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THE SITUATION ROOM

Interview With Michael Moore; President Obama Tested on World Stage

Aired September 24, 2009 - 18:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: chemical agents and chaos in Pittsburgh. A CNN reporter is in the line of fire along with protesters. It's all playing out as President Obama opens a summit of the world's economic powers.

What's Michael Moore so angry about? This hour, my in-depth interview with the filmmaker about his new movie assault on the capitalist system. I will press him about his take on politics, his own wealth and the state of the economy.

And a terror suspect now indicted accused of plotting to use weapons of mass destruction -- frightening new details of an alleged bombing conspiracy right here in the United States.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in CNN's command center for breaking news, politics and extraordinary reports from around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

This hour, President Obama welcomes world leaders to Pittsburgh for a summit that's a magnet for protesters. We have already seen clashes with police on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. Our own Brian Todd, he was in the middle of it all and got hit with a chemical agent, possibly tear gas or pepper spray.

It's a very, very tense and potentially very dangerous distraction from the very serious economic issues facing President Obama and the other leaders right now.

Our White House correspondent Ed Henry is standing by along with CNN's Brian Todd.

Brian, let's go to you first to tell us what it was like. You were in the middle of lots of action there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this protest has shifted over several streets in Pittsburgh. The protesters going way off their plans because of confrontations like this.

The police have thrown some kind of tear gas or some kind of smoke bomb over there. they have set up a barricade over here. This is what's been happening today on the streets. The protesters have shifted -- we don't know exactly where they're going to be going from here. Several (INAUDIBLE) have gathered. They were confronted where they started. (INAUDIBLE) trying to get to the convention center. Not clear at all right now whether they're ever going to get there, Wolf.

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Lean your head down, like that, sideways.

(COUGHING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, let's go to Brian right now.

Brian, you looked like you were suffering over there.

TODD: We were, Wolf, but it was very temporary. After that piece of video that you saw there, it took about 15 or 20 minutes before all three of us kind of were able to regather our senses and then move and cover the protests.

BLITZER: And what is going on now? Are there are a lot of demonstrators, a lot of anarchists getting ready for this G20 summit?

TODD: Well, they certainly were out in force today in the area where we were. Now, what they're going to do from here, it's really unclear. Whenever they were confronted by police, except for that one time when the pepper spray or tear gas was used, they backed away.

So, they may be preparing some other confrontation for tomorrow. There are several planned marches with permits planned for tomorrow. We're not sure if the anarchists are going to join that or try to disrupt that somehow. That makes it a very fluid situation here.

Incidentally, this is kind of the area back here where they were going to head all the protesters to after they kind of rounded them all up. But they never made it this far. The Convention Center is right there. Those protesters that we were with never made it this far. They all dispersed after that.

BLITZER: Lots of police on the scene as well. I want you to stand by, Brian Todd.

The summit in Pittsburgh certainly another huge test for President Obama right now on the world stage and it comes fresh from his appearance over at the United Nations.

Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry.

Lots of serious business, even in the midst of lots of protests.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, and we just came out of a briefing with the treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who is saying that the president's top priority here is making sure that there's growth around the world, that the president believes we're beginning to see economic growth in the United States, but not enough, that we're not out of the woods yet.

He sees this as a pivotal opportunity to bring all of these leaders together to talk about pro-economic growth policies, but also to try and deliver a framework for some reform on Wall Street to make sure that a crisis like this, this huge financial crisis around the world, does not happen again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIMOTHY GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Our key objective for this summit is to establish consensus on much stronger standards across our financial systems. We are not going to walk away from the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and leave unchanged and leave in place the tragic vulnerabilities that caused this crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: But the president and his aides and the treasury secretary today reiterating that they are concerned that there may not be a big spark, a big impetus for major reform here among the G20 leaders, that maybe some people are getting complacent, thinking that we are out of the woods now and we don't need structural reform.

They're trying to send the signal from the U.S. that there needs to be major, major reform to prevent another crisis -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And even as we're speaking, Ed, we saw the president and the first lady walk in, start officially convening this summit. Here is the tape. You see Michelle Obama and the president of the United States. They're walking in. i guess it must be raining. There's an umbrella there on the scene.

But she's going to be playing a significant role at this summit, the United States hosting this summit in Pittsburgh. We will stay on top of it.

Ed, stand by. We will get back to you. We will see what happens this hour in Pittsburgh. Clearly, the president and the first lady, they are excited, they're happy to be hosting these world leaders.

Meanwhile, another major development we're following right now in the war on terrorism, the FBI detailing allegations of what they describe as a massive plot to detonate bombs in the United States. In a federal court in Brooklyn today, charges were filed against a Colorado man taken into custody on Saturday.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick is following the story for us. She's joining us from that court, district courthouse in Brooklyn.

Tell our viewers what happened. And the case involves Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan who immigrated to the United States. DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that man, he is soon to be on his way to New York. He has been charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction.

However, a second individual who some authorities believe warned him he was under surveillance, well, that guy is home tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK (voice-over): The imam who authorities believe tipped off a key suspect in a terror investigation left jail, his parents, brother and his wife seen here with me posting bail of $1.5 million known to secure his release.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm really excited that my husband is home. And I'm thankful to you guys for respecting our privacy.

FEYERICK: Ahmad Afzali, known to many in New York's Afghan community, is accused of lying to investigators, who believe the imam tipped off a key suspect, warning Najibullah Zazi he was being watched, a charge the imam's lawyer denies.

RON KUBY, ATTORNEY FOR AFZALI: Don't you think that Mr. Zazi may have thought something was suspicious law enforcement made his car disappear? You don't have to be the sharpest pencil in the terrorist box to figure out that, gee, maybe they're on to me.

FEYERICK: FBI agents were watching Zazi as he began the 1,700- mile drive from Denver to New York in early September. His car was stopped at the George Washington Bridge, then later towed and searched, along with a laptop computer inside.

But it's what happened before he left Denver that also worries investigators. According to the indictment, Zazi and other alleged co-conspirators bought large industrial-strength quantities of hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and acid, explosive materials like the kinds used in the 2005 London subway and bus bombings.

Then, according to the indictment, Zazi checked into a Denver area hotel that has a stove, above which FBI agents later found traces of one of the chemicals. Although he had bomb-making instructions on his computer, Zazi had to reach out to an unnamed individual for help, the indictment saying Zazi was -- quote -- "seeking correct mixtures of ingredients to make explosives" and that he -- quote -- "needed answers right away."

Zazi arrived in New York the same day, a source says, a group of Afghan men attempted and failed to rent a large U-Haul truck.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: Now, the joint terrorism task force is urgently searching for chemicals they believe alleged terrorists may have been getting ready to move using that truck. As for the imam, he has an electronic monitoring bracelet. His lawyer says he was contacting Zazi at the request of police and not because he was trying to tip anyone off -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick, thanks very much. A major, major development today.

He took on the health care system in his film "Sicko." Now the filmmaker Michael Moore is taking on the entire capitalist system. Just ahead, I will press Michael Moore about his new movie and whether people may walk away thinking he is a socialist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: What you're saying is, we don't have a democracy?

MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: I'm saying we don't have a complete democracy if the economy is not a democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Michael Moore is known for taking on some of the most powerful institutions in the United States, including the auto industry and the health care system. Now Moore is going after his biggest target yet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And joining us now, the filmmaker Michael Moore. His new movie is entitled "Capitalism: A Love Story."

Michael, thanks very much for joining us.

MOORE: Hey, Wolf. It's great to be back with you again. It's -- this is our first meeting here in a couple of years, since the big -- the big YouTube moment that we had with each other.

BLITZER: We had a moment following the movie "Sicko," which was obviously a very powerful movie. And I haven't seen this one yet. I'm hoping to see it in the next few days, but a lot of people saying it's very powerful as well.

And it deals with capitalism, right?

MOORE: Yes. well, yes, it deals with a system of legalized greed. And they call that capitalism now.

I think capitalism probably used to mean something else a long time ago. But right now, it's a system that is really no better than any kind of Ponzi scheme that guarantees that the very few at the top, in this case the richest 1 percent in America, have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.

The richest 1 percent's on top of that pyramid and they get everybody else in the rest of the pyramid thinking, if they just work hard, they could get to the top of the pyramid too someday. But of course there's only room for a few people at the top of that pyramid. I just don't think that if we're going to call this a democracy, that we should allow the economy to be anybody other than run democratically. You and I should have a say in how this economy is run. It should not just be...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Supposedly, we do, by electing presidents and senators and congressmen, local officials. Supposedly, we have a say in all of that.

And we will get to that in a few moments. But let's talk about -- most people going to see this movie who don't like you are going to say, you know what? Michael Moore has done pretty well in this capitalist or free market system. You've become a fairly rich guy yourself.

MOORE: Well, first of all, Wolf, there's nobody that doesn't like me. I don't know who these people are.

BLITZER: There are a few.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: If you have a list of names...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: A tiny number out there.

MOORE: Provide me with those names, and I will go to their homes and cook them dinner. And perhaps they will like me better.

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE: So, yes. Your point was, I have done well. Yes, for a documentary filmmaker, I have done very well.

BLITZER: You've done very well. And the allegations of...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: ... you're being hypocritical.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Explain, because you're hearing a lot of that.

MOORE: Why am I against capitalism if I have done so well?

BLITZER: Right.

MOORE: Isn't the question better put -- and I'm not trying to do your job for you -- but wouldn't the question better be, gee, Mike, you have done so well. Why don't you just kick back at the lake and enjoy life? Why are you caring about all these people losing their health care and their jobs and all that? You're not losing yours?

I wonder if there was like a Wolf Blitzer like 200 years ago who asked Thomas Jefferson or John Adams or George Washington, hey, you know, you guys are wealthy landowners. You have benefited from the king's system. What are you complaining about? What is this revolt all about?

It's like, sometimes, people, even people who have actually had the good fortune and blessings in life to not have to struggle with worrying about their health care, whether or not it's going to be here tomorrow or the next week, sometimes, those people actually are willing to take great risks and create sacrifices for themselves, in the hopes that others will have it just as well.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: So, just to respond to the charge that either has been made or will be made that Michael Moore is being hypocritical, you're saying?

MOORE: The charge that will be made. I love it. Now that we're -- where, actually, I have to respond to things that people are going to say to me in the future. I can do that. I can do that, Wolf.

BLITZER: You know it's going to be...

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: You've made a lot of money. So, let's go ahead and respond.

MOORE: Yes. Yes. What's the charge again that will happen?

BLITZER: Hypocrisy.

MOORE: Hypocrisy over what?

BLITZER: That you have made a lot of money in this free enterprise, capitalist system, and now you're railing against it.

MOORE: I know. Isn't that amazing? Isn't that amazing, that I actually -- I actually, with a high school education, through my hard work and my ideas, have done OK, and then -- and that I still want to do these things to help people who have it worse off than I, that I'm actually following through on the religious principles that I was raised with that I will be judged by how I treat the least among us?

And I think -- I just think that's an interesting question.

BLITZER: Well, you call capitalism evil, right?

MOORE: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: ... what we have now. BLITZER: What do you want to replace it with?

MOORE: I want to replace it with democracy.

I want an economic system that's run with democratic principles and has a moral and ethical core to it. I want you and I and all the people watching to be able to have a say. And when you say, oh, we get to elect or representatives, well, you and I know the truth of that, that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on lobbying Congress.

And you and I don't have that kind of money to spend on that. So, the average person doesn't get to see the things they would like to see happen. Otherwise, the 75 percent who want universal health care would have universal health care right now.

BLITZER: So, what you're saying is, we don't have a democracy?

MOORE: I'm saying we don't have a complete democracy if the economy is not a democracy.

You can't call it a democracy just because I get to vote every two or four years. There has to be democracy in the economy. There should be democracy in the workplace.

What's wrong with democracy? Why do these companies hate America? What is it about America and our love of democracy where they just go, oh, that's -- that's not good; we think the 1 percent, the richest 1 percent, should be calling all the shots, should be buying the politicians, making the decisions? That's the kind of democracy they like, where the 1 percent control everything.

It's just -- it's not right, it's not fair, it's not American, and it's not part of our Judeo-Christian ethic or whatever religion you belong to. Buddhism, Islam, all the great religions are opposed to the wealthy being in charge and letting the poor suffer as a result of that.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Which country has an economic system you like?

MOORE: Well, I don't think that this is -- I don't think that exists yet.

I think that we're -- we're talking about usually two ideologies, capitalism and socialism. One's a 16th century idea. One's a 19th century idea. We're in the 21st century. Can't we come up with our own system that meets the needs of this new era and has democracy at its core?

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: So, you don't -- you're not a socialist? Are you a socialist? I will just ask the question.

MOORE: I'm a Christian. And I'm a heterosexual, too, if you want to know that.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: But, as far as socialism is concerned, would some emerge from this movie saying Michael Moore is a socialist?

MOORE: Oh, no.

When you walk out of this movie, first of all, you will have had one of the best laughs throughout this film that you have had in a long time, all at the expense of the people down on Wall Street, I might add.

You're going to walk out of this film saying Michael Moore loves this country. Michael Moore is a true patriot. He loves democracy. Michael Moore is following through on the values that his parents and the nuns and the priests gave him as a child.

He considers -- he believes that he is his brother's keeper. He believes that he will be judged by how he treats the least among us in this society. And that's why I encourage -- if there are people who maybe disagree with me politically on other issues, at least, on this one, this film is not about Democrats or Republicans.

In fact, I go after a number of Democrats who are also on the take. We're all in the same boat here, us Americans.

BLITZER: All right.

MOORE: And we're going to sink or swim together.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Stick around. There's a lot more coming in from Michael Moore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: It sounds to me you're disappointed in President Obama's economic advisers.

MOORE: Oh, disappointed? Why do you use such mild language, Wolf?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: You're going to hear what the controversial filmmaker has to say about President Obama's handling of the economy and about the banking industry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: More of my interview with Michael Moore coming up. What would he do if he came face to face with a bank CEO? You're going to find out -- more of the interview coming up.

(NEWS BREAK)

BLITZER: The filmmaker Michael Moore, he has some very strong opinions about lots of subjects, including the war in Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE: It goes all the way back to that time. But this -- I'm telling you, there's -- there's no way to win this, President Obama, and it's going to have to be decided by the people in Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, more of my interview coming up right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Now more of my interview with the filmmaker Michael Moore, whose new movie is entitled "Capitalism: A Love Story."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: "The New York Times," in its review of the movie, said -- among other things, they said this: "In the end, what is to be done? After watching 'Capitalism,' it beats me. Mr. Moore doesn't have any real answers either, which tends to be true of most socially minded directors in the commercial mainstream, and speaks more to the limits of such filmmaking than to anything else."

Do you have real answers in the movie?

MOORE: Yes. I talk about democracy in the workplace and how to reconstruct our jobs. I talk about how this economy could be controlled by the majority instead of the 1 percent. That's actually -- the review in "The New York Times" was really an excellent review. But she's pointing out the limitations, obviously, with a two-hour movie, that I'm not an economist and I'm not going to be able to lay everything out in two hours.

I make these movies in the hopes of engaging with other Americans, starting a discussion, a debate, whatever it is, so that we get ourselves out of the rut that we're in. We're in -- we're in a place now where, I mean, here we are a year later, Wolf, after this crash and there are still no new regulations. They're still running loose in downtown Manhattan and...

BLITZER: So let -- let me ask you, if you're in a room...

MOORE: ...nobody's in charge.

BLITZER: If you're in a room with the CEOs of Bank of America or Wells Fargo, Citibank, and you're in that room with them, what would you say to them?

MOORE: I'd say, "How come I've got to pay $2.50 every time I go to the ATM machine to that bank and then you charge me $2.50? It's like $5. If I want to take out $20, then you're taking $5 from me. What's that all about?"

Of course, we know what that's about. There used to be things called banks and tellers, you know, where you walked in. It didn't cost you any money to get your own money. It's a -- it's just a little example of what these...

BLITZER: But ATMs are much more convenient.

MOORE: ...what these banks do. Well, they're -- yes, they're -- they're more convenient and they're also cheaper than having a bank and paying tellers. They're actually -- they've saved money doing this. But -- I mean, I'm being a little facetious here.

What I would say to the CEOs of -- of these banks is, "You know, this is our country. It's not your country. You're supposed to be there to serve the public good. You're supposed to be there as a place where we can put our money so that it's safe. And instead, you've taken our money. You've taken our pensions. You've taken people's 401(k)s. And you've -- you've gambled with it in these crazy, betting against bets and taking out insurance and credit- default swaps.

What have you done?

Who do you think you are?

We want our money back. We want our money back and you'd better find it because the people are coming."

BLITZER: What did you think of President Obama's decision to bail them out?

MOORE: You mean President Bush's decision to bail them out...

BLITZER: But...

MOORE: ...President Obama...

BLITZER: And then President Obama continued that.

MOORE: Which -- yes, right. OK. But let's...

BLITZER: Well, let's take a look...

MOORE: Let's not revise history here, Wolf. I mean...

BLITZER: Oh, no, no, no. I've covered all this.

MOORE: Mr. President...

BLITZER: Let's go back to Clinton...

MOORE: President...

BLITZER: ... President Clinton...

MOORE: President Clinton.

BLITZER: ...President Bush and President Obama.

MOORE: Correct.

BLITZER: Let's put pictures of all three of them up on the screen.

MOORE: Yes.

BLITZER: And they all basically, when it comes to the economy, seem to have pretty much a consistent posture, but correct me if I'm wrong.

MOORE: No, I think you are wrong. President Clinton presided over the deregulation that -- that started this whole mess.

BLITZER: He was there with Phil Graham at that signing ceremony when he deregulated so much of the banking industry. I was there, as well.

MOORE: And what -- and what do you think President Clinton thinks about that now?

BLITZER: He probably thinks it's a mistake.

MOORE: Yes. I think so. And, you know, I think he's a big enough guy to -- to admit that, too. President Bush, well, we know what he thinks. It was in "The New Yorker" this week, the story where he said to Ben Bernanke and to Henry Paulson, "Hey, boys, one of these days, you've got to tell me exactly what happened here."

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: Right.

MOORE: OK. Now, President Obama. He's inherited a catastrophe -- a catastrophe that he did not create.

BLITZER: How has he handled it?

MOORE: Well, I think the jury's out on that. I think he, first of all, he tried to find ways to put people back to work. The unemployment rate continues to go up, which, of course, then the Dow Jones goes up -- the Dow Jones goes up whenever the unemployment rate goes up, because Wall Street likes it when people lose their jobs. It's better for the bottom line of companies when they don't have to pay people and they can get the remaining people to work twice as hard.

But, you know, listen, I trust President Obama, where his heart is at, who he is as a person. And we're going to have to wait and see. I mean, I don't know much more to say about that. We're just (INAUDIBLE)...

BLITZER: Because if you take a... MOORE: ...president for eight months.

BLITZER: If you take a look at the men and women who he's put in place to run this economy of ours -- you know, he's asked Ben Bernanke now, the Federal Reserve chairman to stay on. Timothy Geithner, who used to run the Federal Reserve in New York, he's the Treasury Secretary. Larry Summers.

What do you think of his top economic team?

MOORE: He's like my dad, you know. Like, when I made a mess when I was a kid, he'd always make me clean it up. And so he's brought in the -- the people who helped create the mess -- Geithner, Summers, Rubin. He's brought them into his administration and then he's said, "OK, boys, you -- you created this, now you've got to clean it up."

It's the same thing banks do. You know, banks hire bank robbers or -- you know, reformed bank robbers -- to come in and advise them on how to avoid being robbed. And I'm hoping that President Obama has brought these individuals in to advise him how to fix the very system that they helped erect.

BLITZER: Because Bob Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, he was an adviser during the campaign, but he hasn't been brought in to the government. He's been on the outside.

MOORE: That's correct. He -- yes. So about -- so his -- the people that he mentored when he was at the Treasury Department, Mr. Summers and Mr. Geithner, you know.

And now it's sort of up to them to see who are they going to side with -- are they with us or are they with Wall Street?

BLITZER: But it sounds to me like you're -- but correct me, once again, if you're -- if I'm wrong. It sounds to me you're disappointed in President Obama's economic advisers.

MOORE: Oh disappointed.

Why do you use such mild language, Wolf?

BLITZER: Well, tell us how you feel. Tell us how you really feel, Michael.

MOORE: Well, listen, I mean, you've got the foxes in charge of the hen house right now. That's how -- that's what it looks like to me. So -- but, President Obama's in charge. And myself and tens of millions of people are counting on him to do the right thing.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLITZER: And that's not all Michael Moore is saying. In part three of my interview, he wants President Obama to know something else. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: From your heart, tell the president of the United States what you want.

MOORE: Well, I would say, President Obama, first of all, thank you for taking on this job. I...

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLITZER: He then goes on to urge the president to urge the president to really fight for universal health care. Michael Moore explains why health reform -- serious health reform, he says -- could help the president.

And then Moore makes a prediction -- if the president doesn't bring home U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and very quickly, Moore says the president will pay politically.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Now the rest of my interview with the filmmaker, Michael Moore, who has a new film out entitled "Capitalism: A Love Story".

He weighs in here about President Obama's push for health care reform.

BLITZER: Do you think he's doing the right thing now in compromising on health care?

We all remember the movie "Sicko." And you made a very compelling case for single payer nationalized health insurance. At one point in his life, he liked that.

Listen to what then politician Barack Obama said back in 2003.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan. (INAUDIBLE) the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, is spending 14 percent -- 14 percent of its gross national product on health care and cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: That's what President Obama said back in 2003. But now he's backed away from that as president of the United States and he seems to be backing away even from the so-called public option, which would allow the government -- a government-run health insurance company to compete with the private insurance companies.

Is this what you wanted? MOORE: Well, here's the -- here's the problem with President Obama on the health insurance proposal. He's a nice guy. You know, I mean, really, I believe he came into the White House with an olive branch to the people on the other side of the aisle. He believed in bipartisanship. I mean you've got to give the guy credit. He really -- he did not come in wanting to fight. He came in saying, you know, we're all Americans here and we need to fix this and we need to put aside this partisan stuff.

The other side didn't want to put it aside. The other side wanted to fight him tooth and nail. And -- and as part of his nice guy thing, he -- he backs a half measure, a public option.

BLITZER: But that might not even...

MOORE: And we (INAUDIBLE)...

BLITZER: That might not even make the final bill that he signs.

MOORE: And that may not. Well, of course not, because any time you don't fight for the thing you want, any time that you start off compromising, you're never going to get what you want. He started off with a compromise position -- let the private insurance companies still sit at the table, have a public option. He should have started with what he truly believes in, what he believed in, what he said in 2003, a single payer, national health care system, like all other Western countries have. We should have the same thing.

I know he believes in that, but he was trying to reach out and say, you know what, I'm not just going to come in here and ram this, so I'm willing to work with you and listen to your concerns. They don't want to listen to him.

BLITZER: It sounds like you think he's naive..

MOORE: I don't think -- no, I'm -- no. No, I -- no, I'm saying that he's operating with those same Christian values that I spoke of. I think that he -- I think that he is a generous person with a very open heart and was willing to work with people who had no intention of ever working with him.

So now that he's realized that, now that he's got to go back to the drawing board and come back with something, because you see, Wolf, the reason he -- you know, he's out there alone. I mean nobody really has his back on this because the base is not energized by a half measure.

BLITZER: Why is that because there seems...

MOORE: If he's going to come out . . .

BLITZER: ...to be so much rage on the right right now...

MOORE: Because -- because they believe in something.

BLITZER: ...and there doesn't seem to be the same kind of passion on the left.

Why is that?

MOORE: No. Because -- because he hasn't proposed something that -- that liberals, Democrats, the left, whatever, progressive people, decent people who think when people get sick they should be able to see a doctor and not have to worry about paying for it -- you know, those kind of people. He just -- he just needs to -- when he comes forth with a single payer proposal, something that's going to provide true universal health care for all Americans, you are going to see millions of people -- millions of people -- backing him. It will look -- make those town hall meetings look like The Disney Channel.

BLITZER: But there doesn't seem to be any indication, Michael, he's about to do anything resembling that. As I said before, he seems to be backing away even from that compromise of a so-called public option.

MOORE: Right. OK, right, but he hasn't watched this show yet. So . . .

BLITZER: All right, so give me the message. If you could -- and he might be watching this interview right now. From your heart, tell the president of the United States what you want.

MOORE: Well, I would say, President Obama, first of all, thank you for taking on this job. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. So thank you for being willing to do that for us. We need you to really -- to really fight the fight for us -- us, the majority of the people who put you in there. We are the majority of this country.

Seventy-five percent of this country wants universal health care for all Americans. We're sick and tired of having the middle man -- the private insurance company -- get between us and our doctors, us and the hospital, us and the pharmaceuticals that people need. You've got to really come forth now with a program that guarantees this for all Americans. And if you do that, you're going to find tens of millions of us out there behind you, supporting you every step of the way.

BLITZER: You also made a powerful movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," in which you really went after President Bush and the buildup and the war in Iraq. All of us remember that movie, as well.

Right now, this president, President Obama, he's at a pivotal moment in the war in Afghanistan because the generals now say, you know, we need another 30,000 or 40,000 troops. He's already committed another 20,000. About 68,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan right now. The situation doesn't seem to be going well at all. Speak to President Obama, what he should do right now as far as Afghanistan is concerned.

MOORE: Well, he's got to stop sending troops there and he's got to bring the troops there home. Otherwise, we will stop thinking of this war as Bush's war and it will become Obama's war. This is a losing proposition. He must know this. History has proven nobody can win there. That's just -- if he doesn't believe that, Gorbachev's number is in the book. I don't think he can get a hold of Genghis Khan. It goes all the way back to that time.

But this -- I'm telling you, there's -- there's no way to win this, President Obama. And it's going to have to be decided by the people in Afghanistan. You can't deliver freedom and democracy through the barrel of a gun. We know that. That's -- I mean we -- we -- the French couldn't have come to the United States and freed us from the British. We had to do it ourselves. The French could help, but we had to do it ourselves.

And this has to be left to the people in Afghanistan. And they're probably owed a huge apology from us by now considering what, you know, we've done.

BLITZER: All right...

MOORE: And, hopefully, we'll be able to help rebuild them when they get things straightened out. But this war can't continue.

BLITZER: He says, this is a war of necessity, not a war of choice, because al Qaeda, bin Laden, the Taliban . . .

MOORE: Right.

BLITZER: ...these are the people responsible for killing 3,000 Americans in New York on 9/11 and Pennsylvania and here in Washington -- Washington, D.C. And he says, as a result, the United States must fight and win and destroy them.

MOORE: Yes. The United States must fight and find the people who committed the mass murder here in New York City, in Washington, D.C. And in that field in Pennsylvania. Absolutely right. And if we had had a president eight years ago who would have done that, you know, we might have -- we might not be in the situation we're in now. So, again, he's inherited another horrible mess that he has to extract us from. But I know -- I'm certain he's committed to finally, finally having a commander in chief who's going to track down the people that committed this mass murder and bring them to justice.

BLITZER: But supposedly they're either in Afghanistan or Pakistan right now.

You'd just walk away from them?

MOORE: I believe that he knows how to get this job done and I -- I hope he knows that it can't be done with a lot of tanks and planes and 100,000 troops. That's not what's going to make us safe here in this country. These people are criminals and murderers and they need to be got -- they need to -- we need to go and apprehend them.

BLITZER: On that note, I will leave it. Michael Moore's new film is entitled "Capitalism: A Love Story."

Michael, don't wait another two or three years to come back to THE SITUATION ROOM. We like to have you here more often. MOORE: I won't, Wolf. And I, you know, we are -- we are joined together once again like two men never have been. And it's been a special, special moment for me here.

BLITZER: Thank you.

MOORE: A forbidden love.

BLITZER: And Rutgers University is getting a nice bit of publicity in the process, as well.

Michael, thanks very much.

MOORE: Thank you very much, Wolf.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLITZER: She's deeply, deeply angered -- we're talking about the governor of New York State, accusing the president of being unfair. Stand by for details.

And when you watch this video from ABC's "Dancing With The Stars," you might call it Hammer time. The man known as The Hammer, the former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, survives a dance competition. Now, lawmakers who know him decide if he can bust a move.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: On our Political Ticker, the wife of the New York governor, David Paterson, is now speaking out on reports President Obama has asked her husband not to run for re-election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY WNBC)

MICHELLE PATERSON, NEW YORK FIRST LADY: I think by the White House getting involved in state politics, I had never heard of a president asking a sitting governor not to run for re-election. I thought it was very unusual and very unfair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: She also thinks her husband's blindness "most definitely" contributed to his low poll numbers.

Democrat Paul Kirk says he's honored to help make Ted Kennedy's dying wish a reality. Kirk was tapped today to temporarily fill Kennedy's seat in the U.S. Senate. Governor Deval Patrick appointed him with the blessing of the Kennedy family. He's a former aid to Senator Kennedy. He'll serve until a special election is held in Massachusetts in January.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a double digit lead with less than six weeks to go until election day. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows 52 percent back the Independent mayor, who's running for a third term. Thirty-six percent back Democrat William Thompson.

Remember, for the latest political news at any time, you can always check out CNNPolitics.com. You can find out what's going on behind-the-scenes. I'm now also on Twitter. Go to Twitter.com/wolfblitzercnn -- wolfblitzercnn all one word.

The former House majority leader, Tom DeLay, is "Dancing With The Stars." The Republican once known as The Hammer, makes -- makes it past the first round on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Jeanne Moos will show us how he did it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here's a look at some Hot Shots.

At the United Nations, the prime minister of Japan listens to President Obama chair a meeting.

In Germany, visitors take a ride during Oktoberfest.

In Afghanistan, a U.S. Marine captain shakes hands before holding a meeting with locals.

And in Paris, 20-year-old Laurie Mackalroy (ph) from Northern Ireland tees off for the Vivendi Trophy.

Hot Shots -- pictures worth a thousand words.

You may have seen Tom DeLay's Moost Unusual moves on the hit show, "Dancing With The Stars." He didn't exactly impress the judges, but what about his political colleagues is?

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): It was a side of Tom DeLay we've never seen before.

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Some critics were merciless.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY FOX NEWS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was the most awesome train wreck I have ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But the train wreck stayed on the tracks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "DANCING WITH THE STARS," COURTESY ABC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom and Cheryl.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: The former House majority leader made the cut and will stay on "Dancing With The Stars" for at least another week.

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But what do his former Congressional colleagues think, Republican Senators?

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I had no idea that Tom DeLay is obviously related to Fred Astaire.

(VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I thought he had a lot of guts to do that. My goodness, I -- I was quite impressed with him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you think he was good?

HATCH: Yes.

(VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He's got guts, determination and he's not a bad dancer. I was sort of surprised, quite frankly.

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But it didn't make this Republican congressman's heart sing.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Those moves were painful. Careful, I just ate lunch. That was -- that was pretty sick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "DANCING WITH THE STARS," COURTESY ABC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom DeLay, I know what you're thinking. You don't have to work as hard as everyone else because you're a white, middle-aged Republican and dancing comes naturally to you people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Since Tom DeLay survived the first cut, maybe you'd like to see the guy who didn't, George Hamilton's actor son.

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Already naysayers are predicting that Tom DeLay will be next on the loser's couch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE," COURTESY ABC)

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST: Because he looks ridiculous dancing. And I have a feeling he's going to be here next week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But at least this won't be the last outfit we get to eyeball.

CHAFFETZ: Man, that brown spandex polyester suit. I mean, we haven't seen that since Ronald Reagan.

MOOS (on camera): The real bottom line question -- will we ever again be able to hear "Wild Thing"...

(MUSIC)

MOOS: ...without thinking of this thing?

(VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

BLITZER: I agree with Orrin Hatch. He has guts to do that.

Thanks very much for joining us.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Up next, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" -- Lou.

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