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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Coverage of State of Union Address
Aired January 31, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Wolf, we're coming to you from the Cannon House Office Building just south of the Capitol, where about two hours ago, President Bush delivered the State of the Union address, the fifth of his presidency. The upbeat speech lasted 51 minutes. The topics were wide-ranging, from staying the course in Iraq for the need for energy reform to the strain of Baby Boomers, Like himself and President Clinton, entering their 60s. He also spent a good amount of time talking about the war on terror and America's commitment to promoting democracy.
Here's some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Dictatorships shelter terrorists and feed resentment and radicalism and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors and join the fight against terror. Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, so we will act boldly in freedom's cause.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, we expect State of the Union addresses to be optimistic. When, after all, was the last time we heard a president say, I'm going to level with you, the country's going to hell in a handbasket? Likewise, we expect the party not in power to deliver a stinging rebuttal. Their job is to shoot down all that optimism. That said, beyond the rhetoric, important issues.
Joining me now, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Thanks very much for being with us.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: My pleasure.
COOPER: The speech -- delivered on promises or not?
PELOSI: Well, first of all, let's say that we are not shooting down optimism. The strength of our country is the optimism, the enthusiasm, the talent and the goodness of the American people.
COOPER: Do you worry, though, that the Democratic Party is seen as a party which criticizes, and you know, shot down the Social Security reform last year, but doesn't really come up with policies on their own?
PELOSI: I don't worry about it at all.
COOPER: That's what Republicans say.
PELOSI: That's what Republicans say. But the fact is that that was the president's major initiative last year, and we defeated him on it by being unified and going out there into the country, a thousand town meetings, to educate the people as to what the president was up to. Now that we've cleared that from the field, we've differentiated on the budget. We've differentiated on energy. Now we go forward with a positive agenda.
And as you may have heard me say, we've had an innovation initiative for a while now. The president embraced some of the principles of it tonight, but his budget tomorrow will be a far cry from implementing it because he doesn't fund No Child Left Behind, it increases the cost of students for their student loans, families struggling to send their children to college. Innovation begins in the classroom. It cuts investment in research and development.
It doesn't commit the resources to the technology needed to make us energy-independent. So while the president is again speaking the words, he is not doing the deeds necessary. But again, we're about optimism, and that's the strength of America.
COOPER: But what about on Iraq? In the Democratic response, we did not hear all that much about actual proposals for Iraq, the governor saying that there are better ways. He didn't really illuminate what those better ways are.
PELOSI: Well, first let me say how proud I was of governor -- and am of Governor Kaine. I thought he spoke from values and from a positive agenda, and you know why the people of Virginia responded to him so positively, electing him the governor.
What he did point out, though, was the mismanagement of the war in Iraq, and that's the important issue. Whatever you thought about going in, mismanagement, service, results -- that's what the governor spoke about. And results are not happening in Iraq. The military is not strengthened by what we are doing there. That's what the Department of Defense is saying. Our homeland security needs are not being addressed. That's what the bipartisan 9/11 commission is saying.
Democrats want to be strong in terms of protecting American people. We must strengthen our military to meet threats throughout the world.
COOPER: But what does that mean? I mean, just logistically, on the ground in Iraq, are -- the Democrats clearly are not on the same page about what to do in Iraq. And isn't that a great weakness going into the mid-term elections? I mean, if tonight was an opening salvo in the mid-term elections, it seems clear the Republicans are going to be pushing the war on terror and the war in Iraq as their prime issue.
PELOSI: And on both scores, they are not doing well. The American people have turned against them on the war in Iraq. And on terror, as I say, the 9/11 commission, bipartisan, unanimously...
COOPER: But do the Democrats really give an alternative?
PELOSI: Well, the Democrats are proposing that we have to have 2006 be a year of decision in Iraq, and change. And the Republicans overwhelmingly in the United States Senate joined in that sentiment.
COOPER: But saying it has to be a year of decision and change -- I think everyone will agree, of course, yes. But what is the decision and what is the change?
PELOSI: Well, first and foremost, we have to make sure that we're not training a force in Iraq that is going to turn on other Iraqis. The measure of turning this -- the security of Iraq into the hands of the Iraqis is an important goal, but we also have to make sure that we're not turning them into people who will carry on another fight, and therefore, make our presence there something that was not what the American people thought we were getting into.
But let's enlarge the issue for a minute. What is important is, is what we're doing in Iraq making the American people safer? Is it strengthening our military to help us fight threats in other parts of the world? And is it bringing stability to the region? On those three scores, the answer is no. So we have to work together to try to go forward in a way that makes America safer and our military stronger, and that's not happening there.
COOPER: So if you could set the agenda for what these mid-term elections are going to be run on, what would it be?
PELOSI: Well, I think first homeland security is a very important issue. And again...
COOPER: But traditionally, Democrats do not do well on that.
PELOSI: Well, that's -- let me say this. Right after 9/11, there was a 50-point spread, 75 to 25, on, Who do you prefer to fight terrorism? Now it's in the single digits. That has very, very much eroded in terms of what the president is doing.
Look at Katrina. I thought that delivered a message to the American people that we are just not equipped or have not made it a priority to address the needs of the American people.
But it's about results. It's about keeping America safe, which is our first responsibility and we all take very, very seriously. But our strength has to be measured in health, education and wellbeing of the American people, as well, about being number one in competition. The president talked about it tonight, but his budget tomorrow that we will vote on will be in complete contradiction to what he said tonight.
So yes, we will say no when the president isn't right. We'll say no over and over again, and we will roll out our positive agenda about jobs and health care and education. And let me say on health care, what the president proposed tonight, health savings accounts and association health plans, will be fought by the Democrats to the end. This will not reduce the cost of health care in America. These proposals will not increase the number of people who are insured. And these proposals will increase the deficit. That's not -- those are standards that must be met. And this is where you will see the big domestic fight, on health care, because that is an issue of immediate concern to America, America's families. It's a competitive issue for our businesses, and it is a very big expense to the American people.
COOPER: Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.
PELOSI: I appreciate it. Thank you...
COOPER: ... a lot more reaction now coming up in this hour ahead and also on Larry King at midnight.
We are not naive here. We know that there are places in which the president did not have everyone's undivided attention tonight, but New Orleans wasn't one of those places. In the Big Easy, which came as close as any American city ever has to disappearing forever after Hurricane Katrina, people were really listening to the State of the Union address, listening intently, as if they themselves had something at stake. That is because they do.
We're going to talk to the major of New Orleans shortly. CNN's Susan Roesgen joins us live now to talk about how the president was received tonight in New Orleans -- Susan.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you're right, they were listening, but they were so disappointed. The general reaction was, Is that it, just a couple of sentences and the last five minutes of the president's speech? One woman told me she expected the president to at least acknowledge all the people who've lost their homes here, all the people who've lost their jobs here, and to acknowledge all the people who have died here. And one man told me that New Orleans deserves to be more than a footnote in the president's speech.
And here, Anderson, is what people are so worried about. We've got kind of a five-month fact check on where we are here in New Orleans. Before the hurricane, the population of this city was 465,000 people. Now three quarters of the population is gone. We're down to only about 115,000 people. And 217,000 people lost their homes here, 65,000 requests have been put in New Orleans for FEMA trailers. And yet fewer than 2,000 people, Anderson, are actually living in those FEMA trailers.
And the big question is the money. Where is all the money that's been promised? You heard the president tonight once again mention that $85 billion figure. That's the figure that he says that has been committed from the federal government to help the Gulf Coast recover. Now, several billion dollars of that amount is going to tax breaks for people who were affected, but the bulk of that money, $62 billion, went straight to FEMA. And as we have found out here, much of that money has been tied up in a bureaucratic nightmare of red tape, squeezing a really big number down to just a trickle for the people who need that money most.
Also, the state of Louisiana was supposed to get $6 billion. That's what's been allocated in community block grants to do things like fix up hospitals and give some small business loans. And yet just today, Anderson, I talked to the state officials here who have been begging for that money, who have already drown up some proposals to spend that money, and I was told that not a single penny of that has actually reached the state of Louisiana.
Now, the government also has allocated $2.9 billion to fix up the levees. But Anderson, once again, here's another big concern here. There are 170 miles of levees that need to be repaired, and yet in this huge federal job, only 20 percent of the levee repair is complete and we are less than five months away from the start of the hurricane season.
So again, Anderson, a lot disappointment tonight. People were expecting to hear more specific things from the president, things about how he was going to help New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast recover.
COOPER: And they did not. Susan, thanks very much.
If the people of New Orleans were paying very close attention to the president and the State of the Union address, we imagine the major of New Orleans must have been paying even closer attention. Ray Nagin is in Washington because he'll be testifying on Capitol Hill this week about his administration's response to Katrina. He watched the speech from our Washington bureau. He joins us now live.
Mayor Nagin, thanks for being with us. You know, the president, when he spoke about Katrina, he was standing before in Jackson Square...
MAYOR RAY NAGIN (D), NEW ORLEANS: Yes.
COOPER: ... and it was a very strong statement. It was a statement about building bigger and stronger and better. Did you hear that passion tonight?
NAGIN: You know, Anderson, I did not hear that passion. I mean, it was a very positive speech, but I must tell you I was expecting more. I was expecting the president to reaffirm his commitment, the commitment that he made at Jackson Square. I expected him to basically say that he was going to double the resources. If we have 65,000 people looking for temporary housing and only 2,000 have those houses, then we need to double our efforts or triple our efforts to make sure the job gets done.
COOPER: The White House is refusing to release documents about relief efforts, about conversations and advice the president was given in those terrible days after Katrina. To my knowledge, you're the only elected official to admit specific mistakes. Do you wish the president would do the same?
NAGIN: Well, you know, Anderson, I've always said that as we start to analyze this particular tragedy, that every level of government should be evaluated independently. I have opened myself up to everything that we did and all the documents that we have, and I think this governor has done the same. And I think the federal government ought to do what they need to do to make sure that everybody understands what happens, wherever the breakdown is and how we fix this forever.
COOPER: Well, I would just point out the governor actually has not done that. She -- I've asked her specifically. She won't -- she has not said any specific mistakes she made. But I know you have. You've admitted you should have organized the buses. You said that you should have declared a mandatory evacuation on Saturday, not on Sunday. It sounds like some local officials, though, are not on the same page. The director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security, Colonel Terry Ebbert, told Congress just today that he found, quote, "no fault with any official at any level" and instead blamed FEMA. What do you make of that?
NAGIN: Well, you know, everyone has their own opinions about actually what happened. I was doing a self-critique of myself, and I wished that I had that information earlier to order a mandatory evacuation earlier, which I might add, was the first mandatory evacuation ever in the history of the city of New Orleans. And then you talk about buses. I would stage those differently. That's me going through my self-critique. I'm OK. I'm comfortable enough in my own successes and failures successes to kind of lay that out there.
COOPER: So what is going on in Washington? I mean, you spend a lot of time here. You know, you're trying to get aid and attention to your city, which, God knows, badly needs it. You know, is it Katrina fatigue that these people think they have?
NAGIN: You know, I'm not sure if it's Katrina fatigue or what. I will tell you this, that the job is not getting done quick enough. We have so many residents that are still spread out all over the country. We have so many housing needs. And the dollars the and resources are just not there to get the job done, and we need to double and triple and quadruple our efforts.
COOPER: You talk to a lot of politicians, though, in Washington, and they kind of blame you and they blame Governor Blanco. They say you guys don't have your act together. Five months after the storm, there's still no clear plan exactly how to rebuild, what neighborhoods are going to get rebuilt. When does that all get decided?
NAGIN: Well, you know, I would add to that whole debate that my commission, the Bring Back New Orleans Commission, completed its work this past Friday. We have a full plan. It's comprehensive. It involves lots of citizens that have input. It talks to a sequencing of rebuilding. It talks about economic development. It is a comprehensive plan, and we're ready to go. COOPER: But what does that mean? I mean, is there a date that you can be able to say, Well, you know, we'll know by this date whether the lower 9th is going to get rebuilt or Lakeview's going to get rebuilt?
NAGIN: Well, you know, those areas that were hardest hit are still dependent upon exactly when the levees are going to be repaired and when those areas are safe. But in the core of the city, we are ready to move forward very aggressively. And I'm going to be pushing for at least $1.5 billion of that $6.2 billion for us to immediately infuse into the economy and say to our citizens, Here's your pre- Katrina values, less your insurance proceeds. Here's a check for you to go rebuild or move to higher ground.
COOPER: You're testifying tomorrow. We'll be watching. Appreciate it. Mayor Nagin, thank you.
NAGIN: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: It was Mr. Bush's night, but did it also mark the birth of a new star for the Democrats? Why did they choose a new governor to rebut one of the most recognized leaders in the world?
Plus, you heard the president say we're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. Is that really a fair assessment? We'll ask "Time" magazine's Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware.
You're watching a special edition of 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I am confident in our plan for victory. I am confident in the will of the Iraqi people. I am confident in the skill and spirit of our military fellow citizens. We are in this fight to win, and we are winning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We've got a lot coming up in this hour from the Cannon Building here on Capitol Hill. We're going to have bloggers Andrew Sullivan and Arianna Huffington to respond to the president's speech. Also, Wolf Blitzer is standing by in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Let's check in with him -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Anderson. I want to give our viewers some new poll numbers that we took, a quick CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll right during and after the speech. Let's show a few numbers right now.
But before we show the numbers -- well, here are the numbers. Let's go through them, then we'll do the caveats. Bush policies, will they move the country in the right direction, wrong direction? Among those viewers -- well, people who actually saw the speech, and it's skewed toward the Republicans because a lot more Republicans wanted to watch the president than Democrats, 68 percent said it was going in the right direction, 28 percent in the wrong direction.
That sounds good, but let's give some comparison to those numbers and perspective. In 2002, shortly after 9/11, 91 percent thought the Bush policies were moving the country in the right direction, 84 percent -- actually in 2001, 70 percent in 2004. And 68 percent, and this current number, that's actually the lowest of the president's speeches.
Here's another number. Among speech watchers -- remember, speech watchers only, not the American public as a whole -- situation in Iraq, 40 percent said it's getting better, 30 percent said it's staying the same, 28 percent said it's getting worse. And once again, among those who actually watched and heard the president's speech, "Will most of President Bush's proposals become law?" Very likely 5 percent, Somewhat likely 61 percent, Not likely 33 percent.
Candy Crowley is here. I want to bring her into this discussion. Candy, if we look at these numbers, remember, it's not necessarily the public at large, it's those who watched the speech. And most of the people who watched the speech tended to support the president.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Which makes these even -- I mean, 68 percent saying you're going in the right direction does sound great, but when you realize that things are heavily skewed Republican, it's not good news for the White House. Having said that, the flash polls have -- are exactly what they are, which is sort of a snapshot right now. Some of this needs time to settle in. The White House -- this isn't the be-and-end-all for the White House. They go from here to a trip out on the road, selling health care, selling some energy proposals, that sort of thing. So the proof will be in how they go about this for the next several months.
COOPER: Tell us something, Candy, about this Democratic new governor of Virginia, who delivered the Democratic response on behalf of his party.
CROWLEY: First, keeping in mind what this audience was. Democrats knew going into this that this will be a largely Republican, maybe independent audience. What do you want for that? You want a new face, and that's where Tim Kaine's resume begins to fit the bill. He was sworn in less than three weeks ago. He is the one in Virginia, which is below the Mason-Dixon line, which is heavily Republican territory in presidential years. He won in Republican strongholds in Virginia. Personally, he is both anti-abortion and anti-death penalty, although he says he will enforce the laws, of course. He is Catholic, and he is a former missionary.
So this is the moderate Democratic face that Democrats wanted to put out there for perhaps first-time viewers, saying, Here's a new face. Maybe we should listen to him. And that was the voice they wanted to go out.
COOPER: Candy, stand by. I want to get back to you.
Also here to discuss the state of the Democrats, Illinois Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel, former Republican congressman, now CNN political contributor J.C. Watts, and former presidential adviser David Gergen.
David, I'll start with you. Talk a little bit about the nature of this Democratic ability or inability to respond to this president.
DAVID GERGEN, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT," FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, so far, Wolf, the Democrats have always had the losing hand in responding to this president in terms of -- as a campaigner. They've been more effective in dealing with him as an -- on the substance. But as a campaigner, you know, he won unexpectedly in 2000. He swept the boards in 2004. He's the first president since Franklin Roosevelt whose party has steadily gained seats while he's been in office.
This is first year where the Democrats are finding their voice, and I thought tonight that Tim Kaine gave a surprisingly effective response.
COOPER: Rahm Emanuel, you've been involved in Democratic Party politics for a long time, going back to your days when you worked in the Clinton White House, even earlier. What's different, if anything, that the Democrats have to offer this year?
REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS: Well, first of all, we have six basic points, Wolf. We're talking about putting our fiscal house in order with a budget summit and balancing the budget, making a college education as universal in the 21st century as a high school was in the 20th century, creating a hybrid-based economy to cut Americans' dependence on foreign oil in 10 years, that if you work, you have health care. That would be the goal we set for this country in 10 years to get that done. Five, that we create an institute of science and engineering to marvel what the NIH has done in health care. And lastly, when the 9/11 commission comes out with their next report, under a Democratic congress, you would not get an F for a failing grade, you would get an A for having put in place the policies to protect America. And we won't see what happened down in Katrina again here in our homeland security.
COOPER: It looks, Congressman Emanuel, like the Republicans and Karl Rove, the chief Republican strategist in the White House, really are going to go back to this whole issue of the war on terrorism, national security, to try to hammer away at the Democrats this year. Can you handle that?
EMANUEL: Well, Wolf, first of all, as I just told you, the 9/11 commission gave this president and a Republican Congress a failing grade for what they've done. And as it relates to the security of the American people, we stand ready to work with this president to do that, but we're not going to just try to have an issue. What we want to do is, we want to make progress on that issue and work with the president and sit down. The question I have for them, is are they determined to have an issue or are they determined to work with having the security?
And I'll tell you, on that speech tonight, I thought that speech was tired and I thought that speech said, If you liked the last six, years we're going to give you two more years of that. And the Democrats are saying it's time for new priorities, to put the American people first and change the direction of this country.
And the Congress -- and let me say this. Tomorrow morning, the first step (INAUDIBLE) embrace the future, this Congress, under the Republican leadership...
BLITZER: All right...
EMANUEL: ... is going to cut college assistance by $12.7 billion. That's not exactly what I would say would be investing in America's future.
BLITZER: J.C. Watts, what about that? Do the Democrats have a point?
J.C. WATTS (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: No, Wolf, they don't. You remember I said we should send Governor Kaine to bed with no dinner for saying that we were cutting student loans. Rahm, we need to send you to that bed, as well. That's just not the case.
EMANUEL: We'll see tomorrow.
WATTS: But Rahm, you know, the thing is, Wolf, I'm so sick of polls, I can hardly stand it. You know, I think all these polls are just snapshots tonight, when the president's high and he's going to get good numbers or, you know, he's going to bad numbers for something that he does tomorrow.
I think we have to look over the next eight or nine months, and I think this president has a story to tell in terms of what we're doing in this economy, how well we're doing. I think this war on terror, I think the American people are with this president in terms of defending them. As I said, or as the president said, you know, being against the president's plan, that's not a plan. You know, Rahm, you guys, you've got to be an opposition party. You can't afford to work with the president. That's your responsibility, to be an opposition party.
EMANUEL: J.C., you just -- you may have missed it. I laid out six points specifically. And tomorrow morning, I'll send you the budget reconciliation, where they cut $12.7 billion from college student aid, and they cut six million kids from kids health care. That's not investing in the future. And those are policies we'll oppose, and we've alternatives about universal health...
WATTS: Well, you know, Rahm...
EMANUEL: ... universal access to higher education.
WATTS: You know, Rahm, I remember back in -- when I was in Congress, we slowed the growth of government from 11 points -- 11 percent to 7 percent and... EMANUEL: Well, this has been...
WATTS: ... Washington called that a cut.
EMANUEL: This is the largest expansion of government since Franklin Delano Roosevelt under the president and a rubber-stamp Republican Congress, J.C.
WATTS: Well, I...
EMANUEL: That's just a fact, and I'm sorry if you're going to have a rendezvous with...
WATTS: Well, Rahm, you know, the American people are going to get to make a choice in November of this year.
EMANUEL: Sure. Right.
WATTS: And you know, the fact that the Democrats are so poor in terms of security issues, you know, you guys are politically tone deaf when it comes to protecting the American people. And I said earlier, Wolf, on your show, I said, you know, Democrats are as politically tone deaf on security issues as Republicans are on poor people's issues.
WATTS: So that's the perception, and that's what you guys are going to have to deal with, Rahm.
BLITZER: We've got to wrap it up for now. We'll continue this discussion down the road. Rahm Emanuel...
EMANUEL: Thank you.
COOPER: ... David Gergen, J.C. Watts, Candy Crowley here in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Well, Wolf, is the president right about Iraq? That's the question we're going to put to Michael Ware, "Time" magazine's Baghdad bureau chief. He tells us if he thinks the president's being honest with the American people about the war.
Also, blogging on the president. Two bloggers from the left and the right weighing in on the State of the Union address, Andrew Sullivan and Arianna Huffington. They're coming up.
From Washington, you're watching a special edition of 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Honorable people in both parties are working on reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington. I support your efforts. Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility, and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never betray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Our commitment to winning the war on terror compels us to ask this question, are the president's policies the best way to win this war?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Governor Kaine for the Democratic response. You know, for all we focus on the words of the evening the pictures often speak volumes as well. Take for example the standing ovation or is it a seated stone any silence or both sometimes? Who better to shows us than CNN's Tom Foreman standing by at the telestrator -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you this Anderson, there was a lot of both tonight. If you had no idea how much ranker there was in this country right now between the two parties, you could tell this evening with the sound down on your TV. All you had to do was watch. Take a look at this. Over and over again, this was the scene. The president would make a point about his policy or ideas or dream for the country, and look what would happen. Right down the middle of the chamber, half of the audience would stand up, right over here, these are all the Republicans over here on that side of the aisle. They're all standing. And over here, you can clearly see all the Democrats are sitting down and staying on their hands.
Over and over again this happened. It was just like Groundhog Day. And nothing the president did seemed to get past this except when he talked about security or supporting troops. Then everybody would get together, but most of the time he couldn't buy a good response out of the Democrats, even when he tried to make a joke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: This year the first of about 78 million baby boomers turns -- baby boomers turns 60, including two of my dad's favorite people, me and President Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Yeah, look at that. That right there, there is an unhappy lawmaker. The fact is, as this went on, look at what happened. The only time that the Democrats stood up on their own without the Republicans was when the president pointed out that his own plans for remaking Social Security failed last year, that's when all the Democrats were standing up all over on this side. All the Republicans were staying seated because that is something the Democrats weren't in favor of. The simple truth is this matters because it is an indication of how divided Congress is right now which is some indication of how divided the American electorate is.
COOPER: I'm interested in also in just how viewers view it elsewhere in the country. I mean, to me it seems silly and makes them look bad, it makes the whole bunch of them look kind of bad. But, I don't know, that's just me. Tom, appreciate the telestrator, thanks.
The president made no mention of the Internet tonight but the Internet is buzzing about him. Across the web reaction of the State of the Union Address was instantaneous, especially in the blogosphere where the reviews for and against the speech continue to stream in. Two of the best known bloggers around joining us with their opinions. Andrew Here in Washington, Andrew Sullivan of Andrewsulivan.com, "Daily Dish," and from Los Angeles, Arianna Huffington of Huffingtonpost.com. Appreciate both of you being with us.
Anderson, let me start off with you. Let me play a sound bite about oil which got you excited early on in the evening. Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy and here we have a serious problem. America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's kind of said the same thing in every State of the Union, though. What got you excited about this, Andrew?
ANDREW SULLIVAN, ANDREWSULLIVAN.COM: Well, I just thought the phrase "addicted to oil" was obviously the leap out phrase of the whole speech and I was looking forward to him fleshing that out some more. Remember a couple years ago we had all the hydrogen fuel talk that he was going to spend billions of dollars on? Well, we didn't really get much fleshing out, lots of talk about technology and then it kind of dribbled into nothing. So I guess I have to wait and see what he actually does rather than what he says.
COOPER: Arianna, what about you? I saw in your blog your talked about what Andrew mentioned, the 2003 promise about hydrogen cars.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Well, you know, I'm not as hopeful as Andrew is. We've heard that again and again and again and nothing has happened. Basically the president had an energy bill, remember in which he could have done something about our addiction to foreign oil. Instead, our addiction has grown and grown ever since he took office and this is basically an administration of oil men, let's be frank about that.
But, I was really interested in the fact that he mentioned five times isolationism. He's clearly trying to position all those who want us to get out of Iraq as isolationists, especially because he's afraid that in the red states, the American DNA which is really minding our own business and against imperialist ventures is beginning to assert itself. So he's really made a huge effort to position this isolationism, and identifying staying the course in Iraq with Lincoln and Martin Luther King and fighting communism and all the great causes of our history.
SULLIVAN: Well, well, Arianna, pulling out of Iraq would be isolationism at this point and extremely irresponsible. And staying there and trying to make this experiment work is the only responsible position anyone can take, which is why I thought Governor Kaine was very effective and why he probably drove you nuts, because he actually was able to present the Democratic Party as responsible in foreign policy, as in touch with faith and with values and actually seeing this war through competently rather than incompetently and that's a winning argument, not yours.
HUFFINGTON: Yes, exactly, that's why Democrats have been winning so many elections by following this argument. Instead of taking the president on in his greatest vulnerability, which he knows perfectly well is Iraq. There is no winning strategy in Iraq. There is no plan for victory. That is the biggest lie of the speech. And it was really my worst nightmare to hear Governor Kaine not take on the president on Iraq. There is no other great issue at the moment.
COOPER: Just for our view...
HARRINGTON: The president said second-guessing is not a strategy, he's right.
COOPER: Just for our viewer who didn't hear what the president said about Iraq, let's play some of that sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting, yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people, the only way to secure the peace, the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership so the United States of America will continue to lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Andrew, he did go on to say it was important that policy in Iraq be made in Iraq on the ground not necessarily by domestic politics here at home.
SULLIVAN: He did say that. I hope that he's telling the truth and there isn't a lot of pressure as we've heard from the military and from someone like Paul Bremer, political pressure to cut short this mission before it has been fully implemented and I hope he resists that. But look, you know, nothing he says now will change matters. What matters is what's going to happen the next year or so in the country and whether he really has listened to criticism and adjusted, as he says he has, or whether he hasn't, as I suspect is the truth.
COOPER: Is anyone going to remember the speech a week from now?
SULLIVAN: No, I don't believe we're going to remember it two days from now, I'm afraid.
COPPER: Wow, Arianna, how about you? What do you think?
HUFFINGTON: No, it was really a speech without a single memorable line. And that's why it's a misopportunity for the democrats, as you said when you questioned Nancy Pelosi, this was their opportunity to come out with a clear strategy on the war on terror. Ultimately in a post 9/11 reality that is the greatest priority. It's not about the small domestic initiatives, however important.
SULLIVAN: But Arianna....
HARRINGTON: It's about clear position on the war on terror.
SULLIVAN: But Arianna, after 9/11 you're still talking about isolationism. I mean, didn't you learn anything from that disaster?
HARRINGTON: No, this is the word the president used. This is not isolationism, this is protecting the homeland. And this is the opportunity to create a new alliance between red states and blue states. Those who want to put protecting America first, those who realize that Osama bin Laden, the man behind 9/11 is still at large.
COOPER: Andrew, final thought.
SULLIVAN: He is, but cutting and running in Iraq won't make us safer and we have no option
SULLIVAN: Hold on a minute. It's not a talking point, Arianna. I tell you what I think.
HUFFINGTON: Yes it is, right now he's cutting and walking as you said today on your blog.
COOPER: OK, you guys, take it to the Internet, now, take it to the Internet. Andrew Sullivan, thanks as always. And Arianna Huffington, good to have you on, thank you.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you.
COOPER: And don't forget we have a 360 blog, also. Just go on our Web site, Cnn.com/360, click on the link. We have a lot more ahead not only on "360" but also Larry King is coming up at the top of the hour in 20 minutes. He's going to have a fascinating hour as well.
President did not mince words about Iraq, "we're in this fight to win," he said, and "we are winning." What do you think? Tonight we'll talk to Baghdad bureau chief for "Time" magazine, Michael Ware. And the woman leading the antiwar crusade was a guest at tonight's address until he was arrested. Talking about Cindy Sheehan. Find out why she was arrested and where he is now when this special edition of 360 continues.
BLITZER: Despite the continued violence and the uncertainty in Iraq the president made it clear in his address tonight the mission is succeeding, he insists, and it will be completed. Our chief national correspondent John King has more on the president's message when it comes to Iraq.
Though, when all is said and done, John, what happens on the ground is going to be most important as opposed to words uttered here in Washington.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is and a very difficult sales pitch for the president tonight because Iraq is the single biggest drag on his own approval rating, right now. The president giving this speech at a time the clear majority of Americans think it was a mistake to go to war in Iraq. They see an uncertain political environment. They see daily violence everyday on their screen. So, one of the president's challenges today was to try to reshape that public opinion. He did so with a very assertive phrase in his State of the Union speech, insisting the United States is winning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I am confident in our plan for victory. I am confident in the will of the Iraqi people. I am confident in the skill and spirit of our military, fellow citizens, and we are in this fight to win and we are winning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: But, why do Americans disagree? One reason, the cost of this war in dollar and lives. More than $250 million in taxpayer money, so far, have gone into the war in Iraq, billions more to be spent in the year and years ahead; 2,242 U.S. servicemen have been killed. Most Americans think that is much higher number than they had been told to anticipate going into the war. They also believe the fight was much harder than the president laid out at the beginning of the war. Originally about 90,000 troops in the first wave into Iraq, 151,000 at the end of the year, 2005, about 138,000 now. Part of the president's challenge tonight is to convince the American people the troop levels will begin to come down. Because, another challenge is trying to quiet his criticism. The president saying those who are second-guessing him do not have a strategy. Mr. Bush trying to reshape the political debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Members of Congress, however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option, we must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in this vital mission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The defiant words from the president, Wolf, they believe they need to change these poll numbers, but they also know perhaps they can change them a bit here. But as you noted, forming the new government starting to bring troops home, they think that is the biggest factor, something they need to accomplish quickly in this election year.
BLITZER: What happens militarily, politically, economically in Iraq, most important. John, thanks very much.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Wolf, the president says the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq but are we really? Joining us from New York for his point of view is Michael Ware, Baghdad bureau chief for "Time" magazine.
Michael, in case some viewers did not see this piece, I just play something the president said about Iraq, earlier tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The road to victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress from the ground and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels. But those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Michael, you probably spend more time, have more contact with insurgents than anyone I've ever met. How do you think they read a statement like that and all the talk in Washington about reducing troop levels?
MICHAEL WARE, "TIME" BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Anderson, this is all clearly from the president, political gymnastics. Like a magician, he's attempting to create something out of nothing. It's very clear that U.S. policy, on the ground in Iraq, is not winning, it's not creating a victory. The question is, can America get out of there with anything close to a semblance of success, of any kind? I mean, let's look at Iraq. He refers to an inclusive government. That simply does not exist and is back and owned now by a member of the axis of evil, Iran. Listening to commanders on the ground who have described to me the "big lie," that we can't really tell the truth of what's going on, we can't ask for the resources that we need for fear of betraying the true situation, here in Iraq. And this is a policy. Born of success that is seen U.S. administrations now turning to the insurgents themselves, bringing back the Ba'ath party.
In this war, all we have seen is an emboldening of Al Qaeda, which has become stronger in so many ways and emboldening of Iran. And the spillover of democracy, we're starting to see that in Palestine, with the coming to power of the Hamas Islamic extremist government that we're seeing in Iraq itself, which has brought to power a pseudo-Islamic series of parties backed by Iran. And this is a success that the president wishes to build upon.
The "great lie" of his address is the success of Iraq. The great truth is that the only long-term way out is developing alternative energy strategies. And he talks about a battle of ideologies. Well, so far in that test of wills, that test of ideas, we're simply gain no traction whatsoever.
COOPER: Sobering view on leaf on the ground. Michael Ware, thanks, from "Time" magazine.
Before President Bush spoke tonight, a battle of sorts over Iraq, peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested inside the capitol. Was she planning to upstage the president right before his eyes? We'll talk about that when a special edition of 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, just before tonight's State of the Union Address, Capitol Police arrested Cindy Sheehan in the House gallery. Sheehan's son, you'll remember, was killed in Iraq and she has been an outspoken critic of the president and the war in Iraq ever since. Congressional correspondent, Ed Henry, has the latest on the arrest -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Anderson, that's right. The drama started in House chamber half hour before President Bush even arrived. As you noted, Cindy Sheehan had been invited to sit in the gallery by a member of Congress, a democratic member, Lynn Woolsey, of California. As you know she's a high profile antiwar activist. So we're told by the capital police spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider, she's telling CNN that Sheehan was arrested a can 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
She entered the gallery in the House chamber wearing a shirt with some sort of antiwar slogan. We had been told it was a sign, it was actually a shirt and she refused to cover up that shirt. They were afraid she was going to do something during the speech with that for the television cameras. So the police say she was then handcuffed, taken out of the House chamber, held in the capital a while and taken to capital police headquarters a couple blocks away. We now understand she's at the Metropolitan police -- Washington, D.C. police headquarters. She's been moved, still being processed, still paperwork being done. She's been charge with unlawful conduct, that's a misdemeanor; it's a penalty of up to one year in jail. That's what happened to her. But, we're told by a spokeswoman that she has been very cooperative, but nonetheless, she's still, right now, in police custody.
COOPER: All right, fascinating. Ed Henry thanks.
At the top of the hour, don't miss a special edition of "Larry King Live." Larry joins us now with a preview.
Hey, Larry? LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE": Thanks, Anderson. We'll be with you for a full hour with Senator George Allen, long rumored to be one of the principle candidates for the presidency on the republican ticket. Governor Bill Richardson, another candidate, on the democratic side. And we'll have Congresswoman Jane Harman and Chris Shays and also the famed historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony, all looking at the president and the kind of history of State of the Union speeches. We're back at our regular time, by the way, tomorrow night with former President Jimmy Carter.
You've had a long night, get some rest, Anderson.
COOPER: It has been. It's been fascinating night, though, Larry, and I'll -- how can I rest when you're on the air? I'll go back to my hotel and watch you. Thanks very much. "Larry King Live," that comes up in about, oh about, eight minutes or so from now.
Coming up, state of President Bush's a experience five years later, how the job has changed him, how he's aged. We'll show you.
COOPER: Well, the country's changed a lot since the president gave his first speech to Congress. And you know what? He's changed as well. Back if February 2001 the president was youthful 54 years old with dark brown hair and by 2002, at the State of the Union, the gray lines started sneaking in. Over the years with each state of the union, silver kept coming, this was how he looked during the 2005 State of the Union. And you can clearly see the difference. Here he is tonight at 59 with a fair amount of gray on top, but we don't think there's anything wrong with that. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much for all your coverage tonight.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Anderson. Let me second your motion, noting wrong with a little gray.
COOPER: Certainly is. We'll see you tomorrow in "The Situation Room." Larry King is next, from the left and the right, reactions to the president's State of the Union speech. Good night.
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