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Tea Party Power; Where Is Osama bin Laden?; NATO Closing in on bin Laden?; President to Appear on "Mythbusters"; Band Uses iPhones to Play Song

Aired October 18, 2010 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jill Dougherty, thank you.


Happening now: What if the Republican establishment ignores the Tea Party movement? Sarah Palin is warning -- and I'm quoting her now -- "The GOP is through" if that were to happen -- this hour, Palin's Q&A with CNN. It's a rare event. And why she's telling some Republicans to -- quote -- "man up" -- Republicans.

Also, is Osama bin Laden living in luxury in Pakistan? CNN has new information from a senior NATO official. I will ask the Pakistani ambassador here in Washington what he knows about this.

And new privacy concerns about Facebook and what some of its most popular features may be telling outside companies about you.

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

We begin this hour with a warning to the Republican establishment: Ignore the Tea Party movement at your peril, that message coming from none other than the GOP's own vice presidential nominee just two years ago, Sarah Palin.

The former Alaska governor was at a rally just a little while ago in Reno, Nevada, kicking off the fourth national tour of the Tea Party Express. She had a blunt message for Republican incumbents who have yet to embrace the Tea Party. She's telling them -- and I'm quoting her now -- "Man up."


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Hey, politicians who are in office today, you, some of you, need to man up and spend some political capital to support the Tea Party candidates, instead of doing this waiting to see how everything is going to go.

You know that the Tea Party candidates are constitutionalists. They have got the common sense. So, some of these politicians, the bigwigs within the machine, they're driving me crazy, because they're too chicken to come out and support the Tea Party candidates.

And yet it's the people who are saying, no, that -- yet the ideas of the Tea Party movement are the American ideals that will put us back to work.

So, to those politicians within the machine playing a little too safe, going along to get along, I join Sharron Angle in calling them too to just man up and start making the political capital choices, if you will, to get the right people as their colleagues.


BLITZER: Afterward, Sarah Palin spoke to CNN's political producer, Shannon Travis, who asked her if the Tea Party movement could split the Republican Party.


SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Governor, what if it's -- what if Tea Party movement winds up splitting the Republican Party, too?

Who will you stand with?

PALIN: You know, I don't think that it will, because I think more of the machine within the GOP is going to understand that this "we the people" message is rising and it's resonating throughout with the Independents, with hard core conservatives, with moderates, because it's just so full of common sense and time-tested truths that can put the economy on the right track that heaven forbid that the GOP machine strays from this message.

If so, the GOP is through.

TRAVIS: So, Governor, is there no room for moderates in the Republican Party?

PALIN: No, that's the deal, is that this is all about an independent message, moderates who just believe that government's proper role is very constrained and restrained, according to our constitution, that our states' rights, our individual rights should be more powerful and made more manifest than a growing federal government -- their -- their power.

So moderates can embrace that. Independents certainly can.

TRAVIS: But a lot of Tea Party activists say they're on a rhino hunt to purge the party of -- of moderate Republicans.

PALIN: You know, I wouldn't say that, because within my own family, my -- most of my family, most of my friends and associates, they're Independents. They're -- they're not part of any kind of political machine. Shoot, if my husband was here, he'd be the first one to tell you, he, as an Independent, you know, just with that common sense, knowing that it is, though, that constitutional conservative principles that can help our country. Independent, though.

TRAVIS: So what's the...

PALIN: Independent, though. TRAVIS: -- what's the possibility of attracting more Independents to the -- to the Tea Party movement?

PALIN: That is a great issue and that's what we need to do. But again, as long as we apply time-tested truths and prove that they work -- and that's what we have to do in the next two years -- send a new Congress to D.C. to apply those solutions that are based just on free market principles, that really can't be argued then by the Independents and by the moderates. Then they start embracing more of what the party is all about.

TRAVIS: And the last question...

PALIN: And that's -- what we have to remember is the planks in the platform -- of the GOP platform -- really are the strongest, most solid planks to build a strong economy, because it's all about entrepreneurial spirit and equal prosperity and opportunity, according to a work ethic. So...



PALIN: Thank you for your encouragement.

TRAVIS: What are...


TRAVIS: -- and what do you say...


TRAVIS: Governor, what do you say to your critics who say you're way too divisive to forge a consensus?

PALIN: Oh...


PALIN: Oh...

TRAVIS: Critics say you're way too divisive.

PALIN: They're going to say what they're going to say. And if I spent all my time just answering the critics, I might as well close up and shop and do nothing else. Instead we're out here and we're just a -- so appreciating the enthusiasm for the commonsense message of Tea Party Americans.

So thank you, guys.


BLITZER: As popular as Sarah Palin is with the Tea Party movement and so many Republicans out there, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who is considered politically toxic right now by some fellow Democrats, has been doing much of her campaigning for the party behind the scenes.

Today, though, a rare public appearance, rallying the heart of the Democratic base, female union leaders in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I have said it before. I will say it again. We're not going back. And we're not going back. And we're going to win because the women of steel, the women of steel, are going to help us lead the way in our country to that great victory.



BLITZER: Talking about steelworkers out there.

Our congressional correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is in Pittsburgh right now.

Brianna, this is a pretty friendly group she spoke to today. I assume she was pretty well-received.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was an extremely warm reception, Wolf, here in Pittsburgh. In fact, as Speaker Pelosi entered this gathering of the United Steelworkers Women of Steel, she came in to that Tina Turner song "Simply the Best."

She came into very loud cheering, women standing up, a standing ovation, holding signs that said the best speaker ever on their signs. And this is such a unique site, of course, because the place that we're used to seeing Speaker Pelosi these days is on Republican political ads.

She is a liability for so many Democrats. In fact, as we speak, there are moderate Democrats out on the campaign trail touting how they have broken with her, how they have broken with other Democratic leaders, and promising that if Democrats retain control of the House of Representatives that they will not vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker.

And so this is really one of the safe places, one of the few safe places for her to campaign. And that's why she is here, trying to rally union workers who came out in quite a forceful way in 2008 for President Obama, and also, of course, Wolf, to rally support among women, another important part of the Democratic base.

BLITZER: Well, how worried on that point are Democrats right now that women are not as energized, perhaps, and are not going to be out there on Election Day for the Democratic candidates?

KEILAR: There certainly is some concern. And that's because when you look at polling ahead of the midterms, and generally speaking, women say that they support the Democratic candidates in this midterm election, whereas men, likely voters, trend much more towards Republicans.

But just check out this enthusiasm gap you can see in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. Of likely male voters, 38 percent said they are extremely enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections. Compare that to likely female voters, only 23 percent of them saying that they are extremely enthusiastic. And that's why Speaker Pelosi is here trying to close that gap, trying not only to rally union member, but rally female voters as well, Wolf.

BLITZER: Brianna Keilar on the trail for us in Pittsburgh -- thanks, Brianna, very much.

Jack Cafferty is here, and he has "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Political campaigns are brutal, but this year's attack ads seem to have hit an all-time low.

Politico reports that while candidates have always attacked each other, distorted their opponents' records and taken their statements out of context, this year's napalm-flavored attack ads have taken it to a whole new level.

Some of this year's ads suggest that politicians running for office aren't just untrustworthy or experienced, but are cruel and sick. For example, there are campaign ads that accuse candidates of wanting to gas shelter animals, wanting to inject young girls with dangerous drugs, allowing men to beat their wives, and of helping child molesters, either by buying them Viagra or protecting their privacy.

It's all true. A lot of these ads are coming from incumbents, those who are worried that they're going to be out of job in November. They think apparently by turning their challengers into monsters, they have a chance of holding on to their employment.

One of the most notorious ads of the campaign season is from a Florida Democrat who calls his challenger Taliban Dan. While some of these over-the-top attack ads contain some kernels of truth, the experts suggest that at a certain point they become counterproductive. They say that voters tend to believe the worst about politicians anyway, but when attacks become too outrageous, then the voters just stop buying it.

Meanwhile, the people running these ads, they want to be or already are our leaders in Washington. And it says a lot about the kind of people representing us that they're willing to resort to such a low level of rhetoric in order to win an election.

Here's the question. How much do attack ads damage our faith in our leaders? Go to and post a comment on my blog.

BLITZER: Jack, stick around, because I want you to see what's coming up.

Gloria Borger is going to go show us some more of these negative ads in just a few minutes. Stand by for that. And they're the games that have millions of Facebook users hooked. But are they also sending personal information about you to outside companies? Details of new privacy concerns and what you need to know to protect yourself.


BLITZER: We have a cautionary tale for 500 million Facebook users around the world, especially if you play some of those seemingly harmless games offered through the social network. Chances are there's a third party watching every move you make.

CNN's Kate Bolduan is joining us now.

Kate, who is watching and why?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Advertisers, for one, Wolf. And information is power, right? So if you were not already concerned about how much of your personal information is out there, these days this is sure to grab your attention even more, new concerns over your privacy on Facebook.

A report by "The Wall Street Journal" found that some of Facebook's most popular apps were transferring user information to advertisers and online tracking companies. Here are some of the apps that we're talking about here, FarmVille for one. It's a very popular application where you can actually manage your own virtual farm.

Texas hold 'em poker and FrontierVille, those are just a few of the ones we're talking about here. According to "The Journal," the information shared here was the unique Facebook I.D., as they call it. And that's something that each Facebook user has. And that can be used to get other personal information, like your name and in some cases your friends' names.

So even if you don't play the apps, your information could be shared as well. Reaction to this leak, it has really been mixed. Privacy advocates say this latest security breach proves a serious and ongoing problem with the social networking giant, but other social media experts say the scare is being a bit blown out of proportion.


MARC ROTENBERG, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: Those privacy promises, the terms of service, the privacy settings, are very important for users. It's what they rely on.

It's what allows them to feel confident when they post their personal information on the Internet that it is not going to be misused. So when Facebook says that your personal data won't be accessed by advertisers and subsequently makes available your entire friends list and all your likes and everything else, people are upset. And it's understandable.

PAUL GILLIN, TECHNOLOGY JOURNALIST: The fact that the information may have leaked doesn't really mean anybody is doing very much with it. And I think that Facebook, you know, to their credit has acted to move swiftly to plug this hole. And I think it's -- I think it's unlikely that we will see people's identities compromised in any meaningful way.


BOLDUAN: Now, Facebook is pushing back a bit here, saying that there's no evidence anything has really been done with the data collected so far and also added in a statement I should read to you, they are saying: "While knowledge of user I.D. does not permit access to anyone's private information on Facebook," they say, they add, "we plan to introduce new technical systems that will dramatically limit the sharing of user I.D.s."

So, Wolf, it's kind of this question of, is technology getting beyond our ability to control it while others are saying it's just good that consumers are talking about privacy and security of their personal information online.

BLITZER: And if you saw that new movie "The Social Network," which is a big hit right now, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, this is exactly what he warned against early on in thinking about this, not necessarily good news for Facebook.


BLITZER: Let's see if they can clean this up right now.

BOLDUAN: We will be watching...


BLITZER: Thanks very much for that, Kate.

Just 15 days to go before the midterm election and the negative ads are getting ugly and uglier.


NARRATOR: Denied writing a sex-steeped column for, then admitted he had.


BLITZER: That's just a little taste of what's going on. In one race, a candidate actually refused to shake hands with his rival because of the ad he put out.


BLITZER: As the midterm battle comes down to the wire, some key campaigns are taking a very ugly turn, with some major negative ads, name-calling and a lot more.

CNN's Brian Todd is watching what's going on for us.

It's pretty bad, isn't it, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's getting worse seemingly, Wolf, as we get closer to November 2. This is the home stretch. There are many races that very, very close. Candidates are trying to drive up their opponents' negatives in the final days.

And the ads and other attacks are getting more bitter and more personal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kentucky Senate debate.

TODD (voice-over): A high-profile Senate debate in Kentucky turns intensity personal from the opening bell, when Republican candidate Rand Paul tears into his opponent.

RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: How ridiculous are you? You embarrass this race.

TODD: Paul is referring to this ad from Democrat Jack Conway about a so-called secret society Paul is accused of joining in college.


NARRATOR: Why did Rand Paul once tie a woman up, tell her to bow down before a false idol, and say his God was Aqua Buddha?


TODD: A claim that Paul has repeatedly dismissed. But at the debate, Conway not only ignored Paul's demand to apologize; he repeated this line several times, as if he had memorized it.

CONWAY: When is it ever appropriate to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false god that you called Aqua Buddha?

TODD (on camera): What do you make of this? They barely get into attacks or an economic issue before they launch right into this.

REID WILSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": Well, Brian, this is what we're seeing around the country these days. Washington, D.C., is terribly unpopular. Politicians are terribly unpopular. And the voters are in such an angry mood that they're not voting for anybody. They're really voting against the least acceptable option.

TODD (voice-over): The idea, says Reid Wilson, editor in chief of the political tip sheet "The Hotline," is to drive up the negatives of one's opponent.

We also looked at other types of personal attacks.

(on camera): The McCain family did a double-whammy this weekend. Check this out.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Barbara Boxer is the most bitterly partisan, most anti-defense senator in the United States Senate today. I know that because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her.

TODD (voice-over): Next day, McCain's daughter, Meghan, lights up Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, a fellow Republican, on ABC's "This Week."


MEGHAN MCCAIN, CONTRIBUTOR, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: And it just turns people off, because she's seen as a nut job.


TODD: Meghan McCain's comment was kind of an off-the-cuff thing in a talk show. John McCain was at a campaign event for Boxer's opponent, Carly Fiorina. The question is, is that kind of campaign tactic effective, the personal attack?

WILSON: Well, the -- I think the thing that's not effective about this particular attack is that it comes from a surrogate. And a lot of people aren't going to be going into the polling place in San Francisco or in San Jose or in Sacramento and saying to themselves, well, John McCain thinks I should vote for Carly Fiorina, so I will.


TODD: But the bottom line, Wilson says, is that negative ads or other personal attacks work. He says voters remember those a lot more than they will remember a candidate's tax plan or other policy position and this year with an electorate very angry over the economy, the candidates know they can tap into that anger -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The Democratic candidate in New York, Conway, he has been getting a little brushback from some fellow Democrats.

TODD: That's right. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says that Jack Conway's ad there on the Paul allegations is -- quote -- "dangerous" because it reaches back to Paul's college days. She says it kind of comes close to a line there. And she says that sometimes candidates who are behind tend to overreach.

Paul is slightly ahead of him in most polls. And she's really kind of bothered about this, genuinely. This is taking a bad -- it's given the Democrats a bad rap here.


BLITZER: Yes. It's a close race in Kentucky, but Rand Paul is slightly ahead, at least in the most recent polls.

TODD: Slightly ahead.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Brian, for that.

TODD: Sure. BLITZER: Some people are calling these campaign ads simply outrageous. And we're seeing them, though, across the country in major races.

Our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger, is here in THE SITUATION ROOM with more on this part of the story.

What are you picking up, Gloria?

BORGER: Well, you know, I'm just going to reiterate what everybody has been saying from Jack Cafferty to Brian Todd, that it is really getting nasty out there, especially in those close races. Take a look at some of these, Wolf. They're really bad.


NARRATOR: Why was Rand Paul a member of a secret society that called the Holy Bible a hoax, that was banned for mocking Christianity and Christ?



NARRATOR: Has a history of attacks, violent and threatening behavior toward his first wife, firing an unloaded gun outside her bedroom door, putting the gun in his own mouth for three hours.



NARRATOR: Campaign picture touted himself as a family man with children. Only, they weren't his children. He denied writing a sex- steeped column for, then admitted he had.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You must be well-informed and well-armed, because this government that we have right now is a tyrannical government.

NARRATOR: Take up arms against the government? That's extreme.



NARRATOR: Imagine your teenage daughter illegally strip-searched by police. It happened repeatedly in Wareham. Jeff Perry was the supervising officer at the scene during one assault. Another assault, he just tried to explain away.


BLITZER: You know, the Democrats are really on the attack, not just Republicans, but the Democrats as well.

BORGER: Yes. I mean, these are all Democratic ads. And the question I guess you have to ask is, where are the issues out there? Well, here's what's going on.

When you're on the defensive, nasty works. And the Democrats that I talk to say, look, when the Republicans were recruiting for their candidates a couple of years ago, things looked really rosy for the Democrats. So, the Democrats believe they didn't get a great class of candidates.

And when they got some really good candidates, some of those were defeated by the Tea Party insurgents. So their opposition research has gone on overtime, Wolf. They're trying to find out what's wrong with these guys, and then they're attacking them, because when you don't have the issues on your side, and the issue set is not great for Democrats right now, then you want to make sure that people don't think your opponent is a credible candidate.

BLITZER: But this late in the game, two weeks to go, historically, do these kinds of attack ads make a difference?


BORGER: They do make a difference and in one way, which is if you're an independent voter out there and you say, OK, I don't like the Democrats, who are in charge of the Congress, I'm going to vote for his opponent, you look at his opponent and you say, you know what, that fellow doesn't seem really credible to me, and maybe, just maybe, you decide to stay home.

And if you're a Democrat, maybe you get motivated to go out and vote. So there's something called suppressing voters. And I think that's what a lot of these negative ads are about, is making sure those independent voters, maybe, OK, I will sit this out. I don't like either of these guys.

BLITZER: Everybody likes to complain about these negative attack ads, but they do them because they oftentimes work.

BORGER: Yes, particularly when you want to take away someone's credibility, right? That's the way to do it.

BLITZER: That's what they're doing.

All right, Gloria, thank you.

All those ads may be wasted on millions of voters who have already cast their ballots. Early voting is now under way in almost half of the United States. The latest states to join early voting, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Washington, D.C. It's not a state, but it's Washington, D.C. Tomorrow, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Utah will join the mix, with Oklahoma the next state up. Early voting starts there October 29.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is up next with the latest intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. Is the al Qaeda hiding in plain sight? Moreover, is he getting help from a key U.S. ally? I will ask Pakistan's ambassador to the United States. He's here, Husain Haqqani.

Stand by.


BLITZER: We want to update you an a story that CNN broke that is now going viral.

We might be closer than ever to knowing where Osama bin Laden and his top al Qaeda deputies are hiding. Rather than in a remote cave, as many experts long thought, the world's most wanted terrorist is likely living in relative comfort in a home in Northwest Pakistan.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, broke the story, which is now being picked up around the world, based on information she received from a senior NATO official.


BLITZER: And joining us now from Kabul, Afghanistan, our Pentagon correspondent

Barbara, you're getting exclusive information on the potential whereabouts of bin Laden. What are you learning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, senior NATO official has told me the assessment is that Osama bin Laden and his No. 2 deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, definitely alive, living across the border in Pakistan. The belief is that they are living in relative comfort. This official says none of these al Qaeda leaders are living in a cave. They may be actually quite close to each other.

So I asked him, "OK, where do you think bin Laden really is?"

He said, "Ask me to draw a circle on a map, and here's the circle I would draw for you." He said he could have ranged as far north in the tribal region of Pakistan as a place called Chitral. That's up in the north, way near China. But a more interesting place to possibly look, the Kurram Valley. That is right across the border from Tora Bora here in Afghanistan where bin Laden fled in late 2001 when the U.S. started bombing there. So there's an interesting question, Wolf. Did he ever stray all that far -- Wolf?

BLITZER: And you're also learning that bin Laden, assuming he's not that far away from Tora Bora, is being protected by local villagers and maybe -- maybe even by some elements of Pakistani intelligence. What are you picking up on that?

STARR: Well, you know, again, this is an assessment by senior officials here in Afghanistan. And I think we've heard it a bit before, but it continues to be the belief that some members of the Pakistani intelligence and securities services are protecting bin Laden in Pakistan. Now, the Pakistanis adamantly deny this. And of course, it's extremely sensitive because the U.S. gives Pakistan billions of dollars in aid every year, encouraging them to fight terrorism and al Qaeda in their own country. And if some members of the services are protecting bin Laden, that would reflect very badly on the Pakistanis' -- government's ability to control its own people.

But the feeling is that he must be protected by some of those elements, by the villagers where he is. Otherwise, somebody would have turned him by now.

BLITZER: Yes. The fear is the Pakistanis may be hedging their bets a little bit.

Barbara Starr in Kabul, Afghanistan. Barbara, stay safe over there. We'll check in with you again later in the wee. Thank you.


BLITZER: All right. Let's get reaction from Pakistan right now. Joining us is Husain Haqqani. He's the country's ambassador to the United States. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Mr. Ambassador, welcome back.


BLITZER: Are elements of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, effectively protecting bin Laden?

HAQQANI: Wolf, anybody who thinks that Pakistan or any other state, for that matter, has any interest in protecting bin Laden, who has brought nothing but mayhem to the world, is smoking something they shouldn't be smoking.

BLITZER: You know that some U.S. officials, high-ranking officials are suspicious of what you're saying.

HAQQANI: We just heard about what many people believe in American politics by talking about each other. We all know how this game is played. The reason why this statement is not made officially and publicly by NATO is because they do not have any basis to make that statement.

BLITZER: Why would a top NATO official tell our Barbara Starr not only that they suspect that he's hiding out in this area, the Kurram Valley, not far from Tora Bora on the other side of the Afghan border? Why would they say that?

HAQQANI: They would say that so that no one asks them questions about what their own performance is in Afghanistan. But that said, if this was really a serious matter, they wouldn't be saying it off the record or on background. They would say it publicly.

Publicly, the fact remains that all the success that the United States has had in apprehending al Qaeda personal in Pakistan has been with the help of Pakistan's intelligence services, the same ISI that everybody insists on demonizing.

BLITZER: Are your troops, Pakistani military troops -- forget about the intelligence services -- the military troops in that area in northwest Pakistan, in the Kurram Valley on the other side of Tora Bora?

HAQQANI: Pakistani troops are there, and not only that. They have conducted operations against the Taliban and very successful ones. The fact of the matter is that, if NATO had any intelligence on this, if the United States had intelligence, they would share it with us. In the last few years, they have never shared any intelligence with Pakistan or Pakistan's military on the specific whereabouts of Mr. bin Laden. And not only bin Laden, any al Qaeda person about whom intelligence has ever been shared with us, we have always helped America and NATO apprehend them.

BLITZER: Because you've heard the suspicion that this high-ranking NATO official shared with our own Barbara Starr, that he's not -- bin Laden and his No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, they're probably together. They're not hiding out in a cave, but they're living in this remote area, relatively in comfort in a village protected by a local -- residents and maybe even Pakistan.

HAQQANI: This is speculation because if he knew it, it would be actionable intelligence; we would act on it.

I mean, we can speculate on certain people in NATO and Afghanistan living it up, but that's just speculation. Why -- why should we get into the speculation?

Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally. And I think Pakistan and the United States have done great things together in the last several years, especially in the last 2 1/2 years. We will continue to work together as allies. I think sometimes -- and this happens to me, too, by the way. I'm also human. Sometimes when you're talking to journalists, you like to tell things which are your assumptions rather than facts that you have ascertained for sure .

BLITZER: How much sympathy, support, for bin Laden is there in this northwest area of Pakistan?

HAQQANI: There was a lot more support until recently. In the last few years, Pakistan has been a tremendous job of convincing people that bin Laden represents mayhem and -- and trouble. He does not represent Islam. That said, the United States and Pakistan need to continue to work together to win even more hearts and minds so that people will give us intelligence about anybody who...

BLITZER: So you're saying the U.S. isn't giving you enough information for you to take action?

HAQQANI: We have not had any information of intelligence for us to be able to take action. If we had it, we would act. And I would be proudly sitting here and telling you how Pakistan had got bin Laden. BLITZER: It's probably because, and it's a sensitive issue as you know, they don't necessarily fully trust Pakistan.

HAQQANI: Absolutely. We understand if they don't trust us. But the question is, is not trusting us helping them find the targets? And is talking about not trusting us helping them attain any objectives? Neither serves any purpose.

So I'm a little astounded by this official. And I'm going to try and talk to senior NATO officials to ascertain if they really share his views. I don't think they do, and I don't think they should.

BLITZER: Husain Haqqani is the Pakistani ambassador here in Washington Always good to have you here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thank you.

HAQQANI: It's always good to talk to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador.

Kate Bolduan is standing by with a check of the top stories, including Pope Benedict's strongest statement to date on the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church.

And also, President Obama has a myth he wants debunked. Who's he going to call? He's going to call "The Mythbusters." Stay with us. They're here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Kate Bolduan is back. She's monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now, including, Kate, one of the strongest statements to date from Pope Benedict about child abuse within the Catholic Church.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. People are -- people are definitely paying attention to this one, Wolf. Listen here. The Benedict -- Pope Benedict XVI says that priests who sexually abuse children, quote, "disfigure their ministry."

Still, in his open letter written to men studying for the priesthood, the pontiff insists that becoming a priest is good and that celibacy, in his words, quote, "makes sense."

Advocates for alleged abuse victims say his message minimizes the crisis.

Also in Europe, it is on high alert for terror attacks. And a U.S. counterterrorism official says al Qaeda remains a serious threat on the continent and beyond. U.S., Japanese and Swedish officials are warning citizens against European travel. France was warned that citizens -- France has warned citizens about travel to Britain, saying a terrorist attract -- attack is, quote, "highly likely."

And a foreclosure moratorium is apparently over at Bank of America, at least partially. The financial giant says it has reviewed foreclosures in 23 states where a court must sign off on the process and will restart it on 102,000 cases. The first new affidavits will be submitted October 25. A spokeswoman says no errors were found during the review, which is continuing now in 27 other states, Wolf. A lot of people are talking about that.

BLITZER: Certainly. All right, Kate. Thanks very much.

They try rumors and myths on for size and sometimes blow things up. Now they're getting President Obama in on it. When we come back, TV -- TV "Mythbusters." They're here after seeing the president.


BLITZER: It's a new event over at the executive mansion. The president of the United States hosting the first White House science fair. He met with the students, saw their science and engineering projects, and then he announced he will celebrate science on a very popular TV show.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm also pleased to welcome Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, known as "The Mythbusters." I can announce today that I raped a special guest appearance for their show, although I didn't get to blow anything up.


BLITZER: Adam and Jamie are here. And hopefully, they're not going to blow anything up here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Kate and Gloria are here, as well. What is going on? Why is the president going to be on "Mythbusters"?

ADAM SAVAGE, CO-HOST, THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL'S "MYTHBUSTERS": The president is -- this is part of his program, the STEM initiative: science, technology, engineering and math, getting kids interested in that. And he's a fan of "Mythbusters." He watches it with his family, and he said that he wanted us to do an episode where we brought kids in and helped inspire them.

And so we chose this method, this myth, the Archimedes solar ray, because it's a myth we've actually tested twice before, that Archimedes defended the walls of Syracuse against a Roman siege by putting 500 soldiers on the shore with polished shields, harnessing the sun's power to set fire to Roman ships.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sounds very political, actually.

BLITZER: How did it work out?

JAMIE HYNEMAN, CO-HOST, THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL'S "MYTHBUSTERS": Well, this time instead of using actual soldiers, we used school kids. They're middle-school and high-school kids from Ansinol (ph) University -- or Ansinol (ph) High School in Alameda. My wife teaches science there, by the way. But that was what the thing was about, was getting kids involved in science. And...

SAVAGE: And they wanted an episode where we could involve the kids in the actual experiment. And this was -- this was a perfect opportunity.

BLITZER: So the president's role in all of this, what's his role?

SAVAGE: Well, he calls us to the White House in the episode. He says that, although we've tested this myth before, we've never tested it with actual soldiers and polished shields, and he'd like us to finally put the Archimedes solar array myth to the final and ultimate test. So we -- we take that task on, and we go to San Francisco and we try to...

BORGER: And what does he do? Is he a part of the solution here or the...

SAVAGE: No, no. He's merely -- he merely tasks us with -- with the story, and then we report back to him how it goes.

BOLDUAN: Well, you guys essentially -- I'm a huge fan of the show, as I told you. You make -- you take these big questions that all of us wonder, myths, kind of urban puzzles, you know, if you will. And find solutions. Essentially kind of making science cool and fun. Is that why you got into doing what you do? And is that why you're getting involved here?

SAVAGE: Not at all. We're totally unqualified to be scientists. Jamie's got a degree in Russian studies. I have a high-school diploma. And we never set out to actually be educational or to inspire kids. And I think that's actually why the show works. Kids can smell that kind of crap a mile away.

BORGER: How did you -- how did you sort get into this, then, if you -- you're not scientists by nature or...

HYNEMAN: Well, we're both -- you know, we're both special effects artists by -- by training. That's what we were doing when the show came along. The idea initially was to have a couple of guys get -- that could build just about anything, do more than talk about urban legends. They actually re-create the myths. And that's what we do.

BLITZER: Well, give us a sneak peek. Do you debunk the myth?

SAVAGE: We can't tell you how...

BLITZER: Or you're not allowed to tell us?

SAVAGE: We can't tell you how it turns out.

BLITZER: Give us a clue, a little bit.

SAVAGE: We actually -- it's one of the more elaborate setups we've ever done in eight years in almost 200 hours of show. We have about a third of a mile of shoreline in San Francisco with 500 kids lined up in two rows, all holding mirrors. The kids were fantastic. They had a terrific amount of focus. They really were with us. They were really inspired and wanted to make this work.

And we had Jamie in a model Roman trireme, a full-sized boat, sailing towards us, hurling tennis balls, wearing a fireproof suit while we're trying to...

BORGER: Can we change jobs for a second?

SAVAGE: Oh, and I was wearing full armor.

BLITZER: When will this -- when will this air?

SAVAGE: This will air December 8.

BLITZER: December 8, so we've got some time.

SAVAGE: Absolutely.

BLITZER: You guys can clean it up and make it beautiful. And we'll continue this conversation. Good work.

HYNEMAN: Thank you.

BLITZER: You've got a huge following out there. Appreciate it very much. Thanks for coming in.

BORGER: We've got a bunch of myths in Washington to debunk.

BOLDUAN: I actually wrote down a few. Yes.

BLITZER: Next up -- we'll give you some ideas. Jack Cafferty is getting ready to read your e-mail when we come back.

Also, a most resourceful band. Their instruments, though, stolen. Get this, though. The music plays on.


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

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is "How much do attack ads, political attack ads damage our faith in our leaders?"

Conor in Chicago writes, "This is nothing new in American politics. Andrew Jackson's opponents called his mother a whore in a popular newspaper of the time. She, of course, wasn't, but people ate it up then, just as they do now. I still think it says more about our citizens than our politicians. If a method is tried and true, do you really fault the politicians?"

Dan in Virginia writes, "The sad thing is that, in general, attack ads work. A lot of elections are decided by who can scare the most voters. I wish more people would lose their misguided faith in their elected officials. Maybe then we would stop voting in the same two sets of idiots under the short-term-memory-induced delusion that, if one group is screwing us, the other grew will surely save us." David in Tampa writes, "I haven't had any faith in, trust in, or respect for this country's leadership in four decades. As our parties become more polarized by the extremists from within, I see who's running the dirtiest campaign and campaign ads and I vote against them."

Jim writes, "Aren't you glad we live in a Christian nation? Just think how bad these attacks would be if our leaders weren't believers in the teachings of Jesus Christ."

Diane says, "The crassness, rudeness and downright mean-spirited nature of this campaign points to a lack of integrity and dignity long lost, I fear, among our leaders. I wonder to what extent all this is influenced by the likes of Limbaugh and Beck, whose inflammatory words infiltrate the airwaves daily. I worry about our culture when those in leadership lack the courage to be civil."

Dennis in North Carolina writes, "They can only affect you if you listen to them. If you want to learn about people running for office, read a newspaper or use the computer or go to the library."

June writes, "Well, Jack, your question assumes we had some faith in our leaders to begin with. A false premise to be sure. You can't lose what you don't have."

If you want to read more on this, check my blog,

BLITZER: We'll do, Jack. See you tomorrow. Thanks very much. Usually, where there's music, there are musical instruments, but if you're on a train in New York, all you need are a few iPhones.


BLITZER: The subway was rocking in New York City, but there were no instruments in sight. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos with a band, some band members who make music in a most unusual way.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were riding the B Train when they whipped out their iPhones, but they weren't making a call. They were making music. Instead of strumming his usual guitar, Eric Espiritu was playing his iPhone app.

ERIC ESPIRITU, MUSICIAN: I am actually strumming it.

MOOS: They're a little-known Brooklyn band called Atomic Tom. Now their iPhone song has gone nuclear on the Web with more than 1.3 million views.

LUKE WHITE, MUSICIAN: We thought there was a lot of cool risk factors involved.

MOOS: Risk factors like being shunned by the captive audience in the subway car, but that didn't happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wish I was there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's amazing. Like, I'm in shock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty amazing. That's amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's an app for that?

MOOS: You bet you, and all those apps were plugged into amplify.

(on camera) To perform their song without interruption, the band picked a long stretch without stops, crossing the bridge to Brooklyn.

(voice-over) And though in the video they create a story line, saying they're playing their iPhones because all their real instruments got stolen...

WHITE: Our instruments are, in fact, safe and sound.

MOOS: It took them three takes, and the video was shot with three cell phones. The band says Apple had nothing to do with the video's creation. Given the reaction...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Makes me want to get an iPhone.

MOOS: It's no wonder the band says Apple is now in talks with Atomic Tom's record label to do something with the video.

(on camera) Of course, not all subway musicians need iPhone apps.

(voice-over) Most do it the old fashioned way, but in the age of the iPhone, some fans say their prefer this...


MOOS: ... to this.


MOOS: Go ahead and throw down that guitar, but notice, no one was willing to throw down their iPhone.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.


MOOS: New York.


BLITZER: That's it for me. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.