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CNN NEWSROOM

D-Day For Sheriff Joe Arpaio; Interracial Marriage Denied; Members of GOP Fear Muslim Spies Infiltrated Congress

Aired October 16, 2009 - 14:59   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It's standoff day. The feds tell Sheriff Joe Arpaio to stop his immigration raids. Arpaio says he won't. And this is what he told me is the reason he uses as reason to arrest people.

(on camera): How do you prove that they're not illegal?

JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: It has to do with their conduct, what type of clothes they're wearing, their speech.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): We are all over this standoff.

FALCON HEENE, SIX YEARS OLD: We did this for a show.

SANCHEZ: Police might -- might -- consider re-interviewing the family of the experimental balloon, but not today.

A justice of the peace tells a black man he can't marry a white woman. His policy. Can he do that? My colleague Soledad O'Brien has plenty to say about this one.

Are there Muslim spies in Congress, or is it possible that some in Congress are prejudiced?

We're looking at both sides on your national conversation for Friday, October 16, 2009.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez with the next generation of news. This is a conversation. It's not a speech. And we say this every day, but it's important. It's your turn to get involved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to challenge the board of supervisors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: We begin our show today in one of the most conflictive and controversial areas for immigration, Maricopa County, otherwise known as the place where Sheriff Joe Arpaio taunts the feds. And today is being called across the country as showdown day for Joe Arpaio.

The feds, specifically the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, have problems with what the sheriff does to round up -- quote -- "illegals." Stay with me here. They also say that he may be inflating probable cause, which is a very specific legal term.

Listen to what the sheriff told me when he was good enough to join me last week, and I asked him about how he knows that someone who he's about to arrest is an illegal immigrant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question. How do you know when you arrest someone that they're illegal?

ARPAIO: Well, first of all, Rick, we do it pursuant to our duties. When we come across someone on another crime and we find out that they are illegal, we take action. If those that have not committed a crime, we had the training -- we still do -- we turn them over to ICE. It's very simple.

SANCHEZ: But you just said you detain people who haven't committed a crime. How do you prove that they're not legal?

ARPAIO: It has to do with their conduct, what type of clothes they're wearing, their speech. They admit it. They may have phony I.D.s, a lot of variables involved.

SANCHEZ: You judge people and arrest them based on their speech and the clothes that they're wearing, sir?

ARPAIO: No, when they're in the vehicle with someone that has committed a crime, we have the right to talk to those people. When they admit they are here illegally, we take action.

SANCHEZ: But you just told me -- let's go back here. You just told me that you arrest a people and turn them over to the Feds even if they haven't committed a crime.

ARPAIO: No. They did commit a crime. They are here illegally.

SANCHEZ: But how did you know they were here illegally? And then you went on to tell me it's because of the clothes they wore.

ARPAIO: Well, you look at the federal law. The federal law specifies the speech, the clothes, the environment, the erratic behavior. It's right in the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: John Morton is the assistant secretary of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE.

Thanks you so much, sir, for being with us.

JOHN MORTON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: My pleasure, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Can somebody be arrested because of the clothes that they're wearing or because of their speech pattern? Is that in America probable cause?

MORTON: Not for an immigration offense, no.

SANCHEZ: Is this one of the problems that you have with Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

MORTON: The reason I am not going to renew his 287(g) task force authority is because at the end of the day I feel that the sweeps that he conducts in Maricopa County aren't consistent with our priorities as an agency and that's, namely, to identify and remove serious criminal aliens from the streets of Arizona.

SANCHEZ: What's he doing wrong?

MORTON: His sweeps are overbroad. They don't have a particular focus or priority on criminal offenders. And he does it in a way that isn't marked by cooperation and coordination within the communities that he serves.

And if we're going to enter into a partnership to enforce portions of immigration law, it needs to be done with someone who is working closely with the communities within which they serve and someone who is focused on the right priorities, and, namely, going after the worst offenders first.

SANCHEZ: So, Mr. Morton, let's be clear. You're not saying you don't want cooperation from other localities throughout the United States. You are pointing him out as an example of someone you are not comfortable working with because of the way he has done his job, right?

MORTON: I am absolutely not saying that we don't want to work with local law enforcement around the state -- around the country. On the contrary, we do. That's the whole purpose of 287(g).

I am today announcing a whole new series of agreements with jurisdictions around the country. And they are jurisdictions that want to work with us on the very serious problems.

SANCHEZ: But if any of the leaders of those jurisdictions overstep their bounds, as you seem to be saying or intimating that perhaps Sheriff Arpaio has done, you would not be -- you would be willing to cut the cord, as you seem to be doing today?

MORTON: If you're going to exercise federal immigration authority, you have to do it under the rules, and you have to do it in a responsible, efficient manner that both the federal government and the local jurisdiction can take pride in. And at the end of the day, you know, those are the kinds of partners that we want.

And you bet that we're going to supervise and we are going to hold people accountable. This is federal authority that's being delegated. And if we're going to do it, we have got to make sure that the people are playing by the rules and being efficient and fair.

SANCHEZ: OK. You sound very resolute. And I think most people would respect you for that, whether they agree with you or disagree with you. But you have a problem here, sir. This sheriff is on the record saying that he's going to continue these immigration raids, these immigration sweeps, regardless of what you say. What's your response?

MORTON: My response is he has authority under Arizona state law. That is a matter for the Arizona state legislature. I'm going to continue to call things on the merits. We're going to enforce the law in Arizona. We're going to enforce immigration law. We're going to work with state and local law enforcement in Arizona to make sure the laws are enforced firmly and fairly.

SANCHEZ: Will you pressure the Arizona officials, the A.G., the attorney general, or the governor's office to do something about Sheriff Arpaio if he will not cease and desist a federal mandate?

MORTON: Well, the federal mandate that he has is that I am withdrawing his 287(g) task force authority. And so from here on out...

SANCHEZ: But he says he doesn't care. He's going to continue to do what he was doing, whether you're withdrawing it or not. So, the ball's back on your court, sir.

MORTON: And -- well, and if he continues his sweeps, he's doing so purely under Arizona law, and I'm going to respond on the merits on a case-by-case basis. I am not going to accept individuals from him as a class, you know, and just act blindly. We're going to focus on the merits of each individual case. And we will enforce the law and only as the law provides.

SANCHEZ: Do you have any indication as to why he may be doing this, why he may be resisting something that seems -- it seems quiet clear, what you're saying. And I'm sure he's either watching this interview that you're doing with me right now or will soon be watching it. What's the message you want him to take from this?

MORTON: Well, the message that I want him to take from this is the same I want any other law enforcement officer around the country to take who's interested in immigration enforcement.

We're ready to do it with you as a partner, but it needs to be focused. It needs to be done in a way that isn't divisive within a community. It needs to make sense. It's got to make smart and tough and focus on the worst offenders, first and foremost.

SANCHEZ: Divisive is the word you used.

My thanks to you, sir, John Morton with ICE, for your time.

Appreciate it.

MORTON: You're welcome. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

F. HEENE: We did this for a show.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It's the interview that has many Americans asking, was there a motive, after a story that we were all heavily invested in, all of us, as we watched it together? It was the interview that was done by our own, my colleague Wolf Blitzer, that has a lot of people talking about what they saw yesterday on CNN. We will clear it up for you.

Also, later, a black man, a black man in America is turned down for a marriage license in Louisiana because of the skin color of the woman that he wanted to marry. Soledad O'Brien is going to help us answer what year this is in America. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: It was as engaging as just about any television that we have ever done.

Welcome back. I'm coming to you from Columbus Circle, Time Warner. Yesterday, while we were in Atlanta, we were all struck by this story, as were you. It only consumed our entire afternoon yesterday, as we were telling this story.

And it continued. It was the horrible runaway balloon. We all held our breath collectively watching that thing spin and tumble and then fly around, believing that a little kid could somehow have been inside. And I'm sure you were holding your breath as well, especially those of you who like me have a bunch of kids, because you kept thinking, my goodness, this is my worst nightmare, not being able to help my child.

All right, you have seen this picture before of the balloon, but have you seen some of the other videos that are out there now, that have come out since we brought you this story, the one that shows the balloon actually taking off, all right? I want you to watch this with me. Listen closely to me because you're going to hear the dad getting really mad as the balloon just takes off on him.

And then later he seems to find out that the son could have been inside of there. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD HEENE, FATHER OF FALCON: Three, two, one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa.

R. HEENE: OK. (INAUDIBLE) tethered.

(INAUDIBLE) put the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did! I did!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Did you catch that? Richard Heene yelled something about the tether, as his homemade balloon floated into the wild blue yonder. And it's not yet clear if the dad really believed that his six-year-old son was a passenger at that time.

Watch what the boy told his dad on "LARRY KING" last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

R. HEENE: Did you hear us calling your name at any time?

F. HEENE: Mm-hmm.

R. HEENE: You did?

MAYUMI HEENE, MOTHER OF FALCON HEENE: You did?

R. HEENE: Well, why didn't you come out?

F. HEENE: You had said that we did this for a show.

R. HEENE: Man.

M. HEENE: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It this was that word show that got a lot of folks all over the country wondering what was really going on here. And in many ways, the answer is still not clear.

The sheriff says that his department still believes the family's story, but wants to interview them again. Just because they want to interview them again, again, not trying to say that that means anything at this point, other than a typical police investigation. So, hoax or not, TV stunt or not, makes no difference.

Now, the fact is, as a parent, and I think most of us would agree, this little boy is safe. He didn't float away. He didn't fall. He didn't die. Police tore that balloon up. And if it had been my kid, young Falcon, that's his name, by the way, you might be grounded for a little bit, at least a little bit, even if I did give you a big hug after I found you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, hey, hey, that's enough. Enough. Enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: All right, look what happens at a city council meeting in my home state. This is Florida. Oh, boy. Talk about passionate. We're going to bring you that and tell you what happened.

Also, are there Muslim spies in our nation's Capitol? We're going to have that for you and the controversy surrounding it. And it's a big one. Stay there. I will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez here in the CNN NEWSROOM in New York City, which actually looks a lot like the CNN NEWSROOM in Atlanta as well, except it's a bit colder here, in fact a lot colder here.

Former House Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say that all politic is local. In Florida, trust me, I know, because I grew up there, you can add passionate and sometimes even a little nutty. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. That's enough. Enough. Enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: The guy in the red is a free speech activist, free speech. The other guy's brother is on the Saint Petersburg, Florida, City Council. That panel had just voted to give a sidewalk in front of a dying shopping and entertainment project to a developer who wants to keep out free speech protesters and kids who hang out at night.

Well, both men ended up arguing, as you can see, and then tussling, and then being booked, both, for disorderly conduct.

Let's talk about this. When you think of a baby stroller and then you think of a moving train, it's hard not to feel in many ways the same way that many of us felt yesterday at 3:00 when we were on the air together watching that experimental balloon and that 6-year- old little boy who we thought might be in there.

We will put that one together for you.

Also, are there spies among us? Some lawmakers are suggesting that Muslim interns have infiltrated Washington -- Muslims infiltrating Washington. Are they right? Well, we're drilling down on this one for you because you need to know.

I'm in New York. I will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Here's one that's important, one that we think should be looked into. Are there Muslim spies infiltrating the halls of our government in Washington, D.C.? I mean, that's a heck of a thing to contemplate.

So, we have been looking into it. And we want to take you through it. House Republicans, Sue Myrick, John Shadegg, of Arizona, Paul Broun of Georgia, and Trent Franks Arizona seem to be suggesting that. They held a news conference Wednesday to ask for a federal probe into CAIR.

It's the nation's largest Muslim civil rights group. You have seen them from time to time on cable television and other places. Now, their concerns are linked to a book that's titled "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret World That's Conspiring to Islamize -- Islamize -- America."

And, as it happens, the forward to that book was written by Congresswoman Myrick, one of the four House members who want this probe of CAIR. She's also a member of the Congressional Anti- Terrorism Caucus.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick is good enough to join us now from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Congresswoman, thanks for being with us.

REP. SUE MYRICK (R), NORTH CAROLINA: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: OK. Who are these spies that we speak of? What are their names? How many are there?

MYRICK: This issue is about CAIR. And it's been totally misconstrued.

CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist trial last year for ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. And that trial led to 108 separate charges for front groups funneling money to Hamas.

The FBI has severed all ties with CAIR. CAIR says they want to place interns in members' offices. Well, the members, though, they want to place interns into influence public policy are on the committees of Homeland Security, Judiciary and Intelligence. Why not Agriculture?

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, I'm just -- I'm wondering, though, the original accusation was that you believed and other Congress...

MYRICK: No, I never said that.

SANCHEZ: That they were infiltrating. The word infiltration in and of itself would suggest that someone is trying to get something or spying of some sort, is there not?

MYRICK: Well, the FBI has severed all ties with this group.

And my concern is very simply why would anybody want a group that the FBI has severed ties with involved in any kind of influence?

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Why has the FBI severed ties with CAIR?

MYRICK: Because of their ties to the terrorist organization Hamas, which was proven in the trial last year. See, CAIR won't talk about that. They don't want anybody to know that, but it is fact.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: What exactly is your evidence that CAIR is working surreptitiously with the organization Hamas?

(CROSSTALK)

MYRICK: CAIR -- the evidence is the Holy Land trial in Dallas last year. If you will go back and pull the records, you will see it very clearly.

And my question is, simply, because they have those ties, there should not be influence on Capitol Hill. The other thing is...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: In other words, you -- and I didn't mean to interrupt. I'm terribly sorry, but I just want to understand for the record you're saying they shouldn't be around as an organization to be around members of Congress or our nation's Capitol?

MYRICK: No. What I'm saying is that members of Congress and the American people they represent have a right to know about this. And we have asked the Justice Department to send this information to the members, so they can look at it and make their own decisions.

The other thing is that CAIR does a lot of lobbying. And they are a 501(c)(3). So, we have asked the IRS to look into that status, because it seems like they are doing excessive lobbying.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you about what is your -- the document that you've presented. Your prima facie here seems to be something from CAIR's offices. And I'm going to read that. I have it read. I also have it here.

It says: "We will focus influencing" -- if you could just bring that up a little bit -- "We will focus influencing congressmen responsible for policy that directly impacts the American Muslim community. We will develop national initiatives such as a lobby day and placing Muslim interns in congressional offices."

MYRICK: To influence policy? I think you're leaving that out, and you're also leaving out the part about the Homeland Security, Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

SANCHEZ: OK, so they say they want to have people who are a part of that, right?

MYRICK: That's right.

SANCHEZ: You take issue with that.

MYRICK: And this has nothing to do with Muslims. I work with moderate American Muslim groups all the time, who represent the majority of the Muslim community in this country. I had a summit last July in Washington. In fact, you can go on my Web site and read about it in Arabic and English.

SANCHEZ: Right. Right.

MYRICK: Because these are the people who really were trying to connect them to the officials in the government and to the different agencies.

SANCHEZ: So, you're saying the problem -- look, I get it. And I think you're making a very sound argument here that you have serious problems with CAIR because of some of the organizations that they have been associating with. And I think that's a fair accusation.

I'm just trying to get a handle, though, on how this came to be and how you ended up writing the forward for this book that was apparently written by somebody who had infiltrated CAIR? So, is that where you got most of your information? Would it be fair to say that that was a major influence on you for going after CAIR?

MYRICK: In this particular case, but this isn't the first time. We have brought this into question before. But, I -- yes, the book has the information in it, and I would recommend very frankly that people check it out for themselves. It's all documented in memos that came from CAIR.

SANCHEZ: Does it bother you that the information was gathered surreptitiously, that is to say, somebody went in there and fooled the director of CAIR into thinking he was their friend?

(CROSSTALK)

MYRICK: CAIR has not denied the authenticity of these documents. And, legally, people need to do with that.

SANCHEZ: All right.

MYRICK: If they want to investigate, they need to investigate everything, the authors of the book and CAIR.

SANCHEZ: All right, that's fair.

When we come back, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to have Mr. Ibrahim Hooper, who's is president and director of CAIR. And he's going to answer some of your -- is there anything that you have left out that you want to make sure that I ask him about?

What would you ask him, if you could?

(CROSSTALK)

MYRICK: Well, I would like to ask him why he won't denounce the radical ideology of the terrorist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

SANCHEZ: All right. So, you think the fact that he associates with the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas makes him someone who is not...

MYRICK: I'm saying CAIR has ties to them.

SANCHEZ: OK.

MYRICK: There's a difference. I'm not -- I'm saying CAIR has ties to the -- according to the FBI -- in fact, I have got the letter if you would like me to read the document.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: That's OK. We will kindly ask him. And you know what?

Congresswoman Sue Myrick, you want to stick around and talk to him when we come back from the break.

MYRICK: No, thank you. I'm fine.

SANCHEZ: All right. All right.

I will try and do my best to represent you there.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick, my thanks to you for taking time to take us through this.

We're going to be right back in just a moment. I'm sorry, Michael. What were you trying to tell me?

OK. We're going to be right back in just a moment and we're going to be talking to Ibrahim Hooper, who has I'm sure heard that and will now respond to the congresswoman's allegations.

Mr. Hooper, are you ready to go?

IBRAHIM HOOPER, NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: I'm ready.

SANCHEZ: All right. We will be right back. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

As promised, Ibrahim Hooper is spokesperson, one of director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, this is the nation's largest Muslim rights organization. They are an important part of the American fabric, just like every other nationality is.

Mr. Hooper, thanks so much for being with us, sir.

IBRAHIM HOOPER, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: Thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: OK. You heard what the congresswoman said...

HOOPER: Yes.

SANCHEZ: ... and she seemed -- I thought the interview with her was going to go more along the lines of the fact that you were getting interns to go into...

HOOPER: No. It's interesting that she obviously has talked to some P.R. people who told her that their original talking points that Muslim spies are infiltrating Congress is looking a bit ridiculous.

SANCHEZ: Well, she seems to have -- you're right, she seems to have backed off of that.

(CROSSTALK)

HOOPER: Now, obviously, they told her, no, you got to go after CAIR, that's the real thing because you're looking really bad by smearing American-Muslims who are trying to participate in the political system.

SANCHEZ: So, it seems like they were originally after reading this book -- by the way, let's make this clear before we go anywhere with this: this book apparently was written by somebody who had ties with somebody who infiltrated your organization.

HOOPER: Yes, basically...

SANCHEZ: They befriended you, right?

HOOPER: Yes.

SANCHEZ: They fooled you.

HOOPER: There's a guy who, we've actually had interviewed by law enforcement for what we perceived to be stalking behavior. He sent his son in, pretending to be a Muslim, praying next to us. I mean, I even jokingly at one time offered to help the guy get married. We were that friendly with him.

And all the while, he was stealing our property and lying to us and deceiving us. And after months and months of this lies and deceptions and theft, the most they can come up with is -- God forbid -- CAIR tried to place interns on Capitol Hill. I mean, we see it more as a clean bill of health than anything else.

SANCHEZ: OK. Now -- and you know what? You have a good point there. I think it would be difficult for somebody to say that the fact that you want to have interns who could possibly iNFLuence the government, I think just about everybody we should name.

HOOPER: I wish we could place more.

SANCHEZ: Yes. I think every organization would love to have people who can -- have iNFLuence in government, especially if it doesn't cost them anything and all they have to do is have an intern there.

So, let's leave that aside because she doesn't seem to be contesting that anymore. So, let's talk about what she is contesting.

HOOPER: And there's more.

SANCHEZ: Let's talk about what she is contesting.

HOOPER: Yes.

SANCHEZ: She is saying quite clearly that you and your organization have ties to Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood.

HOOPER: We have no ties of any kind to any foreign group in any shape or form. And I notice she said, "Oh, CAIR has never condemned Hamas, has never condemned this."

Let me read you a couple of lines from as late as March 2009. Quote, this is a CAIR statement. "Our position is clear, we unequivocally condemn all acts of terrorism whether carried out by al Qaeda, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group designated by the U.S. Department of State as a, quote, 'foreign terrorist organization.'"

She's done as much research as the smear-meisters have in this book. In fact, she admitted she was quoted in a media articles stating, "Hey, I haven't verified anything in this book, but I'll leave that to others to verify." She writes a foreword to a book that she hasn't verified anything.

The guys who wrote this book, one of them, has called Islam an evil ideology, calls it a terminal disease. He was an employee of a group that -- whose manifesto said, "Muslims should serve 30 years in prison for, quote, 'adherence to Islam.'" The other guy, Paul Sperry, the co-author of the book, recommended it one time in a commentary, putting pig's blood in the water supply of Afghanistan. This is the people she's consorting with.

SANCHEZ: All right. Let me just stop you there because some of that stuff we did in fact read as well, in some of our own research.

HOOPER: Yes.

SANCHEZ: And some of the others we're not quite sure about. So before we go on too much talking about people who aren't here to protect themselves, let's go back to some of the original points.

HOOPER: Yes.

SANCHEZ: First of all, I got two things for you. Quickly answer if you can on this one. The people who you say came into your organization, infiltrated your organization and stole from you.

HOOPER: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Are you going to have them charge?

HOOPER: Yes. We've already filed criminal complaints in Washington, D.C.

SANCHEZ: OK, good.

HOOPER: We're going to file a criminal complaint in Virginia...

SANCHEZ: I got it. I got it. I got it. I got it. I got it.

HOOPER: OK.

SANCHEZ: Let me got to the next question. I wanted to get that on the record. The next thing I need to ask you is, she said that the FBI has cut with your organization, no longer works with you. Is that -- is that true?

HOOPER: Well, no, that's not exactly true. They've cut outreach ties. In other words, when we do town hall meetings, we used to invite the FBI and those kinds of things. In fact, I got a death threat yesterday based, apparently, on this book. Saying I'll soon be hanged, calling me Dougie Hooper. Now, in the book...

SANCHEZ: But wait a minute, wait a minute.

HOOPER: ... I'm referred to as Dougie Hooper.

SANCHEZ: Hold on, hold on, hold on.

HOOPER: But, no, no -- my point is, my point is...

SANCHEZ: No, I asked a clear question. And the question was...

HOOPER: No, no. And I'm answering you.

SANCHEZ: All right.

HOOPER: The point is, we contacted the FBI. We work with the FBI...

SANCHEZ: OK.

HOOPER: ... on a daily basis on civil rights issues. The only issues we don't work with them on are the community outreach issues. And, quite frankly, the entire American-Muslim community has issues with the FBI right now.

SANCHEZ: Finally, what do you think their motivation would be to single out your organization if their information...

HOOPER: Quite simple.

SANCHEZ: ... or allegations are really not confirmed?

HOOPER: Quite simple, CAIR is the most prominent, effective, American-Muslim organization. It's the old line, the nail that sticks up gets hammered. We are out there. We're vocal. We defend Muslim rights.

And this hard core of anti-Muslim bigots see us as an obstacle that has to be eliminated. In fact, the co-author of his book on his blog yesterday said, "Send me $25,000 over the next five days so I can, quote, 'destroy CAIR.'"

SANCHEZ: Congresswoman Sue Myrick was good enough to join us. And now, CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper refutes some of the things she has said. I'm glad we have opportunity to have you on so we can hear both sides. My thanks to you, sir.

HOOPER: Thanks for having me.

SANCHEZ: All right.

Up at night in many ways, concerns about our children, and this nightmare involves a moving train.

Also, Rush Limbaugh gets denied. But he's the one -- I think we can lose that video now. Let's go ahead and lose that video.

Rush Limbaugh gets denied. But when it comes to one specific point, I will tell you this: He was right and I was wrong. Sometimes you got to say you're wrong when you're wrong, right? I'll tell you exactly what I'm talking about when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Conservative talk show radio host Rush Limbaugh has been blasting the NFL players' union which has asked its players to speak out against Limbaugh, in an effort to try and stop his effort, I should say, to try to own an NFL team. Limbaugh was dropped from a group that was seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams.

Now, the owner of the investment group hoping to buy the team says that Limbaugh's participation had, quote, "complicated the effort" and the group is now moving forward without him, they say.

Limbaugh says he had been assured by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts that his involvement in the bid had been cleared at the highest levels of the NFL. Limbaugh's bid, by the way, was resisted by the NFL players' union as well as Colts owner Jim Irsay.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was also critical of Limbaugh. He said that, quote, "Divisive comments would not be tolerated from any NFL insider," referring to Rush Limbaugh. For his part, Limbaugh, on his radio, has called the move against him an ongoing effort by the left to, quote, "try and destroy conservatism."

On a related note, earlier this week, we provided quotes attributed to Limbaugh to illustrate why some people and players felt that he was too divisive to be an NFL owner. That was one of the stories we did earlier this week. One of these quotes which was in a column in the "St. Louis Post Dispatch" and taken from a book largely about conservatives was refuted by Limbaugh. I mentioned that to you Tuesday.

We have been unable to independently confirm that quote. We should not have reported it, not have reported it, without independent confirmation. And for that, I apologize.

I feel it's important on this show to hold folks accountable whenever they make mistakes. That's what I try to do. And you know what? That should include myself and that should also include my team. It's important to let you know that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: This is a moment for the vice president to actually do something bold and courageous and resign because I'm too tired...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It is one of the most talked about comments on the blogs, from a well-known blogger. Why would Arianna Huffington insist that the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, should resign? It's a talker and we're talking -- next.

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SANCHEZ: I'm being told that people all over America get up and do a little diddy, a little dance when we do this segment everyday, including some people on the seventh floor of this building who produce the 8:00 show for Campbell Brown, the show that I'm going to be anchoring tonight at 8:00.

So, this is in many ways for them -- some people do believe in the big tent idea. That people of different opinions can come together and make big decisions precisely because of their disagreements.

"Fotos" today stars the vice president.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

SANCHEZ: Vice President Joe Biden appears to be at odds with General McChrystal and other who say that we need more troops. Not fewer in Afghanistan. Should he put his money where his mouth is and resign as a matter of principle?

Well, that seems to be what Arianna Huffington has been outspoken enough to say in her opinion that the U.S. should pull out of Afghanistan or he should resign. Now that differs from the prevailing position of the White House at this moment. Arianna Huffington says that the vice president should resign over that difference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUFFINGTON: That's the reason why I think that Joe Biden should resign because he is against the escalation of the war.

LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE" HOST: According to "Newsweek."

HUFFINGTON: According to "Newsweek," according to multiple sources, and this is the moment to act. If the president decides to escalate, on top of the 21,000 troops that he's already sent to Afghanistan since he became president, after eight years, after no clear exit strategy, after no clear understanding of what our mission is there, since only 100 al Qaeda members are left there according to General Jones himself, the majority have moved to Pakistan, this is the moment for the vice president to actually do something bold and courageous, and resign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Heck of a thing to say. We'll follow it.

We've all heard of fire and brimstone preachers but this takes it to a whole new level. Watch this guy. He's a German priest. He's using fire-eating routines in a bid to attract more followers to his church. He's going to do it for you here, folks, not one side but both. How has he do, I don't know.

Note to parishioners: If you stay in the front row when this guy gives his homily may not be a good idea. Smile away.

Also, finally, Melbourne, Australia -- watch the mother with the baby stroller there. She takes her hand off the stroller for a moment and it flips onto the train track. Now, the mother watches as a train hits the stroller with her baby inside and pushes it nearly 100 feet before coming to a stop. Guess what -- the baby perfectly fine. No biggie. They say the worst was maybe a tiny little bump on the head. Paramedics say that the fact that the baby was strapped into the shoulder probably saved it's life.

Wow. That is "Fotos" and time to dance.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERENCE MCKAY, GROOM: It's disheartening. Seriously, you know, it's 2009 and we're still dealing with a form of racism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It's -- a Louisiana couple is told that they can't get married because one of them is black and the other one is not. Soledad O'Brien is going to join me with her own insight on this and she has a lot to say about this, folks. So, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 10:00 a.m. in San Diego, and Sharon Howell was just arriving on a flight from Atlanta. But she's not here for vacation, she's heading south to Tijuana to have laparoscopic banding obesity surgery.

SHARON HOWELL, BARIATRIC TOURIST: Well, I attempted to have the surgery back in the States and the insurance company made it extremely difficult.

GUPTA: So, Sharon decided to become a medical tourist.

HOWELL: We all looked up the facility, the physician -- I saw that he was highly credentialed.

GUPTA: Her experience so far...

HOWELL: Incredible.

GUPTA: And the price tag, about $6,000. That's less than a third of the cost in the United States without insurance.

PAULO YBERRI, DIRECTOR, HOSPITAL ANGELES TIJUANA: It's a different economy, different cost structure, and insurance costs for the facilities for the doctors. So, a bunch of different factors that if you add them up, sum up to a lower cost but it does not in any way affect the standards of quality.

GUPTA: But there can be risks when seeking care abroad, so says Emory University's Dr. John Sweeney.

DR. JOHN SWEENEY, CHIEF OF BARIATRIC SURGERY, EMORY UNIVERSITY: But the issue is the long-term follow-up and continuity of care that are -- is going to be difficult to achieve.

GUPTA: Also, it is important to research the types of certifications both the hospital and the surgeon hold, and patients should be prepared to pay out of pocket for complications that may arise once they return home. Those who receive poor or damaging treatment abroad often have no legal recourse, but Sweeney does note, just because a hospital is outside U.S. borders doesn't mean it's bad.

SWEENEY: We tend to be very close-minded and not realize, that hey, there's countries outside of the United States that do this as well as we do or better.

GUPTA: As for Sharon, she says all the travel has been worth the cost savings.

HOWELL: I mean, I work at a hospital institution, and this is very well-run.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. We're in New York City today where I'll be hosting "THE CAMPBELL BROWN SHOW" tonight at 8:00.

I want to take you through a story now. You're in love with somebody. You're a man and she's a woman or vice versa.

And you decide that you love them so much that you want to spend the rest of your life with them because they are just fantastic. So you go to the building, the official building where the justice of the peace is and you stand before a judge and you say, "Your Honor, I want to spend the rest of my life with this woman," and the justice of the peace looks back at you and he says, "No, I won't marry you to her," and you say, "Why?" And he seems to indicate that it's because you're black and she's white, or you're white and she's black, or you're Hispanic and she's non-Hispanic.

Could that happen in America today? It did. It's in a place called Hammond, Louisiana.

I want you to watch this report by David Spunt of WAFB.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID SPUNT, WAFB REPORTER (voice-over): Hammond resident Terence McKay says he's still in shock that his dream wedding turned into a racial nightmare.

TERENCE MCKAY, GROOM: It's disheartening. Seriously, you know, it's 2009 and we're still dealing with a form of racism.

SPUNT: Terence and the love of his life Beth say they have been looking forward to getting married for a long time. When they called Keith Bardwell, a local justice of the peace with more than 30 years experience, he said no way.

MCKAY: He's saying 99 percent of it wound up in divorce. What -- how many people get married winds up in divorce, you know, white or black?

SPUNT: We spoke with Bardwell by phone after he declined to go on camera, and he told us, quote, "I stand by my decision and it is my right not to marry an interracial couple. It's wrong," end quote.

Terence McKay agrees. Something is wrong in this situation.

MCKAY: It's unethical to me because he's an elected official. He cannot do that.

SPUNT: According to the Louisiana Judicial Code of Conduct, "A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice."

After being denied by Bardwell, the couple came here and was married in this room by another justice of the peace Terri Crosby.

TERRI CROSBY, JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: I consider performing a marriage a privilege actually given to me by the attorney general of the state of Louisiana.

SPUNT: When asked what he would like to say to Keith Bardwell?

MCKAY: Good luck. You know, all I can say, I may not wish him the best, I don't wish -- I don't wish him any harm, but, you know, he was wrong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Seems like a heck of a thing to say, right? I mean, I am an Hispanic and I married an green-eyed blond from Georgia. My colleague Soledad O'Brien is weighing into this with us because she, too, is personally affected by this story.

Stay right there. Soledad is going to talk to me when I come back. I'm going to get a break in. Go.

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SANCHEZ: Soledad O'Brien is good enough to join us now. She's my colleague and my friend. She and I have a lot in common as a matter of fact. We talk about a lot of thins. We were on the air talking today on a radio station out in L.A.

But you know what's interesting about Soledad? Soledad O'Brien's mom is like mine, Cuban, except she's also black, right, and your father and your -- where was your father from?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: My dad is Australian and he's white.

SANCHEZ: So -- and you did pretty good by them, didn't you?

O'BRIEN: Yes, we turned out all right. I've got five brothers and sisters.

You know, the truth is this judge, and you saw that your piece ended with this young man saying good luck. What he should have said is, "See you in court," because the judge obviously cannot do that. The Supreme Court in 1967 overturned the ban on interracial marriages. In fact, my parents way back when were asked to be part of that case, and they turned it down. My dad said, he never would have had kids because it was a big, long obviously case and (INAUDIBLE) family.

So, you know, I think the judge's tenure is going to be very short.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know what's interesting, though, is you could still find state statutes that would allow something like this to happen. But I think the point that you're making is there's a federal statute that trumps all of those, right?

O'BRIEN: Yes, the Supreme Court ruled on it, 1967. It was overturned. It's done.

SANCHEZ: What about -- what about...

O'BRIEN: Move on, people. Black people and white people get to get married. That's the rule.

SANCHEZ: As a matter of fact, one would think that the idea of staying within your own is probably not something that's all that healthy all the time, right?

O'BRIEN: I just think it's...

SANCHEZ: Diversity.

O'BRIEN: ... bizarre for a judge to feel that his personal opinion gets to weigh in in this kind of a case. He gets to decide who gets married and who does not.

And plus, his whole theory behind it makes no sense. If you were going to marry people by the numbers, percentages of how likely their marriage is to succeed, what you discover is that most marriages fail, 50 percent right? Half and half.

SANCHEZ: Yes, right. Black, white, white-white, white-black.

O'BRIEN: So, then you wouldn't marry a lot of people.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And it doesn't matter. I mean, in the end, though, when you watch this situation, how shocked, how surprised are you? You've done "Black in America." You've done "Latino in America." You've seen the good, the bad and the ugly -- with 30 seconds left in this show -- does that shock you?

O'BRIEN: I'm disappointed and, you know, look what the couple did. They went somewhere else and got married -- as my parents did. They couldn't get married in Maryland, they drove to D.C., got hitched, had six kids -- all of us did just fine.

I hope that this family, this couple that's gotten married will know that their biracial children will be smart, healthy, happy -- and in America, that's more and more often looks like them.

SANCHEZ: You go, Soledad. Thanks to you. We'll see you again later, OK?

O'BRIEN: You bet. Thanks.

SANCHEZ: And now to my colleague Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf in "THE SITUATION ROOM."