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CNN NEWSROOM

Iraq Troop Timetable; Deadly Fire in the Bronx; Deadly Blood Clot

Aired March 8, 2007 - 10:59   ET

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


ROB MARCIANO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. You're with CNN. You're informed.
I'm Rob Marciano, sitting in for Tony Harris.

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

Developments keep coming in to the NEWSROOM on this Thursday, the 8th of March.

Here's what's on the rundown.

Firefighters trying to find out why nine people lost their lives in this burning House. Most of the victims children.

MARCIANO: And House Democrats trying to force the president's hand on Iraq. They announce a strategy that could bring troops home by 2008.

COLLINS: Newsman David Bloom died from one. This hour, his widow drawing attention to a silent killer -- blood clots. Melanie Bloom, in the NEWSROOM.

Our top story this hour, timetable for a troop withdrawal. Just a short time ago, House Democrats outlined their plan for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq by next year, if not sooner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: ... the troops with the funding they need, honoring our promises to our veterans, holding the Defense Department to the standard they have about readiness before we send our troops in, holding the Iraqi government accountable to the benchmarks established by President Bush. If those benchmarks are not met, or even if they are at some point, calling for the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq so that we can focus more fully on the real war on terror, which is in Afghanistan, this bill takes giant steps toward putting the resources into that war. Again, a war that is unfinished and nearly forgotten by the administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash joining us now. She's part of the best political team on television. Dana, fill us in on the Democrats' plan. We know that this one will be binding, but we also know there isn't exactly a unified front from within the party.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There certainly isn't, Heidi. And essentially, a big picture of what the House leadership just tried to do is explain a plan that they have to try to force a change, of course, in Iraq, and ultimately to bring the troops home from Iraq through war funding requests that the president has sent them.

Now, what the House speaker and the leadership did was try to explain what is a very complicated set of -- a process of how they want to do this. In fact, so complicated, that it took many, many questions from reporters in the room to try to get the details of what -- what this plan is. And to be honest, I'm not sure if we have it exactly yet. But here's what we understand that the plan is.

It is to say that by July 1st of this year, President Bush must certify that the benchmarks he laid out for the Iraqi government on the political and security front -- must -- he must show progress on that. If that this is case, if the Iraqis do show progress, then U.S. combat troops can stay in Iraq for -- until October 1, 2007. If he can't, U.S. troops are going to start coming home July 1, 2007.

By October 1, 2007, if U.S. combat troops are still there, then regardless of what happens, the troops will continue to be there under the mission of trying to help Iraqis step up their security forces. But again, regardless, the speaker said U.S. combat troops under this plan will start to come home March of 2008, start to come home March of 2008, with the goal of getting all of them out by 2008.

Again, it's quite complicated, and we're still trying to get the details of it. But that this is gist of what they're proposing.

This came out, Heidi, as you mentioned, of a meeting among the rank and file where they presented this to them. And according to our team who are up there right now, our producers, Ted Barrett and Deidre Walsh (ph), they say that it is very clear in talking to the Democratic rank and file, that they're not sure exactly what this does yet. It's going to take a while for them to study it.

Many on the right and left flank of the Democratic caucus are holding their powder -- are keeping their powder dry and waiting to see what exactly this means.

COLLINS: Yes. And as we try to figure out how this will actually work, when you say that the president will have to be the one who decides whether or not there is progress, it seem likes we really need to sort of operationalize that word. What is progress?

BASH: That is a very good question. And that is one of the questions that was asked of the leadership. And it's not exactly clear how the president is expected to define progress.

And to be honest, when you listen to those in the self-described "Out of Iraq Caucus," they say, that that is problem with this plan, that this is not the way to do what Democrats say they were elected to do. The reason why they say voters put them in the majority in the House, which is to take troops out of Iraq.

And as a matter of fact, Heidi, many of those on the left of the caucus introduced their own measure today. They say, you know what? We're going to -- we want to say the only money that is going to go for the war is going to bring troops home from Iraq by the end off 2007.

Listen to this sound bite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JANICE SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Four and a half years ago, the president asked Congress to give war a chance. And despite our objections, he got that chance, and he blew it.

No more chances. No more waivers. No phony certifications. No more spending billions of dollars to send our children into the meat grinder that is Iraq.

It is time to spend the money to keep them safe and bring them home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now, there you just heard a representative of the left flank of the Democratic Caucus. You also have those on the right, the moderate to conserve Democrats, who are saying, you know, this is a bad idea because we are tying the hands of the commander in chief. We in Congress are micromanaging the war, and we don't want to do that.

And that this is the problem. And frankly, that is part of the reason why this plan is so incredibly complicated, because the House leadership, they're trying to walk that fine line, thread the needle and try to appeal to everybody in their caucus, find consensus. And it's not easy and it's not even clear this is going to do the trick -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Very quickly, Dana, what happens next?

BASH: What happens next is they're going to take this up in a committee and put it through the normal legislative grinder, and that is supposed to start next week, and it could be on the floor the week after that in the House. Who knows what's going to happen with that. And then, of course, you have the Senate, and then the big question, what happens if and when this ever makes it to the president's desk?

COLLINS: All right. We'll be watching.

Dana Bash, thank you.

MARCIANO: Horror in new York. Eight children and one adult killed in a fire. Witnesses describe children being tossed from the burning building and people screaming for help. CNN correspondent Jim Acosta live from the Bronx this morning.

Good morning again, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Rob.

Investigators are starting to tell reporters more about what happened here. And the bottom line appears to be that simple fire safety tips were simply ignored or neglected to be taken care of by the residents in this building.

Twenty people, apparently all related, lived in this four-story building behind me. Two apartments were shared by 22 people. Seventeen of the residents here were children. Nearly half of them did not survive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice over): As a fast-moving fire roared through this building, neighbors said they heard screaming and then ran to the rescue. At the back of the four-story building, the neighbors urged a desperate mother trapped inside to throw her children from a third- story window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lady was screaming and yelling, "Please, save my babies. Save my babies!" So me and a friend of mine, we ran, we jumped the gate, and she started tossing the babies out the window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the kids that were out there were hollering. So we told them to jump. And we caught them, you know.

ACOSTA: After the mother jumped out of the window to escape the flames, this was the horrific scene -- children rushed from the burning building, children receiving CPR from paramedics. It seemed everybody on the scene was in tears. Neighbors say most of the people who shared this row house were immigrants from Mali.

Investigators say a space heater or an overloaded power strip sparked the fire. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said the building was up to code, but the smoke detectors inside lacked batteries.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK: Smoke detectors aren't useful unless they have batteries that are operative. Here somebody took the trouble to put smoke detectors in, but there were no batteries in either one.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: After the fire started, investigators say the people inside this building may have delayed the rescue by trying to put out this fire themselves, instead of calling 911 right away. The mayor says this tragedy underlines the need for families in the city, people who live in cold climates like this one, to have a fire plan during the winter -- Rob. MARCIANO: Jim, you say most of the folks in that building were related, some did survive, as you mentioned. What are those folks doing now? Is the community opening their doors?

ACOSTA: The community is opening its doors to these people. Church members and parishioners and pastors have been by the scene to see what can be done.

But also, many of these relatives are at area hospitals at this time, taking care of and looking after the children that did survive this fire. There are many left to be taken care of.

And at this point, we're just going to have to see how those children do. Some of them are in serious condition. But at this point, the survivors of this fire do apparently have places to turn to. There's a neighbor just across the street who's already invited them into their home -- Rob.

MARCIANO: Jim Acosta, live for us in the Bronx this morning.

Thanks, Jim.

COLLINS: Trouble this morning for a former Navy enlisted man. He is accused of espionage and helping a suspected terrorist network.

Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve joining us now live from Washington with more details on this story.

Jeanne, who is this man and what exactly did he do?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's accused of passing secrets about Navy ships' movements and how they could be attacked. And he was on board one of those ships.

His name is Hassan Abujihaad, although he is known also as Paul R. Hall. He was serving on the USS Benfold in the Middle East in 2001, when he allegedly disclosed information about his battle group.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBORAH MCCARLEY, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: He provided details of a battle group's transition or a battle group's movements from one place to another as they engaged in missions concerning al Qaeda and as they were enforcing sanctions against the Taliban.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: The government says Abujihaad was passing the information to Azzam Publications, a group which ran a Web site dedicated to jihadist causes. Two men associated with that site are in custody in Britain and are charged in the U.S. with providing money and equipment to jihadists in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

It was during that investigation that the classified information and e-mails from Abujihaad turned up. In those e-mails, he allegedly discusses a security briefing given on a ship and praises those who staged the attack on another Navy vessel, the USS Cole.

COLLINS: We remember that one very well.

Jeanne, have investigators found any other possible links to terrorism in this case?

MESERVE: Well, after he left the Navy in 2002, Abujihaad settled in Phoenix, where he lived for a time with a man named Derrick Sharif (ph). Last December, Sharif (ph) was arrested and charged with plotting to set off hand grenades in an Illinois shopping mall.

According to court documents, Sharif (ph) told authorities that when Abujihaad read an article about the discovery of classified Navy information during an investigation of Azzam Publications, he said, "I think this is about me."

Heidi.

COLLINS: Jeanne Meserve for us on this story.

Jeanne, thank you.

MESERVE: You bet.

MARCIANO: Heading south right now, President Bush is on his way to Latin America for a weeklong visit. Yesterday, the president CNN en Espanol the trip is "to remind people that we care."

The trip starts in Brazil, where the president is expected to sign a deal on ethanol. He will also visit Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.

And protesters already turning out in some countries opposing the president's visit. This was the scene in Colombia. In Brazil, demonstrators shut down a mine in protest.

COLLINS: A silent killer takes the life of a war correspondent and threatens the vice president. DVT, are you at risk? Get the answers coming up in the NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: Also, keeping track of sex offenders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no intention to make this thing non- removable. If you wanted to cut and run...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... you could do that, but we're going to know about it in a hurry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARCIANO: A demonstration calls it some high-tech tracking.

COLLINS: Also coming up, this woman in a minimally conscious state for almost seven years. One morning she startless her mother.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I always say, "Hi, baby. How you doing?" And she says, "Fine." And then I knew, you know, that she was awake.

That mother's visit with her daughter turned out to be a brief one. A baffling case coming up in the NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: And stepping out over the Grand Canyon. A whole new view ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARCIANO: Lisa Nowak's days as an astronaut over. NASA fired her effective today.

Nowak, you'll recall, is accused of trying to kidnap a romantic rival last month. She's pleaded not guilty. The space agency says her firing has nothing to do whether it believes she is innocent or guilty. Nowak will return to her other job in the Navy.

COLLINS: She woke up after six years. It's something even her doctor can't explain. Christa Lilly suffered a heart attack and a stroke in 2000, then slipped into a minimally conscious state. This week, she woke up and started talking and eating by herself, learning for the first time she had grandchildren and her youngest daughter was now 12.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTA LILLY, AWOKE AFTER SIX YEARS: It's wonderful. They seem so happy.

DR. RANDALL BJORK, NEUROLOGIST: This is all mystical and I can't explain it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Lilly was awake for three days and has since slipped back into that minimally conscious state. Her mother says she can cope with it, though. She says, "The good lord let me know she's all right."

MARCIANO: You know, when you have Dr. Sanjay Gupta on this set saying, you know, I'm curious as to why this happens himself...

COLLINS: I know.

MARCIANO: ... then you know it's a bit of a miracle.

COLLINS: It is. They always say, even as a neurosurgeon like Sanjay, that there's so much about the workings of the human brain that we don't know. And boy, that's certainly one of those cases, I think. MARCIANO: A man who has a really big brain...

COLLINS: I know you were going to say that.

He's good, isn't he?

MARCIANO: Leading our team of meteorologists in the CNN weather center, Chad Myers.

(WEATHER REPORT)

MARCIANO: All right. Soldiers and surgeons worked to save her, but how is Baby Noor doing today? An update on the Iraqi girl in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: Vice President Dick Cheney is being treated for it. War correspondent David Bloom died from it -- DVT, otherwise known as Deep-Vein Thrombosis, a potentially deadly blood clot. March is DVT Awareness Month.

And with us in New York is David Bloom's widow, Melanie. She's a spokeswoman for the Coalition to Prevent DVT.

Melanie, thanks for being with us.

MELANIE BLOOM, COALITION TO PREVENT DVT: Thank you, Heidi.

COLLINS: You bet. And if you would, just begin by telling us David's story and what happened in Iraq.

BLOOM: Well, when David was covering the war in Iraq for NBC News, he developed some leg pain and complained of cramping legs. He had been sleeping every night in this tank with his knees pulled to his chin and was dehydrated. But when we mentioned the leg pain, we didn't think anything about it.

I had never heard of DVT before I got the call that David had passed away from it. So, two nights after his call about leg cramps, David died. What I have since learned is that was a huge warning side for Deep-Vein Thrombosis.

COLLINS: That's right. And, you know, you and I have spoken many times. I actually had the condition myself. And it is absolutely unbelievable that it can turn into something so very serious, when you honestly think, at least for me, that you may have just pulled a muscle.

BLOOM: Exactly. I mean, David did have the leg pain, but he sort of blew it off. I mean -- and so did I. You know, having never heard of DVT, didn't know about the warning signs and risk factors, so we didn't give it the weight that it deserved.

And that's what I've been doing working with the Coalition to Prevent DVT to try to really make people aware that this is serious, this condition takes more lives each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. And every year in America, 300,000 people die from this. And David was lucky enough to have the leg pain, which is a warning sign, but unlucky in that we didn't have the awareness to know what that meant and what to do.

COLLINS: Let's talk about that for a minute, because both David and I were certainly not in the age group that is so common for DVT. Usually, much older people are getting these types of conditions, and they're much less active. So as we put those on the screen -- and again, as you said, I knew nothing about it when they told me I had it either.

Some of those risk factors that we're looking at now, you know , asking -- the doctors were asking me all the time, "Could you be pregnant? Are you on birth control? Have you smoked? Is there any of this in your family history?"

I imagine that a lot of those questions were being bounced around with the physicians inside your mind as well.

BLOOM: Right. Right. I have since learned that these are some common risk factors, along with long-haul flights.

In Vice President Cheney's case, he was on an airplane for 60 hours in a few days' time. So long-haul flights are a risk factors. As you showed, pregnancy, birth control pill. Cancer patients are at higher risks.

And our Web site, preventdvt.org, has a whole list of risk factors. And they say if you have three or more risk factors at any given time you could be at risk for developing a DVT and/or fatal pulmonary embolism, as in David's case.

COLLINS: And that's the thing to clarify here. If you have a blood clot, what ends up being sometimes fatal, certainly in David's case, is when you have that pulmonary embolism, where it breaks apart. I think we have some video to show a little bit about how that can work in your veins.

BLOOM: That's right. It's when the clot breaks free and travels to the lungs.

And two million Americans each year will develop the blood clot, the DVT. And out of that, 300,000 will die from a the pulmonary embolism, which is essentially the clot traveling to the lungs. So prevention is key here to prevent the DVT from forming, or if it does form, to get immediate treatment so it doesn't result in a fatal pulmonary embolism.

COLLINS: What has your reception been when you talk to people about this, Melanie? Do they look at you like DVT, Deep-Vein Thrombosis? I mean, do they have any understanding of what that is?

BLOOM: You know, when I first started, I joined with the Coalition to Prevent DVT three years ago, and, yes, I got the blank face. COLLINS: Right.

BLOOM: What? DVT is what?

It's interesting. In these three years, we've really moved the needle of awareness. And that's so gratifying.

Our campaign this year is a grassroots effort on traveling the nation, speaking at hospitals, meeting with the doctors and the patients and the caregivers to really put it on the forefront of the physicians' minds. Because there's a big miss (ph) between the staggering number of deaths each year from this and the awareness of American people and the doctors out there.

COLLINS: There's no question about that. And when we talk about Vice President Dick Cheney, very sensitively want to say that sometimes when someone in the public eye is diagnosed with this condition or this event, I should say, it does help with awareness.

BLOOM: You know, it does. And unfortunately, David's face became sort of the personal face of DVT.

And I've just worked to take that tragedy and try to transform it into something positive and raise awareness. And when I started this campaign with the coalition, I told myself, if one life is saved, then David's death will not have been in vain. And so we're working to raise awareness about DVT -- preventdvt.org.

COLLINS: Well, you look terrific and we love having you as a guest. And how are the kids doing?

BLOOM: The kids are great. Thanks for asking, Heidi. They're happy children, and David's spirit lives on in their shining, smiling faces, and they're my little mini spokespeople. They wear their DVT pins and help me out in March. So...

COLLINS: That's terrific.

BLOOM: ... they're doing really well.

Thanks, Heidi.

COLLINS: Well, good. We're looking at some pictures of them now.

We so appreciate your time.

Melanie Bloom.

DVT Awareness Month right now, the month of March.

Thanks again, Melanie. Nice to see you.

BLOOM: Thanks, Heidi. You, too.

COLLINS: Find a tool to assess your own risk for DVT and how to identify the symptoms at preventdvt.org.

Check it out, everybody.

MARCIANO: And the new top commander in Iraq talks about ending the bloodshed and safeguarding civilians. General David Petraeus on the security crackdown -- in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

COLLINS: Keeping a constant track on sex offenders. Our John Zarrella demonstrates how one type of ankle bracelet is far from being a fashion accessory.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will size this up.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a couple of hours, I played the role of a convicted felon just out of prison. One condition of my probation is to wear this ankle bracelet-monitoring system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no intention to make this thing non- removable.

ZARRELLA (on camera): Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you wanted to cut and run, you could do that. But we're going to know about it in a hurry.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): To find out how they work, we went to one of the companies that makes them, Protech, which has a contract with Florida's department of corrections.

(on camera): And these pins you're putting in...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are retaining pins. And the idea of these retaining pins are so you can't accidentally have this thing pop open on you.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): In Florida alone, 1,600 people are being monitored by the company's system. Many are convicted sex offenders and predators. For the demonstration, I head out for a ride with company boss Steve Chapin. I've got my ankle bracelet on, which is connected wirelessly to this tracking device.

(on camera): As long as I'm carrying this with me, then I'm fine, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're fine.

ZARRELLA: As long as I don't go into any hot spots.

(voice-over): The court has determined I shouldn't go near schools or parks, those are the hotspots, or hot zones, that have been programmed into the system. They show up as boxes on the computer screen at the company's call center. Only when I do something wrong will a human be notified. That's about to happen. The elementary school down the road is off limits, but I drive by anyway. Almost immediately the tracking device sounds. The system automatically notifies my probation officer for the day.

STEVE CHAPIN, PRES., PROTECH: I just received a page indicating that John committed a violation. The violation in this case was that he violated a rule called Trinity Elementary.

ZARRELLA: He immediately sends a message back to me through the tracking device -- leave area now.

(on camera): So now my best bet is get out of here as quickly as I can, and then I've got some explaining to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Through the tracking device and using global-positioning satellites, my location is recorded every minute.

Now, I'm about to make a big mistake. I would never be without the bracelet and tracker unless I planned to violate the terms of my probation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't make anything tamper proof, completely tamper proof, that's impossible. So what we do is incorporate tamper detection. So if you do anything to that bracelet to try and take it off, it will send out immediately an alarm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which is exactly what happens next.

(on camera): Now, I'm going to cut the bracelet off. This changes everything. It is an irreversible violation. Bottom line: I'm signing my arrest warrant. As soon as it's cut, the system sounds. My probation officer is notified and police would immediately be sent to my last location recorded by the system. Police say, short of keeping them in prison, this is the only way to keep constant tabs on sex offenders and predator.

John Zarrella, CNN, Odessa, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARCIANO: Senator Chuck Hagel, Vietnam vet, Iraq war critic and 2008 presidential hopeful? We'll check the political tea leaves straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

A Mega Millionaire's plans after he cashes in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what you're going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going fishing. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Jeanne Moos makes the most of this dream come true, straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: As President Bush begins his seven-day trip to Latin America, an international trip, we head to our international man, coming up in 20 minutes or so, Jim Clancy, "YOUR WORLD TODAY."

Hey there, Jim.

JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, how are you guys doing today?

Well, listen. I want to tell you, we are going to be taking you live to Brazil for our coverage, as President Bush prepares to meet both protests and some good prospects during his ambitious swing through Latin America. It's going to be a major trip for the president, at an important time.

Also, we're going to have the latest videotape coming from survivors of the Indonesian plane crash, harrowing stories of escape amid the smoke and flames.

Plus, agonizing questions for Israel, what to do with Sudanese refugees who are seeking shelter but ending up in Israeli jails. Make no mistake, memories of 50 years or more are being taken into account as the decision-making goes ahead.

All the news with an international perspective coming up right at the top of the hour. Back to you.

COLLINS: All right, Jim. Thank you. We'll be watching.

MARCIANO: Will he or won't he? We may find out soon whether Nebraska Republican senator or Republican Chuck Hagel will make a run for the White House. Here's CNN's Dana Bash, part of the best political team on television.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whenever he's asked and he's asked a lot, Nebraskan Republican Chuck Hagel is cagey about whether he'll run for president, like here on CNN earlier this year.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Are you getting closer to a final decision whether or not to run for president?

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL, (R) NEBRASKA: I'll let you know, Wolf. I've got to make a decision soon and I will make that decision.

BASH: But this strategic buzz generating press release with a huge spot you can't miss that he will make an announcement Monday in his home state about his future plans.

This is a strong signal that Hagel is jumping into the 2008 GOP field, especially since Hagel has already accepted an invitation to appear at a union forum next week for Republican presidential candidates along with Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.

Whether a candidate Hagel can raise the money or find support in an already crowded Republican race for president is an open question.

HAGEL: We better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder.

BASH: But one thing that would distinguish the 60-year-old Vietnam veteran from leading GOP contenders is his unyielding opposition to President Bush's war plan.

HAGEL: No American foreign policy can be sustained without the support of the American people. He does not have support of allies obviously on this. All of our allies with so-called coalition willing are pulling their troops out of Iraq.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARCIANO: Join the best political team on television for the first presidential debate of the campaign season, CNN, WMUR TV and a New Hampshire union leader will sponsor back-to-back debates for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on April 4th and April 5th, the unprecedented early kickoff to a wide-open race for the White House. First debates in this lead-off presidential primary statement, April 4th and 5th, don't miss it.

COLLINS: Stepping out over the Grand Canyon. Gives you the willies, doesn't it? A whole new view, ahead, in the NEWSROOM.

MARCIANO: And he's one very very happy man, and he's rich, too. Yes, you're looking at him. But who's got the other mega million dollar jackpot ticket? Half the mystery still to be solved. That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Felicia Taylor of the New York Stock Exchange. Coming up, how leaders on Capitol Hill are trying to give you a break when it comes to Uncle Sam.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight on "360," traitor on the high seas. A former Navy sailor under arrest, accused of sharing secrets with al Qaeda and plotting to kill Americans. Has our security been compromised?

"360" tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: If you've ever watched your credit card bill skyrocket because of interest rates and fees, you are not alone. A Senate panel yesterday examined sometimes confusing credit card billing practices. The senators questioned bank executives and also heard from an Ohio man who started out owing $3200 and ended up feeling like he was drowning in a $10,000 debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WESLEY WANNEMACHER, OHIO RESIDENT: It's a feeling similar to riding in a submarine when the water pressure is really high, and every time the phone would ring, it gets hard to breathe and you're not sure whether you should even answer it or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Lawmakers are threatening possible legislation to stop what they call predatory practices by credit cards. Some of the banks say they have already changed certain policies, including the one that hit Mr. Wannemacher.

MARCIANO: Well, it may be too early to call, but so far, there are some signs of hope on Wall Street. Felicia Taylor is at the New York Stock Exchange with details. Hi, Felicia.

(BUSINESS HEADLINES)

COLLINS: We have a winner, at least one coming forward to claim his share of a record lottery jackpot. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports on the Georgia truck driver now living the Mega Millions dream come true.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Check out this check -- $116 million is one lucky guy's share of the winning jackpot.

And now that he's rich, it will be $80 million after taxes. How long is this Georgia carpet mill truck driver going to stay a truck driver?

ED NABORS, LOTTERY WINNER: At least two more days.

MOOS: Fifty-two year-old Ed Nabors bought 10 Mega Million tickets at a store that lived up to it's name, Favorite Market, in Dalton, Georgia.

A second winning ticket was sold at this liquor store in Woodbine, New Jersey. Not far from Atlantic City. The New Jersey winner hasn't turned yet. But a lot of loser have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It should have been me. I'm just fine, thank you, but I'm not a millionaire.

MOOS: Nope, she didn't have the right measurements.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 42, 39, 29 --

MOOS: But Ed did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what you're going to do?

NABORS: I'm going fishing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK!

MOOS: He said that when he realized he had a winning ticket, he just went numb and sat in his truck for 15 minutes. He said he can help a lot of people with the money. For instance, he would like to buy one of his daughters a house to get her out of her mobile home.

The press set up shop in the two shops where the tickets were sold. Folks were all shook up in the liquor store over the size of the pay day. He's the liquor store owner keeping an eye on the press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You break it, you buy it.

MOOS: The only thing Ed broke, was the bank. His immediate plans?

NABORS: I'm going to sit down for a while.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARCIANO: Busted in Phoenix. Serious accusations against a former Navy man. Was he trying to help Middle Eastern terrorists? That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: Stepping out gingerly over the Grand Canyon, a whole new view, ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COLLINS: I'm getting it of the way.

MARCIANO: Don Lemon here to talk about what's coming up in the NEWSROOM this afternoon.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: How are you doing?

MARCIANO: Good, buddy.

LEMON: Terror plot in the US Navy, accusations against a former Navy man. Authorities say a former service member who served on this ship, the USS Benefold passed Navy secrets to terrorists. Now details on the investigation straight ahead in the afternoon edition of the CNN NEWSROOM.

And poison plot, is it? Two American women, a mother and daughter, finally home from Russia and they are the apparent victims of thalium poisoning, the same poison used to kill a former Russian spy. The latest on that investigation when you join us today at 1:00 Eastern.

COLLINS: Unbelievable story coming out of Russia and all this. LEMON: We know you'll be watching.

COLLINS: Yes.

LEMON: Absolutely, all of those crazy plots.

COLLINS: All right, we will be watching. Thank you, Don Lemon.

MARCIANO: Are you guys all right with heights?

COLLINS: Yes, I think this would be cool.

MARCIANO: Check this out. A bird's-eye view of the Grand Canyon at your feet. Take a look, a glass bottom walkway now loops over the western edge of the canyon. It's called the skywalk and it opens to the public later this month. A Native American tribe there hopes the walkway will lead them out of poverty. They're going to charge $25 for the breathtaking view. That's in addition to some other fees and of course environmentalists and some dissenting tribe members criticized the $30 million tourist attraction. They say it diminishes from the canyon's majesty.

COLLINS: Now do we know how long it's going to be there?

MARCIANO: Until it falls, probably.

COLLINS: The phone is ringing now, the architects are on the line.

MARCIANO: No, it's pretty cool.

COLLINS: And I'm not sure how they constructed this either.

MARCIANO: It's just a big old glass horseshoe and then they slid it out from the side. It's got a lot of weight, I assume, on the other.

COLLINS: And I knew you'd know.

MARCIANO: I just looked at it. That's what I'm guessing from the pictures.

COLLINS: I bet there will be a lot of people who won't do that, though. Just out of sheer terror.

MARCIANO: It will be good. We wish them the best and success.

COLLINS: Cool, all right. Well, CNN NEWSROOM does continue just one hour from now.

MARCIANO: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" is next with news happening across the globe and here at home. I'm Rob Marciano sitting in for Tony Harris, thanks for having me.

COLLINS: And I'm Heidi Collins, thanks for being here. Have a great day, everybody. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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