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Al Qaeda "More or Less Out of Business"; Syria Expels Western Diplomats; Wisconsin's Recall Election; Romney Pitches to Latino Voters

Aired June 5, 2012 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, the United States kills Al Qaeda's number two leader in one of the biggest strikes against the terror network since the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Plus, is this attack the latest symbol of the so-called Obama Doctrine?

I'll ask "New York Times" reporter, David Sanger. He's the author of a brand new book on the president's secret wars against America's enemies around the world.

And a rousing finale to Britain's historic celebration of Queen Elizabeth's more than 60 years on the throne. Just ahead, the amazing sights and sounds of her four day Diamond Jubilee extravaganza.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


It's potentially the biggest blow to Al Qaeda since the death of Osama bin Laden. In London, our own national security analyst, Peter Bergen, now says -- puts it, quote, "more out of -- more or less out of business," a direct quote from Peter Bergen.

The United States confirming that it has killed the terror network's number two leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi in a drone attack along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Santorum and Romney, is over sat the Pentagon.

She's got the latest on the mission -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you know, we all used to talk about the notion of capturing or killing terrorists. Today, another incident straight for the kill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STARR (voice-over): Abu Yahya al-Libi was one of the most important Al Qaeda leaders, often appearing in videos, but not a front line fighter himself.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: This is an individual who can recruit for Al Qaeda by calling its jihad a holy war and obligation for its followers to join in. And because he has this religious knowledge, he's been able to justify Al Qaeda's campaign of global terrorism.

STARR: Al-Libi was killed in Pakistan by a CIA drone strike in the border region, one of seven strikes in the remote border region, one of at least seven strikes in just the last two weeks. Overall, the number of drone strikes has dropped -- 22 strikes so far this year, compared to 32 for the same time period last year.

Still, al-Libi was someone the U.S. wanted to get.

CRUICKSHANK: And he's also got this Hollywood story, because in 2005, he escaped from Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. He cut through some wire to get out of the compound there.

STARR: U.S. officials say his killing is a crucial blow to Al Qaeda.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think he was very much an operational leader, general manager of Al Qaeda, with a range of experience that is hard to replicate.

CAPT. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: I think this is a very dangerous individual. And for him to no longer be walking the earth would be a good thing for everybody. I think the leadership development program of Al Qaeda has -- has some health risks and hazards that we think are good.


STARR: But Al Qaeda has been able to reconstitute in the past and get new leadership.

The question now, with al-Libi's death, will it be able to recruit, train, finance, equip and stage critical attack operations?

In recent months, Al Qaeda hasn't had much success at that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What about the number one Al Qaeda leader, Ayman al- Zawahiri?

What's the latest in the search for him?

I assume they're trying to kill him, as well.

STARR: Yes. You know, I don't think anybody is talking about capturing him at the moment. He is believed to be hiding in that same tribal border region, on the Pakistan side. That means he would be in the crosshairs of the CIA because it is only CIA drones -- they are the only U.S. aircraft, armed aircraft, that fly in that region of Pakistan -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thank you .

The latest attack, yet another major victory for President Obama in what's been called the secret war against enemies of the United States.

It's all the subject of a brand new book by the "New York Times" reporter, David Sanger.

I'll speak with him in just a few moments.

But first, let's get some background from Brian Todd.

He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as you mentioned it earlier, now being called the Obama Doctrine. The drone strike today on al Qaeda's number two man the latest in a series of focused strikes on terrorists and other targets -- strikes that have changed perceptions of how this president engages in conflict.


TODD: (voice-over): An ambitious targeted hit -- the very symbol of how President Obama has shocked critics and supporters alike with his style of combat leadership.

VALI NASR, SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Everybody thought that he's just withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and that this is sort of an anti-war president that wants no military engagement in the region.

TODD: Vali Nasr served under President Obama at the State Department. His comments mirror the tack of a new book from "New York Times" correspondent, David Sanger, who writes about "the president's surprising willingness to order unilateral focused strikes against America's enemies."

As Sanger points out, few observers, if any, expected Barack Obama to move from a leader who, early on, won the Nobel Peace Prize and spoke of ending hostilities...

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan.

TODD: -- to becoming a president who ordered the bin Laden raid, escalated drone strikes, and, as Sanger writes, stepped up cyber attacks against Iran's nuclear program.

(on camera): Why does he approach conflicts this way?

Why -- what does it say about his view of America's role in the world? NASR: Well, I -- I think the president still understands that one of his primary duties is protection of the homeland. And I think he understands that there are still threats out there from either states like Iran or North Korea, as well as still threats from Al Qaeda. And I think this point came home to him with the Christmas bomber, with the Times Square failed attempt at bombing.

TODD: (voice-over): Sanger also writes of a president surprisingly hands-on during the cyber-ops against Iran, often meeting in the Situation Room to assess damage. Perhaps not since Lyndon Johnson had sat in the same room more than four decades before picking bombing targets in North Vietnam had a president of the United States been so intimately involved in the step by step escalation of an attack on a foreign nation's infrastructure. None of it has prevented his opponents from saying Mr. Obama still hasn't been forceful enough.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I'm not your president. You have that president today.


TODD: Now, Vali Nasr himself warns of the down side of this kind of tactical leadership from President Obama. Nasr says targeted killings, cyber attacks, work in the short run, but long-term, they will not address America's interests. You can't build relations or shape politics in the Middle East through drone strikes, he says. And you can actually build anti-Americanism, which we've, of course, seen in Pakistan -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The president's critics keep on complaining about what they describe as "these authorized leaks."..

TODD: Right.

BLITZER: -- of classified information.

What are you picking up on that?

TODD: Well, of course, because, you know, this -- a lot of the -- these accounts make the president look very decisive and strong and aggressive against terrorists, make him look good in an election year. Critics say they also, some of these leaks, if they're occurring, compromise national security. The White House has vehemently denied that it authorized any leaks of this kind. Jay Carney even addressed that yesterday. Both authors have all -- also said they did not get their information that way.

BLITZER: Yes. Dan Klaidman, who wrote a book...

TODD: Yes, right.

BLITZER: -- we had him here in THE SITUATION ROOM yesterday, and David Sanger, who's got a brand new book out, as well.

TODD: Right. BLITZER: Thanks very much, Brian, for that.

And David Sanger is joining us now.

He's the chief Washington correspondent for the "New York Times."

His new book is called "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use o.

David, thanks very much for coming in.

You've really written an amazing book and I've learned a great deal just -- just going through it as quickly as I possibly can.

But walk us through, based on all of your reporting, how the president personally would authorize the killing of the number two Al Qaeda leader, al-Libi.

Walk us through how that would work.

DAVID SANGER, "NEW YORK TIMES": We'll, Wolf, thanks.

It's great to be back with you.

The president has gotten himself very deeply involved in all aspects of -- of what the White House calls "the light footprint strategy." And that is define the strategy that can deal with America's adversaries without sending 100,000 troops in, without spending a trillion dollars, without occupying a country and building up the -- the resentments that are involved in that.

And you heard Vali Nasr say that there are limits to this strategy. And there are.

To your question here, the president reviews a good number of these kill lists. Now, not necessarily for Pakistan, but certainly for Yemen. My guess is that in the al-Libi case -- and this is purely my guesswork. But in the al-Libi case, that wasn't a hard decision.

The hard decisions that the president is trying to narrow these down to come when there are people who might not be a direct threat to the United States who are on some of these lists. And there you sort of get the paradox of the lawyerly Barack Obama trying to figure out if this fits into either some legal or moral code and the commander- in-chief Barack Obama.

BLITZER: What...

SANGER: And we saw the same thing in the cyber cases, where he was actually very deeply involved in looking at the Iranian centrifuges.

BLITZER: Yes, the cyber warfare. I want to get to that in a moment.

But walk us through the decision-making process, when to just kill someone with a drone strike using these HELLFIRE missiles or whatever, as opposed to going after someone, trying to capture them, interrogate them or -- or simply kill them in person, along the lines of bin Laden. These are difficult decisions, as well.

SANGER: They are difficult decisions. But what has been made -- it's been made easier in the Pakistan case by virtue of the fact that the Pakistanis would react so strongly to American forces going inside Pakistan. And the territory is so rugged -- and you've run footage of this and -- and we've flown over and been in some of this area -- that it's not a place where you are likely to be terribly successful putting in even Special Forces.

So the drone has become a very easy and convenient way to go do this. It's also been an enormous irritant with the Pakistanis. I mean think of this, Wolf. We always say, as a nation, that we don't want Pakistan to be a military run country, but rather an elected democracy. And it has an elected democratic parliament now. And about a month-and-a-half ago, it voted to ban all foreign drone strikes in the country.

And there have been a lot of drone strikes since, including this very big one, and apparently very successful one, yesterday.

BLITZER: Some civil libertarians and others used to complain about what were described as targeted assassinations, the moral factor, if you will.

Has that been an issue for this president?

SANGER: You know, I think it has been, but the -- the difficulty they have run into is twofold.

First is, as we said before, they don't see that they've got a real alternative as a way to go do this other than the drones. I mean the bin Laden raid was a rare exception, because they needed to be able to demonstrate that the person that they had killed or captured was -- was bin Laden.

But the second problem is that we're now 11-and-a-half years out from 9/11. And so the original justification for a military action that the U.S. was taking place -- was doing was in direct retaliation for the World Trade Center, for the Pentagon, for those attacks.

Well, very few of the people that they are getting right now, with the exception of al-Zawahiri, who we're -- obviously, the U.S. is looking for -- were involved in that attack. I mean that was 11 years ago now.

And so the question is, has it become so distended from the 9/11 attacks that you sort of need a new and different justification?

BLITZER: David, stand by.

I want to continue this conversation with you.

We'll take a quick break. Just ahead, I'll ask David about the secret cyber attack that the pre -- he says the president personally ordered on Iran's nuclear program.

Also, a dramatic end to four days of fanfare celebrating Queen Elizabeth II. You're going to see the pageantry, the extraordinary highlights. And you'll also hear from the queen herself.

And it's being billed as the biggest media event ever. Ahead, details on what could be the final frontier in reality TV.


BLITZER: We're back with David Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for "The New York Times" and the author of the brand-new book, "Confront and Conceal: America's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power."

Let's talk about cyber warfare. Amazing reporting that you've done on a U.S. cyber warfare attack on Iran's nuclear program, apparently, in collaboration, you say, with the Israelis. Just give us the headlines.

SANGER: Well, the headlines, Wolf, is that this program called Olympic Games is more than four years old. It began under President Bush. It was handed off to President Obama in a one-on-one meeting between President Bush and then President-elect Obama just a few days before the inauguration in January of 2009.

President Obama has expanded the cyber program just as he expanded the drone program every few weeks. The CIA director, Leon Panetta, and others would come down and meet him in the situation room and lay out what they call the horse blanket which was a diagram of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.

And the idea here was to design a computer worm that could get through basically an electronic moat that surrounds the Natanz plant, get into the computers, send signals to these centrifuges with spin at supersonic speeds and force them to destroy themselves. And it worked. It set back a program by the CIA's estimate by maybe 18 months to two years.

Others say that's overly optimistic. The Iranians did manage to rebuild, but it was the first known use, sustained use of a cyber weapon against another nation's infrastructure by the United States. It's a new world.

BLITZER: Are the U.S. and Israelis on the same page? The Obama administration, the Netanyahu government on the same page? Are they actively collaborating right now in the cyber warfare against Iran's nuclear program?

SANGER: Wolf, they collaborated from the beginning of this program. They both wrote the code. Some of it was done up at the national security agency between Baltimore and Washington. Some was done by a military intelligence unit in Israel called unit 8,200, and they swapped code back and forth as they were working on it.

Part of the effort here, Wolf, was to convince the Israelis and engage them in a process that the United States believed could have the same effects as bombing the facilities, but without actually having to do an overt bombing that many fear could lead to a war in the Middle East.

BLITZER: I don't know, David, if you're familiar with Sen. John McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this floor (ph) statement that he just made on you and your book. I'm going to read a little line from it. Are you familiar with what he just said?

SANGER: No. I know what he said back in Singapore, but I haven't heard what he said today.

BLITZER: He says this. I'll just read a couple of sentences. He says, "In the latest of the recently published articles published on June 1st, 2012, "The New York Times" documented enriched detail the president's secret decision to accelerate cyber attacks on Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities with the computer virus that came to be known as Stuxnet."

"The author of the article, David Sanger, clearly states that former and current American officials spoke to him, but refused to do so on the record because the program is both highly classified and parts of it are ongoing. This is the first time that the U.S. government's involvement in this classified operation has ever been revealed. An operation that was clearly one of the most tightly held national security secrets in our country until now."

It then goes on to say as part of this investigation, he wants a special council to scrutinize the book from which the "New York Times" cyber attacks article was adopted, which was just released for improper or illegal disclosure. It's a very strong statement from Senator McCain, wanting a special council, a full-scale investigation. I wonder if you want to react off of the top of your head to that.

SANGER: Well, the only thing that I've said about this, Wolf, is that this took about 18 months and it's not -- you don't put a story together like this with people from the administration calling you up and saying, you know, we want to go, tell you about this program. It took a long time, but the main disclosure here came from Stuxnet, itself, which escaped from the Natanz enrichment facility because of a mistake that was made.

And once that mistake was made that revealed Stuxnet to the world and it was at that moment that people recognized that some state was going out and attacking the Natanz plant. So, the Iranians understood that, I think, about two years ago. What I did was fill in the details.

BLITZER: And you also report on who is responsible for that mistake in the book. Tell us your conclusion.

SANGER: The -- there was some dispute about whether or not in the course of the working on this virus who made the error. The initial American assessment was that the Israelis had ramped up the worm too much. Then later on, people came to the conclusion that maybe the U.S. also had been involved in making the error.

That was an error that is very common, and anybody has turned out, you know, a piece of software, and suddenly, discovers that that software has a small flaw in it. In this case, it aloud an Iranian engineer unwittingly to hook up to the Natanz plant, and it looks like the worm left aboard his laptop.

When he got home later on and hooked up to the internet, the worm, itself, just propagated out into the whole internet, and that was a mistake that really revealed the program.

BANFIELD: It's a whole new world, the cyber warfare, that's going on right now. David, thanks very much. Let me put the book jacket up on the screen one more time. "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising use of American Power." David Sanger is the author.

SANGER: Thank you.

BLITZER: Let's go to Jack Cafferty right now. He's got the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Fascinating stuff. Reality TV is set to conquer the final frontier or at least they're going to try. A Dutch company says it's planning a new reality show about a group of humans colonizing Mars in the year 2023. True story. The missions back by a co-creator of the show, "Big Brother," as well as the Nobel winning physicist.

The company's billing, it is the biggest media event ever. I supposed it would be. They say viewers will follow the selection and training of the colonist, and ultimately, their settlement on Mars. Wonder if Newt will be there. It's the next logical step, I suppose, and the phenomenon that is reality TV.

After all, they've already done about everything else, haven't they? Just this week, the Sundance Channel launched a new show called "Push Girls," following the stories of five women in wheelchairs and shows what life is like following paralysis. Reality TV took off first in the 1990s with the "Real World" on MTV.

Actually, I think "Cops" on Fox might have been first. But the producers of the "real world" got a group of total strangers to live together in a house, and they just turn the cameras on and let them roll. Well, soon, the whole industry was born.

And now, there are competition shows like "The Survivor" and "The Apprentice" and "The Amazing Race" and talent shows, "American Idol, "Dancing with the Stars," "America's Got Talent," dating shows, "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." There are shows about pregnant teenagers, about families with eight kids, families with 19 kids. "The Real Housewives," "The Jersey Shore," (INAUDIBLE). Programs about over the top sweet 16 parties and pseudo- celebrities like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians. From survivor to women in wheelchairs to what next? Reality shows are cheap to produce and viewers like them. They are television's answer to a prayer.

Here's the question, what's the outer limit of reality TV? Go to and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Jack, thanks very, very much.

In case you needed anymore evidence why you should always wear your seatbelt, check out this accident caught on tape. We have details of exactly what happened. That's coming up.


BLITZER: Syria is making a dramatic diplomatic statement today. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. What's the latest, Lisa?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Wolf. Syria today expelled diplomats from 11 countries just days after those nations expelled Syrian officials. Tensions are escalating after recent massacre and the government's continued violent crackdown. Syria's president denies responsibility for the massacre, but residents are taking the sky (ph) to flee for help saying the regime has cut off food and medicine.

And we're learning, seven Americans died in that fiery plane crash in Nigeria. At least 153 people onboard were killed Sunday along with at least ten people on the ground. The plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders have been recovered.

And here's a reminder to wear your seat belt. This Indiana school bus driver is wearing his as his bus makes a bumpy turn, and he's bounced clear out off his seat. You see him there. He tries to control the bus from the floor, but he can't. It fouls through offense (ph) that eventually slams into a garage. Fortunately, no children were onboard. The driver, though, he had to be cut out of the bus. He has now since resigned -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Fortunately, no kids were in that bus because they're probably not wearing seatbelts either in that bus. It could have been a disaster.

SYLVESTER: Look at those pictures. What a disaster.

BLITZER: Professional driver fasten (ph) their seatbelt.

SYLVESTER: It is a reminder, yes, wear your seatbelt.

BLITZER: Yes. Thanks, Lisa.

A huge race that could be another tell tale sign of who wins the White House. The first exit poll out of Wisconsin expected only minutes from now.


BLITZER: Mitt Romney's in Texas in the state that put him over the top in the delegate count. He's making a not so subtle pitch to a group of voters where he could really use some help, Latinos. Here's CNN's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mitt Romney talking about jobs in Fort Worth, a big city with a big Hispanic population in Republican stronghold Texas.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This Obama economy has been hard particularly on Hispanic businesses and Hispanic-Americans. I can tell you that if I'm the next president of the United States I'll be the president for all Americans and make sure this economy is good for all Americans, Hispanic and otherwise.

JOHNS: The campaign is pushing its economic message hard in the Hispanic community, both in appearances and in Web videos.


JOHNS: But Romney's position with Latino voters is a little troubling to some Republican strategists like Ana Navarro.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He's not in a good position with (INAUDIBLE) right now, but I think he's got a lot of room to grow.

JOHNS: So how bad is it? A recent Gallup tracking poll showed President Obama with a 41-point lead among Latinos, even though the Obama administration has failed to pass a comprehensive immigration law as promised and has deported record numbers of Hispanics. A lot of people think some of Romney's problem is because of his party's message on immigration. Cuban-American senator and Romney supporter Marco Rubio who still gets talked about as a Romney running mate has some ideas.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We have to make reforms that modernize the legal immigration system and my suggestion is the Republican Party lead on that, talk clearly about the things we stand for, the changes we would make to the immigration program.

JOHNS: But instead of something like that, the Romney campaign got off on the wrong foot with Latino voters. Courting conservatives they took some tough positions throwing support behind Arizona's law that gave police the reasonable suspicions power to determine if people are in the state illegally.

ROMNEY: I think you see a model here in Arizona.

JOHNS: Romney also suggested he's for self-deportation of illegal immigrants which was ridiculed by his opponent as unrealistic. Recently Romney has even taken heat for not talking about immigration. Still Republican strategist Navarro says all he really needs is to win the most Latino votes in a few critical states and she says the economy is still the number one issue.

NAVARRO: What we've got to focus on are the key battleground states where the Hispanic vote can make or break the difference there, and we're talking about states like Florida, states like Arizona. Those are the states where Romney has got to micro target so he doesn't have to win a majority of the national Hispanic vote.


JOHNS: And speaking of Florida, Mitt Romney's wife Ann was out campaigning in Miami today with a prominent Cuban American and the state legislature. The Romney campaign for its part says immigration is not the only thing Hispanics will based their vote on this fall. They say they expect many in the Hispanic community to be influenced by which candidate they believe is most likely to turn the economy around -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Joe -- Joe Johns reporting.

JOHNS: Thanks.

BLITZER: This just coming in, let's turn now to a huge state race, which could be potentially a tell tale sign of who will wind up winning the White House. The first exit polls are now out in Wisconsin. They're just coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM. Our chief national correspondent John King is over at the magic wall. What are we learning John?

JOHN KING, HOST, "JOHN KING USA": Wolf, some fascinating data for our exit polls. Let me give you this headline. Brew the coffee, my friend. It looks like we might be in for a late night, a very close race based on the exit polls so far as we look at the results in Wisconsin. Obviously the polls don't close until 9:00, so we can't share that information about who is leading in the ways of exit polls, but we can say this shapes up as a very close race.

Let's look at a couple of big things in this election. Let me start before I show you the numbers, Wolf. Remember, more than 60 million, maybe as much as $80 million spent on this recall election, right, a lot of people complaining about all the outside money, the huge donations. Look at this in the exit poll. When did you decide to vote? Only three percent of the voters in the Wisconsin recall said they decided today, only four percent in the last few days, only five in the month of May.

Eighty-eight percent, nearly 90 percent of the voters -- look at that number -- decided before that. So all of that money spent in the last couple of weeks, yes months ago, some of it was being spent, but all that money spent in the last two weeks, apparently not swaying too many minds. Nearly nine in 10 voters say they made up their mind a long time ago. Now this is a very polarizing environment in Wisconsin reflective of the nation. Look at this. People are not happy about the state of politics. Fifty percent of the voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, just 47 percent favorable. So you might think this benefits the Democratic challenger, right, if this 50 percent half the electorate doesn't like the Republican Party, well guess what, the exact same numbers. Half of the people don't like the Democratic Party either Wolf. You have a very polarized and a very unhappy with the partisan tone of politics electorate today, identical numbers for the Democratic and the Republican Party views.

So it's a turnout election. We've heard that from everybody, highly contested, who can turn out their vote. Here's one thing Republicans will be happy about. Sixty-five and older, the senior vote tends to be a more Republican vote. This is up higher, 23 percent. That's higher than 2010, when Scott Walker, the current governor, beat the same challenger, the Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (ph), so Republicans would be happy with that. More older votes in the electorate, you think that helps Governor Walker in this recall bid.

However, you come over here, here's another key constituency. Are you a member of a union household? Thirty-two percent, so one- third of the electorate saying yes, Wolf. This is also upon a little bit from 2010, so if you look at the early exit data, it tells us both parties seem to be doing a good job of reaching out to their targeted voters and bringing them into the electorate. We're looking at the early exit poll data.

There is a lot of fascinating stuff to go through as we go through the night. But the one thing I will say is it is a very, very close race. It will come down to turnout. The people are disgusted with politics in the state of Wisconsin. And again I'll end where I began. Brew the coffee.

BLITZER: Yes, John is going to be with us throughout the night obviously including at the top of the hour on "JOHN KING, USA". I'll be joining Piers Morgan ed at 9:0 p.m. Eastern later tonight. That's when the polls in Wisconsin close, 8:00 p.m. Central, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll see if we'll be able to make a projection then or -- or whether it's going to be a long, long night in Wisconsin.

It's been a celebration full of pomp and pageantry. Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebration, that's next.


BLITZER: We put together some of the highlights of what's been an extraordinary four days and now Queen Elizabeth says it's, quote, "a humbling experience at the same time". She spoke today at her Diamond Jubilee. Watch all of this.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There seem to be union flags are on every street corner in London and street marches have been organized up and down the country and across the commonwealth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's this in celebration of?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The forecast is for a lot more rain. Are you guys going to be OK tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. As long as I have like my hood up, I should be OK.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The queen arrives sparkling in white for her Diamond Jubilee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is she so special to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she's been here for 60 years. She's done her duty. She's been there for us, so we feel we've got to be here for her.



BLITZER: (INAUDIBLE) getting ready to light the National Beacon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our opportunity to thank you and my father for always being there for us, for inspiring (INAUDIBLE) selfless duty and service and for making us proud to be British. Hip, hip!







UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The events that I've attended to mark my Diamond Jubilee have been a humbling experience which has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbors and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere. I hope that memories of all this year's happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come. Thank you all.


BLITZER: Amazing four days celebrating Queen Elizabeth the II.

Space watchers are gearing up for a once in a lifetime event. Here's a live picture from the Smithsonian where people are gathering. You're going to find out what the excitement is all about.


BLITZER: We're minutes away from witnessing something in space that no one alive today likely will ever see again. Almost certainly not. Chad Myers is joining us. Explain to our viewers what's going on, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: The planet Venus, Wolf, is going to fly in front of our sun. We'll be able to see this with special goggles and maybe binoculars or something with special filters on them. You cannot just go out there and look at the sun. Just like every other day you never want to go and look at the sun. Because anyway this thing is going to be so small you might not see it with the naked eye anyway.

That's the dot we are going to see. That's when Venus came in front of the sun back in 2004. You said it must happen all the time. No, the next time doesn't happen, Wolf until 2117. The planet will be in front of the sun for about seven hours and obviously we won't last seven hours on the East Coast because the sun is going to set after 8:00 or so. So a couple of hours of viewing time.

Have some pictures now from the Mall (ph) Smithsonian. People are gathering there. There are a lot of watch parties around. I know there's one Stone Mountain here in Georgia and other places where people may get a glimpse of into a nice telescope with a special filter (INAUDIBLE). The problem with D.C. right now is it's completely cloudy. Obviously clouds could break. They could come and go. You only need just a couple of minutes to view it and don't do what that guy is doing. Don't look up to see the sun -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A hundred and five years from now is the next time, so maybe somebody alive now will be around in 105 years to see it down the road.


BLITZER: I stand corrected. Chad, thanks.

MYERS: It's possible.

BLITZER: Yes, it's very possible. Thanks very much.

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

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: I'll bet there's an astronomer someplace that will take a picture of this and then we can all just look at the picture.

BLITZER: That's what I'm going to do.

CAFFERTY: Me, too. The question this hour is, what is the outer limit of reality TV?

Dan writes "the outer limit will have contests where people actually die. We pay boxers tens of millions of dollars to fight in a ring in front of a crowd. I bet for a couple of hundred thousand dollars I could find a pool of people willing to kill and die. Chuck Berris (ph), the creator of "The Gong Show" (ph) once said the said the ultimate game show will be one where the losing contestant was killed."

David writes "I respect the question. As I'm not a huge fan of reality TV in general, but it's intriguing that it's only being asked now when television is finally and gracefully bringing wheelchair users to the forefront of a program for the first time. 'Push Girls' -- that's the name of this new reality show -- is a big step in the right direction for people with disabilities. The largest minority group on the planet, and the only minority group that anyone can become a member of at any time."

Peter in Tarrytown, New York, "the next reality show should be a nudist colony on a dry piece of land surrounded by a swamp, infested with poison ivy, mosquitoes, black widow spiders and no first aid kits."

Curtis in Philadelphia, "Jack, if reality TV is the answer to the television industry's prayer then we as a society don't have one, a prayer, that is."

Bob in Ohio, "over 50 years ago, Newton Minow called TV a vast waste land. He was and still is correct."

Ken in Connecticut writes "the only limit is a show the producers don't think will produce good ratings. I'm not a reality show watcher, but a group of humans colonizing Mars in 2023 I just might watch that one."

Phillip writes "Survivor in the state penitentiary."

And L. writes "anything that introduced us to the Kardashians and made them celebrities, well it probably doesn't have any limits or tastes." If you want to read more about this, you go to the blog, or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. This is a reality show here we got, isn't it?

BLITZER: Very reality-oriented. Thank you.

CAFFERTY: Absolutely.

BLITZER: It's not a bird or a plane or superman. It's a cat who ran out of lives that now flies. Stand by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: This just coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM, the space shuttle Enterprise was damaged on its trip on the Hudson River this weekend. Enterprise was moved on a barge to its new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Now officials say part of the wing was damaged on the way when the shuttle hit the bridge. They say a sudden burst of wind pushed the spaceship into the wooden bumpers and that the damage is only cosmetic. Enterprise never flew into space. It was the first shuttle built and used for landing tests.

All right here's a look at this hour's "Hotshots". In California a group enjoys a hike in the Hollywood Hills. In South Korea children sit by graves at the National Cemetery in Seoul, before the country's Memorial Day. In France, a Siberian tiger yawns in its enclosure at the zoo, and in Nepal a young monk contrasts ancient tradition with modern technology by taking photos and videos of a festival on his iPad. "Hotshots" pictures coming in from around the world.

People say cats have nine lives. When those lives run out, you expect most owners to say their good-byes. Not the man you're about to meet. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Liftoff. For the cat copter, a remote controlled helicopter made out of a dead cat. No wonder jaws drop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they should let the cat rest in peace. That's crazy.

MOOS: But the cat's owner, Dutch artist Bart Jansen considers this a tribute.

BART JANSEN, ARTIST: I really loved this cat and for me this is a way to actually make him eternal.

MOOS: His name was Orville. He and his brother Wilbur were named after the Wight brothers so when Orville got hit by a car last year, Jansen turned him into art to be exhibited in a Dutch museum.

JANSEN: Since he was already named after a famous aviator, well, it became clear that he just needed to fly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's probably like about the scariest things I've probably ever seen in my life.

MOOS: Jansen had Orville taxidermied (ph) and put on an ultra lightweight casing. Half cat, half machine Jansen calls it, the Orville copter.


MOOS: Where gyroscopes and the receiver are, there's a propeller attached to each paw. What was striking during our Skype interview when Jansen held the Orville copter up to the camera.

(on camera): Those eyes.

JANSEN: Those eyes are glass, by the way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sends the wrong message to children, too. It almost looks like it's being -- an animal is being tortured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's his own damn business. The animal is dead.

MOOS (voice-over): His brother Wilbur doesn't seem to know what to make of this reincarnation of Orville. Jansen says cats dream of chasing birds, just look at Tom in the "Tom & Jerry" cartoons.


MOOS: Jansen says Orville used to lie on the doormat watching pigeons. Now he's finally flying with the birds, the greatest goal a cat could ever reach. But to PETA "it's a macabre way to honor a beloved family member."

(on camera): Orville is now a cat copter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an artist so it's fine by me.

MOOS (voice-over): But many of the comments online are beyond catty. "That man is not an artist, he is a sadist." "Dear artist I hope if you get run over they make you into a man-o-copter."

JANSEN: Yes, well that -- wouldn't that be cool.

MOOS (on camera): The artist is willing to part with his flying pet.

JANSEN: I do think someone would want this. It is for sale.

MOOS (voice-over): A Dutch TV show was shooting the cat-copter in a field --


MOOS: -- when its pilot sent it swooping toward some cows, moo versus meow and meow won.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the cat probably would approve.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --


MOOS: New York.


BLITZER: (INAUDIBLE) Jeanne. I'll be back 9:00 p.m. Eastern with Piers Morgan. That's when the polls close in Wisconsin. We'll get the first official results. Thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.