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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 10, 2012 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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he killed hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew. so we'll be watching now how the jury ends up finding this man. it's been a very emotional case. so many people have testified first being jennifer hudson herself. that is it for me. thank you so much for watching here. i'm brooke baldwin. cnn headquarters in atlanta and now to washington to my colleague wolf blitzer. "the situation room" begins right now. >> thank you very much. frustration inside the white house. the frustration of joe biden as the president admits the vice president inadvertently forced him to announce his support of gay marriage sooner than planned. also allegations of high school bullying by mitt romney. he's speaking out about it for the first time. we are learning new details and frustrated parents of a captive american soldier revealing u.s. negotiations with the taliban to try to win his freedom. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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-- captions by vitac -- anyone cheering president obama's new stance on same-sex marriage has vice president joe biden to thank. the president himself is now confirming what many had suspected that the vice president forced the president's hand when biden announced his support for gay marriage over the weekend and now we're hearing that's a sore subject at least among some white house insiders. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin is working the story for us. what are you hearing over there, jessica? >> reporter: wolf, there are times when a president is more forgiving than his aides and this may be one of those times. some of the president's top aides are deeply annoyed. they acknowledge the president was going to come out and speak out in favor of same-sex marriage before the democratic
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convention, but boy, are they frustrated that vice president biden made it happen sooner than they wanted. he was planning to say this some time before the democratic convention. >> for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same-sex couples should be able to get marrie married. >> but vice president biden forced up the timing with his unscripted remarks on "meet the press" or as the president put it. >> she got a little bit overseas, but out of generosity of spirit would i have preferred to have done this in my own way, in my own terms without, i think there being a lot of notice. but all's well that ends well. >> reporter: some of the president's aides are not as forgiving. senior officials say they're frustrated, annoyed the vice president got out ahead of the president's policy and possible
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plans for a rollout, but this is hardly the first time biden's gone off script. remember this? or when the administration was trying to reassure the public it's safe to fly during swine flu outbreak. >> you can find earth craft, when one person sneezes it goes through the aircraft. that's me. i would not be at this point if there was another way of transportation suggesting they ride the subway. >> reporter: adding to the frustration, some say the vice president had previously -- against speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage because of the potential political risk, but officials say the president has a close, personal relationship with biden which will trump his advisers' frustrations. they add the president knows sharing the building with biden comes with risks and rewards which the president has acknowledged. >> he's warm, cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic you just have to
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keep him on a tight leash. every once in a while he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself into trouble, but enough about joe biden. >> reporter: if you need any indication that biden is not being kept in the doghouse, so to speak, he is out on a campaign swing to ohio next week. two days in that crucial battleground state and i'll tell you that sources tell me that the vice president, of course, does feel regretful that he put the president in a tough position, but again, all sides saying that this does not end up souring the relationship between the two men. they have a close bond. wolf? >> i know that's absolutely positively true. they do have a very close relationship. thanks very much, jessica, for that. mitt romney isn't saying much about the president's new stand on gay marriage, but he is being asked to explain high school bullying for a fellow student
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who turned out to be gay. jim acosta is here and what are you hearing about all of this? what's going on? >> one day aftered president's comments in favor of same-sex marriage mr. obama wasn't doing damage control after his high school days forced him to offer an apology of sorts. five of mitt romney's former high school classmates all told "the washington post" the same story. in 1965 that the elite prep school in michigan, those classmates romney and a group of his friends tackled and cut the hair of a fellow student who was rumored to be gay. the alleged victim of the bullying incident according to the post account cried and screamed for help. within minutes of going up on the newspaper's website, the story blew up on twitter. the democratic party sent out a tweet mentioning in the article which said it was vicious. >> i played a lot of pranks in high school and they describe some that, you just say to yourself back in high school,
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well, i did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, well, obviously, i apologize. >> reporter: in a radio interview romney said he didn't recall the incident, but he did remember the classmate who was allegedly bullied. >> i certainly don't believe that -- i can't speak for other people, of course, that was the furthest thing from my mind in the 1960s. >> the story from romney's past emerged less than a day after the president declared his support for same-sex marriage when the gop contender seemed reluctant to pounce on the con tro verse. >> this is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues. >> reporter: in a interview with a denver tv station he got testy, aren't there issues of significance that you want to talk about? >> this is a significant issue. >> the economy, the growth of jobs? >> reporter: it's not 2004 anymore when many pundits say
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john kerry lost the presidency in the state of ohio where same-sex marriage amendments drew scores of conservatives to the polls giving george w. bush a second term. ohio put its amendment on the ballot after the massachusetts supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, ironically, when rom neefs governor, but attitudes have changed. back then, 55% of americans said same-sex marriage should not be legal. the public is more split today. while president obama's comments may cost him support among independents -- >> he is going to lose a few raying abdemocrats in ohio and mush gan and north carolina, working class white males. >> reporter: but consider how quickly house speaker john boehner changed the subject back to the economy, 14 seconds. >> i shall that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and the president and the democrats can talk about this all they want, but the fact is the american people are focused
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on our economy and they're asking the question where are the jobs? >> reporter: both campaigns appear ready to move on from the issue of same-sex marriage. the obama campaign put out a rash of new ads today that focus on the economy. the romney campaign, meanwhile, is talking up mrs. romney who has an op ed out on the vifrtue of motherhood. >> this coming sunday. everyone is getting red for mother's day. let's talk to our chief political analyst gloria borger. are you surprised that republicans are not necessarily coming out swinging at the president a day after his dramatic announcement? >> no. i'm not really surprised. i mean, when you look at the number across the country on gay marriage you see how it's shifted over the last 15 years. 15 years ago there was about a 27% approval rate for gay marriage. so that has really shifted. when you look at independent
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voters, the majority of independent voters approve of gay marriage. women approve of gay marriage. the majority of women approve of gay marriage. so i think there's a down side to staying on that issue, and i think they're smart to say you know what? what really matters right now is the economy. they want to get back to the economic message they have because they think that's very sellable during the political campaign. >> you're an excellent observer, joe. in terms of politics, the decision by the president a net plus looking ahead to november or a net minus? >> i think it's hard to say, wolf. i agree with what gloria just said. the difference between now and 15, 20 years ago is that an awful lot of homosexuals have been liberated and they live among us, they're our friends and families and they are who they are and it's become very
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uncomfortable for people to abide by the old prejs dids. so it's right for the republicans to move off of this. i think we in the press are making a big deal out of something that will probably have -- say more about the president's place in history than what happens in this coming election, and you know, when you look at the republicans they're one path to victory in this election is the economy. it's not social issues. it's not foreign policy. it's the economy ask that's why they want to get back on it. >> you heard jessica, gloria, say some of the president's aides are forcing his hand on this issue. what do you think about that? >> i think the aides get very upset because, of course, it's their job to protect the president. they had a plan or so it seems for a rollout of this. they say the president always intended to come out in support of gay marriage, but the president likes to do things on his own timetable and doesn't like to be forced by the vice
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president. so the vice president did get out in front of the president. that's not a good thing. in the end, though, as jessica said before, i think they've got a good relationship and the president has kind of come to expect that these kinds of things could sort of happen with joe biden. so they may try to keep him more to a script if they can in the future. >> what do you think, joe? >> i think it's a very, very bad thing for politicians to be season stage managing their positions on moral issues. i think it was a mistake for obama to try to do this on his time. when he came to the conclusion that gay marriage was an okay thing he should have just said so. there are things you roll out, complicated policy platforms, positions on the economy, you know, a new position on afghanistan, but when you change your mind about gay marriage you just come out and say it and, you know, thank god that we have politicians like joe biden who
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say it when they mean it. >> i agree. we give joe biden a lot of credit here because he answered the question honestly and he had to know there were going to be repercussions coming out of the white house and he felt there was an issue that he couldn't fudge anymore. don't forget, joe biden is someone who had evolved himself and this was someone who voted for the defense of marriage act when he was in the senate. so it was only so angry that the president could really get. >> i don't think he's that angry, either. take a look at the cover of time magazine. there it is. mom enough? it's one of the reasons why i suspect that "time" magazine is the magazine of the year. congratulations to joe klein, and all of our friends at "time" magazine, you guys are doing an amazing job. keep it up and that cover, joe, it's generating a lot, a lot of buzz out there. >> wolf, i had nothing to do with that cover.
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>> i know you didn't write the cover story this week, but -- >> nor did he pose for it. >> no, i didn't pose. that isn't me. >> a bold cover on "time." i may look like a baby sometimes, but that wasn't me. >> all right, guys. thank you. president obama, gay marriage and black voters. jack cafferty is up next with "the cafferty file." also, the president accusing mitch romney of an etch a sketch moment. what's going on? dramatic video of police thwarting a suicide attempt with only seconds to spare. if you made a list of countries from around the world... ...with the best math scores. ...the united states would be on that list. in 25th place.
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let's raise academic standards across the nation. let's get back to the head of the class. let's solve this.
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jack cafferty is here with "the cafferty file." jack? >> wolf, president obama's support for same-sex marriage is sure to fire up parts of the liberal base it could alienate other parts including black voters. in other words, backing gay marriage might be a risky proposition for the president in an election year when it comes to one of the core voting blocs. in 2008, you'll recall african-americans were crucial in making this president the first black president. 96% of black voters supported obama and they made up 13% of the electorate. fast forward four years approximately while polls suggest america on the whole is moving toward supporting same-sex marriage. nbc-washington post voting say 56 are opposed to it and this opposition from blacks could
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hurt the president especially in the south. just this week, north killer carol blacks voted two to one in favor of an amendment in that state banning gay marriage. unanimous support secured his victory in 2008. what if they choose to sit the election out baz they don't like the president's position on same-sex marriage. groups on both sides of the issue they like to compare the struggle for gay rights compare it to the struggle of civil rights and ministers playing a big role in the opposition to gay marriage. while it's unlikely blacks will suddenly decide to vote for mitt romney, that ain't going happen, if some of them decide to stay home it being make a difference in the outcome of the election. here is the question. will president obama's support of same-sex marriage cost him black votes? go to and post a comment on my blog and go
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to my post on the situation room's facebook page. every decision the president makes makes somebody happy and somebody not so. >> comes with the territory. we'll be watching a lot of the ministers in those black churches this sunday to see what message they're sending about the president and his decision, jack. i'm anxious to hear what our viewers think and we'll get their e-mails. that's coming up. >> we're also getting new information right now about an alleged murderer who is accused of kidnapping two young girls. mary snow is monitoring that and also some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's the latest, mary? wolf, the mother-in-law of adam mayes says he may think he's the father of the two girls. the fugitive is suspected of killing their mother and older sister before taking off with the 12 and 8-year-old girls. authorities are still searching for them and they're asking for your help. there's a $175,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. you can start your countdown to the summer olympics. the traditional olympic flame was lit today in greece.
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it will make its way from olympia to london and it will take a week to get to britain and it will travel an 8,000-mile route before arriving in london for the opening ceremony july 27. the dow ended the day in positive territory snapping a six-session losing streak. investors welcomed the dip in jobless claims and uncenter ney greece and europe as a whole still weighs on traders. the nasdaq and s&p finished near where they started the day. >> a dramatic scene on a bridge in oregon as officers race to save a man trying to kill himself. deputies learned he was heading to the bridge to jump and they got there just in time. one deputy tried to get close enough to keep him from opening his door, but the man leapt out of his car and sprinted toward the railing. another deputy grabbed him before he could jump. wolf? >> very dramatic pictures. thank you, mary. >> president obama is laughing off a claim mitt romney is making. you will hear what the president is calling another etch a sketch
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moment for his republican rival and are republicans nervous about criticizing the president's support of gay marriage. we're breaking it down. our "strategy session" is next. (spoken in mandarin) i've still got hours of battery life. it's an ultrabook. you bring great shame upon this coffee hut. with a long-lasting ultrabook, everything else seems old fashioned. ultrabook. inspired by intel. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] choose the same brand your mom trusted for you. children's tylenol, the #1 brand of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians and used by moms decade after decade.
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i've been crisscrossing the gulf i can tell you, down here,. people measure commitment by what's getting done. i'm mike utsler, and it's my job to make sure we keep making progress in the gulf. the twenty billion dollars bp committed has helped fund economic and environmental recovery. another fourteen billion dollars has been spent on response and cleanup. long-term, bp's made a five hundred million dollar commitment to the gulf of mexico research initiative... to support ten years of independent scientific research on the environment. results will continue to be shared with the public. and we're making sure people know that the gulf is open for business - the beaches are beautiful, the seafood is delicious. last year, many areas even reported record tourism seasons. the progress continues, but that doesn't mean our job is done. bp's still here, and we're still committed to seeing this through.
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i'm wolf blitzer and here are some of the stories we're working on in "the situation room" for the next hour. new details on the double agent for the latest bomb out of yemen. one got into the terrorist's trusted circle. stand by. >> what will it take for cuba to free the jailed american alan gross? i'll speak to a top cuban government official in havana. it's a rare interview. president obama is getting ready to spend the evening with george clooney and other wealthy donors. the cash he's expected to take in is record breaking.
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stand by. you're in "the situation room." first let's get to our strategy session. joining us right now the democratic strategist and former white house deputy communications director jen socky and republican strategist john fury, the president of quinn and gillespie communication, a bipartisan public affairs firm right here in washington. guys, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> here's an exchange robin roberts had with the president yesterday. i'm going to play it and then we'll discuss. >> mitt romney recently says he deserve the credit for the revival of the u.s. auto industry. how do you respond to that? >> well, i think this is one of his etch a sketch moments. i don't think anybody takes that seriously. people remember his position which was let's let detroit go bankrupt so had we followed his advice at that time gm and chrysler would have gone under and we would have lost a million
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jobs throughout the midwest. >> nice smile there when he was talking about that etch a sketch moment. what do you think? anybody take what mitt romney said seriously? >> well, it wasn't one of mitt romney's finest moments, let's not kid ourselves and romney had a better plan for the detroit bailout than go through managed bankruptcy and come out stronger. the fact of the matter is the auto industry has come back and that's a good thing for all americans and america is still struggling. mitt romney has a better story to tol on economic growth and his plan to grow the economy. >> what do you think? >> the president with the foresight even when it wasn't politically popular to save the auto industry. mitt romney offered an alternative suggestion. the auto industry is doing well and detroit is doing better and it's a great story to be telling. >> romney and the president had some sort of structured bankr t bankruptcy program for gm and
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chrysler. the problem is if you do it in the private sector, none of the banks and investment houses they didn't want to help bailout gm and chrysler at that time. >> you're right about that. i do think, though, at the end of the day if mitt romney were president he would have brought in stronger business sensibility and more concessions out of labor. it's a good thing that the auto companies are doing great. i'm happy to do that. i think ford motor company is doing well and that's a good story, but mitt romney campaign is going to translate this into a bigger story about the economy, and i think ultimately that's where his strength is talking about economic growth. >> my own sense is what the president did for the auto industry would help him in michigan, but i'm not convinced ohio, even though there are a lot of workers that benefited from the bailout of gm and chrysler. >> it's not just the auto industry, and it's the suppliers and people who were employed and small businesses, so it impacts many parts of the midwest well beyond michigan.
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mitt romney is looking back and somethinging businesses would have come in just because he would have wanted to, nobody thinks that's the case and that's again, revisionist history from the romney campaign. after the big announcement that he supports same-sex maerj and he wants to move on to other issues as quickly as possible. here's john boehner earlier in the day, the speaker of the house. >> i believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and the president and the democrats can talk about this all they want, but the fact is the american people are focused on our economy and they're asking the question, where are the jobs? >> i've heard a lot of republicans, and a lot of romney supporters quickly say yes, romney supports a ban on same-sex marriage and they want to move on and talk about other stuff. >> the fact of the matter is the republican base knows where mitt romney stands and they know where the president stands and
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that's solid. the base knows where the president stands. they want to talk about the economy and that's why john boehner is saying let's focus jobs and this is our best place to talk and our base knows where the president is and that's good for us and let's talk about the things we know we can win on and that's the major strength that romney potentially brings, the economiy and jobs. >> the president has a strong record to run on. 4.2 million people are working today because of the steps he put in place and the president himself said yesterday that he wants to talk about issues about the economy and afghanistan. he made the decision because it was the right thing to do. he felt strongly about it and the politics are not clear cut either way. check out my blog on situationroom on whether they agree on gay rights. don't ask, don't tell. here's a look at other political headlines making news on the cnn political ticker president obama and mitt romney
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are tied in two battleground states according to two new polls. a quinnipiac survey shows a statistical dead heat in ohio. 45% for the president. 44% for romney and 7% still undecided. and in suffolk university, seven news polls show similar results in florida, once again with one point separating them and a 7% unsure number who say they will vote in november. a huge spike in defense spending under mitt romney's proposed plan. more than $2 trillion over ten years and that according for an analysis for new security. they want a gross domestic product so that continued economic growth would mean more defense spending, but he hasn't explained how that would fit in with what his call is for more tax cuts and spending caps and a balanced budget. the justice department is telling controversial sheriff joe arpaio it plans to sue him for failing to address alleged
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racial discrimination. they accused arpaio and the maricopa county sheriff's office of a bias against latinos and one of his attorneys calls the government's investigation a witch hunt. there's something over at the treasury department that hasn't been seen in more than three years. a budget surplus. last month the government took in more than it spent leaving $59 billion on the books. the last time that happened was september 2008, before the financial crisis when there was a $46 billion surplus, but the celebration is premature despite the windfall the government was still on track to post a $1.3 trillion deficit for this fiscal year. for complete political coverage be sure to read the ticker at >> two bombs that tara, part syria's capital. dozens are killed and hundreds are wounded. the opposition is blaming each other and but there are concerns
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another group may be to blame. arwa damon is standing by. he was captured by the taliban in 2009 and we are learning about the controversial ways the u.s. government is trying to win his freedom. [ male announcer ] this was how my day began. a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪ oooh, my turn. ♪ she was in paris, but we talked for hours... everyone else buzzed about the band. there's a wireless mind inside all of us. so, where to next? ♪
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[ female announcer ] new aveeno skin strengthening body cream helps transform dry, thinning skin, by strengthening its moisture barrier, for improved texture and elasticity in 2 weeks. reveal healthy, supple skin. aveeno skin strengthening. reveal healthy, supple skin. recently, students from 31 countries took part in a science test. the top academic performers surprised some people. so did the country that came in 17th place. let's raise the bar and elevate our academic standards. let's do what's best for our students-by investing in our teachers. let's solve this.
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major news in syria today, a deadly new level to the violence in syria. two cars packed with a ton of explosives ripped apart the country's intelligence agency. the blast happened on a busy damascus highway and killed at least 55 people, many of them civilians, wounding almost 400. cnn's arwa damon is following all of the developments from beirut. >> reporter: filming the plume of smoke from the first blast the voice on this video posted to youtube starts to narrate. when the force of a second blast seems to knock him over. damascus, he cries out, his voice filled with panic, god is great. god is great, he repeats, moving back to film the second plume of
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smoke as the sounds of sirens echo. on thursday two suicide bombers detonated 8,000 kilograms of explosives resulting in the single deadliest attack in the capital. the target, this building, the palestine branch of military intelligence. its front ripped off by the force of the explosion. behind it, a university complex, on the other side of the road, residential areas. whole families needed to be rescued, many families were moved away from this alley, this man says. walls crumbled down. not a single wall can be seen erected. houses were destroyed. video showed the extent of the carnage, burnt-out carcasses of vehicle lay strewn across the road as rescue workers rushed to the scene. the head of the u.n. viewed the
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devastation and had this message. >> it needs to stop. whomever -- whomever inside syria or outside syria that is supporting this they have to realize it is giving more is suffering to the syrian people. they need to stop and give the syrian people a chance to move in a peaceful direction without having innocent people being killed in this way. >> reporter: images from a hospital, clear evidence of why the bloodshed in syria needs to end. both sides of this polarized conflict continues to point the finger of blame at one another. the syrian government call together work of terrorists. the opposition blaming the assad regime, claiming it wants to tarn earn their reputation. since december there have been a series of al qaeda-style attacks in damascus and ale punishes o. the front that emerged at the start of this year has claimed
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responsibility for the majority of them, a militant group calling for violent jihad against the regime. the fear shared by all is that the longer the chaos continues, the more extremist groups will thrive and grow. one thing, though, is clear. whomever carried out this attack had the desire to inflict maximum damage and had the experience to do it of which there is no shortage in this region. >> arwa is joining us now from beirut, a powerful piece, arwa. shocking what's going on. this week here in washington, i had a chance to have dinner with ban ki-moon, the u.n. secretary-general and even he seemed to be throwing up his hand. it doesn't look like those n guys that are over there will achieve much, but what's your sense? >> reporter: well, wolf, the issue is not what the u.n. monitors on the ground are going to be able to achieve because at the end of the day their entire mission is based on observing or
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trying to enforce a cease-fire and at this point in time that most certainly has not materialized. the real issue is if we do declare kofi annan's peace plan dead in the water there is no plan b. the international community has been unable to rally behind any sort of alternative solution. in fact, it has taken this long for all of the various players, russia, china, the u.s. and europe to be able to come together and agree on this one plan itself and that is what is the incredibly frightening prospect. there is no alternative and no other solution at this point. >> it looks like a situation potentially will get a whole lot worse and probably fairly rapidly. thank you very much, arwa. arwa is reporting for us from beirut. how far will the u.s. go to win the freedom of an american soldier being held by the taliban. we are learning about a possible controversial prisoner swap and we're getting new information about the double agent who got that al qaeda bomb out of yemen
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before it could blow up an airliner bound for the united states. we are learning about strong tie with the west. that day, he bought life insurance. now there's no way i could send our boy to college without it. if there was one thing i could say to hank, it'd be "thank you." you're welcome. hey, hank. [ male announcer ] life insurance you can use while you're still living. you are one lucky lady. mm-hmm. [ male announcer ] learn more from your state farm agent today.
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we are learning new details of delicate?
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controversial talks between the united states and the taliban for the release of an american soldier who had has been held captive for almost three years. our pentagon chris lawrence is working the story for us. what are you hearing, chris? >> reporter: wolf, u.s. officials say this would have been a good way for the taliban to show good faith in negotiations and that on the u.s. side they probably would not have released all five taliban prisoners at once, but in any case, those negotiations seem to have stalled out and that has made the family extremely frustrated. the fate of a captured american soldier may rest on how much the u.s. government will give up to get him back. behind the scenes, u.s. officials have been engaging in covert diplomacy with the taliban, regarding reconciliation. a u.s. official tells cnn part of the negotiation involved the u.s. transferring five of its taliban prisoners in exchange for bowe berdahl's release. >> first and foremost, our
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hearts go out to the berdahl family. >> reporter: berdahl's father has been making direct appeals to those holding his son and has said he is frustrated with the lack of progress. >> i pray this video may be shown to our only son. we miss you, bowe. military officials say they are constantly reminded of their search. >> if you go to the centcom command center, their conference room, there is about a 4 x 6 foot poster of bowe berdahl sitting in front of the podium to remind them and therefore for us every day that he remains missing in action. >> reporter: berdahl disappeared in this rugged region along the pakistani border where he was stationed in 2009. u.s. officials say he walked off his combat outpost, but in a video the taliban released berdahl claims he was captured when he fell behind on patrol. an administration official says they would have worked out some
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sort of sequence, perhaps moving two taliban prisoners from guantanamo to a third country like qatar and once berdahl was released the u.s. would let three more go, but swapping prisoners has been heavily criticized on capitol hill. >> the agency was asked to assess these five individuals, their significance and the risks that could be incurred by their release. >> but at one point there is a report that says they're too dangerous to release. >> reporter: berdahl's family is now telling "the new york times" and another newspaper that they are now so frustrated that they're trying to learn pashto so they can e-mail the taliban directly to make their appeal and they're frustrated that despite the fact the military officials have hosted them in their office they are yet to get any word from president barack obama and that to them is very frustrating. wolf?
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>> can only imagine what that family must be going through. chris, thank you. let's hope for the best. new details about the double agent who got al qaeda's latest bomb out of yemen. we are learning that one document got him inside the group's trusted circle. >> and two words that maying flyers' blood boil. baggage fees. they plan to charge for carry-ons as well and one passenger thinks it's a good idea. this man is about to be the millionth customer.
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where an agent can help you find the policy that's right for you. liberty mutual insurance, responsibility -- what's your policy? house republicans have voted to avert mandatory pentagon spending cuts from taking mono from social programs instead. cnn's erin burnett is going out front on the story later tonight. what's going on over here? what are you hearing? >> wolf, it's the latest frustration that we have with the inability of our elected officials to get anything done and to work across the aisle. this bill just passed this afternoon by house republicans. not a single democrat voted for it so you may say deja vu. you're absolutely right.
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what they're trying to do, wolf is avoid the $1.2 trillion of mandatory cuts coming in the end of this year which are the result of the failure of the super committee. they want to end about half of those cuts will come from defense and house republicans want to avoid that. democrats and republicans, there are many on both sides who agree they're too draconian and they want to avoid them and the way to avoid them they do not agree on. $243 billion is what they'll save over ten years. by the way, wolf, that's a drop in the bucket of what we spend. it's important to keep that in mind. we are having arguments over money that isn't very much, but in terms of what they'll cut, $1.8 million people could lose food stamps as a result of this. nearly 300,000 children could lose school lunches. they're trying to take money from social programs and they would replace them with better structured programs and as i said, no democrats voted for it. it's not going to get through
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the senate, but it is a continued proof that this fiscal cliff at the end of the year with the bush tax cuts expiring and the $1.2 billion and another need to raise the debt ceiling that this country is to deal with serious issues and we don't seem to have the chutzpah to do it in washington right now. >> the lame duck session after the elections will be important and crucial. we'll be watching 7:00 p.m. eastern later tonight. erin. thank you. let's go to jack right now. he's got "the cafferty file." >> the question is will president obama's support of gay marriage cost him black votes? rick writes i can't imagine black voters voting for romney, but it is likely some will sit it out and not vote for obama because of this single issue. i find it odd that a group of people who suffered oppression in this country for so many years would deny basic civil and human rights to yet another oppressed group. joy writes not at all. black voters identify with him and will continue to do so. besides, when will the next time
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be for them to see another black man become president of the united states? jerome in california says the short answer is yes. many minorities, especially blacks and hispanics are very religious. virginia in atlanta, sure it will, but it was an honest thing to do. steve writes, jack, it will take more than gay marriage to divide black folks. we've been through too much as a people to allow an issue like this to divide us now. paul in ontario says i don't think it should cost him black votes because i presume that blacks are gay in the same proportion as whites. we've had same-sex marriage in canada and so far god has not punished us. ed in maryland writes no way, obama is the blackest u.s. president ever. if he said he supports people marrying their pets it wouldn't cost him black votes. i don't know about that. if you want to read more about this, go to the blog, or to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. >> love our viewers, jack.
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thank you. he's the intelligence mole who prevented the possible bombing of a u.s.-bound airliner and now we're learning more about how he prevened an al qaeda attack. stand by. outrageous new airline fees. $100 for a single bag. what's going on? ♪
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here's a look at this hour's hotshots. in india, members of a teachers union call for more jobs and the release of almost 150 teachers arrested during protests. in honduras traffic backs up during a transportation workers strike. in hong kong, the sunrises as hot weather prevails over the region. a baby elephant struggles to its feet just days after being born. hotshots. pictures coming in from around the world. you pay for your airline ticket and pay for baggage fees and extra leg room from time to time. on one airline you better be ready to pay up to $100 if you're bringing a carry-on bag and you're not going to be able to leave -- and that's not going to be able to leave your feet. mary snow is following the story for us. the airline is known for low fare, but people know they have to pay for a lot of extras.
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tell us what's going on. >> they do, wolf, but this particular proposed fee is hitting a nerve. one consumer group says it should be a wake-up call for the department of transportation and it's calling for new rules on transparency for airlines overall about extra costs, specially when tickets are purchased online with agents. mention baggage fees in an airport and expect grown, but passengers really have their hackles up over a plan by spirit airlines to charge $100 for overhead carry-on bags. >> i think it's outrageous. it would cost more than an actual flight with them. it's outrageous? that's ridiculous. . it's ridiculous. it should be free. >> reporter: it built its business on -- he kept tabs on his last-minute spirit flight from washington, d.c. to los angeles with a stop in fort lauderdale. the original ticket was $511.
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then came extras. these types of fees aren't unique to spirit. you'll find them on most airlines. a checked bag. $38. seat upgrades another $115. add $135 for changed flight time. taxes and government fees amount to $119. a soda and snack for $7. the total cost, $926.18. what is unique to spirit, come november if you don't pay for your carry-on bag before you reach the boarding gate spirit will charge $100, a new fee the ceo introduced in this commercial. >> there's no telling what people will try to put in an overhead bin. >> reporter: it's currently charging $45. spirit says it hopes no one has to pay the new $100 fee saying much like a speeding ticket, the fee is intentionally set high to deter people from speeding. we don't want customers to wait until they get to the boarding
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gate to pay for their carry-on bags as this delays the boarding process for everyone. that's not how passenger rights advocate kate hannah sees it. >> where do you see this heading? >> i see it heading toward more fees. in my cynical world i would not be surprised to see them charging for seat belts and oxygen in the future and even pay to potty fees. >> reporter: hannah has been fighting for airlines to be more trance patient, but at one defender sees spirit's announced fees as a good thing. >> i do think it's a good thing for consumers. i know people are watching this and throwing things at the tv at me, but i do think this is good for consumers because if i want to travel somewhere and i don't want all these extra frills, then i'd rather pay less. >> reporter: since spirit started charging fees for carry-on bags a few years ago only one airline has followed suit and that's legion airlines. it currently charges $35 if the carry-on is checked on at the
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airport. wolf? >> i suspect we'll be hearing more. mary, thank you. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, new evidence that al qaeda's most dangerous branch may be more capable than ever of attacking the united states with new bombs and more coming terrorists. plus, will there be a breakthrough that could free an american prisoner in cuba alan gross. i'll press a top foreign ministry official to see what havana wants from the united states. this tug-of-war playing out in "the situation room." what would you pay to attend dinner with george clooney and president obama? we're standing by for a record-breaking fund-raiser at clooney's home tonight. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac --
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right now we're learning more about an all-out effort by al qaeda terrorists in yemen to attack the united states and how a secret agent prevented one terrifying bomb plot from being carried out. let's bring in brian todd uncovering new details about the informant who apparently snatched al qaeda's bomb. >> wolf, we've been in touch with an analyst who has been briefed by this plot and he's giving us new insights on the bomb itself and on the operative who brought this bomb down. cnn has obtained new information on the agent that penetrated the plot and before it could blow up a u.s.-bound passenger yet. the informant has strong western ties. >> my information basically indicates that he's a british citizen citizen and basically he's an
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arab or of middle eastern origin, but he is holder of a british passport and this is the reason why they actually, one of the major reasons why they recruited him. he's been briefed by saudi terrorism officials on this plot. the operative had previously moved in jihadist circle, that and his western travel documents made the agent attractive to al qaeda's powerful branch in yemen. alani says they are recruiting operatives who can travel to the u.s. and with a passport that's easy. >> reporter: saudi -- he received training on how to use the explosive device. >> he received training and to avoid detection and how to behave. >> alani said there was more than one person that handlers this h to evacuate from yemen.
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>> they need to be evacuated because he is the link between the person and the intelligence service. >> reporter: he says the bomb was flown by saudi officials from yemen to saudi arabia and then handed to u.s. officials and he has new information on the bomb itself. alani's understanding is that the device may have been designed to fit in a garment worn over underwear. alani says this device was more sophisticated than those used in the 2010 printer bomb plot and the 2009 christmas day attack both from that same group. a u.s. official says this latest bomb had redundancies built into it to make sure it worked. i asked tom fuentes about that. >> could it have used two detonators and how would that work? >> one detonator could be literally box, and another detonator could be a liquid chemical, put in a syringe and a baby bottle and injected to cause the ignition.
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>> reporter: according to mustafa alana it contained petn, a white powdery explosive tough to detect with body scanning machines. this device was apparently smaller than those hidden in the printers, but sources say it contained 300 grams of high explosives, een more than the device carried by the christmas day bomber and this is a demonstration of what his bomb could have done. >> reporter: the christmas day bomber failed to ignite his device. experts say the detonation charge failed to set off the petn explosives in the 2009 attack and it's possible his own perspiration could have set off the chemicals, something he might have eliminated those factors and that's ibrahim al asiri. >> the operative who was helpful, obviously, the double agent, the mole, is there any indication he or his family may be in danger right now. >> mustafa alani tells us that
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operative's family is secure. the operative himself is no longer in the middle east. he was apparently shuttled to several places, but that's all they're willing to say to anybody. he is no longer anywhere in the region. >> he's going through a lot of debriefing right now. >> thanks for that. now to terrifying new information about al qaeda's ongoing effort to attack the united states with new bombs including one that might be hidden inside animals. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is working this part of the story for us. what are you picking up, barbara? >> we have all heard an awful lot this week about al qaeda in yemen, but now we are really learning about how strong they may be. a senior u.s. official tells cnn that communications intercepts and reports from spies on the ground in yemen over the last several months had indicated a growing effort by al qaeda in the arabian peninsula or in a qap to attack the united states. it's all coming from what is
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described as the military wing of aqap which according to one source is, quote, a whole outfit designated to target the u.s. this deadly al qaeda wing includes multiple bomb makers and willing suicide bombers. one source telling cnn they are now working on several types of bombs that can be hidden in clothes, cameras and even inside animals. >> the talent of the organization is getting better. that is, they're much more capable of carrying out attacks. >> the obama administration says it's working closely with the yemenis. >> we are working very closely with the yemeni government and the intelligence and military forces to ensure that that growth of al qaeda in yemen can be blocked. >> reporter: but that only goes so far. u.s. intelligence is now trying to recruit other spies inside yemen, especially from tribes in the southern sector where aqap exerts extensive control. despite u.s. and yemeni efforts
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to attack aqap with stepped up drone strikes, al qaeda in yemen is on the rise since the failed 2009 underwear bomber attack. >> aqap at that time was about 200 to 300 members and it controlled no territory in yemen. now today about two and a half years later, aqap has more than tripled in strength to over 1,000 members and it controls a great deal of territory in southern yemen. in fact, it controls towns. it's running its own police department. >> reporter: the secretary leon panetta insists that the u.s. is being successful in attacking aqap, al qaeda in yemen, but many experts will tell you it remains a cat and mouse game for the u.s. to stay one step ahead of them. wolf? >> interesting. fewer than a hundred al qaeda operatives left in afghanistan according to u.s. intelligence, but now more than 1,000 operating in yemen. obviously, a very significant story.
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barbara, thanks very, very much. jack cafferty is here with "the cafferty file." wolf, america's problems are still big. it's most of our leaders who have gotten small. that's a quote from a great piece today on politico by roj or simon. he hits the nail on the head describing a congress which used to do thing, but now specializes in not doing things. simon writes congress today is about making sure nothing gets done because if something actually gets done then one party or the other will take credit for it. what a staad state of affairs. our leaders who used to reach across the aisle will no longer budge and those of us seen as bipartisan, those like dick lugar, olympia snowe, kent conrad are being voted out or they're not bothering to run for office again. simon describes congress as collapsing from its former state of sluggishness to one of paralysis. even when it comes to issues both sides support like low interest on college loans that
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can't get it done. according to "the new york times" this week's senate vote on student loans was the 21st time that republicans have successfully filibustered a democratic bill since january of 2011. meantime our country is drowning in big trouble. from skyrocketing deficits, $15 trillion in debt, high unemployment and ongoing housing crisis and record poverty, food stamp use and the people that we elect to represent us turn a blind eye to those things that if left unattended will bring us down. a foreign enemy will have to fire a shot. here's the question. why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying this country? go to and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. >> jack, thank you. >> a lot of people would certainly consider a dinner with actor george clooney to be priceless, but it will be worth a record $15 million to
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president obama's re-election campaign effort. and will cuba give any ground on releasing an american prisoner who tells me he feels like a hostage? stand by for my rare interview with a top cuban official in havana and wait until you see prince charles do something he's always wanted to do. [ male announcer ] if you were building the perfect laptop, you'd use carbon fiber and machined aluminum, to make it more beautiful, and more durable. you'd use edge-to-edge gorilla glass for a stunning display in a more compact form. and you'd choose an intel® core i7™ processor
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call... or visit one of our local offices today, and we'll provide the coverage you need at the right price. liberty mutual auto insurance, responsibility -- what's your policy? president obama has a lot to look forward to when he lands in los angeles tonight. he is likely to get welcome for same-sex marriage. he has dinner plans with george clooney along with a bunch of wealthy donors eager to rubble bows with the actor and the president help cnn's michelle turner is standing by for the record breaking fund-raiser. it will be lively out on the west coast. >> reporter: absolutely wolf. it will be a big night and tonight is the biggest one-time fund-raiser ever for a presidential candidate and along with that big money, expect to see some big stars.
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will ferrell has hosted him. will smith has, too. ditto for hollywood couple antonio banderas and melanie griffith. >> it's exciting, obviously, to have the president of the united states in your house. >> but no other hollywood fund-raiser for president obama's re-election has gotten the buzz or pulled in the bucks like the event george clooney and producer jeffrey katzenberg are hosting thursday night. even jimmy kimmel joked about it at the recent white house correspondents dinner. i've always dreamed of eating a hot pocket with the president. >> reporter: in a social calendar of year-round red carpet, ven, this is the one party everyone in hollywood is talking about. why? well, for one thing, it's being held at george clooney's home. >> it makes it more appealing to a lot of people. it's not at some venue that's just not int an interesting place at a hotel. it's at his house and he's
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supposed to be a very gracious and generous host. so that does add a nice level of comfort and elegance to it. >> mitchell schwartz ran president obama's 2008 campaign in california. he says you can expect celebrities and hollywood heavy weights to be among the 150 guests at this exclusive event. so i'm just yards away from george clooney's house and as you can see by these party rental trucks here they are getting red for the fund-raiser on thursday. we are in the studio city area of los angeles and george has lived here for nearly 20 years. here's a little hollywood history for youio. he reportedly bought his house from stevie nicks. the media is not invited to this event so looks like this is just about as close as i'm going to get to having dinner with george clooney and president obama. capitalizing on all of the clooney fans out there, the obama re-election campaign held a raffle for a suggested $3 donation a supporter could buy a chance to win a trip to the
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event. proceeds from the raffle, combined with with the $40,000 each invited guest is putting up are set to bring in an estimated $15 million. so what do you get for $40,000? >> every pen they they spend is less money for the campaign and that's how the campaign people look at it. they look at it very coldly and efficiently. so, yes, the people will not be drinking swell, but it's not going to be as nice as you would think for a $40,000 a head event. >> reporter: perhaps the party won't be as glamorous as one might imagine, but with clooney as your host, who cares what you eat? all right, maybe the glam fact oral be in effect at george clooney's house and reportedly celebrity chef wolfgang puck will be doing the cooking at the party tonight so the president and all of the guests, wolf, will actually be eating quite well. >> wolfgang puck's doing the cooking, i know this from personal experience, will be delicious. all right. thanks so much. >> indeed. >> we'll be watching what's going on. meanwhile,a i hot red
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ferrari leaves an embarrassing and damaging mark on history. the daring moves that have one country in an uproar and they're supposed to help the environment and the reusable bags you take to the grocery store could actually make you sick. we have details of a disturbing new report. ♪ [ acoustic guitar: upbeat ]
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russian authorities say they foiled a plot to attack the 2014 winter olympic games. mary snow is monitoring that story any some of the other top stories in "the situation room." what's going on, mary? >> according to state media authorities arrested three men involved with the plot and seized surface-to-air missiles and a mortar. they're a chechen group on the foreign list of trorists. a speeding ferrari has severely damaged an ancient
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chinese site dating back 600 years smearing it with black tread marks. it happened before a publicity, vent for the italian car giant. ferrari issued a statement expressing deep regret for the incident and calling it, quote, unacceptable. they may be helping the environment, but the reusable bags you take to the grocery store could also make you sick. the journal of infectious diseases reveals a virus outbreak was traced to 2010 and spread to a girls soccer team who all ate cookies from the same bag. health officials recommend keeping the bags clean and disinfected. finally, we're learning juicy new details about queen elizabeth from a new biography. according to "the daily beast" robert lacy writes the queen that prince philip's pet name for his wife is get that, cabbage. elizabeth reportedly made a pact with british toby blair never to see the famous movie "the queen" and in case there was any doubt
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the queen does, in fact, know her spice girls. the book is due out next week. >> i'm sure a lot of people want to read that book. thanks very much for that, mary. an american jailed in cuba tells me he now feels like a hostage. we are following up on my exclusive interview with alan gross who is desperate to be reunited with his family. also, the castro and obama governments are sparring over gross' fate. i'll press a top cuban official to tell us what it would take to let this american go home free. ♪ i have my hands in many hives. i help run the new york city beekeepers association. i help run bees without borders. ♪ >> i am a paid consultant to restaurants and hotels. i have my own private hives from which i extract and bottle honey, and sell at union square.
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some information here in the
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situation room involving a u.s. airways flight if boston. >> we know this flight did land safe safely. that's the first thing woe want to tell viewers. a u.s. airways express a passenger became unruly on the plane, tried to open a cabin door or a cargo door on the airplane. he's now in custody by mass state police troopers. they are telling us they don't exactly know what's going on. he is in custody and they took him off of the plane and the plane landed safely at 4:37 this afternoon. it was going from philadelphia to portland, maine, we don't know why this person became unruly and any time this happens they turn around and they land as quickly as possible, which is smart. that's the standard operating procedure in the situation like this. lizzie, thanks very much. the cuban government is urging u.s. officials to sit down and talk about the fate of the jailed american alan gross
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who tells me he feels as though he's being held hostage in cuba. stand by for my exclusive, very rare interview with a top cuban ministry official in havana. she spoke with me from havana, but first, some background. an international negotiation is seemingly playing out on cnn. it started friday when alan gross, an american imprisoned in cuba for the last two and a half years called into "the situation room." i'm in a military hospital, it's a secure facility. >> during my 25-minute interview with gross we touched on several topics, including his health. >> i lost 100 pound, and i exercise as much as i can. my hip is starting to give me a little bit of a problem. >> reporter: the maryland contractor who is now serving a 15-year prison sentence says he was in cuba in the tiny jewish community as part of the u.s.-funded aid program.
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the cuban government disagreed, charging gross with smuggling in illegal equipment and being a threat to the security and independence of the state. >> it was laughable and if i weren't in this situation i would be laughing about it because i'm about as much of a threat to the security of the state as the chair that i'm sitting on right now. >> gross is now pleading with the castro regime to let him fly to the united states and see his cancer-stricken 90-year-old mother. the government hasn't officially responded to his request. instead, they offered to send a plane to mime toe bring her here. my mother does not live in miami. my mother lives in texas. she's not allowed to travel. that's baloney. i -- i'm trying to catch myself so i don't use a stronger word. >> shortly after that interview the cuban representative in washington jorge bolanos sent cnn a heart refuting some of gross' claims saying gross is in
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good, physical conditions. he receives specialized medical care, balanced meals, regular consular access, visits by 14s and political and religious personalities. mr. gross violated cuban laws by implementing a u.s. government program aimed at attempting against cuba's constitutional order. he is not an activist who came to cuba to assist the cuban people. he is a professional paid for by the u.s. government. secretary of state hillary clinton fired back in an interview with cnn. >> mr. gross was not a spy. mr. gross was not an intelligence agent. mr. gross worked for a development group that was helping cubans, principally, in their small jewish community in cuba to have access to the internet, and mr. gross, in our view, is being held without justification and has been detained already far too long.
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>> the letter i received from the top cuban diplomat here in washington, jorge bolanos suggested to me that the castro government is interested in a prisoner swap for the cuban five. they're serving lengthy prison sentences after being arrested on spy charges. they'll also try to keep the lines of communication open. and josefina vidal is joining us from havana. she's the head of north american affairs for the cuban foreign ministry. are you prepared to tell us what you want in exchange for the release of alan gross? >> wolf, thank you for having me in your program. we have conveyed to the u.s. government our willingness to have a dialogue to try to solve all our problems and to normalize relations between our two countries.
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in this specific case we have made clear to the u.s. government as you said that we are ready to have a negotiation in order to try to find a solution, a humanitarian solution to mr. gross' case on a reciprocal basis. i am not, we are not advancing any specific formula. it has to be discussed with the u.s. government because the u.s. government has a direct responsibility on the situation for the situation of mr. alan gross, but again, we have been waiting for a response on the side of the u.s. government on this specific matter. >> so there are no active discussions or negotiations underway right now between the cuban government and the u.s. government to try to free alan gross? >> we have conveyed to the u.s. side that we are ready to sit down to talk and to have a
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negotiation on this matter, and as i mentioned already to you, we have been waiting for a response. we are ready to do that. >> is there, from your perspective, is there a linkage between the release of alan gross and the release of what's called the cuban five? >> again, we are not advancing a specific solution, a specific formula. it has to be discussed among us, but definitely cuba has legitimate concerns, humanitarian concerns related to the situation of the cuban five. >> what do you say in response to what the secretary of state hillary clinton told cnn? >> you know, mr. gross who was not working in cuba as a volunte volunte volunteer, aid worker. he was detained in cuba because of conducting a well-financed program by the u.s. government
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aimed at provoking changes in cuba, attempting against cuba's constitutional order. so mr. gross when he was retained was a professional under a contract by the u.s. government for trying to implement this program financed by some u.s. agencies. but he was -- he was, of course, in violation -- >> what evidence do you have that he was -- >> he was convicted for violating cuban laws, attempting against cuba's constitutional order is not just a crime in cuba. it is also a crime in the united states and in many other countries and this is the reason why he was convicted because of attempting against our upon innence, our constitutional order. >> mr. gross told me when he brought all of the equipment in the people at the airport, the authorities saw the equipment and they said you have to pay duty on it, 100%. he didn't want to pay 100% and
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they said pay $100 and you can bring the equipment in and they inspected the phones and satellite phones and whatever he was bringing in and allowed to bring it into the country. as a result, he says he doesn't understand why he was arrested. >> it has been written in some media reports mr. gross misled u.s.-cuban authorities about the kind of equipment he was introducing into the country without the authorities and he also misled members of the cuban-jewish community about the purposes of his trip to cuba and what he was doing in cuba. >> alan gross says his 90-year-old mother is dying of cancer in texas. she can't travel and she can't get on an airplane. he would like to spend two weeks and he promises he would come back to cuba if you let him say good-bye, in effect to his mother. what's wrong with that? >> in the case of mr. alan gross
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he has started to serve his prison terms three years ago, and the conditions under which he is now do not allow him to go outside of cuba. >> even for human tearian reasons to visit his 90-year-old mother who has cancer and is dying? are you open at all to letting him say good-bye to her? >> in the case of mr. gross, we have guaranteed for him a good treatment as he himself told you. he's in good shape. he receives specialized medical treatment, balanced meals. he receives visits, regular cons la accents and by friends and by religious and political leaders and we have fassel tated for the
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families and everything they've requested so far. >> i also asked josefina vidal. i told her what i'm hearing from u.s. sources about what cuba can do to improve relation upon shoulds. stand by for part two of this exclusive interview and look, look who is reading the weather forecast. >> the rain, of course, will be heaviest over the borders and around edinboro where it could lead to difficult conditions on the roads. i'm walt gale,
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i worked at the colorado springs mail processing plant for 22 years. we processed on a given day about a million pieces of mail. checks, newspapers, bills. a lot of people get their medications only through the mail. small businesses depend on this processing plant. they want to shut down 3000 post offices, cut 100,000 jobs. they're gonna be putting people out of work everywhere. the american people depend on the postal service. what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ? hello ?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7,
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you need an ally. hello ? ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense.
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>> the case was jailed american alan gross is a new thorn between the united states and cuba. after half a century of tension, i spoke about the prospects of improved u.s.-cuban relations with josefina vidal, the head of north american affairs for the cuban foreign ministry. what do you think of president obama and his efforts over these past three and a half years to reach out to try to improve relations between the united states and cuba?
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>> this is our position, i mean, for many years the cuban government has been conveying to the u.s. side our willingness to have a comprehensive, political dialogue with the united states to solve all our historical problems and to move on in order to have a productive, beneficial relationship for the benefit of our people, and this is our position. we have related that to the u.s. government and we continue to be willing to have the possibility to see that future for our two countries. >> is there any dialogue under way right now between your government and the obama administration? >> we have had talks in the last two or three years. as soon as the new president, president obama took office, some level of official dialogue that suffered a lot during the
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previous administration that was established and we have had our biannual migration talks and we have conveyed in those meetings the position i just described to you about cuba's willingness to -- for the best of our two countries, to find a civilized -- with the united states. >> are you hopeful? are you optimistic that the relationship will improve over the next few months? >> we are always hopeful. we have been waiting for that moment for more than 50 years, but we are still strong believers that the future is possible for the good and the benefit of the u.s., of cuba, of our both mutual national interests and for our people. >> based on my conversations with very high u.s. officials,
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ms. vidal, i can tell you that if you were to make a gesture and release alan gross, he served already two and a half years that would go a long way in setting the stage for an improved u.s.-cuban relationship. >> in that regard i have to be honest with you, wolf, and tell you that we see this statement as a new pretext by the u.s. side in order to not to move on on our bilateral relationships. we have seen all over our history that any time one pretext disappears, there is another one ready at hand in order to try to justify not to normalize the relations with cuba. >> it sounds like a relatively easy situation to you, to test the united states, send alan gross home and see what happens. if there's no improvement, what have you lost? >> as i mentioned to you in the
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beginning of our interview, this is something that cuba cannot do unilaterally, because there is a responsibility by the united states government for the situation of mr. alan gross, so this is a topic, a matter, an issue that has to be discussed directly cuba and the united states in order to look for a solution. >> and you're saying the u.s. is not ready to discuss alan gross' situation with cuba? is that what you're saying? >> we have been waiting for a response and the reaction from the united states about what we have conveyed about our willingness to sit down and to have a conversation and to initiate a negotiation on that matter. >> we will continue this conversation, josefina vidal. thank you so much for joining us and we will continue to talk. we'll stay in close touch. >> it is my pleasure, wolf. thank you. >> and we've received state department reaction to my introduce with josefina vidal. let me read the statement that they gave us. we reject the suggestion that
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this is a matter for negotiation. alan gross is unjustifiably imprisoned and his case is not related to the cuban five. josefina vidal's statements only seem to reinforce alan gross' view that he is a hostage of the cuban regime. the statement goes on. the continuing imprisonment of alan gross is deplorable, it is wrong and a violation of human dyessency and human rights and we raised this issue with the cuban government on every opportunity. we call on people to raise this issue with the cuban government because mr. gross deserves to come home. the u.s. statement adds we will continue to use every appropriate channel to press the cuban government for mr. gross' release so he can return to his family where he belongs. to date, the government of cuba has presented no realistic proposal from alan gross' release. by the way, the full interview
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of josefina vidal will be posted on our website, all right. new this just coming in as well, reports of tension between president obama and vice president biden regarding the same-sex marriage issue. now there's new information on how the vice president has reacted. let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. jessica, what's going on? >> reporter: hi, wolf. we just have learned that the vice president went into the president's oval office yesterday before the president's interview on abc news and apologized for putting him in a tough position on this issue this week and the president responded by saying effectively that he knows that the vice president is speaking from the heart. separately, the vice president's spokeswoman has put out a statement saying that the president, this is a quote, has been a leader on this issue from day one and the vice president never intended to distract from that. so, clearly, the vice president's office taking the high road on this one.
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a bit of a sideshow from the bigger story which is the fact that this is the first white house to come out on this issue and as we've discussed, does not seem like this would be any kind of lasting rift between these two men, wolf. >> i suspect there won't be at all. thanks, jessica. >> it might look like a jungle, but it's someone's basement filled with half a million dollars worth of pot. details on a major bust that went down just outside washington.
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. . the corruption trial of former presidential candidate, john edwards, mary snow is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room." what do you have? >> prosecutors wrapped the case without calling rielle hunter to the stand. they focused on hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses he allegedly concealed during his failed presidential run. the prosecution alleges he used campaign funds to hide hunter and the child he fathered with her. he maintains his innocence. if convicted, he could face up to 30 years behind bars. >> the wreckage of a russian passenger plane that went missing over indonesia has been
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spotted south of jakarta. officials have yet to find any survivors. the plane was on a demonstration flight when it disappeared off radar yesterday. more than 40 people were on board. the cause of the crash is unclear. here in the u.s., it may look like a jungle. it is actually a basement reportedly filled with more than 100 pounds of marijuana worth more than half a million dollars. according to wusa, detectives confiscated the plants from a maryland home. more huge losses for the u.s. postal service, reporting a staggering $3.2 billion loss for its second fiscal quarter ending march 31st. it is using this announcement to push its plan to cut saturday service and consolidate postal processing plants to stem the bleeding. the postal service says, if congress doesn't step in to help, it could be out of cash by
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october. wolf? >> thanks, mary. >> let's get back to jack for the cafferty file. another example of nothing being done about a problem sitting right in front of the people in washington. it has been there for a couple of years and they do nothing. >> that's the question. why won't our leaders focus on the problems that are destroying this company? >> ilene writes in texas, they don't want to hear people's complaints when they start taking away benefits. >> george in italy, the current leaders in america can't focus on ongoing destructive problems. these issues appears much too live for them to solve. the brain matter needed is absent. devon writes, why do you think ron paul supporters are so determined and passionate? through dr. paul, they have learned what the real problems are and see the gravity of the situation. and the futility of voting for the current presidential frontrunners.
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randy writes, that is too easy. the rich and corporations just love the status quo. josh in new orleans writes, our leaders do represent the american people. we are greedy, self-centered and looking out for our own self-interest. our leaders in washington view compromise as a sign of weakness. mark writes, nothing is going to change, left or right, liberal or conservative, republican or democrat until we have term limits in congress. why does the presidency have a term limit but congress doesn't? >> kristen writes, they can't focus on the problems destroying this country. they are so wrapped up in getting reelected that focusing on real problems would be political suicide. if you want to read more about this depressing stuff, go to the blog, file or through our post on "the situation room" facebook page. see you monday. prince charles takes a break from his day job to do the
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weather. look at this. >> in the west, rain will be lighter and patchy. there will be snow for the higher ground and the highlands. the potential for a few flurries over balmoral as the afternoon goes on. who the hell wrote this script? as the afternoon goes on. bring it up to 90 decatherms. how bout ya, joe? let's go ahead and bring it online. attention on site, attention on site. now starting unit nine. some of the world's cleanest gas turbines are now powering some of america's biggest cities. siemens. answers.
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in south krorea, marine organizer thes. >> in india, a boy sells coconut on the roadside. a european artistics gymnastics. if prince charles decides to quit his day job, he could have a future in the weather business. here is cnn jeanne moos. >> reporter: it was anything but low pressure when the anchor tossed to the weatherman by saying, your highness. >> well, it is an unsettled picture as we head toward the
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end of the week. cold, wet, and windy across most of scotland. >> reporter: as prince charles delivered the lunch forecast during a tour of bbc scotland. instead of someone holding the umbrella for the royals, the prince was holding the button to control the weather match. the princely meteorologist read smoothly off a teleprompter with the occasion ad lib. as he read. he realized places where the conditions were highlighted were ones frequentedly the royals. >> the potential for a few flurries over balmoral. who the hell wrote this script? as the afternoon goes on. >> at least he knows a high from a low. >> is the "h" hot or humid? >> reporter: the prince didn't knock over any cold fronts. as late comedian paul lynde did when he filled in at a toledo, ohio station back in the late '70s. >> 26 centigrade, 79%
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fahrenheit. 41% chance of twisters. >> reporter: nor did prince charles adjust his bosem as snooki did when she subbed. >> some light snow with p.m. flurries at a new york city station. >> at least the prince knew not to wear green. it is the one color we can't wear. with green screen technology. >> reporter: when ellen barged into a chicago newscast, she was sort of a miamiing meteorologist. >> she is cloaking this low pressure well. >> reporter: triumph, the weather dog, resorted to his usual insults. >> the clouds are coming to the sky. poor, hawaii. they are going to have a xloud or two. >> reporter: these two playboy bunnies. >> let's see that tail. >> reporter: tried to pin a tail on the regular weatherman. >>