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THE SITUATION ROOM
Former IMF Chief Charged; President Obama Speaks Out on Middle East
Aired May 19, 2011 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And, to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, breaking news: A global financial chief accused of sexual assault is formally charged and granted bail. CNN was inside the courtroom for the dramatic hearing. Stand by for a live report.
President Obama delivers his most important speech on the Middle East in two years, hoping to use the revolutions sweeping the Arab world as a launching pad for new efforts at an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
And a stunning turn in a notorious cold case: Could the Unabomber be behind the deadly Tylenol tamperings almost 30 years ago?
Breaking news, political headlines and Jeanne Moos all straight ahead.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We are following the breaking news this hour, a seven-count indictment and $1 million in bail for the former head of the International Monetary Fund. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been formally charged now with assaulting a maid in a New York City hotel last weekend, an allegation he denies.
Let's go straight to New York, CNN's national correspondent, Susan Candiotti. She was inside the courtroom when all the drama unfolded today.
Give us the very latest, Susan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, at this hour, he will spend one more night in jail.
But we can tell you this. Both sides today walked away with something. Prosecutors -- or, in this case, Dominique Strauss-Kahn did earn his bail. However, prosecutors got some very serious charges against him by way of that indictment that you mentioned. And they said they are getting compelling evidence that backs up his accuser.
Now, he walked into court today with a smile and later on even blew a kiss to his wife and one of his daughters sitting in the front row. And that was before the judge ruled in his favor. His attorney argued before the court that, if granted bond, that Strauss-Kahn would not take off, that he would not disappear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM TAYLOR, ATTORNEY FOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: In our view, no bail is required to assure Mr. Strauss-Kahn's appearance. He is an honorable man. He will appear in this court and anywhere else the court directs. And he has only one interest at this time. And that is to clear his name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now, prosecutors argued that, in fact, the accused's name might very well be in trouble. They told the judge that the evidence against him at this stage is compelling and the account of the alleged victim is unwavering.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCONNELL, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, NEW YORK COUNTY: While the investigation still is in its early stages, the proof against him is substantial. It is continuing to grow every day as the investigation continues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now, as for that alleged victim, she spent the second day in a row, the hotel maid who is charging him with sexual assault, spent the second day in a row before the grand jury and before those charges were returned against Strauss-Kahn -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Susan, did the prosecutors explain what they -- what their so-called compelling evidence is?
CANDIOTTI: Well, they hinted at it. They said that they are gathering forensic evidence already from her, that much of it is in, and that they are still collecting more.
But they said from what they have gathered so far as an example from the hotel room, they say appears to be matching up, even though, the test results, they haven't gotten back yet. Overall, they say it is painting a very troubling pictures for Strauss-Kahn.
BLITZER: And what are the conditions for his bail?
CANDIOTTI: They are very strict. He agreed to put up $1 million cash bail. He also said that he would put up $5 million in property bonds. He will surrender all of his travel documents, including his passport and a special travel pass provided by the United Nations.
He will remain confined to his home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And this is an apartment that the defense said his wife just now rented -- she is an American journalist who also lives in Washington, D.C. -- and that she rented this apartment and that he also will be fitting the house -- they hired a company to come in and the defense will pay for it -- to fill it with all kinds of surveillance cameras and to provide an armed guard posted at that house 24 hours a day. And they will also accompany him to court.
BLITZER: Pretty stiff conditions. All right, thanks.
We are going to have more on this coming up.
Susan Candiotti reporting.
The International Monetary Fund has named an acting managing director in the wake of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's resignation.
John Lipsky talked to CNN's Richard Quest about how the organization is reacting to the scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LIPSKY, IMF ACTING MANAGING DIRECTOR: Obviously some shock and sadness over the events of the past few days, but a very clear recognition of the important responsibilities that have been given to the fund, the need for the staff to pull together and can focus on the job at hand. And that's exactly what we have been doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Lipsky also says he deeply regrets the circumstances that have led to his new position.
Turning to other news right now, a major speech by President Obama today addressing the changes sweeping the Arab world. Take a look at this so-called word cloud, a computer-generated visual representation of the president's remarks. You can see that the words that figure most prominently include region, people, must, and change.
Let's go deeper inside what the president had to say and the implications.
Our White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is standing by live over at the White House -- Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the expectations that President Obama could really affect the hearts and minds of those in the Middle East and North Africa seemed pretty low here, as well as abroad. This was more, according to experts that I spoke with, an opportunity important for the president to really create a narrative during this historic and uncertain time, to explain the events of the Arab spring, to explain the seemingly contradictory response that this administration has had to different countries, and to capitalize on the events of the Arab spring, as it pushed for renewed peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
KEILAR (voice-over): After months of transformational protests in the Middle East and North Africa and much criticism that the U.S. has been harsh with some countries cracking down on protesters, while staying silent on others, President Obama tried to make clear the U.S. stands firmly with those calling for democracy.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the chance to show that America values the dignity of the street vendor in Tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator.
KEILAR: The president said the U.S. supports its ally Bahrain, but demanded they allow protesters to assemble peacefully.
OBAMA: And you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.
KEILAR: And he used his strongest language yet for Syria's president, stopping short of calling for Bashar al-Assad to step down.
OBAMA: He can lead that transition or get out of the way.
KEILAR: The U.S. will try to strengthen Egypt and Tunisia economically and create jobs for young people frustrated with a lack of opportunity.
OBAMA: America's support for democracy will therefore be based on ensuring financial stability, promoting reform and integrating competitive markets with each other and the global economy. And we're going to start with Tunisia and Egypt.
KEILAR: The headline came when President Obama said the Arab spring should be a jump-off for a renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace process, going further than any president before him with this pronouncement.
OBAMA: We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.
KEILAR: A monumental undertaking, explaining the U.S. policy on the Middle East as the region experiences more change than it has in decades.
And, says Aaron Miller, a former Mideast peace negotiator, it was a so-so performance.
AARON DAVID MILLER, PUBLIC POLICY SCHOLAR, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR SCHOLARS: It is not a home run and it is not a bunch of stumble-bumbles. It is a serious effort to try to harmonize American values and interests.
KEILAR: And Miller expand order on that, Wolf, to say this was about explaining to the American people that, while the short-term interests in some of these countries may be at odds at terms -- with long-term interests, and so it is really a balancing act of having to deal with each one independently on a case-by-case basis -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brianna, with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting the White House tomorrow, do we anticipate an even more tense atmosphere following the president's speech today?
KEILAR: No doubt there is going to be some tension over this. We heard from Netanyahu today. He basically panned this idea, saying it was indefensible, saying it would leave huge populations outside of the current border. So, there's definitely going to be some tension.
Actually, Miller, as I talked to him, he questioned why now, why -- why make this move. While he said it was very bold, it also creates a problem for the president ahead of this meeting. Why not wait for later in the year perhaps, he said, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brianna, thanks very much.
Let's dig deeper right now with our senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
Republican presidential candidates already blasting the president, saying he is not pro-Israel enough, if you will, Mitt Romney saying: "President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace. He has also violated a first principle of American foreign policy, which is to stand firm by our friends."
Rick Santorum says this: "His incoherence and inconsistency in outlining America's Middle East policy has allowed dictators like Ahmadinejad and Gadhafi to remain in power, while fostering the overthrow of our allies in Egypt."
So, tough criticism of the president from some Republican rivals, if you will.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes.
And I just got off the phone with a senior White House adviser, Wolf, who I think was sort of a little stunned at this kind of reaction and also the reaction from Bibi Netanyahu, because obviously the core of this is the question of starting at the 1967 lines.
And this White House adviser said to me, this really isn't anything so dramatically new. That's the point that they are making, that you say you start there with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.
From the White House point of view, Wolf, this is something that had been implicitly stated by Presidents Clinton and Bush. But Bibi Netanyahu came out, fired away at the administration and said, no, actually, this violates a letter that they had from George W. Bush.
So, the question you really have to ask here is, why did Bibi Netanyahu fire away like this? Did he see this speech before it was given? Or is this more about the entire issue than it is about this particular speech?
I mean, obviously, Republicans believe that there's a constituency out there that they can get. Eighty percent of Jewish voters voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election. And there has been an awful lot of tension there. So, this is an issue that Republicans can easily exploit right now.
BLITZER: Yes. Based on my experience, I think both President Clinton and President Bush basically supported this kind of deal, if you will.
BORGER: Yes. Sure.
BLITZER: But they never explicitly stated it like President Obama did today. And so that's going to cause a little heartburn.
BORGER: And Hillary Clinton stated time and time again that the United States opposes new settlements, if you will. So, this is -- this is kind of, from the White House's point of view, just part of a continuum and not something dramatically new. But it is clearly something that shows you the tension there, Wolf.
BLITZER: I'm going to speak to Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, negotiator, coming up later this hour. We will get more on this sensitive, sensitive subject.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Gloria.
Men behaving badly, from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the former head of the International Monetary Fund. It has "TIME" magazine asking, what makes powerful men act like pigs? The managing editor, Richard Stengel, is here. We will talk to him.
And cold case investigators are now looking at the Unabomber as they try to solve the deadly Tylenol tamperings of 1982.
BLITZER: The afterlife is on Jack Cafferty's mind. Jack is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if you believe the signs -- and they are everywhere, bus stations, train stations, billboards -- you are probably going to try to pack a lot into the next few days.
That's because, according to a well-publicized campaign -- why, I have no idea -- by a man named Harold Camping and his group Family Radio, this coming Saturday, day after tomorrow, May 21, is judgment day. And on that day, about 200 million people, 3 percent of the world's population, will be taken to heaven.
According to Camping, the rest of us will live in a world of chaos and catastrophe, as opposed to the one we live in now, before the world comes to a complete end, which he says will happen in October. So have a nice weekend.
Most people aren't buying Camping's claims, whether or not they believe in God or the second coming of Jesus or the afterlife. After all, Camping is 89 years old. He's a retired civil engineer and he has done this before. He first predicted the end of the world back in 1994. Wrong. Now he is saying it is Saturday.
World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is one person who probably isn't too worried about doomsday predictions. Hawking said in an interview this week he doesn't believe in an afterlife, and he said the notion of heaven is what he called a fairy story.
He told a British newspaper "The Guardian" -- quoting now -- "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers."
Hawking has had a lot of time to contemplate life, death and the whole idea of heaven. At the age of 21, he was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a terminal illness that causes loss of mobility and severely impairs speech. And he wasn't expected to live much past the diagnosis.
Flash ahead. It has been 49 years. He's still here. He writes books. He goes on speaking tours. And he thinks heaven is a fairy story.
Here is the question. British scientists Stephen Hawking says heaven is fairy story. Do you agree with that statement? Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile.
And those of you who are left after Saturday, and I hope I'm among them, we can talk about this more next week.
BLITZER: We will, definitely, Jack. I'm predicting that right now.
Jack, thank you.
All right, this just coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM.
With his personal life unraveling, Arnold Schwarzenegger is now putting his acting career on hold. His entertainment lawyer has just released a statement saying -- and let me read it to you -- "At the request of Arnold Schwarzenegger, we asked Creative Artists Agency to inform all his motion picture projects currently under way or being negotiated to stop planning until further notice. Governor Schwarzenegger's focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines."
The statement goes on to say: "This includes 'Cry Macho,' the 'Terminator' franchise and other projects under consideration. We will resume discussions when Governor Schwarzenegger decides" -- that statement just coming in from Arnold Schwarzenegger's agent.
The Schwarzenegger scandal, as well as the sexual assault case against the now former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, prompted our sister publication "TIME" magazine to ask on its cover in the new issue, what makes powerful men act like pigs?
"TIME"'s managing editor, Rick Stengel, is joining us now from New York with more.
How did you go about deciding on this cover, Rick?
RICHARD STENGEL, MANAGING EDITOR, "TIME": Well, there was a lot of debate about it. Obviously, the behavior we are talking about between DSK and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it is pretty extreme and degrading behavior.
And we wanted to do something that really caught people's attention. And the pig has.
BLITZER: So, what's the answer? What makes powerful men act like pigs? In your reporting among your team, what did you guys conclude?
STENGEL: Yes. Well, Nancy Gibbs wrote the story, which is a terrific reported essay about it.
And, obviously, the reasons are very complex. I mean, one of them simply is a lot of the folks who get into power are narcissists. And narcissists are people who think that the regular rules don't apply.
But you also have people who ascend to hierarchy, who go up to the top, to the corner office. And there was a recent study in "Psychological Science" that said men and women who climb up the hierarchy begin to feel that the rules don't apply to them, that they can behave whatever they want and there are no consequences.
I think both of those things factor in the behavior that we are seeing among those two guys and plenty more politicians.
BLITZER: Although it is fair to say -- and I think you will agree -- that even non-powerful men, men who are not powerful, sometimes act like pigs, too.
STENGEL: Yes. That's -- that's indubitably true.
BLITZER: So, you can't just say powerful men act like -- men, sometimes rich men, poor men, powerful men, not so powerful men.
Let's talk a little bit about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, because it is a fascinating case. The difference between the culture in France and the media in dealing with sexual allegations, if you will, and here, what did you guys find out?
STENGEL: Well, one of the things -- I mean, in France, they -- they are much more compartmentalized, in the sense that the private life of politicians or leaders or bureaucrats is kept separate from their public life.
And that's perfectly fine. I mean, but, in America, we tend to make judgments about our leaders in terms of their private life and personality, as well as how they perform in public. I do think, for example, one of the criticisms that you have had in France about the now kind of infamous perp walk that DSK had to take, I have to say, I agree with that.
The fact that we parade somebody who is presumed to be innocent on a perp walk, where their picture is taken and they're presumed guilty, is something that's not fair. You know, despite what Mayor Bloomberg said, that, you know, don't do the crime if you don't want to do the perp walk, that's not the way it is under our law, where you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
BLITZER: It's a powerful cover, a powerful article in "TIME" magazine, "Sex, Lies, Arrogance: What Makes Powerful Men Act Like Pigs?"
Rick Stengel is the managing editor.
Rick, thanks very much.
STENGEL: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: His brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators has left hundreds of people dead, and there is no end in sight. Should the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, step down? I will ask the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He is here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Also, a labor battle the latest threat to Boeing's troubled Dreamliner.
Plus, investigators are wondering if the Unabomber is tied to those unsolved Tylenol poisonings almost 30 years ago.
BLITZER: With change certainly sweeping the Arab world right now, President Obama says the need for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is more urgent than ever, and he issued has a new call for two states consisting of -- quote -- "a viable Palestine and a secure Israel."
He says he disagree with those who insist it is not possible to move forward right now.
BLITZER: And joining us now from Jerusalem, the former Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair. He's the special envoy for what's called the Quartet, the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations.
So, is there any prospect any time soon for actual Israeli/Palestinian peace talks to resume?
TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, it's blocked at the moment.
But I think the important thing about the president's speech is that it tries to give shape and direction to that negotiation when we can put it back together. So he emphasizes very strongly the Palestinians' right to a Palestinian state that is viable and sovereign. But he also emphasizes equally strongly the Israeli need for security, the Israeli determination, supported by the United States and the international community, to defend its security.
So, I think what he is trying to do in the speech and in a region of which, you know, there is a huge revolution going on, to locate, as it were, the direction for any resumed negotiation, even though, right now, it is tough to see how quickly this negotiation could be put back together.
BLITZER: He made it clear that Hamas, which is now a partner with the Palestinian Authority in this new Palestinian arrangement, that Hamas has to accept Israel's right to exist, renounce terrorism, accept previous agreements. Is that likely to happen any time soon?
BLAIR: It is hard to say.
But I think what's important, again, is that what he is doing is laying down some clear lines, some clear principles, upon which we are going to act. And it is important to emphasize the reason why we -- we demand this of Hamas is because, if you don't give up violence, then obviously it is impossible to have peace.
And if you don't -- when you are trying to reach a two-state solution, a viable state, a Palestine, a secure state of Israel, if you don't accept Israel's right to exist, it is hard to see how you can have that two-state solution.
So, these principles are not there just for the sake of it. They are there because they are the only sensible, practical route to make peace. Now, I was also with President Abbas earlier today on the West Bank in Ramallah. And I spoke to him about the -- this new government and coming together. And he made it very, very clear that this government would only come together on a basis that promoted peace.
BLITZER: On the whole issue of the '67 borders, the president was very specific. He says Israel and Palestine should be -- the new border should be based on the '67 lines with mutually agreed swaps.
Does that mean, if Israel, for example, were to take some parts of the West Bank, they would have to give up an equal amount of land in the pre-'67 Israel?
BLAIR: Well, I think it is not absolutely predetermining what happens in the negotiation. But I think it is saying, in essence, that the Palestinians have got to be sure that their state is viable in terms of territory.
And that means, if you like, a size of territory that is at least comparable to that laid out by the 1967 lines. So, obviously, there is going to be deviations or changes from those '67 lines which are mutually agreed through swaps, and that's been part of the negotiating process for a long period of time.
But the president is trying to say, look, on the one hand, the Palestinians have got to know, if they go back to the negotiating table, that they are going on get a viable state. On the other hand, Israel has got the right to protect its security, and we will stand behind them on that.
BLITZER: Is it time for President Bashar al-Assad to step down?
BLAIR: Look, I think that this is a moment in which, unless he shows he can lead his country in a process of transition and change, then it is hard to see how this enormous desire for -- for greater freedom, for greater democracy and proper representation in Syria is going to be denied.
And, you know, what the president is also trying to do in this speech, I think, is to -- to set out a context for the whole region.
There is this -- democracy movement going on. It's real. And it is driven by people. And it's -- it's a result of people wanting the same types of freedoms that they enjoy elsewhere.
Now, at the same time, the president is aware of the fact that, when you engage in this process of change, you can get great uncertainty, great instability. So what he's trying to say to those within the region is set out a process by which you -- you can evolve and lead your countries on a process of change. Because if you don't, then it becomes very hard to support a status quo that denies your people basic rights.
So -- you know, in respect to President Assad I think it's -- it's -- it's hard to see, frankly, how he's going to be in a position where he leads his people to that process of change that we want to see.
BLITZER: Yes, but a thousand people have been killed in the last month or so in Syria. So realistically, let's be honest, Prime Minister. You don't believe President Bashar al-Assad is going to lead a transition to democracy in Syria.
BLAIR: At the moment, I have to say that it does not look like it. Now, the international community has stopped short of -- saying in respect to President Assad what it said in respect to Muammar Gadhafi.
But -- I think unless we can see a way forward for Syrian people to be able to -- to get the freedom and ability to choose their government in the way they obviously want, then it, you know, becomes hard to support. Regimes that are brutalizing their people.
And as you say, there have been many, many people killed. And killed in circumstances where -- they're out there, simply saying -- you know, we want what the rest of the world or many parts of the world regard as their -- their democratic and human rights.
BLITZER: Prime Minister, always good to speak to you. I'll look forward to seeing you here in Washington. And good luck in the peace process. We're counting on you.
BLAIR: I think I'll need it. Thanks very much.
BLITZER: Dr. Jack Kevorkian, known by some as Dr. Death, is hospitalized in Michigan. We're going to update you. Stand by for that.
And damaged tiles on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. NASA now investigating how serious the problem might be.
BLITZER: New video being aired of Libya leader Muammar Gadhafi. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM.
What do you have?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Libyan state television broadcast footage of President Muammar Gadhafi meeting with the leader of a Libyan Islamic organization, who met recently with Russia's foreign minister in Moscow, Russian news reports are now indicating that Libya is willing to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions if NATO air strikes are halted.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian is in a Michigan hospital receiving treatment for pneumonia and a kidney-related condition. His attorney says the 82-year-old Kevorkian has struggled with kidney problems for years. Dubbed Dr. Death for his advocacy of assisted suicide, Kevorkian was convicted of murder in his role in the death of a terminally ill patient. He was paroled back in 2007.
And NASA is inspecting what appears to be damage to the Space Shuttle Endeavour's heat shield tiles. A NASA spokesman says three suspect areas were spotted in photographs of the underside of the shuttle, but Mark Kelly, the commander of the final Endeavour mission, says it's, quote, "not too big of a concern." So hopefully, no problem there, Wolf.
BLITZER: Hopefully. Let's hope for the best. Thanks very much, Lisa.
He's already one of America's most notorious criminals. Now, could the Unabomber be a suspect in the unsolved Tylenol murders from the early 1980s?
And Boeing's plans for the new 787 Dreamliner are threatened. We'll tell you why.
BLITZER: Some Republicans see him as potential game saver for the 2012 presidential elections. And now the former Utah governor, Jon Huntsman, is dipping a toe in the political waters of New Hampshire, a key primary state. Let's go there.
CNN's Jim Acosta is joining us with more on Jon Huntsman. So what's he doing there, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to tell you I think he's doing more than just testing the political waters. He's going for a pretty decent swim with about a dozen stops over the next five days here in New Hampshire. He was just at this restaurant behind me here in Hanover.
And his entrance into the (AUDIO GAP) comes at a critical time for the Republican Party there. Some in the party who obviously are concerned about the current slate of candidates. But a lot of conservatives will have to get over the fact that Huntsman as the governor of Utah and the former ambassador to Barack Obama, not only has ties to this administration but he has also once supported policies like cap and trade, civil unions for same-sex couples.
But you know, he was asked some tough questions at this crowd. For a first campaign event in New Hampshire, there were some tough questions asked by the people in the crowd here. He was asked about the critical issue of Afghanistan, and here's what he had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON HUNTSMAN (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF UTAH: We are going to have to keep our eyes on Afghanistan, realizing full well that when any drawdown occurs, which I think is inevitable, that it will create a vacuum. And nature abhors a vacuum, and so does international affairs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, the newsier thing that Jon Huntsman said at this event this evening, as he addressed the president's Middle East speech, saying he had not heard Mr. Obama's speech on the Middle East, but he said about President Obama's call for Israel and Palestine to retreat -- or go back to their 1967 lines.
Governor Huntsman said when you've got sensitive negotiations, you've got to ask the question if you respect Israel we probably ought to ask what they think is best. So some soft criticism there, Wolf, from Jon Huntsman. It sort of matches the overall tone at this event. It was polite criticism of the president, not the kind of red meat that we've heard a lot of conservative Republicans throughout the White House over the last couple of years -- Wolf.
BLITZER: President did say with mutually agreed land swaps going back to the '67 lines. A significant caveat. Not necessarily exactly the '67 lines. So what is he suggesting that -- is he criticizing the president? Because the president, as you know, and a lot of our viewers know, Jim, named him the United States ambassador to China. He served for more than two years under President Obama.
ACOSTA: That's right. And Governor Huntsman, I should mention that his staff told me before this event he likes to be called Governor Huntsman, not Ambassador Huntsman. He addressed this issue of the fact that he worked for President Obama. He said, "Well, I -- I served as an ambassador to the president. Not necessarily to President Obama. And when the president calls I serve."
So as to that matter, that's what Jon Huntsman had to say about his ambassadorship.
As for Israel, you know, he didn't get into a lot of specifics about that issue. He threw out that caveat that he had not heard the president's speech, but he did say that he thought that perhaps the president should have allowed Israel to negotiate through this process before coming out with what was a pretty hard stance from the president's today, Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta in New Hampshire for us. Thanks, Jim, very much.
In less than month, by the way, CNN will host the New Hampshire presidential debate on Monday, June 13. Please join us as Republican hopefuls gather to size one another up and debate the serious issues. The New Hampshire presidential debate Monday night, June 13, only here on CNN.
Plans by Boeing to begin production of its 787 Dreamliner this summer could now be jeopardized by a serious labor battle. The company is battling a union of aerospace assembly workers over plans to move some production from Washington state to South Carolina. Lisa Sylvester is following this story for us.
Lisa, the federal government is now getting involved, as well.
SYLVESTER: Yes. This is a big fight here. The National Labor Relations Board acting general council has issued a complaint against Boeing, siding with the union. The company says that this was a purely business decision to open up a second assembly line in South Carolina. But the machinists union are calling this retaliation.
SYLVESTER (voice-over): Charming location, southern hospitality and an available work force, some of the reasons why North Charleston, South Carolina, was picked by Boeing in October 2009 as the location for its second assembly line for the new 787 Dreamliner plane.
MAYOR KEITH SUMMEY, NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: When there's a downturn in the economy to get a plant like Boeing, it heightens the expectations of people within the community.
SYLVESTER: The new Boeing facility is scheduled to be completed in July. It will employ 3,800 people. But behind the happy headlines, a raging debate. South Carolina is a right-to-work state, where employees cannot be forced to join a union.
JOHN MCDERMOTT, "CHARLESTON POST AND COURIER": The people of South Carolina are used -- traditionally are averse to unions. It's just -- it's a deep-seated cultural thing.
SYLVESTER: For decades Boeing has built its planes at Everett, Washington, by union workers. The decision to build a second assembly line in South Carolina has the folks in Washington state up in arms.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers points to comments from Boeing's CEO and other officials that suggest a driving reason for opening up the South Carolina plant was because of strikes by Boeing workers and the possibility of future work stoppages.
The union calls this latent retaliation and says that's against the law.
(on camera) Why do you consider this to be retaliation?
CHRISTOPHER CORSON, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS: Work stoppages are considered an activity protected by law. Engaging in collective bargaining negotiations is considered an activity protected by law. And taking work away from employees because they've engaged in those rights, that's illegal retaliation.
SYLVESTER: The National Labor Relations Board acting general council appointed by President Obama agreed with the union, issuing a complaint and ordering the South Carolina plant not be used to build the 787 planes.
We asked Boeing for an interview but they declined. But in a response to the NLRB complaint, Boeing's chief counsel said, "No work, none at all, was removed or transferred from Puget South. The second line for the 787 is a new final assembly line.
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm outraged at it.
SYLVESTER: Republican Senator Jim DeMint represents South Carolina. He says the NLRB ruling infringes on the rights of an American company to decide where it can and cannot locate.
DEMINT: What it's going to do is hurt all American workers. It will hurt our economy by encouraging companies to locate in other countries where they don't have to deal with the government that is so oppressive.
SYLVESTER: The South Carolina plant is now in limbo, still scheduled to open in a matter of weeks with the issue unresolved.
SYLVESTER: The case goes to trial June 14. An administrative law judge will make a ruling. Either side then can appeal that decision to the full National Labor Relations Board. And if either side is still not satisfied, it could then go on before a U.S. Court of Appeals, and it could actually make its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The point being, Wolf, that this could drag on for a while.
BLITZER: Lots of jobs are at stake. Thanks very much, Lisa, for that. A notorious unsolved case and now a possible link to the Unabomber. Details of a twist in the deadly Tylenol tamperings of 1982.
BLITZER: The man known as the Unabomber is being investigated other a string of murders in the 1980s involving poisoned Tylenol. Brian Todd is following this story for us.
So what -- what's law enforcement saying about Ted Kaczynski right now?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, Wolf, they're not saying right at the moment that he is a clear suspect in this case. All the FBI is saying at this point is that, in reopening the Tylenol probe, they're trying to get DNA from several people, including Ted Kaczynski. It's a chilling connection between two cases that still haunt investigators.
TODD (voice-over): It's one of the FBI's most notorious unsolved cases, the 1982 Tylenol murders. Seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. Now the bureau is hinting at a possible link to one of the most feared domestic terrorists, Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.
MARK OLSHAKER, AUTHOR, "UNABOMBER": I think it's kind of a drag net, a broad-bush approach. I don't think he's good for it.
TODD: Mark Olshaker co-wrote a book on the Unabomber with a former FBI agent. Ted Kaczynski is serving a life sentence at the super max prison in Florence, Colorado, for killing three people and wounding nearly two dozen others in a string of bombings from 1978 to 1995.
The FBI in a statement says, in reexamining the Tylenol case, it's attempted to secure DNA samples from numerous individuals, including Ted Kaczynski. In a hand-written court filing, Kaczynski says he won't give them a sample voluntarily unless the FBI meets a certain obligation that neither he nor the bureau have disclosed. Kaczynski says his detailed journals establish his whereabouts and activities in 1982, and he writes, ' I have never even possessed any potassium cyanide."
(on camera) Kaczynski then asks a judge to block the auction of some of the possessions that were taken from this cabin when he was arrested in 1996. The cabin now sits here in the Newseum in Washington. Kaczynski says some of the stuff that was taken from here should be preserved as possible evidence to exonerate him in the Tylenol case.
(voice-over) But the auction started this week, with the proceeds to go to his victims. On the block, his clothes, sunglasses, his infamous manifesto and his journals, which according to a lead investigator, Kaczynski wrote in secret code.
TERRY TURCHIE, FORMER FBI OFFICIAL: He recorded everything. There are over 30,000 pages of documents that he had and that he wrote over the years in his cabin.
TODD: But no evidence has surfaced linking Kaczynski to the Tylenol plot, and prosecutors say no prosecution of him is currently planned.
(on camera) The Tylenol case, is that Ted Kaczynski's M.O.?
OLSHAKER: No, it's not. First of all, we think it was an extortion case, rather than some kind of wild, self-aggrandizing scheme to alter society. And also, we find that extortionists, bombers, assassins and arsonists all tend to stick with what they know and what they feel comfortable with.
TODD: Olshaker says he doesn't think Ted Kaczynski would have been comfortable going into drug stores and tampering with Tylenol bottles. An attorney for Kaczynski tells CNN he is persuaded that Kaczynski had absolutely no involvement in any aspect of the Tylenol case -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Has anyone ever been arrested in that Tylenol case?
TODD: Incredibly enough, there were no arrests directly related to the murders. There was one arrest and conviction for extortion relating to the case. That man served some time in jail. In recent years, authorities have hinted that they think that that same guy is the suspect in the murders still in recent years. But he's always professed his innocence.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.
A major ruling in the sexual assault case of the former IMF chief. We'll have the latest on "JOHN KING USA" at the top of the hour.
And the British scientist Steven Hawking says heaven is a fairy story. Jack Cafferty wants to know, do you agree?
BLITZER: All right. Here's a look at some "Hot Shots."
In Afghanistan, a man rides a bicycle past a destroyed building in downtown Kabul.
In Turkey, women dressed in colorful costumes danced as part of a celebration of youth.
In Rome, a new statue of late Pope John Paul II stands in fronts of a brilliant blue sky.
And in England, look at this. Alpacas wait in their stalls before being judged in a livestock competition.
'Hot Shots," pictures coming into THE SITUATION ROOM from around the world.
Let's get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We've got this guy -- excuse me -- in California saying the world is going to end on Saturday and 200 million of us are going to be swept off to heaven. The question is, "British scientist Steven Hawking says the idea of heaven is a fairy story. We want to know if you agree with that."
P.M. writes, "I'd rather believe in heaven than not believe. If I'm right, there are good reasons to care about my behavior and impact I have on the world around me. If I'm wrong, I will still have lived a good life. Some day we'll find out who's right and who's wrong. But until then, I believe."
Jeremy says, "Of course Steven Hawking is going to say that. He's a scientist. Scientists need proof of everything or else it doesn't exist. But you can't scientifically proof faith."
David in Oklahoma writes, "I tend to degree with Dr. Hawking. There's no evidence beyond the shaky anecdotal near-death experiences of people. I'll go with the science and say I don't believe in heaven, although I certainly wish that it was real."
Lisa in Connecticut says, "Here's proof that knowledge and wisdom are not the same. Hawking cannot approve his assertion that is untestable to humans so people are stuck with accepting it blindly on faith. He asserts the universe was simply created by gravity. But he can't explain what created gravity. My faith is in God in heaven, not in this man."
David in Virginia writes, "Nobody has any evidence, one way or the other."
Rebecca says, "I agree with Steven Hawking. I think heaven is a made up idea. But if the promise of heaven comforts those uncomfortable with death and compels them to lead better lives, then who am I to be against it?"
And my favorite might be this one. Biz in Pennsylvania writes, "Steven Hawking is a genius with an extremely high I.Q. He only believes in things that he can prove. I'm a man who doesn't wear his religion on his sleeve. But I do believe there is a God, because I have felt his presence in time of need. If there wasn't a God, I don't think people would have a soul or a conscience. I hope to get to meet Steven Hawking in the hereafter so I can tell him, 'See? I knew something that you didn't'."
You want to read more on this, go to my blog, CNN.com CNN.com/CaffertyFile.
BLITZER: I do want to read more, and I will go to your blog, Jack. Thanks so much. See you back here tomorrow. That does it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.