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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  July 18, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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they say it's possibly a terrorist attack. obviously the israelis saying they're sure of it. but bulgarians not ruling anything in, not ruling anything out at this point, wolf. >> didn't take very long for the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu to directly blame iran for this attack. >> reporter: that's right. a short time ago prime minister netanyahu, wolf, put out a statement saying all signs are leading to iran, his defense minister just spoke to reporters a short time ago. let's take a listen to what he said. >> this is clearly a terrorist attack initiated by hezbollah, hamas, jihad or any other group under the terror of iran or other radical muslim groups. we're in a continued fight against them. we're determined to identify who sent them, who executed it and
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to settle the account. >> reporter: now, wolf, this is part of a pattern that israeli officials say of iran targeting israeli targets. this year they've twharted attempts on israeli targets in georgia, cypress, kenya. and if you remember in february three iranians were arrested in bangkok for setting off explosives. and the bangkok and thai authorities said they were trying to target israeli diplomats. you have this asymmetric war going on between israel and iran, israel saying iran is buildsing a nuclear weapon. and iran saying israel is going after their nuclear scientists. it's really ratcheting up a lot of concern obviously here in israel that there could be future attacks. israeli officials telling me we have been able to twhard a lot but this one unfortunately
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weren't able to. >> tensions are at a fever pitch. we heard the defense minister saying israel will "settle the account" and the prime minister netanyahu saying israel would respond with force to what he called iranian terror. we'll get details on what the israelis might be up to. elise, thanks very much. in about an hour my live interview with michael orrin. he's here in "the situation room." i'll ask him what proof israel has iran may have been involved in this attack in bulgaria. that interview with the ambassador later this hour. now to the mayor repercussions killing the country's defense minister and a deputy who was brother-in-law of the syrian president bashar al assad. after the bombing i had a long exclusive interview with jordan's king abdullah ii. syria is at the point of no
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return. and a full-scale civil war may be inevitable. >> i'm seeing for the first time and have been watching this for the past two, three weeks where the sectarian violence has begin to appear to a point where different groups of syrian society is having goad each other to a point where we are getting to the level of the potential of full-out civil war. in other words, it's getting very, very messy to a point where i think the worst case scenario for all of us in the region is when you get full-out civil war, there is no coming back. if it breaks down, if civil order breaks down to the point of no return, then it will take years to fix syria. and i have a feeling that we're seeing the signs of that over the past three weeks. the only people that can bring us back from that brink is obviously the president and the regime. and i believe this is the last chance that they have. >> my exclusive interview with
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king abdullah will air during our next hour during our 5:00 p.m. eastern hour here in "the situation room." you're going to want to hear what he has to say about syria a lot more detail. also, we spoke about mitt romney and barack obama in the interview. he's got some serious thoughts about these two individuals. let's get to the presidential race right now. in today's republican triple play in ohio, not only is mitt romney campaigning there, so are two men getting mentioned, lots of mentions in fact, as possible running mates. the louisiana governor, bobby jindal, and the former florida governor, jeb bush. cnn's national political correspondent, jim acosta, is in bolling green, ohio, where mitt romney just finished a town hall. >> reporter: wolf, mitt romney is announcing an all-out attack. the gop contender's response can be summed ups a, oh, no, you didn't. after days of attacks on his business record, mitt romney
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hopes he has found a way to change the story. and it has nothing to do with naming a running mate. >> how many people here were people who began a business or leading a business in this room please stand up? what he's saying is if someone has succeeded, if they'd built something, he's saying they didn't really build it. no, it was the government. it was the government that takes responsibilities. >> reporter: that get out of bain free card may have come in remarks made by the president last friday. a comment romney is blasting as anti-business. >> if you've got a business, you didn't build that. somebody else made that happen. >> reporter: romney's campaign manager is now fund raising off of the comment saying they are a slap in the face to the american dream. a top aide to the gop contender says the remarks summaryize the president's worlds review like this comment in 2008 to joe the plumber. the obama campaign says romney is grasping for straws and that the president was making a point
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about how public spending can help the private sector. >> there was a great teacher somewhere in your life. somebody helped to create this unbelievable american system that we have that allowed you to thrive, somebody invested in roads and bridges. >> reporter: in ohio where the bain attacks may be weighing down romney's poll numbers, his campaign is flooding the zone sending the candidate to the northern end of the state, bobby jindal to columbus and jeb bush to outside cincinnati. >> governor, will you release your income tax records? >> that's been the tradition. i'm not opposed to doing that. >> reporter: but democrats are also hitting hard unleashing this web video showing what looks like the romney family dra saj horse prancing as romney dances around tax return questions. and noting michelle obama once praised a daycare company founded by the investment firm. >> the partnership for a healthier america is working with private providers like
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horizons. that's the nation's second largest private child care provider. >> reporter: but the personal attacks aren't just coming from the campaigns. consider how one supporter referred to the president at romney's town hall. >> this monster -- >> that's not a term i would use. >> reporter: as for naming a running mate, romney told this town hall he hasn't reached a decision yet, but said his vice presidential pick will be a conservative. wolf. >> jim acosta, thank you. ohio is certainly one of the most crucial states in this year's presidential election. lots of focus on ohio. our chief national correspondent, john king, is at the magic wall to show us precisely why. walk us there ohio, ohio, ohio. >> wolf, a simple fact of history. no republican has won the white house without winning ohio in the modern times. so when mitt romney looks at the 2008 calendar and sees ohio blue, he knows he most likely has to change that to get elected. and campaign spending a ton of
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time and resources in ohio. look at tv ad spending first. this is just since april. the obama campaign by a two-to-one margin outspending the romney campaign. more than $10 million straight from the obama campaign. the president who leads narrowly in ohio right now spending heavily to protect that lead. if you add in the super pacs, it's a bit more even but still a democratic advantage. the president's campaign plus pro-democratic, pro-obama super pacs, three super pacs helping romney a little bit. but the democrats are spending more. number one, here's a big place to keep an eye on. star county just south of akron. look at this from four years ago. 52% for obama. 46% for john mccain. this is a key swing county in the state. go back to '04, john kerry carried it barely when george w. bush was carrying it in 2000. one other key place to watch look at '08, there are many swing counties but look at this
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blue. cincinnati. president obama carried hamilton county. for republicans to win statewide in a close election, watch that county down there. i'll give you a highlight for it. for republicans to win in a close statewide election, they need cincinnati. that's president bush in '04. that's president bush in 2000. even in '96 bob dole won down there. you're going to see a lot of the romney campaign in the cincinnati area. they know how important it is. >> when you point out in the beginning as you accurately do, no republican has won the white house in modern times without carrying ohio. let me ask you this question, i guess it's three retically possible, but is it likely that romney could win the race for the white house even without ohio? >> that is what i'll call the big yeah, but, question in american politics. can he? yes, can he realistically? most likely no. let me show you why. map as we see it now, 247 solid or leaning obama.
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206 electoral votes solid or leaning romney. romney has what carl rove calls the 3-2-1 strategy. when the three most republican states carried by barack obama, they would be indiana, north carolina, which we already lean romney's way and virginia. if you get those three, romney closes the gap. where's the two? that would be win florida and win ohio. if you get to that point, romney is actually in the lead. and then he would only have to win one of the remaining toss ups. would not have to turn any blue states red if they do that. but you asked the question, so let's shade ohio blue. even if you give romney those other states i just gave him, if the president wins ohio, most people believe if he's winning ohio, then he's holding pennsylvania, michigan and probably holding wisconsin. look how close that puts the president, wolf, if he can win ohio, he'd only have to win one out of iowa, colorado and nevada and he gets re-elected. >> good point. thanks very much, john king, at the magic wall. appreciate it. more politics coming up later. also, jordan's king abdullah
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ii my exclusive interview with him. he says syria's near a full-out civil war right now. he's also warning that any use of syria's chemical weapons, what he calls syria's weapons of mass destruction, he says that could change everything. the full interview exclusive interview coming up in our 5:00 p.m. eastern hour. also, during our brand new third hour of "the situation room," during our 6:00 p.m. eastern hour we'll air part of my colleague, piers morgan's rare interview with the supreme court justice antonin scalia. he's sitting down with him right now. up next, we go live to america's heart land where crops are withering in one of the worst droughts in decades. ♪
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jack cafferty's here with the cafferty file. jack. >> thanks, wolf. it is time for mitt romney to man-up, pick up the phone and ask sarah palin to the dance. that's a quote from a daily beast piece that argues romney ought to invite pal into speak at the republican national convention last month. palin says she hasn't been asked to attend the convention "one must remember this isn't said di hawk ins and you don't invite yourself a date to the big dance." maybe republicans are thinking about the down sides of inviting sarah palin anywhere. they're pretty obvious. the former vice presidential
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candidate and half-term governor of alaska is a wild card. and her off the cuff remarks could create headaches for romney. palin is polarizing. and doesn't seem to have a lot of love for romney, so there's always the risk she could go rogue. never mind all that, romney might be making a big mistake by not inviting her. it's not like he has this thing wrapped up. sarah palin can do something mitt romney can't and that is fire up the base. the party faithful went nuts when she delivered her pit bull hockey mom convention speech in 2008. and let's face it, romney could use something to spice up his campaign. so far electric it ain't. there are few if any other republicans in 2012 who generate the kind of enthusiasm palin does. plus, mitt romney was never a tea party favorite. as "news wooek" describes it "party activists feel stuck with a guy served up by republican elites who speak conservatism with an establishment accent"
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that's a great quote. bringing sarah palin on board in tampa might help in this department too. you see, her accent is anything but establishment. here's the question, should sarah palin be invited to speak at the republican convention? go to cnn.com slash caffertyfile and post a comment on the blog. or go to our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. wolf. >> jack, thank you. there's no immediate relief in sight for the parched midwest. the department of agriculture designated 39 more counties as disaster areas due to the excessive heat and drought. vital crops are at risk, but the agriculture secretary, tom vilsack, says it will be a while before consumers see a spike in the price. our meteorologist chad myers is over at the cnn weather center. he's got more on the forecast. what is the forecast over there? >> well, you know, wolf, it's not good. even if it rains from here all the way to the end of harvest season, a lot of this corn cannot be saved.
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didn't set right. the cobs aren't there. the pollen didn't come out at the right time. this is just a flash drought they're calling all the way from ohio all the way back into kentucky, tennessee, into nebraska and kansas as well. it just stopped raining as soon as the crops went in the ground. indiana, you have 71% of your corn crop, that's 12 million acres at poor or worse. that means 30% maybe of what you'd expect for yield. illinois, 56%. the problem here, it's a much larger crop. 23 million acres planted there. and not all corn goes to, you know, cattle right away. cattle have to look at the ground and eat a lot of grass first before you just give them corn. missouri, 92% of your pasture is poor or very poor. there's just no grass out there, wolf. there's no hay. i don't know where these farmers are going to get the hay to feed the cattle because you can't buy it from anyone because nobody has it. and the forecast with this brown map right here, there's no
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relief in sight. we're just not going to see the amount of rain we need. that's not the case in the northeast right now. we have severe weather all the way from boston to new york city. even you in d.c. are going to see a couple showers and thunderstorms. and here's columbus circle. rain coming down. i just heard from ali velsh says he's looking for an arc it's raining so hard in new york city. >> they could use some of that water in the midwest for sure. hope it starts raining out there. thanks so much, chad, for that report. other news we're watching including a massive drought in the united states, we'll have more on the drought, the growing potential to affect the entire country with crops withering in the heat. and you just saw chad's report. we'll take a closer look in our next hour at the possible impact on nearly everything we get over at the supermarket and the grocery store. next, it's as bad as smoking. what british researchers find as the latest threat to your health. jim twitchel is this true? yes it's true. how is this possible? proper tire inflation,
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top officials in the u.s. government are being sued over drone strikes in yemen. lisa sylvester's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on, lisa? >> hi there, wolf. well, muslim cleric and son and another man killed in the drone strikes last year. two civil rights groups have filed a wrongful death lawsuit today on behalf of the families. the suit names the head of the cia defense department and two military commanders. the u.s. says the killing was justified because anwar had ties to al qaeda. and 300,000 people signed a petition to reinstate a lesbian mom back into the boy scouts of america. jennifer tyrrell delivered a box of petitions today to the headquarters in texas. she was forced to resign in ohio this year as a den mother. the boy scouts of america is refusing to bend. just yesterday the organization reaffirmed it's long-standing policy of not allowing openly gay members. and being a couch potato may be
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just as hazardous to your health as smoking. that's according to a british study. it estimates that one in ten people around the world die annually from physical inactivity. that's more than 5 million people. researchers say not exercising has the same risks as smoking tobacco. and just walking 15 to 30 minutes a day will help you. so when you do get moving, don't wear flip-flops. a new study links the comfy shoes with painful health risks. the national foot health assessment found 78% of adults have experienced one or more foot problems in their lives mostly because of flip-flops, things like stubbed toes, sprained ankles and blistered feet. experts say they are okay to wear some of the time, just not all of the time. and, wolf, speaking of exercising, i know you run, what is it, five miles a day? >> i try to on a treadmill. not outside. and certainly not wearing flip-flops. >> that's right. good for you. >> thank you, lisa sylvester. we'll be back.
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other news we're following, israel pointing the direct finger of blame at iran. we're going to talk to israel's ambassador to the united states, michael oren. we'll talk about today's explosion in bull gar ya and why the defense minister says it was a terrorist attack. this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours. now during the summer event get an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz for an exceptional price. but hurry, this offer ends july 31st. for an exceptional price. by what's getting done. measure commitment
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president obama is calling it a "barbaric terrorist attack." benjamin netanyahu says all signs point to terrorism. joining us is michael oren. mr. ambassador, thanks so much. first of all, our condolences to you. i know many israelis were killed and injured in this attack. what's the latest information you're hearing? what happened? >> it was indeed a barbaric attack on innocent civilians, many of them young people on vacation, wolf. and several bulgarians were also killed and wounded in the attack. and our condolences go out to the people of bulgaria. what we know is that seven people have been killed. and many wounded in this attack. it's part of a string of attacks which have in the previous instances linked directly to iran whether in india, cypress, in thailand, a planned attack against not just israeli targets
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but american targets in the capitol of the united states, washington, d.c., a planned attack against the saudi ambassador against the israeli embassy right in the capitol of washington, d.c. this is part of a pattern. all paths here lead to tehran. and we've seen this pattern. it's global terror. this is the same regime that is supporting the assad government in its massacre of its own civilians in syria. >> well, i want to get to that. but i want to specifically -- is there any direct evidence that you have so far on this bulgarian attack other than supposition similar attacks, other attacks in other places? is there any hard evidence that you have that iran was involved in today's attack in bulgaria? >> well, we're still investigating. and we're only several hours after the attack. but we can look at the pattern. and we've seen every several weeks the iranians have tried to mount these attacks against israeli targets and also american targets throughout the world.
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this is global terror inc. >> was this an improvised explosive device? what kind of bombing was this? >> we don't know yet. we don't know the technical details around the bombing. what we have are seven dead and many wounded. >> what were these israelis and you say there were several young israelis there, what were they doing in bulgaria? >> bulgaria's become a favorite destination for israeli tourism. love the country. friendly country. wonderful countryside. as you know, israelis love to travel. and young people, particularly before and after the military service in israel love to travel. we've had word that there are israeli young people among the casualties. >> because some of the israeli reports and israeli media are suggesting that bulgaria was warned back in january about possible terrorist attacks against israelis there. can you shed any light on that? >> we've been warning about possible terrorist attacks around the world from the
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iranians. and we've been on a heightened alert because of this. again, this is the iranian regime that stops at nothing. it will plan, attack in downtown washington, an attack against american and israeli targets. it will send fighters to join with bashar al assad in massacring syrians too. this is an iranian regime also trying to acquire and develop nuclear weapons. it's a danger not just to israel and the middle east, but the entire world, wolf. >> was bulgaria given any notice in recent months about a possible terror attack as far as you know? >> as far as i know, i don't have details, but i know there's been a general warning about the heightened chances of attacks because we've seen these attacks mounted every two or three weeks either against israeli and american diplomats or israeli civilians. >> the israeli prime minister and the israeli defense minister
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both suggesting in strong terms that israel will respond. and a statement that the israeli prime minister put out, benjamin netanyahu, all signs point to iran over the last few months. we have seen attempts in thailand, india, georgia, kenya, cyprus and other countries exactly 18 years to the day after the horrendous attack on the jewish community in argentina. deadly terrorism continues to strike at innocent people. this is a global iranian terror onslaught and israel will react firmly to it. and ehud barak says israel will settle accounts. israel will react firmly to this. >> not going to go into details about how and when we will react, but israel knows how to defend itself. we've been fighting terror for many, many years. we're the world's experts in fighting terror in our region. and i assure you that the government and people of israel will respond at the right time
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and respond firmly to this attack. >> but you're not ruling out military action against iran in retaliation for what you allege is this iranian attack on israeli tourists in bulgaria? >> israel will respond firmly and unequivocally to this attack, wolf. >> one other note, the president of the united states, president obama, issued a strong statement condemning this attack also expressing his condolences to the people of israel and bulgaria for that matter, but there was no mention at all in his statement or in the secretary of state hillary clinton's statement about iran or any alleged iranian involvement. what if anything do you read into that? >> i don't read anything into it now because we don't have proof about iranian involvement. but, again, it's part of this pattern. and the pattern is really unmistakable. it's every several weeks in some capitol the iranians plotting to kill israelis or kill americans or both. so we can't overlook that pattern. it's a very clear pattern.
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and you should know, wolf, that president obama's about to call prime minister netanyahu and personally express his condolence and outrage over this attack. >> in the past they've accused you, israel, of assassinating some of their nuclear scientists on the streets of tehran. and they have vowed revenge for that. what do you say about those kinds of allegations? >> i think that the iranians have been trying to kill israelis for many, many years now whether it by supplying 60,000 rockets to hezbollah or 10,000 rockets to hamas that have been fired at our civilians, they have backed terrorist operations against israelis that have killed well over a thousand of our civilians and maimed many thousands more. and this is before any recent round of supposed assassinations of iranian scientists. and israel is not involved in those. >> israel's not involved in the
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assassinations of iranian nuclear scientists? is that what you're saying? >> i'm saying i know nothing about those assassinations. we're talking about the massacre of innocent young people traveling abroad. talking about targeting american and israeli diplomats around the world. could there possibly be any excuse, any justification for that other than the fact that iran is the world's greatest sponsor of terror? >> mr. ambassador, thanks for coming in. >> as always, wolf. >> michael oren, israeli ambassador to the united states. other news we're following, capitol hill police are pushing back. they say new rules on tattoos go too far. we're going to tell you about the latest so-called grooming stan standards. and jordan's king abdullah talks about the election here in the united states could dramatically effect the middle east peace process. to the gas station about once a month. drive around town all the time doing errands and never ever have to fill up gas in the city.
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jordan's king abdullah's weighing in on the u.s. presidential race. it's part of my wide-ranging exclusive interview we're going to air in our next hour. but here's what he had to say about mitt romney and the middle east peace process. listen to this. >> the republican presidential candidate, mitt romney, as you know he's going to be going to israel to meet with the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu. i think he's going to meet with the palestinian authority prime minister fie add as well. what would you as a country so intimately involved in the middle east peace process, the israeli/palestinian peace process over the years, a country that has full peace treaty diplomatic relationship with israel for so many years, what would you hope that mitt romney leaves the region with
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what impression? >> well, he came to visit me i think almost a year ago and we had a discussion about the challenges of the peace process. he understands that with arab spring and all the challenges that we have that the core issue of the middle east still is the peace process a two-state solution between israelis and palestinians. i presume that his visit to israel and to meet with both israeli and palestinian counterparts will be to bring him up to speed on the ongoing negotiations between israelis and palestinians. and in that factor i will just add that the israelis and palestinians discussions are still ongoing. the peace discussions so to speak are not dead. our job is to keep the process alive until the end of this year when american elections are finalized. and depending on who wins as of the two candidates, then that puts us into a better position
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to understand how to move the process forward at the beginning of next year. >> do you see any significant difference between mitt romney and barack obama as far as the peace process is concerned? >> well, obviously there's always going to be a difference between second-term president and a first-term president in dealing with this core issue. a second-term president is going to be in a much more comfortable position in dealing with the middle east peace process. obviously a first-term president will tend to be less willing to take on such a difficult issue at least in the first two years of his presidency. that's something that we have been used to for so many decades. but, again, the presidential candidate is fully aware of the issues. we have exchanged our views a year ago. and whoever it is that becomes president, i'm sure both of them fully understands that whatever is happening in the middle east, the core issue still is that of the two-state solution and the challenges of the israeli and palestinian people.
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>> let's talk about that and more in our strategy session. joining us on the democratic side, kr, nn contributor paul begala, senior strategist for the democratic fund raising groups priorities usa, priorities usa action, so-called super pacs and republican strategist ana navarro, co-chair for the john huntsman presidential campaign. what king abdullah said was very accurate in his analysis. a second-term president, ie president obama, will have more political flexibility since he doesn't have to worry about getting re-elected to deal with some of these sensitive issues. >> when a hidden microphone picked up when the president said that to medvedev -- >> on a different issue. >> it's simply a fact ronald reagan had more maneuverability in his second term. i think president clinton did in his. i want president obama in a second term. butly say this, no one in the middle east or the world should
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misunderstand we have this election, we have terrible arguments about domestic issues. the truth is mitt romney is strong and so is president obama. it's one of the few things i think that the two parties and two candidates agree on. i'm not for mitt romney, okay, but he is strongly pro-israel, so is the president. i was moved to see the ambassador on our air on a day when israelis targeted for terrorism again and murdered in cowardly way. i think it's important people know republicans and democrats are united in defense israel. >> did you read into his maybe subtle endorsement to president obama to have more political ability to squeeze the players, doesn't have to worry about domestic political concerns. >> i thought he gave almost a political -- u.s. political answer. seemed to me he was giving a little bit to both candidates talking about how mitd romney's been trying to cultivate relationships and understands the issue and talking about the flexibility that barack obama would have. i think what he says is true.
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traditionally what they're used to he says a second-term president that has more flexibility and able to get more players at the table. but we are a lot worse off today than we were four years ago when it comes to the middle east. and i think one of the things when you see a second-term president is because they build on, they complete, they conclude or try to conclude what they built on those first four years. >> you're blaming president obama for the u.s. being in a worse situation -- >> no. i'm for the middle east being in a far worse situation. i'm not blaming president obama. but i will tell you that i think the middle east process requires a long building process. it requires cultivating relationships. it requires spending capital. it requires, you know, making a priority and negotiating from a position of strength. barack obama has not done those things in his first four years. >> i know you want to respond. but also in the context of romney's decision to go to the olympic games in london but then go to israel, meet with prime minister netanyahu and also meet
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with the prime minister. >> i think it's a good thij. he knows more about the swiss banks than the west bank. now he's going to learn and i think it's important and i think that's good. i will point out though, ana, that the two things that i believe as a pro-israel american have hurt israel the most were when george w. bush and condoleezza rice forced elections into gaza which gave hamas terrorist group i think a claim -- a false claim to legitimacy. we forced those elections. the american president did, mr. bush, and secretary of state, dr. rice. that hurt israel and helped hamas. and the war in iraq. the winner of the war in iraq was iran. you saw the ambassador today talking about iran's pattern of terrorism against israelis all around the world. >> ana, respond very quickly. >> democrats love relitigating bush and bringing bush back to every single issue. i think what's hurt the most in the middle east right now is we are not negotiating from a position of strength. just last week barack obama told the miami station that hugo
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chavez was not a threat. doing it with -- we have a president in barack obama who is naive and does not understand the threats -- >> you guys are obviously going to disagree. i think the issue on the palestinian elections, they all wanted elections, the question is was hamas authorized since it didn't support the peace process a two-state solution. should they have been allowed to participate in the elections. condoleezza rice and president bush said yes. >> most americans were upset too. >> hamas won that election. it was a democratic election that hamas won. >> that's why it was wrong to have the elections -- >> whether or not the u.s. should have allowed -- that was the negotiating dispute at the time. >> thank you for -- you know more about that than anybody i know. i'm still steamed about americans on those elections. >> thank you. for an athlete, an olympic medal is a crowning achievement, but just how much is the medal
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worth? we're going to break down the numbers. and should sarah palin speak in primetime at the republican convention? should she speak at all? jack cafferty with the cafferty file and your answers.
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jack's back with the cafferty file. jack. >> wolf, the question this hour, should sarah palin be invited to speak at the republican national convention? joshua writes, pallin should be invited to the republican convention because she will rip obama on the facts.
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not like some partisan hack who makes an issue about a tax return that's ten years old but on the real issues that affect millions of americans today. dale in massachusetts says of course. she destroyed the republican's chances last election. at least she can do is give them an encore. besides, all the late-night comedians need the material. romney's tax problems are getting a bit long in the tooth. tom in virginia writes, probably. she's an inspirational speaker even though most of what she says doesn't make a lot of sense. but it does get people excited. she should fit right in since most of the republican party doesn't know what it stands for either. david writes, i think sarah palin should speak at the convention if america was smart in 2008, she'd be our vice president. tom in atlanta says, to be politically correct, they'll probably have to, but if they're smart, they'll do it quickly and get i over with. the people who are most important to romney's chances of being elected are turned off by sarah palin. let's ask it this way, would obama ask john edwards to speak
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in probably not. em writes, sure. what could possibly go wrong? and raymond says only if she's introduced to the music of "send in the clowns." if you want to read more about the subject, go to the blog cnn.com/caffertyfile or our post on the "the situation room" facebook page. somehow i doubt she's probably going to be making a speech. >> ask me if i think she's going to speak there? >> ask if i think -- hey, wolf, do you think sarah palin's going to speak at the convention? >> you bet ya. >> good. that's good. >> i think she will. we'll see. it will be entertaining to be sure. we have an important news making interview coming up right at the top of the hour. jordan's king abdullah ii. he speaks to me about today's bombing that killed four top syrian officials. also, a nerve racking waiting game for penn state's football program. new information coming out. e a . like how a little oil from here can be such a big thing in an old friend's life. purina one discovered
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we're driving safely. and sue saved money on brakes. now that's personal pricing. there could be some big changes to penn state's football program. lisa sylvester's monitoring that and other top stories in "the situation room" right now. hi, lisa. >> hi, wolf. the ncaa is considering what penalties if any the university's football program will face. the group's chief says he's not ruling anything out including a so-called death penalty, which could suspend the football program altogether. last week a report claimed former head coach joe paterno could have done more to stop the alleged child sex abuse by jerry sandusky. and imagine putting on more than layers of clothes in this sweltering heat. yeah, that's what police officers and security at the u.s. capitol will have to do if they have too many tattoos. the national journal reports any tattoos that are considered too big, offensive, profane or
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unprofessional must be covered up while on duty. and athletes from around the world will be going for the gold next week at the summer olympics in london. well, it turns out the medal use in the olympic gold medal isn't actually gold, it's mostly silver. but it is worth more than the others, about $650 if melted down. the silver medal, by the way, is worth about half that. and the bronze medal is worth less than $5. ask any athlete and i'm sure just getting a medal of that kind is priceless. wolf. >> certainly is, lisa, thank you. and you're in "the situation room." happening now. [ gunfire ] fierce fighting in the streets of the syrian capital and a deadly blow to the heart of the regime. four top officials killed. jordan's king abdullah talks about it with me in an exclusive interview that airs this hour. also, the spreading drought
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crisis. dozens more counties in eight u.s. states are declared disaster areas. plus, a deadly beating. and now a possible break in the case thanks to facebook. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." wile celebration in the streets of the syrian capital, damascus, as opposition forces penetrate the innermost circle of president bashar al assad killing four key members of the regime including the president's brother-in-law. but in the wake of the stunning blow, growing fear about what will happen next as damascus increasingly turns into a war
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zone. cnn's ivan watson is monitoring all of this for us from neighboring istanbul. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: as syrian rebels battled government forces in the streets of damascus for the fourth straight day on wednesday, stunning news emerged on syrian state tv that a suicide bomber struck the national security headquarters. in one fell swoop at least four of the government's top security officials killed. the defense minister, general dawood rajiha, mohamed al shar and deputy vice president hasan and last but not least deputy defense minister, a brother-in-law of the syrian president, assef shawkat. news of the deadly blast sparked celebrations in opposition strongholds from the province in the northern to the southern
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city where the uprising started 16 months ago. the regime is struggling to show it's in charge quickly announcing a replacement defense minister and taking to the air waves blaming the attack on outsiders. >> with all the killing that's taken place, the legal responsibility and political and moral responsibility directly falls upon arab government. particular arab governments in all their intelligence agents. >> reporter: but this week the government's control of the capital has been challenged like never before prompting it to deploy armored vehicles in the streets. as well as helicopred gun ships that eyewitnesses say keep shooting in to damascus neighborhoods. the fighting is forced residents of the capitol to flee flash point neighborhoods on foot as seen here in footage filmed by dutch television. >> the plumes of smoke all over the city. people have family and friends
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living there or do live there themselves. so they are actually quite worried. we saw this morning in the northern of damascus people fleeing by the hundreds. >> reporter: wednesday's deadly bombing as well as what appears to be a coordinated rebel attack throughout different neighborhoods of damascus have shattered the image of a government firmly in control of the capital. the regime has been severely wounded. but there are disturbing reports that its own supporters are lashing out. eyewitnesses have described the much feared pro-government malitia killing anyone they meet with guns and knives. ivan watson, cnn, istanbul. >> and joining us king abdullah ii is joining us now from london. your majesty, thanks so much for joining us. we have lots to discuss. appreciate you're spending some
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time with us. let's begin with syria right now. some of ria's top defense officials were killed today in a suicide attack. what's your immediate reaction when you heard what was going on right in the heart of damascus? >> well, obviously it was a surprise. obviously this is a tremendous blow to the regime. but, again, damascus has shown its resilience. so i think maybe we need to keep this in perspective although this is a blow, i'm sure that the regime will continue to show fortitude at least in the near future. >> so you don't necessarily think this is a sign that the regime of president bashar al assad is crumbling? >> definitely this shows some cracks in the system, but, again, i don't think we should jump to any conclusions of writing the regime off in the near future. >> i want you to listen to what
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the u.s. defense secretary, leon panetta, said immediately after hearing what was going on in syria. listen to this little clip. >> this is a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control. and for that reason it's extremely important that the international community working with other countries that have concerns in that area have to bring maximum pressure on assad to do what's right, to step down and to allow for that peaceful transition. >> are you fully on board with leon panetta and the obama administration as far as syria's concerned? >> i believe so, wolf. part of the problem is, you know, we've been saying this to the syrian regime. we haven't seen any indications really of their seriousness to actually implement any political improvements or transition. so i think all of us in the international community have
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been reaching out to the syrian regime to make a move on political transition. but on the ground we haven't seen much for it. so unfortunately it's status quo as a result we're seeing as we've been seeing continued violence on the ground. >> and you've made it clear several times over recent months you believe it's time for bashar al assad, the president of syria, to leave, to step down. is that right? >> what i've been saying is the issue is not bashar. if bashar was to leave tomorrow and the regime stays, then what have we achieved? what we've been trying to say is we need to find a formula of a transition where the regime feels that it has a stake in the future with alawe feels they have a future in syria that, you know, they have a life to live. and the only way we can do that
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is a political transition. part of the problem is as we as part of the international community try and create an international political option, we've seen over the past several weeks an international sort of a tension on the ground from the different sects that is creating violence to a level that maybe a political solution may no longer be an option. >> you agree though that this is for all practical purposes now a civil war in syria? >> well, i think as we continue to pursue the political option, the realities on the ground may have overtaken us. therefore i think the clock is ticking. and have we as you've just alluded to reached the point where that a political option is too late. i think we should continue to give politics its due. but if we haven't already passed that window, i think we're getting very close to it.
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>> because some people say, you know, bashar al assad should see the handwriting on the wall, look what happened in libya to gadhafi, for example. look what happened in egypt to president mubarak. should he, in your opinion, be allowed to leave syria right now? get sanctuary say in iran or russia or some place else? or the rebels would like -- would you prefer he be tried for war crimes, for example? >> well, i think there's the argument out there is what brings the violence down? there is a counterargument in the international community. what we'd like to see is a cessation of violence as quickly as possible. if you can bring peace as quickly as possible, create a political transition, that's the lesser of all evils, i guess is what we're trying to say. you know, if bashar leaving the scene and exiting syria brings a
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stop to the violence and creates a political transition, that's the lesser of all evils. but have we gotten past that stage? that's the question i can't answer. and, again, i want to look to the point that if bashar leaves, does that solve the problem? whoever comes in his place, is he or the people around him willing to create a political set of circumstances that allows for the political transition that we're talking about. it's not so much the individual, it's the system that we're talking about. and can the system allow for the political transition? and that's where i have my doubts. >> your majesty, when was the last time you spoke with president bashar al assad? >> over a year ago. at about this time last year i sent the chief of the royal court on two occasions to impart to him my advice and my concerns about the way the regime was
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handling the situation. >> if he's watching this interview right now, and he might be watching it in damascus because this interview is being seen around the world, what would you say to him? what would you like to say directly to the syrian leader? >> well, i believe that we're getting to the point -- i'm looking at it from the point of view of the mosaic of the syrian people. i'm seeing for the first time and have been watching this for the past two or three weeks where the sectarian violence has begun to appear to a point where different groups of syrian society is having goad at each other to a point where we are getting to the level of the potential of full-out civil war. in other words, it's getting very, very messy to a point where i think the worst case scenario for all of us in the region is when you get full-out civil war, there is no coming back from the abyss.
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serious complications from iraq and other countries in the area, the different minorities actually put them all together to make the majority is unlike any of the other countries in the peninsula. if it breaks down, if civil order breaks down to the point of no return, then it will take years to fix syria. and i have a feeling we're seeing signs of that over the past three weeks. the only people that can bring us back from that brink is obviously the president and the regime. and i believe this is the last chance that they have. >> we'll have much more of my exclusive interview with jordan's king abdullah. we're going to talk about the growing concern over syria's weapons stockpiles and worst case scenario involving al qaeda. also, farmers facing ruin here in the united states. one says the growing drought may be the worst natural disaster his state has ever seen. and an attempted suicide reveals
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tempurpedic. the most highly recommended bed in america. more now on my exclusive interview with jordan's king abdullah ii. as we talked about the crisis in syria, i asked him about a particularly worrisome aspect that has the entire international community especially u.s. officials increasingly on edge. one very, very serious complicating issue as you well know and you're right in the neighborhood over there, chemical weapon stockpiles in syria, the defense secretary leon panetta and other u.s. officials say they are deeply concerned about the poison gas, sarin gas, other nerve agents that may have been stockpiled in various locations in syria. how worried is jordan about this? >> you will see that i think all the countries in the region and
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the international community have been looking at the weapons of what we call mass destruction, the chemical and biological weapons as elements of tremendous concern not just recently but since the beginning of the conflict. the syrian regime knows we've been looking at those stockpiles. i know there's been discussions that there's concern that the syrian regime would use that. i think they know that there will be an immediate knee-jerk reaction from all of us in the neighborhood including the international community if the syrian regime would make the mistake of using those chemical weapons simply because we can't afford the use of those chemical weapons obviously on the syrian people. but also the chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands. so i would be very, very surprised, i mean, that would be a tremendous miscalculation on the syrian regime if they were to use that. and would illicit an immediate reaction from all of us in the region and the international community. >> when you say an immediate
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reaction, i know in the past, your majesty, you've opposed outside military intervention in syria. but if there were indications that these chemical weapons stockpiles were about to be used, would you change your mind? would you support outside military intervention? >> well, i think when you're looking at some of the discussions happening at the united nations, use of chemical weapons being used on his own people obviously will illicit an international reaction against syria. and i think it will be very difficult for the russians and others not to -- or to oppose such a decision. however, even more of concern if those weapons were to fall into hands of opposition and we're not too sure who those opposition would be, then i don't think anybody can afford those type of weapons to fall into unknown hands. then, again, there will be some
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very quick meetings within members of the international community. and people i think would be looking at crossing borders. >> crossing borders. so that would have justify that kind of -- that would be a game-changer basically is what you're saying if the syrians were to engage, or if, for example, some of those chemical weapons were about to get into the hands of al qaeda elements or other terrorist elements long those lines because as you know there have been some suggestions that al qaeda has some sort of presence in syria right now? >> our information is that there is a presence of al qaeda in certain regions inside syria, has been there for a while. and, again, one of the worst case scenarios as we are obviously trying to look for a political solutions would be that if some of those chemical stockpiles were to fall into unfriendly hands. >> that would really be a game-changer, as you say. >> absolutely. >> the russians though, have
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they been protecting bashar al assad at the united nations security council, they're also backed to a certain degree by china. do you see any indications that russia is about to change its position? because as you know, they have veto power on the u.n. security council. >> well, again, i mean -- you have to understand where the russians were coming from initially. russia has obviously strategic objectives in syria. they felt very badly put out by western powers on libya. they had vested interests in libya for many, many years when libya went through its changes. the western powers very conveniently moved the russians and chinese out. that left a very bad tastes in their mouths. so part of the russian ab city nans is what happened in libya. for the russians syria is of tremendous strategic importance.
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but, again, we have seen the russians show up to every single meeting trying to work with us on political solutions. we obviously have been hearing a number of statements recently. we'll see what happens at the united nations. but as it comes to chemical weapons falling into rebel hands, i think at the end of the day all of us would suffer from that. i'm sure they would be very accepting of international actions. >> the notion of arming the rebels, where does jordan stand on that? >> well, when we talk about arming the rebels who are are we talking about? i mean, we've had a position of, you know, give us an address and a cv. there has been discussions about arming opposition.
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in principle, we understand the principle and are supportive of that. but we want to make sure if you're going to send weapons, specifically weapons, we want to make sure it goes into the right hands and doesn't end up as i eluded to earlier on into the hands of groups like al qaeda. >> your majesty, thank you so much for spending some time with us. our viewers in the united states and around the world always appreciate hearing from you. thank you so much. >> thank you, wolf. a suspect makes a dramatic escape from police taking off in one of their police cars. much more of the amazing video and the latest on the pursuit. that's coming up. and chaos in a walmart flash mob by hundreds of teens. what happened? we'll show you. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." , the works fuel saver package could literally pay for itself. jim twitchel is this true? yes it's true. how is this possible? proper tire inflation, by using proper grades of oil, your car runs more efficiently, saves gas. you could be doing this right now? yes i could, mike. i'm slowing you down? yes you are. my bad. the works fuel saver package. just $29.95 or less after rebate.
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just getting in a statement here in "the situation room" from republican presidential candidate mitt romney on that deadly bus blast near an airport in bulgaria. let me read it to you to our viewers. this is from mitt romney. the terrorist attack today in bulgaria is a sobering reminder that the scourge of terrorism continues to threaten all free people. my heart goes out to the victims and their families and to all israelis who have been the targets of such brutal and cowardly violence for so long. we must stand together in the fight against terrorism. and we must prevail. that statement from mitt romney just released. the israeli ambassador to the united states, michael oren, confirming with me just a while ago that the death toll has now climbed to seven. seven dead. authorities say more than 30 people were also injured in the blast. israel is calling the incident a terrorist attack on the bus
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carrying israeli tourists. many of them children. the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu pointing a finger directly at iran for the explosion vowing his country will "respond with force." president obama has also condemned the incident calling it a barbaric terrorist attack. netanyahu specifically pointing the finger at iran. interestingly enough neither president obama nor mitt romney had any mention of iran in their statements condemning this scourge of terrorism in the words of mitt romney. lisa sylvester's following other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what do you have? >> hi, wolf. the consumer protection bureau filing capital one bank $210 million for allegedly pressuring and misleading millions of customers into buying additional products when they opened their credit card accounts. roughly 150 million of that money will go towards refunds for customers. capital one is one of the country's largest credit
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lenders. and dramatic video from our ohio affiliate showing a suspect getting away in a police cruiser. you can hear police firing shots right there in the background as he's escaping. the man later crashed in the car then took off on foot before being taken into custody. the incident reportedly happened just blocks from the scene of an earlier fatal shooting. and mass chaos at a walmart store in jacksonville, florida, after it was bombarded by hundreds of teenagers reportedly destroying merchandise as well as the security system. police didn't make any immediate arrests after the flash mob struck. walmart is working with investigators pursuing those responsible. looking at that video, it looks pretty terrifying especially if you were a customer just wandering around and suddenly this flash mob. >> i don't get it. don't get it at all. lisa, thank you. you may actually be living hundreds of miles away, but the drought disaster in dozens of u.s. states is impacting all of
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the u.s. drought crisis is spreading. today 39 counties were added to the disaster area list on top of the almost 1,300 already declared. this is the worst drought in decades here in the united states with 29 states particularly hard-hit including arkansas. cnn's ed lavandera is joining us from arkansas right now. ed, show our viewers what you're seeing and hearing. >> reporter: wolf, right now we're in arkansas. what you're seeing behind me is a live cattle auction. the reason you're seeing this in such high numbers across the state is because thousands because of the drought having to get rid of their herds. this is how they do it. stacy is in the midst of the toughest fight he's ever experienced on his ranch in the northern hills of arkansas trying to save his cattle herd. stacy's brought out a couple
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bales of hay and they know it's feeding time. the endless drought is slowly thinning out his herd. these are the last cows that stacy avy has in the last few months because of the drought conditions he's had to sell off about half of his herd. >> just trying to survive the summer. >> reporter: are you going to be able to feed them? >> i'm going to feed them through the summer hoping there will be late fall rain hopefully to get some grass for late fall grazing. if there's no fall rain, i figure we'll have to sell out. >> reporter: normally this time of year the cattle should be grazing on natural pastureland here. it's totally out of the ordinary and extremely costly to bring in hay to feed the herd. arkansas agriculture officials say rainfall is as much as 10 inches below normal. ranchers and farmers say it's the most dire conditions they've seen in decades. >> i think this may be one of the -- maybe the worst natural disasters statewide we've ever had in arkansas. >> reporter: really? that bad? >> really that bad.
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statewide. >> reporter: almost every county in the state has been declared federal disaster areas because of the drought. if cattle ranchers can't afford to keep feedinged herds, this is where they end up. at auction. and ranchers tell us they've never seen so many cattle up for sale. you weren't joking around when you came around the corner, man, they started following you pretty good. >> yes, sir. they know when the tractor starts up there's a little bit of hay. >> reporter: here comes the food. and stacy wonders if he can hold on long enough to see it rain again. >> it's kind of depressing to, you know, to farm and grow your livestock and keep them the way you like them to be and then to have to just sell them. >> reporter: and, wolf, the question is what does this mean for beef prices in the grocery store? and people we've talked to here in arkansas say it's still a bit too early to tell. too many variables as to how this will effect the price as people pay for beef in the grocery store in the months and year to come, they'll have to wait and see how they'll be able
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to wait out this drought. the hope here is that rain will fall at some point. in the meantime cattle auctions like this will continue as many ranchers decide it's just not worth the money to keep the herd and have to thin out and sell the cattle. wolf. >> ed lavandera, a story that will affect i assume all of us down the road. thanks very, very much. other news we're following here in "the situation room." facebook, yes, facebook is being credited with helping nab the suspects behind the latest in a soring string of chicago murders. a man targeted by teenagers playing a game. cnn's ted rowlands is joining us now. he's on the scene. what's it latest information we're getting, ted. >> reporter: well, wolf, it wasn't facebook the company that really flagged this, but it was a facebook posting that broke this case wide open. basically one of the suspects -- and you're going to hear this story, it is horrible, posted a video of a beating of a 62-year-old man on facebook. police used that information and made an arrest in this
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unbelievable case. family and friends of 62-year-old delfino mora gathered tuesday night to mourn the latest victim of this summer's senseless violence plaguing the city of chicago. >> it's when i was down, he was always there. he was always there hugging me, telling me, you know, you're going to step up. keep strong. >> reporter: according to his family, the father of 12 was killed while collecting cans to buy his daughter a dress for an upcoming wedding. >> he's like, oh, don't worry, my love. he's like i'm going to get money to buy your dress. and then now he's just like gone, you know? and it hurts me because it's like i promise i will be with you on your graduation. and now it's just like he's not going to be here, you know? >> reporter: 18-year-old anthony malcolm, 17-year-old nicholas si
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say la all charged with first-degree murder. police say the 16-year-old punched mora in the jaw while the others recorded the video of the beating on a cell phone. it was later posted on this 16-year-old's facebook page. >> they punched him in the face. so as soon as they punched him, he fell unconscious on the ground. when he fell on the ground, his head bounced off the floor. >> reporter: according to prosecutors, the three boys were playing a game called pick them out, knock them out. looking for random people to try to knock unconscious with a punch. they found delfino mora in this alleyway next to these dumpsters collecting cans. mora was found unconscious two hours after the beating. he died the next day in the hospital. now, wolf, all three of these teens are being charged with first-degree murder. talking to the family members and people in their
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neighborhood, they're concerned that the prosecution has gone too far here saying that these kids, yes, did a horrible thing and it's hard to think about. but they didn't try to kill this man. they had no idea that they could kill this man. and they are arguing for leniency. but right now all three of these teenagers are being charged as adults and they're facing first-degree murder charges. >> a lot of us the bigger picture in chicago, you're there in chicago, the murder rate has -- is out of control in chicago right now. what's going on? >> reporter: well, it's up to 39%. what's going on is a good question. according to the chicago police department, a lot of this problem is the fact that gangs have fractured out where you had certain larger gangs making all this -- calling all the shots if you will, now you have smaller units literally controlling two to three-block areas of the city. they're conflicting with each other. and therefore you're seeing more violence. you're seeing more homicides in the city. up 39%. they also say the weather has
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had a lot to do with it. this has been an unbelievably warm winter, spring and summer. that's putting people outside more. they're seeing each other and conflicts are arising. they're hoping these numbers start to drop down as we get into fall. wolf. >> horrible, horrible situation right in chicago, illinois. all right. thanks for that report, ted rowlands, on the scene for us. an effort to unravel a political mystery worth hundreds of millions of dollars failed on capitol hill. cnn is asking why. and what we're finding out i think will surprise you. also, a prominent financial firm allegedly stealing millions of dollars from customers for decades without ever getting caught. how did authorities miss this? standby. [ male announcer ] imagine facing the day
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twice this week senate republicans blocked a democratic bill that would force independent political groups to identify all their big money contributors. secret unlimited contributions to groups like the so-called super political action committees or super pacs are bankrolling a lot of this year's flood of attack ads. we asked our crime and justice correspondent, joe johns, to take a closer look and explain what is going on with this very sensitive subject. >> that's for sure, wolf. with all the insane spending in american politics right now after the supreme court citizens united decision effectively opened up the flood gates. you might think it's high time for congress to pass a bill requiring more disclosure for those who donate. but as we've learned this week, addressing the problem can't even make it through the first step in the senate. the question is why. the air waves are flooded with political ads from both parties. and the average viewer has no way of knowing who paid for them. most everyone seems to agree
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that more disclosure is needed. >> i want us to have some reforms when it comes to campaign finance and the disclosure. >> if we don't do something about this, we will not have the republic we know in five years. >> the motion upon reconsideration is not agreed to. >> reporter: but a bill sponsored by democrats to open up the books hit a brick wall in the senate. 12 republicans who voted for more disclosure in the past this time voted against it. >> this bill falls short. the american people see it for what it is, political opportunism at its best. >> reporter: the measure applies to nonprofit organizations known as 501c 4s donors who give more than $10,000 would have to be revealed. i asked senate republican leader mitch mcconnell what's wrong with this bill when he and others supported disclosure before. >> me? >> i'm sorry.
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you, senator, why are you opposed to this disclosure act? >> glad you asked the question, joe. this is about selective disclosure of 501 c 4s with a huge carve-out for labor unions so the law doesn't have to apply to them. there's no balance. it's not appropriate. >> reporter: what mcconnell is saying is that democrats are trying to shield their rank and file friends in organized labor who pay less than $10,000 in dues from getting outed by the federal election commission. i asked senate democratic leader harry reid about that. why should unions and other associations that pay dues also have to disclose that information? >> everyone is bound by this. unions -- the only reason we had the upper limit is we thought that perhaps with the nra having so much power on the republicans that we would raise that to $10,000, which we were told would make them happy. but it didn't make any difference to the republicans.
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>> reporter: so do mcconnell and reid's explanations hold up? for the record the national rifle association told me reid is wrong. that their opposition has nothing to do with the limit. they say it's an attempt to force them to turn membership and donor lists over to the government. as for mcconnell's argument that it's all about the unions, campaign watchdog says republicans do have a reason to be concerned, but that's not really the issue. >> the issue here is, whose bankrolling the message? we know who's bankrolling the union messages. it's union members. it's dues, which are controversial. what we don't know is who's bankrolling the message of these patriotic-sounding but vague and unfamiliar groups which are funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by individuals, by corporations and trade associations. >> now, republicans so far are winning the money race this cycle with help from all of those groups.
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so far the center for responsive politics has been able to track at least $100 million from such groups. the center says labor has contributed at least $53 million that can be tracked this cycle. and that doesn't begin to factor in politics and lobbying that wasn't even reported to the federal election commission, wolf. >> this debate will continue. no legislation probably will pass. but the debate will continue. >> add nausea. it's been going on for decades. >> of course. thank you. coming up, by the way, at the top of the hour in our new 6:00 p.m. eastern hour by the way the latest on that deadly attack on israeli tourists in bulgaria now ratcheting up tension with iran. also, you already know cigarette smoking can cost you your health. and if you live in one state, it may end up costing you up to $10,000. we're going to tell you why. that's coming up next. until i got a job in the big apple. adjusting to city life was hard for me. and becoming a fulltime indoor cat wasn't easy for atti. but we had each other
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fourteen people are dead after an explosion in pakistan. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa, what happened? >> hi, wolf. it happened when a passenger band his an improvised explosive device near the northwest city of peshawar. three women and children were killed. it lies along the border with afghanistan. no claim of responsibility for that blast. nine people have been arrested and charged with illegally demonstrating after erecting a banner near the u.s. capital demanding for funding for aids. the group wants a tax on billionaires to help raise money to fight the disease. some of the protesters climbed the pole supporting the banner
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but agreed to come down before being placed in handcuff. >> they tell cnn seven army soldiers and british soldiers will receive a misconduct for the deeds done in carta hena. not only can cigarette smoking cost you your health. if you live in the state of indiana, it may also cost you up to $10,000. according to our affiliate, wish, state police are warning motorists that they will be pulled over and fined if they are seen throwing a cigarette or any type of burning material out of a car window. the ongoing drought and increased fire hazards are behind that push. it could cost you $10,000. that is not a small fine, wolf. >> don't flick that cigarette out the window. that's expensive. thank you. straight ahead, massive financial fraud undetected for
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the c. eo of a prominent financial group claims he got away with stealing thousands of. >> reporter: this is russell wasendorf in happier times at ceo of paragrin financial group. they found him in a car after an apparent failed suicide attempt. they found a note with a startling admission. in part, it reads, through a scheme of using false bank statements, i have been able to embezzle millions of dollars from customer accounts at
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perregrine financial group incorporated. the forgery started nearly 20 years ago and has gone undetected until now. that note is contained in a criminal complaint laying out charges against wasendorf of lying against bank reports. they estimate more than $200 million is missing. now, a team is trying to recover that money. the man in charge of retrieving wasendorf's personal assets tells us his homes in iowa and chicago will be sold but he is still trying to uncover what the ceo owns. >> as i start learning more about the man, it seems like he enjoyed some of the finer things like having private jets available to him and having a nice wine collection. we also understand there were a couple of vintage cars we are trying to determine whether or not he owns or are owned by third parties. >> the wall street journal reports that wasendorf wrote in the note that receiving regulators was, quote, relatively simal.
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peregrine is a futures trading company regulated by some of the bodies that have regulation of the now bankrupt ml global. democratic senator, tom hearken, of iowa said the problem is too much self-regulation. >> i don't know if i am more astounded or more angry. i have been here long enough to see the erosion, the taking away of effective government oversight over our financial institutions in this country. it has created a debacle in this country. it has eroded people's trust and confidence. >> the national futures association for the futures industry declined comment. the chairman of the commodities futures trading commission told a senate panel tuesday his agency lacks resources. >> we are only about 10% greater than we were 20 years ago. the futures market alone are five fold bigger. then, we have the swaps market
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that is vast. >> both the regulatory agencies we just mentioned there took enforcement action earlier this month against the ceo and the company. was w wasendorf was supposed to be in court today. the public defenders office declined comment israel points the finger at iran for a deadly attack on israeli tourists. syrian rebels celebrate after an explosion that killed top officials in the assad regime. shocking security. u.s. flight schools more than a decade after 9/11. i'm wolf blitzer and you are in "the situation room." it didn't take very long for the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu to blame iran directly for the bus attack in bulgaria, an attack that killed at least seven israelis and wounded many more.
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the bus taking israelis to a beach resort was in a parking lot when it exploded. this was clearly a sophisticated operation. in a statement, they warned that israel would respond with force to what he called, and i'm quoting him now, iranian terror. here is what the israeli ambassador to the united states, michael lauren, told me, in "the situation room" just a little while ago. >> i am certainly not going to go into details about how and when we will react. israel knows how to defend itself. we have been fighting terror for many, many years. we are the world's experts in fighting terror in our region. and i assure you that the government and people of israel will respond at the right time and respond firmly to this attack. >> but you are not ruling out military action against iran in retaliation for what you allege is this iranian attack on israeli tourists in bulgaria. >> israel will respond firmly and unequivocally to this
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attack. >> based on past experience, the iranians should brace for a swift and forceful israeli response. we are told president obama called prime minister benjamin netanyahu to discuss the bombing. he condemned barbaric terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. he says, quote, the united states will stand with our allies and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack. as israel has tragically once more been a target of terrorism, the united states reaffirms or unshakeable commitment to israel's security and our deep friendship and solidarity with the israeli people. that statement from president obama. it is worth noting, president obama did not follow the israelis lead and point a direct finger at iran. not in that statement. by the way, neither did mitt romney, the republican presidential candidate. in a statement, romney said the terrorist attack today in bulgaria is a sobering reminder
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that the scourge of terrorism continues to threaten all free people. my heart goes out to the victims and their families. there is no word from the iranians about the attack. in the past, they have accused israel of assassinating several of their nuclear scientists on the streets and they have vowed revenge. it is already at a fever pitch in the persian gulf. this latest attack makes the situation clearly much worse. it is anyone's guess what happens next. we will be watching it. in today's deadly attack on top syrian officials. the white house says it is proof that president bashar al assad is losing control. three members of his inner circle were killed in an explosion at a national security building. they include the defense
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minister, who happens to be president assad's brother-in-law. some celebrated the attack. opposition say it is wa coordinated by several brigades. pro-government fighters took to the streets with knives and guns seeking revenge. month are than 100 people have been killed in violence on this day alone. we are in lebanon watching this unfold. a lot of folks heard about the killings of these top syrian officials and they immediately came to the conclusion. potentially, this is a game-changer. here is the question. is it? >> reporter: well, we are going to have to wait and see. this most certainly is a blow to the very inner core of the assad regime. the most significant of the casualties, not the highest ranking official to have been killed but rather the deputy minister of defense. not only is assad shokif the brother-in-law of the president but one of the closest friend's
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allies. a man who the president has relied on behind the scenes to be his strongman, his henchman. you can imagine the paranoia with everybody looking around wondering who is possibly going to betray them next. this time of attack given it was in a very heavily secured building in a very heavily secured neighborhood must have had some sort of inside help, someone with access to the room, to these individuals, was siding with the opposition. this most certainly is an indication that the opposition is growing more sophisticated and is able to strike at the very heart of the assad government, wolf. >> it certainly is. here is the second question. arwa, what sort of retaliation from bashar al assad's regime can we expect? >> reporter: they are promising it is going to be swift and decisive. we are already starting to see
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the start of it. residents broke out in the later hours. there has been a fierce and intense shelling of a number of baghdad neighborhoods. smoke has billowed throughout the day and night over the entire capital. the more recent disturbing reports are those of pro-government thugs. they are called arming themselves with swords and knives and carrying out revenge style attacks. all of this painting an incredibly chaotic picture. if we look back at how the government has retaliated in the past, it has been ruthless and merciless. a lot of fear in the capital right now. most certainly, this chaotic image that is emerging right now is not one of a government that has control. >> arwa damon, watching the situation unfold. thank you very much. kate bolduan is here.
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she is watching some of the other important news. arwa is amazing. 2003, she was in iraq for all those years. now, she is covering this story. she does amazing work for us. >> this is a story. it has been 16 months. it is so worth reminding our viewers that the u.n. estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed in this criessis so far. >> i think it has recently gone up to 15,000. >> the opposition forces think it is much higher. it is an astounding number and arwa does fabulous work there. i want to get you caught up on some of the other headlines we are watching right now. we are going to show you what is left of about two dozen nato trucks after a bomb planted by the taliban tore through them. they were carrying fuel and supplies when the bomb erupted, wounding one person. they took responsibility for attacking the trucks as they made their way into the current tri in uzbekistan. the family of three of those
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killed in drone strikes are suing top u.s. officials sailing they were unconstitutional. it killed on war al avmt alaki. utube is unveiling a new face-blurring feature. we are not the only ones watching. remember. repressive governments are also tuning in to identify and track activists. the new tool is meant to help all users maintain an nonimity if they want to. former congressman, an weiner, says last year was the best year of his life.
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he sent lewd messages to other women. now, a stay at home dad to his infant son. he says he has no immediate plans to run for office. his wife, who is hillary clinton's deputy chief of staff. she says her husband did a, quote, stupid thing but tells "people" magazine, they are a normal family. he also said that he can't absolutely rule out ever running again for public office. i am sure this is not the last we have heard from him. >> he has $4.5 million in campaign money he has to spend by 2013. otherwise, that money goes away. maybe i wants a comeback. >> stay tuned, as we say. by the way, senator john mccain is rush together defense of anthony weiner's wife, uma abedin against what he calls an unfounded attack by sarah palin. we are going to tell you what this is all about. excuse me. michele bachmann. i didn't mean sarah palin. michele bachmann. stand by also to see how mitt romney reacts when someone asking him a question calls
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mitt romney got a very powerful taste of a voter's anger at president obama. listen o to what happened at a town hall when a supporter asked the republican presidential candidate a question. >> now, he has had to lay off people and he may have to close some stores. it is all because of what this monster has done to this country. we have to have you as president. >> thank you. that is not a term i would use. >> i can. i'm an angry mom. >> you are an angry mom. good. [ applause ] >> let's talk about that exchange. and the presidential race with our chief national correspondent, john king and our chief political analyst, gloria borger. >> that's not a term i would use.
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>> a woman calls the president of the united states a monster. what's your analysis of this, gloria? what's going on here. >> look. i think romney didn't like the term as it was being used. he tried to kind of disregard it with a little bet of shrug it off. with a little bit of good nature. i think mitt romney understands that, in fact, the president has a high favorability rating in this country, 55 points, seven points ahead of where mitt romney is. i think he wants to try and say, you know what, you hear him in his speeches say this, president obama may be a good man but i disagree with him. even as the ads go in the gutter, i think that mitt romney weissly wisely as a candidate is trying to keep himself elevated, just the as john mccain did four years ago when barack obama called him a muslim, he shouldn't be running for president. >> i remember that incident as
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we well. this is the second time something like this has come up. >> romney was at a similar event and a woman also asked the question, let me play that clip. >> we have a president right now that is operating outside the structure of our constitution. i do agree, he should be tried for treason. >> he should be tried for treason. as you remember, and a lot of ou viewers will remember, at that point, romney didn't say anything. later, under a lot of criticism, he did come out and say something. this is a problem these candidates have from time to time in these town hall meetings. >> you put yourself in these settings. mo most of the people that show up are going to be eager and active republicans. a lot of them had passionate things to say about the president. governor romney didn't answer directly when the woman said the treason comment. i have been in a lot of these events. sometimes the candidates say they can't hear and sometimes
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they do hear and choose not rto respond. governor romney understands that some members of his base are going to say some things he finds unacceptable. today, clearly, maybe call this a lesson learn. he decided to quickly respond and move on to his argument. he has to shore up his conservative base. if he wants to win the middle, it might be a small middle. if he wants to win independent voters, being personal, suggesting he is a monster, that kind of language isn't going to work. >> gloria, let me play that clip. you mentioned it earlier. the exchange that john mccain had four years ago and how he handled that kind of a situation. >> he is an arab. >> no, ma'am. >> no, ma'am. he is a decent family man, citizen, that i just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. >> now, that's the way you should handle a situation like that. mccain was perfect.
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>> i think there was a sense if you go back to the campaign at that time, there was a sense that things were getting a little out of control at some of these meetings. people get a little heated. you are preaching to the converted. they are fans of viewers. clearly, people that come to romney rallies are not barack obama fans. john mccain decided to put a lid on it. that's not true. this is a decent man. this isn't the way we should conduct politics. i guarantee you, that appealed to independent voters, which john king was just talking about. that's exactly what mitt romney has to do as well. he kind of shrugged off this womaned t woman today. he didn't get as serious as mccain did. if these things keep popping up at his rallies, i guarantee you, he is going to take a page from john mccain's book. it did not hurt john mccain. it helped him. he is a candidate. even though your ads may be in
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the gutter, you always try to seem like you are above it all. that's the place where a candidate should be. >> as you know better than anyone, john, those suburban, those counties outside of philadelphia and outside of cleveland or cincinnati, folks look at that and they make -- they make a judgment on how these candidates deal with ugly words like that. >> governor romney, remember, he ran for the republican nomination last time. he is not as well-known as the incumbent president of the united states. some people are still filling in the blank, if you will, filling in the biography of governor romney. part will be to how he handles these things, how does he conduct himself in the campaign. they know this. the governor knows this. his staff knows this. if they are going to win this, it is going to be presenting himself as a reasonable alternative on the economic challenges facing the united states of america. not as somebody who will question where the president was born or trash him or to be part of a discussion where foul language is being used not only about barack obama but the president of the united states. two challenges there.
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some of this stuff came up about president obama in the last campaign when he was a senator. he is now the president of the united states. governor romney clearly understood it. you can't control who comes to your meetings. i suspect this won't be the last time he has to deal with it. >> i suspect both of you are right. thanks very much for that. let's go back to kate. we got issues out there on the campaign trail. >> that's the risk of the town hall format. >> romney was getting a little bit more aggressive in his stump speech than he was today. >> it also shows them on their toes and how well they can handle it. i always like the town hall format. i want to give you a look at what is now trending here in the situation room. number four on our trending list, a woman in a motorized scooper takes on the escalator. the escalator wins. the scooter flips. she tumbles out. do not worry. she is okay. boston transportation officials released the video, try to make the point, don't try it and be safe on escalators. >> an ice island twice as big as
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manhattan breaks loose from a greenland glacier. you can see the new 46-mile iceberg near the top of the screen. the second time in three years big chunks have fallen from the glacier. the top two trending items are coming up next. one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future that puts us in control. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar. though all energy development comes with some risk, we're committed to safely and responsibly producing natural gas. it's not a dream. america's natural gas... putting us in control of our energy future, now.
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enroll now. there is something wrong with this picture. ac speeding down the wrong side of the highway. watch how it ends 6 aaeastern. n, your car runs more efficiently, saves gas. you could be doing this right now? yes i could, mike. i'm slowing you down? yes you are. my bad. the works fuel saver package. just $29.95 or less after rebate. only at your ford dealer. so, to sum up, you take care of that, you take care of these, you save a bunch of this. that works.
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a woman in a scooter takes on an escalator. it won't surprise you. she does not win. don't worry. she is okay. >> number three, an ice island dwis as big as manhattan breaks through. two young cousins missing from iowa. a lake is being drained but the mother of one of the girls says, she thinks the girls were taken. number one trending tonight, one of the most wanted suspected nazi war criminals is now finally under arrest in hungary. 97-year-old laszlo chitari says
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he send more than 100,000 jus to a concentration camp. the man charged in the shooting of trayvon march ttin speaking out publicly. he appeared emotional as he talked about the death of the unarmed black teenager in an interview with sean hannity on fox news. >> i would tell them that, again, i'm sorry. i don't have -- my wife and i don't have any children. i have nephews that i love more than life. i love them more than myself. i know when they were born, it was a different, unique bond of love that i had with them. i love my children even though they aren't born yet. i am sorry that they buried their child. i can't imagine what it must feel like. i pray for them daily. >> george zimmerman, by the way, as you probably know, is out on bail awaiting his trial. >> the lessons of 9/11 may not
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have been learned at flight schools across the united states. we are getting new information about shocking gaps in security. senator john mccain's public and passionate defense of a democrat accused by fellow republicans being part of a muslim conspiracy. ♪ [ male announcer ] we believe small things can make a big difference. like how a little oil from here can be such a big thing in an old friend's life. purina one discovered that by blending enhanced botanical oils into our food, we can help brighten an old dog's mind so he's up to his old tricks. with this kind of thinking going into our food, imagine all the goodness that can come out of it. just one way we're making the world a better place... one pet at a time. vibrant maturity. from purina one smartblend. ...more talk on social security... ...but washington isn't talking to the american people. [ female announcer ] when it comes to the future of medicare and social security, you've earned the right to know. ♪ ...so what does it mean for you and your family? [ female announcer ] you've earned the facts.
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jordan's king abdullah knows the middle east and has a keen kraft on american politics. listen to this exchange i had with him. do you see any significant difference in mitt romney and barack obama as far as the peace process is concerned? >> obviously, there is always
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going to be a difference between a second-term president and a first-term president in dealing with this core issue. a second-term president will be in a much more comfortable position in dealing with the middle east peace process. a first-term president will be less willing to take on such a difficult issue, at least in the first two years of his presidency. >> king abdullah told me he believes mitt romney fully understands what's happening in the middle east. they had a conversation about a year or so ago. the king is right, a second-term american president usually can do things a first-term president might be reluctant to do. second-term presidents no longer have to worry about getting reelected. president obama, himself, hinted at the sensitive point on the issue of missile defense in europe in a conversation with then russian president, dmitry
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medvedev. >> mitt romney came out swinging in response to the president's remark in an interview with me right here in the situation room. >> russia is not a friendly character on the world stage. for this president to be looking for greater flexibility where he doesn't have to answer to the american people in his relations with russia is very, very troubling, very alarming. >> republicans who didn't like the president's first term foreign policy bristle at the notion of four more years. king abdullah was right about second-term presidents. they do have more flexibility. still, his comments are about to revive this entire debate about the president's foreign policy in a second term. let's discussion this a little bit more with former u.s. senator, byron dorgan and republic republican strategist, fay
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buchanon and kate bolduan. do you think king abdullah has a valid point in his analysis of a second-term president? >> i think probably so. you gave him an invitation. he decided not to do it. there is more flexibility. republicans and democrats who exercise a second term have more flexibility. i visited with the king in his office in aman. he is an amazing, remarkable leader. i have great respect for him. he is an important part of the peace process. >> faye, what do you make of this? some were watching this interview with wolf and thinking that the king may have in effect been endorsing president obama for re-election? >> first of all, i think he is wrong. if you look back at jimmy carter, could you have had anybody more aggressive and bold? >> he was a one-termer. >> he didn't have to wait for the second. our foreign policy should be
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based on what's in the best interest of america. that should be the same before november and after november. when you see the president of the united states whispering of a foreign leader, il have more flexibility later on our defense system in europe, what are you not telling the american people? what are you going to do that you know we don't want done? that's why you are not doing it before the election. you throw some question on the leadership barack obama is proposing. >> you don't think the king was stepping into the presidential election, choosing one side or another? >> i think he was making an observation he thought was accurate. i disagree with the observation. >> nancy pelosi, did you want to make another point? >> it is an observation of the obvious. when someone wins re-election, a second term as president, they are not going to be able to serve again. they have more capability and flexibility. they are not going to look to the next election. they are done.
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much was made of the president's remark at the mike. my sense is that the king is right. i don't think he was endorsing anybody. we need to get about the business of getting peace in the middle east. this president has worked very hard on that. as you know, he had george mitchell working on it for a long while. in my judgment, nobody better than george mitchell. >> he did a great job in northern ireland. >> he has a terrific record in these areas. >> nancy pelosi gave an interview to political. she was asked about a bunch of democrats and said they don't want to show up at the democratic convention in charlotte in september. listen to this. >> we have an incumbent president of the united states. we are very proud of him. there certainly will be enough people there to express that pride. i'm not encouraging members to go to the convention, no matter what the situation was, because they can be home. it is campaign time. it is the first week in
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september. >> senator, nancy pelosi right there was trying to make the point, they need to campaign. isn't that a difficult show of flying in the face of party unity that she is saying, you don't need to show up to the convention? >> this is not the first convention in which party leaders will suggest to those out there in tight races, it would be a lot smarter to be home campaigning. >> did you ever skip a convention? >> sure. >> because you were afraid you wouldn't be reelected? >> have gone to conventions. there are conventions i haven't attended. if i were in a tight race, would i decide to go to one of the national conventions? republican and democratic candidates by and large decide, my role is at home, town to town, voter to voter. >> do you think they are trying to distance themselves in some of states that is not ad v
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advantageous to run on a republican ticket? >> they want to be home because they want to be as far away from this president and his left wing policies as possible. if you look at the states, it is over a dozen. you talk about conservative or close races or moderate districts as well. they are saying, we don't need this. we already have his rotten, awful job record to be burdening us, we have the obama tax and the latest tax. >> sarah palin, you think she should or will get a prime time speaking engagement at the republican convention, end of august, tampa? >> i don't know whether she will. >> should she? >> i think they have to look to see who are the ones that are best. >> she was the vice presidential campaign. >> this is for the romney campaign. they decide who they want out front. a lot of people have been out there campaigning for the governor really hard. i think that's who they will be looking at. i don't know myself. >> let me respond to that moment, rotten jobs issue.
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when this president took over, 675,000 people lost their job the month before he showed up under the republican plan. now, we are adding jobs, not as much as we would like but every month we are adding jobs. >> he just proposed a plan that will cost us 750,000 more jobs, ernst & young. >> we are not debating jobs right now. thanks for coming in. bay buchanan, as usual, thank to you as well. senator john mccain is condemning what he calls a sinister attack by some fellow republicans against a very popular top aide to the secretary of state, hillary clinton. i'm barack obama and i approve this message. [romney singing]: oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain,
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america, america, god shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy good, with brotherhood...
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it's an ultrabook. he signed the purchase order. with an ultrabook, everything else seems old fashioned. introducing the ultra sleek, ultra responsive ultrabook. a whole new class of computers powered by intel. >> we told you earlier about former democratic congressman anthony wean ainer and his wife uma. uma aberdeen, a top aide to hillary clinton is a muslim-american. one of the most powerful republicans in the senate, john mccain, is coming to her defense. let's bring in dana bash. these accusations against huma, as all of us know, are outrageous.
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>> reporter: what's going on is that five republican congress people including michele bachmann have written a series of letters asking for administration about whether or not members of the must lick brotherhood and other muslim organizations have, in their words, infiltrated the obama administration and one was to the state department specifically asking about uma aberdeen, a right-hand woman to hillary clinton. it suggests her late father, mother, and brother were connected to muslim organizations and operatives and raises concern that she has such access to hillary clinton. uma aberdeen is well-known on capitol hill. she is well-known in the state department and one of the people who knows her well is john mccain. he unsolicited wept to the floor of the senate to defend her. these sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations
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of members of huma's family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the united states in any way. these attacks have no logic, no basis, and no merritt. they need to stop. they need to stop now. >> senator mccain mentioned this has been reported on our own network by anderson cooper that the reports that they site, that they are really hanging this on, have been discredited and have some loose facts to say the least. >> what has been michelle back m bachmann's response? >> she says her letters have been distorted. the intention of the letter was to outline the serious concerns i had and ask for answers to questions regarding the muslim brotherhood and other radical group's access to top obama administration officials. she said she is not going to be
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silent. she is kind of out there. she has four colleagues on these letters. other than that, she is out there alone. republican leaders are scratching their heads saying, what is going on here? why is she doing this? you heard the public comments from john mccain. >> thanks so much for that. anderson cooper has been following this story extensively. you are going to hear from michele bachmann later tonight on ac-360. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern. some americans consider to be a possible terror threat are still being allowed to train at flight schools. we have new details and outrage and has the supreme court justice, anthony scalia, has he been fueding with the chief justice, john roberts. scalia is speaking out in an interview with our own piers morgan. the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs.
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learning some shocking details about security gaps at flight schools here in the united states more than a decade aft 9/11 hijackers took flying lessons in this country. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence. what are you learning, chris? >> reporter: wolf, there are well over 150 flight schools in the u.s. right now that are giving student visas to forei foreigners and they aren't accredited by the faa. one of the congressmen called this entire report extremely disturbing. you may be shocked to hear about some things you probably thought this country solved ten years ago. the mistakes were supposed to be fixed a decade ago but a new government report reveals security loopholes so large even illegal immigrants have been able to attend flight schools in the united states.
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>> isn't it true that based on your report, the transportation security administration cannot assure the american people that foreign terrorists are not in this country learning how to fly airplanes? yes or no? >> at this time, no. >> reporter: no guarantee, 11 years after mohammed ata and other 9/11 hijackers learned to fly in the u.s. and crashed a jet into the world trade center. >> nine u.s. citizens and visa holders are supposed to undergo a security threat assessment before the tsa clears them to take flight lessons. some of the 26,000 who completed flight training in the last six years were never vetted. >> let me say, this is extremely disturbing. in 2010, immigration officials busted a flight school in boston that was primarily training illegal immigrants, who are not allowed to take xlclasses. three had already earned their pilot's license. u.s. citizens do not have to go
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through the screening. that means it is possible for an american citizen to take flight lessons while he, himself, is on the no-fly list. >> that person couldn't set foot on the plane as a passenger but they can begin to receive to fl matter how long it takes, correct? >> that is correct. >> does that make sense? >> what you're posing is that we should be looking at anyone and everyone that wants to take training, regardless of their status, whether it's a u.s. citizen or if it's an alien. >> reporter: the tsa says that doing that, making all those u.s. citizens go through such an extensive background check, would incur some very significant costs. now, senators have proposed some legislation to try to fix some of these loopholes, such as barring some schools that are under federal investigation from issuing student visas and making sure that schools are already certified by the faa before
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they're allowed to issue student visas. and i can tell you, there's a lot of people sitting at home right now probably wondering, we didn't do that already? >> pretty shocking, i must say indeed, ten years after 9/11. thanks for that report, chris. >> scary. you want to know what else is scary? this is something you hope you never see when you are behind the wheel. someone speeding down the road going the wrong way. we'll tell you how it all turned out. i'm barack obama and i approve this message.
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[romney singing]: oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain, america, america, god shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy good, with brotherhood...
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supreme court justice scalia addresses rumors of feuds on the bench. hear what it's really like in the high court in less than two minutes. s that very interesting. can't wait to see that. an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement available only with liberty mutual auto insurance, if your car's totaled, we give you the money for a car one model year newer. to learn more, visit us today. responsibility. what's your policy?
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there's been a lot of speculation about inner turmoil within the supreme court since chief justice john roberts surprisingly sided with liberals in upholding the president's health care reform law. now justice antolin scalia is speaking out about the court and how the justices get along. it's an exclusive interview with cnn's piers morgan. >> you must all be highly intelligent, very opinionateed opinion. are there clashes? >> there are clashes on legal questions but not personally. the press likes to paint us as nine scorpions in a bottle. that's not the case as all.
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>> the rumor is you and chief justice have had a parting of the ways. >> who told you that? >> i think i read it in the papers. credible sources. >> don't believe what you read about the courts in the newspapers because the information has been either made up or given to the newspapers by somebody who's violating a confidence which means that person is not reliable. >> you've had no falling out with justice roberts? >> none. no, i haven't had a falling out with justice roberts. >> loud words exchanged? >> no. >> slamming of doors? >> no. >> nothing like that? >> nothing like that. >> you can hear all of that interview with piers morgan on "piers morgan tonight" at 9:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. justice scalia is always a fabulously interesting person to watch. >> i'm going to watch it. sounds great. one road tripping family watches a wreck in the making, tracking a car as it speeds down the wrong side of a highway. jeanne moos has this
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heart-stopping video. >> reporter: there's something very wrong with this picture, a wrong-way driver. you can hear a passenger in the car from which this video was shot calling 911. >> he's going every bit of 70. >> reporter: they had watched the car swerved onto the wrong side of divided highway 49 in collins, mississippi. >> i can't watch! >> this is going to be bad. he's going to hurt somebody severely bad. >> reporter: that's the voice of a louisiana restaurant owner, al fanning, his wife and two kids were driving home from the beach when they first saw the car driving in front of them, weaving all over the place. you pulled up alongside him and looked over at him? >> yeah. he had both hands on the steering wheel. and his head was just dropped like he was unconscious. i was blowing the horn at him trying to get him to wake up. >> reporter: at a traffic light, the car crossed over to the wrong side of the highway. that's when the fannings started recording. >> there it is. oh!
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good god. >> reporter: we've seen plenty of wrong-way car video. >> i've just been hit by an individual. >> reporter: from this dash cam view of a utah trooper who saw a vehicle going the wrong way, turned around and got in front of it. to this scary cell phone video -- >> oh, no, no, no! >> reporter: of a car in oregon weaving into the opposite lane. and eventually going off the road. >> oeshg! >> reporter: what they have in common is you wait for the worst to happen. >> close your eyes. do not look. this is going to hurt somebody severely bad. >> reporter: the good news is, severely bad was not the outcome. >> no! >> reporter: the wrong-way car hit a ford expedition. al fanning opened the door of the expedition and two female occupants walked out basically unhurt. >> we sat there in the ditch
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together. >> reporter: the driver of the wrong-way car, 58-year-old edward fairly, suffered a broken shoulder. fanning says police believe a medical condition may have caused his wild driving. fanning himself has been cheered for helping and not just recording. the recording while driving got fanning scolded. >> he's not focused on the roadway himself. >> i knew that was coming. >> reporter: but no one knew that this was coming. >> oh, my gosh! >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> people were lucky that the injuries were not critically serious. >> they said he was going up to 70 miles an hour. i can't believe he stayed on the road that long. so thankful they weren't seriously injured. that was hard to watch. >> the guy that took the video actually went out and helped. >> there are a few good people left. >> we like to showcase those good people here in "the situation room." thanks so much. you can follow us what's going on in "the situation room" on
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twitter. you can always tweet m me, @wolfblitzer and tweet kate, @katebolduan. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, three members of bashar al assad's inner circle killed by explosions in syria. has it reached a tipping point? new polls just released in the presidential race, plus fighting words from john boehner. and more of our investigation into the costs of drilling for oil in the arctic. we went to alaska to find out how drilling there might devastate a way of life. let's go "outfront". "outfront" tonight, is syria at a tipping point?
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the pressure is building on syrian president bashar al assad who is no doubt watching his back this evening after an attack struck the heart of his regime. a regime that's been in power for over 40 years and has launched a brutal crackdown on rebels over the last 16 months, killing more than 16,000 people, according to one opposition group. whether today's bloodshed is the result of a rebel attack or an inside job, one thing is clear -- assad's security perimeter has been breached. state tv reports those assassinated at a high-level meeting in damascus include the defense minister, the deputy defense minister who's also al assad's brother-in-law, and his security adviser. rebels danced in the street following the explosion. the opposition forces have come a long way since the uprising began. that has deputy defense secretary leon panetta worried the situation is quickly deteriorating. >> the violence there has only gotten worse and the loss of lives has only increased. which

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