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Congress Investigates White House Party Crashers; Tiger's Tangle

Aired December 3, 2009 - 15:00   ET



REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Unauthorized person gain access to the White House complex is about as far from vigilant as one can get.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A congressional committee hearing to which the Salahis were invited. But they didn't show. Maybe they should have been uninvited.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Just take a deep breath for one second. See? This happens with my son. He does the same thing.

SANCHEZ: Mike Huckabee fires back when confronted by CNN.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: As if that I could look into the future. I wish I could have. I wish I could have done that. But I don't know how anyone can do it.

SANCHEZ: The man who shot this video used to think global warming wasn't real. He's changed his mind. But leaked e-mails from prominent climate scientists tell a different story. You're going to hear both sides on your national conversation for Thursday, December 3, 2009.


SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. Let's get right to it with the next generation of news, a conversation, not a speech, and always your turn to get involved.

A developing story coming out of Washington right now. The United States Secret Service has suspended three of its employees, all three Secret Service employees for a serious breach at the White House. This breach that they are referring to is the one that allowed two alleged interlopers, these two interlopers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, to come face to face with the president of the United States.

It sounds as though the incident could cost these employees their jobs. I want you to listen closely now to Mark Sullivan. He is the head of the Secret Service and he was hauled this afternoon before of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK SULLIVAN, DIRECTOR, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: The individuals who have been identified have been put on administrative leave. And beyond that, I would prefer not to go further, but I will tell you that we are going to look at this, we're going to find out what the culpability was, and we will take the appropriate action.


SANCHEZ: There were Some tense moments during these hearings.

And, look, it sounds like they're gone. That was the head of the Secret Service committee. That's Mark Sullivan. He was there at this hearing. But guess who wasn't there? The Salahis, the couple that crashed the state dinner. They were invited, but they're not there.

Take a look at this video. There's the name placards. The name placards are up. The ones on the left and on the right have each of their names up. The couple were told that they should be there. They refused to show up and now it looks like they are going to be possibly subpoenaed.

Here's the question. How about Desiree Rogers? Is she going to be subpoenaed? She's also taking some of the heat for this mess-up. And she was asked to attend today's hearing. And she also refused to show up.

Frankly, I want to know why she didn't show. I think you should want to know why she didn't show.

Our Ed Henry is our senior White House correspondent. He's going to address that in just a little bit.

But, first, I want to bring in Representative Peter King of New York. I want to show you what he had to say today about Ms. Rogers.


REP. PETER KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER: I think it's wrong. I think it's stonewalling. I think it's an affront to our committee, because this was a bipartisan request, Mr. Chairman, a bipartisan request to the White House, which prides itself on being open, which prides itself on cooperation, but in this instance, they are stonewalling. And for our committee to work with the White House, there has to be an element of trust. They have breached that trust.


SANCHEZ: All right, Ed, those are strong words.

Is the White House stonewalling? Why aren't we hearing from Ms. Rogers?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think stonewalling may be a little strong now. We have got to see where the investigation goes here. But I think where they're vulnerable is where Peter King put his finger on it, that this is an administration that came to power saying they were going to be more open, more transparent. And the fact that the social secretary is not testifying doesn't seem to square with that.

The reason why she was not there today is, the White House is citing separation of powers, a long doctrine that basically throughout the years has been all about how, because of the different branches of government, that a White House, Democratic or Republican, couldn't operate if you had Congress hauling up officials testifying every day on different matters. And there needs to be that separate.

I think what Peter King was trying to make a point today about is the fact that the social secretary doesn't seem to be sort of the most important official at the White House, if you will. If this were the White House chief of staff, it were the national security adviser, you could see how separation of powers would be more clearly used here.

But for the social secretary to just come up and answer a few questions about why, for example, her staff was not at the gate, because that's the real issue -- it's clear the Secret Service made mistakes, as its own director pointed out.

But the problem for Desiree Rogers is that previous administrations, Democrats and Republicans, for these state dinners, used to have although one staffer from her office, that office, at the gate with the Secret Service to check names on the list.

And Peter King was saying flatly today that he thinks that if someone from that office had been at the gate, they might have caught the fact that the Salahis were not on the list.

Now, Robert Gibbs has insisted that's nonsense, has pushed back on that. But there it is.

SANCHEZ: Well, it almost sounds like they are saying that she was just an underling in this case and she's not going to have anything that they're going to want to hear.

I have got information that the Republicans would probably say refutes that. Let me bring something to you here. I'm going to bring this to the viewers, Ed, as well. I want to take you back now to this hearing this afternoon.

I want you to listen closely to a fascinating exchange. It's between the Washington, D.C., delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and the head of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan. This is Holmes Norton asking the head of the Secret Service about reported threats against the life of the president. This is interesting as well.


ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON, D.C. DELEGATE: It is well known and in the press over and over again that this president has received far more death threats than any president in the history of the United States, an alarming number of death threats.

I'm not going to ask you for the details on that. But here we had the first state dinner, not of just any old president, but of the first African-American president. Was there any attempt to increase security given all you know, which is much more than we know, about threats to this president of the United States?

SULLIVAN: Ma'am, no matter who the president is...

NORTON: I'm asking about this president. And my question is very specific. Given death threats to this president, was there any attempt to increase the security at this event, yes or no?

SULLIVAN: Ma'am, I can't talk about that.

I would be more -- number one, I will address the threats. I have heard a number out there that the threat is up by 400 percent. I'm not sure where that number...

NORTON: Is it up at all? We're not asking for the threat number.

SULLIVAN: Well, I would -- I think it can answer you, ma'am. It isn't at 400 percent. And I'm not sure where that number came from, but I can...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't hear, gentlemen.

NORTON: Please don't assign to me a number in my question. I just asked you if the threats were up. Are the threats up or not, Mr. Sullivan?

SULLIVAN: They are not. The threats right now in the inappropriate interest that we're seeing is the same level as it has been for the previous two presidents at this point.

NORTON: This is very comforting news.


SANCHEZ: Comforting, indeed. Did you hear that? That was the head of the U.S. Secret Service answering a question that we have been asking for months on this newscast. Are assassination threats against the president of the United States up 400 percent?

We have heard that number tossed around again and again. We have seen it written, we have asked the Secret Service. And they would not give us a direct answer as well. Today, they did.

The answer is no. Threats against this president are about the same, you heard, as they were for two immediate predecessors of this president. And, as you heard Delegate Norton say, that is comforting news.


GIBBS: People, people calm down. Just take a deep breath for one second. See? This happens with my son. He does the same thing.



GIBBS: I'm not.


SANCHEZ: All right. That's what happened when a reporter asked why a White House assistant was invited to the gala?

This goes back to the conversation I was having moments ago with Ed Henry. And I told you I was going to have more information on that. We do. We do. You want to set somebody off, by the way? Tell them to relax. Go ahead. Tell your husband or your wife today when you get home and she's having a conversation with you, to just take a deep breath.

Also, from now on, if you want to know what outrageous or newsworthy thing is being said on Twitter by famous people, we have got something for you. Every day, this is the place that you want to be. It's called Rick's List, where we check to see on social media, Twitter, for example, what people are saying. Today, what are people saying about Tiger, for example?


We're following two, Tiger Woods and Homeland Security. And we have a tweet from John Daly, who goes he thinks that the children are the most important thing in this situation.

SANCHEZ: John Daly tweeting about Tiger Woods, that will be interesting.

KUHN: John Daly tweeting about Tiger Woods.

SANCHEZ: We will bring you what he has to say. Stay with us. We're going to be right back.


SANCHEZ: Now to the point that I was raising moments ago with Ed Henry.

Welcome back, by the way. I'm Rick Sanchez here in the world headquarters of CNN.

Like the Tiger Woods story that continues to fascinate, so does the one at the White House that's obviously more serious, because it involves national security. Now back to this White House employee that the White House seems to be calling -- or not calling, but suggesting she's not that important, maybe an underling? I think that's what he said in my discussion with Ed Henry. Her name is Desiree Rogers. She's the president's social secretary. She reportedly fired the White House official whose job it was to assist the Secret Service with official guest lists at state dinners, or certainly at least demoted her, took her away from her function.

There also have been suggestions that maybe Rogers was out of line in being a guest at this dinner, where she was supposed to be working. They say, in fact, her critics, that she should have been working, instead of showing up as a guest in a gown. So, the White House seems a bit defensive on this now.

I want you to listen to this exchange, it's between Press Secretary Robert Gates and reporter April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks.


RYAN: Was there a concern in this White House that she came out being -- some might have called her the belle of the ball, overshadowing the first lady...


GIBBS: I don't know who some are. I have never heard that. Again...

RYAN: Well, it's been bantered around Washington, and it's in circles, Democratic circles, as well as Republican circles, high- ranking people.

GIBBS: April, that's not a station I live in, in life.


GIBBS: No, I understand.

RYAN: Just answer the question, please.

GIBBS: Are you done speaking, so I can?

RYAN: Oh, yes, I'm done.


GIBBS: I have not heard any of that criticism. I have not read any of that criticism.

The president, the first lady and the entire White House staff are grateful for the job that she does and thinks she has done a terrific and wonderful job pulling off a lot of big and important events here at the White House.

RYAN: Did she invite herself to this state dinner, or was she a guest of the president? Did the president invite her or did she put her name -- no, that's a real question. Do not fan it off.

GIBBS: I -- I...

RYAN: I'm serious -- no, seriously.

GIBBS: Jonathan.


RYAN: No, no, no. Did she invite herself, or did the president ask her?

GIBBS: She...

RYAN: Her name was on that list, and social secretaries are the ones who put the names on the list.

GIBBS: Right.

RYAN: Did she invite herself, or did the president...

GIBBS: She was -- was she at the dinner? April, April, calm down. Just take a deep breath for one second. See? This happens with my son. He does the same thing.


RYAN: Don't play with me.

GIBBS: I'm not...

RYAN: I'm being serious. Do not blow it off.

GIBBS: And I'm giving you a serious answer. Was she at the dinner? Yes. She's the social secretary.

RYAN: Was she an invited guest? No, social secretaries are not guests of the dinner.


GIBBS: She has the primary responsibility for running the dinner.

I'm going to get back to weightier topics, like 98,000 men and women in Afghanistan.


SANCHEZ: I have got to tell you. And you can tweet me if you would like. Maybe you agree with me, maybe you disagree with me, but the last thing you ever want to tell somebody you're in an argument with is to take a deep breath or settle down. Just me thinking out loud here.

As we told you, by the way, the White House refused to let Desiree Rogers testify today before the House Homeland Security Committee, which is investigating the breach at a state dinner. That is why it is -- it certainly seems to us looking at it from this direction -- a very newsworthy story and one worth asking about. As we learn more on this, we're going to let you know.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man could have been alive today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If proper attendance would have been given to Joaquin (ph).


SANCHEZ: This man goes to the ER He's got chest pains. He sits in a waiting room right there at that hospital. An hour later, he's dead. And you're not going to believe what happens to him even after that. This story will kind of make you mad. It did me, I will be honest with you.

Also, this is global warming as it occurs in this photography? Or is it? Hacked e-mails and a hot issue debated right here in about 20 minutes, and I guarantee you it will be a hot debate.

And, of course, the scandal that America is enthralled with, Tiger's story. Today's details when we come back.


SANCHEZ: It's amazing how much news and how much information is shared these days through social media. Movie stars, athletes, politicians, they all tweet, example. So what we're doing now is we're going to turn this show, this hour, every day on CNN as the go- to place if you want to know what celebrity out there or newsmaker is saying something about a relevant news story.

For example, today, we're following two stories. We're obviously following Tiger Woods and all that's being said about him. And we're also following this situation involving homeland security in Washington involving this couple that barnstormed into the White House, and now there are hearings going on.

So, Eric Kuhn is here from Washington. He's joining us with this. We have got these two lists. Let's start with the first one, which is Tiger Woods. And I think a very popular and controversial golfer has made a comment about Tiger Woods, right?

KUHN: Yes, John Daly took to Twitter. He's PGA_John Daly. And he said that: "Tiger and Elin's children are the most important thing right now. Really, it's none of my business. And I'm focused on my golf right now."

SANCHEZ: So, John Daly weighing in.


KUHN: And John Daly is on Twitter on Rick's List.

SANCHEZ: He's on our list.


KUHN: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: It's nice to know that we have got him on our list, another one. Add another one to the list, they say.

We have also got a representative today, and we have been getting a lot of these. We have been checking. There's a lot of these officials from Washington today who really expected the Salahis to appear and they're disappointed they didn't.

KUHN: Yes. So, here's Congressman Jim Himes. He's a Democrat from Connecticut and on the committee on Homeland Security and he tweeted that the director of Secret Service is now answering questions for the committee, but the Salahis apparently are not showing up to testify. So, we also put him on Rick's List. We're going to continue to hear what he says and what his thoughts are.

SANCHEZ: The irony, of course, is that the Salahis were not invited to the White House and they showed up, but they are invited to this hearing and they don't show up.


Thanks, Eric.

One of the women linked to Tiger Woods has suddenly scheduled -- or pardon me -- canceled a scheduled appearance. New York hostess Rachel Uchitel -- I'm sure you have heard about her or seen her picture at grocery stores, as you're checking out with your items -- she was to appear today in Los Angeles with her newly hired attorney Gloria Allred.

Uchitel has denied published reports of an affair with Tiger Woods. And she or her attorney were supposed to say something about -- actually about a half-hour ago. We were going to bring you clips or cuts from that. Well, that appearance was suddenly canceled, due to -- quote -- "unforeseen circumstances."

That is all they are saying. As for Tiger Woods, nothing from him since he admitted yesterday to committing unexplained transgressions that let his family down, stop quote.

Here's more from Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tiger's tangle with a fire hydrant may be over.

MAJOR CINDY WILLIAMS, FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL: The Florida Highway Patrol has completed its investigation into this matter.

CANDIOTTI: But no sooner did Woods pay his $164 fine that the PR fiasco blasted into the stratosphere with new allegations of an affair. Cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs, seen in this TV reality show, tells "US Weekly" she and Tiger were an item starting in 2007.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor.

Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. If you can, please take your name off that and, what do you call it? Just have it as a number on the voicemail. Just have it as your telephone number.

OK? You've got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. All right. Bye.


CANDIOTTI: CNN could not independently authenticate the voicemail.

Within hours, Woods responded, but only on his Web site, where no one could ask questions, and he never directly admitted to an affair: "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without fault and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family."

Woods said he's a private man. "Personal sins should not require press releases," he said, "and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions."

But will sticking to his statement be enough to salvage a dent in his carefully-crafted, squeaky-clean image? Some PR experts are not impressed.

MIKE PAUL, PUBLIC RELATIONS CONSULTANT: The pitfalls are the story still continue, and you don't want the story to continue. You want to start ending the story. And by leaving those holes there, he continues the story.

CANDIOTTI: On the Tiger Woods Web site, fans weighed in on their hero's PR mess."He failed at the only thing that matters in life, being true to your word on your wedding day." And another, "I am still and will always be a fan."

Less clear is whether all his sponsors will stick with him. Some offered no comment.

Nike said, "Our relationship remains unchanged." Gatorade's reaction: "Tiger and his family have our support as they work through this private matter." Can Tiger Woods put this behind him without answering some hard questions?

PAUL: You need to have some tough questions asked of you, and you have the ability to answer them. Own the situation 110 percent.

CANDIOTTI: If so, Paul says, the public may forgive and forget, depending on how well Tiger plays the game.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Windermere, Florida.



HUCKABEE: Now, if you think that a 108-year sentence is an appropriate sentence for a 16-year-old for the crimes he committed, then you should run for governor of Arkansas.


SANCHEZ: Whoa. Mike Huckabee confronted and confronts back. Was it a mistake when he was governor to commute a man later accused of killing police officers, or business as usual? You're going to see the exchange as he's confronted by CNN's Drew Griffin. We will have that for you. Stay right there.


SANCHEZ: We talked about Tiger just a little while ago and his image. Well, guess what? Back to Rick's List now. Here's a well- known PR agent who put Shaq on the map when it comes to social media and she just sent this tweet into Rick's List.

KUHN: She sent it in. She said: "Fans won't stop virtual prying until they hear from you. Your brand is what they perceive it to be. Put video on your site now." That was her advice to Tiger Woods.

SANCHEZ: Tiger Woods. Good stuff. Thanks so much, Eric.

Developments today in that awful police officer killing in Washington State. We're going to show you pictures of a man. You see him right there? His name is Darcus Allen. He's in the orange jumpsuit and in court because police believe that he drove the getaway car for the man who killed four Lakeside police officers in cold blood Sunday morning.

Was he just giving somebody he didn't know a ride? No, because he served time with the killer in prison. News today Allen could face charges of being an accomplice to murder.

But, as I have said right here on this program, many would argue the killer should never have been on the streets to commit this crime in the first place. Why? Here's why. Because Clemmons should still be in prison right now in Arkansas, doing time for a string of violent crimes. Clemmons was granted clemency by then Governor Mike Huckabee. This was back in 2000. Fair or unfair, that's how it went down. And you should know that Huckabee is standing by his decision.

Here, watch his confrontation between Huckabee and our investigative reporter Drew Griffin yesterday.


GRIFFIN (on camera): Did you go any further than was handed to you?

HUCKABEE: I read the entire file.

GRIFFIN: Was it just this few pieces?

HUCKABEE: No, no, no. It was a file this thick.

GRIFFIN: Did it tell you the violations that he had in prison, the assault...

HUCKABEE: Every bit was read.

GRIFFIN: Fire arm possession? The fact that he tried to slip a piece of metal into court?

HUCKABEE: I looked at the file, every bit of it and here was a case where a guy had been given 108 years. If you think a 108-year sentence is an appropriate sentence for a 16-year-old for the crimes he committed, then you should run for governor of Arkansas.

GRIFFIN: Apparently judges in Arkansas did think that though, right?

HUCKABEE: No, Judge Humphrey did not and Judge Lofton did not oppose the clemency. That's what I think you have to understand. You're looking at this nine years later and trying to make something as if, you know, I have to look into the future.

I wish I could have. Good lord, I wish I had that power. I wish I could have done that.


HUCKABEE: But I don't know how anyone can do it.

GRIFFIN: If you realize now that you had flimsy information at the time, Governor...


HUCKABEE: All right. Thank you. I appreciate it.


SANCHEZ: He walks away. Huckabee says he regrets not being able to look into the future. He says he knew very well that Maurice Clemmons was a habitual and violent criminal, but he decided to set him free because, at the time, Clemmons was a teenager.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a great man. I mean, I can honestly say I have never known another man like him. He's the greatest person I have ever known. I don't even think he was a man. I consider him a saint.


SANCHEZ: This is one of the most interesting stories of the day. This is a guy who, as you can hear in that man's voice and his passion, he really was beloved by his community. Helped little inner city kids, goes to an Emergency Room with symptoms of a heart attack or an apparent heart attack, and it's shocking, not only was he allegedly ignored by the staff, he died in the waiting room.

And then you're not going to believe what happens to him even in death. This is a story that is part of the "National Conversation." I want you to get in on it, we'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. Emergency Rooms are where people go when they have an emergency, right? Like chest pains, for example, which could mean that you're having a heart attack, which could mean that you are about to die. I ask you to please consider that as I tell you this following story that I really want you to know about.

Because imagine if something like this happened to somebody you knew or somebody you loved, 63-year-old Joaquin Rivera spent three decades working with kids in inner cities. By all accounts, he was a fantastic guy. Well, he died in a Philadelphia hospital room, treated like he didn't even matter.

This past weekend, Rivera felt a pain in his left arm and in his chest, classic sign of a possible heart attack, right? So he walked two blocks to the hospital Emergency Room. He signed in and he sat down to wait. He chatted for a few minutes with some of the folks who were waiting there for doctors as well. And then he waited and he waited and he waited.

Seventy-nine minutes later, that's an hour, and almost 20 minutes he was found dead. His emergency apparently wasn't enough of an emergency. Maybe it or he wasn't important enough.

But wait, Rivera's story gets even worse from here. I want you to look at this video from a security camera in that hospital Emergency Room. You're going to see that that's Joaquin Rivera. He's slumped over on the upper left side of your screen. right there. And that's one of the men he had been chatting with.

He's not helping Rivera, he actually reaches over him, grabs his wrist and snatches his watch. He's robbing a dead man. Can you say creepy?

Al Lubrano is covering the story for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Al, thanks so much for joining us.


SANCHEZ: Do you know or do police at this point know who these people are who could possibly have done something like that to this guy after he -- apparently after he was dead?

LUBRANO: Police arrested one man, a 44-year-old man, Richard Alten, and the other two are at large, one man and one woman. The police describe these people as homeless drug addicts.

SANCHEZ: Boy, you would think there would be security in a hospital Emergency Room that would keep that from happening. But maybe the bigger question that I need to ask you is, why in the world was this guy allowed to sit there for 79 minutes and die without anyone from the hospital -- he's in an Emergency Room, he's there because he has an emergency, right?


SANCHEZ: What's going on?

LUBRANO: Well, the way that we understand it is that he checked in at 10:45 p.m. on Saturday night. He told the people there, the hospital personnel, that he had problems that sound like, as you said, a heart attack.

By 10:56, according to the surveillance tape as it was viewed by the Philadelphia police -- remember, this is part of the tape that was not released. The Philadelphia police said that by 10:56, he seemed to be in distress, that is, he was struggling to breathe, he was touching his chest. He was, in essence, dying, according to the police.

And so 11 minutes after he gets into the ER, he has become very, very still. And police are assuming in hindsight that that's when he died.

SANCHEZ: Unbelievable. By the way, I should share with you, we just got a statement from the hospital, you probably got this as well over at the -- at your paper. Due to the pending criminal investigation citing patient confidentiality, Atria Health is unable to comment with regards to the circumstances surrounding this patient's death. "We're cooperating fully with the police department," yada, yada, yada. "Atria officials are conducting an intensive internal investigation into this event and are coordinating their efforts with law enforcement."

So there you go. And on and on it goes. My thanks to you for -- Al, for being with us and joining us with this information. It's obviously a story that breaks our hearts and one that we will continue to stay on top of.

LUBRANO: You're welcome. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

Is global warming something a bunch of scientists whose e-mails were recently hacked are making up? Or is it as real as these melting icebergs that I'm showing you right now? Tell me after you listen to the segment that we have planned for you up ahead.

Aside from Santa himself, there's nobody friendlier than the Wal- Mart greeter, right? Then why is he getting cold-cocked by a customer. I'm going to talk to you about that.

That and a good old-fashioned chair fight among lawmakers, when we come back.


SANCHEZ: Back to "Rick's List" real quick, who's making news about Tiger Woods and obviously the PGA is very concerned about Tiger Woods. And they are being somewhat tight-lipped. What are they saying so far, Eric?

ERIC KUHN, CNN AUDIENCE INTERACTION PRODUCER: Well, they're tweeting out their press releases, and this one here from the PGA Twitter account says: "Tour offers statement, supports Woods' family." And then...

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, that makes sense that they would be supporting the family. That's important.

KUHN: At least for their official press release, you know, they're standing by Woods.

SANCHEZ: Also, we have got a tweet coming in who is now a part of "Rick's List," from the guy who writes for David Letterman...

KUHN: Kind of a joke.

SANCHEZ: And he has just tweeted this line, which, you know, I think it's funny.

KUHN: I think it's funny too. He goes: "This shows how far our society has fallen. The fire hydrant hit by Tiger Woods just hired Gloria Allred as its attorney."

SANCHEZ: That's kind of interesting when you consider that you get a clue into what might be said tonight by David Letterman on his show.

KUHN: It's good. He's on the list.

SANCHEZ: He's on the list.

All right. Now this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ASST. CHIEF ADRIAN TREVINO, HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT: The furthest thing from our mind is to check their immigration status or residency status. We don't care about them things, we care about the child and the families that we help.


SANCHEZ: Look at these protesters, though, they don't agree. You've got to show a Social Security number before you get a toy? Even if you're just a little kid? Is that right? Is that fair? Or is that discrimination? They're calling foul on the Salvation Army. And of course we'll have both sides of the story, including the Salvation Army's response.

And then there's the after-show at 4:00 right after this one. We'll join you there as well. Stay with us, a lot more coming your way.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back, I'm Rick Sanchez.

Check out these pictures from Los Angeles. These are protesters outside a Salvation Army store. Yes, the Salvation Army, those smiling bell-ringers with the red kettles you see on the street corners all over the country. Here's the question, who is protesting and why? The answer in a segment that we call "Conexion."

According to The Houston Chronicle, some charities are asking kids for their birth certificates or even their Social Security numbers before they get a donated toy. The protesters say that the Salvation Army is discriminating based on race, nationality, and even the children's legal status.

The organization says it's just trying to make sure that the kids don't go around getting more than one toy from place to place or their parents. Keep in mind, as you watch this report from Carl Willis from KPRC in Houston, the Salvation Army is a faith-based organization.


CARL WILLIS, KPRC REPORTER (voice-over): Toy drive organizers say it has already been a slow year for donations, with toy bins taking much longer to fill up. But now their fears that misinformation about agencies checking immigration status could rob children hoping for a happy Christmas.

JUAN ALANIS, SALVATION ARMY GREATER HOUSTON: We're hoping that this will not impact us more than what the economy has already impacted us.

WILLIS: Published reports claim that certain toy drives required parents to provide information, including identification and Social Security numbers. The report said that was to weed out illegal immigrants. One of the toy drives the report referred to is an effort co-sponsored by Channel 2 and the Houston Fire Department. The effort is meant to allow donors to drop off a toy at any HFD location.

Organizers say any reporters that screening will go on at the drives are completely false.

TREVINO: That is way out there.

ALANIS: We are a faith-based organization and that really just does not go along with the principles of an organization like the Salvation Army.

WILLIS: A Salvation Army and a fire department spokesperson said the collected information is only used to deter fraud. While people are asked to bring identification, they said that no one will be turned away. Those who do not have ID will be asked for their names and the number of children in their family.

TREVINO: The furthest thing from our mind is to check their immigration status or residency status. We don't care about them things. We care about the child and the families that we help.

WILLIS: Toy drive organizers just hope that the misinformation does not stop you from dropping off toys for those in need.

SANCHEZ: All right. And we got a tweet on this, as a matter of fact. We've collected this one, we just got it just a little while ago as you were watching that story. Let's go to it at the very top there. It says: "What the shame is that these illegal Mexicans put their children in this position."

All right. We have also invited Juan Alanis of the Houston Salvation Army to join us on this program. He said no, but told us what started out as a simple newspaper story about a toy drive apparently got spun into a different kind of article.

According to Alanis, the Salvation Army asks for one Social Security number per family. He calls it a procedural measure that they use to make sure that folks don't get the same benefits twice, which in and of itself makes perfect sense.

All right. Can you say, out of control? These are federal lawmakers, and why were these guys elected?

Also our segment of the day, who is right on global warming? Get ready for some ornery debate. That's still ahead.

Also who is more endearing than the Wal-Mart greeter during the holidays? Well, wait until you hear what happened to a 72-year-old man, the Wal-Mart greeter, no less.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Bird flu spread. So did swine flu. And now what, chair flu? How else to describe the fact that from Taiwan to South America politicians are throwing furniture at each other to get their points across. Let's do "Fotos."

Argentina. These guys are arguing over the terms of an election. Please. When suddenly, whoa, there it goes. Furniture starts a- flying. What? Oh, did I mention the punches as well? Ten people were injured, and as far as we know, the legislation never passed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What God has drawn together, let no one separate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dana (ph) is updating his relationship status on Facebook.




SANCHEZ: There you go. Social media reaches the wedding ceremony. As soon as they said "I do," they immediately changed their status on Facebook from "engaged" to "married." Good boy. And they said it would never catch on. Way to go, guys.

Pennsylvania now. Can you think of anyone more amicable than the Wal-Mart greeter? I mean, uh-oh, take a look at this. This Wal-Mart greeter is 72 years old. and you can see right there, I'll show it to you again, he greets the guy, and this happens to him. Bang. Right there. See him get knocked down? Right on the left side of your screen.

Johnny (ph), are we going to see this again? We're going to see this again, right? All right. There it is right -- now I know he's going to get arrested and all that. I don't want to see that. I just want to see him getting hit so people can -- come on, show it to me again, Will you? Johnny-be-good, did you edit this?

Drats. Two days in a row I've been foiled by this video. All right. He says he was bumped by the greeter, but cops didn't buy it and the guy is now under arrest.

All right. You're looking at two years in the life of a glacier right there. So here's my question, climate change, is it fact or fiction? Are we deceived by images like these, or is this the proof that the world needs to see? That's the discussion, with two men who have very different views, especially what has been going on with those hacked e-mails in the last week. So we're bringing this to you in a very heated debate, I think. Stay there. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. What I'm about to do is kind of tough to do on television, especially since I don't have a lot of time to do it in. It's a very decisive issue of climate change and global warming. It's the greenhouse issue that has no gray area.

One side says the planet is heating up, it's mostly our fault, and there's plenty of proof, and we're in big trouble. The other side says, nonsense. If we're warming up it's a natural thing. And anyone who believes otherwise is playing with the data for, what, political reasons?

Let me show you something. It's a very cool piece of video. Roll it, (INAUDIBLE). That's a glacier right there. It's in Alaska. It's the Columbia Glacier. You're looking at two years of pictures. squished down to show you how this mountain of ice moves, ebbs and flows.

The scientist who made this video and lots more say, look, this is evidence that glacial ice is going away, and not just going away, it's always going away, but it's going away way too fast. He says it is shocking. That this is an emergency. And here he is to tell you that for himself. That's James Balog.

But wait. I've got the other side, as I mentioned, as well. The side who says, nonsense. That's Mark Morano from And wait until you hear how fired up he is, especially now that there has been a pile of e-mails rolling around that some say is lending weight to climate denial's movement.

James, let me start with you. I saw the video. I was impressed. It worries the average person to think that that much ice is going into the water and it could possibly make the waters all over the world rise. Convince me that's the truth.

JAMES BALOG, DIRECTOR, EXTREME ICE SURVEY: You know, Rick, I was a climate change skeptic once. But when I saw the evidence that was in the ice, I saw the short-term evidence that we were recording and understood how that was embedded in a very, very, very long-term scientific record collected by thousands very hard-working, very cautious, very skeptical scientists from all over the world for decades. Then I realized that we had an issue here. It's not a fiction.

SANCHEZ: All right. James, you think he's wrong? I'm sorry. Mark, you think he's wrong?

MARK MORANO, CLIMATEDEPOT.COM: Well, yes, I mean, certainly, you can go out and photograph some glaciers and say they're melting. Was James photographing the size of 1.5 Texas increase in Arctic Sea ice since 2007 this summer? Was James photographing the Antarctic Sea ice record highest sea level in the summer -- sea ice cover in the summer this past summer.


SANCHEZ: All right. Let's stop there. Let's stop there. You just raised two questions. Let him answer it. Go ahead, James.

BALOG: These are terrific points. There are obviously natural short-term variations in these cycles. The long-term that is, you know, the two-, four-, six-, eight-, 10-, 20-, 100-year trends are very, very clear. And that's what the denialists like to focus on.

SANCHEZ: All right. Tell me about something, because...


SANCHEZ: All right. I'm just going to stop for a minute, because I want our viewers to just not hear two guys going back and forth. I want them to get some evidence here that they can put their heads around.

So I was reading your material, James, for example. And it said in 1997, 1995, 2003, 2004, I think 2006, correct me if I'm wrong, were like the hottest years on record. Is that true? Is that accepted? Can we say we know that for sure or not?

BALOG: Absolutely that's correct. And we also have very clear numerical information recorded all around the world by many, many, many, many people.

SANCHEZ: All right. So let me go back to Mark.


BALOG: Excuse me. Measuring a 1.3 degree warming trend over the past 100 years. This is real. This is consequential.

SANCHEZ: OK. Those are quantified numbers, Mark. And that's important in this conversation. How do you refute that?

MORANO: Sure. But we're coming out of the "little ice age" which ended around 1850. So, of course, we've warmed. But to say it's the hottest on record, you're only going back to temperature records 1870, 1880. And you have a lot of bias warmings in there. A lot of the temperature sensors in your concrete, in your air conditioners, there's people actually documenting all of the bias.

If you look at the satellite data, we actually have had no significant warming since 1998, actually no warming. We've been cooling in recent years. The entire scare is based on climate models.

SANCHEZ: I just don't want to run out of time, but I'm interested in your word, "bias." Why would people want to make up a story like this, to what end?

MORANO: Biased thermometers.

SANCHEZ: The thermometers are biased?

MORANO: No, biased thermometers -- the place -- yes, they're placed near air conditioner outlets, they're placed in hot asphalt. And that's one of the ways they get this. But again, we're only talking 120 years. We're in the coldest period of the Earth's history geologically.

In other words, 90 percent of the Earth's history has been warmer than today. We haven't been able to support ice on either pole.

SANCHEZ: We're down to 30 seconds before we go to Wolf. And then we'll continue. So let me stop you, Mark, for a minute. And then we'll continue on Answer that. You've got 30 seconds, James.

BALOG: With all due respect, this is absurd. This is not the coldest period. This is a distinctly warm period. We have a very clear...

MORANO: Geologically.

BALOG: ... record of climate history going back nearly a million years. We are clearly in a cycle where nature is not natural anymore. The evidence shows that with great precision.

SANCHEZ: All right. Let me stop you both there.

MORANO: That's not the case.

SANCHEZ: All right. We're going to continue. Hold on. I know you guys want to go at each other. And I don't blame you. You've got completely contrasting points of view. We'll let both of you present those points of view. And we'll do so on right now.

To Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Rick, thanks very much.