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Warner: Bush Should Start Troop Pullout From Iraq

Aired August 23, 2007 - 19:00   ET


Happening now, a very powerful Republican drops an Iraq bombshell on the president -- Senator John Warner says Mr. Bush should guarantee some U.S. troops are now home by Christmas. Will more Republicans abandon the president?

Also tonight, one-on-one with Senator Barack Obama -- the presidential candidate suggests some fellow Democrats are providing a distraction from the real problems in Iraq.

And in the culture wars, for women only a religious college offers classes on being a good wife. Will it help make marriages better or will it turn back the clock on women's rights?

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

Up first tonight, Senator John Warner's revolt against the president's Iraq policy, one of the most influential voices on military affairs is taking his reservations about the war to a new level. Says President Bush should tell the American people next month that he's starting a troop withdrawal from Iraq and that some troops should be home by Christmas. Now many are asking, if the president has lost John Warner, who might be next?


SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: We simply cannot, as a nation, stand and put our troops at continuous risk where there will be loss of life and limb without beginning to take some decisive action which will get everybody's attention.


BLITZER: Let's bring in our congressional correspondent Dana Bash. This is a new level for John Warner. He's been somewhat critical in the past, but today he's saying things he's never said before.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. It is different. He has bugged the president on military strategy in Iraq. He never liked the surge to begin with. This is the first time he or anyone of his stature in the military community or in the president's own Republican Party has actually said it's time to start bringing troops home. And that's why he is very well aware that what he did here today is very politically potent because it is a stark challenge to the president and also one that nervous Republicans may come back in September and embrace.

BLITZER: What about, Dana, the whole notion of his specific proposal right now. He's stopping short of simply saying that all U.S. troops have to get out of Iraq?

BASH: He's stopping short of saying that. He may sound more like a Democrat in saying troops do need to start coming home, but he's being very clear, Wolf that he does not support a deadline for troop withdrawal as most Democrats want. The bottom line is John Warner just came back from Iraq really fed up with the Iraqi government and made clear what he thinks the only way to get them into shape is to show them, not just tell them, but show them that the U.S. isn't going to be there forever by starting to bring troops home, even if it is just a symbolic number of troops that will start coming home from Iraq.

BLITZER: Still a real bombshell on Capitol Hill today. Dana, thanks very much.

The Bush administration suggests it's keeping an open mind about Senator Warner's proposal. The spokesman for the National Security Council over at the White House, Gordon Johndroe, joined us earlier in THE SITUATION ROOM.


GORDON JOHNDROE, NAT'L SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESMAN: Senator Warner's recommendations are something that has to be looked at with everything else that's going on. And as I said, he's certainly a respected senator but right now the most important thing is to listen to what our generals on the ground have to say.


BLITZER: Sill more ammunition today for the political battle over the war. A new U.S. government intelligence report is close to being a flat out statement of no confidence in the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. It says Iraqi leaders can't govern effectively, that their hold on power will only get more precarious over the next six to 12 months. The report by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies finds Iraqi security forces haven't improved enough to operate without outside U.S. assistance.

It warrants scaling back the U.S. mission could wipe out any improvements on the Iraqi security front that have been made in recent months and opened the door to bolder plays for power within Iraq by some of its neighbors including Iran and Syria and maybe even Turkey. The report puts even more pressure on Iraq's prime minister and that's caused some to call for his ouster.

And joining us now our correspondent in Baghdad, Michael Ware -- Michael, who takes over in Iraq if Nouri al-Maliki should go?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's truly a plaguing question, Wolf, because to be honest there's no immediate candidates. I mean to use an example from Afghanistan, there's no Hamid Karzai waiting in the wings as a single political figure who has even the vaguest prospect of unifying this country. Indeed, let's bear in mind, Wolf, Nouri al-Maliki was not the answer either.

He was the compromised candidate of all compromised candidates with very little support from anyone and absolutely no power, so even he wasn't a solution. Now there are a number of people who are out there on the fringes trying to jockey and maneuver. And of course Iraq's neighbors, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, they are also providing support to some of these potential candidates.

So really the question is after Maliki, what happens? If he goes, will he go constitutionally by say a no confidence vote in the parliament or is there going to be a non-constitutional upheaval, like a coup d'etat or as former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi calls for, an emergency government. That will be one of the things that determines who might lead next. But honestly, America has to pick one of the horses in the race and back it because Iran certainly will be doing the same.

BLITZER: I don't know about you, but I keep hearing suggestions from some influential elements out there that what Iraq really needs is a strong man, someone not necessarily like Saddam Hussein who was a thug and a killer, but someone let's say like a Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan or a Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Forget about democracy for the time being, but get someone who's pro-American, pro-West, but at the same time can get tough and crack down on what's going on there. What is your sense of that?

WARE: Well look Wolf, you know what we're talking about here is essentially what's dubbed the Musharraf auction -- precisely what you're talking about -- putting a strong man in place. Now, this is something that was -- has been talked about and muted (ph) since even before the invasion. It's now known that that was the CIA's preferred option for regime change.

They said coup d'etat, cut off their head, put in our own gut and then cut out the cancer of the Iraqi Baathist apparatus as we go. I certainly know very influential, Special Forces commanders and other leading generals here in the country who have been pushing for solutions just like that since way back in 2004.

Now coupled with that, coupled with that a period of, say, emergency government with a quasi-democracy or a constitution not abandoned but merely suspended until this place can hold itself together and blunt the Iranian interference, to go with that must be an empowerment of the tribes. Now it's a famous line. But that's in 2003 the U.S. administration here blithely, glibly said that the tribes had no future in the new Iraq. Well, how wrong they have been. The tribes have vitally needed to rebuild this country and support whoever can really control this place and keep it an ally of America as opposed to the miss and the almost anti-American shemozzal (ph) that it currently is.

BLITZER: Michael Ware reporting for us from Baghdad. Michael, thanks.

WARE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: And coming up later here in THE SITUATION ROOM there is an incredible story unfolding in Washington. A major Republican lobbying firm with very close ties to President Bush and the White House, get this, has now taken up the cause of getting rid of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from office and replacing him with someone else. This is an amazing story you're going to want to see. Ed Henry has been working his sources on this.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty in New York for "The Cafferty File". You know, the conspiratorial theories out there in the Middle East. No one is going to believe that this lobbying firm, a Republican firm, isn't doing the bidding of the White House.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well and didn't President Bush make a disparaging comment about being disappointed in the progress of the Iraqi government a couple of days ago and Nouri al-Maliki got wind of it and said, hey, you know I'm the elected guy. We had an election, I won. I'm running this place and the United States needs to be more patient, so I mean when you couple the fact that the president expressed some dismay over progress with the government and now we've got a Washington lobby firm with ties to the White House working to get rid of this guy, I don't know, you know I'd get a food taster if I was Nouri al-Maliki, I think.

The United States is losing the war on terror. That's according to a lot of top foreign policy intelligence and national security experts. "Foreign Policy" magazine polled 100 of them in its annual terrorism index and the results are pretty grim.

Eighty-four percent of them say the U.S. is not winning the war on terror. Only six percent think we're winning. Ninety-one percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans. And more than 80 percent predict a 9/11 scale terror attack on the United States sometime in the next 10 years.

When it comes to Iraq, 53 percent of these experts, 100 of them, say the surge is having a negative impact and that's up 22 percent in just the last six months. A bipartisan majority of 68 percent say the U.S. should redeploy its troops in the next 18 months. The "Christian Science Monitor" reports that many are now wanting to rethink the whole strategy for the war on terror, some reporting that the Cold War struggled with communism to try to come up with ways to deal with the fight against terrorism.

They are suggesting things, for example, like deterrents which kept the superpowers from attacking each other during the Cold War along with a Middle East-type of Marshall Plan to help strengthen those economies and prevent alienated their youth. So here's the question -- you want something light and breezy on a Thursday night?

What should be done differently in the war on terror? E-mail your thoughts to or go to Wolf, these guys are experts in their field. They don't have a political ax to grind. They talked to 100 of them and there's a consensus that we're losing this war on terror. Regardless of all the money that's been spent, all of the effort that's been made, all the kids that have been killed, we're not getting it done.

BLITZER: And I love our viewers and I'm sure they are going to have some good answers to your question, what should be done differently in the war on terror. Jack, thanks very much.

Coming up, a family devastated by war -- two sons lost now in Iraq, a third son still fighting there. Is this an Iraq war version of "Saving Private Ryan"? We're going to find out why this family has given up so much for our country.

Plus, Marine recruit abuse, a drill sergeant now facing 244 counts including cruelty and maltreatment.

And Barack Obama one-on-one, he sits down with our Don Lemon. You're going to want to hear what he has to say.

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


BLITZER: It's a heart-wrenching story reminiscent of the movie "Saving Private Ryan". This time it involves three brothers, one of them died fighting in Iraq three years ago. Another is dead after the helicopter he was in came down in northern Iraq just yesterday. Now the family is wracked with grief again, is praying the sole surviving son does not meet the same fate.

CNN's Kathleen Koch has more.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jared Hubbard's funeral in November 2004 was a heart-wrenching tribute to a young man dedicated to service and to the best friend who died alongside him in a bomb blast in Ramadi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll cherish our memories until we meet again.


KOCH: It was six months after Jared's burial with full military honors that his two surviving brothers, Jason and Nathan, decided to join the Army. Jason told a local paper their goal was to carry on in Jared's footsteps and quote, "make the world a better place for Americans, for Iraqis and anyone else affected by terrorists". The town that erected a memorial to honor Jared and his best friend, Jeremiah Baro, is now immersed in grief again.

REV. TIM ROLEN, NEW HOPE COMMUNITY CHURCH: It's a difficult situation, shock. It's the second son in a family.

KOCH: A family spokesperson says Jason, the oldest son, is returning home from Iraq to be with his parents.

JANET STOLL-LEE, HUBBARD FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: We don't have a timetable yet for when he will arrive and the family really is asking for privacy at this time. They're really destroyed by this.

KOCH: Twenty-one-year-old Nathan had been assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Hawaii, the home base for 10 of the soldiers killed in the Wednesday helicopter crash in northern Iraq. On his MySpace page, Nathan reached out to his big brother, Jared, writing as I take my last walk in your boots, guide me.

(on camera): As the sole surviving son in his family, Jason Hubbard can now ask not to return to combat duty. But the Pentagon says though it is their right few service members actually request that exclusion.

Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.


BLITZER: And our deepest condolences to that family. What a story.

In another story we're following, a very, very different story, a member of the U.S. military is accused of assaulting and inflicting cruelty to some military recruits.

CNN's Brianna Keilar has the disturbing details -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Sergeant Jerrod Glass is the drill instructor accused of abusing recruits in San Diego. That's according to Major Christian Laseeker (ph) at the Marine Corps recruiting station there. Laseeker (ph) told me Glass is facing 244 counts that include 91 counts of assault as well as charges of cruelty and maltreatment.

Glass was arraigned yesterday there in San Diego. And according to a senior Marine Corps official, the commanding general of the recruiting station, Brigadier General Angelo Salinas (ph), has contacted families of Glass' alleged victims. She reportedly told them that these incidents are unacceptable and assured them the situation is being dealt with.

Now this could be one of the worst single cases of a drill instructor abusing recruits and it's something we really haven't seen in quite a while. You may recall back in the '90s, there was that huge controversy when video of so-called blood winging surfaced. That was the hazing ceremony where paratrooper jump wings were pinned right into the flesh of Marines. But again that was in the early '90s. Now Sergeant Jerrod Glass is scheduled for a general court-martial on November 8 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brianna. Thanks very much -- Brianna Keilar reporting.

Up next we're going to go one-on-one. CNN spoke with the presidential candidate, Barack Obama, and asked why he wouldn't want his children to go to this school -- the one you're seeing right there -- in South Carolina. Also, there is a story buzzing around the Internet. And only our Jeanne Moos has the ability to follow a pesky fly into the presidential race.

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


BLITZER: Tonight, fresh criticism of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is reaching new levels. There's a new effort underway right here in Washington to undermine the Iraqi leader and his government. Let's go to our White House correspondent Ed Henry.

He is over in Crawford covering the president's vacation over there. Ed, what have you learned?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, CNN has confirmed that a powerhouse Republican lobbying firm has launched a public campaign to undermine Prime Minister Maliki and try and promote former Prime Minister Allawi as an alternative candidate for the job. Now, this firm is Barbour Griffith and Rogers, of course made famous because it was founded in part by Haley Barbour, the Mississippi governor, a former Republican National Committee chairman. A lot of former Bush aides are also advisers to this firm.

They even sent out an e-mail on Tuesday, but take a look at it, to congressional offices, sent out by Dr. Allawi himself, but then lower down a disclosure from the lobbying firm that they're been retained by Allawi and they're really the ones behind this. Now a senior administration official told me the White House may try at some point to call this Republican lobbying firm and tell them to try and dial it back. This is really a slap in the face at President Bush who has been publicly supporting Maliki. Here is what White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said earlier in THE SITUATION ROOM.


JOHNDROE: Sure, that's something that I guess Mr. Allawi has contracted this firm to work on. This administration supports Prime Minister Maliki, the elected governor of sovereign Iraq, supports the presidency council, and will continue to work with them on the best way forward in Iraq.


HENRY: Now, I pressed Johndroe a little earlier in the day about why senior Republicans would be turning against the president on his own policy and he said half jokingly, perhaps maybe the contract is really good. As you know, these kinds of lobbying contracts can run hundreds of thousands of dollars -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So what is the lobbying firm saying, Ed?

HENRY: Well I spoke to a vice president for the firm confirmed that this lobbying is going on, wouldn't give me the details of the contract, but he said in addition to these e-mails they're sending out that have negative stories about Maliki and the e-mails, they're also going to be lobbying members of Congress. They wouldn't give me the details, but within the next couple of weeks we expect the Justice Department will reveal those figures. Another big question, of course, where is Allawi getting this big time money to pay for these lobbyists, Wolf?

BLITZER: I'll ask him that question, Ayad Allawi. He'll be joining me on "LATE EDITION" on Sunday. Ed joining us right now -- thanks very much.

Carol Costello is monitoring stories in coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Carol, what do you have?

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: A couple of things, two firefighters are in a hospital after being injured today at the condemned Deutsche Bank building near Ground Zero in New York City. It is the same building where two other firefighters died battling a blaze over the weekend. Employees say the firefighters were injured today when a piece of equipment plummeted from the 23rd floor of that building. Their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

Televangelist Juanita Bynum is pressing charges against her estranged husband after he allegedly assaulted her. Preacher Thomas W. Weeks, III is the founder of Global Destiny Churches. Police say the two met yesterday and were talking about reconciling when Weeks beat her. It happened in a hotel parking lot near Atlanta's airport. Bynum suffered bruises. Police say Weeks will be charged with aggravated assault and terroristic threats.

Lindsay Lohan has reached a plea deal on misdemeanor drunk driving and drug charges. Prosecutors in California say the deal calls for the actress to spend one day in jail and serve 10 days of community service. She was also placed on three years' probation. Lohan released a statement today. It says in part, quote, "It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I'm addicted to alcohol and drugs". Lohan was charged today with seven misdemeanors including driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Carol, very much.

Up ahead, why some people, especially women, think a theology college is turning back the clock. Just wait until you hear about the classes for women only.

And this preacher is out to prevent what he calls an Election Day sin. Stay with us. It probably isn't what you think. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, Chicago begins cleaning up from a very scary storm. Heavy rain and wind flooded roads, collapsed roofs, toppled scaffolding. It knocked out power to 185,000 customers in Chicago.

The deadline came and went two hours ago and it looks like no dog owners showed up today to claim any of the 50 remaining pit bulls seized last April on property owned by star quarterback Michael Vick. A judge says the government will keep the dogs for now. They eventually may be euthanized.

And two major airlines get their financial wings clipped for price fixing on tickets for international flights. That would be British Airways and Korean Air. They pleaded guilty to antitrust conspiracy charges. They were fined $300,000 each.

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

Education is front and center for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's visit to Dillon, South Carolina today. Senator Obama spoke one-on-one with CNN's Don Lemon.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: When I talk to the people here, the teachers just before you came, same thing you handled here. They said what is he really going to do for us because we hear it all the time. Some of them talked about no child left behind. Some of them talked about merit pay. Why shouldn't teachers be paid more if they perform better?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I would -- first of all, when it comes to no child left behind -- the money was left behind for no child left behind. And I'm not going to vote for reauthorization until we fundamentally fix it, putting more resources into the schools to help them achieve high standards and changing the assessment so that we take into account the fact that kids are going to be starting at different places.

And we can't just apply standardized tests over and over and over again as a tool to improving school performance. But to answer your earlier question about why am I different? Look, I have worked as a community organizer in low-income schools. I have worked at the state level in terms of trying to fix school funding and I have also worked at the federal level. And I -- I think one of the things I've come to recognize is, you can't fix these schools with money alone.

Parents have to parent, communities have to support an attitude of excellence when it comes to education. But money does make a difference. So if we can combine more money for serious reform, including, potentially, new ways of training and rewarding teachers, because we're going to have to recruit a million new teachers over the next decade as the baby boom generation retires, we can make significant progress.

LEMON: If you lived here -- would you allow Sasha and Malia to go to this school? If you lived here? OBAMA: If I lived here, I would be fighting to improve this school. But I would not want Sasha and Malia to be in a classroom that has no windows and I wouldn't want them to be in a gymnasium that has no air conditioning. I don't think any parent would. And the parents who live here don't either. The problem they have is the property tax base is so low here that the most they can raise under state law is $3 million and it would take $16 million to rebuild this school. That's where it will be necessary for the federal government under an Obama Administration to come up with a capital program to rebuild schools all across the country. And states are going to have to step up, because right now, too many states, I think, are neglecting rural areas because they don't have as much political clout.

LEMON: I'm pushing the envelope. This is my last question. The NIE report out today, Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, the surge supposedly is working in some areas, not in other areas. What do you think of Nouri al-Maliki. Should he go? Do you agree with that? And why pull the troops out if it appears to be working?

OBAMA: I think this is a distraction, the whole notion of is Maliki the right guy? We can replace Maliki with four, five other guys. If the underlying political dynamics aren't changing, then we're not going to see progress in Iraq. We know that our troops are performing well under the surge and there's a temporary reduction in violence. We also know that anyone of the Iraqi factions have taken seriously the need to come to political accommodation. We can't create a stable Iraq until that happens, which is why I believe we need to more than ever initiate the kind of responsible, orderly withdrawal that will trigger a change in behavior on the part of the factions. This is a fundamental disagreement that I have with George Bush. This disagreement is not going to go away. And as president of the United States, I'm going to set us in a new direction.

LEMON: Thank you for taking -- for being honest with the tough questions. Seriously, thank you.

BLITZER: Barack Obama speaking earlier with Don Lemon. By the way, just before the interview, he went from the classroom to the basketball court at the South Carolina gym earlier in the day. Senator Obama started -- check it out. He's got some game. He goes up for the shot. There he is. See if he can make it.

There it is. Nice shot. He's close. Barack Obama, basketball skills.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards appears today to be trying hitting Hillary Clinton where it hurts implying she and her husband are examples of what's wrong in Washington. Edwards debuted his new campaign speech in New Hampshire earlier today. Here's our chief national correspondent, John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He didn't name names, but the target was more than obvious.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the house or the senate.

KING: It was a shot at her and her husband. Senator Edwards trying to shake up the democratic race by reminding voters the Clinton days weren't all worth celebrating.

EDWARDS: The problem with nostalgia is what we tend to do is you only remember what you like. And you like it and you forget the parts that you didn't like.

KING: Not the first time Edwards has called on Senator Clinton to reject contributions from lobbyists. Not the first time he's labeled her a Washington insider. But the script he followed carefully this time was more pointed and more personal.

EDWARDS: Caution versus courage, old versus new, calculation versus principle.

KING: Senator Clinton was briefed on the Edwards attacks before this health care speech in New Hampshire. But, following a frontrunner's playbook, decided against personally responding.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: During the eight years as first lady it shall.

PETER HART, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: She has an exceptionally high rating with democrats, better than 75 percent positive.

KING: Edwards was the democrats' vice presidential nominee in 2004 but he trails Senators Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008 polls and fundraising, the first contest now just a little more than four months off.

HART: Senator Edwards has an extremely difficult task because he's running in third place, he has to find a way to move up to second place. That means displacing either Obama or Clinton. Tough task.

KING: While Senator Clinton did not directly respond, her campaign did return fire, saying Mrs. Clinton has a long record of fighting for America's families and that, "Angry attacks on other democrats won't help Edwards."

John King, CNN, Washington.

BLITZER: Up next, we're going to be following several other stories that we're watching, a school where women only -- women -- are allowed to take special classes. Is it liberation or is it discrimination?

Plus, battle in parliament. Watch these lawmakers duke it out. Yeah, there they go at it. These are lawmakers. They're having some excitement. Politics. Tell you where this is happening. All that coming up.

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ROBERT STEINBERG: My profession as a family doctor.

ANNOUNCER: In 1990, Steinberg was diagnosed with leukemia.

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BLITZER: Many women raise their children, and love their husbands. One school wants to help teach them how to do it. In the culture war, the school wants to plot a course for women only and some Baptists are outraged. Carol Costello is joining us now. Some Baptists are though very, very excited about this as well. Carol, tell our viewers what's going on.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Depends on who you talk to. These classes started today, Wolf. Many Baptist think the home is under attack. The noble vocation of wife and mother is being demeaned. How to fix the problem? Offer a course teaching young women to embrace women.

Southwestern Baptist Theological seminary teaches young men and women to serve God. It sends the graduates into the world to become pastors, preachers, and missionaries, today, it's offering a brand new concentration, a bachelor of arts degree with a heavy concentration in home making, open to women only.

PAIGE PATTERSON, SOUTHWEST BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: It should be the option of a young woman who wants to give herself to her home and have that option and be able to do that. It's a question of religious freedom.

COSTELLO: The new program offers courses in general home making, children and families, design and apparel, food and nutrition. Southwestern says the course is providing an alternative to the decline of the traditional family. Its goal is to prepare women to model the godly woman in scripture. Some critics charge it wants to roll back time, turning women into -- well, Harriet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure I need any pie, Harriet, it's a big dinner.

REV. BENJAMIN COLE: Divinity schools have never offered courses which I'm aware or trace any hint in sewing, cooking, culinary arts, interior decorating.

COSTELLO: Benjamin Cole is a Baptist pastor critical of the church's treatment of women. Southwestern's courses remind him of the 1950s a time when instructional films for women only were shown routinely in America's high schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In home economics, the girls turn to newspapers for helping in planning nutritious and economical menus.

COSTELLO: Cole says Southwestern's new home making course is one way of pushing women out of church leadership roles, something that culminated in 2000 at the Southern Baptist Convention. Delegates voted women could serve in the church but not as pastors supporting the belief that a wife is submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband. Patterson, then the convention's president, orchestrated the moves.

COLE: It seems somewhat strange to me that we've been training able women, god called women for these roles. Only to now send them home without a job and tell them that it's time to start putting their aprons back on.

COSTELLO: Patterson says Cole's charges are ridiculous.

PATTERSON: Mystifying to us and as I say quite amusing to see people so upset about what a theological seminary is doing to assist having a good home.

COSTELLO: And Southwestern Baptist is going forward with the new program telling me they expect 15 women to sign up. The home making program is not open to men because Dr. Patterson says it's tailored specifically for women who choose to devote themselves to the family.

BLITZER: A little controversy down there. Thanks very much, Carol.

Another story we're following, Las Vegas of course revels in its reputation as sin city. So what's wrong with having a holy town? Randi Kaye is joining us now to take us to a place where good morals and catholic values are part of the landscape.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The founder of Ave Maria University says he likes to think of it as God's University. And he hopes despite what critics and civil rights leaders say, it takes its cues from the Vatican.

Deep in the heart of south Florida along the hazy swamps of the everglades, a brand new town is rising up from nothing. This is Ave Maria, a catholic utopia founded and funded by billionaire businessman Tom Monaghan, his ticket, he hopes, to eternal salvation.

TOM MONAGHAN, AVE MARIA FOUNDER: My goal is to get to heaven and drag as many people along with me as I can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy Mary mother of God.

KAYE: Here streets are named after saints and popes built around a cathedral designed by Monaghan himself.

MONAGHAN: I think it will be one of the ten best-known catholic churches in the country.

KAYE: The ten-year plan, 11,000 homes, 25,000 residents, and 5,000 students at Ave Maria University.

Does it feel like Disney World for Catholics for you?

MONAGHAN: It will be a place where I think a certain amount of Catholics, particularly serious Catholics want to live around a serious, really high-quality catholic university.

KAYE: Monaghan has pumped nearly half a billion dollars of his personal fortune of Ave Maria, money he earned from the domino's pizza chain he founded and sold nearly a decade ago. These are his glory years, a reward after a childhood of poverty and struggle. Raised by nuns in a catholic orphanage, yearning to give back his whole life, building his business around that goal.

MONAGHAN: Life is short, eternity is forever. Domino's was just a -- I saw Domino's as a way to help the church.

KAYE: Ave Maria is not without controversy. Tom Monaghan has in the past that cable TV in Ave Maria would not be allowed to show adult programming like pornography. He's also said that pharmacists in town would not be allowed to give birth control. But critics lashed out saying he's trying to exert civil rights problems, he can only control university laws but not the town itself. No contraception at school, but the town, yes.

BLITZER: Will the town, the university be open to everyone, Randi?

KAYE: I asked him about Jews, Muslim, atheists, what a gay couple, if they wanted to all move in. He said that would be absolutely. Fine with him.

BLITZER: What a story he has. I know you're going to have a much longer report, a full report coming up later tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern on "AC 360." Randi, thanks very much.

Still ahead, one of "God's Warriors," this preacher is already warning Christians, don't commit a sin on Election Day. The sin may surprise you.

And Capital Hill never gets this ugly. Take a look at this -- see which country's lawmakers are literally slugging it out. Whoa! We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, a major CNN event, "God's Warriors." Our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, profiles a pastor taking on the political force that are conservative Christians. Take a look at this preview.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Visit Boyd's church and you'll hear a Christian message with a strong focus on personal relationships with Jesus Christ.

BOYD: On the one hand, I'm a conservative Christian. I'm pro- life to the core of my being. I also believe that homosexuality misses God's ideal.

AMANPOUR: But listen to what Boyd says next.

BOYD: But the bible says gossip, right next to homosexuality it mentions gossip, and it mentions greed, and it mentions gluttony. And in fact, greed and gluttony are two of the most common sins held up in the ancient world in the supreme sins and they're frequently mentioned in the bible way more than homosexuality. I never could understand what sin gradation scale that some people go by where they decide that some sins are worse than others and those are the ones to go against.

AMANPOUR: To be specific to. In order to be pro-life, do you have to support a candidate whose mission is to overturn Roe versus Wade?

BOYD: Christiane, I don't think so to. To be pro-life is not just to be concerned about the womb, it's to be concerned about life. For example, what's the relationship between poverty and abortion? Studies show there's a direct correlation there. So maybe the best way to lessen an abortion society, is to go for a candidate that will do the most for poverty. So we need to do great care not to naively think we can translate our particular value to a particular vote. Don't label your way of voting, "Christian."

AMANPOUR: Boyd's concerns over the fusion of faith and politics began building shortly after the first Gulf War when he attended a fourth of July service at another church.

BOYD: And there's patriotic music playing and a flag waving in the background. They even showed the silhouette of three crosses and four fighter jets came down over the crosses and split. The flag waving in the background. There are some people who stood up and they were ecstatic. And I started crying. Because I wondered how is it possible that we went from being a movement of people who follow the messiah, who taught us to love our enemies, to being a movement that celebrates fighter jets. That fuses Jesus' death on the cross with killing machines. I guess that was a wakeup call to me about how serious this problem is among evangelicals in America.

BLITZER: Christiane's third and final installment of "God's Warriors" starts tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Let's go to Jack Cafferty in New York.


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've got some pretty good talent on this network. We've got Christiane Amanpour. We got Michael Ware. Going to watching that stuff tonight.

The question this hour is what should be done differently in the war on terror? We got some thoughtful e mails. Starting with this one.

Mike in Boston writes, "They said it long, hearts and minds have always been the answer. Hershey bars and nylons won't do it. We do it by raising these people up. I saw today on CNN a report about a woman and her family living in the street over there. She lost her house when her husband died. There she was, her furniture and her kids in the street. Let them see that our values about liberty, freedom and free speech are real. This is not so much a war on terrorism as it is a war on poverty of spirit, ours and theirs. Bring back the constitution and let us show the people of the world that the greatest nation on earth is the one that cares and loves other people the most. It's not about killing. It's about saving. It's about life not death."

Jerry writes, "Understand there's no war on terror. They are finally attempting to take us on for everything we Christians have done to subjugate them from the crusades through British partition to our support of Israel and our invasion of their country and our continued occupation. The Kurds are functioning quite well, thank you, an upstanding of 170,000, commerce, electricity and no American deaths ever. They should have their beliefs as we have ours and they do not believe in democracy. They believe in a god that we claim is ours. They just call him Allah."

Nabil, Orlando, Florida, "The answer is really easy. How about applying the bipartisan recommendations of the Baker Hamilton report like solving the Israeli Palestinian problem and talking with Iran and Syria. Bombs and puppet governments are not the answer. Dialogue and justice across the Middle East are."

And Matt has an idea in Pennsylvania. "Qaddafi has been pretty well behaved lately. Let's given him Iraq as a reward and see what he can do with it."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, go to where we post more online along with video clips of "The Cafferty File."


BLITZER: All right Jack. Thanks very much.

I want to check back quickly with Carol Costello. There's a story that we're watching. The pictures are incredible. Carol, update our viewers.

COSTELLO: I know. How could we not show our viewers these pictures? Take a look and listen. There they are. Not exactly the most civilized congressional session. A violent scuffle broke out in Bolivia's lower house. A fight started during a debate on whether to put judges accused of corruption on trial. Punches were thrown. There was even some hair pulling. In the end, I don't know, they came to some sort of conclusion. Would you like to see our presidential candidate doing that?

BLITZER: That's a rumble. Not the house of lords. I got to tell you, Carol. Thank you very much.

Politics with a buzz, a fly takes center stage at the debate. We'll tell you what's going on.

We'll be right back.


BLITZER: The fly at a presidential debate ended up taking center stage. Jeanne Moos has the story.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why settle for being a fly on the wall, when you can be the fly on a presidential candidate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If only there was some visual metaphor that would represent the quirks that is the debate process.

MOOS: Ever since a fly crawled around Senator Chris Dodd's head during the last presidential debate, the video has been flying around the web with catchy captions like Chris Dodd has bug vote lined up. Hero insect scales Mt. Dodd. But it wasn't just Mt. Dodd the insect scaled, the fly landed briefly on Senator Obama.

OBAMA: Established base camps in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

MOOS: The black fly on Senator Dodd's snowy white hair that left viewers bug eyed. I'm voting for the bug posted one. Some stay the fly was a plant, part of a right-wing conspiracy. He provided a photo of the alleged bug within bug. Jon Stewart with fly commentary.

JON STEWART: The fly, of course, saying, help me!


MOOS: Insects can be an occupational hazard for reporters as Randi Kaye discovered as she was launching into a live shot this, is a recreation.

KAYE: A moth went down my shirt I can feel it as I'm talking trying to hold myself together while I'm live on the air and I could feel it fluttering in my you know what.

MOOS: When the live shot finished she ripped open the top to liberate the moth. Then there was the bug invested John Zarrella live shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that? You've got cucarachas.

MOOS: If it had been a roach, Chris Dodd's campaign might really be dead. A Seattle newspaper blog wondered did Dodd's failure to swat at the fly show remarkable poise or a remarkable amount of hairspray?

If the keeps up I'm going to have start watching the debates armed with a fly swatter. And actually, the candidates would probably like to take a fly swatter to pesky reporters like me, who cover this stuff.

But the senator's campaign wouldn't hurt a fly. This just goes to show that Chris Dodd is generating a lot of buzz. Guess that makes us buzz killers. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Up next, CNN Special Investigations Unit: "Growing Up Diana."