tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 22, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT
never used the bully bull pit. >> 20 seconds. the white house has responded to this. what are they saying? they can't ignore it? >> they put out a statement that hit the ticker a while ago. they told us earlier that the president of the united states, frankly, has been clear since day one that climate change threatens domestically and globally and they are taking the most aggressive steps in the history. >> i get it. okay. time now for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the commander in chief in only three hours away from revealing his plan for afghanistan troop drawdown. what it means for u.s. troops in the war zone right now.
held in a container for days and then held for a modern day slave. what is being called the largest human trafficking case in u.s. history. and air traffic controllers get a rant go b gays and women, providing a window into a rather ugly banter. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." president obama will explain how quickly he will bring home troops from afghanistan. the surge troops will be pulled out by and another 23,000 or so next year. it's a rather delicate balancing act of national security and public opinion as this commander
in chief campaigns for re-election. let's go over to chris lawrence who is looking at this. 30 or 33,000 troops will be out by the end of next year but that's 70,000 u.s. troops in 2013, 2014 who will remain? >> that's right. and that's twice the number that when president george w. bush left office. but it's no secret that general petraeus and the military would have liked a slower drawdown. all taliban attacks are not created equal. up here, towards the west and the north the taliban's goal is to draw resources out there. but this is supporting attacks
like that. nothing major. down here in the south is where the surge forces have been operating. they pushed the taliban out of those population centers. now the taliban is going to regain will the u.s. forces have enough toll do there and say so. over here in the east is where the last remnants of al qaeda is and launching attacks on kabul and u.s. forces wanted to divert forces to the east to be able to shore up that area that has been undermanned, wolf. >> we're told that this withdrawal that the president will announce of the surge forces afghanistan is a very mountainous area. in the wintertimes, very, very hard to fight. roads are hard to traverse and
snow and ice can make things difficult there, hard for helicopters to fly and in the spring, a lot of the taliban fighters will go out and cultivate the poppy har veftd, the opiate. that's the source of their money. once that harvest comes in, they fund a lot of their fighting. really the big fighting in afghanistan is seasonal. it takes place in late spring and summer, wolf. >> the u.s. troops have been there for almost 10 years, 100,000 u.s. troops still there. 40,000 nato forces still there right now and they built up an afghan police and military force close to 300,000 troops. they are fighting against a few 00 of al qaeda fighter or terrorists out there and maybe 20 to 25,000 taliban. that seems so disproportionate, a number needed to go after a relatively small number of bad guys, shall we say. what is the explanation? why does the u.s. military think
that they need so many boots on the ground? >> well, in one way it's not just to go ofr the taliban. it's also a lot of the infrastructure to build the infrastructure of the afghan government and security forces. but when you look at what has happened over the last ten years, look at the casualties and cost of blood in this war. all of these years, from 2001 to 2007, nevermore than 100 casualties and only for the next few years. it was only in the last couple of years when we put more troops in there as part of the surge and really started to take on the taliban that you see the casualties start to spike. a lot of people will look at that and see the cost of this war and then other people look at the fact that the money being spent, over two billion a week. that's what is prompting the calls to say the nation can simply no longer afford the war on this scale, wolf. >> but the casualties and the
costs, hundreds and billions of dollars expected. that's a huge price tag. chris lawrence is going to stay with us. thank you. meanwhile, the house speaker john boehner is warning that the troop withdrawal should not be too steep and should not jeopardize afghanistan. many of the fellow republicans and democrats as well just want out of this very, very long and costly war let's go to capitol hill. >> reporter: there is a split about how leaders should proceed in afghanistan. but among the republicans and democrats, there is a growing feeling among these two parties that usually don't agree on anything, that it's time for the war in afghan tan to come to an end. >> i think we need to come home and we need to do it in a responsible way.
>> reporter: to the most liberal. >> it is time for our people to begin to come home and it is time to change our strategy. >> reporter: weariness with the ten-year mission in afghanistan is growing and creating strained by partisan bedfellows. republicans like joe walsh who campaigned on staying in afghanistan saying that constituents are now fed up. >> nine months ago if we were having this interview, i would have said stay to win. my district was sort of on the fence. but right now they are saying stop, let's bring them home. >> reporter: more and more democrats are saying, mission accomplished. >> we have killed sew saum ma bin laden. by any objective measure of progress we have made that progress. and we're going to take advantage of that progress and move forward. >> reporter: lawmakers say the u.s. is propping up afghanistan and shouldn't be. democrats -- >> they are now trying to do some nation building and do i
think it will work in afghanistan? the sean no. >> reporter: and republicans. >> nation building. in the history of that country doesn't lend itself well to that and secondly i just don't think that is in the best interest of the united states to do it in that region. >> reporter: more than $2 billion a week, roughly $10 billion a month. >> it's hundreds and billions of dollars a year. it's a lot of money. we have a huge debt crisis. it's the biggest threat to our national security. >> reporter: it's a growing bipartisan sentiment. at a time of budget cutting, better to spend the billions here at home. >> the country and world that needs nation building the most is the united states of america. if you look at our dwindling infrastructure and problems in education with our own kids growing up. >> to be sure, getting out of
afghanistan, most lawmakers still believe the mission should be clearly defined but they are cautioning, don't come out of afghanistan he said very clearly that he's worried that precipitous withdrawal of the troops would jeopardize the success that we've made. >> libya is getting new information on a new effort under way in congress to deal with the u.s. military in libya. >> reporter: very interesting. it all ties into the idea of frustration with both missions. republicans in the house, we knew that they were planning on putting up a nonbinding resolution that said that the u.s. should not be engaged in any combat that deals with hostilities. that was a resolution. there was a meeting that went on among house republicans and that wasn't good enough for the rank and file. they wanted to toughen it up. we're told that our congressional producers that this will be a bill with the force of law that will say that the u.s. will actually dep fund -- congress will defund the
mission, at least any part of it that has to do with combat. this is something that the house republicans are kicking up a notch as early as this week. >> underscoring the frustration within the military mission in afghanistan. dana, thanks very much. al qaeda terrorists break out of a prison in yemen. now there are concerns that the struggling may be in ka hoots with the terror network ♪ hello sunshine, sweet as you can be ♪ a pilot's vicious rant with the flight attendants. ey nut ch. kissed with real honey. and the 100% natural whole grain oats can help lower your cholesterol. you are so sweet to me. bee happy. bee healthy. ♪
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president's daily job approval rating. according to the latest survey. it's been moving down all week. 49%. the and these are not very good numbers. here's another number that is keeping the obama election team up at night. 30%. that's the very small 36%, on the other hand, those who say they will not cast a vote for four more years of his presidency. these statistics come from a poll. here's one more from that same poll. this might be the worst one of all. 66% of americans think that the country is headed in the wrong direction. it's a tough spot for president obama to be in. so much of his sinking poll numbers has to do with the economy and the lack of real recovery that we've seen during his term. it also has to do with the fact that we are fighting four wars and the nation's deficit is
ballooning way out of control. what it doesn't have much to do with, at least at this point, is the republican opponents. nobody in that lackluster field is getting the voting population very excited and that might be the only saving grace for president obama, at least at this point when it comes to his re-election race next year. we do have a long way to go. but here's the question. if president obama's approval rating doesn't rise above 45%, can he be re-elected? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and share with us your thoughts. wolf? >> good question, wolf. thank you. let's go to yemen where the new government is confirming 63 mill fants, all of them members of al qaeda, have suddenly broken out of prison. brian todd is here in "the situation room" monitoring these developments. what are you learning? >> well, these men escaped by digging a tunnel nearly 40 yards long and in the course of
breaking out they killed a prison guard. this event has ominous implications for the security of the u.s. and its allies. after weeks of fighting and instability in yemen, signs that al qaeda is further destabilizing the key u.s. ally in the war on terror. in what appears to be a coordinated operation, dozens of al qaeda militants break out of a prison in the southern city while armed militants attacked the jail from the outside. when i spoke to an analyst. >> there's been a lot of fighting in the province. islamist what does it say about the control of the yemen knee government has this in region? >> they are losing control and the yemeni government instigating some of this chaos with the goal to demonstrate to the united states and others that this regime is the best to fight al quite da.
>> reporter: the yemeni government is more concerned about protecting itself than going after al qaeda. so the government has repositioned its counter terrorist forces and retreated from where they lost ground. as a result, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the group linked to the christmas day airline attack and cargo plot against the u.s. has freeier rein. they say the government has deployed troops to that southern region and is not backing down. this is a latest in the series of dangerous prison breaks. analysts say he's still at large. >> can we anticipate that some that broke out of this region to launch attacks against the u.s. in the future? >> i think the security situation is deteriorating rapidly things are getting worse
it may have been involved in previous attacks. >> stability in yemen now seems to hinge on whether president ali abdallah saleh. he's recuperating after an attack three weeks ago. he plans to return soon and opposition leaders don't think he'll be back. that's touch and go. >> he's obviously very, very ill. you're getting updated information on the hunt for these al qaeda terrorists? >> that's right. officials tell me that the area -- the entire area around that prison was shut down. entry points, exit points closed off, military police on high alert and actively looking for these escapees. but in that area, al qaeda has a lot of sympathizers. they may not be able to round these guys up and that's pretty ominous. 63 full-fledged terrorists on the loose right now. >> the government there allowed
these people to escape? >> christopher says they could have at the very least turned a blind eye. they are trying to protect themselves than concerned about going after al qaeda. self-preservation first and then go after these guys. >> the u.s. intelligence believes there are more al qaeda operatives in yemen right now than in all of afghanistan? >> that's right. it's very dangerous. the lofty goals that michelle obama outlined for the future of the continent. who is in control of afghanistan. we're going to take you to the front lines for some answers. i'm chef michael, and my dog bailey and i love to hang out in the kitchen. you love the aroma of beef tenderloin, don't you?
the other top stories in "the situation room." what have you got? >> hi there, wolf. with the message yes we can, mrs. obama urged young african women to stand up for themselves and their human rights. >> you can be the generation that brings opportunity and prosperity to forgotten corners of the world and banishes hunger from this continent forever. you can be the generation that ends hiv aids in our time. the generation that fights not just the disease but the stigma of the disease. >> yeah, pretty passionate there. the first lady on a week-long state visit to africa was introduced to the crowd by the wife of former south african president nelson mandela who called her "the queen of our world."
ly john panetta made a visit to the pentagon. he will replace robert gates when he retires at the end of the month. he expects to be sworn in sometime next week. wolf? >> good luck to leon panetta. it's going to be tough but he's very smart and talented. thank you very much. when u.s. troops leave afghanistan, civilians will stay behind, tens and thousands of them. why some them, their salaries will be more expensive than the military salaries. why al gore says that president obama has failed. al gore says the president has failed. we're going to explain why. favo? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums nothing works faster. right now, go to priceline for a sneak peek at recent winning and better than ever! hotel bids to find where you n save up to 60% on hotels. *
launch the beginning of the end of the very long war in afghanistan. but what happens after some of those u.s. troops come home? our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is lookinging into this part of the story for us. it's rather complicated, isn't it? >> it is. it's the civilian surge. it was actually developed by the military, general david petraeus. in fact, he started it in iraq. and his idea was that civilian experts were really a key to the stabilization of a country. but here in the united states at a time of tight budgets, some are beginning to question that. >> as the troops start heading home, the state civilian department stay on at least for another three years, experts advising afghans on rule of law and governance, so they won't
turn to the taliban. >> i'm asking you, the men and women of the foreign and civil forces to answer the call and serve in afghanistan, iraq, or pakistan. >> reporter: the secretary of state is telling her staff is crucial to national security at home. but on thursday clinton has to make that case to the members of the senate foreign relations committee, some of whom insist that the u.s. simply cannot afford to spend u.s. taxpayer dollars on development projects in afghanistan. a senior state department official tells cnn, of course it's a tough sell. even the nominee for u.s. ambassador to afghanistan cites a litany of challenges. >> it undermines the credibility of the state, narcotics, sustainable economic development including unemployment. >> reporter: a recruit from the democratic staff of the foreign relations committee warnings many u.s. aid programs are unsustainable once u.s. forces
withdraw. >> i think a lot of the criticism has been valid and where it applies to a model that sees the money go essentially to the contractors. >> reporter: a development expert says some programs do work. like the national solidarity program that gives grants to afghan villages. >> it doesn't leave foreigners to be out there in the villages. the afghans run it for themselves. >> and they also say the key issue is moving from an aid economy to an entrepreneur yean also says afghanistan could pay for its own security if the right type of investments are made now. >> jill, thank you very much. jill reporting. meanwhile, serious aspiring in the u.s. senate over afghanistan. john mccain accusing joe manchin
that the money being spent on the war is needed right here at home. and joining us from capitol hill, democratic senator joe manchin of west virginia. senator, thank you for joining us. >> thanks for having me, wolf. how are you? >> good. you've caused quite a stir. let's talk about afghanistan and the troop withdrawal. the president is announcing between this year and next year 30,000 u.s. troops will leave -- that will leave about 70,000 there, many of them through the end of 2014. when do you want them home? >> wolf, i haven't set a timetable nor did i set a limit. i like to see the mission change to counterterrorism. basically, the war on terror, which was our purpose for going there in the first place, to find the terrorists who did so much harm to so many innocent americans. with that being said, if it's going to be a war on counterterrorism or a war on terror, 70,000 seems like a lot of troops that are needed for that type of a mission.
>> when i spoke to senator rand paul of kentucky yesterday, he thought maybe 10,000 -- bring home 90,000 of those 100,000 troops maybe leave in the short term 10,000. is that something that is realistic to you as well? >> let's look at it this way, wolf. basically the war on terror or against al qaeda and afghanistan, by all known accounts, is only 50 to 100 al qaeda still present there. with the presence that we have there, i assure you they will go to other places as well and they are strong and scattered. and that's really what i believe is a nation building presence and it's time to rebuild america. i've got a lot of needs in west virginia and we can do an awful lot with help and assistance. >> there are hundreds and billions of dollars at stake. this year, next year, and the year after. this is in today's wall street
journal. congressional officials say they expect 25,000 troops to remain in the country after the 2014 hand over focused on assisting security forces and carrying out counterterrorism missions against the taliban and al qaeda. you're a member of the congress and u.s. senate. even after 2014 the u.s. wants to keep 25,000 troops in afghanistan? >> not directly. i think everything alluded to that has happened. that's the presence that i do have. let me tell you something that took me over the top. when i found out that china was one of the only countries in there extracting minerals, such as copper, they have no presence, no military presence, they have not contributed to helping law and order preside there and they are able to extract and make billions of dollars. that took me over the top. here we are making the
sacrifices that we have made with the financial sacrifices. i've just said, enough is enough. after ten years, how long will it take and how long should we be there. let's go find the terrorists that have done us harm and wish to do us harm anywhere that they have hidden. we've proven that we can do that. >> has there been an estimate of how much, assuming the u.s. maintains tens and thousands of troops in afghanistan between now eight end of 2014, how much additional this is going to cost u.s. taxpayers? >> let me tell you the numbers that i have heard and seen that has been given to me. we're on track to spend another 485 billion, wolf. that's almost a trillion dollars. now, i can tell you, we can ill-afford that type of expenditure and have a country that doesn't have an economy, that does not have an infrastructure and by all accounts has a corrupt leader. you can't continue down this road and think that you're going
to have success. >> your colleagues could stop this. that would be the power of the purse, voting into law some resolution that would stop the funding for the u.s. military operation in afghanistan. >> well, let me tell you, we have a vote coming up on the deb debt ceiling. if you don't believe that they are part of that long-term plan, the two are the same as one, to be honest with you. >> unless there's a significant cut in spending in afghanistan, you won't vote to cut the decrease in spending? >> we have to have more revenue, people paying their fair share, we have to look at all of the different programs, make sure that abuse of fraud and waste is not there and we have to look at the defense department. we have three areas that we have to bring in as one and fix them. that's part of t absolutely. >> will you vote to cut funding for u.s. troops in afghan sta. >> i will never cut the funding to the troops that we have
there. i would like to support the mission of counterterrorism but i can tell you one thing, there's an awful lot of savings to bring people back to america and refocus our efforts and rebuilding america senator manchin, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> check out my blog at cnn.com/situationroom and you can read my daily blog there. it's called the largest u.s. human trafficking scheme. plus, grandmother's engaged, and airline targets and expletive rant. it's all caught on tape. ...or something small? ...something old? ...or something new? ...or maybe, just maybe
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a lot of people believe slavery is thing of the past here in the united states but hundreds of foreigners recruited to come here as guest workers have become modern day slaves. thelma gutierrez reports on what has been called the largest human trafficking scheme in u.s. history. >> reporter: this man we'll call boom is a rice farmer, a man that human advocates say became a modern day slave in the united states. >> translator: inside my heart i cry because i sacrificed to come to the united states to work. >> reporter: we tracked his story back to thailand where the average family lives on about 125 a month. we're not using his real name to protect his family he says in 2003 recruiters said that he
could earn in u.s. what he made in a whole year in the rice patties of thailand. the recruiter told him that his expenses would be paid for by global horizons, a corporation that supplies foreign workers to american farms under the u.s. temporary agriculture worker program. but he'd have to pay the recruiter about 9300 u.s. dollars up front. so boom borrowed money to pay the fee. then they were flown to the u.s. and their passports were con if i indicated. then they were in containers for days. he was not paid for all of the work he did and his work didn't cover half of his recruiting fee. on the other side of the world, his family worried about him.
>> translator: my son kept asking when father would be home. we told him that he had to stay there and pay off his debt. >> reporter: last year there was indictments to commit forced labor of 600 thai workers, charges that he calls absurd. >> how can there be human trafficking when the government is helping us bring them in. >> reporter: greater oversight is needed to prevent the exploitation of labor. >> it's the fastest form of human trafficking around the world. >> reporter: he says he never took a cut of the recruiting fees, that his workers lived in clean apartments and also denies confiscating the workers' passports. he says that boone and the others are testifying against him in exchange for special visa status that allows hem to stay in the u.s. but boon says he lost what can be not be
replaced, the deeds to his an seft storm lands and ties with his son. after eight long years, he was finally able to see his wife. and his son now a young man. under the special visa, you cannot leave the u.s. yet. maybe in three years, he tells her, if he gets his green card. but she doesn't know if she will see that day. thelma gutierrez, cnn, los angeles. >> this sunday cnn is going in depth into the modern day slavery. demi moore joins cnn's freedom project to present nep pal's stolen children only here on cnn. a reality check on the grounds in afghanistan. who is really in control? we have one town's story that could worry the white house.
stand by. and you're going to find out why the former vice president of the united states, that would be al gore, why he now says president obama, in his word, has failed. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 absolutely, i mean, these financial services companies tdd# 1-800-345-2550 are still talking about retirement tdd# 1-800-345-2550 like it's some kind of dream. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 it's either this magic number i'm supposed to reach, or... tdd# 1-800-345-2550 it's beach homes or it's starting a vineyard. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 come on ! tdd# 1-800-345-2550 just help me figure it out tdd# 1-800-345-2550 in a practical, let's-make- this-happen kind of way. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 a vineyard ? schwab real life retirement services is personalized, tdd# 1-800-345-2550 practical help that's focused on
auto a southwest airline's pilot lewd's comments caught on tape from inside the plane's cockpit. jeanne meserve has the details. >> reporter: the pilot's tirade about flight attendants is pep we ared obscenities and slurs against homosexuals and women. >> reporter: grande is a reference to overweight people. >> i don't give a -- i hate 100%
of their. [ bleep ] >> so six months i went to the bars three times. in six months, three times. once with a granny and the and i wish i hadn't gone. >> okay. whoever's transmitting, watch what you're saying. >> reporter: but the rant goes on. >> there's a handful of few chicks. >> reporter: someone has to stop mike and tell us all about the endeavors. we don't need to hear that. >> reporter: finally the transmission ends and pilots on other planes chime in to say quickly, it wasn't me. one adds some commentary. >> and they wonder why airline pilots have a bad reputation. >> reporter: the faa expects a higher level of behavior. >> what he said is offensive,
inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect we require from all employees. >> the pilot was reprimanded, suspended without pay and he's now back on the job. the pilot has apologized to controllers, his bosses, pilots, and, of course, flight attendants. but the flight attendants union says that it's added insult to injury and is considering filing a complete with the equal opportunity commission. let's get to our strategy session. joining us is or cnn political contributors. thanks for coming in. donna, i'm going to start with you because all of a sudden the former vice president of the united states, al gore and you managed his campaign back in 2000 for the presidency. he's decided to write an oral blasting the president of the united states a failure when it comes to global warming
president obama has thus far failed to make the case for bold action on climate change. president obama has never presented to the american people the magnitude of the climate crisis. he is simply not made the case for action. he has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks nor has h nor provided the venue for the scientific venue to bring the reality of the science before the public to which the white house responded the president has been clear since day one the climate change poses a threat domestically and globally and under his leadership we have taken the most aggressive steps in our country's history to tackle the challenge. i know the former vice president is passionate about the subject, but here's an out of the blue question. i will throw it because it immediately raised suspicions in my political mind. is the former vice president al gore so angry at this president it is conceivable he could
challenge him this cycle for the dem cat kratic nomination? >> i don't believe al gore will challenge barack obama, but wolf, it's a 7,000 word essay and i looked at it. this section on the president's leadership is a small section. it's really a comprehensive look at what is the problem of making this a very important issue for our country. he blasted the news media and talks about the special interest. more importantly, al gore talks about the failure of leadership at all levels. he also praises the president for some of the thing that is the president has done in fuel efficiency cars and some of the money in the package for retro fitting federal buildings. overall this is an indictment on the leadership of our country and dealing with an important challenge which is climate change. >> sheer 63 years old. is it out of the question that
he could decide he ran for president once or twice before and he would like to do it yet one more time? you think that's in the cards? >> it's not out of the question that he might consider it. it's out of the question that he would make any headway. he has seriously become a parody of himself unlike president clinton's beloved around the world and continues to do good works. al gore has become a caricature of himself and wants to talk about leadership saying we will have a sudden fiscal crisis and worried about the debt worsening in the 14 states in 2012 the unemployment has risen in all of them. this is crazy politics for al gore to be talking about and it doesn't help as president. it would be a kamikaze mission for him to be getting into the primary and to think he could run again. >> first of all, he is still a leader in technology.
he has a 7,000 word essay about the role of media and academia and politicians and others, it's a good essay. i hope everyone will get an opportunity to read all about it. al gore is still relevant. he is out there raising money for important causes. not just climate change. he has been doing a great deal on education and health care and other issues he deeply cares about. i'm glad he is using his time to devote to the issues. any one of us who have been out there recently. i travel all the time with the tornados and the fires burning, i was in jacksonville, florida of all places and the smog from the smoke coming from southern georgia, we have issues to deal with. i hope we have a serious conversation about climate change and stop with just kicking people because we disagree >> i'm not kicking anyone. al gore could have written that article without blasting the
president as a failure. that's unusual. let's leave it. i want to quickly -- >> a failure to use the bully pulpit. >> hoary said he failed to use the bully pulpit and never presented the magnitude of the crisis and he goes on in that paragraph and on. he doesn't simply -- let me move on to one other thing that is cute and i want mare to respond to this subject. the governor of texas, rick perry is thinking of becoming a candidate. i will play a clip to get you going on this. listen to how he described twitter. >> if you had enough, take out your phone and text fed up to 95613. you can always follow me on tweeter at governor perry. >> one tweets, but it's called twitter. he has to come up to the language if you will. >> i love that.
everybody wants authen 'tisity. if you don't think there is an overwhelming majority that don't know the difference between a twit and a tweet, it's endearing. the leadership conference here in new orleans, rick perry rocked the house. i don't think that the coverage did justice to the attraction of his candidacy should he choose. >> thanks very much. a good discussion. the u.s. government is in favor and some are concerned that foreign governments are going too far after they invest in property here at the nation's capital. what's this option? that's new.
jeff in georgia writes, any person who is at 45% or less doesn't deserve to be reelected. the current dismal ratings is an indication they are dissatisfied with the policies that are only affected in driving our country into a deeper hole. stephanie writes depends on how many undecided are among the poll. the poll are the republicans who have declared. lairy in texas said if bachman, palin or paul get the nomination. other than that the only way he will serve another 4 is to have mrs. clinton as his running mate. more than likely he is history. only if he gets the same minority vote he gets and that's doubtful. unemployment close to 30%. james in north carolina, i'm about as right wing as you can get without tipping over and i don't see any scenario where obama can lose the republicans are again going to run someone who cannot win.
joe in ohio said only if he tweets his yes we can sound byte to yes we have to. everybody has to pay a part of the bill. we all have to help. the question assumes he will be running against a viable opponent in which case the answer is no. if they can find something other than the sorry sack of losers saying all these idiotic things now he has a chance i intend to vote for none of the above unless hillary runs >> thanks very, very much. to our viewers, you are happening now with critical speech in the turning point in the war we are counting down to president obama's address to the nation and learning important details on how many u.s. troops will be coming home and when. what would have been one of the deadliest airline disasters in history overted with seconds to spare in new york's kennedy airport. we have the details.
south african singing the praises of the first lady michelle obama has she encourages and challenges africa's young people. we want to welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. political headlines and jeannie moos all straight ahead. you are in "the situation room." we are learning critical details of president obama's speech to the nation tonight about his plan to drawdown u.s. forces in afghanistan. a senior official told cnn that the president will announce he is ordering the withdrawal of all 33,000 surge forces in afghanistan by the end of the next summer, 2012. that is sooner than a lot of people believed. let's go straight to brianna keilar. you and other reporters at the white house have been getting briefings. what do you hear? >> reporter: from that senior official, here's the break down
on pulling out all 3,000 of the surge troops by the end of the year. 10,000 out by the end of 2011 and the remaining 23,000 surge troops would be out no later than september 2012. keep manage mind that still leaves a significant number of u.s. troops, about 70,000 in afghanistan until 2014, but this is quicker than initial reports that we were hearing and you should expect tonight when the president addresses the nation that he will be justifying these drawdown numbers by touting successes that whout officials have been framing like this and they made significant strides in diminishing al qaeda specifically through killing osama bin laden and have been able to push back the taliban from population centers and they have been able to make afghan security forces more ready to take over. keeping in mind there major
challenges here amongst them, the taliban is a major issue even though success have been made and the relationship with pakistan is very tenuous right now. >> what are is the reaction so far from capitol hill? >> we have a report that there is a growing number of members of congress and we are talking democrats and republicans who have been saying it is time to bring troops home from afghanistan and they are pointing to a number of factors. there is general war weariness and the cost and the republicans and democrats saying we have gotten in the addition of nation building and we shouldn't. they also reported this is not a majority, but this is where the shift is going. there however some members of congress and john boehner. we have a picture of him that his office released as he got the news on the numbers from president obama. he warned that a precipitous withdrawal could hurt the
successes. other republicans like john mccain feel the same way. i think the president will get criticism on both sides >> brianna keilar, thank you for that. one of the fears is u.s. and nato forces leave the taliban and it could fill the void. it's already happening to a certain degree. joining us from bag ram air base. u.s. troops and nato forces, what do you see on the ground right now? >> reporter: we are coming from the afghan and pakistani border. nato pulled out, posting in that area back a couple of years ago, leaving afghan security forces to handle security. since march, we are told the seconds seem to verify the tal sban being in control. in the quiet mountainous
village, one of the nato's worst fears realized this is the local government building of a district mostly deserted. it flies a new flag. the white banner of the taliban. there is no guard, but the messenger reads the real message is simple. we, the taliban, are back in power here. to the men who call themselves the new administration, they showed a local cameraman cnn commission, the vision of afghanistan back in the taliban's hands. now they are the local counsel, the local law. it's like nato was never even here. >> translator: they are in charge of the area and the people's problems are solved under the law. the prib has welcomed us and bring us their problems and we deal with them. they understand implementing
sharia is one of their duties. >> reporter: they said they captured the area in late march. a local official in kabul confirmed this is a government building and the air is still held by the insurgency the stretch along the border is under increasing influence since nato withdraw from the isolated outposts here. the valleys are becoming a safe haven for militants and the hard line law. >> translator: smoking is forbidden here and our religious department will punish those who shave and intoxicate themselves. schools and hospitals are open under the law. >> they are also eager to display a softer more enlightened side saying they are letting the bridge be rebuilt. showing themselves mingling among welcoming locals. >> do you have security problems here as one trader and we don't fear thieves like we did before. another said business now is not
as good as we have before. we are fine with the taliban. >> it's not clear how genuine the smiles are, but the small taliban opened up while nato surges at full strength. leaving many wondering what they will do as nato starts to leave. >> reporter: we should point out here that nato contests the idea that will taliban is in control of the area. they say they are not near the numbers they suggest. their presence is fleeting and they are far from an alternative government. local officials say that area is still in taliban control. images you are seeing is propaganda in their mine >> you are there with their reaction. what's the reaction you are geting for u.s. troops on the ground to what the president is planning to announce?
>> reporter: troops on the ground, privately some are saying you must notice it is not preferred by seeing previously from u.s. troops in iraq or afghanistan. there is a fatigue here. some say you have bin laden and the job is done. some say let's not leave any harm unless they come back. there a lot of different feelings among troops here, but the sentiment that maybe the cards have been play and there is not much more the u.s. can do other than perhaps the afghans are beginning to find how the country goes forward >> on the scene at bag ram air base with forces in afghanistan, thanks very much. let's get more on the drawdown announcement. joining us are the chief political analyst. gloria, are we going to hear a variation of the president of the united states suggesting
today mission accomplished? >> well, wolf, they are not going to say mission accomplished, but they will claim a certain amount of success and when you talk to senior administration officials, they point back to the important speech that president obama gave at west point in december 2009. he set out goal in that speech. take a listen. >> we must deny al qaeda a safe haven. we must reverse the taliban's momentum and deny the ability to overthrow the government. we must strengthen the capacity of afghanistan's security forces and government so they can take lead responsibility for afghanistan's future. >> and senior administration officials say all of those things have been done. they also say that in that speech as you know, you and i were talking about rereading it. the president promised that after 18 months the surge troops would begin to come home.
that is exactly what they are doing. >> in a sort of perspective, you are good on this as well. when president obama took office, there were 32,000 troops in afghanistan. he doubled down on the bush strategy and increased that number to 100 hundred thousand. now he goes back down to 70,000. he is still hawkish on this issue. >> i'm not sure i agree with that. i do think that he was hawkish when he gave that speech reference. he put the surge in. he can le jatimately claimry reversed the momentum and made great progress. even though, his military commander petraeus as well as gates as well as secretary clinton did want a more robust response tonight. they quote him loyally. we are hearing a very
disappointing number. >> many troops believe as the president will announce, that's what you are saying? >> they wanted a smaller number to come out now and fighting troops through not only this season, but through the end of the next season. they will be gone. >> it's clear he is siding with the vice president who is very articulate and aggressive on this front. let's be honest. money has a lot to do with what's going on with troop withdrawals are concerned. >> money and politics, when you look at the president's support for afghanistan, it's not only withering in his own party, but withering in the republican party. when you talk to senior advisers that are scratching their heads saying it does look like president obama the sort of one-time community organizer is now the national security hawk, if you will, compared to these people. they are going to try to portray him as a steady hand who is
doing what he promised as opposed to the republicans who seem to be all over the lot on the policy in afghanistan. they don't want to spend the money because the public is overwhelmingly opposed to this war. >> that's the way they will portray it, but i'm not sure that's the way it will play. >> the fact of the matter is i think the senator for west virginia told me the numbers he has been told based on what the president has in mind will still cost taxpayers between now and the end of 2014, $485 billion. given the budget deficits and the distress in the economic situation here, is that money well spent for taxpayers? >> i think there is a legitimate argument that that money could be better spent at home, but the question becomes, when you have made a commitment and you committed yourself as a country as a great nation to certain
goals, this was about securing the stability of afghanistan and working out something from pakistan. right now we are at a terrible quarrel with karzai and afghanistan. it's not at all clear that if you drawdown faster and signals to the taliban, you don't have to negotiate. just wait it out. >> we don't know. we know that the 70,000 remaining troops will be drawn down by 2014. we don't really have a plan. we don't know the plan to draw them down. i don't think we are going to hear that tonight. that's still a very large question. the other question out there is pakistan. what's the president going to say about the difficult relationship? >> i'm sure he will get into that. i assume he will. the "wall street journal" reported today that even after 2014 and 2015, u.s. military officials want at least 25,000 u.s. troops to remain on the ground in afghanistan as well.
let's see if the president gets into that with the discussion with all of us. thanks very much. you are sticking around for extensive coverage. after the drawdown, why is the u.s. keeping so many forces to fight a relatively small number of al qaeda militants i will ask wesley clark standing by live. two jumbo passenger jets come within seconds of colliding on the ground at kennedy airport. we will show you how it happened. and the former vice president al gore is blasting president obama as a failure in one area. stand by. fore! no matter what small business you are in, managing expenses seems to ...get in the way. not anymore.
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we are watching this closely. 20 kilometers deep that's 12 miles and about 108 miles off the coast. 6.7 magnitude. we are getting more information. we will let you know and hopefully it's not serious. we will update you as we get more information. let's check in with jack cafferty here with the file. >> just what they need. a lot of people didn't think president obama could ever win the white house in 2008 because he's black. he did. in 1960 a lot of people didn't think jack kennedy could be elected president because he's a roman catholic. he was. according to the pew research center, voters's attitudes towards candidates who are black, female, catholic, or jewish have changed americans warmed up to the idea that voting for someone who might be different from previous presidents or god forbid different from themselves. that doesn't necessarily hold true for all minority groups
mitt romney, the republican front runner and new entrant to a race, jon huntsman and ambassador to china are both mormons. members of jesus cries and latter day saints. many christians are skeptical. most people don't know a lot about the mormon church beyond the former ties with polygamy. whatever people know or don't know, they are not necessarily trustful of them. according to a gallup poll, 22% of americans say they would not vote for a mormon for president even if the candidate was a member of the voters's own party. hun huntsman is the less religious of the two and he said i get satisfaction from many types of religiouses and philosophies he and his wife have seven children, one daughter was married in an episcopal church and another daughter is adopted
from india in her native hindu faith. romney is more active and a lay bishop of the massachusetts temple for jesus cries latter day saints he spoke openly in the 2008 campaign and gave a detailed speech about being a mormon. it didn't work. a lot of critics feel that speech may have killed his chances. here's the question. can a mormon be elected president of the united states? go to cnn.com/cafferty file and post a comment. you remember the speech. he was cruising along and decided he was going to be out in the open about the religion and a lot of people say it department work. >> controversial at the time and didn't work out the way he hoped. we will see how it goes this time. good question. thanks very much. we are a little bit more than 90 minutes away from the president's speech to the nation announcing his plan to bring
home troops and surge forces by the end of next summer, 2012. let's talk more about this with wesley clark, the former supreme ally commander. thanks as usual for coming in. >> can you hear me? i see something that is a little strange. maybe you can show me. right now there 100,000 u.s. troops on the ground in afghanistan and 40,000 additional in afghanistan they ared up by afghan and police forces. nearly a half million good guys fighting 100 or so al qaeda terrorists in afghanistan and navy at the most 25,000 taliban fighters. what's wrong with this picture? a half million troops versus maybe 25,000 taliban and al
qaeda. explain why the u.s. and nato need that many forces on the ground. >> in a counter insurgency strategy, we have to have overwhelming superiority on the ground. you have to protect the population and be everywhere, even if the insurgents are not there. they are moving around and seek weaknesses in wherever you are. they are liable to strike and because you are trying to establish the fact that you have legit mas to provide information, any weakness you have backfires >> do you think this strategy that the president will unveil and we know what it will be making sense? >> in the larger sense. in this sense, we went there because of al qaeda. we have done a darn good job and got osama bin laden and took out almost all the top leadership he is the target and we have information. it will make it more difficult
for him to operate in the future. we always ask this question and how do we know we won the war? there is not going to be a surrender on the deck of the uss missouri. the threat has been controlled and brought justice to the people who struck the united states. >> there a lot more terrorists roaming around yemen than all of afghanistan. >> so i think strategically it makes a lot of sense to redeploy as soon as possible. you have to make your own exit strategy and how to do that is you have to find a way to bridge the gap. it will be some kind of new yorks that lead to stability. i don't want a complete slaughter when you leave
we always said they would leave. the idea that you would wait it out, we never expected to get there forever. you want something out of this too. we have to be smart in the negotiations and build up capabilities and we have to use leverage on the ground. >> we will be out of there. >> the police forces that have been trained by the u.s. and nato allies are 10 years in. they don't have the wherewithal to deal with 25,000 taliban and maybe 100 al qaeda. >> first of all, we don't know the full extent of the taliban force. you say 25,000? >> sure, but maybe there supporters who are not exactly
taliban. their friendly families are providing logistics support. secondly, these afghan troops, 300,000 were not all trained in 2001. new people on the battle field and can build a force under stress in combat when you are taking the losses. it's a tough thing to do. i don't have confidence on the fores, but i do in the training methodologies i do believe we can create stronger forces. it depends on the confidence with hamid karzai and the confidence. thank you very much. >> the president has we have been report suggest expected to announce the drawdown of 33,000 troops and the president probably will not talk about much is the remaining 70,000 troops will stay in afghanistan. how much of those forces will cost u.s. taxpayers. budget experts said it will cost
$400 billion through 2014. some say it will cost close to $500 billion. a major contributor the way they are main taping the tens of thousands of u.s. contractors and the diplomats who will stay as troops start leaving. we will bring you live coverage of the president's address to the nation. you can see it here on cnn online and cnn.com/live. you can use your cnn mobile aps. 8:00 p.m. eastern and 5:00 pacific. about an hour and a half from now. a close call at jfk. two jets almost collide you will hear the calls from the air traffic controller who saved the day. that's coming up. was an archer drawing his bow. ♪ could that have also inspired
>> this was a close call that happened two days ago in new york and the pilots having seconds to act. lufthansa jet carrying 286 performs was fersed to come to a halt to avoid colliding with another plane approaching the runway >> cancel take off. can teletake off plans. >> all traffic is stopped right now. >> the lufthansa flight would have been going 140 miles an hour when the pilot had to slam on the brakes. egypt air was taxiing and the plane failed to turn as instructed. instead of turning on to another taxi way t went straight. the faa said it didn't consider runway f2 r.
the pilot even mepgs the heat the brakes generated >> from a pilot who witnessed it -- dangerously close, yes said barrett burns, but he has seen closer. >> definitely seen closer calls in these situations. it's a bad situation. >> the airplane was said to have crossed the short line. >> it's marked with paint and has lights. they indicate that the runway is in use, but it doesn't tell a pilot if someone else is going down the runway >> among the pilots at jfk is mark weiss, a former pilot. >> the amount of force on the body when you step on the
brakes, when you hit the full reverse and the speed brakes come up, you are sitting there and feeling that force. >> they said they are still trying to tomorrow how close the planes came. both took off from jfk. a smokesman said the plane didn't move until the hour issued clearance and it couldn't release details until the investigation is complete >> scary mopes. fortunately everything worked out okay. a sylvester is here monitoring. there is a report of a major al qaeda prison break out. what do we know? >> a senior security official in yemen said dozens of suspected al qaeda militants have escaped from jail in the southern city. they fired on guard and fled.
the reports have been caught so far and the yemeni soldier and prisoner were killed in the jail break. al gore is blasting president obama's strategy on global warming. he calls it a failed approach. the former vice president who was initially supportive of obama's actions said the president dropped the ball by not making the case for bold action on climate change. the white house said the president has taken aggressive steps to combat the problem, including setting new standards. the 21-year-old amish man in indiana was changed with sending sexually explicit cell phone messages to a 12-year-old girl. police say he was arrested after he rode up in a horse-drawn bug we an under cover agent. he has confessed to sending naked photos of himself and lewd
text messages. while the amish shun technology, they allow cell phones for business use. quite a bizarre story. >> clearly not business. >> a wealthy foreign government on a buys spree are smanatchingp hot properties around the world. we will tell you what's going on. the first lady of the united states, michelle obama's emotional message to young people. her trip to south africa. it seems that when we get to a place where no one knows us, we become most ourselves. try new things. make new friends. laughing out loud. and dancing in the streets. its time to venture out. who knows just who we might discover... as we come alive under the spell of pure michigan. your trip begins at michigan.org.
foreign governments are on a buying spree and attracting attention with high profile purchases. working the story for us, what's going on? >> we all know that there real estate bargains out there, but among those picking up properties at a deep discount are foreign governments through investment unds.
>> this real estate attorney said manhattan and washington, d.c. have been a hot bet of activity. foreign governments through their sovereign wealth investment funs, used to invest globally. >> there is definitely a lost activity in the multifamily sector. there is some interest in the hospitality sector, but first and foremost it's definitely the class a office. >> the dynamic heart of the united states capital city. >> the government of hunters investment unit owns 10 cakers of the city center d.c. construction on the property began in april. it's here blocks from the white house and the capitol. the $700 million investment includes retail space, a 350 to 400 room hotel and more than 600
residential units. in new york, the kuwaitis performed this 34-story office building for more than $400 million. though real estate prices and a weak dollar make it a prime buying opportunity not everyone is happy about it. think back to the 80s when the iconic rockefeller center was sold to a japanese real estate company the new real estate purchases are not the same national landmark, but it's ruffling feathers one reason is the lack of transparency. sovereign wealth funds have been reluctant to disclose information on the policy and portfolio and it's hard to determine if the investments are for political gain and not strictly financial. >> the sovereign money often in government funds and sometimes rich princes, it comes into the country in ways that it's difficult to trace at times. overtime will be beholden which means we are losing our
sovereignty >> others including edwin truman who wrote extensively sees it as a good thing. a critical boost to an ailing real estate market. truman said there no national security concerns like those own bide the u nated arab emirates they oversee six u.s. sea ports >> the transaction, why not. the more money that comes in for u.s. real estate adds to the tax revenue of washington, d.c. >> there is a lot at stake in the debate. sovereign wealth funds are huge players they estimated in 2007 these government funs controlled about $3 trillion. by 2012 that is expected to go up to $12 trillion >> they're want to buy up a property and create economic
opportunities especially during economic times here in the united states. >> no doubt the project will employ a lot. >> they are all-around the area as well. the subsitties and the companies come in to buy them thanks very much. the first lady of the us, michelle obama on an emotional journal to south africa delivering a message of hope to young people. >> if any one of you ever doubts that you can build that future, if anyone tells you that you shouldn't or you can't, i want you to say with one voice, the voice of a generation, you tell them, yes, we can. in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small ones, public, private,
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. michelle obama is delivering a message of hope and change. she posted on the generation to tackle problems that plagued the nation for decades. >> south africa is literally singing her praises. >> we welcome you as a daughter of african heritage and we can call you the queen of our world. >> even a frail 92-year-old else in an mandella these days rarely entertains spent time with the first lady of the united states. mrs. obama delivered a key note
address at the church, a political haven during apartheid. she inspired, encouraged and challenged africa's youth. >> you can be the generation that ends hiv aids in our time. the generation that fights not just the disease, but the stigma of the disease. the generation that teaches the world that hiv is fully preventable and treatable and should never be a source of shame. >> on aication, she was emotional as she accounted the events. she reiterated mr. obama's africa policy >> the word is looking to africa as a vital partner. that is why my husband's administration is not simply focused on extending a helping hand to africa. the focus is on partnering with
africans who will shape their future by combatting corruption and building strong democratic institutions. >> she was applauded, praise and embraced by youth yearning for change. her speech comes at a crucial time when more approximate more africans hunger to be the masters of their own destinies the 2,000 young people gathered in the church don't want to be anothere ed aided a dependent generation >> an apology from delta airlines. we will tell you why. t an insta" with sports car styling and power, plus the refinement and space of a luxury sedan, the jaguar xf is a timeless blend of performance and craftsmanship.
monitoring some of the top stories, including more on the powerful earthquake we reported on awhile ago in japan. >> that's right, wolf. so far, no signs of a tsunami from a 6.7 earthquake that struck off the pacific coast of northern japan less than an hour ago. there are also no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but given how close this is to the scene of the tsunami disaster earlier this year,
people are understandably very nervous. a pulitzer prize winning writer is going public with a secret that tormented him for years. jose antonio vargas reveals he is an illegal immigrant. he says he arrived from the philippines when he was 12, and avoided detection by using false documents and social security numbers. he says he is ready to tell the truth and face the possible consequences, even deportation. stunning story. >> amazing story. i was reading that earlier. thanks very much. let's get to jack. >> question this hour, can a mormon be elected president of the united states? there are two running on the republican side of the ledger. steve writes jack, without a second thought it can be the deciding factor in any presidential election. you cannot be elected president of this country without pandering to the majority, christians, plain and simple. people here don't believe someone that's not a christian
could possibly make any moral decisions, at least before they find out what luch rust behavior you have been engaging in. i am looking at you, newty. huntsman is possible in 2016 if he catches some charisma. kathleen says i remember a similar question being asked once before, can a catholic be elected president of the united states. last time i checked, the constitution does not list specific religious affiliation as any sort of criteria. another writes this. fran writes this. sam in connecticut says this.
john in indiana, absolutely. a lot of people in the united states are ignorant of the church of latter day saints, don't think they are all poll ig misses. it's not true and i hope that those people educate themselves on the religion. paul writes this. if you want to read more, go to my blog. >> thanks, jack. see you tomorrow. later tonight, the president will address the nation on the afghanistan situation, plans to withdraw some u.s. troops, 33,000 between this year and next year. an hour from now that speech will begin. special coverage for the north american viewers begins at the top of the hour on "john king usa." one airline passenger gets his luggage back and is shocked
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>> female announcer: where everything is included, sometimes the greatest luxury of all is doing nothing at all. save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. law enforcement sources telling cnn coming in that the fbi has uncovered some evidence linking a u.s. military reservist, 22 years old, a naturalized u.s. citizen from ethiopia with the shootings that occurred around the pentagon area earlier in the fall. he was picked up the other day. apparently near arlington national cemetery. we are getting more information on this story. we will update you as we get more. other news. there are a lot of nightmare travel stories we are following out there.
this next one truly beats them all. let's go to jeanne moos. >> reporter: you may wish the airlines were a whiz with luggage. at least you never had someone allegedly take a whiz in your luggage. >> overwhelming stench of urine. >> reporter: that's what this british traveler says greeted him when he got a bag delta had lost four days earlier when he traveled from london to minneapolis. >> it is absolutely disgusting. >> reporter: he was so angry, he did a show and smell on his hotel bed, posted it on youtube, displaying everything from his damp shorts. >> my pajamas. >> reporter: to stained work trousers. >> the smell coming off these is like somebody with a serious renal issue has peed.
>> reporter: how are you certain it is urine? >> from smell alone. >> reporter: he is an avid fisherman. says he got a second opinion to confirm the smell. >> got the people on the front desk to give it the nose test. >> reporter: his youtube video resulted in sympathy and disgust. ew, you're touching it. they wonder if a delta employee did the deed, opens suggest perhaps a bomb dog lifted his leg in the upright position. >> whether it is a dog or human that peed on it. >> reporter: yeah, still gross. when they saw the thanks delta for using my lug ak as a toilet going viral and the twitter hashtag. >> delta pee bags. >> reporter: they contacted hayes who had no luck reaching them. >> they apologized profusely. >> reporter: delta said