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THE SITUATION ROOM

President Bush, Congressional Democrats on Collision Course Over Iraq; Kucinich to Introduce Articles of Impeachment Against Vice President

Aired April 23, 2007 - 16:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now, full frontal assaults over Iraq. Congressional Democrats and President Bush defy fresh threats from one another.
We'll ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about his battle plan and his provocative claim that the war is lost.

A new impeachment threat is now being hurled at the vice president, Dick Cheney.

Does Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich think he can make that charge stick?

And even the president's father thinks the country may be suffering right now from a little "Bush fatigue." We're going to bring you his comments and how they figure into the presidential race.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Fasten your seatbelts. President Bush and Congressional Democrats are barreling closer to a head-on collision.

Right now, House and Senate leaders are scrambling to send Mr. Bush a war funding bill within days. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, says that bill will set a goal of a complete pullout from Iraq by April 1st of next year. That would be combat forces.

All this coming against the backdrop of more bloodshed in Baghdad and new partisan taunts and threats right here in Washington.

President Bush today renewed his vow to veto any legislation with a withdrawal deadline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will strong reject an artificial timetable withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, offered his own remarks on the war today. He mocked Mr. Bush's repeated claims of progress in Iraq during a speech he gave last Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: In describing his escalation of American troops -- what he calls a surge -- he further said, "So far, the operation is meeting expectations."

The White House transcript says the president made those remarks in the state of Michigan. I believe he made them in the state of denial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Our White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is standing by.

But first to our Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash -- Dana, the Senate Majority Leader didn't repeat his controversial comments of last week that the war is lost today.

You had a chance to sit down and speak with him.

How did he finesse that?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, when I sat down with him, Wolf, the senator today was very careful not to once again utter that phrase, "the war is lost." But he did defend saying that.

I read him quotes from Democrats and Republicans alike who were critical of him for saying "the war is lost."

In the case of Republicans, they think it insulted the troops. In this case of Democrats, some I talked to thought it was politically damaging.

I gave Senator Reid several chances to take it back and he declined.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: General Petraeus has said the war cannot be won militarily. He said that. And President Bush is doing nothing economically. He's doing nothing diplomatically. He's not doing even the minimal requested by the Iraq Study Group. So I -- I stick with General Petraeus. I have no doubt that the war cannot be won militarily, and that's what I said last Thursday, and I stick with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now, Reid did seem to acknowledge, Wolf, that some Democrats weren't happy with him. He said, "I'm not much of a message guy" -- Wolf. BLITZER: He's going to be meeting with the commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq, General Petraeus, who may try to change his mind on this issue of a time line.

What are you hearing on that?

BASH: Well, I asked him about that, about the fact that General Petraeus was sitting with the president today and the president said he was going to go up to the Hill and make it clear that there is success in Iraq, that the so-called surge is working.

When I asked the Senate majority leader about that -- what will happen when General Petraeus comes to the Hill and says that, Reid said, "I don't believe him, because it's not happening."

Reid said that the facts on the ground do not support progress period -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We're going to have much more of Dana's interview with Harry Reid.

That's coming up in our 5:00 p.m. Eastern hour.

Dana, thanks very much.

Let's go to our White House correspondent, Ed Henry.

What's the reaction there -- Ed, to this very defiant statement coming from the Senate majority leader?

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a reporter today asked President Bush to react. He dodged the question. But his spokeswoman, Dana Perino, did not. She really fired away at Harry Reid without any questions from the press. In fact, she just dove right in and went after Reid directly, head-on, charging that what he really wants is a surrender date.

She also said that the withdrawal that Senator Reid is calling for is "like crying uncle and giving up."

But the problem for the White House right now is, as you just noted, General David Petraeus was in the Oval Office with the president. And there, the president, after getting an update, said that some progress is being made, but then in the next breath said that, admittedly, violence has -- has gotten bad. We've seen this spate of bombings, etc.

And that's the bottom line, that while the White House ratchets up the rhetoric at Senator Reid and other Democrats, the problem is that the facts on the ground are making it very tough for the president to make his case -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ed, stand by for a moment.

I want to turn to another subject very quickly. The attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, he's vowing once again today to stay on the job despite calls for his resignation by many Democrats, even some Republicans.

President Bush weighed in once again today on Gonzales' future and his Senate testimony about the firing of those eight federal prosecutors.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The attorney general went up and gave a very candid assessment and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, so it looks like the president is once again standing by his man.

HENRY: Absolutely.

I mean, that comment, though, raising some eyebrows today, obviously, because this is testimony in which the attorney general used some variation of "I don't recall" something like 64 times.

But I asked Dana Perino today, did the president actually see the testimony to make this assessment that he has more confidence?

She said no, he was traveling last Thursday, but he got staff updates.

And, as you note, the president is standing by his man.

Take a listen to what he also said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: As the investigation of the hearings went forward, it was clear that the attorney general broke no law. He did no wrongdoing. And some senators didn't like his explanation, but he answered as honestly as he could. This is an honest, honorable man in whom I have confidence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: But the problem is that, as you heard, even the president himself, note right there -- some senators disagree with that assessment. Leading Republicans, not just Democrats, Republicans like Arlen Specter, saying that the attorney general's credibility has been damaged.

But I can tell you that the president doesn't usually care very much about what people outside the White House are saying. It's what people inside the White House are saying. And I can tell you, very senior people close to the president are telling me that the bottom line is that he gets his back up even more when these outside people start trying to get him to force a cabinet secretary or attorney general out.

And, in fact, the president really is sticking with the attorney general -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Ed, thank you very much.

Let's get back to the showdown over Iraq.

We're joined now by one of the most influential and vocal advocates of a pullout from Iraq. That would be Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: A pleasure to be here, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, the president spoke out once again. I'm going to play a little clip of what he said, going not only after you, in a sense, going after all of his critics.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I believe strongly that politicians in Washington shouldn't be telling generals how to do their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, Congressman, what do you say to the president?

MURTHA: Well, let me tell you something, Wolf, we will have appropriated $1.2 trillion. Our responsibility is accountability. They have 125,000 contractors in Iraq, some of them making more money than the secretary of defense.

Now, we're going to make this accountable. This is called the Iraq Accountability Act. We're going to make this executive branch and the president accountable to the Congress of the United States and the people of the United States.

BLITZER: But he's saying that politicians shouldn't be telling generals how to go ahead and fight this war.

MURTHA: Very clearly under the constitution, we have the responsibility to make sure the troops are taken care of. We gave the president $4 billion more than he asked for. We put money in for MRAP, which is a new vehicle. We put money in for health care. We put money in for -- for traumatic brain injuries. And we put money in for PTSD, which is the post-traumatic stress. We're putting everything the president asked for and we're saying to the president, Mr. President, we're holding you accountable. You can't send the troops back in less than a year. He's finally agreed to that.

We're saying to the president, Mr. President, you can't send troops who are under equipped, and he's agreed to that.

But he's extending the troops. He probably had no alternative because we don't have enough troops.

But, finally, we have to have a deadline to give -- give the Iraqis the incentive to stop. I mean the Iraqi -- every time something happens over in Iraq, they make excuses for the Iraqis and then they finally give in and send more Americans in. This is a civil war and our troops are caught in between.

And these guys are individuals. You know, we listen to what happened down -- this tragedy down at Virginia Tech. And it showed each one of them. It talked about those 33 people who were killed.

Well, each one of these individuals has families. Each one of them has a face. Each one of them he desires. Each one of them has kids. The kids at Fort Bragg, Wolf, are more truant than they were before. They're not achieving as much. They need counseling.

BLITZER: All right...

MURTHA: So this -- this president doesn't understand the tremendous pressure he's putting on his troops. We're trying to help him to make him understand. He's got to start to redeploy. Let me tell you, if he doesn't plan for redeployment, Wolf, we're going to have a real problem, because you're going to have the same problem when he didn't plan for a transition to peace or occupation...

BLITZER: But...

MURTHA: ... in the initial I've seen.

BLITZER: ... the congressman says if you send them legislation that includes a time line for withdrawal, it's going to be a bonanza for the enemy, for the terrorists.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake. An artificial timetable of withdrawal would say to an enemy just wait them out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: What's your response, Congressman, to that argument?

MURTHA: We are giving the Iraqis the incentive to do what they should have been doing. We're giving the Iraqis the incentive.

We have a responsibility to take care of the troops and to give the Iraqis the incentive to do this themselves.

He has to -- if he doesn't start planning for redeployment, Wolf, here's the problem we're going to have -- the same thing we had when we went in with inadequate planning for transition to peace.

We're going to have the disaster he predicted. He predicts a disaster if he doesn't work with the international community, if he doesn't work with the Congress, if he doesn't listen to the public. We're going to have a disaster and it's going to be because he didn't plan for the redeployment.

We're going to redeploy. We're going to redeploy some time this year and the president better start planning for it.

BLITZER: The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, says as long as we follow the president's path in Iraq, he says the war is lost.

Is the war lost?

MURTHA: Well, I said for two years -- you've heard me say this, Wolf -- you can't win it militarily. It's got to be a diplomatic effort. It's got to be an international -- we've got to ask the international community to help us.

But the Iraqis have to do their bit. They have to change the constitution. They have to make these troops go out and do their job.

The Americans are taking the lead in so many of these things. What we hear is pure propaganda from so many of the leaders. You know, it's the same optimistic report we have heard, and yet when you look at the statistics, you look at oil production, electricity production, water production, it's all below pre-war -- below pre-war level.

We've been there for four years.

And in addition to that, Wolf, incidents are up 10 percent.

So this surge, this escalation, is not working and it's time to redeploy the troops and the president is going to have to come. He'd better start planning for it right now.

BLITZER: We just got a press release, Congressman, from your Democratic colleague, Dennis Kucinich, from Ohio, a Democratic presidential candidate.

I'll read one -- the sentence for you: "Congressman Dennis Kucinich will hold a news conference tomorrow afternoon to announce the interdiction of introduction of articles of impeachment relating to the vice president of the United States," Richard B. Cheney.

What's your reaction to that? MURTHA: Well, I hear the phone calls that we get in our office are up from 5 percent to 10 percent of the public calling for impeachment. But I think we have to -- to work together to solve some of these problems.

I think it's -- it's not responsible to get involved in that area right now.

What we want to do is get the White House working with the Congress -- working with the international community, trying to solve these problems.

BLITZER: John Murtha, thanks for coming in, Congressman.

MURTHA: Nice to talk to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Always good to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty.

He's in New York.

He's got The Cafferty File -- hi, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four dollars a gallon is where some experts say that gasoline prices could be headed. Right now, the national average, $2.87 a gallon. That's for self-serve regular. That's up more than $0.08 in the last two weeks.

According to Bloomberg News, prices are actually going up at a rate not seen since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita knocked out a lot of the oil refineries. And then Americans' consumption of gasoline is also increasing at twice the rate as it was last year.

AAA reports that population gains and economic growth are causing a rise in how much gasoline people are buying.

Some analysts think that Americans are resigned to the higher prices. The demand for gas was up last summer, even when gasoline topped $3 a gallon.

The Energy Department expects prices to peak some time next month. But things like hurricanes, refinery closures or cuts in crude oil supply -- think, for example, Iran -- could send prices even higher, maybe up to $4.

So here's the question -- how would $4 a gallon gasoline affect you?

E-mail your thoughts to caffertyfile@cnn.com or go to cnn.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack. Thank you.

And coming up, the vice president, Dick Cheney, threatened with impeachment by a Democratic presidential candidate. Is it a campaign stunt or a real possibility?

Plus, does America have a case of "Bush fatigue?"

The president's father offers his surprising diagnosis. You're going to want to hear his comments.

And will Bill Clinton be the power behind the throne if Hillary Clinton becomes president?

The nagging questions about an unprecedented scenario in the White House.

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Right now a Democratic presidential candidate has his sights squarely set on the vice president, Dick Cheney. That would be Congressman David Kucinich of Ohio. He's scheduled a news conference for tomorrow to announce he's introducing articles of impeachment against Cheney.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is joining us -- Candy, what's behind Congressman Kucinich's desire to do this right now?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, frankly, this is an issue of the left of the party -- Congressman Kucinich is a favorite. He has been one of those that has been to the left of everyone else about the war, saying get out now.

This is an article of faith, frankly, with those who are supporters of Dennis Kucinich.

BLITZER: What are the chances that the House of Representatives is really going to do much with this after he formally introduces these articles?

CROWLEY: Probably slim to none. We've -- we've heard from Democratic leader Pelosi. We've heard from others. We just heard from John Murtha. This is something they don't want to get into, first of all, because the American people didn't vote the Democrats into office last year, they don't know, in order to do impeachment. They think that the American people voted them in to help bring about an end to this war, to do other things for Americans that they -- that Americans don't feel have been done in the six years of the Bush White House.

So there is that. And there is also the lesson learned from the impeachment of Bill Clinton, which was very unpopular with people. And, in fact, Bill Clinton retained a popularity rate which George Bush doesn't have. But nonetheless, a lot of people think that that cost Republicans.

BLITZER: It does, though, bring Kucinich out on an issue which obviously with the base -- at least the left-wing of the Democratic Party -- potentially could resonate.

CROWLEY: Sure. Absolutely. And it does resonate. I mean I -- you heard Congressman Murtha say that those phone calls of his are going up every week from -- I think he said 5 to 10 percent.

So they are hearing this. The Democrats are hearing this from the left-wing of the party and Dennis Kucinich is the natural messenger here.

BLITZER: No reaction yet, Candy, from the White House?

They haven't seen the articles of impeachment. Presumably we'll get some response one they do. And he's going to be a guest here tomorrow in THE SITUATION ROOM, Dennis Kucinich.

Thanks, Candy, for that.

Up next, the Virginia Tech students returning to class a week after the massacre on their campus.

And more on the impeachment threat.

Will Congressman Kucinich's threat backfire or catch fire?

That'll be a subject for James Carville and J.C. Watts when they square off right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Our Carol Costello is monitoring the wires. She's keeping an eye on all of the video feeds coming in from around the world.

What's making news right now -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A couple of things to tell you, Wolf.

It's enough cocaine to earn dealers $600 million for its retail street value. Today, the U.S. Coast Guard unloaded nearly 20 tons of cocaine into a port in California in what officials call the largest drug bust ever at sea, the Coast Guard busted a Panamanian cargo ship back in March. They say it was heading for Mexico from Panama. It took 15 guys five hours to unload all of that cocaine.

The Navy's Blue Angels are in mourning. One of the jets for the elite air squadron crashed during a maneuver on Saturday over South Carolina. The pilot, Lieutenant Commander Kevin Davis, died. Right now, officials are looking through the wrecking, trying to determine what went wrong.

The 32-year-old Davis was a decorated pilot who joined the Blue Angels in 2005. Saturday's show was one of his first with the team.

Eleven days after his car crashed, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine continues to recover, but he may soon be running the state from his hospital bed. Today, some of Corzine's aides say that that's the hope as the governor gets better. The staff is looking into the possible use of technology like videoconferencing to help the governor govern from the hospital.

In the meantime, officials are probing whether or not Corzine's driver was distracted by angry e-mail messages at the time of the crash. Much more on that coming up.

And sadness and sorrow at the restart of classes. Today, students at Virginia Tech went back to school one week after a massacre that left 32 students and faculty dead. Counselors are on campus to help many people cope.

While some students say they're eager to begin the healing process, the school is allowing others to sit out the rest of the term.

That's a look at the headlines right now -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Carol, thank you.

Virginia police are looking into Seung-Hui Cho's e-mail to try to learn more about the Virginia Tech shooting rampage, any possible connection to Emily Hilscher, the first shooting victim.

Let's bring in our Abbi Tatton.

And we're also learning, Abbi, that Cho was an eBay user -- what did he try to buy on that Web site?

ABBI TATTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What he did buy, Wolf, on eBay was a gun holster and empty ammunition clips. EBay has confirmed that Cho used the site to buy and sell numerous items over recent months, though no ammunition or weapons. Those items are not permitted on eBay.

We do know that Cho bought one of his weapons online at this Internet gun store on February 2nd.

Police have identified an e-mail account Cho used with the handle blazers5505. That same name shows up as a past eBay user, a past eBay user who shipped from Blacksburg, Virginia, the seller of books and sports tickets.

EBay says the company is working closely with law enforcement officials who are investigating Cho's activities -- Wolf.

BLITZER: This investigation continues.

Thanks, Abbi, for that.

Up next, would Americans be open to the idea of yet another Bush in the Oval Office?

Some eye-popping comments from the president's father on that question. And would Bill Clinton be a problem for Hillary Clinton if she becomes president?

The unfolding debate about his role and her potential grip on power.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Happening now, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, says things in Iraq are getting worse, not better. He's laid out a grim laundry list of what hasn't worked and what isn't working. I'll ask a member of President Bush's National Security Council for a reaction. That's coming up live.

Also, Boris Yeltsin, the man who oversaw the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of a democratic Russia is dead. We'll look back at the life and legacy of the former Russian president.

And did a gaping loophole contribute to the deaths of 32 innocent people?

One action may have stopped the shooter in the Virginia Tech massacre from getting his hands on guns.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Former President George Herbert Walker Bush usually is a cheerleader for his sons, the current commander-in-chief and the former governor of Florida. But even "Bush 41," as he is known, is sounding somewhat skeptical about the current status of the Bush political dynasty.

Our Brian Todd is joining us -- Brian, some surprising comments from the former president in an exclusive interview with our own Larry King.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.

You know, with all the candidates who have thrown their names in for the 2008 presidential race, why not another member of the Bush family?

Well, if that first President Bush is any indication, I wouldn't count on a third.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I'm not running for president in 2008.

TODD (voice-over): We have heard it from him time and time again. Jeb Bush is not running for president. But now we're hearing from his father, former President Bush.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he's got a future, but it's not now, in politics.

TODD: The former Florida governor left office at the beginning of the year, after two full terms as one of the Sunshine State's most popular politicians in years. His older brother hasn't enjoyed that kind of support.

President Bush's approval rating remains in the mid-30s, thanks to an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq. So, is the timing wrong for another Bush presidency?

CNN's Larry King put this question to the former president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Earlier this month, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney praised your son Jeb as quite a guy. And he said, if his name wasn't Bush, he would be running for president.

What do you think of that?

G.H.W. BUSH: There's something to that. There might be a little Bush fatigue now. I hope that Jeb, who left office looking good, is not through with politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Straight talk from a proud dad, who broke down in tears while praising his son at an event in Tallahassee.

(APPLAUSE)

TODD: While you won't see a Bush at the head of the ticket in 2008, could a Republican vice presidential nomination be out of question?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: There's no question that Jeb Bush is on everyone's short list as a potential running mate. But the timing couldn't be any worse for a person with the last name Bush. Even his father acknowledges that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: So, what is Jeb Bush doing these days? After moving back to Coral Gables, Florida, Bush recently joined the board of directors of Tenet Healthcare, and was hundred by the state legislature, which renamed the College of Education at the University of Florida the Jeb Bush College of Education -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, thanks very much.

And this important note to our viewers: You can see much more, in fact, all of the interview with the former president and Barbara Bush. That will air tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE" -- Barbara Bush, the first President Bush with Larry King, tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific. Right now, many are asking what would happen? A former first lady, the first ever to become a senator, possibly accomplishing another first. And, if she did, many are wondering what would happen to Hillary Clinton's husband.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is joining us.

Why is Bill Clinton right now becoming an issue?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, we are in an unprecedented situation, not just that Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president. She would also be the first president married to a former president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): What will Bill Clinton do if Hillary Clinton becomes president?

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: People ask me all the time, well, if you are elected, can you make him secretary of state?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

H. CLINTON: And I -- I tell them that I think that is -- since President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, I think that's illegal.

SCHNEIDER: We have never had a president married to a former president before. Is that a problem? Voters expect a president to be his or her own person. The Clintons seem to be aware of the problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

W. CLINTON: She will be the president. She will make the decisions. But, if I can help, I will.

SCHNEIDER: Do voters want the former president to help? Apparently, they do. By 2-1, according to this month's CNN poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, voters believe Bill Clinton would be an asset, not a liability, if his wife becomes president. But what would he do?

H. CLINTON: But I sure can make him ambassador to the world, because we have a lot of work to do to get our country back in the standing it should be.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SCHNEIDER: On Saturday, Senator Clinton said, "I can't think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton."

Why do we need a cheerleader? Because friendship with other countries is as crucial in the war on terror as it used to be in the Cold War. The Clintons want to have it both ways. The former president will be there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

B. CLINTON: I have had a lot of experience, and I can help her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: But he won't be there on running things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

B. CLINTON: I would like to continue my foundation work around the world. But I want to be there for her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: The rest of the world may miss Bill Clinton, but do Americans? Well, increasingly, they do. As President Bush's numbers have gone down, Bill Clinton's have gone up, to the point where a majority of Americans now say they miss him -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So, by all accounts, at least as far as getting the Democratic presidential nomination, he's a huge asset for Senator Clinton?

SCHNEIDER: That's right. Some 80 percent of Democrats say they miss him and that he will be an asset, not a liability, to her campaign...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Bill Schneider -- yes, of course. And he's obviously a huge asset in raising funds for her as well.

Thanks, Bill, very much.

Coming up: He wants your support. A Democratic presidential candidate is using one of the most popular Web sites to try to attract more attention. We are going to tell you what John Edwards is up to.

And there's a dispute between the singer Sheryl Crow, the presidential adviser Karl Rove, and a Hollywood power broker -- why many people are still talking about it right now.

Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Another 2008 presidential candidate taking some time to talk to potential voters on YouTube. First, it was Republican Mitt Romney. Now Democrat John Edwards is taking a turn.

Let's turn to our Internet reporter, Jacki Schechner.

What is John Edwards saying to the so-called YouTube community, Jacki? JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, he's asking people to get involved. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What are you going to do? What are you going to do to bring about the change that's needed?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHECHNER: Now, so far, 277,000 people have viewed this video. And about 42 have posted their own video responses.

We have got everything from people saying they are going to go back to school and get their MBA to changing their light bulbs to be more energy efficient and combat global warming.

Now, John Edwards is the first Democrat to be in the YouTube spotlight. A lot of people are turning the tables on him, saying, you are the candidate. What is it you are going to do? They want him to answer that question.

Now, Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, was the first to go into this YouTube spotlight. His question was, what do you believe is America's single greatest challenge? He had 430,000 views and 70 video responses. He posted two individual responses. And then he posted one overall answering the general question himself. His answer was radical jihad, Wolf.

John Edwards says he's going to post his general answer at the end of his week in the spotlight.

BLITZER: YouTube becoming a factor in this campaign.

Thank you, Jacki, for that.

Whoever takes over at the White House will have to deal with angst in Europe about America's power and influence. In France right now, two presidential candidates are heading into a run-off after a first round of voting yesterday. And they have some very different views of the United States.

And joining us now in Paris, our correspondent Hala Gorani.

Hala, thanks very much for coming in.

Let's talk a little bit about these two candidates. One is a socialist. One is more of a conservative. One seems to like the United States. The other one is more critical.

What does she say, Royal, say, about President Bush and his administration?

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Segolene Royal, the Socialist candidate, has always been, throughout the two terms of George W. Bush, very critical of his administration's policies. She's called the Iraq war, for instance, a catastrophe.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the Conservative, has travelled to the United States. He is perceived as a more pro-American, but he also opposed the Iraq war. What his adviser told me is, he opposed it throughout, but may not have expressed it in the same way, had he been president, as Jacques Chirac did and his prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, in the run-up to the Iraq war.

BLITZER: How much of an issue is this in France, based on all the public opinion polls, their respective stances toward the United States?

GORANI: Inside of France, it's not much of an issue. It's mainly outside of France that people are looking at this election and wondering, how will the relationship France has with the rest of the world, including the United change -- including the United States, change, depending on who is elected?

Outside of France, the big issues are unemployment, immigration and crime.

BLITZER: And he is slightly ahead in the polls right now, but we will stand by to see who wins in two weeks.

Hala, thanks very much for joining us.

And, up next, the two -- actually, the top Senate Democrat vs. President Bush on Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: It has now been three months, and, despite the president's happy talk, no progress has been made. The time for patience is long past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The Senate majority leader is talking tough, but the president has the veto pen. Who will come out of this war showdown stronger?

Also ahead in our "Strategy Session": a new political assault on the vice president, Dick Cheney, by Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. Is impeachment really a possibility? J.C. Watts and James Carville, they are standing by live.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Democratic presidential candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has scheduled a news conference tomorrow to announce he's introducing articles of impeachment against the vice president, Dick Cheney.

Joining us now, two CNN political analysts. James Carville is a Democratic strategist. J.C. Watts is a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.

What do you make of this move by Kucinich, James, as someone who lived through the impeachment of a president? That would be Bill Clinton.

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, I think the operative words here, presidential candidate.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: Will this help him?

CARVILLE: It's -- you know, he's at a half-a-percent now. This could take him all the way to 1.5 percent.

But, when you are out there, and you are not raising money, and you are trying to get some traction, you do something like this. And he will be able to say, I'm the only one to call for the impeachment of Vice President Cheney. And, with a sliver of voters in a Democratic primary for a period of time, it will help him.

But he's not going to have very many people that are going to sign on to this. And it's not going anywhere, and -- in the sense of it's a political thing for a presidential candidate who is trying to get little traction out there. I don't think it's much more than that.

BLITZER: And the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, says she's not interested in articles of impeachment. She's got other issues on her agenda.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: J.C., what do you think?

J.C. WATTS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I actually believe that Congressman Kucinich believes this, that this is -- that he's serious about this. I don't think, as James said...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: I mean, you know him. You served in the House with him.

WATTS: I served with him. I don't think it gets any traction. I think it's somewhat of, you know, crazy that we would even be talking about this in times of war.

And I personally think that they ought to send Congressman Kucinich to bed with no dinner for doing this type of thing. This is crazy, but I think he believes it.

CARVILLE: But if anybody is to send him to bed, it's the voters in his district.

I mean, he is accountable. He has to run every two years. And we shouldn't -- he's been representing that district for a rather considerable length of time. And they probably like the fact that he's a bit of a maverick and a -- and quite a bit of a maverick.

And, as J.C. says, he probably believes this. And it's not going to go anywhere. But he believes it. And he will be -- and, if the voters don't like it, he will be held accountable.

BLITZER: But you know the Democratic base. You know the left wing, especially.

CARVILLE: Right.

BLITZER: ... the anti-war fervor that is out there.

CARVILLE: It is.

BLITZER: At least with a lot of Democrats, this is going to resonate.

CARVILLE: I would say with some Democrats. I would not say with a lot of Democrats. But I would say, clearly, it can give him traction with a certain element of people who are getting increasingly angry about this war, as you know.

And, like I say, he -- I am sure he believes it. It will help some, but there's no support for this within most of the Democratic Party.

BLITZER: Those arguing in favor of impeachment -- and James is right -- it's a small element, but a very vocal element -- they say, if the Republicans -- and you were in the House. You voted to impeach Bill Clinton when you were a member of Congress. If you could raise support articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton on what he did, then this war is obviously so much more serious in terms of their anger.

WATTS: And, Wolf, having cast an impeachment vote, I would hope that no member of Congress ever has to cast that type of vote again.

You know, just our country just -- it's a difficult time for a country to have to go through that. But let me consider...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Well, let me press you on this point, J.C. Do you regret voting to impeach Bill Clinton?

WATTS: I think it was the right thing to do, but, nevertheless, it was a difficult vote to cast.

And, you know, for any member to have to go through that, it's just -- you know, it is just something that our nation, I think to this day, is still trying to recover from.

Now, having said that, what Dennis is talking about doing, impeaching a vice president, considering the fact that we have been in a war long before September 11, 2001. We have had American embassies bombed. We have had Americans taken hostage. We have had USS Cole bombed in 1998. We had September 11, 2001. And, somehow or another, the vice president of the United States is the bad guy. That baffles me.

CARVILLE: I would just add -- and we can move on -- Iraq had nothing to do with all of that.

And that's why people are inflamed out there, is, they were told that the war in Iraq had something to do with the Cole and 9/11 and all these things. And it had absolutely nothing to do with it. And I suspect that they knew that before they invaded Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: But that's the genesis of the anger, and I think the rather justified anger on the Democratic side.

WATTS: Well, and we can -- we can differ on that.

And I do believe...

(CROSSTALK)

WATTS: But do you believe that it was good -- do you believe it's good that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power? I think most Americans do agree with that.

(CROSSTALK)

WATTS: And I think what the president did, and what the vice president did, they took the same data. They took the same intelligence, the same thing that Russia, Germany, the other members on the Security Council took. And they said...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: I want to move on, but go ahead and respond.

CARVILLE: I want to move on and just make the point that 236 U.N. inspectors were there for 90 days, told us that. Walter Pincus printed two stories in "The Washington Post." It was a pretty good idea that there were no weapons of mass destruction. It was almost definite they had nothing to do with 9/11 or the Cole or any such thing as that. But we will move on.

(CROSSTALK)

WATTS: ... good idea there was nothing, but they didn't know for a fact.

BLITZER: In this showdown right now between President Bush and the Democrats in Congress over the funding for the war, Harry Reid speaking out forcefully on that today, who is going to win?

CARVILLE: Well, I don't know that -- quote -- anybody is going to "win" -- unquote.

BLITZER: Who is going to prevail, in terms of, will there be a timeline for withdrawal or won't there be a timeline?

CARVILLE: You know, my suspicion is, listening to what Secretary Gates says and General Petraeus, I'm not sure that they are not moving toward preparing the country for a withdrawal sometime in the early fall.

The secretary of defense has not -- has been very, very kind of pessimistic about what's going on there. General Petraeus, in remarks that I read in Sunday's paper, said, well, it's a modest success, but there are some setbacks. He doesn't seem to be all that fired up with the direction this thing is going, as I read it from here.

The only people that seem to be enthusiastic about this are some conservatives that have supported the war for a long time. But I'm not sure that this whole thing is not going to come to some kind of a head at the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall.

WATTS: And, Wolf, all the president has said -- and I -- James, it could be early fall. It could be early winter of '08. It could be the spring of '08.

But General Petraeus and the people on the ground should make that decision. And that's what the president has said all along. You know, don't set artificial timetables.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I think the Congress wants to be involved in this. And I think the public wants the Congress involved.

Poll after poll shows the public trusts the Congress more than the president to do this.

WATTS: About that much more.

CARVILLE: And generals have a role in our government, but they are accountable to civilian authorities. And the civilians -- I got to tell you, the civilians, and particularly the Democrats in Congress, are, and I think appropriately, getting very, very restless about this whole thing.

WATTS: For us trying to fight this war in Washington, D.C., tell General Petraeus and his team over there on the ground in Iraq, trying to tell them how to do this, Wolf, it's about like trying to give a haircut over the phone. You can't do it. And it makes no sense.

BLITZER: All right, James...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: The founding fathers had a different view. And we're guided by their view.

BLITZER: James Carville doesn't need much of a haircut.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... haircut.

BLITZER: J.C., you don't need much of a haircut either.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much for coming in, James Carville and J.C. Watts.

Still to come: some congressional Democrats railing at the White House about the war in Iraq. We will get an administration response from a member of the National Security Council. The director for Iraq, he is standing by live.

Plus: pain at the pump. How hard will you feel it if gas hits $4 a gallon? Jack Cafferty with your e-mail -- when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the "Hot Shots" coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press, pictures likely to be in your newspapers tomorrow.

In India, Tibetan men protest against China's occupation of Tibet.

In London, a man dressed as Indiana Jones drags a giant fake boulder as he finishes the London Marathon one day after the 26-mile race started.

In Romania, a military police soldier demonstrates martial arts skills during a show marking Romanian army ground forces day.

And, in Australia, two Asian elephants tangle their trunks while playing in the water -- some of this hour's "Hot Shots," pictures often worth 1,000 words.

John McCain tops today's "Political Radar." The senator from Arizona and Republican presidential hopeful says America's dependence on foreign oil could make the U.S. more open to terrorism. And he says global warming is also a real threat. Senator McCain says he favors setting caps on carbon and other greenhouse gases, and he would offer incentives for industries to invent new energy sources. Some Republicans are resistance climate changing bills, saying there's no real proof of global warming.

Senator Barack Obama says President Bush has fallen short of his role as leader of the free world. The senator from Illinois and Democratic presidential hopeful says the world is disappointed in America. Obama made the comments today during a foreign policy speech in his hometown of Chicago. New York's governor is promising to move forward in trying to make gay marriage legal in his state. Eliot Spitzer says he will introduce a bill doing just that, even if he doesn't have the votes in New York's legislature. Massachusetts currently is the only state that allows same-sex marriages.

And, remember, for the latest political news at any time, check out our Political Ticker at CNN.com/ticker.

Let's go back to Jack Cafferty in New York with "The Cafferty File."

Hi, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, the question is: How would $4- a-gallon gasoline affect you? There's some talk that that number could be the cards, and it could happen sooner, rather than later.

Nep writes: "I think the price of gas not important. As long as people can get gas, all they will do is complain. Let a shortage pop up, though, and then conservation will be important."

Judy in Exeter, California: "Since we don't and never have driven a gas hog, I guess we will just have to pay. We already plan our trips to town for gas efficiency. We make an occasional trip for a vacation. And we always try to shop locally. Beyond that, I don't know what to do."

Tommy (ph) in Atlanta: "We're still pampered by cheap gas, compared to Europe and India. Ready or not, we have to adjust our lifestyles to bear the upward price movement. Four-dollar-a-gallon gas is still cheap."

Rick (ph) in Toronto: "Jack, since I live in Canada, we're already paying more than $4 a gallon. If the U.S. goes to that figure, I will be paying $6 a gallon. Four bucks looks cheap to me. The U.S. should do what the government here is doing, slapping on a $4,000 tax on the sale of Hummers and a big tax refund for Priuses."

Michael in San Francisco: "Gas at $4 a gallon? Come on out to San Francisco. I will take you out to dinner. As we drive to the restaurant, you can check the current prices at gas stations here. Some of them have already been over $4.15 for two weeks. Tell the rest of the country to count their blessings."

And Larry in Perrysburg, Ohio: "I think $4 a gallon would be great. I'm selling my house, car, kids, and even my dog. I'm investing everything in Exxon. Do I hear $5 a gallon?" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thank you.

And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: Can it keep out suicide bombers? A concrete barrier raises controversy in Baghdad. And there's more controversy from the Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid. He says the president is in deny over Iraq. We will ask about his showdown with the White House. That's coming up.

There were many stumbles along the way, but his mix of courage and charisma helped lead Russia away from communism and towards democracy -- a look at the late President Boris Yeltsin this hour.

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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