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YOUR WORLD TODAY

U.S. Troops Conduct Foot Patrols in Baghdad; Top Iraq General to Brief U.S. Lawmakers; Serbia Spells Trouble for Superman; McCain Announcement

Aired April 25, 2007 - 12:00   ET

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


JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Will high risk yield high reward? U.S. troops in Baghdad employing a dangerous new strategy trying to break down the insurgency.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The Big Board's big milestone. Blue chips cross the 13,000 barrier for the first time. Can they finish the day there, too?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're walking around in shirts. People are going out making -- making music, People are saying things that, if you are a snitch, it's like being an Uncle Tom was when I was growing up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CLANCY: Stop snitching. Fueled by rap music, those words bring street cred to African-Americans and shudders to black community activists.

CHURCH: And Superman would shudder at this discovery. The comic book superhero's Achilles' heel turns up in a Serbian mine.

It's noon in New York, 6:00 p.m. in Belgrade.

Hello and welcome to our report broadcast all around the globe.

I'm Rosemary Church.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy.

From Belgrade to Baghdad, Wall Street to Washington, wherever you are watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

CHURCH: Well, we are waiting for U.S. Senator John McCain to come to the podium.

CLANCY: That's right. He's set to formally make the announcement. I mean, this is something that all of us have known, I think, for some time, but he is a candidate for the presidency of the United States.

CHURCH: And he has already, as we said, said that this was his intention, to run for the White House, but campaigns are, of course, all about generating publicity and money.

CLANCY: And this is sort of the second time he gets to do it. McCain lagging behind in both areas, especially when compared to the top Republican hopeful, Rudy Giuliani.

As soon as McCain begins to speak, viewers in the United States, we're going to be listening to his remarks live.

Now, of course topic A for McCain and all the other presidential candidates, one word -- Iraq.

CHURCH: That's it. It's also a big issue in Washington, of course, as many lawmakers and President Bush himself engage in a tug- of-war over withdrawing American troops.

CLANCY: Now, the United Nations, meantime, says it's worried about the lack of specifics that it's getting from the Iraqi government on civilian casualties. For the first quarter of the year, the United Nations says it isn't even going to be able to release any of its regular findings on civilian casualties.

The officials say the Iraqi government has decided against providing the United Nations with the data it would take to tell the world what are the casualties. An Iraqi government official tells CNN it's because the government is revamping the way that it collects and distributes the numbers. The official denied the suggestion that the delay was for political reasons.

CHURCH: Now, meantime, on the streets of Baghdad, U.S. troops are running up against stiff resistance in their efforts to tame the insurgency. So, they are changing their approach. It involves much more contact, but also raises the risk factor.

Hugh Riminton has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We're not taking a vehicle because we don't have a vehicle. But that's all right. All right?

We have enough personnel here to bring the casualties back, if we have any casualties.

HUGH RIMINTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To defend their Baghdad patrol base, 10 soldiers and their interpreter are about to go out on foot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to take that long. But guess what? Black Hawk down, right? We don't know -- we don't know what to expect, we don't know what's going to happen.

RIMINTON: It is the most exposed an American soldier can be.

The main thing is, we want to separate, get a distance between us, all right? In case something does happens, that will take us all out. So make sure we spread out. All right? Anybody have any questions? No?

All right. Let's do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). They're heading toward east.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy. Over.

RIMINTON: They call this work checking the atmospherics, trying to get a feel for the surrounding neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little quiet today, huh? There's not too much traffic.

RIMINTON: They're looking for any hint that insurgents have infiltrated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's doing OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's waiting his daughter. She's in school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That's fine. All right. Thank you.

RIMINTON: Here, nothing and no one seems entirely innocent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been following us around.

RIMINTON: He says he's just trying to get home.

Part of the tactic is to buy loyalty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've already been to all these houses here. Passed out generators, passed out some clothes, food. About once a month, we do that again.

RIMINTON: The signs today are good. There are even games in the schoolyard, as the U.S. troops link up with a Kurdish unit at a small base of their own. It is a warm welcome. But the atmospherics are changing.

(on camera): Just in the few minutes these troops were in their patrol base, they've come out to discover that all the people have abandoned the streets. The kids who were playing football just over this fence have disappeared and gone off somewhere else, and that's what soldiers call a combat indicator. It's the kind of thing that puts them on their guard.

(voice over): Why this sudden silence? What do the locals know? Is there a sniper, or perhaps some other attack brewing?

Slowly, though, life returns to the street. And the troops relax a little.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Bethel (ph), we're good? You sure?

RIMINTON: Walking allows contact impossible from an armored patrol. But it multiplies the vulnerability in a land where death can come in an instant from anywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch the rooftops.

RIMINTON: Hugh Riminton, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: Well, as that's going on in the streets of Baghdad, in the halls of Congress the political debate over what to do in Iraq is heating up. It's leading more pressure for military success. It's also an indication that calls to end the military commitment are getting louder. President Bush and others say all of that harmful, sending a mixed message.

More now from Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When General David Petraeus goes to Capitol Hill Wednesday, he may have a tough sell convincing lawmakers there is progress in Iraq and more time is needed for the troop surge to work. Petraeus says it will be late summer before he knows if the surge is working.

Commanders want enough reductions in violence for Iraqis to feel safe, disarming of militias, and more political reconciliation. But with a rising number of suicide car bomb attacks, no one can yet precisely define what success will look like on the streets of Iraq.

Everyone is staking out a position. Congress is moving towards passing legislation that could begin bringing troops home as early as July.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... despite the fact that General Petraeus has not received all the reinforcements he needs. It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan withdrawing.

STARR: But listen to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Our commitment to Iraq is long term, but it is not a commitment to have our young men and women patrolling Iraq's streets open-endedly.

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We are absolutely sending a mixed message and the wrong message to the insurgency in Iraq by our actions in the United States.

STARR: Some worry the insurgents see the U.S. political debate as a sign of weakness.

ANDREW EXUM, WASHINGTON INST., NEAR EAST POLICY: The insurgents are always going to be operating on a longer timetable than you are. So you never want to let the insurgent groups know when you are thinking of pulling out.

STARR (on camera): April is now turning out to be the deadliest month of the year for U.S. troops in Iraq. With more troops on patrol, more troops are being targeted. And that may make it very difficult for General Petraeus to convince Congress to give him the time he says he needs.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: All right. To another story we've been monitoring. And no signs of extra terrestrials have been spotted yet, but for the first time, astronomers have discovered an Earth-like planet outside our solar system that has the potential to support life.

Now, the planet, known as 581c, rotates closely around a star that's dimmer and cooler than our son. But scientists have calculated the planet's temperatures as being between zero and 40 degrees Celsius. That means it could have water in liquid form. That's critical.

Astronomers say more study is needed to confirm the preliminary findings, but it's considered a significant discovery.

CLANCY: All right. A little bit of outer space there for us.

CHURCH: We're going everywhere today.

CLANCY: Life beyond -- life beyond our planet.

Well, powerful enough to strip Superman of his strength. Minerals from the planet Krypton -- it doesn't really exist -- have always been a remote threat to, well, anyone that's a comic book hero.

CHURCH: That's right. It's always spoiling the fun for everyone. But now we know the man of steel should also stay away from Serbia.

CLANCY: Maybe. Believe it or not, a mysterious new mineral discovered in Serbia is almost a perfect match for kryptonite.

Alphonso Van Marsh is there with his cape.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the world of superheroes, it was the one thing that made Superman weak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kryptonite.

VAN MARSH: Researchers say kryptonite, the mineral Superman desperately avoided, isn't quite science fiction after all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crystals. They are amazing, aren't they?

VAN MARSH: Miners in Serbia pulled this rock out of the Earth and soon realized it was like no other known mineral. Scientists at the Natural History Museum in London studied and identified the rock's chemical makeup.

MIKE RUMSEY, NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM: After we got its chemistry, we thought, well, let's put it into the Internet and see if anyone has made this stuff artificially, because this is natural. And we were amazed to find that the first hit that we got back, an exact match, was for kryptonite.

VAN MARSH: Confirmed in a scene from "Superman Returns," when kryptonite is stolen from a museum, all that is left a is list of elements -- sodium, lithium, boron, silicate and hydroxide. The only difference is, there's no fluorine in the real thing.

RUMSEY: It has about the 19 naturally occurring elements. And to pick five, and just those five, and put them all in to one string sentence, you know, and to have it as being the same as this is just -- it's incredible, really. You have to wonder about coincidences when it comes to that.

VAN MARSH (on camera): This small white powdery substance may share the same elements as Superman's kryptonite, but they won't share the same name.

Let me introduce you to Jadarite.

(voice over): They are calling it Jadarite after the Serbian mine from which it came.

RUMSEY: Jadarite itself is actually made up of lots and lots and lots of tiny little crystals.

VAN MARSH: The crystals may not be green, and researchers say it's not clear what application Jadarite may have in the future. But as this rock will be on display in London beginning in mid-May, perhaps Superman better think twice before dropping in for a visit.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: And still ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY, a dangerous code of ethics in parts of the U.S. African-American community has many people worried.

CLANCY: Also ahead, we're expecting an announcement from John McCain, as he officially enters the race for the U.S. presidency.

Plus...

CHURCH: An exciting day on Wall Street. The Dow Industrials reaches a milestone for the first time ever, 13,000, and above there on the board.

CLANCY: And Russia bidding a final farewell to former president Boris Yeltsin. His funeral a symbolic break from the past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Russia observed a solemn day of remembrance in honor of former president Boris Yeltsin. Funeral services were held at a Russian Orthodox church in Moscow. The first time in 100 years that a Russian leader has been eulogized in a church.

Afterward, a black Mercedes Hearse carried Yeltsin's coffin past a crowed of mourners on the way to the cemetery. President Vladimir Putin attended the funeral, as well as other world leaders, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush.

Unlike Kremlin leaders of the past, Yeltsin was buried not at Red Square, but in a cemetery outside the Novodevichye monastery.

CLANCY: It was a remarkable ceremony, a ceremony that spoke volumes about the role of religion in Russia today, about the institution of the Russian Orthodox Church and the individual church in particular.

Jonathan Mann joins us now with some important "Insight" -- Jonathan.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: No Russian alive has ever seen anything like it. Boris Yeltsin is the first Russian leader since the czars to have a church funeral more than a century ago. And really, it is fitting. Yeltsin restored the Russian Orthodox Church to a leading role in his country's life, and Russia has been keeping the faith.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM ALLISON, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Russians have gone through such a period of radical change in their lives, that religion is one of the fixed points that they repair to as they try to, you know, feel -- you know, try to find some things to hold on to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANN: Let's start with the church where Yeltsin's funeral was held, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It was a treasured Moscow landmark built in the mid 1800s that Stalin tore down. It was rebuilt in the 1990s, though, as the largest church in Russia, a symbol of the country's religious revival, with the blessing of then-president Boris Yeltsin.

Russians aren't really churchgoers in any great numbers, but in the Yeltsin years, more and more of them were willing to tell pollsters that they are Russian Orthodox. Starting in 1991, the year that Boris Yeltsin was first elected, just a third, 34 percent of Russians, declared themselves followers of the church. At that point, there were still more people describing themselves as atheists, which was, of course, the official party line in Soviet Russia.

Now, just six years later, half of the Russian population said that it was Orthodox, and by the year 2000, the year Vladimir Putin took power, 59 percent said they were Orthodox, well outnumbering the atheists left in the country. By 2006, the number of declared Orthodox, up to 63 percent.

Vladimir Putin himself is a good example of how things have changed. Like many people, he was secretly baptized as a child. Unlike most Russian leaders you can name, though, he has publicly said that he wears a crucifix. It was a gift from his mother.

In Putin's Russia, the Orthodox Church is a symbol of Russian history and pride, distinguishing Russia from the Catholic and Protestant west and the Muslims to the east.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALLISON: It reminds people of the history of Russia, the culture of Russia, a stable Russia, something Russia can be proud of. And the church itself has never in Russia been in opposition to political power, and the patriarch is very careful about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANN: Russia is still officially a secular state, but here's now an example of the way things are going. Military units in the Russian army itself, and also in the Interior Ministry, are adopting their own patron saints to pray to. And the spy agency that took the place of the KGB has even adopted its own church in central Moscow.

CLANCY: It's own church? The KGB has its own church?

MANN: The KGB, officially speaking, doesn't exist anymore. It's called the FSB now, but it's in...

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome back to the NEWSROOM.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield, along with Tony Harris, where we, as promised, have been waiting to see Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who is now going to make his announcement official, even though a lot of folks already thought he was officially in the race.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Isn't that interesting? It seems as though John McCain has been running for president for a long time. And I guess I'm thinking all the way back to 2000. But certainly in this most recent...

WHITFIELD: Well, this will be his second -- yes.

HARRIS: Sure. I'm certainly thinking in this most recent cycle.

There he is. John McCain to announce, as Fred mentioned, his candidacy for president of the United States today. There in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Today he is going to get an opportunity to sort of recast himself, if you will. He will get this opportunity to tell his story. And what a story it is, the strong personal narrative, Fred, of a life well lived, really, of this compelling personal biography. John McCain, as courageous POW, war hero during the Vietnam War. And, you know, this reputation that we have come -- many of us have come to enjoy, this reputation of being an independent thinker and speaker.

WHITFIELD: Right. And he has displayed that sort of persona.

HARRIS: Yes.

WHITFIELD: But then as in recent months, you know, there are a lot of particularly conservative Republicans who have been saying, wait a minute, who is John McCain anymore? We don't know. Because he has kind of stepped outside of the boundaries of what the conventional thinking was...

HARRIS: Yes.

WHITFIELD: ... as the conservative Republican. And now, we're seeing almost a return of that figure, again, as he has been very steadfast on being all for the surge, the U.S. surge, U.S. forces surge in Iraq, and certainly being one who is standing behind the president's approach to the Iraq war.

HARRIS: And as you look at this candidate, as you look at this announcement today, many will wonder what has happened to John McCain? This is a man who entered this race as the favorite, but now he finds himself trailing in the polls.

If you take a look -- and I don't know if we have the full screen ready for you, but the latest average of all the polls taken, and he finds himselves trailing former New York major Rudy Giuliani.

WHITFIELD: Rudy Giuliani.

HARRIS: He finds himself -- well, here he is, the senator from Arizona, John McCain.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, John.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

It's wonderful to be back. Thank you. Thank you very much.

It's wonderful to be back, and today, I announce my candidacy for president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

I do so grateful for the privilege this country has already given me, mindful that I must seek these responsibilities for reasons greater than my self-interest, and determined to use every lesson I've learned through hard experience and the history I've witnessed, every inspiration I've drawn from the patriots I've known, and the faith that guides me to meet the challenges of our time and strengthen this great and good nation, upon whom all mankind depends. We've begun another campaign season earlier than many Americans would prefer. So soon after our last contentious election, our differences are again sure to be sharpened and exaggerated. That's the nature of free elections. But even in the heat of a campaign, we shouldn't lose sight of that much more defines us than our partisan ship, much more unites us than divides us.

We have common purposes and common challenges, and we live in momentous times. This election should be about big things, not small ones. Ours are not red state or blue state problems, they are national and global.

(APPLAUSE)

Half measures and small-minded politics are inadequate to the present occasion. We can't muddle through the next four years bickering among ourselves and leave to others the work that is ours to do. Greatness is America's destiny, but no nation complacent in its greatness can long sustain it.

We're fighting a war in two countries. And we're in a global struggle with violent extremists who despise us, our values, and (INAUDIBLE) itself. If we are to succeed, we must rethink and rebuild the structure and mission of our military, the capabilities of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the purposes of our alliances, the reach and scope of our diplomacy, the capacity of all governments, branches of government to defend us.

We need to marshal all elements of American power -- our military, economy, investment, trade and technology. We need to strengthen our alliances and build support in other nations. We must preserve our moral credibility and remember that our security and the global progress of our ideals are inextricably linked.

(APPLAUSE)

My friends -- my friends, we all know that the war in Iraq is not going well. We've made mistakes, and we've paid grievously for them. We've changed the strategy that failed us, and we've begun to make a little progress. But in the many mistakes we've made in this war, a few lessons have become clear.

America should never undertake a war unless we are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed, unless we have a realistic and comprehensive plan for success, and unless all relevant agencies of government are committed to that success.

(APPLAUSE)

We did not -- we did not meet this responsibility initially, and we must never repeat that mistake again.

We must -- we -- we must also prepare far better than we have to respond quickly and effectively to another terrorist attack or national calamity. When Americans confront a catastrophe, natural or manmade, they have a right to expect basic competence from their government.

They won't accept that firemen and policemen are unable to communicate with each other in an emergency because they don't have the same radio frequency. They won't accept the government's failure to deliver bottled water to dehydrated babies, or rescue the infirm from a hospital with no electricity. They won't accept substandard care and indifference for our wounded veterans.

(APPLAUSE)

That's not good enough for America, and it's not good enough for me.

Government spends more money today than ever before. Wasteful spending on things that are not the business of government indebts us to other nations. It deprives you of the fruits of your labor. It fuels inflation, raises interest rates, and encourages responsibility.

That's not good enough for America. And when I'm president, it won't be good enough for me.

(APPLAUSE)

No government program is the object of more political posturing than Social Security and Medicare.

Here is the plain truth. There are too few workers supporting too many retirees. And if we don't make some tough choices today, Social Security and Medicare will go bankrupt, or we'll have to raise taxes so drastically we'll crush the prosperity of average Americans. Too many politicians want to ignore the problem and run for reelection by threatening anyone who wants to fix it.

That's not good enough for America. And when I'm president, it won't be good enough for me.

(APPLAUSE)

Our tax code is used to game the system from some at the expense of the many, instead of encouraging the thrift investment, innovation and industry of all Americans. It's complexity and waste costs Americans $140 billion in preparation and compliance costs each year.

That's not good enough for America. And when I'm president, it won't be good enough for me.

Our dependence -- our dependence on foreign sources of energy not only harms our environment and economy, it endangers our security. So much of the oil we import comes from countries in volatile regions of the world where our values aren't shared and our interests aren't a priority.

That's not good enough for America. And it not good enough -- when I'm president, it won't be good enough for me.

We're not a country prefers nostalgia to optimism. We're not a country that would rather go back than forward. We are the world's leader, and leaders don't pine for the past and dread the future.

We make the future better than the past. Opening new markets to American goods and services is indispensable to our future prosperity. Lowering trade barriers creates more and better jobs, it keeps inflation under control, it keeps interest rates low, and makes more goods affordable to more Americans.

We won't compete successfully by using old technology to produce old goods. We'll succeed by knowing what to produce and inventing new technologies to produce it. But open markets -- open markets don't automatically translate into a better quality of life for every American. While most gain, some are forced to struggle with very difficult choices.

Right now, we have a dozen programs to help displaced workers, another half-dozen for people who aren't working at all. We have an unemployment insurance program that's right out of the 1950s.

aren't working at all. We have an insurance program that's right out of the 1950s. Designed to assist workers for a few tough months during an economic downturn. That's not good enough for America, and when I'm president, it won't be good enough for me.

These are some of the challenges that confront us. There are others, just as urgent, and during this campaign, I'll travel across the country, offering my ideas about how we should address them, and listening to the concerns and advice of Americans.

The American people aren't interested in an election that offers platitudes instead of principles, and insults instead of ideas. An election that results, no matter who wins, in four years of un-kept promises and a divided government that is little more than a battleground for the next election.

They are tired of the old politics. Americans are acutely aware of our problems, and their patience is at an end for politicians who value incumbency over principle, and for partisan ship that is less a contest of ideas than an uncivil brawl over the spoils of power.

I want -- I want my presidency to be an opportunity, an opportunity to fix what we all know needs to be fixed. To strengthen our military, intelligence, diplomacy and law enforcement, and use the power of American ideals and commerce to win the war against violent extremists and help the majority of Muslims who believe in progress and peace, to win the struggle for the soul of Islam.

To balance the federal budget, not with smoke and mirrors, but by encouraging economic growth and preventing government from spending your money on things it shouldn't, to hold it accountable for the things it does spend on services that only government can provide, and in ways that don't fail and embarrass you.

To save Social Security and Medicare, on our watch, without the tricks, Band-Aid solutions, lies and posturing that have failed us for too long, while the problem becomes harder and harder to solve.

To make our tax code simpler, fairer, flatter, more pro growth and pro jobs, to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil, with an energy policy that encourages American industry and technology to make our country safer, cleaner and more prosperous by leading the world in the use, development and discovery of alternative sources of energy.

To open new markets, to open new markets to American goods and services, create more and better jobs for the American worker. And overhaul unemployment insurance and our redundant and outmoded programs for assisting workers who have lost a job that's not coming back, to find a job that won't go away.

To help Americans without health insurance acquire it without bankrupting the country and ruing the quality of American health care that is envy of the world. To make our public schools more accountable to parents, and better able to meet the critical responsibility they have to prepare our children for the challenges they'll face in the world they'll lead.

When I'm president, I'll offer common sense, conservative and comprehensive solutions to these challenges. Congress will have other ideas, and I will listen to them. I will work with anyone who is serious and sincere about solving these problems.

I expect us to argue over principle. But when a compromise consistent with our principles is within reach, I expect us to seize it. Americans expect us to disagree, but not just to win the next election.

They want -- they want us to serve the same goal. To insure that a country blessed with our matchless prosperity, ingenuity and strength can meet any challenge we confront. My friends, I won't judge myself by how many elections I've won, but by how well I keep my promises to you.

To keep those promises, I can't just win this election by a few votes and a few counties and a few states. I need a mandate from you, big enough to convince Congress that Americans want this election to be different.

You -- you want to change the politics of selfishness, stalemate and delay. Move the country forward and stake our claim on this century as we did on the last.

Then I ask you for the opportunity to devote every day of my presidency to making this government work for you, and for a mandate big enough to get the job done.

I'll -- I'll challenge myself, and each member of Congress, to wake up each morning and ask ourselves, will we remember today as the finest day of our public life? The day we worked just for you, not for us?

And I'll challenge the American people to reject any phony sound bite solutions that have failed us in the past and hold us accountable for the work you have given us.

My friends, we face formidable challenges. I'm not afraid of them. I'm prepared for them. I'm not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced.

I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it should not do. I know how Congress works and how to make it work for the country, and not just the reelection of its members. I know how the world works.

I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer, and more prosperous world. And how to stand up to those who don't.

I know how to fight, I know how to fight, and I know how to make peace. I know who I am, and what I want to do.

I don't seek the office out of a sense of entitlement. I owe America more than she has ever owed me. Thirty-four years ago, I came home from an extended absence abroad. While I was away, I fell in love with my country. I learned what's good for America is good enough for me. I've been an imperfect servant of my country ever since, in uniform and in office, in war and peace.

I've never lived a single day, in good times or in bad, that I haven't thanked God for the privilege.

My friends, you can't sell me on hopelessness. You can't convince me our problems are insurmountable. Our challenges are an opportunity to write another chapter of American greatness. We must seize it, and those of us privileged to lead America must remember the principles that made us great. Have the faith to stand by them, the integrity to honor our public trust, and the courage to keep our promise to put the nation's interests before our own.

Don't tell me what we can't do, don't tell me we can't make our country stronger and the world safer. We can, we must. And when I'm president, we will.

I'm not running for president to be somebody, but to do something. To do the hard but necessary things, not the easy and needless things. I'm running for president to protect our country from harm and defeat its enemies. I'm running for president to make the government do its job, not your job. To do it with less and do it better.

I'm not running to leave our biggest problems to an unluckier generation of leaders, but to fix them now and fix them well. I'm running for president to make sure America maintains its place as the political and economic leader of the world, the country that doesn't fear change, but makes change work for us. The country that doesn't long for the good old days, but aspires to even better days. I'm running for president of the United States, not yesterday's country, not a defeated country, not a bankrupt country, not a timid and frightened country, not a country fragmented into bickering interest groups with no sense of the national interest, not a country with a bloated, irresponsible and incompetent government.

I'm running for president of the United States, a blessed country, a proud country, a hopeful country, the most powerful and prosperous country and the greatest force for good on earth, and when I'm president, I intend to keep it so. Thank you and God bless you.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Arizona Senator John McCain, making it official. He is in the race. Saying, outlining a number of things, if it's not good enough, then as president, it's not good enough for him.

Former POW also talking about his military and his Capitol Hill experience. Really, selling his experience, saying that this is what matters. And he wants to not just be somebody, but he wants to do something, as president.

He was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire today. Our Wolf Blitzer is in Washington, our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is in Portsmouth and Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst also going to be joining us as we talk about what we heard, Tony.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: But right now, let's talk with our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, with the McCain campaign in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and, Candy, talk to us if you would about what you heard in this speech. You know this man, as well as anyone.

Is this about the speech you thought he would make? Were you wanting for anything more?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I tell you, what was interesting about this speech is that in the run-up to it, there were three speeches that McCain gave that were much more substantive. This was much more of a campaign speech.

He touched on all the issues, energy, defense, the war in Iraq, but it was brief, those mentions. What this was a speech about was a speech about McCain's experience. He will be the oldest man ever to take over the White House, should he win. So, to turn that on its head, McCain is saying, listen, I know who I am, I understand the world, I understand how Congress works, I understand war. So, this was an attempt by McCain to sell his experience, as standing out in the race.

HARRIS: Hey, Candy, did you expect to hear more about his personal story? This was -- this was a moment, it seems to me, for him to, not that he needed to, but to reintroduce himself to the world, with the words he would choose?

CROWLEY: Well, I'll tell what you what's really interesting, that in terms of background, you mentioned, he was a former POW for more than five years in Vietnam. He spent two and a half decades in Congress. But this is a man who understands that if you are going to do your bio, let somebody else do it. One of the complaints about the Kerry campaign was that he spent too much time talking about his own record.

So this is a campaign that is going to let others do the bio stuff and he will stick with the issues.

HARRIS: Where is this campaign now, what is your assessment of it? I've been doing some reading today about the campaign today, and the word I read more and more often in the reporting is that this is a campaign that is stalled.

CROWLEY: Certainly, languishing, it has. This is not where they expected to do. At the end of the first quarter, which is at the end of March, McCain was running third in fund raising. Not a good place to be. He tends to run second, sometimes even third in the polls. I think in our poll of polls, which is something that takes in account, the average of the polls in April, McCain is running 13 points behind Rudy Giuliani. Not where they expected to be, and not where everyone else expected McCain to be. He needs to make up not just ground in fund raising but in getting back some of that excitement that he caused in the year 2000. A lot of people looking at him, saying, where is that fire, where is that spirit? So he needs to put some juice into this campaign.

HARRIS: Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley in New Hampshire with the McCain campaign. Candy, thank you.

WHITFIELD: And, Tony, our Wolf Blitzer is in Washington, Tony. He's going to be delving into this a bit more in THE SITUATION ROOM, and so, Wolf, what this the John McCain that everyone is familiar with, or were we seeing a more subdued John McCain, though he was making it official that he is in the race?

BLITZER: I think he was trying to project as optimistic a posture as he possibly could with this formal introduction, this formal announcement that he's running, though he's been running for months, obviously. He was trying to give a sense of hope and confidence, in part because his position on the war in Iraq, his support for the president's new strategy, the so-called surge has so dominated the discussion of his campaign over the recent weeks and months.

He's trying to project this notion that, you know what, it's not just Iraq where he takes a strong stance. He takes a strong stance on a lot of other issues. And as Candy said, he's given major speeches on energy independence and economic policies, other issues. This was a speech to sort of fire that base, that liked him so much in New Hampshire back in 2000.

In the national polls, among registered Republicans, and independents leaning Republican, he's not doing all that great, he's certainly behind Rudy Giuliani, but as aides point out, in the polls that we are getting, and Bill Schneider knows a lot more about this than I do, that at least the polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, those early contests for the Republican nomination, he's doing very, very well. He's got a strong organization in all three of those states. And he's by no means out of this race, by any means.

WHITFIELD: Well, I wonder, Wolf. I think I heard a couple of different things for him when he talked about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he said, we all know the war in Iraq has not gone well, he also modified it by saying, there is a little bit of progress, but I think, at the same time, he almost made a stab if not directly, perhaps inadvertently or indirectly, at the White House, by saying, America should never undertake a war unless we are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed. So, it's interesting, because, he's been cozying up, as of recent with the White House, but at the same time, this was a stab, wasn't it?

BLITZER: Right. You are absolutely right. But he's been very critical for a long time now, at how the Bush administration conducted this war. He's been very blistering in his criticism of the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He's been critical of the vice president, Dick Cheney, though he and Cheney sort of made up after one of his more recent attacks against the vice president.

He's been consistent from the beginning in saying that the U.S. military strategy was not robust enough, they didn't deploy enough troops to Iraq, if you are going to go into a war, you've got to have this overwhelming military force. They tried to do it on the cheap, and as he points out, the U.S. is paying the price for that ill- founded strategy right now. So, even though he supports the new strategy, supports the surge, you are absolutely right, Fred, he's been blistering in his criticism in the way the Bush administration conducted this war.

WHITFIELD: Yeah. It's a hot and cold relationship, and while McCain knows that the war in Iraq is not popular right now, at the same time, he is all about the surge. He wants to continue on the course at least with the U.S. commitment in the war in Iraq. But isn't that costing him some support when it comes down to the American public?

BLITZER: Yes. It's costing him a lot of support. Especially among Democrats, some Democrats, moderate Democrats used to like him a lot, and independents who are opposed strongly, a lot of them, at least to the current U.S. strategy in Iraq. They want to see some sort of timeline for a U.S. military withdrawal, and it's certainly costing him with that element, and with moderate Republicans, so, he's walking this delicate tight rope. He's on the one hand, criticizing a lot of the decisions that were made by the president, the vice president, the former defense secretary, but at the same time, he's saying, look, we have a new strategy right now, you have to give General Petraeus a chance to succeed because the consequences of failure would be a disaster for the U.S. not only in Iraq, he says, but throughout the region.

WHITFIELD: Wolf Blitzer, thanks so much. Of course we'll be watching in THE SITUATION ROOM beginning at 4:00 Eastern Time and again at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks so much. HARRIS: And we are joined now by our see senior political analyst, Bill Schneider in Washington. And Bill, if you would, talk us through, Wolf mentioned just a moment ago, the poll of polls, the average of all the polls conducted in April, and then maybe you can talk to us a bit more about what's happening in Iowa and New Hampshire.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, our poll of polls for April, which is an average of seven taken by various polling organizations, including CNN, these were all national polls, showed McCain at 19 percent. And that shows some slippage since the beginning of the year. He started out at 28 percent, he's been slipping gradually month by month, his average rating, among Republicans, this is, of course. Republicans choice for the nominee, down to 19 percent. Rudy Giuliani, remains the front runner at 32 percent. Fred Thompson, who is not a candidate right now, running a good third at 10 percent.

So, McCain's campaign has been lagging not only in the poll, but also in the fund raising. Of the three top candidates in the Republican Party, and the three top candidates for the Democratic Party, McCain's fund raising was sixth, it was last among those, which is a big disappointment and he has accepted responsibility for that.

HARRIS: Is he polling a little better in Iowa and New Hampshire?

SCHNEIDER: A little better in New Hampshire. He won New Hampshire in 2000. That was a critical state for him. He beat George Bush by 19 points. It was a huge victory.

Which means the pressure is on John McCain to win New Hampshire again. If he loses New Hampshire this time, it will be a big blow to his campaign next January. So, that is exactly why he started the campaign in New Hampshire, because he has an enormous amount at stake there where he was supported by Republicans, but especially by independents who can vote in the Republican primary.

But this time we don't know if they are going to vote in the Republican primary. They might find attractive Democrats, maybe Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to vote for on the Democratic side.

HARRIS: Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider in Washington for us. Bill, thank you.

SCHNEIDER: Sure.

WHITFIELD: Well, Tony, now let's take a closer look at John McCain and where he stands on some of the big issues. He opposes abortion rights accept in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.

McCain voted for use of military force in Iraq. And he was an early proponent of sending additional U.S. troops to the war there. On the topic of Social Security, McCain supports diverting some payroll taxes to private accounts, and still on the topic of money he voted against President Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. But he now supports extending them through 2010.

On immigration, he cosponsored immigration reform legislation that was backed by President Bush and he supports construction of the fence on the U.S.-Mexican border. Now, formally, on the political trail, one of the first stops, LARRY KING LIVE. John McCain goes one on live with the king of talk. Is he the Republicans' best bet to keep the White House? That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

HARRIS: A Texas town wakes up to a real nightmare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just so quick that it just happened so quick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: In the blink of an eye, lives turned upside down. The latest on that big border town storm. That is coming up for you right here in THE NEWSROOM.

WHITFIELD: And her opinionated and rather feisty views hooked the viewers, but now Rosie O will be out of view. She is leaving ABC's morning talker. Changes in THE NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: An update now on that shooting that has taken place in New York. In Margaretville where we understand that a manhunt was under way. They thought they had surrounded one suspected gunman who is accused of shooting a state trooper yesterday, and then, while they had surrounded this gunman in this neighborhood, reports that two more state troopers were shot, and now we are learning that there is a fatality. We don't know anymore details about who may have died, but just that three state troopers have been shot within the past 24 hours, and now there is one fatality being reported. When we get more information, we'll get that to you. Meantime, they are still pursuing the suspected gunman.

HARRIS: Well, a tornado has left ten people dead along the Texas-Mexico border. Seven of the victims were in the city of Eagle Pass. There are piles of mangled wires, metal and debris where at least 20 houses used to be. Four people, including a small child died in a single home. Jack Colley, the head of emergency management for Texas says hundreds are out of their homes.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JACK COLLEY, TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: We have 250 citizens in shelters right now, and we have -- those shelters are operational. We have power to those shelters. We are assistance there, we have medical assistance there. We are meeting those needs that have come up from the local elected officials.

(END AUDIO CLIP) HARRIS: Authorities say three people were killed across the border in Mexico. More than 100 were hurt in all.

Killer storms take a toll along the Texas Mexico border. Where are they headed today? You will want to stay with CNN, at the top of the hour for the latest updates from our severe weather team, plus the latest I-Reports of the destruction.

WHITFIELD: Also, we will take you back to Blacksburg, Virginia, for a live scheduled news conference. State and campus police are expected to release new details about last week's shootings. And we're also watching Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to see if he beefs up Virginia's rules on gun sales, background checks

All these stories and more when THE NEWSROOM begins at the top of the hour with Don Lemon and Suzanne Malveaux. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

HARRIS: I'm Tony Harris. Have a great day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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