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Violence in Egypt; RNC Sidelines CNN, NBC from Debates; GOP Worse Off Heading into 2016?; More Instant Replay in Baseball; Warning about Kids' Learning Apps

Aired August 16, 2013 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now, fresh bloodshed across Egypt, as protesters voice their rage in what they call a Friday of anger.

Republicans say they're ready to bar some television networks from the next round of presidential primary debates.

Plus, we have details of the decision that is about to change baseball forever.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


We begin with a day of anger and death in Egypt. And it has given way to a night of more violence, with thousands of people defying the government's curfew and voicing their political outrage on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other major Egyptian cities.

Clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian security forces claimed more lives today, on top of hundreds killed this week and thousands of people injured.

Let's go straight to the Egyptian capital.

CNN's Reza Sayah is in Cairo for us -- Reza, so what has this day and night been like?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was another ugly day of violence and bloodshed in clashes between security forces and supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsy.

What makes reporting on these clashes so difficult is that it's virtually impossible to figure out who's firing first. Security forces repeatedly say it's protesters who fire first. Protesters say it's security forces who fired first.

Whoever is starting this, the response is ferocious gunfire by security forces. We personally witnessed at least 40 or 50 unarmed protesters being shot with bullets and bird shots.

Here's some of the awful scenes we witnessed earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SAYAH (voice-over): This is someone who appears to be injured. I see a whole in his side. Come this way, if you can.

OK. OK. It looks like he's been shot. And he looks remarkably calm. I see what appears to be a bullet round wound in his leg. And as we've seen so often, one of the fellow demonstrators taking him on a motorcycle away. And then I think we have another person who's injured. We have another person who appears to be injured on the ground here.

Let's see if we can -- OK. This is just an awful, awful scene.


SAYAH: Security forces again apparently opening fire on protesters. More dramatic images and pictures today. At one point, there were hundreds of demonstrators marching on a Cairo bridge when they apparently came under fire. And in desperation, dozens them literally jumped off the bridge or tried to climb down. That's about a 40 or 50 foot bridge. It's not clear if they made it down unscathed.

Today's violence, Wolf, follows yesterday's apparent reprisal attacks, police stations, government buildings, even churches stormed and scorched in a conflict where there's absolutely no evidence it's going to end any time soon.

BLITZER: It's now Friday night, just after 11:00 p.m. in Cairo -- Reza, what's happening now, based on everything you can see?

SAYAH: Things appear to be much more calm. A curfew has been in effect in about four hours. The neighborhoods seem to be quiet. State TV is airing pictures of what appears to be an office building that's on fire. It's not clear who attacked that building.

But when you take a step back and look at this conflict, it's not clear when it's going to end.

What seems to be increasingly clear, Wolf, is that this country is sliding deeper and deeper into turmoil.

BLITZER: Reza Sayah, our man in Cairo.

Be careful over there, Reza.

Thank you very much.

Reporter Louisa Loveluck is also on the ground in Cairo.

She's joining us on the phone right now. Louisa, you spent the day reporting from Ramses Square in Cairo, not very far away from Tahrir Square.

What did you see there?

LOUISA LOVELUCK, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Well, it was a very peaceful protest, to start off with. The people were very angry at the military and security forces and they were chanting against them. But there was nothing out of the ordinary. There was no violence, as had been suggested in the Egyptian media.

However, when the atmosphere turned, it turned in a moment.

As your correspondent said, there was gunfire coming from the bridge. And suddenly, it was coming from all angles down into the crowd. And you had hundreds of bodies being carried into a makeshift field -- a makeshift field hospital and a morgue. And then that's where I spent most of my afternoon.

BLITZER: So you -- I -- because one of your Tweets, you notice -- you mentioned that that morgue over there -- that mosque, I should say -- turned into a morgue at Ramses Square. And you were calling it chaos.

What was it like inside?

Did you have a chance to get inside that mosque?

LOVELUCK: I did. And it was absolute chaos. There is -- it starts off with a trickle of bodies. But then about half an hour into the shooting, people couldn't get through the door because so many bodies were being carried through. There were a lot of corpses that went straight into a sort of a makeshift morgue room (INAUDIBLE) in the back. But other people were lying on the ground just surrounded by their families. And the (INAUDIBLE) have been trying to attend to the gunshot wounds, often with very little medical training whatsoever.

And people laying on the middle -- in the middle of the pothole and died on the ground.

BLITZER: The government, the interim government, the security forces, they insist that the supporters of Mohamed Morsy, including Muslim Brotherhood elements, they start all this by shooting at police. And they point out 40 or 50 police officers yesterday were killed. And they blame the protesters.

From your eyewitness accounts, what did you see?

Who started the gunfire?

LOVELUCK: It was very difficult to see from where I was standing who was at fault. But I was speaking to a senior pathologist in Cairo's central morgue today. And he was certainly saying he hasn't autopsied anyway near that number of policemen. He couldn't put a number on the amount of police who died and he said -- he says that there had been a number. But he did seem to believe that the Interior Ministry's figure was rather fabricated.

BLITZER: We know some journalists have been wounded. Others have actually been killed.

What's it like for a reporter to try to cover this -- these days of rage, as they're calling them, in Cairo?

LOVELUCK: For me personally, it wasn't too bad today. But there's definitely been an up tick in violence against journalists since the last three days. Three days ago, Egypt experienced the worst day of bloodshed in its modern history. And on that day, you had a huge number of reporters from very prestigious outlets being arrested. I myself was shot at with live ammunition, shot and tear gassed when I tried to get into the area to report on what was happening. And that was a pattern that was repeated with many other journalists.

So it is increasingly unsafe. But we're trying.

BLITZER: Well, be careful over there, Louisa.

Thanks very much.

Louisa Loveluck, freelance journalist in Cairo...

LOVELUCK: All right. Thanks very much.

BLITZER: -- joining us. Much more on this story coming up later here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Also coming up, the Republican National Committee makes a decision about the 2016 Republican presidential primary debates -- a decision that could impact us at CNN and at NBC News, as well.

Plus, baseball will never be the same -- details of a controversial change. We have that coming up, as well.


BLITZER: The Republican National Committee has decided to freeze out two television networks from the presidential primary debates. It's approved a resolution sidelining CNN and NBC because of plans by both networks to produce programs about possible Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

And Peter Hamby is joining us now from the RNC meetings in Boston -- Peter, tell us how this decision went down.

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Hey, Wolf, yes, the resolution that the Republican National Committee passed today, by essentially a unanimous voice vote, recommended that the party will not partner with CNN or NBC in any Republican primary debates in 2016.

Take a listen to what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said earlier today in introducing this resolution to the full committee here in Boston -- Wolf.


REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: For the first time -- for the first time, our party rules allow us to take action on these debates. So it's time that we do what's right for our party and our candidates. And by the way, it's the right thing to do for our voters.


HAMBY: Wolf, Reince Priebus' speech today was met with a raucous ovation here.


HAMBY: This is something that Republicans, both activists and party insiders in the Republican National Committee, can get behind. They really, really want to limit the number of Republican primary debates in 2016. There were 20 of them in 2012 and they thought it was crippling for the party in the general election -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So where do we all go from here?

What's next?

HAMBY: Well, it sort of depends. Basically, there's an out for CNN and NBC. The party says if the networks agree to drop the programming, then they will happily partner with NBC or CNN in the 2016 primary process.

And the other thing to mention here, Wolf, again, Republicans are happy about this. The RNC is also generating lots of media attention. They're capturing e-mail addresses and probably raising a lot of money here. So we can probably expect the RNC is going to keep flogging this issue, you know, unless NBC or CNN changes their mind about this -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Peter Hamby covering the meetings in Boston.

Thanks very much, Peter.

HAMBY: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN issued a statement in response to the Republican decision.

Let me read it to you. "CNN Films, a division of CNN Worldwide, commissioned a documentary about Hillary Clinton earlier this year. It is expected to premiere in 2014, with a theatrical run prior to airing on CNN. The CNN broadcast date has not been determined. This documentary will be a nonfiction look at the life of a former first lady and secretary of State. The project is in the very early stages of development, months from completion, with most of the reporting and the interviewing still to be done. Therefore, speculation about the final program is just that. We encouraged all parties to wait until the program premieres before judgments are made about it. Unfortunately, the RNC was not willing to do that."

That statement from CNN.

NBC Entertainment released a statement that reads, in part: "The script has not been written nor has it been ordered to production. It would be premature to draw any conclusions or make any assumptions about it at this time."

NBC News is standing by its previous statement, quote: "NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project."

Certainly, some Republicans know they have a much bigger problem on their hands than the programs about Hillary Clinton as they head into the next race for the White House. And the party may be worse off than it was before the last presidential election. That's what some reports are now suggesting.

Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King.

He's got more on what's going on.

What is going on in the GOP -- John?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there's a big debate within the GOP. And it happens a lot in parties out of power. Some look at this national map and they say, we have a huge problem, because our issues now with key constituencies are even worse than they were when President Obama won this sweeping Electoral College reelection victory in 2012.

Other Republicans, though, Wolf, look at this map. And they say, look, at all this red in America. We kept our majority in the House. We have 30 governorships. If we lost at the presidential level, some Republicans argue it's not because the nominee was too conservative, they argue the nominee made the mistake of moving to the center.

So that's the debate in the party right now.

Let's look at it back first from a national perspective. We do know this. In 2012, we know from the election, the reason the president was able to win and win so convincingly, look at this. Republicans lost the Latino vote by 44 points in 2012. They lost the women vote national by 11 points. They lost younger votes by 23 points. So, that's the 2012 hangover when you look at it from a national prospective.

And now, there's a new evidence that among another key constituency, the Republicans are suffering. This is from polling from Stan Greenberg who's a Democrat, but Republicans don't dispute the numbers. In the Republican election -- I mean, in the presidential election in 2012, Republicans won voters over 65 by 12 points. That group now, over 65, their favorable opinion of the Republican Party is only 28 percent.

That's down 15 points from just a couple of years ago. And among -- ask the elderly how are you going to vote in 2014, 46 percent now say they'll vote Republican. Now, that's still a five-point advantage over the Democrats, but the Republicans in 2010, Wolf, had a 21-point advantage. So, look at the problem. You have a problem with Latinos. You have a problem with women. You have a problem with younger voters, and now, a new headache with older voters. That's why many are looking at this and saying the lessons learned from 2012 have not been learned, and the party is in worse shape now than it was then. But again, there's a different perspective when you saw it play out at the RNC meeting. If you you're thinking about running for president, you see a huge problem.

If you're thinking about keeping the House majority or looking at some of the key state governor's races, a lot of Republicans who look at that map say, we don't really have much of a problem. We've had losing presidential candidates, but at the state level and the Congressional level, we're doing just fine.

BLITZER: Yes. But winning presidential election is pretty important for both parties to be sure. Who controls the White House, the executive branch of the U.S. government is very important.

Let's bring Candy Crowley into this conversation as well, our chief political correspondent, the host of "State of the Union." These demographics that John just highlighted, they've been around for a while.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They have been around. I mean, what's -- the Republican Party has long been seen as a party of older and mostly - older, White, mostly males. That's been going on for a long time. What's changed is the demographics of the country. That's why it's now -- and I remember talking to Jim Gilmore when he was head of the Republican National Committee decades ago.

And he said "we really got to get into these African-American communities with African-American supporters and be there not just on Election Day but throughout time," and nothing. So, this is going to take a while for Republicans to try to correct. I mean, the demographics are totally running against what is now the typical Republican base. And it's going to take a while for them to reach out. It's going to take a couple of issues. It's not going to happen overnight.

BLITZER: Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, up for reelection, he's expected to win decisively, even in a Democratic state like New Jersey. He's pretty blunt in discussing these issues. I'll play a little clip. He spoke at the RNC meetings in Boston. We've got the audio. Listen to this.


VOICE OF GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: For our ideas to matter, we have to win. Because if we don't win, we don't govern. And if we don't govern, all we do is shout into the wind. And so, I am going to do anything I need to do to win.


BLITZER: He obviously wants to win. Everybody wants to win. But this polarization within the GOP, that could be a serious problem moving forward, trying to win over some of those votes. KING: Again, Democrats went through this in the 1980s. In 1972 George McGovern lost 49 states, then (INAUDIBLE) lost 49 states. So, this is not new in our national politics. When you're out of power, you have this debate. And it's often the governors who try to take a party of seats and bring it back. Bill Clinton won the White House for the Democrats, restored them to power.

You have the Republican governors now saying listen to us. And sure, Chris Christie would concede what he does in New Jersey is different from what Rick Scott might have to do in a state like Florida or what another government might have to do in say Nebraska, but the government say, let's be fragment (ph) -- had solution to that work, and they see gridlock in Washington.

They think that hurts the party. However, Chris Christie also said no navel gazing. I don't know what you call it, but the party does have to decide what is our position on immigration, what is our position on cooperating with the president, what is our position on other issues, because some of those issues positions have hurt the party.

CROWLEY: But in the end, the person who will ultimately decide what the party stands for is whoever their standard bearer is. And I think the truth of what Chris Christie just said is it really is about winning. Look back at Mitt Romney. He was not the popular guy for the conservatives. Why did they end up behind him? Because they thought he could win.

So, never downplay the strength of electability. And to me this was Chris Christie saying I'm going to do whatever I can do to win, flash, flash, flash. You know? I'll do what I have to do to win. Watch how I govern.

BLITZER: Who's on "State of the Union" Sunday?

CROWLEY: We are actually going to do -- follow on the Egypt story. As you know, John McCain has just come back from there, so we want to talk to him and we're going to take a look at also what's happened at the NSA and whether that's changed any minds about the program that hasn't collecting data from --

BLITZER: A little politics as well.

CROWLEY: We'll have a lot of politics.


BLITZER: Candy, 9:00 a.m. eastern, Sunday morning, "State of the Union." Thanks very much, John. Thanks to you as well.

Coming up, a huge decision for Major League Baseball. Could it change America's favorite pastime as we know it? I'll ask the radio voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Charlie Steiner. He'll join us.

Plus, a major New York City bridge engulfed in heavy black smoke. We're going to tell you what caused it and just how serious it is. Stay with us. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Here's a look at some of the other stories we're monitoring in the SITUATION ROOM right now. Students in Moore, Oklahoma are beginning a new school year just months after deadly tornadoes ravaged the town. Twenty-four people were killed in the storm, including seven students from the Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was destroyed.

Two dozen schools suffered millions of dollars in damages. The new superintendent says the community is strong, resilient, and moving forward. Good luck to everyone in Moore.

A massive truck fire on New York City's Queensboro Bridge sent black smoke billowing into the sky, shutting down traffic in both directions. No injuries were reported, but the blaze triggered heavy smoke conditions in the area. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

A cast member of the hit Broadway show "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark" has been hospitalized after injuring his foot in last night's production. The show issued a statement today saying equipment malfunction was not a factor in the incident and everything is in good working order.

"Spiderman" was plagued with accidents and injuries in 2010 and 2011 when at least four other cast members were hurt. Tonight's show will go on as scheduled. The show must go on.

More pain for Wall Street today where stocks finished a second straight week in the red. The Dow and NASDAQ both down about two percent. The decline has been rare so far this year. Analysts caution it's not unusual for mid-August. Questions about the Federal Reserve and the broader economy could continue fueling concerns, though, threatening future gains. We'll watch it.

When we come back, a fresh round of deadly clashes and bloodshed in what's being called a Friday of anger in Egypt. So, what's fueling the violence? We're going have a debate. That's just ahead.

Plus, severe weather brewing off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with the potential to become a major tropical storm. We're taking a closer look at what it could mean for the southeast already getting soaked with heavy rain.


BLITZER: Happening now, Egypt erupts in a so-called Friday of anger with more dead and wounded.


BLITZER (voice-over): Just ahead, we'll debate who's to blame for this bloodshed. Plus, days after President Obama vowed to protect your privacy rights in the wake of the NSA leak scandal, there's a new report revealing the agency has overstepped its authority thousands of times and it's raising some fresh concerns.

And the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie's tough political call soon after being confronted by the father of a very sick child over the use of medical marijuana.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER (on-camera): All right. Take a look at this. These are live pictures coming in from Cairo. You see a building on fire there. In fact, a couple of buildings are on fire. This is near Ramses Square. One of these buildings is believed to be a government building. The other a commercial building. But it's been going on like this for a couple of days now in Cairo.

Government buildings torched, protesters, supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsy. They are angry, the government responding with force -- lethal force. There's a curfew in Cairo right now but as you can see the blaze -- the blaze continues. Dozens have been reported killed today in Cairo, Alexandria and beyond. Hundreds were killed yesterday.

Government security forces and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, they exchanged ferocious gunfire.

CNN's Reza Sayah witnessed the military fire on unarmed protesters as well. But it's unclear who started the shooting. This week's violence has claimed hundreds of lives, injured already more than 4,000 people.

And joining us, Karim Haggag. He's an Egyptian diplomat currently at the National Defense University here in Washington, D.C. Also joining us, Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an expert on Egypt.

Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming in.

Karim, the violence is brutal. Hundreds of people have been killed, thousands of people have been injured. How do you justify what's going on by the interim government and the military?

KARIM HAGGAG, EGYPTIAN DIPLOMAT: Yes, it's a very unfortunate situation, Wolf. I think one in which the government was left with very little -- very few good options. We've seen over the course of the last two weeks a number of international mediators trying to broker a political compromise. All of them failed.

And the starting point for the Muslim Brotherhood was that we will not talk unless President Morsy is reinstated as president of the republic. That of course was a nonstarter. Now during that time we've seen the sit-ins in Cairo take on a very ominous tone. We've had reports of torture that were actually documented by Amnesty International --

BLITZER: By the supporters of Morsy?

HAGGAG: By the supporters of Morsy.

BLITZER: The Muslim Brotherhood. But I guess the question is, what about water cannon or tear gas? Why do you have to use lethal weapons to deal with these demonstrators?

HAGGAG: That's actually what happened, Wolf. The police issued numerous warnings for the protesters to leave peacefully. They issued a warning for the women and children to leave the sit-ins. They started with the tear gas, they were responded to by live fire from within the sit-ins.

Among the casualty toll, which was high, unfortunately, we had roughly 45 to 50 policemen killed by live fire.

BLITZER: Was there any alternative? Was there something that could have avoided, Eric, this kind of violence?

ERIC TRAGER, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Well, I certainly think so. I mean, I respectfully disagree. I think that the government had the option instead of cracking down on the protest simply trying to contain it. And -- I agree that there were no terrific options but the message from the United States to Egypt should have been KISS, you know, contain these protests, don't crack down, move the rest of Egypt forward.

This is a relatively small number of people, you're talking about a country of 90 million, maybe the Muslim Brotherhood has 250,000 people. Move the rest of the country forward. Instead the military- backed government focused on these protesters, cracked down and what you have today is unfortunately chaos.

BLITZER: Karim, what about that?

HAGGAG: Well, like I said, the protesters were actually turning violent. We've had reports of live gunfire from within the protests and this is not new for the Muslim Brotherhood.

If you go back a year ago, Wolf, to the presidential elections, the Brotherhood was making explicit threats that unless President Morsy won the election, they would burn Cairo down. And these, we've seen these threats play out time and time again. The threat of violence has always been there.

BLITZER: The two senators who President Obama sent to Egypt last week, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, they're back here. They issued a joint statement and among other things they said this. This, "Neither in our long-term national interest nor consistent with our values and laws to continue providing assistance at this time to Egypt's interim government and military. We urge the Obama administration to suspend U.S. assistance to Egypt and make clear to the current leadership of the country what steps we believe are necessary to halt Egypt's descent into civil conflict."

Are you with them, Eric, on this? Is this the right call for the U.S. to suspend military and economic aid to Egypt?

TRAGER: Well, look, the rest of whether or not we suspend aid should be whether suspending that aid will change the military-backed government's behavior right now. And frankly given the current dynamics, I'm not convinced that it would change its behavior at all. But at the same time, what we have to be very worried about is whether this military-backed government really has any strategy.

The death toll is rising. The very decision to crack down rather than contain I think was quite questionable, quite avoidable, and just from what I'm hearing from Egyptian officials, we just don't -- we just don't hear anything that sounds like a strategy to contain the violence, to end the violence and move forward to a political solution.

BLITZER: Karim, what would happen if the U.S. ended that billion and a half dollar aid package to Egypt?

HAGGAG: Well, I think I agree with Eric on this. The decisions by the interim government will be based on Egyptian consideration.

BLITZER: So it would have -- the U.S. has limited leverage. Is that what you're saying?

HAGGAG: Yes, I mean, look, Wolf, we have a situation which churches are being burned, police stations are being attacked by RPGs. We've had masked gunmen on the streets of Cairo firing indiscriminately into residential areas. No government will tolerate such a situation.

BLITZER: Very quickly.

TRAGER: Well, look, I -- it's true that churches are being attacked but at the same time, churches are not being protected. So I think that has to also be part of the conversation and that's why it's very important to communicate to the government that they are responsible for what happens moving forward.

BLITZER: Yes. Those Coptic Christians, they're in deep trouble in Egypt right now. That's a heartbreaking story given the history of the Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Gentlemen, thanks very much for joining us.

Eric Trager and Karim Haggag, thank you.

HAGGAG: Thank you.

BLITZER: When we come back, a huge decision for Major League Baseball. Could it change America's favorite pastime as we know it?

The radio voice of the L.A. Dodgers, Charlie Steiner, he's here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Plus the makers of child learning apps under pressure to prove they actually work. You're going to find out why the federal government was now -- has now been asked to step in.


BLITZER: Baseball purists may be thinking, say it ain't so, but it looks like Major League Baseball is about to greatly expand the use of instant replay.

Brian Todd has been looking into what's going -- this is historic, Brian. This is huge.


BLITZER: Share the details with our viewers.

TODD: This is historic, Wolf. If this goes through, you're going to see something like those NFL challenge flags, those red flags that the coaches throw on the NFL. Those may be on Major League Baseball fields next year. Baseball wants to eliminate those human error calls that cost teams games. But the big question is, will challenges make the fan experience worse?


TODD (voice-over): Channeling my inner play-by-play announcer, top of the fourth, no score between the Mets and Padres, soft grounder to the shortstop, play at first base looks like the runner's out, but he's called safe. The umpire rules the Padres' first baseman has his foot off the bag. But look at the replay of that play Thursday night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have the umpire challenge in place, I think Bud Black would subscribe --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, he's on the base.


TODD: Another runner scored. The Mets went on to win 4-1. It's that kind of play that managers may be able to challenge and get reversed starting next year. That's when a proposed expansion of Major League Baseball's instant replay review system may kick in.

Right now umpires can only review on replay boundary calls, including whether a potential homerun is fair or foul. But under the new system, managers will be able to formally challenge calls, not balls and strikes, but plays at bases, fair balls or fouls, trapped balls versus legitimate catches.

(On camera): Jim, with plays like these, are we going to get more accurate calls in the future? Will it be airtight when games could be decided by plays like this?

JIM MCKEAN, FORMER MLB UMPIRE: I think you're going to get more accurate calls. This is a pretty good example of a play that they could turn around and possibly could save a game.

TODD (voice-over): Jim McKean was a Major League umpire for 30 years. He believes replay will change the fabric of the game for the better. An example? In June 2010, Tigers' pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game when a throw to first was ruled safe. It would have been the last out. The umpire who made that call later admitted he'd gotten it wrong. Under the new system, those calls could be reversed. But there are other issues.

(On camera): Under this proposal, managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of the game, two challenges from the seventh inning on. Challenge calls will be reviewed by a crew at Major League Baseball's headquarters in New York. They make a ruling and send it back.

A big question? Will all of that make an already slow game slower?

(Voice-over): Too many challenges could slow the game to a crawl. But on the other hand, says analyst Dan Levy --

DAN LEVY, BLEACHER REPORT: They're trying to cut down on the amount of time managers and umpires are arguing. They think it could actually streamlines the process and make games faster.


TODD: Will the umpires go for all of this? Well, Jim McKean, the former umpire who we spoke to, says they will. He says he's had games where he's blown calls and he's cost teams game because of it and he says that's a tough thing to take home.

The umpires and players will have to vote on this proposal then the owners will have to prove it before it's implemented in 2014 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's not that far away.


BLITZER: So are we not going to see a manager come out of the dugout, run up to the ump, start kicking some dirt in that umpire's shoes, looking him in the face, start screaming?

TODD: Right.

BLITZER: Are we going to miss all that?

TODD: Those moments we all love in baseball. Most analysts say you are going to see a lot less of that. There are going to be some calls that are challengeable where the manager can come out and actually argue. But you're going to see a lot fewer of those cases where they can come out and, you know, kick dirt, pick up a base and throw it. And, you know, some people think that's going to take away the fan experience. Fans love that stuff.

BLITZER: They certainly do but they want it to be right, too.

TODD: That's right. You got to get it right.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, stand by. I want to bring in Charley Steiner. A good friend of mine, he's the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They're playing Philadelphia tonight.

Charley, what do you think about this decision?

CHARLEY STEINER, L.A. DODGER PLAY-BY-PLAY ANNOUNCER: I think at the end of the day baseball has kept its distance from the 21st century. It's come in kicking and screaming and say, you know, maybe replay, the time has come. And I think that is the transcendent feeling I get in talking to folks around baseball today. The time has finally come.

There have been too many mistakes. This is one way certainly to eliminate them. And again, the key thing is managers will have the opportunity to challenge once within the first six innings and twice from the seventh inning on. And if you are right and your challenge can -- you can maintain that challenge up until the sixth inning or the seventh inning and beyond if you've got two.

So at the end of the day managers can -- still come out and say unkind things to their friends, the umpires, and then demand the replay. In terms of slowing the game down, a good argument sometimes will take three minutes, four minutes before they finally eliminate the manager or the player, whoever it may be. On the other hand, this -- now can you get this thing done in a minute or two.

BLITZER: Just watch the videotape. So what are your colleagues out there, the sports -- the journalists, what are the players saying? And what about the managers? What have you heard today?

STEINER: I think everybody is generally satisfied with this new ruling. They haven't gone overboard with it. Again, you've got one within the first six and two challenges if need be from the seventh inning on. I think at the end of the day it is now the 21st century and baseball purists just have to get over it.

BLITZER: And, you know, it's interesting that they finally have decided this how many years after the NFL had instant replay, the NHL. Everybody seemed to -- certainly NBA. All of a sudden Major League Baseball, as you say, is coming into the 21st century.

Why has it taken so long?

STEINER: Technology has finally trumped sentimentality.

BLITZER: That's it?

STEINER: Pretty much. Yes, I mean, it's now the 21st century, it's a new game, it's a new era, new generation. People get to see it all the time now on the Internet. They can see replays over and over again. And this is one way to eliminate human error. BLITZER: And we remember that perfect game that turned out not to be a perfect game because of a missed call. I think that had an impact, didn't it, Charley?

STEINER: Armando Galarraga robbed of a perfect game, and ironically the umpire who miscalled it, Jim Joyce, is generally regarded as baseball's single best umpire.

BLITZER: Ironically indeed. All right, Charley, thanks very much. Charley Steiner, the voice of the Dodgers, joining us.

When we come back, new concerns about children's learning apps. We're going to tell you what parents need to know.

And a tough political call for the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. What it could mean for a 2-year-old girl suffering from epilepsy.


BLITZER: Parents are always looking for ways to both entertain and educate young children, but one group is now sounding an alarm about those so-called educational apps that claim to make your baby smarter.

The federal government was asked to step in and now one of those baby app-makers is walking back some of its advertising claims.

CNN's Rene Marsh is here in THE SITUATION ROOM. She's got the details.

So what's going on?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, there's one company by the name of Open Solutions. They claim that their software would educate your baby. And one consumer group filed a false advertising complaint. Now the company has changed their advertising, and the complaint has been dropped, but there's another company still claiming that a swipe here and a tap there could make your child smart.



MARSH (voice-over): Twenty-month-old Steger loves playing on the iPad. His mom, Jody Pratt, says it keeps him occupied and may even help him learn.

(On camera): And so your expectation as a mom for these apps is what?

JODY PRATT, MOTHER: Mostly just that he's occupied, entertained, and if it can be a little bit educational, all the better.

MARSH (voice-over): Pratt understands the limitation of these so-called learning apps. PRATT: Is it going to get them into Harvard? Not so much.

MARSH: But one consumer group says some companies leave parents with the wrong impression. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood still has a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission against Fisher-Price, accusing the company of false advertising.

SUSAN LINN, DIRECTOR, CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERCIAL-FREE CHILDHOOD: Claiming that their apps are educational for babies, that they teach numbers, letters, when the companies seem to have no evidence that that's, in fact, the case.

MARSH: We had Steger play with the Fisher-Price Learning Letters app.

(On camera): Do you feel as if he's making the connection that U is for umbrella, for example?

PRATT: Maybe, maybe not. I mean, they're little sponges. They're learning everything all the time.

MARSH (voice-over): Fisher-Price is behind the Laugh & Learn app. They say their goal is to make appropriate toys for the ways children play, discover and grow.

The FTC won't comment on the specific case, but it did explain how they approach false advertising investigations.

MARY ENGLE, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: We ask the company for its substantiation, for the science it has to back up its claims, and the law requires that advertising claims be supported by reliable evidence.

MARSH: The consumer group says the apps don't provide what babies need to learn.

LINN: They need active play, they need time, face-to-face time with the adults who care for them.

MARSH: And that time together is something Pratt agrees with.


MARSH: All right, well, the group that filed the claim ultimately wants the FTC to create guidelines for what these companies can and cannot claim, Wolf, in their advertising.

BLITZER: Good report. Thanks very much, Rene Marsh, on the job for us. Thank you.

Just ahead at the top of the hour, a major political decision for the New Jersey governor. Chris Christie is under pressure from the father of a very sick child.

And severe weather brewing off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with the potential to become something much more ominous. Stand by.


BLITZER: Here's a look at this hour's "Hot Shots." In England, check it out, horses racing at Newbury Race Course. In the Czech Republic, who knew an albino crocodile swims in the crocodile zoo which has the only pair of this rare species in Europe. In Australia, a man rides his horse during a track work session at Lady Bay Beach. In Massachusetts, President Obama rides a bike during his family vacation. Hope he's relaxing and enjoying it.

"Hot Shots," pictures coming from around the world.

The National Hurricane Center is watching the tropical disturbance off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with the potential to become a tropical storm in the next few days. It could create even more problems for parts of the southeast already getting hammered with heavy rain.

Let's bring in our chief meteorologist, the severe weather expert, Chad Myers. He's tracking the storm.

What's going on, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the organization still isn't there, Wolf, which means this isn't gaining any strength right now. The risk is that this is very warm water. This could explode at any time.

And let me tell you, there's not even a computer program that's saying that. There are no models that are saying explosive growth, but it concerns me when you have a storm that could be so close to the U.S. that could generate something so quickly. You must watch it this weekend.

The low is way over here. It's not even near here. This is where all the cloud cover is. That's why it's not organized. You need to have the cloud cover over the center for organization, and there is none right now. Maybe 20 miles per hour. It doesn't even have a real number or a name yet.

If it does get a name, it will be Fernand. Fernand, in fact, was replaced the name Felix, because Felix retired six years ago.

There you go. This is the storm's path possibly, all the way to Mexico, maybe up toward Houston into New Orleans. Still very little chance of any of that happening at this point in time.

We'll watch the rainfall from a separate system, a stalled front across the southeast, and temperatures right now in Atlanta, Georgia, 66 tomorrow, not making it above 70 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And quickly what about this tropical storm Erin that's out there?

MYERS: Yes. BLITZER: What's going on?

MYERS: Yes. Basically a dead thing out here. It ran into a lot of dry air, it ran into some cooler water. It's going to get into warmer water right now, but there's so much dry air coming off Africa, it is literally just a tropical depression and it will stay that way. It will make a couple of waves for the fish, that's it.

BLITZER: That's good. All right. Thanks very much, Chad Myers reporting.

MYERS: You got it.

BLITZER: Happening now, Chris Christie makes a big decision on medical marijuana for children. Did the suffering of one little girl sway the governor? We're going to hear from her dad.

The death toll jumps after a day of rage on the streets of Cairo. And an anxious Israel is keeping a very close eye on Egypt's unrest, but why is it keeping so quiet?

And why did Michelle Obama give up on her bangs? The first lady opening up about her private life, including a very significant birthday.

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