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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Fort Hood Massacre; Who is the Suspected Shooter?; Struggling to Get By; E.Coli Outbreak

Aired November 06, 2009 - 19:00   ET


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN ANCHOR: Disturbing new details tonight about the man police say massacred his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood. How was he able to pull off such a heinous crime? What were his motives?

And Democrats are struggling to agree on the massive $1.2 trillion health care plan. History may now have to wait. Are there enough votes to pass the sweeping legislation?

Also 16 million Americans are now out of work. The double-digit unemployment rate is the highest the country has seen in 25 years. What happened to the recovery? And when will the jobs come back?

Plus, some of the sharpest economic minds will predict where this economy is going and what you should be concerned about.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. News, debate and analysis for Friday, November 6th. Live from New York, sitting in for Lou Dobbs, Lisa Sylvester.

SYLVESTER: Good evening, everybody. New details tonight about the man police say massacred 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas. Authorities are trying to figure out how and why Major Nidal Hasan turned on his fellow servicemen in the deadliest shootings ever on an American military post.

Hasan's family said they were shocked by his actions. But soldiers have reported that Major Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great" right before opening fire. But that has yet to be confirmed by officials.

Kate Bolduan now joins us with the latest.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Law enforcement in search of evidence removed a trash dumpster near the Texas apartment of alleged shooter Nidal Hasan. Neighbors say FBI agents took a computer which Hasan frequently used. All part of the ongoing investigation into just what happened at Fort Hood and why.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATL. SECURITY COORDINATOR: What they were doing overnight was looking at all his -- sort of the things you would you imagine. His communications, his Internet postings, his cell phone usage. They're looking for connections. The real question is one of intent. BOLDUAN: Law enforcement sources say an FN 5.7 millimeter semiautomatic pistol like the one shown here was used in the shooting. One of those law enforcement sources adds Hasan purchased it legally in August at this Killeen gun store.

CNN obtained surveillance footage from a convenient store showing Hasan just hours before the shooting.

COL. JOHN ROSSI, FT. HOOD DEPUTY COMMANDING GENERAL: At this point, we have one suspect, as we said, the lone shooter. That's all the indications. A lone shooter and he's the suspect.

BOLDUAN: But Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to President Bush, says finding out whether anyone else you was involved remains a focus.

TOWNSEND: Whether or not there are co-conspirators, because you want to get them into custody and you want to interview them. No question. That's first and foremost in their mind.

BOLDUAN: According to the Associated Press, law enforcement were aware of Internet activity under the screen name "Nidal Hasan." One online posting compared a soldier jumping on a grenade to suicide bombers. The FBI would not comment on the posting or who wrote it. A former FBI official says tracing the origins of such a message may be an impossible task.

TOM FUENTES, FMR. FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: It is very easy for someone to use the computer anonymously to send messages or the use someone else's name to post a message. And it would be very difficult to absolutely identify the individual in this case.


BOLDUAN: Now investigators face really more questions than answers at this point. For example, was any one person or group being targeted? We're told law enforcement are being very meticulous in their work here.

The alleged shooter is in stable condition and they want to carefully preserve their ability to pursue a criminal case -- Lisa.

SYLVESTER: All right, Kate Bolduan, thanks for that great report.

And we are learning now more about the man police say is responsible for the massacre at Fort Hood and what may have led him to commit mass murder. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan has counseled many soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress and there are reports that he was deeply concerned about being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan himself.

Brian Todd reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over: Midday prayers at the Muslim community center where Major Nidal Hasan prayed at least once a week, helped review charity applications but otherwise seemed to blend in.

(On camera): What were your impressions of him? Was he someone who was more devout than the average parishioner here? Was he fanatical at all?

IMAM MOHAMED ABDULLAHI, MUSLIM COMMUNITY CENTER: My impression was he was calm and I never seen arguing with anybody. He was just used to pray then leave.

TODD (voice-over): Mohamed Abdullahi, the imam of this mosque, says Hasan did ask a former imam here to help him find a wife.

(On camera): Was that successful? Was there...

ABDULLAHI: No, he say he wasn't -- there was (INAUDIBLE).

TODD (voice-over): Dr. Asif Qadri runs a clinic at the mosque. He says he struck up an acquaintance with Hasan over their shared experience training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

(On camera): When you related to him how great your experience at Walter Reed Medical Center was, what was his response?

DR. ASIF QADRI, MUSLIM COMMUNITY CENTER: He (INAUDIBLE) with me. He agreed with me. It was a very nice place to work. You know, I got the impression he was very happy with what he was doing, you know. Then I hear that he had some problem there. I don't know what kind of problems he had.

TODD (voice-over): A retired army psychiatrist who was a training director at Walter Reed when Hasan interned there tells CNN Hasan had difficulties at that hospital that required supervision. He didn't want to give details.

DR. THOMAS GRIEGER, MILITARY FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: It's not uncommon during internship that, you know, interns require periods of extra supervision and he responded to the supervision that he received.

TODD: Dr. Tom Grieger told the Associated Press that Hasan's problems at Walter Reed stemmed from his interaction with patients.

Professionally, personally, the alleged Fort Hood gunman is portrayed as a man of complexities. His own family says that he had been taunted after 9/11 and had unsuccessfully tried to leave the military early.

But a neighbor down the hall at an apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland echoed the sentiments of those who observed him at his place of worship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would never have believed that because he seemed so calm. And, you know, he was never upset with anything whenever I saw him.


TODD: Now as for the people who worship here, the imam says he is concerned about possible public backlash at this mosque but a member of the board of directors says he's confident in the relationship that they have developed with the local community. It is a relationship that has been cultivated since 1976 -- Lisa.

SYLVESTER: So Brian, just to clarify, so this was a recent transfer. So he wasn't at Fort Hood for very long. I understand that this was a recent transfer from the Washington, D.C. area?

TODD: That is correct. He was transferred to Fort Hood in July of this year after spending six years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. That's a long time in any job, really. I mean whether it's inside the military or out to be in any one position. But it is an extraordinary time to be in one place in the U.S. military.

SYLVESTER: You know this is -- oftentimes when these things happen, people say, you know, we never expected it would come from this individual. He is a major. He is a doctor. The people that you talked to, were they surprised?

TODD: They were not just surprised. They were shocked. Everybody we talk to here said this is not the same guy they knew. The doctor who was in our piece we interviewed said he doesn't think it was anything having to do with his religion or politics or even the military that might have led him to snap, if indeed he is the one found guilty of this crime.

The doctor said he thinks it is something more personal. Maybe something in his -- you know, in his emotional make-up that led to this. But again, it's just utter shock on the campus of this mosque.

SYLVESTER: OK. Brian Todd, thanks for that report.

Well, we have more information tonight on the weapons used in the rampage. CNN has learned that one of the weapons allegedly used by Major Hasan was an FN 5.7 millimeter semiautomatic pistol, also known as a cop killer by Mexican drug cartels.

The handgun was purchased legally in August at a place called Guns Galore in Killeen, Texas, according to law enforcement sources. The weapon fires ammunition that can penetrate body armor. The sources also said that a second weapon was a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver.

Well, we are learning more about the hero police officer who stopped the shooting massacre at Fort Hood. She is hospitalized but in stable condition. Thirty-four-year-old Sergeant Kimberly Munley, a civilian police officer, was outside the soldier readiness building when Major Nidal Hasan began shooting.

Sergeant Munley was able to fire four rounds into Major Hasan and at some point during the confrontation, she was shot in the legs and wrist.

Ed Lavandera reports.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It took just three minutes for civilian police officer Kimberly Munley and her partner to arrive on the terrifying scene as Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan allegedly unleashed dozens of shots on defenseless soldiers. Munley shot Hasan four times, ending the deadly attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was one of the first to arrive on scene and to take the suspect under fire. So she probably saved a lot of lives with her actions.

LAVANDERA: But Munley did not escape unharmed. Wounded by gunfire herself. She was rushed into surgery and is now in stable condition and recovering. Family members from around the country are rushing to be with her.

The neighborhood where Munley lives sits mostly quiet because so many of its residents are deployed overseas. But here no one is surprised that had this tough woman acted the way she did in a moment of crisis.

SGT. 1ST CLASS WILLIAM BARBROW, U.S. ARMY: I know we sleep a lot safer knowing she is on the block, just because she is a police officer. And if anything does break out, we can go knock on her door and say, hey, get them.

LAVANDERA: Neighbors tell the story of burglars who tried to break into her home a year ago. She ran them off and then patrolled the neighborhood to make sure no one else was in danger. Erin Houston says that's one of the reasons she looks up to her.

ERIN HOUSTON, KIMBERLY MUNLEY'S NEIGHBOR: I just felt more protected having her in the neighborhood. You know, knowing that she was, you know, that strong of a woman. And a lot of us on this neighborhood were single military moms, you know, alone. Our husbands are deployed so having her in the neighborhood, you know, really made us feel more safe.

LAVANDERA: Munley is the mother of a 3-year-old daughter. Her husband is in the military but was in Pennsylvania visiting family when the rampage occurred. Admirers have set up a fan page on Facebook where she is hailed as a hero.

BARBROW: She did what her job called her to do. She stepped up, took charge and made it happen.


LAVANDERA: And Lisa, you know, throughout most of the day yesterday, we didn't know Kimberly Munley's name so it was interesting that once that name did emerge, and neighbors started realizing that their neighbor had been involved in this way. Most of them told us today that they were not surprised that she would have leapt into that kind of situation and did what she did -- Lisa?

SYLVESTER: Yes, she sounds like one heck of a lady. Ed Lavandera, thanks for that report.

Well, the army has released the names of five of the victims of the massacre. Private First Class Michael Pearson, a 21-year-old from Bowling Brook, Illinois. He was scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan in January. Private First Class Aaron Thomas Nemelka, a 19-year-old from West Jordan, Utah. He was set to deploy to Afghanistan.

Specialist Jason Dean Hunt, 22 years old from Tipton, Oklahoma. He served in Iraq and reenlisted. Sergeant Amy Krueger enlisted after the September 11 attacks. And Francheska Velez from Chicago, Illinois, she recently returned from Iraq and she was -- sad to say she was three months pregnant.

The 30 soldiers wounded in the Fort Hood shooting rampage have been taken to hospitals throughout central Texas. Their conditions vary. Ten have been taken to the Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas. A medical spokesman there said today that several patients have extremely serious injuries and are still at significant risk of losing their lives.

Officials are investigating the possibility that some of the soldiers might have possibly been victims of friendly fire by others trying to shoot the gunman. Twelve soldiers and one civilian were killed in the attack.

A moment of silence was observed by United States military personnel all over the world today to honor the victims of the Fort Hood massacre. Defense Secretary Robert Gates directed all service members to pause at 2:34 Eastern Standard Time and mark the moment exactly 24 hours after the shooting.

Flags flew today at half-staff on Capitol Hill. You see the pictures there. And President Obama had flags at the White House and other federal buildings lowered to half-staff until Veterans Day.

And we will have a lot more coverage of the Fort Hood massacre coming up.

Meanwhile, though, in Orlando, an office complex was the scene of a deadly shooting today. Police say a 40-year-old man who had been fired from an engineering firm that he returned to the firm at the Gateway Center Complex and shot six people. One of them fatally.

Forty-year-old Jason Rodriguez, you see him there. He surrendered to authorities after several hours search. And as Rodriguez was being taken, he shouted out -- shouted out there that, quote, "They had left me to rot."

The chief financial officer of the company that fired Rodriguez said he was let go in 2007 for work product that just wasn't up to the necessary standards. Well, coming up, we will have much more on the Fort Hood massacre. Also, do Democrats have enough votes to pass the massive $1.2 trillion health care plan? The House vote is just days away.

And unemployment is soaring. Now at a 26-year high. Sixteen million Americans out there have no job. Whatever happened to the Obama stimulus plan? Americans are feeling the pain.


TONY BRIONES, CALIFORNIA WORKER: It's been hard. We're struggling. Just trying to find any little thing. A lot of people (INAUDIBLE) the old people, you know. They figure it's a young game. You know? And I've been working since I was 16 years old.


SYLVESTER: Tonight the story of how some people are coping, next.


SYLVESTER: Louisiana state investigators today raided the New Orleans office of the left-wing activist group ACORN. Records and documents as well as computers belonging to ACORN were seized in today's raid. The state's attorney general is investigating the groups over allegations of embezzlement and state tax violations.

ACORN said in a statement it has been cooperating with the state's investigation. ACORN is under investigation in at least 10 states and there have been calls for a federal investigation by leading members of Congress. Congress has also cut funding to the group.

Some sobering economic news today. The unemployment rate has hit double digits. That's the first time in 26 years. According to the Labor Department, there are now nearly 16 million Americans out there without jobs in this country. This brings the unemployment rate to 10.2 percent. That's up from 9.8 percent in September.

And we will have a lot more on the economy later in the show, and predictions from top economists on whether the unemployment rate will continue to go up.

Well, California's unemployment rate is even higher than the national average at more than 12 percent. But underemployment, that includes people with part-time jobs and those who have given up looking. That's more than 20 percent.

Casey Wian reports on how two California men who lost their full time jobs are now struggling to get by.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say I love you, daddy. Bye, Dad.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rob (INAUDIBLE) is off to work at a neighborhood grocery store in Huntington Beach, California. He'll return home about 10:30 p.m. long after his four children are asleep. Then it's up at 5:30 a.m. to make lunches before the kids head to school and before he heads to his day job as a high school substitute teacher.

ROB DURAZZO, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: I don't know what makes me keep going. I'm sure it's the kids. They -- there they are. So it's time to start the morning.

WIAN: Rob's wife Jennifer teaches full time. Even with three jobs between them, the Durazzos are struggling to make ends meet. That's because in 2004, Rob left teaching for a high paying job at a real estate firm.

DURAZZO: In January '06, you know, I made my teacher's salary in the month of January.

WIAN: But he lost the job when the real estate bubble burst.

DURAZZO: Just about a year ago, they called us on a Wednesday and said your cell phones are being turned off. Your insurance is over on Monday. We're closing the doors. And so it wasn't triage. It was total amputation. They just cut off everything.

WIAN: Now as a long term substitute, he only makes two-thirds of the salary of a permanent teacher.

DURAZZO: Just trying to get back up. You know I'm about a teacher's yearly salary behind in debt right you now.

WIAN: Even so, he looks on the bright side.

DURAZZO: My mom said it to me, she said there are people who can't find jobs at all. And you've been blessed with two.

WIAN: Fifty-four-year-old Tony Briones knows that all too well. He spent 30 years as warehouse worker and in construction.

BRIONES: I got hurt in construction. I was on a ten-foot ladder. I was drilling holes for the gas line. And the ladder went one way. I went the other way and messed up my shoulder.

WIAN: A $15,000 disability settlement didn't last long. Briones says he's filled out hundreds of job applications without success so now he's competing with dozens of immigrants for scarce work at a Los Angeles Day Labor Center.

BRIONES: I drive here every morning. I get tired. I hope and pray I get some kind of work. Something going on to make some extra money. WIAN: Briones is married with two adult children. One at home severely disabled. Yet he is living in his van because he says he doesn't feel right going home.

BRIONES: It's hard for your kids and your grandkids asking for money and you don't got it. You know? And if your wife has it, that's not -- you know, I mean, she's trying to do what she can. But -- excuse me. It's not right. You know?

I was born a man, born to help support my family. I can't. You know? That sucks. Excuse me. Sorry about that. I will just hope and pray so they can do.

WIAN: Two men, lives changed by the loss of a job, not giving up hope that better times lie ahead.


WIAN: Unfortunately, their stories are not that unusual. About 1.4 million Californians are you now working part time, either because their hours have been cut or they can only get part time work. According to the state government, that's an increase of 72 percent from a year ago -- Lisa.

SYLVESTER: All right, Casey, thanks for putting a face behind those numbers. We hear these unemployment numbers are 10.2 percent but it's real pain out there as we can see.

Thanks, Casey, for your report.

WIAN: Absolutely.

SYLVESTER: Coming up, the latest developments on the shooting rampage at Fort Hood. Plus a deadly E. coli outbreak sickens from New England to California. We will have a full report next.


SYLVESTER: Two people are dead tonight and 28 others sick in an E. coli outbreak across 12 states. The deadly bacteria has been linked to more than half a million pounds of meat produced by a New York company. This latest outbreak is raising serious questions about the safety of ground beef in this country.

Louise Schiavone has our report.


LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even as the U.S. responds to a now deadly widespread outbreak, a Chinese delegation is in the Midwest learning about U.S. food safety standards. Tony Corbo is with the product safety watchdog group Food and Water Watch.

TONY CORBO, FOOD & WATER WATCH: It is, you know, somewhat ironic. At least we publicize the fact that there is a problem with the particular product. And as you'll recall last year during the Olympics, the Chinese hid the fact that milk products were contaminated with melamine.

SCHIAVONE: A touchy subject for the Chinese who tell CNN they have embraced a new openness.

YINGFENG LI, QUALITY SUPV., PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (Through Translator): We disseminate the relevant information to the general public when there is an event that occurred.

SCHIAVONE: In the U.S., Fairbank Farms in Asheville, New York has recall more than half a million pounds of its ground beef products as part of an investigation into the latest American E. coli outbreak.

The outbreak has sickened more than two dozen people from New England to California, and taken two lives.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that E. coli kills roughly 52 people every year. This Chicago area food safety advocate was spurned to action when her daughter's best friend was one of four children who died in that 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak.

DONNA ROSENBAUM, SAFE TABLES OUR PRIORITY: It causes all kinds of problems, including stroke in children. It causes a hemolytic- uremic syndrome which is kidney failure and can lead to death which is what happened to my daughter's friend.

SCHIAVONE: This week in Minnesota, sharing U.S. industries food safety insights with the visiting Chinese, companies who've had their own E. coli issues, Cargill and General Mills. General Mills told us, quote, "General Mills works to assure safe food every day and we work in compliance with overall regulations," end quote.

For its part, Cargill says it has invested over $1 billion on safety research and technology and, quote, "conducts nearly 400,000 tests for pathogens each year using a testing methodology that exceeds U.S. Department of Agriculture standards," end quote.

Can you count on the safety of ground beef? The Cattlemen's Association says yes as long as it's handled properly.

MANDY CARR, CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION: The consumer can do their share, too, by cooking to a proper end temperature of 160 Fahrenheit.


SCHIAVONE: Lisa, the CDC estimates overall, annually, food-borne illnesses kill about 5,000 people. And the Department of Agriculture tells us it will not rest until food-borne illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths are eliminated -- Lisa.

SYLVESTER: Louise Schiavone, reporting from Washington.

Well, coming up, the nation's unemployment tops 10 percent. Can President Obama's economic plan do anything to stop the job losses? That is the subject of tonight's "Face-off" debate. And what drives an officer, a medical professional to allegedly turn his weapon on fellow soldiers? A panel of expert and medical military analysts will join me here straight ahead.


SYLVESTER: Today's disappointing unemployment numbers are evidence that the country's middle class continues to struggle despite signs of an economic recovery. Can there truly be a recovery with unemployment at the highest level in 26 years? And can the Obama administration's economic plan turn this all around? That is the subject of tonight's "Face-off Debate." Joining me you now, John Makin, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Robert Frank, economics professor at Cornell University and columnist for the "New York Times."

I want to start with the numbers. We have a graphic that we can put up. Today's unemployment 10.2 percent, you see it there, up 9.8 percent in September. The jobs lost in October, 190,000. Robert, what do you make of these numbers?

ROBERT FRANK, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: We've been expecting to see it hit 10 percent. I don't think most people thought it would hit 10 percent this month, but in a recovery, employment always lags behind. We're going to see it rise some more.

SYLVESTER: John, is this something, you know, the administration promised 3.5 million jobs would be created or saved if we passed the stimulus plan. We're not seeing those jobs.

JOHN MAKIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INST: No, we're not. I think the problem is, probably with the design of the stimulus plan, there are other things that might have been done to encourage job growth a little bit more, but in the background, of course, we have a very, very weak economy. In this case, I don't think we're going to see that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. I think we'll see that it is a leading indicator for a second dip of the economy.

SYLVESTER: Do you agree, Robert?

FRANK: I think the administration did push hard for a larger stimulus package and they experienced a lot of opposition. Congress got only a handful of Republican votes for any stimulus at all. And so, really, the outlook is bad for consumers, they're fearful of losing their jobs if they haven't already. They don't have any home equity they can borrow against. The investors aren't going to invest, they've already gotten more than they need, so government does need to step in.

SYLVESTER: John, do we need a second stimulus? Because there are people out there talking, we need a second stimulus to get the numbers back up.

MAKIN: Well, I think at the rate we're going, we're going to need one. But I hope that we think a lot more carefully about this one. Back when the first stimulus was being considered, I and actually people on both sides, Republicans and Democrats, were suggesting that the best thing to do was to eliminate the payroll tax for a year. That does two things. First of all, it helps people who are working, giving them some more disposable income. And secondly, the payroll tax is employing labor and so if you reduce that tax, the incentive for employers to lay people off is reduced because they have less cost.

SYLVESTER: Let me just jump in here. Because one of the things with the second stimulus is there are so many people that you look at our budget numbers, we simply can't afford it. With $77 billion, we did that the first round. There was a lot of opposition to the first time we did this, so I don't know politically, and Robert, you can weigh in, is the political will there for another stimulus package?

FRANK: Well first of all, let me say that the idea of suspending the pay roll tax is an excellent idea. I think you'd find support from that from the left-wing and the right-wing of the political system. And the idea of the budget deficit being the barrier, look, if we don't get this economy back on its feet quickly, it's the continuing low level of output, low level of tax receipts, high level of unemployment benefits that the government pays out is going to make for a much, much bigger deficit in the long run. The imperative is to borrow and spend it quickly.

SYLVESTER: I know that there are some fiscal hawks out there that are cringing hearing this, the talk of even more spending. But really quickly because we're running out of time. When do we get the jobs? When do the jobs come back?

FRANK: The jobs will come. You know, we've got 50 Herbert Hoovers out there in the states. They're required to balance their budgets, their tax receipts are down, they're not spending, they're cutting employment right and left. We should be sending money to the states to help balance those budgets so they don't lay people off.

SYLVESTER: John, you get the final word here. Same question.

MAKIN: I think the unemployment rate will keep rising at least until 11 percent by the end of next year. And as we go through that process, the pressure on Congress to respond with some kind well designed stimulus package, not like the one they passed last year, will only grow. There will be complaints about the budget deficit, but given the pressures on the economy and on people from the higher unemployment, I think there probably will be consideration given to another stimulus package.

SYLVESTER: All right, John Makin, thank you very much for joining us. Robert Frank, as well. Thank you gentlemen.

Well, just ahead, the health care bill nearing a vote in the House, but do the Democrats have enough backing to pass the measure? And more on the massacre at Fort Hood. A panel of medical and military professionals will be joining me next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK). SYLVESTER: Joining me now with more on the deadly shooting at Fort Hood, CNN contributor, retired lieutenant, General Russel Honore. General Honore served as deputy commander of 1st Calvary for two years at Fort Hood.

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Lieberman has consulted for the Defense Department on psychiatric issues within the military.

And Thomas Kenniff, former military prosecutor, thank you for joining me.

Dr. Lieberman, I want to start first with you. As we hear more, by all indications, there were some red flags, there were some signs, there was a poor performance review when he was in Washington at Walter Reed. How could these signs be missed?

DR JEFFREY LIEBERMAN, COLUMBIA UNIV MEDICAL CTR: Well, I he does not appear to have had a history of any significant mental illness. His performance was not optimal or the greatest in terms of his residency or his internship at Walter Reed, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he has any potential for lawlessness or behavioral deviance. So, it is really peculiar. It doesn't seem like any red flags or telltale signs.

The question is, is what prompted this behavior which was so uncharacteristic? And I think, usually you think somebody has gone off the deep end or snapped in the face some of kind stress, that's possible, but it doesn't seem the case with no prior history of mental illness. The other thing that I think is emerging, if you take out the ideological motivation, which we can only speculate about, is that this could have been something related to the alienation he was feeling as somebody who was an immigrant born in America, but raised in the east coast, who was recently transferred to Texas and working in Texas in an environment that was kind of stressful without his family there, because his family lived in proximity to Walter Reed in Virginia. Maybe he was feeling very differently than he had felt previously in his life.

SYLVESTER: General Honore, I want to ask you a question, because this is an individual who reportedly was going to be deployed either to Iraq or Afghanistan and didn't want to go. Is there a system in place? I mean, what happens in these situations where it is these are your orders, you go?

LT GEN RUSSEL HONORE (RET), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah well, let's put that word "want to go" in context. Soldiers go because of their mission, they go because their buddies are trained and because of their oath. Whatever was going through this soldier's mind, this major's mind, that -- just by telling folk he didn't want to go, that it was a reason for him to be excused is unheard of in the Army.

Now, if he showed a medical reason or if he chose to be a conscientious objector, then there are rules inside the uniform code of military justice and inside the Army rules to be dealt with. But to come in and said, hey, I don't believe in the war and I don't want to go after having received extensive training paid for by government, and having served in a tour at Walter Reed, was just unheard of. And unless he came in with a medical reason or something under the statute such as conscientious objector, I view people would take him serious.

SYLVESTER: Tom, I want to have you jump into the conversation, here. What happens? Is he eligible? And we must emphasize, he alleged, he is the alleged shooter. He is, of course, innocent until proven guilty. But, what possible charges? Is this a case for death penalty?

THOMAS KENNIFF, FMR MILITARY PROSECUTOR: Oh, yeah, it's an absolutely. I mean, there's going to be multiple murder charges against him, attempted murder, assault, so forth. There is enough going to that you can have a whole litany of charges. The most recent case that come to mind is the Akbar case back in 2003.

If you'll recall, that was a situation where an enlisted soldier threw a couple of grenades into tents in Kuwait knowing those tents were occupied by his fellow officers, as well as enlisted personnel, killed two officers. That case went to trial at Fort Bragg, I believe, in 2005. He is currently on death row in Fort Leavenworth. Now I will say, there's about I believe nine or 10 people currently sitting on death row in Fort Leavenworth; however, the military has not executed anyone, I believe, since the early 1960s.

SYLVESTER: All right. I want to ask Dr. Lieberman, is this a sign that these soldiers, these men and women that perhaps, they're just too stretched fighting two wars?

LIEBERMAN: Well, there is no question that combat troops are facing tremendous stress, both when they're in the theaters of combat and also when they're on leaves or returning or wondering whether they're going to have another tour of duty. We know stress can induce mental disturbance. Historically we've seen that combat stress is the most intense kind of stress. It's even worse now because we're in wars, beginning with Vietnam, were it's asymmetric, where it's not conventional, where you don't look the enemy is.

So, now, this doesn't appear to be the case with the psychiatrist that perpetrated these crimes.

SYLVESTER: We're running out of time and I want to get General Honore and to have Tom also weigh in very briefly on any final thoughts, here.

HONORE: I think the combat troops in the stress of this soldier, this would be his first deployment, so the stress of going and whatever beliefs conflicted with his mission, and he took his fellow soldiers' lives. On the other hand, when you talk about stress in the force at large in the Army, I'm still a believer that the Army is too small. It has grown by about 70,000 since the beginning of the war, but it is not large enough.

You know, for everyone 100,000 soldiers you have deployed, it takes 300,000, 100,000 on the ground, 100,000 just left and 100,000 about to go. I hope they're figuring that in when we look at the numbers going into Afghanistan, to ensure that we've got the troops it takes. We have over 100,000 National Guard and reserve soldiers mobilized to date to meet the Army requirements for troops fighting two wars. The Army is not big enough.


KENNIFF: Yeah, you know, Lisa, I mean, I lose a little bit patience with the stress argument. There is no question that our young men and women who are over there fighting these wars are under a tremendous amount of stress, but let's keep in mind, this was a high rank military officer. He was a medical doctor who had never been deployed. I don't think it is fair to the legitimate soldiers who legitimately suffer from symptoms like PTSD to lump them in the same group with this individual who had a completely different set of circumstances to get to this point.

SYLVESTER: All right, we've got to go. We're out of time. It's a fascinating discussion and I'm sure the debate will continue as we go forward. Thank you very much, gentlemen. And when we return, Democrats in the House are health care bill, but do they have the votes needed to pass it? That's next.


SYLVESTER: Join me now, Ed Rollins, Republican strategist and former political director for the White House. Miguel Perez, syndicated columnist, and professor at Lehman College. And Robert Zimmerman, Democratic strategist. All three CNN contributors.

Thank you guys very much for join us. First let's go straight to the health care bill. There's some question that it is very doubtful at this point whether or not in the House that there are enough votes to pass it -- Robert.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This bill will pass. Let me give you my prediction and my assurance. I've received from several members of Congress I've been talking to, there will be 218 votes for this bill, most likely Saturday evening. The key negotiations around the controversial issues of citizenship verification and abortion rights and whether funding will be done for abortions is going to be settled and what's left will be in conference.

SYLVESTER: Ed, do you agree with that?

ED ROLLINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's his party and they're the ones battling this out. There are 61 Democrats who had some objection to it and obviously, they have to be placated in some way, shape or form. I assume they have too much at stake to not get a bill out. It's being rushed, obviously, this weekend. If it would have gone for another week or two, I think they'd have real problems, but if they get it through this weekend, they'll probably be OK.

SYLVESTER: Miguel, particularly these blue dog Democrats, do you think some arm twisting will win their votes?

MIGUEL PEREZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I hope so, but the blue dogs are holding off against abortion, which is a question that is still kind of unsettled. They're holding off against what they're going to do about illegal immigrants in this bill and they are not going to go for that. The Latino congressmen on the other side are holding out for some kind of protection for illegal immigrants under this bill. So, those are the things that are still outstanding out that could destroy this whole thing.

SYLVESTER: One of the arguments that's out there, particularly with the numbers that we saw with unemployment, is that now is not the time. That we can't afford this. Robert, this is an argument that many Republicans have been making.

ZIMMERMAN: Look, the Republicans, when they held their rally on Capitol Hill on Thursday, where Congressman Boehner and Michelle Bachmann said that this is the greatest threat to Democracy and freedom. That kind of extreme irrational language, you know, in fact, really discredit -- really destroys their credibility in making their case.

So, no question, this bill is going to be passed. It is a critical aspect of the administration's agenda. Not to pass it would be a serious setback in terms of economic -- economic growth and also in terms of dealing with the crisis of health care in this country.

SYLVESTER: Representative John Boehner, though, he's called it a job killer -- Ed.

ROLLINS: Well, I think everybody that basically knows a lot about jobs thinks it is. And I think the truth of the matter is, we'll find out. Democrats pass it, it's their bill. The reality is health care is not going to really be provided for until the next presidential term, but taxes are going to go up and a lot of the cuts are going to start earlier, and I think the economic deficiencies in this bill will basically be seen before the end of the campaign.

ZIMMERMAN: When this bill is finally adopted and it's been endorsed by the American Medical Association and the AARP, I think the public is going to realize it's not as scary as the Republicans are making it out to be.

SYLVESTER: You know, there's no doubt the unemployment rate is 10.2 percent, it's up from 9.8 percent. Miguel, this is -- it's not just the vote question, it's also what happens when they go back to their districts and have to try to explain this.

PEREZ: Exactly. Exactly and look, much more than what happened in Tuesday's elections, what is really going to be telling for all politicians is how the economy is doing in the next year or so. And that's going to determine a lot for President Obama, for everybody whose running again for Congress. So, it's all about the economy, stupid, like President Clinton used to say.

SYLVESTER: Yeah, and Robert, if Democrats don't get the jobs, this might really hurt congressional Democrats in 2002.

ZIMMERMAN: Let's be realistic about it, putting aside the politics, the unemployment numbers that were released today are devastating, and they should concern every American. It's not just the 10.2 percent unemployment.

SYLVESTER: Well, where are the jobs that Obama promised, that President Obama promised?

ZIMMERMAN: Well there's no question, look, the administration has taken big steps through its economic recovery act that's put in place, the stimulus bill. Obviously there's a real debate about it, about the progress it's making and it's hard to rally the country around the fact that you've been able to avoid layoffs and you've stabilized the markets. And so many Democrats have to do a lot more to force the financial institutions to engage in lending. But, there's been progress made. Of course, the issue is it's certainly not good enough.

ROLLINS: Robert, obviously, you had your say. The bottom line here is that Americans are hurting. No one can convince me that this is going to create jobs other than some jobs in the health care profession. The bottom line here is that all the jobs that have been saved, that have been teachers or what have you, you're going to have to go back again, these 300,000 teachers that were going to be laid off, where's the money going to be next year?

You're putting a tremendous burden on this tax bill -- I mean, this health care bill on states. The Medicaid, which states are terribly burdened by, and this is going to add even more dynamic burden.

SYLVESTER: You know,, there's a Tennessee governor, Phil Bredesen and he's made that very same point and he's a Democrat saying love the idea of expanding health care for coverage, but the reality as a state governor, I don't know how I'm going to pay for this -- Miguel.

PEREZ: It's about jobs, it's about helping the states who are having to lay off people, too, it's the federal government maybe coming in with another stimulus. Unfortunately the last stimulus -- the perception for the American people is that we bailed out Wall Street, we bailed out the banks, we bailed out the auto industry which included a lot of American workers that need help, but the middle- class of America is what needs to be bailed out with a better stimulus package that really creates jobs.

ZIMMERMAN: Miguel makes a very important point. The government has to do more, this is where we have to turn to our federal government. I think the stimulus has put some action in place and we've seen some results. More has to be done. We're talking about 17.5 percent of people who are either underemployed...

ROLLINS: Let me make a point. Any money we borrow from China, any money, we have no money. Democrats have to realize, we have no money. We spend $1.4 billion more this year than we took in. We're spend even more next year, so any of your big fancy bills you say is going to will create jobs, stimulus, what have you, you have to go to China and borrow the money from China. ZIMMERMAN: The reality is this administration has taken on a fiscal crisis of the likes of which we haven't seen the Great Depression. They've stepped up, they've put their record on the line.

ROLLINS: The record was eight percent. The stimulus bill was going to make unemployment stop at eight percent, today it was 10.2 and it will be more next month, unfortunately.

SYLVESTER: OK, Miguel's going to get the final word in.

PEREZ: We'll never be able to repay China, Ed, unless we get our House in order first. And we need to straighten out our own economy so that then we can pay China.

SYLVESTER: OK, we got to go, guys. Thanks very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

And still ahead, we have "Heroes."


SYLVESTER: It's been a tragic week for the U.S. military, and now more than ever, our thoughts are with our brave servicemen and women. Tonight we bring you our weekly tribute to those who serve this country in uniform. We honor Staff Sergeant Dale Beatty who suffered a life-threatening injury while serving in Iraq. Despite losing both of his legs, Beatty is fighting back. Philippa Holland has our story.


PHILIPPA HOLLAND, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two weeks before Staff Sergeant Dale Beatty's 10-month deployment to northern Iraq was to come to an end, his life almost did.

STAFF SGT DALE BEATTY, U.S. ARMY (RET): We were on a patrol heading west towards Syria. There was an anti-tank mine buried in the gravel. The vehicle rolled over that. I came to. And the first thing I saw was my right boot sole right here about my knee.

HOLLAND: Had it not been for the fully armored Humvee Beatty's unit received just one day earlier, he would have died. Medics pulled Beatty from the passenger's seat, stabilized him and transported him to a field hospital, where doctors amputated his right leg below the knee. After he transferred to Walter Reed Medical Center, a doctor presented him with grim options for his badly wounded left leg.

BEATTY: The doctor said you'll have two years of therapy, never walk without pain again, and so I told him to cut it off.

HOLLAND: He spent a year in rehab and learned to walk on two prosthetic legs while his family lived at Fisher House. When Beatty finally returned home, members of his community banded together with donations of labor and material to help him build a handicapped- accessible home. Beatty managed the entire job himself. The show of support inspired him to create his own nonprofit organization called Purple Heart Homes.

BEATTY: A guy has one leg, or a gal has one leg, they're going to be hopping into the shower and hopping out of the shower on a tile floor. Now, it doesn't really sound safe to me, so -- but you could see how big -- you can see how big the requirements for an accessible bathroom are.

HOLLAND: By linking veterans with service-connected wounds to government grants, Beatty aims to raise the quality of life for disabled vets one home at a time.

BEATTY: I mean, I realize that, yeah, I had it good. I had a better than a lot of guys have it, with the same injuries, worse injuries than me. They may still be living in a trailer that's not accessible or crawling around on the floor. I mean, that's -- that's the kind of thing that it's happening, it's out there.

HOLLAND: Beatty downplays anyone calling him a hero for his service in Iraq. But, if he can use to it the advantage of the disadvantaged, he'll gladly take it.

BEATTY: I don't feel like a hero, but if I can make a positive change in people's life, I mean, I'm going -- I want to take that opportunity. So, if because I'm a "hero," I can get in the door and help out somebody else, then, you know, I can -- I can live with that.

HOLLAND: Philippa Holland, CNN.


SYLVESTER: Beatty's goal is to expand his Purple Heart Homes charity across the country. If you would like to donate to this important charity, go to for more information.

And thanks for being with us tonight. Next, CAMPBELL BROWN.