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CNN NEWSROOM

President Bush Visits Latin America; Dick Cheney Losing Influence?

Aired March 9, 2007 - 15:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Kyra Phillips, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Don Lemon.

The controversial leader of the Nation of Islam answers charges of anti-Semitism. Minister Louis Farrakhan grants a rare interview to CNN.

WHITFIELD: A former Washington escort service owner threatens to release clients' names and numbers. We have got details on what she did in court today.

LEMON: And new developments in the Anna Nicole Smith case -- the doctor who prescribed her methadone is now under investigation. A live report is just ahead -- details right now in the CNN NEWSROOM.

But, first, the top of the hour, and we start with this.

Deborah Jean Palfrey, get ready to hear that name a lot. She's the talk of the town in Washington. But, this afternoon, she was the one talking about a case that has a lot of people nervous.

CNN's Brianna Keilar is standing by with the details for us.

Brianna, what have you learned?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, Deborah Jean Palfrey is accused of running a large-scale prostitution ring here in the D.C. area from '93 to 2006. But she says that's not what she was doing at all.

Here's how she described her business just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBORAH JEAN PALFREY, FORMER ESCORT SERVICE OWNER: The firm Pamela Martin & Associates operated as a legal high-end erotic fantasy service.

I employed independent contractors ages 23 to 25 years of age and up to age 55 with two to four years of college education. Many had graduate school educations who either worked and/or attended school during regular business hours. Correspondingly, both the independent contractors and the clientele were upscale and came from the more refined walks of life here in the nation's capital.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Palfrey says this was all on the up-and-up. She says she reported all of her revenue to the IRS, and even had 1099s prepared every year for her workers.

Now, she is alleging that she's broke, that she can't afford to put up a defense. And so, in order to raise money, she says -- her lawyer, rather, in these civil proceedings says she wants to sell phone records from her company. Her lawyer says this amounts to as much as 15,000 -- the contact information for as much as 15,000 people, addresses and phone numbers -- so, obviously, Don, a lot of nervous people here, and others who are just curious to see what names might come out of this.

LEMON: I'm sure. I'm sure, Brianna.

Now, she's talking, but is a judge expected to issue a gag order on this case?

KEILAR: The judge is considering that at this point. We understand that it's very possible this could go through.

But we also understand that this doesn't necessarily mean that there are some big names that are on this long list or in this contact information, that this really should just be seen, if it does go through, as sort of standard procedure.

LEMON: All right, Brianna Keilar, in Washington, thank you so much for that.

WHITFIELD: Now, you may have heard about the doctor who prescribed methadone for Anna Nicole Smith when she was pregnant.

Well, today, Sandeep Kapoor is being investigated by California's Medical Board.

CNN's Brooke Anderson has been following this story from Los Angeles -- Brooke.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fredricka.

And, also today, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, who did prescribe methadone to Anna Nicole Smith during her pregnancy, is now lashing out at the Broward County medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper, because Perper basically said that Kapoor isn't cooperating with the investigation into Anna Nicole Smith's death.

Today, the attorney for Kapoor issued a statement on his behalf, basically saying he has been appropriately cautious about protecting the confidentiality of Anna Nicole Smith's medical treatment, and that such caution is justified when the medical examiner makes public statements about a supposedly confidential investigation.

Now, the statement continues -- quote -- "The medical examiner's job is to determine the cause of Ms. Smith's death. Dr. Kapoor has no information that will help with that determination. Dr. Kapoor's treatment of Ms. Smith was at all times medically sound. And he will continue to cooperate with any formal requests from authorities."

Now, this statement does come after the news that he's being investigated by the Medical Board of California, which confirms to CNN that he is officially being investigated in regards to the Anna Nicole Smith case. They would not give us any additional details.

But, Fredricka, we know that the autopsy results, which we had expected today or early next week, are being delayed. Dr. Perper says possibly up to two weeks. He doesn't want anything that the police find to interfere with his conclusions. So, today, at this point, more questions than answers still -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Brooke Anderson, thanks so much, from Los Angeles.

LEMON: The Justice Department comes down on the FBI over government snooping in the war on terror. An audit released today alleges agents misused their authority in collecting information on citizens and others.

Well, with the latest from Washington, our justice correspondent CNN's Kelli Arena -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don.

You know, Congress mandated this report back when the Patriot Act was being reauthorized. And, if it hadn't, some critics wonder whether we would ever know what we know now.

Now, this report, prepared by the Justice Department's inspector general, shows that the FBI improperly and sometimes illegally used the Patriot Act to get private information. At issue are what's called national security letters. Now, these are used to get information from phone companies, banks, other businesses without a judge's approval.

The inspector general found that the FBI under-reported how many of those letters it issued. It also said that they were improperly used in a variety of ways.

Now, Director Robert Mueller says, if there's any finger-pointing that needs to be done, it should be directed squarely at him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: I am the person responsible. I am the person accountable, and I am committed to ensuring that we correct these deficiencies and live up to these responsibilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ARENA: Lawmakers were furious after reading that report, promising tougher oversight and possibly a cutback in FBI powers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I have long been troubled by the lack of accountability in these national security letters. They need to be reassessed. The report indicates abuse of the authority. That needs to change. You have got to have people who are responsible and in charge, and you cannot have people act as free agents on something where they are going to be delving into your privacy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARENA: Don, you know, it's important to note, this report did say that the letters were an important tool in the war on terror.

And the I.G. did not find any indication of criminal misconduct -- instead, just a lot of sloppiness. Now, Mueller says that he has already started to make some changes to fix the problems. And the attorney general has asked the inspector general to issue a follow-up report, to make sure that those changes are working, in four months.

LEMON: All right. So, they sound like they mean business, Kelli.

Now, is anyone likely to face any real consequences as a result of these revelations? Will anyone be punished, I guess is the question?

ARENA: Maybe administratively.

But the I.G. report was very clear in saying that there was no criminal intent, that he didn't find any criminal misconduct, that this was errors, sloppy bookkeeping on, that they didn't get proper direction from headquarters for field work. So, there's a lot -- there's a lot here, but -- but it doesn't say, you know, agent X went out to break the law.

LEMON: All right, Kelli Arena, thank you so much.

ARENA: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: So, President Bush is on a high-stakes mission to Latin America. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and others have tilted that region to the left. Now Mr. Bush is trying to tilt it back.

Arturo Valenzuela is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington. He's also served as an assistant secretary of state. And he was an adviser to President Clinton. And he joins us now from Mexico city.

Wow, what a title. Good to see you.

(LAUGHTER)

ARTURO VALENZUELA, DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES: Nice to be with you.

WHITFIELD: All right.

Well, let's talk about the psychology of these countries selected, of these five Latin American countries, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Guatemala. Why are they welcoming to President Bush?

VALENZUELA: Well, there's a mix here of countries.

Brazil is headed by a leftist leader, as is Uruguay. The others are headed by leaders that are more identified with the right. But what the United States is trying to do with this trip is to signal that it is engaged in the region, that it wants to have a good relationship with these countries at a time when the United States, of course, is being challenged by others, including Hugo Chavez from Venezuela.

WHITFIELD: All right.

And, speaking of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, just across the river from Uruguay -- so, the plan is, as the president is there, Hugo Chavez will be commandeering a huge rally. How distracting just might that be for the president's visit? How much of a great following does Chavez have?

VALENZUELA: Well, Chavez has a significant following in Argentina, as well as in Uruguay, a country that the president will visit.

But we need to remember one thing. A recent Gallup poll showed that, of the 18 countries in Latin America, Chavez's support levels were 20 -- about 26 percent. The problem for President Bush is that his support level is in the region are 27 percent. So, both leaders are actually fairly unpopular with large sectors of the population.

So, this is -- the challenge for Bush, of course, is to be able to tell the region that the United States is engaged, that it cares about the region, and that it sees it as in its interest to be able to make some progress on a whole range of issues.

WHITFIELD: And perhaps in response to those critics, President Bush had recently said to our CNN Espanol that perhaps he's not ignoring the Southern Hemisphere, that Latin America is important to him.

This is what he said earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Since I have been the president, our bilateral aid to Latin America has increased from $800 million to $1.6 billion. And the reason I say that is, the American taxpayer has been very generous about providing aid in our neighborhood. And most of that aid is social justice money. In other words, it's money for education and health.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, the president says he's been very generous. There are other critics who say that his contributions have been very paltry.

In fact, a conservative Latin newspaper criticized that amount as amounting to the equivalent of five days cost of the war in Iraq.

So, who wins this argument?

VALENZUELA: Well, unfortunately, this year, as well, some of those figures have gone down. It's gone down from about $1.6 billion to about $1.4 billion.

And it's not the case that it's mostly for health and social welfare. Most of the money goes to counter-drug operations, particularly in a few countries, like Colombia. And all the money that the United States spends in all of Latin America is still less than what the United States spends in assistance to Egypt alone.

So, there is a -- there is a sort of legitimate complaint in the region, particularly when Chavez is spending large amounts of money, that the United States has dropped the ball.

WHITFIELD: Professor Arturo Valenzuela, thank you so much for your time.

VALENZUELA: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: And, as the president's trip through Latin America continues, so does our coverage here on CNN. Tuesday morning, Soledad O'Brien is live in Mexico City. That's at 6:00 a.m. Eastern on "AMERICAN MORNING," only here on CNN.

LEMON: Louis Farrakhan, nation of Islam leader, a mesmerizing speaker, and a man who does not mince words -- but he's been accused of stirring up hate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: There are a lot of people who have a lot of opinions about you, not all positive. People say that you are an anti-Semite.

LOUIS FARRAKHAN, NATION OF ISLAM LEADER: I have never been an anti-Semite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Ahead in the NEWSROOM, Farrakhan answers his critics. WHITFIELD: And it's time to change your clock this weekend. Rob Marciano has a look at who heats up and who stays cool as we spring forward our clocks.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Sixteen after the hour, and here's what we're working on for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A doctor who prescribed methadone to Anna Nicole Smith is under investigation.

The former owner of a D.C. escort service pleads not guilty to money-laundering and racketeering. She's threatening to release information about 10,000 clients.

And FBI Director Robert Mueller promises changes, in light of a government report that accuses the bureau of abusing the Patriot Act to snoop on people.

WHITFIELD: Now, let's talk a little weather, a lot of weather, warm, cool, rainy, all of the above, or none of the above.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: Rob Marciano is in the Weather Center.

So, how does it look?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Cold across the Northeast.

WHITFIELD: All of the above, none of...

(CROSSTALK)

MARCIANO: Oh, yes, All of the above.

WHITFIELD: OK. That's what I figured.

MARCIANO: It just depends on where you live, Fred...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MARCIANO: That's the -- this time of year, as we head toward spring, little pieces of the U.S. will experience very different types of weather. And, if you live in the Northeast, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Got an interesting satellite picture. It's a high-res one, where our friends at Envirocast borrow the NASA Terra satellite and really can zoom in to a particular area. What you're seeing in this shot is the brown, indicating obviously the brown ground across the I-95 Corridor, New York, Philly, down through Baltimore and D.C., and the white, a little bit farther inland, in through the Appalachian Mountains, which have pretty much seen a pretty stable snow cover since late January.

This is a picture taken on March 6. And then we will fast- forward a couple of days, and you can see that distinct line of snow that drops down about 50 miles south of Washington, D.C. -- everywhere north of there, a little dusting of snow by maybe -- not -- not a whole lot, granted, but one, two inches of snow covering things up, and making it white again.

On top of this snow cover, we have got a tremendous amount of cold air, as well. Let's go over to the weather maps, and we will show you what's been highlighting that.

High pressure has opened up the floodgates across the Northeast, with cold Canadian air dropping down from Quebec and Ontario. And now it's in place. But the good news is, it's -- things are going to start to warm up. But the damage has already been done.

We have seen a series of record-breaking low temperatures again this morning: Burlington, Vermont, minus 15; Boston, Massachusetts, five degrees; Providence, Rhode Island, at three; Bridgeport, Connecticut, nine; Islip, Long Island, 12. And D.C. also saw a record-breaking cold snap.

But look at what is going on right now, 32 degrees in New York City. -- obviously, that is freezing -- but Pittsburgh at 55, 69 degrees in Cincinnati. And all this warmer air is beginning to head northward.

And, tonight, low temperatures aren't going to be record-breaking at all, 30 in New York, 25 degrees in Boston. So, you will start to see some of that almost springlike temperatures that a lot of folks down in the South have been feeling the last couple of days.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Oh, tempting folks a little. Spring is almost here.

MARCIANO: Almost.

WHITFIELD: Just be a little patient.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks a lot, Rob.

MARCIANO: You bet. See you, Fredricka.

He's been one of the most powerful vice presidents in history, but is Dick Cheney losing some of his clout and becoming a liability to Republicans? We will take a look -- ahead in the NEWSROOM. WHITFIELD: And it wasn't exactly a secret, but Newt Gingrich is finally coming clean about an affair in the late '90s. So, why now? We will ask our Bill Schneider -- straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, how about getting paid for good grades? Many parents already do it, but now one of America's biggest companies is getting behind the effort to do this? Hmm.

Felicia Taylor knows all the answers.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: What is this all about?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is such a great initiative, I think, anyway.

ExxonMobil is committing $125 million to a new program called the National Math and Science Initiative. The money is going to go toward training and incentive programs for advanced-placement classes. And some of those incentives will be financial.

"The Wall Street Journal" says students will be paid up to $100 for each of the A.P. exams that they pass. And you remember how hard those are, especially in math, science and English. Teachers who prepare the students will also reap some of the rewards. This new program builds on one that's been in place in Texas for the past several years.

Sounds really good, doesn't it?

LEMON: Yes, it does sound good. So, why are they doing this? I would think that, maybe, in the future, they may want people to work for them, these students to work for them. Is that...

TAYLOR: I think that's exactly...

LEMON: Is that it?

TAYLOR: ... what it is, yes.

The idea is to launch the next generation of scientists and engineers. ExxonMobil says the number of students who are actually qualified and interested in careers in math and science have been declining. And that's hurting the nation's competitiveness. U.S. student are lagging behind other countries in math and science, and this program is meant to reverse that trend.

Of course, there are critics, as always. They liken the idea of paying students for solid test scores to more like bribery. So, you weigh and see how you feel.

Let's turn to the markets. Traders have pretty much passed it up for the weekend. Stocks rallied early in the session, thanks to the latest jobs report. But, by noon, it seemed people had pretty much closed out their positions.

One stock taking a beating, though, again, New Century Financial -- the nation's second largest subprime lender is losing more than 16 percent. The stock has now lost three-quarters of its value in the past week, underscoring woes in the subprime markets. New Century now says it's going to stop taking on loans. And that, of course, is fueling talk once again that they might have to file for bankruptcy.

Let's take a look at the major averages. The Dow right now is actually slightly in positive territory, up four points. The Nasdaq, however, still on the downside by about three-and-a-half, while the S&P 500 is off fractionally.

Now to life at work -- this summer, filming is set to begin on the fourth "Indiana Jones" movie, with Harrison Ford reprising his role as the Nazi-fighting treasure hunter. But you may not realize there were some real life Indiana Joneses who helped reclaim treasure looted by the Nazis.

One man discovered the work of these little-known treasure hunters, and is bringing their story to life.

Here's Randi Kaye with today's "Life After Work."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer -- these masterpieces grace the walls of museums today, but might have been lost forever if not for the work of a group nicknamed Monuments Men.

ROBERT EDSEL, AUTHOR, "RESCUING DA VINCI": The Monuments Men and Women are my heroes. They're -- it's a group of men and women, about 350 or so, museum directors, curators, art historians that volunteered for service during World War II, and ultimately were involved in the leadership of what I refer to as the greatest treasure hunt in history, trying to find the great works of art throughout Europe, hidden in more than 1,000 hiding places.

KAYE: Robert Edsel uncovered the story at a crossroads in his own life. In the late 1990s, Edsel sold the oil and gas company he built in Texas, and decided to take a break from work. He moved his family to Italy to renovate a villa, study art, and discover his next passion.

Little did he know it would find him on a bridge in Florence.

EDSEL: And I stood on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence, the only one of the bridges that wasn't destroyed and blown up by the Nazis when they fled Florence in 1944, and thought to myself, how did all of this stuff survive World War II? In fact, who were the people who saved it?

KAYE: And, so, Edsel discovered the story of the Monuments Men. And his new passion is sharing their story through a book he's authored, a documentary he helped produce, and speeches he gives. EDSEL: Literally tens of thousands of paintings, hundreds of thousands of cultural items, hidden in more than a thousand caves, salt mines and other places by Hitler and the Nazis was a circumstance no one contemplated, and resulted in an extraordinary effort on the part of this special group, these Monuments Men, and women, to try and find these things, and ultimately restitute them to the countries from which they were stolen.

It's such a privilege for me to be able to go now and see these things, and understand the labor of love and the sacrifice -- in some cases, loss of life -- to make them available, so that we can all enjoy them.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Kyra Phillips is off today.

LEMON: And I'm -- and I'm Don lemon.

Latin America lashes out. Protesters dog President Bush in Brazil and beyond.

You are live, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It is the bottom of the hour, and we start with some breaking news we're just getting off the wires now. This is according to Reuters.

Now, Reuters is saying a senior leader in an al Qaeda-linked group has been arrested in Iraq. And that's according to state television Arabiya. That person's name is Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi arrested today. They said he was captured in the Abu Ghraib area. But a senior leader of an al Qaeda linked group has been arrested today according to Arabiya state television.

WHITFIELD: Something to ponder now, is ethanol an ingredient for better U.S. relations with Latin America? President Bush touted a new agreement to promote biofuel as he met with Brazil's president in San Paulo today. The U.S. and Brazil produce about 70 percent of the world's ethanol.

The two presidents also discussed the need to strengthen democracies. Brazil is the first stop on President Bush's five-nation Latin America tour designed to counter growing leftist influence. Speaking of which, anti-American protests have broken out in Brazil as well. And yesterday, students battled riot police in Bogota. CNN's Karl Penhaul was in the thick of it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A homemade explosive rocks a police riot truck. Hundreds of masked students run for cover as water cannons douse them. The chant is "Yankees out!"

These running battles last through the afternoon in protest to at U.S. president George Bush's planned visit to Colombia on Sunday.

FERMIN, STUDENT PROTESTER: So we fight not only for the Bush visit. It's also because we believe that a new Colombia is possible, that a new Latin America is possible.

PENHAUL: The interview abruptly ends as tear gas fired by the police rains down on campus.

FERMIN: We're fighting men.

PENHAUL: Radical students of Bogota's biggest public university normally reject contact with the media, but months ago I met some of their leaders, and on this rare occasion, they agreed to show me the protests from their perspective. Despite that acceptance, it's a chaotic scene, making it impossible to do an on-camera standup.

"He's coming to sell us out. We're fighting against Bush's visit," this student says. A team of his masked comrades launch fireworks through PVC pipes. Another group takes aim by the wall, where I'm taking cover, too.

Police and the government accuse communist rebels of infiltrating Colombia's university campuses. The students, though, reject the terrorist tag. They describe themselves as a mixture of communist sympathizers, anarchists, leftists and nationalists. Today, they're united with one aim -- "This is a demonstration of Colombian dignity. We will not become the slaves of U.S. imperialism," he says.

Washington funds Colombia's war on drugs and against communist guerrillas with around $700 million a year. Critics like these students say that's meddling.

Police battle through the afternoon to contain the riot to the campus. Violence flared on nearby street corners. The teargas began to clear, the riot trucks pulled back, leaving the students to chant, "Victory!"

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Bogota, Colombia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: A political boat from the blue, though not to most observers a total shock. In an interview yesterday with conservative Christian leader James Dobson, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged an extramarital affair, an affair that was going on at the same time he and his fellow Republicans were going after President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Gingrich drew a sharp distinction between his behavior and that of the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES DOBSON, CHRISTIAN LEADER: I asked you a pretty bold question, and I appreciate the fact you didn't seem offended by it, but I asked you if the rumors were true that you were in an affair with a woman, obviously who wasn't your wife, at the same time that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were having their escapade.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, the fact is, the honest answer is yes, but that it's not related to what happened and this is one of the things the left tries to do and one of the places where, frankly, I think the way the report of the special counsel was written, weakened the case.

The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge. He was involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit in which his behavior was a direct question of whether or not the woman who had accused him was telling the truth. The president of the United States who was a Yale graduated lawyer, had been attorney general of the state, knew better -- deliberately committed perjury.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Why is Gingrich addressing this issue now? Well for starters, he's considering a run for president. Experts say it's better to deal with dirty laundry before the heat of a campaign.

WHITFIELD: Well nobody is writing him off, but more and more people inside and outside the government think the writing is on the wall for Dick Cheney. CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the moment he took the vice presidency, Dick Cheney brought experience to George Bush that few others could match: a businessman, a veteran of the Nixon and Ford administrations, the architect of the first Gulf War.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: President Bush had never been in Washington. He had never been in Congress. Cheney had been a whip in Congress. He had been a very important figure in the party. He knew the ways of Washington.

FOREMAN: But all that political weight may now be dragging him down. Only two in five voters likes how Mr. Cheney does his job. And his job, by most accounts, touches everything that matters in the White House: domestic and foreign policy, economic matters, the war, and, of course, now the conviction of the vice president's confidant, Scooter Libby.

STEPHEN HESS, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: This vice president has had his finger in everything. He truly is, and has been, the president's chief adviser. That's power.

FOREMAN: Mr. Cheney's personal life has seen ups and downs, too. He has bristled at questions about his accidental shooting of a friend, about his revolving-door hospital visits, and about his daughter, who is a lesbian.

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question. J.C. WATTS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Under normal circumstances, politics is hard to navigate. Under these circumstances, going to make it extremely challenging.

FOREMAN (on camera): The vice president has pretty much ignored public opinion throughout his time in the White House. And he can afford to. Unlike almost every other vice president, Dick Cheney says, emphatically, he does not want the presidency.

(voice-over): But other Republicans do want it. They're worried that he's becoming a liability to their party. And, even though the president shows no signs of pushing Mr. Cheney out, for the former Wyoming congressman, it is proving to be a long, cold winter on the vice presidential plains.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Now more on my interview with Louis Farrakhan. During his three decades as leader of the nation of Islam, Farrakhan has been no stranger to controversy. He's been called anti-white, anti-semitic and the State Department once accused him of cavorting with dictators. I discussed those controversies with him this week in a rare interview at his home in Chicago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: There are a lot of people who have a lot of opinions about you. Not all positive. People say you are an anti-semite.

MINISTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN, NATION OF ISLAM: I've never been an anti-semite. From the depth of my heart, I know that I've never hated the Jewish people. And for me to hate a Jewish person because of their faith tradition would make me less than a Muslim, less than a righteous person, and would make me a bigot and a wicked person.

I am critical of Jewish behavior in relationship to black people or in relationship to the Palestinians. I am critical of America's behavior, and I'm critical of my own people's behavior.

But it doesn't mean I'm anti-American or anti-black or anti- semitic. And I would hope that that can be corrected and any Jewish person listening to this, I am anxious to sit with you, to dialogue with you, and if you can show me where I am wrong, you don't have to ask me to apologize. I'll apologize right then and go before the world and beg your forgiveness.

LEMON: Did you reconcile yourself to the fact that maybe this is it for me?

FARRAKHAN: You always are conscious when you get to be 73. In a few months I'll be 74 by the grace of god. You are always concerned about your mortality. So I was trying to set things in place inside the nation in case I passed away.

LEMON: Who is going to take over the nation and lead it once you are not the leader?

FARRAKHAN: Oh, no, I can't call a name because I am not locked in on any one name. That's why I put a council together.

LEMON: Some speculate it's going to be your son.

FARRAKHAN: I can't say that because this is not a father/son thing.

LEMON: Do you think Elijah Muhammad would be proud of you and what you've done with the nation?

FARRAKHAN: I hope that he would be proud of me and what I've attempted to do in his name.

LEMON: You are a musician.

FARRAKHAN: Yes.

LEMON: You gave it up?

FARRAKHAN: Yes.

LEMON: To join the nation.

FARRAKHAN: Yes. The Bible puts it like this. "Jesus speaking. If any man would be my disciple, he must first deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me." But now god has given me back my music as my life comes near to a close. So I am working on an album now that hopefully will be released the end of this year.

LEMON: Has it been a challenge being with this guy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somewhat.

LEMON: I know you love him to death. Were you scared during the illness?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was.

LEMON: What were you afraid of?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought within myself that he might, but I had to leave it up to god to make his choice what he was going to do with him.

LEMON: And now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now it's wonderful. Because he's here with us.

FARRAKHAN: This is my wife and I on September the 12th, 1953. And it was in the papers, the black paper, the prince takes a bride because I was a great callipsonian, but I was too young to be king so they called me the prince of callipso. So that's the way they put it in the paper. But time does something to all of us. (END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: What is still unclear, who will succeed Farrakhan as a leader of the nation of Islam. Ever since it was founded by Elijah Muhammad in the 1930s, the organization has depended on forceful, charismatic leadership to survive and prosper.

WHITFIELD: So he made it very clear he can't call a name. He's leaving that up to the council. Is he in any way indicating that any of those members who -- could be one of his nine kids even?

LEMON: It could be any of those. But he said this is not a father/son thing. Even though you have someone who is your blood son, it doesn't mean they will take over for you. But he has sons who are part of the nation of Islam who don't happen to be his blood as well. But he happens to have a son who is infused with the blood and the learnings of Elijah Muhammad and his blood.

WHITFIELD: But he's not removing himself from the responsibility of making a selection, is he?

LEMON: No, he's not.

WHITFIELD: So he still may be greatly influential on that.

LEMON: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Meantime this album, that's very intriguing.

LEMON: He's going to play violin. Denise Williams, he's been working on an album with her and he's been in the studio recording an album. He started doing it before he got really sick and now he's trying to continue to get better and to work on that album.

WHITFIELD: And he reinventing himself? Is this a new Louis Farrakhan, even though he's given up the helm of nation of Islam, he's now saying, I am now to be something else?

LEMON: He said, "you cannot go through what I went through without becoming evolved, without growing." Because he said he almost died. So he said back then when he made all those controversial statements he said many of, which were taken out of context, he believes, when he did that, he was a warrior and defending himself.

It was a different climate in the U.S. and now he's saying the country is moving in a different way and he is evolving as well so he doesn't have to be that outspoken. He doesn't have to use those stinging words anymore because there are more people who can defend the nation of Islam and black people as well.

WHITFIELD: All right, very interesting. Of course, if anybody wants to hear anything more they can go to your blog, right?

LEMON: Yes.

WHITFIELD: On CNN.com. Check out more of the dialogue that Don Lemon had with Louis Farrakhan by going to CNN.com.

LEMON: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Spring forward, fall back. On your dieting goals? Dr. Sanjay Gupta coming up with a surprising connection between losing sleep and gaining weight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right, we want to take you now to California where they are searching for a little boy there. This is a raft search. Now here's what -- this is a new video coming in now.

But here's what we're told. This is at Tuolumne River. It happened at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 Pacific time. Three of four kids were out on a yellow raft on a river, what they call the Ninth Street Bridge there. And the river road near Modesto when one of them fell out.

That is according to the county sheriffs there. Authorities learned of this situation again about 2:00 p.m. So there's a dive team in the water. They are searching, looking for the little boy. They are also searching by helicopter.

The teenage boy appeared to be alone on some reports but then we also have a report saying that there were three-to-four kids. So we'll shake that out for you and try to figure out exactly what happened. But we do know there is a river search, a raft search going on right now.

The other kids got out of the raft, that's what I'm being told. That's new information right into the CNN NEWSROOM. New video you are looking at there. And you can see that water is just rushing and there are tons of rescuers and emergency workers on the scene search for this boy who fell into the Tuolumne River. We'll update you on this situation if it warrants it right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: Heavy hearts, helping hands. Leaders from New York City and its Muslim community are reaching out to survivors of this horrific fire and reaching out to the families. They are collecting donations and helping with funeral arrangements.

Eight children and one adult died early yesterday when flames raced through this house in the Bronx. All were immigrants from the west African nation of Mali -- all related. Investigators say a number of things worked against the victims. Among them, no batteries in the smoke detectors and no fire escapes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF SALVATORE CASSANO, NYPD: This is a private dwelling, and the majority of our rescues at a private dwelling are made through the use of portable ladders. We have many windows to attack to get into the building. So we use portable ladders predominantly. If this building had overhead wires which would have prevented the use of a tower ladder at that scene, it wouldn't have been very easy to use it. And again, our first engine was on the scene in three minutes and 23 second getting water and trying to get water onto that fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Investigators say a space heater sparked that fire. City records show the family that owned the building had planned to install sprinklers and other fire safety features.

LEMON: An act of goonery punished today by the National Hockey League. The league came down on the New York Islanders Chris Simon, who hit the Rangers Ryan Hollweg in the face with a stick last night. It was apparent retaliation for a hard but legal hit just moments before. Goodness. Simon was tossed from the game in New York and just a short time ago, he was suspended from play indefinitely. Hollweg required four stitches in his chin and says he expects to play tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: So that spare tire around your middle? Well, it might be related to how much sleep you are getting, they say. Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how to get more sleep or get rid of that middle. One of the two or both. Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: I must not be getting any, look at mine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Set your clocks this weekend. Get ready to spring forward. It's happening three weeks earlier than usual. So, for most of us, it means losing an hour of sleep. And losing sleep could mean gaining weight.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more in his "Fit Nation" report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Bill Ten Eyck has always battled the bulge. He says since his 40s. He suffered three heart attacks and watched the numbers on the scale go up and down, like a yo-yo. His cardiologist couldn't figure out why his weight was fluctuating. So he suggested that Ten Eyck see a sleep specialist.

BILL TEN EYCK, SLEEP APNEA PATIENT: I made the assumption that my fatigue and my inability to do things was because my heart was just failing.

GUPTA: Ten Eyck was diagnosed with sleep apnea. His tests found that some evenings he stopped breathing 33 times in one hour. He wasn't getting rest and that wasn't helping his weight. Not only does a lack of sleep zap your energy, but studies have found that sleep deprived people just seem to eat more. Doctors say chaotic sleeping patterns tend to develop chaotic eating habits, and that can mess up your metabolism and cause you to burn fewer calories.

Researchers have also found that people who got four hours of sleep or less a night saw a rise in the hormone ghrelin. That stimulates the appetite and causes people to eat. DR. THOMAS LORUSSO, NORTHERN VIRGINIA SLEEP DIAGNOSTICS CTR.: They got these patients to sleep better using various sleep hygiene techniques. And when they repeated the levels of these hormones, they found that the level diminished significantly.

GUPTA: Today, Ten Eyck is working on keeping the pounds off. He uses a CPAP device to help regulate his breathing. It blows air through his nose and keeps his airways open. He says it's been a life saver. Because for once in his life, he's getting a good night's sleep.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Well, you know what time it is. Just a few minutes before 4:00. The closing bell is about to ring.

LEMON: And that means Felicia Taylor. Happy Friday to you. TGIF to you, Felicia.

(BUSINESS HEADLINES)y

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