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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  March 21, 2013 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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now it's time for the buried lead, stories we think are not getting enough play. soon we'll get our first look at just how big after case the government was building against the late internet activist aaron schwartz, a student at m.i.t. accused of habbing into the school's computer network. the university has now agreed to release whatever documents were handed over to federal prosecutors. schwartz's family hopes doing so will prove the case against their son was bogus. we never got to hear schwartz's full side of the story.
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he hanged himself in federal prison before the trial. dennis rodman is that friend who can't keep a secret. the north korean dictator kim jong un just learned that the hard way. rodman told the british tabloid "the sun" that kim jong un's wife kept talking about her beautiful daughter during his trip there when he and kim became bffs. rumors of kim's secret daughter have swirled for a couple years but north korea never confirmed she existed. now our sports lead. march madness is as much about big money as hoops. politicians here in d.c. are seeing dollar signs whether they filled out a bracket or not. the regionals of the ncaas will happen in washington blocks from the capitol. many polpoliticians are using t as an angle to hold fundraisers. the sun light foundation has gotten its hand on a few invites and says it costs from a grand to $5,000 to get into these events. i'm jake tapper. tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. eastern think about the money that could be made off the munchies alone talking about the big business of marijuana. i leave you now in the able
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hands of wolf blitzer next door to me in "the situation room." jake, thanks very much. happening now, breaking news. were chemical weapons used in syria in recent days? the first u.s. assessment is just in. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr, right in the middle of president obama's visit to israel iran's supreme leader makes a chilling new threat. and did the u.s. secret service accidently fire a shotgun near iran's president when he was in new york? and why did iran keep it quiet all these years? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. let's begin with the breaking news. the stakes couldn't be higher. president obama has warned use of chemical weapons by syria would be a game changer, his words. the u.s. has been investigating words of chemical attacks.
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now the first assessment shows that chemical weapons were apparently not used. let's go straight to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. what's the latest? what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, i've been talking to officials all day and they tell me the initial preliminary intelligence assessment is this. chemical weapons were not used. a chemical substance may well have been. when you look at that video emerging from syrian hospitals they say it does not appear that the symptoms or the treatment match the use of chemical weapons such as outlawed nerve or blister agents. they think it is more likely, perhaps, these people were exposed to some sort of chemical substance, a substance such as chlorine in some fashion and certainly it made them very ill. it probably caused some of the injuries that we've seen in these videos. but not the outlawed weapons.
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i have to tell you they also say they see no evidence of a scud missile launch. this is a preliminary assessment. they say multiple indicators now chemical weapons were not used. >> let me be precise. what is the difference between a chemical weapon and chemical substance. how is the chemical substance for example conveyed? >> look at it this way. when you talk about outlawed chemical weapons first you're talking about the agent such as a nerve or blister agent outlawed under international conventions designed to cause mass casualties. chemical agents such as chlorine has a different purpose, perhaps. perhaps an industrial chemical that still can be very deadly but doesn't fall into that other category. how they are delivered by a missile or rocket becomes part of the equation. there is no indication a scud missile with a chemical warhead was fired. >> how would this chlorine, chemical slunts be used?
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how would it inflict injury or death? >> it is always possible this was dispersed in some aerosol fashion, perhaps, you know, this is now in the realm of all the things they'll look at. could have been fired from helicopters flying overhead. could have been used from storage in ground areas. one analyst even speculate ed possibly some of the fighting and an artillery shell exploded near a chlorine storage facility. these are all speculations. what the administration is saying, the intelligence community is saying at the moment, they simply don't have the evidence that this kind of red line was crossed. that is what they don't have and what they don't think happened. >> thanks for that report. barbara starr at the pentagon. an ominous new threat today from iran's supreme leader with a massive crowd cheering his every word. the ayatolla warned that if iran is attacked it will destroy israeli cities.
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that of course comes right in the middle of president obama's visit to israel. watch this. >> translator: if they do a damn thing the islamic republic will raze tel aviv and hypea to the ground. >> speaking in jerusalem president obama issued warnings of his own today about iran's nuclear efforts. >> a nuclear armed iran would raise the risk of nuclear terrorism, undermine the nonproliferation regime, would spark an arms race in a volatile region, and it would embolden a government that has shown no respect for the rights of its own people or the responsibilities of nations. iran must know this time is not unlimited. and i have made the position of the united states of america clear. iran must not get a nuclear weapon. this is not a danger that can be
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contained and as president i've said all options are on the table for achieving our objectives. america will do what we must to prevent a nuclear armed iran. >> the president of the united states in jerusalem. let's go live to jerusalem right now. cnn's john king has been watching the president. a very busy day for the president in jerusalem, in ramallah, also meeting with palestinian leaders and so much on the agenda not just iran or syria but the peace process as well. >> let's go through the day. from the israeli perspective, tonight israeli officials saying after the president's remarks you just played, they have. even before the new prove okay tiff words from the iranian leadership what israel wanted was clear, muscular language from the president of the united states and israeli officials say they got it. number one the president said he'll not allow an iranian weapon from the u.s. perspective and will act if necessary with military force and he said if israel makes a decision it needs to act unilaterally to defend itself he would understand that
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as well. the israelis got exactly what they most wanted from the trip. from the president's perspective a long way to go. we'll get to peace in a second. remember for four years republicans back home have suggested he is soft on israel that, the israeli leadership doesn't trust him. to borrow an old phrase from our friend bill clinton that dog won't hunt after this trip at least in the short term. look at these pictures tonight. president obama at a state dinner in his honor in israel sitting shoulder to shoulder, literally at times forehead to forehead with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. for several minutes the two leaders, allegedly this frosty relationship, joking, laughing, talking, covering their mouths to make sure those with cameras couldn't figure out what they were saying. this the latest in several scenes where both of the leaders, maybe they're acting but they are very good actors if they are. they have made a clear decision to try to get along better as they move on to the long list of challenges. as the trip wraps up in the morning if there is a risk for the president it's this. he came in with low expectations and may have raised expectations and hopes too high.
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you've covered this issue for many years. the president talking to young israelis today demanding they challenge their leadership and old ways of blocking obstacles to the peace process the president saying he thinks it is possible, promising he'll make a personal commitment to get the parties back to the table. if you look at the obstacles whether rockets from hamas, continued building in israeli settlements, hard to see a peace process any time soon. so if there is one risk the white house is ecstatic tonight, trust me, the risk could be if weeks from now we don't see the beginnings of a process the expectations game could come back to haunt the president. >> stand by. i'll come back to you. i want to go now to analysis on what we saw today. gloria borger is joining us as is richard haas the president of the council on foreign relations. gloria, in the speech the president delivered about 45 minutes ago in the jerusalem convention center a few thousand young israelis, we saw the president as we saw him often on the campaign trail. >> right. speaking to a different generation, a younger generation about what was important to me as i listened to this
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president's speech, he said i'm a politician. take it from me. politicians aren't going to take the risk on their own. what he said, you need to create the change. we've heard that word change from this president. you need to create the change that you want to see. don't be frozen by the people that came before you and couldn't resolve these problems. he talked about an independent palestinian state and received a resounding a plaus. we heard this time and time again. now even as president in this country taking this to the people on issues like immigration, gun control, to a different generation and saying get beyond us, take this matter in your own hands. >> richard, my assessment when i was listening to this speech, very pro israel, very pro palestine, very pro peace. what did you think? >> well, the president didn't come to a plan but just as gloria said, he was speaking over the head of the israeli government just like here in the
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united states he often speaks over the head of congress directly to the american people. he was making the case for peace and signaling both sides things had to change for the palestinians and roishs. israel is here to stay. like it or not it is a fact of life. for the israelis he was making the case that if you want israel prosperous and secure and jewish and democratic you need a palestinian state. not as a favor to them but as a favor to yourself. he also said clements are counterproductive and work against that goal. this was context creating and the sort of thing you do before you actually launch a peace process much less serve a specific set of plans. >> i want everybody to stand by because we'll continue this conversation. up next, a heckler steals a little bit of the spotlight during president obama's big speech in jerusalem. what exactly did that heckler want? we've got the inside scoop. the kyocera torque lets you hear and be heard,
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a long-time sticking point between the u.s. and israel surfaced today during the president's visit stealing a little bit of the spotlight during his major speech in jerusalem. the interruption came when president obama was speaking to israeli young people about a brighter future when a heckler brought back some sour memories of the past. shouting at president obama to free jonathan pollard. >> i believe your future is bound to ours. no, no.
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this is part of the lively debate we talked about. this is good. >> pollard, an american convicted of spying for israel, has served nearly three decades in a u.s. prison and there have been protests in israel this week demanding his release. before his middle east trip, president obama was asked about pollard in an interview with israel's channel 2. >> this is an individual who committed a very serious crime here in the united states. he's been serving his time. i have no plans for, you know, releasing jonathan pollard immediately. but what i am going to be doing is to make sure that he, like every other american who has been sentenced, is, you know, accorded the same kinds of review. >> this is the story i've covered from day one. in 1989 i even wrote a book about it, "territory of lies." jonathan pollard was a civilian analyst for u.s. naval
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intelligence with access to some of this country's most important secrets. he started passing some of those secrets to an israeli operative, receiving monthly cash payments. in 1985 he was questioned about the removal of classified documents and was placed under surveillance, but pollard and his then wife anne were arrested after trying and failing to gain entrance to the israeli embassy in washington. pollard made an agreement with prosecutors. he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage. that allowed the reagan administration to avoid a trial and the need to release any sensitive or classified information. in exchange, the u.s. attorney worked out an arrangement that pollard would receive a substantial sentence but not the maximum sentence, life. yet, in a stunning turn about, a u.s. federal judge rejected the plea agreement and did sentence pollard to life, citing the enormous damage to u.s. national security that then defense secretary casper weinberger
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outlined in a classified memo to the court. pollard remains at a federal prison in north carolina. gloria and richard haas are still with us. gloria, it was interesting. i listened very closely to what the president said in that interview with channel 2. he didn't necessarily completely rule out the notion that some day he might give pollard some clemency and let him go to israel. >> well, do you think it is likely that he will even the fact, the national security community still remains opposed, the vice president of the united states remains opposed. >> yeah. there is strong opposition to releasing pollard. i wouldn't necessarily completely rule it out. almost 30 years in prison, a long time for conspiracy to commit espionage with a friendly country. let me ask, richard haas. when you served in the government you worked for the secretary of state colin powell. you are very familiar with this case. what do you think the chances are that this president might do what other presidents repeatedly rejected in the face of requests for an israeli leaders, release
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pollard? >> probably depends upon the larger context of u.s./israeli relations, wolf. i can imagine at a certain moment this might be something useful to introduce into the mix depending upon what the president was asking, what benjamin netanyahu was asking of israel. i think it is unlikely to be decided shall we say in isolation. it's ban big political issue particularly in israel on the right as you know better than anyone else for sometime. so my hunch is this is not something again that will be given away, if you will for free. >> let me bring gloria back and talk a little bit about the political fallout from the president's visit to israel, coming back now the secretary of state john kerry will remain at least a little bit trying to maybe get this israeli/palestinian peace process off the ground. >> jump-start it. >> he has some political issues he has to deal with, major issues here. how much of a subject of importance will this be for the president? >> look, i think this has been very good for the president because there were lots of people in the american jewish
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community, particularly during this last election, who saw benjamin netanyahu cozying up to mitt romney, who were very skeptical about the president and israel. i think this trip as john king was saying earlier makes it very clear particularly when the president on the question of iran said all options are on the table, period, the president made it very clear as he said in his speech today, you are not alone. so i think domestically, politically, this trip is only good for the president. it makes him be seen as a leader. next to benjamin netanyahu these two men need each other in many ways right now and i think that is why you see this relationship blossoming. >> richard haas do you think anything is going to come of this? will there be a peace process any time soon? >> again, the situation is decidedly unripe given the divisions of the palestinians, the israeli government is not a government that was elected to make peace. this was a government that was
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elected to deal with the special privileges of the orthodox within israeli society. you got the turbulence in egypt. you will have turbulence in jordan. it's -- this is not if you will, again, a prelude to peace. i would just say one thing slightly perhaps different than gloria which is i don't think the united states and israel quite see eye to eye on iran. the president made it clear he doesn't want iran to have a nuclear weapon. the real question is whether the united states and israel can agree on what iran should be allowed short of that. what kind of capacities are tolerable from our and the israeli point of view as opposed to intolerable and i think that's the gray area where there's still some difference. but the president did succeed at kicking this down the road i think to 2014 and all things being equal he has something of the upper hand in the relationship for all the political reasons that have been discussed, mainly his strong re-election and the fact that benjamin netanyahu has now returned as prime minister with a weaker hand than he had before. >> richard haas, thank you.
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gloria, thanks to you as well. we'll have much more on this story later. here in "the situation room." when we come back, north korea's bold new threat against the united states. and is harrison ford planning a return to "star wars?" he is revealing the answer, coming up here in "the situation room." copd includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. spiriva helps control my copd symptoms by keeping my airways open for 24 hours. plus, it reduces copd flare-ups. spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that does both. spiriva handihaler tiotropium bromide inhalation powder does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, glaucoma, trouble urinating, or an enlarged prostate. these may worsen with spiriva. discuss all medicines you take, even eye drops. stop taking spiriva and seek immediate medical help if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, vision changes or eye pain, or problems passing urine.
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north korea is issuing a bold new threat against the united states. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what is the latest? >> the country's military warned today on the north's state run news agency u.s. bases in guam and japan are within what north
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korea calls its striking range. this on the heels of an announcement by the united states that its b-52 bombers are making flights over south korea as part of annual military exercises. despite the rhetoric, no u.s. navy submarines are based in japan. tensions have spiked in the region since north korea's latest underground nuclear tests last month. and don't expect to see any bans on your super sized sodas in mississippi. the state governor just signed a law preventing counties, districts, and towns from enacting rules limiting portion sizes. the measure dubbed the antibloomberg bill follows new york city mayor michael bloomberg's failed attempt to ban the sale of large, sugary drinks in new york city. and sales of previously owned homes reached an annual rate of nearly 5 million in the month of february, the highest in more than three years. today's report is the latest sign of a housing recovery that has become a strong positive force for the economy. it's due in part to a drop in
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foreclosures and near record low mortgage rates. a decline in the national unemployment rate is also a factor. and harrison ford is hinting that he could be returning to "star wars." as the legendary hans solo. the 70-year-old actor was asked by cnn's chicago affiliate wgn whether he is reuniting with original castmates for "star wars" episode seven. this is what he said. >> i think it's almost true. i think right now i'm looking forward to it. it's not in the bag yet but i think it's happening. >> almost true is how he puts it. so far lucas films is neither confirming nor denying whether the actors will officially make the return. >> amazing. i'd go see it. >> i would. you could see sort of hans solo, harrison ford through the years and such so it'll be interesting to see what roles they play in this new movie. >> be looking forward to it.
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thanks, lisa. up next, the new jersey governor chris christie is forced to take sides in a heated debate over banning so-called gay conversion therapy. the pressure on the rising gop star. what's going on? we'll tell you.
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happening now. did the u.s. secret service accidently fire a shot near iran's president when he was in new york? the debate over the so-called gay conversion therapy heating up in new jersey and now the pressure is on the governor chris christie to choose sides. she is a beauty queen with such a unique story that president obama wanted to meet her in israel. she tells us about that meeting, coming up. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> because this program, i atechlted suicide three times.
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this is nothing more than legalized child abuse. >> it is one of the most controversial forms of treatment in this country, so-called gay conversion therapy based on the premise homosexuality can be reversed. the debate is heating up in the state of new jersey and now the pressure is on the republican star the governor chris christie to take a stand. let's bring in our chief congressional correspondent dana bash who is looking at this story and has the latest details. explain what's going on. >> it really comes down to a question of whether being gay is a choice or not. it also reminds us of the issue of gay marriage which is something that is in front of us politically and how much things have changed just even over the past four and a half years. it has gone up nine points, nine points. that's really only among democrats and independents. for republicans it is stag alternate. that is why probably gay rights are such a thorny issue for republican politicians who may be eyeing a primary race for president like chris christie
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who now faces a decision on a very controversial topic. >> homosexuality is an abomination. >> in this 2012 documentary, "curing gays" adam hood identified as a former homosexual talks about his work in what's known as gay conversion therapy. >> many people hate me temporarily and get saved a month later and thank me for holding the line. >> reporter: in new jersey a bill to ban gay conversion therapy with minors is making its way through the state legislature. jacob rudolph, a self-described bisexual teenager, testified in favor of the new jersey ban earlier this week. >> i am not broken. i am not confused. and i do not need to be fixed. >> reporter: in order for the ban to become law republican governor chris christie would have to sign it but the normally outspoken governor is not ready to say what he'd do, telling reporters he is of, quote, two minds on the issue. i think there should be lots of deference given to parents
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raising their children, going on to say on bills that restrict parents' ability to make decisions on how to care for their children. i'm generally a skeptic of those bills. now, there can always be exceptions to those rules and this bill may be one of them. christie's indecision underscores how dicey issues relating to gay rights have become for republicans. especially those who may have ambitions for higher office. >> protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife. >> reporter: not too long ago opposing gay rights was a no brainer for republicans. george w. bush won re-election in part by endorsing state bans on same sex marriage. now? >> my son came to jane my wife and i, told us that he was gay, and that it was not a choice. >> reporter: a slow move in favor of more gay rights. republicans like senator rob portman are reversing opposition to gay marriage in part because of people close to them being more open about being gay. what was your reaction when he
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told you? >> love. support. you know, 110%. >> reporter: gop leaders against gay marriage appear to get that their opposition has become a minority view in america and they're increasingly careful to strike a more tolerant tone. >> i respect everyone's opinion. i just gave my opinion. my opinion is born out of my childhood, my faith, my beliefs, that marriage is between one man and one woman. i respect other people's views. >> now, anecdotally in conversations with republicans in the hallways of the capitol it seems as though republicans especially those on the younger side believe that this should be not a federal issue anymore but a state issue. we'll see if the supreme court decides. they'll hear really important cases next week. >> yeah. big cases on gay marriage here in the united states. dana, thanks very much. let's dig a little deeper in our strategy session. joining us our cnn contributors the democratic strategist donna
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brazile and the former white house bush press secretary ari fleischer a consultant and board member of the republican jewish coalition as well. ari, what do you think about this decision that the governor of new jersey needs to make? how do you think it will play out politically one way or another? >> well, wolf, number one let me state at the outset i think gay conversion therapy is wacky. i just have a hard time understanding this. all my gay friends, people i know and i think logic tells you this is the way people are born and as they get older there is something inside them, inside their nature that moves them into one direction. and i'm glad we're a society increasingly respecting that and accepting of that. so i do think it's wacky. having said that, though, you know, i do wonder about what role government should have in outlawing procedures that a parent wants to have for a child. or for that matter for anybody. if this is something somebody on their own free volition decides to do even though i think it's wacky and i would advise them
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not to do it, does the state have the right to say to them, you may not do something that you might think is good for you that you want to do? that's a different issue and that's the role and the power of the state to outlaw things that many of us just don't agree with. that's a different issue and i think that's why this is a little more del kaicate than it appears at first blush. >> how do you see it, donna? >> well, i believe governor christie has come out in the last few hours at least a spokesman and said that he doesn't believe in gay conversion therapy. i think it's ineffective. i think it's harmful. and i think it's destructive to the individual. gay children need to be loved and nurtured and respected. not tortured. and put through these untested therapies. when you read some of the therapies -- the therapies used,
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showing them people doing horrible things i can't say on television, i really believe the practice should be outlawed and in california they have an assembly bill that the new jersey legislative body has taken up. it may all end up in the courts. i think the practice, itself, should be banned. >> if you were christie ari and you were thinking of running for the republican presidential nomination in 2016 what would you do? >> well, he cross pressured on this because his base is not the conservative base. his base in the party is a much more moderate base and a base of crossover democrats or independents who would be drawn to his candidacy. independents of course a huge constituency in new hampshire that can vote. and so if he does sign this, he supports himself among his core constituency. if he fails to sign it then he is moving toward what you might call the right on this issue and i think that's going to alienate his core group that would be more inclined to support him because conservatives don't trust him on issues other than some of the economic issues to
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begin with. >> republicans i assume, donna, you agree, as we go down the road, they will become more liberal on these gay issues. given the nature of public opinion especially among young people in the country? >> you know, when it comes to human rights, civil rights, and equality, i don't believe we should have the left versus right. these are moral issues. these are issues that go to the heart of what human beings, who we are and what we should be about not toward the partisan politics but like everything else it's going to get played out in a partisan atmosphere but i would hope we respect the individual people who through no fault of their own just are trying to live their lives and not be tortured or be subjected to these type of conversion therapies. >> donna and ari flish, thanks very much. just ahead, did the u.s. secret service accidently fire a weapon near iran's president when he was in new york? and why would iran keep quiet about something like that?
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today i want to tell you, particularly the young people, so there is no mistake here, so long as there is a united states of america. [ speaking in other language ] [ applause ] you are not alone! >> the president making a strong statement of support for israel. he traveled earlier in the day to the west bank to meet with the palestinian authority president mahmoud abbas. he made a pitch for renewed peace talks and said
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palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities, his words, that come with it. later he told israelis to empathize with the plight of the palestinians. >> put yourself in their shoes. look at the world through their eyes. it is not fair that a palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own. living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements not just of those young people but their parents, their grandparents, every single day. just as israelis built a state in their homeland, palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land. >> let's bring back cnn's john king in jerusalem for us. you did get a chance, john, to see the world as palestinians see it. you had trips to gaza, to the west bank. they don't all necessarily see the world the same way. in fact, a hard line gaza group fired two rockets, hamas, into israel today and then fired off
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a message calling president obama a dog. what's going on? what did you see? >> reporter: wolf, it is one of the huge obstacles to resuming a peace process. in the west bank you have mahmoud abbas and his fata movement. the president said maybe they are not doing everything he would like but are making important political and economic steps. then he said there is a huge divide politically and economically when you look at gaza. from our visit on that point you'd have to say the president is dead right. to visit gaza is to step back in time. and to wonder if hate will ever give way to peace. celebrations of the hamas military wing that lobs rockets into israel. and tributes to men hamas calls martyrs but by most any other definition would be called murderers and terrorists. poverty, run down housing, mules and horses alongside beat up cars.
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here, though, proof gaza doesn't have to be so bleak. this man says those with jobs are less likely to choose hate and violence. 600 workers here at the plant's hay day. just 300 now. most of them part-time. >> we've got actually five lines and we used to have three shifts a day. now we have only one shift for three days a week. >> reporter: it is the price gaza pays for israel's anger at hamas. the plant once shipped to and through israel but is now limited to selling locally. this truck once drove to the israeli border for co2. now the factory pays five times as much for tanks smuggled from egypt. he blames israel. >> they just want to control gaza. they want to control people. they want to control everything. >> reporter: welcome to the great palestinian divide. ramallah is hardly boom town but it is a galaxy apart from gaza. the market is busy and nine
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different arab banks compete for customers at this ramallah mall. sam helped build the mall and says better than gaza isn't good enough. and again, he blames israel. >> that doesn't mean ramallah is not under military occupation. we very much are in a cage and around this cage is either israeli settlements or military checkpoints. >> reporter: he lives here but was raised in youngstown, ohio, an american citizen who voted twice for president obama but believes visiting israel and ramallah now is a big mistake. >> coming and going without bringing any kind of political movement is emboldening israel and emboldening israel with this new right wing government means more settlements, means more potential collapse for the palestinian society. >> reporter: he doesn't like to talk politics. instead he wishes the economics of peace would take hold. this furniture factory is a few steps from the gaza/israel border and its products not too long ago were sent to israel by the truck load.
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now israel won't allow it. the price of hate, he says. but he says hamas shares the blame. 150 workers here before hamas came to power in gaza. just 20 now. a border once busy with trade now a no man's land under the watchful gaze of israeli surveillance balloons. of the 100 factories and warehouses near the border, all but five locked and shuttered. it's the price of hate, mistrust, and violence. wolf, it is like going back in time. i cannot tell you how depressing it is. you see these wonderful, beautiful palestinian children in gaza, hope in their eyes, then you walk the streets and see the devastation. the gentleman at the furniture factory perhaps a minority but not alone. when we were there several people after looking around a little nervously said, yes. they blame it most on israel but many also said as long as hamas will not acknowledge israel's right to exist they see no hope for peace and that means no hope for jobs. >> let's hope the president's visit can revive that peace
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process. that would be good for israelis and for palestinians, john king in jerusalem. coming up, a shot fired near iran's president by the u.s. secret service, extraordinary new details coming to light about a potentially catastrophic incident. very logical thinker. (laughs) i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle. (screams) i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours.
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so was the shot fired in the direction of iran's president by the united states secret service? an extraordinary new account of an incident which could have been disastrous. brian todd has been looking into this for us. he's here in "the situation room." >> the secret service is saying
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iran's president not only was not in danger in this incident, but that he was nowhere near it. the authors of the new book said mahmoud ahmadinejad was there and noticed it and was surprised. the story adds more controversy to what is often viewed as contentious visits by iran's president to new york. the visits to the u.n. were often laced with intrigue and tension and one had an errant gunshot mixed in. according to a new book that tells of an incident in new york involving iran's president, mahmoud ahmadinejad. the book said it happened in 20 2006. but the author now acknowledges it was in 2007. the book says when u.s. secret service personnel were standing by in or near their vehicles at a staging area in new york, a secret service agent in an apparent accident discharged his shotgun as iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad was loading his motorcade. no one was hurt and co-author mark said ahmadinejad didn't come close to getting hit with the bullet. but --
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>> my understanding is from the bush administration officials, who looked into it at the time, is that ahmadinejad was aware of it. certainly heard the shot. and, you know, was surprised by it. but kind of looked asconce a little bit anded walked and got into his car. >> reporter: he said iranian security personnel were nearby as well and noticed it. he says that's based on accounts he got from two bush administration officials, who read the president's daily brief on the matter and looked into it. ambinder said a secret service official also confirmed the basics of what happened. the secret service acknowledges that one of the agents accidently discharged a weapon while inspecting equipment. the round went into the floorboard of a secret service vehicle. in a statement to cnn, the secret service is pushing back hard on a key contention in the book. the agency said neither ahmadinejad nor any iranian security personnel were anywhere near the vehicle at the time.
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ambinder said he stands by that reporting. he won't say if the agent is disciplined only that he or she could have gotten anything from a letter of counsel or suspension. the agent in charge who worked the u.n. detail says this. >> almost definitely the agent would have been disciplined. am and put on some administrative leave, and then recycled through not only weapons training, but detailed training. >> an official at the iranian mission to the u.n. says neither he nor his staff are aware of that incident in 2007. but says his team also was not at the u.n. at the time. the u.n.'s top security official tells us he is not aware of that incident. wolf? >> did ahmadinejad ever say or hint anything along these lines? >> marc ambinder said the people in the bush administration who he spoke to were sure at the time that ahmadinejad would speak loudly about it, that he would try to demagogue the u.s., even claim the americans were trying to kill him. he said these officials were
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surprised when ahmadinejad never saed anything about it, and neither did any other iranian official. >> brian todd reporting. interesting story. now to one of the most secret and sensitive issues on the war in terror. the use of killer drones. the issue of "time" magazine said the veil of secrecy is becoming a political problem and president obama may be presenting some public remarks to hunt down and kill potential terrorists. "time" magazine's michael crowley, the author of the insightful article has got some details. how politically risky is this whole issue of drones becoming for the president? >> wolf, isn't it remarkable, during the presidential campaign, this was a selling point for the president, tough on terrorism, decimating al qaeda's core leadership in pakistan, which he certainly has done. when "the new york times" wrote a big story on obama's personal involvement in the drone program to the point of approving a kill
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list, many administration officials cooperated. what i understand, when that story came out, there was discomfort, talk about the president being a kind of executioner in chief. now we've seen more recently with the left and right converging, rand paul filibust r filibustering in protest of the white house's refusal to turn over legal documents, you're having new political opposition to the drone campaign. it went from the campaign now to political headache for the president. >> you write this in the article, the article entitled "so who can we kill." in the u.s. president obama's problem may be secrecy by treating the drone campaign as a secret, and paranoid scenarios like the casual killing of americans at home. the secrecy is becoming a big problem for the president. >> a huge problem. i think the white house understands this. in fact, this is why it appears the president is going to give some kind of a speech on this subject. the white house won't confirm this on the record. there's a lot of buzz in these
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circles right now that they're putting this speech together. may be coming in a matter of weeks. and i think the goal here is for the president to try to calm people down, to say, this is -- we can be transparent about this. this is just another tool we use to fight terrorism. it's a military tool, a new technology people don't understand. i think there's a feeling because people don't understand it that well, they're leaping to wild conclusions. the rand paul filibuster was a scenario of killing americans. there's a drone court where a judge is acting as a check-and-balance in decisions on who to put on the kill lists. there's reporting in the last day or so of talk of moving the drone operations that the cia conducts over to the pentagon, taking the cia out of the process. does that mean a big change in the strategy? probably not. but i think to some degree, the optics of having it not be part of the cia, which is a shadowy, covert organization that a lot
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of americans are suspicious of, would make it helpful for people to be comfortable with the drone operations. >> michael crowley for "time" magazine. i have no doubt rand paul's filibuster played a significant role in all of this. >> pay close attention to it. they're getting uncomfortable with the politics of it over there. just ahead in the next hour, we're following the breaking news in the killing of colorado's prison chief. we'll have an update for you. also, a moment more than two decades in the making. this man walks out of prison after his murder conviction is thrown out. th-floor problem... ok. not in my house! ha ha ha! ha ha ha! no no no! not today! ha ha ha! ha ha ha! jimmy how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? happier than dikembe mutumbo blocking a shot. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. happening now, breaking news in "the situation room." a possible break in a nationwide manhunt for the killer of colorado state prison chief. plus, president obama makes the push for middle east peace personal. his delicate dance in israel and the west bank. new information coming in about whether syria fired chemical weapons at its own people. cnn has learned the early results of a u.s. investigation. and he's free and cleared after more than two decades in prison, claiming he wasn't a killer. his lawyer joins us to talk about justice gone wrong and what happens now.
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-- captions by vitac -- this is cnn breaking news. up first this hour, we're following breaking news. in the cold-blooded killing of colorado's police chief. >> two days after he was shot dead in his front door, there may be a new break in the nationwide manhunt. that leads from colorado all the way to texas. >> he was colorado's prison chief, i should correct that. cnn's casey wisconsinan an is j >> this could be the biggest break that officials have received in this case so far on tuesday night. as you mentioned, tom clements, the head of colorado's prison system was gunned down at his doorstep. witnesses reported seeing witnesses in the neighborhood reported seeing a dark vehicle
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described as a late 1980s, early 1990, perhaps a cadillac, boxy vehicle idling near clements' residence. they've been looking for that vehicle for two days now. there is some reason to believe that maybe, just maybe, they have found it in texas. what happened this afternoon? a high-speed police pursuit involving a dark cadillac with colorado license plates. the pursuit started in montague county in texas, when an officer pulled over the vehicle, a male described as in his 30s, a white male, shot at the officer, shot him three times. the officer survived. the male then took off in that cadillac and was pursued into wise county in texas, pursued south. he was driving at speeds over 100 miles an hour officers say. he was shooting as he went. shot at other officers. no one else was injured. he ended up crashing into an
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18-wheeler, exited that vehicle, got into a shootout with officers down there. and was shot. he is described as basically being on life support in a hospital in texas. and officials from here, in el paso county, colorado, are now on their way to texas to see if they can determine whether this is the same vehicle, and perhaps even the suspect involved in the murder of tom clements two days ago. here's what officials had to say. >> i know there's a lot of rumors going around, and the one that people wanting to know if this is connected to the colorado shooting of the director. we don't know that it is. or it's not. we will confirm and say that colorado is sending, and should be here this evening, investigators that are working on that case, and other homicide cases in the colorado area.
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>> and wolf, just before the news of this chase, and this crash, and this shooting, broke, i was speaking with a lieutenant here in the police department here in colorado. you never know when one piece of evidence may come about that may break the case, and perhaps this is it, wolf. >> casey wian, we'll check back with you, when more information comes in. on the scene for us. what a story that is. meanwhile, the president of the united states made a direct and emotional appeal today to the people of israel to see the peace process through the eyes of palestinians, and to put themselves in their shoes. >> he took a new tact. he was face-to-face with young israelis and young palestinians in a new attempt to bring the gap between their -- or to bridge the gap between their political leaders. >> it's all part of a new focus on a long-standing problem that was on the back burner during much of the first term.
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the centerpiece of mr. obama's first presidential trip to israel, a speech carried live on national television. delivered to an audience of young israelis, the president diving back into the stalled peace process. >> the only way for israel to endure and thrive as a jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable palestine. neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. >> president obama says as long as there is a united states, the jewish state will never stand alone. >> israel has the unshakable support of the most powerful country in the world. >> the president is focusing much of his message on the next generation. visiting both israeli and palestinian young people. he hopes the entrenched older generation can be influenced by
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the less rigid positions of the youth and by their aspirations. >> i'm going off script here for a second, but before i came here, i met with a group of young palestinians from the age of 15 to 22. and talking to them, they weren't that different from my daughters. they weren't that different from your daughters. or sons. i honestly believe that if any israeli parent sat down with those kids, they'd say, i want these kids to succeed. >> there was a brief interruption by a man heckling the president, apparently about imprisoned american jonathan pollard who pleaded guilty for spying for israel. the president shrugged it off. >> it made me feel at home. >> he later received a standing ovation.
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earlier, mr. obama visited the west bank, meeting with palestinian authority president mahmoud abbas. mr. obama expressed the need for direct talks. he criticized israeli settlement activity in the west bank, but he didn't back the palestinian demand for israel to immediately halt west bank's settlement construction as a prerequisite. he said the core issues are palestinian sovereignty, and israeli security. >> if we solve those two problems, the settlement problem will be solved. >> just hours before the president's speech, two rockets fired from gaza landed in southern israel, underscoring the deep divide the president's words alone cannot bridge. let's bring in our chief white house correspondent jessica yellen, in jerusalem. jessica, you attended the president's speech at the jerusalem convention center. talk a little bit about the reaction from the young people who were there. >> hi, wolf.
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the president said in his speech the israelis can be harsh critics, but in that event and tonight, praise for the president is pouring in. i was sitting around college students, including solders as well. and some of them told me they came not because they like the president, but because they wanted to hear, they were curious what he would say. i saw them repeatedly jump to his feet for strong words on iran, and repeated language insisting on israel's right to exist. this might surprise an american audience, the israeli crowd was also exceptionally enthusiastic each time the president was critical of jewish settlements, the buildings in the west bank. i saw soldiers repeatedly applaud those lines. there were boos when the president said they have a partnership in the leadership, which is the deficit of trust between the two sides. but pulling back, they picture, wolf, many israeli critics of the president have said too
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often he lectures israelis and doesn't seem to understand israel. tonight those critics, man of them, are saying he now feels he has conveyed that he does understand israel in a deep personal way, wolf. >> jessica yellin traveling with the president in jerusalem getting ready to head over to jordan with him tomorrow. jessica, thanks. we're getting new information about claims that syria has used chemical weapons. our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, has the very early results of the u.s. investigation. what is this, barbara? what are we hearing? >> brianna, as you said, the u.s. intelligence community has been working on this problem around the clock. did the syrian regime use chemical weapons. we do now have some initial results of that investigation. with video of syrians suffering from convulsions and breathing problems, and accusations of chemical weapons attacks, u.s. intelligence agencies have scrambled to determine if the charges were true. cnn has learned that u.s.
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intelligence analysts now have, quote, multiple indicators that chemical weapons were not used. officials emphasize this preliminary conclusion is in part based on video from syria. intelligence analysts say they see no indication patients are being treated for symptoms of chemical weapons outlawed by the international community. and classified satellite data also shows no chemical tip scud missile was launched that certainly would have caused mass fatalities. officials say it's more likely people were exposed to a chemical such as chlorine. >> if they are agents that are used by other societies for civil and accepted purposes, that's probably a bit different than what the president is drawing as a red line. >> reporter: but no signs of nerve or blister agents. that, officials say, is president obama's red line. syrian regime forces had claimed rebels launched the latest
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chemical attack. the u.s. is worried about the motivation for that allegation. >> we would also warn the regime against making these kinds of charges, as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons. >> reporter: in an interview on the charlie rose show, the chairman of the house intelligence committee insisted bashar al assad's forces have used chemical weapons. >> there's a body of evidence, a body of reporting that leads me to believe, as of yesterday, that the syrians have in fact, throughout this conflict, that in a small number of times, used some quantity of chemical weapons. >> one more finding by the u.s. intelligence community, senior administration officials tell our jessica yellin in israel that the united states is deeply skeptical of those regime claims that the rebels launched a chemical attack. they say there is no evidence to date that rebel forces have their hands on any chemical
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arsenal. wolf, brianna? >> barbara starr live at the pentagon. congress managed to avoid the threat of a government shutdown next week. the house gave final approval to a bill to fund agencies through the end of september. they sent the bill to the president for his signature. the measure also softens the impact of those forced budget cuts, especially at the pentagon. the senate, by the way, passed the measure yesterday. north korea threatens to attack u.s. military bases in go guam and japan. this one might be viable. a beauty queen with a story so compelling, president obama asked to meet her. coming up, she exclusively tells cnn what it meant to her. it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away.
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rockets through the streets. today they claim they have the capacity to hit u.s. military bases in guam and japan. we're getting a closer look at what's going on. what are you seeing? >> wolf, a couple of weeks ago when they suggested they could launch a nuclear missile across the pacific and hit the mainland of the united states, i think most analysts said this is a fantasy. they really don't have the technology to do that with any reliability. but this idea of hitting u.s. forces in the pacific is much more plausible. let's talk about why. look at japan here. from pyongyang, that's about 800 miles. there are 38,000 american troops there. navy, marines, army, air force, all in that area. go down to guam down here. that's about 2,000 miles away. only 5,700 american troops there. but talk about an inviting target for any enany of the united states. this is one of the most important bomber bases on the planet for america. wolf? >> what would the north koreans
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do? what would they use to deliver any such attack? >> in all likelihood, you're talking about a missile attack in all likelihood here. they had the big launch of the multi-stage rocket. this was a big accomplishment for them because it's a hard technology to pull off. it's still arguably somewhat experimental, not reliable. they can't count on it. but they have lower grade missiles that are somewhat more reliable. they could carry a payload, maybe a nuclear payload, but certainly a conventional warhead. and there is reasonably, they might be able to guide them well enough over enough distance to hit these targets that we're talking about, wolf. >> aren't these bases, though, protected by u.s. missile defense systems? couldn't that thwart even a surprise north korean attack? >> well, it might be able to. all the intelligence forces say we don't really know much about what they're planning at any point. they're such an insular society. the problem with missile defense
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systems is they really have not been proven to be overall as reliable as we would like them to be. and they're more reliable the longer the missile is in the air that you're trying to shoot at. you get more shots at it. this is a relatively small to intermediate range shot we're talking about in either case. if everything went right for the north koreans, they might be able to launch one of these, get past these defenses and actually hit one of these targets. the big quid pro quo here and the deterrent is what would come afterward. almost certainly an overwhelming response from the u.s. and its allies back on north korea. >> that would lead to a huge, huge war presumably. remember, north koreans have 1 million troops just north of south korea along the demilitarized zone. vice president joe biden has a simple message for the doubters and critics of his push for new gun restrictions. think about newtown. today the vice president joined parents of some of the newtown
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school shooting victims, hoping to send a powerful message. cnn's justice correspondent joe johns joining us for that. >> the vice president and other supporters of gun control knew from the start that the odds were against them on banning certain semiautomatic rifles. they don't have the votes to pass it. but today they were calling on congress to think about newtown before deciding politically that the issue is too hard. with a ban on so-called assault weapons, all but dead in the senate according to top democrat harry reid, the vice president said he's not giving up. >> i'm not going to rest nor is the president until we do all of these things, all of these things. >> he told the family of a teacher killed protecting children in the newtown, connecticut, school shooting, that the country needs some political backbone. >> you know, it's time for the political establishment to show the courage your daughter showed.
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>> the father of a 6-year-old also killed at newtown said shame on the congress. >> i'm really ashamed to see that congress doesn't have the guts to stand up and make a change, and put a ban on these type of weapons and universal background checks. >> from new york's mayor bloomberg, a call for public pressure. >> if you want to make a difference, you better pick up the phone, call your congress person. >> but what happened was no surprise. conservative democrats in the senate up for reelection risk riling up pro-gun forces in an election year, if they vote for the ban. democratic supporters like retiring michigan senator carl levin are frustrated. >> do you think it's worth just having a vote? >> sure. i think it's important that people express their views and have a chance to vote those views. so the people back home can judge whether they agree or disagree. >> bad for democrats though. >> it's not the politics that i want to get into. the stakes here are way beyond
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politics. >> all the pressure from gun control advocates appear to be working. late today, senate majority leader harry reid released a statement saying he wants to bring a gun safety bill to the floor after the upcoming recess including provisions on background checks. he also wants a vote on assault weapons. so there does appear to be a chance, one last chance for the senate to vote on the ban after all. nra told me this evening that they always expected there would be a vote on the ban and say they're prepared for it, and a lot of pressure on senators to pass it. so nothing new, they say, for the nra. >> yeah. >> joe johns, thank you very much for your report. released from prison after serving two decades for murdering a rabbi. a crime we now know he didn't commit. his lawyer joins us live, coming up. plus, toddlers getting twice as much salt as they should. we have a new report that parents really need to hear. outdoors, or in. automatically filter amount of light. the way it's meant to be seen. maybe even a little better. experience life well lit, adaptive lenses. vision center today transitions xtractive lenses enhance your vision. save money. live better.
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none of us would want to be told we can't marry the person we love. as americans, we believe in freedom. that's what i fought for as a marine, and that's what we believe in as republicans. freedom means freedom for everyone. i didn't use to understand the importance of same-sex marriage, but after learning my brother was gay i wanted the same rights for him. he was the best man at my wedding and i want to be the best man at his. it's only fair that calvin should have the freedom to marry the person he loves, too. it's time for marriage.
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former french president now in some legal trouble. brianna's got that, and some of the day's other top stories. what's going on? >> wolf, an investigative judge has charged nicolas sarkozy of taking advantage of lillian bettencourt by getting her to help fund his 2007 presidential campaign. he denies doing anything wrong. a new legal opinion from the government office for plans to cut back on saturday mail delivery starting this august. the legal opinion points to language tucked into the new bill to prevent a government shutdown. the postal service wants to cut
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back saturday delivery to packages and mail addressed to post office boxes. in germany, a helicopter pilot died and several people hurt in a collision in a police training exercise. two helicopters were landing and the rotors apparently hit each other. reports say police were practicing riot control at berlin's olympic stadium and it was snowing when the accident happened. now, let's clear up that story of the tree that president obama planted in jerusalem. at first, reports said that the magnolia would have to be uprooted because its roots hadn't been properly inspected for diseases and pests. but after that story went viral, israeli officials decided they can do the testing without pulling the tree out of the ground. so no red tape for the tree, wolf. >> the tree lives. >> it will live and stay right where it is. >> it will grow to be a robust tree. >> exactly. without being disturbed. >> good to know. coming up here, freedom for a man who has been fighting his murder conviction for two decades.
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and the music starts, chubby checker twisting his way into the library of congress. you're in "the situation room." he spent more than 20 years behind bars claiming his innocence. >> now he is finally a free man, after a judge called his murder conviction a miscarriage of justice. his lawyer standing by to talk about this extraordinary case, what his client is feeling right now. but first, let's go to cnn's mary snow, outside the courthouse in new york. mary, give us the background. >> reporter: well, wolf, this was such an emotional court hearing, that even the judge in this case was crying. 58-year-old david ranta walked out of court a free man after prosecutors sought to dismiss his conviction based on what they now know. for david rampsa, it was a
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moment more than two decades in the making. in handcuffs he again faced a judge, but this time for the conviction for a murder he says he didn't commit was thrown out. >> to say i'm sorry for what you have endured would be an understatement. and grossly inadequate. but i say it to you anyway. >> reporter: he mouthed, thank you, to the judge. overcome with emotion, his family cheered, some cried. his handcuffs were taken off. and the judge made it official. >> the defendant's motion to vacate the judgment of conviction is granted. >> thank you. >> reporter: the judge wiped away tears as ranta embraced his family that included a daughter who was a baby when he was convicted. with a bag of belongings slung over his shoulder he walked out and faced cameras. >> i'm overwhelmed. i would just like to say thank you each and every one of you for supporting me on this. as i said from the beginning, i had nothing to do with this case.
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if you're interested, there will be as much paperwork as you would like to read on this case. >> do you have anything to say? >> yeah. get the hell out of here maybe. >> reporter: ranta always maintained he did not kill the rabbi in brooklyn's hasidic community in february of 1990. a diamond courier was the original target. the rosher shot the rabbi and took off with his car. ranta was arrested six months later and his court-appointed lawyer said the conviction has haunted him. >> the day that david was convicted, i made a promise to him i would never forget, that i would do whatever i could in my power to set aside this verdict. to fight this injustice. >> reporter: michael bound tried to get the conviction overturned. but a phone call in 2011 raised hopes. a witness who was 13 at the time of the murder called him to say he had been coached by police to
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pick ranta. lieberman said a pole detective told me to pick the guy with the big nose. michael relayed the information to the conviction integrity unit. their investigation found two other witnesses who admitted lying. it raised questions about the police handling of the case. and ultimately led the d.a. to ask the conviction be overturned. the lead detective in the case was louis scarsella, now retired. we reached him at his home. he claims ranta confessed but it was never recorded. ranta denies he ever made a confession. >> i didn't do anything wrong. i stand by my investigation. and i don't know what else to tell you. >> reporter: as ranta walked out a free man, a family friend of rabbi worseberger said the rabbi's family was in shock. >> the rabbi is not coming back. the family still feels the loss. they are now reminded again by having david ranta released in a
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botchup of justice, a botchup of prosecution. >> reporter: wolf, prosecutors are not going as far to say that they believe that ranta was framed. they said they are not saying that. the truth is, wolf, that it may never be determined who killed the rabbi. wolf? >> mary snow on the streets of new york. outside the courthouse. mary, thank you. we're joined now by david ranta's attorney. mr. susman, thanks very much. how is your client doing? what did he say to you once he finally became a free man? >> one of the things he said, i asked him what he wanted -- he was hungry, what he wanted to eat. and he wanted a juicy chicken parmesan sandwich. >> what's taking so long to get a chicken parmesan and side of fries? there's a lot of restaurants in new york. you could do that pretty quickly, right? >> we're all set.
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he's taken care of. >> when did you realize there was hope he would be released? >> if you're asking me, you know, what i felt instinctually, i felt many months ago, instinctually, that this was the only result that was possible. you know, based on reviewing everything in the case. when i actually knew on a concrete level that it was happening, i would have to say, in the last seven to ten days. >> what does he plan on doing? what are the next steps besides eating a chicken parmigiana sandwich? what will he do over the next weeks and months? >> so, you know, at this point it's time for some decompression, and, you know, meeting with his family and loved ones, children and sisters. and just getting back into a normal life that so many of us
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take for granted. but for my client, is a loss, you know, a lost dream. he has every hope that he's going to be able to reestablish these relationships with family, and take care of his children. and we're certainly going to try to facilitate that for him. >> does he get any compensation for this miscarriage of justice? >> well, that's certainly the plan. the detective work that was done on this case was, at best, shoddy, and at worst, criminal. and i don't use that word lightly. but you know, when a closer examination is done of the detective work completed by scarceelo, and those around them, it becomes clear that there were so many leads that weren't followed. there were so many notes that
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weren't taken. and just a general lack of attention to what should have been an investigation that required, you know, nothing but close scrutiny of p seeing witnesses and so forth. >> how much money are we talking about? where would it come from? >> well, the city of new york is ultimately responsible for the conduct of their police force and their detectives. so, you know, if a federal civil rights lawsuit is filed, then that's the intention, the city of new york and would be listed as defendants. >> what kind of money are you thinking? >> well, we haven't taken that step yet, but you can imagine the breadth and scope of this kind of lawsuit. my client had 23 years taken from him. it is a lifetime.
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it's a generation. and if you look at those before-and-after pictures, before he went in, and now that he's out, it's a different person. >> pierre, thank you very much. please congratulate david ranta, tell him if he would like to join us in "the situation room," we would like to talk to him as well. miscarriage of justice. but at least he's out right now. peter susman, thank you. >> you would expect he would likely get several million. but you can't put a price tag on 20 years. >> horrible, horrible situation. but i'm glad he's out. >> definitely. coming up, the beauty queen that president obama wanted to meet. miss israel joins us for an exclusive interview. [ male announcer ] this is a reason to look twice. the stunning lexus es. get great values on your favorite lexus models during the command performance sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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now a cnn exclusive. the story of the president and the beauty queen. they are from different continents and decades apart in age, but they have one thing in common, the most unusual background and rise to fame of any of their predecessors. among the israeli leaders and dignitaries at tonight's state dinner for president obama in jerusalem, a surprise last-minute guest, miss israel 2013. she attended the gala after the white house specifically asked for her to be invited just lasted week. she made history, becoming the first miss israel of ethiopian heritage since the pageant began in 1950. she relocated to israel to be with her grandparents after being orphaned.
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president obama she considers one of her idols. >> translator: i did a research project about him in high school. and i know he's a very powerful man, charismatic and achieved a lot on his own by virtue of the fact he believed in himself. and this stuck with me. >> reporter: the 21-year-old beauty queen was working as a sales clerk when a friend entered her name in the pageant. there will be appearances galore including the miss universe pageant later this year. still, she's determined not to let fame get the best of her. she talks of her previous life as a child in ethiopia, and the changes she found in herself on her first visit back there. >> translator: i stood there as a girl who had finished the israeli army, as an officer, and thought how much a person can go through in nine, ten years. i learned a new language and culture. i've been to good places. i enlisted and trained people and returned as a totally different person.
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>> joining me now, she's just come from the state dinner in honor of president obama. i know you had the opportunity to speak with him. what did you discuss? >> i was very, very excited to meet him. he was a role model for my life. it was unbelievable. i'm impressed to meet him. >> do you feel any connection, i guess, because of the fact that you are the first black miss israel, he is the first black president of the united states. what do you think about that? >> when he come to be the first black president of america, he helped me to -- he helped me to be proud. and, you know, if he did this, i can do this. yes, we can. >> miss israel, thank you so much for joining us. and also, you look very lovely. i'm sure you had a wonderful
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time at the state dinner. thanks for taking the time. >> thank you. >> she is beautiful. >> she is. >> she's amazing. thousands and thousands of ethiopian jews over the last couple decades have come to israel, have settled in israel and become integral members of the country there. and she's now miss israel. >> maybe a lot of people didn't know that, but now they do. because she's miss israel. english is actually her third language. but she speaks ethiopian, hebrew. my hebrew is not as good as yours. she spoke to me in english thankfully. >> she's lovely indeed. >> big deal for her. in almost everything we eat now. now new research shows the health price we're all paying for too much salt. it may be higher than anyone thought. newer studies coming in. what's this? uhh, it's my geico insurance id card, sir. it's digital, uh, pretty cool right?
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so, wolf, tell me. >> yes? >> what did you have for lunch today. >> a little turkey sandwich. a little one. a little piece of pretzel. >> unsalted? >> no, it was salted. >> i had soup. >> a lot of salt. sodium is like salt, right? >> yeah. this story is for both of us. new medical studies say whatever we're eating, we're probably getting way too much salt. cnn's lisa sylvester joining us now with the details on this. >> you guys have me thinking now about everything that i eat. and that i feed my children. bottom line is, we are eating way too much salt. mostly from processed foods. karen is a healthy cooking
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coach. she gets lots of practice feeding her 10-month-old daughter who is a big fan of carrots. >> hummus on white bread? >> reporter: and she has introduced a range of foods and spices to her 4-year-old son ryan. >> there aren't many moms going out there and spice stores. you know that? >> he loves it. >> i got him in the spice store. >> reporter: but one seasoning this mom uses sparingly in the family meals is salt. but that's not the case in other households. a new report by the american heart association finds most americans consume double the recommends amount of sodium. so this is the amount of sodium that an adult is actually supposed to consume about, 2300 milligrams of sodium. for a toddler, it's about half that amount. but most adults actually consume double the amount or 4,000 milligrams. too much sodium causes our body to retain excess fluid and over time raises blood pressure and
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can lead to hypertension. the american heart association in a study found that some of the saltiest foods are marketed to children. the study looked at salt content in baby and toddler foods and found three quarters of the prepackaged meals and snacks found in the baby a toddler food aisle like mac and cheese, pizza, and chicken and vegetables have too much salt. defined as over 210 milligrams of sodium per serving. that is not a surprise for dr. warren levy. >> anything that comes out of a k. anything with preservatives has high sodium. anything that's easy for us to make, usually has high sodium. but we do need to start paying attention to sodium content of foods we're giving our kids because high blood pressure is starting at a younger and younger age. >> but the salt institute believes the recommended daily allowance for salt is not rooted in science but politics. there are benefits to salt. it regulates blood sugar and the body's hydration. morton satton says sodium has unfairly gotten a bad reputation
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as a cause of blood pressure and heart disease. >> we're simply eating a bit too much. and we're not getting enough exercise. >> reporter: for karen noodleman, it comes down to reading food labels and tasting your children's food. >> i think they should. i think you should know what your child is heating. >> reporter: start them young and eat healthy for life. >> fruit soup. >> and we also reached out to gerber. they use international dietary standards for sodium. they added that they are working at reducing sodium in the toddler meals and they hope to have a lot of these new rules in place about it end of this year. so about 80% of the toddler meals are looking up. >> no more shaking the salt for me. >> but you know what they say? it's the processed foods, it's not the putting a little of this on your food. it's all that processed stuff. >> you can see it right on the label. lisa sylvester, thank you for that story. >> good work. >> good report. up next, they're doing the twist at the library of congress. we'll show you what other classics are joining the nation's play list. ♪
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that helped launch simon and garfunkel's music career. tunes by chubby checker, pink floyd, the ramons great as well, the nevil brothers, they're also being preserved for history. this one my parents would play on road trips. they would play this because they wanted us to go to sleep. >> can you do a little twist right now? that's the best can you do? >> you're embarrassing me because you were dancing. >> let's watch chubby checker. >> he is way better. ♪ take them by the hand and go like this ♪ ♪ yeah twist ♪ >> see, i did it. >> nbc is taking a beating from one of its own stars, jay leno. >> he is pretty upset with network executives and he wants to make sure you know it. here is jeannie moos. >> reporter: in a way, jay leno is living a fantasy. you know, when you know you're going to leave a