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New Bloodshed over Koran Burning; "Now is Not the Time for Vengeance," Obama: Slaughter of Syrians Must End; Rick Santorum Interview; Dow Closes Near 2008 Highs; Judge Denies Bail For Former Jackson Doctor; Crisis in Syria; Sneaker Frenzy; Gold Dealer Settlement

Aired February 24, 2012 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, there's no end to the anger at NATO forces over the burning of Muslim holy books, despite an apology by President Obama. Now U.S. troops in Afghanistan are being warned not to seek vengeance.

Plus, Rick Santorum lights into Mitt Romney with new gusto just days before two critical primaries. I'll ask Santorum to respond to allegations that he's a Washington insider willing to take one for the inside team.

And we just got a hold of e-mails written by Sarah Palin when she was elected governor. She writes about her marriage and the word "divorce" comes up.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.

Breaking news and political headlines are straight ahead.

Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Gloria Borger.


On this Muslim day of prayer, another explosion of rage against U.S. and Western forces in Afghanistan. It's the fourth straight day of protests over the burning of Korans at a military base. At least eight people were killed and 27 wounded today alone.

If President Obama thought his apology yesterday would diffuse the situation, it appears, so far, that he was wrong.

And joining us now from Kabul is Nick Paton Walsh -- Nick, I have to ask you, we have been seeing these pictures all day from Afghanistan. And it seems to us here that these protests have gotten a lot worse.

Is that true?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it's fair to say that we've seen similar violence over the last four days in a row. I think the death toll today could be the worst they've had so far, although we're, at the moment, saying at least eight. Always hard to work through the different patchy reports from across the country. Six dead in protests around Herat, the worst focusing on the U.S. consulate, where demonstrators clashed with police. One dead in the north and one dead in the east in protests.

Much across the country it was peaceful, but certainly I think the fear is we're now in day four. The cold weather, the police were restrained from the Afghan government. And the NATO American apologies simply aren't taking the fury out of these protests -- Gloria.

BORGER: Well, does the president's apology have any impact at all or a reverse impact?

PATON WALSH: It's interesting. I mean I think there's nobody really left any more senior on the United States side to apologize. But Barack Obama's letter was hand-delivered by the U.S. ambassador here.

And I think that NATO's strategy has been very Western, in many ways. They've been as transparent as they could as quickly as possible, classic damage limitation PR, if you like, apologizing up front, saying they'll hold people accountable, promising it won't happen again, which I think would go down very well in much of the world and be understandable to many of the taxpayers now still funding the American presence here.

But I think to some Afghans, it may not have done the job intended. Some may have just taken from that NATO openly admitting to burning the Koran. Maybe that's them thumbing their nose, perhaps, in some people's view. And I think, certainly, we've seen this strategy give plenty of ammunition for those who want to continue hitting the U.S. and NATO for this unintentional mistake, they say. They're admitting they did it. They're apologizing.

But at the end of the day, that's not slowing the protests down at all -- Gloria.

BORGER: You know, in the end, can -- can you explain to our viewers why this act inspires such outrage and even a killing rampage over there?

PATON WALSH: Well, there's a couple of things to unpack here.

First is that this is probably the most offensive thing you can do in the Muslim faith, mistreat their holy text.

The Korans that are past use or considered too old should, if they have to be, be burned then the ashes put somewhere safe or at some times even be buried in their own sort of mausoleum of sorts. So there are special ways in which the Koran should be disposed of, not tossed, as it seems, on an incinerator heap, like in this case.

We have had an explanation as to how the situation came around, a military official explaining that these religious texts were being used to pass what he referred to as "extremist messages" inside a detention facility on Bagram Air Base. They were all rounded up and put in a box or a bag, meant to be disposed of appropriately. But that, in the end, didn't happen. Mistakenly, it was sent to the incinerator, where local Afghan staff got hold of it. That's what sparked this fury -- Gloria.

BORGER: OK. Nick Paton Walsh from Kabul.

Thanks so much for being with us.

And U.S. forces are being warned this is not the time for vengeance. But many Americans in uniform are bristling over the death of two comrades and over President Obama's apology for the incident that started it all.

Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Gloria, some active duty troops not exactly pleased about these constant apologies. But it's something they can't necessarily come out and say publicly.

But real quickly, I want to read you an apology from a U.S. military commander, real quick. "I come before you in a humble manner. I come before to you look in your eyes and say please forgive our soldiers."

Stick around, because just in a second, I'm going to tell you why that quote puts this entire thing into context and why it may be very important to understanding what's happening with the military right now.


LAWRENCE (voice-over): From the president to the top general in Afghanistan.


GEN. JOHN ALLEN, COMMANDER, ISAF: We admit our mistake. We ask for forgiveness.


LAWRENCE: And Pentagon officials visiting a Virginia mosque.

PETER LAVOY, ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY: We, as a military, did not meet our obligations to the Muslim community.

LAWRENCE: The apologies keep coming for the burning of the Korans.

ALLEN: We offer you our condolences.

LAWRENCE: On Friday, General John Allen visited the base where two U.S. troops were killed. A man wearing an Afghan Army uniform shot and killed the two soldiers then disappeared into the angry crowd of protesters.

ALLEN: Now is not the time for vengeance. Now is the time to look deep inside your souls, remember your mission, remember your discipline, remember who you are and come through this together as a unit.

LAWRENCE: But several soldiers and Marines have told us privately they're angry, not so much that the U.S. apologizes for troops' mistakes, but that when American flags are burned in Kabul or Afghan troops murder their American partners, there's not the same sense of accountability on the other side.

TOM TARANTINO, IRAN & AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: Is it frustrating that we lose American lives and that -- that, you know, our opponents or even our allies don't behave as professionally as we do?

Absolutely. It's incredibly -- it's incredibly frustrating.

LAWRENCE: Todd Tarantino is a retired Army captain who commanded a mortar platoon in Iraq. He says American troops shouldn't expect an apology.

TARANTINO: We expect, you know, in this case, Afghanistan, that they should own up to it. But we shouldn't make that a condition of our behavior.

LAWRENCE: The White House says the ongoing violence and risk to American troops factored into President Obama's decision.

JOSH EARNEST, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believed that it was in the best interests of their safety to make it clear that -- that an apology was appropriate.


LAWRENCE: And that apology I read just a minute ago, about being humble and seeking forgiveness, it wasn't made today. It was made four years ago, by the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, to Iraqi leaders. And it was in response to a U.S. soldier using the Koran for target practice. It was also followed by an apology by President George W. Bush. And that's one of the points the Obama administration has been making, that this isn't the first time that a president has expressed regret over something done on the battlefield -- Gloria.

BORGER: Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon.

Thank you very much.

And now urgent new steps to try to protect innocent civilians in Syria. We heard President Obama just a short while ago saying he wants every tool possible to stop the slaughter. World leaders are meeting in Tunisia to put pressure on embattled president, Bashar al- Assad. And here in the U.S., officials are talking about new ways to help Syrian opposition forces. Here's our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Syrian regime forces show no sign of letting up their assault. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged those Syrian forces to disobey orders.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Their refusal to continue this slaughter will make them heroes in the eyes of not only Syrians, but people of conscience everywhere. They can help the guns fall silent.

STARR: The Obama administration has now identified key Syrian military officers and intelligence operatives believed to be directing much of the violence. Many could remain in power even if President Bashar al-Assad goes, according to a senior administration official. That leaves the U.S. and its allies struggling for a way to help the disorganized and fractured Syrian rebels in the face of a deeply entrenched regime.

CLINTON: It's very important that in the coming days, the full range of opposition groups and individuals inside Syria, including representatives of all ethnic and religious minorities, come together and make their voices heard.

STARR: Clinton announced the U.S. will provide $10 million in support, makeshift medical facilities, water and food.

CNN foreign affairs reporter, Elise Labott, is in Tunis at an international conference on Syria.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials, others, are saying, listen, there is more than enough aid being stockpiled on Syria's bordering countries that could then be funneled in tomorrow, if only President Assad would allow that aid in.

STARR: But should the U.S. send arms?

MARC LYNCH, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: At this point, I think it's a terrible idea, though. I think that right now, since you have such a fragmented opposition, without any clear leadership, that, basically, you don't know who exactly you would be arming. And you'd be throwing a lot of weapons into a really, really unstable situation.

STARR: For now, the U.S. is still secretly collecting intelligence on Assad's regime. Satellites are flying overhead, looking at tank movements and gun battles. The U.S. is also intercepting communications between Syrian commanders. One source also said neighboring countries are quietly sending in operatives, spies operating directly on the ground.


STARR: And, look, Gloria, experts will tell you, even if you arm the Syrian rebel groups, they are never going to be able to match the overwhelming firepower of the Syrian regime. And it could turn into a worse bloodbath. It's one of the key reasons that the U.S. and the allies are very much pressing, right now at least, for a diplomatic solution to all of this.

BORGER: Barbara, the same.

A very difficult decision to make about arming the rebels.

And later this hour, one filmmaker gets an up close look at the chaos and destruction inside Homs, Syria. We'll show some of his extraordinary documentary.

And we just got hold of e-mails written by Sarah Palin when she was Alaska governor. She writes about her marriage and the word "divorce" comes up.

Plus, rioting over sneakers?

A fad creates security fears.

And some customers of a leading gold dealer are now entitled to refunds. They claim they were victims of a costly bait and switch. We're reading the fine print of a new settlement deal.

Stay with us.


BORGER: Even though Sarah Palin decided not to run for president, there's still a lot of interest in her politics and her personal life, including her marriage. Let's bring in our senior Congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. Dana, there's a newly released e-mail in which Palin appears to talk about some marital problems?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Appears to, that's right. This is an e-mail that the Alaska governor, then Governor Palin wrote in September 2007. That was nearly a year before she was picked as John McCain's running mate. It was sent to two of her aides in the governor's office. The subject line is, quote, "marital problems."

Look at this, and Palin writes, "So, speaking of, if we are -- when we get a divorce, does that conflict of interest accusations about VP?" Now, we've reached out to Palin's aid to try to get an explanation for what this meant. We haven't heard back, and it's important to be careful that yes she said, quote, "when we get a divorce," but we're not sure what the context was.

This could be sarcasm which, as we all know, we've all sent e- mails, doesn't translate well in e-mail. That could also be an inside joke or it could be serious. We don't know yet, but what we do know is that there had been rumors that the Palins had marriage problems and were headed to divorce, which they publicly emphatically denied. We also know that this e-mail, Gloria, was sent four and a half years ago, and they're still married.

BORGER: They still are. And so, are we learning anything else in these e-mails?

BASH: Yes, some very interesting things. There's fresh evidence that Palin was fed up and frustrated with the governor's office long before -- or at least well before she resigned in July 2009 big time, and there are some pretty colorful language. Check this out. An e- mail she wrote to an aide in April 2009 when she was told about another ethics complaint filed against her.

"Unflipping believable. I'm sending this because you can relate to the full crap continuation of hell these people put the family through." I think that speaks for itself, but she expresses also a lot of frustration in e-mails about her mounting legal bills to defend against the ethics complaints. She also said at one point, "I can't afford this job."

BORGER: So, can you explain to our viewers why we're just getting these e-mails that go back years right now?

BASH: It is a little bit of -- but these e-mails are part of a freedom of information request that CNN and other news organizations put in at the time of vice president-- when she was a vice presidential running mate back in 2008. We were waiting for documents. We got some last year.

These are another batch of documents. We're actually getting all of them, I think tens and thousands by snail mail. We haven't gotten yet, but this particular --

BORGER: That still happens?

BASH: It does still happen, but the "Anchorage Daily News," they are there, obviously, they were able to physically get them. They put them in line, and this is some of what we saw.

BORGER: Probably not anything that Sarah Palin wants to see in print.

BASH: Not so much. Yes.

BORGER: Thanks so much, Dana.

BASH: Thanks.

BORGER: And a dramatic day on Wall Street. Our Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. Lisa, what do you have?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Gloria. Well, the DOW and S&P ended near their highest levels since 2008.

BORGER: Thank you.

SYLVESTER: The Dow briefly climbed above 13,000 today but closed a few points under that. It was January 2008 when it last topped 13,000. The Dow has been trading at its highest level in four years since the beginning of the month. A California judge is denying bail for Michael Jackson's former physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. Murray is currently serving a four-year involuntary manslaughter sentence for Jackson's death, but his lawyers requested he be released while they work on his appeal.

And remember this famous movie scene?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help. I think they took my baby.


SYLVESTER: Yes, remember that? That's Meryl Streep in the 1988 "A Cry In The Dark." It is based on a real story and believe it or not, the 31-year-old mystery of what happened to that baby is still unknown. The parents want to prove once and for all that a dingo, a wild dog native to Australia, took the child. A coroner will reveal the results. It is the fourth attempt at solving this case.

And watch this, unbelievable video of an 18-wheeler overturning on a major Dallas highway apparently crashing another car in the process. You see it there. According to our affiliate, WFAA, the crash temporarily shut down the toll road spewing diesel fluid everywhere.

And even more shocking, there's another repeat of that image there. even more shocking, though, is that the driver of the mangled car survived the wreck with only nonlife threatening injuries. Amazing, Gloria.

BORGER: Boy, that's some luck, huh, Lisa?

SYLVESTER: Very lucky when you see that video we're playing again.

BORGER: You bet. Thanks so much, Lisa.

And the horrifying battle raging in Syria like we've never seen it before. Just ahead, an extraordinary new glimpse inside the chaos through the eyes of a renowned photographer.

Plus, the newest GOP frontrunner, Rick Santorum, is on fire, charging his chief rival, Mitt Romney, is a liar and more. My exclusive interview with the former Pennsylvania senator, up next.


BORGER: With key Republican contests and Arizona and Michigan only days away, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are holding nothing back. Romney is slamming Santorum is a Washington insider, while Santorum is calling Romney the dreaded "L" word insisting his policies mirror those of a liberal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BORGER: Senator Santorum, thanks so much for being with us this afternoon. I'd like to start by playing something for you that Governor Romney said about you after our CNN debate in Phoenix. Take a listen.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What happened was, we saw in this case, Senator Santorum explained most of the night why he did or voted for things he disagreed with, and he talked about this as being taking one for the team. I wonder which team he was taking it for. All right. My team is the American people, not the insiders in Washington.


BORGER: So, how do you respond to Governor Romney's criticism that you're taking it for a bunch of Washington insiders and that you play by insider rules because you're one of them?

RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, my goodness. What team is Governor Romney on when he voted and led the fight along with Ted Kennedy for government-run healthcare in Massachusetts? What team was he on when he appointed that the most liberal judges, activist liberal judges to the court in Massachusetts?

You know, what team on it when he had that healthcare bill that provided for $50 abortions when he stood up and made the Catholic Church violate their conscience in that healthcare bill?

What team was he on when he attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers and filled out questionnaires that he was going to be a leader in the cause of -- look, Governor Romney has been on the wrong team, and so, maybe he doesn't understand when I was supporting President Bush and his initiative, that he had taken to the American public.

That's the team I was on, trying to get accountability in education. The bottom line is, Governor Romney supports that bill. That's the amazing thing. I mean, he's criticizing me for something that he supports. This is the hypocrisy of Governor Romney. He's been on the wrong team on a variety of different issues.

The Wall Street bailout. He was on Barack Obama's team when it came to the Wall Street bailout. He's on a cap and trade. He crowed about being with the environmentalist and believed in global warming. I wasn't on any of those teams. I've been on a team of being a conservative and principled in my position.

BORGER: Well, how would you describe the team that Governor Romney's on? What team would you call that?

SANTORUM: Well, I would say that's the left. I'd say that's the problem with Governor Romney and this election.

BORGER: He's a member of the left? SANTORUM: Look at his tax plan. Look at his tax plan. Well, he's for government-run healthcare. He was for government bailout of Wall Street. He was for cap and trade and CO2 emissions. He's not put forward a tax plan which is absolutely insider driven. Governor Romney has some 295 lobbyists who have contributed to his campaign. A bunch of them are actually running his campaign and --

BORGER: But Governor Romney would say -- but Governor Romney would say you left your job in the Senate and became a lobbyist yourself, right?

SANTORUM: I was not a lobbyist. I absolutely was not a lobbyist. I never did a lobbying or even anything close to lobbying. I was out there working in the private sector. I was managing -- I was a number two guy at a company, a start-up company, for three years. I was out writing. I was out lecturing on public policy. I was not a lobbyist.


SANTORUM: And Governor Romney knows this is the kind of stuff that he does. He attacks personally. I'm talking about Governor Romney's positions on the issues. The positions on the issues for Governor Romney, for example, his tax bill, which adopts the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street folks.

He says we're going to cut taxes, and then, we're going to increase taxes on the one percent to make sure it's revenue neutral. We don't need someone that's going to adopt their playbook as our nominee.

BORGER: Senator, let me show you something. The new Gallup daily tracking poll is out. You are in a contest for the presidency. And if you look at these numbers, today you're at 33 percent. On Tuesday, before our debate, you were 36 percent. You've dropped a few points. Governor Romney has gone up one point.

You're still ahead, but are you coming out today and really attacking Governor Romney because you're worried that these attacks on you is an insider part of Washington or actually starting to stick?

SANTORUM: Well, it's funny. I mean, Governor Romney has gone full bore at attacking Rick Santorum, and you know, he's doing so falsely and he's misrepresenting his record. Even at the debate, Gloria. He went out and basically didn't tell the truth about his position on forcing the Catholic Church to go against their values and catholic hospitals in distributing the morning after pill.

BORGER: But are you afraid that --

SANTORUM: This is something that's a direct misrepresentation, and I'm not going to stand for him lying about his own record and lying about and misrepresenting mine.

BORGER: Well, you sound to me a little bit like Newt Gingrich when Newt Gingrich was attacked by Mitt Romney in Iowa and other states. Are you sort of thinking he's trying to do to you what he did to Gingrich?

SANTORUM: Yes, it's a pattern. I mean, everybody that's ever been up against Mitt Romney, he's doing what he's doing in Michigan. He has a Super PAC out there outspending, whoever it is, by a huge amount of money trying to misrepresent their record as well as he's done and misrepresent his.

I'm going to go out and tell the truth about my record. I'm going to go out and tell the truth about Governor Romney's record. I'm going to go out and tell the truth about what we're going to do to change this country, and that I'm the best candidate to contrast with Barack Obama because I've got a solid principle record on the important issues of the day, and that is cutting, spending, balancing the budget, growing this economy, making it inclusive for manufacturers and people working in the energy fields, so blue collar people can get jobs in this country.

We're going to talk about the importance of making sure that the American family is stable and prosperous. That's what our agenda is.


SANTORUM: And Governor Romney wants to talk about dead issues of the past where he was in fact in agreement with me and he's criticizing me on those issues. I'm not going to let him get away with it and change the topic --

BORGER: Well, that's on support -- that's on support for no child left behind. But let me ask you something also, that those of us who cover this race have been noticing. We noticed it at our last debate and we noticed it on the campaign trail which is -- and you have said it, actually.

You said it in the spin room the other night after the debate that you noticed that there seems to be some kind of alliance between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney presumably against you. Do you think there's a deal of some sort?

SANTORUM: Oh, I have no idea. I just found it odd that, you know, Ron Paul supposedly, you know, holds himself out as the libertarian in the race. Certainly not the conservative, his conservative ratings are pathetic, but holds himself out as a libertarian. And someone who is you know for little government that to my knowledge has never attacked Mitt Romney on any of the big government things that he's supported over the years and seems to delight in attacking me.

And here we are in Michigan where we've got a race going on and I don't think Ron Paul is actively campaigning in the state of Michigan.

BORGER: So why? Why? Why --

SANTORUM: Yet he's running -- yet he's -- yet -- but he's running ads in the state of Michigan attacking me. He's only running negative ads attacking me, so you have to --

BORGER: So what do you think is going on between --

SANTORUM: You know you guys do the -- you guys do -- I have no idea. Look, I just look at the situation and we're out there as the real conservative. I'm not the libertarian. I'm not the moderate Republican. I'm the true Reagan conservative in this race and there are folks on either side of the wings in this party who are coming out and trying to attack the real conservative.

And you know what? We are up to it. We have got a record that stands the test of time. It's been a solid record. Standing up and fighting for the conservative principles that Republicans want to see taken to Barack Obama on health care. Romney is disqualified. He's got Obamacare Junior in Massachusetts. He's disqualified on taking on the issue of government takeovers of the -- of Wall Street and you know to suggest he's against Dodd-Frank when Dodd-Frank is simply the follow- on legislation as to what the Congress did in the Wall Street bailouts, again, not credible.

BORGER: OK, Senator Santorum, thanks so much for being with us and we'll see you out on the trail. Thanks.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

BORGER: And he's a dare devil known as the "Bird Man" and he flew all right, smack into a mountain ledge. Plus, there's a new car recall. We'll tell you about the problem and if you could be affected. Plus, you'll never guess what all of this fuss is about -- sneakers, potentially worth more than $1,000. That's just ahead.


BORGER: Lisa Sylvester is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now including a major problem for a posh car company. Lisa what do you have?

SYLVESTER: Yes, that's right, Gloria. Luxury auto giant Porsche is recalling more than 100,000 of its Cayenne SUVs worldwide due to headlights that could become loose and detach from their fenders. Ford says it plans to notify owners of the models seen on your screen right there to fix the problem at no charge. The company also says it's not aware of any injuries or accidents tied to this problem.

Well Sweden is welcoming its second in line to the thrown, Crowned Princess Victoria, the heir to the throne and her husband, Prince Daniel (ph), have announced the birth of a baby girl. The Royal Court says she weighed in at 7 pounds, three ounces. Congratulations to the family.

And check out this incredible video of a base jump that almost turns fatal. That is well known "Bird Man", Jeb Corliss, jumping from a 3,500 foot mountaintop in South Africa. He flies a little too close to a rocky ledge and slams into it at 120 miles an hour. Corliss landed in some brush about 200 feet down before being air lifted to a hospital and he spoke to ABC about the incident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB CORLISS, BASE JUMPER: I have to be honest when I impacted, I really thought I was dead. You know when I hit I didn't think I could survive a hit like that.


SYLVESTER: That is amazing. Fortunately, Corliss only had some broken toes, a broken ankle and a fractured leg and needless to say it could have been a lot worse. I just can't believe those pictures, Gloria, as I see it over and over again, but --

BORGER: I hate it when that happens, don't you?

SYLVESTER: Lucky, lucky, lucky guy is the only thing that I can say here, Gloria, wow.

BORGER: We can also say don't try this at home, right?

SYLVESTER: That is absolutely correct, Gloria.

BORGER: Thanks a lot, Lisa. And some customers of a leading gold dealer are now entitled to refunds. They claim they were victims of a costly bait and switch. We're reading the fine print of a new settlement deal. But, next, remarkable footage that takes you inside the deadly battle in Syria in a way you just haven't seen before.


BORGER: And now to the raging deadly battle in Syria like we've never seen it before. CNN has obtained extraordinary footage captured by a renown French journalist inside the besieged city of Homs. Watch.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Back at the (INAUDIBLE) headquarters, the battle is raging. Free Syrian forces have detonated a bomb below the rooftop position where government snipers are trapped.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: After more than 12 hours, the snipers are still putting up a fight.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Casualties are mounting.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A mini bus ambulance and a break-neck race to a makeshift field hospital.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are all the beds?



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's little dignity in all this.





UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Friday is protest day. It's almost a carnival atmosphere but it's a carnival of defiance as the people of Homs tell their president what they think of him.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Bashar, you are an opponent.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mothers, children, fathers, and fighters, this mass of humanity dances for its (INAUDIBLE) its freedom.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: An unstoppable energy battling a seemingly immovable force.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Freedom! A revolution of dignity and freedom!




UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Three Syrian fighters have entered the government's security building.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It's room to room fighting now, stairwell to stairwell. (SHOTS FIRED)


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It's a humiliation for President Assad.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: With bullets still flying, fighters make off with boxes of much needed ammo.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The morning after -- the (INAUDIBLE) secret police building has been gutted as has the local post office.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Down the street is a long cue (ph) for bread. With parts of the city besieged, you can no longer get to shops in neighboring districts.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The citizens are hungry for bread.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the only bakery in the (INAUDIBLE). Because of the snipers people are taking (INAUDIBLE). This is why it's (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A couple of blocks away and you're in Sibyl (ph) district where many belong to the president's (INAUDIBLE) sect. They have not been attacked.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Homs now a patch work dividing along sectarian lines.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This doorway is as far as Sunni Muslims can go.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: For them, one step into the street and they are in sniper alley.




UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This woman has just learned that her son Fati (ph) has been shot dead by a sniper there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is my son, my rock. I have no man. He is my man.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Fati (ph) used to support the regime. The tattoo on his chest says Assad Syria, but it was a bullet from one of al-Assad's snipers that killed him.



BORGER: Battling crowds and chaos erupting in cities up and down the East Coast. And it's all over a new kind of sneaker. Let's bring in CNN's Martin Savidge in Atlanta with the details -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Gloria. This is the shoe that is creating the well foot frenzy. It is known as the Nike Foamposite One (ph), retails for $220 if you can find them. And it's the finding them that is causing all the problems.




SAVIDGE (voice-over): In Orlando, home to this weekend's NBA all-star game, more than 100 sheriff's deputies wearing helmets and holding riot shields to guard. Outside the Florida Mall as a crowd waited for the shoe to go on sale there.


SAVIDGE: They eventually had to move in after authorities say shoe fans became disorderly. Outside a mall in suburban Washington, D.C., the crowd began growing yesterday for the shoe to go on sale today. When the number of people got to 1,000 the shoe store canceled the release out of safety concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huge disappointment. I mean, I was out here at least seven hours waiting on the shoes and no shoes. So it's pretty sad. SAVIDGE: Elsewhere in other cities there were reports of long lines but no real problems. Nike issued a statement calling for calm, saying "we encourage anyone wishing to purchase our product to do so in a respectful and safe manner." In Miami they resorted to name calling --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) two more times, Michael Bradshaw (ph) --

SAVIDGE: -- as in a lottery system to keep things orderly. This guy managed to get his hands on a pair, but they aren't for his feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go right now online they're going to be worth like 1,000, $2,000.

SAVIDGE (on camera): We decided to look online to see what the shoe was going for -- this is eBay and pretty hefty prices $1,700, $1,200. Take a look at this one. I don't know if this person is a capitalist or just an optimist, if you want to buy the shoe right now $10,000. That's Canadian, by the way, even more in the U.S.

(voice-over): As one customer put it, the Foamposite One (ph) is the most anticipated shoe of the year. At least until the next must- have sneaker comes along.


SAVIDGE: And Gloria there was even a man in New York City who was willing to trade or sell his 1996 Chevy Cavalier for a pair of those shoes. I don't know who would get the better part of that deal.

BORGER: You know, you'd think these sneakers would make you thinner, right, but no.

SAVIDGE: You would --

BORGER: Let me ask you more seriously, though. Is there any way for them to market the sneaker without triggering this kind of a frenzy?

SAVIDGE: Well, when I talked to retailers -- when I talk to retail experts they say sure, absolutely. For one thing why don't you pre-sell the shoes? Do that either in the store or do it online. That way a person knows for certain they will get a shoe when they show up with the receipt in their hands instead of having all this pandemonium with people trying or wondering if they can get a shoe in the first place. It would stop a lot of that, but it would also stop a lot of the publicity which some people say Nike wants even as bad as they look --

BORGER: You think? You think? Thanks a lot, Martin Savidge.

And some customers of a leading gold dealer are now entitled to refunds. They claim they were victims of a costly bait and switch. Stay with us.


BORGER: And here's a look at this hour's "Hot Shots". In Iran a man sweeps up electoral pamphlets which have been distributed for upcoming parliamentary elections. In Papua (ph), New Guinea children play cricket in the streets. And in India a man climbs a pole to get a better view at a political rally. And in Hungary, a baby giraffe already five feet, seven inches tall stands alongside its mother. "Hot Shots" pictures coming in from around the world.

You've probably seen the commercials for Goldline, one of the nation's largest gold dealers. Now they've agreed to pay some customers millions as part of a settlement. CNN's Mary Snow has more.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is ads like these for Goldline featuring conservative talk show host Glenn Beck that captured people's attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before I started turning you onto Goldline I wanted to look them in the eye. This is a top-notch organization that's been in business since 1960.

SNOW: And it's why 63-year-old Catherine Gavazzo says she decided to invest in Goldline.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's five of them.

SNOW: Catherine says she initially purchased five gold coins and then invested her $130,000 of retirement savings with Goldline. The second time unlike the coins she never had physical possession of the gold. But she got statements that showed her investments were declining first down to 93,000, then $74,000.

CATHERINE GAVAZZO, GOLDLINE CUSTOMER: They wouldn't give me a straight answer why gold was going up and mine was going down.

SNOW: Goldline, based in Santa Monica, came under scrutiny. The head of the city's Consumer Protection Unit says he received Catherine's complaint and others accusing Goldline of misleading customers on the size of the markup of gold investments and pressuring them under false pretenses.

ADAM RADINSKY, SANTA MONICA CONSUMER PROTECTION UNIT: People were being told that gold bullion could be confiscated by the government and that the other coins were safe and that the only way to be safe was to buy these coins which were tremendously marked up above their true value.

SNOW: But the CEO of Goldline International says the complaints make up a small fraction of total customers and denies his company misled consumers.

SCOTT CARTER, GOLDLINE INTERNATIONAL CEO: Absolutely not. When you look at our business, we have been the leader of disclosures in the industry. SNOW: Goldline has agreed to refund customers of up to $4.5 million and change sales practices under a settlement that drops criminal charges. Why settle?

CARTER: We knew that we hadn't done anything wrong. Once the charges were dismissed and when you look at the details of how we're going to take care of clients it just made sense for us to settle this thing quickly for our clients, for our employees and for the company.

SNOW: Under a court injunction, Goldline must change the way it talks about a 1933 order. In it, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered people holding gold to sell it back to the company. Some coins were exempt. Now for one thing, Goldline can no longer use the word "confiscation". The company must also be more transparent about the price and markup of their products. Goldline believes it's been targeted because of politics, citing its ties to Glenn Beck. Beck has not been accused of wrongdoing, and through a representative declined comment. The attorney for Santa Monica denies politics played a part. As for Catherine Gavazzo --

GAVAZZO: I would imagine that some people would probably think that I was stupid, but I would rather call it naive.

SNOW: Catherine is one of 43 customers who were part of this legal complaint. She like other customers will have to return their gold in order to get their money back.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


BORGER: And thanks for joining us. I'm Gloria Borger in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.