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American Al Qaeda Arrested?; Nationwide Election Could Determine Iraq's Future; Catholic Charities Cuts Benefits; American Al Qaeda Member Arrested?; Civilian Vs. Military Courts for Terror Suspects; Chicago School's 100 Percent Success Story

Aired March 07, 2010 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, sorting out the details of an arrest in Pakistan. Is it the American al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn?

Facing possible death, Iraqis go to the polls. Their votes could decide when U.S. troops come home permanently.

The pressure mounts for President Obama over the 9/11 trial location. This time liberals lead the charge.

Karl Rove reveals Bush administration secrets in a new book. Mark Preston's read it even before it goes on sale.

Why workers for a popular Catholic charity are suddenly losing some health benefits because of religion.

A preschooler is denied enrollment because of who mommy sleeps with.

An anniversary of an infamous event that led to freedom for some and the eventual death of an American hero.

They had a better chance of going to prison than to college. But they believed in something better that paid off for their entire class. You'll meet them.

Good evening, everyone. There's been an intriguing development in the war on terror, and it centers around the young man known as the American al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn. Pakistani officials are saying the high-value member of al Qaeda was arrested today in Karachi. Word of his capture comes from two senior Pakistani officials. But a U.S. intelligence official says there's no validity to the reports.

If true, it would be a major coup. Adam Gadahn, an American, converted to Islam and became a spokesman for the terror group. Gadahn has appeared in a number of Internet videos over the years. He's been indicted for treason. The FBI has a $1 million bounty on his head. We wanted you to hear a little from Gadahn. This was 2007.


ADAM GADAHN, AMERICAN MEMBER OF AL QAEDA: You and your people will, Allah willing, experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq and Virginia Tech.


LEMON: So let's try to sort this all out for you. CNN's Reza Sayah joins us now from Islamabad.

Reza, is this Gadahn or not?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to Pakistani government officials, it is. But here's what's unusual with this arrest, Don. Over the past couple of months, we've seen a number of high-value militants being arrested by Pakistani security forces working in conjunction with the CIA. Usually, you have both Pakistani officials and eventually U.S. officials confirming these arrests.

What we don't have at this point is U.S. officials confirming that indeed Adam Gadahn, the American citizen who went on to join al Qaeda, has been arrested. One official telling CNN he simply doesn't have information that he's been arrested. But according to two senior Pakistani government officials, they have no doubt that Adam Gadahn was arrested, Don, in the southern port city of Karachi, a city where over the past couple of months we've seen a number of high-value targets arrested. More and more evidence that Karachi is becoming a hiding place for Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda operatives.

LEMON: Reza, you mentioned those high-profile al Qaeda. What does this mean, though, if anything in the hunt for Osama bin Laden?

SAYAH: Well, Don, I've been in Pakistan for more than two months, and I've never seen a winning streak like this on the part of Pakistani security forces in their fight against the militants.

Over the past five or six weeks, they've gotten at least six senior Afghan Taliban leaders, members of the Quetta Shura, the so- called Quetta Shura. These are senior Taliban leaders in Afghanistan who fled the fighting in Afghanistan and come to Pakistan to oversee the fighting from Pakistan. A number of them have been arrested. A number of al Qaeda operatives have been arrested.

Adam Gadahn, according to two Pakistani government officials. And you can't forget those U.S. drone strikes, who've simply been punishing the militants in Pakistan's tribal region. Back-to-back Pakistani Taliban leaders, the latest Hakimullah Massoud being taken out earlier this year.

So this is an unprecedented success for Pakistani security forces. And these people that they have been capturing, certainly potential to be gold mines for information leading to Osama bin Laden.

LEMON: All right, Reza, thank you very much for that.

Adam Gadahn grew up in Orange County, California. Sometime in the late '90s, he had a falling out with his family and left, eventually joining up with al Qaeda.

CNN's Thelma Gutierrez has been tracking that part of the story for us, and she joins us tonight from Los Angeles.

Have you been in contact with the family, and have they heard from him?

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, we have made calls to his family. We have not heard from them yet. But I can tell you that we talked to the vice chairman of the Islamic Center of Orange County. That is where Adam Gadahn actually studied Islam, and then converted.

One of the men who witnessed that conversion is Haitham Bundakji. And he told us that he was actually very surprised to hear of any reports of a capture because he thought that Adam Gadahn had actually been killed in an air strike a few years ago in Pakistan. He says there have been so many conflicting reports coming out about this man that he says he wants to be cautiously optimistic at this report as well.


HAITHAM BUNDAKJI, ISLAMIC CENTER OF ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: I pray to God that the reports coming from Pakistan are true, that he has been apprehended. I am really prayerful that he's been apprehended. I would like to tell these people, like Adam Gadahn, you're not representing Islam and Muslims, and get off of that high horse of yours. We're sick and tired of people like that.


GUTIERREZ: Now, even in the two years that Adam Gadahn was associated with the Islamic Center of Orange County, he really wasn't a known quantity in this area. He didn't associate with many of the families there. We couldn't find many people who were close to him at that time.

Now, he was home-schooled in Riverside County, California. Then he went to live with his grandmother in Santa Ana. And from there he became associated with the Islamic Center, converted at the age of 17, and then by 20, he had moved to Pakistan. And so it's been more than a decade now that the people in that area have not heard from Adam Gadahn. The last sighting was about 1997 -- Don?

LEMON: Thelma, thank you very much. And I want to tell our audience, our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson will join us with more on this story in about 20 minutes here on CNN.

Around the country and overseas, CNN is monitoring the stories that are sure to impact your week ahead. We'll get a preview.

Plus this --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the future. You're going to be standing up here. You're going to be someplace in the world making an effect on somebody else's life.


LEMON: The mayor of Chicago talking to men, young men who had every reason not to make it. But the young men graduating from Chicago's Urban Prep Academy have all defied the odds and have an opportunity to go to college. You'll get to meet some of them tonight.

Also, become part of our conversation tonight. That's how you do it on your screen.


LEMON: Now for the stories you need to know about in the week ahead. From politics to the economy to entertainment. We start tonight on Capitol Hill.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dana Bash on Capitol Hill, where in the Senate, Democrats will be trying to finalize their latest attempt to address job loss in this country. Jobs is the most politically potent issue as far as Democrats are concerned. But behind-the-scenes the big focus still will be on health care. And what the House speaker calls a heavy lift to find enough votes to pass health care in the House in two weeks, and finally send something to the president's desk.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Henry at the White House. And this week the president will be on the road again. On Monday in Philadelphia pushing health care reform. On Wednesday, he'll be in St. Louis right in the middle of the country, again, trying to build momentum for his health care reform effort. The bottom line is the president's going overseas to Indonesia and Australia in the middle of the month, and right now White House aides say their deadline is to try to get this done before the president leaves the country.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Coming up this week, jobs will be the focus when we get a state-by- state unemployment report on Wednesday, followed by weekly jobless claims data. And major retailers will report their latest sales figures. We will also get earnings from technology giant Cisco and investors will be closely monitoring it all for signs that the economy might be improving. We'll be tracking it all, of course, at CNN Money.

A.J. HAMMER, ANCHOR, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": I'm "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer. We'll be on top of all the big news breaking at the Oscars. The biggest showdowns.

Meryl Streep versus Sandra Bullock for best actress. And "Avatar" versus "The Hurt Locker" for Best Picture.

And later in the week all eyes are going to be on Kate Gosselin when she returns to "The View" for the very first time since the announcement a few days ago that she's going to be a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars."

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, guys.

Let's check in now with our domestic and international desks to see what's happening ahead.

So Jessica Jordan is our planning editor here at the domestic desk.

We got something very interesting on Monday. Winnie Mandela coming to town.

JESSICA JORDAN, CNN NATIONAL DESK: Look, going to Birmingham, holding a town hall. And we'll be sitting down with her.

LEMON: I thought people are going to have a lot of interest in this. On Tuesday, what's the first lady doing?

JORDAN: She is donating her inauguration gown to the Smithsonian.

LEMON: A lot of people will be interested in looking at those pictures. And then on Tuesday, some same-sex couples you'll see them start to get married in Washington, D.C. And Wednesday, a big court hearing is scheduled for Dr. Amy Bishop. Tell us about that.

JORDAN: She is the Alabama --

LEMON: Professor accused of killing three colleagues that we saw. Yes, the Harvard-trained professor. So we'll be looking ahead to that.


LEMON: Thank you, Jess Jordan. Appreciate it. Thanks for all that.

And Azadeh Ansari here at the international desk.

What do you have for us coming up on Monday? International Women's Day?

AZADEH ANSARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK: Yes. It's actually a global day of celebration, where women gather around the world to celebrate their economic and political and social achievements through the years. And actually the first women's day was in 18 -- or 1911, I should say.

LEMON: 1911.

ANSARI: It dates back.

LEMON: That's a long time ago. It could be close to 1800. And then this week, what's the vice president doing with his wife?

ANSARI: He actually left -- he's departing D.C. He's heading to the Middle East. And he should be visiting different territories. He's going to Israel. He's going to the Palestinian -- Jordan. And he's going to be talking about bilateral and regional issues.

LEMON: A big trip.


LEMON: Thank you very much. Azadeh and Jess Jordan holding the fort down here at the international and domestic desk. All right. Appreciate it.

You know, mortar attacks and roadside bombs aren't enough to keep Iraqi voters from the polls. President Obama is taking note of that, too.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today's voting makes it clear that the future of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq.


LEMON: Today's nationwide election could determine Iraq's future. We'll get an update live from Baghdad.


LEMON: Want to check your top stories right now on CNN. Early results from Iraq's parliamentary election could be released in the next few days. Millions of people went to the polls today in just the fifth nationwide election since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Militants carried out dozens of attacks around the country, trying to intimidate voters, and at least three dozen people were killed.

It's Monday morning in Baghdad, and that's where CNN's Arwa Damon is with more on the election and what happens next.

Arwa, how important was this Sunday election?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don. It was incredibly important because as many are calling it, it is the most defining moment in Iraq since 2003. The outcome of which is going to determine if we're going to see Iraq on this path of so- called democracy, moving towards being more of a secular nation, or if it moves towards being more of a conservative state. One really has to commend the Iraqis for their bravery and for their resilience because just in Baghdad at least 30 mortar rounds rained down on the capital in different neighborhoods in the minutes before the polling stations opened.

And people at first not that many of them turned out. They began coming later on in the day. And we were asking them why they decided it was worth taking this risk. And they said, look, we cannot let the insurgents win. We have to take control over the situation. They said this is our duty -- Don.

LEMON: And what about the violence? We mentioned how many people died. Three dozen people died in that violence. Was it less than predicted?

DAMON: Well, Don, violence is always very difficult to predict. And remember, the Iraqi security forces have been training for quite some time now to try to prevent attacks from happening. They've also begun to develop their own capabilities in terms of aerial support. The U.S. military and the Iraqis are saying that it was a very successful election.

But if we are going to look just at the numbers, 38 people killed, well, that's more than were killed in the January 2005 election. So it does cause one to stop and ask that question. How much better have things gotten? Maybe on a day-to-day basis we see less violence, but obviously the insurgents are still out there -- Don.

LEMON: Arwa Damon, where it's early in the morning in Baghdad. Thank you, Arwa.

President Barack Obama finally is about to name a new nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration. Sources tell CNN it is retired Major General Robert Harding. Among other things, Harding served in the army for 33 years. The president's original pick for the job, Errol Southers, withdrew his name to avoid a Senate confirmation battle. The TSA has been without someone at the top for more than a year now.

U.S. troops are pulling out of Haiti's devastated capital. It's been almost two months since a quake hit Port-Au-Prince. And now that American forces are leaving, U.N. peacekeepers and local police are going to have to step up. More than 500,000 people are still homeless and living in tent cities.

General David Petraeus says he will tell Congress that overturning the military's don't ask, don't tell policy is something that can be worked through. The head of central command told CNN today, the military has been studying the experiences of other nation that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly. He says the key is finding policies that are sensible and pragmatic.

Even some within the Catholic Church say it sends the wrong message.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a slap in the face. Yes. It's prejudice.


LEMON: A major Catholic organization changing its insurance rules so it doesn't have to cover same-sex spouses.


LEMON: We want to update you on a story we told you about last night. A Catholic church in Boulder, Colorado, is under fire from its congregation for denying access to a child at its school. The church says the child's lesbian parents disqualified the preschooler from attending the Catholic school. That controversial position didn't sit well with some of the protesters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a daughter here that goes to school at Sacred Heart. I've had 16 years of Catholic education. And this just reached the core of my being as completely wrong and against the teachings of Jesus.


LEMON: Well, the priest wouldn't appear on camera, but his blog said he made the decision, quote, "To protect the faith over what would have looked like the loving thing to do."

In the nation's capital, same-sex couples can legally get married starting Tuesday. We talked about that with our Jess Jordan just a little bit ago. The Catholic Church, though, is fighting back. Rather than agree to provide health care benefits to same-sex couples who work for the Catholic charities, the non-profit says it will not provide health insurance to any spouses, straight or gay.

CNN's Kate Bolduan has our report.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Same-sex couples in Washington can legally marry in the district starting Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're very excited.

BOLDUAN: But even before the first couple walks down the aisle, there's controversial fallout from the city's decision. Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Archdiocese of Washington, just announced it will no longer offer health benefits to spouses of any new employees or current employees who aren't already covered under its plan. As a result, the non-profit is effectively avoiding having to give benefits to same-sex partners, keeping with the church's opposition to same-sex marriage.

(on camera): How long have you and your partner been together?

CHRIS HINKLE, GAY PRACTICING CATHOLIC: We've been together for ten years.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Chris Hinkle is gay and a practicing Catholic. He lives in Virginia and worships in Washington. Hinkle views the developments in D.C. as two steps forward and quickly two steps back for the gay and lesbian community and its strained relationship with the Catholic Church.

(on camera): Why is it disappointing to you?

HINKLE: It's a slap in the face, yes. It's prejudice. BOLDUAN: Catholic Charities declined to comment, but the Archdiocese of Washington made a point to say that less than 10 percent of Catholic Charities' employees take part in its health insurance program, suggesting that a small portion of the staff will be affected by the change in policy.

(voice-over): And in a statement, the archdiocese says "This approach allows Catholic Charities to continue to provide services to the 68,000 people it now cares for in the city, to comply with the city's new requirements and to remain faithful to our Catholic identity."

A stance some Catholics say is damaging the church's public image.

CHRIS KORZEN, DIRECTOR, CATHOLICS UNITED: They're getting a view of the church that isn't necessarily consistent with our values. We don't say that people don't deserve health insurance because they happen to be in a certain kind of marriage or a certain kind of relationship. That's just not what we teach.

BOLDUAN: The very same message Chris Hinkle is trying to send as he fights for acceptance.

HINKLE: I want people to treat others with justice. That is a message that I think Jesus Christ himself had exemplified.

BOLDUAN (on camera): And in today's world, you think that applies to health care as well as the right to marry?

HINKLE: Absolutely, it does. Absolutely.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Kate Bolduan, CNN, Washington.


LEMON: We're going to take a deeper look into this with a well- known Jesuit priest. He doesn't want a constitutional ban on gay marriage, but his views on this benefits issue may surprise you.


LEMON: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the nation's capital on Tuesday. And to avoid covering same-sex spouses, Catholic Charities changed the rules on employee benefits. Earlier I spoke with Father Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest who's against the constitutional ban on gay marriage, but on this benefits issue he says the city backed the church into a corner.


REV. THOMAS REESE, WOODSTOCK THEOLOGICAL CTR., GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: It's a fight where the city council threw the first blow, and the diocese had to respond and say, OK, we still want to help the poor, but we can't have benefits for gay spouses. It's interesting. They are not saying they are not going to hire gays. They are not going to say they are going to fire anybody who gets married under this law. You know, they are not discriminating in terms of employment here.

LEMON: But they are discriminating against a group of people because this policy before that, you know, heterosexual couples could get spousal benefits and now, that the city is saying they won't do it for anyone. I mean, this is a reason for them to change their rules. You just can't say it's not discrimination because they are discriminating against a certain group of people.

REESE: Well, that's not the way the archbishop of Washington sees it. He sees this as a matter of principle, that the Catholic Church is teaching on gay marriage is contrary --

LEMON: So, people should suffer because of a principle, because someone is saying, oh, it's a matter of principle so someone who may have a spouse who needs health insurance or maybe ill, they should suffer because of that.

REESE: People are suffering because the city council refused to give an exemption here for the archdiocese of Washington. You know, they could have even simply said, you know, OK, let's exempt them for a couple of years and then let's take this issue up again later when people have cooled off. When there's a time, to you know, let emotions get -- you know, get to a calmer level and then maybe we can work something out, find -- trying to find some common ground. But the city council wasn't interested in any compromise either on this.

LEMON: Has this affected anything like adoption or any other services that they -- that Catholic Charities does?

REESE: Yes. Catholic charities in Washington, D.C., like Catholic charities in the state of Massachusetts, has had to go out of the adoption business. It's interesting. I mean, Catholic charities have allowed gay people to adopt children for years. This has not been an issue.

But it is an issue for the bishops when it is a gay married couple that is coming in to do the adoption. And so the churches had to get out of the adoption business in the District of Columbia and in the state of Massachusetts and turned over the work to other agencies.

LEMON: I have to -- one viewer wrote to me, what about, you know, hate the sinner -- or hate the sin, love the sinner?

REESE: Well, I mean, you know, the Catholic Church teaches that all God's children are loved by Him, whether they're gay, whether they're heterosexual, or what. But the Catholic Church also teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong.

LEMON: Is wrong.

REESE: Whether it's gay couples or heterosexual couples. LEMON: I want to ask you about this because just before we did this story we reported on Boulder, Colorado, a preschooler that has two mothers, two lesbians, not being allowed to go to a school there. What do you make of that?

REESE: Well, I mean, Catholic schools have been educating Catholics and non-Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, atheists. We educate people -- children whose parents are saints and children whose parents are sinners. I don't see why this is a big deal. I think that, you know, the focus should be on educating children, and I think these kind of regulations are counterproductive.


LEMON: And coming up tonight, Pakistani officials say they've caught a high-value member of al Qaeda. But U.S. officials are knocking down the claim it's American Adam Gadahn. Just ahead, we'll let you know what we've confirmed.


LEMON: I want to check our top stories right now. This one is breaking news. Two senior Pakistani officials say an American member of al Qaeda has been arrested in Pakistan. But U.S. officials caution that has not been confirmed yet. The American, Adam Gadahn, grew up in California and is accused of treason. Most Americans recognize him for his high-profile inflammatory Web videos condemning the U.S. and praising the 9/11 attackers.

North Korea says it won't move forward on nuclear disarmament in response to a joint U.S.-South Korea military exercise. Those exercises are just getting underway and will last 10 days. Talks with North Korea weren't really going anywhere before this. Because of the exercises, North Korea now claims it is free to build up nuclear defenses.

Unwelcome news at the pump. The average price of gas jumped nearly ten cents per gallon in just two weeks. You can blame a spike in crude oil prices. Self-serve regular now averages $2.73 a gallon. That's 76 cents higher than a year ago. The cheapest gas is in Cheyenne, Wyoming -- $2.47 a gallon. Honolulu has the most expensive -- $3.33 a gallon.

Jacqui Jeras, we talked a bit earlier about this.


LEMON: Almost the summer driving season.

JERAS: I know.

LEMON: We want the warm weather...

JERAS: We do.

LEMON: ...but we don't want the high gas prices. JERAS: I know. It's March. It's spring break. What are those college students going to do?

LEMON: Yes. I'm sure more people are probably worried about going to work next week and what that's going to be like, but, you know.

JERAS: Yes, that's true as well. Well, we kick off the work week tomorrow. And the most active weather in the country is going to be across the Southwest and moving into the nation's mid-section.


LEMON: Oh, really? Finally. They don't have a bad commute. We shall see, though. It's been bad for a couple weeks in a row.

Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Jacqui.

You know, they're accused of horrible crimes, acts of terror and killing thousands of people. So where should they be tried? President Obama backed into a corner, first by conservatives, now liberals are piling on about where the 9/11 trial should be held.


LEMON: We are continuing to sort out conflicting reports that an American, Adam Gadahn, was arrested in Pakistan. Moments ago I spoke with senior international correspondent Nic Robertson about what this arrest could mean in the hunt for al Qaeda's most wanted.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think every time a senior al Qaeda person is captured or a senior Taliban person is captured, it provides the FBI with small grains of information, intelligence. This is how they describe it. And with those grains, they build a beach. And with that beach, they can capture people like Osama bin Laden.

Now, of course, he has very, very sort of big cutoffs, if you like, cutting him off from other parts of the organization. Very hard for people, even somebody like Adam Gadahn, to have a knowledge of where Osama bin Laden is hiding.

But every time somebody is captured, they provide information. Sometimes they don't even know that it's useful. Maybe they're shown a photograph of somebody. Maybe they're shown a picture of a street with a house on that street. They provide a bit of information that corroborates what somebody else has given. And then that leads to something else.

So, the information that they will give and that Adam Gadahn may give, if he's captured and if he falls in the hands of the FBI or others who can get this information from him, he may not even know it, but he may -- he may very well pass over very important and useful information. And Osama bin Laden, of course, is number one on the list of people to catch right now.


LEMON: Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson.

As we continue to investigate reports that Adam Gadahn has been captured, it raises the question where would he be prosecuted?

The attorney general's November decision to try the alleged 9/11 mastermind in a civilian court in New York City may not be final after all. That's because White House advisers are having second thoughts and now they're considering recommending that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be tried in a military court. What's the view from New York? Here's Susan Candiotti.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here is my best friend, Terry Hatton.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Every time retired New York firefighter Tim Brown visits ground zero, he remembers every detail.

(on camera): When that first tower came down, where were you standing?

TIM BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, THEBRAVEST.COM: We were right on the sidewalk here, outside the two World Trade Center when it collapsed.

CANDIOTTI: That must have been terrifying.

BROWN: It was terrifying.

CANDIOTTI (voice over): Brown demands the president do an about- turn and scuttle Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to try accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others in civilian courts.

BROWN: We should not be giving these scum terrorists the protections of our most sacred document in America, the United States constitution.

JIMMY RICHES, 9/11 VICTIM'S FATHER: I think it's a disgrace.

CANDIOTTI: But fellow retired firefighter Jim Riches, whose son was killed on 9/11, says a civilian trial is the answer.

RICHES: They're nothing but terrorists and criminals who murder people, and that's the way they should be tried -- federal court just like we tried 200 other men and given them long prison terms.

CANDIOTTI: On Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham told "Face the Nation" he'll press fellow Republicans to shut the prison at Guantanamo if the president abandons civilian trials.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm going to need people from the Bush administration to try to close Gitmo, to put aside partisanship, rally around this president, stand by his side and say let's close Gitmo safely.

CANDIOTTI: Closing Gitmo is an unfulfilled campaign promise the American Civil Liberties Union hasn't forgotten. Its full-page ad in Sunday's "New York Times" shows Mr. Obama morphing into George Bush if the president doesn't stick with civilian trials.

LAURA MURPHY, ACLU LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR: The president is at a critical turning point, and he could be on the verge of making a colossal mistake both for the safety of the American people and for the image of the United States abroad.

CANDIOTTI: But when it comes down to those who personally knew victims --

BROWN: I am dead set against this happening on U.S. soil. These terrorists murdered my friends. 93 of my friends.

CANDIOTTI: Some say enough is enough.

RICHES: It's nine years later. Let's try these guys finally, please.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): How will the debate end? An answer is expected in the next two weeks, one that may not satisfy either side.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, at New York's Ground Zero.


LEMON: All right, Susan.

Let's talk about terror trials and the big political stories ahead this week with our political editor, Mr. Mark Preston.

Mark, good to see you. Welcome back. You were away last week.

So Mark, the president is going really make someone angry regardless of what he decides.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, he is. And certainly we've seen that today with that "New York Times" ad the ACLU took out. The fact is he's between a rock and a hard place. This time last year, Don, he talked about his desire, his will, his determination to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and that he said he would have these trials held here on U.S. soil.

Of course, there's been a lot of pushback on that. But it's not only from Republicans, it's from Democrats. In New York, it was from Democratic lawmakers who didn't want the trial in their city.

So yes, he's not going to make anybody happy, I think, with his decision.

LEMON: And Mark, we had that ad up. It's not the first time, though, the ACLU has done that. They did the same thing with President Bush a couple of years back. So, they have taken out those ads before.

But let's move on now. Can we talk about ethics? And a story that I've been calling "Democrats in trouble." I mean, you know, back in 2006, Democrats hammered Republicans over ethics. Now the Democrats have some ethics problems of their own, including a freshman representative who is retiring tomorrow.

PRESTON: Yes, sure. Eric Massa at 5:00 tomorrow. He's a freshman representative, Upstate New York. Really caught us by surprise. He is going to resign from the House of Representatives. Doesn't even make it through his first term, Don. He says he's retiring or resigning anyway because of health issues. He is a cancer survivor.

However, there are allegations out there that he sexually harassed a staff member, a male staff member. He has pushed back against those. However, again, he has decided to resign from the House of Representatives.

Not a very good week for New Yorkers. Certainly not New York Democrats. Last week, Don, in addition to Massa, we saw Charlie Rangel step down as the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and we saw Governor Paterson have to go through his travails. So, pretty tough time for Democrats.


Let's move on and talk about a Republican here. Karl Rove has a book coming out this week, and you have read it before almost anyone else. It's not on sale. Is he revealing anything? What does he have to say? He's a former adviser to President George W. Bush.

PRESTON: Yes. Really, you know, arguably one of the greatest political minds certainly of my time, you know. And I think that would upset some Democrats by me saying that. But look, he talked about a lot of things.

He talks about how in his mind Bush did not lie to push the country into war. He takes a lot of responsibility. He says that he didn't push back hard enough when there was critics about the whole weapons of mass destruction.

He said it was his idea for the president not to land Air Force One after Katrina. He said he didn't want to interfere with relief efforts.

But you know, what's interesting in this book about Karl Rove is that he really details his whole life. So, if you are a political junkie, if you are a political nut, this is extremely interesting.

And I'll leave it on this. I don't want to give up too much. But who is he most worried about in 2004 who is running for the Democratic nomination? John Edwards. Look where John Edwards is now.

LEMON: Was that a spoiler? I hope you didn't.

PRESTON: No, there's so much more.

LEMON: There's so much more. OK.

PRESTON: There's so much more in this book.

LEMON: Thank you, Mark. Good to have you back.

PRESTON: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: All right.

They're called the little Obamas. The boys of Chicago's Urban Prep Academy are beating the odds and they are undefeated.


LEMON: Our focus on education tonight is centered on one remarkable charter school whose founder had a unique vision for higher and quality education. I spent time with students of Chicago's Urban Prep Academy the morning after a very significant event in their lives.


LEMON (voice over): This is when I first met the young men of Urban Prep. An Obama rap song comes on. 450 boys go crazy. It was the morning after President Obama's election when I sat down with some of the students.

(on camera): They're calling you little Obamas. What do you think of that? Little Obama. Are you a little Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Me personally, I think we are little Obamas because just like he made change we are making change. We are going to an all-boys school and we're trying to get to the places that he's been. And that's to college.

LEMON (voice over): College is now attainable for 57 percent of the students here. In 2006, when the school opened, only 4 percent could even read at grade level. Founder Tim King says much of it can be attributed to Barack Obama.

TIM KING, FOUNDER, URBAN PREP ACADEMY: The whole time from the point when we went down to watch him announce that he was running all the way through to him winning last night, there's just been an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy.

LEMON: And according to King, in many ways these students are now becoming the teachers, literally writing their own future.


LEMON: One hundred percent of Urban Prep seniors have been accepted to a four-year college or university. Earlier, I talked with Urban Prep Academy founder Tim King and seniors Rayvaughn Hynes and Marlon Marshall about where they're planning to go.


RAYVAUGHN HYNES, SENIOR, URBAN PREP ACADEMY: There are various colleges I have been accepted to, and there were 10 schools, but I chose one already, and it is Morehouse College.

LEMON: Oh, so you're coming to my neck of the woods. I mean...

HYNES: Yes, sir.

LEMON: ...I'm going to keep an eye on you. And if you mess up, I'm going to call Mr. King and he's going to come down here and take care of it.

KING: That's right. Real fast.

LEMON: Real fast.

HYNES: That's right.

LEMON: Mr. Marshall -- Marlon Marshall, where have you been accepted?

MARLON MARSHALL, SENIOR, URBAN PREP ACADEMY: I've been accepted to eight colleges. Currently, I'm waiting on my top choice, which is Georgetown University.

LEMON: So, eight colleges. Ten and eight. But you're waiting to hear. You want to go to Georgetown. Is that correct?

MARSHALL: Yes, sir.

LEMON: So you're waiting -- and you're going to study political science. I believe you're the one in the group who said you wanted to be a politician. Did you tell me you wanted to be a president?

MARSHALL: Yes, sir, I did.

LEMON: You did. And so we'll see.

You know what, Tim, after that, it was interesting because your creed says "We believe." And when I got there and saw the kids, I said, you know, look at them, they're all dressed up in their little ties, they look like little Obamas. And it stuck, right?

KING: Yes, it sure did. We always knew from the very beginning when we wanted to start this school that the goal here was to create an institution that was going to prepare these guys to go to college, and not just get through high school but to get into college and get through college.

And you know, we couldn't be prouder of the fact that here we are four years later, our first graduating class, and 100 percent of them have been admitted to four-year colleges and universities. I mean, it's really unprecedented in public education to have this type of an achievement this early in the school year. It's just March, and these guys already have multiple options for higher education for college. It's terrific.

LEMON: There's something to learn from -- I'm sure everyone who's listening, every school district around the country. What do you want them to take from you? Would you let them call you and talk to you about how you're succeeding and what they can do?

KING: Yes, absolutely. In fact, many school districts do. I mean, we get calls from all over the country. In fact, all over the world. Some folks from London, England called asking us how we do it. And really for us it's all about creating a culture and climate in which college is important. It's the focus. And we make the students realize that if they work hard it's attainable.

LEMON: Rayvaughn, did you believe -- I said that's part of your creed. It starts with "We believe." Did you believe when you first started attending Urban Prep that you could get to this point?

HYNES: To be honest, I didn't. And the reason being is because I had trouble in a few of my classes which in my mind I was thinking maybe college or high school isn't for me. But over the years I started getting help from teachers and from my teammates in track and field, which is Marlon Marshall. He's been pushing me. So now I believe. I definitely believe.

LEMON: Yes. And your friend and mentor sitting right next to you.

So Marlon, did you believe?

MARSHALL: I always believe that college would happen for me. I just didn't know where I would be going. And I didn't know about that life. So I was always kind of stuck trying to find answers to questions that I was always asking about college.

LEMON: Here's what I noticed. The day after the election, I came to visit you guys and you said the creed. And, you know, Mr. King said they have never said it with that much enthusiasm before. And then a year later, I visited you guys, you said it but, you know, it wasn't quite the same.

So, we are very happy for you. Congratulations. And I'm going to ask you guys to say your creed live to the world and then we're going to check on you in four years to see how you're doing then.

So let's do the Urban Prep creed. It starts with "We believe."

HYNES AND MARSHALL: We believe. We are the young men of Urban Prep. We are college bound. We are exceptional not because we say it, but because we work hard at it. We will not falter in the face of any obstacle placed before us. We are dedicated, committed and focused. We never succumb to mediocrity, uncertainty or fear. We never fail because we never give up. We make no excuses. We choose to live honestly, nonviolently and honorably. We respect ourselves and, in doing so, respect all people. We have a future for which we are accountable. We have a responsibility to our families, communities and world. We are our brother's keepers. We believe in ourselves. We believe in each other. We believe in Urban Prep. We believe.


LEMON: Some news items you might have missed this week. Today marks the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." It was 45 years ago. Civil rights marchers were savagely assaulted by riot police in Selma, Alabama. Today's event marked the occasion, which became the ignition point in the civil rights movement. Georgia Congressman John Lewis was among those revisiting the Edmund Pettus Bridge one more time.

Everybody has heard of Google, right? But did you know there is a city in Kansas with that name? It's true. You probably know it, though, as Topeka. For the month of March, the city has officially changed its name to Google. Why? Well, the giant Web company is looking for places to install its new ultrahigh-speed internet service. Topeka hopes the name change will make it a good candidate. All right.

Just a couple of seconds here for some of your feedback.

Someone -- we were talking about the story of the Catholic charities. "Would anyone tell Muslims that they must accept homosexuality and gay marriage in their mosques? It is our faith, not pc."

We're talking about the workplace, not church here. Different story.

"Urban Prep Chicago school's fantastic story. Thanks for the update."

We're glad you liked it.

I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching. Have a great week, everyone.