tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 20, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT
laughed at by the people in the audience, but when he started talking about people like mitt romney or michelle bachmann and some others, that's when the people at the rlc actually stepped in and said, hey, you got to go. >> well, we've got to go as well. we were going to do a little thing on the golf summit. if you haven't read the papers, president and the speaker of the house, they won. we'll just leave it there. joe johns, thank you so much. we'll watch you tonight at 7:00. you're in for john king. that's it for me. now to wolf blitzer. "the situation room" starts right now. >> thanks very much, brooke. happening now, house republican leaders explore ways to limit the u.s. military action in libya after president obama ignores a deadline to get congressional approval for the military mission. we're learning more about the president's decision and why he rejected the advice of some major administration lawyers. plus what happens now that the u.s. supreme court has dashed a massive job discrimination lawsuit against walmart? we're going to tell you how the
ruling could affect nearly every private employer here in the united states. and jon huntsman sets the stage for his presidential announcement tomorrow while fellow republicans and democrats try to use his stint in the obama administration against him. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." but up first this hour, syria's dangerous ally and the bloody crackdown on anti-government protestors. there's new evidence coming in right now that iran is working to influence what's happening in syria and lay ground work in case president bashir al assad's regime falls. this after al assad unleashed new threats today against protestors while offering some vague promises of reform. let's go right to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's learning more about iran's efforts in syria. what's going on here, barbara? >> reporter: well, wolf, cnn is now learning some of that new emerging evidence, a u.s.
official tells us that they now have secret communications, intercepts between iran and syria that show iran's meddling with this unfolding violence that has gone on for so many weeks now inside of syria. what the u.s. believes is this is iran's strategy. get involved in the syrian situation, back a number of regime elements, just in case al assad falls, iran wants to be able to maintain its influence inside syria, which as you know, it basically considers a satellite state. so we now know that there's communications intercepts that the u.s. has that show evidence of this. the state department hasn't been very public just yet about the specifics. listen to a little bit of what they had to say about all this. >> in terms of evidence, it's difficult for me to talk about a lot of that evidence from the podium. i would just say, in the
executive order that president obama signed, i believe on april 29th, he did cite human rights violations by the iranian revolutionary guard corps, the so called kutz force. so we believe there's evidence that iran is actively helping syria. >> reporter: what we now know, wolf, is what that quds force is up to. moving in and out of damascus in recent days and weeks. their expertise, we are told, training -- we have been told there is iranian riot control gear on the ground inside of syria, evidence they are helping train the syrians to deal with the street unrest. and this official tells us that iranian weapons flows into syria are continuing and are continuing, wolf, unchecked. wolf? >> any evidence that arab
countries are helping bashir al assad? >> reporter: at this point, i don't think that any has directly emerged. we certainly haven't seen it. we don't have administration officials at least telling us about that. what they are watching is this iranian flow very carefully because, you know, if iran is backing various elements in concern that, when assad falls -- if he falls, i should say -- that they will still have influence inside of syria. that could make this whole situation even more unsettling, wolf. >> thank you very much, barbara starr, with that new information. let's get to the political battle in this country over libya. republican sources say house republican leaders are planning to hold votes this week to use their power of funding to limit the u.s. military mission. that's because president obama has failed to seek congressional approval for military action under the war powers act. he ignored a sunday deadline set by the house speaker john boehner. let's bring in our white house correspondent dan lothian. dan, learning more about the
president's decision not to seek congressional approval and the very, very robust internal debate leading up to it. >> reporter: that's right. during that debate, an administration official telling me there were a variety of views presented to the president, that, in fact, there were disagreements, but that this official describing the process as, quote, robust and ordinary and healthy. the bottom line, though, the president did not follow all of the legal advice that he received. president obama's decision to unfold the u.s. without congressional approval was not interpreted the same way by all the legal counsel he received. >> do you mean me to tell you by some miracle every lawyer in this administration was in agreement on that issue, you wouldn't believe me because it's simply been too contentious for now 38 years. so, yes, it was not a unanimous agreement on it. >> reporter: but aides say the president's decision is on sound legal ground, even though he's getting heat from some liberals. the constitution project, a left
leaning legal advocacy group, said it was very concerned by reports the president had gone against his legal counsel. "we deeply regret the president has ignored the more considered advice." and from senator dick durbin, an illinois democrat, vocal opposition to the president's legal justification spelled out in a 32-page document sent to lawmakers last week. >> it's true. the war powers act is an infringement on the president's power as commander in chief. so is the constitution, which makes it clear the american people make decisions about going to war through members of congress. >> reporter: the foundation for president obama's legal argument is no u.s. boots on the ground in libya, no involvement in hostilities, and overall a limited role. notwithstanding deadly air strikes. and he's finding support among republicans like senator lindsey graham of south carolina, even though he criticized the president for doing a, quote, lousy job of communicating and managing involvement in libya. >> and i would take the course
that conservatives have taken for the last 30 years, the war powers act is unconstitutional, not worth the paper it's written on. >> reporter: despite this heated debate, experts say it's unlikely there will be any legal ramifications for the white house position. >> what makes obama's legal position so strong here is the courts don't like to get in the middle of fights between the executive and legislative branches. so even if obama is wrong in his interpretation, no court is going to tell him. >> reporter: house minority leader nancy pelosi says the limited nature of the u.s. engagement gives the president the authority to go forward, but she says she's still reviewing the classified version of that report that the white house sent to congress last week, wolf. >> no one denies the president has the ultimate authority to decide on the legal advice he's getting, who's right and who's wrong. but on an issue involving military matters, at least it's my sense it's pretty unusual for the president to reject the advice, the legal advice of the lawyers at the pentagon on
military matters, and the justice department for that matter, accept the advice of the state department and his own white house lawyers. what are they saying about that? >> reporter: you're right, wolf. it is very unusual for the president to do just that, but you might remember, looking back at all the major decisions the president has made, he has always welcomed sort of the outside advice, outside of the white house, but certainly internally he wants to get that frx with them before he makes up his mind. this is very unusual for the president to do something like this, but nonetheless, this white house believes the president is standing on solid legal ground, and they're not backing down. >> the instinct of every president is to reject the war powers act because it restricts the authority, the ability of the president to engage in military operations. thanks very much, dan lothian at the white house. libya is now accusing nato of cold blooded murder, murder of civilians, it says, in recent air strikes. the gadhafi government says 15
people were killed, including 3 children, earlier today. nato confirms that attack but says it was targeting a high level command and control site associated with the gadhafi regime. the nato alliance acknowledges it might have caused civilian casualties in a series of air strikes the day earlier. david, what's the latest information you're getting? >> reporter: the latest information, wolf, is we were at that compound -- they're calling it a military command and control mode, but when we were there, certainly it looked to us like residential compound, a series of houses west of here in an upscale neighborhood. now, nato at first denied that they were even in that area, wolf, and later admitted they had carrie carried out strikes. eyewitnesses in the site that spoke to us said there were a series of rocket attacks around 2:00 a.m. this morning. we know there were civilians killed.
we saw them being pulled out of the rubble, including those children. we visited a hospital, and hospital staff confirmed that. of course, civilian government members are with us almost constantly around tripoli, wolf. certainly, the evidence points to civilian casualties. combined with that other strike you mentioned, it hasn't been a good few days for nato. >> how much evidence is there the military regime of gadhafi is placing its so-called military command and control sites near civilians to try to use those civilians as what they call human shields? >> reporter: well, wolf, certainly nato has criticized the gadhafi regime and plunged into evidence of this. weeks ago they had gadhafi shooting from inside a mosque. what's interesting is a senior adviser to gadhafi, that is, in fact, his house that was targeted this morning.
he was not there at the site. it opens up a whole other set of questions on whether nato is, in fact, trying to target individuals, particularly senior individuals in the gadhafi regime. they have maintained up to this point that they do not target individuals, but certainly the people we spoke to there were very suspicious, was this a hit that went wrong, or was this, in fact, someone using a residential compound as a command and control site? we don't know at this point. wolf? >> david mckenzie on the scene for us in tripoli. david, thank you. now it looks as though a top federal official is going to pay for a major, major blunder. we're following the story of deadly weapons allowed to fall into the hands of mexican drug cartel. and a supreme court ruling on walmart. it puts the brakes on a lawsuit that could have included 1.5 million women who worked for walmart.
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jack kafr ti is here with the cafferty file. >> 22-year-old rory mcilroy from northern ireland won the u.s. open at congressional country club in washington, d.c., with a stunning performance. the kid is awfully good. it's too bad the same can't be said about nbc, the network that televised our national championship. at the beginning of yesterday's telecast, nbc aired a patriotic montage, that featured video clips of national monuments, soldiers raising an american flag. it was all cut around a group of school aged kids reciting the pledge of allegiance. only during the pledge the words under god and indivisible were edited out twice. the piece was supposed to play up the patriotism theme with the golf course hosting the championship so close to the nation's capital. a lot of people couldn't get past the missing line. who does this? angry viewers immediately took to twitter bashing nbc,
suggesting a boycott of the network. others called into nbc affiliates and complained. before the broadcast ended, one of the announcers dan hicks issued an on air apology of sorts, saying the omission was not meant to upset anyone and the network was sorry to those who were offended. it wasn't nearly enough. today nbc went a step further. they released a statement saying, "we are aware of the distress this has caused many of our viewers and are taking the issue very seriously. unfortunately, when producing the piece, which was intended to capitalize on the patriotism of having our national championship played in our nation's capital, a decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the pledge of allegiance. this was a bad decision." the network also said that if disciplinary action is taken, it will be handled internally and not be made public. the original pledge of allegiance didn't have those words "under god." they were added by congress in the 1950s. but as a result, they are every bit as much a part of a salute
to our flag as the rest of the words in the pledge, and it boggles the mind that a bunch of morons at nbc can take it upon themselves to decide which part to include and which part to omit. those responsible ought to be fired. post haste. here's the question. why would nbc edit out part of the pledge of allegiance before the u.s. open golf championship? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. when your political correctness starts getting up my nose, that's wrong. wolf? >> it's a major blunder, as we say. you know what, ever since i've been working in television, 21 years here at cnn, whenever we're doing a live event, live coverage of a political convention or anything else and they're playing the star spangled banner, you don't just start taking the star spangled banner live and then cut away in the middle of it. you take the whole thing. if you're going to take it live, you take the whole thing. you don't start editing it in any way, and the same with the pledge of allegiance. >> when that happens, do you get
up from behind your desk and stand at attention? absolutely. >> at political conventions. >> hand over your heart. >> stand up and do the patriotic thing. >> this was a major screw-up. >> a major blunder. thanks very much. the u.s. conference of mayors taking a stand today on american military policy for the first time since the vietnam war. the mayors passed a resolution calling for an early end to the conflicts in afghanistan and iraq. president obama is due to make a decision very soon in the coming days on the pace of the start of a troop withdrawal from afghanistan. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence. he's got the latest for us. what is the latest, chris? >> reporter: wolf, a lot has changed since he made that promise to start bringing troops home in july of 2011. two years ago when he made that promise, he probably couldn't foresee that afghan president hamid karzai would be calling the americans occupiers or that the pressure to cut the budget would be so great that even his republican presidential challengers are calling for an
earlier exit from afghanistan. president obama has the military options in front of him and the risk of drawing down more troops compared to fewer. but the president is still in the process of deciding how quickly to bring u.s. troops home. >> i can tell you with absolute certainty that it is not over. >> there is no real major consideration of a dramatic reduction. >> reporter: michael o'hanlon is just back from afghanistan. he says no one he's talked to at the white house says they're considering bringing home a majority of the 30,000 troops president obama deployed as part of the surge. >> that option is not really being actively considered for the near term. it's a choice between probably 5,000 out this year and 15,000 out this year. >> reporter: some pentagon officials have argued that afghan forces still need massive support from american troops and trainers. when i went to afghanistan and watched them being trained over the last couple years, the afghans were sometimes lazy,
untrustworthy, even high on drugs. >> it depends how much hash they've had that day. >> reporter: they've improved, but by all accounts are not nearly ready to assume responsibility. >> my preference is to give them a little more time to get bigger and stronger. >> reporter: defense secretary robert gates has argued to keep the combat troops in country as long as possible. >> i also have said that the draw down must be politically credible here at home. >> reporter: a senior defense official says politically credible means the president can't just take out a token number of troops and say, i'm fulfilling my promise to bring them home. the official says both gates and the president realize the american people have to buy into president obama making good on his word to start the draw down in july. the official says both the military and the president are looking for what he calls the sweet spot. the specific number that would be sizable enough to represent a true beginning of a draw down
while at the same time not jeopardizing the gains the military has made. o'hanlon says current military strategy implies that any of the draw down would be minimal this year, around 5,000, and that the greater draw down would happen at the end of the fighting season next year. he even says that some of the initial draw down should be diverted to areas like eastern afghanistan, where they have been sort of undersourced for a number of years. wolf? >> i write about this today on my blog at cnn.com/situation room. and the fact that the vice president of the united states, joe biden, he's pushing very hard for a much more significant withdrawal than some at the pentagon like general petraeus and secretary gates would like. we'll see if the president decides to side with his vice president this time, especially now that so much money is at stake, $120 billion a year, $10 billion a month to keep 100,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan. a major victory for retail
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major blunder. >> yeah, that's right, wolf. federal sources are now saying that kenneth melson could step down in the next day or two over operation fast and furious. it's a program that allows the illegal purchase of weapons, some of which ended up in the hands of mexican drug cartels. attorney general eric holder is expected to meet tomorrow with the head of the atf field office in chicago about potentially serving as an acting replacement. and a major victory for retail giant walmart. the supreme court ruling today that a massive job discrimination lawsuit brought against the corporation is too big and therefore not justified. the class action status may have potentially involved more than 1 million current and former female employees. and the group charged with overseeing development of the internet voted today to relax the rules for naming websites. the change would allow any combination of letters or numbers to follow the dot rather than just com.
.kids or dot shop or just a few of the examples. we could have a dot blitzer perhaps or dot wolf. >> dot lisa. >> next january, mark your calendar. the fbi is trying a new tactic to find two high profile tu fugitives. stand by for outreach on tv shows and the cost to american taxpayers. and cnn in depth. exposing the horrors of modern day slavery. yes, slavery is going on right now. change the way we're thinking about them. a couple decades ago, we didn't even realize just how much natural gas was trapped in rocks thousands of feet below us. technology has made it possible to safely unlock this cleanly burning natural gas. this deposits can provide us with fuel for a hundred years, providing energy security and economic growth all across this country. it just takes somebody having the idea, and that's where the discovery comes from.
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cnn's sarah sidener has this exclusive report. >> reporter: an army of brick makers heaving, stacking, balancing, bricks and more bricks from sun up to sun down. but these laborers take home no wage. they are working off a debt. they are bonded laborers, bound to those who gave them an advance or a loan. human rights advocates say the practice is illegal and call them india's modern slaves. i cannot leave here unless i pay my debt. durgawati tells me she has no idea when that will be. the workers here tell us generally here's how it works. a contractor shows up promising them work and giving them a little advance money. then they're trackered in from far-off villages to a place they've never been to, and they're told when they get here they have to work off their loan and will not be paid any wages.
they're also told they have to live here so the supervisors can keep an eye on them. it isn't just the adults who are expected to work. durgawati is the mother of three. her eldest daughter should not be this skilled at brick making. she is only 5 years old. her mother says she took an advance of 1,000 rupees, the equivalent of about $22. she, her husband, and her daughter have been working six days a week for two months now. she says no one has told her when the loan will be paid off. their small allowance is barely enough to feed the family. still they don't dare leave. they will beat me if i try to leave, durgawati says. we want to ask the supervisor about what seems to be a violation of indian labor law. supervisor? supervisor? so when a supervisor shows up asking us to leave, we take our opportunity, and he agrees to speak to us. are they having to pay this loan off now?
yes, they have to work and repay the loan. they keep working, he says. is this legal? how is it legal? yes, yes, he says. we have an agreement. why are children working here? kids are working here for food. they need food. if they can't fill their stomachs, they need to work, he says. as he's pulled away, perhaps he has said too much. >> boss, boss. >> reporter: i'm not going to pay you money. why? why would i pay you money, huh? >> money, money. >> reporter: though he won't pay the workers a wage, he has no problem asking us to pay him for the interview. we, of course, refuse, and everyone goes back to making bricks. some will stay trapped in debt. >> they remain forever.
>> reporter: supria works for an international organization called free the slaves. she admits her organization's mission is ambitious. what's the most shocking thing that's happening in this country? >> there are 37 million people around the world in slavery, and maximum number of people in slavery live in india. >> reporter: just down the road in this village, we meet carbon. when my father was alive, he took an 8,000 rupee loan from the land owner. since that time, i have to workday and night for him. his father's debt the equivalent of $175 changed his life. karbahn says, no matter who in your family borrowed money, their debt becomes your debt. even when i'm hurt or sick, they call me to work, he says. you won't believe how many atrocities i have to bear each day. before he was injured on the job, he says he tried to escape several times, but they found him and brought him back from as far away as mumbai.
it's true there are no physical signs of what this place is about, no chains, no fences, and no armed guards, but these villagers say they are all slaves just the same. what will happen if you just take your family and leave and go somewhere else? if i don't work for them, they will beat me and abuse my daughter, she says. if you don't give in, they'll sell your daughter and son. she borrowed money from the land owner to treat her husband's thank you bie tuberculosis. how much do you owe? i am an illiteral. how would i know how much we owe and what we need to pay? i don't even know how much was taken. it's been many years. so she works. the villagers say they all do. there is nowhere to run to and no way to get there. none of them had any idea that indian law outlawed this practice more than 30 years ago.
what does freedom mean to you? the day i pay my debt, i will be free. we'll be prosperous, she says. now her dream is to be able to work long enough so her children will be freed from the loan that binds her to this land and this life. sara sidner, cnn, india. >> we're continuing to investigate where is the indian government in all thf? why aren't they doing something to stop what is going on in india right now? we will not leave this story. cnn is going in depth into the problem of modern day slavery. tune in this sunday for our documentary on young women and girls bought and sold for sex in nepal. the actress and activist demi moore joins the freedom project to present nepal's stolen children this sunday, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. the fbi launches a new effort to capture two longtime
alleged fugitives. it could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars. the details ahead. plus desperate efforts to avoid a complete financial meltdown in greece. could the u.s. feel the ripple effects any time soon? [ male announcer ] do you know how you will react when someone changes lanes without warning? or when you're distracted? when you're falling asleep at the wheel? do you know how you'll react? lexus can now precisely test the most unpredictable variable in a car -- the driver. when you pursue perfection, you don't just engineer the world's most advanced driving simulator. you engineer amazing.
the ladies of the view could play a part in tracking down one of america's most wanted funl ati fugitives and his girlfriend. the fbi reaching out to women and daytime tv talk shows to get new leads. our homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve is working the story. >> you've heard of this guy. the fbi wants to find whitey
bulger, an alleged boston mobster, on the lamb since 1995. he headed up a violent gang is wanted in connection with 19 murders in the '70s and '80s. despite a 2 million there's reward for information leading to his arrest, the most ever offered for a domestic fugitive, bulger has eluded arrest. now the bureau is using the power of television to try to find his girlfriend. this is an announcement by the fbi. have you seen this woman? the fbi is offering $100,000 for tips leading to catherine greig's whereabouts. these photos are from the early 1990s. greig has had plastic surgery. she is wanted for harboring james "whitey" bulger, a fugitive on the fbi's most wanted list. 61-year-old greig is the girlfriend of 81-year-old bulger. he has a violent temper and is charged with 19 murders. call the tip line at 1-800-call-fbi. >> that public service announcement will run in 14 cities where bulger and greig
had contacts, and it is being placed on shows with a high percentage of female viewers. the fbi hopes a manicurist, hairstylist, doctor or dentist might recognize her. bulger was a big world travelers, and the search for him is an international one. his wanted poster has been translated into several languages, and the last credible and verified sighting of the couple was in london back in 2002. it's been a long and frustrating search for the fbi. >> nine years since any sighting. a long time. let's hope this works. thanks very much. defense secretary robert gates vigorously defending what he calls preliminary u.s. contacts with the taliban. up next, the closer look at some of the key figures americans could be dealing with. plus still one day away from officially jumping into the race for the white house, but he's already making an impression on the gop. could jon huntsman be the party's nominee for president of the united states? ♪
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let's get right to our strategy session. joining us cnn political contributor roland martin and former political contributor norm coleman. he's now president of the political action network. let me play a clip from texas governor rick perry. he rocked the house in new orleans at a republican conference over the weekend. >> let's stand up. let's speak with pride about our morals and our values and redouble our effort to elect more conservative republicans. let's stop this american downward spiral. >> everybody who was there said he did the best among that
crowd. roland, you're originally from texas. he's been the governor now ever since 2001. i get the sense he's running. what do you think? >> well, first of all, look, he is an attractive candidate, figuratively and literally. if you talk to many republican women. and certainly strong republican credentials. i still believe, though, that part of the problem for a governor rick perry, somebody who i know well, texas a&m graduate, is that we still have this issue of this texas governor, and when you say that, you look at politico.com today, a big story how, look, the republicans are trying to run away from president george w. bush. so he has to get over that. i think, if he got in this race, he would vault to the top of the heap when it comes to the people who could win the nomination. no doubt in my mind. >> senator coleman, you're plugged into the republican elite. what do you think? do you think he's going to run? >> he'd certainly be very formidable. i think he's created 266,000 jobs in texas since june of
2009. one of every three jobs created in america. he's got strong ties, evangelical, tea party. but he does enter a strong field. the pundits go through this thing every year. the strongest candidate is the one not in the race. you've got romney out there in the lead. pawlenty working as hard as anybody. michelle bachmann captivated on the national stage just a week ago. you've got a field that is strong. the pundits always wring their hand waiting for the next guy. if he ran, he would be formidab formidable. has a lot to run on. you see what he decides to do. got to raise a lot of money. >> realistically, senator, how much time does he have before he has to make that decision? >> two words, bill clinton. bill clinton came in third in iowa and second in new hampshire. you've got lots of time of the that was the year of the election. so i think he's got a strong enough record. i think that thing is still being played out. i think folks still getting to know the candidates. so i don't think he's on a one week, two week time clock. i think he's got a little bit of
time. again, there is already a strong field, and the pundits are always wringing their hands. if he gets in, then they're asking, what's giuliani going to do? what's pataki going to do? what's christie going to do? i think folks go through the wringing of hands. strong candidate in the field every election cycle. >> you're shaking your head, roland? >> look, i don't think for a second giuliani is going to run. he can take his name off the board. he was horrible in 2008. if he runs again, he'll run right into the headwind of social conservatives. that is a weak point for him. you can't talk about 9/11 all day. again, what you have with perry, strong financial base in terms of coming from texas, oil money. also, you look at houston, dallas, and those strong conservative credentials. what is the biggest knock on romney? the whole issue of being a flip-flop, used to believe in the whole issue of abortion rights, gay marriage? so perry doesn't have that problem. so i think that's why he's a different type of person than a pataki coming from new york. this is somebody from a strong
red state. that's why he's a different kind of candidate. >> what's so interesting is that with all this talk on the "d" side of obama being so unbeatable, why are all these folks talking about running? the reality is the issue will be jobs, deficit, and the economy. this is a vulnerable president, and there are a lot of folks who are looking to run against him. >> i speak to a lot of democrats, including officials at the white house. they all know they're in for a tough race no matter who the republican nominee is going to be. senator coleman, newt gingrich, he's come out of the gate very, very badly, as we all know. this week, this week he's, woulding. y you know where he's working? his home state of georgia. he's giving a few speeches there. going to his home state of baltimore. maryland, not far from his home of mclean, virginia, here in washington. he's not in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina. explain what he's doing if he's running for president. >> you know that newt is one of the smartest guys in this business. he believes there's a transformation going on in
american politics. innovation, technology. the key, wolf, is to be on the cutting edge of the transformation, not the bleeding edge. and so right now newt has, i think, an uphill climb. we'll see what he does. in the end, he's going to do the right thing for this of the smartest guys. american politics is being transformed, but in the end i still think folks want you to press the flesh, kiss the baby and look at you in the i. >> iowa, retail politics going into a caucus in new hampshire and kissing babies in baltimore and atlanta. >> well, first of all, wolf, i think he's looking at this whole race differently, and that look, even have huntsman, folks in iowa who are saying, look, this guy may not campaign here because he doesn't believe in the whole issue of ethanol. that's changing. newt gingrich is proving what i've always said about him. what was great about him was the tease, the possibility of him running, that when he actually chose to do so, he will go down in flames because -- what did
norm just say. smart guy. that was always his thing, but if you look at how he's run his campaign. if he -- if he runs a white house the way he's run his campaign thus far, god help us all. >> very quickly, senator. your fellow minnesotans, tim pawlenty and michele bachmann, which one do you prefer? >> i've been with tim from the beginning. they are both dear friends, don't underestimate michele bachmann, no one is going to outwork tim pawlenty. in the end, this race is a long way from over. we're in the early innings, newt. wolf. >> newt is somebody else. >> i had newt on my brain. i wanted to respond -- newt is a very smart guy. really does believe american politics is being transformed. may be a little ahead of his time right new. >> guys, thanks very much. >> ahead of his time. been two decades. >> some are calling it a major roadblock for the american worker. just ahead, much more on the massive walmart discrimination lawsuit that the united states
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personal pricing now on brakes. tell us what you want to pay. we do our best to make that work. deal! my money. my choice. my meineke. right back to jack. he's got the "cafferty file." jack? >> question this hour, and it proved to be a lively topic. why would nbc edit out part of the pledge of allegiance before the u.s. open golf tournament yesterday? they did it twice. dennis in florida writes no logical or responsible reason why the pledge of allegiance would be edited, particularly by one of the three major networks. it seems like someone had their own agenda, and those in charge just let it slip by. it was obviously a very bad decision. however, in the statement nbc released, if disciplinary action
is taken, it will be handled internally and not made public, it sure seems the whole thing is going to be covered up. this is corporate jargon for doing nothing. carol in massachusetts writes it was jarring to me that they so blatantly cut it, paused and then continued without the undergod pardon of the pledge, twice. i'm not hyper vigilant about this stuff, but it seemed an intentional editing job. someone had an agenda. very strange. and dee writes "countdown with keith olbermann" and rachel mad do you must have been directing the show and figured most of the viewers came over from fox news. whatever the intent of the omission, this must be a double bogey. the whole god issue has us quite divided as a country. why would we ever allow such language to exist in the pledge of our allegiance. i pledge no allegiance to any god and many more millions of americans who believe in god don't ask me to pledge allegiance to my god. >> layery in denver says they
apologized for their stupidity. is this major news? they wanted to be politically correct and incorrect all at the same time. good job. now let's move on to the important stuff. where's sarah palin today? nardo writes it's because nbc has a liberal agenda but conservative networks are called subversive. funny how that works, jack. gregory in alabama writes, in the highly polarized politicized air in america these days, the smarter move to be avoid any pandering either full or partial. this was partial pandering. jay says it's because god hates golf. and john writes i tried to answer your question, jack, but it was edited out. if you want to read more, get some pretty good e-mail on this, go to my blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile. >> very clever stuff. thank you. greece is now getting ready to sell off billions of dollars in assets amidst escalating political turmoil and fears of a complete financial meltdown. meanwhile, there are deep concerns and potential ripple effects that could reach the united states. we asked cnn's mary snow to
check this out for us. what are you learning? >> reporter: though markets were higher today here in the u.s., there are continuing worries about greece. should it default on its debt, the worry is that the crisis could spread to other european countries and then have a domino effect. in athens, anger amid government plans to cut more jobs, wages and pensions. unemployment is already at record highs. there's been a steady stream of protests over the last three weeks as greece stands on the brink of bankruptcy. its government has been told that another bailout from european countries will only come after it takes tough measures. the peterson institute of international economics for one thinks the measures will likely pass, but it hasn't erased concerns that europe could face the same kind of crisis that the u.s. did in 2008 when lehman brothers collapsed. >> what happened at lehman brothers was that the financial markets froze completely as a
result of the fact that no one really knew who was exposed to whom, by how much, and that's essentially the same thing that would happen if you had a greek default of government bonds. >> that fear has rippled through u.s. markets. some economists say the u.s. has an indirect link because it's exposed to european banks which carry greek debt. >> if our banks have significant exposure to those countries and those countries start to reel, the negative transfer is potential slowing down in lending which actually hasn't accelerated at all over the recovery so far. >> those what ifs played a part in a six-week losing streak in markets that eased last friday. besides the uncertainty over how it might affect european banks, there was also concern about how it might affect the value of the euro, and this isn't the first time greece has needed a bailout, and then there are concerns about how it will affect businesses if europe's
economy slowed. and wolf, there's also some worries that if greece were to default works that lead to other european countries also facing a debt crisis of their own? would they follow suit? wolf. >> all right, mary, thanks very much. mary snow reporting. and to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, in a massive sex bias case pitting women against walmart, the u.s. supreme court issues a ruling that could affect nearly every private employer in the united states. why would federal agents just watch as fake buyers bought thousands of guns and then passed them on to mexican drug cartels? a top u.s. official may be about to pay a sirg price for that very misguided and dangerous policy. and the u.s. is in contact with the taliban, but do american officials really know whom they are dealing with? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news. political headlines. jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
it was the country's largest ever sex discrimination lawsuit against the world's largest retailer, a case that could have pitted more than 1 million women against walmart, but the u.s. supreme court today ruled in favor of the retailer saying plaintiffs could not join together in such a huge class action suit. cnn's kate balduan has been tracking this case for us since it began. kate is joining us now with the very latest. kate, you're over at the supreme court, a major decision today. >> a major decision, in matter what angle, what side you look at it, from wolf. corporate america is breathing a sigh of relief today quite frankly but the other side, the side supporting these potentially hundreds of thousands of women, even more, they call this a major roadblock for the american worker, this the final word from the high court on this potentially billion dollar battle.
it started with six strangers in california. chris is one of them. >> i'm a fighter, if nothing else, and so are all the other women involved. >> reporter: chris has worked at sam's club, part of the walmart brand for more than two decades. she says she's been paid less than her male counterparts and passed over for promotions for years. >> many never even had a day's worth of sam's club experience coming in, and i was the one training them. >> reporter: so she and five other women who worked at walmart sued the company in a high-stakes gender discrimination case. someone says it's just one bad supervisor or it's a couple bad supervisors. is it worth taking the entire company on? >> it's just not one supervisor. supervisor after supervisor after supervisor. >> reporter: walmart fought back arguing these allegations are isolated, that there's no so-called corporate culture or nationwide pattern of gender bias at their 4,300 facilities. >> i think walmart has a very
strong policy against discrimination and in favor of diversity, and it -- and it works hard to instill that throughout the company. >> our company culture is about providing all associates opportunities to advance and grow. >> reporter: the supreme court ruled in walmart's favor. justice scalia writing, the workers, quote, provide no convincing proof of a companywide discriminatory pay and promotion policy. the justices also say the lawsuit involving a million or more potential plaintiffs in this case was simply too large, but the women behind it have insisted all along they would continue their fight. >> i'm a fighter, number one. i'm not going to let them run me off just because i happen to stand up to them. >> reporter: now wolf, while this class action lawsuit has effectively ended, the ruling has left the door open for the potential of future class action lawsuits. think workers banding together
in a series of smaller lawsuits, what we're talking about, wolf, think hundreds or dozens of plaintiffs rather than hundreds of thousands as was the case at issue here. wolf? >> thanks very much, kate balduan over at supreme court. the case, as you saw, certainly triggered a lot of emotion. it's a ruling that could eventually affect nearly every private employer in the united states. let's bring in our senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin. jeff, all nine supreme court justices agreed that the size of the case was simply too big under current class action rules, but they split 5-4 on whether or not walmart had a policy of discriminating against women. were you surprised by these rules? >> you know, i was in the courtroom for the day this case was argued, and there was not one justice asking questions who displayed much sympathy for this case going forward. too big. this case was too big. there was not enough in common among all these plaintiffs, and
so it's not a surprise that even the liberal justices agreed that the case had to be thrown out. >> do you expect much smaller class action lawsuits to go forward as kate just said, maybe dozens of women or a few hundred women? >> well, certainly that's possible, but the economics of the lawsuit are very important here. i mean, it's very expensive for plaintiff lawyers to gather the information necessary for these lawsuits, and one reason this case was so big is that the payoff potentially was very big. smaller lawsuits mean smaller potential plaintiffs -- payoffs, and they are still very expensive to put together, so i'm not sure whether there will be a lot of follow-up lawsuits to this. i think walmart won big here, and the chances are they won once and for all as well. >> how will this decision, these decisions, i should say, by the supreme court affect other private employers all over the united states? >> well, i think it just shows
how difficult it is to bring very large class actions alleging civil rights violations. i mean, this court and frankly the rehnquist court as well has been very suspicious of the idea that you can prove discrimination with the use of statistics or corporate culture. this is a -- first of all, it's a very pro-corporate supreme court, but also one in particular that doesn't believe you can prove things except by direct evidence of discrimination. some supervisor saying this woman should not be promoted because she's a woman. in the absence of that kind of evidence, i think any kind of case is going to be difficult, and today class actions just got a good deal harder as well. >> major decision by the supreme court. jeffrey, thank you. a controversial weapons program may be costing the acting head of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms and explosives his job. critics say the program operation fast and furious led
to preventable deaths, including that of a u.s. border patrol agent. our homeland security agent jeanne meserve is working this story for us, and it's caused a lot of outrage, jeanne, what's the lateest? >> reporter: it's been a huge story and subject of heated hearings just last week. the acting director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms is expected to resign under pressure perhaps in the next day or two according to two senior federal law enforcement sources. as acting director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms, kevin nelson has touted his agency's success stopping guns flowing to mexico. >> we are putting the hurt on the gun trafficking trade down there. >> reporter: but on melson's watch atf agents in phoenix were instructed to stand by as straw buyers purchased weapons and passed them on to cartels and criminals. the program, called fast and furious, was intended to bring down arms trafficking organizations. it hasn't, but two of the guns turned up near the body of slain
border patrol agent brian terry. melson wasn't present as a fire congressional hearing just last week but was raked over the coals for allegedly watching live video feeds of fast and furious gun sales on his computer. >> who authorized this program that was so felony stupid that got people killed. >> reporter: now melson is expected to lose his job. >> i think it would be a shame if melson's departure is the only one and that he would be the one that presumably is solely responsible because we have a feeling it's much broader and maybe goes a lot higher than just melson. >> reporter: the head of the atf chicago bureau will meet with attorney general eric holder tuesday. lawmakers officials say they will discuss the possibility of the replacement of the director. melson continues to focus on leading the agency and refused to comment on what it called
speculations. >> is he controversial, trafer, this supposed new acting head? >> he was. president obama nominated him to be pearlnent head of the atf. at the time the nra said he's pro gun control and they repeated those objections. >> the national rifle association, the pro-gun lobby as we say here in washington. jeanne, thanks very much. the u.s. now in talks with the taliban in afghanistan, but can the obama administration be certain of who it's really dealing with? plus, a closely watched speech by syria's president sparking a fresh wave of protests. details of what he said about the deadly unrest sweeping syria. plus, the first lady and the first daughters arrive at their first stop on an important and symbolic overseas trip. e you 15% or more on car insurance? host: what, do you live under a rock?
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jack cafferty is here with "the cafferty file." jack? >> wolf, questions continue to swirl around president obama's decision to send u.s. forces to libya, whether or not he complied with the war powers resolution or if he even needed to. the president says he didn't, but either way, lawmakers didn't have much say in the matter, and
now 90 days into the conflict, well, they still don't. but what they do have a say in is how much money can go towards a military operation like this one, and house speaker john boehner works has said repeatedly that the president was in violation of the vietnam-era resolution, says the house could cut funding for u.s. military involvement in libya when it takes up a defense appropriate rose bill later this week. on the sunday talk show circuit two republican senators, lindsey graham of south carolina and john mccain of arizona, both said they oppose cutting funding and warned that it could hurt nato efforts in the region. outgoing defense secretary robert gates also said that cutting off funding in the middle of a military operation is always a mistake. gates also said he thinks that this conflict will, quote, end okay, but he couldn't make a prediction as to how long it would last or when moammar gadhafi would fall. remember in the beginning president obama said this would all be over in a matter of a few days, but for a number of lawmakers the eventual outcome, as well as the decision to go
into libya, are really beside the point. last week a bipartisan group of ten house members filed a federal lawsuit challenging obama's decision to send u.s. forces to libya. so this thing is far from over. here's -- just like the libya operation. here's the question. should congress cut off funding for operations in libya? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog. seems like all the presidents recently pay little or no attention to this war power resolution and do pretty much what they want. if they decide to go into iraq, they go. >> already been hundreds of millions of dollars. by the end of september they are saying it will cost u.s. taxpayers for the military operation in libya, now 91 days, but by the end, $1.1 billion in u.s. taxpayer money to deal with the military mission in -- you knew that, jack, right? >> i did know, that and you can make the argument that gadhafi's got to go and the people of
libya deserve a shot and, on the other hand, the other reason there's so much interest is the oil and the people who buy most of the oil in libya are the french and other european nations, so -- but i guess they need our help. >> yeah. we're still a member of nato i guess. >> yeah. >> all right, jack, thank you. after months of unrest and a bloody crackdowns, syria's president bashar assad spec out today offering vague promises of reform and blamed conspirators for the violence >> translator: it's extremely important to distinguish between the legitimate demands of the people and those who are taking advantage of the situation. there are those who tried to take advantage of the majority of good syrian people. immediately after the speech, the reaction in syria was very clear. protests were reported across the country with fresh calls for bashar al assad to step down. joining us now from the turkish side of the border with syria, our own phil black.
phil, bashar al assad, the syrian dictator delivering the first public speech in about two months today. a lot of generalities, not many specifics. anyone really in the opposition buying what he's saying? >> reporter: no, absolutely not, wolf. they are not buying it the all it. would be too strong to say they were disappointed because really they weren't expecting very much from this. what they want and what they have been fighting for, and this position is only being hardened as the military has continued its crackdown, has been immediate political action. the end to this regime preferably is not that, the rapid implementation of multi-party democracy. they didn't get anything like that from bashar al assad today. they got generalities and vague talk about a concept called national dialogue and then perhaps the idea of reform down the track, but it's not going to happen any time soon. >> what about the border area where you are? do you still see syrian refugees
flooding into turky? >> reporter: yeah, absolutely. the flood has diminished though because in recent days syrian forces have moved in and taken control of the syrian towns close to the border. tea provided an obstacle, if you like. it blocked a way out for syrians desperately trying to escape the country. it means that the flow of refugees to this area has dropped off substantially. having said that, we now know there are 10,15 hundred refugees crossed into turkey. today thousands more watching and listening to the speech from the president and he even spoke to them directly saying they should go home and if they do, they will be safe. the military will not harm them, but as i say, they are not buying that. they are staying absolutely where they are because they do not believe it's safe to go home, so they prefer to live for the moment in what are pretty desperate squalid conditions. >> we'll stay in touch with you. phil black, thanks very much for
the so-called arab spring exacts some revenge in tunisia. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and other stories in "the situation room." what's going on. >> reporter: tunisia's ousted president has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for corruption. today ben ali and his wife were tried in absentia. they have been living in exile in saudi arabia since the january revolt that ended his
23-year rule and touched off the so-called arab spring of uprising. president ali wasn't warned of the trial in enough time to attend. and a star of mtv's popular "jackass" series has been killed in a car accident. 34-year-old ryan dunn died along with a passenger when his porsche crashed and caught fire on a pennsylvania highway overnight. police say speed may have been a factor. dunn was famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts on "jackaa" which evolved into a successful film franchise. national weather service is forecasting better conditions this week for crews bat lick wildfires in arizona after what fire officials call a hard day yesterday. the monument fire which has destroyed more than 60 moment and buildings jumped four fire lines. it's now 20% contained and the wallow fire, the largest in arizona history, is now 51% contained. first lady michelle obama has
arrived in south africa for a week-long tour that will include a tour to neighboring botswana. first daughters sasha and malia are accompanying her, along with her mother, marion robinson. mrs. obama is focusing her trip on youth leadership and education, and she'll also meet with key figures in the anti-apartheid struggle. and the resident impersonator who caused so much controversy at this weekend's republican leadership conference is now speaking out. reggie brown insists he was escorted off stage because he had gone over time, not because of his material which included jokes about the gop presidential field as well as racially tinged remarks. >> my favorite month is february, black history month. you see, michelle, she celebrates the full month and, you know, i celebrate half. >> okay. the event organizer says brown's jokes went too far, and he should have been pulled off
sooner. well, president obama's twitter account is about to get a little more personal. an aide says mr. obama himself will be writing some tweets during his re-election campaign, and they will be signed with his initials. his first initial tweet on sunday when he said being a father is sometimes my hardest and most rewarding job. happy father's day to all the dads out there. a nice first tweet. had a great day yesterday >> i read all my own tweets. you write your own tweets? >> we don't have official tweet writers, right? >> the white house says he will write some of his tweets. >> you have to look for the initials. if his initials are there, you know he wrote that tweet him level. >> otherwise some speech writer or somebody else wrote it. the uss in touch with the taliban, but do american officials really know just whom they are dealing, and should congress cut off funding for military operations in libya? jack will be back with your e-mail. lots of news happening today
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you don't make peace by simply talking about your friend. the outgoing defense secretary robert gates says the u.s. is in touch with its enemy in afghanistan. as the president faces a major decision on how many troops to start bringing home, the u.s. is clearly starting to look ahead, but does it really know with whom it's dealing in afghanistan? we asked our own prion todd to take a closer look. what are you learning, brian? >> reporter: wolf, the taliban is a very murky, dangerous group an dealing with them at the very least has been a bizarre process. now there are serious questions about what u.s. officials can get from these contacts and who they are dealing with. the defense secretary staunchly defends who u.s. officials are calling preliminary contacts with the taliban, not
negotiations but feelers. >> we ended up talking to people in anbar province and iraq who were direct ly killing our troops. that's the way wars end. >> reporter: contacted by cnn, u.s. and german officials won't comment on a report in der spiegel magazine that talks between the taliban and the u.s. is being organized. it's reported that the cia is also taking part. who would the americans be dealing with? not taliban leader mullah omar, at least not directly. he's one of the world's most wanted men, a religious fanatic who is called the commander of the faithful. he's had ten years since 9/11 to denounce al qaeda and hasn't done it. as for others, the taliban banned photography some years back, so getting pictures of these men is problematic. but experts say there are a few taliban figures who could be players. there's tayyab agia, and mullah
abdul salem zaeef, once in u.s. custody and once released, mullah muttawakil, also once in u.s. custy and the taliban's representative in the u.s. before september 11th and is said to be living in kabul. still, experts say it's not likely that all of these men would represent the taliban. james carafano says this. >> reporter: the taliban and al qaeda are ideological cousins, one in the same in, terms of their approach towards the united states. are you never going to get a deal with the taliban that's not if left alone that won't take you right back to september 10th, 2001. >> but the taliban has been weakened militarily since then and there are other changes since 9/11. i asked cnn national security
analyst peter bergen about possible advantages to contacting the taliban now. >> you could create splits in the taliban movement. some people might be tempted to kind of make an agreement. you also can gather intelligence about who they are and what they are thinking. >> but there are risks just in talking. last fall a man passing himself off as a key taliban mediator was flown to kabul on a nato aircraft. experts say he even took money from the allies. he turned out to be a complete imposter. wolf? >> i think it's fair to say, brian, that the taliban have reneged on almost every deal they have ever reached so far, haven't they? >> reporter: that's correct, they have, wolf. they struck deals with the pakistanis in 2005, 2006 and in 2009. every single time they regrouped, moved into other areas of pakistan and kept staging attacks. >> brian todd work the story, thank you. want to go right to the white house. our correspondent dan lothian is
standing by. dan, i take it you're getting information when the president will make his major announcement on when those u.s. troops will at least start coming home in some numbers. >> that's right. a senior administration official confifrmg that president barack obama will be making that highly anticipated afghanistan speech on wednesday. as you know, there's been quite a bit of internal debate in in administration as to the way forward in afghanistan. some believing that the troop reductions should be done in a most way. others believing that the u.s. should not have a big footprint in afghanistan because of the fact that the u.s. was able to get osama bin laden. so the president will be laying out his vision for that withdrawal which begins next month. he'll be doing that on wednesday, wolf. >> we know where on wednesday he'll be doing it? there's been some suggestions he might visit that u.s. military base fortt drum in upstate new york. >> no specifics on that. it appears the president will be making that speech here in washington, and then on thursday
the president is scheduled to go to ft. drum. we're told earlier today by jay carney that the president will be going there to meet with troops at the time. jay carney said the president was still finalizing his decision as to when he would be delivering this plan forward in afghanistan, but no more specifics as to exactly what time or where exactly it will happen other than it will happen on wednesday. wolf? >> ft. drum, the home of the u.s. army's first mountain division. thanks very much for that. let's bring in our cnn national security analyst peter bergen. you and i have been talking about this withdrawal. right now to set the stage, there are 100,000 troops in afghanistan, another 40,000 nato troops. it's costing, what, about $10 billion a month to keep the u.s. troops there. how many troops do you expect will start pulling out in the coming weeks? will it be 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 of that 100,000? >> reporter: you know, i think
before osama bin laden's death the figures that i was hearing were 3,000 to 5,000, something pretty token but something nonetheless that you could say there is a withdrawal going on. bin laden's death does change the calculus, $118 billion a year in a time of budgetary constraints, and so, you know, it might get to 10. i'd be very surprised if it was 15, because at a certain point general petraeus and other military commanders will say, you know, the president can make whatever decision he wants, but the amount of risk that you take on does go up with every, you know, every 5,000 increment that you take out of afghanistan, particularly since you've actually put a lot of pressure on the taliban in kandahar and helmand province in the south. with the troops in the surge, you don't want to take the pressure away. >> there's a real disagreement though within the obama administration, i write about this on our blog at cnn.com/situationroom. the vice president, joe biden, he's been the most aggressive in saying the u.s. doesn't need 100,000 troops in afghanistan right now.
it can be way cut down. save a lot of money. save a lot of lives, and in the on the new counterterrorism strategy, you do a better job of keeping those troops there through the end of 2014, is what the president announced what, about a year ago? >> certainly vice president biden and people who are advising him, like tony blankley and his national security adviser were in the fall of 2009 the most vocal saying we don't need a large-scale -- >> i think they are still vocal. >> reporter: and they continue to be, and, of course, you know, with the death of bin laden is the demonstration of fact that the counterterrorism approach certainly yields dividends. the counterargument is that you can't support a counterterrorism approach without having, you know, a fair amount of control over afghanistan, the ability to gather intelligence and a father number of people. >> here's my assessment. it's not only arguments that biden makes on this. you don't need 100,000 troops in afghanistan anymore, and it's not only the money, $100 billion plus a year which is an enormous
amount of money. the conference of mayors in the united states today passed a resolution. get those troops out of there. spend that money here in the united states on infrastructure, education, health care or whatever, but it's also hamid karzai and the leadership of afghanistan. when he starts calling american troops who liberated that country ten years ago occupiers and he issues these ridiculous statements, that irritates the u.s., the american public, and he's saying if the afghanis want the u.s. there, why should they stay? >> our partner is not with harzy. >> he's president. >> he's elected president in a flawed election. >> he's about to go in 2014. >> 2014 is a long time, almost three years. >> but there are other afghan leaders who are, you know, politicians when i think, you know, are trying to replace him, and, i agree, his recent statements -- >> this irritated the united states. >> and i suspect that the president this time, just me, will be siding more with biden than perhaps with petraeus or gates, but we'll see on
wednesday. >> okay. see you on wednesday. >> will you join us? >> indeed. >> peter, thanks very much. a candidate's unusual video goes viral but maybe not for the reasons jon huntsman wanted and that's not even him on that motorcycle that we all saw. wow. plus a star is born but in a different hollywood. we're going to meet youngest winner of the u.s. open in almost 90 years. i will send this to shelley. yeah. and i can have a proposal to you within half an hour. we're a small business. with 27 of us always in the field, we have to stay connected. we use verizon tablets, smartphones. we're more responsive. there are no delays. delays cost money. with verizon, we do things quicker and more effectively. more small businesses choose verizon wireless than any other wireless carrier because they know the small business with the best technology rules.
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our chief political correspondent candy crowley takes a closer look. >> reporter: texas congressman ron paul can pack the house with passion so he frequently wins straw polls, like the one this weekend, at a republican leadership conference in louisiana. >> ron paul, 612 votes. >> reporter: but look who placed second, even the vote-counter seemed surprised. >> jon huntsman, 382 votes. >> reporter: jon huntsman is a former republican governor with a bipartisan twist to his resume. >> well, i know him because he was president obama's ambassador to china. >> reporter: and as huntsman prepares to officially launch his campaign, his former buddies on team obama just want to hug him to death. >> when we were in shanghai we got a chance to talk, and he was very effusive. this was in the fall of 2009, about what the president was doing. he was encouraging on health care. he was encouraging on the whole range of issues. >> reporter: with no imagination whatsoever and the help of
president obama's top political consultant, hear how an obama/huntsman race would play out. do you think that barack obama has had a failed presidency? >> on the economic sides there are no signs of success, very little. >> reporter: you think it has failed on the economic side? >> failed on the economic front. >> that is -- that is in conflict with what he communicated to us in 2009, and if he had suggestions on the economy, he had an excellent opportunity to suggest them then when we were all together in china. i think that what has changed is not his view of the economy but the view of his own chances to perhaps win the nomination. i understand that's politics. he's a politician, and he sees an opportunity. >> reporter: huntsman also favors civil unions for same-sex couples, entertained but did not enact the idea of mandated health care insurance, thinks the u.s. ought to get out of afghanistan and believes in the science of climate change.
you think democrats will be rough on huntsman? sample a republican. >> everyone knows that jon huntsman has weaknesses on some substantive issues, but the fact that he served in a democratic administration makes him a little tough in a republican primary and he understands that himself. >> you act like it's a non-starter. >> he fawned over obama to the point that he sounded like he should have been on msnbc. >> reporter: in political world, bipartisanship is nice in rhetoric. it can be darn toxic in a primary season. candy crowley, cnn, washington. >> in the days leading up to tomorrow's official announcement of his candidacy, jon huntsman has released a series of, shall we say, interesting ads. watch this. ♪
>> the candidate for president who rides, did you see those? let's discuss what's going on with our chief political analyst gloria borger. these ads are, shall we say, misleading. >> well, it's not huntsman. >> i thought when i saw the ad it was jon huntsman on that motorcycle. >> of course you did. he rides mote cross, but i'm told it's a friend of his actually riding. it's his clothes and his motor bike. he didn't really have the time. >> why don't we see him doing it? >> they said, well, he didn't really have the time. >> did they try to mislead folks? >> no, no, no. what this ad is supposed to do is to be a different way to introduce a candidate, and the
clear message here is i'm not like everybody else. i'm an outsider, and by the way, i should tell you, wolf, he did pay for the ad though himself out of his own pocket, but it didn't take long for utah democrats to take a whack at this ad by huntsman. take a look at this. ♪ >> still think it's misleading to put out an ad like that, give the impression that that's the candidate and it's really someone else. >> right. and what the democrats are saying here when they talk about reverse positions is they ever trying to make him into another mitt romney circa 2008 saying that he reversed positions on environmental regulation known as cap and trade, which, by the
way, he did do. when you talk to his cape, he said, look, there was a different economic environment when he was governor. this is what ceos want to do now and given the fragile economy he's change his position. >> how would they explain the fact that he's worked for president obama as u.s. ambassador to china before now he's about to go on the attack? >> he was for him before he was against him. >> how do they explain that? >> well, his answer to that is that when a president asks you to serve, you serve, just as he did for ronald reagan and for the two bushes, and so he did his duty for his country, but, of course, you know, it does look bad for him. he's now running for president against the man he used to work for, but he has to find a way to let the american people know this wasn't just about ambition, and it's very interesting to me. there's an interesting piece coming out this weekend in the "new york times" magazine by matt baye and he made it very
clear he was thinking about running for president in 2016, but then he says the marketplace changed and people convinced him that 2012 is the year to do it, and he's got a campaign of advisers he doesn't really know, wolf. these are people who want him to be president, so it was kind of a campaign in waiting for him when he came back from china. very interesting. >> he'll make the announcement in new jersey with the statue of liberty behind him. we'll watch it together and discuss it tomorrow in "the situation room." ronald reagan made his announcement for president with the stat you've liberty behind him. here's the next question. is he the next tiger woods? northern ireland's rory mcilroy becomes the youngest ever to win the u.s. open in 88 years what. are the folks back home in northern ireland saying? and on "john king usa" why the person getting the most buzz after the republican leadership conference in new orleans may be a comedian. >> thank you. thank you. discover aveeno >> how are you? tinted moisturis with scientifically proven soy complex
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brian in colorado says -- "if the votes are there, why not? let's start cutting waste now. i applaud the congressmen who are demonstrating their disgust with our country's inability to break our spending addiction to war. this thing is starting to pick up steam because it crosses party lines. americans are politically broke. we have nothing left to buy into the scare tactics and lies." ken in california writes, "sure, and the funding for the other 60 countries in our military empire. sooner or later, we're going to have to because we're broke. france, england, spain, among others, all had to give up their overseas empires." riley writes, "no, and prepare to step up operations there and in syria. we can't stop now." steve in virginia -- "sure, if they want to commit political suicide and explain why they didn't cut off funding to the war of choice in iraq once it was confirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction." denny in washington suggests, "i think it would be better if congress would cut off funds for running congress." larry in kansas -- "while we have congress seated and they're
in the mood to cut something, not only should congress cut off all funding for libya, they ought to cut off funding and withdraw all troops from afghanistan, iraq and any other middle east country. it would save $700 billion, which could be used for american jobs instead of helping people who hate us." paulette writes from pennsylvania, "no. president obama needs to send the same crew that killed osama bin laden over to libya to silence gadhafi once and for all." for more, you'll find them on my blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile. wolf? >> thanks, jack. see you tomorrow. it's the buzz of the sports world, a record-setting win at the u.s. open and a new hometown hero. >> reporter: spectators at the 19th hole erupted with joy as rory mcilroy sank the last putt. they already knew the local boy was brilliant. now he was on his way to becoming a golfing legend, and
the party went on through the night. >> a fantastic victory. i'm really, really proud of rory and his family. he's represented ireland and hollywood. he's put us on the map. >> reporter: it may lack some of the glamour of its u.s. namesake, but hollywood, northern ireland, now has its own star, the youngest winner of the u.s. open in 88 years is already the talk of the town, but he's also now a global golfing hero. on the course where it all started for mcilroy, his uncle told me rory was a natural from a very early age. >> he probably, you know, had a club in his house, was a big two or three, and he actually up in the clubhouse there, his father was bar manager, and he used to, you know, plastic bottles up and down the lines, and he started there, and then, you know, he just played. you know, we could never get him off the course. >> reporter: and friend pete murray says it won't change him.
>> he's always got his feet on the ground. comes back and plays football with us and has a drink. it's great to see the success hasn't gone to his head. >> reporter: his career has been followed closely here. everyone knew he was destined for stardom. >> his teachers would say he was a bright guy. he could have stayed and done a whole clutter of gcses and done possibly university if that's what he wanted. but everyone knew from a very early stage that rory's talent lay on the golf course. >> reporter: on the first tee at hollywood golf club today, youngsters were realizing that their dreams can come true. >> he's been here since he was very young, and, like, i've just -- i'm just trying to follow his footsteps like most other juveniles up at the club. >> well, he's a big inspiration because i started out here and one day i could be like him. >> reporter: but there is a dawning realization that no one is quite like rory mcilroy. they're already calling him the celtic tiger. here, they think they have a new hollywood icon. dan rivers, cnn, hollywood,
northern ireland. family portraits like we've never seen before, when we come back. even though i'm a great driver, and he's... not so much. well, for a driver like you, i would recommend our new snapshot discount. this little baby keeps track of your great driving habits, so you can save money. [sighs] amazing. it's like an extra bonus savings. [ cackling ] he's my ride home.
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here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: there are family photos and there are awkward family photos, and then there are these, creepy family photos, guaranteed to turn heads by switching heads while keeping it all in the family. but it is creepy. you agree? >> yeah, it is. and the main part about it is that it's real parents, you know? >> reporter: german photographer paul ripke is better known for fashion and advertising photos, but his "man baby" series was for fun. what do you do with these? >> nothing, actually. >> reporter: ripke basically shoots a portrait, then switches the heads, making the dads' heads smaller and the child's head bigger. >> that's the owner of an italian restaurant, actually. he's a pretty big german deejay. >> reporter: and he's the coach of a famous german soccer team. [ baby crying noises ] >> reporter: and though the genre is called "man babies," there are plenty of woman babies
as well. >> my favorite is probably my wife. >> reporter: his daughter's pacifier is a nice touch. the trick is to catch the child with an expression that it isn't childlike. you looked for a moment when your daughter was looking very adult. >> yeah, totally. that's what we try to find. >> reporter: if all this sounds vaguely familiar, there's a website called "man babies" that's been around for over three years. same concept, though a lot less glossy. [ laughter ] >> so bad, it's funny. >> reporter: the german photographer says he never heard of the man babies website until after he did his series. now there's even an "i swap faces" iphone app. it's all reminiscent of that little man movie. a little person criminal poses as a baby. >> you drop me and i'm going to drop you. >> reporter: poses to gain entrance and steal back a diamond. >> whoa! >> whoa. >> what is it? >> whoa! >> that ain't no baby, that's a po