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Missiles Pound Taliban Sanctuary; Britain Gets New Prime Minister

Aired May 11, 2010 - 18:00   ET



Happening now: a massive missile attack on a Taliban sanctuary, U.S. drones targeting insurgents in Pakistan's rugged border area. Two dozen are reported dead. Critics say such assaults may create new insurgents.

A government shakeup for America's closest ally. Britain gets a new prime minister, and he gets congratulations from President Obama. But can conservative David Cameron build a coalition that will allow him to remain prime minister?

And the U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is under fire for a policy on military recruiting dating back to her days at Harvard Law School. We will do a fact-check on the controversy.

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

There was a massive assault today on a Taliban sanctuary in Pakistan near the Afghan border. U.S. drones fired volleys of missiles at insurgent targets. At least two dozen are reported killed.

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

Barbara, what are you learning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, these CIA drones firing missiles, now the weapon of choice in Pakistan for the U.S., but a weapon that comes with a price.


STARR (voice-over): Pakistan's North Waziristan region, the hideout for the Pakistani Taliban who the U.S. says were behind Faisal Shahzad's failed car bomb attack in Times Square, it's once again in the crosshairs of the CIA's killer drones.

On Tuesday, a swarm of them fired nearly two dozen missiles at vehicles and compounds, at least 24 militants killed in the region where the U.S. says Shahzad was trained, but officials so far not publicly saying the strikes are in retaliation for the failed New York attempt, but worries now that drone attacks could be creating new enemies. Brett McGurk, a National Security Council staffer for Presidents Bush and Obama, says it's a tough trade-off.

BRETT MCGURK, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: The risk of action here, of course, is driving a population towards the groups we're trying to weaken. That happens when we have civilian casualties, which is something we're really trying to diminish. The risk of action -- the risks of inaction, however, I think are much higher. And the inaction is leaving a sanctuary in North Waziristan.

STARR: The New America Foundation calculates more than 130 strikes since 2004, perhaps more than 1,300 Pakistanis killed. The majority were militants.

Under the Obama administration, the rate of strikes has significantly increased, and there won't be any letup.

JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING, USA": What about in terms of the things you need to do up in that area? I know it's a sensitive subject, but there are special force operations from time to time, the drone operations which go in there. Do you need more of that?

ROBERT GATES, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I think -- I think we are doing what we need -- I would just say we're doing what we need to do.

STARR: On Capitol Hill, senators questioned why another terror- fighting tool has yet to be used, adding the Pakistani Taliban to the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: If we shut off the money flow, we can significantly hamper their recruitment and training efforts. Second, we would also be able to press criminal charges on anyone providing material assistance to the group.


STARR: And, Wolf, late today the State Department said it is now considering adding the Pakistani Taliban to that terrorism list -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Why don't they just say what apparently is going on? They believe the Taliban -- the Taliban in Pakistan was responsible for the Times Square plot, and, in retaliation, the U.S. is sending these drones to try to kill as many of them as possible? Why don't they just say that?

STARR: Well, Wolf, I think the real bottom line when you ask that question is, there is CIA involvement in this entire program. No one in Washington likes to talk about it publicly, but, some months ago, the CIA director, Leon Panetta, publicly acknowledged it.

It's very sensitive because, of course, the CIA firing weapons into Pakistan, possibly killing Pakistani civilians, puts the Pakistani government right between the CIA and the militants. And that's a publicly uncomfortable position for everybody. So, we have a little curtain of fog here. We try and lift it every once in a while.

BLITZER: Barbara, thanks very much.

A Pakistani man with explosives residue on his clothing has been arrested at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile. A senior State Department official says the suspect was called into the embassy so that officials could revoke his American visa.

When traces of explosives were detected, the man was detained and turned over to Chilean police. The man's apartment was reportedly searched and officials in white hazmat suits were seen carrying items out of the building. We're working that story as well.

In the wake of that failed car bombing in Times Square, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got an up-close look today at London's so- called ring of steel, the city's vast network of surveillance cameras. Bloomberg says London is way ahead of New York and he wants to bring back some of what he saw today.

Let's go to New York.

CNN's Mary Snow is working this story for us.

Mary, explain what's going on.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, just in terms of how far behind New York is than London, the numbers say it all. There's one estimate out there that London has perhaps as many as 500,000 cameras throughout the city.

Now, here in Lower Manhattan, where I'm standing, there is an extensive surveillance camera program throughout Lower Manhattan. You can see some of the cameras behind me, and with those cameras there are also license plate readers throughout the city.

And the mayor is hoping to learn from London's system and take a page from London. He got an up-close look today at the subway system. And, as you remember, video surveillance cameras played a crucial role in the investigation of the London subway bombings back in 2007. Now, like London, New York also has about five million subway riders a day. And the mayor's hoping to learn some lessons there.


MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: You know, we spend a lot of time talking back and forth, because what is applicable here is pretty much applicable there. We do some things they don't here. They do a lot of things we don't do.

They're way ahead than New York City in terms of having cameras to survey platforms. Cameras help deter crime, which is the thing we would really like to do, but if a crime does occur, they are very useful in terms of finding out who did it and apprehending the guilty party.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SNOW: Now, while the mayor was in London, New York's police commissioner was updating reporters about the surveillance system in New York. And he says there are two things where New York has an edge.

One is that the city is aiming for a more centralized system in terms of getting information from these surveillance cameras. And also there is a software program being worked on right now and being tested that could pick up things that could trigger an alert.

For an example, if a suspicious bag was left behind, that could perhaps trigger an alert. That's still in the works. Now, we mentioned Lower Manhattan already has a system in place. It's still being built. But this system is expected to be extended to Midtown, where Times Square is, in the fall.

One key thing, though, is money. It's expected to cost about $40 million to put this all in place.

BLITZER: Probably well spent, $40 million, in the scheme of things, not all that much money. All right, Mary, thanks very much.

Britain has a brand-new prime minister. Just an hour after Labor's Gordon Brown handed in his resignation, Queen Elizabeth named the Conservative David Cameron as the country's new leader. The move follows last week's election in which no party emerged as the clear winner, but Brown's party ended up the real loser. Listen to this.


GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: In the face of many challenges in a very few short years, challenges up to and including the global financial meltdown, I have always strived to serve, to do my best in the interests of Britain, its values, and its people.

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system. Yes, that's about cleaning up expenses, yes, that's about reforming Parliament, and, yes, it's about making sure people are in control, and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters.


BLITZER: CNN's Max Foster is joining us now from London. He's outside Number 10 Downing Street.

Max, we already heard from the White House. President Obama has called, congratulated David Cameron, invited him to come to Washington this summer, saying the U.S./U.K. relationship is fabulous, the best in the world. But what can we really expect from this new British government?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. You don't really see anything in the policy of the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives, who will be working together in this new government, on that. But I recently interviewed both Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dems, and David Cameron, on the special relationship, and I asked them about that, and both of them certainly pulling back from where Gordon Brown and Tony Blair stood on that relationship, David Cameron saying they are our best friends, the Americans, but you can say no to your best friends.

And he said to me that actually he thought Tony Blair took things too far with the special relationship. Nick Clegg, a bit stronger, even, saying that you shouldn't do everything that America tells you. You should do everything in Britain's best interests.

So, certainly, there is a slight change, but also David Cameron does describe him as an Atlanticist. He would have appreciated the call from the president. So, we will see what happens when he is in power. But priorities are really at home right now, Wolf, for the British prime minister.

BLITZER: So, what are the major hurdles he faces right now, the new prime minister?

FOSTER: Well, the major hurdle he's got, he has just arrived back in Downing Street just before you came to me, and he was preceded by George Osborne and also William Hague. And we're assuming that he's going to appoint George Osborne as the finance minister and William Hague as the foreign minister, the two top jobs.

That was a rumor earlier on, and it seems to be confirmed by the fact that the three of them are in the building behind me. Looking ahead, he has a very, very tough year, because the economy is in a terrible state. The budget deficit is huge for the developed world, and he's going to have to install cuts rapidly in the U.K.

It's going to be very painful. At the same time, he's having to deal with a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition, which is fragile in many people's eyes, but we will see how that plays out.

BLITZER: Max Foster, thank you very much. We will stay in close touch with you.

Jack Cafferty is coming up next with "The Cafferty File."

Then, a controversial decision comes back to haunt President Obama's new Supreme Court nominee. Two former assistant secretaries of defense, they are both here, live, this hour. They will debate Elena Kagan's limit on military recruiters at Harvard Law School.

And Democratic Senator Arlen Specter is fighting for his political life right now. We will take a closer look at his primary one week from today.

And a witness to that fiery and deadly disaster in the Gulf of Mexico tells his story for the first time.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Woods, Tiger Woods is -- Woods -- Wolf, Tiger Woods is no longer just about golf. Never mind what he says. His swing coach, Hank Haney, quit, says he wants to move on. Woods won one-third of the tournaments he entered and more than $51 million while Haney was his coach.

Nobody walks away from that kind of success, unless he sees something that the rest of us are beginning to see. Since Woods' so- called comeback, he has been less than stellar, fourth at the Masters, missed the cut at Quail Hollow after shooting a second-round 79, and then quit in the middle of the fourth round of the Players Championship last Sunday, said he had a disk problem in his neck that's been bothering him since before the Masters.

But last Friday when he was asked about his health, he told a reporter he was 100 percent, no problems. Like the details surrounding the Thanksgiving crash of his SUV, something is missing. And now the man who coached one of the greatest golf swings ever, Hank Haney, is also missing.

And suddenly, Woods is noncommittal about playing in the U.S. Open in June. When he was in rehab, he was forced to confront a lot of things that probably made him very uncomfortable, but when he returned to golf, the bravado was still there, the arrogance and impatience were still there. You could see him trying to mask it, but they were all still there. What was missing was the golf game.

Granted, when you're blessed with the kind of ability Tiger Woods has, it's probably too soon to count him out. But there are growing signs that Tiger Woods is a very long way from coming to terms with himself and his demons. And until he's able to do that, he's going to continue to struggle. I know. I have been there.

Here's the question: What can the rest of us learn from Tiger Woods? Go to Post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.

As soon as the president announced Elena Kagan as his Supreme Court pick, the battle for confirmation has begun. Last year, when the Senate confirmed Kagan as solicitor general over at the Justice Department, only a handful of Republicans supported her.

Arlen Specter, then a Republican, was not one of them. But now Specter is a Democrat. And after switching parties, he's in a very, very close fight to keep his Senate seat. He's running against Congressman Joe Sestak in next Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary.

So, how will that impact his vote on Kagan's confirmation?

Our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, has been looking in to this. You had a chance to catch up with Specter as well.


Arlen Specter right now is the only Democrat in the Senate to vote against Elena Kagan for solicitor general last year. And it's one week from today that Specter will face those Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters, who will decide whether to send him back to the Senate. Specter now says he is open to the idea of voting for Kagan for the Supreme Court.

So, I went to his small office inside the Capitol, known as a hideaway, and I asked him about this.


BASH: There are people who say Arlen Specter is now open-minded to Elena Kagan's nomination because of pure political opportunism. You were a Republican then. Now you're neck in neck in a primary battle to get a Democratic nomination.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA: People would expect me to make a judgment after the hearing has been held, after we know what her views are and when the process has taken its course.

People will not expect me to make a knee-jerk reaction before I know the facts of the issues and have an opportunity to make a formulated, considered judgment. And that is exactly what I will do, as I always do.


BASH: Now, Specter's opponent, Congressman Joe Sestak, who in some polls is actually beating Arlen Specter right now, is seizing on this issue -- he says Specter is backtracking -- and also banking on the fact that Democratic primary voters, who are hard-core party people generally. They want political purity.

And, Wolf, in this case that would mean voting for the Democratic president's pick for Supreme Court.

BLITZER: How is President Obama, if at all, getting involved between now and next Tuesday?

BASH: Well, he has supported Arlen Specter. He still supports Specter.

In fact, just today, the senator and his campaign put up a brand- new ad showing President Obama, essentially saying that he loves Arlen Specter. But one thing I asked is, well, given his support for you, is there any way he can arrange a quick meeting with and you Elena Kagan so that you can say I feel comfortable and -- or whether or not you feel comfortable and you will support her?

He said no. He said, the president has known I have an independent streak and that's not going to be enough for me.

And it's worth noting, actually, interestingly, on the Supreme Court -- Arlen Specter, obviously, has been in the Senate for a long time -- he's voted every single one of the Supreme Court nominees before him from presidents of both parties, except one, Robert Bork.

BLITZER: I remember that very, very well.

Dana, thanks very much.

BASH: Thank you.

BLITZER: She limited military recruitment at Harvard Law School. Now the Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, is under fire for doing that. We will debate it with two former top Pentagon officials.

And a rogue satellite could leave you without a TV, a drama unfolding in space right now. Get ready. We will explain.



BLITZER: Ted Turner, by the way, is going to be among my guests here in THE SITUATION ROOM tomorrow. Ted Turner, 30 years ago June 1 created CNN. We will talk a little bit about that. We will talk about a whole bunch of other subjects as well. My special interview with Ted Turner -- he hired me 20 years ago this week, among other things. We talk a lot. He's always got something to say, Ted.

A fight over President Obama's Supreme Court nominee front and center. What exactly does Elena Kagan bring to the table? Did she try to block military recruiters from Harvard Law School? Coming up next, a debate between two former assistant secretaries of defense.

Also, what happened the moment that oil rig burst into flames? You're going to hear the dramatic story.

And Vice President Joe Biden's son Beau Biden is hospitalized. We will have the latest.


BLITZER: The Afghan president Hamid Karzai's been over at the State Department meeting with the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. They got together and they stressed the importance of a strong U.S./Afghan relationship. Listen to the secretary of state.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: ... clear to everyone that the partnership between our two countries reflects a long-term commitment to the people of Afghanistan, and it is not just with the Obama administration or the American government. It is with the American people.

Our nation -- and, Mr. President, there are dozens of nations represented in this room by their diplomatic delegations. We share an interest in helping build an Afghanistan that is stable and secure, that can provide prosperity and progress and peace for its citizens. The only way that can come about is with our support, as they take responsibility for their defense and their development to exercise their sovereignty and be integrated into a more prosperous and secure region.


BLITZER: Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, also underscored the importance of a strong U.S./Afghan relationship, and he pointed out that he came to the State Department after visiting with U.S. wounded troops at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.


HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: The United States has given Afghanistan all that we have achieved together in the taxpayer money and, much more important than that, in the sacrifice of its sons and daughters.

As you recalled, I visited Walter Reed this morning, where I met with soldiers, young ones, who had lost legs and arms. Some were blinded -- 900 of such young soldiers had gone through the Walter Reed hospital. I had done the same some time back in our hospitals in Kabul. That was a moment of immense thinking for me as a...


BLITZER: We're going to have a lot more on this story tomorrow, when Hamid Karzai meets with the president over at the White House.

Other important news we're following right now, including that massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

CNN's Rob Marciano has been tracking what's going on, especially the impact of the spill on wildlife.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, folks, we have some dolphins coming up. If you look a little bit to your right...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw another one.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): West Ship Island is the destination, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and home to more than 300 types of birds.

Captain Louis Skrmetta's family runs this tour company for the National Park Service. The oil spill now threatens his protected paradise just 10 miles offshore.

CAPT. LOUIS SKRMETTA, SHIP ISLAND EXCURSIONS: They can't get this thing capped off, it's going to be a catastrophe for the natural resources in this region. Katrina is long in our past. That's nothing compared to what -- what's out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a good time today.

MARCIANO: The scenery here has definitely changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They want to know, is the oil here.

MARCIANO: Not yet. So, the beach tours continue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we're just going to go this direction down the beach and see what we find.

MARCIANO: Only minutes later, the sight of a motionless bird brings more of an uncertainty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure it's an oil casualty.

MARCIANO: The rangers believe the death was natural. Meanwhile, back on the mainland, life begins anew. As common as traffic is along highway 90 are birds, lots of them, and between this road and the Gulf of Mexico, lies this nesting area of least terns. This is the time of year where they lay their eggs and nest. And like most parents, they're pretty protective. Speckled gray eggs dot the landscape as hundreds of mommies and daddies swirl above the sand.

ALISON SHARPE, WILDLIFE CARE AND RESCUE CTR.: They migrate from many, many miles away.

MARCIANO: Alison Sharp rescues injured animals and said birds don't have an anti-oil instinct.

SHARPE: They would probably still dive if they were looking for fish, you know, they're out here trying to survive, and I don't think that they're really looking at oil. They're looking at, you know, what could potentially be their only meal for that day.

MARCIANO: So far just one oil pelican has been rescued and released back into the wild.

SHARPE: You may not see this directly right now, but there is going to be an impact.

MARCIANO: Not even the tip of the iceberg yet.

SHARPE: No. It's going to be like almost in a sense like a domino effect.


BLITZER: CNN's Rob Marciano on the scene for us, covering this disaster. In the Gulf of Mexico.

When we come back, a major debate on Elena Kagan, president Obama's Supreme Court nominee. Did she do the right thing when she was dean at Harvard Law School in preventing the U.S. military from recruiting on campus because of the pentagon's don't ask, don't tell policy? Stand by. The debate, right after this.


BLITZER: The Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has been solicitor general over at the justice department for just over a year. But she's never been a judge, and her paper record on some of the most important issues is relatively thin. So, attention is on her tenure over at Harvard Law School where she served as dean. One of her controversial decisions, limiting the accession of U.S. military recruiters to campus. Lisa Sylvester's been looking in to that. She's got a little fact check for us. Lisa, what did you find out?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know, her decision comes with a little bit of context. To understand you have to go something called the Solomon amendment that Congress passed in the mid-1990s. It allows the department of defense to withhold funds from any university or college that does not allow the military to use the school's career services office to recruit students. In 2002, after 9/11, the Bush administration started vigorously enforcing that rule at colleges across the country, many law schools openly opposed allowing military recruiters full access to campus, among them Harvard Law School's dean, Elena Kagan.


SYLVESTER: Harvard Law School's anti-discrimination policy requires employers recruiting on campus to not discriminate on any basis, including sexual orientation. Because of the don't ask, don't tell policy, the university limited military recruiters access to campus, but that changed in 2002, when the air force challenged the issue, citing the Solomon amendment. Harvard University stood to lose federal funding for research, about 15 percent of its budget, unless it lifted the ban. In an October, 2003, letter to Harvard Law Students and faculty, Elena Kagan, then Harvard's law school dean, reluctantly agreed to lift the restrictions. But added, "This action causes me deep distress, as I know it does a great many others. I abhor the military's discriminatory recruitment policy. The importance of the military to our society and the extraordinary service that members of the military provide to all of the rest of us, makes this discrimination more, not less, repugnant." The Solomon amendment was challenged by a group of law schools. November, 2004, the third circuit court of appeals sided with the university. One day later, Kagan once again banned the military from using the on-campus services to recruit. But Kagan's actions and words are now being dissected, as she seeks to become the next Supreme Court justice. Curt Leavy with the conservative committee for justice said she has a demonstrated hostility to the armed forces.

CURT LEAVY, EXEC. DIR. COMMITTEE FOR JUSTICE: Yes, I think the president will be surprised at how the American people react to it. I think in his world, again, his Harvard Law School world, kicking the military off campus is no big deal. But I think to the American people think it's a big deal, and I think this is going to endanger her confirmation.

SYLVESTER: But her defenders say even throughout the controversy, she praised the extraordinary service of men and women in uniform and as dean reached out to veterans and that the fight was never against the military, but was about a principle. Kent Greenfield founded the lead group that fought the Solomon amendment.

PROF. KENT GREENFIELD, BOSTON COLLEGE LAW SCHOOL: So, our limitations on military recruitment during that period were -- were -- was based on our belief in nondiscrimination. It was a fight to allow all of our students to serve their nation, regardless of their sexual orientation.


SYLVESTER: Now, the Solomon case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously overturned the third circuit court's decision in 2006, and Kagan again had to allow military recruiters the same access to students as government and private employers. Wolf?

BLITZER: Lisa, thank you very much for the background.

Let's debate what's going on, two former assistant secretaries of defense are joining us. Lawrence Korb with the Center for American Progress, he's the taller one and Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy. Frank Gaffney, first to you, she said anybody who comes to the campus, like other law school deans, whatever organization you represent, you can't have a discriminatory policy on religion, ethnic background, or -- or sexual gender, whatever, and so she was just upholding that principle and preventing the pentagon from recruiting on campus.

FRANK GAFFNEY, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: Wolf it's important to understand that we have so little to go on, what we have to do is focus really intensively on the few bits of information or insight into her feelings, her thinkings, her policies, her judgment. And what I think she said beyond that I just need to conform to this policy is that this is a moral offense of the first order, kind of up there were holocaust, and she then I think when she was overturned, overwhelmingly, even by the justice she's going to be replacing, by the way, a the amicus brief that she filed in this case, it turned out -- it turned out that she wasn't going to quit her job over it. She wasn't going to actually do more than posture on this. So, we don't have much to go on. It's kind of like Barack Obama's law school record. We don't have much to go on there, too, and we need to get to the bottom of this.

BLITZER: I just want to be precise, she never made any comparisons to the holocaust. You are describing it. She said it was a moral imperative.

GAFFNEY: She said it was a moral objectionable affront of the first order.

BLITZER: She didn't lose. The argument she made was unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court.

LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: First of all you've got to remember that she allowed them on the campus until the third circuit court of appeals said that the Solomon amendment was wrong. But -- and then they were allowed on campus, they weren't allowed to use the career service. They were never, never, at her time prevented from going to the law school or being on scam pus. I think that's the first thing to keep in mind.

GAFFNEY: Using the facility. They were supposed to use under the Solomon amendment.

KORB: OK, for six months, only six months while the third -- she didn't do the third circuit court of appeal, but she joined with other law school deans in supporting it.

BLITZER: Well, the argument was the U.S. military did not have the same rights and privileges of recruiting on campus that law firms would have or Goldman Sachs would have or other private organizations.

KORB: OK, for six months, the only time, six months out of her six years. The other thing to keep in mind, if you read her statement, it sounds just like Admiral Mullen, Kagan and Mullen, I'll put their statements together. I was in the military in the '60s the same time as Mullen and we had gay people. And he basically said it's morally wrong for us to be doing this, so to say she is somehow different from our military leaders and unpatriotic, you'd have to say Admiral Mullen is.

BLITZER: The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and he finds it morally wrong that gays cannot serve openly in the U.S. military as they can in almost all the NATO allied army.

GAFFNEY: He's the one member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has taken that position. The rest of them have not. And I think what's important here is he doesn't have a lifetime appointment to act in a way that it suggests she feels she should. Which to say to disregard the law. Admiral Mullen understands it is the law of the land today that prescribes, that prohibits, avowed homosexuals from serving in the United States military, unless and until that law is changed, by court fiat, perhaps, or by repeal, that's the law and you can bet that Admiral Mullen is going to support that law.

BLITZER: It was a law that Bill Clinton pushed through with a compromise with General Colin Powell.

KORB: It was pushed and it was pushed on him.

BLITZER: He supported it.

GAFFNEY: No. Because the overwhelmingly body of evidence --

BLITZER: Frank, Frank --

KORB: Basically Clinton wanted to drop the ban completely. The Congress as a compromise said as long as you don't openly say that. But, you know, the interesting thing evolved -- as long as you don't -- but the interesting thing is while we were discharging thousands of gay people, OK, at this time, including Arabic speakers, the military was recruiting felons that couldn't make their goals. It made no sense. If anything, if we had listened to her, we'd be in much better shape, than if we had listened to admiral --

BLITZER: It becomes a bigger argument of gays serving openly in the United States military and Robert Gates, the secretary of defense, said in the next several months there will be a decision. He wants the long-standing policy reversed.

KORB: Probably not.

BLITZER: It will be up to Congress in the end as you point out. Thank you very much.

GAFFNEY: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: The vice president's son, Beau Biden, has been hospitalized, we'll have the latest when we come back.


BLITZER: On Capitol Hill today, there were a lots of fingers pointing at one another as the three companies tied to the leaking oil well were grilled about that disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. There was also some dramatic testimony from a man who saw the disaster unfold. Here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the story of Captain Alwin Landry's longest night at sea.

CAPT. ALWIN LANDRY, "DAMON B. BANKSTON": It was not deafening loud, but definitely, you know, was abrupt. Bits of debris flying from the deck. The rig, definitely my crew members were definitely below deck.

LAVANDERA: Landry is captain of the Damon B. Bankston cargo ship. He and his crew brought the 115 survivors of the deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion safely to shore. As you look back on it, it's been three weeks now, are you left a little bit speechless about what you went through?

LANDRY: Hearts are heavy for the 11 that didn't make it on the Horizon. Extremely proud of my crew and their performance.

LAVANDERA: Landry testified before federal investigators Tuesday in New Orleans, and spoke with CNN. Landry calls the hours after the explosion simply as intense. The Bankston cargo ship was stationed just alongside the oil rig, mud from the oil well was being loaded onto his ship. What it was like there in the moments before this explosion?

LANDRY: Before the explosion, everything was tranquil and normal. Until we started getting the mud started coming down on the boat and the rig.

LAVANDERA: As the mud and debris shot out of the oil rig and showered down on Landry's ship, she could hear a hissing sound, the natural gas shooting out of the oil well. He said he was told to move his ship away from the platform, and a few minutes later the rig exploded. LANDRY: It was a horrifying scene. A few people panicked on the rig that apparently jumped premature. The majority of the people came down in the life capsule. There was a few injured in the life raft.

LAVANDERA: In less than an hour, Landry and his 15-man crew found the escapees from the rig. He hasn't seen any since then.

LANDRY: The few guys that were with me, the rig's management team, the gratitude and the thanks that night was quite embracing.


BLITZER: CNN's Ed Lavandera reporting.

Jack Cafferty's coming up next with your e-mail.

Then, one of vice president Joe Biden's sons hospitalized. We have details of his condition.


BLITZER: Beau Biden, the son of the vice president is hospitalized after suffering what doctors believe was a mild stroke. The White House says the younger Biden who is Delaware's attorney general is in stable condition and his speech and motor skills have not been affected. He was transferred from a Delaware hospital to Philadelphia for observation and evaluation. Beau Biden is 41 years old. He recently served in Iraq with the Delaware National Guard. We wish him a speedy, speedy recovery.

Let's go to Jack Cafferty. He's got "the Cafferty file." Jack?

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: What can the rest of us learn from Tiger Woods?

David writes: "It's really easy. He's so busy trying to win back endorsements, put on the humble face for the media and avoid further humiliation that frankly he's not focused on the game. Behind the scenes he's probably explosive to those around him. I imagine that's why his swing coach left. We expected a breakthrough that after rehab maybe he'd be better than before. But let's face it he's a human being who's not infallible. He'll be back but the scars are going to show."

Audrey says: "You can learn that if you are a nonwhite person you are held to a higher standard. You have your soul mate Argentina visiting governor, your Louisiana politician whore house visitor, your call girl governor New York, your having a love baby wannabe presidential candidate and your parents paying off the mistress in Nevada and none of those received the media tear-down that Tiger Woods did. And he's only playing a sport. It's not like he has your economic or social welfare at stake."

Eddie writes: "At this point Woods is a walking textbook of what not to do and how not to act. I don't think for a minute he's conquered his demons because his arrogance is too great. There's no humility in this man and no joy on or off the course. He seems ruled by control and compulsions, never a good combination."

Greg writes: "He's done. If there was ever a sport where one negative emotion or fear can mushroom cloud into physical inabilities, it's golf. Every time he puts a tee in the ground or lines up a putt Tiger knows the eyeballs and cameras are on him but for different reasons than the previous 30 years. He enjoyed the pressure and stare when he was a young phenom shocking the world of golf. Now the attention is much more negative."

Mike writes from Pennsylvania: "Watching Tiger disgrace himself reminds me of an interview with a mega lottery winner who once said giving a few hundred million dollars to a morally weak person is like pouring miracle-gro on weeds."

If you want to read more go to my blog See you tomorrow.

BLITZER: All right. Jack, see you tomorrow. Thank you.

The California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger explains why he's afraid to go to Arizona. That and more coming up at the top of the hour on "JOHN KING, USA". Plus a Playboy" centerfold unlike any other.


BLITZER: "Playboy" is adding a whole new dimension to its play mate of the year literally. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a "Moost Unusual" look.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ready? Low and behold, it's "Playboy's" latest center fold in 3D.

JIMMY JELLINEK, CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, PLAYBOY: This is the beautiful naked body in three dimensions jumping out of the place into your arms.

MOOS: Maybe not into your arms but still --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks very realistic like I could just touch her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think I'm in a strip club. She's right in front of me about to dance.

MOOS: OK, guys. Now you're getting creepy. Surrender the glasses. Actually they're rather flimsy glasses come with the issue. You assemble them yourselves, all in hopes of seeing every dimension of model Hope Dworaczyk play mate of the year.

JELLINEK: Hef wanted to do this with the first issue of "Playboy."

MOOS: But it was too expensive way back then. Now CNN's fellow Time Warner Company HBO is picking up part of the cost to advertise its series "True Blood." "Playboy's" first ever 3D center fold. What do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a copy of "Playgirl?"

MOOS: Sorry, no male center folds for gay readers. Unfortunately putting the glasses in front of the camera don't make 3D work on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Makes it appear larger than it should be.

MOOS: Actually 3D is a growing part of porn. Hustler is planning an X-rated 3D spoof of "Avatar." "Saturday Night Live" already featured Navi lovemaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's crazy stuff. Where did you learn that stuff?


MOOS: "Playboy" isn't exactly breaking new ground. "Sports Illustrated" has done 3d photo spreads twice already.


MOOS: With the swimsuit edition.

JELLINEK: But who cares about "Sports Illustrated"? This is "Playboy."

MOOS: How do they feel that readers might be tempted to touch their 3D image.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't even want to go there.

MOOS: Critics say "Playboy's" circulation is dwindling but "Playboy" sees things through rose colored and turquoise colored glasses.

JELLINEK: It's a big day for men everywhere who want to see women in three dimensions.

MOOS: At least 3D dispels the notion that nude models are one dimensional. Which part looks most realistic to you?


MOOS: Those are very 3D. Those are 38D.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there was some movement.

MOOS: I'm doing the best I can, sir. I can't do everything here.


Thanks very much for watching. Bill Maher and Ted Turner tomorrow in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.