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tv   John King USA  CNN  May 19, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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go to my blog, >> thanks for watching, i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. john king usa starts right now. thanks, wolf, good evening, tonight its rail re -- israel reacts to the speech for new israeli palestinian peace talks. the crackling tension is overshadowed what the president had hospital to be a lofty speech but u.s. goals in the fast-changing middle east. >> the status quo is not sustainable. society is hold together by fear and repression may offer the illusion of stability for a time. but they are built upon fault line that's will eventually tear us under. >> tonight we'll tap cnn's unrivaled global reach to the
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speech or impact or lack of impact in the hot spots of the middle east and north africa. dominique strauss-kahn is out on bail and under indictment now on charges he tried to rape a new york hotel maid. >> the relationship, well, frosty to begin with and the president struck a new nerve it seemwise this assessment near the end of thinks big middle east speech. >> we believe the borders of ace rail israel and palestinian should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swats so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. >> mr. netanyahu called that a bad idea. his blunt language was a surprise. the viability of a palestinian state cannot come at the expense of the viblt of the one and only jewish state, a statement from the prime minister's office read and went on to say, that is why prime minister netanyahu expects to hear a reaffi a firaffirmati
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commits in 2004, among other things, those commitments relate to israel not having a withdraw. it immediately rippled through our domestic politics as well. let's dig deeper with two veterans, my colleagues wolf blitzer and gloria borger. wolf. i don't remember a time in covering this issue, there are tensions from time to time between american presidents and israeli prime ministers. but for the prime minister to say essentially, i expect you, mr. president to take it back. >> it's tough talk and it's going to be icy tomorrow when they meet over at the white house. then they have a joint photo opportunity. i'm sure they are going to try to patch things over on surface, although under the surface, the relationship as you know, as gloria knows over the past two years has not been good since day one when the president urged the israelis to free settlement activity in the west bank. >> on the one hand it's not a surprise what the president said. everybody knows that's the general framework, you go back to the map.
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i'll show you in a minute. then i tinker with it. he said it publicly was new for a united states president, to go there. bumt that the israelis pushed back so publicly was astounding. >> because i think they believed that what the president said means an equal exchange of territories in a final deal. when you talk about mutually agreed swapz. we give x, they have to give x. they are saying, this can't be an equal game here and so they are looking at this as not just any kind of a restatement of what bill clinton was talking about. but they are looking at a violation of what they say george w. bush promised them in a letter explicitly in 2004. >> that letter was to the former prime minister. the obama administration said we're not bound exactly any way. . wolf, the white house seemed a bit taken aback. they thought this was an even
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handed approach, they thought netanyahu neededed to move but also said for example, the palestinians need to figure out, now that they have an alliance against, mr. abass has to convince -- >> the president was very tough on the palestinians and he said, unless hamas accepts israel's right to exist, you can't blame israelis for refusing to negotiate with them. he was pretty tough on that and forceful in reasserting the u.s. commitment to israel. there's no doubt about that as well. but this -- the words are so sensitive. even though all of us who covered bill clinton's final months in office when he tried to negotiate a deal with then prime minister, they wanted to have that kind of swap as part of a pre-'67. and condoleezza rice when she was negotiated with the palestinians, and mahmoud abass, they had that swath and to
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formally state it, i expect they'll get over it. >> he's a tough negotiator. i was talking to a senior white house adviser after the speech. it was kind of frustrated by this reaction that netanyahu had, also, mitt romney said he had thrown israel under the bus. the president specifically stated that he would do nothing to jeopardize israel's security. >> he did but they also understand number one, the context. heading into a re-election cycle. both sides are trying to raise money off the jewish community and florida a very important state. let's go through some of that. since you brought up the politics, lindsay graham, very disappointed in the president singling out one issue. he didn't single out one issue but that's what he decided to state. by keeping the burden and thus the spotlight on israel, the president is giving the
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palestinian authority more incentive. the president kept the spotlight on both. you mentioned governor romney says under the bus. governor pawlenty, dangerous demand, another presidential candidate. john huntsman more poe lie lightly saying, you should have ask israel first. perhaps netanyahu knows that. >> he's going to be delivering a major speech too in the next few days. then he's inviteded to attend a join session in congress. my whole suspicion of why did the president of the united states decide now to deliver this speech, i think it was designed to preempt netanyahu. >> i hesitate to ask a question which i don't know the answer. when did the prime minister learn about this? very often and you guys both covered the white house, when you do a speech that is this delicate, you show it to the
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israelis, say in advance. we know the president was very late in coming out there today. we don't know why but my question is, when did netanyahu see this speech? did he react in advance to the white house and say, whoa, i don't want to you do it and did the white house do it any way? >> my own sense is that the president believed, he studied this issue and knows the conflict. there were some advisers, more political advisers who didn't want him to be specific on these sensitive issues but others including i think the secretary of state hillary clinton wanted him to be specific. i don't know where george mitch you will who resigned abruptly. >> he wanted an obama plan like the clinton plan. >> this was the president's decision and he decided this was the right thing to do for the united states and right thing to do for the israelis. >> they don't think it's a depa departure. this is the pre-1967 map the
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president was talking about. if you look at where we are today, you see here you have the palestinian territories here in the west bank and israeli settlements out in west bank, the gaza strip is over here. one of the plans all along has been if you have a continuous palestinian state, would israel give up a strip of land somewhere across here to connect the west bank to the gaza strip? if so, what will they get back from the palestinians. that has been negotiations going back to the clinton administration. to have it said so publicly appears to have pressed a nerve. i spoke with the president's deputy dennis mcdonough and asked about this extraordinary statement that prime minister netanyahu expects president obama to back away from what the president said just today in his speech. >> john, the president looks very much forward to the meeting with prime minister netanyahu. it will be the seventh meeting and opportunity to discuss this matter and our ongoing cooperation with the israelis across a range of issues, to
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include our effort, historic, to fight back against efforts and also working together against our shared concern about iran's nuclear program. >> it's a very diplomatic statement. forgive me for interrupting. this is one of the most sensitive relationships for the president of the united states. within moments of the president's speech, for the prime minister to say, no the central thing you outlined is unacceptable, it speaks volume yous, didn't it? >> i didn't hear you read the word unacceptable but we will work closely with our israeli partners as it relates to this issue. this is not an issue that's totally unprecedented, of course, john. you've heard presidents in the past work on this as it relates to borders and efforts in the past. you also heard prime ministers and governments in israel raise
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similar types of proposals. but here's the commitment. you highlighted one -- one principle, which is the 67 borders with mutually agreed swaps. what you didn't highlight is the commitments the president made in the speech to israel's security. this is an effort that frankly we've been working very aggressively with our israeli partners including military to military, as well as at the political level. the president has directed us to do that. the american taxpayers have made unprecedented investments in israeli security, including with very successful programs like the iron dome program which is stopping rockets launched from the gaza strip. we'll continue to make those resource allocations. those investments will continue our very important work as it relates to threat mitigation and threat reduction. then at the end of the day, we're going to have disagreementwise our good frien friends. that happens with our allies.
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it's the kind of relationship that can withstand that. that's what he'll discuss with the prime minister tomorrow. >> it's a foreign policy speech, global challenge but you understand the timing, we're heading into a political cycle here in the united states and number of conservatives already criticized the president for what he said about israel. here's one just from mitt romney, former massachusetts governor, republican candidate for the presidential nomination. he said he violated the first rule of foreign policy and thrown israel under the bus. >> well, john, i think the first rule of american foreign policy is to protect the united states and our interests. that's exactly what this president has done and will continue to do, to include in our efforts to make unprecedented investments in israel's security, to work jointly against our concerns related to iran's illicit nuclear program. we're not going to get into the politics of this. we'll leave that to somebody
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else. our job isn't to worry about the politics. our job is to worry day in and day out about securing the american people, securing the united states, and working very closely to secure other critical allies like israelis. that's something that should be frankly above politics. >> let's talk about some of the other challenges the president addressed in the speech. earlier it took a bit of time but the president did come out and say mubarak neededed to go and gadhafi must go in libya. listen to this. >> the syrian people have shown courage in demanding a transition to democracy. president assad now has a choice. he can leave that transition or get out of the way. >> why does president assad get a longer leash, if you will than presidents mubarak or gadhafi? >> i don't thirveg think he gets a longer leash. you see the united states coordinating closely with the european friends and allies with the turks to make very clear
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what we expect of leadership in das ma damascus. we rolled out a series of sanctions that went directly to president assad and closest advisers for the steps they've taken. he has now worked himself into a position of much deeper isolation by killing his own people, by refusing to allow human rights investigators into syria to ascertain what's happened there and until he works himself back out of the isolation, he's not going to be able to effectively lead his country. that's a fact, john and that ultimately is the most concerning fact for the syrian people. >> den is mcdonough, thank you. >> i appreciate being with us. >> freedom at a price, we'll break down the new charges against dominique strauss-kahn.
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and how did the president's speech play in egypt, syria and elsewhere in the arab world? we'll take you there next. [ ma] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible.
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if president obama had but
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one goal, it was to aalign himself with the pro democracy advocates springing up across the middle east and africa. >> our message is simple, if you take the risk that reform entails, you will have the full support of the united states. >> as he promised to help reformers tunisia and egypt, he disappointed activists in syria. some were quick to cry hypocrisy after they announced strategic interest would sometimes trump support for democracy and never once mentioned saudi arabia. >> not every country will follow our particular form of representative democracy. and there will be times when our short term interests don't align perfectly with our long-term vision for the region. >> let's get perspective from three of our correspondents who have years of combined experience. nic robertson and arwa damon in
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beirut. here's a big question, as the question says i'll be on the side of the reformers, united states will help you. is he viewed in the region as relevant? >> well, i have to say that this revolution is an ongoing thing and very much there is a lot of skepticism about the american role in egypt, for instance. there's a lot of resentment over the fact for decades the united states was a very close partner of hosni mubarak providing him with billions of dollars in economic and military aid. it was only at the very last minute that the united states dropped him like a hot potato and threw in support for the revolution. you have decades of passions of resentment that have finally been freed with the fall of these regimes. and therefore, a lot of that passion resentment and anger is being focused at the united
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states and no fault of his own necessarily because he's only been in office for just over two years, but at barack obama himself, john. >> it was striking listening to the president. he noted the arab spring began where you are in tunisia and that the united states wanted to help and candid in expressing sometimes strategic interests like bahrain, might get in the way of the long-term goal. i was struck, he did not mention one country where you visited several time and such an important player, not one mention of saudi arabia. did that strike you? >> it did. relationwi saudi arabia wanted to see the united states stick by its former ally hosni mubarak and give him a softer landing, if you will. i think that was reflected there, that the president obama is not mentioning saudi arabia because they are still a huge player in the region.
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he doesn't really have anything to say either way. in many ways they represent everything that president obama says he wants to change, democratic change essentially a better trickle down economy led in a better economic fashion that benefits all of the people. of course, saudi arabia is hugely rich but not a democratic country. the future for the region there, president obama's talking about and perhaps by the fact he didn't mention them by name, perhaps may help him try to sort of build and mend fences. >> arwa, the president said he would be on the side of the reformer and yet although he called for mubarak to step down, he stopped short when it comes to syria, holding out perhaps some last hope that president assad would get the message. from everything you have seen on the ground, wishful thinking, is it not?
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>> the syrians appear to be fairly confident in the seps they do seem to believe they have the upper hand in all of this. they realize the challenge that syria poses because of strategic position in the region because of the close alliance with iran and the fact it shares a border with israel and does have the ability should it choose to do so to ferment unrest in lebanon. this for a certain degree frustrated and angered some syrian activists who wanted to hear the president come out and say, perfect bashar assad lost his legitimacy to lead. there is the theory that the u.s. will not bring about the time of regime change they want nor do they want the u.s. to do that. this is a syrian revolution, regime change will come about at the hands of the syrians. they want to see stronger support from the u.s. and much stricter and harsher rhetoric
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against assad. >> thanks. in addition to our experienced reporters we also value the perspective of young activists stirring reform movements. last night one of them, egyptian blogger ib ra him told us this. >> at this point it's completely irrelevant to what this country is going through right now. >> but she did watch the president's speech and we checked back to see if president obama changed her mind. >> it was insignificant and it wasn't anything new that we didn't expect. i mean, it has been the same speech with every president pretty much of the united states. nothing that was different really that we didn't know already. >> and so let me boil it down this way, the president's goal was to reach out to people like you and say, i'm on your side, i want to help you. you either don't believe him or don't think it matters or both? >> how president obama can help
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us or american administration is to really stay out of it all. we are the only ones capable of building our own democracy, our own economy, our own political life with no aid from anybody. and if we can't do it on our own, then we can't do it. but any intervention, it's like -- because this change happened from within and because it was truly aside from any foreign force that now the u.s. is trying to get you know, in it somehow or to be part of this change when they have no business to do so or any other country. and i think this is kind of the reaction that have been hearing on egyptian tv or reading on twitter or speaking with my friends, is that it's nothing new that the u.s. aid will never be genuine. it will be in favor of something else. and this takes us back to the old cycle that we want to end.
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>> cnn's fareed zakaria is also in cairo tonight. let's start on big picture. what is in your view and your conversations in egypt the most important thing the president did say in his speech today? >> honestly, john, it's been a hard sell in egypt. the egyptians particularly those who organized the revolution whom i spend a lot of time with, they feel that the united states and the obama administration came to the party late. they offered very little. so they were a hard sell. i don't think that there was anything that president obama said that really swayed them. i would argue that he did try to present at the broadest level the idea that the united states is squarely behind this democratic wave, that while there are going to be variations from country to country, in general, the united states supports what is going on in the arab world.
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and he tried to put the united states behind the aspirations of the arab people. i think it will take more than simply saying it to convince the arab people of that. and that's what i've been discovering talking to people here. >> and to that point, how hard is it, at a time when we know u.s. credibility is low to begin with, for the president to sell himself as a friend of reform, when he admits there are inconsistences and critics would sayypocrisies in his approach. he'll talk against the violence in syria and against the violence in libya, but he is not as forceful when it comes to bahrain and he was silent when it comes to saudi arabia? >> i think this is the hardest not for him to crack because the people here, particularly the protesters and activists like students and young people everybody where, they want perfect consistency. they want an end to what they call hypocrisy and some of that
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they main with regard to israel versus arab countries but a lot to the issues you laid out. here's the problem, obama is not simply the professor in chief of the united states, he's the president. he has to worry about american interests and the reality is in foreign policy, you can't treat all of these countries the same. there are going to be differences. for example, the big one you mentioned, saudi arabia. the united states cannot take -- cannotage tate for reform in saudi arabia. instability in saudi arabia would be devastating, would mean $250 a barrel oil. it could mean the western world or whole world would be plunged into another global recession. he has to balance that against the democratic aspirations of people in the arab world. no president is ever going to be able to be perfectly consistent. and so he's going to have to
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live with the fact that for many people in the arab world, particularly some of the activists he'll be seen as inconsistent and seen as a hip poe krit. i would argue it comes with the territory. >> near the end of the speech, the president turned to the generations old problem, the israeli/palestinian conflict and the white house viewed this as an even handed speech. he wants israel to think about going back to the 1967 borders and palestinians, the hamas faction needs to come to the table ready to recognize israel. yesterday, fareed, the israeli prime minister, netanyahu immediately said no and said he expects president obama, expects the united states president to keep a commitment george w. bush administration made that israel would not be held to the old borders. what do you make of that? >> i was surprised that president netanyahu said that because what president obama says was clear, it was on the
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basis of 1967 borders plus land swaps that both parties agreed to, which was after all the clinton plan, which everyone understands is going to be the ultimate basis. in other words, you don't end up with this 1967 borders, you end up -- you start there then you make some horse trades. the palestinians need a corridor of land that would connect gaza with the west bank. they would have to give up a certain amount of land. i think it speaks to the fact that prime minister netanyahu really does not want to move forward and is searching for any excuse. what president obama said i thought was extremely even handed. he condemned hamas and said israelis are correct not to negotiate with hamas, called on them to renounce terrorism and the pact between hamas and palestinian authority troubling. as far as i could tell, he said everything he could say to make clear he affirmed israel's security, offered assurances.
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and for prime minister netanyahu to take a speech like that and view it as one sided tells you at some point he was waiting to say no. >> fareed zakaria. thanks fareed. still ahead, crackling political news, donald trump breaks another promise. and what newcomer to the republican presidential field will love this. >> there's no question that he's a conservative. he weighed to the right of barack obama, for goodness sake. >> we take you inside the courtroom as the powerful french financeer accused of sexual assault makes his case for freedom. what are you looking at? logistics. ben? the ups guy? no, you see ben, i see logistics. logistics? think--ben is new markets. ben is global access--
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dramatic developments in a case being watched around the world. a new york grand jury indicted the former monetary chief on seven criminal charges, including attempted rape. prosecutors say they've got a solid case. >> while the investigation still is in its early stages, the proof against him is substantial. it is continuing to grow every day as the investigation continues. >> cnn national correspondent susan candiotti joins us with the details. granted bail, does that mr. strauss-kahn is free tonight? >> reporter: not quite yet. it means he'll be spending one more night at likers jail, one more night in a cell eating jail food, on a protective suicide watch with a guard looking in on
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him every 15 minutes. i strongly suspect he probably doesn't mind because he knows he's going to make bail and will be getting out soon, probably tomorrow. all this time in the meantime, a security company has been hired by him and his wife to outfit an apartment in manhattan that is just been leased by his wife journalist ann sinclair and being outfitted with cameras that will be keeping watch 24/7. they are paying a hefty price and they have to pay for it. it's been estimated $200,000 a month. >> that's a pricey deal to get bail. as you mentioned, the wife, you were in the courtroom today and we heard from the prers. what was the reaction of mr. strauss-kahn's family? >> reporter: you know, it's interesting. i was struck they were very composed. i saw no reaction on the face of his wife and daughter. they were sitting in the front row and had their eyes focused, clutching each other's hands. when he walked into the
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courtroom for first time, we saw mr. strauss-kahn break out into a smile for the very first time and they smiled back. at one point he even blew them a kiss. all the while, five armed court officers were standing behind him keeping watch on things. in the end, the judge looked at him sternly after granting him that bail and said to him, sir, you better be here. >> susan candiotti live for us outside the courthouse. we'll keep on track of this courthouse and continue our conversation with jeffrey toobin. you just heard the prosecutors say they have a strong case and you heard susan describe the extraordinary means he's going to. i want you to listen to one of the defense attorneys make the case that this man is not a flight risk. >> we also know that immediately after the incident, alleged incident, he enjoyed a leisurely
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lunch with his family at a restaurant am midtown and that he got in a taxicab at 2:15 more or less to make a 4:30 flight to jfk. >> a bit of a travel log, why if it at all is that important as to whether or not he gets bail? >> the argument that taylor was making and presumably will make at trial. he was not harried or frantic to get out of town. if any incident took place, presumely the argument goes, he would have just fled immediately to the airport. the defense has now started to spell out the argument, went out to lunch with his daughter and took a flight where the ticket had been purchased a week in advance. he was not acting in the way that you would suspect someone who had just committed a terrible crime would act. it is an argument, it's not a bad argument. but it is hardly going to be the thing that decides the case. >> jeff, stay with us. also joining us is a senior
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political correspondent for the french network bfm tv. the idea of the cameras and monitoring, how is this being viewed in france? this is a prominent politician, many thought he might be a candidate for president. do they view it as business as usual or are there questions about the american justice system? >> that would be the exact opposite of the business as usual. it's a very different judicial system. what has been happening over the past few days we discussed it you and i over the past few days as well. it has been very much of a shock in france. there's no such thing as a cameras being allowed in a courtroom. the shock is tremendous. you may argue from a french perspective and french political perspective, the most important thing that happened today was not the fact it was released on
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bail, but that was the fact that he was indicted. because what that means is that he's on his way to a trial. it's a process that's going to be harsh and costly, but it is also process that very practical terms means he cannot run for president anymore. that's the end of that particular road for him today. he has yet to announce officially that he's not going to run but in practical terms he cannot do it anymore. >> you say just cannot do it. do you view this and your colleagues view this as a temporary pause, or is this the end, period, of his political career? >> it's going to be very hard for him to recover at this point in time. you know, he's 62. maybe he could try and put himself in position to run again in five years' time. that would take him to 2017. it will be almost 17 at that point in time. i don't think he has any presidential hope left. he might become a wise man of
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french politics, so to speak, to the extent that he can recover from this. up until what happened on saturday, he had a tremendous amount of respect in france. he reinspective of what may have happened in that hotel room on saturday. he was a gifted and is a clever french politician and again, he was well on his way to being in a position to defeat president sarkozy. and again, no matter what happened on saturday, there's a lot of sadness and a lot of heavy hearts today and past few days of what might have been. >> at the political fallout there jeff toobin. let's talk about the sequences, seven charges, two counts of criminal sexual assault, two counts of sexual abuse. one count of attempt to commit rape and forceable touching. these are very serious charges. >> i'm listen to my my friend talk about running for president. he has to worry about going to
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prison for ten years. that's what happens with people in our system convicted of this k kind of sexual assault. it's sort of a weird thing to say, from a legal perspective, this was actually a very good day for dominique strauss-kahn. he easily could have been denied bail. there are definitely judges in new york supreme court who would have denied him bail. the fact that he will wait two months, three months, four months, for this trial in an apartment in manhattan, rather than in a cell on rikeres island, that is an incredible piece of good news. his defense attorneys are celebrating tonight, even though he was indicted. >> and terry, let's make the distinction. talk about some people in france taken offense to what they would view as the pe kul yarties of the justice system. >> nobody is denying the gravity
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of the potential charges. and you know, if he is proven to be guilty, there will not be a lot of pity for him. people will think it is his puni punishme punishment, no doubt about that. the shock was not about whether somebody who attempts rape deserves a very harsh punishment, it is about seeing the pictures, of his having proven guilty. that's a completely different thing if you see what i mean. the shock was very deep. it doesn't mean at all that people are not aware that the charges are very serious. and again, that's also one of reasons why i think it's not going to be able for him to recover. and one of the points i was trying to focus my reporting on today is trying to make people understand back in france, how harsh and difficult the next few weeks and months are going to be for him.
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sitting in that apartment, also undergoing immense scrutiny. it's quite clear the prosecution is going to drive not only to prove what happened in this hotel room on saturday is terrible, but also that it corresponds to a pattern that they are also other incidents in his past life that have not been good with respect to his behavior. again, the next few weeks and month are going to be extremely harsh for him, even though there's a bit of good news today. >> we appreciate your help on this dramatic story. we'll stay on top of it. rising fears as flood waters up the mississippi turn deadly. why the governor fears more lives could be in danger because some residents refuse to evacuate.
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welcome back. here's the latest news you need to know. authorities want a dna sample from the unabomber in connection with the unsolved tylenol poisoning case in which seven people died. kaczynski is serving life in prison for package bombs. the first death of flooding. haley barbour's home is flooded but he tells us his biggest worry is people won't leave despite widespread flooding.
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>> a very small handful of people who may not have evacuated will be at risk in the middle of the night and we'll have to send highway patrolmen or national guardsmen out to risk their lives. >> in a moment, governor barbour talks 2012 politics, including one republican hopeful whose sound bites make at the think what a jerk. web browsing
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biz yea day on the presidential campaign trail. newt gingrich is out in iowa visiting five cities today.
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donald trump is not in iowa tonight, but he was supposed to be, and that makes the iowa republican chairman mad. he canceled appearances tonight. the chairman saying in iowa your word is your bond. we're disappointed mr. trump has chosen not to honor his commitment to iowa republicans. former utah governor, u.s. ambassador to china john huntsman began a five-day visit to new hampshire today. we'll be in new hampshire tomorrow. that's the first primary state and the campaign trail up there just beginning to heat up. a bit earlier today on the subject of 2012 politics i spent a few minutes talking politics with the republican governor haley barber of mississippi. >> you decided not to run for the republican nomination for president. in recent days you have seemed to be a cheerleader for your friend, now the governor of indiana, to get into the race. do you believe he will run? >> i really don't know, john. you are going to have to ask him. i know myself, it's a very difficult decision. it's a very personal decision, a family decision, and a political decision. mitt is a smart guy. i think he would make a great
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president. i told him when i was thinking about running that even if i ran, i thought he ought to run. that it's good for the field to have as many good candidates. he would be one. there are other good candidates as well, and i hope we see more. >> would you endorse him if he runs? >> well, you know, i never have endorsed anybody that wasn't a candidate, so i'm going to keep my record at that. >> but you could nudge him in by saying get in, i'll help you out and call my fundraising guys, we'll work for you. >> well, he would be a very good president. he is very capable. there are a bunch of good people that are friends of mine in this field. >> i suspect he already knows. one friend of yours in this field who said what i'm going to call a very, very, very, very tough week is newt gingrich, the fortunatelier house speaker. what do you make of the fact -- or was this perhaps predictable because the knock on newt is that on occasion that his tongue gets out ahead of his brain. >> well, look, i've said stuff
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in my career that i wish i could take back, but when you're running for president, you can't take anything back. that's just the way it is. newt is very bright. he has a tremendous amount to offer. he is a friend of mine. i was chairman of the party when he was speaker of the house. there's not anybody in politics who hasn't said something that they regretted saying, but there are people in politics that the press treats more favorably than others. >> well, are you -- >> he is not one of those. >> are you saying this is a press issue in the sense that, governor, within a day he gave a mixed message on medicare. the paul ryan plan, which is a centerpiece of the house republican proposal. he called it radical. he said an individual mandate of health care isn't the worst thing in the world, and then he had to say i'm not for individual med. that's not a press problem, is it? >> what the press chooses to cover and how they cover it is for some candidates better, and for some candidates they get put
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under the filter and get the spotlight put on them as hard as they can. newt has always suffered from that. john, when i was chairman and newt was speaker of the house or even when he was in the minority leadership, if you heard newt make a 47-minute speech, even moderate people thought that man is thoughtful and smart, but the soundbytes made people think what a jerk. you know, we've all said stuff that we would like to take back. just some people it gets run more, and it gets emphasized more, and i'm not just talking about the liberal media elite in this case. i mean, there are a lot of conservatives who are just beating newt over the head, so don't take it personal, john. >> i don't take it personally, my friend. i'm out to new hampshire to see governor huntsman who has his debut up there, the former governor of utah. there are some in the conservative movemented who say this guy is a moderate. he was an ambassador for barack obama. he can't be our nominee.
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is he a mainstream republican in your view, or is he unacceptable? >> well, john huntsman and i served together sxshg while we don't agree on some issues, you know, it's no question that he is a conservative. he is way to the right of barack obama for goodness sake. i consider john a conservative. we have some -- as i say, we have some ishgz that i think are important that we have different views on, but he was in the reagan administration, elected governor of a very conservative state elect and re-elected, by the way. if you ask me is john huntsman qualified to be the republican nominee for the president of the united states, my answer is of course he is. >> you're a former republican national committee chairman at a time when the party had great success. answer the republicans out there -- you know this governor barbour -- who are saying, ah, this field is kind of weak.
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nobody very strong seemed to be wanting to run on the democratic side, and the same things were said about the democratic field, and then in a year and a half we had president bill clinton. a lot of times until you really get to know people a lot better, and many of these candidates are not very well known, you don't see their strengths and ability. i think by when it counts next spring and summer, we will have a candidate that's tha stacks up very well with barack obama and we'll have a very united republican party. nobody can unite our party like barack obama. >> always optimistic. governor of mississippi, haley barbour. best of luck in the coming days with the flood issues. >> thanks, john. >> we'll be right back. , at&t i, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars
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