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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview with Bill Clinton; U.N. Observers Under Attack; Interview with Romney Campaign Senior Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom
Aired June 7, 2012 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, my candid one-on-one interview with the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. Just ahead, what he says he's sorry for, why he doesn't think he has to be hostile to Mitt Romney and what traits he says his daughter Chelsea got from him. The full interview coming up.
Then, Bill Clinton also tells me Mitt Romney's policies would be very bad for this country's policies. The Romney campaign gets its chance to respond to that and much more. That's coming up this hour, as well.
And new U.N. fears Syria could be on the brink of a full-blown civil war, just one day after reports of yet another deadly massacre.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Chicago.
And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Up first this hour, my in-depth interview with the former president, Bill Clinton, and a side of this political mastermind we rarely get to see.
Just a short while ago, I sat down here in Chicago with the former president at the Clinton Global Initiative.
And he began by apologizing repeatedly for comments he'd made about the so-called Bush tax cuts continuing, even temporarily, for the wealthiest Americans -- comments that seemingly contradicted President Obama.
BLITZER: Mr. President, thanks very much for allowing us to come here to your CGI once again...
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks.
BLITZER: -- the Clinton Global Initiative. And we're going to talk about that. I know you've got some major initiatives. You want to help four million Americans as a result of what you're going to do today and tomorrow. We'll talk specifically about what you have in mind.
But let's get to some of the issues right now -- the economy, jobs, that's what you're talking about here at the CGI.
You've caused a stir, as you know, by appearing to suggest that you would be open to temporarily extending the Bush tax cuts, even for the wealthiest Americans in that CNBC interview. You backed off of it a little bit later.
But where do you stand right now, if necessary...
BLITZER: -- to keep the economy robust?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I don't think that's necessary to keep the economy robust. And what I was saying yesterday, which is apparently not accurate, is that if this fiscal cliff comes to the president and the Congress and the country before the election, he can't afford to give up his position -- and he shouldn't -- that we're going to have to have some new revenues to deal with this debt long- term and that we ought to begin by asking those of us in high income groups to pay taxes. I support that position. I always have.
And -- but the Republicans may not feel they can afford to indirectly ratify it. So I was talking about whether they needed to put it off after the election and then -- but they still have until the first of the year. Now, if they have until the first of the year, in any case to deal with this, there's no problem.
They both have their positions and they'll have to decide how to resolve it by the first of the year, but the election won't intervene.
And, therefore, I regret that all this stirring up is happening, because that's what I was thinking about. I was under the impression that something might have to be done before the election.
BLITZER: Because, as you know, the president has flatly said he would veto any extension of the Bush tax cuts...
CLINTON: I know he has.
BLITZER: -- for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 a year.
BLITZER: He's -- he's extended it a few times now, but that was the last time. He says he won't do it again.
CLINTON: I support his position. And I think, on the merits, upper income people are going to have to contribute to the long-term debt reduction.
You get the debt down with three things -- economic growth, appropriate spending restraint and adequate revenue stream. And what he's trying to say is that we've got to have all three. And so I support his position.
But we really were -- yes, I'm very sorry about what happened yesterday. It was what -- I thought something had to be done on the -- at fiscal cliff before the election. Apparently nothing has to be done until the first of the year. So I think he should just stick with his position and then negotiate with the Republicans as much as possible.
BLITZER: But what do you think, during a lame duck session, after the election, if he's reelected, or if Romney wins, that's when they're going to have to deal with the Bush tax cuts, because all of them will, including for the middle class, and they'll go back to the rates that existed during your administration...
BLITZER: -- if they don't do something.
All of them...
BLITZER: -- will expire.
CLINTON: And those rates -- the problem with that is, and why I think they should be extended for the bottom 98 percent, is that median income, after inflation, is lower than it was the day I left office. So those people who would be affected by that, many, many of them have had no income increases in a decade, while their costs have gone up.
So you really would have a contractionary economic impact. It would be very bad for the economy if those folks in the bottom 98 percent had to shoulder a tax increase now. It would be difficult.
BLITZER: Because I just want to be precise, what you're saying is that you would not extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. You would let those lapse, go back to the rates that existed when you were president, even though some economists say that could slow down economic growth during these troubled times?
CLINTON: Yes, because I think that will precipitate a long-term debt reduction deal. And I think if we phase it in slowly, so, as the Simpson-Bowles plan recommends, you don't have too much bite on the front end, that will actually help us long-term.
And keep in mind, the -- the Congress, in saying this, has to account for the fact that we have, in the last 27 months, 4.3 million more private sector jobs, but we've lost 600,000 public sector jobs, in part because they declined to pass the president's jobs plan, which would have given some money to states and localities so they wouldn't have to lay off the teachers, the firefighters, the police officers and others who have been laid off.
BLITZER: So -- so on this issue -- and I'm going to move on -- there's no daylight between you and the president? CLINTON: No. No. I really was under the impression that they would have to do something before the election. And I was trying to figure out how they would kick it until after the election.
Once I realized that nothing had to be done until the first of the year, I supported -- I support his position. I supported extending them last year, but I think his position is the right one, and necessary if we're ever going to get a comprehensive deal.
BLITZER: The other issue that caused the Obama folks some heartburn was when you told Harvey Weinstein that Mitt Romney had a sterling reputation as head of Bain Capital, that he was qualified to be president, this coming after all of their ads, the Obama campaign ads, going after him on his record at Bain Capital.
CLINTON: Look, that's two different things. The -- you can be a successful business person and if you're governor of a state and you're 35 years old and you're born in America, you're, by definition, qualified to be president, right?
BLITZER: But you suggested his...
CLINTON: The other thing...
BLITZER: -- qualifications were good...
BLITZER: -- as a governor.
CLINTON: But in the same sentence...
BLITZER: That's correct.
CLINTON: -- very cleverly, in the same sentence, I said he shouldn't be elected because his ideas and policies, I don't think, are good for America.
BLITZER: You -- and then you later said it would be calamitous if he were elected. Now that's...
BLITZER: -- that's going pretty far.
CLINTON: If he were elected and if he implemented the policies that he's advocating. Keep in mind, from my point of view, the best thing he did when he was governor was sign that health care bill that he's now renounced.
BLITZER: He hasn't renounced his health care bill, he's renounced the president's health care bill.
CLINTON: Yes, with the same idea in it. But if you look at it, that's a pretty -- that's splitting a pretty thin hair. And the -- the experience in Massachusetts proves that if you have an individual mandate and you take the sand out of the gears of people's shifting costs, it will slow down inflation and we can get ahold of the health care costs better.
But I think that that's not what he's running on. He's running on repealing the president's bill, on repealing the commitment to clean energy, which has been a big part of why we're getting manufacturing jobs back in America today, on basically a budget that every unbiased person says will add $1 trillion or $2 trillion to the debt over the next decade, and on having austerity now and higher unemployment rates now than bigger deficits in the out years, which is exactly the reverse of what we should be doing.
So if he actually implemented what he says, it would be very, very bad for the American economy. That's what I think.
BLITZER: So just to wrap this up, you and the pre -- you and the president are both on the same page.
There -- is there any daylight on any of these issues between you?
Because some of your critics have said, you know, the former president is undermining the current president, for whatever reason.
CLINTON: Well, look, in 2008, when he ran for president and defeated Hillary in the primaries, I did 40 events for him -- 40 in the election. In 2012, I have done these major fundraisers. I have spoken up for him whenever I could. I have told people repeatedly I think he's done a good job -- a really good job, under very trying circumstances, and better than some people give him credit for.
And I am strongly committed to his reelection. And I just regret that I -- you know, my instinct, though, you know me. I'm -- I don't think I should have to say bad things about Governor Romney personally to disagree with him politically.
The fact that I was complimentary of his success as a businessperson doesn't mean that I think that he should be elected and President Obama shouldn't.
And if you go -- if you look at this book I wrote on the American economy -- it's one reason we are working here -- you can be successful in business -- and this has been true for 35 years -- if your shareholders do well. You can only be successful as president if the shareholders, the employees, the customers and the communities do well, all the constituencies of American market economics.
BLITZER: See I -- I covered your presidency for eight years. And you worked with big business. You wanted to bring them in.
CLINTON: I did.
BLITZER: And you're doing...
CLINTON: And I still do. BLITZER: -- that here at the CGI. You've got a lot of representatives of major Fortune 500 companies that are here trying to help create jobs and do important work.
But the criticism of the president is that he's alienated some of these same big business types, Wall Street, saying some things that weren't very favorable. And many of them who supported him in 2008, they're running away from him now.
CLINTON: But if you look at what he's actually done, if you look at the tax policies, the regulatory policies he's actually pursued, they were either necessary -- we had to have higher capital requirements on bank lending after that financial meltdown. You can't have people taking the kind of risks that were taken.
But he has -- even now, he's got a -- another small businesses tax cut pending before Congress as part of his economic plan for people that are hiring new employees.
BLITZER: There's not -- I don't think much is going to happen between now and the election...
BLITZER: -- on any of these initiatives.
CLINTON: But he -- he's had this out there for more than a year. It's just now, if you look at his record, as opposed to what people say, what the Republicans say about him, I think he has been, you know, quite moderate and very interested in getting business input.
Look at this Business Council he's got. I met with his Jobs Council and worked with them on this bill -- building retrofits. I'm quite impressed by the range of businesspeople on this council. He's obviously interested in their opinions, their input and what their policy suggestions are.
So I -- I just -- I don't buy that he's anti-business. He's -- he's -- has some differences from people who believe that the financial crisis we went through and the burdens the American people still bear because of it, that these things don't justify any increased requirements of oversight.
I think they do. I think that we know from time immemorial about capitalism's tendency to implode and we want to -- this would be good for the markets, it would be good for the economy, to minimize the kind of risks that caused the meltdown last time.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: All right, we're going to have much more of my interview with the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. That was just part one.
Straight ahead, part two. He calls out Mitt Romney for not standing up to some members of his own Republican Party. And a senior adviser to the Romney campaign will be joining us live to respond to that and much more.
Stand by. A full hour of news this -- this hour.
And to Syria, as well, relentless shelling. U.N. observers fired upon as they try to reach the scene of another massacre.
What does President Clinton think the U.S. needs to do?
We'll also have a live report from the scene.
All that coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Back to my interview with President Clinton coming up shortly, but right now, I want to get to the situation in Syria which is going from awful to even worse. U.N. observers in Syria under fire right now and the United Nations special envoy, Kofi Annan, is warning the country could be on the brink of a full-blown civil war as we're learning new details about the reported massacre of only yesterday.
We need to warn you, this is very important. The images we're about to show you are extremely difficult to watch. They are certainly not suitable for children to see, but we're going to show you these pictures because we feel it's very important to show, at least, edited versions of the images to convey the extent and the brutality of the Syrian crackdown against civilians and civilians who are in opposition to the regime in certain parts of the country right now.
Let's bring in CNN's Arwa Damon who's been covering this story for us. Arwa, it's heartbreaking when you look at these pictures, but tell our viewers here in the United States and around the world what's going on right now.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It most certainly is, Wolf, and these are images of the aftermath of what opposition activists say was a massacre carried out by Assad military forces and the Shabiha, these pro-government gangs that effectively act as a hit squad for the Assad regime.
The images show the youngest and most innocent of the casualties, children. Some of them are wrapped in blankets, others shrouded in the white burial cloth. Some of them have little bits of paper with their names written on them. They're four children from one family alone, at least, according to the voice that narrating this footage.
And they're also, you'll be able to see what looked like chunks of ice, bottles that were filled with water, frozen and other makeshift ways to try to keep the bodies from decomposing. These specific children's mother and uncle also said to have been killed in this attack. This village is tiny, Wolf.
It's no more than a cluster of homes, and at least, 77 people are alleged to have been massacred. That is around half of this village's population, and the opposition is saying that this most certainly is just going to heighten the sectarian tensions because it's a predominantly Sunni area.
Those who launched the bulk of this brutal attack Alawites from neighboring villages. And the government, Wolf, is denying that it was involved. In fact, it's saying that it responded to a cry from residents so that they could be saved from a terrorist gang that was holding them undersiege.
So, they say that's why the government troops went in and effectively liberated this area from this terrorist cell -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What heartbreaking pictures, I've got to tell you. It's so, so, so difficult to look at those images. Arwa, thank you very much.
The former president Bill Clinton was in the White House when hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered in Rwanda. His advice to President Obama when it comes to what's going on in Syria right now. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Assad ought to go, but it's hard when the Russians want you in action and continuous --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The former president Bill Clinton is certainly never afraid to say what's on his mind, even if it might make fellow Democrats occasionally uncomfortable. We spoke about that a little bit more. Here's part two of my interview.
BLITZER: What do you think about Mitt Romney?
CLINTON: I told you what I thought. I've said many times I had good encounter with him when he tried to save the AmeriCorps (ph) program. I don't feel that I have to have personal hostility with him to disagree with his ideas, but I listened very carefully to what these Republicans said in the primary.
And to Mr. Norquist saying (INAUDIBLE) when he said it'd be fine with him if Governor Romney got elected because all he needed to do was sign his name out (ph) of the Tea Party house.
It's troubling to me because I think that if you look at Greece, if you look at the United Kingdom, if you look at where the world is today, the people will say austerity and unemployment now, and then, we'll balloon the debt later and have higher interest rates, and we'll never recover.
That's basically the Republican platform. It's the same platform of the Euro Zone which the Europeans are now trying to get out of.
BLITZER: You know, you were very critical. You didn't mention him by name, Mitt Romney, but you suggested the other night in that speech again, the fundraising event with the president that no serious Republican, including the Republican presidential nominee, stood up and complained when Congressman Allen West, Republican of Florida, Tea Party favorite said flatly that between 78 and 81 members Democrats and the House of Representatives were communists. And you raised the spectrum --
CLINTON: You know, outside of China, Vietnam, North Korea and a few minor parties and the former Soviet Union, I don't know if there were 78 or 81 communists left in the world.
BLITZER: So what was your point, though, that serious Republicans weren't disagreeing with him?
CLINTON: My point was, that if the president says anything in an ad or a speech by disagreement, that they parse it (ph) so there could be this criticism, and then, the guy stands up and says that 78 to 81 of his colleagues are literally communists. Members of the communist party is what he said. The leadership says nothing about it.
The president says nothing about it. At least, I can tell the press wasn't very concerned about it, and I just don't think there should be a double standard here. We're not -- this is not a full -- this is not a level playing field here. There are serious ideas at stake.
And if you look at what we do here at the Global Initiative, what works is what we're trying to do here. We may not work miracle, but we'll get something done. Networks of cooperation get things done in the real world. What works in politics, two of them, is constant conflict.
I'm trying to get us to appoint where we will calm down and listen to each other and treat each other with respect and figure out something we can do together. In the meanwhile, I think it's important not to get off on an ideologically driven rather than economically driven policy which will cause us more trouble.
BLITZER: Quick question on Syria. I remember going with you to Rwanda in 1998 and you acknowledged then that it was a horrible mistake. You heard reports about what was going on the slaughter, the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi, but you really didn't do anything. You regretted that deeply.
What about now? What should the president -- what should the United States be doing about the slaughter that's going on in Syria?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I do. I don't think we could have saved everybody in Rwanda, but 300,000 -- I mean, 800,000 people were killed in about nine days.
BLITZER: Mostly with machetes.
CLINTON: Yes, mostly with machetes, and it takes -- you know, we're taken -- the war is fast in this we are now. It would have taken awhile with mobilize and get here, but I wish I had done, sent some troops there earlier. And I think that if the world had acted more quickly, we could have saved at least a third of those we lost, so I regret.
On Bosnia, I was ready to go in 1993, but as you remember, I tried very hard and sent my secretary of state to Europe and tried to get the French and the British and Germans to support our position, and I was not successful. It took two years (INAUDIBLE) needs to do that. This is different. I think --
BLITZER: Why is Syria different?
CLINTON: Well, they're all different. The facts are on the ground are different. I feel -- it's pretty clear to me that the people who were involved in this last slaughter were killed, if not by government forces with people who were with their knowledge, and we might be able to do something to help the opposition forces get some more arms, for example.
But this is not like Libya where these mass stretches of land, you could bomb the opposition forces without hurting a lot of civilians, you had a really well-organized fighting force trying to topple the Syrian government.
Fareed Zakaria wrote a very interesting article on this talking about how much more complicated it was, and it's hard to get effective policy because the Russians are still defending the Iranian -- the Syrian government.
So it's a very frustrating thing, but I believe that what the United States and its allies are trying to do now by, you know, tightening the embargo and the sanctions and trying to persuade the Russians to come over to the other side and stop selling them on, to cut them off from arms, that may be about all we can do right now with a reasonable chance of affecting the outcome.
It is not morally satisfying when you find out another hundred people have been slaughtered, but I think that the president and the secretary of state are dealing with you know an extremely difficult situation that is in its way the case for military action now is harder to make than it was in Rwanda or in Libya or in Bosnia, for that matter. It's a very difficult thing. It may come to that and we may have a coalescing of the opposition forces which will make it look like there's an achievable force option, but I don't think we're there yet. I'm sure they're looking at all of the things, contingency plans and looking at it, but Assad ought to go, but it's hard when the Russians block you in action and continue to supply arms. That's what -- that's why Hillary's been working on that on this trip.
BLITZER: More of the interview coming up. The former president also speaks about his own health. New information he shares with us on what he's eating, also what characteristics he thinks he's passed on to his daughter Chelsea who is also here at the Clinton Global Initiative. That rest of the interview, part three of the interview will air later this hour.
Also, what about Mitt Romney's platform? What does -- what does the president have to say about that? We're going to get some reaction to what we just heard from the former president from a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, Eric Fehrnstrom, he's standing by live. We'll get his reaction from Boston and a lot more. That's all coming up.
BLITZER: You've been watching my in-depth interviews here in THE SITUATION ROOM not only with the former president, Bill Clinton, but also with the Obama campaign's chief strategist David Axelrod. Let's get some reaction to both of those interviews from the Romney campaign senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. He's joining us from Boston. Eric thanks very much for coming in. I want to give you a chance to respond first of all to what David Axelrod said here in THE SITUATION ROOM a little while ago. I'll play a little clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CAMPAIGN CHIEF STRATEGIST: I think he had a great record for creating -- for making money for himself and his partners. He did not have a great record on job creation, when you take companies to bankruptcy, load them with debt, take them to bankruptcy, walk away with millions of dollars while the workers are left holding the bag and the creditors are left holding the bag, that may look good in terms of your balance sheet, but it's not good economic policy and it's not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He was talking about Mitt Romney when he was head of Bain Capital. Let me give you a chance to respond to Axelrod.
ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Sure Wolf. Thank you for having me on. Well I can tell you that Governor Romney is proud of his business record and by the way, so is Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton called Mitt Romney's career in the private sector sterling. We agree with him. Today the governor was in St. Louis.
He gave a speech defending free enterprise. He said it's not just an American ideal. It's a moral imperative in this bad Obama economy. Governor Romney wants to do what he can to promote a friendly business environment that is conducive to economic expansion and job growth.
BLITZER: President Clinton did indeed say here on CNN that Mitt Romney had a sterling record at Bain Capital and he also said he was qualified to be president of the United States, but then he went on to say the next day or two that it would be calamitous for the United States if Mitt Romney were to become president because of the policies that he is pushing for right now.
FEHRNSTROM: Well, I can tell you, Wolf, that when the president came out and said that Mitt Romney's business career was sterling I think he was speaking from the heart. At the end of the day Bill Clinton's a good Democrat, he's endorsed the president, he's going to be with the president, but I think his voice and the voice of other leading Democrats are significant in that they have signaled their unhappiness with the president's re-election strategy of attacking Bain Capital and attacking risk taking and profit and free enterprise. That's one of the reasons why Governor Romney thought it was important to go to St. Louis and give a strong speech in defense of free enterprise.
BLITZER: In the interview that we've just been airing with the former president Bill Clinton, he did say nice things about Mitt Romney on certain issues. He supported -- he liked what he did on AmeriCare (ph), for example, and he also liked what then Governor Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts in promoting health care reform. Listen to what -- listen to what Clinton just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: The best thing he did when he was governor was sign that health care bill that he's now renounced.
BLITZER: He hasn't renounced his health care bill. He's renounced the president's health care bill.
CLINTON: Yes, with the same idea, but if you look at it, that's a pretty -- that's splitting a pretty thin hair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Hold on for one moment. I want to take a quick break. I want you to think about what we just heard, Eric, from the former president. We'll get your reaction to that and much more right after this.
BLITZER: We're continuing our conversation with Eric Fehrnstrom. He's in Boston. He's the senior adviser to the Romney campaign. Eric you just heard the former President Bill Clinton say he liked what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts as governor in promoting health care reform because he says it's basically the same thing that President Obama did in promoting health care reform for the nation.
FEHRNSTROM: Well, Wolf, what we did or what Governor Romney did in Massachusetts represented a state solution to a state problem. Under our federalist system we encourage states to experiment and to come up with solutions to the unique problems that they face, but what works in Massachusetts doesn't necessarily work in Texas or California. What President Obama did by imposing a one size fits all health care solution out of Washington on the entire country was wrong and that's why Governor Romney has pledged from day one of his administration if elected, to repeal Obamacare and higher taxes that go along with it, the $1 trillion entitlement and of course the intrusion on the sovereign right of states to come up with solutions to their own problems.
BLITZER: You also heard President Clinton really express his frustration and irritation that Mitt Romney and other top Republicans have not condemned Congressman Alan West for saying flatly that there are 78 to 81 members of the Communist Party among the House Democrats. Why is Romney silent on that?
FEHRNSTROM: Well, that's not a point of view that's shared by Governor Romney. I can tell you that. But look, this election isn't about what Alan West said. This election is about 23 million Americans who are either out of work or underemployed and they're looking for a president who has the right policies, the right qualifications and experience to lead on the number one issue facing us which is jobs and the economy. You saw what happened in Wisconsin just recently.
That was first and foremost, a vote of confidence in Scott Walker's leadership as governor, but what Scott Walker did in Wisconsin was to take on some big issues and as a result of doing that successfully, he got the budget on the right track. He's got the economy moving in the right direction. When Governor Romney says that election echoes beyond the borders of Wisconsin what he means is that Americans are going to be looking for that same leadership on the budget and the economy in Washington.
BLITZER: Because Bill Clinton says what Alan West is saying about these Democrats that they're communists, these are echoes of Joe McCarthy from the '50s and he would hope that Mitt Romney would flatly condemn these comments. Do you think that the Republican presidential nominee is ready to do so?
FEHRNSTROM: Well again, Wolf, our focus at the Romney campaign is on the economy. Like a laser that is what the governor is most concerned about. It's what compelled him to get into the race in the first place. He doesn't agree with the sentiment as it was expressed by Alan West, but we're not going to get bogged down talking about what other people are saying. We're going to stay focused on jobs and the economy. That's what the American people expect of their candidates for president. They're starved for the type of leadership that Mitt Romney can bring to Washington. By the way, it's the same leadership that Scott Walker has brought to the state of Wisconsin.
BLITZER: Eric Fehrnstrom from the Romney campaign. We'll continue this conversation down the road. Thanks very much for coming in.
FEHRNSTROM: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Up next, we'll get the personal side of the former president, Bill Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I think she's a fine person and the most important thing to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: In Russia, leaders today are making a bipartisan push to stop the leaking of classified information. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that, also some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What do you have Lisa?
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are condemning the leaks and may take legislative action to prevent them in the future. Leaders agreed on the need for a full investigation but disagreed over the need for a special prosecutor. The FBI is investigating who leaked information about a classified U.S. cyber warfare program. The White House denies Republican claims that it is behind the attacks.
And a morning show meltdown has a Greek politician in some serious trouble. It started when the leader of a far right party threw a glass of water at another guest and then things took a violent turn. A political opponent tells him to get out and he goes after her repeatedly slapping her in the face. A warrant has now been issued for his arrest.
And now here is a way to fend off armed robbers, bear spray. One of these would-be robbers flees. The other gets more punishment he likely wasn't expecting. The Canadian store owner spanks him. You see him spanking him right there, not even stopping as the robber starts to slide out of his pants. The owner's wife then gets in on the action, kicking the robber. This guy was arrested. His partner is still on the loose. They picked the wrong store, Wolf. That's all I can say.
BLITZER: Don't mess around with that guy, all right, or his wife for that matter. Thanks very much, Lisa.
Up next, we will have the final part of my interview with the former president, Bill Clinton. He speaks candidly about his daughter, Chelsea. He also provides some new information about his own health and what he is eating.
BLITZER: My one-on-one interview here in Chicago with the former president, Bill Clinton, wasn't just all about politics and policy. It was also a little bit about family and when we spoke about the president's daughter, Chelsea, his face lit up with pride.
BLITZER: Let's talk about the Clinton Global Initiative. This is an important meeting you are having. You do a lot of work around the world. Now, you are doing work here in the United States. And I was intrigued that Chelsea, your daughter, she is here now too. What do you want her to do here? What is her role?
CLINTON: Well, first, she is an active producement (ph) in our foundation activity. She is on a number of the foundation boards overseeing you know health care. She is very interested in CGI. She knows a lot about the economy. She has done a lot of work in it. And so we try to get her involved in all of our things and her role is always something that's discussed between her and our CGI staff. But she can -- she knows a lot about workforce preparedness. She knows a lot about saving companies in trouble and reopening them and you know --
BLITZER: I raise the question because I have known her since she was 13 years old when you guys came to Washington. And last night I was at the Kennedy Center at the Vital Voices Event (ph) which helps women around the world. And she made a presentation there and I looked at her and I saw in her eyes as I was watching her, she was very impressive. I saw the best of Bill Clinton and the best of Hillary Clinton in Chelsea Clinton. And you have probably seen that as well. I wonder if you want to talk a little bit about that.
CLINTON: Oh, I'm really proud of her. I think she is a fine person, the most important thing to me, and she is smart, caring, able and determined. I think she is you know terrific but -- and I got a great son-in-law, which is always a good thing, to like your in-laws, you know. So I want her to do whatever she wants to do, but I am really grateful now that with this work she is doing you know on television and the work she does at NYU and the college -- the course she is teaching at Columbia that she is still willing to be so active in our foundation activities. She really cares about this stuff and she has helped me do a lot of work at the foundation, try to improve the management you know and just manage our massive growth. It is fun. I am grateful to her.
BLITZER: She got the best of her mom, the best of her dad --
CLINTON: Yes she got her father's energy --
BLITZER: She's a good girl.
CLINTON: -- and her mother's brains and character. She is something.
BLITZER: We are out of time. How do you feel?
CLINTON: Great. As far as I know, I am doing fine. I really feel good.
BLITZER: Still on that diet?
CLINTON: Still on the diet. Yes, I am trying to make it you know as long as I can here.
BLITZER: No meat, no chicken.
CLINTON: No dairy.
BLITZER: No dairy.
CLINTON: And I am trying to -- and I'm trying to eat less white --
BLITZER: What does that mean?
CLINTON: No processed bread, fewer potatoes, less rice, you know fewer carbs that turn into sugar in your body. When you get older and particularly if you have had heart problems, you have got to be really sensitive to things you eat that -- not just sugar but that turn into sugar in your body because this diabetes problem people become more vulnerable to pre-diabetic conditions when they get older. And of course now because of childhood obesity, we have a lot of kids who are developing Type II Diabetes. So I watch that all pretty carefully. I try to you know exercise as much as I can with this crazy life I have got and -- but I really try to watch the diet. It makes a difference. And you know I'm having a good time in life. I'd like to stay around a little longer.
BLITZER: Yes, we'd like to have you around for a little longer, a lot longer, I should say.
CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you.
BLITZER: You look great. You are thinner than I have seen you in a long time but you feel healthy --
CLINTON: I feel great, yes.
BLITZER: I am glad you are doing what you are doing.
CLINTON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Mr. President thanks very much.
CLINTON: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: That's it for me. Thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.