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Congressional Battle Over Green Jobs; Iranian President Delivers Controversial Address at United Nations; Interview With Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson

Aired September 22, 2011 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Also, the Joint Chiefs chairman makes a blistering indictment against Pakistan, accusing that country's intelligence service of playing a key role in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

And the congressional battle over green jobs. We're now learning House Republicans are targeting a government loan program, even though one of the sharpest critics himself tried to tap into a similar program.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

His speeches are consistently among the most controversial, the most protests at United Nations. Today's address by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was certainly no exception. For 30 minutes, he lambasted the United States and its Western allies, prompting a mass walkout by many diplomats in the General Assembly.

What is different this year is Ahmadinejad's standing at home in Iran. We're taking a closer look.

CNN's Brian Todd working this story for us.

Brian, what's going on with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inside Iran?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, analysts say he's had some internal struggles recently with the man who was once his chief backer, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad needs to build capital at home and in the broader Middle East, and observers say speeches like this help him do that, even if many find them outrageous.


TODD (voice-over): It was classic Ahmadinejad. Less than seven minutes in, Iran's president blasted the U.S. and other Western powers, though not by name.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Who abducted forcefully tens of millions of people from their homes in Africa and other regions of the world during the dark period of slavery? Who used the mysterious September 11 incident as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iran?

TODD: He made this reference:

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Who used atomic bomb against defenseless people?

TODD: But he never mentioned his own country's controversial nuclear program, believed by Western intelligence to be developing a bomb.

Analyst Hillary Mann Leverett writes a blog on Iran.

(on camera): Why do you think he didn't mention the nuclear program?

HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I think Ahmadinejad did not mention Iran's nuclear program because, for Ahmadinejad and politicians in Iran, across the political spectrum, they believe Iran has a natural right to a nuclear program.

TODD (voice-over): Ahmadinejad instead went off on supporters of Israel, implied that September 11 was a Western conspiracy and that Osama bin Laden was killed to cover it up.

Led by the U.S., one Western delegation after another walked out of the U.N. General Assembly. A spokesman at the U.S. Mission there said, Ahmadinejad "turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories."

Britain's prime minister was more succinct. Leverett says these speeches help Ahmadinejad build popular support among Iran's neighbors in the Middle East, who have often competed with Iran for influence there. But they help him domestically as well. Ahmadinejad's had internal conflicts recently with the man who wields the real power in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It began analysts say when Ahmadinejad tried to assert his own power, and fire some of Khamenei's allies.

Since then, analysts Karim Sadjadpour says Khamenei has tried to emasculate Ahmadinejad.

KARIM SADJADPOUR, ASSOCIATE, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Khamenei has allowed Ahmadinejad's opponents to really ravage him and in a sense it's been useful for Khamenei, because Khamenei likes to wield power without accountability. He needs a president like Ahmadinejad who has accountability without power.


TODD: Ahmadinejad may have only one or two of these speeches left. He's term-limited and will leave office in 2013, but analysts say he and Iran's other leaders still value these speeches at the U.N., conspiracy theories and all, because they do help Iran gain credibility in the Middle East.

Expect the next Iranian president to do the same, though maybe not with the same fervor -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much.

Let's get some more right now on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, . Bill Richardson. He's the former United States ambassador to the United Nations, also the former New Mexico governor.

Ambassador, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: Governor, I don't know what to call you. But let's talk about this spectacle. It goes on every year. Is it a good idea, bad idea, or anything can be done with it? You lived with it when you were the ambassador.

RICHARDSON: The U.N. General Assembly is the forum for countries like Iran, leaders like Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, even Saddam Hussein to basically lambaste the international community, to show off, and I think in Ahmadinejad's case, he's very weak at home.

So he's trying to get some political support, some domestic support. You know, he released the American hikers. He was the one that made the announcement. It's obvious that the supreme leader, Khamenei, is giving him a little space, a little good news, but also is manipulating him.

But this is what happens at the General Assembly. This is the forum for the Third World, Africa, Asia, Latin America. All the leaders trot out, denounce the West, the United States, and this is their forum.

BLITZER: He invited a few reporters over for a little press briefing. He answered questions for more than an hour. I was there. One of the issues that came up was the allegation that Iran is building, trying to build a nuclear bomb right now. And what if -- what if the Israelis tried to stop that with military action?

Let me play the clip of what he said if that were to happen.


AHMADINEJAD (through translator): The Zionists are quite eager to be able to be given the opportunity to damage Iran. But -- and they always announce it openly, but, unfortunately, the Western politicians and leaders have shown no reactions to these open and veiled threats of the Zionist regime.

They have only backed these threats. They would always -- I think it is their ultimate dream to be able to transgress against Iran. They have held many military exercises and rehearsals. And I think, certainly, they must know that Iran's response will be quite hard, will be regretful for them.

Now, we never -- we never go towards warfare with open arms, but I assure everyone that we're fully capable of defending ourselves. I do hope that they don't end up making a fatal mistake.


BLITZER: All right, a pretty tough warning to the Israeli from Ahmadinejad. Is that surprising at all to you?

RICHARDSON: It isn't surprising.

It's an outrageous statement. But the reality is, it's a tougher neighborhood for Israel. You know, I'm a strong supporter of Israel. I worry about Egypt, Turkey going the other direction. I worry -- I'm happy with the Arab spring, but I think what Ahmadinejad is doing is deflecting from the fact that Iran is building nuclear weapons, enriched uranium, not abiding by U.N. resolutions, defying sanctions, preceding all out with a nuclear program, defying the international community.

And I think what the international community needs to do, not just the Security Council members, the United States, Europe, is everybody should be outraged that this is happening in Iran in open defiance of U.N. General Assembly resolutions.

BLITZER: He shrugged off these sanctions. He said, yes, they hurt Iran. But you know what he said? He said he believes the sanctions against Iran wind up hurting the United States' economy more. That was his...


RICHARDSON: No, that's outrageous also. I think the fact is that Iran imports half of its gasoline, a lot of its food. These sanctions are biting.

I think, internally, Iran has high levels of inflation. And I think the international community needs to continue these sanctions, needs to continue tightening them because they're proceeding with enriched uranium, secret nuclear weapons programs. And it's not just the U.S. and Europe that should be concerned. It should be all these General Assembly countries that are voting on the statehood for Palestine. It should be the near-200 countries that are here represented at the General Assembly.

BLITZER: Good to have you back here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Ambassador.

RICHARDSON: Thanks. Thank you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

Any prospect of going back to Cuba and getting that American out of there?

RICHARDSON: Well, I want to get him out. He should come out, Alan Gross. You know, if there's an opportunity, we will get back in there. But he deserves to come home, like the two American hikers. That was good news that they're home. BLITZER: Stay in touch with us on that.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

BLITZER: Appreciate it, Bill Richardson joining us.

I was as I said a bunch of reporters, a handful, I should say, maybe a dozen, of reporters invited by President Ahmadinejad to this news briefing that he had, Q&A. I pressed him on some controversial comments that he's made. I want you to listen to this exchange.


BLITZER: You remember a few years ago, when you spoke at Columbia University, you caused a lot of uproar, buzz, ridicule, I should say, when you suggested there were no homosexuals in Iran.

Could you tell us, are there homosexuals in Iran?

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): My position hasn't changed.

In Iran, homosexuality is looked down upon as an ugly deed. Perhaps there are those who engage in such activities, and you may be in contact with them and more aware of them. But in Iranian society, such activities, thoughts and behaviors are shameful.

Therefore, these are not known elements within the Iranian society. Rest assured, this is one of the ugliest behaviors in our society. It is against divine will, divine teachings of any and every faith. And it is certainly at the detriment of humans and humanity.

But, as the government, I cannot go in the streets and stop my population and ask them about specific orientation. So my positions clear about that.


BLITZER: CNN's Erin Burnett was also at that meeting we had with Ahmadinejad here in New York. A bunch of other reporters, Piers Morgan, was there as well.

You have been to Iran. What did you think of this hour-and-a- half exchange that we had with him?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was surprised. He was much more personable and friendly than I had expected.

I thought the answer to you on homosexuality was one of the highlights of the whole exchange. I will say something. When I asked him about China, I was very surprised with what he said. China, right now, 25 percent of Iran's oil goes to China. They're not on board with the sanctions. China needs Iran more than anybody. And China obviously has a lot of suppression in the country.

When I asked him whether he would condemn China, he said absolutely, which goes to show you how much power Iran has because of its oil right now. So I thought that was very interesting.

BLITZER: He seemed self-confident. He certainly had -- I just wrote a little blog on our SITUATION ROOM Web site. He certainly has his talking points down, because whenever any of us asked a critical question, and there were a few other reporters there obviously as well, he always turned it and focused in on the negative things happening in the United States, whether poverty, or unemployment or homeless.

He knew statistics. He had that down.

BURNETT: I was impressed by that. And he made some jokes at some points.

One thing though that -- what struck me when I was in Iran in December was the frustration that people there felt about the surge in food and energy prices. Food prices have been surging there, and they are trying to pay subsidies to people. They have $40 a family, and obviously they need the oil money to do that. China is helping Iran significantly to circumvent U.S. sanctions.

But the people there were incredibly upset about that. And the people I spoke to, these are regular people, they're not intellectuals, they're not people who hate the regime. They just had deep frustration over the surge in cost of living and high unemployment.

BLITZER: Did you get the sense -- when another reporter asked about what would happen if Israel were to take military action against your nuclear facilities -- Israel does have a history, Iraq back in 1981, Syria more recently -- we just heard, he was pretty forceful on that.

But I wonder if he's really concerned about that or he sort of just shrugs that aside.

BURNETT: It was one of those moments where he tried to say that Palestinian statehood and the existence of Israel are two totally separate conversations.

BLITZER: Well, he said he wasn't going to recognize the -- quote -- "Zionist entity" under any circumstance, even if there were agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.


BURNETT: Yes. That was one of those things where -- the areas even with the meeting with us, where I did think he was much more rational, to your point, on some of those talking points, where he sort of goes off on the Zionist rant that he likes...


BLITZER: He did concede though that there may be some homosexuals in Iran. BURNETT: You know what? When you asked that question, Wolf, I thought to myself, well, there's the don't ask, don't tell, right? Oh, there's homosexuals. They're just not willing to -- they can't identify themselves.

BLITZER: Yes. Well, that may be the vision he has...


BURNETT: My understanding is there is a not-inactive transvestite community in Tehran as well.

BLITZER: Don't tell that to President Ahmadinejad.


BURNETT: Not the neighborhoods he walks in, right?

BLITZER: No. I don't think he wants to hear that.


BLITZER: All right, well, it was a fascinating discussion. You will have a lot more on that later as well. Thanks very much.


BURNETT: Good to see you, Wolf, in person.

BLITZER: I want to just tell our viewers October 3 -- is that correct?


BLITZER: Tell them all what happens on October 3, why that's such a special day.

BURNETT: All right. It's a very special day. I'm excited for this day. I'm nervous for this day. But it's the launch of our new show. We called it "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT." And we're ready to go, and very excited, Wolf.

BLITZER: Seven p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday. Congratulations. We're looking forward to seeing it.

BURNETT: Thank you.

BLITZER: We love those promos. You're shooting the camera. You have the whole thing.

BURNETT: That's right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

BURNETT: All right, thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: October 3, by the way, we move from 4:00 to 6:00, instead of 5:00 to 7:00.


BLITZER: So there will be a few changes.

BURNETT: All right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

A notorious terror group acting an arm of Pakistan's intelligence agency, that's a very serious charge. It's coming from the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

And Pakistan's foreign minister is here in THE SITUATION ROOM to respond.

Plus, the battle over green jobs heating up on Capitol Hill right now. Republicans are casting doubt on how many jobs the Obama administration has actually created.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: With the Dow tanking almost 400 points today, Americans might be more inclined than ever to blame President Obama for this sluggish economy or Ben Bernanke.

A new "USA Today"/Gallup Poll shows for the first time ever a slight majority now, 53 percent of those surveyed, blame the nation's economic problems on this president, Obama, just in time for reelection.

The number is up sharply. Only 32 percent felt that way when President was six months into his first term.

The silver lining for the president is that Americans also blame former President George W. Bush, in fact even more than they blame Obama for the nation's economic woes. But Bush won't be on the ballot next November.

The poll also shows that about six in 10 independents believe both presidents are to blame.

This is not good news for President Obama, with the economy sure to be the top issue in the 2012 race.

Another recent CNN poll shows eight in 10 people, eight in 10, think the economy is in poor shape, and less than 40 percent approve of how President Obama is handling the economy and unemployment.

There's more -- 9 percent say the president's policies made the economy better.

Thirty-seven percent say his policies have made the economy worse -- 39 percent say his policies prevented the economy from getting worse. And 15 percent say they had no effect.

If it's the economy, stupid -- and it always is -- the president has got a real problem.

If he has any hopes of a second term, something's got to be done about the persistent 9 percent unemployment. And it's got to be done quickly.

But the Congressional Budget Office predicts unemployment will remain above 9 percent right through the end of next year, which means it's very likely to become someone else's problem.

Here's the question: How much do you blame President Obama for the struggling economy?

Go to and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.

A growing number of Americans are assigning ownership of the economy to this president, fully aware that Bush created a lot of these problems, but they see he's had enough time to do something about it and it's not happening.

BLITZER: And the Europeans see what's happening over there. They think it's going to get even worse here over the next year, not better.

CAFFERTY: Well, the IMF was out yesterday saying with the global slowdown, we could have a lost generation of people in this country, 10 years of stagnant growth, no growth, whatever.

BLITZER: And that 9 percent unemployment only tells part of the story, because if you talk about the underemployed, those who have just given up completely, those who have taken jobs at half their pay, part-time jobs, it's 15 percent, or 16 percent, or 17 percent.

CAFFERTY: When you go into the minority communities, it's even worse.

BLITZER: Oh, of course.

CAFFERTY: African-American teenage unemployment is over 40 percent. It's horrible.

BLITZER: All right, Jack, thanks very much.


BLITZER: This year's the fifth anniversary of our CNN Heroes program. And over the years, we have received more than 40,000 nominations from our viewers in more than 100 countries.

Now CNN's Anderson Cooper reveals our top 10 Heroes of 2011, one of whom will be chosen CNN Hero of the Year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Anderson Cooper. All year, we've been introducing you to everyday people who are changing the world. We call them CNN Heroes. Well, today, we announce the top ten CNN Heroes for 2011.

The honorees are in alphabetical order by first name. Amy Stokes. She uses the Internet to match teens lacking role models with adults around the world. Bruno Serato is serving up a solution so no kids don't go to bed hungry. Derreck Kayongo collects discarded hotel soaps and reprocesses them to save lives. Diane Latiker, in a violent neighborhood, she opened her door inviting gang members in.

Eddie Canales helps young football players sidelined by spinal cord injuries. Elena Duron Miranda offers poor children a way out of the trash dump and into school. Patrice Millet diagnosed with incurable cancer, started feeding and coaching children from Haiti's slums. Robin Lim helps poor women have healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries.

Sal Dimiceli pays for rent, food, and basic necessities to keep the working poor afloat. And Taryn Davis, who built the Sister of Healing for a new generation of American war widows.

Congratulations. The top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011. Which one inspires you the most?

Go to online or on your mobile device and vote for CNN Hero of the Year.


BLITZER: And you can check out all of our heroes at and vote for your top choice for Hero of the Year. The winner will be revealed in our CNN Heroes all-star tribute on December 11, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

A deadly dilemma on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, militants creeping across the border, launching attacks, simply melting away. And ahead, what the U.S. wants Pakistan to do about it, and why Washington is now rapidly running out of patience.

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


BLITZER: Some really extraordinary criticism of Pakistan coming from the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Admiral Mike Mullen is accusing the country of exporting violence to Afghanistan and he says a notorious terror network is -- quote -- "a veritable arm of Pakistan's intelligence service."

We're getting reaction from the Pakistani foreign minister in just a moment.

But first our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is standing by.

Barbara, you're picking up some new information. What is it?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, be on the lookout. There is a very new, very deliberate campaign by top officials at the Pentagon to take on Pakistan's support for this terrorist group, support the U.S. says is leading to the killing of U.S. troops.


STARR (voice-over): CNN has learned that the CIA has stepped up armed drone attacks inside Pakistan against the Haqqani insurgent network. The U.S. accuses the group of sending suicide attackers into Afghanistan to kill American troops, orchestrating high-profile attacks on targets like the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

It's part of a plan created by the CIA last year after General David Petraeus, then commanding the war in Afghanistan, asked for help. Pakistan doesn't allow U.S. troops on its soil, so CIA drones are the only way to get to Haqqani's strongholds.

But as Haqqani attacks have increased, and Pakistan still has taken no action, this week, Pentagon officials began openly and deliberately skewering the Pakistan government.

ADMIRAL MICHAEL MULLEN, JOINTS CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The Haqqani Network, for one, acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's internal services intelligence agency.

STARR: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the former CIA director, out of patience.

LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We cannot tolerate having terrorists coming across the border, attacking our forces, killing our soldiers, and then escaping back into that safe haven. That is not tolerable.

STARR: This Pakistan border town of Miranshah is the center of concern. U.S. officials say Haqqani commanders are headquartered in a madrassa religious school here that cannot be attacked. A Pakistani intelligence unit is a short distance away, and the Afghan border is in eyesight.

But the CIA drone strikes haven't stopped the Haqqanis. U.S. military options remain limited.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Would you say that the Pakistan leaders are aware of what options are open to us so that they're not caught by any surprise if, in fact, we take steps against that network?

PANETTA: I don't think they would be surprised by the actions that we might or might not take.

(END VIDEOTAPE) STARR: Now, Pakistan denies supporting the Haqqani Network, but U.S. officials are more than skeptical, to say the least, Wolf.

BLITZER: Could all of this possibly, Barbara, lead to military action?

STARR: Well, look, you know, the U.S. already did it with bin Laden, didn't they? They went into Pakistan without Pakistan's permission.

What officials are saying is what Panetta's saying. All options remain on the table. But Leon Panetta today made it very clear he is going to continue this drumbeat of sending the message to Pakistan that they need to crack down on these guys, that it will not be tolerated for them to cross into Afghanistan, attack targets like the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters, U.S. military bases, kill U.S. and Afghans. He wants it stopped, and he wants it stopped now -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks very much.

Here in New York, Pakistan's top diplomat is denying strongly any government support for terrorists.


BLITZER: And joining us now, the foreign minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar.

Foreign Minister, thanks very much for joining us.


BLITZER: I want to talk about you in a few minutes. But let's talk about U.S./Pakistani relations right now. Admiral Mike Mullen and other U.S. officials, they are publicly accusing your government, Pakistani government, of supporting the Haqqani terror network, which is responsible for killing Americans. What's going on?

KHAR: Wolf, first of all, I think it's almost impossible to answer that question without a bit of a background, right? And I would like to take this opportunity to give you the background on, first of all, what Pakistan feels about its relationship with the U.S. We feel that we are partners and we are very, very important partners in this global fight against terrorism.

Pakistan happens to be a frontier state -- frontier state. Pakistan happens to be a country which has experienced 311 suicide bomb attacks inside its territory, which has killed men, women and children. These are facts. If Pakistan is part of the solution, as far as this war on terror is concerned, Pakistan is an important country which has made immense sacrifice.

BLITZER: But are you supporting the Haqqani Network?

KHAR: This is -- this is something which I have very, very strong reservations about any statement like that coming in publicly or privately, for that matter. We have said, we have discussed in great detail the counterterrorism policy. We have discussed in great detail that we hope to be worthy partners. But it takes two to tango. We have both to be worthy partners.

And if we are in this as a partnership, then we must make sure that we are able to work it together. Pointing fingers or holding one responsible will not help in this broad, you know, effort that we are...

BLITZER: But it is extraordinary, for a high-ranking U.S. military or political leader to be making this direct charge against an ally like Pakistan. If the Haqqani Network is responsible for so much terror attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, especially against U.S. and NATO troops and Afghan troops, why would Pakistan, why would your military, or intelligence service, be helping them?

KHAR: First of all, I'm completely denying that our intelligence or our military service would be helping them.

BLITZER: You're not. Are you saying that what Admiral Mullen is saying, and other U.S. officials are saying, is not true?

KHAR: We are -- we have -- we have sacrificed our soldiers. We have sacrificed our men, women. We have not done it to be able to attack somebody else or to have more fragility (ph) than this. We are the ones who are experiencing terrorism (ph).

So my question really is that, if Pakistan is part of the problem and if Pakistan is using its territory on its own choice to be able to give assistance to this terrorist network, terrorist networks are not of one type. They're of many types that exist. Then would Pakistan be the biggest victim itself? I think we need to ask these questions.

And if, for that matter, we have said this clearly in our interaction with secretary of state, there is what they call some evidence that exists, as partners, as worthy partners, we expect that evidence to be shared with us.

BLITZER: Have they shared it with you?

KHAR: They have not shared that with us. I can say that to you. They have shared broad statements of what they believe to be the case. But as partners, I don't think that is enough for anyone to make such public statements.

BLITZER: So I just want to be precise. You're flatly denying these allegations that Pakistan is cooperating with the Haqqani terror network?

KHAR: Pakistan is cooperating with the world community at large, to be able to fight the scourge of terrorism which has hit us before. You live with the idea of a terrorist attack in your country. We live with that attack on a daily basis.

BLITZER: As you know, there's a great debate in Congress and the American public. The U.S. provides Pakistan with, what, $2 billion or $3 billion a year in economic and military assistance. And people are saying, "Is that money well spent?"

KHAR: Wolf, I have, again, strong reservations against that type of mindset because, you know, there are many that are promises made to Pakistan which haven't been kept, and our people equally can ask that question. There was promise of market access for the last five to seven years through two different administrations which wasn't met.

And as far as the assistance is concerned, a lot of this is just reimbursement for the fight that we're fighting, for the expenditure that we ourselves are making. I will make the other point.

I will make the point that we are building less schools in Pakistan. We are building less hospitals in Pakistan, because we are using these resources to actively fight terrorist networks inside Pakistan.

And these terrorist networks, by the way, exist on the other side of the border. Now who is responsible for what exists on the other side of the border? And may I share with you that in the last few months only, there have been four attacks. Therefore, a consistency in that, from a terrorist network or groups which exist across the border.

BLITZER: In Afghanistan?

KHAN: In Afghanistan, that exists who have attacked Pakistani people, who have killed Pakistani people. We do not point fingers when that happens. We do not point fingers to your intelligence agencies or to your military, because we understand the complexity of the situation. We are admitting it. We would appreciate the same understanding to be given with -- to our allies in the war.

BLITZER: So just to summarize this one point: U.S./Pakistani relations right now you would describe as?

KHAN: I would -- you know, I can just describe in what I have in closed door meetings. I'm not going to make any comments on public recommendations, because I think this is bad diplomacy. I think this is bad for the war against terrorism. This is the worst thing that can happen.

BLITZER: You're the youngest person ever to be the foreign minister of Pakistan. You're the first woman to be the foreign minister of Pakistan. You've got an important American connection, as well. You went to the University of Massachusetts. So you can appreciate what's going on. But tell our viewers something about you that you'd like to share.

KHAN: I just think that, beyond being a woman, and beyond being the youngest person, right now it is a very difficult situation which is at hand. And it is important for us -- I would like to be able to play maybe, as a woman, to be able to soften the stances which have been taken which sometimes become counterproductive.

BLITZER: I want you to be careful when you go back to Pakistan, OK?

KHAN: We are careful there.

BLITZER: I want you to be careful. Foreign Minister, thanks very much for joining us. Good luck.

KHAN: Thank you.

BLITZER: We're counting on you.

KHAN: Thank you.


BLITZER: When it comes to the U.S. economy, green chutes are good. Green jobs would be even better. Criticism of the industry is leaving the White House feeling black and blue. We'll tell you what's going on.

And prosecutors aren't bluffing in their lawsuit against the poker Web site. Now Full Tilt is laying its cards on the table and defending itself. More on that and other news when we come back.


BLITZER: Two Republican sources tell CNN House GOP leaders will propose cutting $10 million from the controversial Energy Department loan program and use the money to help pay for disaster aid. The loans are meant to foster green jobs, but the program has been under fire since one recipient, solar panel-maker Solyndra, went bankrupt.

CNN's Lisa Sylvester is here. She's got more.

Lisa, critics are questioning how effective this entire program is.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. They're looking at exactly how many jobs have been created under the Obama administration, these green jobs. And it's really hard to pin down, because so much of it depends on how you define the word green.

Democrats are citing figures that say 2.7 million Americans are working in green industries, even more than the fossil fuel industry. But Republicans accuse the administration of using inflated numbers.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): Solyndra, once touted as a model of success, has become a symbol of colossal failure. Republicans are using the now-bankrupt solar-panel company as an example how the promise of green has turned sour.

Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, argued in a hearing that the Obama administration has been overstating the impact of Energy Department programs designed to create green jobs. REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: If I put LEDs in my office, apparently my staff becomes a green staff. If my -- if my staff director drives in a hybrid, I guess he becomes a green person. If a lobbyist is paid $1 million a year here to lobby for green grants, apparently, it's a green job.

SYLVESTER: Issa among the lawmakers questioning the promise of green jobs. Solyndra received a $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee, a half a billion dollars that will be hard to ever recover. Issa says the Energy Department's loan guarantee program to promote alternative energy isn't working.

But letters obtained by CNN show back in 2009, Representative Issa sought federal government aid from another Energy Department loan program on behalf of two companies in his district. One business, Aptera Motors, was seeking an Energy Department loan. Issa wrote, "Electric vehicle initiatives like Aptera's will aid U.S. long-term energy goals by shifting away from fossil fuels and using viable renewable energy sources."

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: While they go around and they knock the program, there are people who they pass every day, the ones they see in the grocery store, the ones at the gas station. They're people who are actually working in green jobs as a result of the efforts of this president.

SYLVESTER: Issa's office issued a statement in response, noting that the Aptera Motors loan application is still pending. Quote, "Republicans have long supported an all-of-the-above approach to energy. And the issue isn't that members of Congress from both parties have signed letters supporting some green projects. It's that roughly $90 billion set aside for efforts handpicked by the administration haven't had a meaningful impact on lowering unemployment, and that some companies like Solyndra appear to have received special treatment."


SYLVESTER: When Solyndra went out of business 1,100 workers were out of a job. Solyndra went bankrupt in part because of competition from China, which heavily subsidizes its solar-panel industry. U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman testified that the U.S. now ranks third, behind China and Germany, on clean energy investments -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Lisa, for that.

The NFL tries to get tough on players are faking injuries. The league is now cracking down after the latest embarrassment. But many people aren't sure it will work.

And the economy has certainly seen better days. Ahead, Jack Cafferty asks, how much do you blame President Obama for the struggling economy?


BLITZER: Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now, including Pakistan grappling, among other things, with an absolutely catastrophic flood.

Lisa, what's going on?

SYLVESTER: Yes, Wolf, the scale of flooding is so hard to imagine. Pakistani authorities say more than 8 million people are affected in the south and 1.5 million homes have been destroyed. Officials are warning of a humanitarian crisis, with two-thirds of the food stocks destroyed in the Sindh province. The death toll has now risen to 369. And the United Nations is looking for donors to contribute a third of a billion dollars to the relief effort.

The National Football League has some advice for players who might be trying to fake an injury. They say, don't even think about it. The league sent a memo to all 32 teams Wednesday, warning against the practice. Many fans believe the New York Giants used a fake injury to stop the clock in a game on Monday.

The crackdown will be hard to enforce, though, since it's nearly impossible to prove a player faked injury unless they admit it later.

The online poker site Full Tilt is defending itself from a government accusation that it defrauded players out of their funds. Lawyers for the Web site told the "Wall Street Journal" that it may have been mismanaged but wasn't a so-called Ponzi scheme.

The federal lawsuit accuses Full Tilt executives of using player funds to pay more than $440 million to board members and owners.

And former Olympic track star Carl Lewis, he won't be running for office any time soon. Federal appeals court rules he doesn't meet New Jersey's four-year residency rule and isn't eligible to run for state senate. The court says the state can begin printing ballots without his name.

Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medal winner, hoped to run as a Democrat.

And Halle Berry is in pain and a movie could be in trouble. The actress injured her foot in Spain on an off day from filming the movie "Cloud Atlas." She was photographed being escorted out of a Spanish hospital in a wheelchair with her right leg in a cast. Warner Bros. says the production schedule has been adjusted but, Wolf, as they say, the show will go on -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I hope it does. I hope for her. She's talented. I like her a lot.

Thanks very much for that, Lisa.

So how much do you blame President Obama for the struggling economy? Jack Cafferty is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Let's get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is: "How much do you blame President Obama for our struggling economy?" A growing number of Americans are now holding him accountable or responsible for the economic problems.

Hi writes, "The president can't do much to help when he's got a no Congress. They don't give a damn about jobs or the economy. The Republicans will ruin the country to get elected, and people are dumb enough to let them do it."

Rose in Arizona writes, "I believe Obama's now more to blame than Bush was. Since Obama took office, everything has gone from bad to worse. His policies have not helped the job market at all. In fact, I think his policies have done more harm. He acted way too late to make significant changes that could have helped. Instead, Washington spent way too much time on the health-care bill. Jobs should have come first."

Ray in Tennessee writes, "Our economic struggles are the result of 30 years of Republican economic policies. These policies have kicked the feet out from under the middle class. The policies have rewarded companies for cutting good-paying American jobs, sending them to foreign shores, and allowing big investors to make ungodly sums of money. These policies and not unions, not the Civil Rights Act, not the Voting Rights Act, not the welfare system, not Social Security, Medicare have resulted in roughly half the American population paying no taxes. These policies have resulted in America heading rapidly toward banana republic status. And finally, all these policies were put in place long before Obama took office."

David on Facebook writes, "Yes, it was a mess he inherited, no question. However, he has displayed zero leadership and has surrounded himself with poor advice so he does share the blame."

Mark writes, "Jack, where have you been? If a giant asteroid struck the earth tomorrow, it would be George W. Bush's fault, just like everything else."

And Richard in Pennsylvania, "One hundred percent, Jack. He doesn't have a clue. He ought to go back to the faculty lounge where he belongs."

You want to read more on this, go to my blog,, or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.

And I will see you on Monday.

BLITZER: Enjoy the long weekend.

CAFFERTY: I will. BLITZER: Thanks very much.

It's the new mantra for disgruntled employees. Don't get mad. Get on YouTube. This time it earned one Starbucks worker thousands of fans, even though it cost him his job.


BLITZER: Here's a look at this hour's "Hot Shots."

In Pakistan, a child stands in a tent surrounded by flood waters. The flooding has sickened two million Pakistanis.

In Greece, a rail station is abandoned during a 24-hour public transit strike.

In New Hampshire, a race tire rolls through a puddle at the New Hampshire motor speedway.

And in England, check it out. Horse riders compete at the New Market race course.

"Hot Shots," pictures coming in from around the world.

So what's a barista to do when he's fired for posting an angry song on YouTube? As Jeanne Moos found out, record an even more offensive one.


JEANNE MOOS (voice-over): He wore only his underwear and a Starbucks apron.


MOOS: Not anymore. Former barista Chris Cristwell's serenade struck like a three-shot espresso.

CRISTWELL (singing): Hello, rich white lady. I already know what you want. You want a skinny vanilla latte, young debutante. Well, that drink won't make you skinny. You've got to work for that. And just in case you're wondering, I just called you fat

(speaking) (via phone) That is mildly offensive. I apologize.

MOOS: But it was supposed to be satire. After a tough day slinging frappuccinos at a Starbucks in Chowchilla, California.

CRISTWELL (singing): Throw it back in my face. Tell me I made it wrong. I've got a line of drinks a couple miles long.

(speaking) Extra shot of espresso?

MOOS (on camera): Maybe Chris' biggest mistake, his vente mistake, was singing about which ethnic groups prefer which beverages. CRISTWELL (singing): If I have to serve another Latino an extra caramel frappuccino.

MOOS: Man, maybe that was only his grande mistake. His vente mistake was revealing shortcuts that baristas sometimes take.

CRISTWELL (singing): You ordered a grande drip, and my coffee's out, I'll just pour you something fresh from the decaf spout.

MOOS (voice-over): As his YouTube video got more and more popular, Starbucks got wind of it. This week, Chris got canned. "The disparaging remarks about our customers and company are unacceptable."

Chris says he totally understands why they had to fire him.

(on camera) There's no crying over a spilled latte. Does Chris regret having made the song?

CRISTWELL (speaking) (via phone): The unemployed part of me regrets putting the video up there, but other than that, no. I mean, it was a comedy song.

MOOS (voice-over): The same day he got fired, he put out another song.

CRISTWELL (singing): Hey, customer, I'm talking to you. Why the hell are you being so rude?

MOOS: Actually, Chris says he loved most of his customers.

Among baristas he's a hero. One commenter at a Web site devoted to Starbucks gossip suggested, "Now Starbucks can release his album and sell it at their stores."

This is one barista who spilled the beans. Coffee beans.

CRISTWELL (singing): Whoa, whoa, I know this will offend you. I can't help that it's so true.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

CRISTWELL (singing): It's a Starbucks reality.

MOOS: ... New York.


BLITZER: Only Jeanne Moos can do those kinds of pieces. Thanks very much, Jeanne.

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. In North America, "JOHN KING USA" starts right now.