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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  December 11, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PST

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the associated press the fake interpreting k34i9ed something similar last year at an esanta attended by jacob zuma. i'll be back in two hours. i turns over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." \s. right now why it mike make america's enemies nerve out. behind the scenes on air force one, candid images of the remarkable flight carries president obama, president bush,
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and hillary clinton to south africa. what went on? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin with chilling new video and details of the final seconds of asiana flight 214. federal investigators have released this previously unseen surveillance recording, showing the plane's tail hitting a sea wall. three people were killed in the july accident. hundreds were injured. now we're learning there were repeated warnings in the cockpit of looming disaster, but why didn't those warnings prevent the crash? cnn's rene marsh has details. >> the details make you shake your head and ask, how could this happen? the pilots got the warning. they were aware they were going down too fast, but the problem wasn't corrected, and it may
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just be they didn't understand how the automated systems work newry released individual show crashes last july in san francisco. now we know more about what was happening inside the cockpit. it's clear the plane was descending too quickly. today we learned someone noticed. the cockpit voice recorders say 52 seconds before the crash, a relief pilot in the backseat of the cockpit called out sink rate, warning the plane was dropping too fast. yes, sir, the pilot responded. the warning repeated in english and korean. the pilot at the controls was a trainee on the 777, but had substantial experience in other aircraft. he told investigator he was not confident in understanding how the plane's autoflight system worked and he felt he should study more. he also said it was, quote, difficult and stressful to land the plane visually without an
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instrument approach to guide them, but he felt pressure to do it, because other pilots were. >> as we apply it as a tool to aid the pilot, not replace the pilot. >> reporter: investigators questioned if the pilots were too reliant on technology. the pilot flying thought the autothrottle was engaged, but it wasn't, dramatically slowing the plane. >> are there certain phases of flight where airspeed is going to be a do-or-die situation? >> absolutely. we we design the airport, we assume that airports are very good at monitoring when it's a critical phase of flight. >> reporter: crash survivor ben levy took these photos immediately after the plane went down. like most passengers, he didn't attend the hearing, saying he wants to focus on work and family, but he still hopes to find out what caused the crash.
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>> i've got a sense of what happened. i just want to get to the bottom of it, and everything that went wrong that day. >> reporter: the investigation continues for months, a final determination will come next year. wolf, that hearing is not over yet. they started early this morning, and we know that it should go on for about another three hours or so. >> we also understand the investigation will focus while so many survived, three people died. >> they'll look at the crash worthyness of the cabins, and they'll be looking at all of that sort of detail to figure out if there's anything that needs to be improved as far as the internal components. >> they have to learn the lessons, rene, thanks very much. we're joined by captain sully sullen berger.
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he safely landed a plane after bird strikes. he's now a consultant for cbs news. thank you very much for joining us. >> hi, wolf. good to be with you. >> what's your immediate reaction when you hear these initial results from this investigation? >> i've been saying for decades that automation in the cockpit is not a panacea. it's a mixed blessing. while it and many other things have helped aviation much safer, in certain ways it's introduced new risks,' specially as the complexity of these systems has increased. right now airline pilots are not getting enough in-depth training and knowledge about these systems, and it's also important they now how to monitor them and be ready with well-learned manual flying skills. >> because it sound like when
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the automated part screws up, these pilots in this case, they didn't know how to manually land the plane correct. is that right? >> my take on what the ntsb said is they didn't realize that their actions had made the throttles inact ink, and in this case they were not going to control speed. they assumed wrongly that -- they weren't watching when it didn't. they didn't act quickly enough. unbelievably they waited until 30 knots slowed before they began to take action. we all remember when your plane was in trouble over the hudson and you landed, once there was a serious problem, you immediately realized it, and you took charge of that plane directly. that should have happened in this particular case. apparently it didn't. what was the difference? >> well, ute mailings is a tool,
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but ultimately the pilots must make sure you have a safe flight path. whether the auto throttles are working or not, someone should have taken action much sooner. in fact there are safeguards that could and should have been in place. you're required to be as a certain ped and altitude. at one point if you're not, you're required to begin going around, abandoning the approach and climbing away. that just wasn't done in time. there are teamwork skills that weren't done properly. the ntsb is rightly looking at the culture of the organization and society to see what reasons, what inhibitors there were to doing the right thing. maybe they were trained to do teamwork skills properly, about you in practice they weren't being done. that's something else we need to find out.
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>> as you point out, there isn't an investigation into what's called the korean culture, in that the junior pilots were deferring to the chief pilot. they didn't want to question the chief pilot. that would have been seen an inappropriate. that potentially is a serious problem. >> this fact that's a problem we solved about 30 years ago. i along with dozens of other peels in my airline helped to xwremt this course. we changed the cockpit culture, because the captain didn't used to be approachable, didn't listen to others. apparently in this case they are not there yet. we heard that the pilot was not confident in fully understanding the autoflight systems in this plane. he wanted more education, more study more practice. should he have been flying this plain into the san francisco international airport?
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>> well, at many airlines there's not such training, many of which are counterintuitive in the automation technologies. the airlines give pilots more basic understandings, and on their own through ojt, they have to, over a period of time gather this knowledge on their own. so it's not surprising he didn't have an in-depth knowledge of the airport's systems in every case. it's not surprising he was flying the airport with this number of hours in it. in fact when i was instructor at my airline, i would be able to sign off people with only 25 hours on a new airport if they were ability to meet the statistics. the fact he had less that 60 hours is not necessarily a problem. if he had met.standard all along the way. >> there is a serious problem with the newer generation pilots as they're coming through with
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all the high-technology, as opposed to when you were learning how to be a pilot? >> well, when i learned over 40 years ago, my generation and i learned the future skills very well. they were deeply internalized, and became immediately available even decades later. we didn't have to learn the technology. it's important that even new generation has they well-learned fundamental skills and can exercise them and enough practice using them they can quickly manually fly the airplane if they need to, in addition to understanding very well the automation technologies. that's a concern as we train one generation of pilots from the next. that's why they investigations go on. captain, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. up next house speaker john boehner has had it. he's fed up with some conservative groups trying to kill the new budget deal.
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barely 24 hours old, but the budget deal hammered out by paul ryan and patty murray is already coming under sharp attack from powerful conservative groups trying to kill it. they've had huge influence in past budget battles, but this time they may not get their way, because the house speaker john boehner seems to have had enough. dana bash is on capitol hill.
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what's going on? >> reporter: so say they've had influence is an understatement. so much of the atmosphere has been shaped by lawmakers on the republican side in the house, particularly in the leadership trying to tiptoe around the groups, not cross them for feel that the rank and file will be threatened by them. even primary by the republican right. that changed big-time today, when the house speaker lashed out for coming out against the budget deal even before they saw it. inch you mean the groups that came out and opposed it before you ever saw it? >> yes, those groups. >> they're using our members and the american people for their own goals. this is ridiculous. listen, if you are more for definite at this time reduction, you are for this agreement. >> reporter: in addition, he
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told in private don't worry about thinks outside groups, they don't have a voting card, you do. other dyed in the wool conservatives agreed. they said in this particular issue, they outside groups -- and we're talking about the heritage action group, the tea party-backed groups -- those who have had so much power may not have it this time, because there really is fatigue, even among conservatives lurching from crisis to crisis. they said to get back to regular order, and this deal does that. the question, of course, is whether or not that will have a major influence on the votes, which are going to be tomorrow, we'll see just how the republicans vote. >> with these two members, the house senate conferrees on board, with the speaker on board, excontactor on board, president obama on board, is there really any danger this bill won't pass the house tomorrow.
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>> reporter: there is always danger, because you never know what will happen at the end of the day, but by all accounts, democrats and republicans, despite the fact that nobody is entirely happy with this deal, enough democrats and republicans will likely vote for it. >> the magic number, 218 votes, that's the majority unless there's some absentees, right? >> reporter: right, there are in absentees, it will probably be alternates less, but that's the ballpark. >> thanks, dana. let's dig deeper with glorgeia borger. in the end, paul ryan an the others, they seem to be weary of allowing any more shutdowns. >> you could hear the frustration from john boehner there. it's like i've had enough of you guys. i did that in october. i don't want to do this again. the appetite right now for going
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at the brink is a big zero. if they cool it, they might actually be doing themselves a favor politically, it could help them in a mterm elections. don't give the public a reason to hate you. so i think boehner is speaking for the leadership saying, enough, guys, you made your point. >> his words were strong. i was pretty surprise to hear how harsh he was. >> this is an amazing moment in our politics right now. this is boehner's sista soulja moment. remember when clinton made a point of attacking someone. this is boehner sake i'm the speaker of the house, we did it your way earlier, and it led to a disaster, and he's going to continue as speaker, he's got to control the votes in the house.
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>> if he wants to continue the majority for the republican party, he's got to control them, not only the speakership. >> absolutely. he's been criticized as not having control over his conference. he tried to do it the way of the far right group. it ended in tears. >> how did this play into paul ryan's ambitions? >> he's been walking this fine line. he actually voted against the leadership in the end on that. that was a move where he had to appeal to the right. now he's kind of moved to the center. what i see from adition some is the transformational things -- not unlike barack obama -- is that he wanted to reform medicare and the tax code, he knows he can't do it, so he is
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sort of okay, and in fact promoting an incremental approach to the budget. >> you spent a lot of time with paul ryan, wrote imagine pieces in "the new yorker" about him. >> both ryan and cantor have moved. they were sticking with the more conservative members, and now this is reality-based governing. they realize they don't control the senate and don't control the white house, and this is the best they can do, and it prevents serial crises from 2013. >> the president has had a bad several weeks as a result of the obama carrollout, the website, all of that. it seems to be mellowing a bit, turning the corner. he has turned the corner, perhaps. i think what we're seeing with
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this president is a setpoint, that maybe he's reached that he's somewhere between 32 points and 42 points, and that the public and going into the sixth year of a presidency figures they know who the guy is, they like hem more than the democrats, they like him more than they like the republicans, but he is who he is. it alls depends on the economy. if there's 3% gdp growth, there is an iranian nuclear deal, and the affordable care act is really headed on the right track, he could raise his numbers, but i think this getting back into the 60% zone or high 50 zone may not be reachable for him. >> very quickly. >> i was just going to reiterate, the economy is what will make or break the president in the final years. >> three years, wee see what's going on. >> there are positive signs. >> very positive signs.
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thanks very much. coming up, a secret project that the air force's top-secret area 51. we're learning new details how the military could give an extra edge when it comes to spying. plus the story behind in candid photo. we now know what george bush was showing hillary clinton that put that big smile on her face. [ male announcer ] this store knows how to handle a saturday crowd. ♪ [ male announcer ] the parking lot helps by letting us know who's coming. the carts keep everyone on the right track. the power tools introduce themselves.
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we're getting new numbers on the obama care sign upthrough the troubled website. while the pace is picking up, it's still falling short of where the administration expected to be at this point. tom foreman is joining us with the latest numbers. what are those numbers, tom? >> the white house has got to be hoping for some sort of surge in all of this, because they've made these improvements, yet the numbers are really not yet what the doctor ordered. let's look at the targets that were adviser. the congressional budget office said you needed 7 million signed
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up by the end of march 2014. at november 22nd they were at 3% by the end of the month it only went up to 5%. the white house has always said they expected slow sign-ups at the beginning and a surge later on. the short-term goals maybe give them more confidence. they wanted 800,000 signed up. and they were at 23% of that goal. as we counted up the numbers, the end of the month went up to 46%. that was a substantial jump in a short period of time, showing a lot more people signing up faster. wolf? >> what is the grant total at this point? >> so far, all in, 1.8 million people have registered through the federal or the state sites. that doesn't mean they completed
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it. they've just started the process. they represent 3.7 million people if you count all their families. here's the tough part. of this more than half have been determined to be eligible, but only about 365,000 people have actually completed the process, meaning they're in a position to make a payment and actually get insurance. the gap between these numbers and the 365,000, that's the big challenge right now, wolf. those are the numbers we'll be watching very closely, as we move toward the end of the year. >> thanks very much, tom foreman, with those numbers. also some very candid photograph during a remarkable flight aboard air force one on the way to nelson mandela's memorial service. on board, the president, mrs. obama, george and laura bush, hillary clinton, several other top white house officials, and many other members of congress. let's take a closer look with
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john king. i want to just -- these were not taken by white house journalists photographers, but these are the official white house phograph woohe picket terse, then released them to all of u in the media. one we'll put up there, john, because you and i flew on air force one on many occasions. there you see the president and first lady, ben rhodes, hillary clinton, that's a room you're familiar with. >> that's the president's office. regardless of your politics, it's nice to get a piece of these. it's a vip plane, with two presidents, perhaps a future president, two first -- three first ladies. by all accounts, pleasant conversations, and pleasant dinner conversations as well. i think we have the photo of george w. bush showing off his favorite new pastime. >> on his ipad or tablet. >> he's e-mailing less, because he had a hacking problem, he
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loves to show them to close friends. he's modest but proud about his work. laura bush is making a lot of fun about it. you can see the president wanted to share it here. given how washington works nowadays, a lot of people say they look like they're getting along just great. >> a nice conference room on air force one. you see eric holder directly across from hillary clinton, the attorney general general of the united states. another white house photo released shows -- >> and remember when barack obama ran for president, he ran as much against george w. bush as john mccain. he ran against the bush -- and ran against an incompetent administration. you know this as well as i do. this is an exclusive club. president bush has been around a lot of campaigns back in those days, so he has let bygones be
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bygones. this president is grateful to president bush that he's stayed out of the daily conversation. by all accounts, they've had very pleasant conversations. at least a congressional delegation that went as well, including two republicans, aaron schalk and ted cruz was on the delegation. there's usually other planes that are flying over there, but elijah cummings, one of the democratic members who went over to south africa, he told "the baltimore sun" it's clear to me senator cruz is running for president. i don't have any doubts about it. i know he got an earful for 20 hours, and he's just going to get another earful for 20 hours on the way back. i just reminded him i'm concerned about the many people in my state and his state who have no health insurance. traveling in those close quarters, you can get an earful unless you put on a headset, close your eyes and -- >> that's your graceful seg ways
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to the not so pleasant conversation, i to spoke a top aide for ted cruz, it was a spirited and fruitful dialogue, so he -- but look, there's no doubt ted cruz is preparing to run for president, and there's no doubt that democrats like eye lininga cummins have policy -- everyone you talk bo about these long trips, they learn something about each other that helps out down the road. >> it's a good idea. maybe they'll be a little more compromise and cooperation. >> or at least understand and respect, two things that are often missing. i agree. let's look at some of the other stories that are following. the chief of staff for republican senator lamar alexander has been placed on leave without pay after law enforcement raided his house here in washington as part of a child porn investigation. he has worked on capitol hill
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for years. senator alexander released a statement saying he was stunned and disappointed tess allegations, and hits office is fully cooperates with the investigation. just moments ago, senator alexander announced a new chief of staff. thousands of protesters are on the streets of kiev. they rebuild the barricades. the crowds have been calling for the resignation of ukraine's president who suspended talks with the european union in favor of closer ties with russia. the food & drug administration is announcing a plan to end the use of certain antibiotics in animals raised for food. the agency says bacteria can become resistant if candidate bioices are overused. it's the fda's latest move. last month it took a step toward eliminating most trans fats. prince harry's journey to
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the bottom of the journey is almost complete. he's been spending nearly a month in antiargument ka leadership. he went to compete in a charity race, but the race was canceled a few days ago for safety concerns. now all the teams are finishing the trip together. tonight on cnn, sandy hook parents on missions of love to turn their heartbreak into lasting legacies. an anderson cooper special report, honors the children, newtown, that airs tonight 10:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. coming up, details about a super secret program the military won't even acknowledge exists. we're going to show you the new spy plane that may be sitting on a hangar at the famed area 51 test center. and could your milk soon cost $7 a gallon? possibly, if congress doesn't act.
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a nuclear deal with iran, a handshake with raul castro, is this shaping up to be his policy or at least part of it? our jim scuitto is here in "the situation room." what's behind in nuanced dwis? >> for the one thing, a president in his second term thinking about legacy. others say he's driven to foreign policy, but you do have a president who is a risk taker, and more so with military reaction. remember his reluctance on syria, and now working with some of america's most difficult adversaries. on the surface. it was just a handshake, but there may be more going on
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between the u.s. and cuba than meets the eye. president obama recently called for an update to america's cuba policy. secretary kerry said discussions are under way for the release of american alan gross, imprisoned in cuba since 2009. other steps are on the table from reestablishing direct mail service to relaxing immigration rules. >> from cuba's perspective, reconciliation with the united states is absolutely essential for a long-term strategy of economic growth and building a society. from the american perspective, it's about foreign policy, it's about reaching out to adversaries. >> reporter: in havana, they told cnn that they welcome the news. >> translator: the countries get along. it's our governmentings that don't. hopefully that can be fixed. >> reporter: the flirtation with cuba fits in with a broader outreach, netting surprising results. mr. obama's historic phone call with hassan rouhani was soon
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followed by a landmark nuclear deal with iran. secretary kerry's offhand comment -- >> he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community. >> reporter: helped spark an unlikely agreement. >> the president didn't believe that reliance on the military force is necessarily the most productive way of trying to deal with these problems. i believe that he is right, because we live now in an age in which the use of force is not quite as decisive as it used to be. >> reporter: historically it's cuban-americans most ardently opposed to improving relations with cuba, but in 2012. obama won cuban-americans 49-7, a record high for a democrat. that gives him political cover he didn't have before to pursue something like this. >> 49-47. >> i misspoke.
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tight but historically well ahead. >> and they say a lot of younger cuban-americans are more inclined to had opening. we're learning more details about a covered military project that the pentagon won't even acknowledge. it's a secret new drone. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr has been digging on the story. barbara, what are you learns? >> it could be flying as soon as 2015. this may be one of the most important programs ever for the u.s. in staying one step ahead of its adversaries. >> this is what the new super-secret air force drone is believed to look like. cnn has learned this unmanned spy plane is designed to fly for up to 24 hours behind enme lines, in countries like north korea, iran and syria. military sources tell cnn, it
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would give the u.s. a critical stealth advantage to spy on countries which have strong air defense systems that can shoot down more conventional aircraft. >> this air krafl will actually be able to penetrate that border, go in and do operations in and around an enemy's airspace without being targeted. >> reporter: it was first unmasked by "aviation week." it's so secret the drone is believed to be at this hangar at area 51, the air force's highly secure flight test center in nevada. reporter amy butler says the shape means enemy radars can't easily see the drone, and unlike -- it has no pilot and advance sensored. it will make those long flights unconstrained by human limitations or the weather. >> this aircraft will likely be able to take pictures using radar. radar pictures are great. they don't get muddied up by
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cloud or dust cover. it could probably also take -- so it did see heat, and probably has the kinds of boxes that do things like listen to cell phone calls, listen to activities bakley going on on an enemy's frequency. >> although it crashed, the stealth helicopter that brof navy s.e.a.l.s to osama bin laden's compound showed the need to sneak past thor air defenses officially the air force won't comment on the drone effort, but several u.s. officials tell cnn its capabilities are now a tough intelligence-gathering priority, especially after a less sophisticated stealth drone went down in iran in 2012. so if it all works, wolf, this drone will be able to gather record amounts of covert intelligence information, which is exactly why the air force isn't talking about it. wolf? >> barbara, thanks for that
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report. interesting stuff. just ahead, stunning progress in the fight against malaria. i want to speak with an expert who calls this one of the great success stories in human history. and a surprising story emerging from the memorial service for nelson mandela. he's supposed to be signing for the deaf, but is this interpreter just making it all up? ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern.
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by some accounts, malaria has killed more people than anything else in history, more than war on famine, but a new report reveals dramatic progress against the disease is taking place form the report says the
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lives of 3 million children have been saved since 20, cutsing the malaria death rate in half. joining us is martin edland, ceo of the organization malaria no more. martin, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. what's the significant of these new numbers from your perspective? >> it's hard to overstate the significance of these numbers. here we're talking about a disease that's prapg killed more people than any cause in human history, something that threatens half the globe, and in the space of only a decade we've cut deaths among kids by 51%, so talking about one of the top three killers of kids worldwide down by half. >> how many children die every year from malaria? >> this may not sound like a good news stories, but we're down under 500,000, 487,000. >> it used to be millions every year, so this raises the
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question of experts saying, is this going to lead to complacency? the numbers are going down, maybe you don't need that much money, maybe international organizations don't need it. the u.s. government should cut back? how worried are you about complacency? >> malaria is an issue you cannot be complacent with. if you take your foot off the pedal, malaria rebounds. it's even more dangerous, because people who have been protected don't develop natural immunity, so they're even more at risk. one of the elements of this story that's so encouraging is it's not only a good news story, it's a bipartisan good news story. this started under president bush in 2002, with the global fund in 2005, it's only expanded under president obama. so this is really something that all of america should be proud about, and something we should certainly continue to invest in. >> there's a new strain, a new drug-resistant malaria out
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there? >> there is, one of the threats to our progress is we have really exceptional pools at work. i have a full course of child treatment for malaria? >> these are pills? >> taken over three days. the simple fact is that it costs less than a dollar to buy and deliver this treatment. if a child gets it in time, they do not die from malaria. we're starting to see some alarming results in the may congress delta region. so that's something we're monitoring it, but it also means developing the next generation of treatments, tests, insecticides. >> can you see a time when the world will be malaria free? >> i can. in fact we named our organization malaria no more. at the time we did that seven years old, it seemed foolhardy, a bit overambitious, but today we've seen that that that reality is a distinct
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possibility. we can't let up now, we have to stop kids dies from mosquito bites. >> has president obama done enough? >> he's done a lot. we are at historic high in terms of funding for the global -- but what is encouraging is the world is answering the call that america issued, increasingly african governments are a big supporter and the uk is a big supporter. >> thank for the good work and thanks for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. summing up, is this interpreter faking the sign language? why would the tsa confiscate a toy gun the side of a stick of gum? and it's fun to drive. well you know that beats great mileage or being fun to drive. yeah, that'd be like someone being loud or clear. we need to slap the slippery fish right in the gill hole!
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it's the tsa versus a puppet. here's jeanne moos. >> reporter: airport security socked it to this cowboy sock
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puppet for packing a pistol while being packed in a carry-on bag. it wasn't any sock puppet. >> i aim to kill you in one minute, ned. >> he was modeled after rooster cog burn. fill is may sells pop culture sock monkeys out of her home in redmond, washington. on her way through security? st. louis, the tsa disarmed her monkey. drop it, rooster. actually rooster's pistol was about this big. not nearly as impressive as the one favored by rooster's namesake. fill is describes the tsa agent as saying, this is a gun, and fill is replies, it's not a gun, it's a prop for my monkey, but security confiscated it nonetheless. tsa's policy is that out of an abundance of caution, realistic replicas of firearms are
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prohibited in carry-on bags. here's one reason. >> to show you hose lethal these are. >> they can pack a punch. >> cover your ease, there is the exit wound. >> a few years back a traveler had a necklace similar to this one confiscated, was planning on wearing it in a rapper skit with his niece. no dice. the sock monkey got lots of sympathy. good job there, officer tsa. you protectly protected us. not since sock puppets were used to re-enact "flight" has puppets caused such a brouhaha. if it hasn't been rooster, it could have been wonder woman, suspected of being an underwear bomber. moral of the story, don't let your sock puppets carry when they're being carried on. jeanne moos, cnn, new york.
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\s. the president hopes to push the reset butting a his agenda. this hour, the new poll numbers and his problems. plus strange gestures. was the man on the sidelines of the nelson mandela memorial an interpreter for the deaf or a fake? and hard to swallow. milk prices may soar above $7 a gallon,ened guess who you have to blame? members of congress. i'm wolf blitzer, and you're in "the situation room." we begin this hour with president obama in a crisis of confidence. new polls show he's ending 2013 in a political hole. he may be starting to claw his way out, but many would still agree that his administration is in need of a major rebot right now, as the first year of his second term winds down.
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let's go to our senior white house correspond brianna keilar. more disappointing news today for the president, but how can he bounce back? >> reporter: wolf, i've spoken with veterans of past administration who are split on whether he can. while the white house has no specific personnel announcements at this time, today a sign that more are coming, as many observers wonder if it may take more than staff changes to right the ship. back from south africa, and back to cold, hard reality. president obama returned to this, numbers showing just 365,000 americans enrolled in obama care during its first two months, far short of the 1.2 million the white house expected. while half of americans say they disapprove of his signature health care law in a new poll. what may be worse, he may have
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lost credibility. only 39% say -- according to a "wall street journal" poll. so can he fix it? president obama is bringing in two white house veterans, as he tries to turn things around, his former congressional liaison who shepherded the passage of obama care, back to steer it to success, and most notably john modes modesto, chief of staff to president clinton, who will serve as counsellor to the president? >> that's part of the natural transition you see on an annual basis the i would anticipate you would see more of that this year, too. >> reporter: a signal that more changes are to come. now some are asking, will staff changes be enough? or has the damage to the second term already been done? >> i think staff changes, they help change the 3450edia
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narrative. i'm skeptical that staff can change the fundamentals of the problems that obama has. >> those fundamentals being his still troubled health care program, as well as the economy, because the recovery is still slow going, wolf, and also the fact that president obama faces a divided congress. even though we have seen this bipartisan budget deal, congress is still resisting the big-ticket items on his agenda such as immigration reformened climate change legislation, wolf. >> brianna keilar, thank you. many of millions are about to get a sour taste. milk prices could soar above $7 a gallon. yes, you heard that right, if congress doesn't get its act together. athena jones tells us what's going on. >> reporter: got milk? the real question might be -- got cash? if congress doesn't pass a new farm bill soon, prices for milk could almost double over time from a national average of about
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3.47 a gallon to nearly $7. >> it seems a bit too much to me. >> reporter: why? existing subsidies expire in december, triggering a 1940s era rule that the sect staff the agriculture explains requires the government to buy milk, butter and cheese at about double the going rate. >> so a producer has a choice of buying it and selling it to me, usda, or selling it to the normal processor. obviously if they're gets twice the price, they'll set it to the u suismt da. that will lead to shortages. >> reporter: shoppers weren't happy. >> i think it's horrible, especially as a mom with a family. i think milk is something that most people have always thought as something essential to have in their fridge. >> reporter: prices for products made with milk would also go up. >> i would still buy milk and
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cheeses, but probably half as much. >> reporter: his message to congress? >> get your act together and don't increase these prices. >> reporter: with just a few weeks to go, lawmakers are still trying to reach agreements on issues like food stamps and crop insurance. they said if a framework is reached by january, the price spikes could be avoided. athena jones, cnn, washington. was he signing or faking it? the shocking claims about the man who was supposed to be interpreting for the death at nelson mandela's memorial. plus new drama for the washington redskins, a star players is benched, and now a frenzy of second-guessing, cnn's rachel nichols, and ann romney, a rare interview on hurl husband, her family, any lingering regrets from the 2012 presidential campaign. i dbefore i dosearch any projects on my home. i love my contractor,
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the redskins seem to be a magnet for controversy. robert griffin iii has been benched for the rest of the season. this is a player who was last season's rookie of the year. many sports writers and fans are questioning the move. cnn's rachel nick coles is joining us, the host of "rachel nichols unguarded" on cnn. quarter backs gets benched all the time. why is this such a big deal. >> they usually get benched because the team doesn't think they can win with them anymore. that is definitely not what's happening here. rg3, the offensive rookie of the year last year, certainly considered the future of this franchise, so the questions are, why would you bench him now?
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there are a lot of people think he's getting caught up in a power play between the coach mike shanahan and the owner dan snyder, dan snyder very close to rg3. there are people who say that mike shanahan isn't so crazy about that, the redskins are out of contention for the playoffs, and shanahan is saying the reason he is sitting his star quarterback is because of the risk of injury, that he doesn't want to put rg3 out there when he could get hurt and have people second-get him for that. there are people saying hey, maybe it is worth getting him tosh to learn behind some of the more veteran players, a different perspective of the game, but there's doubt whether that is really the true motive. this is a kid who wants to play. he actually went to mike chanel hand and said i want to be out there. shanahan said, no. now we have to wait for the intrigue to continue. we'll have to see who lasts this season over at redskin park. from football to baseball, a
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huge decision today. major league baseball announcing from now on they're going to ban these home plate collisions where the runner trying to jar the ball from the catcher of these home plate collisions are pretty powerful, pretty brutal sometimes. this could change the game. what do you make of this? >> absolutely. it's been a part of baseball for a while, but the discussion has intensified in the past couple years, san francisco catcher buster posey was injured in one of these collisions, he ended up being out for most of the season. san francisco was like, we lost an all-star over this. this shouldn't be happening that a player can take a major component out like this. there's been discussion that the tigers this year, their catcher had to leave a game because of a similar collision. at the rules meeting, they have decided the catcher can no longer block the plate if they doesn't have the ball, and the runner has to slide. he can't intentionally crash into the catcher in like in the
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picket terse here. it's going to take some of the pyrotechnics out of the game, but better for the players. >> much better for the catchers who usually gets slam. rachel, thanks very much. you can always catch rachel on "unguarded" airing at 10:30 p.m. eastern friday nights only here on cnn. one of the biggest memorial services in history has unleashed a very bizarre controversy. see that man on the sidelines of the tribute to nelson mandela? you might think he's signing for the deaf, but there are experts out there who say he is a fake. brian todd is here. brian, the deaf community pretty furious about this. explain what's going on. >> that's right. the deaf community all over the world seems furious. the south after kaj government is now investigating. experts are pointing to what they are saying are obvious signs in this man's gestures that he was butchering the speeches of one dignitary after another. he seems to be gesturing with
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authority, signing to keep pace with the speaker. >> sidely side, dreaming the same dream. >> reporter: but this interpreter at nelson mandela's service was a fake, according to the deaf federation of south africa. they claim he's had no formal training. the signs he's making are not used in south after kaj sign language, and he never used facial expressions, a key part of signing. >> but one expert says the signed name no mbeki never appeared. the deaf community in south africa is outraged. >> he's a fake interpreter, signing arbitrary signs. >> a deaf member of the parliament tweeted during the ceremony, he's just making up, get him out of tv sight. that lawmakers is an alum of gallaudet university in washington, the world's only liberate arts college for the hard of hearing. melanie metzger says he doesn't
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know south after kaj sign language, but there are universal indications of something wrong here. >> you see the repetitive movements here and here. there's a repeated gesture, but the speaker is not repeating the spoken message. you can see by that the interpretation is not accurate. >> reporter: was he a security risk? he stood inches from president obama and other world leaders. the white house seemed uncomfortable talking about it. >> i would refer you to the south african government about who that person was and what their responsibilities were. >> reporter: who is he? it's a mystery. the south african government won't comment. former secret service agent larry johnson says the host nation provides names 48 hours in advance so names, backgrounds can -- >> being bad at your job is not a concern of the secret service.
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the concerns are, is she someone that shouldn't be there because he has bad intentions, he's known to law enforcement, he's a security risk. >> johnson says it looks to him like those red flags did not show up. did the secret service vet him? the agency tells us that agreed-upon security measures between the secret service and south african security officials were in place during the ceremony. the secret service says the host organizing committee was responsible for the selection of the interpreters. wolf, as we told you, the south african government for the moment not commenting. >> there are reports this man has been observed doing this elsewhere? the past. >> that's right "the guardian" says that the deaf community has raised concerns before now the anc has told us they have used him in the past, but they did not hire him for this. >> brian todd, thanks very much. what a bizarre for that. jest ahead, ann romney, she'll
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share her thoughts on a surprising poll that suggests her husband could win the white house if the election were today. la's known definitely for its traffic, congestion, for the smog. but there are a lot of people that do ride the bus. and now that the buses are running on natural gas, they don't throw out as much pollution into the air. so i feel good. i feel like i'm doing my part to help out the environment. ♪
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we want to follow up on a very moving story we shared with you in "the situation room" yesterday. today the house of representatives approved a bill named after 10-year-old gabriela miller just weeks after her death from a brain tumor. it would probably an additional $126 million in funding for cancer research over ten years. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash spoke to gabriela's mother right after the vote. >> that was gabriela's hand in there. she didn't want it to wait. we'll get funding for kids, and do research to help find cures for all childhood disease. it now goes to the senate. we'll continue to watch its fate. south africans have been
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lining up to say farewell to nelson mandela. his body is lying in state in pretoria before a burial on sunday. vice president joe biden attended a memorial here in washington. he called him the most impressive person he had ever met. americans of both parties have been praising nelson mandela and his legacy, including ann romney, who joins us in "the situation room." what has nelson mandela meant to you and your husband? >> you know, i think there's maybe not a person living who has had a bigger impact, not just on africans ease lives, but everybody's life. i think he was the most extraordinary example of forgiveness, of kindness, of generosity. i don't know if there's anyone that is held in higher estem in the world than nelson mandela. he was a powerful example in my life, a powerful example in my
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husband's life of how you move something that is so significant with such a peaceful, loving, generous, wonderful essence of who he is. the look at his face, what you see is amazing, such live, kindness and generosity. extraordinary human being. >> well said. this poll out of the "the washington post" said if the 2012 presidential election were being held today, for whom would you vote? president obama 45%, mitt romney 49%. this is a year after that election. you see those numbers, what goes through your mind? >> well, too bad the election isn't today. that would have been obviously a different outcome. it's frustrating a bit to watch what's happening with the obama carrollout, b care roll-out.
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we're good. my husband and i have a wonderful marriage. we're blessed enormously. this country is still a wonderful country. and everyone's just -- obviously we all just move on. >> he's moved on. does he wake up every day and say i should have done this? >> no. no. we don't look back. neither one of us ever look back. we look forward. learned that lesson from mitt's father. we're having a great time right now. let's talk about the romney family team. why did you write this book? >> i think it was a bit cathartic, but as star away from politics. it's about love, family, traditions. for me right now celebrating holidays with the season coming before us right now, and it's so wonderful to have family traditions. >> and great recipes? it's a cookbook. >> it's a cookbook, but it's a bit of a look into our life and how to raise children, and the struggles you have. i'm glad you mentioned, too,
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that the proceeds go to neurological research. it's obviously a concern of mine, and hopefully people can have a good christmas present, good holidays present, and also know they're contributing to trying to find cures for neurological disorders. >> i was happy that the recipe for the welsh cakes is in this book. when i was out on the campaign trail and on your bus, i had the pleasure of eating some of those. they're pretty popular? >> they are. >> give us the secret ingredient. nutmeg. >> you do it yourself. >> i made those. the few days i was home. >> i think he was having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread. >> yes. >> somebody makes those? >> no, no, he makes those himself. there's a funny one in there on peat nut butter and fluff. it's a funny one. an especially good book this time of year. >> thanks, wolf sdplooismt merry christmas, happy new years, our
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best to the whole family. >> thank you very much. wolf. all right. some breaking news coming into "the situation room." we're just learning about a serious situation on the international space station. joining us on the phone is cnn's john zarrella. what are we learning, john? >> reporter: what we know is one of the two pumps on the station that actually cools the international station has failed. most importantly, there is no danger to the crew, the life-support system is working fine. science experiments are working fine, but they've had to transfer a lot of the load over to the second pump. so they've had to shut down the noncritical systems on three of the modules on board the international space station. they're industrial troubleshooting the problem. it could mean they may have to do an emergency space walk. they have spare pumps, they could install a new one, but the pumps are located outside.
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>> no immediate call for evacuation or anything like that, right? >> no, that is absolutely correct. no call for evacuation. the astronauts, the cosmo knots are not in any dangers. life-support system is fine. >> and they could fix it by doing the space walk? they've been trained to do something like that? >> in fact they did a space walk months ago to replace the same pump, and now the replacement pump has failed on them. so they certainly know how to do it. >> john zarrella with the latest, let's hope for the best for all of those on the international space station. that's it for me. thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "crossfire" starts right no now. tonight on "crossfire" -- will the breakthrough budget deal make it through congress? >> we would have preferred something quite different. >> nobody is getting exactly
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what they want. will conservatives split the republican party? >> they're using our members and the american people for their own goals. this is ridiculous. on the left van jones, on the right s.e. cupp. in the crossfire representative, and representative labrador, a rep. selling the deal. is it worst passing? tonight on "crossfire." welcome to "crossfire." i'm s.e. cupp on the right. >> and i'm van joan. two congressmen on the opposite sides of the new budget deal. let me saw this at the beginning. this bipartisan budget deal represents a huge vindication for president obama. apparently we are now in a new era. words like compromise and bipar sanship are no longer dirty words. now, i'm not in love with this deal, but give the president his
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due. he refuse fused to back down to the tea party republicans. he let them overshoot the runway by shutting down our government. now, just as he promised, he's broken the fever of governing from crisis to crisis. for that, everyone in america should be grateful to this president. >> so, i assume you're congratulatory phone call to paul ryan for reaching across the aisle is forthcoming? >> we'll see about that. >> congressmen, welcome. california representative javier be serra, and idaho republican representative raul labrador. congressman ra, i will start with you. here's just few things. it ends unemployment benefits, raises pension contributions for federal workers. if you vote for this deal, aren't you essentially abandoning your -- >> we're


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