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CNN NEWSROOM

John McCain Launches Presidential Exploratory Committee; Russia Limits Number of Migrant Workers; Professor Don Dutton Discusses O.J. Simpson Book

Aired November 16, 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: A battered South -- debris can be seen for miles, uprooted trees, splintered power lines, smashed cars, flattened homes, from Louisiana to North Carolina.
In at least two states, the violent storms were deadly. One person was killed in Louisiana, at least seven in North Carolina.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And, of course, the pictures tell the story, homes obliterated one by one, debris scattered for miles.

A tornado roared through the tiny town -- the North Carolina town of Riegelwood, North Carolina, early this morning. At least seven people are dead, 20 others hospitalized. And, for now, roads into that town remain to emergency crews only, as no one else can get in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MIKE EASLEY (D), NORTH CAROLINA: It appears that the tornado touched down in a mobile home and modular home area, and damaged some 30 to 40 homes there, came back up, crossed the highway, and then leveled, I think -- the last count I got was three brick homes across the highway.

So, they're still having to deal with that on Highway 87. That's another reason why it can't be reopened right now. Those houses are right on the highway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And the governor hasn't issued a disaster declaration yet. He says he wants to wait until the damage has been fully accessed.

PHILLIPS: No doubt about it -- experts confirm a tornado touched down yesterday in Montgomery, Alabama yesterday. One building collapsed with 35 people inside, most of them preschoolers.

CNN's David Mattingly reports, the staff is being hailed at heroes today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alabama Governor Bob Riley touring the wreckage in Montgomery, Alabama, today, coming away with the same impressions just about everyone has the first time they see it. He was humbled by the power of this storm, and amazed that everyone got out of the building alive.

A lot of credit is going to the staff of the day care, where 31 children at the time of the storm were inside. The staff took the children to safe portions of the building, and had them huddled down during the storm. That move helped save their lives. And the governor said it helps to be prepared.

GOV. BOB RILEY (R), ALABAMA: One thing that I gathered from this, more than anything else, if you have a plan, and you work that plan, you can save lives.

What Liberty Duke (ph) and her staff did out here was truly incredible yesterday.

MATTINGLY: Of the 31 children inside the building at the time of the storm, not one was seriously injured.

The National Weather Service has determined it was, indeed, a tornado that destroyed this building, with wind speeds approaching 150 miles per hour.

David Mattingly, CNN, Montgomery, Alabama.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Take a look now, live pictures of Columbus County, North Carolina, as we bring in our Reynolds Wolf to tell us about this.

But that's live pictures, Columbia County, North Carolina. At last check, when we checked in with the governor there, Mike Easley, he said there had been seven facilities, four people still unaccounted for, and many injuries, some severe, some not so severe.

Why don't we bring in our Reynolds Wolf now -- it's not over yet -- to tell us what is going on -- Reynolds.

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, the key this is, it really could have been much worse than this.

The original warning from the National Weather Service came down at 6:29 this morning out of Wilmington, North Carolina, telling people that that region, that area -- that would be, again, eastern Columbus County in southeast North Carolina -- was under that warning. That warning extended to about 7:15.

If I'm not mistaken, the tornado touchdown was right around 7:00 or so. And you saw how quickly it did that kind of damage. The great thing about the warning system that we have in that part of the world is, years ago, you have to remember, 10, 15 years ago, the only way that they would release warnings is if there was visual confirmation of a tornado -- of a tornado.

But, since then, what they do now is, Doppler radars are configured so that they can detect rotation with some of these storms, some of these supercells. So, they go ahead and they pop up the warnings long before a tornado is seen. Just if the storm has that capability, they will go ahead and announce the warning.

At this time, we have a tornado watch that is in effect, not for parts of the Carolinas, but now moving on to the Eastern Seaboard, from Baltimore back up to Philadelphia.

That watch is going to remain in effect until 6:00. At this time, we do not have any warnings posted, but we do have the threat of some flooding. And the reason why is because, although this storm system is moving from west to east, these individual cells, or pockets of severe weather, are moving from south to north, over the same area, again and again.

We refer to that in meteorology as the training effect. And, so, you have places like Reisterstown or Lancaster that has already been inundated with plenty of water. Some places south of the D.C. area, in Prince William County, have had over two inches of rainfall. With more rain on the way, the ground can only absorb so much, and then the rest is going to be runoff. And that is going to cause some issues.

Already, parts of -- let's see -- eastern Pennsylvania, and back up to New York, even into Boston, they're going to be under a flood watch through much of the evening, because this system, again, as I mentioned is expected to move from the Great Lakes, back over to New England.

And it does appear that it's being primarily a rain event the farther north you go. But, still, even though we don't have any warnings in effect along the mid-Atlantic states, there is going to be that threat of tornadoes, at least, I would say, until 5:00 or 6:00. That's the latest we have.

LEMON: All right, Reynolds...

WOLF: You bet.

LEMON: ... thank you so much for that.

PHILLIPS: Well, bitter battles are nothing on Capitol Hill, but they usually don't erupt among senior members of the same party, and not within days of a major party triumph.

House Democrats have been basking in the glow of last week's elections. Nancy Pelosi was a shoo-in today, as the caucus chose a speaker for the 110th Congress. But some of that glow surely faded in that race for incoming majority leader.

Our congressional correspondent, Andrea Koppel, joins us with more.

She supported Murtha, but that's not who got it.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. It was -- And it wasn't even close, Kyra. It was a vote of 149-86 -- Maryland's Steny Hoyer soundly defeating Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha for the position of majority leader, the second-ranking position after speaker of the House. And, as you mentioned, you know, earlier this week, we saw Nancy Pelosi, who surprised a lot of folks when she went very public with her support for John Murtha, who is a close friend of hers for about the last 20 years, over Steny Hoyer, who has been, really, her number two for the last four years.

As one Democratic lawmaker who was inside and who was a Hoyer supporter told me, he said, the tension, it was so tense in there, that you could of cut it with a knife. Nevertheless, now that the voting is over, and now that Hoyer has won, we saw both Pelosi and Hoyer standing side by side.

Even though this is a loss for Murtha, it is also a blow to Pelosi. But she tried to put a positive face, both on her defeat and on the success of Murtha's rival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: As I said, Steny came out a big winner today. It was a stunning victory for him.

We have had our debates. We have had our disagreements in that room. And, now, that is over. As I said to my colleagues, let the -- as we say in church, let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with us. Let the healing begin.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER-ELECT: We may have, as everybody standing here, may have differences from time to time, but the Republicans need to know, the president needs to know, and the country needs to know, our caucus is unified today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOPPEL: This was a big victory for Steny Hoyer, who, for the last four years, has served as the vote-counting whip.

And, in fact, Kyra, that's one of the reasons that a number of Hoyer's supporters said that they wanted to support him, because this has been now a very successful leadership team, with Nancy Pelosi and Hoyer for the last four years. And they were able to keep their caucus together about 80 percent of the time during previous votes. And they want that to carry over into the 110th Congress -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, now it will be interesting to see what happens on the Republican side, right?

KOPPEL: That's right.

Tomorrow, the House Republican leaders will now take their vote for their minority leadership positions.

And the race that has a lot of folks talking is the one between the current majority leader, John Boehner, against Mike Pence of Indiana, who serves right now as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which is really the gathering point for all the fiscally conservative, socially conservative Republicans in the House. And most people that you talk to in the hallways believe that John Boehner has the votes. Nevertheless, Mike Pence is also declaring that he has a lot of supporters behind him as well. It's a secret ballot, Kyra, so we won't know until tomorrow.

PHILLIPS: All right, Andrea Koppel, on the Hill, look forward to it.

LEMON: A hero in war, a maverick in politics, can he find a home in the White House? Arizona Senator John McCain takes a first official step in a possible second presidential bid.

Here is CNN's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To the surprise of nearly no one, John McCain has officially made it not quite official. With the launch of a Web site, word from his PAC, and a letter to supporters, McCain let it be known that Thursday he will file papers to launch a presidential exploratory committee.

Amidst the to-do about '08, McCain was dealing with the shadow of '06 at hearings with General John Abizaid, who oversees U.S. forces in the Mideast.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I regret deeply that you seem to think that the status quo and the rate of progress we're making is acceptable. I think most Americans do not.

GENERAL JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: Well, Senator, I agree with you. The status quo is not acceptable.

CROWLEY: As he approaches '08, McCain will need to align his more-troops-in-Iraq position with an anti-war electorate.

MCCAIN: Which way we going?

CROWLEY: A hero in war, and a maverick in politics, the senator and his Straight Talk Express were the hit, if not the winner, of the 2000 election.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

CROWLEY: He briefly rocked George Bush's world with a huge primary win in New Hampshire.

For several years after his loss in the 2000 primaries, McCain didn't seem hugely interested in an encore. Capturing lightning in a bottle twice, he said, would be difficult. But the bug is hard to shake.

In the past couple of years, McCain began to lay the groundwork. He made up with conservative Christians he offended in 2000. He courted Bush donors.

MCCAIN: Eight out of 10 major issues, David and I are in basic agreement. But, in philosophy, we're in total agreement.

CROWLEY: McCain was tireless in '06. And he kept track, 346 events, 138,000 flying miles, over $10.5 million raised on behalf of Republican candidates, raising money, campaigning, picking up chits; '08 is not so far away, not if you're a candidate who thinks maybe you can capture lightning in a bottle twice.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: All right.

And, as we have been getting continuous information into us about the tornado that ripped through North Carolina, live pictures once again from our affiliate WTVD, Columbus County, North Carolina.

We have been updating you on the injuries, in addition to the seven deaths so far, as this tornado has gone through this area.

Dawn Jenkins on the phone with us now, Columbus Regional Health Center -- or Health Care System.

Dawn, bring us up to date. Are there more deaths? And, also, are the four individuals still unaccounted for? And are 20 injures, is that still the correct number?

DAWN JENKINS, COLUMBUS REGIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM: I can tell you that we have received seven fatalities here at our hospital.

I'm not sure, throughout Columbus County, what the exact total is. But I know, here at Columbus Regional, we have received seven fatalities.

PHILLIPS: What about the injuries? What type of injuries did these individuals sustain?

JENKINS: As far as the fatalities?

PHILLIPS: No -- yes.

JENKINS: Well, we have had seven tornado victims presenting to our emergency room. Those...

(CROSSTALK)

JENKINS: Those do not include the fatalities.

PHILLIPS: OK. OK.

JENKINS: The seven victims that have presented to our emergency room have included injuries such as head trauma, lacerations, broken bones.

PHILLIPS: Are you still -- are more people still coming into the hospital?

JENKINS: At this time, we are not receiving any more patients. As -- they're still -- I understand, there is still search and rescue out there. And, as patients are being found, they may be brought in. But the numbers that I have, have not changed in the past few hours.

PHILLIPS: Now, we have seen a lot of destruction in the area. We have seen -- we have heard about the power lines that have been knocked down. Has that affected the health care system at all, or are you up and running 100 percent?

JENKINS: We are up and running 100 percent. We have had no interruptions in our service here.

PHILLIPS: So, you have no needs with regard to how to -- how to treat victims coming in?

JENKINS: No, ma'am.

PHILLIPS: OK.

JENKINS: We're good.

PHILLIPS: Dawn Jenkins, anything else that we need to update our viewers on? Has -- has each person been accounted for? Do you know their names? Have they been -- have you been able to contact relatives?

JENKINS: We're still in the process of contacting family, but they all have been accounted for. They have all been identified.

PHILLIPS: OK, Dawn Jenkins, Columbus Regional Health Care System, appreciate it.

JENKINS: Thank you.

LEMON: Immigration laws, guest workers, battle lines over borders -- not in America, but Russia, where new and controversial policies are aiming to preserve the Russian way of life -- a live report from Moscow straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Two days later, confusion still surrounds a daylight kidnapping of dozens of people from a government compound in Baghdad.

CNN's Arwa Damon reports, the case is emblematic of the problems now plaguing Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over two days after a mass kidnapping at a building belonging to Iraq's Ministry of Higher Education, there are still conflicting reports as to how many Iraqis were originally kidnapped and how many have been released. What we do know from an aide to the minister is that, whilst in captivity, some people were tortured. Now, this incident has become politicized for the Iraqi government. In many ways, it underscores a number of problems that they face, mass kidnappings by individuals that are disguising themselves as Iraqi security forces, militias infiltrating the police, and an Iraqi government, right now, that is largely unable to secure its people.

Earlier today, a number of attacks in the capital, Baghdad, killed at least 15 Iraqis. At about 7:00 in the morning, armed gunmen stormed a bakery and opened fire, killing nine Iraqis in that attack. Later on, on a main Baghdad street, a car bomb exploded, killing at least two Iraqis, wounding another five.

And Iraqi police continue to discover more and more bodies. Thirty-five were found in a 24-hour time period, believed to be the country's latest victims of sectarian violence.

The U.S. military has also announced four more deaths of U.S. servicemen here, bringing the total this month to 45. For many of those that are on the ground in Iraq, there is little hope that the future is going to bring better and more peaceful days.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Well, from Cold War allies, the cold shoulder treatment -- Russia is getting -- or setting, rather, new limits on the number of workers it will let in from former Soviet republics.

CNN's Ryan Chilcote is live now in Moscow with more.

RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, this new law announced by the Russian president will ban migrant workers from working in Russia's markets.

A large number of Russian still get their groceries, their vegetables, their meat, at open-air markets that look a lot like flea markets in the United States. Now, this -- these markets, the labor force at them is almost exclusively compromised usually by migrant workers. The whole idea of the law is to -- is to bar them from working at the market, so -- officials say, so that those jobs can be taken by Russians, by the native population -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So, I understand there is also an initiative that would restrict the number of foreigners in any given region in Russia. What's that all about?

CHILCOTE: That's right. That initiative is -- is not a law yet. It is one that is just being floated.

But, essentially, it would put a cap, or a number, on the amount of foreigners that could live in any particular region, so that they would not exceed about 20 percent of the population there. As one Russian migration official put it, what Russia doesn't want to see is any Chinatowns, as he -- and he said that Russia is prepared to prevent them from taking shape, and dissolve them where they already exist -- again, Russian officials saying the idea is to preserve the way of life of ethnic Russians -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Now, we talked about this mood of xenophobia in Russia back in the spring. What has changed since then?

CHILCOTE: Well, what's new is that nationalism and, to a very large extent, xenophobia appears to be making its way into greater Russian population.

I attended a demonstration about two weeks ago that was called Russian March. I think we have some video from it. The whole idea of the march was to demonstrate Russian nationalism. The people that were taking part in it shouted, "Russia for ethnic Russians."

It was attended by a few thousand people, but the slogan "Russia for Russians" is one that is really supported by, according to the polls, just over half the Russian population.

The other thing that is new is that the racially motivated violence that we talked about in the spring is only getting worse. There -- already, in the first 10 months of this year, there have already been more than 40 racially motivated murders, about 300 people wounded.

And a lot of these attacks are much grander in the scale than those we saw earlier. If it -- it used to be just skinhead gangs attacking one individual, one lone individual. What we're seeing now are larger attacks, like just within the last month, basically ethnically, racially motivated clashes.

There was a clash in one city called Kondopoga, in the north of Russia, where a group of ethnic Russians rioted, and basically forced the migrant workers out of their city. And, then, just a month before that, one other very striking example, there was an attack on one of those open-air markets, the police say, that was carried out by skinheads, who decided that that open-air market had just become too Asian -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And we have talked about the skinhead problem time and time again. You have investigated that. Do you think there has been any progress with knocking out these -- these hate crimes and these hate groups?

CHILCOTE: There has been a little bit of progress.

The last time, we focused on Russia's second city, Saint Petersburg. That's where I had followed one skinhead group. There, the skinhead groups that I have spoken with recently tell me that the police are pursuing them more vigorously. And, so, it's more difficult for them to operate in -- in -- inside that city.

But, just outside the city, where the police are not as active, it's -- it is difficult. And, here in Moscow, they are very active -- more than a dozen murders in this city alone.

The bottom line is that a lot of people will tell you, a lot of the human rights workers, a lot of the migration officials that are watching this situation, is that the Russian government appears to have started a little too late in -- in dealing with it.

According to official estimates, there are about 10,000 skinheads in Russia. According to the human rights experts, there are about 50,000, all of them gang members, a lot of them bent on committing racially motivated murders.

PHILLIPS: Ryan Chilcote...

CHILCOTE: Kyra.

PHILLIPS: ... we will follow it. Thanks.

LEMON: Well, you have heard the saying there is no such thing as bad publicity? Is there really no such thing as bad publicity? Pushing that concept to its limits, O.J. Simpson with a new book titled "If I Did It."

We will break down the controversy next in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: I'm just now -- Kyra was telling me -- just now figuring out what to TomKat means. It means Tom and Katie.

PHILLIPS: Tom and Katie.

LEMON: I'm like, why do they call them TomKat?

PHILLIPS: It's like Brangelina or whatever...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: All right.

PHILLIPS: Yes.

LEMON: A little slow today.

PHILLIPS: What would Kyra and Don be?

LEMON: KyrDon. DoKyr. I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: I think we better move on.

LEMON: The countdown is on...

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: ... for the wedding of the year, the TomKat nuptials in Rome.

And how about Emmitt Smith? Man, he was moving, showing his softer side and his dancing side on "Dancing With the Stars" last night. Was it enough to make him MVP?

"SHOWBIZ TONIGHT"'s Sibila Vargas joins us now with the latest from the entertainment world.

He was moving, wasn't he?

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: He was. And, you know...

LEMON: He's a good dancer.

VARGAS: Very good dancer.

Are you? Can you Macarena with the best of them?

LEMON: No. I did a dancing with...

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Salsa.

LEMON: ... local celebrities in my old station. And...

VARGAS: Oh, he's a salsa dancer.

LEMON: ... I was not good.

PHILLIPS: Yes, he's a good salsa dancer.

LEMON: Not good.

VARGAS: Nice. OK.

Well, there's a new champ in town, though.

(LAUGHTER)

VARGAS: And now you can officially call him the king of the ballroom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DANCING WITH THE STARS")

TOM BERGERON, HOST: After 10 weeks of competition, we will now reveal the winners and new champions of "Dancing with the Stars," Emmitt and Cheryl.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: The three-time Super Bowl champion has a new trophy for his mantel. Emmitt Smith and his professional partner and last season's winner, Cheryl Burke, danced their way to victory last night, sending dimpled-faced Mario Lopez home empty-handed.

The entire "Dancing With the Stars" cast was back for the final season. And judges had the competition tied. But, in the end, viewers couldn't resist Smith's hard work and endearing smile.

You got to love that smile. And you got to love how big he is.

(CROSSTALK)

VARGAS: And I know you will be happy to know that the show and all three judges will be back for a fourth season. So, it's not too late to get your name in the running. And that includes you, Kyra, and, you, Don.

LEMON: I don't know about that.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: But I do know my mom kept calling me last night. She like: "I voted five times for Emmitt. I want Emmitt to win."

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: So, there you go.

What do you -- I want to know about your big invitation to the big wedding in...

(LAUGHTER)

VARGAS: Still waiting for it. Still waiting for it.

And I know we were talking about George Clooney yesterday. And I don't know if he's invited.

But, George, if you're watching this show right now, you need a date, I'm there for you.

(LAUGHTER)

VARGAS: But, yes, as I said, no sign of it yet.

But I can tell you who did receive their invitation, though. How's that saying go? When, in Rome, do as TomKat does? Well, that hasn't been a problem, as the couple's pending nuptials have turned Rome into a celebrity hotbed.

Jim Carrey, J.Lo and hub Marc Anthony, along with Jada Pinkett Smith, were all spotted at the Italian capital's airport this morning. Even Brooke Shields was there, confirming that she and the groom have indeed put an end to that highly publicized feud.

Of course, along with the stars come the paparazzi, and big bucks. The Bracciano city hall is reportedly renting out windows of a nearby building with a castle view for $1,280. Well, a private terrace overlooking the likely wedding party route was snatched up by a TV news agency for -- get this -- $128,000. Ka-ching.

But, despite media frenzy, it appears that TomKat's big day is coming without a hitch -- so, good news for them.

LEMON: Yes, good news for them.

And we were laughing. You had no idea what's going on here, but Kyra and I were saying the stock question is, did you get your invitation yet? We have been saying.

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: No. Must be lost in the mail.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Must be lost in the mail.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: ... use that question. And the other one responds with the same answer.

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: We're so original.

VARGAS: They should invite you, guys, though. But you at you guys, look great.

LEMON: Oh.

VARGAS: You guys would make a nice couple out there in Italy.

LEMON: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: ... buy a new dress...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Thank you. Maybe we should do dancing with the CNN, you know...

PHILLIPS: Anyway.

VARGAS: Yes, because I know Kyra is really good.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Let's talk about Warren Beatty. Got some good news from the Hollywood Foreign Press? VARGAS: He sure did.

Now, he wasn't invited to the wedding -- or, at least, I don't think so, but I do know one event that he will be invited to attend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CAAN, ACTOR: Well, it is my privilege to announce this year's recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, my friend and, as he's reminded me many times, my idol, Warren Beatty.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: Actor James Caan did the honor yesterday, announcing his good pal, screen legend Warren Beatty, as this year's recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

The 69-year-old actor, writer, and director will be honored at next January's Golden Globe Awards ceremony with a lifetime achievement honor.

During his nearly 50-year career in showbiz, Beatty has won five Golden Globes and was named the most promising newcomer by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association way back in 1962. And he was quite a cutie back then.

Previous winners of the Cecil B. DeMille Award include Anthony Hopkins, Robin Williams and Michael Douglas just to name a few, so lots of good company there for Beatty.

And speaking of good company, be sure to join us tonight on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" where we'll have more on the shocking interview with O.J. Simpson. Has he gone too far? Tonight, the outrage grows over the TV show that features O.J. telling how he theoretically could have killed his ex-wife. Should the show be canceled? A heated debate on TV's most provocative entertainment news program, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," 11:00 p.m. Eastern on Headline Prime. Thank you guys.

LEMON: We'll be watching, Sibila Vargas. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Well, as the Rolling Stones say, "you can't always get what you want." That may apply to the gifts that you're giving and getting this holiday season.

Susan Lisovicz live from the New York Stock Exchange to give us a little more -- Susan.

(MARKET REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead to the newsroom.

Carol Lin, a developing story on Iraq? CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. An arrest warrant has been issued by the Shiite-dominated government, the Interior Ministry, calling for the arrest of the top Sunni cleric in that country. This is what the Interior Ministry says about Harith al-Dari, that al-Dari had mocked a government reconciliation offer, that he is accused of inciting sectarian and ethnic sedition. He has been called a hard- liner but nothing to do but cite this sedition.

Now, al-Dari travels pretty freely, Don. He was last believed to be, according to the Associated Press, in Jordan at the time of this arrest warrant being issued.

But the larger question here is how will this arrest warrant affect the ethnic strife, the national tension that is ongoing on the ground that some are already calling an ethnic war, a civil war in that country. But the Interior Ministry firing a shot across the bow and demanding the Sunni cleric's arrest.

LEMON: All right, Carol, thank you so much for that.

We're going to stick with this news about Iraq. More Marines to Iraq -- as many as 2,200 -- will set foot soon in Anbar province, one of Iraq's most volatile and violent areas. They are part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Pendleton, California. They will deploy from ships in the Persian Gulf.

PHILLIPS: Overdue confession or crass commercialism? Either way, O.J. Simpson's soon-to-be-released book, "If I Did It," and the surrounding hoopla are drawing all the controversy and contempt that you would expect; It's Simpson's supposedly hypothetical look at the 1994 murders of his wife, Nicole, and waiter Ron Goldman. Now, last night on "LARRY KING LIVE" Goldman's father was typically blunt about the project and Simpson's upcoming television interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED GOLDMAN, VICTIM'S FATHER: Appalled. I don't know other -- there were a lot of other words but none of them we want to use on TV. It was amazing to me that this whole thing has gotten as far as it's gotten.

Nothing would surprise me that this SOB would do, but the fact that someone is willing to public this garbage, that Fox is willing to put it on air, is just morally despicable to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: So why did Simpson do it? Write the book, that is?

Don Dutton is a psychology at Canada's University of British Columbia who testified for the prosecution at Simpson's pretrial hearing. He is also very familiar with the civil trial.

Dr. Dutton, why do you think he's doing this? Why is O.J. writing the book? PROF. DON DUTTON, UNIV. OF BRITISH COLUMBIA: Well, I can tell you why he's not doing it. He's not doing it because of guilt because he was capable of rationalizing anything from cheating at golf up to a double homicide. I think he is more likely doing it because of his personality, which is narcissistic, has a sense of entitlement and this is the limelight, to a certain extend. And having a little bit of money on the side probably doesn't hurt either.

PHILLIPS: So his publisher, Judith Regan, says this is "an historic case and I consider this his confession." Do you consider this his confession?

DUTTON: I would call it a quasi-confession. It's an oblique confession. He says if I did it. And killers sometimes do this. You know, Ted Bundy did the same thing. He talked about several homicides that he had not confessed to in the third person.

And when he was asked about them, he said, well, the killer would have done this or the killer would have done that and that is kind of what O.J. is saying here. If I had done it, I might have done it this way so it's really a quasi-confession and I don't think he has got enough guilt to really confess.

PHILLIPS: So getting into sort of the psychological aspect, you say he doesn't have enough guilt to confess. Interesting, because I think it was almost 10 years ago, I remember having the discussion with a couple of psychiatrists and psychologists saying, look, if, indeed, he did this, he will eventually want to get it out. His demons will be swirling inside of him and he'll want to come forward in some way and just get it off his chest. Do you agree with that?

DUTTON: No, I don't agree with that. I think he's too the good at rationalizing. Like I said before, I think he's a world-class rationalizer. And I think what he is doing here is titillating the public with a quasi confession, which is the last thing he's got to sell, and that's the if I did it part.

PHILLIPS: We've got just one clip of the interview that he did about his book. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The interview that will shock the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wrote I have never seen so much blood in my life.

O.J. SIMPSON, AUTHOR: I don't think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood.

ANNOUNCER: O.J. Simpson, "If I Did It, Here Is How It Happened."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: When you look at his eyes, when you listen to him, when you hear the way he talks, does it bring back memories from when you were in the courtroom with him years ago, or do you see him as a different person right now?

DUTTON: Well you know, in both cases, he's on television and he's in the public purview and he's pretty good at sort of managing his image both ways. When I recall him in court, he was pretty agitated initially and then he calmed down. I think his lawyers had him pretty well groomed to just sort of make notes.

In fact, at one point, someone was sort of facetiously selling O.J.'s note diary as one of the sort of courtroom memorabilia that was coming about at that time. So, O.J. is very good at image management. As I said before, I'm not convinced that this is really anything more than an attempt on his part to get some limelight and a little bit of money.

PHILLIPS: Fred Goldman, speaking on "LARRY KING LIVE," of course, the father of Ron Goldman had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON GOLDMAN, FATHER OF MURDER VICTIM: He is willing, as sick a guy as he is, he is willing to put in a book and on air, he's willing to tell the world how he would, quote/unquote, murder his children's mother and Ron. Sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: How would you describe him? Sick?

DUTTON: Well, he's pretty unusual. I mean, sick is not a word I would use, but in terms of his psychological makeup, I mean, I see this as kind of flaunting things a little bit. He is getting back in the public eye again. There is a little bit of this, well, if I did it, but I got away with it aspect to it, so there is that part of it I think is what Fred Goldman is talking about as being sick. It is pretty twisted, I would agree with that.

PHILLIPS: Is he thinking about his kids and his kids' welfare, or is that not even an issue for a man like this?

DUTTON: Well, you know, I think as far as the book goes he's not thinking about his kids. I mean, I think, if he were really thinking about his kids he would stay out of the public eye completely and try to normalize their life as much as that would be possible, which is questionable in and of itself. But you certainly don't want to bring everything back in into the public purview which is he doing here. O.J. thinking about what O.J. thinks about and that is O.J.

PHILLIPS: When you were involved in the case a decade ago, what did you think about his kids and their future and now looking at what he's done and how he's carried on and now coming out with this book, do you think about them, worry about them? Is it possible that they could be ok, despite everything that's happened?

DUTTON: Anyone would have a lot of concern about kids who grow up in a family where there is allegations of the father killing the mother and there is the amount of publicity that goes on in this particular case. Automatically, you're going to think that has a bad prognosis. I haven't followed what's happened with his children. I mean, from time to time, I kind of see it on the "National Inquirer" covers and I don't read it very much but of course there's a concern.

PHILLIPS: Dr. Dutton, final question, are you going to read the book?

DUTTON: I will not read the book. No. I'm done with that case.

PHILLIPS: I understand. Dr. Don Dutton, great talking to you. Thanks so much.

Well, it's definitely a talker and we wanted to know what have you to say about O.J. Simpson's new book, "If I Did It." Here is what a few of you wrote into us.

Mabel from Canada writes, "The man was found not guilty and has the right to live his life as an innocent man, but I do hope that he turns over some of the proceeds to the victims' families, although I don't believe he would ever do that of his own will."

LEMON: And this is from Georgianna in Texas and she says, "Acquitted murderers just like the everyday Joe have the right to pen and publish a book. A sort of confessional bundled in an expensive hardback after all these years is more publicity than confession, but remains an inexcusable legacy for the children who lost a mother, and the families who lost their loved ones."

PHILLIPS: Suebee is disgusted. She says, "What a small, despicable 'thing' oj is. And little oj is not just a typographical error. He is less than a human to me. He's more like an insect that needs to be stepped on and squashed. He is not even human. I bet his poor kids have been through hell. We all know oj did it...and we don't a refresher course in how to get away with murder."

And this one's from Kristopher. Kristopher says, "I can't wait until the book comes out so I can read it. As far as the outrage goes with the public, don't be mad at O.J. because he played by the rules of the judicial system and he came out on top."

PHILLIPS: And the final word goes to Robert from New York City. "There are so many critical things going on around the world that are newsworthy and the fact that the U.S. media could dedicate so much time to O.J. and his ridiculous book is appalling."

This is the first time I read those e-mails and now I know what Suebee wrote, that it wasn't a typo that O.J., little o, little j, it's not a typographical error. Now I get it as I see these e-mails coming in. Have some creative ones, that's for sure.

LEMON: People definitely want to respond to this story.

PHILLIPS: A lot of anger.

LEMON: Absolutely. Anger and grief turn to violence. Murder victims relatives take justice into their own hands in an Ohio courtroom. The backstory straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Homeless, helpless, alone on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Months after surveillance video surfaces of an elderly hospital patient, wandering the streets right here, you can you see it, the L.A. City attorney has brought a case against the owner of the hospital that allegedly dumped her. Kaiser Permanete, owner of L.A.'s Belflower Hospital, is charged with false imprisonment and dependent endangerment. Nine other hospitals are suspected of dumping discharged patients right there onto Skid Row.

LEMON: Wow, that is disturbing to watch. Grief and anger turn to violence in an Ohio courtroom. A man accused of killing a woman and her three children, attacked by relatives of the victims. Suspect Jason Howard was in court for a routine hearing in another case, after deputies pulled one of the victims relatives off Howard, another began throwing punches. Both were arrested. Howard denies shooting the victims, strangling her daughter, and smothering her two sons. Authorities say the victim was Howard's girlfriend. Wow.

PHILLIPS: Well, it seemed like a good idea, but now it's a million dollar mess. Coming up from the NEWSROOM, the stalled attempt to move a massive warship.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, the name means fearless, with resolute fortitude.

LEMON: So Intrepid, the former aircraft carrier turned floating museum, is no doubt braving -- bravely enduring its embarrassing predicament in the muck in the New York's Hudson River.

PHILLIPS: It's also still not budging.

Here's CNN's Rob Marciano.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You're looking at the bow of the Intrepid pointing toward the Westside Highway. It is about 15 feet from where it started over a week and a half ago, still stuck in the mud.

It's got these giant propellers, about 16 feet tall, four of them. And they may have miscalculated by maybe as little as six or ten inches, because those propellers started hitting of the bottom of the river and started scooping up that silt and mud and, like a snowplow, have built a big pile of mud.

Now they've brought in cranes and dredgers to dig that mud out and, hopefully, set the Intrepid free.

You can see what's happening right now. A tugboat is taking one -- actually, two barges that have just recently been filled up with the silt. They go through four, five, sometimes six of these barges per day. They take them over to Staten Island. They mix them, actually, with some concrete. They call it being processed, and that makes it more environmentally friendly. And then they're sealing off an old landfill over there.

So there is good coming out of this situation. But this is a 24/7 process, and from what the guy who heads this thing up told me yesterday, is that it could take four, five, maybe even as much as six weeks before the Intrepid, which has been here almost 25 years, finally gets set free.

Right now, the dredger is taking a well-deserved break until the next barge comes along, but they're going to be at this for quite some time.

On the Hudson River on the Westside of Manhattan, I'm Rob Marciano for CNN.

PHILLIPS: We'll have the closing bell and a wrap of Wall Street straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Time now to check in with Wolf Blitzer.

PHILLIPS: Standing by in the sit room to tell us what's coming up at the top of the hour.

Hey, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: He, guys. Thanks very much.

A divisive Democratic battle is over. The party's new House leadership is in place. The question now, can they all get along? The incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, among my guests here in the SITUATION ROOM.

Also, Senator John McCain, taking his first official step toward a White House round. Will his stance on Iraq hurt him? We'll talk about that in our "Strategy Session" with Paul Begala and J.C. Watts.

And we'll be joined by another possible '08 contender. That would be the former Democratic vice presidential nominee, John Edwards. He's been crisscrossing the country meeting with voters. Will he take the plunge? I'll ask him.

Plus, Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, he narrowly lost a bitter Senate battle in Tennessee, but remains a rising Democratic star.

All that coming up in a few minutes right here in the SITUATION ROOM.

LEMON: All right, Wolf.

Thanks you very much.

He took the stage, wowed the crowd and talked the talk, but he didn't sing the song.

PHILLIPS: Michael Jackson surfaced in London for last night's World Music Awards. What was billed as a comeback for Jackson and his monster 1982 hit "Thriller".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER (singing): We are the world. We are the world.

LEMON (voice-over): But Jackson didn't sing "Thriller" or much of anything else. He tried a bit of "We are the World," before abruptly stopping, apparently having trouble with the high notes. Jackson did speak up after receiving the Diamond Award for selling, get this, more than 100 million albums.

JACKSON: There have been so many who have loved me and stood by me throughout the 42 years that I have been in the entertainment business.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): This was Jackson's first performance anywhere since his acquittal on child molestation charges in California more than a year ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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