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Obama Administration Targets Climate Change Regulation; Was the Bailout a Bargain?; Democratic Senator Recommends Girlfriend For Job

Aired December 7, 2009 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now; The Obama administration takes a major step toward new climate change regulation. This hour, a clear warning about the perils of greenhouse gases at a time when the science of global warming is under fire.

Should Hillary Clinton try to intervene, now that an Italian jury has convicted American student Amanda Knox of murder? I will ask the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright what she would do if she were in Secretary Clinton's shoes right now.

And a senator who recommended his girlfriend for a prosecutor's job -- new Republican demands for an ethics probe of Democratic Senator Max Baucus. Even some of his allies are wondering, what was he thinking?

I'm Wolf Blitzer in CNN's command center for breaking news, politics and extraordinary reports from around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the danger for all of us is very real. It's declaring today that greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to the public health and welfare. The timing is no coincidence. A conference on climate change is underway in Denmark at a time when the science of global warming is under new scrutiny. Leaked e-mails have raised serious questions about whether scientists cherry-picked information supporting their theories about global warming.

Let's go straight to our senior White House correspondent, Ed Henry. He's taking a close look at this story for us.

The president next week will be heading over to Denmark for that conference. So -- but, in the meantime, his administration now is taking action.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, a lot of dramatic action here at the White House today, Wolf, ahead of that conference. And, in fact, this hour, the president will be in the Oval Office huddling with former Vice President Al Gore, a leading expert and voice on climate change, has been advocating dramatic action to deal with global warming long before many other people around the world.

That really sets the stage for the administration stepping up its efforts. Earlier today, as you noted, the Environmental Protection Agency declaring that in fact carbon dioxide, other greenhouse emissions do impact the health and welfare of the American public, and that basically if the U.S. Congress does not step forward with dramatic action to curb global warming, the EPA could do it and regulate on its own.

Now, this whole deal could really strengthen the president's hand on the eve of the Copenhagen summit. You will remember the president was supposed to go this week, but Robert Gibbs reiterated today the president is going to be going there next week, because he thinks he will have a bigger impact and could help seal a deal.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believed, having helped to work both in enunciating our commitments, as well as ensuring that the Indians and the Chinese talked about their commitments, that we could move that to the end of the conference, when some agreement is likely to need some help from world leaders.


HENRY: Now, Robert Gibbs suggested that the timing of all this is somewhat coincidental, that it was really driven by a 2007 Supreme Court decision.

And while that decision did certainly put all of this in place, the president could have acted on that decision at any point this year. Obviously, they picked this week because it could have a dramatic impact on Copenhagen. In fact, the president's own EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, today said that they hope that this helps set the stage for some dramatic action -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ed, those leaked e-mails from England showing that some scientists tried to suppress some of the evidence to the contrary on man's role in global warming, how much of a factor is that for the White House right now?

HENRY: It's a pretty big factor, because you have a lot of top Republicans on Capitol Hill today saying that the White House really should have allowed an investigation of these leaked e-mails raising questions about whether climate scientists have been cooking the books or anything like that.

It's been sharply denied that they were cooking the books, but you have got Republicans on the Hill saying, look, this all should have been investigated before the White House moved forward on this EPA action.

From here, though, I can tell you, they're moving full speed ahead. Robert Gibbs says he believes there's no question about the science on climate change, as did Lisa Jackson. They both said today that there's no debate about the science.

I think what is a big debate, though, moving forward is what kind of impact will this regulation that's expected from the U.S. government, what's it going to have on consumers and businesses? You have groups like the Chamber of Commerce out there today charging that, if there's dramatic new regulations, it could really choke off any sort of economic recovery. There's a whole lot of debate yet to come here on this -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Stand by for a moment, Ed, because we have some new information coming in, the public certainly become more skeptical about climate change over the past year.

Our brand-new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 68 percent of Americans now say global warming is a proven fact, but that's down from 76 percent in 2008. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed say the U.S. should reduce gases that contribute to global warming, even if other countries don't. That's down from 66 percent in a 2007 survey.

Ed Henry, here's the question to you. How does public opinion, if you will, these polls, impact the White House?

HENRY: Well, look, I mean, certainly good news for the White House in our polling there is that a large majority of the country does believe that there's global warming, that it is a fact, and also you see that clear majority of about 58 percent, I believe you said, thinks there should be dramatic action by the U.S. government. They can take that to heart.

However, as you note, when you look at the trajectory of this and what has happened over the last year or so, they certainly have to take notice of the fact that there's deep skepticism out there around the country and these numbers have been coming down. And that's why they probably have to make sure that they address these allegations that have come up over what they're call Climategate, this e-mail controversy.

There's skepticism out there. It's being fueled by these e-mails and maybe the White House has to push back a little bit more, because you can see on those public opinions skepticism. There's been concern out there, for sure -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We are going to have a major debate on this coming up later in THE SITUATION ROOM, Senator James Inhofe vs. Democratic Congressman Ed Markey. They strongly disagree on all of this -- that debate coming up.

Ed, thank you.

BLITZER: Today, the Pentagon confirmed exactly where extra troops who will be going to Afghanistan will be coming from, the first step, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The Pentagon says 1,500 troops from there will deploy later this month. Even more will deploy early next year, as well as from other bases.

Amid this news, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went to North Carolina, to that base earlier today. Admiral Mike Mullen faced basic questions from the troops, including these.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, do you think 30,000 are just going to be enough right now?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.


MULLEN: And as somebody that, as I indicated earlier, started in Vietnam, it's an area of particular focus for me.

And I will just talk about two things. And there are similarities. I have got all that. Insurgency is an example, but you have got -- we shouldn't forget that there are 42 other countries in Afghanistan with combat forces with us. This isn't just -- this isn't the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, when -- when we returned from missions in Afghanistan to Camp Leatherneck, the amount of people made it so that it took sometimes two to three hours to get some chow, as well as four to five hours to e-mail our families. With the -- the increase in troops that's coming up, is there anything in place to compensate for us?

MULLEN: We have been working -- we have actually been working with this month's to be able to plan ahead for a decision like this and to try to break down those barriers, a couple of them that I mentioned to you just a second ago.

We are also working extensively on bandwidth, on C4I support. And you get at that in terms of the e-mail connectivity, but, again, it's not a very robust infrastructure and there's not a lot of extra bandwidth. So, we -- I think all of us recognize the importance of that.


BLITZER: Many of those troops, by the way, attending this event with Admiral Mullen will actually be going to Afghanistan in the coming weeks and months.

Deadly new explosions rocked the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, and synchronized blasts ripped think a busy market in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore today. At least 36 people are dead, more than 100 wounded.

CNN's Reza Sayah is in the Pakistani capital is Islamabad.


REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, an inferno in Lahore after two almost simultaneous blasts at a popular market, the blast taking place at Moon Market in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city and its cultural capital. Moon Market is one of Lahore's most popular destinations. This is a market lined with shops and restaurants, often bustling with activity. The time when these explosions took place is a time when you often see families, women and children, sit down for dinner at this market or go shopping. Witnesses describe an awful aftermath, bodies strewn in the streets, dozens of shops on fire, and absolute chaos.

The explosions in Lahore were the third militant attack of the day. Earlier, a suicide attack in front of a district court in Peshawar, a bomb planted in a car Quetta injured several people.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for these explosions, but previously, when militants have targeted civilian locations like this, the Pakistani Taliban have denied responsibility. What they have taken responsibility for are numerous attacks on security forces and security facilities in retaliation against the current Pakistani army offensive against the Taliban in south Waziristan -- Wolf.


BLITZER: Reza Sayah, thanks very much.

Reza is our man in Islamabad, watching this horror unfold.

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

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, with that global warming summit kicking off today in Copenhagen, Denmark, some are wondering what the point of this whole exercise really is. I would be one of those.

The British newspaper "The Telegraph" reports more than 1,200 limousines and an extra 140 private jets are expected during the peak period of the summit. Now, this far exceeds the capacity of Copenhagen's airports. So some of the jets will fly to regional airports or in some cases fly to Sweden, park there, then fly back to Copenhagen to pick up their passengers at the end of the year, all this for the 15,000-plus delegates, officials, journalists, world leaders, politicians, celebrities, yadda, yadda, yadda, attending these meetings meant to reduce the planet's carbon emissions.

Now, this little get-together will produce, just the summit, 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide, which is more than Switzerland produced in all of 2006. To make matters worse, the summit is taking place under a cloud of suspicion, thanks to those leaked e-mails from climate scientists. Critics suggest the books may have been cooked when it comes to the issue of global warming, that scientists were actually falsifying data.

Now that President Obama has changed his schedule to attend later in the summit, some see this as a sign that some kind of an agreement could be closer to happening. The U.S., India, China have all come out with specific proposals for the first time, and world leaders hope to come up with a deal that would include commitments on reducing emissions. But a legally-binding treaty to combat global warming? Never going to happen.

Here's the question: What do you expect to come out of the global warming summit in Copenhagen?

Go to Post a comment on my blog.

Extra 140 private jets flying in there for this thing.

BLITZER: Yes, I'm not surprised, a lot of carbon coming in and going out.

All right, Jack, thanks very much.

There's new reason for President Obama to claim the Wall Street bailout is in fact working. So, why is the Fed chairman still sounding rather cautious about the economy? Stand by.

The Obama war council sounding a little fuzzy about the exit strategy in Afghanistan. I will ask the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright if she's clear on how and when U.S. troops will leave.

And when romance and ethics collide -- a Democratic senator denies he gave his girlfriend special treatment when he recommended her for a prosecutor's job, but critics see it a whole lot differently.


BLITZER: It's your money, so of course you would like to save some of it.

Regarding the taxpayer-funded government bailout of financial firms, President Obama says it's been less expensive than expected. The administration says it can slash $200 billion from the program. In a speech coming up tomorrow, the president is expected to announce he wants to redirect some of that money towards creating jobs.

Here's what the president said today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What my speech tomorrow will focus on is the fact that having gotten the financial crisis under control. Having finally moved into positive territory when it comes to economic growth, our biggest challenge now is making sure that job growth matches up with economic growth.


BLITZER: All right, let's bring in our chief business correspondent, Ali Velshi, and our senior political analyst Gloria Borger.

Ali, the president seems to be saying, it's cost a lot less, the bailout. And that sounds like pretty good news.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is good news, strange news. What has happened is that a lot of money was given out and some of that money has come back. What the banks have paid back or are likely to pay back actually comes back with interest, so the government has made some money on that.

Initially, they thought that the taxpayer was over the long term going to be out about $341 billion. And now the government is staying the taxpayer will only be out about $141 billion.

Here's the strange part, Wolf. Here's my wallet. Let's say I lose, I drop it. I go home, and I'm all distraught. It had $341 in it, and I have lost the wallet. Somehow, I get the wallet back. I retrace my steps or someone returns it, but instead of $341, there's $200 in here -- or $200 -- there's $200 left -- $141 has gone missing.

Have I saved the $200, or did I just get back my $200? Because if I just got back my $200, I probably shouldn't be thinking about spending it somewhere else.

So, that's the strange part of it. Yes, the government says it's going to cost taxpayers $200 billion less over 10 years, but, pretty soon, probably within 24 hours, in tomorrow's speech, the president is going to tell you how he's spending the $200 billion.

BLITZER: I hope you have got your driver's licenses and credit cards and your personal information in there back as well, Ali.


BLITZER: Gloria, the Republicans say, you know what? If some of these banks, like Goldman Sachs or whatever, they are returning money with interest to the U.S. Treasury, take that money and start paying down the debt.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Sure. They're saying put the money to the deficit. We have got this huge deficit right now. We have got to raise the debt ceiling in a few weeks, probably to as much as $15 trillion.

But the Democrats are saying, look, right now, this is not the time to take the money out of the economy. This is the time to put money into the economy. And, in the end, if you create jobs, you create more tax revenue, and that money will go to the federal till.

BLITZER: Ali, the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, gave an important speech today. He was rather cautious, though. He was by no means ready to declare victory, as far as the economic recovery is concerned.

VELSHI: Right, for exactly the reason that Gloria just stated, that you need to have people back in jobs, where they pay taxes and bring down the deficit.

What the -- what the Fed chairman said is, the worst is probably behind us, but the bottom line is 2010, we will see some modest economic growth, but we won't see improvements on the job front -- front as dramatic as we would like. And without improvements on the job front, people still remain a little scared about how much they're going to spend. So, they don't spend the money that stimulates the economy, which causes more jobs to come about. So, that's the problem that we're in right now.

Jobs remains the most pressing problem for this administration. And, again, tomorrow morning in the president's speech, he will speak about taking the $200 billion that we apparently saved and putting it into jobs, as opposed to the deficit.

BLITZER: He's so happy he got that $200 back, Gloria.


BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: You've been doing some reporting, speaking with some sources of yours.

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: What else is the president going to talk about?

BORGER: Well, first and foremost, small business, because that's where the jobs are going to come from, maybe tax incentives for hiring new employees, maybe freezing up some money for loans to small businesses, also green jobs.

The administration says, look, their program on tax credits for green jobs has been working, and the last thing, infrastructure. There are 30 states who won't be able to meet their highway commitments. Well, the government just might help them. So, get ready to see a lot of hardhats out there working on roads, bridges, and highways.

You still got your wallet, Ali?

VELSHI: I still got the wallet and the money.

BORGER: And the credit cards, the I.D., all that?


VELSHI: And the subway card, in case all goes wrong.

BLITZER: All right, Ali Velshi.

BORGER: But don't ever lose your BlackBerry, whatever you do.


VELSHI: That's right.


BLITZER: Thanks very much, guys.

(LAUGHTER) BLITZER: Good discussion.

It could become the blame game. Remember that airplane that recently flew over 100 miles past its intended destination? Now the pilots apparently are saying other people are partly at fault.


BLITZER: Betty Nguyen is monitoring some other important stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Betty, what is going on?


Well, those Northwest pilots who overshot their Minneapolis destination by more than 100 miles back in October, well, they are now doing some finger-pointing of their own. Captain Timothy Cheney and first officer Richard Cole say in documents filed with the NTSB that air traffic controllers violated rules and didn't coordinate with their dispatchers. The pilots are appealing the FAA decision to revoke their licenses. We will continue to follow that story for you.

And I'm sure you remember this story, too. The owner of that chimpanzee who brutally attacked and blinded a woman earlier this year will not be charged by the state of Connecticut. Sandra Herold's 200- pound chimp mauled her friend Charla Nash back in February, leaving her without much of a face. Well, Nash's family is currently suing Herold for $50 million and wants to sue the state for $150 million.

The Obama administration is launching a new ad campaign today stressing the importance of swine flu vaccinations. The CDC estimates approximately 22 million have been infected with the virus and close to 4,000 have died from it. The administration says the vaccine shortage is easing and another 10 million doses are expected this week. And in some states, now everyone is allowed to get vaccinated, not just those in the priority groups.

So, that's some good news -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. I saw Dr. Anthony Fauci of NIH over the weekend. And he said even I, not in a high-priority group, pretty soon will be eligible for a vaccine. So...

NGUYEN: So, will you get it?

BLITZER: I will definitely get a vaccine. I got the seasonal flu vaccine several weeks ago, but I will look forward to getting the H1N1 as well.

NGUYEN: You should be good to go then, yes.

BLITZER: Having gotten it yet, but I will.

NGUYEN: All right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much -- and what about you?


I haven't gotten either of them just yet. I don't normally get the flu shot, because I'm afraid it's going to make me sick, but I think, this year, I might have to break that rule and go ahead and get it.


BLITZER: All right, Betty, thanks very much.

The parents of an American exchange student are vowing to fight her murder conviction in Italy. Will Amanda Knox's family get any help from the U.S. government? I will ask the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright what she would do about the Knox case if she still had the job Hillary Clinton has right now.


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

Happening now: new developments in the terror attack that shocked the world. Regarding the strikes in Mumbai, almost exactly a year ago, a Chicago-area man is being charged. And it may -- repeat -- may be as a direct result of President Obama's involvement. Stand by.

And as U.S. begins -- the U.S. begins to move its troops out of Iraq, it's also moving out some very valuable equipment. So, why is some equipment worth tens of millions of dollars simply being left behind in Iraq, especially as more U.S. troops are heading toward Afghanistan? Stand by for that as well.

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

One family is satisfied. Another family is shaken up. And many others around the world are now taking sides. There's ongoing reactions to the verdict against an American college student in Italy convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering her British roommate. Her family vows, this case is far from over.

Here's CNN's Paula Newton on the scene.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): After an emotional visit in prison with their daughter and sister, Amanda Knox, the Knox family emerged to say they would fight on.

EDDA MELLAS, MOTHER OF AMANDA KNOX: We told her she's going to get out of here. It's going to take a little longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she's innocent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Be strong. Be strong. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's innocent, and she will come home.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What kind of a night did she have?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a rough night.

MELLAS: She had -- you know, she had a lot of support when she got back to the jail, everybody there, the inmates and the guards were all taking great care of her.


MELLAS: They care a lot.


MELLAS: Thank you.

NEWTON: Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito were convicted of not just her murder but savage beating and sexual assault. The verdict was read dispassionately as Knox slumped in her chair and sobbed.

The Knox family says the jury failed to acknowledge the lack of physical evidence linking their daughter to the murder, but the prosecutor told CNN despite all the criticisms leveled at him and the Italian justice system, the conviction stands and should be respected.

GIULIANO MIGNINI, ITALIAN PUBLIC PROSECUTOR (Through Translator): It is an appealable conviction, and we will see all of this in appeal, but convictions must be respected by all.

NEWTON: Paula Newton, CNN, Perugia, Italy.


BLITZER: Some Americans think part of the reason that Knox was convicted is because anti-American sentiment in Italy.

Let's bring in the former secretary of state, Madeleine Albright.

Madame Secretary, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: A strong statement from Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington state, the state where Amanda Knox is from, saying this. "I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial. The prosecution did not present enough evidence of an impartial jury -- for an impartial jury to conduct -- to conclude," excuse me, "beyond a reasonable doubt that Miss Knox was guilty. Italian jurors were not sequestered and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Miss Knox."

So what should the U.S., the State Department, do in a situation like this? Because it does involve a close ally, Italy. ALBRIGHT: Well, I don't know specifically, but I know that generally when there are legal issues that the State Department tries to look into the case and see what can be done. I mean, for instance, there were cases that I was involved in where there were issues about custody of children and various things like that.

I don't know enough about this specific one, but I'm sure -- Secretary Clinton I think commented briefly yesterday that she would look into what the situation was, but I can't speak to what they're going to do.

Italy is a good ally, and Italy -- I'm not sure that one can make just blanket statements about anti-Americanism. So I don't know.

BLITZER: The State Department today did issue a statement saying there's -- they have no reason to believe that Italy did not follow its own laws in dealing with Amanda Knox, which seems to suggest, at least, that there is not going to be any significant U.S. involvement other than some consular officials were monitoring the trial as it was going forward.

ALBRIGHT: But as I understand it, there also is an appeals process, and so -- part of the Italian law, but obviously consular officials, that's what they do, as American citizens, they watch to see what's happening.

BLITZER: Let's talk about Afghanistan because there's some confusion with this July 2011 date really means. Let me play a couple of clips from Secretary Clinton and David Petraeus, the commander of the Central Command.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We want to show urgency about our aims here, and we do expect to start this transition in July 2011.

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: There's no timeline, no ramp, nothing like that. Again, I think it's very important to note, as many have observed, this is not -- this doesn't trigger a rush to the exits.


BLITZER: What does the July 2011 trigger?

ALBRIGHT: I think that, as I understand from listening to and reading, is that it is the time that there will be the beginning of a transition in certain numbers of the provinces, with the idea that the Afghans have to take care ultimately of their own security.

That is the plan from everything that I have heard is that the Afghan, both their military and their police and their government, this has to be turned over to Afghan people but as....

BLITZER: It doesn't necessarily mean there's going to be a wholesale exodus of U.S. forces.

ALBRIGHT: But what certainly both what Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates said that, and General Petraeus so, it is indicating that we're not going to be there over -- we're an occupying power. I think that was the message that President Obama really wanted to deliver.

It is not an American character to go and occupy a country, and we are going to be there in a way with this involvement of additional troops to try to help the Afghans take over their own country.

BLITZER: Some say he can't have it both ways, others say maybe he can, sending 30,000 additional forces in, which is what the military wanted, at the same time having a date when they'll start presumably coming back home. Did he do the right thing?

ALBRIGHT: I think he did. First of all, I think, Wolf, that the way this decision was made, and we've had ticktock some explanation of how the decision was done over the weekend, and I think it was very, very carefully considered.

I think the president took into consideration a lot of different views, and I think he actually was ability to do something very important, as to indicate that this is important to the United States, that we're not going to be there forever, that there is an exit plan here, careful transition, so yes, I think he did the right thing.

BLITZER: The Iranian situation right now, when I interviewed General Jim Jones, the president's national security adviser, last week, he made it clear that they have another month until the end of this year -- the Iranian regime -- to accept this proposal that's on the table right now, otherwise serious consequences -- his words -- including much, much stiffer sanctions.

The question is this -- will the Chinese, the Iranians, and others go for it?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that what we've seen in the last several weeks is a sense that other countries -- Chinese, Russians, et cetera -- are beginning to see that the Iranians are not, one, reacting to the proposal, and two, actually really cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency, so that you had the outgoing Director General Elbaradei, who has been looking at this in an objective way, all of a sudden making clear that he was not that satisfied with the way that the Iranians were not reacting.

BLITZER: Will the U.S. have the support of the international community to really come down hard on the Iranians?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think they're clearly working on that, and Secretary Clinton in her travels, and when she was in Russia, President Obama, from what I understand when he was in China, that they are working on getting diplomatic support for this. And Ambassador Rice is obviously this is what she's doing day for day.

BLITZER: Let's talk about global warming, this conference coming up in -- starting actually in Copenhagen. Amidst these leaked e-mails which seems to suggest at least some scientists were trying to suppress alternate views is causing a huge uproar out there.

What's the diplomatic fallout, the timing of they leaked e-mails right now on this global warming summit?

ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that it's clearly causing people to think about things, and I heard you say that the polling in fact is that more and more people are skeptical. On the other hand, I think that the huge majority of scientists believe that climate change is taking place.

I personally, Wolf, last summer I was up at the Arctic, you can see it. I mean it doesn't exactly take a lot of imagination to see what is going on in terms of the melting ice and a variety of problems that are coming from this.

BLITZER: You're a firm believer.

ALBRIGHT: I am a believer, absolutely, and I think that it's not an easy issue, because it doesn't look immediate to people. And the immediate things that we're seeing is the financial crisis or now Afghanistan, but if we -- what does it hurt if we do something useful here?

There are plans. I think that the international community is united in this and the United States with President Obama going there is taking a leading position.

BLITZER: I have your new book on my coffee table right now about reading your pins.


BLITZER: I'm reading your pin over there. Can we get a close shot of the secretary's pin?


BLITZER: Tell me what I'm reading.

ALBRIGHT: Well, let me just tell you, most of my pins are up in an exhibit. It's in the Museum of Arts and Design. So this is a new one that was given to me by General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

And it's called "America" and has an eagle in the middle, and these four pearls are supposed to represent prosperity, equality, liberty and justice. And I thought that given what's going on in Afghanistan, it seemed like an appropriate pin to wear.

BLITZER: Very nice pin, although when I looked at it, I thought it had something to do with global warming because...

ALBRIGHT: Well, it could, you can -- the sun.

BLITZER: It's very sunny, in fact, but good explanation. Thanks for wearing it.

ALBRIGHT: Thanks for asking, Wolf.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, good to have you on the show.

ALBRIGHT: Right. Thank you.

BLITZER: The abortion issue front and center right now in the United States Senate debate over health care reform. Will it be a deal breaker? And she's taking her name out of the running for the prosecutor's post, but that's not easing the backlash against her boyfriend who happens to be the U.S. senator who recommended her for the job.

And later, a one of a kind experiment to trap carbon dioxide emissions that have been declared a clear and present danger by the EPA. Could it change the debate over global warming?


BLITZER: One of several possible obstacles to health care reform is about to reach the Senate floor. It's an amendment that would prevent quite a few insurance companies from providing abortion coverage.

Let's bring our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She's working the story for us.

It's an important vote, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And we expect that vote now tomorrow, Wolf. But it's a measure and a debate the Democratic leaders are absolutely dreading because they know this issue still threatens to derail health care reform.


BASH (voice-over): Abortion, the wrenching issue that divides Democrats, is front and center again. Antiabortion Democrat Ben Nelson is pushing to tighten abortion restrictions in the health care bill.

SEN. BEN NELSON (D), NEBRASKA: Apply the Hyde Amendment, which is a long-standing policy that no federal funds, tax dollars, will be used to fund elective abortions.

BASH: Like the House-passed bill, Nelson's amendment would ban abortion in any insurance plan receiving taxpayer money. That is far more restrictive than the current Senate bill, which allows the HHS secretary to decide whether abortion will be covered in any government-run plan and permit abortion coverage in private plans, as long as taxpayer money is separated out.

That's tough enough, say abortion rights advocates, including Republican Susan Collins.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The underlying bill makes very clear that federal funds cannot be used for abortion.

BASH: But Nelson, whom Democratic leaders likely need to pass their health care bill, says he'll oppose it unless his abortion measure is approved.

NELSON: It is a deal-breaker if we don't get this type of language in the bill.

BASH: Another deal breaker, a government-run insurance plan. Nelson and other conservative Democrats oppose it, and a new group of five moderate Democrats and five liberal Democrats working to find a compromise are considering a new idea instead of a public option.

Not-for-profit private insurance plans overseen by a government agency, the Office of Personnel Management. It's based on the current system for federal employees where large private insurers offer coverage, but are prohibited from making a profit of more than 1 percent.

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D), ALASKA: I pay $5500 a year for my family coverage and -- but I know it's not going to the profits of the insurance companies.


BASH: Now this idea would appeal and does appeal to conservative Democrats who say they cannot support anything that is government funded and government run, because this would be a run by private insurance companies.

But to get on board, liberals, Wolf, they say that they are going to have to have a lot more given to them in terms of ideas and policies to make sure that low income Americans and even middle-income Americans really do have access to affordable health insurance -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dana, what are you hearing about the possibility that Medicare, that younger people would be able to buy into Medicare, that they wouldn't necessarily have to wait until the age of 65?

BASH: This is an idea that is being pushed by liberal Democrats as something that they say that they would probably need if there is no public option. And the idea, which has been pushed for some time by Democrats like Jay Rockefeller and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the idea would be for people who are 55 and older, they would be able to buy into Medicare.

There are lots of discussions going on, but the basic idea is that Medicare could be offered as part of a new health care exchange in this reform bill. Again, to people only 55 and older, they would have to pay premiums, but these Democrats are pushing this idea, they want this to be subsidized.

So what they're talking about now is a way to figure out how to do that. This is something that may not fly with moderate Democrats, but again we're talking about pieces of a puzzle that these Democratic negotiators are trying to get at where they can have something that is acceptable to liberals, something acceptable to moderates, that is something short of a public option -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The negotiations continue on all sides. Dana, thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

BLITZER: A key week this week on health care reform.

Let's get to the cloud now over a Democratic senator who has been pivotal of the health care debate. That would be Senator Max Baucus of Montana. He now acknowledges recommending that his live-in girlfriend -- that he recommended her for nomination a federal prosecutors. Republican lawmakers are demanding an ethics investigation.

Let's bring in our national political correspondent, Jessica Yellin. She's working the story.

What are you finding out?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is one of those stories that makes you wonder, what was he thinking? Sources close to Senator Max Baucus state he did not tell the Montana's other senator, Jon Tester, or the White House that he was dating one of three people he recommended for the president to choose as the next U.S. attorney from Montana because he did not want to bias anyone in favor of her.


YELLIN (voice-over): He is at the center of the Democrats' health care fight.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), FINANCE CHAIRMAN: It's better health care for seniors.

YELLIN: A bad time for a distracting sideshow, but now Montana's senior senator is explaining why he failed to tell the White House a person he recommended as one of three candidates for an open U.S. attorney job in his state was his girlfriend.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Senator Baucus did not give us any information about those three names.

YELLIN: The senator even interviewed her while they were dating, but Mr. Baucus says he's mystified this is a story.

BAUCUS: Everything was straight on the up and up. I went out, of my way to be up and up.

YELLIN: The woman is Melodee Hanes. An experienced prosecutor and former Baucus staffer. The senator says both were separated when their relationship began, and that Hanes was eminently fit for the U.S. attorney job. BAUCUS: She is just so good. She is just so qualified. She just shines above everybody.

YELLIN: And he insists she got no special treatment. Along with five other candidates, she was vetted by an independent attorney and fellow Senator Jon Tester was present at her interview.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: There is no legal issue. What Baucus did is not illegal under any conception of the law. It is a politically tone-deaf act.

YELLIN: To date, only the Republican National Committee is making hay of it, issuing a statement saying this demands the attention of the Senate ethics committee, but Hanes never got the job. She withdrew from consideration and now works at the Justice Department.

As for Senator Baucus, he joins the ranks of politicians who shared just a little too much info about their romantic bliss.

BAUCUS: Melodee and I have had a wonderful, romantic relationship. We're very close. It's very, very happy in my life."


YELLIN: You know that saying, TMI, Wolf, too much information. Now the Department of Justice on a serious note says Hanes got the job on her own merits and was not recommended by Baucus. Multiple ethics attorneys say that no laws were broken, and Senator Baucus himself says Melodee Hanes withdrew because she decided to live in Washington where the senator spends most of his time, and if she had accepted that job or stayed in the race, she would have had to live in Montana -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. OK. I hope they're both happy.

YELLIN: He says they are.

BLITZER: Good. Thank you very much. Jessica Yellin.

Imagine in your city nearly seven murders every single day on average. That's the nightmare for residents in one Mexican city. It's alarmingly close to a major U.S. city.

Our Rafael Romo is standing by to explain.


BLITZER: It's a distinction no city in the world would want. Nearly seven murders a day on average. But the drug violence in one place in Mexico, it's very, very close to the United States. It has plunged that city into a state of all-out fear.

CNN's Rafael Romo is joining us now in the CNN center.

Rafael, tell us what's going on. RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, across the border from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez, is by far the most dangerous city in Mexico and this year the level of violence has gotten worse with more than 2250 deaths related to drug violence so far this year. Residents are desperate and asking for help in their country and outside Mexico.


ROMO (voice-over): A young woman bursts into tears after learning the terrible news while her relatives try unsuccessfully to console her. It's one more murder in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a border city across from El Paso, Texas that has become one of the most violent places in the world.

"Before, they would kill someone, but not anymore. That was just something routine that happens every day."

So far this year Juarez has had about 2250 murders, the vast majority resulting from a bloody war between rival drug cartels fighting for territorial control. It's not unusual for children to run into yellow tape and bullet casings on their way to school every morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): This is how we live in Juarez. That's our everyday bread, seeing dead bodies.

ROMO: At least 1,000 Juarez residents took to the streets Sunday chanting for peace. They say they're fed up with the violence and can no longer tolerate living in a city where they constantly have to worry about their safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Through translator): Above all, we have fear. The children can't go anywhere anymore, not even the street because we are afraid. We're asking for peace here because we can't even go to the parks.

ROMO: The border city is so violent that violence itself is no longer news. A local newspaper recently boasted the fact that there had been no deaths in a 36-hour period.

The Mexican government sent more than 7,000 troops earlier this year and the city's mayor says the situation would be worse without the soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): We have to bring down the crime levels in the city to a more normal level, so that the police with the forces they already have can take charge of the situation.

ROMO: Authorities admit corrupt police officers are part of the problem. Many supplement their meager salaries with payouts from drug traffickers in exchange for information on raids and anti-drug operations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (Through Translator): The level of infiltration in all the levels of police was at a saturation point. And we can't fight criminals with criminals inside the ranks of the police.


ROMO: The local chamber of commerce recently asked the United Nations to send peacekeepers to Juarez in a desperate effort to reduce the violence and killings that have sent business people fleeing, closing down their shops.

And, Wolf, a nongovernment organization in Mexico calls the border city the most violent in the world.

BLITZER: What a horror story indeed. All right, Rafael, thanks very much.

An American now charged in a dramatic terrorist attack. The massacre last year in India, the allegations unfolding in Chicago.


BLITZER: Let's get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File." Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is what do you expect to come out of that global warming summit in Copenhagen?

Michael in Virginia writes, "Like you said, Jack, a binding treaty is never going to happen. I doubt that we'll get on a science on this which would discount warming. I would much rather we give up on warming and instead target actually pollution of air and water in the developing world. Of course the Chinese would block as, too, as were the U.S. will benefit from both Chinese and Mexican pollution run amuck."

Ray in Tennessee writes, "Conservatives, Republicans, blue dog Democrats, tea partiers and their corporate masters can all cry foul and deny global warming if they wish. But the facts are that mankind has done immense damage to our planet. If nothing else comes out of the summit, I would hope countries in the world can agree to begin reducing pollution."

Mike in Chicago writes, "They're all adding significantly to their carbon footprint with all the private jets and limousines. Why couldn't they do a video conference so no one had to travel? That would set a good example for the rest of us."

Eric in Atlanta, "I think we might actually get something done now that the petroleum party isn't representing us and we have a president who can actually pronounce global warming. At some point, we need to take responsibility for our behavior, instead of making ourselves feel better by nitpicking the minutia while ignoring the big picture."

Mike in Florida says, "I hope nothing comes of it. Not to be crass but the last thing we need right now is job-killing environmental legislation that aggravates an already shaky economy. First they need to pin down whether global warming is occurring, whether it's man caused. Then and only then should they even consider the kind of taxation they're talking about now."

And John in Colorado says, "The only thing I expect to see come out of the global warming summit is an increase in my already high utility bill. The in-your-face hypocrisy of the attendees with their limousines and private jets is sickening."