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The Situation Room

U.S. Troops Leave Iraqi Cities; Michael Jackson's Final Days

Aired June 30, 2009 - 18:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: A will written by Jackson several years earlier has now surfaced.

CNN's Don Lemon is in Los Angeles.

Don, you have been following all these developments throughout the day. What have -- what have you learned?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's very interesting, Suzanne. And it is hard to keep track of all of it, because we have got the petitions here for the children. We have the petitions that I am holding in my hand for Katherine Jackson to become the administrator of Michael Jackson's assets.

And then we are also trying to obtain a copy of that will. We have learned that a will was written up back in 2002 by Michael Jackson's former attorney. He was the attorney for Michael Jackson between 1980 and 2006. His name is John Branca.

In that 2002 will, it names Branca as the executive and also an entertainment executive, John McClain, as an executor as well. So, we have learned about that.

Also, we spoke to the Jackson family attorney, L. Londell McMillan. He confirms that, after these court proceedings yesterday with Katherine Jackson, that this will turned up, that they are looking over it now.

And here is what he said just moments ago about that, why they did it so quickly.


LEMON: Why did you do that so quickly? Were you concerned about people coming in and taking his property?

L. LONDELL MCMILLAN, JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, there has been concern about people possibly attempting to do so.

But, in an exercise of caution and to be professional and responsible, it was the only appropriate legal way to go. And now that Mrs. Jackson has more control over how her son's legacy will go forward, that we think is the best alternative.


LEMON: So, again, that is why they went into court to file this petition and this document, so that Katherine Jackson can become the administrator of Michael Jackson's assets. Very simply, he said, they didn't want people, third parties, looting or raiding Michael Jackson's property -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, Don, there's word of a -- of a trust that was set up by Michael Jackson. What can you tell us about that? Does that -- would that supersede a will, or how does that work?

LEMON: Yes, apparently, there was a trust that went alongside of the will that was apparently set up at the same time of the will.

And, yes, the trust will supersede the will. But here is the interesting thing. Michael Jackson had so many creditors. And, usually, creditors can't get at that trust. But, if they can't get their money -- and this includes the concert promoters -- if they can't get that money from Michael Jackson's estate, or if the insurance policy doesn't pay off for any reason, they can't get that money from Michael Jackson's estate, then they will be allowed to go into that trust.

But the trust is only valid if at the time Michael Jackson set it up -- if he knew he had creditors, then that would be invalid as well. So, this is going to play out in court for a very long time. If he set that trust up knowing he had creditors, then the creditors can get at that trust and get whatever money is owed to them.

MALVEAUX: OK, thanks, Don, for making sense of all that, explaining that to us. Thanks, Don.

Authorities now have two bags of medical evidence from Michael Jackson's home to investigate. The material was seized by L.A. Police and the coroner's office yesterday.

Now, Drew Griffin is of CNN's special investigations unit, and joining us.

Drew, when do we get -- expect to see any kind of official results or information from the investigation, from this evidence?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: That's a very good question, Suzanne.

What we believe now is the -- what caused Michael Jackson's death is a tightly held secret in this town between the LAPD and the coroner's office. I say that because the experts I have been talking to believe the LAPD and the coroner do know what caused that.

And, if they don't have the toxicology tests back today, they should certainly have them tomorrow. And that should go for the second autopsy, as well. They should know, not only the drug should be identified, but the levels quantified.

What they don't know is the kind of subjective evaluation of what that means. That could be why they are not releasing that information. We heard that the autopsy could take weeks. That is, a certain part of the autopsy that would take weeks. But the experts I have been talking to say they should know if and what kind of drugs were in Michael Jackson's body and certainly what caused his death. And that goes for both autopsies. The only visible sign that we have had that this investigation is still going on is, as you say, the evidence-taking at the rented home yesterday in Holmby Hills.

And we really don't know what was taken, other than medicines. And we don't know where that is leading.

MALVEAUX: And do you know who controls the information?

GRIFFIN: Well, certainly, the coroner's office has a seal on all their information. They have been very tight-lipped, as has the LAPD robbery homicide division. In fact, robbery homicide isn't even sharing with their press office what they have been learning.

On the Jackson side, and I'm sure Don Lemon will attest to this, is any number of people and lawyers who claim to be speaking for the family or the estate of Michael Jackson. So, it is very difficult to find that point person who is going to come out and say, this is what we believe killed Michael Jackson, although, as I say, the experts believe that they should know that by now.

MALVEAUX: OK, thank you very much, Drew.

We are learning more about Michael Jackson's final days before his death, a full report ahead, including the reason Jackson gave some people the chills.

Jack Cafferty joining us this hour with "The Cafferty File."

Jack, what are you watching?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The majority of Americans say they could get by with fewer mail deliveries, so the U.S. Postal Service can save some money. A new Gallup poll shows 66 percent of those surveyed would support cutting delivery back from six days a week to five. Sixty-six percent would back reducing the numbers of days the Post Office is open to five.

Fewer people support other cost-cutting measures, like raising stamp prices or laying off more postal employees. Despite the price of a first-class stamp recently going to 44 cents, the Post Office is on track to lose more than $6 billion this year.

It is being squeezed by several things, the economic slowdown, competition from the Internet, private carriers. And when you add on rising gas prices, things could get even worse. Who knows? Maybe one day, we can get to $5 for a stamp, and the mail will come once a month.

It's no wonder people are increasingly turning to UPS and FedEx. Postmaster General John Potter wants permission to cut the number of postal delivery days. He says, if it happens, they would probably cut out a day that has light mail volume, either a Saturday or perhaps a Tuesday.

Not everybody, though, thinks this is a great idea. A lot of manufacturers, publishers, other small businesses say it would hurt their cash flow and their ability to get their products out.

So, here's the question. Would you support fewer days of mail delivery in order to save the Postal Service money? Go to and give us your thoughts.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Jack.


MALVEAUX: Want answers to a key question about the true pullout in Iraq? Well, the top U.S. commander tells reporters, stop asking.


MAJ. GENERAL RAYMOND ODIERNO, COMMANDER, MULTI-NATIONAL CORPS- IRAQ: I don't know how many times you want -- how many times do you want me to say that? I don't know.


MALVEAUX: On the day U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq's cities, you will see what made General Ray Odierno so testy.

President Obama is hailing this milestone in Iraq, but is the White House ready to unroll a mission accomplished banner? Wait until you hear how they put it.

And meet the newest senator. He could help give Democrats a wall of presidential support that Republicans just can't break.


AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA SENATOR-ELECT: I am so excited to finally be able to get to work.


MALVEAUX: You are about to hear a man accepting defeat.


SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R), MINNESOTA: Ours is a government of laws, not men and women. And the Supreme Court of Minnesota has spoken. I respect its decision and I will abide by its results.

It's time for Minnesotans to come together under the leaders it has chosen and move forward. And I join all Minnesotans in congratulating our newest United States senator, Al Franken.


MALVEAUX: Well, that's the old senator from Minnesota congratulating the new one. Republican Norm Coleman concedes the race to Democrat Al Franken, after Minnesota's Supreme Court declared Franken the winner.

Coleman could have kept up the nearly eight-month fight by taking his case to federal court. His loss is a huge win for Democrats. They will essentially have control of 60 Senate seats.

And if those senators stick with President Obama, Republicans cannot -- cannot -- break their wall of support.

Let's bring in our CNN senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

Why didn't Coleman push this case? Why didn't he take it to the next level?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, because, as you know, in political life, there is always the next chapter. And a lot of people believe that the next chapter may be a Coleman run for governor in the state of Minnesota.

Minnesotans, who have been watching this -- these election results since November of last year, were pretty much getting tired of it, Suzanne. And you can sense when it is time to go.


CROWLEY: And he says he is going fishing, but a lot of people think he is leaving his options over -- toward a governor's run.

MALVEAUX: How are the Republicans playing it, the people you have talked to today?

CROWLEY: Well, some of them say they disagree with the court, that it made the wrong decision, but they respect Coleman's decision to withdraw.

But there was a really interesting press release from Senator Cornyn, who runs the Senate Republican Senatorial Committee, who said, listen, the fact of the matter is that the Democrats now will control the Senate. No more finger-pointing, no more blaming. You guys are in control. So, it's sort of, you got 60 seats. Here you go.

MALVEAUX: OK. We will bring you back again to discuss a little bit later in the hour. Thanks, Candy.

The world is witnessing the handover of security functions in Iraq's cities and towns from U.S. troops to Iraqi troop. U.S. troops are pulling out of Iraq cities and towns, meeting a long-anticipated deadline.

Meanwhile, some trainers and support troops will remain behind to help the Iraqis. But there is a question of how many will do that. It's a question apparently bugging the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: If you are going to be so transparent, why can't you tell us how many trainers and mentors are in the cities?

MAJ. GENERAL RAYMOND ODIERNO, COMMANDER, MULTI-NATIONAL CORPS- IRAQ: Because it would be inaccurate, because I don't know how many are in the city. It varies day to day based on the mission.

QUESTION: You must have a ballpark.

ODIERNO: I don't know how many times you want -- how many times do you want me to say that? I don't know.


MALVEAUX: Some worry if Iraqi troops are ready to control any violence. Just today, a huge car bombing killed at least 30 people in Kirkuk, about 235 miles north of Baghdad. And the president talked about the progress and the violence today.

Let's go to our CNN senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry.

And, Ed, what did he say?

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, as you know, the president opposed the war. He launched his campaign in part based on ending it. And, so, this is a big day. But he is also being very careful to point out there is a lot of hard work yet to be done.



HENRY (voice-over): The president is hailing the milestone that moves him one step closer to fulfilling his campaign promise to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy. And today's transition is further proof that those who have tried to pull Iraq into the abyss of disunion and civil war are on the wrong side of history.

HENRY: Mr. Obama also had a blunt message for the Iraqis.

OBAMA: And with this progress comes responsibility. Iraq's future is in the hands of its own people, and Iraq's leaders must now make some hard choices necessary to resolve key political questions.

HENRY: But more than 130,000 U.S. troops remain on the ground in Iraq, and the American people seem anxious to get them home.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 73 percent support withdrawing combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns. Only 26 percent oppose. More startling, asked if the U.S. should send combat troops back into Iraqi cities if violence increases, 63 percent said no. Only 35 percent said yes. The possibility of violence flaring up again may be one reason spokesman Robert Gibbs would not answer whether the White House believes the U.S. has won the war.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And I -- I think -- without getting into those characterizations, I think it is -- this is an important step forward.

HENRY (on camera): Has the president ruled out ever declaring victory there?

GIBBS: I -- I -- we will keep the banner printers from -- from doing anything crazy.

HENRY (voice-over): An obvious poke at former President Bush declaring victory too soon, which is why this president is being extra cautious.

OBAMA: Now, make no mistake, there will be difficult days ahead. We know that the violence in Iraq will continue.


HENRY: That's why the president has now tapped Vice President Joe Biden for a very sensitive new assignment, which is working with General Odierno, as well as Ambassador Chris Hill in Baghdad, to try and help the Iraqis achieve political reconciliation -- a lot of tough work still ahead, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much, Ed.


MALVEAUX: This change in security functions comes with other signs of change in Iraq. Major progress is touching the lives, the daily lives, of everyday Iraqis since the war began.

You remember, back in 2003, Iraqis only got about four to eight hours of electricity per day nationwide. Well, now it is more than 15 hours. In 2003, more than 50 percent of Iraqis were unemployed. Now it is about half that number. And, in September 2003, less than 5,000 had access to the Internet. Now it is a staggering 820,000 Iraqis who are Internet subscribers.

What condition was Michael Jackson in during his final days? Well, people who saw him are speaking out. But they are giving very different assessments of the singer's condition.

Also, what could be a turning point in the investigation of that Air France jet in the Atlantic.

Plus, a coup and now a potential showdown in Honduras, all posing a major diplomatic challenge for President Obama.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MALVEAUX: The Honduras president ousted from power plans a high- profile return. Jose Manuel Zelaya says that planning to return there thought with international leaders. Those who ousted him in a coup promise he will be arrested for treason if he does.

Let's get more on this and the reaction from the United States and the United Nations.

Joining me is CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty.

Jill, what are you learning?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, big events in a small country are adding up to a major diplomatic challenge for the Obama administration. The U.S., along with the rest of the world, thinks that the Honduran president should be returned to office. And he himself says that he is going home this Thursday, in spite of an arrest warrant.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Street battles in the Honduran capital. Manuel Zelaya, kicked out of his own country, calls on the United Nations to stand by him as the democratically elected president of Honduras.

MANUEL ZELAYA, HONDURAN PRESIDENT (through translator): A crime has been committed, a crime against humanity, a crime which we all reject.

DOUGHERTY: The U.N. condemns the coup and demands Zelaya's immediate unconditional reinstatement.

In Washington, the Obama administration is working with the Organization of American States meeting in emergency session. The OAS is dispatching a delegation to Honduras, U.S. officials saying they will try to hammer out a deal allowing Zelaya to return as president.

IAN KELLY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We think that President Zelaya is the democratically elected constitutional president of Honduras and should be allowed to serve out the rest of his term.

DOUGHERTY: But U.S. officials admit it will be tough. Zelaya has alienated most of the political structure in his country and will have to compromise.

Already, the world is tightening the screws on the government installed by the coup, Honduras' neighbors suspending trade, other nations recalling their ambassadors, the World Bank freezing funds going into Honduras.

The U.S. is reviewing cutting aid to pressure the coup leaders to accept a deal.

KELLY: We are looking at a number of aspects of our cooperation. DOUGHERTY: President Zelaya vows to return to Honduras Thursday. But a Honduran judge threatens, if he does, he will be arrested.


DOUGHERTY: But putting President Zelaya back in office could end up being actually the easy part. The real test, U.S. officials say, is ending the political polarization that Zelaya himself created, so he can actually effectively govern -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: But, Jill, what is the situation on the ground right now in Honduras?

DOUGHERTY: Well, there is still apparently some violence on the street. But it seems more sporadic. The real action is back here in the United States, that speech to the U.N. The president also is coming down here to D.C. for an OAS meeting. He will be meeting with a senior U.S. official, so there is a lot going on. It's very fast- moving.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much, Jill.

There are dueling accounts of whether Michael Jackson was the picture of health in the final days before his death or worn down and frail. We are piecing it all together.

And newly disclosed plans for the public to say farewell to the king of pop in Neverland.

Plus, a moment of science for Jackson at the Apollo Theater.



Happening now: He was in rehearsal and planning to reaffirm his claim to the title king of pop. But was he ready? It depends on who you ask.

Frequently compared to the character Peter Pan, Jackson will return one last time to Neverland, his 2,500-acre estate, for the final celebration of his often-charmed life.

But, today, a tribute to the entertainer at the place where he was launched into superstardom -- fans gathered at the Apollo for music, dance and a moment of silence -- all of this, plus the best political team on television.

I am Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It happened within the past hour, a stirring moment of silence honoring Michael Jackson at exactly the time he died on Thursday. Take a look at how it played out at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York at 5:26 p.m. Eastern.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Five days later, let us, in unity, no matter who you are standing next to, grab that hand, and let's bow our heads and send our strongest message to the king of pop, the prince of hope, our brother, Michael Jackson.


CROWD: Amen!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you, Michael!



MALVEAUX: All right. CNN's T.J. Holmes is at the Apollo Theater.

T.J., obviously, you have seen a lot going on. Give us a sense of the mood, the atmosphere there today?

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you just saw there was that moment of silence. That was really the only solemn, somber moment I have seen all day.

We have seen a lot of grief, sadness, tears over the past few days, after the death of Michael Jackson. Not today. Today is a party, quite frankly. Today is a celebration. And what you are seeing behind me is the next crowd. There has literally been thousands of people gathered outside the Apollo Theater.

The line goes outside the Apollo Theater at 125th, and literally goes to 135th. It has been going 10 blocks for the past several hours. People even got rained on, and stayed in line. And what they're getting is to come in here about 600 a time and officially have a party, a celebration.

They come in here. They sing. They dance. They see a video that is playing. There is no audio on that video, just images of Michael Jackson. And they come in here and sing every word to every song they know.

I'm going to step out of the way and just let you see the stage at least. And you see up front there a single stool with a hat and a glove on it. People at the front of that stage have been leaving flowers. They have been leaving cards. They have been leaving posters. They have been leaving pictures.

And, again, today is the day that has been the theme here, Suzanne, is to not talk about the negative. I have had so many people just say, hey, T.J., you, CNN, don't talk about the negative today.

And we haven't heard any of that. And this is a time and this is a place that is really trying to reclaim Michael Jackson as a member of this community, the black community. And that stage, Suzanne, 1967, he was 9 years old. They weren't even the Jackson 5 yet. They were the Jacksons, where they won amateur night here at the Apollo. It's been called the temple of black culture. And this is the place where Michael Jackson made his debut in New York and really got his start that shot him to superstardom.

They have another about hour-and-a-half or so. You can see they are getting started with this next group. They are going to do it for the next hour-and-a-half. But they're not going be able to get all those people in outside -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, we can hear the next crowd getting ready to come in. So, thank you so much, T.J. Appreciate that.

Well, you could call it Michael Jackson's final farewell tour, right now, huge crowds continuing to pay tribute to Michael Jackson at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York.

Before he died, Jackson had been preparing to launch a series of comeback performances. And we are learning more about his grueling rehearsal schedule in his final days.

Our Brian Todd has been looking into that.

And what -- what have we learned? It must have been pretty tough on him.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, as he geared up for that final series of concerts -- a series that he counted on for his professional salvation -- those who saw Michael Jackson in those final days give varying counts of his health and his emotional strike.


TODD (voice-over): A producer who watched Michael Jackson's last rehearsal and spoke with him the night before he died tells CNN Jackson was energetic, excited about his upcoming concert series and even popped his significant moon walk and spins that gave chills to the few people in the seats.

Another witness that night, Jackson friend Miko Brando, said he saw nothing out of the ordinary.


MIKO BRANDO, MARLON BRANDO'S SON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FRIEND: He went up on the stage, danced with the dancers. He did some -- some songs. He did his routine. He gave the crew some technical advice.


TODD: Jackson manager Frank DiLeo was also there on the last night. He says Jackson came off stage, put his arm around him and talked about how great he felt to be performing again. DiLeo told a radio interviewer Jackson had the energy for the upcoming shows. But he said they did discuss tweaking the grueling two hour format.


FRANK DILEO, JACKSON MANAGER: We were going to do one of two things. We were either going to do so much in the beginning, take a half hour break, then come back, you know, and do the second half of the shows or we were going to cut it down to 90 minutes.

TODD: Others describe a ferocious production pace in those final weeks and in virtually the same breath as they recall his energy and vitality, witnesses also talk about Jackson being frail. And his doctor's attorney gave other details.


EDWARD CHERNOFF, ATTORNEY FOR DR. CONRAD MURRAY: Michael Jackson didn't eat very much. He really didn't, you know, drink very much. He didn't hydrate very well. When he rehearsed, it was very strenuous exercise.



TODD: Edward Chernoff says Jackson asked for Dr. Conrad Murray to stay at his house the night before he died, which Dr. Murray did. But Chernoff says Jackson still never complained of chest pains or anything else that would suggest a heart condition -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: They also -- you talked to a producer and it seems as if there were even more projects that he had in the -- in the works in the coming weeks and months.

TODD: That's right. This was a producer who worked with Michael Jackson on some major award shows. He said that he and Jackson had basically finalized a deal for Jackson to do a TV special in the fall. He said this was all Jackson's idea and said they had a network committed to it.

So they had big plans for beyond this concert series.

MALVEAUX: All right. Brian, thank you so much.

Well, what do you think Michael Jackson's legacy is?

Submit your video comments to and we're going to try to get some of them on the air tomorrow.

As U.S. forces leave Iraq cities and towns, how significant is it for the Obama administration?

We'll ask the best political team on television.

Plus, the president himself warning, "This is when it gets hard" -- a look at his coming battles.


MALVEAUX: For the first time in six years, U.S. forces are absent from the streets of Iraq's cities streets and towns -- meeting a deadline the U.S. and Iraq agreed to last year.

Well, joining us to talk about that and much, much more, our CNN senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; CNN senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley; and senior political analyst, David Gergen.

They are all part of the best political team on television.

That's a mouthful, isn't it?


MALVEAUX: Wow! All the seniors are here. This is great. This is great.

Let's start off talking about Iraq. Obviously, this is a milestone. And this is something that we heard from the Iraqi interior minister. He writes in "The Post." He says: "As the United States shifts its attention from Iraq to Afghanistan and other issues of grave importance, none of us can be lulled into believing that Iraq is a mission accomplished. That sense of security is simply false" -- Gloria, I'll start with you.

How much of that is true?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think all of it is true. I think that President Obama has been saying that himself. And I think a lot depends on whether the Iraqi security forces are ready to defend their own cities and are capable of doing it. And we just don't know the answer to that at this point.

MALVEAUX: Has the administration backed itself in a corner now?

Is this now Obama's war?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't know. I don't think it will ever be President Obama's war. I think people are so firmly linking both President Bush and this Iraq War, I don't think he ever owns it. Afghanistan, that's another matter. This one, look, there's the option to send troops back in. But I don't think President Obama's fate is linked to this war.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I thought our attention had shifted to Michael Jackson. But...


MALVEAUX: We can always go back there.

GERGEN: OK. The -- but I disagree with you, Candy, in one sense. And that is, if this deteriorates badly now, if this goes to pieces, he is going to be blamed for it. It's not his war, but it could be his loss to peace. And that, I think...

CROWLEY: (INAUDIBLE) George Bush is the one that set up this timetable.

GERGEN: I agree.

CROWLEY: I mean...

GERGEN: It was negotiated by George Bush. But I do think that President Obama has assumed a certain responsibility for the withdrawal.

BORGER: And that's why he is lowering the expectations.


BORGER: He said make no mistake, there are going to be difficult days ahead.

GERGEN: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) needs to -- are you all as irritated today as I am by this celebration in the streets and about Americans out, as if we didn't do them any good with all of our lost troops and our lo -- you know, billions upon billions of dollars?


CROWLEY: ...helps the pres...


CROWLEY: ...the president of Iraq, because an election is coming up.


CROWLEY: And so there's this whole sort of national unity and I'm going to lead our country. I think that it's clearly all about the Iraqi government right now.


BORGER: ...politics. But if -- if you were serving in Iraq right now...

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

BORGER: you saw these celebrations, it might annoy you just a bit.

MALVEAUX: But what did it strike you about when General Odierno -- when he got really visibly angry and upset about this, when he was pressed on how many U.S. troops are sticking around and staying?

Why do you suppose that was such a -- such a flashpoint for him today anyway?

CROWLEY: You know, who knows?

I mean look where he is. Look at all the things that could be going wrong. But I think the problem is, he kept getting asked a question that he really didn't know the answer to, because this is in flux here. They don't know from day to day, should we send, you know, 15,000 troops or 20,000?

You know, so I think it's an evolving strategy at this point. And I think he just didn't have an answer and it ticked him off.

MALVEAUX: I'm going to turn here, if we could, this is President Obama from last night, a Democratic fundraiser. He's talking about his six -- his first six months in office. And he -- he seems quite proud.

Let's take a listen.


OBAMA: This is when it gets hard. This is when the criticism gets louder, when the pundits grow impatient, when cynicism seeks to reassert itself. This is when we hear the same voices advocating the same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. This is where we hear that change just isn't possible.

So this is exactly the moment when we need to fight the hardest.


MALVEAUX: Is he setting himself up, Gloria, for basically saying, look, you know, we've got a lot of tough issues ahead, but I -- I'm putting this on Congress. We've got to work hard on this, but I'm putting it on members of Congress to get some of the stuff done that I need, whether it's health care or energy?

BORGER: Well, it's clear that he's hearing his critics out there. It's clear that he's hearing people say either he's trying to do too much or what he's doing is not being done well or the stimulus package isn't working, he should have put more money into it or he shouldn't have bailed out the auto companies.

And what he's saying is, I'm on a steady course and I'm going to try and get these things done, because that's what I promised you I would do.

But, it's really a high risk strategy right for him right now.

CROWLEY: Well, I think this has less to do with six months than it does with the issues at hand.



CROWLEY: Of course it's getting tougher. I mean, it was one thing to say the economy is falling apart, I need money and everyone was OK, here you go. It's another thing to say, now health care, now energy policy. And things that, even in his own party, there's no agreement to.

But I have to tell you, he is so good at one thing and that is drawing the sting. You know, he is out there before he hears a lot of the criticisms. And he is out there before he fails. He is out there saying well, you know, we were left with this mess and now I don't know and everybody is going to do this.

He's very good at that.

GERGEN: And he's, Suzanne, I think he's right in the heart of why he ran for the presidency right now -- getting out of Iraq and moving forward on health care. Those were sort of the two drivers behind his candidacy. And I think he feels he's getting out of Iraq safely.

But on the health care issue, the voice I think he ought to be listening to right now is Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, saying he needs to intervene more, get more aggressively involved in helping to settle the disputes among his own Democrats.

MALVEAUX: I know one thing that he was happy about today, and that was the new Minnesota senator, Al Franken. He'll finally emerge the victor.

I want you to take a listen. This is the pledge that he made to the people of his state.


FRANKEN: And I know there's been a lot of talk about the fact that when I'm sworn in, I'll be the 60th member of the Democratic Caucus. But that's -- that's not how I see it. The way I see it, I'm not going to Washington to be the 60th Democratic senator, I'm going to Washington to be the second senator from the State of Minnesota. And that's how I'm going to do this job.


MALVEAUX: Well, he clearly won, didn't he?


CROWLEY: He is the 60th. I -- I mean, I get it. And, actually, there are 58 Democrats and two Independents.

MALVEAUX: How significant...


MALVEAUX: How significant is this in terms of Obama getting some stuff done?

He's got, you know, I mean...


CROWLEY: Yes. I mean this isn't a magic number, but honestly, we were just talking about health care. I mean, you know, there are -- it is geographic, it is philosophical. There are huge splits in the Democratic Party.

And so 60 means nothing. Sometimes you need eight Republicans.

GERGEN: It's symbolically important, but not substantively important.

BORGER: Right. It doesn't mean that President Obama is going to have a fili -- filibuster-proof majority on every piece of legislation he sends up there. That just doesn't happen. You have a lot of moderate and conservative Democrats who are going to find themselves voting with Republicans.

I don't think Al Franken, however, is one of them. And I think he'll vote with Barack Obama more often than not.

MALVEAUX: And but let's cover one last thing, because we talked about it during the break. And we've all been talking about it, Governor Mark Sanford. And you wrote an excellent column, Gloria, earlier today, when you talk about Jenny Sanford and how she's been reacting to this.

But what do you make of some of these statements that he's come out with publicly now about being in love with -- with his mistress and trying to -- to love, once again, his wife?



MALVEAUX: ...where does that put his...

BORGER: He's unraveling.

MALVEAUX: Where does that put his position?

CROWLEY: Here is the problem, I think, in South Carolina. Republicans in South Carolina are conservative Christians. They are Evangelicals. I think -- and we talked about this on the air. I think how Jenny Sanford reacts to him is going to be huge in whether the Republican...

MALVEAUX: OK. Great. And I...


GERGEN: One of the...


GERGEN: ...things he's most grateful for is Michael Jackson...


GERGEN: ...because it's eclipsing him.

MALVEAUX: OK. Got to -- got to leave it there.


MALVEAUX: OK. Got to leave it there.

A public viewing and a private memorial service for Michael Jackson -- breaking new details of what's planned at his Neverland Ranch.


MALVEAUX: Brianna Keilar is monitoring the stories that are coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- and, Brianna, what are you following?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, some good economic news. A key housing index suggests that the decline in home prices may be starting to level off. The Standard & Poor's Case-Schiller Index, released today, says April prices in 20 major cities fell by 18.1 percent from the same month last year.

And the encouraging part of this, though, is April was the third straight month that the indices did not show record declines. Overall, home values are currently around 2003 levels.

The head of General Motors says business is doing better for the ailing automaker. G.M. CEO Fritz Henderson told a bankruptcy court today that the company's June sales are stronger than expected. He attributes it, in part, to the swift pace of the bankruptcy process. G.M. filed for bankruptcy protection June 1st. It is now trying to create a new company with 60 percent taxpayer ownership. G.M. hoping to get that plan approved by Thursday.

A popular music magazine is closing down. "Vibe" magazine will stop publishing starting today. In a statement to its employees, "Vibe" says harsh economic conditions struck a blow to its business goals and advertising. Over its 16 years, "Vibe" often amassed huge readership, especially with African-Americans. And it scored cover stories with many top recording artists. "Vibe" was co-founded by Quincy Jones, who produced Michael Jackson's all time best-selling album, "Thriller."

Today is a red letter day for CNN hero Alfa Demmellash. Demmellash was a special guest of President Obama at the White House. The president spoke at an event saluting non-profit programs that offer grassroots solutions to community problems. Demmellash was featured as CNN's hero of the week last week for her organization, which is called Rising Tide Capital. Rising Tide helps hundreds of low income entrepreneurs build small businesses and better their lives.

And another tragic plane crash. An Airbus A310 goes down in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the island nation of Comoros. One hundred fifty-three people were on board the Yemeni jet. But so far, only a young child has been found alive. Officials are desperately searching for anymore survivors -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Brianna, thank you.

This is the second deadly Airbus trash in a month. It is now 30 days since Air France Flight 447 mysteriously plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil. And that search for answers is going cold.

Abbi Tatton is here -- and, Abbi, tell us what the investigation is revealing.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, the search for bodies and debris -- that's now been abandoned. The search effort did recover 51 bodies. That's out of a total of 228 people on board. Hundreds of pieces of debris from the plane were recovered, as well; also, pieces of luggage.

But in the last eight or nine days of that search, nothing more was found. And so the Brazilian military decided on Friday to call off that search.

Another search, though, led by the French for the black boxes, that's still ongoing.

MALVEAUX: And what is the likelihood that they can actually get the black boxes?

TATTON: Well, the clock is really running out on that one. These black boxes that the flight data recorders, they're fitted with these battery operated locaters or pingers. And they're required to work and operate for 30 days. But that's where we are right now -- we're at 30 days.

We spoke to the former NTSB managing director, Peter Goelz, earlier today, who said that you might have another seven to 10 days of life out of them. But, still, this is a hugely challenging search area.

French investigators are planning to give their initial report on Thursday of this week.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you very much.

There will be more opportunities for Michael Jackson's many fans to celebrate his life and more on his death in the coming days. We got word today of memorial plans at his Neverland Ranch in California.

Our CNN's Kara Finnstrom is there -- Kara, what do we know?

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, there's been a lot of activity here within the last couple of hours. Fans arriving, as you see behind me here. Cars and trucks coming and going through Neverland's gates. And the media starting to converge. Here's what we know about what will be happening later this week. A source tells CNN that late Thursday morning, Michael Jackson's body will be brought by motorcade -- 30 cars or more -- the 130 miles from Los Angeles here to Neverland.

And we're told law enforcement right now is working to coordinate all the logistics of that. You can imagine the are some traffic concerns and some security concerns.

Then on Friday, there will be a public viewing of Michael Jackson's body here at Neverland and on Sunday, a private memorial service for the family only.

Now, all of this has raised a lot of concerns within this community, which values its privacy. And in light of that, the co- owner of Neverland issued a statement to the community today -- an open letter which was published in the "Santa Barbara News Press," assuring that plans are being drawn up and saying: "We must also prepare to accommodate Michael's family's wishes as they contemplate the location of his final resting place and their own return to the tranquil grounds of the Michael Jackson family compound."

And that alludes to the last element that we really don't know about yet, which is where he will be buried. That's still something we're looking to learn -- Suzanne.


Thank you so much.

Jack joining us again with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: Would you support fewer days of mail delivery in order to save the Postal Service money?

Rob says: "Yes, I think the mail could be delivered Monday through Friday. Just by cutting Saturdays, they could save a lot of money. I can't believe there's anything so pressing it needs to have weekend delivery. And if so, you can send it next day air."

Yussef says: "Reducing days of mail delivery would not address the fundamental flaws of the United States Postal Service. It has an outdated, excessively large and rigid infrastructure. The USPS has failed to evolve with changes in the postal and mailing industry. It simply cannot compete with other flexible, innovative, efficient mail providers."

Katie in Illinois: "I most certainly would. Everybody I know wouldn't care if Saturday mail delivery was discontinued. But the Postal Service needs to look inward. They, like so many others, offer perks, retirement, vacation days, etc. that far surpass the norm. Yet the solution has always been to just increase postage."

Mitch writes: "I've always felt Saturday mail delivery was unnecessary. I don't see the need to get mail on Saturday, as most businesses are closed." Charles says: "I think we could do without daily mail delivery, since I get mostly unsolicited junk mail. I think these junk mail centers ought to pay the same as I do. It would either give the USPS more money or possibly less mail to deliver. Monday, Wednesday, from would work just fine for me."

Judy in California says: "Sure, why not? I don't get my mail on time anyway. What's a couple of more days?"

And Kathy in Georgia: "Yes, and it brings a whole new meaning to the check's in the mail."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, it's in the mail -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you.

Well, what we have in store for you in a couple of minutes defies description. The video may speak for itself, but Jeanne Moos will put it all into perspective.


MALVEAUX: Here's a look at today's "Hot Shots."

In Argentina, people wear face masks to prevent the swine flu, as their health minister resigns.

In Italy, two women sit next to a burned door after a freight train derailed and exploded.

In Belgrade, a firefighter walks past a car stuck in floodwater.

In Canada, a newborn baby red panda cub makes its debut to the media.

That's this hour's "Hot Shots" -- pictures worth a thousand words.

Well, a woman in Warren, Ohio is getting her 15 minutes of fame for something "Moost Unusual" -- a squirrel in her decollate (ph).

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They nibble, they scratch. You may even seen one water ski.

But a squirrel popping out of cleavage?

Somebody call the police. Wait a minute -- she's with the police, being interviewed by a detective.

DET. WAYNE MACKEY, WARREN POLICE DEPARTMENT: No. I was not prepared to see a -- a woodland creature in the interview room. MOOS: Popping out of a tank top. The woman came to Warren, Ohio police as a character witness vouching for a murder suspect. Whenever the squirrel popped out during the 10 minute interview, she gently pushed him back in.

It reminds us of the Web site Cute Overload, which has a whole section called Cats and Racks, featuring cats being clutched to bossoms, as well as ferrets, ducks -- and, yes, squirrels. But the cats really seem to know how to push our buttons.

(on camera): Most men realize they're supposed to resist staring at cleavage. Hey, buddy my eyes are up here. Detective Mackey did his very best.

MACKEY: I just kept right on talking to her and listening to her. I never acknowledged it at all. I really didn't know what to say.

MOOS (voice-over): And she never acknowledged the squirrel either, unlike that Disney show where squirrels get in a girl's pants resulting in a rap dance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are squirrels in my pants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That girl's got some serious squirrels in her pants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are squirrels in my pants.


MOOS: But squirrels in your pants pale...




MOOS: ...compared to a giant Burmese python up a weatherman's shorts at the Iowa State Fair.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that's just wrong.


MOOS: And then there was the guy who got caught with 14 live birds under his pants in pink and white rafts (ph) attached to his calves. He was arrested for smuggling songbirds into the U.S.

But there's no law against having squirrels in your cleavage. Anyway, it's a lot easier to squirrel away...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Squirrels, squirrels.


MOOS: ...than have a Burmese python pulling your leg.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


MALVEAUX: Well, what do you think Michael Jackson's legacy is?

Submit your video comments to and we'll try to get some of them on the air tomorrow.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux in for Wolf Blitzer here in THE SITUATION ROOM.