Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

President Makes Hard Push For Health Care Reform; President Obama's American Citizenship Questioned By Some; Questions Swirl Around Capture of Bowe Berghdal

Aired July 21, 2009 - 15:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: A congressman's town hall meeting gets crazy. Gets hijacked over President Obama's birth certificate. You'll see the video and the facts.

A Harvard professor arrested at his own house. Police thought he was breaking in.


UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: I'm just shocked at the lack of communication...


SANCHEZ: A ton of questions. Answers.

A conservative military analyst suggests, if the U.S. soldier now being held captive walked off his base, then the Taliban is -- quote -- "doing us a favor." Ouch.

And Joe Jackson on how he treated Michael Jackson.

JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Oh, that's a bunch of bull-S. That's a bunch of bull-S.

SANCHEZ: On how Michael died.

JACKSON: Well, I'm thinking that it is foul play.

SANCHEZ: On his split with his wife.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Are you and she separated?

JACKSON: No, we're not.

SANCHEZ: And being left off the will, on your national conversation for Tuesday, July 21, 2009.


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

I want to show you something, all right? Let's get started with this right here. Will you get this, Robert? Take a look at this right here. See this? Can you shoot this right there? You got it, Robert? All right, this is a print out from the state of Hawaii. It is a certification of live birth, child's name, Barack Hussein Obama II. See it right there? Can you read that?

All right, down lower. And, as you go across, you see he was born 7:24 p.m. There, it says the island of birth, Oahu. There it says when he was born, August 1961. His parents, his mother is a Caucasian, his father is Barack Hussein Obama, who is an African. All right, there is all the information. This is a reprint of his birth certificate, or, as it says here, certificate of birth.

To a large and vocal group of Americans, this paper that I just showed you might as well be bathroom tissue. Factual, maybe. Enough to stop the speculation? Absolutely not.

This completely unfounded story -- let me repeat -- this completely unfounded story continues to get so much play in certain media that it has led to a congressman's town hall meeting actually getting hijacked. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go back to January 20, and I want to know why are you people ignoring his birth certificate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is not an American citizen. He is a citizen of Kenya.

REP. MIKE CASTLE (R), DELAWARE: (OFF-MIKE) If you're referring to the president there, he is a citizen of the United States.


CASTLE: ... citizen of the United States.


SANCHEZ: Republican Congressman Castle of Delaware seemed taken aback, a woman insisting that the president is actually a citizen of Kenya, and accusing -- quote -- "You people," whatever that means, of ignoring the birth certificate.

Now, is she alone, not the type that shows up at these kind of things all the time? Well, no. Keep watching.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should all stand up and give -- pledge allegiance to that wonderful flag...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Everybody, just stand up and...


CASTLE AND AUDIENCE: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


SANCHEZ: What is going on there? What does that really mean? Suddenly, everyone in the entire room, including Congressman Castle, who was truly taken aback by this, didn't seem to, like he knew how he was going to react, they get on their feet and they start reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

All right, let's try and break this thing down for you. Viveca Novak is a deputy director of Ben Ferguson hosts his own conservative radio show.

There is something strange about even having to do this story. So, for those of you who get this, please, we apologize. But it has gotten to the point where there are so many people in this country who are believing this that it needs to be addressed.

Ben Ferguson, are you there?



SANCHEZ: Hey, if people call your show and say this to you, please tell me that you tell them, no, there's no evidence to support that. You're wrong.

FERGUSON: No, you know, it was funny. This has taken on a life of its own. And that's the crazy thing. I literally banned the topic from my show because I was so sick and tired of talking about it.

But, like you said, it has been growing like wildfire. And you know how things are in this country. You say it once, you say it twice, and it can become a reality. But I can tell you this. You can end all this real quick if you're Barack Obama and you go out there and you have your press secretary walk out there and just hold up a picture of it, or show it, and it is done.

And why they haven't done this and allowed this to grow and build is beyond me.

SANCHEZ: But, actually, you could make the argument that they have. And we have a witness here in Viveca who will take us through this, because when the question was first raised, members of the media, including, went there. They were presented the certificate. They were presented the documents. They interviewed the people in Hawaii who knew about this.

And they told him irrefutably -- told them irrefutably that in fact this is all legitimate, that he is a resident and was born in Hawaii.

Is that not true, Viveca?


VIVECA NOVAK, FACTCHECK.ORG: That is absolutely right.

We had two staff members in Chicago in August at Barack Obama's campaign headquarters. And they saw the birth certificate. They handled it. They held it. They took pictures of it. We posted them on our Web site. We even did it with shadows, so you can see the raised seal.

SANCHEZ: As a matter of fact, hey, you know what? While you're saying that, I'm going to show it to you. All right, go to that, if you can. Can you get a shot of that if you could, Robert? You going to go to this one? Go ahead.

All right, there is the birth certificate. Chris in the control room, do me a favor, go down. This is the actual shot. There is the certificate -- or -- pardon me -- that's the signature of the state official. All right, go to the one under -- OK, stop on that one. There is the seal she's talking about with the crease.

These are all questions being answered because the people who are part of this conspiracy have been saying, well, the actual document doesn't have a seal on it, because you can't see the perforation. You see the perforation right there because of the lighting? Now, there is the signature above that, which, by the way, is a stamp, which they use there.

And just below that you can see the city, town, Honolulu, just to put some reference to what you were talking about, Viveca. Continue.

NOVAK: Right. Right.

Yes, and after we did our story in August, the state commissioner in Hawaii and the vital statistics commissioner -- I'm not sure of the real title, but they came out and they said, yes, indeed, we do have the original in our files. It is genuine. You know, we absolutely are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii August 4, 1961.

But, you know, it is amazing. We still get letters every week from people who are doubting this.

SANCHEZ: Is it something else, Ben, or...


FERGUSON: No. I think you're always going to have people on both sides that are always going to go the extreme. And that's just what happens.

But, again, when you become president, it is a big difference from running. Look how many guys ran for it and got close who we never care about again.


FERGUSON: He is now the president. I'm telling you, if I'm his P.R. guy, I'm sitting there going, look, let's put this to rest. He already has -- What is it? -- this is his third press conference coming up in prime time. Why not make a joke and show it then? Then it puts it to bed.

And for them to do it, it is on them to do it and get it fixed.

SANCHEZ: But if they have got a conspiracy about the fact that he had someone in Hawaii lie -- and, as a matter -- do you know what I could show you that could -- it would seem to me that it would put this to bed right here and now on CNN.

Go down even -- Chris, are you in the control room? Go. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going. There. Stop. See that right there? This is the newspaper in Hawaii back in 1961. This is a birth announcement printed in that newspaper.

"Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama," this is part of the announcement saying that a young boy was born, right? What did you say, Angie? I'm sorry. So, there it is. This is interesting, because if you're saying -- if somebody out there is saying that Barack Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, then his grandparents would have had to have faked this, knowing that some day he was going to be president and that they would have to put this in there, so in the future he could come back and say, look, he was born in Hawaii, but he wasn't really born in Hawaii.

That's kind of convincing, isn't it?

FERGUSON: No, Rick, look, I understand exactly where you're coming from.

But you know in the media as well as anybody else that when stories take on a life of their own, whether it be a product that somebody has claimed had something in it that wasn't in there, damage control is everything.

And if this man -- he's not afraid of doing press conferences. Lord knows we all know that. So, I mean, why -- if he can do all the press conferences he does, why not put it to bed in one moment on national TV?

SANCHEZ: Here is another chance to go on TV. He's going to do it Wednesday.

Viveca Novak, to that, you say what? Maybe he should. Does he need to do a little more proving here?


NOVAK: I do think that it -- he may be thinking it is a little unpresidential for him to be coming out at this point showing his birth certificate.


NOVAK: I don't know if there is a light way to do it.

But the fact that he's having to do it at all is, to us at FactCheck, a bit insane. We don't know quite what to make of it ourselves.

FERGUSON: Hey, Rick, there is always the White House Correspondents' Dinner. There's a good night for it.


SANCHEZ: They would still wonder. You know. There would still be those people out there, no, not convinced.

It really is -- it is funny, but it is not so funny. It is a part of the national conversation. And we certainly hope that there are people out through who do their own fact-checking, see for themselves what is on the record, and see that this seems to be more conspiratorial than factual.

My thanks to both of you, OK?


NOVAK: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: The mystery continues as to how this soldier was captured by the Taliban. But one conservative military analyst says he's got it all figured out and goes on to suggest, if the Taliban kills this soldier, so what? Man, he's talking about a captured American seen on television.

Republican lawmakers who watched our show yesterday want a chance to response to what the former Canadian minister of health said on the air. It is only fair that they have a chance to respond. By the way, that chance was also offered yesterday, just to be clear.

Oh, and two things I need to share with you at this point. For those of you who constantly harangue us about not being able to watch at 3:00 because you're working, this Friday, I'm going to be doing the 8:00 p.m. Eastern show. That's 8:00 p.m. primetime, and I'm inviting all you tweets and Facebookers and MySpacers assorted new-gens to join me. That's Friday night at 8:00 Eastern.

Also, after today's show, go to for the after-show. That's,, where the national conversation will continue.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

You can't help but get riled up about something like that, just a little while ago, because it does seem interesting that, well, it is almost like the old story about facts getting in the way of a good story. Let me see what you guys are saying on Twitter. It is interesting to get all the reaction as it continues to come in. Let's do that now. And here we go. In fact, great cartoon on Obama birth certificate. That's the topic that a lot of folks are talking about. "Birther theory that Obama not a citizen not funny because rooted in racism," says one of our tweets.

"Obama doesn't bite. I don't really understand why skeptics are so scared. They should just suck it up."

And now let's go over to MySpace, if we possibly can, where the conversation continues on this topic. A lot of people get really riled up about this one. Tosh (ph) says: "No, I don't believe that he has to show his birth certificate on TV. That's crazy. Then he's pandering to those people. How come they are making an issue about this with him? They would never do this with anyone else."

Those are your opinions. We appreciate them and we will continue to share.

When we come back, we're going to be talking about a very serious statement that is made by former lieutenant colonel about an American who is being held captive right now. It is, to say the very least, extremely controversial.


SANCHEZ: And welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez.

I have heard a lot in this business, but this one that you're about to hear with me may take the proverbial cake. And it was said on national television. Here's the setup for you. You ready?

Army PFC, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl is being held by the Taliban. They're threatening to kill him. He is an American. There are questions about how he got captured, which I raised here yesterday with my own analyst. But listen to what this retired army lieutenant colonel has said on the air, which, for the most part, goes unchallenged. The analyst's name is Ralph Peters.


COL. RALPH PETERS, (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Nobody in the military that I have heard is defending this guy. He's an apparent deserter. Reports are indeed that he abandoned his buddies, abandoned his post and walked off. We will see what the ultimate truth of it is.

But if he did, if he's a deserter in wartime, well, as one of my old platoon sergeants used to say, he's in (INAUDIBLE) I want to be clear. If, when the facts are in, we find out that there is some convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban, I'm with him.

But if he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime, I don't care how hard it sounds, as far as I'm concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.


SANCHEZ: "Can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills" -- stop quote.

I have watched that clip a dozen times now. And I still can't believe what I heard that man say, a former U.S. military officer, a lieutenant colonel, saying that he would be OK with the Taliban, if I heard it right -- tell me if I'm wrong -- he would be OK with the Taliban executing Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl if he is, in fact, a deserter.

Is the military saying that he's a deserter in any way? We have checked. No, not at all. But Ralph Peters suggests that he is. As we have reported, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl has a family and an entire town that are praying to God for his safety right now and that he be somehow released by the enemy.

I don't know what it is like to be in combat as a soldier. I don't. And I certainly don't know what it is like to be captured and held at gunpoint and threatened with death. I don't know what I would say or what I would do. Maybe Ralph Peters knows more than we do. After all, he seems to be willing to talk about it on national television.

We checked, by the way, and here's what we have found. Peters was an Army intelligence officer, as far as we can tell, has never been captured by the enemy, as far as we can tell, maybe hasn't even been in combat.

I would like to ask him so he can tell us for himself what his perspective is, what he knows that the rest of us don't. But, when we called, he said he wasn't able to be on the show. We weren't able to contact him is what I'm told by my staff.

I asked you earlier to respond to this, by the way, and, man, did you ever. Let me read to you some of the comments that you have been sending in to us throughout the entire day.

This is on Twitter first. Let's go there, if we possibly can. "Peters is acting like a defense lawyer, using the trash-the-victim mentality on our captured soldier."

Next: "He's not a deserter. The kid is just trying to survive."

Next: "Peters' comments unconscionable. Is a 23-year-old guilty until proven innocent? Let's get this kid back."

"It was a stupid thing to say. He's an American in danger of enhanced interrogation for serving his country."

One more: "Rick, it is completely out of line to politicize a soldier being taken. None of us know the specifics, including him."

Well, there you have it, some of your comments as you continue to share in this story as we bring it to you. We will continue to check. And, obviously, if Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters would like to join us on the show to maybe make us understand what the point is that he was trying to make, the offer will stand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a baby in there!


SANCHEZ: This is an amazing rescue that is captured on video, children being pulled from a burning SUV, and you are going to see it here for yourself.

Also, this story -- Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates arrested at his own home in Cambridge, after a neighbor reports a possible break- in. Is it a case of racial profiling or an honest mistake?

We will be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. We have got a lot of news for you on this day.

Abiding by the adage that if you want something done right, you have got to do it yourself, President Obama this week is taking up the health care reform and putting it on his own shoulders, or so we're told by his staff members at the White House and today by the president himself.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that there are those in this town who openly declare their intention to block reform. It's a familiar Washington script that we have seen many times before.

These opponents of reform would rather score political points than offer relief to Americans, who have seen premiums double and costs grow three times faster than wages. They would maintain a system that works for the insurance and the drug companies, while becoming increasingly unaffordable for families and for businesses.


SANCHEZ: Yesterday, you heard the former Canadian health minister taking some tough questions, taking the heat, as they say, and responding to what many of his critics are saying about their health plan and what he had to say about it.

So, today one of those critics is going to be joining me live. He's Republican Senator John Barrasso, who is a doctor, by the way, and knows a bit about this. He is going to be joining me here live in just a little bit.


SANCHEZ: Boy, so many of you continue to make comments about Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters' comments. They're coming in, in droves.

I will share one of them with you before we move on to our next story.

"I don't care if the kid did happen to be a deserter. He doesn't deserve to die for it. And it is not this man's place to say so."

This was one of the many comments that we're getting on this comment by former Lieutenant Colonel -- or Lieutenant Colonel Peters. And we will continue to share.

If you were watching yesterday about this same time during our show, you will remember our discussion about Canada's health care system. Some say Canada's plan could be a model to the United States.

But, over the weekend, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a downright different view, some would say a frightening assessment of the Canadian system. Here it is.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I had a friend of mine in Florida who called up recently and said he had just lost a friend of his in Canada because the government decided he was too old for a certain kind of procedure, and, apparently, he didn't have the money or the ability to get down to the United States for quality health care.


SANCHEZ: Of course, I asked Senator McConnell to join me and clear up maybe what he had said, but yesterday he was voting and wasn't able to join us.

But we did have the former Canadian health minister, Ujjal Dosnajh, to answer that same charge, just to be fair, which he did by calling what the senator said, quote, "absolutely false." But we didn't want to leave the story there because we think it should continue because this is important to all of us.

So joining us now is Republican senator John Barrasso, who's also a doctor.

Senator, thanks for being with us, sir.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: Thank you very much, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Hey, you know, maybe -- you know, people misspeak or they hear something that maybe they shouldn't repeat but it seemed like Senator McConnell said something that obviously was refuted by Canadian officials.

You don't believe that Canada doesn't treat people according to age, do you?

BARRASSO: Well, I know as an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Casper, Wyoming, I took care of people who had orthopedic problems, who lived in Canada, who came to the United States because they didn't want to wait so long for their care in Canada.

And they came to me because they had the means to pay for that care. So that's not at all unusual for people from Canada who get tired of waiting in lengthy lines to come to the United States.

SANCHEZ: Yes, yes, but that's not the question I asked, sir, with all due respect. The charge was that in Canada, if you're a certain age, you don't get treated.

BARRASSO: I don't know that aspect of it. What I do know, though...


BARRASSO: ... is people come to the United States for care. I know in Calgary last year, they decided to pay for 2,000 fewer cataract operations. Not because of need, but because of financial squeeze so that if you were waiting to get a cataract operation, the line just got a lot longer for you.

And now they only do it if you're almost blind, not just if you're having trouble seeing, but if you're almost blind. Had nothing to do with age, but it sure had to do with how much care they're willing to pay for in Canada and making people wait for necessary care.

SANCHEZ: Well, what do you say to those who say I live in the United States and I have to travel to Canada to get good medical treatment or any medical treatment because maybe I'm not insured in the United States and over there they treat everyone?

BARRASSO: Well, I would like to visit with some of those people because right now it's a -- you know, a ten-week wait for an MRI or CAT scan in Canada. It's something you can get done the same week here in the United States. Our care is the place that people come to -- they come to the United States because our care is so good here.

We need health care reform, though, Rick. I mean if you cut all the way through it, we need reform. We need people to understand we need reform on both sides of the aisle here. We need to find ways to save money in the system and to cover more people. We absolutely need health care reform.

SANCHEZ: Well, what ...

BARRASSO: The bills we're looking at now I don't think deliver the kind of reform that the American people want.

SANCHEZ: Well, help us out, man, what kind of -- Senator, Doctor, what kind of reform do we need? I mean, I just heard you say that we've got a great system, but then you're also saying we need reform. How do you reconcile those two?

BARRASSO: I think we have a system better than any place else in the world. We need reform. There's about a third of all the money spent in this country on health care that to me doesn't really go to help somebody get better. A lot of it is related to, you know, junk lawsuits and doctors doing defensive medicine, lots of x-rays, lots of studies that are done for that reason.

We need to have people have an opportunity to buy health insurance across state lines. We need a chance for people who buy their own insurance and don't get it to work to have the same tax breaks, the big companies get. We need to give incentives for people who actually lose weight and do those sorts of things.

SANCHEZ: Yes, preventative.

BARRASSO: Not just the kind of things in the Kennedy bill where it going to put money for sidewalks and jungle gyms and streetlights. It's like the old midnight basketball.

SANCHEZ: But, again, with all due respect, you just did it again. You just said we have the best system in the world.

BARRASSO: But it needs improvement.

SANCHEZ: Do -- I mean, is that just a raw -- I mean, you know, I can wrap a flag around myself, too, and say things, but let's talk seriously here.


SANCHEZ: Do we have the best system in the world?

BARRASSO: Well, I believe we do in terms of the newest technology, the best approaches to take care of people.

SANCHEZ: OK, so we have...

BARRASSO: But we have a lot of areas to improve.

SANCHEZ: All right. So you're saying in certain areas we have the best system in the world. We have 47 million people who have no health care in this country. Surely that needs to be fixed.

BARRASSO: We have 47 million people who don't have insurance. When they show up in any emergency room in the United States...

SANCHEZ: That's true.

BARRASSO: ... which is the worst place to get care in terms of efficiency and cost savings, everyone gets cared for. Now of those 47 million, 10 million of them, you know, make over $75,000 a year. Another 10 million of them are qualified for either children's health or Medicaid or Medicare, but haven't signed up yet.

Another 10 million are not legal citizens of the United States and you have a lot of young people like my kids who think they're bulletproof and don't need the insurance and they're between the ages of 18 and 30.

There are still people that need care. There are ways to help them. But we still need to do more. Our system needs reform. But I don't see this very big, very expensive bill -- I mean you look at the bill that -- and it's not just me, the Mayo Clinic came out and said, this health care bill, this health care bill is going to make matters worse for the citizens of our country.

SANCHEZ: So you...

BARRASSO: That's what the Mayo Clinic had to say.

SANCHEZ: But did you...

BARRASSO: That's what the Mayo Clinic said.

SANCHEZ: By the way, Mayo Clinic, rah, rah, I went to school at the University of Minnesota, big -- proud of it. Did you hear what Jim DeMint said? Are you worried that some of the folks on your side are politicizing this too much when they say -- do we have that? Can we put that up?

Put that up if we possibly -- there it is. "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo, it will break him." The problem with that comment is when Americans hear that, they say, I mean, because you're a sober guy who is -- and a doctor who's taking us through what's good, what's bad and what we needed changed, that sounds like a political hack statement that's being made just to hurt the other guy without any facts.

BARRASSO: Well, he can speak for himself. We need health care reform in this country. We absolutely do. There are a number of suggestions...

SANCHEZ: But will you agree that that kind of thing doesn't help the argument? I mean making a statement like that? We just got to get Obama whether it's this or anything else?

BARRASSO: That doesn't help any person who has a health care problem, health care is very personal and that doesn't help.

SANCHEZ: You know what, you're a good guy. I really enjoyed talking to you, Senator. We'll do this again. We can learn a lot from a guy like you. We appreciate it.

BARRASSO: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right.

Let's bring Ujjal Dosnajh into the conversation. He's a member of the Canadian parliament. He's a former health minister there in Canada.

There's something he said that I just want to fact check with you if I possibly can or get your perspective on. He said there is a 10-week wait there and I think he said -- was it MRIs? It was an MRI, wasn't it? And then he's mentioned something about cataracts surgery as well.


SANCHEZ: 2,000 fewer people getting cataracts surgery there. Thanks, Angie (INAUDIBLE) in my ear sharing that information with me. Is he right? Is that true? Do you have a problem in Canada with this?

DOSNAJH: Well, look, I believe there are wait times for many things including knee surgery, or MRIs. But if you have excruciating pain and people believe that you may be in danger of losing a limb or life, you go to the front of the line.

I told you, I've been in this country since 1968, I got married here, I have three young -- three sons, three grandchildren, I have never had to pay one red cent and no one has ever gone untreated. The fact is that people like Senator Barrasso talk about exceptions. You know what the United States does with its system...

SANCHEZ: But let me press you the same way I pressed him.


SANCHEZ: Is it not true that there are long delays, long waits for certain procedures in Canada? Is that not true?

DOSNAJH: It is true. There are sometimes undue delays in certain procedures that may not be life threatening -- for conditions which might not be life threatening. That's true. But the fact is that, you know, you have situations where people go to the United States because they can spend $100,000 on a non-life threatening cyst and go to Mayo Clinic.

How many other Canadians can afford $150,000 to go to Mayo Clinic to deal with a non-threatening cyst? I think that that's the kind of stuff that we need to actually -- those are urban legends.


DOSNAJH: The fact is that, in Canada, we get some of the best care in the world. We have some of the best doctors in the world. It is not the government that decides what procedures a particular patient should have. It is the doctors that decide. It is not the HMO that decides based on whether or not it's going to cost them too much.


DOSNAJH: It is the medical doctor that's looking after you decides what needs to be done and that's what happens.

SANCHEZ: I appreciate your honesty on this. I really do. And I appreciate your making yourself available for so many Americans who really want, you know, fair and honest answers about this.

And it sounds, after talking to both of you, two certainly competent, intelligent men who know this field, that there are some things about your system that may be we need and there are some things about our system that maybe you need, maybe something in the middle would be what Americans should be able to come up with.

And let's just hope that our lawmakers take us in that direction. We'll keep reaching out to you, Ujjal, if you keep taking our phone calls. DOSNAJH: Absolutely, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, sir.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back! There's a baby in there!


SANCHEZ: This is a dramatic rescue, some very quick thinkers, pulling a child from a burning SUV. Coming up next, you've got to see this video. We're going to share it with you.

And this, remember, our show doesn't end when it's over on regular TV. Stick around. The national conversation continues on 4:00 p.m., all right? 4:00 p.m., jot it down.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. We are here in the world headquarters of CNN. Glad to be with you.

I have some video now that will probably stop you on your tracks. I want you to see this entire thing. Let me just try and set the scene for you a little bit before we watch it together.

A mother accidentally crashes her SUV into a tree. Flips, and then it catches fire. She and a baby are saved. But her 4-year-old is still trapped in the car seat. Two off duty firefighters, brothers, imagine doing something -- that car could explode, will explode. They arrive on the scene. Watch what they do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get back! There's a baby in there!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Save the baby! Save the baby!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get away from the car. Get away.






SANCHEZ: Unbelievable. They were able to do that. As a father, I just can't find the words to describe how that video affects me and wondering what I would do, what someone would do, well, you can go on forever.

The child rescued by firefighters is still in serious but stable condition. But alive. Did experience some burns to about 20 percent of the body.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Lots of comments on that video that I just shared with you. And let's go MySpace if we possibly can, Robert. I always like to show you a story and then let you see what Americans are saying about it.

Supercat says, "I would not have gotten out of the car without both of my kids. This is such a scary scene. Thank God for those people."

Well, there we go again, judging someone else in a situation that we have not found ourselves in. I wonder.

Charges are dropped. Talking about a Harvard professor, one of the most famous professors in the country. He's name is Henry Louis Gates. He's one of the country's most respected African-American academics.

He was picked up for disorderly conduct. Where? In his own house. What was he doing? He was trying to get in the front door. Who called police? His neighbors who apparently thought he was trying to break in. Who overreacted? Probably everybody. Even including the professor.

Watch this report from WCVB's Jorge Quiroga.


JORGE QUIROGA, WCVB REPORTER (voice-over): In the police booking report, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in black and white. The mug shots raising concerns among some of his Cambridge neighbors about police response and racial profiling.

MALIKA FELDMAN, NEIGHBOR: I think it is a disgrace that somebody would call the police on him just trying to get into his own house.

QUIROGA: Last Thursday afternoon, a woman walking on Ware Street called police to report a man trying to pry open the front door to Professor Gates' house. Apparently the professor was having trouble with his front door. When police arrived, Gates was already inside.

In a written statement, Gates' attorney, Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, says Gates handed both his Harvard University I.D. and his valid driver's license and then asked the officer for his name and badge number.

DR. MELISSA COLEMAN, NEIGHBOR: You can't necessarily fault someone for trying to help or protect someone if they were reporting something they really thought was happening. But at the same time, you know, he's, you know, lived here for quite a long time.

QUIROGA: Gates claims the officer then left the house without giving his name, but the police report states a police sergeant asked for the gentleman's information to which he stated, "No, I will not." The report adds Gates was shouting to the sergeant that he was racist, "Yelling this is what happens to black men in America."

One of the nation's preeminent African-American scholars, Gates is the director of Harvard's WEB Dubois Institute. Police claimed after Gates refused to listen as to why they were there and kept shouting they were racist, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

COLEMAN: It's a very familiar story, you've heard it before. And, you know, you can almost -- also wonder would we be hearing as much about it if it wasn't as prominent a person.


SANCHEZ: By the way tomorrow night, starting at 7:00 Eastern, Henry Louis Gates is part of our countdown to an all new "BLACK IN AMERICA 2." It's going to be live from Times Square and then at 8:00 Eastern, President Obama's news conference, and then join us for the first two hours of a two-night "BLACK IN AMERICA" event after that.

And there's this. Singer Chris Brown takes responsibility and apologizes for assaulting Rihanna. And why the public admission and why now? He explains in a brand new video.

Also, remember our national conversation continues at 4:00 Eastern after our TV show. Where? It's at We get a little more wild and a little more wily. Kind of undo the tie.

Oh, and one other thing, this Friday, I'm gong to be hosting at 8 p.m. You asked for prime time, you'll get prime time. This Friday at 8:00 p.m. Come on MySpacers, Facebookers, Tweeters, et cetera. We'll see you after the break.


SANCHEZ: Five months after being arrested for beating up his girlfriend, Rihanna, and one month after pleading guilty, Chris Brown -- pardon me -- has now put a public apology on YouTube. Here it is.


CHRIS BROWN, MUSICIAN: I take great pride in me being able to exercise self-control and what I did was inexcusable. I am very sad and very ashamed of what I've done.

I have let a lot of people down and I realize that. And no one is more disappointed in me than I am.

As many of you know, I grew up in a home where there was domestic violence and I saw it firsthand what uncontrolled rage could do. I have sought and I'm continuing to seek help to ensure that what occurred in February can never happen again. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Chris Brown is scheduled to be sentenced August 5th. Under the terms of his plea bargain, he is expected to get five years probation and 1400 hours of labor-oriented community service, as we understand.


JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: And when they tried to bring Michael back, he was dead. Something went wrong.


SANCHEZ: Yes, he was. This is one bizarre interview. It caught my attention last night while I watched "LARRY KING LIVE" after Campbell Brown.

Joe Jackson hints foul play in the death of his son, Michael, and denies ever abusing him. You're going to see a lot of the key questions that Larry asked and his answers. Stay right there when we come back.


SANCHEZ: ... about his wife, about his son, about how Michael Jackson died. Here's some of Joe Jackson last night with Larry King.


JACKSON: You don't take a doctor and stick him in the room there and the doctor give him something to make him rest and then he don't wake up no more. Something is wrong there.

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Are you implying then that the doctor committed foul play?

JACKSON: Something went wrong. Something went wrong, Larry, because when they tried to bring Michael back, he was dead. Something went wrong.

KING: What do you say about all these things that have been said over the years that you harmed Michael as a child?

JACKSON: Oh, that's bunch of bull-S. That's bunch of bull-S.

KING: Straighten me out.

JACKSON: That's not true.

KING: You never physically harmed him?

JACKSON: Never. Never have. And I raised him just like you would raise your kids, you know? But harm Michael? For what? I have no reason. That's my son, I loved him and I still love him.

KING: Are you surprised, Joe, that you were left out of the will?

JACKSON: Well, I wasn't too surprised because, you know, that's what his -- that is his will, that's the way he wanted it and it's not going to hurt me that I was left out of the will. But it happened. And I can't..

KING: Were you estranged from Michael?

JACKSON: Well, he left to his mother, you know, as much as he could and I figured that there would be -- she's pretty fair a lady to be able to -- to be fair with everything about the will.

KING: Are you and she separated?

JACKSON: No, we're not.

KING: You're still a married couple?

JACKSON: That's right.


SANCHEZ: On the topic of Michael's children, Joe Jackson's role in their live, their future and their entertainment.


KING: Down the road if they expressed an interest -- I mean, you raised a family, they all got into show business. If the grandchildren wanted to, would you encourage them?

JACKSON: Larry, I know where you're trying to go with that. And I don't want...

KING: m not trying to go anywhere. I'm asking you, would you encourage them if they wanted to be in show business?

JACKSON: No, I'm not. I'm not encouraging them to do nothing, none of the sort. They have to be what they are, kids at the moment. Yes. And be raised properly.

KING: So those rumors that you wanted to tour the Jackson three...

JACKSON: Not true, that's bunch of jive. That's a bunch -- I wish could I say what I should say. That's a bunch of bull. Yes, that's a bunch of bull.


SANCHEZ: There you have it. Joe Jackson with Larry King, talking about the death of his son and taking us through some of the other comments that have been made in the past about Michael Jackson and some of the comments that have, to be quite honest with you, involved the rest of the family as well.

Thanks so much for being with us. We are going to continue our show now on Let me not forget that. In the meantime, let me take you now to our nation's capital where none other than Wolf Blitzer is standing by with "THE SITUATION ROOM."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Rick, thank you. Happening now, President Obama under pressure. His health care plan is under fire but he won't let his plan go under. He is employing an old tactic to blast critics.

South Carolina's governor dogged by questions over his cheating and his lying. We'll have the latest, including this, "Where is your wedding ring," he was asked. Wait until you hear what Mark Sanford does.

And is a Harvard University professor who is one of the most prominent scholars in America the victim of racial profiling? Henry Louis Gates has a mug shot after being identified as one of two black males forcing their way into Gates' own house.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in CNN's command center. For breaking news, politics and extraordinary reports from around the world, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.