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Huckabee Weighs in on Confederate Flags, Gay Marriage; Tom Cruise Extols Virtues of Scientology

Aired January 17, 2008 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, Mike Huckabee in the heart of the South speaking out about the confederate flag and gay marriage.

Is he speaking from the heart?

We're -- we have an update on you -- for you on what's going on.

Dirty tricks out on the campaign trail all caught on tape. Why the campaigns are mobilizing what they call truth squads to fight back against lies and slander and everything else.

And Tom Cruise -- he's caught on tape, as well, extolling the virtues of Scientology, even as a new biography claims the actor, in effect, is a top official in the church.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


With some of the headlines coming out from the campaign trail today, we're watching all of this. Two days before the Nevada vote, a Las Vegas judge dismisses a legal challenge to the rules on the Democratic side, allowing caucus activity in some of the city's largest casinos. That's seen as a boost for Barack Obama, who has the support of a big union there -- a union involved in all those casinos.

Republican candidate John McCain failed to focus in all that much on the economy in Michigan. That's what his critics are alleging and that's what they're saying is one of the reasons why he lost in Michigan. But now he's unveiled an economic stimulus package just ahead of the South Carolina vote on Saturday. We're watching this, as well.

And looking to boost his support in South Carolina, Mike Huckabee says no one should tell that state what to do when it comes to flying the confederate flag.

Former President Bill Clinton is also making some news out there on the campaign trail, campaigning for his wife.

Listen to what he says when asked about his own policy of don't ask/don't tell for gays in the military.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't ask/don't tell, as articulated and as I worked it out with Colin Powell, who was then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, meant literally that -- that people would be free to live their lives as long as they didn't go march in gay rights parades or go to gay bars in uniform -- in uniform and talk about it on duty, they would be all right.

Now, as soon as he left, the anti-gay forces within the military started using it as an excuse to kick people out.


BLITZER: Hillary Clinton, like so many of the other Democratic presidential candidates, opposes this policy of don't ask/don't tell. They want gays to be able to serve openly in the U.S. military.

We're going to continue to follow-up on this story and follow-up on the other political news we're following.

But there's other news we're following, as well, including news from Wall Street. It took another nose-dive today. The Dow is down more than 300 points, another two-and-a-half percent decline. The S&P 500 also fell nearly 3 percent. The Nasdaq down about 2 percent.

All that came as the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, said the economy needs help and it needs help fast.

President Bush today spoke with Congressional leaders about the need for an economic stimulus package and he's going to be speaking to the nation tomorrow about some of his ideas.

One idea being talked about a lot -- personal income tax rebates.

Let's go to CNN's Kate Bolduan.

She's following this story for us so will it help, Kate, for the government to start handing some of these tax dollars back to the tax givers, namely those -- that would be all of us?


Well, that really is the big question. When it comes to rebates, the thought is put the money in the consumers' hands and they'll put it right back into the economy. But the devil really is in the details. So we took a look at whether these rebates really will jump- start the economy.


DOREEN O'BRIEN: Well, we cut back on Christmas. We didn't spend a fraction -- maybe a quarter of what we did last year.

BOLDUAN: John and Doreen O'Brien (ph) say they're like millions of people struggling to make ends meet for their family of five and some help would go a long way. JOHN O'BRIEN: With the way the economy is, absolutely huge.

D. O'BRIEN: A big boost.

J. O'BRIEN: A big boost.

BOLDUAN: Consumer spending is key to rescuing the weak economy. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today giving a little extra to families like the O'Briens is a good idea.

BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Getting money to people quickly is good and getting money to low and moderate income people is good in the sense of getting bang for buck.

BOLDUAN: Tax rebates are a leading proposal to do just that.

But will they work?

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says yes.

PETER ORSZAG, DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE: Rebates are a relatively effective way of boosting spending.

BOLDUAN: In the 2001 recession, $38 billion in rebate checks went out. Most people received between $300 and $600. No dollar amount has yet been set this time around.

ORSZAG: Something like a third of the money was spent within three months and about two thirds of the money was spent within six months, which is pretty good for -- as these things go.

BOLDUAN: But some economists say the evidence isn't so clear.

PROF. JOEL SLEMROD, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: One third spending is a lot lower than I think most people had expected.

BOLDUAN: Professor Joel Slemrod found a majority of people in 2001 decided to save the money or use it to pay off debt rather than spend it.

SLEMROD: We really shouldn't expect miracles from a tax package or stimulus package of this magnitude.

BOLDUAN: But like the O'Briens, most everyone agreeing something needs to be done and soon.


BOLDUAN: Now, top Democrat -- top Congressional Democrats and Republicans are meeting right now to further discuss the possible stimulus package. Now, while the details still haven't come out, there does seem to be consensus emerging that rebates will likely be part of this final plan -- of any final plan, I guess I should say -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kate Bolduan is a new edition to CNN here in Washington. We want to welcome you, Kate, to THE SITUATION ROOM. BOLDUAN: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: We hope you'll be a frequent guest.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

An investigation now underway into the crash -- a crash landing, that is, over at London's Heathrow Airport. A British Airways 777 touched down short of the runway and suffered severe damage as it skidded out of control.

Let's go to London.

CNN's Richard Quest is watching this story for us.

All right, describe the scene of what the passengers were saying.

What happened -- Richard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very good question. And that's what investigators will be looking into. The pictures, Wolf, are really quite dramatic. The Boeing 777 B8 Flight 38 from Beijing had just completed its long haul journey when something went terribly wrong in the crucial seconds before touchdown.

The plane landed on the grass several hundred feet before the beginning of the runway. It then skidded down the grass. The undercarriage ripped from underneath the aircraft, causing damage to the flaps, the wing and the rear fuselage.

With the plane now on its belly on the grass and on the tarmac, the emergency slides were opened up and all those on board escaped -- 136 passengers, 16 crew. It was a miraculous escape by any standards.

So far tonight, we understand only several were injured and then only slightly -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Is there any indication how this happened?

I know you've been speaking to investigators, experts, Richard. You cover this story.

What are they suggesting might have caused this?

QUEST: Well, it looks as if there were some sort of power loss in those crucial seconds before the plane touched down. One report from one investigator, who has been briefed on the subject, says the pilot said he didn't have power when he needed it. That would indicate just before he landed, when he would have had the power to get down to the runway. But instead, it appears, Wolf, that that power wasn't there and the plane came down.

It wasn't an emergency landing, by all accounts. It was a crash landing. And what is interesting is the passengers on board had no idea. So whatever took place happened suddenly and very dramatically.

BLITZER: But, once again, they're OK, the passengers.

Is that right?

QUEST: Yes, they are. A few minor injuries, but by the grace of God and luck, everybody got off that plane in one piece.

BLITZER: Thank god for that, because it could have been a whole lot worse.

Richard, thanks very much.

Richard Quest reporting for us from London.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty.

He's reporting for us from New York.

He's got The Cafferty File.

Can you imagine being on a plane like that...


BLITZER: ...that has this crash landing. It could scare you.

CAFFERTY: I get a little apprehensive every time I get on one of those things. I've never had a problem. But that must just be terrifying.

This is a little scary here, too. They're calling it spyware. Microsoft is working on some office software that can remotely monitor a worker's productivity, physical well-being and competence.

Can you spell big brother?

The "Times of London" reporting Microsoft has filed a patent application for this style computer system that would link workers through their computers through wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. It would let managers monitor your performance by measuring things like your heart rate, your body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure -- meaning they'd be able to tell from blocks away if you were sleeping at the switch.

The use of this kind of technology has been previously limited to people like pilots, firefighters and NASA astronauts. It's believed to be the first time that a company is proposing it for more mainstream use. Swell.

Critics say this kind of system would be taking the idea of monitoring people at work to a whole new level. They call it intrusive and say it raises serious privacy issues.

The U.S. Patent Office confirmed the application was published last month and patent lawyers say it could be granted within a year. Microsoft wouldn't comment on the patent application, but said that they have over 7,000 patents worldwide and they're proud of "the quality of these patents and the innovations they represent." There's a non-answer.

Here's the question -- do you see anything wrong with office software that would allow managers to monitor their workers by remote control?

Go to, where you can post a comment on my new blog.

That means all those guys in Atlanta that we work for could sit at their desks and know whether we're paying attention or not -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Not just our company. It's almost every company. You sign some document and they have the right to do it.

CAFFERTY: Oh, I know.

BLITZER: They can listen in, watch whatever you're doing. It comes with the territory.

CAFFERTY: Well, I guess. But this is a little scary.

BLITZER: All right, Jack.

Thanks very much for that. Any called spyware, I guess, is a little scary to begin with.

Dirty business out there on the campaign trail -- political tricks in South Carolina and a lot of other places, as well.

Will they work again?

We're going to show you what's worrying and angering some of the candidates.

And it's not something she often talks about, but Hillary Clinton has opened up about her husband's affair with the former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Can you believe it's been 10 years, almost exactly, since we heard that name?

And Tom Cruise is caught on tape praising Scientology, even has a new biography claims he's a top leader of that controversial church. We'll have a full report on what's going on.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: There's a story we're following right now.

Kelly Arena is getting some new information for us.

What are we learning -- Kelli?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, CNN has learned that a terror indictment and guilty plea has just been unsealed in New York City. It involves a 25-year-old Canadian. His name is Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, who the government says pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

Now, he pled guilty to various terror charges, including conspiracy to kill Americans and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. property.

Wolf, it's taken years to get to this point. Jabarah was actually arrested in 2002. Court papers show that he was trained in Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. The government says that he actually met with both Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2001, that he was given money and told to carry out attacks against U.S. embassies in Southeast Asia. Those plots failed.

His next stop was to Oman, to set up safe houses for al Qaeda members that were fleeing Afghanistan. That is where he was arrested.

He was cooperating with U.S. officials, Wolf, but he backed out of that agreement. So we have this guilty plea and he is currently awaiting sentencing -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And no indication of what kind of sentencing he can expect at this point?

ARENA: Not yet.

BLITZER: All right, Kelli Arena with this late breaking story for us.

We'll stay on top of it.

Thanks very much.


BLITZER: The African-American vote may well make the difference for Democrats in South Carolina. But age is also a big factor for the candidates seeking that vote.

Let's head out to Charleston right now.

Suzanne Malveaux is watching this story for us.

All right, the generation gap as it's unfolding right now -- what are you seeing -- Suzanne? SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it's a lot less straightforward than the polls would suggest. I've been to pizza parlors, the local campus, bible study. Young and old voters are saying when it comes to the issues, they share the same concerns -- better education, better jobs, better opportunities. But when preferring and picking a candidate, it's really those intangibles -- things like faith, loyalty and life experience.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): In South Carolina, where nearly half of the Democratic voters are African-American, there's a fierce fight for their support. Polls taken last month suggest there is also a generational divide -- older black voters going for Hillary Clinton, younger black voters backing Barack Obama.

We went to see for ourselves and found 17-year-old Joseph Davis squarely in Obama's camp.

JOSEPH DAVIS, OBAMA SUPPORTER: We had opportunities and chances and sometimes we blew it. But I feel that, you know, Barack Obama is going to set a trend for more African-Americans, maybe myself or one of my family members, maybe one day will be in the same position.

MALVEAUX: Grandmother Cheryl Mack (ph) backs Senator Clinton.

CHERYL MACK: I see her as my sister and also as a peer. But I also think that she has a broad appeal.

MALVEAUX: Hillary Clinton's appeal, many older African-Americans tell us, comes from their appreciation of her work in the civil right movement and her husband, President Bill Clinton's, policies supporting the black community.

SAMUEL ROBINSON, COUNCIL MEMBER, AWENDAW, SOUTH CAROLINA: It is true, on the one hand, because the older people remember. As the Jewish people say, we never forget.

MALVEAUX: Forgetting what the Clintons did, some say, is like betraying an old friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to tell them they need to go back 12 years ago to see what that administration did. And because of that administration, that is why they're in colleges and universities today.

MALVEAUX: But some young people like Joseph see their elders' message as too cautious.

DAVIS: We only know what is either being told to us -- we wasn't there a long time ago. So what the older generation tells us as young kids is that the blacks can't do this. We don't have to pay attention to what our grandmothers or our grandfathers said and we believe that it can happen.

MALVEAUX: And the more people we talked to, the more we discovered older voters also believe it can happen -- an African- American could be elected president.


MALVEAUX: The church elders at St. James Presbyterian all talked about their deep affection for Clinton, but are supporting Obama.

CHARLOTTE DUNN, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Some of the struggles that we as black women can face, I don't believe that she can speak to them.

CAROL SMALLS, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Like these ladies say, a change. Hillary's been in the White House.

MALVEAUX: Some see an Obama win as a civil rights victory after years of personal struggle.

ROBINSON: It's a little more than Obama at this point. It's becoming bigger than him.

MALVEAUX (on camera): Is that a good thing?

ROBINSON: It's a very good thing.


MALVEAUX: Wolf, in talking to voters, it's a complicated thing. Many people say they are struggling over these loyalties to make the decision between Barack Obama, as well as Hillary Clinton. One thing I hear from old and young is that they say that Obama at least should be given a chance. But as you know, what we saw in Iowa and New Hampshire, you really just can't predict these things -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux in Charleston for us.

Thanks, Suzanne, very much.

See you in a few days.

This important programming note about the South Carolina primary. CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute are sponsoring a presidential debate in Myrtle Beach on Monday. That's Monday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Please join, along with Suzanne Malveaux and Joe Johns for this Southern showdown Monday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Two hot button issues. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee weighing in on the confederate flag and same-sex marriage. You're going to find out what he's saying that's causing controversy.

Plus, millions of documents from one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century made public. An inside look at secret Nazi archives.

Stay with us.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Carol Costello is monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

What's going on -- Carol?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, one of the country's largest coal producers has reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. Massey Energy, who was accused of thousands of violations of the Clean Water Act for allegedly dumping mine waste and sediment into streams and waterways in Kentucky and West Virginia will now pay $20 million to settle the complaint and millions more to improve its pollution control.

The number of abortions in the United States has declined significantly. That's according to a new survey of abortion providers. It says there were 1.2 million abortions in 2005, down from an all time high of 1.6 million in 1990. That's a 25 percent drop. Among the contributing factors -- better use of contraceptives, lower levels of unintended pregnancies and more difficulty getting an abortion in some parts of the country.

O.J. Simpson is once again free on bail and he's back home in Florida. He left a Las Vegas jail late last night after a friend helped arrange a $250,000 bond. Simpson found himself behind bars again and his bail doubled by a judge yesterday, who found he had violated his probation by contacting a co-defendant in his armed robbery case.

And bully for the Bulldog. The breed is back on the American Kennel Club's list of the 10 most popular dogs for the first time, since 1935. The Labrador Retriever is number one for the 17th year in a row, followed by the Yorkshire Terrier, the Gentleman Shepherd, the Golden Retriever -- yes -- and the beagle. The Bulldog's return knocked the Miniature Schnauzer right off the list.

Back to you -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You have a Golden Retriever?

COSTELLO: I had one and they're the best dogs ever.


Thanks, Carol, for that.

It's a comparison many people find extremely offensive. We're going to have details of what Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said about same-sex marriage.

Plus, another very controversial issue -- the confederate flag.

And Bill Clinton loses his cool with a reporter on the campaign trail. We're going to show you the question that set him off and his heated response.

Plus, an important government health warning on children's medications.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, telling critics of his new border regulation plan to "grow up." Starting at the end of this month, people entering the United States from Canada will have to show a passport or the new Real I.D. card. Chertoff says that will likely create some long delays. He's defending the strategy and the policy.

Also, new political violence rocking Kenya right now. At least seven opposition protesters have been killed today in clashes with police in Nairobi. This is the second of three days of planned protests against the outcome of last month's presidential election.

And a health advisory from the Food and Drug Administration is warning parents to avoid over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for children under two because of what they say are potential life- threatening side effects.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


The president and Congress agree that the ailing U.S. economy needs a shot in the arm and it needs it soon. Out on the campaign trail, some Republican candidates are speaking out on the subject. But even if any of them ends up in the White House, it will be quite a while before they can put their own ideas into play.

Here's some of what they're saying.

Listen to this.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're going to hear from the Democrats let's pump $70 billion, let's pump $80 billion, let's do this, let's do that.

My friends, remember who is going to pay that.

It doesn't come off a printing press, OK?

It comes out of your pockets. So I want to tell you, as president of the United States, I will cut your taxes. I will encourage the growth. I will eliminate the wasteful and unnecessary spending. And we will get through this rough patch, my friends. We'll get through it.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fair tax is a replacement that doesn't just try to tweak the current tax code, because I don't think it can be tweaked and fixed. The fact is, we say in Arkansas -- and I have a feeling you do in South Carolina -- that if you can't fix it with duct tape and WD-40, partner, it can't be fixed. And folks, I've got to tell you something -- you can't fix the current tax code, even if you had WD-40 and duct tape. It takes more than that.


BLITZER: By almost all accounts, dirty tricks helped torpedo John McCain's 2000 presidential run in South Carolina. Now, as Republican candidates gather for this weekend's primary, they're on guard against more of the same.

Let's go to Charleston right now.

Mary Snow is watching this story for us. The lies and the cheep shots -- there's a lot of that stuff going on right now, two days before the South Carolina Republican primary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is, Wolf. And, you know, it's -- as you noted, South Carolina has a reputation for having some pretty rough politics. Still, some veteran Republicans say all in all, this primary season is fairly tame and they note the short turnaround between the Michigan primary and South Carolina. But still, the head of the Republican Party here says he's getting complaints.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that former Senator Fred Thompson refuses to sign the no new tax pledge and that Governor Huckabee has signed the no new taxes pledge not to raise taxes as president make you more likely to trust Huckabee on the issue of tax relief?

SNOW: This phone call posted on YouTube is the kind that has republican presidential candidates on guard in South Carolina, eager to expose dirty tricks. The group behind the call, Common Sense Issues, says it's calling homes in South Carolina to inform voters. Critics call what they're doing push polling, an attempt to plant negative perceptions of rival candidates. The group is pro-Huckabee. But says it's independent of the campaign. The Huckabee campaign denounced the calls quoting the former Arkansas governor saying, "As I've said before our campaign has nothing to do with push polling. I wish they would stop." Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson isn't sold.

SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I won't call any names, but Governor Huckabee says he doesn't know anything about it.

SNOW: Mike Huckabee has been targeted himself with these anonymous fliers being passed around suggesting he's too liberal for republican primary voters. Back in December, this Christmas card reportedly from the family of candidate Mitt Romney was fake and was actually meant to spotlight his Mormon faith. Senator John McCain knows all too well about dirty tricks. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I need your vote. I need it. This is a pivotal election. You know a lot of nasty things are going on. Ignore that stuff.

SNOW: Back in 2000, McCain became the target of a smear campaign.

LACY FORD, UNIV. OF SOUTH CAROLINA: A rumor was spread about Senator McCain having fathered a black child. And that was portrayed in the most negative manner possible.

SNOW: This election, the McCain campaign distributed a mailing of the senator's biography, including the story of his adopted daughter, Bridget. McCain's wife, Cindy, brought her home from a Bangladesh orphanage 15 years ago. McCain has dispatched a so called truth squad to knock down mailers like this one suggesting he turned his back on POWs during the Vietnam War which supporters say is the opposite of the truth.


SNOW: Some inside republican campaigns note that they are still two days left before the primary, and are bracing. But still the chairman of the Republican Party here in South Carolina says that he believes the people of South Carolina will see through these kinds of dirty tricks. Wolf?

BLITZER: Mary Snow watching the story for us in Charleston. Thanks very much, Mary, for that.

Former President Bill Clinton gets into a heated exchange while campaigning for his wife. It was with a reporter who asked him about a lawsuit challenging rules for this Saturday's Nevada caucuses, specifically caucuses being held over at casinos so that shift workers can take part. Many belong to a union that has endorsed Barack Obama. The former president bristled at the suggestion that his wife's campaign was actually involved in the lawsuit. Listen to this.


FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON, UNITED STATES: There were teachers who filed the lawsuit. You asked the question in an accusatory way. So I'll ask you back. Do you really believe that all the democrats understood that they had agreed to give everybody that voted at the casino a vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct? Did you know that? Their votes will be counted five times more powerfully in terms of delegates in the state convention to pick the delegates in the national convention. What happened is nobody understood what had happened. They uncovered it. Now everybody is saying, oh, they don't want us to vote. What they really tried to do was to set up a deal where their votes counted five times, maybe even more, as much. So now they're dealing with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the culinary workers had not endorsed Obama, would they still be dealing with it? Would they still be filing a lawsuit? CLINTON: I think that the teachers, the people voting in their own precincts would have filed a lawsuit once they found out that a vote counts -- you know, this is a one-man, one-vote country. And I'm amazed nobody like you ever -- you should be offended by this. Do you think one person's vote should be counted five times as much as another?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it looks as though, to a lot of people, as though the Clinton campaign, or the Clinton supporters, not the campaign but her supporters.

CLINTON: We had nothing to do with the lawsuit. I read about it in the newspaper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But people who have supported her.

CLINTON: All right. So when you asked me that question, your position is that you think the culinary workers' vote should count a, it should be easier for them to vote than for anybody else in Nevada that has to work on Saturday. That's your first position. Second, when they do vote, their vote should count five times as much as everybody else. That's what the teachers have questioned. So if that's your position, you have it. Get on your television station and say I don't care about the home mortgage crisis. All I care about is making sure that some voters have it easier than others and that when they do vote, when it's already easier for them, their vote should count five times as much as others. That is your position. If you want to take that position, get on the television and take it. Don't be accusatory with me. I had nothing to do with this lawsuit.


BLITZER: Since that exchange in Nevada, a judge has dismissed the challenge against the casino caucuses clearing the way for them to go ahead. They'll be using a delegate formula by the way, that's also used in rural Nevada, that could actually give their votes more weight, as the former president said. But only if turnout was very low compared to regular precincts. That rule, by the way, has been in place for months.

She was held for years. Now a former hostage offers proof that her captives are alive. And chilling new details of her plight.

Plus, Tom Cruise speaking out about his controversial religion; now the Church of Scientology reacts to a video making the rounds on the internet. We'll have the latest for you on that.

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


BLITZER: Tens of millions of documents, they were kept for decades in Germany. Now they're finally available right here in the United States to help holocaust survivors and their families finally learn more about the fate of their loved ones. Barbara Starr has been working this story for us. Some survivors, Barbara, I take it are already able to get access to these documents.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. Today we sat down with one of them, a remarkable man, and an extraordinary piece of history.


DAVID BEAR, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: I had it on my arm right in here. This was my name.

STARR: The Nazis tattooed David Bear's arm at Auschwitz when he was just a teenager. One day he was sent to a Nazi doctor to look at swollen glands in the neck. He didn't want to go.

BEAR: If you go in the clinic, you never come out alive.

STARR: Now for the first time, 86-year-old David is looking at the Nazi doctor's records of that day, which he never knew existed.

BEAR: He got somebody to put me down on a table, tie me up. He cut me without anesthetic, without anything. Terrible pain. He was smiling. He look in my face and I look in his face. I see it everywhere I go. When I saw this, I saw the doctor. I saw the whole procedure.

STARR: This is just one of 68 million documents available for the first time through the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. After six decades of international bickering, they've just been released from the world's largest closed Holocaust archive located in Germany. Of all people, Iran's president who denies the Holocaust happened who may have inadvertently helped move those who controlled the archives to open this door to history.

SARA BLOOMFIELD, U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM: One of the things I said is, you know, to the people we were pushing very hard and this is in the face of the statements by the president of Iran how is your decision defensible?

BEAR: Some leaders in the world claimed that this never happened. Shows in black and white what happened. I'm telling the world that I am here. I came out from hell. It happened. It happened. Where are my mother and father? I didn't come from the sky. They killed them.


STARR: And, Wolf, this archive contains documents the world has never seen before about people such as Ann Frank and some of the Jews rescued by Oscar Schindler.

BLITZER: So people can just go to the holocaust museum and get access to it?

STARR: They can sit down at a computer terminal. They're trying to improve the access, improve the computer program, but they can sit down and request documents searching for the name of a loved one.

BLITZER: Barbara Starr, thanks for doing this piece. Thanks very much.

One of the hostages freed by Colombian rebels last week brought with her letters and photos, proof that some fellow captives were still alive after years and years of captivity in the jungle. The family of one hostage is making her letter to them public. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is watching the story for us. Deb, it makes for some very grim reading.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very grim reading indeed and as a matter of fact, the wife of this particular hostage had no idea whether in fact her husband, who had been kidnapped during a fierce raid on a police headquarters, was alive or dead. Now she has the proof she's needed.


FEYERICK: This is what Police Colonel Louis Menyetta (ph) looked like in 1998. This is what he looks like today, after nine years in the jungle held hostage by Columbia rebels. The picture, one of three, is proof the Colonel is still alive. It was delivered to his wife and daughter after rebels last week released two female hostages, carrying with them photos and letters from others still imprisoned by the guerrilla fighters. In the Colonel's letter read by his wife to CNN's Carl Penhaul, he describes the horrors of captivity. The malaria and parasites, the forest jungle marches, being chained to a tree by his neck, and stricken by illness that turned his legs black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wasn't able to walk for five weeks. They carried me in the hammock across rivers and through swamps. I had to drag myself through the mud to the bathroom using only my arms.

FEYERICK: More than 40 high profile people are still being held hostage by the rebels, including three American contractors who had been working for the Pentagon tracking cocaine labs. There have been no reports that the freed hostages brought news of the Americans, and no news of former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, a French citizen who was kidnapped about six years ago while out campaigning. As seen in the tape, recorded by her captors and dated last October, her health seems to have seriously deteriorated. Released captive Clara Rojas said she had not seen her friend in three years, and judging by the tape, Betancourt's husband now fears time is running out.

JUAN CARLOS LECOMPTE, INGRID BETANCOURT'S HUSBAND: We are right now in an emergency. We cannot wait any longer, more months or more years. We can wait only weeks or days.


FEYERICK: The rebels say they released the hostages as a good will gesture and their goal is to swap other hostages for hundreds of jailed rebels. Police Colonel Louis Menyetta (ph) is the highest ranking officer in captivity, and there's been no compromise either by the rebels or the Colombian government. The hostage release was actually negotiated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Wolf?

BLITZER: Deb Feyerick, thanks very much for that report.

It's an issue that sends passions flaring. Now Mike Huckabee is weighing in on the controversy over the confederate flag. Does he think it belongs on South Carolina's flag itself? That and a lot more coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is hitting on two very sensitive issues today, the confederate flag and same-sex marriage. The remarks he's made on both subjects are raising eyebrows. Let's go to Brian Todd. He is watching the story for us. What's he saying, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some very controversial remarks that may speak to his conservative base but have already sparked outrage among activist groups.


TODD: Who says the democrats hold the patent on race and gender politics? Mike Huckabee heading strong into South Carolina's primary, talking to his evangelical base on the issue of gay marriage, an interview with the web publication BeliefNet. He is quoted as saying, "I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal." He continues, "Again, once we change the definition the door is open to change it again." Huckabee may never have campaigned for the gay vote, but he certainly got the outrage of activists like David Smith.

DAVID SMITH, THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: I think he is. I think he's equating a loving committed relationship between two people of the same sex with something like bestiality and it's outside of the mainstream. It's quite offensive.

TODD: On the trail, he's also weighed in on the confederate flag, seen by some as racist, by others as an icon of southern pride. It's still on display on South Carolina's state capital grounds. Huckabee's message, the feds should stay out of the flight.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don't like people from outside the state coming down and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we would tell them where to put the pole.

TODD: With Huckabee closing on John McCain in South Carolina, analysts say this strikes a clear point of difference with McCain, who wanted the confederate flag removed from the state's capitol dome.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Taking that flat off the top of the capitol. Put it in the place where it belongs.

CHRIS FRATES, POLITICO.COM: He's appealing to a very specific conservative voter base in South Carolina. He needs to get the folks fired up. He needs to make sure they're coming out in droves. He needs to knock down some of McCain's momentum in South Carolina.


TODD: Just moments ago I got off the phone with the Huckabee campaign spokesman regarding Huckabee's comment on gay marriage. The spokesman says he is not equating gay marriage with bestiality. He simply believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. The spokesman says gay rights groups are trying to pick a fight. Wolf?

BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much; Brian Todd watching that story for us.

Let's get back to Jack. He's got the Cafferty File. Jack?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know just a thought but people who make decision on who to vote for president based on his decision on whether or not the South Carolina confederate flag is flying some place, they shouldn't be allowed to vote at all. We have real problems in this country. That flag ain't one of them. The question this hour is do you see anything wrong with software that will allow managers to monitor workers remotely?

Thomas in South Carolina, "A private employer should be able to monitor employees however it wants. If they cross the line, they will realize it when they don't have any employees left."

Max writes, "The fact of the matter is that too many people get by in the workplace by doing the bare minimum. That is one of the main problems with this country. Everyday it's built deeper into the fabric of society not to work hard because someone else is working harder for you. A system like this would hopefully help raise productivity."

Annie writes, "I think we as human beings need to dig deeper to find out humanity these days, and this is a step as far in the opposite direction as we could possibly go. We need a follow up entitled it's gotten even uglier out there in a very short time." One's on the way actually.

Suzanne writes, "This software sounds great. Let's get our elected officials in the pilot program."

Paul writes, "Spyware in the workplace that monitors physiology, productivity, etc. is absolutely ridiculous and revolting. Even if the employee voluntarily submitted to such a privacy intrusion, the legal implications are enormous. It's use should be prohibited by law."

John writes, "Absolutely nothing wrong with it. It seems like the only people that don't like being monitored are those that have performance problems."

Jose, "How will I then be able to coast through a workday for a job I'm under-qualified for? Surely I'm not the only one out there!" And Gary writes, "In the old days, there was a guy with a whip to encourage you to row harder. Now a guy can use the whip remotely. That's what I call progress!"


BLITZER: See you in a few moments, Jack. Thanks very much.

The library of Congress has discovered new images of Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration nearly 150 years after the event took place. Let's bring in our Internet reporter Abbi Tatton. She'll tell us where to see the pictures.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: They're at These are the images that we're used to seeing that day, Lincoln giving the second inaugural address. But with this discovery, we can now see what it was he was looking out at. These blurry images are of the crowds and soldiers gathered at that point as the Civil War was winding down. Carol Marie Johnson's a curator with the Library of Congress and she was alerted to a labeling error. And after a bit of detective work, looking at the townhouses in the background there and the fact that the ground was wet, it had been raining for two days before this inauguration, she was able to make this discovery. She said it was a day met with tremendous cheering and applause and points to these men in the right hand of the picture and their excitement at the address. All these photos are online at This was a month before Lincoln's assassination. Wolf?

BLITZER: Thanks very much for that, Abbi.

She rarely talks about it on the campaign trail or any place else for that matter but democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did open up recently about her husband's affair with the former white house intern, Monica Lewinsky. Listen to what she told talk show host Tyra Banks.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because I had tremendous faith, number one, I really had to dig down deep and think hard about what was right for me, what was right for my family, and I never doubted Bill's love for me ever. And I never doubted my faith and my commitment to our daughter and our extended family. But I had to decide what I had to do. And I think it's so important to be able to hear yourself at a moment when it's hard. It may be a family issue. It may be a job issue. There's so many times when you really have to listen to yourself.


BLITZER: Asked what advice she would offer other women in similar situations, she said "Be true to yourself."

Some video seen around the world on the Internet; now the Church of Scientology is speaking out about Tom Cruise discussing his religion on tape. Plus, his remarks fueled a fiery battle between Clinton and Obama campaigns; now the BET founder, Bob Johnson, is apologizing. He'll be here to explain what's going on.

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


BLITZER: A leaked video of Tom Cruise and his views about scientology is making its rounds on the Internet and a new biography claims the actor is now effectively second in command of the controversial church.

Let's go out to CNN entertainment reporter Kareen Wynter. She's watching the story for us. What's going on, Kareen?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Hi there, Wolf. You know I watched the video. I have to say I've never seen Tom Cruise this candid about scientology.


WYNTER: Outspoken and some critics say over the top, Tom Cruise on tape about his beloved religion scientology.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: The more you know as a scientologist, you don't become overwhelmed by it.

WYNTER: SP? Scientology speak for suppressive person, anyone critical of the religion. The nine minute heavily edited video from 2004, was set to Mission Impossible like music and has now surfaced on the internet. The same week an unauthorized biography of the star hit bookstores.

CRUISE: It's our responsibility to educate, create the reality. We have the responsible to say, hey, this is the way it should be done.

WYNTER: The Church of Scientology released a statement saying Cruise was speaking as part of a church-sponsored event where he was honored. Adding, "While the video can be seen in any Church of Scientology, what appeared on the internet is a pirated and edited version of a three-hour event."

ANDREW MORTON, AUTHOR: Tom Cruise is a modern breed of what I would call celebrity advocates who uses his celebrity to gain access to the corridors of power.

WYNTER: Celebrity biographer Andrew Morton targets Cruise's faith and family in his new tell all. One of Morton's claims is that the actor is second in command in the Church of Scientology.

CNN's Don Lemon interview Morton.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You said that Tom Cruise in the second in command in the Church of Scientology. What is your evidence of that? MORTON: Well I say he's de facto second in command regardless to say in all but name and more than that, he's someone that if it wasn't for him, the Church of Scientology would be a shadow of what it is today.

WYNTER: Cruise's camp has shot back calling the book, "loaded with false statements. They are mostly tired old lies about Tom and his religion that everyone's heard before but there are some bizarre new lies designed to attract attention."


WYNTER: Cruise's attorney also says Morton never interviewed anyone close to Cruise for this book -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Kareen Wynter, thanks very much for that.