tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 23, 2010 5:00pm-7:00pm EDT
somebody who enjoyed the jimmy johnson interview, i know many of you did, especially you dallas fans, saying, come on, rick, talk him into coming back we need him, we got to win some games. rick looked like a kid on christmas morning talking to jimmy johnson. i did. see if i can get shula back. you know what i'm going to call don shula, get don shula and dan marino on the show as well? would you like that? okay, deal. here now, my good friend, wolf blitzer. take it away, wolf. >> rick, thanks very much. happening now, walkout at the united nations. western delegates protests as iran's president raises allegations of a u.s. conspiracy behind the 9/11 attacks. if you take avandia to control diabetes, you may have to find other options. dr. sanjay gupta on the drug's link to heart problems and the fda's new restrictions. and the republican eager to went house speakers a job, he insist it is not rocket science to cut taxes and cut spending.
we will press john bainer on the new promises his party is making to voters st. a cnn exclusive. i'm wolf blitzer. you are "the situation room." the iranian president hold trying to form, unleashing fiery attacks at the he united states and radical allegation. mahmoud ahmadinejad took his turn at the podium over it united nations general assembly just a little while ago. he cited allegations that the united states had some involvement in planning the 9/11 attacks, prompting delegates at the and several other western nations to simply walk out. u.s. officials are calling ahmadinejad's remarks, and i'm quoting now, abhorrent and delusional. here is a taste of what he said. >> translator: in identifying who is responsible behind the 9/11 attacks there are three
viewpoints, first, that a very powerful and complex terrorist group able to successfully cross all layers of the american intelligence and security carried out the attack. this is the prevalent view point which has been supported mainly and advocated by american statesmen. second, that some segments within the u.s. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining american economy and its grip on the middle east in order to save the zionist regime. the majority of the american people, as well as most nations and politician around the world agree with this view. third, it was carried out by a terrorist group, but that the american government support and took advantage of this situation. apparently this viewpoint has fewer proponents. >> all right.
let's bring in our cnn political analyst david gergen and cnn national security contributor fran townsend, fran is also an external board adviser to both the cia and the homeland security department. he makes these allegations, david. how's the west with, how is the united states supposed to respond to this? >> walking out's the best way. and keeping these sanctions on and tightening them if possible much the good news is, wolf, that the sanctions seem to be biting a little more than they have in the past. this is the fourth round, of course, but there have been some additional sanctions put on by the united states and european nations. russia seems more on board with them. but there's no resolution. we have still got this mad man running iran. almost impossible to deal w and some point, the world is going to start to ask how much longer is the diplomacy going to go on and when are we really going to get tough? >> the sad thing, fran, as you well know there are a lot of people out there around the world who do believe that the united states had some sort of
role in a conspiracy that led to 9/11 and he is obviously fuelling that at the u.n. general assembly today. >> that's right, wolf. it has to be incredibly frustrating for the obama administration. earlier today, the president went out there and gave a speech and, look, the president has gone sort of at risk to say he is willing to open a dialogue. how is he repaid for that? that olive branch, if you will? by this stuff. this is really impossible. this is -- it is true, wolf that many people around the middle east this has been a conspiracy theory for some time, but when it is espouse boyd head of state it seems to give it some horrible credence, which we all know is not true. especially to do it in the shadow of ground zero and use this as a platform is particularly offensive. >> david, only followed by a few hours what the president said at the united nations' general assembly, the president of the united states. let me play this clip for you. >> now, let me be clear once more the united states and the international community seek a
resolution to our differences with iran and the door remains open to diplomacy, should iran choose to walk through it. but the iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program. >> so, he's has on many owe care david, he is reaching out, he is throwing an olive branch and look at the response. >> well, exactly. i think fran pegged t and it is frustrating you and it should be unacceptable. on the other hand, ahmadinejad has been saying crazy things for a long time. he's holocaust denier and all the rest. i think, wolf, the issue about becomes this, the iranians are finding it harder to get a nuclear capacity than they thought. this has been a slower process than they thought. the centrifuges that make the nuclear material are not working as fast as they hoped and the united states is hoping, the u.s. government is hoping that over time, the sanctions will have enough bite and the seine
riff fines take so long that the iranians will throw in the towe of tha this game that we have been in. i do think the president can't keep saying diplomas circumstance diplomas circumstance diplomacy much longer. >> howl realistic, fran, based on everything you know, within iran there will be a move tonight get rid of ahmadinejad by others who may not necessarily be pro-american or anything, but simply don't like him anymore and think he has become a disaster for that country? >> well, that's really what you hope is the result of a really aggressive sanctions regime. the problem, wolf, is we have seen -- we saw the budding of that. it didn't -- there wasn't sufficient, frankly, for my judgment, international or american support for it. and the opposition, those who might have moved to overthrow him were really crushed. people were jailed. people have been nonaccounted for. and so you have to -- in creating an environment, the sanctions are the heavy, the tough part of that and then you have got create a safe
environment for those people to feel like they can be successful and the real question is after what we have seen today, the president needs to stop talking diplomacy and start talking tougher sanctions and support to those people who might be willing to take on ahmadinejad. >> all right, guys, thanks very much, fran and david, appreciate it. there's other important news we are following right now. the president and his party apparently admitting defeat, at least for now you in the preelection battle over tax cuts. our congressional concern, brianna cooler, is joining us. so, what are you hearing right now, brianna? >> wolf, senate democrats will not be voting on extending those bush era tax cuts, set to expire at the end of the year. they won't be voting on extending them for people making $250,000 or less, as obviously they wanted to do we have learned this from senior democratic sources and the number two democrat in the senate, dick durbin, told reporters, "the reality is we will not pass what needs to be passed to change this either in the senate or the house before the election."
and this really came down to a divide among democrats. you had some who said let's go ahead and have a vote, we will vote to extend for those middle class taxpayers and then those for the wealthy, the taxes for the wetty, the tax breaks can expire and we can get republicans on the record, as democrats say, holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage to tax cuts for the rich. but what you ended up having was vulnerable democrats an some really tough re-election battles and conservative states saying they are going to get hammered by gop, saying we are raising taxes and the economy is bad the bottom line, are your taxes going to go up? no one saying if you make $250,000 or less that is going to happen. the uncertainty here, wolf, remains for those folks making more than quarter million, filing jointly. >> the lame duck session of the house and senate will take this up until after november election. they have until december 31st to pass additional legislation,
otherwise, the tax rates go back to the higher levels for everyone, the middle class and the rich, if nothing is done in the congress. >> that's right. and democrats say that they will get this done before the end of the year. >> brianna keilar on capitol hill, thank you. the u.s. government is putting new limb point access to a controversial diabetes drug. did the food and drug administration go far enough, though to protect patients? our own dr. sanjay gupta is standing by live. and an exclusive interview with the house republican leader, john boehner. can he explain how his party hopes to make good on a new list of promises? and the bishop of a megachurch respond to be a growing sex scandal, responding not necessarily in the way a lot of people thought he would. stay with us. you are in "the situation room."
bob woodward was just getting started about writing about occupants of the white house n 1994, he wrote the agenda about president clinton, in which he revealed disputes, temper tantrums and heated dewaits in the president's second year in office. in 2004, woodward authored "plan of attack" about president george w. bush in which he famously revealed how cia
director george tenant told bust bush that it was a slamdunk that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. in 2006, woodward wrote "state of denial," also about bush, and revealed in that book how the president failed to tell the truth about how bad lit war in iraq was going. woodward has written 16 books in all and they have all been best sellers. he is an intrepid writer, reporter who will stay on the story until he gets something that to one else has. it used to be said the worst news you could get at the office was somebody telling you "60 minutes" is on the phone and they want to talk tough. the idea of being that no good could come of a conversation with them. well, the same applies to people like bob woodward. so you have to wonder, looking at his body of work, why anyone would open the door to him when he knocks and says he wants to write a box about the president. but that's exactly what the obama administration did. the result issed would board's latest book, "obama's wars" how good or bad it will be be for the obama white house remains to be seen but too late to worry
about that now, isn't it? here is the question. why do presidents choose to cooperate with bob woodward when he wants to write a become about them? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile to post a k on my blog. >> make any difference if they are democrats or republicans they can all cooperate with bob woodward. >> yeah it is a strange thing. he is very highly respected and well known in washington. and i suppose the downside risk of saying no might be greater than seeing if you can spin your story as he is writing it. i don't know the answer t is a conundrum. >> skill him. he will be in "the situation room" next week. >> that is not a bad question. how come these guys keep letting you in to look at the laundry? >> i will ask him that question. jack, thank you. >> sure. sort of split decision today on a controversial diabetes drug linked to an increase in heart problems. the food and drug administration is leaving avandia on the market, but with new restrictions. u.s. officials are taking a rather different approach than in europe. our chief medical correspondent,
dr. sanjay gupta is joining us now. what exactly did the fda decide about avandia, sanjay? >> a lot of activity and controversy around this for some time what they decided was sort of interesting, wolf. since july when these hearing first took place, a lot of people paying attention, waiting for a decision from the fda and what they basically said is if you are on the drug right now, you are a patient -- an existing patient taking the medication, you can sign a waiver acknowledging that there are some risks to this medication and stay on it but as far as new patients go, you have to prove in some way that you are not getting a response from any of the other medications out there used to control diabetes before you're a candidate for this particular medication. so tough try those other ones, they have fail and that whole process by which that takes place has to be developed by the drug company to prove that avandia is the only drug that is going to work for them. but that's sort of how the fda came down, existing patients can stay on it, new patients have to go through a process before they can get on it, wolf. >> a different decision than the
decision made in europe? >> yeah. i mean it is interesting, you know, medicine has some inconsistencies and this is certainly one of them. what was interesting, they say that the evidence is obviously the same, luke at that time other side of the pond, but how much they weighted that evidence was different. so in europe, for example, they say this drug is now off the market. you can't even advertise for it. it is going to be simply gone. so this is obviously different than what the fda says. they point to the health risk and they say this is the right decision in europe. we did reach out to the maker of this and asked them how they view what happened today and some have to be ratified. they say avandia is an important treatment for patients with type ii diabetes, a bit of a general statement there, wolf, not really address the issue, could other drugs be better, could other drugs be safer? that is the point here, wolf. >> what should people taking avandia be looking for? what are the dangers potentially here? >> you know, if you go back
three years and start looking at some of the growing body of evidence, there was a concern that maybe tens of thousands of increased heart attacks were being caused by this particular medication. let tell you one of the difficulties here is in that patients who have diabetes are already at risk for heart disease, for heart attack. so is it the medication or is it the existing disease? that is always the question. what was interesting about avandia is they did another study, this came out in the senate finance subcommittee report, where they showed people who were on different classes of die bet tease drugs, if they are on avandia, you are more likely to have a heart attack as compared to people who had their diabetes medication, diabetes controlled with another medication. so, it really seemed to isolate avandia as a potential problem here. this heart disease issue is probably the biggest issue and there is 11 other classes of diabetes drugs out there. this is obviously a well-known disease and a lot of different options to thought for patients. >> so if one of your patients, san jay came to you and said, doc, i'll taking avandia what
should i do? what would you say? >> you know, right now, what the process going to be, going to have to sign a waiver, we will have to counsel them on all these potential health risks and sign that waiver. i think what most doctors have told us that we have been talking about, for some time now, when this became a concern, they haven't been starting any new patients on avandia and a lot of the patients that were on avandia, because of this concern about the health risks, have found another medication that may have worked just as well. so, i think with this -- a lot of times there aren't other options. in this case there are lots of other options, wolf. >> lots of other diabetes drugs you can take is that the same? >> 11 other classes of diabetes drugs so within each class, there are several drugs. so, sometimes process of trial and error, trying to control blood glucose, spend a bit of time to is he how that is work. safe to say if avandia isn't going to be the right drug for all these reasons we have been talking about there is something probably else out there for you. >> good advice as always, sanjay, thanks very much. >> thanks, wolf. we are monitoring other top
stories as well. could there be major changes to president obama's controversial strategy in afghanistan? there is new information just out of the pentagon. plus, who are the voters that could make a major difference in the outcome of the upcoming midterm elections? we will have some answers. that's coming up. my eyes water. but now zyrtec®, the fastest 24-hour allergy relief, comes in a liquid gel. zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®. the smell of freshly juiced wheat grass and hand pressed shirts. whatever scents fill your household, purina tidy cats scoop helps neutralize odors in multiple cat homes. purina tidy cats scoop. keep your home smelling like home. (announcer) everything you need to stretch out on long trips. residence inn.
fredricks whitfield is monitoring some of the other top stories "the situation room" right now. hi, fred. what is going on? >> hello to you, wolf with. good news on the home front. existing home sales are on the rise. the national association of realtors reports that sales rose by 7.6% in august, a welcomed change after the previous month's numbers tanked to their lowest level. analysts caution, though, that the boost doesn't mean the housing market has recovered completely. looming economic uncertainty is still certainly a factor. new indications that the gop just may be able to capture that new york senate seat vacated by hillary clinton. a quinnipiac university survey released today showed incumbent democratic senator kirsten gillibrand leads her opponent by
6 percentage points. and eddie long issued statement denying allegations in three lawsuits that he coerced young men in sex. the pastor was scheduled to appear today on the "tom joyner morning" radio show but was replaced by his attorney. when scad about a press conference also canceled, the attorney says his client never admitted to that long is expected to address his congregation this sunday. wolf? >> thanks, fred much don't go too far away. cnn just revealed its top ten heroes of 2010. the heros are being revealed online. let's talk about that with cnn's josh levs. got to get one hero out of those ten. tell our viewers, josh, how they can participate in the selection of the hero of the year. >> yeah, well, you got t these
are some of the most inspirational people on the planet, literally what they are doing with their lives and what they are achieving is remarkable. you can learn all about this right now the top ten list is out. right here, cnn heroes.com. i will give you a sense of a couple of them and take you through voting. this is guadalupe arizpe dela investigate ga, founded a hospital in mexico, helping with drug violence there and anuradha koirala, fight the exploitation and trafficking of women and girls in india. you can see those who ultimately made the top ten, all interactively, at cnn heroes.com. once you have done that, taken the time, clicked on each of them, seep their words, their stories, their videos what they have to say, consider them all, then it is time to vote. all you have to do do on the heroes page, click on vote at the top t will take you to where you can see the photos.
you can vote as many times as you want for as many heroes as you want. all the top ten heroes get $25,000. the one that wins gets $100,000 and starting today, you have the opportunity to decide who that will be. the voting goes through november 17th. of course it will all ultimately be announced on thanksgiving night in our tribute to all these heroes, all of whom, wolf, have incredible inspirational stories. >> more than 10,000 people were nominated for this and now whittled it down to ten and eventually one with. >> the blue ribbon panel did not have an easy job having to wit it will down. they did a good job. i think people will be very impressed. >> speak with one member in the next hour of that blue ribbon panel, rain wilson of the show, the office, he will join us here "the situation room." thanks very much, josh.
governor of new jersey takes on a heckler. is it smart politics in this angry election year? i will ask james carville and bill bennett, both standing by live in our strategy session. and what congress may do to protect student athletes prove devastating head injuries. ♪ i thought it was over here... ♪ [car horn honks] our outback always gets us there... ... sometimes it just takes us a little longer to get back. ♪
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house republicans promise that their new pledge to america, as they are calling it would not simply be a rehash of their 1994 contract with america. today's big unveiling was at a lumber company in northern virginia, not on the steps of the u.s. capitol. the gop blueprint for reclaiming control of the house tries to seize on the anti-establishment mood in the country. top priorities include tax cuts, spending cuts, limits on the size -- limits on the growth of
entitlements and a vow to reverse, repeal president obama's health care reforms. our senior congress correspondent, database nah bash, had the a chance to speak exclusively with a pointman for the pledge, republican house leader, john boehner. how did that go, dana? >> very interesting what john boehner and his republican colleagues tried to do today, wolf with this 45-page glossy document is give voters not just a reason to vote against the democrats who are in charge but a reason to vote for republicans. and there were some new specifics a few in here about new mechanisms to achieve their goals of cutting spending and reforming the way congress works, but a lot of what is in here are broad ideas that we have heard before, so, i tried to press the man who says he wants to be speaker on specifics. and i started by asking him about the fact that their plan to continue all of the bush era tax cuts, according to the government works cost and add to the deficit, $3.9 trillion.
>> you can't have a healthy economy if you raise taxes on the american people. >> the fact it would add nearly $4 trillion to the deficit, you will worry about that later? >> i just think we have to have a healthy economy, where more people are working, more people caring for themselves, their family and paying taxes. if we are serious about giving the american in a stronger position. >> you also say that you want to reduce spending levels back to 2008. that's hundreds of billions of dollars. it is $100 billion in the first year. if you look at it we are talking about levels many of us thought were too high then. >> you talk about the rebellion out there part of what the rebellious voters want to know, they want you to be specific. as you probably know, you know, they are maybe not that ennamered of the democrat bus don't trust you as republicans. >> that is why we have outlined clearly in our pledge what we would and would not do and i think when it comes to spending, we have been very specific about common sense steps we can do to -- >> give me one.
>> how about the unspent stimulus money. let's stop it and bring it back. how about all the t.a.r.p. funds? no more bailouts no more using this money for unintended purposes, there's $700 billion right there. >> democrats, as you know, are saying that you are way too cozy with lobbyists. they say that a speaker boehner would mean an open door policy for big money, corporate lobbyists, other lobbyists to come n what will you do to reassure people thought who say, well that is just washington, but that wouldn't happen? will you open up your -- >> i talk to everybody. i'm one of the most open and transparent members of congress. i have conversations with people who lobby me in my district, every place i go in the country. and yes there are some lobbyists in d.c., believe it or not. but during the day we all ought to be judged on how we vote. i'm sorry, i am the business community that is who i am, the heart and soul of me. and when i see government, like i did as a small employer, choke the goose that is lake the golden egg that is what drove me
here, to fight for a government that allows the american people in the private sector to be the engine of opportunity for all americans. >> you say that you will be judged on how you vote but a lot of what you are try dog is change the perception in washington. that's lot of what you lay out. >> what the american people -- what the american people want, they want results. they want the spending under control. they want the uncertainty to go away. and they want us to do our best to make sure our future for our kids and grandkids is -- >> no restrictions on lobbyists? >> we have a lot of things we have to deal with the next few months, deal them as it comes up. noofrnlts state secret you and the president don't exactly have a warm and fuzzy relationship. if you were to achieve that and become the next speaker of the house, how would you work with him? maybe a golf summit, something like that? >> listen, i like the president. we get along personally. now, we disagree, but yes, we
are not especially close, but i suspect in the coming months, we are going to have an opportunity to get a lot closer. >> now, that was about as close as boehner came to predicting that he will be the speaker of the house. republicans are feeling good but he was being very cautious about saying that he said it was his goal tonight speaker after november. now, he and other republicans who unveiled this today said they didn't have a choice, they had to give voters an agenda, but wolf in talking to some other republicans shall not everybody agrees. some say, look, they are doing just fine attacking democrats. that it's way they should stick. and the problem with unveiling this is that this gives democrats something to attack republicans on and i got to tell you, that's what happened all day today, democrats were attacking this all over the place and they say that they will continue to. they say that they finally have something to push republicans back on. >> they didn't agree to -- they didn't pledge to eliminate all earmark spending, pork barrel spending that is not part of the pledge to america? >> it is not part of the pledge to america. i actually asked john boehner about that. he is somebody who personally
doesn't take earmarks and has historically felt that way but a lot of dissension in the conference about that and -- among republicans about that, to put that in there they did do a year moratorium on it but in terms of looking forward that is not something that is in there. >> thanks very much, dana for that stlan old adage that the most powerful and effective political messages could fit on a bumper sticker. so how does the pledge to america rate? let's bring in our senior political analyst, gloria borger. how does this rate as far as bumper sticker politics is concerned? >> is pretty predictable, wolf and i think that is, in a way what republicans wanted. there is really not any great headlines here. they didn't want to make any headlines, as dana was talking out. you want to repeat tax cuts for everybody, i mean, extend the tax cuts for everybody and we knew that they were going to do that they want to repeal health care reform. we knew they were going to do that but the larger question here is are they giving the democrats a target here?
you talk to democrats today, they say, look, you look at this pledge and it is just more of george w. bush you talk to lots of republicans and they say, look, we want this to be a re r referendum on barack obama. we don't want this to be a referendum on what we are going to do so why are we giving them points about a referendum in. republicans say, look, we had to check the positive box. that is, we have to give people something to vote for, so that is what this pledge is all b again, no huge headlines, nothing really new here, just more of the same that we have been hearing before republicans and the congress. >> who are the voters, gloria that will make the final decision, the decisive voters on november 2nd? >> you and i have been talking about this for a while, wolf, those independent voters we talk about so much, the ones that gave barack obama his margin of
victory in 2008. there's a new pew poll out today let's talk about that a little bit, because when you look at likely independent voters, and they are going to be the key to this election, they are going to vote republican 49%, vote for the democrat 36%. that's huge 13-point margin, wolf. this poll shows those independent voters going to be quite engaged in this election. usually in midterms, the independent voters say, eh, i'm gonna sit it out. not so much this time. the key to this is if you think about this election as a referendum on barack obama, which is what we have been talking about here, the independents who say that they believe the president has not done a good job are the most likely to vote. that does not bode well for the democrats it bodes very well for john boehner. he will be very happy about this poll. >> see if he is happy on
november 2nd. >> we will be watching. just ahead, we will talk more about the pledge to america with two members of congress who are rather passionate in their views and on opposite sides of the aisle. stand by for that debate. also stand by for our top stories, including the death of a rebel leader and why colombian officials now say it is a story. and countdown to execution. will there be any kind of reprieve for the first woman facing the death penalty in virginia in almost a century? she is set to be executed in a few hours. that's logistics ♪ ♪ when the parts for the line ♪ ♪ come precisely on time ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ a continuous link, that is always in sync ♪ ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ there will be no more stress ♪ ♪ cause you've called ups, that's logistics ♪
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fredricks whitfield is monitoring other top stories in the newsroom what else is going on, fred? >> u.s. secretary of defense robert gates says he doesn't expect changes to the obama administration's afghanistan strategy with following an upcoming december review of the war's progress. speaking at a news conference, gates says there will likely be room for adjustments and weeks to. mike mullin added the strategy is already showing signs of progress. and the colombian president is calling the death of a major guerilla leader a "historic event." the number two in the revolutionary armed forces of colombia, farc, was killed in the raid. another high-level leader wanted by the u.s. was killed over the weekend. farc has been at war with colombian governments since the
1960s. and congress is considering new legislation to protect student athletes who get concussions. experts testifieden capitol hill today that these injuries not only cause aches and impaired concentration but can also be deadly. the bill would force evaluations for students who have suffered concussions before they return to play. pediatricians believe the brains of children and teens are more vulnerable to injury than those of i adults. and the founder and ceo of the social networking powerhouse facebook plans to donate $100 million toward improving public schools in newark, new jersey. 26-year-old mark zuckerberg ranks 35th on this year's forbes 400 list, with an estimated net worth of $6.9 billion. he is expected to officially announce the donation tomorrow on the "oprah winfrey" show. everyone trying to get on that show in the last year, wolf. i'm sure you are on the list, too. >> not so sure about that all right, fred, thank you.
. okay. an angry confrontation between the governor of new jersey, he is a rising star in the republican party, and a heckler. you are going to want to see how it played out in our strategy session. bill bennett and james carville, they are standing by live. ♪ [ male announcer ] try fixodent with a time-released formula. use just once per day for dawn-to-dark hold. it is important to use the product as directed. fixodent and forget it.
how new is the new edge with myford touch? well you could never do this before. or this. or this. you definitely couldn't do this. play kate's mix. or this. temperature, 72 degrees. say hello to the new edge with myford touch.™ quite possibly the world's smartest crossover. the republicans' new pledge to america, as they are calling it vow to repeal health care reforms signed into law by president obama. here is cnn's jim acosta. >> i would fight to repeal the bill. [ applause ] >> reporter: it is a gop battle cry for the midterm elections. >> the american people will be
heard and we will repeal and replace. >> i have pledged as my first act of legislation to put in a repeal obama care law. >> reporter: if republicans win a majority of seats in congress, one of the first thing these promise to do is repeal president obama's signature achievement, health care reform. under a new gop-controlled house, texas congressman joe barton would with likely become chairman of the key house committee overseeing health care. he says hearings would begin as soon as january to dismantle the law. >> if we are given the opportunity to be in the majority, we are going to try to repeal it. >> right away? >> and something that makes sense. well, the sooner the better. >> reporter: that threat comes as new portions of the law go into effect this week, provisions that stop insurers from denying coverage to children children with pre-existing conditions or dropping policy for people who get sick, big expansions of coverage don't come until 2014 still, polls show the law remains unpopular.
>> i voted against the health care bill because i thought it would be too expensive. >> reporter: even some democrats are running against it. health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius argues the public will come around. why is this law so unpopular? >> i think it's more confusing than unpopular. >> you are ready to have this debate all over again? >> i am, indeed. >> hello, hello, hello. >> reporter: who south president who points to parts of the bill that are popular. >> if young people don't have health insurance through their employer, that they can stay on their parents' health insurance up to the age of 26. >> reporter: parts congressman barton wants to keep. are there portions of the law that should be kept? >> i think coverage of pre-existing conditions, the ability to keep your insurance and not have it revoked -- >> recision? >> unless you committed fraud. >> reporter: other republicans say scrap the whole thing. conservative activist alex cortez with the group defund it
okay says the solution is to starve laut of money. >> one of the only options is defunding go after some of the smaller provision. we will not let kathleen sebelius enforce this law. >> reporter: tinkering with health care reform wouldn't be easy. any bill changing laut will likely, vetoed by the republican and republicans have no chance of picking up enough seats in the midterms to override any health care veto but republicans say just because they don't have the votes doesn't mean they won't try. >> all right, jim acosta reporting for us. thank you. james carville is standing by. we will speak to him in a moment. jack caver if the city asking why do presidents choose to cooperate with bob woodward when he wants to write a book with them? jack will be back as well. two members of congress very passionate in their opposing views about solving america's problems. stand by for a debate of some of these hot topics in advance of the midterm election. we will be right back. ♪ just one bite onsa rlof d
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palin on fox, the network she works for the other night, and she said this. >> we are learning more about christine o'donnell and her college years and her teenaged years and financial dealings that anybody ever bothered to ask about barack hussein obama and the president. >> you notice she used his complete name. and she was in a event in florida with barack hussein obama and then someone came out to said that we do not condone this rhetoric in talking about the details that people are basing their votes on this november. is it a big deal she is using the middle name? >> well, i wouldn't call it a big deal. we know a lot about president obama, and he wrote a whole book about his childhood, so it is a myth that we don't know anything about him. it is not a huge deal at all. she said it, and maybe she meant
something by it or sending a cue to people or something like that, but probably the end of the republic. >> bill? >> small beer. it was not said in a malicious tone, and that is how he took the oath, barack hussein obama. >> soneath oref you think it is a big deal. chris christie, who is a political rising star and with meg wittman who is running for governor of california and he heckled at the end of the tape. >> hey, listen, you want to yell, yell at me, but don't give her a hard time. we are here, and we are here to talk about the future of the state of california and the future of our country, and you know what, and you know what, let me tell you, and let me tell you this, you know what, it is people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country, and we are here to bring this country together, and not the divide it. [ applause ]
>> now, you know, i guess that james, why he is a rising star in the gop. >> well, good moment there, and no question about that, and you know, that is a purity police out there, and i don't think they are going away either, so that is an interesting conflict there. >> he is getting a lot of credit for what is done in new jersey right now, bill. >> yes, candor is the new style, and saying it straight. i had him on the radio show, and he talked the same way and people heckle him, he does it reflectfully, but directly and people like it. it is called authentic talk and we could use por of it on both sides. >> is that a smart political strategy, james? >> yeah, people are tired of the people that are rude and i think that it is probably people when i saw it are going to respond favorably to something like that. >> it is also galant, you know, we could use that word and chivalrous coming to her defense and i will be in trouble for that. >> protecting the woman? >> i'd be in trouble for that,
but it was polite and gentlemanly. >> questiwe are agreeing on everything, today. >> yes, james, let's keep going. >> i am sure there are issues down the road you will disagree with. there is more angry reaction coming in from the u.s. western countries after the iranian president's provocative remarks at the united nations today. and the rare execution of a woman is due to happen in the next few hours in virginia. you could switch for great gas mileage or seats that flip and fold with one hand.
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jack is back with the cafferty file. jack? >> question this hour is why do presidents choose to cooperate with bob woodward when he decides to write a book about them? jan writes from atlanta, the same thing that makes one think they have the tools to write the country makes one think they can control one pesky reporter. john in massachusetts, one easy answer to this, any individual who wants this thankless job has a towering belief in themselves that even when they do wrong they simply don't believe it matters one bit. bush lied. he knows it, but what does he care? his main concern now is building a library which will bear his name. bob writes from louisville, kentucky, they are afraid if they don't cooperate they will have to undergo the same scrutiny they underwent in water grait. and bob says hubris. they never think it will be
portrayed badly. and they cooperate, because they know he will get the information anyway. dennis says from not cooperating probably worse. and enright says that the presidents participate, because if they didn't, their side of the story would be told by someone else or not told at all. participating with someone like woodward shows courage and confidence and no administration gets everything right all of the time, and hats off to those who are brave enough to tell it like it is. and frank says it is vanity, jack. they all think that they are a gift to us all and that their view of how great they are is shared by everyone. their mirror has a flaw filter. if you want the read more you will find it on my blog cnn.com/caffertyfile. >> jack, thank you very much. and you are in "the situation room." happening now, republicans unveil a new call to arms in their battle to win control of congress. a pledge to america, as they are calling it, recalling their 1994 contract with america that helped propel the gop to a landslide victory.
>> we need to rein it in, and begin a new drive for smaller and less costly and more accountable government in our nation's capital. these are the things that the american people are demanding. our pledge to america is that the republicans stand ready to get it done. >> the democrats and even some son k conservatives are writing it off. >> it is the same policies that got us into the financial crisis, and the document was written by somebody with a, written by a lobbyist. and, rolled out in a small business even as thep ares went back to the hill to vote against tax cuts for small business, so it was just another, and it seems like just another day, and could have been any of the days that republican are ideas for the last ten years. >> this hour, we go inside of
the republicans' pledge to america with two rising congressional stars. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, and you are in i'm wolf blitzer, and you are in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com we are now less than six weeks before the midterm election and voter frustration clearly palpable with the weak u.s. economy and the surging deficit and the democratically-controlled congress. many people are blaming for both. now, republicans are hoping to tap into that anger with an updated version of their hugely successful 1994 contract with america. the new so-called pledge to america contains more than 20 promises, including a freeze on most domestic spending, repealing health care reform, and canceling unspent stimulus funding, aroundnd permanently extending the bush tax cuts and
new bill that ratifies the u.s. constitution, and there is no cost for social security and medicaid and medicare which dwarf government spending and no pledge about earmarks sway pet peeve of most voters. joining us is debbie wassermann, and paul ryan from wisconsin. and thank you, both of you, for coming in. let me start with you, congressman ryan, and this pledge of america and you were deeply involved in putting it altogether, but look at the very sharp negative reaction from a prominent conservative erick erickson, and he is a cnn contributor from redstate.com, and he says it is a series of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanonymity because it does
not lead in boldly opposition to barack obama. he says these are words, but don't have substance. >> so, i will put him down as a critic. >> yes. >> and so, wolf, it is important not to make promises that we cannot make in the next session. if we serve the majority, we will have divided government. so we don't want to promise pie in the sky things that will not be signed into law, because barack obama is still the president. we want to declare our principles and more importantly be that we are not like the republicans kicked off four years ago with the earmarks and big spending, but these are the things to do right now to get the country right on the right track, and create jobs, and cut taxes, and this is not an exhaustive re-do of the party platform or comprehensive platform, but it is a current governing agenda to fix the problems in front of us, knowing that if we get the majority, we are going if be in a divided government situation.
>> what is wrong with that debbie wassermann? >> well, they have made a pledge to the special interests rather than america. what is particularly galling, wolf, on september 23rd, the day that the patient bill of rights reform could go into effect, and as a breast cancer survivor, i can tell you that it is particularly disturbing to me that for example someone like me is one job loss away from being dropped or denied coverage because of my pre-existing condition, and yet the republicans would repeal health care reform and make sure that insurance companies would be back in the driver's seat, and that is part of the pledge to america. their pledge to america includes repealing wall street reform and putting them back in the driver's seat instead of focusing on balancing the policy between consumer protection and making sure that business can thrive. they want to also pledge to america that we hold middle-class tax breaks hostage and give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires that add $700 million to the deficit. >> you went through three points, so let's go through the
three points. let's talk about this is six months right now, congressman ryan, and health care hreform hs been enacted and a lot of folks are happy that the college-aged family members can stay on the family plan until age 26. you want to repeal that. why? >> the chief actuary of this administration has already told us that this bill is not meeting what they have already said it will do. bigger deficits, higher health care costs and the cbo is saying that this thing is a massive deficit. is not that we want to reform health care, because we do. we don't want government to have a massive overtake of health care, but this bill will make it lower prices, and higher quality. the democrats did not do a budget this year for the first time since 1974. we have to get the spending under control and create jobs and raising taxes on successful small businesses is not going to create jobs and according to the
cbo it is going to cost us 1.8 million and we obviously have a different opinion on these things as you can see. >> well, the tax cuts that the bush administration implemented and they will expire at tend of the year unless legislation is passed in the house and the senate. looks like the senate is punting until after the november 2nd midterms and the house is -- is there going to be a vote on this between now and the november 2nd in the house? >> we are talking about when that vote will take place, but what we want to make sure and the clear contrast is that the pledge of the republicans on special interests today came out for preserving tax breaks for the wealthiest millionaires and billionaires and holding middle-class hostage and adding $700 billion to the deficit. they talk out of both sides of their face. they talk about cutting and spending, but ignore the tax breaks for the wealthiest to add to the doef it eficit like theyt spending. they are equivalent.
they are a deficit. >> for those wealthiest, making more than $250,000 a year get to keep the same tax rate as has been in business since the bush administration. >> seven years. >> and 35% as opposed to the clinton's 39.6%, that will cost the american taxpayer $700 billion over the next ten years. you want to cut the debt, the national debt, and there is $700 billion, congressman ryan right there. >> wolf, not only do i disagree with debbie, but 41 democrats in her own caucus disagree with debbie. we have the votes to pass this if the speaker will let it come up. you know who pays the taxes? small businesses. 900,000 small businesses and 75% of the jobs come from the small businesses. the cbo put out a report saying that if this happens we could lose 1.2 million jobs. here is the point to get the fiscal situation under control, we need to do two things, grow the economy and create jobs and
cut spending. raising taxes defeats those purposes and objectives. you don't want to slow down the economy, but cut down on the spending. >> congressman wassermann, many say they agree with congressman ryan, if you raise taxes on those making $250,000 or more a year at a delicate moment in the economy right now, that could perhaps even trigger a double-dip recession. >> wolf, the overwhelming majority of economists agree that the tax cuts that mr. ryan and his colleagues want to extend for the wealthiest americans would do nothing to turn the economy around. that it is the middle-class tax breaks and working families that we need to reenact, because most wealthy americans don't use that windfall to put it right back in the economy. they sit on it, and sit on the investments and it does not help at all. all it would do is to add to the de deficits. i agree and democrats agree we should target the tax policies to small businesses which is why the republicans should have voted with to usday on the small
business and lending jobs bill, but unfortunately they all voted against it, and they have no interest in getting the capital out to the hands of the small business owners and they could have voted for that bill today and gotten that credit, but instead, they are focused on victory and returning to the taxple si of the past and the american people are going to reject it november 2nd. >> are you the party of no, no to whatever the democrats raise, and even if these are issues and proposals that the republicans have supported in the past? >> well, this is proactive ideas to get the government back on track, to have consumer-directed health care. and to get the deficit under control and create jobs in the country and make the congressmen lead the legislation before they vote on it. it is common sense solutions that arane kwored in the founding principlprinciples. going back to the tax cut issue, even the president's advisers peter orszag and others are
saying don't do it. we put out a list of 14 economists saying do not raise taxes at this precarious time in our economy. it is left of center to suggest that we have tax increases. moderates and democrats and republicans say we should not be raising these taxes. >> standby, because jack cafferty is coming up next with a cafferty file. and then the lawmakers, these two, they are fired up over social security. my interview with representatives debbie wassermann schultz, and paul ryan will continue, because it is about to get heated. stay tuned for that. and what the iranian president ahmadinejad said at the u.n. today that prompted the u.s. and several other delegations to walk out of the u.n. ring ring. progresso.
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the cafferty file. jack? >> it is unlikely, wolf, that there were that many champagne corks popping around the country when we learned that the recession officially ended more than a year ago. maybe that is because it does not feel like the recession has ended at all, not by a long shot. a new gallup poll shows that 88% say that now is a bad time find a quality job. that number is as high as a year ago and higher than this time in 2008 when the recession was in full bloom. only 5 5% felt this way in 2007 when the recession began. the bottom line is that americans are waiting for jobs to come back and it could be a long wait. in fact, a lot of the loss jobs will never come back. the national unemployment rate 9.6%, and there is no signs that it is going to improve significantly for a while. maybe quite a while. since the recession began more than 7 million jobs have been lost. almost 2.5 million homes have
been repossessed. but the national bureau of economic recession that said that the recession that began in 20307 ended in june of 2009 which makes the 18-month recession the deepest and longest since the great depression. add in the economic data of the last month, and concerns are growing about a possible double-dip recession. according to cnnmoney.com, a group of top economists say that there is a 25% chance of a double-dip recession in the next year which is up from a 15% chance just six months ago. so, here is the question. do you feel like the recession is over? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, and post your comment on my blog. one of the articles that i was reading today, wolf, suggested that the country was probably in for a long period of stagnation, which i don't know, it is kind of feeling a little stagnant out. >> it is what they call a jobless recovery. >> i don't know. >> can there be a -- if there is a recovery, wouldn't you think
there is a job? >> isn't it an oxymoron. >> that what i wanted to say, but you say it better. >> well. >> and good work, jack. thank you very much. let's get more now on the new republican pledge to america as it is called. a passionate debate between democrat congresswoman debbie wassermann schultz, and republican congressman paul ryan. congresswoman wassermann-schultz, there is anger as you well know in the country today and demonstrated directly to the president the other day by a woman who was a supporter and made a dramatic appeal to the president. in several of the recent polls when you ask the american people, is the country moving in the right direction or the wrong direction, the overwhelming majority say that the country right now is moving in the wrong direction, and in recent reuters poll, only 33% thought that the country is moving in right direction and 61% said it is on the wrong track. your party is in charge of the house and the senate and the white house, and you can feel that anger out there. >> well, we can. we want to make sure that we
continue to move the country in a new direction and focus on the change that people asked for when they elected president obama. the change that they don't want, and the type of policy that they don't want is mr. ryan's proposal to privatize social security and pull the rug out of from under senior citizens and get rid of the security or turn medicare into a voucher program which is part of the book that he and eric cantor put out that they are touring the country promoting right now. those two items because they are unpopular weren't in the pleng to america today, because that is not something they can get elected on, but they will try to sneak it in the backdoor if they somehow get that way. >> well, she makes a fair point, congressman. >> ki can i respond to that -- >> well, you have a few supporters in the house of representatives, the republicans, were pointedly missing in this pledge to america, why? >> because i put out a budget plan to get a contingent of one person in congress, me. i didn't put a budget plan out
to get a consensus of congress, but what i wanted to get with this plan is to get this discussion of entitlement programs at an adult level and clearly that is not happening. but don't cut benefits to people 55 year and older, and they took money out of the medicare fund to fund another program, they are raiding the program. if we don't fix this debt crisis we will shred what people have counted on. what i am trying to propose is prevent cuts from seniors nearing retirement, and then for those of us under 54 because we know we are going bankruptcy to put them on the path of solvency and sustainability, and i want to get to an adult-level conversation. >> an adult-level conversation to invest social security in wall street, and if that had happened in a couple of years ago, paul, it would have ended protections that people have in their twilight as we know. >> i want people to have the
retirement that you and i have, debbie, and that is not privatizing, but it is security. >> and it is not good in the stock market, because it is risky. >> i am not proposing that. >> it will end social security. >> well, it is already ending according to the actuary i aies >> i think that if we campaigned around the country together, people would look at our view. >> look, if it is good enough for us in congress, why not for everybody else? look -- >> our social security is the same as everybody else's in the entire country, and you know it. >> the debate on social security i suspect is only just beginning, and a good debate we had today debbie wassermann schultz and david ryan. thank you both. and now a crackdown on the diabetes drug avandia. and plus, do hidden airline fees make you mad? then today could be your lucky
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fredricka whitfield is monitoring the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. fred, what else is going on? >> well, lots. the government is tightening restrictions on who can take the controversial diabetes drug avandia, and the fda says it is restricting access to patients who cannot control their type ii diabetes with other medications. an fda panel has found that avandia carries an increased risk of heart problems and today the european equivalent of the fda says it wants avandia pulled from the market there completely. we are also learning about a near collision between two planes over minneapolis. the national transportation safety board says that a us airways plane and a small cargo plane came within 100 feet of each other moments after both took off on parallel runways just last week. the only thing that may have
prevented a disaster was an automatic warning system that told the us airways pilot to climb. . >> and bet you didn't know that today is mad as hell day, and it is a day that consumer groups and travel agents have banded together to oppose hidden airline fees. the petition is in support of a proposed rule to have the airlines to clearly inform the consumers about fees for optional services. and blockbuster is filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. it faces debts of $1 billion. and the company says it plans to keep the stores and kiosks open as it tries to cut costs and reduce obligations to $100 million and the company has been struggling since viacom spun it off in 2004 amid other competition of netflix and red box. wolf, it seems like just yesterday when it didn't seem
like blockbuster could possibly be threatened by anyone or anything and it was just huge. >> it was a blockbuster as they say. >> yes, a blockbuster. >> but now not so much. it is amazing in the whole word. >> and now it is just busted. >> thank you very much, fred. >> okay. and the iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad gets a snub and you will hear what he said that prompted the u.s. and other dell gagegations to walk out. and she confessed to killing her husband and grandson and now this grandmother is hours away from execution in virginia. abe: perhaps... save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance?really host: is having a snowball fight with pitching great randy johnson a bad idea? man: yeah, i'm thinking maybe this was a bad idea.
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anyone expecting controversy as the iranian president mahmoud am d ahmadinejad addressed the u.n., they were not disappointed. >> translator: some segments within the u.s. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining american economy and its grips on the middle east in order to save the zionist regime. the majority of the american people as well as most nations and politicians around the world agree with this view. >> that remark prompted the u.s. delegation to walk out on ahmadinejad's speech along with representatives from the uk, sweden, australia, belgium, uruguay and spain. president obama addressed the u.n. earlier in day and devoted much of the speech to the new push for middle east peace.
he had this to say though about iran. >> the united states and the international community seek a resolution to our differences with iran, and the door remains open to diplomacy should iran choose to walk through it. but the iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program. >> that overture was followed by ahmadinejad suggesting that the u.s. was involved in a conspiracy planning the 9/11 terror attacks. i spoke about the nuclear standoff with iran with the british foreign secretary william hague. he says that his country is standing by the united states, standing united with the obama administration in backing sanctions and urging negotiations. >> reporter: how much time do they have? >> well, we didn't know how long the timing of the nuclear program -- we didn't know and no
one can know how far they are. >> are we talking months or years? >> no, this is something that needs to take place in the next few weeks and months. we hope within weeks. >> what takes place? >> to have meaningful discussions and negotiations about the iranian nuclear program, and they have to be meaningful, and about the whole nuclear program and not about the side show and not an effort to divide the international community or to slow down the applications or sanction, because we won't be fooled by that. >> some of these sanctions have been going on for years, the tough diplomacy and the serious sanctions seem to be ratcheting up, but do you sigh any shift at all in the iranian stance? >> it is too early to say is the realistic answer. it is true we have had sanctions for a long time, but it is true that the sanctions have taken a big step forward this year, and the passage of the u.n. security council 1999 in june was a important moment with the support of russia and china. and then the other nations of
the european union have joined in proposing considerable additional sanctions, so this is the first time that iran will have felt the pressure of those sanctions. >> are you concerned that the israelis may not be as patient as you? >> yes. part of the argument for sanctions and part of the argument we put to other countries in the world that why we must have sanctions is that that is legitimate peaceful pressure on iran to make conflict less likely and slow down the iranian nuclear program and buy time for us to try to resolve this issue. so, it is an important choice facing iran now. are they going to take up the serious offer of meaningful negotiations, or are they going to say to the rest of us, well, you carry on with the sanctions, because we certainly will. >> and let's get on with the chief political correspondent candy crowley who hosts "state of the union" every sunday at 9:00 a.m. and how much political pressure is the president under right now
the do something with iran? >> well, he has some time and we heard that in the interview, and the problem is that, you know, what he needs to do and what he has done is to try to work through the u.n. and the u.s. obviously has other unilateral sanctions, but at some point, there is going to be a sort of put up or shut up time for iran. the president as you said, remember, you talk about the stick and the carrot, when he was in the campaign and said we need to reach out. well, we are in the reaching out phase. at some point, it has to get tougher. and the question is, you heard it, what is tougher? more of the same? that is the real key question moving forward. >> he has enormous domestic issues to deal with, the economy and jobs, and these issues are very, very important, these national security related issues, but some say they are a distraction to what he needs to do to get the economy back on track. >> this is a man who campaigned and saying that you have to walk and chew gum at the same time and the middle east has been there whether it is iran or the conflict with the palestinian sd
he has a huge team out there negotiating between the palestinians and the israelis and as far as distractions, it takes up the headlines, but it is the economy dominating both his conversation and the headlines. >> if you read that long pledge to america that the republicans released today and i read the whole thing, there was not a whole lot on national security, but there was some warnings that they will be as tough on iran as anyone. >> yes. that is always has been the what is the next step? everyone was implied here when you talk about, well, what happens if they continue to build this? and you hear, israel will take care of it and somehow israel will go over there and bomb, and what the president is doing and republicans are pushing him on is that he needs to have some credibility when he goes back to the world and says, we have to do something tougher that he can say, look, i spent two years reaching out to them, and
nothing happened. so he is building that up now. >> and cnn "state of the union" sunday. thank you, candy. >> in the speech before the general assembly president obama urged more help for pakistan as it struggles to recover from the worst floods to hit the country in decades. i got an update on the crisis and the pakistani security situation from the country's foreign minister. how bad is the situation right now? >> very serious, very critical. when our country, one fifth, is under water, when 20 million people are affected, when 12 million people are displaced -- it is serious. >> is it getting worse or is it getting better? >> well, i can't say it is getting better, because the challenge is still there, and the challenge of the recovery and the challenge of taking people back to their homes, the challenge of restoring livelihoods is there. so, yes, we have overcome the
first hurdle which is rescue and relief. nobody is starving. thank god. there is not an epidemic, thank god, but the challenges are there. >> how long lit will take realistically for the people of pakistan to bounce back? >> well, the people are resilient and they will fight back and they have already started doing that, but for the economy to stabilize and get back to writ where it was, it w take at least five years. >> five years. >> five years. >> the world is always concerned about the stability of pakistan and especially because it has a nuclear arsenal and how worried should we be? >> not worried. >> the democracy, in other words, how strong is it? how fragile is it? >> i would say the positive sign is that there is a consensus in the country that democracy is the only way forward. right. now, that is a very healthy consensus.
previously whenever there were interventions, you know, many politicals tried to sort of nudge the military in, and now, everybody is saying, listen, this is the constitution, and you have a constitutional role to play, and governing you to do that, but governance will remain the ambit of the elected representatives. >> so the armaments of your country are secure? >> yes. >> and you have no concerns that is not going to change? >> none whatsoever. >> it is a nonissue right now? >> absolutely. >> we are counting down on the minutes before a controversial execution in the state of virginia. she is a woman with a low i.q. plead guilty to killing her husband and stepson. is there a last-minute reprieve? standby. and you know him as one of the stars of the tv series "the office" but he is also a humanitarian and he is helping pay tribute to cnn heroes. standby. 0? [ tires screech ] the quarter-mile, or a quarter-century?
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just over two hours the state of virginia is asked yuled to execute a woman for the first time in almost 100 years, but the case of this 41-year-old grandmother is especially controversial given the extremely low i kwishq and give fact that she did not kill anyone. brian, set the scene for us. what is happening right now? >>. >> well, wolf, theresa lewis has met with her immediate family and they have left the premises and she has met with her spiritual adviser and may meet with her attorney one more time tonight, but the appeals have been exhausted. in the next few hours, one of the most controversial
executions in u.s. history shall proceed. >> reporter: she is a 41-year-old grandmother who sings gospel hymns in prison. ♪ i need a miracle >> reporter: and she is now in the center of america's national debate over the death penalty. in a phone interview with cnn, teresa lewis spoke of her remorse. >> i am so sorry from deep in my heart. if i could take it back, i would in a moment. >> reporter: she is talking about the 2002 murders of her son julian and stepson, and she pleaded guilty in their killings. she is the 12th woman to be put to death since capital punishment was reinstated in the u.s. 34 years ago. virginia with the second busiest death chamber in the u.s. has not executed a woman since 1934. i spoke with richard dietrich who opposes to execution.
is there a societal indifference to executing a woman? >> well, if you get to know the personality, the identity, the background of the person, it is much harder to execute that person. i think that when a woman comes up for execution, there is a curiosity and so people start to learn about her family, her background, and her mental abilities. >> reporter: teresa lewis's mental capabilities are at the heart of the case. lewis says that her levels are above the level of retardation. and -- >> she was suffering from dependent personality disorder which makes her vulnerable to be led by other people. >> reporter: jim rocap says she was coerced to take part by this man as part of an insurance plan. she did not pull the trigger, but two other men did, and they got life in prison sentences. but as for the personality dependent disorder, her daughter
says this -- >> i knew teresa before this, and she would not let herself be manipulated if she didn't want to be. >> reporter: the governor sided with that argument and said he has reviewed medical and psychological recor and found no compelling reason to set aside the sentence. the supreme court has denied the pleas for clemency, so in a couple of hours, at 9:00 p.m. eastern time, she should die by lethal injection, wolf. >> how will that lethal injection specifically work? >> we have detail from the prison officials here a short time ago and he said that essentially the warden will come in and ask the director of the execution if there is any reason that the execution should not proceed, and the director will call the state capital, and once they get the word that the execution should not proceed, then the warden will give the go ahead and inject three chemicals into her, and the first one is designed to put her to sleerngs
and the second one is designed to freeze the diaphragm in the lung to stop breathing and the third one is designed to stop the heart beat, and that is when they come out to make the announcement. >> brian todd on the scene. thank you very much. he is the star of the hit tv comedy show "the office" but in real life rainn wilson is doing serious work including helping us to select the next cnn hero of the year. he is standing by live in hl to talk about it. ♪ friskies grillers blend. ♪ feed the senses.
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it is a daunting task, choosing ten people from the 10,000 nominated to be cnn's hero of the year, but a panel of blue ribbon judges has done exactly that and starting today, you can vote, too, at cnnheroes.com. actor rainn wilson, of the popular "the office" is one of the judges. he is joining us live from los angeles. how did you do this rainn, because it is not that easy, because all of these folks are pretty good. >> yeah, well, you know, i flew out and visited all 10,000 of them. and, no, i am joking with you, wolf.
by the way, wolf, i love you. and if you were here right now, i would so give you a hug. >> all right. >> but i want to say that i love cnn heroes and what you do is just phenomenal, and it touches my heart every year i watch the show. in all honesty. and you know, i have to break down a whole bunch of these and my wife and i watched them on dvd and read about all of these people, and we just kind of went with our guts on who really was the biggest hero. >> well, walk through the experience for us. you know, how you felt looking at the details, because these are amazing individuals. >> it is impossible to do. i mean, all of the people that we looked at had such incredible stories. they are just -- devoting their lives to helping other people, and it is so singular to see people that -- these are the people that we should all aspire to see, and they see something wrong around them.
they don't complain about it, but they get up and take action. you know, in the bible it says that faith without works is dead. and these people are just committing to their work. and the work of, you better pl. narrowing it down, it was almost impossible. i just went with whoever had the best haircut. >> you got nice hair, yourself. you can speak with some authority. is that right? >> thank you, yes, yes, wolf. thank you for noticing. >> let's talk a little bit about your colleagues. did you get -- were you involved in actual discussions with them, or was this all done remote? the other members of the blue-ribbon panel? >> this -- first of all, i want to say thank you. it's the first time i've ever been called blue ribbon in any way, shape or form. i've never been on a blue ribbon panel. do i get an actual blue ribbon? >> you get a -- >> will you send me a blue ribbon, please? >> we'll send you one. >> i didn't even get a cnn hat.
i didn't get an anderson cooper t-shirt. nothing. >> what about a wolf blitzer book mark? >> dude, anything. i will take a hair from your beard and i would treasure that. i'll keep it in a locket around my neck. i swear to god. >> let's get to "the office." the new season, it's just starting, right? how great of a show is that? >> it's -- you tell me. you said you liked it. you like it? >> everybody loves it. i tweeted today "the office" -- >> i'm so lucky to be. yes, it's a little like the "situation room." scranton's own version. i'm so lucky to be a part of such a great show. it's the best ensemble comedy on tv. i love everyone up there on the screen. i can see them all right now like a family. tonight's the big night. 9:00 on nbc. >> we'll be watching. >> hopefully you'll watch. >> there they are the cnn heroes. blue ribbon panel. wow. you're a member of that panel,
rainn. thanks very much. >> thanks for having me. >> next time you'll come here to "the situation room" and you'll be right inside. i appreciate it very much. rainn wilson of "the office." you can be a part of this cnn heroes situation. you can go to cnnheroes.com where you can see the top ten heroes' stories. cast your vote for hero of the year. the winner will be announced thanksgiving night in an all-star tribute. last year 3 million votes were cast. don't miss your chance to weigh in this year. go to cnnheroes.com and cast your vote. do you feel like the recession is over? jack cafferty standing by with your e-mail. then a music video goes to the dogs and goes viral. cnn's jeannie moos takes a most unusual look. right now, there's a nurse saving a life in baltimore.
20 minutes later, she'll bring one into the world in seattle. later today, she'll help an accident victim in kansas. how can one nurse be in all these places? through the nurses she taught in this place. johnson & johnson knows, behind every nurse who touches a life... there's a nurse educator... who first touched them. ♪ you're a nurse ♪ you make a difference concierge claim centers. so i can just drop off my car and you'll take care of everything? yep, even the rental. what if i'm stuck at the office? if you can't come to us, we'll come to you in one of our immediate response vehicles! what if mother won't let me drive? then you probably wouldn't have had an accident in the first place. and we're walkin'! and we're walkin'... making it all a bit easier -- now that's progressive!
jack's here with the cafferty file. >> question is, do you feel like the recession's over? stan in arizona writes the recession will deepen before it recovers. my gut tells me we're in for another ten years of recovery. people from all walks of life losing their homes, can't find work and selling everything they can. i live in a well to do part of phoenix. people daily are making pet care decisions, based on finances rather than medicine. i'm a veterinarian. don in nevada writes, not over, but you're also asking the wrong question. for some it will never be over. because we're witnessing a great divide right now. the middle class is getting wiped out. virginia in california, recession's over, where? we're at 12% unemployment here. i've been out of work for a little over two years. where can i move to? never mind, i can't afford to move. linda, yes, it is. last year was very bad, but this year our business is operating at the same level we peaked at in 2008. i was able to hire back the people we had to let go back then. chris writes, no, it's not over. unemployment is still through the roof.
i just learned today my health insurance premiums go up $100 a month next year. not only are there no good jobs, i just took a pay cut. country is in terrible financial shape. we elect a president who spends money like paris hittlton. david writes, i feel like the recession is over because it is. the economy ceased receding, we have to change things so it starts growing again. president obama is taking too much flak for this issue unfairly. he did indeed stop the recession. give obama credit for pulling off a tough feat. bee writes how can you feel if the recession is over? you're asking whether or not i feel if one plus one is two. maybe i feel like it's three today. a better question would be since the recession ended how are you feeling about your financial situation? fair enough. you want to read more, find it on cnn.com/caffertyfile. >> will do, jack. thanks very much. they are shelter dogs in a most unusual form. here's cnn's jeannie moos.
>> reporter: who cares about sit and stay when you're a dog that gets to play in a music video. the band is okay-go. they go to the dogs in one continuous take using a dozen mostly shelter dogs in their video called "white knuckle." oh, sure, there were plenty of mistakes. it took 124 takes, though they wound up using take 72. the band says the dozen dogs loved it. >> you could see, like, yes i've done my job and, like, it was so, so fun. >> reporter: okay-go is known for its complex one continuous take videos like the one featuring a ruth goldberg-like contraption big enough to fill an entire warehouse. but that was engineering, this required training. each dog had its own trainer giving it cues. ♪
we were wondering, what had the dogs so focused looking like they were at the u.s. open? the answer? tennis ball with cheese on it. right away the brown dog on your right -- >> that's my dog, bunny. >> reporter: the doggy choreography featured everything from leaps to shelves. ♪ get what you want >> reporter: note the band member feeding riot the dog a treat. a couple of dogs walked the planks. how did tin tin the chihuahua and the rest of the gang react to okay-go's music? >> basically dancing to a click -- >> a metronome with the vocals over it. >> reporter: it took six weeks, over a year, to train the dogs and train the people and get one continuous great take. did we mention ranger the goat? >> you don't potty train a goat. >> no, you don't. >> reporter: the video ends with pyramid the band calls a dogamid. that was the harde