tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 6, 2012 1:00pm-3:00pm PST
anywhere in this country without this backpack. >> i saw a go on a snow moeshl and he got buried by one of things. do you worry about that? i guess you won't anymore i suppose. >> you want to make sure the slope you're on doesn't bury you but in an instance where stuff like this happens i'm just glad that i had the right equipment. >> and you had your snowboard, too. michelle hytner, thanks for talking to us. >> thank you. >> and now, "the situation room" is about to begin. over to you, wolf. thank you very much. happening now, a day away from three more republican contests. why the frontrunner, mitt romney is casting nervous glances over his shoulder. growing indications and iran attack on the program is likely this year. we'll hear from an insider. what israel fears the most when it comes to iranian retail yags. >> and one of last night ice
super bowl ads has everything talking today. >> was the clint eastwood car commercial a political message in disguise? i'm wolf blitzer at the cnn election center. you're in "the situation room." mitt romney may have notched another big win in nevada this weekend but the frontrunner is not resting easily right now. right now there are contests tomorrow in minnesota, colorado and missouri and topping the list of romney's new worries, a strong new challenge from back in the republican pack pac. our national political correspondent, jim acosta is taking a look, jim? >> reporter: mitt romney is finding out the big afterglow can fade quickly from a caucus or primary win.
they are starting to focus on a candidate that's not newt gingrich. think sweater vest. rick santorum is out to show mitt romney what happened in vegas will stay there. hit penguin gop frontrunner once again on his health care plan in massachusetts. >> specifically, governor romney is absolutely incapable of making the case against obama care successfully. and, therefore, greatly damages our ability to be able to win this election. >> reporter: after toiling for weeks in obscurity, santorum is suddenly seen as the running mate any campaign's latest threat. santorum mostly skipped nevada to focus on minnesota, colorado and a nonbinding contest in missouri. >> his votes and his behavior in the congress reflected that drift away from fiscal discipline. >> reporter: in a sign that minnesota could be a tight race, romney is using the state's ex-governor, tim pawlenty to
tear into him. >> for the record, governor romney was an advocate of earmarks, number burn and number two, this is typical rom. >> reporter: romney's other worry is a w0u7bded nlg who is out for blood. >> we nominated a moderate in 1996 and he lost. we nominated a moderate in 2008 and he lost. the elite media would love to talk us into nominating another moderate. >> but the former speaker has problems of his own with "saturday night live" turns his proposal of a planet on the moon into a bunchline. >> you found the idea silly back in 2012. >> reporter: but it's romney losing altitude in a head-to-head matchup with the president, trailing mr. obama by nine points in an abc news
washington poll. >> this is the most anti--growth economy. >> and he boasted he helped put romney over the top and he won by double digits. >> a lot of people are giving me credit for that and i will accept that credit. >> after a huge victories in florida and nevada, mitt romney would like a clean sweep this week but if the current situation in both of these states coming up are any guide, this upcoming caucus battle here in colorado and in minnesota could be more like the super bowl, wolf, down to the wire for all the teams on the field, wolf. >> because as you say, santorum looks like he has a shot of actually winning the caucuses in minnesota. ron paul always does well in caucuses. newt gingrich isn't even on the ballot in new jersey. it's a nonbinding primary in missouri so there's a lot of wild cards. we could have major surprises tomorrow. >> that's right. >> and rick santorum might come out of the whole process looking
like he pulled off a smart political play by basically skipping the nevada caucuses and focusing on minnesota and colorado he's set the table for potentially, a very big night tomorrow night and once again, putting the attention of the race back on his campaign, something he's needed for some time, wolf. >> a very badly-needed boost right now. not a cashy name like "super tuesday." but he's hoping to rename it santorum tuesday with a strong showing in colorado and missouri. i spoke to the republican candidate about hit strategy for tomorrow and beyond. >> i can't tell you how many people, so-called experts, pundits, analysts have said, the reason that rick santorum is staying in the race is in case newt gingrich were to drop out, he could then emerge as the nonmitt romney, the so-called "real conservative" and develop a real challenge to mitt romney. is that the way you're thinking?
>> i think eventually as i said were, this ways will come towards us. this race will come towards us. we're the candidate that provides the best permanent of beating barack obama and that's going to become more and more evidence. it's opposite of what thought at the beginning of the race. it will become clear. >> what's going to happen on tuesday in colorado, minnesota and missouri? >> you know, i think, again, demographically, colorado is not the best state for us, but i think we can do well here. i think we'll do much better than we did in nevada and we can do better in minnesota and missouri is an interesting one because newt is not on the ballot and it presents an opportunity for a one-on-one matchup in a state that's a pretty key swing state for republicans. actually, a must-win state for republicans in this election cycle. so we're optimistic that we're going to perform very, very well in all there's of those states. >> despite losing four straight states rick santorum will always have iowa, ron paul, on the
other hand, is yet to notch a victory in any state. i spoke to the congressman about his expectations forgetting the republican nomination. >> gives your feeling looking ahead to tuesday, you're already in minnesota. there will be caucuses in minnesota on tuesday. caucuses in colorado on tuesday, also. and a primary, although not binding, in missouri. what's your assessment? >> well, i'm feeling pretty good about it. we have some good roshts on what's happening in maine and the colorado reception was fantastic. and we get really good support here, you know, in minnesota. so i think we'll come out pretty good on the. but i don't usually make wild predictions or claim anything. but i have felt very good about it. the reception has been excellent. >> you're in this contest at least through super tuesday, if not much further, right? >> yeah, certainly. it would be pretty difficult,
even if i had a personal desire not to continue, there would be a strong rebellion with my friends. but i think we're doing so well that there's no reason to even think about that. >> at some point you have to win a state, right? you have to win one state. give us your prediction. which state will you win in first? >> well, probably i'm not the best person because i don't look at the numbers carefully. i see myself as responsible for delivering a message and drying to motivate people so i don't think i'd be very good as saying that the very best state is going to be this state and this is the one we're going to win. so i'm going to defer because i don't have the numbers in front of me to make that prediction. >> cnn will cover tomorrow's three-state election night like no one else with the most reporters as well as the most cameras of anyone, a special edition of "john king usa" starts at 6:00 p.m.
i'm anchor the complete coverage. minnesota, all that special coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern. there's a super bowl ad that wasn't widely seen last night but it certainly is being talked about today. a republican senate candidate in michigan, former u.s. congressman is being hammered from all sides for a campaign commercial that is being called at the very least "racially insensitive." our lisa sylvester has been looking into this. lisa, what's going on? >> reporter: well, certainly in the political world, this is the most talked about ad from last night. pete hoekstra is running against debbie and the ad is about jobs leaving the country and record government spending and the u.s. falling behind in the globalization race but some critics are calling the ad, blatantly racist. it's the ad mocking december that incumbent the senator that's got the internet buzzing. >> thank you michigan senator, w spend it now. w spends so much american money
that you borrow more and more from us. your economy gets very weak. our gets very good. we take your jobs. thank you, w spend it now. >> the ad by former republican congressman pete hoekstra, who wants to take her seat in the fall, debuted during the super bowl and it companied by a website including chinese characters like the great wall of debt. the ad campaign is being lambasted and criticized as being ratist. >> i don't think there's any lent of that at all. the only stereotyping that we do here is of liberal democrats and their spending policies. >> reporter: republican strategist mike murphy tweeted, pete hoeksment tra's ad really, really dumb. i mean, really. a group of detroit baptist ministers are calling on him to apologize and pull the ad. >> if he would save these types of things and use these types of actions, using asians than we believe the same fear tactics
will be presented this regards to african-americans. >> reporter: the ad was produced by fred davis of "strategic perception" the same one that did this one with christine o'donnell "i'm not a witch." davis goes for attention-getting ad ads and he has no attention of backing down. >> i'm not apologizing for the ad. if someone believes that we were insensitive, i'm sorry to them. but i'm no apologizing for this ad at all. i think it clearly drives the message. the problem is american public policy. american do emsic do mems polic. >> reporter: the campaign office referred us to the state democratic office which points to hoekstra js record to increase the debt ceiling and. >> i understand the act of the
senate is an american. so, again, it's just hypocrisy after hi pop sick and it's so disengenuous and so insincere and that adds to his credibility problems. >> reporter: now, there's an interesting back story behind the ad. peechlt hoekstra in 2010 ran for governor and lost to a man named rick snider. he had a very successful ad campaign called "one tough nerd." and the person behind that ad was fred davis. so now, he says to his people, get me davis. i want him to do a hard-hitting ad for me and this is the result, wolf. will it have the same impact. >> we'll say that people are certainly talking about it, wolf. >> they talked about the "i am not a witch" ad of christine o'donnell in delaware. didn't work out too well for her. >> fred davis, a mixed record. one hand, a successful campaign in the michigan governor race.
i don't know how this ad will play out. there's been a lot of criticism about this particular ad, wolf. >> i suspect that criticism is not going to go away. thank you very much. iran is flexing its military muscles with a new round of military exercises and israel's openly talking about military action. the frightening reality of what could happen after an israeli strike. and 19 americans including the son of a prominent member of president obama's cabinet, they will stand trial in egypt, a country that receives $1.5 billion a year in u.s. military and economic assistance. now the congress is pushing back. and more than 100 billion people saw this clint eastwood chrysler commercial. could it unintentionally help the president in his re-election battle? [ male announcer ] what if we told you that cadillac
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jack cafferty is here with the cafferty file. wolf, another deadly day of bloodshed as the world stands idly by and watches syria's government murdering its own people. more than 50 people were killed today and hundreds more reportedly killed in the city of hanz over the weekend and akilling in some cases, has turned into butchering. one syrian told "the new york times" of seeing the beheaded bodies of women and children, lying in the roads. the civilized world looks on, does nothing. china and russia vetoed a u.n. security council draft solution which would have had president assad stop the violence. the u.s. along with other western and arab nations are pushing back, calling for the international community to do more. the u.s. says it was disgusted by the veto. secretary of state hillary clinton said blocking the u.n. resolution is to, quote, bear responsibility for the horrors
happening in syria. president obama has condemned syria's unspeakable assault against its people. france calls the recent massacre a crime against humanity and the british says the veto that will only encourage more killing in syria. and germany says the sandal would be failure to act. lots of words. no actions. the killing goes on. the u.n. says at least 5,000 people have died since the conflict in syria began. so here's our question -- why isn't anyone doing anything about the bloodshed in syria? go to cnn.com/cafferty file and post a comment or go to our post on "the situation room"'s facebook page. >> we'll check in with arwa damon later for more on this important story. meanwhile, the u.s. is warning that aid to egypt could suffer if egypt insists on prosecuting 19 aide workers. the americans, including the son
of cabinet secretary ray la hood were caught up in raids in december. some have taken refuge in the united states members in cairo and the issue is sparking serious bipartisan anger in congress and that could cause serious fallout for egypt's military authorities. chris lawrence is standing by with a closer look. chris? >> reporter: some of those americans have been branded as fugitives by egyptian authorities because they left the country but they're actually in a better position now because the u.s. is unlikely to ever force them to go back to stand trial. at issue are those americans still in egypt. as you mentioned, some have taken sanctuary at tembassy and today. the state department told other americans to come to the embassy, meet with lawyers and start to prepare for what could be coming. egypt is pressing ahead with the prosecution of 19 meshes.
civilian aide workers accused of using foreign funds to stir up descent. offices have been raided and equipment confiscated all while the u.s. sends egypt $1.4 billion, mostly to the military. >> we said clearly these actions could have consequences for our relationship including regarding our assistance programs. >> some demand more than mere threats. they want to cut the purse strings. 41 outraged members of congress signed a letter secretaries panetta and clinton and egypt's military leader and the republicans and democrats are calling on the u.s. to cut funding until egypt stops going after the aide groups. >> i don't think we should send them one thin dime until they release those americans that they're holding over there, that they're planning to try, it's just terrible. >> it's clear the military just trying to pick a fight with the united states because it does not have the support of its own people and is trying to play the american card.
>> reporter: egypt was the first arab nation to buy american f-16s. it plans to add well over 1,000 abrams tanks to its arsenal. the two militaries have trained together. the official pentagon line is -- the relationship is strong, we just have to push lieu this crisis. privately, a senior defense official admits there's been frustration. that after all the years of building this partnership the pentagon has not been able to have greater influence. some analysts say the crisis has exposed a real rift and they expect the u.s. and egypt to still maintain some relationship. >> but the strategic alignment that they've enjoyed is clearly coming to an end. >> and again, today the state department issuing an opened invitation for those remaining americans charged to come to the u.s. embassy there in cairo. the senior defense official i spoke to said the u.s. has to
keep giving military aid to egypt because he feels no matter what sort of government emerges from the upcoming elections, the egyptian military will remain a pillar of that country and he says that the u.s. has to maintain a relationship with that military. >> wolf? >> you know what's shocking to me is that not leon panetta, the defense secretary and the secretary of state, hillary clinton, the president of the united states, president obama, they've all personally spoken with general who is the head of the military regime over there in egypt that made the case. you got to stop this if you want u.s./egyptian relations to stay on track. 23u79 the u.s. congress to continue providing $1.5 billion a year in assistance to egypt and the general doesn't seem either capable or willing to do anything. i don't know what they're saying at the pentagon about it but it's pretty shocking when you think about it. >> that's right, wolf. publicly, at least, the egyptian officials are passing the buck to the judiciary saying we can't interfere with judicial apaiffa
and it's a judicial matter but everyone knows the military exerts enormous influence over the interim government, so to speak, that's in power now. so the failure to do something on this issue, many people believe, is entirely in the hands of the egyptian military. >> all right, chris lawrence at the pentagon. thank you, an enormously important story. and president obama gets tough on iran and at the same time iran is flexing its muscles in a new series of military exercises and israel leaders are talking about a bombing campaign. and a circus stuntman makes a move that's not planned and it's captured on tape. you'll see what went wrong. was . a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪
is running against two other candidates in the july election. mexico's current president, felipe calderon is at the end of his ex-year term limit. and brace yourself for this video showing a motorcycle stunt gone terribly wrong at a circus in michigan. a stuntman was trying to fly his cycle through the air when he collided with a cable and you see it there, he crashed 25 feet to the ground and the cable struck a clown sending both men to the hospital, the driver has several broken bones but fortunately both men are expected to be okay. pretty spectacular pictures there. you can call it the middle finger malfunction. rapper mia flipping the bird to the largest television audience in history. it happened so fast that you might have missed it. nbc tried to blur it out but was slow to the trigger and a source close to mia says the rapper was nervous and not thinking and apparently, adrenalin took over.
that's what she's saying to explain that moment, wolf. >> i'm sure she is. i missed it myself watching. thanks, lisa. stepped-up concerns. israel is moving closer to attacking iran's sites. and also, one super bowl ad has everybody talking right now. was that clint eastwood car commercial really a political message? discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half! ♪ oh, it was the first time i fell in love ♪ ♪ the first time i felt my heart ♪ [ man ] people say i'm forgetful. [ horn honking ] ♪ ...all through the night [ man ] maybe that's why we go to so many memorable places. ♪ [ male announcer ] the subaru outback. love the road you're on. [ male announcer ] the subaru outback. you know what's exciting, graduation. when i look up into my student's faces, i see pride. you know, i have done something worthwhile.
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iran says its military is conducting a new round of war games amid growing concern israel is moving closer to striking iran's nuclear facilities. barbara starr is joining us from the pentagon. wolf think of it as a rising triangle of rhetoric, israel, iran and the united states, everybody's got something to say about all of this but what is really going on here? if it comes to military action, this may be ground zero. iran's underground nuclear fuel
plant near the holy city of the town, buried so deep there are doubts even the biggest u.s. or israeli bombs can get to it. israel and the united states seem to be at odds about what comes next. defense minister ehud barak talks openly about a possible military strike. >> if israel does a unilateral strike, this could be a real problem for the national security interest of the united states. >> reporter: and inside the administration been more mixed signals, defense secretary leon panetta let it be known he believes israel could strike this spring. but in an nbc interview, the president seems to be disagree. >> i don't think that israel has made a decision on what they need to do. >> reporter: but as iran begins another round of military exerci exercises, some u.s. officials say the back and forth between israel and the u.s. is a pressure tactic against iran. the u.s. intelligence community has its own warning. >> iran's technical advances,
particularly in the uranium enrichment strengthen our assessment that iran is more than capable of producing enough highly-enriched uranium. >> reporter: the cia is tracking several highly-class tied indicators of where iran's nuclear program stands. >> what we think would be evident, if there is a decision to enrich beyond the 20% that they are currently enriching to the weapons' grade would be very significant. >> reporter: they tell nbc perhaps more significant, the politics inside iran. >> i think we have a very good estimate of when they could, potentially, achieve breakout capacity. what stage they're at in terms of processing uranium. and -- but, do we know all the dynamics inside iran? absolutely not. >> reporter: some u.s. officials
say, you know, that the sanctions are beginning to work. beginning to bite at iran's economy but the question, perhaps, is -- will they bite enough before iran makes that critical decision about whether or not to go nuclear, wolf? >> good question, barbara with thank you. and joining us from tel aviv, ronen bergman and a contributing writer for the "new york times" sunday magazine. you wrote an amazing piece in the "new york times" last weekend and you concluded with this sentence -- i'll put it up on the screen. after speaking with many senior israeli leaders and chiefs of military and intelligence i've come to believe that israel will, indeed, strike iran in 2012. i assume you still hold that opinion, that assessment right now, right? >> yeah. and since the story was published last week, and thank you for the compliment, wolf, i'm not the only one who says
that but secretary of defense, leon panetta gave even a more specific date when he said that his assessment that israel will strike between april and june and i think that this is the common fear among american leaders and chiefs of the intelligence. i just came back from the munich security conference today and what i heard from the american officials is that they are -- they are almost convinced israel will strike. if anything, if nothing changes israel will strike a rab in the time frame of 2012. >> over the weekend, president obama gave a little bit different assessment of what's going on. the decision making process in israel a little different than what leon panetta apparently believes. listen to what the president told nbc news. >> i don't think that israel has made a decision on what they need to do -- >> do you believe israel has made a decision already? >> no. i think that the minister of
defense, barack, when giving interviews in a long phone conversation in late nighttimes when he called me after giving interviews he stressed that the decision has not yet been made and even a time to make this decision has not yet been scheduled. however, the israeli assessment is that iran, during 2012, is about to enter what was coined and termed by minister barack but the sites will be spread too deep underground and the fossil material of iran is going to be hidden and therefore, the israeli leaders believe that 2012 is the time to make the call. the last time to make the call whether to strike or not. >> the president also says that u.s./israeli military and intelligence corporation right now is better than it's ever been before. do officials in israel -- and you're in close touch with them -- believe that they
effectively have a green light from washington if they make that decision, to launch a pre-emptive strike against iran nuclear facilities. >> let me, wolf, react to both parts of your question. first, i think that the perception from israel is like the president obama said. the intimate, profound serious corporation between the united states and israel on intelligence, especially when it comes to the iranian nuclear challenge is deeper and the best that it has ever known. and because of that cooperation and because of the interchange of intelligence, both countries agree on the fact. the facts are that agreed are that iran is going to be able to reach a nuclear military capability within a year's time and militaryize a nuclear bomb to fit the shoulder of a missile within another year or half a year. the problem or the debate is what to do with the facts? what israel or the united
states, altogether, are going to do? on the issue of the green light, the answer is yes and no. there's no -- nobody in israel claimed there was an american green light, but israel maintains and minister and prime minister both agree israel is not seeking a green light. when israel is asking for a legitimate first strike it is looking for understanding, not even support but an understanding that after exhausting all other options, using covert actions, using sanctions and embargo on the export of duel-use equipment to iran. after exhausting all this as a last option israel is left with no other possibility but to strike and therefore, no green light but israel, is not seeking a green light for that. but something of a much lesser value. >> is israel prepared for a retaliation? >> yeah. i would put hit the way.
if it wasn't for the inevitable day after affect of a strike, israel would have attacked a long time ago but israel knows iran has the ability to the launch surface to surface and more important, iran can activate hezbollah, jihadist uranium proxy and armed with 50 to 6 o',000 rockets that are covering the whole of the territory of israel. and also to make what moss and the jihad to the south of israel to initiate a rocket campaign as well. therefore, while being quite, i would say, persistent and stubborn and doing whatever it can to prevent iran from getting a nuclear bomb, there are many israelis that claim israel does not can have the capability to protect its own population in the day after.
and therefore, such a risk might ignite a war in the middle east or might ignite a war that israel cannot sustain. >> ronen bergman, tough decisions for israel, the u.s. and for the region as a whole. thanks again, once again. excellent article in "the new york times" sunday magazine. i learned a lot, appreciate it. united states shuts down its embassy in damascus, syria. dozens more killed today. the emotional stories from what's become a war zone is coming up at the top of the hour. and while england celebrates the queen, argentina condemns the prince. why the future king is causing such controversy right now.
getting to our strategy session. the democratic strategist, donna brazile and republican strategy, mary matalin. great super bowl yesterday. the commercials were pretty good as well. this one, in particular, is causing a lot of political buzz right now. a clint eastwood chrysler car commercial. let me play you a clip of it -- it's halftime -- both teams are in their locker rooms discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half. it's halftime in america, too. people are out of work and they're hurting. and they're all wondering what they're going to do to make a comeback and we're all scared because this isn't a game. people of detroit know a little something about this. they almost lost everything. but we all pulled together.
now motor city is fighting again. i've seen a lot of tough and a lot of downturns in my life and times when we didn't understand each other. it seems that we've lost our heart at times. a fog, a vision, discord and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead. this country can't be knocked out with one punch. we get right back up again and when we do the world will hear roar of our engines. yeah! it's halftime, america! and our second half is about to begin! >> pretty impressive ad. let me start with you, mary. today, that ad, that chrysler commercial followed up with a full page "it's halftime in america" with clint eastwood and the second half is about to begin as well. when i saw the ad i didn't know what it was for and initially i said, it looks like a pro obama
super pac ad, if you will. that was the initial sense i got. how did you react when you saw that ad? >> well, as a member of the 44% of the nfl fan base, women, that is, the first thing i thought was how hot clint eastwood is. i didn't know what the commercial was about but it became political. it's knot political and it's certainly not a pro obama spot. it's a car commercial. just the same as the beer commercial that celebrated the end of probabilitition that obama epitomizes. these are commercials for products. extremely well done and how it got into the political buzz world is when the obama people tweeted out that somehow, clint eastwood who really doesn't have a big liberal back ground is somehow allegianlegiant to obam >> carl rowe was on fox and he
reacted to that commercial this way. >> i was frankly, offended by it. i'm a huge fan of clint eastwood and i thought it was a extremely well-done ad but it's a sign of what happens when you have chicago politics and the president of the united states aare, in essence, are using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising and the best wishes of the management which is benefitted by getting a bunch of our money that they'll never pay back. >> karl rove is pointing up to the bailout of chrysler and general motors, the obama administration and the bush administration, for that matter, bailed out the american car industry, if you will. not ford. and this is a way of them saying -- thank you to the president of the united states. >> well, first of all, i thought it was a very effective ad. the ad was about revival. about an auto industry that was on its back and now coming back. the great american cities are coming back. i thought it was a very effective ad. and anybody that knows clint
eastwood, the man is still a handsome guy. like you, wolf. but, let me just say this, wolf. at some point we need to stop making everything political. this was an opportunity for chrysler, like they had did in 2008 and they did in 2011. eminem, say, reboot our economy, time to restart. i'm sorry carl didn't like it. >> so you disagree with carl, is that what you're saying were sna mary? >> i'm surprised to hear carl say that. that stimulus was everything -- it was timely and targeted and temporary and attached to very strict and measurement market-forced conditions all of which were met. there are many management jobs. labor jbs lost. dealerships closed. iconic brands went down. a lot of reform-oriented restructuring and accelerated
bankruptcy. all of which was put in place by bush. this is not to be confused with the subsequent stimulus packages which were not nearly as productive so i'm not sure why he said what he said. but i'm sure he had a good reason for it. >> mary matalin, still zebding the bush administration. we're out of time, donna, but we'll continue the conversation. the violence is worsening in syria. jack cafferty is asking -- why isn't anyone doing anything about the bloodshed? your answers in a moment. and something you don't see every day, the prince performing the duty of a military man. new pictures of deployment to the faulkland islands. those pictures when we come back. [ male announcer ] the draw of the past is a powerful thing.
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unlike iran. and israel can kick their butts militarily in a couple of days, like the rest of them. i think the biggest reason is we're too broke to be of assistance and we're too afraid of what the resulting mad hatters will form in the way of a government. kim in kansas writes two reasons, jack. first, china calls the shots now, not us and they like the idea of having a dictator in their pocket they can control. secondly, the world is growing weary of the typical scenario where there's an uprising, the dictator falls, religious and trienal factions carve up the country and it all ends up on someone else's doorstep to be resolved only to be repeated a few years down the road. the middle east will never, ever change. cliff in new york writes -- last i checked the arab league consisted of 22 league member countries and it's about time for them to take responsibility for moderate behavior of their members both in syria and iran and end the absurdity of the unified hatred of israel.
stan in ohio writes -- history repeats itself. not on the same scale. we saw similar events in south africa, somalia, yugoslavia and ukraine to tham a few. as long as it doesn't affect anybody's ability to do nothing and be comfortable, this will continue. could it possibly be the warmongers have decided to let this one slide considering it's none of our business and we're just ending two other idiotic blood-sucking drain our wallets dry, wars. if you want to read more, go to my blog on "the situation room"'s facebook page, wolf? much more coming up on syria. hope is fading for anyone that opposes the bashar al assad's regime. and a gut-wrenching story of what it's like to be part of the opposition. and prince william goes to work. new pictures of the man being
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six-week deployment that's part of a search and rescue team and though england is proud of him, argentina is not saying he wears the uniform of the conquerer. cnn's max foster is watching this all unfold, max? >> reporter: wolf, this deployment is being played down here in london, as routine. but it's being seen very differently in argentina. flight lieutenant wales as he's known in the royal air force is almost 8,000 miles away from home starting for a six-week posting to the faulkland islands as a search and rescue pilot. he has the same duties as any other servicemen of his rank as been assigned a standard room with a single bed. meals provide add longside everyone else in the staff can teen. but prince william is no ordinary serviceman and this is no ordinary assignment. this is the future king of great britain and these islands are
also claimed by argentina. the timing of william's assignment is causing a stir there with april marking the 30th anniversary of the start of faulkland's war that saw thousands of people die and ultimately won by the british. they have erupted with demonstrations outside the british embassy and attacks on british businesses. the argentine government says it regrets the prince's arrival in what it calls "the uniform of the conquerer." >> i think they're putting that in i motive terms. he wears the same uniform as other people. he performs the same duties as other people. that, if you like, is his day-to-day job and he's doing his day-to-day job. >> adding to the emotion in argentina, the new movie "the iron lady" recently released in the country, shows former british prime minister marg rate thatcher who sent troops into
war with argentina over control of the islands almost three decades ago. no except from buckingham palace. they say the deployment is a matter for the government and military. buckingham palace is focusing on the fact that the queen is celebrating a remarkable 60 years on the throne. the stunning court decision that would put this dangerous al qaeda force on the streets. and a missing woman's two children savagely killed in a horrifying home explosion that police say the father rigged. ahead, nancy grace with shocking information about what allegedly caused this heart-wrenching disaster. and a former white house intern reveals the steamy details of an affair she claims she had with president kennedy almost 50 years ago. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. breaking news, political
headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> we begin with a scene of utter fear and desperation in syria. this video purportedly showing families with children attempting to flee a bombed-out neighborhood under heavy gunfire. another 74 people were reportedly killed just today and some say, because of the united nations the syrian government now has a green light to intensify its brutal crackdown. let's go straight to cnn's arwa damon in beirut with the latest. a city in syria under siege. what's the latest, arwa?
>> reporter: well, the majority of the casualties you just mentioned there happening in the flash point city and continues to be the epicenter of this government crackdown. activists describe it as a blood bath that's taking place as the world watches. >> what did we do for you to treat us like this, this little girl asks, her head bandaged after injuries to her eye. we can't tell if she's being prompted to speak out against the assad regime but the pain and misery emanating from syria is echoed in various videos posted to youtube. >> tank shells. >> danny, an activist that cnn has regularly be in touch with, knows it only too well. >> i thought really horrible -- i saw really horrible things i've never seen in my life. a kid with his whole jaw gone. a little girl, a kid, 4 years
old, she's dead. her sister, 6 years old, she lost her left eye and her mother is in intensive care. >> reporter: no one has been spared the violence that reached ununprecedented levels as the u.s. debated and failed to i didn't on syria over the weekend. the vetoes by russia and china of what was already a watered-down version of a resolution condemning the violence, seemed to have emboldened the regime. although the syrian government denies the crackdown. these are chaotic scenes from a field hospital settle to have been hit by rocket or mortar fire. the doctor, hysterical, as he moves through the injured, pointing to a man whose legs had to be amputated, he says. and another, who they were unable to save. this clip was posted from the town of reston. a little girl lies in a hospital bed says she's ascared.
scared of needles and scared of hasaan lying in the bed next to her. >> you don't know if the rocket will come in your living room or your kitchen. everybody is becoming used to death here. blood in the streets. people think our blood is like water. >> reporter: many of the videos are simply too graphic to show. this clip also from the same place, a child's leg has been blown off. no matter how syria plays out, the suffering will be felt for decades to come. and what makes it all even more tragic, wolf, is that at the very least in the near term, there seems to be no solution. as long as the international community remains divided the assad regime will continue to be emboldened and the window for dialogue when it comes to various parties on the ground speaking to the government, that effectively closed a long time ago because of all the bloodshed, wolf? >> arwa, is there any indication
that the syria government is widening its campaign beyond the city right now? >> well, the crackdown is taking place in homes but it's also taking place almost simultaneously in various damascus suburbs specifically where it seemed that the government was not in full control, where the free syrian army could maneuver to a certain degree. some clashes taking place 10 to 15 minutes from the heart of the capital and it continues in the province of idlib and a southern province of daraa. this crackdown is still spread to all of these areas of descent throughout the entire country. >> arwa damon in beirut, thank you. the united states is taking new protective steps in the wake of the worsening syria crisis
shutting down our embassy in damascus and pulling out remaining diplomatic staff. a dramatic move by the obama administration, jill? >> it is, wolf. shutting down an embassy is a major step. the security situation in syria is so bad, the state department said, they had to do it. diplomatic efforts that ton to stop the violence hit a brick wall as the carnage worsens. more killings in syria. frustration in washington. >> we must go forward before this puts a solution out of. >> reporter: the president obama is using words not weapons, telling nbc -- >> i think it is very important for us to try to resolve this without recourse to outside military intervention. i think that's possible.
>> reporter: monday, the u.s. shuts its embassy in damascus and they are worried. >> this reflects the fact that the regime is increasingly losing control. >> reporter: ambassador robert ford and staff pulls out but the u.s. insists it's not severing relations. the syrian embassy in washington remains opened and ford is still ambassador. the state department says he will maintain contact with his syrian opposition and continue our efforts to support the peaceful political transition. britain recalls its ambassador to london for consultations, blasting the syrian president. >> this is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. there is no way it can recover its credibility internationally or with its own people. >> reporter: the u.s. and its european and arab allies went for broke at the u.n. this past weekend, failing to stop russia
and china from vetoing a resolution calling on syria's president to step aside. now the u.s. says, blood is on their hands. >> and russia and china will eventually, i think, come to regret this decision, which has aligned them with a dying dictator. >> reporter: bubba shar all but plenty left. risks taking over by an armed opposition. >> we're headed to a new era in the syrian conflict in which you're going to have a lot more bloodshed, something akin to an insurgency against the state, as well as dipping into a civil war. >> reporter: what's next? secretary of state hillary clinton says u.s. will work with countries outside the u.n. to pressure syria, increase sanctions and convince those around asaad to abandon him and in a warning to russia, expose those who fund and provide weapons to the syrian regime.
wolf? >> jill, thanks very, very much. he's known as one of osama bin laden's right-hand men and is believed to be an inspiration behind the 9/11 terror attacks. but now, after yourself behind wars, there are startling indications that this al qaeda ally may actually go free. we'll bring in our own brian todd working the details. brian, what's going on? >> abu atadda connected to people that have committed notorious terror attacks and in britain, there's again win concern that this man considered very dangerous there will have some measure of freedom very soon. he's been called osama bin laden's right-hand man in europe, his spiritual ambassador to the continent, someone who raised money for terrorist groups linked to bin laden and a british court ruled that he should be released on bail. the british home office is furious. in a statement saying -- this is
a dangerous man how we believe poses a reel threat to our security. >> what this case demonstrates that there was a certain group of people who it is hard to charge with any crime, yet they do provide the spiritual kind of sanction for terrorist actions. >> reporter: cnn analyst peter bergen likens him to the so-called "blind sheikh" serving a life term in the u.s. for encouraging the 1993 bombing. the terms of his bail are tough. 23 hours a day under house arrest. no internet or electronic communication. all visitors have to be approved. one british official said having him out for two hours a day is abhorrent to them. british officials believe he inspired the lead hijacker on 9/11 and he says, that's not
all. >> i've read interrogation reports saying he was the spiritual sanctions for a lot of the inspiration to the rakes that killed a lot. >> since arriving in 1993, he's been convicted in absentia by the jordanian government for involvement in two attacks in the '90s and a foiled not po plant bombs in jordan around the millennium. great britain has been tries to deport him to jordan but the european court of human rights has ruled against that, arguing that torture could be used to provide evidence against him. his attorney is quoted as saying his detention has gone on for too long to be reasonable or lawful, pointing out he's been in custody for more than six years under the deportation proceedings and nine years without charges on the grounds of national security. wolf? >> so what is the british government going to do at this point? >> they tell us they're planning to appeal the bail ruling, first
and foremost and weighing their legal options on the deportation ruling so right now you can bet that they're going to be surveilling him around the clock. they'll keep eyes on him no matter where he goes. he can only venture out of his house for two hours a day. >> thank you. five major contests down but the republican race for the white house may only just be getting started. why lower voter turnout could be a major factor in the weeks ahead. president obama says he deserves a second term in office. has he made the case for re-election? ahead, voters make a dramatic new shift in a poll. ♪
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jack, cafferty file? wolf, the issue of race is rearing its ugly head and we have nine months to go before the general election. politico reports -- no one knows what impact the race card will have on president obama's re-election prospects but it's out there. there was newt gingrich describing the nation's first african-american president as the food stamp president. he also suggested poor inner city, mostly minority, new york students should develop a work ethic by mopping their own schools. first lady michelle obama pushing back hard against the idea that she's an angry black woman. and the president's own re-election campaign, fighting off stories that he's practically given up on the blue collar white vote. and oh, attorney general eric
holder suggesting some of the trouble he's been in because of the fast and furious gun running operation is because he's black. but the gasoline that got the race fire lit this time around was this. president obama and arizona governor january brew brewer fa on a airport tarmac. all many saw was a white woman wagging her finger at the first black president. their disagreement was part of the ongoing battle over immigration policy. the federal government doesn't have one. for her part, governor brewer insists their only about politics. when brewer said she felt threatened by mr. obama that day, the naacp replied, quote, with what were you afraid he'd do? steal your purse, unquote? it's already getting ugly. experts say the true impact of racism on voting is too difficult to measure. some say it will matter less in 2012 because people are focused on their own financial anxieties but rest assured, racism will be
lurking throughout the shadows of this remaining campaign. how much of an issue will race be in the 2012 presidential election? go to cnn.com/ofity file and post a comment on my blog or on our facebook page, wolf? five major contests down in the republican race for the white house but in many ways the race is only just beginning and there could be some big surprises before it's all over. less than 24 hours from now the candidates face off in minnesota and colorado caucuses and two key battleground states. along with a nonbinding primary in missouri where newt gingrich isn't even competing. on saturday, maine wraps up its caucuses which have been going on for days and at end of the month, february 28th, two more battleground stays arizona and michigan. and meanwhile, team romney may be leading the pack but there's signs that they are feeling some heat from rick santorum and they're shifting the line of
attack. santorum, who is desperate for momentum, isn't missing a chance to throw only solve his strongest punches yet. >> governor romney is absolutely incapable of making the case against obama care successfully. and, therefore, greatly damages our ability to be able to win this election this very critical election in 2012. because there is no greater issue in this race than freedom. >> our chief political analyst gloria borger has been looking at voter turnout in the last five republican contests. what are you seeing as far as voter turnout enthusiasm, if you will, is concerned? >> not great news for the republican party. they expected terrific voter turnout and if you look at the contests, slightly up in iowa, they expected a huge turnout in iowa in 2012 from 2008.
slightly up in new hampshire. very much up in south carolina. that's very good news but that's where some of the most conservative republicans reside, not a battleground state, they're the activists who come out to vote. look at florida and nevada. down 14%. down 25%. these are key battleground states in the fall election and the fact that in a republican primary, which, by the way, was very hotly contested in the state of florida, that the voter turnout was down? not good news for the republican party. >> and a lot of obama supporters are looking at florida and nevada and beginning to think, maybe those two states would be in play for the president in november. i want you to listen to what newt gingrich said saturday night at his news conference, really going after romney. >> he has gone negative and it is working. what i'm asserting to you is over time, i don't believe the american people will approve of
the campaign which actually suppresses turnout. i think it amazing if you look at florida, every county i care are youed in florida had an increased turnout. every county romney carried in florida had a decreased turnout. >> gloria, is he right? >> he does have a point here. if you look at florida, which mitt romney won, the voter turnout was down. look at south carolina, which newt gingrich won. the voter turnout was up. his point is -- and this is the point he's making at the republican party -- he can turn out the base of the party in a way that mitt romney will be unable to do. the romney people say -- you know what? once their man against the nomination then the republican voters who don't like barack obama will be enthusiastic about coming out to vote for mitt romney, just because they don't like barack obama. but we don't know the answer to that question. we don't know who's right in that fight yet. >> good point. >> romney, he almost won in iowa
and lost by a few votes. won in new hampshire and didn't do too well in south carolina and won decisively in florida and nevada but he has some momentum but he's got some obstacles on his road ahead? >> we saw a "washington post" poll today which provided us a window into what's been happening in the contest. key question, who understands the economic problems that people are having? very important when you vote for the presidency. if you look right now, look at how much barack obama beats mitt romney by. that's a huge amount. s are also, when you look at independent voters, romney and obama are in a dead heat, a month ago? mitt romney was beating barack obama with independent voters by about a dozen points so they have clearly been watching this republican primary. and they haven't liked what they've been seeing and, again, this is a number that's going to be real trouble for mitt romney if it continues. >> listening way to go between now and november. >> long way.
>> gloria, thank you. a story gripping the country right now. a man suspected in the disappearance of his wife turns his house into a bomb, killing himself and his two young sons. now new information about what the boys knew, potentially, that could have led to their deaths. and the animals have the same protection against slavery that people do? details. and a new federal case, that's coming up as well. all energy development comes with some risk, but proven technologies allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas...
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federal judges considering arguments in the controversial case alleges keeping animals in captivity is akin to slavery. lisa sill ve ster is monitoring that and other top stories in the situation room. what's going on? >> this killer whale is one of five at the center of a lawsuit that could determine whether animals have the same constitutional protections against slavery that a human being. people for the ethical treatment of animals filed the lawsuit against sea world claiming their
held captive and in conditions that amount to enslavement. the judge issue nod immediate ruling on a motion to dismiss. and newt gingrich's communication's has changes involved removing factual references to gingrich's three marriages as well as mentions of ethic's charges brought against him when he was house speaker. some wikipedia editors say it's inappropriate while others say the editing is okay. some iraq war veterans are pushing for a ticker-tape parade but the white house announced it is planning a different type of tribute. president obama and the first lady will host a white house dinner for a group of service members who are, quote, representative of the many thousands of americans who served in iraq. wolf? >> very nice, thank you very much for that, lisa. meantime, president obama says he deserves a second term in office and he says, he has the numbers to prove why. is it work something some insight into his re-election strategy. that's coming up. and a missing woman's two
children killed in an explosion. police say their father rigged it. nancy grace will join me next with what the kids knew about their dad that might have led to their deaths. americans believe they should be in charge of their own future. how they'll live tomorrow. for more than 116 years, ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms. when they want. where they want. doing what they want. ameriprise. the strength of a leader in retirement planning. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you one-to-one. together for your future. ♪
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questions remain on a horrific story in washington state. two little boys murdered in a house explosion the police say was set by their father. the twist? their mother vanished three years ago and police have believed for a long time that he had something to do with that as well. weir on the scene with dan simon. can you bring us up to date on the tragic developments in this case? >> reporter: wolf, this double-murder-suicide as investigators are calling it seems to be carefully thought out in advance and investigators tell us as many as ten gallons of gas was spread throughout the house before the explosion. quite frankly, to one can
understand how a father can do this to his children, ages 5 and 7. neighbor dale walden knew it was bad. >> i was in my living room just watching the pregame and there was a big explosion, it shook the house. >> reporter: outside, a house completely engulfed in flames. >> i just knew that if there was anyone in there they didn't survive. you can tell that instantly from what we saw. >> reporter: and inside, a troubled father with his two young sons, 5-year-old braiden and 7-year-old, charlie. >> this is all on him. he set this up. he did it. he is the one who started the fire. >> reporter: police believe this was a murder-suicide. josh powell was a person of interest in the investigation into his wife's disappearance. she vanished in utah in 2009 and her body has never been found. authorities there were still working to connect him to the case. a month after she vanished powell moved the kids to washington. >> first the wife, then the mother of those two boys and
then then him and his two sons. it's one thing to have him get charged or not charged and deal with it but it's evil. >> reporter: powell was involved in a bitter dispute with his wife's family and had been denied custody of his children last week. just before the blast, a caseworker brought the children to the house. the department of social and health services said it was part of an ongoing court-ordered visitation schedule and the caseworker is suffering from grave emotional trauma as a result of this horrific event. >> she was dropping the children off for a visitation with their dad. he got them into the house and slammed the door in her face and she couldn't get in and was out and was trying to call 911 when the explosion occurred. >> reporter: powell's attorney said he received an e-mail sent just before the explosion that read -- i'm sorry, good-bye. >> i think this is his admission of guilt and he couldn't handle it. >> in her first interview, susan
powells sister told hln's nancy grace the boys had started talking about their mother's disappearance. >> denise, what were they beginning to say about the night your sister went missing? >> from what i gather, from my parents talking to me is they said that mom went to go look for crystals and went into a mine to look for crystals and she never came out. and i've heard them -- they've pointed to a picture of a woman and pointed to her chest and said, mommy, owey. >> reporter: josh powell lost custody of his children after the father, who lived with the family, was charged with possessing child pornography. in court documents, josh powell said he had proven his fitness add a stable and loving father, wolf? >> dan simon reporting from washington state. and joining us now, nancy
grace of our sister network, hln. this is an awful story and it looks to me like the system really messed up big-time right now. these two little boys are dead. what happened here? >> you know, wolf, it's so easy to monday-morning quarterback and say would have, could have, should have, but by all outward appearances, i agree with you. tonight, at 8:00, over on hln, i'll speak to susan cox powells sister, denise. this is what i learned so far. the little boys, ages 5 and 7 now, of course this all began a couple of years ago, are starting to verbalize about the night their none, susan cox powell went missing, ie, was killed. and they are saying that that night, their father took them out in the van. that month my was, quote, in the trunk of the car. that mommy and daddy got out and mommy disappeared. that mommy was in the mines
looking for crystals. wolf, they would see women that resembled their mother, fair skinned with long w, dark, hair and say, mommy, owey. that combined the evidence of josh powell's insane story he decides at midnight on sunday night, to take his two little boys, ages 2 and 4, 'camping? it was 14 degrees outside, wolf. camps? he couldn't tell the authorities where he went camping and he comes home and his wife is gone with her purse and cell phone still there? i mean, all along there's been a treasure trove of circumstantial evidence that he killed susan cox powell, his wife. after a very controlling and abusive marriage. but, yet, no arrest was made. after that, wolf, he takes the boys, takes them to where his
father lives. wolf, the father, susan's father-in-law, was put behind bars for child pornography, right then and there the court should have re-evaluated and taken away his right to visitation. absolutely. if he gave him visitation to the father, which i'm all for visitation -- at least have it in a neutral setting. like a mcdonald's or burger king or monkey joes or mighty jumps where he can't blow the place up and have it all rigged for the moment the boys come in they all are burned to death. >> so who screwed up? where did the system fail? >> well, number one, it's josh powell. he's the one. because as much as you try to think, we could have done this. we could have done that. who could foresee him killing his own boys? well, i, for one, because i remember him saying -- i would
never hurt the boys or their mom. you can't separate those two because he did hurt his wife. he killed her. there's no other explanation. >> but he was never charged and they never found a body and, i assume as a result -- >> what are you trying to say, wolf? he was never charges, so? >> under the rules, are there laws that would forbid the children -- the father having visitation rights if he's never charged with a crime? he's just a person of interesting with, as they say? >> this is what could have happened. number one, his domestic abuse was strongly suspected in the death of susan powell, visitation, if there was any, should have occurred at a neutral setting like burger king or mcdonald's, not daddy's home where he could rig the whole place. the poor social worker couldn't stop it. she opens the car door, he immediately slams the door, fixes it where she can't get in.
she smells gasoline. calls her boss and steps back and the place goes up in flames. that's how fast it was. i prosecuted a lot of arsons and it sounds like the way the walls literally heaved out and he had gasolines in multiple spots to act, base basically, like a gasoline bomb like a molotov cocktail, so the boys were immediately burned up. they probably didn't even have time to die of smoke inhalation. they were most likely burned to death, that would be my death from prosecuting arsons. so in light of the fact that the mother has been killed. in and taken out of josh paul's home, there should have been a neutral setting for visitation. denise cox said her family begged the judge to stop all visitation because they were afraid he would harm the boys. that's a red flag. visitation could have been denied or at least put neutral setting. why had not a murder charge
already been in effect i don't know, other than the prosecution may w57b9 wanted to have wait until they have an air-tight case. once you lose a case you can't retry it even if you have a confession or find the body. >> good point. more on that later with nancy at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. president obama explains why he says he deserves a second term in office. inside the obama re-election strategy. that's coming up. plus, a woman who said she had an affair with president john f. kennedy when she was a teenager. the steamy details of her tell-all book and more. that's coming up as well. it's beneful healthy fiesta. gotta love the protein for muscles-- whoo-hoo! and omega-rich nutrition for that shiny coat. ever think healthy could taste so good? [ woman announcing ] beneful healthy fiesta. vacations are always wasn'ta good ideaa ♪ priceline negoti - - no time. out quickly.
is now speaking out about the affair she says she had with president john f. kennedy. the details are in a tell-all book being released this week. cnn's mary snow is in new york. she has a copy. this is quite a story. give us the headlines. >> this is the book "once upon a secret" and it comes out on wednesday. it's salacious and at times, dark. mimi beardsly said she began a affair with president kennedy between her freshman year and sophomore years of college and lasted until days before the president was killed. her name is my my beardsly alfred and she wrooits in a new book "once upon a secret" she began a 18-month affair withment kennedy in the summer of 1962. four days after starting as a white house intern, she says she met the president in the white house swimming pool after being invited by a presidential aide. the president slid into the pool and floated up to me, she writes. it's my my, isn't it, he said?
yes, sir, i said. my my beardsly and you're in the press office this summer, right 1234 yes, sir, i am, i replied. in an exclusive interview with nbc with she said she didn't consider the invitation unusual. >> it didn't seem unnatural because everybody was fredly and i went back to work afterwards. >> you just dried off and went back and nobody blinked? >> no. no one said. >> reporter: later that day she said she had sex for the first time in her life with the 45-year-old president in mrs. kennedy's bedroom and claimed she stayed at the white house on many occasions skins mrs. kennedy was away that summer. do what you want. he would say to me. you can go home or you can stay. alfred claims to have travelled with the president on several occasions and writes that after returning to college she was flown to washington and that includes a visit, she claims, in october of 1962, during the cuban missile crisis. the last time she says she saw the president was on november 15th, at the carlysle hotel in new york.
just days before he was assassinated. he took me in his arms for a long embrace and said, i wish you were coming with me to texas and then he added, i'll call you when i get back. alfred says she reminded the president she was to be married in months but says he told her, he would call her regardless. the one person my my mention who had knew about the relationship was an aide named dave powers but whatever he knew he took to the grave dying in 1998. mimi beardsly issued a statement after historian wrote that it was rumored president kennedy had an affair with a young intern. and then there's this account from a white house press aide during the kennedy years found at the kennedy library. it's a transcript from 1964, in which he talks about mimi having a special relationship with president kennedy. she talks about the press inquiring why mimi was on presidential trips and she talks
about girls in the white house going swimming with the president and dave powers. >> and, wolf, the big question is ode oh why is she releasing this book now? besides this book deal she's gotten, it's not exact limb wleer why she's talking now. she writes in the book she didn't want to continue keeping these secrets anymore and she wanted to take control of her story. wolf? >> mary snow, thank you very much. if the presidential race were held today, who would win? president obama? would mitt romney win if he were the republican nominee? we have new numbers. the president's re-election strategy and we're going inside that when we come back.
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president obama is now directly and publicly making it a case that he deserves to be re-elected to a second term. we'll go to our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. what's going on, jessica? >> wolf, the good economic news for the nation is clearly good news for the president. as he's making his case for
re-election. on super bowl sunday, president obama looked for a win of his own. >> i deserve a second term. >> reporter: that comes just three years after another super bowl sunday when he said this about turning around the economy -- >> if i don't have this done in three there's going to be a one-term proposition. >> republicans have used that line against him ever since. >> he said if i can't turn the economy around in three years, i'll be looking at a one-term proposition. well, we're here to collect tonight. >> now unemployment is falling. it's down to 8.3%. but still, no modern president has been re-elected with a rate that high. so the obama victory plan? try to make this election all about a vision for the future economy. >> whoever the republican nominee is, i fundamentally disagree with a formula that would go back to the same policies that will got us into this mess in the first place. >> we've got to return to
old-fashioned american values. everybody getting a fair shot, everybody doing their fair share. >> and if critics pounce, the president has a slew of statistics at the ready. >> we created 3.7 million jobs over the last 23 months. we've created the most jobs since 2005, the most manufacturing jobs since 1990. >> wait, they've even got a chart. it shows private sector job growth has increased during the obama years. so how is it going over? a brand-new washington post/abc news poll shows president obama with a nine-point lead nationally against republican front-runner mitt romney. that's a dramatic ten-point change in less than a month. but it's not all good news for the white house. mitt romney still holds a slight lead over the president when it comes to who americans trust to handle the economy. and who they trust to create jobs. and wolf, you might not be surprised to hear today mitt
romney said no, the president does not deserve a second term. so far, mitt romney has argued that the president has not done a good job creating jobs and adds that president mitt romney would do a better job. clearly that will be a harder case to make if you know employment numbers continue to improve as they have this month, wolf. >> we'll see what happens in the next six, seven, eight, nine months. that will be very important. jessica, thank you. let's check back with jack for the cafferty file. jack? >> our question this hour is how much of an issue will race be in the 2012 presidential election. pete in florida writes, i'm a 67-year-old white man who's lived in georgia, mississippi and florida for over 20 years. and i can assure you race will be a major factor. i expect most blacks will vote for obama. and every white guy i know will vote against him. whenever there's no blacks around us, i hear is the n word constantly, even at church and not in a good way, especially when obama's name comes up. racism never died down here in
the south. it mostly just hides in the closet and jumps out whenever the coast seems clear. it will never change because the kids are raised with the same hatreds. jack in chicago writes, racism is already here, jack. we have a republican house that won't move forward on anything that our president wants simply because it's a black man who wants it. it's thinly veiled but it's also strikingly bare for those who bother to look. pat writes race is not an issue with me. obama's social policies lack of interest in controlling spending, and his disregard of the constitution and legislative and judicial branchs of government are detrimental to the future of the this country. richard in pennsylvania, of course race will be an issue. the liberal democrats will make sure their billion dollar campaign war chest stresses obama's race and not his failed presidency. the important issues will take a back seat because the democrats will skew any objection to failed policies as being racial in origin. and mike in new orleans writes
both race and gender are lesser issues now because of the break through successes of obama and hillary clinton. but candidates like newt gingriching will always appeal to the republican base by using racial code speak with a wink and a nod referring to food stamps and inner city children who should clean toilets. the gop base loves that kind of pandering. if you want to read more go to my blog cnn.com/cafferty file or through our post on the situation room's facebook page. wolf in. >> jack, thank you. an inmate in vermont comes up with a most usual way to insult state police. jeanne moos is next. tady. without the stuff that we make here, you wouldn't be able to walk in your house and flip on your lights. [ brad ] at ge we build turbines that power the world. they go into power plants
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will be giving away passafree copies [ laughter ] of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ssagesmalibubook.com. so how did an inmate in vermont get police officers to put an image after a pig on their cruisers? here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> forget pigs in a pen. this is about a pig that came out of the pen as in penitentiary and ended up on vermont state police cruisers.
the cruisers are decked out with decals based on vermont's coat of arms. an at a print shop where female inmates make the decals, someone changed the spots on the cow. the pig ended up on as many as 30 police cruisers. you know what it means to police. >> bacon, oink, oink, police officer. >> you're going to jail. su [ bleep ] pig. >> in this case the perpetrator was already in jail. it's believed an inmate doctored the image at the printing shop four years ago. though the pig wasn't noticed until an officer saw it on a cruiser just last week. >> next thing you know, people start spotting pigs in places other than the cow's spots. they're seeing a pig's head formed by the cow's shadow. it may be a stretch but do you see two ears and a snout? vermont state senator john camp bell laughed off the incident.
>> just like where's waldo, we're going to say where's the pig. >> but the corrections commission andy polito wasn't so jolly about the police being slipped a pig. >> i apologize for that. >> a spoekz person for the state police says they understand the humor in this but the prank does come at a cost to taxpayers. new decals will run about 800 bucks. but using the term pig isn't what it used to be. >> i smell bacon. does anyone else is smell bacon? >> yeah, i definitely smell a pork product of some type. >> nowadays police themselves call their own sporting events the pig bowl. and while everyone was looking for more pigs, some wanted to know what the weird yellow mushroom phallic things are. get your minds out of the gutter. they're bundles of grain. stop being a pig. jeannie most, cnn, new york. >> don't forget to join us tomorrow evening