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Denials in Washington; Woodward's Words; Al Qaeda Warning Ignored?; Fire Rumsfeld?; Africa's Misery; Rummy Reacts; Down the Escape Hatch?; Foley Fallout; Crisis in Africa; Turmoil in Darfur

Aired October 2, 2006 - 23:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: ... or later just about everyone in Washington talks to Bob Woodward. And sooner or later, Bob Woodward writes a best-selling book about it. His latest came out over the weekend, and it is a doozie. "State of Denial" alleges that the Bush administration has misled Americans about the war in Iraq and that it blew off warnings about al Qaeda in the months before 9/11. The title also speaks to the reaction today -- denials, sharp denials.
Here is CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Two months before 9/11 and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet is not sleeping well.

The new book says intelligence officers are, "intercepting conservations among Osama bin Laden's people... About an approaching 'zero hour,' ... 'something spectacular' is coming." Tenet and his counter terrorism boss rushed to a meeting with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. The book says she was polite, but they felt the brush-off. But had said he didn't want to swat at flies. It is Woodward's most explosive claim, and the White House is trying hard to swat it down.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The book is sort of like cotton candy. It kind of melts on contact.

FOREMAN: The White House has issued this list of five key myths in the book. For example, on that allegation that the administration ignored warnings about 9/11, Rice called that incomprehensible, and the White House says Tenet and others in sworn testimony made no special mention of that supposedly troubling meeting.

Woodward suggests the president has painted an overly rosy picture of progress in Iraq. In response, the White House points to speeches like this one.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation has been through three difficult years in Iraq, and the way forward will bring more days of challenge and loss.

FOREMAN: The White House, however, left out the end of that paragraph...

BUSH: Yes, we have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror.

FOREMAN: That was last spring. And on it goes. Woodward suggests the president ignored a request for more troops in Iraq. The White House points to Pentagon officials who say the request was fairly considered and rejected.

Woodward writes that one-time Chief of Staff Andy Card tried to enlist First Lady Laura Bush in a campaign to fire Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld. The White House says, flatly not true.

(On camera): If Bob Woodward weren't such a big name in Washington journalism, the White House could probably ignore this book, but he is, so they can't.

(Voice-over): To the contrary with midterm elections coming up next month, the president's people are scrambling to make sure they get to write the final chapter.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: It is not however the last word. Earlier tonight, Bob Woodward sat down with Larry King. Here is Woodward, in his own words.


BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "STATE OF DENIAL": Andy Card, let's -- can I be real specific? Has said publicly he talked to me. And he talked to me a lot. In fact, he said openly that everything in the book, every fact is correct.

Do you know how many times I talked to Andy Card? Five times, total of seven hours, transcripts of those interviews, 207 pages.

One of the things I report in the book is that Andy Card, when he was chief of staff, at least three times really went to the president and recommended specifically that Rumsfeld be replaced and Card just didn't say it that way. He said, and I think you should put Jim Baker, who was the former secretary of state in as defense secretary.

I do not report in the book where Tenet and the CIA people came in and said, you know, we know exactly where there's going to be an attack. Now this was two months before 9/11.

What I report is they came in and said, we're giving you strategic warning. There's so much noise in the intelligence system here. We think something is going to happen. Dick Clarke in his book quotes Tenet around this time saying, I have a sixth sense it's coming.

And there's a secret report from the intelligence division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying things are going to get worse. And the terrorists in Iraq maintain this capability; and in the year 2007, that's next year, it's going to get worse. Kissinger goes out and writes in August of '05, that in Iraq, victory is the only meaningful exit strategy. About three months later, the White House comes out with what's called the plan for victory, right out of Kissinger's play book.

The alternative title for this book was "Crisis." It's Crisis. This is a big war. This is not just defining the George Bush presidency or the era we live in. In fact, I point out that Kissinger's view publicly stated is this is more important than Vietnam.

Look, this is just reporting. And I've done it for 35 years, and sometimes it has an impact and sometimes it doesn't. And this is done to fulfill my obligation as a reporter.


ROBERTS: Certainly having an impact this time around. Bob Woodward, in his own words, on his new book, "State of Denial."

Gary Berntsen was at the CIA during the period Bob Woodward covers in his book. Currently, he is an author himself. His first book is called "Jaw Breaker." It's about the time in Afghanistan, chasing after the Taliban and bin Laden. He's also CEO of the Berntsen Group, and he's got another new book coming out, it's a policy book that we expect to see in the few weeks.

Good to see you again.


ROBERTS: Good to finally meet you in person. We're usually over a wire.

So one of the periods that Bob Woodward was alluding to was this meeting between George Tenet, his Chief of Counterterrorism Cofer Black, and Condoleezza Rice, took place in July 10, 2001, in which, as Bob Woodward said, they issued a strategic warning to Condoleezza Rice. You were with the CIA back then, what were you hearing?

GARY BERNTSEN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: In late June, just several weeks before that, Cofer Black came to a number of us who were all going out to serve abroad as chiefs of station. And he said...

ROBERTS: You were going to Latin America?

BERNTSEN: I was going to Latin America. He says, an attack is imminent. I am worried. I don't know if it's going to be abroad or in the states, but everything I am seeing says to me that something big is about to happen, just as Mr. Woodward has reported.

ROBERTS: So there was nothing to differentiate where it was going to happen?

BERNTSEN: He didn't say where it was going to happen. He was just, he knew, he could tell, and he said to each one of us who was going abroad, I need your help. I need you to turn over every rock, anything that you have, any leads, anything. Come straight back to me if you need, because something is about to occur and I'm very, very worried.

ROBERTS: How did you and everyone else at the CIA who was going out in the field react to that?

BERNTSEN: Well, of course I had spent a lot of time in counterterrorism and I had a huge respect for Cofer, and I believed him. There were others, of course, that...

ROBERTS: You figured this guy is not going to tell me this in this series of fashion unless there's something to it.


BERNTSEN: But there were others that sort of blew it off and said, oh his hair is on fire; oh, he's, you know, he's overstating this.

ROBERTS: When you say others, who... BERNTSEN: You know, other chiefs of station, people who were going out to other parts of the world. Because, you know, CIA is run with certain barons running parts of it. You know, it was run in area divisions, you know, Europe was its own entity. The Middle East was its own entity. Latin America, and some of those people that ran those parts of the planet, those sections for CIA, didn't sort of buy into the counterterrorism mission until 11 September.

Just like it was hard to convince the bureaucracy in Washington and other parts of the bureaucracy. CIA had its own problems internally.

ROBERTS: Now, about that meeting, Condoleezza Rice says that it's just incomprehensible that she would not taken such a dire warning seriously, would have quote, "blown it off," as Bob Woodward says in his book, not treated it seriously. In fact, she says at the time she was planning to meet a terrorist attack somewhere in the world believed to be overseas. Was the conventional wisdom, Gary, that if there was a attack, it was going to be like the conventional attacks that we'd seen in years past, that it would hit an embassy in Tanzania...


BERNTSEN: Well, the last several attacks had been overseas, and I think that at least for the policymakers in Washington, they thought that. Those of us in the agency knew it could be anyplace, and the states was part of that, you know. But it depends on your perspective and your life. What had you been experiencing? Are you a policy wonk or are you a person that has been getting your hands dirty fighting terrorists for years?

ROBERTS: So you're an author, you're an analyst, you're also a newsmaker now. What's your sense of it? Has this administration been straight with the American people about the situation in Iraq? BERNTSEN: Well, I think it is difficult for anyone to get their arms around the size and the violence. And, you know, a lot of times we see on reporting, it says on television, 50 people were killed today. What it doesn't say is that those 50 people were killed with power tools, that there are terrible, terrible things going on the ground, going on there on the ground. It is a very difficult conflict.

And I think that it is difficult for any of us to conceive how tough it is. But what I get from people here is that it is worse on the ground than the reporting.

ROBERTS: Really?


ROBERTS: That is serious.

Gary, thanks very much. We'll talk to you soon and we look forward to...

BERNTSEN: Always a pleasure.

ROBERTS: ... your new book, which for now has to go unnamed. But we do look forward to it. Thanks very much.

More now on the claim by Bob Woodward in "State of Denial" that the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card tried to convince President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. I spoke with Card earlier today.


ROBERTS: Andy, in his book, Bob Woodward claims that you encouraged the president to replace Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at least twice. Is that true? And why did you think he needed to go?

ANDREW CARD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We talked about change in the cabinet. And my job as chief of staff was to remind the president when the cadence for change could be complimented. And we talked not just about the secretary of defense, we talked about the chief of staff's position. We talked about virtually every member of the cabinet and most of the senior White House staffers.

But I did talk with him about potential changes at the Defense Department. It was a normal thing to do. In fact, I think it is the obligation of a chief of staff to do that. I think it was a little bit of a misrepresentation that there was a campaign to remove Don Rumsfeld. That's not what I was looking to mount, and we were trying not to have a campaign, but I id offer a quiet counsel to the president.

ROBERTS: Is it true that Laura Bush thought that it was time for Rumsfeld to go as well? Woodward writes of a conversation between you and the first lady, where she said to you, she thought that Rumsfeld was hurting her husband -- not that she was campaigning to get rid of him, but did she ever express to you concerns about Rumsfeld?

CARD: She never suggested that Secretary Rumsfeld should go or be replaced or move on. She was frequently concerned about how her president, how the president was being served. She cared more about the president than anybody else, and I cared an awful lot about the president and I wanted to understand her concerns. And I -- she spoke candidly with me. I spoke candidly with her. She would tell me what she was hearing from some of her friends. She really didn't weigh heavily in the policy debate, but occasionally she would talk about how the president was being served or how the interaction and the team that was helping the president was working. But she never said that Secretary Rumsfeld should be replaced.

ROBERTS: Is it time for a change at the Defense Department now?

CARD: I would not recommend to the president that he make a change at the Defense Department right now. And I counseled the president many times not to make changes at the Defense Department based on the cadence of what was happening in the war or the cadence of what was the reality of politics in Washington, D.C.

ROBERTS: Right. Well, what about after the election?

CARD: Again, I think the president should sit down after the election, take a look at everyone who is serving around him and see if he would be better served by other people taking those positions.

We changed a lot after the president won re-election. And if you go look at the cabinet in November of 2004 and compare it to the cabinet today, you will find a lot of different people sitting in those seats. And certainly the same has happened with the White house senior staff. And that was the job of the chief of staff to talk about the changes that might help him do the tough job that he has to do.

And I have great respect. You know the president has great resolve and I think this book was really more about the resolve of the president and the breadth of advice and counsel that he received.

ROBERTS: Have you read the book, Andy?

CARD: I have done the Washington read. And unfortunately, if you do it with the Washington read with the name of Andy Card, you can just about read the whole book. And, but no, I have not read everything in the book. And that which I read about me, I thought it was too much. I wish that I hadn't been in the book as much as I was.

ROBERTS: But was it accurate? Was it accurate?

CARD: I can't say that anything was inaccurate in terms of the quotes. I think the context under which the quotes are described is not accurate. It is not my perception and it may be Bob Woodward's perception. I suppose people can disagree, but I happen to know the context under which I talked about the different things in the White House and I feel that they were taken out of context.

ROBERTS: Andy, always good to talk with you. Thanks very much.

CARD: Thank you, John.


ROBERTS: Just to be clear, the Washington read, by the way, is where you go up to the index and you look up your name in the book and you read every time you are cited.

The admissions and denials from past and current White House insiders add up to controversy. That means big sales for Bob Woodward's new book. Here is the raw data on that. "State of Denial" is already in its third printing, just after three days of release. There are at least 900,000 copies in print, and it's number one on Amazon and

Anderson Cooper is in Africa for an upcoming series of 360 specials. He joins us now from Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

That's a best seller, is it not, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is. No doubt about it, John. Yes, you know, what's going on here in the Democratic Republic of Congo really has not been on anyone's radar over the last several years. It really hasn't receive much coverage at all, but it certainly deserves to. So for the next three nights we are going to be reporting from here. Also bringing you up to date on the situation from Darfur, with reports from inside Darfur and also along the border with Chad.

What is going on here, though, in the Democratic Republic of Congo is simply shocking. The largest war here in our lifetime since World War II has been fought. Some three to four million people have died here over the last 10 years or so. The fighting has ended, but the humanitarian crisis continues. There are people dying in large numbers, more than 1,200 people dying everyday.

The U.N. has mounted a massive relief operation, a massive election operation, trying to bring democracy to this country.

This is really, John, a country in name only in many ways. For the last more than 30 years, it has been a plutocracy (ph), they call it, a government basically of thieves. It has brought corruption to a whole new level.

There is virtually no infrastructure in this country, very little medical care for the majority of people. The life here is extremely difficult. We're going to be bringing you some of that reality over the next three nights -- John.

ROBERTS: Anything that has shocked you so far in your return visit there, Anderson?

COOPER: You know, I have been here a lot over the years. Every time I come it just, it is incredible how little infrastructure there is. This is an enormously large country. It is the size of Texas and California and a couple other U.S. states combined. And yet there are only about 300 miles of paved road in the entire country. For two- thirds of the population, they have no access to medical care.

It's really eye-opening when you see what life is like for people here. And it certainly doesn't have to be this way. And that's what the U.N. is trying to change. We're going to be highlighting a lot of that over the next couple of days -- John.

ROBERTS: So much suffering in that part of the world. Looking forward to it, Anderson. Thanks very much.

Coming up, more reaction to Bob Woodward's book, specifically from the man of the hour, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

And the other man of the hour, former Congressman Foley, whose graphic messages to the page, and the growing scandal surrounding it all.

From Washington, New York and all around the world, you are watching 360.


ROBERTS: Back now to Bob Woodward's blockbuster and the man who perhaps only second to his boss, the president, gets the most ink. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is in Central America for a defense minister's meeting. He says he's paying little attention to all the fuss.

More on that fuss now from CNN's Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is in Managua, Nicaragua, where he took time out from meeting with defense ministers to inspect a volcano. But the heat was nothing compared to the political eruption back home.

Should he stay? asked the front page "Washington Post" headline about Bob Woodward's latest book excerpt, which included a low-angle picture of Rumsfeld looking imperious. But Rumsfeld told reporters traveling with him, President Bush has given him yet another vote of confidence, something that the White House promptly confirmed.

SNOW: I think what the president simply wanted to do is, given all the press attention and everything that's been on, to say, Don, I still have faith in you and I support you.

MCINTYRE: In his book, "State of Denial," Woodward writes that former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card twice pressed to have Rumsfeld fired, once in 2004 and again in 2005, when he enlisted the help of First Lady Laura Bush, who according to Woodward, felt that Rumsfeld's overbearing manner was damaging. Rumsfeld, a former White House chief of staff himself, says it's perfectly understandable that Card would recommend cabinet changes. In fact, Rumsfeld told reporters that after Mr. Bush was re-elected, he told Card, quote, "no one is indispensable," and he ought to fashion the next term in the way that makes most sense, adding that's not resigning, but it certainly is opening the door.

In the end, President Bush vetoed the idea of firing his Pentagon chief.

SNOW: We want to make sure that everybody's got fresh legs for a second term. And the president took a cold look at it and then still supports Donald Rumsfeld.

MCINTYRE: If Rumsfeld ruffled feathers at the Pentagon and in the administration, he told CNN's Frank Sesno it's because he was doing the president's bidding.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Basically, the president wanted things changed. I understand his instructions, and we have set about that task. I also understand that when you do change things, that it is hard for people.

MCINTYRE: Traveling to Central America, Rumsfeld dismissed Woodward's contention that Rumsfeld would not return phone calls from then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice when she had questions about war planning or troop deployments. That's nonsense, he said. We certainly discussed a hundred things over the phone I suppose for almost every morning for years.

Would he resign? No. How many times do I have to answer, no? No. And he cut off further questions in classic Rumsfeldian fashion, is that all you guys do is these read these books, he quipped. You ought to get a life.

(On camera): Rumsfeld said he did not read either of Bob Woodward's previous books and doesn't plan to read this one either, even though he sat down for two interviews with him back in July.

Meanwhile, General John (UNINTELLIGIBLE), through his spokesman, has denied making derogatory comments attributed to him in the book, insisting he has nothing but the highest respect for Rumsfeld, his civilian boss.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


ROBERTS: A late update on that school shooting in Pennsylvania Amish country. A short time ago, a fourth girl, wounded by a suicidal gunman, died of her injuries. Seven more remain in critical condition.

Police say it all began when Charles Roberts burst into a one- room schoolhouse in the town of Paradise. Heavily armed, he separated the girls and at least one young teacher's aide from the rest, shot them execution style and then turned the gun on himself.

Roberts, who was not Amish, apparently was motivated by a 20-year grudge. Police, however, have yet to reveal just what that grudge was.

Another big story that we have been following, that massive wildfire in southern California. Firefighters say it has finally been contained. State officials say more than 160,000 acres have been destroyed since the fire began on Labor Day. The cost of fighting the flames has been estimated at more than $70 million.

Now, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins was this 360 news and business bulletin.


Searchers are battling through the dense Amazon jungle, trying to recover the bodies of those killed in Brazil's worst plane crash. A brand new Boeing 737 crashed on Friday after it appeared to have clipped wings with a smaller plane. 155 people on board the jet were killed. The flight recorder has been recovered. Rescuers, though, say the rough terrain is make it extremely difficult to find the victims.

In Lexington, Kentucky, the co-pilot who survived a plane crash in August appears to be making progress. He is the only survivor of the Comair crash that killed 49 people. Doctors today said he is getting better and may begin rehab soon. He had his left leg amputated and has told his family he doesn't remember the accident.

Some good news for you at the pump. Gasoline prices continuing to drop. They're now at their lowest level since February. In the past week, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded, down seven cents to $2.31/gallon.

And on Wall Street, the market is starting off the week on a down note. The Dow lost eight points, to close at 8670. The NASDAQ fell 20, and the S&P, John, dropped four.

ROBERTS: Got oh, so close to a record, and now dialing back. Erica, thanks very much.

Keeping the heat on Republicans, other Republicans. A senior conservative activist says anybody who knew that former Congressman Mark Foley was sending explicit messages to a 16-year-old male page should resign immediately. The latest on the scandal coming up.

Plus, we will go back to Anderson Cooper, live from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This week he'll visit places where killing and violence is a way of life and ask why very little is being done to stop it. This is 360.


(BEGIN BREAKING NEWS) ROBERTS: Breaking news tonight on 360. Just a few moments ago it hit the web and it's about to hit the street. An editorial in the "Washington Times," the voice of conservative Washington, calling for House Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign, to step down in connection with the growing scandal over former Republican Congressman Mark Foley and the graphic e-mails and messages he wrote to a 16-year-old male house page.

Here is CNN's Candy Crowley.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House will be in order.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mark Foley, out of Congress into rehab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark is an alcoholic. He drank in secret. He did not drink in public. He had two lives with regard to his alcohol consumption.

CROWLEY: He is being treated for alcoholism and what Foley described in a letter to a Florida TV station as related behavioral problems, and his former colleagues call something else.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The instant messages reportedly between Congressman Foley and a former page, set in 2003 were vile and repulsive.

REP. JOHN SHIMKUS (R), ILLINOIS: The very thought of this behavior made me sick. And Mark Foley should be ashamed.

CROWLEY: Rehab of the political sort on Capitol Hill, where the Republican leadership is getting pummeled for knowing as early as last fall that then 50-year-old Foley had at least crossed a line when he e-mailed a former page chitchatting and asking for a picture.

BAY BUCHANAN, REPUBLICAN ADVISER: I know one thing, that e-mail they call, you know, overly friendly e-mail, that had predator stamped all over it.

CROWLEY: Foley was told to knock it off and Republicans say the parents wanted to drop it. So that was that until ABC began late last week to report on a string of lurid Internet messages, including graphic discussions of masturbation. Republicans say there was nothing of that sort in the e-mail some of them saw last fall.

HASTERT: I have known him for all the years he has served in this House and he deceived me, too.

CROWLEY: ABC says the exchanges were between a different former page and Foley, using the screen name maf54. CNN has not independently confirmed these instant messages, the latest of which talks of meetings past and future.

Foley at one point: I would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you. And this exchange, Foley: I want to see you. Teen: Like I said, not 'til February, then we will go to dinner. Foley: And then what happens? Teen: We eat, drink, who knows, hang out late into the night. And, I dunno. Dunno know what. Hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here. I'm not sure what I would be comfortable with. We'll see.

DAVID ROTH, ATTORNEY FOR MARK FOLEY: He is absolutely possibly not a pedophile. He is apologetic for the communications that he made while under the influence of alcohol, which he acknowledges are totally inappropriate.

CROWLEY: As Foley rehabs, the FBI, at the request of Republicans, looks into whether his sex laden chats with teens broke any federal laws. Democrats accuse House Republicans of failing to protect children for political reasons. And the White House looks to talk about anything else. Hard to do when the first 16 questions at its daily briefing are about Foley.

SNOW: No, I think a lot of people want to fabricate a perfect storm. Mark Foley's got to answer for his behavior, right? Now this does not affect every Republican in the United States of America, just as...

CROWLEY: They can hope.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: The resignation of Congressman Foley could deliver a nasty blow to the Republican party in next month's elections. Before his resignation, Foley held a very safe Republican seat, but that's no longer the case.

Reporting from West Palm Beach in Florida, CNN's John Zarrella.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Democrat Tim Mahoney is suddenly on the radar, suddenly becoming a household name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tim Mahoney will be the candidate (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Thank you.

ZARRELLA: From his headquarters in North Palm Beach, Mahoney, running for 16th Congressional district seat held until last Friday by Republican Mark Foley, suddenly finds himself the front runner. Until last week, even his own political party gave him only limited support.

TIM MAHONEY (D), FLORIDA: We've had it to a different degree. I mean, you know, what we have now is we've just, you know, whatever it takes, it's going to be.

ZARRELLA: Mahoney, a wealthy investment banker had never run for political office before, but insists he only got in the race because he felt Foley was beatable. MAHONEY: I think that if any of the experts were to come down and spend a week with me, take a look at our polling data, take a look at the district, take a look at who I am as a candidate, I think everybody would have walked away with a very clear understanding that our race was winnable.

ZARRELLA: Political experts say Mahoney didn't have a realistic shot. Foley was hugely popular in a district stretching from Port Charlotte on the West Coast, to the palm beaches. And it's a district diverse as it is sprawling. From sugar mills around Lake Okeechobee to mansions on the Atlantic. And everyone here is stunned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people I find are pretty shocked by it. Not necessarily just shocked because of the actions, but shocked that frankly that he was involved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the whole situation is really unfortunate. He's a really great person who has done a lot for the community and, you know, I hope whatever needs to be done is taken care of and I hope he gets back on the right track.

ZARRELLA: "Palm Beach Post" Political Editor Brian Crowley believes that the Republicans are very likely to lose the seat that they thought was entirely safe.

BRIAN CROWLEY, "PALM BEACH POST" POLITICAL EDITOR: It's going to be very difficult for the Republicans to pull this out. Part of the problem is that Mark Foley's name remains on the ballot. So they have to educate their supporters that when they pull the lever for Mark Foley, they're voting for the other guy.

ZARRELLA: Florida's Republican Party leadership met in Orlando to pick that other guy. In a unanimous vote, they chose State Representative Joe Negron, who immediately distanced himself from Foley.

JOE NEGRON (R), FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: This election is not about Mark Foley. Mark Foley is not an issue in this election. Everyone agrees that what Mark Foley did was indefensible and reprehensible.

ZARRELLA: Negron added that this seat has been in Republican hands for decades and should stay that way.

(On camera): Even though Foley's name, and not Negron's, will appear on the ballot, Negron says the people here are smart enough to figure it out.

But are Republican voters so turned off by what happened, the question is, will they show up at all to vote.

John Zarrella, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.


(END BREAKING NEWS) ROBERTS: Coming up, the tried and true formula for dealing with the political or indeed any scandal. Mess up, admit you are an alcoholic, check into rehab. Why do so many high profile people use the same old excuse? 360 next.


ROBERTS: Back to big story tonight, former Florida Congressman Mark Foley has quit in disgrace after allegedly sending sexually explicit instant messages to pages. Foley has checked himself into a rehab center and says he is an alcoholic. That's raised a few eyebrows, not the least because he has taken a well beaten path.

Here is CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've seen this cycle before, long before former Congressman Mark Foley. Well known politician or big name celebrity messes up, blames alcohol or drug addiction and then runs for cover in rehab.

MICHAEL LEVINE, HOLLYWOOD & MEDIA EXPERT: I do think it's really kind of part of a cultural trend in which celebrities of all shapes, colors, sizes are using addiction and rehab as a kind of inoculation against further crisis.

KAYE: After being accused of sending salacious messages to male Congressional pages as young as 16, Foley blamed alcohol.

JOSEPH CALIFANO, NATIONAL CENTER ON ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: I don't think you can blame it solely on alcohol. I think, obviously, there was some pedophilia element in this guy's personality. There was some homosexual element in this guy's personality.

What the alcohol can do is just release that, and so he would write things he might not otherwise write if he hadn't had a couple of drinks.

KAYE: But many wonder if rehabilitation is becoming a get out of jail free card.

(On camera): Doesn't this in a way by saying, wait, blame the alcohol or the drugs, doesn't it basically wipe the slate clean?

LEVINE: I think it certainly softens the intensity of the, the sin or the transgression.

KAYE (voice-over): Of which, there have been plenty. After crashing his car in the nation's capitol, Representative Patrick Kennedy went public with his addiction.

REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D), RHODE ISLAND: I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police or being cited for three driving infractions. KAYE: Kennedy got treatment for prescription pain medication. Mel Gibson blamed alcohol after getting caught drunk driving and firing off religious slurs. He pleaded no contest and promised to get help. Conservative Commentator Rush Limbaugh traded jail time for treatment of his addiction to painkillers after he was charged with prescription fraud.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills, and in fact I've twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so.

LEVINE: The only good defense is an offense. And the only good offense is relentless. And you must go on the offense quickly.

KAYE: It was lightning fast in the case of Representative Bob Ney from Ohio, who entered rehab for alcohol addiction while facing federal charges for his dealings with corrupt Lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Alcohol Expert Joseph Califano says trading jail for rehab, even if it is a P.R. tactic, may actually help kick the habit.

CALIFANO: Somebody that's hooked needs every carrot and stick you can bring to bear to get them off the stuff.

KAYE (on camera): And don't think rehabilitation is a career killer. Not long ago, Model Kate Moss's cocaine addiction was made public. Major brands dropped her. But after an apology and some rehab, top names are wooing her again. And the strategy seems to have worked. Her earnings are expected to double what they were before the scandal.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


ROBERTS: Earlier tonight, I spoke with Addiction Specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky about it.


ROBERTS: Dr. Pinsky, Representative Foley has checked himself into a facility to combat what he calls alcoholism and behavioral problems. But does this sound like an addition to you? Or does it sound more like deviant behavior?

DR. DREW PINSKY, DISCOVERY HEALTH HOST: Well, I don't know this gentleman and there's nothing that I've been told that confirms or refutes the fact that he is an addict. There's no question that the behavior is sort of outlying and that he feels bad about it and he wants to do something about it.

There's no question as well that people who are addicts have trouble maintaining boundaries, engage in shameful behavior. And in fact, in my world where I treat addicts in an in-patient psychiatric setting, oftentimes the first sort of weeks of treatment is dealing with the consequences of their disease. When people are on drugs and drinking, they do awful things and they feel shameful and guilty and horrible about it and they spend a lot of time dealing with that in the early part of treatment.

ROBERTS: All right, but can pedophilia be an aberrant behavior brought on by an addiction?

PINSKY: No. Unless that addiction is a sexual addiction. There is a sort of a recipe for sexual addiction, which is childhood sexual abuse with a family history of alcoholism or addiction. Those two experiences, that experience, that genetic heritage tends to set up these kinds of behaviors, but that doesn't mean that that's here in this case.

ROBERTS: So Foley's lawyer went out of his way today to say that Foley was an alcoholic, but not a pedophile. But the definition of pedophile is somebody who has sexual interest in children. And judging by some of those instant messages that we have been leading, he certainly seemed to have a sexual interest. It doesn't need to progress all the way to physical sex, does it?

PINSKY: Really, I think to be classified as pedophilia, yes, it would need to at least head in that direction very seriously. But, you know, we are talking about adolescent, his attraction to adolescent is inappropriate. It's a boundary issue. People on drugs do things that are completely out of line sometimes. We're not talking about an 8-year-old or 10-year-old, so it is very hard to interpret what is going on here.

ROBERTS: Let me read you something that Congressman Foley said about Bill Clinton several years ago. He said, this was talking about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. He said, quote, "It's vile. It is more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction." He seemed to be aware of the consequences that he could face by acting out on his addiction. Why would he still risk it all?

PINSKY: Well, as he said it himself, it's sad. Addiction, look, if people can stop the behaviors associated addiction, I welcome them to stop. They don't need to see me then. The fact is, addiction is about not being able to stop, impossible, it's a biological disorder where people cannot stop despite accumulating consequences. That defines the disease. It doesn't mean you do it every day. It doesn't mean you have liver disease. It means you do these things progressively in the face of consequence. And that may be the case here.

ROBERTS: All right. Dr. Drew Pinsky, thanks very much for your opinion. Appreciate it.

PINSKY: My pleasure.


ROBERTS: In a moment, we head back to Africa for more from Anderson. He is reporting on hope in parts of Congo. But also the continuing misery in Darfur. The latest from him, next on 360.


ROBERTS: All week 360 will be focusing on Africa, the hope, the horror, the out and out genocide in some places and why so much of the world doesn't seem to care.

Anderson Cooper is in Goma tonight, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and he joins us once again.

Good morning, Anderson.

COOPER: Good morning, John. Good evening, everyone. It is just morning here. Dawn is just breaking about 5:45 a.m. in the morning. You can see some people are just getting up. They need to get water. Of course they don't have running water in their homes for the most part.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is a major humanitarian crisis under way. All this week on 360, we're going to be covering the crisis here. The crisis you probably don't know about, and the one you probably do know about that is happening in Darfur.

We're going to have two reports in this hour on 360, and reports all this week. The crisis here, it is hard to wrap your mind around. In the last 10 years or so, the fighting here in the Congo has resulted in the death of 3 million to 4 million people. It is the deadliest war in our lifetimes, the deadliest war since World War II.

The fighting has stopped. There is a fragile peace accord right now. The U.N. has sent in the largest peacekeeping army they have ever fielded, some 17,000 troops trying to keep order here. But the humanitarian crisis continues. Some 1,200 people are dying everyday from malnutrition and disease, deaths which could be easily prevented if there were greater infrastructure here in this country. So that's some of the things we're going to be focusing on, on 360.

One of the problems is that there are a number of warlords here in this country who refuse to give up their weapons. Tonight on 360, you're going to meet one of them, a general named Lauren Necunda (ph).

Human rights officials say he is a war criminal. They say his troops are responsible for the murders and for looting and for the rapes of many women. Rape here is an all too common occurrence in the fighting here in the Congo, and tens of thousands and perhaps even hundreds of thousands of women have been raped, brutally raped in the last 10 years or so of the war.

We're also going to show you this week on 360 how it's not just humans who are suffering in this humanitarian crisis, animals as well. There is a rare group of mountain gorillas, only several hundred of them remaining. We're going to show you what their habitat is like and how the problems here for the humans in the Congo directly impact the gorillas as well. All of this week, we will be reporting from here, as I said. And just coming up after the break, tonight, we're going to go to Jeff Koinange, who is in Darfur for a look at the genocide that is occurring there. We will be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. We are live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are in Africa all this week covering two major humanitarian crises at the same time. The humanitarian crisis right now in the Congo as well as the genocide, the ongoing genocide in Darfur. And that is where CNN's Jeff Koinange will be reporting all week.


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Darfur. It has been two years since I have been here and it is worse now. A lot worse. A daily nightmare here for the tens of thousands of displaced people living in camps Abu Chute (ph), just outside the town of El Fasher. Lives wrecked by a civil war waging for the better part of three years between government troops and rebel forces for control of the country's rich oil well.

25-year-old Mucca Usman (ph) recently became a statistic, one of tens of thousands of women raped by bandits as she ventured out to look for firewood outside this camp. Now she is determined to fight back in the only way she can, building a wall of mud to protect herself and her shack made of sticks and plastic paper.

Being here is like a punishment. Life is a punishment is all she can say. Aid agencies say half these women will be raped while here. Their biggest fear, they tell me, is the Arab militia known locally as the Janjaweed, which has been raping, looting, pillaging and destroying for three years.

The government denies it, but human rights groups charge that Sudan sponsored the Janjaweed to maintain its control of the nation's oil money.

(On camera): You are telling, Janjaweed also here?


KOINANGE (voice-over): All the people. You're saying all the people are hungry. The last time these people were given food aid was a month, and the supplies have nearly run out.

The local clinic here can hardly begin to address the growing malnutrition here.

He says, I'm tired. I'm tired. We need more doctors here.

Chris Czerwinski is head of the World Food Program in north Darfur which helps feed more than 2.5 million people here every month. CHRIS CZERWINSKI, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Well, it's as if everything is being taken away from you. You have no more home. You have no more land. You are abandoned here amongst all these other people that are in the same conditions. It's not very clean. It's hot. It's full of sand. And they can't be independent anymore.

KOINANGE: And that is just how Solomon Haroud Muhammad (ph) feels, helpless, hopeless and abandoned. There won't be another food delivery here for several weeks. All his wife can do is pound the last of the grain to feed her family of 11.

The world is suddenly beginning to pay more attention to this tiny corner of Africa's largest nation, but there has been no impact yet. For now, we are just seeing more disease, malnutrition, and death.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, El Fasher in North Darfur.


COOPER: We'll be reporting from Darfur all week, as well as from here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an unprecedented effort on the part of CNN.

I hope you will join us starting tomorrow on 360 -- John?

COOPER: Anderson, the mandate of the African union to protect people in the western Darfur region was recently extended until the end of this year, but do people there expect that anything different is going to happen and has been happening under the African Union for the past few months?

COOPER: It is hard to be very optimistic and especially for people there. You know the African Union, that while they have troops there, they are very poorly equipped. They lack a lot of infrastructure. They lack manpower. They lack high technology weapons. And a mandate to really try to have a robust peacekeeping force. So there's not a lot of optimism. There is so much that needs to be done and a lot of people looking to the world community, perhaps even NATO to get involved. That right now though, of course, in the current political climate seems unlikely -- John.

ROBERTS: Great reporting there. Thanks, Anderson. We'll see you again tomorrow night.

More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


ROBERTS: Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," spinach is going back on supermarket shelves. How safe is it? The FDA says there is no cause for concern, but understandably some customers are still weary.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll have to wait for a while. I am not going to rush up on it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as I hear a lot of people actually buying it and they are OK off of it, that's when I'll probably start buying it.


ROBERTS: Three weeks after an E. Coli outbreak, will consumer fear damage the bottom line?

That and all the latest news, tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6 a.m.

That's it for 360 for this Monday night. I'm John Roberts. Anderson will have more from Congo tomorrow.

Stay tuned. "LARRY KING" is next.


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