tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 8, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm EST
possibly that 13,000 more -- not quite. we haven't seen the dow hit 13,000 sit 2008 before the financial crisis, so we're going to keep our fingers crossed for that. meantime, that's it for me. i'm brooke baldwin. now for wolf blitzer in washington. oh, our picture from last night. your "the situation room" starts right now. >> brooke, thanks very much. happening now, the dust clears after rick santorum's stunning sweep, revealing a new reality for the gop campaign. mitt romney draws up a new battle plan for a race that may turn into a marathon. a look at the horror and carnage inside the syrian army's ring of steel, as the slaughter intensifies there. are desperate appeals to the outside world going anywhere? what will america do? will america answer these pleas? picture this, you're walking through the airport checkpoint with your shoes on and your belt
on, and your laptop still in its case. how you can speed your way through the security line. new information coming in. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." suddenly a brand-new campaign. rick santorum's stunning sweep has turned the republican race into a real race. he's grabbed some delegates and more importantly he's grabbing the momentum. that's enabling him to raise lots of cash and it's raising a big question for the republicans. now what? let's begin our coverage with our national political correspondent jim acosta. >> wolf, mitt romney says he's focused on the contest ahead. that's probably a good thing, because the rest of them may
count like never before. moments after the secret service housed a man who tried to throw glitter on mitt romney, it looked like a scene from "csi." the real post mortem of the night was on romney's caucus collapse. >> the romney bandwagon just went into the ditch. >> i want to congratulate all my fellow republicans, particularly senator santorum. i look forward for the contests to come. >> while he goes into the upcoming contest holding a big delegate lead, according to latest cnn estimate, he faces a resurgent rick santorum, who is savors his surprising sweep. >> one of the great political gifts i've had is no one ever thinking i can ever win anything. the gift of being underestimated
is a wonderful gift. >> then there are the contenders' different battle plans, that could lead to a long protracted war, as romney looks to winner take all arizona, santorum is eyeing states that are worth -- as newt gingrich zeros in in the south. that's if santorum can withstand what team romney is going to dish out. >> all the attacks have been on newt. if rick is now going to be rising in the polls, i think he'll start getting negative ads. >> gingrich had nothing to say about his disappointing night. >> it's shave toom, america, and our second half is about to begin. >> he was only talking about super bowl sunday. >> well, there's some controversy about it, i have to confess, i liked the clint eastwood halftime ad. >> reporter: perhaps because he ace gaining a whole new scenario, one in which no gop candidate has the delegates needed to clinch the nomination. as the democratic party is putting it to the
massachusetts-based romney campaign "boston, you have a problem." >> at the rate we're going you could have the first open convention since 1940. >> reporter: romney's advisers say they'll be more aggressive. in other words, batten down the hatches. wolf? >> jim acosta in denver, thank you. as the campaign clocks his next move, mitt romney is looking ahead to what could be a pretty rough battle with rick santorum. listen to this. >> we can beat senator santorum where we compete head to head in an aggressive way. we obviously didn't do that in colorado or minnesota, to the extent that the other campaign did. but there will be places where he went and there will be places where i went. there's no such thin as coronation in presidential politics. it's meant to be a long process. it's not easy to get the nomination. it's not easy to get reelected. this is a test, a testing
approach and so far we're doing pretty well. let's dig deeper with gloria borger. >> it really has stalled romney's momentum. it's also exposed the problems that he has within his own party. what we saw last night was really a cautionary tale for the romney campaign. you look at the low turnout that we saw in the states that we were looking at. what does that tell you, wolf? it tells you that there's not a lot of enthusiasm for mitt romney as the republican nominee. it doesn't mean he won't eventually become the nominee, but voters are not enthusiastic about getting out there and supporting him. that's the problem. >> he has other problems as well. go a little bit deeper into that. >> yeah, it's really the problem with the base of the party. we've been talking about this a lot now for months, which is thor tea party activists, the
evangelicals, and the most conservative people in the party we went true a compendium of all our exit polls last night. there were a couple numbers that jumped out at me. we asked the question what is the most important candidate quality. other the people being a true conservative was most important, look at this. they both get 30% of those voters, but romney only gets 6%. that really goes to the skepticism of conservatives about just who is mitt romney? how conservative is he? can we trust him? one more thing, wolf, is when you look at all of the polls, they don't really like him enough. they haven't warmed up to him, which is why i think last night we heard him start talking about his life story and his father, because he understands he needs to warm up the crowds a bit and
get those voters in. >> as i wrote my "the situation room" blog today, still romney has the most money, the best organization. >> he does. >> he's positioned to go nationally in all these states. here's the question, though, does he focus his attack ads, the super pac and his own campaign on san storm or on gingrich. >> i think he has to do a little bit of both. take a lynn to this. >> frankly rick santorum and newt gingrich were a big part of what -- under newt gingrich earmarks doubled, rick santorum was a major earmarker, continues to defend earmarks. under rick santorum he voted to raise the debt ceiling i believe five different times to the tune of an additional $3.5 trillion. >> so just a couple washington insiders, newt gingrich and rick santorum. that's how he's going to betray
them. but if he continues to pound away, his own negatives will go up and independent voters, they don't like this bickering and he could continue to suffer. >> there's a lot of negativity that simply -- >> really? you think so? >> yeah. >> thank you. >> sure. the explosions come every few mince. residents say government trips are using rockets and heavy artillery in a bombardment that's gone on for days. as the shells fall, the slaughter mounts. another 60 men, women and children were reported killed today. residents say they cannot even count the dead anymore, and the international charity doctors without borders says the regime is now attacking the wounded with the staff who treat them risking arrest and torture. by phone and through social media, we're learning more about the desperation as those trapped in the city look at the cameras and simply cry for help.
cnn's arwa damon reports. >> reporter: i beg you, please, stop the rockets. this doctor pleads at one location in homs, directing his plea at the leaders of turkey, qatar, and saudi arabia. he adds, we are begging you. we can't do anything for them. cnn has spoken with opposition activists across syria. as one, they ask the same question -- how is it that the world can watch and continue to fail them? >> the entire world for watching is so silently. we are getting killed every moment. we are not able even just to get some basic medicine to injured people. children are really hungry. i swear, children are hungry. no power, no fuel it's too cold.
it's too much. for god's sake, this is too much. >> thank anguish is painfully clear. the way to end it is not. arwa damon, cnn, beirut. the united states ambassador to the united nations susan rice had a very strong message for the syrian president bashar al assad when she joined me yesterday. she said, and i'm quoting her now -- your days are numbers. obama officials sill the u.s. is focused on diplomatic and economic pressure, but a preliminary review has fled begun of u.s. military capabilities. let's go to our white house correspondent dan lothian. he's joining us. update us on what we know. >> reporter: first of all, the white house really hopes this situation in syria can be resolved either through diplomacy or some political solution. having said that top aides here tell me that all oping remain on
the table. they won't specifically address talk about whether the u.s. could be involved in arming the op position, but as barbara starr has been reporting, military officials are conducting an early review. this does not mean this is something that president obama has asked for, i'm told, but this is kind of a preparation, the strategy that the military will conduct in case the president does ask for that. for looking at provides humanitarian assistance. all of this taking place as the pressure kins for president assad to step down. >> there's no question because of the efforts of the international community to put the squeeze on the regime financially, that his assets and his capacities are dwindling, and there's no question that
those around him among -- within the military and governmental leadership are beginning to doubt the wisdom of sticking by him. >> he says he believes assad's days are numbers. they're on the path to pressure and isolating asaid. to what the white house will do next, one official saying, quote, this is a process that is moving. >> i remember it well, the president went before the cameras to talk about the revolution in egypt. >> you're right, wolf. the president took every opportunity to pop into the briefing room or elsewhere to make that strong condemnation. we have not seen that kind of thing, at least in person from the president. what officials are tell me when i ask that question, the president for so long has been calling on asaid to step down.
he put out the statement over the weekend, the language was very strong saying, quote, he must step aside now, asaid has no right to lead syria. as for whether or not the president will be making specific appearances before the camera rather than on paper, that's still unclear, wolf. >> dan lothian they white house, thank you. . the battle over birth control, the white house is in a fight with the catholic church. now republican lawmakers jump into the fray. newt gingrich may have been the big loser yesterday, but he says he's in the race all the way. my one on one interview with newt gingrich. that's coming up. coming up at an airport near you, a new way potential to breeze through the security checkpoint. that convenience comes with a price. [ male announcer ] the draw of the past is a powerful thing.
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once again raises serious question es week so many conservatives cannot stomach romney. one, it wasn't even close, and two romney failed in places where he was successful four years ago. romney came in third in minnesota, and worst of all for romney, losing colorado where he got 60% of the vote last time out. my buddy cnn political contributor paul begala points out that romney has more national experience, more staff, more money and better hair than santorum. begala described the losses this way, quote -- there's a technical term in political consulting for a performance like that. it's called sucking. unquote. though romney is still the likely nominee, yesterday's thumpings will now make peep wonder about his electable. santorum is out to convince republicans that he, not newt gingrich, is the strongest conservative challenger to
romney. the convergence of recent events are a conservative's dream come true. to planned parenthood to propyl, to the duty-up over birth control. as for gingrich, his showing pretty much concerns it's a wrap for him. for republicans none of this can be encouraging. low turnout suggests that republican voters aren't overly there would with any of their choices. president obama, well he must be watching all this the way nascar fans enjoy a multical pileup at the race car track. how does rick santorum's sweep change the race? go to cnn.com/cafferty2350i8, post a comment on my blog, or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. >> great question, jack. i real about it on my blog today as well. conservatives are thrilled with the vocal opposition to a new white house decision. the policy forces religious institutions across the country to provide contraception in
health care plans. members of the religious right are vowing to fight the policy. our white house correspondent brianna keilar is joining us with more. what is the white house doing to try to bridge this really, really sensitive divide? >> wolf, white house press secretary jay carney says the discussions are going on. not many details, though. it appears those discussions are largely internal administration discussions, because there are a number of progressive catholics who have told cnn they have not been consulted thus far on any possible compromise. we do know that the white house is looking for support, trying to shore up support among women's groups and women's health advocacy groups, as this political battle over this heats up. the obama's decision to make employer including religiously affiliated ones to provide coverage for contraception has spawned a game of tug of war.
they're looking at the policy that would apply to employers like catholic universities, hospitals and charities. >> look at what obamacare is already spawning. >> it's a violation of conscience. >> white house press secretary jay carney fired back at the a man the obama campaign is preparing to face in the general election. >> former governor of massachusetts is at on messenger on there, given that the services that this rule would provide for women around the country are the same provided in massachusetts and were provided when he was governor. >> on the hill republicans piled on. special john boehner took to the house floor. >> this attack by the federal government must not stand and will not stand. >> shortly afterwards, senate republicans held a press conference. >> it viltsds our first
amendment to the constitution and really an affront to what we stand for as americans. >> they're echoing an argument about religious freedom that catholic leaders have been hammering home for two weeks, the goal to simultaneously chip away at the president's support from catholical lies while rallies the republican evangelical base, like followers of rick warren who gave the invocation. he tweeted i would go to jail rather than cave into a government mandate. >> are you worried -- >> we're not worried about republicans or democrats, the political component. we're concerned about making sure that women get access to these important services. >> wolf, democrats on capitol hill who are supportive of had hhs possible also spoke out today. house democrat ecwomen in
support held what they called an emergency conference call to talk to reporters, saying this policy is essentially for guarantees women access to this contraception, saying the exemption for churches, but not church-affiliated employers should be enough, and at this point senate republicans holding a conference as well. >> what are all hearing about a possible compromise? >> reporter: i will tell you, wolf, they're playing it close to the vest. i think that's part of the reason you're not seeing some of the outreach to some of these progressive catholics, but some of the ideas include a law that hawaii uses, where someone if they're employed by a religiously -- they could perform it out of possible, but then play a lesser premium for the insurance coverage, so it all comes out in the wash. there may be issues implementing that on a national level and
another idea is the idea of these religiously affiliated employers provides coverage that does not include birth control coverage, but allowing the employees to get them on the exchanges that would be created under the health care reform law. >> fascinating story. we'll continue to stay on top of it. the campaign has lost its momentum, but the candidate himself has some ideas on how to push photograph. my interview with newt gingrich is next. [ jody ] four course feast. man it's great. the guests love it.
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the big loser may have been newt gingrich. he finished third in colorado, fourth in minnesota, wasn't even on the ballot in missouri, but a new arg poll taken before those results shows gingrich leading the gop field in oklahoma less than a month before the super tuesday primary there. i spoke with newt gingrich last night. he outlined his strategy and told me where he's focusing his efforts. >> i think we're looking forward to ohio, which is where i am now which has started early voting arizona which has begun early vote, tennessee. we're trying to look at the whole country at the same time. i stayed in florida and fought it out. senator santorum decided to go to different states. each campaign is making its own decisions, but we're having a great time here in ohio. i this think we have a real chance of winning. i just talked to governor perry
today, we have a strong operation in texas and georgia. our gold is through super tuesday, we then go to alabama, mississippi, then texas, and our hope is by the time we get to texas on april 6th, we'll basically be pretty close to a tie with governor romney. i think theport universe he talks about not caring about the poor, because they have a safety net. i want to create a springboard to hem them all have a chance to pursue happiness. they ridiculed my ideas about competing in space. i don't want to let the chinese and russians dominate space. whether you go to the wright brothers home, you look at what they did and how they did it, and you realize they discovered how to fly for $500 while the u.s. government was throwing away $50,000 in the same cycle failing to fly. it's a pretty good model what i want to do liberating space from the bureaucracy, getting
entrepreneurs to do exciting positive things. and -- if we are consistently the most innovative and most technologically advanced in the world. >> i don't know if you've seen the stories about suggesting more debates or no debates. do you want to clarify? he tied one and probably you could argue i lost one. i think that's a pretty good track report. i'm happy to debate. i would rather have a lincoln there douglas-style debate. let ache take a couple big ideas
and talk about them together. "wall street journal" said the boldest plan. he had a plan so timid, "wall street journal" said it was comparable to obama. it would be great to have a tax debate with romney or debate over his attitude toward the very poor and my idea of trying to create a springboard to try to give him a chance for the middle class. i would love those debates, but you call one, i'll show up whether he does or not. i'm happy to do it either way. >> good to no el that. let me ask you about syria. we're spending time looking -- the slaughter is continuing. it's a brutal situation. john mccain said the united states should at least start thinking about provides weapons to the opposition. barbara starr is reporting that the military is begins to think of contingencies. if you were president of the united states and saw thousands of innocent people, protesters simply slaughtered by this
regime, what would you do? >> first thing you have to ask is what has happened to the obama administration and we're months into this and they're starting to think? you would have thought they would be covertly working with our allies to funnel assets. it's clearly in our interests for assad to be kicked out of power. this is clearly an ally of iran, and frankly we want him replaced if we can. so i'm amazed they're starting to think about something they should have months ago. >> if you were president would you active provide weapons to the opposition? >> i would -- first of all, as president i wouldn't tell you. i would seek to have genuinely covert operations in which be worked with allies in the region and had people fluent in arabic deeply engaged in helping them,
but you know, weapons in that part of the world aren't hard to get. that's pretty easy to attain. the super. helping the group of advisers that will help organize to defeat asaid. it is definitely in our interest to get rid of assad as a dictator. it will be a major blow to the iranians if asaid were kicked out of power. >> one more question, you remember 1976, ronald reagan challenged gerald ford, you remember what happened. are you in at least until the convention in do you think it will go that far? >> i'm certainly in it -- at the rate we're going you could have the first open convention since 1940, which would give you something to cover which you would just love. i know that i stand for the
growth-oriented reagan wing of the party that wants us to be very dynamic and different, and i think that fight with the i think we're probably going a long way in distinguishing governor romney's position and my position, but in addition, it's not harmful -- risch barack obama and hillary clinton were in a contest all the way up to mid-june. john mccain won early. it didn't seem to help him, so have been testing ideas, and showing that there are philosophical differences about how we approach america's future, i think that's very healthy for the republican parties, and i think we'll be a party of better new ideas and better new solutions. >> mr. speaker, as usual, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks. good to see you, wolf. will the republican race for the white house remain undecided all the way to the august
let ate get right to our strategy session. jamal simmons along with alice stewart. let me start with you. you agree with newt gingrich, this republican contest could go all the way to the end of august, the convention floor in tampa? >> i agree, and i think ever candidate has the right to stay in until the nominee receives the magic number 1144. back in '08 it was governor huckabee. he stayed in until john mccain received the exact number. it's important to do this.
voters in all states should have the opportunity to vote until someone has the magic number of votes. this is an important part of the process, important to make sure that all the candidatesing gf after each other on the issues. job number one is to defeat barack obama in november. >> are you among those democrats that believe a long-drawn-out fierce battle bodes well for the president's reelection chances. >> i do they it bodes well and bad for mitt romney. the difference between this year and 2008, in 2008 hillary clinton and barack obama were trying to get to the center, going after moderate voters. right now the republicans are battling to the right. so mitt romney, instead of fighting to get to the center of where most of the electorate is
he's fighting for the right flank. that the hurt him. >> how much of a setback is the santorum sweep for mitt romney. >> hats off for rick santorum for receiving the hat trick last night. three very good states for him, socially conservative, and right in his area of constituency, but for mitt romney, even though he has the largest war chest, they're playing strategically and to his stroengts. he need he wanted to look ahead to the other states. arizona going a winner take all and move move being more of a -- what i think the romney campaign is doing is they're looking more long term. the key for him is to continue doing what he's doing, using the resources where they can be best used.
he knows that everyone is out there trying to be the anti-romney dane. he's doing what he can to appeal to all voters. in colorado four almost 63,000 yesterday, only 47,000,696 compare to 251,000 yesterday. there's a lot less people showing up, and i know you as a democrat say that is good news. >> it does show a lack of enthusiasm. in fact, i think the only day that they overperform was in south carolina president obviously mitt romney didn't win
south carolina. if you look at the -- what's interesting, you can see a real possibility of newt gingrich doing well. rick santorum has a big block in the center of the country. what if he only has one on the east coast and west coast. >> very quickly, ali? >> in -- the key is to make sure we turn out voters across the board, and they're going to wax and wane, but the most important thing is with the unemployment rate continuing to hover, the cbo saying we're going to top a trillion in debt this year, and barack obama's war chest isn't as great as he claimed, otherwise he wouldn't have flip flopped. he's in trouble, and he knows it. what the republicans need to do is elect a candidate who will be the best person to go against barack obama, because he will be
a very vulnerable candidate. we're well on the way to vetting the right person to do that. >> thanks very much. before a house exploded, a social worker made a panicked call to 911. her chilling call about what could happen to the two little boys. and most travelers rarely have anything good to say about the it. sa. this time they do. [ beep ] [ mom ] scooter?
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lisa sylvester, what else is going on? >> wolf, there was a call to police that began somewhat confused, that the two boyce were in danger. as the minutes ticked by, a woman tells 911 that she can hear one of the boys crying and she can smell gasoline and she is desperate for police to help her. >> okay. how long will it be? >> i don't know ma'am, they have to respond to emergencily
life-threatening situations first. >> well, this could be life-threatening. he went to court on wednesday, and he didn't get his kids back, and this is really -- i'm afraid for their lives. >> during that phone call, just over six minutes, josh powell took a hatchet to his children and then set fire to his house. from the driveway, the horrified social worker made another call to 911. >> people are saying there's not something here, but i was just there. there is somebody here. there's two little boys in the house. they're 5 and 7, and there's an adult man. he has supervised visitation, and he blew up the house and the kids. >> the kids and the husband -- the father were in the house? >> yes. yes. he slammed the door in my face. i kept knocking, and then i called 911. >> before the young inferno,
powell's sister called police dispatchers to say she was worried about what she called weird messages that she had received from her brother. in other news a ugandan lawmaker recycles a bill that would make homosexuality pun ishil by death and requires citizens to report gay people or face criminal charges. the bill was capable in 2009 after outcry from the international community including from president obama. for the first time in more than three decades. the government is at the time to green light two nuclear reactors. the plant east of atlanta is home to two older radio el actors. though there are more than 100 operational, the three mild island incident in 1979 and high cost the nuclear power kept utilities from using them. wolf? >> thank you. >> is are americans easily manipulated, at least if you believe a stunning new report, and we've all been stuck in
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republicans are fighting to win the white house, but inside the executive mansion, a different kind of contest went down between the first lady and a laid night talk show host. in the end michelle obama beat jimmy fallon. it was all, of course, in good fun to celebrate the second anniversary of the first lady's "let's move" initiative to fight childhood obesity. >> we're going to start with a stair race. ready to do this? >> i was born ready. ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ well, jimmy, that was fun. thank you so much for coming to the white house and raising awareness for "let's move." >> it was my pleasure. i think the most important thing for the kids to learn is it's all about being active and having fun. it doesn't matter if you won or if you lost, you know? >> it matters. >> double or nothing? let's go to jack. very funny stuff, but important stuff too. >> it was cute. she has a lot of personality. >> yes, she does.
>> she should loan some to her husband for the campaign. the question -- how does rick santorum's sweep change the republican race. carol writes anybody but romney. connecting and charisma are not in his dna. compared to mitt, barack seems like mr. warmth. three wins in three states indicate he'll probably have to name a conservative as hi running maid in order to clinch the deal. mike in minneapolis -- there's romney's camp who wants to keep the government out of the boardroom so big business can do anything it wants. now there's santorum's camp. so that people can't do what they said in there. tom in virginia writing -- think of this as a distance race on a small track. if lap leaders change throughout the race, the commentators glorify the battle and fan
interests will peak at the finish. we can't know what a sweep of three minor contests means, besides the fact he's the poster child for massive pork barrel spending. in california -- it just shows president obama is in. gary in michigan -- no surprise the right-wing nut jobs are running toward a san torium -- oops santorum, though there isn't much different. post on my block or through "the situation room's" facebook page. thanks, jack. saying that mistakes were made seems like an understatement, about you it appears some official thought that was a perfect excuse for the brutal violence. at least they syrians thought it was good enough for americans. also a new expanded program will make traveling a bit easier for some airline passengers. ♪
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at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. the transportation security administration is changing the way you go through security. in exchange for providing information about themselves, thousands of travelers can speed through lines. aviation and regulation correspondent lizzie o'leary is joining us with more. this is a fascinating and important stuff. >> this is an expansion of
something they tried to do, they tested it on you, now tens of thousands more people will be able to do this. it's changing the way not just how quickly you go through security, but how the tsa looks at risk. >> reporter: keep your shoes on. even a jacket? check. this is precheck. >> if you're in a hurry, the benefit is you get through security a lot faster. you don't have to take your computer out of the bag or your liquids or, you know, your shoes off. that saves some time. >> reporter: it's a fast-track route complete with a dedicated security lane that will be in 35 of the busiest u.s. airports by the end of the year. the idea is that travelers who give the government more personal information, name, birthday, gender, and are well known to the airlines like frequent fliers are less of a security threat. the administrator calls it reducing the haystack of risk.
>> it's a significant paradigm shift both for tsa and the traveling public. the way we engage in a partnership to say, let's work together to say, if you're willing to share information about yourselves, then we can work with you perhaps to have expedited physical screening, so we can focus on those we know less about and focus on the highers risks. >> to join precheck, you either sign up for a special customs program or be a frequent flier and get invited by your airline, but we found no shortage of people who would like to move faster and more fully clothed. >> it would make my line shorter, and you if i get out of the line it makes everyone else's line shorter. >> the tsa won't tell you exactly the criteria for an invitation, but it's pretty clear this is offered to their most frequent fliers if you're an airline there's an incentive to get those people moving quickly. there are some random checks.
most of the time you get an expedited breeze on through. >> good to know, lizzie o'leary, good to have you here in "the situation room." happening now e-mails allegedly hacked. just ahead the secret spin relead behind the bloody crackdown. is it time for president obama to shift course after that shocking santorum shake-up? deb debby wasserman shultz is here. a war against glitter bombers. the latest perpetrator speaks sclufzly. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
the endless roar of shelling in syria, so loud it almost makes you jump just to hear it. under siege for a fourth straight day where 60 more civilians have reportedly been killed and witnesses now say residents are simply too afraid to recover the bodies. we'll get to our ivan watson, but first one activist's chilling looks, and we want to warn you. what you're about to see maw by very disturbing. >> he's about 2 years old. he got hit this morning at his house.
is this what the u.n. is waiting for? until they kill all the children and women? >> let's bring in ivan watson, what is the latest information. it looks like the situation is going from bad to so much worse. sirchlts absolutely. residents saying they woke up at dawn to another artillery barrage as the syrian military lobbed rockets, more tars, tank shells into a densely populated civilian residential neighborhood. the thrust of the assault is against the western homs neighborhood of of homes and houses, activists telling us at least 50 people killed throughout the day.
hundreds believed to have been killed under the course of this time. a resident i spoke with said all the electricity is cut off, water is cut off, a shortage of food and medical supplies. the organization doctors without borders came out with a report accusing the syrian government using medicine as a method of persecution, since so many people who have been wounded in this conflict cannot go to hospitals for fear of being arrested and possibly facing torture there is mobile undercover clinics. they don't have. >> i've been hearing that doctors are being targeted directly by the syrian security forces?
>> that's an allegation that the doctors without borders report is putting out, not only the patients are being hunted down, but the doctors who treat them. there's an element in the movement called free syrian government. they are clearly outgunned, which we have seen using tanks artille artillery. they say there are trickles many weapons, but not nearly enough to stop something like baba amar is seeing. we're also getting a shocking inside look at the alleged government espn behind some of crackdown, notorious
hackers claim they have busted -- these are dramatic developments. brian todd is working this side of the story. >> one thing we know is these e-mails are authentic, and if so, it doesn't look like assad's aides don't appear to have a -- bashar al assad is being coached. to espn this crackdown, one aide writes, don't talk -- americans won't care or understand that. the aide advises the syrian president to talk about, quote, mistakes, blame his own police. americans' psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear there are, quote mistakes and we have, quote, fixing it. here's what asaid said about the crackdown in that early december interview with braush ra walters. >> this is individual and what i am described as individual
mistakes. >> done by the military or done by whom? >> we don't know everybody. that e-mail was apparently from the press attache. the hammer group had top syrian official d. >> we've got some technical problems with that report, but the bottom line is what this. >> the bottom line is apparently they e-mails show that according to this one aide who's coaches asaid on what to say to barbara walters, here's a quote, it says he can say -- they want him to say they're not torturing people, they want him to spin the message. they say that they don't -- you can say basically that we don't torture, you can spin that
message to the american public, and i can find one here that says americans' psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear there are quote mistakes done and we are quote fixing it. as long as you can say we're making mistakes and for exampling it, americans will believe that, they'll believe anything. we we tried to little a response to the person who sent that e-mail, she's an aide to the syrian ambassador to the u.n. she sent that e-mail to a press agent, and we didn't have any response from her to -- what it is -- >> how they're dealing with some public relations disaster for them. it's a nightmare for the people in syria. brian, thanks very much. no country with possibly understand the bitter desperation better than the people who have seen it firsthand. >> the level of anger is
absolutely palpable. we're just a few miles from the center of damascus. this is a crowd of perhaps several thousand people, they have taken over this whole area, they have blocks in the radioed to prevent the police coming in. >> that was or senior international correspondent nic robertson reporting just a few weeks ago. he was 'companied by other photojournalist khalil abdullah who's based in washington, and he is here. you spent two weeks in syria, a firsthand look, albeit the government was controlling where you could go. give our viewers a sense of this unfolding situation. >> well, the way it proceeded for us, the when we arrived in the airport we expected the government to be waiting for us, but they weren't, but the government officials weren't a -- after we got to the hotel we were tightly controlled. you can't go anywhere unless the government allows you to go or
gives you a permit. after a while we decided we would follow the arab league monitors, and we basically went to the hotel where they were add. i found some syrian journalists and ask what do they do? and they said they follow them. we followed the syrian tv stopped, because they don't want to cover the other site. we just continued following the arab league monitors and we were immediately with the antigovernment crowd. >> one of the first days you were there, i remember vividly, you were shooting for nic, a french journalist had been killed under very mysterious circumstances, and you weren't very far away. >> the government tooics on a planned trip to homs. they showed us the military hospital and then areas they wanted us to see. they never took us to areas like baba -- we knee the neighborhoods, we knew what was going on. the government bus always took a
ten kilometer details sometimes just to avoid seeing those neighborhoods. eventually we ended up in those government areas but nothing other than that. >> you and i spent in sometime during the war in iraq and kuwait. scud missiles were coming in. how scared were you in syria, because you're a trained -- you know, you're a photographer, you've been in dangerous situations. what was it like there? >> to be honest, going in, we were very afraid. we didn't know what to expect, but once on the ground and once we were able to move around and get to certain areas and cover, we felt more comfortable, but when you are getting shot at in any kind of situation you're in, it's never a comfortable feeling, especially not knowing who is shooting at who, and you're stuck at a checkpoint or certain government army front line that you weren't expected to arrive at. they're not expecting you. it's very dangerous.
you have the added advantage, you speak arabic, you understand what they were saying, from the outside, and i haven't been there, you were there for two weeks. what's going on? >> absolutely. it feels like the demonstrators were a certainly distance and now definitely much close. people don't have to go looking for the opposition. they're actually out in public. they're within five kilometers of the capital. not really far away at all. when you're on the ground and you see traffic jams in damascus, you think life is normal, but really it's not. >> glad you're back here safe and sound. excellent work you and your team. >> thank you. thank you. if rick santorum has a prayer of winning the nomination, he has a big task ahead of him. can he expand his appeal on the fly? we're assessing. donald trump has had something of a love/hate relationship with washington,
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means-based in 2010. when you add in those with social security, medicare and unemployment benefits, it represents almost half the country, more than 148 million people. the federal government sent a record total of $2 trillion to individuals in 2010. the stunning part of that is it's up 75% from a decade ago. there's another new study from the heritage foundation that shows the public's dependence on the federal government shot up 23% in just two years under president obama. this comes at a time when fewer americans, less than half of us, pay income taxes. some say the rise in dependence under president obama is due to the recession and high unemployment. no doubt to a degree it is, but other say that extending unemployment benefits indefinitely actualsly keeps rates higher, because it creates an incentive not to work. meanwhile, the country's safety net has been become a hot topic in this presidential election
year. mitt romney is under fire to saying he's not concerned about the very poor among us, because they have, quote, an ample safety net. it's a comment i bet he wishes he could take back. here's the question. what does it mean when half the americans live in a household that gets government assistance. post a comment on my blog or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. thank you. rick santorum is taking a stunning triple state sweep to texas today, hoping the dramatic win will persuade voters not to count him out. this is what he told a group of pastors. >> one of the great gifts i've had in my political career is no one ever thinks i could ever win anything. the gift of being underestimated is a wonderful gift. i think we might have seen a bit
of that last night. the former senator was surrounded by the group for this very spiritual moment of prayer and laying of hands. let's bring in our correspondent dana bash covering his wins yesterday out in missouri. how does he expand his base, though, and really get his campaign going? >> first of all his aides say they are expanding the organization. they already have a new grassroots coordinator and volunteer coordinator and i was speaking with an aide on the phone and he was going through resumes as we were talking, and to do that they need money. a quarter of a million just online last night, and not just to campaign -- in fact he had a five-hour hole in his public schedule to do some fund-raisers to get as much campaign cash as possible. >> texas that's where you go to raise money.
where does he compete next? where is the next moment, if you will? >> the next big tests are february 28th, in arizona and michigan. i talked to one of his keep political advisers today who said that really we should focus on the state of michigan. if he doesn't win he gets no benefit from it. michigan you might wonder why michigan, when it's the home turf technically of mitt romney, because his father was governor there. because there are blue collar voters, rank and social -- they feel they can do well there and maybe get a couple delegates. ohio, oklahoma, north dakota, tennessee, all says where he feels he can do well enough to get -- those are going to be awarded on a proportional level, not winner take all. so those states we expect him to be in. >> let's go back to that video
when he was with the pastors, really going after the christian right and i'm sure doing well with them. but i think at some point he needs to broaden that base, right? >> i asked him that question last night. i had a chance to talk to him, i asked him that specific question about the fact he had appealed seems to be primarily to evangelical voters. >> do you think you've been able to prove you're more than just the candidate for the staunch conservatives? >> if you get 55% of the state of missouri, you're obviously getting more people than just evangelicals. as you know, faith is very important to me. i try to be a faithful catholic, but i think our appeal is a lot broader and stronger than that. i feel very good this message is going to carry over. >> the true is that remains to be seen.
at you were talking about with gloria, newt gingrich has likablity issues, but rick santorum when he's out on the stump, he can really relate to people. that is something he has a big positive for him. >> let's see how he does. be sure to keep it right here on cnn. saturday evening when maine, the caucuses there, when they do their part to help decide the presidential nominee. our coverage will begin at 6:00 p.m. eastern with a special edition of "the situation room," followed by complete live coverage of the caucus results at 7:00 p.m. eastern. democrats have focused their fire on mitt romney. after rick santorum's big night,
is that still a smart strategy? we're taking a closer look at that. we'll speak with the party's top official. debbie wasserman schultz is here in "the situation room." what made mitt romney so mad in this video? it's a persistent problem for candidates. and the newest form of social protest. we're america's natural gas and here's what we did today: supported nearly 3 million steady jobs across our country... ... scientists, technicians, engineers, machinists... ... adding nearly 400 billion dollars to our economy... we're at work providing power to almost a quarter of our homes and businesses... ... and giving us cleaner rides to work and school... and tomorrow, we could do even more. cleaner, domestic, abundant and creating jobs now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power, today. learn more at anga.us.
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not only a huge blow for mitt romney but his arch rival newt gingrich is also feeling the sting, but the former house speaker is pressen ahead, banking on the next major contest to help re-claim his momentum. here's our senior correspondent joe johns. >> reporter: woism, newt gingrich woke up in ohio, which is where he chose out to ride out a rather lousy caucus night, even though the ohio primarily isn't until march 6. where to go from here is the
question for the former speaker after finishing fourth in minnesota, and third in colorado. in missouri he wasn't even on the ballot. he toured a steel working plant in the cleveland area sending a signal he is planning to stick around. so far gingrich has staked his campaign on the premise that he as the conservative alternative to mitt romney, though now conservative former senator rick santorum has won in more states that the former speaker. in his speech here, gingrich restated his reasons for running for president in clear terms. >> part of our purpose in running is economic to get us back on the right track. part of our purpose in running is culture to protect the rights of americans to worship freely without being dictated to by the government. part of our purpose in running is national security. we live in a very dangerous world. you have contributed to our national security. >> reporter: he hit the national security angle hard. >> we basically live in an age where we have very dangerous enemies who would literally like
to kill us. you think about an iranian nuclear weapon. you think about the dangers to achieved, or to columbus or cincinnati or to new york. remember what it felt like on 9/11 when 3,100 americans were killed. now imagine an attack where you add two zeros. and it's 300,000 dead, maybe a half million wounded. this is a real danger. this is not science fiction. >> reporter: what he didn't do was attack his rivals for the nomination. if there was any good news for gingrich going forward, it was that romney had had a lousy caucus night also though -- and this may south a little counter-intuitive, gingrich became the first target of mitt romney's first attack. romney once again criticizing gingrich's proposal to lead a space colony on the moon. gingrich had only on tuesday
defended his vision for revitalizing the space program while in dayton, ohio, one of the country's cradles of and i have yak. the back and forth demonstrated the potential for a true three-man race between romney, gingrich and rick santorum and that the romney campaign was taking seriously the threat of a strong performance on super tuesday, and the delegate-rich buckeye state or more importantly in georgia, the biggest super tuesday prize, a state which, by the way, gingrich once represented in the congress. romney was visiting there on wednesday, gingrich scheduled to go there next week. >> gingrich and orders now head back to washington, d.c. for one of the nation's largest gatherings of the consieve tiffs at a time when the race for the nomination is beginning to look more and look like a battle on how to get conservative voters to line up behind one candidate. wolf? all right. we're just getting this into "the situation room", the first reaction from a top catholic
leader in news that the white house is looking to compromise on the controversial contraception rule that was announced last month. archbishop timothy dolan of new york spoke just a few minutes ago with cnn's jason carroll. >> i would welcome the fact that officials of the government are saying we need to rethink this and we need to have a graceful exit so that catholic charities and the place we're at right now, catholic schools, catholic health care institutions, can continue to do the wonderful work they have done so for long. if there's an opening in a way to roll back what we find choking restrictions. >> let's talk about this with congresswoman from south florida, debbie wasserman schultz. thanks very much for coming in. >> you're welcome. >> are you open to a compromise with the catholic church on this issue of contraception and public funding going to pay for
these pills, if you will? >> it's not public funding, first of all. what we're saying sand president obama under the affordable care act made sure that catholic houses of worship -- that houses of worship are exempt. the employees of houses of worship themselves are not required to be covered for contraception on their insurance. but if a religious institution goes into a private business, like a hospital, like a health system, and provides health insurance, then the hundreds of thousands of employees that work for catholic health systems across this country should be able to get that coverage and not have to choose between leaving their job or having that coverage. >> you mean a university or hospital that's affiliated with a catholic church like georgetown university has a hospital. if you're employed there, the government says you would have to get these contraception pills -- >> no, no, no. >> your health insurance would have to allow that even though the catholic church says that's a violation of their faith. >> no, no, what the affordable
care act did and the president decided at the recommendation of the fda that contraception would be available without a co-pay and without a deductible, as part of the health insurance coverage that would be required that will be provided under the affordable care act. now, there is a conscience clause that still remains. catholic doctors aren't going to be required to provide contraception, but you know, like the 28 states in which these catholic health systems are already required to provide contrasips, under the insurance coverage, it's not public funding. this is private health insurance in which without a co-pay or a deductible, contraceptives have to be available is the bishops say they can't accept this. >> let's keep in mind president obama went further than the fda. he said for the next year, in a one-year transition would be available to extensions of religious institutions in which
they would be able to work through a transition period while they were determining how they would provide that coverage. >> so you're open to some sort of compromise? >> during the one-year transition. >> at the end of the day, are you open to a compromise. >> the one-year transition is the period of time in which it should be worked out on how this would be glemted, but at the end of the day there are thousands and thousands of women who deserve access to family -- affordable family planning. it's expensive, wolf. if it's not covered by insurance it can be up to $600 and there's lots of illnesses, endomeetry oz that are made better when a woman takes contraception. it's not only about family planning, but affordable access. >> you're also the chair of the dnc, you've got to raise money to help democrats get elected and reelected including yourself. there's been a major change on the part of the obama campaign, the obama white house when it comes to these super pacs. here as what the president said
in 2010 about these super pacs that can raise unlimited sums of money. >> they are pouring millions of dollars through a network of phony front groups flooding the air waves with misleading attack ads. they can spend unlimited amounts without even disclosing where the money is coming from. they won't stand behind what they do. this isn't just a threat to democrats. it's a threat to our democracy. >> all of a sudden the obama campaign, david axelrod and others say, you know what? they're going to have to promote and actually go out and campaign for these pro-obama, pro-democratic super pacs, even though the president said two years ago it's a thread to our democracy. where do you stand on this? >> i agree with the president and believe the citizens united decision that resulted in the allowance of these
contributions, corporations should be changed, and it should be overturned. that's why we supported the disclosure act but the republicans refuse to support that legislation, so the rules are what they are, and we certainly action, with hundreds of millions of dollars being spend by republican super pacs that are already spending money and will drown the president in negative ads in the fall, we can't unilaterally disarm. we have to operate our campaign under the rules that exist right now. obama campaign officials, i don't know about you, and dnc people, will you actually go out and try to raise money for these pro-democratic, pro-obama super pacs? within the rules, i'm sure i will be a part of events that will take place in support of the resources being raised for the super pac. for example, the first lady and the president, the vice president and dr. biden will not be involved in those efforts.
>> but you will? >> it hasn't yet to be determined. >> very quickly, what do you think of the santorum sweep yesterday? >> i think it's another example of how unenthusiastic how the republicans are, their voters are for the entire field. it shows this continues to be a roller coaster and voters, especially on the republican side, don't want to support a candidate like mitt romney who will say anything to get elected an has no conviction on anything. >> congresswoman, thanks for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. a protester was ready to pay the price. >> i probably will be expelled from school. i will probably have to pay $1,000 fine and facing up to six months in jail. >> the latest trend for proprotesters on the campaign trail. and a vire video shows the meeting of a gay man in atlanta, now he's speaking out as police hunt for his assailance. [ woman ] we take it a day at a time.
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lisa sylvester is monitoring other top stories in "the situation room." university of pennsylvania takes a somewhat unconventional approach to contraception? what's going on? >> this is a university in pennsylvania. students can get emergency contraception out of health clinic's venting machine. that university is shippens burg. it offers the plan b one step after a survey found that students were in favor of it. monsters, that's what the gay man calls the men who severely beat him outside an tlaunt deli. he says he doesn't come forward, but the fear of being attacked again changed his mind. >> i was going to let it rite over, because that's who i am.
i do situation my mae, by then wanting to release it and put it on the internet, i feel they wanted the attention themselves. they wanted to make themselves like they were brave, they were strong, but in my opinion, i'm the brave one. i'm the brave one. >> though georgia does not have a state hate crime, the fbi is investigating to see if it falls under the federal law. two weeks shy of her 111th fwirt day. the last known world war i veteran has died. she was a waitresses in britain's air force, and once said despite the reality of wars, in many ways it was the time of her life. she lived to 110, world. >> wow, 110 is pretty good. >> thanks very much, lisa. donald trump hinted at running for the white house. and the new kind of protest
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political protest has apparently never been so sparkly. glitter bombs are the latest form of protests against republican presidential, lisa sylvester is joining me in this exclusive report. what's going on? >> it's an eye-catching way to get attention. an increasing number of liberal activists are throwing glitter at republican candidates or at least trying to. it happened against last night, a college stay tuned told cnn he put it up his sleeve and snuck it into an event. take a look at the pictures.
it appears in an instant mitt romney getting glimmer bombed almost. the blue glitter right there. romney now under secret service protection, quickly regains heads composure. the man who is quickly hustled away by police. he's peter lucas smith, majoring in political science. i asked him in this exclusive phone interview why he did it. >> romney that ends for a lot of things people in colorado do not stand for the lbgt community, december these are all things he's coming out against. people in my state i know are very, very concerned about the potential of a romney presidency. >> we reached out repeatedly to the romney campaign for a
comment, but we did not get a response. it began a few weeks ago as a protest from the gay community. it's even made it into mainstream pop culture featured on "glee." >> you just got glitterbombed. >> but it's a huge spoke problem for the secret stuffs. special agent in charge of the secret service, he says the agents did everything right here. >> this one you saw talking to romney a moment ago. >> reporter: but someone that close to a keen could throw something more harmful than glitter. it could be used as a ruse for a larger second attack. >> he throws glitter on the governor, and the governor is led away in another direction. the real concern may be where the governor is going, someone who is waiting, knowing he'll be coming that direction. that will be the person secret service has concerned with. >> peter smith is adamant he
never intended to hurt romney. he said he was detained for five hours by police and questioned by secret service. asked if he had any regrets, he worried whether this would be a permanent market on his education and future, but he says he was raised to be engaged. >> i understand the important of standing up, when you see an injustice happening, and i've always thought that very strong and it's very important to me. >> that is certainly hi perspective. the secret service gave us a statement, saying it trains its personnel for a wide variety of threats that can occur and there's always a balance that has to be struck between security and access, end quote. as for peter smith, he was ticketed for disturbance in conducting an unlawful act to schools grounds, he faces $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail and faces a real possibility of expulsion from school.
>> if a secret service a protecting a presidential candidate, obviously the stakes are much more intense, so folks are thinking about glitter-bombing, they can go to jail when all is said and done. >> that's right. many people will see it as a prank, something that's fun, but it really is a serious problem. the secret service are not going to reveal all their methods, but they actually do have various perimeter. it's very intense what they're doing to make sure these presidential candidates are protected, wolf. >> lisa, thank you. jack cafferty is back with your e-mails in a moment. donald trump owning one of the washington's oldest landmarks just four blocks from the white house? what's going on.
donald trump may never make it to the white house but he's now taking over another pennsylvania avenue address. cnn's athena jones has the story. >> reporter: wolf, before endorsing mitt romney's bid for the republican presidential nomination, donald trump expressed a good deal of interest in having a prominent pennsylvania avenue address himself. well, if all goes as planned he might just get his way. >> hi. how are you, car ridge? >> reporter: it wasn't too long ago that donald trump was hinting that he could make a run for the white house. >> if i run and win, our country
will be respected again. >> and i can run. i have that option of running if i want to run. >> reporter: now he's chosen to make -- >> one of the ducks is packing heat. >> reporter: a hotel. >> i think it's great for d.c. i think it would be a great way to bring in tax revenue and increase jobs. >> reporter: these days, the 400,000 square foot space houses a cafeteria, government agencies and souvenir kiosks. the attached annex is empty. the trump hotel collection project, chosen after a month's long review process, will make this old building look a lot more like trump's other properties on the inside. with more than 250 hotel rooms, a spa, a conference center, restaurants and a museum as part of a 60-year lease. it's all part of a deal with the government to redevelop a site that's costing taxpayers $6 million a year to maintain. the hope is that trump's nearly $200 million project will make this spot a moneymaker. >> i'm in favor of it.
i think if he's going to preser. historic features of it and can put it to a higher economic use then power to him. i wish him the best of luck. >> we work right over there. so to find restaurants at night when you're working late would be really nice in this area. >> the site is just down the street from the white house which can be seen from the top of the post office's clock tower. one reason that portion of the building will remain under national parks service control. one d.c. resident was glad to see trump focusing on his day job. >> whatever you think of donald trump, he may be a crazy politician but he's actually a pretty good real estate developer. >> wolf? >> athese narks thank you. let's go to jack for the cafferty file. the question this hour, what does it mean when half of americans live in a household that gets government assistance? 148 million people. ray in georgia, it means all the
big liberal programs that were supposed to fix all the ills in this country have failed. sorry, but i'm a hard right-wing conservative who thinks i need to carry my own water before i ask someone else to do it. bob in long island writes "there are plenty of people who feel that those getting government assistance are just lazy free loaders. and i have no doubt there are some who are taking advantage. but the majority of people and families getting government assistance are hurting and they need help. a better question would be what would happen to those families getting government assistance if it was taken away. rick in detroit "it means the only thing we lead the world in today is we have more millionaires and billionaires than any other country on the planet. we also have more debt than any country on the planet. the unequal distribution of health has destroyed our tax base, consumer spending and our middle class and left many americans with entitlements as their only source of income. steve in indiana "let's play fair, jack. if you include social security and medicare i resent the implication. i draw social security.
and i paid for it for a very long time. to your actual question it means there are no jobs and the welfare state has been growing due to government policy and world change. we need help, not socialism. and terry writes "pretty simple. most of us haven't returned to work. and when you're out for more than six months nobody wants to even take you on. we have to eat, pay what bills we can, and if it weren't for programs that provide assistance, who knows where we'd be? it's a horrible way to live your life. and most of us aren't very proud of it. if you want to read more about this you go to my blog, cnn.com/cafferty file or through our post on the situation room's facebook page. the dance of victory. we have the super bowl moves that have inspired the nation, even madonna. [ wind howling ]
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will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ssagesmalibubook.com. super bowl ads have nothing on victor cruz. cnn's jeanne moos has that. >> reporter: the salsa of victory. the mockery of defeat. the super bowl may be over, but the patriots and the giants left behind two moves we can't quite move beyond. giants wide receiver victor cruz celebrated touchdowns with the salsa. now the salsa is spreading like an internet virus.
it infected a weatherman in michigan. >> i'm going to do my salsa dance right off the stage. >> reporter: even madonna wasn't immune. >> in fact he's inspired me. >> reporter: she volunteered a demonstration. >> this is madonna with the silk city salsa. she's rooting for the new york giants. i have to say it. >> reporter: but the most dourchous salsa was performed by a giants fan surrounded by patriots fans, what turned out to be a near riot. just a few seconds of salsa, then as the dancer continued to taunt the crowd he got sucker punched. the i go had to be rescued and danced right out of there. the giants super bowl victory party is a safer place to salsa. >> we are the cruz dancers. come on. go. >> reporter: this cruz t-shirt with how to salsa steps on the back sold out. don't even think of using me as
a dance floor. >> reporter: but salsaing has given way to bradying. bradying is the new tebowing. you know how everybody was mimicking the prayerful attitude of broncos quarterback tim tebow, even in snow. but there was nothing grateful about patriots quarterback tom brady after he was decked while being intercepted at the super bowl. imitation is not always flattery. there is bradying on top of a table. bradying in the dog house. it's easy to be depressed and dejected anywhere. even a sports anchor can be reduced to bradying. >> i was really unhappy with my performance on the show at 6:00. >> reporter: it's enough to make you want to drown your sorrows in salsa. >> move your hands a little bit. feel the latino inside you! >> reporter: jeanne moos,