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THE SITUATION ROOM
No Immunity in IMF Boss Sex Case; New York Arrest Shocks France; Bin Laden Was in Communication With Al Qaeda in Yemen; Mass Grave Reported Near Daraa in Syria; Gang of Six Loses Tom Coburn; 'Strategy Session'; 'Help Wanted' at the CIA
Aired May 17, 2011 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: T.J. Thanks very much.
Happening now, he's gone from a $3,000 a night suite to an 11 by 13 foot jail cell. As a powerful world finance official faces sex assault charges, his case sends shockwaves through world capitals and sends his lawyers scrambling.
Within days of launching his presidential run, Newt Gingrich manages to outrage Republican conservatives.
What's going on?
Is his campaign already in big trouble?
And Arnold Schwarzenegger admits he secretly fatherhood a child with a household staffer while married to Maria Shriver.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
He's a millionaire, a skilled politician who was seen as a likely presidential candidate in France and he's the head of a powerful world agency. But the International Monetary Fund chairman, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, now sits in the New York City jail cell facing sex crime charges for allegedly assaulting a house -- a hotel housekeeper.
The IMF says he does not qualify for diplomatic immunity. And that has his lawyers scrambling right now.
Let's go to New York.
CNN's Richard Roth is standing by with the very, very latest.
What's going on -- Richard?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's 24 hours now for Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Rikers Island Prison, far from the European high finance sit-downs he was supposed to be at. He has had one unidentified visitor so far.
Prosecutors are analyzing forensic evidence as they build a case against the 62-year-old defendant. Strauss-Kahn can't do much from his isolation cell, but his attorneys are, indeed, scrambling, as they consider the options to clear their client. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ROTH (voice-over): The chief of the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, sits in jail.
But is it an impossible mission for his lawyers to win his case?
BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, STRAUSS-KAHN'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He is still presumed innocent.
ROTH: And it will be fight. Their high profile client has been hit with serious sex assault felony charges.
The alleged victim's private lawyer is not worried.
JEFF SHAPIRO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I am totally confident in this woman. And I have no doubt whatsoever that she is telling the truth.
ROTH: A criminal defense attorney who practices in New York City says Strauss-Kahn's lawyers are likely focusing on two options.
TONI MESSINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: One is he didn't do it, the woman is lying. And there's reasons to believe she might be lying. This is a high stakes case.
Two, the second defense in a case like that is its consent. Something might have happened, but it's not what she says and she consented to it.
ROTH: Strauss-Kahn's attorneys have already indicated they are ready to play the he said/she said strategy.
BRAFMAN: He is presumed innocent and, indeed, this is a very defensible case. There are significant issues that we have already found simply with the preliminary investigation.
ROTH: The biggest hurdle for the defense -- the alleged victim, a single mother, a hotel maid given good marks by her employer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a victim who immediately reported. And they found her so credible, that they went and snatched a guy of this stature off of an airplane. And so, certainly, they found her that credible.
ROTH: A grand jury is likely to consider indicating Strauss- Kahn, perhaps before Friday's next court date.
Then will this international financial kingpin actually face 12 New York City jury members?
MESSINA: I think the case is going to go to trial. He can't plead guilty to what it is not. He'd -- he'd go to jail. He'd lose his career.
(END VIDEO TAPE) ROTH: It would be at Friday's court session that Strauss-Kahn's lawyers are likely to ask for bail to get him out of Rikers Island. Yesterday, they offered to put up a million dollars and so far that's not enough to get the head of the IMF out of a cell much smaller than the hotel suites he spent the weekend in -- Wolf.
BLITZER: A lot smaller, indeed.
All right, Richard, thank you.
The shockwaves are certainly spreading in France, where the jailed world finance chief is a very popular politician and was likely seen as a presidential candidate.
And joining us now from Paris, CNN's Ivan Watson -- Ivan, you had a chance to go over to Dominique-Strauss Kahn's Socialist Party headquarters today.
What are the folks over there saying to you?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're still reeling from shock from, really, not only one of the leading lights in the party, but also, at the polls, one of the most popular politicians in the country, his arrest on rape charges.
The leader of the Socialist Party, Martine Aubry, telling journalists that this was a sad moment, that she was overwhelmed right now and also trying to call for unity at this time and -- and declaring that the party would go ahead with its primaries as planned, even though this had happened.
And just to put this into perspective, it's as if, before the primaries for the 2008 presidential elections in the U.S., it's as if a popular politician like Barack Obama was suddenly arrested on rape charges. This has been a thunderclap. And the French media is already writing Dominique Strauss-Kahn's political obituary.
Take a look at these headlines. This magazine calling it "La Chute," "The Fall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn." This one calling it a knockout, "KO." This for a man that some people thought could be France's next president.
BLITZER: Ivan, there also seems to be a significant cultural divide between France and the United States on the way he's being treated -- perp walks, Rikers Island, the jail there.
What are they saying about the treatment he's receiving in New York?
WATSON: Well, the head of the Socialist Party said, you know, this is not the French system, to have cameras in the courtroom, to show people with handcuffs before they've been actually convicted of the crime they're accused of. She said she respected this -- this American tradition, but pointed out that it was very different and it was important for French -- the French people to recognize that he is still presumed innocent. Take a listen to what one spokesman for the Socialist Party had to say to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very bizarre, strange for us, to see one of our leaders between two American cops like in -- in a movie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: So, many of these people uncomfortable seeing their leader humiliated like this. But at the same time, pointing out that the seriousness of the charges against him means that it is very important for this investigation to be seen through to the very end, whether or not Strauss-Kahn is proven guilty or innocent -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Ivan.
Thanks very much.
Ivan reporting for us from Paris.
And we're going to have more on this story coming up later here in THE SITUATION ROOM, including an interview with the lawyer who was representing a woman now at the center of this scandal. Stand by for that.
Meanwhile, other important news. Materials seized in the raid on Obama bin Laden's showing that the Al Qaeda leader was in the loop while he was in hiding, U.S. officials say Bin Laden communicated with his allies in Yemen and was involved in an attack plan.
Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is getting more details for us.
What else are you learning -- Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a U.S. official very familiar with all of the documentation taken from the compound now tells us there is an indication in there, in these documents, that bin Laden was communicating with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- Al Qaeda in Yemen. Of course, now viewed as one of the most dangerous so-called Al Qaeda affiliate groups, led by that American-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki.
No word yet on whether bin Laden and Al-Awlaki were in direct communication. We simply don't know that. But very disconcerting to see that bin Laden was in some sort of communication with that group.
As for these other plots, it turns out, U.S. officials had suspected late last year, when they issued a travel alert for Americans in Europe to be careful -- traveling in Europe to be careful, they suspected bin Laden might be behind it all. But tell us now that in looking at documents taken from the compound, there is a additional proof bin Laden was spurring on a plot late last year to attack Americans traveling in Europe, that he was in the loop on that plot, that he was spurring his operatives on to do something, to undertake some sort of an attack against Americans and that he was really egging on the situation.
Of course, no attack happened and U.S. officials say they believe that, you know, the things like travel alerts always help warn people to be vigilant and makes it very tough or tougher for terrorists to undertake an attack.
So who knows whether it ever would have happened, but it's another link in this question, what was bin Laden really directly involved in?
Still, no final word on how effective all of his communications were.
At the end of the day, was he a guy sitting in a house typing away messages to his alleged followers or was he really pulling the strings and plotting and planning more attacks, more effective attacks -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I was impressed, Barbara, that he was at least on a computer and doing -- sending out instructions or other information on a thumb drive, getting a courier to send that out to his supporters in other locations. So he wasn't just sitting in a cave by himself. He was obviously doing something.
STARR: Well, absolutely. There is no question at this point. I mean the overwhelming thing that they have learned from all of this, officials will tell you, is that bin Laden was much more involved than anybody in the administration thought he was. I mean, there was a clear view, not that he was living in a cave necessarily, but this is someone who was in isolation, his network had been so taken down by those drone attacks in Pakistan that he really couldn't do much.
These documents proved something else much different. He was doing a lot. He was sending out a lot of messages. It's still to be determined, on the receiving end, were his operatives really following his instructions -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Barbara.
Thanks very much.
Let's drill a little bit deeper right now.
So how alarmed should Americans be at the news that bin Laden was, in fact, in contact with the very dangerous Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen?
Let's bring in our CNN national security contributor, Fran Townsend.
She's a former homeland security adviser to President Bush. She serves on the homeland security -- as an adviser on the Homeland Security Department's NCIA external advisory boards -- Fran, thanks very much. How alarmed should we be that he was in contact with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Wolf, that -- I mean, we've heard Congressional testimony from people like Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the DNI and the secretary of Homeland Security, all saying that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was the group that had posed the greatest immediate tactical threat to the U.S. homeland and to Americans around the world.
And so the fact that bin Laden had this communication channel with them, the fact that now we are linking them to this threat in Europe last summer, really indicates bin Laden was determined to tack -- attack Americans even if it wasn't inside the US. Homeland. Obviously, trying to get access to Americans in Europe during the summer months is a lot easier than trying to infiltrate operatives into the US.
And so, look, it seems to me that just based on the little bit of reporting we're getting out of what they seized, bin Laden played a much more important role in terms of continuing to target Americans.
BLITZER: And I wonder what his number two, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, may be doing right now. We assume he's hiding someplace in Pakistan, as well.
But let's talk about Pakistan, the U.S.-Pakistani relationship. My impression is that cooperation between the CIA and the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, is getting worse, not better.
TOWNSEND: Well, a couple of things -- again, Wolf, what we can see. The CIA, as we know now, got some access to the bin Laden wives. But it was very limited. The ISI, the Pakistani intelligence, was there. They were all allowed to stay together.
During Sera -- Senator Kerry's visit, of course, they said that they would provide the helicopter tail with the Stealth technology to the United States. But, of course, there's questions -- will they do it, will they provide all of the tail that was recovered or will they keep some back?
And then you see things -- the U.S. did do a drone strike when Senator Kerry was there. There was the conflagration today between NATO forces and the Pakistan military along the Waziristan border. And Prime Minister Gilani today was in Shanghai, calling China their best friend, a little surprising given the $20 billion of aid that's gone there.
And so there is clear, real tension. You know, Senator Clinton -- Secretary Clinton, rather, has -- has postponed her trip to Pakistan. And we can only presume that's because, you know what, when senior officials and cabinet officials like that go on a foreign visit, there are deliverables. There are announcements, things that come out of that visit. And can only suspect that it's been postponed because there isn't agreement on what deliverables Pakistan is willing to cede to the United States when she comes.
BLITZER: It's interesting, when the U.S. has given Pakistan $20 billion, as you point out, since 9/11. I suspect China has given Pakistan about zero in terms of dollars, yet China is their best friend, not the United States.
Fran, we'll continue this conversation.
New horrors in Syria right now. We're getting video apparently showing a mass grave. Images like this may be the last straw for the Obama administration, for U.S. allies.
Are they about to come down much, much harder on the Syrian regime?
And just days after announcing his presidential bid, has Newt Gingrich already torpedoed his own campaign?
Why so many Republican conservatives right now are outraged at Newt Gingrich.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty has his eyes on high school requirement. He's here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That time of the year. There is a new requirement for getting a high school diploma at one high school in Connecticut. It's not calculus or algebra or biochemistry or learning a foreign language even. It's learning this country's language, English.
The City of New London, Connecticut's Board of Education has approved a measure stating that starting with next year's incoming freshman class, students will have to prove they can speak, read, and write American English and do it well in order to earn a high school diploma.
Apparently, those are skills that many high-schoolers in New London currently lack. Only 16 percent of sophomores at New London High School scored well in English on standardized tests last year, and only 55 percent, just slightly over half, were deemed proficient in English.
The New London student body is made up of immigrants from at least 28 countries, and it's an indication how much of challenge English is in that town that school district website is translated into 52 different languages.
New London is the first district in the State of Connecticut to pass such a rule. Students at New London High School will have several testing options to demonstrate their command of English and will have until the age of 21 to meet the English requirement.
Here's the question: Should U.S. high schools require students to speak English in order to graduate?
Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile, post a comment on my blog.
BLITZER: That's a pretty shocking statistic you have over there, Jack. That's amazing.
CAFFERTY: Pretty sad.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, Jack, thanks very much.
Shocking new scenes of horror are coming out of Syria right now. The latest images may amount to a last straw of the Obama administration and for U.S. allies as they weigh new tough measures against the Syrian regime in Damascus.
Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, has the latest for us.
What is going on, Jill?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, fed up. That's the best way of putting it. Any hope that the Obama administration had that the Syrian President Assad would change is out the window. And one of the reasons is the kind of video that we're going to show you right now.
Warning to our viewers, it's graphic.
DOUGHERTY (voice-over): The latest chapter in Syria's horrors, reports of a mass grave near the city of Daraa, the limbs of victims protruding from the earth. Amateur video shows the scene, but with international media barred from Syria, CNN cannot verify its authenticity. The Syrian government denies the claim calling it slander.
Syrian government forces have killed nearly 1,000 people, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As many as 10,000 have been arrested.
Tuesday, Clinton pointed the finger blamed directly at President Bashar al-Assad.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Assad He talks about reform, but his heavy-handed, brutal crackdown shows his true intention.
DOUGHERTY: U.S. officials tell CNN they see no indication Assad is going to turn around.
BORGER: That's not exactly a great way to start your campaign. And the House budget chairman himself, Paul Ryan, who authored this Medicare plan, said this on Laura Ingraham's radio show yesterday.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: With allies like that, who needs the left?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BORGER: You know, the truth is, Wolf, there is a great divide in the Republican Party over this. All Republicans in the House walked out on that limb except for a few and voted for this plan. They are afraid right now.
It's not being well received back home in their district. So the last thing they need is for Newt Gingrich to give their opponents a bumper sticker. And I was talking to a senior Republican strategist in the House who said, "Now Newt Gingrich has given Democrats a sound bite to use against us in the elections in 2012."
BLITZER: And they'll be using it, I'm sure.
Let me play a little clip of Newt Gingrich, and you're going to tell us what this says. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, for people to go from all of that body of evidence to say, yes, but for 25 seconds yesterday I thought you said x, that's beyond "gotcha."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BORGER: You know, Newt Gingrich is trying to blame the press here on this, but the Republicans I talked to say this has nothing do with the game of "gotcha."
One Republican said to me something really interesting about Gingrich. He said, you know, "In watching him over the years in politics" -- and this is a friend of Newt's -- he said, "he always understood where the Republican constituency was." He had his pulse on the Republican base. And he said, "In saying this, in taking on the Ryan budget, he really took on the Holy Grail of the Republican Party, and that wasn't smart politics."
Another thing, he used this incendiary phrase, and Newt Gingrich is famous for that, as you know, going back to when he became House Speaker. But in this case, it was used against his own Republicans, not the Democrats. And they didn't take to well to that.
BORGER: Exactly. You know, there could have been another phrase he used, and we saw him now say, well, you know, it's not perfect, we have to work on it, it's a good starting point. But that was pretty incendiary. Republicans didn't like the flames being thrown.
BLITZER: Yes. And it's precise (ph) language, as you say.
BORGER: Yes, absolutely.
BLITZER: I thought "The Washington Post" had a pretty good line to day. They said, "Newt Gingrich is having a bad week, and it's only Tuesday."
BLITZER: Gloria, thank you.
BORGER: You've got that right.
BLITZER: We have a lot more news coming up, including a threat unlike any the Mississippi delta has seen before. The river is rising. Each inch promises more misery for people in the South.
And the queen is boldly going where no other reigning monarch has gone in almost a century. Some locals though aren't happy about her visit.
Stand by. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: One U.S. Senator is living up to his reputation. We're talking about Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn. He's now quitting the so-called Gang of Six. That's the bipartisan group of senators working on deficit reduction.
Let's get the news from our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She's joining us now from Capitol Hill.
So what did he decide to do?
DANA BASH, CNN SR. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a big blow, Wolf, to this so-called Gang of Six, this bipartisan group. They have been meeting for five months, almost on a daily basis, whenever they are in town to try to find a bipartisan plan for deficit reduction. But Coburn says that he is simply being a realist, he does not think at this point that the group can come together to reach their goal, which is to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over four years.
Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: We're at an impasse, and I had a frank conversation with Senator Durbin this morning, and he agreed that we were at an impasse. And when you're at an impasse, the worst thing you can do is keep trying to hit your head against the wall until you break your head. And so what we're going to do is, I'm just going to give it a rest for a while and see. They all worked in good faith, every one of them. And so it's not a matter about bad faith. It's a matter about being a realist about what you can accomplish and what you can't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, Wolf, Coburn insists he is simply taking a break. He still considers himself a member of this so-called Gang of Six. But this is a blow because he is a staunch conservative with conservative credentials. And the whole point of this group for Democrats and Republicans is to get by and across the political spectrum, and so this is definitely a blow. Saxby Chambliss, another conservative, says that he is still working, that the group remains intact, and that they are going to have another meeting tomorrow.
One quick thing, we are told by a Democratic source familiar with this meeting that Coburn came in last night and said that he had this plan to have some deep cuts in Medicare, and that, from their perspective, was the wrong way to go. And that might have caused this impasse. We're waiting to hear back from him on that.
BLITZER: Dana Bash, up on the Hill. A significant blow for this bipartisan effort.
Lisa Sylvester is here in THE SITUATION ROOM monitoring some of the other stories that are coming in right now.
Including, Lisa, new concerns over flooding in the South.
SYLVESTER: There are new concerns, Wolf.
The Mississippi River is creeping closer to the highest level ever recorded in Greenville, Mississippi. The state says the record flooding has displaced more than 4,800 people. This weekend, the river is expected to crest at record levels in Vicksburg and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Four thousand people there have been evacuated.
Queen Elizabeth II began a four-day visit to Ireland today, becoming the first British monarch to visit since independence. Security threats didn't discourage the queen. The Irish military today diffused a bomb on a bus headed to Dublin. Ireland is spending $42 million on security for her tour.
Al Qaeda has a new leader, at least for the time being. A source tells CNN that a former Egyptian special forces officer has been appointed caretaker leader of the terrorist organization. Saif al- Adel has long played a prominent role in the group.
And the architect of the controversial Republican budget plan is passing on a run for the Senate. Congressman Paul Ryan says he won't run for Wisconsin's open Senate seat next year. The decision now opens the door for former Republican governor Tommy Thompson to run for that seat -- Wolf. BLITZER: It will be exciting times in Wisconsin. We'll see what happens there.
The IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is spending his second night in prison on Rikers Island in New York. It's a far cry from New York City's Sofitel hotel. The big changes he is now experiencing. Stand by. We've got more.
And Mitt Romney, the money maker, the huge amount of cash the GOP presidential candidate raised in just one day.
BLITZER: The 2012 presidential race is shaping up to be the most expensive in American history, and Mitt Romney's fundraising haul of some $10 million-plus is raising eyebrows.
Let's talk about it in our "Strategy Session."
Joining us, Paul Begala. He's a Democratic strategist, CNN contributor. He's the senior strategist for the Democratic fundraising group Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action.
Also joining us, Alex Castellanos. He's a CNN political contributor and Republican strategist.
Alex, $10 million in one day. So I assume this really makes him the front-runner right now, if he can raise that kind of money.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He's still a Republican front-runner. He's going to need every penny of that.
He has not yet really done the very good job of explaining how his health care plan, Romneycare, is different than Obamacare. His attempt to do that last week did not go over well. So I think he's going to need a lot of it.
You k now, he doesn't have the support yet of the Republican base. And so he starts out much like McCain last night -- a lot of money, a lot of support, but not a lot of passion. That means he goes through the valley of death. That means he's going to go through a period where a lot of people are going to look for other candidates, and that's when he'll be tested and we'll find out who Mitt Romney is.
BLITZER: Is he the Republican, Paul, that Democrats fear the most?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, I don't know. I mean, actually, most people think it's a pretty weak field. But I think there's some pretty able people in it.
I think Mitt has at least begun to unite the millionaires and the billionaires, the oil companies and the gas companies. And he will need all that money, Alex is right, because backbone transplants are very expensive. And the problem that a lot of Republicans have with Mitt Romney is that he seems to lack a political spine.
He was for gay rights, then he was against it. He was for abortion rights, then he was against it. He was for a mandate for universal health care, now he's against it.
And so he's going to have to figure out, like, where is he on this Paul Ryan plan on Medicare? Newt Gingrich says it's too radical. It's like Charlie Sheen saying that a party is too wild for him when Newt Gingrich says something is too radical. But "The Wall Street Journal," Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, they're all saying that Newt was wrong.
Where is Mitt on this?
CASTELLANOS: Well, the candidate, Wolf, who has the support of the millionaires and billionaires and Wall Street is Barack Obama, who said he's going to raise $1 billion to run for president. Of course, that's still cheaper than having him as president, which costs us trillions of dollars.
BLITZER: The fact that Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump, Paul, dropped out of the Republican contest, does that make it more or less likely that Sarah Palin will jump in?
BEGALA: Well, that and the answer to prayer. I believe in the power of prayer, as you know, and I've been praying every night for former governor Palin, that she gets in the race.
I do think that those two candidates dropping out, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump, it leaves a void in the party not in the Mitt Romney millionaires/billionaire club, but in the populist wing of the Republican Party. Then you do look to people like Sarah Palin, maybe Governor Rick Perry of Texas. You know, apparently Republicans, they think if you do a crummy job running Texas, maybe you'll do a crummy job running America.
That was certainly true of George W. Bush. Maybe they will try Rick Perry out, who is comfortable on the populist right of his party.
So I do think it leaves an opening in their party, and I hope they all get in. I think the more the merrier.
BLITZER: What do you think, Alex? Is she going to get in?
CASTELLANOS: I think Sarah Palin is already in the race, certainly in Iowa. But her name is Michele Bachmann.
That void that Palin has left -- Palin has almost become politically irrelevant -- has been filled by Michele Bachmann, who is in Congress now, has a title, has $14 million in the bank, and is one of the most prodigious fund-raisers around, and is a hometown favorite in the state next door where she is a congresswoman in Iowa.
So, if she wins Iowa now that Huckabee is out, now that there's a void on the right, what is going to happen is the Republican establishment is going to run like a house of fire to New Hampshire and probably solidify around a center-right candidate that might be a Mitt Romney, it could be a Mitch Daniels. But that's where the race seems to be headed today.
BLITZER: Is there any chance, do you think, Paul, that Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida who was very popular in a key electoral state like Florida, that he could still come into this contest?
BEGALA: You know, I'm down here in Miami, and I've talked to, of course, Democrats, but political people down here. They tend to think no.
Granted, they are Democrats and not Republicans. Alex would know better than I. But they tend to think no.
They think that Jeb Bush is going to keep his powder dry, maybe run again in 2016. I do think it's been in all the papers that we had a Bush president and he did a terrible, terrible job. The Bush brand is not Jeb's fault, but the Bush brand was so tarnished by big brother that, oh, I think in 50 or 60 years, maybe 75 or 80 years, maybe we could take another Bush candidacy, but not this time around.
CASTELLANOS: Well, I think the Bush brand is well on its way to rehab these days, thanks to President Obama, who I think -- the economy just doesn't look so well by comparison. But in regards to Jeb Bush, looking at the next crop of Republican candidates, the Chris Christies, the Marco Rubios, the Jeb Bush, I think there's certainly a bright future for the Republican Party. But the candidates now do look small, but it's early in the cycle for them.
One rule we have in politics, Wolf, is that campaigns don't pick candidates, they make candidates, because candidates are tested and they go through a tough time. We'll see these candidates grow as they take on Obama.
BLITZER: Alex, Paul, guys, thanks very, very much.
Here's a question: Do you need a job? Well, guess what? The CIA is hiring right now. We're taking you inside the big push for America's next generation of spies.
And we're also getting new details about the story so many people are talking about in the United States and around the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger fathering a child, apparently with a mistress.
BLITZER: The CIA right now looking for a few good college grads to sign up.
Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr takes us on an in-depth look at just whom the CIA is recruiting.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The CIA's job market for secret operatives has never been more open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our working ours can change instantly. The mission is a constant, but every day is different.
STARR: These new ads are an unprecedented effort to make the CIA a more diverse workforce.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Global careers in the CIA's national clandestine service. Don't just watch the news, live it, 24/7.
STARR: And television commercials are just the beginning.
Director Leon Panetta is making the pitch himself here at Morehouse, an historically black college.
LEON PANETTA, CIA DIRECTOR: Our clandestine service officers must be able to collect intelligence overseas by speaking to sources in their own language, by blending in with local people.
STARR: The CIA is on an all-out effort across the country to recruit culturally and ethnically diverse candidates. One target audience, American Middle Eastern communities. And with global threats, it's also looking for Americans who speak Chinese, Pashto and Dari as a start.
Patty Brandmaier runs the CIA's recruiting center. She says it's no longer the traditional Ivy League employer.
PATTY BRANDMAIER, CIA RECRUITMENT CENTER: We are looking at different populations in terms of education, people who don't -- didn't go to school or grow up on the East Coast.
STARR: But at the University of Maryland, the agency has a long way to go in convincing these two students who are studying Arabic.
MARYAM ELBALGHITI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND STUDENT: I would have moral qualms with working with the CIA, for example, because I would not want to be directly or indirectly involved with anything that would be of violent origin or have violent effects.
STARR: Iman knows some fell students may go to work for the CIA, but not him.
IMAN TSZ YIN NG, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND STUDENT: The CIA has, you know, reputation of being secretive, of being -- doing, you know, spy work. Spy work is not something that I would like to do. Diplomacy is my passion.
STARR: The CIA accepts that convincing young people to think about the agency is a challenge.
BRANDMAIER: It takes a long time to persuade people, one, that we're a good place to work. They should think about us as a diversity employer of choice. You need to overcome a lot of skepticism.
STARR: And speaking a foreign language still isn't a job guarantee.
BRANDMAIER: We look at the whole person. So what I'm looking for in my people are character integrity, initiative, and I'm looking for leadership.
STARR: But at the end of the day, the CIA, of course, is still a secret organization. They won't tell us how many people they want to hire, they won't tell us how successful they have been with this diversity campaign for new employees. But the one thing they will tell us is they've increased by 25 percent over the last year the number of officers at the CIA who speak more than one language -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, they need a lot of speakers, Arabic speakers, other languages as well.
Thanks very much, Barbara, for that.
Jack Cafferty is coming up.
BLITZER: Jack is back with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: The question this hour is: Should U.S. high schools require students to speak, read and write English in order to get their diploma?
Jamie in Missouri writes, "If it's the school's job to best prepare somebody to go out into the world with the skills to survive on their own, then of course they should. The question seems a little absurd."
"Liberals call it racist or bigoted or whatever they want, but you're not doing anybody any favors sending them out in the workforce in a country that's predominantly monolingual. If they're going to have any chance at a decent paying job, they're going to have to learn English eventually. Why not while they're in high school?"
Daniel in California, "Unless we change the official language of the U.S., yes. Why is this up for debate?"
There is no official language in the U.S.
Gigi in Oregon, "No. It ought to be part of the requirements to take English, but if the student can pass all requirements in their language, they should still get their diploma. Because we in the states are lazy about learning a second or multiple languages, we should not punish a student for using another language."
They should also learn to read better than I am here.
Jeff, "Emphatically yes. My mother came to this country from Germany at the age of 4. She entered kindergarten at age 5. To this day, she finds it hard to discuss growing up and having to learn English pretty quickly or suffer the consequences. She practically cries when she reads things like we ought to be teaching dual English/Spanish, or that we need to cater to a specific ethnic group. English is the language of America."
Steve in Virginia, "What should matter is that whatever language the student can clearly communicate in they have achieved and satisfied a level of learning set forth by a particular" -- I'm not reading that.
John in Ohio writes, "Well, it seems to me English is a required subject. I think four years of it are required graduate from just about every high school, so I don't get the point of the question. To me, it's like asking if a person should know how to swim in order to get a lifeguard certificate."
And M.D. writes, "Isn't that asking a bit too much? Next thing you know, we will want students to be able to spell, learn geography, be able to write a thank you card."
If you want to read more on this, go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile.
BLITZER: Thanks, Jack. Thanks very much.