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THE SITUATION ROOM
New Revolution in Egypt?; FOX News Chief Eyed Petraeus For President
Aired December 4, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And happening now: violent clashes as protesters try to storm Egypt's presidential palace. Is another revolution unfolding right now?
Before the David Petraeus scandal, the head of FOX News reportedly had a secret plan to try to make the general president of the United States.
And a shocking front-page photo of a man's subway death, critics say it crosses a dangerous line.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Up first this hour, President Obama lays out his latest bargaining position in the struggle to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. He only has 28 days the left to reach a deal with the Republicans in Congress before automatic spending cuts and tax hikes take effect. But instead of private negotiations, he's opting for a public appeal.
Let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, for the latest -- Jessica.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. That's right. Today, President Obama went public, rejecting Speaker Boehner's proposal for a deficit reduction plan and insisting that any deal must include a proposal to increase rates for the wealthiest. He did it all in a TV interview.
YELLIN (voice-over): What does President Obama think of Speaker Boehner's proposal to avert the fiscal cliff?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unfortunately, the speaker's proposal right now is still out of balance. He talks, for example, about $800 billion worth of revenues, but he says he's going to do that by lowering rates. And when you look at the math, it doesn't work.
YELLIN: And he won't agree to eliminate a tax deduction for contributions to charity.
OBAMA: Every hospital and university and not-for-profit agency across the country would suddenly find themselves on the verge of collapse. So that's not a realistic option.
YELLIN: But the president didn't say all this to Speaker Boehner. He said it in an interview on Bloomberg TV. The last time the two men spoke was almost a week ago. President Obama is focused on the stalemate with Congress over averting the fiscal cliff, but he's just not talking to House Republicans about it.
At the White House, he discussed the issue with a bipartisan group of governors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that the president certainly wants a deal and he didn't try to handicap it.
YELLIN: And earlier this week, he told so-called middle class Americans on Twitter, "Keep pressure on Congress." He's even ventured outside the Beltway rallying supporters to do just that.
OBAMA: I'm going to be asking for all of you to make your voices heard.
YELLIN: Why isn't he calling Speaker Boehner over for a White House meeting?
OBAMA: Speaker Boehner and I speak frequently. And I think the issue right now...
QUESTION: But when? When will the two of you sit down in a room?
OBAMA: I don't think that the issue right now has to do with sitting in a room.
YELLIN: In part, the White House was burned by the debt ceiling negotiations of 2011 when lots of meetings failed to stave off a fiscal nightmare.
But there's another strategy at play. Some in the administration say they learned in the first term the best way to break Washington stalemates, rally the public to their cause. Here's how the president put it to CBS News.
OBAMA: So getting out of this town, spending more time with the American people, listening to them and also then being in a conversation with them about where do we go together as a country, I need to do a better job of that in my second term.
QUESTION: Better job of explaining?
OBAMA: Yes, well, explaining, but also inspiring.
YELLIN: Now, Wolf, for now, negotiations between the White House and congressional Republicans are on deep freeze. At the White House, they are just waiting for the Republicans to blink and agree to raise rates for the wealthiest. Republicans are waiting for the White House to blink and agree that that won't be part of the deal. Neither side is budging, so right now, you have after staring contest -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And they're staring intensively. There's only a few weeks left. Thanks, Jessica, thanks very much.
Kate Bolduan is here. She's monitoring some of the other stories, including growing violence going on in Cairo right now?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Something we have been watching throughout the day.
Anti-government protesters got dangerously close to the presidential palace today. Police fired tear gas at the demonstrators after they broke through barbed wire keeping them away from the building. Just look at that video.
CNN's Reza Sayah was at the presidential palace today and he's joining us now live.
Reza, you were there, you were among the protesters. What did you see? What did you hear? What's the latest?
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For about an hour, there was some tense moments, Kate, outside the presidential palace. That's where protesters started throwing rocks, debris, and they broke through a barrier set up by security forces.
They got close to the palace. Police responded by firing tear gas. The question was, would things get uglier? Would things escalate? They did not. Police changed their strategy, they retreated, they went back behind palace walls and immediately things started to calm down.
At no point was there any indication that the president was in danger, according to state media. He left to a safer location and the protests continued outside the palace. These are the opposition factions, the liberals, moderates, women's rights groups who feel that they have been sidelined by the president and the Muslim Brotherhood in the process by which this draft constitution was written, Kate.
BOLDUAN: And they think it's been really kind of rushed through as they have all been standing by, watching. And, Reza, there sure doesn't seem to be any end in sight to these protests. They're very passionate. Does the opposition really have any other option, though, other than simply protesting?
SAYAH: Well, that's the big question. The way things look like right now, the momentum has shifted in favor of the president, of course. He has executive powers. He's inherited legislative powers. He has additional powers with those controversial decrees.
And his position is, people should go out and if they don't like the constitution, vote no on December 15. And his position is, if they vote yes, all those additional powers will be immediately annulled. He's hoping that's going to calm down the opposition factions. It doesn't look like they have a lot of options other than protesting. That's what they continue to do at this hour, Kate. BOLDUAN: Reza Sayah on the ground for us in Cairo. Thanks so much, Reza.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit more about what's going on in Egypt right now, the cycle of protests, the anti-government anger.
We're joined now by Fouad Ajami. He's a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Fouad, listen to what Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, told me today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Even as the international community obviously applauded Egypt's efforts in bringing about the cease-fire in Gaza, there is concern and anxiety about what's happening there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So are we on the verge of another revolution in Egypt?
FOUAD AJAMI, HOOVER INSTITUTION: You know, Wolf, it's very interesting. Now, we know that President Morsi has a Ph.D from the University of Southern California in structural engineering.
We know that he may be a very good engineer, but he sure is a very poor politician. You get elected with 51.7 percent of the vote. You know have a polarized, divided country, and then you impose these emergency powers on November 22.
And listen to this. Figure this out. On November 22, he grants the constitutional assembly that's drafting the constitution two more months, and, lo and behold, a week later, on November 29, this constitutional assembly, without women, without secularists, without cops, gives the country a new constitution. It's not a very brilliant democratic game to play.
BLITZER: So what do you see unfolding in the weeks and months to come as far as President Morsi is concerned?
AJAMI: Well, look, I think Morsi has played his game and I think Reza was absolutely right. Basically, the argument of Morsi is, you folks need to wait. And on December 15, you can vote. You can vote this constitution up or down.
And, see, there's kind of a great irony about this. I mean, he rushed this constitution in order to rid himself of the very constitution -- of the very power he claimed in that constitution and declaration. It's a model. It's a model. I think that there is a fight in Egypt over the so-called January 25 revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak.
To whom does this revolution belong? Does it belong to the Brotherhood or does it belong to the liberals, the constitutionalists, the young people who went out in Tahrir Square night after night for 18 days, and brought down the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak?
BOLDUAN: And, Fouad, you say that President Morsi isn't a very good politician. The whole world is watching Egypt and watching the kind of beginnings of democracy, this new democracy working. When you look at President Morsi, do you see him trying to work, albeit flawed, toward democracy, or is he working towards something else, like a dictatorship?
AJAMI: You know, Kate, we really don't know. This is the big monumental question about the Muslim Brotherhood.
Do they see democracy as a means to capture power or do they believe in it? Do they believe in democracy? That is the question that needs to be answered, that's begging for an answer, not only in Egypt, but in Tunisia, in other places where the Islamists come to power. It is, are they devoted to democracy or are they devoted to the rule of the Sharia?
And what you have now among the Morsi followers is they believe they want -- I have read this -- they want bread, freedom, and Sharia. Well, that's not exactly what the secularists, what the liberals had hoped for.
BOLDUAN: When you look at the political situation in Egypt, kind of beyond President Morsi, do you think the situation would be any different if there was a different president? I mean, there was so much talk of Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate. He's a very popular figure -- if he -- say he would have been president.
AJAMI: I love this question.
We really don't know what the real answer to this is. We do know that in fact the liberals split their votes. They split their vote in the first round of the elections. And you ended up with this odd outcome. You ended up in the second round, in the ultimate round, with a man from the Mubarak years against the Muslim Brotherhood.
So I think it was really the liberals, the constitutionalists, the secularists who really divided their own ranks and made their own life very difficult.
BLITZER: It seems like the whole region in North Africa, the Middle East is in turmoil right now. Fouad, is this still the Arab spring we're talking about or have we moved on to something totally different?
AJAMI: Well, I think, you know me, Wolf. I am true blue to this Arab spring. I believe in this democratic wave. It's very difficult. I think we're witnessing in many ways -- and it's not really spin that I say here. We're witnessing the delayed consequences of decades of dictatorship, decades of dictatorship, six decades of dictatorships in Egypt and four decades of tyranny in Libya and on and on.
I mean, these countries in the Arab world had been badly governed for decades. And once you remove the lid, all the contradictions and frustrations of these societies come to the surface. BLITZER: Fouad Ajami, thanks very much for joining us.
AJAMI: Thank you both. Thank you.
BLITZER: The FOX News chief, Roger Ailes, is getting some heat right now. He reportedly tried to recruit General David Petraeus as a Republican presidential candidate. We will take a look at the secret talks and the ethical questions involved. Stay with us.
BLITZER: The former CIA chief, David Petraeus, is back in the news today, but not because of his resignation or his extramarital affair. We're now learning about a secret attempt to encourage General Petraeus to run for the Republican presidential nomination and the chairman of FOX News reportedly was behind the idea.
Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is joining us with more information.
What are you learning, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, apparently this proposal was made before David Petraeus was tapped to run the CIA. And this all goes back to the fact that some Republicans were longing for alternatives to the official GOP candidates in the race, and as an audio recording reported by "The Washington Post" reveals, FOX News chief Roger Ailes appears to step out of the role of a traditional news executive to recruit a potential alternative.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Before the extramarital affair that just last month forced David Petraeus to step down as director of the CIA, he was so popular in Republican circles that Roger Ailes, the chairman of FOX News, tried to enlist the four-star general to run for president back in 2011 according to a recorded conversation obtained by "Washington Post" reporter and author Bob Woodward.
DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I'm not running.
ACOSTA: Making the pitch to Petraeus is K.T. McFarland, a FOX News national security analyst. McFarland tells the general that Ailes was willing to give up his job at the network to run a Petraeus campaign.
GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS: If I ever ran I would take him up on his offer. He said he would quit FOX and bankroll it.
K.T. MCFARLAND, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Bankroll it?
PETRAEUS: Or maybe I'm confusing that with Rupert.
MCFARLAND: I know Roger has done OK. Bankrolling it is the big boss. Big boss is going to bankroll it. Roger's going to run it and the rest of us are going to in house it.
ACOSTA: That big boss, she says, was Rupert Murdoch, head of FOX News parent company "News Corporation." But Petraeus repeatedly shoots down the idea.
PETRAEUS: My wife would divorce me.
ACOSTA: After Petraeus later accepted the job at the CIA, McFarland went on FOX to talk about her conversation with the general, but she never mentioned the Ailes' offer.
MCFARLAND: I think that Petraeus doesn't want to run. I asked him that question and he said I'm not running for president.
ACOSTA: Ailes told the "Washington Post," he did ask McFarland to approach Petraeus, but added: "It was more of a joke, a wise-ass way I have. I thought the Republican field needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate. It sounds like she thought she was on a secret mission in the Reagan administration. She was way out of line."
CNN media critic Howard Kurtz says one part of the Petraeus pitch is plausible.
HOWARD KURTZ, "RELIABLE SOURCES": The idea that Rupert Murdoch would bankroll the Petraeus candidacy is not that far-fetched when you consider that Murdoch has given on a couple of vacations, seven-figure sums to the Republican Party.
ACOSTA: Murdoch repeatedly injected himself into race, saying on Twitter last July: "Met Romney last week. Tough Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team," and: "Romney people upset at me. Of course I want him to win, save us from socialism."
Republican operatives say they had a sense during the campaign that some at FOX had their favorites.
JOHN BRABENDER, FORMER SANTORUM CAMPAIGN ADVISER: You do have people over there that had candidates they weren't shy about saying stuff for.
ACOSTA: By the way, that operative there, John Brabender, who you just saw, he works for Rick Santorum, who, by the way, meets with Roger Ailes later this week. As for Ailes, we reached out to the network for a comment, but did not get a response.
BLITZER: Rick Santorum was a FOX News contributor.
ACOSTA: That's right.
BLITZER: Newt Gingrich was a FOX News contributor.
ACOSTA: That's right. BLITZER: Several of those Republican presidential candidates.
And I guess the question is, it's one thing for Rupert Murdoch. You know, he's a big shot. He can get involved in politics, but for a news executive to get involved, that raises a whole set of other questions out there.
ACOSTA: That's right. And, you know, that sort of gets into this world of questions about FOX News and its role in news. Are they a news organization or are they, as many Democrats suggest, an arm of the Republican Party?
I know you asked Paul Begala and Mary Matalin about that earlier this afternoon. And this ignites fierce debate. But I will tell you that, having talked to a lot of Republican operatives during that campaign, there were some who felt, you know what, we don't always get a fair shake from FOX, if we're not their selected candidate, if we're not the candidate that they want out there.
I had one of the top-tier Republican candidates who was there at the very end of this contest say to me, personally, hey, I feel like I didn't get a fair deal from them. They were out there basically in the tank for the other guy.
BLITZER: Yes, but if you listen to the audio on WashingtonPost.com, that conversation that K.T. McFarland had with General Petraeus, it is pretty stunning when you hear it. She didn't think it was a joke. She was taking it very, very seriously. She's a former high-ranking official in the Defense Department during the Bush administration.
ACOSTA: That's right. And as you see in our piece, she went on FOX News a couple of days later, after Petraeus was tapped to head the CIA, and basically recounted much of what was said during that discussion.
At the same time, as we're all talking about partisan media and so forth, keep in mind, you know, the prime-time pundits and anchors over at MSNBC were over at the White House this afternoon meeting with President Obama on the administration's proposals for getting the fiscal cliff passed up on Capitol Hill.
So, you know, I would say a lot of Republicans who would look at this story say, hey, wait a minute, we're just doing what the other guys are doing, which is why MSNBC got into the business that they're in. They're doing, hey, we're doing what FOX News used to be doing all the time.
BOLDUAN: And the circle continues, yes.
ACOSTA: That's right.
BLITZER: Not us, though.
BOLDUAN: Not us. Thanks. Jim Acosta, thank you so much.
Still ahead: parts of the Midwest literally being torn apart by a vicious mix of wind, rain, and even snow. Up next, we will go live to the scene of this massive sinkhole, just look at that, where the worst could be yet to come.
BLITZER: A series of storms is pummeling the Pacific Northwest right now, with more bad weather on the way.
Kate's back. She's got that, some of the day's other top stories.
What's going on, Kate?
BOLDUAN: It's pretty amazing stuff, Wolf.
Another storm hit Washington, Oregon, and Northern California today and more heavy rain is expected to pound the region through tomorrow. Flooding is causing problems like sinkholes.
CNN's Dan Simon is standing in front of a huge one in Lafayette, California.
Dan, another round of storms is coming, as Wolf said. Can that rain-soaked area handle anymore rain?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's just a mess, Kate, and the forecast is bad news for these rain-soaked communities.
Let me explain where I am. I'm in Lafayette, California, standing inside a sinkhole. This is pretty dramatic. It's 80 feet long, 40 feet wide, 15 deep. Let me explain how this happened. The water was gushing beneath the road here. There's a creek.
And basically, the soil just ripped away and it caused the street to cave in with it. Crews have been working all day, trying to clear out these large chunks of concrete. They also had to create these alternative lines, these temporary lines for water and sewage to service this neighborhood, so they didn't, you know, go without basic services.
The weather has been terrible here in the Bay Area for the last week. We have had three major storms. We're expecting a fourth storm tonight. So some more rain is really the last thing this community needs. There have been all kinds of problems, besides this sinkhole. There have been a lot of power outages. At one point, you had 340,000 people in this region without power. So we hope we don't see a repeat of that tonight, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Yes, clearly, they cannot handle any more of that rain. Dan Simon in California for us, thanks so much, Dan.
(NEWS BREAK) BLITZER: Other news we're following, including Iran. It's bragging that it's captured another U.S. spy drone. But who does it really belong to? The photos, the theories -- next.
BLITZER: The NATO secretary-general is promising an immediate reaction if Syria unleashes chemical weapons into its civil war, and the alliance is giving Turkey new means to protect itself, approving the deployment of Patriot air defense missiles along its border with Syria.
CNN's foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, NATO insists that the deployment of Patriot missiles is defensive only, not part of any plan for a no-fly zone over Syria.
(voice-over): At NATO headquarters in Brussels, the alliance gives the green light for deploying Patriot missile air defense systems to Turkey to protect that ally against possible attack from Syria, including any possible use of chemical weapons.
ANDERS FOGH BASMUSSEN, NATO SECURITY GENERAL: The NATO ministers unanimously expressed grave concerns about reports that the Syrian regime may be considering the use of chemical weapons. Any such action would be completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law.
DOUGHERTY: The move comes amidst U.S. concerns that the Assad regime may be, quote, "cooking up recipes," mixing materials for chemicals. That possible preparation is taking place at more than one chemical plant in Syria, officials say.
U.S. intelligence shows nothing has been moved out of the facilities, however, and officials say there is no indication Syria is on the verge of using chemical weapons.
In Turkey Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the deployment of Patriot missiles unnecessary. "Syria," he said, "is far from plotting any attack on its neighbors. It is absolutely unrealistic." But Tuesday at NATO, Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said any use of chemical weapons has grave implications, while downplaying reports about Syria.
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We can call them rumors; we can call them leakage, that Syrian authorities are moving the stockpile of chemical weapons or that they want to move those weapons. As soon as we hear such messages, we engage in responses to marches (ph), and every time we get confirmation that nothing of that sort is being prepared.
DOUGHERTY: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent the day meeting with her fellow ministers as they approved a plan to provide Turkey with the missiles. NATO says the number of Patriot missiles and their precise location along the Turkish/Syrian border still needs to be worked out. It could be weeks before the equipment is in place.
(on camera) U.S. officials insist the intelligence about Syria's chemical weapons was strong enough to warrant President Obama's warning. But they say, at the moment, there is no imminent planning for any U.S. military action -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jill Dougherty, thanks very much. On top of all of this, Kate, there's another dispute now between the U.S. and Iran.
BOLDUAN: At issue is the claim that -- that Iran has seized one of America's most effective weapons. Brian Todd has been looking into this.
Brian, what are you finding out?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Kate, this is another episode in what many call the shadow war between Iran and the United States. Now, drones are a big part of that, and now there are claims and counterclaims about this capture and who this drone really belongs to.
TODD: The Iranian authorities display what they say is a captured American drone. According to Iranian officials, it was spotted carrying out, quote, "spying operations in the Persian Gulf in recent days." U.S. officials say it's not an actively operating U.S. Navy drone and doesn't belong to the CIA. The White House says...
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have no evidence that the Iranian claims you cite are true.
TODD: The Iranians say the unmanned aerial vehicle is a Scan Eagle, a small drone made by a Boeing subsidiary named InSitu. It's only 4 feet long with a 10-foot wingspan. Iranian officials say the one they displayed was captured by Revolutionary Guard anti-aircraft squad.
(on camera) Would it take an anti-aircraft squad to bring one of these down?
CAITLIN LEE: Well, Brian, that's hard to believe, because this is actually a very small UAV. It weighs in at 40 pounds, on average. So the idea that some kind of artillery piece would blast this thing out of the sky doesn't seem believable, because that would just shatter it to bits.
TODD (voice-over): Caitlin Lee is an expert on drones with Jane's Defense Weekly. Lee and other experts tell us the drone on display in Iran could have been downed by weather or a navigation problem. (on camera) A year ago, Iran claimed to have shot down another U.S. drone, the high-altitude RQ-170 Sentinel. U.S. officials said it crashed in the Iranian desert after leaving a base in Afghanistan. Well, either way, the Iranians were so pleased with the thing, that they created a toy model out of that drone. This one comes in a cool pattern in pink. On the box, the words "Captured by the Iranian Muslim youth," and for good measure, "We will crush American hegemony." Experts say the drone now on display by the Iranians ain't like this one.
Unlike the high-tech RQ-170 that is used for sensitive missions, experts say the Scan Eagle would not fly deep into Iranian air space to possibly spy on nuclear facilities. It's so low-tech, it can be launched by a catapult and caught with a rope. It might scan for smugglers or aggressive military boats.
LEE: This little UAV actually was first developed for use by fisherman to watch tuna fleets.
TODD: But if this isn't America's drone, whose is it? CNN contacted InSitu. They told us their clients include seven countries outside the U.S. but didn't mention any in the Middle East. One possibility in that region...
LEE: I have seen some reports that UAE may have these Scan Eagle drones. And I did see InSitu, which makes the Scan Eagle in partnership with Boeing, put out a press release in 2011 saying that it had partnered with a company in Abu Dhabi to manufacture spare parts and some services for Scan Eagles.
TODD: We could not get response from UAE officials or InSitu to our inquiries over whether UAE possesses that drone, makes parts for it, or does anything else with it -- Wolf, Kate.
BLITZER: If they have this drone, it's a real drone. What kind of information could they learn from it, that potentially could be useful?
TODD: Experts say not a lot of information, not a lot of technology they could get out of it. Some of the electra-optical infrared technology -- the nose cone, if you can believe that -- is pretty good. They say it can take good pictures, high res, things like that, and the capability of packing that into such a small frame is something that the Iranians could learn how to build from this on.
BOLDUAN: We can't let you go until you show us what you're obviously getting your kids for Christmas.
TODD: Right. The holiday season. I know you guys are tempted (ph) here. This is that toy. The Iranians made a toy out of it. They marketed it last year after they captured this American drone, the RQ-170. That was -- it says, "American hegemony" on the box.
BLITZER: No, it says we will crush American... TODD: That's right. Captured by the Iranian Muslim youth. But anyway, it's very interesting they marketed this whole thing. I don't know how big a seller it is in Iran, but there you have it.
BLITZER: A very popular item.
They call it the RQ-170.
BOLDUAN: They sure do.
BLITZER: Thank you.
There's growing speculation that the actress Ashley Judd is actually considering a new role challenging the Republican leader in the Senate. Is this hype? Is it for real? What's going on? Stand by.
BLITZER: This is really an amazing story. The Internet security pioneer John McAfee has now turned up in Guatemala and says he will seek asylum there Wednesday.
BOLDUAN: That's tomorrow. He's being sought by authorities in Belize for questioning about the fatal shooting of his neighbor in November.
BLITZER: As we reported yesterday, he denies any part in the killing and recently did an exclusive interview with CNN's Martin savage. Martin is joining us on the phone right now.
Do we know how he got into Guatemala, Martin?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): No, we don't. I mean, when we met with him on Friday, and even in the conversations on the telephone leading up to that interview, Wolf, he gave every indication that he might be running. He wouldn't say where he was going. Mexico seemed likely, because of its close proximity.
But then once we sat down and met with him and realized that his girlfriend was from Guatemala, well, it sort of rang in my head that that was probably the way that he was going to go, because then she would have connections.
He did imply that, if he did run, it was going to be a journey probably by water, and he said it was going to take him about three days. But, you know, with John McAfee, he says a lot. How much of it is really true, you never really know unless you're there with him. So it's hard to say. He will certainly claim it is being a very dramatic, very arduous case, but since he's not really wanted, how much of a dangerous escape it really was, it's only in his mind.
BOLDUAN: And Martin, as we've said, McAfee will be seeking asylum in Guatemala, so what does that mean for Belize authorities who are still pursuing him?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, it's an interesting question. It's one, you know, that I put to the authorities. I said, well, what would happen, how would the posture of your investigation change? And they said, "Well, it really wouldn't."
Although, even just now, when we questioned the authorities down there in Belize, they say they have reliable police information that tells them he did not leave the country, which is kind of interesting, because I also had a conversation with a very close friend of his, and she also said, you know, he is a master of deception. He may not have left the country. You have the photograph, of course, with him meeting his attorney, but did he really go? I don't know. There's all this subterfuge that people put out there and leave you guessing.
But authorities in Belize say it would not change their investigation, nor would it change the charges against him, at least so far.
BLITZER: And when you were in Belize, I understand, Martin, you had your -- some of your own equipment stolen there? What happened?
SAVIDGE: Well, less than 24 hours after having our interview with John McAfee, someone got into my hotel room and stole my laptop computer and my iPhone. What was interesting was, they left the chargers behind for both, even though they were connected. In other words, somebody wanted just the devices. If they wanted to resell them, I thought they'd take the power cord. But I don't know. It certainly adds just more curiosity to a case that has no shortage of it, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly does. Martin Savidge on the scene for us, as he always is. Thank you.
Other news, including the most powerful Republican in the United States Senate, he might be facing a surprising challenger in two years, if you believe all the speculation that's out there. There's talk that the actress Ashley Judd is considering whether to run against the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.
Here's CNN's entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner.
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: I'll think about it.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator Ashley Judd? The star of the TV series "Missing" may try to make it her next role.
JUDD: I enjoy coming to Washington.
TURNER: According to Politico, the Hollywood star is seriously exploring a run for Senate in her home state of Kentucky in the 2014 midterm election against Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.
JUDD: I am very proud to be a Kentuckyian.
TURNER: Politico says she even discussed the idea with Democrats in Congress. CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser says either way, her star power is a big plus.
PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: She is well known across the country and in Kentucky. She'll probably excite Democrats and especially liberals across the country. That could equal a lot of money.
TURNER: Judd, an outspoken supporter of President Obama, is no stranger to the political scene. She was a Tennessee delegate at the Democratic National Convention in September and is widely recognized for her work in environmental and social issues.
The actress has devoted her time to fighting poverty in third- world countries as a board member of Population Services International, a D.C.-based group with programs worldwide targeting issues like malaria, HIV, and reproductive health.
But her stance on one environmental issue in the eastern Kentucky Appalachians could have an impact on any potential bid for Senate.
JUDD: I hope you will commit your journalistic integrity to stop mountaintop removal immediately.
TURNER: Judd is a critic of a method where companies remove the tops of mountains, usually with explosives, for easier access to coal.
JUDD: The preciousness of these mountains is a natural endowment that should be treated as sacred.
TURNER: And let's not forget, she would be running against the most powerful Senate Republican.
STEINHAUSER: He's got deep roots in the state. He's got a very powerful machine there. So any Democrat, be it Ashley Judd, or anybody else, is going to have a very, very big uphill challenge against Mitch McConnell in the midterm elections.
TURNER: Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.
BLITZER: A spokeswoman for Judd had no comment, but referred CNN to a statement it released last month when reports surfaced that the actress might consider a move to politics.
Then Judd said she was honored by the consideration. She noted that the 2012 election had just ended. She didn't rule out the possibility of a Senate run in the future. Let's see if she's interested.
BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts at the top of the hour. We -- Erin, we hear you've arranged quite the debate over whether Republicans should compromise on taxes. Give us a preview.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to have both sides of that. Grover Norquist, of course, already our guest. He's going to say, well, look, we shouldn't have tax increases in this country no matter what, no matter how, no way.
And then we're going to have Congressman Tom Cole on, who broke ranks with the Republican Party, by saying, "You know what? Let's extend the Bush tax cuts for people making under $250,000 a year and do the rest of it later." Sort of something like the president had put forth. So we have both of those sides tonight.
Plus, we're going to talk about the movie "Zero Dark 30." It's already getting Oscar buzz. It's about the raid and the capture of Osama bin Laden. And I know, Kate and Wolf, you may be aware there's all this concern as to whether there was classified information that was leaked to the filmmakers that could put the U.S. in jeopardy. We have a special "OUTFRONT" investigative report on what information was leaked. Top of the hour.
Back to you.
BOLDUAN: Looking forward to it. Erin Burnett, thanks so much.
BLITZER: Looking forward to seeing the movie myself.
It started with a fight in the subway and ended with a man's death and a front-page photo that makes the story even more shocking.
BLITZER: The "New York Post" is certainly known for sensational front-page photos and headlines.
BOLDUAN: But today's cover showing a man just moments before a subway train killed him is especially outrageous. So is the story behind it. Mary Snow has been looking into that for us.
Mary, what are you finding out?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, police are now questioning a 30-year-old man after canvassing surveillance videos. They say they spotted him on video helping street vendors and that they found him not far from yesterday's tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
SNOW (voice-over): Why exactly these men were fighting is unclear. But moments after this video obtained by the New York Police was recorded, 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han, whose face is obscured, was pushed onto the tracks, police say, by the man yelling at him. A subway barreling through the station killed Han with horrified onlookers unable to save him. NIGEL GRANT, WITNESS: I know they was keep arguing and -- with each other and stuff. And I saw people trying to flag the train down before the train got to him.
SNOW (on camera): The fight happened around 12:30 in the afternoon on this platform that's only about ten feet wide. A doctor who was on the platform says that the victim was trying to protect people that he didn't know. And she says that many people tried to help him by alerting subway personnel.
The victim was struck, and she says she performed three to four minutes of chest compressions on him, but it was too late.
(voice-over) One eyewitness describes the train coming to an abrupt stop three quarters into the station.
PATRICK GOMEZ, WITNESS: People are just standing in fear and shock not knowing what's going on. Some people started running out of the platform. You know, other people just stood there and really didn't know what was going on.
SNOW: The suspect, meantime, was able to slip out of the station into Times Square. And police canvassed the area with his image, placed on wanted posters placed in the streets.
But it was another image in this cruel killing that has sparked an uproar. This is one of several photographs published by the "New York Post" of Han facing the train seconds before his death. The Post quotes the photographer saying he tried to warn the train operator by running towards him firing off his camera flash.
But online, there were public comments of disgust: "Wow, enough time to take a few pictures. Why didn't the person help?" "What an age we live in, when getting the picture is more important. I am appalled."
SNOW: We reached out to the photographer, and the "New York Post," but both declined our request for comment.
As for Han, he is among the more than 5 million people who ride the New York City subway on any given day. Police tell us, he was on his way to the Korean consulate to get his passport renewed -- Kate and Wolf.
BOLDUAN: Such a tough story. Mary Snow, thank you so much.
Still ahead, the world more -- more on the world's most-watched pregnancy.
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BOLDUAN: There goes the Blanchette Bridge. If you were anywhere near St. Charles, Missouri, you might have heard the massive blast that sent a half million pounds of steel plunging into the Missouri River. This morning, the demolition is part of an ongoing renovation of the spans that carry Interstate 70 over the Missouri River. All of the bystanders sure seemed to enjoy watching it go down.
BLITZER: Pretty impressive blast, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Pretty amazing stuff.
BLITZERE: There is also media fascination with Britain's royal pregnancy. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Talk about an ultrasound. It's the sound of the world press clicking at the father of the royal fetus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big baby news.
CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, CBS'S "THE LATE LATE SHOW": She's got a crumpet in the nobble (ph) pot. A -- a doodle in the noodle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens if they have twins?
MOOS: First one out gets the throne. No joke.
MICHAEL STRAHAN, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH KELLY & MICHAEL": Those babies will be there elbowing, "I'm out first! I want to be the heir!" "I'm out first!"
MOOS: This is definitely a first. The first royal to have competing parody Twitter accounts while still in the womb. This royal fetus says, "I live inside a princess." While this royal fetus says," It's hardly Buckingham Palace in here."
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC'S "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": You can tell the baby is a member of the royal family, because Kate said she can already feel it waving.
MOOS: The duchess is probably not laughing at this point, because of a medical condition that's a mouthful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's called hyperemesis gravidarum.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A case of hyperemesis gravidarum.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hyperemesis gravidarum.
MOOS (on camera): When you're covering this story, there is nothing wrong with a pregnant pause.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kate has hyperemesis.
KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH KELLY & MICHAEL": Hyperemesis gravidarum, which sounds like a Harry Potter thing. But...
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": Hyperemesis gravidarum, which means you throw up a lot.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, ABC'S "THE VIEW": Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kind of like morning sickness on steroids.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is morning sickness like a tornado is a little wind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's more like morning, noon and night sickness.
MOOS (voice-over): And you can expect morning, noon and night coverage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll be here for months.
HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: Now, I can't be the only person who doesn't give a crap that Kate Middleton is having a royal baby.
MOOS: Don't be so stern, Howard. It's a baby.
At a hockey game in Calgary, Canada, the crowd celebrated by throwing more than 21,000 teddy bears onto the ice. OK, it had nothing to do with the announcement of the royal pregnancy. The stuffed teddies go to needy kids. But, hey, it happened just the day before the baby news went public, foretelling the blessed event.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that her holding her abdomen?
MOOS: Anyway, the duchess could probably use a teddy, the way she's been feeling, while the whole world is watching.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps the most public gestation since the latest expecting panda.
MOOS: At least the panda didn't have to bear morning, noon and night sickness.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: I feel bad. She's obviously not feeling so good right now.
BOLDUAN: Poor girl.
BLITZER: We're all obsessed. How is she feeling? A lot of speculation...
BOLDUAN: The media coverage.
BLITZER: ... she might have twins. And that's why she's got the severe morning sickness the first trimester.
BOLDUAN: I don't think if you -- your wife was in the hospital dealing with something like this, we would be outside of the hospital.
BLITZER: A little bit -- a little bit too much.
BOLDUAN: A little bit too much.
BLITZER: Comes with the territory.
BOLDUAN: I guess it does.
BLITZER: Remember, you can always follow what's going on in THE SITUATION ROOM if you want to. We're on Twitter. You can tweet me, @WolfBlitzer.
BOLDUAN: You can tweet me, @KateBolduan.
BLITZER: And you want to spell Kate Bolduan?
BOLDUAN: No, I don't, because people know.
BLITZER: They already know?
BOLDUAN: They can go on the Google.
BLITZER: It's not the usual spelling.
BOLDUAN: That's not the typical spelling.
BLITZER: That's it for us. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.