Return to Transcripts main page


Second Wave of Swine Flu Feared; Positive Signs For U.S. Economy?

Aired May 4, 2009 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, President Obama launches a tough fight with big business in Congress -- why there's resistance to his latest plan to try to target some tax-dodgers.

And could it happen again? Fears of another roof collapse after disaster strikes the Dallas Cowboys training facility.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Right now, swine flu fears and restrictions are easing at the epicenter of the outbreak. Mexico says it will reopen universities Thursday and classes will resume nationwide next week. But the virus still is jumping from person to person around the globe.

The World Health Organization reports, the number of confirmed cases has now risen above 1,000 and has spread to 20 countries. Here in the United States, officials are gearing up for a possible second wave.

Let's go to our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there are some encouraging signs, but experts warn it's too early to let down our guard against the H1N1 virus.


MESERVE (voice-over): It was back to class at St. Francis Preparatory School in New York Monday. An outbreak of H1N1 flu had shuttered the school for an entire week.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We can't guarantee that there will not be any more H1N1 cases, particularly in the school, but we think that very unlikely.

MESERVE: Mexico, which has seen the largest number of cases, lowered its health alert level. Authorities said the outbreak appeared to be slowing.

But, on the same day, flu fears shut down an additional 100 U.S. schools and six new states reported confirmed cases.

DR. KEIJI FUKUDA, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The way these things occur is that we expect that you will have peaks of activities in some places and then you will have valleys of activities in other places.

MESERVE: Scientists are watching with particular interest the spread of H1N1 to the Southern Hemisphere, which is entering winter, prime flu season, and could act as a laboratory.

DR. RICHARD BESSER, ACTING DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Has this become a predominant strain while there are other strains circulating? What happens in terms of resistance? What happens in terms of subtle changes in the virus? And what impact could that have here on a vaccine strategy?

MESERVE: Meanwhile, researchers continue to peer into microscopes and pore over data to learn more about the disease, particularly why it appears to hit the young harder than seasonal influenza.


MESERVE: Some are criticizing the federal government for overreacting to an outbreak which at this point has killed only one person in the U.S. But officials say it is impossible to predict how this new disease will evolve and they say it's critical to maintain alertness and surveillance here and all across the globe -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Lot of major questions still out there. Jeanne, thank you.

President Obama's plan to crack down now on tax evaders -- he's targeting the loopholes and the safe havens that are helping to make some people pretty rich, but critics say it amounts to a tax hike that could drive companies and U.S. jobs overseas.

Let's go to the White House. CNN's Jill Dougherty is reporting on what is going on.

What do we know, Jill?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, 2 percent income tax, the administration claims that's all that some companies are paying on their foreign profits, thanks to tax loopholes.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): It's only fair, President Obama says, tax laws should not reward companies that invest overseas instead of investing in America.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I'm announcing a set of proposals to crack down on illegal overseas tax evasion, close loopholes, and make it more profitable for companies to create jobs here in the United States.

DOUGHERTY: Mr. Obama says what he calls a broken tax system rewards companies for moving jobs offshore and transferring profits to overseas tax havens. OBAMA: It's a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York.

DOUGHERTY: Eighty-three of the 100 largest companies in the U.S. take advantage of these laws, according to the Government Accountability Office. The president also wants to target individual wealthy Americans who avoid taxes by hiding their money in overseas bank accounts. These proposals he claims will help raise $210 billion over the next 10 years. To enforce the new laws, the White House wants to hire almost 800 more IRS agents.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce counters the president's plan is, in reality, a huge tax hike.

MARTY REGALIA, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: It will make our companies less competitive, make it harder for us to create jobs here, and make it more advantageous for foreigners to buy our companies and operate them as foreign multinationals.


DOUGHERTY: Some critics say what the administration really should do is cut the corporate tax rates. There's no indication that the president thinks that's a good idea -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jill, thank you.

Let's take a closer look right now at some of those big-name companies taking advantage of these overseas tax shelters. We asked Brian Todd to do that.

How many companies, Brian, are we talking about that have these tax shelters?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a figure, Wolf.

There's a report from the Government Accountability Office from December of last year saying 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. corporations in terms of their revenue in 2007 reported having subsidiaries in jurisdictions listed as tax havens or financial privacy jurisdictions is what they're called.

Now, President Obama, as we have just seen Jill report, has acknowledged this is legal, but he says the tax code should be rewritten so that these companies can stop sheltering some of this revenue overseas and start paying some more of those taxes here in the U.S.

BLITZER: Where are some of these tax havens located?

TODD: Citigroup leads the way here. They are leading the way with 427 subsidiaries listed as tax havens overseas.

Where are they? Well, they're in places like the Cayman Islands and places that aren't even countries, like the Isle of Man. That is a British dependency right between England and the northern coast of Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea. A place called Guernsey, you ever heard of that? That is another British dependency in the Channel Islands right off the coast of Normandy, France. And Gibraltar, a British territory off the southern tip of Spain.

Now, number two on this GAO list, Morgan Stanley, 273 tax havens. Again, the Cayman Islands shows up in theirs, as does Gibraltar. Number three is the News Corporation, parent company of the FOX News Channel, with 152 tax havens.

Fourth on this list, Bank of America Corporation, 115 subsidiaries listed as tax havens, again, the Cayman Islands, again Gibraltar showing up on their list as well. We have to acknowledge CNN's parent company, Time Warner, also makes the GAO's list, but had only four tax havens listed -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's not as if these companies don't pay any taxes in these so-called tax havens.

TODD: That's right. The GAO report makes clear that they don't get away with paying nothing. In places like Ireland, they do have to pay some taxes. But again the point is that they do shelter a lot of the revenue in these places that really aren't even countries. Gibraltar, I never knew it was so popular.

BLITZER: And what he's trying to do is change the law. And he stresses, the president, this is not illegal.

TODD: Right.

BLITZER: These companies have every right to do that to save some money.

TODD: They do. They are merely taking advantage of a loophole. And every big company does it.

BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much.

Let's go back to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Do you wonder how the Isle of Man got its name?

BLITZER: I have no idea. Do you know?

CAFFERTY: Maybe you don't. Well, I don't know either.

Stop calling it global warming is the message that is now coming from some environmentalists. And apparently it's because the term turns people off and brings to mind shaggy-haired liberals and issues like gay marriage and economic sacrifice and complicated scientific arguments.

"The New York Times" got ahold of a memo sent around by a group called ecoAmerica that's been conducting research for years on how to best frame environmental issues. Instead of global warming, the firm recommends talking about our deteriorating atmosphere.

Instead of haggling over carbon dioxide, they suggest talking about moving away from the dirty fuels of the past. Instead of energy efficiency, try saving money for a more prosperous future. And instead of the word environment, talk about the air we breathe, the water our children drink.

But it's unclear whether using different words will actually make people care more about the environment. And here's why. A recent Pew Research Center poll shows global warming finished dead last among 20 voter issues, behind things like moral decline, decreasing the influence of lobbyists.

One expert points out that partisans on both sides of the issue are essentially doing the same thing. They're using advertising techniques to try to manipulate public opinion. He calls that approach cynical and ineffective.

Might be, but the term global warming apparently isn't getting it done.

Here's our question: Why does global warming rank last on a list of 20 issues of concern to voters?

Go to, and you can post a comment on my blog.

I was surprised, out of 20 issues, that it would rank that low. I know it's not number one or two, but I figured it would be in the top 10 somewhere.

BLITZER: Yes. I did, too. That's surprising to me, Jack.


BLITZER: Thanks very much.

So, here's another question. Who will pass and who won't pass muster? D-day, or decision day, approaches for the major banks out there. We're about to learn which ones might withstand a deeper recession, which might collapse under economic strain.

And silver linings amid dark economic clouds -- wait until you hear the positive news that could ultimately help you. Ali Velshi is standing by.

And howling winds warn of imminent danger. We have some chilling accounts of that collapse at the Dallas Cowboys training facility that left one man permanently paralyzed.


BLITZER: You might call this coming Thursday D-day, decision day, that is, regarding key tests of the financial health for so many major banks out there.

Let's go straight to CNN's Mary Snow. She's in New York working the story.

Mary, what is going on?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, these tests are intended to give a big picture of the health of the nation's largest banks. And it's become clear it's hard to keep all the results under wraps until Thursday.


SNOW (voice-over): The Treasury came up with the idea of stress tests for the big banks to see if they could weather an even deeper recession. Wall Street is not expecting the 19 banks being tested to pass with flying colors. After weeks of number-crunching, tense negotiations, and a few leaks, the expectation is, some banks will need to raise more money.

ART HOGAN, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, JEFFRIES AND COMPANY: We are going to find out there are some banks that in the next six months will go to the private sector and try to raise capital. If they can't, we are going to find out what banks are going to be the next recipients of TARP funds. And I think that that's the mixed bag of news.

SNOW: Still, that mixed bag ends months of uncertainty about the financial health of the banks that itself has brought angst.

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODYSECONOMY.COM: I think this will mark the beginning of the end of this very severe banking crisis. I don't think the crisis comes to an end, however, until these banks actually do raise the capital that they need, and then ultimately begin lending more freely again.

SNOW: The White House says it doesn't expect to provide more public funds.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The administration doesn't believe that we need to go to Congress right now looking for more money.

SNOW: But economist Nouriel Roubini, who is sometimes called Dr. Doom and called the downturn before others, says the stress tests weren't stressful enough, that the unemployment levels used in them were too optimistic.

NOURIEL ROUBINI, NYU STERN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: And the risk is that we keep alive zombie banks like Japan, and that might lead to a more protracted credit crunch and weaken a soft economy.


SNOW: But even Dr. Doom, who prefers to be called Dr. Realistic these days, does see some light at the end of the tunnel for the overall economy. He is forecasting a recovery next year, although he does expect it to be weak -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. We will see what happens -- Mary Snow.

Meanwhile, we are seeing some positive signs out there on the economic front that could ultimately be good news for all Americans.

Let's bring in our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi.

We're trying to interpret what's going on, and you have seen some of these so-called positive signs.


Even Nouriel Roubini can't -- Dr. Doom can't avoid some of the reality. Let me tell you, of the things that affect you in the economy, the market is the most -- the most forward-looking. It's the one that turns first.

Let's take a look at how this market has done. This is a chart of the S&P 500 from the beginning of the year until now. And you can see that V. there. And the S&P 500 most reflects the kind of things that you would have in your 401(k). Take a look at this.

We are now at the point where we started the year. So, everything that was lost and all that politics about whether or not this administration is really bad for the economy, we have made all that ground up.

Now, one of the other things that affects you is homes. That's a big deal. Let's take a look at some numbers that we got out today. We have been seeing more and more of these numbers that are interesting. New homes -- home permits were up 3.2 percent -- not permits -- I'm sorry, Wolf -- I mean pending sales. That's interesting. So, people are buying and selling more homes.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that home prices have gone down as much as they have, and so have interest rates. We have been talking about this. So, across the country, new home -- pending sales are up more than expected.

Now let's take a look at construction across the country. Residential construction is still way down. Nobody's building more houses, while enough people aren't buying them, but construction in general is up. That's not much. That's three-tenths-of-a-percentage point, but it is up. And that's interesting.

You put these things collectively together, and we had a conversation with another economist, Lakshman Achuthan, last week who said he thinks this recession ends this year, not next year, and possibly as early as this summer -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Bottom line, is it too early, though, to conclude that the economy is actually turning around?

VELSHI: Well, listen, there are real indicators like we have seen here and there are many others that indicate things are getting worse at a slower rate and, in some cases, actually getting better. The reality, though, is, for people who are worried about losing their jobs, we will see many, many more jobs lost, including this Friday, when we get the new unemployment report, and home prices continue to drop. So, turning around, it might be too early to tell. But it does seem that there's more evidence now than there was three or four months ago, Wolf, that this recession is slowing down.

BLITZER: All right. Good. Let's see what happens. All right, thank you very much. Friday, the numbers for joblessness, job losses last month, they will be released. We will see how many hundreds of thousands of people lost jobs.

It's one of President Obama's worst fears, that Pakistan's nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of terrorists -- just ahead, what top administration officials are saying about that danger right now.

Plus, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defends the Bush administration's harsh interrogation tactics to a fourth-grader.

And what it was like when the roof caved in -- chilling first- hand accounts of the disaster over at the Dallas Cowboys training facility.


BLITZER: Right now, officials are trying to figure out what caused this scene of horror, the Dallas Cowboys practice facility flattened by fierce winds.

Let's go straight to CNN's Dan Simon. He's on the scene for us with the latest.

What do we know, Dan?


Ironically, the Cowboys use that practice facility when the weather is bad, if it's too hot or if it's raining. We can tell you that government inspectors are on the scene trying to figure out what exactly happened here.

What we know is that the winds were very fierce that day, nearly 70 miles an hour.


SIMON (voice-over): This is what it looked like inside as the Dallas Cowboys training facility collapsed, 70 people inside, players, coaches and media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My first initial reaction was, no, I have been in here for too many storms, it's not coming down, even though all the lights were shaking. And then when the whole building started to shake, it was like OK, time to go.

SIMON: But the roof came down fast.


SIMON: Twelve people hurt, including 33-year-old scouting assistant Rich Behm, who is now permanently paralyzed from the waist down after his spine was severed.

How could a $4 million structure for one of the biggest sporting franchises fall apart like that? Perhaps no tent-like facility could have withstood the tornado-like microburst that ripped through on Saturday afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get under here. Come on. Come on. Come on.

SIMON: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating. And the company that built the 85-foot-tall facility says it installed a new roof just last year. Summit Structures built a similar practice facility for the New England Patriots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was actually one of the first people here on the scene. The far structure of the building over there pretty much, I did see fall over to its side, and there were bodies scrambling outside of the building.

SIMON: The chilling eyewitness accounts are still coming in. Witnesses say the first hint of trouble was when the ceiling lights started to sway.

ARNOLD PAYNE, WFAA PHOTOJOURNALIST: It caught the attention of the players and my attention. And, shortly after that, it was as though someone took a stick pin and then hit a balloon. It just collapsed. The walls collapsed. The ceiling was falling. And, by the grace of God, I -- I had the mind to just kind of take my time and see where things were falling before I tried to run out, because, otherwise, it could have been obviously worse than it was.


SIMON: Well, that photojournalist also said, thankfully, somebody had the good sense to turn off the electricity, or it may have been a much different scene.

Wolf, we want to tell you about the other coach who was also seriously injured. That is special teams coach Joe DeCamillis. Last we heard, we had a cervical vertebrae was fractured. And we were told that he was supposed to undergo surgery today, but he is expected to make a complete recovery -- back to you.

BLITZER: All right, let's hope for the best. All right, thanks very much, Dan. What a story that is.

President Obama prepares to confront Pakistan's leader about the risk that his country's nuclear weapons arsenal could fall into terrorist hands.

Plus, Chrysler's payback -- can the bankrupt automaker make good on billions of dollars worth of loans?

And more and more cities are using traffic cameras to catch red light runners in the act. What's driving the trend, safety concerns or money?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A ticket for $436. I mean, nobody has no jobs. How do they expect us to pay it?



BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: The troubled automaker Chrysler probably won't be able to pay back the billions of dollars it borrowed from the federal government. That's the testimony from an adviser overseeing Chrysler's restructuring.

The man accused of being the so-called Craigslist killer now faces charges in a second state. Rhode Island authorities issued an arrest warrant for Philip Markoff, accused him of assaulting an exotic dancer he met on Craigslist. Markoff is jailed in Boston on murder charges.

And remember that Janet Jackson so-called wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl? The Supreme Court is ordering an appeals court to reexamine its ruling and consider reinstating a $550,000 fine imposed on CBS.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It's America's nightmare scenario, indeed, the world's nightmare scenario. And there's fresh concern that terrorists may get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. It comes on the eve of a visit to Washington by Pakistan's president.

Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

What a nightmare scenario that is, Barbara.


Even today, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the security in Pakistan is declining and deteriorating. There is growing concern about the nuclear weapons.


STARR (voice-over): Since a deal between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the Taliban in the Swat Valley collapsed, the Islamabad government has faced the ultimate question from the U.S.: Are Pakistan's nuclear weapons really safe? ADMIRAL MICHAEL MULLEN, JOINTS CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Obviously, the worst downside of -- with respect to Pakistan is that those nuclear weapons come under the control of terrorists.

STARR: Mullen emphasizes he doesn't see that happening. But a former CIA officer warns it could all change.

ROLF MOWATT-LARSSEN, KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT: The most important concern is any possibility that instability might lead to a security breakdown, where they might lose either material or parts of a weapon or, in the worst case, an entire weapon.

STARR: President Obama is promising billions in aid to Pakistan to fight the Taliban. Republicans and Democrats agree, this time, strings have to be attached.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are going to be measuring from every perspective, whether it's diplomatic and development efforts, excuse me, or military efforts or intelligence efforts.

STARR: Mullen, who sounded the alarm call about declining security, says he's more hopeful because the Pakistani military is attacking some militant strongholds. But so far, Zardari has rejected U.S. offers for expanding counterinsurgency training, in favor of millions of dollars in new helicopters and night-vision gear, the very costs the U.S. wants to make sure Pakistan really uses to fight the Taliban.


STARR: Now, Pakistan continues to assure Washington the nuclear weapons are safe, but top commanders in the U.S. will tell you behind the scenes, they don't even know where all of Pakistan's nuclear weapons are located -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Barbara Starr is over at the Pentagon.

Here's the question -- can Pakistan protect its nuclear arsenal from extremists?

I'll ask Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, tomorrow right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Here's something for you to think about -- what would you ask the president of Pakistan?

You can go to, submit your video comments, questions. Remember to keep them clear and concise. We'll try to use some of them on the air.

Former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has taken heat from college students over the harsh interrogation of some terror suspects. But now she's being grilled at an elementary school.

Let's go to CNN's Elaine Quijano. She has the story -- Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the president, just days ago, repeated his view that waterboarding is torture. But amid calls to prosecute former Bush officials, former secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, continues to maintain that it was legal.


QUIJANO (voice-over): It was Condoleezza Rice's first public appearance back in Washington. And during the question and answer session at the Jewish Primary Day School, fourth grader Misha Lerner asked this.

MISHA LERNER: How do you feel about the things the Obama administration has said about the ways we've gotten information from prisoners?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: President Bush was very clear that he wanted to do everything that he could to protect the country. After September 11th, we wanted to protect the country. But he was also very clear that we would do nothing -- nothing that was against the law or against our obligations internationally.

QUIJANO: The exchange came on the heels of this more heated back and forth --

RICE: No (INAUDIBLE). Let me finish. Let me finish.

QUIJANO: ...with another student last week at Stanford University.

RICE: Three thousand Americans died in the Twin Towers and in the Pentagon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five hundred thousand died in World War II...

RICE: Yes, I know...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And yet we did not torture...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did not torture the prisoners of war.

RICE: And we didn't torture anybody here, either.

QUIJANO: Rice has avoided reporters' questions since new details have emerged about her role in how the White House approved waterboarding, including the so-called torture memos. But she continues to be confronted.

RICE: So, by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.


Thank you.

RICE: All, right?


QUIJANO: Rice's defense of Bush interrogation policy comes as the Justice Department is examining whether to take action against those who wrote the legal justification for harsh interrogation techniques -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Elaine Quijano reporting for us.

Thank you.

Our latest poll shows young people leaning liberal on some social issues.

Is the GOP out of touch with the younger generation?

And the president wants to shut down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. But some House Democrats won't pay to relocate the prisoners. The best political team on television is standing by.


BLITZER: Let's get to the best political team on television right now.

Joining us, our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger; our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley; and in New York, our CNN political analyst, Roland Martin.

I want to show some poll numbers -- Gloria, I'll start with you -- showing that on some of these social issues, younger voters seem to be more in tune with a lot of Democrats as opposed to Republicans on the question of marriages between gay and lesbian couples -- should they be recognized as valid?

Look at this. Among those 18 to 34 years old, 58 percent of them say, yes; 35 to 49, it goes down a little bit, to 42 percent; 50 to 64 years old, 41 percent; over 65 -- 65 and over, 24 percent.

So the question is are Republicans -- or at least conservatives who oppose gay marriage -- out of touch with the younger folks?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, the president of the United States, Wolf, doesn't support gay marriage. He supports civil unions. So this is a real political minefield for politicians in both parties, I would have to say. Depending on what part of the country you're from -- if you're from California, it might be a little easier for you to do it than if you're from Alabama or South Carolina.

But, as a rule, Barack Obama has said he is -- he's for civil unions.

BLITZER: Because I guess the rule here, Candy, is that the younger someone is, the more likely that person is to be liberal on these social issues as opposed to conservative, is that right?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. I think we find that there -- there was a time, actually, during the Reagan administration when people more self-identified as conservatives, certainly than they do now -- certainly after President Obama moved into the White House.

So -- but I think we also have to keep it perspective. More people vote who are 35 years and older than vote who are 18 to 35 so...

BORGER: Right.

CROWLEY: And this is not a -- a real topic that, as Gloria says, either side actually wants to take on. This is sort of why don't we let the states decide that issue?

BLITZER: And in that poll, Roland, on the issue of abortion, among those 65 years or under 65, we asked how would you describe your views on abortion. Fifty percent said they were pro-choice, 44 percent said they were pro-life. Among those 65 and older, it flips -- 41 percent said they were pro-choice, 51 percent said they were pro-life.

Was that surprising to you, Roland?

ROLAND S. MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I mean I'm shocked -- younger people and older people had different views?

Wolf, come on. I never would have thought this thing.


MARTIN: Look, I mean it's -- it's no shock that you would have this. I mean you can even go with in particular demographics -- African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, whites -- and you will see the exact same kind of breakdown because it speaks to generations. It speaks to how you have been raised, what you have been conditioned with, what you're seeing on television, what you're hearing on radio.

So all of that, I think, plays a role in it.

But, also, on the issue, when it comes to abortion, the other people who are younger I've talked to who say, yes, I am pro-life, but also believe in choice.

Part of the problem we've sort of said it's either/or. But, no. There are some people who do believe a woman has a right to choose, but they themselves would choose life.

So it's no shock that younger people would think differently than those who are older. BLITZER: Back in 1996, Gloria, when Jack Kemp was Bob Dole's vice presidential running mate, he went to Harlem and he said this.

Listen to this.


JACK KEMP, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our goal for America, by the end of this century, is 50 percent of all African- Americans in this great country of ours are voting Democratic and the other 50 percent is voting Republican.


BLITZER: Now, Jack Kemp, who unfortunately passed away of cancer this past weekend, that was certainly his effort.

BORGER: That's right.

BLITZER: He made a major effort among Republicans to reach out to the African-American community. It didn't exactly work out the way he would have liked.

BORGER: No, it didn't, Wolf. And now, in fact, in our most recent poll, only 38 percent of minorities have a favorable view at all of the Republican Party. And there are lots of folks that I have spoken with since Jack Kemp passed away who said, you know, the big tent theory, which Ronald Reagan spoke about and Jack Kemp spoke about, is something that the Republican Party really needs to get back to. Even George W. Bush did better with Hispanics in his first election than John McCain did.

So I think, you know, you -- Jack Kemp was a consequential figure in the Republican Party and reaching out was a very, very big part of that.

BLITZER: Because I remember...

MARTIN: Wolf...

BLITZER: When I went back today and looked, Candy, at some of the interviews I did with Jack Kemp 10 years ago, 15 years ago. And many of the things he was saying then you're hearing now from a lot of moderate Republicans...

MARTIN: Absolutely.

BLITZER: ...saying, you know, the Republicans, in trying to figure out what went wrong, they would like to do now.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. I mean if you are going to grow this party -- and if they aren't, they're not going to have much of a party and they certainly aren't going to win a lot of elections. If you're going to grow this party in the population as it now is and speak to the American people, it is wildly more diverse than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago or certainly 30 years ago. So Jack Kemp spoke -- I think as we spoke before, Wolf -- Jack Kemp spoke from where he was as a person, not so much as, oh, this would be good for us. If we just broaden the party, it will be great for us. He actually really believed this. But from a political standpoint, he was absolutely prescient.

BLITZER: Yes, he was passionate. Roland, as you know, he was very active, for example, at Howard University here in Washington, D.C.

MARTIN: He was a -- frankly, he was a man before his time when it came to the Republican Party. I've always liked Jack Kemp because he also understood, frankly, that you have to talk to African- Americans.

Jack Kemp was not afraid to be around black folks.

I think part of the problem I've always had with Republicans for so long is like when they get around African-Americans it's kind of like oh, what do I say?

OK, vouchers. No. Jack Kemp understood -- as Candy talked about earlier in one of the pieces, he played football. He was there. He understood African-Americans.

But, also, Wolf -- and this is the most important -- with Louis Farrakhan and the Million Man March, Jack Kemp said he would have loved to be a speaker at the Million Man March. Republicans are saying are you nuts, because he said you have to be able to meet people where they are if you want to really reach them. And that's what the GOP better figure out today.

BORGER: And, also, in terms of the economic side of Jack Kemp, you know, he was the man who gave Ronald Reagan the tax cut and the Republican Party, part of their orthodoxy on tax cuts. But he also said I don't worship at the shrine of balanced budget.

So, on the one hand, he said tax cuts -- and he wouldn't be with Republicans right now on having to balance the budget. So he was willing to spend a little money.


BLITZER: All right...

MARTIN: And, Wolf, public housing -- Jack Kemp changed public housing...


MARTIN: ...before Henry Cisneros did. And that also was a critical issue that Republicans ran away from.

BLITZER: You know, we're going to miss Jack Kemp. And I think I speak for all of us here at CNN and for millions of people out there -- he was simply a terrific guy. And I speak personally as someone who grew up in Buffalo, New York, when he was quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: So he was someone dear to all of us. And we want to wish our -- send our condolences to his wonderful family out there -- a very, very sad time for a lot of us.

The next time you run a red light beware -- a camera may be watching and a ticket may be coming. Angry drivers wonder if it's a sneaky way for cities to simply make money.

And the Obamas' big night out -- dinner and romance with photographers, reporters, passersby and just about everyone else in the world watching.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty and The Cafferty File coming up. The question, global warming -- what does global warming -- why does global warming, that is, rank last on a list of 20 issues of concern to voters?

Your answers, right after this.


BLITZER: You don't have to drive far these days before you come across a red light camera. Critics argue their real purpose isn't about safety, but simply making money. And in these economic times, that are pretty tough, that has some drivers pretty angry.

CNN's Carol Costello has the story.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four, three, two, one -- got you -- red light cameras, once law enforcement novelties, today they're common. And, boy, do they punish red light runners.

We met Marion in Los Angeles outside a traffic court, ready to fight what she got in the mail.

MARION, RECEIVED TICKET: A ticket for $436. I mean nobody has no jobs.

How are you going to expect us to pay it?

COSTELLO: No wonder protests over what some call Big Brother justice are all the rage online. Some drivers are trying to trick the cameras using photo blockers that claim cameras won't see their license plate numbers because they produce blurry photos.

Los Angeles police say all that angst misplaced. Since installing red light cameras, the number of accidents have dropped significantly. And there have been zero fatalities. And the cameras brought in $3.3 million in fines in 2007 alone. It's that combination of Big Brother watching and big time profit that really bothered Georgia lawmaker Barry Loudermilk. He's known as the red light man here.

BARRY LOUDERMILK: This light has been the largest money generator for the City of Atlanta. And it produces a lot of revenue. From the reports, about $1.3 million off this intersection last year.

COSTELLO (on camera): Just this intersection?

LOUDERMILK: Just this intersection.

COSTELLO (voice-over): He says some towns in Georgia who put up red light cameras shorten the length of time a light stays yellow to catch more red light runners. So he pushed through a law that requires lights in Georgia to stay yellow for one second longer. This yellow light, for example, went from 3.6 seconds to 4.6 seconds.

(on camera): So one second -- just one second makes all of that difference?

LOUDERMILK: It does, because it gives the motorist adequate time to clear the intersection.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Since the law took effect in January, at least three Georgia communities will no longer use red light cameras because they're not cost-effective.


COSTELLO: Safety experts tell us they're all for extending the time a light stays yellow. They also say there is no doubt red light cameras have been effective.

LUND: Our overall position on red light cameras is that they are effective, they are saving lives by preventing people from disobeying the law.

COSTELLO: Critics also say the red light cameras increase rear- end collisions because people slam on their brakes, causing the person behind them to crash into the back of their car. Safety experts agree. But they say the red light cameras reduce side impact crashes -- the kinds of crashes that often result in fatalities -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Carol Costello, thanks very much.

Lots of interest in those cameras -- Jack.

Have you been nailed by one of those cameras?

CAFFERTY: No, because I'm -- I stop at the red light. So, you know, if you don't want to get a ticket, that's all you have to do (INAUDIBLE).

BLITZER: Well, here in Washington, they've got all these cameras chasing people who are speeding. CAFFERTY: Well, you know, and -- but if you drive the speed limit, they won't bother you, either...


CAFFERTY: Will they?

BLITZER: Good point.


The question this hour is: Why does global warming rank last on the list of 20 issues of concern to voters?

Jim in Colorado writes: "The health of the planet is number 20 for the time reason lunatic terrorists were number 20 -- or was it number 200 -- on the list of stuff to worry about on September the 10th. It's not a problem until it bites us in the butt."

Simon in Orlando writes: "I don't think everybody is on board with the gloom and doom crowd about the effects of manmade global warming. Plus, this country can go as green as they want, but if other big polluters like China and India, don't, it's not going to matter. There's also hypocrisy from the green crowd, like Al Gore flying around in his big fuel burning private jet telling me I've got to change my light bulbs to save the Earth."

Randy in Utah: "If it can't be seen all the time, every day, by the American people, then it doesn't exist. Now, if it was on "American Idol" or "Survivor" or "Dancing With The Stars," then maybe -- maybe the lemmings would be concerned. Maybe."

Jean writes: "The fixes are too drastic for an inconclusive scientific possibility. It's like being told you have to have chemotherapy without knowing for sure you've got cancer."

Anna in Missouri writes: "We're a nation of instant gratification. People have a tendency to only worry about what's affecting them right now. We don't have it in our DNA to look into or plan for the future. It will take actually seeing the sea levels threaten our coastal cities before most of them will wonder why nothing has been done about it."

Jose writes: "People are tired of hearing about a problem that's not going to affect us today. It's sad to think our generation simply doesn't care about future generations."

And Louise writes: "Global warming finished 20th on the list because global warming is not sexy. It calls for real sacrifice. Who do you think you're talking to here? This is America."

If you didn't see your e-mail here, you can go to my blog at and look for yours there among hundreds of others.

And I'll look for you tomorrow -- Wolf. BLITZER: In THE SITUATION ROOM Jack.

CAFFERTY: Right here.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.


BLITZER: When you're leader of the free world, a romantic dinner with your wife isn't all that easy to come by.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they walked in, ordered two Martinis and made it very clear that they wanted to spend some time alone.



BLITZER: On the eve of Cinco de Mayo, President Obama met with Mexico's ambassador here in Washington and tried to note that he was a bit premature in his observance of the holiday. But in a moment that brought up memories of his predecessor, the president bungles his lines.


OBAMA: Welcome de Cince de Quattro (ph).


OBAMA: Cinco de Mayo at the White House. We are a day early, but we always like to get a head start here at the Obama White House.


BLITZER: He didn't really bungle his lines, he just told the truth. The president may have meant to say four of May, but came out five of May, of course, today being the fourth. Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. But he said he wanted to celebrate on the day before.

The eyes of the world are watching President and Mrs. Obama, which means keeping up on one of their traditions as a couple. It's a little bit more challenging these days for both of them.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has the story of a "Moost Unusual" date night.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just a cozy little dinner date for two, if you don't count the 200 or more people gawking outside or the motorcade or the 13 member press pool snapping away or the guys with the big guns. How romantic.

This is the anatomy of a White House date, starting with Michelle Obama getting in on the wrong side of the car.


MOOS: It's the president who enters closest to the White House door. They're off -- "destination unknown," BlackBerries the pool reporter. Running the occasional red light, arriving within minutes in Tony Georgetown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the name of that restaurant?

MOOS: That would be Citronelle, described by one magazine as one of the world's most exciting restaurants. On this particular evening, it looked like an SUV parking lot crossed with a crime scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They walked in, people were totally flabbergasted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, they looked like teenagers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were just looking at them like in total disbelief.

MOOS: As the first couple walked into one of Citronelle's semiprivate rooms, the restaurant's mood wall -- that changes colors -- must have been moody, indeed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They walked in, ordered two Martinis and made it very clear that they wanted to spend some time alone.

MOOS: It reminds us when the widowed president goes on a date in the movie "American President."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An intimate dinner with Sydney Wade (ph) at a romantic Georgetown bistro.


MOOS: President Obama had short ribs. Mrs. Obama had a lobster burger. A meal here runs about $100 per head.

(on camera): By the way, the president paid for dinner with his personal Visa card and left a 20 percent tip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michele kissed me here and here twice.

MOOS (voice-over): And told him the meal was great -- in French.


MOOS: Exiting to cheers, the date continued in the motorcade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell Obama I said hi. MOOS: Finally, back onto the lamp-lit grounds of the White House. The first couple held hands and took a walk -- unromantically timed by the press at seven minutes.

But what would a date be without sharing a dessert?

They split a Neapolitan. Little did the pool reporter know that when he joked of waiting for leftovers, all that would be left over was the pastry -- minus the cream filling -- from the dessert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They removed the dough and ate the cream.

MOOS: This really is a puff piece. At least they each own had their own Martini.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Let's take a look at some of the Hot Shots coming in from our friends over at the Associated Press -- pictures likely to be in your newspapers tomorrow.

In St. Louis, flooding shuts down a casino on the riverfront.

In Nepal, a Maoist supporter rallies in the streets after the prime minister resigns.

In Bolivia, rival tribes have a ritual fight during a festival.

And in Afghanistan, a U.S. soldier and a boy -- they shake hands during a patrol. Some of this our Hot Shots -- pictures often worth a thousand words.

Tomorrow's a special day here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We have a special guest, the president of Pakistan.

And here's the question -- can Pakistan protect its nuclear arsenal from extremists?

The president of Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari, he will be here. We're going to talk to him about that and a lot more. A lot of folks say what's happening in Pakistan right now is the most dangerous situation in the world.

And here's something you can participate in.

What would you ask the president of Pakistan?

You can go to, submit your video comments, your questions. Remember to try to keep them clear and concise. We're going to use some of them tomorrow -- the best ones -- on the air.

Our interview tomorrow, here in THE SITUATION ROOM, with the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari. That's coming up. Until then, thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Up next, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" -- Lou.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.

Gunmen kidnap a 3-year-old boy in a violent home invasion in California. This case raising new concerns about the rising number of kidnappings and home invasions in this country. We'll have the very latest in our special report.

And Ernie Allen, the president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, is among my guests. And I'll also have some thoughts about why this is happening and what must be done.