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Congress Sets Iraq Withdrawal Date; Two Atlanta Police Officers Plead Guilty to Manslaughter; Turkey Building Collapse; Back From Iraq; Battling Cancer: Film Critic's Comeback

Aired April 26, 2007 - 15:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Suzanne Malveaux, in for Kyra Phillips.

An eight-story apartment building pancakes into a pile of rubble. We're live in Istanbul, Turkey, for the latest on the search-and- rescue.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: It is the top of the hour.

And, within the past couple of hours, a young girl and a grown man have been pulled from what used to be an eight-story apartment building in Istanbul.

Let's go to freelance journalist Andrew Finkel, live at the scene with very the latest.

Tell us about that rescue status, Andrew.

ANDREW FINKEL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Yes, there's been some fairly dramatic scenes going on behind me.

As you say, about an hour ago, a man was rescued from underneath the rubble. There was a huge silence while the rescue team listened for traces of this individual, and then loud applause when they actually rescued him alive.

Now, in the last few minutes, the same thing has been going on all over again. We suspect that there may actually be someone still underneath the rubble.

It's very quiet here. People are listening. Occasionally, someone makes an announcement on a loudspeaker, saying, if you can hear me, knock three times. And they are basically trying to see if anyone is still alive under the rubble.

A young girl was also rescued. So, we have had two people rescued alive. There may be someone else still under the rubble. We just don't know. The civil defense teams, men and women, are on the site and listening for any signs of survivors. I have to say, we have, in a way, been very lucky with this tragedy. It's a building that collapsed, because a building site next door -- it was a building -- an act of carelessness. The building collapsed. But, before it collapsed, there seemed have been enough warning. The building was groaning, and most people managed to save themselves in time.

But the rescue crews are still there, Don, trying to see if anyone is still alive.

LEMON: Yes. And we were looking at the video from above of this, Andrew. You can see that apartment building right in the middle of many other apartment buildings. So, they may have had some warning, because they heard some creaking and some rumbling noises, which sort of foreshadowed the building giving way, correct?

FINKEL: Well, that's right.

The reason this building collapsed in the first place is, there seems to have been an excavation site next door. It obviously wasn't very carefully done. This -- the building is on a fairly steep hill. They managed to undermine the integrity of the building. And the building next door just collapsed like a deck of cards. It sort of folded in the middle. The man they rescued...


LEMON: Real quick, just give us...

FINKEL: The man they rescued was probably on the fifth floor.


You said the man they rescued was probably on the fifth floor. But we're not hearing as of yet that anyone has died in all of this. Is that correct, just those two people who have been rescued and then maybe another person?

FINKEL: That's correct.

Yes. As I say, there seems to have been a happy side to all this, that most people got out before the building collapsed. Some people were caught in the rubble, but the two people have been saved.

And we hope, certainly, that anyone else still trapped underneath the rubble will be rescued -- Don.

LEMON: All right, Andrew Finkel, thank you, doing a great job there, watching this, all of this, unfold -- of course, Andrew saying that folks have to be quiet because they are looking for someone now. Two people have been pulled out. And they are looking for another.

Thank you so much, Andrew Finkel.

MALVEAUX: And another story that we are following developing every hour, this, of course, severe weather across the country, a lot of states impacted by this, people commuting, people trying to get home.

Our own Bonnie Schneider joining us to give us the very latest.

I understand tornadoes, warnings, lots -- lots going on.


And we have two tornado warnings in effect in two totally different states. Right now, there's a warning in Indiana, and that's for Wayne County. It only has another 10 minutes. But you can see it here highlighted on the map.

The larger area you see in the box, that's a tornado watch. That means any city that you see in this polygon could see a tornado break out until 10:00 p.m. tonight. That's how long the watch goes for.

And it includes quite a few states. We have got Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and even parts of Kentucky. Now, as we travel to a closer look at the tornado warning we have in Indiana, you can see the heavy thunderstorms in the Richmond area.

And we're watching this because we have had a history of some very large hail with this storm and also wind damage reported further to the south. In fact, as we slide further southward, what you will find is another tornado warning. This one is down into Alabama, numerous tornado warnings across Alabama, across the area today.

We have a tornado warning for Bullock County. That goes, as well, for another nine minutes.

Here's the storm. And you can see that, as we work its way -- work its way to the northeast at 20 miles per hour, it's a fast-moving storm, but it's going to produce some very heavy downpours of rain. This warning, again, goes until 2:15.

Now, as we look at the big picture once again, I wanted to show you the frequent lightning storms we have seen with this storm. We have seen heavy lightning across a good portion of Indiana, back out towards areas of Chicago. There's the real-time lightning data for you. And, as you can see, the lightning stretches all the way back out toward central Illinois, into Indiana.

We're showing you now -- our meteorologist Dave Hennen is monitoring this. Look at this. It's doubled in the past hour. We now have well over 1,000 lightning strikes. Earlier this morning, we were talking about half that amount.

So, the storms are getting more intense. And that's why we're seeing this tornado watch that will extend all the way into the evening hours. We mentioned the travel delays. They are on the increase, for Chicago, especially, now well over two hours for O'Hare -- Midway reporting departure delays at least 45 minutes heading up.

And, of course, cloud coverage is also causing some delays across New York City's airports, including La Guardia and JFK -- some delays in to Houston, as well. So, this is a tough day for travel, lots of rain across a large part of the country -- Suzanne, Don.

MALVEAUX: And, Bonnie, you are saying until 10:00 is when everybody should be watching, before this clears?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. Have your NOAA weather radio handy and just make sure it is turned on and the batteries are working. That's key.

MALVEAUX: Bonnie, thank you so much.

LEMON: Now to Washington, where a showdown is about to become a smackdown. As expected, the House and the Senate have both now passed a war funding measure that sets a date for troops to start pulling out of Iraq. President Bush has guaranteed a veto.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that would be ignoring the will of the people.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: It's a piece of legislation that the president should sign. We don't want a scuffle with the president.

But I -- almost all of us here today, the members of Congress, have had conversations with General Petraeus in the last few days. I'm not saying a word that he said upstairs in 407, but I will tell you what he told me and he said publicly.

The war cannot be won militarily. That's the man that's the commander on the ground. The president has to work with us. He has refused to do that. And, so, I feel very comfortable that we have moved this legislation forward, in keeping with what the American people want.


LEMON: Straight to the White House now and White House correspondent Ed Henry standing by, just got out of that briefing.

And Dana Perino came right out of the gate saying he's going to veto it; move on; right?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good afternoon, Don.

Dana Perino came out swinging. You could see her. She was armed to the teeth with some of those sound bites that we were expecting, some of them not certainly unexpected, because it's been building. We have heard the president over and over for days now saying some of this.

But she said, basically, the Democratic bill has -- quote -- "defeatist language" and saying, as you noted, the president will veto this as soon as possible.

She also sparred with reporters a bit, specifically on the fact that Democrats are planning to make great hay next week out of the fact that, since this veto is likely to be Monday, Tuesday will be the fourth anniversary of the president's now infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech across the USS Lincoln.

She was pushing back on that, saying the president also noted in that speech, while he said all major combat operations were over in Iraq, he also said it was going to take time for a transition from dictatorship to democracy.

And, while Democrats are making great hay out of that big banner, "Mission Accomplished," that was hanging over the president, Perino fired back by saying the bill passed by Democrats today is mission defeated.


DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: This is very serious. We are deluding ourselves if we think that we walk away that everything will be OK and that we can just let the region fester and not have any consequences for it and not have to suffer the consequences of our actions here in Washington.

And that is why the president has the principled stand that he does. He is the commander in chief with the long-term national security interests of this country in mind with every step of the way.


HENRY: Now, while this debate continues, of course, the money is not getting out to the U.S. troops out in the field, who need that money Dana Perino also making a lot out of the fact that it's now been 80 days since the president first requested of this war funding from the Congress.

But, also, it was pointed out in the briefing -- I noted to Dana Perino that it was last year that the Republican Congress took a lot longer. They took about 118 days to pass a war funding bill. So, while the White House is trying to say, look, this money is really close to running out, the fact of the matter is, there's more money in the accounts for the Pentagon to use.

It took a lot longer last year for the money to get out in the field. And, as you know, that is one of the next big fights here. You are going to hear a lot about when that money exactly runs out. The president has said mid-May is when the troops will really feel a pinch, both with equipment and training. Democrats insist the money won't run out until June or July -- Don.

LEMON: CNN's Ed Henry at the White House -- thank you so much for that, Ed.

HENRY: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: And two Atlanta police officers have pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges, a botched raid that left an elderly woman shot to death in her own home. Our own Rusty Dornin following that. You have been following it every step of the way.

What have we learned new today in this case?

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been incredible.

This morning, the grand jury, the state grand jury, indicted these officers for -- on felony murder charges. And, then, just hours later, they went into court, and they did make a plea bargain, which has now come down to manslaughter -- manslaughter, criminal solicitation, violation of oath, and false statements.

Now, when they finish with the local court proceedings, they will go later this afternoon over to federal court, where they will also make some sort kind of a plea. And they will not be sentenced until after they have appeared in that federal court.

Now, remember, this was all from a raid that occurred last November, when these officers claimed that an informant had bought drugs at this household. The officers burst down the door. And they claimed that 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston pulled a gun on them and began shooting, and that is when they killed her.

However, the story began breaking down, because they claimed there was an informant in the case who said that drugs had been bought at that house. But the informant ended up claiming later that that was not true. He had never bought drugs at that house.

And it was then that the Atlanta Police Department decided to call in federal authorities to also conduct an independent investigation.

MALVEAUX: And what was the claim by these officers? Were they saying this was something -- a self-defense, that this 92-year-old lady was actually attacking them?

RUSTY: Well, they claim that she had -- they -- that a gun was found there, that apparently -- and, apparently, the niece had bought her a gun for self-protection.

And you have to remember there were bars in front of her door. She must have heard them trying to get in the door. She might have pulled this gun. We don't know. We will not hear the story until -- we don't know if we're going to hear the entire story later today at a press conference.

But, allegedly, they said that she had pulled the gun and began firing at officers as they came through the door. And that's when they shot and killed her.

MALVEAUX: Now, do we expect to hear from her family at all at this press conference...


RUSTY: Absolutely. Absolutely.

They have remained silent. That first night, they were very upset, saying it was a terrible mistake, that they shot her down like a dog. But they have not spoken publicly since that time.

But they are reportedly to be at a press conference later this afternoon to talk about what happened to their relative, to this 92- year-old Kathryn Johnston.

And the whole no-knock-warrant issue is going to be coming up with the officers.


RUSTY: That's going to be under intense scrutiny. And I'm sure federal authorities are going to be asking for further investigation into those.

MALVEAUX: Sure, whether or not it makes any sense.

RUSTY: Right.


Thank you very much, Rusty.

LEMON: Well, heading for home, but waylaid by twisters. Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, witness the birth of a meteorologist. It is an I-Report that you have got to see, and you have got to hear it.

MALVEAUX: And cancer gets a big thumbs down from Roger Ebert, but so does hiding the reality of his close call.

Ahead in the NEWSROOM, Ebert joins us with more on getting on with life and bringing his own La-Z-Boy to the movies.


LEMON: This just in to CNN -- you're looking at live pictures.

This is a rescue going on in Parma, Illinois (sic). It's a trench rescue for a man stuck in a trench, obviously. The rescue is taking place at a home. It's on Grantwood (ph) Avenue, for people who live in the area.

But workers were waterproofing a basement there, we're told, when that trench collapsed. It was around 2:00. Parma, Ohio, I guess that would be Central time. And they were -- Eastern time. OK, it is Eastern time.

They were burying the worker up to his chest, waterproofing in the basement, buried a worker up to his chest. He is receiving oxygen. And rescuers have started an I.V. to try to dig him out of that. So, there's a Life Flight team standing by to transport him to the hospital, once he's extricated from the mud.

But you are looking at a live trench rescue happening on our air now. It's from our -- courtesy of our affiliate WEWS, Parma, Ohio.

We will continue to stay on top of this story and bring it to you in the CNN NEWSROOM.

MALVEAUX: It's 17 after the hour. Here are the three stories that we're working on here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Now that Congress has passed a timeline for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the White House promises a quick veto. The war funding measure did not pass by veto-proof margins.

A plea bargain today for two Atlanta police officers originally charged with murdering an elderly woman during a botched drug raid. They entered guilty plays to manslaughter charges instead.

And at least eight people are dead in a chain reaction crash on an Indiana toll road near South Bend. It started when a truck rear- ended a car in a construction zone.

LEMON: Well, earlier, we brought you an extraordinary I-Report, a father and son driving home suddenly caught between two tornadoes. We're going to talk to them next.

But, first, we're going to get a quick break in here in the CNN NEWSROOM. We will bring that story to you just on the other side of the break -- back in a moment.


LEMON: Earlier, we brought you an ordinary I-Report, a father and son driving home, suddenly caught between two tornadoes.


ERIC ANDERSON, RESIDENT OF KANSAS: Wow, this is cool, dad, the best time of my life.



LEMON: You can tell Eric was excited. He was -- he's with us on the phone now, along with his dad, Ace Anderson.


LEMON: Safe at home in Coldwater, Kansas. And we know you guys are on a speaker phone, because I'm hearing a little bit of feedback. But what were you guys thinking?

ACE ANDERSON, RESIDENT OF KANSAS: Well, first of all -- and I have got to apologize. I don't have a very clear signal. And that's why we're going in and out.

But, anyhow, we were -- we're actually -- I have done this before. I actually am a storm chaser, but very amateur. I would never, first of all, put my son in any danger, so, just so everybody knows that.

What, in fact, the reason -- when we were heading back home from not a successful chase in Buffalo, Oklahoma, where they did have tornadoes, we -- we encountered the tank. The tank is designed to go underneath tornadoes.

LEMON: Right.

A. ANDERSON: And, of course, I don't think any vehicle really can withstand that, but I think it has a better chance, because they have weights or something on it.

And, so, we decided to follow them because of safety, because I -- well, that doesn't sound right. But there are -- were other scientists with pickup trucks that would definitely fly a lot fast -- a lot of farther than my heavy suburban.


You know, I want to talk -- I want to talk to Eric.

But, first, Anderson, we're going to play a little bit more. I want you to listen to this. And then I'm going to talk to you.



E. ANDERSON: Another one is forming.

A. ANDERSON: I know, Eric.

E. ANDERSON: That's where the tornado is.

A. ANDERSON: And there's a big one right up there. Look way up over there.

E. ANDERSON: I know. I'm pointing that way, right up there.

A. ANDERSON: Very big one. So, there's two of them.

E. ANDERSON: Oh, I think there's a house up there.

A. ANDERSON: I know, son. We hope nobody -- that's a -- that could be a very serious one.



LEMON: So, it looks like we have a storm chaser in the making with your son.


Well, again, on the sequence that I provided, I just strung a bunch of videos together. I really just took them out of my digital camera. They were not recorded by even a video camera. Again, I'm very amateur at this. But I have done it long enough to know to stay on the clear side, on the southwest side, and not get in its path.

LEMON: So, Ace, I want to hear from Eric.

Eric, what did you think of this whole experience?

E. ANDERSON: It was good.

LEMON: Just good?


LEMON: Do you want to do it again?



E. ANDERSON: Because it's fun.

LEMON: Because it's fun.

Were you scared at all?


LEMON: No? Why weren't you scared? Do you trust your dad?

Are you there?

A. ANDERSON: He didn't hear you. I think we're cutting in and off.


Well, we're going to -- you know what? We thank you guys so much. It's a very interesting I-Report.


LEMON: We're glad you are safe.

And we realize, Ace, that you would not put your son in harm's way.

So, thank you for the I-Report. Stay safe on your next storm- chasing adventure. And I'm sure Eric is going to have a very big career as a future storm chaser in the making, as well.

Thanks again, guys.


MALVEAUX: Well, there was one point in the tape where Eric said: "Zoom in, dad. Zoom in."


MALVEAUX: He was telling his dad, get closer.

LEMON: You want to do it again?




Because it's fun.


MALVEAUX: He was not scared at all.

LEMON: That's -- it was a great -- look at that. It's a great I-Report. Those are some incredible pictures.


MALVEAUX: ... very close.


MALVEAUX: It looks that way, at least.

Well, it was lucky 13 for the Dow industrials yesterday. And it looks like it could stay that way today.

Our own Stephanie Elam is on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to tell us what is fueling this rally.

Hey, Stephanie.


Well, right now, we're looking good, as you said, the Dow industrials up 31 points. We have got some strong corporate earnings that came out today. And that's what is helping to lead this charge.

So, at this rate, if we saw the markets close right now, we would see yet another record day. All we had to do was get one point higher and we would have had a record day. So, we're looking at another good market here. The Nasdaq is up higher, as is the S&P 500 as well.

If we do see the Dow hit another positive day here, then we will see 18 out of 20 sessions for the Dow in the plus column. So, obviously, we will be keeping our eyes on that. We have just over 30 minutes to go in trading here. We have heard from three -- two Dow components today, ExxonMobil and 3M, with their earnings both beating the Street. After the bell, we will hear from Microsoft -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, Stephanie, I understand Dow is at a record high.

What about Apple shares? What is going on there?

ELAM: Apple is having a very nice day. They are trading up over 5 percent today. And that's because they came out with some good earnings as well.

They said their first quarter -- I'm sorry -- second quarter -- it's their fiscal second quarter -- earnings were up 88 percent. Their sales of MacBooks, as well as their sale overall of their computers and of their iPods really strong -- in fact, iPod sales were up 24 percent, Mac sales up 36 percent.

The other big news about Apple today, because they hit this new mark, they are actually above $100 a share. This is the first time that Apple has actually passed that mark here. So, if they do close right around here, we may see a new milestone for Apple as well.

They did give third-quarter guidance that was slightly below what analysts were looking for. But it doesn't seem to be hurting the stock overall. Another thing to keep our eyes out, the iPhone, which everyone has been waiting for, it comes out next quarter. So, we will see if it affects the results as well -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Wow. Can hardly wait.

OK, Stephanie Elam, thank you so much.

LEMON: Well, he has seen London, he's seen France, but he may not see the frontline in Iraq. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, a dilemma for the British military: Where do you deploy a prince?


LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

MALVEAUX: And I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

Construction crews tearing down the building next door. So why did this one cave? We've got more from Istanbul, Turkey, where the mayor says the collapse is a result of serious negligence.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Night has fallen in Turkey, but rescue teams are still digging through the rubble of a collapsed multi-story apartment building in Istanbul. A man and young girl have been pulled to safety, but it's believed another person may be trapped.

CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh has more.


ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hysterical sobbing over the latest building collapse in Turkey. This time, an apartment complex on Istanbul's European side. Some of the complex residents who escaped say they heard the high-rise crack, creek and groan before it collapsed Thursday evening.

Relatives desperately wanted to help the rescue workers dig through the rubble after hearing voices from under the concrete. Authorities pulled a young girl from the debris alive and begged crowds around to be quiet as they listened for other possible survivors.

Istanbul's governor told CNN Turk TV that residents were aware of the danger about a half hour before the building collapsed. Most evacuated, but some went back in to get more things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't really understand or know why this building just seemed to crumble. We had some official announcement that it didn't happen automatically.

VAN MARSH: But, of course, what is behind all of this we can't yet say. The number of casualties from this building collapse is not yet clear.

In February, two people died and dozens of others were injured when a building collapsed just outside Istanbul. Thousands of Turks were crushed to death in 1999 when two massive earthquakes caused buildings to pancake in several locations.

Building collapses are not uncommon in Turkey. Often shoddy construction, disregard for building regulations and corruption are to blame.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, London.


LEMON: And now to a collapse right here in the states. We told you about this story just moments ago.

A man trapped in a trench. They were trying to rescue him. Well, they have rescued him. And this is that new video of them taking him out here.

As you watch this video, I want to tell you exactly what happened. That rescue effort was under way here. This trench collapse is in Parma, Ohio.

That man there stuck in a trench. And then you're looking at the new video in of the rescue there.

It collapsed around 2:00. It buried the worker up to his chest. And while he was in there -- you're looking at that flight for life helicopter, a life flight helicopter. This is live. He is inside of there.

That was standing by to transport him to the hospital once he was extricated from the mud. But it buried him up to the chest. And he got oxygen and they started an IV on him while he was inside of that trench.

So there you go. That life flight helicopter taking him off, taking that worker to the hospital to be treated.

Not exactly sure of his condition there. If we find out within this newscast, we'll update you -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And defiant Democrats have pushed an Iraq war spending bill through Congress. But their victory will probably not last long. President Bush is promising a veto because the measure sets a date for U.S. troops to start pulling out. It passed the Senate today and the House last night.

Our own Kyra Phillips has just returned from a weeks-long tour of Iraq. She and Iraq correspondent Michael Ware talked with CNN's Kiran Chetry on "AMERICAN MORNING".


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And we're back now with CNN's Kyra Phillips and war correspondent Michael Ware. They both have just come back from Iraq.

Kyra and Michael, thanks for being with us once again.

And we asked you before to give us your take on some words from General Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq. He spoke yesterday on the Capitol. Let's hear one more statement from him yesterday.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCES IN IRAQ: What I would like to see Iraq end as, of course, is a government, a country that is one Iraq, with a government that is representative of and responsive to the people, all the people of Iraq that can defend itself, at peace with itself, and ideally an ally in the global war on terror.


CHETRY: That's a lot. I mean, that's a lofty goal. Is it possible, Kyra?

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have to tell you, I heard that quote. And I thought, OK, General, would you stop being so PC and stop saying what everybody wants?

Of course everybody wants peace in Iraq. And I even sent him an e-mail this morning. We've been having correspondence. And I said, "Give me a break. Tell me what you really were saying."

And he said right here -- he said, "I'm not going to lie. I talk about the setbacks as well. There have also been the sensational car bomb attacks, the tragic loss of the combat outpost three days ago, and the challenges in Diyala province, which, understandably, have tended to overshadow the sense of slow progress on the ground in Baghdad, Anbar and some other locations."

He's a straight shooter. You've just got to know what to ask him and how to pick at him.

This is -- this was such a PC answer. And I know you spent a lot of time in Diyala province. You know he's a straight shooter, too. And he's making a good point about the setbacks in that area.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, Diyala is now the new frontline against al Qaeda. I mean, to be honest, it's a tragically bloody affair.

The brigade that was there last year lost 19 troops in 12 months. The brigade there now has lost 50 in six months.

And you listen very carefully to what General Petraeus says. He says, this is what we would like to see, a representative government.

When I was in Diyala province, I interviewed a two-star general on camera for CNN, and he admitted for the first time from anyone in the military that they are now prepared to accept options other than democracy. Now, this is what this war was sold to the American public on. Yet, they are saying now democracy isn't mandatory, it's an option, and that they are prepared to see a government that can protect itself, give services to its people, and it doesn't have to be democratic.

In fact, the general said most of our allies in this region are not democratic. So that fundamentally addresses the root cause of why America says it went to war. And now the military is saying, well, we may not get there.

CHETRY: Well, the problem is, is that it's left into the hands, it is up to the Iraqis if they want democracy. I mean, at the beginning it was to clear the way so that could be the path. If that's not how it goes for them, we can't force it.

WARE: No. But I mean, remember, the vision for Iraq was to establish this shining model of democracy that was hoped would then spread throughout the region. Well, the security situation has become so bad, Iranian influence has become so strong, Iran is much stronger because of this war. Al Qaeda is much stronger because of this war.

And as military men, not diplomats, not politicians, they're saying first is security. And if another kind of government that is not democratic but is strong and is an ally of the U.S., we will accept that.

CHETRY: Let's answer some questions that our e-mailers asked us this morning. One of them was about how Iraqis live.

"How do Iraqis live and go about their ordinary lives? Where do they eat out and where do they shop?"

Kyra. PHILLIPS: They don't. I mean, you don't go to a coffee shop and have a Starbucks. You don't go to the movies. You don't just cruise the -- stroll along the main strip on -- in the evening.

There is no normal social life in Iraq. And it's hard for Iraqis, because this was the heyday decades ago.

WARE: Yes. Yes.

PHILLIPS: I mean, especially under Saddam. I mean, you could party and have a great time. And so they have just become accustomed to that. They just hope they can get up and walk to work, whether it's their dress shop or their pharmacy or whatever it is, and just make it there alive, make some money, make it back home to their family, and cook dinner.

WARE: I'll give you an example. I mean, there's an area of Baghdad where I used to live. And at night it was alive with Iraqi families going out to restaurants, shopping, boys on the streets trying to meet girls at ice cream parlors.

This same area now is a battle zone. All the buildings are destroyed. American troops continue to die and get hurt there.

And indeed, one of my dearest Iraqi friends just two days, three days before I left the country, his father, his uncle and two of his cousins went to the shop. Luckily, his father got out of the car, walked into the shop. While he was in the shop, a car bomb detonated and he lost his uncle and both his cousins.

CHETRY: Yes, and it's tragic to hear about this. And as we talk about solutions, and we talk about -- would all of us, all the American troops pulling out help the situation?

PHILLIPS: No. No way.

WARE: Gee, no.

PHILLIPS: It would be a disaster. I mean, I had a chance to sit down with the minister of defense, to General Petraeus, Admiral Fallon, head of CENTCOM. I asked them all the question, whether Iraqi or U.S. military.

There is no way U.S. troops could pull out. It would be a disaster. They are doing too much training. They are helping the Iraqis not only with security, but trying to get the government up and running.

I mean, this is a country of let's make a deal. There's so much corruption still. If the U.S. military left, they have rules of engagement, they have an idea, a focus, it would be a disaster.

WARE: Well, even more than that, I mean, if you just want to look at it in terms of purely American national interest, if U.S. troops leave now, you're giving Iraq to Iran, a member of President Bush's axis of evil, and al Qaeda. That's who will own it. And so, coming back now, I'm struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, how delusional it is. Whether you are for this war or against it, whether you've supported the way it's been executed or not, it does not matter. You broke it, you've got to fix it now. You can't leave, or it's going to come and blow back on America.

PHILLIPS: The U.S. owns this. And that's a very interesting point that you bring up about Iran.

Everybody keeps talking about a timeline. Is the U.S. winning this war? They have to start talking about other issues, like the influence of Iran.

I mean, every single day there are munitions and training and advice and support coming from Iran. I mean, they do not want the U.S. to have any presence there.


MALVEAUX: Michael Ware and Kyra Phillips speaking with Kiran Chetry on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING".

LEMON: Silence this critic? Not a chance.


CHAZ EBERT, ROGER EBERT'S WIFE: This is my happening, and it freaks me out.


LEMON: Roger and Chaz Ebert spread the word about his cancer and why it won't get the best of him -- or them, for that matter.

They're up next right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, film critic Roger Ebert says he's not a pretty boy anymore, but he's not out of the picture either. Ebert has gone public with his battle against cancer and how it's changed his life and appearance.


LEMON: Roger Ebert, not just a film critic. An American icon and Pulitzer Prize winner who has interviewed presidents and wields enormous power with the direction of his most famous thumbs. Turned up, they can make a Hollywood director or movie starlet's career. Turned down, they can tank even the best-publicized would-be blockbuster.

But for over a year now, the Ebert fingers have been silenced, along with his voice. Cancer of the salivary gland spread to his lower jaw. The operation took away his ability to speak.

And more medical complications left him bedridden for months. He had to learn to walk again.

But Roger Ebert is up and walking at his ninth annual film festival in Champagne, Illinois. His wife Chaz is doing the talking for him.

EBERT: This is my happening, and it freaks me out.

LEMON: And those famous thumbs?

EBERT: Would you give it a thumbs up?


LEMON: Well, earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Roger Ebert and his lovely wife Chaz from his film festival in Champagne, Illinois. Their strength, their humor and their positive attitudes are certainly inspiring.


LEMON: What do you want people to know who may be dealing with the same sort of thing that you are, illness or cancer, especially in light of Elizabeth Edwards announcing that she has cancer as well?

EBERT: Roger says, "It's still you, and every day can contain joy, as well as suffering. You just keep on living."

LEMON: What made you decide to come out and be out in the open or in public about this?

EBERT: You know what I think it is? Essentially, Roger is a man who -- he is very definite about what he thinks and about his standards and his whatever. And I think he just felt it was essentially the right thing to do. It just boils down to the fact that he just thought it was the right thing to do.

LEMON: Yes. And what is he saying?

EBERT: Roger said, "Yes, but surgery was necessary." But at least he's cancer-free. "I hope to do TV again, but I can still write for the newspaper, and maybe there are other creative ways to do television."

LEMON: Are you surprised at the reception that you've gotten?

EBERT: "It was very encouraging," Don. "It's nice to know people care about the reviews. I don't believe in hiding. This is me."

LEMON: Roger and Chaz, what's next for both of you?

EBERT: What's next?


EBERT: He said he's "really enjoying this film festival." We're down at the Roger Ebert's ninth Annual Overlooked Film Festival, and he's really enjoying the film festival.

Right now, you know what, Don? I have to tell you the truth. All the things that we've learned over the last eight or nine months since Roger has been ill is to stay in the now.

We are enjoying the now. This is a great moment. We are so happy. We are thrilled.

We have everything going for us. There's nothing that we want. We just want good things to happen for our family, our friends.

We would like to see better things happening in the world. We are staying in the now. And that's what we're looking forward to and enjoying.

LEMON: Is there something you want people to know about you and about Roger and about dealing with an illness?

EBERT: People would send in e-mails and letters from all over the world saying, "We are praying for you. We have prayer groups."

Or some people would say, you know, "I'm Buddhist." Or "We meditating."

And we concentrated on the seeing him in the healing light. And people said they were doing that. And I could actually feel people's prayers.

I know it sounds a little strange, but I could feel them. And we never felt alone. Being very sick is a real education.

"It makes you grateful for the good things."


LEMON: And Roger calls himself now the lazy critic. If you saw that big La-Z-Boy, they set it up there for him to be comfortable at this film festival because they wanted him to be present.

And speaking of good things, as Chaz Ebert said, in addition to his film festival, Roger has two new books out. One is called "Your Movie Sucks". The other, "Awake in the Dark" -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Well, we can all learn from living in the moment.


MALVEAUX: Thank you, Don.

He allegedly beans a photographer with baked beans. Another chance for Jay Leno to ask Hugh Grant, "What were you thinking?" The London tabs go to the town over the case over the logged legumes, and we can't leave it alone either.

Ahead in the NEWSROOM.


MALVEAUX: We've got more breaking news on severe weather from our own Bonnie Schneider.


LEMON: Lots of interest in this next story. There's been some question about whether or not to send Prince Harry to the frontlines in Iraq. It's one of the most clicked-on stories on

Is he a target? Does he make other troops a target?

Well, the British Defense Ministry is denying reports in the British press today that Prince Harry's deployment in Iraq has been reversed due to threats from insurgents. And just for background, Prince Harry third in line for the throne, scheduled to deploy in the coming weeks with a unit that patrols in a light reconnaissance tank.

MALVEAUX: On a lighter note, let's face it, baked beans don't agree with everyone. Hugh Grant may be able to attest to that.

Police in London hauled him in before supposedly tossing a plastic tub of beans at a tabloid photographer. The photographer claims that Grant was kicking and screaming just before he tossed the tub. Grant's lawyers aren't commenting.

A baked bean story, Don. Breaking news.

LEMON: Ah, baked beans. Don't mess with Hugh Grant.

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

MALVEAUX: He is standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM" to tell us what is coming up at the top of the hour.

Wolf, what are you looking at?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, guys.

Private lives under public scrutiny. The Democratic Party chairman, Howard Dean, firing away at Republican presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani.

Find out what Dean has to say. That's coming up in my one-on-one interview.

Also, is Iraq this generation's Vietnam? I'll talk about the troubled mission with our CNN contributor, the author Bill Bennett.

And what's cooking with Bill Clinton? We're going to show you what's behind his appearance in Rachel Ray's kitchen.

All that coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM".

Back to you.

LEMON: And Wolf, that Vietnam question a very controversial one. We'll be watching at the top of the hour.

BLITZER: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks so much.

The closing bell and a wrap of all the action on Wall Street straight ahead.


LEMON: We should know any minute now whether renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking got a taste of zero gravity. Hawking, who is paralyzed, Suzanne, from Lou Gehrig's Disease -- and we've been watching his life and career -- he's aboard a specially-modified commercial plane.

It dives through the sky letting passengers float freely briefly through the cabin. It's due to land at the Kennedy Space Center in just a couple of minutes.

And before taking off, Hawking said he worried the human race might not have a future if it doesn't go into space.

One of the greatest minds ever, I think. And, of course, our very own Miles O'Brien is standing by covering it all. I'm sure we're going to have a report from him.

MALVEAUX: And absolutely amazing. I just hope it went well for him. You could see it was really important for him.


MALVEAUX: The closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street.

LEMON: Stephanie Elam is standing by with a final look at the trading day.