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Unlikely Celtic Dancers Wow Crowds; Boost Graduation Rates Or Else; Keeping Al Qaeda Off Balance

Aired March 17, 2010 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in the Situation Room happening now.

He calls the health care bill a joke, but slams liberals for attacking it and warns Democrats they must get it passed or else. The filmmaker Michael Moore is back. He's here in the Situation Room, more outspoken than ever. We're going in-depth with him this hour.

A chilling new call for Jihad against America, and it comes from an American, a radical Islamic cleric whose internet teachings have allegedly swayed many toward violence. We have the latest recording. This is a CNN exclusive.

And just in time for the tournaments, the Secretary of Education challenges colleges to graduate at least 40% of their athletes or forfeit post season play.

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

We begin with new signs that punishing U.S. attacks are, in fact, taking a heavy toll on al Qaeda's commanders and leaving the terror group off-balance. Let's bring in our CNN pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. She's working the story for us. We're getting new information on these air strikes in the Pakistan area.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. It looks like the CIA may have gotten their man. They're not talking about it publicly, but a U.S. counter terrorism official tells CNN that a striking Pakistan along the border last week, they now believe that they may have killed the man named Hussein Alyemeni (ph), the man they believe may have been responsible for coordinating that attack against CIA operatives in Afghanistan in late December.

You'll recall a suicide bomber went to a U.S. base, seven CIA employees and a Jordanian army officer were killed by the suicide bomber. A very bad day for the intelligence community. Now they believe they've killed one of the organizers behind that attack -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, I heard in the last few days last week, that the CIA was all excited about this -- this air strike and the killing of this al Qaeda official, this al Qaeda leader, and now, we're getting official confirmation. Now, Leon Panetta, the CIA director, is making some pretty startling comments in a new interview. STARR: Yes. He's -- he's completed an interview with "The Washington Post," and the CIA director is revealing, for the first time, that there is what he calls an intercepted message from an al Qaeda lieutenant pleading with Osama Bin Laden to take a more public role, if you will, that the organization is demoralized and that they want to see their leader. It should be said, this is very startling, but Panetta is not offering a lot of details.

We don't know if Osama Bin Laden ever got the message. We don't know when this message was intercepted. We don't know if this al Qaeda lieutenant was a senior person or not, but Panetta is continuing to underscore the point that all of these operations are leaving al Qaeda demoralized. There's a real feeling in the administration that they are making progress.

BLITZER: The key question, though, remains Bin Laden himself. Are you getting any indication whatsoever that the U.S., the Pakistani allies, Afghani troops who are loyal to the U.S., or at least helping the United States, are getting any closer to Bin Laden?

STARR: I got to tell you, there was a fascinating moment, since you asked, at the Pentagon today. General McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, was asked by a reporter, are you still trying to get Osama Bin Laden alive? McChrystal paused and said, wow, and we waited for what he was going to say, and he said, well, if he comes into Afghanistan. It was a really clear signal that the U.S. believes Osama Bin Laden is across the border in Pakistan, not in Afghanistan, and that's where they have to look for him.

BLITZER: And they're going to have to get a lot of assistance from the Pakistanis.

STARR: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Who have been cooperating more assertively, at least in recent weeks. We'll see if that leads to the big capture. Thanks very much, Barbara.

STARR: Sure.

BLITZER: Let's get to a CNN exclusive now. A chilling new call of a holy war against The United States, and it comes from an American. Yes, an American. A radical Islamic preacher whose online messages have made him a rock star for Jihadists and have allegedly swayed many to violence. He's on the run, but he's still spreading the message. CNN international security correspondent, Paula Newton, has our story -- Paula.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a man who was born in the United States, raised for much of his life in the United States. He has that American accented English, and he has been a real draw on the internet. Some people say he has been absolutely mesmerizing, but u.s. intelligence authorities do believe he had quite an influence on major Nidal Hasan, that is the Ft. Hood shooter. What's new about this? CNN has exclusively obtained an audio recording where Al Awlaki now hiding out in Yemen calls for a new jihad against America.


NEWTON (voice-over): Somewhere in Southern Yemen, probably hiding out in the hills of Shabwa, his ancestral home, Anwar Al-Awlaki is still reaching out, still preaching, still eager to be heard.

VOICE OF ANWAR AL-AWLAKI: America, as a whole, has turned into a nation of evil.

NEWTON: CNN has obtained a new audio from the American born fugitive in which he urges all Muslims to wake jihad against America.

AL-AWLAKI: With the American invasion of Iraq, and continued U.S. aggression against Muslims, I could not reconcile between living in the U.S. and being a Muslim, and I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other able Muslim.

NEWTON: Sources have told CNN they are confident the voice on the recording is Al-Awlaki, and the recording that runs more than 12 minutes long, his voice is measured and clear. He takes on the cadence of a preacher, telling Muslims, "America is evil" and delivering this provocative message to Muslim Americans.

AL-AWLAKI: To the Muslims in America, I have this to say, how can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful co-existence for the nation that is responsible for the tyranny and crimes committed against your own brothers and sisters? How can you have your loyalty to a government that is leading the war against Islam and Muslim?

NEWTON (on-camera): Al-Awlaki is still believed to be under the protection of his very powerful family tribe in Southern Yemen, and according to U.S. intelligence officials, his influence and his reach especially with English speaking Muslims on the internet and through his DVDs is still quite potent.

NEWTON (voice-over): Just last week Yemeni authorities subdued a New Jersey man, Sherif Mobley (ph), as he tried to shoot his way out of a hospital. He had been captured days before in an al Qaeda raid. Senior U.S. security officials confirmed to CNN that Mobley left his home in New Jersey in 2008 to seek out Al-Awlaki. The alleged he made contact with him and was eager to eventually meet up with Al-Awlaki, a person he believed could become his al Qaeda mentor.

Al-Awlaki sermons and recordings have been found on the computers of at least a dozen terror suspects both the U.S. and Britain. Now, he's on the run and a hunted man. U.S. authorities say he is still proving capable of recruiting terror.


NEWTON (on-camera): Wolf, U.S. authorities still believe Al- Awlaki still has that magnetic appeal for many going to the internet and looking for those radical sermons in English -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Paula Newton reporting for us from London. Thank you, Paula, for that.

Jack Cafferty will be back with "The Cafferty File."

And just in time for the basketball tournament, the education secretary issues a major challenge to colleges across the United States. Boost athlete's graduation rates or stay home.

And Michael Moore, he's back in here the Situation Room, telling the president and the Democrats that it's time to get tough.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: He should have came in there, just like the Republicans do, when they're in power, they want to get something done. They come in with guns blazing, and they get it done, and our side, we're -- we break out the, you know, six-string guitar and start singing "Kumbaya". I'm sick of it.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is in New York with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Despite a deepening crisis along the U.S. border with Mexico, our government continues to refuse to get serious about border security. Texas Governor, Rick Perry, has asked the federal government for unarmed predator drones to patrol the border. It's a request he's made before. He's now renewing it after three workers at the U.S. consulate in Juarez were murdered. Perry asks, quote, "how many Americans will have to die before our federal government takes serious action along the Texas/Mexico border?" Chances are Texas is going to have to wait some more.

Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, says she is considering Perry's request, but insists that the government's constantly watching what's happening along the border. Watching is about the extent of it. Napolitano also announced that she's holding up funding for plans to build a virtual security fence along the border. She says it's because of a system of sensors and cameras having so many problems, including cost overruns. Napolitano says she wants a review to be completed first. That's what we need, another review by the government of border security. The government can continue to do nothing, while drug cartel violence along the border keeps getting worse.

Texas recently issued a warning to parents not to allow their kids to go to Mexican border towns on spring break. The state department has put out a travel warning to delay visits to certain parts of Mexico. Maybe it's time for Americans to boycott all their trips to Mexico, simply spend our vacation money somewhere else. More than 4,000 people have been killed in the border city of Juarez in the last two years.

So, here's the question: Should drones be used to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico? Go to and post a comment on my blog.

BLITZER: We're going to have the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Jack, here in "The Situation Room," with us tomorrow. Got some important questions to ask him. Thank you.

The U.S. Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, is issuing a major challenge to colleges all across the United States. Graduate at least 2 out of every 5 student athletes or forfeit post season play. CNN's Kate Bolduan is following this story for us. Kate, what kind of impact would this have?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It would have a huge impact. It would blow up so many people's brackets, if you're keeping count, which you know we all are. This is interesting, President Obama, like millions of sports fans across the country is filling out his NCAA basketball tournament bracket right now, and he announced his picks on the ESPN. Listen here -


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Final game, we got Kansas. So, Kansas beating K-state and Kentucky. OK. That would be a rematch in the coaching department from 2008 when John Calipari was coaching Memphis against Bill Self, and I think, once again, Self wins. That's the game right there.


BOLDUAN: That's the game right there. Now, take a look at this presidential bracket. President Obama has in the final championship game Kansas versus Kentucky, but if his own education secretary has his way, that game would never happen. Listen here to Secretary Arne Duncan in a call with reporters a short time ago --

VOICE OF ARNE DUNCAN, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: I want to reiterate my proposal to the NCAA that teams that fail to graduate 40% of their players should be ineligible for post season competition.

BOLDUAN: Talking about a new study by the institute for diversity and ethics in sports, showing 12 teams in this year's tournament graduated less than 40% of their players based on four graduating classes of students, the last in 2009, and Duncan wants any school below 40% banned from post season play, and look at this list. It includes the number one seed, Kentucky, and other big-name programs like Maryland and Tennessee. And listen here, the Tennessee's coach, Bruce Pearl (ph), who was asked about Secretary Duncan's proposal today.


BRUCE PEARL, UNIV. OF TENNESSEE HEAD COACH: IF he wants to fix it, fix it at the high school level, at the middle school level, at the elementary school level. I share. I'm an educator. I'm a teacher. I share the pain in not having student athletes graduate, and we will do the very best job we can to graduate them. These problems in this country, in our educational system, lie elsewhere. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Now sports across the country while the secretary and educators may not like it, this is the reality of college sports today. Listen here -


UNKNOWN MALE: The NCAA was actually concerned about graduation rates. They wouldn't schedule weeknight games that start at 9:00. They wouldn't schedule Sunday night games that start at 8:30. They would do like the Ivy League. They will play Friday and Saturday night. The NCAA isn't concerned about graduation rates. They're concerned about basket ball programs, and they're concerned about the billion dollars that they bring in from this three-week tournament that everybody plays in their office pools.


BOLDUAN: And they also play it in the Washington Bureau of CNN as well. But Wolf, you know that the President and Arne Duncan are huge basketball fans. Arne Duncan played at Harvard, but he's really taking a stand here and saying that while sports are important and he loves them, education cannot come second.

BLITZER: Is there any good news in the study?

BOLDUAN: There is actually good news. He said, overall, the graduation rates are getting better, and he also says that according to the study graduation rates among college basketball players, men and women, they're on the rise, and schools like Duke have graduation rate among their men teams of 92 percent. Notre Dame seemed graduated 100 percent of their players. So, there's great news here, but it's the disparity between some schools' programs and the graduation rates that they say is startling, and they'd like to see some changes.

BLITZER: Yes. There's a built-in problem with some of the basketball teams because if you're a really great, college basketball player, the NBA is going to want you after your freshman year or certainly after your sophomore year --

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

BLITZER: So you're not going to graduate. Maybe, you'll go back and finish your degree at some point down the road in the off-season but that's an issue.

BOLDUAN: It's an issue, and it's getting a lot of attention, they say.

BLITZER: Who did you pick?

BOLDUAN: I pick Kansas.

BLITZER: Kansas?

BOLDUAN: Don't question me. Who did you pick?


BOLDUAN: OK. I wish Georgetown would win, though, but we can hope and we can pray.

BLITZER: OK. Thanks. Did you go to Georgetown?

BOLDUAN: No, but I'm marrying into a Georgetown fan.

BLITZER: OK. So, you're very close. Kate, thanks very much.

He's never without an opinion and always outspoken, what filmmaker Michael Moore thinks about the health care bill.


BLITZER: The current environment?

MOORE: Who cares. What are the chances of ending slavery? What are the chances of getting women the right to vote? I know. I've got a bill. Let's give 70 percent of the women the right to vote and leave 30 percent out. There's a great idea, because we got to do it in increment, Wolf. We can't let all the women vote all at once. We can't free all the slaves, let's keep 30 percent of them enslaved.

BLITZER: He had --

MOORE: That's how this town is run, though, isn't it? Compromise to the lowest possible denominator.


BLITZER: All right. We're going to have my conversation with Michael Moore, the entire interview, including what he thinks about President Obama, what has he done right, what has he done wrong. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Lisa Sylvester's monitoring some other top stories in The Situation Room right now. What else is going on, Lisa

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. Nigeria's vice president who has been serving as the acting president has dissolved his cabinet. The VP assumed office in November when the country's leader went to Saudi Arabia to treat a heart condition. Since then, there have been demonstrations calling for the president to resign or be removed from power. No replacement ministers have yet to be named.

Protesters greeted the Mexican president when he arrived at Juarez yesterday. His trip comes four days after the killings of three people with ties to the U.S. consulate. Demonstrators are outraged over the mounting violence since the Mexican government declared war on drug cartels. The protesters want authorities to do more to stem the bloodshed.

And the south pacific islands of Fiji are recovering from a powerful cyclone that ripped through last weekend. At least one person was killed, but the extent of the damage has not been determined, because communications in some areas have been cut off. The cyclone packed winds of up to 135 miles per hour near its center. The air force planes from Australia and New Zealand have been airlifting supplies -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Let's wish all those folks good luck out there. Thanks, Lisa, very much.

He's back here in The Situation Room outspoken as ever. Michael Moore is also, though, depressed about the way things are going for the democrats. Listen to this --


MOORE: Yes. I'll vote for the Democrats, but it won't be with the enthusiasm in 2008, and I'm telling you, millions of people are going to be like that. Some will vote, but a lot aren't going to vote, and the Democrats are going to get an ass whopping in November.



BLITZER: President Obama's getting squeezed from the right and from the left on health care reform, and one very outspoken progressive voice, you know him very well, had some tough words for liberal lawmakers and for Democrats in general about getting things done in Washington.


BLITZER: And joining us now here in The Situation Room, the filmmaker, Michael Moore. Michael, good to see you in person.

MOORE: Yes, good to see you in person.

BLITZER: We've always done this remote via satellite, but you're actually in The Situation Room.

MOORE: It's so wrong for you and I to be so remote.

BLITZER: We're happy you're here.

MOORE: Much better to do it this way.

BLITZER: Actually. Let's talk about health care.


BLITZER: Issue number one, you're in Washington right now. As much as you don't like this senate bill, which is going to be tweaked a little bit with these amendments, you want everyone to vote for it. Why?

MOORE: Yes. um, yes. Could I give you a more reluctant yes than that one?

BLITZER: Give me your enthusiastic, whatever you want to.

MOORE: I can't give you any enthusiasm about this. This is not health care reform. The bill is joke, but at this point, it's really just turned into this game between the Republicans trying to do everything they can to stop President Obama from doing some good for this country, and frankly, if this goes down, I don't know how the President will recover from that, and I don't know what else we're going to be able to get through.

BLITZER: But when you say it's a joke, 31 million Americans are going to get insurance as a result of this.

MOORE: 12 million to 15 million won't be covered.

BLITZER: But isn't that a step at least in the right direction?

MOORE: Yes, but that's like saying, geez, you know, Mike, we're going to let 70 percent of the kids in the school district go to school, I mean, I'm sorry about the other 30 percent. I mean, that's not who we are as Americans.

BLITZER: What happened --

MOORE: We say it's for everybody.

BLITZER: What happened? Why didn't the President get a much more robust, universal health care bill?

MOORE: Because he entered this whole process in a spirit of compromise. Holding his hand out, and the other side didn't want any hand being held out toward them. They wanted to slap that hand away, and he should have came in there, just like the Republicans do when they want -- when they're in power, they want to get something done. They come in with guns blazing, and they get it done.

And our side, we're -- we break out the, you know, six-string guitar and start singing "Kumbaya." I'm sick of it, and the American people are sick of it, too, and for us to end up with hopefully a bill that will be passed, that has some good things in it, you know, you'll be able to keep your kids on your health policy until they're 26. It will cover the 30 million. I --

BLITZER: And the pre-existing condition, you'll still be able to get insurance?

MOORE: Not until 2014 if you're an adult.

BLITZER: But eventually you will.

MOORE: Eventually. How about like right now? That means -- you know how many people die each year because they don't have health insurance. The numbers are right there. Tens of thousands of people will be dead because we' re going to put off this pre-existing condition for four more years. The kids, children, that six months after the bill passes.

BLITZER: You're basically telling progressives and your friends up on the hill, Dennis Kucinich, for example, you know what, it's not perfect, but you got to vote for it.

MOORE: It's not even not perfect, it's horrible.

BLITZER: Horrible?

MOORE: It's absolutely horrible that these people were sent to Congress to do a job which was to have universal health care, that's what the majority of Americans said they wanted. All the polls showed that during the election, that people wanted universal health care, and the fact that we're going to end up with a little piece of this and a little piece of this and 12 million to 15 million still not covered, and this pre-existing condition thing you mentioned.

Do you know what the fine is if the insurance company decides to deny your pre-existing condition? $100 a day. $100, OK, so they're going, geez, Wolf Blitzer needs an operation, that's going to cost us $100,000, let's take the $100 a day fine and he'll be dead you know, within, three months. That's exactly what's going to happen. Wait until you -- these -- by leaving the private, profit-making insurance companies --

BLITZER: But they say this bill is horrible, they want people to oppose it.

MOORE: Of course. Do you know why they don't like it? Because it's only 90 percent of the pie. They want 100 percent. That's how greedy they are. This bill is so good for them. First of all, it mandates that all of us buy a policy from them if our bosses don't give us a health policy. So, it's like guaranteed -- imagine this, what if there was a law passed that required everybody to watch CNN? Who wouldn't here like that law passed? They get a law passed that requires everybody to buy a product from them. It's going to -- it's going to fill their coffers.

BLITZER: So, you're here in Washington.


BLITZER: As much as you dislike this legislation, this bill --

MOORE: Did I make that clear?

BLITZER: You made it very clear.

MOORE: OK, good.

BLITZER: You still want people to vote for it.

MOORE: Yes. BLITZER: To hold their nose and vote for it.


BLITZER: Are you actually going out and encouraging members to do so, progressives? Are you making phone calls?


BLITZER: Are you lobbying? Are you talking to anyone?

MOORE: No. I'm what you call the depressed vote, you know, that term, right? I'm one of those people that will show up to vote this November and, yes, I'll vote for the Democrats. But it won't be with the enthusiasm in '08, and I'm telling you millions of people are going to be like that. They're going to -- some will vote but a lot aren't going to vote and the Democrats are going to get an ass whooping in November.

BLITZER: It sounds like the way you describe it, like the midterm elections this November, it's going to be a slaughter.

MOORE: I believe it will be if the Democrats don't change the way they're doing things. If the Democrats believe by moving to the center, by being more like Republicans they're going to save their seats in November? I mean, the people aren't stupid.

If the voters have a choice between, you know, a real Republican and somebody pretending to be a Republican, they're going to vote for the real Republican, so you might as well stake out your territory over here, do the job you were sent to do. The American people sent you to Congress in overwhelming numbers to do this job, universal health care, regulate the banks and Wall Street, get people back to work.

That's what they were sent to do, and, yes, some of you are going to lose your jobs because you're going to stand up for a principle, for something that's important. But it's just -- you know, I'm -- you know, for President Obama to lose at this point will have consequences that go far beyond --

BLITZER: What would those consequences be?

MOORE: Well, I don't think he's going to be able to get anything through, because the other side will be emboldened and empowered, the minority, the people that the American people don't want in charge, are going to call the shots for this country.

BLITZER: How do you explain these public opinion polls now which show more Americans don't like this bill than like this bill?

MOORE: Yes, but if they called me, I would be one of the people that say I don't like this bill.

BLITZER: Well they don't like it not for the reasons that you don't like it. MOORE: You don't know that. I think people are answering the pollsters for various reasons.

BLITZER: So you think a big chunk of them --

MOORE: I think a big chunk of that are people like me --

BLITZR: Because they don't have the robust public option.

MOORE: Absolutely. The American people wanted this option. Now Representative Grayson has a bill and I hope he introduces it immediately after this is passed.

BLITZER: From Florida.

MOORE: It's a buy-in to Medicare. In other words, anybody can buy in to Medicare. You don't have to buy into the private, profit- making insurance companies. You can buy Medicare. And that way, it doesn't cost anything -- doesn't hurt the deficit or whatever, because whatever the cost is, you are going to pay it, but it's going to be less than what you're paying.

BLITZER: But what are the chances of that actually being enacted into law given the current environment?

MOORE: Who cares? What are the chances of ending slavery? What are the chances of getting women the right to vote? I've got a bill, let's give 70 percent of the women the right to vote and leave 30 percent out. There's a great idea, because we got to do it in increments, Wolf. We can't let all the women vote all at once.

BLITZER: Step by step.

MOORE: We can't free all the slaves, let's keep 30 percent of them enslaved. That's how the town is run, isn't it? Compromise to the lowest possible denominator.

BLITZER: When he came into office, this president, and I know you like President Obama very much.

MOORE: Yes, I do. Yes.

BLITZER: He had 257 Democrats in the House of Representatives at that time, the majority's 218. Sixty, 58 plus two, Democrats in the Senate and now he's struggling. As we speak right now, it's still touch and go.


BLITZER: We don't know if it's going to pass or fail. What happened?

MOORE: What happened is -- I'll tell you what happened, I think the liberals, people on our side of the fence, we never were very good at math in school, we were always good in, like English and Social Studies, and we didn't figure out until way too late that 51 is a majority of 100, not 60.

BLITZER: But in the senate to get anything important passed, you need 60.

MOORE: No, you need 51.

BLITZER: Well when I was a White House correspondent in '93, '94 covering the Clinton administration, I remember very vividly when Hillary's health care plan went down, several senior White House officials said to me at that time, do you know what we learned from this, Wolf? I said, what did you learn? That in order to get anything passed, you need 60, in the Senate given with the filibuster.

MOORE: Proof again that Democrats are bad at math. And you know, about those rules, about the filibuster and the new way they filibuster, make the Republicans do that. Make the Republicans shut down the United States Senate for a week, two weeks, a month, see what the American people, how they respond to the Republicans then when they're standing in the way of not just health care reform, but banking and Wall Street regulations, all the things that they have put roadblocks up to.

I don't think the American people would put up with them shutting down Congress. Democrats should stand up and have the guts to say this is what it is, we're in charge! The people sent us here, if you don't like us, throw us out in November.

But in the meantime, we're going to have universal health care for our fellow Americans. We're going to put the hand cuffs back on these banks and Wall Street so they can't have another collapse in this country. We're going to create jobs in this country, we're going to do these things that we were sent here to do. What part of this overwhelming victory in November of '08 did the Democrats not understand when they showed up here a year ago?

BLITZER: Well, one thing the president did is he delegated the health care bill to the Nancy Pelosis and the Harry Reids and he said you guys write this bill, and he sort of stepped back. Was that a blunder?

MOORE: Yes. What did he think was going to happen?

BLITZER: Well he was afraid that because --

MOORE: Because of what happened to the Clintons. Oh, we don't want that to happen again. Man, that was, like, 16 years ago, 16 years ago.

BLITZER: They were still living that lesson.

MOORE: Well speaking of living, a lot of people who are opposed at that time are no longer with us. Do you know what happened during the 16 years? A generation of young people have become adults and they're the force that got Obama elected. It was the young people that were out there pounding on the doors.

BLITZER: And you say they are going to sit on their hands this time.

MOORE: I'm afraid a lot of young people have seen, they've seen and they've become cynical already and they're not going to vote.

BLITZER: Do you see a day, though, if the Republicans do really well in the elections in 2010, 2012 where the Democrats will be in the minority and they'll try some of these filibuster tactics to prevent the Republicans from getting what they want?

MOORE: I'd rather not even wait to get there. Why don't we just stand up and do something right now? Why don't we just stand up and say we're in charge, this is the way it is, you know? You over there, you want to try and shut down the Senate, go ahead, give it your best shot, because the American people don't want that to happen. You know, the Republicans, when they took power in '94 in Congress, they came in and they decided to shut down the federal government. Remember that?

BLITZER: I covered the White House then.

MOORE: And what happened? It backfired, didn't it? And that was the turnaround for President Clinton.

BLITZER: President Clinton got re-elected.

MOORE: He got re-elected because they shut it down. Let them shut it down again. Let them shut it down again. Go ahead and try it.

BLITZER: We're going to have much more of Michael Moore just ahead. He's speaking out on war, saying America should not be in Iraq or Afghanistan. We'll have that right after this.


BLITZER: From politics to war to losing weight, let's get back to my "Situation Room" interview with the filmmaker Michael Moore.

If you take a look right now, would you agree that the Republicans are doing a better job getting their message out than the Democrats are doing?

MOORE: I think the Republicans are -- well, first of all, they're doing a better -- I think the media is a doing better job of covering the Republicans really well and getting their message out for them.

BLITZER: What does that mean?

MOORE: It means -- let's take the Tea Party thing as just as a side example. There's a movement that starts in August of last year, and immediately has massive attention paid to it. I know movements that have started on the liberal and left-end of things that have been going for 20 years in terms of what to do about our environment, groups that are trying to stop these two wars. How much attention do they get on CNN and MSNBC and -- well, you know. I mean the fact that you guys -- not you personally, don't take this personally.

BLITZER: I'm not taking anything personally.

MOORE: OK, all right. I'm just --

BLITZER: We had our moment a few years ago.

MOORE: OK, yes and we've made up, privately. But -- the mainstream media just loves to give that kind of attention to the other side. And maybe it's because they're so good at fighting back and that makes for good TV, whereas the democrats -- I mean, again, you guys don't like to cover a lot of the Kumbaya stuff.

BLITZER: Is there an enthusiasm gap right now?

MOORE: Amongst -- ?

BLITZER: The conservatives, the Republicans much more enthusiastic than the liberals and the Democrats.

MOORE: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean -- well, look at me. I'm like -- I'm --

BLITZER: But you're a lonely voice to a certain degree.

MOORE: Well I don't think so.

BLITZER: You and Dennis Kucinich and a few others.

MOORE: And the millions who believe in the same thing we believe in. You know, we're the two guys that get to, I guess, you know, have a few moments here to give voice to all the people that can't say this.

But trust me, Wolf, millions of people are very upset at how the Democrats had handled this and they're really ticked off at the Republicans for being obstructionists. And so, if the Democrats would just stand up and do the job they were sent there to do, that's the best way they have a chance of getting reelected in November.

BLITZER: Let's cover a few other issues before I let you go.

The war in Iraq. Take a look at the "Newsweek" cover from a couple of weeks -- there it is, "Victory at Last: The Emergence of a Democratic Iraq." A lot of us remember "Fahrenheit 9/11," your movie. When you see "Newsweek" magazine, which is a liberal kind of publication, they have a headline like that, what do you think?

MOORE: I think they're lucky to get on CNN with a free cover and ad -- I guess if you like something crazy like that --

BLITZER: It makes it sound like, you know, their surge worked.

MOORE: Yes, yes.

BLITZER: The Democratic process has worked, the emergence of a Democratic Iraq, are you ready to say you were wrong and the war was right?


BLITZER: I suspect the answer is no.

MOORE: All I do is watch CNN, and I think you told me on election day last week in Iraq that there were over 50 bombings just in Baghdad --

BLITZER: All we know that there was a lot.

MOORE: -- alone. Yes. Please, anybody, if you have a soldier over there --

BLITZER: You don't think mission accomplished?

MOORE: Oh, no. Far from -- first of all, we -- there's atonement that has to happen here. We invaded a sovereign nation that whether we liked the leader of that country or not, we have no business invading another country. It is not the business of the United States to do that.

That was wrong, it was immoral. What we're doing in Afghanistan is wrong and it's immoral. President Obama needs to not make that his war and bring those troops home.

BLITZER: So you didn't like the fact that he nearly doubled the size of the U.S. military presence --

MOORE: No, I --

BLITZER: -- in Afghanistan?

MOORE: No, no. I'm sorry that he decided to own Bush's war.

BLITZER: That's his war now.

MOORE: That's his war -- it's exactly right. That's exactly right.

BLITZER: So you're disappointed in that.

MOORE: Well, what are we fighting again? I mean, as you've reported, there's hardly anybody, any al Qaeda in Afghanistan anymore. So -- and there's nobody there who committed the crime of 9/11. The idea of going after the criminals who --

BLITZER: The assumption is bin Laden is probably in Pakistan someplace along the borders of the country.

MOORE: And that would be why we're in Afghanistan? Or do I have my stands wrong?

BLITZER: Well, you know, we're just assessing what's going on, but you are disappointed in this president's strategy.

MOORE: Yes, that's correct. Yes, yes.

BLITZER: What about some of the other in issues? The first lady, Michelle Obama, her major initiative on childhood obesity.

MOORE: Yes, yes.

BLITZER: I know this is an issue that you've been talking about --


BLITZER: Because it really disproportionately affects low-income families --

MOORE: That's right.

BLITZER: -- more than middle-class or wealthy families.

MOORE: That's right. That's correct. I think it's great what she's doing and I applaud here for it. I'm -- I've been active in my own -- I live in Michigan, so you know, we're own of the most obese states. I'm one of the primary offenders of that having grown up in the working class or whatever. It's a difficult thing to break, but you know, in the last year or so, I've -- I've turned to those socialist fruits and vegetables.

BLITZER: You've been -- you been losing some weight and exercising.

MOORE: Yes, yes. No --

BLITZER: Tell me about your diet.

MOORE: I've just -- it's not really a diet. I read this book called Pritikin something.

BLITZER: You read "The Pritikin Diet."

MOORE: Yes, it was -- it was like 30, 40 years ago, I guess, it was written and it -- all it said was what grandma said, eat your fruits and vegetables and go for a walk.


MOORE: So that's what I'm doing.

BLITZER: So you're walking every day.

MOORE: Yes. Oh, yes. Or I get on a machine or something, yes. I move around for 40 to 60 minutes every day. I try to eat whole grains and fruits and vegetables. And yes, it's a long road and I'm doing it slowly and I've lost, like I said, 60 pounds and I'll lose another --

BLITZER: Sixty pounds is good.

MOORE: Yes, well -- but it took a year, and I'll do --

BLITZER: You want to lose another 60.

MOORE: I'll lose another 60 this year. And if you'll join me -- how much you got to lose?

BLITZER: I got at least 10 or 15 I could lose quickly.

MOORE: Ten or 15? I'll race you then, OK? You only got to do 10.

BLITZER: I'd love to lose 10, 15 if I -- but I exercise every morning too.

MOORE: Yes, but Michelle Obama's approach on this is right.


MOORE: And I'm telling you, it's a form of child abuse when we allow our schools, when we feed them this kind of crap, when we allow the soda machines in the schools and the snack -- all that stuff, it's --

BLITZER: Have you ever met the president or the first lady?

MOORE: No, I've never met them. No.

BLITZER: They'd like you, I'm sure.

MOORE: Have you?

BLITZER: I have.

MOORE: Yes? How are they?

BLITZER: Lovely.

MOORE: Oh, good. Yes, I'd like to meet them, if you could set it up.

BLITZER: Oh, yes. I'm sure he'd like to meet you. I'm sure he's seen your films.

MOORE: Well, I do -- yes, I do -- my agent, you know, my Hollywood is a guy named Ari Emanuel, and his brother, I think, has a night job at the White House.

BLITZER: Yes, he's got a little job over there.

MOORE: Yes, yes. So I think he might have seen my film.

BLITZER: I'm sure they have.

MOORE: All right.

BLITZER: Michael Moore, thanks for coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. I hope you'll be a frequent visitor.

MOORE: Oh, thank you very much for having me. It's great to be in D.C. on this important day, thank you.

BLITZER: Another glimpse into the president's past. A childhood friend offers some new images of Barack Obama in Indonesia.


BLITZER: Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in "The Situation Room" right now. What else is going on, Lisa?

SYLVESTER: Hi there, Wolf. Well police have made an arrest in connection to the death of the actor Corey Haim. California authorities are not offering details into the investigation, but the arrest comes soon after it was revealed the former teen heartthrob has been filling prescriptions written by dozens of doctors. The suspect is not directly linked to Haim, but is believed to be a part of a massive illegal prescription drug ring.

Well, now, take a look at this, Wolf. This is my favorite story of the day. We have new photos of President Obama as a child, in Indonesia, yep, that's him, right there, front and center. A spot he still holds to this day. These pictures were taken at a classmate's birthday party in Jakarta back in 1971. A good-looking kid, wasn't he, Wolf?

BLITZER: Adorable. Sweet little boy in Jakarta. He's supposed to be there next week, assuming that trip is as scheduled, he's supposed to leave on Sunday. He spent some formidable time growing up in Indonesia.

SYLVESTER: Yes, Indonesia, Guam, Australia on his itinerary.

BLITZER: Sort of like you, but we'll talk about that on another occasion.

SYLVESTER: Another day.

BLITZER: All right Lisa, thank you.

SYLVESTER: See you, Wolf.

BLITZER: We're checking back with Jack Cafferty to find out your thoughts on armed drones patrolling the U.S./Mexico border.

And Jeanne Moos decodes the legislative chatter.


BLITZER: Time now to check back with Jack Cafferty -- Jack?

CAFFERTY: Question this hour is: Should drones be used to patrol the U.S border with Mexico. A quick note here, there are drones operating on the border between Arizona and Mexico and between New Mexico and Mexico, but there are no drones along the Texas border with Mexico. There are also no drones along the border between Colorado and Wyoming.

Joe in Arkansas writes: "I guess since I'm shortly going to be required to pay for health insurance for anybody who gets into the country illegally, the drones might actually turn into a cost effective military product. Imagine that."

Ed writes: "We ought to be using everything at our disposal to protect our border. That includes drones, blimps, fences, satellites, agents, radar and cameras. Why have a Homeland Security Department and all it costs if it fails to secure the border?"

Pete in Georgia: "Patrol, for what? Everybody in America knows what's going on. The government knows exactly where the thousands of illegals are pouring in every week. The problem is the do nothing politicians who refuse to get tough and put an end to it. All the surveillance in the world is just an insult to every decent American's intelligence."

Ben writes: "Yes, we need to protect our country with everything that we have. We should send a limited number of troops on 30-day rotations to the border."

Deborah in Colorado: "Unarmed drones are better than nothing but armed troops are better. Our government needs to stop playing nice with drug cartels and gangs. It's time we took control of the borders and if Mexicans don't like it, they can go home."

Riley in West Virginia says: "No drones at the border. Too much money, not enough return. That flood will continue till they can't get work, housing, education or medical care. How about instead a human chain of unemployed Americans?"

You want to read more on this, you'll find it on my blog at

BLITZER: We'll check it out, Jack. Thank you very much.

We're only days away from a congressional decision as the president gained some momentum for his health care bill. We're tracking the votes on both sides of the measure. And the language can be mystifying. Jeanne Moos sorts through some most unusual parliamentary jargon. Stay with us. You're in "The Situation Room."


BLITZER: Want to remind you, tomorrow here in "THE SITUATION ROOM," my special interview with Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. We're going to talk about a lot of issues, but health care certainly number one right now. Scott Brown in "THE SITUATION ROOM" tomorrow.

It may seem like the battle over health care reform is now focused on procedure. CNN's Jeanne Moos finds it all most unusual.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been deemed the latest four-letter word.



CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Quote, "deem the bill."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This deem and pass or whatever that phrase is they're using in Washington.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: What we'll be deeming already got 60 votes.

MOOS: The so-called deem and pass rule.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This deem and pass, whatever the heck it is they want to do.

MOOS: Whatever the heck it is, it's got reporters running for the congressional rule books.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Procedure called deeming. It can be found in volume six.

MOOS: Republicans have their own mocking name for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The scheme and deem proposal.

MOOS: They're mopping up the House floor with it, using it sarcastically.

REP. LYNN JENKINS (R), KANSAS: As a mom, I would never allow my kids to deem their rooms clean.

MOOS: And most non-politicians --


MOOS: Are clueless. Do you have an opinion on deem and pass?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do I believe in demons, in essence??

MOOS: No. That would be demon pass. Though health care has been mostly at an impasse.


MOOS: Rather than deem. Deem and pass is a legislative procedure House Democrats may use to vote indirectly on the Senate health care bill so members who don't like the Senate version don't have to be associated with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So is it passed if it's deemed passed? How does it work? What happened to just yes and no and all that? MOOS: Republicans are having a field day watching Democrats try to explain it. Note Republican Eric Cantor's smile grow as his Democratic colleague struggles.

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: In the process that it's called -- well, forget about what it's called. The process that the Republicans used 72 percent of the time that it's been used.

MOOS: Sure the Republicans did it. And when they did, Democrats like Steny Hoyer often objected.

HOYER: We don't even have the courage to put the bill on the floor but this rule roosts.

MOOS: The rule roost is also known as the self executing rule.

REP. GREG WALDEN (R), OREGON: As a Democrat colleague said to me, you know what a self executing rule is for them. They're self executing.

MOOS: Take it from bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not easy to become a law, is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. But how I hope and pray that I will, but today I am still just a bill.

MOOS: Maybe if it didn't sound so devilish.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's talk about the deem and pass.

MOOS: The path that the demons go through? Also known as Congress. Jeanne Moos, CNN.

Repeat after me.


MOOS: New York.