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Not Guilty Please For Accused Shooter; Abbas: Al-Jazeera Report "Shameful"; Confession In 1987 Abduction; Deadly Airport Bomb Attack; State of the Union Issue Number One; Confession in 1987 Abduction; If U.S. Mideast Allies Fall; Cops' 'Most Dangerous' 24 Hours

Aired January 24, 2011 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Brooke, thanks very much.

Happening now, graphic images of airport carnage and new information about the suicide bomber behind the attack. We're following the terror in Moscow and what it tells us about security gaps right here at home.

Also, the elephant in the room when the president gives his State of the Union address tomorrow night. One of the most divisive issues may pit Republican against Republican.

And Rahm Emanuel vows to fight a new court ruling -- booting, yes, booting him off the ballot for Chicago mayor. It's an enormous setback for a Democrat who has two presidents in his corner.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


Right now, the smoke is clearing and police are on high alert at the scene of that deadly airport bombing. Russian officials say a terrorist detonated a homemade explosive device inside Moscow's busiest airport today. Thirty-five people were killed, more than 150 wounded. The bomb went off in a crowded area where people were waiting for passengers to arrive. The Russian Interfax News Agency report fragments of the suspected suicide bomber's very been found.

Let's go to our senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance.

He's on the scene for us at that parent in Moscow.

Tell us what we know -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, details still very sketchy. In fact, the investigators are inside this building behind me, Wolf. It's the Domodedovo Airport, the busiest airport in the Russian capital. Thousands of people coming and going from this place when the explosion took place. Investigators say it was a suicide bomber ripping through the arrivals area of the airport as taxi drivers and friends and family of passengers were arriving from foreign countries, were waiting to greet their loved ones and the passengers on board the plane. It's a very small, tightly packed area of the airport. And the carnage was absolutely breathtaking -- 35 people, you mentioned, confirmed dead so far. Another 154 injured, some of them very critically injured. So there's an expectation, a fear that possibly that death toll could -- could rise in the hours and the days ahead -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Who was claimed responsibility, if anyone, for this terrorist attack?

CHANCE: Well, as far as I'm aware, there hasn't been a -- a formal claim of responsibility. But the finger of suspicion clearly pointing toward Islamist militants in the volatile North Caucasus area of Russia. They have been responsible for similar suicide attacks like this; indeed, against the transport infrastructure in Moscow, just last year, multiple suicide bomb attacks against the Moscow metro system.

So I'm positive that the Russian security services are now focusing on the various militant groups operating in that volatile North Caucasus region -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We're going to have you stand by. I know new information is coming in.

Matthew Chance on the scene for us at that airport in Moscow.

Could something like what happened in Moscow at that airport happen in this country, with all the security in place right now?

Let's bring in our national security contributor, Fran Townsend, who used to be the homeland security adviser to President Bush.

All right, what are the immediate lessons homeland security and transportation security officials are learning from what happened in Moscow -- Fran?

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Wolf, as we've seen in the past, you know, these organizations -- these terrorist organizations adapt to our screening procedures. And so it's very difficult to get an explosive past our screening when you're going to depart. So they have found an area which is, in fact, vulnerable. You know, the arrivals area, frequently people will meet their loved ones there while they're waiting for luggage. Taxi drivers, car drivers will meet the pickups there. And so this is a pretty open area.

As we know, Wolf, open areas, soft targets, are very hard to protect.

What I imagine that -- that our homeland security and transportation security officials are looking at now is, what are the kinds of measures we can step up?

Bomb-sniffing dogs, law enforcement presence, people who are trained in behavioral science, to look for people who are acting suspiciously, unattended baggage awareness -- what more can we do? Those are the sorts of things you've got to step up, those kind of measures, in these soft targets and open areas.

BLITZER: Because, most airports, if not all airports in the United States, the baggage claim area is open. You can park your car across the street, walk over to the baggage claim, meet the person you're meeting and help with the bag. But that's a very, very open area, and, as you say, a soft target.

Here's the question -- is there going to be a reassessment?

Should that area be open to the general public?

TOWNSEND: Well, that reassessment is going on as we speak. My understanding from law enforcement officials is they're looking at how can they further restrict that area from sort of the free flow of public traffic. But they're not going to be able to close it completely, Wolf, which means they're going to have to adapt new screen -- new measures, if you will, to counter that sort of activity and to put our enemies off guard. Even here in New York, in big business buildings and high rises, you find security, instead of waiting for you to go through a turnstile, are approaching people as they come through the door. People are going to look to push the perimeter of the secure area out closer to the curb.

BLITZER: Because even some of the most secure airports in the world -- and I've been at some of them -- Ben Gurion Airport outside of Tel Aviv, for example, you can go inside and wait -- wait with a whole group of people for your loved ones to -- to come through that door and then go across to the parking lot, if you will. They have sort of areas of concern where they -- they sort of screen people.

But even that area is sort of vulnerable.

TOWNSEND: That's right, Wolf. And that's why I say, one, I think they are going to step up the law enforcement presence. They're going to look to be able to identify people as they enter the doorways in those open areas. And I think they will look to see if whether or not they can consider restricting the flow of traffic in there. But that's very difficult. You know, when you're going to depart, they can check your ticket.

When you're going to arrive, all you've got to do is know the flight you're meeting. And it's difficult to screen people who've got legitimate business from that area from those who don't. And so I think this is -- this is a real -- you know, bomb-sniffing dogs would pick up the explosive traces. And so that's another thing -- that's another measure security officials in airports and subway systems that are open can use to try and counter this threat.

BLITZER: That's going to raise all sorts of questions and lessons learned.

Fran, thanks very much.

Tomorrow's State of the Union address is certainly on Jack Cafferty's mind.

Jack is here with The Cafferty File -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In light of the Tucson shootings, we may, in fact, be in for a very different State of the Union address tomorrow night.

The president's annual message to Congress is usually full of partisan theatrics. One half of the room applauds and stands and the other half sits on their hands looking miserable.

Last year, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words, "not true," when President Obama criticized a Supreme Court decision. Partisan rancor and rudeness were on full display several times last year.

Remember when a Republican Congressman yelled out, "You lie," in the middle of the president's speech on health care?

It's highly unlikely we're going to see anything like that tomorrow night.

Let's hope not.

The mood is different this time. President Obama and other lawmakers have been talking about changing the tone of the dialogue in Washington. In a video preview of the speech, the president calls on the nation to come together and to focus on what binds us together as a people. And not unlike a high school prom, all of Capitol Hill is aflutter all of a sudden, when it comes to the seating arrangements for tomorrow night. Members of Congress are scrambling across the aisle and will be sitting with a date from the other party.

But whether any of this goodwill remains after the speech, well, that remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, John Avlon writes "The Daily Beast" that we may be seeing an end to the era of what he calls "hyper partisan talking points and canned anger."

Wouldn't that be nice?

Avlon points to several signs that Americans have had enough, including Keith Olbermann's departure from MSNBC, Glenn Beck's declining ratings and loss of advertisers over at the F word network, as well as Sarah Palin's plummeting approval.

Here's the question, then -- how will the Tucson shootings affect tomorrow night's State of the Union address?

Go to and post a comment on my blog.

BLITZER: It's a great question.

New poll numbers, by the way. We're going to go in depth a little later, Jack, and show the president's approval numbers going higher and higher and higher. Up to 55 percent of the American public now think he's doing a good job. And they approve of the job he's doing. And I think that's a lesson officials at the White House and members of Congress are learning, when you -- you come together and you show some moderation, people like it.

CAFFERTY: Well, I think that speech he gave in Tucson was -- was perfect. He had a -- a fine line to walk when he went out there and spoke at that memorial and he hit it out of park. And I think that resonated with people. And that might be one of the factors behind his poll numbers going up.

BLITZER: I think you're absolutely right.

All right, Jack.

Thanks very much.

By the way, our special coverage of the State of the Union starts tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right after THE SITUATION ROOM.

I'll be here, along with the best political team on television, 5:00 tomorrow. You can get a sneak preview, by the way, of the president's address. I'll interview live the White House Press secretary, Robert Gibbs. That's coming up tomorrow right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Some State of the Union addresses sound a lot like laundry lists.

Will President Obama get into a lot of policy nitty-gritty tomorrow night?

We'll tell what you to expect and why.

And you're about to find out why the vice president of the United States -- that would be Joe Biden -- was in court today.


BLITZER: The White House says "it's all about winning the future," their words. That's one of the broad themes as we learn more about the president's State of the Union address. We're told Mr. Obama will spend a good chunk of time tomorrow night talking about the economy, jobs and making America competitive once again.

To hear the president's spokesmen tell it, the two parties are well- positioned to find common ground on some big issues, like cutting the budget.


ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We're not going to have a debate in Washington about whether we need to make some changes and whether we need to control our spending. We're going to have, hopefully, a discussion -- a bipartisan discussion and work together on how we go about doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: There's certainly a lot of talk about bipartisanship heading into the president's big speech tomorrow night, especially after the Tucson shooting.

But there's also a good deal of tension between fellow Republicans right now -- yes, tension among the Republicans, themselves.

Let's bring in our senior Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, who has been doing some reporting on this.

Is it all about spending?

What's going on here -- Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is all about spending, as you heard from Robert Gibbs. Our understanding is the president is going to come here and speak to Congress tomorrow night, say that it is important to cut spending, but do it -- to do it in a responsible way.

And Republicans, they are under a lot of pressure to fight the president, use their new power to fight them hard on cutting spending in a big way. But not every Republican agrees on just how far to go.


BASH (voice-over): Most Republicans demanding a slash in spending won't entertain the idea of taking a standoff with the president so far the government shuts down.

But the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee tells CNN he will.


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Hopefully, we'll avoid that. Hopefully, that won't happen.

BASH (on camera): But you're not ruling out the possibility?

SESSIONS: I don't -- you know, if the president just stonewalls -- refuses to pass anything that would be responsible, we'll have to see what happens.

BASH (voice-over): In 1995, when Republicans controlled Congress, a spending stalemate forced a government shutdown. Many Republicans later concluded that was a mistake. President Clinton went on to win reelection. But Sessions insists there was an up side.

(on camera): It didn't work out so well for Republicans.

SESSIONS: No, it really didn't. It worked out good for the country. We had three years of balanced budgets that would never have happened had they not fought that hard in the Congress.

BASH (voice-over): Comments like that proof the president may be coming to address an emboldened GOP determined to cut government spending, but it's also a party with varying opinions on just how far to go.

House GOP leaders talk about rolling spending back to 2008 levels this year, which they say adds up to $50 billion or $60 billion. A large group of House conservatives say not enough.

REP. SCOTT GARRETT, (R) NEW JERSEY: We can actually even go better than that. We can go back all the way back to 2006 and keep spending down at that level.

BASH: That's $2.5 trillion over ten years. And unlike GOP leaders, House conservatives are willing to be specific, releasing this long list of proposed cuts, like $7.5 billion a year by cutting the federal travel budget, $1.3 billion in education cuts, $1.5 billion by doing away with Amtrak subsidies.

GARRETT: It's absolutely important. This is not just semantics, this is not symbolism, this is not just a stuff that they're going to do on the floor saying, is a Republican sitting next to a Democrat? That's all symbolism. American public wants more than that. American public is smarter than that. They realize that symbolism lasts for a day, but this debt that we're creating lasts for generations.


BASH (on-camera): Scott Garrett and his conservative colleagues in the House are keeping the pressure on their GOP leadership. They released this letter today signed by 89 Republicans demanding that GOP leaders in the House don't go back on their promise to cut $100 billion this year. Meanwhile, Wolf, as far as house leaders go, it's pretty clear that they understand the intense pressure on them to cut spending.

So, the House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, said today that it is likely that these Republicans, these conservatives who want to cut spending $2.5 trillion over ten years, will probably get a vote on it.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Dana Bash, thanks very, very much.

A little over two hours from now, by the way, President Obama will host newly elected members of Congress over at the White House. It's an opportunity for him to reach out to Republican newcomers and most of the newcomers are, in fact, Republicans. Only a handful of democrats are newcomers. This should set the tone, perhaps, shall we say, for a less combative State of the Union address tomorrow night.

The White House says the president's speech tomorrow night won't be a laundry list of new proposals. You can argue that his speech last year was just that. Listen to this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want a job's bill on my desk without delay. I have called for a bipartisan fiscal commission. I've proposed a fee on the biggest banks. We're launching a national export initiative. The Senate should restore the pay as you go law. We still need health insurance reform.


BLITZER: Our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger, is here. She's been doing some reporting of her own. Some say the speech won't be as specific this year.


BLITZER: It will be thematic.

BORGER: Right. That's what my sources were saying. You know, first of all, Wolf, State of the Union speeches are often a time when a president reflects on what has been achieved over the last year, and that's a bit of a problem for Barack Obama. While he's certainly going to talk about the things that he's achieved, he doesn't want to dwell on them like health care reform because, of course, that's still quite controversial out there with the American public. My sources say what he's going to do is build on the tone of the Tucson speech.

He's going to be non-partisan. I didn't say bipartisan. I said non- partisan, and he's going to talk about government, living up to the ideals of our children. And he's going to talk about what one source said to me is winning the future, and that is how we can cut the budget deficit while still investing in things like competiveness, innovations, science, technology, reforming a government. It's very Clintonian, if you will. I mean, you remember that. You covered Bill Clinton. The approach is we're going to invest but within a fiscally responsible framework that he's going to outline.

BLITZER: And certainly, will be a laundry list of all the major foreign policies issues, a little Iraq, little Afghanistan, Iran, no doubt about that, China and North Korea, but --

BORGER: Although, he can't commit to anything with withdrawing from Iraq, right? I mean, Afghanistan.

BLITZER: But most of the speech will focus on jobs and the economy.

BORGER: Right. It will, and he's got to do that because those are his problems. We put together some poll numbers. Take a look at this. We asked the question, how is Barack Obama handling the economy. Now, 45 percent, a year ago 44 percent. How is he handling the budget deficit? Again, pretty static numbers. Unemployment has remained above 9 percent. So, he understands that a lot of people believe he's spend nine months focusing on health care reform when he should have been focusing on jobs, jobs, jobs, and getting that budget deficit down. He says he had to spend because it was an emergency situation. Now, we're beyond that. We can start to invest.

BLITZER: Yes. The beginning of these speeches, the president -- all presidents, they always say the State of the Union is Strong.

BORGER: Is Strong. Absolutely.

BLITZER: Yes. I want to hear when the president -- maybe tomorrow night, the president will say State of the Union, that's pretty good. It's not great, could be better. It's OK. Let's see how we're doing next year. Goodbye.

BORGER: Never going to hear that one.

BLITZER: Not going to hear it at State of the Union.

BORGER: Invest and grow, that's what you're going to hear.

BLITZER: That's the word there.


BLITZER: Thank you.

Tough words today from Michael Bloomberg, the New York City mayor, who says America can't wait any longer. What does he want to hear in the president's State of the Union Address? We're going to tell you.

And next, he had to show up just like everybody else. Vice President Joe Biden's day in court today.


BLITZER: An alleged assassin in Arizona enters a plea. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. Lisa, what do you have?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, the man charged with trying to kill Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords appeared in federal court in Phoenix for arraignment today. The court entered not guilty pleas for 22-year-old Jared Loughner To one count of attempted assassination and two counts of attempted murder against two of Giffords' aides. Loughner is accused in the January 8th Tucson massacre that left six dead and 13 wounded. State charges are expected in connection with the other victims.

Palestinian authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, is blasting Al Jazeera's release of alleged secret documents from Mid East peace talk as shameful and an intentional blend of Palestinian and Israeli positions. The Arabic news network says the documents suggest the Palestinians offered to give Israel large sections of East Jerusalem during negotiations dating back to 2008. An Abbas adviser calls the Al Jazeera report a true distortion.

Now, imagine, just imagine, having Vice President Joe Biden hear your case in court. Well, it could have happened. Biden reported for jury duty this morning at the Newcastle County Courthouse in Wilmington. He wasn't selected, and the court released him around noon today. During his nearly four decades in the Senate and even now, the vice president has often gone back to his Wilmington family home on the weekends, and I don't know what's going on because, Wolf, last week, it was Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, you will recall that she also reported to jury duty.

BLITZER: Every two years, they call me for jury duty, and once in a while, they let me go, they say I'm not needed, but sometimes, they need me.

SYLVESTER: Have you been selected?

BLITZER: I've been selected for a drunk driving case and sat there all day with the jury, listened to all the evidence, and some day, I'll tell you what we decided to do with the alleged drunk driver. Key word, alleged.


BLITZER: That's fascinating. It's our, you know, civic responsibility. We have to do it, and we should do it.

SYLVESTER: Yes, very good.

BLITZER: A Supreme Court justice meets with members of the tea party. Is that crossing the line between the courts and the politics? Stay with us for that.

And a confession by the woman suspected of snatching an infant back in 1987. A child who remarkably found her birth mother all these years later.


BLITZER: A confession in a child kidnapping case that's more than two decades old. The case had been cold until the victim of the alleged abduction tracked down her birth mother recently. Now, we're learning more about what apparently happened all those years ago and why. Our senior correspondent, Susan Candiotti, has been digging. She's been reporting. She's got new information for us. What have you learned, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, first of all, in a hearing that lasted only five minutes today, the suspected kidnapper, Ann Pettway, said nothing, but in documents filed in court, the FBI says she said quite a lot and called her own behavior totally unacceptable. It's been a fast rolling weekend with all kinds of things happening. She surrendered to the FBI, and apparently, confessed.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Ann Pettway wanted a baby so badly she allegedly took one that wasn't her own, snatching a 19-day-old baby from a New York hospital. That's the story laid out in court papers filed Monday. The FBI says Pettway confessed to kidnapping Carlina White in 1987 because Pettway had suffered so many miscarriages, and she admits, quote, "she's sorry and she knows she has caused a lot of pain." When her stolen daughter started pressing for details and wanted a birth certificate, documents state Pettway allegedly lied again, telling her daughter a woman on drugs was her real mom who gave her to Pettway

She even tried but failed to create a phony birth certificate, according to court papers. The FBI says Pettway turned herself in on Sunday in Bridgeport, Connecticut, after trying to pawn some jewelry the day before. The store contacted police.

DET. KEITH BRYANT, BRIDGEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT: They were able to obtain some video surveillance from the store, and they -- based on what they observed and what photographs that we had of her, they confirmed the fact that it was her.

CANDIOTTI: A law enforcement source tells CNN Pettway used Facebook to contact a Bridgeport police officer she knew and agreed to turn herself in.


CANDIOTTI (on-camera): As for Carlina White, well, we understand that she is still in Atlanta. She is trying to get her life back to normal, still in touch with her old family, as it were, and trying to get her -- trying to get to know her birth family.

Wolf, it will be a long road ahead for her.

BLITZER: Yes, it will be. And what about some reaction? Are we getting any specific reaction from family members?

CANDIOTTI: Well, the defense attorney was standing outside court today with some of her old family members that live in Connecticut, and he says they stand totally behind her, insist that she was and sill is a very good mother. However, the birth family of Carlina White will have none of that.

They said they can never forgive Ann Pettway for what they believe she did. They won't forgive her, and they said if she's asking for forgiveness, she won't get it. They think that she deserves 23 years in prison. That's the amount of time they didn't have a relationship with Carlina.

BLITZER: Wow. All right. We'll stay in close touch with you, Susan. Thanks.

Susan doing some excellent reporting for us in New York.

Let's get to a huge, huge threat right now to stability in the Middle East and the enormous stakes for the United States.

After unrest and the collapse of the government in Tunisia, there is now lots of concern about a possible -- a possible -- domino effect. Could critically important U.S. allies like Egypt and Jordan see their governments fall apart?

I pressed Jordan's foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, about that earlier today.


Are you happen we what happened in Tunisia?

NASSER JUDEH, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, we issued an official statement saying that this is the will and choice of the Tunisian people, and they had a violent episode, a violent two weeks, and we hope the future will hold nothing but stability and security.

BLITZER: Because there have been numerous articles that Egypt, for example, especially if President Mubarak tries to put his son in power, the population would uprise and explode.

JUDEH: I can't and you wouldn't expect me to pass judgment on other countries. Suffice it to say that you mentioned Jordan at the beginning, and let me just say that in Jordan, we have a leadership that recognizes problems from within his majesty, the king, is the initiator of political and economic reform. In Jordan, there's freedom of expression. In Jordan, there is an interplay between different organization of the state, between civil society and the government. And at the end of the day, I mean, look, for example, in recent days, we had demonstrations because of economic hardships in Jordan.

And the harsh realities that we face not entirely unrelated to the global financial crisis. We are a country with --

BLITZER: Because --


JUDEH: But you can't put economic disenchantment in the same basket as political stability, which we enjoy in Jordan.

BLITZER: Because in Jordan -- let me read to you from Anthony Shadid's article of "The New York Times." "In Jordan, hundreds protested the cost of food in several cities even after the government hastily announced measures to bring the prices down."

How nervous in the leadership in Jordan right now, King Abdullah on down, that what happened in Tunisia could potentially happen in Jordan?

JUDEH: Not nervous at all, because again, you can't draw the comparison.

BLITZER: Well, it can't happen in Jordan.

JUDEH: Not nervous at all, because in Jordan, it's economic realities that everybody is trying to pull their efforts together in order to resolve -- yes, the government did introduce emergency economic packages, but at the same time, the demonstrations were peaceful. In Jordan, we know when demonstrations begin and we know when they end. And the demonstrations that took place, for example, on Friday, you had the police passing out water and juice and interacting with the society, and there's freedom of expression.

The newspapers, the Web sites, the blogs, everybody is talking about it. At the same time, we're all one team. And the most important thing is that the political leadership, his majesty, the king, and instructions to the government, is the initiator of reforms. We've just had Democratic elections, we're about to have municipal elections.

There is a process in Jordan. So let's separate political stability --

BLITZER: So you say Jordan is a totally different story than Ben Ali in Tunisia?

JUDEH: Completely. Completely. But that's not to say that we don't have our fair share of economic problems and hardships. Don't forget, again, a country with meager economic resources, but a country that's committed to political and economic reform.

BLITZER: Could you see in Jordan an unemployed college graduate lighting himself on fire, killing himself, and sparking that kind of outrage that took place in Tunisia?

JUDEH: Well, listen, the most important thing is to talk about the problems. I mean, I can't predict who is going to light fire to whom, and this was a very, very sad example of what we saw in Tunisia.

BLITZER: But that sparked this upheaval in Tunisia.

JUDEH: Well, it sparked upheaval because of a Tunisian specific situation.


BLITZER: The foreign minister of Jordan, Nasser Judeh.

President Obama is winning a popularity contest over the lawmakers he'll face during his "State of the Union Address" tomorrow. James Carville and Ed Gillespie, they are both standing by for our "Strategy Session."

And the high-tech world is buzzing right now about a new search engine that could make Google seem like old hat.


BLITZER: Police officers under fire in America. At least 11 were shot in four incidents across the nation in a 24-hour period. These were separate shootings, but they are part of a very, very disturbing trend across the country right now.

Our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, is looking into this for us.

So, Jeanne, what's going on here?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, 162 police officers died in the line of duty last year, but if the past few days are any indication, that sad record is going to be shattered in 2011.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to have to out-innovate and we're going to have to out-build. We're going to have to out-compete, we're going to have to out-educate other countries. That's our challenge. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE (voice-over): That's not what we expected to come up.

Let me tell you what happened. In just the last few hours, there was the funeral of two police officers in Miami. They were shot last Thursday as they tried to arrest someone wanted for murder. But in the meantime, there were 11 other people killed in a 24-hour period.

We now have that piece. Let's try and take a look at that now.


MESERVE (voice-over): In Miami, the funeral of two police officers shot last Thursday as they tried to arrest a fugitive wanted for murder.

JAMES LOFTUS, DIRECTOR, MIAMI-DADE POLICE: I will not pretend to understand evil for all my experience. I will not even pretend to want to understand evil.

MESERVE: This police funeral will shortly be followed by others. Between Sunday morning and Monday morning, 11 law enforcement officers were shot in incidents around the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen anything like it. This is the most dangerous 24-hour period I've ever seen for law enforcement.

MESERVE: In Detroit, four officers were shot and wounded when a 38- year-old man walked into a police precinct and started firing indiscriminately.

In Port Orchard, Washington, two sheriff's deputies were shot and wounded in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

In Indianapolis and in Newport, Oregon, two officers were critically injured after being shot during traffic stops.

And Monday morning, in St. Petersburg, Florida, two officers were killed and a third was wounded while trying to serve a warrant for a man with an extensive criminal history.

CHIEF CHARLES HARMON, ST. PETERSBURG POLICE: He was somebody we wanted to get off the street, and obviously today you see why.

MESERVE: Experts say police shootings often involve repeat offenders.

CRAIG FLOYD, NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS MEMORIAL FUND: These are the people that pose the greatest risk not only to the citizenry, but to the police officers who have to go out and arrest these men and women over and over and over again. At some point the odds catch up with you.

MESERVE: In the aftermath of the Detroit shootings, where police were shot at their precinct house, authorities are considering new protective measures including additional screening of the public. CHIEF RALPH GODBEE, JR., DETROIT POLICE: We have to take a step back and reassess security procedures at each one of our facilities.


MESERVE: Now, some experts say state and local budget cuts have already resulted in fewer cops with less equipment and less training. They predict more cuts lie ahead and argue that will make a hazardous profession even more so.

Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Jeanne. Thanks very, very much.

As we speak, a longtime justice steps out of the Supreme Court's cloistered comfort zone. Justice Antonin Scalia gets behind closed doors with Washington's Tea Party Caucus. We'll tell you what's going on.

And the deadly bombing at Russia's busiest airport today, the chaos, the loss of life and the push to find out who did it.


BLITZER: Happening now, an unusual meeting here in Washington. The Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is speaking to a closed-door session of the congressional Tea Party Caucus. What does this say about Scalia, not to necessarily mention some Tea Party influence up on Capitol Hill?

Let's discuss it in our "Strategy Session."

Joining us, our CNN contributor, the Democratic strategist, James Carville, and Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, former counselor to President George W. Bush.

Ed, you're the visitor. I'll ask you first. What does it say about Antonin Scalia meeting with the Tea Party Caucus on the Hill?

ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Was that to me, Wolf? Was that to Ed?

BLITZER: Yes, Ed Gillespie. That would be you.

GILLESPIE: I think it's great. I think the justices shouldn't be cloistered. I think it's nice that the members of the Tea Party Caucus, who are largely freshmen, invited the justice to come and speak. They care deeply about the Constitution and, I don't -- you know, when, for example, Justice Thurgood Marshall spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus in the 1990s, I thought that was a good thing then, and this is a good thing now.

BLITZER: Is it a problem at all, James? What do you think?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, he's got a lifetime appointment, so he can pretty much do whatever he wants to. I think what this does is affirms that Congresswoman Bachmann is the kind of intellectual center of gravity of the Republican Party.

Here she is getting -- has enough power to get a Supreme Court justice to come visit. She's been selected by the Tea Party to deliver the response to the president's "State of the Union Address." She's in Iowa thinking about running for president, and I find it interesting that she's emerging as the real, real powerbroker probably, it seems to me, is going to challenge maybe Boehner or Mitch McConnell for real power in that party. I mean, look, not very many people can get a Supreme Court justice to come, and she did that, and my hat's off to her.

BLITZER: Michele Bachmann is going to deliver one of the replies to the president's "State of the Union Address."

Is that a snub, Ed, of Paul Ryan, who is giving the official Republican response to the president?

GILLESPIE: Oh, I don't think so. I mean, Paul is going to be picked up by the networks. Obviously, not going to get nearly as much time as the president. I'm not arguing he should.

But everyone is going to give a response to the "State of the Union." We've all been up on Capitol Hill in Statuary Hall after the "State of the Union Address," and every member of Congress rushes there to give a response to their television stations back home. So, the more the merrier, Wolf.

The more folks out there responding to what President Obama talks about tomorrow night on the Republican side, the better so far as I'm concerned. Now, I think Paul will do a great job, and I'm sure Michele Bachmann will do a great job as well.

BLITZER: What do you think, James?

CARVILLE: I think we should give Michele -- look, again, Paul Ryan, couldn't get a Supreme Court justice. Maybe Justice Scalia will help, or whatever, for her address or something, but I think we should cover Congresswoman Bachmann, because she's emerging as a very interesting person in the Republican Party. And apparently she might be running for president in Iowa.

I may be forced to withdraw my endorsement of Sarah Palin and endorse her. So we'll see to wait and see what happens.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about --

GILLESPIE: There's a lot of people that are considering running for president, James, including, you know, folks in the House. And Mike Pence has been mentioned. And again, I'm for a big field on the Republican side.

CARVILLE: Right. Yes, me too.

GILLESPIE: I think the more folks who are out there getting Republican voters to the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primaries, both swing states, as you know, voting Republican early on, the more likely they will be voting Republican in November of 2012.

BLITZER: Both of you will remember, a lot of our viewers will remember this moment during last year's "State of the Union Address," when the president sort of rebuked the Supreme Court for that Citizens United decision. And he said this, and watch the justice at that time, Samuel Alito's response.

Listen to this.


OBAMA: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations to spend without limit in our elections.



BLITZER: Now, you saw Samuel Alito shaking his head. He's made it clear he's not going to attend the "State of the Union" tomorrow night. Usually the justices show up.

James, I'll let you go first. Is that appropriate, for a justice to say, you know what, I'll pass?

CARVILLE: Well, he can -- again, he's got a lifetime appointment. And he's part of a separate branch of government.

Of course, this election showed that the president was 100 percent right, so I don't know what Justice Alito was talking about. It opened the floodgates of money, it opened the floodgates of foreign money.


CARVILLE: So he was 100 percent right. That we can't argue about.

GILLESPIE: James, where was the foreign money?

CARVILLE: Coming from all these companies. It was documented about 100 different places that --


GILLESPIE: That foreign money went into elections, which is a violation of the law?


GILLESPIE: So he was wrong -- he's wrong that it made it legal.

CARVILLE: Companies who are making profits overseas put it in here, but the president was right that --


GILLESPIE: That's funneling foreign money into American campaigns. He was flat-out wrong in his statement.

CARVILLE: Well, sure it does.

GILLESPIE: He was flat-out wrong in his statement, actually inaccurate. Justice Alito was right to note that, and I think Justice Alito is right not to go.

I'm not sure why any of the justices would go. They are a separate and equal branch of the government. To be attacked by the executive branch in the legislative chamber, I don't blame them at all. Not only do I not blame them, I wonder why any of the other justices would go, to be honest with you, James.

CARVILLE: Ed, I can't believe someone would attack a Supreme Court decision. My God, how unpatriotic is that? I mean, can no one ever attack the Warren court? I didn't see signs all over the South saying, "Impeach Earl Warren" because --


GILLESPIE: Well, if you're going to attack him, James, as the head of the executive branch, you ought to be factually accurate in your attack.

CARVILLE: Right. I was.

GILLESPIE: I'm not saying the court shouldn't be subject to criticism. I'm saying that what President Obama said was flat-out wrong and inaccurate, factually inaccurate. And I don't blame the justices, any of them, for not coming.

Why would you subject yourself to that kind of -- to that from a separate and equal branch of government? They were there as a courtesy, and the courtesy was not, you know, reciprocated at all.

BLITZER: We'll see what the other eight justices do tomorrow night, how many of them show up. I'm sure several of them, especially those nominated by a Democratic president, will be there. We'll see how the Republican-nominated justices, what they do as well.

CARVILLE: Maybe they can get Michele Bachmann to invite them and they would all come.


BLITZER: He loves Michele Bachmann.

GILLESPIE: Apparently so.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Thanks very, very much.

Rahm Emanuel's fight to get back on the ballot for Chicago mayor -- there's been a dramatic development today. What's next after the former White House chief of staff got a kick in the teeth from the courts?


BLITZER: Jack's back with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: How will the Tucson shootings figure into tomorrow night's "State of the Union Address."

Gary writes from Arizona, "There can be no doubt Obama's primary focus will be on jobs, the economy, and the deficit because that's where the votes are. But I would bet money, marbles or chalk the Tucson tragedy will be touched upon as an example of a feed for greater civility throughout the land, including Washington."

Renee in Illinois writes, "More civility from the people responsible for running this country? Applause, applause. I just think we're living in pretty sad times when it takes a horrific shooting like the one in Tucson to accomplish that."

Kate writes, "Not very much. The old rivalry is still there between the parties, and no matter where they sit tomorrow night, that's not going to change anything."

Bonnie in New Jersey, "It will take a lot more than sitting with your date to convince me that partisan politics is a thing of the past. The examples you cited of changes at MSNBC and Fox are due to us, not them. I believe the tragedy will make our politicians' behavior less juvenile."

Peg in New York writes, "Bipartisanship will be shown, as will genuine civility. How I hope this can last."

A. writes, "Although President Obama's 'State of the Union Address' will focus on jobs and the economy, the address should also focus on civility in our public discourse and domestic security, gun control. President Obama should implore the nation to return to common sense and common decency."

Russ in Pennsylvania, "I don't know. I'll be watching a Netflix movie."

If you want to read more on the subject, go to my blog, -- Wolf.

BLITZER: See you in a few moments, Jack. Thank you.

In Moscow, the city's busiest airport comes under attack, and dozens of people are killed. We're taking a closer look at how the attack happened, what's going on.

But up next, a CNN exclusive -- the new Internet tool that's expected to have everybody talking. Stay with us.


BLITZER: We turn now to a Silicone Valley startup that's debuting today and getting lots of buzz. What's going on here?

CNN's Dan Simon is our new dedicated Silicon Valley correspondent. He's joining us now from Palo alto with this CNN exclusive.

What exactly is it, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it's a Web site, and it's called Qwiki. And it launches today for the public.

And really what it does is you go to Qwiki, you type in anything, and it creates this instant documentary on the fly. I mean, this multimedia presentation.

Let me show you what I'm talking about. We typed in "CNN," and this is what you get. Take a look.


AUTOMATED VOICE: Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first canal to provide 24-hour television news coverage. While the news channel has numerous affiliates --


SIMON: So that's what Qwiki is. It's this multimedia presentation on the fly.

And we are at the offices here. We are joined by the CEO, Doug Imbruce, the co-founder of the company, and Louis Monier the co- founder of Qwiki.

Guys, first of all, congratulations on the site.

And let's talk about, Doug -- about why this is perceived as sort of a game-changer within the Internet industry.

DOUG IMBRUCE, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, QWIKI: Yes, sure. So, traditionally, to get information online, human beings had to act like machines and go and parse a lot of data, follow a lot of links. With Qwiki, the opposite happens. The machine actually acts human and presents you with the most important details.

SIMON: And Louis, I think a lot of people have this perception that this is information that's typed in there by you guys. But no. The machine actually generates all this material instantly.

LOUIS MONIER, CO-FOUNDER, QWIKI: It does. So, actually, we had to develop a lot of technology using the best minds around. Qwiki is generated entirely automatically, no humans involved. The machine pulls the most relevant information on a given subject, assembles it into this format that humans really like to -- you know, that's the right way to get information, and deliver it on multiple platforms -- your browser, your phone, your interactive TV in the future.

SIMON: And one of the thing about Qwiki is the technology lends itself to all different kinds of applications. I want to show you what they came up with, Wolf, with this alarm clock.

Say, for example, you put this Qwiki app on your iPhone. It can pull all of the information from your calendar, the weather. Take a look at how Qwiki might work on your iPhone with an alarm clock.


AUTOMATED VOICE: Good morning, Doug. It's 7:00 a.m. in San Francisco on Monday, September 27th. The temperature is 75 degrees, with sunny skies throughout the day. There is no risk for rain today.


SIMON: And Qwiki also developing an iPad app. That's coming out in a few months.

And we should tell you that the company just got $8 million led by one of the co-founders of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin. If you saw the Facebook movie "The Social Network," he was featured prominently.

So again, Wolf, all kinds of buzz surrounding Qwiki. And you can check it out for yourself. It just went up today, just a short time ago.

Back to you.

BLITZER: All right, Dan. Thanks very much.