportunities to overturn it. Its central holdings have been upheld. The Casey decision was major in terms of determining that it was settled law. And I think to go back and reopen it, is a mistake.

Now, what people hear, because there obviously are people that are anti-Roe, and anti-Roe on the committee, would have you believe is that this should be overturned because it was wrongly decided. Well, it may well have been wrongly decided. I'm not going to take a position on that.

What I'm trying to say is it has proved itself to be workable. It has -- that the test of reliance has been made. The test of precedence, in terms of various tests. It has been changed by other cases. And that has added a dimension to it that I think is noteworthy.

BLITZER: Senator Feinstein, we're almost out of time. But last Sunday you said if you felt that this nominee were to support overturning Roe v. Wade you might even be open to going with a filibuster. Are you at that point yet?

FEINSTEIN: No, because I don't see anything that indicates that. And you know, at this stage I don't see anything that really indicates a filibuster. Now, that's not to say that that won't happen.

But it's very difficult, because here is a man; we know he's conservative. We expect that. His demeanor, his knowledge, how he presented himself, there is no gross moral turpitude. There is nothing at this point that I can put a finger on.

And as he said, he has an open mind when it comes to Roe. He, in essence, said what he said to me privately about that job application, publicly. And he said, "Well, you know, that was 20 years ago. I was applying for a job. And those were my views then."

Now, he doesn't say what his views now are. And that's what we've got to continue to try to press on.

BLITZER: Senator Dianne Feinstein will be asking questions of the nominee in the next hour. We'll have coverage of that.

Always good to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Senator Feinstein.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

And we're going to take another quick break. We're going to continue our special coverage all day today of the confirmation hearings. Kyra Phillips, though, standing by, with all the day's other news. And there has been some important other news happening.

The president of the United States about to speak on the war on terror, the war in Iraq. Stay with us. Our coverage continues.


PHILLIPS: ... Colonel. He thinks the war is a mistake. One of the most serious problems is inadequate armor and personnel. Northrop, who has served five terms on Capitol Hill, fully supports the president's view in Iraq. In her view Iraq is a step in direction in winning the war on terror.

The president is supposed to take unscripted questions from this event. Let's listen in.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The hardest decision I made as your president is to put troops into harm's way, because I understand the consequences. I see the consequences when I go to the hospitals. I see the consequences when I try to comfort the loved ones who have lost a son or daughter in combat. I understand that full -- firsthand. War is brutal. So I didn't take the decision lightly.

Now that I've made the decision, we must succeed in Iraq. I tried to explain to my fellow citizens. I can understand folks who said, "I wish you hadn't have done that. We don't agree with your decision." Now that we're there, in my humble opinion, we have got to succeed.

I said I try to be short and answer your question. I'm getting a little windy, but let me talk real quick about the goals in Iraq. The goal is victory, nothing short of victory. When you put these kids in harm's way we owe them the best equipment, the best training and a strategy for victory. And victory is a country that -- where the Saddamists and the terrorists can't unwind the democracy. Victory is when Iraq is no longer a safe haven for the terrorists. Victory is -- will be achieved when the Iraqis are able to defend their democracy.

The last couple of weeks I've been talking about the strategy to achieve victory. It's one thing to say we want victory. The other thing is can you get there? The answer is absolutely we can get there. And the strategy is threefold. One, there's a political strategy.

First, let me make sure you understand the enemy. The enemy is, in our judgment, my judgment, three types of people. One, we call them rejectionists. These are Sunnis who had privileged status under Saddam Hussein, even though they were in the minority in the country. They had a pretty good deal, because the tyrant was a Sunni, made sure that the Sunnis got special treatment as opposed to the Shia or Kurds. And they liked that kind of special treatment. They liked privileged status.

The second group is the Saddam loyalists. These are the thugs and people that basically rob the country blind. And not only have privileged status but they were the all powerful. And needless to say they don't like it with their man sitting in prison and them no longer being able to exploit the people of Iraq. They're irritated.

Finally, the third group, this is a dangerous group. It's al Qaeda and its affiliates. A guy named Zarqawi is the chief operating officer in Iraq on behalf of al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has made it very clear, their intentions in Iraq, which is to drive the United States out so they will have a base from which to operate to spread their ideology. That's what they have said. This is what Mr. Zawahiri said.

It's important for those of us involved in trying to protect you to take the enemy seriously, to listen to their words closely. In other words, al Qaeda has made Iraq a front in the war on terror. And that's why we've developed a strategy for victory.

First part of it is to have a political process that marginalizes the rejectionists and isolates the dissenters. And it's happening. You know, under any objective measurement, what took place last year in Iraq was remarkable. When you think about it, this country is a country that lived under the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. And last year, they had elections for a transitional government, they wrote a Constitution, got the Constitution approved and then had elections for a permanent government under the new Constitution, all in one year.

And every election -- and every election had more participants. And most importantly in the last election the rejectionists who had sat out the first couple of elections -- many Sunnis that had said "We're not going to be involved in the political process" got involved. Slowly but surely, those who are trying to stop the advance of democracy are becoming marginalized.

Secondly, this is a country, obviously, that has got, you know, brutal action. This enemy we face has no conscience. They will kill innocent people in a heartbeat in order to achieve their objectives.

And it's hard for Americans to deal with that. I understand that. It's hard for me. To believe that there are such brutality in the world where people going to a funeral to mourn the dead and a suicider shows up and kills people. Hard for me to believe we have soldiers passing out candy to young kids and a killer comes and kills the kids and the soldiers. It's beyond the imagination of most Americans.

But it should say something about the enemy. They will go to no ends to defeat us. But they can't beat us on the battlefield. The only thing they can do is create these brutal scenes. And they're trying to drive us out of Iraq, as I mentioned. And the best way to deal with them is train Iraqis so they can deal with them. And that's what is happening.

There are two aspects of our training. And listen, the training hadn't gone smoothly all the time. This is a war. You're constantly adjusting your strategies and tactics. Not strategies, tactics on the ground to meet an enemy which is changing.

And -- and so the army is getting on its feet. We turned over a lot of territory to the army. And they're good fighters. Really are. I spent a great deal of time with General Abizaid and General Casey. They were in Washington this past week. They -- these are generals, you'd be happy to hear, to tell me the way it s not the way they think I would like it to be.

I can't tell you how good the caliber of our military brass and those in the field, by the way, all the way up and down the line are good. They are good people.

And the Army is getting better trained. Not just numbers. I'm talking about capacity to take the fight and stay in the fight. As I've said, as the Iraqis stand up we'll stand down.

So the strategy, the security strategy is to let the Iraqis do the fighting. It's their country. The people have shown they want democracy. Millions voted. And now part of the mission is to give this government a security force which will help fight off the few who are trying to stop the hopes of the many.

One of the places where we've lagged is training police. There are three types of police. There's the national police force, kind of like a SWAT team, a national SWAT team. They can move. They're pretty well trained. They need -- they need some human rights training.

In other words, part of the problem in Iraq is you got people that are plenty irritated at what took place in the past. And they're going to use their positions of power to take revenge. You can't have a democracy in which the police don't enforce the rule of law but enforce their view of revenge.

And so we got ethics training, rule of law training. All done by good troops who are embedded -- who are side by side with this Iraqi police force. And it's getting better. It really is.

Secondly, you've got the border patrol. The reason why the border is necessary is because there's suiciders coming in from Syria into Iraq. And the Iraqis have got to be able to enforce their border in order to be able to protect their democracy.

And thirdly, you've got local police. We're lagging in the local police. And the local police is just that, local. And so what we're going to do is use what worked in the Balkans and embed people in the local police units to teach them how to -- effective enforcers of the law. And so 2006 you're going to see a lot of police training and a lot of police focus.

Finally, there's the economic and reconstruction front. We start off grand projects in Iraq when we first got there. We said we're going to build some grand projects. It turns out a more effective use of reconstruction money was localized projects to empower those who were willing to take a risk for democracy with the capacity to say, "Follow me. Your life is going to be better."

By the way, democracy works in Iraq just like it does here, you know. You're going to vote for somebody who thinks that they can bring character to the office and they're going to help your life. Same anywhere else, you know. When you're out there campaigning, they're going to know, what are you going to do for me? So part of the reconstruction effort was to focus on local reconstruction projects.

The Iraqi economy has got a great chance to succeed. They've got oil and gas revenues. They have been having trouble getting some oil and gas revenues up to the levels we anticipated because of the infrastructure damage done by Saddam Hussein, by the way, and because the terrorists, every time there's some progress, tend to blow things up.

Now, having said that, they got the surveys. And I must confess I'm not much of a survey guy. But they got them. And most Iraqis are optimistic about the future. And as I said yesterday, you know, they're willing to live with intermittent darkness as opposed to the darkness -- and freedom as opposed to the darkness of tyranny. That's what you're seeing.

But this economy is going. Small businesses are flourishing. They've got -- they had to deal with gasoline subsidies. Saddam Hussein, in order to make sure people kept him around and thought he was all right -- they didn't have much choice, by the way, because he had a force behind him. But nevertheless, he subsidized gasoline, which meant a lot of the central budget was going for subsidization of fuel, as opposed to education and health.

And so the new government made a difficult decision. They started floating that price of gasoline up a little higher to take the pressure off their budget and to introduce markets, market-based forces into the economy. It's not going to happen overnight. You can't go from, you know, a tightly controlled economy to an open market overnight, but it's happening.

In other words, the government is making difficult choices to help the entrepreneurial spirit begin to flourish.

And so things are good. I'm confident we'll succeed. And it's tough, though. The enemy has got one weapon -- I repeat to you -- and that's to shake our will. I just want to tell you, whether you agree with me or not, they're not going to shake my will. We're doing the right thing.

A couple of other -- a couple of other quick points. Then I'll answer your questions.

You hear a lot of talk about troop levels. I'd just like to give you my thinking on troop levels. I know a lot of people want our troops to come home. I do, too. But I don't want them to come home without achieving the victory.

As I've mentioned to you, we owe that to the mothers and fathers and husbands and wives who lost a loved one. That's what I feel. I feel strongly that we cannot let the sacrifice -- can't let their sacrifice go in vain.

Secondly, these troop levels will be decided by our commanders. If you run a business, you know what I'm talking about when I say it's called delegating. You count on people to give you good advice. The best people to give any politician any advice about whether or not we're achieving on a military objective is the people you put out there on the ground.

I've told you I got good confidence in these generals and the people who report to them. These are honest, honorable, decent, very capable, smart people. And they will decide the troop levels. They hear from me victory. And I say to them, what do you need to achieve victory?

Part of the -- I don't know if you noticed recently, but we're beginning to reduce presence in Iraq, based upon the recommendation of our commanders. We've gone from 17 to 15 battalions. We kept up to about 60,000 -- 160,000 troops in Iraq for the elections.

We held over about 25,000 or so on -- to rotate help to help in the elections. Those 25,000 are coming back, plus the reduced battalions.

People say, "Well, how about more for the rest of the year?" And the answer to that is, I'm going to do what they tell me to do. And that depends upon the capacity of the Iraqis to help us achieve victory.

And why is victory important? Let me just conclude by this point. You know, it's hard for some to -- in our country to connect the rise of democracy with peace. The -- this is an ideological struggle as far as I'm concerned. And you defeat an ideology of darkness with an ideology of light and hope.

History has proven that democracies yield the peace. You really look at some of the past struggles where -- in which the United States has been involved, the ultimate outcome, the final product, was peace based upon freedom. Europe is at whole, free and at peace because of democracy.

One of the examples I like to share with people in order to make the connection between that which we're doing in Iraq today and laying -- what I call laying the foundation of peace, is my relationship with Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan.

The reason I like to bring up this story is I find it -- you know amazing that my dad, old No. 41, at the age of 18, fought the Japanese. They were the sworn enemy of the United States. Many in this audience, I know, had relatives in that war. They were the bitter enemy. They had attacked us, just like we were attacked on September the 11th. People in America said, "We'll do everything we can to defeat this enemy," and thousands of people lost their lives.

Laura and I were over in the Far East recently. I was sitting down at the table with the prime minister of our former enemy, talking about how to keep the peace. We were talking about the spread of democracy, in Iraq, in the Middle East, as a way to counter an ideology that is backwards and hateful. We were talking about North Korea, how to keep the peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Isn't it amazing, at least it is to me, that some 60 years after an 18-year-old fighter pilot joined the Navy to fight the Japanese, his son is talking with the prime minister of the former enemy about keeping the peace? Something happened, and what happened was Japan adopted a Japanese style democracy.

Democracies yield the peace. And I firmly believe, I firmly believe that years from now people are going to look back and say, thank goodness the new generation of Americans who rose to the challenge, of a war against terror, had faith in the capacity of freedom to help change the world.

And some day an American president is going to be talking to a duly elected leader from Iraq, talking about how to keep the peace for a generation to come.

I want to thank you all.

That is a definition of a short speech. Probably hate to hear a long one. I'll answer some questions.

Joe, start it off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, thank you very much. I told you we'd like to have some tough and challenging questions.

BUSH: Kind of like Washington, D.C., press conferences?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought you'd be at home here with that. We do want to keep these questions respectful, and we really do thank you for making the time to share this dialogue with us. We really do.

You've talked a lot about history. In your State of the Union after September 11, you defined this war on a war on terror. In the history our parents' generations had V.E. Day.

BUSH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And V.J. Day. And in our time we've seen the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. If you've defined this as a war on terror, will there ever be a V.T. Day? And if not, what do you need to do to prepare us to be able to go the duration?

BUSH: No, it's -- I also said that this is a different kind of war, the kind of war we've never faced before. We're not facing a nation state, per se. We're facing a shadowy network of people bound together by a common ideology. That by the way the enemy knows no rules of war. They just kill innocent people.

And so you're right. I did say it's a war. It's the first war of the 21st century. But I've been emphasizing it's a different kind of war.

So I don't envision a signing ceremony on the USS Missouri. As a matter of fact, this is a war in which the enemy is going to have to be defeated by a competing system in the long run.

The short-term objective is to use our intelligence, and our allies, to hunt these people down. And we're doing it. And we're on -- we've got brave, brave soul who, every single day are trying to find the al Qaeda leadership and the network. We're doing a good job so far.

If Osama bin laden were the top guy, and Mr. Zawahiri, he was the person that put out the strategy, by the way, for al Qaeda for everybody to see -- I don't think he put it out for everybody to see. It just happened to be exposed for everybody to see, eventually. But Abu Zubaida, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

There's a series of chief operators who are no longer a threat to the United States. We are dismantling the operators. And when we find them, we bring them to justice as quickly as we can. That's the short-term strategy.

There's also the strategy of making it clear if you harbor a terrorist, short-term strategy of, you know, dealing with threats before they come to -- as I say, before they fully materialize. One of the lessons of September 11 is when you see a threat out there, you can't assume that it's not going to come to our shore anymore. And so we've got to deal with it.

Obviously, the best way to deal with these kind of threats is diplomatically. We're doing so in Iran. If somebody has got a question on Iran, I'll be glad to answer in a minute. But that's what we're trying to get done.

The military option is always the last option. The long-term victory will come by defeating the hopelessness and despair that these killers exploit with a system that is open and hopeful. And the only such system is a free system. And I have got faith in the capacity of people to self-govern.

Now there is a point of view in this world, by some, that say, "Well, maybe certain kind of people can't self-govern." Which by the way was the attitude of some right after World War II: the enemy can't possibly self-govern. Kind of the attitude was somewhat blinded by the fact that we were so angry at the Japanese. And no one could see a hopeful tomorrow for them.

I believe everybody desires to be free. That's what I believe. And I believe everybody has the capacity to self-govern. I'm not -- never have I said nor do I believe that we ought to try to impose our style of democracy on another country. It won't work. Each country has its own cultures and own history and own tradition. And they ought to have their own style of democracy.

But I do know that tyrants breed resentment and hatred. And I do know that if a person is -- if they want to be free and not allowed to express their belief it causes resentment, the breeding grounds for a terrorist movement, which exploits the unsettled attitudes of the people.

So no, it's not going to be that kind -- it's not the kind of war that you talked about earlier. And so the peace won't be the kind of peace that we're used to.

Thank you. Good question.

OK. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Ken Moore (ph). I'd like to ask you. Recently in the media, you've been catching a lot of flak about the National Security Agency thing.

BUSH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people in our district, people that are in D.C., that will take and jeopardize what I feel is our national security and our troop safety today for partisan advantage, for political advantage. They're starting an investigation in the Justice Department about the -- looking into this, where these leaks came from.

Is the Justice Department going to follow through and, if necessary, go after the media to take and get the answers and shut these leaks up?

BUSH: Yes. First, let me talk about the issue you brought up. And it's a very serious issue.

I did say to the National -- called the NSA, National Security Agency, that they should protect America by taking the phone numbers of known al Qaeda and/or affiliates and find out why they're making phone calls into the United States and vice versa. And I did so because the enemy still wants to hurt us. And it seems like to me that if somebody is talking to al Qaeda, we want to know why.

Now, look, I understand people's concerns about government eavesdropping. And I share those concerns, as well. So obviously, I had to make the difficult decision between balancing civil liberties and, on a limited basis, and I mean limited basis, try to find out the intention of the enemy.

In order to safeguard the civil liberties of the people, we have this program fully scrutinized on a regular basis. It's been authorized, reauthorized, many times. We've got lawyers looking at it, from different branches of government.

We have briefed the leadership of the United States Congress, both Republican and Democrat, as well as the leaders of the intelligence committees, both Republicans and Democrats, about the nature of this program. We gave them a chance to express their disapproval or approval of a limited program taking known al Qaeda numbers, numbers from known al Qaeda people, and just trying to find out why the phone calls are being made.

I can understand concerns about this program. Before I went forward, I wanted to make sure I had all the legal authority necessary to make this decision as your president. We are a rule -- a country of law. We have a Constitution, which guides the sharing of power. And I take that -- I put that hand on the Bible and I meant it when I said I'm going to uphold the Constitution. I also mean it when I'm going to protect the American people.

I have the right as a commander in chief in a time of war to take action necessary to protect the American people. And secondly the Congress in the authorization basically said the president ought to -- an authorization of the use of troops ought to protect us.

Well, one way to protect us is to understand the nature of the enemy. Part of being able to deal with this kind of enemy in a different kind of war is to understand why they're making decisions they're making inside our country.

So I want to thank you for bringing that up. And there will be a lot of hearings and talk about that. But that's good for democracy. Just so long as the hearings, as they explore whether or not I have the prerogative to make the decision I make doesn't tell the enemy what we're doing. See, that's the danger.

And the Patriot Act is up for renewal. It's another piece of legislation which is important to protect. Do you realize that the Patriot Act has given our FBI and intelligence services the same tools of sharing information that we have given to people that are fighting drug lords?

In other words, much of the authorities that we asked for in the Patriot Act to be able to fight and win the war on terror has already been in practice when it comes to dealing with drug lords. And this is -- I can't tell you how important it is to reauthorize the legislation.

We get -- you know, there's a lot of investigation -- you're right -- in Washington, which is OK. That's part of holding people to account in a democracy. But at one point in time the government got accused of not connecting the dots. You might remember that debate. We didn't connect the dots. All of a sudden we start connecting the dots to the Patriot Act and the NSA decision, and we're being criticized.

Now, you know, I got the message early. Why don't you connect dots? And we're going to. And we're going to, and safeguard the civil liberties of the people. That's what you got to know.

That's a great question. Thank you for asking it. I'm going to avoid the part of the press.

PHILLIPS: The president of the United States taking unscripted questions there at an event in Louisville, Kentucky. He's talking about his strategy for his war on terror and the Iraq war. Also answering questions about the Patriot Act and the NSA's policy for eavesdropping.

Want to let you know, too, you can still click on to if you want to continue to follow the president's Q&A with individuals there in the audience in Louisville, Kentucky.

Now, here's something our pipeline folks wanted us to point out, too. Is that when you click onto you can still work off your computer and have pipeline sort of down in the corner so you can be monitoring -- monitoring the events that you want to watch while still being able to work on your computer. So you are able to do that.

We'll continue to monitor the president, as well. Take a quick break and have more news for you right here on LIVE FROM.


PHILLIPS: There are numerous critics of the U.S. invasion in Iraq. But the latest attack comes from a pretty unexpected source, a senior officer in the British army. He's written a scathing assessment of the role of the U.S. Army in Iraq, and it's triggered strong reaction, both in this country and in Britain.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us with the latest.

And Barbara, it's interesting. When you read this, I always thought it was policy that if you are active military, you don't criticize whatever ongoing mission is taking place. So it's interesting to see that the publisher of this article is the U.S. Army.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Kyra. This is a journal called "Military Review," one of the most prestigious professional journals of the U.S. Army. They do have a long history of publishing some pretty controversial articles, but this one really ranks at the top.

This is written by a Brigadier General Nigel Aylwin-Foster. He is a British brigadier, the equivalent of a one-star general, who served with the U.S., served with the coalition in Iraq. And he has written a pretty significant critique of the U.S. military operation in Iraq.

And let's just read you some of the quotes from the brigadier's article. Now, while he commends the U.S. troops for their patriotism and their passion, as he calls it, he then goes on to say that the U.S. military, quote, "seemed weighed down by bureaucracy, a stiflingly hierarchical outlook, a predisposition to offensive operations, and a sense that duty required all issues to be confronted head-on."

If that wasn't enough, the brigadier then went on to say that, while U.S. troops, quote, "were almost unfailingly courteous and considerate, at times their cultural insensitivity, almost certainly inadvertent, arguably amounted to institutional racism."

Of course, quite a reaction from the U.S. Army. Now, the publishers of the Army journal say that they put it in the Army's journal because they wanted to demonstrate that the Army is open to criticism and review.

But they do say that many of the brigadier's criticisms have now been addressed over the months, as U.S. troops have become more involved in the reconstruction and the more peaceful, peace keeping, if you will, type of operations that they are trying to do in Iraq.

Still this struck quite a nerve in the U.S. Army, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So, Barbara, do we know what U.S. military leaders think of Brigadier Foster? Do they respect him? Do they listen to him? Have they worked side by side throughout this war?

STARR: Well, by all accounts they would not have published it unless they had a good reason to respect this brigadier's opinion.

But what's really interesting here is you have a different approach between the U.S. Army and the British Army. There is quite a cultural difference in both of those military forces at times.

The brigadier points out that it is the U.S. Army that moved into the most violent areas and really took on the heavy lifting, while the British Army serves mainly in southern Iraq, where it is more peaceful. So both armies perhaps have a very different view of what they are facing, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Barbara Starr, live from the Pentagon. Thanks, Barbara.

Going to take you back now to Washington, D.C. Wolf Blitzer is carrying on with our live coverage of the Samuel Alito Supreme Court hearings -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Kyra, and to our viewers. You're now in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information from around the world are arriving all the time.

Happening now, our special coverage of Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings. It's almost 2 p.m. here in Washington, and the Supreme Court showdown is getting back underway. Judge Alito may be the man in the hot seat, but dueling senators have been generating the most heat, at so far.

Also this hour, President Bush on a political battleground in Kentucky. At issue is Iraq's strategy in the war on terror. At stake, a Republican seat in the U.S. Congress.

It's almost 2 p.m. in Louisville, and we've been listening to what the president has to say. And a new plan for New Orleans to make a comeback. It's 1 p.m. in that hurricane torn city, and local leaders are getting ready to unveil their vision for how and where to rebuild.

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

As Senate Judiciary Committee members return from their lunch break, there may still be some hard feelings in the hearing room. While Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito remained calm, Democrat Edward Kennedy and Republican Chairman Arlen Specter had a testy exchange.

It began when Kennedy asked the committee to subpoena records of a Princeton alumni group that's been a source of controversy during the questioning of Judge Alito. Alito has said he doesn't recall being a member of that group known for opposing college admission for women and minorities.


SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D-MA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Executive session for the sole purpose of voting on a subpoena for these records that are held over at the Library of Congress, that purpose and that purpose only. And If I'm going to be denied that, I would want to give notice to the chair that you are going to have it again and again and again, and we're going to have votes of this committee again and again and again until we have a resolution.

And I think...

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, Senator Kennedy, I'm not concerned about your threats to have votes again, again and again. And I'm the chairman of this committee, and I have heard your request, and I will consider it. And I'm not going to have you run this committee and decide when we're going to go into executive session.


BLITZER: Let's bring in our congressional correspondent, Ed Henry. He's joining us now live from the Hill.

An extraordinary little exchange there. Normally these senators are very polite, Ed, as you know, with each other.

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And the story behind the story here is that there's a lot of grumbling in the hallways, the back rooms among liberal activists, even some Democratic senators and senior staffers here, that the so-called top of the batting order for the Democrat senators on this committee have really been swinging and missing so far. And so there's a lot of pressure on Kennedy, Leahy, Joe Biden and others to really crank it up a notch.

And I think that's the subtext here, why you saw Kennedy really losing it a little bit. And the bottom line is that the White House could care less about that, because as you noted, Wolf, Alito is still staying calm and cool. He's not being drawn into this.

Specter, Kennedy, all the other senators can fight all day. But if Alito just keeps sailing along, the White House will feel just great.

And, you know, what the liberal activists up here are saying privately is just a couple weeks ago it looked like a real possibility that Democrats might mount a filibuster. But as you heard Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator say in THE SITUATION ROOM just in the last hour, she doesn't see any real reason for a filibuster at this point.

That's really frustrating the activists. They feel that the Democrats have been talking a good game, the senators up here, that's there a lot on the line here, Roe v. Wade, social policy for the next three or four decades with this nomination. But what they saw yesterday, in particular, and until that moment with Kennedy a short while ago, is not really a lot of pressure from the Democratic senators.

And I think, though, in fairness to some of the senators on the committee -- I just got off the phone with a senior Democratic aide who said, look, a lot of the liberal groups have had really unrealistic expectations. They thought it would be easy to take out Judge Samuel Alito. But the bottom line is, he's been calm and cool, and he's really been just sailing along -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ed Henry reporting for us.

Thanks very much, Ed.

Let's get some analysis of what's going on, what has gone on, what's likely to go on. Joining us, Democratic strategist and CNN political analyst, Paul Begala, and Terry Jeffrey, the -- of Human Events Online.

Terry, you went to Princeton University around this time. First of all, were you a member of Concerned Alumni of Princeton?

TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR, HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE: No, I was not a member. Actually, I graduated in 1981, so I that would have been nine years after Judge Alito. But no, I'm not a member.

BLITZER: But that was four years before he listed Concerned Alumni of Princeton on his job application.

JEFFREY: Right. Well, first, Wolf, I'd like to say, I don't want to accept Teddy Kennedy's characterization of what Concerned Alumni of Princeton was all about. I wouldn't take it on his word. I'd want to look at what they actually have said, I'd want to see the quotes and context.

Senator Kennedy had a little snippet from an article. I would want to see the whole article.

But I will tell you what I think a lot of the conservatives around the country right now are finding ludicrous. You have this guy who's born with a platinum spoon in his mouth, he probably wouldn't have been half of what he has been in his life were it not for his family's wealth and connections. And he's going after this Italian guy from a hardworking family on the east side of Trenton who worked his way up through Princeton and Yale Law School.

Not only that. This is a guy who could have gone out in private practice of law and made more than a million dollars a year. Instead, he's dedicated his entire life to public service.

At Princeton we have a motto. They tell you the first day you get there as a freshman, "Princeton in the Nation's Service." It comes from a speech that Woodrow Wilson gave at the centennial celebration at Princeton in 1896.

No one that I've seen as a Princeton alumnist in public policy life has been more a person who dedicated his life to the nation's service than this judge, who could have gone, as I said, into private practice, been a multimillionaire. Every day of his life after Yale Law School dedicated to the pursuit of justice in the law for his country.

BLITZER: He makes a good case for Samuel Alito's confirmation.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Sure. And dedicated to keep blacks and women out of Princeton.

Now, Terry didn't join that group. He's conservative. He's probably more conservative than Judge Alito. Why?

Because you don't want to keep blacks and women out of your college, Terry.


BEGALA: It's a reactionary, right wing, white male organization that wanted to keep this elite private academy the private playground of elite white men. And I think that it's an important issue.

I thought, frankly, the judge did not handle it well. First he said he didn't remember, and then he said, well, it was about the ROTC, which is preposterous.

And if I can step back for a minute, though, and get to the strategy of this, though, Wolf, I talked to a senior member of the committee before these hearings began about the strategy Democrats have here, and what this person told me is, they understand there's a very strong likelihood they are going to lose. The Republicans have the majority.

But what they want to do if they can't win is show the country what Democrats stand for. And I think that's an important thing.

And so now half of the voters in America are women. A sizable percentage are African-American and other racial minorities. And they are being told that there are some Republicans like Judge Alito who don't -- who haven't always supported full equal rights for them, and Democrats will fight for those equal rights. And that's an important distinction.

BLITZER: Did this group, Concerned Alumni for Princeton, want to prevent women -- prevent Princeton from being coeducational, prevent minorities from getting special treatment to be admitted into Princeton?

JEFFREY: Well, I kind of doubt that. I don't know the facts, Wolf.

I would guess -- this is just a guess -- that they might have been against affirmative action. I can't believe they would have been against coeducation.

I did see a statement that someone sent me this morning that was made by Judge Andrew Napolitano, who is a classmate of Judge Alito and is a very good friend of his who actually was a member -- an officer of Concerned Alumni of Princeton during the '70s, where he said that what they did do, in fact, was worked very hard to get the ROTC returned to the campus at Princeton, which is why Judge Alito says he suspects he may have been a member.

Let me address something Paul said. Paul said -- if I understood you correctly -- that Judge Alito is someone who was in favor of discrimination against blacks and women at Princeton. I haven't seen any evidence of that, period.

BEGALA: That's not what I said.

JEFFREY: And not only that. When it was brought up yesterday, I believe by Senator Kennedy, Judge Alito made a great joke that he had gone -- never gone to an all-male school until he got to Princeton. And when he got there, he appreciated how much he liked coeducation.

And I can tell you as a male who went to Princeton, when there are a lot more men than women, I think it was probably about 100 percent of the men in Princeton while I was there wished there were more girls.

BEGALA: That may well be. And this should be sorted out. I didn't go -- I went to the University of Texas. And, by the way, it took the United States Supreme Court to integrate my law school in the case of 1948 of Sweat versus Painter.

So these questions of integration often come to the Supreme Court. And it may well be that Concerned Alumni of Princeton was just kind of about the football team and nice things, but the allegation is out there...


JEFFREY: Judge Alito...

BEGALA: The allegation is that the group is racist.

JEFFREY: Do you believe he's a racist? Do you believe Judge Alito is a racist?

BEGALA: I don't know. I didn't go to Princeton. I never heard of this group until a few weeks ago.

JEFFREY: Do you believe Judge Alito is a racist?

BEGALA: I didn't go to Princeton. I don't know anything about this group.

JEFFREY: Do you believe he believes in discrimination against women? I'm asking you about Judge Alito.

BEGALA: Here's what I believe: I believe he's incredibly slipper.

JEFFREY: Do you, in your heart, Paul, believe that that man is a racist? In your heart, Paul Begala, do you believe that Judge Alito is a racist?

BEGALA: I believe he's being evasive, Terry. I think he is not telling us the truth.

JEFFREY: Do you in your heart believe he's a sexist in favor of discrimination?

BEGALA: I've never met the guy. I've never met the guy. It is not for me to judge.

JEFFREY: Have you seen any hard evidence?

BEGALA: Here's the question...

BLITZER: Presumably -- presumably, some of this might or might not be cleared up if in fact Chairman Specter allows the subpoenaing of these documents, William Rusher's four boxes at the Library of Congress, the publisher of "The National Review," all of the history, all of the records, the financial records, all the minutes of the meetings and the articles of this group, CAP, Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Should the committee subpoena those documents from the Library of Congress and let Democrats and Republicans go through them? Or is this simply a fishing expedition designed to look for something that may or may not be there?

JEFFREY: Well, I think it is a side issue. I think it is a fishing expedition. I think it shows how desperate the Democrats are.

Wolf, in the last Supreme Court we had decisions decided on the commerce clause, the (INAUDIBLE) clause, and the establishment clause, tremendously controversial, divided the country. The Democrats aren't asking him anything about that.

Why? Because they know they are on the wrong side of the country from those issues.

So they are looking for anything they can cast at this man, a great integrities (ph) character. The ABA, by the way, examined these issues and said this was a man of the highest character. The Democrats who...

BLITZER: We're going to go back, but go ahead. I will give you the last word.

BEGALA: Well, here's the problem. The judge has not been giving straight answers.

If he were to say, as, say, Senator Brownback does, and other principled Republicans, as Terry Jeffrey does, on the abortion case, for example, I think Roe is wrong and should be overturned, there's millions of Americans who believe that. But he won't give us a straight answer on what's the most fundamental and controversial issue there. He is not going to give us a straight answer to the commerce clause either.

That's why they get into this other more personal stuff, like whether his alumni group was racist or not.

BLITZER: Well, we're going to leave it right there, because Senator Joe Biden is questioning Judge Alito right now on this very sensitive issue of abortion.

Let's listen in.

JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: ... purpose to women than they had to men. And that was based on a stereotype that when somebody in the family gets sick and somebody has to leave work to take care of the family member, it's the woman and not the man.

And it reinforced the stereotype, of course, because having such a policy would encourage, would put pressure on women to leave work for this purpose as opposed to the man. If there was a woman and a man in the family and somebody had to leave work to take care of a sick family member, and you have a plan like this, this is going to pressure the woman to do that.

So the Hibbs court found that that was a sufficient record of gender discrimination to justify the passage of legislation under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment.

Chittister concerned a provision that related to leave for personal illness. And there is no reason to think that men or women get sick more often one than the other, or what was to the point, that state employers had given men more sick time than women or women more sick time than men.

And so with that record it was the conclusion of my court -- and I believe seven other circuits -- that this was a different issue, these cases were decided before and after Hibbs, and that that could not be justified if you accept the congruence and proportionality standard.

BIDEN: Well, on the congruence and proportionality standard, we in the Congress felt we were speaking to that. Were you aware or your colleagues -- well, speak for yourself, actually; I know you can't speak for them -- that one in four people taking sick leave under the act are women for pregnancy-related disabilities. We, when we wrote the law, said explicitly that we wanted the bill to protect working women from the dangers that pregnancy-based distinctions could be extended to limit their employment opportunities.

I mean, the practical world is that a fair number of women who are pregnant are told in the last -- and I yield to my doctor at the end of the dais on the other side -- but it's not unusual for a woman to be told that she needs the last month of pregnancy or two months of pregnancy have bed rest.

And that if that counts against her 12 weeks, you know, employers -- we did establish there's a record where employers say, "Hey, look, man, we're going to give men and women the same leave," notwithstanding the fact that women, in fact, in many circumstances -- and one in four of them are pregnancy-related -- need more time because of the pregnancy.

I mean, was that discussed by you guys or women?

ALITO: I'm quite certain it never was. I would have made a reference to it in the opinion if that had been mentioned.

And I'm not aware of that coming up in the other circuit opinions on the issue.

We are, to a degree -- we can't know everything about the real world. And we are dependent on the arguments that are presented to us to a degree. I don't believe that argument was ever presented.

BIDEN: Well, Congress expressly stated that the purpose of the act was, quote, "to minimize the potential for employment discrimination by ensuring generally that leave is available for eligible medical reasons, including maternity-related disability."

And that's why the decision confuses me. I think all you probably have to do is turn to your wife and say, "Hey, you know, the real world, when you're pregnant, does that sometime inhibit the amount of time you're able to -- you're required to be away from your job?"

I mean, the practical world is that a fair number of women who are pregnant are told in the last -- and I yield to my doctor at the end of the dais on the other side -- but it's not unusual for a woman to be told that she needs the last month of pregnancy or two months of pregnancy have bed rest.

And that if that counts against her 12 weeks, you know, employers -- we did establish there's a record where employers say, "Hey, look, man, we're going to give men and women the same leave," notwithstanding the fact that women, in fact, in many circumstances -- and one in four of them are pregnancy-related -- need more time because of the pregnancy.

I mean, was that discussed by you guys or women?

ALITO: I'm quite certain it never was. I would have made a reference to it in the opinion if that had been mentioned.

And I'm not aware of that coming up in the other circuit opinions on the issue.

We are, to a degree -- we can't know everything about the real world. And we are dependent on the arguments that are presented to us to a degree. I don't believe that argument was ever presented.

BIDEN: Well, Congress expressly stated that the purpose of the act was, quote, "to minimize the potential for employment discrimination by ensuring generally that leave is available for eligible medical reasons, including maternity-related disability."

And that's why the decision confuses me. I think all you probably have to do is turn to your wife and say, "Hey, you know, the real world, when you're pregnant, does that sometime inhibit the amount of time you're able to -- you're required to be away from your job?"

Fortunately, most women, like my wife and my daughters-in-law, my daughter-in-law, work up to the time, but a lot can't.

Let me suggest also, as I said to you in the hallway, I want to, kind of, set the record straight on Princeton. One of the reasons why I'm perplexed and many of us are perplexed by your answers regarding CAP, the organization, is that it doesn't fit with your background. It doesn't fit with your background.

As we both said in the hallway, I read your opening statement again, where you said that, "A generation earlier I think that somebody from my background probably would not have felt fully comfortable at a college like Princeton." And I pointed out to you -- I'm about 10 years older than you -- that's how I felt. That's what I was referencing yesterday about my Irish Catholic kid from Claymont.

The thing that surprises -- or at least puzzles -- me is that it was, I thought, a pretty widely known debate that in the Ivys, the one, sort of, last holdout, fighting to not admit as many women and fighting not to admit as many minorities, was Princeton. And there was a whole battle over it, as you heard referenced in terms of the Wall Street Journal and mailings to alumni.

I noticed someone in the press saying -- I want to be able to continue to wear the hat given to me, by pointing out that the reason I can wear this hat proudly today, after being on campus as much as I have at Princeton, is today 28.7 percent of Princeton's undergraduate population is minority.

And today, the class of '05, 47 percent -- 47 percent -- are women. And so, that's what that battle was all about, a lot of us thought.

You know, I'd be proud of my daughter at Princeton Graduate School, instead of Penn now, although I am very proud she is at Penn. But that's what this debate was about, Judge, and that's why it still confuses me. And I'm going to ask you a straightforward question and I hope it doesn't offend you.

When you listed CAP, was part of your rationale for listing that on the application that you thought that would appeal to the outfit you were applying to, the people looking at your resume?

ALITO: Well, Senator, as I've said, I don't have a recollection of having anything to do with CAP. So all I can say is that I put it down on the '85 form and, therefore, I must that been a member at around that time. And that's -- I can't even...

BIDEN: I'm not even suggesting about whether you were or were not remembering, but, was part of the reason -- I mean, one of the explanations -- I'm looking for a reason.

You know, I'm looking to be able to say -- because you don't impress me as someone -- especially from your background -- that would want to keep Princeton as -- I won't go back and read the quotes -- keep Princeton as, you know, "Imagine my father's 50th reunion, having 40 percent women. Isn't that awful?" You don't impress me to belong to that club.

ALITO: I wasn't.

BIDEN: And so, the only explanation I can think of -- and you're a very informed guy.

I mean, you're sitting up there in north Jersey as a U.S. attorney. As I said, it's in the Wall Street Journal. It's a debate going on. You're getting letters.

The only thing I can figure is you figure that, you know, a relatively conservative Reagan administration Justice Department would say: Hey, maybe that's the kind of guy I want.

I can't understand why else you'd put it down. But if that's not the reason and it's just you just listed the outfits you belonged to, that still perplexes me. But, anyway...

ALITO: Well, Senator, I wasn't a member of that club, as you referred to it.

By the time I entered Princeton, there were many minorities in my class. The practice of not including minorities had ended. My class was not coeducational when we were admitted. And as I said yesterday, I had never previously attended a non-coeducational school.

BIDEN: You had about 300 women, if I'm guessing right, when you got admitted roughly.

When were you admitted?

ALITO: I was admitted in 1968. It was not coeducational. It went coeducational while I was there.

BIDEN: '71 -- '70, '71, there were 300 women; now there is 2,100 in that same class.

Anyway, I thank you very much, Judge.

I yield the floor.

SPECTER: Thanks very much, Senator Biden.

We now have both Senator Durbin and Senator Coburn present.

Senator Durbin, you've asked for two minutes as a matter of personal privilege. You have two minutes.

DURBIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

And I will make it brief.

In a courtroom and in a committee room, it's not unusual to try to rehabilitate a witness. And when hard questions are asked, people come back with information.

Mr. Gillespie and his team is down there providing information and others. Perfectly acceptable. We'd do the same thing if the shoe were on the other foot.

Two personal references to me after I left the room -- and I apologize for leaving the committee room -- one related to the fact that I had earlier been in a pro-life position in my political life, and it is true. I made reference to this in my opening statement.

I've stood for election more than 12 times in the House and Senate, general and primary, stating my position as pro-choice. So the voters of Illinois know that.

I had asked Judge Alito whether his position had changed from 1985; that was the nature of my questions to you this morning. I don't consider that to be a shortcoming, if you would concede it changed. Although, at this point, you have not made that concession.

Abraham Lincoln was once accused of changing his position on an issue, and he said, "I'd rather be right some of the time than wrong all the time." And so I don't think changing your mind is necessarily a condemnation.

The second point I'd like to make specifically is my reference to settled law. Roe v. Wade is settled law. And I'm sorry that Senator Hatch is not here at the moment, but I would like to read into the record exactly what was said on September 13th, 2005, before this committee, when Senator Specter said...

SPECTER: Does this involve Senator Hatch, Senator?

DURBIN: It does. Senator Hatch raised the question that I had said that this position...

SPECTER: Shouldn't we have Senator Hatch here?

DURBIN: If you want to wait, I'll wait.

SPECTER: Yes, I'd like to wait for Senator Hatch to arrive. That way we may be able to conclude this not in two minutes, but in less than two hours.

I have made inquiries on the rush issue over the lunch hour and I have some things to say about it, but I'm not going to say them until Senator Kennedy arrives.


So I've asked staff to inform Senator Kennedy that I await his arrival.

And, in the meantime, if it pleases this august body, we'll proceed with the hearing.

Senator Kyl?

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do want to tie some loose ends up, and one of them makes reference to something Senator Kennedy read. Would it be OK if I proceed with that? I think it would be fine.

And this has to do with this last matter that Senator Biden was also discussing, and that's the Princeton alumni group, just to make sure that the key facts are understood here.

You believe you joined, Judge Alito, around 1985 because of a concerned threat to ROTC at Princeton university. Is that correct?

ALITO: Well, Senator, I don't recall joining, but I do remember that that was the issue relating to the administration that was bothering me for a period of time, including that period.

KYL: And just for the record, Mr. Chairman, I'd ask unanimous consent to insert a quotation from the Princeton packet.

And I'll just quote it here: "Prospect editor Denise DeSousa (ph), added that CAP is concerned about the formation of a Third World center, a campaign to eliminate the Army ROTC program, and what it perceives as the decline of Princeton athletics."

SPECTER: Without objection, it will be made a part of the record.

KYL: Second, on this matter -- and I refer to this as the very scurrilous material read by Senator Kennedy, that I suspect we would all agree was scurrilous material -- had you ever heard of any of that material that he read a while ago, before today?

ALITO: No, Senator.

KYL: I believe you said you vehemently disagreed with it; is that correct?

ALITO: I do. I deplore those statements.

KYL: And would disavow it?

ALITO: I disavow it. I would never associate myself with those statements.

KYL: Did you know that such things had been published by the CAP when you were a member of it or when you joined it?

ALITO: Absolutely not. I would never be a member of an organization that took those positions.

KYL: Also, Mr. Chairman, unanimous consent for the record to contain the disclaimer which the editors of the Prospect include in the magazine. It reads, "The appearance of an article in Prospect does not necessarily represent an endorsement of the author's beliefs by the Concerned Alumni of Princeton."

SPECTER: Without objection, it, too, will be a part of the record.

KYL: Now, let's return to your 15 years as a judge and how matters might come before you in United States Supreme Court.

I just wanted to also refer to something that I put in the record yesterday. It is a very difficult thing to look at 4,000 cases and conclude that...

BLITZER: All right. We're going to break away from the hearing briefly. Jon Kyl, a Republican of Arizona, asking questions of Samuel Alito.

Remember, go to if you want to watch all of this hearing without commercial interruption, any interruption on your desktop or your laptop: for the complete hearing.

We'll take a quick break. More of our coverage here in THE SITUATION ROOM right after this.


BLITZER: Welcome back. We are continuing our coverage of the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We are going to go back there very soon, but we're going to continue our analysis as well.

Joining us, Democratic strategist and CNN political analyst Paul Begala, and Terry Jeffrey, the -- are you the editor of Human Events Online?

JEFFREY: Editor of Human Events.

BLITZER: All right. Well, in this particular case, you are a graduate of Princeton University, which has all of a sudden become, who would have thought, such a big issues, maybe the biggest issue right now before this committee. A battle brewing between Senator Kennedy and Senator Specter on whether to go forward and subpoena documents from the Library of Congress on this history of this group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton. You were not a member of that.

You have had a chance to read Senator Kennedy's letter now making the request. Is it appropriate?

JEFFREY: No, I don't think so. I will note one thing, that even in his letter he doesn't really give quotes in context or real documentation for the way he is characterizing the Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

So I am still not ready to accept Teddy Kennedy's characterization of this group. I would note that this is a Harvard guy attacking a Princeton guy. Again, is a guy born...

BLITZER: It's not just Teddy Kennedy. It's Bill Bradley, a Princeton alum, Senator Bill Frist, the Republican leader in the Senate, also a Princeton alum. Both of those gentlemen suggesting that this group was not necessarily something they wanted to be associated with.

JEFFREY: Well, you're right. According to Senator Kennedy's letter, Senator Bradley was asked to be on the advisory board or something. He was on it for a brief time and then left. And Bill Frist apparently was never associated, but was critical of it.

There's no evidence that Judge Alito is aware of either Bill Bradley or Senator Frist's criticism of this group. By the way, at the time that Bill Bradley and Senator Frist were making these criticisms, they were not U.S. senators. Bill Bradley's fame at that time was principally tied to his play for the New York Knicks.

BLITZER: He was a Rhodes Scholar.

JEFFREY: And his play for the Princeton basketball team. He is clearly a famous Princeton graduate.

But I think the bottom line is, the Democrats cannot get at Judge Alito for his judicial philosophy, for his demeanor in the hearings, so they are trying to raise this because they are desperate to get something from him, and this is all they can find.

BLITZER: Go ahead, Paul.

BEGALA: Terry is right. We don't know anything about his judicial philosophy because he won't tell us. This would be a much easier process if...

BLITZER: He has a 15-year record on the bench.

BEGALA: He does. And yet, at every turn when you try to pin him down, he runs away from that because he's got a record before then where he wrote: I personally oppose the notion that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided (ph). I personally think it's wrong.

That's an honorable view, it's Terry's view. There's many intelligent people who have that view.

But he is running away from that in front of the committee like the devil runs from holy water. You know, he rules that you can strip search a 10-year-old girl. They asked him about it, he said, well, no, really -- and he runs away from that. So it's been -- it's been like trying to nail Jello to the wall trying to get this guy to talk about his judicial philosophy.

BLITZER: Here's what a lot of people, Terry, are going to say. If he doesn't -- you know, he really had nothing to do with this group, he simply listed this on his job application to try to appeal to -- you know, appease Ed Meese and others at the Justice Department that he really was a true conservative, that his philosophy was as a true conservative, he was a member of the Federalist Society for law and public policy and Concerned Alumni of Princeton, if he has nothing to hide, presumably there won't be anything in those documents.

Why not go through the documents and then just clear it up once and for all?

JEFFREY: Well, if they're just going to try to string out the confirmation process so we don't have a (INAUDIBLE) and Alito doesn't get in the court, then the Democrats are going to try to dig up something else that they can throw on him, like, quite frankly, they did to Clarence Thomas.

And they don't want to engage on the substantive issues involving the court vis-a-vis Judge Alito. I think it would be a mistake. But yes, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't go look through this stuff and see what's there. I don't care. I bet Judge Alito doesn't care. I don't think this guy has anything to hide.

But on the other hand, I don't think Senator Kennedy has anything of substance. He wouldn't be asking for that subpoena if he had anything of substance.

BLITZER: Plus, going through four boxes of documents shouldn't take all that long.

BEGALA: No, and I have no idea if it's necessary. Because I do know some in the media have looked into this. I mean, a few months ago, "The New York Times"...

BLITZER: But they haven't necessarily gone through those four boxes of William Rusher's archives at the Library of Congress.

BEGALA: And that may be instructive. But what journalists have done so far is looked at some of the publicly available documents on this organization. And at least the summary that was published in "The New York Times" several months ago, back in November, didn't say anything about ROTC.

It wasn't a pro-ROTC organization. It seemed to be principally concerned with admissions policies that granted admission to women and encouraged admission of minorities. And as they claimed, that was at the expense of the children of Princeton alums, which is affirmative action for rich white folks.

People opposed that. Judge Alito apparently was one of them. I don't know why he just didn't tell the truth and say look, I want affirmative action for rich white guys, but not for women and blacks.

BLITZER: Hold on one second. Our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton's actually going through the one document that we have, that would be Senator Kennedy's letter to Chairman Specter. What are you picking up, Abbi?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: That's right, Wolf, the letter that Senator Kennedy sent to Chairman Specter last month is online at what Senator Kennedy calls his online office. In the archives section, you can go and read it for yourself.

It's dated December 22nd. And in it, Senator Kennedy goes through the things that he hopes to find in these records. Four boxes of records, private papers of William Rusher, four boxes kept at the Library of Congress.

What does he think he will find in them? Many things. Fundraising materials, list of supporters, correspondence, all kinds of things that Senator Kennedy wants to look through to shed some light on this issue of membership of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks, Abbi. And you know, Terry, I want you to respond because he did write the letter December 22nd to Chairman Specter so this is not a surprise that just came up today. And Specter said once Kennedy comes back into the hearing room, he's going to have a response to him on what they should do, but go ahead.

JEFFREY: Wolf, I have to tell you, here's something I find very ironic. You know, you have Senator Kennedy going after Judge Alito and going after the president for alleged invasion of privacy because the president ordered a National Security Agency program that targets only international calls, only linked to people associated with al Qaeda, only after he had virtually unanimous resolution of Congress for war.

Now he wants to go get Bill Rusher's papers that apparently belong to Bill Rusher...

BEGALA: From where?

JEFFREY: ... so he can look at Bill Rusher's correspondence. Now, I would like to know from Senator Kennedy, what is the probable cause...

BLITZER: I'm going to let you respond. But I want to go to Senator -- Senator Kyl, Republican of Arizona, is questioning Judge Alito on this Princeton issue right now. He just accused Democrats of launching a smear campaign as a result of this. Let's listen into this.

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: ... but you did not try to dodge or duck those questions at all.

In fact, let me just read for the record two or three statements relating to your performance here at this hearing, if I could, please.

Well, Senator Biden isn't here, so I won't read what he has said but it's on the chart. And I appreciate what he said, by the way.

Jill Zuckman, who writes in the Chicago Tribune, "'Judge Alito has gone farther. And I think that's given a lot more substance to these hearings,' said Specter," meaning our distinguished chairman, Arlen Specter.

And then, Dana Milbank, writing in The Washington Post, "Unlike John G. Roberts Jr., who made frequent attempts to soften his views and dodge many of the questions, Alito took almost every question."

Now, I'm not going to subscribe to the first part of that last quotation with respect to Judge Roberts.

But I think it is true that you have taken the questions, you have answered them to the best of your ability, and you have only stopped short when not to do so would be to commit to a decision in a case that you are not ethically permitted to do so and that would do injustice to the rules of law and the parties that might come before the court.

So I want to commend you for being so forthcoming, for answering our questions, and for testifying in a very thoughtful and, has been apparent to everybody, without any notes or materials or referring to any other people here, with great knowledge about both the matters on which you have worked in the law, generally.

Thank you, Judge.

ALITO: Thank you, Senator.

KYL: I'll yield back.

SPECTER: Thank you very much, Senator Kyl.

Senator Kohl?

BLITZER: All right, let me break away briefly from the questioning. I want to wrap things up with Paul Begala and Terry Jeffrey. I interrupted you before when we were talking about this whole Princeton alumni organization that all of a sudden has become this huge to do in the committee.

BEGALA: Yes, I wanted to pick up on Terry's point. Terry made an argument that somehow that subpoenaing records that are at the Library of Congress that belong to the American people and have been donated to the American people is somehow analogous to wiretapping private conversations without a search warrant. That's beneath the intellectual capacity of Princetonian, Terry...

JEFFREY: Well, first of all... BEGALA: No, these belong to the American people.

JEFFREY: Are you certain of that? Do you know that as a fact?

BEGALA: If they're at the Library of Congress, yes.

JEFFREY: Are you sure they don't belong to him?

BEGALA: They belong to the American people.

JEFFREY: Do you know that as a fact?

BEGALA: They're at the Library of Congress, Terry.

JEFFREY: You've determined that?

BEGALA: They're at the Library of Congress, and it's nothing like wiretapping a private conversation. I mean, come on.

JEFFREY: These are -- wait a minute. These are, as I understand it from what CNN just reported, this includes private letters between private individuals who are living right now. Now, Senator Kennedy thinks there's a right to privacy to kill an unborn child right up to the moment of birth. He believes the president was violating the right to privacy when he intercepted communications between Al Qaeda. But this is not invasion of privacy for Senator Kennedy. You know what we call that in middle America? Hypocrisy.

BLITZER: Apparently William Rusher has control over these documents and he can decide who gets access to them, who doesn't get access to them. That's why Kennedy wants a formal subpoena to try to get access, because At least as of now, Rusher has not authorized making these documents public.

BEGALA: I don't know how much more you're going to learn from it. I people are making way too much of it. I think it's silly to analogize it to either abortion or to warrantless taps or anything like that.

It's a controversial group. The guy clearly didn't play any leading role in it. He clearly didn't give a lot of money to it. But it's interesting, I think Republicans are making a tactical error here. This guy is slipping through. OK, he's going to make it. And today now, they've given all of us something to chew on.

And all of America's going to stand up and scratch their head and say wait a minute, it's Republicans that are howling like a pig stuck under a gate. Maybe there's something here. Maybe this guy from this elite university really did have very elitist views. And you know, it's just free advice. They ought to just...

BLITZER: Last word, Terry.

JEFFREY: This is a guy who we all know even from the profiles in "The Post" and "New York Times," this guy came from a hard-working Italian family, east side of Trenton, worked his way up through Princeton and Yale Law School, dedicated his entire life to public service. You got Teddy Kennedy from a rich, famous family in Massachusetts, coming down..

BEGALA: As opposed to President Bush, from a rich famous family from Connecticut...


BEGALA: Why this ad homonym?

JEFFREY: I mean, come on!

BEGALA: Why this ad homonym?

JEFFREY: This is the ad homonym. The ad homonym is Teddy Kennedy...

BEGALA: Teddy Kennedy's family is no wealthier or more privileged than President Bush's.

JEFFREY: Teddy Kennedy going after Judge Alito's ethics is a ad homonym argument. And yes, I guarantee you that the majority of people in this country see an irony in Teddy Kennedy being the person going after this man of integrity.

BEGALA: Teddy Kennedy, I'll take his integrity any day of the week. He never tried to keep women out of Harvard or any other elite institutions that he got. There is something I think middle America doesn't like about someone who pulls the ladder up behind him.

If you're getting a profile of a guy who made it because others who came before him expanded Princeton's admission policies to include Italian-Americans like him, which he acknowledged in his opening statement -- Judge Alito did. But now once he's made it, he wants to pull up that ladder behind him. I think that's problematic for the Republican.

BLITZER: All right, we got to leave it there, guys. We're going to continue this discussion, though. I don't think the subject is going to go away. Paul Begala, Terry Jeffrey, good discussion. Thanks very much.

We'll take another quick break. We'll resume our coverage of Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We'll also check what's happening elsewhere around the United States and around the world. There's important news developing. Much more of our coverage and the rest of the day's news right after this.


BLITZER: Welcome back to THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. We are going to continue our coverage of the confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito momentarily. We want to check all the day's other news right now. CNN's Kyra Phillips standing by at the CNN Center. PHILLIPS: Thanks, Wolf. Still no word on the fate of kidnapped American freelance journalist Jill Carroll. Carroll was on assignment for the "Christian Science Monitor" in Iraq when she was abducted Saturday. Gunmen ambushed Carroll's car and killed her translator in one of the most dangerous areas of Baghdad. It happened right after she had gone to the office of a Sunni politician for a meeting, but he failed to show up. No one has claimed responsibility for that kidnapping.

The National Security Agency's inspector general has launched an investigation into the administration's domestic eavesdropping program. A Pentagon official disclosed the probe yesterday in rejecting a request by Democrats that the Pentagon and Justice Department investigate.

Critics say President Bush overstepped his authority when he authorized the NSA to monitor communications of people with suspected ties to al Qaeda without obtaining warrants. Congress also plans to investigate the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, plan to hear from a former NSA officer who claims that he has information about, quote, "probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts."

A man who threw a grenade at President Bush has been sentenced to life in prison in Tbilisi, Georgia. The man was convicted of trying to assassinate President Bush and the president of Georgia and killing a Georgian police officer during the manhunt that followed that attack.

Mr. Bush was attending a rally in the former Soviet republic last year, when a grenade landed about 100 feet from the spot where he and the Georgian president were standing. The grenade did not explode. No one was hurt. The defendant showed no remorse after his arrest, saying that he would try to kill President Bush again if he had the chance.

Now to the city of New Orleans. Determined to come back from its own natural disaster, city leaders are expected to unveil their first rebuilding plan. Our Gulf Coast correspondent Susan Roesgen looks at some of the concerns.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: I'm in one of the areas that's being debated, New Orleans east. It flooded and it is still pretty empty out here. This is also a low-lying area that's likely to flood again. So the question for the city is, should this area be part of the new New Orleans? Should it continue to get city services like police and fire protection? And should the people who lived here be able to get help rebuilding?

Some political leaders in New Orleans say yes, that's the answer, that the city should not abandon the mostly African-American residents who want to come back here. But others say the city has got to make some tough choices based on hard economic and geographic realities. The mayor will get the commission's recommendation this afternoon and he can either accept it or reject it. But either way there are some tough decisions ahead.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.


PHILLIPS: Caught on tape in the city that practically invented the surveillance camera. This is a robbery in progress at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas early yesterday. The robber got away, but not before getting off several shots in the parking lot and dropping some of his money. A security guard was wounded in the leg.

We've all seen the dashboard videos from high-speed chases. This is pretty typical, a dangerous driver, maybe a dangerous criminal with authorities in hot pursuit. Except this wasn't any criminal. Though he was clearly putting himself and others in danger, in fact police in Shelbyville, Tennessee, say this driver nearly caused five head-on collisions. He was finally safely pulled over. He couldn't even produce a driver's license because he's seven-years-old.


JOSH LEVERETTE, OFFICER, TENNESSEE POLICE: He was so short that he had to sit up close to the steering wheel, and whenever he would brake, as you see in the video, he would pick himself up with his left foot and stomp on the brake with his right.

SUSAN DANIEL, WITNESS: It just blew my mind because we actually watched him put on his turn signal and turn and could see when he went past that he had his seat belt on.


PHILLIPS: A mere trip to the woodshed for this young joyrider. He's headed for juvenile court.

Another speeding car, and this time a terrible accident. A California woman and her two children were hit earlier yesterday, just outside a supermarket in the town of Wasco, just northwest of Bakersfield. The driver fled on foot, but reportedly came back a short time later and surrendered to police. She's 79, allegedly has no license and faces charges of felony hit-and-run. The victims are suspected to survive. Wolf?

BLITZER: Kyra, thanks very much. We're going to go back to the confirmation hearings of Judge Alito momentarily. We'll take a quick break. Remember, you can watch all of it, uninterrupted on, our video service -- live coverage

We'll take a quick break. More on the Alito hearings right after this.



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