tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 24, 2013 9:00am-11:00am EDT
that does it for us, unfortunately. carol costello and "newsroom" has it. take it away, carol. >> you guys have a great day. "newsroom" starts right now. happening now in the "newsroom," get ready. it's u.n. time. president obama shares the limelight with the iranian president. should they sit down together and talk news? also -- >> this week's rampage in kenya
has many americans wondering how long until those behind it come to the u.s. >> the terror in kenya has many wondering if al qaeda groups could again strike the united states. on fears young radicalized boys in minneapolis may be plotting terror here at home. >> this is the united states of america. we're not some banana republic. this is not a deadbeat nation. >> frustration with washington growing, so says the senator from texas, insisting that obamacare is to blame. plus, imagine winning $400 million, and the only one to share it with is your dog. and this. >> i had imaginary friends. i was weird. >> i did, too. >> i could tell. >> nischelle turner goes one on one with mr. suit and tie. you're live in the cnn "newsroom."
we'll talk to justin timberlake in a little bit. good morning to you. i'm carol costello. frosty handshake, a thaw? it could happen. the white house has left the door open to some kind of face-to-face meeting with the iranian president. the general assembly of the united nations is getting under way in new york city, seven days of speeches, meetings and a really, really big lunch headlining day one, addresses by president obama and the iranian president. the two heads of government were invited to attend the u.n. luncheon later on this afternoon. this would be the first time the two men would be in the same room since iran elected a new president. if this face-to-face meeting takes place, it will be huge. >> well, we don't know. the truth is that the white house and state department officials have been saying the same thing for the last several
days, which is that they are leaving the door open to such a meeting but there is no meeting on the schedule. it may be that this meeting is up to the iranians that the point, whether that's a step they want to take. we have seen some expectations, management coming from u.s. officials. if a handshake doesn't happen or a bilateral tonight happen on the side, they don't want that to signal to people that this new diplomacy between the two countries has fizzled. there's some truth to that. we'll see the u.s. secretary of state john kerry in the same room as the iranian foreign minister thursday as part of the key five plus one talks, permanent five members of the security council plus one. and many other changes coming out of iran now, 80 political prisoners released yesterday. there is some real change. whether or not this iconic meeting happens.
>> zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality. >> the american president fires back. >> in iriran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable leads. >> no meeting between the presidents is on the schedule, though they remain open to engagement. one direct contact confirmed, however, secretary of state kerry, with his iranian counterpart will meet thursday with the five permanent members of the security council, plus germany. the topic? restarting talks on iran's nuclear program. >> by the energy and determination that the foreign minister demonstrated to me. >> what are the chances of
concrete president here? >> there's a lot to suggest that iran is preparing for nuclear compromise but few signs that iran is going to cut loose assad. >> could face security threats. >> translator: if some countries give orders to those terrorists to stop exports arrival, and accuse -- >> other focus for u.s. officials here and some positive signs about a u.n. security council resolution backing the u.s./russia deal on syria, giving up its chemical weapons stockpiles that it negotiated a week ago, talk that u.s. and russia may be reaching a compromise on how syria would be punished if it fails to comply with that agreement. we may see progress on syria this week, carol. >> that's ban ki moon, secretary
general of the united nations. the general assembly is getting under way. for complete coverage of all of this -- because, as you know, president obama is expected to speem before the general assembly in the next hour. wolf blitzer will join us next hour for that. kenyan police tweeting that a besieged nairobi mall is now under full government control but several gunmen, including snipers, are still believed to be inside that mall. explosions and gunfire could still be heard coming from the westgate mall. that's, of course, where members of the terrorist group, al shabab, went store to store, shooting and killing shoppers. three security guards have died while trying to rescue others. it's not clear if they're hiding out somewhere inside the mall or being held as hostages. more than ten people are being
held for questioning in connection with that mall attack. let me put this in so i can hear martin here. a hot recruiting ground for al shabaab. two of the three attackers in the mall rampage were americans. martin savidge is live in minneapolis with more. >> reporter: many americans are accustomed to the idea from terror coming from the middle east. but from the middle west? here in the somalian community, an emergency meeting of civic and religious leader that is condemned the violence that's been taking place. they also know their community has been grounds for al shabaab. they're worried. at the mosque at midday prayer in this minneapolis neighborhood, home to the nation's largest
somalia-american population, 17-year-old was a straight a student who wanted to be a doctor. then he disappeared in 2008. >> sometimes i can't sleep. >> reporter: his mother, who at the time didn't want to be identified, said he had no idea where he had gone until he called. mom, i'm in somalia. don't worry about me. i'm okay. >> reporter: but he wasn't okay. he was fighting for the terrorist group al shabaab not long after, she was told he was dead. this week's rampage has many americans wondering how long till those behind it come to the u.s. al shabaab, i'm told, is already here. >> how many young people, do you think, have been taken from this community by recruiting? >> approximately 30 to 40. that has been the most often asked question and nobody can nail down exact figure. >> even as we sip coffee in
middle america, he is sure the terrorists are recruiting nearby. hassad's uncle says -- >> when you have young people, young boys, who never have seen their dad, who live in this poverty, this environment and need badly to find a role male model and al shabaab recruiter becomes that father they never had. >> instead of leaving the u.s. to fight for al shabaab, he fears one day they will stay and fight here. >> where should i do it at? i'm in minneapolis. what the heck, might as well do it here. >> community leaders say that just earlier this month, two other young men from this area disappeared. i will point out, though, carol,
i had a long conversation with a number of young people that were very agitated with this kind of coverage. they say al shabaab does not speak for them, they have been driven from this community and they're americans first and foremost and their future is here. >> i hope they're right. martin, thank you. do i even need to say it? i know i don't, but here it goes. we are six days away from a government shutdown. senator ted cruz continues to sound the call for fellow republicans to join in his filibuster, preventing senate democrats from stripping the house bill of language that would cut obamacare funding. not everyone in the republican party is standing by cruz's side. chief congressional correspondent dana bash talked with cruz. she's live on capitol hill this morning. good morning, dana. >> reporter: good morning, carol. that is an understatement, that not everybody in ted cruz's party is on his side.
that is not a new phenomenon for cruz. he won a republican upset in texas with backing of tea party supporters. they want him to stand his ground, stand for principle, not negotiate. that's exactly what he's doing. the way ted cruz sees it -- >> obamacare is a disaster. >> he's simply keeping a campaign promise. do whatever it takes to destroy obamacare. >> that should be our priorities, not simply continuing business as usual in washington. >> cruz's scorched earth strategy, tying defunding obamacare to a must pass spending bill is inflating many republicans, who fear if this causes a government shutdown, they will get the blame. >> too serious to -- not headline hunting schemes. >> reporter: mr. cruz, no.
some are so miffed, it's gotten personal. bob corker tweeted i didn't go to harvard or princeton, the schools cruz graduated from, but i can count. >> reporter: they don't like what you're putting them through. these are fellow republicans. >> individual politicians can choose to say whatever they want. they can launch whatever personal insults they want. i would note in the house that the republicans, including those that have criticized me, voted to defund obamacare. and in the senate, i think the votes are very fluid. >> reporter: to be sure among many grassroots conservatives, cruz is a hero. in the senate, he has rubbed gop veterans the wrong way. john mccain called him a wacko bird, a term cruz is now embracing. >> if they want to insult me, they can knock themselves out. my focus is on stopping obamacare. why? it's hurting the american people. >> now he's warning senate republicans support his filibuster. >> any senator who votes for closure on this bill is voting
to give harry reid the authority to fund obamacare with just 51 votes. >> reporter: but even cruz's party leaders are not listening to that. minutes after we spoke, the top republican in the senate, mitch mcconnell, said he will not support cruz's filibuster. the top two republicans are saying no way. we'll see what happens with the rest of the republican caucus after they have their weekly lunch today. what that likely effectively means is that democrats in the senate will be able to strip out that defunding obamacare from this, keeping the government running and send it to the house, leaving it in their court as to whether the government will shut down or not. it will very likely go up to the deadline on monday. >> who would you tell if you won the lottery, like a $400 million jackpot i'm talking about? how about your dog? that's what the latest $400 million powerball prize winner
did when he realized he really hit it big. the lucky winner has stepped forward, but is choosing to stay anonymous. that's why we're showing you those weird pictures. what we do know is that the man is from columbia, south carolina. it was the second time he ever played the lottery. get this. he made the lucky purchase after his wife call eed him to pick u hot dog buns. the store happened to be out of hot dog buns so he bought that ticket instead. still to come, shootings, murder, tragedy? it's happening so often in chicago. could the national guard help? we'll ask a man who knows all about doing that, next. ♪
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stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk. checking our top stories at 17 minutes past the hour, 150 firefighters on the scene of a brushfire at california's a angeles national forest. some evacuations have been ordered but no homes are in danger right now. utah boy suffered first and second-degree burns after his
mother's e-cigarette exploded while she was driving. electric cigarette. the 3-year-old's car seat caught fire. flames shot up the little boy's body. the mother was able to douse the fire by pouring a cold drink on the boy. he has recovered by the mom says she will never, ever again smoke an e-cigarette. toys r us is hiring 40,000 worker f eers for the holiday s. it will start this week. a consulting firm predicts that retailers overall holiday hiring will be down from the 2012 season. president obama probably didn't think anyone could hear him when he was talking about his smoke at yesterday's united nations meeting. >> i quit smoking. >> sometimes.
>> no, no, i haven't had a cigarette in probably six years. that's because i'm scared of my wife. >> when he signed the health care bill in 2010, his friends say he quit smoking cold turkey. another positive sign to pass along with you, the housing market is recovering. christine romans is with us now. give us the numbers. >> another very strong report here from kay shile schiller, t this particular report tracks, best year-over-year gain since 2006. 12% gain in home prices for that average, home prices climbing faster than july. rising annual rate of 12.4%. what's interesting here is that all of the 20 cities measured have been rising. hot spots like phoenix and some others are showing 20% plus
year-over-year gains in appreciation. all of these housing numbers, are there signs that maybe this is the last hoorah, it will slow down a little bit because of rising mortgage rates? the pace has been starting to slow. that's what we're watching very, very closely. still 20% below the peak of the bubble. some owners here, when they hear us say -- >> i'm still waiting. i have a home in a city where they're showing positive signs, but i'm still not selling. not yet. it hasn't caught up yet. >> all real estate is local. when you look at some of these spots. for example, chicago, new york metro area, home price appreciation has been much more shallow than you've seen in other places like the big bubbles that popped, phoenix, san diego. some of these places are
going -- there are record home prices in a few places, dallas, denver, cities like that are having record home prices right now. depending on where you live, you're seeing different kinds of housing market activity. closely watching mortgage rates, carol. 40-year fixed rate mortgage 4.5%. if those keep going up, will that hurt the recovery further next year? >> christine romans, thanks so much. >> you're welcome. coming up in the "newsroom" should troops step in to protect the stcitizens of chicago since the violence shows no signs of easing? we'll talk to generousle honore about that after a break. [ male announcer ] this one goes out to all the allergy muddlers. you know who you are. you can part a crowd, without saying a word...
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14 people shot at a chicago park. 14 days later, arrest vbs made in the case, two men taken into custody on charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. neither man is believed to be the shooter, though. thursday's shoot something another example of a problem that shows no sign of easing. more violence and no way to stop it. even illinois governor has said,
if asked -- governor quinn said he would consider using state police or even the national guard to help stop the violence in chicago. and while highly controversial, it wouldn't be the first time the national guard was called out to help curb violence on our city streets. the illinois governor's comments aren't even the first time someone suggested the national guard come to chicago. general russell honore floated that idea earlier this year. he joins me this morning. good morning. >> good morning, carol. >> thanks for being here. you experienced this after katrina. you led troops in new orleans and restored order. could the national guard help stem the violence in chicago? >> well, they certainly could. they certainly have the mission set. they have the capacity and they have the capability to do it. something has to be done when our great city of chicago is making news headlines like
places like pakistan, iraq and now kenya on the same level of violence over the weekend. something has to be done, hundreds of people being lost in chicago every year and the police don't seem to be able to get a handle on it. something has to be done. they could use state police. they could ask for federal assistance. you know, carol, if this was a terrorist offense or a natural disaster, it wouldn't be a question. the national fwaguard would be there. for some reason, the city of chicago, who has spent a lot of time and money, advertising themselves as a destination, are reluctant to ask for outside help because it's a tourist destination and it may not look good but the people on the south side of chicago, they need some relief. they are not free. they're being held captive by these gangs. >> chicago does not want the national guard to be called in. as you say, the violence continues. you say he's using basketball
diplomacy to stem the violence. what do you mean by that? >> he is attempting to try to get these gangs to talk to each other, some type of a diplomatic approach. i think the number one thing we have to do is take the gangs down. number two, cut off the cartels who are shipping the drugs in there that the gangs make their money on to survive and, number three, secure the streets of chicago, specifically on the south side. if this was happening in downtown district of chicago, trust me, the entire police in the entire state would be used. this is happening on the south side where people are struggling economically, poor schools, poor economic conditions. tactically, you have to fix this shooting but strategically, they have to do more on the south side of chicago to restore that community. >> i think many cities would be reticent to do this.
it sounds like martial law. do you really want them coming into your city and taking over? >> absolutely not. there's no need for martial law if they bring in more police. they've not optimized the use of state police nor the federal police to come in and help take the cartels down, do some sophisticated surveillance and take the gangs down. the city will have to ask for that help and accept that help. and that is a challenge they've got to do. i don't think it's time now to call the national guard in, until they've exhausted the state police and the federal assistance that's available. >> general russel honore, thank you for your insight this morning. we appreciate it. still to come in the "newsroom," violent history of the naval yard shooter and why the navy had absolutely no clue about it. barbara starr, after a break. [ taps baton ]
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good morning. thanks so much for joining me. i'm carol costello. surprise details about aaron alexis, the man responsible for gunning down 12 people at the naval yard in washington a week ago. the navy now says that they had no clue until after the fact that he had an arrest involving a gun in 2004. the reason? the agency involved in security clearances did not let the navy know. how could that happen? barbara starr has the details. >> reporter: carol, how can it happen? how can there be so many misread flags? we've been talking about this for days. navy official briefing reporters that have now looked through the entire record say that is exactly what happened, that they did not know that this 2004 arrest in seattle involved gun violence.
all they knew is the folder of material they got for security clearance that said he had been involved in an incident of malicious mischief, deflating a construction worker's tires. no indication that alexis shot out the tires or that he attributed it to an anger-fueled blackout. the navy knew nothing about this. this is all the information they got in the security clearance folder when the office of personnel management, the part of the government that oversees all of this, forwarded the material to the navy. not a lot of explosion why. the office of personnel management has now issued a statement. i want to read it. and this happened in seattle, let me emphasize that. quote, had the seattle police department permitted opm to obtain the law enforcement records, it's possible that additional information may have been obtained. so where does this leave
everything? i mean, how is it -- this is now the question. how is it that people get security clearances with police records? apparently alexis told the navy at one point, he didn't declare it on his form, the arrest, because it was dismissed. now the navy is saying what they think needs to happen is every time somebody gets a security clearance all their police record documentation is included but that's after the fact. >> does that mean that if the navy had known about alexis' gun arrest, he would not have become a navy reservist in the first place? >> well, we asked that. and in hindsight, nobody is going to give you the absolute answer. they're not going to really say. but, look, he had this gun violence issue. he had documented faulty credit records. a lot of documentation on how he was trying to fix all his problems in his life, including his bad credit rating. it's hard to see these days in retrospect how and why he got a security clearance based on the standards that we know are in
effect. the navy not willing to go so far as to say they wouldn't have. they are only saying now, after the fact, so many years later, they didn't know. carol? >> pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. thank you very much. let's go back to our top story, shall we, u.n. general assembly officially kicking off today. it's under way. nearly 200 world leaders are gathered at the united nations in new york city. crisis in syria and kenya top the agenda. now there's news of another kind -- another bit of news making headlines this morning. a possible face-to-face meeting between president obama and his iranian counterpart, hasan rowhani, leaving the door open to a face-to-face meeting. reza sayeh, was it iran pushing
for this or the united states? >> reporter: i think at this point, it's clearly iran going with what many are describing as a charm offensive. it's going to be interesting. a lot of people are interested to see if presidents rowhani and obama are going to meet and at least shake hands. if that does happen, if these two presidents shake hands, it will have huge implications not just for washington and tehran but this region and much of the world. when t whether they shake hands or not, people are focused on the optimism that relations will improve after 34 years. hasan rowhani has only been in office eight weeks. consider what he has done, pushed for better relations with washington, become pen pals with president obama, exchanging letters. he has released a number of political prisoners. his office has even tweeted happy new year to the world's jewish community, carol. is this so-called aggressive
charm offensive that has a lot of iranians eager to see what happens today and optimistic that relations with the u.s. will improve. >> while this all sounds positive, he is not the supreme leader in iran. does he have the power to actually improve relations with the united states when it comes to nuclear weapons, let's say? >> reporter: he is certainly not the most powerful man. but all indications are that the supreme leader is backing him in this new strategy. the big issue that's in the way of relations, of course, nuclear program in iran. iranian leaders are sending signals that they're ready to make concessions, capping uranium enrichment at 20%, opening up broader inspections. obviously, they want something in return. they want the u.s. to recognize and respect this leadership. they want them to recognize the right to have a peaceful nuclear program and they want an end to the tough economic sanctions. so a lot of challenges remain
but newfound hope and optimism that these two countries can have some sort of relationship in the coming months and years. >> we'll see if that meeting takes place. reza sayah, thank you. chilling new details about the deaths of rescued teenager's hannah anderson's mother and brother. we'll be right back. y
here are the reports we got overnight. these thick, thick packets with all the information of what could have happened to tina, as she was known, and also ethan. as we take a look at this report, this fire did a lot of damage to both of these people. we can tell you that they did discover that tina was bashed in the head at least 12 times, in the back of the head or forehead and also on the bridge of her nose. her ankles were bound in plastic cable ties. there was also several layers of duct tape around her neck and around her mouth. her arms were also fractured, which indicates she may have been trying to fight back a bit here. there were cuts and bruises and all of that all over her arms and also a wound to her neck, a cut. this he think that could have happened after she was already dead. they're also saying there was no soot in her lungs, same with ethan, which implies they were already dead when these fires started. as far as ethan was concerned, he was found a day after his mother. in that case, he was so badly burned and so badly
unrecognizable, that they still can't even tell us what the cause of death is there. for tina, it was because of those blunt head traumas that she sustained during that time. and i have to tell you, carol, i made my way out there with our crew. we went out to boulevard where these fires were. there was a two-story log cabin and there was a garage. the mother was found in the garage, which they managed to put the fire out there. as for the house, it burned down. and that's where ethan was at that time, carol. >> is the case completely closed now? >> well, that's a good question. i think that there's still more questions that people have. as far as this goes on to say, it's clear that they've ruled both of these a homicide, as to what could have happened here to them. at the same time, we do know that the man behind this -- that they believe was behind this, jim dimaggio, he was shot dead by the fbi agents when he allegedly kidnapped hannah anderson and she was found and safely returned to her family after that. there are still people who have questions but this shows at
least what happened to these two individuals. >> stephanie elam reporting live from los angeles this morning. let's lighten the move, shall we? he can sing, dance and, boy, can he act. justin timberlake goes one on one with cnn's nischelle turner and is opening up about his drive and determination. >> i guess i got it from my mama. no, i don't know. i don't know. i just think -- i don't know. i've always been that way. >> the former 'n sync star opens up. clients are always learning more
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actress leah remini is speaking out about her split from scientology. she spoke candidly about her recent departure from the church. >> the church is looking for me to fail so that they can say to their parishionors, you see what happens when you leave the church? they're waiting for me to fail. >> in case you didn't catch that, she said the church is waiting for her to fail so that they can see, see, this is what happens when people leave scientology. she has struggled to learn the dance moves. earlier this summer she split from scientology after 30 years of membership. those close to the actress say
she decided to leave because of the church's structure. according to reports, she was interrogated after she questioned the church's managers. when it comes to talent, justin timberlake is a triple threat, from singer to actor to dancer, he seems to have it all, now with a new movie "runner, runner." >> i want you to make this place run. gambling is forbidden on campus. >> i have 60 grand due next week. >> change your tune or you won't have a school to gamble for. >> statistically, it's the right play. >> casino, they give you the chips and say good luck, sir, yes, sir, means dummy. good luck means -- >> ooh. now timberlake is opening up to cnn. superstar sat down with cnn's nischelle turner. good morning, nischelle.
i can't wait to hear. >> he is talking about everything, carol. it's a switch for him. he's usually pretty quiet. he performed at i heart radio this week, part two of the 2020 specious releases and tonight he is shutting down hollywood boulevard in los angeles for an outdoor concert, but somehow he did find a little bit of time to sit down and chat with me. >> this drive, this determination, where does that come from? >> i don't know. i guess i got it from my mama. no, i don't know. i don't know. i just think -- i don't know. i've always been that way. always been kind of a -- i don't know. i grew up an only child and i'm always kind of like -- you know, when you grow up that way, it's like you get all the perks, but you also get all the responsibility. like there's no one else to blame the vase getting broken on. >> i feel like maybe that's where creativity comes from. because i had to do a lot of
stuff on my own. >> sure. i had imaginary friends. i was weird. >> i did, too. >> i could tell. you look like you had imaginary friends. >> a jokester, yes. whether it's giving me grief -- >> this is going to get awkward. >> it's going to get weird. >> or creating the latest installment of "tuesdays with
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3-0. >> peyton manning and tlooks li well oiled machine. they're already setting records. he threw three touchdowns last night. he has 12 on the season, carol, and that's the most ever by a quarterback. the broncos won 37-21. they have now scored 127 points this season. no other team has ever scored 100. the long wait is now finally over for the pittsburgh pirates. after beating the cubs last night they made the playoffs for the first time since george bush sr. was president.
they have had 20 straight losing seasons, the longest in sports. >> take a picture, be send it to them. >> that was shaq back in 2002 calling the lakers rivals the kings, the queens. on a strong turn of events he's now part owner of the team he famously made fun of. he's working with the kings this summer and the kings are scheduled to make the stake official today. no word yet on if they're going to change the name to the shaq cremento kings. the league is kicking the idea of new names. you can see king james, birdman. instead of james, wade, anderson. >> but what if you don't have a good nickname. what would my nickname be?
>> c.c. rider. i don't know. a. money. >> thanks so much. the next hour of cnn news room after a break. you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed much is the official retirement age. ♪ the question is how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years. ♪ to enjoy all of these years. ( ♪ ) for those nights when it's more than a bad dream, be ready. for the days when you get a sudden call from the school, be ready. for the times you need to double-check the temperature on the thermometer, be ready. when you have children's motrin on hand, you're ready.
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find new tools and ideas for work, money, health and fun at aarp.org/possibilities. [ male announcer ] staying warm and dry has never been our priority. our priority is, was and always will be serving you, the american people. so we improved priority mail flat rate to give you a more reliable way to ship. now with tracking up to eleven scans, specified delivery dates, and free insurance up to $50 all for the same low rate. [ woman ] we are the united states postal service. [ man ] we are the united states postal service. [ male announcer ] and our priority is you. go to usps.com® and try it today. thanks for joining me. i'm carol costello. we are minutes away from president obama's address to the
nation. president obama's address is expected to focus on the threats in north africa and the middle east. the president expected to talk about the crises in syria and iran's nuclear program. we'll bring it to you life in a few minutes. also speaking at the united nations this afternoon iran's new president rouhani. the white house saying it will leave the door open for a face to face meeting between the two men but as of right now, nothing is set in stone. said the capitol hill time is running out for congress, law makers had six days to pass a spending bill or they will shut down. senator ted cruz is sounding republicans to join a filibuster. he wants to stop a spending bill that would defund obama care. not all of his republican colleagues are standing by his side. cnn's congressional
correspondent is on capitol hill. >> reporter: usually when we get this close to a deadline they're scrambling behind the scenes, back room dealing. that's not happens at all. this time it's very different. there is really no negotiating going on at all. there is one man and some of his colleagues in the senate making a very clear case that they want to stand by principle and not negotiate. the way ted cruz sees it, he's simply keeping a campaign promise. do whatever it takes to destroy obama care. >> that should be our priority, not simply continuing business as usual in washington. >> reporter: cruz's scorched earth strategy and must pass spending bill is inflaming many fellow republicans who think if this causes a government shutdown they're going to get burned. republican peter king called him a fraud. >> this requires conservative
solutions, not headline hunting. >> reporter: in the democratic led senate the votes aren't there. some of he is republican colleagues are so miffed it has gotten personal. bob corker tweeted i didn't go to harvard or princeton but i can count. >> they don't like what you are putting them through, fellow republicans. >> individual politicians can choose to say whatever they want and launch whatever personal insults they want. in the house, the republicans including those who criticized me voted to defund obama care. in the senate i think the votes are fluid. >> reporter: to be sure, among many grass roots conservatives he's a hero. but on relationships he's rubbed gop candidates the wrong way. mccain called him a whack oh,
bird. >> my focus is on stopping obama care because it's hurting the american people. >> reporter: now he's warning senators to support him. >> they're voting to give harry reid the authority to fund obama care with 51 votes. >> reporter: that message is not resonating even with his party leaders. mitch mcconnell is going to go to the senate floor momentarily to talk about why he's opposing the filibuster. already he's getting slammed by the tea party groups and running in a race against a fellow republican in his home state of kentucky. that goes to show you how dicey these kind of politics and decisions are for people within the republican party. >> dana bash reporting live from capitol hill. we understand president obama has arrived at the united nations in new york. he's expected to speak in about
7 minutes. i'm going to throw it to my colleague wolf blitzer. >> a potentially historic day here in new york at the united nations. world leaders from across the globe, nearly 200, they're all in one place though all eyes will be on the united states and iran. headlining today's speakers, the president of the united states, president obama, and the president of iran, hassan rouhani. the white house says the door has been left open for a potential face to face meeting between these two presidents. as of right now nothing is formally or officially set. if it habit certainly hasn't been announced yet. the president of brazil, the first speaker at the general assembly is speaking right now. when she's done the president of the united states will be invited to the podium. the world's attention certainly is focused on places like iran, but syria also very much on the agenda right now, two places the
united states has a tremendous interest in and these two topics expected to have a high place in president obama's address once again only a few minutes away. t the president will be very busy today. he's holding meetings with the secretary general later this afternoon. after a much talked about lunch he had met with the palestinian authority and will speak at length about the peace process. let's discuss what's going on, set the stage for the president of the united states joining us here in new york. the excitement is building. an american president, an iranian president, they have not met since 1979 when the iranians took the americans hostage at
the u.s. ambassador in ta ran, held them for 144 days. the relationship has been a deteriorating mess ever since. today there is a possibility rouhani and obama could meet. >> there is a possibility they'll meet and that would be a game changer. it raises the stakes of this seeming fog. if it happens i would guess that what the white house decided was that the iranians made so many overtours both from the president but also the supreme leader who talked about flex ability and the importance of not having nuclear weapons that they want to add to the momentum and reciprocate. this is the only chance really for the two presidents to meet short of something where rouhani would come to washington or obama would go to iran. that's too high stakes. this adds to the momentum. >> there have been some who have
suggested the president should not reward the iranian leader with such a meeting until he at least does something tangible as opposed to saying nice things. the president will be criticized if he goes ahead with this meeting. >> rick santorum was on cnn earlier this morning saying the president should not meet with president rouhani, should not shake his hand. three big themes we should expect from this speech. the president will be taking about the iran nuclear program, syria's chemical weapons and what the administration is referring to peace in the middle east. he'll be talking about setbacks and challenges with the arab spring. if this was two weeks ago it would be all about syria. it shows you how huge the shift is and now everyone is talking about whether the president will shake hands with president rouhani. i've been told that the white house has left the door open to this face to face meeting with
rouha rouhani. we will know by the end of the day whether or not this historic moment has happened. it gives a whole new meaning to the term handshake. >> let's go to the united nations right there. there is samantha power, the united states ambassador to the united nations. the president will be introduced momentarily. as we await the president and a formal introduction, i think it's about to happen, the stakes are enormous throughout the region. >> no question. one big question is iran has reached its hand out pretty far. the question is if even a handshake too far. president rouhani getting his own criticism as home as president obama. does president rouhani stay in the hall for president obama's speech. that will be meaningful. >> when --
>> mr. president, fellow delegat delegates, ladies and gentlemen, each year we come together to reaffirm the founding vision of this institution. for most of recorded history, individual aspirations were subject to the whims of tyrants and empires and divisions of race and religion and tribe were settled through the sword and the clash of armies. the idea that nations could come together in peace and a common prosperity seemed unimaginable. it took the awful carnage of two world wars to shift our thinking. the leaders who built the united nations were not naive, they did
not think this body could eradicate all wars but in the wake of millions dead and with the development of nuclear weapons that could annihilate a planet, they understood that humanity could survive and of course it was off and so they gave us this institution, believing it could allow us to resolve all conflicts and enforce rules of behavior and build habits of cooperation that would grow stronger over time. for decades the united nations has, in fact, made a difference, from helping to eradicate disease to helping children to brokering peace. like every generation of leaders, we face new and profound challenges. this body continues to be tested. the question is whether we possess the wisdom and the courage assanation states and
members of an international community to squarely meet those challenges. whether the united nations can meet the test of our time. for much of my tenure as president some of my most urgent challenges have come from the effort to recover from the worst economic crises of our time. now five years after the global economy collapsed and thanks to the coordinated efforts from those here today, global financial systems have stabilized and people are once again being lifted out of poverty. this progress is fragile and unequal and we still have work to do together to be sure our citizens can access the opportunity that they need to
thrive in the 21st century. together we's worked to end a war. five years ago 180,000 were serving in harm's way. today all of our troops have left iraq. next year an international coalition will end its war in afghanistan, having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of al qaeda that attacked us on 9/11. these new circumstances have also meant shifting away from a perpetual war footing. to be able to bring our troops home, we have limited the use of drones so they target only those who pose a continuing threat to the united states, where capture is not feasible and there is a near certainty of no civilians.
we're working diligently to close the prison at guantanamo bay. just as we review how to deplay our military capabilities, we begin to review the way we view intelligence so that we properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies. as a result of this work and cooperation with allies and partners, the world is more stable than it was five years ago. even a glass at today's headlines indicates that dangers were made. in kenya, we've seen terrorists target innocent civilians in a crowded shopping mall and our hearts go out to the families of those who have been effected. in pakistan nearly 100 people were recently killed by suicide bombers outside of church.
in iraq killings and car bombs continue to be a terrible part of life. mean tile, al qaeda has splintered into regional networks and militias which doesn't give them the capacity at this point to carry out attacks like 9/11 but does pose serious threats to businesses and civilians all across the globe. just as significantly, the convulsions in the middle east and africa have laid bear with peopling glapling what comes next. peaceful movements have too oven been answered by violence from those resisting change and from
extremists. the potential spread of weapons of mass destruction continues to cast a shadow over the pursuit of peace. nowhere have we seen these trends converge more power flfu than syria. their peaceful protests were met with repression and slaughter. many retreated to their secretary yan identity. and the situation spiraled to civil war. the international community recognized the stakes early on, but our response has not matched the scale of the challenge. aid cannot keep pace with the suffering of the wounded and displaced. a peace process is still born. america and others have worked to bolster the moderate opposition. but extremist groups have still
taken root to exploit the crises. assad's traditional allies have propped him up citing principles of sovereignty to shield his regime. on august 21st, the regime used to chemical weapons in an attack that killed more than 1,000 people including hundreds of childr children. the crises in syria and the destabilization of the region goes to the heart of broader challenges that the international community must now confront. how should we respond to conflicts in the middle east and north africa? conflicts between countries but also conflicts within them. how do we address the choice of standing callously by while
children are subjected to nerve gas or embroiling ourselves in someone else's civil war? what's the role of force in resolving disputes and under mine all basic standards of civilized conduct and what's the role of the united nations and international law in meeting cries for justice? today i want to outline where the united states of america stands on these issues. with respect to syria, we believe that as a starting point the international community must enforce the ban on chemical weapons. when i stated my willingness to order a limited strike against the assad regime in response to the brazen use of chemical weapons, i did not do so lightly. i did so because i believe it is in the national security of the
united states to prohibit the origins are older than the united nations itself. the ban of chemical weapons even in war has been agreed to by 98 percent of humanity. it is strengthed by the searing members of soldiers suffocating in the trenches. jews slaughtered in gas chambers. iranians poisoned and the many tens of thousands. the evidence is overwhelming that the assad regime used such weapons on august 21st. un inspectors gave a clear accounting that rockets fired large quantities of sarin gas at civilians. these rockets were fired from a regime-controlled neighborhood and landed in opposition neighborhoods.
it's an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack. i know that in the immediate after math of the attack there were those who questioned the legitimacy of even a limited strike in the absence of a clear mandate from the security council. but without a credible military threat, the security council had demonstrated no inclination to act at all. however, as i've discussed with president putin for over a year, most recently in p st. peter petersbu petersburg, my preference has always been diplomatic. in the past several weeks russia and our allies have greed to
place chemical weapons under international control and destroy them. the syrian government took a first step by giving an accounting of its stock pile. now there must be a strong security council resolution to verify that the assad regime is keeping its commitments. there must be consequences if they fail to do so. if we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the united nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws. on the other hand, if we succeed, it will send a powerful message that the use of chemical weapons has no place in the 21st century, and that this body means what it says. agreement on chemical weapons should energize a larger diplomatic effort to reach a
political settlement within syria. i do not believe that military action by those within syria or by external powers can achieve lasting peace. nor do i believe that america or any nation should determine who will lead syria. that is for the syrian people to decide. nevertheless, a leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassed children to death cannot regain the legitimacy to lead a badly fractured country. the notion that syria can return to a prewar status quo is a fantasy. it's time for russia and iran to realize insisting on assad's rule will lead to what they fear and increasingly violent space for extremists to operate.
those of us who continue to support moderate opposition must persuade that a collapse cannot be reached without addressing legitimate fears and concerns of minorities. we are committed to working this political trek and as we pursue a settlement, let's remember this is not a zero summit endeavor. we're no longer in a cold war. there is no great game to be won, nor does america have any interest in syria beyond the well-being of its people, the stability of its neighbors, the elimination of chemical weapons and ensuring that it does not become a safe haven for terrorists. i welcome the influence of all nations that can help bring about a peaceful resolution of syria's civil war. as we move the geneva process
forward, i urge all nations here to step up to meet humanitarian needs in syria and surrounding countries. america has committed over a billion dollars to this effort. today i can announce that we will be providing an additional $340 million. no aid can take the place of a political resolution that gives the syrian people the chance to rebuild their country, but it can help desperate people to survive. what broader conclusions can be drawn from america's policy towards syria? i know there are those who have been frustrated by our unwillingness to use our military might to oppose assad and believe that a failure to do so indicates a weakening of american resolve in the region. others have suggested that by willingness to direct military
strikes shows we've learned nothing from iraq and that america continues to seek control over the middle east for our own purpose. in this ways the situation in syria mirrors a contradiction that has persisted in the region for decades. the united states is chastised for meddling in the region, accused of having a hand in all manner of conspiracy. at the same time the united states is blamed for failing to do enough to solve the regions problems and indifference towards suffering musclim populations. i realize some of this is inevitable. but they have a practical impact on the american people's support for involvement in the region and allow leaders in the region to avoid addressing difficult problems themselves. let me take this opportunity to
outline what has been a u.s. policy towards the middle east and north africa and what will be my policy during the remainder of my presidency. the united states of america is prepared to use all elements of our power including military force to secure our core interest in the region. we will confront external aggression against our allies and partners as we did in the gulf war. we will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world, although america is steadily reducing our own dependance, the world still depends on the region's supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy. we will dismantle terrorist networks that threaten our people. wherever possible we will build the capacity of our partners, respect the sovereignty of
nations. but when it's necessary to defend the united states against terrorist attack, we will take direct action. finally, we will not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction. we consider the use of chemical weapons in syria to be a threat to our own security, we undermine aa global nonproliferation regime. to say that these are america's core interests is not to say that they are our only interests. we deeply believe it is in our interests to see a middle east and north africa that is peaceful and prosperous. we'll continue to promote democrat because we believe these practices achieve peace
and prosperity. but i also believe that we can rarely achieve these objectives through unilateral american actions, particularly through military actions. iraq shows us that democracy cannot be imposed by force. rather, these objectives are best achieved when we partner with the international community and with the countries and peoples of the region. so what does this mean going forward? in the near term, america's diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular interests. iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the arab israeli conflict. while these issues are not the cause of all the region's problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long and resolving them can
help serve as a foundation for a broader peace. the united states and iran have been isolated from one another since the islamic revolution of 1979. this mistrust has deep roots. iranians have long complained of a history of u.s. interference in their affairs and of america's role in overthrowing the iranian government during the cold war. on the other hand, americans see an iranian government that has declared the united states an enemy and directly taken american hostages, killed u.s. troops and civilians and threatened our ally, israel with destruction. i don't believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight. the suspicions run too deep. but i do believe that if we can
resolve the issue of iran's nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road towards a different relationship. one based on mutual interests and mutual respect. since i took office, i've made it clear in letters to the supreme leader in iran and more recently to president rouhani that america prefers to resolve our concerns over iran's nuclear program peacefully. although we are determined to prevent iran from developing a nuclear weapon. we are not seeking regime change and we respect the right of the iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy. instead, we insist that the iranian government meet its responsibilities under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and un security council resolutions. meanwhile, the supreme leader
has issued a fatwa against it and president rouhani has reiterated that they will never develop a nuclear weapon. these statements should offer the basis for a meaningful agreement. we should be able to achieve a resolution that respects the rights of the iranian people while giving the world confidence that the iranian program is peaceful. but to succeed, conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable. after all, it's the iranian government's choices that have led to the comprehensive sanctions that are currently in place. this is not simply an issue between the united states and iraq. the world has seen iran evade
its responsibilities in the past and has an abiding interest in making sure that iran meets its obligations in the future. but i want to be clear, we are encouraged that president rouhani sees from the people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course. i am directing john kerry to pursue this effort with the iranian government in close cooperation with the european union, the united kingdom, france, germany, russia and china. the road blocks may prove to be too great, but i firmly believe a diplomatic path must be tested. while the status quo will only deepen iran's isolation, their genuine commitment to go down a different path will be good for the region and the world and will help the iranian people meet their extraordinary potential in commerce and culture and science and
education. . we are also determined to resolve a conflict that goes back even further than our differences with iran. that is the conflict between palestinians and israelis. i've made it clear that the united states will never compromise our commitment to israel's security, nor our support for its existence as a jewish state. earlier this year in jerusalem, i was inspired by young israelis who stood up for the belief that peace was necessary, just and possible. i believe there is a growing recognition within israel that the okay occupation of the west bank is tearing the democratic fabric of the jewish state.
we unequivocally reject those who fire rockets at their homes or insight others to hate them. likewise, the united states remains committed to the belief that the palestinian people have a right to live with security and dignity in their own sovereign state. on the same trip i had the opportunity to meet with young palestinians whose ambition and incredible potential are matched by the pain they feel in having no firm place in the community of nations. they are understandably cynical that real progress will ever be made. they're frustrated by their families enduring the daily indignity of occupation. they, too, recognize that two states is the only real path to peace because just as the palestinian people must not be displaced, the state of israel
is here to stay. so the time is now right for the entire international community to get behind the pursuit of peace. already israeli and palestinian leaders have demonstrated a willingness to take significant political risks. president aba basbass has reaff his commitment to a palestinian state. current talks are focused on final status issues of borders and security, refugees and jerusalem. now the rest of us must be willing to take risks as well. friends of israel including the united states, must recognize that israel's security as a jewish and democratic state depend on the realization of a palestinian state.
we should say so clearly. arab states, those who supported the palestinians must recognize that stability will only be served through a two state solution and a secure israel. all of us must recognize that peace will be a powerful tool to defeat extremists throughout the region and embolden those who are prepared to build a better future. ties of trade and commerce between israelis and arabs could be a growth an opportunity for people in the region. let's emerge from the familiar corners of blame and prejudice. let's support israeli and palestinian leaders who are prepared to walk the difficult road to peace. real break-throughs on these two
issues, iran's nuclear program and israeli palestinian peace would have a profound and positive impact on the entire middle east and north africa. but the current convulsions arising out of the arab spring remind us that peace cannot be measured only by agreements between nations. it must also be measured by our ability to resolve conflict and promote justice within nations. by that measure it's clear that all of us have a lot more work to do. when peaceful transitions began in tu sheesh sha and egypt, the entire world was filled with hope. although the united states like others was struck by the speed of transition, although with did not and in fact could not dictate events, we chose to support those who called for
change. we did so based on the belief that while these transitions will be hard and take time, societies based upon democracy and openness will ultimately be more stable, prosperous and peaceful. over the last few years, particularly in egypt, we've seen just how hard this transition will be. mohammed morsi was democratically elected but proved unwilling or unable to govern in a way that was fully inclusive. the interim government that replaced him responded to the desires of millions of egyptians who believed the revolution had made a wrong turn but it too has made decisions inconsistent with
democracy. of course, america has been attacked by all sides of this internal conflict. simultaneously accused of supporting the muslim brotherhood and engineering the removal of power. in fact, the united states has purposely avoided choosing sides. our overriding interest throughout these past few years has been to encourage a government that legitimately reflects the will of the egyptian people and recognizes true democracy as a respect for minority rights, freedom of speech and assembly and a strong civil society. that remains our interest today. going forward the united states will maintain a constructive relationship with the interest him government that promotes core interests, will continue support in areas like education that directly benefit the
egyptian people, but we have not proceeded with the delivery of certain military systems. our support will depend upon egypt's progress in pursuing a more democratic path. our approach to egypt reflects a larger point. the united states will at times work with governments that do not meet at least in our view, the highest international expectations but work with us on our core interests. nevertheless we will not stop asserting principles that are consistent with our ideals, whether that means opposeding violence or supporting the principles embodied in the universal declaration of human rights. we will reject the notion that these principles are simply western exports incompatible with the arab world. we believe they're the birth right of every person. while we recognize that our
influence will at times be limited, although we will be wary of efforts to impose democracy through military force, and although we will at times be accused of hypocrisy and inconsistency, we will be engaged in the region for the long haul. the hard work of forging freedom and democracy is the task of a generation. this includes efforts to resolve sectarian tensions that continue to surface in places like iraq, bahrain and syria. we understand such long-standing issues cannot be solved by outsiders. they must be addressed by muslim communities themselves. we've seen grinding conflicts come to an end before. most recently in northern ireland where catholics and
properprot stents came together. we believe those same conflicts can be overcome in the middle east and north africa. to summarize, the united states has an ability when it comes to determine events inside other countries. the notion of an american empire may be useful propaganda but it isn't born out by america's current policy or by public opinion. indeed, as recent debates within the united states over syria clearly show, the danger of the world is not an america that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries or to take on every problem in the region as its own. the danger for the world is that the united states after a decade
of war rightly concerned about issues back home aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the muslim world may disengage, creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill. i believe such disengagement would be a mistake. i believe america must remain engaged for our own security. but i also believe the world is better for it. some may disagree. but i believe america is exceptional. in part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest but for the interest of all. i must be honest though. we're far more likely to invest our energy in those countries
that want to work with us, that invest in their people instead of a corrupt few, embrace the vision of society where everyone can contribute, men and women muslim, sunni, christian. from europe to asia, nations that have persevered on a democratic path have emerged more prosperous, peaceful and more invested in upholding a common humanity and i believe the same will hold true for the arab world. this leads me to a final point. there will be times when the breakdowns of societies so great, the violence against civilians so substantial that the international community will be called upon to act. this will require new thinking
and some very tough choices. while the united nations was designed to prevent wars between states, increasingly we face the challenge of preventing slaughter. these challenges will grow more pronounced as we are conflicted with states that are fragile. places where horrendous violence can put innocent men, women and children at risk with no hope of protection from their national institutions. i've made it clear that even when america's core interests are not directly threatened, we stand ready to do our part to prevent mass atrocities and protect basic human rights. but we cannot and should not bear that burden alone. in mali we supported the french intervention that successfully
pushed back al qaeda and the african forces who are keeping the peace. in eastern africa we are working with partners to bring the lord's resistance army to an end. in libya, when the security council provided a mandate to protect civilians, we joined a coalition that took action. because of what we did there countless lives were saved and a tyrant could not kill his way back to power. i know some criticize the actions in libya. they point to the problems the country now contronts, armed grouped in some places, extremists ruling parts of a fractured land. so these critics argue that any intervention to protect civilians are doomed to fail. look at libya. no one is more mindful of these problems than i am.
they resulted in the death of four outstanding u.s. citizens who were committed to the libyan people, including ambassador chris stevens, a man whose courageous efforts helped save the city of benghazi. did anyone truly believe that the situation in libya would be better if they were allowed to brutalize their people? it's far more likely that without international action libya would be engulfed in civil war and bloodshed. we live in a world of imperfect choices. different nations will not agree on every action. sovereignty cannot be a shield for tyrants to commit one murder or an excuse for an international community to turn
a blind eye. while we need to be modest in our belief that we can remedy every evil, while we need to be mindful that the world is full of unintended consequences, should we accept the notion that the world is powerless in the face of a rwanda? if that's the world that people want to live in, they should say so and recon with the cold logic of mass graves. i believe we can embrace a different future. if we don't want to chose between interaction and war we must get better, all of us. the policies that prevent the breakdown of basic order, to respect the responsibilities of nations. meaningful sanctions for those who break the rules, democracy. through development of systems that brings hope to the
marginalized. sometimes although this will not be enough, there are going to be moments where the international community will need to acknowledge that the multi-lateral use of military force may be required to prevent the very worst from occurring. ultimately, this is the international community that america seeks. one where nations do not covet the land or resources of other nations, but one in which we carry out the founding purpose of this institution and where we all take responsibility. a world in which the rules established out of the horrors of war can help us resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent the kind of wars that our forefathers fought. a world where human beings can live with dignity and meet their basic needs whether they live in
new york, nairobi or damascus. these are extraordinary times with extraordinary opportunities. thanks to human progress, a child born anywhere on earth today can do things can 60 years ago would have been out of reach for the mass of humanity. i saw this in africa where nations moving beyond conflict are now poised to take off and america is with them, partnering to feed the hungry and care for the sick and bring power to places off the grid. i see it across the pacific region where hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty in a single generation. a see it in the faces of young people everywhere who can access the entire world with the click of a button and who are eager to join the cause of eradicating extreme poverty and combatting climate change, starting businesses, expanding freedom
and leaving behind the old ideallogical battles of the past. that's what is happening in asia, africa. it's happening in europe and across the americas. that's the future that the people of the middle east and north africa deserve as well. one where they can focus on opportunity instead of whether they'll be killed or repressed because of who they are or what they believe. time and again nations and people have shown our capacity to change, to live up to humanities highest ideals, to choose our better history. last month i stood where 50 years ago martin luther king jr. told america about his dream, at a time when many people of my race could not even vote for president. earlier this year i stood in the small cell where nelson mandela
endured decades cut off from his own people in the world. who are we to believe that today's challenges cannot be overcome when we've seen what changes the human spirit can bring. who in this hall can argue that the future belongs to those who seek to repress that spirit rather than those who seek to liberate it. i know what side of history i want the united states of america to be on. we're ready to meet tomorrow's challenges with you. firm in the belief that all men and women are, in fact, created equal, each equal opposed with a dignity and rights that cannot be denied. that's why we look to the future not with fear but hope. that's why we remain convinced that this community of nations can deliver a more peaceful, prosperous and adjust world to the next generation.
thank you very much. >> the president of the united states wraps up his speech, speak for more than 40 minutes. two headlines emerging from this speech. the president saying he instructed secretary of the state john kerry to pursue a direct dialogue with the iranian president rouhani, setting the stage potentially for a direct meeting between president obama and president rouhani maybe as early as today here in new york. a second headline on syria saying the u.s. will want a un security council resolution that will mandate consequences and enforcement mechanism if the syrian government of bashar al-assad does not go forward with its elimination of chemical weapons program. we want to welcome our viewers from around the united states.
i'm wolf blitzer. i thought what he said, we are encouraged that president rouhani received from the iranian people a mandate for a moderate course. i am directing john kerry to pursue this effort with the iranian government. that was a significant development given the long three decade history between these two countries. >> it was a significant development. he pointed out that they had heard encouraging words from the supreme leader, from the president. he also reciprocated by talking about how he wanted to deal with iran with mutual respect. this is a phrase that iranians have often used. i think it was carefully chosen by the president. the iranians have often said we want you to treatisethis was not
a speech designed to make headlines. the things you pointed out were the parts that made news. by and large it was really using the pulpit of the united nations to education people about what america's policy and its interests are, particularly in themiddle east. he laid it out methodically, acknowledging criticism, reminding people why the united states had done certain things in egypt, done certain things in libya. in that sense, sort of took on the role that he has often taken on which is a kind of explainer in chief. he did it very well. he laid out the ground work and reminded us that the president actually has a pretty ambitious agenda. think of the three things he talked about, syria, iran and
the middle east peace process. syria is a crises thrust upon the administration, thrust upon the world but the other two were choices made by the obama administration to pursue a democratic break through with iran and resolve the peace process. if there is movements on all three fronts, maybe he will end up deserving that noble peace prize that he was awarded. >> if he achieves the goals he set forward he will deserve that but let's see if it's achievable. it was interesting. that speech focused on iran, syria and the peace process. very little on pacific, other countries around the world. we'll get into that a little more. right now we're joined by our correspondent from tehran.
you're there. give us a little sense of -- i don't know if the president's remarks were seen live on iranian television or if people have any clue that there might be an adjustment in the u.s. iranian relationship. you've been there now for a few days. what's the mood as far as the united states and president obama are concerned? >> reporter: the mood, wolf, is incredibly optimistic and hopeful. i've never seen it this hopeful in the years that i've come to iran. many people here are anticipating that maybe there is a possibility that after 34 years this bitter rivalry, the u.s. and iran can have better relations. when you listen to this speech by the president he essentially reached out to the iranian leadership and said let's give this a try, try to work out our problems democratically. obviously nothing concrete has changed between iran and the u.s. but the fact that we are even talking about the possibility of democratic
relations between the u.s. and iran is significant and shows that things have changed. now the stage is set to see what they countries can do and much of the world is going to be watching. president obama said i'm not sure if this is going to work. there are many obstacles. it may not work but i'm committed to a democratic solution between iran and the u.s. obviously the nuclear issue is the big obstacle. the leadership in iran has been sending out signals that they're prepared to make concessions possibility. there is talk that maybe they will shut down their enrichment facility but that want some things in return. they want to be respected. they want to be recognized as a legitimate leadership of this country. they want to be treated as equals and they want their
rights to enrich uranium. the president didn't explicitly say the u.s. was prepared to accept that. his exact words were i respect iran's right to access nuclear technology. he didn't say we respect the right of iran to enrich uranium which is one of the demands of the leadership. over all, a lot of optimism here, a lot of hope that the u.s. iran relations will improve and i think the president's speech will build on that anticipation and optimism. >> the president said we are determined to prevent them, the iranians from developing a nuclear weapon but then he said this, we are not seeking regime change in iran. no regime change in iran which i thought was a provocative signal at the same time. we're hearing and seeing the