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Tornadoes Rock South and Midwest; Breaking the Political Logjam in Iraq; Tom DeLay to Pull Out of Congressional Race

Aired April 3, 2006 - 22:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening to everyone again.
For an awful lot of people tonight, this evening has been anything but good.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: That's for sure, dozens of tornadoes, more than two dozen fatalities now, thousands of people with homes and lives to rebuild or loved ones to bury.

ROBERTS: No matter how you measure it, when the sun rose today, it became clear the central part of the country took a body blow last night.

As the storm front, which is still causing trouble from Upstate New York to South Carolina, made its way east from the plains, the watches and the warnings began going up -- in eight state, high winds, hail larger than two inches across, and as many as 64 tornado sightings, different colors for each -- the dots merging into something resembling a shotgun blast.

And, when it was all over, just as deadly -- at least 27 people have died. Parts of Tennessee got hit the hardest.

CNN's Rob Marciano is there, covering all the angles tonight from Rutherford.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): Western Tennessee was hit the hardest. Twenty-three died there, including an infant. At least 1,800 homes and businesses were destroyed in the two hardest- hit counties. In this subdivision in Rutherford, Tennessee, every home was damaged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our bathroom. This is where we were.

MARCIANO: Michelle Gode (ph), her husband and her two children huddled in the bathtub, as a tornado ripped off the roof of their home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the glass started flying, we just kind of scooted back even farther into the bathtub.

MARCIANO: Tornadoes ripped through eight South and Midwest states yesterday, leaving at least 27 dead, scores injured, and thousands of buildings damaged.

Iowa, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois were all hit by powerful thunderstorms, strong winds, hail, and deadly tornadoes. Before crossing the Mississippi eastward into Tennessee, the storms caused about a half-dozen tornadoes in Arkansas. About half the town of Marmaduke was damaged. And there were reports of four-inch hail coming through the roof of a trailer home.

Downed trees and power lines blocked rescue vehicles in Kentucky, causing officials to declare a state of emergency in Christian County. In Ohio, officials said high winds damaged buildings in most southwest counties. And, in Missouri, they were lucky: no deaths, but extensive damage to the city of Caruthersville.

But, just over the border, in Tennessee, only 30 miles away, Michelle Gode (ph) and her family are still trying to figure out what hit them, but are thankful for their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are very, very blessed. My family's OK. And that's the main thing. We can replace a house and we can replace the things in it, but as long as our family's (INAUDIBLE)

MARCIANO: The National Weather Service said there were preliminary reports of 64 tornadoes, a large outbreak for so early in the season.


MARCIANO: As a matter of fact, it's been a very big season, even though we're barely into it. We have had over 300 reports of tornadoes since January 1. That's three times the amount we have seen since this time last year. And that's five times the average -- so, already, incredibly busy, and we're really not even into the heart of tornado season.

As for this outbreak of tornadoes, specifically the tornado that -- that has -- that raked across parts of northern Tennessee, at times, it was up to a half-a-mile wide. And, as far as the strength is concerned, storm surveyors from the -- the Memphis, the Nashville -- Nashville and Paducah National Weather Service offices were out today to survey the damage and try to determine how strong these storms were.

Right now, estimates at F3 damage, which means winds to 200 miles an hour -- miraculously, here, in Rutherford, Tennessee, on this street, nobody injured. Look at this house behind me, completely totaled. A reverend, his wife, and his child huddled in the -- in the closet there while their -- their home was demolished around them -- nobody hurt on this street.

So, even with all the chaos and catastrophe here with these tornadoes, Heidi and John, some signs of hope, certainly, in the -- in the heart of northwest Tennessee.


MARCIANO: Back to you.

ROBERTS: Just an amazing demonstration of nature's fury.

Rob Marciano, thanks very much.

A sheriff's deputy truly got up close and personal with the Dyer County tornado. The encounter was captured by the dashboard camera in his patrol car. On the left, that dark, spinning blur, that would be the funnel cloud of the tornado. You don't get much closer than that and live to tell about it.

Deputy Lynn Waller was behind the -- the wheel of that vehicle. He joins us now on the telephone.

Deputy Waller, how did you find yourself that close to a tornado?

DEPUTY LYNN WALLER, DYER COUNTY, TENNESSEE, SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Well, I was actually posted in that area.

ROBERTS: You were posted in that area, and you -- you just managed to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time?

WALLER: Yes, sir, that's correct.


WALLER: It -- it came up on us pretty quick. And...

ROBERTS: You -- you ever seen anything like that? You ever been as close to a tornado as that before?

WALLER: No, sir, not in Dyer County. I was born and raised here and never seen anything like that.

ROBERTS: So, what was going through your mind? You're driving your car. We can see the tornado there on the left side of your car. Getting that close to it, were you thinking, I don't think I should be driving in this direction?

WALLER: That's correct, but, really, we -- I was just thinking where it's going, you know, and what kind of damage it's going to do to the residents.


So, you followed that tornado up the highway, as we can see you driving here, up until the damage got so bad, that you couldn't follow it any further. How bad did the damage get? And is that the kind of thing that you would do again, or was that just kind of like a reaction on your part?

WALLER: Well, I think it's instinct. It's training. And you just don't really think about being scared. You just have to follow it and -- and try to do the best you can, as far as helping people and letting them know it's coming.

ROBERTS: Right. How -- how's everybody in Dyer County holding up there?

WALLER: They're -- they're -- they're tough people. They're -- they're holding up pretty good. Their spirits are actually higher than I expected.

Of course, we have a -- you know, the deaths and the destruction and whatnot. But the spirits are pretty good here.


Well, I'm sure that the -- the entire county is pulling together.

And -- and, Deputy Waller, I mean, when you take a look at how close your car came to that funnel cloud, as you were driving along there, that big dark thing on the left-hand side...


ROBERTS: ... it's amazing that you're here to tell the tale. Thank you very much for being with us tonight. Appreciate it.

WALLER: Yes, sir. Thank you.


COLLINS: Incredible video there.

And -- and now we want to take you to James Hicks. He has lived to tell about three hurricanes. Tonight, add to that one tornado. Safe to say, this story tops them all. He's telling it from a hospital bed in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Mr. Hicks, certainly great to see you tonight, and -- and so very glad and thankful you can join us.

Tell us what happened to you. You were actually driving home from a movie.


I -- I was driving home from a theater and -- about 6:30 in the afternoon. And I come down -- down Dyersburg (ph) Hill. And the -- the sky was sunny in Dyersburg and stuff. But when I went down Dyersburg (ph) Hill and stuff, it all started getting black and everything.

And it felt like, the closer I got on the flatlands, toward Lake County, it started raining and hailing, and -- and wind blowing real hard. And the closer I got to Lake County, the worst things got. And my -- and when a hail ball shattered -- broke my windshield, I stopped and then got scared, and decided to go back to Dyersburg.

And, then, on my way back to Dyersburg, up Dyersburg (ph) Hill, the saw a funnel cloud build across the field from me, at least about 200 feet -- 200 feet wide.


COLLINS: So, you saw the whole thing come together and turn into a tornado?


HICKS: Yes. Yes, ma'am.

COLLINS: Did you have any idea that there were tornadoes coming your way?

HICKS: Not at the time. My -- I -- my brother called me on the phone and told me on my way to Lake County. But I didn't know whether it was that bad.

COLLINS: Certainly not.


COLLINS: It's obvious that you're pretty lucky to be alive.

You are, as we see, in the hospital now. How are you feeling?

HICKS: Yes, ma'am.

COLLINS: What -- what are your injuries?

HICKS: I -- I guess I got a bruised chest bone or something. You know, I impacted the steering wheel pretty hard about -- I hit the tree about 70 miles an hour.


HICKS: Tree just came out of nowhere in the middle of the road. The -- the tornado was throwing -- throwing trees around like toothpicks.

COLLINS: Yes. I can't -- I imagine you probably can't control a car very well in the middle of all those winds.


COLLINS: Have you happened to have heard from your friends and family? I mean, was your home damaged at all?

HICKS: No. No, it missed Lake County completely.

COLLINS: Boy, that's terrific.

Have you ever seen anything like this before? I mean, as we sit here and look at this video all day long and now tonight, the damage was extensive.


HICKS: I -- I -- I have never seen anything this bad and everybody.

I mean, that -- that -- that tornado, as close as I have ever been to a tornado in my life. And, believe me, it looked like an angry god, the way it was coming across there.

COLLINS: Well, James Hicks...

HICKS: And, like I say, I put...

COLLINS: Go ahead.

HICKS: ... my van on the floor, try and get up Dyersburg (ph) Hill, away from it as fast as I could. And, like I say, before I knew it, I impacted a tree on the road...

COLLINS: Quite a scare that...

HICKS: ... that the -- the tornado threw it at me.

COLLINS: Yes. Quite a scare that you have lived through. We certainly are glad that you could share your story with us tonight.

Rest up in the hospital. Feel better, and go home to your home that, thank goodness, is still standing.

James Hicks, thanks again tonight.

HICKS: OK. Thank you.

ROBERTS: Boy, there's a man lucky to be alive.

COLLINS: Yes. No kidding.

ROBERTS: I mean, what an incredible spring it has been. We -- we -- we had that -- that one fellow who was thrown 1,300 feet by a tornado.

COLLINS: Five times the average number.

ROBERTS: This guy just about got killed by a tree that was...


ROBERTS: ... flying across the road.

COLLINS: Yes. No thank you.

ROBERTS: Unbelievable.

COLLINS: I would just hide.

ROBERTS: Ahead on 360 -- an emergency mission in Iraq. The top U.S. and British diplomats deliver a tough message to the country's new leaders, but did the message come too late?

COLLINS: Also, they heard the terror in callers' voices on 9/11. Now we know what the 9/11 operators told the victims trapped inside the burning towers. What else do the tapes reveal?

ROBERTS: And a medical breakthrough for organ transplants -- the world's first organ grown in a laboratory. See how research has saved one teenager's life and maybe yours one day -- when 360 continues.


ROBERTS: It's been nearly four months since millions of Iraqis went to the polls, and they are still waiting for a unified government. The leaders they elected in December, a mixed of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, cannot, it seems, agree on anything, especially who should be the new prime minister. The question is, what will it take to break up the logjam at this critical time?

Today, two top diplomats took a swing at it.

Here's CNN's Ed Henry.


ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An emergency weekend trip to Baghdad for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, forcefully urging Iraqi leaders to stop the bickering and finally create a unity government.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: But Jack and thought that, given the commitment of the United States and the United Kingdom to Iraq's future, the -- the price that we have paid here, that it was important to come and deliver a message that the time has come to end these negotiations and to form a government.

HENRY: The unprecedented joint mission got off to a shaky start, as their military plane arrived in torrential rain. This forced the high-powered duo to take armored cars to the fortified Green Zone, where car bombings are a daily reminder of a nation on the brink of civil war.

RICE: Hello. How are you? It's so nice...

HENRY: The high-level visit only raised the stakes even further, with Republicans back in Washington reminding the White House that tough talk can only accomplish so much, without agreements from the Iraqis.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: America's influence is very limited in Iraq. And it becomes more and more limited every day that goes by.

So, I think it is some indication of how much trouble we're in Iraq to have our secretary of state and the British foreign minister make an emergency flight into Baghdad this weekend to try to put pressure on the Iraqis.

HENRY: The reception for Rice was not much better late last week, when she visited Straw's hometown of Blackburn, England. A trip meant to showcase the bond between allies quickly became a target for protesters. The secretary's remarks on the war only inflamed critics.

RICE: I know we have made tactical errors, thousands of them, I'm sure.

HENRY: Rice later clarified she meant it figuratively, not literally, and reiterated, taking out Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. But the British press pounced, mindful that Blackburn was the setting of a famous Beatles song.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.

HENRY: A political cartoon showed Rice and Straw with scores of holes in their case for war. More important, perhaps, is the reaction the Bush administration is facing from Republicans at home.


HAGEL: Every tactical, every strategic decision, right from the beginning, was a mistake, in my opinion. Try to invade a country the size of Iraq with 130,000 troops and occupy it, that was insane.


HENRY (on camera): Such harsh criticism show why Rice's trip had two purposes, sending a tough message to Iraqi leaders, but also a strong signal to Americans, concerned about slow progress in Iraq -- the question remaining, will the message bring results?

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


ROBERTS: More than anyone else, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has become a target of critics who say the war was poorly planned and executed.

George Packer covers Iraq for "The New Yorker" magazine and is the author of "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq." In the current issue of "The New Yorker," he writes about the insurgency that Secretary Rumsfeld was slow to acknowledge and what that has meant for the war.

I spoke with George Packer earlier tonight.


ROBERTS: George Packer, welcome.

There -- there have been increasing calls in recent weeks for Donald Rumsfeld's head.

Most recently, General Anthony Zinni, on one of the Sunday morning shows, had this to say about Don Rumsfeld.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS") RETIRED GENERAL ANTHONY ZINNI, FORMER CENTCOM COMMANDER: These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policy, made back here. Don't blame the troops. They're the ones that perform the tactics on the ground. They have been magnificent. If anything saves us, it will be them.

TIM RUSSERT, HOST: Should someone resign?

ZINNI: Absolutely.


ZINNI: The secretary of defense, to begin with.


ROBERTS: So, there you have the guy that was in charge of CENTCOM up until the year 2000 saying, Don Rumsfeld should go.

Is it time for Rumsfeld to go?

GEORGE PACKER, AUTHOR, "THE ASSASSINS' GATE: AMERICA IN IRAQ": I think it's long past time and possibly too late, in the sense that the damage that General Zinni talked about in Iraq was done in 2003, 2004, early 2005.

We dug ourselves such a deep hole because of decisions made in Washington, beginning with the war plan, the decision to go in with very few ground troops, the desire of Secretary Rumsfeld to get out of Iraq within a few months, to not get involved in a long nation- building campaign, his failure to recognize that an insurgency, a strategic threat to us, was growing in Iraq, the dissolution of the Iraqi army.

And I could go on. These were all, as General Zinni said, strategic mistakes that put us in such a hole, that it may be impossible to crawl out. If -- if it isn't impossible, I think that the -- the departure of Secretary Rumsfeld will be the single biggest sign President Bush could give that we're going to take a new course.

ROBERTS: You have an article in the April 10 edition of "The New Yorker" magazine in which you say the most stubborn resistance to the idea of an insurgency came from Donald Rumsfeld, who was determined to bring about a revolution in military affairs.

What have been the consequences of Donald Rumsfeld's stubborn insistence that this is not an insurgency; it's a bunch of deadenders; it's a few foreign jihadists?

PACKER: I think that the key problem on the ground as a result is that there was no strategy for how to defeat the insurgency, which is known as counterinsurgency. There's a doctrine the Army has -- they're now rewriting their counterinsurgency field manual -- which is that you don't simply go after the insurgents and try to kill and capture as many as possible. You don't eliminate the deck of playing cards. Instead, you focus on the civilian population. You secure them. You build up their own security forces. And you try to allow good government and economic development to take place, so that they will give their allegiance to the government. None of this happened in the first year-and-a-half of the war.

ROBERTS: But, when it comes to Rumsfeld, there's another person fairly senior in the -- in the U.S. Army who says he's doing it wrong.

Take a look at General Paul Eaton's statement from a "New York Times" editorial a couple weeks back, in which he says, "In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically." He goes on to say that, "Rumsfeld must step down."

This is a guy who was in charge of Fort Benning, Georgia, went on to be in charge of training up the Iraqi troops. He says Rumsfeld has to go. He's very recently retired. He's just out of the service. What does it say that such close-to-active-duty military personnel are saying he has got to go?

PACKER: Yes. I think they are retired.

I think a lot of active-duty who are not retired would say the same thing, if their careers wouldn't be jeopardized by it, because, especially among junior officers in Iraq, there's a deep sense of having been betrayed by the senior leadership of the Pentagon.

ROBERTS: Joe Biden recently said that, if Rumsfeld were to go, it would be great for the White House. The world would come rallying to our side.

Would it be good for the White House? Would it help to dig them out of this Iraq hole that they're in?

PACKER: I think it would send a strong signal. I -- I think it's a little late for the world to come rallying to our side. I really think Rumsfeld should have been fired after Abu Ghraib. When it didn't happen then, a lot of people thought, the White House is stubborn. They really care more about winning political fights at home than they do about making sure we do it right in Iraq.


ROBERTS: George Packer, the author of "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq."

We should note that Donald Rumsfeld's boss has not wavered in his support for his defense secretary. President Bush said he's satisfied with Rumsfeld's performance and has dismissed all calls for his removal -- Heidi.

COLLINS: We want to head straight to Washington now.

On the phone, we have Dana Bash. We have got breaking news to tell you about, some information about Tom DeLay possibly dropping out of the race for the House. Dana, what do you have for us tonight?


Well, two Republican congressional sources tell us that Tom DeLay, as we speak, actually, is making calls to his supporters and colleagues, telling them that he has decided not to run for reelection, that he is going to step down from his race for reelection.

Now, this comes actually after he won a four-way Republican primary that was pretty hard fought back in -- in March, just last month. But we are not -- it's unclear what reasons he is giving his colleagues. We are told that he actually had a conference call that began about five minutes ago with members of the Texas delegation to explain that he is going to do this. And he is actually going to have a formal press conference, we are told, tomorrow morning.

This does come on the heels of a lot of -- of issues that he has had, of course, with some of his closest allies, some of his closest in the inner circle, and his inner circle getting caught up in the Jack Abramoff issue.

Of course, Tony Rudy, somebody who has been very close to him for some time, just on Friday, pleaded guilty to conspiracy -- conspiracy charges involving Jack Abramoff. And, apparently, he fingered his ex- boss, who was DeLay's former chief of staff.

So, with all of this swirling around, Tom DeLay is telling his colleagues, as we speak, that he has decided not to run for reelection. And that's what we know at this time -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Dana, can you give us a little bit of perspective, though, on what this could possibly mean for the Republican Party?

BASH: Well, it's interesting.

You know, Tom DeLay has not been majority leader for some time now. He stepped down a -- a while ago. And John Boehner has -- has taken that role. So, he has not been "The Hammer," as he is known, for some time. He has been working not out of the Capitol, but out of his office building in -- in the Cannon Office Building, essentially working as a regular member, for the most part. So, he hasn't had the kind of -- of power, and hasn't had the kind of position that he has known -- been known to have for some time, as he has been dealing with all of the issues that have been swirling around him, and as he has been dealing with what had been his fight for his own political life, even in the state of Texas, which, just last month, he seemed to survive.

But now it appears that he is not going to seek reelection. That is what we are told he is telling his friends and colleagues tonight.

COLLINS: All right, Dana, thanks so much for that.

We also want to bring in Ed Henry now on this news development about Tom DeLay.

Ed, what do you have for us? Any reaction at this point from the White House?

HENRY: No, no reaction yet from the White House.

I think, clearly, as you were talking to Dana -- she's absolutely right -- this is really a passing of an era for the Republicans on Capitol Hill and in Washington in general. They have been in power, specifically on the Hill, for -- for over a decade now. And Tom DeLay really was the symbol of that Republican -- their grip on power on the Hill -- obviously, Democrats making a strong run, thinking they can take control of Congress back in November, in part on some of these Republican scandals.

And I think Dana put her finger right on it. Obviously, the Jack Abramoff scandal, what happened Friday with Tony Rudy, a former DeLay aide, that means there are now two DeLay aides who have basically cut deals with prosecutors. Nobody knows for sure what they're telling prosecutors behind the scenes.

And -- and that is obviously worrisome for DeLay and other people in the Republican Party. But I think, looking beyond that, there may be some people in the Republican Party who will be happy with this development, because they may feel that Democrats no longer have their whipping boy.

You know, DeLay had already stepped down as majority leader, but he was still around. And I think that, obviously, he's somebody the Democrats have had great joy in putting in their campaign ads, morphing various Republican candidates into Tom DeLay's face. They no longer have that -- Heidi.

COLLINS: Ed Henry, thanks so much for that.

Certainly never a quiet night, even though it's a Monday night and pretty late...

ROBERTS: "The Hammer"...

COLLINS: ... inside the beltway.

ROBERTS: ... dropping out of federal politics.


ROBERTS: Wow. Big night.

Nearly five years after the 9/11 attacks, audiotapes of 911 calls are released, revealing more of what happened on that awful day.


FIRE DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK DISPATCHER: Do you have any other news about it, like any of the latest?


FIRE DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK DISPATCHER: Are they still standing? The World Trade Center is there, right?

NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT DISPATCHER: Someone said they collapsed. I don't know.


ROBERTS: Chaos and confusion then -- but, if terrorists strike again, would emergency operators be better prepared? Some insight coming up.

COLLINS: Plus, it sounds like science fiction. Grow your own organs? This girl is alive, though, because of a medical breakthrough. Find out how the new procedure saved her life next on 360.


COLLINS: Each year, thousands of Americans die waiting for donor organs. But, tonight, there's a stunning medical breakthrough. For the first time, scientists are actually growing a type of vital organ and saving lives.

360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta has one girl's remarkable story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By most definitions, this is the life of a typical 16-year-old girl. Her days are filled with teenage fare, family, friends, even a tinge of attitude.

KAITLYNE MCNAMARA, 16 YEARS OLD: What would you do without me?

GUPTA: But the days were not always this happy for Kaitlyne McNamara.

TRACY MCNAMARA, MOTHER OF KAITLYNE MCNAMARA: By the time she was 3 or 4 years old, she was already up to like 35 surgeries. And we're not talking tonsillectomies. We're talking major neurological, orthopedic, urological.

GUPTA: Kaitlyne was born with spina bifida. That's a rare birth defect that stunts brain and spinal cord development. For Kaitlyne, that meant, among other things, a crippling jumble of nerves jetting out from the base of her spine. Doctors said she would probably never sit up on her own.

As if that weren't enough for her parents to bear, another problem surfaced. Kaitlyne's bladder was not functioning properly.

T. MCNAMARA: We realized that something wasn't right. Then you hit a developmental stage, and you're supposed to be out of diapers. You're supposed to be doing this. It's when we realized that she was never wet.

GUPTA: The problem was, Kaitlyne's bladder was the size of a thimble and could not sustain normal amounts of fluid. What didn't fit into her bladder flowed back towards her kidneys.

T. MCNAMARA: If she drank a cup of water or a cup of juice, her bladder's pressure were at such an intense point that she would have what they call a bladder burst.

GUPTA: The accidents, especially at school, were embarrassing for Kaitlyne.

K. MCNAMARA: At my school, they make fun of you. And I didn't want to become singled out as being different than everybody else.

GUPTA: Problems with Kaitlyne's bladder were causing major damage to her kidneys. Doctors offered the most common surgical option, using a piece of intestine to create a new bladder. But that procedure is not without risks.

DR. ANTHONY ATALA, WAKE FOREST UNIV. SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: When you put that piece of intestine to function as a bladder, you start having absorption of things that you shouldn't be having, and this may lead to problems with bone growth, mucus production, certain metabolic problems, even cancer.

GUPTA: Dr. Anthony Atala, a urologist at Wake Forest University, believed there had to be a way to dodge those problems. With few options left, Atala and his colleagues looked for help somewhere they hadn't considered before, Kaitlyne's own bladder. Not just repairing it, but creating an entirely new bladder using her own cells.

ATALA: We're not using any type of stem cell population or cloning techniques, but mainly the patient's own cells that we're using to create these organs and putting them back into the patient.

GUPTA: Kaitlyne was one of the first patients ever to undergo this technique.

T. MCNAMARA: We didn't understand in the beginning. I think it was too science fictiony for us.

GUPTA: So how does it work? Well, a small piece, less than the size of a postage stamp, is taken from the patient's bladder. Both muscle and bladder cells are teased out from that piece of the bladder and grown in a Petrie dish. When there are a sufficient number of cells, they're layered onto a three-dimensional mold shaped like a bladder and they're allowed to grow. Several weeks later, the cells have produced a newly engineered bladder which is implanted into the patient. Several more weeks later, the new bladder has grown fully inside the body and can function on its own. All seven patients who underwent the procedure including Kaitlyne report dramatic improvements. Their bladders hold more fluid and they have fewer problems with incontinence and because the organ comes from their own tissues ...

ATALA: When the organ is placed back into the patient, you avoid all of the problems with rejection.

GUPTA: Many more studies must still be done before growing replacement organs becomes mainstream and used for other organs like hearts, livers or lungs. But the potential impact of engineering organs from a patient's own cells is enormous. For now, this beneficiary of the new technology is a step closer to being a normal teenager.

K. MCNAMARA: I'm happy. I was always afraid that I was going to have, like, an accident or something. Now I can just go and -- go out with my friends, go do whatever I want.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


ROBERTS: That's pretty extraordinary story, when they can start to get into things like hearts and kidneys, can you imagine where that's going?

COLLINS: Hopefully there will be much more to come.

ROBERTS: Amazing stuff. Voices from September 11th, the desperate calls for help and the victims of 9/11. We'll play some more of those chilling audiotapes.

COLLINS: And the response from the 911 operators. What they did then, what are they doing now? A look at the training in a post- September 11th world. You're watching 360.



ABRAHAM SCOTT, LOST WIFE ON 9/11: I loved my wife truly, and I know that whatever happens to him will not bring her back. But I do believe that the death of Moussaoui will bring comfort to those families as well as individuals across the world and this country that have been impacted adversely with the tragedy on September 11th, 2001.


COLLINS: That was Abram Scott today, commenting on a Federal jury's decision to find convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui eligible for the death penalty. Scott's wife, Janis, was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Moussaoui, a confessed al Qaeda member, could have prevented what happened on September 11th, but he chose not to. For that, he may pay with his life. On Friday, the recordings of some 911 calls made by victims at the World Trade Center were released. The tapes were edited so only the voices of the operators could be heard and what they were saying speaks volumes to the suffering.


COLLINS: Tuesday, September 11th started out like a typical day. Until at 8:48 a.m., calls like these started coming into 911.

JUMAIN: Dispatcher?


JUMAIN: This is off-duty firefighter Jumain. I guess you got this already. We got a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. You aware of that?

DISPATCHER: You have a plane that crashed into the World Trade Center in Manhattan?

JUMAIN: The North tower, World Trade Center.

DISPATCHER: North tower?

JUMAIN: North tower.

COLLINS: A normal morning quickly turned to chaos and confusion.

CALLER: All right. We just had a plane or something crash into the World Trade Center. All right. This is no BS. Here.

COLLINS: Dispatchers and operators tried to manage calls and misinformation.

OPERATOR: 408, we have a train, a plane into the World Trade Center.

DISPATCHER: We got it.


DISPATCHER: Fire department, 408.

DISPATCHER: 408, this is 1981. I have a helicopter crash, One World Trade.

COLLINS: What 911 officials didn't get could only imagine was just how bad it was. 8:52 a.m.

OPERATOR: Yes, I had a call from the World Trade Center.


OPERATOR: 106 floor, the man said the floor is on fire.


DISPATCHER: 104th floor. World trade. What do I do? You're at One World Trade. How many other people are with you right now? 200? 200. I understand. You're on the 104th floor? What office are you in? They got a guy on the 104th floor.

COLLINS: As calls came in, some people in the tower headed to the roof, hoping for helicopters to lift them to safety. Others took to the stairs. They hoped help would come to them. Hoped someone, anyone, would see their desperate attempts for rescue.

OPERATOR: I'm sure you're aware about the incident that happened at the World Trade Center. The thing is, I have a person on the 104th floor. They're waving like a towel. It's on the northwest corner of this building of the One World Trade Center.

COLLINS: The worst was yet to come. 9:04 a.m.

OPERATOR: 408. This is 1690. We just got a call. The caller hung up but he said a new explosion just happened at Two World Trade Center on the 80th floor.

COLLINS: They took it all in did what little they could in a seemingly impossible situation.

DISPATCHER: So try to stay calm and we'll be there as soon as we can. OK, you try to stay low to the floor, right.

COLLINS: Operators, dispatchers and crisis response operators, CROs, did what they were trained to do, told the voices on the other end of the phone that help was on the way, encouraged men and women to stay strong and stay put.

DISPATCHER: I understand your panic and your fear. We are in the building, and we're doing the best we can to get to all the building.

CRO: Listen, we've got the firemen out there. They're out in the fires. We are. We're trying to get up there. Like you said, the stairs are collapsed. Everybody wet the towels and lie on the floor. Put the wet towels over your head and lie down, OK? I know it's hard to breathe. I know it is.

COLLINS: Their voices aren't heard, but the sense of fear is loud and clear. Seconds turn to minutes and feel like an eternity. 9:27 a.m.

DISPATCHER: All I can tell you to do is sit tight, all right because I've got almost every fireman in the city coming out to help you. I'm telling you stay where you are. Don't leave your floor. Don't leave your office. Stay where you are. I'm hanging up.

COLLINS: The calls continue, many from within the twin towers, many between emergency officials trying to grasp what has happened, what is happening. Less than an hour later, both towers would collapse. 2,749 lives would be lost.

CRO: Do you have any other news about it, any of the latest?

DISPATCHER: No, nothing later.

CRO: Are they still standing? The World Trade Center is there right?

OPERATOR: Someone said they collapsed. I don't know. But someone came in here and told us the building had collapsed. I don't know.


COLLINS: It seems like there was just absolutely nothing that they could do at that point.

ROBERTS: You heard the one fellow say I'm hanging up now. Just do what I told you. I'm hanging up now. It sounded a little brusque, but apparently they were getting hundreds of calls.

COLLINS: Oh, yeah. Just trying to jump off the line and help somebody else. The panic and hysteria and all of that. I know that you know they're trained to just at least restore some sort of sense of calm and still they had no idea.

ROBERTS: The interesting thing that I found out today was that a lot of these people were calling back and they would end up calling back the same operator. And they would get the same operator, six or seven times. And they started forming this little personal bond between them.

COLLINS: Which was probably very helpful, I'd like to think, anyway.

ROBERTS: As you heard, 9/11 went beyond anything emergency operators could have possibly prepared for. But what if terror strikes again? Would operators be ready this time? You might be surprised.

COLLINS: Plus, deadly twisters hit Tennessee. The latest on the path of destruction in a live report when 360 continues.


ROBERTS: Since September the 11th, 911 operators across the country have been trained to respond to acts of terror. But not all of them have been. In fact, we were surprised to learn just how little is needed for someone to take a life and death call.


ROBERTS: Of the hundreds of emergency calls to 911 on September 11th, the one Todd Beamer made to Lisa Jefferson is probably the most famous.

LISA JEFFERSON, OPERATOR: When I picked up the call, he told me that his plane was being hijacked.

ROBERTS: Beamer was one of the heroes on United Airlines flight 93 which ended in a Pennsylvania field. It was a call operator Lisa Jefferson had never been trained to handle.

JEFFERSON: I would have to say that I worked off of my own instincts. It wasn't anything that was written in a manual or any training that I had to prepare me for that day. I don't believe that there could have been anything written anywhere to prepare anyone for September the 11th.

ROBERTS: It was the same at 911 call centers in New York City. Fire department operators, untrained for a massive terror attack, improvising in the face of an overwhelming crisis.

FDNY: Everybody wet the towels, put it over your head, lie on the floor, OK?

ROBERTS: Yvette Washington told CNN in 2002, her goal that day was to be as soothing presence for people trapped in the World Trade Center.

YVETTE WASHINGTON-MONTAGNE, NYPD OPERATOR: They needed that calming voice. They needed someone to just reassure them that everything was going to be all right. Even though maybe deep inside they felt that they weren't.

ROBERTS: The response of New York operators has been harshly criticized by attorneys for victims' families. George Deuchar, who trains 911 supervisors across the country, believes the dispatchers did the best they could with the training they had.

GEORGE DEUCHAR, DIRECTOR OF TRAINING, POWERPHONE: We never really talked about terrorism. We never talked about homeland security.

ROBERTS: Now terrorism is a crucial subject in Deuchar's classroom, a change from the pre-9/11 mindset. Dispatchers are taught to think out of the box. For example, if more than one person suffered a medical emergency in a public place like a shopping mall, it might be treated as a potential biological attack and not just a coincidence.

DEUCHAR: We look to have the dispatchers -- the 911 call takers -- look at things in a variety of ways. Don't just look at things in one way. Before it was either - before it was either criminal or not criminal. Now it has to be criminal, not criminal or potentially terrorist activity.

ROBERTS: Remarkably, not every 911 operator gets that training. There is no national standard for call centers. The Department of Homeland Security says it's up to each state to determine training needs. Minneapolis, St. Paul, for example, doesn't even have a certification program for 911 dispatchers. Typically, they're entry- level jobs for high school graduates, and says David Rosenzweig of the New York dispatchers union, the last mouths to be fed.

DAVID ROSENZWEIG, PRESIDENT, FIRE ALARM DISPATCHERS BENEVOLENT ASSN: All over the nation, 911 operators, OK, basically are not actually receiving the kind of training that they should be having because they're stepchildren.

ROBERTS: Budgets are usually to blame, competing demands for tight funding often put the squeeze on 911 call centers. Additional training, say experts could improve performance day in and day out. But in defense of his New York fire department 911 dispatchers, Rosenzweig says there are some cases when no amount of training can be enough.

ROSENZWEIG: They need a pat on the back. They need to understand that what they did was the best that they could have done and that even though the buildings came down, they shouldn't be faulted for what they did.


COLLINS: So if another terrorist event were to happen today, God forbid how would these operators respond any differently?

ROBERTS: George Deuchar told us that the element of surprise would be gone. They would probably most certainly know right away that this was a terrorist attack and not some kind of accident. And know that there was probably a one, two punch involved in what was a typical al Qaeda attack. And the one thing that they would be able to do would be to keep first responders out of harm's way. But if it were something like the World Trade Center, at least the north tower, where everybody above where the airplane hit were trapped and there was no way out, really nothing would have changed. The only thing that they might have been able to do was if they had better communication, be able to inform people in the south tower that that one stairwell was open and try to get them out.

COLLINS: That would have been amazing, wouldn't it?

Well, ahead on "360," the real deal on airline service. The latest rankings are out. We'll tell you why there's not a lot to celebrate.

ROBERTS: Also, home again at last. Former hostage Jill Carroll is reunited with her family. An emotional reunion caught on tape coming up on "360."


ROBERTS: More now on that bombshell that just hit Texas, and more than that, Washington, DC, just moments ago. Sources tell us Congressman Tom DeLay began calling staffers and telling them that he is dropping out of his race for re-election. DeLay, you may recall, was stepped to force down as House majority last year after being indicted back in Texas. What precisely triggered his decision to get out of the race, we don't yet know. Last month he easily won the Republican primary. We'll have much more on this coming up in our next hour. "360" right now, Erica Hill from "headline news" joins us with some of the business stories that we're following tonight. Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Good to see you again. We begin with more pain at the pump. The retail price for gasoline shot up 9 cents last week to $2.59 a gallon. That is the highest price since October. That coming to us from the latest government survey of service stations. And the new jump in fuel prices is mirroring a rise in crude oil prices.

Also on the rise, construction spending. The Commerce Department says home building was at an all-time high in February despite weakening home sales. Construction spending rose .0.8 of 1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of nearly $1.2 trillion.

According to the annual airlines rating report, airlines service slipped last year. The number of mishandled bags rose 25 percent, customer complaints up 17 percent from 2004. On time performance and over bookings were also worse. You may be wondering with all this news, who's the best of the 17 major carriers? For the third straight year, JetBlue took top honors. Airtran came in second, and Independence Air, a newcomer that has filed for bankruptcy, came in third, John.

ROBERTS: Boy, if you're third best and you file for bankruptcy, what does that say about everybody else?

HILL: It's not very good, is it?

ROBERTS: All right, Erica, thanks very much.

COLLINS: John, coming up tonight, the latest on the tornadoes and the weather system that's still causing headaches up and down the eastern seaboard.

ROBERTS: And later on, inside the Iraqi resistance. We'll talk with Michael Ware who asked the question of the moment, do Iraqi fighters want a civil war? Their answer is both reassuring and more than a little bit terrifying for the U.S.

COLLINS: Also, the growing problem of drinking and drowning. How to keep your children safe when "360" continues.


ROBERTS: And we begin with breaking news about a major political player. Just a short time ago, CNN confirmed that Representative Tom DeLay, the former Republican majority leader, will not seek reelection this November. Despite his indictment last year, the decision knocked quite a few people for a loop tonight. CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash joins us now over the telephone from Washington. What are you hearing in the last few minutes -- Dana.


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