CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Rick Santorum Drops out of Race; Syria Fails to Achieve First Benchmark

Aired April 10, 2012 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON: Tonight on Connect the World, what's next in Syria? The deadline has passed to pull out troops, but on the ground there are few signs the violence has peaked.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Tonight, Kofi Annan's plan for peace in Syria appears to be in tatters, but is that the whole story? Expert analysis this hour.

Also tonight--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM, FRM. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: While this presidential race for us is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: As Rick Santorum bows out, is the U.S. presidential election now a two horse race?

And, speaking of races, why Formula1's boss says it's business as usual in Bahrain.

First up this evening, countless lives hang in the balance as a critical peace accord hangs by a thread. Over 1,000 people are being killed in Syria since March 27th when the regime first accepted Kofi Annan's peace plan. Now that Syria has failed to honor its first deadline, Annan is appealing for more time to make the deal work, but opposition activists say more time means more bloodshed.

Well, the very day the regime had promised to finish withdrawing troops and heavy weapons from protest cities, opposition activists say at least 65 more people were killed across the country. Special envoy Kofi Annan is now demanding a fundamental change of course before the next deadline scheduled for Thursday this week, but he insists that all hope is not lost.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOFI ANNAN, UN-ARAB LEAGUE SPECIAL ENVOY: We still have time between now and the 12th to stop the violence. And I appeal to all concerned -- the government in the first place, and the opposition forces.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: We are covering this story, as you would imagine, from all angles tonight. Ivan Watson is in Turkey where Kofi Annan just visited with Syrian refugees.

Phil Black is in Moscow, covering the Syrian foreign minister's visit there.

And with me here in the studio is Nic Robertson who has spent extensive periods in Syria over the past year with his take on where we are and what happens next.

All right, let's get going. First up to Ivan tonight in Turkey -- Ivan,.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Becky, Kofi Annan said that the surge of refugees had fled Syria to Turkey in recent days is a sign of an increased military activity inside Syria. He says yes the Syrian government has shown some signs of withdrawing forces from some provinces, but then there are also signs that they've been taking those forces and attacked other areas which previously had not be targeted.

Despite the enormous loss of life in the last couple of days he says that his peace plan is still alive and he's still calling for all sides to try to adhere to it. And to a ceasefire by Thursday. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNAN: So I think the plan is very much alive. And if you want to take it off the table, what would you replace it with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATSON: Now, Becky, Kofi Annan did not get the warmest welcome from all of the refugees in the refugee camp. Some of them hurled abuse at him. They were kept back by a line of Turkish police. They were changing Kofi Annan, get lost. Liar. And part of the reason of that is many voices in the Syrian opposition feel that in calling for more time for negotiations and more time for the Syrian government to withdraw its forces and adhere to a ceasefire, that's simply giving the Syrian military and security forces more time to kill Syrians -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan is in Turkey for you tonight. Ivan, thank you for that.

Let's get you to Russia for the next part of this story. The Syrian foreign minister visiting there today, one of his country's few remaining allies. Phil Black is in Moscow. And Phil, what sort of pressure is Russia putting on Syria at what is a critical, critical time in this crisis?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, Russia itself is under considerable pressure, Becky, having backed this peace plan very strongly to try and get Syria to live up to the obligations that it has promised it will keep. Now the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said today that his interpretation of the peace plan is that by today Syria was not expected to have completed a full withdrawal, was to have begun a very visible withdrawal.

Despite that more friendly reading of the peace plan, the more forgiving reading I should say, Sergey Lavrov says that Russia still have considerable concerns about the pace and the enthusiasm with which Syria is trying to comply with this plan.

This is what he said today. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We believe their actions could have been more active and more determined in implementing some of the provisions of the six point plan. And we have been quite straightforward with our Syrian counterparts. But on the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that Kofi Annan's proposals have not been agreed to by some of the opposition groups, including the well known Syrian National Council.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: Now in Sergey Lavrov's measured diplomatic speak, that criticism is probably a little stronger than it would appear to most of us. But he's not abandoning Syria by any means. Instead, he said there as you heard that he also the opposition significantly to blame for the fact that there is no ceasefire in place at this time. And the Syrian foreign minister, despite being criticized by its ally in this way, insisted, publicly, after these talks took place, that his country is beginning to comply with the peace plan. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALID MOALLEM, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We did withdraw some military units from some provinces in accordance with Point C of Annan's plan. We did allow more than 28 media stations to enter Syria since March 25, that means since the date when Syria agreed to Annan's plan until today.

We also received the head of the International Red Cross. And we agreed to certain points regarding getting aid and delivering it to those who need it with cooperation with the Syrian Red Crescent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: So what now? Well, both foreign ministers said today that they do not believe the Annan peace plan is dead. What they both spoke about was the need to get international observers on the ground in Syria as soon as possible. Russia believes this will be the only way to get a real sense of just what is happening there, just who and who is not living up to their obligations, because of all the contradictory reports that Russia says is coming out of that country at the moment.

And Syria says it is only at that time, when international observers arrive on the ground, that it believes a real ceasefire can be put into place, Becky.

ANDERSON: Our man on the ground in Moscow. Phil Black for you this evening. Right.

So lest we forget, here's a timetable on that ceasefire. The Assad regime agreed to the peace plan brokered by Kofi Annan just over a week ago and set this Tuesday as a deadline to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons such as tanks from Syrian cities, towns, and villages. Then, over the following 48 hours, opposition forces were supposed to follow the government's lead and lay down their arms. By 6:00 am local time Thursday all forms of violence on all sides are supposed to have ended.

The next step is for all parties to hold talks and a political solution, although there is no specific timetable set on that.

Well, some of observers consider this peace deal the last, best hope to prevent a full-scale civil war in Syria. So, what happens if it fails? Our international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us now with some perspective.

So we've heard Annan say the peace plan is still alive. We've heard the Russians say that Syria could have done better, although they say the opposition needs to play. Meantime, more than a 1,000 dead since Assad pledged to honor this Annan brokered deal.

Your thoughts.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's clear when he entered into that agreement that he no intention of doing what he was being asked to do, yet what we can see is an escalation of the violence, which is an indication that he feels under pressure, that he knows Russia is at his back, has had his back all the way along, but perhaps he senses that Russia is weakening behind him. Some of that we may have heard today in Moscow.

But for him he seems to have tried to push ahead, accelerate this military campaign that he's been on. Everyone knows it can't succeed except him. But so it does seem that the idea of a deadline is worrying him.

ANDERSON: Are you suggesting that he's using this deadline, and of course April 12, the next part of that, as a bargaining chip to a certain extent?

ROBERTSON: It would certainly be the view of a lot of the opposition. And yes, it does. I mean, it looks like he is just biding himself more time, but reality is he cannot win by this strategy. And he doesn't seem to accept that. But Russia seems to be coming around to that view.

And if we take a very cynical view, if we will, this is more a bar -- Annan's run here with this peace plan has been an international bargaining chip, albeit while this horrific bloodshed is going on, to bring more pressure on Russia and China to get them on board rather than Assad himself.

ANDERSON: And of course -- or remember that both of those countries did sign up to this Annan brokered deal.

Nic, have a listen to some of what I discussed today with Mark Lyall who is UK's representative to the United Nations. I asked him whether behind closed doors this period of time where we see effectively the Assad regime continuing this violence and no real sense from the opposition there prepared to buy-in, this deficit of trust, whether he felt that behind those doors at the UN this was frustrating. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK LYALL GRANT, UN AMBASSADOR TO UN: Over that 10 days there's probably been more than 1,000 civilians killed and in the last 24 hours we've seen firing across both the Turkish border and the Lebanese border. There's been a sevenfold increase in the number of refugees crossing the border. So the situation is deteriorating rather than improving as it should have done towards this deadline.

So, yes, of course there is deep disappointment that we have seen no signal whatsoever of a change of approach by the Syria regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Nic.

ROBERTSON: That has got to be the view. But the view from here, it's always been a pragmatic process all along. There's no political will -- Britain, the United States, any other country to go into Syria. So what have they done? Fallen back on the best pragmatic approach and that is to pressure Syria. And the levers to do that are China and Russia.

And now the UN will have to go back behind closed doors and take Russia and take China and say, look, here is your guy essentially here. You've got to change your position on him. That's what it's going to take. And that's very likely what they're going to be doing next.

ANDERSON: April 12 is the next deadline. In a word, are you going to see any actions here?

ROBERTSON: We may see a slow down. We're not going to see an end to it, absolutely not.

ANDERSON: Ivan in Turkey, Phil Black in Moscow, Nic with me here in the studio we thank you all very much indeed for joining us.

Tonight, our top story: deadline day in Syria passes without much evidence the first stage of a peace plan is being honored. But watch this face, it's not clear, not at yet at least that the latest diplomatic maneuvering will fail to find a route through what is a bloody conflict.

Still to come here on CNN. This is Connect the World. Rick Santorum has pulled out of the race for the White House. Does that mean the Republican Party's primary campaign is now finally over?

He's admitted mass murder, but to save the head of the trial of his -- the start of his trial, sorry, two psychiatric experts say Anders Breivik isn't insane.

Russian fans once described as socially dangerous, now moving onto the global stage. All that a much more and the show continues after this short break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CNN and Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

It was a long shot, now it's over: Rick Santorum is out of the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. president. The conservative challenger needed to win the Pennsylvania primary, that's his home state, that primary two weeks from today. But a new poll showed his once double- digit lead slipping into single figures.

A short time ago, he talked to his supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: We made the decision to get into this race at our kitchen table and against all the odds. And we made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over, for me -- and we will suspend our campaign effective today -- we are not done fighting. We are going to continue to fight for those voices. We're going to continue to fight for the Americans who stood up and gave us that air under our wings, that allowed us to accomplish things that no political expert would have ever expected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: CNN's Jim Acosta is with the Santorum campaign. He joins us live from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

A sad night, I think, for Santorum and his family. We all listened to what he said. But was this exit inevitable, Jim, do you think?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORREPSONDENT: I think it was. You know, I just got off the phone a few moments ago, Becky, with a close Santorum adviser. And, you know, this adviser told me that, you know, this was really a political consideration that he had to make. Yes, the family had the issue of their daughter, Bella, who has a rare genetic disorder. She was in the hospital over the weekend. She just got out yesterday and she's doing better. But it's really been touch and go for that family with respect to their daughter. And that, yes, was a consideration.

But separate from that, they had to think about the politics of this, the delegate map was just not adding up for this campaign. They were hopeful that Newt Gingrich, one of the other rivals in this race, would drop out at some. He never did that. And there were a variety of polls showing going into some of these earlier contests that had Newt Gingrich gotten out sooner, Rick Santorum might have been able to pull of an upset in Michigan or Ohio. But Newt Gingrich did not get out of this race, as we all know, and so Santorum did not have that happen for him.

The other thing that they were hoping for was Texas, that is a primary that was coming up in May. And they were hoping that that primary would become a winner take all contest and that all of the delegates would go to the winner from that state. That did not happen as well.

And so because of those two factors they just did not see the delegate math leading to the nomination. And so they decided -- and I think a lot of Republicans will say it was a wise decision. But they decided to get out before the Pennsylvania primary, before there was any risk to Rick Santorum losing his home state. If he had -- if he had stayed in this race and lost his home state, it would have been very damaging to any future presidential hopes that he might have had -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, Jim Acosta in Pennsylvania for you tonight. Jim, thank you for that.

So does this mean that U.S. presidential race, at least on the Republican side is done and this is now a two horse race? More on that coming up in this show.

A look now, though, at some of the other stories that are connecting our world tonight. And the man accused of killing 77 people in Norway last summer was not insane, at least this is according to psychiatric experts. A report at the start of his trial has found that Anders Breivik was not psychotic at the time of the attacks in July when 69 people were gunned down and eight more killed by a bomb.

CNN's Diana Magnay has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So these two psychiatrists have concluded that Breivik was not psychotic at the time of the attacks is not criminally insane and it's highly likely to reoffend should he be let out. And of course that contradicts the findings of the first psychiatric assessment which concluded that he was criminally insane, that he had paranoid schizophrenia which resulted in him coming out -- committing those terrible atrocities.

Now this isn't the final verdict on Anders Behring Breivik's psychiatric health. All four psychiatrists will testify at the end of the trial once they've seen, really, how he conducts himself over the course of the trial.

But of course their findings will dictate where he spends possibly the rest of his life. If he's considered insane, that will be a mental institution. And if not, he will probably face lifetime inside, which under Norwegian law is just 21 years. So there is a possibility to extend that every five years if he's considered unfit to reenter society.

Now Breivik has always maintained that he is sane. His defense, really, rests upon that basis, because he wants what he did in Oslo and in Utoya to be considered a political act. You see we know from his lawyer that believes he is fighting a civil war, trying to rid Europe of Muslims and he was acting on behalf of Norwegian society, he says, by committing the atrocities that he did.

And he has written a letter to the Norwegian press that being committed to a psychiatric ward would be worse than death for a political activist, but it would be a sadistic act, which when you think about it is truly callous and horrific thing to say given what he did on the 22nd of July last year.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Five UK terror suspects could find themselves on trial in America sooner rather than later. The European court of human rights says Abu Hamza and four other terror suspects can be extradited from Britain to the United States. (inaudible) welcomed today's ruling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: It's absolutely clear from this judgment we can extradite them to the United States. I believe that's right. They've been charged with some -- accused of some very serious offenses. And it's right that they should stand trial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the terror suspects still have three months to appeal. But the European court says conditions at so-called supermax prisons in the U.S. won't violate their human rights.

Well, the wife of the disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been arrested, according to state media. It's in connection with the death of a British national, a former senior Communist Party figure has already been stripped of his role for an unspecified serious breach of regulations.

Well, the British businessman Neil Heywood died in November. He was a family friend of the ousted leader.

Well, it's being widely criticized by other nations, but North Korea's plan to launch a rocket looks set to go ahead. Assembly is continuing ahead of a planned lift-off between (inaudible) and Monday, according to a senior space official. It's for peaceful purposes, they say.

Japan, the U.S. and South Korea see the launch as cover for a long range missile test.

Well, we are going to take a very short break here on CNN. Stay with us, though. When we come back, to race or not to race, that is the question for Forumla1 when it comes to Bahrain. We get the very latest on what is a saga -- up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live from London.

Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson.

Well, the fate of any Grand Prix lies with the racing teams, or so says the sport's leader who admits he can't force teams to race if they don't want to. There is some confusion as to what is going on so far as the F1 race in Bahrain is concerned.

In the end, who will make the final decision on whether to race there? Let's bring in my colleague Don Riddell from CNN Center. Don, last year's Bahrain Gran Prix was canceled, of course. There is now some question over whether this year's race will go ahead.

Do you want to just give us some context to this?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, thanks very much, Becky.

Over the last few hours, we've seen a flurry of statements released by all parties concerned in this year's Bahrain Grand Prix. The race is just over a week away. It's completely overshadowed this week's race in Shanghai. And to be honest, we're no nearer knowing whether this is going to happen.

You'll be aware, Becky, that the situation reportedly on the ground in Bahrain is that political tensions are rising once again, protesters are clashing with police. Seven policemen were injured by a bomb that exploded last night. We've got a very high profile campaigner and activist who is on hunger strike and has been on hunger strike for more than 60 days. And the situation on the ground is reportedly tense.

Now the Bahrain government will say that the protesters and the demonstrators are completely -- you know, over exaggerating the situation on the ground. And of course in the meantime you've got the teams who aren't really sure what they should do.

Let's talk about what Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 supremo, said earlier today. He said, "no way we can force people to go there. We can't say you've got to go, although they would be in breach of their agreement with us if they didn't go. I've had no one saying anything other than we're going to be racing in Bahrain."

I can tell you the teams have responded by saying, well if it's not our decision at all, it's up to the motorsport governing body the FIA. And perhaps we will hear from them shortly. So far no word from the FIA.

This is what the Bahrain government has had to say. And this is interesting, this is a statement that's been released by John Yates who, Becky, you will remember was up until last year the assistant commissioner to the London Metropolitan Police Service. He said, "it is very much hoped that the policing will be low key and discrete. But if there are any problems, the police must be able to escalate their response if need be. People can be assured that if problems arise, then there will be a plan to deal with that as there would be with any public event in the world."

John Yates is now an adviser to the Bahrain police.

He went on to say, "there is nothing that in any way warrants for the race to be postponed."

So that's the situation at the moment. The teams are preparing for the Shanghai Grand Prix as I say. They are expected to meet on Thursday. And then perhaps we'll have a clearer idea as to whether this race is going to happen or not. But the longer we leave it, Becky, I say it's looking more and more likely that this race will not happen for a second year running.

ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. Let's draw a line under that for the time being. But I know you're going to do a lot more on this in an hour or so. So as that as you do -- that and the other news of course. World Sport an hour from now. An in-depth interview with Magic Johnson who has a play base sort of part of his life opening on Broadway.

Don, looking forward to that. Our viewers will stick with, as I know. Before that, of course, still to come here on Connect the World -- thanks Don -- Rick Santorum is out of the Republican Party's race for the White House. So what do the polls say about an election where it's Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney, his Republicans opponent?

Bridging a divide with Russian rock anthems. We speak to Mumiy Troll's charismatic front man as he switches to English on a new album. That coming up and your headlines after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A very warm welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson. This is CNN, and these are the latest world news headlines.

Rick Santorum has announced that he is out of the race for the White House. The conservative Republican has been battling Mitt Romney for his party's nomination. It means November's US election will almost certainly be Obama versus Romney.

Special envoy Kofi Annan says Syria failed to meet the deadline to withdraw troops and weapons from protest cities but says he's not giving up on his peace plan. Annan is urging the regime and opposition to abide by Thursday's deadline to end all hostilities.

The man who's about to go on trial over a killing spree in Norway is not psychotic, says a new report. Two court experts have said Anders Breivik was sane at the time of the attacks and continues to pose a violent threat.

Westerners and Washington are welcoming a decision that will allow five UK terror suspects to be extradited to the US. They can still appeal, but the British government thinks that that would be an act of futility.

Those are your headlines this hour.

All right, well, back to those developments in US politics. Now, Mitt Romney looks like the Republican challenger to take on President Obama this year in November. A new poll shows him trailing the president in a head- to-head match up, although voters remain split in which presidential contender is better equipped to handle the economy.

All this because a short time ago, Romney had this to say about Rick Santorum's exit from the race. "I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He's proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation."

Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich weighed in saying, "I'm committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice."

And Ron Paul's campaign, another contender, says he's in it to win it. Quote, "Dr. Paul is now the last and real conservative alternative to Mitt Romney."

Well, despite what the Ron Paul campaign is saying, is this really, now, a two-horse race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama? Our political analyst, Bill Schneider, joining me, now, from our Washington bureau.

Bill, we only heard Rick Santorum deliver his sort of exit speech, as it were, flanked by his family, about an hour or so ago. Were you surprised by what he said?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I was surprised he was still in the race. There was virtually no prospect that he could be the nominee. He'd have to win about three-quarters of the remaining delegates, and the idea that he could do that was simply delusional.

There -- what he was really fighting for was the conservative cause and to become the most influential figure in the conservative movement, and that he might have achieved.

ANDERSON: Right, OK. But what he was fighting for, when it gets really, really, basic were delegates, of course. I want to show our viewers how things stood ahead of this bowing out by Rick Santorum.

And what you see here is, frankly -- well, it almost seemed inevitable that Mitt Romney was leading from the front and would continue to do so. 275 up against some 650-odd. That was a pretty big lead by Romney, wasn't it?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, it was. It's not quite the majority he needs. He needs 1144 delegates to win the majority, but he's more than halfway there, and Santorum and Gingrich and Paul are way behind. They just didn't have a chance.

ANDERSON: Yes.

SCHNEIDER: What Santorum did was, essentially, accept reality.

ANDERSON: 275 delegates in his camp. What happens to them, out of interest?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they're going to -- he did not endorse Romney. He just said he's suspending his campaign. He and Gingrich and Paul are going to go right to the convention, they're going to have a block of delegates, not close to a majority of the convention, and they're going to try to exercise whatever influence they can to hold Mitt Romney's feet to the fire.

The conservative movement, which Santorum claims to lead -- so does Gingrich -- the conservative movement doesn't trust Mitt Romney. He's not one of them. And they want to try to make sure he runs a conservative campaign.

Look. For all the talk of the right wing taking over the Republican Party, in 2008, they nominated John McCain, who was not a favorite of the right. And this year, they're going to nominate Mitt Romney, who is not a favorite of the right. So there.

ANDERSON: Yes. All right. Well, let's take a look at some of the opinion polls. These, of course, out before Santorum pulled out. As the likely Republican nominee, Mitt Romney at least leads President Obama in one aspect of public opinion polls.

Let's take a look at the latest numbers from the "Washington Post" and the ABC News. When it comes to handling the economy, Bill, voters choose Romney over the president by a margin of four percentage points. How significant is that at this point?

SCHNEIDER: It's a real threat to Obama's reelection. The economy is the biggest issue in the campaign. He's not doing well on it. He has not turned the economy around. It's his biggest failing as president, and Romney intends to run a laser-focused campaign on that one issue, where he has some credibility as a former business person.

ANDERSON: There's better news for Mr. Obama, of course, on the topic of jobs. Voters say he is the better choice to put people back to work, and the latest numbers, at least, the unemployment rate edging down, in his favor, of course.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. This is a little odd. How can he not be as good on the economy but a little better on jobs? That's because when you ask people about jobs, that -- talks about his ability to connect with ordinary Americans, how much he cares about ordinary people.

That's where Romney has a problem. He's a business person. He may know how to manage the economy, but is he really in touch with the way ordinary American workers feel and what they think and what they're facing? There, Obama has a better ability to connect with voters than Romney does.

ANDERSON: On the last poll here, just for our viewers who are watching internationally, I think this is an important point. A decisive lead for the president, the incumbent, when it comes to handling of international affairs. Bill, on that topic, he leads Romney by a substantial 17 points.

Now, that will matter to many of us who are watching this from afar. How much does that matter to those who have a vote?

SCHNEIDER: It matters some because it -- demolishes a stereotype of Democrats that they're weak, that they're not good at international affairs. It takes away a card that Romney might have tried to play, although he has no experience whatever, really, in international affairs.

But in the end, Obama does have that card. Osama bin Laden is dead. Moammar Gadhafi is dead. Anwar al-Awlaki is dead. That's a pretty good record for Obama to run on.

ANDERSON: Bill Schneider, always a pleasure, regular guest on this show and will be as we truck towards November 2012. Bill, thank you. A new lead, there, in the presidential race. With Santorum pulling out, it looks as if it is a two-horse race at this point.

Cooking up a storm in a food-lover's paradise. We're going to take a closer look at the ingredients for success that have made one lady -- this lady -- Anne-Sophie Pic a household name in France's culinary industry. That is coming up. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: I want to take you on a culinary journey to France, now, to meet an extraordinary woman at the very peak of her profession. She's Anne-Sophie Pic, who was last year voted the best female chef in the world.

Today, as part of our Leading Women series, she invites us into her Michelin-starred kitchen to talk about the recipe behind her phenomenal success. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Lunch service at one of France's most renowned restaurants. Every participant plays a carefully-orchestrated role. You might need a second glance and close ear to spot the grande dame behind it all.

(WOMAN SPEAKING FRENCH)

ANDERSON: She's everywhere, from start to finish, bringing edible masterpieces to life.

ANNE-SOPHIE PIC, GRANDE CHEF DE CUISINE, MAISON PIC: Always I'm thinking about the combination of flavors. It can be an obsession.

ANDERSON: She's party chef, architect, and scientist.

PIC: It's interesting, also, in the kitchen is not to use only acidity, but bitterness is very interesting, too.

ANDERSON: In an industry dominated by men, this Chef de Cuisine stands out from the pack as the first female chef in more than 50 years awarded the coveted maximum three star Michelin, and only the fourth woman ever to win the top award. She remembers vividly the moment she found out.

PIC: When you have the call, a lot of emotion. I was with my husband, and it's like -- in five minutes, you remember the 20 years. It's incredible.

ANDERSON: This tour de force in the world of gastronomy is Anne- Sophie Pic.

Paris. Beloved tourist destination and food-lover's playground. But some 480 kilometers away from the southeastern corner of the country, the small town Valence is home to a culinary gem of its own, the world-renowned Maison Pic. It's here we find fourth-generation chef Anne-Sophie Pic at the restaurant that's been in her family since 1889.

Since she took over 10 years ago, Madame Pic has led this dynasty to a whole new level. She and her husband David carefully selected every piece in the exquisite dining room, from the Baccarat Crystal to the fine Belgian linens. The main focus, of course, is the food.

PIC: And what is very important, too, is to think about the way people are going to taste the dish.

ANDERSON: She's considered an unlikely top chef. First, as a woman in a testosterone-dominated industry and, second, for her soft-spoken, almost shy demeanor.

ANDERSON (on camera): Anne-Sophie, do you believe there is a glass ceiling for women?

PIC: I was thinking like that at the beginning, the very beginning. I was thinking that to be a woman was an inconvenient, major inconvenience because this job, you need to be very strong, mentally, physically. The profession was not ready to accept a woman at this level of cuisine.

But little by little, finally, I acknowledged that it was something very strong, because it's another way of thinking cuisine a little bit different, and as a way of managing people, also.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Pic is a chef who prizes emotion in her food over technique.

PIC: I think all my emotions are feminine, so I give this feminine way in my cuisine, of course.

ANDERSON: So, it's no surprise that her food is considered feminine in its taste and presentation. She's also known for her vegetable and fish preparations. Here, she plates a pinwheel of asparagus spears, accented with anchovies and caviar.

ANDERSON (on camera): How has your cuisine evolved over the years?

PIC: I think it has evolved very close to my own evolution. I was married, but I was with child, so I became a mother. Also, my character and never satisfied with my work, so of course, it helps me to change my dishes, to improve my dishes.

ANDERSON (voice-over): That drive to perfect her menu and shore up her brand means Pic's reach goes well beyond the family restaurant. Her empire includes a five-star boutique hotel, a delicatessen serving the family champagne and wine labels, and Scook, her own cooking school, which she closes at least a morning a week to experiment in her kitchen.

Today, Anne-Sophie Pic sits at the top of the culinary world, but it was actually a painful experience that propelled her to the industry. We'll learn more about Pic in the coming weeks, how her bond with family pushed her to achieve what she and many others never expected.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: A truly remarkable and inspiring woman. For more about our Leading Women series, do check out the website, cnn.com/leadingwomen.

Next week, we're going to have more on Anne-Sophie Pic and Google executive Marissa Mayer, who we introduced you to last week. That's Leading Women, a special series helping us CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, the Russian rock stars taking on the world. Our Big Interview with one of Russia's most charismatic front men. That, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: When rock and roll first hit the airwaves in the West in the 1950s, it was labeled by some as the devil's music. Well, 30 years later in Russia, rock music was still considered subversive. One band was even denounced by the Soviet Communist Party as socially dangerous.

Well, that group was Mumiy Troll, today recognized as one of Russia's most enduring rock outfits. And now, the band is looking to emerge onto the global stage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is the former Russian sailor who became one of his country's biggest rock stars. Ilya Lagutenko is the charismatic front man of Mumiy Troll, an acclaimed Russian band that's created anthems for a generation that emerged from behind the iron curtain.

Now, Lagutenko's distinctive voice is switching languages. Fantastika is among the hits Mumiy Troll has recorded for their first English-speaking album, Vladivosktok.

FOSTER (on camera): Tell us about Fantastika. You were filming inside an active volcano, right?

ILYA LAGUTENKO, SINGER, MUMIY TROLL: Yes, absolutely. And we played for an hour or so, because then the wind actually changes and all the acid smoke, because it's really poisonous.

FOSTER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

LAGUTENKO: Kind of gets to our side. We have to really -- we had to be really careful. And we had a good guide, a kind of expert on volcanology with us who just said, "Time to leave, guys."

FOSTER: In terms of the English-speaking album, why did you take so long to record one, and what do you think English speakers get from it that's different from -- ?

LAGUTENKO: I didn't really have any illusions about the possibility of conquering the world by Russian band from Vladivosktok, which hadn't had any major deals throughout our career. So, I guess whatever is happening is happening organically.

And we tried, actually, to introduce ourselves with a compilation of our songs in Russian outside Russia, but still, I guess in general, people -- English-speaking people are lazy to learn other languages, so --

FOSTER: We have been accused of that. We have been accused of that.

LAGUTENKO: -- they're lazy enough to do that, so I'm hard-working -- I'm hard-working enough to --

FOSTER (voice-over): Conversely, the 43-year-old has also helped bring Western hits to a Russian-speaking audience, including the title track from "Kung Fu Panda."

(SINGING IN RUSSIAN)

FOSTER (on camera): Not only a rock star, but you've been in the Soviet navy as well, haven't you?

LAGUTENKO: Yes, I did my military service, yes. Because in my times, it was obligatory. Being grown up in Soviet Union days, the last thing you can dream about, making a career -- independent career in music.

We actually played some funny places, like Greenland or China, not exactly rock and roll places. We get an understanding that our music and our songs actually can be translated to other territories. So, we mostly like to talk to other people in the same language. And initially, we realized that the best language to talk to everyone is rock and roll.

When you really come to see a great rock and roll concert, you don't really care about what they're actually saying at this particular moment. You kind of more feel the energy.

(CROWD CHEERS)

(SINGING IN RUSSIAN)

FOSTER: I just want to ask you, since you've -- obviously, you're very familiar with Western culture. You have been for years. You studied rock and roll, of course. But in terms of moving into the culture singing English, what have you learned about misconceptions that the English- speaking world has about Russia?

LAGUTENKO: I guess all those misconceptions goes back in the years, all those Cold War era, whatever you call it. I remember we played with -- open radio show in San Francisco, the one where -- the passers-by can come in and give you comments.

And this couple in their 60s and 70s, American couple, came to us and said, "Oh, we like your music. I read it from Russia. Until this day, we still actually live under impressions that Russia prepared a nuclear attack for us. We even, actually, started to build a bunker in our yard back in the 60s."

And they said, "Believe us, until we really heard the song, which we really liked, we never thought Russians were nice people." So, in this case, it's one of those little examples which I would call even musical diplomacy, if you like.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: In tonight's Parting Shots for you, we're going to take you live to New York where in the next few minutes, the Azamara Journey cruise liner will set sail on a commemorative voyage to the site of the Titanic wreck.

It was supposed to join up with this ship, the MS Balmoral, which left South Hampton on Sunday. However, the Balmoral has been forced to turn around this evening after a passenger took ill. The two vessels were due to meet for a memorial service this weekend to mark the day the Titanic sank 100 years ago.

Well, today in South Hampton, hundreds of children marched through the town to remember the more than 500 local crew members who lost their lives in the tragedy. A minute of silence was held for all those who died in what was and remains to be one of the world's most famous shipwrecks.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. World news headlines up after this short break. Stay with us.

END