Return to Transcripts main page


Parliament Dissolved: Some Cry "Coup"; Remarkable Journey Through Iran; Interview with Husain Haqqani; Illegal Americans; Girls Killed for Being Girls; Retirement Age; Bed Making

Aired June 14, 2012 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Mary, thank you.

And you're in the SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, protest and anger as Egypt's high court throws out the entire parliament and puts the country's historic election in serious doubts. Some Egyptians are calling what's going on in Egypt right now a military coup.

Plus, President Obama tries to re-energize his economic appeal with Mitt Romney practically breathing down his neck. We'll see how he did against Romney in their dueling pitches to Ohio voters today.

And a mother stares at a cell phone photo of her baby who police say was killed by her husband. We're going to take you to a place where even educated and well-off families want to get rid of baby girls because they're girls.

We want to welcome our viewers in United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Egypt's military rulers now say they have full legislative power after the country's high court ruled that the Islamist led parliament must be dissolved. Riot police stood guard as protesters took to the streets. Some Egyptians say this amounted to a military coup.

Celebrations of Egypt's historic election now are giving way to an exploding power struggle between members of the ousted Mubarak regime and Egypt's largest and most popular Islamic party, the once outlawed, Muslim Brotherhood. Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, issued this warning to Egypt's leaders.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: We expect to see a full transfer of power to a Democratically-elected civilian government. There can be no going back on the Democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: CNN's senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, is joining us now from Cairo. Ben, why is this court dissolving the entire Egyptian parliament?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Essentially because according to the constitutional court, there were irregularities in the election that brought it to power earlier this year. Specifically and here it gets into archaic mechanics of parliamentary rules in Egypt.

According to the rules, two-thirds of the seats of parliament are supposed to go to members of political parties, one-third to independent individuals. But as it turned, out many of the so-called independent individuals were affiliated with political parties, and therefore, the constitutional court ruled against it.

What this means, of course, is that now the supreme council of the armed forces has full legislative powers. Parliament is completely dissolved and will have to be re-elected at some point in the future. This is a real body blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, which had almost 50 percent of the seats in the lower house of parliament and was looking ahead to the possibility of winning the presidency as well.

Now, they've lost parliament, and it does appear that Ahmed Shafiq who is the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak is posing a serious challenge to Mohamed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood -- Wolf.

BLITZER: You know, Ben, a difficult decision from the U.S. perspective, of course, as secretary of State Clinton said they want to see a full vibrant Democracy in Egypt, but they're deeply worried at the same time about the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist parties as opposed to remnants of the Mubarak regime and also the military, for that matter, who are seen as much more pro-U.S. and would certainly continue to have a good relationship if they were in control with the U.S.

But on the other hand, they don't want to see violence exploding on the streets of Cairo, Tahrir Square and elsewhere. The other said (ph) the dilemma that the Americans say they're now facing in viewing what's going on in Egypt.

WEDEMAN: Well, actually, I'm surprised that the reaction to this court decision, which was very angry outside the court among the hundred or 200 protesters, has really not had much impact upon the rest of the city. It's Thursday night, the beginning of the weekend. There are lots of cars out on the street.

Normally, when there's a feeling that problems are coming, traffic really sort of lightens up. But it does appear that many people either because of sheer exhaustion with the political upheaval that we've seen over the last year and a half or task at (ph) support for the military in what is in effect a crushing of the Muslim Brotherhood. We're not seeing this sort of upheaval that you would have expected in the aftermath of this sort of decision. As far as the United States goes, they've been courting the Muslim Brotherhood. Every visiting delegation from Washington has made sure to include meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood.

But obviously, the United States feels much more comfortable with the military with which it has a decade's old relationship. So, they can deal with both, but it's clear they prefer to deal with the military as opposed to the brotherhood.

BLITZER: So many of those top Egyptian generals did at least some training at military bases in the United States. So, there is that connection to be sure. Thanks very much, Ben. We'll see what happens Friday on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt.

Meanwhile, a rare look at what's going on inside Iran. The "New York Times" columnist, Nicholas Kristof, took a remarkable journey through the country, and he learned a lot about the Iranian people and the way they view their government as well as the way they view The United States.


BLITZER: And Nick Kristof is joining us from the "New York Times" right now. Nick, you really wrote a pretty amazing column today in the "New York Times." And you also posted some dramatic video of this 1,700-mile journey you took through Iran. Not everyday that a reporter has a chance to do that. Let me play this little clip for our viewers.


NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST (voice-over): I spent a week talking to various people from uneducated farmers to struggling factory workers to self-confident women to a grand ayatollah. Iran is a country of contradictions, but there was a common thread.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of Iran like American people.

KRISTOF: I learned that the regime does have some support, especially in rural areas. But I also met lots of people who are increasingly frustrated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If i had a chance to talk to Mr. Obama, I would say that he didn't support us.


BLITZER: More of the video on the "New York Times" website. What was his point, this individual, we didn't see him, that he was disappointed about President Obama. What was the point he was trying to make to you? KRISTOF (on-camera): I think that he wanted some more obvious demonstration of support from the U.S. for dissidents. Some of them feel as if they're being left out of the cold. They're suffering from economic sanctions, and they aren't getting the kind of moral support that they wish they would had, in some cases.

BLITZER: But that the president wasn't forcible enough in supporting what the efforts on the street back in 2009, is that what he's suggesting?

KRISTOF: Yes. I think so. I must say there was tremendous variation in opinion about that, but there was a feeling among some people. I think he was an example of that. It felt they were getting hit by economic sanctions. They were losing their jobs.

Their prices are rising. Every time they fly on a plane, they fear it may crash because of lack of spare parts. And they don't feel there's compensation for that they're getting kind of an effort to pat on the back.

BLITZER: What also jumped out of me was the first sentence of your article when you said the folks you met about Iran, this may be the most pro-American nation in the Middle East. The most pro- American nation in the Middle East? Explain.

KRISTOF: Well, you know, it's fascinating. We spent billions of dollars in Egypt. And people are so distrustful of us. We spent billions in Pakistan, and everybody hates us. And then, in Iran, we impose economic sanctions, and everywhere you go as an American, people want to invite you into their homes. They want to serve you tea.

I mean, one of the real impediments on this long road trip through Iran was that as soon as people found out that we were Americans, they wanted to stop and invite us into their homes and it kind of slowed us down a little bit.

BLITZER: You also say that this is the second time, I guess, you've been to Iran. You were there in 2004. But folks seemed much more scared now than they were then, is that right?

KRISTOF: Yes. Back then, people were willing to go on camera. They were willing to use their names and be critical of the regime with some constraints. This time, people were willing to talk quietly and criticize the regime. They were very unwilling to go on video to use their names. They're just a lot more scared than they used to be.

BLITZER: Were people nervous that the U.S. and/or Israel might launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities?

KRISTOF: They are, but I must say that people often discount so much of what the government says that they -- I don't think they maybe were as fearful of that as they could be. But it did seem to me that the one thing that might well keep the ayatollahs in power and keep them going would be a nationalist backlash if there were a strike on those nuclear sites. BLITZER: Give us another little nugget about this 1,700-mile journey. What really jumped out at you as you crossed Iran? And you said you believe you weren't tailed. You didn't have a minder -- an Iranian government minder or official watching you all the times, although you probably couldn't be sure for whatever reason, but what jumped out at you?

KRISTOF: Well, one thing is the economic sanctions are really working in a sense that they are creating tremendous economic distress in Iran. You know, factories are closing. Prices are rising. There is mounting discontent. And to a surprising degree, people are directing that discontent not at the west for imposing the sanctions, but rather at their own government.

And I got to say, Wolf, it feels a lot to me like a lot of other regimes that -- authoritarian regimes that you and I have covered, you know, in the period leading up to their overthrow.


KRISTOF: It's hard -- yes. Nobody can predict the timing of this, but it feels that same road (ph) in legitimacy that lays the ground work were some kind of change.

BLITZER: And that's what you conclude in paragraph in the article of the "New York Times" today. You basically lay out that potential for a change of the regime there. I'm looking forward to your next several columns on this. Nick Kristof, thanks very much for coming in.

KRISTOF: My pleasure, Wolf.


BLITZER: President Obama and Mitt Romney, they're actually agreeing on something. Standby for their dueling economic speeches in the battleground state of Ohio.

Plus, the dispute that's costing U.S. taxpayers $100 million a month. Will the U.S. give Pakistan an apology that it says it wants to allow war supplies to come into Afghanistan?


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's here with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Get ready, Wolf, to work well into the golden years. A new report suggesting governments have to raise the retirement age as life expectancy soar. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, that's a think tank, says that by 2050, the average person will live at least 20 years beyond retirement.

Right now, in the United States, the full retirement age is 66. A decade ago, it was 65. In 2022, it's going to go up to 67. This is called a trend. Problem is governments pay a portion of people's retirement in the form of things like Social Security. And the longer we live, the more it costs to fund our retirement.

Social Security's already in deep trouble. The trust fund pays out more in benefits than it takes in from workers' payroll taxes. It's estimated there'll be $165 billion shortfall this year. And the program will only be able to pay promised benefits in full through 2033. Part of the problem is Social Security's an outdated system. It was created back in the 1930s. Most people didn't live past 60.

The point was never to pay Social Security to a retiree for decades. Plus, the experts say that working longer isn't only about paying more into Social Security. They suggest people in their 60s today are healthier and can be a productive part of our society for a longer period of time. Whether that's true or not, we better get ready to work longer or move to France.

First thing their new socialist president did in France, lower the retirement age to 60, even though it will cost the French government billions of Euros a year. Another example of sound European fiscal policy.

Anyway, here's our question, how high should the retirement age be? Go to and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Good question, Jack. Thank you.

Meanwhile, another setback in the jobs market. The government reports that filings for first-time unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose once again last week. That's not making President Obama's attempt to re-energize his economic message any easier.

Today, he and Mitt Romney gave dueling speeches in a state that could decide the presidential election, and the economy was certainly issue number one. Here's our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're rivals, but they agree on one thing.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you think the president's right when he said the private sector is doing fine, well, then he's the guy to vote for.

YELLIN: Both men took to the battleground state of Ohio with the president trying to reframe his economic message.

OBAMA: Of course, the economy isn't where it needs to be. Of course, we have a lot more work to do. Everybody knows that. The debate in this election is about how we grow faster and how we create more jobs and how we pay down our debt. That's the question facing the American voter.

YELLIN: He said his opponent will roll back regulations on business, taxes on the wealthy, and protections for consumers, while he would invest in education, infrastructure, and grow jobs that help bolster the middle class. But just 243 miles away, his opponent drawing on his business cred took it to the president.

ROMNEY: Talk to people you know that run a retail store or a small manufacturer and say, did President Obama's policies help put people back to work or did they make it less likely for you to hire people? I hear day in and day out they feel this administration sees them as their enemy.

YELLIN: Romney said he would increase energy production, repeal healthcare reform, balance the budget, and crack down on China. But what neither candidate truly drives home?

KENNETH ROGOFF, ECONOMIC PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: We are still in the grips of a very deep financial recession and are probably only going to only grow out of it slowly no matter what we do. There's no silver bullet.

YELLIN: Kenneth Rogoff is a leading economic voice who's long argued it will take many years of careful choices to dig out of the deep hole we're in. But on the campaign trail, we hear more of this.

ROMNEY: So, as you look at the president's record, it is long on words and short on action.

YELLIN: And the freshest lines from the president had him playing victim, warning with a smirk that attack ads against him will say he's to blame.

OBAMA: I think government is always the answer or because I didn't make a lot of money in the private sector and don't understand it or because I'm in over my head or because I think everything and everybody's doing just fine.


OBAMA: That's what the scary voice in the ads will say.


OBAMA: That may be their plan to win the election, but it's not a plan to create jobs.


OBAMA: It's not a plan to grow the economy.


YELLIN (on-camera): Now, Wolf, the Obama campaign says this is one in a series of speeches the president plans to give to, quote, "frame the choice" in this election. But an unexpected or inadvertent opportunity they're giving Mitt romney is a chance for him to elevate himself in his policies as a real choice to the president -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Campaign only now just beginning. Thanks, Jessica. Thanks very much.

A week after someone leaked racy e-mails he sent to a reporter, the White House's selection to pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq is facing growing opposition even from some members of the president's own party.

And HBO is issuing an apology after its popular medieval series, "Game of Thrones," includes a controversial cameo. We have details. That's just ahead. Can you guess who it is? Standby.


BLITZER: A growing bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill is putting a White House nominee in jeopardy. Lisa's back. She's monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the Situation Room right now. Lisa, what's the latest?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, in question is the nomination of Brett McGurk to be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Senate Democrats today are joining Republicans in raising concern about the president's pick. And now, they may postpone a scheduled vote on his nomination.

Last week, someone posted a series of racy e-mails between the then top advisor to President Bush on Iraq and a female reporter who later became his wife. She resigned from "The Wall Street Journal" Tuesday.

And HBO is apologizing after its medieval series, "Game of Thrones," used a gruesome George W. Bush head in its season finale. Here's the better look at the prop, fitted with a long wig and covered in mud, it was one of several decapitated heads the show used.

HBO released the statement saying, quote, "we were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful, and in very bad taste. And we are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production." HBO, of course, is owned by Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

And with the final out from a long throw from third to first, San Francisco Giant pitcher, Matt Cain, joined an exclusive group last night throwing just 22nd perfect game in baseball history. He struck out 14 batters in a 10 to nothing win over the Houston Astros, and it's the first in Giants history and the second perfect game this year. He looks pretty pleased there. Glad to see.

BLITZER: He should be.


BLITZER: Congratulations to him and the team. Thank you.

We're about to take you to what could be the most dangerous place in the world for little girls.

And Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States is being called by some Pakistanis a traitor to his own country. He's here. We'll talk about what's going on as well as the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan right now.


BLITZER: Today Pakistan once again demanding an official apology from the United States before it will reconsider reopening critical military supply routes into Afghanistan. Millions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment has been stranded since Pakistan closed the routes back in November in a protest of a NATO drone strike that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers.

The defense secretary, Leon Panetta, says that's adding $100 million a month to the cost of the Afghan war. Senior U.S. officials have expressed regret for the NATO killings and the mistakes that were made. But Pakistan wants a full-fledged high level apology.

Joining us now to discuss this and more is the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani. Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for coming in. You have got your own problems, but first on this issue, this U.S./Pakistani relationship with countries with so much at stake, why is there this increasing anti-American attitude in Pakistan?

HUSAIN HAQQANI, FORMER PAKISTANI AMB. TO U.S.: Wolf, my view on this is very different from that of many people in my country, which is probably the reason why I face the troubles that I do. I think that Pakistan's policy towards the United States should be based on a realistic assessment of what Pakistan can or cannot get from the Americans. And the American attitude towards Pakistan should similarly be realistic. We've been building unfair and unjust expectations in the past. And I think what we are seeing today is the result of all of that.

BLITZER: Do they hate the United States because the U.S. embarrassed Pakistan by sending those commandos in to kill bin Laden in Abbottabad?

HAQQANI: I'm sure that that is one of the factors, but let us be very honest. The standing of the United States in Pakistan has been low for many, many years. It was 10 percent in 2002. Similarly in 1979 a crowd burned down the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. So I think what we're looking at is an ideology of hate that is fed by Pakistan's media, Pakistan's politicians, Pakistan's religious leaders and there is a battle in Pakistan in which of course I'm a protagonist over what kind of future do you want for Pakistan?

BLITZER: A Pakistani Supreme Court commission has now released a report saying you effectively betrayed the Pakistani government by giving a secret memo to the Obama administration and potentially they could try you for treason.

HAQQANI: Well let's be honest, I did not need an intermediary of dubious credentials living in Europe to pass on a message to (INAUDIBLE) whom you very well know with whom I had personal relations --

BLITZER: You mean --

HAQQANI: Admiral Mullen who was the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff.


HAQQANI: This is what the allegation is.


HAQQANI: This was a partisan finding (INAUDIBLE) and ideologically motivated commission that did not look at the facts but only wanted to make a political statement, but here's the problem in Pakistan. The problem is that those who do not want good relations with the United States, they do not give reasons for that. They try to blame everybody like myself who wants good relations. I advocate a different future for Pakistan, a democratic future and where civilians control all aspects of policy openly and transparently.

BLITZER: Do you have confidence in the government there now, the government of President Asibali Zardari (ph)? You were close to him at one point.

HAQQANI: I have tremendous respect for the government, the president (INAUDIBLE) Zardari (ph) because he faces many, many problems, but I worry about the future of Pakistan. There are extremist elements in Pakistan whose model for Pakistan is Iran whereas my model for Pakistan would be South Korea or Japan.

BLITZER: Is the nuclear arsenal in Pakistan secure?

HAQQANI: Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is as safe as can be. But what is important is that Pakistan as a nation becomes safe. And it can only become safe if it embraces the 21st century and we beat back those who want Pakistan to go back into the 12th century with bigotry as their main belief system.

BLITZER: Now, you can't go back to Pakistan right now. You're afraid if you go back they'll kill you?

HAQQANI: I of course will not take the risk right now of putting myself in danger. But as you know, many Pakistani leaders have lived abroad and led causes in the country, (INAUDIBLE) being the case and point for many years she was abroad, fought the battle, went back, was killed by -- assassinated by terrorists. I intend to continue the struggle for reform in Pakistan.

And that reform, it's important, Wolf, to understand what it's about. It's about changing the mindset. Pakistan can't close itself from the rest of the world. We cannot become an isolated nation. We cannot just look at the past. And we have to embrace the 21st century like other nations without the bigotry that has now become a kind of second belief system in Pakistan next to religious sentiments.

BLITZER: And your wife, Farrah (ph), who is a friend, she used to work here at CNN with me. She was a member of the Pakistani parliament. But now you've brought her back here to Washington out of concerns for her security as well?

HAQQANI: She's a member of the Pakistani parliament even now. She was elected by the people of Sin (ph) because they were (ph) for the Pakistan people's party and she was nominated by the Pakistan people's party. She will attend parliament whenever she's allowed. The Supreme Court has suspended her membership right now.

We are dealing with that legally as well. I'm challenging a lot of rulings in Pakistan as well and will do so. I will put up a legal fight in Pakistan and a political fight from wherever I am. The objective is to help Pakistan attain the greatness for which it's destined but which it cannot attain in the presence of the kind of bigotry that is manifested in the Supreme Court ruling that you are talking about, about my case.

BLITZER: One final question. You're now teaching at Boston University once again, you're a professor. You can speak openly as you obviously do.

HAQQANI: Wolf, I used to speak openly when I was ambassador --

BLITZER: I know, but you were restrained as an ambassador. Every ambassador is restrained by the government that ambassador represents. Do you believe high officials in Pakistan knew bin Laden was hiding for years at that compound in Abbottabad?

HAQQANI: Wolf, I honestly do not know. And I will not speculate. All I can say is Pakistan has to come clean. We have to find out who did know, because somebody must have known, whether they were official or not official. And the fact of the matter is that there are powerful elements in Pakistan that want to distract the conversation and simply do not want to face that fact. We have a judiciary that will not face these kinds of issues but will create other issues that are not that significant for national life. We have media which will blame America for everything and not ask the tough questions. And of course we have people in our security establishment that do not want to answer these difficult questions that the world is asking not just you.

BLITZER: Husain Haqqani good luck.

HAQQANI: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Thanks for coming in.

Millions of illegal immigrants live in fear of being deported, so why are a growing number of them coming out right now?


BLITZER: Right now there are an estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Some of them are now revealing themselves on the cover of "TIME" magazine, our sister publication. Let's talk about what's going on with "TIME's" managing editor Rick Stengel. One of those the author of the cover story, Jose Antonio Vargas, he was on CNN earlier today, Rick. Let me play a little clip of what he said.


JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: More and more people like us are coming out everyday. And not just people like us who are undocumented, people who support us, our teachers, our pastors, our neighbors, our friends. And I think you know this is a really unprecedented movement in the immigrant rights community that I think is kind of changing how you know politicians and even the Supreme Court you know looks at this issue.


BLITZER: So what exactly is going on here, Rick?

RICK STENGEL, "TIME" MANAGING EDITOR: Well, Wolf, I think in some ways it's a form of civil disobedience. For the most part these American dreamers as they call themselves are young people who were brought here at a young age by their families. They went to high school here. They went to college here. They are working here. They're paying taxes here. Some have even served in the military. And they feel that the immigration laws are unfair and that in fact that they are not so much illegal which is a word they don't (ph) use to describe themselves but that they in fact are Americans in all but name.

BLITZER: Jose Antonio Vargas, the author, you know he grew up in the United States, went to college in the United States, worked at "The Washington Post", now he's writing for you. He is still an illegal immigrant as they say. He does not have legal status in the United States. How has he managed to do this all of these years?

STENGEL: Well, as he said in the story about a year ago, Wolf, he actually came out, to use the that phrase more and more people are using in a story that he wrote for "The New York Times" magazine and he said since then he's not been contacted by the government or the immigration service. In fact, for this story he himself called the Immigration and Custom Service agency and said, hey, what about me? You know that I am undocumented. You know that I am not here legally. What are you going to do about it? And basically everyone he spoke to said we're not going to do anything about it.

BLITZER: Why is that? Why -- because there's -- a lot of people want to get tough on illegal immigrants. Why is no one anxious to actually do anything about it?

STENGEL: Well, one of the things that he wrote in the story, Wolf, which is interesting and I think that people don't know, is that the Obama administration has been much more vigilant about deporting undocumented immigrants than the Bush administration was. In fact, in the last three years the Obama administration has deported more people than George Bush did in eight years. But people like Jose, people who are educated, people who are working, are not the people who are being deported. And in some sense, ironically I think he secured his permanent status here by coming out. And that I think does motivate some of these people as well.

BLITZER: The cover story of "TIME" magazine the new issue is entitled "We Are Americans, Just Not Legally". Good work. Thanks very much, Rick, as usual for joining us.

STENGEL: Thanks so much, Wolf.

BLITZER: Standby, we're going to shine the light -- the spotlight I should say on a very, very dangerous place for little girls all at risk of being killed because they aren't boys.


BLITZER: For so many viewers out there, especially those who have daughters, this story is very, very gut-wrenching, very difficult to watch. Baby girls in India are being killed simply because their family wanted a boy. Here's CNN's Sara Sidner.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Reshma Anu stares at the tiny screen on her cell phone. This is the only place she can see her baby girl alive and well. Three-month-old Afrine (ph) died in the hospital with cigarette burns, bites and a dislocated neck. Police say her own father killed her. Why, because Afrine (ph) happened to be born a girl.


SIDNER: "After my delivery my husband had come to see me and the baby. After seeing the child he said, it's a girl? Why did you give birth to a girl she says." He wanted a boy, an heir. Reshma (ph) was devastated when she was given this ultimatum by her husband.


SIDNER: "For her wedding we would require 100,000 rupees (ph) for all the expenses. If you can get that amount from your mother, then you can keep her, but if you can't, then kill her." She couldn't and refused to kill her baby, so police say her husband did it himself.

(on camera): As brutal and shocking as this case may be, getting rid of babies just because they're girls is nothing new here in India. And many times it's done long before the child is born.

(voice-over): How, sex-selective abortions. India has a growing gap between the number of girls and the number of boys. The 2011 Census showed for every 1,000 boys there were only 914 girls. The gap was smaller 10 years ago.

(on camera): UNICEF has said India is the most dangerous place to be a girl. Would you agree with that, considering what you know about the subject?

DR. ANAND KRISHNAN, AIMS: (INAUDIBLE) this is from the point of view of mortality statistics for girls versus boys, I would say yes.

SIDNER (voice-over): Dr. Anand Krishnan has been researching the subject for years. Sex-selective abortions are against the law in India, but he says it is still happening, and he says there are more sex-selective abortions among the educated and well off than among the desperately poor and uneducated.


SIDNER (on camera): When you say that, basically what you're telling me is that families look at girls as a liability --

KRISHNAN: Absolutely.

SIDNER: -- and boys as almost a retirement.



SIDNER (voice-over): In traditional Indian families, the men marry and bring their bride home to live and take care of his parents. Girls marry and leave the home, providing no extra financial support, plus a girl's family can go broke trying to pay a dowry to get her married. Dowry is also outlawed in India but it's still as common as it ever was.

We travel to a village the Indian government says has one of the worst ratios of boys to girls in the country where the government has launched a campaign to change minds. But even though they wear t- shirts with messages about keeping girls, we still found many more young boys.


SIDNER: "Girls are mostly aborted here, she says. The people want more boys. There's a shortage of girls."

We met Chandravati while she was taking care of her neighbor's newborn baby girl, all the while, blowing cigarette smoke into the baby's face. She says the poorest people don't have the money to abort, so they're forced to keep girls. But those who can afford an ultrasound and abortion get rid of female fetuses.


SIDNER: "So much money is required to get them married. Where will the money come from, she says?" But for Reshma and her parents a baby, boy or girl, is a blessing.


SIDNER: "She had just come into the world. She is like a flower bud, and he killed her. I lost my daughter. What can be worse than this?" Reshma's husband is still waiting trial. Reshma is still mourning the chance to raise her first child just because she was born a girl.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Bangalore.


BLITZER: We'll be right back .


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

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour, Wolf, is how high should the retirement age be?

Randy wrote my favorite. "Fifty-five for people with real jobs like construction, firefighters, teachers, soldiers, cops, nurses, plumbers, the people who build and maintain this country, 55. Ninety- five for people wearing suits in cool buildings who shuffle papers, do credit default swaps, buy stocks, and write books, and ask stupid questions like how high should the retirement age be."

Gary writes "it could go as high as 85. The average life expectancy was about 60 years when Social Security was established. The average life expectancy now is about 80 years. Retirement age should be a function of life expectancy."

Shiloh writes "the success of a nation can be measured by how early its population can comfortably retire, the more successful, the younger the aggregate group."

Mike in New Orleans writes "the retirement age should be lowered not raised. Open up the work force so the next generation can get jobs."

Ivan writes "it better stay down at 65 until I get there."

Andrew in Pinehurst (ph), North Carolina, "Seventy years old for almost everybody, 51 for President Obama."

And Jayne in New Hampshire writes "it doesn't matter. The average person can't afford to retire at any age."

If you want to read more about this, got some funny e-mails, you go to the blog or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf. When are you going to retire, Wolf?

BLITZER: Never until I have to, hopefully a long, long time away --


BLITZER: You too, Jack. CAFFERTY: All right.

BLITZER: Thank you. So what if you could buy a bed that makes itself? Here is CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After all these centuries of making beds, finally someone is making a bed that makes itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would I get that -- in a second.

MOOS: It is called the smart bed. Three seconds after it senses a human has left the bed, it begins making itself. Up comes a little side board, then a mechanical arm pops up that gathers the cover. Eventually, the pillows are drawn up to make room. The whole thing takes about 50 seconds. Finally, the pillows plop down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the answer to a problem which doesn't exist.

MOOS: Tell that to messy teenagers, like the one who took to YouTube to mimic her mom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to have to make this bed. This bed is not going to make itself.

MOOS: Want to bet? A Spanish entrepreneur made the prototype. He is looking for financial backing. Who wouldn't want to snap their fingers like Mary Poppins and have beds make themselves.


MOOS: Or like George Jetson.


MOOS: Get jettisoned out as the bed puts itself away. The smart bed would require you to buy special bottom sheets that Velcro on, as well as a special duvet and pillow cases that accommodate cords that enable the bedding to move. No price has been put on the bed since it is still a prototype.

(on camera): But is the smart bed smart enough to handle a nocturnal apocalypse with sheets and pillows strewn about like bodies on a battlefield?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if you sleep as messily as I do --

MOOS: What if you kick the sheets --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, what happens when they hit the floor?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No the sheets. How do the sheets get back in the bed?

MOOS (voice-over): The bed that makes itself makes a lot of people skeptical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean that's ridiculous.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are the covers being pulled up?

MOOS (on camera): I mean it makes sense.


MOOS (voice-over): One person posted "yes, I can just see me getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and coming back to find my bed made." But you can always take it out of the automatic sensor mode and go manual, so you just push a button to make the bed. Someone on YouTube has already put the smart bed to music.


MOOS: It's downright majestic.


MOOS: But also a little creepy to arise from slumber and see your bedding slither.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am afraid this thing is going to jump out at me.

MOOS: New York.


BLITZER: It's not happening for me either. That's it. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.