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President Bush Meets With Major Players on Iraq Situation; Nuclear Debate; Politics of Terror

Aired October 21, 2006 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The enemy, the strategy, the stakes. The president and top commanders discuss the status of the Iraq war and what's next.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, are you prepared to leave?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave? I've been here 55 years, lady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So do you think the neighbors are being unreasonable with their desires?



WHITFIELD: You heard him. He's staying put. We'll tell you why neighbors aren't too thrilled about his new house guest.

And imagine your grandparents lighting up a joint? A new study helps to weed out some old age ailments.

Hello and welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All that and more after this check of the headlines.

More Iraq violence, many more Iraqi deaths. Now the monthly American death toll has hit a new high for the year.

We'll have a live report from the White House.

Condoleezza Rice in Moscow. The secretary of state holding talks on North Korea and seeking support for slapping Iran with U.N. sanctions. She met with Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier today.

Railcars ablaze after a train derailment on a bridge near Pittsburgh. Tankers carrying ethanol continue to smolder this hour. Several dozen people were evacuated, but authorities say the environmental risk is minimal.

Authorities in West Virginia confirm one person has died after a failed jump from the New River Gorge Bridge. It's the first fatality ever at the annual one-day base jumping event.

More on this story in a few minutes.

And Tropical Storm Paul forms in the Pacific, several hundred miles off Mexico. The storm's projected path has it hitting the Mexican mainland early next week, possibly as a hurricane.

And we'll start with Iraq. Developments breaking on multiple fronts.

President Bush summoned his military brain trust to a White House strategy meeting today. Officials insist the 90-minute session was routine despite mounting pressure for dramatic change, of course.

Today American deaths in October rose to 78, the highest monthly toll this year. The military says three Marines were killed in combat in Anbar Province.

Iraqi troops fanning out in Amara, the city of -- that city's south, rather, of Baghdad, overtaken Friday by a Shiite militia. Today's worst insurgent attack, multiple bombings at an outdoor market that killed at least 18 people.

Major players at the White House today for a weekend meeting with President Bush. The subject, a worsening situation in Iraq.

Live with the story, CNN's Elaine Quijano at the White House -- Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Fredricka, the White House says that this was a previously scheduled meeting, but clearly with those developments that you just outlined, there is a heightened sense of urgency to review the administration's Iraq tactics.


QUIJANO (voice over): In the face of continued violence in Iraq, and amid political pressure for the White House to change course, President Bush huddled for 90 minutes with top members of his security and defense teams Saturday for an Iraq strategy session. While the White House tried to downplay the meeting's significance, Department of Defense officials told CNN General John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command, was summoned to Washington to meet with the commander in chief face to face.

Friday, the two also met to discuss both Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet the president insists his goals and overall strategy remain unchanged.

Still, in his weekly radio address, he argued he has made tactical adjustments.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a strategy that allows us to be flexible and to adapt to changing circumstances, and we will continue to be flexible and make every necessary change to prevail in this struggle.

QUIJANO: The recent focus on flexibility is a clear effort to push back against critics who charge the president's stay-the-course strategy has failed. The Democrats are blasting the Bush administration, calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be fired. And they used the weekly Democratic radio address to urge voters to hold Republicans to account during next month's congressional midterm election.

DIANE FARRELL, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, CONNECTICUT: They hoped for the best, but the situation has worsened. We will be dishonoring the servicemen and women on the front line, as well as their families here at home if we simply stay the course. We need a new direction in Iraq.

QUIJANO: The White House is also facing concerns from some prominent Republicans. Recently, Senator John Warner, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, suggested a change in course might be needed if the situation in Iraq did not improve in the next few months.


QUIJANO: As for this weekend's session, a White House spokeswoman says that it focussed in part on the challenges in Iraq, as well as how to better pursue the administration's strategy there. While no policy changes were announced, clearly with pressure mounting the Bush administration is taking a serious look at its options -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Elaine. Thanks so much from the White House.

Three U.S. congressmen are accusing CNN of broadcasting Iraqi insurgent propaganda, and they're calling for our correspondents to be pulled out of military embeds in Iraq.

Republicans Duncan Hunter, Brian Bilbray and Darryl Issa are referring to CNN's airing of video showing insurgent sniper teams targeting Americans. CNN made a conscious decision to air the video in an attempt to show what U.S. troops are up against in Iraq.

In addition, the network blacked out portions of the video where troops were actually hit. The congressmen say the video should not have aired at all.


REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: Brian Bilbray and I, both members of the Armed Services Committee, have sent a letter to the secretary of defense asking him to remove the CNN reporters from embedded positions with American Marines and soldiers in Iraq. And I think that's the right response to CNN basically being the publicist for the propaganda film that the enemy sent to them that they have now displayed to the United States. It shows an American soldier being killed. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN has issued the following response, saying, "The decision to air the insurgents' videotape was a difficult one, but for a news organization, the right one. Our responsibility is to report the news. CNN journalists working in a complex world, often at great personal risk, take that responsibility very seriously. As an organization we stand by our decision and respect the rights of others to disagree with it."

That statement from CNN.

First sanctions. Now follow-up?

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Russia to discuss implementing those U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea. In fact, she has been visiting with North Korea's neighbors all week.

CNN's Zain Verjee has more from Moscow.


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Moscow. It's the last stop on her trip. She's essentially trying to get action taken on enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution that slapped North Korea with sanctions.

On the plane over here she had a briefing with reporters where we pressed her for more on a meeting between the Chinese state counselor, Tung, who met Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. We asked, "Did Kim say he regretted the test? Did he say he would not test again?"

She downplayed it and poured cold water on it, essentially saying, "Tung did not tell me that Kim Jong-il apologized for the test or said that he would not ever test again." She also says that she wants to discuss what practical steps Russia would take in implementing sanctions against North Korea. She says she has no list of demands but she was here to listen.

Russia does not, in fact, exert a huge amount of influence on North Korea. It shares a short border with the country. It's involved in six-party talks and also has a veto at the U.N. Security Council. But the country that really has influence on North Korea is China.

Russia has much more influence over Iran, and that is something the U.S. secretary of state says was on the agenda to discuss. She wants to push for a sanctions resolution at the U.N. Security Council, and they're going to need Russia to be able to do that.

Finally, Secretary Rice on the plane also said that she wanted to discuss increasing tensions between Russia and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, saying that the rhetoric needs to stop, it needs to be lowered, and cooler heads need to prevail.

The key to watch for in all of this, at the end of the trip, is when it comes down to the nuts and bolts, the devil is really in the details. What are South Korea, Japan, China and Russia actually going to do to put the squeeze on North Korea?

Zain Verjee, CNN, Moscow.


WHITFIELD: How about this? Are you feeling scared these days? Terror is a favorite talking point around election time. While talk of terror and security has benefited Republicans in the past, that might not be the case this November 7th.

Here is CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, part of the best political team on television.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're fighting an enemy that knows no rules.



BUSH: Terror...


CHENEY: Terrorists...

RICE: Terrorism...

BUSH: ... the war on terror.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Bush administration's message is clear: Be afraid, very afraid -- the threat of terrorism is real, and only the Republicans are suited to protect the American people.

VIN WEBER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There is an element of fear that properly ought to be instilled in people and that has been in every previous war.

BUSH: There is an enemy that still lurks. An enemy that still plans. An enemy that still plots. An enemy that still wants to hurt the United States of America.

MALVEAUX: Democrats say it's fear mongering.

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: What the Republicans bring you is fear and smear.

MALVEAUX: Cut through both side's spin, the strategy of focusing on this doomsday scenario is one that works.

In 2002, Republican lawmakers successfully captured eight seats by making the fight against terror their party's platform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was before the war in Iraq and before the war in Iraq went badly.

BUSH: I see a great day coming for our country, and I am eager for the work ahead.

MALVEAUX: Two years later, President Bush successfully won re- election, despite the growing violence in Iraq, by painting his opponent, Senator John Kerry, as weak on terror.

WEBER: The theme is, the Republicans are strong when it comes to security issues and the Democrats are not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's vicious and dangerous.

MALVEAUX: The late President Reagan hammered that theme in his drive for re-election, with his famous bear ad representing the cold air threat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John Kerry and the liberals in Congress voted to slash America's intelligence operations.

MALVEAUX: President Bush used a pack of wolves to illustrate the terrorist menace in his re-election bid.

WEBER: If the people don't feel some sense of threat, they're not going to vote on national security issues.

MALVEAUX: That's why analysts say the president and Republicans are constantly talking terror. Now leading up to the congressional midterm elections.

But pollsters warn it may not work this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's one word that explains it, and that is Iraq.


WHITFIELD: More politics are headed your way. CNN's Jack Cafferty takes on the left, the right, the center. "Broken Government," an election special, coming up at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

A shocking accident in West Virginia. It happened at the state's annual Bridge Day Festival in Fayetteville, an event that attracts hundreds of parachutists who jump off the town's huge bridge -- that one right there. Police say a man died when his parachute either failed to open or opened too late.


MATHIAS REIMANN, JUMPER: It's a dangerous sport and it makes it clear that you really have to be careful. We all know that, but there hasn't been a fatality in near 20 years. So maybe we all get a little complacent and thought that the worst risk was injury. But it is not. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: In fact, the event's last fatality was in 1987.

Well, they're not exactly putting out the welcome mat in one Atlanta community. Not for this man, John Mark Karr. He's moving to Georgia.

The story's still ahead in the NEWSROOM.

Plus this...


BOB CORKER (R), SENATE CANDIDATE: I can't even talk about ethics. And I have a press conference, and I think it's a true sign of desperation that you would pull your bus up when I am having a press conference.

HAROLD FORD JR. (D), TENNESSEE: No, sir. I can never find you anywhere in the state.


WHITFIELD: A Senate candidate shows up unannounced at his opponent's news conference. The fireworks next.


WHITFIELD: To politics now. The sparks flew at an impromptu political debate in Tennessee. Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee, showed up as an uninvited guest at a campaign event for rival Republican Bob Corker in Memphis yesterday.

Reporter Ursula Madden of CNN affiliate WMC has the play-by-play.


URSULA MADDEN, REPORTER, WMC-TV (voice over): He wasn't invited but he came anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to get this box off our premises, please.



MADDEN: Harold Ford Jr. crashed opponent Bob Corker's news conference in Memphis. The two shook hands, but there was nothing civil about this meet and greet.

BOB CORKER (R), SENATE CANDIDATE: I can't even talk about ethics. And I have a press conference, and I think it's a true sign of desperation that you would pull your bus up when I am having a press conference. HAROLD FORD JR. (D), TENNESSEE: No, sir. I can never find you anywhere in the state.

MADDEN: What's desperate, says Ford, is Corker's latest ad knocking his family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has Junior ever had a job outside of politics?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ford family business is politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he does look good on TV.

MADDEN: Ford wanted to debate Corker on the spot, but Corker didn't take the bait.

FORD: Well, tell me, what do you think about this Iraq thing? I know you're here to talk about my family. I thought you made a promise right after...

CORKER: No, no, no, I'm here to talk about you.

MADDEN: Ford insists showing up at Corker's news conference was not a breach of campaign etiquette, nor was it a desperate move.

FORD: I mean, every pull of the country shows us running ahead. Every poll in the state demonstrates it.

Go vote early.

MADDEN: But Ford knows the lead in those polls is slim. So he rallied in downtown Memphis to push people to vote early.


WHITFIELD: Candidates in the Iowa governor's race square off in their last debate before the November election. This afternoon polls showed Democrat Chet Culver with a slight edge over his Republican challenger, Jim Nussle. Culver and Nussle have raised more than $13 million in combined donations, making it the most expensive race in Iowa state history.

New York Senator Hillary Clinton's Republican challenger brought up the "P" word during a debate last night in Rochester. Clinton is running for re-election to her New York Senate seat, but the question on everyone's mind, what's after that?

CNN's Mary Snow has the story.



JOHN SPENCER (R), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: How are you, Hillary? CLINTON: Glad to see you again.

SPENCER: Good to see you.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She's averaging a 30- point lead in polls. He is her little known Republican challenger.

In their first debate it took mere moments before John Spencer changed pleasantries into questions about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's political ambitions.

SPENCER: She's raised $40 million for herself. To run against me? I don't know about that.

SNOW: The first question from the debate's moderator was about all the signs pointing to a potential run for president in 2008. Something the senator has never said she's doing.

CLINTON: Now, obviously people are talking about whether or not I will or should run for president. And I'm flattered by that. And if that is a concern to people, they should factor that in to the election in November. But I have made no decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, Senator. You haven't thought about it at all, about running for president?

CLINTON: Now, I didn't say that.


CLINTON: I said I haven't made any decisions. You know, it is hard not to...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you have thought about it?

CLINTON: Dominic (ph), it is hard not to think about it because people talk to me about it all the time.

SNOW: Asked why she's not pledging to serve out a full Senate term as she did in 2000, she says she doesn't know what the future holds.

Questions turned to North Korea, border security, the Foley scandal and Iraq. Senator Clinton called for a phase redeployment to start immediately. And...

SPENCER: You're not president yet, Mrs. Clinton. So do not call for that.

SNOW (on camera): While the questions are piling up, so is her cash. Senator Clinton has roughly $15 million to spend in these final weeks of the campaign. Whatever is left over -- and that should be a lot -- could be spent on a White House race should she decide to run.

Mary Snow, CNN, Rochester, New York.


WHITFIELD: And as we wind down to Election Day, remember you can get all the 2006 election information you need at any time. Just click on to

So what do you do when you have more inmates than you have jail cells? That's a situation out West. Find out what's at stake. The story coming up in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: All right. Well, a storm of another sort brewing in a neighborhood in the East. Word of a new neighbor has some Atlanta homeowners very concerned.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, are you prepared to leave?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave? I've been here 55 years, lady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So do you think the neighbors are being unreasonable with their desires?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.


WHITFIELD: John Mark Karr moves to Georgia. That wasn't him, but that is right there.

That story coming up next.

Plus, California prisons so overcrowded, some inmates are being sent to other states.

And the World Series madness. It's the Tigers and the Cards, and our Larry Smith is in the middle of it all.


WHITFIELD: Half past the hour and here are the headlines.

The Iraq War is on the mind of President Bush, who held a strategy session with U.S. military leaders earlier today. And in his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush criticized a few media outlets who he alleges lets terrorists air their propaganda.

A possible leak on classified information about the Iraq war has prompted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra to suspend one staffer of a Democratic committee member. Top Democrats charge the move as partisan politics from Hoekstra, who is Republican.

Two dozen train cars, some on fire, hanging over the Beaver River in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. The train derailed there last night. Officials fear a possible explosion because the train cars were carrying ethanol or grain alcohol. New Brighton is between Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio.

California has a new and expensive export -- convicted criminals. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fast tracked a $51 million plan to ship thousands of prisoners to serve their sentences in four other states. California operates the largest -- the nation's largest prison system, which critics say is grossly overwhelmed.

Just how overcrowded are California lock-ups? The math is easy -- 172,000 inmates dangerously shoehorned into space designed to hold 100,000 prisoners.

CNN's Kareen Wynter has more has more on the Golden State's crisis in progress.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California prison inmate Tony Doles compared his bed on the bottom of this shared triple bunk to a grave.

TONY DOLES, INMATE: You kind of feel like you're in a coffin, to be honest with you. It's pretty enclosed.

WYNTER: A few rows down inside this converted gymnasium at California State Prison Solano, inmate Jowell Finley complained about barely having enough room to lay his head.

JOWELL FINLEY, INMATE: It's not humane, you know? It's unbearable. It's frustrating.

WYNTER: And dangerous, says this convicted felon, serving a 17- year sentence for carjacking.

FINLEY: You know, I done seen a lot of violence escalate due to, you know, frustration, you know what I'm saying, on inmates and staff.

WYNTER: Each day, correctly officer Daniel Jackson rubs shoulders with some of California's most dangerous.

DANIEL JACKSON, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER: It's not a safe environment. It's a lot of inmates living everywhere inside the building.

WYNTER: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says a prison population spike across the state has triggered a crisis -- inmate overcrowding at facilities like this one. The state's prison population is reportedly at a record high, more than 171,000 inmates, 16,000 of them currently living in areas not designed for housing.

(on camera): This is traditional housing here at California State Prison in Solano, where you have two inmates per cell. But the overcrowding issue has forced officials to turn not just gymnasiums, but also dormitories into cramped, permanent living spaces.

(voice-over): Schwarzenegger proposed several reforms this year to build new state prisons. They passed the senate but got stuck in the assembly. The speaker's office says it didn't even vote on the proposals, because they came too late in the legislative session for members to research the issues.

Some opponents felt they didn't address all the problems of the state's prisons. This forced the governor to declare an emergency proclamation.

MICHAEL MACHADO (D), CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE: The governor did not have any room to be able to deal with the influx of inmates and so we have to do something in order to provide some bed space and that would give us also the room then to start looking at a longer-term solution.

WYNTER: The emergency proclamation allowed prison officials to negotiate immediate contracts with correctly facilities in four other states, to temporarily house inmates. The Department of Corrections says the state must move quickly. It could run-out of prison bed space in a matter of months.

SECRETARY JAMES TILTON, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: If I get to the point this summer where I'm out of beds, what happens in California is I'll put up a no vacancy sign, inmates will stack up in county jail. It's not like these inmates will be released. But it means other inmates will be released on the street.

WYNTER: Some will end back up behind bars, a vicious cycle that could further cripple California's prison system.

Kareen Wynter, CNN, Sacramento, California.


WHITFIELD: Freshly released from a California jail cell two weeks ago, former JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect John Mark Karr has returned to his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. The troubled 42-year- old now lives with his father, who is less than happy with the attention his son is getting.


QUESTION: Sir, are you prepared to leave?

WEX KARR, FATHER: Leave? I've been here 55 years, lady.

QUESTION: So do you think the neighbors are being unreasonable...

KARR: Yes, I do.

QUESTION: ... with their desires?

KARR: Yes, I do.


WHITFIELD: The neighborhood civic association mailed its 2,000 members about Karr's move back into the house and its close proximity to a playground. Child pornography charges against Karr were dropped earlier this month. Karr says he hopes to resume his teaching career.

In other News Across America, a Kansas City, Missouri police officer is charged with a heinous crime, critically injuring his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter. Police say Nicholas Minute shook the girl then threw her to the ground, fracturing her skull and causing brain injuries. Police say Minute attacked the child because she was crying.

An investigation is underway to find out what caused this inferno at Fort Meade in Maryland. The six alarm fire heavily damaged an office building at the base. A base spokesman says the building's contents were "sensitive in nature."

A python on the loose in an unlikely place. The three foot snake escaped from a Massachusetts museum over the -- or, rather, over a week ago. Officials suspect it slithered next door, into the public library. They think the python may be hiding somewhere in the book shelves. This story could be a real page turner, so stay tuned.

And a new look for the Spirit of Detroit. The 26 foot tall statue is now donning a giant Detroit Tigers jersey. No surprise. A celebration of the baseball team's first World Series in 22 years. The St. Louis Cardinals in game one of the series tonight in Detroit.

The Tigers won baseball's fall classic the last time they were in it. That was way back in 1984. The wait has been a little longer for their opponents, the St. Louis Cardinals, who won it all in 1982.

Our own Larry Smith is live at the park with more on game one, the expectations -- Larry, how is it looking weather-wise?

LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Weather-wise right now, it's very nice. The sun-was out until just a moment ago. It has dropped back behind the grandstands. So a very pleasant October late afternoon here in Detroit.

But, you know, who would have ever thought, back in spring training, Fredericka, that we would be here in Detroit for the World Series?

After all, the Tigers had endured 12 straight losing seasons. But not even building a brand new stadium changed things.

However, first year manager Jim Leland did. He told the Tigers back in the spring to walk like champions. They did and now they're even playing like champions.

And so here we are at the fall classic here in Detroit, in their first World Series since 1984, riding the wave of seven straight play- off wins, one shy of tying the major league record. Not bad for a team that lost 119 games in a season just three years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUSTIN VERLANDER, PITCHER: In '03, I was in college. I remember I was watching a lot of the season on sports (UNINTELLIGIBLE), catching some of the highlights of it and just watching there, and, you know, thinking, man, those guys suck.


SMITH: Well, adding Jim Leland may have been the final piece. But credit the Tigers with a successful concoction of young talent and veteran free agents, a mix that big payroll clubs haven't been able to figure out and one that gives so-called low revenue teams like Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, teams like that hope that they can also dream of maybe playing in a World Series.

But, again, game one, the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers, the first of four wins gets the victory -- let's go back to you.

WHITFIELD: So, Larry, I guess this has to be a real inspiration for those many cities whose teams may consider themselves kind of long shots that, after all, there really is hope out there.

SMITH: Yes, there really is. And I'll tell you what, it's been exciting to watch just a raw exuberance here in the city for a team, a lot of baseball fans that have really waited a long time to have these games here in Detroit for once and for all.

WHITFIELD: All right, Larry Smith, enjoy the game.


WHITFIELD: Well, take a look at this. Pictures from a $20 million vacation?

Here what this tourist has to say about her out of this world adventure coming up.

Plus, illegal or not, physicians will tell you there are good medicinal uses out of marijuana.

Dr. Bill Lloyd next in THE NEWSROOM. There he is, coming up.


ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE (voice-over): Danny Meyer has to be considered New York City's foremost restaurateur. He runs the Gramercy Tavern and the Union Square Cafe, two wonderful restaurants, along with nine other top flight eateries in Manhattan and New York City. You are treated graciously when you come into his restaurants and I think he has managed to instill in the thousand or so people who work for him a desire for excellence that is unmatched in the restaurant business anywhere.

DANNY MEYER, RESTAURATEUR: There's really nothing new under the sun-anymore in terms of figuring out a secret way of making something or building something. And so really the thing that distinguishes the best companies today is the way they make their customers feel. (END VIDEO TAPE)


WHITFIELD: So what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and well, now we know, and Carson City, too. Nevada voters next month will decide Question Number 7, which would let people 21 and older statewide legally possess an ounce of marijuana. And the state would regulate and license pot growers, distributors and sellers. It would also charge an excise tax of $45 an ounce.

Some think Nevada's acceptance of gambling and prostitution make passage a pretty good bet. Opponents worry about promoting the use of other drugs and whether it would be a good source of tax revenue.

Well, speaking of marijuana, a new study suggests it may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

Dr. Bill Lloyd joins us with details.

And, Dr. Bill, we've all heard about all kinds of medicinal benefits from marijuana, but marijuana, Alzheimer's patients, it's pretty hard to believe.

DR. BILL LLOYD, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS MEDICAL CENTER: It's great news if you're a rat. And that's what this study is all about.

Scientists took a synthetic chemical, just one of the many chemicals in marijuana, and they gave it to rats and they found out in the older rats their memory improved and they were able to function better, longer in life.

The question remains, can we translate that rat news into human news and future benefits for people who may be at risk for developing Alzheimer's Disease?

WHITFIELD: You know, what's so striking about this, you talk about improved memory, when a lot of folks say using marijuana doesn't necessarily do wonders to your memory. It may kind of impair it, as well as your motor skills.

So how is it the two coincide when it comes to this disease?

LLOYD: Dude, you are right on. You're exactly right.

With the rat study, we're only talking about one specific chemical, a sync chemical, but it's found in marijuana. But, Fredericka, marijuana contains over 60 active ingredients, including the rat chemical, but other chemicals that, as you know, make you dopey, interfere with your memory and make it difficult to function in everyday life.

So, again, it may not be wise to rush out the Nevada to buy that marijuana thinking you're going to help yourself for preventing Alzheimer's or other types of medical problems. Wait for science to catch up with you so that the individual active ingredients, which are proven to work, will be available in pill form or in some other form.

WHITFIELD: All right, dude, since that's what we're calling each other, what about some of the other benefits?

LLOYD: Well, for 20 years now, we've known that some of these chemicals, all -- as a group they're called cannabinoids -- do wonderful things for the body. For example, patients with nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, there's a prescription drug now called Dronabinol that's actually made from the active ingredient in marijuana. Patients with epilepsy, we know about patients with glaucoma are benefiting with marijuana.

But we also know that there are plenty of other good marijuana drugs -- excuse me -- plenty of other good glaucoma drugs that are out there. So you don't need to be puffing the weed.

Also, helpful in patients with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and, as we mentioned already, some promise that it may be helpful in the future in patients at risk for Alzheimer's Disease.

WHITFIELD: So let's talk about the long shot, perhaps, of actually getting a doctor to prescribe, you know, cannibals or marijuana?

Uh-oh, did we just lose Dr. Lloyd?

LLOYD: I don't think that's going to happen. Of course, here in California, we have this whole issue about medical marijuana. But you have to consider the down side of trying to use weed as a form of medicine.

As you have already alluded to, it's illegal, to start off with. If you're going to take full bore marijuana, you're going to have problems with cognition, memory, judgment, operating a vehicle, doing your job, balance, etc. We know that people who regularly smoke marijuana are at increased risk for developing heart attack. They get a chronic cough, and that's not good. And like any other drug, there's issues with dependency and withdrawal.

So, again, let the scientists isolate the individual chemicals that may be good for you and down the road hopefully we'll be able to go to a pharmacy and pick up those particular pot elements that can bring us good health.

WHITFIELD: All right, looks like talking of weed is making for a whacky signal.

Dr. Bill Lloyd, thanks a lot.

LLOYD: Hey, save me a brownie.


You said it, not me.

Thanks a lot, doctor. LLOYD: We'll talk again soon.

WHITFIELD: All right.

See you next week, hopefully.

Whoo -- Carol.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: You know what?

WHITFIELD: What you got?

LIN: I don't have my earpiece on.


LIN: All I saw was marijuana on the screen and the signal going in and out.

WHITFIELD: Well, nothing whacky from you coming up.

LIN: No, afraid not.

In fact, we have a lot of special election coverage coming up this evening.

But at 10:00 tonight in our prime time show, we're going to have a segment that parents are going to be really interested in. Our producer, Steve Walsh, did a random kind of scan at MySpace. You would not believe the pictures of these teenaged girls on this Web site, how they want to present themselves.

What is it that they're trying to get out of it?

I have no idea.

But it is dangerous.

WHITFIELD: And they have no idea how risky that behavior is.

LIN: You know, who's -- you know, people try to contact them...

WHITFIELD: They're really oblivious.

LIN: ... but I'm going to be talking with an Internet safety expert. Parents really need to see this, because if their kids have access to a computer, you have no idea what they're posting out there in the public arena. He's got not only tips, but we really have to talk about this phenomena, because it is so prevalent. And we'll show you some of the pictures we had to digitize. But we're going to show you some of the things that we found.

WHITFIELD: Disturbing stuff.

All right, thanks a lot, Carol.

LIN: Sure.

WHITFIELD: Well, washing your hair can be time consuming. But just try doing that in zero gravity.


ANOUSHEH ANSARI, PRIVATE SPACE EXPLORER: It's very challenging to shampoo your hair in space because you sort of have to make this water bubble over your head.


WHITFIELD: I bet you never thought about that, the challenges of washing your hair in space. All right, well, the latest space tourist back on the ground with lots of stories coming your way.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: The world's first female space tourist is back on Earth. And like a good traveler, she took lots of pictures. Anousheh Ansari documented her time in space with 18 hours of video. She recently showed some of it to CNN's Ryan Chilcote.


RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A lifelong dream finally realized in the presence of her awestruck family.

ANSARI: I told my flight surgeon, please, if my blood pressure raises, if my heart starts to raise, don't stop the launch. I'll be fine. I'll work on myself and I'll be fine, so just don't stop the launch.

CHILCOTE: Ansari was fine until she ignored her doctor's orders not to look out the window.

ANSARI: I was so excited I was just moving around and watching the Earth because it was magnificent. And so everyone told me just take it easy the first day, you know, you may get sick. And I was just so excited I didn't listen much to that.

CHILCOTE: After 48 hours of motion sickness, Ansari's spacecraft docked with the international space station. She got her first whiff of extraterrestrial air.

ANSARI: As you approach, basically, half space between the station and the Soyuz and they come together, you basically trap part of space between the two hatches. It sort of had a burning smell to it and it was sweet. So I told them it smells like cookie, like burned cookie.

CHILCOTE: Over the next week, Ansari shot 18 hours of video, documenting everyday life on the station. ANSARI: It's hard to move around the first day or so because you don't know how to stop or move or, you know, I hit a lot of walls and I had lots of bruises on my -- all over my leg and arms from hitting the hatch and everywhere else.

CHILCOTE: She enjoyed eating on board, especially oatmeal and candy. And she tried her hand at personal hygiene -- washing her hair without a shower.

ANSARI: It's very challenging to shampoo your hair in space because you sort of have to make this water bubble over your head and then very slowly and gently massage in the shampoo. And if you do it a little bit too fast, then you have water bubbles all over the place and it makes a huge mess.

CHILCOTE: She even gave what may be the first ever close-up tour of the station's toilet.

ANSARI: So this is the urine collector. You open it and what happens is that by turning that knob, there is suction that starts and you may want to use this contraption here for doing your number two.

CHILCOTE: Having paid an estimated $20 million for her spot, she didn't have to do any chores, although she did try out the vacuum in hopes of finding her lip gloss. Ansari spent most of her time gazing out the window like she had as a child, only this time she was looking down, not up.

ANSARI: Persian Gulf. It looks very peaceful from up here, doesn't it?

CHILCOTE: After 11 days, had to prepare for the journey home, which is more than 10 times faster than the ride up.

ANSARI: Fortunately, they make the seat liners, as you can see here, molded to your body, so you're basically -- your whole back and neck is protected. You just need to make sure you're very tight and very tight to your seat.

CHILCOTE: Now that she's back on Earth, Ansari has a new mission -- to convince others to pursue their dreams.

Ryan Chilcote, CNN, at Star City, outside Moscow.


WHITFIELD: All right, fascinating stuff.

But, Bonnie Schneider in the Weather Center, I'd say that's a little TMI going on, a little too much information.


WHITFIELD: Did we need to know about the bathroom part?

SCHNEIDER: No, but the hair washing was interesting. WHITFIELD: Fascinating.

SCHNEIDER: I always wondered how they did that.


SCHNEIDER: Water bubble. You have to catch it at the right time.


Well, you can't tell us enough about Tropical Storm Paul.

What's going on with this?

SCHNEIDER: Absolutely.



WHITFIELD: Well, still much more ahead in THE NEWSROOM all evening.

Carol Lin will be around to give you updates throughout. And then her show at 10:00 p.m.

I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

Top stories straight ahead.

Then, Jack Cafferty's election special, "YOUR GOVERNMENT IS BROKEN."



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