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Denver Braces for Another Snowstorm; Refugees Fleeing Somalia Fired Upon; Cloning and Food; Political Headlines From 2006

Aired December 28, 2006 - 11:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: You are with CNN, where you will stay informed.
I'm Rick Sanchez. I'm sitting in for Tony Harris.


Developments keep coming into the NEWSROOM for Thursday, December 28th.

Here's what's on the rundown.

A major winter storm coming together in the West. Colorado and the plains in the blizzard's bulls-eye.

SANCHEZ: Also, it was the shot heard around the world, Dick Cheney's shooting accident and other political misfires from 2006.

CNN contributor Bill Bennett will stop by the NEWSROOM.

COLLINS: It may be coming soon to a diner near you, food from cloned animals. Dr. Sanjay Gupta serving up cloned cooking this hour in the NEWSROOM.

Time to stock up on everything you may need, and maybe a little fortitude mixed in. Denver, still digging out from the last snowstorm, braces for another big blow from nature today.

Our man on the ground, Jonathan Freed, bundled up at DIA.

Hey, Jonathan.


The airport people here are telling us that they have learned what they can from experience last week. They say they had some communications problems, among other things, but they're confident that they are as ready as they can be for what is coming later today.


FREED (voice over): You're looking at the last 100 or so bags still sitting at United Airlines baggage claim in Denver after last week's storm. Some 5,000 travelers were stranded here for two days, most sleeping wherever they could. United alone canceled 1,800 Denver flights and says it managed to reunite most people with their bags and get them on their way within 24 hours of the airport reopening last Friday. The question is, have they cleared the place out only to have it happen all over again?

Denver's mayor says if it does, despite the inconvenience, the city will not compromise safety.

MAYOR JOHN HICKENLOOPER, DENVER: And we're not going to keep it open longer than is completely safe, and we're not going to open it sooner than we feel is completely safe.

FREED: Plowing this place is no small task.

(on camera): When your crews plow every inch of concrete at this airport, how much have they touched?

CHUCK CANNON, DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Well, we're talking about 1,200 lane miles, and that's enough from a single lane road from Denver to San Francisco or Denver to Detroit, depending on which way you want to go.

FREED (voice over): Airlines are already waiving restrictions on tickets to help people who want to try to get out ahead of the second storm in a week.


FREED: Now, something else that the airlines are doing here, we spoke to United, and they say that rather than wait for the problem to fly in more staff and more people to handle it, they're saying just in case it happens again, they already have enough staff on the ground here, so they can keep their -- what they call their lobby areas or their ticket check-in counter areas going 24 hours a day, just in case -- Heidi.

COLLINS: All right. Very good.

Jonathan Freed at Denver International Airport.

And Chad Myers now here at the CNN Center to give us the very latest on this situation.


SANCHEZ: Let's go over to Carol Lin now, following that situation we were getting briefed on in Somalia.

What's going on, Carol?

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Those refugees who were fleeing the fighting in Somalia, trying to head to Yemen, and their boats were fired upon.

On the telephone with me right now is Ron Redmond. He's the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Ron, can you tell us exactly what happened? We understand they were trying to flee, there's about 140 or so refugees that are missing right now.

RON REDMOND, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSION FOR REFUGEES: Well, there were four boats that approached the Yemen coastline overnight after going across the Gulf of Aden with smugglers, where about 515 people aboard these boats. Two of the boats dropped off their passengers at the beach, and Somali -- or Yemeni authorities then fired at those boats which did not have any of the Somalis or Ethiopians aboard.

The other two boats had been waiting further offshore in the dark. They turned around and headed back out to sea. And those were the boats that capsized. They were not fired on out there that we know of, but they did capsize in rough seas. And we know of 17 people confirmed dead and some 140 people missing.

LIN: Do you know whether there's any attempt to try to rescue or find the people who are missing?

REDMOND: Yes, the Yemeni authorities are continuing their search. This all occurred in fairly sufficient water at night in the dark. And so it was difficult to get to these people. Some of them apparently were trapped under the hull of one of these smuggling vessels, and so it was a difficult situation to deal with, but the search is continuing.

LIN: All right. Ron Redmond with the UNHCR, talking to us from Geneva, Switzerland.

That's the situation as it stands off the coast of Somalia as refugees try to flee the fighting -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Rough situation for some of those folks. Thanks so much for bringing us up to date on that, Carol. We appreciate it.

COLLINS: A Taliban-style government, Islamic fighters are trying to establish it now, as you just heard, in Somalia. Somali's fragile U.N.-supported government is trying to prevent it with help from Ethiopia. We're going to be talking about that with our Africa correspondent, Jeff Koinange.


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This may be the most iconic image the world has of Somalia: a U.S. military Black Hawk helicopter shot down in the capital, Mogadishu, followed by scenes of U.S. servicemen being dragged down the streets by angry Somalis. It led the U.S. to withdraw from the country more than a dozen years ago, and the world pretty much forgot about Somalia until now.

Somalia is back in the headlines fighting what can only be described as a confusing war. Ragtag bandits patrolling the streets of the capital in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft artillery. The country actually has a government, but it has been holed up in the town of Baidoa in the east, unable to govern and unwelcome in the capital, Mogadishu.

Mogadishu is controlled by the Islamic Courts Union, or ICU. Their goal, to create a Taliban-style government with strict rules on everything from dress to doctrine. Their ultimate objective, establishing strict Islamic law.

Experts say the Islamists are funded from various sources including, perhaps, al Qaeda. They control large swathes of Somalia and succeeded in recent weeks in slowly choking the government into submission.

Enter Ethiopia, home to one of the world's oldest Christian traditions but also many Muslims. It views the Islamists as a threat.

It stepped into the fight to help the Somalia government drive out the Islamists, and this is where things get complicated. Ethiopia has the full backing of the U.S., part of the war on terror. Ethiopia right now has the upper hand, with more troops, more experience, and superior air power. But the Islamists vow to fight for as long as it takes.

The last time these two nations fought each other was during the 1970s and '80s over a tiny strip of desert known as the Ogaden. It lasted more than 10 years.

The big fear now, this war could become an all-out regional conflict, not about land but about religion.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Johannesburg.


COLLINS: Want to go ahead and show you these new pictures now just coming to us. This is Vice President Dick Cheney getting off of Air Force Two, I would imagine, arriving in Waco, Texas. He will from there head to the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

He will be sitting down with the president, as well as other advisers. Of course, Robert Gates, the new defense secretary, and Condoleezza Rice, and Stephen Hadley, as well, to be talking about Iraq and possible changes that could be made to strategy.

An important meeting today. We will be continuing to follow this as that meeting happens and cover it live for you just as soon as it happens.

Just now as we are getting word of another soldier that was killed in Iraq a little bit earlier today. That information coming to us just moments ago. As we get more on it, we will bring it to you here at CNN.

SANCHEZ: Here's a question for you. Would you eat food from cloned animals? Well, food from cloned animals could start showing up at the butcher case and on your dinner table soon. The Food and Drug Administration expected now to approve food from cloned animals today. The FDA says it's safe to eat, no reason to label it.

CNN's Lisa Sylvester has more.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Peggy Sue is a cloned cow. Her offspring may soon end up at the dinner table. Texas biotech company Viagen, which owns Peggy Sue, says meat and milk from cloned livestock or their offspring are just as safe to eat as those from conventional breeding.

SCOTT DAVIS, CO-FOUNDER, VIAGEN: When Dolly was cloned, we went from impossible to possible. That was the huge leap. But since then, there's been a lot of work at perfecting the technology.

SYLVESTER: Dolly the sheep was the first cloned mammal in 1996. Breeders saw the benefit of xeroxing a prize animal, improved quality of food at lower prices. But Dolly's early death from lung disease raised safety concerns. Many consumer groups say food derived from cloned animals is not safe.

ANDREW KIMBRELL, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY: I have a file cabinet full of peer-reviewed scientific studies that say that animal cloning is not only terrible for the suffering it causes the animals, but because of the deformities and the diseases that it causes in these animals represents a real hazard to food safety.

SYLVESTER: There are also ethical issues. A Gallup poll found 65 percent of Americans believe cloning animals is morally wrong. And an industry survey found 62 percent of consumers would be reluctant to buy products from cloned animals.

GREGORY JAFFE, CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: They link cloned animals with the potential for cloned humans. And so it raises a yuck factor in their minds.

SYLVESTER: The Food and Drug administration in 2003 found cloned animals pose no risk, but an FDA advisory panel later said more research needs to be done.

In the meantime, a voluntary moratorium on animal cloning for food is in place.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.


SANCHEZ: By the way, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who knows an awful lot about this and has given it a lot of thought, is going to be joining us in a little bit. He's going to be sitting down with us to talk about the situation with cloned animal food that may be at our tables very soon.

Also, Rumsfeld resigns, Democrats take control of Congress. A look back at the big stories and also the wacky moments that happened in politics this year. CNN contributor Bill Bennett is going to be joining us. He will be in the NEWSROOM.

A Harlem farewell to the "Godfather of Soul," that's ahead as well. Soul singer James Brown in his final bow at the famed Apollo Theater. You are looking at it. We will take you there.

Stay with us.


COLLINS: A power shift on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon. A vice presidential misfire and a congresswoman takes on the Capitol Police. Just some of the political headlines from 2006.

Joining us to talk about the big events and some of the wackier moments, if you will, Bill Bennett, CNN contributor and host of "Bill Bennett's Morning in America."

Good morning to you, Bill. Thanks for being here.


COLLINS: Let's go ahead and talk about some of the big headlines that we saw in 2006. Obviously, first and foremost, the midterm elections, change in power for the first time in 12 years.

BENNETT: Yes, a big deal. A good one for the Democrats. Well organized, well crafted. Rahm Emanuel, I think, gets the MVP.

We will see what they do with that power. It sends the Republicans back to their playbook. Conservatives trying to say, let's go back to our first principles. We'll find out more in a couple weeks.

COLLINS: How about Representative Nancy Pelosi as the first female speaker of the House?

BENNETT: Sure. That's the rules. And she's in. And we will see what she does.

I am still very curious, Heidi, as to whether the Democrats, who ran so hard against George Bush on the war, will actually do something about the war. That is, cut funding do, what Teddy Kennedy and Don Frazier (ph) did back in the days of Gerald Ford. You know? Actually try to cut off that funding.

I don't know whether they'll do that or not, but we shall see. They have got the leadership position, which means a lot of Republicans are pleased with this. They can't just criticize, they have got responsibility.

COLLINS: No question about that.

Also, Donald Rumsfeld resigning just one day after that midterm election.

BENNETT: I didn't like that. I just -- I wish the president hadn't done it the day after. He made it look as if the secretary of defense position was just a political football. And we lost and he had to go.

But he's gone, and now we'll see what happens. Notice that his being gone hasn't changed much. We're still where we were, but people insisted on having Rumsfeld's head. I was not one of them. I'm still an admirer of Don Rumsfeld.

But we shall see.

COLLINS: We shall see, indeed.

All right. Now on to some of the stranger moments, if you will. We had Vice President Dick Cheney and the mishap that happened on his quail hunting trip, accidentally shooting Harry Whittington.

BENNETT: Yes. Well, worst -- worst shot as vice president, I guess. Unless you want to say...

COLLINS: It's hard not to joke about it because, you know, talk about wacky, but there was a man who was injured. So we have to be careful in talking about it, for sure.

BENNETT: Well, I know, but, still, you know, I mean, the late- night comics couldn't resist it. And I pointed out on CNN, I was the first -- when I heard, pointed out the last time this happened it was Aaron Burr shooting Alexander Hamilton.

COLLINS: That's right.

BENNETT: And he really -- he nailed Hamilton, as you know.


BENNETT: Hamilton shot wide. But Aaron Burr was vice president of the United States at the time. An unfortunate accident, obviously.

I think Cheney's overcome it. But, you know, this will be -- this is with him forever. So it's part of the Dick Cheney story.

COLLINS: And then on to Representative Cynthia McKinney...


COLLINS: ... and her run-in with the Capitol Police. Some people likening her to Naomi Campbell at times.

BENNETT: Yes. Well, you know, bad behavior, inappropriate behavior, whether on an airplane or in the Capitol, people thinking they're important and so can get away with rules that regular people don't -- can't get away with really makes the American people angry. She claim clean. She apologized.

I think the whole world knew that she was -- she was at fault here. So that's -- that's a good thing. People aren't going to tolerate this kind stuff in a post-9/11 world. Have you noticed although it's more difficult to travel, people are behaving better, because the level of tolerance is down. Flight attendants, airport security are not putting up with nonsense, neither should Capitol Police.

COLLINS: Absolutely right. I do see that, no question about it.

Also, now as we look ahead to 2008, we witnessed live here today on our show the announcement by John Edwards...


COLLINS: ... the first of the top four, if you will, contenders in talking about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and apparently John Edwards and John Kerry. But when we look at a poll that we have, the numbers are pretty small for the likelihood that he could get a nomination here.

What do you make of it, Bill?

BENNETT: Well, you know, as a guy who likes sports on TV more than anything, I've got to tell you, the next two years, Heidi, politics is going to -- could be more interesting than sports, could be more interesting than these bowl games or Super Bowl.

COLLINS: Whoa, that's big for you.

BENNETT: I mean, look at the Democrats. I mean, Hillary Clinton is vulnerable. She is really vulnerable.

You have this Obama thing. You know, what's going to happen there, Barack Obama?

Edwards is a plausible guy. I guess he's winning in a number of polls, or at least ahead in Iowa. And, you know, you've got -- you've got other people, too.

So there's a real race in the Democratic Party. And in our party, you know, is Giuliani really going in? He seems to be leading the polls.

There's McCain, there's Romney. Will Newt get in?

This thing is really very, very exciting. And interesting people, interesting characters.

Will Bill Richardson get in this race? He's a guy with some interesting experience. Will other people, Republicans, somebody from the House decide to challenge, one of the young -- so it's a really interesting board.

COLLINS: Well, we've got the Super Bowl coming around the corner, but much more excitement from politics to come later than that.

BENNETT: Not the Falcons, you don't think?

COLLINS: I don't know. I'm out. The Vikings are out, I'm out.


COLLINS: All right. Bill Bennett, appreciate your time here today.

BENNETT: Thank you. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: It's a treasure trove for historians, words left by a president, or a former president, Gerald Ford. He made an agreement with a reporter he didn't want those words to be let out or published until he passed.

Well, those words are out. We're going to talk to a historian about what the former president left behind, right here in the NEWSROOM.

Also, did they act alone or did Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols have help planning their attack? What a new report has to say about this, that's ahead in the NEWSROOM.


SANCHEZ: Here's a subject that came up just a little while ago when Heidi was talking to Bill Bennett, trouble above. An unruly passenger forcing a Russian plane to make an emergency landing. This is in the Czech Republic today.

An official said that the passenger stood up and threatened to set off a bomb. Crew members restrained the man while the captain alerted the Prague airport. The flight with 120 passengers on board was headed from Moscow to Geneva, Switzerland. The air flight (ph) official tells the Russian news agency that he suspects the passenger was either drunk or "high on drugs."

COLLINS: Did Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols act alone? That is the question at the center of a new report about the FBI investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

CNN's Bob Franken reports.


BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The conspiracy theories began almost immediately after 168 people were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Did Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols act alone, or were others involved? Was every lead hunted down?

This new report does not conclude there was foreign involvement. It does charge that federal investigators did not fully pursue those possibilities, even though the report itself states, "There are multiple witnesses who place McVeigh with another person at the scene of the bombing." "It is reasonable to question," it continues, "if all leads were thoroughly pursued, all evidence gathered and properly analyzed."

Jannie Coverdale lost two grandchildren, ages 2 and 5, in the explosion. She says she feels the investigations have been inadequate.

JANNIE COVERDALE, GRANDCHILDREN KILLED IN BOMBING: We need another investigation. We need the investigation we should have had in the beginning.

FRANKEN: Of the two men convicted in the bombing, one is dead, Timothy McVeigh, executed in April 2001. The other, Terry Nichols, is serving a life sentence. Nichols, according to the report, admitted for the first time he was responsible for robbing an Arkansas gun store to get money for the operation.

As for McVeigh, the report argues his execution should have been further delayed while investigators continued to delve into possibilities of involvement by terrorists associated with the New York World Trade Center bombing in 1993, as well as neo-Nazi groups, including a German national. Coverdale says she agrees.

COVERDALE: There were other people besides Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols involved in the bombing.

FRANKEN: But the FBI insists that all involved have been prosecuted, that "Every bit of information was investigated and reviewed."


SANCHEZ: And we've been telling you about the situation out there out West. Time to stock up, folks.

Denver, still digging out from the last snowstorm, braces for its double whammy. Blizzard number two is bearing down on the Rockies, and it could be deja vu for some holiday travelers.

Now, last week, thousands, as you might recall, were stuck for two days at Denver's airport. Some of their bags still sitting at the airport. Possible delays, cancellations expected again this weekend.


HICKENLOOPER: Our first priority is always going to be make sure that this airport is completely safe. And we're not going to keep it open longer than is completely safe, and we're not going to open it sooner than we feel is completely safe.


SANCHEZ: Now, airlines did waive some of the restrictions on tickets to help people who were going to try and get out of the storm. They have got a system, they say, set up for this time.

(WEATHER REPORT) COLLINS: Meanwhile, scattered, smothered and cloned. No matter how you slice it, genetic copies of your favorite foods may soon be on the menu. Dr. Sanjay Gupta with the appetizing details coming up in the NEWSROOM.

SANCHEZ: Also, was it an error in judgment? Well, is that what the former president is saying? His remarks about the war in Iraq. We're going to talk with a presidential historian about that and many other comments that have been made in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: Saddam Hussein waits and the executioner looms. The order sending Iraq's former dictator to the gallows could come at any time over the next few weeks.

He is condemned to die for ordering a 1982 massacre. His loyalists are vowing to avenge his hanging. Members of his regime's political movement posted an Internet message threatening to hurt the U.S., quote "in all ways and all places."

The U.S. death toll climbing yet again in Iraq. The U.S. military says a roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier near the capital today. That comes after a pair of bombings killed three American soldiers and wounded three others. Those attacks also took place in Baghdad. And in the volatile Anbar province, a U.S. Marine died in combat. December has become one of the deadliest months of the war.

SANCHEZ: There is some sharp criticism of the Bush Administration from former President Ford. Ford told journalist Bob Woodward that Iraq was a big mistake. Now, that interview done a year after the invasion and held until Ford's death.

The insight, pure gold for presidential historians and that's why we bring in a presidential historian. Richard Shenkman is good enough to join us right now. He joining us by satellite. It really is something to be able to hear what a president was thinking and for him to make this arrangement with Bob Woodward for someone like you must be extremely useful, right, Richard?

RICHARD SHENKMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, this is very, very important. This is the kind of information that historians love. We relish this. We're getting that inside view of what's actually going on behind the scenes.

We've suspected, of course, that a lot of the people from the Ford Administration like Brent Scowcroft were opposed to the Iraq war. Scowcroft put an op-ed in the "Washington Post" shortly after we started building momentum to go to war and he said he opposed it.

Some people thought he was speaking for the Bush -- for the first President Bush. He probably was. That's the very strong suspicion. But it's one thing to suspect that the first President Bush opposed this war, opposed going to this war, and another thing to actually have the words of a former president. SANCHEZ: Let's use -- let's see those words. I think the first thing we have is the actual tape recording that Bob Woodward made. So, we'll listen to the president's voice. Here it is.


GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Rumsfeld, Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction.


SANCHEZ: There seems to be this unwritten code, Richard, that former presidents don't criticize standing presidents. He didn't. But he held it inside, didn't he?

SHENKMAN: Yes, well, it's interesting. Here what we've got is an even stronger statement because, one, it's from a president of the same party as President Bush. Number, two, it's coming -- he's speaking from the grave. That carries its own weightiness and seriousness. So, I think that the American people are going to pay a lot of attention to this.

SANCHEZ: We have five or six things to go through, so let's try and go through them. Here's the next quote. This is on forcing Democracy on people. I'll read it to you I think we can put it up as well. "I just don't think we can go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people unless it is directly related to our own national security."

Now, this from the man who had to do deal with the malaise of the Vietnam War. Right?

SHENKMAN: Sure and what he's getting at is this kind of religious fervor with which President Bush has approached foreign policy. And President Ford is saying in effect, I don't share that viewpoint. I think that foreign policy ought to be defined the way it classically has in terms of resources and interests.

SANCHEZ: On Dick Cheney, quote, let's take it and put it up on the screen as well. "He was an excellent chief of staff but I think he's become much more pugnacious."

We looked up pugnacious by the way for the benefit of some viewers and it means callous or at least that's one definition of it.

SHENKMAN: Yes, I think pugnacious in this case really means pugilistic. Fighting, he's kind of raw around the edges and he's looking for a fight.

You know, Cheney, Rumsfeld, these were two people who got their start in national politics in the Ford Administration. And they disappointed him. That's going to carry a lot of weight with the American people. SANCHEZ: That's interesting because he very much liked them during his administration. He's not criticizing them for anything they did then. Seems to be criticizing them for perhaps the way they've acted now.

So much to cover. He has a quote about Donald Rumsfeld. Talks about Henry Kissinger in some startling ways that no one perhaps has ever heard before. Can you stick around? Because we want to come back and talk to you about these as well.


SANCHEZ: All right there you have it. Richard Shenkman, presidential historian, with the words left behind by a former president. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Can you stick around, because we want to talk to you about these as well?


SANCHEZ: All right, there you have it, Richard Shenkman, presidential historian, with the worlds left behind by a former president. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. This is fascinating stuff. words left behind by a former president. We're having a conversation with Richard Shenkman. He's a presidential historian.

Let's pick it up now with this president's need for checks and balances. He talks about it because he inherited Henry Kissinger. He goes on to say, let's put this up on the screen if we can, "Why Nixon gave Henry both secretary of state and the head of the national security, I never understood. They were supposed to check one another." Sounds like a man who wanted to hear different opinions, didn't it?

SHENKMAN: He was a man who wanted to hear different opinions, and he never shied away from firing people who he thought had been incompetent in their jobs. He fired the secretary of defense, Schlesinger (ph), and actually put Rumsfeld in that post, and he took away half of Kissinger's portfolio.

SANCHEZ: And Henry Kissinger didn't like it. Listen to what he said. Apparently this happened. Henry Kissinger got very upset, because Henry Kissinger, according to this former president, had very thin skin. He said Henry, in his mind, never made a mistake, had the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew. Sounds like he really reigned him in, post-Nixon, didn't it?

SHENKMAN: Well, Nixon always had the same feeling about Kissinger as well, though Nixon was very thin skinned. They shared that insecurity, they had that in common.

You know, you mentioned a while ago about Don Rumsfeld. And apparently Don Rumsfeld was a very loyal -- and they had a very good relationship, the former president, with Don Rumsfeld. He says this about him now. This is after apparently he let go of at least one part of Henry Kissinger's job. He explains why he didn't tell Donald Rumsfeld. "I didn't consult with Rumsfeld, and knowing Don, he probably resented the fact that I didn't get his advice, which I didn't. I made the decision on my own." He's referring to his chief of staff, never conferred with him about the huge decision regarding Henry Kissinger. Interesting, huh?

SHENKMAN: It is interesting, particularly because the way usually that historians tell this story, is that Rumsfeld and Cheney behind the scenes orchestrated this. The usual story is that Rumsfeld and Cheney decided they wanted to clip Kissinger's wings, and they wanted to get rid of Schlesinger and put Rumsfeld in the job of secretary of defense. And the two of them were behind the scenes pulling all the strings.

SANCHEZ: Nothing could be further from the truth.

SHENKMAN: It's very interesting.

SANCHEZ: Yes, at least according to what the president said with the reporter.

Parallel between Rumsfeld and Kissinger, do you think?

SHENKMAN: Well, what parallel do you want to make?

SANCHEZ: I'm wondering. I mean, the Kissinger and Vietnam, Rumsfeld and Iraq -- is there a parallel, given what we're hearing from this president?

SHENKMAN: Well, there is a parallel in this sense. You've got Henry Kissinger advising the president about the Iraq war. So he and Rumsfeld have been kind of working hand in glove in this case.

SANCHEZ: Interesting. Richard Shenkman, we thank you so much for joining us on this fascinating topic. Here we are delving into the material that you usually have to deal with.

And we thank you for giving us a peek.

SHENKMAN: All right, thank you.

SANCHEZ: All right. Heidi, over to you.

COLLINS: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" is coming up in just a few minutes. We want to check in with Hala Gorani, who will be anchoring the program today.

Hala, what will you guys be covering.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Heidi. A lot going on across the globe. I hope can you join Michael Holmes and myself at the top of the hour.

In Somalia, the Islamists are out of Mogadishu as government- backed troops enter the Somali capital. Ethiopian troops say they'll remain in Somalia, but won't enter the capital. Is this the end, or just a lull in the fighting? We'll take you live to the region.

Also the Muslim pilgrimage known as the Hajj officially starts today. Millions of Muslims converge on Mecca. Our Zain Verjee is in Saudi Arabia. We'll catch up with her and talk to a young American Muslim woman. We'll ask her what it means, to her at least, to be a Muslim-American.

And one of my favorite animals, the polar bear. U.S. is officially classifying this beautiful and intimidating creature as endangered. As the ice caps melt away, so do their natural habitat. We'll have a report. Join us at the top of the hour. Heidi, back to you.

GORANI: We will do that. Hala Gorani, thank you.

COLLINS: Scattered, smothered and cloned. No matter how you slice it, genetic copies of your favorite foods may soon be on the menu.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta with the details in the NEWSROOM.


SANCHEZ: Remember a little while ago when you were listening to Chad Meyers? He was giving his report and he was talking about the high winds in the area around L.A. and everywhere north of that. Well, boy, here's an example of exactly what he's talking about. See McGee's storage sign right there? It's almost hanging off the sign of that building. Obviously it would be a huge problem if it fell off the building, because then it could affect some people on the ground. That's why those firefighters -- and these are live pictures we're sharing with you -- have just shown up there. It looks like they're trying to figure out a way to make sure they can secure that sign so it doesn't do any more damage. But that is the explanation of what we were referring to earlier.

Heidi, over to you.

COLLINS: Food from cloned animals could start showing up on your dinner table. The Food and Drug Administration expected to make its recommendation today. That's leaving a bad taste in the mouth of some critics.

Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to put it all in perspective. So what's the scoop here? We don't actually have a decision, just a recommendation by the FDA.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is actually based on a review of literature over the last four years, looking specifically at clones, their offspring and the food that they make. It's fascinating. I was just listening to the conference a couple minutes ago. It's intriguing and it's controversial for a lot of different reasons. What they're specifically talking about is cloned animals, which to put it in a little bit of perspective here -- I'll give you some of the low-down on this -- cloned animals, for the most part, are identical twins of another animal born at a different time. What does that mean specifically for clones, for their offspring and for the food they make? Well ,there's pros and cons, as we sort have broken it down listening to this press conference.

Should they be in the food supply? Well, clones are virtually indistinguishable from normal animals after the first 6 to 18 months. In the first six to 18 months, they may be born larger. They may have some genetic deformities which may preclude them from the food supply, but after that virtually indistinguishable.

What the advantage is, it allows exceptional animals, animals that produce a lot of milk, animals that produce very good meat to be duplicated.

COLLINS: As a rancher, that's who you'd go after.

GUPTA: That what you want. That's what happens in so many ways already, not through cloning necessarily, but other forms of assisted reproduction.

Also, just to keep this in perspective, the food or the milk probably would not come from the clones themselves, but rather their offspring. The clones themselves are going to be sort of the breeders. They're going to be the animals you want to keep them around to make other animals that are big milk producers or big meat producers.

Now there's obviously the other side of this issue as well, the cons, which a lot of people are focussing on in terms of why this shouldn't happen. And they're talking about, it hasn't been tested in humans specifically, this food yet. We've got four years of data, but how much of that is really human data. And also, and we've seen this before, the cloned animals are often born sick or with deformities. And one of the biggest issues, it's unlikely to be labelled. You won't know necessarily whether it's from a cloned animal or their offspring or a different type of animal.

COLLINS: Do people deserve the right to know that as consumers?

GUPTA: Well, this is how the FDA has decided to handle it. Today, as you correctly said, is just a recommendation, just a review of the literature.

For the next 90 days, until April 2nd, there's going to be a public moratorium. You won't see cloned food from animals in your grocery stores, at least for the next 90 days. You have an opportunity to have a public discourse about this and raise objections. And this is a very interesting way to handle this. This is what they're going to do -- they're going to present the science and say, let's talk about it.

COLLINS: It seems like the obvious question is, why not just label it? Why not just say, hey, by the way, if you choose to buy, you choose to eat it, whatever it may be, it comes from a cloned animal.

GUPTA: And I think that that's going to be a perspective that's going to be voiced quite strongly on this. The FDA has even said, we specifically did not make a decision on labelling because people are going to have concerns. We'd like to say it's as safe as any other meat out there, especially you have in vitro fertilization, you have other assisted reproductive technology that exists in ranches all over America today. This is going to be another form of that. We don't think it's any less safe, but we might label it. And that's the discussion that's going to take place.

COLLINS: We'll be watching the moratorium for sure.

GUPTA: Yes, you know I think it's going to be an interesting discussion over the next couple of months.

COLLINS: All right, we know you'll be watching it closely. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Well, there's a bit of a download demand. iTune gift card users jamming the web. We're going to break it down for you. That's ahead in the NEWSROOM.


COLLINS: You already know to catch us weekday mornings from 9:00 a.m. until noon Eastern. But did you know you can take us with you anywhere you go on your iPod? The CNN NEWSROOM podcast available 24/7, right on your iPod.

However, a sour note for online shoppers armed with holiday iTune gift cards. Apple's iTunes music store giving error messages and 20- minute download slowdowns. Analysts say the jam is a result of too many people trying to access the online site all at once. One online market researcher says iTunes quadrupled this Christmas, quadrupled over last year. Wow.

All right. Don Lemon.

SANCHEZ: They're all trying to tune in at once.



COLLINS: And you can -- I know you take that with you.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Everywhere you go, Heidi. You and especially, Rick, you guys are everywhere I go. I take my iPod. And if not, I carry your headshots, your CNN official headshot around.

SANCHEZ: Did you want us to sign a couple of those for you?

LEMON: Sure. And put a check with them.

COLLINS: I hear you have a show coming up in a little while. Do you want to talk about it?

LEMON:: Of course, of course.

And sitting here, we can see on the monitor here live pictures of the procession in New York City.

COLLINS: That's right, James Brown.

LEMON: Yes, just amazing. A flamboyant life, capped by a show- stopping sendoff. James Brown wouldn't have wanted anything less. A horse drawn carriage. It's a ride through Harlem. A public viewing at the landmark Apollo theater. And later, a memorial for family and friends. Reverend Al Sharpton is giving tonight's eulogy, and he's going to join us in the NEWSROOM with more on saying farewell to the Godfather of Soul.

Plus this, when Gerald Ford threw himself on the Watergate grenade, he said he did it for the nation.

Ahead in NEWSROOM, we'll speak live with Edward Nixon. That's Richard Nixon's youngest brother, about the pardon that also spared the president. A lot coming up today at 13:00 Eastern.

COLLINS: All right, and we do want to remind everyone as well that if you're interested in watching the James Brown procession, you can certainly do that. CNN Pipeline, You can watch it there.

Don Lemon, thanks. We'll be watching at 1:00 CNN NEWSROOM continues just one hour from now.

SANCHEZ: "YOUR WORLD TODAY" next with news happening across the globe.