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The Fight For Iraq; Kerry's Comments; Missouri Senate Showdown; The Rove Effect; Suspicious Item

Aired November 1, 2006 - 10:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.

Spend a second hour in the NEWSROOM this morning and stay informed. He's what's on the rundown.

Election Day countdown from love lines to fisticuffs. It is getting interesting. We'll bring you all the campaign news you need from around the country.

COLLINS: Will the man known as the Republican magician pull off a big win on the big day? Get a closer look at Karl Rove's 2006 playbook.

HARRIS: And Osama bin Laden arrested? Well, not quite. Halloween hijinks caught on tape.

It is Wednesday, November 1st, and you are in the NEWSROOM.

A new month, another wave of attacks in the Iraqi capital. Bombs and mortars have ripped through Baghdad today. Dozens are dead and wounded. Add to that several bodies found dumped across the city. But amid the bloodshed, some political strains as well. Let's get the latest from Baghdad and CNN's Aneesh Raman.

Aneesh, another month, as we just mentioned. Is there a new approach, a new plan to cut down on some of the sectarian violence in the offing somewhere?

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, nothing firm yet. Iraq's government alongside, as we've heard in the past week or so, U.S. officials, trying to come up with a plan that they can set in place. There are suggestions maybe they need to rise the number of Iraqi security forces on the ground. That has been met with a bit of skepticism from Sunni politicians today, afraid that these Iraqi security forces show allegiance to Shia militias.

It is very complicated on the ground trying to solve this even more so. Today, though, a sign of what remains as an issue on the ground security. At least 10 people killed, 21 wound in attacks across Iraq's capital, ranging from bombs going off to mortar attacks. The deadliest took place in the eastern part of the capital. There a parked car detonated just as a police convoy was passing by. You see the images, this aftermath there. That killed one police officer and four civilians. Also as you mentioned, 10 bodies uncovered throughout the capital showing signs of torture. Unidentified as of now.

Meantime, the U.S. military announcing a death that took place Tuesday in the volatile western al Anbar Province. A U.S. soldier dying from enemy fire. Important to say it took place yesterday. It counts, then, toward the October total, which now stands at 104. Before this, October had already become the fourth deadliest month for U.S. personnel in Iraq since the war began.

And news, of course, from the U.S. military that they continue to aggressively search for that missing soldier who was abducted on October 23rd. That had led to the cordons off of Sadr City, which caused some controversy over the past week. Those barricades have now been taken down according to U.S. officials, after the Iraqi prime minister requested that be done, in accordance, we're told, with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and the top general here. But they are working, they say, on actionable intelligence. As to that soldier's whereabouts, we do expect, Tony, an update tomorrow at a military press conference.


HARRIS: OK, Aneesh, I asked you at the top about any new guidance on a plan or something from the Iraqi government because for a while there this morning it looked like we might hear something from Iraq's prime minister in a news conference where he would get to answer some questions. And then just as quickly as we heard that was going to happen, it was called off. Do we know why?

RAMAN: Yes, that was the plan. We were to hear from Iraq's prime minister. Details were to be given. But here's the reason we're told it did not happen. He was to speak at parliament today. But parliament, for the second time in two days, has been without a quorum. You only need 50 percent of the 275 parliamentarians to be there. They haven't had that the past two days. Because of that, we're told, the prime minister did not speak.

And because of that, as well, there was a bit of a dust-up between the speaker, a Sunni, and another Sunni politician of a rival faction. They were yelling about attendance. Then there were allegations by the speaker to the other politician of corruption. It led almost to a physical altercation. Guards had to keep them at bay. But it's a sign of the frustration that to get anything done they need a quorum. And so far they're not getting it.


HARRIS: CNN's Aneesh Raman in Baghdad for us.

Aneesh, thank you.

On the hunt under the cover of darkness. A U.S. mission shines in the moonlight. CNN's Arwa Damon is with them. Stay tuned for her report coming up later this hour.

COLLINS: John Kerry says it was a botched joke, but will Republicans have the last laugh? Kerry's controversial comments, criticism from the president and questions about what it all means for campaign 2006. CNN's Brian Todd with that.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Not even running for office this year, John Kerry pulls a late October surprise.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.

TODD: Those comments, at a California campaign event Monday, set off a chain reaction that could only be this hot days before an election. Some of the tone hearkens back to the 2004 presidential race between Kerry and George Bush and their bitter fight over their past military service. The president spoke in Georgia.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The senator's suggestion that the men and women of our military are somehow uneducated is insulting and it is shameful.

The members of the United States military are plenty smart and they are plenty brave and the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology.

TODD: And joining the chorus, plenty of other Republican leaders and commentators, including CNN contributor William Bennett.

WILLIAM BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Perhaps he has forgotten his own motivation, which I think was very noble at the time when he joined the military.

TODD: Kerry rejects the criticism, calling it misleading, even deceptive.

KERRY: I'm sick and tired of a whole bunch of Republican attacks, the most of which come from people who never wore the uniform and never had the courage to stand up and go to war themselves.

TODD: Still, Republican senator and fellow Vietnam veteran John McCain also calls it an insult to Americans in combat. Calls for Kerry to apologize. All this about a comment Kerry's camp says he didn't even mean. A Kerry aide tells CNN, he really meant students should learn their history or they might end up like President Bush, getting their country stuck in a place like Iraq. Kerry called what he did say a botched joke and he says the Republicans know it was a simple mistake.

KERRY: Because if anybody thinks that a veteran would somehow criticize more than 140,000 troops serving in Iraq and not the president and his people who put them there, they're crazy.

TODD: Kerry calls this an effort by the Republicans to change the topic from what's going on in Iraq. But many Democrats privately say they are furious at Kerry for giving the Republicans an easy way to take the focus off the GOP's problems. So could the Democrat's 2004 presidential torchbearer have hurt his party's momentum heading into next week? Analyst Stuart Rothenberg says he doesn't think so generally but . . .

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: From the Democratic point of view, they want everything to be about George Bush and the situation on the ground in Iraq and anything that draws attention away from that can't be ideal.

TODD: Also not ideal now, according to analysts, Kerry's chances for the presidency in 2008, if he decides to run again. That's an eternity in politics. But some analysts believe the fact that this got so nasty, so quickly, with some of the more slashing remarks coming from Kerry's camp, doesn't make him look very thoughtful or presidential.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


COLLINS: Senator John Kerry is scheduled to be Wolf Blitzer's guest in "The Situation Room." Join us for our expanded two-hour election edition at 7:00 Eastern.

HARRIS: Showdown in the show-me state. For Missouri's Senate candidates, it may all come down to the middle ground and middle class voters. CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley reports from St. Louis.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): In St. Louis, at the Goody diner, Democrat Claire McCaskill is running for the U.S. Senate, courting her base.


CROWLEY: These are urban voters, reliably Democratic, but there are not enough of them to win an election.

MCCASKILL: And we've invested a lot of time in rural Missouri. You know, Democrats in this state for too long have thought that, well, don't go to the country because you get on defense and there's no point and we can do enough in the cities to make up for the margins in the country.

CROWLEY: Small towns and rural areas have not been friendly turf for most Democrats. Rural voters gave George Bush a 19-point edge over John Kerry. Springfield, Missouri, outstate as they call it, is strong Republican country. David Lutz voted twice for George Bush.

DAVID LUTZ, MISSOURI VOTER: But if the Democrats went so far to the left, then we started -- or I started to vote much more Republican and so on and now it's just to me the pendulum has kind of swung past me going the other way. So it's -- I'm trying to just get in the middle. CROWLEY: Lutz plans to vote for McCaskill, the Democrat, and so will his Republican wife.

ELLEN MCLEAN, MISSOURI VOTER: They're not representing me and they keep moving further right and there's simply nowhere to go. I don't know where a moderate is supposed to go.

CROWLEY: This is an uh-oh for Republican Senator Jim Talent who needs to keep his base intact and get them to the polls.

SEN. JIM TALENT, (R) MISSOURI: I believe in the dignity and value of life at all stages. I strongly supported the ban on partial birth abortions. My opponent opposed it.

CROWLEY: A stem cell research initiative on the ballot complicates Talent's task. It might bring out his conservative Christian voters. But it might prompt his business community voters, more moderate and pro stem cell, to pull the lever for McCaskill. Talent splits the difference, saying he opposes the initiative but others should make up their own minds. But basically, he avoids the topic, turning to more tried and true subjects.

TALENT: Marriage, I think, is a relationship between a man and a woman.

CROWLEY: In five stops through southeastern Missouri, Talent mentions same-sex marriage and abortion in most of them, reaching out to the base with what he calls common sense Missouri values.

The Talent campaign says it has a turn-out operation on steroids. McCaskill says she has bells and whistles, too, but is depending on something more basic. She believes voters here are ready for change.

Candy Crowley, CNN, St. Louis.


HARRIS: CNN Primetime next Tuesday night beginning at 7:00 Eastern. Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn and Lou Dobbs lead the best political team on television. As your votes are counted, the races, the results, the ramifications Tuesday night beginning at 7:00 Eastern.

Then CNN's election night coverage continues with a special edition of "Larry King Live" at midnight Eastern. Hear from the winners and those who lost across the country. Plus, expert analysis from the best political team on television.

COLLINS: Republicans in danger of losing Congress. Can Washington wizard Karl Rove pull a proverbial rabbit out of the hat? Well, that's ahead in the NEWSROOM. HARRIS: Halloween horror in Reno, Nevada. An historic hotel goes up in flames. Terrified residents yelling for help. That story straight ahead.

And coming up, safety concerns at Newark Liberty Airport after a pair of airplane mishaps. That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Some information just coming in to us here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Apparently some calls coming in now from Democrats for an apology from John Kerry. Fredricka Whitfield joining us now for the very latest on this.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Heidi, the ripple effects from those comments from John Kerry continue, now with a fairly high-profile Democrat among those who are calling for the apology from John Kerry. Harold Ford, who's in a hotly contested race in Tennessee right now for a Senate seat against Joe Corker, is now saying in this written statement, "whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said. He needs to apologize to our troops. However, Senator Kerry's words don't alter the fact that the stay the course strategy pursued by President Bush and supported by Bob Corker isn't working. We need a new direction in Iraq. I know how hard our troops work and the sacrifices they make for our freedoms. They deserve a plan for victory as good as they are. And, as senator, I intend to see they get one."

Those comments coming from the candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee, Harold Ford Jr. So while there have been many people who are calling for John Kerry to make an apology, right now we're hearing from one high-profile Democrat vying for a Senate seat in Tennessee, asking for that apology from John Kerry. Meantime, there were many appearances that John Kerry was to make today for other campaigns. And apparently a number of those appearances are being canceled. When we get any more information about the schedule and the continued ripple effects from John Kerry comments, we'll be able to bring that to you.

Heidi and Tony.

COLLINS: All right, Fred, thanks so much for that. We've been waiting to hear what the Democrats really think about this. So this is an interesting development.

Thank you, Fredricka Whitfield.

HARRIS: With the election just six days away now, Republicans still have room to improve in some of the closer races. But pulling out wins may rest in the hands of the party's magic man, Karl Rove. CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Rolling in positive polls, but pundits predicting a congressional takeover, some Democrats could be excused for measuring the Capitol for curtains. But the White House is saying not yet.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You might remember that around this time in 2004 some of them were picking out their new offices in the West Wing. The movers never got the call.

FOREMAN: And that's in no small part due to the man behind the curtain, Karl Rove. Now Republicans are hoping he can once again hand them a decisive victory and his foes know better than to count him out.

AMY WALTER, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: There are many gun-shy Democrats in this town who say, we are a great second quarter team. We always look great going into halftime and then we just blow it in the fourth quarter every time.

FOREMAN: Call it the Rove mystique.

KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: And I'm from Texas, so I'm a simple boy.

FOREMAN: Maybe so, but he did develop a sophisticated strategy to rally the Republican base. Imposing message discipline so candidates across the country read off of the same page on big issues. Drawing stark contrast with Democrats and firing up white evangelicals with the gospel of social conservatism. And this year, he's trying to do it again.

ROVE: Democrats think every day is a good day to raise taxes. Rainy day, sunny day, winter day, spring day, summer day, fall day. Any day's a day to raise your taxes.

FOREMAN: As the fourth biggest fund-raiser for Republican candidates, he's hammering tried and true themes. But when it comes to one of the top issues for voters, Rove's Republican chorus is singing off tune.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None of us like war and we've made some mistakes in Iraq.

FOREMAN: So will he be able to work his magic again, overcome the public's huge concern over Iraq and the daunting leads so many Democratic candidates have in the polls?

GROVER NORQUIST, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: This White House, this president understands, this is another presidential election. Is President Bush going to be president for six years or eight years?

FOREMAN: Karl Rove is betting on eight years. And betting against this wizard of Washington has never yet been a sure thing.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


HARRIS: All right. Let's set the menu for you. CNN, Primetime, next Tuesday, beginning 7:00 Eastern, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn, Lou Dobbs lead the best political team on television as your votes are counted. The races, the results, ramification, Tuesday night beginning at 7:00 Eastern. Then CNN's election night coverage continues with a special edition of "Larry King Live" midnight Eastern. Hear from the winners and those who lost across the country. Plus, expert analysis from the best political team on television.

COLLINS: A really scary Halloween. Gunfire erupts during a massive party in San Francisco. The latest on the search for suspects and a motive ahead in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: To the Dow Jones now and there's the big board. Not a whole lot going on here to be honest.

HARRIS: Come on, let's do something here.

COLLINS: But it's only, you know, it's 10:23 Eastern.


COLLINS: It's been open for not even an hour. So it is early. We'll watch it for you. The Nasdaq down just a little itty bitty bit too, as my five-year-old would say. But we'll watch it. We'll see what happens.

HARRIS: We're going to get to Chad Myers in the CNN Weather Center. We love these i-Reports because these folks capture . . .

COLLINS: Yes, they're great.

HARRIS: We want more, though. We just want more.

COLLINS: Especially -- sorry. Go ahead.


COLLINS: The Great Lakes. Homeland.

HARRIS: Yes, right.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, we get a lot of the snapshots, but rarely do we really get video in that we can actually use. But this one's actually shot -- this is great. This is up Kiwana (ph) Peninsula, up near Houghton, Michigan. Now there's Lake Superior. Winds have been gusting from the north for a long time here. These were shot yesterday. But some of the waves now crashing onshore here near Houghton. There you go. Look at this. Awesome pictures here shot by Bill Fink (ph).

COLLINS: Bill Fink. I know that guy. No, I'm kidding.

HARRIS: You do not.

COLLINS: No, I don't.

MYERS: I just wonder if he's related to Mike Fink who had that great restaurant in Cincinnati.

COLLINS: Yes, I know Mike Fink too.

MYERS: Because I revolve my world around restaurants, of course.

COLLINS: As well you should.

MYERS: This is Houghton, Michigan, on up the Kiwana Peninsula, on up toward the waterway up there. Huge waves crashing on shore. And I just want to kind of sing when the gales of November come early on this one.

COLLINS: Oh, please.

MYERS: Oh, please, no, I don't sing.

COLLINS: Please, Chad.

MYERS: Never mind, I won't.


COLLINS: Hey, Chad, you a golfer?

MYERS: Am I a golfer?



COLLINS: You know, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin, you know, along the Great Lakes.

MYERS: Yes, yes.

COLLINS: When you get to a certain hole there . . .


COLLINS: You get the little reward and you schwack (ph) your golf ball as hard as you can out onto the waves of the Great Lakes there.


COLLINS: This little itty bitty island. And if you hit it, then I guess you win or you get to take some points off your score.

HARRIS: You're buy drinks for everyone on the course is what you get to do.

MYERS: So are there divers that go get the other balls?

COLLINS: No, they're just gone for good. And probably not good for the Lake I guess.

MYERS: Probably not.

COLLINS: All right. Thanks for that video there, Chad.

MYERS: Sure. It was good.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, it is a very hot topic for most Americans -- the war in Iraq. What voters and the parties are saying about it now. That's coming up right here in the NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: And on the hunt in Iraq under the cover of darkness. A U.S. mission shines in the moonlight. CNN's Arwa Damon is with them. Details in the NEWSROOM.


ANNOUNCER: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, Heidi Collins and Tony Harris.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: And Fredricka Whitfield. Fred is following a developing story out of Tampa, Florida.

Fred, what do you have?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWS ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: That's right. Far from smooth sailing out right now out of Tampa International Airport because of a suspicious package left at one of the security checkpoint areas.

And so now people in one of the terminals, which is considered Airside A, are all being evacuated from that terminal, to the main terminal, while investigators try to figure out what to make of this suspicious package and who it may be linked to.

We don't know about the dangers that they are considering right now. Just that the evacuation is under way there at the Airside A Terminal at the Tampa International Airport. And Airside A is the terminal which hosts JetBlue, Continental Air Tran, KLM, Northwest and Frontier Airlines. A real mess right there, right now -- Tony.

HARRIS: All right, Fred, appreciate it. Thank you.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Dozens of people dead and wounded as a new month seems to usher in old problems in Iraq. Bombs and mortars have exploded across Baghdad today. At least 10 people are dead, 21 wounded. Also today, police have found at least 10 unidentified bodies scattered around the capital.

Meanwhile, here's a glimpse of the celebrations that erupted yesterday in the Baghdad slum, Sadr City. Supporters of the radical Muslim cleric waved guns and honked their car horns, after Iraq's prime minister ordered U.S. and Iraqi troops to open several checkpoints. The security crackdown was implemented last week after the abduction of a U.S. soldier.

HARRIS: For U.S. patrols, the enemy can be anywhere. But an ally for American troops is the desert darkness that's swallowing everything. CNN's Arwa Damon explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): This is what the pitch black night looks like to U.S. soldiers. The naked eye can't see more than a few feet, but for the troops with night vision, the cover of darkness is their greatest advantage.

The platoon's mission to catch insurgents as they bury roadside bombs. To avoid detection, no one is allowed to speak. Crucial radio calls are barely audible whispers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2-1, 2-1, this is 2-6.

DAMON: And every few 100 feet the soldiers stop, crouch, and scan the horizon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The check is fires, to the north, correction, to the south. Scan for individuals to the south, go.

DAMON (on camera, whispering): As the platoon was passing through, another unit spotted a man ducking into the fields just as the men walked by. They've now gone back, to check it out.

(Voice over): They find nothing. And continue to move toward their stakeout point. Taking the long route through fields and farmlands to make sure the insurgents aren't on their trail.

It takes almost an hour for them to reach their hiding spot, less than half a mile away from where they started. Tonight, it's the top of a berm that provides an over watch of one of the main roads leading to their base. The troops take cover in the dirt and prickly brush; eyes on the road looking for any sign of movement.

At the beginning of the month, they were hit on these roads a number of times. No casualties. The U.S. military says it is operations like these that have rendered roadside bombs in this area 70 percent ineffective. Meaning they are found, or they go off causing no damage. They wait and watch for hours.

But on this night, all they hear is the eerie howling of dogs. It's tedious work. Often the rewards are elusive. But it's the nature of the fight in this battle zone. Arwa Damon, CNN, Sadra Yusaffia (ph), Iraq.


COLLINS: Issue number one for many Americans this midterm election, Iraq war policy. Tuesday's election could be a referendum on it. CNN's Bill Schneider reports.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST, AMERICAN MORNING (on camera): The 2006 midterm may be come to be known as the Iraq election.

(Voice over): Many Americans felt misled when the Bush administration's case for war, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, proved false.

Increasingly, Americans are deeply disturbed by the mounting losses. More than 2800 Americans killed so far. Underneath it all is a stark political reality. Americans don't want to fight an unwinnable war, which is why President Bush talks about a plan for victory.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our plan for victory says we want an Iraq that can defend itself, and govern itself, and sustain itself.

SCHNEIDER: When Americans concluded the Vietnam war was unwinnable, they turned against it. When they began to see Iraq as a civil war between rival Islamic sects, their frustration mounted. Why should that be our war? Six months ago 44 percent of Americans felt the United States would never accomplish its mission in Iraq. Now, a majority feel that way.

The administration's response? Turn the question on the Democrats. What's their alternative?

BUSH: It's a serious political party in the midst of a war. And they have no plan for success. They don't even have a plan for victory.

SCHNEIDER: Most Democrats don't talk about immediate withdrawal.

HOWARD DEAN, CHMN., DEMOCRATIC NAT'L. CMTE.: There is a plan that has been adopted by many Democrats, certainly not all of them, called Strategic Redeployment, which gets us out of Iraq over a reasonable period of time, but keeps troops in the region, not in Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: Most Americans do favor withdrawing U.S. troops, but not immediately. They don't want to risk Iraq becoming a base for terrorists who threaten the United States.

BUSH: Imagine a safe haven for an enemy that ended up with the resources that it had.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats feel they don't really need a clear alternative, yet.

DEAN: The truth is, if we were going to take over Congress, that the president is still going to control foreign and military policy, to a large degree. So what we will be able to do is some restrain on the president, but we're not going to be able to change the policy overnight. That's going to require a new president.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): If Americans elect a Democratic Congress, it would be a vote of no confidence in the administration's Iraq policy. The message would be, it's not working, do something else. Bill Schneider, CNN, New York.


COLLINS: CNN "Primetime" next Tuesday night beginning at 7:00 Eastern time. Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn and Lou Dobbs lead the best political team on television as your votes are counted. The races and results, Tuesday night beginning at 7:00.

Then CNN's election night coverage continues with a special edition of "Larry King Live", our night owl, here at midnight Eastern. Hear from the winners, and those who lost, across the country. Plus, expert analysis from the best political team on television.

HARRIS: And coming up, safety concerns at Newark Liberty Airport, after a pair of airplane mishaps. That is ahead in the NEWSROOM.

Cheryl Casone, good morning.

CHERYL CASONE, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM: Good morning there to you. I'm here at the New York Stock Exchange. Outsourcing has already become a major political issue, but soon, white-collar jobs may be in danger of going overseas. I'll have the details when NEWSROOM returns. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


HARRIS: Let's get you back to Fredricka Whitfield. Fred is following the story of an evacuation of one of the terminals at the Tampa airport.

Fred, what's the update?

WHITFIELD: The terminal that hosts airlines JetBlue, Continental, AirTran, KLM, Northwest and Frontier, that terminal has been evacuated. All the people have been sent over to the main terminal, while investigators look into the suspicious package at a check point.

The director of the public information office at Tampa International Airport is on the phone with us, Brenda Geohagan.

So, Ms. Geohagan, what is the latest?

BRENDA GEOHAGAN, PIO, TAMPA INT'L. AIRPORT: We are in the process of clearing the Airside concourse so that we can have our airport police sweep the airside make sure it's safe. Then we'll re- screen all the passengers and hopefully get back on our normal routine.

WHITFIELD: We're dealing with hundreds of passengers. It sounds like you are in the phase of getting these passengers from the terminal to the main terminal. How long do you suppose this will be -- this will take before you are able to get the police and dogs or whatever else to sweep the security area?

GEOHAGAN: We've started this process at 9:30 this morning, and hopefully it won't be much longer.

WHITFIELD: So give me an idea of what investigators think they are going to see when they get to the checkpoint area? Can you describe for me what this suspicious package is?

GEOHAGAN: No, I heard it was a suspicious item at the checkpoint. And I have not heard what that item is.

WHITFIELD: And so it's unclear who may have left this item, correct?

GEOHAGAN: That's correct.

WHITFIELD: All right. And so what are you doing or what are police doing about trying to locate the person that may be associated with this item?

GEOHAGAN: Right now we are in the process of securing the building and as soon as the airport police sweep the building and give us a clear, we will start the process of re-screening the passengers.

WHITFIELD: All right. Brenda Geohagan, thanks so much, of Tampa International Airport.

So, Tony, they are going to continue to try to investigate this suspicious pack annual while they continue to move hundreds of people from one terminal to the main terminal at the airport.

HARRIS: OK, Fred. I know you'll keep following it for us.

COLLINS: And a scary moment for some airline passengers at Newark's Liberty Airport. They thought they were going to Germany but instead their Lufthansa plane was damaged when it clipped another plane being towed away for service.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It jerked the plane a little bit to the left and you knew something had hit it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You knew right away?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounded like, my friend said, oops, ran over some baggage. We just sat there for about a half an hour before the captain came on and said another plane had clipped his wing.


COLLINS: Meanwhile the FAA is investigating another mishap. On Saturday night a Continental flight landed on the taxiway instead of the runway. Luckily there were no traffic on the taxiway at the time. Both pilots have been ground.

HARRIS: Outsourcing usually refers to low-wage, and call center jobs. But as Cheryl Casone tells, from the New York Stock Exchange, other jobs are now in danger of being shipped overseas as well.

Cheryl, good morning. CASONE: Well, good morning, Tony.

Yes, this new study is predicting that the issue of outsourcing could mushroom into the next decade as hundreds of thousands of white- collar jobs are being shifted overseas.

According to the Hackett Group, Fortune 500 companies could save $58 billion a year by off shoring general and administrative jobs. That's $116 million per company that is in the Fortune 500. And that's really a difficult incentive for them to resist. Now the reports say that kind of move could affect nearly 1.5 million jobs over the next 10 years or nearly 3,000 people per company, Tony.

HARRIS: So, Cheryl, what types of white-collar jobs are we talking about here?

CASONE: Well, I didn't see journalist on the list.


HARRIS: Maybe that should happen.

COLLINS: No kidding.

CASONE: They do include jobs, information technology, finance, human resources and procurement. And it's much easier for companies to shift these types of jobs overseas, than a couple of years ago, partly because the education base and skill set for those jobs are on the rise in emerging countries like India, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Eastern Europe and even Brazil.

And if companies do take advantage of the workforces in those countries, they could expect to pay about 70 percent less in salaries to those people compared to 10 percent or 20 percent savings by moving the jobs to lower cost U.S. locations.


CASONE: So it's something to definitely watch as far as the economy goes.


CASONE: Well, we are off to a lackluster start here on Wall Street. After a mixed session yesterday, shares of Time Warner, the parent of this network, are dropping about 1 percent right now, after the earnings were missed. They missed expectations on the earnings. Overall those stocks have turned lower.

The Dow industrials right now are losing about 7 points or so. The Nasdaq is dropping about a quarter of a percent right now. That's the latest from Wall Street, Tony and Heidi. Going to send it back to both of you.

HARRIS: Cheryl, thank you. A Halloween horror in Reno, Nevada. An historic hotel goes up in flames. Terrified residents yelling for help. The story in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: And the fight on the front lines. The U.S. says more Iraqi forces are needed. What that means for American troops already there. Coming up, right here, in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: More information we want to get to now, coming to us out of Tampa, on this suspicious package you've been following, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Heidi, perhaps a big inconvenience, but still important to thoroughly check it out. The TSA now tells us that they have re-inspected this suspicious package earlier left at a checkpoint in terminal A which is -- which was evacuated.

They've looked at it, and they now are giving the all clear for all the passengers to come back, to carry on with their travels there at the airport. A huge inconvenience because hundreds, if not thousands of people were relocated from one terminal to the main terminal, because of this suspicious package.

But now it looks like they've checked it out. It's all clear. Now things may possibly resume back to some normalcy there at Tampa International Airport.

COLLINS: Good news. Better safe than sorry as always in these types of deals. Fredricka Whitfield, thank you.

HARRIS: In the aftermath of that deadly wildfire in Southern California, a man described as a person of interest is in custody now. He was arrested on unrelated charges yesterday. Just one day after the huge fire was fully contained, it scorched more than 40,000 acres. Dozens of homes and other businesses were destroyed. Authorities say the cause was arson.

The man in custody faces arson charges in connection with a June wildfire. As authorities investigate this latest fire, they are mourning the death of a fifth firefighter, Pablo Cerda, who died yesterday.

COLLINS: No word yet on the cause of a deadly fire at an historic hotel in Reno, Nevada. The blaze killed at least one person, injured more than 30 others. The hotel built back in 1922 is in the city's downtown casino district.

Officials say when firefighters arrived, people were hanging out of windows and yelling for help. Several escaped through second floor windows and dozens of people live in that building.

A massive Halloween party takes a frightening turn. Police in San Francisco say gunfire broke out and at least 10 people were shot. Thousands had packed the streets for the annual party in the city's Castro District. Police were trying to enforce a curfew.

They say the shooting started with a fight between two groups. The wounded included innocent bystanders. One victim is listed in critical condition this morning. Two people were detained for questioning, but no one has been arrested.

HARRIS: More Iraqi forces needed to stand up before U.S. forces stand down. That's how American military commanders see it. What does that mean for U.S. troops on the ground and at home. CNN's Jamie McIntyre reports.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN AMERICAN MORNING (voice over): Just as it's closing in on its stated goal of training and equipping 325,000 Iraqi security forces, the U.S. is moving the goal posts.

U.S. commanders are proposing a boost in the ranks of Iraqi army and police of at least 10 percent. And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is ready to sign off on the plan.

DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The Iraqi government and General Casey have made their recommendations, and General Dempsey, and that I am very comfortable with the increases they've proposed.

MCINTYRE: With more than 100 American military deaths in Iraq in October, the highest monthly total in nearly two years, and with 310,000 Iraqis now standing up, nearly all of the total of 325,000 that were thought required, it's increasingly clear it's not enough to allow U.S. troops to start standing down.

Last week, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said he needs at least 30,000 more troops just to cover Iraqi soldiers who are on vacation.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, CMDR., MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: The problem is, on one part, undermining. And the second part, is the leave policy of the Iraqi armed forces that puts about a quarter of the unit on leave at any one time.

MCINTYRE: While the traditional Iraqi troops require more training, the Pentagon insists that doesn't mean more U.S. trainers will have to be sent, or that the overall number of U.S. troops -- now roughly 150,000 -- will have to increase.

(On camera): What it does mean is that any significant reduction in U.S. troop levels will remain on hold indefinitely. And some troops are likely to see their tours of duty extended beyond one year. Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


HARRIS: Tonight, Rumsfeld under fire. Retired general demanding the resignation of the secretary of Defense on "Lou Dobbs Tonight", 6:00 Eastern, 3:00 Pacific. COLLINS: Bombs, bodies and bloodshed, a new month brings renewed terror to the Iraqi capital.

HARRIS: An election year flashback. President Bush/John Kerry facing off again. Could it have an impact on the 2006 campaign? A closer look ahead.

COLLINS: And election 2000 shadow hovers over a 2006 race. That's not all Katherine Harris has to worry about. A look at the Florida Senate battle right here in the NEWSROOM. Stick around everybody.


HARRIS: Too much Democratic payback, too little Republican support?

COLLINS: There may be two strikes against Katherine Harris as she tries to unseat Florida Senator Bill Nelson. CNN's John Zarrella following the race.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): Florida Senator Bill Nelson has good reason to be all smiles.

SEN. BILL NELSON, (D-FL): Holy smokes, you act like this is a big deal.

ZARRELLA: Nelson is cruising. A double-digit lead over his Republican challenger, high-profile, highly controversial Congresswoman Katherine Harris.

KATHERINE HARRIS, (R) FLORIDA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Floridians want someone that is going to keep government out of their business.

ZARRELLA: Harris was Florida's secretary of state during the bitterly disputed 2000 presidential election. And certified the vote for President George Bush while the vote count was still being contested.

HARRIS: I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes.

ZARRELLA: The issue has dogged her ever since. Many Democrats have held her personally responsible for Bush's victory. Harris is constantly defending her role.

HARRIS: There were so many poor reports that were completely false, when I know I followed the letter of the law, and I'm grateful for that.

ZARRELLA: But the Republican Party is far from grateful that she's in the race. Concerned she would galvanize Democrats, they discouraged her from running. The president's brother, Florida's Republican Governor Jeb Bush was blunt. GOV. JEB BUSH, (R) FLORIDA: We also already have a candidate in the race who is a good person. I just don't believe she can win.

ZARRELLA: But Harris refused to cave. She has said she would use millions of her own family money in the campaign.

SUSAN MACMANUS, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: The only thing that will really win it for Katherine Harris is a massively larger Republican turnout than Democratic turnout, and for all the Republicans who are wavering to vote a straight ticket and include her in it.

ZARRELLA: Analysts say Harris held her own in the first debate with Nelson. There were no fireworks. Both candidates agreed on many issues. They disagreed on whether the U.S. dependency on foreign oil could be muted by drilling in ANWR, the delicate Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

NELSON: It doesn't take a mathematical genius to understand you can't drill your way out of the problem.

HARRIS: If you were to take the entire area of ANWR and size up where we're going to drill, it's the equivalent of having a football field and putting a postage stamp in the middle of it.

ZARRELLA: Political experts say holding her own in debates won't do it. The lack of party support and the stigma of 2000 may simply be too much for Katherine Harris to overcome. John Zarrella, CNN, Davie, Florida.


COLLINS: CNN "Primetime" next Tuesday, beginning at 7 o'clock Eastern, Wolf, Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn and Lou Dobbs lead the best political team on television as your votes are counted. The races and results, Tuesday night beginning at 7:00.

Then CNN's election night coverage continues with a special edition of that man, "Larry King Live", midnight Eastern. You'll hear from winners and losers, across the country. Plus, expert analysis from the best political team on television.

HARRIS: You're with CNN. You're informed.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Tony Harris.

COLLINS: I'm Heidi Collins. Developments keep coming into the NEWSROOM on this Wednesday, November 1st.

Here's what's on the run down. It's hard to run with a foot in your mouth, especially when it belongs to somebody else. Democratic candidates speak out on the famous flubbed line flap.

HARRIS: That's pretty good.


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