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Out of Gas?; Obama's Economic Plan; Rumors Swirl Around Islamabad Bombing; Tony Alamo Discusses Raided Christian Compound
Aired September 22, 2008 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Coming at you now, your interactive newscast, where you talk to us while we report today, about gas lines, shortages. Station after station says, we got none. What's going on?
Evangelist Tony Alamo joins me to talk about the raid at his Christian compound. He denies he sexually abused children, but wait until you hear what he believes about kids and sex.
A massive terrorist attack at a Marriott overseas, did the Pakistani president know about it and move his meeting? And are his troops shooting at U.S. forces? Aren't they supposed to be our allies?
Americans furious today. Wanting to know why they're bailing out companies while executives are walking away with millions in bonuses. We're on it.
HENRY PAULSON, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: We need this to be clean and quick.
SANCHEZ: Democrats say not so fast. We will tell you why they are hedging.
Your newscast, with your input, begins now.
SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez.
All right, let's cut to the chase on this thing. Let's talk about what this really is all about. Wall Street screwed up. Our government looked the other way, and now you're paying for it. And judging from what you're saying to me, and I have been reading them here on Twitter and Facebook and MySpace, Americans are real furious about what's been going on over the last week, this bailout, this $700 billion, too big a number for most of us to really even wrap our heads around, right?
Here, let me try and make this a little easier for you, OK? For each and every one of you, man, woman and child, this comes out to $2,300 that you are giving up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm pretty pissed, actually. I really don't want the government to use my money to pay for banks' mistakes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why they're bailing out these big multimillion-dollar corporations and putting the burden on the taxpayer. As a taxpayer, it makes me angry and I just want to find out when that's going to stop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it leaves people feeling like, well, wait a minute. What about me? I have got this -- I'm trying to keep my house. I'm trying to feed my kids. And I'm still paying for this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I want to ask. What about the CEOs of these companies, of Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers? Are they not being held accountable for their actions?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Yes. And you know what? This is not a Hispanic, a black, a white thing, a Democrat, a Republican thing. This is what you're hearing. That sentiment that you were just hearing there, that is pretty much the sentiment that you are going to hearing all over the country.
More on this $700 billion figure now. This is how you can really get a perspective on something like this, because when you start talking billions, I mean, who gets it? Hardly anybody.
So, on this newscast last week, we wanted you to get a perspective on the $85 billion bailout of the insurance giant AIG. Remember that? Here's what we found. We will share it with you again.
All of these countries in Africa, we put this little map together for you, the countries in yellow, they do less business in one year, OK? Their GDP is less than $85 billion. All right. Let's get the next map up. Let's put Europe up. There's Europe, right? In red, those are the nations whose GDP adds up to less than $85 billion.
So, basically, you could buy any of these countries with the AIG rescue money alone. Keep that in mind as perspective when you're talking to your friends and neighbors about this. All right.
Now, let's put the $700 billion into further perspective. You know what it could buy? It could buy the new Yankee Stadium that was just built in New York for the Yankees that cost $1.3 billion. We could build 538 of them, enough to put almost 11 of them in each state. Here's another way to look at it. The war in Iraq, it cost roughly $430 million a day, by some estimates, according to at least one senator.
That means we could use this $700 billion to pay for four-and-a- half years of the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, we won't use it for that. We will have to pay that on top of this.
Bush administration officials say, whether we like it or not, this bailout has to be passed -- quote -- "quick and clean." But Democrats are saying, hold on a minute. See, they want taxpayers to get some kind of ownership stake in the companies that they are bailing out. They want limits on executive pay packages, and they want to revoke any bonuses based on bogus claims.
And judges would have the power to rewrite mortgages to lower house payments for some bankrupt homeowners.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I think we make a huge mistake if we just basically write a check for $700 billion and turn it over without demanding accountability, addressing ownership, and raising major concerns about taxpayer exposure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Well, the fact that the Democrats are now hedging has some congressional Republicans saying, you can't do this. We have got to get this thing done lickety-split.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The more strings that are put on this package as we move through means that it's less likely to work. This bill needs to move quickly -- and I will vote for it -- that Congress can work in a bipartisan manner to address the concerns that the American people have and do it as quickly as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: All right. So, now you have got the background on what is really a complicated story. So, we thinned it out for you.
Now what we wanted to do for you was get some folks from the McCain camp and some folks from the Obama camp, so they could tell us what their policies are how to get out of this mess, right? And up until about, oh, 40 minutes ago, we thought we had at least the first part of this plan, planning on having Obama's senior adviser, Stephanie Cutter, to join us from Chicago to go through this point by point.
We were going to have McCain's people on tomorrow to go on point by point. Well, Stephanie Cutter bailed on us just about, well, 40 minutes ago.
So, we decided instead to have our conversation with our own political editor, Mark Preston, about how the Obama plan plays out politically.
Mark, always a pleasure having you here. You're like semper paratus, like the Coast Guard motto, always prepared.
We're sensing, Mark, that Americans are furious about this thing. We really are. I can't even show you some of the feedback I have been getting on MySpace and Facebook and on Twitter. People are really angry about this thing.
Will Senator Obama at this point back the Democrats, do you think, who are hedging on this bailout, given some things as I mentioned earlier that they want in this package?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: I think that the Democrats wouldn't have come out with their opposition to the package without Barack Obama backing them, at least privately, Rick.
The fact of the matter is, is that Democrats do not want to give that blank check again to the administration. They want accountability. You know, the last time that they allowed the administration to go off with such power was to wage war against Iraq.
And, of course, they are regretting that incredibly at this point. I mean, Barack Obama at this point, Rick, hasn't come out with any specific plan, but he said he doesn't want to do so, and because of the volatility of what is going on, he wants to allow the administration to do what they're doing.
He is going to take some hits for that, Rick, because the fact is, people are going to say that isn't presidential. But his supporters are going to say, in fact, that is presidential, because he doesn't want to bring partisan politics into this.
SANCHEZ: Well, there's an interesting part of this proposal that the Democrats are laying out. It says that they want to be able to limit CEO pay. You got to have some questions about whether this is even constitutionally feasible.
I mean, is this the government's place to be telling companies how much they can pay people and how many bonuses? And isn't this going to have people on the right screaming, hey, that's socialism, my friend; you can't do that?
PRESTON: Well, I will say this with -- without much knowledge of the law, so to speak, but I believe, if the government owns these institutions now, that they probably can limit what the pay is.
Again, you know, I would leave that up to someone like Jeffrey Toobin or one of our great legal analysts here, but, politically, it's the right thing to do. The fact is, you can't have people losing their houses. You can't have all these big institutions going down the drain and having the CEOs getting these golden parachutes.
And, quite frankly, even John McCain even said this morning that he doesn't want the CEOs to benefit from this. So, I think that's probably going to be an acceptable measure along some lines.
SANCHEZ: Let's talk about what may be a vulnerability for Barack Obama on this deal.
Look, fact, employees of securities and investment firms have donated close to $7 million to John McCain, but $10 million to Barack Obama. Is he vulnerable there? PRESTON: You know, I know that our viewers are not going to like hearing this, but really that is the cost of doing business often here in Washington. There is a lot of money that is exchanged here in D.C. It is exchanged through these political action committees, through these donations.
It is what funds these campaigns. When we talk about a campaign that is going to cost $1.3 billion when it's all said and done, all of these campaigns across the country this year just on TV advertising, who pays for those? The fact is, it's people with deep pockets. And those are the people here in D.C.
SANCHEZ: All right.
We're going to be looking at John McCain's solution tomorrow and hopefully they won't bail on us just before we go on air. Mark Preston never does. He's always there.
Semper paratus, man. "Preston on Politics." Thanks for being with us.
By the way, if the Obama campaign wants to reschedule the interview, they can also can welcome us -- we will also welcome them here tomorrow at the same time.
Prompter, you want to come up a little bit, help me out? Thanks.
Coming up, an evangelist's view on children and sex and the age of consent. It's an interesting question. We will have that for us.
Also, gas stations have no gas. Others have lots of long lines. What's going on in this country? We will tell you what the problem is next.
SANCHEZ: There seems to be a gas shortage in the United States, but, interestingly enough, it's not in all the United States. People in places like Middle Tennessee and Atlanta are especially having a tough time with it.
All right, we have got some pictures we want to show you. Take a look at these pictures from our I-Reporter Scott Trent in Forsyth County, Georgia. Pumps are either dry or restricted to one grade. Reasons include refining supply problems after two recent hurricanes. And drivers just want some gas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey, I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baby, it's not your fault.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. One we get out, they pounce.
JUSTIN SHREINER, I-REPORTER: One of the few places left selling gas today, I guess. And here's the line of cars. It goes all the way out, all the way out to the light, waiting to get in to pump gas. CITGO is empty, no prices, no cars. Shell -- Shell is done for the day, no prices on their signs either, no cars over there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Well, there you go.
This is what I wanted to show you. This is a pipeline that I want to -- in fact, let me get out my Telestrator. I want to show you exactly it is what we're talking about here, because a lot of people are wondering, well, what's going on and does this have something to do with the economy?
See that map that we have put up there for you? See this line. I'm going to dry a line around it right there. That is the Colonial Pipeline. It goes all the way from Houston to New York City. But this truncated area right here is where the main problem is. That's where -- especially -- look at Tennessee. See where you have that line and that line going out?
Also right in that intersection where Atlanta is, folks driving around Atlanta and parts of Tennessee and parts of the Carolinas and a little bit of Alabama are finding that they go to gas stations, there's no gas there. There's not only no gas there, but there's people lined up for a long ways. That's what's going on.
Again, it's the Colonial Pipeline. It's 5,500 miles long. And until they get more gas going into it, which they say they are, we are going to continue to have this problem.
Coming up, it's a line that Sarah Palin used for weeks, even though fact-checkers have proven it wasn't true. So, what's happened to her "thanks, but no thanks" line in her speech referring to the bridge to nowhere? We're checking on that for you.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back.
And obviously we welcome back your comments as well. And, boy, we have been getting a bevy of them.
I'm Rick Sanchez here at the world headquarters of CNN.
And this is a professor who knows an awful lot about economics. That's the reason that he's joining us.
You heard from Mark Preston just a little while ago about Barack Obama's economic plan. The question now, will it work?
Jeff Rosensweig is joining us. He's the associate professor of finance at Emory University. He's also the -- wait, I can get this -- director of global perspectives program.
JEFF ROSENSWEIG, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Yes. SANCHEZ: Let's talk about the Democratic plan.
Are Democrats right to hedge today and want to include caps, for example, on executive salaries and the bailiwick of other things, or should they pass this thing quick and clean, as the Bush administration wants them to do?
ROSENSWEIG: I think they're doing the right thing.
You know, the stock market is down today. And it's not because people are worried, will they get this quick enough? They're worried, will this be loaded with so much future taxpayer...
SANCHEZ: Well, let me just stop you real quick and ask you the question that I think people watching you right now...
SANCHEZ: OK. You're an expert on the economy.
SANCHEZ: And they want to know, is this deal good for me? Is this something that -- I know it's not good, but do I have to do it? Do I have to chew the bitter pill, because it's necessary?
ROSENSWEIG: It's going to be good, especially if you have a mortgage under some trouble. But it's going to be good because, if we don't do something, the whole economy might implode.
So, even if your mortgage is completely safe, and you're not going to get bailed out -- on the other hand -- I know you hate other- hand economists.
ROSENSWEIG: But, long term, this could be inflationary. It's going to erode the value of our money. And this means more taxes down the road.
SANCHEZ: But I hate it. I come from a family where my parents never made more than like $20,000 $25,000 a year. I'm not a rich guy, never come from that. So, it does make me angry to think that my dad, who doesn't make a whole lot of money, has to pay for these guys who are millionaires, even billionaires in some cases.
Why are we helping them, when no one is helping us?
ROSENSWEIG: Well, that is the sad thing. In order to help ourselves, then sometimes we have to bail them out. You did mention that Democrats in Congress are saying we have got to do something about the executive pay.
SANCHEZ: Exactly. ROSENSWEIG: That seems reasonable to me, even if it takes another hour...
SANCHEZ: It's not socialism?
ROSENSWEIG: ... to look it over.
No. Amongst other things, they're not going to worry about in a private corporation what the pay is. That can still be determined by capitalist forces of supply and demand for talent. But they are saying, if you work for -- if you run Fannie Mae or you run one of these banks that's getting bailed out by the taxpayer, why should you make $40 million, while the taxpayer here is taking out of their pocket?
So, where taxpayers' dollars are now going to be at risk with anything that has been bailed out, those executives will have to bear the burden.
SANCHEZ: It really is a bitter pill.
Let's talk about Barack Obama's plan. And he's saying, look, I'm going to improve the tax situation for the middle class.
SANCHEZ: And he's saying I'm going to create a health care system.
SANCHEZ: Both of those things can end up being real expensive. Given where we are now, in the $700 billion bailout, can he reasonably do that?
ROSENSWEIG: I think the health care will have to be put on hold.
Coming into a few weeks ago, I would have said there's only a 40 percent chance of getting it done within four years anyway. We have been talking about a more comprehensive health care plan for decades. And we do need one.
SANCHEZ: Right. Yes.
ROSENSWEIG: It's a shame to have 47 million people -- it's a crime -- without insurance. But it's just going to be too expensive.
The tax for the middle class in some sense are needed and the working-class because people are hurting so much and they will probably be hurting more. But that's going to be very expensive.
Where Obama goes wrong is the same place as McCain goes wrong, though. It's -- it's not like either one can make their numbers add up. I have studied this closely. Either one has some very large unspecified cuts in spending, totally unspecified, and closing corporate loopholes in order to try to balance this.
Well, if loopholes were easy to close, if unspecified cuts were easy to specify and make...
SANCHEZ: They would have been done a long time ago.
ROSENSWEIG: They would have been done a long time ago, Rick.
SANCHEZ: Exactly. We have figured it out.
Professor, thanks so much for being with us.
ROSENSWEIG: My pleasure.
SANCHEZ: Nice to have a really smart person around us for a while. Maybe it will catch.
ROSENSWEIG: You're doing just fine, Rick.
SANCHEZ: Thank you very much.
Coming up, prelude to a nightmare. Minutes after this video was shot, you see this? Now, look at the guy right there with a fire extinguisher trying to put this out. Watch what happens to him. Suddenly, there's another explosion outside the hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan. It's a massive suicide bombing that we have been following for you. We will certainly have more on that. Could it have been prevented, though?
And Sarah Palin's big applause line, what happened to her "thanks but no thanks" reference to the bridge to nowhere? I'm asking CNN's political editor, Mark Preston, whether she's finally taken it out of her speech.
We will be back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez.
Remember, Sarah Palin, she kept saying this over and over again. Here it is. This is what she was saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And that infamous bridge to nowhere, I did tell Congress, thanks, but no thanks. If we wanted a bridge up there, we were going to build it ourselves.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: You know what's interesting about this? We found at CNN and several other independent organizations did a fact-check and found out that she was actually for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it.
At the point that she changed her mind, as we understand it -- and we have Mark Preston here to back us up on this -- was after it already had become a news item, so to speak. So, now we have been checking. And it was since Monday, we believe, she hasn't mentioned that in her speech.
What's going on, Mark Preston?
PRESTON: Well, Rick, it's been about a week, we think now, since Sarah Palin last talked about the bridge to nowhere.
I will tell you, I talked to the McCain campaign today, and they said, don't mothball it yet. In fact, it could come back. They said, with everything that's going on in Wall Street, they want to keep her really focused on the economy and talking about that.
But the fact is, when she went back to Alaska, Rick -- she had been talking about this bridge to nowhere for weeks after she had been named the vice presidential running mate. When she went to Alaska and she delivered a speech up there, she didn't talk about it.
PRESTON: So, clearly, you know, politically, it's a great line that she delivered out there. We did call the McCain/Palin campaign on it and say, look, she seemed to be for it before she was against it.
But now, Rick, there's an argument to be made she doesn't need to say it anymore. People know who she is. People think she's a reformer, so perhaps they will just scrub it from the speech.
SANCHEZ: But I guess the question I have to ask is, do facts not matter? This has been fact-checked. We know that she was actually for it.
She's quoted in a publication with a date on it essentially saying that she was interested in the money from the bridge to nowhere and then later she -- there's nothing wrong with changing your mind, but can you go on the air and say, I was against it when you -- we know that you were for it?
PRESTON: Well, because technically, what she will say is that she was against it, because it hadn't been entirely killed by Congress. It was just on life support at that time. And that's when she came out and killed it.
But I agree with you, facts do matter. And what we are finding in this campaign is facts are being stretched. The truth is being stretched at this point. And there is a segment of the population, Rick, that no matter what we tell them are going to believe what they want to believe. So, that's what we're kind of dealing with.
SANCHEZ: As a matter of fact, we may have an example of that later on in the newscast.
Mark Preston, you're the best. Thanks again for being with us. We will check back with you.
One other thing before we get away from the bridge to nowhere -- they have just opened a three-mile gravel road to the spot where the bridge to nowhere would have been built. Hunters can use the road and maybe even recreational runners. But since there's no bridge, that's about it. It stops at the very end, at the water's edge, so to speak. The price, $25 million, your $25 million. Exactly.
The media coming under attack during a John McCain rally today. Here's what I was talking about. The Republican presidential candidate was taking questions in Scranton, Pennsylvania, when a supporter turned her focus on the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to say thank you for Sarah Palin.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to take the opportunity to ask the media, where's your 30 investigators over in Chicago looking at Ayers?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want the media to start doing their job and stop picking on little children because of their age and their pregnancies.
Shame on you. Shame on all of you.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm not -- that is a great question.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MCCAIN: One thing I want to assure you of is that Governor Palin, she can take it. She can take it.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MCCAIN: That's what I want to assure you of. She can take it.
And she's a reformer. And she's a reformer. And she will bring change and she will bring reform. And that's what Americans want very badly today. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: So what about it? Is the media being unfair? Are investigative reporters not looking into Obama's relationship with his minister, for example, while paying too much attention to Sarah Palin and her pregnant daughter?
We have been asking that question throughout the day as well and getting a bevy of responses.
Let's go to the Twitter board. Here we go.
Sweettee33 says: "The media has scrutinized Obama for months. Everything about Obama has been raked over the coals. McCain must be scrutinized."
Rogeruiz says, "I believe that, if someone is going to blast the media, that should use specifics and not gauge propaganda remarks" -- I guess referring to that woman.
Cashmere says: "When your party runs on a 'family values' platform, expect your family values to come under scrutiny, pregnant teens included."
Jim Hunt says, "The media is so biased toward Obama. That the industry has been soiled for the future."
Here we have a Tony Alamo question, coming up. Something we'll talk about in the future.
And then this one: "The pregnant kid should be off limits. Stick to the candidates and not the families. How about real issues like the war and the economy?"
I think on that, most of us agree.
All right, let's move on. For the record, CNN has aired 22 reports from Alaska about Sarah Palin. We've aired 54 reports from Chicago about Obama, his minister, and other stories.
Coming up, minutes after this video, that you're about to see right here, people are seen running around this burning truck. Those people that you're looking at there are now reported to have died as a result of a massive explosion. We're taking you to Islamabad because there's an investigation on this. And did the president of Pakistan know what was going to happen there? Is that why he rescheduled a meeting?
Over the weekend federal agents raided a church compound after alleged reports of child abuse and pornography surfaced at that religious compound. We're going to be talking live, here, to the church's leader Tony Alamo.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.
We just got an interesting comment on our Twitter Board. Let's go to that if we possibly can. This is what Americans are angry about, have been angry about all weekend long, and probably will continue throughout the week.
Miguelina writes to us: "It's highly ironic that the same people that scare average Americans about evil socialized medicine are now cheering socialized capitalism."
Think about that. Given what's going on this week with the government stepping in and bailing out all of these big corporations. Smart comment. Thanks, Miguelina.
U.S. troops under fire. Where? In Pakistan. And you ask, isn't that our ally in the war on terror? Didn't we give them tens of billions of dollars to have our back and watch our back? No confirmation from our sources the Pentagon yet, but we're hearing that Pakistani troops have fired into the air at U.S. troops, who were in two helicopters, who were trying to cross the border with Afghanistan.
The American aircraft reportedly did not return fire. We're working to, obviously, confirm these reports. Lots going on, in fact, in Pakistan.
Two U.S. military members are dead, killed over the weekend, by a bomb that also killed more than 50 other people. It was a suicide bombing and it was truck-detonated. The blast was just outside the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. A lot of people talking today about who was expected to be inside that hotel. Is it possible that the president of Pakistan had a meeting scheduled there, and then changed it to another location at the very last minute? As we look at these pictures of these poor rescue workers trying to get to the scene, many of them losing their lives in this fruitless effort.
Reza Sayah is joining us now from Islamabad with details.
Reza, what do you know?
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, two new developments in the investigation into this massive suicide truck bombing that rocked the federal capital of Islamabad on Saturday night.
Al Arabia television reported on Monday that it got a recorded message from a group that has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group claiming responsibility, a previously unknown group, called the Fedayeen of Islam. But Al Arabia television also adding that it can neither authenticate the recording nor authenticate this group.
Also, on Monday, the head of Pakistan's interior ministry came out and said on Saturday night, the night of the bombing, Pakistan's newly elected president, Mr. Zardari, and the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani had scheduled to have dinner at the Marriott, the scene of the bombing. This suggested, perhaps, the bomber was not targeting the Marriott and instead targeting the prime minister and the president. The interior ministry saying on Saturday, they made an abrupt change in plans and headed over to the prime minister's house for their dinner.
But when CNN did some digging, we got some information that put the interior ministry's statement into question. We spoke with the hotel owner and he tells CNN, no, they never planned to host the president and the prime minister. And the member of Pakistan's Senate that we spoke to also says he was invited to that dinner and the plans were to always have it at the prime minister's house.
Rick, you have a couple of sets of different information that are conflicting that adds to the confusion. But in the meantime, the investigation continues. And there have been no arrests. But the government says they're continuing to talk to people -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: And the mess in Pakistan continues despite what we've been doing to try and shore the country up. And the billions of dollars that we gave them at the outset of the war in Afghanistan to help us out in that regard. All right, Reza, thanks so much for that report.
Coming up, Russian military maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea? What does that sound like? I'll tell you how Hugo Chavez is involved in this one with the Russians.
And an Arkansas evangelist under the spotlight after allegations involving child pornography and abuse. We talk to Tony Alamo in two minutes.
SANCHEZ: Let's talk now about a story that has a lot of people -- staring at it. It's the story of Tony Alamo. Let me show you some pictures now. This is a raid that took place in Texarkana, Arkansas. It is where the religious facility for Tony Alamo, and others in his church, was raided by officials on the investigation that children may have been abused at this particular facility.
And we are fortunate enough now to have Mr. Tony Alamo joining us on the phone.
Mr. Alamo, thank you so much for being with us, sir.
VOICE OF TONY ALAMO, TONY ALAMO CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES: It's my pleasure.
SANCHEZ: Prosecutors are saying that you are a polygamist who preyed on married women and girls in your congregation. That's what prosecutors have said on the record. What is your response to that?
ALAMO: Well, even if I was a polygamist, which I'm not, what would be wrong with that when the Psalmists, David, Moses, and Solomon, and Gideon all those top people in the Bible, you can read about them in the 11 chapter of Hebrews, that they were polygamist as well. SANCHEZ: Well, the Bible, sir, is a -- is a collection of stories, some of them to be used literally when they involve God's word and --
ALAMO: Hey, man.
SANCHEZ: But there were also people who were stoned in the bible. Do you think you have the right to do that now?
ALAMO: Don't tell me about the Bible, man. I'm a Jew. We wrote the bible. Let me teach you.
ALAMO: You don't know anything about the Bible, OK, friend?
ALAMO: All right?
SANCHEZ: So you're saying the Bible gives you the right to have sex with girls?
ALAMO: I have the right to have sex with my wife. Is there any problem with that?
SANCHEZ: No, absolutely no problem. No problem with your wife.
ALAMO: Some people are homosexuals today like the people at the Vatican and everything.
SANCHEZ: Let's not go there, sir. Let's --
ALAMO: Yes, let's go there. Let's go there. Come on now. Come on. You know there's a bunch of faggots over there and nobody is prosecuting them.
SANCHEZ: I think people would find that kind of language repugnant. I would -- I would ask you not to use it anymore. Let's try and stick to the issues here.
SANCHEZ: If we possibly can. Hey, just for the record, they're saying for the record that you have possibly either promulgated or had sex with young girls at your particular facility. Is that true or not?
ALAMO: That is false.
ALAMO: All right?
SANCHEZ: You told the "Associated Press" that you are not guilty, but then you went own to say that -- according to you -- the age of consent is puberty -- puberty? What do you mean by that? ALAMO: It's not according to me. That's according to the Bible. That means when a woman is able to conceive, and have a child, she is an adult and she could be married. But we don't do that at our church. We never have.
SANCHEZ: Why would you be saying that then?
ALAMO: Well, because it's Bible. I have a right to preach the Gospel, don't I? OK? What kind of a -- what kind of creep are you?
SANCHEZ: Puberty is -- as early as eight years old. Are you saying that you would be for children, young girls as early as eight years old having sex?
ALAMO: No, you're just trying to make me look that way. You're part of the government regime to try to destroy Christianity. And I didn't say that. I don't know when girls reach puberty. Most of them around 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. God inseminated Mary at the age of around 10 to 12. Should we get him for having sex with a young girl?
SANCHEZ: Yes, yes, as a matter of fact, sir. If you go by the law, and we are a nation of laws, we should. And the law specifically states that you have to --
ALAMO: Hey, you're not a nation of laws, you are the anti- Christ. You are the exact opposite of the law of God. The law of God what you're going to be judged by and everybody else on this earth.
SANCHEZ: That's fine, sir. Let me just ask you --
ALAMO: It's not only fine. It's going to really happen, OK?
SANCHEZ: Thank you, sir. But for the record --
ALAMO: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Are you saying that girls under the age of 18 should be allowed to have sex?
ALAMO: I believe if they're married, that they could.
SANCHEZ: As young as what? As young as eight, as young as 10, as young as 12? Since that is in some cases when --
ALAMO: I'm not the one that sets the time. When they reach puberty, I wouldn't recommend that any eight or 10-year-old girl gets married because -- but in the event that it would be of the Lord, I would say it's all right. But I don't do that, OK? So let's get that straight. I'm talking to you from the Bible, what God said, and you're trying to make it look like I'm doing that and that --
SANCHEZ: Then why were those children -- do you have any idea why those six children were removed from facility?
ALAMO: They were removed because they just want to make a big deal out of it. They haven't found anything about them. They can check them for 27 hours, or 27 weeks, or months or years and they still will find out that they're virgins, all right?
SANCHEZ: Let me ask you another question. The Southern Poverty Law Center which monitors the activities of extremist groups in the United States describes your ministry as a cult. How would you respond to that?
ALAMO: I respond that the Vatican is the cult. I'm very scriptural with the Bible. Anyone that is not scriptural with the Bible, such as yourself, are a cult. OK? The Lord is right and everybody else is wrong.
SANCHEZ: There's someone named Anthony Justin Lane. Are you familiar with Anthony?
ALAMO: Oh, yes. He had his wife working at a topless bar and was tempting her and so --
SANCHEZ: Well, he says -- well, he's not here to defend himself so let me say what he's said on the record about you. He says that you kicked him out for asking too many questions about your ministry.
ALAMO: Well, he's a liar.
SANCHEZ: And that you keep him from seeing his children who live in the compound with -- with their mother. Are you keeping this man from his children?
ALAMO: First of all -- first of all it's not a compound. It's a church. It's a facility. We have houses all over the place and they live in a single-family dwelling. And it's her husband that doesn't want him around, because he had her working at a topless bar and also was pimping her. It's the husband, not me. I don't know anything about that.
SANCHEZ: And Tony Alamo, you were convicted of tax-related charges in 1994. The IRS said you owed them $7.9 million as a minister. What are we to make of that?
ALAMO: Well, I don't -- you know, if you want to believe that garbage, that's up to you. But the IRS dropped all charges after they sent back all those debts to me. They know very good and well that they were liars. They hid the books on me and they pulled a lot of people out of prison to testify falsely against me.
ALAMO: And I'm - you know, let's stick with the subject. The world government is the polygamists. They are the --
ALAMO: Also child molesters.
ALAMO: And so is the school system. SANCHEZ: World government? Mr. Alamo, I want to thank you, sir, for taking time to join us here.
ALAMO: Well, you're welcome, Mr. Chanchez, (ph), or whatever your name is.
SANCHEZ: Thank you, sir.
Coming up next, John McCain -- Chanchez -- proposes a new location for the Karl Roves of the world. I'm going to tell you what he suggests.
We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: A lot of people, as you might imagine, responding already to that interview we just did moments ago with Tony Alamo. Here's one, this is from ChaseLightning. She says, "No idea how you kept your cool during Tony Alamo interview. About flipped my own lid. Newly-found respect for you, Rick."
Thank you very much.
Moving on now. Russians, more angry at the United States of late than anytime in recent decades. Now sending warships to Venezuela. They're going to do joint training with Venezuela's navy and supposedly build a stronger alliance between Hugo Chavez and Moscow. Does this sound like something that happened in the early 1960s between Russia and -- Cuba? It will be the strongest display of Russian power in the West, since the end of the Cold War. A couple of Russian air force bombers trained over the Caribbean last week, invited by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. Chavez visited Russia just a few weeks ago.
This is interesting. And let's go to Glenda now at CNN Espanol. A lot of Americans are going to remember, wow.
GLENDA UMANA, CNN EN ESPANOL: Exactly, is that back, or what's going on?
SANCHEZ: Exactly. This is almost Castro and the Russians, the USSR all over again, many would fear, right?
UMANA: Well, for now, what we know, what we're told is that the Russian ships are on their way to Venezuela, as you were showing, the ships are to take part and join exercises with the Venezuelans. That will take place in November.
Now, how does this move seem, Rick, as a taunt to the United States, which has been supporting Georgia and sending war ships to the region? Moscow has intensified ties with Venezuela and other Latin American countries recently, as their relationship with Washington has become strained, Rick. SANCHEZ: It's amazing. It's almost like a tit-for-tat. Again, you know, hearkens us back to Khrushchev and the shoe at the United Nations and one wonders if that antipathy could re-begin. Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Muchas gracias. (SPEAKING SPANISH)
SANCHEZ: John McCain says he would move politics out of the White House. I'm going to tell you what he means - next. It may not be what you think.
SANCHEZ: When Karl Rove was President Bush's political adviser, he had an office -- a political office -- in the White House. Republican presidential candidate John McCain told CBS "60 Minutes" that office of Karl Rove's would be one of the very first things that he would change if he is elected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I would move the political office out of the White House and into the Republican National Committee. I think we've got to have a White House that is without politics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the model of the last couple of administrations has been to have a political officer in the West Wing with the president, Karl Rove in the Bush administration and to carry on a permanent campaign. The White House is always campaigning.
MCCAIN: It's time to show the American people that politics will not be part of this massive effort we're going to have to go on to restore our nation's economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Moving on to Wolf Blitzer who's in a New York City state of mind -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're here at the CNN Election Center, Rick. Thanks very much.
Coming up at the top of the hour, Congress and the administration apparently close to an agreement on a massive bailout plan. So where do the two presidential candidates exactly stand on this? I'm speaking one-on-one with Barack Obama's top economic adviser as well as with Mitt Romney, he's speaking for John McCain .
Plus, Bill Clinton speaks out about the political race and the bank crisis. You're going to hear what he has to say in his own words.
Two very tough campaign ads, but what's the real truth? We're fact checking it all for you. That, and a lot more, Rick, coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
SANCHEZ: All right, Wolf, thanks so much.
And we're going to be checking on the numbers on Wall Street, in just a little bit. And we're reading some of the e-mails that you've been sending. Oh, my goodness they're coming in fast and furious. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: As we get ready to wrap things up, Mark Mayhew on Twitter.com wants everyone to know he's no longer going to follow Rick Sanchez CNN anymore. Now that he's discovered that Tony Alamo interview, that Rick Sanchez is the anti-Christ. Bum, bum, bum.
Final note, now, the financial crisis, the uproar over golden parachutes of CEOs at failed companies, apparently at least one of those departing CEOs is getting the message. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that AIG's Robert Willumstad will not take the $22 million in severance that he was promised. The newspaper quotes an e-mail from Willumstad, saying it would be wrong for him to take the money when shareholders and employees have lost so much.
Susan Lisovicz joining us now; she's at the New York Stock Exchange, trying to keep a check on how things are going today.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Rick.
SANCHEZ: How are you?
LISOVICZ: I'll tell you the volatility continues. AIG is no longer a member of the Dow 30. That is the kind of body blow that that huge company took. Six triple digit move on Wall Street in six days. On Friday, the Dow gained 368 points, lost it all in one session, despite the fact that we have more changes, more stability, if will you, to the financial system. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs no longer investment banks, the bank holding companies. Biggest one day move in oil ever.
Rick, I'll see you tomorrow.
SANCHEZ: Down 3.76.
And on that note, let's take it over to Wolf Blitzer. He's reporting tonight from New York City -- Wolf.