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Storm Cleanup Continues; Unrest in Syria

Aired April 29, 2011 - 18:00   ET



Happening now, President Obama visits the tornado disaster zone says he's never seen anything like this. The death toll is climbing. We're learning more about one monster storm that left a path of destruction, get this, 200 miles long.

Also, dozens more protesters reported killed today in Syria, as the White House slaps new sanctions on the Damascus regime.

And Britain musters its royal splendor for what's being called the wedding of the century. Highlights of the flawless spectacle, plus a few surprises.

Breaking news and political headlines all straight ahead. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The terror lasted only minutes, but the recovery and the cleanup will stretch on for months, if not years, in parts of the Southern U.S. ravaged by Wednesday's historic tornado outbreak. The death toll has now climbed to at least 316. And for many of the survivors, hardships are mounting. Almost one million people are now without power. Major roads are impassable.

President Obama saw the devastation firsthand today, visiting Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where three dozen people were killed.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, Michelle and I want to express, first of all, our deepest condolences to not just the city of Tuscaloosa but the state of Alabama and all the other states that have been affected by this unbelievable storm. We just took a tour, and I have got to say I have never seen devastation like this. It is heartbreaking. We were just talking to some residents here who were lucky enough to escape alive, but have lost everything. They mentioned that their neighbors had lost two of their grandchildren in the process.

What you're seeing here is the consequence of just a few minutes of this extraordinarily powerful storm sweeping through this community. And as the governor was mentioning, Tuscaloosa typically gets a tornado during the season, but this is something that I don't think anybody has seen before.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: CNN's Martin Savidge is in Smithville, Mississippi, right now, where at least 14 people were killed. The mayor describes the scene of -- quote -- "utter, utter obliteration."

Marty, what is the latest where you are?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the first thing is the National Weather Service has declared that this was a category F-5 or EF-5 is how they refer to it.

EF-5 is the absolute worst of the worst. They do not get any higher when it comes to wind speeds. They do not get any badder when it comes to being the worst kind of storm you want to see appearing over the horizon.

And this is what swept in on this very small town. And even though the destruction here is very similar to what you will find in other hard-hit areas, what makes it more impactful is the fact that it is a small town. And let me just give you a quick litany here.

For instance, the building if I look over this shoulder here, that was city hall. It's obliterated. Everybody got out OK. If you look over my other shoulder here, look in the distance where you see that John Deere backhoe, that was the police department. It's completely destroyed. There are a number of squad cars that are sitting inside the building.

And then when you continue to talk about the heart of the government, there's nothing more American than the post office because that's what gives your town the zip code. This was the post office here in Smithville and it is in complete ruins. By the way, you can pick up your mail at the nearby town. That's Amory.

That's just the seat of government in this town. Then you talk about the commercial realm. The Piggly Wiggly, the only grocery store in town, that's gone. The only funeral home in town, that's gone. The only gas station, that's gone. And then on top of the General Dollar, these are names familiar to people in small towns. And they know that that makes up the basis of their economy and makes up the basis of their government. It's all gone, which is no wonder many question whether this town, in fact, can survive after this.

Governor Haley Barbour came here today mainly because he had heard about the devastation. He was clearly moved but then he began talking about the next disaster that Mississippi is likely to face coming from the Mississippi River. Here's what he said.


GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R), MISSISSIPPI: Hopefully we're not going to have an issue in this part of the state, but over the next few weeks on the Mississippi, we're going have what could be record levels of the Mississippi, which is going result in flooding in a great deal of the western part of the state.

We're going to put all the resources we got into these tornado areas, but there are going people who are watching on television who live in areas affected by the Mississippi River. And they need to understand right now is the time for them to start protecting themselves, that they need to start taking care of their property, moving property, moving furniture, moving things that can be moved, things that can be elevated, because three weeks from now, we're going to have a tremendous amount of water in places where there's never been water in my lifetime, and I'm 63 years old.


SAVIDGE: So, for the people of Mississippi, Wolf, they realize now that they are up against it, trying recover from this devastating tornado, with a flood already on the way.

BLITZER: Shocking stuff. Marty, thanks very much for that.

Meanwhile, we're getting a better understanding of the monstrous tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Our meteorologist Rob Marciano is there for us.

What your finding out from your vantage point, Rob?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, one thing is that it's a slow process, Wolf.

You heard Marty talk about the tornado that went through Mississippi. An EF-5 tornado with winds of over 200 miles per hour. That's the largest on our scale of zero to five. We try to quantify these events to wrap our heads around it to maybe better prepare for the next one, better build so that maybe lives won't be lost as readily as they were with this particular event.

So, what the National Weather Service does is they send teams out after a situation like this to assess the damage and try to figure out just how big, just how bad these storms were. And today, we caught up with those teams.


MARCIANO (through translator): The tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham was massive. But exactly how big? And how strong? On Wednesday the storm raced across three states, plowing a trail of destruction 200 miles long.

Today, the job of surveying the damage continues.

(on camera): This tornado was so big and on the ground for so long, it's not just neighborhoods that were demolished, big structures and big businesses like this Days Inn just north of Birmingham badly, badly damaged. Over 70 people were staying in this hotel as guests. And remarkably not one of them injured. Even so look at the damage. The roof completely torn off, the walls and the doors slammed against this railing in unison as this twister rolled through.

TIM MARSHALL, NOAA: And the wind came in, just blew in. Internal pressure. And off you go.

MARCIANO: Tim Marshall is an engineer who knows tornadoes. He helped develop the new EF scale that determines tornado strength.

MARSHALL: If you know how things are first put together and then you know how they fall apart. And that's the essence why I'm brought in here.

MARCIANO: Steel beams disjointed, masonry walls collapsed.

(on camera): What kind of winds do you think this was?

MARSHALL: Here, we're looking at about 100, 120 miles per hour to do something like this.

MARCIANO (voice-over): Marshall is just getting started; no doubt as he gets deeper into the damage; his numbers will go up.

(on camera): From what you have seen so far on various reports, what's your assessment of this outbreak?

MARSHALL: Well, it's massive. It's beyond really description at this stage. We're looking at, at least 15 tracks of storms in the state. And this is just one state. So we have a lot of work ahead.


MARCIANO: And that's the thing here. This is not just one tornado, Wolf. This is several massive tornadoes. And when they are done with the assessment of this particular one that rolled through Tuscaloosa, that went up through just north of Birmingham and eventually went into Georgia, I believe they will eventually find some EF-4, maybe even EF-5 damage with that and that will continue tomorrow.

You have been looking at this for the past couple of days now behind me here in Tuscaloosa. There's slow improvement as far as the morale is concerned. The community certainly coming together just a little bit to get people the necessary things that they need just to sustain life, the water, the food. We're starting to see that in the streets of Tuscaloosa and up in Birmingham.

But there hasn't been much improvement on the scene. The devastation is as far as the eye can see and that's not just from one tornado, but several tornadoes of huge size that rolled through the Southeast just two days ago -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I assume, Rob, the search-and-rescue operations are over with for now. Now the recovery, the rebuilding is beginning at Tuscaloosa, the home of the University of Alabama. Are students, others coming in to try to help out?

MARCIANO: We're seeing friends of friends come in. If somebody got their house torn apart, you go and talk to those people. And, you know, maybe one of the five people that's in that house working actually lives there. The rest are friends and family. So we're seeing a huge influx of friends and family come together to help one another.

The Red Cross has had a huge number of shelters that they have had to open up for this event. The demand none higher than it has been since Hurricane Katrina. So they are overwhelmed. But this hasn't been a huge problem because there are other people in the way of friends and family that have been opening their doors to the folks who live in this community.

But the question is, Wolf, how long is it going to take them to build back to where they can live again here the way they once were? And that's going to be a tough road ahead, no doubt about it.

BLITZER: It's probably not just going to be months, it's going to be years and years. Rob, thanks very much. Our heart goes out to all those folks. The need across the South is tremendous, especially in Alabama, but in the other states as well. There are ways you can help. Find out. Visit, our Impact Your World segment. I think you want other go there.

We have just received some gripping video of another disaster, the Japanese tsunami. These images, they are brand-new. They have never been seen by the public before. Take a look at this. This is the tsunami as it hit the coast of Sendai, sweeping away everything in its path from helicopters and airplanes to cars and homes. The death toll from the disaster, by the way, now is more than 14,000, thousands more still missing, presumed dead.

The crackdown in Syria is reaching deadly new levels today, with dozens more protesters reported killed. The White House is now taking some new action in response.

And details of Donald Trump's profanity-laced speech in Las Vegas. He used multiple obscenities multiple times. What was all the cursing about?

Plus, royal wedding highlights, including not one, but two kisses on the palace balcony.


BLITZER: It's the kinds of spectacle the British do best and today's royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, now the duke and duchess of Cambridge, went off flawlessly.

CNN's Zain Verjee is in London with details.

First of all, Zain, tell us about the wedding dress. Did it live up to all the hype and expectations?


The thing about the dress is that it was kept a secret, amazingly, and we only saw the dress when we saw the dress and she came out of the car and going into Westminster Abbey. It was an absolutely stunning dress. It was by Sarah Burton, a design for Alexander McQueen. There had been so much speculation, Wolf, and there it was. It was a lace number at the top. It was a low-cut V. She looked spectacular. Everyone said she did. And she didn't trip. Nothing bad happened. She just looked glamorous the whole day -- Wolf.

BLITZER: She looked fabulous. She looked gorgeous.

Her younger sister, Pippa, 27 years old, she also looked fabulous. And she actually wore a white dress as well. That's sort of unusual, isn't it?

VERJEE: Yes, it is. A lot of people were saying that's something that you don't see normally. A bridesmaid does not wear white. It's not traditional. That was being talked about a lot.

But the thing is both the sisters are actually really close, so many were saying that they just did that as a mark of just showing just what kind of a relationship that they had. That kind of a dress, too, Wolf, is very unforgiving. You can't have any fat to pull of that dress and look that sexy. You won't know anything about that, Wolf, but she did look very glamorous.


BLITZER: I know Zain Verjee could wear a dress like that and look glamorous and fabulous without a doubt in my mind about that.

Zain, what about, shall we say, the kiss, not just one, but two, two kisses that were widely watched by more than a billion people around the world?


VERJEE: It was very exciting. It was right here in front of Buckingham Palace. They came out to the balcony and they kissed not just once, but oh, my God, twice. It was an unprecedented move. Nothing like that has ever happened before. The crowd here went wild. And they kept chanting, kiss again, kiss again, hoping for a hat trick. But that, unfortunately, didn't happen.

People wanted a longer, more lingering kiss. But it was still so cute. They were so affectionate with one another. And people really enjoyed that. There was one moment that I particularly liked, Wolf, when she came out onto the balcony right there and looked out at the crowds and you could see her saying, "Oh, wow" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, wow, indeed. They did not kiss in the ceremony in the church, because that's not considered appropriate at that venue, is that right?

VERJEE: Yes. It was not considered appropriate at that venue. I mean it was really sort of dependent on what the couple themselves wanted to and they just chose to kind of stick to the page book there. It was a very lovely ceremony inside. There were about 1,900 people.

He looked so handsome. She looked spectacular. And they were exchanging these really sweet glances and there was a moment in the ceremony where he mouthed over to her and said you look beautiful. The lip-readers that we had engaged said that that's in fact what he had said. But they were very lovely and the wedding went off without a hitch.

And, Wolf, it was a real boost, I think, today to the royal family and to the monarchy that hasn't really been that popular since Diana died. So William and Kate are kind of new fresh faces. They are the new rock stars of the royals -- Wolf.

BLITZER: They certainly are. Then they drove away in that little sports car just the two of them waving to the folks. I loved that scene.

VERJEE: Yes. Yes. It's just wonderful.

You know, I mean, you can really see that they are together. They just seem to have a loving affectionate relationship. One thing that people talked about as they looked at pictures just like this is that, you know, this is someone that's considered a commoner in this country. This country is still very class-based. And the fact that someone who was not of royalty was now marrying into the royal family was such a huge deal.

People here really felt that she conducted herself with a huge amount of dignity, with a lot of poise, a lot of class. And she's the only member of the royal family who will be queen one day that has a university education and a degree to the extent that she does as well. So, she is already well-loved -- Wolf.

BLITZER: In an Aston Martin like that, a '69 Aston Martin, an amazing car indeed.

VERJEE: Oh, yes.

BLITZER: Zain had a lot of fun today.

VERJEE: Yes, very cool.


BLITZER: Zain, we will stay in close touch with you. Always good to have Zain back in THE SITUATION ROOM. She was one of our originals not that long ago. Enjoy London, enjoy the partying.

VERJEE: Miss you.

BLITZER: It's still going on tonight.

And we will have all the highlights later this hour of the ceremony, what happened before, during and after. You will want to see this. We have put together an amazing, amazing reel for you. I think you will want to watch it.

But there's other important news we're looking at right now, including some very, very serious news in Syria, the U.S. government now taking some serious steps against the Syrian regime, how Washington is responding to the crackdown on anti-government protesters on the streets. Stand by.

And the campaign trail for one presidential candidate is littered with very, very bad words, what we call the F-bomb. Donald Trump sends a message to China on its trade policy.


DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Listen, you mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED). We're going to tax you 25 percent.




BLITZER: Last night, Trump was in Vegas, where he let the profanities fly.


TRUMP: In China and other countries, they just burn whatever the hell is available, and that smoke is spewing out of those chimneys. And those factories are cheap as hell, and they don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


BLITZER: All right, and that was just the beginning -- details of the speech that was more like a tirade.

And House Speaker John Boehner finds one spending cut he doesn't like. It's in his home district.

Plus, a day of deadly protests in Syria. Dozens and dozens of people are reported killed -- the latest on the bloody government crackdown coming up.


BLITZER: The Obama administration is imposing new sanctions against top members of Syria's regime for its violent, brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrators.

The sanctions include an asset freeze and a prohibition on doing business in the United States. A Syrian human rights group says 64 protesters were killed alone in Syria today. CNN hasn't been able to report from inside Syria. The Syrian regime will not let international journalists in.

CNN's Arwa Damon has our story, though, from the Syria-Jordanian border.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the early morning, this lone woman arrived at the border crossing with her sons.

"Let me go on foot. I want to walk across." She pleads with them. She's incoherent, so distraught, she's unable to speak to us. Her daughter is in Daraa and she hasn't heard from her in days. Her sons brought her here to prove the border crossing is closed, as it has been all week.

(on camera): This is the closest that one can get to Syria at this border crossing. And Daraa is just a 10-minute drive away. Eyewitnesses we have been speaking to there continue to tell us of horrific and unimaginable things.

They say that the bodies of the dead are now bloating in the streets. People are unable to collect them because they are still afraid of being shot by snipers.



DAMON (voice-over): At midday a show of solidarity: people chanting their support for Daraa.


DAMON: Most are Jordanians from Al-Rantha and consider Daraa their twin city because of trade and longstanding family ties. And they bear witness to the violence a few miles across the border.

GASSIM KHAZ-ALI, AL-RANTHA RESIDENT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) We can hear the gun shots because the weather is clear. So it's very bad. So we want the United Nations to come here and to help these people.

DAMON: Among the crowd residents of Daraa stuck here in Jordan. Like Iyad, who goes to university here.

IYAD, STUDENT: I'm sticking to my studies because of my family. My family -- my mind, it's so busy.

DAMON: And who knows just how bad it can get. Last week when he was in Daraa, he says he witnessed the regime's indiscriminate firing on demonstrators.

IYAD: I see them shooting, and there -- there were some people killed in front of me.

DAMON: He was finally able to contact his family this morning. They're OK. For now.

Yassad, who works as a baker in Jordan, has not been so lucky. His wife and teenage son are in Daraa. "I got through to them three days ago," Yassad tells us. He believes that some of his relatives have been killed. Like all the others we met, he's helpless, unable to save the loved ones only a few miles away, now living in a city under siege.

Arwa Damon, CNN, on the Jordanian-Syrian border.


BLITZER: These protests across the region, the so-called Arab spring imposed some very complex diplomatic challenges for the United States and, indeed, the international community.

Professor Fouad Ajami is the director of Middle East Studies over at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies here in Washington, D.C.

Fouad, thanks very much for coming in. You know the Obama administration imposed some sanctions on some top Syrian officials today, stopped short of severing diplomatic relations, recalling the ambassador or even calling on President Bashar Assad to step down. Does the U.S. need to go further right now?

FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, Wolf, it's the least we can do. We can actually sanction some members of the regime. But let's face it. What's the regime? The regime is Bashar Assad himself. The regime is his younger brother, Maher, the killer of the regime. The regime is the sister, Bushra. The regime is his brother-in-law, Assef Shawqat.

So you can sanction them. You can sanction the barons, the intelligence barons. You can -- you can hold the property that they have in Bethesda or Chevy Chase, but it is of no consequence. In the long run what this is about, it's about a regime fighting for its privileges and for its power. And it's about Washington waking up to the fact that the belief in the ultimate redemption, the ultimate moderation of Bashar Assad was always an illusion.

BLITZER: Here's, though, a part of the White House statement released today. I'll read it to you. "The United States believes that Syria's deplorable actions toward its people warrant the strong international response. We call on President Assad to change course now and heed the calls of his own people."

A statement like that plus the sanctions imposed today, is that going to scare Bashar al-Assad?

AJAMI: It won't scare Bashar Assad. And I think in Washington we all have to think our ways. For example, there is one of our great luminaries of foreign policy, Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Many, many others have bet that they can go to Damascus and sweet talk Bashar out of this terror and out of his radicalism. We have to see the regime for what it is. Now, once we see it, can we do much about? Really, I'm afraid not.

The city and people in large part are on their own. We are trying to help the Libyans, but I am afraid as far as Syria is concerned, it's the regime against the people. The people don't want this regime, but they don't know how to overthrow it. The regime has formidable instruments of terror. They have these vigilante squads, like the Basij in -- in Iran. And they go everywhere and do whatever they want.

BLITZER: Let's talk about Egypt right now. The new government there post-Mubarak seems to be warming up to Iran and to Hamas at the same time. Are you at all concerned about the direction Egypt is taking?

AJAMI: Well, I love that. That's very interesting. Because in fact, as we know, Egyptian foreign policy through the years of Sadat and through the years of Mubarak were based on very simple propositions, sound proposition, peaceful Israel, reliance on the United States.

Now they want to see some good things in Iran. It's kind of interesting. But it tells us something, Wolf, about Mubarak himself. He held the peace with Israel for 30 years, but he never aired it out. He never claimed it. He never explained it to the Egyptian people.

So you ended up with two kind of foreign policies in Egypt. You had one foreign policy done by the military, which is full peace with Israel, full capping the terror of Hamas, but then you have the foreign ministry, which is now becoming more articulate and more outspoken, and the foreign ministry under Amr Moussa and under Abu Al- Gheit (ph) has always been more pan-Arabic and skeptical about the peace with Israel. So it's an interesting play in Egypt.

BLITZER: In Libya right now it seems at least for now a stalemate. Here's the question. Is it too early to say the NATO strategy, the U.S. Strategy, the European strategy, is a failure?

AJAMI: Well, I think -- I think we may have to come to that kind of really stark conclusion, because what we're doing is in Libya, we're half in. You know, remember the surge when Petraeus met with George W. Bush and they said, "It's doubling down," and they said, "No, it's all in." In Libya we're half in.

And I think unless we aid the rebels, unless we -- we grant them access to the money, to the billions of dollars we have, unless we make a commitment to them, then we are looking at Gadhafi hunkering down, bringing food, supplies through the borders with Tunisia and Chad and Niger, and ultimately perhaps the awful thought, out-waiting this rebellion.

BLITZER: Ted Koppel, the former "Nightline" anchor, wrote a piece on the op-ed page of the "Wall Street Journal" today. I don't know if you saw it. But at one point he said -- he said Gadhafi, imagine how Gadhafi must be kicking himself for giving up the development of Libya's nuclear program because, if he had continued that program, maybe he wouldn't be in the mess he's in right now. Does Koppel have a fair point?

AJAMI: I think -- I'm not sure. In read this. I mean, it's interesting you ask this. I never was convinced that Gadhafi had much to be turned over to us in 2004. I think Blair and Bush at the time needed evidence that the Iraq war was a success. They turned to Gadhafi. Gadhafi turned over some -- some supplies, some equipment he had, some material given him by the A.Q. Khan network. Did he have real weapons of mass destruction? I remain quite dubious about that.

BLITZER: Yes, I've spoken to intelligence officials who think he didn't really have much of a nuclear program to begin with. I should point out that that was an Israeli source speaking to Ted Koppel, warning about the need for the U.S. to succeed in Libya quickly; otherwise North Korea, Iran, they're going to be emboldened to go forward in other countries that don't like the United States, as well.

Fouad, thanks very much for coming in.

AJAMI: Thank you very much, Wolf.

BLITZER: It's tough talk, certainly, from Donald Trump. The potential Republican presidential candidate doesn't sugarcoat his views on the U.S. effort in Iraq. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, REAL-ESTATE MOGUL: We build another school. We build another road. They blow them up. We build again. In the meantime, we can't get a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) school built in Brooklyn. It's unbelievable.



BLITZER: Jobs versus spending, it's the argument raging in Washington, and it's now reverberating in House Speaker John Boehner's home district in Ohio, as he fights to keep open a plant the Pentagon actually wants to drastically scale back. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is standing by. She's got more.

Barbara, what's the story all about?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Wolf, this is John Boehner's Republican stronghold in Ohio in very conservative parts of Ohio at odds with the Pentagon.


STARR (voice-over): The Army has made tanks in this Ohio plant since World War II.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last tank plant we got.

STARR: But now this place is caught in a political battle and at the center: none other than John Boehner of Ohio. In Washington the speaker of the House, Boehner, talks about cutting spending.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're broke. It's time for us to get serious about how we're spending the nation's money.

STARR: Back home in Ohio, Congressman Boehner is talking jobs.

BOEHNER: I can tell the president and others, "Hey, listen to what my constituents are saying. They're asking the question where are the jobs?"

STARR: But the jobs may be leaving here. The Army says it just doesn't need any more tanks right now. It wants to shut production down for three years beginning in 2013.

But Boehner, whose district is nearby, is leading the opposition to shutting the plant. The speaker was unavailable to talk to CNN, but he sent the Army a letter saying it would cause more than 500 Ohioans to lose their jobs. Some are Boehner constituents.

COL. LEE QUINTAS, U.S. ARMY: We know that he's asked us to look into the situation. We also know that we have limited resources.

STARR: Jean Meyer came here eight years ago after losing another factory job.

JEAN MEYER, ASSEMBLY LINE TROUBLESHOOTER: Everybody was aware of it. Everybody talks about it.

STARR: She's glad Boehner is getting involved.

MEYER: I think it's great. The more people that we have aware of it, the more people we have on our side, the better for all of us.

STARR (on camera): It's here on Main Street that you really begin to see that Lima, Ohio, is at the intersection of the debate over cutting spending, but keeping jobs.

(voice-over) A debate that some say has Boehner flexing his Washington political muscle.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think he'd much rather cut spending say in Illinois, the president's home state, than in Ohio, his own home state. But if we're going cut the budget, he could lead by example here.

STARR: The city mayor, David Berger, a Democrat, says he knows spending has to be cut, but with 15 percent unemployment in town...

MAYOR DAVID BERGER, LIMA, OHIO: I think that we should not be shy in asserting that Ohio has real needs, and that we depend upon Speaker Boehner to assist us in meeting those needs.

STARR (on camera): How tough is it to get a decent paying job here in Ohio?

AL SAAM: There isn't -- there isn't a decent paying job any more. With all the layoffs, all the cutbacks, the recession, whatever you want to call it, there isn't any jobs out there. It's very hard.

STARR: Everybody says cut the budget but not in my backyard.

SAAM: Well, I hear that. And you're right. I don't care where you go, if it's affecting them they're going to have -- they're going to fight for it. I mean, that's the human nature way. It is.


STARR: So, at the end of the day, will Boehner's political muscle win the day with the Army? Will it have to keep a tank plant open and running with new production that it says it just doesn't need -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. Thank you.

Donald Trump thinks he has the answer for high gas prices, and he's not mincing any words.


TRUMP: We have nobody in Washington that sits back and said, "You're not going to raise that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) price. You understand me?"


BLITZER: That was just the beginning of a speech filled with obscenities. And what was it all about? Stand by.

And the dress, the ceremony, the kisses, all the pomp and splendor of the royal wedding. If you missed it, even if you didn't, you're going to want to see our extended highlights. That's coming up for you this hour.


BLITZER: He's considering a run for the White House, but there was nothing presidential in the speech Donald Trump gave in Las Vegas last night. In fact, it was laced with profanity. CNN's Mary Snow is joining us with details right now.

Mary, tell our viewers what we know about this speech in Vegas.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this was a reception hosted by two Republican women's groups at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas. Trump called U.S. leaders stupid people, and his language got a lot saltier when he launched into other topics.


SNOW (voice-over): Donald Trump said he wanted to move beyond the birther issue and talk foreign policy. And that he did Thursday in Las Vegas addressing Republican groups. But it wasn't his idea that are making headlines as much as the way he said them. Possible presidential candidate cursing repeatedly on topics like Saudi Arabia.

TRUMP: They want to go in and raise the price of oil because we have nobody in Washington that sits back and said, "You're not going to raise that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) price. You understand me?"

SNOW: What to do about China. Simple, he says: slap a 25 percent tax on China.

TRUMP: The messenger is important. I could have one man say, "We're going to tax you 25 percent." And I could say another, "Listen, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED), we're going to tax you 25 percent."

SNOW: And on the environment.

TRUMP: In China and other countries, they just burn whatever the hell is available, and that smoke is spewing out of those chimneys. And those factories are cheap as hell, and they don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SNOW: Trump's visit to Nevada follows a trip to New Hampshire. Both of testing grounds for presidential hopefuls. Questions mount about whether he's serious about running for president. He continues to do well in polls against other Republican hopefuls.

After Trump's speech in Las Vegas, we checked in with "Las Vegas Sun" columnist Jon Ralston, who calls Trump's speech part of a circus act.

(on camera) Were you surprised by the reaction he got?

JON RALSTON, "LAS VEGAS SUN": I'm surprised by a couple of things. I was surprised by the number of people they were able to get. There were hundreds of people turning out for this. Again, I think that just shows that they're just yearning for a different voice than the usual ones that are out there, the Mitt Romneys, the Tim Pawlentys and so on.

I was actually quite surprised how the crowd was feeding off of what he was saying. But he -- you know, he is -- as the president alluded to, he's a carnival barker. And he can -- he can achieve that kind of result in an isolated time.

I cannot believe that Donald Trump is going to get a lot of votes by going out and every speech dropping F-bombs. I just don't believe it.


SNOW: And while there may be frustration among Republicans, as Jon Ralston just pointed out there, Democrats are pouncing on the attention Trump is getting. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has sent out a fundraising e-mail basically saying to the Republican Party, "You can have Trump" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Say what you will about Donald Trump. He's never, never dull. Appreciate it very much, Mary, for that report.

By the way, if you missed the royal wedding this morning or just can't get enough of it, stand by. We have extended highlights. That's coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: You're looking live at Buckingham Palace right now in London where the newlyweds, William and Kate, are partying into the night with some 300 guests. This follows an earlier reception for 600 people which followed the flawless, spectacular royal wedding.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're seeing now Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, for the first time. You get a glimpse of the red uniform that Prince William is wearing.



COOPER: I must say it is very exciting, seeing them in person.

SESAY: I think this is just what this country needs.

MORGAN: This is electrifying.


ROWAN WILLIAMS, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony.

PRINCE WILLIAM, UNITED KINGDOM: I, William Arthur Philip Louis...

WILLIAMS: Take thee, Catherine Elizabeth.

PRINCE WILLIAM: Take thee, Catherine Elizabeth.

WILLIAMS: To my wedded wife.

PRINCE WILLIAM: To my wedding wife.

WILLIAMS: To have and to hold from this day forward...

PRINCE WILLIAM: to have and to hold from this day forward...

WILLIAMS: ... for better or for worse...

PRINCE WILLIAM: ... for better or for worse...

WILLIAMS: ... for richer, for poorer...


WILLIAMS: ... in sickness and in health...

MIDDLETON: ... in sickness and in health... WILLIAMS: ... to love and to cherish...

MIDDLETON: ... to love and to cherish...

WILLIAMS: ... till death us do part.

MIDDLETON: ... till death us do part.

WILLIAMS: With this ring, I thee wed.

PRINCE WILLIAM: With this ring, I thee wed.


WILLIAMS: I pronounce that they be man and wife together in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, amen.





BLITZER: Congratulations to the loving couple.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.