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Deadly Riots at Egypt Soccer Game; U.S. Plans to End Afghan Combat Mission; Facebook Files to Go Public; Michele Bachmann Interview; Susan G. Komen Foundation Cutting Funding to Planned Parenthood; Teen Crash Survivor Won't Be Deported

Aired February 1, 2012 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, dozens j dozens of people are killed in rioting in Egypt, not at a protest, but at a soccer match. Stand by for a live report from Cairo.

Plus, a controversial move by the world's largest breast cancer research group, famous for its Race for the Cure.

Why is the Susan G. Komen Foundation cutting funds to Planned Parenthood?

Abortion rights activists are outraged.

And she lost her family in a deadly pileup on a Florida highway. Now a teenage survivor, in the United States illegally, faces a very uncertain future. We have new information about her fate and whether she could be deported from the United States.

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.


We've seen violence at soccer matches around the world before, but usually not this big and this deadly. More than 70 people were killed today in rioting in a stadium in Northeastern Egypt. Hundreds of people were injured.

Let's go straight to CNN's Ben Wedeman.

He's in Cairo.

He's got more -- Ben, what happened here?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we understand is after this game that occurred in -- this evening in Port Said, which is on the Suez Canal, next to the Mediterranean, after the game in which the Port Said team, known as Al-Masry, played a Cairo team, known as El-Ahly, the supporters for the Port Said team poured into the field and started to attack the players from the Cairo team and the fans.

If you look at the video, it appears that there wasn't really much of a security presence at the game. And the few police who were there were incapable -- completely outnumbered -- unable to stop the violence from occurring.

Now, we understand from hospital sources in Port Said that many of the dead and wounded have injuries to the head caused by blunt objects and knives. So it appears that the security was unable to stop the entry of weaponry into the stadium itself.

Now, we understand the military has sent two airplanes to Port Said to bring back the injured to Cairo and also to bring back the Cairo team.

Here in Cairo, we understand outside the team headquarters, there are hundreds of angry fans. Many of these fans, Wolf, in the past, have played a key role in the clashes with the Egyptian police here in Cairo, over the last year, many of them. In a sense, you have to realize that under the Mubarak regime, many people went to the mosque and many of the young and restless took their frustration and anger on the government out on the police.

So this is all coming to the fore now. And, certainly, Cairo is bracing for a tense evening, as well as Port Said -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So you're saying, Ben, that the 70 people who were killed and hundreds who were injured, that some fans just took out knives and sticks and -- and beat them to death because of this soccer game?

Is that what you're saying?

WEDEMAN: yes. What happened is the Port Said team won. It's sort of -- it's a really a David and Goliath situation. The Cairo team is the big Egyptian team. When the local team actually beat them, they went down to the field and took out their resentment and anger against it.

Now, I must stress, Wolf, that at this point, it's not altogether clear exactly what happened. The Egyptian government is forming an urgent investigation to look into the incident. Tomorrow, the Egyptian parliament will be meeting in an emergency session to discuss the situation. We are hearing on all Egyptian stations, the authorities, religious leaders are calling on everyone to calm down, keep their nerves under control and to prevent -- to try to prevent this violence from spreading.

You have to realize that Egyptians are soccer fanatics. Of course, the majority, obviously, aren't going to express their enthusiasm for soccer through violence. But there is a small hard core that has a history of using violence against other fans and against the authorities -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. It doesn't look like a small hard core there. It looks like a big mob, if you will.

All right. We'll stay on top of this, together with you, Ben Wedeman.

Thanks very much.

Another huge story we're following, a major development on the front lines in Afghanistan, where we're learning a potential end may be in sight for U.S.-led combat operations in Afghanistan. The Defense secretary of the United States, Leon Panetta, on a flight to Brussels, telling reporters, just a little while ago, the United States and its NATO allies plan to end that part of the operation next year.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is standing by in Kabul.

He's got more on what's going on.

What's the reaction in Afghanistan to what we heard from Leon Panetta -- Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Still incredibly early days after those comments. But this really does accelerate the timetable. And that's what many Afghans will be feeling. They're already conscious of the fact, the withdrawal down of the surge troops begins this year. Fears of further announcements later in the months ahead of an accelerated withdrawal of troops. And comments like this will just heighten those fears, I'm sure, when Afghans wake up tomorrow.

Of course, this process from counter-insurgency, getting out there fighting the insurgency was supposed to see U.S. troops and NATO allies transition over to training Afghans, do that job for them, and also just go after the high value target terrorists that have been in this country for some time in the years and months ahead. But suggesting, perhaps, it could come to a full end in 2014, what Leon Panetta is really doing today is greatly accelerating that potential timetable, putting that process at an end some time in the middle or late part of next year.

That really puts U.S. forces and NATO allies here at that kind of end state they wanted to be at for the years after their final withdrawal here in 2014 -- much, much earlier. And that will have many people thinking this is an accelerated timetable. It will probably quash any ideas in military circles of trying to hang on to more troops for a longer time, to boost security here. And certainly it may also please some NATO allies, like France, for example, who were suggesting a quicker withdrawal from Afghanistan, Wolf, after a year...

BLITZER: Yes, they...


BLITZER: -- they want to get out as quickly as possible.

Also -- we're also learning, Nick, about a secret NATO report raising major concerns about Pakistan's relationship with the Taliban in the region.

What did this report say?

WALSH: Well, this report is going to come at it in many different ways, to be honest. I think, well, it would clarify exactly what it is. This isn't NATO's own assessment of how they think the war is going. This is a digest of thousands of interviews that NATO has done with insurgents it has in custody.

Now, these insurgents speak pretty boldly. They seem confident about how the war is going. They say they get major support from Pakistan. They say their leaders are hiding out across the border. They say they've got a pretty strong chance of taking back control of the country in 2014, when NATO begins to drawdown.

But they also, at some point, seem a little confused, war weary, according to some excerpts published in the media, but also thinking a negotiated peace isn't really possible.

So concerns this is a fractured insurgency coming to the fore there. But above all, this paints a picture of an insurgency very confident on its front foot, obviously, perhaps, emboldened by Panetta's statement today. This process, for the part, could be expedited -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. It looks like things are moving rapidly in Afghanistan.

Nick, thanks very much.

All right, this just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.

A new move by Facebook to take the company public. It's revealing a lot about the popular site's finances.

Let's go straight to CNN's Casey Wian.

He's watching this story.

What happened -- Casey?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the long rumored registration statement from the company, Facebook, for initial public offering, just happened within the last 15 minutes. The company waiting until after the stock market closed to file that paperwork. Actual trading won't begin in Facebook's stock for several weeks, while the Securities and Exchange Commission goes over its filing to make sure -- make sure everything is in order.

Already, though, we've been able to look at some of the information in that filing which has previously been private information. That's one of the things that Facebook is going to have to do as a publicly owned, publicly traded company is disclose this information on a regular basis.

We've got profit and sales information for the past year for the first time. The company earned $1 billion in profit last year, Wolf, on sales of $3.7 billion. Also, they disclosed that they have now 845 million active users around the world. That's an incredible number when you consider the fact that in 2009, that number was 150 million. And that's why so many people believe this company has great prospects for future profits, because they are growing so rapidly.

Some Wall Street analysts have speculated that once this stock begins trading, the market value of this company could be between $75 and $100 billion. We won't know that until the stock actually starts trading in a few weeks -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Casey is over at Facebook headquarters in California.

Casey, thanks very much.

Ron Paul has been on a losing streak in the Republican race for the White House. And he says his luck is about to change in Nevada. He's giving us new insight.

Much more coming up.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with The Cafferty File -- Jack?


The U.S. is on a collision course with financial disaster. That's not exactly breaking news. The Congressional Budget Office, though, is out with a grim report that suggests the deficit for this year will top $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row.

The CBO also gives a worst case scenario in which Congress extends all current Bush-era tax cuts and undoes the super committee's automatic spending cuts.

More on that in a minute.

If those two things happen, which is entirely possible given it's an election year, the U.S. could add another $4.7 trillion to the national debt over the next five years.

Now, keep in mind, we're already $15 trillion in debt. We could be looking at a $20 trillion national debt by 2017. And some people think that's a rosy scenario.

Back now to that not so super committee.

Remember when the 12 members couldn't come to an agreement on cutting spending?

Well, that set in motion an automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts. Not so fast. Congress is busy right now trying to find a way to undo those spending cuts. Politico reports Republicans and a handful of Democrats have vowed to undo these cuts, which would hit defense and domestic programs equally beginning next January.

There are currently several measures floating around Capitol Hill aimed at doing just that. President Obama said he'll veto any measure to override the automatic spending cuts unless Congress can give him a, quote, "balanced plan to cut the deficit."

That will happen.

It's really quite sad, isn't it?

Our children's future being thrown into the garbage so that Washington politicians can continue to steal the public's money. And no one seems to interested in stopping the madness. At least not during an election year. Reelection, you see, always trumps the general welfare these days.

Here's the question, should Congress undo the Super Committee's automatic spending cuts? Go to, post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's" Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll do, Jack. Thank you.

Meanwhile, in Republican presidential race, Mitt Romney is looking to build on his big win in the Florida primary yesterday. He campaigned today in Minnesota. That's an upcoming battleground, and now, he's headed to Las Vegas. The Nevada caucuses on Saturday could give Romney's opponents a chance to shine, at least, potentially.

Ron Paul is certainly counting on those caucus states to help him rack up some delegates and possibly score his first win of the campaign. CNN senior correspondent, Joe Johns, spoke with Ron Paul in Las Vegas today.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: What's different this year from four years ago for you and your campaign?

REP. RON PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The country has changed. The world has changed. The financial crisis that many of us predicted has hit us. The housing bubble was there. The people are frightened. They have lost their trust in government. They're sick and tired of the wars.

So, the whole country has changed. The attitudes have changed. And this financial crisis, I don't think the other ones have addressed it. If they did, they would offer to cut something. But there's no other -- either they don't think it's bad or they don't think cutting spending is an option, and I'm the only one that's talking about that.

JOHNS: We're starting to see more older people, not just the college students, which I find very interesting. What is it that's attracting those older voters to you?

PAUL: You know, I've noticed that, but I have to compliment you. You're the first one to have recognized it outside our own organization. I think it's very, very significant. You take the trillion dollars I want to cut in spending, I don't touch Social Security, because even though I know that there's a problem with Social Security, we have to do something, but I want to get the economy going again and try to work our way out of it, but I don't want to attack the benefits of the elderly or medical benefits of those who are dependent on the government.

And that's not pure constitutional beliefs that I have, but I believe in working our way out of it. And I think they're starting to recognize this that I'm not a threat to what they really need and depend on.


BLITZER: Joe Johns is joining us now along with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. Joe, first to you, Ron Paul, at least in that clip, he seems pretty optimistic about his path forward, even though he hasn't won one of these contests yet.

JOHNS: That's for sure, Wolf. He seems very optimistic. He see energized crowds here in Nevada, I have to tell you that just from seeing them. And, he's also looking at the caucus states and saying, this is the kind of place where Ron Paul is just fit to do well. I talked to him about that, too. Listen.


PAUL: Because we're rewarded for organization, determination, enthusiasm, people who believe in something, and I think it offers us a chance to compete with Mitt Romney. I mean, it was to difficult to compete with his money in Florida. I mean, money talks. And we have a lot compare to some others, you know?

Our financial report isn't puny, but it's still not enough to advertise across, you know, a big state. And, actually, the whole way this process works, whether it was Iowa and New Hampshire, it gives a candidate, you know, like myself to be more competitive, and it's actually, I think, a fairer system.


JOHNS: I think you do have to temper that optimism, though, Wolf, because the fact of the matter is the guy who won the Nevada caucuses four years ago is Mitt Romney, and a lot of people say his organization is better now than it was then -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly is. Stand by for a moment. Gloria, Rick Santorum, the other Republican presidential candidate thinks he's the candidate who can go all the way, even though he did not do very well in Florida. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at the voters who voted for me and where they would go if I was not in the race, it would be divided between Romney and Gingrich, actually more for Romney than Gingrich. Interesting enough, if Newt is out of the race, almost all of his votes come to me.


BLITZER: All right. Gloria, what do you make of this?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Newt Gingrich has been saying that Rick Santorum ought to get out of the race because that would -- all of his votes would go to Newt Gingrich, and Santorum is just saying what we actually saw in the "Wall Street Journal" poll that, in fact, Santorum's vote would be split.

He's presenting himself, Wolf, as the true conservative alternative to Newt Gingrich, the values candidate without the baggage that Newt Gingrich carries, if you will. And what he's doing, you know, not unlike Ron Paul, as Joe was just saying, he's looking at those smaller caucus states, particularly, a state like Missouri, by the way, which is really a beauty contest more than anything else.

But, he feels that he has a chance to win there, because Newt Gingrich is not on the ballot there. And even though it's a symbolic vote, he thinks it would give his campaign that momentum. That it needs, I'm not quite sure, that's enough. But again, the smaller states, he thinks, will help people sort of give him another look.

BLITZER: Romney, Gloria, certainly has the momentum right now following Florida, very decisive, impressive win in Florida, but he also has some challenges ahead of him. What are they?

BORGER: Well, he's got to do a couple of things, Wolf. First of all, he's got to keep the pressure up on Newt Gingrich, because Gingrich is going to keep battling him, and Romney has to look like he's fighting to win this campaign. You know, inevitability is not really a good campaign strategy. At the same time, Wolf, he's got to take a pivot and turn to Barack Obama, start attacking Barack Obama.

So, he's got to do that on two fronts. Third thing he's got to do, Wolf, is he's got to convince what I called the base of the base, the most conservative people in the Republican Party, the people who strongly support the Tea Party movement. He's got to convince those people who went for Newt Gingrich in the state of Florida, despite Romney's huge win.

He's got to convince them that he can be their standard bearer heading into the general election, because, Wolf, they remain very, very skeptical. He's got to make them become enthusiastic about his candidacy as you head in to a general election.

BLITZER: The race is, by no means, over right now.


BLITZER: There's a long, long way to go. Guys, thanks very much, Joe and Gloria.


BLITZER: We're going to be right back here in the CNN Election Center this Saturday for complete coverage of the Nevada caucuses. Our coverage will begin at 6:00 p.m. eastern with a special edition of the SITUATION ROOM and then our live coverage of the results begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern.

Michele Bachmann hasn't endorsed any of her former presidential rivals, at least, not yet. Is she ready to support a candidate now? I'll ask her about the final four.

And a 15-year-old girl lost her family in a car crash in Florida. Now, her secret is out. She's in the United States illegally. We have new information about her fate and fears she might be deported.


BLITZER: At least, so far, endorsements haven't necessarily made a huge difference in the Republican presidential race, but the remaining candidates would certainly like to have Michele Bachmann's support. The Minnesota congresswoman, former Republican presidential candidate is joining us now from Capitol Hill.

Congresswoman, thanks very much for coming in. Are you ready to help one of these final four?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R-MN) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I haven't made a decision about endorsements, yet, I reserve the right to make an endorsement. I may before the process is all concluded, but I am nowhere near right now. I know there was a lot of speculation earlier today.

Governor Romney had gone to Minnesota. People were putting out rumors that I was going to be endorsing. I am not. I'm not in negotiations to do an endorsement. So, I want to make that absolutely clear. I have absolutely no plans to do that.

BLITZER: You think you'll do it, though, before the people in Minnesota, your home state, make their decision?

BACHMANN: No, I don't think so. That's coming up on Tuesday. This Saturday, as you know Wolf, is Nevada, and then, Tuesday is Minnesota. I have no plans to do it before then.

BLITZER: Do you ever look ahead and say to yourself, you know, I love being a member of the Congress, but I might like to be a member of the cabinet? I might like to be a vice presidential running mate? Do you think that's something you might be interested in?

BACHMANN: I never thought about that at all. What I saw was the carnage that was happening to the economy as a result of the actions taken here in Washington, and I knew someone had to take bold decisive actions to stop it, because we've never seen this level of debt accumulation. We've never seen this level of out-of-control spending, and that's translating into lower standards of living, fewer jobs and lower wages. That had to stop.

That's why I decided to run for office, to actually make bold changes. I won't be the one that's on the ticket, but what I did do last week is make an announcement that I will be running again for my seat in Congress in Minnesota's 6th Congressional district, and I'm looking forward to that run.

BLITZER: So, you'll have your hands full on that front. Let's talk about these final four candidates left standing on the stage. And you have unique perspective because you were competing against them for a long, long time. Let's go - give me a sentence or two on each one strength and weakness. First, Mitt Romney.

BACHMANN: Well, they all have strengths and weaknesses. Each one of them do, and I don't know that I would be able to add to what people see, obviously, on the stage. I'm not here as a pundit, because, ultimately, I want my role to be, quite frankly, Wolf, one of being a uniter, because what we're seeing, unfortunately, is a factionalizing within the party, between establishment, between Tea Party.

But what I what to do is see that the party come together, not only the party, but also independents and disaffected Democrats. This will be the most important election of our lifetime, and I intend to be a uniter. I'm not taking sides right now, but I'm looking at the field, as I encourage everyone to do, and we will have an excellent candidate to take on Barack Obama.

BLITZER: Without endorsing anyone right now because you're not going to endorse anyone, is the issue of electability, who is best qualified to beat President in November, would that be the most important issue that you would consider?

BACHMANN: That would be a factor, but what I'll be looking for in a candidate is who will be the person who will be willing to stand strong, not deviate and make the bold decisions that are required. Right now, that means cutting back on federal government spending. We have to stop spending money that we don't have.

And we need someone who will be committed to the full-scale repeal of Obama and a Dodd-Frank. I'm the chief author of both of those bills. I worked very hard. And I know that the American people are with me on that issue. They want to see credit open up. They want to see positive health care that isn't costing them an arm and a leg.

They want to have healthcare that they can afford, and they don't want socialized medicine. So, I need to know that our candidate will be absolutely committed to the full-scale repeal, and I will help them, because again, the battle remains. I got into this because there was a battle. And so, I put my name in.

The battle is still there. I won't be fighting it at the top of the ticket. I'm now running to be another member in the House of Representatives, but I'm in, all in, and I want to make sure that our nominee succeeds. BLITZER: Let me make a turn to your day job.

You're a key member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. And yesterday there was testimony by some of the top intelligence officials in Washington, and they raised the specter of the possibility that Iran might at some point plot terrorist operation on U.S. soil.

What's going on here?

BACHMANN: Well, it's highly concerning. Every American should be thinking about that. We talk about domestic issues, but I'm very attuned and concerned about the issues that are occurring regarding America's national security.

When we have a nation like Iran, who is currently engaged from all possible efforts that we see in obtaining a nuclear weapon against the world's recommendation, and when statements are made that they're seeking to plan an attack on U.S. soil, I think we need to take them very seriously. Clearly, I think that they see that they're being squeezed right now because some of the sanctions that have been put into place, and I do applaud the administration for putting some of these sanctions into place.

I don't think they're even as severe as they will be even three to six months from now. But I think that's why you are seeing the response from the regime in Iran. They're trying to have a reaction, and I think they're doing some saber rattling, but at the same time, we need to take this very seriously and make sure they not succeed on U.S. soil.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, thanks very much for coming in. We'll see you down the road.

BACHMANN: Will do. Thanks again.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Planned Parenthood loses funding. Was political pressure a factor? We'll have the answer coming up next.

And a terrible crash in Florida and the uncertain fate of a teenage survivor who lost her entire family. Could she now be deported?

Stand by. This is a story you'll want to see.


BLITZER: A controversial move by a leading breast cancer research group. The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced that it's cutting its funding for Planned Parenthood. Anti-abortion groups are praising the decision, but abortion rights activists are angry and they say political pressure is to blame.

Our Mary Snow is looking into this sensitive story for us. Mary, what's going on here?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is really causing an uproar.

Planned Parenthood blames bullying by the right. The Komen Foundation denies politics is at play, saying tonight it's dismayed its actions are being miscategorized.


SNOW (voice-over): With races like this around the country, and with the support of major sporting events, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has raised close to $2 billion to fight breast cancer. But a group that normally wins praise is now under fire for cutting funds to Planned Parenthood, funds used for breast exams.

The foundation's Facebook is being swamped with furious messages. This woman writes, "The money I was going to give you is now going to a nonprofit that actually cares about women's health. Shame on you."

Another post, "For women like myself without insurance, Planned Parenthood is a lifeline. Tell me how your political decision serves women like myself."

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards says the group stands to lose several hundred thousand dollars for breast exams.

(on camera): What was the reason you were given?

CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: They kept raising the fact that there was this political investigation in Congress.

SNOW (voice-over): There's a Republican-led congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood's compliance with federal restrictions on funding abortions. The foundation declined our request for an interview.

Nancy Brinker founded the group in 1982 after her sister died of breast cancer. Brinker served in the George W. Bush administration as U.S. ambassador to Hungary and as chief of protocol.

In a statement, the foundation says it's "implemented more stringent eligibility standards to safeguard donor dollars," adding it wants " -- to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not about politics."

But Richards argues otherwise.

RICHARDS: I think really what this is a result of is this very ugly and aggressive campaign by right-wing organizations to bully the Komen Foundation and keep them from working with Planned Parenthood.

SNOW: The Komen Foundation has been targeted by anti-abortion groups. The LifeWay Christian Resources, for one, pulled its cancer awareness bible that raised money for the charity because of ties to Planned Parenthood. The Christian publisher now says, "We are very grateful Susan G. Komen for the Cure will no longer fund Planned Parenthood affiliates."

There are also questions about Karen Handel, who joined the foundation in 2011 as senior vice president for public policy. She ran as a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, and during her failed bid talked about cutting state aid to Planned Parenthood.


SNOW: I just want to stress again, the Susan G. Komen Foundation did not respond to specific questions.

Now, more than 4,000 people have weighed in on the charity's Facebook page, and meantime, Planned Parenthood tells us tonight that it's raised more than $400,000 in the last 24 hours -- Wolf.

BLITZER: But you're hearing a lot of supporters of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, that they're angry right now because of this decision and they're threatening to cut off their aid, their funding, charitable contributions to the organization. Is that's what's going on as a result of this decision?

SNOW: Yes, you're seeing supporters. All you need to do is look at that Facebook page of people saying they're going to cut their donations. And we've heard from at least one affiliate of the Susan Komen Foundation asking the national group to rethink this decision.

BLITZER: I suspect this story is not going to go away.

Thanks very much for that, Mary Snow.

Meanwhile, more pain from a chain reaction crash on Florida's Interstate 75. The death toll has now risen to 11, and the fate of a teenage girl who survived the pileup is very uncertain right now.

It turns out she's here in the United States illegally. So were the other members of her immediate family, all of whom were killed in the crash. A lot of people were concerned she might be deported.

CNN's Martin Savidge has been working this story for us.

Martin, what are you finding out here about the chance that this young girl might actually be deported?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not going to happen. That, according to federal officials that we spoke to today.

This story, once it got out, just triggered a huge amount of anger against the federal government. ICE came out. That is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, and they said any reports this young lady was going to be deported are absolutely false.

However, the pain and suffering for her doesn't end there.



SAVIDGE (voice-over): At a small Baptist church where he was pastor, pictures of Jose Carmo and his family, who are from Brazil, hang on a corkboard. Each one breaks the heart of close friend and senior pastor Aron Amazonas.

AMAZONAS: It's like we were in a nightmare, a terrible nightmare.

SAVIDGE: "Pastor Junior," as he was known, his wife Adrianna (ph) and daughters Laticia (ph) and Lidiane, along with an uncle and his girlfriend, were returning to Atlanta from a church conference in Orlando. Early Sunday, their van became engulfed in smoke on I-75 and crashed into a semi. In an instant, a family was almost completely wiped out.

AMAZONAS: People are suffering a lot because that was a trouble we never -- we couldn't have imagined such a tragedy would come. And everybody's very devastated. The whole congregation is really devastated.

SAVIDGE: The only survivor was 15-year-old Lidiane, who is hospitalized in Florida and has no memory of the crash. Tuesday, she was told the news.

AMAZONAS: She has a good reaction, because at first we thought she would be -- I don't know, it could be worse. But she simply cried a little. We know she's trying to process everything, but she's doing well so far.

SAVIDGE: Lidiane faces more surgery but has no health insurance. Amazonas says the family and the church don't have the money to transport the bodies home or pay for five funerals. They even have to find another church for the services since their own is too small for so many caskets.

The Sunday before he died, "Pastor Junior" spoke to his spoke to his congregation in their native Portuguese. The subject was prophetic.

AMAZONAS: He was preaching his last sermon, because he preached about the fact that we have to be prepared. He said God --

SAVIDGE (on camera): That none of us know the time that God could call.

AMAZONAS: That's right. He said, "God can call you anytime." And as a church we have to be prepared.


SAVIDGE: And Wolf, getting back to the immigration issue, Lidiane's family came from Brazil with a legal U.S. visa 12 years ago. But in that time since, it has expired, which is why there was concern that she might be deported. But again, federal officials stressing to us it's not going to happen.

BLITZER: Not going to go back to Brazil or anyplace else. She's staying here.


BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much for that.

Martin Savidge, reporting.

One of the most nerve-racking incidents in U.S. history. Just ahead, a shocking first glimpse into -- inside the horrifying moments right after President Kennedy was assassinated.


BLITZER: For the first time we're getting a shocking glimpse inside the sheer pandemonium after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated almost 50 years ago. And it's all thanks to fascinating new audiotapes that have just been released.

Let's bring in our own Brian Todd. He's been going through the audiotapes. He's got the details -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, what you get from these tapes is a real sense of the confusion as top officials desperately tried to sort out what needed to be done and to fully grasp an event that in those moments was incomprehensible.


TODD (voice-over): They were among the most anxious, gut-wrenching hours in American history, the chaos following President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Everyone, including top administration officials, was scrambling for accurate information.

Newly released audiotapes offer fascinating insight into the confusion and the government's response. Listen to this phone call from White House physician Admiral George Burkley, who was in Dallas, to Army Surgeon General Leonard Heaton on where to take the president's body.

ADM. GEORGE BURKLEY, WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN: Regards to the taking care of the remains of President Kennedy, and we are planning on having the president's remains taken directly to Walter Reed. Probably Mrs. Kennedy will also be going out there, but we will clarify that later.


TODD: But it wasn't clarified. Just minutes earlier, Secret Service head Jerry Behn had called another official with the president in Dallas saying the remains should be taken to another military hospital.

AGENT JERRY BEHN, SECRET SERVICE: Arrangements have been made for a helicopter for the Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

TODD: The president was taken to Bethesda. For decades, critics said his autopsy was incomplete, mishandled, maybe even part of a conspiracy.

I listened to the tapes with historian Max Holland, who has a different take.

MAX HOLLAND, AUTHOR, "THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION TAPES": The government had no protocol for having an autopsy of a president. It was just never -- something no one had ever thought would be necessary. They were completely unprepared.

TODD: The tapes were discovered by the Raab Collection, historical document dealers. They got them from the estate of General Chester Clifton, a top aide to President Kennedy, then donated them to the National Archives. The recordings were made by the White House Communications Agency and include radio traffic from the president's plane, Air Force One.

(on camera): Part of the recordings which are not new are still riveting, like when a distraught Lyndon Johnson and his wife get on the phone from Air Force one to console President Kennedy's mother.

ROSE KENNEDY, JFK'S MOTHER: Yes. Yes, Mr. President. Yes.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wish to God there was something that I could do, and I wanted to tell you that we were grieving with you.

KENNEDY: Yes. Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much.

I know. I know you loved Jack, and he loved you.

LADY BIRD JOHNSON, FIRST LADY: Mrs. Kennedy, (INAUDIBLE) we've just had --

KENNEDY: Yes. All right.

LADY BIRD JOHNSON: We are glad that the nation had your son as long as it did.

KENNEDY: Well, thank you, Lady Bird. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.

LADY BIRD JOHNSON: Love and prayers to all of you.

KENNEDY: Thank you very much. Goodbye.


TODD: It leaves us all wanting to hear more, but some of the recordings from that period we may never here. Officials at the Raab Collection say at least two hours of the raw tape are still missing -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, fascinating, historic material. Thanks very much.

Approaching the 50th anniversary of that tragic event.

Jack's question coming up with your answers. We're talking about "The Cafferty File."

And Jeanne Moos with super lightweight superheroes taking over the skies of New York.


BLITZER: Spending is certainly a big issue in this election cycle.

Jack is back with your answers on that issue -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question, actually, is: Should Congress undo the super committee's automatic spending cuts that were put in place last summer when the super committee was unable to agree on ways to cut the deficit?

Mark in New Jersey writes, "Yes, Jack. They ought to continue to strive to complete their perfect record of accomplishing absolutely nothing. Seriously, if the military budget is cut as a result of the super committee, we might damage our position as having a larger military budget than all of the countries in the rest of the world combined, along with probably the one with the most fraud and abuse and cost overruns and waste as well."

Russ writes, "Does it really matter? The only thing government pretends to cut are projections. They never cut actual spending."

Jenny in New York writes, "No. The automatic spending cuts were put in place to try to force Congress to pass legislation and they failed to do. They can't just undo those cuts. They knew the circumstances going in."

Rick in Kansas, "No. And when you say no one is talking about it, have you heard Ron Paul or Mitch Daniels? The only people not talking about it are the Obamas and his administration."

"Where's Harry Reid? Where's Nancy Pelosi? And where was the president on this subject during the State of the Union Address?"

Pete in Florida writes, "Of course not, but they will, while each party points its fingers at the other for their incredible dishonesty, incompetence and lack of character. What a charade. Meanwhile, come November, the typically ignorant and gullible voters will denounce Congress while then voting their own incumbents back into office."

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

BLITZER: Thanks, Jack. Thanks very much. See you tomorrow.

It's a bird, it's a plane, and no, they're people flying -- almost. Jeanne Moos is next.


BLITZER: The skies over New York City are being invaded with people. Well, almost. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a city full of oddball sights, what's three more? Prepare to launch flying people.

Look up in the sky!



MOOS (voice-over): It's a lightweight foam three-and-a-half pound, six-foot fake person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing is basically a glorified toy.

MOOS: Twice in recent days the flying people have flown over Lower Manhattan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hands and the feet move and they act as flaps.

MOOS: Propelled by small motors, remote controlled, spectators weren't remotely aware of what they could be as they sailed around the Brooklyn Bridge and even the Statue of Liberty.

(on camera): Now, you'd think in security-crazed New York City, the police might try to shoot down superheroes buzzing the Statue of Liberty, but the organizers had a permit.

(voice-over): The stunt was dreamed up by a viral marketing agency called Think Moto (ph), co-founded by James Persale (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We see ourselves as kind of this special ops of advertising.

MOOS: And what they were advertising was a new movie --

NARRATOR: "Chronicle."

MOOS: -- in which three teens have superhuman powers.


MOOS: And they can fly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't screw around with this. It's too dangerous.

MOOS: Which explains why the characters Andy (ph), Matt and Steve were airborne over Manhattan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hardest movement was the back flip.

MOOS: The flying people came from a one-man out fit in Oregon called Rc, for "Remote Controlled" Superhero. Greg Tanous considers his creations to be flying sculptures. The kits sell for 340 bucks, but by the time the viral marketers assembled and suped them up, each one costs a few thousand.

Pilots practice for three days at an airport on Long Island before attempting the four-minute flights over New York. Unlike Superman, who lands on his feet, these guys land on their bellies.

The goal was to create buzz with these ethereal, lightweight, delicate objects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like flying three potato chips in the air.

MOOS: It reminded us more of people disappearing in the rapture.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Faster than a speeding bullet.

MOOS: -- New York.


BLITZER: Leave it to Jeanne Moos. She finds those stories.

That's it.

By the way, we just got the first pictures in from the other side of the moon. Take a look at this.

These are literally within the past few minutes. We're getting these pictures from a spacecraft that managed to get on the other side.

Look at this. This is the moon, the other side. You never saw it before, but now we're seeing it. Very, very cool stuff.

Just focus in on the other side of the moon. Some people would like to visit the moon once again fairly soon. We'll see if that happens.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The news continues next on CNN.