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tv   John King USA  CNN  September 7, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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look. >> it appeared he had plaid boxers on his head. >> reporter: but gumby doesn't need no stinking boxers! >> oh, no! >> reporter: so far the san diego case is a head scratcher. could the robber have been eddie murphy? >> i'm gumby, damn-it, you don't talk to me that way! >> reporter: rehearsing for his gig hosting the oscars? >> well, good luck with that. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn -- ♪ beat it >> reporter: -- new york. >> leave it to jeanne. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." for our international viewers, "world report" is next. in north america, "john king, usa" starts right now. good evening, everyone. tonight, new details of president obama's new jobs plan. top republicans call it stimulus deja vu, while many democrats complain it's not bold enough to make a big impact. plus, rick per riff's national debate debut. what did his campaign for texas governor tell us about taking and throwing a political punch? >> and i think it's pretty rich
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that an individual who voted 95% of the time for every budget that came before you, you've raised the debt limit nine times in washington, d.c., and to stand here in front of the people in the state of texas and say, trust me, i'm going to balance the budget, that's a little tough to understand. up first, though, breaking news tonight in libya. there are missing missiles, thousands of them, and mounting concerns here in washington they could fall into the hands of al qaeda or other terrorist groups. and as we speak tonight, the libyan rebels who forced moammar gadhafi from power claim to have their former dictator surrounded. they won't say where, but they insist he won't escape this time. cnn's ben wedeman live for us in tripoli. ben, the rebels have claimed to be on gadhafi's close trail before. do we view credibly these indications tonight from their spokesman that they have gadhafi surrounded? >> reporter: i'm approaching these claims with a certain amount of skepticism. we've heard them before. we've heard a variety of
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officials with the national transitional council making these claims and then it sort of comes to nothing. i think we really have to wait until they can really come forward with some solid evidence they actually know where he is. this is a vast, a huge, country. and there's a lot of territory in which to hide. moammar gadhafi is known for his like of road trips, being able to move around the country. he doesn't like to fly. he prefers to drive, and he may be doing a lot of driving. the rebels don't have a lot in the way of surveillance equipment to know where moammar gadhafi is. it's all rumors and hearsay really. so, i think we can hold off on concluding that they actually know where he is just yet, john? >> we will continue to press for more details and evidence. as we do, ben, another alarming story, you and your team have been able to see, these stunning weapons depots that have been cases and crates but missing the main ingredient, up to 20,000
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surface-to-air missiles missing in libya. what more can you tell us? >> reporter: well, actually, according to estimates, libya had 20,000 of these surface-to-air missiles ranging from fairly old ones like the sa-7 to the sa-24, which is the top of the line russian surface-to-air missile with a range of 11,000 -- 11,000 feet. and we saw the empty boxes for those sa-24s. now, this is not the only arsenal that's been looted. now, we spoke to human rights watch, and they say -- and this particular member of human rights watch i've been with really throughout the country, and he said that in every city they went into, where arsenals were looted, the first thing to go were these surface-to-air missiles. so, it's a cause of real concern, not just in libya, but, of course, in places like washington and european capitals as well.
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now, when we approached the ntc with this information, asking them why they hadn't secured the sites, whether they knew where these missiles were, they were really stunned, taken off guard by this information, and they -- we have been pursuing them throughout the day to see if they have any information as to whether their troops took it or they know who took it, and they seem to have no clue whatsoever. but i think some of the clues are there on the spot in these warehouses. if these were ordinary rebels in an organized military unit, they would have taken them in their boxes. instead, you can see they've been pried open, in some cases with crowbars, and the contents taken away. john? >> ben wedeman live for us in tripoli, urgent reporting, ben, thank you. let's take just a closer look at what the threat ben is talking about and what people are worried about if they fall into the wrong hands. you hold a surface-to-air
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missile and you fire it up, and i'll give you a picture of it, shoulder mounted surface-to-air missiles that can be fired off. what are the potential targets, a plane, a helicopter, a drone, the united states has used those throughout the middle east they can also take down a cruise missile if properly administered. the question here is what is the range as well. they can shoot something flying as high as 11,000 feet. they can reach from where they are fired off the shoulder for about 3 1/2 miles. again, a huge concern. and here is the number here, 20,000 as ben just noted coming into the connell flict. some of them obviously used during the conflict, the question is now how do you possibly get a reliable inventory? and the obama white house said it's urgently pressing the transitional government to do more to find the missing missiles, but the house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers said the president needs to take much more aggressive steps. >> you know, the united states brings some unique capabilities to this fight, so with their permission, i think, and working
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with our nato allies, we should be bringing today this special capability to this problem. but, remember, the politics of should we be there and no boots on the ground, and i'm not talking about boots on the ground, big military, anything like that, you know, surge of diplomacy here with the special capabilities and i think we would do ourselves, the region, the world, a great favor by finding, accounting for this and then rendering it safe. >> you talk about should be there today, which implies we are not there today, at least not at the level which you think is necessary, with each passing day and the things floating around and the thriving black market in that part of the world, what are the risks? >> it's huge, we know al qaeda has expressed an interest of getting their hands on it. other groups on the state sponsored terrorist list are interested in getting their hands on it. we know that. we do believe there was some public reporting, some open-source reporting by folks in the northern africa that they believed some of these weapons systems already moving around and they're very, very concerned
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about it. and here's the thing, john, on this, we know from every kind of endeavor that happens this way where there's a radical change in the government like this, there's a takeover, throwing a dictator out, there's a sense of economic hardship for, you know, weeks, months, maybe sometimes years after. well, these weapons systems are in such high demand in the world and people are willing to pay for them, it gets pretty easy for desperate people to get ahold of these things and start selling them to anybody that will buy them. >> you mentioned people want to buy these things. one of the concerns outlined by the president's top counterterrorism official, he said they are pressing the government, but he is talking about them being in libya and john brennan raised this concern -- >> if you look at al qaeda and it's not the islamic fighting group that is real concern and still has people in different places but a lot of the senior al qaeda members are libyans, you know, you know, al libbi,
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senior ones are libyas. >> so, you have a senior al qaeda leadership that has many libyans in it. the weapons are floating around in a country where presumably these people have contacts and friends, right? >> absolutely. and think about it, you had the tauregs tribe there that gadhafi supported in overthrow in niger some years ago that are very loyal to the regime, but i'm sure would love to try it again and they're kind of the organized nomaedic groups and there's a whole spectrum of bad actors that want to get their hands on it, and that's why i've been concerned. we need to act now. i would not wait too long to try to deal with this problem. >> what's the hang-up? you say you want to act now, we shouldn't wait too long. the administration says it's worried, too, what is the hang-up? what do they need to do tomorrow or should they have done yesterday? >> well, it's political will. i know we have capabilities that
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aren't in use and i would argue that we need to put the capabilities to use for our national security use. >> what are we talking about? when you say capabilities, you mean people that can hunt them down, intelligence resources to find them, be as specific as you, sir? >> i'll say, yes, john, we have people unique set of capabilities that can help locate these materials that can help render them safe in all cases, not only the missile systems but the chemical weapons. we need to -- there's been several solutions that have been put on the table. all of them take too long, and they're old models. i argue we have a unique opportunity here because the national council is interested in solving this problem to get that sign-off, working with our nato partners and get our special capabilities people on the ground so that we can deal with these weapons systems. and that to me, it's really not happening at the pace i believe it better happen, and just the reporting i think cnn has done,
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too, on the fact that some of these weapons systems are already talked and rumored about being moved around in tripoli and other places causes even greater concern and the urgency here is i think significant. >> let me ask the chairman of the intelligence committee one last question, and that is based on the latest information you have received, does the united states government have any clue where moammar gadhafi is? >> this is the where's waldo question. i think it's a matter of time and we have some good ideas, but it's going to take a little bit of time, and the rebels are even having some difficulty locating him. i think we're going to find him. but, remember, he controlled a lot of these areas pretty well and pretty tightly and has a good deal of support in certain areas. so, we believe that he's probably going to be attracted to one of those areas where he has that local support and can hang on as long as he thinks he's going to be able to do. >> chairman rogers, appreciate your time tonight. >> thanks, john. >> cnn national security contributor fran townsend is with us now, she was president bush's national homeland security adviser and sits on the
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external advisory boards for the cia and the homeland security department. in 2010 she visited high-ranking libyan officials at the government's invitation. i want to start on the report that the rebels have gadhafi surrounded. do we trust them to be credible? it's in their interest to let the libya people know that. >> it's the same propaganda, they had the two sons in custody and they didn't have them in custody. i think we've got to view any public statements with them with a great deal of skepticism. >> let's come to the urgent security concern i was just discussing with chairman rogers. you are well plugged in in the intelligence community. what is the fear, 20,000 surface-to-air missiles at the beginning, there are other weapons, automatic weapons and the like, but these seem to be the biggest threat that people are worried about. what is the latest intelligence about where they are, have many crossed the border? >> that's not good intelligence. when you look at the sa-24s these are high-capability
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surface to air and all nato is used in libya has been air power, so it's a direct threat to not only to nato's mission but, of course, if they cross borders, potentially to the u.s. i mean, these are the sorts of things they're very, very difficult, once they start moving around and the weapons depots are split up, it becomes much harder to ever put back together an accurate inventory. >> you heard the chairman and he's trying to be, "a," diplomatic and, "b," protect sensitive information about he thinks the administration is using old-school ways of going about this and he wants to do things faster. what are the unique capabilities that he's talking about? are these special operations, intelligence, spies on the ground? is there special technology that the united states has at its disposal? help us. >> there's overhead special technology that the u.s. can begin to try to start the tracking process, but the chairman is suggesting that alone isn't enough, you need human intelligence to help get and get back either to disable them or buy them back.
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remember there were programs after the afghanistan war decades ago to buy back surface-to-air missiles and i think that that's what he's making to there. that's not enough. you do need clandestine operators on the ground who can either seize and disable them or buy them back and that you need to do quickly if you're going to be effective. >> you know gadhafi and his regime, we're going to play some video that casts him in a somewhat favorable light, but i'll call this the gadhafi home video. i want to show you this because i want to see if you understand this side of moammar gadhafi. this was obtained by reuters and it shows family members apparently, hopefully we can put it up on the screen. he's with family members and apparently a grandchild here and the like. after the video's showing torture chambers and prison cells, this suddenly comes out. it's a, quote-unquote, lighter side of moammar gadhafi. what does this tell you? >> you know, frankly, john, i don't think it tells me anything. do i think that there are war criminals, whether from hitler to saddam hussein to moammar
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gadhafi that have a different side with their families? absolutely. i don't really care. i'm not interested. what i care about is how they treat their populations and it's been unlawfully in using torture and using oppression. so, the fact that he may have kind to a grandchild i don't think is relevant to how we see him. >> is this in your view they happened to find or is it because there were so many horrible things out there about gadhafi that it was orchestrated? >> i think it was orchestrated. the head of the intelligence services still at large with gadhafi, he's the type of person that could have moved such a video so i think we have to presume it's a calculated effort by pro-gadhafi forces. >> fran townsend, thank you for your help. appreciate it. a cold-blooded assassination by syrian security forces captured on tape. it will shock you. and next new details of the jobs plan president obama will present to congress this time tomorrow night. [ angela ] endless shrimp is our most popular promotion at red lobster.
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this time tomorrow night president obama will be addressing a joint session of congress to outline a new white house jobs proposal. administration and democratic sources tell cnn the price tag could reach $400 billion.
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we're told the president will promise to find a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar of new spending. let me give you some of the highlights here. we're told the president will have about $50 billion for unemployment insurance program to extend unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work some of them for so long. about $300 billion to $400 billion total here, $120 billion to extend the payroll tax cuts for employees. the president said that would put more money into the economy. there are at least $30 billion here in funding here to refurbish schools, billions more to state and local governments to keep teachers on the payrolls and the likes as well as new money for infrastructure, to repair roads and bridges. the president presents this proposal to a joint session of congress and to the american people at a time as he gears up for re-election public opinion of his handling of the economy -- of the economy -- is at an all-time low, amid all of her reporting on the details of this, i spoke to our white house correspondent, jessica yellin. so, jess, from a policy impact
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proposal, what does the white house think this package will do in terms of creating new jobs, how many, how fast? >> they argue it will have an enormous impact if passed in its entirety. they say it would impact state job growth because as you know when there are layoffs at the state level, that has a ripple effect. so, if there's hiring of teachers and first responders, there's state aid in there as we've learned. that this jobs program for school renovation gets laborers quickly to work at schools. and then there's also these tax credits that i've been hearing about that would incentivize hiring of unemployed workers who have been out of work for a long time. there's a lot in this package, john, that would incentivize hiring of the chronically unemployed, seniors and low-income workers and veterans and that's where they're targeting all of this. of course, republicans have a very different take, but here at the white house they're terribly optimistic. >> so, you mentioned a different take from the republicans. how do they deal with the very, very difficult politics? the republicans control the
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house, they say this is stimulus deja vu and we're hearing from some democrats who think at least from what they've heard so far that it's too small, too timid. >> absolutely. and they know they're going to get, you know, on the one hand republicans rejecting it outright, many of them, democrats saying not even close to enough. the bigger picture is if congress does nothing, you're going to see the president, first of all, making his case to the american people, and then effectively campaigning against a do-nothing congress. not just for the next few weeks and months as congress debates this up until christmas, but even through next year and as part of his campaign, a president campaigning effectively against washington if they don't do something about jobs. >> and also, jess, we will get this new proposal, new details, but it will immediately lead us into a chapter a little bit of movie we've seen before in the sense that how does he pay for it? >> right. >> the republicans say no new taxes, mr. president. and the democrats are nervous, well, what are you going to cut? >> right. and, you know, we've heard him talk about no doubt he's going to talk about closing tax
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loopholes, we've been told this, and also paying for some of this by raising taxes on the wealthy. but we also know that there will be proposals before the supercommittee, he will make a proposal to the supercommittee that's likely to include changes to the entitlement programs likely medicare and medicaid and democrats are deeply concerned that it will include cuts to these programs that are key priorities for democrats. and in this environment, even if the republican house won't support this jobs plan, they're more likely t lly to support th to medicare and medicaid and that's what the democrats are really worried is coming down the pike and deeply upset that the white house will allow that to happen, john. >> a big night ahead for the president tomorrow, jessica yellin with many of the details. jess, thanks. >> thanks. and among those who will be listening most closely are democrats who will share the ticket with president obama in tough 2012 battleground states like ohio democratic senator sherrod brown who is with us live now. senator, from everything you have been told, is this big enough and bold enough, or is the president trimming back a
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bit because he knows he has to deal with the republican house? >> well, i think he wanted to be bigger and bolder. i think this is a good first step. emphasis on infrastructure, that's good. i think we need more highways, bridges, water, sewer, broadband,hasherharbors, but we need that. i think republicans will look at it differently from news reports, because i spent august in marietta and toledo and mansfield and dayton, ohio, and the talk wasn't about cutting the budgets. as important as it is to balance the budget, and about pay-fors and all that, the talk was about what are you going to do about job creation? the republicans heard it unless they were only at their country clubs, republicans heard the discussions too and the admonishments, if they will oppose anything but tax cuts for the rich and war, and they only want to pay for disaster relief
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and tax cuts for workers, which is a good thing, not a good thing. it is -- i think they're going to have to govern a little differently. the other thing is after -- as we begin to do this, there are things we can do that don't cost money. i appreciate the money going to states to preserve teachers and keep teachers and cops on the beat, teachers in classrooms and all that, but we're going to work on curbs scurrency with ch. the president can enforce trade rules as he has done better than his predecessors and that directly creates jobs. i've seen it in youngingtown, i've seen it in finley, ohio, in lorain, ohio, and butler, ohio, near cincinnati, when the president stands up and enforces trade law, we bring the currency bill to the floor, we got bipartisan support, overwhelming bipartisan support, to level the playing field with china. that's the kind -- we're not going to bring back millions of joshes that have been lost during the last decade but we'll begin to see manufacturing and job growth in excess. we've seen it in the last year
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but it's way too anemic and this can help to stimulate that kind of job growth by playing fair and enforcing trade rules with the chinese. >> senator, you heard republican candidate for president, mitt romney, saying if he's elected yesterday, he would do that, he would stand up to the chinese. he called them the biggest violators in the trade -- in trade -- in fair trade around the world out there yesterday. when was the last time the president of the united states, the current president of the united states said that? >> i'm surprised the guy that went to tiffen, ohio, with bain capital, and shut down american standard, one of america's great companies, we've all seen their products and he's talking about stand up to the chinese. it's not really in mitt romney's dna. but i don't care about. what i care about is this president, the president of the united states, standing up on currency and standing up on enforcing trailed rules and that's manufacturing jobs. and just 30 years ago almost -- over 25% of our gdp was manufacturing. today it's only 10% or 11%. germany's is almost twice that.
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and we've got to have a policy where we stand up for american workers and american small companies. i want to see them export more, but we can only do that if we have trade rules that work, and the president stands up. and as i said, he has actually done that better than his predecessors but he's got to be more aggressive than he has been. >> senator, you just said you hoped republicans would view things differently after being at home and around constituents and mitch mcconnell said it's more government spending and the president should have learned a lesson from that. do you think, do you really believe, we're going to have a jobs bill that the president will sign, or is this speech just going to set off a campaign jobs debate? >> i think if the president leads and the president goes all over the country and he sets up that the republicans, they won't pass an infrastructure bill because they're protecting tax subsidies for the oil industry, they're protecting tax cuts for wall street hedge fund managers, that's why they won't send us -- that's why they won't use those dollars for infrastructure and
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keeping teachers in the classroom and firefighters in the fire stations and police officers on the beat, if that's the way the republicans are going to stand and the president points that out, i think you're going to see some republicans up for re-election thinking, you know, maybe we ought to actually do something about jobs and work with this president. >> senator sherrod brown, democrat of ohio, thank you, sir, we'll keep in touch as this all plays out. shocking video from syria tonight. look at it right there, troops gunning down an unarmed man. and next, the new republican presidential front-runner makes his debate debut. what do rick perry's gubernatorial debates tell us about his boxing skills? [ male announcer ] this is the network. a network of possibilities... ♪ in here, pets never get lost. ♪ in here, every continent fits in one room.
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texas governor rick perry tonight participates in his first debate since joining the republican presidential race. he'll step on stage as the undisputed leader in the national polls, but with big questions about whether he is ready for this more challenging political stage. governor perry refused to debate his democratic opponent in last year's election, but he did face off against his republican primary challenger and he has in the past been involved in multicandidate debates. look at those and you come away this impression, perry isn't shy about drawing sharp contrasts. >> and you have a clear choice in this campaign. whether or not you want higher standards, chris, or whether you want to go back to lower expectations and less accountability. whether you want to have a vigilant security of our border or the benign neglect of the
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congressman bell and his former colleagues in washington. >> so, what are his strengths and weaknesses as a debater? let's ask two journalists, kent herman with "the offen american statesman" and ken silverstein auditor of "texas monthly." when you look at perry the debater what is his greatest strength and in your view, his greatest weakness? >> his greatest strength is his greatest strength as a politician he knows what he believes and he knows how to enunciate it in sound bites. he's solid in it. and he knows how to hone in on differences with his opponents. his weaknesses is possibly people can get under his skin. he's kept that under control in his debates and we'll see how it happens tonight in the game show atmosphere in an eight-candidate debate. >> well put. jake silverstein, strengths and weaknesses as you look forward this debate. >> every debate that perry has been in, he's been the incumbent. he's accustomed to be in the
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drive's seat and he plays that well, and i think he finds himself in the same position. he's good at staying focused and staying on message and not making mistakes and i think that's exactly what he'll do tonight. >> i want to play a little segment here, one thing that could come into play is his record as texas governor. he's the only active governor in the race, there are former governors in the debate. and in past debates that is has come up is the tough enforcement of the death penalty in texas. it came up in 2002. >> i do not support a moratorium on the death penalty. texas is a tough place if you're going to kill our police officers, murder our children, but our system is fair. one of the ways that we made it even fairer and better last legislative session, i pushed through a piece of legislation for dna evidence to be used. >> that's back a long time ago, ken herman, but he is not shy and he's pretty firm if you question his record as texas, he doesn't blink.
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>> no, he doesn't. and on the death penalty he still firmly believes in it. i think polling shows texans still believe in it, but there's been some chipping away at that where we've had cases like lots of states have that dna evidence shows that we have the wrong person on death row, and we've got a case ongoing that show that possibly the wrong person was executed. he's solid on it and i don't think he'll back away. and the state has mate changes to allow life without parole and that's indicated a change in thinking but there's no doubt that governor perry supports the death penalty and i don't think we'll see him backing away from that at all in this race. >> when governors run for president, the question is does he have a world view. he's dealt with the immigration and trade issues with mexico, but more broadly does governor perry have a world view or is that a potential weakness when he starts answering questions about iraq, afghanistan, libya,
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and beyond? >> i think that's exactly one of the areas in which he does have a potential weakness tonight and an area that you'll see romney go after him and perhaps ron paul and other people hat have more national experience than perry does. the key for him is to come out of this debate appearing electable, because right now that's the main thing that mitt romney has going for him this idea that rick perry is too fringe, too radical, perhaps even too texan to be a credible candidate against barack obama in the general election, so if the goal is to be electable, then i think if past performances are any indication, rick perry is pretty good at appearing electable in a debate. >> ken, i'll ask you a question, ray sullivan the governor's communication director was on msnbc this morning, and governor perry, like hmany republicans i the south, he said to prove his republican bona fides that he twice voted for ronald reagan. he was al gore's chairman in 1998, if you twice voted for
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ronald reagan how was it that al gore was preferable to ronald reagan's vice president george h.w. bush? >> i don't know if he's been asked that directly, but i'm going to guess at his answer. back then rick perry like a lot of texans was a southern conservative democrat. john, you may be too young to remember but we used to have people like that in the south. we don't really anymore and perry followed the course that a lot of texans did when they became republicans. i first moved to texas in the mi mid-'70s and having grown up in brooklyn, new york and living in florida i was shocked at the people in east texas who called themselves democrats. to my view they never should have been democrats and that's what rick perry was, i can't imagine it will be a big problem in this campaign, but we'll see. >> as we await this debate and two more over the course of the next couple of weeks, a style point, does he throw the first punch or does he prefer to wait
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and counterpunch? >> i can see him throwing the first punch. in the 2002 debate, he got a lot of punches in the debate. i'm most interested to see what ron paul does. paul to me is sort of the debra medina of this race, she was the libertarian-style candidate who ran against perry for the republican primary nomination in 2010 and she gave him fits because she got to his right. perry doesn't like it where people can get to his right and i can see ron paul giving him fits tonight and he's already gone on the attack before the debate accusing him of cheerleading for al gore in 1988. >> we'll watch the debut tonight and the performance in the days ahead, ken herman and jake silverstein, appreciate your insight. syrian troops gun down an unarmed man and the embattled regime calls off a meeting with the arab league. and sarah palin is giving hints that she's interested in the 2012 presidential race and
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welcome back. here's the latest news you need to know right now. -- as first reported on cnn, the former new mexico governor bill richardson is on his way to cuba hoping to negotiate the release of allen gross who the cubans accuse of trying to set up internet networks. a new written statement from former vice president al gore
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blasts obama saying that he appears to have bowed to polluters. and president obama called texas governor rick perry this afternoon expressing his concern about texans hurt by wildfires. a busy hurricane season, even more active tonight. tropical storm maria formed in the atlantic east of hurricane katia. the new tropical storm nate a threat to mexico. look at that, wow. next here, new video of what passes for justice in assad's syria. we'll warn you now, it's bloody and brutal. and you see this... it's the end of the road. the last hurrah. it's when ford's powertrain warranty ends. but in this ram truck, you've still got 39,999 miles to go. ♪ guts. glory. ram.
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"anderson cooper 360" coming up at the top of the hour. anderson's here now with a preview. how are you doing? >> i'm doing well, john, thanks very much. a big evening tonight, a big win in court for amanda knox. an italian judge rejected a request for new dna testing for evidence. and the father of knox say prosecutors have no case left. listen. >> do you see a light at the end of the tunnel here? >> i do from a peer case standpoint. when you look at the forensic evidence and you use pure common sense of how horrific that scene must have been where in the room where meredith lost her life and to have nothing of your person, no spit, no saliva, no blood, no skin cells, no hair, it leads
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you down a path of saying what other answer can they come up with except acquitting the two of them? >> we'll have more of the interview at the top of the hour. also an important ruling in aruba of the disappearance in the american woman robyn gardner. gary giordano lost an appeal and we'll have a live report from martin savidge who spoke with giordano's lawyer. and keeping them honest, a look at the political bickerick in washington, and any attempt to get the economy going will likely have the same effect. and we'll have a look at president's jobs plan and we'll look at who is on tonight's "ridiculist," all that at the top of the hour, john? >> looking forward to it. new violence and shocking new images out of syria, a human rights report two dozen dead, where tanks pulled into the city center and gunfire broke out and a video showing syrian soldiers executing an apparently unarmed man surfaced on youtube.
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a quick warning while we can't confirm the authenticity of the video, and while we've blurred the man's image, the pictures are bloody and upsetting. in addition to those gunshots, the soldiers say the man was sentenced to death by firing squad. also on youtube, this video of anthony government demonstrators in the syrian city of aleppo, they took to the streets as activists questioned the circumstances of a local scholar's sudden death. with us now syrian human rights activist mohammed al abdullah and nicholas burns, a professor at harvard. mohammed, i want to start with you, when you look at the video of what i will call looks like a state-sponsored execution, syrian troops gunning down a man, we have to be careful we can't independently confirm the videos because we're not there, but the images seem pretty clear, what goes through your mind? >> first of all, the brutality
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of the regime that kills people and the killing without any particular processing and the second thing, it has to end, the first one shows protesters that this is going to be your fate if you protest in syria and the second one is to more on the sectarian violence if you can recognize the accent of those members in the army, they are from a minority and they are encouraging the majority to say the minority was killing us, the soldiers from this minority. >> nick burns, 21 days now since president obama finally in the view of many came around and said assad must go. what does this tell us? obviously the administration has very few levers to bring about regime change. can it do anything here? >> well, a tragic day, john, in syria. i think it does point to the fact that the united states does not have a military option here. the arab league, the u.n. security council, the syrian opposition are not requesting that the united states intervene militarily, nor would the obama administration want to.
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so, what can they do? the eu last week passed oil sanctions on the import of syrian oil. that oil supply was very important to the syrian economy. they can continue to pressure economically. keep up the political pressure. and, john, i think the most important thing this is battle for dignity, human rights and the rule of law. those are the words that robert ford, the american ambassador in damascus but on the embassy facebook page, he said that's what this is about. that's what the protesters have on their side. they have the moral strength here against this hypocritical and brutal assad regime and as long as the united states can highlight those issues which, of course, we all believe in, human rights, the rule of law and dignity, i think that's probably the most effective weapon that the united states, the obama administration, can use to combat the assad regime. >> so, the question is, then, mohammed, does the power of the moral argument and the moral assistance and whatever diplomatic assistance the united states and others can provide, is it enough to encourage and continue the resolve of the demonstrators who when they see
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the videos know the risks of going out in the street? >> it's enough to encourage them, but it's not enough to end this battle. that's why we need more international help and international assistance. people are seeing more and more talking about protecting civilians and the international community responsibility to act immediately and try to protect civilians in syria. as long as russians and chinese, they are opposing any u.n. resolution of the security council, we still disabled and we cannot really send -- have any kind of protection for civilians, neither observers or people -- international observers or any committee to investigate the human rights violation, that's why the u.s. and the eu should more work on the russians and work more international than chinese in the security council. the arab league, they add initiative to the assad last week, and he postponed the visit of the head of the arab league committee. and that's another sign that he's not going to accept any kind of initiative or proposals
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to stop this killing and it's going to continue. >> what does that tell you in the head of the arab league was supposed to come to damascus, the head of the regime canceled the meeting "due to circumstances beyond our control." what does that tell you? >> it tells me the assad regime is totally isolated. they don't have a defender in the arab world. they may have one or two countries, perhaps north korea or cuba, defending them. the entire international community is turning against them. this is going to be a battle for the hearts and minds of the syrian people. er in now, the majority of them, expressing the fervent home this regime will fall. i think this reg jeel's days are numbered. you can see it. it won't be through military intervention by the united states as was the case in europe, in the case in libya. it will be because this is a grassroots revolution produced by the syrian people. i don't think the assad regime has anyone to turn to at the present >> gentlemen, thank you for your time. up next, palin fatigue.
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you might be surprise sprayed who's getting tired of her now. , real estate in hong kong, and the optics industry in germany? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing.
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the sarah palin waiting game is taking a most interesting turn. she was in both iowa and new hampshire this week but the former alaska governor, of course, is not in any of the three gop presidential debates scheduled this month. soon, soon she says, she'll let us all know if she will join the republican race. not soon enough, say many people you might view as palin allies,
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even potential supporters. >> no conservative on tv will criticize palin because they don't want to deal with the hate mail. you say her voice is a few octaves too high or michele bachmann's speaking voice is more modulated and you'll be inundated with enraged e-mails and letters. she had to do more heavy lifting on the policy stuff to be taken seriously. i think she's not all that interested in it. >> could it be? is palin fatigue spreading on the right? cnn contributor eric aaronson is among those who thinks yes. cnn contributor john is no palin fan from the get-go. mr. ericsson, you wrote this, you submit to us every day a posting for the blog, it is time for sarah palin to fish or cut bait, enough is enough. why suddenly are people on the right saying, give us the answer? >> well, because in the past month or so a lot of us have been inundated with a pernicious strain of palin fame, cult of
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palin people. they've wrapped up into the cult of personality with sarah palin. they're not helpful to sarah palin. they've become extremely angry, they've become extremely hostile to everyone. it has a lot more to do with these people than with palin but at some point palin has to take responsibility for them. her speeches are whipping a lot of people into a frenzy, keeping a lot of people on the sidelines. people are tired of being teased. i thought -- i put up a post at red state this morning and thought i was in the minority of conservatives online. but suddenly realized that i'm not alone. there's a vast majority of conservatives who really like sarah palin but like her less and less each day because of a lot of her supporters. >> eric says, like her less and less recess let's show numbers. her gave ability among republicans and independents, the two groups she would need -- we don't expect her to get a lot of democratic votes. republicans september 2008, 94% down to 78%. still good but that's a big
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drop. among independents, from 54% -- not great but okay in 2008 -- to 33% now. so is she hurting herself if by teasing? >> she's been hurting herself for a long time. we've seen a slow-motion palin implosion the last year or two. it's not just favor ability. it's about whether she's prepared to be president. when you ask her questions her numbers have been under water and upside down since 2009 among her alleged base, tea party supporters. she hasn't taken the process of frourng president seriously. she doesn't seem interested in governing because she left her office. it's no surprise people are getting tired of this tease. she's talented, she's got a constituen constituency, but it's been diminished at bachmann and perry have come in and claimed some of that conservative popular support. >> i'm not a palin defender but i want to take a piece of what you said. she's not taking the process seriously. by the way, we traditionally say it. you have debates, if you're
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going to be a candidate, join your colleagues onstage. she seems to have an opinion that she can wait, that she can get in late. she says she has legitimate family concerns. among those, though, eric, you're not always in alliance with who are saying enough, is a guy who actually thinks she's leaning toward running, karl rove. let's listen to him this morning. >> you know, if you keep going to iowa and you keep going to new hampshire and you keep making speeches like she's been making, you have to think that she's going to get in. and as i said, i wouldn't bet the ranch on it. but it really is inexplicable for her to continue this as long as she has. if she wants to be a kingmaker, shears a different way to go about doing it. the longer she looks like a candidate, and if she doesn't become a candidate, the weaker she'll emerge out of this politically. >> i mean, look. i mean, first of all, there are objective ways to judge how serious you are. running for president is a serious business, it's a serious job.

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