Return to Transcripts main page


GOP Holds Fund-Raiser For Rand Paul; Dems Launch IPad App; Kerry, Brown to Introduce Kagan

Aired June 24, 2010 - 17:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Rick. Happening now, top military leaders describe feeling sick and stunned by the article that got General Stanley McChrystal fired. We've got some powerful new reaction to the shakeup, including the first public comments by General David Petraeus who is now preparing to take command in Afghanistan.

Plus, a judge shoots down a temporary ban on deep water drilling for the second time. Now, this hour we've got reaction along the hard hit Gulf Coast where oil and anger are spreading. And the presidents of the United States and Russia bond over, well, burger and fries. It's another greasy blow to Michelle Obama's healthy eating campaign. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and you're in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

Well, we are learning more today about just how gut-wrenching the fall of General Stanley McChrystal has been for even the usually stoic military leaders. Still, they are supporting the president's decision to oust McChrystal as top commander in Afghanistan and replace him with General David Petraeus.

Now, it was just a short time ago that President Obama talked about the shakeup and what it means for the troops and his war policy. Our CNN's Jill Dougherty, she covered his news conference with the Russian president at the White House. Jill, obviously the president came out and gave some more details about this. This is still a lot of buzz in Washington and around the country about what this means for the president and his policy in Afghanistan.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is, Suzanne, and you know, you heard the same message he's been delivering all along, that this change in personnel does not mean a change in policy. He also went into that so-called deadline of July 2011 in which American troops will begin to be pulled out, and he said that's not a deadline.

They will not be gone by that date. It's the beginning of a transition over to control by the Afghans, and then finally he tried to tamp down any idea that bringing General David Petraeus aboard was any change in policy. Here's how he put it.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Not only does he have extraordinary experience in Iraq, not only did he help write the manual for dealing with insurgencies, but he also is intimately familiar with the players. He knows President Karzai. He knows the other personnel who are already on the ground. So our team is going to be moving forward in sync.

It is true that I am going to be insisting on a unity of purpose on the part of all branches of the U.S. government that reflects the enormous sacrifices being made by the young men and women who are there.


So unity of purpose. That is the president's phrase, and we'll probably hear that again, Suzanne. And then one last thing. At that news conference, a reporter asked President Medvedev, the Russian president, whether he had any advice because after all Russia was in Afghanistan for almost ten years, and he said I try not to give advice that can't be fulfilled.

MALVEAUX: Jill, yesterday it was pretty obvious in talking with White House officials that bottom line is when President Obama looked at McChrystal, he just lost trust in this guy to lead. Did you get a sense from today's statements that there was a sense that those military leaders were now on the same page, that they were going to turn a corner?

DOUGHERTY: Well, that's what they want to get across here at the White House. That's the whole idea, because if there were any impression that this administration were going to change its policy or waver, it could be disastrous with the allies and everything. That's why you've had Secretary Clinton and the president talking with the allies and making sure they understand that that is the idea, that the policy does not change, even though McChrystal is a person who was so closely tied to that policy.

MALVEAUX: All right. Jill Dougherty, thank you so much, Jill.

Well, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, leaves for Afghanistan tonight to prepare the troops for the change in command. Now, Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, they had a lot to say today about the reasons that General McChrystal had to go. A senior pentagon official tells CNN that gates argued at first for keeping McChrystal. But in the end he did end up backing the president.


SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES: First, I fully support President Obama's decision to accept General McChrystal's resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Like the president, I deeply regret the circumstances that made this decision necessary. General McChrystal is one of the finest officers and warriors of his generation.


MALVEAUX: Now, Admiral Mullen also supports the president's decision. Now he says he almost got physically sick when he read the "ROLLING STONE" article about McChrystal and saw those comments that were mocking Obama administration officials.


ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN: But I cannot excuse his lack of judgment with respect to the "ROLLING STONE" article or command climate he evidently permitted that was at best disrespectful of civilian authority. We do not have that luxury, those of us in uniform. We do not have the right nor should we ever assume the prerogative to cast doubt upon the ability or mock the motives of our civilian leaders, elected or appointed. We are and must remain a neutral instrument of the state.

DOUGHERTY: Each of you has responsibility for the tone and conduct of civilian military relations, and General McChrystal was your hand picked choice to run the war. Is what happened here in any way a failure of management and oversight on your part?

SECRETARY GATES: Well, I don't feel so. First of all, I would say that in the three and a half years that I've been in this position, I have not felt any tension or issues with respect to my relationship with our uniformed leaders or people in the ranks.

MULLEN: I strongly recommended General McChrystal to the Secretary of Defense and the president to assume this job, so certainly from my vantage point I feel some responsibility here. That said, General McChrystal has been given guidance from here, from CENTCOM and certainly from the president that's been very clear, and I have an expectation that a commander, certainly someone with four stars and this kind of responsibility, follow that guidance.


MALVEAUX: Ahead, we have the first public comments by General David Petraeus about being chosen to replace McChrystal. He talks about being sad about what's happened and the timeline for U.S. troop withdrawal.

Now to the Gulf oil disaster and a new legal defeat for the White House. A federal judge today refused to restore the administration's temporary ban on deepwater drilling, so a ruling two days ago blocking the ban, well, that still stands. Our CNN's Chris Lawrence, he's in Louisiana where the drilling ban has had a big economic impact. And Chris, the folks there, how are they reacting to this? Obviously, they are looking at this saying, okay, there's a lot of damage to our community, and yet we can keep drilling.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well you have two sides, Suzanne. Environmentalists I spoke with were just enraged by this decision. They say look at the economic and environmental damage one spill has done. You know, now you're going to let these companies continue to drill without adequate regulation of their activities.

They say that that is just inviting a disaster. On the other hand, the folks here that we spoke to said, you know, you don't ground every airplane in the world because one crashes. There was a problem with the one rig. They say the others have been proven to be for the most part safe, and they say with every --

MALVEAUX: We lost Chris there. We'll have to come back to Chris Lawrence with that story on the Gulf obviously about the moratorium and the overturning of that and the fact that drilling can continue. Well, a frightening discovery in Toronto. A car packed with fuel and weapons as world leaders gather for the G-20 summit. Also ahead, an exclusive CNN interview with an American man arrested during a solo hunt for Bin Laden. He's comparing himself to Rambo.

And General David Petraeus explains his mixed emotions as he gets ready to take command in Afghanistan. It's an interview you'll only see here on CNN. You're in "THE SITUATION ROOM."


MALVEAUX: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File." Hey, Jack, good to see you.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a welcome addition, Suzanne. Nice to have you with us. It's only 17 months into Barack Obama's presidency, and the American people seem to be losing confidence in him. A new "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News poll shows that Americans are more pessimistic about the state of their country and less confident in Obama's leadership than at any time since the president took office. The poll finds 62 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, and that's the highest level since before the 2008 election.

Only one-third of us think the economy will improve in the next year, the lowest of Mr. Obama's presidency and a seven-point decline from just one month ago. It gets worse. Support for the president is not only declining among independents, it's dropping among his base. The president has lost support among Latinos, small town residents, white women and seniors.

And what's more, the poll shows a big jump in people who say they don't relate to President Obama. Less than half say he has strong leadership qualities, and only 40 percent rate him positively on his ability to handle a crisis. Meantime, Roger Simon of Politico wonders aloud if President Obama has run out of luck.

Simon writes the president used to be one lucky guy, describing his meteoric rise from power to the Illinois statehouse to the White House in just 12 years. He points to the president's ability to escape several issues, things like the preacher Jeremiah Wright that might have derailed a lesser candidate, but now with the unstable economy, high unemployment, the Gulf oil spill, the runaway General Stanley McChrystal, international threats like Iran, North Korea, well, Mr. Obama's luck is mostly bad.

Anyway, here's the question. How much confidence to you have in President Obama? Go to to post a comment on my blog.

MALVEAUX: Looking forward to those comments.

Security threat in Toronto today less than 24 hours before President Obama lands there for the G-20 summit. There was a man who was arrested after gas cans and weapons were found in his car not far from the summit site. Our Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve is in Toronto. Jeanne, what do you know about this? Do we know if it was a threat meant for the summit or even meant for the president?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just talked to the integrated security unit which is honchoing this huge security effort here. They say at this point in time there is no information to suggest that this is G-20 related, but this is not what they wanted to see happen in the middle of Toronto just days before the summit.

The street behind me was closed for much of the afternoon after police saw this very suspicious looking car that had a large metal contain are, sort of a carry-on contraption strapped to the top of the car. It was heavily weighted down. Police pulled it over because it was very near to a demonstration. When they looked inside, they would see some suspicious items.

When they tried to talk to the driver, police said he was not terrifically cooperative so they took him into custody. They are questioning him, and they took out of this car a loaded crossbow, pellet guns, a sledgehammer, a chainsaw as well as suitcases, plastic bags and all sorts of other items that were inside. There also was a dog with this man which was taken from authorities.

There also were these gas cans. There were five of them. Three of them were determined to have gas inside. They brought in the hazmat crews, they've looked at the other two. They haven't told us what was in there, but they do say it was not hazardous material. The car was eventually towed, the street reopened but quite the drill for security to have to go through so close to the summit -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Jeanne, thank you so much. I know you'll be watching closely over the weekend as well when all the world leaders convene. Thank you, Jeanne.

Well, he was convicted of corporate fraud and sent to prison. Today, the Supreme Court looked at the case of Jeffrey Skilling. Could its decision change everything for the former Enron CEO? And President Obama takes his Russian counterpart for an all-American meal. No lavish dining here. Why he chose burger diplomacy. And all eyes are on the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but could BP have another disaster brewing much farther north?


MALVEAUX: Fredricka Whitfield is monitoring the top stories coming into "THE SITUATION ROOM" right now. Hey, Fred, good to see you what. What are you watching?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Suzanne. Good to see you. Hello, everyone. Capitol Hill lawmakers are getting close to merging two versions of controversial Wall Street reform. Leaders of a 43-member negotiating committee insist that there are two weeks of talks that can be complete by this evening.

Their goal is to have the compromise bill ready for final passage in the House and Senate next week before the holiday weekend. The group must still come to terms on measures to reign in investment activity and risky bets by big banks.

And the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a partial victory to the federal government's efforts to go after corporate fraud. The court today upheld the use of a prosecution tool known as Honest Services, although it did limit when it can be used against business executives and politicians. The ruling upheld only parts of one-time Enron CEO Jeffrey Skillings' conviction. Skillings and two other cases were kicked back to lower courts to decide whether the cases should be retired or the sentences reduces. And millions more cribs are being recalled, again, for a drop-side hazard demonstrated pretty graphically here with dolls.

Today's announcement today by the consumer product safety commission adds 2 million cribs to the 9 million that have already been called back to manufacturers. It says the drop-side cribs are dangerous because a baby can become trapped and suffocate as pictures using the dolls actually show.

The latest recall is for cribs made by seven companies between the years 2000 and 2009, and can you get full details by going to And forecasters say strong winds are coming tomorrow, and that has crews scrambling to get control of a wildfire that has already burned more than 14,000 acres near Flagstaff, Arizona.

The so-called Schultz fire threatens home, watersheds and protected wilderness. Emergency officials say it's about 25 percent contained. It's burning over a rugged terrain between 7,000 and 10,000 feet, and officials believe an unintended campfire actually touched off that blaze -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Okay. Thank you, Fred. Well, stand by for an interview that you'll only see here on CNN. General David Petraeus in his first public comments about his new mission and how it felt to see General Stanley McChrystal thrown overboard. Republican leaders who shunned Senate nominee Rand Paul are suddenly, yes, suddenly ready to embrace the Tea Party-backed candidates and do corporate big wigs hold the keys to getting immigration reform passed. That and much more.


MALVEAUX: You're in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Happening now. He says he risked his life to hunt for Osama Bin Laden and dares others to do the same. Now, Gary Faulkner is back from Pakistan and spoke exclusively with CNN. And BP has its hands full with the massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But there could be more trouble percolating for the company far to the north in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and you're in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Well, even for a battle-tested military man like General David Petraeus, the past 24 hours have been, well, pretty crazy. He suddenly finds himself gearing up for a command in Afghanistan, and now that General Stanley McChrystal has been sacked, but first Petraeus has a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, and a lot of mixed emotions to sort through.

Our senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash caught up with Petraeus on Capitol Hill today and got his first public remarks since the big announcement yesterday. Dana, it's not just luck, it's skill. You've got to know where to be and work it, and you got this big get. Tell us how that happened, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was a whole lot of luck being at the right place at the right time. The general was walking into the capitol when I happened to be there. He was beginning his day of meetings with senators who are on the Armed Services Committee who will vote to confirm him, and I don't think it is any question as to whether that will happen next week, but he was making his way to the office of Senator Robert Byrd when I caught up with him, and I asked him first and foremost how he feels about his new assignment.


GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS: Well, it's a privilege to serve. It's obviously a hugely important mission. It's very sad that I have to assume it in this manner. We obviously all have enormous respect and gratitude to General McChrystal for all that he did. He's played a key role in helping get the inputs right in Afghanistan, as I described on Capitol Hill the second day I testified.

BASH: Do you see yourself doing anything to change the 2011 deadline to begin troop withdrawal?

GENERAL PETRAEUS: No. As I said, I support the president's policy, and I will also provide my best professional military advice as we conduct assessments.


BASH: Now to me that was a very interesting answer because the question up here since this episode happened with General McChrystal and since this brought the whole debate about the Afghanistan policy to the forefront has been whether or not that beginning withdrawal date, the beginning of July 2011, whether that should stand.

As you know, Suzanne, Republicans are saying, no, no, no. They believe that's the wrong thing to do, sends the wrong signal, and they hope they have an ally in General David Petraeus when back in the Bush administration he refused to put timelines and deadlines on the mission there. Having said that, he, of course, has been the big boss as head of Central Command of this mission, and as you heard there he does support the president's policy.

But it's important to note, you know, there could be some wiggle room and this will definitely be a big issue in his confirmation hearings next week, because just last week he was up here testifying and said admit, he said, "Look, in a perfect world we have to be very careful with timelines." So this will be up for discussion, but certainly not anything that anybody would say that would potentially jeopardize his confirmation to this post.

MALVEAUX: Okay. Dana, congratulations again on your get. It's not just luck, it's being in the right place at the right time. Takes some skill there. Thanks so much.

BASH: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Want to talk about General Petraeus and what he'll face during his confirmation hearings next week. We are joined by our Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger. We heard from the president yesterday when I was in the Rose Garden, and he obviously said, you know, this is the right pick for them. They feel like this is a political win, that they can't lose.


MALVEAUX: What is he going to face, do you think?

BORGER: Well first of all, as Dana was pointing out he'll get confirmed. There's no question about it. Friendly faces on both the democratic side and on the republican side, but the question that Dana asked him in the hallway today is the question you're going to be hearing from democrats and from republicans, which is are you going to stick to this July 2011 drawdown?

And he's been very, very careful about how to couch his answer. Yes, he supports the president, but, of course, you have to look at conditions on the ground. He's going to have to give the president his best military advice, and don't forget this fall going into December, we're going to have a policy review of Afghanistan to just see what those conditions on the ground are, whether things, you know, whether there's an incursion into Kandahar, whether that's going well, but you're going to see a preview of that policy review in the committee next week.

MALVEAUX: And obviously, the focus is going to be on Afghanistan. I want you to take a listen to what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier today.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: The president is the commander in chief. He -- we all stand by him in his decision that he made in terms of who would be in command in Afghanistan, so we trusted him before. We trust him now, and it's just a question of where people stand on our involvement in Afghanistan.


MALVEAUX: So, what do you think, Gloria? Do you think that the president is facing a problem here?

BORGER: He is, with his house democrats.

MALVEAUX: They're not happy with sending in more troops and having this whole thing play out.

BORGER: Absolutely. Let's just say, Petraeus is lucky he's going before the Senate and not before the House because the House Democrats would be a little less friendly. They got a $33 billion war supplemental spending bill that may come to the House floor next week. That's what Speaker Pelosi would certainly like, and I spoke to some sources up there today who said, look, you could get as many as 50 democrats voting against it.

It's going to pass, but they want to send a signal to this president that there is not an unlimited blank check for the war in Afghanistan. So, he does have a problem on his left flank within the Democratic Party, and that will continue, even when General Petraeus takes over in Afghanistan.

MALVEAUX: He's not going to be able to please them.

BORGER: No. Well, we'll see. If he withdraws, according to plan, they may be fine. They would like to see it sooner, but if that does not occur, then he's going to have real problems.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Gloria.


MALVEAUX: The American man who went on a Rambo-like mission to find Osama Bin Laden is back home, and he has some sharp words about suggestions that he may be mentally unstable.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's people out there talking smack, oh, he's crazy or this or that. You know what? Those are the people sitting on their (EXPLETIVE WORD) talking (EXPLETIVE WORD).



MALVEAUX: Fredericka Whitfield is monitoring some of the other stories that are coming into the political ticker and the top stories. Fred, what are you working on?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right. Good to see you again, Suzanne. So, he wasn't the Republican Party's hand-picked candidate in last month's U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky, but now, Rand Paul is getting the party's red carpet treatment. Tuesday top GOP senators will host a fund-raising dinner and reception for Paul in Washington. Paul was a Washington outsider but was a favorite of tea party activists. He'll face off with the Democratic nominee and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway in November's general election.

And if you're looking for bipartisanship, you can find it in a majority of Americans' attitudes toward the country's two main political parties. A CNN opinion research corporation poll asked which party ticks them off the most going into this year's mid-term elections. More than half, 53 percent said they're angry at both parties, 9 percent said Republicans only, 7 percent said democrats only, 31 percent said they're not angry at either party.

And want to keep up with the Democratic Party? Well, there's an app for that now. The Democratic National Committee late last night launched the first mobile application from a political party designed specifically for the iPad. The free app can be downloaded to the iPhone and the iPad touch, and users can access democratic events, watch videos, read party talking points and get news alerts, all of that.

And we have a better idea now of how things are going to happen during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan. Senate Judiciary chairman, Patrick Leahy, announced today that the solicitor general will be introduced to the committee by the two senators from Massachusetts, Democrat John Kerry and Republican Scott Brown. More witnesses will be announced in the coming days. Kagan's confirmation hearings begin on Monday -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Fred, that should be fun to watch. Thank you.

Well, the mayor of New York and a high-profile roster of CEOs joined forces for a new kind of immigration reform. They say it could make a difference in the future of the U.S. economy.

And President Obama treats Russia's president to an all-American burger and fries. Why first lady Michelle Obama might not like what was on the menu.


MALVEAUX: A coalition of mayors and business leaders are taking a different tact on the issue of immigration. They are joining forces to press for more inclusive kind of reform. Now, is this an idea whose time has come? That is the question. Joining me for today's strategy session are democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, Donna Brazile, and conservative commentator, Terry Jeffrey, of Human Events.

First of all, this is not only Mayor Bloomberg but it's also the CEOs of Hewlett-Packard as well as Disney and Boeing, all coming together for this coalition pushing for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. Here's how the mayor explained it this morning on "American Morning." Take a listen.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (I) NEW YORK: This country was created by immigrants. Half of the people that win Nobel prizes in physics here were born overseas. Intel was started by immigrants. Google was started by immigrants. Yahoo was started by immigrants. The next drugs that we're going to need to save our lives are being created by immigrants, and if we don't keep those immigrants here in this country, it's other countries that are going to eat our lunch.


MALVEAUX: Some very powerful coalition that's pushing for this. Is it going to make a difference in Congress in getting them moving on immigration reform? Either one jump in.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it's one of those real tough issues to explain to the American people. It's been so muddied up now over the last couple of years as Congress has tried to, you know, in that broad immigration reform. After all, President Bush was for it, President Obama supported it, but I think the Democrats need to have a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to move this legislation forward. Remember, immigration reform is not just border security, but it's border security plus, and that is where the complication arises.

TERRY JEFFREY, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: There are three interests in this country that clearly are in favor of illegal immigration, I believe. Big business interests that want to exploit the cheap labor of illegal aliens. Secondly, the illegal aliens themselves who want to come here, most of them to get jobs, and the third group are legal politicians who look at illegal immigrants as future potential constituents.

What Mayor Bloomberg was talking about, he's talking about people who essentially were legal immigrants but the reform they're talking about is a pathway to citizenship which is amnesty which is tremendously unpopular among electorate in this country. I think the Democrats are going to stay away from it, unless, they believe they're going to lose so many people in Congress this year that they might as well go ahead and do it now because they can't do it next year.

MALVEAUX: There are some folks who I talk to inside the White House believe that they could try to push this thing forward this year but that doesn't really look likely.

BRAZILE: The votes are not there, and you know, once upon a time, conservatives and Republicans also supported immigration reform. That's all. When you go back and look at the last immigration bill that was signed was signed by conservative, Ronald Reagan. So, this is not about just demonizing liberals because they want to look at the next electoral gain. We need a pathway for those who are here undocumented. There's no question.

How are we going to round up 10 million to 12 million people who are here undocumented? We got to get them out of the shadow. If you think, Terry, that you have a GPS that can go out and find all 12 million people who are out there undocumented, fine. We need a pathway to citizenship for those people.

JEFFREY: I do, actually. The Social Security Administration every year puts together a list of every corporation in America that files more than 100 W-2 forms in which the name does not match the social security number. They know that most of those W-2s are for illegal aliens. Right now, the Social Security Administration knows the most egregious hires of illegal aliens in this country. They can enforce -- there are companies out there hiring thousands of illegal aliens every year and filing with the IRS and Social Security Administration no matched W-2 forms.

The government knows who they are. President Obama could enforce it. He doesn't want to enforce the law. When they go after BP as a big business that's fine, but they're not going after the big businesses that are routinely flouting our immigration laws by filing false documents with the IRS and the Social Security Administration representing illegal aliens that they know they're hiring.

BRAZILE: 40 percent to 45 percent of those who are here undocumented are people who overstayed their visas. There may be a way to find them. There may be a way to catch them. There may be a way to even put them in jail, but President Bush didn't do it, and -- and this president, I'm sure, is looking for ways. Look, let's talk about what this president has accomplished. He's doubled the number of border patrol. He's tripled the number of people who are surveilling our borders.

JEFFREY: We have unemployment that's almost 10 percent in the country. You have corporations that would rather hire foreign nationals who came here illegally, pay them a cheaper wage than they pay a living wage to an American. Our government knows who those employers are, and the elitist in this town will not enforce the law.

BRAZILE: I'm for protecting workers in this country.

MALVEAUX: Unemployment benefits just fail (ph). I want to bring in, if we can, our senior congressional correspondent who has just learned this, if she can jump in and tell us what that's about -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Suzanne. The United States Senate just for the third time blocked, in fact, Republicans made this happen. They blocked a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits for people who have run out of their jobless benefits. They have blocked that for the third time, and the reason for that, Republicans say, is because of the deficit. They said that this would add a $30 billion plus to the deficits.

Democrats did not want to pay for it, and that's why they blocked this, and what is significant is that not only will hundreds of thousands of workers whose unemployment benefits have run out will not get an extension in the near future, and that -- it is that the Senate majority leader says that he has effectively given up, and he's going to pull this bill, and he's going to move on. Now, as you know, because you've covered this place as I have, you never know.

It is sometimes darkest before it is light, and it is possible that this threat that people who don't have jobless benefits could actually lose them until we're talking about until the end of November that perhaps they could find some short-term fix, but right now, that is not happening and that is the big news here in the Senate right now.

MALVEAUX: You know, how do people deal with that?

JEFFREY: I think it's a problem. Look, I do think that the liberal establishment in this town likes dependant classes of citizens. Illegal aliens are dependent class. People on unemployment benefits for a record period in our history are dependant class. I feel more empathy for the latter. The American citizens who've been thrown out of work for no fault of their own, but if you want to help them, they say there's 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in this country. Most of them are working. Let's get them out of here so the American citizens can take those jobs.

BRAZILE: My concern with what your general view about elitists is that is not true. The people up on Capitol Hill who voted to extend that care about their constituents, they know that they are out there trying to find work, trying to find a job. They have not been able to find a job, and all the Democrats are trying to do is extend a lifeline. We extended a lifeline to corporations, giving them credits to take their jobs overseas. Give these people a lifeline so that they can find work

JEFFREY: I challenge the Republicans and Democrats in this town to go after the big businesses that are hiring illegal aliens. Our government knows who they are. They won't enforce the law.

BRAZILE: Join with labor --

JEFFREY: Big business, illegal aliens.

BRAZILE: Join to protect workers' right. They would love to have your support.

JEFFREY: Let's see the labor unions call it for the government crack down illegal immigrations.

BRAZILE: You'll see the labor union with a five-point plan to ensure that we have comprehensive immigration reform.

MALVEAUX: I want to turn this corner, if I could. Something a little bit lighter here. You know, obviously we saw President Obama engaged in some burger diplomacy. Michelle Obama has made her signature issue here living healthy, eating healthy. She grows arugula in the White House garden. She's got bees for -- for making honey. She's kicked out the soda machines in high schools and here's President Obama today hosting the Russian president. Where did they go to? A burger joint. Here's how the Russian president put their lunch. Here's how he put it.


PRES. DMITRY MEDVEDEV, RUSSIA: Today, I have managed to dine with President Barack Obama at an interesting place which is typical American. Probably it's not quite healthy, but it's very tasty, and you feel -- you can feel the spirit of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: It's Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia, the spirit of America here. Can't the president just get with his -- the program here and order a healthy meal? We see him at Ben's Chilibowl and Dunkin' Donuts and now burgers and fries?

BRAZILE: You know, I like the president tasting food. I like to give the president a break. If I could give him a poor boy sandwich made with gulf shrimp not fully dressed, I would give him that and some napkins to go along with it.

JEFFREY: He should have taken the president of Russia. It's an all-American small business entrepreneur serving an all-American form fave (ph) of hamburger. Good for President Obama, absolutely.

MALVEAUX: And if he could press the reset button on U.S./Russian relations, could he just, you know, kill (ph) the guy to order a salad.


BRAZILE: What was the tip like? That's what I'm concerned about.

JEFFREY: Good question.

MALVEAUX: He did pick up the tab. We understand he -- he did pick up the tab

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

MALVEAUX: For the Russian president.

BRAZILE: That's a gentleman.

MALVEAUX: There you go. No cheap date.

JEFFREY: At least 20 percent on the tip, right?

BRAZILE: Of course, that's with --

JEFFREY: With an American worker.

BRAZILE: That's what most of us, elitist liberals, try to do.

MALVEAUX: OK. We have to thank you both for being here. Thanks, again.

Jack Cafferty is asking how much confidence do you have in President Obama? He's going to be back in a moment with your e-mail.

And you don't often see the top military man in uniform open up quite like this. We're going to have more on Admiral Mike Mullen's pointed comments about the downfall of General Stanley McChrystal.

And we'll meet a man who is trying to find something good in the gulf oil disaster. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Jack joins us again with the "Cafferty File." Hey, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, the question this hour is how much confidence do you have in President Obama?

John says, the president rode into office on a backlash vote against the Bush administration, not on the strength of his qualifications. When the predictable crises then come in the unpredictable forms, that inexperience shows, however, an inexperienced president can thrive if he is surrounded by capable assistants who keep in touch with the real people. Unfortunately, I think this administration is both inexperienced and out of touch.

Greg writes from Washington, my confidence in President Obama and his staff not to mention the entire Congress is shrinking. In fact, my confidence is so lacking right now I actually fear for the future of America. We're still in Iraq. We're still in Afghanistan. We still have unemployment issues, our borders are not secure, our economy is a mess, and our infrastructure is going to be our next big nightmare.

Rosemary writes, I have a lot of confidence in the president. I think he is unfairly being over scrutinized because he is the first black president and he's constantly being measured against how a white president would do it. It does not matter that the man is intelligent. Pundits, journalists, news anchors want him to lose his temper and start blathering (ph) like an idiot just so they can have what they feel is a hot story to tell.

Melissa says, a lot. I think he's done very well with what he's been given especially since there are certain elements in this country who are doing everything they can to make sure this president fails and that the whole country falls with him.

Carl writes, President Obama is about the best at speeches I've ever heard. Having said that, I have no confidence in him at all. He is just your typical politician in my eyes. A very good speaker, but hopefully a one-term president.

And Jane writes, not as much I have when I voted for him, but the thought of Vice President Palin still gives me the willies, Jack. We've gone from a president who should have thought more before he acted to one who, at times, thinks too much before acting. A lot of e-mail on this question. If you want to read some more, you'll find it on the blog, file. Suzanne reads it every night.

MALVEAUX: How do you know, Jack?

CAFFERTY: Because I just keep an eye on you.

MALVEAUX: I had a feeling you were, actually. I felt it. Thank you, Jack. The top U.S. military man is not mincing any words about Stanley McChrystal's conduct. You're going to want to hear more on what Admiral Mike Mullen is saying.


MALVEAUX: Some people have a knack for finding the positive side of a bad situation, and it's been hard however to pin down that in the oil disaster, but in the "Building Up America" segment, our CNN's Tom Forman meets one man who found the silver lining.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, one of the hardest things for many communities out here on the edge of this oil catastrophe is figuring out whether or not they're going to be affected by it. But this they know, the more they do to get ready now, the better off they will be if the oil does come their way.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Heading out from Port St. Joe to hunt for scallops, Gary Hites has plenty of reasons to worry. His company's Seahorse Water Safaris depends on the tourist.

GARY HITES, SEAHORSE WATER SAFARIS: this is impacted everybody on the coast --

FOREMAN: And yet, even as reports of oil creep closer, Gary remains hopeful that this calamity will bring out the best ideas, the best innovations, and the best effort the people of the Gulf have to offer.

HITES: It's a problem. Let's clean it up and let's go on.

FOREMAN: So, you actually think some good can come out of all this?

HITES: Some good will come out of this. I see people working this oil spill that have never worked in their lives. I think the U.S. can benefit from this in the long run. I'll figure a way (INAUDIBLE). Give me about 50 feet more, there, lay it down.

FOREMAN: Fueling such optimism for some folks especially at the edges of the spill is what they are seeing locality. Sure, the fear of oil has cut charter fishing reservations, but in it's filled hotels and restaurants with disaster response workers, yes, the fishing might be shutdown if the oil gets closer, but --

FOREMAN (on-camera): The scalloping season was actually opened about a week and a half early this year, specifically, to help people replace any lost income and to stay ahead of the threat of advancing oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot, they're not big, but that's what we're finding out here.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And of course, it is easier to be hopeful when the spill is still miles away, but folks like Gary believe, building up these gulf communities even as their neighbors struggle is critical.

So, all things considered another good day.

HITES: Another good day.

FOREMAN: Because that may help the whole region come back whenever the oil finally goes away.


FOREMAN (on-camera): Many communities along this part of the Gulf Coast don't really know if the oil is ever going to hit them enforce, but they know they will be better off if they're ready -- Suzanne.