Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

Decision on Afghanistan; Obama's Marching Orders; Swine Flu Dangers; More Trouble for Tiger Woods; Manhunt

Aired November 30, 2009 - 19:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, President Obama will finally announce his new battle plan, a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the world needs to hear is that he's going to commit the number of troops necessary and he's going to accomplish the task, accomplish the mission of keeping the American people safe.

HILL: But that may be a tough sell, considering the majority of Americans and many in his own party oppose the eight-year war.

The manhunt is on. Four Washington police officers executed in cold blood. The suspect has an incredibly long rap sheet full of violent crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to keep them locked up. If they want to rehabilitate them, you can rehabilitate them, but you rehabilitate them in prison where they're supposed to be.

HILL: So why is this man walking the streets?

And it's the hazard Tiger Woods can't seem to find his way out of, the bizarre early-morning car crash and the rampant rumors surrounding it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the last thing in the world that Tiger Woods really wants to deal with, sort of tabloids and rumors, things that go beyond his control.

HILL: The world's best golfer is known for being incredibly controlled and always doing the right thing. So is there more to this story?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN TONIGHT live from New York. Here now Erica Hill.

HILL: And thanks for being with us this evening. Just over 24 hours until the long-awaited official announcement. But President Obama is already sharing his new strategy for Afghanistan with key political and military figures. The president will make his case for a major escalation of the war tomorrow night from West Point.

The centerpiece of his plan, more than 30,000 additional troops, that's on top of the nearly 68,000 Americans currently serving in Afghanistan. NATO will also be called on to commit more forces. But serious questions remain about the plan and about public support. It is weak at this point for the war, a majority of Americans against it and Democrats now talking about a controversial war tax to help pay for it. Ed Henry has a preview of what could be a defining moment in the Obama presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the eve of a monumental speech from the president, he huddled privately with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (ph) who has about 1,500 troops in Afghanistan and placed calls to the leaders of Italy, France, Russia, Great Britain and Denmark, all aimed at showing the war is not just a bottomless bit for the U.S.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not an open-ended commitment. That we are there to partner with the Afghans, to train the Afghan national security forces.

HENRY: But senior officials say the president will send about 30,000 more U.S. troops while it's unclear how many new troops allies will send and how quickly Afghanistan can stand on its own.

SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: The key element here is not just more troops. The key element is shifting the operations to the Afghanis and if that can be done, then I would support the president.

HENRY: In a CNN interview this month, the president said he will focus on an end game. But it was telling he hedged on whether President Hamid Karzai is a reliable partner.

(on camera): Do you trust President Karzai?

BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know I think that President Karzai has served his country in important ways. He has some strengths, but he's got some weaknesses.

HENRY (voice-over): And how will the president pay for his second escalation of the war? Powerful Democrat David Obey is turning up the heat on Mr. Obama by pushing a war tax to fund the new troops.

REP. DAVID OBEY (D-WI), HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS CHMN.: I just think that if this war is important enough to engage in long-term, it's important enough to pay for.

HENRY: An issue the White House will not take a position on.

(on camera): (INAUDIBLE) will it be a new tax or will it be spending cuts?

GIBBS: Well again I think those discussions, once the president has a policy and can put a price tag on it I think you'll see those more in earnest.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HENRY: Now Mr. Obama is not going to be able to duck this cost issue for long. David Obey and other top lawmakers in both parties will be here at the White House tomorrow afternoon just hours before the president's dramatic speech to the nation. They'll be asking him all kinds of tough questions including how he's going to pay for all this, especially at a time when the nation right now is in $14 trillion in debt -- Erica.

HILL: Keeps growing, doesn't it? Ed, one more question, just something that Robert Gibbs said at the very end there that you had in your piece, he said once the president has a policy -- for folks watching at home, I know we're going to learn more tomorrow, but is there not something more concrete to this plan besides the 30,000 troops we're hearing about? Is there still a lot that needs to be ironed out besides the cost?

HENRY: Yes, there are a lot of details that need to be filled in. For example, I mean how quickly some of these troops will be there and what kind of conditions or benchmarks, one of those buzz words we heard in the Bush administration for Iraq, they're now promising benchmarks as well, that the Karzai government in Afghanistan is going to have to reach in order for more troops to be sent.

So they're not going to get 30,000 up front. And so that could obviously affect the costs, how quickly those troops are actually brought in and if the Karzai government doesn't shape up, the White House could try at least to use the stick of saying, we're not going to send more troops. However, obviously the U.S. is the one carrying the biggest burden there in Afghanistan and it would be difficult for us to just say we're not going to send more troops after committing them, so there's a lot more questions that need to be answered -- Erica.

HILL: Many to be answered -- Ed Henry, good to have you here tonight, thanks.

HENRY: Thanks Erica.

HILL: Well as we mentioned, top military leaders did receive official word of the troop increases over the weekend. More than 30,000 Americans expected to be deployed, but how exactly will those beefed- up forces make a difference when it comes to fighting the Taliban? With a closer look at that, here's Chris Lawrence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Most of the new combat forces will be sent south to help shrink the huge battle spaces troops are trying to cover in places like Kandahar province.

CPL. JIMMY PARKER, 117TH INFANTRY: We need the help down here. Even though (INAUDIBLE) our own we need more forces down here.

(SOUNDS)

LAWRENCE: NATO has nearly 37,000 troops in southern Afghanistan, more than the rest of the country combined. But officials admit it hasn't been enough manpower to remove the Taliban from parts of Helmand province and other areas.

SPC. BRIAN SCHOENBECK, 117TH INFANTRY: More infantry, get another battalion or brigade out here to help us out.

LAWRENCE: But defense officials says the U.S. Marines will nearly double their numbers there with 1,000 expected to deploy in late December and 8,000 more over the next few months. Troops say it will allow them to get to know Afghans in their area, which could encourage more of them to cooperate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To give us new information if they have anything about where the Taliban are and what they're doing.

LAWRENCE: Roadside bombs kill more troops in Afghanistan than any amount of enemy artillery. And a key mission for new troops would be putting more eyes on Highway One, a road known as IED alley.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

LAWRENCE: The goal is to catch insurgents planting bombs and then replanting them after route clearance teams go through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to make sure that the routes are -- stay cleared.

LAWRENCE: The Obama administration also emphasizes quickly increasing the size of Afghan forces, nearly 40,000 more soldiers and nearly 70,000 more Afghan police in the next year. That's why the U.S. troop increase will include thousands of additional trainers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull it out.

LAWRENCE: The key will be the trainers' backgrounds and how experienced they are in actual police work. Right now, units like the 82nd Airborne are training Afghani police. But combat paratroopers are no experts in evidence collection or investigations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the guys don't have that skill set, so we're working now to try to get more law enforcement professionals attached to us.

LAWRENCE (on camera): The Afghan Army and police just got a pay raise last week. In U.S. dollars, they're now making about $165 a month. We'll have to see if that solves some of the problems, not only with recruiting but retention because it will be impossible to meet these goals with the number of officers that quit.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: And we will have much more on both Afghanistan and President Obama's new war strategy coming up a bit later in the broadcast. I'll be joined by an award winning journalist and leading expert on Afghanistan for more on that decision.

And just a reminder, CNN's special live coverage of President Obama's address to the nation, "Decision Afghanistan", begins right here on CNN at 7:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night. Again, it is live from West Point and it is live right here for you on CNN.

There is growing international outrage over Iran's plan to greatly expand its nuclear program. Leading Western powers are considering new sanctions after Iran defiantly vowed to build 10 more nuclear plants. The Iranian threat follows a resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency condemning Iran for building a second secret nuclear facility. Iran is widely suspected of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge it continues to deny.

A bitterly divided Senate today beginning debate on an $848 billion health care Bill -- Democratic leaders are desperately trying to cling to the 60 votes needed to move that measure ahead, but differences over issues like abortion funding and a public option could lead some Democrats to pull their support. Plus a Congressional Budget Office report adding to the confusion today, the report said the bill would raise insurance premiums for many but that federal subsidies would defray some of those higher costs.

From the national health care debate to the international swine flu outbreak now, new details tonight about the effectiveness of certain medical tests used to diagnose the H1N1 virus. Elizabeth Cohen reports on one family that found out the hard way, relying solely on those tests cannot only be dangerous but potentially fatal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jessica Samples (ph) was captain of her high school swim team, a perfectly healthy 15-year-old girl until H1N1.

(on camera): So on September 27th, Jessica's been feeling sick but not horrifically sick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

COHEN: And so you took her to the urgent care center?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

COHEN: And what did they tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was to rest for two days, 48 hours, to stay out of school for 48 hours, drink plenty of fluids.

COHEN: So the next day, September 28th...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a really bad cough. And I just -- I just wanted to be safe than sorry.

COHEN: So you brought her for the second time to go see doctors in less than 24 hours? (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

COHEN (voice-over): Once again, doctors sent Jessica home.

(on camera): September 29th, this is now day three, she's already been to the urgent care center, she's been to the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

COHEN: But you took her in a third time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said her hands and feet were numb. I knew something was wrong. I didn't know what, but I knew something was wrong.

COHEN: How would you describe the speed of it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In zero to 60, in 10 seconds. That's how fast it went down.

COHEN (voice-over): After being told twice to go home, this is how Jessica spent the next two weeks, fighting for her life in the intensive care unit at Cook Children's Medical Center (ph) in Fort Worth, Texas. The virus had gone to her heart; her heart couldn't function on its own. Dr. Linda Thompson (ph) was one of the first doctors to treat Jessica.

(on camera): Sounds like when she got here her heart was barely beating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her heart was trying to beat but it just wasn't being filled with blood.

COHEN: This machine did the work that her heart and lungs couldn't do anymore?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

COHEN (voice-over): Three times Jessica almost died. But in the end, it was maternal instinct that saved her life.

(on camera): So if Jessica's mother had waited another 12 hours, another 24 hours before bringing her back in, would Jessica have survived?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think we would have pulled her through.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first prayer when she woke up was, thank you, God, for giving me a second chance with her, something that a few days before I didn't think I was going to have.

COHEN: Your mom really saved you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. COHEN: That's pretty amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She asked (INAUDIBLE) mom, did I almost die? She didn't even comprehend how sick she's been.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Just wild to think what that family went through. So let's say, Elizabeth, this happens to another family. They take their child to the doctor. They have this test and perhaps it comes back negative. What do you say? Where do you go from there?

COHEN: Right. What do you do when you're in the emergency room and the doctors say look, your child has H1N1 flu, but don't worry about it or maybe they don't have the flu -- whatever -- don't worry about it. Your child will be fine. If you truly feel like your child is going downhill fast, you need to be specific with the doctor. Say, I know my child the best, she's really going down hill and be specific. If she's lethargic, say she's lethargic. In the case of the Samples' (ph) family, she was having trouble feeling her fingers and toes. Be specific and get someone to pay attention to you and if you can't, ask to speak to another doctor.

HILL: So numbness, that lethargy you mention, both symptoms to look for. How heavily do you know are doctors really relying on this test? I know both my doctor and even my son's pediatrician has said look, we don't really trust the test.

COHEN: Right and that's a smart pediatrician. Because if flu tests come back negative, it really doesn't mean that much because we've been told that these flu tests can be negative half the time -- negative and half the time they're wrong. Someone actually does have the flu. So if a flu test comes back negative, the rapid kind they do in the doctor's office or the emergency room, question the results of that test.

HILL: Never stop trusting that gut instinct as a parent...

COHEN: That's right.

HILL: Elizabeth...

COHEN: It really works. It really does.

HILL: It's true. Thanks so much.

COHEN: Thank you.

HILL: Just ahead, four cops murdered in Washington State and now a manhunt for the suspect who many believe should never have been on the street in the first place.

Plus, new pictures tonight of Tiger's strange early-morning car crash -- will these photos put to rest any of the rumors and the speculation?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Breaking news tonight, Tiger Woods ditching his own golf tournament this week as new photos of his bizarre early-morning car crash surface online. Those photos from celebrity gossip site TMZ.com raising more questions about the accident as Woods refuses to speak to police for a third straight day. But he did take to his Web site pleading for privacy. Susan Candiotti has the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First sign of fallout from Tiger's accident turmoil, Woods is pulling the plug on a news conference at his charity tournament in California Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're listening to lawyers and agents and not listening to people that have ever dealt with the media.

CANDIOTTI: And his agent says Woods won't be playing either. A statement on his Web site says he's too sick to swing a club in competition the rest of this year. Woods says "I'm extremely disappointed that I will not be at my tournament this week." Woods hasn't been seen in public since he rammed his Cadillac SUV into a fire hydrant and then a tree coming out of his driveway last week at 2:30 in the morning. A neighbor called 911. But if he recognized Woods, he didn't say so.

911 OPERATOR: Is he unconscious?

CALLER: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: OK, are you able to tell if he is breathing?

CALLER: No, I can't tell right now.

CANDIOTTI: Investigators were turned away three times from Woods' home over the weekend. By law, he didn't have to talk with investigators and he didn't. Instead, the golfing phenom (ph) issued a statement on his Web site accepting responsibility but gave no details about what happened that night. A public relations consultant says Woods has a right to privacy but adds silence may not be the best idea.

KEN SUNSHINE, PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT: Cooperate when legitimate questions are being asked. You don't have to give details of anything. You should never have to give details about your personal life. But to stonewall and clam up is an ingredient to more attention.

CANDIOTTI: It's getting a lot of attention on Orlando talk radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Tiger is not talking because he does not know how to handle it. He has never been in any type of trouble like this before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tiger's going to roll through it and you know it will wash off his back. CANDIOTTI: On the line, potentially millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships. Today, Gatorade, Nike Golf and Gillette were among those supporting him. On his Web site, Woods called rumors circulating about what happened malicious and unfounded. The "National Enquirer" reported he's allegedly seeing another woman. She told The Associated Press it's not true.

SUNSHINE: The media doesn't go away in these situations. When you're that famous, they're only going to have more interest if there's anything scandalous or potentially scandalous involved.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Adding to the mix, investigators say they're deciding whether to subpoena Woods' medical records to document his injuries in order to wrap up the investigation.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Windermere, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: An alleged mistress, an open police investigation and millions of dollars in endorsement deals on the line, the troubles mounting by the minute, so stay with us. We'll have more on the personal, legal and professional hurdles plaguing this golf superstar. We're joined later in the hour by CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom and public relations expert Michael Levine (ph).

Meantime, Serena Williams grand slam freak-out netting a record- breaking fine, the tennis start today slapped with more than $82,000 in penalties for her profanity-laced outburst at the U.S. Open in September, calling the tirade, quote, "a major offense", grand slam officials threatened to bar Williams from future U.S. Opens if she acts out again. The punishment is in addition to a $10,000 fine levied (ph) by the U.S. Tennis Association back in September.

Just ahead, President Obama set to announce his strategy for the war in Afghanistan. Is sending more troops the answer? Our panel of experts weighs in.

Plus a man accused of brutally murdering four police officers remains on the loose tonight. As the manhunt continues, there are new questions as to why the suspect wasn't already locked up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: A manhunt is under way tonight for a suspect in the brutal murder of four police officers in Washington State. Police believe Maurice Clemmons ambushed the officers in a coffee shop early Sunday morning, opening fire without warning. Clemmons fled the scene. Police are now still trying to track him down and also trying to put together exactly what happened. Dan Simon has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The suspect, Maurice Clemmons lived on a quiet Tacoma street. But neighbors say he seemed troubled and paranoid. We counted at least seven surveillance cameras around his property. There was an incident here last May when neighbors say Clemmons vandalized several homes using baseball-sized rocks to smash windows. Paula Chalmers (ph) considered herself a friend of Clemmons but stopped associating with him after she came back from a vacation and saw something strange.

PAULA CHALMERS, NEIGHBOR: Everybody's windows were boarded up. And I couldn't believe -- I'm like, what happened in our neighborhood while we were gone? And I guess he had picked up big rocks and thrown them through the windows in the middle of daylight, so I said that's really weird because that doesn't seem like his character to do that.

SIMON (on camera): One neighbor told us that Clemmons not only threw a rock through his window, but also at him, breaking his hand. He says Clemmons was arrested and the case was supposed to go to trial in January. That neighbor does not want to go on camera in fear of retribution.

(SOUNDS)

SIMON (voice-over): Authorities say the night before the coffee house shootings, Clemmons seemed angry, spouting off about killing police officers.

DET. ED TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY WASHINGTON SHERIFF'S DEPT.: He made some comments the night before to watch the news because he is going to go kill a bunch of cops. Those people did not report that until after the incident occurred. So we believe that he was just after police officers and unfortunately they were the four that were in that coffee shop when he went by and saw that they were there.

SIMON: The four officers had gathered prior to their shifts at the Forza Coffee Shop (ph), which happens to be owned by a former police officer. He raced to the scene upon hearing the news.

BRAD CARPENTER, CEO, FORZA COFFEE: And the suspect apparently turned and fired upon two of them. A third tried to return fire and a fourth heroically, although wounded, forced the guy outside the store and probably saved the lives of our staff and customers.

SIMON: The victims, 39-year-old Sergeant Mark Renninger, 37-year-old officer Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold, a 40-year-old officer, and 42- year-old officer Greg Richards. Each had numerous years of experience and had nine children between them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four outstanding people who died simply because they're standing in front of harm's way for us, it's just senseless.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON: Authorities meanwhile reporting tonight that they found a pick-up truck belonging to Maurice Clemmons. That pick-up truck, they say, has blood in it, evidence they believe links him to the murders. Right now his whereabouts still unknown, there's a $125,000 award for information that leads police to his whereabouts -- Erica.

HILL: Dan Simon live for us tonight -- Dan, thanks. Now this is not the first time Maurice Clemmons has been involved in a crime. In fact he's done three stints in jail and was connected to crimes including robbery, assault and child rape -- despite all of that though he has repeatedly been released early -- Mary Snow now with this piece of the puzzle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fellow police officers in Washington want to know why the suspect in the killing of four police officers was free given his long criminal record.

BRIAN WURTS, LAKEWOOD POLICE INDEPENDENT GUILD: I can't believe he was out on the street. If what is true, I think this country needs to get together and figure out why these people are out.

SNOW: Maurice Clemmons' criminal record began in Arkansas. Between 1989 and '90, he was arrested on eight felony counts including aggravated robbery and possession of a firearm. He was convicted and sentenced to 108 years in prison. In 2000, he sought clemency saying he was a changed man. He wrote to then Governor Mike Huckabee that he was a teen who had just moved to Arkansas from Seattle, adding he fell in with the wrong crowd and thus began a seven-month crime spree which led him to prison. Huckabee granted clemency, making Clemmons eligible for parole. Prosecuting attorney Larry Jegley says he objected repeatedly at the time.

LARRY JEGLEY, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY PULASKI COUNTY, ARK.: I think the clemency power was overused by our former governor. And I think that this is a bitter harvest that we're reaping because of it.

SNOW: Clemmons returned to prison again in Arkansas in 2001 but was paroled in 2004 and then moved to Washington State. There authorities say he faces charges in the assault of a police officer and the rape of a child. He was released on bond just last week. Huckabee addressed the topic of Clemmons on his daily radio commentary.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Should he be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State.

SNOW: A spokesman for Huckabee declined our request for an interview. Huckabee is a commentator for FOX and also defended his role on FOX Radio.

HUCKABEE: If I had known nine years ago, looked into the future, would I have acted favorably upon the parole board's recommendation -- of course not.

SNOW: This isn't the first time Huckabee faced criticism about Arkansas prisoners being released. During the 2008 campaign, he was questioned about the release of Wayne DuMond (ph), a convicted rapist who later raped and murdered a Missouri woman. While Huckabee wrote to DuMond (ph) saying he hoped he would get out of prison, he denied pushing the parole board for his release. (on camera): On Sunday, just hours before Clemmons was named the suspect, the 2008 Republican presidential hopeful played down chances that he would run for president again. But political watchers say should he run this case could haunt him. And already there are comparisons being made to the candidacy of Michael Dukakis back in 1988 and the Willie Horton (ph) ads that helped sink that candidacy. Horton committed rape and robbery while released from prison on a furlough program in Massachusetts.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Just ahead President Obama set to unveil his strategy for U.S. policy in Afghanistan tomorrow night, but we have a preview tonight for you of what to expect. We're joined by two leading experts.

Plus, is this our new reality, desperate attempts to find fame and fortune on reality TV shows, what it says about our culture. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Final preparations are under way at West Point tonight where President Obama tomorrow will unveil his long- anticipated strategy for Afghanistan to the nation. We do have some details tonight. Joining me to hash those out, Matt Waldman. He is fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was the head of policy and advocacy in Afghanistan for the past 2 1/2 years. And here in New York, Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor at the New Yorker Magazine and also in addition to being an award winning journalist, the author of "Obamanos, the Birth of a New Political Era."

Good to have both of you with us tonight. As we know, the president is planning to outline the strategy for Afghanistan tomorrow. We did get a little taste from press secretary Robert Gibbs today. I want to take a quick listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What the president has to do clearly with the American people is let them know we have what's need there to accomplish what that mission is rather than somehow assuming that we could do that with half of what is there now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: A lot of words there but basically saying, we're going to have these troops and this is going to help us accomplish that end game. Is this the right strategy for the president to move forward with an end game in Afghanistan?

HENDRIK HERTZBERG, SENIOR EDITOR, THE NEW YORKER: Like a lot of people, I think I'm nervous about it because a lot of my instincts say this is a quagmire we shouldn't get into. But this is -- Obama ran on this. He's not saying anything different now than he said during the campaign. And I trust his good faith and the process he's gone through, really thinking hard about this. That's something new in the executive branch of the government and we should welcome it.

HILL: That's something the people have had a little bit of trouble with because it seems like it has taken so long, not necessarily that it's a bad thing for any official to think something through, but that it's seemingly taken such a long time for the president to get to this point where he says, I have the beginnings of a plan and it involves a number. Did it take too long?

HERTZBERG: That remains to be seen. I don't think it took too long. Of course, as a political matter because it opened him up to this kind of criticism, that it was bad imagery, then it may have been bad politically. But substantively, I think it makes sense to look hard at a commitment like this, look really hard at it.

HILL: Is this the right commitment we're seeing? 30,000 additional troop, obviously not all at once. But is that going to be what's needed in Afghanistan?

MATT WALDMAN, FELLOW, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF OGVT.: I think to some extent the issue of the exact number of troops is a distraction from some of the real problems that are behind the insurgency in Afghanistan. I think particularly the problems of governance that we've seen so starkly over the last few months with the fraudulent election and the problems the Afghans face on a daily basis in their villages. I think we're going to have to have a policy that addresses those. Of course, that's not the primary job of the military. I think we're going to have to see much greater emphasis on the civilian dimensions of this strategy.

HILL: Do you think that's something, though, that is actually being thought about by the white house? Is that something that would ultimately be a part of the strategy for Afghanistan, because the focus right now seems to be solely on troops?

WALDMAN: Well, I certainly hope it is. And indeed, I think we have to get away from looking at this, in a sense, like a machine that you put more troops in one end and you get progress, you get development and peace coming out the other end. This is a very, very complex environment. And certainly troops are necessary to stabilize the situation. But there's a limit to what they can achieve. And really, if we're looking for stability, we have to see political reform. We've got to see better government. And we've got to see means of promoting development that are actually effective.

HILL: When you're talking about Afghanistan, though, which is a nation as we know made up of so many different tribes who for hundreds and even thousands of years never really got along in the first place. Trying to bring all of them together under one government that works together, Rick, is that -- is it even feasible, realistically?

HERTZBERG: I'm not sure that Obama's setting out to do that. Afghanistan has never really had a central government in the way that we think of it. But there is some national feeling. The Afghanis do think of themselves in Afghanis in a ways that Iraqis less so think of themselves as Iraqis. And the Taliban is not popular there. This situation isn't a copy of either Iraq or Vietnam.

HILL: This could be, then, do you think a step even sending in these troops -- as Matt mentioned, other things need to be done. But getting the troops in there to hopefully stabilize some of the areas in the south and southeastern provinces?

HERTZBERG: If it's part of a much bigger effort along the lines that Matt is talking about, there is no military solution to this problem. And maybe there's a military role here. But a solution cannot come from military force in this situation.

HILL: For Americans at home, as we've mentioned, support for the war is obviously waning. A number of Americans -- it continues to drop. The president said last year, as soon as you hear my plan, Americans are going to come back and support this. Matt what kind of benchmarks are needed to show real progress in Afghanistan?

WALDMAN: I think on the one hand, you need benchmarks in terms of physical security of Afghans. So for that, we're going to need major efforts to reform the police, which their conduct which is very often to extort bribes from local people, sometimes abusive behavior. They're going to have to step up to the plate and actually conduct themselves in a way which gains the support of the Afghans and they're going to have to protect people in communities. On the other hand, we need benchmarks in terms of effective aid. We've seen a lot of money has gone to the big contracting companies and indeed local Afghan contractors, some who can make, 50%, 60% on a single contract. That can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. So I think benchmarks there, too, in terms of what's happening in development.

HILL: And in terms we should mention Chris Lawrence pointed out in his piece, as many as 4,000 troops could be sent in solely as trainers for Afghan police. It will be interesting to see how that works out. Matt Waldman, Hendrik Hertzberg, appreciate your insight tonight.

Still ahead, trouble for Tiger. Dodging police questions about his auto accident. A no show at his own golf tournament later this week. What is next for the scandal plagued golf star?

And desperate or perhaps delusional? Reality show wannabes risking it all for their 15 minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: New developments tonight in the investigation into the white house gate crashers. Secret service agents have now interviewed Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the couple who snuck into the white house state dinner last week. Charges are still pending but the couple's place among reality show wannabes is firmly established at this point. A growing horde of Americans willing to do seemingly anything to get fame. Lisa Sylvester has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaele and Tareq Salahi love a camera. The couple is auditioning to be on the cable television show "The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C." The white house says the couple was not invited to a state dinner. Their alleged crashing of the "a" list event has created a lot of buzz, even a mention during the white house press briefing.

GIBBS: I loved that we've gone from Afghanistan to "The Real Housewives of D.C."

SYLVESTER: The Salahis are not the first to make front-page news with their reality TV ambitions. Remember the parents of the so-called balloon boy? They pleaded guilty to the hoax as a way to sell their reality show idea. Unscripted reality TV shows have exploded in the last decade. They're cheaper to produce than real drama and bring high ratings. One-fourth of all primetime broadcast programs are reality shows. For the wanna be stars, it's instant money and fame. According to the executive news editor of "E!", reality TV stars can make on the low end, $1,000 to $2,000 an episode up to $50,000 to $100,000 an episode. The competition is fierce.

KEN BAKER, EXECUTIVE NEWS EDITOR, E!: You have so many people willing to open up their lives and be on television because they want to be famous and they want to be rich. There's no shortage. In fact, I would say it's harder to get your own reality show than it is to, say, appear on a sit-com or a drama.

SYLVESTER: As for the Salahis, their lawyer states emphatically that they did not crash the white house state dinner. But they have yet to tell their side of the story. They may have been looking for a reality show, but the Salahis now face a harsh reality -- possible criminal charges.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: And here's an exclusive invitation the Salahis have received. This one is official and legitimate. They have been invited by the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee to testify on Thursday. No word from their lawyer if they plan to accept. Erica?

HILL: That would probably be a wise invitation to accept, I would guess, Lisa?

SYLVESTER: I think so. We haven't heard officially if they will. But when you've got somebody of Bennie Thompson's stature basically saying, I want to see you in the hot seat, they probably, I'm guessing, will appear. But again no official word, Erica.

HILL: All right. Well we will wait for that one. Lisa Sylvester, thanks.

From a couple risking all for the spotlight to a seasoned celebrity desperate to avoid it. Joining us now with more on the white house gate crashers and the growing Tiger Woods scandal, CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom and public relations expert Michael Levine. Good to have both of you with us tonight. We're going to take a little break from the Salahis for a moment and give them time to decide whether or not to accept that invitation. As we take a look at Tiger Woods, more developments of course today. The statement came out over the weekend on his website; for a third day now he has not spoken to Florida police. Michael is Tiger Woods who is notoriously private, likes to control his image and everything about it, is he handling this correctly?

MICHAEL LEVINE, PUBLIC RELATIONS EXPERT: In some ways, I think the statement was very well-crafted and quite appropriate. The concern I have is that it may have come about 24 hours too late. We live in a culture, I think, in which a rumor unanswered in 24 hours appears true. And it raises a cloud of suspicion. So I thought the statement was beautifully crafted. And I promise you it wasn't done on the back of an envelope in his underwear. He thought about this very carefully. Now we have these elements to the story that are just not predictable. We have, of course, a hospital police and Gloria Allred who can keep a story in the media quite exceptionally.

HILL: That's Lisa's mom you're talking about.

LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST: Hey, now.

LEVINE: I know that.

BLOOM: She has not spoken out on this story.

HILL: In the interest of full disclosure before we get to that point, your mother, Gloria Allred is now representing a woman who the "National Enquirer" alleged had an affair with Tiger. She has denied it. There is though a lot of speculation as to whether or not that may be playing a role here. Tiger Woods hasn't said anything official about it. Could that have anything to do with why he may not be speaking at this point to police in Florida?

BLOOM: Yeah, and Michael I love you but I'm going to take issue with your statement that Tiger Woods' press statement was terrific. I beg to differ. It seems like a real white-wash to me. He doesn't say anything about what happened before the incident and that's what all the speculation has been about. Was there a domestic violence incident? Did it arise, as some of the tabloids have suggested, because Tiger cheated on his wife and she got angry and they had some kind of altercation in the home? There's been a lot of speculation about that and he simply hasn't addressed it. Did she really use a golf club to break into his car in order to try to save him and yet he was found slumped over in the driver's seat? There are a lot of strange inconsistencies to this story. That's why this story is going to keep on going and going and it's going to keep on going. And, yes, my mother represents the woman who was alleged to have had an affair with Tiger Woods. All she said is no comment. All I can tell you is my mother would not be getting involved in a story to simply say no comment. If this woman wanted to continue to say she didn't have an affair and that's all she was going to do, why on earth would she want Gloria Allred as her attorney? So I think there will be more revealed. HILL: We'll look forward to hearing more about that. But in the interim, why we're waiting for that, let's take a look back. Take me back to when I comes to this police statement. Tiger is not required by Florida law to give it. But if he were to come out and speak to the police, obviously that could end up becoming public record. It could also clear up some of the questions that is you brought up. Should he be speaking to them?

BLOOM: That's a complicated question. Legally, of course he should not speak to the police because he's facing reckless driving charges. Anybody facing charges, criminal defense attorney 101 is you don't talk to the police because anything you say can and will be used against you. Florida has a very interesting law that applies here. That's the accident report privilege. If you talk to the police about a car accident, that can't be used against you. So legally he really would not be in jeopardy if he talked to the police about what happened before the incident, was he taking prescription medication, for example? What was the reason why he crashed into the fire hydrant and the tree? That would not be used against him. They'd have to have an independent witness to convict him of reckless driving. I don't think they're going to have that. his wife could be barred from testifying against him but here's the thing, Florida has the broadest sunshine laws in the state. Any government document, an e-mail to the governor down to a police report on the Tiger Woods case gets made public very, very quickly. Anything he says to the police is going to get written down in the police report, is going to be made public, maybe the police won't transcribe it exactly the way he would like with his P.R people. That's why he's not talking to the police and that's why he's going to continue to refuse to talk to the police.

HILL: Well there is certainly much more to comment. We're not done with it but we do need to move on to our next topic, which is these white house state dinner crashers. Michael, I'll let you tackle this one first. What's next for these folks? Obviously as we've learned they have been invited officially to testify on Thursday. I would imagine that's in their best interests.

LEVINE: Well, I would think it is. But prophecy is dubious business, particularly in the reality show arena. I can't imagine a scenario even my creative mind can't imagine a scenario in which they come out of this in a positive way. I think --

HILL: So they're not going to get their own show from this? Because there's so much speculation. This is exactly what they want.

LEVINE: That may be, but in a post-September 11th world, I don't think most people think this is appealing or funny. I think -- I cannot envision a scenario in which they come out with a TV show.

HILL: And yet Lisa, Michael brings up the seriousness of it especially in a post-9/11 world. You and I have talked about it a couple of times since it happened and you don't see it as serious as some people are making it out to be in terms of a security breach.

BLOOM: Yes I know and on my Facebook page and Twitter page people have taken me to task for it. I guess I just come from a long line of people, who dress up, look confident and walk in places we're not invited. That's what they did here. They got a picture taken with their own president and their own vice president. To me this is not a terrible, terrible story. Terrible things could have happened. The law looks at what did happen, not what could have happened. I don't see them even getting charged but p.s. Erica, I don't see them testifying before congress on Thursday. Why? Because charges are pending. Anything they say can and will be used against them. If they've lawyered up, I don't see them talking about the allegations, the facts of what happened. That could only be in their worst interest.

HILL: If I dare go down the road of prophecy, I do see us continuing to talk about this.

LEVINE: There you go.

BLOOM: It's a great story.

HILL: Lisa Bloom, Michael Levine, thank you both.

BLOOM: Thank you.

HILL: Coming up, Dubai's multibillion dollar debt crisis. Could it affect the economic recovery here in the U.S.? That story just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: The world's banks tonight are still trying to assess the impact of Dubai's credit crisis. Dubai World, the state-run investment company last week requested a six-month delay in payments on its roughly $60 billion of debt. Kitty Pilgrim tells us how Dubai's crisis could affect not only banks but the economy right here in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The illusion of prosperity, glittering towers and a palm-shaped island off of Dubai, Dubai's world current holdings in the United States include retailer Barney's New York and an interest in MGM Mirage in Las Vegas. Many Americans know Dubai World Group because of the national security controversy in 2006 when DP World, 77% owned by Dubai World, attempted to operate more than a dozen ports in the United States, a measure strenuously opposed by congress for national security reasons. The Dubai government has said the port operator is exempt from current restructuring but economist Alan Tonelson says the decision to block the deal looks better than ever.

ALAN TONELSON, U.S. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY COUNCIL: When we talk about letting foreign investment arms taking over critical U.S. assets and other pieces of the U.S. economy, we can run not only major security threats but we can run major financial threats as well.

PILGRIM: U.S. bank Citigroup is reported to have $1.9 billion exposure to Dubai World debt. Citi today did not return calls to confirm that figure. Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute is a financial analyst and author of the book "After the Fall, Saving Capitalism from Wall Street and Washington."

NICOLE GELINAS, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: The U.S. exposure should not be enough to cause the kind of crisis that we saw a year ago. As to what I think of the problem, this is not sovereign debt. This Dubai World is a state-owned entity but the state itself does not guarantee its debt.

PILGRIM: That may hurt international banks such as Standard Chartered, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclay's. International banks hold possibly up to half of the $60 billion debt of Dubai World. Last February, Dubai received a $10 billion bailout from the UAE central bank.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: What is still not known is what the ripple effect will be because of the overseas exposure to this new financial crisis as banking circles have been reminded repeatedly in the last year, the financial markets are global. Any disruption has far-reaching implications, even if U.S. entities are not directly exposed.

HILL: Kitty Pilgrim, thanks.

Just ahead at the top of the hour, Campbell Brown takes over. Hi Campbell.

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Erica. As we speak there is a manhunt under way for the man who killed four police officers in Washington State. That suspect was once doing 95 years in prison. Why was he walking around free?

Plus, the white house party crashers called to testify now on Capitol Hill; tonight there's new information that the couple was corresponding with a pentagon official in an effort to get into the party. We have more new details on that story as well. Erica?

HILL: The story that never dies. Campbell thanks. Looking forward to it.

Still ahead, a former first daughter getting married. We'll tell you who when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Chelsea Clinton is getting hitched. A spokesman for former President Bill Clinton confirming that his daughter is engaged to marry her long-time boyfriend Mark Nevinsky Rumored to have married on Martha's Vineyard last July, the couple sent a Thanksgiving email assuring friends and family this time around, the rumors are true, noting they plan to tie the knot next summer. Best wishes to the both of them.

I'm Erica Hill. Thanks for spending part of your evening with us. Join us tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. on CNN Tonight..

Up next, "Campbell Brown."