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CNN NEWSROOM

Iraq: What Next?; Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Washington; Deputies Shot in South Florida; Nancy Pelosi May Need to Walk a Fine Line; Minimum Wage Debate

Aired November 12, 2006 - 16:59   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta.
You are in the NEWSROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: We need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Strong words this morning from the man who will soon head the Armed Services Committee. He issues a call to bring the troops home.

Plus, mounting pressure for a change in the national minimum wage. We'll debate that issue.

But first, a quick look at other stories making headlines.

Suicide bombers struck a police recruiting center in Baghdad today, killing at least 35 Iraqis. CNN's Arwa Damon reports an eruption of violence across the Iraqi capital left 50 people dead.

President Bush meets tomorrow with an advisory group on Iraq. The panel is studying options for possible changes of course. It's to make its recommendations by the end of the year.

A manhunt today in south Florida for an unidentified cop killer. Authorities say the killing occurred last night during a traffic stop in Broward County. A second sheriff's deputy was shot four times and wounded.

A memorial dedicated in New York today. Mayor Michael Bloomberg commemorated the victims of American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed five years ago today in Queens. The second deadliest crash in U.S. history to kill 265 people.

And this is one politician you won't see running -- for president, that is -- in 2008. Senator Russ Feingold says he won't join the race because he lacks the enthusiasm to run a campaign. The Wisconsin Democrat says instead he looks forward to advancing a "progressive agenda" in the new democratically-controlled Senate.

We'll begin in Iraq, where the Bush administration is studying options for change after all but conceding its policy is not working.

We'll have a live report from the White House in a few minutes. But we'll start in Baghdad, where President Bush's Iraqi counterpart now is calling for change within his government amid another eruption of violence.

Here is CNN's Arwa Damon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We don't know her name. We don't know who she is grieving for. All we know is her sorrow. Sorrow that many Iraqis have felt in the last three and a half years.

They are a people desperate for change. So far their young government hasn't been able to come up with a solution to the violence. It seems one of its largest obstacles itself.

MAHMOUD OTHMAN, IRAQI PARLIAMENT MEMBER: If they stay like this, not agreeing with each other, not working as a team, differences in between, goes out to media, as you have had, they can't do it. They will be very weak.

DAMON: Now the prime minister, seen by many as weak and beholden to radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is asking the parliament to allow him to make changes to the cabinet, saying this cabinet was not his choice.

NOURI AL-MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): And if it was my choice, I would have selected other than the current ministers, or at least some of them.

DAMON: Some say accepting a cabinet whose members don't all support him was his first mistake. And al-Maliki is running out of time.

OTHMAN: By the end of this year, if nothing changes and things deteriorate as they are doing -- as they are deteriorating by the day, I think unfortunately we may reach a point where we couldn't do much.

DAMON: The urgency highlighted by Sunday's attacks. In the capital alone, at least 50 Iraqis were killed in just five hours. The deadliest attack from twin suicide bombers, who detonated their explosives in a group of Iraqi police recruits, killing at least 35.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why? Why? Why? Recruits, explosive belt and mortars.

Why? It targeted the civilians who are about to be recruited.

DAMON: The agony in his voice expresses what many Iraqis feel.

(on camera): However potential cabinet changes play out, the move will test al-Maliki's ability to hold his nation together. And if he is able to choose his own ministers, his choices could shed light on where his own loyalties lie.

Awra Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: The wheels of change churning at the White House today as President Bush prepares to hear from the high-powered panel assigned to steer a new course on Iraq.

With that part of the story, here is CNN's Ed Henry -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Fred.

That's right. In fact, the Iraq Study Group will be here at the White House for a series of meetings at a time when the White House is looking to chart a new course.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY (voice over): In a sign of the new pressure President Bush will face from a Democratic Congress, the incoming chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee is demanding a dramatic shift in Iraq policy.

LEVIN: We need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months.

HENRY: A move supported by the new Senate majority leader.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: We would have to start redeployment in the next few months. So the exact time doesn't matter, but we're going to have to do it. It's important that we get the Iraq -- change -- the course of the war in Iraq change as soon as possible.

HENRY: The White House is still rejecting any fixed timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. But chief of staff Josh Bolten says the president is ready for a course adjustment.

JOSH BOLTEN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Nobody can be happy with the situation in Iraq right now. Everybody has been working hard. But what we have been doing has not worked well enough or fast enough. So it's clearly time to put fresh eyes on the problem.

HENRY: Those fresh eyes are most likely to come from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by Republican James Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton, who will consult with the president and his national security team at the White House Monday, and then soon deliver a bipartisan report.

BOLTEN: We're looking forward to the recommendations of the Baker- Hamilton bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and we're looking forward to a dialogue with bipartisan leaders in Congress.

HENRY: There has win wide speculation that Robert Gates, a former member of the Iraq Study Group, was tapped to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in order to implement the commission's findings. But former defense secretary William Cohen notes Gates and Baker were not always on the same page during their time together in the first Bush administration.

WILLIAM COHEN, FMR. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We ought to be careful about having too much irrational exuberance about the Baker commission coming forward with a consensus. It seems to me based on recent reports there is still some division in terms of how they should proceed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: Also trying to damp down speculation and expectations that the Iraq Study Group will find some sort of panacea. One senior official here declaring, "If there were some sort of a rifle shot solution, we would have already pulled the trigger" -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. And still speaking abut the U.S. relationship with the international community, let's talk about the U.N. and the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. Nomination still coming up. What are the prospects?

HENRY: Well, they're not looking good right now. The White House today once again reiterating they want John Bolton to get a full term as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. But Democrats on the Hill, as they get ready to take the reins of power in January, are saying the votes are just not there, they don't think the president should send him back up. So the bottom line here is that, for all the happy talk we saw last week on both sides of the aisle, this could be their real first collision course on what the priorities are of the new Congress and what the president's priorities are -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ed Henry, at the White House.

Thanks so much.

HENRY: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And a bit later, a discussion about the new options for Iraq with CNN military analyst Major David Grange. And it's General, actually, not Major. Sorry about that.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in Washington today. He is scheduled to have dinner with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in about an hour. And he'll meet with President Bush on Monday. Olmert comes to Washington following fighting between Israeli and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and continuing clashes with Palestinians in Gaza.

CNN's Paula Hancocks previews what Olmert hopes to accomplish.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The last time Israel's prime minister met America's president there were grand plans of dismantling Jewish settlements in the West Bank and serious talk of a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.

Six months on, things have changed. Israel's summer war with Hezbollah is perceived by much of the Israeli public as a defeat. And recent civilian deaths in Gaza are raising questions of excessive military action against Palestinians.

Olmert touches down in Washington with an approval rating of just 20 percent. And he'll be meeting George Bush just days after his Republican Party lost control of Congress.

ARI SHAVIT, POLITICAL ANALYST: This is a summit between two lame-duck leaders. One is at the end of his term, the other was just elected but already is in a miserable political situation.

HANCOCKS: Iran racing, towards nuclear capability, will doubtless be top of the agenda. But what can Bush and Olmert realistically achieve?

SHAVIT: Because they're so weak, because they both don't have an agenda, their ability to deal properly with Iran is very much damaged.

HANCOCKS: President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert are of the same mind. Iran cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. But it is a wider policy on the Middle East that the two leaders are challenged to develop.

AKIVA ELDAR, "HAARETZ" NEWSPAPER: The American people were sending a clear message to the president that they want to see a new policy in the Middle East. They want out of Iraq. Maybe they even they want to see Iran neutralized from nuclear capability. And that means also to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

HANCOCKS: Olmert once again offered to talk to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Any move towards talks with the Palestinians would guarantee a soft landing in Washington.

EHUD OLMERT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I passed him the message 20 times, I'm ready any time, any place, without preconditions, sit down and talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

OLMERT: And he will be surprised. He will be surprised when he'll sit with me of how far we are prepared to go.

HANCOCKS (on camera): And Olmert is also ratcheting up his anti-Iran rhetoric. In an interview with "Newsweek," he called President Ahmadinejad a man who has to be stopped, hinting at military action. But all tough talk aside, there are still political commentators who fear that this meeting could be just a photo opportunity.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Now "Going Global."

A Palestinian teenager has -- was, rather, killed, and at least one other hurt in an Israeli missile strike in northern Gaza. Israel defense forces say they were targeting militants firing rockets into Israel.

The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its military operations in Gaza. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, said the resolution was biased against Israel and politically motivated.

And U.N. peacekeeping forces are beefing up security in Congo's capital. The city has been shaken by gun battles as they await results from their historic October 29th presidential election. Official results are due within a week.

Is a rapid withdrawal from Iraq feasible? Even more importantly, is it wise? We'll pose those questions to retired general David Grange.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in the CNN weather center. Big storms on both coasts of the country, and big-time airport delays. If your destination is the Northeast, you won't want to miss our forecast.

That's coming up.

WHITFIELD: And big money for a kid's game -- rock, paper, scissors, shoot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: And this just in. New developments in a case of one sheriff deputy being shot and killed and another wounded during a routine traffic stop in south Florida.

On the phone now from WPLG is Glenna Milberg at the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Fort Lauderdale.

And so, Glenna, what is the latest?

GLENNA MILBERG, REPORTER, WPLG: Fredricka, hi.

We are waiting, actually, for Sheriff Ken Jenning (ph) to come out and give us the very latest. We last talked to him this morning. And it sounds like they may have somebody in custody. Right now there is a scene working a few miles from where I am.

Brian Tedford (ph) is the name of the deputy who was shot and killed this morning. He is 34 years old, a six-year veteran. He was actually working off duty as a security guard. He is a deputy, but he was doing an off-duty job for a condominium complex.

And to hear the sheriff tell it, he was pulling a car over on what they call a routine traffic stop, and went ahead and radioed for backup for some reason that we don't know right now. And that, again, also could be routine.

The backup that arrived was Deputy Cory Carbocci (ph), a 37-year-old, and also a three-year veteran of BSO, Broward Sheriff's Office. And according to the sheriff here, when the backup arrived, the people, person, or people in a white Chevy Geo they pulled over opened fire. Some of the residents in the area describe something that sounded like automatic weapons -- at least 12 to 15 shots. Brian Tedford (ph) was shot twice and he died. He died at the hospital.

Cory Carbocci (ph) was shot four times. He was wearing a bulletproof vest. And he did survive. He is expected to make a full recovery. And Broward Sheriff's deputies and his family have been at Broward General Medical Center, where he is, the better part of this day.

So right now there are so many questions as to who these people were, why were they in that condominium complex,why did Tedford (ph) need backup, and why was he not wearing a bulletproof vest on the job -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK. So, a couple of interesting things that you mentioned that I want to follow up on. The off-duty deputy, Tedford (ph), working as a security guard on the site at this condominium complex. So this routine traffic stop took place at that complex, at this condominium complex, or at least at a road nearby?

MILBERG: It appears that it was right there in the complex. And that's a very good point, because this is a -- sort of a complex in a sea of condominium complexes. It's a very residential area.

It's near major intersections, but in itself it is sort of a little complex of condominiums, residential areas. Each has maybe a guard gate. Not that it's patrolled or guarded, but just to -- to sort of see who goes in and out. It's open to the public. But it was within one of these little parking lot areas in front of a two or three-story condominium building that this car was pulled over.

You know, I have spoken to enough police officers to have them tell me that nothing is routine in police work, even a routine traffic stop is never considered routine. But this appears to be where they were pulled over. And, of course, why they were pulled over, was it a malfunctioning signal, was it a tag that was stolen? That we don't know yet.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, hopefully you will be able to get some new details there from the Broward County Sheriff's Department when they hold that press conference.

Glenna Milberg, thanks so much from WPLG.

In Iraq, a lot of changes could be on tap as the new Democratic Congress in this country takes over. Congressional Democrats say one of their first orders of business will be restoring power to the federal agency that weeds out waste and corruption in Iraq. The man in charge of that agency has taken a lot of flack for pointing out some very big problems in Iraq.

CNN's John Roberts spoke with him in this special report on "This Week at War."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Stuart, you had a couple of reports out recently, one that provincial reconstruction teams in only four of 13 provinces were able to operate effectively because of the security issues, and the other that 14,000 weapons had gone unaccounted for.

How does that happen?

STUART BOWEN, SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL: Well, the provincial reconstruction team program is the most important local governance capacity building program that the United States has. It's essential that it work and, indeed, it's working in many parts of Iraq right now. The security issue is an overlay that impedes much of our work here. But, nevertheless, notwithstanding that issue, we're making progress.

With respect to the weapons, sure, 4 percent were not accounted for. But 96 percent were. And accounting for 96 percent of anything in Iraq is an accomplishment.

ROBERTS: Right. But having 4 percent of the weapons that you're delivering to the Iraqi security forces going missing has got to be a concern.

BOWEN: Well, going missing is probably not how I would term it. We found that 96 percent were either issued to a troop or were accounted for in warehouses. We will continue to follow-up to see if we can account for the other 4 percent.

ROBERTS: But can you say that they're not on the streets of Baghdad or other places in Iraq in the hands of bad guys?

BOWEN: No, we can't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Well, let's get more on operations in Iraq.

Joining us with his take, CNN military analyst, retired Brigadier General David Grange.

Good to see you.

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, let's follow up on the point being made in that interview with Mr. Bowen.

These missing weapons, what -- what do you surmise as to whether they would ever be recovered or have they been absorbed into, say, the insurgency?

GRANGE: Well, I think it would be very difficult probably to recover them now since they don't know how they were lost. You know, maintaining security of movement of weapons and equipment, how it is transferred from coalition hands to Iraqi military or police hands, is probably a -- a very tough process anyway to keep accountability appropriately. So I doubt that would ever be recovered.

WHITFIELD: All right.

Lots of hope now being expressed in so many different ways about Iraq with the new defense secretary being appointed, with the new Congress, with new momentum for this country on addressing the issues of Iraq. Earlier today, Carl Levin said during ABC's "This Week" that there should be a phased -- phased pullout operation.

This is what he had to say earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: The first order of business, I believe, is to join hopefully with some Republicans who I think now will emerge to press the administration to change course in Iraq by telling the Iraqis that our presence there is not open-ended and that, as a matter of fact, we need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: What does that mean, a phased redeployment?

GRANGE: Well, the comment of moving out in four to six months, I don't know what we know on the ground now that is different than before that would tell us conditions are appropriately -- are appropriate to pull out in four to six months. So I disagree with that.

First of all, I don't think you should do it openly. That gives power to the -- our adversaries thinking that we have lost resolve, we have lost will, we are desperate.

I think, though, with Maliki it should be told to him that we can't continue on as is and that he has to start doing some things a little more aggressively, act like a commander-in-chief, like an Abraham Lincoln of Iraq, find some tough Iraqi generals and get on with it.

WHITFIELD: If there are dangers still that exist with this country talking about when any kind of phased pullout or redeployment would take place, might the same be said about the kind of potential dangers that would come form al-Maliki saying, you know what, I'm going to change my cabinet, I'm going to reorganize the government?

How potentially dangerous or crippling might that be?

GRANGE: Well, very dangerous. And that's -- that's one of the big issues. See, he is kind of at a crossroads, at a tipping point, and we need to support him as best we can, even if it's in a quiet manner, not openly. Like, you know, the "phased withdrawal" comments.

I think that he needs all of the moral support he can have right now, because he is kind of like the last hope right now unless some one moves in to take his place. And so we need to support him in this transition of Iraqi-led forces for security. WHITFIELD: General David Grange, thanks so much.

GRANGE: My pleasure.

WHITFIELD: All right.

In this country, at airports particularly in the Northeast, lots of delays. All because of rain, fog, and just overall bad weather.

Jacqui Jeras will bring us up to date on weather in the NEWSROOM.

And coming up later, meet Ralph. He's the size of a small bus, and he needs a physical. So, who is going to be able to do that for him?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: In headlines making news "Across America," we begin outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Police say five members of one family died in this traffic accident last night. The family's vehicle was hit by a pickup truck going the wrong way on Interstate 25. The truck's driver and one teenager in the family's car survived. Police suspect alcohol may be related.

The home front -- supporting troops on the front lines of war. This morning, a milestone for Operation USO Care Package. The group shipped off its one-millionth box of goodies for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And a mixed bag weather-wise across the lower 48 today. Rain is in the forecast for both coasts and for the nation's breadbasket. In the Northwest they're hoping for snow instead of more rain after flash flooding earlier in the week.

Jacqui Jeras has more on all of that -- Jacqui.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WHITFIELD: All right. Now on to CNN I-Report. We have more now on a story and a picture that probably captured your eye and heart.

You may recall this photo of a little Iraqi girl who witnessed her family's execution by insurgents. And she actually survived a bullet wound to her head. She would only sleep in the arms of Chief Master Sergeant John Gephardt (ph) at the U.S. Airbase in Balad.

Well, now we have learned that this little girl's name is Fatima (ph) and we've also learned that she's been reunited now with a cousin. And so while the majority of her family has been wiped out and she was left alone, she has now left the hospital and is joining some family members there in Iraq.

Well, if you'd like to provide some pictures just like that of little Fatima (ph), go to CNN.com. Send in an I-Report, and join the world's most powerful news team.

"Now in the News," a brutal day in Baghdad. Forty-nine Iraqis were killed within a five-hour period. Most of them by two suicide bombers. Police also found 22 bullet-riddled bodies around the capital, and three American soldiers and four British troops were killed in insurgent attacks this weekend.

Setting a timetable for a troop withdrawal in Iraq. That's what Democratic senator Carl Levin says must be done. Levin, who is expected to be the next chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the U.S. needs to redeploy forces in four to six months.

The future of Iraq is the focus of a meeting tomorrow between President Bush and members of the Iraq Study Group. The bipartisan panel is assessing the situation in Iraq and will release its recommendations on strategy options by the end of the year.

And you're looking at live pictures of the new and improved Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, Maryland. The first Catholic cathedral in the U.S. has undergone $32 million in renovations over the last two years. Well, today U.S. bishops from around the country gathered there for this special mass.

Well, her party cleaned up on Election Day. Coming up next in the NEWSROOM, can the sometimes fiery Nancy Pelosi lead the Democrats to legislative victories as well?

An early test of her power, the battle over minimum wage. Should it be raised across the country? Last week, six states voted for change.

And you remember this game. You played it as a kid, but at some point you probably got a little out of practice. Too bad. You could have been the international rock, paper, scissors champion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Incoming House speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a difficult balancing act as she takes on her new job. Not only will she have to work with Republicans, she is likely to find differences within her own party.

Gary Nurenberg reports on how she may need to walk a fine line.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): After the Tuesday night election elation, the presumptive speaker of the House put it simply to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The campaign, as I said, is over. We're ready to lead, prepared to govern, and look forward to working with them.

NURENBERG: Ready and willing. But able?

JOSEPHINE HEARN, "THE HILL" NEWSPAPER: I think she is going to face some tough tests.

NURENBERG: Josephine Hearn covers Congress for "The Hill" newspaper and knows Pelosi's Democratic majority is divided.

HEARN: She has the liberals of which she is one, and the conservative blue dogs, which often are not on the same page.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you a Nancy Pelosi Democrat?

HEATH SHULER (D), NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: You know, I don't like to classify...

NURENBERG: Heath Shuler opposes abortion rights, pro-gun, won in a conservative North Carolina district by convincing voters...

SHULER: You know, he's not like some of the national Democrats. You know? He is one of us.

NURENBERG: Pelosi says she will govern from the center.

HEARN: The Democrats are cognizant of the fact that they are now taking over the moderate territory and that they can't listen to the most liberal factions in the caucus.

RICHARD GEPHARDT (D), FMR. CONGRESSMAN: Our new speaker, Newt Gingrich.

NURENBERG: But old-line liberals who have been out of power since the Republican revolution of 1994 are likely to push Pelosi left.

HEARN: It will be the central test in her speakership, is whether she can hold the together.

NURENBERG (on camera): Because there is someone else in town who has experience keeping moderate and conservative Democrats happy. Someone who was governor of Texas when the legislature was run by Democrats like that.

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN COLUMNIST: The president knows how to reach out to them, knows how to talk the language, knows how to give them the things that they need to be successful.

NURENBERG (voice over): So if congressional Democratic leaders can't walk that fine line balancing competing demands of liberals and conservatives in their party...

GALEN: They may find that the White House has effectively undermined their authority with a significant number of their caucuses and been able to work with them around what we suspect will be the liberal wing of each the House and the Senate.

NURENBERG: A reminder the election was so last week.

GALEN: In Washington, politics never ends. Politics goes on forever.

NURENBERG: Something the speaker-to-be knows very well.

Gary Nurenberg, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: So a new Congress isn't the only thing that Americans voted on last week. There were also numerous state initiatives, including one on raising the minimum wage.

Six states voted to raise the minimum wage: Arizona, Montana, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada and Ohio. The national minimum wage has been $5.15 an hour for nine years now, bringing an annual salary of $10,000.

Will Tuesday's vote inspire other states to follow suit? And if so, would that be good for the economy and for the country?

Here to weigh in on all of that, Liana Fox, with the Economic Policy Institute.

Good to see you.

And Ivan Osorio, from the Competive Enterprise Institute.

Good to see you as well.

All right, Ivan. Let me begin with you. Six states voted in favor of raising the minimum wage. The message is: we want more, we need more money.

So does this mean that this helps a national campaign to raise the minimum wage, give it momentum?

IVAN OSORIO, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INST.: Well, it certainly does. And that's not a good trend at all, because, you know, there is no question about it. When you artificially rise the price of something, whether it be labor or anything else, you temper down demand for it. And again, if the states are doing this...

WHITFIELD: So, wait a minute. Let me just start off with one comment. You said it wouldn't be a good idea. It's not a good idea to pay people more?

OSORIO: Well, no. It's not a good idea to mandate wages. And you can't -- you can't just mandate higher salaries, basically.

WHITFIELD: It's a minimum.

OSORIO: Yes, exactly. But, at that level, these are basically entry level jobs. A lot of people working minimum wage are teenagers who are living with their parents. And ultimately, you end up with a -- what the economists call a blunt instrument that wouldn't help that many people. To not create, you know, great job loss, it would have to be very, very modest increases.

WHITFIELD: Interesting.

All right, Liana. Is that true? How do you respond. It wouldn't help that many people to raise the minimum wage and it wouldn't be fair, Ivan says, to have a mandate on raising the minimum wage. LIANA FOX, ECONOMIC POLICY INST.: Well, if we raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, that would help 14.9 million workers. That is a substantial portion of our population, of our workforce. And we have been mandating a wage force since 1938 with the establishment of the minimum wage. So this isn't anything new.

We are just trying to reinstate part of the bargaining floor. This is a wage floor. It's the bare minimum that you can pay workers. And this is something that we have been doing for -- for decades.

WHITFIELD: And if, Ivan, it would be so harmful to, say, the local economy, then why a resounding six states, all of which had this initiative on the ballot, all of them said we want it?

OSORIO: Well, it's a very easy issue for (INAUDIBLE) to demagogue because it's -- it's basically politicians can basically promise people benefits and not have to come up with the taxes to pay for them. The costs are all passed on to the private sector.

WHITFIELD: And so what's the damage of raising the minimum wage? I'm still not clear on what your point is on that?

OSORIO: Oh, basically, some very -- you know, entry level jobs at the margin just would not be created. Now, I'm not here to preach gloom and doom.

WHITFIELD: What does that mean?

OSORIO: Well, basically, a job that to an employer will be worth $6 an hour, if you raise it above that, that job would not be created. And these -- and these jobs are just not seen later on because they never come into existence. So, it's a cost that is invisible.

WHITFIELD: So, Liana, one argument has been raising the minimum wage hurts the economy. How do you respond to that?

FOX: The fact is, we have -- currently, we have 28 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have raised their minimum wages above the federal rate. And there have been studies looking at both this last increase, as well as the last federal increase. And we have found no evidence of job losses or economic harm.

The minimum wage at its lowest real value in over 50 years. I mean, this is -- we're talking about very modest increases. And, you know, we are seeing -- the wide majority of the public, 80 percent of the public supports this. Voters in six states overwhelmingly voted to raise minimum wages.

People know that you can't survive on a little under $11,000 a year.

WHITFIELD: And so is it your view that now that six states who had it on the ballot last week said yes, that perhaps there will be other states that will indeed follow suit?

FOX: Absolutely. I think that this is absolutely going to happen in more states. We'll see -- you know, they know that they can't survive on $5.15 an hour.

WHITFIELD: All right.

FOX: It's going to happen, I think, at the federal level. It's just time. I mean, we're...

WHITFIELD: All right.

Quickly -- quickly, Ivan, last word then on that prospect if that were the case.

OSORIO: Well as far as the mechanism, if you are going to have this, it's preferable for the states to do it rather than the federal level because the cost of living varies widely across the country.

WHITFIELD: All right. So leave it up to the states.

Ivan Osorio, Liana Fox, thanks so much for your time.

FOX: Thank you.

OSORIO: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we have heard what Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats want to do. But can they do any of it? A reality check coming up next.

And later, go swimming with the world's largest shark. Don't worry, Ralph does not bite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Well, for months Republicans have been telling Americans that terrible things would happen if the Democrats got control of Congress. And the Democrats said the country would be worse off if the Democrats didn't get control of Congress.

A lot of the nastiness was just political trash talk. But what can we expect from the new Congress?

CNN Joshua Levs is here with a CNN reality check.

JOSHUA LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. That's what we wanted to take a look at.

You know, it's an election staple at this point. It's almost an election golden oldie. The parties will battle leading up to election talking about what will happen if there is a shift of power in Congress.

It always happens. But this year is different because there is actually going to be that shift of power.

So what we wanted to do here was get past all that spin, take a step back, look at what each side was saying would happen if the Democrats got control of Congress, and then we are going to compare that to what we are learning now about the reality to come. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEVS (voice over): A top GOP talking point leading up to the elections...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm convinced that your taxes go up when Democrats win.

LEVS: And the other big one...

REP. PETER HOEKSTRA (R), MICHIGAN: It is cut and run in Iraq.

LEVS: Now that the political tide has turned, will those things happen? First, let's look at taxes.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: In terms of taxes citizens making $75,000, $100,000 a year are going to make, no, they're not going to go up.

LEVS: Tax cuts for the wealthiest expire in 2010, and the Democrats are making no promises.

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: There's a lot that has to be done before then, and what happens with the war, to a large extent, will determine our resources.

LEVS: And how will Democrats handle the war?

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: We don't believe that we ought to cut and run, as the president was so fond of saying. We believe that we need to stabilize the situation and leave in a thoughtful, gradual way.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: We would not withhold our funding for the troops there.

LEVS: What are the Democrats going to do? Their main campaign slogan wasn't exactly specific.

BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATOR-ELECT: It's about time that politicians in Washington were held accountable on Iraq. And that's part of the new direction.

BUSH: After a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.

LEVS: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's departure may be a sign of the changing politics, but it doesn't automatically mean changes in Iraq. And the Democrats acknowledge they can't force a new direction.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You can make recommendations, basically...

PELOSI: Yes.

BLITZER: ... but there's not much more. If you're not going to use the power of the purse, there's not much more you can do. You can do some oversight.

PELOSI: Well, the oversight will be very important because then the truth would be revealed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEVS: And Fred, as you can hear there, the Democrats are not revealing a specific plan that they can push through Congress that will actually change what is on the ground in Iraq.

There are a lot of ideas that are being brought forward. The Democrats are talking about holding hearings, holding people accountable, which they think can ultimately make a difference.

They're also talking about holding some sort of large international summit at which different ideas could be addressed, could be presented. There is also a lot of support for something called strategic redeployment, which basically means taking U.S. troops in the region and fanning them out outside of Iraq, but keeping them in the Middle East. That could have the effect of decreasing some of the flow of insurgents or terrorists into Iraq and also allowing the Iraqi forces themselves to take more control.

All that said, it's still a big question mark. You know, a lot of Democrats were voted in this year based on what they're not. So in January they're going to have to show what they are.

WHITFIELD: Interesting political season. And it's not over yet.

Joshua, thank you so much.

LEVS: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: And this just in. More information on that fatal shooting last night involving a sheriff's deputy and the wounding of another police officer in south Florida.

Well, apparently our affiliate, WPLG, there in Miami, is learning that one suspect is in custody and two more are at large. Police are continuing to conduct this investigation. This shooting of the deputy, the killing of the deputy and the wounding of another all taking place after a routine traffic stop there in south Florida in Broward County.

More on that when we get it.

Meantime, Carol Lin is here with a preview of what's ahead with more in the NEWSROOM.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We've got a lot of interesting stories, hard news stories. But the one that my whole team is talking about is the hunt...

WHITFIELD: The little -- I'm sorry. I'm going to steal your thunder. What?

LIN: No. I can't follow that. You mean the follow-up on the Iraqi girl?

WHITFIELD: Yes. You did it last night.

LIN: Yes. Thank you so much. It wasn't Gephardt (ph) -- Chief Gephardt (ph), terrific.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

LIN: But anyway, the other story that we are following...

WHITFIELD: Sorry about that.

LIN: ... at 10:00 is the hunt for Big Foot. Cannot compare with the little Iraqi girl.

WHITFIELD: Oh, OK.

LIN: But Sasquatch appears to have been spotted, at least by one man claiming that he saw a seven-foot hairy figure reaching into the back of his truck in Wisconsin.

WHITFIELD: OK.

LIN: You are making this very difficult on me.

WHITFIELD: You are doing so well though.

LIN: But there is this whole -- there's all this folklore. And I just found a Web site where you can actually report your sightings of Sasquatch. But not a lot of the people so far that the reporter has talked to actually believes this man.

It was 1:00 in the morning. But he is standing by his story.

WHITFIELD: OK. It's fun. I like it.

LIN: There you go.

WHITFIELD: We'll be watching. Sorry about that, Carol.

You handled it well, though, I must say.

LIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, loosen up your fingers, folks.

You remember playing this, right, Carol? Rock, paper, scissors?

LIN: What is that? Oh, yes.

WHITFIELD: Oh, yes. There's a champ.

LIN: Awesome.

WHITFIELD: Did you know it was an international sport?

LIN: Over the age of 12?

WHITFIELD: All right.

Well, we're also going to bring you back here to Atlanta, Georgia, where Ralph the whale shark has been to the doctor.

How do you treat a whale shark?

LIN: Very carefully.

WHITFIELD: Very carefully.

All of that in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. With me now -- rock, paper, scissors, three words every kid knows. And these adults have mastered it as well. You are looking at the rock, paper, scissors world championship. Bet you didn't know there was one.

Well, it was held this weekend in Toronto. The winner, a 28-year-old British man. He took home a trophy and a medal and over $6,000 in cash.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WHITFIELD: And "LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK" is up next right here on CNN.

And I'll be back with a quick look at the headlines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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