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New Pope Elected; President Obama Meets With Republicans; Cardinal Dolan Hails New Pope; Obama Meets with House Republicans; Banned Items Yield Big Profit

Aired March 13, 2013 - 18:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: a new pope, Francis making history in more ways than one.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to speak to one of the cardinals who was part of this groundbreaking election.

BOLDUAN: Plus, a big meeting on Capitol Hill, President Obama huddling behind closed doors with Republicans.

I'm Kate Bolduan.

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

BOLDUAN: There you have it, Pope Francis, the new historic leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. Just a few hours ago, he was cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina.

BLITZER: Now he's the first pope from South America, the first Jesuit and first to take the name of the most venerated figures of the Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi, a name symbolizing poverty, humility and simplicity.

Moments after he revealed himself, Pope Francis sent a message to the world.


POPE FRANCIS, LEADER OF CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): Let us begin this journey together, the successor and the people. And this journey for the Roman Catholic Church, it is a journey of friendship, of love, of trust, and faith between us.

Let us pray always for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, because let us have a big brotherhood.


COOPER: CNN's Anderson Cooper is on the scene for us at St. Peter's Square.

Anderson, you were there when we saw the white smoke. We waited about an hour. Then we saw the new pope. What was it like? ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It was an extraordinary moment. And to be in the square soon after we saw the white smoke, I actually literally ran over to the square a few blocks away from where we are right now.

Along with tens of thousands of other people here who were literally running through the streets in order to try to get there in time, people sending each other text messages, calling each other -- the square quickly filled up. Tens of thousands of people there. So much joy and excitement. A lot of young people there singing, chanting, and then to actually see the pope for the first time, to learn his identity.

I talked to a number of people from Argentina in the crowd who could not have been more thrilled. In fact, a lot of people from South America, from Latin America, Central America, and who could not have been more thrilled to see a Spanish-speaking pope.

I'm here with our senior Vatican analyst, John Allen.

John, it's not to be underestimated the importance of the name that he has selected, Pope Francis.


We have been ticking off all of the firsts about this new pope. The first pope from Latin America, the first non-European pope in at least 1,000 years, the first member of the Society of the Jesus, the Jesuits. But of all those firsts, seen through Catholic eyes, by far the most stunning first is the first pope to take the name Francis.

It used to be said traditionally that there's only one Francis, that no one can take that name because it's a singular figure in the Catholic imagination.

And, obviously, as your first act -- let's remember, the choice of the name, and that's the first thing you do as pope when you cross that two-thirds threshold in the conclave. The first question you're asked is, do you accept your election? If you say yes, you're the pope. The second question, and therefore the first act you take as pope is the choice of name. You're asked what name you wish to be called.

Clearly, this pope wanted to send a signal of a break with the past, a bold break with tradition, to embrace everything that Francis represents in the mind of the church and the mind of the world, this spirit of humility, of poverty, of closeness to the little ones. Francis talked about his love affair with lady poverty. All at once, he has summoned an entirely new image of what leadership in the church is going to look like.

COOPER: And there was a sense of humility as he stood on that balcony this evening.

ALLEN: Oh, unquestionably. Let's remember that, when he came out, before he delivered the blessing, and of course, that whole point of that moment actually is for the pope to deliver this Urbi et Orbi blessing, the blessing to the city and to the world. But before he did that, he said before I bless you, I want you to bless me. And then he knelt in silence and waited for that to happen. It was a marvelous symbolic way of communicating.

But sometimes the church and church leaders can speak better and more eloquently with their silence than with their words.

COOPER: In the days running up to this, there has been much discussion about divisions within the church, divisions among these 115 cardinals and where those divisions might lead in terms of who might get elected. What does it tell you about the fact that this is the man who actually got elected, that it wasn't the cardinal from Brazil that some people had said the people who run the Vatican bureaucracy were backing, or it wasn't the cardinal from Milan that many of the so-called reformers were thought to be backing?

ALLEN: Well, I think it is striking.

Of course, as you know, Anderson, one of the drumbeats leading up to this was a certain frustration with business as usual inside the Vatican and a desire to break from that. Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has never worked in the Vatican and he in that sense an outsider.

He also has a public record of being critical of some aspects of the way the Vatican and the Roman Curia has been run. I think that's quite consistent with what we were hearing from many cardinals, that they wanted somebody who was not part of the culture here, that could bring a dose of sort of real-world experience, pastoral experience, being in the trenches with peoples, knowing their hopes, their dreams and their own frustrations.

COOPER: He had been in the running when Cardinal Ratzinger, then Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope.

ALLEN: Yes. Based upon everything we know, all the reconstructions of the conclave eight years ago, he was in effect the runner-up finisher in 2005.

In fact, in the profile I did of Cardinal Bergoglio as a papal candidate, I said in trying to handicap papal elections, we don't have the tools we normally have in secular politics. We don't have tracking polls. We don't have campaign war chests. We don't have crowd sizes.

One thing we did have this time was past performance. We knew that Cardinal Bergoglio had been a serious candidate last time. Therefore, you have to take him seriously this time. And, as it turns out, the second time was the charm.

COOPER: All the talk now, Wolf, is over, and of course, the work for this pope begins right away, as he learns all the movements that he now has to make and begins to take the helm of this huge institution, this worldwide institution, and the hopes of more than 1.2 billion Catholics around the world are now placed in this man, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, it's an enormous challenge, a huge, huge responsibility.

John, before we let you go, I read your piece, it was an excellent piece you posted back on March 3 about the man who is now the new pope. Among things you wrote, he appealed to conservatives in the College of Cardinals as a man who held the man against liberalizing currents among the Jesuits and to moderates as a symbol of the church's commitment to the developing world.

In other words, he appealed to a lot of people. That's why he's now pope.

ALLEN: Well, sure, Wolf.

Listen, I think the 115 cardinals, including, of course, Cardinal Bergoglio himself, who went into the Sistine Chapel to make this decision, were well aware that this is in many ways, the Catholic Church, a badly divided church. Any family that includes 1.2 billion members is going to have a lot of different currents in it.

In his own life, Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis profiled as someone who had a record of straddling those divides within his own religious congregation, in his own very sprawling archdiocese in Buenos Aires. He is a man who has a history of being able to bring together a variety of different instincts and outlooks on things.

Now, of course, he's going to have to try to be that reconciler and that bridge builder. Remember, the word pontiff actually means bridge builder. He now has the challenge and the opportunity to do that on a much vaster, global scale.

BLITZER: John Allen, our senior Vatican analyst, thanks very much.

Anderson, of course, will have much, more coming up at 8:00 Eastern "A.C. 360."

BOLDUAN: Let's get a closer look at Pope Francis the man.

And CNN's Lisa Sylvester has been looking into this.

Who is Pope Francis?

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The first question that people had is, what exactly do we call him? Is he Pope Francis I, or do we just call him Pope Francis? To clear that up, the guidance that we're getting from the Vatican is it's just Pope Francis.

But there is a lot of meaning in choosing the name Francis, a saint known for living a simple life.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): Pope Francis is the first in many ways, the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the new world, and the first one to take the name Francis. As Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he lived in a simple apartment, not the archbishop's palace.

He took the bus instead of a chauffeured limo. And he cooked his own meals. In short, his life was modeled on simplicity, like that of St. Francis of Assisi. As Argentina's top church official, he opposed Argentina becoming the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage. He opposed euthanasia and giving away free birth control.

The son of Italian immigrants, he originally planned to become a chemist, but instead began studies for the priesthood. He came second in the conclave when Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005. Many thought his age of 76 would rule him out this time. He is now the leader of more than one billion Catholics around the world.

And as the world found out the name and identity of the new pope, there were cheers. The bishop of Arlington, Virginia, Paul Loverde, said the pope's challenge will be to follow the truth and teachings of the church even as the church itself evolves. Loverde explained there's a significant of choosing to name himself after St. Francis of Assisi.

BISHOP PAUL LOVERDE, ARCHDIOCESE OF ARLINGTON: But he was a man of -- really of the church. His whole life was spent to build up the church as he heard the lord say to him. He has become converted. Repair my church. First, he thought it was the chapel, but then he realized, no, the lord meant the living church.


SYLVESTER: Speaking of St. Francis of Assisi.

Now, the question is, how does the new pope rebuild the church to change, to reform? Does he bring in more people into the Catholic Church? It's so interesting that this is a man of contrasts, because here he is the pope in the Vatican where he's such a simple man.

People have talked about when the bishops would all get together, he was the one who wanted to sit in the back row. He's not a look at me, I want the attention kind of a guy. He is the kind of guy who would spend a lot of times in the barrios, in the slums talking to people. And that, in many ways, is one of the appeals is somebody -- he knows what Catholics, what rank and file Catholics are thinking and what they want. It will be very interesting to see where we move from here.

BOLDUAN: It's a day of many firsts, which also come with a lot of responsibility on this man's shoulders.

BLITZER: We will learn a lot more about this new pope. On Saturday, by the way, he's meeting with journalists at the Vatican.

BOLDUAN: Saturday, he's meeting with journalists, and I believe, even tomorrow he's holding mass. A lot ahead. It begins just like that, his life has changed.

Much more on the breaking news ahead. We will be talking to one of the cardinals who helped make this historic choice,the first South American pope in history.


BLITZER: Pope Francis is now the spiritual leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics.

BOLDUAN: They may be united by core beliefs, but it's a very diverse flock spread all over the world.

CNN's Tom Foreman is taking a closer look at all of that.

Hi, Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, you know, to understand how astonishing this election is, you really have to realize that there was a collision that happened here between 115 cardinal electors in this room and 1.2 billion Catholics all over the planet.

And it really is something to reckon with. Look at this, over in Oceania, over in the Far East, you have nine million Catholics over there. If you move a little bit further on, you pick up some more in Asia, and some places like that. But really, when you come to this area, that's when you get to the big difference, because suddenly you look at this difference.

In Italy, there are only 56 million Catholics on a good day, whereas in Latin America, you're talking about 501 million Catholics. That is a gigantic, gigantic difference in terms of the influence they ought to have. In a democratic system, there's no question you would get a Latin American pope out of these kinds of numbers, especially when you consider that one-third of North Americans, Catholics, also are Hispanic.

You would think that in a democracy, but this is not a democracy. This is a very different system here. If you consider the count of the cardinals in these two different places, it's not at all balanced or representative. Italy, one country, 28 cardinals were voting in this room on the new pope, whereas all of Latin America, 19 cardinals were here to vote, including only two from Argentina.

The only way that this election happened was because some of the old world Catholics began to recognize the new world of the Catholic Church, in which the number of American Catholics is equal to almost half of the entire church population. That is how this pope was chosen -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Great stuff. Tom Foreman, thank you.

BLITZER: I love that virtual Sistine Chapel.

BOLDUAN: I know. I could watch him talking about it for hours. BLITZER: It looks like he's right there, doesn't it?

BOLDUAN: He's right there.

Exclusive access in our virtual Sistine Chapel.

BLITZER: Excellent work, Tom. Thanks very much.

We're also following other news, including the White House speaking out about canceling those popular public tours, and saying, don't blame us.



BLITZER: We're following the breaking news right now, the historic election of the first South American pope in history. Up next, we're going to talk to one of the cardinals who was part of this vote.


BLITZER: You're looking at live pictures from Buenos Aires, the cathedral there. They're celebrating the first Argentine to become the pope, now Pope Francis.

And we're continuing to follow this historic news. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, he was elected pope. And he's taken the name Francis. He's the first South American pope, the first non- European in modern times. We have just learned he will visit with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on Thursday morning, according to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

BOLDUAN: And never before -- well, other than 600-whatever years ago, have there been...

BLITZER: And 597, to be precise.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for being price -- have they have been able to do that, the predecessor meeting with the current. That should be an amazing meeting.

His election, the new pope, Francis, is the culmination of an ancient and spectacular process that had the eyes of the world glued on the Vatican.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): For two days, from across Rome and the world, the faithful came to St. Peter's Square. They came in the dark, and the rain, and the cold. And they came for this.

At 7:06 p.m. in Vatican City on the fifth ballot, smoke, bells and a new pope. But the question for little more than an hour, who would the new pope be, and what would he mean for the church? ERIN SAIZ HANNA, WOMEN'S ORDINATION CONFERENCE: I have been a Catholic from the moment I was born. You know, there's something exciting about seeing the white smoke in person. This is the first time. Our hope and prayer is it's going to be someone who welcomes the inclusion of women in the Catholic Church, someone who opens more roles up to women in the Catholic Church.

BOLDUAN: The eyes of thousands in the square and millions around the world trained on this balcony, awaiting the announcement of a single name. Translated, "We have a pope," Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina, 76 years old, conservative and the first non-European pope of the modern era.

He took the name Francis, and appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, welcomed by the roar of the faithful below.

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): Dear brothers and sisters, good evening.


POPE FRANCIS (through translator): As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. And it seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am.


BOLDUAN: The crowd silenced only by a simple request from the man who will now lead the world's 1.2 million Catholics.

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): I would like to ask a favor first, first that the -- before the bishop bless the people, I would like to pray for the Lord so that the prayer of the people blesses also the new pontiff. Let us pray in silence.


BOLDUAN: You know, we've heard so many times, we've heard it from Anderson and Chris, well, they're -- just the amazing experience of all of the people that were able to run to St. Peter's Square and experience it. And it had me thinking when we were putting this piece together, what an amazing day it was for Pope Francis. I mean, he entered the conclave as a cardinal and came out a pope.

BLITZER: And now he's pope.

BOLDUAN: It's amazing.

BLITZER: And you know, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is speaking to reporters in Rome right now. Let's listen in. He was one of the 115 cardinals who selected this new pope.

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK: There are challenges. Like the church in North America. But a church that is rich in its tradition, a church where Catholicism is just part of their DNA. And a church that is growing and alive. And to think of the electricity that that's going to send. Can you imagine when Pope Francis goes for World Youth Day, which may probably be his first international trip in July to Brazil, can you imagine the welcome he'll get, a pope from Latin America? You can imagine the joy in our Latin American brothers.

I want to -- I want to mention to you, as has been mentioned in the past, even though nationality and geography is important, I think most cardinals just want to choose the right man. You know, you want a man of God. You want a man of good pastoral governance. You want a man with a sense of the church universal. You want a good communicator. And he fills those bills.

Where he comes from is gravy. And we've got a lot of good gravy with a man coming now from Latin America. You talk about a booster shot to the church in the Americas. This is going to be a real blessing.

Rich. You all know Rich? Rich was here at the election of Pius XII, I think, weren't you?


DOLAN: It did, sure, yes. A big applause. As you -- when -- first of all, when he reached the vote of 77, and we knew, here's the man, and then when it was announced again at the end, final tally, and when he said "achepto," that's a great moment of -- I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. So...


DOLAN: You know, I just heard that, Rich. We couldn't hear what he was saying. Because -- what do you call it -- the public address was going out that way. We couldn't hear. And so I was captivated. In fact, I asked on the way home, I said, I heard the silence. I said, I wonder what's going on. And that's what I heard. Isn't that magnificent? Yes.

And I understood he asked for prayers of gratitude and intercession for Pope Benedict, that he would lead the people in the two favorite prayers of Catholic, the "Our Father" and the "Hail Mary" and the "Glory Be to the Father." How touched, like a father, a good teacher, a good catechist.

I don't know what else -- I do know that when we were waiting to go out, see, all the cardinals go up to give him our love and loyalty and assurance of prayers. And then there were a lot of other people there to line up to see him. And he very touchingly said, somebody apparently said, it had been raining, he said to them, "Is it OK if I see you afterwards? Maybe we should go to the balcony first. Because I don't want to keep the people waiting." That's a very just spontaneously gracious remark to make. The mark of a good pastor.

So I'm kind of eager to read what he said. I presume -- that was unscripted. He -- you know, that's not the kind of text it should have. So I'm eager to see that myself. Are we OK? You know, the other cardinals are going to be here. Are they coming here? Or what's the scoop?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they have other rooms for them around the building here, for them to go to. the seminarians out in the hallway.

DOLAN: So they'll help you. I sure appreciate your company tonight. And if I can do anything for you, I'm here, I guess, until the day after St. Joseph's Day.

Because we're -- and you know the great news? My niece, Kelly, had a baby. Charlie. So -- and she -- she had -- where's Patrick at? Pat's my brother, so he -- Kelly's your goddaughter, right? I didn't know it. Because I knew she was probably going to go in Tuesday. So the first thing I asked when I got out, Father Jim was here with a picture of Charlie. So that's another reason to say -- if I could, I'd say, "Hallelujah." But I can't, because it's Lent. Thank you all. Look forward to being with you. All right?

BLITZER: There he is, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. You heard a lot of speculation there could potentially have been an American pope. He was certainly one of the frontrunners.

BOLDUAN: I don't know if he was a long-shot candidate. I don't even know the right terminology to use. But he is so great. Taking the stage. He's so descriptive in how he -- even though they're sworn to secrecy, just hearing kind of his experience, you know, as the pope was chosen, and went out onto the balcony. Cardinal Dolan is always a joy to have, and a joy to listen to.

We continue, obviously, to follow this breaking news, but we are following the day's other news, as well.

Coming up next, President Obama's big meeting on Capitol Hill behind closed doors with Republicans.


BOLDUAN: The president went into the lion's den, so to speak today, to meet with some of his fiercest critics, House Republicans. It's the latest move in his so-called charm offensive. CNN's chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, was outside the meeting. I almost said inside the meeting, but I know you had no...


BOLDUAN: ... from -- exactly, from the meeting. So Dana, what happened behind those closed doors?

BASH: Well, we're told that the president was greeted by a standing ovation, which may be news in and of itself, because it was a room full of House Republicans.

But as soon as that was over, we're told that they got into a pretty intense Q&A session, mostly on the issue that divides them the most, which of course, is the budget and the fiscal issues and how to tackle the debt and the deficit.

That there was a lot of grumbling among Republicans coming out, because the president apparently made clear that he doesn't agree with them that the budget even needs to be balanced in ten years.

And of course, the whole question of how to deal with it, raising taxes as the president wants, versus just cutting spending, as Republicans want, that still is a divide. Listen to the House majority leader.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: If the president wants to let our unwillingness to raise taxes get in the way, then we're not going to be able to set differences aside and focus on what we agree on.


BASH: OK. We're also told that there was a lot of frank discussion, as they say in diplo-speak, about everything from entitlement reform to tax reform. Which by the way, I'm told the president said had to be linked to immigration.

For the most part Republicans coming out of the meeting told us that they thought it was definitely worthwhile, because they at least, even if they don't agree on much, were able to see each other's point of view and have a discussion, which you know, doesn't happen a lot. And that's why this was significant.

BOLDUAN: Which is shocking that they don't actually speak to each other, the two sides, very often. Which is really an amazing fact about this all.

Did it come up at all, are you hearing in the meeting, the criticisms we've heard often that the Republicans are lobbing at the president, that he's too political, that he approaches every single one of these debates kind of through the lens of a campaign rather than trying to get a deal?

BASH: Yes, absolutely. In fact, we're told by a number of sources that that was kind of the undercurrent of most of the questions that the president got from these Republicans, congressmen, the idea that he, as you said, hasn't stopped campaigning.

And not only that, Kate, he was leaving the Capitol to go to his campaign operation. Remember, the president is not up for reelection ever again. And he was still going to his campaign organization, Organizing for America. Listen to the way one House Republican described that situation.


REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: I think that the hesitation from my conference has been that we feel that the president has been very political. And very calculated. He's assured us that -- I think his quote was, you know, we're not that smart, we're not far ahead of the curve. We're really just moving forward. I think there's a lot of skepticism to that, though.


BASH: A lot of skepticism for sure, Kate.

And one of the questions, tough questions that the president got, we're told, is from Candace Miller, the Republican congresswoman, of course, saying that she wanted to know why he canceled the white House tours.

Now, we had a pretty lengthy answer to that. But the reason why I'm mentioning it was because Republicans believe that that was a political move to show the effects of the forced spending cuts that have gone into effect.

But all in all, you heard Michael Grimm there say that the president's response was not very smart. I also was told that he said, if he was really that political, he wouldn't be pushing issues like immigration reform, like entitlement reform that could hurt his fellow Democrats at the polls.

BOLDUAN: We'll see if it changes the dynamic at large at all. But I guess we can agree that a step not away from each other, maybe towards each other, is a good step regardless.

Dana, thanks so much.

BLITZER: So did you ever wonder what happens to all that stuff that doesn't make it past airport security? Guess what? We found out, and you might be shocked to find out who's making some big money off of it all.


BOLDUAN: Another all-time high on Wall Street today. The Dow added five more points, marking a ninth straight day of gains. A better-than-expected retail sales report is behind the bump. We're back with other news next.


BLITZER: Joining us now on the phone is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C.

You were one of the 115 that elected Pope Francis. And I take it, Cardinal, you were there very close to him when this historic moment occurred?

CARDINAL DONALD WUERL, ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON, D.C. (via phone): Yes. In fact, this morning, when we had mass together at the -- at the chapel in the conclave, he and I sat next to each other. Little did I think at that point that he was going to be the next pope. But there we were, just a short time ago, with all of the balloting being counted. Who steps out now on the balcony, Pope Francis.

It's just a beautiful and exciting time. And certainly, it is good news. I think it's not only good news for the church. I think it's good news for all of those for whom the church brings a message.

BOLDUAN: Of course, you are sworn to secrecy. But tell us about your first time in the conclave. What was it like? What was going through your mind when you cast that vote?

WUERL: Well, the most important thing going into the conclave was to be aware that this is a spiritual event. I kept reminding myself, because some older cardinals who were not voting, who were past the age, said to me, "When you're in the conclave, things will be different. It will be quiet. You'll be focused now on the spiritual power of God working in that room."

And I think that's probably what I will carry away with me, the sense that God's providence, the Holy Spirit was really at work, touching us, and using all of us as instruments to do his will.

Now, I have to say, before we went into the conclave, we had that whole week to get to know each other. We had a week of general meetings. And that's when we took advantage of the time to ask each other questions, to ask one another what we thought of what would be expected of the next pope. So that was background. But in the conclave, it was prayer.

BLITZER: We know one of the Catholics in your district, the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, Cardinal, he'll be coming to Rome, to the Vatican for the inaugural mass. Give us a little sense of the history of what's going on right now.

WUERL: Well, when you think of this, this is the first time in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church that we have a pope, a successor to Peter, who comes from our hemisphere, who comes from what here they call the New World. We've had with so many centuries Italian popes and a Polish pope, a German pope. But now, talking about history, we have a pope who comes from the Western Hemisphere. I think it's just a completely new moment in the life of the church.

And delighted to know that the vice president will be coming as part of the official delegation to lead the official delegation for the installation mass. I look forward to having a chance to say hello to the vice president.

BLITZER: I'm sure he'll be looking forward to seeing you, as well. Cardinal Donald Wuerl from -- the archbishop of Washington, D.C., thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us, Donald Wuerl.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

WUERL: You're very welcome. God bless you. BLITZER: Thank you.

I love it when they say, "God bless you."

BOLDUAN: I think we can...

BLITZER: That's really nice.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it's very nice. It's very nice.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.

We're following some other news here in THE SITUATION ROOM, as well. You've probably seen it, even if it hasn't happened to you: airline passengers forced to dump banned items over at the security checkpoint.

BOLDUAN: Yes, we found out where a lot of those items actually end up. And we were surprised to find out someone is making a lot of money off of them. CNN's Renee Marsh is looking into this story.

So Renee, I think a lot of people are interested to find this one out.

RENEE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know that -- you know if you left something behind the last time you took a trip for work, Wolf, if you left something behind, chances are it did turn into cash for someone, not necessarily the TSA, though. It turns into cash for possibly your state, state government.

And now, if you want to take a look at exactly where your property ends up, here it is.


MARSH (voice-over): It's the final dumping ground for the items you're not getting past the TSA: a spear, nunchucks, ax, heavy marble rolling pin, and lots and lots of knives.

TROY THOMPSON, PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES: It has a fixed blocking blade. And it also has a molded grip. So you would not be able to bring that onto a plane still.

MARSH (on camera): But then something like this, now, you would be able to. So you wouldn't get things like this anymore.

(voice-over): Every month an average of 425 pounds of stuff ends up in TSA's hands at each of the nation's largest airports. The TSA boxes it up and ships it out to states that want to make a buck by selling it.

(on camera): This is right off of the truck?


MARSH (voice-over): CNN goes behind the scenes in Pennsylvania at one of the largest receiving centers. Buckets and boxes of your personal belongings from major mid-Atlantic airports like La Guardia, JFK and Newark, all here. W

(on camera): Would you say that, of all the things that you get in here and all of these huge bins, majority of them knives, things of that sort?

THOMPSON: Yes, I would say -- I would say that they're knives.

When they go through the TSA security checkpoints, they have the option of either, you know, sending those items home, voluntarily surrendering them so they can get on the plane.

MARSH: Well, Pennsylvania is turning this cold hard steel into cold hard cash. In the past nine years, they've made nearly $900,000 selling all the items you couldn't get through TSA security.

(voice-over): Some items are sold at this government surplus store.

THOMPSON: Ten pounds of assorted black knives are going for $75 right now.

MARSH: But most are sold on the Web site. So if you want to get back that knife airport screeners wouldn't let through, you can get it here at a price.


MARSH: All right. And it is actually the individual states, not the TSA, that sets the price for these items. They determine it based on the condition, also on the market price. And they try to discount the price, as well. So was that sphere yours that we saw in the piece?


BOLDUAN: You caught me. I was trying to get it through. Yes, no.

BLITZER: Renee, thank you.

Now that he's been chosen, it's all about the pope. But before that, before he was elected, it was all about the smoke. We're taking a closer look at the media's relentless fascination with the Vatican chimney.


BLITZER: Before the new pope, there was smoke. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even thousands of miles away from the Vatican... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely black smoke.

MOOS: ... talk of smoke was so thick....

LESTER HOLT, MSNBC ANCHOR: No sooner than I said black smoke, I had a little lump in my throat there, thinking it might turn white.

MOOS: ... you almost caught smoke inhalation just watching your TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go with black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at the smoke, it's not as dark as it was last night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all sitting here smoke obsessed.

MOOS: With smoke coming out its right side. And smoke coming out the left, this priest looked like he was being cooked.

Visibility only worsened when Matt Lauer tried to demonstrate how confusing papal smoke signals can be by showing smoke from the previous conclave.

MATT LAUER, NBC'S "THE TODAY SHOW": On the left of your screen is black smoke from that conclave signifying no pope had been elected. Now on the right -- OK. The left is today.

MOOS: Even in the golden age of westerns...


MOOS: ... we didn't see this much smoke.

There was the pope alarm if you wanted to be notified by text or e-mail when the smoke turned white.

The papal smokestack itself tweeted, "I'm not the first to know, but I am the first to tell."

And when the papal chimney got boring, a seagull had the gall to give us something to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We went from smoke watch to bird watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm waiting to hear it cough when the smoke hits it.

MOOS: In minutes the seagull was tweeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's @SistineSeagull.

MOOS: Where there's smoke, there's a new pope and, finally...

BOLDUAN: We have smoke. It appears gray. It's whitish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see smoke.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks white.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks white.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kind of dark, kind of light.

DIANE SAWYER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: We're seeing smoke change before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly seems to be turning progressively more white.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is definitely not black smoke. It's white smoke.

MOOS: The Web site, went from "no" to "yes."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White smoke, finally!

MOOS: Thank you, Pope Francis. No longer will we have to endure having even our commercials cluttered with tiny boxes showing a live image of the papal chimney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To order the incredible flexible hose.

MOOS: But is it incredible and flexible enough to put out all that smoke?

Enjoy it while you can, Sistine seagull. With the election over, they'll be dismantling your perch.

Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.


BOLDUAN: I'll tell you, I was one of them. I was definitely smoke-chimney-obsessed today.

BLITZER: You and a billion others.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.