tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 10, 2009 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT
them some money, let them restart their lives. >> we're out of time. by the way, the senator's lawyer says his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts out of concern for a well-being and longtime family friend. we'll get you back to finish this. meanwhile, here's wolf blitzer in "the situation room." rick, thank you. happening now, president obama heads to africa after a summit left him a bit weary and disappointed. this hour, what he gained and lost in italy, and his private talks with the pope. disturbing new evidence of michael jackson's prescription drug use. the confidential document that claims he once took as many as 40 anti-anxiety pills a day. and they risked their lives on the battlefield, but should troops risk their lives by smoking? the pros and cons of a proposed ban on a habit that even the commander in chief hasn't been able to break. i'm wolf blitzer in cnn's command center for breaking news, politics, and extraordinary reports from around the world.
you're in "the situation room." we're standing by for president obama's arrival in africa within the next hour. and we just got a readout of his final stop in italy after the g-8 summit. that would have been a private audience with pope benedict xvi. we're told they exchanged their strong and sharply opposing views about abortion and embryonic stem cell research among other things. stand by for more details. the first lady and the obama daughters, by the way, almost met with the pontiff and the president left something behind. he delivered a letter to the pope from senator ted kennedy. no word on what it said. president obama's calling his precipitation in the g-8 summit highly productive even though he didn't walk away with everything he wanted. our white house correspondent suzanne malveaux is traveling with the president. suzanne? >> reporter: wolf, the president's final stop overseas is ghana. that's where he's going to be
giving a major speech on if importance of democracy. but there was also an important lesson he learned here in europe, and that is how difficult it is to get world leaders to agree. president obama wrapped up the g-8 economic summit a popular figure. but admittedly a bit weary. >> the one thing i will be looking forward to is fewer summit meetings. >> reporter: this would be his third international summit during his first six months in office. meeting leaders of eight of the world's richest nations to more than 40 heads of state, all trying to get a piece of the action. >> what i've noticed is everybody wants the smallest possible group, smallest possible organization, that includes them. so, if they're the 21st largest nation in the world, then they want the g-21. >> reporter: mr. obama suggested it wasn't the most efficient way of getting things done, but it did produce some results -- a
september deadline for iran to show whether it will negotiate giving up its nuclear program. >> the international community has said here's a door you can walk through that allows you to lessen tensions and more fully join the international community. >> reporter: and $20 billion in aid for struggling farmers to feed the poor. the president made the pitch to his counterparts using a story about his own kenyan roots. >> i have family members who lived in villages. they themselves are not going hungry, but live in villages where hunger is real. and so, this is something that i understand in very personal terms. >> reporter: but mr. obama also acknowledged some disappointments. >> we did not reach agreement on every issue, and we still have much work ahead on climate change. >> reporter: the president failed to get developing countries who are also big polluters, like china, india, and brazil, to commit to a specific goal in lowering green
house gas emissions. as for the global economic crisis affecting all of these drins, world leaders were cautious, giving their own economic policies more time to try to turn things around. wolf? >> suzanne malveaux, thanks very much. a me re minder -- stay with cnn. we're going to have live coverage of president obama's arrival in ghana a little bit more than an hour or so from now, that according to the schedule. some people are asking why the president is visiting this african nation and why now. from ghana, more of what's going on. give us some background a little bit. >> reporter: well, wolf, while the rest of the continue nen is asking, why ghana, people here are celebrating the fact that they are the first sub-saharan african country to host the first african-american president. from welcome posters, paintings,
t-shirts, trinkets, clubs, and flags, ghana is spellbound by president barack obama's visit. his pictures are posted almost everywhere you turn in the capital. but while people here celebrate, others on the continent are asking why ghana for mr. obama's first presidential trip to sub-saharan africa? a former president believes it's a sitting privilege. >> he wants to use ghana as a base to address the whole of africa, pointing at good governance, pointing at, i presume, economic development, pointing at absence of conflict. >> reporter: when it comes to africa, mr. obama may have a tough act to follow. his predecessor, george w. bush, who visit ghana in february of last year, poured billions of dollars into the continue nent his aids relief fund has won
praise. and the administration boosted trade with some african countries by choose gag that as the country from which he's expected to outline his africa policy, it's believe tad mr. obama is expected to send a message that investment in aid will be linked to good governance. besides its history of transfers of power, ghana also has strong and violent pilars of democracy, like a free press, and it is the importance of that democratic institution in ensuring accountability on the continent that president obama is looking to highlight during his visit. >> good for tons. >> i think it's a great opportunity for tourism. >> reporter: the debates in ghana at the moment is not about what mr. obama can do for them but how they can use his visit to do for themselves. this man is already cashing in on the euphoria.
well, while some ghanians are hoping that the spot light, the current spotlight on the country is going to increase tourism and investment, we'll have to wait and see, wolf, if that happens. >> we'll see. nkepile mabuse, thanks very much for that report. she's where the president is about to land. don't forget, anderson cooper will be in that crowd with the president. he'll have a special interview with president obama that will air monday night on "anderson cooper 360," 10:00 p.m. eastern. let's go to jack cafferty right now. he's got "the cafferty file." jack? there's an old saying, wolf -- payback's a bitch. supreme court nominee sonia sotomayor ruled against a promotion test for firefighters in new haif. en, connecticut, because not enough minorities scored well enough on the test to qualify for promotion. last week, the supreme court overturned that decision and next week it will be the firefighters' turn. republicans plan to call two of these firefighters who did not
get promoted to washington to testify during sotomayor's confirmation hearings next week. a white firefighter who originally claimed reverse discrimination and the lone puerto rican firefighter who joined the lawsuit later and incidentally did very well on the test. this will make equal opportunity the focus of, at least, part of the confirmation hearings and will no doubt serve as a source of some embarrassment to the nominee. the hope is to establish that appellate judges may be influenced by personal and political views such as a belief in racial preferences for minorities. the gop also has 12 other witnesses on their list. it ought to be standing room only, ought to. democrats plan to call 15 witnesses, many of them republicans, in hopes of defending critics and convincing the 19-member judiciary committee that sotomayor is a mainstream judge worthy of becoming the first hispanic and third woman to be seated on the high court. so, here's the question -- can
firefighters from new haven, connecticut, derail sonia sotomayor's nomination to be justice of the united states supreme court? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. post a comment on my blog. >> those historic hearings begin 10:00 a.m. monday morning. we'll have wall-to-wall coverage here on cnn. thanks very much for that, jack. shocking new allegations about the extent of michael jackson's prescription drug use. cnn has obtained a confidential memo that contends jackson once popped dozens of anti-anxiety pills a night. also ahead, we're following up on allegations that african-american children were turned away from a private swim club. now the director of the pool is speaking out. and in our "strategy session," they fought hard to get and keep this controversial senate seat. why democratic senator roland burris won't try to get re-elected to the job. >> serving in public life is not
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>> ifr here a confidential police document from 2004 from the santa barbara county sheriff's department, and i can tell you that we are not naming the people involved in this document, but these interviews were done with two of michael jackson's former security guards, a confidential document so we're not going to name those guards. but according to the document, one of them told investigators that michael jackson was taking, quote, ten-plus xanax pills a night, and he said that when he expressed concerns to another of jackson's employees, he was told, quote, jackson was doing better because he was down from 30 to 40 xanax pills a night. 30 to 40 xanax pills a night. now, one of the security guards did tell investigators that he would get xanax prescriptions at pharmacies for michael jackson under, quote, fictitious names, actually, including even the security guard's own name. he also named three other employees who he said were doing the very same thing. now, the other security guard questioned in the document that
we have also backs that up. according to him, he said that he had also picked up prescriptions for michael jackson in someone else's name. now, we're not going to name the doctors who are mentioned in this, but i can tell you that one of the security guards interviewed by investigators named five doctors that he said were writing prescriptions for michael jackson. again, not all of those prescriptions in michael jackson's name. the security guard said in several states across the country, including new york, california, florida, he personally drove jackson to different doctors' offices to get prescriptions. that paints a picture of doctor shopping. that is also in line with what our source is telling us that investigators want to interview every doctor who michael jackson ever really came into contact with. also, i want to mention that one of the security guards described jackson as sharp and, quote, in tune before he went into the doctor's office for those visits, then afterward the
security guard said he would come out and hef, quote, out of it and sedated. that is all from this confidential document from the sheriff's department where two of michael jackson's former security guards were interviewed. that is the very latest on the michael jackson investigation. >> randi kaye, thank you. let's get some analysis of what's going on with our cnn contributor brian monroe. he was the last journalist to interview michael jackson. were there indications that you knew about that you had heard about of this amazing use of xanax? ten pills a night or either 30 or 40 pills a night? way, way beyond any normal use. >> well, wolf, when i interviewed him back in 2007, september of 2007, over the course of three days, i didn't see any evidence of drug use, that he was out of it. in fact, what i saw was the opposite. he was sharp.
randi's report about the security guard eluding to him being on top of it, when i talked with him, he talked for a good hour and a half easily on a range of topics and there was no slurring of words, he was very much on top of it. but, you know, i talked to people who have been working with him, and, in fact, one of his health advisers during the trial just before that and said that there were times, particularly towards the end of the trial, when he would really be wiped out. that trial took a lot out of him. and we know that before, by his own words, he admitted that he had been addicted to prescription drugs back during just after the fire incident where his hair caught on fire after filming a pepsi commercial and that start of started the process. but the trial was really, really a difficult thing, and in fact i was told at the end of the trial he was so wiped out he placed a call to his adviser who came and saw him and, in fact, at 5:00, they were going to escape from
the big media board and go -- he, his driver, and michael were going to go and drive up to san francisco to check into a hospital because he was so wiped out. they got about 20 minutes outside of santa barbara and turned around and ended up at a small cottage hospital in santa barbara and just walked in by themselves, no entourage, checked in him at 5:00, laying on a gurnee in the emergency room. they hooked him up to i.v. fluids and for the next 12 hours from 5:00 p.m. to 5:15 a.m., when we checked on him again, he was still taking i.v. fluids. he was that dehydrated. and, in fact, the doctor at the time was said to have told this adviser that he had he not been brought in he may have been dead. >> amazing, really, dehydrated. listen to joe jackson, michael jackson's father. he gave an interview to abc news, and he had this exchange. listen to this. >> who do you think should raise these children now that michael is gone? >> their grandmother, katherine,
and i. yes. there's no one else. >> now, obviously, katherine, the grandmother, has custody, but there's been some concern about joe jackson given the charges that his own son michael made that he was abusive to him as a little boy. >> well, you know, joseph has played a strong role in michael's upbringing. in fact, i asked michael about joseph and he won't from praising joseph -- joseph had his own beginning as a steelworker and a little music group on the side called the falcons -- and joseph taught michael and the brothers about stagemanship. in fact, he remembers joseph telling michael, you know, never let them see you cry on stage. in the same breath, he would also talk about how joseph would have a belt in his hand while they were practicing. michael said, in fact, he didn't get beat during practice. it would have been after the rehearsals when he would get his whoopings. it was a very complex, tense relationship there. but joseph and katherine have been living in separate homes. joseph lives in las vegas,
katherine and her family in encino. and i think ultimately it's going to come down to what the judge thinks is in the best interest of those children. and i think it's with katherine, with those nine brothers and sisters and their extended family, all those cousins and grace, the nanny, hopefully playing a role in that structure because that's where they belong. >> monday there is a custody hearing in california. debbie rowe, the biological mother of the two older kids, we don't know is if she'll seek some sort of custodial rights. >> we don't. she initially, right in the middle of when the story is breaking, initially said she wanted to be back in their lives. then her lawyer said hold on, we're still working that out. we don't know exactly what she'll be saying, but, again, she really hasn't played much of a role in the lives of those kids, particularly over the last few years, i'm told. and i think ultimately those kids should be with the jackson family. you know, debbie wants to have visitation or see them, you know, at the end of the day,
three little kids, you can never, ever have too much flov their lives. >> absolutely. all right, brian. thanks very much. our cnn contributor. hints about why sarah palin is stepping down as governor sz the father of her grandchild is speaking out. and there are bright red flames and clouds of white smoke over the skyline. the latest on the massive building fire in the heart of london. ( tires squealing ) the first-ever is convertible from lexus. live a little-- a lot.
mary snow is monitoring other important stories. what's going on? a new chapter for general motors. gm has been reborn after 40 days in bankruptcy protection. the new gm is majority owned by the u.s. government and free of billions of dollars in debt. chief executive fritz henderson says he hopes the company will repay the billions it borrowed from the government ahead of schedule. and concerned families have been flocking to an historic cemetery in chicago to check on their loved ones' graves. thousands showed up at burr oaks cemetery. three grave diggers and a cemetery worker have been accused of digging up hundreds of bodies and reselling the plots. authorities say the four made about $300,000 in the scheme. wolf? >> thanks very much, mary. stand by. we'll get back to you.
the illinois funeral deck or thes' association, by the way, says there is not a shortage of space to bury the dead. according to the group, there's enough cemetery space in the state to last another 100 years. and nationally, the rate of burials is actually decreasing. the national cremation association says almost 35% of the deceased were cremated in 2007 compared to less than 25% a decade earlier. by 2025, the rate is expected to be almost 60%. to london this afternoon. 100 firefighters have been battling a massive building fire. let's bring in our internet reporter abbi tatton for more on this. abbi, how big of a flame was this? >> reporter: wolf, you can see from cell phone pictures uploaded to twitter for this fire in sojo, central london earlier this afternoon, all uploaded onto twitter, shown here on the website. we're in sojo. if you know london, this is a
maze of streets between oxford street and leicester square. you can see how many people evacuated, pushed back by the firefighters who were fighting this blaze right here. all of these pictures here show you just how much of this fire was, the smoke billowing across central london. amazingly, the injuries were restricted to two firefighters who were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. many of the streets around there cordoned off. and a lot of people talking about this in central london, just how much chaos this caused in the west end this afternoon. wolf? >> abbi, thank you. the leader of the free world and the leader of the catholic church. president and mrs. obama pay a visit to the pope. and these images of the first family with the pontiff are sure to make history. and the naacp says it's just like shameful scenes from the jim crow segregation era after some african-american kids were turned away from a swim pool. the club's president is giving his version of what happened.
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you're in "the situation room." happening now -- iran takes an american into custody. meanwhile, wait until you see the disturbing new video of those disturbing new tactics by the pro-government militia. they're dispersing protesters with a new form of a surprise ambush. could the slogan become uncle sam wants you stop smoking? the u.s. military is considering banning tobacco in the united states military. and one government official simply warns, and let me quote, there's going to be trouble over this. aig, the bailed-out insurance company that ignited a firestorm when it paid employee bonuses, now set to hand out more bonuses. i'm wolf blitzer. you here in "the situation room." a new warning this week that homemade explosive devices are the number-one threat to u.s. troops in afghanistan.
according to pentagon figures, those attacks have increased by more than 1,000% since june of 2005. the danger clearly on the rise as the united states increases its military strength in afghanistan. joining us now, special u.s. representative for afghanistan and pakistan, the former united states ambassador to the united nations, richard holbrooke. mr. ambassador, welcome back. >> nice to be here, wolf. >> it looks like the situation in afghanistan is going from bad to worse. is it? >> well, the situation in afghanistan deteriorated dramatically in the last four or five years. president obama came to office pledging to reverse that because our national security interests are directly at stake. this isn't some remote place. this is the area from which the men of 9/11 planned to attack the u.s. and they say they're going to do it again. >> but it seems to be deteriorating almost on a weekly or monthly basis. >> well, i think what is true is that it deteriorated steadily and that the enemy increased its
forces. this is why president obama made what he himself has called in his recent interview with "newsweek" the most difficult decision in his presidency, to send a 17,000 troops and 4,000 military trainers there to reverse the trend. >> another 21,000 on top of the many thousands who are already there. >> total of 68,000 americans -- >> 68,000 u.s. troops. >> plus a lot of nato allies, over 100,000 troops. the taliban are getting supported by al qaeda. they pose a direct threat to the united states. we here in the middle of an afghan election campaign. it's a very difficult situation, but it is one in which the american and international resources are increasingly -- >> it seems to be coming increasingly dangerous for u.s. troops in afghanistan with these ied attacks increasing so dramatically. >> it is dangerous. there is concern, though, that the afghan army itself is not stepping up to the plate. >> well, the afghan army has not been a sufficient part of the current offensive as general mccrystal has said.
>> the most at stake are the afghan people right now. why are they m.i.a.? >> they're not m.i.a. it's just that they weren't fully integrated of the military plans of the current offensive. they will be. and i think these issues about the afghan army are related to a much deeper point, which is we need to strengthen the afghan governmental capacity militarily and economically. so, what we're doing, we're dramatically increasing agricultural efforts because we have to take the young youths away from the taliban by getting jobs. this is an agricultural country. >> do you have confidence in hamid karzai, the president of afghanistan? >> he's the president of the country. we're working with him cloelsly. in a month and ten days there's going to be a hugely important election in afghanistan. there are other candidates in the race. we don't have a candidate. we don't support, we don't oppose anyone. ambassador karl eikenberry, a former nato commander, our brilliant new ambassador there, has been meeting with all the candidates.
>> there have been some excellent reporting by our michael ware in neighboring pakistan. and he sat down with representatives of the pakistan military, the pakistan intelligence. they seem to be making deals right now with the taliban, and they want the united states to get involved in this. i want you to listen to this clip. this is the pakistani military spokesman asar abbas. >> and that's where pakistan can perhaps sur pro-vid valuable assistance to the american mission. >> i think yes, that can be helped out. that's possible. >> he's saying on the record he wants to work out some relationship, if you will, between the u.s. and the taliban. >> no, i don't know what he's talking about. the taliban and al qaeda are linked like this. and unless the taliban repudiates al qaeda publicly, this is a nonstarter. >> he's also confirming on the record that there's a relationship that continued between the pakistani government
and the taliban. let's listen to this. listen. >> intelligence organization and the world shuts its last door on any other organization. >> a long history of the pakistan intelligence service working with the taliban. and he said they're not shutting the door. >> i don't know what he's specifically referring to. shot shutting the door. the united states and president karzai have long said that taliban reconciliation is part of our program. people who work with the taliban, who support them, who want to lay down their arms and participate, the door is always open. it's not going -- this war is not going to end on the decks of the "uss missouri" like world war ii did. this war is going to end when the taliban lay down their arms and reintegreat into society. and that's always been an option, and president karzai has spoken publicly in interviews with you, i believe, on that same subject. let me be clear on this.
we are not in favor of bringing people into the government who advocate the denial of rights to the women, who are murderous and who are closely allied with al al qaeda. but people fighting with the taliban include vast numbers of people, probably three-quarters, who just pick up a gun, get paid, and go off and do these things. and there's always room for them to be reintegrated. many of them come back. that program kind of fell apart. we're going to revitalize. after the elections, you're going to see a very dramatic increase in our policies across the board and this will be one of them. >> after the afghan election. >> sure. august 20th. >> good luck. >> i should say one more thing. it's a runoff situation so, if nobody gets 50% on august 20th, then there will be a second round in about a month. >> we'll be covering it. off tough mission. we wish you success. >> thanks, wolf. >> we're going to have much more from our interview with ambassador holbrooke in our weekend edition of "the
situation room." that airs tomorrow, 6:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. allegations of racism at a swimming pool. is an apology enough to wash the hurt away? just ahead, the swim club president trying to explain what happened. also ahead, he's the phoenix rising again. in california politics. but once upon a time, he was known as governor moonbeam. jerry brown's latest comeback. and do americans care if their president occasionally goes out for a smoke? see how your views square with your brand-new poll. you really need it these days. how come? well if you're hurt and can't work it pays you cash... yeah to help with everyday bills like gas, the mortgage... ...and groceries. it's like insurance for daily living. so...what's it called? uhhhhh aflaaac!!!! oh yeah! that's it! aflac. we've got you under our wing. a-a-a-aflaaac!
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pennsylvania officials will investigate claims of racial discrimination. now the president of the valley club is explaining his version of the events. our national correspondent susan candiotti has been following the story. >> reporter: kids whose parents belong to valley club were back in the water and having summer fun one day after controversy kept them away. and youngsters who got to use that same pool for only a day got an apology from the swim club but no invitation to return. >> really unfortunate, and we apologize deeply. we regret deeply that this had to happen. >> reporter: here's what happened. a daycare center catering to mainly minority black and hispanic kids paid $1,950 for the kids to use the pool once a week for an hour and a half. but after one visit, their check was returned and summer swim trips canceled. >> we severely underestimated the number of children and our capacity to handle these groups. we were not prepared for it, and
that's the only reason. it was a safety issue, and that's the only reason that the children -- we felt it was not safe for them to be here. >> the daycare center calls that a lie. it claims the club pulled the club because of racist complaint from some white members. >> the children came running down the hill saying miss wright, miss wright, those people are saying what are those black kids doing in the pool? >> it was kind of sad that people are still thinking like this when i felt like these days are over. >> if someone said that, i don't know. i didn't hear it. people are going to say things but it's not our -- one person saying it is not the position of the club or the board. certainly not how we raise our children. >> reporter: the club flatly denies it discriminates and says two other daycare centers were also canceled after one visit. >> it's just unfortunate that this had to turn into such a firestorm because this has been totally misrepresented in terms of our club and how welcoming we
are. >> he doesn't deserve this. he is a kind, tolerant person that would do anything for anyone and teaches our children, teaches me, you know, that everything can be resolved with conversation. >> reporter: considering the gap between both sides, conversation alone may not resolve this controversy. wolf, back to you. >> susan candiotti on top of the story, thank you. meanwhile, crunch time out in sacramento. banks like wells fargo and jpmorgan chase are refusing to take any more of california's ious. the state has a $26.3 billion budget deficit and also has a governor's race next year. our national political correspondent jessica yellin has been looking at one of the reasons that race is heating up right now. jessica? >> reporter: wolf, they say there are no second acts in politics, but jerry brown could be the exception. he's already been governor of california twice, run for president three times, for u.s.
senate once, and been mayor of oakland. and now it seems californians could send him back to the governor's mansion. governor moonbeam is back. will he get a chance to put his once radical ideas into action again? >> i can contribute in a very positive way of getting to this more enlightened state, this more accommodating, collaborative state of representation. >> reporter: now the state's attorney general, brown hasn't even announced if he'll run for governor, but he's already pulling well ahead of the democratic field. and it's an open secret he wants the job. >> i like the combat. i like the -- i like the conflict and the exploration of trying to deal with these continue conundrums. >> reporter: it would be an astonishing comeback. as a two-term governor in the '70s, he was rocked for dating
linda ronstadt and sleeping in his car. he earned the nickname moonbeam for his ideas like the push for alternative energy. >> about a year ago when we talked about using wood chips for energy, people laughed. >> reporter: and proposing putting a weather satellite in space, now a common practice. >> the policies that we started, i mean, i started in a very dramatic and forceful way that set the pace for the whole country. >> reporter: all but laughed out of office, brown licked his wounds, studying buddhism in japan and visiting india. >> i'm very drawn to anything that will get at the deeper aspects of life. >> reporter: brown believes that what california and its political crises need is a touch of his zen philosophy. >> it's a place you join together, what i would call the highest path that we can follow. >> reporter: politics is full of ironies, and here's one. san francisco mayor gavin new m newsom, who's already in the race for governor, is poised to
keep jerry brown, the onetime renegade, as a retread. after all, brown is now 72, married and adept at the game of politics. this will be a race to watch. wolf? >> we will watch it, indeed, jessica. thank you. world leaders or u.s. leaders in terms of working with them, president obama's asked to compare the two. >> find it more complicated or less complicated to deal with that than the american congress? >> well, the -- on the second question it's not even close. >> so, how will members of congress react to that upon the president's return to the united states? and some of you are wondering why sarah palin is resigning as governor of alaska. wait till you hear what the father of her grandchild is now saying.
i'll play a clip. >> today i return to the place where my political journey began back in 1978, back to the south side of chicago, back to my community and my constituency. announce, my friends, that i will not be a candidate in the 2010 election. >> how surprising is it, do you think, hilary? >> well, not surprising. this seat for him was doomed from the start. >> he was adamant a few weeks ago, you know, before a lot of this erupted that, you know, he was in this to win it. >> it's a sad cap to a nice career that he had as a public servant before, but he should never have accepted this seat and he never would have had a chance to win re-election. the best part for me, though, about the illinois senate is that the republicans consistently shoot themselves in the foot. what's more interesting on the republican side yesterday, the moderate republican, mark kirk, just decided that he wasn't going to run because the
republican party has decided that they wouldn't support him because he voted for president obama's energy bill. so, that he was looking for solutions for this country for energy, you know, negates him as a candidate for the republican party. they're going to go now with a conservative choice and, you know, automatically lose this election. >> you worked for a republican congressman. what do you think? >> i hadn't heard about matt kirk. >> dropped out. >> he would definitely be the best candidate to run. he took a vote on cap and trade that hurt him, but he's the best candidate. lisa madigan not running for senate. >> the attorney general. >> the attorney general. that's very good for republicans because the lead candidate has some real ethical problems tied up with tony rezko. another thing that will make the field better for republicans. i think we still have a real good shot. >> i think it's fair to say there will be an intense democratic primary and probably republican primary, as well, in the state of illinois.
what do you think? >> there will be an intense democratic primary, but the democratic registration in illinois now favors the democrats so they can almost afford to have a primary because they need, you know, to have a lot of support behind the their candidate. there are a couple good candidates. chris kennedy -- >> barbara kennedy jr.'s son. >> right. will be a strong candidate, too. so, you know, the crazy thing is the republicans have just blown their best chance. i'm looking forward to another democrat coming back from illinois. >> there must be another moderate republican out there in a sort of liberal state like illinois that could do well. >> well, there are. there's several members of the house that i really like, peter roskin, judy biggert, all could win state wide. the question is who will jump in and run it because this is a great opportunity for republicans if madigan steps aside. we shouldn't blow it. >> the president was asked this question and had a quick response at his news conference in italy earlier today. >> after the six months wheeling and dealing with these
international forums, g-20, nato, and g-8, do you find it more complicated or less complicated to deal with that then with the american congress? >> oh, well, the -- on the second question, it's not even close. i mean, congress is always tougher. >> always tougher than g-8, nato, all these forums, the g-20, the g-8 plus five, plus one. what do you think? >> well, the president's kind of expressing frustration at all these g-8 and g-20 things he's got to go to, although looking at the pictures, he seems to be having a good time. there's a lot of hard work in congress, energy legislation, health care, a big bugaboo for the democrats right now, and they were actually -- probably need him back in the country to get this done. >> he could have followed up and refined the question and said is it more difficult to deal with the g-8 or with democrats in the house of representatives and the senate? because he's got problems with liberal democrats who want either a single payer or a major government-sponsored health insurance plan, and he's got
moderate democrats who are closer to the republicans on a lot of this. >> congress is its own branch of government. and these guys get elected on their own. you know, i think the good news is that in the end the president will get particularly the democratic leadership together in congress and i think we will see a health reform bill and we will see an energy bill, but in the meantime, you have a lot of independent chairmen there who don't think they've been elected just to ratify, you know, what gets handed to them. and the white house is smart about this. they're letting congress write bills and then they're going to go in and help shape them. >> and some frustrations with guys like charlie rangel who say the white house is cutting deals with the senate and they don't like it and saying they're going to walk away. you have blue dogs, moderate democrats, conservative democrats saying we don't like this package. it will be tough for this president to get it done and he needs to be back in the country to do it. >> back in the country, in the united states saturday night. lot of work to do. >> i don't think it's going to
happen. >> do you? >> no, not by the end of august. >> all right, guys. thank you. so, what killed the king of pop? police say murder has not been ruled out. we're going to bring you the latest developments in the investigation. iran cracks down even harder on dissent and now there's word that an iranian-american scholar, a dual u.s./iranian citizen, has been detained. and don't smoke 'em if you've got them. will the pentagon tell u.s. military forces they can't light up? i think i'll go with the preferred package. good choice. only meineke lets you choose the brake service that's right for you. and save 50% on pads and shoes. meineke.
on our political ticker, bob dole has undergone surgery to treat a serious leg infection. the 85-year-old republican now is recovering over at the walter reed army national center here in washington. dole's office says that doctors found open sores on both of dole's legs, performed several procedures on the left one. in a statement, the 1996 republican presidential nominee said he's recovering nicely and hopes to be out of the hospital by his 86th birthday on july 22nd. we wish him, of course, a speedy, speedy recovery. new friction between the alaska governor, sarah palin, and her teenage daughter's former fiance. levi johnston says palin is quitting her job this month, he says, to cash in on her fame. johnston says he heard the governor several times earlier this year say how nice it would be to take advantage of lucrative offers including a book deal and a reality show.
palin's spokeswoman says johnston is working on a piece of fiction while honing his acting skills. remember, for the latest political news anytime, you can always check out cnnpolitics.com. the stimulus package money is being spent in states across the country including in ohio. we asked cnn's jim acosta to go there to find out how the money is being spent. >> reporter: vice president joe biden came to cincinnati to defend the stimulus right outside the home turf of one of the program's biggest critics. just up the road from cincinnati is the district of house minority leader john boehner, and as we found out, some stimulus dollars are starting to arrive in his district. vice president joe biden jumped back in the campaign mode, setting his sights on republican critics of the stimulus. >> all the talk about how we're going to waste all this money, that's a dog that ain't barked yet. >> reporter: it appeared to be a direct shot at house minority
leader john boehner who posted this web video featuring a bloodhound on the hunt for stimulus jobs. some stimulus money has already found its way to boehner's own district. >> the stimulus is working for me here in the county because i'm keeping my deputies and i'm not having to lay them off. >> butler county sheriff richard jones, a republican who recently considered a primary challenge for boehner's seat, got nearly a million dollars in stimulus funds two months ago. he's using the money to hold onto correctional officers he was on the verge of letting go. >> if it wasn't for this stimulus money that's coming down right now, we may not be able to have these pods manned or womaned. you know, you've got to have people to watch people that are in jail. >> reporter: that means you wouldn't be able to hold as many people here? >> without people, i would not be able to hold as many people in our jail. they would be out on the streets. >> reporter: causing trouble? >> hey. it's just dangerous. >> reporter: just up the road from the sheriff, the ohio department of transportation is days away from starting repaving work on this portion of interstate 75.
also in boehner's district. the sign of the work site shows it, too, is a stimulus project. still, boehner's office argues the stimulus is taking too long to make a difference, saying in a statement to cnn -- >> what would they do? what would they do? >> reporter: mr. biden taunted his republican critics in front of an abandoned warehouse slated to get $1.6 million in stimulus money for a project that would turn the building into apartments. while the vice president said the project will create jobs, the developer told us he'll's still waiting for millions in financing from the bank. no financing, he acknowledged, no project. you haven't quite gotten all of the financing for p project. is that correct or how is that going? >> we're very close to working things out with a local lender, and they've also been working very hard to make this happen. >> reporter: with polls showing
voters in ohio losing patience with the president ee's economi plan, vice president biden called for patience. case in point, the cincinnati river front slated to receive $22 million in stimulus funds for revitalization, but local officials say the project is just getting under way. jim acosta, cnn, cincinnati. you're in "the situation room." happening now -- the president and the pope meeting for the first time in public. all smiles for the camera. what happened behind closed doors as two men with vastly different world views hit on sensitive subjects? ominous developments in iran right now. dramatic new images of the unrest are surfacing as an american/iranian academic is arrested in tehran, his whereabouts now unknown. and the l.a. police chief now says he can't rule out murder, murder in the death of michael jackson while the singer's father says he suspects foul play. are we on the verge of a jackson bombshell?
i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." jo all pleasantries and small talk as president obama and the first lady met pope benedict xvi over at the vatican today before leaving for africa. but behind the scenes, frank talk on subjects where the two leaders have little common ground, including abortion and embryonic stem cell research. our senior white house correspondent ed henry is traveling with the president. he has new details of his meeting with the pontiff and more. ed? >> reporter: wolf, the president came to the vatican behind me for his first meeting with pope benedict, a meeting full of symbolism but also substance. topics on the agenda included areas of agreement such as the hope they both share that israeli/palestinian peace could be achieved in the near future. also the efforts at the g-8 summit to fight global poverty and hunger. disagreements, as well, like abortion. white house aides saying that
the president wanted to stress to the pope, as he did recently at that commencement address at the university of notre dame, that he's trying to bring people together on this very delicate, sensitive issue. ambassador interesting, the pope wanted to discuss another issue you wouldn't expect at a meeting like this, perhaps. in a rare move, he wanted to discuss the financial crisis, the pope believing that powers like the u.s. need to put some more authority out there, more regulation of the financial markets, believing that the financial crisis has unfairly affected the poor all around the world. the two men also exchanged gifts, the president giving the pope a stole, essentially a vestment that had been placed on the remains of st. john newman, the first u.s. -- naturalized u.s. citizen to become a saint. the pope giving mr. obama a medal as well as a mosaic representing st. peter's square. now, after their one-on-one, the pope and the president were joined by first lady michelle obama as well as the first daughters, sasha and malia. the first lady dressed all in
black as is the tradition. now, after receiving one of the gifts from the pope, the president was heard saying we'll find a place of honor for that. the president also noting when he received the encyclical from the pope, essentially the pontiff's views on various important issues, that he thinks it will be great reading material for the flight to ghana. the president's next stop, the first time an african-american president will be going to a majority black country in africa. obviously, the world will be watching. wolf? >> ed henry reporting for us from the vatican. president obama and the first lady, michelle obama, are due to alive in ghana within this hour. we're going to have live coverage for you of this historic trip significant. it's the first time an african-american president of the united states, the only african-american president we've ever had, is visiting a sub-saharan african country. he visited egypt and north africa earlier in the year. we're following this trip to
ghana. we're going to bring you the arrival live. that's coming up. stay tuned for that. you'll see history unfold. meanwhile, there are new signs unfolding right now that iran is coming down very hard on those protesting the government and there is word of the arrest of the first iranian/american journalist whose demonstrations began after those disputed elections. cnn's reza sayah is following this from the cnn iran desk. an american citizen has now been picked up. is that right, reza? >> reporter: yeah, wolf. this is significant because this is the first u.s. citizen to be detained by iranian authorities during the post election turmoil. his name is dr. keyan, and according to sources close to his family, he was picked up by members of iran's revolutionary guard, dragged out of his home on thursday in front of his wife and a small child. it's not clear why he was detained but we can tell you dr.
tajbakhsh was picked up before in 2007, spent about four months in a notorious prison and released. we spoke with one observer today, and he tells cnn this could be, we emphasize, this could be an attempt by the iranian government to drag washington into the post-election fray. wolf? >> let's hope he's out of there and out of there soon. we're also getting more compelling images coming in to the iran desk where you are right now. what are we seeing? >> reporter: video coming into the iran desk all day. we've picked out the best for you. this first one we're going to show you gives you a glimpse of what appears to be a change in strategy on the part of the basij, the basij, of course, the volunteer militia who usually wear street clothes. they come under criticism for wearing street clothes. so, what eyewitnesses told us is now they're wearing brand-new uniforms. and you can see these security forces with street clothes on top. they're wearing camouflage vests. and what you're going to see is
these surprise attacks. all of a sudden you see a basij member rush to someone with a camera. the next thing you know you see a black frame. and the picture taking is over. now, what happens when a member of these security forces catches up with you, we have what could be some disturbing video to some, so we forewarn you, what you're about to see is graphic. now, this is a young man that we spoke to today, and he tells cnn that he went to the rescue of a number of women who were being beaten up by security forces and this was the aftermath. he says about six people ganged up on him with batons. you see the pelt wealths in his back and on his head. not the numbers that we've seen in previous weeks. about 3,000 people came to the streets in downtown tehran yesterday. there was an aggressive crackdown. eyewitnesses say the next time there could be a protest when president ahmadinejad is sworn in, possibly late thermo, maybe in august. wolf? >> rez is a, we're going to stay on top of this story with your
help. thank you. fresh outrage, meanwhile, over a new round of bonuses at the company that took billions of u.s. government bailout dollars. that would be aig. we asked brian todd to take a closer look. brian, what's going on? >> well, wolf, this scheduled bonus payment next week could get this issue boiling all over again as if aig needed it, but this time the company is trying to preempt the political fallout. more bonus payments to top aig executives are due on wednesday. $2.4 million for 43 employees. but congress' bailout watchdog had this warning. >> look at unemployment. look what's happening to everyone's 401(k). look how many people are losing their homes and there are people who think they can still take taxpayer money and pay fabulous bonuses. it's two-universe problem here. there's going to be trouble after this. >> reporter: but an attorney who represents some of aig's executives says denying them bonuses would break the law. >> if these folks had contracts, that's the prevailing law of the
land. they're legally entitled to get the bonuses and it really doesn't matter what she or people think. >> reporter: taxpayers have already made available to aig a $180 billion bailout. there was an outcry earlier this year when the company said it had to pay out $165 million in bonuses eve on the executives of the disastrous aig unit that caused the company's near collapse. and over $200 million in bonuses aig says were agreed to before the bailout are still supposed to be paid out next year. a source close to the matter tells cnn aig is asking kenneth feinberg for guidance on that set of bonuses. he is the obama administration's pay czar. aig declined to comment. but published reports stay company has also asked feinberg to weigh in on next week's $2 million payment, as well. will there be a renewed outcry? >> i think it's smart of aig to ask the administration for approval because it does provide
them political recover if the administration blesses the bonuses. i think it's tricky for the administration to get -- to put some skin in this game. >> the treasury department is not commenting but did say overall when kenneth feinberg reviews bonus proposals, bailout companies will need to convince him they have struck the right balance to discourage excessive risk taking and reward performance for their top executives, wolf. >> technically, mr. feinberg is only reviewing future bonuses. there's some question whether these were from previous contracts. >> much of these were from previous contracts and mr. feinberg does not necessarily have to trul rule o them, and if he doesn't, aig has to take the heat pretty much on their own. but keep in mind the scale of these bonuses. next week is $2.5 million and next year is a scheduled payout of more than $200 million from a previous contract. when that comes to bear, a lot more outrage will come out. >> public relations nightmare for aig, no doubt about that. >> it is.
>> brian, thanks very much. we're standing by the president of the united states and the first lady are about to land in accra, ghana. we'll go there live. you'll see air force one touch down. right here in "the situation room." stand by for that. michael jackson'ser now says he suspects foul play in his son's sudden death and police say they can't rule out murder. the latest on the investigation from ""inside edition"" chief correspondent jim more. and one-third of american servicemen and women smoke. now the u.s. military is being urged to ban smoking all together. and dramatic video raising serious concerns about the way some school children are being treated in school. or just one brita filter. ( drop plinks ) brita-- better for the environment and your wallet.
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air force one now on the ground at accra, ghana. the president of the united states and the first lady will be walking down those stairs soon. this is an historic visit. the first african-american president of the united states visiting sub-saharan africa now. we'll have extensive coverage. stand by. meanwhile, investigators looking into maybe who killed michael jackson say they're not ruling anything out.
the los angeles chief of police said this to cnn's ted rowlands. >> well, the inquiry into the death of mr. jackson is continuing. we will still await corroboration from the coroner's office as to the cause of death. that is going to be very dependent on the toxicology reports that are due to come back. and based on those, we'll have an idea of what it is that we're dealing with. are we dealing with homicide, are we dealing with an accidental overdose, what are we dealing with. so, as we're standing here speaking, i can't tell you because i don't have that information. >> wait till the coroner is finished or -- you don't need to wait till their report's out to change the classification of the investigation? >> we have a very comprehensive and far-reaching investigation which has been pretty widely reported in the media that we're looking at his prescription drug history, the doctors that he's dealt with over the years.
we have the cooperation of the dea and the state attorney general's office who keep those records, so those are being looked at by our personnel. we have the time of the death, search warrants. we're going to seize a number of items from the residence in which the death occurred, and those will assist in the investigation as it moves forward. >> the classification of a death investigation to a homicide, what needs to take place? >> that would actually be the coroner's determination. he makes the determination as to the nature of the death. >> definitive cause of death to change the investigation. >> in terms of -- we move forward in a variety of ways with our investigation which is maybe a comprehensive set of inquiries so that no matter which way the coroner's finding would go, the multiple findings
he may make, we'd be in a position to not have lost time, if you will, waiting for that report. so, we're not marking time waiting for his report. we're gathering, based on our experience in these matter, and unfortunately in los angeles, we have a lot of experience with death investigations and we've got very good investigators. so, they'll be prepared to deal with whatever the coroner's findings may be. >> are you getting cooperation from all the doctors? >> i won't speak to the intimacies of the investigation. that's not our policy. but as has been reported in the media, speaking to and will be speebing to a number of physicians that attended mr. jackson over the years that he was being treated. >> finally, because people think homicide investigation or doctors, there's a clear difference, is there not, possibly, in possible charges, because just because the investigation is going one way doesn't mean some physician to going to be thrown in jail. >> i won't speak to that.
i'll wait to see what the coroner comes back with, and once he comes back with his determination, we'll be able to speak to a much clearer and very open way what our course of action will be. but not going to speculate at this time. we'll wait till he gets back with his findings. he has his role and responsibility. we have our role and responsibility. but the next move really is his. >> all right. the los angeles police chief. i want to discuss what we just heard and more with jim more, the "inside edition" former chief cnn anchor. i want to point out that the president of the united states and the first lady have now landed in accra, ghana. we have these live pictures coming in. they're going to be going down the stairs and to that red carpet fairly soon. the president of ghana, among others, they're waiting to receive the president of the united states. our correspondent nkepile mabuse is there. we'll go to her. we'll talk about what's going
on. but let's just discuss what we just heard from bill bratton, the l.a. police chief. pretty startling stuff when he says he can't rule out homicide. >> that's right. if you listen to the chief's words, he said a corroboration as to the cause of death. that's what they're waiting for from the coroner, corroboration. that implies that the lapd has a strong suspicion as to the cause of death. so, wolf, i think that's very telling, that choice of words. and when you talk about potential charges, you could have negligence, homicide, you could have manslaughter charges. i don't think they're specifically talking murder charges, but they do want to look into see whether this is an accidental overdose or if a doctor was there at the time, overprescribing and knowing or should have known that this could lead to death. >> and it's fair to say, and you know the law out in california, that they're not going to make any decision until the autopsy by the coroner's saufs complete and that's going to take, what, another two or three or four weeks? >> right. they have actually brain or brain tissue that they still have to examine.
that will give them additional information. and don't forget, wolf, there's no real rush to file charges. if you look at the anna nicole smith case, charges did not follow in that case for over a year after her death. so there's no need to really rush into filing charges. but there's simply the possibility that charges could eventually be filed. >> that clearly would be explosive if, in fact, that happens. and we saw the police chief, bill bratton, carefully, carefully weigh every one of his words, knowing how explosive this situation is. michael jackson's father, joe jackson, gave an interview to abc news, and among other things he said this. listen. >> i just couldn't believe what was happening to michael because i just couldn't believe it, you know. and i do believe there was foul play. i do believe that, yes. >> he says foul play. those are serious words. >> they are. and if you look into potential
overprescribing, changing name, aliases, doctor shopping, enabler, all of that could come under the umbrella of foul play. remember that -- >> hold on one second, jim, because i want to show our viewers history unfolding right now. there is the president and the first lady and sasha and malia. they're walki ining down the st in accra, ghana, this is the first time as president of the united states e he's been to sub-saharan africa. this is an historic moment, as i say, and leaders of ghana, a country that is moving towards democracy, has had some successful elections in recent years, is doing well. the president is now there. this is obviously a very, very important moment in u.s./african relations. our correspondent nkepile mabuse is on the ground for us in accra. set the scene a little bit. tell us how important this is for africa. >> reporter: it truly is, wolf, a momentous occasion, of course for ghana, because this is the
first country that president obama has chosen to visit in sub-saharan africa as the president of the united states. but of course for africa as a whole because we do expect president obama to touch on his africa policy when he addresses parliament tomorrow. so, this is a huge occasion for africa and, of course, mr. obama is getting a truly african welcome with drummers and dancers welcoming him there at the airport as he arrives and he touches down. some have called it a homecoming of course because of president obama's roots in kenya. >> as you say, those roots are in kenya, not in ghana. his father was from kenya. why ghana and not kenya? >> reporter: well, you know, many kenyans are feeling rather snubbed by president obama because they expected that kenya would be the first country that he would visit on the continent. but, you know, mr. obama has
made it very clear that he's trying to uplift good governance on the continent, and that is expected to be a huge focus of his address on saturday. he says that the current president of ghana has shown that he wants to address corruption, corruption which mr. obama himself has blamed for robbing africans of progress and success. and he's also praised ghana for its good governance and a similar transfer of power from a ruling party to opposition parties, such as has happened a couple times in ghana and they have free and fair elections and he sees them as a good example of what africa can achieve. and he has made a link between prosperity and good governance and added that there will be no good government without good governance. we expect that to be the theme
of his trip when he's here for the eight hours on the african continent. >> he'll be in ghana on friday, today and tomorrow. i remember back in 1998, nkepile mabuse, i was white house correspondent and traveled with then president bill clinton to ghana. we were in accra. and a lot of our viewers remember that visit will remember literally thousands of ghanians going past security lines, rushing the then president of the united states, bill clinton, not out of anger or anything but because they loved him and they were just so excited that the american president was in ghana then. i assume that there is that same kind of electrical moment, if not even much more so, right now for president obama. >> reporter: exactly, because president obama is the first african-american r african-american president of the united states. and that in itself, i mean, during his election campaign,
many africans felt very inspired and uplifted by president obama. and i had an interview with the former president of ghana who said, you know what, mr. obama can do for africa is to change the psychological mind-set and liberate africa psychologically. because president obama has said time and again that africans can stand up on their feet and do things for themselves. so, while his predecessor, president bush, pledged millions and millions and millions of dollars to fight diseases on the continent, for poverty alleviation, and for health and infrastructure, you know, he was making the point even if mr. obama does not give more money, at least he can psychologically liberate africans because they've been inspired by him and through him they believe anything is possible.
>> not just millions of dollars president bush authorized but billions and billions of dollars for africa for hiv/aids, for famine relief among other areas. it was interesting in his news conference earlier in the day in italy, the president made a point of saying that his father, when he came to the united states from kenya at that time, kenya's economy was even better than several of the developing economies in asia, whether it's south korea or others. but obviously, what has happened in india, certainly in china, korea, elsewhere has surpassed africa. and he said it's time for africa to get going. he says there are all of the opportunities there. unfortunately, it's not happening. and the question for you, because you know this story well, why? what's going on? >> reporter: well, i mean, president obama said it hymn. corruption is one of the main
problems on this continent. even the aids has not trickled down to the ordinary man on the street. eve ghana itself, the infrastructure is so bad that even if there are trade opportunities, it's really difficult for most african countries to actually take advantage of some of those opportunities because there just is not the know-how, there isn't the infrastructure, there hasn't been money spent on infrastructure and the kind of things that can make africa compete with other continents and other countries in africa to compete on the same level with other countries. so, corruption is one of the main problems that i think mr. obama will talk about and that he has blamed for the state of africa at the moment, wolf. >> yeah. some tough love for the american president for africa. that's probably going to be one of the themes of his address before the ghanian parliament tomorrow morning. he's speaking at the parliament. talk a little bit about that
moment. and i want to alert our viewers we're going to stay on this picture until we see the president and the first lady and their daughters get inside that limousine and begin to drive away from the airport. but go ahead and talk about the parliament visit tomorrow. also, he's going to be visiting a former slave fort in ghana which has obviously very significant meaning for america. >> reporter: yes. it's believed that ghana is the first place europeans came to trade first gold and then slaves. and mr. obama, will be, as you said, will be going to see one of those place where is slaves were kept before they were shipped away, and of course many of them died on these ships and were just tossed into the ocean. he's also going to be going to a local hospital, and he's going to be meeting also former
presidents. we know he'll be meeting a former president of ghana and also president carfur. i asked him whether he's going to be appealing for money or anything, and he said no. he's just going to congratulate mr. obama for his achievement and he's not going to be asking for anything. but, of course, two former u.s. presidents have been here have brought money to those countries, and there are expectations on the streets that mr. obama will also be pledging more money to the countries. wolf? >> there is a limit to how much money the united states has given the economic condition here, as you know, not as much as it used to have. there you see the limousine that will drive the president and the first lady and two daughters to the place where they're staying. by the way, where are they staying tonight?
>> reporter: well, it's not clear at the moment. we've been told they may be staying at the u.s. embassy here in accra, but it's very difficult to confirm such things here. we've been led to believe that he will be staying at the embassy. and, of course, many ghanians are looking forward to seeing mr. obama, but they might not have the opportunity, as you were speaking about, when bill clinton was here, when people could actually see him and touch him. mr. obama is not going to have any kind of public event while he's here. so, many people will have to just live with watching him on television even in their own country. >> the president has gone away from the limousine right now. looks like some dancers are entertaining and welcoming the president of the united states. i don't know if we can hear any of that music. let's listen in briefly and see if we can. ♪
>> all right. the president obviously enjoying that. tell us about the significance, the symbolic significance of those dancers. >> reporter: it's an african welcome, really, wolf. that's what it is. you have drummers there. you have singers. you have dancers basically to tell mr. obama that he's welcome here. if you drive around a car, you'll see on the posters that mr. obama's face is on, there's a word written, which means "welcome." you'll be hearing a lot of that while you're covering this event. this is just to signify how happy ghanians are to have the president and host him for the next 48 hours, wolf. >> given the number of people there, it looks like they've brought out basically the entire ghanian government and members of parliament to receive the president of the united states. obviously, very happy, the
dancers are entertaining the president and the first lady. we'll continue to monitor what's going on. we expect in the next minute or so the president to get into that limousine and drive off for the rest of the evening. it's already late into the night in accra. tomorrow, he addresses the parliament, goes to visit that clay fort among other things he's also going to be having, by the way, an interview with our own anderson cooper tomorrow, an interview that will air here on "anderson cooper 360" monday night. we'll take a quick break. we'll continue our coverage of the president's visit to africa right now, history unfolding. we'll go back to jim moret for more on the michael jackson investigation. some lunch.
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call now - and get the system installed for just $99. broadview security for yop- home or business - the next generation of brink's home security. call now. all right. the motorcade is leaving the airport. the president is in his limo. you see the armed vehicles leaving the airport. the president and first lady and daughters are headed off to sleep somewhere, we're not exactly sure, maybe the u.s. embassy in accra. historic moment you saw live here on cnn. let's go back to jim moret, who's been covering the investigation into michael jackson's death. and we were saying how the father, joe jackson, jim, is now suggesting he believes foul play was, in fact, the reason that michael jackson, his son, is dead. and i cut you off when you were
trying to answer that question. >> reporter: no problem at all. i want to point out to viewers who may think it's unusual to go from president obama in ghana to the death of an entertainer. the investigation right now is focusing on the abuse of prescription drugs, which here in the united states affects millions and millions of people. so, the investigation here is really greater than just focusing on michael jackson. it really has brougader ramifications, so i want to point that out. but when you talk about foul play, you're talking specifically about doctor shopping, the abuse of prescription drugs, and that includes not only doctors but pharmacies, enablers, people around michael jackson. i think that's really what joe jackson was focusing on. >> because the coroner's spokesman, when he came out and made the initial results of the autopsy, said he didn't see any evidence of foul play then. now, you remember those words were very precise. >> yes, i do. but you have to look at what the investigation is looking at now. it's even broader than simply the cause of death. what the l.a. police chief said
very specifically was they're looking at a long history of drug use. and so, they're looking at years and years. now, clearly what happened five years ago didn't cause the death today. however, you're looking at potential criminal wrongdoing over a period of years. so, there are a lot of doctors who treated michael jackson who i suspect are consulting with lawyers right now. >> set the scene for monday when there is this custody hearing on the three kids and lots of speculation right now over debbie rowe, the biological mother of the two older jackson kids, whether or not she will seek some sort of custody. what do we know? >> well, debbie rowe stated to a local los angeles reporter that she wants to fight for her kids, and her kids are only the two oldest kids. those are her natural children. she has no claim as to blanket, the youngest child. however, the attorney stated they want to wait and see so that implied perhaps that the two sides may be talking. katherine jackson and debbie rowe. and this is where joe jackson
comes in again, because he also made statements to abc that he and katherine should both be involved in raising those three children. we did hear through debbie rowe in that interview in a los angeles station that she wants a restraining order against joe jackson, because don't forget, michael jackson for years has claimed physical and emotional abuse by joe jackson, and joe jackson said that he thinks that at least two of those kids might have a future in show business. so, inserting hymn into this equation could cause problems with regard to the custody hearing that's coming up on monday. we don't know if there have been negotiations between katherine jackson and debbie rowe, although we suspect there have. but i think monday could be an explosive hearing. >> yeah. well, we'll cover it, obviously, and you'll help us on monday, as well. jim, thanks very much. >> sure, wolf. it's part of life in the war zone for many u.s. troops, but it could soon be banned. details of who's urging the military to snuff out smoking. plus, she was a mentor to supreme court nominee sonia sotomayor. now she's speaking out about her
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hearings are starting monday before the senate judiciary committee on the nomination of judge sonia sotomayor to becoming united states supreme court justice. one of her mentors is now speaking out about her qualifications and her controversy. let's go to cnn's mary snow. she's looking into this story for us. live coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. monday morning. all right. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, wolf, we had a rare opportunity to spend time in chambers with a senior judge on the u.s. district court who's also been a longtime mentor to fellow judge sotomayor. judge miriam cedarbaum has remained tightlipped as her 23 years as a federal judge in new york, presiding over mostly white-collar cases that included martha stewart. but she agreed to talk about her protege, sonia sotomayor. cedarbaum became her mentor.
tell us what sonia sotomayor is like. >> everyone in this building is a friend of judge sotomayor's. that is when she has a party, which she loves to do, she invites the people who clean our chambers, the guards downstairs, people who work in the kitchen, everybody in the courthouse. >> reporter: cedarbaum says over the years they developed a personal friendship with a shared love of opera, ballet, art, and music. on the professional side, sotomayor has referred to cedarbaum in some of her speeches, including one that's gained widespread attention. >> i didn't know that until recently, when it became of such interest to the press. >> reporter: cedarbaum had given a speech pointing out the differences between male and female judges and their approaches to cases. in several speeches, sotomayor took up the issue and questioned whether those differences should be ignored, including in 2001, saying, i would hope that a wise
latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life. while critics seized on that comment, cedarbaum dismissed it and was reluctant to talk about it. >> i think it's a tempest in a teapot, because i know judge sotomayor, and i have no doubt that she is what i consider an upright judge, who is not influenced by her personal biases or her fondness of -- in deciding cases. >> reporter: of the cases society mare has ruled on, cedarbaum sees nothing to stall her confirmation process. >> she has absolutely nothing to hide and has no reason to be concerned at all about any of her decisions over the last 17 years. she has been an upright, honest, intelligent, and careful judge.
>> reporter: those views are reflected by other judges cnn has spoken with, some liberal and some conservative. wolf? >> all right, mary. thanks very much. let's talk about what's going to happen next week in the u.s. senate. joining us now, democratic strategist, former dnc communications director, karen finney, and republican consultant and cnn political contributor alex castellanos. interesting, the cnn opinion research corporation poll that came out today, should the senate confirm sotomayor to be on the supreme court, 47% said yes, 40% said no, 13% are unsure. they don't know enough apparently about her. that's relatively close there. >> well, the that's the purpose of having these hearings. people will have the opportunity to hear for themselves about her record and about her judicial thinking. so, and i think they're going to like what they hear, actually. i think they're going to be very impressed. she's done a number of meetings on the hill already. i hope what we'll hear are some thoughtful, hopefully tough questions, but hopefully
thoughtful. >> you have no doubt she'll be confirmed, do you? >> it certainly looks that way but that's why we have the hearings. those numbers were better at the beginning of the process when the people heard the great uplifting bootstrap story of come from nothing in the bronx to the highest levels of the american judicial system. but then americans began to hear questions about the wise latina woman reaching better decisions and issues about affirmative action and gun control, and so i think that's part of it. and also that president obama's moving so fast and making so many large reforms that now i think a lot of americans are looking at whatever he does, is it a question mark, so it's not just about her. it's about the president, too. >> you know, i think she's going to do the president proud. and i hope what people see in her story is the sense of her character. here's a woman who never let things that could have been barriers stand in her way. she set some goals and achieved those by working hard. >> a very compelling personal story. >> and it's unfortunate,ly tell you but i think the stakes are
high for the republicans for monday. >> a wise latino man. >> a wise latino man. >> no. >> but because of the way the republicans let the rhetoric get far ahead of themselves when she first came out, let's hope they are able to ask fair and unbiased questions. >> but wolf, miguel estrada had a great bootstrap story, too. he couldn't speak english as a child. he had tremendous legal experience, as well, 15 cases before the supreme court and won 10. so, just having a great story is often not enough. >> he's right. great story alone is not enough. we'll see how she does. >> has a good record. >> live coverage starting 10:00 a.m. monday morning. very quickly on ghana, you reminded me, i was there in 1998 with then president clinton. you were there, as well, working for the president. >> i was. >> you remember that surge when all those ghanians tried to storm and get close to the president. >> >> as you remember, it was a pretty massive field and about 500,000 people were there, and as the president and then president jerry rawlings started
to work that rope line, there was that -- we call it the love surge. >> much more organized there when you saw the pictures of the president and the first lady and the children walking down the stairs. >> but it's very exciting that president obama is there, and i hope all americans can feel proud. you know, here he is touting democracy in ghana. they've had a peaceful transfer of power and, you know, sort of reinforcing those messages on the continent. >> all right, guys. we'll leave it right there. grad we showed live pictures of the president arriving in ghana in "the situation room." will u.s. troops be forced to kick the habit? new details of a brand-new report urging the pentagon to ban smoking all together. is that possible? and more than 35,000 fugitives nabbed. we'll go inside operation falcon.
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so many soldiers, marines, they smoke. how is this possible? >> it sounds almost incredible when you think about it, wolf, but then you look at what the study found that the va is spending billions of dollars in treating veterans tobacco-related illnesses so the pentagon is at least considering stamping out smokes. >> a cigarette dangling from a soldier's mouth. iconic? yes, but maybe outdated. the v.a. and pentagon commissioned a new study that recommends a complete ban on tobacco. no more tobacco sales on base and no smoking for anyone in uniform. general russell honore tried to quit but some troops need it. >> when you're tired and you've been going for days on end with minimum sleep, and you're not getting the proper meals all the time, that hit of tobacco can make a difference. >> reporter: with the army worried about its
record-breaking suicide rate some wonder if now is the time for stamp out smoking. >> some feel smoking is their stress relief. what is the replacement? >> reporter: the pentagon says "the department supports the goal of a tobacco-free military. however a cheefg that goal will depend on coincident reductions of tobacco use in the civilian population." the study found civilians don't smoke as much as soldiers. >> among active duty people about one in three smoke, in the general population it's less than one in five. >> reporter: the pentagon bans smoking in buildings and on bases years ago. it has counselors on call to help service members quit, but while local governments have heavily taxed tobacco, the commissaries and px often sell it at deeply discounted prices. >> the military sends very mixed signals and this is what's confusing to people. >> and the study found that profits from those tobacco sales can be $80 million, $90 million
a year and that pays for recreation and family programs on base. the study also recommends that the ban be phased in over five to ten years, but right now the pentagon just thinking about it. wolf? >> going to cause quite an uproar. thanks very much, chris lawrence for that. it's not just the troops. the commander in chief has been a smoker as well. he's been battling to kick the habit. how does that sit with the american public? our senior political analyst bill schneider is taking a closer look. bill? >> wolf, on the topic of smoking, president obama's position seems to be watch what i say, not what i do. recently president obama signed an anti-smoking bill into law. >> to the first time, it gives fda the ability to regulate, it's the most dangerous product out there. >> reporter: mr. obama has a personal interest in the subject. >> almost 90% of all smokers began at or before their 18th
birthday. i know. i was one of these teenagers. >> reporter: when a reporter played gotcha with the president and asked him about his smoking habit, the president played gotcha right back. >> you just think it's need to ask me about my smoking as opposed to being relevant to my new law. >> reporter: does the fact that president obama smokes occasionally affect people's opinion of him? nope. does it say something about his character? nope. it just means he's human, with human weaknesses. >> as a former smoker, i constantly struggle with it. >> reporter: including make a little self-delusion. >> i would say that i am 95% cured. >> reporter: do people want the president to stop smoking? about a third do. about half say they don't care if he smokes every day. none of their business. liberals are sometimes accused of getting into people's business. do they care if president obama smokes? nope. about half say it's okay with them if he smokes every day. republicans? most republicans say it's okay with them if the president
smokes every day. light up. how tolerant those republicans are. wolf? >> bill schneider, thank you. bill schneider reporting. president obama touches down in africa. you saw it live here on cnn, just a few moments ago, after a summit that left him a bit weary and disappointed. we're going to give you details of what he gained and lost in italy, before flying to africa. the new gm emerging from bankruptcy. we'll tell you how much it's costing u.s. taxpayers and how many american jobs the streamlined automaker is planning to cut. stay with us. you're in "the situation room."
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mary snow is monitoring other important stories incoming to "the situation room." what is going on? >> u.s. navy marines are susp d suspending their search for the black boxes. others will try to locate the plane flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder which stopped transmitting noises after 30 days. all 228 people aboard air france flight 447 were killed on june 1st. a new appeal from secretary of state hillary clinton for the release of two american journalists being held in north
korea. last month, north korea's highest court convicted and sentenced laura ling and euna lee to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering the country. secretary of state clinton today said the two women should be released on humanitarian grounds. >> the journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for this incident, and i think everyone is very sorry that it happened. what we hope for now is that these two young women would be granted amnesty through the north korean system, and be allowed to return home to their families as soon as possible. >> laura ling and euna lee were detained in march. there's been another discovery at an illinois burial ground where hundreds of graves were dug up. authorities say they found emmett till's original casket at
a garage at the burr oak cemetery. he was the 14-year-old victim of racially motivated 1995 killing in mississippi. four people are facing felony charges for digging up hundreds of graves and reselling the plots. till's grave was not among those that were disturbed. wolf? >> mary, thank you. and to our viewers, you're? "the situation room." happening now -- president obama is in africa, after a summit that left him a bit weary and disappointed. this hour, what he gained and lost in italy, and his private talks with the pope. disturbing new evidence of michael jackson's prescription drug use, the confidential document that claims he once took up to 40 anti-anxiety pills a night. and the feds that nabbed thousands of america's most wanted. an impressive summer sweep to take violent criminals off the streets. we welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. your he in "the situation room."
just a short while ago president obama landed in africa. you saw it live here in "the situation room." and if he was hoping to get a break from some touchy diplomacy, forget about it. residents of ghana are cheering his decision to visit their country but some people in kenya, the homeland of the president's father are feeling a bit snubbed. another day of juggling on the global stage for the president of the united states. our white house correspondent suzanne malveaux looks at how president obama performed over at the g-8 summit in italy. suzanne? >> reporter: wolf, the president's final stop overseas is ghana, where he'll give a major speech on the importance of democracy but there was also an important lesson that he learned here in europe and that is how difficult it is to get world leaders to agree. president obama wrapped up the g-8 economic summit a popular figure.
but admittedly a bit weary. >> the one thing i will be looking forward to is fewer summit meetings. >> reporter: this would be his third international summit during his first six months in office. meetings that have grown from the leaders of eight of the world's richest nations to more than 40 heads of state, all trying to get a piece of the action. >> what i've noticed is, everybody wants the smallest possible group, smallest possible organization, that includes them. so if they're 291st largest nation in the world, then they want the g-21. >> reporter: mr. obama suggested it wasn't the most efficient way of getting things done but it did produce some results. a september deadline for iran to show whether it will negotiate giving up its nuclear program. >> the international community has said here's a door, you can walk through, that allows you to lessen tensions and more fully join the international
community. >> reporter: and $20 billion in aid for struggling farmers to feed the poor. the president made the pitch to his counterparts using a story about his own kenyan roots. >> i have family members who live in villages. they, themselves are not going hungry but live in villages where hunger is real, and so this is something that i understand in very personal terms. >> reporter: but mr. obama also acknowledged some disappointments. >> we did not reach agreement on every issue and we still have much work ahead on climate change. >> reporter: the president failed to get developing countries who are also big polluters, like china, india and brazil, to commit to a specific goal in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. as for the global economic crisis affecting all of these countries, world leaders were cautious, giving their own economic policies more time to try to turn things around. wolf? >> all right, thanks very much, suzanne. traveling with the president. before leaving italy the president also squeezed in a very special meeting, a private
audience with pope benedict at the vatican. we're told they exchanged their strong views about abortion, embryonic stem cell research, among other things. the president left something behind, he delivered a letter to the pope from senator ted kennedy. no word on what it said. the first lady and the obama daughters also met with the pontiff. while the president's been away, some fellow democrats put up another detour in the drive for health care reform, concerns about costs and possible tax increases are weighing heavily on many lawmakers. our congressional correspondent brianna keilar is bring us with more on a reality check. brianna, what are you hearing? >> president obama and democrats have laid a pretty ambitious timeline for overhauling health care and how now some questions about whether they can follow it. president obama is telling congress the clock is ticking on health care reform. >> i never believe anything is
do or die, but i really want to get it done by the august recess. >> reporter: a tall order for congressional democrats, who have missed self-imposed deadlines. in the house, democrats including arkansas's mike ross sent a letter to leaders, concerned congress isn't doing enough to cut ballooning health care costs. could you vote for the house health care bill as it stands right now? >> no. this is the biggest domestic issue that we will tackle this century. and so we think we need to slow it down a little bit, and do it right. >> reporter: so far, there are two prevailing ideas. one calls for a government-run health insurance plan favored by house speaker nancy pelosi. >> the only debate what it will cost, the patient option, public option, write in your suggestions. >> reporter: the other is a non-profit health cooperative with less government involvement, but after hours and hours of negotiation, lawmakers are still struggling with how to pay for it. in addition to cutting costs,
congress will have to raise taxes to foot the $1 trillion bill. democrats on the house tax writing committee agreed friday evening to increase taxes on individuals who make more than $280,000, and on couples earning $350,000 or more. democrats are hoping to bring in $540 billion with that tax, according to two democratic sources, but they could need more tax money than that, wolf, when they've already ruled out or all but ruled out other tax proposals on employer-provided benefits and sugary drinks like sodas to name a few. >> thanks. a reinvented general motors has emerged after 40 days in bankruptcy protection. poppy harlow details what's next for the largest automaker in her conversation with its ceo. poppy? >> wolf, it is official. there is a new general motors, and the u.s. taxpayer is backing
this new company up to the tune of $50 billion. here is how gm will try to turn itself around. it will be much smaller. the company is shutting thousands of dealerships. the goal, cut those dealerships down to 3,600 by the end of next year, that is down from about 6,000 dealerships across the country. today, they're closing 16 u.s. plants. that's going to mean eliminating about 20,000 more u.s. workers by the end of this year. gm, the new gm will carry significantly less debt than before because of the bankruptcy, and they say this company will produce more attractive products. gm's saying this morning it will launch ten new vehicles in the united states, and 17 new vehicles around the world over the next 18 months. the three priorities at this company, the ceo, fritz henderson saying today it is customers, cars and culture. here's the thing. the bankruptcy process is financial. it does not change the culture at the company. so i asked the ceo today if he
can assure the u.s. taxpayer that now owns most of gm that the culture that led it into bankruptcy has really changed. take a listen to what he said. >> i've always been a believer that culture is about how you act and how you perform, and where you spend your time, and where we're going to be spending our time as the leadership team from me on down is great cars, customers being, singly focused on customers and finally making sure we have a culture which is faster, which is leaner, which has accountability embedded in it and that it's all about winning. so that's where as the president of the company i'm going to be spending my time. >> but wolf, gm has a major, major problem, and that is that it has been losing u.s. mark share now for decades. general motors now has less than 20% of the u.s. market when it comes to auto sales. that number, once stood at more than 50% and yeah, gm does still outsell toyota in the united states but not in the world. it lost that title of the world's largest automaker to
toyota just last year. to wrap things up, wolf, president obama's head of the auto task force steve ratter in says the company cannot be viable if it continues to lose market share. we'll be watching. >> poppy, thank you. to our viewers see poppy's full interview with fritz henderson of gm by going to cnnmoney.com. what risks did michael jackson take to be able to simply fall asleep? we have shocking, new details about something he allegedly did that doctors say no one should ever do. and jackson's father who allegedly beat jackson as a child says he should care for the children or the mother, who has limited contact with the children other evethe years. and what does a suspected murderer, wanted sex offender and others running from the law have in common? more than 35,000 of them have been nabbed in a massive police raid. (announcer) we speak car.
right now pictures emerging regarding what michael jackson allegedly would do simply to try to get some sleep. there are new and disturbing details about prescription drug use and jackson's allegedly taking doses that are extremely high for any human to take. cnn's randi kaye has more. >> i have right here a confidential police document from 2004, it's from the santa barbara county sheriff's department, and i can tell you that we are not naming the people involved in this document, but these interviews
were done with two of michael jackson's former security guards, this is a confidential document so we're not going to name those guards but according to the document, one of them told investigators that michael jackson was taking "ten plus xanax pills a night," and when he expressed concerns to another one of jackson's employees he was told "jackson was doing better because he was down from 30 to 40 xanax pills a night." 30 to 40 xanax pills a night. one of the security guards did tell investigators that he would get xanax prescriptions at pharmacies for michael jackson under "fictitious names," actually, including even the security guard's own name. he also named three other employees who he said were doing the very same thing. now the other security guard questioned in the document that we have also backs that up. according to him, he said that he had also picked up prescriptions for michael jackson in someone else's name. now, we're not going to name the
doctors who are mentioned in this, but i can tell you that one of the security guards interviewed by investigators names five doctors that he said were writing prescriptions for michael jackson. again, not all of those prescriptions in michael jackson's name. the security guard said in several states across the country, including new york, california, florida, he personally drove jackson to different doctor's offices to get prescriptions. that really paints a picture here of doctor shopping. now that is also in line of course with what our source is telling us, that he told us that investigators want to interview every doctor who michael jackson ever really came into contact with. also i want to mention that one of the security guards described jackson as sharp and "in tune" before he went into the doctor's office for those visits, and then afterward, the security guard said he would come out and he was "out of it and sedated." that is all from this confidential document from the sheriff's department, where two
of michael jackson's former security guards were interviewed. that is the very latest on the michael jackson investigation. >> randi kaye, thank you. let's get some analysis of what's going on with our cnn contributor brian monroe. the last journalist to interview michael jackson. were there indications that you knew about that you had heard about of this amazing use of xanax? these are ten pills a night or even 30 or 40 pills a night? way, way beyond any normal use. >> well, wolf, when i interviewed him back in 2007, september of 2007, i spent over the course of three days i didn't see any evidence of drug use, that he was out of it. in fact, what i saw was the opposite. he was shop. the security report, randi's report about the security guard alluded to him being on top of it and when i sat down and talked with him, he talked for a good hour and a half easily, on
a range of topics, and there was no slurring of words. he was very much on top of it, but you know, i talked to people who have been working with him and one of his health advisers during the trial, and just before that, and said that there were times particularly towards the end of the trial when he would really be wiped out. the trial took a lot out of him, and we know that before -- by his own words he admitted that he had been addicted to prescription drugs just after the fire incident when his hair caught on fire after filming the pepsi commercial and that sort of started the process but the trial was really, really a difficult thing and in fact, i was told that at the end of the trial, he was so wiped out, he placed a call to this adviser that came and saw him and at 5:00, they were going to escape from the big media horde and go, he, his driver and michael were going to drive up to san francisco to check into a hospital because he was so wiped
out. they got about 20 minutes outside of santa barbara and turned around, and instead ended up at a small cottage hospital in santa barbara, and they just walked in by themselves, no entourage, checked him in at 5:00 laying on a gurney in the emergency room, they hooked him up to iv fluids and for the next 12 hours from 5:00 p.m. to 5:15 a.m. when we checked on him again, he was still taking iv fluids. he was that dehydrated. in fact, the doctor at the time was said to have told this adviser that had he not been brought in, he may have been dead. >> wow. amazing, really dehydrated. listen to joe jackson, michael jackson's father, he gave an interview to abc news, and he had this exchange. listen to this. >> who do you think should raise these children, now that michael is gone? >> their grandmother, katherine and i, yes. there's no one else. >> all right, now obviously katherine, the grandmother has custody but there's been some
concern about joe jackson, given the charges that his own son, michael, made, that he was abusive to him as a little boy. >> well, you know, joseph has had, has played a strong role in michael's upbringing. i asked michael about joseph and he went from both praising joseph, joseph had his own beginning as a steelworker, also a little music group on the side called the falcons, and joseph taught michael and the brother about stagemanship. in fact he remembers joseph telling michael, you know, never let them see you cry on stage. and in the same breath he would also talk about how joseph would have a belt in his hand while they were practicing, and would, and michael said in fact he didn't get beat during practice. it would be after the rehearsals when he would get his whoopings, and so it was a very complex, tense relationship there, but michael -- joseph and katherine have been living in separate homes. joseph lives in las vegas, katherine and the family lives in encino and i think ultimately it's going to come down to what the judge thinks is in the best
interests of those children. now i think it's with katherine, with those nine brothers and sisters and the extended family, all those cousins, and grace, the nanny, hopefully playing a role in that family structure. because that's where they belong. >> as you know, monday there is a custody hearing out in california. debbie rowe, who is the biological mother of the two older kids, we don't know if she's going to seek some custodial right. >> she initially in the middle of when the story was breaking said she would want to be back in their lawyers and the lawyer came out, hold on, we're still working that out. we don't know exactly what she will be saying but again, she really hasn't played much of a role in the lives of those kids, particularly over the last few years, i'm told, and i think ultimately, those kids should be with the jackson family. now, if debbie wanted to have visitation or see them, you know, at the end of the day, with three little kids you can never, ever have too much love in their lives. >> bryan, thanks very much. all right, we're going to
have more on the michael jackson investigation, and you're also going to find out how the pop superstar thought, thought he might be able to free two american journalists imprisoned in north korea. stand by. her confirmation hearings are coming up fast, they'll begin monday morning. we have the results of a new poll on whether americans want sonia sotomayor on the high court. and why shouldn't "dreams from my father" and "the audacity of hope" be allowed in supermax cells? what the bureau of prisons is saying.
developments just coming in to "the situation room" right now, custody hearing that had been scheduled for monday on the three michael jackson kids, let's go to mary snow. she's got the latest information. what are we learning there? >> well, we're learning, wolf, that that guardianship hearing that was slated to be held on monday has been delayed now for a week, and a spokesman for the court is saying that this hearing, this request came in from michael jackson's mother, katherine jackson, and the singer's ex-wife, debbie rowe, so this hearing is now moved to july 20th, instead of july 13th.
some other headlines we're looking at, the stinging, new criticism of the warrantless wire taps the bush administration began after the 9/11 attacks, the report to congress says they were based on a factually flawed legal analysis by a single justice department attorney. inspector generals from five intelligence agencies, the pentagon and the justice department compiled the report. eight children were found unharmed in the home of a florida couple who were shot dead in an apparent home invasion. bird and melanie billings were found last night in their home about 17 miles from pensacola. a local report says the couple adopted 12 children, some with special needs. police are looking for three males in a red van. anal qaeda inmate at the supermax prison in colorado has been allowed to read two obama books after all. officials originally denied
ahead omar's request to read the books. abu ali was convicted of plotting to assassinate former president bush. we're learning one of michael jackson's many fans may have been the north korean leader kim jong-il. gotham chopra will reveal a side of jackson you may not have known about. fareed zakaria talks about his interview with treasury secretary timothy geithner. and the secret of their success, why a new crackdown by the feds capturing violent criminals by the thousands.
their last talk about those two american journalists being detained in north korea and the communist country's leader, kim jong-il. a nationwide sweep to take dangerous fugitives off the street. the feds go after tens of thousands of criminals on the loose. and confirmation hearings beginning monday for judge sonia sotomayor. what will the supreme court nominee face from the senators? all of this >, plus the best political team on television. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." those who knew michael jackson all talked about his empathy and deep concern for others. now we're learning he actually wanted to try to help two american journalists imprisoned in north korea, even inquiring whether kim jong-il was one of his fans. gotham chopra writing in thehuffingtonpost.com. he is the cofounder of "liquid
comics" and also the son of deepak chopra. i read your article and it was for me eye-opening. tell our viewers the thrust of that last conversation you had with michael jackson. >> sure. yes, no, thank you for having me. it was eye-opening for me as well. i've been friends with michael, had been friends with michael for almost 20 years. i've been very good friends with laura ling, one of the journalists in question for many years as well and i got a surprise phone call several weeks before michael's passing, as was often the case with him, i got a phone call in the middle of the night. he had heard about lauraling and euna lee's predicament, having been detained in north korea for several months. he was curious if i had talked to her and heard how she was doing but he was curious if perhaps he could get involved in some way. he told me that he had gone online and seen some pictures of kim jong-il who obviously like to wear military jackets and michael said it's kind of like me p i like the same sort of
outfits. he's wondering if perhaps there might have been some sort of fan connection between kim jong-il and himself, in which case he thought there was something he might be able to do. >> did you gosome research, did you find if kim jong-il did in fact like michael jackson's music, for example? >> i tried to. it's been documented in the past that kim jong-il does have a fascination with certain hollywood iconic stars, so you know, we thought maybe there was a chance communicating a lot with the family as well. sadly, we weren't able to find any specific connection and of course, then you know michael's passing happened really before we could get too deep into the research. >> it's been widely reported that kim jong-il loves james bond movies, for example, loves some other specialized drinks. i suspect he loved michael jackson as well. but this does point to a whole other side of michael jackson that a lot of our viewers around the world right now are not
necessarily familiar with, something you're much more familiar with, his humanitarian side. >> sure. i mean yes, speak very much to some of what has been talked about and certainly his work with the make-a-wish foundation and the heal the world foundation which he started many years ago, has been talked about, but michael was an incredible humanitarian, and i think even on very specific issues like this, which weren't, you know, big, huge global issues of famine or poverty, he felt very deeply and when he also knew there was a connection, he knew that i was friends with laura, and that i was trying, you know, with the family to do whatever we could to try to get information and facilitate their release. it was something that he felt strongly about, and it was very common, actually, in his private correspondence for him to reach out to people in need, and so i think it is a different side of him. he's been celebrated in so many different ways and obviously he was a conflicted person, he will be remembered for many different things, but the humanitarian
side, hopefully will be a legacy and maybe in this case can actually have, you know, a literal effect. >> this is what you write on thehuffingtonpost.com. "to me michael will always be as a great friend and mentor. to many around the world it will be as an iconic and brilliant musical artist. wouldn't it be staggering if one kim jong ill were to honor him post-death as a truly great humanitarian." it would be amazing if kim jong-il decided to release those two american journalists and say, you know what? in memory of michael jackson. >> it certainly is something i know all the friends and family would be rejoicing over tremendously, and who knows, crazier things have happened. so we're keeping our fingers crossed. >> we could only hope and pray. thanks very much, gotham, for joining us. >> thank you for having me. could america afford stimulus spending, health care reform and other expensive government programs? fareed zakaria poses that
question to the treasury secretary timothy geithner in an exclusive interview. we'll show you his answer and also speak with fareed, coming up next. and u.s. marshals are boasting an impressive haul from a nationwide summer sweep to take fugitives off the streets. we'll give you the details of "operation falcon." stay with us. you're in "the situation room." d
bringing in cnn's fareed zakaria with an exclusive interview with the u.s. treasury secretary timothy geithner. it was an important interview, fareed. i want to play this exchange that you had with the treasury secretary. listen to this. >> the economists, i think, it would be fair to say a lot of economists think it's likely lower than 3.2%. if that happens my question to you is the deficit as a percentage of gdp becomes much higher. are you willing to do whatever it takes to keep the deficit as a percentage of gdp within the range that the president has suggested? >> he understands deeply the importance of making sure that we put in place a stronger foundation with recovery as a whole and part of that will be a return to living within our means as a country.
>> and that may mean higher taxes? >> it will -- the only two ways to close as a country and there's no mystery in this, we have to bring our resources and our commitments closer in to balance. it is a necessary thing for us to do. >> it sounds like the rich people are going to be paying a lot more taxes, based on what he's suggesting. is that an accurate assessment, fareed? >> wolf, i would go further, because the magnitude of the changes he's talking about really getting deficits under control and when i said that would mean higher taxes, he didn't qualify it in any way. that struck me as very important because this is a campaign promise of president obama that he was not going to raise taxes except on, you know, people earning more than $250,000. now, you can't do much anymore by limiting yourself there. i would suggest that it means that the administration is considering, as one option, fairly broad taxes. i've heard people talk about a national sales tax, a
value-added tax, every other advanced industrial world in the world has one. i think the seriousness with which he talked about the need for deficit reduction suggests to me we might be -- they might be contemplating general tax increases at some point in the future. he was very careful to say we're not there yet. we're -- it's much more important now to stimulate the economy but at some point clearly they are thinking about both spending cuts and tax increases. >> did he impress you as someone who is really on top of this situation and knows what he's doing? >> you know, he did. i think that tim geithner has, in some ways, gotten a bad rap because his presentation perhaps is not always as skilled actually as it was in this interview. he came across quite well. i think he's new to the lime light as it were. he was you know, a guy who was at the back doing the staff work behind the scenes, but what strikes me is he's very
actually, he's steeped in the issues. sometimes he isn't as well versed at how you present it in a very simple, cogent way on television, you know, what's the one message to get across? and he, frankly, still needs to work on that, but i think he's a very smart guy, decent guy and he seems to have a mastery of the detail. >> when are we going to get out of this economic recession, did he tell you? >> i think if he knew he might quit his onand start trading stocks or something. no, i think that he clearly feels that things are more stable now than they were, and i think the administration is taking a lot of comfort from that, but there was no indication that they felt that the housing market had bottomed, you know, the economy in general had bottomed. i think they're well apair that things have not turned the corner, that unemployment could get worse. when i asked him about the second stimulus, he -- it was very clear he was reserving the
option to do precisely that. >> fareed zakaria, thank you. the full interview will air on "fareed zakaria gps" 1:00 p.m. sunday and repeats 5:00 p.m. on sunday. you'll want to see this very important interview. there have been some massive sweeps nabbing tens of thousands of fugitives across the united states. we asked cnn's brian todd to take a closer look and explain "operation falcon." >> wolf this is the work of the u.s. marshals. they do this once a year. this is the six year they've staged this operation. marshals officers tell us a lot of state and local police officers are turning over their warrants to the marshal task forces because they know how effective they are at catching the nation's fugitives. u.s. marshals boast an impressive haul from "operation falcon," a nationwide summer sweep to take fugitives off the streets. >> during the months of june, end results are astounding, over
35,000 of america's most wanted and violent criminals were arrested. >> reporter: john clark is the director of the u.s. marshals and says the program linking local, state and federal law enforcement officers was a success. >> this might be considered the cream of the crop for the most violent felons that are out there. for example, we arrested 433 murder suspects. >> reporter: one of those murder suspects is 29-year-old jeremiah jackson. police say this is him holding up a walgreens store in cleveland, ohio. he's been charged with the murder of tracy pickerell. police alleged days after the walgreens incident jackson shot her in the back during a botched robbery at the soap opera lau laundrom laundromat. >> for what? for a gold necklace and $36, $50 or whatever came out of that place, he had to take her life for nothing, for nothing. >> reporter: jackson was taken into custody by the cleveland police s.w.a.t. team and u.s. marshals. he's being held on $10 million bond.
an attorney has not been retained are assigned for the murder charge but his father told cnn affiliate wjw -- >> i know it's not him to be like that, and i know that he must have gotten with the wrong crowd. >> it wasn't just suspected murderers who were rounded up. the marshals say of the 36,000 arrests, more than 2,300 were wanted sex offenders. in the course of that month-long sweep they also recovered nearly 600 guns and about 2,400 kilograms of narcotics, wolf. impressive. >> some 500 suspected murderers were on the loose going into "operation falcon"? >> seems like a high number, 500 suspected murderers on the loose but the marshals say relatively speaking that isn't that number considering the number of homicide investigations they have going on at any one time, the last year, the number of suspected murderers was was 300. they're getting better at this. is one stimulus package enough to get the u.s. economy back on track? why president obama is being
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the grilling begins monday morning, 10:00 a.m., before the senate judiciary committee, judge sonia sotomayor, will she be confirmed by the committee, and then the full senate? let's talk about that and more with cnn's congressional correspondent brianna keilar. david frum, former speechwriter for president george w. bush and chief correspondent mike allen. first of all, is she going to be confirmed, what do you think? >> the 70 to 85 is the window that white house will tell you it will be 80 -- >> votes in favor you mean? so you think she'll get at least 70 or 75 votes to confirm? >> this will be big. the hearings will be more exciting to help. i think they're trying to help the ratings because there will be no tweeners.
democrats talking about how great she is and republicans promising more robust answering using the word inquisition so they feel bolstered in part -- >> how many votes? >> i'm not going to predict. she could lose in the hearing. that's what happened to robert bork. she'll be coached and careful but there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. >> i was surprised, brianna, when i saw the cnn/opinion research corporation poll come out. should she be confirmed as the supreme court justice? 47% yes, 40% no, 13% apparently unsure. you covered the hill. it looks like unless there's some major, major bombshell that she's going to get confirmed. >> right now there's no evidence there's any will on the part of republicans to block her confirmation but at the same time we're expecting a whole lot of fireworks. they're really going to -- and they've been laying the ground work all week for this on the ground of the senate floor,
wolf, painting her as a liberal activist judge. we know they're going to highlight some things, for instance, the new haven firefighters' decision where republicans say it shows she's for affirmative action. we know they're going to pull a lot of these things out. >> but they have to be careful, because she's his tannic lat in hispanic latina and republicans trying to get back the votes. >> this was a shrewd pick and in the end they're not going to die on the hill but the poll you just read has given them the sort of courage, justification and emboldened them to be on tougher on her in the hearing. not a lot will vote against her. the curiosity about the poll, going into the chief justice john roberts was 60/30, people were for him so much more for him. another curiosity about the poll, if you ask about barack obama's nominee, the numbers are much higher when you ask about her name. it's more split. >> it's high profile latino or
hispanic votes got the majority vote george bush would have von the latino vote. this population has been hit by economic problems at center of foreclosures, these are bread-and-butter voters. i think for the republicans the downside risk is much less than commonly said. on the other hand, they don't have the vote unless she makes the mistake. >> what's interesting the way the committee has decided to divide up the days next week. i take it monday, the chairman, patrick leahy and jeff sessions, the ranking republican, all the members, 19 members, of the committee, they're each going to have their long opening statements. at the end of the day, she will make her opening statement. and then they go into recess. the questioning, the grilling, begins the next day, is that right? >> that's right. the fireworks, the back-and-forth, the questioning, we're expecting to get that on tuesday. but it doesn't mean we'll not hear really strong statements coming from republicans dredging up the issues we've been talking about. it's definitely worth watching on tuesday. i think it's worth seeing. >> it's definitely worth
watching on monday. >> on monday. >> because of the point of portraying her as a liberal activist, the white house strategy is to make her seem as boring as possible. everything she says will be framed around rule of law, moderation, middle of the road. >> what's interesting is every one of those 19 senators is going to have 30 minutes, uninterrupted, to question her. 30 minutes. it's going to be a 30-minute interview and then you go to the next senator. i don't remember a senate committee having hearings like that. >> i have one advice for the senators, ask short questions. >> that's not going to happen. you remember joe biden when he was a member of the judiciary committee, his questions -- >> they were the single most indispensable factor of getting conservative judges confirmed. >> it increases her chances on slipping on a banana peel. good look. >> we'll have live coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. monday
morning. we'll be here. let's talk about a second stimulus package on the hill. i know some are saying, steny hoy hoyer saying maybe it's possible. they've only spent a small percentage of the first stimulus, why talk already about a second stimulus? >> there's speculation about it. steny hoyer, the number two democrat in the house, opened the door by saying if more action is needed, we need to be open to that, but a lot of democrats were really quick to pat that down. harry reid said he didn't think there was any indication it's needed right now. but i think coming on the heels of vice president biden's comments that the obama administration may have misread the economic situation, there have been some questions about unemployment numbers heading for double digits, i think there's a lot of concern. but you hear the administration tamping it down, say, we've only just started. wait 18 months. >> will there be a second stimulus? >> sure, there's talk about it.
because the first one won't have a transformative effect, we still have, as brianna suggested, tough days ahead. the month after it will hit 10%. >> nationally, 10% unemployment. >> even 10.5%, and it will be a trip-wire moment when the media will focus intensively on the job situation and we'll back at what was going on in 1983 and the white house will need to have something to say and they aren't going to be able to just say this money is still going out the door. they need more things to talk about. >> they put together a flawed and detective first stimulus package, where the prakage -- >> you wanted them to spend more money? >> i wanted them to do a payroll tax holiday and to get the money out faster. that could have been done in 30 days, $40 billion directly into the pocket of american workers and it could have been stopped the moment the crisis was over. >> but the crisis isn't over. it won't be over for some time. >> instead of doing that which
was recommended by a lot of smart economies, something that was slow and sluggish so they could feed more money to the political allies because they underestimated the severity of the problem. and the politically selfishly action has caused the trouble that we are all in. what they ought to do is accelerate a proper second stimulus by canceling the first, 90% of the first is unspent and don't waste the money. >> hold on a second. that's not going to happen, is it? >> no, it's not going to happen. this will be a really tough spot for democrats talking about a second stimulus. there is a -- there's really not much appetite on the hill to do something that spends more and more money. that's why there's so much talk in health care about it has to be paid for. it will cost a trillion dollars. >> we've heard the president talk about it, he's not going to do the health care reform unless it's paid for. quickly. >> it's not just lack of appetite. it's fear. democrats know the best argument against them in the midterm and re-election is borrow and spend and they don't want to do anything to add to the argument.
nice picture jewish and arab children coming together during a football peace soccer camp in israel. we want to get your weekend started with some good laughs from the late-night comedians. >> house speaker, nancy pelosi, said she sees no need for a house resolution in praise of michael jackson. so, there's no need for it. yeah. yeah, pelosi added, isn't it enough that i'm slowly starting to look like him? david letterman talking about governor palin, and you'll see it's not easy being in "the situation room." >> there's a surprising announcement over the weekend, governor of alaska, sarah palin, is leaving the office. she's stepping down. governor --
something i said? but she -- a lot of people do this, a lot of public figures do this, and i've tried to do it, it doesn't work. you blame the media. when you have trouble, you blame the media. and today, as a matter of fact, she was up in the helicopter shooting wolf blitzer. conan o'brien, once again, this time on president obama when he was in moscow. >> today in russia, president obama delivered a speech to the graduating class of moscow's new economic school. that's right. the title of the speech was "can we borrow four trillen rubles." >> we'll have coverage of the sotomayor confirmation hearings, it starts monday morning, 10:00