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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  June 9, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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it does. joe johns, thank you so much. i'm coming to your neck of the woods, hopping on a plane, coming to washington, d.c. for the weekend. maybe i will see you. >> i can't wait to sigh. give us a buzz. >> that is it for us here, now coming up in the situation room, as wolf blitzer mention, the situation on the breaking political story, newt gingrich hoping to become president in 2012, big news is his campaign imploding with a number of senior staffers leaving? here he is, wolf blitzer, situation room. account candidate overcome a mass exodus from his staff after missteps and major embarrassments? the u.s. takes new aim at al qaeda, using a reliable weapon against some very dangerous targets. this hour, growing fears that terrorists are exploiting the unrest in yemen. internet hackers break into a banking giant and access a
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treasure trove of customer information. we are investigating the rash of cybercrime and how companies can do more to protect all of us online. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." but let's begin with the breaking news at this hour, a crippling blow from newt gingrich's already troubled presidential bid. cnn confirming a mass exodus from the campaign staff. mark preston has been digging into this story for us. mark, first of all, tell our to viewers, especially those who may have missed what's going on, the latest on newt gingrich and his campaign seemingly imploding. >> yes, of course, newt gingrich, the former house speaker was looking to run for president and is looking to run for president. just in the past couple of hours, his senior campaign staff, his campaign manager, his senior aides and key staff in the key states of iowa, new hampshire and south carolina
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have all resigned. now, what we are told is that there was a difference in vision, there was a difference in vision of what newt gingrich thought was the proper way to run a campaign and what these senior staffers thought the way it should have been done. wolf? >> the mistakes that were obvious, all the political observe others going after paul ryan, the chairman of the house budget committee, his medicare reform package just so popular with almost all republicans out there especially in the house of representatives, then word that the family had this half a million dollar credit account, if you will, at tiffany's, which they repaid, in new york. and then he announces for president and then within a matter of weeks goes on a two-week cruise a vacation in the mediterranean, to the greek isles and turkey. we discussed that yesterday. were those the factors that just convinced these senior professionals on his staff that this was a losing operation, it was time to move on? >> i think so wolf. look, the question was newt gingrich out of touch and were
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some of his actions showing that he was out of touch at this point with these senior staffers? now, what i'm told by one of these staffers is that there was a money flow issue, that he had not raised enough money. also a question about how much time he was committing to spend to the early voting state of iowa. they said that he had been there, you know, just a short time ago but they didn't expect him to come back. of course, as you said, he took two weeks off the campaign trail at a time when he should have been raising money, certainly as we headed into this presidential debate up in new hampshire, the cnn presidential debate. wolf, as you wrote yesterday in your blog post on the situation room, there was a lot of question about what newt gingrich was going to do and why he made these decision. wolf, we have to say that newt gingrich has put a statement out, let just read it very quickly. he says, "i'm committed to running a substantive solutions-oriented campaign i set to out to run earlier this spring. the campaign begins anew sunday in los angeles." what that means we do not know. we don't know what is going to happen in los angeles. we suspect now that there be a
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very large rally and of course, see him in new hampshire because one of his other seniors aides who stayed with the campaign told me he will be there. >> and he will be in los angeles, a large jewish coalition event he will be speaking to. and says he will at our cnn debate monday in new hampshire is that right? >> absolutely correct. newt gingrich trying to repiece his campaign back together, as you said at the top, seem was to imploded, at least at this point. >> all right, mark, stay on top of this story, more on it coming up. mark preston doing some good reporting for us, as he always does. don't forget debate, monday night, 8 p.m. eastern from new hampshire, only here on cnn. other news we are following now, after weeks of unrest and political turmoil in yemen, the united states decide it is can't hold back its fire against al qaeda insurgents anymore. the u.s. launching new air strikes against top islamic militants, desperate to prevent terrorists from gaining strength
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in yemen's leadership vacuum. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent barbara starr, work, the latest for us. what is the latest on this? >> earlier today, cia director leon panetta is testifying in front of congress called al qaeda in yemen an immediate terrorist threat. in yemen, it's now a race against time. with the yemeni government near collapse and local al qaeda operatives on the rise, the u.s. military has resumed air strikes, hoping to put the terrorist organization out of business before it can attack the united states. strikes stopped last may. now, the pentagon, backed up by the cia, is again turn together fighter jets and dreams to go after key on pratt i have to al qaeda in the arraign yap peninsula or aqap. >> we are continuing to work with those individuals and their government to try to go after aqap and we are continuing to
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receive corporation. i have to say while it is scary and an uncertain situation, with regards to counterterrorism, we are still very much continuing our operations. >> reporter: a top target, anwar al awlaki can, at his confirmation hearing to become secretary of defense, cia director leon panetta warned the american-born cleric poses a direct threat. >> eggs very computer oriented and as a result of that does represent the poe attention to try to urge others, especially if this country, could try to conduct attacks here, so that's concern. >> reporter: last morning, the u.s. failed to kill him using a missile filed from a drone are. u.s. officials say they were successful a few days ago in killing another key al qaeda on prattive. there is good reason to worry about aqap. last october, it was behind a plot to blow up a u.s. cargo
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aircraft. in december 2009, aqap sent a nigerian man on a detroit-bound aircraft with explosives in his underwear. one of the reasons al qaeda in yemen renames top danger is it has proven it can recruit individuals and then provide the finance, the training and thing ortion to send them to the united states and try to conduct attacks here. that's what the u.s. government wants to stop. wolf? >> barbara, thank you. meanwhile, hundreds of syrian refugees fled to turkey in the last 24 hours alone. it's more fallout from the crackdown on anti-government protesters in syria. the violence exploding in one syrian? i recent days, a place now described as a ghost town. cnn's ivan watson is at the turkish bored we are syria. >> reporter: wolf, let me give you a look at how the refugees coming across the border, joe's going to zoom in here that is the syrian border right there less than a mile away. and there's basically a make
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shift tent there. this has become one of the unofficial border crossings and we have seen since yesterday clusters of syrian refugees, mostly women and children gathered there they wait under the trees by the olive groves and they wait to cross over. the turkish government has been sending civilian vans and ambulances to pick up these people. according to the turkish foreign minister gone from a couple hundred refugees a couple hundred days ago to more than 2400 and most of them are fleeing from the border town in syria maybe about ten miles as the crow flies over these hills. that's been the scene of some fierce fighting, the syrian government claiming it has lost more than 100 syrian security forces there the residents tell us it's a ghost town now that all the shops are closed, the electricity's been cut off. we have actually seen locals in this turkish border village
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smuggling bread to the refugee communities over there right now. there have also been wounded people who have been taken out by ambulances scores of them, mostly young men taken to turkish hospitals with bullet wounds, shrapnel wounds, burns as well. the turkish government insists its border will remain open and they continue to call for reform from the syrian president, bashar al assad, but no signs now, after more than two moss. bloodshed that either assad will reform or protestors will give up their demands for him to step down. back to you, wolf.will give up him to step down. back to you, wolf. >> ivan watson on the border. hala gorani is joining us, reported ex-steps civil from the middle east. hala, it seems like every day the story gets more intense and more dire. >> yeah. and now we are seeing refugees cross over into turkey. the question is how many
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thousands of refugees, if it gets to that, will turkey accept on its side of the border? we remember during the gulf war, for instance, so many tens of thousands crossing into the border, but this is really taking it to another level, plus that north western town is where people are really worried about a crackdown, they industrial that collective memory of what happened in that part of the country several decades ago. they really are concerned that the military is moving in and they have to flee. >> the international news media, cnn included, we can't get n they won't let us get into syria. you have tried, been there on several occasions what do they say? why wouldn't they let reporters go into syria go to damascus and see what's going on? >> we don't get a no thank you, you can't come in we don't get an answer. we apply, we apply in embassies, we apply directly to the ministry of information in damascus, we fax ", we fax cops of passports but we just don't get a reply and that's what makes our hearts so -- our jobs
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so difficult, trying to cross-check information based on eyewitness accounts and based as we have seen online by material posted by private individuals, activists and people who take part in the demonstrations so it is very difficult. you will remember we spoke of this gay blogger, gay girl in damascus blogger reported as kidnapped and now concerns and questions regarding her identity. does she even exist? so it makes it very difficult for us as journalists, but not impossible, to put the story together. >> yeah, let me just say on behalf of all of us, the syrian government officials, including ambassador mustafa, a friend of cnn over the years, here in washington, let our people go in there and see what's going on, if you have nothing to hide, hala gorani and others, would you go, right? >> absolutely. >> let fee it helps. thanks so much. >> thank you. a critical time for the war in afghanistan where does the secretary of defense nominee stand right now? what will he do next? how many american troops should come out and when?
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hear what leon panetta testify about today. stand by. an internet crime spree, hackers break into a major new target why it could be bad news for all of us who go online. hei. you'll find them with their heads down, working their butts off. ♪ occasionally, they look up from their work, look behind them, see the pack in the distance, then put their heads back down and begin working again. the new chrysler town & country. quietly, convincingly the best-selling minivan in america. sweet & salty nut bars... they're made from whole roasted nuts and dipped in creamy peanut butter, making your craving for a sweet & salty bar irresistible, by nature valley. sir, can you hear me? just hold the bag.
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has the cafferty file. jack? >> some people don't know when to leave but disdays ared congressman anthony weiner suspect going anywhere, he says he has no intention of resigning. my guess sells going to change his mind on that soon. andrew breitbart, who broke this story, says he has got another x-rated picture of congressman weiner but he says he is not going to release it yes. the morning papers here in new york full of explicit text messages, disgusting stuff, more appropriate for a drunken college frat boy than a member of the united states congress. yesterday, we learned his wife is pregnant with their first child. on a scale of creeps from one to ten, congressman anthony weiner is an 11 weiner ar gantly told a reporter from the "new york post" today that while he is aware that he betrayed many people, he is not giving up his job. instead, he said, he is going to try now to get back to work to "make amends to my constituents and of course my family." notice which one he put first a
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democratic source who spoke with weiner told cnn that he is digging in his heels because he says his wife wants him to stay in congress. she would probably prefer that he be anywhere at this point except at home. but the sharks are in the water in washington. many of weiner's colleagues want him gone, include agreeing number of members of his own party. senate majority leader harry reid says he won't take weiner's calls. senator patrick leahy, democrat from vermont, second most senior member, called on weiner to quilt. leahy joins mark pryor of arkansas, congressman allison schwartz of pen and a list of house democrats, all saying the weiner must go. i wonder if las vegas has the over and under on weiner making through the weekend with. my guess is he is gone by monday but we will see. here's the question. why won't congressman anthony weiner do the honorable thing and resign? go to c nchlt nchlt p kom slnn.
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post on my blog. why do you suppose he is hang tough? >> people have a short attention span and move on to other stories. i don't know. see what he does. you may be right. see what happens the next few days. thank you. a new shock today president obama's economic record, from one of the republican front runners for his job. we are talking about mitt romney. he told michigan voters the obama administration has failed the hard-hit state and the nation. the economy is clearly one of the biggest challenges for the president's re-election bid right now, if not the biggest. here's our white house correspondent dan lothian. >> reporter: launching anything into strong headwinds is never considered ideal but the obama campaign, with its click chicago headquarters, is doing just that facing down a bad economy in the race to 2012. >> to obviously ex-peering headwinds, gas prices probably being most prominent. it has enormous impact on family budgets and on the psychology of
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consumers. >> reporter: dealing with the psychology of the consumer before he or she heads to the polls is a daunting challenge. >> well, actually, technically, it's about five and a half. >> reporter: while fund-raisers from michigan to miami have put the president's campaign on an impressive track to a $1 billion target, the u.s. economy is still faltering and that, says republican strategist kevin manned, will be the fundamental issue gop candidates use to show the president's economic policies have failed. >> the problem that he says he has inherited is now his and he will be jimmed by it. >> right. i think you are going to look at an election that's very much about the present and then the future, where we are going to take the country. in the present right now, he can no longer make the argument he made when he was a candidate in 2008, which is this is george bush's economy this is president obama's economy. >> you don't need a poll to tell you americans don't like this economy, they want jobs yesterday. democratic strategist jamal simmons says as long as people
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are looking for work, they will keep their minds open to another candidate. >> he has kind of convinced people that his poll advice helping the country turn the corner and do better. end of the day, he is going to have to also run against a real-life republican going to have flaws and other problems that the president going to have to exploit. >> what about national secure is it in the doesn't the killing of osama bin laden prove that obama is a strong, gutsy leader to keep the country safe? >> may have been a temporary benefit but not going to drive the long-term debate of this campaign. >> reporter: but sim mops doesn't see dark clouds hanging over the president's campaign. while republicans will hit him on the economy. >> i understand how jobs come and i understand how jobs go. >> reporter: he can hit back with his achievements. >> what the president can say is he can come back at them and say i put two women on the supreme court. i passed health had care for 30
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million people. i have turned it the corner to -- helped the country turn the corner with the economy, as fast as we need to but doing better than when george bush informs office. >> reporter: while many republicans may not see health care reform as a positive achievement, sim mops says that the president needs defend it vigorously, making the case that this is good for millions of americans, good for the economy and that the benefits play out over the next year and beyond. dan loathian, cnn, the white house. alabama follows in arizona's footsteps. ahead a growing backlash against against what is considered the toughest immigration law in the country. supreme court takes tough new action against those violent police car chases you often see on tv. we will have the details. in life, you're either the gas™... or the brake™. help !
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alabama the late les state after arizona to craft legislation targeting immigrations. deborah feyerick has more. what is going on here? >> critics and supporters consider the new law to be the toughest in the country. the measure requires police to detable. anyone they suspect is in the country illegally if that person can't produce proper documentation and make it is a crime to knowingly harbor or transport someone in the country illegally. immigration rights activists vow vow challenge that bill. juv seep them on tv. now the high-speed police chases got riskier for criminals. today, the supreme court ruled that leading a place police on a chase qualifies as a violent felony which could lead to more jail time. the justices 6-3 dismissed an appeal from an indiana man who got a stiffer penalty because of a chase. the fourth time in four years the court tried to clarify the
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meaning of violent felony. and secretary of state hillary clinton now says the united states recognizes the transitional national council as the legitimate representative of the libyan people. clinton made the comments during a meeting on libya in abu dhabi and pledged $26 million in aid for victims will and renewed calls for gadhafi to go. arizona governor jan brewer received a call from president obama in the wake of a vicious wildfire raging across that statement the fire is now just miles from an electrical transmission lines in tucson which supply power to thousands of homes. forecasters say weather companies have improved somewhat but mandatory evacuation remain in place. at least 389,000 acres have been scorched in that blaze. wolf? >> thanks very much for that, deb. president's choice to become the next secretary of defense getting some flack from both parties in his confirmation hearing today on capitol hill. leon panetta under fire over the war in afghanistan. and congressman anthony weiner refuses to listen to the
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growing demands for his resignation coming from his own party.
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growing fear about the safety of your personal information following a string of recent corporate hackings. just today, the banking giant, citigroup, announcing it was hit and hundreds of thousands of customers were affected. let's bring in our own brian todd with details, a story that affects millions of folks out there. what's latest? . that's right, wolf, one expert calls it cybercivil unrest, for good r the actual hacking of citigroup took place in early may. the bank is just now announcing it, they say because they had to take the appropriate steps to assess the damage t outlines the vulnerability to the banking system.
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you will see that reassuring template, here is how we will protect your money, citigroup has got it but citigroup just got hacked. someone accessed the personal information of about 200,000 north american customers. it won't say how much money was lost. the hear, didn't see social security numbers, dates of birth or card security codes, the company says, but did view customers' names i, account numbers and contact information. can they still do damage, getting names, contact inform? >> just your name and contact information what hackers can do is sell that information for identity fraud or identity theft. they can try poach customers from sit thety bank but more importantly, they can use that information to try to trick citibank tellers to or other operate nears believing that they are the actual customer. >> reporter: mark rash is a former cybercrime prosecutor at the justice department. he says the banks' built-in protections only go so far. on the same page of the website where it says how you are protected, silty group says it
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uses 128-bit secure sockets layer encryption technology, the most widely used method of securing internet transactions today. sounds impressive but it:it really protect you what does this even mean? >> what ssl means is from your browser, from this window here to their computer, there is like a secure pipe that's really hard to break into. it doesn't mean anything about -- it's like driving to the bank. when you're driving to the bank, you're secure, once you get inside the bank and engage in a transaction it doesn't mean anything about the security of that transaction or the files when they're stored in their filing cabinet. >> reporter: hacking is everywhere and constant. while we were interviews rasch, he spotted an attempt to hack our computer using a fake virus warning. mark mayfray is a former hacker who founded a firm called ei digital security. he said the recent hacks of citi, lockheed martin, sony play station and g mail are likely not relate bud do have common threads. >> what we continue to see is an
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increase in folks actually targeting intellectual profit that can lead to economic growth and that's something that a variety of different countries have kind of become aware of and hacking is very much at the forefront of that and increasing sophisticated attacks. >> reporter: experts say one reason why everything is at risk right now is because the defenders, meaning the banks, the military, have to protect themselves against every possible threat, every possible way into their system. the hammerings, say they, only have to get lucky once, like the terrorism threat. >> what can all of us do to protect ourselves? >> mark rasch, says as an individual baerpg, run constant credit checks, credit reports to make sure no someone using your identity, inform information unauthorized transaction.for everything else, cross your fingers.
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in the uk, more hacking concerns, prince william and then-girlfriend kate middleton among the alleged targets a private investigator illegally got information on members of the royal family and top politicians on behalf of media giant, news international. here's cnn's max foster. >> reporter: this is a very big story here in the united kingdom. yesterday, it was brought up in parliament yet again, dragging in the prime minister as well as senior police and various other politicians. it all goes back about four years when the royal correspondent, the news of the world, was cement to prison after prince william thought that some of his aides' phone also been hacked. since then, all sorts of allegations have come forward involving all sorts of public figures and sienna miller, the actress, recently got a big payout from news international which runs the news of the world. the latest allegations largely stem from the guardian newspaper, unsubstantiated
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allegations from their own sources, but suggesting that there are all sorts of other cases of invasion of privacy that the police currently aren't investigating involving royals, including the duchess of cambridge, but also the former prime minister, tony blair, although he says he doesn't know anything about that and st. james' palace say they can't comment because this is a police matter. the metropolitan police saying they are investigating new allegations of breaches of privacy, separate from the ones that they are already investigating in relation to the news of the world. news international saying that they refute any of these allegations and they haven't been in touch with metropolitan police about them. max foster, cnn, buckingham palace, london. new evidence that americans want the united states to simply get out of afghanistan and get out fast. congress tries to get some answers about the withdrawal, the president's nominee to leave the pentagon.
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why did president obama agree to sit down with an african leader accused of could be runs and human right abuses in the meeting the white house would prefer you didn't see. stand by for that.
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president obama's choice to be his next defense secretary facing congress today as the obama administration considers stepping up the u.s. troop pullout from afghanistan. it was a big topic of leon panetta's confirmation hearing and a contentious one as well. let's go to our foreign affairs correspondent jill doherty, watching it all unfold. how did it go, jill? >> reporter: wolf this is really a critical time on afghanistan. right now, president obama is deciding how many of those
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30,000 troops he will authorize for the surge he will pull out of the country when drawl begins, drawdown begins next moment. meanwhile, in congress, in the military and at the white house, all sides are jockeying to influence this debate. into the afghan lion's depp for the president's choice as defense secretary leon panetta, from a key democrat who wants more troops out faster. >> director panetta, do you agree the u.s. troop reductions from afghanistan beginning in july should be significant? >> i agree with the president's statement. >> reporter: to a top republican trying to pin him down. >> would you agree with secretary gates' repeated statements that withdraws in july should be "modest"? >> i agree they should be conditions-base and i'm going to leave it up to secretary gates and general petraeus and the president to decide what that number should be. >> reporter: at his confirmation hearing before the senate armed
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services committee, the popular cia chief finds himself in a tough balancing act on mr. obama's unpopular war. the current defense secretary weighs in from brussels. >> there will be no rush to the exits on our part and we expect the same from our allies. >> i think it's not inappropriate for you to answer when i ask you if you agree with secretary gates' assessment that the withdrawal should be modest. >> i have tremendous admiration for secretary gates. he and i pretty much walk happened in hand with these issue bus with regards to specific numbers, i just am not -- >> i wasn't asking for specific numbers. >> reporter: and more sharp questions on whether millions of american taxpayer dollars were spent on reconstruction projects could be wasted once the troops go home. >> this is hundreds and a tense upon billions of dollars have just gone down a rat hole because we didn't think about what happens when we're finished building it. >> you know, the govern naps
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challenge that we are going to face there is to ensure that as a nation, they begin to develop the resources, develop the revenues that they need in order to be able to govern that country. that it's going to be part of it otherwise, it's not gonna work. >> reporter: panetta had no easy anticipates because there really respect any easy answers. for example, he said you can't whip in afghanistan unless you whip in pakistan, by eliminating safe havens for terrorists. and as cia chief, he is the one who pushed for more use of drones to do precisely that wolf? >> jill dougherty, thanks very much. a look at this, public support for the war in afghanistan has fallen to its lowest point this year, just 36% in our new cnn poll. and look at this, a moment after bin laden's death, 47% of americans now believe the united states is winning the war. that's 16-point jump from our cnn opinion research corporation survey last summer. nearly three-fourths of americans now think the time is simple rite to simply get out of
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afghanistan, 35% support a partial pullout of u.s. troops, 39% favor a full withdrawal. they are nope as monsters rumbling across mexico, just ahead, how these new tanks are now being used by drug cartels. and the breaking news we are following, a major blow to newt gingrich's presidential campaign just weeks after announcing a run for the white house. will he survive? is his campaign imploding right now? we will talk about it in our strategy session. there's another way to help eliminate litter box dust: purina tidy cats. tidy cats premium line of litters now works harder on dust. and our improved formulas neutralize odors better than ever in multiple-cat homes. so it's easier to keep your house smelling just the way you want it. purina tidy cats. keep your home smelling like home. producing products
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also joining us, republican strategist john feehery. >> big shot. >> sure. >> big kahuna. >> just getting this in, newt gingrich's national campaign co-chairman, governor sonny purdue, has now endorsed tim pawlenty for the republican presidential nomination. not a good day for newt gingrich.
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he has lost virtually his entire senior staff. >> a press dent for a campaign collapsing and the resurrecting himself. >> didn't completely collapse like this. he lost some people, didn't collapse. >> this thing is over for newt. i think newt is done. not ral staff-driven person, doesn't need staff, a few staffers and then the purdue leaving and going to pawlenty, devastating for newt. i think he is done. >> home state, governor sonny purdue. >> first republican governor in that state since reconstruction, a terrible blow to newt. what i take away from this, newt is one of the smartest people in american politics, i don't agree with his ideas, okay, but's smart guy and i think the beginning of the end for him seemed to be when he took the position that the paul ryan budget, which essentially ends medicare, words of the "wall street journal," was not a good idea. when he criticized that plan to essentially end medicare it essentially ended his campaign. this is now the litmus test for the republican party. you have to be for essentially end heing medicare --
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>> here is my two cents, he tried fix that he back aid way from it tried to fix the tiffany's credit account, whatever that was, but then he goes on vacation for two weeks on a mediterranean cruise to the creek isles? >> tiffany and greek eye yeah bad one-two punch. tiffany's was the thing i think drove him out of the race. >> said, you know, speaker, a good time to go on a cruise. >> any time you are in a presidential campaign, most important thing to tell your candidate, you got to run, be at it. >> iowa and new hampshire, retail political stakes. >> he wanted to take a vacation, not a way to start a campaign. >> i did notice being a long-time hack one of the people who quit today from newt's campaign is dave carney, highly respected guy, happens to be from new hampshire but a really smart strategist who has long been this -- the closest political strategist for, wait for it my home state governor, rick perry of texas. >> does this mean -- what do you think? >> he throws his hat -- a
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>> into the ring? >> there is a huge -- a lot of run for rick perry, not a good social conservative other than rick santorum, not someone beloved by the hard right like rick perry. perry, if he runs, could make a significant step and get a lot of support right away. ly win? i don't know the big social conservative out there >> rick santorum, sought re-election in pennsylvania, he lost by, what 15 points? >> more than that i advised that campaign, wasn't because of me he lost, but bob casey, and santorum had worn out his welcome in pennsylvania. rick perry will be a formidable -- the candidate for every republican for whom george w. bush was just a little too cerebral. bush was too smart, perry will be right in your wheelhouse. i think he is going to get n. >> what do you think, the speculation that newt -- that the former mayor of new york, the -- is thinking of running once again? >> you know, i supported rudy giuliani last time, some money that went down the rat hole, he
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ran a lousy race, maybe he learned a lot this next time. think for rudy to run, he has got to, once again, another guy who didn't really -- wasn't fully committed to the campaign trail and waited for florida to start running. the death knell. >> thought he was going to land in florida, not exactly work out that well. >> teasing rick perry for being dumb, because he is, no one will accuse rudy of being dumb. >> you think he is going to run? >> i hope so actually honestly, not even as a democrat, because he is really smart, a great debator and a great speaker, be good, frankly, for cable, good coverage, but's moderate. john huntsman seems to be a moderate. let's see how john huntsman, former governor of utah, rudy, if he runs, how they do i think moderates are now an ex-estimate species earthquake not endangered. >> not going to go to iowa and try to win. >> paul makes a good point, you have huntsman and romney and if giuliani runs, splits up a lot of the moderate vote that gives perry, decides to run and tim
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pawlenty, why sonny purdue going to paul len city huge for pawlenty. >> what about anthony weiner, congressman from new york, last a few more days, a few more weeks what do you think? >> had prominent democrats, former party chairman tim kaine running for senate in virginia, allison schwartz, very progressive democratic congresswoman from virginia. the news today, if accurate, from the "new york times," if this young woman, 21-year-old, who got that underwear picture did not ask for it, did not s solaicit it, terribly damaging. when they all come back, i'm hearing more and more from democrats, they say it privately so i can't name them, more and more he needs to go. >> pelosi wants him out, which is not a good sign. i think it's going to be a touf road. the ethics committee is going to meet, in your view, it was unsolicited pictures. >> the investigation of the
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ethics committee that could last for months. >> it could and i think he should stick around for a while. >> i think weiner is in trouble. anyone who's vulnerable wants to him to leave. >> do you think al's up there to really tell him to thissicen up? >> not that i have heard from. there's a lot of people who say, look, there's a process, it's not obvious on the face of it that he broke any laws or congressional rules. it's terribly icky and creepy. i don't tell people whether to resign or not resign. i'm just telling you, i'm not a reporter, but i'm just telling you from my -- >> the democrats are going to put more and more pressure on him to leave. the other problem for weiner, is that at the end of the road, he might lose the seat anyway, so what's the point.
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>> more ahead on the embattled congressman. john cafferty is asking why won't he do the honorable thing and resign. and why did he get a meeting over at the white house today with the president of the united states, we're going live to the white house to find out. ♪ hello sunshine, sweet as you can be ♪ [ female announcer ] wake up to sweetness with honey nut cheerios cereal. kissed with real honey. and the 100% natural whole grain oats can help lower your cholesterol. you are so sweet to me. bee happy. bee healthy.
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here's a look at this hour's hot shots and firefighters extinguish flames during an exercise. in indian controlled kashmir, a girl lights candles. prince harry meets former british soldiers at the day parade. and in india, a peacock shows off its feathers. a peacock is the national bird of india. hot shots, pictures coming from in from around the world. let's go to jack. >> i like those, nbc has a peacock too. >> they do. >> the question this hour is h why won't congressman anthony weiner do the honorable thing and resign? larry says weiner is made from a different type of clay.
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this clay, once it's molded will never change it's characteristics. dana writes from livingston, montana, because he has nowhere else to go, at least he can see no other option for his life at this time. his career as a politician is over, his -- steve says the last congressman from new york state who was a republican resigned immediately. this happened only a new months ago. apparently the democrats have a different standard, they scream real loud if it's a republican, if it's a democrat, not so bad. ed says first politicians aren't honorable, if they were, they would get an honorable job. rudy in virginia says he shouldn't resign, only a coward
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resigns, weiner should get his act together and then serve the people who elected him. when election time comes around, the voter also at the time him whether to say or not. ush writes you're asking this question of man who dishonored himself when he sent nude pictures of himself to people he didn't know. he's not an honorable man. john says jack, honor his nothing to do with politics. i think he's trying to make a deal so he can leave congress with his retirement funding intact. and russ says because he's a jerk, that's why. if you want to read more on this, we got a lot of e-mail, go to file. it's a bloody war in america's backyard, mexico's drug cartels are armed to the teeth. huge custom made tanks that
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might make the american military jealous. >> reporter: they're known as monsters and they rumble in northeastern mexico. as such, mexican officials say these custom made armored trucks are used by drug traffic ters. the bulletproof tanks are also used as weapons of war in clashes between drug cartels. take a look at how they''re designed. two of them were seized by the mexican army a state just south of texas. >> they caught by surprise several armed civilians who were running into a clandestined workshop where they were indeed making the kind of vehicles that were headed for northern mexicos. this is the warehouse where criminals were hiding the tanks. in addition to the armored trucks, authorities also found
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23 other trucks that were being fitted as narco tanks. the interior can fit 20 armed men and is coated with polyurethane. they're built with one-inch thick steel plating which can with stand gunshots on two .50 caliber weapons and explosions. to destroy this kind of vehicle, you would have to use anti-tank weapons. so far mexican security no, sirs have -- all with very similar features. they suspect there may be numerous other clandestine worked shops where these trucks are still being made. and to our viewers, you're in "the situation room," happening now, as the obama administration reworks america's counter terrorism strategy, the u.s. steps up it's secret air
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strikes in yemen and may have killed a key al qaeda commander there. an oval office meeting -- lavish lifestyle with his country's oil riches. why did the president of the united states sit down with someone linked to corruption and human rights abuse. and congressman anthony weiner's sex scandal may have ended any chance to become governor of narc. but is alec baldwin ready to move from 30 rock to city hall? breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. you're in "the situation room." a major new crisis for republican presidential hopeful newt gingrich. his campaign manager and other senior advisors suddenly resigned today. one of those aides saying they
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realize the direction of the campaign they sought was, quote, incompatible with gingrich's vision. and i'm quoting now, i am, i am committed to running the substantive solutions or yepted campaign. i set out to run earlier this spring. but now, yet another major blow, yet this, gingrich's cam main, co-chairman, the former congressman from his home state has announced he's jumping from the pawlenty campaign. gloria borger is here working on the story. he stumbled right out of the gate on several issues and all of a sudden he go on a two-week cruise on a mediterranean vacation. >> on the first day of this campaign, whenever that was, because it had a couple of starts. you and i had a discussion here. and the main question was whether newt gingrich had to the
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discipline to run for president of the united states, and i think that is the same question that the people at the very top levels of his campaign were asking themselves before they decided to leave. in talking to a variety of sources, i think this was clearly an issue of money, they weren't raising the kind of money they needed, the first reporting is at the end of june, you know, we all look at these campaigns to see how violent they are, to see what they've got in the ban blg. it was a question of strategy. they believed he wasn't spending enough time in iowa. they didn't like that he was away on this two-week vacation when he needed to be out there raising this kind of money. and the first mistake was calling the ryan budget. >> calling the house chairman of the budget committee? >> now that's the touch stone for every republican candidate know and he distanced himself
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from it. so in the end, these people are pronegotiati professionals, they wantsed to run a professional campaign they could be proud of. but i think they didn't have a candidate who agreed with the way to run a professional campaign. >> he will be on our own cnn debate with the other presidential contenders. >> he says he's not going anywhere, he's going to continue running this campaign, he says one of the chief campaign advisors who remains is his wife, i'm told by two sources that there's always been some tension in the campaign about who's running the campaign, was it mr. and mrs. gingrich themselves or was it the campaign team? and the campaign team felt, look, we're the professionals here, we're the ones that have to go out and raise money and we
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felt that the candidates just weren't doing enough. >> early tests for the republican field takes place this coming monday in new hampshire as the develop hopeful gathers to size one another up and debate the serious issues. the new hampshire republican presidential debate, monday night, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. other news we're following right now, as the bullets fly and the bombs explode in libya, there was an extraordinary gathering of world power to try to garner financial and moral support for the rebels. hillary clinton and her counterparts met in the middle east, they left no doubt where they stand. our senior international correspondent nic robertson is in abu dhabi. >> far from the libyan battlefield, the diplomatic chorus grows, it's aim quite simply to build international momentum for a rebel victory. almost three months into libya's civil war, some 30 governments
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are signed up to the libyan contact group. the grim photo here is more than just symbolic, this conference is almost as much about size as it is about substance. many officials here talk about the importance of the growing international unity that gadhafi must go. heading the agenda, funds to keep the rebel transitional national council, the tnc afloat. italy offering over $500 million in cash, for day to stay expenses, france $250 million. kuwait, 150 million. officials stress the money not for weapons and it will be accounted for. >> the last thing we want is to put the tnc in a position where the money flows but they are not -- they don't have the systems in place to actually put it to good use. we think that they do now and we're working to assist them. >> reporter: but on the battlefield, weapons are what
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the rebels want most. outgunned by gadhafi, improvising to topple the dictator. so this is home made from a tank? >> yes. this is a tank that gadhafi used. the tank is gone, we're using the top of it. just the bottom is in the car. >> reporter: home made weapons but you're using this against his home made tanks, i mean he has much bigger and better weapons than you. >> yes. we're trying to test it for two weeks. the car is still holding. >> reporter: and you made more? >> we got about 60 of those. >> reporter: enabling rebel fighters to take more territory, put pressure on gadhafi's supply lines to the capital, the privately spoken needs on the margins of the conference. the mood optimistic, but the war of attrition is steadily being
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won. >> we're further of the view that now and against the regime. we have two challenges right now, to keep people alive until this crisis concludes and to be fully prepared from the next day which is how do you produce sufficient support and structure for an interim government to perform it's functions once gadhafi goes. >> new and important additions to the conference. both have distanced themselves from gadhafi with turkey pledging $100 million for the rebels too. to the numbers here, testament to his increasing isolation. but the need for this meeting testament to his -- >> nick robertson is joining us from abu dhabi. >> have you seen any differences between the u.s. position on the one hand and the other members
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of this libyan group on the other hand? are they are on the same page, at least publicly or are there some serious differences? >> publicly they're certainly on the same page and whatever daylight there shall be between positions is being narrowed. we have seen sort of the italians and the french and the british come out earliest and to sort of recognition the transitional national council, and united states really seems to be on board with that as well. we have heard behind the scenes from the emratty foreign minister, that they're working hard to unfreeze these lib yang assets to get the money from those frozen assets into the hands of the rebels so they can be used and used responsibly. there seems to be some differences of opinion behind the scenes of how that's going to get done. everyone is recognizing that moammar gadhafi could be out of power. and that's sort of focussing
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everyone's minds on what happens next. right now i would say that it doesn't appear certainly in the public face of the contact group to be big differences, wolf. >> nic robertson, on the scene for us at abu dhabi. here's a question that i would like the outgoing armed services committee director's confirmation hearings, i would ask him, director panetta, the u.s. taxpayer has so far spent $1 billion to pay for the american nato operation in libya, in the meantime the u.s. as frozen at least $30 billion of libyan assets here in the united states. would you support keeping a running tab on what u.s. taxpayers are paying to liberate libya and then deduct that amount from the frozen libyan assets? that's the question. but based on what other obama administration officials have told me in recent weeks, panetta's answer probably would be a very polite no.
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whether using of those frozen libyan funds would be legal. the senate majority leader harry reid told me recently he would support the idea. other members of congress, democrats and republicans also told me they agree it makes sense especially at a time when the u.s. is under enormous pressure to reduce spending at home. it would probably raise questions down the road of potentially trying to recoup money from oil rich iraq to pay for u.s. military operations there and that in part is why i suspect panetta's answer if he were asked that question at these hearings, and so far he has not, why i suspect his answer may be no. you can read my comments on our new blog,
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is. we're getting new information coming into "the situation room." and how congressman anthony weiner -- for the actor alec baldwin. plus donald trump, blasting congressional republicans and making a dire prediction. >> the democrats are laughing at the stupidity of the republicans and this ryan plan. the republicans are going to lose control of the house. your advertising mail campaign is paying off! business is good! it must be if you're doing all that overnight shipping. that must cost a fortune. it sure does. well, if it doesn't have to get there overnight, you can save a lot with priority mail flat rate envelopes.
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jack cafferty is here with "the cafferty file." the political games that are being played around the debt ceiling are creating the some of the most serious crises facing the united states right now and yet president obama remains pretty much above the fray on this matter. today he was posting the president of the west african nation at the oval office. meanwhile vice president joe biden was holding a meeting with lau lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on the dealt ceiling. the u.s. technically hit the debt ceiling in april. timothy geithner says the
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government can continue to pay its bills and get by for a few weeks until the beginning of august. the congress will not vote to raise the ceiling unless steep, meaningful cuts are made in spending. part of the debt ceiling working group, the president requested the vice president head up earlier this spring. so far both sides have agreed to spending cuts but that's a drop in the bucket compared to what some conservatives want. today the group was to discuss taxes entitlement. this all comes on the same day that the fitch ratings service said it would assign a junk rating to all u.s. treasury securities if the federal government misses its debt payments by august 15. but president obama was busy hosting the president of gabon. here's the question, should president obama become
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personally involve in negotiations over this nation's debt crisis. go to and post a comment on my blog. right now an american official says a key commander of al qaeda's arabian branch in yemen may have been killed in recent days. the renewed air campaign against the islamic insurgents follows a low created by months of political chaos. the u.s. is engaged militarily right now in iraq, in afghanistan, in libya and now yemen, it's getting engaged in militarily in a significant way, is this good? >> well, it's sort of unavoidable, wolf, in many respects, these are not -- where we are now, particularly in places like libya and yimen, we're not sort of american choosing, but america has interest in the chaos that's
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evolving into. in these placeses, if there is chaos, if the governments aren't strong enough to sort of create an environment where there's security and governance, the bad guys come in. you have al qaeda elements in each of these countries that will then assert themselves. it's really important that we try to encourage sort of the opposition in libya and in yemen to either take control and move those governments that are currently there but are very fragile aside. >> what the u.s. is doing in yemen is different than in pakistan to a certain degree, it's not cia drones, this is the u.s. military in yemen engaging in strikes designed to find al qaeda operatives and kill them. >> well, wolf, that's the certainly the report in the "new york times," but in my experience i have seen the drones used as they were used in the pakistani tribal area, and
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as you know, a drone program would be used under the covert authority of the cia. it would be a covert action. >> but the drones that are used by the cia are also drones used by the defense department. the incredible thing about the bin laden raid, is that here were ground forces, they were given command over to the cia, and that's been the experience where you're going after terrorist targets and those targets are identified by negligence operation but you want it to be ultimately deniable and you use covert action. i understand what the report is in the "new york times," i have not talked to anybody who's yet confirmed that there's missions and actually u.s. military missions, of course we're using u.s. military -- you're doing it
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in accordance with the existing government in sala. >> in the past he's given that kind of permission according to a lot of sources, let's talk about president obama, but what you're hearing now that he's coming up with what's described as a new counter terrorism strategy, what is that one? >> during the bush administration, president -- obama's been in office go and a half years, we have seen lots of operations like the bin laden raid, we have seen lots of drone activity, we video speechhave h from -- strategic objectives of this president. in the war on terror. and so, it's now, i think, in the wake of the bin laden raid, i think the country will be very interested to understand thas h looks at threats around al qaeda and the arabian peninsula in
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yemen, what is his strategic vision and framework in which he looks at those threats and decides to take action. the cabinet secretaries have cleared on it and they're now prepared for a public rollout. >> and the president will make an address? >> they'll prepare it. they'll ask his immediate staff if that's what he wants to do, he'll prepare a venue and a speech for him to do just that. >> good idea for him to do it as we approach the 10th anniversary of 911 as well. an african leader accused of krunation and rights abuses meeting with president obama. we have details of a controversial oval office meeting today. stand by.
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listen to this, donald trump as you all know, he announced he's not running for president of the united states, but if th is that decision final. >> many people have been asking me what i was going to do so well and in fact leading in the polls why didn't i decide to run for president? the fact is that numerous things happened. number one, the republican -- the timing of this plan was so bad it almost seems as though the republicans have a death wish. wait to tamper with medicare, which happens to be a good program, but there's lots of -- but when they tamper with medicare, they have a death wish. this is not going to happen. and frankly i would protect medicare. it's not going to happen.
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you can't win an election if you're going to be playing games with medicare. fix it, make it better. but the democrats are laughing at the stupidity of the republicans and this ryan plan. the republicans are going to lose control of the house. it is unbelievable what he did. so i think the kinds of things that are happening, is calling me on an hourly basis offering me all sorts of money to continue with the apprentice which has been a tremendous hit show for nbc and frankly for me. i said you know what? i think it's time to take the money. i am watching very carefully. if the wrong person is nominated, you watch what happens with donald trump and what he does. >> i have known donald trump for a long time. he's a billionaire who can afford better audio video equipment.
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the shot looks okay, i know it's in your office, i've been in your office, but that audio, it sounds so hollow and cheap. you're a billionaire, get better audio for your youtube. one piece of advise from one television guy to another television guy donald trump. a stunning new poll may show by anthony weiner is not so eager to resign. the sex scandal may have ended any chance that leader had to become mayor of new york. but another democrat may be waiting in the wings, is he ready to move from 30 rock to city hall? and in the case of a young mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, it's a dramatic development, a turn of events in a trial that's gripping much of the united states. ination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities,
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information about the possible future of congressman anthony weiner in the wake of his online sex scandal. our senior congressional correspondent dana bash is joining us from capitol hill with more. dana, republicans and now many democrats, some privately and some openly are saying he's must go. >> some are saying that anthony wean sir not going to go, he's not going to resign from congress despite the fact that there's both public and private pressure and some of his colleagues continuing to distance himself by publicly making clear that they're returning some of the campaign tasks he gave to their campaign. i'm told in a private conversation that weiner had said he was not resigning because his wife wants him to stay in congress and a source that's familiar with that source says that weiner was dug in.
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many of his colleagues in congress do not want him to stay in congress and he has not been here in washington with any of his colleagues, he hasn't had to deal with them face to face. that's going to change next week when everybody comes back to the house. and jim clyburn has said when he does come back, that caucus, that democratic caucus will have something to say about it. >> there's a brand-new poll that's just coming out in new york this hour that shows surprisingly a lot of support for him. >> this is going to bolster congressman weiner's decision. 66% say that he should resign, 33 says he should. that's a big majority. that was taken, it was just yesterday and it was taken just with people in his ninth district of new york. second question, about anthony weiner's judgment, personal
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judgment, 46% say that this was a lapse in personal judgment, only 10% say it was a lapse in professional judgment and 29% say they're not confident in either. it's probably going to make anthony weiner in the words of that source i talked to dug in about not wanting to leaf because his very constituents are saying as part of a poll they don't think he should. >> there's obviously a built in good will towards this congressman despite all of these enormous problems right now. congressman weiner scandal may be an opportunity for a celebrity with a possible political aspiration, alec baldwin may want to run for mayor. >> reporter: this is on the table but considered a long shot.
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alec baldwin has been politically active for a long time and it's no secret he's been interested in seeking office. he plays a conservative tv executive. >> i really resent the congresswoman's accusations, i have long been an advocate for diversity, it's made this nation great. the chinese built the railroads and then filled the jails. >> reporter: in real life, alec baldwin is a long-time democrat who may be considering moving from 30 rock to city hall. a spokesman for the actor says he wouldn't rule -- there's an opening in the democratic field. up until last week, congressman anthony weiner was seen as the leading contender, but chances of him becoming mayor are now slim to none. baldwin's been announcing opens for a while. he told "playboy" magazine, people misstep, unfortunately an opportunity for me may mean bad things for someone else. i don't wish that. new york magazine was writing
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about baldwin the potential candidate as far back as 1997. just this january on cnn eliot spitzer asked him if he was interested in running for political office. >> the answer is yes, it's something i'm very, very interested in because people would say to me all the time, why would you want to do that? and sometimes i don't want to do it because to leave what i'm doing now would be extremely painful. >> baldwin's contract with 30 rock runs out in 2012. but could he really be a mayor? cnn contributor john avlon points to celebrities turned politician like jesse ventura, al franken and the former terminator. >> if he was to show she was serious and really take the time to learn the issues and get him in a democratic primary, he could make a credible runoff and he could run as an independent. so no one should count this one out. alec baldwin is -- he writes
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it's a long way until november of 2012. he also weighed in on anthony weiner, writing that he should not resign. wolf? >> all right, thanks very much, mary snow reporting. a mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter breaking down in court as graphic evidence is shown, dramatic developments today in the the casey anthony trial. and a controversial oval office meeting between president obama and an african leader accused of massive corruption. plus the chicago businessman accused of playing a part in a mumbai terror attack averted is now in.
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we now have a verdict in an
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important terror trial a chicago businessman accused of playing a role in the mumbai terror attacks in 2008. ted rolliens is standing by. >> reporter: he was facing charges from two separate allegations, one was that mumbai terror attack in india and the jury in this case came back with a not guilty verdict on that. they did come book with two gift verdicts stemming from what the government basically alleged a terror plot that never fulfilled itself. they blamed or they said that rana had made plans to bomb a newspaper in copenhagen, denmark, this posted cartoon images that these folks were very -- of the prophet mohammad that these two were so upset about that they were going to blow up the newspaper. but the reason this got so much play was this allegation that
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they had something to do with the mumbai terror attacks and the jury here in chicago said no, in their opinion, there wasn't enough to proof the armament's case, so a loss, one would say, from the federal government here in chicago on the mumbai side of it which really got all the attention. >> on the mumbai part of it, did any evidence emerge suggesting that the government of pakistan, high officials there had a role in the mumbai terror attack in india? >> reporter: it did, the government's star witness in this case took the stand and said that while he was going over to india, taking photographs and video of different locations including the hotels that were hit in the mumbai attacks, that he was reporting to a member of the isi, which is a part of the pakistani government and he said that he had a direct report to it. one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of courtroom observe ve ers didn't believe the voracity
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of this witness and came back -- so while there was a lot of worldwide interest in this trial because there was a speculation that there would be details and actual proof that the pakistani government had something to do with the pakistani attacks, it really didn't come out in court to the extent that a lot of people anticipated. he did have a direct report inside isi but he didn't believe it and a lot of courtroom observers didn't believe it when he was on the stand as well. so the jury is still out on that, if you will. it's a tragic case that has many americans transfixed and today was an especially dramatic day in the case of casey anthony, as accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter. garry tuchman is covering the trial in orlando, florida. a lot of our viewers may not have been following a lot of the twists in this case. give us a little background, what's going on? >> reporter: wolf, this case has
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been in the news for three years but it wasn't until last month when they had opening statements in the trial in the courthouse behind me and the defense put out the theory that people all over the world started paying attention. casey anthony is accused of suffocating her daughter because she wanted to live her own life and she wanted to party and have fun. but the defense said three weeks ago, no one knew about this, this was a secret for three years, said what really happened is that caylee anthony accidentally drowned in a pool at casey amount's house. and casey anthony because so much tum multiin this family. she made the decision to keep this a vet for three years that her daughter accidentally drowned and not tell anybody, that's the defense theory in the case and we're now in the third week of this trial. >> what happened today, gary? >> reporter: today was a very emotional and trying and difficult day because today was the day that the prosecution showed photographs of the body
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of this poor little girl, this 2-year-old girl found in the woods near casey anthony's house. and what they showed, the pictures were very graphic, so we're not going to show you the pictures, but they were the skull of the little girl. and they showed important evidence, huge pieces of duct tape that were still attached to her nose and her mouth area. what they are saying is that casey anthony suffocated her little girl with this duct tape and then dumped her body in the woods. they say the duct tape was on so tight, the medical examiner said that the lower jaw was still attached to the skull. he said that the lower jaw gets taken off of the school after months of lying there. he said it was still attached because the tape was attached to sight that it was not only keeping the lower jaw on, but was actually keeping some of the hair on her head. but the defense says that the person who found the body was actually the person who put the tape on, for reasons we don't know. but if what they're saying is not true, they're mall lining
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the person who found the body and they're also mall lining the father of casey anthony. they're saying he molested his daughter. he denied that he molested his daughter, he denied that his granddaughter drowned, but these grandparents are still standing by their daughter because they don't want her to go to the death chamber. casey anthony certainly looked upset during the proceedings. they took a break and the judge came back and made an announcement. >> ms. anthony is ill, we're going to recess for the day. do the -- i would ask that you preserve their privacy as they leave the courthouse today. this court will be in recess
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until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. >> reporter: i thought it was interesting, wolf, that this judge who deals in -- says she was ill category. i would say she's allegedly ill because she's had a lot of credibility problems. >> we'll check back with you tomorrow. to our viewers, you can get a lot more details on today's dramatic developments tonight on "a.c. 360" only here on cnn. it was an oval office meeting that the white house was not actually eager to tell us about or show us who was going on. we'll tell you what's going on when we come back. so, did we build a slower car? or design wipers that could handle anything?
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controversial african leader made an official visit to president obama over at the white house today. it's an oval office meeting the white house was not eager to publicize. brianna keeler has been looking into this story for us. what do we know brianna? >> tv cameras are not allowed into this meeting, although the white house is insistent to nothing should be read into that. of course we're a small african nation like a meeting with
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president obama is a really big deal. but the reason this raises questions is because for some time now, the government of gabon has been considered quite corrupt. though some would argue an important ally right now for the u.s. >> reporter: on thursday, president obama welcomed gabon's president into the oval office for a visit. the white house allowed still photographers to capture the moment but would not let tv cameras in as they often do. bongo is a controversial figure, his family has ruled gabon for decades and at times with an iron fist and accused of financing a loov vish lifestyle with the country's oil riches and let the rest of the country go hungry. some improvement in human rights but says corruption was still a problem. authorities reportedly routinely monitored private telephone conversations, personal mail and the movement of citizens and
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many crimes in gabon went unprosecuted. >> i think it's a little naive to think that the president of the united states should not meet with leaders who don't meet all the standards that meet all that we would have for perfect governance. okay? this is an important relationship. >> reporter: gabon holds the rotating presidency on the united states security council. a key vote as the u.s. looks for international support in dealing with iran and libya. and the white house says gabon has undertaken reforms, reforms touted by president bongo earlier this week when he addressed the atlantic council, a washington think tank. >> to be conscious of our challenges. you still encourage and support those -- those of us who genuinely respect democratic principles and the rule of law.
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>> reporter: but gabon does not says melvin ayugo, an expert on the region from the brookings institute. asked if bongo has implemented democratic reforms, here's what he says. >> not any substantive measure at all. because it's probably not in the best interest of the incumbent to reform -- reform for what? what are you going to do to him? if the u.s. does not buy gabon's oil, china will probably buy it. >> reporter: but it's interesting, wolf, because ayogu also cautions from being too surprised by this visit between president bongo and president obama, pointing out there are many countries with far worse records than gabon that the u.s. has relations with. >> brianna keilar over at the white house. a sensitive story. brianna, thanks very much. good report. let's go back to jack. he's got "the cafferty file." jack. >> the question this hour, should president obama become personally involved in negotiations over the nation's
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debt crisis? which is getting worser and worser. jason in new york writes, "yes, he should. this is the number one issue facing americans right now and as such it deserves attention from america's number one leader. president obama needs to let us know that he feels our pain ala bill clinton. even though he inherited this mess, he needs to show americans that he will personally see us through it." terry in virginia writes, "no, thank you. i remember when he finally became engaged in the health care debate and we lost the public option. no telling what he'd give up in order to claim he accomplished solving the debt crisis. scary stuff." david in las vegas, "i think not. economics is not the president's area of expertise. he's much better at talking about debt than doing anything about it." richard in pennsylvania, "obama has no background in economics, so his involvement would be a further hindrance. he is a tax and spend democrat, so we know where he stands. he wants bigger government, more spending of money we don't have. his insane obama health care plan and no view for the future
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of this country. reducing spending is a foreign concept to him." dana writes, "no. i think he ought to stay out of it. let biden earn his living." donald in new mexico, "the house leaders always declare anything the president says or does d.o.a. when he tries to mediate, he's meddling. when he gives congress time to act, they say he's not helping. i think the president is between a rock and a hard place. the demands for more and more from the republicans make me think they only have their own special interests and agenda, they would rather see america in recession than do anything that might make our president successful." jerry in georgia writes, "golly gee. i thought it was part of the job description. he's either the leader of this nation, or he's not. he clearly demonstrates on a very consistent basis that he is detached from the job of being a leader, but he adores being an influential persona. perhaps we're better off that he's not in the negotiations." you want to read more on this go to my blog, mr. blitzer. >> are you getting a lot of mail on this, a lot of e-mail?
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>> eh, it's not as sexy a topic as congressman weiner, but it's -- you know, people are becoming increasingly aware of the gravity of this situation. and august the 15th is not that far away. and we've got rating agencies threatening to do all kinds of bad things to the nation's debt. i mean, it's a serious problem. it's not as exciting as some of the other stuff, but it's very serious. very important. >> you're saying not as sexy necessarily as some of these other. >> yeah. i don't know that the weiner thing is sexy. it's more disgusting than sexy. >> i think you're right. >> but yeah, there is a division. >> thank you, jack. thanks very much. remember for our north american viewers "john king, usa" begins at the top of the hour. but up next, cnn's jeanne moos shows us when a weiner is really a whiner. >> i'm not resigning, no. act that you're at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps protect people with acs against heart attack or stroke: people like you. it's one of the most researched prescription medicines.
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the scandal that keeps on giving. >> reporter: you know the scandal has peaked when the weiner puns start to shrivel though every day there's a little something new to keep the story alive. the scandal has been physically painful for comedian jon stewart. who was making margueriteas during a spoof of the weiner press conference when he broke
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some glass. >> that's not good. >> reporter: the show went on. >> that's -- >> reporter: by the next night -- >> oh! >> reporter: -- stewart was showing off his stitches. >> here's what happened there. that's -- >> reporter: the psychic cuts suffered by anthony weiner were self-inflicted. it's bad news for the congressman when liberals are the ones whining about weiner, begging him directly. >> please resign. please. please do it. it's bigger than you. >> get out now, anthony. out. >> you've got to go, anthony! bye-bye! >> reporter: we said hello to a bunch of guys with anthony's same name, though unrelated to him. and in almost every case -- >> hello. this is anthony weiner. >> reporter: anthony weiner? >> no. weiner. pronounced the correct way. >> reporter: and spelled w-e w-e-i-n-e-r, just like the congressman. this kind of wiener is spelled
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w-i-e-n-e-r. the point is that if anthony weiner pronounced his name like the rest of the whiners the whole scandal would have lost much of its pun-laced appeal. >> if it's e-i it's "whiner," you say it like that. if its ie, it's wiener. i'm clearly a whiner, not a wiener. >> what does that make anthony, the other anthony? >> for what he did and being a democrat, he's definitely a wiener. >> reporter: stephen colbert was whining about how his show came up in text messages weiner exchanged with one woman. >> who claims she told weiner, "i was so psyched to see you on colbert. you were so funny." to which he says, "you watch it naked?" oh. oh, my god. >> reporter: but while colbert was squirting sanitizer and spraying lysol, barbara walters didn't sound so grossed out. after the totally nude close-up of weiner's alleged privates circulated online, barbara noted that weiner didn't deny it was