cheers and applause and a standing ovation, the governor there, john casich, brought them on stage yesterday to award them with medals of courage. one by one, the close-up picture, there they look in their medals and their glory. good for them. great survivors. thanks, everyone, for watching. "wolf" starts right now. arizona could face a very cost costly economic boycott. democrats are bringing out the big guns. former president bill clinton on the campaign trail in kentucky trying to help his party pull off an upset in a key senate race. and right now, the report -- a report says the nsa and the pentagon were prepared to launch a so physician at this indicated cyber attack against syria, but president obama rejected the
plan. plan. we'll explain why. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello, i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. we start with the clock ticking for the arizona governor, jan brewer. she has until the end of the week to decide whether to sign or veto the state's controversial religious beliefs law, which many say is blatantly anti gay. the law allows businesses to refuse service to anyone if they believe it violates their religious beliefs. but brewer is expected to veto the bill. joining us now on the phone to talk about the upcoming decision is chuck hoflin, key political adviser. what's your advice to the governor? we know she has got some time to make this decision. >> first, wolf, thanks for having me on. it's a pleasure to be here. the governor has always been very deliberative when faced with very difficult policy decisions. she has had a history of -- in
office in '09 dealing with very difficult issues with one of the worst budget deficits in the country to the immigration discussion in '09 and '10 that continued on to today. and so this is familiar territory with her. she will -- she will take her time. she has been in the nation's capital with some governors' meetings, back to the state today. i presume she will meet with supporters of the bill to hear their cause, meet with people who are -- expressed their views in opposition. and also meet with legislators who have subsequently changed their mind after the vote. and so i would expect her to make a decision sometime thursday or friday, and -- which will be very deliberative in decision. she vetoed a very similar bill, not nearly identical last year. depending how much attention this one has gotten since she took that similar -- took that stance last year. and all of those reasons why she
vetoed it last year are relevant today. >> so still presumably she'll go ahead and make that same decision. she is under pressure from both arizona senators, john mccain, jeff lake, both suggesting this is not the right thing to do, to sign this legislation into law. they're deeply concerned about the economic impact on the state, because presumably tourism, which is so important, as you well know in arizona could be impacted if this legislation became the law in arizona. is that right? >> yeah. the -- i mean, again, first time the state has been in this position. i had the opportunity to be one of the people who is running the first martin luther king campaign out here. eventually, arizona became the only state in the nation to actually vote on a martin luther king holiday and pass it by popular vote. and so we're used to these -- i'm fondled of saying we're the 48th state admitted to the union. sometimes we act like that or act like the adolescent child, which is sometimes pretty good. we get very vigorous debates out
here on issues that express a wide variety of opinions. and have a vigorous discussion about them. and throughout her tenure and office, she has been fortunate or unfortunate to be part of many, many of those discussions. >> and if she vetoed very similar legislation a year ago, i would guess and i assume you would as well, she'll veto this legislation, right? >> well, i never guess what the governor will do. i'm pleased that she has allowed me to talk to her about this issue. she is always a very open person in terms of talking to folks. and hearing them out. and that's all we can ask of folks that are elected representatives, is that we're heard. i did convey my thoughts about that, and, you know, my concerns were that we have 50 statutes on the books in arizona that protect religious liberties in arizona. we all know, we have our first amendment rights, as well.
there's a whole statutory framework for that currently. my personal concern on this one is it's just written in -- if you look at all of the other statutory makeups, it's much too broad. and it could be construed in very unusual or different ways and cause havoc on the system here in the state. i was fortunate as a young kid to have my father -- in front of the supreme court in 1971, reverse of a first amendment case about a 7th day adventist who reused to work on a religious holiday or have anybody else work in his place. that was an interesting case, was a kid at the time. but we still debate these types offish news our country. and at the epicenter of the debate right now, and i'm sure she'll take a thoughtful approach with her staff and team. and as i said, i believe she'll make up her mind sometime thursday at the latest on friday.
>> all right. chuck coughlin, a political adviser to the governor of arizona, she has got a tough decision to make. we'll see what she decides to do. thanks very much, chuck, for joining us. >> thanks, wolf, for having me on. three arizona lawmakers who originally voted for the law now say they want the governor to veto it. they say the law was supposed to protect religious rights, but that opponents have now made the state look bad. joining us now from philadelphia is our political commentator, michael smerconish. thanks very much. she is expected to veto the bill. was this the only decision she could come to, fwicgiven the ses threats of economic boy costs to the state of arizona? >> well, i'm shocked that she hasn't already vetoed it. as a matter of fact, i predicted, wolf, on radio today that i expect by -- this is just a prediction. that by the close of business today, she will veto this. because the longer that it festers, it's not only a black eye for arizona, and for governor brewer, but it's also negative publicity, i think, for
the gop brand at a time when the party can ill afford it. this is a no-brainer. she is certainly going to veto it, in my opinion, so why not get to it sooner than later? and remove this issue from the public discourse for the rest of the week? >> the legislation that passed in arizona, but potentially could be vetoed by the governor, it does underline a divide in the gop, right? >> it absolutely does within the party, between libertarians who have a rand paul live and let live kind of mentality, and so-called traditionalists. i think they're on the wrong side of where the public is, and where the public is trending. there's some very interesting cases out there in a variety of states about what i regard as the so-called wedding planners, those are photographers and those who are bakers and those who are florists. and you know, could they be obligated to provide goods and services for a same-sex wedding where they have some kind of religious objection to it. these are great philosophical
issues. but as a practice political matter, i think it's a stone cold loser for the gop. >> and both senators now want her to go ahead and veto it. john mccain, jeff blake. i don't know if either one is a libertarian, but they both see the economic impact on the state of arizona. michael, stay with us for a moment. because there is another subject i want to discuss with you, the -- even though arizona looks like that legislation will be vetoed in that state, it might not have been enforced anyway. that's because the attorney general, eric holder, is telling state attorneys general that they don't necessarily have to defend laws they feel discriminate against their citizens. and that includes laws banning same-sex marriage. here's holder from this morning. >> i believe we must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation. and we must endeavor in all of our efforts to uphold and advance the values that once led our forebearers to declare unequivocally that all are created equal and entitled to kwa opportunity.
>> let me ask you a question, michael. something you tweeted out yourself this morning. you said, doesn't holder's encouragement of state attorneys general to not defend laws run the risk of creating 50 new judges? what's the answer? >> well, i think it does. and as an attorney, i'm troubled by this. i want to get to the same place where eric holder wants to take us on the issue. but i question the way in which he's going about it. because i think he's advocating a usurping of the court's function. you know, if, in fact, those bans need to go, then courts should find them unconstitutional, or a legislature should decide that it wants to revoke the ban that they have implemented. but when you empower 50 different attorneys general across the state, i think you're setting a dangerous precedent and putting far too much discretion into the hands of those individuals. now, wolf, when i said that on the radio today, many people who identified themselves as attorneys called and said michael, you're wrong.
those attorneys general already have discretion. they exercise discretion each and every day. but that doesn't turn around my thinking. i'm worried about the precedent that this would set. >> michael smerconish joining us. thanks very much, michael, for that. a plan for deep and significant cuts to the u.s. military budget, but some fear the cuts could turn the pentagon into a triangle. senator marco rubio will give us his take behind closed doors. president obama and the house speaker, john boehner, they're meeting over at the white house. gloria borger standing by, will give us her take on this get-together. over the next 40 years the united states population
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ordering the pentagon to start planning for a complete withdrawal from afghanistan. let's go to the pentagon. our correspondent, barbara starr standing by. clearly the president, barbara, running out of patience with hamid karzai, the after afghanistan leader, and he's making a direct threat to afghanistan right now. >> the stakes don't get any higher at this point, wolf. the president spoke to his afghan counterpart, hamid karzai, earlier today on the phone. and in short order, both the white house and the pentagon issued statements so they were ready to go, saying that the president is ordering the u.s. military to begin planning for a full withdrawal from afghanistan. the reason, they say, is that karzai appears very unwilling at this point to sign that essential security agreement that would provide the legal framework for u.s. troops to stay after the end of this year. if he doesn't sign, u.s. troops can't stay. and the president is running out of patience, and has basically said to the pentagon, okay,
start planning for the full withdraw withdrawal. maybe we'll get this agreement after the april elections in gaen afghanistan. maybe we won't. but at this appointment the president making very clear to the present gone and hamid karzai, he wants to see the full withdrawal and be ready to pack up and go. of wolf, this could be quite stunning, it could really be today that we are seeing the end of the 9/11 war. wolf? >> and there are about 33,000 u.s. troops still in afghanistan right now. a lot of them supposed to stay there until the end of this year. at the end of the year, there are supposed to be zero, although there have been these plans, assuming the afghans sign this bilateral security agreement, for as few as 3,000 to as many as 10,000 troops to stay there next year. but the longer the afghanis wait, the less likely there will be any u.s. troops remaining next year in afghanistan. >> absolutely right, wolf. the working plan at the moment would have been, and still, they're going to plan for it in
case they get an agreement, roughly around 10,000 troops staying. that would be enough to help train and advise afghan troops to conduct some counterterrorism operations, to go after taliban and al qaeda. but you've really put your finger on it. if they can't do that, then the war might be over, technically, for u.s. troops, but the threat is not. if you don't have u.s. troops in afghanistan, how do you conduct drone operations, how do you go after al qaeda and taliban, both on the afghan side and perhaps more importantly how do you go after them on the pakistan side of the border, where there is still that safe haven. you lose a lot of military flexibility to go after al qaeda. this becomes a very problematic situation for the u.s. it's one of the key reasons they want the agreement. but if karzai isn't going to sign it, obama says he's ready to pack and go. >> one thing for the president of the united states to issue such a warning and a private
phone conversation with another leader. in this case, the afghan president, hamid karzai. it's another thing for the white house then oh to release a press release announcing this bold threat to the afghanis in this press release that the white house put out. it underscores the stakes involved and the pressure of the u.s. putting -- the pressure the u.s. is putting on hamid karzai right now. no love lost between these two leaders. all right, barbara, thanks very much. a major development today over at the white house. other news we're following, we're getting republican reaction now to some proposed cuts for the u.s. army that the pentagon announced yesterday. i spoke just a little while ago to senator marco rubio. here is part of our exchange. what about chuck hagel's proposal, the defense secretary, yesterday, to cut back pretty significantly u.s. military troop levels and eliminate some expensive hardware? >> i'm not in favor of it. and we have to understand that part of that is the budget deals made around here and the reason those budget deals had to be made is because of a refusal in this place to do anything about
the entitlement programs that are bankrupting themselves and our country. that being said, i find it ironic that at a time yesterday where the chinese attacked filipino fishermen with water cannons, where there is tensions between japan and china, where north korea feels -- there was a north korean navy intrusion into south korean waters. with the unrest in the ukraine that leads to some russia military intervention, and iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear power and syria falling apart in the middle east. at a time of all of this, the u.s. is announcing we may be having troop levels as low as they have been since before world war ii. i think that's a pretty startling contrast in terms of where our priorities are, and what the world -- >> if you eliminate 200,000 troops, which we had in iraq, 150,000 which we had in afghanistan, you don't need that big of a standing. first of all, i think that's predicated been how we identify our challenges around the world and what are they. for example, many of the calculations we have made in terms of our force posture is
dependents upon the notion that russia is complying with all sorts of different agreements that they have agreed to. but we have seen on the intermediate rocket, intermediate missile agreements they're in violation of those. in fact, russia basically has violated virtually every significant arms treaty they have ever entered into and do so to this day. i think it's based upon the idea that iran is not a nuclear power and we could prevent that from happening. i think it's based -- i don't think it's accurately looking at the expansion of military capability, not just from the chinese, but also from the japanese. >> so it sounds to me like you're concerned we could be on the eve of another cold war. >> i'm not sure that it would be like the cold war exactly. we are certainly in the midst of a geopolitical battle for influence around the world. and i don't view china as an adversary directly, but i do think china has different priorities and is different values on some geopolitical matters than we do. and they certainly want to drive us out of the asia-pacific region as a dominant power. the same is true in the middle east. iran is trying to drive us out of there. eastern europe, russia wants to
become the dominant power there. in terms of their government, respect for rights. dignity of people or democracy or freedom of the press. >> interview with senator rubio later today in "the situation roo room," he talks about the situation in venezuela and i ask him directly if he wants to be president of the united states. he gives a very candid answer. also speaks about that. up next, a meeting of political rivals, house speaker john boehner in private talks at the white house. gloria borger standing by live. we'll discuss. and later, u began dans living in fear a day after uganda passed harsh anti gay laws. a tabloid newspaper called 200 of the country's top homosexuals. a rare look at what it's like to be gay in a nation consumed by
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meeting of political rivals at the white house today. president obama and house speaker john boehner scheduled to meet bliehind closed doors a hour and a half ago. they just wrapped up. they're each trying to fire up their political base ahead of the midterm elections. and that means shifting positions on some key issues like immigration and social security reform. our chief political analyst, gloria borger, is here with her take on this meeting. and they just issued a statement. some reaction coming in from the white house. >> and from the speaker's point
of view, they said they had a constructive conversation that lasted about an hour. and it included the wide range of topics that you would expect, wolf. immigration reform, manufacturing, trade, obamacare, the list goes on and on and on. and from the white house point of view, they called it good and constructive. what that means, wolf, these two men had to meet, pro forma discussion. they haven't met a lot one-on-one recently. in fact, we checked and the last time they met one-on-one was about 15 months ago. but they -- i think the white house felt they needed to kind of have an on the record conversation with the speaker about what might be doable and what might not be doable. in this -- >> what is -- >> not much is doable. >> in terms of substantive, major legislation. >> not much is doable. don't forget, at the beginning of february, it was the house speaker who came out and changed on immigration reform, suddenly saying the president cannot be trusted, the administration can't be trusted on immigration reform. and i think what you see going on here between these two men is
that they're both, oddly enough, in similar positions. the president has his base to contend with. and that ties his hands on issues like trade and on reforming entitlements, for example, which i think he might like to do but can't do heading into an election. and the speaker also has a base issue, a problem that won't let him touch immigration reform, and even tax reform, which some republicans are going to propose tomorrow. but a lot of folks are saying why get involved in doing something that's substantive when we can win seats in the 2014 election. so both of these men, even though they haven't been great friends, have kind of the same problems. >> they've got to worry about their respective bases. and the president and his new budget indicating he wasn't willing to do what he was willing to do a year ago, except some modifications in the way cost of living adjustments are done for social security recipients. >> and the reason for that, of course, wolf, is 2014.
you know, historically presidents in the sixth year of their presidencies don't do very well in the midterm elections. the democrats are very much concerned about losing seats in the house. and there was clearly a contingent of democrats who said why are you going to do this heading into the election. we're going to fight back in obamacare, we're going to tell people that we've given them health care that they need, and that will work for them. and why do we want to muddy the water here by angering potentially angering senior citizens who, by the way, are part of the democratic base, and vote in some important states. >> and usually in higher percentages than younger voters out there. >> particularly in off-year elections. >> thanks very much. >> sure. >> good discussion. up next, ukraine's impact on u.s.-russia relations. is a new cold war looming? we're going to take a closer look. later, bill clinton campaigning in kentucky right now, trying to help defeat the top senate republican, mitch mcconnell. we go live to the campaign trail
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accusing the united states of protests, something u.s. officials droppingly deny. the diplomats from venezuela now have 48 hours to leave washington. another strain in u.s.-venezuelan relations. let's get to the situation in ukraine now, where the u.s. is spending marines to n to beef up the security at the united states embassy of kiev. the future of the ukraine is hanging in the balance between east and west. one side is the united states and the european union and the other side, russia. a tug of war that could have grave consequences. let's discuss what's going on in ukraine. important implications for the united states, the california democratic congressman joining us, the house select committee on intelligence. so what do you think? are we on the eve right now of a potential cold war between the u.s. and russia, in part because of ukraine? >> well, i think that's certainly the perspective that mr. putin has. and i think he's had it for some time. it isn't going to be a return of the cold war.
but nonetheless, i think that the united states should be very forward-leaning on the ukraine. this involves not only the future of the democracy in the ukraine, but also the countries around russia and russia itself. i don't think we should shy away at all from promoting our core value of democracy. >> won't that irritate putin and the russians to the point they would retaliate? >> it certainly will irritate putin and the russians. but i also think that the russians respect strength. they expect us to be forceful in the promotion of our values. they may not like it, we don't like what the russians do either. but i think they'll respect it, and what's more, i think that those that are pushing for democracy around the world really count on the united states to continue to be that beacon. so i think that we ought to be working with the e.u. on financial assistance and a package of reform. i think we ought to be very outspoken in terms of the peaceful right of the ukrainians to self-determination and democracy. and i don't think we should shy away from this one bit.
>> because here's one of the concerns that has been expressed to me, i'm anxious to get your reaction to this. that there is, of course, a pro european, pro american -- excuse me, element in the streets of ukraine right now. but there's also a pro russian element in ukraine right now. and there potentially could be a real confrontation, maybe not a syria-like civil war, but some real battles. >> certainly possible and i think the russians had the capability of trying to bring that kind of a confrontation about on the street. we have not seen by any means the end of putin playing his cards here. this is part of the reason why, while i think we need to be very forward-leaning in the ukraine, we want to avoid doing things that are unnecessarily provocative. we want to urge the ukrainians to be inclusive in the next government, bring in all parties, including the pro russia party. i think that's very important, because this is part and parcel of the ukraine. but again, i think that we should be very outspoken and
very helpful in terms of financial assistance to keep ukraine on the path to democracy. >> not just u.s. financial assistance, because is there a limited amount of u.s. money right now. but getting others to contribute to the europeans, specifically. >> absolutely. >> putin keeps saying he's going to pump in billions if they go with russia. >> well, and to some degree, we're in a bidding war. but i think we have to recognize what's at stake here is not only the future for the people of the ukraine. but for the future -- for the future of the people in that entire region and indeed in russia itself. what. >> do you make of this decision to peeve beef up the security in kiev and send marines over there? >> we have to be on the look out for russian efforts to provoke, to create even more of a crisis there that might justify their intervention in some form. and attacks on the u.s. embassy, that might be something in the russian playbook. we're in the playbook of extremists within the ukraine. i think it's prudent and they're wise to do it. >> bottom line, where is it heading in the ukraine right
now? because there's a new government that seems to be coming into place. they're looking for the ex president, yanukovych. do you know where he is? does the u.s. intelligence community have any idea where this guy is? >> they probably have some idea. i'm not sure whether they have pinpointed it or whether even if they did they would want to broadcast that. in terms of where we're heading, i don't think we know. i think there are a lot of chapters to be today here. it looked a couple weeks ago putin pulled a coup with the offer, and this week as if we're in a very different chapter. how it will look next week, we can't say. but we should be doing everything we can to make it peaceful, inclusive and a democratic future. >> very quickly, the decision by the u.s. to expel three venezuelan diplomats from washington in retaliation for the venezuelan decision to expel three american diplomats from venezuela. >> it's the right call. and, you know, both in venezuela, the ukraine and around the world, we shouldn't vie away from promotion to peaceful protest and democracy. democracy promotion got a bad
name under the last administration. but it is a core value of ours. and i think we ought to be very forward-speaking with b it and i think the retaliatory measure of expelling those diplomats was the right call. >> adam schiff, member of the intelligence committee. thanks for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. campaigning for a democrat. mitch mcconnell will go to live to the campaign trail. the former president speaking. and a secret u.s. plan to strike syria. we're going to find out about a new era in warfare, cyber attacks. life could be hectic. as a working mom of two young boys angie's list saves me a lot of time. after reading all the reviews i know i'm making the right choice. online or on the phone, we help you hire right the first time. with honest reviews on over 720 local services. keeping up with these two is more than a full time job, and i don't have time for unreliable companies. angie's list definitely saves me time and money. for over 18 years we've helped people
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attempting suicide in an effort to escape a nation consumed by homophobia. and in a sign of mounting hostility, a national tabloid has now exposed the names of alleged homosexuals in uganda. they did it this morning. and in an exclusive interview with cnn, the president of uganda called homosexuality, and i'm quoting now, disgusting. there is even widespread belief that homosexuals are possessed by the devil. cnn's arwa damon spoke to members of the lbgt community in uganda about what life is like for them. some were too scared to show their face. >> i am so much involved with god, praying so hard. >> reporter: malcolm still prays, but now knows who he is. transgender, born female, but identifying as male. in a nation that is deeply conservative, religiously.
and rabidly homophobic. >> physically, it's -- it's been difficult, because it has been mostly done by my family. >> reporter: male relatives, including, he says, by his own brothers. >> they want to teach me, like, how -- to behave, like a woman. they have raped me. >> reporter: and you had no one to protect you. no one who you could talk to. >> no. they're just blaming me. the experience made me hate my family. it made me leave. and i stayed with my grandmother. but unfortunately, she also died. >> reporter: i'm sorry.
most members of uganda's lgbt, lesbian, gay, tend to live secret lives. a gay rights activist, one of the few to speak out in public. >> i've been beaten on so many occasions, i can't count. >> reporter: kasha goes to great lengths to protect those around her from repercussions because of her sexuality, rarely leaving her home. and these days, never alone. >> i've tried to come up with a security plan of my own. to see to it that i stay alive, because i believe it's between alive or dead. >> reporter: homosexuality has always been illegal in uganda, but this bill proposes draconian measures, life in prison, and being viewed as promoting sexuality a crime that could land someone in jail.
>> homosexuals are children of god. we welcome them to repent and have ever lasting life. >> reporter: at church on christmas day, praise from the archbishop. >> sexual immorality. and i want to thank the parliament for passing that. >> reporter: the widespread belief is that homosexuals are possessed by the devil. or victims of sexual deviance brought in by the west. >> maybe in your country, you understand, but here it's a new thing, a new idea that is not from here. someone is imposing it on us. >> reporter: but kasha will not be scared off. >> i'm not going to allow someone to push me out without a fight. another thing is that our movement needs a face, our movement needs a face. i don't want them to think that they have won. because the battle is just starting now. >> reporter: for a community already living in the shadows,
the fear is that the new bill only legitimizes the violence against them. >> the it's hard when the people you expect to be near you are just the people who hurt you even more. >> reporter: arwa damon, cnn, come palla. >> we're going to continue to monitor the story tomorrow here on cnn, as well. shocking developments in uganda. coming up, the former president, bill clinton, hits the campaign trail in kentucky. we'll go there live. [announcer] if your dog can dream it, purina pro plan can help him achieve it. ♪ driving rock/metal music stops ♪music resumes music stops ♪music resumes [announcer] purina pro plan's bioavailable formulas deliver optimal nutrient absorption.
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former president bill clinton out there on the campaign trail in kentucky right now, rallying support for the democrat running against the senate minority leader, mitch mcconnell. clinton's appearance on behalf of allison lundgren grimes is his first campaign stop in this the 2014 midterm elections. here's what the former president said only a few moments ago. >> well, i've reached the age now i'm not running for anything. i can tell you exactly what i think. and since i'm not in office, you can ignore it. >> although sometimes when i was in office, i thought people were ignoring it. i told somebody once, being president is a lot like being superintendent of a big cemetery. we're living in kind of a crazy
time, because so much of politics is dominated by mass media and big money, that what works in an election is exactly the reverse of what works when the election is over. here's what i want you to know. you know, since i left office, i worked all over america and all over the world. and i've, blessed to do the work i've done and we've created a lot of jobs, we've saved a lot of lives. >> let's go to kentucky. our erin mcpike is standing by in louisville. erin, how significant is president clinton's appearance in this race? >> reporter: well, wolf, bill clinton won this state in 1992 and 1996. he obviously has those southern roots and appeals to working class voters that allison grimes is going to need if she can possibly pull off this race in a
very tight race against mitch mcconnell. >> mitch mcconnell has a tea party challenger in the republican primary going against him. what are the prospects there looking like? >> i spoke actually this morning with one of mcconnell's top advisers, and while they are taking that primary race very seriously, they are not as worried about it as they were before. as you may remember. the big driver behind the tea party were the bank bailouts of 2008, and she has made that big issue in this campaign. but in recent weeks, it's come out, at the time, he supported those bank bailouts, so because of that, he's lost some allure in this state. so it's really the general election that the mccain campaign is a little bit more worried about. >> let's assume he wins that republican primary, and polls indicate he probably will, although by no means the definite. what would grimes' main strategy be to defeat mcconnell in november? >> reporter: wolf, we're looking
at two things. she's talking a lot about how she would be the first female senator of kentucky. many of her campaign proposals talk about how she's tailoring a lot of her message to women. so that's one thing. she also said today about how 53% of the kentucky electorate is women. so that is a big push there. the other big thing is that, obviously, you know mitch mcconnell is a minority leader of the senate, and she's talking about how he is responsible for the gridlock, for the dysfunction in washington and she's running against that. of course, mcconnell's campaign has many answers to that very nuanced specific responses and i'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more of that this summer. >> she invited bill clinton to come to kentucky to campaign for her. let's see if she invites the president of the united states to come to kentucky to campaign for her. i suspect she probably won't. all right, thanks very much for that, erin mcpike. coming up, it's the age of cyberops, a new type of warfare. we'll tell you about a secret
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more breaking news coming in this time from turkey. look at these pictures. police in istanbul are using a water cannon right now to fire on anti-government protesters. the protests follow the leak of telephone recordings of the turkish prime minister that appear to be wiretapped. they were heard discussing how to hide what are described as vast amounts of money. remember, turkey is a nato ally. meanwhile, we're getting word of a super secret u.s. plan of cyberattacks against syria's government. a "new york times" report unveiled the obama administration was mapping out ways to hit syria, shortly after the civil war there erupted. brian todd has been digging into this report by "the new york
times'" david sanger. what are you learning? >> in this report, it details the plans that the pentagon and nsa made for a sophisticated cyberattack against bashar al assad's command structure in syria. "the times" saying this plan was developed shortly after the civil war there started to really escalate and get very bloody in the spring of 2011. the target would have been the syrian military's ability to launch air strikes, according to "the new york times." and, to quote one former official familiar with the planning, saying, this could have really turned the lights out for president bashar al assad. now, "the times" does report that on briefings of variances of this plan and different ways the plan would be carried out, president obama so far has turned it down and never really signed the go ahead for this cyberstrike to take place. but it has ignited this debate in the administration and outside of it on whether cyberweapons should be used like regular weapons, and what some of the consequences of that are. so, that is really kind of what the story kind of spreads out to, is this debate, as to
whether you can launch a preemptive strike like that, and some people believe it's a good way to kind of hit someone like bashar al assad without bringing casual 'tis upon yourself, but other people say, it could open a pandora's box if you hit him with a cyberattack and he finds out it's you who did it, maybe iran or russia or the syrian electronic army, that group that's alive with him, could launch a cyberattack in retaliation against the united states. so a big debate there. >> but you know it's wildly reported, the u.s. did engage in a cyberattack on iran and its nuclear program, the stuxnet program, that apparent was in collaboration with the israelis. it was a major cyberattack that appeared to cause some serious damage to iran's nuclear program. >> and stuxnet prompted the iranians to try to launch some cyberattacks ton united states. and one of the reasons that the president, so far, has not signed off on this cyberstrike on syria could be, could be, wolf, that since it got out, when stuxnet happened, that the u.s. and iran were very likely behind that, he's a little bit
tentative on ordering this kind of a cyberstrike on syria again, out of concern of possible reprisals. you know, the u.s. is always under cybertrack. we know this now from iran, from the chinese, from other places. so this really does open up a pandora's box here. >> and the president made the decision not to go forward, at least for now. we'll see what happens. and the critics are suggesting, there was an opportunity that was missed and a lot of syrians could have survived if that syrian military capability would have been destroyed. >> could have at least disrupted some of the air strike capabilities. we should say, the pentagon and the nsa, not commenting on this. the white house is saying, they won't discuss their internal deliberations on this. >> a sensitive subject. thanks very much, for that. take a quick look at the markets. the dow was up yesterday, pushing to near-record territory. up about 15 points today. the next big market mover could come thursday, that's when the head of the federal reserve, janet yellin addresses the senate banking committee here in washington.
we'll be all over that. that's it for me. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." in the meantime, thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. "newsroom" with brooke baldwin starts right thousand. wolf blitzer, thank you, as always. great to be with you. i'm brooke baldwin. a lot of news to get to today. we want that start with this direct threat from president obama. every single american troop could be out of afghanistan by the end of this year. and today the president called hamid karzai and for the very first time, we're told, that the president is ordering plans for a complete withdrawal from the war zone. both sides are fighting over exactly how many troops will remain there, past this year. currently, there are more than 33,000 american troops in afghanistan. for more context, barbara starr joins me live from the pentagon. and barbara, this is a big deal. the president obama