tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 11, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
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hello, everyone. i'm fredricka whitfield. breaking news we're covering now. new developments this hour from the conflict in libya. we're working to confirm several reports that one of the sons of toppled leader moammar gadhafi has left libya and may have surfaced in another country. live now from kabul, afghanistan, our senior international correspondent nic robertson. nic, you know that saadi gadhafi may have left. you apparently know him personally, you've had e-mail exchanges, et cetera. what are you learning about his where abouts? >> reporter: what we know from the minister of justice and ministerial spokesman as well is that saaad gadhafi has crossed into niger.
they say he was allowed into the country for humanitarian reasons. niger is to the south of libya across part of the sahara desert. we do know and i do know from talking to saadi gadhafi last weekend, exactly a week ago today, that he has split essentially with his family, with his father and with his brother. it does seem when i was talking to him last week and he said i want to go on cnn and i want to speak to the world, essentially, but only when i have something to say. what he meant was, he was still trying to make a deal with the rebels, with the national transitional council, to bring about a cease-fire. that clearly he realizes has completely fallen apart. there is no option for that. and now it appears he has fled south of libya out of the country into niger. it's not clear exactly what will happen to him next. i've tried his satellite telephone. that appears to be switched off. i'm waiting for him to respond
to my e-mails, fredricka. >> nic, you have to wonder, might that be kind of a decoy that he has broken ties with moammar gadhafi? because hasn't it been reported that there are other family members that have sought refuge in niger? >> reporter: certainly we know that some top military officials from within the regime, gadhafi's regime fled to niger. they were allowed into the country, a convoy of somewhere between 7 and 12 vehicles, two convoys crossed in just a couple of days ago. but at that time nigerian officials said there were no gadhafi family members in that convoy. it could have been they were planning the route and proving the route was a safe escape ruth route, they weren't going to cut off by national transitional council fighters. what we have seen publicly is a real public split within the family. it appears from my contacts with
saadi gadhafi to have been bubbling under the surface for the last few weeks. he reached out to the national transitional council to try to organize a serious-fire. he went on an arabic language satellite television station talking about this, whereas at the same time his other brother, saif gadhafi, and moammar gadhafi himself, have both been on another satellite station that broadcasts out of syria saying that the fight should carry on, that the loyalists should continue to fight the government. so we've seen this public split. so i think -- also talking to one of the national transitional council commanders who had negotiated directly with saadi gadhafi, he told me that those discussions have been under way. so we can see that there is a rift, that two parts of the family have taken two different approaches. that's in the public domain. what his aim is to do in niger and what his travel options from there will be if he's able to travel further on, unclear at the moment, fredricka.
>> nic robertson, thanks so much from kabul. still whereabouts unknown, moammar gadhafi. all right. across america and around the world now, a day of remembrance on this tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. ♪ >> in new york, somber ceremonies at the new 9/11 memorial, the names of the nearly 2,800 people who died in the world trade center attacks, were read. moments of silence were held for when the towers were hit and when they fell. family members gathered at the memorial's stone walls to etch the names of their loved ones. president barack obama and former president george w. bush helped lead the commemoration there. >> ten years ago at 9:37 a.m., the pentagon was attacked.
>> vice president joe biden helped lead the memorial service for victims of the attack on the pentagon. troops placed wreaths at the memorial there. 184 people were killed when the hijacked american airlines jetliner struck the building. ♪ for amber waves of grain >> in shanksville, pennsylvania, memorial service for the victims who died when united airlines flight 93 plunged to the ground there. they're believed to have prevented the hijackers from flying the plane into the u.s. capitol in washington. president barack obama laid a wreath at the ceremony to honor the 40 victims on that flight. we have reporters covering all the angles of this day of remembrance. poppy harlow is in new york. barbara starr at the pentagon. david mattingly in shanksville, pennsylvania, and athena jones in washington. we begin with poppy harlow who joins us live from the top of the two world financial center in new york.
poppy, tell me more about the perspective there. >> reporter: you know, it's been interesting to watch this, fredricka. all day since 8:00 this morning when the ceremony began, of course president barack obama here along with president bush and both of the first ladies, the current and former, speaking to this audience. but it was interesting. it wasn't about politics. it wasn't about parties. it was all about the people that were being remembered. i'm standing right above just the glorious memorial that was opened for the first time, fredricka, just a few hours ago. family members let in for the first time to see the two massive pools and the names of each and every victim. a loved one to many of these people etched out. and it was interesting. what really stood out to me is that the family members after the ceremony was over would walk and they would touch with their hand their loved one's name. clearly very emotional. we got some perspective from a young boy who lost his uncle on 9/11. i want you to take a listen to his sound. of course, very moving to hear from a child.
>> he was very smart. and i -- i didn't know him -- i never knew him. but i bet we would have played -- like, he would have helped me learn and he would have helped me, like, study for tests and stuff. >> we also heard this morning from a man who was a little boy when his father died who spoke in front of the audience here. and he said, i grew up without my father. i would have loved him to teach me things when i was in high school. and now he has grown up and said, you know, what it would have meant to him to have his father. so a range of so many stories here today, fredricka. people are sharing 2,606 lives lost right here in lower manhattan behind me when those planes collided with these buildings. a cathartic day for some. a day for others that it's just too hard to be here. but all of new york, all of america and really all of the world came together today because a lot of people lost on 9/11 weren't just from america.
they were really from around the world. you saw that and you felt that down here today. >> poppy, i know you've spent a lot of time at ground zero, the rebuilding process. that has to be a real emotional tug that a number of the builders have and a huge responsibility. >> reporter: a huge responsibility, you know. fredricka, there was some criticism. why is it taking so long to get all of this built? i've got to tell you, when i was down there in the pits last week, i even went up to the top of the -- of the tower you see here behind me, up to the 70th floor there. it took them four years, until 2005, to really clean this out. it was such a disaster. and then start rebuilding. so they haven't been rebuilding since 2001. it is that complex. it took that much time. one of the construction workers i spoke with that we heard from last hour, he built the first world trade center back in the '70s. and he came back here to build this one. it's not just his story. that's the story for a number of
the workers here. i also spent a lot of time with a few women. you wouldn't think a lot of female construction workers would be on this project. there's about 3,500 people working here if you can imagine it. 30 of them are women. we also got a chance to sit down with them. they said it's been an inspiration to them to be part of history but also an inspiration to their daughters to watch their mothers building something like this. of course, it's a somber day. i think it's also a day of hope. if you look at just the stunning memorial and look at the buildings that are now being built, i should tell you one story a week. at a very rapid clip. it will eventually be filled once again and this area will be back to life. it's also, i think, an encouraging day. >> poppy harlow, thank you so much. remembrances all day today in at least three different locations. new york's ground zero, shanksville, pennsylvania, and then at the pentagon as well. just last hour we saw the president there as he has been at all of those locations. at the pentagon he laid a wreath at the 9/11 memorial, a ceremony was also held there earlier
today. about 750 people attended including 9/11 families and survivors. the memories of that horrific day are still vivid and haunting for those who lived through it. here now is cnn's pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. >> dennis johnson was my division chief. o december is a morris directly below him, she was our budget analyst. jose calderon. >> john yates remembers his pentagon co-workers killed in the attack. on that morning, how close were you? where were you here? >> i was standing about six feet inside this wall. >> reporter: and then american airlines flight 77 hit the pentagon. a fire ball headed right for yates and his co-workers. >> my greatest fear in life is at hand. yeah. i've always been afraid to die in a fire. >> reporter: john yates knew these hallways and offices intimately. it was knowledge that would wind
up saving him. >> i was crawling on my hands and knees, reaching out, okay. then going a little bit farther. and everything i touch burned me. >> yates suffered burns over more than 30% of his body. but because he worked in a renovated, stronger section of the building, most of these long pentagon hallways remained interact. it's the length of this hallway behind all of this that you have basically crawled through the flame and the smoke? >> yes. and the debris. then i heard a voice. and this voice just said, go out through this one particular door down -- it's clear town there. so i just started crawling toward that voice. >> reporter: the pentagon has improved the odds of surviving a disaster. sajil ahmed, the pentagon's director of facilities, shows us the latest. right in the cnn office, we have a breakaway window. there are cases of breathing
masks in the hallways. and continuous illumination tape to show escape routes in heavy smoke. facing the outside, 2,000-pound blast resistant windows held in place by steel. some were already in place on 9/11, and they held just feet from the devastation. so if a plane hits, if there is a bomb, the wall does not collapse. hopefully. >> hopefully. >> reporter: yates will tell you, he survived the burns, but the attack challenged his soul. >> i was standing in the middle of five people and i'm the only one that survived. >> john yates, how are you? >> good. john had to close out his dead colleagues' security files when he came back to work months later. >> it's the hardest thing i've done. >> reporter: but he will not run from the memories. >> i can't escape it.
you know, i get up in the morning and turn the light on in the bathroom and shave, and i see my face. i see my burns. i take a shower, i see it every single day. i live with it. but it's not who i am. >> the pentagon came back to work ten years ago. but still, some days are a little tougher than others. fred? >> understandable. barbara starr, thanks so much from the pentagon. cnn's david mattingly is at -- in shanksville right now. that memorial site. the president we saw just moments ago was at the pentagon laying a wreath. we know he was also in shanksville earlier today and got a chance to see firsthand those pillars of marble where each of the 40 victims' names are etched in there. give me an idea, david, what people have been saying and feeling there in what is usually a very solemn field, but today was filled with -- filled with a lot of people and a lot of hope
and a lot of despair? >> reporter: well, it was very, very emotional today, fredricka. very big change from what the emotions that were here ten years ago. but today, it's about remembering loss. and it was very personal. even though this was a public ceremony with maybe millions of people watching on television, it was still about a very deep sense of personal loss. not just for the families, but for the people close to them as well. and for all the people who have been moved by the story of the people onboard flight 93. but it was probably pennsylvania governor tom corbin who probably summed it up the best when we said that people sometimes struggle to describe what this place really means to so many people. that they often look into history, try to compare it to, say, the alamo or to the battlefield at gettysburg. he says that's not quite right. this place is unique because the people who died here were not soldiers.
>> we look to the past for comparisons, trying to fully grasp what this hillside means. and nothing can really fit it. the truth is, that this location, this place, is like no other. because the deeds aboard flight 93 were like no other. >> reporter: and today family members came up to the microphone to read out the names of their lost loved ones. the 40 names of the men and women, the flight crew and passengers and the people who died onboard flight 93. now this national park will stand here for future generations to make sure that their sacrifice will have its proper place in history, fredricka. >> david, the coroner who worked that tragic scene on 9/11 not only spoke at today's ceremony, but gave a very emotional speech. explain what unfolded today.
>> reporter: yeah. right. you're talking about wally miller. it was his responsibility to make sure that the remains were recovered and returned to each of the families. and he was able to do that, that very terrible and delicate and difficult task. through it all he became very close to these family members. he became part of their family. just like so many people here in this county, not just shanksville but somerset county here in pennsylvania have as well, they've dedicated a lot of their time, a lot of their energy to protecting this field and what it means. so the fact that this park here, this national park is here now, is not only a tribute to the people on board flight 93 and to their families, it's also a tribute to the people of this area who rallied around this place, who wanted to make sure that their sacrifice and their memory will not be forgotten. fredricka? >> david mattingly in shanksville, pennsylvania, thanks so much. turning to politics now, tomorrow is the first tea party
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okay, so who ordered the cereal that can help lower cholesterol and who ordered the yummy cereal? yummy. that's yours. lower cholesterol. lower cholesterol. i'm yummy. lower cholesterol. i got that wrong didn't i? [ male announcer ] want great taste? honey nut cheerios. want whole grain oats that can help lower cholesterol? honey nut cheerios. it's a win win. good? [ crunching, sipping ] be happy. be healthy. can i try yours? okay. we're just a day away from an event that could have a major impact on the presidential race. paul, what makes this debate different than a others?
>> reporter: i think you said right off the bat, fred, it is a tea party debate. the first ever tea party republican presidential debate. no denying that the tea party movement 2 1/2 years old now extremely influential in republican politics. we saw that last year in the mid-term elections. they also were pretty important, a pretty important factor in helping the republicans win back control of the house. i think everybody believes that they will be important in choosing the next republican presidential nominee. tea party activists will be able to ask questions at this debate. i got a sneak peek behind the seens with kate lunger. she heads up cnn's special events. take a listen. >> there's eight podiums here where our candidates will be. wolf blitzer will be the moderator. about 1,000 people in our audience on monday night and about 100 or so will be down here in the red zone asking questions. we're also going to take questions from some of our tea party watch party in virginia, arizona and ohio. don't forget, you guys at home can also participate with our social media component. ask questions via twitter, facebook and cnn.com.
>> reporter: so, fred, really, truly, a historic debate. a first of its kind. cnn tea party republican debate. >> okay. so why is the location of this debate significant? i must say looks like a postcard, a painting behind you. >> reporter: isn't that beautiful? you know it's important if you bring to boston, we brought the cnn election express. a big deal. see there the main gate at the florida state fairgrounds. just outside of tampa, florida. the first debate in florida. that's also interesting. we've seen debates in south carolina, iowa and new hampshire, the first states that vote in the primary and caucus. florida is probably going to trail them very quickly. it's going to be very early in the primary and caucus season. florida is such an important state in presidential politics. not only in the general election, but also in the primary politics. of course, florida's going to be the site of the republican presidential convention right here in tampa. of course, fred, there's a lot of senior citizens and a lot of people near retirement age in this state. listen to this. john huntsman, we teamed up with
him earlier today. this is what he had to say about florida. >> it's critically important. in fact, i do believe that this is where the republican nominee will be chosen. and somewhere between orlando and tampa, the great i-4 corridor, there's going to be a lot of important campaigning. a lot of connecting with the people of florida and ultimately i believe the decision made that will determine the next nominee of the republican party. and i do believe the next president of the united states. >> reporter: huntsman will be one of the eight presidential candidates on the stage tomorrow night. this debate could impact the race for the white house. fred, back to you. >> paul, thanks so much. we'll see you again in the next hour. you along with don lemon and shannon travis, a nice little round table discussion about what's at stake and what could likely unfold during that debate monday night. see you again in a moment, paul. a few minutes from now, republican strategist alex castellanos will be weighing in on tomorrow night's debate in tampa. we'll find out what he expects
to hear when the republican presidential candidates take to the stage. be sure to tune in monday night as cnn the tea party express and other tea party groups co-host the republican candidates' debate. it is in tampa, florida, the site of the 2012 gop national convention. of course, this debate unfolding monday night, 8:00 eastern. don't miss it. coming up, four people locked up overnight, suspected of planning terror attacks. this is in sweden. the arrest going down on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 here in the states. details of this arrest and what police think they may have prevented, next. my father, se bas chen guorky who e never met because i was in my mom's belly. i love you, father. i love you for the idea of having me. you gave me the gift of life and i wish you could be here to enjoy it with me.
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and no embarrassing odor. break the grip of pain with aspercreme. overnight police and s.w.a.t. teams swooped in on a group of people suspected of planning terror activity. is it normal for police in sweden to release such -- you know, just little bit of information about something potentially rather significant? >> not at all, fredricka. normally we would have a lot more details about something like this. it's been very quiet today. they're saying the investigation is at a very early stage. we do know that police were quite nervous ahead of this 9/11 anniversary. and when this happened, they did not want it to disturb events in new york. >> okay. so what do police know about the suspects? what are they willing to say
publicly? >> pretty much nothing at all. all we know is that there were four individuals arrested overnight by a s.w.a.t. team together with the local police and counterterrorism units. we do know that they've been held in custody today formally by police and they've all been assigned lawyers. we also know that they evacuated an art center. several hundred people had to leave. an art center that's right next to a big bridge in town as well. we don't know what they found there. but all we know is that it seems like a major plot was about to happen. >> okay. and does this kind of come out of nowhere or has there been -- had there been other incidents that have kind of heightened concerns about plots being hatched, et cetera? >> about a year ago sweden raised its terror threat level to level three which is elevated. last christmas, sweden had its first suicide bomber on the streets of stockholm. fortunately, no one was injured severely from that incident. there's also been a number of arrests in connection with the
mohammed -- the cartoons that were drawn in denmark just last december. five individuals were arrested for bringing automatic weapons with them down to copenhagen trying to attack that. there have been a number of arrests cently. >> per nyberg, thanks so much. back in this country republican presidential candidates get ready to face off in another debate. this one tomorrow night in tampa, florida. we'll speak live with republican strategist alex caste
republican debate in tampa, florida. republican consultant and cnn political contributor alex castellanos is with us now from tampa. good to see you, alex. all right. so is a tea party backed candidate likely to fair better, feel more compelled to appeal to tea party supporters at this debate such as a michele bachmann, for instance? >> reporter: that's -- that's why they're here. this is the core of the republican party, the heart of it. these candidates are going home tonight. now, for rick perry, that's good news. he's very close to the tea party. he's -- he kind of represents their anger. for mitt romney, that's a little different. he's more of the establishment republican. for mitt romney it's an away game tonight. for rick perry it's a home game. >> perry and romney, they have not been seeing eye to eye as it pertains to social security. is that battle likely to carry out on this stage as well? >> reporter: yes. i think, you know, usually you
don't start political campaigns by setting grandma's hair on fire. that's what rick perry seemed to do the other night. he said not only that social security is a ponzi scheme, which a lot of these republicans believe. they think, you know, there's no fund in the security trust fund. there's no -- there's no money there. it's broke. >> except a lot of these florida residents are not going to be happy with that. >> oh, yeah. all those florida residents, they heard something else, fredricka. they heard that if he could go back 70 years, he might undue social security. that's a little farther. so tonight, he's got to get up on that stage and say, look, yes, it's a ponzi scheme. i can't back off that. but i'm going to fix the ponzi scheme. i'm going to make sure it's there for everybody who's getting it now or near retirement age and in the future we're going to fix it so that there's actually some money in the social security trust fund zblp to say the republican party has been experiencing a lot of division is kind of an understatement. maybe the big understatement of the year. but now you're talking about the rise of the tea party power.
there seems to be an acknowledgment now of the republican party saying, okay, tea party, how can we work together? but then you have to wonder, who's going to win this battle? is it going to be the republican identity at stake or the tea party movement identity at stake? >> reporter: well, that's -- that's kind of the key question. i think you've hit it on the head. if you ask most republicans, 70%, 80% of republicans identify with the goals and the principles of the tea party. now, a lot of republicans are concerned that sometimes the tea party goes too far. but in terms of what the tea party is about, it's about reducing the size of washington. cutting spending. reducing the debt. not leaving it to our kids. growing the economy and jobs. and those are really -- that's what's animated the tea party. the tea party -- i think the challenge, for example, for mitt romney, mitt romney is the cool candidate tonight. you know, he's the one for the head, not the heart. this group of folks would sell
every other government building in washington and replace it with three good websites if they could. they want to know what you're going to do to knock that place down. and that's got an easier job, i think, for rick perry, for a michele bachmann, even for a ron paul than for a mitt romney. >> alex castellanos, thanks so much. a lot of people particularly on this 9/11 say they miss what was felt, say, 9/12. there was a sense of collective unity in this country. and we've heard it from voters in so many different ways. they want to see that kind of unity return to capitol hill. and return to the relationship between capitol hill and the white house. it'll be interesting to see if that, too, is going to be a topic in which to discuss or debate about at that debate tomorrow night, monday night, there in tampa. alex castellanos, thanks so much. good to see you. of course, be sure to tune in monday night. cnn the tea party express and other tea party groups co-host the republican candidates debate. it is in tampa, florida.
the site of the 2012 gop national convention. the debate first, tomorrow, monday night, 8:00 eastern time. al qaeda started what we remember happened ten years ago today. so what difference does a decade make to that terror group's ability to do harm? i asked our terrorism analyst exactly that, and his answer is coming up next. >> it's an honor to say my brother's name, christopher edmond lunder. who with his sparkling blue eyes and infectious smile is greatly missed and deeply loved every single day. >> and my father, calisto anya jr. we love you. you're my hero. hey can i play with the toys ?
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it's like an extra bonus savings. [ cackling ] he's my ride home. how much can the snapshot discount save you? call or click today. al qaeda may have lost its leader, osama bin laden, this year, ten years after 9/11. but does al qaeda still have a stronghold on terrorism? earlier i asked our terrorism analyst paul crookshank about al qaeda's ability to strike again. here's what he told me. >> there's still a threat today. there's evidence of some sort of plot, perhaps, coming from pakistan, from al qaeda over there. that information is not corroborated at this point at this moment. but they still have a safe haven in pakistan. there's still a lot of western recruits going to the training camps in pakistan. that's giving them opportunities
to recruit them, train them in bomb making training and send them back to the west for attacks. they still have a safe haven there. the drone strikes have been very damaging to the organization. bin laden is dead, other senior operatives killed. they've been able to promote fresh blood up through the ranks. people aren't so exposed to these drone strikes. there's also a threat now from various affiliates around the world. the threat has grown more fragmented, decentralized, defused. there's a group in yemen, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula that's the most immediate threat now to the united states, fredricka. also there's this moem grown threat now. lone wolves not linked to al qaeda but inspired by their ideology. >> paul cruikshank telling me also that since al qaeda has been so splintered and so decentralized the terror threat
is actually hard tore pin down now than it was ten years ago, he said. much more in the "newsroom" right after this. my beautiful, amazing mother, grace aleg ra. i love you and miss you and hope you're so proud of all of us and i know you're looking down smiling upon us. >> and my sister, bridgette ann esposito. a special angel sent down by god, loved by all, taken and not forgotten. you're forever in our hearts. i remember the days before copd. my son and i never missed opening day.
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the vast majority of the goods and services that you buy are made in america. that doesn't include things like shoes, clothing and electronics. most of those products come from orr seas. yesterday i talked to financial consultant eric amato. he explained why it costs so much to produce goods in the u.s. >> we high labor costs in the united states. people like to make money in the united states. also we have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world right now. i think we just surpassed japan as the highest tax rate. also we have stringent health care and safety regulations here in the united states. so when you put all these variables together, it makes it very difficult to compete with other countries. >> how encouraging is it when
you hear that the u.s. when it does manufacture things, the quality is much better when it pertains to drugs or airplanes or even textiles? is that at least a push in the right direction that perhaps if we're manufacturing those things well, then those companies might be able to hire more americans, too? >> yes. if we have great manufacturing standards here in the united states, like you said, with those products, we can hire more americans. but the main reason why we can't hire more americans right now is several things. for example, we have a lot of people out there that do not have the skills and qualification to meet some of the top grade jobs that we need to hire in the united states. for example, microsoft is always going across seas to find -- get good employees, good engineers. changing the business landscape. every day something's changing. for example, the ipod is coming on board. that changes everything. also there's a lot of debt with corporations. these are some of the main reasons why, you know, companies are laying off and we just don't have a good unemployment rate
right now. >> you can catch financial fix every saturday at 2:00 eastern time and on sundays again 4:00 eastern time right here on cnn. texas governor rick perry came late to the gop presidential race. but now he's at the top of a gop poll. can he keep his momentum? we'll discuss that, next. [ male announcer ] we went to germany's nurburgring to challenge ourselves on the most demanding track in the world. with us, in spirit, was every great car that we'd ever competed with. the bmw m5. and the mercedes-benz e63. for it was their amazing abilities
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i saved hundreds when switching. we could use hundreds. yeah. wake up and smell the savings. out there with a better way. now, that's progressive. a texas governor who wants to be president. in a very short time rick perry has quickly shot
to the top of the most republican polls for president. his critics say he's long on appeal, short on message. supporters say he's the real deal. cnn's ed lavandera talked to both. >> sometimes your instincts tell you when a man is right for the job. >> reporter: wearing chaps and riding a horse. rick perry's first statewide political ad back in 1990. legendary texas political
consultant bill miller remembers women posting pictures of perry in chaps in offices all over austin. he knew then rick perry had the "it" factor. >> he told me, yeah, he's a good looking guy. when you meet him you kind of get a vitality and energy off of him that you'll feel which will surprise you. >> reporter: so miller isn't surprised to see perry rocket to the top of the polls for the republican presidential nomination. he credits perry's risk taking like joining the tea party movement early. >> we didn't know where it was going or how it would play out. so he's a risk taker. but a smart one. because the bets he makes have paid off well for him politically. >> reporter: harold cook is another veteran political consultant in austin. he knows a thing or two about crafting political messages. he says perry has a great narrative but he hasn't locked up the nomination yet. >> if you hope to knock perry down as a republican opponent, you're going to have to get in the middle of his own jobs narrative and your going to have to knock it down a couple notches. the notches are there to knock. they just haven't tried yet.
>> reporter: cook is a democrat and he wouldn't let an opportunity slip by without trying to burst the rick perry phenomenon bubble. >> as easy as perry is to underestimate, it's also kind of easy to overestimate perry. he is not some magic monolith of a campaign here. since 1994, the only thing you've had to do as a republican in texas to win your election is to avoid being the democrat. >> reporter: rick perry is also used to being the front-runner. he's always held the lead. and he's comfortable in front of crowds. he was a yell leader, kind of like a male cheer leader, at texas a&m university. >> all of that in a weird kind of way helps him and i think makes him a better politician, better campaigner. certainly by all accounts he's as good a campaigner as anyone seen down here in our lifetimes. >> reporter: there's still months left in this race. rick perry can't ride off into the sunset as the republican nominee just yet. ed lavandera, cnn, austin,
texas. >> be sure to tune in tomorrow night as cnn, the tea party express and other groups co-host the republican candidates debate. it's in tampa, florida, the site of the 2012 national gop convention. other stories we're following. at least two dozen new wildfires are now burning in texas and other big fires are still spreading. the biggest is in bastrop county near austin. it has burned more than 34,000 acres and is only half contained. texas is under the driest weather since 1895. in the northeast, it's floodwaters that are causing all sorts of problems. more than 2,000 homes in northern pennsylvania are damaged. record breaking floods there. and in neighboring new york are blamed on the remnants of tropical storm lee. in the decade since the 9/11 attacks, we've been in two major wars including in afghanistan. next, why the nato commander in
afghanistan thinks it's important to keep american forces there. >> dad, you're a grandfather now. my son is nearly 3 years old. and i will never let a day go by without him knowing that his grandfather was a hero. we love you. we miss you. be safe. [ male announcer ] if you're in a ford f-150 and you see this... it's the end of the road. the last hurrah. it's when ford's powertrain warranty ends. but in this ram truck, you've still got 39,999 miles to go. ♪ guts. glory. ram.
march 11th, six months ago to this day, that's when that massive earthquake struck off japan's coast. it triggered a devastating tsunami that led to meltdowns and radiation leaks at the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant. across japan today, people pause to remember the tdisaster and te more than 20,000 people dead, still missing or still unidentified. not every public gathering was this solemn. thousands marched on the power company's headquarters and government buildings, furious at what they consider poor handling of the crisis. overnight police in sweden arrested four people believed to be plotting terror attacks. this is the coastal city of goatenburg, sweden's second largest city after stockholm.
sweed dish authorities say the suspects were in the preparation stage of an attack. police say they have probable cause to put the suspects in jail. in afghanistan a suicide attacker set off a truck bomb at the entry gate to a coalition base. at least two afghan civilians are dead. nearly 80 nato personnel are hurt hurt. the taliban claims responsibility. thousands of american troops are still in afghanistan on this tenth anniversary of 9/11. the man who commands international forces there sat down for an exclusive interview with cnn's suzanne malveaux. >> ten years from the september 11th attacks, why are we still here? >> we're here because afghanistan must be left as a sovereign nation, a member of the international community, governed by a democratic country -- government that ultimately dispenses human rights, the rule of law and is not a platform for foreign terrorism. not a platform to launch attacks on the united states ever again,
on the west and upon the thousands and thousands of innocent people who have suffered as a direct result of al qaeda and taliban's ideology. >> coalition forces invaded afghanistan in october 2001. back in this country, politics. the tea party candidates and their die-hard supporters, they're getting a national stage at an entire debate right here on cnn tomorrow night. but just which of those hopefuls really has the heart of the tea party voters? the answer is -- none of them? hear for yourself with don lemon, next. whoa! hey! [ dog barks, growls ] ♪ whoa, watch out, little man. ♪ [ male announcer ] when you take away the worry, it's easy to enjoy the ride. hey, bud. hey, dad. [ male announcer ] introducing cadillac shield. the most comprehensive suite of owner benefits offered by any luxury auto maker in the world.
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[♪...] >> male announcer: now, for a limited time, your companion flies free, plus save up to 65%. call 1-800-sandals. conditions apply. all right. we're gearing up for the first ever tea party debate monday night moderated by wolf blitzer in tampa, florida. and cnn's don lemon is there as well. he found some people who support the tea party movement but haven't yet picked a candidate. >> who would you like to see on that stage or toss their hat into the ring? >> oh, well, you know, my favorite is my role model, sarah. i would love to see sarah do that. >> sarah palin? >> i'll take a bullet for her. i think she's wonderful. and i mean that. because i need a job. >> why haven't you