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Talking With the Taliban; Supreme Court Blocks Wal-Mart Lawsuit

Aired June 20, 2011 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in the Situation Room. Happening now, in a massive sex bias case pitting women against Wal-Mart, the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling that could affect nearly every private employer in the United States.

Why would federal agents just watch as fake buyers bought thousands of guns and then passed them on to Mexican drug cartels? A top U.S. official may be about to pay a significant price for that very misguided and dangerous policy.

And the U.S. is in contact with the Taliban, but do American officials really know whom they are dealing with?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

Breaking news, political headlines, and Jeanne Moos all straight ahead.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It was the country's largest ever sex discrimination lawsuit, against the world's largest retailer, a case that could have pitted more than a million women against Wal-Mart, but the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the retailer, saying plaintiffs could not join together in such a huge class action suit.

CNN's Kate Bolduan has been tracking this case for us since it began. Kate is joining us now with the very latest.

Kate, you're over at the Supreme Court, a major decision today.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A major decision, no matter what angle, what side you look at it from, Wolf. Corporate America is breathing a sigh of relief today, quite frankly, but the other side, the side supporting these potentially hundreds of thousands of women, even more, they call this a major roadblock for the American worker, this the final word from the high court on this potentially billion- dollar battle.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): It started with six strangers in California. Chris Kwapnoski is one of them. CHRIS KWAPNOSKI, FILED LAWSUIT AGAINST WAL-MART: I'm a fighter, if nothing else, and so are all the other women that are involved.

BOLDUAN: Kwapnoski has worked at Sam's Club, part of the Wal- Mart brand, for more than two decades. She says she's been paid less than her male counterparts and passed over for promotions for years.

KWAPNOSKI: Many never even had a day's worth of Sam's Club's experience were coming in, and I was the one training them.

BOLDUAN: So Kwapnoski and five other women who worked at Wal- Mart sued the company in a high-stakes gender discrimination case.

(on camera): Someone says it's just one bad supervisor or it's a couple bad supervisors. Is it worth taking the entire company on?

KWAPNOSKI: It's just not one supervisor, though. It's supervisor after supervisor after supervisor.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Wal-Mart fought back, arguing these allegations are isolated, that there's no so-called corporate culture or nationwide pattern of gender bias at their 4,300 facilities.

THEODORE BOUTROUS, WAL-MART ATTORNEY: I think Wal-Mart has a very strong policy against discrimination and in favor of diversity, and it -- and it -- it works hard to instill that throughout the company.

GISEL RUIZ, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, WAL-MART: Our company culture is about providing all associates opportunities to advance and grow.

BOLDUAN: The Supreme Court ruled in Wal-Mart's favor, Justice Scalia writing the workers -- quote -- "provide no convincing proof of a company-wide discriminatory pay and promotion policy."

The justices also said the lawsuit involving a million or more potential plaintiffs in this case was simply too large. But the women behind it have insisted all along they would continue their fight.

KWAPNOSKI: I'm a fighter, number one. I'm not going to let them run me off just because I happen to stand up to them.


BOLDUAN: Now, Wolf, while this class action lawsuit has effectively ended, the ruling has left the door open for the potential of future class action lawsuits. Think workers banding together in a series of smaller lawsuits.

What we're talking about, Wolf, think hundreds or dozens of plaintiffs, rather than hundreds of thousands, as was the case at issue here -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Kate Bolduan over at Supreme Court. The case, as you saw, certainly triggered a lot of emotion. It's a ruling that could eventually affect nearly every private employer in the United States.

Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, all nine Supreme Court justices agreed that the size of the case was simply too big under current class action rules, but they split 5-4 on whether or not Wal-Mart had a policy of discriminating against women. Were you surprised by these rulings?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I was in the courtroom for the day this case was argued, and there was not one justice asking questions who displayed much sympathy for this case going forward. I mean, I think the simple answer is too big. This case was too big. There was not enough in common among all these plaintiffs.

And so it's not a surprise that even the liberal justices agreed that the case had to be thrown out.

BLITZER: So do you expect much smaller class action lawsuits to go forward, as Kate just said, maybe dozens of women or a few hundred?

TOOBIN: Well, certainly that's possible, but the economics of the lawsuit are very important here.

I mean, it's very expensive for plaintiff lawyers to gather the information necessary for these lawsuits, and one reason this case was so big is that the payoff potentially was very big. Smaller lawsuits mean smaller potential plaintiffs -- payoffs, and they are still very expensive to put together, so I'm not sure whether there will be a lot of follow-up lawsuits to this.

I think Wal-Mart won big here, and the chances are, they won once and for all as well.

BLITZER: So how will this decision, these decisions, I should say, by the Supreme Court affect other private employers all over the United States?

TOOBIN: Well, I think it just shows how difficult it is to bring very large class actions alleging civil rights violations. I mean, this court, and, frankly, the Rehnquist court as well has been very suspicious of the idea that you can prove discrimination with the use of statistics or corporate culture.

This is a, first of all, very pro-corporate Supreme Court, but also one in particular that doesn't believe you can prove things except by direct evidence of discrimination, some supervisor saying, this woman should not be promoted because she's a woman. In the absence of that kind of evidence, I think any kind of case is going to be difficult. And today class actions just got a good deal harder as well.

BLITZER: Major decision by the Supreme Court. Jeffrey, thank you.

A controversial weapons program may be costing the acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives his job. Critics say the program Operation Fast and Furious led to preventable deaths, including that of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Our homeland security, Jeanne Meserve, is working this story for us.

And it's caused a lot of outrage, Jeanne. What's the latest?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's been a huge story, the subject of heated hearings just last week. The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is expected to resign under pressure perhaps in the next day or two, according to two senior federal law enforcement sources.


MESERVE (voice-over): As acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Kenneth Melson has touted his agency's success stopping guns flowing to Mexico.

KENNETH MELSON, ACTING ATF DIRECTOR: We are putting the hurt on the gun trafficking trade down there.

MESERVE: But on Melson's watch, ATF agents in Phoenix were instructed to stand by as straw buyers purchased weapons and passed them on to cartels and criminals. The program, called Fast and Furious, was intended to bring down arms trafficking organizations. It hasn't, but two of the guns turned up near the body of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Melson wasn't present at a fiery congressional hearing just last week, but he was raked over the coals for allegedly watching live video feeds of Fast and Furious gun sales on his computer.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Who authorized this program that was so felony-stupid that it got people killed?

MESERVE: Now Melson is expected to lose his job.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: I think it would be a shame if Melson's departure is the only one and that he would be the one that's presumably solely responsible, because we have a feeling it's much broader and maybe goes a lot higher than just Melson.


MESERVE: Andrew Traver, head of the ATF Chicago bureau, will meet with Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday. Law enforcement sources say they will discuss the possibility of Traver replacing Melson as acting director.

The ATF, meanwhile, says Melson continues to focus on leading the agency and refused to comment on what it called speculations -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Is he controversial, Traver, this supposed new acting head?

MESERVE: He was. President Obama nominated him to be permanent head of the ATF. At the time, the NRA raised objections, saying he's pro-gun control. I called the NRA today. They repeated those objections.

BLITZER: The NRA, the National Rifle Association, the pro-gun lobby, as we say here in Washington.

MESERVE: That's correct.

BLITZER: Jeanne, thanks very much.

The U.S. now in talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan, but can the Obama administration -- administration be certain of who it's really dealing with?

Plus, a closely watched speech by Syria's president sparking a fresh wave of protests -- details of what he said about the deadly unrest sweeping Syria.

Plus, the first lady and the first daughters arrive at their first stop on an important and symbolic overseas trip.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, questions continue to swirl around President Obama's decision to send U.S. forces to Libya, whether or not he complied with the War Powers Resolution or if he even needed to.

The president says he didn't, but, either way, lawmakers didn't have much say in the matter, and now, 90 days into the conflict, well, they still don't. But what they do have a say in is how much money can go towards a military operation like this one.

And House Speaker John Boehner, who has said repeatedly that the president was in violation of the Vietnam era resolution, says the House could cut funding for U.S. military involvement in Libya when it takes up a defense appropriation bill later this week.

On the Sunday talk show circuit, two Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona, both said they oppose cutting funding and warned that it could hurt NATO efforts in the region. Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates also said that cutting off funding in the middle of a military operation is always a mistake.

Gates also said he thinks that this conflict will -- quote -- "end OK," but he couldn't make a prediction as to how long it would last or when Moammar Gadhafi would fall. Remember, in the beginning, President Obama said this would all be over in a matter of a few days. But for a number of lawmakers, the eventual outcome, as well as the decision to go into Libya, are really beside the point.

Last week, a bipartisan group of 10 House members filed a federal lawsuit challenging Obama's decision to send U.S. forces to Libya. So this thing is far from over.

Here's the question -- just like the Libya operation. Here's the question: Should Congress cut off funding for operations in Libya?

Go to Post a comment on my blog.

It seems like all the presidents recently pay little or no attention to this War Powers Resolution and do pretty much what they want.


CAFFERTY: If they decide they want to go into Iraq, they go.

BLITZER: It's already been hundreds of millions of dollars. By the end of September, they are now saying it will cost U.S. taxpayers for the military operation in Libya -- it's now 91 days, but by the end -- $1.1 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to deal with the military mission in -- you knew that, Jack, right?

CAFFERTY: I did know that.

And you can make the argument that Gadhafi's got to go and that the people of Libya deserve a shot. On the other hand, one the reasons there's so much interest is the oil. And the people who buy most of the oil in Libya are the French and other European nations, so -- but I guess they need our help. So...

BLITZER: Yes. We're still a member of NATO, I guess.


BLITZER: All right, Jack, thank you.

After months of unrest and a bloody crackdown, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad spoke out today, offering very clear threats and vague promises of reform. He blamed conspirators for the violence.


BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA (through translator): It's extremely important to distinguish between the legitimate demands of the people and those who are taking advantage of the situation. There are those who try to take advantage of the majority of good Syrian people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Immediately after the speech, the reaction in Syria was very clear. Protests were reported across the country, with fresh calls for Bashar al-Assad to step down.

And joining us now from the Turkish side of the border with Syria, our own Phil Black.

Phil, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, delivering the first public speech, what, in about two months today, a lot of generalities, not many specifics. Anyone really in the opposition buying what he's saying?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely not, Wolf. They are not buying it at all.

It would be too strong to say they were disappointed because really they weren't expecting very much from this. What they want and what they have been fighting for -- and this position has only been hardened as the military has continued its crackdown -- has been immediate political action, the end to this regime preferably, and if not that, the rapid implementation of multi-party democracy.

They didn't get anything like that from Bashar al-Assad today. They got generalities. They got some sort of vague talk about a concept called national dialogue, and then perhaps the idea of reform down the track, but it's not going to happen any time soon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What about the border area where you are? Do you still see Syrian refugees flooding into Turkey?

BLACK: Yes, absolutely. The flood has diminished, though, because in recent days, Syrian forces have moved in and taken control of the Syrian towns close to the border. It's provided an obstacle, if you like.

It blocked a way out for Syrians who are desperately trying to escape the country. It means that the flow of refugees to this area has dropped off substantially. Having said that, we now know there are 10,500 refugees who have crossed into Turkey, thousands more watching on the Syrian side as well. Today, they were watching and listening to that speech from the president.

He even spoke to them directly, telling them they should go home, and, if they do, they will be safe, the military will not harm them. But, as I say, they are not buying that. They say they are staying absolutely where they are, because they do not believe it's safe to go home. So they prefer to live for the moment in what are pretty desperate, squalid conditions -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And we will stay in touch with you.

Phil, thanks very much -- Phil Black reporting for us.

The White House now says President Obama is going to be tweeting for himself. You're going to find out what he said in his first message. Also, some very unconventional ads by a Republican hopeful about to take the plunge.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: The U.S. is in touch with the Taliban, but do American officials really know just whom they are dealing?

And should Congress cut off funding for military operations in Libya? Jack will be back with your e-mail -- lots of news happening today right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: You don't make peace by simply talking with your friends.

The outgoing defense secretary, Robert Gates, now says the U.S. is in touch with its enemy in Afghanistan. As the president faces a major decision on how many troops to start bringing home, the U.S. is clearly starting to look ahead, but does it really know with whom it's dealing in Afghanistan?

We asked our own Brian Todd to take a closer look.

What are you learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Taliban is a very murky, dangerous group, and dealing with them has always been, at the very least, a bizarre process.

Now there are serious questions about what U.S. officials can get from these contacts and who they are dealing with.


TODD (voice-over): The defense secretary staunchly defends what U.S. officials are calling preliminary contacts with the Taliban, not negotiations, but feelers.

ROBERT GATES, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Look, we -- we ended up talking to people in Anbar Province IN Iraq who were directly killing -- had directly been involved in killing our troops. That's the way wars end.

TODD: Contacted by CNN, U.S. and German officials won't comment on a report in "Der Spiegel" magazine that German envoy Michael Steiner is mediating contacts between the Americans and the Taliban.

Robert Gates says the State Department is involved, but "Der Spiegel" says the CIA is also taking part. The CIA won't comment. Who would the Americans be dealing with? Not Taliban leader Mullah Omar, at least not directly. He's one of the world's most wanted men, a religious fanatic who is called the commander of the faithful. He's had 10 years since 9/11 to denounce al Qaeda, and hasn't done it.

As for others, the Taliban banned photography some years back, so getting pictures of these men is problematic.

(on camera): But experts say there are a few Taliban figures who could be players.

There's Tayyab Agha, Mullah Omar's personal secretary who has also acted as his spokesman. It's not clear if he still holds those positions or not. There's Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban's former ambassador to Pakistan. He was once in U.S. custody, but was released.

Mullah Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, he was also once in American custody. And Abdul Hakim Mujahid, he was the Taliban's representative in the U.S. before September 11 and is said to be living in Kabul.

(voice-over) Still, experts say it's likely none of these men would represent all of the Taliban. Critic James Carafano also says this.

JAMES CARAFANO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The Taliban and al Qaeda are ideological cousins. They are one in the same, in a sense, from -- in terms of their approach towards the United States. You are never going to get a deal with the Taliban that's not -- if left alone, that's not going to take you right back to September 10, 2001.

TODD: But the Taliban has been weakened militarily since then, and there are other changes since 9/11. I asked CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen about possible advantages to contacting the Taliban now.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You could kind of create splits in the Taliban movement. Some people might be tempted to kind of make an agreement. You also can gather intelligence about who they are and what they're thinking.


TODD: But there are risks just in talking. Last fall a man passing himself off as a key Taliban mediator was flown to Kabul on a NATO aircraft. Experts say he even took money from the allies. He turned out to be a complete imposter --Wolf.

BLITZER: I think it's fair to say, Brian, that the Taliban have reneged on almost every deal they've ever reached so far, haven't they?

TODD: That's correct. They have, Wolf. They struck deals with the Pakistanis in 2005, 2006 and in 2009. Every single time they merely regrouped, moved into other areas of Pakistan and kept staging attacks.

BLITZER: Brian Todd working the story. Thank you.

Want to go right to the White House. Our correspondent Dan Lothian is standing by.

Dan, I take it you're getting information when the president will make his major announcement on when those U.S. troops will at least start coming home in some numbers?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. A senior administration official confirming that President Barack Obama will be making that highly anticipated Afghanistan speech on Wednesday.

As you know, there's been quite a bit of internal debate in this administration as to the way forward in Afghanistan, some believing that the troop reductions should be done in a modest way, others believing that the U.S. should not have a big footprint in Afghanistan because of the fact that the U.S. was able to get Osama bin Laden.

So the president will be laying out his vision for that withdrawal, which begins next month. He'll be doing that on Wednesday, Wolf.

BLITZER: We know where on Wednesday he'll be doing it? There's been some suggestions he might go visit that U.S. military base, Fort Drum, in upstate New York.

LOTHIAN: We don't have specifics on that. It appears that the president will be making that speech here in Washington, and then on Thursday the president is scheduled to go to Ft. Drum. We were told earlier today that the president -- by Jay Carney that the president will be going there to meet with troops at the time.

Jay Carney said that the president was still finalizing his decision as to when he would be delivering this plan forward in Afghanistan, but no more specifics as to exactly what time or where exactly it will happen other than it will happen on Wednesday -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ft. Drum, the home of the U.S. Army's 1st Mountain Division. Thanks very much for that.

Let's bring in our CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen.

Peter, you and I have been talking about this withdrawal. Right now, just to set the stage, there are 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, another 40,000 NATO troops. It's costing, what, about $10 billion a month to keep the U.S. troops there? How many troops do you expect will start pulling out in the coming weeks? Will it be 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 of that 100,000?

BERGEN: You know, I think before Osama bin Laden's death, the figures that I was hearing were 3,000 to 5,000, something pretty token but something that nonetheless you could say there is a withdrawal going on.

Bin Laden's death does change the calculus. It's $118 billion a year in a time of budgetary constraints, and so, you know, it might get to 10. I'd be very surprised if it was 15, because at a certain point General Petraeus and other military commanders are going to say, you know, I mean, the president can make whatever decision he wants, but you -- the amount of risk that you take on does go up with every, you know, every 5,000 increment that you take out of Afghanistan, particularly since you've actually put a lot of pressure on the Taliban in Kandahar and Helmand in the south. With the troops of the surge, you don't want to take the pressure away.

BLITZER: There's a real disagreement, though, within the Obama administration. I write about this on our blog at today. The vice president, Joe Biden, he's been the most aggressive in saying the U.S. doesn't need 100,000 troops in Afghanistan right now. It can be way cut down. You save a lot of money. You save a lot of lives, and in the end, a new counterterrorism strategy, you do a better job at keeping those troops there through the end of 2014, is what the president announced, what, about a year ago?

BERGEN: Yes, certainly, Vice President Biden and people who are advising him, like Tony Blankley and his national security adviser, were in the fall of 2009 the most vocal, saying we don't need a large- scale...

BLITZER: I think they're still vocal.

BERGEN: Yes, and they continue to be, and, of course, with, you know, the death of bin Laden is the demonstration of fact that the counterterrorism kind of approach certainly yields dividends. The counterargument to that is that you can't support a counterterrorism approach without having, you know, a fair amount of control over Afghanistan, the ability to gather intelligence and a fair number of people in Afghanistan.

BLITZER: Here's my assessment. It's not only, you know, arguments that Biden makes on this. You don't need 100,000 troops in Afghanistan any more. And it's not only the money, $100 billion plus a year, which is an enormous amount of money. The conference of mayors in the United States today passed a resolution. Get those troops out of there. Spend that money here in the United States on infrastructure, education, health care or whatever.

But it's also Hamid Karzai and the leadership of Afghanistan. When he starts calling American troops who liberated that country ten years ago occupiers, and he issues these ridiculous statements, that irritates the U.S., the American public. And they're saying if the Afghanis don't want the U.S. there, why should they stay?

BERGEN: Well, our partnership is not with Hamid Karzai.

BLITZER: He's the president.

BERGEN: He's the president.

BLITZER: He's the elected president in a flawed election.

BERGEN: He's about to go in 2014. I mean, there is... BLITZER: 2014 is a long time, three -- almost three years.

BERGEN: But there are other Afghan leaders who are, you know, politicians who I think, you know, are trying to replace him. I mean, for the -- and, I agree, his statements, his recent statements...

BLITZER: This irritated the United States. And I suspect that the president this time, just me, will be siding more with Biden than perhaps with Petraeus or Gates, but we'll see on Wednesday.

BERGEN: OK. See you on Wednesday.

BLITZER: Will you join us?

BERGEN: Indeed.

BLITZER: Peter, thanks very much.

A candidate's unusual video goes viral but maybe not for the reasons Jon Huntsman wanted. And that's not even him on that motorcycle that we all saw. Wow.

Plus, a star is born but in a different Hollywood. We're going to meet youngest winner of the U.S. Open in almost 90 years.


BLITZER: The Republican presidential field gets even more crowded tomorrow when the former Utah governor, Jon Huntsman, joins the race. Huntsman has another line on his resume, and that should add some spice to this campaign. Our chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, takes a closer look.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Texas Congressman Ron Paul can pack the house with passion, so he frequently wins straw polls, like the one this weekend, at a Republican leadership conference in Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron Paul, 612 votes.

CROWLEY: But look who placed second. Even the vote-counter seemed surprised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jon Huntsman, 382 votes.

CROWLEY: Jon Huntsman is a former Republican governor with a bipartisan twist to his resume.

DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA ADVISOR: Well, I know him because he was President Obama's ambassador to China.

CROWLEY: And as Huntsman prepares to officially launch his campaign, his former buddies on team Obama just want to hug him to death. AXELROD: When we were in Shanghai we got a chance to talk, and he was very effusive -- this was in the fall of 2009 -- about what the president was doing. He was encouraging on health care. He was encouraging on the whole range of issues.

CROWLEY: With no imagination whatsoever and the help of President Obama's top political consultant, you can hear how an Obama/Huntsman race would play out.

(on camera) Do you think that Barack Obama has had a failed presidency?

JON HUNTSMAN (R), FORMER AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: On the economic sides there are no signs of success, very little.

CROWLEY: You think it has failed on the economic side?

HUNTSMAN: Failed on the economic front.

AXELROD: That is -- that is in conflict with what he communicated to us in 2009, and if he had suggestions on the economy, he had an excellent opportunity to suggest them then when we were all together in China.

I think that what has changed is not his view of the economy but his view of his own chances to perhaps win the nomination. I understand that's politics. He's a politician, and he sees an opportunity.

CROWLEY (voice-over): Huntsman also favors civil unions for same-sex couples, entertained but did not enact the idea of mandated health-care insurance, thinks the U.S. ought to get out of Afghanistan, and believes in the science of climate change. You think Democrats will be rough on Huntsman? Sample a Republican.

JOHN E. SUNUNU (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Everyone knows that Jon Huntsman has weaknesses on some substantive issues, but the fact that he served in a Democratic administration makes him a little tough in a Republican primary, and he understands that himself.

CROWLEY (on camera): But you're acting like it's a non-starter.

SUNUNU: He fawned over -- fawned over Obama to the point that he sounded like he should have been on MSNBC.

CROWLEY (voice-over): In political world, bipartisanship is nice in rhetoric. It can be darn toxic in a primary season.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


BLITZER: In the days leading up to tomorrow's official announcement of his candidacy, Jon Huntsman has released a series of, shall we say, interesting ads. Watch this.




BLITZER: The candidate for president who rides. Did you see those words? Let's discuss what's going on with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. These ads are, shall we say, misleading.


BLITZER: I thought when I saw the ad it was Jon Huntsman on that motorcycle.

BORGER: Yes, he does -- right. Of course you did. He rides motocross, but I'm told it's a friend of his who's actually riding. It's his clothes, and it's his motor bike. But he didn't really have the time.

BLITZER: Well, why didn't he ride? Why don't we see him doing it?

BORGER: Well, I asked, and they said, well, he didn't really have the time. We -- you know, we're...

BLITZER: Did they try to -- did they try to mislead folks?

BORGER: No, no, no. It's just -- what this ad is supposed to do is to be a different way to introduce a candidate, and the clear message here is "I'm not like everybody else. I'm an outsider."

And by the way, I should tell you, Wolf, he did pay for the ad, though, himself out of his own pocket, but it didn't take long for Utah Democrats to take a whack at this ad by Huntsman. Take a look at this.



GRAPHIC: In 1 day. Has reversed positions he took as Governor. Riding away from his record.


BLITZER: Still think it's misleading, you know, to put out an ad like that, give the impression that that's the candidate.


BLITZER: And it's really someone else.

BORGER: Right. And what the -- what the Democrats are saying here when they talk about reverse positions is they're trying to make him into another Mitt Romney circa 2008, saying that he reversed positions on environmental regulation known as -- known as cap and trade, which, by the way, he did do. When you talk to his campaign, they say, look, there was a different economic environment when he was governor. This is what CEOs wanted to do. Now, given the fragile economy, he's changed his position.

BLITZER: And how will they explain the fact that he's worked for President Obama as his U.S. ambassador to China before now he's about to go on the attack against President Obama?

BORGER: He was for him before he was against him. Right?

BLITZER: How do they explain that?

BORGER: Well, you know, they talk to him. They say, well, his answer to that is that when a president asks you to serve, you serve, just as he did for Ronald Reagan and for the two Bushes. And so he did his duty for his country.

But, of course, you know, it does look bad for him. He's now running for president against the -- against the man he used to work for.

But he has to find a way to let the American people know this wasn't just about ambition, and it's very interesting to me. There's an interesting piece coming out this weekend in the "New York Times" magazine by Matt Bai, and he made it very clear that at first he was thinking about running for president in 2016. But then he says the marketplace changed, and people convinced him that 2012 is the year to do it.

And he's got a campaign of advisers he doesn't really know, Wolf. These are people who want him to be president, so it was kind of a campaign in waiting for him when he came back from China. Very interesting.

BLITZER: He'll make the announcement in New Jersey with the Statue of Liberty behind him. Gloria, we'll watch it together.

BORGER: We will.

BLITZER: And we'll discuss it tomorrow right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Ronald Reagan made his announcement for president with the Statue of Liberty behind him, as well. No coincidence.

So here's the question. Is he the next Tiger Woods? Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy becomes the youngest ever to win the U.S. Open in 88 years. So what are the folks back home in Northern Ireland saying?

And on "JOHN KING USA" why the person getting the most buzz after the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans may be a comedian.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP)


BLITZER: Going right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Question this hour, Wolf: "Should Congress cut off funding for operations in Libya?" John Boehner, speaker of the House, suggesting the House may do just that later this week.

Brian in Colorado says, "If the votes are there, why not? Let's start cutting waste now. I applaud the congressmen who are demonstrating their disgust with our country's inability to break our spending addiction to war. This thing is starting to pick up steam because it crosses party lines. Americans are politically broke. We have nothing left to buy into the scare tactics and lies."

Ken in California writes, "Sure, and the funding of the other 60 countries in our military empire. Sooner or later, we're going to have to, because we're broke. France, England, Spain, among others, all had to give up their overseas empires."

Riley writes, "No, and prepare to step up operations there and in Syria. We can't stop now."

Steve in Virginia: "Sure, if they want to commit political suicide and explain why they didn't cut off funding to the war of choice in Iraq once it was confirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction."

Denny in Washington suggests, "I think it would be better if Congress would cut off funds for running Congress."

Larry in Kansas: "While we have Congress seated and they're in the mood to cut something, not only should Congress cut off all funding for Libya, they ought to cut off funding and withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and any other Middle East country. It would save $700 billion, which could be used for American jobs instead of helping people who hate us."

Paulette writes from Pennsylvania, "No. President Obama needs to send the same crew that killed Osama bin Laden over to Libya to silence Gadhafi once and for all."

I you want to read more on this, you'll find them on my blog: -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Jack. See you tomorrow.

It's the buzz of the sports world, a record-smashing win at the U.S. Open and a new hometown hero. Here's CNN's Dan Rivers..

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spectators at the 19th Hole erupted with joy as Rory McIlroy sank the last putt. They already knew the local boy was brilliant. Now he was on his way to becoming a golfing legend, and the party went on through the night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ay, it was a fantastic victory. I'm really, really proud of Rory and his family. He's represented Ireland and Hollywood. He's put us on the map.

RIVERS (on camera): It may lack some of the glamour of its U.S. namesake, but Hollywood, Northern Ireland, now has its own star. The youngest winner of the U.S. Open in 88 years is already the talk of the town, but he's also now a global golfing hero.

(voice-over) On the course where it all started for McIlroy, his uncle told me Rory was a natural from a very early age.

COLM MCILROY, UNCLE: He probably, you know, had a club in his house, was a big two or three. And he actually -- up in the clubhouse there, his father was bar manager. And he used to, you know, plastic bottles up and down the mix lines, and he started there, and then, you know, he just played. You know, we could never get him off the course.

RIVERS: And friend Pete Murray says fame won't change him.

PETE MURRAY, FRIEND: He's always had his feet on the ground. He's always the same person. He always comes back and plays football with us and has a drink. And it's great to see, you know, the success hasn't gone to his head.

RIVERS: His career has been followed closely here. Everyone knew he was destined for stardom.

JOHN STEVENSON, RORY'S FORMER HEAD TEACHER: His teachers would say he was a bright guy. He could have stayed and done a whole clutter of GCSEs and gone on to do A levels and possibly university if that's what he wanted. But everyone knew from a very early stage that Rory's talent lay on the golf course.

RIVERS: On the first tee at Hollywood Golf Club today, youngsters were realizing that their dreams can come true.

PETER MCTIMPSEY, GOLF STUDENT: He's been here since he was very young, and, like, I've just -- I'm just trying to follow his footsteps like most other juveniles up at the club.

CONOR MARKS, GOLF STUDENT: Well, he's a big inspiration because I started out here and one day I could be like him.

RIVERS: But there is a dawning realization that no one is quite like Rory McIlroy. They're already calling him the Celtic Tiger. Here, they think they have a new Hollywood icon.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Hollywood, Northern Ireland.


BLITZER: Family portraits like we've never seen before, when we come back.


BLITZER: There's a new twist on the family photo. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are family photos and there are awkward family photos. And then there are these, creepy family photos, guaranteed to turn heads by switching heads while keeping it all in the family.

(on camera) But it is creepy. You agree?

PAUL RIPKE, PHOTOGRAPHER: Yes, it is. And the main part about it is that it's real parents, you know?

MOOS (voice-over): German photographer Paul Ripke is better known for fashion and advertising photos, but his "man baby" series was for fun.

(on camera) What do you do with these?

RIPKE: Nothing, actually.

MOOS: Ripke basically shoots a portrait, then switches the heads, making the dads' heads smaller and the child's head bigger.

RIPKE: That's the owner of an Italian restaurant, actually. He's a pretty big German deejay.

MOOS: And he's the coach of a famous German soccer team.

(on camera) And though the genre is called "man babies," there are plenty of woman babies as well.

RIPKE: My favorite is probably my wife.

MOOS (voice-over): His daughter's pacifier is a nice touch. The trick is to catch the child with an expression that it isn't childlike.

(on camera) You looked for a moment when your daughter was looking very adult.

RIPKE: Yes, totally. That's what we try to find.

MOOS (voice-over): If all this sounds vaguely familiar, there's a Web site called "Man Babies" that's been around for over three years. Same concept, though a lot less glossy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So bad, it's funny. MOOS: The German photographer says he never heard of the Man Babies Web site until after he did his series. Now there's even an "iSwap Faces" iPhone app. It's all a little reminiscent of that little man movie. A little person criminal poses as a baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You drop me and I'm going to drop you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You make a cute little baby.

MOOS: Poses to gain entrance and steal back a diamond.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That ain't no baby. That's a porn star!

MOOS: In the age of PhotoShop, why merely retouch when you can replace?

You're no man baby, you're a cry baby.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. For our international viewers, "WORLD REPORT" is next. Here in North America, "JOHN KING USA" starts right now.