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THE SITUATION ROOM

Interview With Salt Lake City Mayor; Pet Owners Worried About Nationwide Recall

Aired March 19, 2007 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Kitty.
Happening now, Iran's attack fears -- America sounding a new alarm about a future attack on the West, but could a missile shield bring a new war into Europe?

A top politician joins the anti-war protest and makes a stunning declaration, calling for the impeachment, yes the impeachment of President Bush. I'll speak about it with the mayor of Salt Lake City in Utah, Rocky Anderson.

And millions of dog and cat owners are very worried right now about a nationwide recall, and now there's a new update from the federal government on that killer pet food.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight the Iraq war enters its fifth year and as the conflict rages over there, there are also new fears of a war potentially, potentially involving one of Iraq's neighbors. Let's turn to our State Department correspondent Zain Verjee. She's watching this story, some strong words from the secretary of state today -- Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, the secretary of state had a strong warning, be on guard, be on alert against Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE (voice-over): Ringing the alarm bell, Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. must act now to thwart a future attack on the West by Iran.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: We know that there is a growing Iranian missile threat, first of an intermediate character, and then potentially of a long range character. It's something we have to deal with.

VERJEE: To stop an Iranian attack the U.S. wants to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, intercept missiles in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic.

RICE: A limited missile defense that can deal with small threats is very much a stabilizing factor, not a destabilizing factor. VERJEE: Russia's not buying it. President Vladimir Putin says doing that could trigger a dangerous arms race in the region, and in echoes of the Cold War, could fire up a power play between Russia and the U.S. Secretary Rice's warnings about Iran come the same day the U.S. gave the green light to Iran's president to come to the United Nations and defend Iran's right to a nuclear program.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERJEE: The U.S. hopes that Iran will seize that moment, reverse course, and stop enriching uranium. And Wolf, as you know, that can be used in building a nuclear bomb -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And all this taking place as the State Department has decided after all to grant visas to the Iranian president and a huge entourage to come here to the United States this week.

VERJEE: That's right, Wolf. Iran had originally asked for 39 visas but today it says they want even more, they want 33 more. A senior State Department official told CNN that that additional request could just slow things down but the U.S. would continue to process that request -- Wolf.

BLITZER: He wants to address the United Nations. Thanks very much, Zain, for that.

President Bush today made another plea for patience when it comes to the war in Iraq. But he also made a bold prediction, saying that with time and money and patience, he insists this war can still be won.

Let's go to our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne, what are you hearing over there? Give our viewers an update on what the president predicted.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what you're hearing or what you're seeing from this White House is really moving the goal post, really changing the definition of the mission as well as success to try to make all of this of course seem very achievable. You may remember four years ago in May, President Bush said that major combat operations in Iraq were over.

He said that in front of a "Mission Accomplished" sign. It then kind of morphed into this message saying "Stay the Course" and then even as recently as last October, he said we are definitely winning this fight, winning the war. Well, today President Bush said something slightly different. He said that the war can be won. This is ultimately a different message from this White House. They are changing the very definition of success, at the same time they're trying to buy some time to make this all work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to stress that this operation is still in the early stages. It's still in the beginning stages. Fewer than half of the troop reinforcements we are sending have arrived in Baghdad. The new strategy will need more time to take effect, and there will be good days, and there will be bad days ahead, as the security plan unfolds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And Wolf, today, the president tried to convey to the American people that he's on top of all this. He held a secure video teleconference call with the prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, as well as top officials here, secretary of state, defense, General Petraeus, who of course is on the ground over there, but the big question, Wolf, it remains today as it did four years ago is whether or not they're going to be able to pull this off, whether or not the Iraqis will be able to secure their own country -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Suzanne. Thank you -- Suzanne Malveaux joining us from the White House.

This week House Democrats are expected to bring up a measure that effectively would require U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by the fall of 2008. But for some Democrats that's clearly not enough. Just a short while ago I spoke about that with the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: You know the face of the Democratic Party, the more liberal leftist side; they're very frustrated that the leadership so far is not delivering. Is not delivering on what they saw was a mandate for getting out of Iraq last November.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, we're sending, in this case, a timeline for participation in Iraq, and guidelines for what we ought to be doing while we're there. This is a very significant step forward and in our own caucus, for instance, Maurice Hinchey, who voted against the authorization spoke strongly about getting out of Iraq, is a member of the "Get out of Iraq" caucus, says that this is the best that we're going to possibly pass in terms of moving in a new direction. I think he's right on that. I think a consensus of left and right hopefully are going to be accomplished and we're going to pass this piece of legislation.

BLITZER: I want to you listen to what former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney said over the weekend at the anti-war rally here in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: It's hard to believe, but now the Democrats are full partners in George Bush's wars, and by funding his wars, the Democratic Congress is explicitly complicit, complicit in war crimes, complicit in torture, complicit in crimes against humanity, complicit in crimes against peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: What do you say to former Congresswoman McKinney? HOYER: Well we certainly don't agree with that obviously. The fact of the matter is we're doing what we can do, given the votes in the House, votes in the Senate, to try to move forward on a rational basis to try to give us a policy which will both encourage the protecting of our own troops but also giving timelines to the Iraqis and saying you have a responsibility for the security in your own land.

You need to step up to the plate. The president has set various benchmarks. We're saying if those benchmarks aren't accomplished, then we're going to start redeploying our troops. We think that we can get the votes for that, we think that's the way forward. We think it's a change of direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Steny Hoyer speaking with me earlier today.

Let's check in with Jack Cafferty. He's in New York with "The Cafferty File" -- hi, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf. Another terrorist confession coming from Guantanamo Bay, this time it's Walid Bin Attash. He's confessed to planning the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 U.S. sailors. In a Pentagon transcript released today, Bin Attash says he also helped plan the bopping of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, those killed more than 200 people, including 12 Americans.

It was just five days ago the Pentagon released the record of hearings for three other high-value suspects at Guantanamo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Those transcripts showed that Mohammed confessed to more than 30 terror plots including the 9/11 attacks, the shoe bomber attempt to blow up a plane over the Atlantic, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center attack, and the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl.

The timing of all these confessions is interesting. As the U.S. begins the fifth year of the war in Iraq, and the administration pleads with the public for patience, it's perhaps not the worst time to hear from some big-time bad guys that we've got under lock and key. So here's the question. What do you make of the recent string of terrorist confessions?

E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile -- interesting -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack thank you for that.

Coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, the mayor of Salt Lake City has a bone to pick with President Bush, actually, several of them. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's never been a time when impeachment was more appropriate than now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: This is not the mayor of Berkeley, California. This is the mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson. He says the president must, must be impeached. We'll talk about that. That's coming up this hour, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Also, the man who helped bring down Saddam Hussein. Find out why he now says Americans are worse than the dictatorship.

And killer pet food -- millions of cans now recalled. We're going to find out if your dog or cat is at risk right now. Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Just about exactly this time four years ago when that was unfolding, the war in Iraq beginning. Tonight the start of this, the fifth year of that war -- President Bush says it's much too soon for U.S. troops to simply pack up and go home. He's appealing for more time, more patience, to try to get the mission accomplished. Still this question has to be asked, will it lead to a worst-case scenario?

Joining us now from Baghdad, CNN's Michael Ware; he's covered this war from the very start. Michael, as you look into the start of year five, what do you see?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is going to be yet another difficult year indeed if the American public thinks it's seen the high yards already. My great fear is they are in fact yet to come. What we're seeing is a level of attacks against coalition forces that's still almost -- that is more than two times than what they were two years ago.

We're seeing an array of forces opposing American troops that were not opposing them before. We're seeing new mutations and indeed, we're seeing ever-increasing sophistication among the insurgents. Now, there may be splits and spats and faction within all of America's enemies, but nonetheless at the end of the day it, it is Iran and al Qaeda who thus far have been emboldened by this war.

BLITZER: We heard from the president earlier today, Michael, with a best-case scenario that over the next few months or several months, things will begin to fall into place, but you're there on the ground. What's the worst-case scenario for the next year?

WARE: Worst-case scenario is that the civil war re-ignites to the fever pitch that we've been experiencing up until lately, that al Qaeda you know consolidates its stranglehold that leads politically in western Anbar province. There we're seeing the Americans siding with rather brutal tribes in any bid to tackle the al Qaeda threat there, but worst among all fears would be an increase, a step up, a rise in the tempo of Iranian intervention in this country, directly targeting U.S. troops, and significantly undermining the political gains that the U.S. mission here is desperately hoping to achieve.

WARE: We're also being told, you're there on the scene, that the Iraqi government has now asked the U.S. to hand over the former Iraqi vice president, a top aide to Saddam Hussein, Taha Yassin Ramadan, for execution, as early as tomorrow morning, your time, which would be in a few hours from now. They didn't exactly do a great job executing Saddam Hussein or another top Iraqi official. What's your assessment of what's going on?

WARE: Well, it's hard to say. I mean certainly there's no official comment at this stage. But we've become accustomed to that, for a host of reasons, obviously these events, these executions, are shrouded by a cloud or a veil of tight, tight security. So it's no surprise that people would not be advertising this.

However, what we're hearing from is one of the defense lawyers that represented Saddam and some of the other co-defendants, this particular individual has been accurate in the past. What he is saying is that the former vice president, Taha Ramadan had contacted his family and he had said to them that I'm going to die at dawn on Tuesday morning. And Wolf, that is just a few hours away.

BLITZER: And have they learned how to do it, because the other two executions clearly were botched. We saw the cell phone video, and we saw in one of the hangings obviously a head actually be severed.

WARE: You know that's two issues that we have. Firstly, during Saddam's execution, secret video taken on cell phones with secreted out or smuggled out of the execution chamber, and quickly received wide play, so after the first one there had to be a security crackdown. Then at the second series of executions, two individuals, one of them was decapitated during the hanging. So again, measures had to be taken to address that. At this stage, we honestly don't know what steps, if any, have been taken, how they're to be implemented, or in what way, if any, that this will be different.

BLITZER: Michael Ware on the scene for us today -- thank you, Michael.

And going into its fifth year, the war in Iraq clearly has taken a very heavy toll with no end in sight. The war has already cost the United States $351 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The death toll, the death count is rising. The war has taken the lives of 3,220 American troops, and estimates of Iraqi, Iraqi civilian deaths, starting around 59,000, and by some accounts the toll is many, many times more than that.

Up ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM taking on the White House. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think all of that together calls for impeachment, and certainly would communicate to the rest of the world, that is not who we are as the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Find out why the mayor of Salt Lake City in Utah says President Bush and Vice President Cheney should be removed from office, and hear why he says the Democrats don't have the guts to do it.

Also -- killer pet food. Dozens of brands, millions of cans recalled. Find out if what you're feeding your dog or cat could, could be toxic. We'll tell you how to find out. Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's check in with Betty Nguyen for a closer look at some other important stories making news -- hi, Betty.

BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, Wolf. The head of the National Institutes of Health wants restrictions lifted on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. President Bush is opposed to that funding limits and he did that in 2001. Now the NIH director told a Senate subcommittee it is in America's best interests to allow embryonic stem cell research to go at full speed. Some say stem cell research may lead to cures for Diabetes, Parkinson's and other diseases and others say it is just unethical.

Well is a high school student's sign saying "Bong hits 4 Jesus" a silly joke or does it promote drug use? That's what the Supreme Court will decide. Justices heard arguments today. Joseph Frederick says his free speech rights were violated when the principal at his Alaska high school ordered him to take down the sign and then suspended him. Frederick said he was kidding around, but the school says the sign is no laughing matter.

The world's largest passenger plane made its U.S. debut today. Take a look at that. The Airbus A-380 touched down at Los Angeles International Airport. Another landed at Kennedy Airport in New York. The four-engine A-380 is more than 200 feet long. Its wingspan is bigger than a football field and they can carry 550 passengers. Airbus and Lufthansa used today's demonstration flight to show off the jumbo jet to potential buyers.

And wait until you hear what's being said now about smoking. Researchers say smoking can age your skin not just on your face but in your entire body. They looked at 82 smokers and nonsmokers and they found people who smoked were more likely to have sun damage and wrinkled yellowish skin, even if their skin had been protected from the sun. You can find the study in the archives of dermatology. There you go, Wolf.

BLITZER: And those smokers have horrible breath, too, among other things but...

NGUYEN: Yes.

BLITZER: ... beyond all that, it can kill you. Thanks very much... NGUYEN: That's true.

BLITZER: ... Betty for that.

Just ahead, calling for impeachment, it's not the mayor of Berkeley, but someone you'll be surprised to hear from.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if impeachment were ever justified, this certainly is the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: That's the mayor of Salt Lake City, in Utah, of all places. Find out why he says Democrats don't have the guts to remove the president from power. He says they should.

Plus an historic moment in Iraq's history -- we're going to tell you why one man who was part of it now says he regrets taking down Saddam Hussein's statue.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, a terror confession at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba -- according to the Pentagon, terror detainee Walid Bin Attash told a military panel he's responsible for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors. Bin Attash also says he was behind the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Also a company that might have sold those bananas in your kitchen now admits formerly to paying off terrorists. Chiquita Brands International says for many years it paid Colombian terrorists to protect its banana growing operation. Under a plea deal Chiquita will pay a $25-million fine.

And while the war in Iraq is growing in days it's shrinking in support. Only 32 percent of Americans now favor the war, according to our new CNN poll, that's 40 percentage points less than the public support when the war began.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The U.S. military called it shock and awe, a ferocious assault on Saddam Hussein's regime. Within weeks, Iraqis cheered as the dictator was brought down, but as the war enters its fifth year tonight, a change of heart.

Paul Davies has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAUL DAVIES, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one man's act of defiance. What he started led to this. But it's an act he now regrets.

You won't remember his name, but across the world they remember what Kadhim al-Jubouri (ph) did that day in April, four years ago. Elated at the overthrow of the tyrant he hated, Kadhim (ph) used his considerable strength, leading his neighbors in a symbolic attack on the statue of Saddam Hussein in Ferdos square in central Baghdad near to where he lived.

This act, these images broadcast around the globe came to represent the end of a cruel dictatorship. At the time, they also symbolized a new beginning for Iraq, but four years on, Kadhim (ph) wishes he hadn't done it.

"I really regret bringing down that statue," he told us. "The Americans are worse than the dictatorship. We're entering the fifth year of the American occupation, and every day is worse than the previous day."

For this former weightlifting champion to say he'd rather see Saddam back is a damning verdict on today's Iraq, as Kadhim (ph), who now sells and services motorcycles, had a painful personal experience of the dictator and his family.

His bikes attracted the attention of Saddam's sons, who took some without paying. When Kadhim (ph) complained, he was sent to prison for nine years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

DAVIES: Kadhim (ph) hated Saddam's regime, but he'd have it back tomorrow if he could, and this is why, he explained. Taking our camera on a tour of his neighborhood as it is today, past the wreckage left by car bombings and sectarian murders. He blames the Americans for creating conditions for extremists to exploit.

He returns to Ferdos Square, where he achieved international fame. Saddam's statue has been replaced by a modernistic sculpture. Locals sarcastically call it the Statue of Liberty. Kadhim (ph) says it was a mistake to remove the original statue and the real Saddam.

"I really regret it," he told us. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't. We no longer know our friend from our for."

Disillusioned, fearful for his family's safety, a man who welcomed the invasion of his country four years ago, but has long since changed his mind.

Paul Davies, ITV News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And a new poll shows that man is by no means alone. Many see their situation in Iraq right now as bleak and not getting any better at all. In fact, according to a USA Today/ABC News poll, look at this, 71 percent of Iraqis describe their life as good two years ago. Now, only 39 percent think their life is good.

As for looking toward the future, in 2005, take a look at this, 64 percent of Iraqis said their lives would be better in a year, but now only 36 percent -- only 35 percent actually say their life will improve in a year.

Anti-war demonstrators were out again today, but so were police. Dozens were arrested during a march on New York's Wall Street. You could see some of the pictures over there. A die-in, as it was called, in San Francisco's Market area. You see the people lying on the ground. There were more quiet vigils on both coasts, and that follows cross-country protests, which drew thousands of people over the weekend, including a big city mayor, who made a stunning declaration.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR ROCKY ANDERSON (D), SALT LAKE CITY: Our love for our nation, our regard for our Constitution brings us here today to call for the impeachment of a president who has done and continues to do such tremendous harm to our beloved country.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And joining us now is the mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson.

Mr. Mayor, thanks very much for coming in.

ANDERSON: Hi, Wolf. It is my pleasure.

BLITZER: When I heard your speech on Saturday, I was watching C- SPAN, I was pretty shocked to hear that the mayor of Salt Lake City is calling for the impeachment of the president. Why should this president be impeached?

ANDERSON: Well, this is a unique time in our nation's history. I think if impeachment were ever justified, this certainly is the time. This president, by engaging in such incredible abuses of power, breaches of trust with both the Congress and the American people, and misleading us into this tragic, unbelievable war, the violation of treaties, either international or our Constitution -- our own domestic law, and then his role in heinous human rights abuses, I think all of that together calls for impeachment and certainly would communicate to the rest of the world that is not who we are as the American people.

BLITZER: Here is what the Constitution says, Article II Section 4: "The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Let's go through these specifics. I assume you don't believe he engaged in treason.

ANDERSON: No, we are talking about high crimes and misdemeanors. And what the founders and those who engaged in the ratification debate had clearly in mind, and this was derived from the British, is that these are political crimes.

Abuses of power, during the debate they even talked about a president lying to Congress would constitute grounds for impeachment. So what this president has done in violation of our laws, they never contemplated it would have to be a violation of the criminal law, but abuses in power injurious to our nation.

And we have got it in spades. There has never been a time when impeachment was more appropriate than that.

BLITZER: You say he has lied to the American people, he has lied to Congress. What are referring to specifically?

ANDERSON: Well, he misled into this war. The president...

BLITZER: Well, it is one thing to mislead, but it is another thing to say he lied.

ANDERSON: Well, he knew. He had the National Intelligence Estimates where the State Department's own intelligence agency, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research told him that they completely disagreed, as did his Department of Energy, with this whole notion that those aluminum tubes that Saddam Hussein was acquiring could be used to build up a nuclear capability.

The State Department's own intelligence bureau made clear four months -- this is on October 1st, 2002, National Intelligence Estimate that said that there is no compelling evidence he is building up a nuclear capability.

BLITZER: But he points out, Mr. Mayor, that the then-director of the CIA, George Tenet, when he pressed him and said, are you sure that there are weapons of mass destruction stockpiles in Iraq, the then-CIA director told him, it's a slam dunk, Mr. President.

So if you hear that from the head of the CIA and you are president, what are you supposed to do?

ANDERSON: Well, what I would do is if I had the State Department's own intelligence agency telling me just exactly the opposite, and they put it in writing and they said that they found it "highly dubious," those were their words, this whole notion that Saddam was trying to buy uranium from Niger, if I had that information, I would feel like I have either got to clear it up and get everybody on board, make sure we have consensus, or you have got to disclose that to Congress and the American people.

BLITZER: Why do you believe the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has taken impeachment off the table? ANDERSON: I think it has more to do with politics and very short-term look at what they need to do. And I think that they have got 2008 clearly in view. I think the Democratic Party, frankly, has been incredibly timid. And I think that there is a lot of culpability certainly with Congress and certainly with many of the Democrats in Congress.

BLITZER: You are really going after not only the president and the vice president, but some of your fellow Democrats. You are basically saying, they don't have the guts to step up and impeach the president.

ANDERSON: Well, I think that is clear beyond anybody's speculations. It is -- the fact that anybody would say to that impeachment is off the table when we have a president who has been so egregious in his violations of our Constitution.

A president who asserts a unitary executive power, that is absolutely chilling.

BLITZER: Rocky Anderson is the mayor of Salt Lake City. Mr. Mayor, thanks for coming in.

ANDERSON: Thanks, Wolf. Good talking to you.

BLITZER: As the war enters its fifth year, the Iranian president weighing in now, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, having some harsh words for President Bush and for U.S. policy in Iraq. Today he's blogging, yes, blogging about the war, calling the U.S., and I'm quoting now "warmongers." Jacki Schechner is checking in with his blog -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. The blog launched last August. It's not updated very often. But the latest post did go up over the weekend.

The post starts with what alleges to be a letter from an American mom who allegedly lost her son in the war in Iraq. Ahmadinejad offers his sympathies to this mother and then goes on to say that Iran would not initiate any war.

He calls the United States -- or accuses them of "paranoidal bullying." Also says they have expansion policies and says that the government keeps its people in a state of absolute censorship. He also says he hopes that there will be an early withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Now CNN has been unable to independently confirm that this is in fact Ahmadinejad's real blog, that he's doing the blogging himself, but, Wolf, that's always what this has purported to be.

BLITZER: Jacki, thank you.

Up ahead tonight, things are heating up for Karl Rove. But will anything stick? On the latest scandal regarding the firing of those eight U.S. attorneys, does the president's top adviser have a Teflon coating? And might the pet food in your home kill your pet? There are new developments tonight concerning that pet food recall. Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Happening now, the Justice Department releasing thousands of new pages, more documents tonight about the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys. We're following that new development tonight.

Meanwhile, the top presidential adviser, Karl Rove, linked to the scandal, but some insiders are predicting he'll come out of it unscathed again. Let's turn to CNN's Brian Todd with the story, he has got the story -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, those predictions stem from Karl Rove's track record of knowing just how far to push the political envelope.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): That sound Karl Rove hears from up the street could be the political knives being unsheathed for him yet again.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Karl Rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning.

TODD: E-mails linking the president's top political adviser to the firings of U.S. attorneys have some Democrats believing they've got him this time. But do they?

None of the e-mail puts the firings squarely at Rove's feet. And CNN's contributor William Bennett says this effort to get Rove in front of Congress is part of a Democratic obsession with the man who is credited with engineering Republican victories in two controversial presidential elections and one mid-term.

WILLIAM BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I know him. I've worked with him. He's a very smart guy. I can tell you, not everything originates with him.

TODD: But Rove was involved in the CIA leak scandal, acknowledged by journalist Robert Novak as one of his sources for the identity of former operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

VALERIE PLAME WILSON, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Karl Rove clearly was involved in the leaking of my name and he still carries a security clearance to this day.

TODD: But leaking a covert operative's name is not illegal if you don't know they're undercover. Rove went before a grand jury five times to clarify what he knew, who he spoke to and when, even clearing up previous misstatements. And he was never charged.

JIM VANDEHEI, POLITICO.COM: Love him or hate him, the guy is a shrewd tactician, a shrewd politician. And I think he knows how he can, you know, keep himself at a far enough distance from some of these activities so they do not hurt him or backfire on him and Bush politically.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: One former colleague says Rove may have a problem if it's discovered that he was involved in firing U.S. attorneys who were investigating Republicans. But this person does not believe they have Rove this time either. After all, the former colleague says, Rove was not among those who misled Congress about the firings -- Wolf.

BLITZER: As soon as we get those documents tonight, we're going to make them available to our viewers as well, Brian, thanks.

Meanwhile, the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, is among those saying the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, should be replaced because of the firing of those U.S. prosecutors.

Obama tells CNN's Larry King he thinks Gonzales should resign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I voted against Alberto Gonzales' confirmation for precisely the reason that we're seeing now. My -- and I said this on the floor of the Senate, that although he seemed to be a capable attorney, he seemed to conceive his role as being the president's attorney, instead of being the people's attorney.

What you get a sense of is an attorney general who saw him as enabler of the administration as opposed to somebody who was actually trying to look at for the American people's interests. And for that reason I think it's time for him to step down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And Senator Obama has a lot more to say. You can see the full interview, the full interview tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE," it airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific. This is an interview you're going to want to see.

Up ahead, it is every pet owner's nightmare. The food you feed your pet may actually be killing it. Our Mary Snow has been monitoring some new information coming in from the FDA on that pet food recall tonight.

And what a difference four years makes. President Bush and hindsight that sometimes stings. Jeanne Moos standing by to take a closer look. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: There are new developments tonight in that massive recall of dog and cat food linked to the deaths at least of 10 animals. Mary Snow is in New York. She has got the very latest -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, late today the Food and Drug Administration said it expects more pets to die from eating what is believed to be tainted pet food. It sparked a recall of 60 million cans and pouches of dog and cat food.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lincoln Square Veterinarian. This is Ellen (ph).

SNOW (voice-over): This small animal hospital in New York is getting a steady stream of calls from anxious pet owners. Cat and dog owners are worried they could accidentally kill their pets by feeding them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What type of food do you feed him?

SNOW: Menu Foods, based in Ontario, Canada, has recalled its "cuts and gravy" style pet food, after some animals died and others became sick with kidney failure.

The products are sold under many different brands throughout North America, and they're sold at major retailers, like Wal-Mart, Safeway and PetSmart. Of the brands recalled so far, 51 are for dogs and 40 for cats.

DR. DONALD SMITH, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Because there are so many brands and labels involved, people need to check to the Web sites to identify whether or not they have in their possession those brands or labels that have been recalled by Menu Foods.

SNOW: A spokeswoman for Menu Foods says the company is conducting rigorous tests and is working with the Food and Drug Administration. Investigators believe a likely cause of the contamination is wheat gluten. And it's focusing on two plants, one in Kansas, and one in New Jersey.

As the search goes on for the exact cause, vets say it's important for pet owners to act quickly, since kidney failure can be treated if it's detected in time.

DR. ANN HOHENHAUS, THE ANIMAL MEDICAL CENTER: There's nothing that you could see on the outside of the cat that might give you a clue that it had kidney failure.

SNOW (on camera): So, how would you know that the cat is sick?

HOHENHAUS: Not eating, maybe a decreased water consumption or an increased water consumption, a little vomiting, a little diarrhea, just general malaise.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Now a list of the affected products is listed on Menu Foods' Web site. The address, www.menufoods/recall. The Food and Drug Administration has also posted information on its Web site -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Any potential danger to humans?

SNOW: You know, that's what the FDA was asked this afternoon. They said they're focusing on one supplier, didn't identify the supplier but says so far it is just pet products.

BLITZER: Mary, thanks very much. We're going to stay on top of the story for our viewers.

BLITZER: Let's check in with Jack Cafferty, he is in New York. Jack, you got any pets?

CAFFERTY: I have several pets, but I don't eat their food.

BLITZER: Good. What about your pets, do they eat the food?

CAFFERTY: Well, presumably they do, yes.

BLITZER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CAFFERTY: How much time do we have here?

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: Go ahead.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is, what do you make of the recent string of terrorist confessions? Alyn in Delaware writes: "Aside form the fact that anyone will say anything under torture, we don't have any way to verify Mohammed said any of this. His confession was just a series of redacted transcripts provided by the government. No one has seen Mohammed in five years. We don't know if he has been beaten to death. When I see a tape of him speaking in his own words, I'll believe it."

Jacques, New York City: "How come each time this administration is in trouble on the home front, we hear news about the fight against terrorism. Am I the only one finding the latest confessions a little too timely? Let's go to level orange already so we'll finally stop talking about Mr. Gonzales."

Bob writes: "Al Qaeda confessions indicate nothing less than worldwide bloodletting. Churchill promised freedom-lovers, quote, 'blood, toils, tears and sweat.' JFK said we should, quote, 'pay any price, bear any burden.' We can do no less. Bush is right on the money with staying the course against al Qaeda worldwide, history is our teacher."

Mary in New Mexico: "I think that if I were in Guantanamo Bay prison for any length of time, and I were facing the 'get them to talk' processes we use, some call it torture, God only knows how many things I would admit to doing, true or false. And one has to wonder about it all as the news comes out on the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, the fifth year. Perhaps one day our government will realize not all Americans are stupid and a lot of people still know how to think and figure things out."

George in California: "Jack, give me George Bush, a bottle of Jim Beam, and a waterboard and I'll have an answer for any question you have about this administration."

And Eric in Little Rock, Arkansas: "Recently I've heard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed linked to the French Revolution, the Black Plague, and the death of Anna Nicole Smith. I'm glad to see the truth finally coming out here. I'll sleep much better tonight."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, and read more of these online -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack, for that. See you tomorrow.

Let's find out what's coming up right at the top of the hour. Paula Zahn is standing by.

Hi, Paula.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": Hi, Wolf, thanks. As the Iraq War enters its fifth year, we are bringing a scandal involving U.S. veterans out in the open. Why are hundreds of them coming home only to find themselves homeless.

Also a part of U.S. history many people think is absolutely shameful, but not one state, it may dedicate an entire month to honoring its Confederate heritage. We're going to bring the controversy "Out in the Open." By the way, Wolf, that is happening at the same time some legislatures are demanding an apology for slavery. So lots of fireworks in Georgia right now.

BLITZER: Thank you, Paula, for that. We will be watching. Paula is coming up in a few minutes.

Still ahead here on THE SITUATION ROOM, hindsight with a sting. President Bush then and now. Jeanne Moos right now on the story, when we come back. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the "Hot Shots" coming from our friends over at The Associated Press, pictures likely to be in your hometown newspapers tomorrow.

In Baghdad, a girl looks at the gun of a U.S. soldier on patrol in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City.

In Thailand, boys prepare for prayer during their first day as novice Buddhist monks.

In Kenya, Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson feeds a bottle of milk to a 5-year-old elephant. And in Bolivia, President Evo Morales balances a loaf of bread on his head as a gesture of good luck. Some of this hour's "Hot Shots," pictures often worth a thousand words.

Much has changed since the start of the war in Iraq, especially the words and tone coming from the White House. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After four years of statues toppled and evil-doers caught and ink-stained elections and blood-stained everything, hindsight is not always a pretty sight.

Take for instance the president's words just before the invasion, when he seemed so sure that Iraq had...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... some of the most lethal weapons ever devised, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed.

He possesses weapons of terror. Saddam Hussein is not disarming. This is a fact. It can not be denied.

MOOS: But that was then, and this is now.

BUSH: It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction.

MOOS: Four years ago, life without Saddam seemed a rosy vision.

BUSH: Iraq will provide a place where people can see that the Shia and the Sunni and the Kurds can get along in a federation.

MOOS: But that was then, and this is now. Four years ago, many of the questions were more prophetic than the answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe in the wee small hours that you might be wrong and they might be right and thinking that this could lead to more terrorism, more anti-American sentiment, more instability in the Middle East?

MOOS: And you know what they say about the best laid plans.

BUSH: The best plan available for victory, we will have the best equipment available for our troops.

MOOS: But that was then, and this was later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?

DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: As you know, you go to war with the army you have, and not the army you might want.

MOOS: And after all those mentions of Iraq and 9/11 in the same speech, if not the same breath...

BUSH: Iraq is a country that has got terrorist ties.

MOOS: That was then, and this is now.

BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The attack on the World Trade Center.

BUSH: Nothing.

MOOS: Back then the president gave Saddam 48 hours to leave the country. Saddam stayed and ended up leaving this Earth.

BUSH: The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.

MOOS: Four years later, the question is, how to liberate the liberators.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And that's it for us. Tomorrow, among my guests, the comedian Bill Maher. Up next "PAULA ZAHN NOW" -- Paula.

ZAHN: Wolf, thanks.

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