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Gunmen Stage Mass Kidnapping in Baghdad; President Bush Meets With Big Three Automakers; Military Uses Virtual Technology to Battle Post-Traumatic Stress; Hurricane Katrina Trailer Residents Being Relocated

Aired November 14, 2006 - 15:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Don Lemon.

They are known as the big three -- power brokers of America's auto industry visiting the Oval Office. But there are a couple of things they won't ask the president for.

PHILLIPS: Smoke it, snort it, shoot it up -- no matter how meth gets in your body, it's an awful lot harder to get it out of the your life. Hear from the men who know.

LEMON: A secret agent fit for the queen.

("JAMES BOND" THEME PLAYING)

LEMON: Well, we are live in London for a red carpet who's-who surrounding the new Bond, James Bond.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: They wore official uniforms. They said they were on official business, but they had something else in mind. Gunmen staged a brazen kidnapping in Baghdad, leaving Iraqis wondering whether and how their government can ever protect them.

Here is CNN's Michael Ware.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iraqi security forces move in to seal off a Baghdad university building, but, like so much in Iraq, it's too little, too late.

Just a short time earlier, about 80 gunmen in similar army or police uniforms had also set up a cordon, before pouring inside this four-story research institute, claiming to be on official business, segregating men from women, and, within 20 minutes, escaping in a convoy of more than 20 vehicles, taking the men hostage -- the exact number, unknown -- police saying as many as 60 -- a government minister saying it's up to 100 -- the only ones left behind, the distraught women. The sophisticated raid, executed at 10:00 a.m., just after rush hour, was audacious -- so many gunmen, so many hostages, possibly the largest mass kidnapping of the war, all within the heart of the capital, with more than 60,000 American and Iraqi troops on the streets -- the breathtaking scale of the kidnapping, a counterpoint to the previous day's visit by America's top commander in the region, General John Abizaid.

Preparing to brief Congress, the general's quick trip was designed to show U.S. support for Iraq's ailing government, and, according to Iraqi officials, to press for rehabilitation of the country's security forces -- need for that rehabilitation illustrated by the next morning's kidnappings -- a clear sign of either the government's inability to control its own forces, or its weakness in the face of an unwavering and robust insurgency that, in the first 13 days of November, has already claimed the lives of more than 30 American servicemen.

Following the kidnapped operation, university classes were canceled across the city.

ABED THEYAB, IRAQI HIGHER EDUCATION MINISTER (through translator): I'm not ready to see more professors get killed. I have only one choice, which is suspend classes at universities. We have no other choice.

WARE: His choice is token. Few students or professors have dared attend lectures since the semester began two months ago. Waves of kidnappings and assassinations of the country's intelligentsia long ago may study made study too dangerous.

Michael Ware, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: It has been a long, hard road for the big three U.S. automakers, at least two of which are deliberately getting smaller, in hopes of merely surviving.

Today, big wheels from all three discussed their uphill battles with President Bush.

CNN's Kathleen Koch joins us now from the White House with more on that -- Kathleen,

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, President Bush and the CEOs of Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler went full-throttle today through many issues the struggling auto industry in the United States is dealing with -- first of all, health care -- the tab for the automakers, more than $12 billion every year for the health care for their employees, for their retirees, and for family members. Automakers want to see some relief from that.

Now, President Bush, for his part, promised that, on the trip that he's about to leave on tonight, an eight-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit, that he will talk to U.S. trading partners about leveling the playing field for U.S. automakers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And my message to our trading partners is: Just treat us the way we treat you. Our markets are open for your products, and we expect your markets to be open for ours, including our automobiles.

And so we found a lot in common. we will have a continuing dialogue. That's in our interests. In government, we find out ways that we will be able to, you know, work to make sure that this industry is as vibrant and solid as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: The industry, for its part, said that it would do what it could to meet President Bush's encouragement to make automobiles that are more fuel-efficient to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD WAGONER, CHAIRMAN & CEO, GENERAL MOTORS: We talked about things that our industry could do to support initiatives in the energy, energy security area. You may recall, this summer, that the three of us, jointly, agreed to double our production of flexible-fuel vehicles, including biodiesel and ethanol E85, by the year 2010.

Today, we told the president, if we could be assured of adequate availability of -- of ethanol and adequate distribution capability, we could go significantly beyond that, and produce up to 50 percent of our vehicles by the year 2012.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: And, again, President Bush leaves tonight for Hanoi and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. This will be President Bush's first trip to Japan.

Besides talking trade, as President Bush mentioned, they will also be talking about fighting bird flu and terrorism.

LEMON: All right.

KOCH: Don.

LEMON: You said bird flu and terrorism and the automakers. Is there anything else on his agenda, as he heads to Asia?

KOCH: Well, the president had hoped to take with him a gift for Hanoi, basically a freshly passed bill normalizing U.S. trade relations with that country. This bill was heavily supported by U.S. businesses that want access to one of the fastest-growing markets in Southeast Asia.

But it failed to pass the House yesterday, though Republican lawmakers, still in control of the House, are going to try again tomorrow.

LEMON: Kathleen Koch, thank you very much for that report.

KOCH: You bet.

PHILLIPS: A lot of energy, a lot of new faces, and a lot of questions on Capitol Hill -- elected just a week ago, the newest members of Congress are posing for pictures and learning their way around. There are more than 50 new House members, 10 in the Senate, most of them Democrats. They get down in business in January.

For the first time in 14 years, Democrats will be in charge. Their leader in the Senate, to no one's surprise, Harry Reid of Nevada. He was elected a short time ago as majority leader for the 110th Congress. He has been minority leader for the past two years. Dick Durbin of Illinois was elected majority whip. Senate Republicans elect their leadership tomorrow.

And a familiar face wants back in the game -- former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott is going after the job of minority whip. Lott returned to the backbenches four years ago over comments that many saw as racially insensitive at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday celebration.

LEMON: Back in 2000, he crisscrossed the country in the Straight Talk Express. Former and possibly future presidential candidate John McCain is well-known for saying what he believes.

But what he's saying now has some wondering about his chances in 2008.

Here is CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): '06 was the anti-war election, but every sitting lawmaker thinking about running for president in '08 voted yes on the Iraq war. Still, there is yes, and then there is John McCain.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have always said we needed more troops in Iraq.

CROWLEY: Putting more troops in Iraq does not seem like the kind of platform that could sell in '08. In exit polls this year, only 17 percent of voters said they wanted to send more troops. Twenty-one percent wanted to hold at current levels. Fifty-five percent wanted to withdraw some or all U.S. troops from Iraq.

He is unmoved by the numbers.

MCCAIN: I believe that there are a lot of things that we can do to salvage this, but they all require the presence of additional troops.

CROWLEY: Given the mood of the country, McCain's position would hurt him if the presidential election was in two months. But it's not.

BAY BUCHANAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: What the people two years from now are going to be looking at is what's happening in Iraq then and what his position is at that time. So, I don't know that that hurts him.

CROWLEY: McCain intends to begin the paperwork for his '08 presidential bid some time next week. There is no indication he will rewrite his talking points.

MCCAIN: We have just one choice in Iraq, and that is to see our mission there through to victory.

CROWLEY: The truth is, for McCain to back off now, in light of the verdict of 2006, would probably hurt him and his reputation.

DAN SCHNUR, FORMER MCCAIN ADVISER: McCain has two great advantages in this debate. Number one is his own military record and his own history as a prisoner of war. Second, as a senator and as a politician, is his reputation as a straight-shooter, as a straight- talker. That means that voters are going to give him more of a hearing on his position.

CROWLEY: Perhaps his war stance will hurt in '08. Perhaps the war will no longer be the main issue. It's too early to know, but, regardless, McCain has not only stuck with his position. He is stuck with it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Candy Crowley joins us now.

Candy, let's talk about another Republican making some news -- Rudy Giuliani -- he's been dubbed America's mayor -- filing for his presidential exploratory committee. What does that exactly mean?

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Running or not?

CROWLEY: It means maybe...

LEMON: Yes.

CROWLEY: ... just to be really precise about it.

What -- what these exploratory committees do is allow these maybe candidates to fund their travels as they move on. It's -- it's a campaign finance law, basically.

So, if they put the money in there, they can use it to travel and go out and explore, and see the size of the support, if any. Generally, once they form one of these, they do move on to the next step, but they don't necessarily. So, this is really a mechanism to go out and see, but time's a'wasting here.

LEMON: Yes.

CROWLEY: Most of these -- most of these wannabes on the right and on the left are going to have to do something January or February. So, we're closing in on it.

LEMON: Yes. We're getting close.

Giuliani and McCain, they're pretty close. There are some polls that came out that show that they are pretty close. What do you make of that?

CROWLEY: I make of it that those are the two best-known candidates in the Republican Party. It's pretty much name recognition at this point. It may always remain name recognition, but, this early on, these are the names that most Republicans recognize.

Now, there are clearly others out there in the field, Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts, outgoing. There -- there may be some coming in on the right. Bill Frist may make a run at it. But these are the two names that have been dominating the polls for some time, but those are also the two most well-known names.

LEMON: Yes. And let's see if we can get that poll back up. I think, Candy, it shows that Giuliani had 29 percent, McCain 27 percent, and then 12 percent said that they really don't know.

But -- or they support former House Speaker -- sorry -- Newt Gingrich.

But that 29, 27, all falls within that plus- or minus-5 percent that we have there.

CROWLEY: Right.

LEMON: Yes?

CROWLEY: Right.

LEMON: You were talking about, time is of the essence. Is it true, really, that the early bird will get the worm in politics, too?

CROWLEY: Well, yes, in a way.

I mean, the early bird in this case gets a first shot at the donors. You have got to begin, at this point, to not only line up who may be giving you money, but to line up people that will work for you in Iowa, people that will work for you in New Hampshire, people that will work for you in South Carolina. You have got to get those in a row, because the pool is still pretty small.

And, if you have got 10 people, all in Iowa, looking for donors or looking for staff help, it dries up pretty quickly. So, they have to be in there early. It's -- it's estimated that each of these candidates, in order to be viable by the end of next year, may need about $100 million in the coffers. That...

LEMON: My gosh.

CROWLEY: That takes a little while to raise.

LEMON: That's what it cost to run for president now, at least initially, right?

CROWLEY: Well...

LEMON: Whew.

(LAUGHTER)

CROWLEY: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CROWLEY: Yes. And -- and, at this point, you know, in order to qualify for federal matching money, you have to agree to raise only so much.

That's probably not going to happen in the general election. So, once you agree that you're not -- or once you decide you're not going to take federal money, the sky is the limit, although the individual contributions are limited.

LEMON: Ah, Candy Crowley...

CROWLEY: Yes.

LEMON: ... senior political correspondent, part of the best political team on television, thank you so much for joining us.

CROWLEY: Sure.

LEMON: All the day's political news is available on CNN.com Political Ticker. Any time of the day or night, just click on CNN.com/ticker.

PHILLIPS: Let's get straight to the newsroom -- T.J. Holmes working details on a developing story out of California -- T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kyra, an update here now -- in fact, San Bernardino County sheriff's officials are saying that, indeed, three people did die in that plane crash at Big Bear Lake.

This is just, again, 100 miles or so outside of Los Angeles, a major resort area there. This plane went down about 10:15, local time, this morning. It went down, also, according to sheriff's officials, shortly after takeoff there. It didn't get too far, and crashed on the south shore of Big Bear Lake -- again, this shortly after takeoff.

And three people, they are now saying, are dead. The plane was totally engulfed in flames, also. Sheriff's officials are saying it actually started a little fire there around in some of the vegetation that's around that area. And, actually, one home also caught on fire in this.

But -- but the update here is that, in fact, San Bernardino County officials now saying that, yes, three people were killed in this plane crash -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, we will stay in touch. Thanks, T.J.

Well, shall we play a game? When some soldiers leave Iraq, they are asked to put down the gun and pick up the video controller. Battling battlefield -- next in the NEWSROOM.

LEMON: And a shot in the arm, a step towards the grave, for sure -- more on one man's near fatal attraction to a deadly drug, next in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Well, you can take off the helmet. You can put down the gun, but getting your head out of a war zone is not easy. With more than 15 percent of Iraq war vets suffering post-traumatic stress, the military is turning to virtual reality to diagnose and treat it.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): I was experiencing the reality of war, but, in fact, it was virtual reality of war.

(On camera): Helpless, totally helpless and really, really scared, because I thought I was going to die. I didn't want to die like that.

(Voice-over): I wasn't ready for what would happen. It was perhaps as unnerving, as intense and as disturbing an experience as I could imagine.

(On camera): Every time I hear a new noise, I can feel my heart starting to pound. I have a little bit of the shakes with my hands.

(Voice-over): Here at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, therapists use video game technology to help Iraq vets overcome PTSD. They take the vets back, virtually, to the place where their trauma began.

It's an electronic deja vu. They feel as if it's real, the sights, sounds, vibrations, even the smells of the Iraq war, but in a safe environment.

I experienced it for myself with the help of Dr. Maryrose Gerardi at Emory University in Atlanta, one of the therapy's test sites. I was quickly brought back to my time covering the war in Iraq.

MARYROSE GERARDI, THERAPIST, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Right now, you are sitting in the Humvee. I would like you to just move ahead slowly.

GUPTA (on camera): That is wild. Now I'm looking at their back.

GERARDI: You can certainly stand up, if you would like, but please be careful. Now, as we go along, what I can do is add stimuli along the way that hopefully would elicit some of your specific memory. For instance:

GUPTA: Helicopters flying overhead.

GERARDI: Mmm-hmm. I'm going to give you something that's a little bit more disturbing.

GUPTA: That is really frightening. You have no idea what is -- what is happening right now. Just two of our vehicles have just -- looked like they have been split up. I can't tell if the other vehicles are trying to get out of there as quickly as possible. I can feel my heart rate just starting to pound. It looks like we just took some gunfire, more gunfire.

GERARDI: Now, I would be asking you, if you were working on a specific memory, to be recounting your memory and confronting that memory.

GUPTA: Well, there was one time when we were -- we were driving along and, all of a sudden, our convoy came under fire.

GERARDI: What happened next?

GUPTA: It was nighttime. You saw all these tracer fire, I guess, hitting the front of the convoy in front of us.

GERARDI: OK.

GUPTA: And we all just ducked down into the truck as low as we could go. You're literally just sort of covering your head, and making sure your helmet chin strap is on as tight as it can be.

GERARDI: Mmm-hmm. What were you feeling at that point?

GUPTA: Helpless, totally helpless, and really, really scared, because I thought I was going to die. And I didn't want to die like that.

I am very uncomfortable right now, especially as I -- and I am trying to get this thing to get us out of here as quickly as possible.

Every time I hear a new noise, I can feel my heart starting to pound. I have a little bit of the shakes with my hands.

GERARDI: Mmm-hmm. What I would be doing also at this point, Sanjay, is asking you to rate your level of anxiety on a scale from zero to 100.

GUPTA: Ninety. I don't feel good at all right now. GERARDI: OK. But the goal, as we had talked about, is to confront the fear memory in a safe place. You don't want to avoid it. Confront it and find out that you can habituate to that level of anxiety, and be OK with it.

GUPTA: I have to tell you, I was stunned by my reaction. I mean, I know it's only a simulation, but my reaction was so powerful. What I didn't show you was that I went through that simulation two more times. And I can't say that it ever really got any easier, but I did feel more in control.

And from what the psychologists tell me, that's the goal, face your fears until you can control them, maybe even defeat them.

Now, this therapy is only available on a limited basis, but it does seem to be very effective at treating our warriors who are coming home.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: All right, let's take a closer look at the numbers.

The Pentagon says that almost 21,000 American troops have been wounded in Iraq. A study by Harvard and Columbia University says, for every U.S. service member killed there, seven are hurt. The ratio in Vietnam was three troops wounded for every troop killed.

Now, a study by the University of Pennsylvania says that 24 percent of those wounded in Iraq survive. In Vietnam, that figure was 13 percent.

LEMON: Needing a new thrill, finding it too easily.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wanted our sexuality back. And, oh, boy we got it back. We got it back with a vengeance. And, in that environment, crystal meth was allowed to kind of blossom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: A new film exposes a fatal equation between crystal meth and gay men. The director joins us -- straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALES (singing): I said it's getting hot in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES (singing): So hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES (singing): So, take off all your clothes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES (singing): I am getting so hot.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: It is so true.

LEMON: That is one thing. It's hot in here. But we always agree on that, right?

PHILLIPS: That's because it's 95,000 degrees in this studio with all these lights.

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: We have fans under the seat, fans and up here.

LEMON: Yes, but what about home? Who do you think controls it?

(CROSSTALK)

PHILLIPS: Hello? You and I have our air conditioning on at, what, 60 degrees, even during the winter?

LEMON: I have mine on all winter long.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Well, you know what? Women usually win the thermostat debate.

PHILLIPS: That's -- well, not always in my house.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: But we digress.

PHILLIPS: But that's a whole 'nother story.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Check out these numbers. A poll by ServiceMagic.com shows, men get to determine the temperature only 40 percent of the time, women, 55 percent. And the comfort of the pets is a top consideration 4 percent of the time, and kids only 1 percent.

Oh, and does this sound familiar? Fifteen percent say they pretend not to hear -- what did you say?

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Listen to me, Don.

LEMON: Not to hear when their spouse complains about the heat or the cold.

PHILLIPS: It's so true. (LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: Boy, all kinds of hidden messages there.

(LAUGHTER)

PHILLIPS: All right, Sony's PlayStation 3 debuts in the U.S. this week, after a lot of hype. But it's already facing a lot of problems.

Susan Lisovicz, live from the New York Stock Exchange, here we go again. I'm so out of tune with this.

(LAUGHTER)

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, I just want to say that men control the TV clickers. That's why we get to control the thermostat, right?

(LAUGHTER)

LISOVICZ: I mean, it's -- it's only fair.

PHILLIPS: The beauty of TiVo. Fine. I will watch it later. See you later.

(LAUGHTER)

LISOVICZ: Exactly. Right.

(LAUGHTER)

LISOVICZ: You are so 21st century, girl.

Well...

(LAUGHTER)

LISOVICZ: OK, so, now, get your game face on, because we are going to talk about the PlayStation 3. It went on sale in Japan over the weekend. You knew that. It hit store shelves in the U.S. here Friday.

But Sony now admits that the console can't play 200 or more of the older games for the original PlayStation or PlayStation 2, which contradicts Sony's earlier statements. Some of those games include, in case you're interested, "Tekken 5," " Gran Turismo," "Biohazard." They're having problems with that.

And this is just the latest problem for the long-awaited system, which has already been delayed due to production problems. And it's given the competition the upper hand. Only 100,000 were available in Japan when it launched. And just 400,000 will be available here, causing a major supply crunch at a critical time, leading up to the holidays. People are paying more than $2,300 on eBay to pre-order the console. That's nearly four times its highest retail price. Sony says an online fix for the problem with the older games will be ready by the time the PS3 rolls out in the U.S. That's just a few days away, though, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Well, what is going on, on Wall Street?

LISOVICZ: Yes, OK.

Well, we have got some serious buying here, volatile session. We started modestly higher, turned south. And now we have got a big rally going on. Well, we have some very positive economic news, including a huge drop in October wholesale prices and a smaller-than- expected decline in retail sales -- all good.

And that means that the Dow Jones industrials hit another all- time earlier in the session. We are at 12225, not too far off from that -- 15 records in 31 sessions for the blue chips. So, we will see if we can close at a record high as well -- the Nasdaq, meanwhile, not too shabby. It's up 16 points, or two-thirds-of-a-percent.

And that's the latest from Wall Street. I will be back in about a half-an-hour with the wrap-up of the trading day -- more from the NEWSROOM straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then I quickly started shooting it. I slammed it. A slammer. It's like into your arm and he showed me exactly how to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then it hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I could feel my pupils just go ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything became clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like 20 sparklers were going off in my head all at once.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On top of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ooh, I like this. I could immediately get to like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, such is a potent allure of crystal meth. Among its many downsides, it's considered a major culprit behind a spike in HIV and Hepatitis C among gay men. Now, director Todd Ahlbert has made it his mission to fight back. He joins us now from Palm Desert, California. thanks for joining us. Why did you do this?

TODD AHLBERT, DIRECTOR, "METH": Why did I make the film?

LEMON: Yes.

AHLBERT: Well, as a gay man, it's sort of hard to ignore the phenomenon of crystal meth within our culture and how it slowly, but surely, taking away our brothers. But, the primary reason ...

LEMON: Go ahead.

AHLBERT: But the primary reason for me making the film was to start an internal dialogue to get our brothers in the community talking about what is happening. Because, for the most part, this is a subject we would rather keep in the dark and not talk about, because it's not very flattering. But the longer we keep it in the dark, the less we talk about it and healing can't begin.

LEMON: Well, Mark King, when I interviewed him earlier, he said that this was -- he equated it to the AIDS epidemic in the early 80's, early to mid '80s when people didn't really want to talk about it and now people don't want to talk about this. What do you think about that?

AHLBERT: I think that's exactly right. You know, I think what we're looking here is the next gay plague if you will, that absolutely has the power to destroy lives and kill. But, again, it's not a bright, shiny subject and, you know, it's -- I think Mark may have alluded to this as well and he and I talk about this a lot. It's sort of -- crystal meth is sort of the perfect storm in the gay community.

Here you've got a community who's dealing with sexual repression from AIDS back 20 years ago. We're dealing with burnout from safe sex messages, we're just sort of tired of hearing it. We're dealing with the internet and instant sexual gratification. And we're dealing with the influence of erectile dysfunction drugs. So then you put crystal meth on top of that list and you suddenly got the perfect storm. You've suddenly got a drug that enters the system and allows you to forget all of that. To lose all that inhibition and to finally be the man you always believed you could be. And you know, that's kind of hard to argue with.

LEMON: It's part of the culture, youth, body, beauty, all of that.

AHLBERT: Right.

LEMON: And then everything that I've read about crystal meth is that it lowers your inhibitions so when you're on it, you're more likely to have unsafe sex. Do you have trouble getting your message out at all with this movie?

AHLBERT: Well, it hasn't been an easy sell in the U.S. ironically, because the problem is larger in the U.S. than it is in any other country. Most of the broadcasters that my distributors have spoken to in the United States have sort of put a hold on it, you know? They claim it's too narrow, it's too edgy, it's to in your face, and it is all of those things but, you know, the problem -- the film is about crystal meth in the gay community. Crystal meth, however, extends much beyond the gay community. It's both inside and outside the gay community.

LEMON: But, overseas you're saying they using it as an example of what not to do. Let's take a listen because all of the people that you had in your movie -- very interesting subjects. I think it was about six or seven guys who told their stories, but I think none of them was more interesting and more emotional than the mother of one of the young men who was a meth addict. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would love to see him in a committed relationship. I don't want to see him alone. I want him to be happy. I would love for him to get a job that fulfills him. I don't care what his job is as long as it's legal. You know? I don't care -- he could be the fat lady at the circus, I don't care, just as long as it's something that he's happy doing and he's not going to get arrested for. Other than that, and I would love for him to be clean.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Sitting there listening to that, she is sitting next to her son, she just bought him a car and was going to buy him a condo, she is thinking he is clean, he's not. All of the other subjects in the movie all went back to using. Only six percent of people who use meth have a safe recovery and that is after three years, right?

AHLBERT: Yes. Unfortunately, that's the -- that's the statistics these days.

LEMON: What did you think of -- go ahead.

AHLBERT: And I know that that scene you just played is touching one person very powerfully right now and that is Judy, Andrew's mom who we just saw. She hasn't seen the movie yet. She knows what she talks about in the movie, obviously, but she hasn't seen the movie so I'll be interested to talk to her later to see how she handled that.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you for bringing this to us. I know it's a difficult subject to watch. But -- and it's a difficult subject at least to tackle, so we wish you luck and we thank you for bringing life to something that is very difficult, as we said. Todd Ahlbert joining us from Palm Desert, California.

Here is some information for you. There are several warning signs for meth addiction -- insomnia, weight loss, nervous scratching and tremors. And that's just to name a few there. If you or someone you love is in trouble, help is out there. You can call 1-800-662- HELP. That's the number for the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. We called today and the operator stressed how important it is for meth users to know help is available to them. Again, the number is 1-800-662-HELP. H-E-L-P -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Putting down roots. It's still almost impossible for some survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they're going to uproot us again and throw us somewhere else all because of money. And it's not right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: Will they ever find a place to call home? That story straight ahead from the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: We're going to take a listen to the president of the United States meeting with the new RNC chairman. Senator Mel Martinez, as you know, he'll be replacing Ken Mehlman. He's the outgoing RNC chair. That general chairmanship will take care of fundraising, media, travel and political outreach. Ken Mehlman handled all of those, plus the day-to-day operations. But now I'm learning that's going to be split into two positions. Mel Martinez taking that general chair position while another candidate will take care of the chair position. Let's take a listen to the president when he met with him not long ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I have just been meeting with the new team that's going to run the Republican National Committee. I am so proud, my friend Mel Martinez, senator from Florida, is going to be the honorary chairman. My friend Mike Duncan from Kentucky is going to be the chairman and Jo Ann Davidson is going to be the co-chairman.

And I want to thank you all very much for your agreeing to serve our party. I do want to say that Ken Mehlman did a whale of the job as a chairman of the Republican Party. It's been a joy working with him. I appreciate the fact that you went to neighborhoods where Republicans had never been to talk to people about our message of ownership and hope and I wish you all the very best.

You know, one of the things I like to tell my friends about the Republican Party is that we're a party that really believes in entrepreneurship and small businesses and good quality education and accountability.

And Mel Martinez represents what I believe our party stands for and that is that his parents put him on a plane to come to the United States from Cuba because they loved freedom and it was Mel's first taste for the beauty of liberty and freedom.

And he worked hard, starting with little and ended up being here as the United States senator from Florida and the honorary chairman of our party. He's going to be an excellent spokesman for the Republican Party. He'll be a person who will be able to carry our message as we go into an important year in 2008.

And Duncan has been involved with grassroots politics for a long period of time. He comes from a Democrat state that is now a Republican state because he understands that you win votes by organizing and turning out the vote. Of course, Jo Ann has been around our party for years and she brings a lot of stability and a lot of common sense.

And so I do want to thank you three. I'm looking forward to working with you. I'm looking forward to reminding the people that we've got plans to keep the country secure and keep our prosperity strong and once again, I want to thank you for your service. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: The president and all of the RNC players there. You saw Senator Mel Martinez. He'll be general chairman of the RNC. Ken Mehlman, outgoing chair. Mike Duncan, RNC chairman, will work side- by-side with Mel Martinez and Jo Ann Davidson, co-chair of the RNC responsible for women's outreach, as well.

LEMON: We've all heard the phrase "Hooray for Hollywood." Well not in New Orleans. A movie studio is moving in and that means some Hurricane Katrina victims are moving out. Here is Rob Massan of our affiliate station WVUE.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROB MASSAN, WVUE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's hard to believe, but for hundreds of flood victims, these FEMA trailers are the closest thing to home they' had since the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that is why I'm very angry about this. I mean, we've been through enough.

MASSAN: L.I.F.T. Productions lent this property to FEMA knowing eventually it would need it back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really see it as anything you'd say no to. Someone needs a place to say and you've got a piece of land that someone wants to put them on there, I would never say no to that.

MASSAN: Now the time has come for L.I.F.T. to begin driving pilings for one of the biggest projects ever for the local film industry, a $180 million film studio and trailer residents are now being relocated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just told us when we get a phone call, we going to have to just move. We don't have a choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess we all would of wished a year plus after the hurricane everyone would have been at least in semi- permanent housing by now but it's turned into a bigger deal than all of us understood, obviously.

MASSAN: Many have had to move three times since the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's awful because high school and students around here and they got to relocate the buses and stuff so it's hard for them.

MASSAN (on camera): Residents of this trailer park have been put through the ringer. They've tried to make due the best they can, but thought they'd have 18 months here as they try and get their houses livable again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they're going to uproot us again and throw us somewhere else all because of money and it's not right.

MASSAN (voice-over): Some are being told they will be relocated to a new trailer site at UNO.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, we're looking at like $450 a month just in taxi to get him home because there's no buses.

MASSAN: Others have no idea where they're going.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I still have to worry about my mom. She don't have nowhere to go.

MASSAN: L.I.F.T. says it's trying to be accommodating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't want to cause any more trouble or inconvenience to anyone who has had those issues. I've been happy to let them -- we've been happy to let them use our land.

MASSAN: But the new film factory is on a fast track and L.I.F.T. believes the future of New Orleans, its growing film industry and hundreds of jobs are at stake.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: And that was Rob Massan from our affiliate station WVUE.

PHILLIPS: Well, Bobby Knight is known for being, well, shall we say hands-on? The player that he jabbed last night is telling the media to lay off. Texas Tech forward Michael Prince is defending his coach. Prince says that Knight was just trying to get his attention while he had his head down and he succeed. Before he moved to Texas, you may remember that Knight was fired from Indiana University in 2000 after several run-ins, shall we say, with players and a student.

LEMON: Saturday's Michigan/Ohio State football game is a biggie. Two unbeaten teams squaring off for a shot at the national title and tickets are scarce. But two Buckeye fans want to sell their pair to win something even more precious. Kristie Sigler are trying to fund the adoption of a Guatemalan baby. They are cradling their little nephew here in this picture. The Siglers both went on mission trips to Guatemala and fell in love with that country. The opening bid of their tickets, good ones too, about 10 rows from the field, $1,000. No bids yet. So if you want them, logon to eBay and search for seller name Sigs1010.

PHILLIPS: The face has changed, but the name still rings a bell. The newest "Bond" blasts out of the gate and we got him right here in the NEWSROOM. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, here's a question for you. Will Bond fans be shaken, stirred, or neither? Even the Queen wanted to know how Daniel Craig would tackle the classic role of 007. She showed up, yes, she did, for the London premier with the likes of Beyonce and even Elton John. No word on whether she had Milk Duds squirrelled away in her handbag. I didn't see a handbag there or a hat. Did you?

PHILLIPS: No.

LEMON: No?

PHILLIPS: Very disappointed.

LEMON: No? No official royal review, yet. But early word from London critics seem to indicate the latest Bond will be boffo (ph) at the box office.

PHILLIPS: History may be written by the victors, but it's the comedians who write the jokes. And they're writing like crazy about incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A politician knows she's arrived when she can stay home on a Saturday night and watch herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Live from New York, it's Saturday night!

MOOS: The good news for Nancy Pelosi is that it's expected she'll soon be Speaker. The bad news is the comedians are already speaking about her.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Nancy Pelosi.

JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW": Nancy Pelosi.

MOOS: Even fake conservatives, who gag at her very name.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": (COUGHING)

MOOS: The previous Speaker never got this kind of attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robert, who is this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rush Limbaugh?

MOOS: By beating the Republicans, the Democrats won the right to get beat up on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Democrats intend to lead the most catastrophic Congress in history. MOOS: She's getting it in comedians, she's getting it from Pelosi-haters on the Internet, portrayed as the Wicked Witch with the tagline, "I'll get you, my pretty."

The witch theme is popular.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Nancy Pelosi could be the next speaker of the House.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: (LAUGHING)

COLBERT: (LAUGHING)

O'REILLY: You may, indeed, be saying hello to San Francisco values.

PELOSI: (LAUGHING)

COLBERT: (SCREAMING)

MOOS: When it comes to looks, they say female politicians get a lot more scrutiny than men -- back off, that's enough scrutiny -- that instead of focusing on Nancy Pelosi's pearls of wisdom, the focus tends to be on her pearls, period.

For instance, this photo op resulted in request on information on where to get the Speaker-to-be's string of pearls. Shopping tips online to the rescue. These sure look a lot like Pelosi's pearls for a mere $3,999. We didn't hear of anyone seeking information on where to get Senator Harry Reid's tie.

So far, the favorite comedy angle has been Pelosi's so-called...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: San Francisco values.

MOOS: The real Pelosi may be celebrating family values with a new grandchild.

PELOSI: Eight pounds, ten and a half ounces.

MOOS: But on "Saturday Night Live," her speech was interrupted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: MALE: Nancy, you teed need to OK this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But, Dane, I'm kind of in the middle of something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll come back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, Dane, about your outfit. It's all right now, but as of January you might have to go with more a business look for the office.

MOOS: Forget leather, Pelosi's going to need armor to protect herself from jokes like these.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a human ashtray.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dane, this office is non smoking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just pot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Can't upstage that.

Well, it's and air guitarist's dream. Stay with me. Rock on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (voice-over): How cool is that? Playing your shirt. We'll tell you how it's done straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON (on camera): Perfect music.

PHILLIPS: Yes.

LEMON: Time now to check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

PHILLIPS: He's the real James Bond, Wolf "James Bond" Blitzer.

LEMON: 007 Blitzer.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Blitzer, Wolf Blitzer.

Thanks very much, guys.

He's a popular senator and former governor from Indiana, but can Evan Bayh take on Hillary Clinton in a Democratic race for the White House? I'll ask him.

They won the race, but can Democrats now deliver? Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider has some new poll numbers showing exactly what you now expect from your new Congress.

Also, he lost his leadership post after a very controversial comment. Now Senator Trent Lott may be poised to make a comeback.

Plus, echoes of the 2000 election. Another Florida recount, but there's more to the squeaker that meets the eye. We'll have details of that.

A lot more coming up right here in the "SITUATION ROOM". PHILLIPS: Thanks, wolf.

Check this out. A guy who wears his music on his sleeve.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON (voice-over): That's pretty cool. I think he's playing it from his shirt.

Australia's National Science Agency came up with the "Ultimate Air Guitar". Sensors on the arms of this t-shirt wirelessly relay movements to a computer to produce that sound.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): The researchers say that you can rock out even if you have no musical talent. And your tune is supposed to sound as good as an original mp3. Researchers say the same technology could be used to help in physical rehabilitation.

LEMON: There's even hope for me for being a musician.

PHILLIPS (on camera): The closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street.

LEMON (on camera): Yes, let's check in with Susan Lisovicz for a final check, at least here in the NEWSROOM.

(MARKET REPORT)

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