Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

New Details on Decision to Deploy Thousands of Troops to U.S.- Mexico Border; Interview With U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; 9/11 Attack Video; Bush Attempts to Reclaim His Base; Bono Guest Editor for British Newspaper; Emotional First Day for Tony Snow; Architects Revisit Office Cubicles

Aired May 16, 2006 - 17:00   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 today's top stories.

Happening now, it's 5:00 p.m. here in Washington, where we have new details on the dispatch of National Guard troops to the border with Mexico. Could these border deployment boomerang on the Bush administration? I'll ask the attorney general of the United States, Alberto Gonzales. He's standing by live.

Just released video shows a hijacked airliner crashing into the Pentagon. Could these shocking images put to rest a 9/11 conspiracy theory? We'll get reaction from a 9/11 widow who is also an airline insider.

And an emotional first briefing for Tony Snow back at the White House after a comeback from cancer. Why many are now able to face grueling jobs after fighting for their lives.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

America's citizen soldiers may now do their annual training on the Mexican border so that the National Guard can carry out its new mission to help control illegal immigration. There are new details today on the president's decision to deploy thousands of troops to the border.

Let's turn to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is now becoming clear that there are still many details to be worked out.


STARR (voice over): The first of 6,000 troops are expected to arrive on the U.S.-Mexico border next month. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says the National Guard will be part of a comprehensive approach to border security. MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We could have a transformative effect on the immigration problem and illegal migration problem that has plagued this country for over 20 years.

STARR: The Pentagon says the Guard will be doing some of the same jobs it already handles.

PAUL MCHALE, ASST. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The missions will include, for example, surveillance and reconnaissance, engineering support, transportation support, logistics support, vehicle dismantling, medical support, as noted by Secretary Chertoff, barrier and infrastructure construction, road building, and linguistics support.

STARR: One of the most sensitive issues, will troops carry weapons and be authorized to shoot?

LT. GEN. STEVEN BLUM, CHIEF, NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU: It is something that must be addressed, ma'am, because it's very important that soldiers know what the expectations are and what the rules are for the area they're operating in.

STARR: Guard commanders say they hope to make it all work by sending troops in for perhaps just a few weeks at a time during their scheduled training periods so their families and jobs will not be disrupted.

BLUM: The only thing that we're really going to do is change the location of where they were going to do their training.


STARR: Wolf, the National Guard is expected to use helicopters and other sensors to try and watch for people crossing the border. But still, one thing they are not going to do is engage in law enforcement. They will not be arresting people, they will not be detaining people -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Barbara, thank you.

Will the deployment of troops to the border with Mexico have any impact on illegal immigration? Could the Bush administration be facing a backlash, including from some of its best friends?

Joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM is the attorney general of the United States, Alberto Gonzales.

Thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: Well, what do you think? Some of your conservative friends think this is a facade, that these troops going to the border for two- week periods of time without even weapons is useless.

GONZALES: Well, I think having a strong show of force along the border will have a deterrent effect. BLITZER: Are they actually going to be on the border, though, or as opposed to being behind the scenes?

GONZALES: Well, I don't -- there will be a sign of force that will be visible along the border. Clearly, the National Guard troops will be there to support the work of the Border Patrol officers. They're there to provide a supportive role. They will not be engaged in law enforcement.

But I think any time you have that kind of visible show of force, I think it will have a deterrent effect.

BLITZER: Will they be armed? In other words, are you fully clear on the rules of engagement these military forces will have?

GONZALES: Well, obviously, that will be something that will have to be worked out. Those rules of engagement will have to be very, very clear so there's no misunderstanding. Clearly, though, these folks will have -- will have the opportunity and the authority to defend themselves, to protect themselves. But as to the specific rules of engagement, that will be something that will have to be worked out.

BLITZER: Will they carry weapons?

GONZALES: Again, I think -- that will be something that will have to be worked out. But I'm quite confident they certainly will have the authority to protect themselves.

BLITZER: If there's a show of force, as you say, along the border of Mexico, isn't this the same thing as militarizing the border with a good friend, Mexico? And people in Mexico would understandably be upset about that?

GONZALES: We want to be very, very careful, of course, about making it clear to Mexico and other folks along the border that this is not about militarizing the border. We have had National Guard troops working along the border for quite some time...

BLITZER: But only a few hundred.

GONZALES: ... on counter-narcotics efforts. Clearly, this -- we're talking about an increased number here, but one of the reasons the president went out yesterday to talk to the American people and to our friends in Mexico is to make it clear what his objectives are here. And that is to secure the border. This is not to militarize the border.

BLITZER: You're the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Are you comfortable as your critics say that you are rewarding lawbreakers by allowing them this path towards citizenship?

GONZALES: Well, the president made it clear that there is no automatic path to citizenship. That certain things -- people will have to pay a penalty. They'll have to suffer consequences for their -- for their actions in coming into this country illegally. The president does not believe in amnesty. The steps that he outlined yesterday do not constitute amnesty in his judgement. In my judgement they do not constitute amnesty. People will have to suffer consequences, adverse consequences.

BLITZER: But if they pay their taxes, they do the right thing, stay out of trouble, over a number of years, eventually, they could become citizens of the United States. I assume that you're in favor of that because the president is in favor of that. But the critics aren't in favor of that.

GONZALES: But they will have to stand in line behind those who have -- who have followed the law. And so others who have followed the law will not be penalized. And those who have not followed the law will suffer adverse consequences.

BLITZER: What do you also say to the critics who say that you have been in office now for almost six years, the Bush administration, you haven't been enforcing the current laws on the books when it comes to illegal immigrants, the millions in this country. There are plenty of penalties for employers, for example, who hire illegal immigrants, plenty of penalties for the illegal immigrants, especially those who are convicted of crimes to be deported. But you really haven't been implementing the laws of the land that you already have on the books.

GONZALES: Clearly, we have to do a better job. I will say the prosecutions for immigration related offenses are up 40 percent since President Bush became president. And as the president announced last night, we have returned six million people that have been captured on the border that have tried to cross into this country illegally.

So we have made some progress because of additional border agents, because of new technology. But we need to do a better job, there's no question about it. And that's why the president is focused on this, has been focused on it for several years, but understands that we need to accelerate our efforts here in order to ensure that the security of this country is protected by having a secure border.

BLITZER: Here is what the governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, said today on reacting to what the president proposed with the National Guard and other steps last night.

Listen to this.


GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: I wish they had consulted with us, because what I would have said is -- I would have said, "Accelerate the number of border patrol agents that you promised us." New Mexico was promised 265 new border agents from the last appropriations bill. Only a handful have arrived.


BLITZER: Was there no consultation with the governor of Mexico, which has a long border with Mexico? GONZALES: My understanding is that there was consultation with the governors. But let me just say that we agree...

BLITZER: But he says he wasn't consulted.

GONZALES: We agree with Governor Richardson in that we need to get more border agents on the border as quickly as possible. However, to ensure that they're properly trained will take a little bit of time. And during that time, that's why the president has proposed sending the National Guard to support the existing numbers of Border Patrol agents along the border.

BLITZER: Even some of your best friends in the House, Roy Blunt, the third Republican, the number three Republican, the majority whip in the House, he says, "I have real concerns about moving forward with a guest worker program or a plan to address those currently in the United States illegally until we have adequately addressed our serious border security problems."

It's highly unusual to get these kinds of critical statements from your leaders, the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. Put on your political hat for a moment and tell me if you believe that a Senate version, if it's passed, can be reconciled with a House version given the strong positions of the Republicans in the House.

GONZALES: It has to be reconciled. Wolf, we have a window of opportunity here to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It is important to the national security of this country. And therefore, the leaders of Congress have to work together to come up with a bill that the president of the United States can sign, because this is what is as stake here in this debate, the national security of this country.

BLITZER: You're the first Hispanic who has been the attorney general of the United States. Let me quote another Hispanic, Senator Mel Martinez, of Florida, who is quoted in the current "Newsweek" magazine.

He says -- last month, actually -- "Republicans have made significant gains among Latinos, and we're risking all of that by allowing ourselves to be positioned as anti-immigrant. We are at great peril."

You're a grandson of immigrants who came to this country from Mexico, migrant workers, dirt poor. You're a representation of the great American dream. How do you feel now about these comments coming out basically attacking these people who are just -- most of them are simply striving to make a living and have a better life?

GONZALES: I think Hispanics believe in the rule of law. I mean, obviously, we all want a better life. We want a better life and better future for our children. We also believe very much in the rule of law.

If laws exist, they have to be respected. They have to be enforced. And so I believe that what the president outlined last night, a comprehensive immigration policy, is one that will resonate well with many members of the Hispanic community.

BLITZER: When you see these migrant workers, these people sneaking across, at one point you were quoted as saying that, you know, you basically see yourself, your family, the history that you had coming to this country. You must identify with all these people who are here, to a certain degree, illegally.

GONZALES: I understand why they come. I think all Americans would understand why someone would come to this country, which is the greatest country in the world, is because they want a better life for themselves and a better future for their children.

So obviously, yes, I understand why they want to come to the United States of America. But I also understand that we are a nation of laws. Those laws have to be enforced and respected.

We are a sovereign nation. We have to have control of our borders. And in the post-9/11 world, we absolutely have to know, this country has to know, who is coming in and why. It is absolutely essential.

BLITZER: Give us your -- tell our viewers who aren't familiar your personal story, how you got to where you are, your grandparents, your parents. They struggled, they came here. I don't know if they came here legally or illegally, but give us the story.

GONZALES: Well, three of my grandparents were born in Mexico. They came to Texas. My parents -- both of my parents were born in Texas, extremely poor. My mother...

BLITZER: But when they came to Texas, were they legally documented, were they unlegally documented?

GONZALES: You know, it's unclear. It's unclear. And I've looked at this issue, I've talked to my parents about it, and it's just not clear.

But in any event, my mother had a second grade education -- my father had a second grade education, my mother had a sixth grade education. And my father worked construction.

And so for me, my life represents the American dream. There are so many wonderful opportunities in this country. And that's why you have such a pull for people to come into this country who simply want a better life for themselves and for their children.

BLITZER: Well said. Thank you very much.

The attorney general of the United States.

Appreciate your coming in.

GONZALES: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: New developments just coming in, in the last hour, in the case of the government's collecting information on phone calls.

Let's go straight to our Abbi Tatton. She's got the situation online -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, this is the latest from Verizon. In a written statement, they have denied media reports that Verizon entered into a contract with the NSA. What Verizon is saying is it did not give out customer phone records nor was asked to provide those records to the NSA.

Now, you'll remember that earlier yesterday, BellSouth said, "We have provided no customer information whatsoever to the NSA." So now you have BellSouth, along with Verizon, both denying that they have entered into any kind of contract with the NSA -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We're seeing some class action suits against Verizon, along with AT&T, BellSouth. Abbi, what's the latest on that?

TATTON: Against all three of these companies. Yes, Wolf.

One of them that was filed by two New Jersey attorneys on behalf of Verizon subscribers has today been amended to include subscribers as well from AT&T and BellSouth. We also saw another one that was followed in district -- in a court in the District of Columbia. Three separate class action lawsuits, again, against BellSouth, AT&T and Verizon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi, thank you very much.

Let's check back with Jack. He's in New York -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Alberto Gonzales, he said that, you know, it's up to the congressional leaders to come up with some sort of immigration reform bill for the president to sign because the security of the country is at stake. They have been in charge of that security since 9/11, haven't they? Hasn't that been their responsibility?

BLITZER: Yes. The answer is yes. It's their responsibility.

CAFFERTY: But now, five years after the fact, it's suddenly somebody else's problem. I'm not sure I quite understand that.

Anyway, on to other things, we won't have Vicente Fox to kick around anymore. And that's probably a good thing.

The main candidates in Mexico's upcoming July president election are already weighing in on the immigration debate. None of them is very happy about President Bush's speech last night, his proposal to send 6,000 National Guard troops to the border.

The conservative frontrunner in Mexico say policies that only look at security always fail. He says sending guard troops will only benefit the criminal groups who traffic immigrants.

On the other side of the Mexican political spectrum, his leftists rival says that sending the National Guard will generate "more friction and more human rights violations." He also says that creating more jobs in Mexico is the only way to fix the immigration crisis. Now there's an idea, improve the working conditions in Mexico so the citizens there don't need to illegally run away from that country and come to this country.

Here is the question for this hour: Should the Mexican government have anything to say about U.S. immigration policy?

E-mail your thoughts to or go to -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You know, Jack, Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, in many respects, he is the embodiment of the American dream. His grandparents came here. He's not even sure if they came here legally or illegally from Mexico. And he's become the highest law enforcement officer of the United States.

It's a pretty powerful statement, history that he brings to the table.

CAFFERTY: Well, you know, you haven't done badly either. I'm not sure where your family came from. We're all -- I guess if you go back far enough, we're all from immigrants at some point back in the genealogy. And some of us have, you know, done better than others.

But, I mean, it is a land of opportunity. But Mr. Gonzalez would appreciate as the attorney general, the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the country, that we are also a nation of laws. And there are laws already on the books against entering this country illegally. And the fact of the matter is they're not being enforced very well, are they?

BLITZER: I think that's a fair statement. He acknowledged it himself. They could be doing a better job. That's what you heard him say.

Jack, thank you very much.

And to our viewers, if you want a sneak preview of Jack's questions, plus an early read on the day's political news, what's ahead in THE SITUATION ROOM, here's what you do. You sign up for our daily e-mail alert. Simply go to

Up ahead, nuclear tensions increasing with the West. Our Aneesh Raman is one of the few Western television reporters inside Iran right now and he has an exclusive interview with that country's foreign minister. We're going to share it with you.

Also, it's the worst flooding to hit New England in decades. We'll have the latest on the situation there.

Plus, we'll show you some gripping new video of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and explain why it's being released right now.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Just a short while ago, the Defense Department released the first video images of American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon on 9/11. The move follows a suit by a watchdog group aimed at disproving conspiracy theories.

Let's bring in our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, these images do provide a new window into seeing what happened on September 11th here at the Pentagon. But will they stop the wacky conspiracy theories? Probably not.


MCINTYRE (voice over): The tapes are a more complete and unedited version of five still frames CNN obtained from a Pentagon security camera and was first to broadcast back in March of 2002. The newly released video includes a view from a second camera at the same checkpoint which provides a slightly clearer view of the American Airlines 757 as it flew just feet above the ground and slammed into the Pentagon.

One video shows the nose of the plane as it enters the frame. The other shows the fuselage as it whizzes by at several hundred miles per hour.

The tapes were sealed as evidence for the criminal trial of 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. But with his sentencing, the Justice Department released the tapes in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit followed by the legal watchdog group Judicial Watch.

TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH: Well, we wanted to help put to rest conspiracy theories suggesting it was something other than a plane that hit the Pentagon, that it was a missile or a decoy of some type.

MCINTYRE: Until now, this single frame was the only image that showed the jetliner before it hit the Pentagon. And the image is so indistinct that it helped fuel conspiracy theories that abound on the Internet, despite pictures of the wreckage and eyewitness accounts.

MIKE WALTER, EYEWITNESS: I looked off. I was -- you know, looked out my window and I saw this plane, a jet, American Airlines jet coming. And I thought, this doesn't add up. It's really low.

MCINTYRE: The Web sites often take statements out of context, such as this exchange from CNN in which I, myself, appear to be questioning whether a plane really hit the building.

But from my close-up inspection, there's no evidence of a plane crashed anywhere near the Pentagon.


MCINTYRE: Wolf, in fact, I was answering a question about an eyewitness account that a plane had crashed short of the Pentagon, and I was making the point that, no, not near the Pentagon. The only plane that crashed was at the Pentagon.

BLITZER: Jamie, thank you.

And that video is difficult for many of us to watch. All the more so for those closest to the Pentagon tragedy.

Let's turn to Brian Todd. He's been speaking to some family members -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, today, in fact, I spoke to three relatives of Flight 77 victims. They have all been public figures since September 11th. And you'll see with one of them, any new image of that day makes it feel like yesterday.


TODD (voice over): Beforehand, Rosemary Dillard had no hesitation about viewing the tape. When she saw it, the pain returned.

ROSEMARY DILLARD, HUSBAND DIED ABOARD FLIGHT 77: You can see it just going farther and farther into the building itself. Then it hurts. It really hurts. And it hurts to think that all those people, both in the building and on the airplane, suffered.

TODD: Dillard's husband Eddie was onboard American Airlines Flight 77 heading to L.A. to look at a property they just bought. She believes he was seated in the same row as some of the hijackers and thinks he was killed before impact.

(on camera): Does that give you any solace at all to think that maybe by this instant he might have been out of pain?

DILLARD: I wanted to hug him again. I wanted to hold him again. And I wanted him to hold me. And that will never happen. So, no, it doesn't give me any solace.

TODD (voice over): But Dillard views this with more than a widow's grief. She worked at American Airlines for 25 years, was a base manager for flight attendants, knew several others on board.

DILLARD: I don't know. It brings back a lot of emotions. A lot of emotions. And it really hurts.


TODD: Dillard's heard all of the conspiracy theories, too, stories circulating the Internet about a missile hitting the Pentagon that Jamie alluded to earlier. She doesn't think this release will put an end to those, and she wants other tapes reported to have recorded the crash and been confiscated by the government to be released. She says she can go through this again if it will help put some more pieces together about September 11th -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, thank you for that. And coming up, we'll take you inside Iran. A special look, an exclusive look. Our Aneesh Raman has an exclusive interview with the country's foreign minister. He'll ask him about the nuclear standoff with the West.

Plus, the latest on the flooding that's forced thousands of people from their homes in New England. We'll take you there live.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Zain Verjee is standing by at the CNN Center in Atlanta with a quick look at some other important stories making news -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, a couple of stories.

You're looking live at Methuen, Massachusetts, where floodwaters are rising. They're expecting to crest tonight. After that, the worst may be over for New England, which may be seeing the most serious flooding to hit the region in 70 years.

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch is scheduled to hold a news conference in just a few minutes. We're going to be monitoring that news.

The United Nations Security Council is taking action on the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region. Members have voted unanimously to start planning for a peacekeeping force, a move blocked so far by Sudan's government.

The resolution calls for folding African Unicon peacekeepers already in Darfur into a U.N.-led force within nine months, although no such force actually exists yet. The African Union has about 7,000 troops in Darfur, a region the size of Texas. They don't have a strong enough mandate, enough money, or manpower to do the job -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Zain, thank you for that.

Iran is still digging in its heels over its nuclear program despite some intensive diplomacy.

CNN's Aneesh Raman is one of the few Western reporters inside Iran, and he's gained an exclusive interview with Iran's foreign minister.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It could be the best deal Iran will get. European officials are reportedly considering offering Tehran a nuclear reactor to pursue civilian nuclear energy without enriching uranium on Iranian soil. But Iran's foreign minister tells CNN enrichment is irreversible.

MANOUCHEHR MOTTAKI, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Any decision by any organization defers (ph) to the suspension, to the -- ignoring the right of Iran for enrichment, avoiding of having nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. From now is not acceptable.

RAMAN: Iran is still refusing to back down on what it says is a peaceful civilian nuclear program. But that's not the only thing raising concern. Add as well the aggressive statements from Iran's president saying just days ago that Israel will vanish from the map. And Tehran has been consistently warning that if the U.S. attacks, Iran will respond in kind.

MOTTAKI: The situation is changing in the Middle East, and still the American regime is insisting on their previous unilateral approach.

RAMAN: And for the American people, the foreign minister had this message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our nation has decided strongly, seriously, and will not change. The American regime before anybody asks, should understand and just accept.

RAMAN (on camera): It is, of course, unlikely that the U.S. or the European Union will accept an Iran that is enriching uranium, which leaves the issue at the U.N. Security Council, where an overall consensus is yet to emerge -- Wolf.


BLITZER: Aneesh, thank you. Aneesh in Tehran.

Let's check in with Ali Velshi now. He's got the bottom line. He's standing by in New York -- Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, here's a word that American auto makers haven't used in a long time: expansion. Honda has planned to build a new factory in North America. Now, this is according to reports in a Japanese newspaper. The assembly plant would be Honda's sixth plant in the region, accounting for about half of Honda's annual global sales.

Now, the location of where this plant is going to be is still being decided upon. But look for it to open in about 2009. Honda has already got plants in Ohio, which -- that was their first one. In Alabama, Canada, and Mexico. But Honda still has to import cars to meet up with North American demand.

Taking a quick look at market, Wolf. The Dow traded in a fairly narrow band all session, dropping about eight points to 11,419. Home Depot was a loser. The NASDAQ fell nine points. Another ominous sign for the real estate market. Housing starts were down for the third straight month to the lowest level since November 2004 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ali, thanks for that. Coming up, rocker, humanitarian, newspaper editor? We're going to tell you why Bono of U2 may have finally found what he's looking for.

And President Bush is offering an olive branch of sorts to members of his own party over immigration reform. So how many conservatives are swayed after the president's address? We'll take a closer look.


BLITZER: Welcome back to THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

In his address on immigration last night, President Bush said he was seeking a rational middle ground. But he needed to reach out to one crucial constituency, namely hard line conservatives.

Let's turn to our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield -- Jeff.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Wolf, as you say, there's much talk today about whether President Bush succeeded in appealing to his base, conservative Republicans who wanted to hear tough language on enforcing the border and upholding the law. Did he? Well, one way to measure this is to look at past presidents who succeeded and failed in that task.


RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, I want to talk to you on a subjects of deep concern to all Americans and to many people in all parts of the world: the war on Vietnam.

GREENFIELD: On November 3, 1969, Richard Nixon spoke to a nation deeply divided by the Vietnam War. After declaring that he would not take the politically popular easy path of immediate withdrawal, Nixon made this appeal.

NIXON: So tonight, to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support. I pledged in my campaign for the presidency to end the war in a way that we could win the peace. I have initiated a plan of action which will enable me to keep that pledge. The more support I can have from the American people, the sooner that pledge can be redeemed. For the more divided we are at home, the less likely the enemy is to negotiate at Paris.

GREENFIELD: That appeal was a ten-strike, hitting directly at the block Nixon most coveted: traditional blue collar Democrats for whom patriotism was a powerful political motivator. That appeal helped Nixon win a landslide re-election against the anti-war Democrat George McGovern three years later.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I realize more than ever that as president, I need your help, so I decided to reach out and to listen to the voices of America.

GREENFIELD: In 1979, President Carter spoke to a nation increasingly unhappy with his leadership. His speech wasn't aimed at any political base. It was, instead, an amorphous appeal to recognize what he called a crisis of confidence.

CARTER: It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.

GREENFIELD: When the speech was followed by a mass firing of four cabinet members, it helps produce a crisis of confidence in Carter to the point that he was challenged to renomination by Ted Kennedy and went down to a landslide defeat in November of 1980.


GREENFIELD: Now, in Bush's case, he's attempting something especially difficult. Rally his face behind a position, tougher enforcement, that Mr. Bush has never stressed either as governor or candidate or president.

So the question is whether congressional Republicans, already concerned about their president's unpopularity, will find his stance something to rally behind or whether they're going to brush it aside politely as a pro forma gesture that's just too little and too late -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jeff Greenfield, part of the best political team on television. Thank you, Jeff. CNN, America's campaign headquarters.

Lou Dobbs part of that team, as well. He's coming up from Washington right at the top of the hour. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM to tell us what's on tap -- Lou.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": On tap tonight, we're going to be focusing, of course, on the president's speech that disappointed those for open borders and amnesty advocates, Wolf. And disappointed, as well, the conservatives and those who are interested in securing the borders. Imagine that, four and a half years after September 11.

We'll be talking, as well, with Congressman Luis Gutierrez who is the chairman of the Hispanic Caucus Immigration Committee and a very involved activist, open borders advocate and amnesty advocate.

And we'll be focusing on what's going to transpire now that the president has, if not offered a solution, at least advanced the public consciousness.

BLITZER: And now that you've had, personally, Lou Dobbs, almost 24 hours to digest and absorb what we heard from the president last night, what do you think?

DOBBS: I think the president missed a remarkable opportunity to exert real leadership on this issue.

There is no relationship between a guest worker program and border security. Border security and port security are national security issues, irrespective of the immigration issues.

This government and the administrations before it have tolerated an immigration mess for 20 years. It is not the issue of urgency. The issue of urgency is the security of the borders for 300 million Americans. And there is no way in the world this president or the Congress, the Democratic and Republican Party, can rationalize to me, at least, why they are not moving with great urgency and great effectiveness to secure that border.

BLITZER: All right, Lou. And you're going to be coming back in THE SITUATION ROOM at 7 p.m. Eastern, when you and I were at the White House Correspondents Association dinner a few weeks ago. We met the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa. The three of us chatted. We agreed that once he's in Washington...

DOBBS: He was so excited to come back and talk about it.

BLITZER: He's going to be here. You're going to be here. We'll be together, all three of us, in THE SITUATION. That will be a good discussion, 7 Eastern.

Lou Dobbs, thanks very much.

Still to come, he changed jobs to go back to the White House. But it's an even more important comeback for the new White House press secretary, Tony Snow. We'll tell you how his health played a key role and talking about it made him so emotional.

And it's a beautiful day for Bono. We're not talking about words to his song, but new words he wands you to read. We're going to have details about Bono's new gig. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Zain is joining us from the CNN Center in Atlanta.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, a celebrity newspaper editor for a day has found what he's looking for, at least for now. A big audience and a place to put out serious issues that are important to him.

Rock star Bono was the guest editor for the British newspaper "The Independent." Making front page news in this one-off edition, HIV/AIDS and poverty in Africa, climate change and the catastrophic effect on that continent. And the newspaper also has agreed to give some of its revenues to fight AIDS in Africa.

BLITZER: What kind of impact, Zain, does he really think he's going to have by his celebrity status and doing this?

VERJEE: Wolf, the paper asked that very question, if celebrities like Bono, like Bob Geldof think that they can change anything in this world by using their fame to pressure politicians and fight poverty. And Bono's response in the paper was, you know, celebrity is a ridiculous thing, he said, "but it has currency, and I want to spend mine wisely," he said.

BLITZER: Next time he's in Washington, we're going to invite him to join us here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Zain. And you're going to be here by then, as well.

VERJEE: I will. BLITZER: Zain Verjee, making her way slowly but surely to the nation's capital.

Internet reporter Jacki Schechner already in the nation -- nation's capital. She's joining us with more now with Bono's foray into real journalism -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's the power of the Internet. You can read the British newspaper online at This is the front page.

Powerful statement right at the bottom of the front page. Just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of HIV and AIDS.

Here's what you're going to find when you go look at it. Everything in red is stuff that was edited by Bono. Also, a statement by Nelson Mandela. You'll find an interview with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

You'll also find an article by U2 guitarist The Edge, talking about how to revitalize the New Orleans music scene after Hurricane Katrina.

Speaking of music, Condoleezza Rice's music picks are in this edition. She talks about her top best musical picks. No. 1 is Mozart. And No. 7, Wolf, is anything by U2.

BLITZER: Anything else cool?

SCHECHNER: In that edition?


SCHECHNER: Well, all of the funds -- or some of the funds are going to go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS and other diseases in third world countries.

BLITZER: Well, never mind. I was interested in Condoleezza Rice.

SCHECHNER: Oh, the music. Aretha Franklin.

BLITZER: Never mind. We'll do that at another time. People can go and look it up for themselves.

Up ahead, an emotional debut. Truly an emotional debut. It was Tony Snow's first televised briefing over at the White House. He's the new press secretary. Why did he get so choked up? We'll show you.

And many of those illegally entering the United States are from Mexico. So should Mexico have a say in how the U.S. shapes its immigration policy? Jack Cafferty, that's his question. He's standing by with your e-mail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: He's back on camera. But this time, a different role. Former FOX News anchor Tony Snow gave his first televised briefing today as the new White House press secretary. In addition to the business of the day, there was a very personal and emotional moment as Snow discussed his recent battle with colon cancer.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's going to sound stupid, and I'll be personal here, but -- no, no, just having gone through this last year, and I said this to Chris Wallace, was the best thing that ever happened to me.

It's my Ed Muskie moment. I lost a mother to cancer when I was 17. Same type, colon cancer. And what has happened in the field of cancer since then is a miracle.


BLITZER: Tony Snow is among a growing number of public figures who have bounced back from cancer. Our medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, has the story -- Elizabeth.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is indeed a distinguished group. Lance Armstrong, Rudy Giuliani, Nelson Mandela. What keeps them in the game? Doctors say determination and a positive attitude have a lot to do with it.

SNOW: I'm delighted to be here.

COHEN (voice-over): When Tony Snow announced he was accepting the job as White House press secretary, he made it clear he'd discussed the move first with his doctors. That's because Snow had recently undergone treatment for colon cancer.

These days, more and more high-powered people are returning to work after cancer treatment. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the bench after a bout with colon cancer. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Senator John Kerry went back to work after treatments for prostate cancer. And most recently, Senator Arlen Specter underwent treatment for blood cancer while conducting hearings on Capitol Hill.

Oncologists say new therapies and early diagnosis mean cancer in many cases is no longer a debilitating illness.

DR. LAWRENCE LESSIN, WASHINGTON CANCER CENTER: Cancer is no longer a death sentence. Most cancers are cured, and the public needs to go that.

COHEN: A study from the American Cancer Society says 84 percent of surviving cancer patients return to their jobs. But is someone who just battled cancer up to a high pressure position? The National Cancer Institute says research shows cancer survivors are as productive on the job as other employees and that it's important for patients to get back to work, not just for the paycheck, but for their self-esteem.

LESSIN: Returning to work is psychologically beneficial and is therapeutic, if you get a sense of return to normal life.

COHEN: Snow, who says he's now cancer free, will face at least 15-hour days, usually getting up at dawn and keeping in touch with the press long after the evening news is over. Doctors say former cancer patients are stronger than you might think.

LESSIN: Cancer makes you tougher individually, intellectually, spiritually, and in many different ways.

COHEN (on camera): The American Cancer Society says it does matter what type of cancer someone has. For example, someone recovering from colon, breast, or prostate cancer will tend to stay on the job longer than someone recovering from a brain tumor or leukemia -- Wolf.

COHEN: Elizabeth, thank you very much.

I just want to wish Tony Snow the best at his new job. We admire his courage for accepting this great new challenge and hope only for the best for Tony. Old friend.

Jack standing by, as well -- Jack.


The main candidates in Mexico's upcoming July presidential election are weighing in on the immigration debate in this country. And none of them is too happy today with President Bush's proposal to send 6,000 National Guard troops to the border. The question is should the Mexican government have anything to say about U.S. immigration policy?

Richard writes in Las Vegas, "Absolutely not, Jack. They have no business telling us how to secure our borders or deal with their citizens who are in our country illegally. And someone needs to inform Bush of that, for he seems to have forgotten who the hell he works for."

Joel in Prescott Valley, Arizona: "Why not? Our government can't seem to get it right, and they're doing a great of getting their citizens into our country."

Cecil in Belton, Texas: "The Mexican government should keep their opinions and their people on their side of the border."

Roger in Hazard, Kentucky: "No, the Mexican government and the illegals won't be satisfied until we make everyone in Mexico a citizen of this country. That way, we could pay for all their medical care and education, and we could put them all on welfare, so they could get free food, too. The people we have sent to Washington have sold us out." Pat in Los Angeles writes, "Of course, Jack. If the oil industry can dictate U.S. energy policy and the drug companies can draft our Medicare bills, then why shouldn't Mexico be allowed to influence our immigration laws?"

And finally, Debbie in Tennessee: "They already have a say in what we do. Didn't you hear President Bush speaking to Vicente Fox on TV last night?" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thanks very much.

Up next, Miles O'Brien. The average worker has less and less room in which to work. Is there any help on the way for us stuck in those cramped cubicles? Miles has a report. Stay with us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

A new study shows most people would prefer to work for a mother rather than a non-mother. The survey, by a women's networking organization, says mothers are better listeners and are more patient and are more able to motivate workers.

Meantime, the workplace itself could use fixing up. For that, let's go to CNN's Miles O'Brien -- Miles.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, a recent study shows the office cubicle has shrunk about 60 square feet since 2000. This could be one reason why people are so unhappy with their work environment. But a change could be on the horizon.

(voice-over) When it comes to office space, steel case designer James Ludwig is thinking out of the cube. He's trying some new shapes and sizes in office design.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about bringing architecture, furniture, and technology together in new ways, to make their people more effective.

O'BRIEN: For noise control, how about a real life cone of silence, a la "Get Smart"?

DON ADAMS, ACTOR: Something is wrong with the cone of silence.

O'BRIEN: Step into the cell cell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Industrial felt is a sound absorption material. And the ambient lining is created by LED, which also brightens when the space is occupied.

O'BRIEN: Need to collaborate with a co-worker? Have a seat in the digital yurt. Its hard outer shell reflects outside noise. The felt lined walls inside keep conversations private.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When two people come together, decisions are made more quickly. They tend to be smarter. They tend to have deeper impact. Information flows more quickly through a network.

O'BRIEN (on camera): Ludwig and his team have to be sociologists as well as designers. They spend a lot of time learning how people interact at the office. But if they succeed, what would Dilbert have to complain about -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Miles O'Brien, thank you very much.

Remember, we're back in one hour, 7 p.m. Eastern. CNN's own Lou Dobbs will return at that time. He'll join the Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa on President Bush's proposals for immigration reform and securing the U.S. border. All three of us here in one hour.

Until then, let's go to "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT". It starts right now, and Lou's here in Washington -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf.