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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  May 2, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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secrecy. we're going inside the clandestine operation and brought president obama out of the white house and on intoin i a afghanistan. an ohio man accused of plotting to blow up a bridge. there you see it. now we're learning the reason why they chose that specific target. it might not necessarily be what you think. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com he's certainly one of the most visible people on the planet that with global media watching his every single move. how did president obama take most of the world by surprise when he showed up in afghanistan. we're learning new details of this rather complex and massive
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operation. our white house correspondent brianna keilar is joining us. brianna, tell our viewers what you are learning. >> reporter: there was nothing normal about how this trip was executed and even from the way president obama entered air force one early, early in the morning on tuesday at andrews air force base. instead of taking the normal multi-story set of stairs he takes usually, he went on a smallerest is stairs into almost the belly of the plane, near the front of the plane and in addition, this is a trip that took a few weeks to plan. it was a few weeks in the works. an advance team of white house and security staff went in the few days before the trip and president obama managed to sneak out of the white house late monday night to head to andrews air force base in a smaller motorcade so as not to raise suspicion. late monday night president obama snuck out of the white house. under the cover of dark business
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the president and white house staffers and reporters sworn to secrecy took off from andrews air force base. it was just after midnight. >> there was a cloak and dagger element to it. >> reporter: josh was one of the journalists on the plane. >> when we arrived at andrews it wasn't the usual way the press corps arrives. we rendezvoused in a certain location. we were told we had to give up our cell phones and our computers. the plane wasn't lit up. it was sitting there in darkness. >> reporter: back at the white house an unremarkable day dawned, or so it seemed with only meetings on the president's schedule. late morning, reports of the president's visit surfaced in the afghan media. white house officials denied the reports and most u.s. news outlets held off reporting on the trip. at 2:39 p.m. eastern time, 11:00 at night local, air force one made a steep descent and landed in bagram air base north of kabul. the president and has entourage
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choppered 30-some miles to the presidential palace in kabul. on the helicopters you had gunners in windows that had live machine guns and i saw them calk the weapons, if you will, as we were getting ready to pull out and they were concerned that if we turned lights on not only might people see us, but the crew on the plane had night vision goggles. >> reporter: back home, news of the visit immediately hit the airwaves. >> it's a dramatic sxhoement moo hard to believe that ten years after the war in afghanistan started after 9/11 the president of the united states still can't arrive under normal circumstances. >> reporter: it was pretty hard to hide the president of the united states. >> reporter: the president signed a strategic partnership agreement with afghan president hamid karzai. he spent only an hour on the ground in kabul and then quickly departed again in the dark. >> reporter: i would just point out we are hearing helicopters again over kabul, suggesting perhaps some transportation and i don't know if that's the
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president leaving the presidential palace at this point. >> reporter: after rallying the troops -- >> this outpost is more than 7,000 miles from home. >> reporter: the president addressed the nation from bagram air base and board the air force one just before 4:30 a.m. local time. >> there was a real stampede to the airplane at that point because the sun was just, you know, beginning to come up and they really wanted the president out of there while it was still mostly dark. so from the time he finished his address to the time air force one lifted off out of bagram was only 17 minutes. >> reporter: 17 minutes is pretty quick there, wolf, when you're thinking of the people and equipment that needed to be loaded on to air force one. in total, about 27 hours and 15 minutes of travel time for just about six hours on the ground, but, wolf, you know the white house believes that it is certainly worth it. this was an iconic moment, the first time that a president has addressed a nation televised from a war zone. >> it speaks volumes that the
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circumstances have to be as dramatic as they are ten years plus into this war. >> brianna, thank you. one thing that jumped out at me during his address from the afghanistan to the american people. listen to this. >> in coordination with the afghan government, my administration has been in direct discussions with the taliban. we've made it clear that they can be a part of this future if they break with al qaeda, renounce violence and abide by afghan laws. >> so how does the taliban respond to that? with the suicide bombing only two hours after he left in the heart of kabul. it happened while the president was just in the skies, killing at least seven people and wounding 17 others. let's go to the afghan capital. nick paton walsh is standing by. how realistic is that these conditions that the president spelled out for bringing the taliban to a peace agreement can actually take place?
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>> reporter: it sounded new when barack obama said it. it is not new and it's something that's been on the table for months and the taliban have flatly rejected further talks with the americans saying they want further clarification of the u.s. position. since that taliban statement there have been no talks at all and there are deep concerns there may be none to come in the future so barack obama was talking about what they hoped would happen earlier on this year and outlining conditions which we have heard from various different sides and it will be tough for the taliban to make particular concerns, too, that u.s. officials have at length asked them to renounce al qaeda and they haven't had that small concession first. >> they won't even renounce violence which is one of the conditions and they certainly won't accept afghan laws which include equal rights for women, allowing little girls to go to schools. the taliban won't accept that.
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is there any indication they've had a change of heart as far as women and girls are concerned, for example? >> reporter: there have been moderated suggestions about the taliban's comment of them looking into middle ground, with the taliban who says there was a start. they want civilians to be caught up in the violence and they wanted to avoid them and there have been suggestions in parts of afghanistan that there will be more part of their future agenda and what we heard from barack obama was more a tone and an attempt to try to tell americans that it was safe to leave and there was strategy ahead despite the huge hurdles ahead of them and we sought president arriving under the cover of darkness while afghans are listening addressing his nation in the united states and then leaving and two hours after that, as you said, a suicide bomber targeted foreigners here at a maximum security compound, killing seven afghans and
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injuring ten afghan schoolchildren and attacking some near a school. so a very different reality on the ground off the president's departure, work. >> nick paton walsh. check out my blog about what president obama did not say last night in afghanistan. go to cnn.com/situationroom. let's go to jack cafferty right now. he's got "the cafferty file." >> the dysfunctional disaster which is washington, d.c., which only get worse after november's election. moderates are becoming distinct in that town. republicans and democrats are headed to the exits. the study by political scientists that shows congress is more polarized now than at any time since reconstruction after the civil war. the sad part is our current political environment encourages these extremes. 24/7 cable news, super pac money, special interest groups, activist blogs. they all cater to the idea logs. the big losers here, of course,
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are the american people and the two parties much too busy fighting to offer any real solutions or look at what's coming on the horizon and don't kid yourself. we're in trouble here. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke is warning congress that the fed will not be able to undo the damage if the economy, if congress mismanages what he calls the fiscal clip, this fiscal cliff represents $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts that will be triggered at year's end. none of this will have to be addressed until after the election. oh, no. there will be a few weeks left to try to figure something before the triggers kick in. there's president obama who seems more than content to whistle past the graveyard while getting himself reelect the. the big issues, medicare, social security and government spending out of control. instead, our president's majoring in the minors, focusing
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on smart, more politically popular things like the buffett rule. student loan rates and oil speculators. it might help him win votes, but the country is on a collision course with disaster. here's the question, where is the leadership? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog or go to the post on the situation room's facebook page. >> jack, thank you. newt gingrich made it official today and he's out of the presidential race, but is he still causing problems for mitt romney? stand by. a boat load of tourists swallowed up by a barge. we have new video. an international spy found dead in a locked duffel bag. the key inside. we're trying to unravel the mystery. [ woman ] oh, my gosh -- it's so good! [ kristal ] we're just taking a sample of all our different items in our festival of shrimp so we can describe them to our customers. [ male announcer ] red lobster's festival of shrimp starts now! for just $12.99, pair any two
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>> when it comes to take the spotlight it's hard to compete with the president of the united states, but today mitt romney is trying to turn the campaign page. his former rival newt gingrich complicating things a bit by dropping out of the race for the white house. jim acosta is standing by, but let me bring in candy crowley, our chief political correspondent right now. what does it is a? sort of a lukewarm endorsement, shall we say that mitt romney received from newt gingrich today in his announcement that he's suspending his campaign. >> sort of a lukewarm, he's going to be the nominee kind of thing. there are things that you have to work out. there are raw nerve endings still and even though it is a rather long good-bye for newt gingrich. they've said a lot of ugly things about each other and that takes a while. what takes longer is negotiations are under way. i want us to get together here. i want you to say this.
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here's what i'd really like to see in a romney campaign. stuff has to go on and they're not ready to talk about it until they make the first big decision which is i've got to get out. $4 million, his campaign in debt right now. how does that play into the immediate period? >> it's one of the reasons why he's suspended rather than just quit because he can still gather money and people can still try to help him out of that debt. he may well say to the romney campaign i need this guy to show up for a couple of fund raisers for me prior to november to help me or i need him to somehow help this campaign to get rid of some of his debt. i think with newt gingrich, it's pretty clear. by the way, he took the platform of leaving and turned it into, here's what i stand for and here's what i want and what i want to see for the future of the party. to have some kind of push into the party platform or into what mitt romney decides to emphasize
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during the campaign and that kind of thing. >> what he said about mitt romney which wasn't a whole lot today said, compared to barack obama, yes, he's conservative, but it didn't sound like a ringing endorsement. we haven't heard that endorsement from rick santorum. there are issues that are important to rick santorum and also, you want, there's so much psychological that goes on when you walk away from something that you've invested so much time, energy and passion in, and so they want to have something to show for it. well, i moved the party here and you have to do this. so there are certain things they want and they may not even know specifically what it is. they're getting together a little later. it has less to do with debt and rick santorum would know very little of it, but they will work it out because in the end, they said all along all of them, i'll support whoever the republican nominee is. that's what unites them.
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>> i see them all on the stage shaking hands and smiling. >> maybe even at the convention. thanks, candy. >> jim acosta has been covering the campaign for us. it's a delicate dance between mitt rom no and newt gingrich and we saw that dance unfold today. >> i was out with mitt romney today. it was amazing to watch buzz it was as if the news surrounding the anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden had not even happened. now that the president had played his trump card and that is the bin laden death, newt gingrich is just folding his cards. >> governor romney. >> reporter: it was like a page ripped out of the mitt romney playbook on full display, a stop in the battleground state of virginia geared toward women voters and it was almost all about the economy. >> the people ask me what would you do to get the economy going? i say look at what the president's done and do the
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opposite. and i -- >> reporter: romney is making up for lost time after the week dominated by the anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. >> this is where it will end. >> reporter: it all culminated with a speech that included its own reference to domestic concerns back home. >> as we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it's time to renew america. >> but romney ignored bin laden and tried to take the wartime president down a notch. who would have thought we would look back at the carter years as the good old days. this accuses mr. obama of falling short of his own promise of change. >> we democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. we measure progress by how many people can find a job to pay the mortgage. >> democrats have their own playbook to get romney back on
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his heels, the with the chance of no swiss meant right in step with the new obama re-election web video. >> i don't know of any american president who has had a swiss bank account. i would be glad to explain that sort of thing. the star of the video? who else. >> are you calling mitt romney a liar? >> yes. >> the same newt gingrich getting out of the race on the same day. today i'm sus pension the campaign, but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship. >> the former speaker stopped short of endorsing romney, but said he would do all he could to defeat the president. >> i'm asked sometimes is mitt romney conservative enough? and my answer is simple. compared to barack obama? >> reporter: gingrich loved to visit zoos during his campaign and while he be the the democrats latest exhibit in the case against romney, gingrich says he still has his dreams of
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seeing his grandchildren walk on the moon. >> i am not totally certain i will get to the moon colony. i am certain megan and not robert will have that opportunity if they want to take it. >> reporter: who knows, he may make it to the moon colony one day. as for romney he is back to the business of trying out a running mate. he is scheduled to appear with bob mcdonnell at a fund-raiser tomorrow night. it's big in the upcoming general election campaign. >> the president won it last time four years ago. it's in play this time around, at least if you listen to the president's advisors. >> newt gingrich will be joining me here in the situation room tomorrow. jim acosta, thank you. >> a must-read for anyone who travels. a list of the best and worst airports in the united states now out. we'll have it for you and i'm going one-on-one with one of the president's top national security advisers on what president obama did not say in
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mary snow is monitoring some of the other top stories in "the situation room" including deadly violence in egypt. mary, what's the latest? >> at least 11 demonstrators are dead from clashes out outside
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the mist ministry of defense, the presidential candidate was rejectioned because the commission found out his mother was a u.s. citizen, a claim he denies. the military says it will hand over power when the president is elected and the attackers were not in uniform. >> here in the u.s., check out this terrifying newly released video of a barge crashing into a boat full of tourists. it happened in philadelphia two years ago and two students drowned from the collision. attorneys for the victim's family claimed the video shows the man in charge of the so-called duck boat jumping off seconds before the crash. the case goes on trial next week. >> and tsa patdowns, lost baggage and endless delays all common complaints at u.s. airports. now "travel & leisure" magazine asked readers to highlight the worst airports in america, the bottom three, philadelphia international airport, los angeles airport or lax and new york's laguardia. there's good news if you fly through minneapolis st. paul. that airport gets the nod as
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best, followed by charlotte and detroit. wolf, i can't say i'm surprised that laguardia is on there. >> the marine air terminal of the delta shuttle, that's very good. it's small, compact and very efficient and you don't have to walk very far and usually the lines aren't too long and that's different from the marine air terminal very good at laguardia. i fly there all of the time. thanks, mary. the arrangement, the partnership agreement that president obama signed with hamid karzai in afghanistan last night. one thing jumped out at me. it could impact the war on terror. i'll speak to one of the president's top national secure advisers next. terrorists possibly targeting bridges for a reason which may surprise you. you skip the counters, the lines, and the paperwork. zap. it's our fastest and easiest way to get you into your car. it's just another way you'll be traveling at the speed of hertz. where they grow america's favorite wpotatoes. idaho,
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from the afghan war zone last night. the details of the partnership agreement and the departure of u.s. and nato forces by the end of 2014, but perhaps just as important as what the president did not say, let's talk about that and more with tony blinkan, the national security adviser for the vice president joe biden. thanks very much for coming in. one thing the president did not discuss with the american people, how many billions, and this is going to cost the united states to maintain, with afghanistan. what kind of money are we talking about? >> wolf, what we do know is that it will cost a lot less to prosecute the war over the better part of the decade to do that. we don't know exactly what we're looking at, that remains to be decided and also we'll be looking to other countries, our nato allies and our isaf partners and countries around the world and indeed we'll be
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looking to the afghan government, for example, supporting the afghan security forces going forward. the afghan government's committed half a billion on an annual basis to do that, but we don't know what our share will be and we don't know what other countries will be doing, and we do know it will be a lot, lot less than we're spending now in the war. ending the war will result in very significant savings to what we are spending now. >> the u.s. is spending $2 billion a week maintaining troops in afghanistan and that will continue or more less, tens of thousands of troops for another two and a half years. as far as 2014, and any troops there in 2015 and beyond through 2024, will they have immunity from afghan prosecution? >> there's no decision to keep u.s. forces there, it remains to be decided by the president and it remains to be negotiated, and
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any mission beyond 2014 will just focus advising and asifting the afghans and basically training them and counterterrorism and if troops were to stay in afghanistan after 2014, they would have to have the legal protections that troops have around the world. >> which would be immunity from afghan prosecution. otherwise there would be no troops there. assuming there will be troops there. i read the document very closely, the long afghan partnership agreement and one line jumped out at me. the u.s. pledges not to use afghan territory or facilities as a launching point for attacks against other countries. what does that mean? after 2015 if u.s. troops are there and they find out where the al qaeda leader ayman al za what herry is in pakistan, they could not launch against pakistan and go after him? >> as you said, it refers to other country, launching attacks against other countries and not against terrorists and not
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against terrorist groups. if you look at the document, the basis for that cooperation with afghanistan beyond 2014 among other very critical things would be dealing with terrorists and counterterrorism and that's what afghanistan has pledged to cooperate. >> just to be precise, after 2014 the u.s. could launch drone strikes into pakistan from afghan territory and also launch the navy s.e.a.l. teams from afghanistan into pakistan if they have evidence that al qaeda operatives are there. >> wolf, the reason we're in afghanistan to begin with is al qaeda. that's why we went and that's why we're able to end this war responsibly because we've been so successful in prosecuting the mission and one thing is for sure, we don't want them to come back and for that matter as we got them on the heels in pakistan, we don't want them to regain momentum there, either and anything we do beyond 2014 is to take appropriate action, and we can'try group and can't come back.
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they can go after al qaeda in pakistan and they could not and into iran and the neighbor in afghanistan. >> we sent clear messages to the afghan people, to the taliban and to the neighbors and that is we're not looking to be in afghanistan long-term, each after the war is over in terms of the military presence. we won't have permanent military bases and we won't use the country as a platform to attack other countries. it's important that the region understand that, so that they buy in to the efforts that everyone needs to make to stabilize afghanistan and to help it get on its own two feet. >> the taliban, was there a reference that the president made to negotiations, to working a deal out with the taliban. i'll play the clip. listen to this. >> they've made it clear that they can be a part of this future if they break with al qaeda, renounce violence and
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abide by afghan laws. >> is there any indication, a, that the taliban is ready to renounce violence or to accept afghan laws which allows little girls to go to school? >> it's a work in progress, wolf. the afghans are engaged with some members of the taliban. we've been trying to facilitate that. we've been having and continue to have our own conversations with the taliban. we are seeing some signs that some in the taliban want to reconcile. we also made it very clear exactly what the president said last night. there are red lines and there are conditions and they have to abide by the constitution. they have to renounce violence and they have to separate from al qaeda. it's a work in progress, but it's an important work in progress and it will be an important part of ending this war responsibly. >> when i spoke to leon pannet a the defense secretary in brussels and he said, i'm quoting, you have to watch your back whenever you're dealing with hamid karzai, the afghan president because he said some awful things about the u.s. and
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u.s. officials simply don't trust him. what do you say about hamid karzai living up to his deal? >> i would say president karzai has one of the toughest jobs in the world and we worked very closely and very hard with him in recent months to get this strategic partnership agreement concluded and it was 20 months of negotiation and there were agreements before we signed this partnership agreement on night raids and detentions all of which was tough, and i think we worked very well with him in getting those agreements and the president clearly had a good day yesterday with president karzai signing the strategic partnership agreement. he's our partner and he's the elected president of afghanistan. we have a stake in his success and he has a stake in our success. >> one final question on a totally unrelated matter. a lot of media reports coming out of israel right now that they're mobilizing and activa activating reserve units to go to the egyptian border with
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israel and the syrian border with israel and a lot of what's going on. what can you tell us what's going on with israel and egypt and israel and syria on the other? >> wolf, i haven't seen those reports so i can't comment on them. i would say there have been problems as you know with the groups attacking israel. and that's a problem that has to be dealt with and the egyptians need to deal with it and we're working with both countries on that, but i haven't seen the reports you're referring to so i don't want to comment on them. >> they're just moving in the last couple of hours, israel television causing some alarm, i suspect in israel right now. we'll follow this story and get more as it develops. tony blinken, thanks very much for joining us. >> wolf, thanks for having me. the blind chinese dissident the center of an incredible escape speaking now to cnn about how it all went down. stand by for that interview. >> and louisiana governor bobby jindal as a vice presidential
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hopeful? we'll discuss that in our strategy session. our smartphon. you name it, we're here, anytime, anywhere, any way you want it. that's the way i need it. any way you want it. [ man ] all night? all night. every night? any way you want it. that's the way i need it. we just had ourselves a little journey moment there. yep. [ man ] saw 'em in '83 in fresno. place was crawling with chicks. i got to go. ♪ any way you want it ♪ that's the way you need it ♪ any way you want it ♪ i get my cancer medications through the mail. now washington, they're looking at shutting down post offices coast to coast. closing plants is not the answer. they want to cut 100,000 jobs. it's gonna cost us more, and the service is gonna be less. we could lose clientele because of increased mailing times. the ripple effect is going to be devastating. congress created the problem. and if our legislators get on the ball, they can make the right decisions.
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>> let's get to our strategy session right now. joining us is democratic strategist and cnn contributor
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donna brazile and david frum, former special assistant to president george w. bush. more importantly right now, he's the author of a brand new book entitled "patriots," a satirical novel about the workings of washington, d.c., and politics. congratulations, david. i'm looking forward to reading it. >> it will amuse you. >> there are a lot of characters that we might find familiar. the obama campaign came out with a tough new video today. let me play a clip. >> the romney machine can run down opponents with negative ads and it doesn't seem capable of inspiring positive turnout and the result is very, very worrisome if you think about the fall campaign. is he still the most anti-immigrant candidate? >> out of the four of us, yes.
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♪ ♪ >> are you calling mitt romney a liar? >> yes. >> using newt gingrich to go after mitt romney like that. what do you think of that campaign commercial? that would draw a lot of blood if gingrich were widely beloved and esteemed figure in american life. unfortunately for mitt romney, newt gingrich, not so popular. >> what do you think? >> i think it's effective because once again it points out some of the challenges that mitt romney had in securing a nomination and mitt romney had a very negative campaign spending ten to one against newt gingrich in florida. >> did you hear that he is, quote, suspending his campaign. that was a lukewarm endorsement if it was an endorsement of mitt romney. gingrich is angry at romney and rick santorum is angry at romney. in a way that these are signals to mitt romney, do not worry too
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much about how you reconcile the fringe and marginal fracks of the party and it is time to talk to america, and time spent wooing santorum and gingrich. >> you could argue, donna, that the criticism that he's received, mitt romney from newt gingrich and rick santorum, for that matter, will help mitt romney with moderates and independents and the key to the election. >> immigration, that won't help him with with independents and on health care, that won't help him with the middle as well. so it depends on what kind of criticism. is it fair? conservative? maybe, but i don't think it will help him. >> you wrote a blog, and an article in which you said this about bobby jindal, the governor of louisiana. bobby jindal is a doozy, a brilliant policy mind with an inspirational life story who has run an effective government in corruption-tainted louisiana. he can talk data with romney and
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sit at the kitchen tables of the struggling middle class. so that's your recommendation that he pick bobby jindal as his running mate? >> it wasn't so much an entry in the veep stakes. republicans have to break out as being just the party of white america and they have to play ethnic politics. they need to reach out to hispanic voters with a more relaxed approach to immigration, but the point that i want to say is two-thirds of hispanics are mexican-american voters and they're quite poor and they're not natural republican voters. break out from where the votes are and the republicans are doing badly with asian-americans and even with the entrepreneurial-oriented grouped like vietnamese-americans, although it's a smaller group issue it's a more reachable group. start there. >> i know him, he's a really intelligent guy and doing well in louisiana.
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folks like him. >> i don't think bobby jindal will add a lot to the ticket and louisianans will hold their. ♪ nose because it is a ruby red hour and i think he'll look south, he'll look to someone like bob mcdonald from virginia and not go that far. >> do you think romney is serious about the governor of virginia? >> no. i think he's trying to get a few extra local newspapers to cover him. the bottom line is he's going to put somebody who with help him govern. i don't think he'll look for a geographical solution. >> do you think he's serious about any of these guys so far? >> donna -- everybody you mention becomes your new best friend and you will have as many friends as possible and this is the best phase of the campaign for him right now where except for gingrich and santorum, everyone in the republican party now loves mitt romney. >> thanks very much. >> a key adviser for mitt romney has resigned and was it because he is openly gay and was it for
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his previous tweets and his blog. i'm asking a tom romney adviser and that's coming up in the next hour. answers on what really happened between secret service agent ands t the prostitutes in colombia. stand by.
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>> mary snow is monitoring the stories in "the situation room." >> wants the international court to investigate her father's death as war crimes. as aisha fled to. police are making arrests in the suspected hazing death of florida a&m university drum major robert champion. they vuft arrested into of the 13 people who will be charged. he died after being punched and kicked in an apparent hazing
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ritual. none of the suspects will be charged with murder. four and a half players will be suspended without pay for their roles in a new orleans saints bounty program which rewarded players for injuring opponents. they're all between three and eight games except for saints leanbacker jonathan vilma who will miss the entire 2012 season. he received the harshest penalty because he was captain of the defense when the bounty program was implemented. and facebook's stock market debut, and that's according to "the wall street journal" that date may change and the amount facebook plans to raise from its initial public offering which they said would be $5 billion. facebook will set its final target shortly before going public. wolf? >> thanks very much for that, mary. let's go back to jack with "the cafferty file." >> the question this hour is
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where is the leadership? never in my life have i seen politics so polarized. i'm a moderate and there doesn't seem to be any place in politics for people like me. there are more moderates than there are on the far right and the extremes in both parties are tearing the very fabric of our nation apart. j.m. writes when we elected obama we shared his vision and we didn't make him a one-term president. it appears to me that this isn't a question of leadership, but rather a lack of support from people who prefer an agenda different from what the majority in america wanted during the last election. the lack of leadership is in the senate and the house. v. rights it's like the old tv ad, where's the beef in there isn't any. there's b.s., but no real meat in addressing the issues this country is facing. in congress? no, just crooks. wall street? no, more crooks. the treasury?
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nobody home there, and the executive branch, no, just pitchmen for the military industrial complex. what about the big corporations? they're beautiful if you live in china. the fourth estate, journalism has become arc jennedaism in most cases, but there are exceptions and if you're reading this then you're tuned to the right program. bill in orlando, good question, jack. i would say on vacation, playing golf or joyriding on air force one. and rob in north carolina writes what leadership? when was there any in recent memory? mom and dad are arguing all of the time. the divorce isn't final yet so we're all stuck in the middle. they are quickly dividing the assets, though. if you'd want to read more on this subject go to the blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile or to our post on the "situation room's" facebook page. >> jack cafferty, thank you. new concerns about the vulnerability of u.s. bridges. we're taking a closer look at why they could be a terror target. stand by. in our next hour international
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high schools in six states enrolled in the national math and science initiative... ...which helped students and teachers get better results in ap courses. together, they raised ap test scores 138%. just imagine our potential... ...if the other states joined them.
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let's raise our scores. let's invest in our teachers and inspire our students. let's solve this. ♪ ♪ one, two, three, four ♪ you say ♪ flip it over and replay ♪ we'll make everything okay ♪ walk together the right way ♪ do, do, do, do so i brought it to mike at meineke. we gave her car a free road handling check. i like free. free is good. my money. my choice. my meineke. >> here's a look at this hour's hotshots. a vendor sells bread in a
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refugee camp. in barcelona, a policeman stands gurd on a street two days before the european central bank summit. in india, a nomad boy warms up by a fire? in cyprus, a tourist leaps off a cliff into the mediterranean. hotshots. pictures coming in from around the world. new concerns about the vulnerability of america's bridges just a day after the fbi arrested five men accusing them of plotting to blow up a cleveland bridge. now we're finding out why they may have chosen that specific target. brian todd is working the story for us. brian, what are you learning? >> lots of potential damage when a bridge is blown up and it goes beyond what's obvious. they were going blow that bridge up this week according to law enforcement officials, but authorities say they had tracked the defendants almost the entire way through their planning. they thought about all sorts of plots including blowing up a cargo ship in the kay hogea river running through cleveland. they surveyed the area and
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planned a google map search and settled on the target, the northfield high level bridge, a major artery connecting two interstates near cliff land. that's according to a criminal complaint accusing five young americans with threatening to blow up the bridge with c-4 explosives. >> the defendants planted the explosives at the base of the bridge. the defendants armed the explosives. the defendants left and went to a remote site and they then sitting there, entered the codes that they thought would blow up a bridge with innocent people traveling over it. >> reporter: but the men who they say are self-proclaimed anarchists with the nicknames like psycho and scabby were being duped. they'd been tracked for months by an fbi under cover agent and an informant. >> at no time during the course of the investigation was the public ever in danger. >> reporter: but if they'd been successful they could have brought down a 150-foot high bridge that accommodates 14,000 vehicles a day.
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>> potential casualties and damage to the bridge in cleveland were part of what could have happened in this plot, but one homeland security expert says american bridges have another important vulnerability to damage andy did strukz. >> i scoped out major bridges in the washington area with randy larson on the institute for homeland security. >> we found something under here, right? that's under a lot of bridges. >> many bridges, brian, have oil and gas pipelines and they have cables and that's our financial system in america works. that's how we communicate and everything from the internet and telephone they run beneath bridges. you cut this, you cut the city off. >> we are told by officials and ohio that there is one utility line on the bridge and one fiber optic line. when i asked them how officials can secure the bridges and the only way is better intelligence and law enforcement, and in this case, he says, that worked. we being not get a comment on these charges from attorneys for four of the five defendants, but the attorney for one of them,
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brandon baxter, says he's going to enter a not guilty plea and he says that his client has suffered from mental impairments, wolf? >> it looks like some of america's infrastructure problems are built into this issue right here. >> they are. randy larson says a third of america's bridges are beyond their normal life span meaning they're old. this bridge in cleveland was built in the 1930s and renovated in 1989. these bridges are very old and they can be brought down more easily, they're crumbling in some cases. >> brian todd, thanks very much for that report. you're in "the situation room." happening now, an openly gay adviser to mitt romney calling it quits. he became a target for groups on the religious right and he targeted some prominent american women from hillary clinton to calista gingrich with a series of rather nasty tweets. stand by. sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and astrology. a former aide warned john edwards that his mistress was a little nutty. the corruption trial of the
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one-time white house hopeful. >> and the case of the spy who was found dead, naked, locked in a duffel bag inside a bathtub. the coroner's report asking questions. we want to welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com he's a well known foreign policy expert in the united states recently hired to speak for the mitt romney campaign, but richard grenell is openly gay and he took heat from conservative groups and is taking aim at tweets he aimed at women. he is gone from the romney campaign as he appeared. mary snow is gathering
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late-breaking information. >> a source with direct knowledge of the situation told cnn that he left in part, not a sole reason, but in part because he was not able to speak out about foreign policy issues on conference call which is is one reason why he was hired. this information came to us. we have reached out to the romney campaign for comment, and so far we haven't heard back yet, but the resignation comes on an important week. with president obama's trip to afghanistan and secretary of state hillary clinton in china, it could have been a key week for mitt romney's new foreign policy spokesman, instead, richard grenel who is openly gay resigned. he'd become a target from right-wing groups like the american family association. >> the home sexual agenda, when governor romney picks someone who is an active homosexual, he's sending a shout out, it
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seems to me, for the homosexual lobby. >> he worked for former u.n. ambassador. in explaining his resignation he writes my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyperpartisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. grenell's departure is raising questions about whether the romney campaign caved to pressures from the right and questions whether offensive tweets written by grenell, played a part and they targeted calista gingrich to hillary clinton. rachel mad you on read some on the show like this one. if newt does win, the first lady, the second mistress or the third wife? >> maddow, needs to take a breath and put on a necklace. the romney camp is saying it didn't pressure grenell to resign. a source familiar to the situation says several people
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reached out to ask him to reconsider his decision. in a statement, they said we are disappointed that he decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. we wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill. as for romney's stand on gays, the topic came up during a debate in january. >> i don't discriminate and the appointments that i made when i was governor of massachusetts, a member of my cabinet was gay. i appointed people to the bench regardless of their sexual orientati orientation. >> it's a loss on many levels says clark cooper, the head of the log cabin republicans which represents gay republicans. cooper worked alongside grenell, during the bush administration. if anything so-called social conservatives celebrating rick's resignation is actually an impediment on the party and it certainly doesn't help the romney campaign. >> wolf, he declined our request
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for an interview and in the statement he issued yesterday when he resigned he said being openly gay was a non-issue for governor romney and his team. wolf? >> mary snow, thanks very much. just an hour ago we had a chance to discuss this and other issues with the senior adviser to the romney campaign. >> joining us now from new york is a senior adviser to mitt romney and mitt romney's campaign. dan, thanks very much for coming in. i want to get to afghanistan in a moment, but quickly to richard grenell. the campaign hired him to be national foreign policy spokesman even though he has a history of saying these awful things about women in public life, about hillary clinton, he tweeted hillary is starting to look like madeleine albright and first lady michelle obama is sweating on the east room carpet and calista gingrich, her hair snaps on and he's written things about the current u.s. ambassador to the united nations. susan rice, what were you guys
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thinking when you asked him to be your chief national security spokesman. >> all i know and all we know, wolf, was that richard grenell was an extremely talented public servant who worked for four u.s. ambassadors to the united nations. i worked with him, and in the early part of the 2000s and is an extremely talented guy and we were lucky to have him, to be working for the campaign, speaking on national security issues and foreign policy issues. >> so you didn't have a problem with all those tweets baz he deleted them from the little blog. you said some nafty things about the women. he actually apologized for the things he and said we obviously respected that and we were moving forward when he wrote the things that he wrote. he certainly wasn't speaking for
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the campaign. he apologized for anything he said that was hurtful and he managed to speak on foreign policy issues for governor romney. he was also being criticized in the campaign and was criticized from the other side because he's openly gay and they thought he would be inappropriate to have someone who is openly gay especially on behalf of mitt romney. we're in a pretty heated political environment and there are people from across the political spectrum who have strong views from everything from policy to personnel and all i know is this, richard grenell is a talt eented guy and govern romney and the senior team around governor romney thought he was an exceptional pick to be a national security spokesman for the governor and it was simply that. he was talented. governor romney has a history of picking the right people and the qualified people and talented
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people for the positions for which they're a good fit. that's what he did in this case and that's what he'll do going forward. >> let's talk about afghanistan right now. what would governor romney do differently in afghanistan than what the president laid out last night? >> well, to be clear. governor romney was pleased the president went over to afghanistan and everyone was pleased to see the commander in chief with the troops. the president doesn't have time explaining the milestones and why it's person and he has political capital and public speaking events. it was good to see him do that. the governor was also pleased that the president talked about a long-term commitment to afghanistan and it is an important part of any strategy regardless of who is president next year. i think there are questions particularly about this public articulation of timeline which governor romney has been
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critical of before. how responsive he is to the requests of the military commanders and the up ending of the surge, bring back the surge troops from afghanistan. in the middle of the fighting season at the end of the summer, early fall, governor romney had spoken out before and not just governor romney, general p petrae petraeus, and they articulated why that was a problem and that continues to be governor romney's concern, but in terms of the long-term commitment he is a good idea. he's uneasy about the public articulation of timelines and one another point that's important here, wolf. the president talked about a long-term commitment. that's good, but he also talked about handing over front line responsible to the afghan troops. that's good. >> there is a question as to whether or not they'll continue their support to the afghan troops that if we are handing over front line responsibility to the afghan troop which is we should be doing, you've got to
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make sure they have the resources to carry out the fight. >> i just wanted to be precise. when it comes to afghanistan there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of difference between president obama and mitt romney. both want to continue spending hundreds of billions of u.s. taxpayer dollars to maintain a military presence in afghanistan, is that right? >> look, i can't speak -- >> you can speak for mitt romney. >> i can speak for mitt romney. it's a major terrorist attack that was launched in afghanistan and we have a national security interest to prevent that from happening again. we should train up and support afghan national security forces to be on the front line to carry on that fight. in terms of how long we're there, we shouldn't articulate how long that will be and lastly, he does not believe we should be trying to reach some sort of accommodation with the taliban right now. he does not believe that the taliban are serious about his accommodation. they're certainly not going try to reach an accommodation from a
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position in strength. i think they don't believe that they're operating right now. the president was in the theater. it's something to applaud and he articulated a long-term commitment to afghanistan and on that we agree. >> thanks very much for coming 37. >> good to be with you, wolf. a rather controversial chinese dissident, the most controversial chinese dissident fearing for his life and talking to cnn now only hours after leaving the united states embassy in beijing. up next, why he's blaming the united states. stand by for the interview. >> and a secret service agent admits in a polygraph test to being, quote, actively engaged in a prostitute in colombia. just ahead, new information we're learning about the scandal and a former aid testified he tried to warn john edwards about his mistress before the presidential campaign even started, but edwards, he says, wouldn't even listen.
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>> jack cavery is here with "the cafferty file." it was masterful low done, the results of political instincts seldom seen except in chicago and it was also blatantly transparent. if president obama had simply gone to afghanistan to sign the document with hamid karzai, give the troops a pep talk and address the nation on winding down the war there the rest of it would likely have taken care of itself, but the chest pounding over killing osama bin laden that preceded his trip, the use of our navy s.e.a.l.s aez chips in a political game of poker, the question whether mitt romney would have had the same call if he had had a chance to take down the al qaeda leader that stuff cheapened the whole thing. there's a difference between classy and cheesy and this came off as cheesy to the max. after telling the country you don't spike the football, you come off as a hypocrite when you then go out of your way to spike
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the football and as far as winding down things in afghanistan where we have been spending somewhere around $2 billion a week for years now, that's very much an open question. the document karzai and obama signed was an agreement to work on an agreement. an agreement to keep american presence in that country, that sand pile, if you will, until 2024, for what? they didn't tell us that. the karzai government's corrupt, can barely stand the united states presence as it is. you look at the afghan leader's body language with obama. the rest of that country is a tribal sewer that put thousands of years and has been a no-man's-land for invading armies and they remained there, and i don't get it. 72% of americans don't get it either. they want out of afghanistan. in the end, i'm not sure president obama didn't do himself more harm than good with this little stunt. here's the question. president obama in afghanistan, foreign policy or campaign stop? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and
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post a comment on my blog or go to my post on "the situation room's" facebook page. >> thanks very much. i write about a similar subject on my blog cnn.com/situationroom, today as well, what we didn't hear from the president in afghanistan last night. private sector companies are pulling back on hiring. mary snow is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the situation room right now. mary, what do you have? >> wolf, that report issue reveals a dramatic slowdown in private sector job growth with businesses adding just 119,000 jobs last month, that's down from more than 200,000 jobs respectively in march. the report could set the tone for the government's monthly jobs report due out this friday. former nfl linebacker junior seau has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. he was found in his california home with a handgun near his body.
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seau was charged with am doestic violence against his girlfriend in 2010 and later drove his car off a cliff. he's the eighth member of the charges to die at a young age. they lost the super bowl to the san francisco 49ers that year. >> a shining moment for college football free agent eric la grand who has been signed by the tampa bay buccaneers just a little more than a year after being paralyzed during a junior season game. the team says this is the least they can do to recognize his spirit and perseverance in what should have been his class. they returned to the field was the "sports illustrated" moment of the year. >> they caused a large fire to break out in the atlanta film studios belonging to actor, producer tyler perry. it was limited to the back lot facade where movie street scenes were filmed. he was at the complex last night, but he did not speak to
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reporters. >> thanks, mary. a controversial chinese dissident fearing for his life talking to cnn only hours after leaving the united states. why he's now blaming the united states. [ male announcer ] fighting pepperoni heartburn and pepperoni breath? fight both fast with new tums freshers! concentrated relief that goes to work in seconds and freshens breath. new tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, all in a pocket sized pack. [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, you know what's exciting? graduation. when i look up into my students faces, i see pride.
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>> to china now where's controversial activist who left the united states embassy in beijing after seeking refuge there for days has just told cnn his life could now be in danger if he doesn't leave the country as soon as possible. up to now there have been conflicting reports about whether he left the u.s. embassy willingly. stan grant is joining us from beijing right now with the latest. what are you learning and what are you hearing, stan? >> reporter: yea, wolf, just a
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couple of hours it was 3:00 a.m. here in beijing when we got to speak to chen guangcheng, he was from his hospital bed when he told us about the ordeal he now faces. chen guangcheng escaped from house arrest about a week ago. he then fled to the u.s. embassy and he's been hold up there for the past six days. he left the embassy today. the embassy says he left willingly and went to a hospital for treatment. now chen guangcheng is saying he made that decision without having all of the knowledge that she had have had. he says he's disappointed in the united states. this is what he had to say. >> translator: the embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me in the hospital, but this afternoon as soon as i checked into the hospital room i noticed they were all gone. >> reporter: the embassy itself and u.s. officials here who are
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traveling with secretary of state hillary clinton who is here for talks are saying that they followed strict protocol. they asked him three times in front of witnesses do you want to leave? are you willing to leave now on your own volition three times they say he said yes. they also say that he told them that he wanted to make a life in china. he did not want to go abroad. that also has changed now. chen guangcheng says he is very much in fear for his life. he says his family is being threatened and he is now making a plea to president obama to help him. >> translator: i would like to say to president obama please do everything you can to get our family out. >> now what chen guangcheng says, wolf, what happened after he fled is security guards who were keeping him under lock and key moved in on his family. they grabbed his wife, they tied her up and they interrogated her and beat her with sticks and
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they made threats that if he did not leave the embassy they would wait for his family back at home with weapons. the story continues to take twists and turns. >> very dram attic story and i saw the ambassador to china there. he's a former cabinet member in the obama administration and former governor of washington state. i know him quite well. what is he saying? what is the u.s. embassy saying in these are awful charges that have now been leveled against the united states government for effectively betraying this human rights activist? >> reporter: effectively what he's saying is they sur rendered him back to the people who kept him under lock andy coup ask 18 months under house arrest. the u.s. had incested all along that it has done nothing wrong. they say they took him in under humanitarian grounds because he was injured after his escape. they wanted to give him medical treatment. they posed the question to him are you willing to leave of your
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own volition. he said yes. they said that he knew what he was getting into, that he wanted to stay in china. he did not want to leave. the u.s. has stayed very, very firm on that point. chen guangcheng, of course, says now he knows the full information. while he was in the embassy he wasn't able to make telephone calls. he didn't speak to friends. he didn't speak to family. he was cut off from the news and he said they did not give him enough information to make an informed choice and now he fears for his life. >> the u.s. ambassador, maybe he'll call us in and we'll talk to him shortly. that would be good. obviously, dramatic story. how awkward and difficult is it especially with the secretary of state in beijing right now, hillary clinton is there now. thank you very much for that report. >> new details on how a secret service member was, quote, actively engaged with a woman without knowing she was a prostitute. what set off the scandal? stand by. new information coming in. and an ex-aide says he warned john edwards that his mistress
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was, quote, a little nutty. we have dramatic testimony in the trial of one-time presidential hopeful and will the commander in chief visit to afghanistan give him an edge in this election campaign? stand by. coach. but when i was diagnosed with prostate cancer... i needed a coach. our doctor was great, but with so many tough decisions i felt lost. unitedhealthcare offered us a specially trained rn who helped us weigh and understand all our options. for me cancer was as scary as a fastball is to some of these kids. but my coach had hit that pitch before. turning data into useful answers. we're 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine living your life with less chronic low back pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one non-narcotic pill a day, every day,
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the powerful congressman here in washington gets some answers from the u.s. secret service about the sex scandal that's rocked the agency including the very delicate moment that started it all. our senior correspondent congressional correspondent dana bash has been digging into this story. she's here in "the situation room." what are you learning? >> two house committees have received answers to the questions they posed to the secret service. one is house homeland security chairman peter king. he asked 50 questions and the answers give us more information about what went on that infamous night last month ahead of the president's trip to colombia. investigators have now
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interviewed ten of the 12 women involved in the secret service prostitution scandal. the conclusion so far, no security breach. the women were selling sex, but not stealing u.s. secrets. >> it appears that no material was obtained by any of the prostitutes. nothing is missing. all of the blackberries were accounted for and no president's schedule available and it does not appear that any of the 12 women had any involvement other than prostitution. >> reporter: homeland security chairman peter king received 24 pages of answers to questions of misconduct in colombia. he can't release them because the secret service marked them law enforcement sensitive, but cnn learned some of the findings. of the 12 secret service members investigated, three refused polygraphs. a source familiar with the investigation tells cnn one who wouldn't submit to a polygraph was the supervisor cnn identified as the secret service member who got in a dispute with a prostitute over how much he owed her.
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a fight that led authorities to finding out he and his colleagues engaged in inappropriate behavior. nine secret service members took polygraph tests, all passed, but some of the information they admitted to meant the end of their careers. according to a source familiar with the investigation, one who did take the polygraph told investigators he was, quote, actively engaged with a woman when she asked for payment and that's when he realized she was a prostitute. he did not lose his job. >> the secret service dodged a bullet and it goes against the principles of the secret service because it was disclosed and there was no long-term security matter involved here. it gives the secret service the opportunity to clear up what has happened and do all it can to make sure it never happens again. >> now, a source familiar with the investigation tells cnn that they found money changed hands between nine secret service members and nine women or prostitutes and we are also told that so far one of the introduce
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law enforcement officials conducted with colombian prostitutes has been translated into english and investigators are in the process of doing the same with the others and, of course, wolf, all of this material will be critical for the multiple investigations still going in capitol hill. >> these are just the secret service agents and officers. there are still military personnel as well. >> there are and there has been frustration which has not subsided at all in capitol hill because they feel they can't get enough information from the defense department and they're hoping to get it when congress comes back from recess next week. >> dana, thanks very much. >> it's not as if john edwards wasn't warned in the corruption trial of the one-time white house hopeful. a former aide has testified that he raised concerns about edwards' mistress and that edwards didn't take kindly to that. let's go to our senior correspondent joe johns. he is on the beat for us once again. another emotional day for edwards' daughter. tell us what happened. >> reporter: that's for sure, wolf. in the courtroom today another very emotional day as a staffer,
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christina reynolds who worked for john edwards back in the day was describing how elizabeth ed wars, the late elizabeth edwards reacted upon hearing news from the national enquirer about her husband's affair. she was at raleigh/durham airport started crying, and tearing off her clothes and at that point in the courtroom, john edwards had in his hands and he turned and looked at his daughter cate who was behind him and nowinged some words and she got up and headed for the exit and some people said she was wiping away tears and the emotional toll this case is having on the edwards family. after the heavy and often combative testimony that marked the start of the trial, prosecution witness and former john edwards aide josh brum berger brought the courtroom back to life. he was funny at times, recounting his travels with edwards in 2006 before he declared what would be his final run for the white house.
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with edwards' mistress rielle hunter tagging along shooting web videos of edwards including on this trip to uganda. he was also the bearer of bad news to edwards issuing several warnings about hunter. the first warning shortly after she walked up and introduced herself to edwards at the regency hotel in new york, brum berger said he told edwards that miss hunter, quote, looked a little nutty. he researched things she posted on the internet and found sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll and astrology. later he was surprised to see hunter with her camera traveling with edwards and said he wasn't impressed. he said he told edwards he thought her video was shoddy and unprofessional. when edwards told staff that hunter should get health insurance even though she was just a consultant, he wrote in an e-mail the whole thing is a little odd. believe you me, i know it, but he wrote edwards was fairly adamant about it, and he told edwards directly that staff was noticing he treated rielle hunter different thee than the
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others doing things like carrying her bag. he said even after he shared his observations with edwards, edwards did not change his behavior. he relayed i his suspicions to others on the edwards' staff, but it all came to a head at chicago's o'hare airport in october 2006 before edwards left on a trip to china. edwards pulled brum berger to the side and he was red faced and cursing. he said edwards was blunt. if i thought he was blanking her why didn't i come to him like a man and ask. he said he didn't trust me anymore. he was basically firing me. the edwards defense team emphasized what brumberger said about the timing, that none of this happened during the presidential campaign. >> the point here is that the prosecution says edwards was trying to keep his political hope alive, but the defense says all he was doing was trying to keep information about the affair away from his wife. wolf? >> joe johns on the scene for us of this trial. thanks very much. first it was cloaked in
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secrecy and then it was shown around the world. president obama's back from the surprise trip to afghanistan and he's resuming his re-election campaign with a pair of high priced fund raisers. the dramatic pictures say it probably won't hurt that effort. joining us now is our chief political analyst gloria borger. it's hard for a challenger to beat the incumbent when the incumbent has a lot of advantages. >> absolutely. the bully pulpit, the rose garden and outside the rose garden and you saw the benefits of incumbents yesterday. you can create your own stage. in this case it was a huge stage. this is a president who goes and meets the troops, signs an important document and we're not quite sure what that document does yet and he signs it, he speaks to american citizens from a war zone. you can't get much more publicity than that. look at mitt romney, started the day criticizing the president on an ad saying he was politicizing
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the killing of osama bin laden. by the end of the day, the romney people were silent because they being not criticize the president's trip to visit the troops. >> yea. senior romney adviser basically saying that not a whole lot of difference between the president and romney when it comes to afghanistan. how will the president be using his advantage as an incumbent. this wouldn't be the first one and it's not going to be the last and nothing as dramatic as what we obviously saw yesterday, but take a look at the president's trip to battleground states as soon as he's become president. ohio 20 times, pennsylvania, 15, florida, 15, north carolina, 12. i'm not saying, wolf that all of these trips are campaign-related. what i am saying is that battleground states always get lots of love and attention. there's also something the president's been doing lately. it's called the we can't wait campaign. what does that mean? these are things that the president can sign unilaterally.
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let me give you an example. a recent summer jobs initiative and a plan to spur innovation in manufacturing, for example, or to make refinancing your mortgages easier. the president can say i'm going to do this. i can't wait because guess what? congress won't do it, so, wolf, it's also a way for an incumbent to use his power to run against congress which by the way is a 9% approval rating. >> he's got that executive order and ability he can do these kinds of things without waiting for congress to take action, and i suspect he'll be doing a lot more than that. >> and the down side, wolf, you have to run on your record, too, and that's what mitt romney is hoping that he can make it a referendum on the president. tough campaign. >> the very strange case of the spy who was found dead, naked, locked in a duffel bag inside his bathtub. a coroner's report raising new questions. and you will hear what happens after an air traffic controller puts two airliners on a collision course hurdling toward each other at hundreds of miles an hour. stand by.
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a spy found nationed and deadlocked inside a bag in a bathtub. was someone else involved? was it tied to espionage or was it sex? the long investigation is now
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complete -- sort of. cnn's atika shubert reports from london. >> reporter: how did gareth williams british spy and code breaker go from this video in august 2010 to this -- his naked body found a week after that video was shot curled up into a padlocked duffel bag and placed in his own bathtub. the key, inside the bag under the body. after more than a year of police work and three postmortem, a british coroner on wednesday was finally able to deliver a verdict, but very few answers. cause of death, asphyxiation or poisoning likely overcome by carbon dioxide within minutes of being locked in, but did he lock himself into the bag or was someone else, an expert, attempted to lock himself into the same type of bag and it showed that williams, small,
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slip and athletic could have folded himself into the bag, but not without leaving hand and footprints everywhere. none were found at the scene. and a bag was uniquely locked, virtually impossible to do from the inside, most likely said the coroner, quote, a third party placed the body in the bag and locked it. his immaculate apartment, clothes neatly folded on the bed showed no sign of forced entry and no evidence that anyone other than williams had been in the apartment and nonetheless, the coroner ruled gareth williams' death was unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated. the coroner could find no evidence of a connection between his death and his work for the british secret service, mi-6, but she criticized his employers for failing to report his disappearance for a week and holding on to important evidence for months including nine memory
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sticks of data. it has been especially difficult for williams' family. their lawyer read this statement after the verdict. >> our pleas were exacerbated by the failure of the employees at mi-6 to take in the most basic inquiries as to the where abouts and welfare. >> the detective on the case says the investigation will continue. >> i urge anyone who knows gareth, who had contact with him to search their conscience and come forward with any information about what happened that night. >> reporter: both connor and detective agree, someone out there knows what happened to gareth williams. atika shubert, cnn, london. >> gareth williams' family is asking a complete review of mi-6's role in the investigation. two jumbo jets on a collision course traveling hundreds of miles an hour. the terrifying moments all caught on tape and concerns the
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faa may have tried to cover it all up. she's accused of taking her child into a tanning booth, but it's her own shock tan that's all the buzz. with my friends, we'll do almost anything. out for drinks, eats. i have very well fitting dentures. i like to eat a lot of fruits. love them all. the seal i get with the super poligrip free
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it could have been a disaster, two jumbo jets on a collision course because of air traffic controller ror. now there are questions whether the faa tried to cover it all up. brian todd has details. >> reporter: we have documents from the faa and the recording from the faa and you'll hear this ridiculousing in just a moment. a japan airline 767 jet and an md-11 plane were both approaching honolulu airport for landing. this was back on january 14th. according to documents from the investigation, air traffic controller in the honolulu tower mistakenly -- the controller got distracted for about a minute dealing with two other flights and when he returned to the japan air and ups course the planes were much too close. according to the faa they got within 1.6 miles laterally and 300 feet vertically. the altitude difference was just about zero and they were heading straight for each other and of course, they were going hundreds
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of miles an hour. you are about to watch a tape in the radar replay and you're about to hear the urgency in the controller's voice. the two planes are inside the blue and yellow circles. take a look. >> heading 180. >> japan, 72, maintain 1, 3,000. japan, heavy traffic at 12 clock, climbing at 4shgs 300. >> 733. >> now that phrase you heard the japan air pilots say at the end, key cast descent. that's him responding to end, teecast descent, it is him responding. they got off the course and steered to safety and landed without further incident. he told investigators that he was fluttered by the event and asked another controller to take
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over for him afterward. it was a very close call. >> there are also a lot of questions about whether or not they reported all of this promptly to the faa. >> the faa officials in that tower are supposed to report this immediately. two faa officials. hawaii news now says the faa's long-time manager told his employees not to report the incident to officials on the main land. he denies ordering a coverup. that top manager is now retired. the faa sent us a statement says, quote, as soon as we learned of this incident werks took quick and decisive action, we pulled the controller off operational duties and assigned him to skill enhancement retraining. an acting manager will oversee the facility's operations while the faa selects a permanent replacement for the former manager who retired. the faa saying they are
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admitting they didn't get worse of this incident until much later. they took immediate action here. >> the kohler that made the mistake was farrell new. he had been certified on the 24th of december last year, boenl three weeks before this incident. one document said the controller stated he was not ready for certification. he requested additional training. >> scary moments. >> for a few seconds. let's go back to jack for the cafferty file. >> do we have anything like that? skill enhancement retraining? >> no. >> we don't, do we? >> we just do what we do. the question this hour. president barack obama in afghanistan. foreign policy or campaign stop. >> ryan in san antonio, it was a campaign stop, otherwise he could have waited until karzai
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attended the nato summit. mary in florida writes, jack, you sure can be hard headed. sometimes i think you just say these things as the devil's advocate. sad commentary on a master enter i done week about karl rove and the republicans. i do. i am still a hillary girl but i have to admire the chutzpah this has showed. good for our president. dennis this chicago, another $2 million campaign stop. the only hope and change, the president hopes you don't ask about the economy, because nothing is changing. it is going to be a long summer, talking about dogs, ben lin lad comedy sketches. chicago politics transplanted to d.c. mark in st. louis writes, you are missing the point. keep your friends close. keep your enemies closer. a continued american presence might prevent another 9/11. l.t. writes, campaign stop, no doubt about it. he didn't have to use any of his
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own campaign money. apparently, he just wanted us to know we would remain over there until we, quote, get the job done. my question, what exactly is the job? de in minnesota writes, did you just bash the president for visiting the troops? i hope you are not paid for this. >> actually, i am. not enough but i am paid. if you want to read more, go to cnn.com/caffertyfile or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. your paid for this too, right? >> all of us are paid for it but we don't have any enhancement training. >> something about ability enhancement retraining. we don't have that. >> we don't. maybe we will get it. >> we have reached the upward limit of our potential. >> thank you, jack. look at this. this woman obviously loves tanning, wow. look at her. jeanne moos has something on this. [ female announcer ] everything that goes into a lennox system
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because you never know what lies around the corner. to get a free quote, call... visit a local office, or go to libertymutual.com today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? a look at this hour's hot shots. a vendor sells bread in a refugee camp. in india, a no mad warms up by a fire. in cypress, a tourist leaps off
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a cliff into the mediterranean. hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world. it is a shade of brown that has many people saying, a shade is exactly what this woman needs. she was already in trouble for taking her child to a tanning salon. now, it is her tan that is all the buzz. here is cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: in court, she pleaded not guilty to enga endangering her child by taking her into a tanning booth. what she is not innocent of us torturing her own skin with the flabbergasting tan. >> that's the mother. that's the mother. >> she is 44 or 84? >> she is 44 and she is burnt up. >> reporter: talk about tan lines. that's a tan that crosses the line. sort of like this. her shade changes from interview. >> i have been tanning my whole life. >> from interview to interview. >> mommy tans. she is my little girl. i mean, that's not normal.
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>> reporter: all of those interviews make her mug shot look normal. 44-year-old patricia krinsel of nutley, new jersey, was arrested after her daughter showed up at school with a sunburn. >> did you get suntan? >> yeah. i did. >> reporter: anna told the school nurse she got it going tanning with mommy. the school called child services. mommy says anna got some sun playing outside. >> she is six years old. yeah, she does go tanning with mommy but not in the booth. >> reporter: when she showed up for court with her paleface attorney, the whites of her eyes stood out as she rolled them. >> she would never allow her child to go inside a tanning bed. >> reporter: she stated her case convincingly at her daughter's school. it is hard to look past her skin tone. one poster said she resembled an
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oompa-loompa from willie wonka. she seems like a perfect candidate for way too tan, a blog that collects those that have fried themselves to a crisp. nothing funny about skin cancer. the word tanorexic kept coming up. people may get addicted to uv rays. that uv rays produce endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. >> i am a wonderful mother. i would die right now for her. >> patricia, are you excessively tanning yourself? >> yes. >> you admit that, okay. >> reporter: no shades of gray in that answer. she prefers shades of brown. jeanne moos, cnn. >> the whole thing is preposterous. >> reporter: new york. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the news continues next on cnn. good evening. i'm john king. tonight,

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