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Fact-Checking Health Care; Dick Cheney Going Rogue?; Remembering Les Paul, Dead at 94

Aired August 13, 2009 - 20:00   ET



JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, here are the questions we want answered.

Is Dick Cheney going rogue? The former vice president already blasted the current commander in chief.

RICHARD B. CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, he's making some choice that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.

ROBERTS: But now Cheney confidants say he is taking aim at George W. Bush in his memoirs, the statute of limitations over. Is he disrespecting the presidency? And is that crossing the line?

Plus, should Rick Pitino keep his job? The Louisville basketball coach caught in a sex scandal.

RICK PITINO, LOUISVILLE HEAD BASKETBALL COACH: I made a very difficult decision to tell the truth to the federal authorities, the local authorities, to university officials, and, most important, the people that love me the most, my family and friends.

ROBERTS: But, as a mentor to students, should he be held to a higher standard?

ROBERTS: And an all-star tribute to a guitar god. Steve Miller and Richie Sambora remember Les Paul, the father of the electric guitar.

Plus, the video you have got to see, an incredible rescue caught on tape -- how a boatload of rowers trying to break a world record ended up saving a man's life.


ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now.

In for Campbell Brown, John Roberts.

ROBERTS: Hi, everybody. Campbell Brown is off tonight.

Those are our big questions. But we start, as always, with the "Mash- Up," our look at the stories making an impact right now and the moments that you might have missed. We're watching it all, so you don't have to.

And breaking news just into CNN on Saturday's midair collision over the Hudson River, nine people killed when a small plane and a helicopter collided.

There is a just-released statement from the FAA saying the air traffic controller handling the flight was involved, apparently, in an inappropriate conversation on the telephone at the time of the accident.

Meanwhile, stunning new pictures of the collision. You're looking at exclusive amateur video that was obtained by NBC News showing the very moment when the small plane clipped the helicopter, sending both aircraft plummeting into the water.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board now going over this tape frame by frame, hunting for clues into what caused the crash.

Nine people died in that disaster, as we said.

Stay with CNN with more on this developing story tonight.

In Washington this evening, the White House struggling to counterpunch on health care, counterprogram against the raucous town hall meetings. All over television today, scenes like this one captured by CBS News in New York of all places, the bluest of blue states.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Queens, New York, our affiliate news crew was at first barred from a town hall with Congressman Anthony Weiner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're told by your people that you don't want cameras in this forum.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Easy. Dial it down, buddy. Take a deep breath. Take a deep breath.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just telling you what your people are telling us.

WEINER: This isn't for Channel 2. This is for my constituents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Weiner finally let our camera in. And the now familiar scene played out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's look at the whole picture. You guys are stealing from us.


ROBERTS: Across TV land, meanwhile, a visceral conservative talking point now on everybody's list. Check out today's buzz word.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Questions about these so-called death panels are being raised at health care town halls across the country.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: ... some of the critics call death panels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... with -- quote, unquote -- "death panels."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is being called death panels.








UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea of a death panel or a desire to kill granny.

COOPER: Possibly pulling the plug the grandma?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, pull the plug on grandma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull the plug on grandma.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: The death panel talk continues.



ROBERTS: We will fact check those so-called death panels tonight, separating truth from fiction, this as the administration fights back itself, blasting out a so-called myth-busting e-mail to supporters today, charging the emerging picture of health care reform bears little resemblance to the truth.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs clearly on message.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: One of the reasons we have pushed back is because of those misconceptions. Some of those misconceptions contributed to the poll numbers. And we will hope to quell the misconceptions. The misconceptions that have been out there. Misconceptions or misimpressions. We're not going to start pushing back on the misconceptions. Some of these misconceptions. The misconceptions, the misconceptions out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: Also helping the White House tackle those misconceptions, a new supportive $12 million ad campaign funded by big labor and the pharmaceutical industry.

In Florida tonight, a somber homecoming for a war hero missing for nearly 20 years.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Michael Scott Speicher, Navy pilot shot down over the -- over Iraq on the first night of Operation Desert Storm. And, here, we welcome him back to the United States of America, a solemn moment, an important moment, a moment that, for this family, God bless them, has been long in coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you may recall, Iraqi forces hit Speicher's F- 18 Hornet. And the Pentagon listed him as the war's first casualty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it wasn't until this month that his remains were positively identified.

CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS: Speicher's body arrived at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station. He will be buried in a private ceremony tomorrow.


ROBERTS: Speicher's ex-wife and children there today to meet his casket.

Meanwhile, an infamous veteran of the second Gulf War tonight defending the abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib. Former soldier Lynndie England speaking out in an interview with the BBC.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your view, your personal view, about stripping people naked and degrading them? Do you think that that's an acceptable thing to do to, as you put it, soften up detainees? Do you think that's OK?

LYNNDIE ENGLAND, FORMER U.S. SOLDIER: Compared to what they would do to us, that's like nothing compared, because, if you think about it, I mean, they -- at the same time, they were cutting our guys' heads off and burning their bodies and dragging them through the streets of Baghdad and hanging them off bridges.

And this -- you know, this happens at colleges in dorm rooms and whatever here in the U.S. all the time. If it helps get whatever information they might have, sure.


ROBERTS: England was convicted of crimes at Abu Ghraib, served 19 months in prison, and was dishonorably discharged. She is now on a book tour promoting her memoir called "Tortured." Over to Germany tonight and a saucy campaign poster causing an international kerfuffle and displaying a different side of one of Europe's most powerful leaders.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the first scandal of an otherwise pretty dull German election season, cleavage-gate, this unauthorized poster by Vera Lengsfeld's, who is in the same party as Angela Merkel, the CDU, and running for a seat in German parliament.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vera Lengsfeld sexes up the German election campaign. So, what do you think of that?


VERA LENGSFELD, GERMAN POLITICIAN: I would rather say I brought more humor into the campaign and I woke the campaign up somehow, because the campaign was sleeping a little bit. It was very dull.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the political message?

LENGSFELD: We have more to offer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe offering a little too much.


ROBERTS: Note to political strategists here at home: Don't get any ideas.

And now some political eye candy for the ladies. Brad Pitt on to "The Today Show" asked he will answer the call and run for mayor of his adopted hometown, New Orleans.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: there's a nice rendering of you, I think.



If chosen, would you run?

PITT: Yes, yes.


PITT: Yes. I'm running on the gay marriage, no religion, legalization and taxation on marijuana platform.


PITT: I don't have a chance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you want to be the guy?

PITT: I don't have a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you take it...


PITT: Didn't I just answer it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you didn't. You didn't answer it. You said...

PITT: That's my answer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your answer is, no way, because you're not the guy?


PITT: I don't have a chance, no.


PITT: That's not what I do best.


ROBERTS: That sound you hear, hearts breaking all over the Big Easy.

And that brings us to our punchline, courtesy tonight of Conan O'Brien finding the funny in those so-called death panels.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": President Obama's been explaining his health care plan now to senior citizens. And yesterday at a town hall meeting he promised the crowd that he will not -- quote -- "pull the plug on grandma."


O'BRIEN: Then there was an awkward moment when grandpa stood up and booed.


O'BRIEN: I thought that was...




ROBERTS: Conan O'Brien, everybody. And that is the "Mash-Up."

Sarah Palin says the president is misleading Americans about so-called death panels. We will put her statement to the truth test.

And a top college basketball coach caught in a sex scandal, should he lose his job?


PITINO: I want to coach nowhere else. I don't believe in anything as much as I believe in this university and this state. So, as long as they will have me, for as long as they will have me, I am going to coach here.



ROBERTS: In this make or break month for health care, we're not letting the claims and accusations of either side go unanswered. And this week, all the talk seems to be about whether Washington wants to send dear old grandma to an early grave.


SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: There's some fear because in the House bill, there's counseling for end of life. And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear.

We should not have -- we should not have a -- we should not have a government program that determines you're going to pull the plug on grandma.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS: Former Alaska Governor Palin, who -- who calls these panels that -- that are essentially going to be dispensing care or deciding it death panels, that sort of thing, is that proper? Is that right?

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, I think it is -- I think it is proper because it is within the context of what people are seeing in some of the legislation that is floating around out there, when you're talking abut panels that are going to be imposed that will be making life-and-death decisions.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they're ready on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything. .


ROBERTS: Well, here again tonight to help us fact-check some of what we're hearing is Bill Adair. He's the editor of, which earned a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation of hundreds of political claims during the 2008 campaign.

Bill, it's great to see you tonight. You heard the president's response to this idea of death panels. Sarah Palin has a new posting on her Facebook page where she claims it's the president who's wrong. Here's what she says.

"With all due respect, it's misleading for the president to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients."

So, what do the Truth-O-Meter say about all this bill? Is the former governor correct or is she incorrect?

BILL ADAIR, EDITOR, POLITIFACT.COM: She is incorrect. We gave that a false on our Truth-O-Meter on

Really when you look at the bill, when you look at the language, it is voluntary. There is nothing in the bill that says that it's mandatory. There's nothing that backs up this claim. Now, Palin makes the point, well, perhaps seniors could feel pressured to take this care. And perhaps that's possible.

But as the language is written now, as we have discussed it with experts, it's just not true to say that it's not voluntary. It is voluntary. It's an optional thing. So, she gets a false on our Truth-O-Meter.

ROBERTS: False on the mandatory death panel. All right, Bill, cleared that one up.

You also fact-checked President Obama on this claim that he keeps repeating.


OBAMA: Under the reform we're proposing, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.


ROBERTS: All right. And President Obama's top adviser, David Axelrod, sent out his own e-mail on this today saying -- quote -- "You can keep your own insurance. It's a myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors."

What does the Truth-O-Meter say about that, Bill?

ADAIR: We have given that one a half-true. And the reason is that it's kind of glossing over the details. It gives you the impression that perhaps everything will remain the same once this new system starts, if it passes Congress.

But the reality is, we all know if we have employer-provided health care is that anything can change, that often employers will decide to change your plan. And under the president's plan with the health care exchange, it's not correct for the president to say that if you like your care, you can keep your care. There could very well be changes.

I think his goal has been stability, rely on the employer-based system and then have plans that people like. But it's not quite correct to say that, if you like it, you can keep it.

ROBERTS: All right. So, half-true for the possibility of keeping your own insurance, which many people will probably find troubling.

Something that keeps coming up in town hall meetings across the country is this notion, Bill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is it fair for an illegal immigrant to be eligible for health care over an older American that has paid taxes their whole life?



ROBERTS: That was a question to Senator Charles Grassley.

So, can we put this to rest? Illegal immigrants, will they be provided with free health care? True or false?

ADAIR: Well, I don't know that we can put it to rest, but we can say whether it's accurate or not.

That gets a false. Actually, we gave that one a pants-on-fire on the Truth-O-Meter...


ADAIR: ... which is our lowest rating, which we reserve for the most ridiculous falsehoods. This one has been circulated largely through a chain e-mail that claims that illegal immigrants would get free health care.

And that's just not true. You read the bill. And, actually, the House version of the bill specifies that undocumented aliens would not be eligible for the credits to go into the health exchange and get care. So, that one is ridiculously false. Now, the new twist on that was that they would get it over senior citizens. And that's just false, too. So, a lot of misinformation still going around about this.


ADAIR: It really is quite extraordinary.

ROBERTS: Not just false, but a pants-on-fire misconception.

Bill Adair, as always, great to see you. Thanks for stopping by tonight.

ADAIR: Thanks, John.

ROBERTS: is a great place for you to do some fact- checking on health care. You will find clear explanations of the leading plans, along with the sticking points, plus details on where the next town halls will be held -- that and much more at

Next, an update on tonight's breaking news, two flight controllers suspended. Did inappropriate conversations by those controllers cost nine people their lives in the air disaster over New York's Hudson River?


ROBERTS: We're following the breaking news tonight on two fronts regarding that air crash Saturday over the Hudson River in which a small plane that took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey crashed into a sightseeing helicopter that had taken off from the 38th Street heliport in Manhattan.

Here's new video. This was taken by an Italian tourist, happened to be trying out a new camera. Watch this. Just as the helicopter comes into focus, here it comes from the left side of the screen, that Piper aircraft. Bang, hits the top of the -- hits the top of the helicopter there.

The rotors come off the helicopter. The wing comes off of that aircraft, this video that was obtained exclusively by NBC News. And, again, it just shows that tragedy in the air. Difficult to watch.

We're also learning tonight that the Federal Aviation Administration has suspended two air traffic controllers who were on duty at the time of that accident.

Let's go to our Susan Candiotti. She's live in our newsroom tonight with more details.

What are we learning about this, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's disturbing, to say the least.

But we're finding out that the FAA has indeed put on administrative leave two air traffic controllers because of what happened that day, or in light of what happened that day.

During the course of their investigation, the FAA learned that the controller, air traffic controller out of Teterboro, New Jersey -- that is the small -- that's the smaller airport that handles private air traffic -- and that air traffic controller was handling the Piper flight, that small plane that you just saw.

That person was said to be on the phone at the time of the accident. And the FAA is not characterizing what the telephone conversation was about. In addition, the FAA says that a supervisor who was supposed to be present in the building was not in the building, as they are required to be at the time of this accident.

The FAA stresses in a written statement that, at this time, they do not think that these actions contributed to the accident. But they do call the conduct -- quote -- "unacceptable." And that's why they have put these two employees on administrative leave. And they have begun disciplinary hearings as a result of it -- John.

ROBERTS: So if we read that correctly, then, Susan, that no indication that this at all contributed to the accident; this is just something that the FAA and the NTSB uncovered in the course of their investigation?

CANDIOTTI: As a result of their probe, that's right.

What we do know about these air traffic controllers at Teterboro, the NTSB has said in the past that that Piper aircraft was, indeed, turned over electronically, as they put it, over to the Newark Airport. But that is when the plane dropped off the radar screen. And Newark was never able to reach the pilot because the accident had already happened.

ROBERTS: All right, Susan Candiotti for us with the very latest on that from the CNN newsroom -- Susan, thanks so much for that.

Now on the telephone with us is Mary Schiavo. She's the former inspector general of the Department of Transportation.

Mary, how do you interpret what is the FAA is saying tonight regarding the suspension of these two air traffic controllers, one of whom was on the telephone at the time of the crash, the other who was not in the building when they were supposed to be there?

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER TRANSPORTATION INSPECTOR GENERAL: Well, when the -- if something like this comes to light with the FAA -- I mean, this is not rare. This does happen.

But when it comes to light in the context of an NTSB investigation, the FAA has to act. These are serious violations of the FAA regulations. Obviously, they're not supposed to be on the phone. From the context, it sounds as if it was non-FAA business. And it's very serious, because if this came at the time when they were handing off the flight to Newark, air traffic controllers do have an obligation to tell the pilots of any flight that they can reach if the aircraft had strayed from its assigned altitude.

So, it could be tangentially related. But, of course, it's always the pilot's duty to stay at the assigned altitude.

ROBERTS: So, on the subject of this telephone conversation, what the FAA has described as an inappropriate telephone conversation, it could just be the fact that this person was on the phone, a non-business related item? Is that what we're saying?

SCHIAVO: Yes. That's what it sounds like.

There are rare occasions when air traffic controllers do have to resort to picking up the telephone if there are certain situations where they can't reach the entities that they're trying -- that they need to get ahold of to do their job, but not at Teterboro and not Newark. So, it doe sound like they were engaged in a private conversation.

And that supervisor is supposed to be present. When I was inspector general, we worked a number of cases where the supervisor was not present. And that's a serious violation, too.

ROBERTS: Right. How long is the shift? And how long is that supervisor expected to be in the building overseeing the other air traffic controllers?

SCHIAVO: Well, on every shift, there is a supervisor designated. You know, sometimes, they wear several hats. But, you know, it's a regular workday shift, but they do have breaks. It's not like they have to go out to take their break. Air traffic controllers have pretty good break policies now.

So, other than when they're on break, and then someone else has to take over those supervisory duties, persons are -- are to be under the supervision of supervisory personnel.

ROBERTS: OK. And, again, we just want to stress here that the FAA says that: While we have no reason to believe at this time that these actions contributed to the accident, this kind of conduct is unacceptable and we have placed the employees on administrative leave and have begun disciplinary proceedings.

Mary Schiavo, former inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation, thanks for being us. Appreciate your time.

SCHIAVO: Thank you. My pleasure.

ROBERTS: Coming up: a big-time college coach caught in a sex scandal. Will Rick Pitino's apology help save his job?


PITINO: They're highly principled people, very strong morally and very strong fundamentally. And I let them down with my indiscretion six years ago. And I'm sorry for that. And I have told them that every single day.



ROBERTS: Let's check some of the other must-see stories of the day.

HLN's Mike Galanos is at the CNN Center in Atlanta with tonight's "Download."

Hey, Mike.

MIKE GALANOS, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Yes, we have got a serial killer on the loose night in rural North Carolina. Police in Rocky Mount -- it's about 60 miles east of Raleigh -- they're telling CNN's David Mattingly they have five victims, all African-American women, all suspected prostitutes, their bodies dumped in the woods over the last four years. Now, three other women in the area are missing. No suspects as of yet.

All right. We also have this story coming in to us. It's a tense standoff Los Angeles area. That is what we have got here. It's a man, he's accused of making threats against the White House. We have got the Secret Service involved, John. It's a red Volkswagen. You can see there. And you have got a bomb truck, that Humvee hemming it on one side, cop car behind it. They have got a robo-camera trying to get a look at what's going on inside that vehicle. So, it's a standoff that is still ongoing. We will keep an eye on that one for you.

We also are following this. Hundreds of people have fled their homes ahead of a wildfire. It's raging out of control right now near the Pacific Coast. It's about 60 miles south of San Francisco. Flames threatening about 250 homes, 600 people at least evacuated -- 2,400 aches have burned so far, no injuries. And they have no idea how it started, at least as yet.

Now, this is a great story, dramatic rescue caught on camera in the Irish Sea. A pilot forced to ditch his light aircraft between Ireland and Great Britain and was saved after a rowing team spotted the plane's plunge. Now, the oarsmen radioed for help, threw him a line. You can see it there.

A helicopter plucked everyone out. The rowers were trying to break a world record, but abandoned their attempt to save this guy's life. They were 10 days in to try to break a 25-day record. One guy said it's a plane. Another guy said it's a seagull. Thankfully, they listened to the one guy who said it's a plane. And they saved the guy's life.

Finally, this one, John. Talk about in-flight entertainment. It's a flight from Toluca, Mexico, to Los Angeles on Wednesday, a live concert. How about that? It's by a Grammy-winning Mexican band called Los Tigres del Norte. Three rows of the seats were replaced by a makeshift stage -- 33 lucky contest winners and their friends invited. They're loving every minute of it.

No encore, though. By law, the music had to stop when the jet reached U.S. airspace. Cut it. Look at that lady. A little snooze. A little music. Nice flight.

ROBERTS: There you go.


ROBERTS: Sure beats a bag of peanuts and a glass of water, doesn't it?

GALANOS: It does. Yes, it's a step up. ROBERTS: Mike, thanks so much.


GALANOS: OK, John, thanks.

ROBERTS: Should the top college basketball coach caught in a sex scandal keep his job? We will find out.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: It might be a celebrity's nightmare, the sex scandal. Time after time we've seen everybody from politicians to Hollywood stars stand in front of the cameras to deliver a humiliating mea culpa. The latest to get caught is University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. Here's the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday the Louisville Cardinal coach talked to the media about the scandal surrounding an extramarital affair he had six years ago. In a news conference, Pitino admitted he had consensual sex with a woman in a closed Louisville restaurant. He also said he felt it was better to admit what happened than lie.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: In a restaurant with a woman that he didn't even know, where it gets interesting is that as a result, she got pregnant. And then she calls him and he gave her $3,000. And now the woman is under arrest for allegedly trying to extort more money from the coach known for his best-selling books, his attire, and his doing whatever it takes to win. And winning, by the way, one of the winningest coaches in college basketball.

The FBI, we understand, is now investigating claims that she tried blackmailing Pitino for a cool $10 million. Yesterday, with the backing of the school's president and athletic director, Pitino tried making amends with this apology.

RICK PITINO, LOUISVILLE CARDINAL COACH: Tell the truth, your problem becomes part of your past. If you lie, it becomes part of your future.


ROBERTS: Joining me now is "USA Today" columnist Christine Brennan and David Cornwell. He is a sports attorney who represents players and coaches.

And, David, let's start with you. So Rick Pitino has accused her of extortion. She has countercharged him with rape. It's a messy situation there, anyway you look at it at the University of Louisville.

DAVID CORNWELL, PRESIDENT, DNK CORNWELL: It certainly is. And, first, we have to point out that rape is a vicious crime. But it's also a vicious thing to do to falsely accuse somebody of rape. The police haven't -- didn't find sufficient evidence to commence an investigation. And not only does Coach Pitino have the right to be protected, but the impact of this could have on legitimate rape claims could be devastating.

ROBERTS: Let's go, Christine, to the issue of Coach Pitino. As David said, the police have not found enough evidence to start an investigation. Some authorities say that Pitino will not be charged in this. But certainly there's a public relations problem here that he has got, the university has got.

He came out and in answering all of this, he said if you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. If you lie, it becomes a part of your future. And he's come out. He's admitted to all of this, so that does help him at least in the court of public opinion?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, "USA TODAY": I think it does a little bit. Certainly, John. You know, he's got a PR nightmare on his hands.

Here is a man who is a devout Catholic, who has lived his life talking about his family, his wife, his five children. We know their story. He has a priest that joins with them on the Louisville men's basketball team on the team flights and sits near the bench. So for that image that he has cultivated and worked so hard to create and keep up, to then hear these kinds of stories, obviously it's a bit of a shook to a lot of people. And I think that's what Rick Pitino is dealing with today.

ROBERTS: And, David, so far the university is standing by him. Dr. James Ramsey, who's the president of the university said, "He's clearly made errors in judgment that have come under intense public scrutiny. We can't ignore these errors in judgment and they have saddened and disappointed me. As we try to teach our students, when you make a mistake you admit it and write it as best you can. Coach has done that today."

Does that sound like the university is willing to keep him on as coach not only for this year but for years to come?

CORNWELL: It certainly does to me. And I think this is primarily now a private matter for Coach Pitino, his family, God, and the university. I wouldn't expect that it would have a huge impact on recruiting. But if it does, certainly a young man and his parents could decide that I don't want to send my child to University of Louisville. And as a result, I think that's OK.

ROBERTS: Yes, apparently, the coach had warned some of his potential recruits that this might be coming. Talked to their parents as well. And they still wanted to go to the University of Louisville. So, Christine, does the coach's reputation sort of supersede all of this?

BRENNAN: It certainly does on the basketball court, John. And Rick Pitino is one of the greatest coaches in the game, in the history of the game. And so I think that's a big part of it.

The fact that Louisville, of course, is going to see its arch rival, Kentucky, have a new coach in John Calipari, you know, let's get right down to the basics here. This is about winning on the court and the image of the university in terms of athletics.

I think the university president and the athletic director clearly are making that kind of decision. That's OK. But I think it's also important to note that. That if Rick Pitino were not the great coach that he is, would he be keeping his job? I don't know. That's a question that is unanswered, but it's a valid question to ask.

ROBERTS: Is this sort of the argument, David, that nothing gets in the way of the business of basketball and its winning above all else?

CORNWELL: I really don't think so. I think that the university president pointed that out. This is also about leadership and leadership is not just a quality in good times. It's a quality in difficult times. And the way that Coach Pitino stood up, faced the music with his family, forthrightly addressed it with the public even though it was a private matter brought out by false accusations and addressed potential recruits as well. I think he showed leadership, and that's something that actually the university might embrace.

ROBERTS: OK. So on this point of leadership, he has apologized to his family. He has apologized to his friends, to the university, to the basketball team, to his fans. He even apologized to sports writers. But let's listen to what Jeff Pearlman of "Sports Illustrated" wrote about all.

He said, "Technically speaking, having sex with a woman who is not your wife in a restaurant is not a fire-able offense. What's different here, however, is that Pitino's dubious actions fly in the face of everything a college coach is supposed to be."

So, Christine, if we're talking about leadership here, has he failed that test of leadership by this happening?

BRENNAN: Well, I think he has and I think he's failed his own test of leadership. Does that mean he doesn't keep his job? No, I think he's going to keep his job. I think they're almost different conversations, John.

But in terms of the way Rick Pitino has led his life, the motivational speaking that he has done which now certainly has to be in question whether that's going to keep going, the books he has written about how to live your life, about being a family man, about all those kinds of things, you have to question all of that based on these very sorted stories and allegations and, in fact, the things that he has admitted to doing. Again, not illegal. But they bring into question the character of the man who has built his life on that very character.

ROBERTS: But I guess you could say that, you know, if you come clean, America can be a forgiving nation and loves the story of redemption. So we'll see where this goes.

Christine Brennan, David Cornwell, it's great to talk to you tonight. Thanks for joining us.

CORNWELL: Thank you, John.

BRENNAN: Thank you. Thank you.

ROBERTS: Is Dick Cheney turning on his former boss? What his friends say the ex-vice president may be writing about George W. Bush.

And coming up at the top of the hour, the premier of CNN presents "Generation Islam." Giving you a real sense of what's happening in Afghanistan and why we are there. Christiane Amanpour reports right here on CNN, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 21 minutes from now.


ROBERTS: Since leaving the White House, former Vice President Dick Cheney has not been shy about speaking his mind. But this comes as a surprise to a lot of people, word that Cheney is writing his memoir and blasting his former boss, George W. Bush. And that made headlines today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former Vice President Dick Cheney, he has been vocal giving speeches. He is now working on his memoirs. And he is now reportedly sharing some rather candid opinions about the man he worked for, former President Bush.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'll read a line from the article. "The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney's advice. He showed an independence that Cheney didn't see coming."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were very big disappointments between the. At the end, as you know, the vice president pursued to the last day, to this day, a pardon for Scooter Libby, the aide of his who was involved in the CIA leak in case the president went out of office, left Scooter with that conviction. And that left a lot of bitterness between the two sides.


ROBERTS: Here to talk about this is CNN political contributor and Republican strategist Mary Matalin, who is a counselor to Vice President Cheney. Also, CNN political analyst Roland Martin and senior political analyst Jeff Toobin.

Mary, let's start with you. You saw the quote that Wolf read. "The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather that Bush had hardened against Cheney's advice." I mean that would sound like pretty interesting information to have in a tell-all book. Is it true?

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It's absolutely, categorically untrue, John. You said in your cold open, the introduction to the show that Cheney confidants are saying such a thing. Again, categorically untrue.

In that story, it was -- those unattributed quote to someone who alleged to have been in one of the book meetings. I worked for Simon and Schuster. The threshold imprint at Simon and Schuster of which I'm editor in chief has bought the book. I was involved in the preparation for the book meetings. I'm involved in working on the book. Neither Cheney or any of his confidants have said any such thing as was alleged in that story nor will they in the book and they haven't privately.

So, it's categorically untrue. What is true is that this man, the former vice president, has been in public service for 40 years. He served five presidents. It's going to be a blockbuster book. And he is going to say things that have previously been unsaid. And he has a lot of contemporaneous materials to support the book so --

ROBERTS: Well, Jeff Toobin, if he is saying things that were previously unsaid and a lot of those may have some sort of been an air of a look behind the curtain, this is a man who furiously and fiercely defended the White House's right to keep deliberations private. Is there any contradiction there with writing a tell-all book about those years?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think so. I think it's a great thing that he's writing a book. I think all presidents, all vice presidents should write a book. This is important stuff. And it's history now.

The deliberations of the Bush administration are something that has only relevance to our understanding of the past. It doesn't compromise anybody's activities now. More power to him.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: John, the contradiction will come in if it is truly a tell-all book. Again, we have to see what actually he writes when he has been highly critical of others who have written tell-all books and have shared about conversations that took place in the White House.

ROBERTS: What you are looking for in this book?

MARTIN: I think what I'll be looking for, again, is from his perspective, put it into context of a certain situation that took place over those eight years. So as Jeffrey said, the reality is you do want to see the historical account because you have so many different people who have written books in the past. And so what is his particular viewpoint on those issues?

TOOBIN: But Cheney was critical of Bush insiders writing books while Bush was still president.


TOOBIN: I think it's very different now that Bush is out of office.

ROBERTS: Well, Mary, we've heard, you know, some anecdotal evidence of this that in the second term of his presidency, the president moved away a little bit from the vice president and more toward Condoleezza Rice's point of view. Is that true?

MATALIN: Well, what is true -- what was true then, I was in the first administration, but I was around enough and what continued to be true in the first and the second was that the vice president was there to offer his advice, his (INADUIBLE) advice. It was sometimes taken. It was sometimes wasn't. And when it was not, Dick Cheney said then I salute smartly and I carry out the president's agenda.

ROBERTS: Did he take his advice to a lesser degree in the second term?

MATALIN: I don't know how you could quantify that. I love what Jeffrey and Roland both said about this mark on history that there were great debates is no secret, that these debates should be aired. I think anybody who has any interest in history and the trajectory of our future as is involved in our history should be interested in this. The notion that a historical book would somehow be negative on colleagues that were in those conversations doesn't hold together to me.

ROBERTS: Yet at the same, Jeff, there seems to be no secret that the vice president was clearly dismayed by the president's decision to not pardon Scooter Libby.

TOOBIN: Certainly the pardon is a major disagreement between them. But in the context of a long eight-year administration, it's not -- it's not the only thing. But, you know, this is the kind of thing we want to hear about the last days of the Bush administration. What were their discussions? And I think it's -- I can't wait to read it.

MARTIN: Also, it'll be helpful to get the insight in terms of the VP's thinking because, again, a lot of folks are making all kinds of statements. Well, we heard this and heard that. Well, he says if he lays out in terms of his view what took place between him and Secretary of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, I think that is critical to laying it all out so we can understand better what took place.

ROBERTS: What's the release date, Mary?

MATALIN: It's the spring of 2011. I'm glad you read that quote that Wolf read because it said the implication was from this unnamed source. As you well know having interviewed him, Cheney never implies anything on what he says.

ROBERTS: He's pretty direct about everything.

Mary Matalin, Roland and Jeff, thanks so much for that. Appreciate it.

Richie Sambora and Steve Miller join me in just a minute to remember Les Paul. It's an all-star tribute to the father of the electric guitar who died today at the age of 94.


ROBERTS: Breaking news just coming in from the sports world. Michael Vick, the NFL superstar quarterback recently released from prison after his role in a dog fighting ring has found a new football home. ESPN and "The Associated Press" report that Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently allowed Vick back into the league but made it clear this would be a gradual return. And that if he stayed out of trouble, he could be back playing in regular season games by October. Again, Vick has reportedly signed with the Philadelphia Eagles according to ESPN and "The Associated Press."

Well, without Les Paul, we would not have "rock and roll" as we know it. Those words from one of the many tributes tonight for the man whose invention revolutionized music around the world, the solid body electric guitar. Les Paul died today at the age of 94 after complications from pneumonia.

Tonight, we're privileged to have two of rock's greats with us on the phone to remember the legend. Richie Sambora, the lead guitarist for Bon Jovi, and Steve Miller from the Steve Miller Band. He's also Les Paul's godson.

Steve, let's start with you. Les gave you your first guitar lesson at the age of 5. And our condolences tonight. I know how important he was to you. What are your thoughts tonight about Les' passing?

STEVE MILLER, LES PAUL'S GODSON (via telephone): Well, first, I'd like to send my condolences to Lou Pallo (ph) and Nicki Parrott (ph) and John Colianni (ph), the Les Paul Trio. It's an immense loss to lose Les. He was a great inspiration. He was a generous spirit and had a great sense of mischief. And he gave his -- himself really freely to all guitar players. It didn't matter what kind of music he played, so he'll really be missed.

ROBERTS: And, you know, if he hadn't, you know, been one of the first people to school you and if he hadn't invented the electric guitar, would there be a Steve Miller band?

MILLER: Well, you know, I doubt it. You know, I was 5 years old. And Les and Mary got married at our house. They spent their honeymoon at our house. And Les, you know, taught me how to hold a guitar and showed me my first chords. And so I was just very lucky.

ROBERTS: Pretty incredible.

ROBERTS: Richie Sambora, you were friends with Les for 20 years. How will you remember him?

RICHIE SAMBORA, LEAD GUITARIST, BON JOVI (via telephone): Yes. Well, hi, Steve. How are you doing? Hi, John.

MILLER: Hi, Rich.

SAMBORA: You know, I tell you, Les was such a generous man. And, you know, he was a legend. And he got to -- he knew that he was a legend in his own life which I thought, you know, was a great thing for him. But I'm very, very sad for me today. And I'm very, very sad for everybody else because, you know, like you said, before I think that honestly, I don't think that most musicians, I don't care if you're a singer or a trumpet player or guitar player or whatever, because not only did he invent the electric guitar, but he also invented multi- track recording.

ROBERTS: Yes. And where would the world be without that the reverb, too, right?

SAMBORA: Oh, yes. I mean, you know, he did it with the use of echoes.


SAMBORA: I mean he would just tell me stories about how he would be smuggling different things back from Germany, different pieces of tape players to actually put the multi-track thing together, you know.

ROBERTS: And Richie -- Richie, you played --

SAMBORA: I mean, I just had an amazing relationship with him. I spent about two hours or three hours in the hotel room with him when we did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thing in Cleveland.

ROBERTS: Yes. I was going to say, Richie, you played in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute concert to Les last year with so many other great guitarists, including Slash (ph). What was that like?

SAMBORA: You know, look, for Les, anything. You know, I mean Les is -- you know, I mean I played with Les many, many times. I inducted him into the songwriter's hall of fame. That was a big honor. He asked me to do that for him.


SAMBORA: But I think I had the most fun with him when I would go and play with him at a Iridium (ph) or a Fat Tuesday's which is a jazz club in New York which he played every Tuesday night. And I wouldn't be surprised if he was just there last week.

ROBERTS: Well, I did find out actually, I contacted the folks in Iridium (ph). Apparently, his very last show there, I think they said it was the week before his birthday. And his birthday was on June 9th, so that would be June first.

Steve, he played right up until the end. He was still doing this at the age of 94 when so many other people would have given it up. What does that say about Les Paul?

MILLER: Well, it says that he was a player, for real. He was very inspirational and he was one of these people that just sort of hit the ground running as a kid. He started experimenting and he never stopped. And that was the amazing thing about him was to come to Manhattan, to go over to the club and see Les Paul at the age of 93 doing two shows on Monday night. You know?


MILLER: I mean he did one at 8:00 and one at 10:00. And he would have -- he'd bring up some amateur guitarist or there would be some -- somebody really famous. You know, Richie would be there.


MILLER: He'd come up and play. I'd come up and play. And then the next person would be a 12-year-old kid or something.

I brought a kid from Texas with me the last time I was there which was last summer. And Les called him up on the stage and it was his moment of truth. He was 13 years old.

ROBERTS: Entertaining people right to the end. Pretty incredible.

MILLER: Yes, you know, and now that kid is at the Berkeley College of Music.

ROBERTS: Amazing.

MILLER: His name is Max Marshall (ph) and he's on fire. You know? He was inspired by Les. That's what he did.

ROBERTS: Well, we're all going to miss him. What an amazing life he had. And thank you, gentlemen, for sharing your memories tonight.

Steve Miller, Richie Sambora, it's great to talk you.

Now let's listen to a little bit more from Les Paul.




ROBERTS: Some prominent economists say the recession is over, but is Main Street saying the same thing? Every week that's where we look to find every day Americans doing extraordinary things to make ends meet.

Tonight, our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi, is on the CNN Express in Lenexa, Kansas.

Ali, it's great to see you. You spent the day at the Missouri State fair talking to folks. What's the temperature where you are? Are people beginning to feel the end of the recession?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they don't doubt what's being said, John, that the economists are saying that the recession is over and then the fed thinks it bottomed out. They don't doubt that.

But the reality for people is that this recession hit people hard in housing costs, the value of their housing coming down. It hit them on their 401(k)s and their retirement savings, and it really hit them on the job front. That's the part that makes people worried. So until we start seeing recovery on the job front, people aren't going to feel it. Now I wouldn't call this recovery, John, as you know. But in July, for the first time we saw unemployment going down. It's down to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent. We saw fewer job losses than we had since last August. So by no means positive, but not more negative. So, you know, that's kind of a chat that I had with people.

ROBERTS: And on the job front, there's some pretty good news not too far from where you are?

VELSHI: Yes, I'm in Lenexa, which is a suburb of Kansas City. I'm on the Kansas side. Over on the Missouri side, there's a Ford plant, the Claycomo (ph) plant, and they make Ford hybrid Escapes there. Ford has announced that because in part of cash for clunkers and because people are buying some of those cars, they're going to up production of the Ford Escape and that means that some workers who are on a two- week summer leave are now going to be able to come back a week earlier. They're going to be making a lot more cars there, John.

ROBERTS: Good deal. Ali Velshi for us in Kansas tonight. Ali, we'll see you again tomorrow night.

On our Web site right now, five tips for making the most of cash for clunkers. Go to

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next.