On Wednesday's The Situation Room on CNN, during his regular "Cafferty File" segment, Jack Cafferty quoted Mikhail Gorbachev's recent attack on the Bush Administration in which the former Soviet leader accused the U.S. of "arrogance" and of having "lost credibility" in response to President Bush's plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe. Cafferty asked viewers to email him with a response to the question of whether Bush was "reigniting the Cold War with Russia." Cafferty: "This is just swell, don't you think? We've got trouble with Russia now, which we haven't had for a number of years. The question is this: Is President Bush reigniting the Cold War with Russia?" (Transcript follows)
Cafferty opened the segment: "Wolf, 'The U.S.'s plans to build a missile defense shield in Europe are arrogant and threaten to usher in a new Cold War.' Those are the words of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev." He soon cited the former communist leader's contention that "70 percent of the Czech people don't want the missile shield in their country" before further quoting Gorbachev's charge that the U.S. has "lost credibility in the world." Cafferty: "Gorbachev also says this: 'There is the possibility that self-confidence, arrogance will lead to a situation similar to that with the war in Iraq. The United States is driving itself into a corner. They've lost credibility in the world,' unquote."
When Cafferty returned at the end of the 5:00 hour to read viewer emails, most of which were anti-Bush, he not only found amusement over one viewer's comparison of a U.S. plan for a system in Europe to fend off Iran to a Russian system in Canada to fend off Mexico, as he chuckled slightly at the suggestion, but he also mildly imitated President Bush as he read one viewer's rendition of a conversation between Bush and Vladimir Putin.
Below is a transcript of Cafferty's segment which aired at 5:08 p.m. on the June 6 The Situation Room, followed by a transcript of his reading of email responses from viewers, which aired shortly before 6:00 p.m.:
JACK CAFFERTY, at 5:08 p.m.: Wolf, "The U.S.'s plans to build a missile defense shield in Europe are arrogant and threaten to usher in a new Cold War." Those are the words of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He believes that putting these anti-missile sites in Poland and the Czech Republic will make Europe a target again. And he points out that polls show that 70 percent of the Czech people don't want the missile shield in their country. Gorbachev also says this: "There is the possibility that self-confidence, arrogance will lead to a situation similar to that with the war in Iraq. The United States is driving itself into a corner. They've lost credibility in the world," unquote. Mikhail Gorbachev.
CAFFERTY: Meantime, President Bush insists the Cold War's over. He told reporters in Germany today that Russia's not going to attack Europe, that despite President Vladimir Putin's recent threats to retarget missiles on Europe if the U.S. goes ahead with its anti-missile shield plan, which is apparently meant to protect Europe from Iran. Mr. Bush said Russia's not an enemy, although he once again criticized Russia's checkered past on democratic reforms and human rights. For his part, Putin has accused the U.S. of starting a new arms race. This is just swell, don't you think? We've got trouble with Russia now, which we haven't had for a number of years. The question is this: Is President Bush reigniting the Cold War with Russia?
CAFFERTY, at 5:58 p.m.: The question is, is President Bush reigniting the Cold War with Russia? Darren in Michigan writes: "Without a doubt. I wonder how Bush would feel if Putin wanted to set up a missile defense system in Canada to help keep Mexico from becoming a world threat?"
Clifton in Front Royal, Virginia: "No, but many in the media are trying to ignite it, at least to make it another political issue to divide the country."
Jerome writes: "What we need is a constitutional amendment to allow a vote of 'no confidence' for a sitting president. Impeachment is too hard, the election too far away, and the man too dangerous."
Jack in South Dakota: "Jack, this is one that Bush is actually not fumbling. Vladimir Putin is by far more dangerous to world peace than Osama bin Laden. Trusting or believing him about anything is risky for the U.S. and Europe. The next two years will make that painfully clear."
Jacquelyn in Chicago: "I don't think so. Our decider likes hot wars and has dreams of mushroom clouds dancing in his head. Really, really great presidents drop nukes, you know."
Tim in Beverly, Massachusetts: "Remember the Military-Industrial-Complex? We've got to feed the beast, and a good thing like the war in Iraq isn't going to last any longer than the Bush administration, so let's get the Cold War going again and let the good times roll."
Peggy in Tennessee: "Any time a person or country challenges Bush, he retaliates like a spoiled child. If he butts heads with his friend Vladimir, we'll all be hiding under our desks again."
And Cy writes this: Quoting the president now, "When I look into your eyes, Vladimir -- he lets me call him Vladimir -- I can sense that something has changed. You used to laugh at my jokes about the French, but now I think you're laughing at me. Where did our love go?"
If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to CNN.com/caffertyfile. We post more of them there, along with video clips of the Cafferty File. I think I butchered the accent pretty much, Wolf.
BLITZER: That's, not bad. Not bad. See you back here in an hour, Jack. Thanks very much.