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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  October 21, 2011 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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recommendations and actual doctors working on the ground and it makes women say, well, what should i be doing? one thing we can say is there's nothing harmful. >> i was about to say. better safe than sorry mantra. >> they're not fun. nothing's going to hurt you and doctors are following this recommendation because they've done it every year for so long and also, it cuts down on their liability for something. they don't want to miss a cancer. >> thank you very much. and same to you, let's go now to washington, d.c. wolf blitzer. wolf blitzer. situation room starts now. -- captions by vitac -- breaking news. president obama announces the end of the iraq war. he said all u.s. troops will be home for the holidays. also, growing questions about whether moammar gadhafi was executed. was the death of the libyan -- look who might be weighing a run for the white house in 2016. vice president joe biden raising speculation with what he told
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candy crowley. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." when the u.s. invaded iraq back in march 2003, few people imagined it was the start of a nightmare that would last almost nine years, cost more than 4,000 american lives, plus hundred of billions of u.s. taxpayer doll lors. the u.s. mission in iraq which had been gradually drawing down will instead come to an abrupt end in just over two months with all american forces out of iraq by year's end. president obama himself announced the end of the iraq war. >> today, i can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in iraq will come home by the end of the year. after nearly nine years, america's war in iraq will be over. over the next two months, our troops in iraq, tens of
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thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. the last american soldier will cross the border out of iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the american people stand united in our support for our troops. that is how america's military efforts in iraq will end. >> let's go to our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin. she's standing by over at the white house. the president avoided talking about the negotiations, intense negotiations over the past several months with the iraqi government on keeping a residual u.s. military presence in iraq. >> as recently as monday, defense secretary panetta said he was hopeful some u.s. troops quou would stay in iraq into next year. they would have stayed as advisers and trainers primarily, but this is something prime
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minister maliki of iraq has expressed himself. the disagreement was over granting u.s. troops immunity and the u.s. and iraq just couldn't come to terms on it. the breakdown was there and so now, u.s. troops are coming outs. the president did not mention these discussions in his remarks. instead, he said there is full agreement between himself and prime minister maliki and the white house maintains this is exactly what they have wanted all along. zero troops in iraq into next year. the president did say in his remarks that there is still the possibility that the u.s. could train some iraqi troops into the future. the president left it unclear whether when and where that could happen. >> the president seemed to make part of this dramatic announcement today at least part of a larger narrative. talk a little bit about that. >> that's right. he made it clear, wolf, that this is part of winding down the wars. not building them up. a move by this president to begin bringing troops home from both of our conflicts. listen to the president.
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>> the war is received. the drawdown in iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al-qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership including osama bin laden. >> and called it for running for president in 2008, he opposed the iraq war and made a point he would refocus on going after al-qaeda. specifically. it would seem that he is underscoring that's what he has done as president. >> and you know, it was not hard at all to see some politics in what the president had to say. >> it was striking, wasn't it? the very first sentence when he stepped behind that podium was, as candidate, that he had promised to withdraw all troops from iraq and that he has made good on that promise. it's a theme he repeated throughout his remarks. very political remarks about a war overseas. additionally, he made the point
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that these troops will be -- that his jobs bill has focus on veterans, reemploying veterans and he even closed with a message on the economy, so his theme was clear. he has made good on his promise as candidate and still focused on job number one, which is getting americans back to work. >> jessica yellin over at the white house where a lot is going on. thanks very much. let's talk about the politics and the substance of this with our chief political correspondent, candy crowley. she's going to have a lot on her plate sunday morning on state of the union. why can't a president simply come out and say things are moving in the right direction. it all looks good. yes, we tried to negotiate an agreement with the iraqi government that would have allowed 3,000 or 5,000 troop to stay there and train iraqi forces. help in this effort, but the iraqi government said no, so
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we're just moving on. why can't they just say that? >> because then it looks like you failed to do something. it is leadership to say, we're done, we're coming out. so, it's politics is about spin. we're in a political year. and we should point out that as late as last sunday when a report came out that there wasn't going to be a deal and all the troops would come home, they were pushing back hard, negotiations are still open, so this was clearly something they tried to do and failed to do. it's just hard to put that out there. you want to put your spin on it. the bottom line is the troops are coming home. it is something he promised. >> everyone's happy that all american troops of the 38,000 will be home for christmas and new year's. that's obviously great news, but the fear is and a lot of administration officials share this fear, is that iran will emerge in the long run as the big strategic winner.
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>> and that's true. how long is the long run? we've heard all along iran was behind this or that particular attack in iraq. it's right next door. not all that hard to get there. from the beginning, there has been iranian influence and you're already hearing this criticism from republicans and from some others who are saying whoa, we fought awfully hard. lost a lot of blood and treasure in iraq and this puts it all in jeopardy. thing is, you don't know. we're also leaving a lot of state department employees and u.s. contractors in that country without a huge contingent of military to protect them. there are a lot of risks to this. but the president can say i told you -- >> i know you've got a lot more -- stand by. i want to talk about that, he made some news with you. stand by. we're following the breaking news this hour. the dramatic announcement from the president of the united states that all u.s. troops
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would be out of iraq by the end of this year, some of the president's republican critics are blasting this decision. and joining us now from the white house, the president's deputy national security add virz. dennis, thanks very much for coming in. >> always good to be with you. >> we just got a statement, a blistering statement from mitt romney, the republican presidential candidate blasting the president's announcement today. let me read it to you because i want you to respond. president obama's astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of american men and women. the unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the iraqi government. the american people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in iraq.
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all right. tough words from mitt romney. what were the recommendations of american military commanders as far as keeping a u.s. military presence in iraq after the end of this year? >> yeah, wolf, i won't be able to respond to that statement from governor romney on iraq. he's been in a lot of different places on this, so we'll just continue to do what we do here, which is to carry out the nation's business and keep the country safe. the bottom line is this, wolf, as we've looked at this now aggressively over the course of the last couple of years, over the last six or eight months, every indication we have is that the iraqi security forces are prepared and ready to handle the security threats that they face most pressingly, most readily, so we feel very good about that. mostly however, we feel very proud about the terrific work of our troops, our diplomats
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through the training, the partnering and the operations they've carried out with those iraqi security forces making the situation possible that we see today, which is we are now fulfilling the security agreement that president bush gauche yalted and signed in 2008 so that we can have all our troops back and we can get back to a normal relationship with the iraqis. and that's what we're going to do. >> but over these past several weeks if not months, haven't you been trying negotiate a new sofa agreement, a status of forces grimt with the iraqi government, prime minister al maliki, that would have allowed 3,000 or 5,000 u.s. troops to remain, some military commanders wants 15,000 troops to remain. and those negotiations failed, right? >> wolf, it's hard to keep up with all the numbers you've got there. seem to track with the inaccurate press reports we've
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been following. here's what we have is that over the course of these three years, the president has indicated he will fulfill our responsibility end of the security agreement. there's something very powerful in the united states doing what it says it will do. the president did that with bin laden. we've done that in libya and we'll stay on the offense where we need to. that's point one. the other question is we said that if the iraqi government, the iraqi people ask us to consider a more robust security relationship to include additional people on the ground, we would consider that. but the president working with prime minister maliki and those of us who have been going back and forth to iraq over the last several months and our bam ambassador have come to the conclusion to ensure the relationship we need is to fulfill the security agreement and then are is the kind of normal diplomatic relationship that includes robust security
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partnership over the years to come with the iraqis. that doesn't mean we have to permanently base troops in iraq. in fact, because of the troops good work, we're in the position where we can have the iraqis take the situation over. that's exactly what we're doing here and i'll tell you, after libya, after yemen, after pakistan, i think the president has demonstrated that we don't need to have a lot of troops in foreign countries to kind of carry out the efforts we need to keep this country safe. >> how worried are you that a year from now, the big winner in that part of the world will be iran? that iraq will be a strategic relationship with iran and syria and the united states will be a major loser in that part of the world? >> i think people have been betting on the united states being a loser for a long time and everybody loses that bet. here's what i think, wolf. the united states will send its -- iranian more isolated,
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weaker, economically weaker, unable to live up to commitments on human rights, nuclear responsibleties and even we've learned, wolf, on their requirements to protect diplomats. very basic environment within the international community. so in so far as you're asking me whether i'm afraid about the iranian, the answer is no. the united states very strong in the region, implementing this agreement today with the iraqis out of a shared sense of strength, appreciate as the president and prime minister communicated today on their -- on their sentence and so we feel very good about it and as i look out and try to handicap whether the united states will be -- that's not a hard question to answer and i know you know the answer to that in your heart of hearts as well. >> have you, i'm not necessarily you personally, but the obama administration asked prime
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minister al maliki to stop supporting al assad? >> we have a very robust negotiatio negotiations discussion with the iraqis across the board. concerns about syria, concerns about iran or any other matters. the fact of the situation, wolf, is that region is looking now at what works. we've seen obviously the failure of gadhafi in libya. we've seen the great hope and change that's coming with tunisa and egypt and we see that nouri al maliki can be a symbol for the rest of the region and president assad is yesterday's news, just barely holding on in damascus. at the end of the day, we know what's today, what's past and what the future is. i think you see a multiethnic iraqi government demonstrating what's possible in the region. >> you understand the concern that a lot of people have when
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they see what al maliki and his government is doing in iraq right now? refusing to have this new status of forces agreement with the united states, supporting iran in terms of syria and other ibs? you understand the concern given the huge investment america has made in iraq? >> i understand the concern because we live it here. we take the steps necessary to protect this country, to support our troops on the ground in iraq, but no matter how many times you assert it, wolf, the idea that somehow we have not gotten the s.o.f.a. we sought is no more true this third time than the first two times you asserted it. we made an agreement today over the course of the last several weeks, with the iraqis on the kind of relationship we want to see going forward. the kind of secure, strengthened partnership that will serve as a model of the region for years to come. >> the president's deputy
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national security adviser speaking with me from the white house. much more on the president's announcement announcing the end of the war in iraq. other news we're following as well. is joe biden open to running for president of the united states down the road? candy crowley is just back from an interview with the vice president. stand by. we've got information. also, gadhafi captured alive, but dead only moments later. was he in fact executed? we have new video to share with you. [ inner voice ] establish connection. give me voice control. applications up. check my email and text messages. hands in position. airbags. ten of 'em. perfect. add blind spot monitor. 43 mpg, nice. dependability. yeah. activate dog.
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♪ saving time, cutting stress, when you use ups ♪ ♪ that's logistics. ♪ the political world is occupied with the 2012 presidential election, but one key player maybe quietly looking ahead to the 2016 white house
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race. vice president joe biden. let's bring back candy crowley, who had a chance to interview the vice president yesterday up in new hampshire. what is going on? >> and you know joe biden, so many years on the hill where i covered and you covered, you can generally get an estimate and the question was pretty simple. you're going to be 69 years old next year. do you sometimes look at 2016? here's what he had to say. >> i wonder have you thought, four more years, 2016. have you totally ruled that out in your head? you tried two times. >> my one focus now is getting the president re-elected. that is the focus. i'll make up my mind on that later. i'm in probably the best shape i've been in in my life. i'm doing pretty well. enjoying what i'm doing and as
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long as i do, i'll continue to do it. let's get the president re-el t re-elected. >> that was intriguing, his answer there. >> as i reminded him, that's not exactly no. he said, no, we'll get to that later. i want to get the president re-elected. and clearly, he does look great, sounds great. >> on fire these last few days. >> he's been a good spokesperson fighting the good fight and they will need him as we know, but this is clearly not a man who has given up that dream. we're talking 73, 74. >> reagan was in his 70s. >> i think 59. in any case, honestly, this is not a man who you would say, he would be too old. he is fit and trim and out there figing the good fight for the president. >> yeah, he may have a
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challenger. hillary clinton's going to be what, 68 years old? 2016. >> i think she's ruled it out. he's definitely not. >> people change their minds. >> they do. >> and weave seen a lot of politicians change their minds. >> sunday morning, "state of the union," 9:00 a.m. candy crowley's exclusive with vice president joe biden. the latest on gadhafi's final moments. was the dictator executed? we're going live to libya when we come back. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia, chevron is building one of the biggest natural gas projects in the world. enough power for a city the size of singapore for 50 years. what's it going to do to the planet? natural gas is the cleanest conventional fuel there is. we've got to be smart about this. it's a smart way to go. ♪ ♪ whoa! hey! [ dog barks, growls ]
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new details are coming out about the final moments of gadhafi and they're raising serious questions about possible war crimes. was his death in fact a battlefield execution? cnn's senior international correspondent visited the site of gadhafi's death. >> reporter: this is all that remains of colonel gadhafi's convoy as he tried to escape from sirte. we're told that nato jets were involved as well as jets using
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hell fire missiles. these cars have been completely melted in some places. and incinerated with you can see the remains of bodies inside. in fact, there are bodies scattered all around here. somehow though, gadhafi managed to escape and run over in that direction and it was here that colonel gadhafi was found hiding under the drainway by troops. all of the people have doored their name and lots of people having a photo session. he was led up this embankment on to the highway and it's what happened to him when he got here that is now a bit of a mystery. the video clearly shows him bloodied and being beaten as he was led away from here. he was at one point on the bonnet of a car, but human rights groups are concerned the car that took him from here did
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not get involved in any fire fight, which begs the question, how did he end up getting shot in the head? the ntc is claiming he was hit in the cross fire. human rights watch says they don't think there was in cross fire and are suggesting perhaps that he may have been executed. you can see that there are plenty of evidence around here of other bodies here, some of which human rights watch claim were also executed. they say there are 95 bodies in this area and at least ten of them have been shot at point-blank range. >> dan rivers reporting for us from the scene. we're going to go back to libya, speak with dan, our other reporters. we got thisre with you. we'll take a quick break. [ male announcer ] its design inspires. its power impresses. it's thin, light and built without compromise. but mostly, it acts like my personal assistant on set. unlike my real assistant who isn't quite as thin, light or powerful.
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end, but there's other important political news we're following here including herman cain. he certainly shot to the top of the polls with this 9-9-9 tax plan. his math may not add up. he's dropping a 9 at least for some americans. joe johns here working the story. all of a sudden, maybe not. >> that's right. very interesting, wolf. make no mistake, the announcement is being called just a tweak, but represents an enormous change in direction in his so-called tax policy. one thing to be said about herman cain, he makes eating crow look delicious. cain finally broke down and admitted that his one size fits all idea to throw out the tax code and replace it with income tax, business tax and sales tax at 9% was actually not for everybody.
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>> if you added below the poverty level, your plan isn't 9-9-9. it's 9-0-9. say, amen, y'all. 9-0-9. if you are at or below the poverty level based on family size, then you don't pay that middle nine tax on your income. >> cain also proposed creating economic opportunity zones to help depressed areas. all in response to the beating his 9-9-9 plan has taken since he started looking like a top tier candidate in the poll like at the debate on tuesday. >> reports are out that 84% of americans would pay more taxes under his plan. that's the analysis. >> this is one of the guys who did that analysis. robertson williams talks to us via skype. he says cain's original proposal
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would have placed a huge tax burdens on poor people and the latest tweaks make it better, but don't solve the problem entirely. >> he was very explicit saying there would be no special provisions for the poor. everyone should pay some tax, yet he changed that. he said that the poor would be exception income tax. >> that's the other highly controversial piece of the plan because there's no reason why a national sales tax starting at 9% couldn't be increased. >> andgovement needs revenue, t dial up the rate. >> the other thing that makes cain's announcement so important today is that he also rolled out a sweeping view of how to revitalize urban areas and economic zones. proposing more tenant control of hud properties, reviewing local permitting properties and zoning laws. just a whole range of things
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that are going to get him a lot of attention and controversy. >> maybe that's what he's looking for. it hasn't hurt him so far. >> joe johns, thanks very much. let's talk about what's going on in our strategy session. joining us, the democratic strategist, james carville, and the republican strategist, former michele bachmann campaign adviser, ed rollins. ed, let me start with you. what do you think about a tweak, as they say, in the 9-9-9 plan becoming now the 9-0-9 plan, at least for poorer americans? >> it doesn't matter because it's not going anywhere. i think it go so battered and bruised in the debate the other night. i don't think there was one republican on the stage that support td it and they won't support it now. i think it was more of a gimmick. it's not time for gimmicks. we've got too many gimmicks in the past. we now need a stable overhaul of our tax system and one that
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makes sense. >> how do you explain, james, that he has do so well, not only in the national polls, but you look at some of the most recent polls in iowa and south carolina, he seems to be atop. >> the guy's not changing plans, just area codes. go from 9-9-9 to 9-0-9. this happened with trump. he shot to the top. he didn't go. then bachmann shot to the top. she didn't go. then perry. he didn't go. then herman cain shooting to the top and he's not going to go either. shows the level of dissatisfaction you have with romney. that's what this entire thing is indicative of. >> let's talk about the major news of the the day. the president's dramatic announcement. he shows up in the briefing room and says the war in iraq will be over at the end of this year when he brings home all u.s. troops. is it wise and i'll start with
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you,ed, for the president to open remarks by saying i promised i'd bring the troops home from iraq. was that simply smart? because he's getting a lot of heat for opening up with those words. >> i always believe a president who lives up to his promises is doing well. >> i asked the question because it makes it sound political as opposed to a substantive national security decision. >> he's going to be charged as politics, but at the end of the day, here's the bottom line. all of us americans, james, me, anybody else, we want our troops home. we're tired of this war. the critical thing here is is it going to work? we've now basically held their hands and rebuilt their country and turned their government over this themselves. if the iraqis can't swim, we're not going back to save them. i think the bottom line here is as long as this decision works and there's no chaos in the six months after our troops are out
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of there, it's a good decision. if there's chaos and three months after we're out, a big request for us to come back. then it's continue veral. >> james? >> he kept the campaign promise. if it's chaos, we're not going back. we're leaving. they're in there with iran helping syria. this thing is just a big mess. hopefully they turn into some garden of eden democracy in the middle east, but even if that fails, we're not going back to iraq. bob gates, we'll never get involved in a another land war in the middle east. i suspect he knows more than me, but we're done. >> because the nightmare scenario as you know, forget about politics right now. the nightmare scenario is that this enormous sacrifice that america made in iraq in terms of blood and treasure could be for
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not if the iraqi government totally aligns itself with ahminedjad in iran and al assad in syria. >> aren't they doing that now? it's my understanding that they're helping iran help assad stay in power. >> certainly align themselves on the syrian issue. it's, i mean, people are saying, why did the united states spend almost nine years in iraq if this is going to be the end result? >> well, this may be the end result if we stay there another six months or a year. i think the tragedy of this whole thing is it was ill thought through when we first started it. a lot of americans have paid a heavy price. i think our military has been superb through it all. it's been republican and democrat, both administrations, and stayed there. we didn't have necessarily good partners. i think at the end of the day, if it becomes chaotic and not a good place, iraqis, it's their
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fault. not our fault. >> a new book coming out from a "washington post" reporter entitled "ten letters" let me read an excerpt -- this reporter referring to ten letters the president reads every night from individuals who write the white house with their o own personal stories, own personal appeals. what do you make of this, james, that on occasion, he has written a personal check to an individual that seems in great need? >> he's a human being. i mean, he's a terrific father.
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by anybody's definition and i think it's nice that he reads these letters and i guess he's overcome with tragedy that's happening here. i'm sure to some extent he wishes he'd do more. in a huge sense, i guess it's not going to make much difference, but at least to the person who gets the letter back, a small check, it might make a little difference. i'm sure that he feels this and he understands, sort of nice to know that me spends time reading these ten letters. >> reagan did the same similar. read a lot of letters. sometimes made personal contributions. this guy used to be a community organizer. i think it's one of the nicer things i've heard about him and this is one time i won't take issue with any of his policies.
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this is a nice gesture. >> i'm glad to know that president reagan read those letters, too. like bush would write a letter to parents of fallen soldiers. >> he has made that point, he reads ten letters a day from individuals and he's moved by what he reads and you can clearly see that on his face right there. thanks very much. >> thank you. gadhafi's final moments caught by amateur video. was the dictator executed? we're examining the brand new tapes. stay with us. ♪ been torn apart
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more to the controversy surrounding the death of gadhafi. the video you're about to watch is graphic and disturbing. it shows the chaotic moments created by capture. once again, this may not be appropriate for many viewers. >> reporter: in the chaotic minutes of gadhafi's life after he's discovered cowering in a drain.
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film him, film him, explains one fighter. with a head wound streaming blood, gadhafi seems dazed and frightened, but is clearly conscious. in another video of the scene obtained by cnn, a gun is pointed at gadhafi's head. shame on you, you're sinning, you're sinning, gadhafi says. a fight retorts, you don't know about sin. a crowd gathers and gadhafi's slapped at least once. the audio on one video suggests a debate among "the fightertheh what to do with him. then someone tells gadhafi, these are misrata people. fighters from misrata have played a big part in the assault on sirte. after his capture, some of "the fighter"s explain how they found gadhafi. then we went to the other side
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and four our five ran out from under the road and surrendered. one told us that gadhafi was inside and wouned. when we entered the home, i saw his bushy head and i jumped on him immediately. then all "the fighter"s came and surrounded him. when we came, we found this handgun with him and the golden gun in a bag. >> still, far from clear what happened to gadhafi once he was taken from the scene. peter burkhardt tells dan rivers it's very unlikely he died in cross fire as the transitional national council first claimed. >> it's very clear when moammar gadhafi was removed from the area here, he did not have a gun shot wound to the head. >> later video shows gadhafi's body in a cold storage unit in misrata. there appears to be a gun shot wound to his left temple. the commander in charge of
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guarding his body promises he will be washed, respected and bu buried in a muslim cemetery, but as yet, there seems no agreement on where and when. >> in our next hour, we're going to be speak wg a reporter who went there and saw what was going on. where gadhafi's body is right now. we'll speak with her from tripoli when we come back. later here in "the situation room," but that's very, very grizzly video. much more on this story coming up as well. meanwhile, a $500 million government loan to an electric car company. here's the problem. their only factory is in finland. stand by. you're in "the situation room." it's salonpas. pain relief that works at the site of pain... up to 12 hours. salonpas. i'm not a line item on a budget. and i'm definitely not a pushover.
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it might, repeat, might just be another solyndra. the obama administration is coming under fire for hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to electric car makers. lisa, what is going on? >> this is actually a loan program that originally started under the bush administration, but it really picked up after president obama took office. one billion dollars in loans has
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gone to two electric vehicle manufacturers, but like many start-ups, the companies have been losing money and that's causing some to draw comparisons to another green firm that went bankrupt. solyndra. which has cost taxpayers half a billion dollars. beautiful, sleek, sexy and energy efficient. the karma by fis car isn't cheap with a price tag of $95,000. the obama administration gave fiskar a loan to help the company. another company, tesla, received a similar $465 million. the idea is to create jobs. with tesla revamping an abandoned gm plant in kansas and fiskar in delaware. >> it's important to the american people. that is a growing global market. electric vehicles are the
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future. the only question is how soon. >> but fiskar is behind production schedule and the company's only factory up in running is not in the u.s. it's in finland. although the obama administration is adamant no federal dollars are used and the company has had steep losses. is it possible these companies might turn out to be another solyndra? >> we put that question directly to the head of fiskar automotive and he said no, absolutely not. but the experts that we talked to believe it could be and that the auto industry will have its own version of solyndra because the obama administration is investing tens of billions of dollars in these companies. >> the u.s. department of energy stands by its advanced technology vehicles manufactu manufacturing loan program adding tesla has added new jobs in the last three years and that
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the california headquarters continues to ramp up employment. still, republicans worry electric vehicle companies could follow the pattern of solyndra, the now bankrupt california company. >> taxpayers are funding these enterprises and we see these investors that are strong, wealthy supporters of the administration during the last election. >> now, fiskar told cnn that the company is politically neutral and with the help of the loan, will be a quote, profitable, high-tech, american car company. we reached out to tesla for comment, but did not hear back from them. >> why didn't fiskar just open up a plant in the united states as opposed to this plant in finland? >> one reason is they say they didn't have the capability. what they are specializing in are these high-end cars that cost about $100,000 per vehicle and just didn't have the
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capability to start here. their plan is to eventually manufacture some of these vehicles out of delaware, but that hasn't happened yet. >> here's why i never understand. these companies have nothing to hide. why can't they at least issue a statement? >> fiskar did give us a statement. tesla, we haven't heard back. >> they've got a public relations department, give us a piece of paper, an e-mail, tweet, anything. thanks very much. it's the sticking point bringing about an abrupt end to the war in iraq. in our next hour, we're going in depth on the question of immunity and why it's so important to the pentagon. plus, forensics experts are now weighing in on whether moammar gadhafi was executed. we have a brand new report. stay with us. ctric? uh, it is, yeah, it's a chevy volt. so what are you doing at a gas station? well it still takes gas to go farther.
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but you're not getting gas. true. not this time. uh, don't have to gas up very often. so you have to go to the bathroom? no. yes you do. thought these were electric? yes, it's a uh, a chevy volt. so what are you doing at a gas station? hey, it's sandra -- from accounting. peter. i can see that you're busy... but you were gonna help us crunch the numbers for accounts receivable today.
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i tell you what i can spend. i do my best to make it work. i'm back on the road safely. and i saved you money on brakes. that's personal pricing. hillary clinton is talking to have to a key u.s. ally. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. >> in pakistan, secretary of state hillary clinton is urging
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officials to deny safe havens to terrorists. the u.s. believes terrorists within pakistan has been launching attacks in afghanistan and the u.s. has also accused pakistan's top spy agency of helping the terrorists. clinton met with pakistan's president and foreign minister and held a town hall. and global warming is real. at least accord tog a new independent study. researchers examined 1.6 billion weather reports from nearly 40,000 weather stations. they found reliable evidence of a rise in average world land temperatures of nearly two degrees fahrenheit since the 1950s. the study disputes several claims made by skeptics. criminal gang membership is up in the united states in the past three years. a few fbi report estimates there are 1.4 million gang members. including more than 33,000 gangs. the largest number of gang members are in southern
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california, arizona and chicago. officials point out this spike could be due in part to better reporting by law enforcement. and texas prisoners are going to be losing their lunch. in an effort to save money, prisons have cut back to two meals on weekends. just brunch and dinner. the state is trying to save nearly $3 million. they are insisting the nutritional value is the same in three meals. no lunch on the weekends anymore in texas. >> thank you. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. president obama's declaring the united states war in iraq will be over by the end of the year, but thousands of american citizens will be left behind. this hour, what the president didn't say during his surprise announcement. plus, fears that iraq will now get even cozier with its dangerous neighbor, iran.
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we're digging deeper on a full u.s. military withdrawal. and libyans line up to see gadhafi's cory ps in a cooler while the united nations demands to know when he was killed. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- many americans have been waiting almost nine long years to hear the words the president of the united states said today that all u.s. troops who will be leaving iraq will be heading home by the holidays. but president obama's critics say the withdrawal is actually a failure by the obama administration that could have serious consequences. we're looking at all sides to this breaking story. listen to a slice of the president's upbeat announcement. >> today, i can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in iraq will come home by the end of the year.
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after nearly nine years, america's war in iraq will be over. over the next two months, our troops in iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. the last american soldier will cross the border out of iraq with their held, heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the american people stand united in our support for our troops. >> about 38,000 u.s. troops still on the ground in iraq right now. before the president's announcement, the united states and iraq had been in serious talks about leaving some american forces, a few thousand at least, in the country beyond the planned december 31st deadline, but iraq refused to give any remaining u.s. troop legal immunity for prosecution, so the withdrawal is moving forward. the u.s. will not retain a
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residual military presence in iraq. let's bring in chris lawrence. he's taking a closer look at the immunity issue. why was this so important to the department of defense? >> not just the department of defense, but the u.s. government as a whole. immunity wasn't the only issue that derailed the negotiations, but obviously, it played a big part and comes down to the fact that the government of the united states needed some sort of legal protection for the american troops that are there. something along the lines of what they have right now. now, i just talked to a senior pentagon official who said look, this isn't a get out of jail free card. in other countries, oftentimes u.s. troops are prosecuted around local laws, but he said in places like germany, in japan, that's less of an issue because there's an established legal system. he said in a place like iraq, it
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was very, very important that the troops have legal protection. so when you look at some of the krit scriticism from this decis from romney, mccain, calling this a failure, that it goes against the wishes of military commanders, you have to ask the question you know, would they keep troops there without protection because it came down to iraq having to grant that legal protection and if they weren't going to do it, the u.s. had a choice. >> so, chris, what happens to the u.s. military in iraq. >> they've got 38, 39,000 troops. they've got about ten weeks to get out of the country. this effort to bring them home has really been going on for some time now.
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i spoke to a senior pentagon official who said look, the troops are now gone and he said, look, there are capabilities that we felt we could help the iraqis with. now, we're not going to have sort of that standing presence in iraq. but he said there are still some ways that we can help them. he said we train with some troops of other countries in a third host country. that's an option. perhaps invite some of the iraqis here to the united states to train. come to some of our war colleges. he said whatever means, we don't want to lose that military relationship with iraq. >> u.s. troops certainly will be coming home in the next several weeks, but thousands of american citizens will be staying behind in iraq. many american officials and that could be risky. brian todd is taking a closer look. >> there will likely be more than 10,000 americans remaining in iraq when the troops leave.
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diplomats, lawyers, infrastructure specialists and other civilians and under the supervision of the state department, the u.s. embassy in iraq. one expert is calling this a huge leap into the unknown. here is a quote from richard fontaine. he says -- the state department says it's looking to have adequate numbers on the ground to do this and believes iraqi forces can provide all the security needed in the country overall. state department, wolf, now fairly confident. >> it's not exactly inspiring a lot of confidence, potential confidence in the future of these contractors, the future of the whole relationship. >> cnn spoke with the ceo of a
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large firm and asked not to be identified because the sensitives here. he said with the absence of the u.s. military, the contracting companies may be reluctant to get into iraq if they have not been there before. he said some of the ones who have been there may be okay with it. the ones who have not been there are probably not going to want to go in. >> thanks very much. this is the largest u.s. embassy in the world, thousands of american r diplomats based there. there will be u.s. marines who will guard that. but that's -- >> absolutely. >> thanks very much. president obama may be hoping to score some political points for ending a controversial war that began when george w. bush was president of the united states. but the republicans who want his job are calling the withdrawal a failure, not a success. our chief political analyst is here. some very, very harsh reactions coming in from some of these
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republican presidential candidates. >> well, in particular, wolf, from mitt romney and let me read to you what he said in a statement today. he said -- i mean, wolf, i think while these words are incredibly harsh, it's pretty predictable that mitt romney would say this. while there is an isolationist wing of the republican party right now, mitt romney is in a very tough primary fight and i think there still is a sizable hawkish part of the republican party in which there's a lot of resonance when you say that barack obama is negotiating from weakness or he is inept.
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i think the danger here when you move from the primary to a general election, the question is do you want to be on the side of arguing there should be troops. the statement from the obama campaign is this. the president kept his pledge to the nation to end the war in iraq in a responsible way. he has promoted our security in afghanistan and eliminated key al-qaeda leaders. >> his campaign exchange, it's
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just the beginning of what we can expect. it was interesting they decided to respond right to romney because some of the other candidates were saying things, but they -- >> he's had a victory in libya, et cetera, et cetera, so, they feel that if mitt romney wants to have a foreign policy argument, a national security argument -- >> bring it on. >> exactly. >> what's the upside and the downside of the president's announcement today? >> well, the upside particularly for the base of the democratic party is that he's ended the war in iraq. the downside is that he's ended the war in iraq and if something happens to upset the quib in iraq, if there is some kind of move by the iranian, will be easy to blame barack obama. republicans will say you should have negotiated with maliki.
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you should have foun a way to keep american troops there. but if nothing does occur, the president can say, look, i made a campaign promise. i kept it. i'm out of iraq. the american people wanted out of iraq. >> because a lot of people are wondering, the president of the united states did not have enough strength, enough power, to tell al maliki, you know what, this is the deal, you should do it. al maliki felt strong enough he could tell the president of the united states, not happening. >> or he said he couldn't dlooifr his own congress. the argument, can anyone deliver someone's parliament for him. the answer is no. >> all those shiites in iraq don't want any involvement. thank you. the republican presidential candidates aren't the only ones raising red flags about the u.s. withdrawal from iraq. i'll talk to a leading obama critic in the senate about her
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worst fears. in the chaos of gadhafi's capture, how did he really die? we have new evidence calls for an international investigation and the vice president talks about rape and causes a fire storm. the link he made between crime and politics. way ♪ ♪ it's just how i want to do it ♪ ♪ changing of my mind ♪ it's just how we're gonna do it ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] turn your world upside down with gillette fusion proglide because you can shave against the grain with comfort. fusion proglide's microcomb guides hair for its thinner blades to cut close effortlessly. get against-the-grain closeness comfortably with gillette fusion proglide.
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we're hearing tough criticism of president obama's announcement today that all troops will leave iraq by the end of the year. lindsey graham issued a strong statement saying -- went on to say i fear this decision has set in motion events that will come down to haunt our country. that statement from senator graham of south carolina. joining us now, republican senator kelly ayotte of new hampshire. also a member of the senate arms services committee. thanks for coming in.
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are you just as concerned as lindsey graham? i assume you are. >> i'm deeply concerned. i think we've seen a pat here. we saw it in afghanistan withdrawing majority of the surge, the remainder of the surge troops in the middle of the fighting season and now, we're seeing in iraq. general austin, the commander in iraq, has given a number of 14 to 18,000 troops would be needed to complete our mission to make sure iraq remains stable. unfortunately, what we're going to see here is iran cheering over this decision and they're going to have more control in iraq than we want them to have. >> the pentagon, i'm sure the general, wouldn't want any u.s. troops to stay there if they didn't have status of forces agreement with the iraqi government that would protect these u.s. military personnel from any prosecution. they need immunity to stay and the iraqi government said no
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immunity. >> i find that a little astounding that the administration couldn't negotiate this. my staff was on a conference call with dennis mcdunn today and said the administration wouldn't change its decision, so i question that a little bit in terms of the immunity. i think the administration could have pushed harder. >> panetta has said if you want to have there 3 or 5,000 u.s. troops, that is what they want, but iranian have a lot of influence in background and have had growing influence of the iraqi government of al maliki can't stand up to that iranian pressure. why should the u.s. stay in iraq if the government supports iran? >> because we do not want to --
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that is so important how much sacrifice we've haed in iraq and that we don't continue to empower. >> but senator, they're aligned with iran as far as syria is concerned. al maliki's government is supporting ahminedjad's stance towards al assad in syria, so why would the u.s. retain any troops? >> wolf, we're only going to further empower iran by pulling our troops out. 14,000 contractors that are going to remain in iraq. this is an unprecedented undertaking by our secretary of state's department and we're going to have a civilian army in iraq either way, but without the military training who are going to have to make sure that our personnel are secure. >> who's going to pay for all
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those contractors? >> well, u.s. taxpayers. >> why not the iraqis? they're exporting a lot of oil. >> it would be nice to have iraq do that. >> you're a senator, you could take -- >> i certainly will hold -- >> to stop u.s. taxpayer money for funding these contractors. >> i'll certainly hold iraq accountable, but one of the issues they have with contractors, to engage in the type of contractor with the type of personnel. general austin, 14 to 18,000 troops needed to secure iraq. ash carter, the deputy secretary of defense came before the armed services committee and said security in iraq was important for our national security on a scale of 10-10 and yet, now we have the admin straight saying -- >> general austin, u.s. military
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commanders would spill so much of america's blood and treasure in trying to help the iraqis themselves, they could not convince their iraqi counterparts they should accept a new status of forces agreement that would give u.s. military personnel the immunity they need and as a result, all u.s. troops are leaving. if that's what the iraqi government wants, the american people can't force them to allow us to stay, so we're going to leave right now. >> wolf, i have to say i'm really concerned when i have dennis say that even if the iraqi government said we're going to give immoney tie, we're going to pull out any way, that tells me there's politics at play and that makes me concerned we did not negotiate as hard as we could. we need immunity for our troops, but at the end of the day, that is cue. >> you make a good point, but do you have confidence in al maliki? is he a friend of the united
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states? >> i think he's a difficult leader to deal with, but he's going to become more of a friend of iran without the presence of u.s. troops there and further destabilization of iraq is going to undermine everything our troops, my husband is an iraq war veteran and so many have sacrificed for what we have done the the there. >> here's the bottom line question and it's a tough question to ask. your husband served there. we know a lot of people whoed there. nearly 4500 americans died in iraq. we know the u.s. has spent a trillion dollars in iraq. was that a waste? >> well, wolf, i'm really concerned that if we undermine all the progress, if we seize defeat from the jaws of victory
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of what we sacrificed there, we could undermine everything we've sacrificed and that's why i think this administration by the administration, they should have pushed iraq harder to keep our troops there so we could get this right. >> one final question before i let you go. looking back with hindsight knowing everything you know right now, did president bush in march of 2003 blunder when he ordered the invasion of iraq? >> i think hindsight is always 20-20 on these issues. we will be better off in the middle east by having a secure iraq and that's why i believe it's important we do not withdraw these troops prematurely. >> senator kelly ayotte of new hampshire, a good discussion, senator. these are tough questions. i'm glad you answered the questions directly. thanks very much. >> thank you.
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chilling new images of gadhafi's body prompting new questions about how and when he died. i'll speak with someone who got a firsthand look at the late dictator today. plus, a rising young star in the republican party. is marco rubio's political future at all at risk? we're investigating. ny choices. the guests love it. [ male announcer ] it's endless shrimp today at red lobster. as much as you like any way you like, like new sweet and spicy shrimp, all for $15.99. my name is angela trapp, and i sea food differently. i'm not a line item on a budget. and i'm definitely not a pushover. but i am a voter. so washington... before you even think about cutting my medicare and social security benefits... here's a number you should remember. 50 million. we are 50 million seniors who earned our benefits... and you will be hearing from us... today and on election day.
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this just coming into cnn. one day since the death of moammar gadhafi in libya, but we're now learning that nato has agreed that october 31st is the
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preliminary end date for its mission in libya. we're getting more information coming in from nato headquarters. stand by. meanwhile, chilling new images of the body are raising questions of how he died. brian todd is looking into this part of the story. >> to put it bluntly, there are some important people out there not yet buying the explanation from libya's new government that their enemy died in a cross fire. they cite the compelling video that's been circulating and want legitimate medicine tall professionals involved. the video is jagged, grainy and dramatic. in the chaos after his capture, moammar gadhafi is in one instant, alive. he's seen speaking, apparently wiping blood from his head. in later frames, he appears to be dead. what happened between those cuts could now be the focus of an international investigation. the u.n. of human rights is
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calling for a probe, say b more details are needed to determine whether gadhafi was killed in a cross fire or was executes. the commissioner says taken together, these videos are very disturbing. amnesty international is calling for an investigation. if it's determined it wasn't in a cross fire, what are you looking at? >> if that's determined, there needs to be a prosecution done by a fair and impartial system established by the libyan government or by an international effort. >> officials in the new libyan government say gadhafi was captured alive and unharmed. they say when his captors tried to load him on to his vehicle, a gunfire erupted between loyalists and rebel fighters. they say he was killed in the cross fire and died before arriving at the hospital. but pictures like these, in one shortly after his capture, gadhafi is shown with a gaping wound to his head. in this image, a wound on the
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right side. a possibility they're bullet wounds amplifies the thoughts object a possible execution. dr. michael bodden says from what he's seen, he believes the shots may have been fired at close range. he told "the new york times" -- forensic pathologist has also looked at the video. >> these are not shots inflicted at close range. the weapon was not he will up to the bheld up to the body. these are from some distance ray away. >> questions that have to be addressed hopefully before gadhafi is buried. according to muslim tradition, someone should be buried within 24 hours of death. as of just a few hours ago, gadhafi had not been buried. we are told there are discussions between the criminal court and libya's new government on whether that court will
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examine his body or not. it is not clear whether any libyan forensic officials have examined the body. >> there are also questions about whether the son of moammar gadhafi was himself executed or killed in a cross fire. what kooun about this? >> we're told there are images that show him alive, lying down on a bed. sitting up, smoking a cigarette. again, after his capture. now, if it's determined that he was then killed after he was captured, that's going to raise problems again, more questions. there are going to be people who want answers on that as well. >> the other son, nobody knows. >> still at large as far as we know. >> thanks very much. this is cnn breaking news. >> let's go from libya to yemen. a statement just released by the obama administration calling for if immediate, immediate transition of power in yemen. they want the president of yemen
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simply to go, let me read a line from a statement just released at the state department. today, the international community sent a clear, unified message that the time has come for the president to let the people to live free. we urge the government to investigate the -- and hold them accountable for their crimes. the only way to meet the aspirations of the yemeni people is immediately to begin a transition of power in accordance with the gulf cooperation counsel's initiative. that statement just released by the state dmt effectively saying that the president of yemen must go and must go immediately. we'll stay on top of this story for you as well. joining us now from tripoli, back to libya now, vivian walt. she was in misrata today where gadhafi's pod di is being kept in a refrigerated room. tell our viewers here in the
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united states and around the r world what you saw. >> it was the most extraordinary thing, wolf. you walk into this darkroom. it's not very cold room and there is gadhafi lying on a fairly grubby folk mattress, naked except for a pair of combat trousers rolled up to the knee. looking very bloodied and beaten. pretty much a pathetic figure. >> did they tell you what they're going to do with this body? were there any indication this was gadhafi? what did they tell you? >> we've had a lot of conflicting reports about that, wolf. we've had the prime minister who came late this afternoon to misrata to see the body, saying that it would be buried within 48 hours. there's tremendous resistance to having it buried there and
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essentially, the whole idea about where it will be buried, never mind when, and certainly, that's there's a lot of questions about the detail of how gadhafi was killed, which seems to be very confusing. >> did they say why they want the whole world to see these dramatic pictures, why they allowed you, other reporters, other camera crews, to go in there and film it to see this body in this shape? >> i think there was essentially no coordination. when we got there this morning, there were few people who knew that the body was there. they tried to stop us from going in, but then decided it was okay for us to go in. very few locals knew that it was there. when we went back this evening, word had spread through down and hundreds of people had showed up to view the body. this is kind of a source of pride for the locals.
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it was their fighters that killed gadhafi and they want everybody to come see it. it's a war trophy in some senses. >> vivian, you've been going in and out of libya for many years. you've interviewed gadhafi on many occasions. get personal a little bit. what was it like for you having known moammar gadhafi for so many years, having covered him, interviewed him, then all of a sudden, see this body in this e decrept shape? >> one of the more surreal reporting days i've had in my careers. you see a lot of dead bodies, but there was i was six inches away from a man who had been almost impossible to get close to. to get an interview with and who had really ruled this country with some incredible omnipotence and there he was, utterly lifeless and hopeless and i must say, i kind of got rather wobbly
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at the sight of it, thinking how really transient it all is. you know, a lot of times, i've heard in various countries, people tell me the dictator ultimately has feet of clay and never was it clearer than looking down at gadhafi's corpse today. >> what an amazing, amazing story. thanks for your reporting. she writes for "time" magazine. with the u.s. withdrawing all its forces from iraq by the end of this year, will iran's leaders grow bolder, more dangerous in we're going to talk about this an more with fareed zakari. he's in iran right now. ♪ kingdoms and queens ♪ they all bow down to you ♪ ♪ branches and ranch hands ♪ are bowin', too ♪ and i've taken off...
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set to leave by the end of this year. the officials suggest iran won't accept assistance from its neighbor. i asked fareed zakari and the dangers of iranian leaders mettling in iraq. >> here we are in a situation where we will lose without any question, day-to-day influence in iraq and the iranian will gain it. i think that it does fulfill a promise to the president and a very easy task to maintain some kind of force level if the status of forces agreement had been negotiated. clearly what happened was the iraqis were unwilling to make that deal happen and the president decided in that context he was going to make clear, there was no circumstance in which american troops were going to stay in iraq without a -- without the legal status of forces agreement that we have with any country in which we have troops. >> including south korea,
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including japan, including germany. after all those wars decades ago, the u.s. still has significant troop levels in those countries, but there are status of forces agreements that the u.s. intended to negotiate with the iraqi government over these past several weeks and months, but as you correctly point out, they failed. here's what worries a lot of u.s. officials and you're there in iran right now. that when all the dust settles next year and the years to come, that iraq might be dramatically aligned, not only with iran, but also with syria and indeed in recent weeks, in the face of all the turmoil that's going on in syria, baghdad, al maliki, like ahminedjad, has basically backed up bashar al assad, the syrian leader. i'm anxious to see if that worst case scenario, the likes of joe lieberman or john mccain might fear. is that realistic that all the
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blood and treasure the u.s. invested in iraq mikt emerge as an iranian strategic victory? >> i think there is a likelihood of that. there is a possibility of that and it tells us i think that we, there was a dramatic misconception of iraq from the start. we never really understood the country we were getting involved in. we never really understood the exiles. the president of iraq, the prime minister of iraq, mr. maliki, has spent years in iran. they were funded by iran. they speak fluently. they had close relations with the leader of the quds force. so, the idea that they would not have some kind of close connection and the way in which the united states entered this almost blindly assuming this because we were the liberators and getting rid of the bad guy, all of iraq would rise in our support. just shows that it was at both
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strategic and a tactical level, a game very badly played and now, we are reaping the rewards of that, or the consequences of that. i don't think there was much the obama administration could do at this point because and there were many forces within iraq that didn't want to do the deal with the united states, just not enough. and so, we faced a situation where we have to redouble our efforts politically and diplomatically. in this part of the world, wolf, nothing helps soft power more than hard power. in other words, if you're going to try to have influence and be persuasive and have an impact on decision making, sure helps to be militarily powerful, strong consequential and having had a certain number of american troops crucial to training the iraqi army would be valuable. what remains to be scene is who would play that role because the iraqi army sure needs help.
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they have been trained by the americans. somebody is going to have to fill that vacuum. >> fareed zakari in tehran. he's getting ready to do a sit-down interview with president ahminedjad. you can see that sunday morning, fareed zakari, gps, 10:00 a.m. er eastern. only here on cnn. lot of good stuff he's got in store. good questions for president ahminedjad. a chinese toddler ignored after being hit by not one, but two cars. new information in this heart wrenching story. and other important news we're watching including a major payout in the wake of that u.k. phone hacking scandal. more r news coming up. the postal service is critical to our economy--
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delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet they're closing thousands of offices, slashing service, and want to lay off over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains 5 billion a year from post-office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. congress created this problem, and congress can fix it.
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lisa sylvester is monitoring some stories. >> a 2-year-old chinese girl ignored after being hit by two cars has died according to a military hospital. the incident was caught on tape
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last week. the child was eventually rescued by an ellerly scrap collector. the chinese government offered that person about $3,000 for the ad. and the publisher behind the phone hacking scandal in the u.k. has agreed to pay more than $3 million to the family of a missing british teen later found dead. akizations that reporters hacked into the girl's voice mail while she was missing prompted arrests. and the thai government is trying to save bangkok from the worst flooding in more than half a century. the government is opening flood gates to relieve pressure and to send the water towards the sea, but that means the city is flooded even more. >> what a story that is. thanks very much. the vice president of the united states, joe biden, he's known for speaking his mind, but did he go too far by talking about republican opposition to
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vice president joe biden igniting a fierce political controversy over comment is made
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linkingen apparent rise in crimes like rape with republican opposition to the president's stalled jobs bill. our white house correspondent brianna keilar's fact checking the story for us. what are you finding out? the. >> reporter: rape statistic that vice president biden has been citing this month is very different from fbi numbers and there's enough concern about this discrepancy that the flint, michigan police department which gave the statistic to the vice president's swofs he used in remarks that they're doing a very thorough review, the mayor of flint tells me. let me explain how this controversy happened. vice president biden was in flint, michigan, october 12th, a high crime area, and an area where a significant part of the police department has -- is gone now, has been pllaid off. he was touting president obama's jobs plan, give month toyota in states to re-hire or retain because of police officers laid
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off because of budget cuts and here what happens the vice president said. >> 2008 when flint had 265 sworn officers on the police force there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. in 2010, when flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65, and rapes, to pick two categories climbed to 229. in 2011 you now only have 125 shields. god only knows what the numbers will be this year for flint if we don't rectify it. >> reporter: it's the jump in rapes that vice president -- that the vice president cites that has raised questions of accuracy. take a look at those numbers. from 2008 to 2010 biden said rapes jumped from 91 to 229, a considerable increase, this as police officers or the size of the police force was diminished.
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look what the fbi says. they say, wolf, the incidents of rape decreased from 103 to 92 over that time period, and this has raised question, especially among republicans, as you can imagine who have rebuffed the suggestion that because they were opposed to this part of the president's jobs plan, and they were unanimous in opposition to it last night in the senate, that rapes would increase because of their opposition. >> how does the white house, brianna, explain the big discrepancy? >> reporter: they point to the city of flint having given them the specifics but say local crime statistics can be different from federal ones. the federal definition of rape is much more narrow, and i spoke with the mayor of flint, he also said as they're going through the review there's a possibility that sexual misconduct and not just rape was included in the statistic. the bottom line, though, he said the trend is going in the wrong direction.
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it's for sure in flint crime is increasing. despite the statistic question, the white house points to as well, the trend is very well. >> thanks very much. good fact check for us. a rising star in the republican party, senator marco rubio of florida, now responding to claims that he embellished the story of his family's exodus from cuba. ♪ walking my own way
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florida's popular, senator marco rubio's on the defensive over one aspect of his political appeal, his family's exodus from cuba. cnn john zarrella reports. >> reporter: florida republican senator marco rubio says the date before or after castro is not the sense of his family's story. rubio has been forced to correct one some are calling sloppy. here's how to started. a "the washington post" article point the out that rubio opposirubio's biography said his parents came to neshg famerica following cas takeover. this afternoon, on fox tv, rubio
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acknowledged he got the dates wrong. >> look, if they want to attack me for getting dates wrong, they're right. i don't want around with my parents' passports in my pocket. they're right i got the dates wrong. >> reporter: the post said rubio made reference to this more than once. they pointed out a speech in 2006, just before he became speaker of the florida hous house of representatives. >> january of 1959 a thug named fidel castro took power in cuba. >> reporter: he says he's the son of exiles but he never directly mentioned his parents. the article says rubio embellished the facts. rubio says the date was never as important as why they could never go back. he told fox there was never any reason to embellish. >> my parents were never able to return to the country of their birth, not to visit, certainly not to live, unless they were willing to live under communism.
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>> reporter: if he's guilty of anything, he's guilty of being sloppy. caputo followed rubio for a decade. he say his can't find any references in the herald's reporting where rubio talked about his parents leaving after castro took over. quote, i went through nexus last night and looked up all my clips, all of the clips in the "miami herald," to see if he ever said that they fled castro's cuba. i didn't find any. end quote. rubio said people didn't vote for him based on when his parents came to the united states. they voted for him, he says in an editorial in politico, because, quote, as a son of immigrants, i know how special america really is. now we tried to reach out ourselves to the senator for a comment but his office said he was traveling, wolf. i imagine they meant over to fox. wolf? >> well, he's got a good explanation there.