Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Senate Debates Iraq Resolution

Aired February 17, 2007 - 17:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Senators working on a Saturday to debate the most important issue confronting Americans, and they can't even agree on what to debate.
Who wins, who loses?

We're going to talk to two senators, a Republican and a Democrat.

Britney Spears shears it all off then goes and gets two tattoos. That is not Britney Spears. You know that.

We're asking, though, what's with that?

We'll have that story.

Stay with us.

And hello again, everybody.

I'm Rick Sanchez.

Our top story, obviously enough, the Senate's Iraq showdown. In a rare Saturday session, Iraq War critics tried to get an up or down vote on the president's move to increase the number of troops.

Republicans managed to block the vote, but just barely.

CNN Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is standing by now with some of the details.

What happened -- Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what happened was the Senate tried to take up the identical resolution that the House passed yesterday, a resolution simply saying that Congress supports the troops, but not sending 21,000 plus more of them to Iraq.

And Senate Democrats knew full well when they came in that their bid to do this was going to lose, but there is a lot of pressure on the new majority to try to rebuke the president, to flex its muscle on Iraq. So they gave it one more time.


BASH (voice-over): It was a rare Saturday vote. But the Senate ended up exactly where it started -- deadlocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The yeas are 56, the nays are 34, the motion is not agreed to.

BASH: For the second time in two weeks, Senate Republicans blocked a resolution opposing the president's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: For those who voted to block debate to protect President Bush, Americans now know they want to stay a failed course in Iraq.

BASH: The president's GOP allies said they voted no out of protest, because Democrats won't allow a vote on their resolution, promising to fund troops in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A majority cannot tell the minority what we're going to have one vote on, take it or leave it.

BASH: Seven Republicans who oppose sending more troops to Iraq did vote with Democrats, including five who helped their party block a vote nearly two weeks ago but now say they've lost patience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I steadfastly take this floor and respectfully just disagree with the president.

BASH: Senators who were supposed to be starting a week long recess rearranged their schedules for a vote Democrats knew they would lose. Republicans called it a charade.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There are a lot of people working on Saturday, not us. We're trying to jockey for political positioning among ourselves and for '08.

BASH: Speaking of 2008, all four Democrats running for president raced back from the campaign trail just in time to vote, then raced back out.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: Iraq is the single most important issue that we face in this country and it was important to register my objection to the president's strategy.

BASH: But Democratic presidential hopefuls know voting on a symbolic resolution won't placate anti-war primary voters.

Senator Hillary Clinton, getting pounded for her 2002 vote supporting the war, released a campaign Web video on her legislation aimed at bringing troops home.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Now, it's time to say the redeployment should start in 90 days or the Congress will revoke authorization for this war.


BASH: Now, nine Republicans skipped the vote, including presidential contender John McCain. He is a long time supporter of sending more troops to Iraq and has a lot politically riding on the president's plan succeeding. He is campaigning still in Iowa -- Rick. SANCHEZ: To quote, of all people, Rodney King, why can't they all just get along? Is it just politics as usual, Dana?

BASH: Well, in a way, yes, because, you know, if you kind of play back some of the thing that we heard today from Republicans and Democrats on process, you could almost hear them in reverse before Democrats took the majority in terms of the rights of the minority here versus the majority saying that the minority is trying to obstruct.

So it's all very similar, you know, similar complaints. But, you know, bottom line is that Democrats, as I mentioned, they say over and over again they think that they got the majority in the Senate and the House because of one issue and one issue only, and that is Iraq.

So they have been determined -- a lot of pressure on them to actually put that vote to a -- put that to a test vote. They tried again today. They knew they weren't going to get it done. But, you know, a lot of senators, even Republicans, said look, it was pretty ridiculous for them to even try to go home for a week long recess without trying. So Democrats conceded that they were going to try, even though they knew it wasn't going to get anywhere.

SANCHEZ: Dana Bash following the story for us.

We certainly thank you.

A good explanation.

Well, today's Senate vote was probably welcome news for the Bush administration. After all, their side seemed to win.

CNN White House correspondent Elaine Quijano is joining us now live.

Is that a fair assessment of it -- Elaine?


You know, this really was the outcome that the White House wanted to see. And now the strategy for the administration is to continue really trying to look ahead and put the president's critics on the defensive, saying that what really matters now, beyond non-binding resolutions, are how lawmakers decide they'll vote on funding the troops.

Now, in a written statement, the White House urged Congress, in fact, to approve the president's funding request, some $90 billion plus, for Iraq and Afghanistan, saying "This would provide not only for much needed reinforcements to aid American service men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with funding for equipment, training, armor and other battlefield essentials. It would enable the world's most capable military force to remain the most advanced in terms of training, equipment, doctrine and, most importantly, the quality of the men and women who serve." Now, really, the bottom line here is that the White House wants to frame this debate by saying that approval for the president's funding request really amounts to a vote of support for the troops. But, of course, another part of that message, an implied part of that message, is, in fact, the White House feels if lawmakers really do oppose a troop increase, that they should use the power of the purse to limit the U.S.' involvement in Iraq.

That strategy, of course, is very politically risky. Democrats in particular don't want to be painted as being withholding resources and funding for the troops at a time of war.

The president, meantime, yesterday, sat down with his new ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker -- his incoming, I should say -- ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and, again essentially appealed to lawmakers in both parties to give his Iraq strategy a chance to work.

The president said that he had spoken to Iraq's prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, yesterday, and said he was pleased to hear that the prime minister was beginning to meet some benchmarks.

Yet, even as the president continues, Rick, trying to make the case for more patience, he is showing no signs of backing down, saying that essentially he believes the 21,000 plus additional U.S. troops for Iraq are vital in order to give the Iraqi government a chance to assert control -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Elaine, from the White House.

Well, today's Senate vote was mostly along party lines. And like most Democrats, Senator Benjamin Cardin sided with the war critics.

And he's joining us now from Baltimore in his home state of Maryland.

Why can't you fellows get along on something this important, this monumental, as the Iraq War and its affect on the American people?

SEN. BENJAMIN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, Rick, I think we did. You have now the majority of the House of Representatives and the majority of the United States Senate, including both Democrats and Republicans, saying to this administration that we want a changed policy in Iraq and we don't want to see additional U.S. troops sent to Iraq, that we want a policy that will start bringing our troops home and have the Iraqis take responsibility for the security of their own country in the midst of a civil war.

SANCHEZ: But hold on a minute. You lost the vote, unless I'm seeing something that you saw that I didn't see...

CARDIN: Yes, the...

SANCHEZ: ... you essentially lost the vote you wanted to get approved, didn't you?

CARDIN: Fifty-six senators are on record saying basically that additional troops in Iraq at this point is not what we should be doing. That's the majority of the United States Senate.

I think it is clear that the majority of the members of the Senate, certainly the majority of the members of the House and a growing amount -- number of experts -- military and foreign policy experts -- are telling us we shouldn't be putting additional troops into Iraq.

Our best chance to achieve a successful outcome in Iraq is for us to start removing our troops, telling the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country and energizing a diplomatic solution to the civil war.

SANCHEZ: And a lot of the people agree with you.

So then why are you voting on something that's non-binding and is not going to be able to affect any of these things that you're now telling me about?

CARDIN: Well, I expect you're going to see other votes in Congress. But I think it is clear that we want to see a different path. And we want to work with the administration. We want to do something that is going to work in Iraq.

Look, we're -- we want to achieve our objectives in Iraq. And I -- the majority of the members of the Congress believe we're not going to achieve those objectives by putting more combat troops in Iraq.

SANCHEZ: Can you -- can you have this argument while troops are there, boots on the ground fighting?

Many people are saying it's a bit insulting to the troops to be having this argument.

What do you say to those?

CARDIN: For just that reason, we need -- for what our troops are doing, the sacrifices they are making, we've got to get it right. You just can't continue a policy that is not working. We've got to get it right. We have a responsibility to our troops.

And I can tell you this, we're never going to abandon our troops. We're going to give our troops everything they need.

SANCHEZ: A final question...

CARDIN: But we're going to use everything we can to change the policies in Iraq so that we can have a successful outcome.

SANCHEZ: Senator, a final question.

Should you be compromising or questioning or critiquing a president during a time of war?

CARDIN: We have a responsibility to make sure we get it right. Congress must do what it believes is in the best interests of the United States. We will... SANCHEZ: So that's a yes?

That's a yes --

CARDIN: Absolutely...

SANCHEZ: You feel comfortable doing that?

CARDIN: Absolutely.


Senator Cardin, we thank you, sir, for taking the time to talk to us today.

CARDIN: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: We appreciate it.

Well, what do Senate Republicans have to say?

In 20 minutes, we're going to hear from Alabama Republican Richard Shelby and also put him on the hot seat.

Also ahead, how presidential contenders dealt with today's Senate vote. CNN's senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, weighs in.

(AUDIO GAP) shy about wanting to see action. And it appears Britain's Prince Harry is heading to Iraq. Conflicting reports on when his military unit will ship out.

Also, everyone's talking about it -- what?


You know what this is?

That's Britney Spears picking up some shears, emerging with a new hairdo that she kind of had something to do with, believe it or not. It's weird, folks, but we're going to tell you about it because everybody will be talking about it when you get to work on Monday.

Stay with us.

We're CNN.


SANCHEZ: I'm Rick Sanchez back in the CNN NEWSROOM and we're checking News Across America.

A tragic story out of southwestern Pennsylvania today. Seven people were killed in a house fire there. Six were young children. An investigation is underway into the cause of this blaze. We'll tell you more. Also, look at this. This is the West Texas skyline. More smoke and flames today from a refinery fire expected to burn itself out. The fire started after an explosion at the Bolero energy plant. Three people suffered critical burns. Sixteen others were treated and released at local hospitals.

And an update now on the folks in Lady Lake, Florida. You're going to recall how hard hit the area was by tornadoes more than two weeks ago. Well, so far more than $1 million has been spent on recovery efforts and some 90,000 cubic yards of debris has been hauled away.

Well, the big buzz today is these pictures.

You ready?

This is Britney Spears. She's gone bald. The pop queen went into a salon, asked to get a haircut and then decided to heck with it, give me those sheers. If you won't do it, I will. And she started to shave her own head.

By the way, she also got tattooed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she just wanted something real small on her wrist, something dainty. She got some cute little lips on her wrist, red lips, sort of a little pink.


SANCHEZ: Her -- she's been described as acting in a bizarre fashion while doing all of this. In addition to the lips on her wrist, she got the cross on her hips. A parlor employee says she showed up unannounced, stayed about 90 minutes while fans and photographers started gathering outside. The entertainer recently filed for divorce, we should tell you, and has been featured in several tabloid magazines partying with friends.

There you have it.

Katrina survivors in New Orleans are taking a break from their own recovery efforts to try and celebrate a bit. They're not cutting their hair, though. We're taking you to Mardi Gras. The big bash ends on Fat Tuesday. That is next week.

Our Susan Roesgen is standing by.

She's in New Orleans.

And nobody likes a party more than Susan, so she volunteered for this assignment and she's joining us now.

What have you got -- Susan.

SUSAN ROESGEN, GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. Hey, I'm standing, Rick, right in the middle of parade central, St. Charles Avenue. We're waiting for the next big parade to roll, one of the big giant super crews -- 2,300 riders on more than 30 floats. And they're going to have "American Idol" Taylor Hicks riding and Al Green and Styx. There's a big party afterward.

But, you know, the people that are out here, Rick, some tourists, but mostly locals. Mardi Gras is really the party that New Orleans throws for itself. Even if no tourists were to come here, we would still have Mardi Gras. It's part of our culture.

And now, even after Hurricane Katrina, the parades roll on.


ROESGEN (voice-over): Stacie Merritt is a rider on a float in one of the many New Orleans' parades leading up to Mardi Gras. Each rider buys boxes of things to throw to the crowds and spends hours getting ready. And if you don't live here, the effort may seem strange in a city where so much serious work still needs to be done.

STACIE MERRITT, FLOAT RIDER: That is the dining room.

ROESGEN: Stacie is still waiting to move back home. She's living in an apartment while she tries to get a contractor to start doing some work. It's a common frustration in New Orleans, even a year-and-a-half after the hurricane. But for many people, stepping away from the unfinished part of their lives is what Stacie calls therapy.

MERRITT: But when you're here and you see construction and you see trailers and you see school zones, but they're not on because the school is not open anymore, that kind of depresses you and you want to get out of that.

ROESGEN: On the eve of this year's Mardi Gras, entire neighborhoods are still struggling. Bureaucratic snafus have tied up money to rebuild and a new wave of crime frightens many people who have come back.

But the publisher of the local magazine on Mardi Gras, Arthur Hardy, says the carnival spirit is alive and well.

ARTHUR HARDY, MARDI GRAS HISTORIAN: It's amazing that Mardi Gras has recovered much more quickly than the general recovery of the are. And I think it's because private industry, citizens run Mardi Gras. There's no government involved, really. And, you know, people can do whatever they want to do without having to wait for any kind of outside help or interference.

ROESGEN: And so, for the next few days, until Fat Tuesday, thousands of New Orleaneans will drag around bags of beads instead of lumber and sheet rock. But the end result is magic -- a glittering fantasy for people who choose to celebrate life and not surrender.

(END VIDEO TAPE) ROESGEN: And, Rick, in case you thought that the city of New Orleans pays for Mardi Gras, the city does not pay for Mardi Gras. The riders themselves pay for their own beads, their own costumes, the floats.

The city does spend about $5 million on things like police protection and garbage pickup afterward. But the city also takes in about $21 million in taxes. So it's really a win-win situation. It's a break for people who have been dealing with the aftermath of Katrina and it's also a money maker for the city, something the city really needs in this second carnival season after Katrina.

SANCHEZ: And a break for you, as well.

You know how many stories I've seen you do, good, hearth- wrenching stories?

But, unfortunately, a lot of the stories that you've brought us are stories of despair, stories of rebuilding, tough stories sometimes.

Here's an opportunity for you to kind of, you know, smile with the rest of the people you've been covering for so long. It must feel good.

ROESGEN: It's nice, let me tell you, Rick.

Happy Mardi Gras.

SANCHEZ: She saved that just for me.

Susan Roesgen, we certainly appreciate it.

Hey, let's do this now. Let's look at the Mardi Gras forecast.

Jacqui Jeras -- there's another woman who could wear a costume -- she's standing by right now, as she is -- what have you got?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, did you notice Susan's hair just a little bit, as fabulous as she looked, did you notice the blowing around a little bit?

SANCHEZ: Oh, does that mean it's going to be real windy there?

JERAS: It's very windy there, yes.

SANCHEZ: Already?

JERAS: About 25 mile per hour wind gusts coming in out of the west right now.


SANCHEZ: Thank you, Jacqui.

I hope you have a mask on next time we speak. JERAS: I'll see what I can drum up.

SANCHEZ: Right out of a spy novel, did you know?

A terror suspect is snatched and American CIA agents are being blamed.

Could they face jail time?

We'll tell you about it.

Also, a baby without a daddy, a will with no heir, a body without a burial -- where does the death of Anna Nicole Smith stand at this point in the courts?

We'll look at it.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back.

I'm Rick Sanchez.

This is the CNN NEWSROOM.

Should agents for the United States, CIA agents and others, take suspects out of the United States or out of other countries and then move them across the borders to countries where they could possibly be tortured?

It's being looked at in a court right now in Italy.

In fact, our own Jennifer Eccleston has this story from Rome.


JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty-five people indicted, 26 Americans, some, Italian prosecutors say, work for the CIA; and nine Italians, including the former head of Italy's secret services, SISMI.

Prosecutors charge all were involved in the abduction of a terror suspect, a Muslim cleric, Osama Nasr Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar under the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.

Here's how renditions worked.

Terror suspects were captured and taken for questioning to a third country, including some with sketchy human rights standards. This would be the first criminal trial involving renditions.

Prosecutors say Abu Omar was snatched from a Milan street in February, 2003, while walking from his home to a mosque. They say he was taken to the U.S. air base at Aviano, Italy; flown to Germany; and then to his native Egypt.

Abu Omar was jailed there and, he says, tortured. He got out of prison just last weekend.

Omar remains a wanted man in Italy, on terrorism charges.

Back in 2003, Abu Omar was suspected of terror links and under heavy surveillance, his every step logged by Italian police and security services. SISMI's chief at the time, Nikolo Pollari, denies any knowledge of CIA renditions. Pollari, his deputy, other SISMI agents and a policeman were indicted.

Among the Americans indicted, prosecutors say, were the CIA station chief in Milan, his superior in Rome and a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel. But none of the 26 Americans is in Italy.

(on camera): Prosecutors want the Americans extradited back to Italy for trial. But so far, the Italian government hasn't asked and even if it does, it is unlikely the Americans would return.

Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, Rome.


SANCHEZ: CNN, as you know, is committed to providing the most reliable coverage of news that affects your security.

Stay tuned to CNN day and night for the very latest information.

What do you say we go global now?

The Year of the Pig begins tomorrow. That's right. The Chinese or lunar new year is marked with celebrations across Asia. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to their hometowns to enjoy new year's festivals. Pregnancies in some parts of Asia are up because it's an extra lucky year. Many couples hope to have babies born under the sign of the golden pig, which only comes around every 60 years. A Seoul fertility clinic says it's got double its usual number of patients, did you know?

The bombing suspects arrested in southeastern Iran -- they're believed to behind yesterday's explosion at a girl's school. There were no injuries, but Iranian police say that the attack is linked to a car bombing that killed 11 people Wednesday.

A place of law and order thrown into chaos today. Pakistani officials are saying that a suicide bomber attacked a courtroom in the city of Quetta. At least 13 people were killed, including a senior judge. So far, no one has claimed responsibility in that case.

And CNN, by the way, has confirmed today Britain's Prince Harry will soon be heading to Iraq with his military unit. The 22-year-old prince is third in line to the British throne.

More now on that from ITV's Neil Connery.


NEIL CONNERY, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prince Harry, seen here in training, will be known as Troop Commander Wales. He's reported to have threatened to resign his commission if he was denied active service on security grounds. He's always made clear his determination to serve on the front line.

PRINCE HARRY, UNITED KINGDOM: The last thing I want to do is have my soldiers sent away to Iraq or wherever like that and for me to be held back home twiddling my thumbs, thinking, well, what about David? What about Derrick? You know, whoever, you know?

CONNERY: The posting to Iraq will mark another stage in Harry's life. Often seen as the partying prince, his reputation has sometimes attracted unwanted headlines. But his work in Africa helping AIDS orphans in Lesotho showed him maturing, winning praise in many quarters.

After his military training at Sandhurst, he now faces his toughest challenge to date with his deployment to the front line.

Harry won't be the first royal to see battle. Prince Andrew served as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War. But despite fears the third in line to the throne could become a together for Iraqi insurgents, the defense secretary, Des Brown, is expected to announce Harry's posting toward the end of the month.

Neil Connery, ITV News.


SANCHEZ: More than 400,000 Americans have had knee replacements annually. How to avoid going under the knife. It's something that's happening so often. Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report. That's ahead from THE NEWSROOM. Stay with us on that.

Also, the Republican side of today's Iraq -- you were hearing a little while ago, when we were having that conversation with a Democratic senator, now we're going to have Senator Shelby of Alabama, a Republican, joining us with that his take.

You're watching CNN.

We're the most trusted name in news.


SANCHEZ: Top stories now. Senate Democrats failed today in a bid to rebuke the Bush administration. Republicans managed to block an up and down vote on a resolution that would have condemned the U.S. troop surge in Iraq and the debate that led to it. We're going to have more on the story in just a minute. In fact, we're going to be talking to somebody who was involved in that debate.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Jerusalem where she's hoping to revive Mideast peace talks. Earlier she made a surprise visit to Iraq. Rice has warned Iraqi officials that Americans can't, quote, "wait forever," stopquote, for democracy to take root. Italian leftists were out in force to protest plans to expand the U.S. military base. Tens of thousands staged a march in Venice, home to the 173rd U.S. Airborne Brigade.

The U.S. Senate will not debate a resolution opposing President Bush's troop buildup, at least not today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The yeas are 56, the nays are 34. Three- fifths of the senator duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative. The motion it is not agreed to.


SANCHEZ: Earlier today the Senate failed to pass a procedural vote requiring 60 votes. It would have opened the way for debate on a non-binding resolution opposing President Bush's decision to send additional troops to Iraq. Now earlier this hour we discussed today's Senate vote with Democrat Benjamin Cardin -- senator. And -- on the -- and by the way, an Iraqi war critic, we should add. Now we're going to talk to an official who voted against and up and down on a non-binding Iraq resolution as well. That's Republican senator Richard Shelby, who's good enough to join us now.

You know, this is the same thing we started the conversation with your counterpart, the Democrat, Mr. Benjamin -- Senator Benjamin Cardin. The American people would look at this and say, why can't the Senate come to terms and have some kind of open debate on the Iraq War? It looks from the outside like you can't even settle on what you want to debate, Senator?

Well, apparently we're having audio problems. Senator, you can't hear me, can you not? No good. We'll try that in just a little bit. We apologize. We'll fix that audio, we promise, and be able to have that discussion with him in just a little bit.

Several Senators have an eye on the White House, by the way. And for most, the campaign trail included a stop in Washington today. Joining us now from the nation's capital, CNN senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, good enough to be here.

You know, it's interesting, because as we talk about that debate that took place today, you can't help but wonder, Bill, how many of these senators were thinking that had to almost mind their Ps and Qs because they may be running for something soon, right?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well a lot of them are running for the presidency. And they had to come back from the campaign trail. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sam Brownback. John McCain did not come back for the debate. But they were forced to come back, many of them, to cast a vote in this -- well, it wasn't really a debate. They didn't debate anything, they just cast a vote on whether to have a debate. They needed 60 votes to do that and they failed for the second time.

SANCHEZ: Is it politics as usual?

SCHNEIDER: Well, it looks like that. It looks -- you know, you have straight party lines here just about, although you did have seven Republicans voting with the Democrats to go ahead and end the filibuster and have the debate. So you're seeing some of the party lines shaking up a little bit, but of course, most Republicans voted with their party leadership, voted with the White House, voted against having the debate because their claim, and you'll hear Senator Shelby talk about this in a minute, is that the Democrats won't allow a debate and a vote on their resolutions, which they insist is only fair.

SANCHEZ: Is it really a clear win for the White House? I don't know if you saw, Elaine Quijano's piece, but she seemed to be saying that folks at the White House are certainly looking at it that way. Do they take all positives from it or any negatives as well?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I think a lot of the criticism is going to be directed at the Republicans in the Senate. People just look at what happened and they'll say, why can't the Senate debate? And they're going to look at the vote. And the vote showed that an overwhelming majority of Republicans voted against having the debate.

The polls showed two weeks ago when the Senate voted the same way that people blamed the Republicans for blocking the debate. I think they're going to do the same thing this time.

SANCHEZ: And your polls have clearly shown, if I recall, that at least 60 percent of the American people want Congress to debate the Iraq War. Many Americans have problems with the Iraq War in general, right?

SCHNEIDER: That's right. They have problems with it. They do not support the president's troop buildup. They would like to see the United States disengage. They're very pessimistic about the possibility for victory or even success in Iraq. And they want to see the war winding down.

They voted that way in November when they voted to put the Democrats in charge of Congress. And they are angry and mystified as to why Congress can't act. The most Congress can do right now is have a vote, a non-binding resolution to tell the president that they don't support his troop buildup policy. And the Senate can't even vote on that.

So a lot of Americans are angry, not just at the White House for its policies but also at the Congress for not being able to do very much.

SANCHEZ: Hey, Bill, thanks so much. I understand we were able to clear up that audio problem we were having with Senator Shelby. And I think we've got him now.

Senator Shelby, sir, are you here?

SEN. RICHAR SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: I'm here. SCHNEIDER: Thanks so much for being with us. We apologize for the little audio glitch we had before.

SHELBY: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: You were sitting there, wondering why no one was talking to you, right?

SHELBY: No sound.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question. And we were just talking about this with Bill Schneider. The American people are going to look at this and say, why can't senators like yourself come up with something that at least articulates a message about the Iraq War? It looks from the outside like you guys can't even come to terms with what to debate at this point, no less actually debate the war.

SHELBY: Well, that's not actually true. What we were trying to do is work out an agreement with the Democratic leader and others so we could have a real debate. We could debate the McCain resolution. We could debate the Gregg resolution. And we could debate the resolution -- non-binding resolution they brought up today.

SANCHEZ: Yes. But let me stop you for a minute. Why would you want to debate the debate? Why don't you just start the debate? Hands up, up and down, who wants to put more troops in Iraq, who doesn't want to put more troops in Iraq. Why don't you just do that?

SHELBY: Well, that would be fair too. We have debated enough, if we could just get it up to where we could on all of these issues, that would be fine with me.

SANCHEZ: Why can't you vote on these issues?

SHELBY: Because the Democrats don't want us to bring up the Gregg resolution and the McCain resolution. They want us to bring up their resolution which is non-binding, and we're not going to do this. This is a slap in the troops' face. And today was a good vote for the troops.

SANCHEZ: Why would this be a slap in the troops' face?

SHELBY: Because it's a non-binding resolution saying basically -- an ambiguous resolution saying we're going to support the troops but we want you to come home. That's an ambiguous message. We should not do this. Nobody is happy with Iraq. I know the president's not. The troops aren't. We're not. But we out to give General Petraeus every opportunity to stabilize the area. And that's what we are going to do.

SANCHEZ: But what I hear you saying is that you don't want to discuss the policy because you think it might send the wrong to the troops, to our enemies, and to the president of the United States.

SHELBY: No, no.

SANCHEZ: Is that what you're saying?

SHELBY: I didn't say that at all.


SHELBY: Not all of us are happy with policy. But the president is the president, and we've got a new general there and we ought to give him a chance to succeed. We will know in four or five months.

SANCHEZ: So you're saying you're willing to go back in four or five months and have a hands up, hands down debate or actual vote on whether we need a surge in Iraq or not, but you're not willing to do that right now?

SHELBY: Not ready to do that right now. But six months from now we either will be stabilizing the Baghdad area or we will have deeper problems. The president will know it. The troops will know it. And the Republicans will know it.

SANCHEZ: You know, sometimes when people look at this issue and they hear the troops brought into the argument, do you know what the troops want? Does anybody really know what the troops want?

SHELBY: Yes, I do. I think the troops want to win. They want to stabilize. And that's winning to bring forth a stable government there. It might be too late, but we ought to give them every chance to succeed. And I believe that's what we're doing by today's vote.

SANCHEZ: So right now as far as you're concerned, Senator Shelby, you're not willing to have a hands up or hands down debate on Iraq?

SHELBY: Oh, I didn't say that at all. I said that what we want to do is have the votes on the McCain resolution, the Gregg resolution, as well as the Reid resolution or whatever else they bring up.

SANCHEZ: Senator Shelby, you're a good man for hanging on with us, sir. We appreciate it and we apologize...

SHELBY: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: ... for some of the problems. Thanks so much, sir, for being with us.

Well, remember, CNN is the place to see the very first presidential debates of the new campaign season. Mark your calendar for April 4th and 5th. That's when CNN will co-host Republican and Democratic debates live from New Hampshire.

French President Jacques Chirac has made Clint Eastwood's day, that's from a movie, that's right, find out how. Tell you all about it. Stay with us.



DR. ARTHUR RAINES, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: So this is bone-on-bone. There is no space here compared to here. It is bone-on-bone here.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joseph Harris had both knees replaced two years ago when he was 53. He blames it on playing football when he was younger and gaining weight when he was older.

JOSEPH HARRIS, KNEE REPLACEMENT PATIENT: I said if I slow down, maybe it will slow down the degenerative process of the knees. Of course, it slowed it down, but at the same time I gained 35 pounds.

GUPTA: Every extra pound of weight you carry is an extra four pounds of pressure on your knees.

RAINES: And multiply that on the thousands of steps the average human being takes each day. That's a significant amount of force.

GUPTA: And a recent study found more than 400,000 Americans have knee replacements every year. Experts say that number could increase by eight times by the year 2030. In many cases because of extra weight.

RAINES: Over the past 15 years, I mean, we're doing knee replacements in patients with arthritis in their 40s now, in their 50s. Sixty is a young patient to me.

GUPTA: Added to which knees only last 15 to 20 years. So having surgery younger meaning patients may have to go for more replacements. At $31,000 a pop, knee surgery could end up costing Americans tens of billions of dollars. But some of that could be avoided by dropping that extra weight.

RAINES: Just a few pounds of weight loss can give you significant relief in knee pain. And that might be one of the first steps in treating your knee problem.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


SANCHEZ: That's the CNN NEWSROOM back there. See all of our writers and producers diligently working. And that is Clint Eastwood and that is Jacques Chirac. Why is he kissing him? Well, Clint Eastwood was an American in Paris today. French President Chirac made his day. How many of these movie lines are we going to use in this script? Chirac inducted the 76-year-old actor and director into the French Legion of Honor. There you go. And bestowing the honor, Chirac said Eastwood represents the best of Hollywood. By golly, one more kiss, come on.

Speaking of Britney Spears, were we? No, but we were earlier, right? She had her head shaved just recently. And it surprised everyone, including the person who was working at the salon where, according to witnesses, she walked in, said, I want you to shave my head. The person working at the salon, the hair dresser, said, no, we're not willing to do that just yet. Then she took the shears and started to do it herself, if you can believe that. That's why it's news.

Here now some new sound that we got in just moments ago. This is the person who owns the salon on tape. Listen to what he had to say.


ESTHER TOTNOZZI, SALON OWNER: Well, my assistant and I were closing up. Actually we had locked the door because it gets scary around here because we are set back from the boulevard. And all of a sudden there were lights flashing and we thought it was the police or somebody got into an accident. And they asked us to open the door, we opened the door, and Britney Spears came in and sat in my chair and said, I want to shave my hair off. And I said, well, I'm not shaving your hair off.

And I tried to talk her out of it. I said, are you sure you're not having a bad day and tomorrow you'll feel differently about it. Why don't we wait a little bit. She said, no, I absolutely want it shaved off now. And as I was talking to her bodyguard, the next thing I know she grabbed the buzzer and she went to the back of my salon and she was shaving off her own hair. And she actually enjoyed shaving off her own hair.

But, you know, she never said anything about being sick and tired of people touching her and that's why she was doing it. I think maybe the braids were on too tight. She had a lot of extensions in her hair. So she shaved off the whole thing all by herself and all I basically did was go in there and even it out for her.

When we were done, she just walked out the back door and of course the paparazzi were all over the place.


SANCHEZ: You can't make this stuff up, folks. My goodness.


SANCHEZ: Did Anna Nicole Smith take methadone while she was pregnant? Was it her name on the prescription or someone else's? If so, who's? You're watching CNN, we're looking at that too, you're most trust name in news.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. We're in the control room. A big story that we've been following -- well, everybody has been following all week, the body of Anna Nicole Smith, one step closer to burial. The embalming process began today after a Florida judge gave the OK. Still to be determined, where Smith will be buried, who will get her money, who fathered her baby, and what caused her death?

CNN's Randi Kaye reports on some new twists and new turns in a case that seems to get stranger by the day.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a case already filled with more questions than answers, here are two more. Where did Anna Nicole Smith want to be buried and how much of her estate is new baby Dannielynn entitled to? The answers you might think rest inside her former Playboy Playmate's will. They don't. The 16-page document is signed Vickie Lynn Marshall, Smith's legal name, dated July 30th, 2001. A lot has changed since then. Smith had a daughter. There were stories of a wedding planned and she lost her only son. Daniel, who was set to inherit everything died suddenly last September.

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: When someone wants to leave their entire estate to one person, as Anna did to her son, Daniel, usually there's a follow-up paragraph that says, in the event he predeceases me, then all of my assets will go to somebody else. This will does not say that.

KAYE: So where does that leave Dannielynn and companion Howard K. Stern, one of four men still playing a game of who's your daddy? The will specifically excludes any spouse or future children from inheritance.

BLOOM: I think she'll be treated as an intestate person, in other words, somebody who died without a will. All the money will go to her only surviving heir. That will be Dannielynn. So I think Dannielynn is going to take anyway.

KAYE: That could leave Stern, named as executor of the will, with no money from his honey. Smith's estranged mother Virgie also gets nothing. Though her lawyer called the will a "phantom will" and questioned its validity because it wasn't filed in court. Virgie and Stern are still arm-wrestling over Smith's body and where to bury it.

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, BROWARD COUNTY FAMILY COURT: The court's signing an order. And this is the title of it, order authorizing embalmment of decedent, decedent being Anna Nicole Smith. We are beginning to give her peace.

KAYE: But even as the embalming got under way, more questions about drugs. posted this prescription for methadone written for a "Michelle Chase," one of Smith's aliases. And this receipt from Key Pharmacy, which shipped the methadone to Vickie Marshall, Smith's legal name in the Bahamas. Notice the date. August 25th last year. Smith was eight months' pregnant. The California medical board is investigating.

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor's lawyer sent us this statement. "Dr. Kapoor's treatment program for Anna Nicole Smith was at all times medically sound and appropriate. Medical research and protocols confirm that methadone is approved for use by pregnant patients."

(on camera): And come Tuesday, Howard K. Stern will appear in a Florida courtroom to try and convince the judge Smith should be buried next to her son in the Bahamas. Until now Stern has been taking part in the proceedings by speaker phone. His lawyer said he needed to stay in the Bahamas with the baby.

But the lawyer for Smith's mother made a compelling argument, saying Stern and Smith had left the baby before, once to see a boxing match in Florida, again to buy a boat. It was during that trip that Anna Nicole Smith died.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: And, as you might expect, tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE," more on this. You're going to hear from attorneys for Howard K. Smith and Anna Nicole's mother, Virgie Arthur. Also, two more men enter the paternity battle, or as Randi Kaye suggested the battle should be called, "who's your daddy." Tonight at 9 Eastern right here on CNN.

A check of the headlines is coming up in just a couple of minutes. Then "LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK" after that. By the way, here's Lou's preview for tonight.


LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK": Coming up on "LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK," "The War Within." How drug abuse is tearing this country apart.

And should God be part of our school science curriculum? All of that and a great deal more straight ahead, 6:00 Eastern on "LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK."


SANCHEZ: And then later tonight, we're going to have something a lot of you have been writing to us about this story since we started following it. The Genarlow Wilson case, remember that? Contradicting all involved, one lawmaker cries rape.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a rape in my mind.

SANCHEZ: But the jury didn't make it a rape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you know, they couldn't make it a rape with being consensual. If it was your daughter, you'd call it rape.

SANCHEZ: If it was my daughter, she wouldn't have been there, sir.


SANCHEZ: Things get heated between a Georgia senator and myself, the issue, why a young man sits behind bars for having teen sex. The contradictions -- 10 years, by that way, did I mention that? The contradictions, the case, the arguments, all of it. You're going to see how it all unfolds tonight at 10 Eastern, 7 Pacific. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)