Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Chafee Wins; Is Anbar Lost?; Cervical Cancer Proposal; On Taliban Turf

Aired September 13, 2006 - 07:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Senate race. Senator Lincoln Chafee's win over a more conservative candidate is apparently good news according to Republican politicos. CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash joining us live now from Providence, Rhode Island, with more.


In a year of strange politics, this is probably the most bizarre of all. The list of votes that Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Republican, has cast against the White House is endless. From tax cuts, to the Iraq War. As we speak, he is holding up the president's nominee to the United Nations. But if you ask at the White House if they're happy about Lincoln Chafee's victory last night, I'm sure the answer will be a resounding yes. And the reason why is a case of simple math.


SEN. LINCOLN CHAFEE, (R) RHODE ISLAND: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

BASH, (voice over): The Senate's most liberal Republican survived a stiff challenge from the right and declared his a victory for to often ignored moderates in a time of partisan polarization.

CHAFEE: Yes to thoughtfulness. Yes to honesty. And yes to independence.

BASH: At a ballroom across town, Stephen Laffey, who hoped to ride the anti-incumbent fed up with Washington wave, conceded defeat and vowed to help Chafee win in November.

MAYOR STEVE LAFFEY, CRANSTON, RHODE ISLAND: Without taking any risk, there's really no reward. And we took a lot of risks.

BASH: After polls showed a dead heat, Chafee pulled off a decisive win with the help of the most unlikely of alliances -- independent voters and a Republican White House he takes pride in bucking.

CHAFEE: I promised you that I would always be honest, that I would always have the guts to take the hard votes. BASH: But the National Republican Party poured well over a million dollars into this race to help Chafee for one reason. His survival here is tied to the GOP hold on power in the Senate. Republicans flocked to help Chafee turn out the vote in record numbers because they know his maverick style is an asset in Rhode Island and their best shot at beating the Democrat in a state where just 10 percent of voters are Republican.


BASH: So Chafee survived round one, but he is by no means out of the woods yet. He is neck and neck with the Democrat, Sheldon Whitehouse, and that is going to be a very tough race from here till November. This is a state that's bluer than blue, Miles. The president's approval is about 22 percent. So, once again, we are going to have the situation likely where the White House, the National Republican Party, is going to be trying to help Lincoln Chafee win while he runs a race largely against the president's policies.


M. O'BRIEN: Only in politics does that work out, does that logic work.

Dana Bash, thank you very much.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Baghdad was rocked by two deadly explosions this morning. A roadside bomb in the center of the city killed at least 14 people, including a police officer. Sixty-seven other people were injured in that attack.

Also, Iraqi police found more than 60 bodies around the city today. Many showed signs of torture.

A secret report on the war on Iraq is offering a grim assessment for the future. It takes a look at the declining situation in the volatile western al Anbar province. It says there aren't enough troops to fight the enemy. CNN's Michael Ware spent lots of time in al Anbar with the troops there. He's in Baghdad this morning.

Michael, good morning.

MICHAEL WARE: Good morning, Soledad.

Yes, this report really tells us nothing new. I mean, in one sense, it's good that it's finally surfaced. I mean military intelligence has been saying this for well over a year. And when you go out to al Anbar province, you can see it for yourself. The troops on the ground know it. The commanders know it.

I mean this is very much an intractable fight with an al Qaeda lead insurgency in which American commanders, the top ranks, the war planners, have not committed to the fight. There simply is not enough troops out in Anbar to really attack al Qaeda. The best they can hope to do, as American commanders will say on the record, is that they hope they can disrupt al Qaeda and essentially make their life harder.

But, for example, there is a known al Qaeda in Iraq headquarters sitting there just north of Ramadi in an area the size of New Hampshire that al Qaeda operates in. There's just a few hundred troops. So that's the situation that we see here.


S. O'BRIEN: So then the troops that are on the ground that you talked to, what specifically are they telling you?

WARE: Well, these are professional soldiers. I mean, these are Marines and the Marines say we go where our commander in chief needs us to go. And they expected they're going to be thrown into the worse of the worse.

And one battalion out there that I've spent much, much time with, Soledad, they really have been in the worst. They've paid, as a battalion, a group of less than 1,000 men, they've paid a price in blood and the deaths of their friends more than most brigades of 5,000 men lose in 12 months. And they're only out there for seven months.

The soldiers, the Army soldiers themselves, they're also committed to this. There's a new brigade that's just rotated in. They're out there trying new strategies, new tactics. They really want to have a go.

But, honestly, al Qaeda is still dominating Ramadi. They dominate the insurgency. They dominate the population. The military knows it. Military intelligence knows it. It's there for all to see.

But the military is being forced to fight this war with its arm tied behind its back. It doesn't have enough troops in al Anbar. It doesn't have enough troops in Iraq. As the officers say to me, we either fight this war or we don't because, in the meantime, al Qaeda continues to breathe and suck the oxygen it needs and become stronger.

And Iran, America's other great opponent here in Iraq, is gaining more and more influence. The government here in Iraq has closer ties to Tehran than they do to Washington. And now we see, after years of evidence that Iran is sending bombs and bullets to join that political influence, according to U.S. military intelligence.


S. O'BRIEN: Michael Ware is in Baghdad for us this morning.

Michael, thanks.

Medical news now. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 10,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year. About 3,700 of them will die. With that in mind, there's a bill designed to ensure that girls get a cervical cancer vaccine before they become sexually active. Some of them before sixth grade and that could be law soon in Michigan.


S. O'BRIEN, (voice over): Some Michigan lawmakers want girls to be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus before they enter the sixth grade. The legislation is the first of its kind in the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I'm proposing is that the new HPV virus, which protects against cervical cancer, be included on the list of vaccines that we require for schools.

S. O'BRIEN: The vaccine, Gardasil, was approved by the FDA Back in June and hailed as a breakthrough in the prevention of cervical cancer. The shots protect women from the cancer causing effects of two strains of the virus responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancers. Health officials estimate that 20 million people are infected with HPV, with more than 6 million new cases each year. Doctors recommend girls as young as nine get the vaccine. Some parents are concerned girls could see it as a license to become sexually active. Others disagree.

JOHN HOPKINS, PARENT: If they had a vaccination for AIDS, it wouldn't mean that people would go out and have sex either. You'd want them to do that. If it's the leading cause of cervical cancer, then, you know, for women, it's the same thing.

DR. JOSEPH MENNIER, GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGIST: The behaviors of our children really relate to their parents' behaviors and what their parents want for their kids. So to say that I'm going to give my child a vaccine and they are, therefore, going to become sexually active I think is a stretch.


S. O'BRIEN: Michigan State Senator Betty Hammerstrum (ph) is the lead sponsor of the bill. She says she hopes it's going to passes the Senate, rather, before the lawmakers take a recess a little bit later this month.


M. O'BRIEN: About two hours into space walk number two for the space shuttle crew Atlantis, docked at the International Space Station. Let's take a look at some of the pictures we've been watching as they come down. Astronauts Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean, using some very fancy, cordless powerful tools there, to basically remove the shipping crate off of a $370 million truss and solar ray combination, which is already attached to the station.

Yesterday a pair of their compadres were out there and were in the process of connecting no less than 13 electrical connecters to get that entire truss and solar array combination up and running. And in the midst of that, one of the astronauts, Joe Tanner, lost a bolt and a washer and a spring, which is not a good thing. That's bad form for space walkers.

So as the space walkers walked out today, Joe Tanner, who is still -- by the way, that telestrator's going all on the air there, Phil, as you play with it. We're trying to fix it. It was kind of -- actually, it was pretty good. It looked like you knew what you were doing.

In any case, Joe Tanner radioed to Steve MacLean who was out there to, hey, while you're out there, take a look for that bolt.


JOE TANNER, ATLANTIS CREW MEMBER: Will you, Steve, if that missing bolt from yesterday is anywhere, it would be -- I'm sorry, it would be around cover 18, 19 area. So keep an eye out for a stray bolt.



M. O'BRIEN: All right, keep an eye out for that stray bolt. As a matter of fact, let's show you the bolt. We don't have a picture of the one that was loose. But this is one just like it, which isn't in my telestrator right now. But you can see -- oh there it is right now. And if you look right on the end there, you see a little washer. It's kind of on an angle. And that's designed to stay there so that when the bolt comes out, it will come out and stay inside this little hole that it's in there.

S. O'BRIEN: Why is it such a bad thing that you've lost the bolt and the washer?

M. O'BRIEN: Because you've created yet another piece of potentially hazardous space junk.

S. O'BRIEN: So running into it is the problem?

M. O'BRIEN: Potentially. This thing is moving at 17,500 miles an hour, the same speed as the shuttle and the International Space Station and someday that could be a hazard. So you don't want to lose things. It will probably, more likely, be out of harms way and one day fall to the earth and you'll be looking up one night at the stars and see what you think is a meteor and it will be washer one coming in for a landing.

Let's get a check of the forecast. Chad Myers at the CNN Center with that.

Hello, Chad.


S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, an up close look at the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan.


CAPTAIN JASON DYE, U.S. ARMY: Even before I came here, I was like, thank God I'm going to Afghanistan. It's going to be safer than Iraq. And now that I've gotten here I can say for sure it is exactly the opposite of what I thought.


S. O'BRIEN: CNN's Anderson Cooper imbedded with U.S. troops who are fighting the war in Afghanistan. He's going to show us why their mission is tougher than ever before.

And a new survey on faith in America. Most Americans say they believe in God, but we don't agree on what kind of God. We'll take a look at that ahead. Stay with us.


S. O'BRIEN: In Afghanistan, police say they have killed 16 Taliban fighters in a gun battle near Kandahar. The fight began yesterday, continued into today. CNN's Anderson Cooper is imbedded with the U.S. military along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. He brings us a story of the troops of the 10th Mountain Division. Their days are hardly routine. And, if anything, the difficulty of their mission is growing. Take a look.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Captain Jason Dye has served in Iraq but says his mission in Afghanistan is far more dangerous.

CAPTAIN JASON DYE, U.S. ARMY: Even before I came here, I was like, thank God I'm going to Afghanistan. It's going to be safer than Iraq. And now that I've gotten here I can say for sure it is exactly the opposite of what I thought. It is dangerous here. There's a lot of stuff going on.

COOPER: Dye commands Bravo Company Third Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division. He's base is dangerously close to the Pakistan border.

DYE: This is one of the main infiltration routes for the enemy. But they've begun to do a lot more rocket attacks. We used to get a rocket attack maybe once a week. Now it's every other day, every couple of days, every day. And they've resorted to that and IEDs and mines.

COOPER: Captain Dye doesn't know for sure, but he believes Taliban militants are learning how to make IEDs from foreign fighters trained in Iraq.

DYE: There's a trainer coming out here, telling them how to do stuff. That's what my intelligence tells me.

COOPER: To stop Jihadists and the Taliban from crossing into Afghanistan, Captain Dye and his men routinely patrol the rugged mountains along the border. The problem for the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division who patrol this area is that this border's really a border in name only. It's incredibly porous. People can move back and forth. Intelligence sources we've talked to are concerned that now that the Pakistan government has signed a cease-fire deal with Taliban militants, that those cross-border incursions are only going to increase.

The soldiers fire mortars to clear areas they've been attacked from in the past.

DYE: Before they maybe had 30 guys in this whole area. Now I'm estimating they've probably got about 250.

COOPER: The terrain is extremely difficult. The slopes steep. The environment treacherous.

What's so strange when you're on patrol is, even if the soldiers don't make contact with the enemy, even if you don't see any enemy fighters, you know that they were here. On a lot of the trees you find these -- these cross marks or horizontal slashes. They're reference points helping enemy fighters figure out where to fire rockets that will hit the forward operating base.

The markings are everywhere. Further up the mountain, the unit checks out a destroyed bunker position.

About two weeks ago, U.S. helicopters passing over this mountain noticed this bunker. There were fighters inside. They fired rockets. Later called in an air strike. It's been destroyed now, but what remains, you can see, is pretty well built. These large stones were used to create like a supporting wall. Over here there's some heavy timbers which were probably used to build the roof of the bunker. Soldiers say as many as 10 or 15 fighters could have used this bunker at any one time.

From the bunker's firing position, there is a direct line of sight to Captain Dye's base. But there's no sign enemy fighters have been here recently. On the way back down, however, the soldiers get some troubling news.

The unit has just received some intelligence, and we can't tell you how they received it, but it indicates that there may be fighters in this area. It could mean an ambush. It could be just talk. It could be nothing at all. It just means that the soldiers have to be extra vigilant as they head back down the mountain.

What do you look for?

DYE: Movement. Personnel. Anybody gathered in a spot that looks odd. People trying to hide in the tree line. That sort of thing. Spotters. Usually the locals don't go up into these hills. If you see someone sitting on them, that's a spotter.

COOPER: On this patrol, however, there are no spotters, no ambush after all. Captain Dye and his men head safely back to base. One mission down, countless more to go. DYE: Yes, and I have a family. All these guys have families. We're out here fighting so that we don't have to do this at home, so that our families can stay safe. And that makes you feel good. Makes you feel like you're doing something.

COOPER: Anderson Cooper, CNN, near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.


S. O'BRIEN: Be sure to watch "Anderson Cooper 360." It's weeknights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, is there a formula for breeding genius? And how do I get some? Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks in with a college student who was born out of a controversial experiment almost 20 years ago. We'll tell you about that.

Plus, car meets house on the second floor. We'll explain how this happened. Say with us.


M. O'BRIEN: "Happening in America" this morning.

Another unruly passenger making for a wild transcontinental flight yesterday. The FBI questioning a passenger who apparently tried to open a door in mid flight last night. Folks, that won't work. The United Flight headed from L.A. to DC. The airline says the man, wearing military fatigues, also started throwing punches. Passengers tackled him before he got to the door anyway.

John Mark Karr expected in a California courtroom today. He faces child pornography charges. The one-time suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case arrived in San Francisco yesterday. Now released by authorities in Boulder, Colorado.

A train derailment in Massachusetts. Nineteen cars, some of them tankers, off the track. Authorities say no hazardous materials leaked, however. Most of the cars that derailed contained soy oil or paper products. No injuries.

In New York, a tragedy at high speed. A car hit a mound of dirt, flew hundreds of feet into the second story of an apartment building. Obviously a lot of speed involved in this one. The driver found dead. No one hurt in the building. No one hurt in the building. Police do not believe that the driver had been drinking.

And out west, that fire 40 miles north of L.A. still raging. The fire has already burned almost 24,000 acres. It beginning in the Los Padres National Forest sparked by someone burning debris. Parts of Interstate 5 had to be shut down, causing traffic woes there.

And the tale of a tape may be telling. Wham. But a husband and wife insist they're not guilty. Sam Suleiman and Rosa Barraza beat up TV news reporter John Mattes last week. S. O'BRIEN: Allegedly since it's now . . .

M. O'BRIEN: Well, what do you mean allegedly, I'm seeing it with my own eyes.

S. O'BRIEN: They're say not guilty. They say not guilty.

M. O'BRIEN: Anyway. OK. OK. Well then my eyes must be fooling me. I need a new prescription. Mattes suffered cracked ribs, bite wounds and cuts to his face in the alleged beating. I don't think those are alleged wounds. Those definitely happened.


M. O'BRIEN: That's it. Anyhow.


S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk business news, shall we?

The two biggest players in the Hewlett-Packard scandal are stepping down from their roles within the company. Andy Serwer's "Minding Our Business."

Good morning.


We're talking about the ultimate corporate soap opera, of course, the goings on at HP. You probably know by now that Patty Dunn is stepping down as the company chairman as of January. She stays on the board, however. Also, George Keyworth, the leaker. The board member who leaked the information at the center of this scandal, he is also stepping down as well.

Now there are a lot of questions about this case still that remain to be resolved. First of all, Keyworth says that he was the board's liaison to the press. In other words, authorized leaks and such, letting the press know what HP was up to. So if that's the case, why didn't the board turn to him right away and say, well, George, you're the guy who usually talks to the press. Was it you?

M. O'BRIEN: Suspect number one.

SERWER: Was it you?

M. O'BRIEN: He's the one you go to first.

SERWER: That's question number one.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

SERWER: Question number two, when the board was discussing and saying we're getting these leaks authorized, who was it? Why didn't Keyworth say well, you know, it was me.

M. O'BRIEN: He might have raised his hand at that point.

SERWER: He might have raised his hand.

M. O'BRIEN: So maybe he's being a little disingenuous in this.

SERWER: I think that's right. And we're going to find out probably more about this over the coming weeks and moths because the California state attorney general now says that it's very likely criminal charges will be -- insiders at HP will be facing criminal charges, I should say. So there is more to come.

S. O'BRIEN: But they hired the outside company. So why would they necessarily face criminal charges? Couldn't they just say, listen, we hired a private investigation firm. We had no idea that they were going to do something illegal in order to get the information we wanted.

SERWER: Well (INAUDIBLE), that's going to be the defense and Patty Dunn is already saying that. I mean that's the old hands off defense, saying that I didn't know anything about it.

M. O'BRIEN: I don't want to know . . .

SERWER: Just give me the information. But you have to say, you have to wonder that, wouldn't that person say, how do you know? In other words, someone comes and gives you a piece of paper and says, it's this person. Wouldn't you say, well how do you know it's that person?

S. O'BRIEN: I think, actually, often many companies would not exactly not say that.

SERWER: That's right.

A lot of people happy, by the way, Soledad, that Mark Hurd, the CEO, is taking the chairman's role because he has revived this company. So the stock was up a little bit yesterday. But definitely a to-be-continued story, if you ask me. Still questions.

S. O'BRIEN: Wow, twists and turns.

M. O'BRIEN: Will this affect their bottom line, do you think? Probably not.

SERWER: Not going forward. And for now it's a major distraction, though, obviously.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, I should say. All right, Andy.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Andy.

SERWER: Thanks.

S. O'BRIEN: Overwhelming number of Americans say we've got faith in God, but it's not the same God for everybody. We're going to take a closer look at a revealing, new survey, just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: "Happening this Morning."

A twist in the Saddam Hussein trial. The prosecutor today accused the presiding judge of being bias in Saddam Hussein's favor. He's demanding the judge step down.

In California, a hike in the minimum wage. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill, raising that minimum wage to $8.00 an hour. California and Massachusetts now have the country's highest minimum wages.

And did the tabloids get it wrong? Oh, no! Say it's not so! Rumor had it that Brittany Spears was having a girl. Now they're saying she gave birth to a baby boy early on Tuesday.

Good morning. Welcome back. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Thanks for being with us.

S. O'BRIEN: We begin this morning by looking at religion. The phrase "one nation under God" may be truer now than ever before. A new Baylor University study on religion in America finds that nearly 92 percent of Americans believe in God or some higher power. AMERICAN MORNING's Delia Gallagher has more on this, this morning.

Nice to see you.


S. O'BRIEN: So, 1700 people were surveyed in this survey from Baylor University. How closely did the break down of the people who were interviewed for the survey mirror what we have here in the U.S.?

GALLAHGER: It's really a question of looking at different types of surveys. Of course, people use surveys according to how many people belong to one religious group or another. This was slightly different in the sense that they looked at what people really believed about God.

They took these religious groups and said what kind of a God do you believe in? It's more comprehensive than just there's only 1700 respondents, but they tried to get into the minds of those people and say what sort of a God do you believe in? And what are your religious practices? It actually gives us a more interesting picture of what religious people believe.

S. O'BRIEN: And 92 percent said they believe in God or a higher power, which means 8 percent of people don't or are atheists, then? That seems like a really high number to me.

GALLAHGER: Yes, it's interesting because, you know a lot of the -- one of the more interesting questions that they asked the religious people was, do you ever doubt God exists? And so, you know, there is a lot of overlap here, because even religious people say, Yeah, sometimes I doubt God exists. The atheists are one side of it, but even the religious people sort of have lots of variations within their group.

S. O'BRIEN: The nugget of the survey is how people describe the God that they believe in. How did they get to that question? I mean, did they just have people sort of riff on what they thought God was, as a --

GALLAHGER: No, it's a very detailed survey, and it sort of makes people actually ask themselves the question, do I believe in a more authoritarian type of God? A God who is angry and wrathful, or do I believe in a God who is benevolent? Or do I believe only in a God who sort of set the world in motion and watches it from a distance, as it were?

S. O'BRIEN: In the survey, authoritarian won.


S. O'BRIEN: Was that surprising?

GALLAHGER: No, not really. Because the authoritarian God is what we would sort of consider the conservatives' God. You know, he's the God who is intimately involved in the activities of daily life, who helps people, individually, making their decisions, but who many believe might also be responsible for natural disasters or responsible in some for the way that the world is going. So, he's a very active and involved God in people's lives.

S. O'BRIEN: And 25 percent said benevolent God.

GALLAHGER: This is the same sort of idea of a God who is very active, but he's a positive, he's the loving God. He's not the angry of the wrathful God.

S. O'BRIEN: And then, 23 percent said distant God and 16 percent said critical God.

GALLAHGER: Yes. And the distant and critical God are somewhat similar, that's the God that kind of stands back. He set the world in motion, but he's not responsible for day-to-day activities, as it were.

S. O'BRIEN: I was surprised how it breaks down regionally, that people in the East Coast would believe in the critical God.

GALLAHGER: Yes. And then the West Coast is the sort of more distant God and the South is the more authoritarian God and the Midwest, the benevolent God, the loving god.

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting, interesting. It's a new survey. How are people receiving this survey? They think it's pretty true? GALLAHGER: I think it's something people are receiving in a way that's giving them a lot more information than a lot of other surveys. Because people -- everything from selling books to religious communities, to the political people, are going to be interested in what exactly is the breakdown of the religious community in the United States?

S. O'BRIEN: Interesting. Delia Gallagher, for us this morning. Thanks, Delia.

GALLAHGER: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: The president's 9/11 anniversary speech from the Oval Office still stirring up a political hornet's nest. The president made his case for staying the course in Iraq and then also called for unity.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country. And we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.


M. O'BRIEN: But are lawmakers on both sides of the aisle heeding that call? The president's press secretary, Tony Snow, joining us now from the White House

Tony, good to have you with us.


M. O'BRIEN: Question for you, not long after that speech, the next morning, the majority leader, Representative John Boehner said this: "I listen to my Democrat friends, and I wonder if they are more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people?"

Not a lot of unity in that statement, is there?

SNOW: Well, nor was there unity when Sen. Carl -- well, let's back up. Rather than focusing on John Boehner's statement, you have one statement from a Democrat -- I mean, from a Republican. Think of Carl Levin going on your network. And --

M. O'BRIEN: No, no, I want to ask -- can I ask about Republicans first?


SNOW: Well, no. All I want --

M. O'BRIEN: I want to ask you about Republicans?

SNOW: But I want to make a point here.

M. O'BRIEN: All right.

SNOW: Let's get our timing right. Because the moment the president gave his speech, boom, people are hitting the send button already hurling accusations.

Now, what John Boehner was doing is he was musing and he was asking tough questions on why the Democrats are taking umbrage, and I'll let them fight that out.

But let's talk about the issue that was involved. The issue is how do you handle the war on terror? Because it is clear -- and this is what I said in my press briefing yesterday. Both sides want to win it. Nobody wants terrorists to win.

Let's figure out the best way to move forward, for instance, in listening to people who want to go ahead and kill Americans, the terrorist surveillance program. The president has asked both parties to join together to do this. A perfect way of expressing unity, instead what I get is Democrats saying how offended they were either by the president's speech or by Representative Boehner's comments.

There's an alternative. Which is to say, you know, we agree. We need to work on this, let's work together on terror surveillance programs. You can also talk about the detainee program. You take --


M. O'BRIEN: One other point here.

SNOW: Go ahead.

M. O'BRIEN: Is the president a little concerned that his majority leader was basically ignoring his call for unity? That is not a unifying statement, by any means.

SNOW: Well again, Miles, you're asking a question in a vacuum. Within moments of the president finishing his address to the nation, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Committee, the head of the Democratic House Committee, and Senator Kennedy were out blasting him.

M. O'BRIEN: I just want you to talk about Republicans for a moment.

SNOW: I see. OK.

M. O'BRIEN: Forget about Democrats.

SNOW: Well, here's the thing.

M. O'BRIEN: I know that's hard to do.

SNOW: Well, no, you're asking -- M. O'BRIEN: Just tell me about what the Republicans are saying and their rhetoric post the president's speech.

SNOW: Well, again --

M. O'BRIEN: It doesn't sound like a lot of unity there.

SNOW: You know what it sounds like, Miles? I hate it tell you this, but sometimes in politics people make tough arguments. It happens. People in also Washington -- you know, you look at it at home, or you are away or maybe you're not experienced in politics. And you think oh, boy, that's just terrible. Folks here are big boys and big girls and they know from time to time people are going to use tough rhetoric.

The president's been called a liar and a loser by the guy who is the top Democrat in the United States Senate. Does he worry about it? No.

M. O'BRIEN: But do --

SNOW: What I'm challenging you to do --

M. O'BRIEN: Yes?

SNOW: -- is to go beyond that and start thinking about the substance of the question. Because you can't do it without the context and the context is what do you do with people who said they didn't support the Patriot Act, they didn't support terrorist surveillance program, they have questions about detainees. That's fine.

But tell us what you're going to do. What I get is how offended people are, which I understand, but that's not good enough. What you have to do is to tell us what your alternative is, or even better, that you're willing to go ahead and cooperate. Because the American people see a lot of this stuff.

You know what they want? They want somebody who is going to be listening to terrorists, they want somebody who is going to figure out how detain them, get information and save American lives. Because while all this is going on, terrorists are still plotting to kill us. And the important thing is to get the job done.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's shift gears here. Let's talk about the perception that is out there among a lot of people that Saddam Hussein is somehow personally involved in the 9/11 attacks. Here we are five years and a couple of days post hence. We have a poll that just came out; 43 percent of the Americans believe Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Why do you suppose that do you suppose Americans are so confused about this?

SNOW: I think in part because a lot of Democrats were attributing that argument falsely to the president. Now, I can tell you from personal experience when I was on the other side -- when I was doing journalism -- before the State of the Union Address in 2002, the president and talking to me, all the other Sunday talk show hosts, including Wolf, who was in that meeting, and also the network broadcasters.

He said we have no evidence Saddam was involved in 9/11. This White House has never, not one time ever asserted that Saddam was involved in 9/11. So they're getting that from somewhere else. You might want to ask your people. Because it's certainly not coming from us.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's rewind to this past Sunday, the vice president on "Meet The Press". I don't have the tape, I can just read you a little piece of what he said.

SNOW: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: He was asked about this connection, by Tim Russert, and the response was this. "We've never been able to confirm any connection between Iraq and 9/11." Confirm any connection? Why doesn't he just say there is no connection?

SNOW: Because you're never definitive. I think you probably figured out that when it comes to intelligence, you're never entirely sure. But what's happened is people have tried to merge two stories to blur the issue. There were Al Qaedas members in Iraq before September 11th. Abu Musab al Zarqawi was in Iraq plotting the murder of an American diplomat in Jordan when he was on Iraqi soil. There were other known Al Qaeda operatives. But it's not like Al Qaeda had an official office in the Iraqi government. They didn't have a side office with Muqabu (ph), the secret service. But they did not have a line item in the Iraqi budget, but they were there. They were within Iraq; so they were there but they were there, but they did not have formal operational ties.

I'm glad you've given me a chance to clarify this. Because there have been attempts to attribute to us things we've never said. So, I hope that at least helps set the record straight a little bit.

M. O'BRIEN: Once again, talking about some Republicans on the Hill. Senator Rick Santorum said this on the Senate floor yesterday. He said: "The very people that planned the attacks," referring to 9/11, "are the people who are in Iraq, Al Qaeda, in Iraq causing that sectarian violence."

It's no wonder people are confused.

SNOW: Huh? I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say here.

M. O'BRIEN: Rick Santorum saying that --.

SNOW: Of course, Al Qaeda in Iraq is a terrorist organization that's in Iraq. I don't think there's any reason for confusion.

Al Qaeda understand -- let me try to make it clear. Al Qaeda did not have operational duties within Iraq, it was not sitting around, you know, in a corner office with Saddam Hussein plotting 9/11. There were no Al Qaeda there.

Now what they're trying to do is they are trying create a failed state in Iraq in the hopes they can get Afghanistan with oil. Can you imagine the kind of clout you would have if you're a terrorist organization, and you have the ability to use oil supplies as a way of bringing industrialized nations to their knees? That's the sort of danger that we worry about. And one of the reasons why I think people in both parties want to see a stable Iraq.

Miles, don't get confused about the fact that there are Al Qaeda members in Iraq. Of course there are. They were before the war and after the war. They just weren't part of Saddam's officials retinue and they weren't doing formal operations with Saddam's government.

I don't think it should be that confusing. I don't think anybody in either party disputes the fact that there are some Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, and furthermore, there are also sectarian factions that are trying to threaten the fledgling democracy there.

M. O'BRIEN: Got to leave it there. Tony Snow, thanks for your time.

SNOW: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, we're taking a look at about 20 years ago. A scientist who started a controversial experiment to see if he could breed a genius. Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks in with one of the children who was born out of that experiment. That's ahead. Stay with us.


S. O'BRIEN: Is it nature or is it nurture that plays a bigger role in producing a genius? Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at the CNN Center this morning with part two of his special series on the quest for extreme brain power.

Hey, Sanjay. Good morning.


Yes, we're trying to get at this whole nature versus nurture thing. Are geniuses born, or are they created in some way after lots of hard work? There was a remarkable experiment done about 20 years ago where they actually took sperm from some the best and bright at the time, trying to create a generation of geniuses. That was the plan, at least.

How did it work? They had the best DNA for sure, but did it really make a difference?


GUPTA (voice over): What if there was a formula for breeding genius? Entrepreneur Dr. Robert Graham believed there was.

DR. ROBERT GRAHAM, STARTED "NOBEL PRIZE" SPERM BANK: Special academic distinction.

GUPTA: In 1980 Graham opened The Repository for Germinal Choice. It's a sperm bank for the highest achievers. He collected vials of sperm from five Nobel laureates and dozens of other scientists, many with genius IQs.

The project, which shut down in 1999, had its share of criticism and mockery, even a skit on "Saturday Night Live".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What donor would you recommend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Consider a Nobel prize winner. We have some Linus Pauling in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe, maybe, yeah.

GUPTA: In its 19 years of operation some 215 children were born. Among them, Jesse Gronwall, today he's confident, gregarious, and thinks he stands out from the crowd.

I know that I'm smart and I know that I think about things that other people don't.

GUPTA: At 14 Jesse learned his biological father was not his father Tom but actually donor yellow, from The Repository for Germinal Choice. Jesse's parents say their son was always bright, mastering computers by age five and memorizing just about every national anthem by the time he was seven.

TOM GRONWALL, JESSE'S FATHER: I don't think he talked sooner than most kids, but once he got going, boy, he picked it all up.

GUPTA: All Jesse knows of his genetic father is what was written on the sheet: IQ 145, successful international financial consultant; reading, mountain climbing, music. "Slate" magazine's Deputy Editor David Plotz spent the last few years tracking down children and donors from the repository, and wrote a book called "The Genius Factory".

He says that one thing the kids have in common is strong mothers.

DAVID PLOTZ, AUTHOR, "THE GENIUS FACTORY": And these kind of mothers, I think, are the kind of women who would have raised excellent and achieving children had they gone to the Nobel prize sperm bank or had they gone to David's discount sperm warehouse.

GUPTA: Genius or not, Jesse Gronwall, and his parents, say they'll always be grateful for Graham's experiment.

J. GRONWALL: I know it's not all genes. That's definitely not the case. Because of what I am relates to my parents and the way they brought me up. But at the same time, I can't entirely write off genes.


GUPTA: You know, it's remarkable. It was a remarkable experiment at the time. We've done a lot of research into this, looking at some sperm banks that are still in existence today. They still do exist. One of the interesting things for me, when I was talking to some of the people at the sperm banks, was not so much sort of genius-like attributes that people are searching out, more physical attributes, much more so when they go to the sperm banks now days. So genius doesn't seem to matter as much as it used to at one time, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: You'd rather be cute than smart, is what you're saying.

GUPTA: They want to be like you, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ha, ha, ha.

GUPTA: Cute and smart.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, a little more, a little more.

GUPTA: Cute and smart.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's go 10 minutes on our interview, shall we?

Seriously, I have questions for you. This kid, Jesse Gronwall, the reason his -- was his mother involved in the study just to be in the study? Or could she not have a child if she hadn't gone to the sperm bank?

GUPTA: Yes, it was interesting, with her, she just wanted to have a child. She wasn't necessarily seeking out a genius child, but she wanted to have a child and as a result got sort of linked up with this particular sperm bank, The Repository, at that time was sort of doing this experimentation.

S. O'BRIEN: And so what does Jesse feel about the fact that he can't really track down his biological father. Probably more so than if his mother had gone somewhere else?

GUPTA: Yes, we talked to him about that, as well. I think he feels like a lot of children feel that can't track down their biological parent. In his case, he has a sort of data sheet. His father is known as donor yellow. He knows his attributes about his father, but he doesn't know specifically what he looks like. He doesn't know if he's the image, for example, of his father as well.

S. O'BRIEN: It's interesting that they think the genius is going to come from the guy all the time. I mean, the last interview said you know, they have strong mothers.

Stop laughing, Andy Serwer. I'm serious.



S. O'BRIEN: They all had strong mothers and maybe it's more than nurture rather than the nature.

Sanjay, what do you have coming up tomorrow?

GUPTA: Tomorrow I have one of the things I'm really excited about. I think you will be as well, Soledad.

Does early childhood education, do all these Baby Einsteins, and all these interventional tools, do they make a difference? You almost feel like you're committing child abuse nowadays if you're not buying these things for your child, but how much of a difference do they really make? I was fascinated by this, I think you will be as well.

S. O'BRIEN: That's because you've got a baby right at the right age.

GUPTA: That's right.

S. O'BRIEN: To spend a lot of money on that stuff. All right, Sanjay. Thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, you can test your genius at home, Miles and Andy, the smirkers to my last comment.


S. O'BRIEN: Go to, and take the "Are You A Genius Quiz"

M. O'BRIEN: Do you mind if I cheat off your test?

SERWER: No. I'm not going to do that.

M. O'BRIEN: I'll just look over a little bit on that.

SERWER: I'm not going to do that.

S. O'BRIEN: It's not going to do you any good, I have to tell you.

M. O'BRIEN: Don't forget Sanjay's special.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

SERWER: Right.

M. O'BRIEN: "Genius: Quest for Extreme Brain Power".

S. O'BRIEN: Right, that's Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, our genius business reporter, Any Serwer is here with more.


SERWER: Oh, boy. Hello, Miles.

S. O'BRIEN: Pressure is on, Andy.

SERWER: Yes, it is.

Apple and i-Tunes roll out movies. It's finally here. Is this setting up a battle royale between Steve Jobs and the movie studios? We'll bring you that next on AMERICAN MORNING.

M. O'BRIEN: Brilliant!


M. O'BRIEN: Well, they're calling it i-TV. It was a poorly kept secret to say the least. Andy Serwer is here to tell you about how you're i-Tunes are suddenly going to have pictures.

SERWER: Yes, and this is an inexorable march by Steve Jobs.

M. O'BRIEN: Good word. Good word.

SERWER: Thank you -- the genius thing.

First we started out -- Not hardly.


First we started out with music, of course, i-Tunes. 1.5 billion songs downloaded on i-Tunes. Then Steve Jobs, move over to TV shows. Now 45 million TV shows have downloaded. Now he's going into movies. Yesterday Steve Jobs rolling out i-Tunes' movie business. Only one studio on board, though, and that is Disney.

M. O'BRIEN: Imagine that.


SERWER: I'm not surprised, because he's on the board. Amazon has all other movie studios besides Disney, but then, of course, they don't have i-Tunes' clout and market share. This is going to set an interesting battle. Apple has the clout, the market share, but it doesn't have the other movie studios. It only has 75 films right now that it is going to be offering for between $10 and $15.

S. O'BRIEN: That sounds high to me. I have to tell you.

SERWER: You think so?

S. O'BRIEN: Why would you pay that when you could go to the store, to Best Buy and buy it?

M. O'BRIEN: On my cable I can download a movie download a movie now, for about four bucks.

SERWER: Well, but that's hard, it's cumbersome.

M. O'BRIEN: No, it's not.

SERWER: I think it is.

M. O'BRIEN: Really?

SERWER: And the ease of the --

M. O'BRIEN: But it's on my television. He's got this box.

SERWER: That's right, that's the new i-TV.

M. O'BRIEN: Which is not out yet, which will take you the final 10 feet, right?

SERWER: That's coming out in January.

Right, that's going to be the final ten feet. It's the i-TV box. That is coming out in January. And that is going to allow you to wirelessly connect the movies from your PC to your television. Because that's where people want to watch movies, on their television, ultimately.

As far as going to the store, Soledad, of course, you don't need to leave your house. It's interesting, the price points, interesting to see. Amazon is more expensive, by the way, than those price points.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, I think they're way high, too.

SERWER: Right, so it's going to happen. I think they're going to have to capitulate.

S. O'BRIEN: You've got to get the device, you gotta get the movie, a movie that's a first-run movie is not going to be worth it at $12, $13, $14. It's not going to be worth it. Get Steve Jobs on the phone for me.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, and so does Rick (ph).

SERWER: We will see.

M. O'BRIEN: The genius has spoken.


SERWER: And that would be this one.

S. O'BRIEN: I think.

M. O'BRIEN: Top stories after a short break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) S. O'BRIEN: A desperate situation worsens in one part of Iraq. Military commanders paint one picture, what do people on the ground say? We'll take a look.

M. O'BRIEN: Hewlett-Packard spies on its own board members and now the chairman steps down, and the attorney general steps in.

S. O'BRIEN: Wildfire spreads into the hills around Los Angeles. Firefighters right now are trying to keep it from shutting down a major interstate.

M. O'BRIEN: It's back to work in space this morning, astronauts trying to keep track of all their nuts and bolts. You're looking at a live picture there. But guess what? They lost another one. We'll tell you about that.

S. O'BRIEN: And Britney Spears, needs another car seat. The pop star gives birth to a second baby boy. We're still waiting on a name. That's ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Welcome everybody, I'm Soledad O'Brien.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines