tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 7, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm EST
is the coxs say they were expecting josh to be arrested soon. and now "the situation room" with wolf blitzer. happening now tripleheader tuesday. as republicans vote in three states, mitt romney's camp offers a reality check. >> the battle over birth control and health insurance plans, signs of a possible white house retreat in what's become a political dangerous showdown with the nation's catholic bishops. and syria's regime sends roberts raining down on its own people. how long will the world stand by? i'll speak this hour with the united states ambassador to the sounds susan rice. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
>> in just a few hours results will start coming in from today's republican triple-header caucuses in colorado, minnesota and a primary in missouri up for grabs. dozens of delegates, but perhaps more importantly momentum. the front-runner mitt romney's campaign is anticipating a potential setback as his rivals look for an opportunity. our jim acosta is in denver. >> reporter: we're going to turn around and look at this screen back here, because mitt romney will talk to us from his bus. >> reporter: with a snowstorm slowing him down, he ran about an hour later, so he skyped to the crowd, a sign that not everything was going his way on this caucus day. >> colorado has something to say about who our nominees will be, and i think i will be that
nominee. a strategy memo was released. saying the campaign is anticipating possibly a loss. we expect our opponents to notch a few wins, too. the memo red cued newt gingrich's plans to -- boasting romney would triumph in the west, suggesting the campaign is prepared for a long haul to the nomination. >> our hope is that conservatives are stepping back, looking at the race. >> poised to win one of the day's contest, rick santorum decline to set expectations, but but predicted romney would fail to attract as many voters as he did in 2008. he under3r678d in nevada, he's
underperformed in new hampshire. just go on down the list. the same thing in iowa. so he's underperformed from four years ago. i suspect he will again. >> both santorum and gingrich are trying to tie romney to the obama administration's decision to require catholic hospitals to cover birth control expenses for its workers. romney noted that it was -- for emergenciry contraception to rape victims. >> governor romney insisted that catholic hospitals give out abortion pills against that i religious belief. i think a massachusetts moderate finds it very hard -- >> the former massachusetts governor ignored the attack, instead assuring the voters the obama regulation will soon disappear. >> this kind of assault on religion will end if i'm president of the united states. >> reporter: as for the romney
campaign memo, it also points out no delegates will be awarded immediately after tonight's contest. that will come later when state party conventions make those al occasions, but make no mistake, a romney defeat somewhere will sent home the message to a lot of republicans this race is not over until it's over. wolf? >> good point. jim, thank you. a look at today's republican contests. wlz at stake, our chief political analyst gloria borger is here. if romney were to lose one state, how much of a setback would it be? >> i think it would be a setback. they're saying, look, the opponents cannot chain the dynamics. in other words, it's already baked. but romney did win colorado and minnesota last time around. if he were to lose one of these states, particularly colorado, i think, a statement 1/2 some of
his top campaign advisers are from that state, i think it will be a real problem, because people could make the claim, you don't have it locked up. by the way, you can't coalesce those most conservative voters around you which need to come out in a general election if republicans are to win. >> because all at least of these states -- minnesota, colorado and minnesota -- potentially battle grounds in a general election. listen to what santorum said today. >> i'm excited. we're kicking off the day in colorado. we have a big caucus tonight, and we'll head to minneapolis, and they have a caucus, and same thing, we're going to missouri half that. we'll be in st. louis tonight. and at least if you look at the polls, today could be a very good day for the conservatives. >> he needs to win at least
something, i think. >> he does. >> is it make or break for him? >> i think it is. he kind of blew off florida, nevada, to come to a place like minnesota, where the most conservative people come out to participate in these caucuses. and i think right now, what he's saying is, look, there's an opening for me. i am the conservative in this race, not newt gingrich. we'll be looking to see, will newt gingrich be third? fourth? but rick santorum needs to win one and really two of these contests this evening to show he's got the juice to continue, not only with conservatives, but he's got to start raising money, and the only way to do that is actually put another one in the win category. >> and i wouldn't be surprised if ron paul in these caucus states does well, too, because he has an ardent group of supporters. >> he'll be a competitor. >> gloria will be with us
through our coverage tonight. we'll have complete coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. eastern, right after "the situation room," a special edition of "judge kin usa" and complete coverage of all the results will begin at 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. let's go to washington where there's big news. this afternoon the rule forces religious organization to offer birth control and health insurance plans, hospitals, universities and other institutions. let's bring in our white house correspondent brianna keilar. she's got more on what's going on, what apparently seems to have changed today, brianna. what's going on? >> more than anything it seems like a softening of a tone and reaching out an olive branch to certain catholic voters who may
be concerned. about 2 1/2 weeks ago they put in place a rule that will go in effect this summer, a rule saying employers just provide birth control, the employers must provide that by this summer. there was an exception for churches to provide that but the sticky issue had to go with charities, universities, hospitals, there was a delay put in this ruling for them, they had an extra year to comply, but it still created quite a firestorm, particularly with catholic leaders who were very upset. the development today is the white house kind of softening its stance, signaling it's open to working with the religiously affiliated employers in this
amount of time. lit -- >> the president's interest at a policy level is in making sure this coverage is extended to all women the other side is concerns about religious beliefs and convictions so we will in this transition per seek ways to implement that policy that allays some of those concerns. >> the white house trying to thread a neatle here, still insisting that women who are employed by these religiously affiliated employers have that insurance access. we did reach out to planned parenthood, even though this is just develops not too long ago. planned parenthood doesn't seem concerned, they're not alarmed. at least one spokesman said, but there have been in catholic
leaders who still very much are. the general council for the u.s. conference for catholic bishops saying implementing the policy as is are mutually exclusive. if they want to allay concerns, they need to change the policy. nothing less will do. what do voters think about this policy? >> there's a study that just came out by the public religion research institute. a lot of folks are pointing to it. it shows that roughly 6 in 10 catholics think employers should be required to provide this kind of insurance coverage. among catholic voters, which is obviously very important, it's slightly lower, but i think you're seeing the white house realized it may be different or possible to allay some of these
concerns of, say, the catholic bishops, but they're softening the stand, certainly trying to extend an olive branch. >> brianna, thanks very much. we're going to be talking about this in our "strategy session" later this hour. ari fleischer and donna brazile are standing by. praise and criticism are pouring in after an important court ruling on gay marriage in california. it sets you said what could be the final chapter of a very long fight. what could be next. we'll stand by for that. also we'll have the united states ambassador to the united nations, whether the world is going to stand by and allow syrian forces to pulverize a rebellious city. plus a man who says he's uncovered what officials don't want you to know about the afghan fighters that are supposed to take over once u.s. troops leave afghanistan. you'll want to see this. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." have i got a surprise for you!
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jack cafferty is here with "the cafferty file." jack? >> indeed, another election day and with it another day of bad news for newt gingrich. in this it looks like three more losses. >> plus rest polls shows him in third place in both colorado and minnesota, which is probably why gingrich isn't in any of those states today, choosing instead to campaign in ohio. newt's future doesn't look too bright at this point. there are two more weeks before another debate. at the end of the month come arizona and michigan romney is favored in both of those, and super tuesday on march 6th. gingrich has given up on giving up on the ballot. when gingrich took a thumping.
he seemed to ignore the results. he held a bizarre news conference where he vowed to, quote, find a series of victory which, by the end of the it can it can 3r50i78ary will leave us at parity with romney. say what? former candidate mish bachmann says she thinks the race will be over soon. dib armey says gingrich is a lost cause for those voters. meanwhile, just one more sign that gingrich is losing touch. wikipedia says that gingrich's communications director has made or requested dozens of ed illustrates on gingrich's behalf. these including factual references to his marriages and ethics charges brought against him while speaker of the house. is newt gingrich kidding himself at this point? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post
a comment or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. not looking good for the newt-er, wolf. >> i'll be speaking with him live, so will have a chance to question him. thanks very much, jack. a big ruling on california's ban on same-sex marriage occurred today. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and other stories. what's going on? >> a federal appeals court says california's voter approved gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. the manual made its decision saying the ban known as prop 8 served -- expect an appeal that could go all the way to the u.s. supreme court. we are learning more about the disturbing murder/suicide in washington state. police say josh powell attacked his two little boys with a match et before setting the house on fire, killing himself and his
children. in the minutes leading up to that rampage, powell called family members and left this message, quote -- i'm not able to live without my sons and not able to go on anymore. he says that on tapes obtained by abc news. filled -- the 85-year-old former president apparently spent six hours at a book launch party talking about current events and taking a swipe at the united states saying no one's interested in the gop primaries. and that gritty chrysler ad about detroit's comeback, well, it turns out it wasn't actually filmed in detroit. new orleans and los angeles serve as stand-ins for the motor city as clint eastwood reflects on halftime in america, according to "the weekly standard." and the only video that is actually from detroit turns out is stock footage, wolf? >> a lot of publicity thanks to
that video for chrysler and clint eastwood. a lot of debate going on. thanks very much for that, lisa. today we're seeing new records of syrian gunners shelling homes in a rebellious city. in a minute i'll ask ambassador susan rice if the world can find a way to shop the bloodhe shed. >> assad is off the as being armed. we'll take a closer look at how much political damage president obama has caused with a large very important group of religious voters. stay with us. ♪
shells and rockets continue to rain down on a city of a million people, now the epicenter of syria's revolt and brutal government crackdown. op sips groups say at least 25 people have died today. in damascus, the regime rolled out the red k57d for russia's prime minister a group of arab nations have followed the u.s. lead in recalling their am bass endorse some damascus, our lisa sylvester is following the hairoing accounts of slaughter that are emerging on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. what's the latest? >> that's right, wolf, an estimated 6,000 people have been killed in syria. the city of homs has been hit
heart. we are seeing images of civilians caught in the violence, women and children, schools and homes have been bombed. we're learning more how activists are getting these pictures out to the rest of the world. >> smoke rises above the city of homs. images of the destruction, including a bombed-out school. cnn cannot independently verify the authenticity of the videos, but the clips posted on youtube and other social media are one of the few ways the world can see what's happening there. syrian officials have only allowed a handful of journalists inside the country, limiting their access. this man who only wants us to identify him as adun, pleaded with us.
>> the entire world should be ashamed of what's happening here. everybody is sighants, looking at us as being slaughtered for every moment, for no reason. we're just asking for our freedom. we are getting killed every moment. we are not able to even get basic medicine to injured people. church you now really hungry. i swear, children are hungry. no power, no fuel, it's so cold. it's too much. for god's sake, this is too much. >> social media gives a window to the rest of the world, but it comes at a great price, activists risking their lives. only about 18% of syria has access to the internet, but there are enough people with
smartphones in key cities to have an impact. an activist who now lives in the united states explains there are various ways they're getting information out. people taking pictures on the phone and using youtube, but the syrian government has knocked out the internet, so they're using a cell phone a. p p that allows them to immediately stream them on live. >> it's actually recording. i can take this and record you -- >> anything. and it goes directly to the website. i would e-mail my channel and say i'm going to be live streaming from 5:00 to 6:00, say. >> activists say it's important to tell the world what is happening inside of syria why is it so important that the rest of the world sees these images. >> because the government keeps lying about what's happening.
without those images and considerable we cannot prove they're lying. >>. >> as mentioned, russia and china vetoed a u.n. security council resolution that would have demanded al assad stop the violence. they're slamming what they call the collective massacre and unicef also reports there have been deaths and injuries of hundreds of children, wolf. >> what a story, horrible, horrendous story unfolding. lisa, thanks. our coverage continues next. the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, susan rice, has a tough message directly for syria's leader bashar al assad. >> your days are numbered, and it is past time for you to transfer power responsibly and peacefully. >> my one on one interview with
susan rice. thanks very much. i want to get right to syria i want you to listen to what senator john mccain said today. he's outraged. listen to this. >> i think we should consider all options, including arming the opposition. the blood-letting has got to stop. >> is the obama administration ready to start arming the opposition in syria? >> we are all outraged and very much frustrated by the fact that two countries only, russia and china, following their own narrow interests blocked a very important resolution at the security council that would have given hope to an arab league mediated peaceful resolution of this crisis. despite that we are committed to seeing this resolved, and we
think that's very much possible. we are looking very active at what senator -- a form of contact group we're looking at ways to ramp up the economic pressure on asat, who is already feeling the economic squeeze confide potently, so the pressure becoming unyielding. >> and certainly consulting with our partners, the arab states that had been leading in initiative about appropriate next steps. we believe this can and should be resolved. >> the russians keep arming the regime, so i guess, is the notion of the u.s., the europeans, the arab world arming the opposition, is that something you would support? >> well, wolf, i think we want to certainly have the
opportunity to explore a range of options, but our strong preference is not to fuel what has the potential to become a full-blown civil war. assad is off the reservation. perhaps others, the armed opposition as opposed to the civilian opposition is increasingly resorting to violence in self-defense that is not in the interests of the people of syria. we very much want to ensure that we have exhausted the political and diplomatic means at our disposal. i want you to listen to this. >> the world should be ashamed. it's not just it is russians and the chinese.
their shame is obvious to the rest of us, but there's also so much abdication elsewhere. abdication by the turks nearby, by the arab league, there's abdication in washington. >> he's saying washington could be and must be doing a lot more. what also realistically can they do to stop the slaughter? >> i didn't hear him make any specific suggestions, but wolf, we think that the assad regime is on its last legs, that the pressure is increasing, the economy is crumbling defection shuns are increasing, so we're interested in accelerating that process of economic and political pressure, such that assad stops the violence and gets out of the way and gets out of power. we do think there are additional steps that we can take along that dimension that are -- that
have yet to be undertaken, and we're going to do so, but not every situation is identical. this is not a situation which unlike libya, where the arab league called for military intervention, where there was brought -- and frankly even the people of syria, the opposition themselves are not making that the centerpiece of what they're asking of the international community. so we need to be careful we don't apply a cookie-cutter mode. each of these are difficult, but we have a very strong interest and commitment to ending the violence in syria, and to employing and you have pressure that we can muster, economic, diplomatic and political in the first instance to accomplish that goal. they're still getting support, iran to be sure, even lebanon, even the supposedly u.s. regime,
the governor of baghdad of nuri al malaki, so if you see them being on their last legs, they probably say to themselves they still have some support out there. >> i think they very much are on their last legs, certainly while we have iran strongly in their quarter and russia for the time being, the fact is the region, the arab league, plus turkey, plus the international community as we saw in fact on saturday when countries from africa, asia, latin-american, europe, north america all came together do condemn this regime and call for its departure. assad may use the excuse to accelerate the 1r50i8ens in the short term, but there's no question that is not tenable over the long term or even the
medium term and indeed he is feeling the pressure economically and otherwise. our aim is to ratchet that pressure up. >> we're out of time, but quickly you're being seen around the world, including in damascus right now. i want you to look into the camera and assume ear speaking directly to president bashar al assad in syria. what would you say to him? >> i would say the united states stands with the people of syria fully and unequivocally in their aspirations for peace, for democracy, and for a brighter future. your days are numbered, and it is time and past time for you to transfer power responsibly and peacefully. the longer you hang on the more damage you do to yourself, your family, your interests and indeed to your country. >> ambassador, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. at army officer here in the united states is risking his job
to tell the world what he's seen in afghanistan. he warns the pentagon isn't telling the whole story. >> is this the u.s. military telling the president and telling the country what this thinks we all want to hear? >> yes. i believe it is. a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪ oooh, my turn. ♪ she was in paris, but we talked for hours... everyone else buzzed about the band. there's a wireless mind inside all of us. so, where to next? ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] offering four distinct driving modes
at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. cnn has learned of a new deeply pessimistic account. even though the defense secretary predicts the u.s. will be able to end its com bad mission in afghanistan, one man says afghan security forces are completely incapable of defending their own country. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's working the details. barbara? >> wolf, this is just one military officer's opinion, but he is getting a lot of attention to what he thinks.
>> daniel davis traveled across the battle zone talking to troops about what was needed. he says he arrived skeptical, but hopeful about the war. hope soon evaporated. >> i so wanted to see that and didn't see that. >> he's gone public. he does not have the army's permission to talk. he's on his own time, not in uniform. his candor is not what you often hearing. >> i was in eastern afghanistan. >> davis who shot this video says troops began talking. >> one by one they started telling me about how the afghan partners are almost completely incapable if they even doing
their job. >> the official line? >> our most recent report demonstrates that clearly the momentum has shifted to our side. >> on the front line he says he sass a lack of success. >> knowing they're going out the there. >> he recounts just one day. >> they peeled off into an abandoned building and took a nap. all the american guys went about doing their normal job to set up defensive positions. >> so you see all of this, and it leads you to do what? >> well, at first it was just, you know, this is not right. i'm thinking maybe i would write something when i got back. >> davis has a website with critical articles he's previously written. >> what changed that into something more was when i saw the results of men being killed in action for no gain to
america. some of the men i met and whose eyes i looked into this summer were killed in action just weeks later. >> he sent a report to members of congress and complaint to the pentagon inspector general. the military's official response -- we've seen the article and this office is entitled to his opinion. davis says he's not trying to imply commanders are lying. >> is this the u.s. military telling the president and the country what it thinks we all want to hear? >> yes. i believe it is. >> now, the issue that davis is raising are getting a lot of criticism inside the pentagon, but it's the same type of thing we often hear when we go to afghanistan, do the top commanders really understand what the troops are dealing with? whether you agree or not, his comments are getting a lot of attention, wolf. >> as they should.
it's a critically important issue. a lot of lives are at stake right now. thanks very much, barbara. the super bowl winners getting a big parade, but real heroes have a problem with that. just ahead in our "strategy session" signs of a white house retreat in what's become a political dangerous showdown with the nation's catholic bishops. i'm just a piece of dirt stuck here in a rut. ever since that ol' broom dumped me here... oh, oh. oooh! will love ever come my way? oh my!
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second tear to president bush. you saw brianna keilar's report that the president, his advisers may be rethinking the policy of forcing catholic institutions like universities or hospitals, to provide health insurance that provides contraception to everyone who works there even though the bishops say this is a violation of their religion. how much of a political problem does the president have right now. >> when you have there's a big fight with the catholic bishops and church, and it's always overblown, but let me say this. it's time we declare a cease-fire on women's health. it's -- i'm catholic and i love the church and the arch bishops and cardinals, but i'm also a part-time professor at georgetown, so institutions like
georgetown, which has the hospital -- it's a catholic university, they were a year to figure on you how to manage this and provide coverage, but there's a conscience clause, so no doctor will have to write a prescription. there are so many exemptions involved in this whole policy that i would hope people just take a backseat and stop inflaming it. if the white house wants to continue to work it out with the catholic bishops and other institutions, fine, but right now it feels like another assault on women's reproductive rights and we just had one last week with planned parenthood and the komen foundation. >> this is a classic case where it was overreach with the obama administration. i don't know that it's the business of the government to tell anybody in our free society what they must provide for health coverage and what they can charge for it. that is not the government's business to dictate pricing into the private marketplace.
secondly in terms of catholics, obviously it's a very sensitive issue and the white house is trying to get out of it. they had went too far and trying to walk it back. for people like donna, the private sector has to be where that is worked out, not the government dictating how it should be done. it gets -- as donna points out -- >> you know the catholic bishops are outraged by this decision by the administration. >> look. government has a role to play in this, to ensure there's no form of discrimination, especially against women. i appreciate the catholic church. i don't have to have an argument about the church here. that's why i go to confession, but this is a much broader issue about giving women full access and to ensure that women are not paying more for reproductive
health services. men can get viagra and other sexually pleasing drugs and nobody else is screaming, but a woman who spent five years trying getting pregnant or five years being pregnant and -- it's about health care, it's about reproductive government. >> the government should not be telling men you must give a plan that has to be viagra. >> the government is not doing that, ari. look -- >> that they have to provide these -- >> churches are exempt. >> but georgetown and other organizations are not. >> but they exist as a business. as a business, they cannot discriminate the government has an interest to ensure that women are not discriminated against, and women have access. >> so it's another government dictate here is what you must provide.
>> the as long as men get what they want -- >> it's not a man/woman issue. >> it is, because women pay more simply because we're women. that's what the aca -- the affordable care act -- >> it has nothing to do with gender, but everything to do with mandates. >> it's gender. there's no reason why i should -- is government making sure that women are not discriminating against. >> that's between you and your employer. >> the government should also step in. >> the debate expanded today when newt gingrich raised this issue in going after mitt romney. look at this. >> there's been a lot of talk about the obama administration's attack on the catholic church. the fact is governor rom any insisted the catholic hospitals give out abortion pills against their religious belief. a very similar pattern, over and over you get the same pattern. i think the massachusetts moderate finds it very hard to draw a sharp contrast with somebody who's an illinois
radic radical. >> what do you think of that? >> i don't know what the information he may have. obviously it's opened hip up -- >> i don't know what -- >> we'll do a fact check. thanks very much. >> both of you will be with us throughout the coverage. at the top of the hour, shocking images. in syria's cities, and the latest details on the regime's bloody crackdown. up next jack cafferty asks, is newt gingrich -- himself at this point? this new at&t 4g lte is fast.
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the question this hour is newt gingrich kidding himself at this point? michael in dallas writes newt was kidding himself when he announced his candidacy while a few uneducated bubbas in south carolina might thing him presidential material, the rest of the country knows better and remembers him. deb writes, no, jack, newt is not kiting himself. there's a lot left to be said in this game. newt is rightly fancying his chances. he would be stupid to give up on the opportunity. michelle writes i watched newt gingrich a month ago. it was a totally different newt then. these days he's depressed, mean, cruel, blaming. for his health's sake, he needs to take a break and go home. >> dan writes -- yes he's most certainly kidding himself. he's peaked.
he's perceived and arrogant and abrasive, almost zero support outside the extreme right thing. but ken in seattle writes, it's called delusions of grandeur. one fully expects newt gingrich to start -- with a large "g" across his chest to mighty mouse's theme "here i come to save the day." richard in texas writing nah he knows he has no chance. he's touring the country on other people's money. it will give him something to write his next book about, 50 way toss leave your lovers. want to read more? go to my blog, or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? jack, thank you. happening now, the bloodpast intensifies as syria amid
violence. now desperate steps are being taken. plus president obama pulse a major about-face in the heated battle for campaign cash. you'll find out what he did that has republicans using his words against him. the super bowl champions get a roaring welcome home. why it has heroes from the battlefield asking, why not us? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world, breaking news, political headlines. leading this hour with syria.
right there, look at this. women and children, some of them covered up, huddling close together in a room, at least 35 people reportedly killed just today, including a whole family hopes the united nations estimates more than 7,000 people, mostly peaceful protesters have died since the rising. thousands more that have fled their homeland, been arrested or simply disappeared. we're going to go to cnn's arwa damon for the latest in just a minute, but first one activist's horrifying up-close look.
>> you don't know if the -- i i saw mothers crying. she lost her 4-year-old girl and 6-year-old girl lost her left eye. everyone is becoming used to deaths here. >> this is -- the free army captured it yet. the free army captured it. as the soldiers run away, while the free arm was hitting it. >> a tank shell. everyone with it. -- >> it blows one of the buildings. just two minutes ago.
this is a civilian's house. this is a civilian's house. >> there are more bombs. we move underneath -- this is how we remove the casualties. >> i saw really horrible things. i've never seen in my life. kids in the hospital, a kid with his whole -- gone. a little girl, a kid, 4 years old, she's dead. her sister, 6 years old, she lost her left eye right-hand her mother is in intensive care.
>> they're going to kill us all. please someone help us. >> please come and help us. you heard that appeal. let's go to arwa damon. she's standing by in nearby beirut. are we seeing the same kind of frustration that you just saw? what are you seeing? what are you hearing? what's coming in? >> you know, wolf, desperation that you heard there in the activist's voice, that is exactly what we are hearing from every single person we have been talking to that is somehow involved in this opposition. people's voices really trembling with emotion, anger, frustration and pain. unable to understand how it is similar images have been emerging, how it is the world mass failed to unite, has failed to help them come up with some sort of solution. they say they continue to be
victims of this brutal onslaught, they continue to lament the fact that everything seems to be paralyzed at the global and international level. while dialogue continues, they are the ones at the end of the day who continue to suffer. many of the activists are also saying it's too much, what we're going through is too much. they keep asking how long it is. and that is a question that at this stage, wolf, no one can really answer. the. >> do we have a sense from the opposition, do they really want, for example, as senator mccain is suggesting, do they have the arab world to start sending them weapons? >> you know, wolf, there's a lot of conflicting emotions when it comes to that specific aspect. on the one hand everyone we have been speaking to from thes
opposition is fully award of the consequences and it would certainly put them on a -- but they say at this stage there is no other option. and unless they can somehow be some sort of match for the weapons and for the numbers that the assad regime has, they are quite simply going to die. many of the activists say they feel that every single day is their last. deep down inside they don't want but unless it does materialize, they are eventually at the end of the day, going to be wiped out while the world watches. >> arwa damon doing amazing reporting for us. thank you very much. this breaking news here in "the situation room." i spoke with the united states
ambassador to the united nations susan rice. i asked her to look in the camera and speak directly to the syrian president bashar al assad. here's what she said. you're going seen around the world. i want you to look into the camera, as you were, and assume you're speaking to president bashar al assad in syria. what would you say to him? >> i would say the united states stands with the people of syria. fully and unequivocally. your names are numbered, and it's time and past time for you to transfer power responsibly and peacefully. the longer you hang on the longer you do damage to yourself, your family, your interesting, and indeed your country. we have the senior fellow at
the hoover institution. professor ajami, is the world doing enough? what else should the -- the watch really is watching. this episode, we went to the security council, and everybody hung their hopes on the security council, and the obama administration i think basically argued that somehow or another are you familiara will see the light of day. they had didn't worry about the chinese. they thought the chinese were come along for the ride. they convinced themselves they could sweettalk the russians into dropping the veto. the russians wouldn't do so because of vladimir putin, in a way, his regime is very much akin to the regime of bashar al assad, and we saw what we saw. >> as i pointed out to
ambassador rice, even neighboring countries from el manse in lib non, even from the supposedly pro -- the prime minister nuri al malaki. he may not be as isolated as a lot of people in the west like to think he is. >> when you take a look at the damascus regime, if they look to the west, there's a government in lebanon, this is a government that answers to the man in damascus, it answer toss bashar. on his eastern border there's an odd regime, the american midwife regime that should be asham for itself. >> bakley they think believe that they let the government in damascus is its natural allies.
the jordanians i think are in many wabs sympathetic, but very timid. if you consider the borders, there's only one border they worry about, which is the border with turkey, which is where the opposition is based, because the border with israel is, for all practical purposes, sealed. >> good point. don't go away. i want to continue this conversation. for a lot of folks out there, it's starting to remind us of what happened in hamah when hatha's scorched that dissenting town killing thousands of people. i want tom to remind us what happened. >> you know, wolf, this is an anniversary time. here are the two towns. homs down here, and then hama. what essentially happened is the syrian forces moved in to stop
the revolt. they incircled the city, and for three weeks they pounded it with artillery tanks, but they reduced so much of it to simple rubble, because nothing was done to stop them. it crushed the revolution ait's believed tens of thousands were killed and that crushed the revolution. the question or fear is, is that what's on the way to homs down here? what we know is so far there are more than 60 checkpoints throughout the city, which we would assume that what that does is segregate the city, allows them to chloryl the flow of people from place to place to place. beyond that, here's what we know. just like we saw in hama, in places where -- one of the centers for the resistance down there, baba am mro there's a
very strong presence of tanks presumably covering the major roads like this and cutting them off, making it -- we're talking about soviet t-72-style tanks. they way 41 tons each. they are about 12 feet wide, so somewhat limited on the narrower strides, but a tremendous amount of firepower. we know there are dozens down around this neighborhood. in addition to that, we know the katyusha rockets are the chief -- they've been around since world war ii, this in fact are mounted and able to move quickly. you can matter many in moments, they're light and quick. they're not very accurate, about you when you start pounding an area like this, you understand why so many of the opposition forces fear what they're seeing
is a reprice of what happened 30 years ago. >> thanks very much, i remember that tragedy vividly. and you remember it as well. faoud, can we expect the son to follow the father's example now? >> now, remember his wife, widow and the mother of assad is still around and records indicate that the mother is counseling the son to do exactly what his father did. this is a fight to the finish. it's scorched earth. by the way, wolf last friday was the 30th anniversary of the massacres of hama. people in syria gave that a name, and the name was "forgive us hama." we've move from hama to homs, and i think for the regime it's a fight to the finish and i
think american dipsy has to face the truth that we can't just simply sit idly by. and the choice seasonal between boots on the ground and doing nothing. there are a lot of things we can do. arming the opposition, helping the op position, recognizing the opposition as it is government of syria. we have not doing any of this yet. >> as usual, thanks very much. we with will stay in touch. the countdown is on to the -- while there could be some big surprises in store, only a few hours from now. plus a court victory for gays in california. the battle may not be over yet. hey, did you ever finish last month's invoices?
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jack cafferty is here with "the cafferty file." >> wolf, the catholic church at odds with president obama which is not a comforting thought for democrats. it all goes back to the president's health care law. catholic leaders are furious over a provision that would require all employers to pay for contraseptics through their health insurance plans, including the birth control pill and plan b. churches are exempt, but religious hospitals and schools mudd comply. critics say this provision
violates their freedom of religion. the catholic church opposes the use of contraseptics even though a number of catholics disagree and in fact use contraception. catholic leaders have called for protests. they're asking the faithful to pit political pressure on the administration. they say they plan to fight this things request, quote, lawyers, court decisions, maybe even if the streets, unquote. like we said, not what mr. obama wants to hear, which is probably why the reelection campaign now says they're open to compromise. david axelrod told msnbc they'll look for a way forward that, yot, guarantees women that basic preventive care. there are 70 million catholics in the united states. a lot of them live in critical swing states -- ohio, pennsylvania, colorado and florida. back in 2008 president obama got 54% of the catholic vote.
so here's the question. does president obama risk alienating catholic voters because of the birth control part of his health care law? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. wolf? thank you. same-sex marriage supporters are all -- they road that proposition 8 is unconstitutional. a stay of the order means couples can't begin planning their weddings, at least not yet. those celebrating in california, another fight is by no means over. our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin is joining us with more. jeffrey, i assume this is going to simply wind up at the supreme court, but not necessarily. >> you know, wolf, i think what makes the decision today so interesting, it seems designed to avoid review by the supreme court. it's a fairly narrow decision,
very much tailored to the peculiar circumstances in california, where you had the california supreme court say that same-sex marriage was legal, proposition 8 overturning it. what the court said is those circumstances violated the constitution. the court said nothing about a university right to seismic marriage which presumably been would the issue of most interest to the supreme court. >> so if the supreme court doesn't take this case, doesn't hear the arguments, what happens practically as far as same-sex marriage in california is concerned. >> presumably the defense in this case will ask what is called the en banc, which is the full circuit. if the ninth circuit declines to hear the kay and there's snow supreme court review, then it's over. we'll know that if a few weekses if there's the ninth circuit review, that just extends this case further, but again it only
applies to california. i think with you thing that the gay rights acts are happy about they're not sure they have the votes. it's very hard to think there are four votes to say this is a constitutional right so seismic marriage. if they keep the case out of but win in california, that's what they want. >> so le's just be precise if the full ninth circuit doesn't hear any more arguments, and the supreme court decides they don't want to fake up the case, same-sex marriage like a few other states, will be allow to do go forward? >> that's exactly right. if it winds up being the last one, california will join new york, massachusetts, iowa, the eight states that will have it shortly. it's -- when you think about it, it's a lot of people.
if this state -- if this decision holds, that will mean that 20% of the people in the united states will live in a state that has same-sex marriage. that's a huge difference from ten years ago when 0% of americans lived in a state. by legal standards, that's a fast and big change. >> excellent explanation by jeffrey toobin, the author of "the nine" working on a new book as well. we'll discuss that later. jeffrey, thanks very much. >> okay, wolf. the republican race has been a slow-paced affair, but it's about to go into overdrive. the latest on the votes unfolding tonight. first time three states have made their selections for the republican nominee. also new york celebrating the giants' super bowl win. some wonder whether america isn't ignoring a more deserving team. more and more energy. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪
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what factors led you to buy your explorer. definitely the ecoboost option. what's pretty amazing is that you can get the fuel economy of a car in an suv. that basically did it for us. and the technology... oh, my goodness, the technology is amazing. everything is touch. you can actually talk to the car and it talks back to you. what have your friends said about your explorer? can we drive it? can we borrow it? what's your answer? no. no way. uh uh. (laugh)
the sir -- we're watching all of this unfold. joe johns is with newt gingrich. rick santorum will be really banks, and he wants to get back in the game. >> you know, he absolutely wants to get back in the game. what is your path to victory? the path to victory starts with doing extraordinarily well tonight. their ultimate goal is to show conservatives out there who still may be looking for an alternative to mitt romney, that there is one person who they can rally behind.
now, santorum has been out campaigning today. he was in two of the states. he was in minnesota and cold cold. earlier he kind of mocked mitt romney for trying to downplay these contests as unimportant. >> colorado is a state that four years ago governor romney won the 61% of the vote. he wanted to campaign hard here. he didn't pass it off like he's doing the last couple days to say these are nonbinding caucuses. they mattered four years ago, and he came out here to campaign in the very same states. you're you're in missouri tonight, but as we had a few minutes ago it's a beauty contest in missouri. >> that's right the number of
delegates. that's a very good question. the reason is because newt gingrich isn't on the balance. to prove he can do we had, what would be a conservative vote, he wants to do well here. it is historically a swing state. it is certainly generally has a very diverse pop lair. they it can put him into a good place for the next critical round of races.
somewhat controversyial position, and today he tried to tie mitt romney to the obama position. the romney people say no, but listen to how newt gingrich is handling this situation when he talked about it. >> there's been a lot of talk about the obama administration's attack on the catholic church. the fact is governor romney insisted against their religious believe when he was governor. over and over you get the same patterns. i think a massachusetts moderate finds it very heart to draw a sharp contrast. >> reporter: now, the romney campaign says that while he was the governor he was simply enforcing a law that had been
passed over his objection and even his veto. he was basically following the law. wolf, back to you. >> all right, joe, thank you. remember to stay right here for complete coverage. it begins at 6:00 p.m. eastern. that's followed by complete live coverage of the results at 7:00 p.m. eastern. politicians trying to avoid being tagged as flip-floppers. why is the president reversing course on something -- and there are millions of foreclosures in the understanding, but this one takes the case. we're taking a closer look at how one of a kind property was auctioned in atlanta.
that and other top stories. what's going on? >> karen handle was a senior vice president for the komen found until thonk. she submitted a resignation. komen later changed its mind on the plan, but -- she's disappointed by mischaracterizations of the strategy and her involved in it. the biggest skyscraper in the southeast sold on the auction block today. the price tag for atlanta's bank of america plaza, $250 million. what a difference, though, six years and a real estate market make. that is about half of what the 55-story went for in 2006. the facebook owner could own uncle sam when the company goes public. here's a big hit. here's why. he is alo youed to snap up
millions more shares for just 6 cents a piece, but the rest of us will likely pay in the $30 to $40 range. that adds up to billions, and it is taxed. a chopper snapped this picture of the panama city beachfront. those aren't waves rolling over high-rice condos. that is actually fog that forms when the temperature, humidity and winds are just right. look at that picture. that's pretty amazing picture that that photographer got, though, wolf. >> very amazing. i don't know if you know the answer, is the long-term capital gains 15% or income at 30%. >> you know, that is an excellent question. if i had to guess, and this is just a guess. i would think that's capital gains, because that's really what you're talking about, the difference in what he purchased it for and the gains he made if he were presumably to sell those
shares, wolf. >> yeah, that $2 billion, the taxpayers could probably use that money. thanks very much. we've seen big states and small states vote for the presidential contenders, but so far never more than one on a sing -- tonight three states voting. could it change the candidates' destiny? and. some veterans have one idea that could help a bit, and they want to know why it hasn't been done yet. so who ordered the cereal that can help lower cholesterol and who ordered the yummy cereal? yummy. [ woman ] lower cholesterol. [ man 2 ] yummy. i got that wrong didn't i? [ male announcer ] want great taste and whole grain oats that can help lower cholesterol? honey nut cheerios.
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everyone agrees it has to stop. but how? >> we should start considering all options, including arming the opposition. the bloodheading has got to stop. >> we don't think more arms into the area is the answer. >> reporter: they cleared the gadhafi regime. would that work in syria? >> this is a very different playing field, very different set of players, very different set of possible consequences. >> nato's former supreme allied commander says that unless the u.s. wants to go it alone, you need political agreement with other countries. that hasn't happened yet. if the world communities did come together could you have a libyan-style campaign? >> 23irs of all syria is different. there's a lot of desert in
libya, wife open -- better defenses, better air defense systems. it's going to take much different strategy than what occurred in libya. >> then there's the neighborhood, turkey, lebanon, iraq, israel. >> you have populations in areas in syria that you didn't have in libya. a few large towns, much more difficult. if you're going to carry out a bombing campaign what would that do to possible civilian casualties. >> reporter: could you create safe havens? humanitarian corridors? we asked the state department. >> some of these proposals that people are brooding about could not be done without foreign military intervention. >> and, wolf, the latest development is the administration is considering provides some type of humanitarian aid. it's not defined and we'll be
trying to get details on that. >> jill doherty, thanks very much for the update. now for the u.s. troops home from iraq. some of them celebrated the super bowl and the parade today. now those forces want the same honor, at least some of them do. our brian todd is joining us with more on this part of the story. >> veterans of the iraq war seem to be taking the lead. they've seen that image of a ticker tape parade for the giants and they're say they deserve a national level celebration as well. fitting tribute to the super bowl champs down new york's so-called canyon of heroes, but on this day some other heroes are wondering why not us? >> i think most americans agree if the giant deserve a, so do the veterans. >> he's petitions government officials to throw a parade for
troops returning from iraq. along the giants' parade route, one man who says he lost his brother in afghanistan, he puts it more forcefully. >> for dying and getting nothing? that's [ bleep ]. >> it's a sentiment that's gathered critical mass. >> it frustrates me greatly that as we come home from one of those tlaerts that our government this administration refuses to give them the simple acknowledgement of a job well done with a parade down a main street of washington, d.c. or new york city. >> reporter: there's certainly a template for it. after the first gulf war, parades were thrown for those returning troops right down constitution avenue here in washington and in new york. events that cost millions, and attracted national media coverage. impressive showings of troops, weaponry, aircraft. it recalled the rollicking
parades after both world wars, but notably missing after vietnam. for troops from the iraq war, st. louis decided to go ahead with a parade recently. the wo us plans to hold a dinner for some veterans, but top pentagon officials say a national level parade would be premature. >> the chairman and other military leaders do not believe it's appropriate at the given time with service members in large numbers fighting in afc to hold a national-level parade in new york city. >> reporter: but analysts say another factor at play could be no one wants to be criticized for declaring victory premature will you. >> it shows how controversial the war is. even when it's over, people are debating whether he won or lost. i think the pentagon seems to have that mentality of not wanting to declare mission accomplished in a situation where the outdumb is so ambiguous. >> a colonel at the pentagon says the joint chiefs chairman is not thinking along those
lines and hopes a parade will take place as soon as both wars have been concluded. wolf? >> brian, there are other potentially key players in this debate hedging their positions on this issue right now, senate? >> that's right. mayor bloomberg says he thinks it would be great, but he says the pentagon has asked them to postpone any parade as long as there are troops in harm's way in afghanistan. he says he will defer to the military on that. we contacted two very traditional groups, the american legions, and the vet, and both said they do understand why the pentagon does not want to hold one as long as troops are still in theaters of war. >> i remember covering those parades back in 1991. >> right. >> after the first gulf toward in washington and new york. brian, thanks very much. jack cafferty has your e-mail answers. that's coming up. and democratic super pacs may soon be flush with cash.
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let's check back with jack for the cafferty file. jack. >> wolf, the question this hour, does president obama risk alienating catholic voters because of the birth control part of his healthcare law? connor in chicago writes "i don't buy the religious exemption argument for a second. clinging to completely outdated archaic views on sexuality and reproduction should be no excuse for not providing your employees quality healthcare coverage. and in an age when having children is an economic hardship that, healthcare coverage should certainly include contraception. chris in florida says "with more than 68.5 million registereded members it's the largest single deridgeous denomination in the united states comprising about 22% of our population. as a voting bloc, though, it's fractured on the issues of contraception, sexual orientation and abortion. official church doctrine is not the daily bread of hefrd catholics. i think president obama is on
ice with the recent policy decision about -- eve writes "in light of the catholic church's handling of pedophile priests, how can't church have the nerve to call for protests about birth control? what hypocrisy these religious people possess. john in alabama writes "if president obama can make it optional for faith-based insurance programs to provide birth control or not, the issue will die down. the catholic church doesn't want to hurt young people who can currently stay on their parents' insurance until 26 years of age. curtis in philadelphia says "if contraception was a real issue in the catholic community then catholic schools would be opening not closing. this selection is going to be about the pocketbook, not the pill box or pro fiprophylactic. >> probably not, mr. cafferty. my guess is that catholics for the most part think the be fruitful an multiply thing is for the past.
it is, you know. >> for more go to cnn.com or to our post on the facebook page. we have full elections coverage coming up at the top of the hour. also coming up next, though, president obama calling for his supporters to bank roll a new effort to win in the fall. but with advair, i'm breathing better so now i can take the lead on a science adventure. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking advair.
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will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ssagesmalibubook.com. republican superpacs are raking it. in not the democrats. our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin tells us why. >> reporter: wfl, it's usually a line the obama campaign uses again against mitt romney. he'll do anything and change his position to get elected. today that's what republicans are saying about the president. not so long ago, the president denounced superpacs. >> these special interests can spend unlimited amounts without even disclosinging where the money's coming from. and they won't tell you where the money for their ads come from. >> this isn't just a threat to democrats. this is a threat to our democracy.
>> reporter: in 2008, he even belittled his opponent john mccain because republican outside groups ran attack ads for him. but candidate obama blocked democrats from doing the same. >> i've asked my supporters to avoid that kind of unregulated activity and join us in building a new kind of politics. >> reporter: cut to monday night when the obama campaign did a 180. explaining online the campaign has decided to do what we can to support priorities usa, that's the superpac backing president obama. now senior campaign officials and some white house and cabinet officials will attend superpac fundraising events. and several major fundraisers tells cnn on a conference call, campaign officials gave them the impression they should now encourage major donors to also goift superpac. in practical terms, this means -- >> so large corporations,
for-profit corporations, not for profit corporations, very wealthy individuals with their personal money, labor unions, trade associations, open season on where this money can come from with no limits whatsoever. >> reporter: one advantage of a superpac? it can run attack ads without the president's name attached to them. >> that's the romney rule. lower taxes for millionaires -- >> reporter: but campaign officials insist the reason they reversed policy is because of all the money on the other side. priorities usa raised an anemic $6.7 million in 2011. but some of the top republican-aligned groups raised more than $100 million and have announced plans to qaudruple that with the goal of $400 million to defeat the president in 2012. the president's top campaign aides say against that tie cal wave of spending they can't unilaterally