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Former White House Press Secretary Makes Stunning Allegations; Will China Put Man on the Moon?

Aired November 21, 2007 - 17:00   ET

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


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Details of stunning allegations by his former press secretary.
And China -- a late entrance into the space race, now making up for lost time.

Will the next man on the moon be from The People's Republic?

Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Millions of Americans hitting the highways for Thanksgiving and not at all thankful for near record high gas prices. And with oil closing in on the $100 a barrel mark, $3 a gallon for gas may be just a fond memory for the not too distant future.

CNN's Ali Velshi following all of that for us -- and, Ali, how much worse do you think this is all going to get?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, it's getting worse as we're speaking. People who are driving away are experiencing, you know, what is normally something that's fairly removed. This is my oil barrel. That's where oil settled today -- $97.29. That's an abstract concept until it gets into your gas tank. And you're finding that as you're going home. The national average for a gallon of self-serve gasoline, $3.09. But now, with more than 30 million people getting into their cars and driving more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving, you're going to see lineups. You're going to see gas stations with the best excuse they've ever had to push those prices higher.

Americans are going to start to feel this. And in the Northeast, they're feeling it in heating oil and everywhere around the country, people are feeling it increased costs of transportation, airline tickets, storage, things that are delivered to the stores around them. This is not the kind of price we're used to seeing for gasoline in -- at this time of year.

The highest we've ever paid -- Suzanne, $3.20 per gallon. That was last May. That's the kind of thing you see in spring, leading into the summer driving season.

This is a very big driving holiday and people are going to be paying for it.

MALVEAUX: So, Ari, are you saying people are actually traveling this weekend -- it's going to get worse for them?

We're going to see the price actually even go up further this weekend?

VELSHI: Sadly, there's nothing you can do about it. You can't horde gas. But, yes, as people are driving out tonight and tomorrow morning, they'll see those increases. We knew there was a 10 or 15 cent increase. That's still to come in the next couple of weeks. You'll start seeing that tonight, tomorrow morning. And you'll start seeing it on the weekend. So on your drive back, you know, fill up as much as you can. That's all you can do about it -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Ali.

VELSHI: OK.

MALVEAUX: President Bush taking heat for new backing of Pakistan's president, with some questioning just how far Pervez Musharraf can stray from democracy without going too far from the White House.

Our CNN's Brian Todd joining us live -- Brian, we know President Bush says he supports Musharraf, but not this state of emergency. Obviously, in a very difficult position.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He certainly is -- Suzanne. And the president seems to indicate now that he's willing to give Mr. Musharraf a great deal of leeway to get his house in order -- showing just how much he needs Musharraf in this war on terror.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): After warning his ally's crackdown on descent would undermine democracy, President Bush gives Pakistan's leader an extraordinary show of support. Asked by ABC News if there is a line that Pervez Musharraf cannot cross before Mr. Bush says enough, the president responds...

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, he hasn't crossed the line. As a matter of fact, I don't think that he will cross any lines.

TODD: One critic calls the president's comment absurd.

ROBERT TEMPLER, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: If President Bush shredded the constitution, locked up the Supreme Court, put Nancy Pelosi under house arrest, closed down CNN and locked up an array of journalists and lawyers across the country, I think people would say that he had crossed lines that disrupted democracy. And I think this is very much the case in Pakistan.

TODD: If the line is executing your opponents, analyst Robert Templar says Musharraf's regime may have already done that -- a charge one top Pakistani official calls ridiculous.

We asked a White House official, who told us he wouldn't answer a hypothetical, that it's not useful for anyone to say to Musharraf here is the line and these are the consequences if you cross it.

The administration has already fought off charges of a double standard, tolerating Musharraf's measures but condemning similar actions in Myanmar.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has to protect the American people. We have a problem here. It is difficult. The world is not tidy.

TODD: A former CIA officer once in charge of tracking Osama bin Laden agrees. He says despite Musharraf's mistakes, as far as America's interests on the war on terror are concerned...

MICHAEL SCHEUER, FORMER SENIOR CIA OFFICER: There shouldn't be a line. We don't need -- for American interests -- democracy in Pakistan. What we need in Pakistan is a stable government. Musharraf has delivered that. Without a stable Pakistan, our war in Afghanistan is almost impossible to conduct.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

TODD: A White House official makes it clear they do believe Musharraf should not have imposed this crackdown. But another key reason the administration has not completely slapped him down here is because they believe he will stick it his promise to end this state of emergency, step down from the army and hold fair elections -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Well, Brian, even some of the president's opponents, there seems to be some brush back from that, as well.

TODD: That's right. And to that interview last night, the Democratic candidate for president, Joe Biden, said that if the president sees Musharraf as a democrat -- here's a juicy quote for you -- he must be wearing the same glasses he had on when he looked in Vladimir Putin's soul.

Both of these leaders are taking increasing heat for supporting the other. It's always been that way. It's a very difficult time right now.

MALVEAUX: Thank you very much, Brian.

And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announcing a very ambitious goal. She says the administration hopes to have a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in place by the time President Bush leaves office. The new effort gets underway next week when the U.S. hosts a summit in Annapolis, Maryland with both the Palestinian Authority president and Israeli prime minister attending.

And he is a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer working for the Associated Press in Iraq -- until U.S. forces labeled him a terrorist. He is finally about to get his day in a court, where supporters fear justice will be in short supply.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, joining us live -- Barbara, what can you tell us about this very unique case? BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well -- Suzanne, the Associated Press says there's simply no reason for the U.S. military to still be holding their photographer in jail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice-over): November 2004 -- insurgents launch an attack against U.S. troops in Iraq. This Pulitzer Prize winning photo is taken by Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein. But for the last 19 months, Hussein has been held in custody by the U.S. military.

GEOFF MORRELL, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: They characterized him as a terrorist media operative who infiltrated the A.P. They found IED devices or materials in his home, as well as some other -- some other discomforting evidence.

STARR: This week, the military said the case will be sent to an Iraqi criminal court. The A.P. says the military has had 19 months to assemble their case; the defense attorney, just a few weeks.

DAVE TOMLIN, ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE A.P.: They will be very well prepared when they walk into that courtroom.

STARR: The A.P. says its own investigation shows the accusations against Hussein are false. Tomlin says there were no bomb making materials at Hussein's home.

TOMLIN: There was a shuttered electronic shop downstairs from Bilal's house. They took him downstairs, they broke into it and they took him into the shop and they made him stand next to some of the materials that they found there.

STARR: Hussein has taken hundreds of pictures for the A.P. documenting the war. Some were taken at the site of insurgents, raising questions, the U.S. military says, about how he knew exactly where to be.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

STARR: Now, U.S. officials tell CNN that there is classified evidence against Bilal Hussein that they may not be able to present in an open court Iraq. And so even if the Iraqi court decides there's no reason to hold Hussein, the U.S. military still may hold him as a security risk based on evidence -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: A fascinating case.

Thank you.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Jack Cafferty is in New York with The Cafferty File -- Jack, what are you looking at?

CAFFERTY: Presidential hopeful Barack Obama says he was a goof- off who tried drugs and drank booze when he was a kid. Obama told high school students in New Hampshire he was hardly a role model student when he was their age, that he made bad decisions and didn't apply himself. The Illinois senator said it wasn't until he got to college that he realized he had wasted a lot of time.

Obama also talked about his drug use in his memoir, "Dreams from My Father". He wrote: "Junky pothead -- that's where I'd been headed -- the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man." He wrote that he mostly smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, but would occasionally snort cocaine when he could afford it.

When Republican Rudy Giuliani was asked if Obama's comments to students were appropriate, Giuliani said: "I respect his honestly. One of the things we need from our people that are running for high office is not this pretense of perfection."

However, fellow Republican Mitt Romney disagreed, calling Obama's comments a huge error. Romney said it sets a bad example for kids to see a role model like a presidential candidate saying he did this kind of stuff.

So the question is this -- does Senator Barack Obama's admitting to using alcohol and drugs when he was a kid hurt his chances of being elected president?

E-mail Caffertyfile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/caffertyfile.

MALVEAUX: Jack, what do you think, it's better to be honest?

CAFFERTY: Oh, I think it's always better to be honest.

MALVEAUX: OK. Honesty from the politicians.

Thank you, Jack.

Well, to millions of people, it's a sacred symbol of Christianity. Now, shocking charges about the way some crucifixes were made, allegedly under deplorable conditions.

Also, a massive immigration backlog -- almost a million cases languishing in an unprecedented paper jam. We'll show you why.

Plus, Larry King's interview surprise with the doctor who operated on Kanye West's mother before she died.

Stay with us.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: With the Christmas shopping season getting underway, many Christians may be looking for gifts with a religious theme -- gifts like crucifixes for sale in many church gift shops. Well, today's critics raise some questions about some of those crucifixes and where they were made.

CNN national correspondent Jason Carroll joining us from New York -- and, Jason, this is a fascinating story.

What are you learning about this?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well -- Suzanne, the charges that are being made are being backed up by pictures allegedly taken at the Chinese factory, where workers say the conditions are deplorable.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): It is an image symbolizing Christianity -- the crucifix. Versions like this one, sold nationwide and in gift shops at prominent churches, like New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral at Trinity Church. Now, allegations the crosses were made in a sweatshop in China.

CHARLES KERNAGHAN, NATIONAL LABOR COMMITTEE: How can you take the central image and turn it into another cheap sweatshop commodity made in China?

CARROLL: Charles Kernaghan is director of the National Labor Committee, a human rights advocacy group. He showed me pictures taken by workers at the Chinese factory, who say they're made to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week. Some as young as 15 are hired. Everyone, they say, housed in dirty living quarters.

KERNAGHAN: In the woman's dormitory, they said it was so filthy that there was actually no tiles on the ground. It was dirt.

CARROLL: The company that owns the factory is called Full Start. A manager in China told us if something is wrong, he is more than willing to improve. The company distributing the crucifixes here in the United States -- the Singer Company -- says: "We were in contact with the owner of the factory and he challenges every allegation."

KERNAGHAN: They've said they asked Full Start, do you use child labor and do you employ them under sweatshop conditions?

And the factory said, no, we do not. Well, that's like asking Jack The Ripper, do you honor, love and respect young women.

CARROLL: The National Labor Committee has exposed sweatshop conditions in high profile cases before. Former talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford and hip hop mogul P. Diddy had to fix conditions at factories where their clothing lines were made. Trinity Church has pulled the crosses, St. Patrick's waits for more information about how they were made.

Churchgoers say so much is made overseas, it's not surprising there are allegations even crosses are made in adverse conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds pretty real, like it could happen, though. Like, a lot of things are made in sweatshops these days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's true they're made in China, I would -- I would say let's find something made in America.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

CARROLL: And the organizers from the National Labor Committee say they don't want the Chinese factory shut down because that would obviously hurt the workers there. What they hope is that instead the factory will remain open and improve conditions for the workers -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Jason Carroll.

Thanks, Jason.

For the first time, we are hearing from the husband of a Saudi gang rape victim who was sentenced to lashings and prison for her own attack. The case is making headlines around the world and now becoming an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Our CNN's Carol Costello, you've been following this story for us every single day. Obviously, this thing has been taking twists and turns and really heating up -- now in the presidential race, as well.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's such an outrageous story -- Suzanne. I mean the woman's husband -- he's absolutely angry about this. He says his wife's health is deteriorating before his eyes. And every day he sees a person emotionally and physically crushed.

Here in the United States, as you said -- Suzanne, the case is becoming increasingly political. It's now made its way into the race for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COSTELLO (voice-over): A Saudi woman gang raped by seven men, sentenced to prison and 200 lashes, will not be silenced. Her anguish, her anger, articulated by her husband, who told us the Arab world does not forgive, even though Islam is forgiving. We're disguising his identity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I take Islam seriously and I don't like injustice. I see this as an important social issue. She is my wife and to me marriage is sacred.

COSTELLO: His young wife, who was attacked before they were married, was originally given 90 lashes because she was with a man without a male relative's permission. When her lawyer appealed, the Saudi judges disbarred him and doled out an even harsher sentence to her.

Female Saudi journalists are frustrated, saying there is not much they can do but write petitions.

Calls by human rights groups for countries like the United States to condemn the verdict have largely gone unheard. The U.S. State Department, headed by Condoleezza Rice, would only say the Saudi case causes...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surprise and astonishment.

COSTELLO: The response has prompted several presidential candidates to speak out.

Democrat Barack Obama sent a letter to Secretary Rice, urging the Department of State to condemn this ruling.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DW), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is not a surprise to me at all what happened here in Saudi Arabia.

COSTELLO: Joe Biden calling on King Abdullah to exercise his powers and overturn this sentence.

Hillary Clinton urging President Bush to call on King Abdullah to cancel the ruling and drop all charges against this woman.

John Edwards laid it right at the president's doorstep, as well: "We need a president," he says, "who will re-engaged with the world and restore our moral authority."

But so far, President Bush is not talking about the case, referring us to the State Department. And the young woman's husband is left to depend on the Saudi government -- with little hope it will help his wife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The king has called for judicial reform. We read about that in the media. This should say something to you. This means our judicial system needs to be reformed.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COSTELLO: We did reach out to the Republican candidates, to Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. And we haven't heard anything back yet -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: So, Carol, I've got two questions here.

First of all, why have none of the Republican candidates spoken out against this in this case?

And, secondly, do we expect that there's going to be more and more pressure for them to do so?

COSTELLO: I think so. I mean, we did talk briefly with Mitt Romney, who said that he hadn't read up on the case yet and he wasn't -- he couldn't make an educated answer because he didn't know enough about the case.

But the other Republican candidates we've heard nothing from. And, of course, everyone is hoping -- human rights groups are hoping that President Bush steps forward and says something to condemn this.

MALVEAUX: Well, it seems every day the story continues. It might put more pressure on them to do that.

COSTELLO: Maybe so. MALVEAUX: Ok.

Carol, I know you'll be following it.

COSTELLO: Yes, I will.

MALVEAUX: Thank you so much, Carol.

Saudi Arabian law is based on a strict interpretation of the Koran known as the Sharia. And under this law and by custom, Saudi women have very few rights. They are not allowed to drive, not allowed to travel alone, segregated in public and they can't even be admitted to the hospital without the consent of a male relative -- although that law is seldom enforced.

Explosive new allegations in the CIA leak scandal.

Did the president and vice president take part in misleading the public?

A former White House press secretary is naming names.

Plus, Broadway shut down by a strike, but one show will go on -- by judge's order.

Stay with us.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: A major new development today in a long running mystery. Dutch authorities have taken action in the case of Natalee Holloway, the American teenager who disappeared in Aruba two years ago.

CNN national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, joining us from Miami.

What are the details?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this brand new information is, in fact, that three young men who had once been questioned, arrested, let go -- have been rearrested, possibly in connection with the disappearance, certainly with the possible death or suspected death of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway.

Those three young men have been charged with causing serious bodily injury that caused the death of Natalee Holloway and suspicion of involvement in manslaughter. You'll remember that one of these three young men, Joran van der Sloot, is currently attending a university in the Netherlands. It is expected that he will be extradited eventually to Aruba. And the two other young men who are friends of his are two young men who live and work in Aruba. And they are under arrest there. CNN has confirmed this information and has also confirmed that authorities are saying that they were picked up based on new evidence. But we don't know what that new evidence is. The only thing we can tell you is that these three men, who were last seen with Natalee Holloway back in May of 2005, that the home of Joran van der Sloot was re-examined -- researched last April, not only by authorities in Aruba, but by Dutch investigators, as well. They have long been working on this case -- also, in the past with assistance by American FBI agents.

So we do suspect that Joran van der Sloot, at some point, will be going back to Aruba to face this possible new evidence. And then hopefully we'll find out what this is.

Back to you -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Susan, thanks so much.

I know you'll bringing us those details as the story develops.

And now to Carol Costello, who is monitoring stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Carol, what are you looking at?

COSTELLO: A couple of things, Suzanne.

A key ruling today concerning sex offenders. Georgia's top court overturned a state law that banned registered offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, churches and other areas where children congregate. Civil rights grouped had targeted the law. They said it would render vast residential areas off limits to sex offenders and they said it could backfire by encouraging offenders to stop reporting their whereabouts to authorities.

The show will go on on Broadway. "The Grinch That Stole Christmas," that is. Today, a Manhattan judge proved to theatergoers that she wasn't a Grinch. She ordered the production to reopen despite the ongoing stagehand strike. In this case, the stagehand union said it would work, but the theater owner staged a lockout. They said it was a tactical decision in handling the strike.

And Mike Tyson is now free after serving a 24-hour sentence in an Arizona jail. He was charged with DUI and cocaine possession after police in Scottsdale said they spotted white powder on his dashboard and baggies of cocaine in his car. The boxer pleaded guilty to both counts in September. He passed his time in jail by snacking on Sloppy Joes and reading the mobster epic, "American Gangster."

Back to you -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: thanks, Carol.

A former White House official now says he passed along false information and that President Bush was "involved." Details of a surprising new twist in the CIA leak case.

Also, we'll show you why hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants may not be able to vote for president next year.

Plus, praying for Hollywood's rich and famous -- we'll show you why some Christians are making it their mission.

Stay with us.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, what could be a much needed boost for the slumping U.S. housing market. Mortgage rates sinking to a six month low this week, with a 30-year fixed rate now averaging 6.20 percent. Other mortgage rates are also down.

Also, Senator David Vitter off the witness stand and off the hook. He was to testify in the case against an accused madam. But the judge has deemed the hearing unnecessary. Vitter has been linked to an escort service and apologized for what he calls "a very serious sin."

Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

A new twist in the battle over immigration. There has been a surge in the number of immigrants applying for naturalization. And the government has fallen way behind in processing those applications.

CNN's justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, joining us now -- Kelli, tell us what's going on here?

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, back in July, there was a fee hike -- a very sharp fee hike. And so people who were applying for citizenship wanted to beat that. And so there was this mid-summer rush. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Citizen and Immigration Service was actually up for that job. They are months behind schedule now. People are just stuck in limbo.

MALVEAUX: But surely, they knew that was going to happen.

ARENA: They were expecting it but they weren't expecting this many applications. They got over 3 million applications in just a two-month period and they, the reason it's gaining so much attention at this point, Suzanne, obviously, a lot of these citizens thought, I'll get my application in, I can vote come November because, obviously, immigration, very big issue this campaign season.

MALVEAUX: What is the agency doing now?

ARENA: Well, the agency says it has more than 100 employees who volunteer to try to get through that process. They say they are making naturalization a priority, but, they say, they don't want to risk, you know, accuracy, security, obviously, a big concern. So, there's not much recourse here. They're doing the best they can, trying to get it through as quickly as possible.

MALVEAUX: Kelli, thank you for bringing us that very important and timely story. Thanks Kelli.

Explosive claim in a forthcoming book by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. He says that President Bush was among those who had them pass on misinformation to the news media about the CIA leak scandal. In an excerpt released by the publisher, McClellan writes, "I had unknowingly passed along false information and five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so. Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

For more we're joined by CNN's John Roberts and CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Obviously, this is a very, very hot story that has been developing here and there's some surprises along the way. I want to start off, John, let's start off talking about Scott. You and I we've talked to him. We know that he's not doing too much talking right now. But, we've heard this kind of vague language coming from Scott before on the podium about being involved. What do you make of what he's trying to do here? Is he trying to save his own name here, rewrite history or throw the president under the bus?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What I would love to see here, Suzanne, the next couple paragraph in this book it put this excerpt that was taken out in context. Is it a case that the president knowingly told Scott to go out there and give false information or is it that Scott has contended all along that the president wasn't aware of it, as well? But even if that remains the case that the president didn't know about it, thought the information was correct and told Scott to go out there and say it, still four other names out there, Rove, Libby, the vice president and Andrew Card. Did any of them knowingly tell Scott or encourage him to go out there and give that information?

Obviously, he's trying to sell books and you have to wonder, was this quote chosen specifically to create a real buzz about the book? I'm sure that is at least part of it. What Scott has done here, if that was merely the case and that the context will exonerate the president is he has committed the sin of drawing undue attention on the president at the time when the president is actually having a little bit of good news lately, maybe because of the lack of bad news and now he has democrats talking about it again. Hammering him about it and bringing up the Valerie Plame thing up again and that's something that you don't want to do if you want to stay in good stand with the Republican Party and this White House.

MALVEAUX: Sure, Jeff, let's talk about the legal implications of this, ramifications of this. Civil case that's still out there from Joe Wilson. We talked to Joe Wilson today, we've talked to him and the publicist. Here's what McClellan's publicist says here, "There's no suggestion in the book at the president deliberately lied and sent him to the podium to tell people something that wasn't true. But it's pretty clear Scott went into battle without proper body armor. Scott's not suggested that the president was himself party to a conspiracy to mislead, but it's pretty damn clear that other people knew what they had done and didn't tell the truth." Who is in trouble here?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, certainly, it's Karl Rove who is at the center of this. Because Karl Rove was one of Robert Novak's main sources in the original story that blew Valerie Wilson's cover. So, he's the one that would seem to be the most likely to have told that Scott McClellan an untruth in preparation for McClellan's inaccurate statements to the press. You know, as John suggests, we are at the intersection here of book publicity and real news. And we don't know really what side of that, of that wall we are. But, certainly, one thing that has never been really clear is why did Scott McClellan put out what we now know is a false story that no one in the White House had anything to do with leaking Valerie Wilson's name, presumably in his book. He will say how that, he came to tell that false story to the public.

MALVEAUX: And Jeff, I've talked to a lot of people in the White House at the time with Scott McClellan and a lot of them are quite relieved. I don't know anything about I made the point of not knowing anything about it. Any legal jeopardy that Scott faces now or is he trying to cover himself in some way by putting this out in the book?

TOOBIN: Well, technically Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, is not formally out of business, but as a practical matter, barring some hugely sensational disclosure I don't think he is in legal jeopardy. McClellan was certainly interviewed in the course of this investigation. If he was to say something in his book that was 180 degrees different from sworn testimony or testimony to FBI agents, theoretically, he could be prosecuted. But I don't think there's an appetite on the part of anyone to re-open this story. As a legal matter, true, the civil suit is still open but that's going to move very slowly. I doubt that this will lead to any major new legal developments.

MALVEAUX: John, we were there when Scott was hammered day after day on the issue of credibility over this. I mean, he really lost a lot of it. Who do you think politically is damaged here? Do you think it's the administration overall, the image of the president, the idea that they're not being honest or truthful or do you think it's pinned on Scott?

ROBERTS: I think the fact that he names Rove, Libby, the vice president and Andrew Card will tell people, again, just reiterate to them and reconfirm what they already believe to have happened. It was the inclusion of the president that shifted this to a different level. When it came out that Libby had been involved, remember after he was indicted I sat down with Scott a couple of times in his office and just in conversations I had with him, it was clear that he really felt that he had been hung out to dry and prominent republicans have told me that he also believed he never got the respect he deserved from the White House and they suggested that perhaps this may be a bit of, in the words of prominent one republican, clumsy payback on his part. It's the fact that he put the president's name out there, again, that elevates this to a different level and that has some conservative blogs hammering Scott this morning. So, from that standpoint, Scott doesn't look good, but I've always believed that he was given bad, I personally believe that he was given bad information and he would not have gone out in front of us Suzanne and knowingly told a lie.

TOOBIN: Suzanne, if I could just add. I mean this is now an old story. Rove's gone from the White House, Libby is gone, Card is gone. So the urgency of possible misconduct at the White House really isn't there because these people don't even work at the White House any more. It's interesting historically. It certainly is not a story the point. But as an immediate political media matter, I don't think it will amount to that matter.

MALVEAUX: I think an interesting twist here too is that Scott's not finished with the book yet. They advertise as 400 pages and he's still writing this thing, you never know how it's going to end up, what those paragraphs, John you mentioned, those missing paragraphs are going to look like. So we really don't know yet.

ROBERTS: What is he going to say about us, too, Suzanne? I was e-mailing back and forth with him last night and he was joking to me, hey, Roberts, I haven't finished my chapter on you yet. Watch what you say.

MALVEAUX: We may all be in the book when it's all said and done.

TOOBIN: I'd rather read about you too than Valerie Wilson.

ROBERTS: Nothing interesting there, Jeff.

TOOBIN: Oh, yeah, sure.

MALVEAUX: We'll all find out when it comes out in the book. Okay, John Roberts, Jeff Toobin, thank you, again.

TOOBIN: Happy Thanksgiving.

MALVEAUX: Happy Thanksgiving.

Well, he may have been Larry King's shortest interview ever. The doctor who operated on Kanye West's mother before she died. We will show you what he did.

Plus, do Hollywood stars need your prayers? Find out why some Christians say yes.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: After late entry into the space race, China is making up for lost time. As CNN's John Voss reports, it is now a serious contender in a race to revisit the moon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN VOSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's starting to get crowded up there. A Chinese satellite went into lunar orbit this month, a Japanese probe a few weeks before. Next year the Indians and the Americans will join them. The Europeans reached the moon last year, crashing an unmanned probe into the surface.

DEAN CHENG, MILITARY SPACE ANALYST: I don't think it's an accident that they're all going up in such close timing to each other.

VOSS: So far, the missions in this 21st century space race are all similar, orbiting probes, gathering information about mineral and other resources, like helium 3, a non-radio active isotope, ideal fuel for a yet to be developed fusion reactor.

PROF. GERALD KULCINSKI, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN: If we could ever make helium 3 and helium 3 fused together is it is what we call a nuclear power without nuclear waste. That is, there's no radio activity associated with that reactor.

VOSS: Helium 3 was discovered by the Apollo astronaut and it's estimated there's up to 2 million tons on the moon and virtually none on earth.

KULCINSKI: One shuttle load of helium 3, for example, could power the entire United States for six months. Two shuttle loads for a year.

VOSS: NASA is aiming to put an American back on the moon by 2020. China hoped to have an unmanned rover by 2012, with the robotic mission to bring samples back to earth after that.

CHENG: For the United States, it's the first time that we've seen a competitor in space since the demise of the Soviet Union.

VOSS: The Chinese insist there is nothing to fear. China has always adhered to the principal of peaceful use of outer space, says this official, who made no mention of his country's satellite killer missile, tested earlier this year destroying an aging Chinese weather satellite.

In Asia, the Chinese are clearly ahead of the rest. Only the third country to ever send a man into orbit and for years they've pushed to be part of the International Space Station, but have always been refused, partly it's believed, because of U.S. concerns. In the future, though, that may not be a problem. They have plans to launch their own space station. John Voss, CNN, Beijing.

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MALVEAUX: Some users of the hugely popular Facebook social networking site are angry over a new feature that they say invades their privacy. Our internet reporter Abbi Tatton showing us the situation online. Abbi, what's going on?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Say you went to a movie last night and you bought the two tickets on the internet on this site. Well, Facebook may have alerted your friends to that and that is the kind of thing that some users are not happy about. Now, this is a site that is designed to let you follow what your friends are doing, who they're talking to, who they're friend with on Facebook but a new feature means Facebook could share more information from certain other websites. For example, your online purchases; think about it, your holiday shopping sent out as a bulletin to all your friends on the site. Well, the group Move-on.org isn't happy about this. They have set up a protest group which is actually on Facebook. About 6,000 members have joined. Facebook through a spokesman today defends the new future and says users are given multiple ways to choose not to share information. Well whether that is enough is being debated on this site now. Some people saying it's Facebook site. They could make the rules and others like the user who says his entire holiday shopping list was revealed to his wife. They disagree.

MALVEAUX: Amazing story. Thank you, Abbi.

Senator Barack Obama admits using alcohol and drugs when he was a kid. Jack Cafferty wants to know, does that hurt his chances of being elected president? Jack has your e-mail.

Plus, Mike Huckabee, hot on the heels of Mitt Romney in Iowa. Is it a GOP shake-up in the making?

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

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MALVEAUX: Well, it was one of the shortest interviews of Larry King's career. He was supposed to interview the plastic surgeon who operated on Donda West one day before her death. Dr. Jan Adams did appear on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night but very briefly. Our Carol Costello will give us a look at how that all happened. Carol, it was bizarre.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can you imagine if you're Larry King? I mean it was supposed to be this big, exclusive for Larry, Dr. Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother. He was supposed to stand up for himself for the first time publicly. As you said, Suzanne, West's 58-year-old mother died not long after Dr. Jan Adams performed surgery. Well the King staff was nervous from the get go, but Adams showed up. He sat down on the set and look at what happened next.

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LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Where does this go?

DR. JAN ADAMS, PLASTIC SURGEONS: Well, I will talk with them -- I will talk with them. When they're comfortable, then I'll be comfortable. If they're comfortable, I'll never be comfortable. They are what's important to me and that's what I will continue to honor.

KING: And just a few things having nothing to do with them, don't you want to speak out?

ADAMS: No.

KING: You don't want to? ADAMS: No. I do not.

KING: All right. But you came here to speak out.

ADAMS: That's correct. But I'm going to honor their wishes.

KING: Okay, we'll bring our panel back and take a break ...

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COSTELLO: Yes, the West family called and said, don't do it and Dr. Adams, as you could see, didn't do it. But you know, he stuck around for the duration of the show. Larry King invited him back. No word on why he obeyed West's request. He was on Larry King to stand up for his reputation, you would think he would have and we'll see if he comes back and actually talks with Larry and the public. But it was amazing, Suzanne, that the Larry King staff was able to assemble a panel of experts so fast.

MALVEAUX: It was fascinating to watch and I understand that Larry said he would come back, even if he was on vacation, if the doctor sat down with him again and said, okay, I'll explain all of this, then he would, he would leave his vacation behind and do that. I thought that was very, very gracious.

COSTELLO: The funny thing is, this has never happened ever on the Larry King Show. You would think it would have happened but he said people have been punched on his show and they fought verbally, but no one has ever taken off their microphone and got up and left the set.

MALVEAUX: Another chapter in his memoir, as I'm sure. He handled it so well. Fascinating to see what this doctor finally end up saying, if he comes out at all.

COSTELLO: We'll see.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thanks, Carol.

The power of prayer. Can it help Hollywood's rich and famous? A growing number of Christians believe so and they're making it their mission. CNN's Kareen Wynter in Los Angeles. Kareen, this group, are they praying for individual celebrities or groups or how is this working?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everyone under the umbrella. Entertainment umbrella. You know they may be rich and famous, Suzanne, but one religious network here in Hollywood believes even celebrities need some divine intervention at times.

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WYNTER: The Dixie Chicks, DMX, Regis Philbin, Brad Pitt and even the co-founders of Google need prayer or at least one Hollywood organization thinks so. KAREN COVELL, HOLLYWOOD PRAYER NETWORK: I believe there are a lot of people in Hollywood who are spiritually starving, personally starving.

WYNTER: Karen Covell runs the Hollywood Prayer Network, a group of 5,000 Christians who hand-pick specific rich and famous people to bow their heads for. The HPN co-sponsored a recent prayer breakfast where nearly 700 people showed up to eat, hear Christian singers and, of course, pray.

COVELL: We have two groups that we pray for. One is culture influencers, the celebrities, the people that impacts everybody outside of Hollywood in some way. Then we have the decision makers who are the ones really making the decisions in Hollywood. They're the ones we pray for.

WYNTER: At the breakfast each person was given cards telling them who to pray for and a daily calendar, which lists a high-profile person to pray for every day of the year. Today it's Sharon Stone and CBS executive Nina Tasler.

MARILYN MCCOO, SINGER: We're praying for those people who have a major impact on the world. We're praying for them that they would have a closer relationship with god because we feel like that will have a positive impact on everybody.

WYNTER: Marilyn McCoo and her husband, Billy Davis Jr., are probably best remembered as the '60s soul band the Fifth Dimension but as long-time Christians they showed up singing a different tune.

MCCOO: The people who have so much are truly in need of prayer because they don't think they need god in their lives.

WYNTER: Three celebs that come to mind are Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Their sometimes bizarre behavior has them being criticized almost daily by celebrity blogs and tabloids and have been written off by many.

COVELLO: I want to pray for them. I think they're god's children and they are in a really rough place in their life right now.

WYNTER: HPN knows that for those outside of Hollywood, praying for a-listers who have so much when the rest of the world has so little may seem silly and sanctimonious.

PHIL COOKE, PRAYER BREAKFAST PARTICIPANT: The influence of Hollywood is incredible and that's why we focus here because if you can focus in a place that has such an incredible and pervasive influence, you can make change happen globally.

WYNTER: A global impact that can begin in the entertainment capital of the world. One star at a time.

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WYNTER: Get this a Hollywood prayer network plans on personally handing Britney Spears a bible at an undisclosed location later this month. Suzanne, that's what you call door-to-door service.

MALVEAUX: Okay, despite our good living, they may be praying for us, too. Thanks, Kareen.

Jack Cafferty wants to know, does Senator Barack Obama's admitting to alcohol and drug use when he was a kid hurt his chances of being elected president?

And Mitt Romney counting on his early investments in Iowa to pay off. We'll show you growing signs why they may not.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

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MALVEAUX: And some clarification on a story we brought you earlier. Let's go it our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well Suzanne, we talked earlier about this Iraqi photographer for the Associated Press being detained by U.S. military officials in Iraq for 19 months. He now will go to the Iraqi central criminal court system for potential prosecution. We didn't want to leave any of our viewers with any misimpression about the position of the Associated Press. The view of that company, we've just talked to them again, is that they are very hopeful that once Bilal Hussein goes before the Iraqi court system, he will get what they view as justice after being held by the U.S. for 19 months without charges. It should be said that the Pentagon, the U.S. military has its view that they believe this man has been close to insurgents and possibly participated in potential insurgent activities, but the Associated Press tonight wanting to make clear they feel they are very hopeful that their employee will get justice in Iraqi court. Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: OK Barbara. Thank you so much for that.

And now let's go to Jack Cafferty with the Cafferty file. Jack, what are you looking at?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The question is does Senator Barack Obama's admission that he used alcohol and drugs when he was a kid hurt his chances of being elected president?

Peggy writes from McClain, Virginia, "Obama's honesty is part of his refreshing presence. He doesn't pretend, he tells the truth and he cares about how he affects young people. This kind of candor is almost miraculous on our jaded campaign trails. Of course, he's right to be straight forward. It's part of his message of hope."

Melvin in Colorado, "I don't think the drug thing's going to make much difference because I don't think he has a chance anyway."

Shawn in Chicago, "Honesty is the best policy. Any candidate denies using alcohol or a minor drug like marijuana is probably lying." David writes, "It's not a bad decision at all. Those kids who were listening to Obama speak might have been struggling with the exact same drug and alcohol problems that Obama had. Maybe now they can understand it's not too late to change and that one day, they, too, could be running for president."

Haruna writes, "I don't think Senator Obama should tell students about his use of cocaine and drugs as a young man, he's sending the wrong message."

James in Tennessee, "I'm willing to ignore Obama's drug and alcohol use in the past. If we disqualified anyone who has ever imbibed, ingested or inhaled, there would be no one left to be candidates except the religious fundamentalists."

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