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THE SITUATION ROOM
Past Follows Huntsman Into GOP Race; President to Reveal Pace of Troop Drawdown; New Plan For Another Year in Libya; Slaves to Debt; Top Gingrich Fundraisers Out; 'Strategy Session'; Hunting for One of FBI's Most Wanted; Interview With Senator Rand Paul
Aired June 21, 2011 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Thank you very much.
Happening now, Jon Huntsman makes his entrance in the Republican presidential race.
Can President Obama's former ambassador to China shake off his political past?
This hour, Huntsman's campaign strengths and his greatest challenges.
Plus, President Obama's big decision about withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. On the eve of his announcement, we're going to tell you what we're learning about the pace of the pullout and how America's war fatigue figured in.
And smokers may be scared to death by new warnings on cigarettes. Stand by to see the very latest, they're very graphic. The labels unveiled today designed to try to save nearly half a million lives in the United States every year.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Right now, the Republicans hoping to oust President Obama from office are making room for one more. Jon Huntsman officially launched his White House bid today. The former U.S. ambassador to China, the former Utah governor, chose a rather patriotic backdrop to introduce voters to his resume, his family and the broad message of his campaign.
CNN's Jim Acosta was there -- Jim, the fact of the matter is President Obama strongly -- was very strong and effusive in his praise for the former Utah governor when he nominated him to be his ambassador to China.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
And that's not all good news for Jon Huntsman.
The fact of the matter is, that Jon Huntsman's speech today was a warning to American voters that future generations are at stake in the 2012 campaign. The trick for Huntsman is to convince those voters to forget about his past. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ACOSTA (voice-over): Jon Huntsman was out to show off his conservative side, stepping into the race with his family and standing in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, where Ronald Reagan launched his first successful run for the White House.
JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got. This, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable. And it is totally un-American.
ACOSTA: But it's not the future, it's the past, that could trouble some conservatives, who not only take issue with his time as ambassador to China under President Obama, there are also the moderate positions he took as governor of Utah, positions he shared with a Salt Lake City public TV station in a series of media roundtables.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP COURTESY KUED)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you comfortable with that, with requiring every Utahan to get health insurance?
HUNTSMAN: I'm comfortable with the requirement. You can call it whatever you want, but at some point, we're going to have to get serious about how we deal with this issue.
ACOSTA: In crafting his own version of health care reform in Utah, Huntsman initially supported a mandate requiring people in the state to obtain medical insurance, a center point of the new national health care law, a big minus for Republicans already irritated with the plan Mitt Romney got passed in Massachusetts.
Huntsman pointed out to CNN he eventually signed on to reforms without a mandate.
(on camera): Isn't it true that you once supported a mandate?
HUNTSMAN: No. You take a look at what we passed and it's based on free market principles. Of course, we looked at every conceivable option and that's natural for any governor to do. But take a look at what we signed.
ACOSTA: Also in the interviews, Huntsman showed support for President Obama's stimulus program.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we turn down this money?
HUNTSMAN: Well, the -- the answer today is no.
ACOSTA: And supported efforts to combat climate change.
HUNTSMAN: Climate change is -- is something that is real.
ACOSTA: In his speech, Huntsman pointed to his record of cutting taxes and his campaign boasts, he left office with sky high approval numbers.
There were a few minor glitches for his rollout, like the campaign Web video that shows a man riding a motorcycle who isn't Huntsman and the press passes that misspelled the candidate's name. But his campaign is more likely to hinge on how more conservative Tea Party Republicans take to his views and his vow for a more civil campaign against the president.
HUNTSMAN: But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is, who will be the better president, not who's the better American.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ACOSTA: Jon Huntsman will get his first big conservative test this week in South Carolina. It is a state that has savaged moderates in the past. And it's a state Huntsman will have to do well in if he has any chance of winning the nomination -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And he's ignoring -- he's going to forget about Iowa and the caucuses there, is that right?
ACOSTA: That's right. He has said that because he does not support subsidies for ethanol, that he's going to skip Iowa altogether. That is a strategy that has not worked well in the past. He can just ask Mitt Romney that question. Mitt Romney did not pay a whole lot of attention to Iowa back in 2008 and it -- and it burned him in the end.
So Jon Huntsman is taking a chance on that one -- Wolf.
BLITZER: He'll start off in New Hampshire.
Thanks very much for that.
Other news we're following. President Obama right now on the brink of announcing his plan for the first U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan -- a move that could be a huge factor in his reelection campaign. His long-awaited speech on the drawdown is set for 8:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night. Of course, CNN will have live coverage.
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence.
He's working the story for us -- Chris, a lot of numbers being thrown out there.
What are you learning?
A hundred thousand U.S. troops now in Afghanistan.
How quick of a pace will they start coming out?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, sources are telling us that the president it's going to announce that he wants to bring home 30,000 troops by the end of 2012, with the first 10,000 of those coming home by the end of this year. If that's true, that number we're putting smack dab in the middle of a fight between Congressmen who signed this letter to him, urging the president to make a significant, sizeable withdrawal, and military leaders, who have urged a steadier, slower drawdown.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): A Congressional source says the Defense secretary and General David Petraeus pushed for just 5,000 troops to come out this year, instead of the 10,000 the president is expected to bring home in 2011.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That worries me a great deal, because I don't think there is anyone who is more knowledgeable than General Petraeus.
LAWRENCE: Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained that decisions like this one are not made in a vacuum. "It's not just about troops and Taliban. You've got to factor in Congressional concerns about how much money and manpower is committed to Afghanistan and the American people," who even he admits are tired after 10 years of war.
MAJOR GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): So the president obviously has to take those matters into consideration, as well as the conditions on the ground in Afghanistan, in making his decision.
LAWRENCE: But some form military officials say it all sounds too calculated.
MARKS: Almost fundamentally, it's a political decision that the president is making.
LAWRENCE: Retired General "Spider" Marks says even the low number the military recommended would have repercussions in the field.
MARKS: A 5,000 withdrawal is significant to the commander on the ground that loses that 5,000. That's almost unacceptable.
LAWRENCE: Most of the training the Afghan forces get, they get on actual missions alongside American troops and allies.
ROBERT LAMB, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: If the drawdown of American troops and other international forces is too fast, then most of the capability that the Afghan security forces are getting today out in the field is not going to be available to them.
LAWRENCE: But some say the drawdown is way too slow.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS: It should be a significant number. That's what the president is committed to. And significant means a minimum of 15,000 by the end of this year.
LAWRENCE: And even analysts who favor slow and steady admit at a cost of $2 billion per week, Afghanistan is expensive.
LAMB: The economy in the United States makes this war unaffordable at the scale that it's currently being waged.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
LAWRENCE: Now, spring and summer are considered fighting seasons in Afghanistan. And what this would do is it would at least give the military two full fighting seasons with the bulk of that 30,000 surge force, this year and next spring and summer. There's also the possibility that President Obama could simply say he's bringing home the surge at the end of next year and give the military flexibility to make the call as to how soon and how fast and avoid mentioning a number to bring home by the end of this year -- Wolf.
BLITZER: With a lot of members of Congress, that would be very unpopular, if he does that. Sometimes the president, though, has to do something that is unpopular.
We'll see if -- we'll see what he decides.
Chris, thanks very much.
NATO isn't saying whether an unmanned surveillance helicopter that went down had mechanical problems or whether it was shot down. The loss of the U.S. aircraft in Libya comes as Congress clashes over future funding.
Our senior Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is joining us now -- Dana, two influential senators now offering what they're calling a new resolution to deal with this issue.
What's the latest?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is a resolution that would authorize limited military action in Libya. This has been around for months, at least a version of it. But the Senate has not acted, in part because -- primarily, really, because the president says he does not need it.
But the president's position on Libya really has inflamed members of Congress. And the issue now is that House Republicans are working on some kind of vote. In fact, they're doing it, as we speak right now, down the hall here, in the House speaker's office, to limit the mission by limiting funding.
And Republican Senator John McCain, he is trying to preempt that with this resolution.
He also has a warning for his fellow Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MCCAIN: I think it would be a terrible mistake to cut off funding. And Congress does have that authority, though. It would be a terrific mistake. Gadhafi is going to fall. If Gadhafi is able to stay in power, it's basically the end of NATO. I mean if we can't defeat Gadhafi, then it's over. It is also a signal that we will allow a dictator of his nature to stay in business.
BASH: The fact of the matter is, the frustration is there. It's your fellow Republicans. It's also some Democrats.
BASH: Is the horse out of the barn on this?
MCCAIN: I can let you know when we engage in debate, which I hope is soon, here in the United States Senate. And I would urge my colleagues on the Republican side to remember we're not only -- we're going to have a Republican president someday soon, I hope. And let's treat this issue as if the president of the United States were of our party.
Would we do the same thing?
BASH: Well, what do you think the answer to that question is?
Would the Republicans be doing the same thing if it were a Republican in the White House?
MCCAIN: I think some of them would not. But I also would like to put, again, some of the responsibility on the president and his administration. They haven't come to Congress and consulted with us and given us their rationale and reasoning for the president's actions.
BASH: The president has basically said that he doesn't think that this rises to hostilities.
Do you agree with him?
MCCAIN: That's just foolish. That's just foolish. We have predators out there killing people. "The New York Times" had an article this morning about the number of operations that we have been in. We are engaged in a conflict and the War Powers Act applies. And there's no doubt about it.
BASH: Congress didn't have to wait. You've had this resolution, or at least a version of it, out there for months.
MCCAIN: Yes, we did. Yes.
BASH: The Senate didn't have to wait. The House could have done it. So some of the burden is on Congress for acting, as well.
MCCAIN: You are correct. Some of the burden lies on the leadership on both sides that we did not take up this issue, which is, frankly, our constitutional responsibility. So I agree with you. (END VIDEO TAPE)
BASH: And to that point, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, said today that he believes this Senate resolution authorizing limited force in Libya could actually and will actually pass overwhelmingly, the same resolution that he and the Republican leader in the Senate have been reluctant to put on the Senate floor. But the question still, Wolf, is what will the House do?
Again, there are meetings going right down this hall, Republican leaders trying to figure out what they can put on the House floor as soon as -- and probably this week. They're trying to stop a vote from actually passing that would completely cut off funding and stop with a mission in Libya. They're trying to come up with something short of that that would allow members of Congress to channel their frustrations.
BLITZER: We'll see what they do.
Dana, thanks very much.
Dana Bash on the Hill.
Also on the Hill, just a few minutes ago, the U.S. Senate voted 100-0, 100-0, to confirm Leon Panetta as President Obama's new Defense secretary. Robert Gates, as you know, steps down at the end of this month. Panetta will take over at the Pentagon.
We'll see how General Petraeus does in his confirmation to become the next CIA director.
Imagine children forced to work 15 hours for a mere $2 pay. It's happening in India and it's being called modern day slavery. We have an update on a story we told you about yesterday.
And what's driving the FBI to spend so much energy and cash to try to find a fugitive who's now 81 years old?
Stay with us.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here.
He has The Cafferty File -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, THE CAFFERTY FILE: Wolf, the 1,200 National Guard troops currently deployed along the U.S. border with Mexico will stay in place until September. A Homeland Security spokesman made that announcement late last week. The troops had been scheduled to leave June 30th.
A sheriff in Southern Arizona calls the expansion "pandering" on the part of the Obama administration. The number, he says, falls fall short of what's needed to keep this country safe.
Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona, in the southern part of the state, went on to compare the number of troops we have along the U.S. border with Mexico to the more than 28,000 troops stationed along the border between North and South Korea. The 1,200 Guardsmen on the Mexican border aid a little more than 20,000 border agents, but it's not enough. Babeu says that we need much more effort in regards to border security. He's been named sheriff of the year by the National Sheriffs' Association.
Illegal immigrants, drug smuggling, human trafficking are commonplace in Pinal County, where he presides. He knows what's needed to protect the border and it's far more than the federal government has been willing to do.
The sheriff's statement comes at a time when Senator John McCain is under fire for some comments he made about immigration over the weekend. After touring the scene of the devastating wildfires in his state, McCain told reporters there was "substantial evidence" that some of those Arizona wildfires were caused by illegal immigrants. McCain went on to say, quote, "The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure board," unquote.
Senator Jon Kyl and Congressman Jeff Flake and Paul Gosar, also Republicans from Arizona, released a joint statement supporting McCain.
But immigrants' rights groups have jumped all over McCain, accusing him of using illegal immigrants as scapegoats.
Here is the question -- why are there more U.S. troops on South Korea's border than on our own border?
Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile and post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's a very tense border. I've been there, Jack. I'm anxious to hear what our viewers think.
Thanks very much --
CAFFERTY: Yes, South Korea also has got the, what, the third largest standing army in the world --
BLITZER: Yes, there are a million --
CAFFERTY: -- with 1.5 million (INAUDIBLE) --
BLITZER: -- there are a million North Korean troops facing almost a million South Korean troops and about 20,000 or 25,000 U.S. troops in between, something like that.
CAFFERTY: Yes. And I've -- and we've had those people there for 50 years.
BLITZER: Correct. CAFFERTY: The South Korean economy is probably more vibrant than ours is and better able to afford their own defense than we are, keeping these standing armies scattered around the globe.
Hey, the sheriff's got a point. You know, he's -- he's getting killed by the illegal immigration problem. And we've got almost 30,000 soldiers guarding the Korean border.
BLITZER: Jack, thank you.
CNN is using its global resources to expose the trade and exploitation of people around the world.
It's called the CNN Freedom Project.
CNN's Sara Sidner has more of her exclusive reporting from India.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a raid -- a small police operation with a big mission -- to rescue workers enslaved because of debt. The factory is open, but empty. It appears the police are too late.
"Whose place is this?"
"Who are you?," the police ask. Then this -- five children and one disabled adult found slipping out the back.
"We start work at 6:00 a.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. at night," one of the children tells us.
For 15 hours of work a day they received about $2 per week, enough for food, he says. That's it.
As they're being taken to a safe house. One child calls for his mommy.
Members of the group Free the Slaves were there to comfort them. They say these young workers don't know it yet, but this is a chance at freedom.
Ten-year-old Raj Kumar (ph) got the same chance. Until a year ago, work was his life. "I was kneading the mud and made to work at the brick kiln," he says.
Now, instead of this work, he gets homework and dreams of the future.
"I want to have a job," he says -- a job he wants to do, not the one he was forced to do.
Raj Kumar lives in a village winning freedom from the practice of bonded labor, where people are enslaved by their debts. Raj Kumar's father says his family has been enslaved for three generations to landowners who loaned money long ago. "They would beat us, beat us with a cane. They would kick us," he says. "One day, they hit me so hard, blood came out of my mouth."
He can no longer do hard labor because of the beatings. He says the women of the village have suffered even worse.
"He has sexually abused our sisters and daughters. He would send us off and he would come to our place," he says.
Not anymore. The villagers filed a formal police complaint. The landowner denied their accusations. The case is still to come to trial. It's an act of courage that they said would never have been possible if they hadn't been told of their rights. Bhanuja Saran Lal is a local human rights worker.
BHANUJA SARAN LAL, SOCIETY FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT & WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT (through translator): They're seeing two things. The powerful landowners let these people live on their land. Second is the workers become dependent on the landowners. So it's not easy for these laborers to say no to the work. It's not easy for NGOs like us to conduct a rescue operation, rescue them and settle them within the same village.
SIDNER (voice-over): The organization, Free the Slaves, says you are looking at the first major step toward freedom. The group sets up a transitional school in the village, offering parents a chance to send their children. This is often the very first generation with a chance at a formal education.
(voice-over): But not everyone in this village has taken the offer. There is still fear here, even among those who tasted freedom.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Uttar Pradesh, India.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: And now, as we promised you yesterday, an update to the story Sarah brought us yesterday -- women and children illegally forced to work as brick makers to work off their family's debt. Some call it modern day slavery.
India's labor secretary, however, he's in charge of stopping the practice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRABHAT CHATURVEDI, INDIA'S LABOR SECRETARY: It is not slavery. As I said, it is a problem of poverty.
SIDNER: But don't you -- these people say that they feel enslaved.
CHATURVEDI: They --
SIDNER: They have no other option. They are beaten. They are not paid. They are hungry, some of them. Doesn't that sound like slavery to you?
CHATURVEDI: I would never use the word slave. Our experience has been that only law and its enforcement is not going to solve this issue, because bonded labor -- the real cause of bonded labor -- or child labor, for that matter -- is poverty. So we have to eradicate poverty.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: It is shocking, though, that the Indian government allows this to go on and find excuses for this modern day slavery. Shocking, indeed. The Indian government can and must do better.
Next door in India, by the way, in Nepal, young women and girls are bought and sold for sex. This Sunday evening, the actress and activist, Demi Moore, joins the CNN Freedom Project to present "Nepal's Stolen Children." You can watch it Sunday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Republican Newt Gingrich can't seem to get his campaign act together at all. James Carville and Rich Galen, they will weigh in. They're standing by live.
And the fallout over Libya -- I'll ask Republican Senator Rand Paul where he stands right now in the debate over war powers and what the president is planning on doing.
BLITZER: All right, let's get right to our Strategy Session.
Joining us now, our CNN political contributor, the Democratic strategist, James Carville.
Also joining us, the Republican strategist, the former Gingrich press secretary, Rich Galen. He's publisher of mullings.com.
Guys, thanks very much for coming in.
Rich, you used to work for -- for Newt Gingrich. Today, we learned that his two top fundraisers -- his campaign finance staffers -- they joined the others and they've quit.
What is going on?
When is this campaign over?
RICH GALEN, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GOPAC, FORMER NEWT GINGRICH PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think that's the -- it is over, I mean, is the answer to that. I -- I think somebody like long term -- his long time political adviser, Joe Gaylord, or one of his best friends, Bob Walker, former Congressman from Pennsylvania, have to just kind of sit him down and say, Newt, this is it. You've got to stop, because, frankly, James, I think the sooner Newt stops being a candidate, the sooner he can go back to being the kind of the big thinker for the Republican Party and be able to kind of voice his opinions without the -- the pressure of having to compare it with everybody else and compare it with people running for president.
BLITZER: Are you surprised, James, how quickly Newt Gingrich's campaign simply self-destructed?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I guess I was surprised at how quickly it is. And it -- it's almost sad. I mean it -- he -- I don't know what exactly that he deserved, but something probably a little better than this.
But I tend to agree with Rich that it -- it's just something that he -- he seems to not -- not be able to get off the ground. And these -- the defections hurt fundraising, which hurts a lot of other things.. And he'd have a lot more influence on this process from the outside, I think. And -- but, you know, he certainly -- he believes that his ideas, that he can carry the day with them. And he's got to come down to his own terms.
But it sure looks like this, you know, that is this -- even -- this is unusual even for presidential politics --
CARVILLE: -- and I don't think much is unusual.
BLITZER: It's pretty surprising for those of us who have covered him.
And, you know, as we reported yesterday, Rich --
BLITZER: -- this week, you know, he's not in Iowa. He's not in New Hampshire. He's not in South Carolina. He's making a few appearances near his home in Georgia. Then he's got an appearance up here near Washington, DC.
He seems to have given up, but maybe his pride alone is convincing him to keep on fighting a little bit without simply acknowledging, you know what, I made a major mistake.
GALEN: Well, it's -- I think in about 20 days, the FAC Reports are due. And everybody will be able to see what the financial status of the campaign is. And ---. And if the reports today are accurate and he's somewhere in the million dollar range in debt, it's virtually impossible for him to raise any money --
GALEN: -- because people are not going give money for what is essentially debt retirement at this stage in the campaign.
CARVILLE: (INAUDIBLE). BLITZER: Let me change the subject briefly, James.
CARVILLE: Go ahead.
BLITZER: And talk about the president of the United States.
He was at a fundraiser here in Washington, DC, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel last night, for some wealthy American Jewish Democrats. And he went out of his way to reiterate his support for Israel, among other things, saying: "The United States and Israel will always be stalwart allies and friends. That bond isn't breakable. Israel's security will always be at the top tier of considerations in terms of how America manages its foreign policy, because it's the right thing to do, because Israel is our closest ally and friend."
BLITZER: And he went out of his way to reiterate his support for Israel. Among other things, saying, " -- the United States and Israel will always be stalwart allies and friends. That bond isn't breakable. Israel's security will always be at the top tier of considerations in terms of how America manages its foreign policy, because it's the right thing to do, because Israel is the closest ally and friend, it is a robust democracy, it shares our values, it shares our principles."
He's got a problem with a lot of supporters of Israel right now, you think?
CARVILLE: Well, I think he's got a problem with certain supporters of Israel, and, you know, I guess he was addressing that. It's not unusual that a political candidate would tell a Jewish audience that they stand steadfastly behind Israel. Most people in the country stand behind Israel.
There seems to be some difference in approach in terms of how you negotiate from the '67 borders. But what he said, I'm not surprised that he said it. And yes, he's trying to mend some fences there. It's not predictable (ph).
GALEN: Yes. And there's a big hole in the fence, too, James.
I mean, two or three weeks ago to the day before, he was going to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu. He called for the beginning of these negotiations to start with the '67 borders. And then the White House tried to make sure that everybody knew that it included land swaps, but even the Egyptian ambassador to the U.N., the next day, said, boy, the big news here is what Obama wants, the '67 borders.
BLITZER: Well, he did say in that speech -- hold on a second. He did say right away the negotiations should begin with the pre-'67 lines with mutually agreed land swaps. He said that right away, too.
GALEN: He said that, but that's not what people heard. CARVILLE: Well, they can hear what they want. What he said was I think a very good analysis of what it was.
And people can hear what they want, and I guess he's trying to do that, but what he said, to me, was not controversial at all. I thought -- and wrote it such that the reaction was -- I don't know what that was about.
BLITZER: You know, Mike Murphy, the Republican strategist, James?
CARVILLE: I know Mike well.
BLITZER: You know, what he said right away is that line in that speech may have cost Obama 75,000 votes in Florida.
CARVILLE: You know, wait and see, but by and large, I think most Jewish Americans know the president does care about Israel. There are some sort of distinctions.
Look, there are distinctions, as you know, Wolf, spending time in Israel, people in Israel don't agree what the best thing to do is. That was the position of Sharon and other people.
GALEN: But I think, James, what he needs to do is pick a line and stick with it. Clearly, yesterday, he was going after support. He was in campaign mode.
BLITZER: And by the way, he succeeded. He raised a lot of money at that dinner last night.
Hold your thought, guys, because we're going to have opportunities down the road to continue this discussion.
CARVILLE: All right. You bet.
BLITZER: The president, no doubt, will continue it as well.
GALEN: See you, James.
BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much.
CARVILLE: You bet.
BLITZER: A major new push to find one of the FBI's most wanted. Just ahead, why authorities are changing their strategy now in the hunt for an 81-year-old fugitive.
BLITZER: An alleged mobster on the run for years. Now the FBI is changing strategy in an effort to hunt him down.
Let's bring in CNN's Mary Snow. She's got more -- Mary.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it's been an embarrassment for the FBI that James "Whitey" Bulger has eluded authorities for so long. Why exactly it's stepping up efforts to catch him now is unclear, but it seems the agency thinks it may have a better shot tracking him down through his longtime girlfriend.
SNOW (voice-over): In New York's Times Square, a billboard showing the FBI's new push to find one of their most wanted fugitives, James "Whitey" Bulger. He's linked to 19 deaths and has eluded authorities since 1995.
He's said to be the inspiration for Jack Nicholson's role in "The Departed."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DEPARTED")
JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: Do you know who I am?
(END VIDEO CLIP, "THE DEPARTED")
SNOW: The FBI says it's gotten thousands of leads throughout the last 16 years, but to no avail. And now that Bulger is 81, the agency says it's time to reshift its focus into locating Bulger's 60-year-old girlfriend, Catherine Greig.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These photos are from the early 1990s. Greig has had plastic surgeries. She is wanted for harboring James "Whitey" Bulger, a fugitive on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.
SNOW: The FBI is running these ads during the daytime in U.S. cities where the couple is believed to have links. They've hoping someone will recognize Greig.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel as a taskforce and as an agency that it's a good time to focus on her and really, really target the audience, the daytime audience that will give us those tips and leads, and really specific tips on her which will connect to him.
SNOW: In 2007, the FBI thought this might be Bulger and Greig in Sicily, but said facial recognition was inconclusive. FBI agents believe the couple has been able to stay under the radar by stashing cash in cities around the world. As to how Bulger has eluded authorities for so long, one author says there's no lack of speculation tied to Bulger's past as an FBI informant.
HOWIE CARR, AUTHOR, "THE BROTHER'S BULGER": You know, a lot of people think in Boston that the FBI wants to the make sure that Whitey is never caught because he knows so much about the FBI, but I think that most of the people that he associated with and that he bribed and corrupted in the Boston office of the FBI, they're either dead, they're in prison, or they're retired and have cut some kind of immunity deals. And the people who are in the FBI office now in Boston would love nothing better than to bring in Whitey. It would be the ultimate scalp.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SNOW: And Wolf, the FBI is hoping money will bring them a lead. It's offering $2 million for information leading to Bulger's arrest, $100,000 for information leading to Greig -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Mary. Thank you.
Is President Obama going far enough in Afghanistan? I'll ask Republican Senator Rand Paul. He's standing by live.
And horrifying graphic images like the one showing a dead body. How it could save a life, though.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: U.S. military missions in transition right now. President Obama preparing to reveal the scope of the initial troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in a major speech tomorrow night. Members of Congress are at odds right now over the future of U.S. involvement not only in Afghanistan, but in Libya as well.
Let's discuss with Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky. He's a member of the Tea Party Caucus up on Capitol Hill.
Senator, thanks very much for coming in.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Good to be with you.
BLITZER: On the troop withdrawal, we don't know the exact numbers of what the president has in mind. You know there's 100,000 U.S. troops there now, but 30,000 maybe will be out -- that's probably the largest number -- by the end of 2012, 70,000 could be remaining.
Is that good enough for you?
PAUL: Well, I think with the death of Bin Laden and with most of al Qaeda wiped out in Afghanistan, and largely in Pakistan as well, I think we now have the opportunity to let the Afghans start taking over their country again. I mean, even their own president is incredibly critical of the United States and our presence there.
So I think really, the only way they will ever step up and start patrolling their own streets, start leading missions, and start taking care of their own country is when we start removing troops. The president promised this in his campaign, and I hope the president will abide by his promises.
BLITZER: Well, what kind of numbers would you like to see? Because right now the president is committed to keeping troops in Afghanistan through the end of 2014, although he wants to start removing some at least in July next month.
PAUL: Well, ultimately, the decisions on exact troop numbers I think are the president's to make, so I don't think they're Congress' decisions to make. But I do think that a much smaller force. In fact, I think an elite force on a base there could keep the peace and keep terrorists from reorganizing, I would think, with less than 10,000 troops you could keep the country very stable. You couldn't patrol all the street, but really, after 10 years, should the African soldiers not be patrolling their own streets?
And the longer we patrol the streets for them, they won't do it. They will only do it when we quit patrolling the streets, and they'll have to step up.
BLITZER: Well, that's a specific number. How long do you think realistically it should take to remove 90,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan?
PAUL: Well, that's something -- and that's one reason the president gets to make the decisions, is he does have to work with our generals to do it in a safe fashion. But I think the ultimate policy of how big our presence should be there should be much smaller. And once he sets those parameters and works with the generals, then we have to decide how quickly we can draw them down.
But I don't believe the Afghans will ever step up. I've talked to our soldiers who have been wounded there. When they get out of the Humvee, they're the ones leading the mission. The Afghan soldiers are running for the back, if they're there at all. The Afghan soldiers have sometimes been stealing the things from our wounded soldiers when they're out of commission.
The Afghan soldiers need to step up. It's their country, and the longer we do it for them, the less likely they are to stand up and do it themselves.
BLITZER: You think realistically it could happen within a year, to remove 90 percent of the U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
PAUL: I don't know the exact number, the timeline. And I do think that really setting an exact is not really appropriate. But the president stood up and said he was for drawing down Afghanistan, and since he's come into power he's actually doubled the force in Afghanistan.
So I think really drawing down the troops, the president needs to stick by his campaign promises.
BLITZER: Senator Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator McCain, the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, they've co-sponsored a resolution that would authorize, that would approve the U.S. military mission, together with NATO, in Libya.
Are you on board with that?
PAUL: Well, it's sort of a proposition that's a day late and a dollar short. The Constitution implied and said, basically, that foreign policy would be a shared responsibility between Congress and the president. The initiation of war was given to Congress, a declaration of war.
This was debated, discussed. The Federalist Papers talk about it.
Our founders wanted that power to be in the legislature, and we've abdicated that power, and then we passed the War Powers Act in the '70s because we didn't want another war like Vietnam to go on without really the approval of Congress. And so we passed the War Powers Act, and the president is in direct defiance of that.
And I think it's really a mistake just to say, oh, well, it's not really war because they're not shooting back at us. I think when you start to get into these convoluted definitions of what war is, and you say, oh, we're bombing us and they're not bombing us, and that's not war, that really -- I think the president loses his credibility by engaging in such sophistry.
BLITZER: So is the Kerry/McCain legislation too late for you? It's after the 90 days that was envisaged in the War Powers Act, but will you support it?
PAUL: Well, there are two separate arguments.
One is, should Congress authorize force? And that's very important, so I'm a big fan and very much in favor of having the debate and having the vote on use of authorization. So, one, it's Congress' obligation to have that vote, whether we should go to war or not.
And then, two, there's a second question and a very important debate -- is Libya in our national security interest, and can we afford to be in a third war? On that particular contention, I don't think Libya is in our national security interest and I don't think we can afford to be in a third war.
BLITZER: So you'll vote against that resolution?
PAUL: Yes. I will have a resolution that will replace it. In my resolution, I will say that the president is in violation of the War Powers Act and he should obey the War Powers Act and disengage.
BLITZER: Do you have any co-sponsors?
PAUL: We haven't sent it around for co-sponsors. We had a similar letter that we sent to the president, and we had -- I believe seven or eight people signed on to that.
We're hoping to get both Republicans and Democrats to vote in this fashion. A lot of people up here do believe that Congress should have something to say about going to war, but they become afraid of voting if they're Democrats, I think often are afraid of voting in favor of Congress' authority, because they think oh, well, it's a Democrat president.
And I tell them over and over again, if this were a Republican president, I would vote exactly the same way, because I believe in the Constitution whether we have a Republican president or a Democrat president. But many people up here see it as a personal attack on the president.
And I have no personal animus towards the president. I like him, but I think he's just in violation of his campaign promises and the Constitution.
BLITZER: You'll get some bipartisan support of this resolution, I'm sure, Senator.
PAUL: I hope to.
BLITZER: Thanks very much for coming in.
PAUL: Thank you.
BLITZER: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
A teenager arrested in England, he's part of a notorious band of hackers linked to some of the biggest online break-ins in the United States and around the world.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is back with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: Wolf, the question this hour is: Why are there more U.S. troops on South Korea's border than on our own border? I like this question.
Rebecca in Virginia, "Because the part of the Constitution that reads 'For the People' no longer means for the American people. Our government is more concerned with the rest of the world than it is with the citizens of this country."
David in Virginia writes, "I don't know, but I bet they don't have a lot of problems with illegal aliens. Maybe we should give it a try."
Loren writes, "Because North and South Korea are still at war. Come on, Jack. These politicians are pandering."
"Yes, we should have a more active police presence on the border, but a military presence is uncalled for. We are not at war with Mexico."
Mark in Oklahoma City writes, "Isn't it obvious? The North Korean invasion, should it come, will be very violent. Mexico, on the other hand, is carrying out a very peaceful invasion of this country. In fact, I think just asking this question could be a violation of illegal immigrants' rights. Shame on you, sir."
Eve in Texas says, "Because corporate America doesn't want to limit undocumented workers, and whatever corporations want the politicians will do. And the average voter doesn't possess the courage or critical vision to vote the corrupt lying politicians out." T.P. writes, "The reason for more troops in South Korea is to ensure the cheap labor sweat shops serving the pharaohs of Wall Street. The reason for less troops on our southern border with Mexico is for the same reason. Think about it for a minute."
And Mike writes, "That's easy. It's to stop all those South Korean border jumpers from entering North Korea and taking all those jobs that North Koreans are too proud to do."
If you want to read more on this, go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile.
We have some very clever people.
BLITZER: I love our viewers out there. They are clever.
CAFFERTY: They're just great.
BLITZER: Thank you, Jack.
A new ethics controversy surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. And the story of a man willing to go to jail to get health care.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Former Utah governor, former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is now officially seeking the Republican presidential nomination. He chose the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop for his announcement, following in the footsteps of the Republican former president Ronald Reagan
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A guy with a shot at the White House who could star in his own music video.
JOHNS: Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman might never have gotten into politics if his plan to playing keyboards in a band had worked out.
JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My initial passion in life was to be a rock 'n' roll musician. In my late teens, you wouldn't have recognized me. My hair was Rod Stewart-shaggy. I wouldn't wear anything but super skinny jeans.
I ended up leaving high school a bit short of graduation to play with a band called Wizard. I thought it was my ticket to fame.
JOHNS: Wizard didn't make it, but Huntsman still has the rock star thing going on: good looks, lots of money, popular back home, knows how to ride a motorcycle. Oh, and his dad's a billionaire. The Obama White House thinks Huntsman is a star, too, and a threat to re-election. So much so, that they actually hired him and sent him off to the other side of the planet as U.S. ambassador to China, almost 7,000 miles away from Washington, D.C., though he did not stay for long.
And now that he's back home, Democrats and the president are singing Huntsman's praises, hoping his ties to Mr. Obama will be a turnoff to Republican voters.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm sure he will be very successful in whatever endeavors he chooses in the future. And I'm sure that him having worked so well with me will be a great asset in any Republican primary.
JOHNS: He's perceived by some as a moderate, a past supporter of civil unions and immigration reform, which is a big problem for leading conservatives like Richard Viguerie.
RICHARD VIGUERIE, CHAIRMAN, CONSERVATIVEHQ.COM: I don't see him as a serious candidate. I'm a big fan of the cliche or the idea that personnel is policy. Tell me who you walk with, and I'll tell you who you are. Jon Huntsman doesn't walk with us.
JOHNS: Huntsman is also Mormon, though he doesn't exactly overemphasize it.
HUNTSMAN: I believe in God. I'm a good Christian. I'm proud of my roots. You have to take me for what I am and make a decision based on that.
Take a look at my family. Take a look at my values.
JOHNS: But some Republicans say concerns about the Mormon faith could be settled this election, partly because Mitt Romney, another potential candidate, is Mormon also.
VIGUERIE: He and Mitt Romney are both in here. If either of them makes the credible message to be the Republican nominee, that will dissipate.
BLITZER: Joe Johns reporting.