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New Bush Polls: State of Disapproval; New Passport Travel Rules; Confirmation Hearings Today for General David Petraeus, Tapped to Lead War in Iraq

Aired January 23, 2007 - 06:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: State of the Union. President Bush addressing Congress tonight, promising big and bold ideas from Iraq, to the environment, even as his poll numbers sink to a new low.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Tough sell. The general set to take charge of the Iraq War goes before a Senate committee today with a new plan for war and peace.

S. O'BRIEN: Desert snow. Arizona hit with a surprise burst of snow and ice and frigid air.

M. O'BRIEN: And will dreams come true? The nominations for this year's Academy Awards announced live on this AMERICAN MORNING.

S. O'BRIEN: And good morning. Welcome, everybody. It is Tuesday, January 23rd. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien. Thanks for being with us.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's begin with a look at what the president will be talking about tonight. The president's State of the Union Address, he faces newly-empowered Democrats in Congress, and his fellow Americans, who are increasingly unhappy with his presidency and with him. New numbers are just out from CNN and Opinion Research Corporation. Fifty-five percent of people polled say the Bush presidency has been a failure. When asked if the president's done anything to make you angry, that was the question, 67 percent said "yes" and that number's growing. CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry with a look at the president's plan for tonight.


ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Despite predicting last week that President Bush's State of the Union would be much shorter than usual this year, White House aides now say that after three rehearsals and all kinds of tweaking, the speech is creeping up pretty close to last year's length of 51 minutes. The increasing length due in part to the fact the president plans to cover a lot of ground.

Aids last week suggested Iraq would only be a small part and the lions share would be on domestic issues as he tried to shift the focus a bit away from Iraq. But aides now say the war will be a significant portion of this speech, a bow to the reality that it's the most critical issue in the nation. And on the domestic front, aids say the primary theme will be big and bold ideas on health care and energy and at finding common ground with Democrats now running Capitol Hill. But the president is becoming a lame duck and it remains to be seen just how much compromise he and Democrats can really forge.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.


S. O'BRIEN: So if this year's State of the Union sounds a little familiar, it is. Last year, the president also dove into energy policy, telling us we are addicted to oil and vowing to spur the hunt for alternatives. We'll check out what happened and what did not happen since then.

Bur, first, a fact check on Iraq. A year ago the president was hinting some troops would be coming home. Tonight he'll be making the case for sending more into harm's way. AMERICAN MORNING's Sean Callebs live from Washington with more.

Good morning, Sean.


Listen to this, "there is no peace in retreat, there is no honor in retreat. The United States will not retreat from the world and will never surrender to evil." Sounds like it could be coming from this evening's speech, but actually it comes from 2006. As we focus on where the president is going, we also thought it important to look where he's been.


CALLEBS, (voice over): This is last year, before Mr. Bush proposed sending more U.S. troops to Iraq. The 2006 State of the Union, and a president flush with optimism.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels.

CALLEBS: A year ago, in the same address, the president recognized the personal loss suffered by Bud and Sara Clay. Their son, Marine Sergeant Dan Clay, was killed fighting in Fallujah. Today the Clays still grieve, but their support for Mr. Bush and his evolving policy in Iraq is unwavering.

BUD CLAY, SON KILLED IN IRAQ: Like all of us, he doesn't have a crystal ball. He has his hopes and things that he would like to do, but life is not like that. Realities of life are that, as you know, things change, and you make your best decision on the information you have and you go with that.

SARA CLAY, SON KILLED IN IRAQ: His very intention ultimately is to get our boys home as soon as he possibly can, but he had a more important objective, and that is that that area would be able to be left in a semblance of security and peace.

CALLEBS: A year ago, the president told the nation that perhaps security and peace in Iraq were within reach.

BUSH: We're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. First we're helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the insurgency will be marginalized.

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Unfortunately, shortly after President Bush gave his 2006 State of the Union Address, Iraq's problems got even worse. And an insurgency and a terrorist threat also became, in most eyes, a civil war.

CALLEBS: Mr. Bush's harshest critics say his words on Iraq and his policies there will define his presidency.

LAWRENCE KOLB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think President Bush's legacy will be, he led us into an unnecessary war, he led us in for the wrong reasons and he didn't do it correctly.


CALLEBS: Yes, his critics say, like it or not, Iraq will be one of the cornerstones of the president's legacy. Now remember, the president gave a significant address on Iraq less than two weeks ago, but expect to hear more this evening. Congress has been highly critical of his plans, Miles, for a surge in troops going to Iraq.

M. O'BRIEN: Sean Callebs in Washington, thank you.


S. O'BRIEN: CNN, of course, has the best political team on TV. Our live primetime coverage of tonight's State of the Union Address will begin at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Then, AMERICAN MORNING, we begin at a special time tomorrow, 5:00 a.m. Eastern, with a complete wrap-up of the president's address and more fact checks on his proposals.

As for the Democrats who are vying to replace President Bush, former Senator John Edwards is the first to officially join the race. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who's threw his hat into the ring over the weekend. The Illinois Senator Barack Obama, who made the announcement late week. And Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hosted her first live Internet chat last night. Ahead this morning, Senator Clinton will join us live here on AMERICAN MORNING. That's going to happen at 7:40 a.m. Eastern Time.


M. O'BRIEN: This morning in Lebanon, a widespread, coordinated strike is bringing the country to a standstill. Hezbollah-led protesters burning tires and cars, setting up road blocks, trying to enforce a general strike aimed at bringing down the U.S.-supported government there. Anthony Mills is there.

Anthony, what's the latest?

ANTHONY MILLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, this is a very serious escalation of the protests that have paralyzed downtown Beirut since early December. We've been out and about in Beirut and we have seen the paralyzing of this capital. There are burning cars, paralyzing major intersections and roads, overturned trash cans, mounds of earth that are barring passage on major roads.

According to a security source here, major roads and entry points into the capital have been blocked off. The road to the airport, too, to Beirut International Airport, also blocked off.

And this, Miles, is adding to very serious concerns that, although protests, until today, had been peaceful, that they could erupt into wide scale violence because of the tensions between pro and anti-government supporters.

M. O'BRIEN: Anthony, is the government, Prime Minister Siniora, is he almost powerless to do anything? What are they doing to respond?

MILLS: Well, very good question, Miles. The army is out and about, but it is not really getting involved for the most part because of concerns that if the army were to get involved and there were clashes that would erupt between the army and the demonstrators, that the army might split. It has many members who are quite possibly loyal to the demonstrators. And so there are concerns that the army might split if there were any clashes between the army and the demonstrators.

Allow me to add that there have also been clashes so far already today. We've seen stones being thrown by supporters of the government and wide scale violence of that nature. And also gun battles, we understand, or at least shooting in parts of Beirut.


M. O'BRIEN: Anthony Mills in Beirut, thank you.

Also happening this morning, confirmation hearings today for David Petraeus, the general tapped to lead the war in Iraq. He plans to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee. If confirmed, he will succeed General George Casey, soon to be the new Army chief of staff.

In Missouri, attorneys for that accused kidnaper of two boys trying to stop their client from talking. Michael Devlin is charged with kidnapping 13-year-old Ben Ownby and 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck. The attorneys have asked for a gag order after Devlin gave a reporter a jailhouse interview.

In Brazil, authorities say air traffic controllers are partly to blame for a mid-air collision last September. All 154 people aboard a jetliner were killed when it collided with a private jet over the Amazon. The smaller plane landed safely. It's the first time officials have pointed the finger at anyone besides the Americans who were flying that private jet.

And the new passport law goes into effect today. From now on, all travelers flying into the United States will need passports, that includes Americans coming back from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Places where a birth certificate or a driver's license used to suffice. The law is designed to better secure the border against terrorists.

S. O'BRIEN: Take a look at these pictures. It's a winter surprise in Arizona. These are kids in Tucson and they're enjoying a rare snowfall. Fun for them, of course, but the dense fog and the icy roads actually made it very dangerous for the drivers. The Tucson area got about two inches of snow and more than a foot fell in northern Arizona.

In southern California, a wind-whipped wildfire threatening more than 20 homes, happening in Thousand Oaks. More than 200 firefighters are working to contain the fire. It's burned at least 30 acres so far. The cause is not known at this point.

Bill Parcells calling it quits. Parcells announced that he is retiring from the Dallas Cowboys and from coaching on Monday. Parcells leaves with two Super Bowl wins, both as head coach of the New York Giants.

The year's best in cinema will be rewarded later this morning with Oscar nominations. CNN's Sibila Vargas has a sneak peek for us at some of the favorites.


SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sibila Vargas in Hollywood.

And in just a matter of time, the nominations will be unveiled for what is considered Hollywood's biggest award show, the Academy Awards.

Will it be a dream come true for "Dreamgirls"? The film and actors, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, were big winners at the Golden Globes. Many say Oscar nominations may be in the bag.

Industry insiders say also keep your eyes on "Babel." The multi- cultural drama took home the top prize at the Golden Globes.

And royalty may reign supreme this year. Dame Helen Mirren had audiences and critics riveted with her turn as Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears' "The Queen." A nomination for the actress is a sure thing.

Forest Whitaker is also sure to get a nomination. The actor was virtually unrecognized as Uganda's dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland." He swept numerous critical awards and could be the top contender at this year's Oscar race. And will it be the year that Marty finally gets his statue? "The Departed" director Martin Scorsese has been nominated multiple times but has yet to own an Oscar for directing.

Very exciting predictions, but who will be celebrating today? We'll find out shortly.

Sibila Vargas, CNN, Hollywood.


S. O'BRIEN: You can catch those Oscar nominations live right here, 8:35 Eastern on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Well, it's cold and it's going to get colder. The full forecast is just ahead.

Plus, hold the pundits. Real people have opinion on the State of the Union, of course, and what they tell Larry King might surprise you.

And last year, President Bush promised action to break America's oil addiction. We have a reality check on just what got done on that front. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning right here.



LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Tonight, "Larry King Live" presents a special at Midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific, following the State of the Union message. We'll have lots of tough flight (ph) guests giving their thoughts. But we also thought you'd might like to hear the opinion of people on the street or at Nate n Al's famous deli in Beverly Hills.

Tomorrow night's the State of the Union. What do you expect?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I expect to hear a lot about Iraq. That's what I expect to hear, or I hope to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to hear that the security situation in Iraq is going to get better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will the president be doing and what will Congress be doing to address the deficit, Social Security.

KING: Join us tonight, midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific, for a "Larry King Live" special, where you come first.


M. O'BRIEN: I think he's got the suspenders on underneath there, just for the record.

It's about 15 minutes past the hour. Chad Myers at the CNN Weather Center with your traveler's forecast.

Good morning, Chad.


S. O'BRIEN: With the president's State of the Union Address just hours away, there's a new place where political junkies can get their fix. It's called All politics all the time. John Harris is the editor-in-chief. He's in Washington, D.C., this morning.

Nice to see you, John. Thanks for talking with us.


S. O'BRIEN: The Presidential approval rating, 34 percent in the new CNN poll. That number is low. That number has been low. Is there anything that the president can say tonight that would dramatically change that number, do you think?

HARRIS: That is the great fear for the White House right now is that the country is not listening to President Bush. We saw it in his Iraq speech last week that his approval ratings for the policy went down. That's evidence that the public is not open to persuasion. So that's a big, big problem and it is the setting for tonight's State of the Union.

S. O'BRIEN: So when you look at some of the things that we've been told that the president will be covering, like health care, like immigration, like global warming, like taxes, for example, are you saying that everybody, essentially, is really listening to the Iraq part of the speech?

HARRIS: Well, I mean, it's an effort to say, look, there's more than Iraq to talk about. Let's talk about all this broad agenda. If it's a successful State of the Union speech for President Bush, he will direct the public's attention to these issues. The risk is that the public is just not open to listening to President Bush because Iraq, and an unpopular war in Iraq, is shadowing everything.

S. O'BRIEN: To what degree is part of the problem that this broad agenda is going to be impossible to fulfill when you're talking about a president who many people say is a lame duck?

HARRIS: Well, you know, presidents are often declared lame ducks. President Clinton, before President Bush, was declared a lame duck numerous times. There's a lot a president can do if he's got the power of that platform. For President Bush it would require working with the Democratic majority. That's not something he's had to do or been inclined to do for the first six years of his presidency. So it would be a major strategic shift in direction. S. O'BRIEN: Over the weekend we saw more people throw their hats into the ring. The stack of names that I have for people who are running now in 2008 is like this big at this point.

HARRIS: A big laundry list.

S. O'BRIEN: And there are many other people who aren't officially in the race but everybody expects they might join the race soon. Let me put you on the spot and get you to tell me, who do you think, at the end of the day, will be the two nominees?

HARRIS: Well, look, the reason Hillary Clinton and Senator McCain are the front-runners for their respective nominations, is not just a matter of name identification. They've got lots of organizational structure in place, enormous fund-raising, particularly in the Republican Party. Historically the Republicans do tend to anoint somebody who's it's seen as their turn. And in this case, McCain has claim to that.

Senator Clinton, as we've seen in the past couple of weeks, is going to have much more vigorous competition than she thought because of Barack Obama getting into the race. Nonetheless, she's got enormous advantages.

S. O'BRIEN: So is that your long way of saying, it's going to be McCain versus Clinton?

HARRIS: That's what I think. We had an interesting story in Politico, by the way, on the race for black support. Senator Clinton is making it clear she is not going to accede that to Barack Obama. She's doing a lot to court black leaders and wealthy black contributors.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, I just read that about two minutes ago on your new website which launched. is where you can find that article and much more.

John Harris, thanks for joining us this morning. We certainly appreciate it.

HARRIS: Thanks, Soledad. I enjoyed it.

S. O'BRIEN: You want to stay with us because White House Press Secretary Tony Snow will join us live at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Then at 7:40 a.m. Eastern Time, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton will join us for a live interview at 7:40 a.m. right here on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, the world's biggest drug maker gets ready to slash thousands of jobs. We're "Minding Your Business."

Plus, a presidential promise, breaking America's addiction to oil. A fact check on that heading into this year's State of the Union, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.

There's a new message from al Qaeda's number two man, Ayman al- Zawahiri, releasing a tape threatening new attacks and ridiculing President Bush's plan to send thousands more troops into Iraq.

In Beirut this morning, several people seriously injured in protests by Hezbollah supporters.


M. O'BRIEN: The president is poised to break some new ground tonight as he delivers his State of the Union Address. Mr. Bush will mention global warming, as he calls for some alternatives to oil. Now last year he didn't mention climate change, but he did say we are addicted to oil. One year later, are we any closer to kicking the habit? AMERICAN MORNING's Ali Velshi has a fact check for us.


ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): In case you didn't already know it . . .

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here we have a serious problem -- America is addicted to oil.

VELSHI: The problem, a year ago, was apparently clear. The solution? Relying less on other countries from which the U.S. gets two-thirds of its oil. And if America is going to produce more fuel, why not make it cleaner?

BUSH: I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative, a 22 percent increase in clean energy research.

VELSHI: President Bush had specifics in mind.

BUSH: We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen.

VELSHI: Mr. Bush's latest budget did put aside the money that was needed. The House even passed legislation on it in September. So close, and then it stalled in the Senate, and died.

OK, back to last year.

BUSH: And I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit to encourage bolder, private sector initiatives in technology.

VELSHI: Again, in the last days of the last Congress, the tax credits were extended for a year, not made permanent like the president wanted. And tax credits that could disappear next year aren't much incentive to business, which needs to take a longer view of its investments.


BUSH: We will also fund additional research and cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass.

VELSHI: Funding? Some. Progress on making ethanol from anything other than corn? No. And now that America's all about the corn, it's getting expensive.

One more thing.

BUSH: I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years.

VELSHI: Among other things that, plan called for training 70,000 high school teachers for advanced placement courses in math and science to make sure America has the minds to continue to develop and invent. The House did add the necessary spending to several bills, but with no big push behind them, the Bush plan never made it into law. Oh, well. He did say 10 years. So maybe it will still happen.

BUSH: May God bless America.

VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN, New York.


M. O'BRIEN: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow will join us live 7:30 Eastern with a preview of this evening's speech.


S. O'BRIEN: Big job cuts are coming for major drug maker. It is coming up on 25 minutes past the hour. Let's get right to Stephanie Elam. She's "Minding Your Business."

Good morning.


That's right, Pfizer out saying that they are going to cut 10,000 of their jobs. That's about 10 percent of their global workforce. Now as far as here in the United States, 2,200 of those jobs are here in the U.S. but they were already announced last year.

They're also saying that they're planning on cutting 20 percent of their European sales force as well. They're going to close at least five plants, three research sites in Michigan, two manufacturing plants in New York and Nebraska. They're saying they want to cut their annual costs by about $2 billion by the end of 2008.

They're saying they're trying to restructure, become more nimble and flexible at this point. Also they're saying they're going to divide their U.S. commercial business into five distinct divisions. And so we'll be looking for changes there. They're hurting from a lot of competition from generic drug makers.

Moving on, let's take a look at Gap. Paul Pressler is out as the CEO of the clothing giant. He's getting a $14 million severance package on his way out the door, and this follows a very weak holiday shopping season for the Gap, which has been having a rough time since about 2000.

The Dow, yesterday, down 88 points. The Nasdaq off as well. All because of fears of tech.

Back to you, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much, Stephanie.

Top stories of the morning are coming up next.

Passport, please. Even if you're flying to Canada, you'll need one of those as of today. So don't leave home without it. Details ahead.

Plus, not a lot of bully in his pulpit. New poll numbers out just this morning show the president is addressing a skeptical nation tonight. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning right here.


S. O'BRIEN: Prime time opportunity. President Bush delivers his State of the Union Address tonight, facing a hostile Congress and an angry America.

M. O'BRIEN: The fight for Iraq. What the military wants to hear from President Bush tonight. Plus, new insight into that deadly sneak attack targeting U.S. troops yesterday.

S. O'BRIEN: Don't forget to pack your passport. Strict, new rules are kicking in today. What you need to know to cross the border on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And welcome back, everybody. This is Tuesday, January 23rd. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien.

Happening this morning.

Confirmation hearings today for David Petraeus, the general tapped to lead the war in Iraq. Petraeus to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee. If confirmed, he will succeed General George Casey, soon to be the new Army chief of staff.

Opening statements expected today in the trial of Lewis Scooter Libby. The jury selection is all done. Libby is the former chief of staff for Vice President Cheney. He is charged with lying to investigators as they tried to find out who leaked the name of a CIA agent to reporters in 2003. Cheney is expected to testify.

And snow on the (INAUDIBLE). check out these pictures from Tucson, Arizona. You heard me right, Tucson, Arizona!

Fun for the kids, but dense fog and icy roads no treat at all for the drivers there. About two inches of snow there. More than a foot fell in the northern part of the state -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: That was a pretty good looking snowman they had going there.

M. O'BRIEN: They did all right.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, that was pretty good.

M. O'BRIEN: They were loving that.

S. O'BRIEN: I bet they were.

M. O'BRIEN: Talk about a snow day.

S. O'BRIEN: President Bush prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech. A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that more Americans than ever are concerned about the president's ability to lead.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, has our report.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: President Bush will be addressing a skeptical audience, not just the new Democratic Congress, but also the American people. At 34 percent approval, Mr. Bush has the lowest job rating of any president on record going into his next to last year in office. Most Americans now call the Bush presidency a failure.

Remember the issue that brought down his father? This time, it's not the economy, stupid. More than 60 percent of Americans believe the nation's economy is in good shape. But Americans are strongly opposed to President Bush's policies in Iraq.

More than 60 percent oppose his troop increase and want Congress to try and stop it. Disillusionment with Iraq is having a spillover effect.

Only 28 percent of Americans now believe the United States and its allies are winning the war on terror. The lowest number ever. Most Americans say neither side is winning.

President Bush's father learned that even a brilliant foreign policy success cannot save you if the economy falls apart. President Lyndon Johnson learned that a foreign policy disaster can destroy you, even if you have a strong domestic record. It's a lesson President Bush may learn, too.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


S. O'BRIEN: You'll want to keep it right here on AMERICAN MORNING. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is going to join us live at 7:30 a.m. Eastern. Then we're going to talk to New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She'll join us live right here.

CNN has the best political team on TV. Our live primetime coverage of tonight's State of the Union Address begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. That's going to carry right into our next edition of AMERICAN MORNING. We're starting at a special time tomorrow, 5:00 a.m. Eastern.

M. O'BRIEN: Flying to Canada or Mexico or the Caribbean today? You better pack your passport, or you will have some splainin' to do when you come home.

CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve is at Washington Reagan's National Airport.

Good morning, Jeanne.


Yesterday all you needed was a driver's license or a birth certificate to fly between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, or most of the Caribbean.

Today that changes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (SINGING): This land was made for you and me

MESERVE (voice over): No passport, no problem. A new selling point for the U.S. Virgin Islands. But as of today, people flying from many other Caribbean destinations, Mexico and Canada, will need a passport to enter or re-enter the U.S.

Recent five-hour waits at Canadian passport offices a sign the public has gotten the message. Passport demand in the U.S. has surged as well. And U.S. government statistics on air travelers suggest the passport change will go smoothly.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: For the last week, Americans coming back to the U.S., 94 percent, came with a passport. Canadians were 96 percent. Mexico was 100 percent.

MESERVE: But if you don't have a passport, will you be turned around? STOCKWELL DAY, CANADA MINISTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY: We've got a commitment from the U.S. government that if people show up, they don't have their passport, they have other documents, that they don't pose a risk, that it might be a little slower for them, but they will move through.

MESERVE: Canada is much more worried about damage to trade and tourism when the U.S. requires people entering by land and sea to have passports. That could happen as early as January, 2008, but Canada is asking for a delay. The U.S. goal is to tighten security.

BOB JACKSTA, U.S. CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION: Today we have people arriving at our ports of entry with a number of different type of documents -- birth certificates, driver's licenses, thousands of different types. And we think this is going to bring it down to one consistent uniform form or document.

MESERVE: But at least one security analyst thinks the security payoff isn't big enough.

JAMES CARAFANO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I really think that we ought to be looking at harmonizing our policies, creating a common perimeter, creating a Western Hemisphere that's safe, rather than trying to wall American off like a imaginary (ph) line.


MESERVE: For now U.S. officials are going to show some flexibility in enforcing this new rule, but down the road, you can expect to hear, "No passport no, entry."

Miles, back to you.

M. O'BRIEN: Jeanne Meserve at Reagan National.

Thank you -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: The extreme cold is on the way. Chad's forecast is coming up straight ahead.

Plus, fighting back against a new threat to U.S. troops in Iraq. The enemy now impersonating American forces. We'll take a closer look at that and much more.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.


S. O'BRIEN: The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.

Firefighters in southern California hope to douse a wildfire outside of Los Angeles today. It scorched dozens of acres. It hasn't damaged any homes, though.

And Hollywood will be up and at 'em early today. Nominations for the Academy Awards announced in the 8:00 Eastern Time hour. We're going to carry that live when it happens -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All a twitter waiting for that.

In Iraq this morning, more bloodshed. Two bombs exploded at Shiite targets and two more U.S. soldiers are dead. This, after the devastating bombing at a market in Baghdad yesterday and that brazen Trojan horse attack at a U.S.-Iraqi military compound. This, as a new general prepares to take the reins in the war in Iraq.

Retired Army General Dan Christman joins us now from Washington for more on all of this.

General Christman, good to have you back on the program.

LT. GEN. DAN CHRISTMAN, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Thanks, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: First of all, let's talk about General Petraeus. He's going to appear before Congress, and his job right now is to defend the troop surge. I'm curious what generals, retired and otherwise, are saying away from the cameras about this strategy.

CHRISTMAN: Well, first of all, I think almost every general officer has said that this is a superb choice. General Dave Petraeus has been recognized within the Army for years, Miles, as an engine of change.

He was the chief architect in the drafting of the new counterinsurgency manual, FM3-24, and I think Dave Petraeus would view this situation on the ground as a very, very narrow window of opportunity for us to succeed. I am sure, I'm confident he's in favor of the surge, but Dave Petraeus will also say in his testimony, I'm convinced, Miles, we need to bring the whole team to the field here.

This is something a lot more than just a military operation. This has to be complemented, as I've said actually with you several times -- needs to be complemented with a very, very important economic dimension, and Probably most importantly of all, a political component that ensures that we have a legitimate government in Baghdad around which folks can rally.

M. O'BRIEN: At this juncture, you have come out and said 21,500 troops not an appropriate number. If you're going to surge, surge bigger. Are you still feeling the same way?

CHRISTMAN: I do, Miles, but I am certainly willing, as I think most of my peers are, to give Dave Petraeus and this surge a chance. My principal concern is that with the surge, we are, number one, stressing an already very, very overtaxed army. We have got soldiers now going back to Iraq within a matter of a small number of weeks after returning from the combat zone.

Second, we have this enormous problem with a strategic reserve, how you reconstitute that and deploy elsewhere in the globe if something arises.

On the other hand, if we are to succeed here, there is a chance the surge can be successful, and I'm certainly willing to cast my dice to put the odds on Dave Petraeus and this plan here for the near term.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. As he goes in -- boy, he's got his hands full, to say the least. I'm sure that's a job that not a lot of people would relish. Let's talk about a couple of attacks that really stood out, I think, in the past couple of days.

First of all, let's go down to Karbala, and this brazen Trojan horse attack, gunmen posing as U.S. officers in a convoy of seven or eight SUVs, the tinted glass. Incredibly sophisticated, knew enough that those types of convoys could go right through checkpoints without having to stop, took advantage of a real Achilles heel in U.S. security, got inside this joint compound, and then opened fire, aiming specifically at U.S. soldiers.


M. O'BRIEN: That tells me there's a lot of sophistication and funding. It has -- it's al Qaeda in style, at least. What are your thoughts?

CHRISTMAN: Well, my thoughts are, Miles -- first of all, I think you summarized it really well. I think every person that analyzes insurgent tactics on this understands that both the insurgents and those that operate against them are in a cycle that's called learn and adapt.

In fact, if you look through this new field manual on counterinsurgency, you see those two words, "learning" and "adapting," over and over again. It's a thematic. And as you see the insurgent tactics here, clearly they have learned from our tactics, from our security procedures, as well as those of the Iraqis.

You've highlighted the uniforms, the convoy procedures, the SUVs, the signage on the SUVs themselves. All of those were replicated by the -- by the Iraqi insurgents, and they learned.

What happens in the next phase is that we will counter this. There's an adaptation and a learning process on the part of coalition forces as well. Whoever in this cycle learns and adapts more quickly wins. That's the whole thesis behind counterinsurgency warfare.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. There's one other curveball that got thrown at us.

Let's go northeast of Baghdad. This happened over the weekend. At first, a Black Hawk down, a dozen troops on board.

If we can zoom into that area and show people what we're talking about.

At first, there was some feeling it might have been a crash of some kind. In other words, a mechanical or pilot error. We know now apparently it might have been an SA-7 or SA-14 Russian vintage surface-to-air shoulder-fired missile, not unlike what you see right there on your screen.


M. O'BRIEN: That has all the hallmarks of the kind of insurgency we saw in Afghanistan as the Mujahadeen drove out the Soviet Union. And as best as we can tell, this has been a very rare occurrence, if not unprecedented, in Iraq so far.

How does the U.S. respond to that?

CHRISTMAN: What you examine, Miles, much as you do in ground warfare here are the tactics being used by the insurgents, and you respond accordingly. I remember in Vietnam, almost every mission I flew by helicopter, hundreds of them were nap of the earth. I mean, we were literally feet off the ground to preclude the kind of attacks that have taken place here in this most recent incident.

The coalition forces even today do both nap of the earth and fly high enough to avoid the engagement by missiles like the SA-7 or SA- 14. And so what they'll do is adapt their own tactics as the weeks unfold here. As this becomes clearer in terms of the potential use of weapons like this, that coalition air forces will respond accordingly, either shield their helicopters or adapt their own flying techniques to respond.

M. O'BRIEN: Retired Lieutenant General Dan Christman.

Thanks, as always, for your insights.

CHRISTMAN: Thank you, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Coming up on 45 minutes past the hour. That means it's time for Chad Myers and a traveler's forecast for you, plus the cold and flu report as well.

Hey, Chad. Good morning.



S. O'BRIEN: Coming up this morning, some new poll numbers out laying out the tough sell ahead for President Bush. We'll take a closer look at the war weariness at one U.S. base.

Plus, anti-government protests in Lebanon are heating up. Travel in that country has been paralyzed by burning barricades. Take a look at these pictures. We're going to take to you Beirut straight ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: The most news in the morning right here. Here's a few examples.

There's a new message from al Qaeda's number two man. Ayman al- Zawahiri releasing a tape threatening new attacks and ridiculing President Bush's plan to send thousands more troops to Iraq.

And attorneys for accused Missouri kidnapper Michael Devlin trying to get a gag order on their client. They want him to keep quiet after he talked to a reporter over the weekend.

S. O'BRIEN: Here's a look now at stories that CNN correspondents around the world are covering today.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Hancocks in Istanbul.

Murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink will be finally laid to rest today. Tens of thousands of Turks and Armenians are marching through the streets of Istanbul, starting from the spot where Dink was gunned down in broad daylight and ending at the church.

Dink worked tirelessly throughout his life to improve relations between Turks and Armenians. Relations that soured during World War I, when hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed. Armenians call it genocide. Turks call it a consequence of the ongoing war.



ANTHONY MILLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Anthony Mills in Beirut, where protesters demanding a new government have erected burning barricades to enforce a general strike called for by protest leaders. Much of the capital and indeed the country is paralyzed.

This marks a significant escalation in protests that have gripped the heart of downtown Beirut since early December. Although the protests have remained relatively peaceful so far, there are fears that, with tension running high between pro and anti-government supporters, that violence may erupt.


S. O'BRIEN: For more on these or any of our top stories, log on to our Web site at

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, a look ahead to the State of the Union Address and how it could affect everything from your health insurance to taxes.

And opening statements in the trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby begin today. Why it could be the start of a rough ride for the White House.

Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning right here.


S. O'BRIEN: The most news in the morning is right here on CNN.

Stories on our radar right now, forget the birth certificate. You need your passport. Starting today, anyone who's flying between the U.S. and Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean, must carry a passport.

And "Dreamgirls" is expected to score big when the Academy Award nominations are announced this morning. We're going to carry them live in our 8:00 Eastern hour -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: President Bush expected to address some key economic issues in the State of the Union Address.

Fifty-four minutes past the hour. Stephanie Elam "Minding Your Business."

Stephanie, good morning.


Yes, you can always take it back to business no matter what the topic is. And a few things that President Bush is expected to address when he does give his State of the Union later on this evening.

Let's start off by taking a look at energy.

He's expected to renew concerns about energy security. As we heard last year this time, he said that Americans are addicted to oil. So we're looking for him to going back and pushing for expanded use of ethanol in gasoline.

He also is expected to say that he wants more research on cleaner burning coal, as well as gas electric hybrid cars. And also more emphasis on greater nuclear energy.

Now, moving from there to health insurance, President Bush is expected to propose some tax breaks that would help the uninsured get health insurance. And these breaks would actually also help people who do get insurance through their jobs as well. So that's one proposal there.

The next thing is tax cuts. There are some tax cuts that have been put into effect that will expire in 2010. He's going to urge Congress to go ahead and extend that past that 2010 deadline.

They affect things such as income, dividends, capital gains, things of that nature. But he is not expected -- or he may not actually push for tax cuts for some of the higher earners at this point. Again, keep in mind that he does have a Congress that is basically of a Democratic nature right now, so that could be against him there.

Social Security is another hot topic as well, and he's expected to say to Congress, let's find a bipartisan way to figure out the deficit, the long-term deficit when it comes to Social Security.

Back to you, Miles and Soledad. S. O'BRIEN: All right, Stephanie. Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Stephanie -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Leading up to tonight's State of the Union Address, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is going to join us in just about a half an hour. We're going to talk to him live at 7:30 a.m. Eastern right here.

Then, just a few minutes after that, at 7:40 a.m., New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will be joining us live.

You'll want to stick around for that as well.

CNN has the best political team on TV. Our live primetime coverage of tonight's State of the Union Address begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, and AMERICAN MORNING has special coverage tomorrow morning. We begin at 5:00 a.m. Eastern with a complete wrap-up of the president's address -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: We're coming up at the top of the hour. Chad Myers at the CNN weather center.


M. O'BRIEN: State of the Union. President Bush addressing Congress and a skeptical nation tonight, promising bold ideas from Iraq to the environment, even as his poll numbers sink.

S. O'BRIEN: Then, the woman who wants to be president, Senator Hillary Clinton, joins us live. We'll ask her what makes her think she could lead.

M. O'BRIEN: And a tough sell. The general set to take charge of the Iraq war answering questions today on the Hill and laying out mistakes he says the U.S. has made.

S. O'BRIEN: Plus, dreams on the line. The nominations for this year's Academy Awards announced live on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning. Welcome back, everybody, Tuesday January 23rd.

I'm Soledad O'Brien.

M. O'BRIEN: And I'm Miles O'Brien.

Thanks for being with us.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's begin with the big story out of Washington, D.C., this morning.

President Bush's State of the Union Address happens tonight. The address is required by the Constitution. The president has to give Congress information on the state of the union from time to time. This is the 218th State of the Union, the sixth for President Bush. This is the first time that President Bush is going to deliver the address with Democrats controlling both the Senate and the House, and it's the first time in history that you will ever see a woman over the president's shoulder. That's going to be the new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

We've got complete coverage this morning from the very best political team on TV -- White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano; Chief National Correspondent John King; Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider; Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash; and AMERICAN MORNING'S Sean Callebs as well.

Let's begin at the White House with CNN's Elaine Quijano.

Elaine, good morning.


Well, tonight President Bush will try to break through discontent over the Iraq war and try to demonstrate that he is still in tune with the American people when it comes to domestic issues. But even those who support him concede that overcoming the dissatisfaction over Iraq will be difficult.


QUIJANO (voice over): Amid deep bipartisan skepticism over Iraq, and with Republicans no longer in control of Congress President Bush tonight will reach out to Democrats on domestic issues, hoping to find common ground.


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