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CNN NEWSROOM

American Al Qaeda Member Charged with Treason; Bush Addresses Hot Topics in Press Conference; U.S. Troop Levels to Stay Same in Iraq Through 2010; Study Estimates High Body Count for Iraqis

Aired October 11, 2006 - 13:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
DON LEMON, CO-HOST: And I'm Don Lemon.

PHILLIPS: Al Qaeda calls him Azzam the American. Now CNN has learned he's being charged with treason. Where is Adam Gadahn, and what has he done?

LEMON: More than 600,000 Iraqis killed in the war. The numbers in a new study are shocking. But are they legit?

PHILLIPS: He says he's a cop; then he rapes his victims, 12 of them children. A task force now tracking a serial rapist on an Arizona reservation. We're talking to the deputy director.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Adam Gadahn, a.k.a., Azzam the American, the first American in more than 50 years to be charged with treason. It's a developing story that we're following in the NEWSROOM. CNN has learned indictments are coming against -- coming down, rather, against a California native who's acted as a spokesperson for al Qaeda.

Let's get the latest from justice correspondent Kelli Arena -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, federal sources tell CNN that Adam Gadahn, a U.S. citizen and self-proclaimed al Qaeda member, will be charged with treason. As you said this is the first time in more than 50 years that a U.S. citizen will face a treason charge.

Gadahn was first put on the FBI's alert list in 2004, saying that he was sought in connection with possible terror threats against the United States. He is described by the FBI director as an al Qaeda spokesman. In fact, he's appeared in five al Qaeda messages. In one, he calls for the world to convert to Islam. He's praised the September 11 hijackers.

Gadahn is from California. He's 28 years old. Officials believe that he is living in Pakistan. CNN tried to get comment from his family on the charges, but they refused.

And federal sources have told us that Gadahn has already been charged in a sealed indictment with material support of terrorism. Now, this new charge of treason will come as part of a superseding indictment. We're expecting that sometime this afternoon, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Kelli, do we know anything more about how he got connected to al Qaeda, his background, why he decided to do this?

ARENA: Well, we know that he was -- he converted in the mid- '90s, in 1995. He hooked up with a man who sort of perverted those views for him, and he became more and more extreme. He left the United States. Exactly how he ended up in the position he's in now, you know, not very clear.

But he -- he's been very, very public here. He's been a concern for a long time. He's out there speaking in English on those tapes. And so, you know, whether or not he'd be involved with any, you know, terror threat coming to the U.S., because he's so publicly known, has sort of been discounted by U.S. officials. But he is right in there. You saw him with Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second in command of al Qaeda, on one tape. So he's right where they are.

PHILLIPS: All right. We'll follow the case. Kelli Arena, thanks.

ARENA: You're welcome.

LEMON: From North Korea to Iraq to Mark Foley to next month's election, President Bush has something to say about all of it at a White House press conference, and hopefully you saw it live right here on CNN.

Our very own Suzanne Malveaux had a front-row seat to this very wide-ranging press conference -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it really was all about staying on the offense, getting back on the offense. We're talking about four weeks away from the midterm, congressional midterm elections.

President Bush and the White House really trying to focus on the message that they have been emphasizing for the past couple months. That is national security.

So what you heard President Bush do was, yes, he addressed the Foley scandal. He addressed North Korea, defending the U.N. policy to push forward the U.N. Security Council members towards tough sanctions.

And he did talk about the Iraq situation, really saying that we are on the offense, that we are moving forward. But we've heard time and time again from the president in the press conference, saying the stakes are high here. And he believes, or at least he hopes, that voters are paying attention to two things: the state of the economy, which is good, and also national security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's serious business. Look, the American people want to know, can we win. That's what we want to know. And do we have a plan to win?

There are some who say get out, it's not worth it. And those are some of the voices, by the way, in the Democrat Party. Certainly not all Democrat, but some of the loud voices in the party say get out. And so no question this is an issue, but so's the economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: So it was also notable in the press conference is two points that he was making. I asked him about this report that came out from American and Iraqi health officials today, quoting, saying that about 655,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraq war, up until this point. That is 20 times the number that President Bush cited back in December, when he said it was 30,000, pressed him on that.

He discredited this report, saying the methodology was not useful, not accurate, but he would not back that 30,000 number. So it begs the question whether or not that, in fact, is a much higher number now.

Also, the president painted this picture, as we've heard before, of this ideological struggle that he believes the Bush administration, the White House, is involved in, one in which he said that Islamic extremists would use oil as a weapon, as well as possibly a nuclear weapon, essentially to -- to stamp out western culture.

So that is what the president was trying to argue today. But simply, Don, Kyra, he is talking about the issues that he believes the American people want to hear and also the ones that Republicans really show strength in the polls.

LEMON: Suzanne, you mentioned that report. I happened to be watching the press conference. You actually posed that question to him, about the Iraqi deaths in Baghdad. He didn't spend much time on it, appears to me, unless I missed something.

MALVEAUX: Well, he kind of brushed aside that study. He dismissed it. He said it was -- it was not -- discredited from the Pentagon as well. But he did not actually go for that number. He didn't talk about Iraqi casualties. And it's very rare that the administration does.

You wonder what that number is now. And of course, that wouldn't work in the administration's favor. They don't want to talk about the -- necessarily the casualties. But they want to talk about this broad brush-stroke picture of this war on terror. They believe that that is the issue that the Republicans are going to win and keep those majorities four weeks from now.

LEMON: All right. Suzanne Malveaux at the White House, thank you.

PHILLIPS: The future of the fight for Iraq. I'm talking 2010. We hear today that the Pentagon is planning to keep the current number of U.S. troops in Iraq for years to come.

Let's get details from CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, it really might not come as a surprise to an awful lot of people, but the Army now has what they call a planning scenario that would keep the current number of U.S. troops in Iraq through the year 2010.

Let's explain to everybody. You know, the situation could get better. The troops could come home. But the Army doesn't plan that way.

What they have to do, of course is keep enough troops ready, trained and equipped to go into combat and what the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, General Peter Schoomaker, told reporters this morning is that his -- his plan now is to be ready through the year 2010 to keep the current force levels on the ground. That's somewhere, give or take, between 140,000 and 150,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq.

So it's not a definite. It's only a plan. But that's the plan right now, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Can we expect to hear from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in about two hours; he's going to hold a briefing?

STARR: Right, Secretary Rumsfeld, along with General George Casey, who's actually here in Washington today, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, they're going to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. East Coast Time.

I suspect they are going to get asked about that study that Suzanne was referring to, about the mortality rate in -- in Iraq. Whether they answer or not or simply stand by what President Bush said, that he doesn't view the study as credible, remains to be seen.

But in looking at that study, there is a fairly significant margin, wide margin, of error in this study, which simply is a statistical analysis, rather than an actual conclusion.

In fact in looking at the study, the error rate is so significant that even people who briefed reporters on it this morning said the deaths could actually be anywhere between 400,000 Iraqis and 900,000 Iraqis, Though their public estimate now is something around 655,000.

So just a note of growing caution about this study and what it really means -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: We'll be talking a lot more about it, especially those numbers. Barbara, thanks.

And as Barbara mentioned today, 3 p.m. Eastern, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and multinational force commander George Casey at the Pentagon. We're going to bring you that briefing live as soon as it happens.

LEMON: You heard Barbara Starr and Suzanne Malveaux, the numbers -- they said the numbers are staggering, the conclusion sobering. But are the methods sound?

As we mentioned, a new study estimates almost 655,000 Iraqis have died since the war started. The vast majority died violently.

Let's get the details from CNN's Arwa Damon, live in Baghdad -- Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don, that's right.

Now let's first explain how this survey happens, how it works. Basically, this group went around and spoke to about 1,800 families -- that's about 13,000 Iraqis -- about their experience of the war.

Based on that number, they took a calculation, based on the entire population of Iraqis, did the math, extrapolated it, came out with this number of 655,000 Iraqis that have died in this conflict thus far.

This is a number that is far greater than any other number we have heard in the past by at least half a million civilian deaths. The highest number we heard before was from the Iraqi death count. That was numbered about 50,000.

Other numbers from not so reliable sources have gone as high as 100,000. But again this recent number, over 600,000 Iraqis died in this war, really is quite staggering.

Now, right now, it is just an estimate. But this methodology has proven to be accurate in the past, if we lock at conflicts in Kosovo or even in Africa.

And for many Iraqis here it does come as a shocking number, when you speak to them on the street. Some of them guessed a number that was a lot lower. Some of them guessed a number of civilian deaths that was a lot higher. Of course, for those that were guessing a lower number, this figure came as quite a shock.

But the reality is, as history has proven time and time again, we're not going to actually know what the true cost, the civilian cost, of this war was for many years to come.

LEMON: Well, we know there, now, that violence is really the reality. Thank you very much for that, Arwa.

PHILLIPS: Democrats are gaining ground on Iraq. In a CNN poll done by Opinion Research Corporation, 51 percent of Americans say that Democrats would manage the war better than Republicans. That's up from 47 percent in September.

Just about a third say the GOP is handling the war better than Democrats would. And last month, that figure was eight points higher.

Now Dems have an edge in the terror question, too by a margin of 5 percent points. The CNN poll shows that Americans now think Democrats would do a better job handling the war on terror. Last month, Republicans were favored by six points. And more than half of Americans say the Democrats would do a better job on the economy. That's up slightly from just last month. Just over a third say that Republicans would do that better.

LEMON: Who said what and when? That question looms in the scandal surrounding former Republican congressman, Mark Foley, and several of his former colleagues. Here's what we know at this hour.

Depending on who's talking, Foley's explicit Internet exchanges with male congressional pages became known to Speaker Hastert, Dennis Hastert's office in 2002, 2003 or 2005.

Tomorrow, Foley's former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, testifies before the House Ethics Committee. Fordham says he warned Hastert's office about Foley three years ago. Hastert denies it.

Another key player, former clerk of the House, Jeff Trandahl. Former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona, says he passed the former page's complaint about Foley to Trandahl five or six years ago. Trandahl hasn't commented to Kolbe's claim but says he'll cooperate with investigators.

North Korea, did they or didn't they?

PHILLIPS: That nuclear explosion still not confirmed. But does it matter at this point? A world body aims its harshest language at North Korea, standing without a friend today. The latest from the NEWSROOM, coming up.

LEMON: Ambushed by scandal with elections around the corner. A key New York congressman finds himself in the toughest race of his career. That's ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We want to talk about North Korea. But let's take a look. There's some new video just in from North Korea. And it shows life there, despite the controversy that's going on with North Korea having claimed to have tested a nuclear missile or nuclear bomb, life seems to go on. You see folks there walking down the street. And it seems like life is fairly normal there.

But this video, you know, you never know if this is video that was just in from the government, but that's supposedly what it looks like on the streets of North Korea today.

And more strong words from North Korea. Physical countermeasures, declaration of war. Straight to the United Nations now and senior correspondent there, Richard Roth.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, the United Nations secretary-general has given his first public comments, also, about the situation in North Korea, and he does blame Kim Jong-Il and the nuclear test there for escalating tensions.

But he also, again, repeated his view that there's nothing wrong with dialogue between the United States and the regime of North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I have always argued that we should talk to parties whose behavior we want to change, whose behavior we want to influence, and from that point of view, I believe that we should -- U.S. and North Korea should talk.

They did talk in the past. And I think, obviously, we have the six-party talks and everyone is urging them to go back to the six- party talks and negotiate very seriously. And I hope the six-party talks can resume.

And so the talks are necessary. Whether it is done in the context of the six-party talks or separately, one must talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Kofi Annan is also urging North Korea not to escalate what he says is already an extremely difficult situation.

Members of the U.N. Security Council are set to receive the latest draft proposal of a new resolution that would impose many sanctions on North Korea. The tough part for Washington, getting China and Russia on board. How severe do they want to be on North Korea following the nuclear test -- Don.

LEMON: And what is the likely content of a Security Council resolution, Richard?

ROTH: Well, there is already at least 13 elements, virtual embargoes on arms, trade sanctions, asset freezes. But as usual, the U.S. and others, they want to throw in the kitchen sink. It's like everything, the art of negotiating. They know they're going to get stopped or blocked on other points. And then there's a lot of compromise language.

China remains very concerned about the use of force, that would be -- the door would be open to that under this type of resolution. Washington, of course, has ruled that out.

LEMON: All right, Richard Roth, at the U.N., thank you.

PHILLIPS: Call it a case of the nuclear jitters. A moderate earthquake rattled Northern Japan yesterday, stirred up fear that North Korea had set off a second nuclear test. That apparently wasn't the case.

The quake caused no damage or injuries.

And no nation may be more unnerved by North Korea's nuclear goings-on than its neighbor to the south. And today in Seoul, South Korea's defense minister says he'll act if this week's reported nuke test is confirmed. More conventional weapon, better ability to strike position targets north of the DMZ, higher readiness for nuclear war.

The two Koreas have been technically at war since the 1950s. About 30,000 U.S. forces are stationed full time in South Korea.

LEMON: That salad, well, it may be OK but you might want to check something else: the carrot juice. The latest on food safety when we come back.

PHILLIPS: Men in pain. But what about the game? Apparently, the E.R. can wait. We'll explain, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, if you've been eyeing your salad with suspicion, here's some reassuring news. The grower that recalled 8,500 cartons of Foxy lettuce is sounding the all-clear. The company says that follow-up tests dispelled fears of E. coli contamination, so they're convinced that the lettuce is OK now.

The Food and Drug Administration is doing its own tests. And we expect those results later today or tomorrow.

So how about the carrot juice? Well, the government of Canada says two people are paralyzed in the Toronto area because of carrot juice contaminated with botulism. This happened after four illnesses linked to carrot juice in the U.S. A woman is paralyzed in Florida, and three people suffered respiratory failure in Georgia.

The maker of the juice, sold under the names Bolthouse Farms and Earthbound Farm, issued a voluntary recall just last week.

LEMON: There's this whole new debate about who's smarter, men or women? Well, this may answer the question. If you need to get to the E.R., you may want to hope for O.T. It turns out the best time to seek emergency treatment maybe be during the live broadcast of a sporting event.

A new study finds many men needing treatment won't seek care until after whatever game they're watching is over. The study says E.R. visits spiked 40 percent in the four hours after a televised game.

Online investors are reaping the benefits of a price war among banks and brokerages. But before we get to that, I want to talk to Susan Lisovicz about that E.R. story. Who's smarter, men or women? What do you think?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a no-brainer on that one. I mean, as if we can schedule these things.

LEMON: Right.

LISOVICZ: Excuse me. Let me just put my heart palpitations on hold.

LEMON: Hang on, oh, they're about to score. Oh, well.

I'm going to send it over to you. What's going on?

LISOVICZ: Well, actually, I wanted to talk about something that could raise the pulses of people who are really into online trading.

Bank of America has what may be considered a very good deal. It's trying to lure new online stock trading customers by offering 30 free trades a month. And yes, you could trade while you're watching the game. Yes, you could do that.

There are a couple conditions to the deal, but they are less restrictive than some of the competition. For instance, to qualify, customers must have at least $25,000 in deposits. So you have to have some cash.

And for now, at least, it's limited to customers in the northeast where Bank of America is trying to challenge financial giants like Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. Bank of America is likely to extend the offer to the rest of the country by February.

The company expects as many as a third of its 50 million individual customers to qualify for free online trades eventually.

Bank of America, by the way, is already the country's biggest bank with 10 percent of all deposits. But its brokerage unit is lagging behind competitors. Hence, the 30 free trade deal -- Don.

LEMON: So what's the payoff here, how does this offer compare with other brokerages?

LISOVICZ: Well, we've done the homework for you. How about that? Bank of America, the only big-name bank to offer free trades. Charles Schwab charges $9.95 per trade for households with at least $1 million in assets. Other big brokerages, including TD Ameritrade and Wachovia have similar deals.

The only comparable offer is Bank -- to Bank of America, rather, is from Zecco.com. And if you haven't heard of it, well, that's because it's a fairly new online service that aims to become a social networking hub for traders, too.

In any case, Bank of America's upped the ante with this offer. We're likely to see other banks and brokerage firms lower their online trading fees in reaction.

(STOCK REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Counting and discounting the casualties of war. A startling new survey says some 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result -- as a direct result of the conflict. And the number has gone up each year since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. The survey says the vast majority, 601,000 Iraqi, died violently. The remainder from failing health or environmental conditions. The total is more than 20 times higher than the figure President Bush gave late last year. This morning, he says he doesn't consider the new report credible. Iraqi doctors collected the data. Experts at Johns Hopkins and MIT analyzed it. The survey is not based on body counts. Instead, researchers drew conclusions from a poll of 1,800 randomly picked households. Experts consulted by CNN say the methods appear sound.

And you can read the full Iraq mortality study online at CNN.com.

And today at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, two of the leading men in the Iraq war, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Multinational Force Commander George Casey, at the Pentagon. We'll bring you their briefing live.

PHILLIPS: It looked like shock and awe all over again. A mortar attack last night in Baghdad sparked huge explosions at this U.S. base used to store ammo. Some of the blasts shook buildings four miles away and went on for more than an hour. The U.S. military says that militia forces fired the round. Two people were slightly hurt.

Well, he acted up again, but this time he wasn't kicked out. Saddam Hussein scolded the chief judge in his genocide trial. The former Iraqi dictator claiming he's not getting a fair chance to defend himself. Yesterday, the judge cut off Hussein's microphone when he started shouting a verse from the Koran and kicked him out of the courtroom. The trial's been adjourned until next Tuesday.

LEMON: The Bush administration standing by its approach to North Korea. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. has no plans for attack or invasion. But Rice warns any attempt by North Korea to fire nuclear missiles would be a major miscalculation.

She talked with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECY. OF STATE: Well, I think the North Koreans know that firing a nuclear missile, shall we say, would not be good for North Korean security.

BLITZER: They've heard that. For years, they've been hearing that, and there's no moving forward.

RICE: Well -- the North Koreans are not confused about what it would mean to launch a nuclear attack against the United States, one of our allies or somebody in the neighborhood. They're not confused about that.

BLITZER: Did they conduct a nuclear test?

RICE: Well, we are still trying to evaluate what really happened here. And I think it will take a little while to evaluate it. But we have to take the claim seriously because it is a political claim.

BLITZER: If you're Kim Jong Il, or a Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for that matter, the leader of Iran, the only real guarantee you have that the United States or other countries are not going to overthrow you or invade you or do to them what the U.S. and its coalition partners did to Saddam Hussein is a nuclear weapon.

RICE: Oh, Wolf, I think we shouldn't even allow them such an excuse. BLITZER: That is what they believe.

RICE: Now let's be very clear. Iraq was sui generis. Iraq had been under 12 years of sanctions for its weapons program. It was at the conclusion of a war that Iraq had launched against its neighbor. That was a very special situation.

The president has said, and in fact the joint statement which we signed with the other parties, the six parties, on September 19th of last year, tells the North Koreans that there is no intention to invade or attack them.

So they have that guarantee.

BLITZER: They don't believe it though.

RICE: Well, I don't know what more they want. The United States of America doesn't have any intention to attack North Korea or to invade North Korea.

BLITZER: So the military option is not really practical?

RICE: The president never takes any of his options off the table. But the United States somehow in a provocative way trying to invade North Korea, it's just not the case.

LEMON: "THE SITUATION ROOM" keeps you updated on nuclear tensions with North Korea. Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

PHILLIPS: From the Pacific Rim, across the Americas, Europe and even Africa, North Korea's purported nuke test set off alarm bells, not only with that country's adversaries, but with countries that hope to have the nuclear programs themselves.

CNN's Dan Rivers is as close to North Korea as westerners are even allowed to get.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I took a tour of this sensitive border area, now the focus a global crisis.

(on camera): You get a real feeling of the proximity of the North Koreans right here. It's just over there. You can see where those mountains are, that's North Korea. That's how close these two opposing armies are. And this is what they've been like for the last 50 years, facing each other off through the razor wire.

(voice-over): You can just make out North Korean villages on the other side, cut off from the outside world. Only a handful of roads cross the border. This river crossing heading north has been named "Unification Bridge."

(on camera): Obviously, the army aren't particularly happy about us filming here. It's raised tensions and very sensitive here. But as you can see, this is as far as most people are allowed to go. (voice-over): Next stop, a section of fence that's become the focal point for a nation.

People in South Korea are angry and anxious about the test. Their country is reconsidering its so-called "sunshine policy" of engagement with its northern neighbor, with China signaling it may back sanctions.

As this crisis deepens, the barrier that divides the two Koreas seems greater than ever.

Dan Rivers, CNN, on the border of North and South Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Ambushed by scandal with elections around the corner, a key New York Congressman finds himself in the toughest race of his career. That's ahead.

LEMON: Plus, the Mark Foley scandal. Candidates are fill the airways with cutting commercials. We'll tune in next, in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Besides Hastert, another key Congressman feeling the string of the scandal is Tom Reynolds. Reynolds, from New York, is the man in charge of getting fellow Republican House members elected, suddenly finds himself in a tough re-election fight of his own.

Here's CNN's Mary Snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Here in western New York, outside of Buffalo, Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds is sometimes referred to as the king of politics, because he is in charge of electing Republicans to Congress, but now he finds his own re- election bid is not a sure bet.

(voice-over): Call it the Foley factor.

REP. TOM REYNOLDS (R), NEW YORK: Looking back, more should have been done. And for that, I am sorry.

SNOW: A $200,000 ad of contrition by Congressman Tom Reynolds is being countered by his opponent, Democrat Jack Davis, who's charging a Republican cover up.

ANNOUNCER: Reynolds says he did nothing wrong. But when it comes to protecting kids, isn't it wrong to do nothing?

SNOW: And there could be more ads like that to come. Davis' camp said it set aside $400,000 for commercials as the campaign winds down. In these final weeks, the tide has turned, with Davis now taking the lead over Reynolds, a four-term Republican incumbent and the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Reynolds was thrust into the spotlight last week. He answered questions about his actions upon first learning last spring of an overly friendly e-mail exchange between Mark Foley and a former teenage page.

REYNOLDS: I did what most people would do in a workplace. I heard something, I took it to my supervisor.

SNOW: Since then, a local poll shows a double-digit leap. But Reynolds, who was once ahead, is now trailing. Reporter Bob McCarthy has covered Reynolds for 25 years and says he's never been on the defense.

ROBERT MCCARTHY, "BUFFALO NEWS": Things have gotten very serious for him in the last ten days. But I don't -- I also think there's no question that this was a very serious race, even before the Foley affair.

SNOW: McCarthy has dubbed Reynolds "Mr. Clout," and says he has plenty of loyal followers. But he says how Reynolds continues handling himself will be key. For now, Reynolds is keeping a low profile, waiting for the dust to settle to return to issues like the economy. But even if Davis doesn't keep the Foley factor alive, observers predict somebody else will.

SNOW (on camera): And so far two political action committees have started running anti-Reynolds ads on their own this week.

Mary Snow, CNN, Amherst, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And Mark Foley, wherever he is, will not be coming back to Congress, at least not anytime soon. And yet he figures in a lot more campaign advertising now than he ever did as a candidate.

Here's Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Forget about Iraq. Put aside immigration. Democrats running for the House have a hot new issue in the ad wars.

(voice-over): The Mark Foley scandal, with its tidal wave of publicity about the former congressman sending sexually graphic messages to one-time House pages, is tailor-made for Minnesota's Patty Wetterling.

She's a child safety advocate whose son disappeared nearly two decades ago, at the age of 11.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: But the ad goes beyond the facts.

While House speaker Dennis Hastert and his lieutenants were slow to respond to warnings about Foley, they haven't admitted any cover- up.

And Wetterling's Republican opponent, Michele Bachmann, can hardly be blamed. She isn't even in Congress.

In Indiana, former Democratic House member Baron Hill is using the Foley issue against Republican Congressman Mike Sodrel, urging him to return $77,000 in -- quote -- "immoral campaign money" he received from Hastert and other Republican leaders who had been told about Foley's interest in teenage male pages.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: ... who knew about, but did nothing to stop sexual predator Congressman Foley.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Sodrel, who has declined to return the campaign funds, fired back today with a counterattack ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE SODREL (R), INDIANA: Only a Washington politician would exploit tragedy for political gain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Sodrel has declined to return the campaign funds, but says he barely knew Foley, and immediately urged Hastert to call for an FBI investigation once the scandal erupted.

At least one Republican is playing defense in his advertising.

Tom Reynolds, head of the House GOP Campaign Committee, who received some of the early warnings about Foley's behavior toward pages, is asking his Buffalo area district for forgiveness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. THOMAS REYNOLDS (R), NEW YORK: Nobody is angrier and more disappointed than me that I didn't catch his lies. I trusted that others had investigated. Looking back, more should have been done. And, for that, I am sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ (on camera): After the convictions of Republicans Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney in illegal lobbying schemes, the Foley debacle plays into Democratic efforts to blame the GOP for a culture of corruption. Whether that will move any votes in districts where Republicans have nothing to do with these scandals remains to be seen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: As we head into the midterm elections, stay up to date with the CNN political ticker. The daily service gives you an inside view of the day's political stories. See for yourself at CNN.com/ticker.

PHILLIPS: Well, we've seen it before: driving sleet and snow, freezing temperatures, ruined crops. Well, will this be another El Nino winter? We're going to check it out.

LEMON: And here is an age-old question for you and for my partner here. It can get your dinner conversation really revved up, even lunch, anytime you talk about it.

Who's smarter, men or women? One researcher claims to have found the answer. That's ahead...

PHILLIPS: We know the answer.

LEMON: ... in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: It's all about us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: They are waiting and watching in water-logged Virginia. People who live and work in the town of Franklin can't take stock, can't clean up, until the water recedes. The Black Water River, which runs through town, overflowed Monday after days of heavy rain. The last time this part of southeast Virginia saw so much water was back in 1999. That's when Hurricane Floyd blew through town.

Say so long, bye bye, to summer. Fall is definitely here. And in some places, it feels like winter. Could it be another El Nino year?

CNN's Rob Marciano takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): After a long, hot summer, winter is almost here, as evidenced by these early sprinklings of snow in Colorado.

But the forecast from the federal government is calling for more warm weather. It says winter temperatures will average above normal everywhere except the southeast. As far as rain and snow, precipitation will be above normal in the southwest and southeast and below normal in the Tennessee Valley and Northern Rockies.

MICHAEL HALPERT, NOAA CLIMATE PREDICTION CTR: The main driver for this upcoming winter is current weak El Nino conditions that have developed rather rapidly over the last month or two. We expect them to persist and potentially strength.

MARCIANO (on camera): All El Nino is is a pool of warm water that sometimes develops in the tropical Pacific. Now, El Nino can't create an individual storm, but what it does do is it changes the global wind patterns. And for the United States, the wind pattern or the jet stream during an El Nino often splits into two. And what that does is it keeps the cold air locked up for the north and brings moisture down to the southeast and southwest.

(voice-over): The last strong El Nino was in 1997 and '98. California got hammered. But Halpert doesn't think it will get that strong.

HALPERT: While we currently have weak El Nino conditions and we can see this becoming a moderate strength, we certainly don't expect this year to end up as strong as the 1997/98 event was.

MARCIANO: Nino or not, it doesn't take much for the earth to give way in the hills of sunny southern California, especially after a year of record wildfires, leaving some California mountains stripped of the vegetation that anchors the dirt.

Mudslides can happen with just moderate amounts of rain, like in January 2005. Or after the big wildfires of 2003. Neither of those years had El Nino, yet Californians still suffered.

But not all weather forecasts are bad news. Rain will help fire and drought-stricken plains. El Nino might save you some money heating your home this winter. And there has never been a freeze in Florida during an El Nino year, good news for citrus growers. And a mild winter means no big snowstorms, right? In other words, don't pack away your snow shovel just yet. Winter hasn't even arrived.

Rob Marciano, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: See that snow video?

PHILLIPS: So brace yourself. I know I get excited. I can't wait for skiing. Big blast of winter already happening, kinda-sorta. Jacqui Jeras, in the CNN Weather Center.

(WEATHER REPORT)

LEMON: It must be right. But, you know what? A provocative new study says men are smarter than women.

PHILLIPS: Now, before you bury poor Don with e-mails, check out this report from our senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kathryn Monkman (ph) and Gaurav Puri are a good match. Both had near- perfect undergraduate GPAs, and both are second year med students at the Schulich School of Medicine in Western Ontario.

GAURAV PURI, MEDICAL STUDENT: We're both pretty much equally intelligent. I would say that Kathryn is a little more intelligent than I am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say he's a flatterer.

GUPTA: So confident they are equal, they agreed to take a little test for us, graded by Professor Phil Rushton. He is the psychologist who ignited a new round in the who's smarter, men or women debate.

J. PHILIPPE RUSHTON, UNIV. OF WEST. ONTARIO PSYCHOLOGIST: When you extract the general factor of intelligence, males on average score 3.64 I.Q. points higher than women.

GUPTA: Rushton's bold conclusion that men have higher I.Q.s is based on his study of the SAT scores of 100,000 17- and 18-year-olds, 50,000 male, 50,000 female. Now, if you think one sex would naturally do better on math or verbal, Rushton says forget it, that he factored out the bias, finding men on average outscored women by nearly four I.Q. points.

RUSHTON: Once you start getting out to I.Q. levels of 115 or 130, what you need for the highest job, you're going to get proportions of 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 of men over women.

GUPTA: Rushton's critics charge his conclusions are skewed, and he has an agenda.

REBECCA COULTER, GENDER STUDIES EXPERT: We have a very long history of science being used for political purposes, and I think this is just another example of that.

GUPTA: Are there really any innate sex differences? This is a human brain on display at the Mental Illness and Neurodiscovery or Mind Institute. One of the country's top brain researchers tells me that as far as I.Q. goes, men and women are equal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The areas of the brain related to intelligence in women tend to be more in the front. In men, they tend to be more in these side areas. Intelligence in general is normally distributed and equally distributed in men and women.

GUPTA: Now, back to our highly unscientific quiz. Gaurav scored a perfect 10 out of 10. Kathryn missed just one question. But does she think Gaurav or any of her male colleagues are smarter because they're men?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have to say no.

GUPTA: Scientists at the Mind Institute say someday brainscans may replace I.Q. tests altogether. It may be worth revisiting the issue then.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: See, that just proves it.

PHILLIPS: No, no, this is what's going to prove it. Now let me tell you something, Don, OK, before you came here to CNN ...

LEMON: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: ...this is "Kyra's Angels," right here. OK. It's not "Charlie's Angels," it's "Kyra's Angels." Now it's Don and Kyra's Angels, because women are smarter. Now we've got Margie (ph) in the middle there. She's working with live reporters.

LEMON: Margie, say hi, there she is.

PHILLIPS: Yes, there we go. Then we've got Mel on the end there. She's been talking with all the live reporters.

LEMON: Hi, Mel.

PHILLIPS: That's right, yes. And she even put lipstick on. She called her husband. And then you've got Angie in the middle there. Angie helps with all the guests.

LEMON: Angie, say hi, mom.

PHILLIPS: Yes, and then that's Marnowski, our executive producer. She's calling the in-laws to make sure they're watching right now. Now, let's just continue this here. Yes, right into the front. That's our star -- Jen Bernstein (ph). That's right, she's the one that makes sure we keep sane and we don't get -- she's giving me the big wrap right now.

LEMON: She's going, wrap, wrap.

PHILLIPS: She's wanting to wrap because we have the camera on her.

LEMON: Jen, say hi. Turn around.

PHILLIPS: Come on, Jen.

LEMON: We're not going to get off you until you turn around. There you go.

PHILLIPS: Yes, and Michael's a little jealous over there. Sorry, Michael, women are smarter than men. Even though you do a great job. We love you.

LEMON: Oh, jeez.

PHILLIPS: So that is our wonderful team. Majority of women. LEMON: Well, you know, the executive producer, Mike Topo (ph), he wouldn't go back there. He's actually running the show, and I'm mad at you guys. I'm out of here.

PHILLIPS: Oh, see you later, Don.

LEMON: But that proves it, the study, men are smarter than women. Actually, you know what? I'm not going to say what I really think, because guys are going to get mad at me.

PHILLIPS: You're just burying yourself right now.

LEMON: I come from a very strong family of women, and they're very smart. That's all I have to say.

PHILLIPS: We love our moms. We're going to take a quick break.

LEMON: We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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