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President Obama Talks Mideast Peace; Abortion on Front Burner

Aired May 18, 2009 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: President Obama lays down new markers for Middle East peace. He's urging Israel to get back to the negotiating table, and he is warning Iran that his patience with its nuclear program has its limits.

Plus, a murder mystery and a political scandal -- Guatemala's president is accused of ordering a lawyer's death, the victim pointing a finger of blame from the grave.

And privacy vs. security at the airport -- a new campaign to stop what critics call a virtual strip search, scans that leave little to the imagination.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

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

President Obama put Israel's new prime minister on notice today, saying it's time to seize an historic opportunity for Middle East peace. Mr. Obama seized an opportunity himself to address concerns about his diplomatic outreach to Iran.

Our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is watching this story for us.

An important day in Washington, Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, a dramatic announcement by the president all but coming up with a deadline on those talks with Iran, basically saying he's not going to sit around and talk forever.


HENRY (voice-over): For the first time, President Obama put a timetable on talks with Iran, saying he expects results on stopping its nuclear program by the end of the year.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The important thing is to make sure that there is a clear timetable of -- at which point we say these talks don't seem to be making any serious progress. As I said, by the end of the year, I think we should have some sense as to whether or not these discussions are starting to yield significant benefits.

HENRY: New Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been skeptical of open-ended U.S. talks with Iran, so this could bide time to prevent Israel from launching a preemptive attack, a clear olive branch from Mr. Obama after two hours of talks on Mideast peace.

OBAMA: I assured the prime minister that we are not foreclosing a range of steps, including much stronger international sanctions, in assuring that Iran understands that we are serious.

HENRY: The body language seemed warm.

OBAMA: He has both youth and wisdom.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I dispute youth, but that's good.

HENRY: Mr. Obama pledged to be actively engaged in the peace process and pressed the prime minister to stop the expansion of Jewish settlements.

OBAMA: All the parties involved have to take seriously obligations that they previously agreed to. I think that we can -- that there is no reason why we should not seize this opportunity and this moment.

HENRY: The Israeli leader showed a glimmer of flexibility on recognizing a Palestinian state, conditioned, of course, on the acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.

NETANYAHU: And I think we can come at a substantive solution that allows the two peoples to live side by side in security and peace. And I add prosperity, because I'm a great believer in this. So I think the terminology will take care of itself if we have the substantive understanding, and I think we can move forward.


HENRY: Despite the optimism, no real action or progress on Mideast peace talks today. The president gets another crack at it next week when the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, comes here to the White House -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's a tough, tough, tough assignment.

All right, thanks very much, Ed, for that.

Just a short while ago, the CIA director, Leon Panetta, passed up an opportunity to criticize the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, but, privately, some Democrats are desperate to try to move beyond Pelosi's claim that she was misled by the spy agency back in 2002.

Our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is watching this story for us.

What's the latest, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is we have spoken to several Democratic congressman, liberals, and Republicans who say that they do still back the speaker, but they do, as you said, want to move on. But the Republican strategy, Wolf, is to not make that happen.


BASH (voice-over): Inside this Capitol office, aides to House Republican Leader John Boehner are working to keep the heat on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, churning out press releases touting coverage of Boehner's challenge to Pelosi on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Lying to the Congress of the United States is a crime. And if the speaker is accusing the CIA and other intelligence officials of lying or misleading the Congress, then she should come forward with evidence.

BASH: But Republicans know the only way for Pelosi to prove her claim that the CIA lied to her about waterboarding is if highly- classified notes taken at her September 2002 briefing back her story.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I would be very happy if they would release the briefings.

BASH: Pelosi wants those notes declassified, but sources with knowledge about deliberations on the issue tell CNN it's unlikely the CIA and the White House will allow it.

Meanwhile, a lingering question is whether the controversy and specifically this performance...

PELOSI: I'm sorry, the page is out of order.

BASH: ... has cost Pelosi support among fellow Democrats.

John Larson, one of her most loyal deputies, says no, but does admit...

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT: I think, you know, it perhaps wasn't one of her best press conferences, but certainly everybody in this caucus understands and stands behind her moral certitude and her ability to lead in our caucus.

BASH: Still, several Democratic sources tell CNN that, privately, some congressional Democrats are baffled by Pelosi's decision to escalate the controversy last week by going after the CIA.

PELOSI: That the CIA was misleading the Congress.

QUESTION: Do you believe Speaker Pelosi?

BASH: On that front, CIA director Leon Panetta refused to talk about his stinging response to Pelosi last week: The CIA does not mislead Congress. Instead, he tried to calm the political storm.

LEON PANETTA, CIA DIRECTOR: We have been through a rough period. When the Congress and CIA don't feel like they're partners in this effort, then, frankly, it hurts both, and, more importantly, it hurts this country.


BASH: Panetta also said that this is about the most partisan he has ever seen Washington in his more than 40 years in politics and, Wolf, he insisted that he would do his part to try to change that.

BLITZER: Dana, thanks very much.

In the heat of this firestorm, there's new evidence that Pelosi isn't necessarily all that popular across the nation right now.

Take a look at our new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. It shows almost half of Americans, 48 percent, disapprove of how she's handling her job as speaker of the House.

Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: There are a lot of contenders for this honor, but "The San Francisco Chronicle" could become the first major American city daily newspaper to simply vanish.

"The Chronicle" continues to lay off staffers in an attempt to stay afloat, but they're fighting a losing battle at this point. The city's mayor, Gavin Newsom, told a British magazine, "The Economist," if "The Chronicle" does disappear -- quote -- "People under 30 won't even notice" -- unquote.

The mayor's office later clarified those comments, saying that Newsom was talking about the physical paper version of the paper, and that a lot of young people get their news online, like on "The San Francisco Chronicle" Web site.

Well, that's exactly the point, isn't it? The Internet and the recession are threatening the survival of newspapers all over this country. And as they see fewer advertising dollars coming in, more personnel, including reporters, get laid off.

Several cities have already lost the print versions of a daily newspaper. "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer" is gone, Denver's "Rocky Mountain News" gone. The health of even the larger newspapers, including "The New York Times," has been called into question lately.

"The Economist" asks whether it matters if the daily newspaper is killed. After all, technological change has destroyed a lot of popular products in the past, and we have survived just fine.

But news isn't just a product. In a democracy, the press exists to investigate and criticize the government. And local newspapers are the best source of aggressive reporting on local issues, school boards, municipal courts, city councils, city hall and the like. Nonetheless, the end of the daily newspaper would not necessarily mean the end of news organizations. Instead, they will have to find a business model that works online. Right now, most of the online news content is free. And that doesn't pay the bills either.

So, here's the question. Would you notice if your daily newspaper disappeared?

Go to Post a comment on my blog.


You and I would notice. But a lot of young -- young kids, they wouldn't notice, because, for them, the actual paper newspaper is sort of the equivalent of a typewriter.

CAFFERTY: Well, go to your local 7/Eleven or QuikTrip on a Sunday morning and just stand in the corner and watch who comes in and buys the Sunday paper.


CAFFERTY: No kids do that.

BLITZER: I know.

CAFFERTY: It's all old people, like us.

BLITZER: I know. I know.

CAFFERTY: Or like me.


BLITZER: You're not that old.

You have likely never heard anything like this. A sitting president is accused of setting up a murder, and the accuser is the dead man speaking from the grave. Stand by. We have details of this story.

Also, a mother is accused of cyber-bullying after a 13-year-old girl killed herself. Now the mom involved in a MySpace hoax learns her punishment.

And a day after President Obama called for common ground on abortion, we have new polling on the public's view on some of the hottest social issues in the country.


BLITZER: A murder mystery is triggering a full-blown political crisis in Guatemala right now. Protesters are demanding the country's president resign after a dead lawyer left behind a video with a shocking claim about his killer.

Let's go to Brian Todd. He's got a new report that's just coming in on what's going on -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, in its efforts battling crime, corruption and poverty, the Guatemalan government was already under siege before this incident -- now an almost unprecedented situation for a sitting president. He has to defend himself against an extraordinary accusation of murder.


TODD (voice-over): You're looking at a dead man making a stirring accusation from the grave.


RODRIGO ROSENBERG, ATTORNEY (through translator): Regrettably, if you are currently watching or listening to this message, it's because I was murdered by President Alvaro Colom.


TODD: Guatemalan attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg accuses President Alvaro Colom of being behind his murder. In the video released one day after Rosenberg was killed, he also accuses a top Colom aide and a third man and says the president's wife is involved.

Rosenberg was gunned down last week while riding his bicycle in Guatemala City. His killing has spurred a political crisis in what the U.N. says is a corrupt, crime-ridden nation, with thousands taking to the streets to demand Colom's resignation, others demonstrating in support of him.

CNN's stringer in Guatemala tells us there are still no suspects in the case. Rosenberg in the video says he was targeted because he spoke publicly about the killings in April of one of his clients, a prominent businessman, and the man's daughter.


ROSENBERG (through translator): Both of whom were cowardly murdered by the president, Alvaro Colom.


TODD: Because, Rosenberg says, they refused to take part in corruption.

In interviews with CNN, President Colom vehemently denies that he or anyone connected to him took part in Rosenberg's murder and says he's asked a U.N. commission to investigate.

ALVARO COLOM, GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT (through translator): And if this commission or ministry requires the FBI's help, they should get it. I have nothing to hide.

TODD: An official with the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala tells CNN an FBI agent was on the ground for 24 hours there last week. (END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: The State Department is also cooperating in this case. And a U.N. commission that was already in the country to probe corruption and organized crime is helping the Guatemalan attorney general investigate.

But the attorney general is an ally of the president. And an official with that U.N. commission tells us that U.N. investigators have no power to arrest anyone -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, the -- the Guatemalan legal system is overwhelmed even under normal circumstances, isn't it?

TODD: It certainly is. That U.N. commission, an official with that commission told us that only two of every 100 criminal cases even makes it to court. They have had hundreds of policemen expelled from the force in just the past year, prosecutors fired. They are really up against it. And now this case is really putting pressure on them.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thank you.

And we are getting ready to learn of a -- of the punishment for a mother accused of cyber-bullying after a 13-year-old girl committed suicide.

Let's go straight to CNN's Ted Rowlands. He's watching this unfold in Los Angeles.

All right, Ted, give us the background.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that sentencing hearing is going on right now. It is for Lori Drew. This is that mother that is accused of using MySpace to push a 13-year-old girl into suicide.


ROWLANDS (voice-over): Her family says 13-year-old Megan Meier hanged herself in her bedroom because of what Lori Drew, a friend's mother, did using MySpace.

Drew was convicted of three misdemeanors for creating a fake MySpace account and posing as a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans, who pursued Megan.

TINA MEIER, MOTHER OF MEGAN MEIER: He thought she was really pretty, posted on her comments on her pictures, this is beautiful; your eyes are beautiful.

TODD: But prosecutors say, after a few weeks, Drew, acting as Josh Evans, turned abusive towards the 13-year-old girl, telling her, among other things, the world would be better off without her. And after hearing Megan Meier had committed suicide, they say Drew removed the Josh Evans account from MySpace. While Drew has never been charged with a crime in her home state of Missouri, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, where MySpace is located, went after her for violating computer laws.

THOMAS O'BRIEN, U.S. ATTORNEY: People think you can do whatever you want on the Internet. You can't.

TODD: But defense attorneys say prosecutors who were unable to win convictions on two felony charges they brought in the case are the real bullies here, that blaming a teenager's suicide on Lori Drew is ridiculous.

DEAN STEWARD, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The bottom line is that, as you heard in closing argument, somebody's got to pay. A lot of people seem to have picked out my client to do that. I think, at best, it's unfortunate. I don't think these charges should have ever been brought.


TODD: Lori -- Lori Drew was convicted on three separate misdemeanors, Wolf. She faces a total of three years in federal prison. But that is, of course, up to the judge. And, again, we are awaiting word on what this judge decides. And, when we find out, we will tell you.

BLITZER: All right, we will come right back to you as soon as you know, Ed. Thanks very much.

The president has pushed for green jobs, green buildings, and now getting strict with the auto industry -- new standards set to be announced.

Those airport body scanners are supposed to improve security, but they don't leave much to the imagination. And now there's a new push to guard your modesty.

And the president's big face-to-face meeting with a key ally in the Middle East, the stakes certainly are high, but what was actually accomplished today?



BETTY NGUYEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, if you're not going to toot your own horn, guess I will just have to do it for you.

Today, Wolf and those who head up the best political team on television won a Peabody Award for CNN's primary campaign and debate coverage. Brian Williams handed out the award, which is one of journalism's highest honors.

And I understand, Wolf, you had a bit of an advantage in this category. Take a look.


BLITZER: I want to leave you, though, with one final thought.


BLITZER: And "The Onion" will appreciate this.

Think about this, George Foster Peabody -- watch this -- and Wolf Blitzer.




NGUYEN: It is almost a spitting image, minus the glasses, of course.

But, Wolf, congratulations. A lot of hard work went into that. And, as I mentioned, it is one of journalism's highest awards.

BLITZER: Yes, it was certainly a great, great honor.

David Bohrman, our Washington bureau, you saw him there, with Sam Feist and Jane Maxwell, and our entire team, they deserve all the credit.


BLITZER: They really revolutionized how they cover these kinds of elections and politics, primaries, debates. It was really amazing last year. I'm very proud for all of us here at CNN.

NGUYEN: Well-deserved.

BLITZER: Betty, thank. By the way, here it is. Here's the Peabody Award.


NGUYEN: Love it. Almost like looking in a mirror.


BLITZER: Very nice award.


BLITZER: Thank you.

NGUYEN: All right.

BLITZER: A new death linked to swine flu, the sixth in the United States, new warnings: Don't let your guard down, the virus still spreading, and spreading fast. Privacy advocates fear that high-tech airport screening devices are leaving passengers exposed, and in some unacceptable ways, -- just ahead, the new campaign to stop what critics call virtual strip searches.

Are Americans demanding that the new Supreme Court justice be a Latino or a woman, or both? We have a new snapshot of what the public wants.


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

Happening now: face-to-face with a key ally in the Middle East, a high-stakes meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But what did the two power players actually accomplish?

A huge rally on Wall Street today, the Dow shooting up 235 points on housing news. It's the biggest one-day gain in over a month.

And you're looking at the last time human hands will touch the Hubble telescope. Astronauts made their fifth and final space walk today to repair the aging telescope.

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

A sixth suspected U.S. death from the H1N1 flu virus, this one striking fear in the hearts of parents and serious concern among New York City health officials. The latest victim is a middle school assistant principal. And we're learning new details of his case.

CNN's Mary Snow is here in New York. She is working the story for us.

What's the latest, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of concern, Wolf, as you can imagine, and some questions.

A fellow staff member tells us assistant principal Mitchell Wiener rarely missed a day of work, until last week, but questions have been raised about his health before he came down with the flu.


SNOW (voice-over): Flowers and candles line the sidewalk outside Intermediate School 238 in memory of 55-year-old Mitchell Wiener, an assistant principal who became the first death linked to swine flu in New York City.

KATRINA TOLENTINO, TEACHER: Nobody could have foreseen Mr. Wiener passing away or it getting as bad as it is right now. And just everyone's devastated and just is numb. And I really, really don't want it to set in, because I want to be able to come back and see him. And he's not going to be there. SNOW: But, along with grief, questions remain. Wiener was admitted to the hospital last Wednesday in critical condition. A spokesman for Flushing Hospital tells CNN he knows of no preexisting medical condition.

Wiener's family, seen over the weekend, told reporters gout was the only past health problem he had. But city health officials maintain there was another health issue.

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We don't comment on individual cases. We do state that he did have an underlying medical condition.

SNOW: Timing of the school's shutdown is being examined. This teacher says Wiener wanted the school to shut down earlier than last week because kids were getting sick. But the mayor has said they're closing schools on a case-by-case basis. But he and other officials are being questioned about whether they handled the situation effectively.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think anybody was behind the curve.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Science has no ways of stopping something like this from spreading. And you can catch it virtually anyplace with anybody. And, so, unless you were to go wall yourself off and never have any human contact with anybody else, which is not terribly practical...


SNOW: Now, health officials say the flu is spreading here in New York. They reiterate the cases so far have been mild.

Now, today, roughly 11,000 kids were told to stay home. More schools were added to the list today. That means 17 schools, Wolf, will be shut tomorrow. Most of these schools will be shut down for five days.

BLITZER: Mary, thanks very much. Mary will stay on top of this story here in New York.

Privacy advocates want to stop airport body scans which project images leaving not much to the imagination.

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

She has the latest -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, privacy advocates have had issues with the technology called Millimeter Wave right from the get go. But they're launching an online petition campaign to stop, at least for the time being, what they refer to as a virtual strip search.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MESERVE (voice-over): The technology, called Millimeter Wave, doesn't leave much to the imagination, as it scans the body looking for concealed items.

DEDE COLTON, TSA IMAGING OPERATOR: It basically just lets us know if there's anything out of the ordinary that's (INAUDIBLE) outside their clothing -- (INAUDIBLE).

MESERVE: Or a weapon. The Transportation Security Administration is pilot testing Millimeter Wave at screening checkpoints at 19 airports, with an eye to deploying it more widely. But privacy advocates say there are no formal rules for how the machines and the images they generate will be used.

LILLIE CONEY, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: I'm worried that the technology can retain images, that those images might be used for more than just travel screening purposes.

MESERVE: For instance, they might turn up on the Internet. But the TSA says the machines have been disabled so they cannot store, send or print images. The images are not overly detailed and other privacy steps have been taken.

JON ALLEN, TSA ATLANTA: The officer who attends the passenger at the machine never gets to see the images that are generated. The officer who views the image, views those in a remote location. They never physically get to see the passenger.

MESERVE: But the privacy community is launching a petition drive to suspend Millimeter Wave testing. It fears TSA will change the rules on how the technology is used unless it goes through the formal public federal rule making process.

COLTON: It's tried and true. It's reliable. It forces the issue out into a more transparent process. And when it's all said and done, we all have the rule book.


MESERVE: The TSA says all passengers are given the option of choosing a different screening method and that the majority pick Millimeter Wave. But privacy advocates argue that's because the public isn't adequately informed about the risks -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The debate will continue.

Thank you for that, Jeanne.

It's a new search engine that some say will mean the death of Google.

But can it actually live up to all the hype that is out there?

We're checking it out.

And a new job for former President Bill Clinton -- special envoy. We've just confirmed it. We have details of where he'll be going, what he'll be doing.

Plus, new developments in the flap between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the CIA. The agency's director is now warning the country may pay a price for it. The best political team on television is standing by.


BLITZER: Could you be looking at the next person to be sitting on the United States Supreme Court?

The Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, she's going to the White House tomorrow, reportedly to discuss fuel-efficiency standards. But a lot of people believe she's one of President Obama's potential picks for the court.

For whoever is chosen, how much praise and criticism might that person get?

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

He's joining us now -- Bill, what are Americans looking for in a Supreme Court nominee?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, we know what they're not looking for -- drama.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): As President Obama prepares to name his first Supreme Court nominee, he's under pressure from all directions -- name a woman, name a Latino, name an African-American.

Does the public care?

Thirty-nine percent say it's important that the president pick a woman. Most Americans, including most women, say it's not.

The first Hispanic justice -- only about one in four say that's important.

The second black justice -- just 22 percent.

But it is important that the president pick someone with experience as a judge.

President Obama has said he wants a judge who can empathize with people.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Somebody who understands the rule of law and somebody who understands how being a judge affects Americans' every day lives.

SCHNEIDER: That may be why it's important to nearly half the public that Mr. Obama name someone with elected experience. President Obama believes the court's 1973 ruling that gave Constitutional protection to abortion rights is settled law.

GIBBS: He believes that the -- the right to privacy in the case of "Roe v. Wade" -- I think he said during one of the presidential debates with John McCain -- was settled and was, in his mind, settled correctly.

SCHNEIDER: The public agrees. Two-thirds do not want to see "Roe" overturned.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The public agrees. It's settled law.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The public agrees. Settled law.

Here's a hot button issue the Supreme Court has not ruled on -- whether same-sex couples have the right to marry. The public is divided. Forty-five percent say yes. Fifty-four percent say no. That's unsettled law and unsettled public opinion, too.


SCHNEIDER: Some Catholics protested when Notre Dame University honored President Obama. They objected to his support for abortion rights. But there's no evidence the incident did the president any harm with Catholic voters. Among all Americans, 63 percent give President Obama a positive job rating. And among Catholics, 65. Sixty-one percent of Catholics say the president's views on abortion do not affect their view of him at all -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

We have now confirmed that the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, will be named the United Nations special envoy to Haiti. The formal announcement expected tomorrow.

What he will do will be try to help that troubled Caribbean nation deal with some of its humanitarian problems, especially the results of natural disasters. Bill Clinton having a long history with Haiti going back to when he was president of the United States.

Let's talk about this and more with Roland Martin, who is our political analyst; he's here; Jeff Toobin, our political analyst; and Gloria Borger, she's in Washington, our senior political analyst, as well.

This seems like a pretty good opportunity for Bill Clinton to do something potentially really important.

ROLAND S. MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Not only that, you have the new president that -- who has been trying to restore the country, if you will, dealing with drug traffickers, trying to deal with the issue of poverty, also the ability to bring in jobs to that country. So many people there are poor -- and then dealing with the calamity, frankly, after Aristide.

And so -- and there's so much potential there. And, as you say, the Clintons have been really involved with Haiti for quite some time, even the secretary of State very involved with that country.

BLITZER: I went to Haiti with him when he was president of the United States.

But is there a potential problem here, his wife being secretary of State?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is something Hillary Clinton said when she was running for president -- I will use Bill Clinton as special envoy around the world. Barack Obama is doing the same thing. Haiti is probably the most troubled country in the Western Hemisphere, the poorest.

In 1993, when Clinton just took office, he sent special ambassadors down there -- Colin Powell, among others -- to try to deal with the civil -- civil rest -- unrest that was going on. It's a very difficult assignment because that country is really in trouble.


BLITZER: It's very difficult. And he's going to be United Nations special envoy, Gloria. He's not going to be a U.S. special envoy. He's going to be doing this on behalf of the world body.

BORGER: Yes, he is. And I think this is going to be largely a humanitarian effort, given the natural disasters that they've suffered.

But as you pointed out earlier, the president has a long history with Haiti. In 1994, he sent about 20,000 troops there backing Aristide, with mixed results. And so he really understands that part of the world.

And I think, you know, the Clinton Global Initiative has done a lot of work in that part of the world, as well.

So I think it's going to be largely humanitarian.

BLITZER: All right, guys. I want to move on and talk about the president's commencement address yesterday at Notre Dame University.

Among other things, he said this.


OBAMA: When we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe, that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground. That's when we begin to say maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision, for any woman, is not made casually. It has both moral and spiritual dimensions.


BLITZER: Roland, what I thought was impressive at this commencement address at Notre Dame, and the one the other day at Arizona State University, the controversies -- very different controversies -- he addressed those head on. He didn't try to walk away from them.

MARTIN: Well, first off, if he had ignored the controversy, we would all be saying what the heck is he doing -- I mean he should confronting them head-on. And so it certainly makes sense to do that.

But what I found to be interesting, he keeps talking about -- on this whole issue of abortion -- trying to find that common ground. I sort of get the sense that you have a president grappling with this issue himself. Yes, he is -- he is pro-choice, supports the right of a woman to choose but also recognizes the spiritual component there.

But, look, I think you can (INAUDIBLE) you want to on this issue. I think it is so cut and dry. People are going to say I'm sorry, you know...

BLITZER: But he just wants...

MARTIN: ...we're on opposite ends of the spectrum.

BLITZER: He just wants, you know, sort of a decent discussion. He knows that the differences can never be resolved.

TOOBIN: And I think that's the only civilized way to approach this, because people don't change their mind about abortion. They believe what they believe. And what the president says or what a minister says, nothing changes it.

What he's saying is, look, we know this, let's be civilized in speaking to each other and try to find some areas -- like reducing unwanted pregnancies -- that we can all agree on.

BLITZER: Did he thread the needle, Gloria, on this sensitive issue?

BORGER: Yes, you know, I think he did. And I was thinking back to when candidate Obama talked about bringing change to Washington and bringing change to politics.

And what we saw at Notre Dame was essentially a president wading into the middle of the emotional culture wars that we've been waging in this country for decades and saying, OK, stop for a minute, we disagree, but let's see what we can do together to encourage adoptions. Let's see what we can do together to counsel young women about unwanted pregnancies.

Let's see how we can work together to solve this problem, which is why it's very hard for folks to oppose him when he says let's try and figure out ways to work together on these kind of divisive social issues. BLITZER: There was a lot of anticipation, Roland, leading up to today's meeting at the White House between the president of the United States and the new prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

If people were expecting a confrontation or fireworks, we certainly didn't see it in public.

MARTIN: Oh, first of all, you're not going to get a confrontation with this president. Remember, we saw all throughout the campaign, he was Mr. Cool. And so he operates the exact same way, because he wants to defuse any potential tension there.

But it is interesting, in terms of when you hear his comments, when he says Israel, you're going to have to step up here. This is not going to be a situation where you can say, Palestinians, you do all the work and then we'll come to the table.

But he also sent a very gentle warning to Iran, that I'm not -- I'm not going to be Mr. Nice guy for a long period of time. You also must step up, as well.

BLITZER: He said by the end of this year -- seven months from now -- we should know if this diplomatic overture to the Iranians is bearing any results.

TOOBIN: And that was, I thought, surprising, because when it comes to diplomacy, most presidents or secretaries of State don't set deadlines. And that was a pretty clear deadline. And I think it was a gesture to the Israelis, because the Israelis don't want any -- any dialogue with Iran. And he is saying, look, we know your feelings and we're not going to let this drag out forever.

BLITZER: Gloria?

BORGER: I'm going to be watching the body language between these two fellows, Wolf, because, you know, you saw the president today talk about a two-state solution, period -- we want a two-state solution. You didn't hear that out of Benjamin Netanyahu.

So we're going to have to keep watching how these -- how these fellows negotiate, because I think they're a little wary of each other, to tell you the truth.

BLITZER: Is Nancy Pelosi, Roland, in deep trouble within her own Democratic Caucus?

MARTIN: I don't think she's in trouble with the caucus because, look, she is the speaker. She has significant power. But at some point, you are going to have to tamp this down and, in some way, come clean.

We thought the news conference last week was going to solve that issue. But, look, right now, I think this is very largely a Washington story, not necessarily a national story. If it goes beyond the borders of D.C. then it's trouble for the Democrats.

TOOBIN: I'm a little confused about it.

Did Nancy Pelosi waterboard anybody, order anybody to be waterboarded?


TOOBIN: Look...


TOOBIN: This just strikes me as one of the goofiest Washington controversies in history. She mishandled the press conference, but I don't see why she's the one being questioned about waterboarding.

BLITZER: Well, we'll discuss this on another occasion when we have a bit more time.


BLITZER: All right, guys. Thanks very much.

They love to go after people in Washington.

Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to release new rules on fuel-efficiency for cars and trucks. With so many auto companies struggling right now, is now the best time to be pushing these new standards?

Submit your video comments to Watch the program tomorrow to see if your video makes it on the air.

Let's check in with Lou Dobbs to see what's coming up right at the top of the hour -- Lou.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you very much.

Tell -- tell Jeffrey Toobin to tune in at 7:00 Eastern. We'll have some answers to his questions on Nancy Pelosi.

Also, coverage of the president's first ever summit meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Then, after the summit, the president giving Iran a year to reach its deal on its suspected nuclear weapons program. We'll tell you what could be happening next in the showdown with Iran.

Also, Congressional Republicans are launching a new wave of attacks against Speaker Pelosi over her assertion that the CIA lied to Congress. One of those Republicans, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, is amongst my guests tonight.

And the swine flu outbreak is spreading rapidly in this country and a sixth swine flu patient has died.

Why are there not higher numbers being reported?

What is going on among our public health agencies and why? We'll have a special report.

Join us for all of that and more at the top of the hour -- and, Wolf, if I may, congratulations on the Peabody.

BLITZER: Congratulations to the entire CNN team.

Thank you very much for that.

Lou Dobbs coming up in a few moments.

Some predict it will topple Google -- and this is no average search engine. We put it to the test to see if it can live up to all the hype. Stand by.

And would you notice if your daily newspaper -- the print version, the paper version -- actually disappeared?

Jack Cafferty is standing by with your e-mail.


BLITZER: Some actually threatened it would be a Google killer -- a new search engine being tested by millions of Web users after its debut on Friday -- Abbi, how is it going?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, first of all, it's not a search engine. It's a computational knowledge engine. Roughly translated, that means that this site, Wolfram/Alpha, figures out results for you based on its own databases, not by scanning the Web. And in some cases, the data is pretty extensive -- mathematical information. There's physics searches you can do, historical data.

If you ask it, for example, what the weather was like in London 10 years ago today, it's going to tell you that it rained for 13-and- a-half hours. Fancy that.

And if you look at musical data, as well, you can ask it for Information about a chord and it's going to play it for you, if you'd like, and write it out musically.

Since Friday, there have been 23 million searches, according to the creators of the site. And they say three quarters of them have come out satisfactorily -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What about the 25 percent that didn't get a satisfactory answer?

TATTON: Well, these databases don't extend to everything and the creators will say that right off the bat -- popular culture or current events, you might come up short.

For example, if you search on Google for Obama Supreme Court, it's going to give you speculation about justices, news articles, video. If you do the same thing on Wolfram/Alpha, this is what we came up with. Obama Supreme Court -- it's actually the distance from the town of Obama in Japan to the town of Supreme in Louisiana -- 7,000 miles, but not exactly what we were looking for.

Some of the commentators online are saying that this could be revolutionary -- just not today -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Not yet ready.

All right. Thanks for much for that, Abbi.

You know who's ready?

Jeff Cafferty. He's got "The Cafferty File."

CAFFERTY: They say they're going to topple Google?

BLITZER: No. I don't think that's happening.

CAFFERTY: Not even close.


CAFFERTY: I mean, 75 percent of the time you're right and the other 25 -- and those 25 percent aren't coming back.


CAFFERTY: They'll go look somewhere else.

All right the question is what would you -- would you notice if your daily newspaper simply disappeared?

Shawn in Chicago: "I live in Chicago and work for a major dot- com. I never read the printed issue of the "Sun-Times" or the "Chicago Tribune." I read them online. I subscribe to the Sunday edition of "The Trib" only as a form of habit. It usually ends up in the recycling bin. I wouldn't notice at all if these two institutions shut down their printed versions, because so many of the young people in this city read them online or on their mobile devices on their way to the office."

Robert writes: "Hell, yes, I'd notice. I'm a Tribune Company employee. I've been watching colleagues disappear for years in what the company calls cost-cutting. They're going to cut us right onto the unemployment line. You can catch me on I-95 picking up cans any day now."

Mike writes: "No, I wouldn't miss them. The way of the future is in some version of iTunes for the newspapers -- maybe charge 25 cents a story. Everything will be online eventually. You cannot out run technology."

Jack writes: "Unfortunately for me, the physical daily newspaper has long been replaced -- Wolf just dropped a diamond out of his watch.

(LAUGHTER) CAFFERTY: "Unfortunately for me, the physical daily newspaper has long been replaced by the online version. While I miss the smell and filth of the actual item, I can still get the news I want. However, I lament the disappearance of the daily papers in this country. They've become an unforeseen casualty in the war of technologies."

Pat in Canada: "I can't imagine not having a daily paper -- editorials, letters, sports updates, crossword puzzles, recipes, fashion, etc."

Art in Mississippi: "Sorry, Jack, I wouldn't notice. Just short of 45, not exactly a member of the Z Generation or whatever this year's crop is called. My parents have repeatedly subscribed to the paper for us for years now and I've repeatedly asked them to save their money."

And Bobby writes: "What's a newspaper? Never mind, I'll go on the Internet and look it up."

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.

We got a lot of e-mail.

BLITZER: This is what I dropped...

CAFFERTY: What was that?

BLITZER: The screw here from this (INAUDIBLE)...

CAFFERTY: Glad you didn't drop the Pulitzer Prize.


CAFFERTY: I mean the...

BLITZER: The Peabody.

CAFFERTY: I'm sorry.

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack.


BLITZER: Jumping ahead first, the allure is just too strong to resist -- pictures worth a thousand words. Hot Shots, next.


BLITZER: Let's go right to Ted Rowlands.

He's getting some new words on a major controversial case out in California.

What's going on?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The MySpace hoax case. Yes, Wolf, we expected the sentencing today. We just found out the judge delayed the sentencing until July 2nd, a bit of a surprise. He gathered everybody in court today just to delay the sentencing.

So that is the update on a case that a lot of people around the country have been watching.

BLITZER: All right. We'll continue to watch it with you.

Ted, thank you.

Let's look a closer look at some of the "Hot Shots."

In the West Bank, boys jump in the pool to cool off during a heat wave.

In Pakistan, a boy waits while his father lines up for food in a refugee camp.

In New Delhi, a dancer performs outside the residence of Sonia Ghandi, whose party recently claimed victory in a nationwide election.

And over at the White House, the Israeli flag is seen as the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives.

Some of this hour's "Hot Shots" -- pictures worth a thousand words.

Here's a bonus "Hot Shot," by the way. The graduating class at St. Bonaventure University also heard some words of wisdom, at least I'd like to think so. I was thrilled to give a commencement address there yesterday and to receive an honorary degree in the process.

St. Bonaventure University -- there you see getting hooded -- the president, Sister Margaret -- Sister President Margaret Carney giving me that huge award. And I was thrilled to be back near my hometown of Buffalo, New York.

St. Bonaventure University. It's a great school and only in New York. Thank you so much for giving me that honor.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

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