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White House Shuffle; 'Strategy Session' With Paul Begala, Torie Clarke

Aired March 28, 2006 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time.
Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you tonight's top stories.

Happening now, it's 7:00 p.m. here in Washington. Is it a little shuffle or the start of major shakeup? The White House chief -- White House chief of staff steps down, another insider steps up. We'll that ease the pressure from uneasy Republicans? We're going to hear directly from President Bush in an exclusive CNN interview.

It's 4:00 p.m. in California, where the immigration debate plays out in protests and rallies. We'll have a debate between two key members of Congress with very strong feelings about the battle over borders.

And a Supreme Court justice speaking out. He was out of court, but was he out of line? We're going to tell you about a brewing controversy involving Antonin Scalia.

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

Tonight, questions about whether another shoe might soon drop inside the president's inner circle after Andy Card's resignation as chief of staff. The Budget Director Josh Bolten's promotion to Card's job could shake things up over at the White House. But is one personnel change enough to solve the administration's serious political problems?

In an exclusive interview with CNN today, Mr. Bush was asked if more changes may be in the works, and he left the door open.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Josh has just begun to take a look at the White House structure, and I haven't had chance to talk to him about the future yet. But right now I'm honoring and celebrating the service of Andy Card.


BLITZER: And you're going to hear much more of that exclusive CNN interview. That's coming up. Also, by the way, in the midst of this heated political battle over immigration, the president appears now to be rejecting proposals by members of his own party to build a fence along the border with Mexico. We'll have details on that, as well.

And it's unclear tonight if the staff switch will satisfy Republicans who have been clamoring for an injection of new blood over at the White House. Andy Card says he knew it was time for a change, but his replacement is a fellow Bush insider.


ANDY CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It is a different season. And Josh Bolten is the right person for that season.

Mr. President, as the chief of staff, I know I was a staffer. And now I look forward to being your friend.

JOSH BOLTEN, BUDGET DIRECTOR: I'm deeply honored now by the opportunity to succeed Andrew Card as White House chief of staff. I say "succeed Andy Card" and not replace him because Andy cannot be replaced.


BLITZER: Our Chief National Correspondent John King is standing by. Our Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash is, as well.

Let's go to the White House first. Our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it was three weeks ago that Card went to the president saying he wanted to step down. He made his views known after the 2004 campaign.

President Bush desperately wanted to keep him. It was not until this past weekend in Camp David that the president finally accepted his resignation letter. Of course these two men very close.

You may recall that it was Card that whispered in the president's ear on September 11 that the country was under attack. It was that same man today who came nearly to tears when he said goodbye.

The big question, of course, is whether or not this is going to have an impact on the president's agenda.


MALVEAUX (voice over): A turnover at the highest levels in the West Wing.

BUSH: Andy Card has served me and our country in historic times.

MALVEAUX: Chief of Staff Andy Card out.

CARD: And there is a new season. MALVEAUX: Budget chief Josh Bolten in.

BOLTEN: Andy cannot be replaced.

MALVEAUX: A shakeup at the White House? Hardly.

CHARLIE BLACK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think what's occurred today is a very fine public servant decided to retire and was replaced by another Bush insider.

MALVEAUX: And that's the way the president likes it.

Despite strikes by terrorists and hurricanes, bruising legislative battles, war and sagging poll numbers, President Bush's team continues to defy history by remaining almost entirely intact five years after the president first took office.

BLACK: This White House staff has been more unified and had less infighting and less freelancing than any White House in modern history.

MALVEAUX: But critics, now including some top Republicans on the Hill, believe the president's leadership style has ultimately hurt him, isolating him from fresh ideas and bad news.

RON BROWNSTEIN, POLITICAL ANALYST: The president leaves himself very little margin for error.

MALVEAUX: The president's inner circle remains small. Aides say his Oval Office door is open to just a handful who have been with him since he came to Washington in 2001. Among those, Vice President Dick Cheney, political guru Karl Rove, White House counsel Harriet Miers and others.

BLACK: If he has no suspicion whatsoever that they have their own agenda, then it allows him to trust them and become completely comfortable with them.

MALVEAUX: And those who have departed generally have not.

BLACK: If there is a common denominator, it seems to me that this sense of loyalty and team work that the president demands, that folks who left might not have adhered to that, or at least he didn't perceive them to be complete team players.


MALVEAUX: And Wolf, Bush aides say that is certainly not the case with Andy Card. But the big question remains whether or not his departure will help rejuvenate the president's agenda. Those Republican strategists who I've been talking to throughout the day are somewhat skeptical about this, they don't believe it goes far enough.

One of them saying that a White House staff change does not necessarily mean that there's going to be victory in Iraq anytime sooner -- Wolf. BLITZER: Suzanne, thanks very much.

From the White House, let's head up to Capitol Hill. Dana Bash is standing by.

What's the reaction up there, Dana?


Well, let's start with Josh Bolten, the new White House chief of staff, or incoming chief of staff. Most Republicans here say that he is a good choice. Certainly, as Suzanne was reporting, he is certainly not new blood. He is an insider. But of all of the senior Republicans inside the Bush White House, many here believe that he is somebody who has perhaps reached out more than others.

One anecdote I heard is, at a recent Republican retreat, he actually stayed longer than he should have. And there was actually surprise about that.

There are some who think that it's a good signal that the president is putting up somebody who was worried about spending and budget issues because that is going to be the big campaign issue here. But others say that perhaps he is somebody who has not pushed hard enough on curbing spending.

But the bottom line, that Republicans here on Capitol Hill say -- most of them say this is simply not enough, that they fully expect, Wolf, that there will be a new addition perhaps to the White House staff in the near future. Many Republicans I've talked to up here say they expect that to happen, especially when it comes to dealing with them up here.

That has been a major problem for this White House, that the relations with Capitol Hill have not been good. So they really think that they're going to try to repair that particular problem inside the White House relatively soon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And what about the Democrats?

BASH: Democrats, you can probably guess what Democrats have said. For the most part, they have said that they think it was -- as Senator Chuck Schumer said, it's reshuffling of the chairs on the deck, perhaps the Titanic. And we actually do have a sound bite from Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat here, who said that perhaps what the president did was throw the wrong person overboard.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), MINORITY WHIP: He's one of the most reasonable, professional people in this White House, a person whose word is very good. And if this is the beginning of cleaning house, they tossed the wrong guy overboard.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: And the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, was -- did not pull any punches at all, Wolf. He said that Josh Bolten, as director of the budget, has had a record of failure. He noted that the national debt, the deficit have gone up since he has been in that job -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dana, thank you very much.

Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King. He's looking at this story, as well.

What do you make of this development today, John?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this was the fundamental question for the White House. Does somebody senior leave, and would that satisfy the demands for change at the White House? And you've just heard from both Dana and Suzanne somebody big is leaving, Andy Card. And no, it has not satisfied principally the Republican demands for change. And that is the big dilemma for the White House.

If you put somebody overboard, Andy Card deciding to leave, taking -- making the decision that he had to go because there were so many questions about this, would the Republicans say enough? And the fact that they are saying it is not enough, that they want more, shows you the fundamental weakness that they believe this president is operating from right now. And I can tell you, Wolf, a very senior Republican who is very close, has very close friends in this White House, said this is replacing Tweedle-Dee with Tweedle-Dum, they need to do more.

Josh Bolten says he will reach out. What he is going hear is senior Republicans saying you have to put somebody big of stature in the room. They think the president spends too much time with the same people.

And when they talk about those people, they mention Dan Bartlett and Karl Rove, two very close friends of this president from Texas. Republicans say he needs to bring in somebody new. This president is very reluctant to do that

BLITZER: Well, are there names out there, John, that you are hearing? Who could be that new person that would have the clout, the stature to stand up to a Karl Rove, shall we say?

KING: Well, that is the question, because it is not the staff's issue. That is a question of the president's management style.

Many ask why is Donald Rumsfeld still the defense secretary? Why has White House staff had such little change? Two people that many people miss, many Republicans miss, are Mary Matalin and Karen Hughes.

They say you had two relatively salty woman, if you will, who weren't afraid to make their views known, weren't afraid to challenge the status quo. They say the president is getting the same advice from the same people, and he needs people that tend to reach out. Who? There's lot of talk, as Dana noted, of trying to find a former member of Congress to at least come in and try to improve congressional relations. Some of the names recommended have included former senator Fred Thompson, who is a big actor in Hollywood now, but no one at the White House thinks something of Fred Thompson's stature is about to happen.

You do hear that they are looking at former members of Congress, other senior officials in Washington, to try to at least bring somebody in to calm down the Republicans on Capitol Hill because they understand that if these tensions continue over staff, then you have the fights over spending, then you have the fights over immigration. If the Republicans are fighting themselves for the next six months, it spells trouble for the November elections.

BLITZER: John King, thanks very much.

I'll stay in New York. Jack Cafferty is standing by with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, the debate over immigration reform could end up giving the Republican Party a pretty good sized headache. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would create a guest worker program and give the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in this country a chance to work toward legal status.

But only four of the committee's 10 Republicans voted in favor. Some Republicans are calling it nothing more than amnesty for the lawbreakers, and President Bush says he doesn't support the idea of amnesty for undocumented immigrants, or illegal aliens, if you will.

All of this translates to a kind of tricky political dance for the president, who needs to strike a balance between his conservative base and big business.

The question is this: What's the political fallout of the immigration debate for the Republican Party?

You can e-mail your thoughts on that to or go to

BLITZER: Jack, thank you very much.

Coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, more on the White House shakeup. Who's in, who's out, who many be next?

Paul Begala, Torie Clarke, they're standing by in our "Strategy Session." Could the next stop for one of them, one of them actually be the White House? I'll ask.

Plus, Scalia unplugged on Iraq and gay rights. You're going to hear what the Supreme Court justice really thinks. We have the video.

And immigration lightning rod. The debate that's splitting Republicans and putting deep pressure on the president. We're covering all sides of this immigration debate.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: Shuffling cards over at the White House. Now that the chief of staff, Andy Card, has resigned, will other senior Bush insiders be forced out as well? That's a central question in today's SITUATION ROOM "Strategy Session."


BLITZER: Joining us now, our CNN political analyst, Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former Pentagon spokeswoman, Torie Clarke.

What do you think, Torie? Is this just the beginning of more changes on the way? The president has not ruled it out.

TORIE CLARKE, FORMER PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: I don't know. I think the president's taken a hard look at the challenges for the next few years, and he and Josh together will decide, "Do we have the right forces? Do we need some new ones." But they'll base it on what the substantive challenges are, not just because of any political pressure from either party.

BLITZER: Is this a good strategy for the president now to have a new White House chief of staff? You've served in the White House. You know the responsibilities of the chief of staff. You know what a new chief of staff like Josh Bolten might be able to do.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: First, let me say on behalf of Andy Card, that while I didn't agree with almost anything he did, I really admired his service and the longevity. But I think in his case, and many others, it went on for too long. And Bolten is not new. He started on day one with the president.

BLITZER: As a deputy chief of staff.

BEGALA: As a deputy chief of staff. Then, the director of the Office of Management and Budget where he inherited a projected $5 trillion surplus and now had delivered a $9 trillion debt, the greatest fiscal collapse in world history. And he's the guy who's going to now save the White House? I find that -- it's an odd move, and I think not a very wise one.

BLITZER: But you can't just blame him. You can't just blame him for that deficit.

BEGALA: No. That's exactly right. The president is ultimately responsible for his policies. But I think what the country wants is a change in direction, a new direction, not just new personnel. And this isn't even new personnel. This is, I think, very lame. I've said it before, he should start with Dick Cheney and finish with Barney the dog and fire the whole lot of them and bring in some people who have more energy.

CLARKE: The Democrats are going to lose the dog vote.

BLITZER: That's not going to happen. Talk a little bit in defense of Josh Bolten.

CLARKE: Sure, let's talk a little bit about Josh, because everybody feels as though they know him because he's been around for a while. But if you really know Josh -- I've known him since 1989 -- he is an extraordinary human being. He has Hill experience. He has private sector experience. He has overseas experience. He brings a lot of strength to the table.

A couple of the qualities that are most important, so trustworthy, so loyal, an incredibly hard worker. And he is unflappable. He is absolutely unflappable. His management style is very, very inclusive, which is good. He also recognizes and appreciates and incorporates inputs from people around the country, not just from Washington. I think it's a great move.

BLITZER: Here's what Andy Card said last week. He said, "I take responsibility for everything that has happened well." Excuse me. "I take responsibility for everything that has not happened well. I am the staffer responsible for the staff. When people are frustrated, they should be frustrated at me. It's my job."

When he said that he knew, apparently, according to White House officials, he had already offered his resignation. The president had been mulling it over for a few weeks.

BEGALA: Right. I don't know Andy well. I knew him a little bit before he was the chief of staff. And he's a very good person. He's very well thought of. Worked very, very hard. Also, a person of real integrity and real decency. The problem is, those who were never competent when they came in are still there, and those who were competent but are now burnt out are still there.

BLITZER: Torie, because you have a good pulse, you have a good sense. I have been told a week or two ago that there was a chance that Andy Card would be moved out, someone else like Josh Bolten would be moved in, but that Andy Card might emerge as the new secretary of the treasury replacing John Snow.

But apparently, some people are now suggesting that he might not have been able to get confirmation, or at least there it would have been a bloody Senate confirmation process, given his five years in the White House. Have you heard that? Is that something that is on your radar screen?

CLARKE: I haven't heard that. I think it's safe to assume that anyone this administration puts forward to be confirmed for anything is going to have a battle just because that's the way the town is now. I have not heard that.

But again, I think he and the president and Josh sat down and said, "Let's do what we think is best for this administration, and most importantly, what's best for the country." I don't think it had much at all to do with Andy's other considerations of what he wanted to do.

BLITZER: Here's what Chuck Schumer said. "The good news is the administration has finally realized it needs to change its ways. But the problems go far deeper than one staffer. Simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by replaces Andy Card with Josh Bolten without a dramatic change in policy will not right this ship." Do you think that that's a fair point that Schumer is making?

CLARKE: It's actually quite unoriginal for Chuck Schumer. He's usually cleverer with his criticisms. And I have to say, you know, I appreciate what Paul said about Andy's service. Can't these people in this town give someone one day? Can't they appreciate the willingness of these people to serve, understand how hard it is, and just give them one day? I just think some of the comments from some of the Democrats are a little on the tacky side.

BLITZER: What do you think?

BEGALA: Well, we asked them -- we the media asked them to go onto the next story. And it is important to give Andy his due. And by the way, I think he'll have a great post-White House life. I certainly did. I think Torie's done extraordinarily well since leaving the Pentagon. I wish she were still there.

But I think that's a good point. But more importantly now, where do we go from here? And I think Chuck is wrong. I think he overstates it when he says it's rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It's moving the salad fork over two centimeters on the beautiful silverware.


BLITZER: He says he would like you back at the Pentagon. There are a lot of people, Torie, that would like you back in another position, maybe over at the White House itself. In fact, I've spoken with White House officials who look at your book -- and I'll give you a plug -- "Lipstick on a Pig: Winning in the No-Spin Era by Someone Who Knows the Game." They would like to you come back, if you'd be interested.

CLARKE: You know, what did Sherman say? "If nominated, won't run. If elected, will not serve." Not happening.

BEGALA: It would be great for America. It would be bad for CNN. I want you to stay here. I like hanging out with you, and I learn a lot from you.

BLITZER: Just think. You could go from THE SITUATION ROOM to the real Situation Room in the West Wing. That would be a nice move.

CLARKE: Oh, it would be hard to top this, Wolf. It would be hard to top coming here once or twice a week.

BLITZER: Paul Begala, thanks very much. Torie, thanks to you. We're happy you're here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

CLARKE: Thank you, sir. Me, too.


BLITZER: And still to come tonight right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the immigration debate raging from Capitol Hill to cities across the United States. We have two members of Congress who could not have different views. This is a debate that you will see and you won't want to miss. Representatives Tom Tancredo and Loretta Sanchez, they're standing by here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Plus, President Bush sits down with CNN en Espanol to talk about immigration and the White House shakeup. It's an exclusive interview you're going to see only here on CNN.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: There she is. Zain Verjee, she's standing by at the CNN Center with a quick look at some other stories we're following, Zain, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, we've got an update for you on a story we first broke last night here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

For many Americans it is one of their worst nightmares, a security breach that allows terrorists to smuggle in components for a radiological bomb. Today that was the subject of a Senate hearing.

One expert told senators the U.S. is living on "borrowed time" in avoiding a dirty bomb attack. In a report released yesterday, congressional investigators say they were able to smuggle into the U.S. enough nuclear material to make two dirty bombs.

Some key developments in the Enron trial. The judge has dropped a few charges against former executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. That move came at the request of the government in order to streamline the case, but 34 other charges against them remain.

Also today, prosecutors rested their fraud and conspiracy case. The defense is expected to begin on Monday.

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay is appealing the loss of his concealed weapons permit. It was revoked under Texas state law after his indictment last year on money laundering charges. DeLay is currently awaiting trial. He denies any wrongdoing -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Zain, thank you very much.

And just ahead, the immigration debate. Two lawmakers with very different opinions, Republican Tom Tancredo and Democrat Loretta Sanchez, they're going to stand by. They're joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Plus, we're going to show you the speech by the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the speech that's raising eyebrows. You're going to see it for yourself. Scalia sounds off on the Iraq war and even takes a swipe at the French.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back to THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

From Capitol Hill to campuses across the country, the debate over illegal immigration is raging. The U.S. Senate is divided over a bill that would create a guest worker program. The House of Representatives has already approved legislation making it -- making illegal immigration an actual felony.

Joining us now from Capitol Hill to talk about all of this, Representative Tom Tancredo. He's a Republican of Colorado. And Representative Loretta Sanchez, she's a Democrat of California.

Congressmen, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: On this issue of the House legislation, you passed billions of dollars to build a fence along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, Congressman Tancredo. The president says that's a bad idea. Listen to what he told CNN en Espanol today.


BUSH: I don't think anybody believes that you could totally fence off the border and be effective.


BLITZER: You disagree with the president, don't you?

TANCREDO: Yes. Nobody is saying that we should fence off the entire border. What we're saying is we should strategically place about 700 miles of fence along that border in order to do what the fence does that we presently have, that 14 miles of fence that we have in San Diego.

It works. It works. What it does is, of course, move the traffic into areas in which we can be more effective in trying to interject.

It's just a part. You know, people focus on that 700 miles of fence, but really it's just a small part of a very big picture.

BLITZER: All right. Let me get Congresswoman Sanchez to respond. Seven hundred miles of fence along the border at a cost of a few billion dollars.

What do you think, Congresswoman?

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, as you know I wasn't for the fence between Germany -- I have a real problem with fences. But I do believe that we need to have better enforcement at the border.

I think there's some very smart technology, especially coming out of California, where you know we're the lead on that, that we could strategically place. We need to put more border guards on there, and I think the Senate bill that was passed yesterday out of the Judiciary Committee would more than double the number of border patrol that we have.

I mean, let's get serious about this.

BLITZER: All right.

SANCHEZ: We need to make comprehensive reform to immigration, and part of that is a stronger presence at the border so that people don't come in who shouldn't be here.

BLITZER: Congressman Tancredo, the Senate version, like the president wants, a guest worker program, to allow 10 million or 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States right now to apply to become guest workers and spend several years legally working in the United States. You hate that idea, don't you?

TANCREDO: Amnesty is never a good idea.

BLITZER: They deny it is amnesty.

TANCREDO: No kidding. They do? Really, Wolf, come on? Of course they deny it is amnesty because the word amnesty has a negative connotation now to most people in regard to this issue. It is amnesty. If you don't apply the penalty to the law that has been broken, it is amnesty.

You can try every imaginable way to suggest that it is not, but it is. It is lousy policy because frankly what it does is encourage millions of people to come here who are frankly encouraged by that amnesty.

It also does something else that is really very important. To every single person who has come here the right way, to the millions of people who have gone through the system and sometimes paid thousands of dollars, had to wait in line, to all of them you know what it says? It says they are suckers.

If they would have snuck into the country they will get everything they get by waiting and doing everything the right way. Terrible policy.

BLITZER: What about that Congresswoman?

SANCHEZ: Amnesty would suggest a blanket pardon and that's not what the Senate has come up with. They are going to fine people. This is a part that I really like being on homeland security committee, they will take people's fingerprints and check it against a data base. We'll be able to get criminals that shouldn't be in this country. We can match up those prints to problems going on.

BLITZER: Let me just press you on what Congressman Tancredo is saying. Are you rewarding those who came here illegally, who jumped the line and giving them a benefit?

SANCHEZ: There isn't a reward. These people would have to pay a fine. They would have to go through an extensive background check. They would be working here for at least six years where they would have to be good citizens and then they could apply for residency, but they would have to be at the back of the line of everybody who is already in the line.

You are not rewarding them in that sense. It will take a good 10, 15, 20 years before some of these people will -- they have to learn English. That's important.

BLITZER: One of the arguments the president makes, Congressman Tancredo, is that the American economy needs these people. We'll put statistics on the screen. There are 7.2 million jobs in the U.S. who are operated by illegal immigrants. About five percent of the labor force, 24 percent of farm workers in the United States are illegal immigrants, 14 percent of construction jobs in the U.S. The economy, they claim, falls apart if you don't do something practically about these people.

TANCREDO: I know. It's the sky is falling in syndrome. It is simply wrong. A total of about four percent, 3.8 percent, of our total work force presently is made up of people who are here illegally. Frankly, Wolf, if you stopped tomorrow giving jobs to people who are here illegally, and over a period of time of just a few years you really did enforce that, I'll tell you the truth, the economy would not collapse.

If we lost 3.4 percent of illegal work force, many of those people and many of those jobs would be filled by people who are here legally. Many businesses would turn to technology to automate the activity. You would be amazed. It would not collapse. That's simply wrong. By the way, when you say that part of the penalty for coming here illegally is working, let me suggest to you that for the most part most of the people who are coming here are doing so to get a job. It's not a penalty to have a job.

BLITZER: We only have a few seconds left. I'll let you respond.

SANCHEZ: I think it is incredibly important that we have comprehensive reform, that we fortify our borders. That we know who is coming here and we know who is already here. One of the big things about this is it gives an incentive to the people here for work and that allows us to use limited resources we have left to go after the people who don't come and tell us what they're doing here. It is also about family reunification and it's the economy. If you look at the demographics of the future of this country, we're going to need these workers in the future.

BLITZER: All right. Tom Tancredo and Loretta Sanchez. A good serious debate. Thanks to both of you for joining us. Coming up, student marches and immigration rallies boil across the country today. To limit walkouts in Los Angeles the school district even locked down high schools for a portion of the day. Students continue to find creative ways to mobilize. Let's bring in our Internet reporter for more.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, some 24,000 kids walked out yesterday. That number down to 8,800 today. These photos taken by Dave Bullock (ph) in Los Angeles. He went to some of these rallies, talked to the kids. They said they were using text messaging, cell phones, word of mouth and the popular

We went online and took a look at Myspace and you can see the protests that were organized online. Some of them today, tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday. You can see this one here is for tomorrow morning. Now, L.A. School district tells us they are not concerned about myspace right now, they are mostly concerned about there keeping kids safe and on campus, but in Escondito, in San Diego, a little further south, they are concerned about myspace.

They reached out to the local police department and they are going online and checking to see where kids are planning on being, and as for myspace, they tell me they are more than happy to work with local law enforcement.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

Up ahead, back to our top story. We'll tell you why the shake-up at the White House may not necessarily be over. You'll hear directly from President Bush in a CNN exclusive. Also, a Supreme Court justice like you rarely heard him or seen him. The justice, Antonin Scalia, outspoken on issues from flag burning to homosexuality. Stay with us to hear what he says now.

Plus, tear gas and protests. More than a million people venting anger on the streets of Paris and other cities in France. We'll show you what's going on.


BLITZER: We'll get to our exclusive interview with President Bush in a moment. First, back to Zain with a look at other stories making headlines around the world.

VERJEE: Paris was partially paralyzed today. Police locked, loaded and shot tear gas and water cannons at angry mobs. The protesters are throwing stones, bottles, whatever else the can find, at police. More than a million people turned out to vent their frustration over a new French law that would make it easier for employers to fire young workers. The demonstrations against the controversial law began back in February but they recently reached a fever pitch. Today's largest demonstrations were in Paris, but nationwide there were over 140 protests.

One official says more than 700 people have been arrested.

Meanwhile the U.S. State Department warns Americans traveling to or living in France to just be careful.

Today, Israelis went to the polls to elect a new Parliament. And right now, the Associated Press is saying that exit polls show that acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert party's has won 28 seats. Now, that's a weaker than expected showing. The Associated Press also reporting that the left-leaning Labor Party won 20 seats in the 120 member Knesset.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party won a disappointing 12 seats. The results set up the possibility now of a coalition government between the Labor Party and the Kadima Party.

U.N. diplomats say Abdul Rahman was freed today from a prison in his native Afghanistan, but they are not saying where he went. Rahman faced a death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity. This week, he asked for asylum in a western country and today Italy said that it was considering granting him asylum -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Zain.

President Bush today announced a major change over at the White House. Is that just the beginning? Does he need more than a single shot in the arm to try to cure his political problems?

Earlier today, the president sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN en Espanol's Juan Carlos Lopez.



Thank you for the interview. A very busy day at the White House so I have to ask, you accepted the resignation of Andrew Card today. Is this a sign of a major shakeup at the White House?

BUSH: Oh, it's a sign of fellow who's worked five and a quarter years. He's here every morning early in the morning. He stays late, and he put his heart and soul in the job. And he came to me about two and a half weeks ago, or two weeks ago, and said, "I think it may be time for me to go on." You know, "I've given it my all."

And I thank him for his service. I consider him an incredibly close friend. And obviously, I have picked Joshua Bolten to take his place. And now Josh's job is to design a White House staff that meets the needs of the president, which is one of the key -- the most important needs is to make sure I get information in a timely fashion so I can make decisions.

LOPEZ: Any more changes coming up? BUSH: Well, Josh has just begun to take a look at the White House structure. And I haven't had a chance to talk to him about the future yet. But right now I'm honoring and celebrating the service of Andy Card.

LOPEZ: The debate is taking place in the Senate. They are discussing a plan and they're including your guest worker program that you've requested. But the House said no. The Sensenbrenner Bill doesn't include...

BUSH: Well, I wouldn't give up on it yet. We're just starting. It's a -- for your listeners, this is a process. The House has passed a bill, the Senate hopefully will pass a bill. And then they'll get to conference and work something out in conference.

And I've called upon both the House and the Senate to pass a comprehensive bill. And a comprehensive bill means to make sure you include a guest worker program as part of the comprehensive bill.

I happen to believe a guest worker program recognizes reality here -- what's taking place in our economy today. But it also -- a guest worker program is part of border security.

I mean, rather than have people sneaking across the border to come and do jobs that Americans won't do, it seems like it makes sense for people to be given an identification card that they can come and use to do a job on a temporary basis so they can go back and forth freely with this tamper-proof ID card and not have to sneak across, so that our border patrol agents on both sides of the border are really dealing with, you know, drug smuggling or gun smuggling or terrorists trying to sneak into the country.

LOPEZ: So the question is, after those six years, if they get the six years in this program, how will you enforce sending people back who have to go back who have been living here?

BUSH: Well, you will have to have a tamper-proof card in order to work. In other words, there will be -- it will make it much easier to have employer enforcement in place when there is a card that you know is tamper-proof. In other words, one that can't be forged.

Right now there's a whole, you know, document forging industry that has evolved. There are people sneaking across in 18-wheelers, there are people risking their lives. And the system is inhumane, as far as I'm concerned. And it needs to be reformed.

LOPEZ: The White House supported the Sensenbrenner Bill in the House, making the exception that you were going to pursue a temporary guest worker program. Now, that bill includes the construction of 700 miles of border, and that is seen not only in Mexico but in many Latin America countries as a sign that the U.S. wants to isolate itself from the region. Is that...


BUSH: No. I don't think people ought to read that into it. I think people -- first of all, the House is the beginning of the process, as you know. But people shouldn't -- it's impractical to fence off the border. But it is also realistic to give our border patrol agents tools to be able to do their job. We ought to enforce our borders. That's what the American people expect.

You know, I have talked to President Fox about Mexico enforcing our southern border. And he agrees there ought to be border enforcement down there. But he, like I understand, it's difficult to enforce large borders.

And I don't think anybody believes that you could totally fence off the border and be effective, but I do think we ought to be in a position to give our border patrol agents, you know, better tools, more effective ways to prevent people from smuggling people and/or drugs across our border.


BLITZER: The president speaking with CNN en Espanol earlier today over at the White House with our reporter Juan Carlos Lopez.

This reminder: Tomorrow Lou Dobbs is going to be reporting on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" live from Cancun, Mexico, where the president will be meeting with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" tomorrow in Mexico.

Let's check in with Paula Zahn to see what's coming up right at the top of the hour. Hi, Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. We start off tonight talking about the shake-up at the White House, what it means, what it might trigger down the road for the president and his staff.

And then you're going to meet a remarkable 7-year-old, She writes serious poetry, so serious, it has actually gotten her in a lot of hot water in her town. Are some parents going overboard when they object to what she's saying out loud?

Also, nearly a year after Terri Schiavo died, both her husband and her parents have new books out. What are they revealing about the fight over her life and her death? I'll be speaking with Michael Schiavo, as well as Bob and Mary Schindler, Terri Schiavo's parents, at the top of the hour. Both sides have some very interesting and provocative things to say tonight.

BLITZER: Sounds good, Paula. Thank you very much.

ZAHN: No peace in that family.

BLITZER: Pardon?

ZAHN: I said no peace in that family.

BLITZER: Not at all. Thank you, Paula, very much. Up ahead, the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia unplugged, speaking his mind, raising eyebrows. We're going to show you the speech that's getting a lot of people talking.

Plus, Wal-Mart poised to go organic. We're going to also show you why that could impact green shoppers everywhere. Stay with us.


BLITZER: The U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments today in the case of a man alleged to be Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard. Salim Hamdan's lawyers argued that President Bush exceeding his authority by setting up military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba that don't give terror suspects full protection of military law. The case is seen as an important test of presidential wartime powers.

Meanwhile, some people want Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to step aside in this case. Let's bring in our Brian Todd, he's in the newsroom with details.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Justice Scalia ignored several of those calls to recuse himself from the case. That was today before the court and involved, as you said, a Guantanamo detainee.

Scalia was pressured to recuse because he made strong remarks three weeks ago about detainees, but those comments at a Swiss law school were the tip of the iceberg from Scalia that day.


(voice-over): A Supreme Court justice unplugged, or as a friend says privately, Nino being Nino. Take this exchange about the Iraq war debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States stands up and lies in front of the congress before going to war in Iraq.

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, SUPREME COURT: You said that the president of the United States lied to the congress about Iraq. That is certainly not an established fact at all. It's a huge controversy about whether indeed he believed, as the intelligence service of every country in the world believed, that weapons of mass destruction were possessed by Iraq.

To come and state as a fact the president lied about it -- I mean if that's the body of fact on which you are basing your question, there's no use answering it.

TODD: At another point Justice Scalia talks about the Supreme Court's ruling that upheld the right to flag burning which he supported.

SCALIA: I don't like that result. If it were up to me and I were king, I would take scruffy, bearded, sandal-wearing idiots who go around burning the flag and put them in jail.

TODD: On a question about gay rights --

SCALIA: The question comes up, is there's a constitutional right to homosexual conduct. Not a hard question for me. It is absolutely clear that nobody ever thought when the Bill of Rights was adopted that it gave a right to homosexual conduct. Homosexual conduct was criminal for 200 years in every state. Easy question.

TODD: Later Scalia turns a leading question about the American justice system into a dig at the French.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the impression that in America in some way, justice or not, if you are powerful enough, and if you have a good public relations operation, you can get away with whatever you do. This is a great problem. There are two problems.

SCALIA: Like using the budget of the French government to keep a mistress in Paris, which everybody knows about. There is not a scandal. The difference is in America there is a scandal. In Paris, hey.


TODD: For the sake of context, Justice Scalia considers himself a judicial originalist, one who tries to interpret the original intent of the Constitution's framers. A Supreme Court spokeswoman says neither the court nor Justice Scalia would have any comment on that event at the Swiss law school.


BLITZER: Still ahead, your answers to our question of the hour. What's the political fallout of the immigration debate for the Republican party? Jack Cafferty standing by.



BLITZER: Thank you very much. Jack Cafferty is in New York.

CAFFERTY: Only four of the Senate Judiciary Committee's ten Republicans voted in favor of the immigration reform bill yesterday. Some Republicans call it nothing more than amnesty for lawbreakers. President Bush says he's opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens. The question is what's the political fallout of the immigration debate for the Republican party?

Carolyn in Boise, Idaho. "No problem for the Republicans. Don't you get it. It's all a show, in the end big business will rule. Watch and see.

Andrea in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Republicans who support amnesty in any form who fail to produces substantive enforcement-based legislation will be roundly defeated in November. The polls don't lie. Dixie in Cicero, Indiana. "I do not believe the Republicans are going to have as much trouble over immigration reform as the Democrats. I'm a Democrat. I know that most of my Democrat friends and I are absolutely furious at over our party's stance on this issue.

Jerome in Victorville, California. "The American public is getting very fed up over the illegal issue. Especially when they see demonstrations in U.S. cities full of foreign flags and here a foreign language on their T.V. The public is feeling unsure if America will stay America or become a land of uneducated, non-English speaking leaches stealing their dreams and ruining their future.

Ann in Naperville, Illinois. "How does it matter? Illegal means illegal. As the polls show, the Republicans are on the way out. What matters is how the immigration issue affects everyday Americans. Remember us. The ones who still have a job and pay your salaries and plug the holes in health care. Think about it because we remember you." Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, good letter. We'll see you tomorrow, Jack. Jack Cafferty thank you very much. To our viewers, thanks to you as well. Let's go to New York. "PAULA ZAHN NOW" starts right now.


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