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U.S. Soldier Missing in Iraq; White House Welcomes Radio Talk Show Hosts; Ohio State Student's Elevator Death in Freshman Dorm; Interview with Jeffrey Ingram's Mother
Aired October 24, 2006 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Don Lemon.
Violence in Baghdad -- now new fears an American soldier is kidnapped. We're live in Iraq with details on the search.
PHILLIPS: Preying on the most vulnerable -- ambulances dumping patients on Skid Row. The LAPD goes undercover. We will investigate.
LEMON: He was missing for more than a month, now newly reunited with his family. We will talk about Jeff Ingram's rare form of amnesia with his mother, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
PHILLIPS: Well, a tragic Tuesday in and around Baghdad -- more roadside bombings, another U.S. soldier killed, more gruesome discoveries, and a missing U.S. soldier feared kidnap.
CNN's Michael Ware is there.
Michael, let's begin with the missing soldier. Fill us in on that search.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the search continues as we speak.
Monday afternoon, 2:30, was the he last time that this soldier was seen. He's an Iraqi, but he's an American soldier, a translator attached to a provincial reconstruction team here in Baghdad.
Now, it's believed he was going into the city to visit relatives. At 7:30, an operation searching for him was launched. A relative says the soldier was at the relative's house, when three carloads of gunmen showed up, grabbed the soldier, handcuffed him, and took him away.
Since then, U.S. forces have launched raids, searching the area where they believed he was last night, house to house, including a television station and a mosque connected to one of the most powerful Shia factions here in Iraq.
So, bottom line, this soldier who left the Green Zone, it is said without any permission, has disappeared. And the U.S. military has launched a manhunt, looking for him. PHILLIPS: And, Michael, just to put this in perspective, we're also hearing from other sources, confirming exactly what you said, that he did not have permission to leave this space and do what he did.
This just really puts I guess it's a bit of a reality check on -- on what these soldiers are up against, when they -- when they do leave, and -- and no one knows where they're going or where they are. It's a tremendous risk.
WARE: Well, it's extremely rare that a U.S. soldier just wanders off a base or out of the Green Zone, and walks alone in what they call the red zone, which is everywhere in the country except for the international zone, which houses the embassy.
It's not often that we have seen this. We have seen U.S. soldiers grabbed or go missing in the past, and they have made a variety of fates. There was a U.S. soldier who did go missing. It was believed he had been abducted, but he later showed up in Beirut. No one has any idea what has happened to this American translator.
PHILLIPS: So, Michael, let me ask you, then, considering that this is not a normal thing to do, is -- are there any questions surrounding why he would want to leave that base? Could there be another motive here?
WARE: Well, that delves into the nature of the investigation and the search that I'm sure is under way.
Certainly, it does pose questions, where this is just a fellow who was doing something that he shouldn't, and fell afoul, or whether there is something else behind this. I mean, we have seen, in past experience, that there were other motivations behind the disappearance of a previous U.S. soldier. However, we have also seen, tragically, real abductions, and -- and the grabbing of American soldiers, all of which have -- have not ended well, I'm afraid.
PHILLIPS: We will keep following the investigation with you.
Michael Ware, thanks.
LEMON: They need more time and maybe more troops in Iraq. At a rare press conference held today, the top U.S. commander on the ground in Iraq says it will also take patience, courage and resolve for the mission to succeed. But both he and Washington's top diplomat in Baghdad remain convinced it will succeed eventually.
Here is more on what they had to say to reporters today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: The ultimate goals that we have for Iraq, have not changed: as I said, a goal of a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian, democratic Iraq that will be unique in this part of the world, where, traditionally, the dominant ethnic or sectarian group has sought to suppress others. And we are going through a difficult transition to get there from here.
We believe that, in the course of the next 12 months, assuming that the Iraqi leaders deliver on the commitments that they have made -- and I don't have any reason to doubt that -- there should be a national compact in place by that time, with a constitutional amendment, with the -- a program for dealing with the militias, with the oil law in place. And the Iraqi security institutions will be more capable, and that, therefore, there will be a reduction in the sources of violence as a result of progress on the -- on the national compact and the reconciliation and an increased Iraqi capability to deal with -- with what remains of that struggle.
But we have to know -- and I have emphasized -- that this is not a one-sided affair or game. There are enemies, both internal and external, that they adapt and adjust.
And -- but I believe that -- that Iraq will make significant progress in the coming 12 months.
GENERAL GEORGE CASEY, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IN IRAQ: From my perspective on the security side, we have been focusing on helping build Iraqi security forces that can maintain domestic order and deny Iraq as a safe haven for terror.
We are about 70, 75 percent of the way through a three-step process in building those forces. And it's going to take another 12 to 18 months or so until I believe the Iraqi security forces are completely capable of taking over responsibility for their own security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Well, General Casey emphasized that 90 percent of the violence in Iraq is taking place in a 30-mile radius around Baghdad.
Several cases in point today in Baghdad -- two bombings and a gunfight that killed at least three Iraqis and a U.S. soldier, and 30 more bodies dumped in various areas of the city.
Now, the end of Ramadan, to most Muslims, means feasting and family reunions. But, for many Iraqis, the holy month brought more violence and fewer loved ones at the table.
CNN's Arwa Damon is in Baghdad.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Policeman Mohammed al-Moshhadanni (ph) left his home at 8:00 a.m. four days into Ramadan. An hour-and-a-half later, his body was found dumped next to a kindergarten just outside his neighborhood.
GHANIYE NASIR, VICTIM'S MOTHER (through translator): They dumped him on the sidewalk, pouring blood, they shot him here and here and here, pouring blood and dead, in the streets.
DAMON: No one knows why he was killed. All the family knows is their grief.
NASIR (through translator): It's too hard. It's hard. He's gone. I will never find anyone like him. My son, a part of my heart, is gone. He's worth millions. He's my soul.
DAMON: Saher's mourning veil hides her tears, but nothing can hide her pain. Mohammad (ph) was her childhood sweetheart. Theirs was a marriage that bridged sectarian divides -- his family, Sunni, hers, Shia.
SAHER SABAH, VICTIM'S WIFE (through translator): For three days, I was in shock. I only knew how to breathe. What are my children's crimes? Eid is coming, and their father is gone.
DAMON: Holidays and celebrations will never be the same. Five- year-old Yussef (ph) and two-year-old Hassan (ph) are too young to understand what happened to their father.
From the little one's perspective, Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, still means time at the park with the neighborhood kids.
Residents say, safe enough, thanks to the Mahdi militia pulling security -- militias and toy guns, just a part of Iraqi society. This year, daddy is not here to catch Yussef (ph) at the bottom of the slide, push him on the swing, or carry Hassan (ph) around.
SABAH (through translator): My older son still asks me, why isn't daddy back from work? He asks me, where is daddy? And, the little one, he still does not sleep, because he is used to his father sleeping next to him.
DAMON: Hassan (ph) still runs after cars he thinks are his father coming home.
SABAH (through translator): It's like I'm looking at him when I'm looking at his children. I was always affectionate with him, but now, even more.
DAMON: Ghaniye has buried her son. Saher will live without her husband. The boys will grow up without their father. Some 4,000 Iraqi policemen were killed in the past two years. Mohammed al- Moshhadanni (ph) is one of them.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.
LEMON: And the speaker of the House goes before the House Ethics panel.
Speaker Dennis Hastert is meeting with the panel as part of the investigation into the Mark Foley page scandal. Hastert has said he was unaware of problems with former Congressman Mark Foley until late last month.
Now, earlier today, House Republican Campaign Chairman Tom Reynolds testified. The New York congressman has said he warned the speaker of the House last spring about Foley and his behavior toward House pages. Foley, a Florida Republican, resigned after instant messages he traded with a page became public.
PHILLIPS: Well, airtime at the White House -- dozens of radio hosts set up shop in the front yard two weeks ahead of midterm elections. Glenn Beck clips our microphone next in the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Plus: rehab, resignations, regrets -- the lowdown on low points of the 109th Congress in the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: A do-nothing Congress? On the contrary, the 109th incarnation of the U.S. legislature was plenty busy, mostly on scandals.
CNN's Joe Johns has a top-10 list.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Number 10: all pay, no work. Every member of the House of Representatives makes at least $165,000 a year. So far, they have spent only 94 days in session. That's almost $1,800 a day. Nice work, if you can get it.
Nine: What illegal immigrants? Wasn't immigration reform supposed to be about the most important issue this year? And what did they do about it? They voted to build a fence.
Eight: What are you wearing? The skanky way Florida Republican Mark Foley is reported to have talked to former congressional pages in electronic messages -- and, when he got caught, like a real a profile in courage, he announced he was gay, abused as a teenager by an unnamed priest, checked into alcohol rehab, and left his colleagues to sort out the mess.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And he deceived me, too.
JOHNS: Seven: Oh, say, can you thieve? Duke Cunningham, the former-fighter-jock-turned-jailbird, once seemed like a poster child for patriotism, until it turned out the California Republican was on the take, and getting paid with just about everything but the stars and stripes.
Six: The booze made me do it. The congressional pilgrimage to rehab that featured some household names this year, including Foley, Ohio Republican Bob Ney -- more about him later -- and Rhode Island Democrat Patrick Kennedy. People wished them well, but were left wondering if rehab isn't just an easy way out.
Five: addicted to pork. The Congress is going to have to face it. It's addicted to pork: bridges to nowhere, a museum to honor the folks responsible for the New Orleans levees that failed, emergency money for non-emergencies, and, at the end, a record deficit.
SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R), VIRGINIA: This fellow here, over here, with the yellow shirt,
JOHNS: Four: the macaca moment. Senator George Allen of Virginia called a guy of Indian descent who was shadowing him macaca, then claimed he didn't know what it meant. Well, it means monkey.
Three: throwing in the towel. Texas Republican Tom DeLay -- he was the House majority leader -- got indicted in Texas in a case that was far from watertight, denied wrongdoing, and then up and quit. What's up with that? The Capitol's tough guy, the Hammer, gave up before fighting it out in court.
Two: frostbite -- the case of the cold, hard cash. The feds said they videotaped Louisiana Democrat Bill Jefferson accepting $100,000, then found 90 grand in his freezer. They claim they're investigating several allegedly shady deals. He hasn't been charged with anything, and says he hasn't done anything wrong.
And the winner is number one on the list of dubious accomplishments of the 109th Congress: Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney, the corrupt couple, the lobbyist and the mayor of Capitol Hill, united by guilty pleas, things of value exchanged for official acts, plus a passion for golf, meals, tickets to sporting events, and power.
Jack is out of the lobbying game, but Ney is still a congressman, still cashing paychecks, until his colleagues throw him out. At $1,800 a day, who can blame him? A tip of the fedora to old Jack, Bob and a session that many would sooner forget.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... 2006.
PHILLIPS: Well, what's the frequency, Kenneth? Try a few dozen frequencies. The big white tent at the White House means it's open mike Tuesday. Talk radio hosts from across the country have been invited to set up temporary shop and interview top government officials.
We asked Glenn Beck from CNN Headline Prime and host of his own syndicated talk radio show, to join us with some of the behind the scenes.
My guess is, you ruled the White House today.
GLENN BECK, HOST, "GLENN BECK": It was a very interesting experience.
BECK: I found myself, at the end of the day, actually, out in the backyard playing with Barney, the president's dog. (LAUGHTER)
BECK: It was a bizarre experience.
PHILLIPS: No croquet? Just Barney?
BECK: No, just Barney.
BECK: But it was -- it was an eye-opening experience.
I'm not a guy who -- I'm a conservative, but I really don't care if it's an elephant or a donkey that wins. I just want somebody with the right answer. And, so, I came at it with a, I think, a -- a different approach than some other radio people might.
And I -- I talked to Bartlett. I talked to Karl Rove and also Chertoff. And they had some interesting things to say.
With -- with Bartlett in particular, I asked him if you should read into what the president says? Because I -- I find President Bush very hard to listen to, because he stammers a little bit, and he's uncomfortable to watch.
And, so, I -- I read a lot of his speeches. And, when you read President Bush, you can see different things in there that you might not catch if you just listen to him. And I asked him if that's just me reading into it. He said, absolutely not.
The one example that came to it was, before we went into Iraq, I really felt that what the president was saying was, this is more about planting democracy to crush the head of the snake, than it is about anything else. And he agreed with that.
Karl Rove was -- was fascinating to talk to, because he is so good at spin, that we were -- I asked him, do -- do the -- does the president hear the voice of the American people say: "Stop. Please, repair our borders and secure our borders"?
And he -- before I knew it, he was talking stats and figures, and I didn't even know what the hell he was talking about.
PHILLIPS: So, wait. All your listeners -- all your listeners wanted to hear more about broken borders than Iraq?
BECK: Oh, yes. I -- I think that -- I think that what a lot of people don't understand is that conservatives really have kind of fallen off the -- off the path of -- of other conservatives, if you will, Republicans, because they haven't done anything about the border. And that is the big, hot issue, I -- I think, for conservatives. It is with my listeners, and it is for me, too.
PHILLIPS: So, did you ask Rove or Bartlett, hey, is anyone listening to the president?
BECK: Oh, yes. And they -- they said that they're -- you know, we are down, I don't know how many percentage points. I will bring it on my TV show -- brought -- you know, brought the numbers down on -- other than Mexican, we don't -- we don't catch and release anymore.
That's -- you know, that was an important thing. I -- I don't know if they actually answered my question.
PHILLIPS: So, let me ask you that about -- well, they didn't really answer your question. So, do you -- did you get the vibe that maybe these members of -- of the president's support system are losing faith in the president?
BECK: No. I don't know -- how do you mean, the -- the people in his support system?
PHILLIPS: Well, when you talked to a Rove, or you talked to Bartlett...
PHILLIPS: ... did you get a feeling that they were 100 percent, "We're OK; we're doing fine"?
BECK: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
PHILLIPS: OK. No -- no quiver?
BECK: And I -- and I will tell you that I -- I think that I -- I had a stronger sense -- not on the border -- but I had a stronger sense, at least on Iraq and the Middle East, that they know exactly what they're doing.
And I really believe that it is being miscast by the media, misunderstood by the media, misunderstood by many Americans, misunderstood by many in Congress. This is a much bigger issue than Iraq. And I have great confidence that they do understand that.
Chertoff said something very interesting to me. I asked him. I said, how frustrating is it -- because I do believe that we are on the edge of something far greater than anyone can even possibly imagine. And I asked Chertoff. I said: You have said it. The president has said it. You must at least have a 72-hour kit of food and water to be able to prepare for disasters.
Nobody is doing it. And he was extremely concerned by that.
BECK: He said it's -- it's one of the most frustrating things that I deal with.
PHILLIPS: Does that stem from Mike Brown and that whole catastrophe?
PHILLIPS: And now they are trying to make up for all this lost time?
BECK: Oh, no, they have been saying -- they have been saying this since before -- or right after September 11, that you need to have a 72-hour kit.
He used it as an example of Katrina. He said, if more people would have had a 72-hour kit, things would have been better. He said, we -- with the disasters that we're looking at now, we may not be able to respond within 72 hours. And the American people must put it on their own selves to be secure, to be safe, and to be able to have food and supply and basic supplies and medicine.
PHILLIPS: So, what's your take? Why wouldn't they be able to respond in 72 hours? That's not what we want to hear.
BECK: Because I -- I think -- it's not what we want to hear, but I think it's what we need to hear.
First of all, the American people need to start taking a little more responsibility for themselves, and understand what we are preparing for.
BECK: We're not preparing for Hurricane Katrina. We're preparing for something...
PHILLIPS: Possible acts of terrorism?
BECK: ... of -- of -- of global implications. And people need to wake up, and they need to pay attention to it...
BECK: ... and prepare.
PHILLIPS: Glenn Beck, you were paying attention. And they were paying attention to you.
BECK: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: We will be paying attention to your show tonight.
BECK: And I got to play with Barney.
BECK: How fun was that?
PHILLIPS: No croquet, though.
PHILLIPS: I'm very disappointed.
Did you wear your loafers?
BECK: Pardon me?
PHILLIPS: Did you wear your loafers?
BECK: I didn't wear my loafers.
BECK: I wore my tie and my jacket.
PHILLIPS: Glenn Beck, thanks for your time.
BECK: Thanks. You bet.
LEMON: All right.
We're going to switch gears a little bit -- down and out, out of luck, out of hope, out of just about everything -- ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, a dark tour of Skid Row in Los Angeles, and how so many wind up dumped in such a desperate place.
LEMON: Have a drink, guys. It may be good for you. At least, that is what a new study says. The study is from Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. It found a little alcohol can lower men's risk of heart attack.
A review of previous research suggests that a drink or two a day appears to raise the level of good cholesterol in the bloodstream. So, the study's authors suggest moderate drinking could complement, not replace, exercise, healthy eating, and no smoking.
PHILLIPS: Giving birth later in life, for many women, personal and career choices make it unavoidable. Science makes is possible. And now research suggests it's perfectly suitable. A new study finds women who give birth in their 50s are just as good at parenting as younger moms.
Researchers at the University of California compared three groups of women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. All had conceived with the help of the school's assisted reproductive technology program. That study found that the women in their 50s didn't experience more stress than the younger mothers, and were just as able to physically keep up with their children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANN STEINER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: It should be reassuring to know that the life expectancy of a 50-year-old woman is 82 years. And that can be -- and it's certainly reassuring to older mothers who are choosing to conceive at this time point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, however, one of the researchers cautions, the older women in the study aren't your average 50-somethings. He describes them as healthier and more vigorous than most of their counterparts.
Google shares closed at an all-time high yesterday. But the search engine isn't resting on its laurels. That's right.
Susan Lisovicz joins us from the Stock Exchange to tell us about Google's latest offering.
What is going on, Susan?
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don.
Well, when you have competitors like Yahoo! and Microsoft, you better come up with new things. Google is launching a new service that allows users to create their own personalized search engines for their own Web sites or blogs.
The service, called Google Custom Search Engine, is free. Organizations or individuals can limit the search to specific Web sites. That will allow users to create a search engine around a specific topic, such as a sports team, for instance. They can even adjust the program's look and functionality, or use Google's advertising software to generate revenue.
Google said two organizations are already using the customized search -- search service.
LISOVICZ: That is a tongue-twister.
LEMON: Hey, Susan. we're all human. I know what you were saying.
We have some days...
LISOVICZ: You understood that.
LEMON: ... you can't get out of the way of yourself, right? Everybody has them. We're all human.
LEMON: So, listen -- I know what you were saying.
So, listen, we have been talking about Google hit 480, right? Berkshire Hathaway hit 100,000. This became a big topic in the NEWSROOM today. So, should investors with that sort of cash, should they buy a house, maybe, or should they buy Berkshire Hathaway?
LISOVICZ: That -- that is a great question, but it is a complex question, so I am going to boil it down to the fundamentals.
And the basic number-one rule in investing in stocks is, buy low, sell high. Berkshire Hathaway, no question, a great company, a great track record, but it's at all-time highs. If you were to follow the sage practices of the man who is running it, Warren Buffett, who, by the way, is a billionaire, he's all about value.
So, what an investor might do right now is look for good companies with consistent earnings, track record, a good track record, that maybe has been a laggard in this recent rally, because there's room to grow. So, that would be one piece of advice for the stock market.
As for the housing market, well, there's no question it's a buyer's market, Don, right now. So, you might get a good price on a piece of property you couldn't touch a couple years ago. But guess what? You might not get a return on that investment for years.
LISOVICZ: Real estate market downturns can last five, seven, even 10 years. So, it's a question of how much time you have got and how much cash you have got and if you have got cash at all to invest...
LISOVICZ: ... right now, I suppose.
LEMON: Reading and watching some of the analysts who I really respect, they say, you know what? Right now, I want to get rid of all that real estate I have. I don't know how true that is, but that's what they're saying.
LISOVICZ: Right, but it -- it is not that easy. If you look at the growing inventory and the -- and the fact -- the growing inventory and the days that these houses are on the market, there's got to be some negotiating going on, very good for the buyer, not so good for the seller.
In terms of the stock market today, well, we had some buying. We actually hit a new intraday high for the Dow industrials. They have just weakened a little bit, not much. We're pretty dead even right now, 12116. GM has been helping to prop up the blue chips. They're up 3 percent today -- the Nasdaq composite under water. It has been weak all day, down 12 points, or half-a-point.
And that is the latest from Wall Street -- Don and Kyra, back to you.
PHILLIPS: Thanks, Susan.
LEMON: Thanks, Susan.
PHILLIPS: Well, too many kids in too much of a hurry all crammed in an elevator.
LEMON: Yes, and one didn't quite fit, and couldn't get back out -- details on a terrible accident and the aftermath straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
PHILLIPS: Also ahead: He's back home, but life isn't quite back to normal. An amnesia sufferer is still struggling to remember. His mother joins us live by phone straight ahead.
LEMON: Well, you hear about amnesia all the time in the movies and on television. In the real world, not so much, at least until now. Jeffrey Ingram is back with his fiancee in Washington state after weeks of searching for his identity when he turned up in Denver last month and still doesn't remember anything before then. And it's not his first episode of amnesia. His mother says something similar happened 11 years ago. Now their relationship has to start all over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOREEN TOMPKINS, JEFFREY INGRAM'S MOTHER: It's going to be very difficult again, but you know what? I can do it. If I did it before, I can do it again and I'd do it as many times as I had to, just so I can have my son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Doreen Tompkins, Jeffrey Ingram's mother, joins me now by telephone. And Ms. Tompkins, your relationship really does start all over, it's starting from the beginning, isn't it?
TOMPKINS (on phone): Yes, it is.
LEMON: How has this ordeal been for you? We're going to talk about your son in a minute but what has this been like for you as a mother?
TOMPKINS: It's been very frightful. When he was missing there, I had trouble sleeping. I had nightmares when I did sleep and I was in constant worry.
LEMON: Oh, Ms. Tompkins, our hearts obviously go out to you. Have you seen him?
TOMPKINS: No, but I talked to him last night.
LEMON: You did?
TOMPKINS: I talked to him for about a minute.
LEMON: And when you hear his voice on the phone and you hear it here on our program, what does that to you?
TOMPKINS: It makes me feel warm inside. It makes my heart feel good and my brain at ease. I seem to be crying a lot. These are tears of happiness, not tears of sad.
LEMON: Yes, that's good. We're going to talk more about what happened. But tell us about your son as an individual. What do you want people to know about him?
TOMPKINS: That he's OK, he's safe, and he's OK and he's getting some help.
LEMON: He may not remember what kind of person he was, about his past or any of those references?
TOMPKINS: No, he doesn't.
LEMON: What do you know about him? What do you want people to know about the kind of person he is?
TOMPKINS: The same Jeff as he always has been. The whole town is rooting for Jeff. Everybody he knows, a lot of people in town and everybody is happy that we found him and we hope that Jeff will be able to come out of this situation really good.
LEMON: Now, Jeff is 40-years-old and this happened back on September 6th. He went to visit a friend who was dying of cancer, right? He was on his way to Canada to visit a friend?
TOMPKINS: Yes, visit a friend. Plus, he had some business he had to attend to, too.
LEMON: And then all of a sudden, you don't hear from him?
TOMPKINS: Yes. That was September 6th when he left.
LEMON: What was that like for you, almost a month without hearing from him.
TOMPKINS: That was scary for me.
LEMON: And then you turn on the television and you're watching a news program?
TOMPKINS: Well, the time has gone past, each day-by-day and I kept getting more worried and one of Jeff's friends was in Edmonton and he had CNN on in his room and he recognized Jeff and he phoned me at 1:30 in the morning last Saturday at 1:30 in the morning.
LEMON: And your heart skipped a beat?
TOMPKINS: Yes, it did. I started to cry.
LEMON: That was not a phone call that you minded interrupting your sleep?
TOMPKINS: No, I didn't. He said to me, you don't mind me calling you during this time? I said by all means, Clayton, I don't mind one bit.
LEMON: I'm sorry, go ahead.
TOMPKINS: Then Clayton gave me a phone number of a detective that was taking care of the case. So I got off the phone with Clayton and I got on the phone that night, that same night there, and I phoned the detective, but I couldn't get anything from anybody until Monday morning, so I left my message on the answering machine.
LEMON: You know what? We said that this is something that you hear about it all the time, you see it on the television, but people really don't know that much about amnesia. What do you want people to know about it?
TOMPKINS: Put it out in the public more, like talk about it on different shows and stuff and have a medical person be there and explain things about amnesia because there must be an awful lot of people out there that have that problem in their life. And it sure would be nice if they could come up with something that would be -- to be able to help a person with amnesia.
LEMON: Well, that's something I think that we should all talk about and maybe us in the news media, maybe we should be more on top of it, especially in light of Jeffrey's story.
How do you start all over again? I know I asked you this at the top of our interview, but how do you start all over again a second time?
TOMPKINS: You just do it. You do what you have to do. That's all I can say on that one.
TOMPKINS: I just do what I have to do. Just be very easy with Jeff. We're going to go next week to see him.
LEMON: OK, Doreen Tompkins, Jeffrey Ingram's mother. We thank you for joining us today and we wish you the very best.
TOMPKINS: Thank you.
LEMON: Thanks for joining us.
TOMPKINS: Bye now. LEMON: Bye-bye.
PHILLIPS: Well, the funeral for a 19-year-old Ohio State student was held in Pennsylvania this morning. He died Friday night, the last of 24 people trying to squeeze into a packed elevator in a freshman dorm. Kevin Landers from CNN affiliate WBNS details the accident and the investigation.
KEVIN LANDERS, WBNS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the time Columbus paramedics arrived at Stradley Hall, they estimate OSU freshman Andrew Polakowski was trapped for near seven minutes between an elevator and the second and third floors.
BATT. CHIEF DOUG SMITH, COLUMBUS FIRE DEPARTMENT: He had already gotten the upper half of his body up on to the third floor and was trying to make his way, the rest of the way out.
LANDERS: And then what happened?
SMITH: Well, the elevator started to descend again.
LANDERS: The weight would crush the student's chest, killing him. What we know about the tragedy is that the 1958 elevator was filled to capacity and the fire department says was likely over its weight limit at the time.
When the accident happened, the Columbus fire department says there were 24 people inside, 13 women and 11 men. The floor of the elevator measured six feet by five and a half feet, according to Ohio State. We measured it off and then filled it with 24 people. This is what the elevator probably looked like when the elevator stopped between floors. Investigators are looking to see if that's what caused it to malfunction.
PHILLIPS: That was Kevin Landers of WBNS. He also reports that the number of people squeezed into the elevator probably exceeded its weight limit by about a thousand pounds. Ohio Department of Commerce investigators shut down that elevator and the other passenger elevator in Stradley Hall. Students are using the freight elevator now.
LEMON: Sleeping on Skid Row. Hard to imagine it would be anyone's choice, but Los Angeles police say they've got evidence hospitals may be dumping patients on one of LA's meanest streets. In the last hour, LAPD captain Andrew Smith joined us in the NEWSROOM to talk about it. He says Skid Row has many resources to help homeless people, but only if someone calls them first.
ANDREW SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE: We are able to take patients like that all the time, and we do down in Skid Row. The service providers, Union Rescue, L.A. Mission and Volunteers of America, do a tremendous job caring for people down there. If this facility would have called and made a couple of calls, they might have been able to find a bed.
In fact, my officers were able to find a bed for one of these individuals who wanted a place to stay. The problem is, they didn't call, they didn't make prior arrangements and these folks are just basically left lying on the curb in the heart of Skid Row.
LEMON: The reading -- there was an article in the "L.A. Times" this morning, and also the report from Randi Kaye. It appears that Skid Row might be better equipped to handle these people than a lot of the facilities that they may end up going to.
SMITH: Well, there are some good facilities on Skid Row, as I mentioned, but it's incumbent upon the medical facility to make those arrangements, not just put a guy in an ambulance. Or, as we saw a couple of weeks ago from a different hospital, put a guy who can't even walk in a taxi cab and drop him off on the corner of 6th and San Julian (ph). I mean, that is just unconscionable to me, and I think pretty much all of your viewers.
LEMON: Well, today, county officials launched a criminal probe into alleged cases of patient dumping and what facilities may be guilty.
PHILLIPS: Youth sports and parents acting badly.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All we heard was gun, gun, and I looked to the sidelines and saw two gentlemen fighting. And I turned and got all the kids off the field.
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PHILLIPS: A wake-up call for parents sitting on the sidelines. We'll have more from the NEWSROOM, straight ahead.
LEMON: And you're looking at a live picture of the Pentagon, the podium there. The chairman of the joint chiefs is expected to brief reporters on all matters military this hour. General Peter Pace is set to step up to that microphone in a just few minutes, and, of course, we'll bring it to you live right here on CNN.
PHILLIPS: Well, here's a wake-up call for parents. It comes from Philadelphia, where police say a dad pulled a gun on his son's football coach because his son wasn't getting enough playing time. The age of the kids? Six and seven years old. Here is an eyewitness.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All we heard was gun, gun, and I looked to the sidelines and saw two gentlemen fighting. And I turned and got all the kids off the field and I said, boys, let's go this way. I got them all down. I said get down on the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Well, no shots were fired. The father, 40-year-old Wayne Derkotch, right here, was charged with assault and endangerment.
LEMON: OK, Rob, pardon our interruption. We're going back to the Pentagon. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, is expected to talk and he is -- there he is at the podium.
QUESTION: Can you give us a little bit more clarity on year to 18 month timeframe -- when it started, when it may end, and what impact that may or may not have on U.S. troop levels in Iraq?
PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS: Yes, I think it's fair to say that we review the current status of both Iraqi and U.S. forces on a continuing basis. So for General Casey to say 12 to 18 months today is a very logical thing for him to say.
Back in August and July, we thought we might be able to reduce the size of U.S. forces by this Christmas. And then the violence in Baghdad increased. And General Casey, in his continuing assessments, determined that he needed to keep the U.S. forces he had. And he recommended that. And I agree with that and made that recommendation to the secretary and the president. And he kept that size force.
As he looks across the next 12 to 18 months and he looks at the fact that, of the 10 Iraqi divisions today -- that's 10,000 to 14,000 troops per division -- of those 10, six are in the lead in Iraq.
Of the 36 Iraqi brigades, which are about 2,500 to 3,000 men per brigade, of that 36, some 30 are in the lead.
Of the 112 Iraqi battalions, each of which are about 500 men, a little bit over 80 of those are in the lead.
So as he looks at the current size and strength and the capacities of the Iraqi armed forces, and he looks down the road at a year, year and a half, from what we can see right now, it makes sense that, at this time next year or a little bit later that, for the most part, the Iraqi security forces can be in the lead and we can be there supporting them.
But take a step back, a little bit, as U.S. and coalition and let the Iraqis take a step forward.
QUESTION: But the same time frame was mentioned in May and in August. So are we just moving the timeline? Do we keep moving the date? PACE: I can understand how you would look at it that way, but the truth is, is that he's making fresh assessments each time. And his assessment today, basing it on a thinking enemy, but also on what we know about our capacity to help the Iraqis, is that, some time in the next year to 18 months, he'll be able to do that.
And he's having conversations, as he should, with Prime Minister Maliki, who is also doing his own assessment about how quickly he, as prime minister, believes that his own government and his own armed forces will be able to take charge?
QUESTION: But given the fact that the time line keeps slipping to the right, and just a couple of days ago, we had General Caldwell publicly say that the violence, in his words, was disheartening and that the Baghdad security plan is not meeting expectations.
What is your personal view, not on the economic or the political side, but from purely the security standpoint?
Do you feel that U.S. troops are still winning what they have set out to do, from a military point of view?
PACE: First of all, with regard to General Caldwell, he's a great officer and he's a great spokesman. And he did use the word "disheartened" in about an hour-long interview, I think it was.
That's not to say he was mis-speaking, but we also should not make it sound like that he has determined that there's more danger than is true right now.
Security is part of a three-legged stool -- security and politics/governance and economics -- and we cannot have one or two without all three.
From a military standpoint, we are most concerned about providing for good security.
But the world's best security will not function and will not provide long-term security without the political decisions and accommodations that must be made in that country and without economic progress which must occur in that country; all three of which are moving forward.
There is a time of difficulty. There's no doubt about that.
We are working very hard to ensure -- in cooperation and with Iraqis in the lead -- that in Baghdad, for example, that we clear the areas in Baghdad with Iraqi troops in the lead and that we support those Iraqi troops in the lead.
That we then protect the Iraqi population in the areas that have been secured with Iraqi troops and that we build alongside the Iraqi government the new foundations of economics in the capital.
There's been some $400 million, I think, expended in Baghdad and another $600 million to be spent. So is there progress being made? Yes. Are 14 of the provinces in basically good shape? Yes. Are four still being contested very heavily? Yes. All that is true.
We must stay focused on what we, U.S. military and coalition military, can do. But we also have to understand that the end-state is to have a Iraq that is free and stable and not a home to terrorists and not a threat to its neighbors.
QUESTION: General, let me just...
PACE: I know, I'll get right back to you. But let me just finish a thought. And that is that people talk about, are you winning? First you have to define: What is winning?
And I don't mean to be glib about that. Winning in this war on terrorism is having security in the countries we're trying to help that allows for those governments to function and for their people to function.
Example -- Washington, D.C., has crime, but it has a police force that is able to keep that crime below a level at which the normal citizens can go about their daily jobs and the government can function.
That's what you're looking for in the war on terrorism, whether it be Iraq, Afghanistan, or anyplace else.
Is there going to be terrorism for the next 10, 20, 30 years? Yes. What can we do about it collectively? We can provide enough security, enough good governance and enough economy to allow the citizens and the governments to function and not have terrorism interrupt that.
QUESTION: General, what incentives, though, do the Iraqis have really to really stand up? Do they not have kind of a built-in incentive not to stand up?
PACE: Oh, I think they have enormous incentive.
First of all, they want to stand on their own. If you were to go into Iraq anyplace today and ask an Iraqi citizen: Do you want your government to stand on its own two feet? Yes. Do you want coalition forces to leave? Yes. Do you want coalition forces to leave tomorrow? No, because they know that they still need some assistance in getting from where they are to where they want to be.
But the great incentive inside of Iraq with the Iraqi people is their own self-pride and determination that they want to stand on their own; they want to be free; they want to determine their own way ahead.
And the longer they have foreigners in their country assisting with that, the longer it is before they can actually stand up and do that all for themselves.
QUESTION: General Pace, we also learned this morning that the Iraqis have agreed to a series of benchmarks or a timeline for accomplishing areas in all three of those parts of the stool, three legs of the stool.
What can we do if the Iraqis miss their very own deadlines?
PACE: Well, first of all, the discussion about benchmarks and deadlines is ongoing between Ambassador Khalilzad, Prime Minister Maliki and his government, General Casey and the militaries involved over there.
So it is not true that there are specific benchmarks that have been agreed to. There are several that I think are on the prime minister's Web site that he has established as goals for himself and his government.
But there are other discussions going on in each of those three areas -- security, governance and economics -- that are still being discussed, so that the prime minister can determine which of those he's most comfortable with.
If you put a particular date, if you say the 13th of a particular month is a date certain, that puts you into a very, very tight window. And it actually gives your enemies the opportunity to focus all their energies on making it so it's not the 13th, it's the 14th or the 17th or whatever it is.
So having a very precise date I think is not useful, either from the standpoint of forcing yourself to do something too soon or from giving your enemies too much information.
On the other hand, having a window where you have a target date, where you commit -- to your own citizens -- whichever country you're in, where you commit to your citizens that you will either have attained these goals or you're explaining why you haven't attained them, I think is a very good thing to do.
So I do think that benchmarks with windows for those benchmarks would probably be a good place to be.
QUESTION: What do we do, though, if you have these windows, whether it's a specific day or it's a month or a window of some kind, what do we do if they blow by them? Is there any penalty imposed by the coalition if the government fails to accomplish these things?
PACE: I disagree with the premise of your question, because it sounds like you're not working with your friends; that somehow, if your friends don't perform to a certain standard of which you are part, that you're going to penalize each other for doing that.
No. I think what it does is it allows you to have ideas, goals, objectives with reasonable timelines applied to them, that are going to be impacted; not only by your own ability to do what you think you're going to do, but your enemy's ability to try to disrupt that.
The benefit of having it out there is that you then are forced to think about are you attaining your goal? If you are, how do you reinforce that success? If you're not, what do you have to change?
And, oh, by the way, explain to people what is going well and what isn't.
QUESTION: General Caldwell, getting back to him, he said after he was disheartened with the operation in Baghdad, that he would refocus efforts in the capitol city.
General Casey was asked about it today and he said: I'm not going to get into specifics about the Baghdad security plan; I don't want to telegraph the enemy what we're doing.
Why the secrecy now? You were very open about Operation Together Forward, the number of U.S. troops that were heading into Baghdad. Will you ever explain exactly how you're going to (inaudible) Baghdad or is it all going to be a secret?
PACE: I think there's two different parts to what you just asked.
One, in the past, we have said how many troops. I think we said publicly about 44,000, give or take Iraqi troops; and about 8,000; 10,000 U.S. coalition troops.
But we have never said with great specificity exactly how they're going to do what they're doing. We've talked about clearing, protecting and building but we haven't said exactly how we're going to do that.
So I think it's fair to say that we have been properly circumspect about how we have described what we're about to go do, and as we look at what is working and what we're going to reinforce and what is not working and what needs to change, I think it's proper to not telegraph that to our enemies.
It will be very obvious when it's being done, what's being done. But I'm not going to tell you today what I'm going to do tomorrow.
QUESTION: Reporters have gone with the troops throughout Baghdad. They've been embedded with forces going through the Baghdad neighborhoods.
I mean, why can't you just talk a little bit more about this?
PACE: The fact that reporters are there I think is great. The more embeds we have, the better.
QUESTION: If he's going to say we can't talk about it, we're going to telegraph the enemy, reporters are going with the troops throughout Baghdad. I mean...
PACE: Fortunately, those reporters have been very good, had understanding of what is reasonable to report about what they're seeing and what is good to keep secret for a while. And we appreciate the fact that reporters, in the main, have been themselves responsible in the way that they've reported about what's going on.
QUESTION: Will you go into Sadr City?
PACE: I'm not going to talk about where we're going next or how we're going to go. If and when we go to Sadr City, you'll see it.
QUESTION: General, why have you ordered up a review of the U.S. military operations there in Iraq? What do you hope to learn from this review from many of the military commanders who've spent considerable time in Iraq?
And do you at times find yourself disheartened over the lack of progress in Iraq?
PACE: First of all, we continuously review what we're doing in Iraq. General Casey does, General Abizaid does, I do -- and I do as an individual and I do with the Joint Chiefs.
We have two Joint Chiefs meetings a week that last about two hours per meeting.
PHILLIPS: We're going to get straight to Wolf Blitzer in the now "SITUATION ROOM" as he continues this live news conference.
We'll see you back here tomorrow.
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