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CNN NEWSROOM

New Emergency at Tiger Woods' House; Sick Pigs in U.S. Food Supply?

Aired December 8, 2009 - 15:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurry. Dear God, hurry.

911 OPERATOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't shot yet. Hurry.

SANCHEZ: A woman faces off with an intruder and is forced to shoot him in her own home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I shot him going out front. I hit him. God help me.

SANCHEZ: What's the law where you live say about shooting to kill intruders?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New details on another emergency early this morning at the home of golfer Tiger Woods.

SANCHEZ: Video that shows what appears to be sick animals. Are they put into our food supply? We will show you.

Who's in and who is out on the public option for health care reform, and will there be a deal today?

Reaching out to newsmakers on Twitter. My access is your access on the national conversation for Tuesday December 8, 2009.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

We have got climate change still going on, the debate, that is. We have got health care. Look, health care may be make or break today. And we have also got an important piece of tape that I'm going to be sharing with you, and I want you to listen to. It is coming up in just a bit about what happens if someone breaks into your house. This is like a case study.

But, first, the latest on the story that continues to both bemuse and captivate America, developments from the newest medical emergency at the home of Tiger Woods, this time involving his mother-in-law. That woman on the stretcher is Tiger Woods' mother-in-law. This picture was taken early this morning when the news broke when she was rushed to the hospital.

We found out about 15 minutes ago, by the way, that she is now out of the hospital. They released her, calling her condition good. She was returned to Tiger Woods' home in Windermere.

This is how the story has been covered throughout the day, beginning with affiliate WFTV.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE BARRETT, WFTV REPORTER: Here is what we know. At 2:30 in the morning, approximately, this 911 call comes in. Shortly after that, at the hospital right behind me you are looking at, basically, an ambulance arrives and a woman gets out. Then an Escalade comes with what the videographer tells me looked like Elin Woods, Tiger Woods' wife.

She gets out of an Escalade that has almost precisely the same license plate number as the Escalade that he crashed that sort of started all of this. Of course, this all comes on the heels of several other women making claims that they had some relationship with him.

Also, FHP now, Florida Highway Patrol, coming forward and saying that they do have now a witness believed to be Tiger's wife saying that he may have been drinking, may have also been taking some prescriptions, like Ambien, the night before the crash.

And of course now we have this incident overnight -- 2:30 in the morning, this ambulance shows up here with a license plate that appears to be from the same leasing company that Tiger Woods had leased that crashed SUV.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: All right. I told you just 15 minutes or so ago, hospital officials came out and gave their first official comments on this latest Tiger incident. Here is what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN YATES, HEALTH CENTRAL HOSPITAL: I can't make comment to anything that is treatment-oriented.

QUESTION: Maybe (OFF-MIKE) What was she treated for? (OFF-MIKE)

YATES: I can't go into specifics on that.

QUESTION: At all?

YATES: No.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

YATES: She was admitted some stomach discomfort this morning. That is really all the detail I can go into.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: All right, that was the official hospital response.

Now I'm going to show another response from hospital officials just before that. They were chased down by some reporters who were there who asked the hospital officials questions.

And it is interesting, because, as you listen to them, it is almost sounds like they are trying to tamp down the coverage, itself. Let's get that in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YATES: Last evening, Barbro Holmberg, mother of Elin Woods, was admitted to Health Central Hospital with stomach pain. She is in stable condition and is currently undergoing evaluation.

Media reports other than attributed to this matter have been erroneous and speculative. And we ask that her privacy be respected at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And, as you might imagine, everybody seems to be commenting, if not talking, about this story, whether they say they are or not.

We have got Rick's List up and running. That is where we get people who are -- well, have something to say or something to do with a particular story. We are going to be checking with celebrities, sports figures and of course some of the journalists who are covering the story.

There is Rick's List as we see it right now, and you can see that we have put on there all the journalists who are covering the story locally in that area of Florida.

Let's go to this WESH-TV, if we possibly can, and you will see the very latest thing that they have filed. WESH-TV is saying Tiger Woods' mother-in-law has now left the hospital and is home, so the hospital says.

And they have provided there, as you can see, a URL, so you can click to it yourself. Just to show you for the sake of transparency, that is what we are doing. We're checking all these different feeds as they come in, all these different tweets as they come in. And as new information comes in on the Tiger Woods' case or Afghanistan or any of the other stories that we are following for you today, we will bring it to you.

Meanwhile...

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurry. Dear God, hurry.

911 OPERATOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't shot yet. Hurry.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: This is a crazy story. You have got to watch -- or listen to this video, I should say. It is a dramatic home invasion played out on 911. It is a woman. She's home alone. She shoots and kills an intruder, a man who is in her house uninvited. So, will she be charged for this?

Also, are sick pigs being separated out or put into our food supply? You are not going to believe the video that we have got our hands on, and we are going to share it with you.

And, also, the man who was there on the ground in Tora Bora where Osama bin Laden was seen, according to officials, or heard is going to join me for a rare on-camera interview during this hour. We will make news.

Also, don't forget the other way you can join us here in the national conversation is call us anywhere in the United States. The number is 877-742-5751.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: Hey, Rick, it is Doug in Pennsylvania. I support the homeowner that shot the intruder. She waited as long as she could. She didn't want to shoot him, obviously. You can tell by the tape.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL SHAPIRO, DIRECTOR OF FACTORY FARMING, HUMANE SOCIETY: Just because a practice is standard doesn't mean that it isn't inhumane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It is possible that sick pigs are ending up on your kitchen table? This is video that may provide the answers to that question, video we have gotten in-house here that we are going to be able to share with you.

Well, maybe the video in and of itself will provide the answers that we are bringing up in this case.

Also, this. I want you to take a look at this. Those are police cars and fire trucks, hundreds of them. They're lined up at McChord Air Force Base in Washington State. Have you ever seen such a thing? They are pulling out one by one to try and drive several blocks to the Tacoma Dome for the funeral of four Lakewood police officers who were gunned down really in cold blood. And we still don't know why.

These four officers all in uniform were killed while sitting in a coffee shop doing paperwork, getting ready for their shifts. They were ambushed by a man from Arkansas who was on parole for aggravated robbery and had just been released on bond for a charge of child rape. Why was he on the streets?

Good question. The cold-blooded killings kicked off a manhunt that lasted two days until the police shot and killed this guy. His name is Maurice Clemmons. Several people, including the killer's sister, are now being held as possible accomplices.

Again, here is the scene today as thousands of police officers and fire officials from across the U.S. and Canada honor those four fallen police officers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Fourteen minutes after the hour of 3:00 here on the East Coast. Glad to welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez in the world headquarters of CNN.

And I am about to show you some video now that is going to make you ask some questions about our food supply. You are about to see some animals that are too weak to stand. The question is this: Should these animals be discarded, or should they be sent for processing and possibly eventually end up in your refrigerator?

There are parts of this report that you are about to see that you may find troubling to watch. I feel I should tell you that.

Our correspondent is CNN's Nicole Lapin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICOLE LAPIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Horrific scenes like this of cows too sick to walk going into slaughter led to an unprecedented USDA ban on so-called downer cattle earlier this year. And now the Humane Society of the United States wants that ban extended to pigs.

This is the Society's undercover video showing pigs unable to walk, about to be slaughtered, a standard and legal practice.

SHAPIRO: Well, just because a practice is standard doesn't mean that it isn't inhumane. In fact, there are many standard practices within the world of animal agribusiness that are very cruel and inhumane and one of them is the slaughter of these downer pigs.

LAPIN: Not only cruel, but the Humane Society says it is also dangerous to our health to have so-called downers like these enter the food supply.

DR. MICHAEL GREGER, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH, HUMANE SOCIETY: You can't tell just by looking at a pig whether the pig is down because of fatigue, because of injury or because of sickness. And, indeed, the science is very clear that these pigs are at increased risk of having disease. They are more likely to contaminate their hide and some of that contamination can get into the plant. So, there's multiple reasons why animals too sick to even stand up or for whatever reason really should be excluded from the food supply.

LAPIN: But the National Pork Producers Council says robust checks are already in place to prevent contamination.

DR. JENNIFER GREINER, NATIONAL PORK PRODUCERS COUNCIL: We have to have USDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service personnel on staff. And as you said, Nicole, the person who looks at those, examines those pigs on the hoof or alive is a veterinarian. And so that veterinarian would look and say -- do basically just a quick physical exam. Is the pig healthy, is it not in my professional judgment?

On the other side, after the pig has been harvested, the veterinarian and FSIS inspectors are looking at the meat and at the organs to make certain that there is nothing is going on.

LAPIN (on camera): So, you are saying basically that farmers already regulate this on the ground. So why not just codify it? Why not just put this regulation on the books?

GREINER: We estimate that if all nonambulatory pigs were -- were banned, all fatigued pigs were banned from the food supply, we would approximately lose 41 million pounds of safe pork going into the food supply. That pork is safe, so not only would it cost producers. It would also cost our friends of the pack industry, but then ultimately consumers, because there would be less pork on the market.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAPIN: Keeping them honest, we reached out to the USDA and asked them why pork just wasn't included in the regulation passed in May. They tell us that review banned downer cows and was too narrow in scope to include pigs.

But they tell me, Rick, they will continue to evaluate other measures that allow for the humane handling of all livestock.

SANCHEZ: I don't know what that means. Too narrow in scope to include, what -- do you know what that means? Because it sounds like Greek to me.

LAPIN: From my investigation, it seems that there was a real urgency earlier this year for cows, so it just included cows.

(CROSSTALK)

LAPIN: There is a lot of fear about mad cow. You remember that, so they wanted to get this on the books earlier this year just for cows.

SANCHEZ: Right. They did the study on the cows. They have not yet the study on the pigs. LAPIN: Right.

SANCHEZ: I imagine they might eventually be getting to that, then, right?

LAPIN: Exactly.

SANCHEZ: And you are going to follow that for us?

LAPIN: Of course.

SANCHEZ: We thank you.

By the way, Nicole, that is her Twitter page up there letting people know that she is debuting this Humane Society investigation coming up on our show. That was just before it aired.

Flip that camera, if you would, Robert. I want to show now in defense of the pork industry and pork producers, look at this tweet that just came in as we were doing the story.

"Pork producers care. Animals are their livelihood." That is a good point. "How they feed their families." And then they provided a URL there in case you want to check it as well. So, look, we are doing both sides of the story, and I think it is important to do that and it is basically the way we do things around here, and we will continue to do it that way.

Now this. This is the field commander who was there, who was there when Osama bin Laden was known to be in Tora Bora. That field commander is going to join me here for a rare interview. What did he see? Who did he tell? How did bin Laden get away in the first place? I mean, those are all good questions.

And, obviously, and I think the question that we all have and I will ask is, did the information about bin Laden being there and us being able to get him go all the way to the White House? Who in the White House said, no, don't get him? It's good questions, huh? We will ask him. Stay with us. Also, remember the after-show on CNN.com/live. It's coming up right here at 4:00.

I'm Rick Sanchez. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to national conversation. I'm Rick Sanchez.

And just as we have some folks protecting just defending the pork industry, we have some who are a little hesitant to do so. In fact, let's go to MySpace if we possibly can, just get a quick shot of that before we move on to the next story. Prompter, come on down, if you could, by the way.

"Thank you, Rick, for bringing this horrible practice of slaughtering downed pigs. I have as of today given up pork." Well, there you go.

Time now for "Conexion." That's the segment we do where we connect you with stories that are going on not just in the United States, but in our hemisphere.

Have you heard what Hugo Chavez has done, what Venezuela's leader has done now? He has taken over seven banks and he's ordering the arrest of their leaders, ordering the arrest of 27 bank executives. They started shutting the banks down last week amid charges of financial misdoings that put some of these banks on apparently shaky ground. Sound familiar?

Down there, they basically close them up, take them over, and order the executives arrested. As of Sunday, six have been detained. Most of the others have apparently fled the country. I am interested in what you have to say about this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I shot him going out front. I hit him. God help me.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: A woman shoots an intruder, and it is played out on a 911 call. Did she break the law? And here is another question I think is important for all of us. If this happened to you or to me, where we live, would we be breaking the law if we shot an intruder? What are the circumstances? Well, we are going to be exploring this for you.

Also, don't forget you can join us for the national conversation whenever you visit Atlanta. Just call 877-4-CNN-TOUR and you can come and hang out with me here, not that that is any big deal, but, anyway, in case you want to, you can also check us out online at CNN.com/tour. And I will hang out with you, if you want to.

I will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Just a little programming note here, just to let you know. We have got something called Rick's List that we have unveiled now, and what we do is rather than just having 116,000 people that we talk to who are on Twitter, we specify people who are relevant to specific stories.

Show it to them, Robert, if you would, real quick. Thanks, Johnny. Sorry about that. It's the one on the right. You see the one on the right with all the red on it and stuff? Go in there. All right, that is our list. Eric, go ahead and scroll it up and down, and you can see how many people are on there. There's different lists, by the way. You can check them out yourself by going to my Twitter page. There's one on Afghanistan, one on Tiger Woods. There's on health care reform, one on generics. Depending on the story going in the day, we amass relevant people to those stories, and you can find out what they are saying about those stories. We think it is pretty cool and it's going over gangbusters.

OK, now this. Imagine that you are alone at home. It is after midnight. Some stranger suddenly starts pounding on your door, screaming things that don't even make sense. You are going to be upset, you're going to get scared, you're going to want to do something, right?

So you call 911, but while you are waiting for police, the stranger tries to break through your door. You have got a gun. What do you do? That is a decision that a woman had to make when someone tried to get into her home. This is in Lincoln County, Oklahoma.

We are going to play for you now some parts of her 911 call. It is important that you listen throughout, because it takes you into her thought processes, her decision-making. And it makes us all wonder, vicariously, is that what I would have done? How would I have dealt with it? And, of course, I should warn you in advance that you may find parts of this tough to listen to.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is hollering and yelling. I have a gun.

911 OPERATOR: OK. I'm...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen to me. Listen to me carefully.

911 OPERATOR: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dog's outside. There is a great big Lab. He is loose. And the dog is going after him.

911 OPERATOR: OK. And you have a gun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I do. I do not have it out.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Miss, I want you to stay...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I will use it.

911 OPERATOR: I want you to stay on the line with me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will. He is banging on the door.

911 OPERATOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need them now.

(INAUDIBLE) he is banging on the door. (INAUDIBLE)

It is a patio door and it is not worth a nickel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can hear him banging. He is trying to get in. We need (INAUDIBLE) fast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. They are rushing.

And the front gate is locked. There's no way I can let him in. He will see me.

911 OPERATOR: Just stay on with me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am. He looks like an older man, but I don't know. I don't understand what is going on.

911 OPERATOR: And you are there by yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes, my husband is at work. He's getting close to the door. I am going to go ahead and get the gun out. It is a shotgun. It's large. I am trying to stay away from the window.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) He is trying to kick the door in.

It is off safety, ma'am. All I have got to do is fire.

911 OPERATOR: He has not come through the door yet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, he has got a plastic chair. Thank God he doesn't have a big chair.

911 OPERATOR: He's got a plastic chair?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, he has got it. He got in here, ma'am. I am putting the phone down.

911 OPERATOR: She hung up on me. He came through the window. He came through the door. He threw a chair through the door. She put the phone down and said she was putting the gun on him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma'am, he (INAUDIBLE) the house. I am going to shoot.

911 OPERATOR: Oh, God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dear God, hurry.

911 OPERATOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't shot yet. Hurry.

911 OPERATOR: Can you -- is there -- oh, my God.

Ma'am, is your phone a cordless phone?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I shot him going out front. I hit him.

911 OPERATOR: She shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God help me.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Stay on the line. She shot him. We need to get an ambulance out there, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I dropped the phone.

(CROSSTALK)

911 OPERATOR: I know, ma'am. We are trying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, please. Dear God, I think I have killed him. Please, father in heaven. Please, father in heaven.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: "Please, dear God. Please, father in heaven. I think I killed him."

She was right. She did kill him. The man was dead. He was identified as 53-year-old Billy Dean Riley, who has a long history of drug and alcohol arrests. The woman is not going to be charged because Oklahoma law has a law that allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property from home invasions.

If somebody comes on your property, essentially it says in part, a person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril or death of great bodily harm if the person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful of forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring.

Again, that's in your home, in your domain, your domicile. All right? Not just anywhere out there. Other states with similar laws include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado -- let me go through my list, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri. If you live in these states, you have a right to essentially defend your home from an intruder, some people call this the "shoot first and ask questions later" law. That's what they called it in Florida when I was a cop beat reporter there.

Let me catch up again, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. There are some other states, and we did the best we could to compile this list, by the way.

Some of the laws are little different in some states, but essentially, they say that you have a right to shoot and ask questions later if you are approached by someone in your home, which you think, all you have to do is to believe that they are trying to do you bodily harm. And obviously, it is someone you don't know and someone who is coming into your home.

Joining us now by phone is Lincoln County, Oklahoma, Sheriff Chuck Mangion. He is good enough to join us now to take us through this story.

I have got to tell you, Sheriff, when I listen to this 911 call, I was on pins and needles, vicariously, I was thinking to myself, my goodness, what is this woman going to do? But it sounds to me, and you tell us if I am wrong or if we are wrong to perceive this, that she didn't want to kill this man. That she would have liked to have not killed him. Is that the reason that you all have opted to not charge her?

CHUCK MANGION, LINCOLN COUNTY SHERIFF: Well, it is obvious that she didn't want to kill him. In fact, she was very devastated by the fact that she was forced to shoot this man.

SANCHEZ: So, she -- I mean, she sounds like -- in fact, you know what, sounds like a good person, someone who was just protecting their home and protecting themselves. As far as you know in Oklahoma, does the law say, look, you have a right to shoot first and ask questions later if someone comes into your home in the middle of the night and you don't know what they are doing there?

MANGION: Well, basically, what the law states in Oklahoma is that you don't have to retreat from an individual who is breaching your home.

SANCHEZ: What about deadly force?

MANGION: It authorizes the use of deadly force to defend yourself and your property in such a situation as she faced.

SANCHEZ: There is different names for this law, so we're not going to get into the name game with them, I know that they have different names all over the country, I worked as a cop beat reporter in Florida for many years and, you know, they called it the "shoot to kill" law that they had passed there.

Is it your perception -- and I know you talk to other law enforcement officers around the country, is it your perception that this is a law that has gained in popularity over the last several years if not decades?

MANGION: Yes, it has. Us law enforcement officials, we always wish that we could ensure someone's safety, which we can't at all times.

SANCHEZ: So the advice you would give to people who are listening now, who -- like me, who heard this woman's story and said, my God, what would I do if I was faced in that situation, that if they have a weapon and they have to use it to defend themselves, as a law enforcement official you would not say, don't do it?

MANGION: No, I wouldn't.

SANCHEZ: Good for you, sir. My thanks, Sheriff, for coming on and taking us through that story.

I'll tell you, it's a hell of a story. It's unbelievable. Sheriff Chuck Mangion in Oklahoma City. You don't play the flugelhorn, do you, sir?

MANGION: No, I don't.

SANCHEZ: Sir?

MANGION: No, that would be my name with an E on it.

SANCHEZ: OK. Thank you, sir. We appreciate your help with that story. Sheriff Chuck Mangion from Oklahoma, from Lincoln County, Oklahoma.

Is the public option for health care slipping off the table in the Senate's bill? We are going to have that for you, as the Democrats are butt heads to try and make a deadline today. By the way, is there a possibility the whole public option thing could fall apart by the end of today? That is why I am asking.

Also don't forget the other way that you can participate in this "National Conversation," you can all us in the United States, the number is 877-742-5751.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: Hey, Rick. This is Steve from Delaware. In regards to the whole climate change thing, even if the whole thing is false, shouldn't we want to take and keep from polluting our planet, and make things as clean as possible whether, you know, it is causing the earth to warm up or not? Because pollution is pollution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: And I just got a tweet moments ago from Congressman Joe Wilson. I'm going to share that with you in just a little bit. Speaking of the right and the left, let's start with the left. The left says that the right is "Swift-boating" once again, except this time, they are doing it to scientists. The right is saying what the scientists did is a big deal, and should be criticized heavily.

I'm reaching out to news-makers on both sides as part of what we call "Rick's List." And I'm going to be letting you hear what they are saying on this day. Also, up next, are Democrats in the Senate about to send the public option to the scrap heap? We are going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back to the world headquarters of CNN. I'm Rick Sanchez. Thanks so much for being with us.

You know, this is a big day for health care reform, and the debate that has been going on for quite some time. Let me take you to the floor of the Senate. There is Bob Menendez from the great state of New Jersey. He and the rest are debating what is called now the Nelson amendment. Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson has offered up an amendment that would prohibit federal dollars being used on abortions. It is similar to the Stupak amendment that we had talked about before. It was already passed in the House, by the way, the Stupak amendment was. Indications are the Nelson amendment will lose. The Nelson amendment will lose. Those are the indications we are getting from our sources there.

One of the bill's co-sponsors, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch, there he is. Orrin Hatch flat out says the votes aren't there to pass the Nelson amendment. Now this is crucial, because if the Nelson amendment loses, then the Democrats lose Ben Nelson, which takes them further away from the 60 votes that they need to pass health care reform.

You follow, 60 is the key number here, folks. Now, hold that thought as I turn the page for you, because what I just told you connects to what I am about to tell you and what I am about to tell you is big in and of itself.

Try to follow, if you would. These 10 Democrats entered a meeting this morning, and they appear to be in the process of scrapping the public option. Scrapping the public option. I will say it again, no public option under the compromise plan being put together today by liberals like Chuck Schumer, Jay Rockefeller, Sherrod Brown, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Russ Feingold, moderates Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, Tom Carper, and Mark Pryor. Those are all Democrats.

And what they are doing enjoys the blessing of Majority Leader Harry Reid. Here's the idea, scrap public option, guarantee coverage through private insurers, and perhaps expand Medicare to include people as young as 55, at least temporarily. A big expansion...

Oh, sorry about that. My microphone just fell as I was animatedly taking you through that story. Here it is, I'll put it right back on.

So it would be a huge expansion of Medicare. In fact, prompter stop right there, because I want to take you to something right now. Go to the Twitter board real quick. Look what we're getting as we're telling this story. Sometimes timing is everything.

She writes, this is one of the persons who is just watching us right now, this is not a public figure: "Fine with me if the public option fails if they open Medicare to uninsured 50s and up. Makes costs for younger people work." Well, that is interesting.

So, if I have got this right, the political calculus goes like this, the Democrats lose Ben Nelson, but they get their 60 votes to pass health care reform by scrapping the public option, which gets them some moderate votes, and they attempt to hang on to the liberals by expanding Medicare which is 100 percent run by the government.

Folks, this is how laws are made. It is messy, kind of like sausage, right? It is happening right now in the open, and in some cases, behind closed door doors as well. There goes Menendez again. We are all over it. When something happens, you are going to know it. And of course, we're also using "Rick's List" to get information on this, because some of those folks you saw there both in the Senate and the House, they tweet. They're watching us, and they're sending me messages.

Among those, Joe Wilson. Let's go to Congressman Joe Wilson, who just sent me this tweet a while ago. Hey, @ricksanchezcnn, America can't afford the proposed health care reforms. We must protect Medicare and increase access without tax hikes.

So there you go. Famous Joe Wilson who made that famous scream during the president's speech, sending me that tweet just moments ago. We will keep connecting you to the people who are connecting to us who are relevant to the stories.

A dramatic helicopter rescue on the river is caught on camera in California. You're going to see it play out next. That's in "Fotos."

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SANCHEZ: There is this story about a man who goes to heaven after dying in a hurricane, and he asks God why he let him die. After all, he was a God-fearing man he tells God, to which God replies, I sent you a police car, I sent you a police boat, and I sent you a police helicopter while you were dying in the flood and you would not leave.

A priest told me that story once. Translation, God helps those who helps themselves. With that, let's do "Fotos."

California, this guy is trapped on an island flooded by a rain- swollen river. And like the guy in the hurricane, rescuers show up to hoist him to safety, but he refuses to cooperate. Why? He didn't want to leave his bike. The helicopter is waved off, but then the firefighters say, OK, fine, we will send him a boat. They send him a boat. That, he did not turn down and therefore he did not have to explain to God why he was so stubborn. God, I love that story.

To Arizona we go where a couple was enjoying a scenic drive through the mountainside until the mountain came crashing down on top of them, a massive boulder came loose. It rolled toward the road, went over the protective fence, and slammed right on the hood of their car. Two people in the car were injured, but not seriously. Hello, God. Thank you.

Kentucky now, imagine buying a Pepsi at a gas station and you suddenly see this when you step outside. There is a car in flames. The man was smart enough to shoot the scene with his cell phone. Look at that, firefighters believe a static shock sparked this blaze. Great the know the next time you're filling up. Word to the wise, be careful.

Did the U.S. allow Osama bin Laden to get away when they had the chance to nab him in Afghanistan? A CIA agent who was there, in fact, he was the field commander at the time, takes us through what happened there. This is good. We'll be sharing it with you, and including your questions as well. Stay there.

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SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Let's go to "Rick's List" if we possibly can. AfPak (ph), that's a channel on our Twitter account. We put it on "Rick's List" today. It's the account from the Foreign Policy Journal. And we just noticed that they tweeted this moments ago. "Rick Sanchez wants to know how OBL got away." Talks about General Tommy Franks was planning Iraq War during Tora Bora battle. That's important information for you to keep in mind as we go into this next segment.

All right. Let's go to Afghanistan now, (INAUDIBLE). Let me take you through this. That guy right there, that's General Stanley McChrystal, as you probably know. He is the commander in Afghanistan. He's in charge of all American and NATO forces there. And he spent much of today being grilled by the House Armed Services Committee about how he intends to march with his new orders from President Obama.

I want you to listen to General McChrystal, put his finger on the number one target, and there's a reason why we're hammering this point at you right now. Go ahead, roll it if you would, Dave.

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GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, U.S. NATO FORCES AFGHANISTAN: And I believe it is an important objective that the Taliban be defeated, and that means over time wherever they are around the world, they must be prevented from being a threat against either the United States or our allies. I think that will take many years and it won't be just an American effort, it will be all of our partners.

But where they are, I believe, al Qaeda both as an organization and as an ideology needs to be defeated and that will require a lot of Muslim nation partners as well.

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SANCHEZ: He is talking about the Taliban. He's also inferring al Qaeda, which -- when he uses those terms, most Americans know what he means. He's talking mostly about that man right there who had so much influence. He is the face of Islamic jihad, "the sheikh" as his devoted followers call him, the man who was apparently within arms length of the CIA and the U.S. military in a place once called Tora Bora and the battle of Tora Bora.

And this man you're seeing right there says that Osama bin Laden slipped away. He escaped. Gary Berntsen, a career CIA man, field commander of the team in 2001 sometime around December, given the job to find, take out, or kill or capture Osama bin Laden.

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

GARY BERNSTEN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Nice to be with you, Rick. SANCHEZ: I am so curious to have this conversation with you. I've wanted to talk to you for a long time, because you're one of the few people and we've heard so many stories about this, but you were there, you were on the ground. I guess let's start with the very first question that most people would want to know.

Are you pretty well-convinced that in December of 2001 Osama bin Laden was in that area of Tora Bora?

BERNSTEN: Well, of course he was. I wrote that in a book that I wrote several years back called "Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda." The Senate last week published a report confirming my account of the events that occurred in November and December of 2001.

SANCHEZ: Which we reported -- which we...

BERNSTEN: And those events were...

SANCHEZ: Which we reported extensively, I should add, last week, which led us to getting you on the show today so you can take us through this explanation. So continue, if you would, by taking us to -- I guess, which is the next part of this, how did you know that Osama bin Laden was there and what did you do about it?

BERNSTEN: Well, of course we knew that Osama bin Laden fled the city of Kabul when we seized it on about the 12th of November. We had reporting that he traveled down to Jalalabad. That reporting was provided to me by the Northern Alliance and a lot of the sources that they had. I provided that back to Washington.

I then sent a team to pursue him. That team had eight men on it, four CIA officers and four U.S. military that were seconded over to me. Bin Laden then would move from Jalalabad down to Tora Bora, south up in the mountains -- the White Mountains along the Afghan-Pak border.

I would then send that eight-man team down to the bottom of those mountains, a four-man team then, two military, two CIA would go up into the mountains with a laser, SOFLAM, a Special Operations Forces laser acquisition mechanism, would get in position above him and then conduct 56 hours of air strikes on Mr. bin Laden and about a thousand of his supporters, probably eliminating about two-thirds of them.

The battle -- that first battle began, started around the 29th of November and would go all the way through to about the 16th of December. On the 3rd of December I requested the inclusion of 800 U.S. Rangers. I knew that the forces that we were working with, the Afghans on the ground there weren't reliable enough, weren't in sufficient number or of sufficient training to get the job done.

SANCHEZ: Let me just stop you real quick.

BERNSTEN: Unfortunately...

SANCHEZ: Let me just stop you real quick. Those forces we were depending on were the either Afghans or Pakistan army members. Is it because they were more in some cases beholden to Osama bin Laden than they were to us?

BERNSTEN: Well, we had worked with the Northern Alliance but the Northern Alliance wouldn't go into the east with us, so we created a new force there called the Army of the Eastern Alliance, and they were Pashtuns that we had not worked with before. We didn't believe that...

SANCHEZ: Did you trust them? Did you trust them?

BERNSTEN: We didn't trust them -- no, not completely. That's why we asked for support. And -- but what we needed them to do was just hold the line on our side to keep him pinned in position so we could do air strikes. My concern was the back side and I wanted 800 Rangers to either cut -- get in between bin Laden and the border or come in from the back side.

The decision was made to use Delta Force, about 40 men from Delta Force, who were very brave and very, very effective, but the area was too large. The problem here was that a decision was made in Washington at the White House, you know, to keep the formula that we had been using.

SANCHEZ: OK. Let me break this down for you as much as we can. So you decide I need 800 troops, right? You wanted Rangers specifically, right?

BERNSTEN: Yes, Rangers. Because I only had about -- I had a dozen Americans with me up there at that point. We had about a dozen Americans.

SANCHEZ: Who did you ask?

BERNSTEN: Well, we sent the message back to CIA headquarters who then made that request directly to CentCom.

SANCHEZ: And did this decision come down essentially denying your request from CIA officials or did it come from sources higher than them?

BERNSTEN: Well, what would occur is Hank Crumpton, George Tenet, the vice president, the president, secretary of defense, would have a meeting down at the White House and the decision was made there was to use the Pakistani frontier force instead of using the 800 Rangers I had requested.

SANCHEZ: So to be clear, the...

BERNSTEN: It was a political decision.

SANCHEZ: So it was a political decision made at the White House, which included Tommy Franks, Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, and Vice President Cheney to deny your request for 800 troops. Is that correct?

BERNSTEN: Well, the point was, was they thought that they could go -- they wanted to go with a smaller footprint. I wanted to go with a larger footprint. They...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: But just to be clear, so we don't think it's like some underling somewhere in some office made this decision...

BERNSTEN: No, it was no underling. It was no underling. This was briefed at the highest level in the White House. And Mr. Crumpton has been on television and has explained that and explained what my request was.

SANCHEZ: How did you know bin -- how did you know bin Laden -- how did you know bin Laden was there?

BERNSTEN: Excuse me?

SANCHEZ: How did you know that bin Laden was actually there? Did you eyeball him or did you hear him?

BERNSTEN: We had human sources who actually delivered food and water to him at one point. We followed in with a 15,000-pound device, a BLU-82 to try to kill him. We killed a lot of his folks with that device. We were listening to him on the phone because all of his sophisticated comm had went down and they were using actually hunting radios at one point.

We had one of them, we were listening. There were other ways that we knew as well. Believe me, he was there. I mean...

SANCHEZ: Let me just stop you right there, because we -- you and I are going to continue on cnn.com/live. This is amazing information you're sharing with us, wow. Hold right there. Let me go over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM" and you and I are going to continue the conversation.

Once again, Gary Bernsten, who I -- boy, I've been looking forward to talking to this good American who has been good enough to join us and talk to us about this. We are in "THE SITUATION ROOM" now, are we not?

All right. Wolf Blitzer is in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Wolf, take it away.

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