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President Obama Meets With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Randy 'Macho Man' Savage Dies in Car Crash; Dominique Strauss-Kahn Still in Jail; Cell Phone Health Hazards; Homemade Levee in Mississippi; Judgment Day Believers; Obama's Middle East Speech
Aired May 20, 2011 - 14:10 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: And there you have it. You've been listening to President Obama and Prime Minister from Israel Benjamin Netanyahu speaking there in the Oval Office. Those comments were recorded just a few moments ago.
Our Ed Henry has been standing by at the White House listening to this, along with us.
Ed, certainly from the body language -- I'm not sure if you could see it or just hear it, but it seems as though the two may have made some progress since some of the anger that came from yesterday's speech regarding the Middle East.
ED HENRY, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely. I mean, we don't know how much anger was exchanged yet. We're digging on that in the first part of the meeting. But it went on a long time.
And you're right, when they came out, we did see the body language. And the small group, a pool of reporters who went in, came out and told us that in particular, if you notice in that video, Prime Minister Netanyahu was rarely looking at the media in the Oval Office. Instead, spent most of his time looking directly in the eyes of the president of the United States.
Significant, because at one point, he said -- in terms of talking about Hamas, he said, "Hamas has just attacked you, Mr. President, for ridding the world of bin Laden," making that very personal, reaching out, eye to eye, man to man. And then repeatedly, both men, I think, clearly showed that they were, one, trying to paper over the differences.
At one point, Netanyahu saying there were going to be differences here and there. President Obama, I'll note, never mentioned 1967 and the borders, but did say that there would be differences over, as he put it, precise formulations. That's a euphemism for, we had a big fight yesterday, but we're trying to make up a little bit obviously, Randi.
And I thought it was also significant, finally, that they both tried to make -- you know, bend over backwards to say, look, we're going to disagree from time to time, but we're both committed to trying to work this out long term. Not surprising.
I mean, it would be surprising if they came out and said, we're giving up, folks, we're not going to try anymore. But it's still significant that in front of the entire world, these two men are saying, we have our differences, but we're going to figure this out and keep working at it. That's all they can do at this point.
KAYE: Is it your feeling, given their relationship, do you get the sense that they trust each other on this one?
HENRY: You know what's interesting? You used that very word. Because I told you earlier that I was speaking to two people close to the prime minister who told me they're actually more close behind the scenes than we think when we see them publicly, and that they'll hash things out, but they speak on the phone a lot and they're closer.
But when that word of "trust" came up, one of the people close to the prime minister told me, "I'm still not sure that the trust is there." There's a personal bond, there's a connection, but on the Israeli side there's still concern that every once in a while, there's a comment from the U.S. side that seems to poke the prime minister in the eye. And they think a little bit that's what happened yesterday.
Now, again, you saw right there, they're trying to patch this up. But I still think that while there's a personal connection, that one word that you raised, you're exactly right, trust still not completely there.
KAYE: All right. Ed Henry, appreciate you standing by and watching this with us, and helping us get a better understanding of those two men there and their relationship.
Well, new information just breaking in the case of Dominique Strauss- Kahn. We are going live to New York City in just two minutes.
You'll want to hear this, so stay with us.
KAYE: We want to share some breaking news with you now regarding Randy "Macho Man" Savage. You may know him well. He is a pro wrestler.
We have just confirmed that Randy "Macho Man" Savage has died, coming from the Florida Highway Patrol. There was a car accident. We know that he was the driver. We don't know exactly what happened, what the cause of death was, but this is video from the accident scene there coming to us from the Florida Highway Patrol.
You may know him for his deep, raspy voice. He was well known for that. He was certainly well known for his attire that he wore in the ring -- the sunglasses, bandanna, the headband, the flashy robes, and often a cowboy hat.
So, sad news to report today. I believe he was 58 years old.
And here we have -- it's a statement from the WWE. And the statement reads, "WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, a.k.a. Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Poffo was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWE and Intercontinental championships."
"Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife, Lynn. Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans."
So some very sad news there about Randy "Macho Man" Savage.
To New York now, where bail has been granted and reportedly paid. But Dominique Strauss-Kahn is still in his cell on Rikers Island.
The sticking point is said to be the other conditions imposed on the former head of the International Monetary Fund, who faces seven felony counts in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid last Saturday. Strauss-Kahn was ordered to put up $1 million cash, post a $5 million bond, and submit to home confinement with armed guard and electronic monitoring.
Reportedly, finding a home has been difficult. And lawyers for both sides are due back in court this hour. This is very new information.
I want to bring in CNN's Susan Candiotti.
Susan, bring us up to date here.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Randi, since the first thing this morning, we've been watching and watching and watching Rikers Island to see when he might get an armed escort out of there. Remember, he has to pay out of his own pocket armed guards who will take him from there over to his apartment that his wife was leasing so that they had some place to stay under home detention, and 24-hour monitoring by a private security firm that would cost upwards of $200,000 a month.
But they also had to wait for the bail orders to be signed. And we just got word moments ago that, in fact, that happened, including a $1 million cash bail, as well as a $5 million bond.
The thing is, there's a hitch, as you indicated. There have been reports, and we've been watching this apartment building, where we believe that he would be heading to, but he hasn't shown up.
Well, first, they had to have the order signed, but now the hitch is that there are reports that there's an issue with that apartment lease either by the building owner or the tenants of the building. And CNN has reached out repeatedly to the property owner, as well as to the defense attorney, and so far they have not returned our calls or messages at this time.
But it's gotten to the point where the judge has now called a hearing at 2:30, so just in a little while from now. And we are in the courtroom to find out what exactly the issue is. And until he has a place to stay, obviously, he won't be able to leave Rikers.
KAYE: Exactly. And certainly he was planning on leaving today. So this is getting even more interesting.
Where, legally, though, Susan, is he permitted to live? Is it just in an apartment building in Manhattan?
CANDIOTTI: Yes. He has to be within the district. He's had to turn over his passport. He can't go anywhere but stay at home unless, for example, he's told the court that he might occasionally want to go to a religious service. And he would have to do so under very strict observation.
He can receive visitors at his house to include his family and some other friends, but only a limited number of people at a time, the judge has said. And he also could have, of course, all the visits he wants with his lawyers as he tries to prepare his defense for presumably a trial that wouldn't happen for another six months or so.
KAYE: Yes. And I want to ask you, also, this other new information coming to us today during the show.
As for the suspect's wealth, which, by the way, we've learned is enhanced now by $250,000, severance from the IMF, do you think that we might be expecting -- I know you're not a lawyer, but you think we might be expecting a civil suit to come out of this as well?
CANDIOTTI: You mean filed by who?
KAYE: Well, I imagine it could be filed possibly by the IMF.
CANDIOTTI: Well, he resigned, remember? So I don't think -- there's no indication, I should say, from the International Monetary Fund that he would be that -- that they would take action against him at this time.
Now, whether there would be, for other reasons, if there were allegations made against him that he had done some kind of act that would impact them, or against any employee of the IMF, that certainly is a possibility. But so far we know of no allegations to that effect.
But he does get that payout, as you said, of $250,000. It's a one- time payout. And, of course, his salary. But he resigned on his own.
I know that they're still trying to get a hold of any documents he left behind, or possibly the cell phone, if that belonged to the IMF, the famous cell phone that he left behind at the hotel after this alleged attack.
KAYE: All right. Susan Candiotti, if you have any information on that hearing that should be getting under way there in about seven minutes or so, please do keep us posted. Appreciate it. Thank you.
CANDIOTTI: We will. Thank you.
KAYE: Up next, the cell phone industry has shot it down, and so has the government. But you'll want to hear what our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, found out. And earthquakes, tornadoes, floods. Is the world ending? Some say tomorrow may be the day.
Coming up, the one and only Pete Dominick talks to the believers.
KAYE: Cell phones, most of us use them. But are they really safe? Do they cause cancer?
The government and the cell phone industry say no. The fine print on cell phone packaging says maybe. But some leading scientists and doctors say we should be concerned, especially for our children.
Our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been looking into this, and he joins me now.
I guess the key question on everybody's mind, how concerned should we really be?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a good question. I think perhaps more concerned than the headlines would have you believe.
I think the Interphone study was this big study, 13 countries participated. And the headline was there's no association.
Now, what we found just by digging a little deeper, though, Randi, into this, was there was an appendix to this study, which, interestingly, you could only find online. But once you looked at that, here's what I thought was interesting.
In the people who used their cell phones for at least 10 years, then you started to see nearly a doubling in the rate of glioma, which is a type of brain tumor. So, this sort of begs the question, you know, if people are using their cell phones longer and longer, and there's what is known as a latency period, and it takes a while for a tumor to develop, might this be a problem a decade from now, two decades from now, and so forth?
In this country, it's hard to believe, because we're so used to using cell phones, but, really, they've only become popular over the last 15 years. In '96, there was about 30 million cell phones in this country. Now there's 300 million. It's gone up 10 times in 15 years.
The question is, what is all that doing to the brain in the longer term? And again, as you point out, people are starting to beat the drum on this. Loud and prominent voices on this.
KAYE: Right. Well, meanwhile, though, the FCC is pretty clear in saying that they're OK, there's nothing to worry about. But I'm curious, how is this tested?
GUPTA: Yes. This surprised me. And we got some pretty unusual access to a testing facility.
So when you have a cell phone, it says it can't emit more than a certain amount of radiation. How do they do this?
GUPTA: Well, you're actually looking at it here. And I'll tell you, it was decidedly low-tech.
That's actually a model of the brain. And they actually create this liquid brain inside by using salt, sugar and water. And then they literally, in this case, they took my phone, hooked it up next to this sort of model, and they tested for radiation throughout the brain.
Now, you know, I guess it works pretty well, but it's pretty low-tech. And the thing that strikes you -- struck me, anyway -- is that that's an adult male skull. It's supposed to be approximating that. Well, what about people who have thicker or thinner skulls? And more importantly, what about children?
There has not been a single peer-reviewed study looking at cell phones and children, which is remarkable to me, because children would use the phones their entire lives.
KAYE: Sure. I mean, my 6, 7, 8-year-old nieces and nephews, they're on their cell phones.
GUPTA: Right, already on it. I'm trying to keep my kids from doing it, but I think it's going to be a little bit of a losing battle for me.
KAYE: Yes. Well, a lot of parents will do it even just for safety reasons so they have it.
GUPTA: That's right. That's right.
KAYE: So I know that a lot of people, including you -- I've seen you walking around with that little ear bud. Is that the safest way to talk on a cell phone, do you think?
GUPTA: I think so. And it's one of these things where you talk about not wanting to change your life upside-down. I'm not giving up my cell phone. I actually have three of them.
KAYE: No, you can't.
GUPTA: Yes. And you're not either. But even on the manufacturing insert that comes with it, it says you should hold your phone about an inch away from your ear. I mean, who does that?
GUPTA: I mean, but this is what they-
KAYE: Then everybody's going to hear my conversation.
GUPTA: Right. So you're sitting there -- no one does it. Everyone puts it against their head.
GUPTA: But even the cell phone instructions say you shouldn't do that. The nice thing is, the further you move it away, it drops off radiation level exponentially. So you know, I hold it, and then I use my earpiece. I can also, you know...
KAYE: Right. Right.
GUPTA: ... check my e-mails at the same time.
KAYE: I mean, I find that I put it -- you know, I lay it down on my lap, or I...
KAYE: ... or I -- you know, it's always on me somewhere. I see a lot of people with it in their back pocket.
GUPTA: That's right.
KAYE: I guess none of that is a good idea.
GUPTA: Well, I mean, they say you should be at least an inch away. I carry it in my back pocket, as well, because it's further away from my bone marrow, my reproductive organs.
GUPTA: You know, that's just -- you know, but that's sort of a mitigating risk. I think the earpiece is a pretty simple thing to do, and a lot of these concerns which we raise in this piece can, you know, greatly be reduced just by doing that.
KAYE: Wow. Well, if anybody is going to get the final answer on this, Sanjay, I have faith that you will.
GUPTA: I'm digging on it, yes.
KAYE: You will do it, so...
GUPTA: Might be 10 years, but will you have me back then?
KAYE: Well, if the world doesn't end this weekend...
GUPTA: That's right.
KAYE: ... and cell phones don't kill us, then, yes, we'll have you back, OK?
GUPTA: We might have some other things to worry about.
(LAUGHTER) KAYE: All right, Sanjay, thank you.
GUPTA: Thank you.
KAYE: And you can see much more of Sanjay's year-long investigation on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight at 10:00 PM Eastern, and this weekend on "SANJAY GUPTA M.D." That's Saturday at 7:30 AM and 2:30 PM, and once again Sunday morning at 7:30 AM.
So fighting the mighty Mississippi, one family is taking matters into their own hands. They hired a crew and spent three weeks building their own homemade levee around their house just before the flooding hit Mississippi.
And that's where CNN's Martin Savidge is right now. He joins us live on the telephone. He is in the home that you see right here on the larger island. That's in Yazoo County, Mississippi.
Martin, how is this family holding up? And how are things going there on the makeshift island?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, everybody's fine. We're on the big island, as we like to refer to it. The little island over there is another house that belongs to their son.
But it is quite remarkable. I'm standing in the center of what is three acres of completely dry land next to a beautiful farmhouse and the outbuildings that are all just dry. And surrounding us, though, as far as the eye can see is what looks like a massive lake. Now, it's not meant to be there. That is normally about a thousand acres of cotton. But instead, it's water backing up from the Yazoo and the Mississippi Rivers that inundated all of the farmland around here.
But this is a family that has lived in Yazoo County now almost 200 years. So when they heard that the water was coming, they weren't just going to pack up things and leave their houses behind to be flooded. They decided they were going to do something about it, and they took on a major construction effort. Now, they are farmers, which means they've got a lot of land around them, which means they've got the stuff to make the levee, the dirt. They dug it up for two weeks using heavy earth-moving equipment with the help of a contractor, built the levee 2,200 feet all around this three acres. It ranges in height from 8 to maybe 11 feet. But that is what is holding out all of that water.
And as you say, when you look at the imagery from up in the sky, it is just phenomenal to see that they are an island. Heart (ph) Island surrounded by what I call the Heart Lake. And so far, everything is good. They even have electricity. They have television. They have Internet. They have it all. They just don't have the flood waters inside their home.
KAYE: Well, that's good. That's what they don't want. It certainly is impressive. Is the family, though -- you know, just in case of an emergency, I mean, do they have the means to get out of there? SAVIDGE: They have a couple of things set up, sort of plan B and C. First of all, they have boats. Second, it would be possible to wade out of here. Probably be up to chest high, maybe a little higher in certain other places, but you could.
And on top of that, if there were to be some sort of break, they do have heavy equipment, farm equipment that you normally have standing by here. They've everything from pumps ready to pump the water out if there's a leak, or they've got plows if they need to move dirt and move it in a hurry.
But this stuff (ph), I got to tell you, is very heavily constructed. I mean, it's not just piled-up dirt. They packed it down. And then on top of that, they put plastic sheeting on the outside before the water came, so that what you're having happening out there, is the waves are getting fairly high out there in what was the cotton field and they're pounding against the levee side. The plastic is preventing it from eroding away.
They thought a lot about this, and it seems to be paying off.
KAYE: It is a fascinating feat by this family, and certainly an important one. Martin Savidge, thank you. Appreciate it.
SAVIDGE: Sure thing.
KAYE: Adopting a child in the U.S. can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Well, this week's "CNN Hero" learned that firsthand when she paid the bills to adopt her children. Today Becky Fawcett is helping other adoptive parents build their families without breaking the bank.
BECKY FAWCETT, HELPUSADOPT.ORG: I don't care how you become a mother, it's a miracle.
One of them making the other one laugh, it's just the greatest noise ever. I waited a long time for that kind of noise.
Jake and Brooke are both adopted. To adopt our two children, it was over $100,000 in after-tax money paid in full, paid up front. An adoption in this country can cost between $30,000 and $50,000, depending on the situation.
There are plenty of loving homes out there, and the only obstacle is this cost of adoption. My name is Becky Fawcett, and I started an organization that helps complete the cost of adoptions by rewarding financial grants.
I mean, it's always the same.
As little girl, I dreamed of being a mother.
Our applicants are hard-working, educated Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) is the light of my life. She's everything to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The expenses were insurmountable and scary. The money that I received from Helpusadopt.org took a lot of weight off of my shoulders.
FAWCETT: We've helped to build 43 families since 2007. We're helping people bring their children home and we're helping all types of families. We believe in family, period. We believe in loving a child, period.
My journey to adoption is the best thing that ever happened to me. Those seeking adoption, there is a happy moment at the end of your story. Takes us all a long time to get there, but it's worth the wait.
KAYE: Since 2007, Becky's organization has awarded more than $300,000 in grant money and helped to build 43 families. Remember, every one of this year's "CNN Heroes" is chosen from people that you tell us about. So to nominate someone you know who's making a really big difference in your community, we'd love to meet them. Just go to CNNHeroes.com and nominate someone.
Gunfire rips through the streets of Syrian cities after Friday prayers, the number of people killed at the hands of government forces on the rise once again. The deadly details are next.
KAYE: A bold strike against the U.S. today in Pakistan, suicide bomb attack on a U.S. convoy in northwestern city of Peshawar. Michael Holmes is here to bring us the very latest on this. And I guess the Pakistani Taliban claiming the responsibility?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes. Yes, they are. They say it's a revenge killing for the death of Osama bin Laden. What happened was you had two U.S. consular officials. They were slightly wounded. A motorcycle rider was killed. There were, I think, nine civilians also wounded. Luckily, the U.S. officials were in an armored vehicle, two armored vehicles, and so they were just sort of slightly hurt. And this is the latest in a bit of a surge of violence since bin Laden's death that we've seen.
KAYE: We've been seeing quite of bit of that. Also, there was another U.S. drone attack in Pakistan.
KAYE: What happened there?
HOLMES: It's a bit of an uptick, actually, what we're seeing. This happened in a tribal area, North Waziristan. We've heard of that place before. Four militants said to have been killed. What's interesting is we've seen six drone attacks in the past 15 days. That's according to a CNN count. It's a huge source of tension between the Pakistanis and United States, but what we're seeing is more of them since bin Laden's death.
KAYE: Turning to Syria -- after prayers today, more violence.
HOLMES: Isn't it amazing? I still can't get over the bravery of these protesters. They're going out there, you know, with a good chance of getting killed. You know, what we've heard is that, based on eyewitness accounts, 31 demonstrators killed in various places around Syria, protesters filling the streets of cities, including the capital of Damascus. And that is significant, too, because there's been very little going on in the capital.
KAYE: I find it interesting because these latest protests are coming the day after President Obama had very sharp words for President Assad.
HOLMES: Yes, he did. He spoke very directly, speaking on the Middle East yesterday. He told Assad to basically either implement democratic reforms or get out of the way. Also, it comes on the heels, of course, of the U.S. imposing those sanctions against Assad and some other top leaders. Pretty symbolic, though. They don't really mean much.
KAYE: What is going on with watermelons?
HOLMES: This is a funny story!
KAYE: I just don't even know how to bring this in!
HOLMES: I saw this on CNN.com a day or so ago, and I thought, Hey, well, that headline can't be right. It is. It's bizarre. Watermelons have been blowing up in fields in southeast -- southeast of Beijing.
KAYE: This is so bizarre!
HOLMES: It is, isn't it.
KAYE: What is this, because of fertilizer or something?
HOLMES: Apparently, the farmers -- I wouldn't want to be eating these watermelons anyway because what they did was mistakenly apply some sort of growth hormone, growth accelerator to the melons, and a few days later, this started happening. That certainly is a bit of growth there. But the farmers were having to wear goggles when they went into the -- into the -- the things there to pick them.
KAYE: And so what, they're trying to make them larger, I guess?
HOLMES: Faster, grow faster...
KAYE: Grow faster... HOLMES: Yes, bigger quicker.
KAYE: Bigger, faster, better. And look what happens. They explode.
HOLMES: And look what happens. So don't be buying Chinese watermelons.
KAYE: There you have it! Good advice.
HOLMES: It's not the first food problem we've had there.
KAYE: No. That's very true. All right, put that on the list, no watermelons. Mental note.
KAYE: Thank you, Michael.
HOLMES: Good to have you back.
KAYE: Thank you. Good to be back, as well.
So earthquakes, tornadoes, floods -- is the world really ending? Some say tomorrow is the day. The one and only Pete Dominick is next with a look at the end of the world. Could it be true? If we're not back in two minutes, panic.
KAYE: By now, you've probably heard of the religious group that's predicting that the end of the world starts this weekend. The one and only Pete Dominick hit the streets to talk to some of the believers, and here is what he found.
PETE DOMINICK, COMEDIAN: You may have seen one of 5,000 ominous billboards, posters, fliers and digital bus displays across the country. You may have seen one of these people handing these fliers for years. And now we start to think, Wait a second. May 21st? That's Saturday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our message is for the world to turn to God. Cry out for mercy. So we will be part of that rapture that's going to occur.
DOMINICK: Do you guys have questions for this guy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to be getting married on the 21st.
DOMINICK: You're not getting married.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.
DOMINICK: You're getting married this weekend?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DOMINICK: What time's the wedding?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's at 5:00 o'clock.
DOMINICK: I mean, this guy's getting married!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.
TOM SHALLASH, JUDGMENT DAY BELIEVER: How do you tell a false prophet? If it comes to pass or doesn't come to pass. That's the only way to tell if a prophet was a false prophet.
DOMINICK: So if this doesn't happen, everything you believes is false.
SHALLASH: It will happen.
DOMINICK: But if it doesn't?
SHALLASH: It will happen.
DOMINICK: But if it doesn't?
DOMINICK: If it doesn't. I'll bet you $20 right now it doesn't happen.
SHALLASH: That's silly because there's going to be no banks, there's going to be no structure left...
DOMINICK: Oh, good point.
After talking to some of these guys, I'm starting to get scared, so I decided to go to my favorite Catholic priest, Father Dave Dwyer of the Catholic channel here at Sirius XM. Father Dave, yes or no, world is ending tomorrow.
FATHER DAVE DWYER, THE CATHOLIC CHANNEL: See, the thing is we can't say yes or no. That's the whole point. We don't know. Jesus said you're not going to know the day or the hour. There are some people out there who kind of think they know when it is.
SHALLASH: The first time the earth rolls into May 21st is at the international timeline, New Zealand.
DOMINICK: So New Zealand first. We'll be able to watch... SHALLASH: That's right. That's right.
DOMINICK: ... on CNN the earth ending in New Zealand...
DOMINICK: ... in an (INAUDIBLE)
SHALLASH: Right. Right. Right.
DOMINICK: We're supposed to believe that they're Christians, that they believe that. What does that say about Catholics, about other Christians?
DWYER: Well, I mean, I think we live in such a diverse society that most people kind of say, Well, that doesn't represent all people. I actually in some sense -- I have to be honest with you, I admire the fact that they're out there, they're handing out pamphlets. It reminds me of people in the early church that were really bold and got thrown in jail.
DOMINICK: Tony, there's no way that by Saturday, I'm going to figure this out. I have a dentist appointment. I got to take my kids to a birthday party. And I have to work. I mean, I can't -- no way I'm going to be able to figure this out by Saturday.
SHALLASH: Let me give in (INAUDIBLE)
DOMINICK: If you knew you had one day left, what would you do, you guys? Are you a couple?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DOMINICK: What would you guys do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spend it with family.
DOMINICK: Would you shave the beard before you died?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I probably would have taken the train somewhere else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess I got to go out and have some fun today then, huh?
DOMINICK: Yes, what are you going to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see.
DOMINICK: Let it all hang out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let it all hang out? DOMINICK: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't say because my wife might watch.
DOMINICK: Fair enough. Fair enough. I understand.
KAYE: That was the one and only Pete Dominick reporting from New York. You can catch him on "NEWSROOM" or hosting his daily political talk show on Sirius XM Potus (ph) channel.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention is a big, serious government agency with a big, serious job, protecting public health from threats ranging from hurricanes to bird flu. Why did they write a post on Monday how to survive a, quote, "zombie apocalypse"? They say preparing for a night with the living dead is pretty much the same as preparing for a hurricane or major pandemic. So many people checked out the story that their Web site crashed on Wednesday. You can visit our blog at CNN.com/ali for a link to the story.
President Obama states U.S. support for a future Palestinian state based on borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, and gets an earful from Israel's prime minister. So why did he say this publicly? And why now? The "Stream Team" breaks it down for us next.
KAYE: On the eve of today's meeting with Israel's prime minister, President Obama made official the long held but rarely stated U.S. support for a future Palestinian state based on borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war. So let me show you something. This is a map of Israel before the 1967 Six Day War. In the past, the United States has unofficially backed a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict based on this border.
But now take a look at this map. This is what the region looks like today. After the war, Israel controlled the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Sinai peninsula and the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria. It gave back the Sinai in the early '80s and pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but everything else has been in dispute, really, ever since.
Now, in that major speech yesterday, Obama became the first president to formally endorse the pre-1967 border. However, President Obama did leave himself some wiggle room, acknowledging the need for modifications through the negotiating process due to conditions on the ground.
But the question remains, what did the president hope to accomplish by bringing up this strategy in his speech? Michael Singh is the managing director of the Washington Institute and Aaron David Miller is a public policy fellow with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Thank you both for coming on to discuss this.
Aaron, I'd like to start with you. Should the president have made this public push for the 1967 borders, as he did?
AARON DAVID MILLER, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CTR. FOR SCHOLARS: I mean, what you say actually is important, but what you do is even more important. And the reality is, through no fault of the president's, he's lacked an effective strategy from the beginning of his administration. Eighty percent of this, of the impasse, is a result of the fact the Israelis and the Palestinians simply can't make the big decisions on Jerusalem, border security and refugees. Twenty percent of it may be the administration's efforts to deal with that problem.
And I think the president felt a certain amount of desperation. The Palestinians are going to New York to get virtual statehood approved by the U.N. or U.N. membership, and we don't have an alternative. So I think he reasoned that it might be good to put out one of the least contentious issues publicly, which is the question of territory.
I think, however, that since you don't have a negotiation and no prospects of actually seeing any of these principles implemented, he might have kept his powder dry for September, when he may need it.
KAYE: And Michael, the same question to you, your take on that. Should he have gone public with this?
MICHAEL SINGH, THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE: Well, you know, I think that the president's intention probably is to try to halt this kind of slide to September, when the Palestinians intend to make a unilateral push for statehood. But this is really a case of bad timing and sort of badly conceived diplomacy because he's not going to accomplish that. He's not going to satisfy the Palestinians, you know, and he certainly won't get negotiations started because the obstacle there is this Hamas/Fatah unity deal which was recently announced.
One thing he will so and has done is really sort of further erode his relationship with the Israelis, who see this as a major step backwards for them and major step away from previous assurances that they had been given by both Presidents Clinton and Bush.
KAYE: And Aaron, I mean, did the president gain anything at all, do you think, by going public here?
MILLER: Well, I think he probably further endeared himself to the Europeans, the Russians and the United Nations. But I think the problem here is the gap between words and deeds. No American president should articulate a set of principles months away from a negotiation which he can't really implement.
If I were a Palestinian right now, here's the conclusion I would draw. Our U.N. strategy is working. We got the president, essentially, to move toward us on the borders issue, and if we wait long enough and if we make him feel very nervous with respect to what's going to happen in September, maybe he'll come out on Jerusalem and do the same thing. So I think it's not smart negotiating tactics to put out an American position on one issue in a vacuum.
KAYE: Michael, just quickly -- we don't have that much time left. But the border situation is supposed to be the easy part of this deal, right? I mean, wasn't the border situation almost settled under President Clinton?
SINGH: Well, there is no easy part of this deal. I think that we can be sure of that. You know, the fact is that the two sides are quite close, I think, on the border situation. And one Israeli fear, I'm sure, is that this will actually break that consensus in a sense that the president didn't mention, something that President Bush and Clinton mentioned, which was that they should keep the settlement blocks.
But the truth is that, really, I think, in contrast to what the president said yesterday, all of these core issues need to be decided together because if you talk about borders, well, the border around Jerusalem is the most contentious part of the border. So how do you separate the issue of Jerusalem? Likewise, the refugee issue for Israel is a security issue, so you can't draw this distinction between refugees and security.
The fact is that, you know, the only way to solve this is the two sides sitting down and negotiating over all the issues, and that's the obstacle, that we can't just seem to get them to do that.
KAYE: All right. Michael, Aaron, both of you, I appreciate it. Very interesting discussion.
I'm being told something in my ear? Oh, OK. CNN is going to continue in just a moment here after a quick break, with T.J. Holmes.