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The Situation Room

Interview With Rudy Giuliani; Obama's Fund-Raising Bonanza

Aired April 04, 2007 - 19:00   ET


Happening now, pure evil, that's the president's new catch phrase for the war in Iraq and his defense secretary also is turning up the heat by warning, no money, no war.

Plus, Rudy Giuliani, pressed hard about his support for abortion rights. Tonight, a revealing CNN interview -- the Republican presidential contender on his problems with conservatives and on his own family issues.

And Barack Obama's fund-raising bonanza. The Democratic presidential candidate finally discloses his bottom line. Is Hillary Rodham Clinton now running scared?

Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, President Bush using red-hot language to describe the killing and chaos in Iraq -- in the midst of a bitter showdown with Congress over war funding and deadlines, Mr. Bush now calls the bloodshed in Iraq pure evil. He dropped that bombshell while speaking to U.S. troops and their families at Fort Irwin, California today. Listen to the president, this in his own words.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not a civil war, it is pure evil. And I believe we have an obligation to protect ourselves from that evil. So, while we're making progress, it's also tough, so the way to deal with it is stay on the offense.


Also tonight Defense Secretary Robert Gates sounding the alarm about the Iraq mission -- he is predicting very serious consequences for U.S. forces in just a matter of days if the new cash infusion doesn't come through.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more. Barbara, of course, when we hear the president sound those alarms, his critics question his credibility, but be now you are getting this from the Pentagon tonight.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, Defense Secretary Robert Gates had a very dire prediction today. If there isn't an agreement with Congress for additional war funds, maybe the war would have to end.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there were a complete cut-off of the funds, I mean, there's no question that that would bring an end to the war. We would have to come home if there were no funds at all.


STARR: But the political reality is there will be some sort of compromise. Money will be provided. Perhaps the only question on the table now is how much any delay will affect the young troops on the front line -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you.

According to a great many foreign affairs analysts, Iran wants to become quite simply, the super power. Meanwhile, it's a case reminiscent of the one involving Army Ranger and former football star Pat Tillman, killed in Afghanistan in 2004. Today we learned that two other American troops thought to have been killed in combat may have died by friendly fire. The Army says a probe is under way. The Army as well, those soldiers saying that they died February 2 in Iraq's Anbar province.

Those 15 British sailors and marines seized by Iran are scheduled to head home in just a few hours. Iran's hard-line president stunning the world with that surprise announcement, ending an increasingly tense standoff, but there is much more coming up later in our program.

Now, let's bring in Matthew Chance -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, thank you. Well, overwhelming relief is the emotion I think being felt in Britain tonight with the announcement by the Iranian hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that those 15 captured British sailors and marines will be released. There's been a recent development over the past hour. It's emerged for the first time in nearly two weeks since they have been held captive. The British ambassador in Tehran, the Iranian capital, has been granted access to them which is a really positive sign they could be on a plane homeward bound in the hours ahead -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Matthew, is this seen as a victory for Iran or for Mr. Blair?

CHANCE: Well, it depends who you ask. Certainly, Mr. Blair will be very happy this evening, as will the families of the sailors and the marines who are currently celebrating this announcement that they'll soon be released, that a release has come through. But I think what Iran achieved was a very strong propaganda victory. It made Britain look weak in the region to those that wanted to see that.

MALVEAUX: Matthew Chance, thank you very much.

And tonight, a big money moment in the Democratic presidential race -- Senator Barack Obama now reports raising at least $25 million in the first three months of this year. That nearly matches Senator Hillary Clinton's first quarter haul of $26 million. Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is in New Hampshire tonight.

Candy, what does this tell us about Obama's campaign and the threat, now, to Clinton?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what it tells us is that Barack Obama is a power player, that he cannot only get these huge crowds that he gets in a lot of these places, he can also raise money that is equal to at least almost on a par with Hillary Clinton. What it tells us is that he is a threat, that if the Clinton campaign wanted to kind of clear the boards here, to show people that she was inevitably going to be the candidate, it hasn't happened. Barack Obama is in this and he has proven that he can play.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Bottom line, $25 million or, as the Obama campaign puts it, at least $25 million raised in the first quarter of the year. Not bad -- a bit of a wow.

DAN BALZ, "WASHINGTON POST": To raise around $25 million having not even seriously thought about being a candidate until sometime last year, is impressive, and I thought that the fact that they've got 100,000 donors is also very impressive at this early stage.

CROWLEY: In fact, Obama had twice as many donors as Hillary Clinton but she's got more money, 26 million to his 25 million and Obama doesn't have much money left over from his Senate campaign to drive the numbers up. Clinton had 10 million from a virtually uncontested Senate race, which brings her grand total for the presidential campaign 36 million.

But the gap is less important than the message of $25 million. Obama is a heavyweight contender, his fund-raising success all the more impressive because Clinton's fundraising machinery is a proven entity much of it inherited from one of the most successful fund- raisers in modern politics, but until this day Obama's organization was untested at the presidential level. Now, all he has to do is find the ground support to match those big bucks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the challenge for him is to figure out how to bottle up this enthusiasm and turn it into something that can sustain him for a much longer period.

CROWLEY: Twenty-five and 26 million in three months are mind- boggling amounts breaking every record of modern politics putting Clinton and Obama in a tier all by themselves and sending everybody else in the race scrambling. Critics say it all speaks volumes about the system.

SHEILA KRUMHOLZ, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: Well, what it says is that it's highly dependent on money. You can have great skills, a good organization but if you don't have the money, you don't have a campaign. CROWLEY: All told, Republicans and Democrats, presidential candidates raised $130 million in three months. That's more than a million day.


CROWLEY: At the Clinton campaign, they say none of us is rattled that from an aide who added, we still believe Hillary Clinton will be the party's nominee. She has both the ideas and the experience -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Candy Crowley thanks again. Try to get out of that weather.

CROWLEY: Sure. All right -- springtime in New Hampshire.

MALVEAUX: And now, Jack Cafferty, joining us in New York with "The Cafferty File". Jack, what do you have this hour?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: At the age of 70, Arizona Senator John McCain is not too old to be president. Now on his third marriage, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has not been married too many times to be president. And as a Mormon, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's religion will not get in his way of his run to be president.

Welcome to the world according to Vice President Dick Cheney. In an interview with ABC News Radio, Cheney declined to predict who would ultimately get the Republican nomination for president in 2008. The vice president described himself as, quote, "scrupulously neutral in the competition and said he'd stay that way, stay out of it, until at least after the convention.

Here's our question then. Vice President Dick Cheney says age, ex-wives and religion don't matter when it comes to the race for the White House. Is he right? E-mail or go to -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Jack.

And coming up, I'll confront Syria's ambassador to the U.S. about threats from his government.


MALVEAUX: Are you ready to recognize Israel? Are you ready to stop support for Hezbollah and Hamas?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell are you talking about? We have offered Israel -- what are you talking about?


MALVEAUX: A combative interview with Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha. Also tonight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi under fire for her trip to Damascus, but is she conducting diplomacy better than the secretary of state?

And a possible presidential contender distances himself from what he calls ghetto talk, but is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich willing to say he's sorry?


MALVEAUX: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says quote, "the road to Damascus is a road to peace." And yet, there is no peace over her visit to Syria in defiance of the White House. CNN's Brian Todd joining us here tonight.

We have heard the administration's criticism of her trip. Obviously, we are now hearing her side.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Suzanne. Nancy Pelosi is the highest ranking American to meet with the Syrian president in 13 years, but her visit raises a serious question -- has Pelosi upstaged another very powerful woman who happens to be America's top diplomat?


TODD (voice-over): She delivers a crucial message to Syria's president.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We call to the attention of the president our concerns about fighters crossing the Iraq/Syria border.

TODD: Is the House Speaker more effective as a peacemaker than Condoleezza Rice? I asked a former president who's done his own diplomatic freelancing.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I wouldn't want to compare the two women, no, but I was very pleased when I learned that the Speaker would go to Syria. It's long overdue.

TODD: Jimmy Carter also cited, quote, "repeated failures of imagination and courage on the part of the U.S. government to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians." Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said it's obvious President Carter has strong views. Many Americans would consider them biased views and we clearly disagree with him.

For her part, Nancy Pelosi said she gave Bashar al-Assad a message from Israel, it's ready for peace talks, but one analyst says despite the images, Pelosi could never be more effective than Rice. She doesn't speak for the administration, can't deliver the promise of treaties or sanctions relief. The president has said he thinks Pelosi's overture signals Assad America speaks with two voices.

PRES. BUSH: Meetings with President Assad lead the Assad government to believe they're part of the mainstream of the international community when, in fact, they're a state sponsor of terror.

TODD: Could Assad manipulate that mixed signal against the U.S.? Analysts say with U.S./Syrian relations nearly nonexistent, that risk is minimal and manipulation carries its own risks for the Syrian.

JIM WALSH, MIT SECURITY STUDIES PROGRAM: He should not attempt to try to play this or manipulate this and if Assad or another leader were to do it, then he essentially has ruined any opportunity to have future conversations.


TODD: Analysts say the U.S. often speaks with more than one voice to friends and adversaries. They say one tangible benefit of Pelosi's trip if nothing else she can relay to the White House what Assad is thinking about Iraq, Iran and a host of other problems in the Middle East -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: As a matter of fact, that's exactly what Ed Rogers, a Republican strategist, told me just yesterday that he believes this trip will open up communications that it really could do some good. What else did President Carter say about Pelosi's trip?

TODD: Along those same lines, Suzanne. He emphasized that this is what the Iraq Study Group recommended and said Syria can actually be helpful in trying to influence the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah, so there are some benefits he sees to this trip.

MALVEAUX: Brian Todd thanks again.

TODD: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: So what practical effect might Speaker Pelosi's Syrian trip have? A short while ago, I spoke with Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States.


MALVEAUX: Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM. As you know, President Bush does not believe that Speaker Pelosi should be speaking with your president, al-Assad, and here's what he is saying about your country.


BUSH: You know photo opportunities and/or meetings with President Assad lead the Assad government to believe they're part of the mainstream of the international community when, in fact, they're a state sponsor of terror.


MALVEAUX: If your country is serious about engaging, why don't you just disavow terrorism? IMAD MOUSTAPHA, SYRIAN AMB. TO U.S.: Those are public statements, rhetorical statements. President Bush has the habit of talking past Syria, not talking to Syria. This is the difference. I hope he will sit with Mrs. Pelosi and ask was it really about a photo opportunity and drinking tea, or was it a very serious, honest, sincere attempt towards engagement to find solutions to the issues and problems, actual issues and problems of the Middle East, some of them caused by the United States itself in Iraq and elsewhere.

MALVEAUX: What did you accomplish? What did the speaker accomplish with the president, President Assad today? Did you make any headway? Did you break any ground?

MOUSTAPHA: We -- no, this street different. This is not the administration. This is the legislative branch, but the important thing is the following. If we go back a little bit to the past, whenever there was a problem, and there used to be political problems between Syria and the United States, the U.S. administration would not withdraw its ambassador, it will do something else. Besides its ambassador, it will send a special envoy to the Middle East. President Reagan sent Philip Habib. President Bush, Senior sent Dennis Ross. The same applies to President Clinton...

MALVEAUX: But Mr. Ambassador...


MALVEAUX: ... here's how the Bush administration sees it.


MALVEAUX: Here is Secretary Powell came before you, also his deputy two years ago. You had the Iraq Study Group. Republicans as well as Speaker Pelosi, and no change.


MALVEAUX: No change, no progress.

MOUSTAPHA: All of them -- yes, because of -- no, there is a difference. All of them, without a single exception, I hope you will have them on your program, all of them have said, when we engage with the Syrians, the Syrians delivered and this helped the national interests of the United States, of Syria and of the whole region.

MALVEAUX: What is your country today delivering?


MALVEAUX: What is your country delivering today as an outcome of these meetings?


MALVEAUX: Are you ready to recognize Israel? Are you ready to stop support for Hezbollah and Hamas? MOUSTAPHA: What the hell are you talking about? We have offered Israel -- what are you talking about? We have offered Israel time and time recognition, normalization of relations in return for our occupied territories and for allowing the Palestinians to have their independent free state. We have embraced the Pan-Arab peace initiative. The ball is in the Israeli field. It's not in our field.


MOUSTAPHA: The good thing today...

MALVEAUX: Mr. Ambassador, I want you to take a quick listen to Speaker Pelosi at how she described what came out of this meeting with President Assad. Let's take a quick listen.

PELOSI: We were very pleased with the reassurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process. He was ready to engage in negotiations with peace with Israel.

MALVEAUX: Specifically, what is she talking about? These reassurances that she got from the president?


MOUSTAPHA: Yes. She's talking about the things that this administration does not know. We have been saying time and again that we want to be a part of the solution. We don't want to be a part of the problem.

MALVEAUX: Mr. Ambassador, I don't know whether or not the timing really is right here because these are your words from earlier today to "Al-Baath" newspaper. You said that Syria will not hurriedly offer concessions when it refused to offer them under much greater pressure from the United States in the past. That sounds like to me as if your country and your government is not ready to take the next step here.

MOUSTAPHA: This is your interpretation. We know what we want...

MALVEAUX: These are your statements.

MOUSTAPHA: We know how serious we are about engagement and I think that visiting delegation today who sat for hours and hours with the Syrian officials are convinced that we are sincere.

MALVEAUX: We understand that Pelosi met with the prime minister of Israel and that she was, in fact, delivering a message. But with all due respect, she has no official capacity to negotiate with your government here. Why should the Americans or even the international community see this any more as a political stunt here, a publicity stunt, a big wet kiss to President al-Assad?

MOUSTAPHA: First, she was not negotiating. Second, somebody should tell the American public opinion that what they are being told about Syria is a myth. Stop trying to portray Syria as an enemy to the United States. We are not an enemy to the United States.


MALVEAUX: Up ahead tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM, our Dana Bash grills presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on abortion.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To conservatives who say that means that he is giving a wink and a nod saying he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade? Do you want to overturn Roe v. Wade?


MALVEAUX: Tonight Giuliani's comments on abortion and federal funding may surprise some conservatives that he is trying to court.

And a new hurricane forecast. Will this season be calm or a potential killer?



MALVEAUX: And our Carol Costello is monitoring stories coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Carol, what are you working on in this hour?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Lots of things, Suzanne.

President Bush is bypassing the Senate by naming Sam Fox ambassador to Belgium during a recess. The move comes a week after Democratic opposition forced Mr. Bush to withdraw Fox's nomination. Fox drew Democratic criticism for donating $50,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. That's the group that accused 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of lying to win combat decorations in Vietnam. Kerry called the move today an abuse of the power of the presidency.

Relatives of an American who went missing in Iran in early March say they're doing all they can to find him. The U.S. is talking with Iran through Swiss channels to try to learn the whereabouts of 59- year-old Robert Levison of Coral Springs, Florida. The former FBI agent was last seen on Kish Island in southern Iran on March 11. In a statement today, the family thanked friends for their support and asked the media to respect their privacy.

They're picking up the pieces in several southern states after a wave of violent, overnight storms. The storms slammed Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and parts of north Georgia. There were reports of hail the size of softballs. High winds including possible tornadoes damaged homes, upended trucks and knocked down trees and power lines. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power.

And more on the weather. Hold onto your hats and everything else, too. The director of the National Hurricane Center warns that this year's hurricane season will probably be more active than normal. He says the El Nino pattern that suppressed hurricane development last year has diminished. He also says changing wind patterns could drive tropical systems more toward land. The top hurricane forecaster yesterday predicted 17 named storms this year. The hurricane season begins June 1.

That's a look at the headlines right now, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks. Carol Costello, keeping an eye on all the stories and the weather as well.

Just ahead, multiple marriages and strained relationships. One Republican presidential candidate speaks out about the increasingly hot spotlight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got issues. Every American family in one way or another, I guess, has issues.


MALVEAUX: But Rudy Giuliani does have one request -- our one-on- one interview with him is coming up.

Plus, why some say Iran's president is manipulating the world media to his advantage.

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



Happening now, his parents are pleading for mercy on him. The parents of John Walker Lindh, the Taliban American nabbed in Afghanistan just after 9/11. Today they appealed to President Bush to commute his 20-year prison sentence. The parents cite the case of Australian David Hicks who was sentenced to less than a year for aiding terrorism.

Coming to America, the prime minister of Japan will visit the U.S. April 26. Shinzo Abe will dine with President Bush and then join him at Camp David. It will be his first time in the U.S. as prime minister.

And he says Republicans in Washington have lost their way and that he's the answer. Former Bush administration official and newly announced presidential candidate Tommy Thompson. The Republican addressed supporters during his first formal campaign stop in Wisconsin.

Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Iran's president dropping a bombshell today with news that those captives, sailors, British marines, are being released, demonstrating what some say his expert ability to manipulate the media. CNN's Mary Snow is live in New York.

We both watched that press conference. It was somewhat bizarre and disturbing at the same time.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was, Suzanne. We saw the Iranian president seize the spotlight. Some call him a genius of communication, but there are also questions being raised about his influence in Iran.


SNOW (voice-over): With cameras rolling, a translator by his side and a microphone to capture the pleasantries, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greeted the British sailors and marines being released and those who study him closely call it a savvy performance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

HERB LONDON, PRESIDENT, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Yes, thank you very much. Wish you success. I mean, this is really somewhat absurd.

SNOW: Herb London is a Middle East expert with the Hudson Institute, a think tank. From Ahmadinejad's smile to his gestures to the way he is dressed, London says the Iranian leader is skilled at manipulating the media to send a message.

LONDON: He's saying to them, you see, people have described me as disagreeable, even a fanatic, even a dangerous figure. But after all, I'm diminutive, I'm smiley. Why would anyone worry terribly much about me?

SNOW (on camera): So the real danger in the way he's conveying this message is what?

LONDON: The real message is that we are lulled into a period of some acceptance of people like this, of believing that they're not so different from us.

SNOW (voice-over): Experts on Iran say Ahmadinejad is second to none when it comes to mastering political gestures. But they say he wasn't just delivering a message for the rest of the world, but sending a message to Iranians.

JON ALTERMAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Ahmadinejad's most important task today was to ensure that it didn't look like Iran was conceding, it looked like Iran was getting something. For that reason, he had to go through the whole elaborate ceremony to show that this was an example of his graciousness, of his charity to the rest of the world.


SNOW: Now, what is not clear, say experts, is Ahmadinejad's role in the release of the British captives. Some say it's possible that he was only given the job of making the announcement, but the actual decision was made by others -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Mary Snow, thanks for that insightful report.

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has tough words for Iran tonight. Our congressional correspondent Dana Bash sat down with the former New York mayor in Florida and she asked him about the Iranian president's promised release of British captives and about those red-hot political issues such as abortion and his own family problems.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Can you assess Ahmadinejad? Do you think he is more of a threat than Kim Jong-il of North Korea? More of a threat than Saddam Hussein was five years ago?

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, obviously, we are glad that the Iranians released them, and thank God. And I'm sure Tony Blair and the president feel relieved about that. Is he more of a threat? I mean, it is very hard to -- he is a big threat.

And in some ways in think Iran is a bigger threat than Iraq. Maybe certainly now, I don't know about before, it is hard to evaluate all of that. And he seems like a very irrational person. And he sort of the worst nightmare of the Cold War, which is possibly nuclear weapons in the hands of an irrational person.

BASH: Another piece of news out today, CNN and WMUR New Hampshire have a new poll out that has you dead even with Senator John McCain, 29 to 29, Mitt Romney is at 17.

What does that say to you? Do you think, for example, the fact that Senator McCain won in New Hampshire in the year 2000, that if you beat him, or if anyone beats, is he done after New Hampshire?


GIULIANI: John McCain is never done. I know John McCain. I admire John McCain. And he is probably -- of all of the people in the race, he is my closest friend. And I admire Mitt Romney very, very much.

BASH: I want to flesh you out a little bit on some of the issues, for example, on abortion, you are a self-described pro-choice Republican. There is a woman out there who says, I like Rudy Giuliani because I think he is going to keep me safe, he is going to lower my taxes, he is going to get our budget balanced, but I want to know is going to have the same position that he did as president that he did as mayor, which is to protect and defend my right to choose?

What would President Giuliani say?

GIULIANI: Same position -- I'm in the same position now that I was 12 years ago when I ran for mayor -- or as mayor, which is, personally opposed to abortion, don't like it, hate it, would advise that woman have an adoption rather than an abortion, I will help you find the money for it.

But it is your choice, it is an individual right. You get to make that choice, and I don't think society should be putting you in jail for it.

BASH: And one of the things that you have said is that you will appoint strict constructionist judges.

GIULIANI: For a different reason, not necessarily that reason. I -- generally, that is my philosophy. It is the only way I can really see that we protect the separation of powers, personal liberties.

And by strict constructionist judges, I mean judges who will interpret the meaning of the Constitution, not create...

BASH: And many people see that as code to conservatives who say that means that he is giving me a wink and a nod saying he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. Do you want to overturn Roe v. Wade?

GIULIANI: Dana, I don't wink and nod. I'm a very direct person. I tell people what I think. Sometimes I get in trouble for it.

BASH: So what is the direct answer?

GIULIANI: The direct answer is, a strict constructionist judge can come to either conclusion about Roe against Wade. They can look at it and say, wrongly decided 30 years ago, whatever it is, we will overturn it. They can...

BASH: But what is your personal deal on Roe v. Wade?

GIULIANI: They can look at it and say, it has been the law for this period of time, therefore we are going to respect the precedent. Conservatives can come to that conclusion as well. I would leave it up to them. I would not have a litmus test on that.

My overall view would be judges who are going to struggle with the meaning of the Constitution, and that applies to criminal justice issues, it applies to terrorism issues, it applies to a whole host of issues, to the Second Amendment and the individual right to bear arms, there is a whole group of issues.

BASH: One last question on abortion. You might have heard of YouTube. There is something on YouTube from 1989, it is flying around the Internet. It is a clip of you.


GIULIANI: There must be public funding for abortions for poor women. We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources.


GIULIANI: I have also stated that I disagree with President Bush's veto last week of public funding for abortion.



BASH: Is that also going to be your position as president?

GIULIANI: Probably. I mean, I have to re-examine all of those issues and exactly what was at stake then, and it is a long time ago. But generally that is my view, abortion is wrong, abortion shouldn't happen, personally you should counsel people to that extent.

When I was mayor, adoptions went up, abortions went down, but ultimately it is a constitutional right, and therefore if it is a constitutional right ultimately, even if you do it on a state-by-state basis, you have to make sure that people are protected.

BASH: So you support taxpayer money or public funding for abortions in some cases?

GIULIANI: If it would deprive someone of a constitutional right, yes, I mean, if that the status of the law, then I would, yes.

BASH: We're talking about your record and your personal views on issues, but as you well know, your personal life and your family has been scrutinized and probably will continue to be scrutinized over the next several months.

One of the things that has come up that -- is your son and he has gone public and said that he has -- that there's a rift between you two. Have you reached out to him?


GIULIANI: Of course I have. But my conversations with my son are very, very private. They're between my son and I. I love him. He loves me. My wife Judith loves all of our children. We're -- we've got issues, every American family in one way or another, I guess, has issues.

I mean, a lot of people have communicated with me about it, even given me advice about it because they've gone through similar kinds of things. Look, I would prefer that there wasn't any scrutiny of my private life. However, I was the mayor of New York. I'm used to it. I'm ready for it. I just ask -- and you can look at anything you want, you have a right to.

The only thing I ask you to do is, look at my public record because there's a way in which you can test how the issues in my private life affect my performance in office. You can look at what I accomplished.

I think the reason that you look, meaning the press, looks at my private life and has a right to, is to figure what kind of president will he make? How will this affect him? Will it distract him? Will it hurt him? Well, I went through all these issues, took the city from the worst crime situation in the country to the safest large city in America. Took the city from the worst welfare situation in the country to the best welfare-to-work situation. Took the city from a deficit to a surplus, and got us through September 11th and all of these personal things were going on at the same time.

So I don't think it affects my job performance.

BASH: Since you brought that up, can I just ask one thing about...


BASH: ... something that a conservative leader, Richard Land, said. He said, just to that very issue that you say that these are separate issues, said about the fact that you were married three times, that "he lied to them," meaning your former wives, "what makes you think that he won't lie to you." This is what he says to...

GIULIANI: I will tell you what, I've been in public office since the assistant United States attorney, United States attorney, mayor of New York City, I've probably had more experience -- more varied experience than anyone in this race.

I've a very extensive record, success, failure, nobody has ever questioned my honesty and integrity about the things that I do. So, look at that. Look at my public record. My personal life, I've made mistakes, I've had a rocky road. I regret them.

They are between me, God, my conscience and the people involved. I wish I had led a perfect life. I keep striving. I keep trying to learn. I keep praying for help. But look at my public life. With all of those issues which may be different than others, may be the same as others, I've also had the most extensive career of any of the people running for office.

It has had great success. It has had some failures. Go look at that. Examine that. Examine the mistakes I have made there and then the success that I had there and that's the way I would do it.

Everybody else has a right to do it some other way. But if I were making this choice, that's what I would look to.


MALVEAUX: And the Giuliani campaign noted that after that interview, that the former mayor would not seek to make any changes to current law which restricts federal funding to cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Up ahead tonight, he called it the language of the ghetto.



MALVEAUX: So why is Newt Gingrich now speaking Spanish on YouTube? Find out what's behind this bilingual effort at damage control.

Plus, we trace that recall of killer pet food all the way back to the alleged source in China. Stay with us, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


MALVEAUX: Tonight, a potential Republican presidential candidate is trying to clear up a controversy. At issue, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's recent remarks about what he calls the language of the ghetto. Our Carol Costello is here with that story.

Are we expecting to hear an apology?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: You mean the words "I'm sorry"?

MALVEAUX: Those words.

COSTELLO: No, I don't think so. You know, it did take a while though, but Newt Gingrich says it does come from the heart, even though he never utters those words, "I'm sorry," in English or Spanish.


COSTELLO (voice-over): News Gingrich chose YouTube to get the word out in both English and Spanish.


COSTELLO: Translation? He did not mean to offend when he told a supportive crowd English should be our official language.

GINGRICH: We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and so they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto. Second...

COSTELLO: And while that drew rave reviews from the crowd, that word ghetto outraged the Latino community.

CHRISTINE NEUMANN-ORTIZ, VOCES DE LA FRONTERA: Three words came into my mind: ignorance, elitism and racism.

COSTELLO: Now Gingrich is, well, not exactly apologizing, but he does admit he should not have word that "ghetto" word.

GINGRICH: My word choice was poor but my point was simply this, in the United States, it is important to speak the English language well in order to advance and have success. This is an expression of support for Latinos, not an attack on their language. I have never believed that Spanish is a language of people with low incomes or a language without beauty.

COSTELLO: As for whether this will appease angry Latinos, especially those who don't speak fluent English, at least they can listen to Gingrich try to explain in Spanish.


COSTELLO: And interestingly enough, Gingrich has been taking Spanish lessons for quite some time and he says he's getting pretty good at speaking Spanish. He also said he'll decide whether to run for president in September and he'll probably do that announcing in English -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Well, Carol, we know that's a very important constituency, the Hispanic community. So we will see how that apology or near-apology goes over. Thank you, Carol Costello.

And ahead, new information tonight on suspected deaths linked to that nationwide pet food recall.

Plus, CNN's John Vause takes us to the place in China where investigators think the problem may have started.

And the United Nations Security Council about to go beyond world politics to do something it has never done before. We'll have details.


MALVEAUX: Just how many pets have been poisoned and have died amid a pet food recall? Today, health officials in Oregon say they suspect 38 in that state alone. Menu Foods is a company recalling the pet food.

Meanwhile, there are new details regarding another company at the center of this controversy. That company is in China and so is our John Vause in Xuzhou -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, Xuzhou Anying Biologic is headquartered in this city. It also operates a small, rundown facility on the city's outskirts. When we were there today, employees hurriedly covered up what appeared to be sacks of grain.

Now the FDA says this is the company responsible for the wheat gluten which is being contaminated by the chemical melamine and that has led to the recall of almost 100 different brands of pet food across the United States.

All work at that facility is now at a standstill after the FDA imposed a ban on imports. Senior management has been locked in crisis meetings over the last couple of days. They have ordered their own lab tests.

Now, as for the wheat gluten, the company insists that it's just the middleman in all of this, buying up from local producers and the general manager has told us he's trying to find out which supplier or suppliers may be to blame -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: John Vause, thank you so much.

And now joining us from New York, Carol Costello with all of the other stories that are making news at this moment.

Carol, what are you tracking?

COSTELLO: Just a couple of things, Suzanne. For the first time, the United Nations Security Council will debate the issue of climate change. Britain pressed for the April 17th debate and considers the issue important enough to have its foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, preside. Britain has invited foreign ministers from the other 15 permanent (sic) council members to attend as well. China and Russia have expressed opposition to bringing the global warming issue before the world body.

And this story from the Associated Press. The director of the holiday "A Christmas Story" classic has died. Police say film direct Robert Clark and his 22-year-old son were killed today in a car wreck. According to AP, the two men died when their Infiniti collided head-on with a GMC Yukon early this morning in Pacific Palisades, California. Police say the driver of the other vehicle was drunk. He was driving without a license. Robert Clark was 67.

That's a look at the headlines right now -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Carol, thanks for keeping us updated. Carol Costello out of New York. And of course, Paula Zahn to tell us about her show in the next hour, what's coming up -- Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": It's almost all-girls news tonight, isn't it?

MALVEAUX: I guess so.

ZAHN: Thanks, Suzanne. Tonight we're devoting a special hour to something that is rarely explored yet it's all around us. We're calling it self-segregation. You'll see how we Americans are voluntarily separating ourselves by race at schools, where we work, when we meet, and even in our churches. We're not going to take a position on whether it's good or bad, but it's absolutely fascinating.

And, Suzanne, as you'll see in my piece, I headed up to Buffalo to talk with some students. It's the most bizarre thing. It was a racially mixed high school, and sure enough, all the black kids sit together at lunchtime, all the white kids, all of the Hispanics very rarely, rarely mix, and they will talk about why. So please join me for a special hour. We are calling it "Divided We Stand: Self- Segregation," "Out in the Open."

MALVEAUX: Thanks very much, very provocative conversation and topic. Up ahead, is a revered religion artifact a fraud? We'll show the latest battle between science and religion.

And Jack Cafferty wants to know, is Vice President Dick Cheney right when he says, age, ex-wives and religion don't matter when it comes to the race to the White House. Jack is standing by with the "Cafferty File."


MALVEAUX: Weeks after scientists blasted the authenticity of a coffin said to have contained the remains of Jesus, experts are questioning another religious artifact and they're outright calling it a fraud. Scientists say a rib bone long believed to have come from St. Joan of Arc did not have anything to do with her. CNN's Tom Foreman joining us this evening to explain it all.

Why are they saying this is a fraud?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, people believed for a very long time that this was the real deal. It was allegedly recovered in the early 1400s in France from near where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, 19 years old, great heroine of France. But it turns out, if -- the scientists tested it, it actually is from an Egyptian mummy, not even nearly from that period of time nor from even their country.

And yet this underscores the very thing we have pointed out before, this constant clash that keeps occurring between science and religion and that's what this special tonight, "AC 360" special, "What Is a Christian?: God, Faith and Hard Science," is all about.

MALVEAUX: Now, Tom, you -- as part of the program, you went to what was called the creationism museum. Explain to our viewers what that is.

FOREMAN: It's fascinating place. This is just outside of Cincinnati. It's a $27 million structure that's going to open on Memorial Day. And what is it about? Well, it is this museum like any other, that has all sorts of displays here of like humans, ancient cave people living alongside creeks and that sort of thing.

But guess what, they live right alongside dinosaurs. That's what this is all about. This is promoting a creationist's view of the world that says the whole world is only about 6,000 years old, that this all fits into the story of the biblical creation.

That's one of our stories coming up tonight. Also, an amazing interview with the man who did the Human Genome Project about the clash between science and religion. We're going to take a look at prayer, whether or not it works. A lot of Americans think it does. We're going to look at the battle among evangelicals over environmentalism and some of the mythology of a lot of religion.

And that's all coming up tonight in a special show and tomorrow, a follow-up show on "Sex and Salvation." Really interesting stuff heading into Easter.

MALVEAUX: Tom, it sounds fascinating. We'll all be tuning in to watch that very interesting program. And you'll hear more fascinating details about the intersection of science and faith tonight on CNN. "What is a Christian?: God, Faith and Hard Science." It's a special report airing on "AC 360," that's at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. Jack Cafferty now joining us from New York with the very latest.

Jack, what are you tracking?

CAFFERTY: Vice President Dick Cheney said today that age, ex- wives and religion don't matter when it comes to the race for the White House. We asked, is he right? Do you agree with that?

Tony in Palm Desert, California, writes: "Without question. The most qualified person running for the presidency is the person who has been married the most number of times. However, he was the mayor of New York City when I lived and he really did turn the city around, something the string of Democratic mayors had failed to do, David Dinkins, Ed Koch, et cetera. Does his marital history matter? Not if we care about the future of the country."

Ed in Texas writes: "Jack, the vice president also said the following. One, 'we know they have biological chemical weapons.' Two, 'we believe he, Saddam, has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons.' Three, 'there is overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government.' Four, 'my belief is we will in fact be greeted as liberators.' And five, 'I think they are in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.' Why do you care what he says?"

Adam in Michigan: "He may not be right on the age part, but other than that, I say he is 100 percent right. When all is said and done, people vote on what the candidate's plans are and if they believe they can get the job done."

Mary in Texas: "I agree with Cheney's comment about age and marriages. Why couldn't he get the Iraq thing right?"

Kelly writes: "Cheney has hit the nail on the head with this one. Religion has nothing at all to do with who wins the presidency. Just take a look back at America's proud history of atheist, Muslim and Jewish presidents. Oh wait. All right. Try all the non-Christian presidents. Oh well."

And Fenix in Vancouver: "I would rather take advice from Britney Spears."

If you didn't see your e-mail here you can go to where we post more of them online. There are also clips there of the "Cafferty File."

MALVEAUX: Jack Cafferty, thanks so much for the "Cafferty File" in New York.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. Up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."

ZAHN: Suzanne, thanks so much.