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The Situation Room

Rush Limbaugh Arrested on Prescription Drug Charge; Video Message From Ayman al-Zawahiri

Aired April 28, 2006 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where new pictures and information are arriving all the time.
Standing by, CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you tonight's top stories.

Happening now, breaking news. The conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh arrested on a prescription fraud charge.

It's 7:00 p.m. in Florida, where Limbaugh turned himself in after apparently striking a deal with prosecutors.

Also happening now, just a short while ago a new chilling video warning believed to be from Osama bin Laden's top deputy.

It's 3:00 a.m. Saturday in Baghdad, where the terror threat is now growing. We have a frightening new report on the deaths and the dangers.

Plus, George Clooney gets passionate about the slaughter in Sudan and American politics. The actor, the director, the Oscar winner talks at length about causes he deeply cares about.

I'm Wolf Blitzer, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with breaking news. The most popular conservative talk show host of the United States, Rush Limbaugh, has been arrested in Florida on a prescription drug charge. Limbaugh turned himself in today.

Let's go straight to CNN's John Zarrella. He's in Miami with details -- John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is what happened. The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office and Rush Limbaugh and his attorney Roy Black have finally come to an agreement. This is an agreement, a deal that literally ends two, almost three years of wrangling over whether Limbaugh was doctor shopping for prescription painkillers.

Under the deal today, Limbaugh turned himself in. He is now out on $3,000 bond. Under the deal the charges will go away.

The charge, a single charge of doctor shopping, will go away in 18 months. Limbaugh must continue to seek his treatments for the addictions to the painkillers. And he has agreed to pay $30,000 in the court costs.

Now, his attorney, Roy Black, late this afternoon issued this statement. Mr. Black said, "Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping and we continue to hold that position. Accordingly, we filed today with the court a plea of not guilty to the charge filed by the state."

That's all part of the agreement, Wolf.

Our viewers probably recall that about three years ago, the state attorney in West Palm Beach went with a search warrant and got medical records from Rush Limbaugh's doctors. Limbaugh's attorneys charged they should have used subpoenas, not search warrants, and that has led to the last two and a half years of legal wrangling -- Wolf.

BLITZER: John, stand by for a moment. I want to bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, on the phone for a little analysis of what exactly happened.

Who wins? Who loses? What do you make of this, Jeff?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: The winner here is very clear, Rush Limbaugh. They cut themselves a very sweet deal.

Limbaugh, if he stays clean for the next 18 months, walks away not with a misdemeanor, not with a violation, but no criminal record at all. He pays $30,000 for court costs, and if he stays clean this entire controversy goes away, Limbaugh gets off scot-free. It's a very good deal for him.

BLITZER: At the same time, though, it's hugely embarrassing to be arrested and to be living under this cloud for 18 months. So he does pay a price for what he allegedly did.

TOOBIN: But the price is now marked paid. He is -- he is now done with this process, assuming nothing happens over the 18 month. The embarrassment is over.

And what makes this especially good for Limbaugh is that this issue of the searches of his doctor's offices went all the way through the Florida appeals courts and Limbaugh lost. The prosecutors won. They have the right to use all those records of the prescription drugs, but even with that victory in the courts the only plea bargain they could strike was essentially one that let Limbaugh get away with no criminal record if he stays clean for 18 months.

So, I think given the Florida prosecutor's victory in the courts, it is rather surprising that Limbaugh and his lawyer Roy Black struck such a favorable deal.

BLITZER: Any statements yet from the prosecuting attorney, John Zarrella?

ZARRELLA: No, Wolf, no statement from the prosecutors themselves. There are some court documents that have been and are being released, but no statement directly from the prosecutor. BLITZER: Is there a sense -- you're getting the same sense that Jeff Toobin is getting, John Zarrella, that this is basically a win for Rush Limbaugh, even though he's formally arrested, which sounds bad?

ZARRELLA: Oh, clearly a victory for Rush Limbaugh. Exactly what Jeff was saying that, in fact, it seemed like he could be facing so much worse given that the courts agreed with the prosecutors that they could use those records. And now this is all that the prosecutors could come up with.

Clearly, a victory for Rush Limbaugh.

BLITZER: All right. We're going to stand by and get some more information.

John Zarrella, Jeff Toobin, thanks very much for that.

Once again, that lead story, Rush Limbaugh arrested, apparently striking a plea deal, an agreement with the prosecutor. If he remains free of these prescription drugs for a year and a half, no record, no misdemeanor, no felony, no nothing.

We'll see what happens. We'll continue to wait and watch for a formal statement from the prosecutor.

There's other breaking news we're following tonight as well. A new Internet video apparently from al Qaeda's number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri. He boasts that insurgents have now, in his words, "... broken the back of U.S. forces in Iraq."

All this comes just days after new taped warnings from Osama bin Laden and from al Qaeda's leader in Iraq.

Also tonight, a new State Department report details of dramatic increase in terror attacks in Iraq almost three years to the day after President Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq were over.

CNN's Brian Todd is joining us now on the latest terror threats emanating from Iraq -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the struggle for Iraq is clearly far from over, but this report depicts a terrorist battleground there that this White House went to war to prevent.


TODD (voice over): From this declaration in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner three years ago...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.

TODD: ... to this declaration Friday morning...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraq is also a battlefield where U.S. coalition and Iraqi forces are engaging international terrorists.

TODD: In the State Department's yearly terrorism report a daunting figure. More than half the 14,600 worldwide terror deaths last year came from Iraq. The report says Abu Musab Zarqawi's al Qaeda affiliates are Iraq's most lethal group and pose the most immediate threat.

RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Iraq right now has the greatest concentration of terrorist activities and terrorist fighters in the world.

TODD: Compare that to the State Department's 2001 and 2002 reports before the Iraq war. Hardly a mention of an al Qaeda presence in Iraq other than small groups Saddam Hussein was fighting himself. Those reports said Saddam did harbor some Palestinian terror groups and sponsored occasional terrorism abroad.

KEN POLLACK, SABAN CENTER: The fact of the matter is that Iraq was not the central front in the war on terrorism before the U.S. invasion. It has become that way.

TODD: Analyst Ken Pollack says a failed state, what he calls a civil war, and 130,00 American troops are what make Iraq a terrorist battleground. "This is a painful, but temporary transition to stability," says CNN analyst Richard Falkenrath. But should the violence subside and the foreign terrorists leave Iraq...

FALKENRATH: They will have a network. They will have relationships. And they will have been trained and hardened through combat in Iraq. And that's very hard to get anywhere in the world.


TODD: And that, he says, will make those terrorists even more dangerous when they trade targets in Iraq for targets in the Middle East, Europe and even the United States.

Wolf, it is worth mentioning again, right now, as we approach that anniversary of the "Mission Accomplished" event, we get this terrorism report about how bad the terrorism situation is in Iraq right now on the heels of brand-new statements from Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and earlier this week, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, all of whom have reiterated their commitment to taking on U.S. forces in Iraq.

BLITZER: Brian Todd in the newsroom.

Thanks, Brian, for that.

Once again, the number two man in al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, issuing a videotape on the Internet just moments ago, saying that he and the insurgents, in their words, have "... broken the back of U.S. forces in Iraq."

Let's go up to New York. Jack Cafferty is watching all of this unfold together with us -- Jack. JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed. Thanks, Wolf.

Well, if it was a game of Texas hold 'em, Iran just went all in. The belligerent nation with the big nuclear ambitions has not complied with the U.N. demand to stop enriching uranium. Today was the deadline for them to agree to do that.

Iran says it just wants nuclear power, but the International Atomic Energy Agency also says it cannot rule out improper activity in Iran's nuclear program. So now it's up to the United Nations to decide whether to force Iran's hand, call the all in, if you will.

The U.N. Security Council could vote to impose sanctions, but there's been resistance to that idea from Russia and China. And in the background is that possibility that the United States could decide to attack Iran.

So, here's the question: What should the U.N. do now about Iran?

E-mail your thoughts to or go to

The hits just keep on coming, Wolf, from one fun place to another.

BLITZER: No stop in the news at all. Thanks, Jack.

CAFFERTY: Unbelievable.

BLITZER: Coming up, immigration divide. Millions of protesters expected to hit the streets. Plus, the national anthem in Espanol. Is it the best strategy to win support for immigration reform?

We're looking at all sides of this story.

Also, George Clooney in THE SITUATION ROOM. Find out why he left Hollywood to face a genocide in Sudan.

Plus, we'll hear why he calls Hillary Clinton the most polarizing figure in American politics. He'll explain that comment.

Bill Clinton, from president to philanthropist, he's leading a global summit on AIDS with our own Sanjay Gupta. We have the inside story on this and his other causes since leaving the White House.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: We're getting some new details on Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk show host, who has been booked on a charge. We're going to bring you those details as soon as we get them here into THE SITUATION ROOM. Much more on this breaking story coming up.

Also, some new skirmishes in the battle over immigration, including a controversial new version of the national anthem in Spanish. Its release comes ahead of a massive nationwide protest and boycotts planned for Monday.

CNN's Chris Lawrence is joining us now from Los Angeles with more on this part of the story -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what we're hearing is that from a lot of the people who have organized this, the California State Senate actually endorsed this boycott on Monday of schools, jobs, and stores, but that vote was split along party lines. And it really showed just how hard it is to come to any kind of consensus on this issue of immigration.


LAWRENCE (voice over): Organizers say this is what Americans will see Monday: millions of people staging the largest protests since the civil rights era.

NATIVO LOPEZ, MEXICAN-AMERICAN POLITICAL ASSN.: Immigrants are losing their fear.

LAWRENCE: Activists have called for a national boycott.

LOPEZ: They don't go to school. They don't go shopping. They don't go selling.

LAWRENCE: Opponents say it's got one goal: pressure Congress into legalizing millions of undocumented people.

BUSH: You know, I'm not a -- I'm not a supporter of boycotts. I am a supporter of comprehensive immigration.

LAWRENCE: Hundreds of small stores and big factories will all shut down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not sell any vegetables or fruits.

LAWRENCE: By itself, L.A.'s 7th Street Market Association distributes food to 3,000 supermarkets, and its closure could put a million-dollar dent in the economy.

ANGELICA SALAS, IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ACTIVIST: The boycott is confrontational.

LAWRENCE: Some immigration rights activists say pictures of people walking off the job could backfire in middle America.

SALAS: Who is our audience? Who are we talking to? Who are we seeking to embrace and to be embraced by?

LAWRENCE: The Latino community has been active in the Catholic Church, and church leaders continue to support the protests. But this time they're urging students not to skip class. And school officials warn students they're expected to show up Monday.

JACK O'CONNELL, CALIFORNIA SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: I do not intend to grant any waivers as a result of mass protests or students who leave school.

LAWRENCE: Organizers admit the boycott's a big step, but a needed one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we're not convinced, for example, that the representatives in Congress will really listen to the immigrant unless the immigrant imposes his will.


LAWRENCE: The boycott's biggest impact will be right here in California, where immigrants as a whole make up an estimated one-third of the workforce. But organizers say New York, Chicago, Phoenix, the entire country will feel the effects -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Chris, thanks, in L.A. We'll be watching all this unfold with you on Monday as well.

Let's go back to our John Zarrella.

On top of all of this, John, there's controversy involving "The Star-Spangled Banner."

ZARRELLA: Boy, there sure is, Wolf. You know, in fact, Jimi Hendrix did a version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" way back at Woodstock, and there have been actually hundreds of versions of our national anthem. But as far as anyone can tell, there's never been one sung in Spanish.

There is now, and it's causing quite a stir.


ZARRELLA (voice over): Does it make a difference whether the national anthem is sung in English or in Spanish, with different lyrics like, "In fierce combat the sign of victory, the struggle ablazing at the sight of liberty"? It appears to be making a big difference. The notion of a Spanish version is raising so much controversy, even the president weighed in.

QUESTION: Mr. President, a cultural question for you. There is a version of the national anthem in Spanish now. Do you believe it will hold the same value if sung in Spanish as in English?

BUSH: No, I don't.

QUESTION: Why is that?

BUSH: Because I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English. And they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.

ZARRELLA: The song, called "Nuestro Himno," or "Our Anthem," features Latin pop artists and Haitian-American star Wyclef Jean. Its release is timed to coincide with Congress' return to Washington next week and the renewal of the debate over immigration reform.

Adam Kidron, president of the company that handled the project, says it's definitely meant to send a message.

ADAM KIDRON, URBAN BOX OFFICE: We're trying to give the undocumented immigrants a real expression of patriotism.

ZARRELLA: It's not only sent a message. It's hit a nerve.

NEAL BOORTZ, TALK RADIO HOST: What do you think about this new Spanish-language national anthem?

ZARRELLA: Neal Boortz, a conservative radio talk show host, is outraged.

BOORTZ: They've already published magazine articles in Mexico saying, "Los Angeles is ours." Now our national anthem is theirs also?

ZARRELLA: In New York, the epitome of this nation's melting pot culture, there was, as you might expect, a mix of opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's great. OK. Where can I hear it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm torn, because my parents are immigrants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not American. So I think it's (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should keep it as is.

ZARRELLA: The producers say it's everybody's song. Critics say everybody should sing it in English.


ZARRELLA: Now, we've talked with one of the artists on the song, Pit Bull (ph), a rapper, and he told us this afternoon that the national anthem is about struggle, and immigrants today know as much as anybody about struggle -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, again, John Zarrella, in Miami.

And still to come tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM, my interview with actor George Clooney, now an activist working to try to stop what the U.S. terms a "genocide unfolding in Africa." We're going to talk about his recent trip there.

Plus, more on our top story, the breaking news we're following. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office tells CNN Rush Limbaugh has been arrested. He's been released on prescription drug charges.

We have the latest developments. Some confusion breaking out now between what the sheriff's office is saying, what Rush Limbaugh's attorneys are saying. We'll sort it all out. We'll go back to John Zarrella.

All of these developments coming up tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: We're getting some new information on the Rush Limbaugh arrest. We'll have that for you. That's coming up, but other important news first.

A new sense of urgency tonight about Iran's nuclear defiance. The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency today declared Iran has not complied with demands to stop its nuclear program, and President Bush is calling that unacceptable.

Our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, is joining us now live. She has more -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, today President Bush made it very clear that taking on Iran is not just a U.S. effort, but an international one. That Iran is different than Iraq.


MALVEAUX (voice over): Despite Iran's defiance, President Bush insists that U.S. wants to disarm Iran peacefully.

BUSH: The diplomatic process is just beginning. We're forming a strong coalition of likeminded countries that believe that the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon.

MALVEAUX: Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded that Iran had failed to suspend its nuclear activities as the U.N. Security Council demanded. Now members of the council must decide whether to impose economic sanctions or even pursue military action.

JOHN BOLTON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Its behavior amounts to a threat to international peace and security.

MALVEAUX: But diplomats cautioned there's no talk now of a military strike. After all, as President Bush pointed out...

BUSH: There are significant differences between Iran and Iraq.

MALVEAUX: But the permanent members of the council are divided. While the U.S., Britain and France favor limited sanctions on Iran, the other veto-holding members, Russia and China, who has lucrative economic ties with Iran, resist.

WANG GUANGYA, CHINESE AMB. TO THE U.N.: There are a lot of problems in the region, and we should not do anything that would cause the situation more complicated. MALVEAUX: Part of that complication, oil. Today, President Bush sat down with the leader of one of Iran's neighbors, Azerbaijan. As one of the just two Muslim nations to send troops to support the U.S. effort in Iraq, it's a critical ally. Its president is now poised to open a new pipeline to Western markets, offering more oil to the U.S. as an alternate testify supplies from Russia and the Middle East.

BUSH: And I appreciate the vision of the government and the vision of the president in helping this world achieve what we all want, which is energy security.


MALVEAUX: But international observers say Azerbaijan is perhaps one of the most corrupt governments in the world. The Bush administration, which has really made government and democratic reform, of course, the centerpiece of his foreign policy, is emphasizing that that government has made some progress -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne, thanks for that update.

Once again, we're following this developing story, it's a breaking story. Rush Limbaugh, his attorney says he was booked, not necessarily arrested. The sheriff says he's been arrested on a single count of prescription drug fraud.

Our John Zarrella sorting through all of this. We are going to go back there and get the latest on what's going on with the most popular conservative radio talk show host in the United States.

Also this: George Clooney here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'll ask him about his trip to Sudan in recent days. We'll find out why he calls Hillary Clinton also the most polarizing figure in American politics.

Plus, Bill Clinton, from president to philanthropist, he's now leading a global summit on AIDS with our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We have that story. We also have the other causes that Bill Clinton's involved in since leaving the White House.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

Today, the most popular conservative radio talk show host in the United States was arrested. That according to officials in Florida.

Rush Limbaugh was arrested on a prescription fraud charge. Limbaugh turned himself into authorities apparently after striking a deal with prosecutors.

We have all the details on what exactly happened. That's coming up in just a few moments. Also today, an African country is on the receiving end of a tough message from President Bush. The crisis in Sudan is creating so much concern it's led elected members of the U.S. Congress to break the law to try to get the world's attention. And they're not the only ones raising awareness.

In a moment, my special interview with George Clooney, who's just back from Africa. He returns with a shocking first-person account.

First, though, let's bring in our Zain Verjee. She's in THE SITUATION ROOM with what's going on -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, this is where the U.S. says the first genocide of the 21st century is happening, Sudan, in eastern Africa. In a western region known as Darfur, it's approximately the size of Texas. Tens of thousands have been killed in a brutal war, a war essentially for more money and more power.

More than two million people are now refugees, and they're running out of food and time.


VERJEE (voice over): At the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, lawmakers breaking the law.

REP. TOM LANTOS (D), CALIFORNIA: We will not watch the slaughter in Darfur.

VERJEE: One by one, arrested, handcuffed and hauled off in front of cameras and a cheering audience. Representatives Sheila Jackson- Lee of Texas, James Moran of Virginia, James McGovern and John Oliver of Massachusetts and Tom Lantos of California, a Holocaust survivor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop raping women in Sudan!

VERJEE: They're demanding the Sudanese government stop the bloodshed in Darfur and allow food aid to get to refugees. And they're demanding the international community intervene to provide security to civilians.

At the White House, President Bush repeated his administration's criticism of Sudan.

BUSH: The message to the Sudanese government is we're very serious about getting this problem solved. We don't like it when we see women raped and brutalized.

VERJEE: The president also called on NATO to play a peacekeeping role in Darfur, and he issued an executive order that freezes the assets of four men alleged to be involved in atrocities.

Like Tibet, Darfur has become a cause celebre for celebrities. Don Cheadle, Angelina Jolie and George Clooney among them.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Now what you need is some plastic and some water.

VERJEE: Clooney has just spent several days on the border with Darfur, spending time with just a few of the tens of thousands of refugees there.

CLOONEY: Anyone killed or hurt?



VERJEE: Jolie took out this newspaper ad to inform Americans about what's going on in Darfur. And Cheadle, star of "Hotel Rwanda," has written many op-eds, saying in "USA Today": "There is one major difference between Rwanda and Sudan. In Sudan, it's not too late to act."


VERJEE: Many Americans will be taking action this weekend. A rally against the Darfur genocide is scheduled for Sunday here in Washington, and, Wolf, George Clooney will be among those who will be attending.

BLITZER: Zain, thanks for that.

Politicians, celebrities clearly shining the spotlight on the situation in the Darfur region, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions displaced in what the U.S. government terms a genocide. George Clooney is among those lending his star power to this cause. I spoke with the actor about his recent trip to Africa. We were joined by Samantha Power, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her book "Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide."


BLITZER: Samantha Power and George Clooney, thanks very much for joining us.

CLOONEY: Thank you.

BLITZER: Welcome back. Why did you go?

CLOONEY: Well, it first started -- I was reading Nick Kristof's articles in the "New York Times," and he had just come back.

BLITZER: He's a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.

CLOONEY: Sitting next to another Pulitzer Prize winner. And I've read Samantha's articles and her book, and felt like it was probably a good time to cash in whatever celebrity credit card you get from having a good year on bringing some attention.

BLITZER: So what do you want? What do you hope to achieve? What's the single most important thing you want to achieve from your journey out to Africa? CLOONEY: The single most important thing I want to achieve is to try and help make sure that it gets on the air, that people see it, that people are talking about genocide, which they're not, in general. And not just in this country but in the whole world.

But if I show up in places, sometimes cameras follow, and that's a good thing because then we can have these conversations, and help, perhaps, the administration and the U.N. and all the people who actually want to do something about this. But they don't have the political capital.

BLITZER: You mentioned what Nicholas Kristof wrote. He wrote this, and it seems to sum up the world's attitude, especially Americans' attitude, toward what's happening in Darfur: "Mr. Bush is paralyzed for the same reasons as his predecessors when faced with genocide. There is no great public outcry. There are no neat solutions. We already have our hands full, and it all seems rather distant and hopeless."

I think that sort of conveys what's going on right now in this country as far as the horrors of what's happening in Sudan.

CLOONEY: But it's interesting how quickly things aren't hopeless when people, a group of people -- American citizens, European citizens -- suddenly stand up and say, OK, wait a minute. Let's take a look at this. This is the first time that I know of that someone's talked about genocide while it's going on. Well, there's an opportunity there for the people to stand up and say, OK, now let's make this simpler by saying we're going to make it -- we're going to make this important enough that it'll make it easier for the administration to do something.

BLITZER: Give us the numbers, Samantha. You're an expert on what's happening in Sudan and Darfur. Give us the numbers of the horror. What's involved right now?

SAMANTHA POWER, PULITZER-PRIZE WINNER: Well, it's been called a slow-motion genocide, but that, I think, underplays what's actually happening. About 400,000 people have died so far. Two or three million people have been displaced, two million we know about because they're holed up in camps. Well, they're called camps; they're basically in these wide fields, dependent on handouts when they come, when aid workers are actually able to brave the Janjaweed patrols that surround the camps.

And those people remain incredibly vulnerable. But the attacks are even continuing. Just three or four days ago, the Sudanese government again launched Antonov and helicopter gunship attacks at another village. There have been 80,000 people displaced just in the last two months alone, so that number of three million, which is just almost plucked from the sky, because we can't access the people who are in need -- we know one thing, and that is that it's increasing.

We also know that the Sudanese government has become more and more obstructive, that they're expelling aid groups, not allowing even senior U.N. and U.S. officials into the camps. And, of course, we all know from the 20th century what happens when a government that is intent on committing genocide also knows that people aren't watching. It does it really with abandon, and it counts on impunity.

BLITZER: And complicating this, George, in recent days, Osama bin Laden has now weighed in and said that the Muslims in Sudan have to stand up to the United Nations, the West, the United States, if they come in to try to intervene. What do you make of that?

CLOONEY: Well, nothing -- again, none of this is very simple. On the other hand, I think that that should point to exactly what it is we're talking about, which is Bashir met with the Iranians two days ago and talked about getting nuclear technology from the Iranians. He is being defended by Osama bin Laden.

BLITZER: This is the leader of Sudan.

CLOONEY: The leader of Sudan. So clearly, when they say to us we're not really bombing people and we're really a bunch of good guys over here, perhaps when you see who they're teaming up with, maybe that tells you something about what the Sudanese government is actually -- what the Khartoum government is actually...

BLITZER: Let me read to you another quote from Nicholas Kristof. "Part of the problem is that President Bush hasn't made it a top priority, but at least he is now showing signs of stirring. In fact, he has done more than most other world leaders, and more than many Democrats. Our failure in Darfur is utterly bipartisan."

Do you agree with him on that?

CLOONEY: I think it is. I think that we are a country that is always slow to act. We always have been in almost everything, but especially on situations like this. Rwanda is a perfect example, the Balkans are a good example. But we -- once we get our mind to it, we do it pretty well. We have failed, you know -- it's politically savvy to say, hey, we're all doing a little bit of something and it's good that we're moving in the right direction. We're not doing enough.

BLITZER: What do you want President Bush to do?

CLOONEY: Well, there's -- immediately, we want to try and get security. That's the first thing, security.

BLITZER: Sending U.S. troops? You want to send in the Marines?


BLITZER: What do you want to see happen, militarily get involved?

CLOONEY: I think through NATO, if we could get a bridging force through NATO while we put together something in the U.N., I think that that's our best bet. I don't think that that -- I don't think anyone wants that to be or thinks that's going to be American troops. It means that we, who -- America, who usually is very good at coordinating these things, can be the leader in coordinating these things.

BLITZER: But when it comes to this issue, George, you and the president and the Bush administration are pretty much on the same page.

CLOONEY: I think so. I think that -- and I think that most of the world, especially most of the country is on the same page, if they are reading the book. And unfortunately, that book isn't getting read very often right now or loud enough. And so my job is to try and bring attention that.

BLITZER: When it comes to Iraq, you and the president are not on the same page.

CLOONEY: No, but that's not what we're here to discuss. You know, I agree, but you know, I also would suggest that Senator Brownback and Senator Obama, who are the two leading the way in the Senate, don't agree on very many things either. But they certainly agree on this.

I think that there's no two sides to this issue, Wolf. I mean, there really are no two sides to it. There is simply one side. There's no two sides to the idea of rape.

BLITZER: How do you explain -- how do you explain that 60 years after the Holocaust, after Rwanda and Burundi and what's happened in the Balkans, that this kind of thing can go on in this day and age?

CLOONEY: Because we've -- and it happens a lot with us. We've spent a lot of our political capital in other places, and probably Iraq would be one of them. We certainly have not the greatest relationship with the U.N. So there's a lot of other elements that are playing. China has not been very forthcoming with sanctions against the Sudanese government. And they're getting free reign because they're getting oil by themselves without competing with America right now.

It's a tough, tough situation to solve. But if we get -- if we're able to just protect some of these people and then start a diplomatic -- start some diplomatic measures, we'd have a chance.

BLITZER: Let me give you a couple of quotes that you made in recent weeks. And we're almost out of time. I want you to have a chance to respond. "The Sunday Times" of London quoted you in December, saying "the Democrats were scared on Iraq and the truth is they backed themselves into a corner. They didn't have the political resolve to tough it out and now they are paying the price." What did you mean by that?

CLOONEY: Well, I think that, you know, was at a time when the issue was you are either with us or with the enemy, as we were going into the war.

I think that there were a great many Democrats who didn't truly believe that all of the ideas that we were tied to al Qaeda or -- not that we were tied to al Qaeda but that Hussein was tied to al Qaeda or that they had anything to do with 9/11. I think there were a lot of Democrats that didn't buy into that. But many of them didn't stand up, and I think that it cost them in the elections.

BLITZER: You said this about junior senator from New York, Hillary Clinton. You characterized her as the most polarizing figure in American politics.

CLOONEY: Yes, but I didn't -- that wasn't -- believe it or not that wasn't an insult. Someone was asking me, you know, can she win? And I said I think that she can absolutely can win. She's polarizing. People in one side of the country are, you know, adamant against her, and people on the other -- and you know this better than anyone, you've seen this for a while. There are very strong feelings on either side for Hillary Clinton. You know, I'm a Democrat. I like her, but she is certainly polarizing.

BLITZER: Thanks for your good work. Thanks for making the trip. Hopefully it will result in something tangible. I am tempted to say to both of you good night and good luck, but I'm sure a lot of people say that to you. Samantha Power, thank you very much. George Clooney, thanks to you.

CLOONEY: Thanks, Wolf.


BLITZER: And up ahead, more on our breaking news. A story we've been following for the past hour or so, the radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The sheriff says he's been arrested on prescription drug charges. His attorney says he's been booked, not necessarily arrested. That's the mug shot from earlier today. That attorney, the famed criminal defense attorney Roy Black. He's joining us right after this quick break. We'll be right back with all the latest on Rush Limbaugh.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

We are watching a developing story, Rush Limbaugh. Was he arrested today? Was he simply booked? What's going on with the most powerful conservative radio talk show host in the United States?

Joining on the phone right now is Rush Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black.

Roy, thanks very much. We have the mug shot. We're showing it to our viewers. I take it he was booked? What's the difference between being booked or being arrested?

ROY BLACK, RUSH LIMBAUGH'S ATTORNEY: Well, Wolf, I am glad -- first of all, I'm happy to appear on your show, as always, but it gives me a chance to explain what happened. We entered into an agreement with the Palm Beach County state attorney's office that Rush would not be prosecuted for any offense. He would enter what's called the pre-trial intervention program, which is a diversion program. It means that you are not prosecuted in any criminal court. In order to enter the program you have to go down and be booked. In other words, you have to go down and be fingerprinted and have your mug shot taken. He was not arrested.

We drove over to the sheriff's office, went through the booking process, which took about half an hour and walked out. On Monday, a signed agreement will be executed. He will be put into the program, and after 18 months the case will be dismissed. And then the case will be expunged, and he will not have any criminal record and will not be prosecuted for any criminal offense.

BLITZER: Is that a difference, though, without a distinction, being booked and taken a mug shot, as opposed to being arrested because we spoke with Mike Edmondson from the sheriff's office up in Palm Beach. And he said formally -- he said flatly that Rush Limbaugh was in fact arrested.

BLACK: Well, it depends on the difference between the legal definition and what's in the public's mind. What the public believes is when you're arrested the police come out and put handcuffs on you and put you in jail. Of course, that didn't happen here.

Rush voluntarily went down there to be fingerprinted and to have his mug shot taken. There were no handcuffs. He was not put in a jail cell. It was only a technical process, so the pre-trial diversion program could begin.

So whatever you want to call it, police officers did not put handcuffs on him, did not arrest him, did not put him in jail. He walked in with his lawyers and gave his fingerprints and had a photograph taken. That's the sole extent of what happened today.

BLITZER: And the agreement, Roy, that he makes is that he will remain clear of abusing prescription drug medication over the next year and a half then he can go scot-free, no record or anything like that. What happens if he breaks that agreement?

BLACK: Well, Rush -- Wolf, what happened is that for two and a half years Rush has been under the supervision of a drug treatment program. He has taken many urine analysis. He's been perfectly clean, and, you know, how difficult that is through something like an addiction to prescription pills. So Rush has done an excellent job.

The agreement is he will continue in that same program for another 18 months, and at the end of those 18 months the case will be dismissed.

BLITZER: Roy Black, as usual, thanks very much for that.

I also want to bring in our senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin to button this up.

Jeff, what do you think? JEFF TOOBIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the difference between being booked and being arrested is really a question of semantics. I think what's really important is that Roy Black negotiated a very sweet deal for Rush Limbaugh.

After this investigation and these extensive search warrants that were executed and the district attorney's office won the legal case with winning the right to use those records in court, they come away with likely nothing against Rush Limbaugh. No conviction of any kind, a clean record for Rush Limbaugh after 18 months, and that's a win by any standard for a defendant.

BLITZER: Jeff Toobin, thanks to you.

Roy Black, thanks to Roy as well.

Up ahead, life after the White House. Bill Clinton goes from the Oval Office to the world stage. What's going on? We'll tell you, stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: The bottom line on the markets, it was a mixed day with the Dow and the NASDAQ both down. The S&P was up slightly.

Former president Bill Clinton is once again lending his clout to an important clause. It's just the latest of dozens of high-profile endeavors he's taken since leaving the White House. CNN's Mary Snow is joining us from New York with details -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Bill Clinton's post- presidential days have boosted his popularity, has even won him at least one unlikely ally. These days, his main focus? Philanthropy.


SNOW (voice-over): It's part presidential, part celebrity, and former President Bill Clinton is using his appeal to wipe out AIDS.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of the work I do is not highly visible or sexy in that sense, you know, not high sort of flashy stuff, but it can save a lot of lives.

SNOW: In a CNN Global Summit titled "THE END OF AIDS," Clinton's talk was reminiscent of the town hall-type meetings that helped him get elected.

CLINTON: I think we should let each country's culture define what we do in the area of prevention.

SNOW: Since leaving the White House he's visited 65 countries, headed two foundations, opened a presidential library, was sidelined by heart bypass surgery, rebounded, and has teamed up with one-time rival, President Bush Senior.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My wife Barbara still calls us the odd couple.

SNOW: The Bush-Clinton pairing helped raise funds for tsunami and Hurricane Katrina relief, and has since become comic relief. At the State of the Union ...

BUSH: This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turned 60, including two of my dad's favorite people: me and President Clinton.

SNOW: At a famous funeral.

CLINTON: When President Bush 41 complained that he was at a disadvantage because he was an Episcopalian, and then he came up here and zinged Joe Lowery like he did, I thought that ain't bad for one of the frozen chosen.


SNOW: And in the comics.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH: My favorite cartoon had two panels in it. One of them showed the president of the United States up there saying, "I'm against gay marriage!" The next panel in the cartoon showed Clinton and me sitting on a couch holding hands and the president walks in and goes "Daddy!"

SNOW: But Bill Clinton wasn't all so popular.

STEPHEN HESS, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: He did come out of office with some real negatives, and I think it was very important for him to redefine or make clear how he determined his own presidency.

SNOW: And there may still be possibilities should his wife run for president and win.

HESS: As opposed to the first lady, he could be the first gentleman.


SNOW: It remains to be seen. Observers also point out that Bill Clinton has what many ex-presidents do not. He was young when he left office. He's turning 60 this year -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Still a baby boomer. Thanks, Mary, for that.

And you can see a lot more of the former president at work tomorrow night. A special, "CNN PRESENTS: THE END OF AIDS, A GLOBAL SUMMIT WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON." Sanjay Gupta will moderate, tomorrow night 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN. Sunday night as well.

Still ahead, nuclear Iran. The nation in defiance of the U.N. Security Council. So what should be done right now? Jack Cafferty going through your e-mails. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Jack's in New York with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Wolf, if it was Texas hold 'em, Iraq moved all in today. They refused to stop enriching uranium despite a U.N. deadline to do so. So now the question is, what should the United Nations do about Iran?

Sam writes, "The U.N. should honor the word of Iran's leaders and immediately authorize the use of force. If Iran is allowed to perpetuate its avowed strategies or perpetrate its avowed strategies, war will ensue regardless of any outside actions. They move all in, we call and raise."

Frank in Connellsville, PA: "Move its headquarters, the U.N., to Iran. This creates as a win-win. New York wins by getting rid of a useless body, Iran gets to brag about being the world headquarters of something besides terrorism."

Alan in Fernley, Nevada, a place I used to hunt doves when I was a kid. "We should do nothing. Let the Arabs handle it. We can't sustain a war on another front. We're already losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, let someone else step up to the plate for once."

Norm in California: "Why is it the U.N., the U.S., the press and everyone else is going ballistic over the possibility of Iran building nuclear weapons and we don't hear a peep about Israel's large stockpile of nuclear weapons? Why shouldn't Iran want nuclear weapons"?

Beth in Spokane, Washington: "Pass a million resolutions, and if that doesn't work, initiate an oil for food program."

And Al in Mission Viejo, California: "Well, Jack, since the Iranian people like Americans but dislike our government, it seems the feeling is mutual. The obvious solution is for us to agree to remove our president. They'll agree to remove theirs. Chances are the U.S. and Iran could then enjoy a pretty good relationship" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, have a great weekend. We'll see you back here on Monday. We'll see you over the weekend on "IN THE MONEY." It airs Saturdays and Sundays.

Today the controversial film "Flight 93" hits the big screen, but playing on small computer screens everywhere right now, conspiracy theorists are using the Internet to try to parade their versions of the terrorist attacks.

Our Jacki Schechner is standing by with more on that -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, one of those movies is called "Loose Change," and can see part of the trailer playing behind me. The filmmaker, Dylan Avery, tells me that he doesn't think it was jet fuel that brought down the Twin Towers. Instead, he thinks it was controlled explosions.

He hopes to have his film in theaters September 11th of this year, but he claims that more than three million people have already watched the film for free courtesy of Google Video.

Now, there are other sites online that also believe in the explosives theory. There's one site that's offering $1 million for anyone who can prove that the explosives were not used. There's also this Web site online, They're circulating petitions. They want the government to release Pentagon surveillance video saying they think a cruise missile hit the Pentagon instead of a plane.

It's important to note, of course, Wolf, that these are all conspiracy theories and they do run counter to all mainstream media reporting and Congressional investigations -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jacki, have a great weekend. Thanks to you as well.

I'll be back Sunday for "LATE EDITION," the last word in Sunday talk. Among my guests, the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She's just back from Iraq. "LATE EDITION" starts 11:00 a.m. Eastern, 8:00 a.m. Pacific.

See you Sunday for that. Until then, thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW" -- Paula.