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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  February 23, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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meineke. having this corn hominy discussion, before we go to break, everyone's tweeting about corn hominy, and what he really said. rnc defense steele. it raised $53,000, but cost $10,000. >> spago. >> sorry. you make me cool, and i thank you for it. >> i try. >> here's wolf blitzer in "the situation room." rick, thank you. happening now, dramatic apologies and dramatic details of cheating death, all unfolding at a government hearing into toyota's problems as the lawmaker acknowledges mistake, one woman describes a cure out of control ordeal. also, the doctors are in.
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ron paul and his son, they'll talk about health care, the health of the nation and how to heal a broken government. wait until you hear how else the son wants to be like the father. and baby boom, a scientist wants to follow 100,000 unborn children from the womb to age 21, how can children of day help children in the future? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." >> imagine if it were you, trapped in an out of control car, worried you'll die. that's one woman's gripping story at a house panel. she described how her lexus zoomed out of control. it's enough to cause chills. >> i put the car into all available gears, including neutral, but then i put it in
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reverse and it remains in reverse as the car speeds to over 100 miles per hour down the interstate. i place both feet on the brake after i firmly engaged the emergency brake, and nothing slows the car. i figure the car was going to go its maximum speed and i was going have to put the car into the upcoming guardrail in order to prevent killing anyone else, and i prayed for god to help me. i called my husband on the bluetooth phone system. i knew -- i'm sorry -- i knew he could not help me, but i wanted to hear his voice one more time. after six miles, god intervened. as the car came very slowly to a stop, i pulled it to the left
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median. >> to who's to blame, she says this -- >> this failure is surely shared by toyota and nhtsa today. in our view they've demonstrated an uncaring attitude and disregard for life. the results have been tragic, and today i must say shame on you, toyota for being so greedy and shame on you nthsa for not doing your job. >> there are more steps to this story. the house subcommittee chairman also called out toyota. >> in summary what we found was quite troubling. toyota ignored all but ignored the pleas. they boast in a briefing of saving $100 million by negotiating a limited recall. they claim they first became
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aware of sticking pedals in late october 2009 when in fact they had received numerous complaints many months and years earlier. stepping away to a gathering of toyota dealers, they're urging fairness. >> so my question for you today is, how did we suddenly overnight become the villain? i don't get it. >> toyota's president testifies to a separate panel tomorrow. part of his prepared testimony says, and let me quote now -- our customers have started to feel uncertain about the safety of toyota's vehicles, and i take full responsibility for that. our congressional correspondent briana keilar has been covering all of this for us. tell us what happened other than that, it's been a very dramatic day on the hill. >> it's been a dramatic day, certainly that or the head of toyota u.s., james lentz was a
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the hot seat and he apologized. he said he was sore and it took toyota too long to come to grips with what the problem was. he blamed that in part on what was a lack of communication within toyota across many countries. here's what he says. >> why didn't toyota take immediate action to prevent the much later accidents that toyota clearly knew the problem existed as far back as 2000? >> i can tell you that a weakness in our system has been within this company we didn't do a very good job of sharing information across the globe. most of the information was one way. it would flow from the regional markets like the united states, canada or europe back to japan. >> and lentz stressed, however, that the problem with toyota is mechanical, that it's not electronic, and wolf, that runs very much counter to what many engineering experts and
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certainly lawmakers here are afraid of, that this isn't a problem with the foot pedal or any sort of matt in the car, that it really is a problem with the computer in the car. as we speak right now, the committee is in recess. we're waiting to hear some of that tough q&a no doubt that they'll be asking of ray lahood the department of transportation secretary. >> i take it he said this has not been necessarily resolved, that it's still under investigation, or that is the case closed? >> he said they're still investigating and it will be very difficult to figure out the problem. he admitted, wolf, at this point in time they may not have figured out the final answer causing what really has been runaway vehicles. >> we'll have more on this story. let's get an update on a story we reported in "the situation room." worries about the former vice president's health. we told you he had been hospitalized following chest pains. now his office says he did in fact suffer a, quote, mild heart
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attack. that would be cheney's fifth heart attack. doctors gave him a stress test, inserted a catheter. his office says he's feeling good and should be out of the hospital soon. let's bring in dr. raj mccar, a cardiologist and director at the cedars-sinai heart institute in los angeles. thanks very much for joining us. what does that say to you, over these past many years, this would now be a fifth heart attack. they describe it as a mild heart attack. what's a mild heart attack? >> so, wolf, it is not uncommon for patients who have chronic artery disease or atherosclerosis to frequently end up in hospital with episodes of chest pain and often when blood tests are actually done, there is evidence of what is called a minor heart attack. basically what it is is damage to the heart muscle which results in leakage of a certain
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enzyme called traponin. >> what does he look forward to? the weeks ahead? >> from what i understand -- i'm not privy to all the investigations that were done, but from what i understand, a stress test was done, and perhaps an angiogram, and it was decided that no further procedures such as stents or bypass surgery is indicated at that time. so he will be managed using a combination of medications. these medications are often medication that lower cholesterol, medication that affect the lining of the arterial wall, and medications that affect the platelets, which are important blood cells which often lead to the occurrence of this particular condition, so medications such as aspirin and plavix are also medications that are often used. >> should he reduce his
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activities? he's 69 years old right now, now a history of five heart attacks. >> well, i think -- i wouldn't say that 69 is actually old. he's relatively young and an active individual. he should follow the instructions of his doctors. it's always a good idea to reduce stress acutely in this situations, but i am quite hopeful that with a combination of medication and excellent care he'll get, he should be able to bounce ban. >> dr. raj makkar, thank you. >> thank you. vice president is getting well wishes from his former both and joe biden. they both called him to deliver get well soon messages, that according to a source. we join all those people who wish the former vice president a speedy recovery. hope he's out of the hospital soon.
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jack cafferty is next. also doctors' orders. congressman ron paul is a doctor, so is his son, and they're both here. what prescription might they write to fix a broken government? host: could switching to geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance? host: does charlie daniels play a mean fiddle? ♪ fiddle music
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fire/ems:...air bags deployed... ...injuries reported... advisor: ma'am, help is on the way...ok. and i'll stay on the line with you until they get there. automatic crash response. built into 15 chevy models. yak cafferty here is here with "the cafferty file." >> our government is broken. the homeland security still has not installed a single airport scanner paid for by president obama's economic stimulus bill more than one year ago. $25 million was set aside to buy the kind of screening machines that would be able to detect the explosives at that christmas day clown was carrying in his shorts. politico reports it took homeland security seven months just to order the 150 screening machines. seven months. the company that builds the scanners says they have since delivered more than 100 of them to the transportation security administration, and now they're
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sitting somewhere in storage. by way of an explanation, homeland security spokeswoman amy kudwa says they're, quote, very active working on a deployment man, unquote. a deployment plan, like put them at the airports? a tsa spokesman says it's in the process of accepting delivery, and that it is staging for their deployment. whatever the hell that means. he also says they're working closely with airports to install these units. we pay these people to say this stuff. some of the nation's busiest says they would include new york as jfk, laguardia, chicago's o'hare, washington's dulles. the machines are in storage. to mark the anniversary of the stimulus bill, homeland security secretary janet napolitano inspected a scanner at
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washington's national airport. they've been in use there for more than a year. got to protect the policy tilgz, you know. late this afternoon in response to the embarrassing nature of this story leaking out, a homeland security official says they think they can get them installed by the end of june. pass me an airsick bag. here's the question -- what does it mean if the government hasn't installed a single airport scanner paid for more than a year ago with your stimulus money? go to, post a comment on my blog. >> can't make this kind of stuff up, can you, jack? >> no. all week as part of our "broken government" series we've been looking at the gridlock in washington and talking about how to fix it, if possible. i'm joined by a father and son who say they want to be part of the solution. ron paul has served in congress for more than two decades. he ran for president twice, and now his son rand paul is running
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for the u.s. senate from kentucky. thanks to both of you for coming in. i assume both of you agree that the government is broken. congressman, do you agree the government is broken? >> oh, it certainly it. i might define it a bit differently. i think the mechanism is broken, because the government is broke. that's a biggs difference. when you have a lot of money, you can be inefficiency and do things, but once a government becomes broke and the people are broke, too too, because there's not enough people work to go feed the cow, there's inefficiency, and by the time you go broke, the government is too big. it's already very inefficient. that's the reason we actually met this bankruptcy. i don't think we can solve this until we admit the bankruptcy and do something about it, which which means you cut way back -- >> you want to be the american taxpayer in effect go bankrupt? >> well, you have to admit you can't pay the bills.
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once the government gets as much debt as we have, the liquidation of debt always happens, you can't avoid it. it's just a question -- no, i'm not advising that we renege on paying on the treasury bills and sending out social security, but what is going to happen, though, the debt will be liquidated by paying back money that doesn't have as much value. all you have to have is 10% inflation rate and you've wiped off a trillion dollars of debt. >> that would be unacceptable, because most people's life savings would be lost in that kind of situation within a few years. >> that's why we have to avoid it. >> let me bring your son into this conversation. rand, do you agree the government is broken? >> yes, and i think if you talk to voters in kentucky, they'll ask how are we going to spend a trillion on health care and yet it's not going to add anything to the debt? nobody here believes that. i don't think many people in the country believe -- >> the congressional budget
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office came up with that assessment, there's certain ways to cut the growth in medicare, for example, and that way you'll have basically no increase in the debt. you don't believe. >> the argument is -- >> you don't believe in the cbo numbers? >> well, the argument is they'll get a lot of money out of waste and fraud, but my question to them is, show me the government program that's ever come in under budget? look at the medicare prescription drug plan? cbo predicted it would cost $400 billion. within a year, they revised their estimates to say it was going to cost a trillion. so i think notoriously government underestimates the cost of programs, and when something's free, people tend to overuse it, and it costs more than projected. >> congressman, do you trust the cbo? >> well, i trust them they're trying to do their best, but i don't think you know what the revenues will be, how much abuse is going to be, and who lines up
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at the trough. so, no, nobody is -- nobody can do that, that's why government always fails once they get involved in doing these things and the market works, because the market irons these things out. the people who are inefficient get shoved aside, they have to declare bankruptcy or have to revamp, but when government does it, all they do is is go back and tax the people more. that's why it fails. >> you want to be the represent candidate from kentucky, rand paul, in the united states senate you want that ren nomination, you would reject the president's efforts to come up with some sort of health care solution. is that what you're saying? >> well, what i would say is i would reject what the president is proposing, but i would say we as republicans need to articulate a vision of what we would do. i personally am worried about the expense. people come up every day and are worried about the expense. i'm worried about preexisting conditions. i'm worried about if wolf
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blitzer grills me on these questions and i have a heart attack, but survive, that my rates might triple. i'm concerned about the price, but my question is, is it that we need more government involvement or less? over half of what i do as a physician is already paid for by government. the problem is that when government sets the price for health care, the patient quits caring about the price action and there is no price competition. you need to have price competition to make health care work. >> i think on this issue of health care i think the father and son basically agree. i doty there is an area of disagreement on national security issues. congressman, first to you, you would basically want to see the u.s. pull out of iraq, afghanistan, shut down gitmo. is that right? >> i don't think we disagree on national security, who would be against national security? >> on some specifics. >> there might be some disagreement, but i bet we agree that we shouldn't be fighting wars that we don't declare, and we get ourselves into too much
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trouble. now we're in a mess because we didn't follow the rules and the constitution. somebody might have a strategy slightly different than mine, but still, not many american people enjoy war, and want the presidents to go to war endlessly and carelessly. yes, my proposal is that it's not in our best interests, not in our national security interests, and the sooner we end this the better, it's participating in our bankruptcy. >> you would great or disagree with your dad, rand? >> i would say that the most important thing that the federal government does is take care of our national security, bar none. it's the most important enumerated power is national defense, something we can't privatize. it's something that we need the national government to do. i also would say that when we go to war, it's the most important vote that any congressman or snow will take, and i will treat that seriously. i will make them debate over
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whether we declare war or not. we have not done that since world war ii, and there are a lot of details of that debate on when our national security is threatened. it's not enough just to say our national security is threatened. we need a full-scale debate over when our national security is threatened, and that's an important debate that our country should have. >> having said all that, right now given the situation in iraq and afghanistan, are you with your dad, you know, basically get out quickly, or would you let the generals and sort of the timeline that's in place work its way? >> i think it's actual decision is the prerogative of the commander in chief and not necessarily of congress, and i don't think that congress, if they vote to increase troops by 100,000 or reduce troops by 100,000, i don't think that would be declared constitutional. it i think president has to declare where the troops are in consultation with the germans. now, the overall picture, we have to ask some important
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questions. for example, it troubles me and many veterans i talk to that wire paying the taliban. we have a works program. we'll pay them $8,000 per fighter not to fight. we pay the taliban to take their weapons back from them. i had a marine recently here in kentucky tell me, he says, look, i'm a marine, i'm trained to take weapons from enemies, i'm not trained to pay for them. >> by the way, they used the same strategy in the al anbar province paid some of the sunni insurgents not to fight. it seems to have worked, at least for the time being. we'll see how long that strategy works. unfortunately we're all out of time. i hope i won't give you a heart attack, rand paul. i assume the questioning was not that tough. if you can survive this, you'll be just fine. are you proud of your son, congressman? >> he's doing good work. he's doing such a good job, i think i'll just sort of fade away. >> no, you won't.
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ron and rand paul a. good father/son combo. thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> thank you. we'd love to have on trey gracin, rand paul's opponent sometime. we hope that will happen. we want to make sure we give everyone an equal shot. are some rivalries heating up? david gergen is standing by, and join me with a look. we thought, oh, goldie, you're getting older, and she started eating the purina one... and people would say, "what did you do to her?" [ announcer ] purina one for seniors unlocks the brilliance of nature. [ kristen ] it's a great feeling having a beautiful, happy dog. it makes you feel like you've done something good for your pet. [ announcer ] it's amazing what one can do. now, reformulated with... enhanced botanical oils... that naturally nourish... to help sustain a bright mind.
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lisa sylvester is monitoring some other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on, lisa? >> an unexpectedly large drop in consumer confident rattles stock markets today after three straight months of improvement, the closely watched consumer index took a tumble in february. the dow closed down 100 points, while the s&p 500 and nasdaq lost more than 1%. the state department is renewing its mexico travel alert because of drug violence there.
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u.s. citizens are urged to continue to delay unnecessary travel to several regions of mexico, which i the chihuahua state because of attacks, including murders abductions and carjacking. 450 people have become ill on a caribbean cruise, suffering from what appears to be a stomach bug. it's due back friday. an extra doctor and two nurses came aboard in the british islands to help treat passengers. wolf? >> lisa, thanks very much. now that the massachusetts republican scott brown has shown he will give democrats his vote, might he turn out to be a crucial swing vote?
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to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, toyota in the hot seat on capitol hill. what the automaker's u.s. president has to say after a woman tells her story of highway horror. how not even her emergency brakes or throwing her runaway toyota made lexus into neutral could reserious the situation and slow it down. his detainee policy putting troops at risk? you'll hear what general petraeus says about the so-called 96-hour rule. and jobs versus health care. a democrat expresses surprise that the president is pushing to
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pass a full health care reform bill again. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." critics say yes, they point to rahm emanuel, but is that anger misdirected? is that criticism fair at all? let's bring in our senior political analyst david gergen, who's taken a closer look. david, thanks very much for coming in. you worked with rahm emanuel in the early years of the clinton administration, you know him quite well. i'm going to read from this article that dana milbank writing -- sacking emanuel is the last thing the president should do. the first year feld apart in
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large part because he didn't follow the chief of staff's advice on crucial matters. arguably emant is the only person keeping obama from becoming jimmy carter. all right. give us your assessment. >> well, wolf, if your chief of staff and people call for your head, that goes with the job description. we've seen this with lots of chiefs of staff. what's interesting about this, for about a year, the obama team, the white house staff and national security team enjoyed very close relationships. there were very few leaks and tensions. when they hit the wall over the health care at the end of the year and then lost massachusetts, the rumbling started outside the white house, and a lot of that criticism is being directed at rahm emanuel, because he is the chief of staff, he is in charge of the white house, and dana milbank in this very controversial piece in "the washington post" seemed to
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be channeling the response, if you would, the backlash from the emanuel people. he said he never talked to rahm, and i think most people generally agree it didn't come from rahm, but clearly prompted by some of the allies, and the argument that some are making is, look, he didn't want to do this big, comprehensive health care bill back in year 1 that has cost so much. he did not want to try to run so fast on guantanamo, but what the -- the rahm critics are saying, the milbank piece puts rahm out there, but at the defense of the president. if he had taken the advice he would be in a much better position. so you can imagine that's really stirred the pot. >> that article that dana milbank makes rahm emanuel looks very smart and savvy and makes the other officials in the white
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house less so, whether david axelrod, valerie jarrett or robert gibbs, for example, and dana milbank basically names those names. >> and i think they're friends of the other chicagoans that took great umbrage of the criticism. if this major gamble that the president is taking on health care with a summit, trying to put a comprehensive bill, if that fails we'll see more of these kinds of stories coming. once again, the allies of rahm will be saying he didn't want this big comprehensive bill. so we're at the early stages of what could be a bigger controversy at the white house, but we should keep in mind that there are two things. one is there are always tensions, as there are here, between say the david axelrod wing, which wants to be the keep are of the flame, the idealists
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who would like the package passed which the president promised, versus rahm emanuel, who is the pragmatist, has to get the deals done, and understands the politics on capitol hill. there's always a tension between the keepers of the flame and the pragmatists, and the other thing to keep in mind is rahm emanuel and david axelrod are very close. >> they certainly are. they may disagree, but i'm sure they're good friends and they have to work together every single day. that column generated follow-ups in the "wall street journal," politico, i suspect there will be more of this coming out. >> well, stay tuned. >> all right. david, thank you. talk about criticism, our polling center shows how many people say our government is broken. take a look at this poll. we took a closer look and asked if people trust different levels of government always or most of
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the time. 26% said yes, regards the federal government, 33% for state government, 52% said for local government. we also asked people trust the federal government to do what's right 26% said always or most of the time. 69% said sometimes, 5% said never. then there's trust in state government. 33% said always or mostly, while 62% said sometime, 5% said never. our newest installment in our series "building up america." wait until you see how one small business is thriving. what lessons might otherwise be able to learn. why is one democratic criticizing or characterizing the president's latest push.
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a we don't go lower than 130. ts a room tonight for 65 dollars. big deal, persuade him. is it wise to allow a perishable item to spoil? he asked, why leave a room empty? the additional revenue easily covers operating costs. 65 dollars is better than no dollars. okay. $65 for tonight. you can't argue with a big deal.
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lisa sylvester is monitoring other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa, what's going on? >> hi there, wolf, a scare for earthquake survivors in haiti, a magnitude 4.7 aftershock struck overnight. another aftershock of the same magnitude was recorded yesterday. today's quake was centered about to miles south of port-au-prince and toppled some already damaged buildings, but there are no reports of any further injuries. former new jersey nets basketball stair jayson williams was sentenced to five years in prison for fatally shooting his limo driver. he avoided a retrial by pleading guilty to aggravated assault. he's eligible for parole after 18 months. the prosecution claimed he was recklessly handling a shotgun when it diswhat thissed. west apologized in court. >> to my friends, including
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those within the community, the church and nba, i regret ever letting you down. i'm grateful for your support and despite all my thoughts. to the cristoffi family, i'm not a bad man, but i acted badly on february 14th. >> and "play del girl" is apparently offering michael vick $1 million to pose for the magazine. a spokesman tells "life & style" all the money, however, would be donated to peta. vick served 20 months for dogfighting before joining the eagles last week "playgirl" -- >> i think he'll redeem himself on the football field. >> i think that's probably what
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a lot of fans are thinking. >> thank you very much for that. is your stimulus money being wasted? jack cafferty wants to know. what does it mean that not a single airport scanner has been installed, paid for a year ago with stimulus money. and we're going to show you one business that's thriving despite the recession or maybe even because of it. ♪ what if one little pop...
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honda accord and toyota camry stand behind their powertrain for up to 60,000 miles. chevy malibu stands behind theirs for up to 100,000 miles. which makes it pretty clear whose standing out front. a consumers digest "best buy" two years running. chevy malibu. compare it to anyone and may the best car win. now, get a low mileage lease on this 2010 malibu for around $199 a month for 39 months.
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call for details. see your local chevy dealer. returning to a story we told you about earlier, the consumer confidence index shows americans more pessimistic than at any time since april. some businesses are thriving, despite the recession or maybe even because of it. i'm joined by cnn's tom foreman, who as part of our "building up america" series has been looking at businesses out there with high potentials during hard times. you're with the cnn express in austin, texas. what are you finding out, tom? >> reporter: well, i'll tell you, if consumer confidence is down, there's certainly plenty of people here who have a great deal of confidence. despite the hard times, and some of them, because they have adapted their whole business view to not merely fight the recession, but to take
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advantages of some of the conditions it has created. >> i would imagine if you're really creative, you could make a bunk bed out of them. >> reporter: if it's one thing lisa gaynor knows is this. >> there's a story behind everything. >> hers is about foresight, opportunity and building up when everything seems headed down. about ten years ago, lisa's family moved back to her home state of texas. her husband a consultant traveled for work. she had a good job with a big corporation in austin, but then came bad news. lisa was let go. >> really knocked the wind out of my sails. i had no idea what to do. that was my identity, that's who i was. >> reporter: she started decorating her new home by shopping in consignment shops, but few had the nicer items she wanted. she had seen high-end consignment shops in other
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cities and thought it might be a good time to open one here. >> people are having to be smarter with their moan and having to make different choices so historically only 10% of the consumer population is really aware of or open to the idea of consignment shopping. i think what the recession has done is changed that. can i help you find anything? >> reporter: she had never owned a business before, but with the encouragement of local business groups and friends, she launched design it with consignment. >> i sell things that are owned by other people, or having previously owned by other people. it doesn't mean antique, it doesn't mean used, it doesn't mean beat up. >> reporter: it does mean bargains. retailed for $13,000, and we've got it for $3,500. this is, what, $800? >> even if it was thousands just a few years ago, things now sell for like $300. >> reporter: most sell for 50%
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to 75% less than new. >> lots of "sold" signs. i like that. >> reporter: it's been turned into an opportunity for lisa and her five employees. >> ironically it has been a boost to my business. we were just reviewing numbers, and we have gone up 30% over the last two years. >> reporter: it's hard work, she's at it six days a week, but it is working. wolf, when you talk about ideas that can be taken to other communities, that's one we've heard from all over this town from the successful businesspeople here. they say instead of banging your head against the recession and being frustrated, adapt, change, see what opportunities have been opened up because of the recession and take advantage of them. that's one reason this area is doing better on unemployment, better on home sales, better on a lot of things right now. >> lessons for the rest of the country to absorb. tom, thanks very much. we'll have more on this tomorrow. could he become the
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democrats' new best friend? we're talking about republican senator scott brown of massachusetts. after helping senate democrats in a crucial vote yesterday, could he become a crucial swing vote down the road?
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jack cafferty joining us once again with the cafferty file.
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jack? >> question this hour, what does it mean if the government has not installed a single airport scanner paid for more than a year ago with $25 million of your stimulus money? here is some of what you are saying. we got a lot of mail on this. edward from maine says nobody is serious about security. they can do laughable things like make little old ladies take off their shoes, but real secure takes effort. the problem is the apathy brought on by the fact that nobody will get fired if it doesn't get done. parker in west hartford, connecticut, our country is in a shamble and if we had a terror attack, all they would do is to point fingers. i'm sick of it. this is not the kind of government i wanted. hopefully we will see some change after the next election. don't hold your breath. and lori says, this is why we don't want government to run health care. each government entity is so quick to commit to spend america's money, but there seems to be no follow through. janet napolitano needs to be fired. and this one, regardless of the
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word change being shouted from the fimountaintops of washingto throughout 2008 and 2009. i am considering ron paul as a viable candidate. and this one from julia in dallas. it means business as usual in washington. never finish anything and what's worse, not care whether it is finish ord not. the only one coming out is the people with the storage payments. this is the same administration that wants to trust the national health care system and job creation programs in their hands says j.c. yesterday you answered if the government was broken beyond repair. you just answered your question. if you want to read more go the once the health care reform bill was likened to a hail mary pass. we will see what they say. and more problems on toyota's recall today. there was extremely emotional
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testimony from a woman who lived through a terrifying incident when her car went out of control. we will replay for you her story in her own words coming up right here on the "situation room." get inside each. and see what you find. if perfection is what you pursue, this just might change your course. meet the new class of world class. the twenty-ten lacrosse, from buick. may the best car win. this is not how-does-it-fit-in- my-company's-budget? insurance. this is help protect and care for your employees at no cost to your company insurance.
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let's get to strategy session right now. joining us is the democratic strategist and political contributor donna brazile and tom davis who is the president of the republican main street advocacy group.
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guys, thanks very much for coming in. did i get that right, congressman? >> yes. >> okay. we want to get those names right. and scott brown got with the democrats yesterday to get a procedural vote passed for the jobs bill. is this something new or one-shot deal? >> tax cuts. it is about tax cut and reauthorization of transportation and you look for the members in charge of it and not everybody is a alabama republican. they have to go back to their own states and massachusetts is high in unemployment. it won't pass at the end of the day. >> you don't think they can reconcile it? >> well, it will be a different final version, and if he has a longer than two-year term, he has to go back to massachusetts with a different situation. >> and as he said in the greenroom, he did not sign up for a two-year job.
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he showed that he cared about the voters in the state, and he wanted to come to washington, d.c. to break the gridlock and get it done. i don't know what the future lies in terms of making these two bills come together, but he will put pressure on the other moderate republicans in the senate to at least play ball with the democrats on important issues if he continues to vote for this. >> given the report from the republicans and the tea partiers, it took guts to cast the vote. >> well, it did, but he is from massachusetts n. the end of the day, there is a swing vote in massachusetts and it swung his way this time, but it usually doesn doesn't, and he has to show independence if he wants to stick around. >> and let's talk about the president's plan about the health care summit that we will have extensive coverage here on cnn. heath shuler is a former quarterback for the washington redskins and blue dog and moderate conservative from north carolina. he says, i was surprised they were pushing it again referring
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to health care. the most important thing is jobs, jobs, jobs. we need to focus on jobs. i don't think that a comprehensive bill can pass and i hate to use a football analogy, but first downs are a lot better than throwing the bomb route of the hail mary. >> well, i disagree. to go out and support a 30% rate hike across the board. is important for the president to sit down on thursday and talk about the areas of agreement not between the house and senate forms of the bill. >> is that likely to happen? >> no, i don't think so. comprehensive health care is dead. you may do something incrementally that everybody agrees on it, but we have had a referendum on this and elsewhere in massachusetts. and everyday the democrats are talk about health care and
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something else and not jobs. it will come back to haunt them. >> it seems that only the way that the president can get some remnant of health care passed is to forget about some big plan and forget about the 60 votes, but go with the 51 votes, so-called reconciliation process that will irritate a lot of folks. is that likely to happen? >> well, i hope that reconciliation is on the table. it was on the table in '96 when we passed welfare reform and in 2001 and 2003 for tax cuts and should be on the table for health care. tom, i hope that health care is not dead. what is dead is the number of americans who are struggling to make ends meet and can't afford the rising premiums. >> well, they bit off more than they can chew incrementally. and this is tough policy to hold the different constituencies together. >> we are at third and goal and why should we bring the ball back to the 20 yard line when we are third and goal line. let the president bring it in.
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>> if you want to push through the unpopular health care plan, be my guest. you won't be able to redefine this bill at this point. >> well, there are a lot of elements in the bill that many americans will support. >> it is not all bad, but the way this has come down at this point, the american people have rendered a judgment and you could do incremental things and call it victory, but we have to move on to jobs. >> thank you, guys. we will continue thursday. >> thank you. fireworks and tears as a top toyota executive gets a grilling from congress. terrified drivers and grieving families tell shocking stories of runaway vehicles. an investigation unit, the so-called 96-hour rule, and why the troops must turn up evidence against insurgents or turn them loose. does it hurt the overall war effort? and amid allegations of a
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coup plot, an extraordinary story, you won't see anywhere else. i'm wolf blitzer, and we want to welcome our viewers from the utnited states and around te world. world. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- 08g. >r >p the he the testitestify op testify te gets under way. we wiwe will have some ote capitol hill. whwhat are first up to bri capitol hill. whwhat ar your >> welp >fr at aanr aand the p headquartep headquarters hr dramatic. r we gwe got thp we gwe r we gwe got thp we gwe wh who did no
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wewere broughp were brugth and before they were brought to washington, these three sisters have been fighting toyota. >> suzie and julie and margie remember vividly that day in 2007, their mother, barbara schwartz was in the passenger seat of a 2005 toyota camera driven by her sister. they say that the throttle took off and flew into a culvert in rural oklahoma. bookout was injured and barbara schwartz, mother of five and grandmother of nine died of internal injuries not before telling witnesses something that haunted her. gene could not stop to car. >> that car is not covered in the recent two toyota recalls, but the family says that the accident that claimed their mother's life was not caused by the problems addressed ed ied recalls, not the sticky gas
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pedal or mats. they say it was caused by a faulty overdrive system. the sisters and their attorney have been litigating since 2008 and they came here to bring attention to their case. what do you want from toyota now? >> i want them to make it right. listening to the explanations we have heard just break my heart. i think they know something was wrong. i want them to recall the cars. >> reporter: contacted by cnn a toyota official would not comment on the sisters' lawsuit, but they say that none of the company's vehicles have had brake override, because the features were not appropriate for the way people drive. specifically, he cited how some people drive with one foot on the accelerator and some with one foot on the brake and he said it would not help if you needed to accelerate up a hill from a dead stop. that toyota official says that it does not consider brake override necessary for driver safety and he says that the cars that toyota makes, all of them
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can be brought safely to a stop if they apply the brakes firmly and steadily and if the brakes are in good working condition. they say that the brakes on the 2005 camry were fine, but it was design that led to the deadly accident. >> what about the design down the road, is that in place for all toyota? >> well, we asked the toyota official and he said by 20 07, they would be available for all brake override systems, but he said that very few makes and models have that system in place. >> thank you, brian todd. now, more on the hearing and some of the gripping testimony. i want you to listen to this woman recount her terrifying ordeal with the siudden acceleration, and the stonewa stonewalling she has received from the head of the company's u.s. operations of toyota.
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>> i want to tell you about usa that i experienced in our new lexus es 350. this car had 2,7289 miles on it when the incident occurred. the vehicle had a keyless push button ignition and required a key fob to be present inside of the car in order for the it be able to start. on that thursday of 2006, i tell you i have to read it, because it still upsets me today. i was driving from my home down highway 66 to the interstate, interstate 40, and upon entering the interstate i accelerated with everyone else into the flow of traffic. at this point, i merged over into the second lane not going into passing gear. at this time, i lost all control of the acceleration of the vehicle and the car goes into passing gear and the cruise light comes on.
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at this time i am thinking that maybe the cruise is what caused the car to keep accelerating as my foot is not on the gas pedal. i take off the cruise control. but the car continues to accelerate. to make a long story short. i put the car into all available gears including neutral, but then i put it in reverse and it remains in reverse as the car speeds to over 100 miles per hour down the interstate. i place both feet on the brake after i firmly engaged the emergency brake and nothing slows the kafrmt i figured the car would go its maximum speed and i would have to put the car into the upcoming guardrail to prevent killing anyone else, and i prayed for god to help me. i call mid husband on the blue tooth phone system. i knew -- i'm sorry.
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i knew he could not help me, but i wanted to hear his voice one more time. after six miles, god intervened. as the car came very slowly to a stop. i pulled it to the left median. with the car stopped and both feet still on the brake, the motor still revved up and down at 35 miles an hour. it would not shut off. finally at 33 miles per hour, i was able to turn the engine off. toyota said they would inspect our lexus, and contact us. after ten days, we had still not received a call back. we called again and got same assurances. toyota promised us they would look into our complaint several more times over the next few
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weeks. when we finally forced toyota to respond in writing we received a five-sentence analysis stating when properly maintained, the brakes will always override the accelerator and we know that is a lie. we were outraged that toyota would suggest in that statement also that the brakes had to not properly be maintained in order for that to happen, and the car had less than 3,000 miles on it. once again, we contacted our dealer and expressed our disgust with toyota's handling. they recommended that we contact ncds which is the national center for dispute settlement, and ask for an arbitration hearing. our ncds hearing was a total farce. the represent for lexus was representative leonard st. le mand, their tennessee district field technician. although only an hour away in
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king sport did not show his face and he attended via speakerphone. he insisted that he could not recreate the incident and that i had more than likely caused this problem standing on the brakes while spinning the tires. we were furious that toyota called us liars the second time. ncds denied our claim for a total refund for the purchase price of this possessed car which is all we were asking for. unfortunately, it took almost four years, and injuries and lives lost to prompt congress to take up this important issue. in 2006 and 2007, we thought that our efforts might spare others of the pain and terror of this incident, but it pains our heart to realize we failed. but this failure is shared by toyota and nhtsa today. in our view they have demonstrated a uncaring attitude
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and disregard for life. the results have been tragic. and today, i must say, shame on you toyota for being so greedy, and shame on you nhtsa for not doing your job. >> and i can tell you, listening to mrs. smith, i am embarrassed for what happened, and we are going to go down to talk to them and get that car so that they feel satisfied. i want her and her husband to feel safe about our products. i was embarrassed about the story. and i will tell you whether it san accident or injury and we heard the smiths today, you didn't have to have a death to understand the terror that she had from that accident. i mean, that is a terrible thing to have to put one of our customers through. and it doesn't even have to be an accident. we have apologized to our consumers just for the concern that we have given them with their current recalled vehicles. we are sincerely sorry for that
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concern and anxiety that we put people through. any time there is one death in one of our vehicles, that pains us to have that take place regardless of how it happens. but it is critical today and we weren't doing a good job in the past of investigating those quickly enough, especially, when it had to do with unintended acceleration. with adding the new engineers, the s.w.a.t. teams that we will be able to get on site as rapidly as we can, our goal is to make it within 24 hours, fwheed to be able to do that so we can understand what is happening, and make the necessary changes so that it does not happen again. i can tell you i lost a brother in an accident. a week after his 30th birthday, and that was 20-some years ago. and there's not a day that goes by that i don't think about it, so i know what these families go through.
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tomorrow, by the way, the akio toyoda is scheduled to testify up on capitol hill, and he is knew to the role and comes to it at a time of crisis. he was appointed president in june two months after the company posted the biggest annual loss ever of $4.4 billion. he is the grandson of the company's founder and 53 years old and lived and studied in the united states. he is currently number 28 on the forbes list of the world's most powerful people. if you are wondering why the family name and the company name are spelled differently, it is because the japanese character for the family name has ten brush strokes while the company name has eight and the japanese consider eight a lucky number. jack has the cafferty file in a moment. and broken government, and why millions of americans are wondering how they will ever retire. members of congress enjoy a pension that you might find hard to believe. and a close u.s. ally, a member
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of nato is rocked by accusations of a coup plot including a plan by military leaders to bomb mosques, and the role that some say is hindering the war in afghanistan and i should say the rule. suspects are set free after 96 hours. we will get an exclusive response from nato. anncvo: with the new geico glovebox app...
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jack cafferty in new york with the cafferty file.
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>> president obama has set a dubious record. he has gone longer than george w. bush in avoiding a for mall news conference with reporters. it has been 215 days since the president's last primetime nationally televised press conference. george w. bush's longest was 214 days. i wonder why he does not want to talk to reporters and answer their questions? maybe it is because at the last primetime news conference in july, mr. obama stepped it in big time, and he said that the cambridge police acted stupidly in the arrest of henry gates, but that turned into a virtual media storm. so since then, it is about staying on message. earlier this month, the president took questions from reporters in a mini presser after showing up unannounced on a snow day in the press room. he took questions for 30 minutes, but not the same thing as a full-fledged announced ahead of time press conference carried on all of the networks.
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one reporter tells the "times" that the president seems snake bit on the presser thing. and others say it is frustrating not to hold the president's feet to the fire. the press says they have done more interviews with the president than any of his predecessors and that is true. the president is all over the media and done interviews with the network anchors and oprah and print reporters, et cetera, but it is not the same as standing in front of the nation's press corps on national television and making yourself accountable. so here is the question, why is president obama ducking the press? go to and post a comment on my blog. thank you, jack. cnn is taking a look at broken government. many americans will spend half a lifetime or more working for the same company only to find they have little or no safety net when that job ends. others, and especially those on
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capitol hill don't have that problem. our lisa sylvester has been investigating what is going on. lisa, what are you finding out? >> well, this is certainly nice work if you can get it. workers on capitol hill receive automatic pay raises and they don't have to worry about their retirement, but that is not the case for americans. paul du bois worked for 35 years in the auto industry. but after his company delphi went bankrupt, he found out that his pension taken over by the federal pension guarantee corporation was cut by 30%. >> i felt betrayed. i felt betrayed mostly, because i'd put 37 years in with a company following the rules, doing everything i should, and then all of the sudden, i found out that for the rest of my life, things would be changed. come on, let's go. >> reporter: like many americans, dubosz is worried
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about how to cover his bills in retirement, but one group doesn't have any worries and that is members of congress. they will draw on their pension beginning at age 50 depending on the years of service, they can get as much as 80% of the final salary. there are costs of living adjustments added on, and they are still eligible to receive social security, according to an analysis by the annual taxpayers union, chris dodd will have a starting pension of $125,500 every year starting next year when he retires. senator byron dorgan counting his years in the house and senate stands to get more than $116,000. senator gregg an average of $63,000, and bond and bunning taking away $58,900 in state and federal pension plans. >> unlike the state and federal pension, it is a direct line into the taxpayers' wallet. no investments that need to be
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made and no fund balances that get worried about. whatever the liability is for a given year, taxpayers cough up the money for it. >> reporter: we called the senators to get a response, but the calls were not returned. the congressional retirement system was reformed in 1994 to make the system less generous and more in line with that of other federal workers, but howard cobble says that the system is broken, and he has tried repeatedly to reform the pension program which has not won him too many friends on capitol hill. >> it is too lavish when you comparet with pensions across the country. i elected to refuse the pension on the ground that taxpayers are subsidizing my salary now. i figure that when i leave, they have taken good care of me to let me do the best i can once i leave after the service in congress has been accomplished. >> reporter: and amazingly up until recently, if a
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congressional member has commited a crime they could get the full pension, because 2007 reform barred them from receiving their pension, but there are still congressmen like william jefferson whose corruption offenses took place before that year, so he will get a federal pension paid for by the taxpayer. >> he is the one with $100,000 stashed in the freezer. >> yes, that is what most people will remember him for. >> yes, and he is sentenced to a long jail sentence. >> yes, a nnd he will get his pension regardless. and robert gates warning nations that they may see their nation's attitude as a sign of weakness. and one nato general arresting its generals with the plot to blow up mosques. what is going on? stay with us here in "the situation room." (pipe woman) then you could treat yourself
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back to lisa sylvester who is monitoring stories from around the world. what else is going on? >> well, robert gates is criticizing europeans over their aversion to use military force. he says that military allies are limiting nato's ability to fight effectively. he has praised them for fighting
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alongside soldiers in afghanistan where they face enemy fire daily. >> that is a stark reminder that nato is not now and neither should it be a talk shop nor renaissance weekend on steroids. it is a military alliance with real world responsibilities with life and death consequences. >> reporter: he also told the meeting that other offenses may perceive them as weak. and a landslide has killed five people. dozens are feared buried without heavy equipment available yet. villagers are digging through the mud by hand to find survivors. it happened at a tea plantation in the mountains. nine people were killed in a fire that engulfed an office bloc in india. they say that some of the deaths occur when people trapped by flames jumped from the seventh story carlton towers. dozens suffered smoke inhalation, and the cause is under investigation. in haiti, an angry crowd
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attacked a group of people practicing voodoo at a ceremony meant to honor people from last month's quakes. they threw rocks and shouted through the voodoo offerings. tensions vin creased in the aftermath of the earthquake. wolf. >> top generals rounded up in the middle of the night, and why a nato ally -- yes, a nato ally fears a coup and why this alarming situation is so vitally inl pornt to americans. an exclusive from cnn special investigations unit, u.s. troops in afghanistan struggling with a rule, a nato rule that gives them just 96 hours to turn up evidence against terror suspects or turn them loose. ♪ well, look who's here. it's ellen. hey, mayor white. how you doing? great. come on in. would you like to see our new police department? yeah, all right. this way.
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to the viewers here in "the situation room," happening now, the former vice president dick cheney's office now says he has suffered what is being called a mild heart attack. that is his fifth heart attack. we will get the latest on the condition and prognosis with the chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. americans are exposed to thousands of chemicals, but the government has tested a fraction of them for safety. a disturbing report as our look at "broken government" continues. tales from the toll booth and you won't believe what some drivers say they have been
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subjected to. i am wolf blitzer, and you are in "the situation room." now, to an extraordinary story that is unfolding, one you are not likely to see anywhere else. a key nato ally rounding up dozens of top military officers including former navy and air force chiefs. they are accused of plotting to overthrow the government of turkey. that islamic leading government is deeply suspicious of the military which has intervened to keep turkey secular. cnn's ivan watson picks up the story in istanbul. >> reporter: look at how far the mighty have fallen. one by one, 17 retired generals who once commanded a million-man army, escorted by plain-clothed police away from their homes at night. turkish police detained 19 active and retired military
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officers in a wave of raids on monday. the suspects include four active duty navy admirals and this man, ibrahim fertna, the former commander of turkey's air force is escorted by authorities to istanbul where he is expected to be interrogated. the generals are accused of an alleged plot to destabilize turkey's elected civilian government. the plot code named "sledge hammer" was first reported in the taraf newspaper with plans to plant alleged bombs in mosques. in a fist-pounding performance last january, turkey's top military commander angrily denied these accusations, but it has not stopped the investigation. the military has long before the most powerful institution in turkish society. over the past 50 years the generals have overthrown at
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least four civilian governments. but the staunchly secularist military's might has been on the wane since prime minister and his islamic-inspired justice and development party swept to power in 200. -- 2002. over the last year and half, prosecutors have detained hundreds of suspects as part of a alleged coup plot to overthrow the government. author and analyst hugh pope says that the investigation has been anything but transparent. >> no one can doubt that there is actually been some bad stuff done, but on the other hand, it is beyond belief that many of the people taken in and several of them charged for several months without charge, are deeply involved in plots to overthrow the government. >> reporter: and generals with their long history in mettling in turkish politics are now
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accused of fabricating evidence and acting dictatorial. the political struggle between the once powerful military and the civilian government is far from over. now analysts predict a fresh legal battle over where to prosecute these military officers. no one yet knows whether they will be tried before civilian courts or before a military tribunal. ivan watson, cnn, istanbul. any instability in turkey certainly has serious implications for the region, for nato and for the united states. let's bring in our national security contributor fran townsend who was the homeland security adviser for president bush, and also worked in clinton administration in the justice department. explain to our viewers why turkey is so significant and important not only to nato, be tow the united states. >> well, wolf, the best thing to look at to understand it is where it sits. this is -- turkey sits both at the gateway to asia and the gateway to europe.
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it is a new member to the european union and has economic ties and military ties and political ties throughout the region. folks will remember when the united states was preparing to go into iraq how we sought the military cooperation of turkey which was denied to us in the beginning tof war. turkey is -- we have a long history with their military of cooperation, training and assistance, and we look to the turkish military for their advice, support throughout the region. >> because the turkish military is pro nato, pro-u.s., and much more so than the new government over the last several years which is more islamic-oriented if you will. >> that is right, wolf. i remember going become to my time in the bush administration between 2003-2008, and this is an uneasy alliance between the secular military and the more conservative islamic government there, but the tensions were clear even to us in the outside of the united states over policy, and just day-to-day matters. things like the prime minister's
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wife wears the veil and that was an issue, because you knew there were concerns at the highest reaches of the military with the conservative bent, and the islamic popular is part of his political base, so some of the tensions were natural, but it led over the years to the sense of mutual distrust on both sides which has bubbled over now. >> and certainly the military is not happy with it, but this is when all that is said and done, this is a government that was democratically elected. >> yes. it is for the military to learn their rule, and there are policy matters and to respect the democratically government. >> this is a critical moment in turkey right now, and we will watch it closely with you and all of the viewers. >> ly be there next week, wolf. >> you will? >> yes, i will be excited to see the feel of the city in istanbul. >> thank you, fran. have a safe trip. >> i will. and some call it the
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96-rule, and some say it is hammering the war in afghanistan and some nato forces are forced to let suspects go. we have new information about this rule. and an update on former vice president dick cheney having what is called a mild heart attack. 
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it is a policy that even general david petraeus says he is personally concerned about. now we are getting reaction from the nato leaders about a
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detention rule that many say is putting american and nato soldiers at risk. it is called the "96-hour rule." nato and afghanistan troops have four days or 96 hours to hold on to a suspect. after that time, they either have to turn over the suspect to afghan authorities and simply release them. special investigations unit correspondent abbie boudreau is with us. abbie, you have been working the case? >> yes, we have been examining the case of roger hill who was a former army captain who was faced with the 96-hour rule in his time in afghanistan in 2008 and hill says that the rule is not working and in his case, it forced him to make a decision that ultimately forced him to end his career. >> reporter: captain roger hill had 12 suspected spies on the base. one of them, his once-trusted interpreter nuri, and he detained all of them in the
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small building when nato's 96-hour rule went into effect. he had 96 hours to collect evidence with enough evidence to takeover the 12 suspects or hill would be forced to release them. he was running out of time, so at the 80th hour, he had a plan. >> i decided that i needed to break protocol and interrogate them myself. i took three gentlemen outside and sat them down and walked away and fired my weapon into the ground three times hoping that the men on the inside left to their own imagination would think that they really needed to talk. >> reporter: so what happened? >> sure enough, some of the detainees started to talk. >> reporter: it was enough for them to take control of the 12 suspected spies, but hill's tactics got him charged with
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detainee abuse. he received a general discharge last year. after a public appearance, we asked general david petraeus about the rule. i'll with cnn, and we have one quick question. is 96 hours enough? >> 96 hours is not enough if you are going to ensure that they stay behind bars, obviously. again, there has to be a process by which the individuals that need to be detained are detained or that if they are handed over to afghan officials that there is confidence in the system working. >> reporter: okay. >> okay. that is a big concern of mine personally. >> reporter: big concern. and now nato is the reacting as well. in an interview with cnn's wolf blitzer, the chairman of the nato military committee says that nato is considering taking another look at the rule. though there are no formal discussions yet. >> is it time for nato to rethink that 96-hour rule? >> nato is discussing the issue,
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but we have to understand it here that this 96-hour rule which is today a nato rule is also to do with a certain legal aspect which part of certain allies. so it is not just a matter of military issue here. there are legal, judicial, aspects that we have to take into account, but needlessly needing to be discussed. >> so you need to take a look at it? >> the alliance is looking at the issue. >> wolf, we got a statement from lindsey graham who is critical of the rule and he says that the rule make nos sense and putting our troops at risk for no higher purpose. he says that i am glad that the policy being reviewed, and it is long overdue. graham says he has legislation prepared in case the review process is stalled and he considers this rule a matter of life and death. one more update on roger hill's case, even though they took over the 12 spies, army investigators
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learned that all 12 men were released and no one knows where they are now. >> how is that possible that nato does not know where they are? and the suspicion is that they were actually spies working for the taliban? >> i know it is really hard to believe, but that, the reason for that is because nato stops tracking detainees once they are handed over to the afghan authorities and that is the way that the rule is set up, and one of many reasons why this rule is so widely criticized now. now, all 12 of those suspected spies, wolf, were let go and remember they all worked on the base, so that means they were all armed with a lot of information about how the base operated and other intelligence information that ultimately could get into the wrong hands and help the taliban. wolf. >> i have spoken to a lot of high-ranking u.s. military personnel who served there and they hate this 96-hour rule and they want it to go away and encouraged now that the nato chairman, the military chairman is saying that they are open to taking another look at it, and they were certainly encouraged by what they heard in the
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command over the central command general petraeus who oversees nato and iraq. thank you, for that excellent reporting abbie boudreau. we have details of a major change in store for thousands of u.s. sailors. we are learning that one of sarah palin's daughters has landed a tv role, one that hits close to home. so, what do you think?
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preferred package. good choice. only meineke lets you choose your service, choose your savings. like an oil change for just $19.95. meineke. we are getting details on shooting in colorado, what is going on, lisa? >> well, latest details. this just in. two students wounded at deep creek middle school in littleton, colorado. authorities say an adult male is in custody. one victim was shot in the chest and the other in the arm.
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witness says that students were waiting for a bus when a man in a jacket and hat opened fire. the school is not far from columbine high school where a student went on a killing spree in 1999. we will monitor that and bring you more details as they come available. the u.s. navy has decided to lift the ban on women in submarines. robert gates has notified congress by let ter that the navy plans to repeal the ban. it was thought that close quarters on subs would make co-ed service hard to manage. former congressman james traficant tells cn than he plans to run for congress as an independent. he says he is disgusted with both parties and eyeing a district in ohio. he spent seven years in prison for corruption. sarah palin's daughter, brist bristol, has landed a television role. she will play herself on the
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abc's "the secret life of the american teenager." palin says she is thrilled to be on a show to educate people about the consequences of teen pregnancy. and the coast guard spotted this hiker on a ledge in oregon. rescuing him is a challenge. because the coast guard cable was not long enough to reach him. he remains in contact with the rescuers via cell phone and he is not injured. wolf. >> thanks for the coast guard for that. lisa, thank you. jack cafferty is asking, why is president obama ducking the press? your e-mails are just a head. and former vice president dick cheney suffers his fifth heart attack. we will check in with dr. sanjay gupta and standby. you are in "the situation room."
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back with jack for the cafferty file. jack? >> why is president obama ducking the press? it's been 215 days since his last formal prime time news conference. dave writes from new hampshire, what's the old saying? if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything. this guy doesn't have anything under his belt to brag about. he promised to resolve hope and change in the beginning, then he hit the wall: congress. simon from florida writes, it's all about the teleprompter. he's a great speaker, he's just not a very quick thinker when it
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comes to some of the tough questions. jeff writes, ducking the press? give me a break. six months ago cnn was having panel discussions about how overexposed obama was. how could he handle his workload, et cetera? how much do you and the press want it? vic from new jersey writes, the press is not interested in asking substantive questions. they are only trying to score some kind of gotcha moment. these just spin out of control in the media and it's difficult to maintain focus on important policy issues. king writes, maybe i'm wrong, but can anyone tell me the last american president who has been this forthcoming with the american people and the news media? brad from houston says, obama is ducking the washington press because while adept at public speaking from prepared comments, he is weak at answering spontaneous questions in front of a live audience. ken writes, because the washington press corps for the
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most part is composed of rude, egotistical jackals. >> thanks very much for that, jack. members of congress may be turning up the heat on toyota, but in today's hearing, they also kept turning the attention to themselves as customers. look at this. >> toyota makes good cars. i've driven one pleasurably and safely for years. >> i own a prius. >> i drive a toyota, a camry hybrid that so far has not been recalled. >> i was excited to get one of the very first camry hybrids. >> when it was time to replace my 12-year-old car, i went in search of a hybrid. i decided on a prius but ended up with a cute little celera convertible. >> my two children who are actually adults drive toyotas. >> toyotas are manufactured
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right here in the united states. our chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta, is standing by. he's going to fill us in on the former vice president dick cheney's heart attack, what's going on. coming up, toll takers gone wild. jeanne moos about to take a most unusual look. - that hasn't been. - what? - huh-uh. - all my business information is just a phone call away-- to my wife... who's not answering. announcer: there's a better way to run your business. intuit quickbooks online organizes your business in one place. it easily creates invoices and helps you stay on top of your business anytime, anywhere. this is way better. get a 30-day free trial at keller graduate school of management, you'll have a professor with you every step of the way. whether you take classes on campus, online, or both,
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here's some of the hot shots coming from the associated
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press. in taiwan, a woman praised under a lantern. in russia, they hold in london. in germany, check it out. a baby orangutan poses for a picture at the dresden zoo. hot shots. pictures often worth a thousand words. their job seems to be taking a toll on some toll takers. cnn's jeanne moos getting ready to take a most unusual look. >> the next time you go through a toll, imagine getting your change back plus saliva. >> patron claims collector spit on his fingers before counting out his change and handing it to him. >> in that case, keep the change. the smoking gun web site has received 550 complaints about toll takers on the new jersey
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turnpike. >> this one short and sweet. >> patron dropped a dime. customer called him a moron. >> sometimes mundane -- >> he got the wrong change because he was busy on a cell phone ordering a pizza with extra pepperoni. >> for one female customer, a chat about driving while sleepy turned into a proposition from the toll taker. >> i have a way of keeping women awake if you're interested, and then he offers to flash her. >> we've met people driving through toll booths on the massachusetts turnpike, couples who met and then married. this trucker used to ask his fellow truckers for help finding his favorite toll taker. >> i'd send somebody ahead to find out what booth she was working that day so i would get the right booth. >> as for the wrong thing to do -- >> pennies are the worst thing you can do to a toll collector.
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>> drivers trying to pay in pennies found the collectorz throwing the pennies back at them. we found one on-line comedian paying a $7 toll in pennies. though the toll taker took it well. and then there's the driver that pays with $100 bill. >> the toll collector decides they're going to give them all their change, and he says, i see you have 20s. do you want quarters? >> at the midtown tunnel, we got no attitude. >> can i have three 20s, a 10 and some singles? >> sure. >> like a bank. >> after a run-in at a toll, one driver complained -- >> he looked back and was climbing out of the booth screaming to come back, he wanted to kill the patron's ass. >> we know one driver who used to drive the jersey turnpike. better not try throwing pennies
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at him. jeanne moos, cnn. >> would you take a postage stamp worth 39 cents? >> new york. happening now, dick cheney suffers his fifth heart attack. it was mild, but with the former vice president having experienced so many heart problems, how should he proceed now? and dramatic apologies and dramatic details of cheating death all unfolding at the government hearing of toyota's problems. as the lawmaker acknowledges, quote, mistakes, one woman describes her car's out-of-control ordeal. she says, and i'm quoting her now, i prayed to god to help me. and baby boom. scientists want to follow 100,000 unborn children from the womb to age 21. how can children today help children in the future? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room.
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we're now learning dick cheney's hospital stay after chest pains is more serious than originally thought. the former vice president actually had a heart attack. it's cheney's fifth heart attack. doctors gave him a stress test and inserted a catheter. his office says cheney is feeling good and should be out of the hospital soon, but they're not saying when. a source tells cnn that vice president joe biden and former president george w. bush both called dick cheney with well wishes. let's bring in our chief medical correspondent, sanjay gupta. they say, sanjay, it was a mild heart attack. what does all this say to you? a fifth heart attack has to be a serious issue. >> there's no question, any kind of heart attack is going to be a serious issue. what they looked at specifically, and it's interesting, if there is a concern about a heart attack, a certain muscle within the heart attack actually, some of the enzymes will be released into the blood, and that can actually be measured. so you can measure if someone had a heart attack and the
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severity of that heart attack by actually taking some blood. let me show you real quickly, wolf, this is something we've talked about in the past. this is basically an artery within the blood vessel, and you can see this coronary artery, how the closure starts to occur, and if that closure becomes quite significant, not enough blood can get through. that's essentially what happens in someone that has a heart attack. eventually heart muscle will start to die, and the heart just won't pump as well. as you pointed out, wolf, this is now his fifth heart attack, and as you get an accumulation of these sorts of heart attacks, the heart muscle, the pumping of it, just doesn't work as well, and that's probably what doctors are focused on the most right now. >> first heart attack 1978, second heart attack, 1984, third attack 1988. then he had stents, pacemakers. what can he expect in the immediate hours and days ahead? >> what's interesting, wolf, is what we heard specifically from the former vice president's
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office is that he had a stress test and he had a heart catheterization where she actually inject some dye. if i can just show you quickly, wolf, they make a little puncture wound in the femoral artery and thread the catheter all the way up in the heart and inject some dye and look specifically at those blood vessels. what you didn't hear them say was they had an angioplasty opening up that stent playtime. they didn't say he had that done in that statement. the biggest question doctors ask right now is how likely is this to happen any time in the near future? is this something that can be controlled with better medication control and better monitoring, and if he didn't have an angioplasty or stent placed, that's probably in the direction they're leaning. they say this heart attack may have affected anywhere from 5 to 15% of his heart muscle. they think it can be controlled in terms of not happening again with simple medications. but again, wolf, he has significant coronary artery disease.
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the blood vessels on top of the heart, and he's had five now. he's certainly at risk for another one. medical management and close monitoring is going to be the name of the game for him. >> this deep vein thrombosis issue we had three years ago, that's potentially a very, very serious issue as well. >> what happens with deep venus thrombosis is that's a blood clot essentially in one of the deep veins in the leg. the big concern about that, it can cause pain, it can cause swelling in the leg, but the large concern you're alluding to is sometimes that clot can break off and travel all the way through the blood system and end up in the lyungs. that's called a pulmonary embolism and people can die from that. that can be a sudden thing that can happen. he's on blood thinning medications, we understand, which allows those clots to sort of dissipate over time, really reducing the risk of that, wolf. >> he's 69 years old. we wish him, obviously, a very, very speedy recovery. we hope he'll be out of the hospital very soon.
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sanjay, don't go away. i know you're working on another important story for us. we'll get back to sanjay in a few moments. another important stalwart, bob dole. he's recovering from knee surgery and a bout with pneumonia. the presidential candidate says he's making great strides, thanks his doctors at the walter reed army medical center. the 58-year-old dole retired back in 2006. he now consults with a national consulting firm. one woman's gripping story at a house panel hearing on toyota's problems. she described how her toyota-built lexus zoomed out of control back in 2006. what happened to her is enough to cause chills. >> i put the car into all available gears, including neutral, but then i put it in reverse and it remains in
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reverse as the car speeds to over 100 miles an hour down the interstate. i placed both feet on the brake after i firmly engaged the emergency brake and nothing slows the car. i figure the car was going to go its maximum speed and i was going to have to put the car into the upcoming guardrail in order to prevent killing anyone else. and i prayed for god to help me. i called my husband on the bluetooth phone system. i knew -- i'm sorry. i knew he could not help me, but i wanted to hear his voice one more time. after six miles, god intervened. as the car came very slowly to a stop, i pulled it to the left
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median. >> what a nightmare. as for who is to blame, she says this. >> this failure is surely shared by toyota and ntsa today. in our view, they've demonstrated an uncaring and disregarding attitude for life. the results have been tragic, and today i must say shame on you, toyota, for being so greedy, and shame on you, ntsa, for not doing your job. >> toyota's u.s. sales chief says he does not think sudden acceleration in some toyota cars is caused by an electronic problem. that prompted this question from a congressman. >> if there is no possible problem with your electronic throttle control systems, why do you need to find a way to override the electronic throttle if there is no problem? why do you have to find a way to override? >> you always have to keep your eyes and ears open in the event that there is something. >> but you can't have it both ways.
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you can't say there's no problem but you're trying to find a way to override something that's not a problem. >> let's bring in our congressional correspondent, brianna kheiler. she's up on capitol hill. brianna. bottom line, are the lawmakers buying toyota's explanation? >> what they seem not to be buying is the assertion these problems are mechanical and that they're not having to do with the electronics in the vehicles, wolf. this is a big concern for lawmakers. a lot of experts say they fear this has to do with more than just the floormats, more than the gas pedals. they fear it has to do with the actual computers in the car. they're worried it runs deeper than what they heard today. >> what is toyota doing to try to fix this? >> they say they're doing a number of things. during the hearing today, they were talking about this fix where it would be rebooting the computer system. even though they haven't really
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been able to pinpoint the issue, if there is one, with this computer system, they're talking about doing a reboot. they're also running tests right now on it. they say preliminary tests show there isn't an issue with the computers but they say they're going to keep working on it, and also the idea of the brake override of the gas pedal. you apply the brake hard enough and it will override any sort of acceleration being applied. in a different way, not so much having to do with the car so much, wolf, but talking about the way they respond to customer complaints. that was a big one today we heard from the head of toyota u.s. what was really interesting is we heard from james lentz and also the department of transportation secretary ray lahood. they said these recalls may not be the end of the problems, and certainly that is a big headline. >> tomorrow mr. toyoda himself comes up to capitol hill. set the stage for us. what can we expect? >> we're expecting him to be con trite. we've already seen his testimony for tomorrow, his prepared remarks, and he's expected to
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say that toyota pursued growth at the expense of safety. just some color we're going to be seeing tomorrow. akio toyoda is fluent in english, wolf, but he's going to be having a translator, and that is going to give him more time to answer questions because he will hear the question once in english and then he'll hear it once in japanese, and it will be interesting. i've talked to some lawmakers that says if he relies on that too much as a crutch, they could become a little frustrated with him. it's going to be a very interesting situation tomorrow, and it's a huge spectacle. i can't tell you how much media and how much japanese media is paying attention to this. >> i'm surprised he's using translation. he lived here, he studied here. his english is good, but perhaps he has another issue that he wants to do it through translation, maybe for japan. >> i think the issue as well is that he wants to be precise, and he wants to not mess up. and i've spoken with just some general business people here in
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the u.s. and they say they would do the same thing if they were in another country. just ahead on cnn, president obama's controversial green jobs are left under a cloud after only a few months in the administration. now he's about to get a press to my knowledge -- prestigious reward. a law is supposed to protect us from chemicals in the military, but the law isn't working. a big drop in consumer confidence rattles certain markets. stay here in the situation room. choose any car? you cannot be serious! okay. seriously, you choose. go national. go like a pro.
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let's head to jack for the cafferty file. jack. >> there are signs that the national economy is slowly beginning to recover. it's still a bleak situation in many of our 50 states. a new report says because of declining revenue, state economies still have not seen the worst of this recession. the national governors association says fiscal year 2011, which begins this summer, will be, quote, the most difficult to date. and 2012 isn't going to be much better. revenues have been down for five consecutive quarters due to shrinking tax collections. the longest period the states have taken in less money than at least the great depression. the situation is most difficult in places like oklahoma where revenue declined nearly 27% last quarter compared to the previous year. or arizona which saw a 17% drop.
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seven states reported increases in revenue, but it's believed that's because of tax increases there rather than a growing economy. meanwhile, the drop in revenue comes despite hefty tax increases in many other states. at the same time, cost are going up for programs like medicaid, which means a lot of states will have to either raise taxes again or cut spending and jobs. states face a combined budget gap of $134 billion over the next three years. and because states actually have to balance their budgets, well, it's not going to be pretty. plus the states are facing a combined $1 trillion shortfall for employees' pensions and retirement benefits. some governors are banking on getting more money from the federal government, but that's money that hasn't even been approved yet. and be sides, they don't have it, either. so here's the question. is the recession over in your state? go to post a comment on my blog.
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remember the controversial environmentalist, van jones? last fall he resigned as president obama's glean job czar. he's now back in the spotlight. let's go to our cnn correspondent, suzanne malveaux. >> all we know is he left under a controversy at the white house. the naacp says that's not the whole story. they say he was a pioneer when it comes to civil rights in the environment. they believe it so much that they're going to be rewarding him one of the most prestigious awards for the naacp. i had an exclusive interview with the director of that organization. they're aware of the controversy, they're ready for it and they know it will stoke some controversy. >> it was just last summer van jones resigned under criticism. the naacp agrees.
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that's why the president is giving van jones one of the highest honors, the naacp image award. >> out of a host of african-americans who are well accomplished with stellar images, why pick van jones? >> because he's one of the few voices out there for new jobs. he's done more in the past several years to change the way we think about job creation than anybody we could find. >> you know this is going to make some people go nuts. do you care? >> not really. what should be controversial is that we pushed one of the greatest minds off to the side in this country when we needed his ideas most. >> reporter: the controversy came in less than six months of jones' stint in president obama's green jobs czar. one of the economists pointed to a vulgar phrase he used to describe the gop and caught on youtube. then his critics revealed a
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petition jones signed in 2004, questioning whether bush administration officials may have indeed deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pre text for war. jones said that petition never reflected his views, but the damage had been done. jones resigned under a cloud that the naacp wants lifted. >> here you have a young black guy born in rural tennessee who, before the age of 40, has been named one of the 100 best minds by "time" magazine in the entire world. >> are you picking him apart because he's controversial, because he'll create attention, he'll create debate? >> one of the things we're sensitive to is this country has a history of taking people who have done great things, creating distractions, just crediting them for things deep in their past and not letting the country realize their full value in the present. >> since this is just breaking now, we haven't had any kind of
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response yet to this award, but some of the other people who have gotten an naacp image award include former president bill clinton, condoleeza rice, joe jackson. you'll be able to see them explain this decision further. >> did you get the impression the others at the naacp were disappointed the white house didn't fight more for van jones to keep his job? >> van jones says he believes in part the criticism was certainly unfair but the white house was put in a difficult position once those revelations came forward and there was very little that could be done. they said, look, the president doesn't agree with those statements that were made,ut b it was ultimately jones who came forward and offered his resignation willingly. >> it's going to cause a little bit of a stir. thanks for breaking it, suzanne
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malveaux, at the white house. a sickening caribbean cruise makes everyone sick, and it's not the first time this ship has been a victim of illness. the jayson williams sentencing. you're going to want to hear what he says. host: could switching to geico really save you
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15% or more on car insurance? host: is ed "too tall" jones too tall? host: could switching to geico 15% or more on car insurance?
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host: does a ten-pound bag of flour make a really big biscuit? this isn't going to be just any flu season, and expectant moms are especially at risk for serious flu-related complications. so let's join together and fight the flu. the cdc and american college of obstetricians and gynecologists recommend that pregnant women get both the h1n1 and seasonal flu vaccines. flu vaccines are sa and are the most effective way to protect yourself and your baby. get the facts at together, we can all fight the flu. lisa sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in the situation room right now. what else is going on, lisa? >> an unexpectedly large drop in consumer confidence rattled
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markets today after three months of improvement, a closely watched consumer index tumbled this month. the dow closed down 100%, or 100 points. nasdaq lost more than 100%. more than 50 people are ill on a caribbean cruise. they're suffering from what appears to be a stomach bug. the ship, liberty lines mercury, left the harbor monday and is due back friday. a doctor and some nurses came on board to help the passengers. the cdc says last winter there were two outbreaks of stomach flu on the very same ship. the senator john mccain will attend the president's conference on open air summary on thursday. a spokesman for the senator says mccain looks forward to sitting down in a bipartisan fashion and starting over. former new jersey nets basketball star went to trial
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for fatally shooting his hired driver eight years ago. he is eligible for parole after 18 months. williams apologized in court. >> to my friends who are those within the community, the church and the nba, i regret having let you down. i'm grateful for all your support and am thankful for your prayers. to the christofi family, i'm not a bad man, but i acted badly on february 14. >> the prosecution claimed williams was recklessly handling a shotgun when it discharged. wolf? >> that was an emotional statement from him. thank you very much, lisa. look at thesis pictures from north carolina where the u.s. baby is studying health effects
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of years of exposure to contaminated water. they're here to tell us about a newly proposed law to protect us from toxic chemicals and why the old safeguards simply are not working. stomp a hiker spotted stranding in oregon. we're going to show you a failed attempt by chopper and tell you what the rescuers are doing now. and see what you find. if perfection is what you pursue, this just might change your course. meet the new class of world class. the twenty-ten lacrosse, from buick. may the best car win.
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u.s. senate is working on an overhaul of the 30-year-old law governing toxic chemicals. it's part of our look at broken government. dr. sanjay gupta has been doing some digging looking at the state safe guards we have to protect us from these chemicals. the results are shocking. the system is not working. sanjay, what are we talking about about these products that are supposed to be helping us to be safe? >> we have a certain expectation of safety when it comes to all the products that we use in our everyday lives, but i can tell you, first of all, when we started digging into this, it's sort of an alphabet soup out of there, you have the consumer product administration, the food and drug administration, but it kind of comes down to the epa, the environmental protection agency, to make sure the air and water around us are safe. but as we begin a little bit, it's a very daunting task.
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let me give you a little bit of context. there's about 80,000 different chemicals out there and we are exposed to a lot of them on a pretty regular basis. only of those, about 200 have been tested specifically for safety concerns and only about five have actually been regulated. so that gives you a little bit of context just how big an issue this is, wolf. >> does this mean the others aren't necessarily safe? >> the answer to that is we simply don't know for sure. and the way things work with regard to chemicals, and it's a little different for pharmaceuticals or pesticides, but with condehemicals it's sor an innocent until proven guilty mentality. there are not a lot of requirements to prove things are safe before they go to market. let me give you one quick example. there is a chemical known as tce. it's sort of a grease-cutting substance. it's usds ed in the military, i been used for decades. over time, they started seeing it was causing birth defects, an
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increase in child leukemia. the problem was there was no health testing done on this particular chemical beforehand. so the way people find out something is a problem is people get sick, and only then is something taken off the market. here was something else that was sort of interesting. what you're looking at here are essentially redacted papers known as something called confidential business information. this is quite striking, wolf. when a company tests chemicals, does the animal testing, and finds out the chemical is dangerous, they are under no obligation to disclose publicly what that chemical is or even disclose the name of the company that's producing that chemical. so that information is simply not available to the public. if you talk to lisa jackson about this, who is the current epa administrator, the fact of the matter is that's changing slightly. what she tells us is that chemicals that are already in the public data base do have to be made public, but if chemicals had been confidential all along, they will remain confidential, and there is about 16,000 chemicals that fall under that
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category. >> as you know, sanjay, there's been a lot of rumbling about changing the law or changing the way the epa does business. what do you hear? what's going on? >> i hear the same thing, and i think you're alluding to the governor in new jersey. he's been sick in the hospital, but he's trying to do that within the next month or so called the kids safe chemical act. it's sort of changing the paradigm from innocent until proven guilty to guilty until proven innocent in that it has to be test brd it can come to market. pharmaceuticals are treated that way, pesticides are treated that way, and they want to make sure any possible chemicals to kids are test brd they go to market. we talked to lisa jackson about that and she said she supports that. they seem to have some momentum at least with regard to kids,
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wolf. >> there's some stomach cancer issues, and it's curable. we hear he's going to be fine, at least we hope so. mark your calendar. sanjay's upcoming documentary "toxic towns usa." it debuts saturday, march 20th, here on cnn. take the consumer information poll. only 26% asked say they trust the federal government most or all of the time. state government fares slightly better. it has the trust of one-third people surveyed. more than half trust their local government. let's talk about it with the managing editor of our sister publication, "time" magazine. what's the single most important thing -- of all the research you and your team have done the past several weeks getting ready for this cover story, had you learned about the broken government? >> you talk about trust in
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government, wolf, it has been going down steadily for about 25 years. but by the way, that isn't necessarily such a bad thing. one of the things we noted, for example, trust in government was very high in the 1950s, and that was at a time when the government said, hey, if you just put your head under a desk during a nuclear attack, you'll be safe. part of the reason the trust in government is going down is partially a good reason that government is more transparent. people do know more about it, and in some cases they are more disappointed. >> so some degree of skepticism, you're saying, is good for the american public. >> i think so. we've always had skepticism in our government and country since the founders. the founders were against political parties, they were against a good, sound government. we've always had a funny relationship with the central government. but right now, at a time when we have very, very big challenges and very important things to do,
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the fact that the trust in government is very low, i think it keeps us from accomplishing some of those things. >> in the new issue of "time" magazine, you say in the '80s there was a much better atmosphere here in washington. i remember washington in the '80s and there were moments of real cooperation, when bob dole, for example, the republican, and daniel patrick boynihan, the democrat, would get together on social security and work out a deal during the reagan administration. we've got a picture there. can that happen again or is that just history? >> let's reminisce about the '80 force a second, wolf. pat moynihan and bob dole appreciated each other. they said, we were rivals before 6:00 p.m. and we were friends after 6:00 p.m. when i was in washington in those days, i was always amazed of the punch and judy show on the floor, but the fact these guys and women had more in
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common with each other than they did with anyone else, and they were actually friends. the situation now is very different, it's very fraught. that kind of after-hours cameraderie that existed back then just doesn't anymore. >> we saw that when senator hatch gave a eulogy for ted kennedy, conservative, liberal democrat, but you know what, they were pals. we don't see a whole lot of that in washington right now, and i assume you've concluded that's not good. >> i think there are big problems we need to deal with, the deficit, entitlement programs. as tip o'neal and ronald reagan showed, you can only do that when you actually have the two sides working together. i think to accomplish some of those big things, to fix those big problems, we do need a spirit of bipartisanship. >> the issue of "time" magazine has a lot of good stuff in it.
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rick stengel, the managing editor. the chief of staff robert manual has come under fire, but is it warranted? cameras rolling as rescuers try to pluck a hiker from danger but they find the mission itself too risky. we're going to show you why rese 1,000 pregnant women. details of what promises to be a landmark study. to china! wow. [ chuckles ] when i was a kid, we -- we would just go to the -- the farm. [ cow moos ] [ laughter ] no, seriously, where are you guys going? ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! ni hao! [ female announcer ] the new classroom. see it. live it. share it. on the human network. cisco.
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the president's falling poll numbers on backlash from republicans, even some gr grumblingz from democrats. they're pointing to chief of staff robert manuel, but is that anger misdirected? let's bring in our senior political analyst david gergin. you worked with robert manuel in the early years of the clinton administration. you know him quite well. i'm going to read from this article written in the washington post that's generated tons of attention back there. he wrote, sacking emanuel is the last thing the president should do. obama's first year fell apart in large part because he didn't follow his staff's advice on crucial matters. arguably, emanuel is the only person keeping obama from
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becoming jimmy carter. give us your assessment. >> well, wolf, you know, if your chief of staff people call for your head, that sort of goes with the job description, don't you think? we've seen this with lots of chief of staff. what's interesting is both the white house staff and the national securities team enjoyed very close relationships, there were very few leaks and very few tensions. but when they hit the wall with the health care at the end of the year and then lost massachusetts, there was a rumbling that started outside the white house that changes ought to be made with the inner circle and a lot of that criticism is now being directed at robert emanuel because he is the chief of staff, he is the man in charge of the white house, and dan milbank, in this very controversial piece in the washington post, seemed to be channelling the response, if you would, the backlash from the emanuel people. he said he never talked to rob. i think people generally agree, he didn't talk to rob, but
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clearly he was prompted by some of the allies, and the argument some of the allies of robert emanuel are making is, look, rob didn't want to do this comprehensive health care bill back in year one that is costing us so much. he didn't want to try to run so fast on guantanamo. but what now the critics are now saying, yes, it puts it out there but it does it at the price of the president. it's obama's fault that he didn't take rahm's add miss. you can imagine that really stirred the pot. >> that article that milbank wrote makes rahm sound very sav savvy, and dana milbank basically names names. >> he does.
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and i think there are three friends in chicago who took great umbrage at that and a lot of criticism. i have to tell you i think we haven't seen anything yet if this major gamble the president is taking on health care with this summit and then trying to put a comprehensive bill. if that fails, we're going to see a lot more of these kinds of stories coming, and once again the allies of rahm will say, but he didn't want to go with this great big comprehensive bill. he has a lot of questions about that. he prefers a slimmed-down version. we're at the early stages of what could be a controversy at the white house, but we should keep in mind there are two things. one, there are always some tensions as there are here in the david axelrod wing which wants to be the keeper of the flame, the packaged paths that the president promised in the campaign on health care versus robert emanuel, who is the pragmatist, has to get the deals
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done and understands the politics on capitol hill. there are always tension between the keeper of the flame and the pragmatist, and the only other thing to keep in mind here is that rahmie men w emanuel and d axelrod are very good friends. >> i'm sure they are, they have to work together every single day. politico, i'm sure there will be a lot more of this to come. stay tuned. sto dramatic change is in store for a submarine fleet. a longstanding ban is about to be lifted. stand by. a very, very dangerous rescue unfolding right now as crews try to reach a stranded hiker.
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lisa is monitoring some of the other stories going on. >> they have decided to lift the ban on women in submarines. they have notified congress by letter that they intend to lift the ban. it was thought co-ed service on board would make the sub hard to manage. rescuers are trying to reach a hiker on this ledge, but rescuing him is proving to be a little bit of a challenge. the chopper lowered a rope, but it wasn't long enough to reach him. they're trying to now reach him by land. he is in contact with rescuers by cell phone and isn't injured. sarah palin's daughter bristol has landed a tv role. the tv mom will play herself in
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"the secret life of a teenager." she will play the show's popular character, amy. palin says she's thrilled to be on a show that teaches young people about the consequences of teen pregnancy. former democratic congressman james traficant is planning to run for congress as an independent. traficant, you may recall, spent seven years in prison for corruption. we'll have to see how that campaign goes along. >> we'll see how his district reacts and if he's elected back to congress. thanks very much, lisa. the jack cafferty file is coming up. jack has your e-mail. researchers may want to interview you about your unborn child even if you're not yet pregnant. we' we'll tell you what's going on. they're tracking children's development from the womb to adulthood. [ lighting a match ]
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former democratic congressman charlie wilson was laid to rest today at arlington cemetary. he represented the state of texas for 12 terms. he retired in 1997. a strong anti-communist, wilson helped arm anti-rebels in their raid of the soviet union back in the 1980s. his work behind the scenes is widely considered to be instrumental in forcing the
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soviets out of afghanistan. there was a movie, "charlie's war," in which he was portrayed by tom hanks. he died of respiratory failure on december 10. he was 76 years old. let's check in with jack who has the cafferty file. jack? >> the question this hour, is the recession over in your state? tony writes from tampa, it may not be obvious now, but i suppose the stat tistics will sw a few months from now what i, as a government inspect or, am seeing in the field. namely, that businesses are starting to rehire. people are saying things are picking up again, steadily. that's my report. curtis in kansas writes, i couldn't be happier to be a kansas transplant from california for the last eight years. sure, i miss the housing bubble but i miss the crash, too, so it's all good. the recession is not over here in wichita, but it does seem to
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be improving. our housing prices don't skyrocket but they don't plummet, either. we're going to be all right. david in san diego, california. yes, we're doing great. thanks for asking. in illinois, the recession is over for wall street bankers and ceos of the big companies that send jobs offshore, charge more for their products and then post huge profits. for us the end is not in sight. meg in ohio says, jack, ohio is in bad shape economically. i don't see any end here. some houses in my neighborhood have been for sale for years, up to three in some cases. we're in for a long haul in the buckeye state. dan in new orleans, the recession is still upon us here in the sat of louisiana. however, the blazing occupation of the whodat nation is an emotional bailout, and a stimulus offer that cannot be
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refused. a needed takeover, just short of militant. if you want to read more, go to my blog ms. campbell, what do you have? >> hey, wolf. at the top of the hour, we're going to look at one of obama's campaign promises. he said a number of lobbyists won't serve in his administration and a number of lobbyists are serving in his administration. it's part of our week-long investigation of the broken government. also i'll talk to commerce committee chairman henry waxman about toyota's safety problems and why isn't toyota admitting that their car's electronic systems could be the culprit. we'll look at that as well. wolf? >> thanks, campbell. we'll see you in a few minutes. why follow 1,000 unborn children in
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the womb up until age 21. and what are their goals. and then we plan. it's a very good feeling as an advisor to work with people and help get them to their goals. once people perceive that they can control their destiny then they accomplish unbelievable things. [ male announcer ] we're america's largest financial planning company. meet us today at largest financial planning company. when you least expect it...
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born through adulthood. part of that effort is in full swing right here in new york. going door to door in queens, new york, these researchers are on a mission. they're looking for women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant in the near future. >> we plan to call you again in about six months just to see if there are any changes to the questions. >> it's part of an unprecedented government study that will track children from the womb to age 21. the goal? to figure out how the environment affects a child's health, from pollution in the air to where they grow up. persuading people it's important isn't easy, but they found one participant we can only identify as 31-year-old ai. >> what would you like to get out of the study? >> i would just like to be part of something that will benefit everybody as a whole.
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i am in the health field, so i can understand people's wanting to know what makes people healthy and not healthy. >> when ein's daughter is born in april, her placenta, even her first diaper, will be examined. they wi they've also been given samples of her hair. overseeing it all is alex goodacre who hopes to see how autism and other health issues develop. >> you need to follow a lot of children. you can't simply look at a small group of children who have already developed the disease to figure out how it started. >> he runs the center for health and human development. so far around the country, 700 volunteers are on board, but the goal is 100,000. that is just one of the challenges, says a member of the
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independent panel that reviewed the national children's study. >> recruiting this many families and keeping them engaged over 21 years is going to be a challenge, particularly in a society that's as mobile as ours. >> another challenge? the cost. a senate committee criticized the national institutes of health for not disclosing that the study's price tag had risen sharply from the $3.1 billion, describing it as a serious breach of trust. >> we certainly take it serious when a senate panel says they believe there is a serious breach of trust, so we are being very open with them. >> so the search continues for volunteers like ein, letting people watch her child all the way to adulthood. >> it's taking a lot of work getting volunteers to sign on. for every 100 doors they knock on, they get eight volunteers joining the study. >> do they know how long it will take to get that many voee