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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 5, 2009 4:00pm-6:23pm EDT

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of life. >> reporter: rob reed says he's using less electricity each day to pinch pennies at this location after closing his other dealership, forcing him to lay off a dozen employees. >> being a smaller or
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medium-siz medium-sized. still, the mayor believes elkhart is getting back on its feet thanks to $14 million in stimulus money. so, he cautioned the president can't get too optimistic. >> that's what i would say to him. you know, thank you, mr. president. this program is working here in elkhart, indiana. now, the problem with that is the guy that's standing here in your place that's unemployed, he doesn't buy that at all. >> reporter: that's why the president was bearing more gifts, revealing that indiana will be the second biggest recipient of $2.4 billion in grants for electric vehicles. >> powered by the next generation of battery technologies, all made right here in the u.s. of a.
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right here in america. >> reporter: the mayor insists stimulus money spent around the country is trickling down to his city as people are starting to buy rvs again. >> it isn't an elkhart, indiana, stimulus program or a state of indiana stimulus program. it's a stimulus program for united states of america. so, when you talk about how the money flows, somebody gets money in california and one of our factories supplies parts to that company in california, we benefit for from it. >> reporter: back at the rv lot, rob reed agrees sales have picked up, and so has his outlook. >> i always feel optimistic because if you start to feel it, then your customers will feel it. we're optimistic no matter what happens because we don't want the economy or the doldrums of elkhart right now to set the tone for our business. >> reporter: unemployment has gotten better here, dipping from 19% to about 16%, but that's still far above the national average of 9.5%, and that's why republicans back in washington are charging that the stimulus may have helped the economy on
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the margin but still has not provided the jolt that the president promised. suzanne? >> thanks, ed. well, time now for "the cafferty file." i get to be right next to you, jack. right here. >> good to see you, suzanne. welcome to the big city. president obama marking his second 100 days in office this week. he has many more days in front of him. but we are going to take note of this particular anniversary. the economy remains one of the top issues like it was during the first 100 days. many think the recession may soon be ending. housing situation showing signs of bottoming out, perhaps turning around a little. cash for clunkers boosting the auto industry, and the dow jones industrial average is up 17% since inauguration day. but unemployment's now at 9.5%. it's expected to go higher. the deficit has increased by almost $800 billion. also on the economic front, the president signed a bill cracking down on credit card companies and their fees. meanwhile, the debate over health care reform has taken
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center stage over the last month or so. republicans and some conservative democrats continue to oppose health care reform, particularly the costs involved. if that doesn't happen, it would be a big blow to the centerpiece of mr. obama's domestic agenda. as for foreign affair, the president made that historic speech to the muslim world in cairo during his second hundred days. mr. obama also set a cautious tone in responding to the iranian demonstrators protesting their disputed elections. sho, how's he doing? these days americans give the president an average approval rating of 54%. in june, most of these same polls showed him above 60%, and his ratings were even higher during the first hundred days. but as all politicians learn, once you start governing, your approval ratings go south. here's the question. go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog. not coincidentally, there's a big special program on this here
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network tomorrow night at 8:00 marking -- >> absolutely. well coordinated here, huh, zblak. >> there you go. cnn is counting down to the second 1 4ushgs days of the obama administration, and as jack mentioned we'll issue a new national report card on the president. this hour will be your chance to vote on one of those questions. we want you to grade the obama administration's handling of health care reform. you can do it right now. call in your grade right now. you can also text your grade to 22360. standard text rates do apply. and vote online at cnn.com/reportcard. we will report the results in our strategy session coming up later this hour, but you've got a chance to weigh in on this right now. well, the untold story of an extraordinary election. what was going on behind the scenes in the battle for america 2008? the authors of a new book join us later live with those
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details. also, online clues to a rampage. what the shooter was writing just before that rampage. plus, bill clinton and al gore together again. it's the chevy open house. and now, with the cash for clunkers program, a great deal gets even better. let us recycle your older vehicle and you could qualify for an additional $3500 or $4500 cash back on a new, more fuel-efficient chevy. your chevy dealer has more eligible models to choose from. more than ford, toyota, or honda. now get an '09 silverado for under twenty eight-five after all offers. and get it for even less if you qualify for cash for clunkers program. go to chevy.com for details.
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for america 2008." the story an extraordinary election. authors dan balz and haynes johnson joining us now. i've seen you on the campaign trail the last year. it was quite an extraordinary experience as a journal tois see these characters unfold. what was the one thing that you thought you saw president obama, then candidate obama, on the stump making a promise and you thought this is just not something he's going to be able to pull off here? because he promised the world on that stump, i remember. and now he has to govern. dan? >> suzanne, i think the most interesting way to look at that question is what were the things he didn't quite resolve as a candidate running for president that have now come to be potential difficulties for him in the oval office. part of that was he had two different appeals. one was a very big agenda -- health care, energy reform, and then of course the economy. the second was a kind of a notion that he could try to bring people together, that he would offer a different kind of
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politics without specifying exactly some of all the thing tharps going to be in his policies. he never was able to sort of square that circle during the campaign as effect fifly as he might have and i think that's one of the reasons he's run into trouble right now. >> haynes, what do you think? >> the biggest problem he had was making people feel comfortable. he was, indeed, a remarkable figure, but he promised a great deal and people weren't sure about it. and then when the election came maybe it was going to be nirvana, but of course governing is very, very hard. will we stumble around in politics? he was stumbling recently so, he's got a hard way ahead of him right fou monopoly. >> haynes, to bring up a very good, the fact that running for office and actually governing are two very different things here, dan, i want to ask you, one of the things that we saw was really an evolution of barack obama during this campaign. and remember, early on in the summer when people -- they were nodding off during some of his speeches. they weren't quite engaged with
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the barack obama that we tend to get to know and remember the last part of the campaign here. has his style changed as someone who actually governs? >> well, i mean, it's interesting. there were those periods in the summer of 2007 when he wasn't doing well. we now know he was deeply unhappy with himself and his campaign advisers were unhappy. so, he has been through difficult periods before. but as haynes said, you know, there's an old expression. candidates campaign in poetry and govern in prose. and i think the style that barack obama used in the campaign trail, which was to create a great deal of inspiration and passion among his followers is much more difficult to d do when you're trying to sell the details of a very complicated health care bill or an energy package or even to pull an economy out of the worst recession that we've had since the great depression. so, the nature of the challenges is much different, and so he's had to figure out what's the most appropriate way to lead. how do you deal with congress.
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at the same time, how do you hold public opinion on your side. >> haynes, what do you think is working for president now and what is what's not? >> what's working is that people still have confidence in him as a leader. they don't have confidence as much in the policies that he's talking about, the health care. is the economy really coming back? is there going to be environmental change. is the country together. have we put aside the hatred and division of our public life? but there's still a reservoir of trust and belief in barack obama, but that's a personal thing, not a policy thing. and now he's in the middle of dealing with both and it's very difficult. >> there's an interesting story that you both right about when you talk about a memo from one of his top strategists, david axelrod, where it seemed as if barack obama really -- he wanted to please people. he wanted to make people like him in a way. can you explain what that memo was about, and how does that really give us a window into what he's trying to do now and pleasing all sides? >> suzanne, it's a fascinating
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memo because it talks not only about how axelrod believed that barack obama had what it took at that moment, that he was the right person for the moment, but at the same time had some questions, particularly about whether he was tough enough to go through the rigors of a presidential campaign. he basically said, i don't know whether you can really take a punch. you hate criticism. you want people to like you so much. his view was that obama would have to prove himself during the course of the campaign. now, we know that david axelrod believes that barack obama did prove himself through the course of the campaign, but in a sense, he's now having another set of tests, which are very similar to that. does he have now the strength to get through this difficult period, to take on the fight that he's engaged in in health care, does he have the resilien resilience, the strength, the toughness, and the patience to be able to get through that. >> are we seeing the president back in campaign mode? >> sure. of course. he has to be in campaign mode.
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he's got to sell his program. he's got to convince people that i'm right, if you stick with me, we'll be better, be stronger, but it's going to be difficult, and he is in a campaign mode. that's what politics is for a president. you've got to have a bully pulpit, ring the trumpet, say, people, follow me, and that's the real test of presidential leadership. >> all right. got to wrap it here. haynes and dan, either one of you want to give president a grade at this point? >> no. we'll leave that to the people you're talking to on cnn. >> all right. fair enough. thank you so much, dan balz and haynes johnson. >> thanks to you. >> "battle of america 2008." major changes in store for a city brought to destruction by war. ma what's in store for baghdad? and did the gunman warn of his murderous plan?
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deborah feyerick is monitoring all the stories that are coming in to "the situation
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room" right now. what are you working on? >> great to see you. iran first. hundreds of protesters took to the streets as mahmoud ahmadinejad was sworn in for a second term as president. witnesses say police were out in force monitoring demonstrators, many of them chanting "death to the dictator." ahmadinejad's swearing-in ceremony was boycotted by key opposition leader, moderate lawmaker, and all three of ahmadinejad's election challengers. baghdad will soon be getting a new look. iraq's military says concrete walls set up to protect the city's major roads from bomb blasts will soon be removed. the decision to get rid of the so-called blast walls is being seen as a step by iraq's government to restore normalcy to the capital. and startling allegations against an engineer on new york's railroad. the operator allowed a passenger to drive the train last month. both are charged with reckless endangerment. the railroad calls the
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allegations extremely troubling, which could also be an understatement. suzanne? americans divided over health care reform. new polls show the country is split on president obama's plans to change the system. bill schneider joins us live. and the health care battle not just in the lals of congress. supporters and opponents of reform take their fight across the u.s. i think i'll go with the preferred package.
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happening now, a deadly shooting at a pennsylvania gym. police say a man on a mission to kill opened fire. four people are dead, including the suspect. what was the motive? we'll have a live report. new information about a horrifying accident in new york. police now say a woman smoked marijuana and drank before plowing her minivan into an suv, killing eight people, half of them children. and window washers in boston hanging on for their lives. 37 stories up.
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details on the unbelievable rescue mission. wolf blitzer's off today. i'm suzanne malveaux, and you're in "the situation room." jo we want you to grade the obama administration's handling of health care reform. thousands of you have already weighed in both online at cnn.com/reportcard or call in your grade now. the results in our "strategy session" in just a few minutes. so, you still have time. not too late. let's bring in our cnn political analyst, bill. >> sh needer. bill, who are the two sides fighting in this health care reform debate? >> what they're fighting over is what i call the satisfied
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majority. where do the people stand on health care reform? divided. in our new cnn poll conducted by the opinion research corporation, 50% favor president obama's plan. 45% oppose it. politicians pay attention to intensity, and opponents of health care reform feel more strongly about it than supporters. opponents also say they're more likely to attend a public forum on the issue. why are democrats having so much trouble rallying support? here's one reason. solid majorities of americans say they're satisfied with their health care and their health insurance. a whopping 71% are satisfied with both. they're the satisfy mad joe torre. how does the satisfied majority feel about health care reform? they're inclined to oppose reform but may be persuadable. critics warn that reform means too much government control over
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health care. suzanne, the battle over health care is increasingly being fought at the grassroots level and sometimes literally in the streets. now, the question that we asked that was most interesting here is would americans rather see the government or the insurance companies make critical decisions involving health care? you know what the answer was? americans are divided. democrats prefer government, republicans prefer insurance companies. most americans listen to that question and they say yikes, are those the choices? suzanne? >> all right. thank you, bill. well, as you had mentioned, health care is being fought really at the grassroots level. a lot of protests that are taking place on the streets. let's bring in our cnn's sand dra endo seeing it first hand in chicago. >> reporter: suzanne, the health care debate is heating up at the local level. it's an issue which touches every american. and now with lawmakers back in their hometown, many people are
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finding ways to make their voices heard. dan takes us behind the scenes where he and other volunteers are getting ready to rally for health care reform. for dan, the battle is personal. >> the day the insurance company took away my insurance, my life expectancy dropped two years. >> reporter: he says a couple years ago he was busy running two small businesses and missed one health insurance payment. dan says the mistake knocked him and his family off their policy. he was able to get his wife and three kids back on, but dan was denied since he was previously diagnosed with high cholesterol. >> but they wouldn't insure me anymore because now i have a pre-existing condition, high cholesterol. >> reporter: he's taking his fight to the streets. >> yes, we can! >> reporter: joining the health care debate at the grassroots level, volunteering with a group called health care for america now, a coalition of advocacy groups including the health care unions, acorn, and the naacp, who are pushing for the
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administration's health care initiative. a pro health care reform rally over here, just across the street, the counterargument. >> health care freedom! >> reporter: these rallies for and against the issue are scheduled a throughout august to send a message to lawmakers during the break. both groups want tough questions at town hall meetings, sometimes turning the events into shouting matches. american liberty alliance is one of the groups organizing people aagainst health care reform. ala claims helping to organize the anti-tax tea party rallies in april, a movement which started through twitter. korean williams decided to join their effort a couple weeks ago. while on this day, the anti-health care reform group is not in large numbers, korean is helping to organize a rally for later this month, a nationwide event. for her, she says, the proposed
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reforms just don't feel right. >> i don't like the idea of the government saying this is what we'll pay for, these are the kinds of doctors you can go to. i want to have control. >> reporter: these organizations are getting faster at mobilizing. they largely collaborate on the internet for small meet-ups. >> thank you. 23% of those asked strongly favor president obama's health care plan. 27% moderately favor it. and look at this -- opponents are much more likely to attend a town hall meeting on health care reform. 48% compared to just 37% of supporters. well, let's bring in our cnn political analyst gloria borger. we see these number, trying to make sense of all of this, people may want to attend town halls but a lot of these have
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been disrupted. what do woe we know about the protests, what's taking place on the street, and how do people really feel about this? >> well, what we do know is some of these proeltss have been organized or at least encouraged by some conservative groups very opposed to health care reform. and we also know that one group actually employs the same public relations team that was used in 2004 for those swift boat ads against john kerry. now, the white house has decided to have an aggressive pushback, as one white house adviser told me, and you can see in an ad that the dnc has to pro-deuced that they are pushing back strong. and let me quote you a line from this dnc ad talking act the ini protesters. it says, they have no plan for moving our country forward so, they've called out the mob. >> those are pretty strong words. what is the white house trying to accomplish, do you suppose? >> well, they're trying to marginalize these groups,
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suzanne. they're trying to portray them as somewhat on the fringe. and what they're really hoping for is sort of a backlash against the tactics. you remember during the last campaign you had those folks showing up at the mccain/palin rally, calling obama all kinds of names. and there was a backlash against that to the point where mccain had to say stop it, that's not right. they're hoping that's what's going to happen this time, but they're not taking any chances. as your last piece showed, they're organizing at their own grassroots level, using the internet the way they did in the campaign. >> gloria borger, thanks so much. bill clinton and al gore. what's their relationship like now after decades of ups and downs? we'll talk about that and much more in our "strategy session." also, a killing planned online. what the gunman in the pennsylvania shooting rampage posted right before he struck. while you're grading president obama on his second 100 days in office so, is the
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disbelief in a suburb of pittsburgh when a gunman walked psi electricitily into the building, turned off the lights and fired off a barrage of bullets, killing three women and then himself. >> there's nobody who was in that club that could have did anything to prevent sodini from committing this horrendous act. a law enforcement source told cnn that the gunman had been identified as george sodini, a 48-year-old member of the gym.
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the suspect left an online diary providing insight behind this act. our internet reporter, abbi tatton, has all the details. what did he put online? >> it appears that sodini was ed didding this online diary just in the very last hours before he went to that gym. it appears 6:10:00 p.m. this website was being edited. police say the following hour he was already in this fitness center. some of the things he put online, a resume, almost, his date of birth, his date of death, with yesterday's date on it. he documented the planning he'd done at going into the shooting, saying he took off days earlier this week to practice my routine. tomorrow is the big day, he wrote. and other details there, saying that he'd been planning this for many months but hadn't gone through with it. at one point he said that he wanted to wait until after the election happened to carry it out, and then january 6th, he
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actually said he had gone -- he had chickened out, he brought the load gunds and everything but couldn't go through with it. suzanne, one of the fascinating and scary things about this website is how you get to this information. it's not there on the front page. it's almost hidden on the website. the website asks you to put in or guess the date of his death. if you put in the correct day, which was yesterday, that's where you find all this information. >> bizarre. now, is it our understanding that he was actually targeting women? >> there are ramblings on this website, going through the fact that he has never had a girlfriend or for a very long time, that he's always single. he's saying just the other day, is biggest problem is not having a relationship or friendships. a suicide note has similar ramblings about the fact he's so angry he couldn't find a woman. >> abbi at ttatton, thank you s
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much. a former political partner is teaming up to bring two journalists home from north korea. >> we want to thank president bill clinton for undertaking this mission and performing it so skillfully and all the members of his team who played key roles in this. >> bill clinton and al gore reunite. are old tensions between the two in the past? our political experts weigh in. (music plays) when you think about all you can do in an all-wheel-drive subaru... you'll find there is a lot to love. that's why we created the subaru a lot to love event. where you can get a great deal on any new 2009 subaru. and see theee really is a lot to love. hurry in and lease a 2009 impreza for $179 ppr month.
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♪ earlier, we asked you to vote and grade the president's performance on health care reform. thousands of you voted, and here's what you said. overall, you gave the president a "bc." 20% of you gave him an "f." everyone else was in between. thousands of you graded the president's health care reform efforts online. let's go to tom foreman at the magic wall for more. tom, what are we learning? >> well, suzanne, when we look at the magic wall and the developments here, we're coming up with a unique way you can participate in this yourself online. go to cnn.com/politics. pick a topic, one of these questions here, and then you can go over here and you're able to
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move up and down this wall and pick out grainy grade you want to and you assign that grade to what you think of the president's handling of this. on the question the economy, this is what we're getting here. now, the scale is over here. you'll get a answer of the a's are the reds, down here the cs are the green, and you see a lot of those, and the purples are the lowest ones. we have a lot of greens. the best is the district of columbia has a c-plus. this, as we may know from what suzanne said a moment ago, is lower than what we're getting from the phones right now. health care reform, a lot of purple in here, a lot of people very unhappy in these parts of the country. these are also parts of the country that may not support a nominee for the president. and one more area, the overall grade for barack obama, more like a c in many, many places. but it's early on. you can participate in this. as we look toward our special tomorrow night when we do the
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second hundred days, get online, check it out, cnn.com, take par, record your vote and then you can see how your state has reacted to all this voting about the president obama's second hundred days. >> so, once again, overall you gave president a "b," and 61% of you actually gave him an "a," 20% gave him an "f." everyone else was in between. so, health care a real hot-button issue, one that our political gurus are not afraid to talking. joining us for today's "strategy session," jamal simmons and republican strategist john feehery. let what do we make of these grades? start with you jashgs mall. >> the first thing i have to say, those of us who follow this, this isn't exactly a scientific poll. >> we never claimed it was scientific. we were just asking viewers to weigh in here. come on. >> so, i will take it as a grain of salt that people online aren't actually viewing this as
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a success. i'd say the president probably deserves a b or a b-plus because the assignment isn't complete. he doesn't have a bill, doesn't have health care reform passed. once he gets that passed, we can more accurately grade him. but for so far, he's doing pretty well. i'd like to hear more on the cost, but other than that, i think he's doing well. >> john? >> jamal got it exactly right on the incomplete part. the president hasn't done anything yet. he doesn't have a bill he can strongly support in the senate. i think the fact of the matter is he set up an artificial deadline in august. he let the house pass a cap and trade vote which hurts his votes with the blue dog in the house. it's incomplete and bordering on failure. i think he's lost the communications battle. and i just done think he's actually -- it's not clear to me he'll get a bill and if he doesn't, that will be a big, fat "f."
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>> john, i wouldn't bet against barack obama right now. we've seen this guy able to pull out a lot more trickier things out of the fire, out of the hat. >> health care has a long history of being tricky and i don't think he's handled it skillfully as i thought he would. >> take a quick look at this rnc ad that is attacking the first 200 days of his presidency, calling it simply a failure. take a listen. >> the presidency of barack obama, 200 days. it started star studded, high hopes, all smiles. photo-ops and reassurances. even an official white house photo for the first pup. with an economy at a crossroads, his experiment started. government takeover after takeover. >> john, do you think that's fair? i mean, an utter failure here? i mean, you are seeing changes, signs that the economy is starring to turn around, that it
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perhaps prevented one of the worst recessions -- depressions, rather, of all time? >> i think it's fair in the sense of it it's a good political ad. they're trying to set the tone and the expectations. i mean, the fact of the matter is the press made a big deal out of this 200-day thing, so i think they're doing what's appropriate for hem to do, which is raising questions about his record in the 23irs 00 days. another ad you didn't run from the dnc calling those be with complaints about the health care bill an angry mob, that ad will have political problems for the next month. >> we'll show it later in the program. >> excellent. >> equal opportunity, here. jamal, weigh in on this. >> i'm looking forward to the dnc ad because i think there is an angry mob out there. i remember being in florida where i first met you sushgs zan, down in west palm beach, when this was going on with the recount and in remember in miami
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we had those white-collar mobs that were storming in miami. this is another example of that. somebody needs to call brad blakeman when these mobs are showing up all over the country. we need to make sure as democrats that we have an alternative group out there that's keeping the message for health care reform so, anybody who's neutral and shows up at one of these rallies recognizes this isn't just republicans who are against it. >> got to leave it there. sorry. running out of time here. >> all right. >> thank you so much, jamal and john, for joining us in "the situation room." if you missed the dramatic and emotional homecoming for journalists laura ling and euna lee, we are playing the entire footage right here in "the situation room." and seven kidney transplants involving 14 recipients and donor who is didn't match. so what do you think?
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on our political ticker, americans are speaking out on supreme court nominee judge sonia sotomayor, and a majority say to the senate, confirm her. 51% of those asked in a cnn opinion research corporation poll say they want to see her serve on the court. that's four points up from june. 36% oppose her nomination. republican minnesota governor tim pawlenty is stepping up his national profile, fueling new talk of a possible run for the white house in 2012. it's just been announced that
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he'll be the keynote speaker at a florida gop fund-raising dinner this month, sharing the podium with former miss california, carrie prejean, who sir stirred up a national controversy with her outspoken opposition to same-sex marriage. and remember, for the latest political news anytime, check out our cnnpolitics.com. jack joining us now again with "the cafferty file." hey, jack. >> doesn't governor pawlenty run that state where it took him like two years to figure out who won the senate race thereupon? >> oh, you know. >> huh? just wondering. inquiring minds want to know these things. didn't take two years but it took too long.
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if you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my fwlog at cnn.com/caffertyfile and look for yours there. a lot of mail on this question. all kinds of opinions. they're like noses, you know. everybody's got one. >> and a different kind for everybody. lot of bs for the president. okay. thank you, jack. you're in "the situation room." happening now -- back from a nightmare in north korea. a dramatic homecoming for two american journalists.
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but bill clinton's high-profile humanitarian mission is coming in for some criticism. and laura ling tells what kept them going in their darkest hours. you ul hear here. and that wrong-way driver whose head-on collision killed eight people, including four children, was live intoxicated. growing outrage in new york. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm suzanne malveaux, and you're in "the situation room." well, their nightmare is over. two young journalists are back on u.s. soil and reunited with loved ones. they faced a dozen years of hard labor in north korea's brutal prison system until suddenly a former u.s. president showed up. we've been following this story for months and only cnn has the global resources to bring it to you from korea, china, washington, and california. let's go straight to our cnn's dan simon. dan? >> reporter: hi, suzanne.
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i'm at current tv's headquarters. i had a chance to talk to the new ceo here. get this, he's only been on the job for about a week. i asked him what he thought about thaefrg happened today. he said he was, quote, ecstatic. i'm sure that's a sentiment felt by everyone who works here. the plane touched down just before 6:00 a.m. pacific time. a short time later, from inside a hangar, the two journalists emerged. then former president clinton. so much emotion. but this may be the most enduring image of a mother, euna lee, clutching her 4-year-old daughter. laura ling described the surreal moment when she and euna entered a room and saw president clinton there to take them home. >> when we walked in through the doors, we saw standing before us president bill clinton. >> ling, whose experience in front of the microphone was evident, said there was constant fear that the north koreans would make good on the verdict
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to send her and euna to 12 years in a hard labor camp. >> the past 140 days have been the most difficult, heartwrenching time of our lives. we are very grateful that we were granted amnesty by the government of north korea. >> reporter: it was also striking to once again see clinton and gore side by side. the former have the is the co-founder of current tv and was said to be instrumental in bringing his employees home. >> it speaks well of our country that when two american citizens are in harm's way, that so many people would just put things aside and just go to work to make sure that this has had a happy ending. >> reporter: president obama, who telephoned the women's families tuesday night, said he, too, was extraordinarily relieved at the journalists' return. >> the reunion that we've all
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seen on television i think is a source of happiness not only for the families but for the entire country. i want to thank president bill clinton. i had a chance to talk to him for the extraordinary humanitarian effort that resulted in the release of the two journalists. >> reporter: well, the plane that everyone flew on is owned by steven bing. he is a real estate air, a friend of the clintons, and we're told he donated the use of that plane. another indication that the whole ordeal of this trip was not meant to be seen as an official government trip. back to you. >> thank you, dan. one striking part of the story i found surprising myself is that laura ling and euna lee were separated during their harrowing ordeal in north korea. laura ling's sister lisa talked about it. >> they had worked together for a while, not directly, and they
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actually were kept apart most of the time. in fact, i think that they saw each other very early on for a couple of days in the begin, and then they were separated for the duration of the 4 1/2 months. so i think on the day of their trial they hugged each other and that was it. in fact, one time on the phone -- and we honl onl had four conversations with laura at this time -- she said please write a letter to euna and tell her i'm thinking about her and i love her. >> lisa ling speaking in you are the bank, california. turning now to a tragedy in suburban pittsburgh, last night a man walked into a health club and opened fire. he killed three women and wounded nine others before turning the gun on himself. today, we are learning what may have pushed the gunman george sodini over the edge. cnn's jeanne meserve is in allegheny, pennsylvania, with the details. jeanne, what have we learned about this guy? >> reporter: suzanne, george sodini came to this health club last night, walked into the
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aerobics room, turned off the lights and pulled a nine millimeter gun out of his gym bag. he started firing. when that was empty, he pulled out another nine millimeter. when it was over, three people were dead, nine were wounded. police don't know why he stopped firing but when he did, he pulled out a .45 and shot himself. another gun was found in his pocket. all of the guns were legally owned by sodini. it all happened in the space of about a minute. police say the rampage was fueled by rage. >> he's had this hatred in him and he blames everything, his mother and everybody else, society. he just had a lot of hatred in him, and he was hell bent on committing this act and there was nothing going to stop him. >> reporter: sodini left a note in which he expressed his anger towards women. that's also a theme that runs through a blog he kept outlining his thoughts and actions. here's one excerpt of what it contained.
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i guess some of us are meant to walk a lonely path. that was dated -- this tells us back in january he came to this club with the intention of committing mass murder. he chickened out, went back home. the last entry in the blog is dated august 3rd. that's on monday. and the last words in the blog, "death lives." now, investigators say they are looking very carefully at this blog, doing forensics to try and figure out if anybody looked at it before sodini came here, anybody who might have been able to tip off police and prevent this horrible act from takes place. suzanne, back to you. >> thank you. such a tragic story. jack cafferty here with "the cafferty file." terrible, terrible story. >> horrible. >> yeah. >> critics say, suzanne, that
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the u.s. violated its own policy against negotiating with terrorists by sending bill clinton to north korea. former u.s. ambassador to the u.n. john bolton calls clinton's role in winning the release of these two women a significant propaganda victory for that communist regime. bolton says sending someone of such high stature, like a former president, gives north korea more legitimacy. bolton served under president george w. bush. he says north korea essentially took these women hostage and in such a situation our efforts to protect them should not create bigger risks for other americans in the future. yet after bill clinton's visit, it's possible that a country like iran may want similar treatment before it releases the three american hikers recently taken captive there. other experts say that north korea will now expect dealings with a high-profile figure when it comes to the nuclear issue. the obama obama administration insists clinton's visit was a private, humanitarian one, that he didn't relay any messages or
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apologies from the white house. one top official says that clinton's trip with will not be part of any broader negotiations between the two countries or will it be tied into talks over north korea's nuclear program. the problem is kim jong-il might not see it that way. for one thing, bill clinton was creted at the pyongyang airport by top government officials including north korea's head nuclear negotiator. here's the question, then. go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. suzanne? >> thank you. well, the first 200 days. how does the gop grade the president? i'll ask republican national committee chairman michael steele. freed journalist laura ling speaks emotionally of her nightmare in north korea and what it means to be home. you'll hear it here. and a living donor sets in motion a seven-way did kidd knee
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cnn is counting down to the second 100 days of the obama administration. tom foreman joins us on how that report card is shaping up.
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what are we seeing? >> this is the kind of report card you wuished you had in school, the kind you could vote on. you can look at a series of questions about different things. this one is about foreign affairs. you can read some background on it, see some of the stories we have related, get a sense of what's going on in that. then you go right over here and you can go up and down here. you can pick whatever grade ya . we have them on the congress and on the president and on the republicans, many, many different subjects. let's look at the results here, once you voted, you will get the results and show where you are. here's a map that shows the economy, which is the overall question here, and you can see these different colors. i'll get you a sense of the key over here. if it's red or orange like this, that's the as, blues are b, cs are green and d, the purple. there are a lot of c nz here, not the best in the country
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right over here, washington, d.c. weather a c-plus, louisiana, that's a d, not so good. move on to health care, another case of a lot of purpose until here, a lot of bad grades in areas of the country that tend to vote republican. then down here, the overall grade for barack obama, looks an awful lot like the economy, overall, a lot of cs, not so good. this is the online voting so far. but here's the important part. whether you like this president or don't like this president or you're indifferent about it, you can weigh in and help change the colors the way you want them changed by going to our website and registering your vote. we'll tell you all about it tomorrow night in our special on the second 100 days. >> thank you, tom. we'll see how our next guests will change the vote or not. how will the gop grade president obama? joining me now, the chairman of the national republican committee, michael steele. good to have you on "the situation room." >> thank you, suzanne. >> health care, predominantly a
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b there, some cs overall. how would you grade the president? let's go first to let's say the economy overall. what do you think the president the performing, i mean, how is he performing? >> the economy overall, i think you're looking at somewhere around the c-minus area, i mean, because there's still a t lot of pieces that need to get filled in. i think the stimulus was obviously bad policy right out of the box, but, you know, again, there's not a whole lot to judge it against in such a short period of time. i think that there are many factors that went into where we are right now beyond just what the president has said he's going to do, some of the things that he's done, some of the volts that have been taken. i think right now, though, the strength we've seen in the economy is what from what the congress and what the president is not doing, is the market saying, you know, guys don't help us. you know, we can work this out. markets have a way of working through these things. let us do that and a little less
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government intervention goes a long way. i think that's probably some of the grading that you see on the economy may come from the market saying we got this, we don't need government taking part in it. >> you don't see perhaps the raise in home sales or the dow, the level of the dow, or even the the gdp raising as any part of a result of the stimulus package or anything -- >> no, i don't. no, i don't, suzanne, because we've only spent 7% of the purported $787 billion he said we absolutely need to spend. and we didn't absolutely need to spend it. the market has a way of working these things through. the problem we have and where that c-minus or c grade becomes an f a year from now is when we get into inflation, when we get into high interest rates, and we get into all those bad things that come from infusing $2 trillion of spending that the government didn't have, that it, in fact, borrowed from tomorrow to pay out today.
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so, we enjoy a little built of a blip right now and that's because of dollars that are working their way through the system, but you're not creating jobs. 2.5 million jobs have been lost -- >> michael, let's move on to health care. >> sure. >> obviously, this is something a lot of people are talking about, the new ad from the dnc that is pointing to members of your party saying that the debate that's taking place in this country has turned rather nasty and some of these congressional town hall meetings. and this is what the dnc is putting out. let's take a listen. >> their goal -- destroy president obama and stop the change americans voted overwhelmly for in november. >> lit break him. >> i hope he fails! >> this mob activity is straight from the playbook of high-level republican political operatives. they have no plan for moving our country forward so, they've called out the mob. >> how do you respond to this? >> oh, those scary republicans. oh, my got. let's see.
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we have 40 seats in the senate and we're down some 30-plus or more in the house. gee, you know, stop using the boogeyman. the policies that this administration is pull pithing out is what's scaring america, not republicans. in fact, what we've been saying is trying to draw people and educate people to the fact that these plans are, in effect, what they are. >> and what do you think about robert mcguffie, head of the grassroots organization right princip principles, who talked to cnn earlier today sp? he did have a strategy memo. he said don't carry on a scene. just shout intermittent shoutouts. there has been real emotion on both sides and encouraged from members of your party. do you think this constructive? >> i don't know robert. i don't know if he is, in fact, a republican. he doesn't work for me. he's not a member of the rnc. he's not part of any coordinated strategy we have here.
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you have citizens, independent and other wise, who are concerned here. i find it the height of hubris to think because people want to speak up and have something to say that they're being demonized and demagogued as being extremists. you know, when we get to a point in this country where dissent is extremism, we've turned i think a very dark page in our history and i don't want us to go there. i encourage americans, and right now, to go to these town hall meetings, to talk to your congressmen, the people that you elected and empowered to come to washington. >> mr. chairman, overall grade for the obama administration, the first 200 days. >> you know, i could do the partisan oh, give boy enough and move on but i'm not saying that. i think this has been a d-plus, c-minus effort because we don't know all the story, we're not being told everything, the direction we're headed in is not in the best interest of kun the country right now. i'll wait for the next 100 days.
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i'll see you in another hundred days if this becomes a routine for us to chart the hundred days. i just want hem to stop campaigning and start governing. >> we'll invite you back for the 300, michael. >> all right. >> michael steele, chairman of the rnc, thanks for joining us in "the situation room." >> take care. how do you grade the president? go to cnn.com/reportcard and weigh in. then get all the results from the best political team on television tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern. federal authorities release evidence involving a group of north carolina terrorist suspects. we'll bring you the video and audiotapes that led to their arrest. and shock and sadness over a deadly highway crash in new york turns to outrage after some disturbing information about one of the drivers is revealed.
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deborah feyerick is monitoring stories coming in to "the situation room" room. what are you following now? >> suzanne, breaking news right now. l.a. police chief william bratton who imposed sweeping reforms is step do you think after seven years on the job.
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he said when he came to los angeles, the police department was troubled organization but now is the right time for him to leave. he implemented major reforms in the lapd. he leaves office october 31st. attorneys for six of seven terror suspects in north carolina were in federal court today arguing their klines should be released because they are not a flight risk or a danger. the federal authorities released a video showing one of the suspects firing an ak-47-style assault weapon. the fbi also released photos of weapons and ammunition confiscated from the home of lead suspect daniel boyd. in an audiotape-recording, boyd allegedly training with firearms.
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>> now, boyd and the six other suspects are accused of plotting attacks on an unspecified foreign country. two window washers are safe after being rescued from the 37th story of a downtown boston building. firefighters were able to get to the men when one side of the platform they were on shifted downward. investigators are trying to determine if one of the cables snapped. the washers were not seriously injured. and north korea's kim il-jong is going to have a meeting with the president. >> yes, he is. debrah, we appreciate that. he had a visit with former bill clinton and has released two detained journalists. will that lead to a breakthrough on other issues dividing the u.s. and north korea? or did what transpire set a bad precedent? plus, she tells of the nightmare she and her colleague endured during her 144 days of
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detention. laura ling in her own words. and a 14-way kidney transplant gives new hope to patients. eat time. me too. you know, i just got out of a bad relatio... it's okay. thanks. goodnight. goodnight. (door crashes in, alarm sounds) get out! (phone rings) hello? this is rick with broadview security. is everything all right? no, my ex-boyfriend just kicked in the front door. i'm sending help right now. thank you. (announcer) brink's home security is now broadview security. call now to install the standard system for just $99. the proven technology of broadview security system delivers rapid response from highly-trained professionals, 24 hours a day. call now to get stal tion, plus a second keypad installed free. and, you could save up to 20% on your homeowner's insurance. call now-- and get the system installed for just $99. broadview security for your home or business -
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room." happening now -- an emotional recount of 144 days detained in north korea. journalist laura ling talks about her ordeal and the joy of returning home. we'll also hear from the man ling works for, former vice president al gore. also, what psychological toll does being detained for months or years take? we'll look at the impact and what it might be on the newly freed journalists. and two russian submarines sighted off the east coast of the united states. could it be the sign of another cold war? i'm suzanne malveaux and you're in "the situation room." well, just like that, their nightmare has ended. two american journalists are home after months in north korean captivity following an extraordinary mission by former president clinton. freed journalist laura ling spoke emotionally after their arrival. i want you to take a listen.
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>> 30 hours ago, euna lee and i were prisoners in north korea. we feared that at any moment we could be sent to a hard labor camp. and then suddenly we were told that we were going to a meeting. we were taken to a location, and when we walked in through the doors, we saw standing before us president bill clinton. >> we were shocked, but we knew instantly in our hearts that the nightmare of our lives was
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finally coming to an end. and now we stand here, home and free. euna and i would just like to express our deepest gratitude to president clinton and his wonderful, amazing, not to mention super cool team, including john podesta, doug band, justin cooper, dr. roger band, david strauss, the united states secret service who traveled halfway around the world and then some to secure our release. we'd also like to thank president obama, secretary clinton, vice president gore, who we also call "al," the
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swedish ambassador, matt sawyer, curt tong, linda mcfadden and the people at the u.s. state department, who worked so hard to win the release of their fellow americans, steve bing and his crew, and andrew liveris and the dow company. and i know that i am forgetting a bunch of instrumental people right now, but forgive me if i'm a little incoherent. to our loved ones, friends, colleagues, and to the complete strangers with the kindest of hearts who showed us so much love and sent us so many positive thoughts and energy, we thank you. we could feel your love all the way in north korea. it is what kept us going in the
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darkest of hours. it is what sustained our faith that we would come home. the past 140 days have been the most difficult, heartwrenching time of our lives. we are very grateful that we were granted amnesty by the government of north korea, and we are so happy to be home. and we are just so anxious right now to be able to spend some quiet private time getting reacquainted with our families. thank you so much. former vice president gore co-founded current tv, the employer of both women. >> we want to welcome laura and euna home. we want to thank president bill clinton for undertaking this mission and performing it so skillfully and all the members
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of his team who played key roles in this. also to president obama, laura mentioned this, but president obama and countless members of his administration have been deeply involved in this humanitarian effort. to secretary clinton and the members of the state department, several of whom are here, they have really put their hearts in this. it speaks well of our country that -- >> those two american journalists faced a dozen years at hard labor until former president bill clinton arrived to win their release. but did the u.s. yield to blackmail? our cnn foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty joins us now. i understand the backlash has already started. >> reporter: right. well, suzanne, bill clinton did what he set out to do -- come back with the journalists -- but could he, should he, be packing
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his bags again for another, similar mission? >> when we walked in through the doors, we saw standing before us president bill clinton. >> an emotional laura ling sings the praises of the former president who helped free her and her fellow journalist, euna lee, from captivity. so, now that he's got his high-profile face time with mr. clinton, does that mean kim jong-il will agree to negotiate an end to north korea's nuclear program? >> now maybe there's a chance to sit down to those six-party talks and really make some progress. >> reporter: but critics say mr. clinton's mission is setting a dangerous precedent. former u.n. ambassador john bolton, a fierce critic of talks with the north, charges -- it comes perilously close to negotiating with terrorists. what happens, bolton asks, if iran, believered to be holding three american hikers, asks for
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its own high-level visit? >> each situation has to be evaluated on its own merits. they all have their own peculiar circumstances. >> reporter: as the temporary diplomat wins kudos for bringing the journalists home, his full-time diplomat wife, secretary of state hillary clinton, returns to the unglamorous and difficult task of dealing with north korea. >> now we have to go back to the ongoing efforts to try to enlist the north koreans in discussions that the world wants to see them participate in. >> reporter: but one korea watcher says both clintons benefit from this mission to pyongyang. >> this does not undermine hillary clinton. with bill clinton being considered doing a great job, this helps hillary clinton in the long time. >> reporter: sending bill clinton as special envoy to north korea was not an idea that hillary clinton originated. u.s. officials say it was north korea that wanted the former
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president. they began floating the idea, they say, in mid-july, looking for the highest profile person they could find other than president barack obama. suzanne? >> okay. thank you, yil. i want to let our viewers know we have a development, a verdict, rather, in the corruption trial of former u.s. representative william jefferson of louisiana. you may recall that a federal grand jury indicted jefferson under corruption scharges charges in june 2007 when federal agents found $90,000 in cash in his freezer. bewe now understand there is a verdict and we'll be bringing more of that to you on the other side of the break. also, the psychological impact of being a prisoner. we'll explore what being detained for months or years can do to the minds. also, seven donors and seven patients. (announcer) this is nine generations
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we want now want to bring in elaine quijano out of washington who has breaking news on the trial of former u.s. representative william jefferson of louisiana. elaine, what can you tell us? >> reporter: we know moments ago the jury did reach its verdict on-in this corruption case, counts in all, guilty on 11 counts including money and money laundering, not guilty on fiver including obstruction of justice. former louisiana congressman william jefferson perhaps best known for the image you see right there, stashing $90,000 in cash in his freezer, wrapped if foil and stuffed into boca burger boxes and pillsbury pie crust boxes. prosecutors charge that cash was just the tip of the iceberg. they charged him with receiving more than $400,000 in bribes in
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exchange to brokering business deals back in 2005. there you have it, the information still coming in from our producers at the courthouse but guilty on 11 counts including bribery and money laundering in this case of william jefferson. suzanne? >> elaine quijano, breaking news. thank you very much, elaine. for more on the implications of bill clinton's high-stakes mission, let's bring in our cnn political correspondent candy crowley, democratic strategist donna brazile and republican strategist tony blankley. i want to first start off with this case of william jefferson, obviously. i want to start with you, donna, because we know this congressman representing much of new orleans there. what do you make of the verdict? >> well, first of all, it's a very sad chapter in the history of louisiana politics. as you know, he was defeated last year and he's no longer serving in congress, but, again, this is part of that history that we like to always put in
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our past. it's unfortunate. bill jefferson served his constituents so well during his time on capitol hill, and i'm very sad about this verdict and even sadder that his entire family, some of his family members have been implicated in this bribery charge. >> candy? >> i think it'll probably come as no surprise to anyone in america that there are, in fact, congressmen, both senators and reft t representatives, who are doing things they shouldn't be doing, who are corrupt. i mean, this is, unfortunately, as donna says, another former congressman. he was a lawmaker when this happened -- that has been caught doing corrupt things abarpparen, and now he's been convicted of it. it's sad, but this is what the american people, many of them, have come to suspect as sort of the usual fare. >> tony, do you think it's fair to characterize this in a manner
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that this is louisiana politics much broader than that and we're seeing these kinds of things on both sides of the aisle? >> i was going to say, i understand donna is from louisiana, but this is something that, you know, republicans and democrats, californians and louisianans and new yorkers, unforcorruption exist. it's not as bad as some people fear, but it's bad enough, and it breaks down -- it increases the cynicism of the public, which is the most damaging aspect of these crimes. >> what do we think of nancy pelosi's promise to basically drain and clean out the swamp here of all this corruption? >> every out party makes that promise, and every party that gets in power ends up having some corruption. tights nature of power and government. you condition do that even if you tried to. >> i want to talk a little bit about bill clinton's role in bringing thome these two american journalists and whether or not this sets a precedent that is perhaps concerning for
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the administration, puts them in a box. we have the taliban holding marine in fallujah, you've got three hikers now that are in iran's custody. candy, what do you think? do you think that this puts the administration in a situation where now they have to look at negotiating perhaps with terrorist groups to free hostages? >> i think they won't. but obviously, this is something that comes up in the aftermath of this, looking at it. this is just something -- i think this is the price in some ways of being this country, which does put great value on and brags upon its rights of the individual, the worth and the value of the individual. there probably was not much choice here in getting these two young journalists out of there other than to have former president clinton go over, but i can assure you at the white house that it obviously occurs to those involved in diplomacy that this can be seen as setting some sort of precedent. i just don't think it will.
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i think it's very doubtful who they might send to iran, for instance, to try to get out those three hikers. >> okay. donna brazile, tony -- >> i agree. bill clinton did a fabulous job, and he should be applauded, along with vice president gore, to use those back-channel connections to ensure these two journalists were freed. >> let me just suggest that i agree with ambassador bolton that this does create a dangerous precedent. on the other hand, that's not the entire story. it's one that the humanitarian component that is positive, and two, it does mix things up a little bit. we'll see whether president clinton has brought any movement back from north korea. but there's no doubt that the down side risk that ambassador bolton talked about does exist. >> we have very little time left. does anybody care to give the obama administration a grade over the first 200 days? real quick? >> i'm planning to give him a very satisfactory grade, because i believe the administration has rescued this economy from a
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freefall and that clearly with health care reform and other efforts to restrive economy they're trying to get this country back on its fiscal track. >> tony? >> it's an incomplete. i'll be ready to give him a grade in december. >> and we journalists, candy and i, will remain neutral. we will remain neutral on this question. thank you so much, donna brazile, tony blankley, and candy crowley. appreciate it. nightmare in north korea. cnn has the untold story of what those two journalists faced during their month of captivity. and what wrong-way driver whose head on collision killed eight people was heavily intoxicated. for clunkers program, a great deal gets even better. let us recycle your older vehicle, and you could qualify for an additional $3500 or $4500 cash back... on a new, more fuel efficient chevy. your chevy dealer has more eligible models to choose from - more than ford, toyota, or honda.
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new information about a deadly highway crash in new york has turned sympathy into anger. this is quite an amazing story. you have more details. >> such a horrible story. this is a story where eight people were killed. authorities are saying now with toxicology tests showing that the driver was drunk and could have smoked pot anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before the crash. the family of two of the victims
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say they want justice. their attorney is questioning whether anyone can be charged as an accomplice if they knew the driver was drinking. >> reporter: at first, the tragic crash was incomprehensible. a 36-year-old mother, diane schuler, seen here drove the wrong way for nearly two miles on a new york highway with five children inside her mini-van. they struck an suv with three adults head on. eight people were killed. a week later, the shock and sadness has turned to outrage. the headlines revealing she had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit, equivalent of ten drinks and traces of marijuana in her sis sfim. >> how do you put five children in a car when you are a mother and you are drunk? how do you do that? it's incomprehensible. we have children. i would never, ever do something like that. it's just crazy. >> roseanne guzzo, her father,
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brother and family friend were killed as they headed to a family outing. the bastardi's family lawyer calling for a full investigation saying he senses a fragrance of criminality. >> it is unconceivable that the family would be unaware of the facts that this woman drank a lot and used marijuana. >> reporter: an attorney for diane jeweler's husband daniel that she never had an alcohol problem and the family is in shock over the toxicology reports. part of the family includes three nieces who were the children of her brother. the horrific story has generated calls to mothers against drunk driving which says it gets 17,000 calls a year from those that are worried that children are with a drunk driver. >> perhaps one day, there may be a car that if you are above a .08, the illegal limit in all
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50 states, your car simply will not start. >> diane schuler's brother who lost three of his girls released a statement this afternoon saying he would never have let his daughters travel with somebody who might jeopardize their safety. shuler's husband plans on holding a news conference tomorrow. canadian authorities are investigating a hard to believe youtube video discovered by a local media. it shows a small boy driving a car by himself with ad dumts cheering him on. our internet reporter, abbi tatton shows those details. >> this is a child so young he can barrel see over the steering wheel. you can hear an adult male egging him on. he is saying, smile for the camera, which the boy does. later, the camera zooms to the
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back seat where it appears there are people, including children, not wearing car seats. if that wasn't enough, the video was then proudly uploaded by someone claiming to be the boy's father to youtube. police in quebec, canada, have identified this was shot in their province. they are investy gaiting it, seeing if any charges will be brought. canadian tv did talk to someone saying he was the boy's father. he said the reaction was overblown because his son wasn't going that fast but he regrets posting it to youtube. suzanne? >> thank you. seven donors and seven patients, a stunning procedure enables kidney transplants for a group of patients few hoped of finding a suitable match. hot! hot! hot! time to check your air conditioning? come to meineke now and get a free ac system check. at meineke, you're always the driver.
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the question this hour is did bill clinton's meeting with kim jong-il win the release of the two americans violate this country's policy of not negotiating with terrorists. steve in california says technically, they were arrested and violated for violating north korean law. they technically why not kidnapped and held for ransom by terrorists. bill clinton went as a private citizen. this is just another thing that the right wing will treat like raw meat. mark m houston, who cares? have we become so terror traumatized that the rescue of american citizens should be set aside if it involves sitting down and talking to a media. the media seems less interested in celebrating the freedom of the two young women than finding fault with the process. jerry in oklahoma, as much as i
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dissplit splitting hairs, north korea is sovereign and kim jong-il is the ruler of that nation. the policy we don't negotiate with terrorists does not apply in this particular instance. the burden of responsibility lies at the feet of the two reporters who crossed the border knowing they could be arrested. they and the guy they work for, al gore, should be chastised for creating this mess in the first place. reagan used to look at the camera and say he would not negotiate with terrorists and then he illegally traded arms with terrorists. bill clinton just showed kim jong-il the light. lee yon writes, i'm sure bill clinton has talked with cheney and bush as well.
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does this call for a violation? if you didn't see your e-mail here, go to my blog and look for yours there among hundreds of others. happening now, two freed american journalists are back in the ars of their families. we are learning more about their 140-day nightmare in north korea and what bill clinton did to bring them home. this hour, the reunion, the emotion and the dramatic back story. inside the carnage at a pennsylvania gym. the police now believe the gunman was on a mission. we've discovered he was playing sick games with people on line before he opened fire. two russian attack thugs are lurking off the east coast. it seems like a threatening flash back to the cold war. it turns out moscow is sending a is he surprising message. i am suzanne malveaux and you are in "the situation room."
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laura ling and euna lee got their happy ending. we are wondering how much work went into making this happen. the two american journalists lived in fear for over four months that they would wind up doing hard time in a notorious labor camp. instead, they wound up face to face with former president, bill clinton, who brought them home. first up, thelma gutierrez takes us inside the emotional reunion. >> reporter: 140 days without seeing their loved once. then, at the crack of dawn in a priva private hangar in a public setting two families are reunited. it began at the crack of dawn with the dramatic arrival of a private jet.
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on board, 36-year-old euna lee and 32-year-old laura ling overjoyed to be back on u.s. soil. >> we want to welcome laura and euna home. we want to thank president bill clinton for undertaking this mission. >> it's the day they have all been waiting for for five long months. finally, they see them. lee's husband of 12 years, ian and her parents doug and mary and her sister, and fellow journalist, lisa ling. she says hoping for this day kept her going through her darkest hour. >> it is what sustained our faith that we would come home. the past 140 days have been the most difficult, heart-wrenching time of our lives. >> it was this embrace between a mother and child that captured the moment.
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euna lee's husband said while his wife was detained in north korea, 4-year-old hannah had been told mommy was away at work. he said the separation was so hard on their daughter, she had recently stopped asking but now, mom is home. after all the hugs and tears, the man credited for his role in bringing about the journalists release. >> suddenly, we were told that we were going to a meeting. we were taken to a location. when we walked in through the doors, we saw standing before us president bill clinton. >> reporter: ling didn't go into any details of her captivity or what she experienced. after the public reunion had ended, her sister, lisa, talked to reporters at home.
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>> the little bit she was able to recount about her experience of the last 4 1/2 months has been challenging for us to hear and through it all, she has really maintained a sense of strength. >> euna lee and laura ling are now spending private time with their families. they say they are taking time to get reacquainted. suzanne? >> thank you. for euna lee, this has been a terrifying introduction to life as an international journalist. she was on her first overseas assignment when when she was arrested in north korea in march. she worked mostly behind the scenes as a video and film editor. she was hired by al gore's media company, current tv, in 2005. only about a decade after she moved to the united states from south korea. laura ling went into this ordeal with extensive experience working as a foreign correspondent. she has reported on cuba, the philippines, the west bank, philippines, brazil and china. before that, she worked on a
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documentary series for mtv. she was born in california. her family is originally from taiwan. check out the plane that brought ling and lee home. it is owned by the wealthy hollywood producer and democratic fund-raiser, steve bing. he is friend with bill clinton. there are reports that he covered expenses for the round-trip flight to north korea. the company that operates his plane says the faa cleared the flight plane at the highest level, because usair kraft aren't usually allowed to fly to north korea. now, to the back story for all of this. what bill clinton did and what the obama administration knew. let's bring in our white house correspondent, dan lothian. this has been going on behind the scenes for months. dan, what have we learned today? >> reporter: it has been going on for months. president clinton and former vice president gore was actively involved trying to gain their
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release. the white house was not saying a whole lot of anything. >> i am not going to get into that. >> i don't have anything more to add on this at this time. this was a private mission. >> reporter: in fact, the government was deeply involved from the start. >> it was an official visit sanctioned by the u.s. government, brokered behind the scenes by the u.s. government. this is, in name only, a private visit by the president. >> reporter: a senior administration official says planning had been underway for months but that the game-changer came in mid-july when laura ling and euna lee told their parents during phone conversations of an offer. they would be granted amnesty if an envoy, like president clinton would travel to pyongyang to ensure their release. on the weekend of july 24th, an official said national security
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adviser, general jim jones, spoke with clinton about his willingness to take on the mission. the former president pressed for two things, clear communication that the mission would be purely humanitarian and that due diligence by the national security team would guarantee success. we were convinced this would be the result said a senior administration official and based on that, with he could advise president clinton that his trip was going to be successful. on monday, president clinton flew to north korea and met with president kim jong-il for more than an hour followed by a two-hour dinner and then got what he came for. with the two journalists safely at home, president obama finally spoke. >> i want to change president bill clinton. i had a chance to talk to him for the extraordinary humanitarian effort that resulted in the release of the two journalists. >> reporter: the state-run agency in pyongyang claims that former president clinton apologized for the, quote,
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hostile acts committed by the two journalists. a senior statesman and robert gibbs' spokesman also said that did not happen the. jack cafferty joining us with the cafferty file. what are you following? a little scary. the number of americans taking antidepressants has doubled in the last ten years. a new study of 50,000 adults and children shows that about 10% of americans, that's 27 million people, are on antidepressants as of 2005. that's up from 13 million in 1996. the report in the archives of general sky tri shows most of the people were not being treated for depression. half of them were using the medication for back or nerve pain, fatigue, sleeping problems and other issues. the study says more people are being treated with antidepressants and they are getting more prescriptions. the percentage of the users seeing psychiatrists, that fell during the test period. this might be because insurance companies don't generally cover
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visits to the shrink and it is cheaper to get a prescription. some think the increase is due to the fact that it is more socially acceptable to be diagnosed and treated for depression. also, there are new drugs that have safer and fewer serious side effects. during the nine years of the study, spending on so-called direct to consumer anti-depressant advertising increased from 32 million to $122 million. try watching a program without seeing an ad for prescription drugs. some are concerned about the results saying antidepressants are only moderately effective. there have been several public health warning on these medicines, including that they increase the is are can of suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. here is the question. what does it mean when more than 1 in 10 americans is on antidepressants? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile.
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reminders of the cold war. russian nuclear powered attacks are cruising near the east coast of the united states. wait until you hear why russia may really be doing this. confessions of a killer regarding the bloody rampage at a pennsylvania gym. we are going inside the mind of the gunman. you might not believe he was playing games on the internet to reveal what he was going to do. . let us recycle your older vehicle and you could qualify for an additional $3500 or $4500 cash back on a new, more fuel-efficient chevy. your chevy dealer has more eligible models to choose from. more than ford, toyota, or honda. now get an '09 cobalt for under fifteen-five after all offers. and get it for even less if you qualify for cash for clunkers program. go to chevy.com for details.
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he was lonely, frustrated and hated women because he felt rejected by them so he decided to unleash hell, that is the picture painted by police from the gunman's own admissions. cnn is going inside the mind of a gunman to see why he walked into a pittsburgh area gym with four guns and opened fire. the gunman was playing games to reveal what he was going to do. wait until you hear that from our internet reporter, abbi tatton. let's first begin with cnn's jeanne meserve. what do we know so far? >> reporter: three dead, nine wounded and after a tragic event like this, there is always a question why. in this case, the gunman, george sodini provided answers. he was 48 years old and appears to have been a troubled soul long before his shooting rampage. at the scene, in his gym bag, authorities found a note.
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>> he complains about how he has never spent a weekend with a girl. he has never vacationed with a girl. he never lived with a woman. he has maybe had sex a few times in his life and he goes on like this. >> reporter: the same rage and frustration runs throughout a flog sodini kept cataloging his thoughts and actions. women just don't like me. there are 30 million desirable women in the u.s., my estimate and i cannot find one, not one of them finds me attractive e calls himself totally alone, isolated. he writes, thanks for nada, pitches, bye. >> there is this myth that mass killers just snap and go ba zert and shoot indim crippdiscripple. >> reporter: there is a certain logic where he would target an aerobics room at a health club
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where women would be plenty full. >> he had a lot of hatred and he was hell-bent on committing this. >> reporter: he says his mother was do was domineering. >> what did he put on line? >> it looks like he was teasing us to find this information that he posted. i want to show you his website. the front page looks inobjectingus enough, holiday pictures here. a listing for a used car he was trying to sell. i want to show you this part here where it says life or death. if you click on that, it takes you to a whole other page. it asks you to guess the date of sodini's death. he knew that would be yesterday. if you input that date, it leads you to this page that jeanne was
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telling you about, this rambling page of information about what he was planning to do last night. >> how long was this up there? >> that's pretty hard to tell. what we have been able to find out is that sodini appeared to be working on this in the hour before he wept to the gym. there are time stamps on this document and other places in the website, 6:07 p.m., 6:10 p.m. police say in the 7:00 p.m. hour, that's when he went to the gym, suzanne. >> thank you, abbi tatton. right now, two russian nuclear-powered attack submarines are cruising in waters not far from near the east cold igniting reminders of the cold war. cnn is learning what russia is doing may not involve antagonizing the u.s. but it may be trying to send a message to other nations. let's go to cnn correspondent, chris lawrence. >> reporter: the u.s. navy is tracking these two subs. this show may be designed for the eyes of other countries.
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on the surface, it seems threatening, two russian attack subs patrolling a couple hundred miles off of america's eastern seaboard. dig deeper. this may be an elaborate sails cruz. the russians bringing nuclear-powered submarines halfway around the world to show them off for potential buyers. >> this particular submarine are the same type that india is looking to purchase. >> reporter: and the same type that malfunctioned last year killing 20 people on board. eric wertheim wrote a book on the world's combat ships. he says, by sending subs to the east coast. >> they are showing our submarines are still viable. our ships are still powerful and this is why you can still view russian weapons as something you can purchase. >> reporter: russian subs haven't been this close to the u.s. coast in over ten years. >> there is an effort to project
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force around the world. >> the pentagon says there is no threat. >> reporter: perhaps this move is about making money, not war. for example, india used to buy patrol planes from russia. just inked a $2 billion version for this aircraft. the seller, american company, boeing. >> russia is understandably concerned that foreign customers are not looking to them anymore as a leader in the export market for weapons. >> reporter: a russian general says that these sub s are sailig in international waters. the pentagon says there is no need to look at these subs and automatically see them as a threat. months of captivity silenced them from speaking publicly. now, they are free to tell their stories. you will hear more from the two american journalists freed from north korea in their own words.
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we are monitoring the
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stories coming into "the situation room." deb, what are you working on? >> we head over to iran. hundreds of protesters can too to the streets of tehran as m mahmoud ahmadinejad was sworn in as president. many demonstrators chanting death to the dictator. his swearing-inceremony was boycotted by key opposition leaders and all three of his election challengers. a. a former member of the manson family is about to be paroled from prison. lynette "squeaky" fromm was convicted of pulling a gun at president gerald ford. he talked about the incident in an appearance on "larry king live." >> i noticed as i walked along a lady in a red dress following behind the first row of people who were there greeting me. as i went to shake hands, a hand
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appeared with a pistol in it. it scared the heck out of me. >> fromm was one of charlie manson's most loyal followers. she claimed no part in the 1969 murders that landed him in prison. she is scheduled to be released on august 16th. an extraordinary kidney transplant involving seven donors and seven patients, elizabeth cohen joins us with this story. very fascinating. >> it was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle putting together these 14 people. doctors did it and have been stunningly successful as a result. seven people, all in desperate need of a new kidney. they all had someone who was willing to donate, a living donor but none of them were a match. waiting for a kidney from a dead person would have taken five years. time none of them had. so doctors in washington came up with a plan, a kidney exchange,
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the ultimate matching game. >> the sacrifices that these people made, i really believe, will never be forgotten because this will forever change our field. >> reporter: here is how it works. elizabeth gardner needed a new kidney. her husband wanted to give her his kid new but he wasn't a match but jordan bro was a match, that freed up larry's kidney to go to dashard pincard. >> i don't know what to say to larry, my angel on earth. >> his brother, brian, then donated one of his kidneys to jacque

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