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THE SITUATION ROOM
Security Misses Bomb Parts; General: I Need More Afghan Troops; McNair Died in Murder-Suicide; Sources: Jackson Had Numerous Track Marks
Aired July 8, 2009 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now: all the parts to build a powerful bomb snuck by undercover agents right past security and into U.S. government buildings. A new report details stunning security breaches.
Also, sources now telling CNN of multiple signs of I.V. drug use on Michael Jackson's body, along with startling new details of his physical condition.
Plus: a foreign predator causing havoc in the Everglades. Giant pythons up to 200 pounds eating deer, even alligators, and now slithering far beyond the endangered wilderness.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It happened not once, but multiple times, shocking security lapses at 10 -- repeat, 10 -- federal government buildings. Undercover investigators were actually able to sneak bomb parts right past private contract guards, even finding one asleep at his post.
Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd.
He's outside a federal building here in Washington with more on this story -- Brian, what happened?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, government investigators are not revealing whether it was this federal building or the privately contracted security guards who work here that they conducted security stings on. But what their undercover investigators were able to do is simply mind-boggling.
TODD (voice-over): A jolting blast in the trunk of a sedan. The detonator for this was smuggled into U.S. government buildings that were supposed to have security levels just below the White House.
This video shows an undercover agent from the Government Accountability Office -- the investigative arm of Congress -- sneaking bomb components past security at a federal building. The investigators were able to take the components into bathrooms and other areas, assemble the bombs and walk freely around government buildings with the bombs in briefcases.
We talked to the GAO official who oversaw the investigation. (on camera): But some of these components, could they just be considered like normal items, like I don't know, a screwdriver, a bottle of water, things like that, that a guard, you know, may not necessarily be attuned to saying oh, wait, stop that?
MARK GOLDSTEIN: There are some -- there are a number of items that might have been normal kinds of things. But a number of them were not normal -- were not things that federal employees or the public had any business bringing into a federal building.
TODD (voice-over): Mark Goldstein can't say what those components were or which buildings they snuck into. But he says investigators were able to pull of these stings at 10 government buildings in four cities. They included lawmakers' offices, facilities connected with the Justice Department and even Homeland Security -- the agency that oversees security at the same buildings.
The problem, according to the GAO's report, poor management by the Federal Protective Service of privately contracted security guards -- like this one caught sleeping, the GAO says, after taking the sedative Percocet.
The head of the protective service called to account by Congress says this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are -- are coming up with some -- some fairly aggressive -- I don't think fairly, I think very aggressive means to address these problems and in particular, training of our contract security guards -- literally going back out to -- to retrain them.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TODD: Gary Shankel (ph) also says they have also increased the number of inspections at these guard posts. But he admits they only have about 600 inspectors responsible for checking some 9,000 government buildings -- Wolf.
BLITZER: There were some other horrendous security breaches that were caught by these investigators, as well, Brian.
TODD: There certainly were. There was one instance in particular that really stands out. It was a woman at a checkpoint -- a private citizen who put her baby in a carrier down on an x-ray machine on a conveyor belt while she tried to retrieve some identification. Because the guard wasn't paying attention and the -- the safety apparatus on that conveyor belt had been disabled, the baby actually went through the conveyor belt on the carrier through the x- ray machine.
Now, that guard was fired. But the guard successfully sued the government because the guard was able to prove that he or she had not been trained properly.
BLITZER: What a nightmare that is.
All right. Brian, thank you.
The bodies of seven U.S. servicemen killed in Afghanistan are back in the United States. They were among 10 NATO-led forces who died on Monday, one of the deadliest days in the Afghan war in almost a year. And now the U.S. Marine commander leading a massive offensive against the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan says bluntly he needs help -- he needs more Afghan forces to fight.
Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
She's working this story for us -- Barbara, tell us exactly what this Marine general says.
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This is Brigadier General Larry Nicholson, Wolf. He is the top Marine commander in Southern Afghanistan, in Helmand Province.
He spoke to Pentagon reporters today by telephone -- a shaky connection, but the words were clear -- he needs more Afghan forces. General Nicholson saying he needs them. It may be a couple of months before he gets them. They need to train up more forces.
But, also, other military officials making it clear the whole country needs more Afghan forces. One of the key recommendations now, Wolf, as part of a U.S. military review going on in Afghanistan is to make the size of the Afghan military larger.
BLITZER: You had a chance to ask the commander, also, about specific conditions on the ground, especially the heat.
STARR: Absolutely. You know, we're seeing these pictures come out of these young Marines in very tough circumstances -- 100 degree plus weather out there. They are chugging water as fast as they can, but there are a lot of heat casualties. And, in fact, one Navy corpsman talked about that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After a while, your body shuts down. You can't sweat anymore, so you can't -- your body can't cool itself off. Your core temperature rises. Once it gets over 104, your brain pretty much starts cooking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Your brain really does start cooking. I can say that I've also been in Southern Afghanistan in the summer months. It is brutal out there.
BLITZER: I remember when I was in Kuwait at the start of the war. It was so hot. And I wasn't carrying a backpack or anything, but it was just...
BLITZER: I was, you know, just so, so hot. And I started drinking those liter bottles of water and drank two of them. And I still wasn't completely feeling great. But that's another story.
These U.S. troops who are fighting in battle, do they have everything they need right now?
STARR: You know, generals always say, I can use more troops, I can use more of this, I can use more of that. But General Nicholson was a very candid guy earlier today. He said that there is still equipment and gear on ships making its way to Afghanistan. They don't have it all in hand yet.
But really, job number one is to try and have enough of a security presence out there with the troops they have to try and make the people in this region feel more comfortable, feel that they are making progress, feel that their lives are getting better and it's better to cast their lot with American and Afghan troops than to cast their lot with the Taliban.
BLITZER: Let's hope the Afghan forces step up and help out.
Thanks very much, Barbara, for that.
Lots going on in Afghanistan right now.
Let's check in Jack Cafferty.
He's got The Cafferty File -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: Wolf, as quickly Sarah Palin announced that she was quitting the job as governor of Alaska in the middle of her first term, the airwaves were filled with pundits eager to pronounce her political career dead in the water. Even Rush Limbaugh was stumped, which doesn't happen very often.
Yesterday, on this here very program, THE SITUATION ROOM, Democratic strategist Paul Begala said -- and I'm quoting from the show's transcript here -- "Her, Palin's defenders, will say she's crazy like a fox. I think they're half right. The notion that she would look CNN's Drew Griffin in the eye and say, 'I'm not a quitter,' as she's quitting, she's either delusional or disingenuous."
But a look at some new poll numbers suggests it might be a bit early to start planning Palin's memorial service.
A new Gallup poll found 43 percent of Americans -- 43 percent say they're very likely or somewhat likely to vote for her for president. In fact, 70 percent of those surveyed said Palin's decision to quit had no affect on their opinion of her at all.
Go figure that one out.
The poll also found 53 percent think the media coverage of Palin's decision to quit her job as governor in the middle of the first term has been unfairly negative.
Sarah Palin may, in fact, have more options than her detractors are giving her credit for. That same poll shows 70 percent of Republicans said they'd vote for Palin for president. Now, if that seems lopsided, it's probably because most of the rest of the frontrunners in the Republican Party have misstepped so much that she and Mitt Romney are about all that's left with a reasonable chance -- at least at this point.
Here's the question -- have your views of Sarah Palin changed since she announced that she's quitting her job as governor of Alaska in the middle of her first term?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and let me know your thoughts.
BLITZER: I hope you've got a lot of people working on this one, because whenever you ask a Sarah Palin question, the people write in.
CAFFERTY: It's -- you know, they, it's like gold. It's just like gold.
BLITZER: All right, Jack.
We'll read those e-mails.
BLITZER: Thanks very much.
New details right now are emerging of Michael Jackson's physical condition at the time of his death and what one source describes as "paper white skin."
Also, stimulus dollars at work -- or are they?
Growing complaints that the billions of tax dollars are coming too slow, with way too little impact.
And bullying driving some kids as young as 11 to commit suicide. One mother shares her heart-wrenching story and is demanding action.
BLITZER: There are new details just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM on ex-NFL star Steve McNair's girlfriend and the death of both of them.
David Mattingly is joining us on the phone now. Police releasing some of those details.
What do we know?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The big detail here, Wolf, is that police are confirming that this was, indeed, a murder/suicide -- that McNair was killed by his 20-year-old girlfriend, Saleh Kazemi and that no one else was involved.
They went through, in graphic detail, how this carried out -- how she shot him four times, twice in the head and twice in the chest and got back at the idea of a possible motive. As late as Friday, she was telling a co-worker that her personal life was in turmoil. She had told others that she was having financial troubles. And police say she had recently learned that McNair had possibly had another girlfriend, as well.
So that she was very upset, very unhappy with the way her life was going and threatened to end her life.
At no time, however, was there any indication that she was going to do McNair any harm. But, of course, that is what happened. Police are very confident that this is exactly what they thought it was from the very beginning -- a murder/suicide -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I think we have a clip of what the police said at this news conference in Nashville.
Let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF RONAL SERPAS, NASHVILLE POLICE: After nearly four days of intensive investigation that includes laboratory test results and other investigative methods, the police department has concluded that Steve McNair was murdered by Saleh Kazemi and that, in turn, Saleh Kazemi killed herself with a single gunshot wound to her head.
While we may never know what drove Miss. Kazemi to make that decision on that Saturday morning, the totality of the evidence clearly points to a murder/suicide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Any other things we need to know right now, David?
MATTINGLY: At this point, police are making it very clear that they believe that no one else was involved. They were able to make this determination that it was a murder/suicide based on gun powder residue that was on Kazemi's left hand. They believe she used two hands to fire the weapon and that there was a trace of gun powder on the one hand. So that was the physical evidence that they needed to make this determination.
BLITZER: All right. David, thank you.
David Mattingly on the scene for us.
Michael Jackson's dermatologist is now responding to questions about the paternity of the singer's two older children. When asked today if he fathered the children, Dr. Arnold Klein said -- and I'm quoting now -- "not to the best of my knowledge."
The children's biological mother, Debbie Rowe, worked for Klein for 23 years.
And now there's also some startling new information on the reported state of Michael Jackson's body when he died.
Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we've got a gentleman here that needs help and he's not breathing.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has now learned disturbing new details about what precisely police investigators found when they answered the 911 call from Jackson's house 12 days ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's not conscious, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
KAYE: A source involved with the investigation tells us Jackson had: "numerous track marks on his arms" and that those marks: "could certainly be consistent with the regular I.V. use of a drug like Diprivan."
Diprivan is the powerful sedative commonly used in anesthesia in a hospital. A nurse who had worked for Jackson told CNN he had begged her for Diprivan a few months ago so he could sleep.
Our source cautioned investigators can't say right now if a Diprivan I.V. drip caused the track marks on Jackson's arms. Some of the marks, the source said, appeared fresh; others older. In fact, some of the newest marks could have been caused when emergency medical personnel rushed into the house and used their own I.V.s in an effort to save him.
The source would not confirm if Diprivan had been found with Jackson. But he told us numerous bottles of prescription medication had been found in Jackson's $100,000 a month rented mansion. He described them as, "dangerous drugs, similar to those found in a hospital setting."
That's as far as he would go.
As for Jackson's body, the source said he had never seen anything like it in decades of investigative work. He described it as "lily white head to toe."
Was it caused by the disease Jackson said he had?
We don't know.
Another source with knowledge of the case described Jackson's body as having: "paper white skin as white as a white t-shirt."
He also told me his scalp was bald -- that the pop star had no hair. That may have been a result of injuries Jackson received when his hair caught fire while making this Pepsi ad years ago.
This source also said Jackson's veins were: "collapsed in both arms," suggesting frequent intravenous drug use. His final note: "The body was emaciated," despite the vigor Jackson showed on stage during his final rehearsal just 36 hours earlier.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Los Angeles.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: Let's bring in Jim Moret.
He's the chief correspondent for "INSIDE EDITION" -- Jim, she paints a pretty devastating picture of the state of his body. I mean it's a lot worse than I thought. I don't know how you felt hearing that report.
JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDUCATION" CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: It's -- it's consistent with some of the reports we've been hearing since his death. It's also consistent with the way this investigation is going. You know, the DEA is now involved. The California attorney general's office is now involved.
They don't get involved for nothing. There was clearly some reason for them to get involved, to look specifically at which doctors were treating him, what they were prescribing, were there aliases used, how much medication was he getting?
There's a whole laundry list of things that investors -- investigators are going to look at, in addition to finding the toxicology reports and seeing how he died.
BLITZER: The dermatologist, the dermatologist, Arnold Klein, is now saying a lot. He was on earlier today on "Good Morning America." He'll be on LARRY KING LIVE later tonight.
But among other things -- listen to this. I want your reaction, because you've really studied this and reported extensively on Michael Jackson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC)
DR. ARNOLD KLEIN, JACKSON'S DERMATOLOGIST: He felt he was a piece of art, that his face was a piece of art and that he wanted to really be thrilling for people to view it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I had never heard a discussion like that, had you?
MORET: No, I haven't. It's -- look, it's no secret that his face changed radically over the years. You can look at almost any magazine today since his death and you can see a time line that shows this tremendous change from the young boy to the grown man. And it looks weirder and weirder. And, frankly, it seems ironic that so many people wanted to be him and emulate him and yet he didn't seem to feel comfortable in his own skin, literally. BLITZER: Now, there have been these reports out there -- rumors -- I don't know how serious they are -- that Dr. Klein is really the biological father of Michael Jackson's two older children. And -- and Diane Sawyer asked him flatly if that's true.
Listen to his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC)
KLEIN: All I can tell you is to the best of my knowledge, I'm not the father of these children. But I'm telling you, if push comes to shove, you know -- I can't say anything about it. But to the best of my knowledge, I'm not the father of these children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Clearly, he's parsing words there. He says to the best of his knowledge twice.
How did you interpret that?
MORET: Well, it's even funnier, Wolf, because he continues by saying, I can't answer it any other way, I don't want to feed any of this insanity that's going around. And that answer specifically does the opposite, because all of us are saying well, what is he saying?
Is he saying that he could be the father, that he doesn't know if he's the father?
Did he artificially inseminate anyone else?
Did he give -- you know, did he have sexual relations with Debbie Rowe?
Did he have a relationship with her?
The fact is, Wolf, under California law, Michael Jackson is the father of these kids. He's listed on the birth certificate. They were born during his marriage to their mother. That's basically as far as it's going to go, for all practical purposes.
BLITZER: And in terms of practical purposes, having DNA tests done with the kids, is the government -- the state likely to get involved and order those kinds of DNA tests to determine the biological parents?
MORET: No. Well, first of all, no one's claiming to be the biological parent and so there would be no need to. And, secondly, in California, if you are the sperm donor, you basically give up your parental rights if you have -- if you give your sperm to a married couple and you're not married to that -- to the mother. So it -- for intents and purposes, frankly, it's not going to matter for the estate -- at least it shouldn't here in California.
BLITZER: Jim Moret, thanks very much.
Jim is not only a good reporter, he's also an attorney, as well.
We'll see you back here.
MORET: Sure, Wolf.
BLITZER: Taking swipe at the president -- former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says if candidate Obama had told the truth, he'd never have been elected.
And a wildfire threatening one of the country's best known museums -- we're following the evacuation that's happening right now.
BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick is monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Deb, what's going on?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, going to that fire just west of Los Angeles, the world famous Getty Center art complex has been evacuated. Officials calling it a precaution, as 150 firefighters battle a fast-moving brushfire in the area. Nearby St. Mary's College is also being evacuated. The art center shut down the ventilation systems to prevent smoke damage to the priceless art work. So far, 14 acres in the area in the Santa Monica Mountains have burned, according to the fire department. And the California highway police considering closing down a portion of the 405 freeway.
Also in the news, a rare appearance in North Korea, as leader Kim Jung Il commemorates the 15th anniversary of his father's death. The 67-year-old recluse was seen looking weak and gaunt as he walked into the service. It was only his second public appearance since his reported stroke last August. Kim's recent health problems have prompted speculation about a possible heir to the world's only communist dynasty.
And, well, you can read their message all over the president's face -- sort of. In this video provided by Greenpeace, the group challenged President Obama to take a strong stand against climate change today by hanging a banner on the presidential faces of Mount Rushmore. The 2,300 square foot sign read: "America honors leaders, not politicians. Stop global warming." It was part of a Greenpeace global day of action.
That's it -- Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Deb.
Stimulus dollars -- they're being spent, so why is unemployment rising?
It's a question that has some Republicans seeing red.
And a boy tormented by bullies commits suicide. Now his mother is telling her son's tragic story and urging lawmakers to take action to save other children from her child's fate.
And a python population explosion -- it's happening right now in South Florida. Some call the snakes a real safety hazard.
CNN's John Zarrella wraps himself around the problem as lawmakers search for answers.
BLITZER: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, Sarah Palin speaking out about her surprise resignation. The Alaska governor says she and her state were being dragged down by ethics complaints against her. We'll take a closer look at those complaints and find out why Sarah Palin is facing so many.
Vice President Joe Biden makes a major announcement on health care reform. He says hospitals have agreed to contribute billions of dollars over the next decades. Critics call that a drop in the bucket. And the debate over how to fund health care reform moves into high gear.
And Michael Jackson's dermatologist is now breaking his silence. The doctor responds to recent rumors that he may be the biological father of Jackson's two oldest children.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
But first, growing questions about the impact and the speed of the president's economic stimulus package.
Let's go to CNN's Kate Bolduan.
She's taking a closer look at this -- lots of frustration right now, Kate, over how job creation is developing or not.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf.
If the question is, is the $787 billion recovery plan making a difference, Republicans in a House hearing today gave a resounding no and say the stimulus isn't living up to what the president and Congressional Democrats predicted.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Even as the Obama administration touts the jobs being created by Recovery Act spending...
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're starting to see some real progress.
BOLDUAN: ...unemployment has soared to 9.5 percent and 3.4 million jobs have been lost in the past six months. Republicans say the stimulus isn't working. And today, they pounced.
REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: I think that we need to justify how much money we're spending and where are the jobs saved and where have they been preserved?
And I think that we've got a major -- a major credibility crisis here.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: The president is quoted as saying that the stimulus has "done its job."
Is that true or not true?
BILBRAY: We believe that the stimulus has had the impact that we predicted which is job creation.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the hot seat, the president's deputy budget director Rob Nabors saying the plan is slowing the economic free fall. He said 150,000 jobs have been created or saved.
ROB NABORS: It's a work in progress but it's steady progress.
BOLDUAN: The Government Accountability Office says of the $29 billion delivered to hard hit states so far, most has gone to pay Medicaid costs, balance budgets and avoid layoffs. At the same time, Tom Evslin, Vermont's chief recovery officer says funds for big, job producing investments like broadband and smart grid are caught in the stimulus pipeline.
TOM EVSLIN, VERMONT OFC. OF ECONOMIC STIMULUS: The frustration has been that the money hasn't come out and kept hearing later and later dates for the money coming out.
BOLDUAN: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says states are ready and waiting.
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK, MASSACHUSETTS: But no funds, no projects, no projects, no jobs.
BOLDUAN: Also in the hearing, Robert Nabors seemed to criticize states for making what he called unwise choices to simply use money to balance the budgets. The administration has said actual stimulus spending will peak in 2010, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER: All right, Kate, thanks very much. Kate Bolduan reporting.
Let's bring in our CNN political contributors, the Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and Republican strategist Mary Matalin.
This is getting ugly out there, Donna. And the Republican leader in the house, John Boehner, he went after the vice president for suggesting that they didn't fully appreciate how bad the economy was in January and February when they pushed for this nearly $800 billion stimulus package. Here's Boehner. This is the greatest fabrication I have seen since I've been in congress. I have sat in meetings in the white house with the vice president and the president. There's not one person that sat in those rooms that didn't understand how serious our economic crisis was.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look. I think, Wolf, the situation is dire. And because many of these states are on the verge of bankruptcy, they're using this money basically to take care of bills right away. They're basically saying, we got to take care of the Medicaid bill and don't lay off teachers and Mr. Boehner Sunday said on TV not one job has been created in Ohio as a result of the stimulus package and the Cleveland plain dealer had an article saying he was wrong about Ohio stimulus spending.
So I think we need to get the facts on the table. This money is going to the states, helping the states make critical budget decisions but at is same time, Wolf, $100 billion will be going out the door later this summer so that these states can continue to keep things afloat.
BLITZER: The white house always says that the jobs is lagging indicator, if you will. There's no doubt 3 million jobs are so lost this year. The white house makes the point more of them would have lost if the stimulus package was not passed.
MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The problem is the progression. In February, March, April and May, the unemployment increasing at a lower rate than in June and July. Maybe it's a blip but the stimulus has either been out there for sometime or not been out there for sometime.
The problem here is the political sloppiness of this. Biden says in one place we didn't know. Well, then why pass it within minutes? I would say that the Democrats and Republicans at the time were not going to read it, pass it, obvious they knew. Then Obama corrects him. We didn't have enough data. So on incomplete or we didn't know, we blew more than all we spent in Iraq in seven years? That's a big stimulus. Half the Democrats saying stimulus 2. The other half saying, no. It's a lot of sloppy politics and administration that signature is staying on message and message discipline on a topic that voters and Americans really understand.
BLITZER: Earlier on, their assumption was unemployment would go up, the white house, 8 percent, 8.5 percent and now 9 percent and many states more than 10 percent. Politically, this could have an enormous spillover effect on the president.
BRAZILE: Wolf, the problem is looking for the political fallout of people losing their jobs, losing their homes is rather stupid at this point. I think what the administration is trying to do is, first, rescue the economy because essentially when they came into office, it was falling off of a cliff. Now we are in a recovery phase. This is the time to make sure that this money's being spent wisely by the states. Remember, they're getting the money and they're saying we have to make sure that we don't lay off teachers and fire officials. So that's what's happening. They're spending the money but not on the projects --
BLITZER: Priority number one with the states right now?
MATALIN: Well the states are misspending it and they're only putting off their problems for the future. They're robbing Peter to pay Paul, obviously. They'll come up against what they need to do, that they're being allowed to put off doing, which is rein in their budgets and do stimulative things only they can do there.
But this administration is getting itself in a pincer movement. It's either going to be working in which case people want them to then let's wait and stabilize the economy. You can't look at a poll that doesn't say that the ill effects or noneffect of the stimulus spending isn't affecting everything else. It's pulling people's support back on expanding health care, on expanding energy, all the other things on the president's agenda.
BRAZILE: Until we get the economy rolling again, Mary, until the private sector is back on the feet, we'll experience job losses and what the administration is tackling.
BLITZER: The former govern nor of Florida Jeb Bush, the former president's younger brother, gave an interview in "Esquire" magazine swinging, too, among other things saying this, "Barack Obama would not have gotten elected if he'd let us in on the secret plan prior to the election. He would not have gotten elected if he'd said my idea is to create a $1.8 trillion deficit for the next fiscal year." Obviously the president when he was a candidate never said that. Are you surprised that Jeb Bush is now directly launching this assault on the president?
BRAZILE: You know, if -- we can get into a big conversation about whether or not the president's priorities are -- will solve the problems but in terms of that interview, I personally think that Jeb Bush clearly doesn't understand his facts straight. President Obama laid it all out there for the American people. They knew what they were voting for last fall. And they voted for change and a new direction.
BLITZER: You know Jeb Bush. What's the strategy?
MATALIN: The bulk of this interview was not about Barack Obama. It was about and I was so hard to see and many conservatives for him to say there's no such thing as big government conservatism. That's an oxymoron and he laid out a big agenda that he laid out a template for Republicans to follow but it's completely not true that people knew what they were voting for when they elected Barack Obama. The majority of Americans thought that Obama was more likely to cut taxes than John McCain. He didn't talk about reordering the energy sector. He did not talk about universal health care in the way that he's gone about it. People -- he did not run on what he is doing now and got the allies in congress --
BLITZER: His position on energy and health reform was pretty clear during the campaign although obviously the deficit that he's helped to generate, that's happened as a result of the economy. BRAZILE: And a deficit he inherited, Wolf. We keep pretending and the Republicans who are now trying to redefine their principles, we keep forgetting that the president inherited the mess of an administration that had misguided policies.
BLITZER: You get the final word.
MATALIN: The deficit that the president run up and the deficit --
BRAZILE: This president or the last one?
MATALIN: This president exceeds every president preceding him. This is four times what Bush's worst deficit was. And it's now your economy. It's now your -- not five. All of them.
BRAZILE: This president -- this past president ran up the deficit and did nothing to strengthen the economy and that's why this -- this new president must change the policies that got us into this mess today.
BLITZER: Hold up, hold up.
BRAZILE: Let's have this.
MATALIN: 52 months of consecutive growth under George Bush. We cannot revise history in the way you want to do it and have a --
BRAZILE: And the recession that started on his watch that he failed to acknowledge for months, for months. He didn't even what to use the 'r' word Mary until we were deep into the recession.
BLITZER: We won't review the entire history.
BRAZILE: I'm ready.
BLITZER: I know you are. That's why both of you will be back. Thanks very much.
The world is finally seeing Michael Jackson's children without masks and with at least one of them talking. So what might happen to them next? I'll speak with a CNN contributor who knows them.
Plus, a giant snake threatening an already endangered ecosystem and now those pythons are moving far beyond the everglades.
BLITZER: Giant pythons posing a real problem to people in south Florida. A Democrat says that's the frightening reality and wants congress to do something about it and quickly. Today, he urged lawmakers to declare nonnative pythons as a harmful species and bar people from taking them into the country and across state lines. To illustrate how deadly the reptiles can be, Nelson reminded fellow senators of a tragic run-in between a python and a Florida toddler.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in the middle of the night worked its way up into the baby crib, attached its fangs to the head of a 2-year-old child, wrapped its body around the child and strangled the child to death.
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BLITZER: The Burmese python's appetite is seemingly insatiable as CNN's John Zarrella found out.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This 12-foot Burmese python is found holed up in a Miami neighborhood. It had just devoured a cat. This 10-foot python is captured a chicken coop. There's nothing scientists haven't found in their stomachs, even an alligator protruding from a python's belly.
ALISON HIGGINS, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY: We have found 5 foot alligators. We have found a full grown deer.
ZARRELLA: This mess got started, wildlife experts say, when python owners realized the pets had grown too big to handle and dumped them in the everglades. 20 years ago, there were none out here. Now, there are an estimated 30,000. Flourishing and breeding.
HIGGINS: A foot and a half is a hatchling. A six footer is only a year old. And they're most of these on the move are within that 1- year-old to 2-year-old range.
ZARRELLA: Experts say the pythons which can grow to 200 pounds are expanding out from the glades in all directions. A handful have even been caught in the upper Florida Keys. So how are they getting here? The pythons can travel up to a mile and a half a day and wildlife biologists say some of them may be swimming from the southern tip of the everglades across Florida bay here to Key Largo. And once they're here, wildlife biologists are concerned they'll devour pets and endangered species or menace small children. The only way to prevent the spread is catch them. To do that, the nature conservancy has been running classes for wildlife officers, police and park rangers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not fun. When he's facing me.
ZARRELLA: On how to do just that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a big python hook.
ZARRELLA: Pythons are non-venomous but as I found taking the training class, they have no problem coming after you. The idea, get behind them, grab their tail, tire them out. Don't take your eyes off of them. Work your way to the business end, grab it. I handled the first two eight footers alone but needed help with the 12 footer. As soon as I had him, he coiled. Oh, look at that. Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's pretty powerful. Doesn't get up around the neck.
ZARRELLA: I got a question for you. How do I get him off of me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very carefully.
ZARRELLA: Thank you. With no natural enemies keeping their population under control, the predators move to the top of the food chain. Bad news for the prey and the people of south Florida.
John Zarrella, CNN, Big Pine Key, Florida.
BLITZER: Tough guy, John Zarrella. He is okay. Don't worry about him.
Bullied to death, an 11-year-old boy picked on relentlessly kills himself. Now his grieving mother is speaking out about the day she says will haunt her forever.
And Sarah Palin facing numerous ethics complaints, she's calling them frivolous. It's a reason she says she had to resign. When's behind all those complaints and why is the Alaska governor facing so many of them?
Stick around. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We are getting some more information on the fires in Los Angeles. The world famous Getty Center Art Complex is evacuating staff and visitors because of this fire. Nearby Mount Saint Mary's College is being evacuated as a precaution. Let's go to Abbi Tatton. She's taking a closer look. Pretty scary stuff out in L.A.
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, we've got multiple pictures in on ireport.com that we can show you the very latest that we're seeing from residents of Los Angeles who are suddenly seeing these huge smoke clouds on their commute. This is from Andrew Brown. He shot this while traveling along. He said he was near to Getty Center Drive. He said he saw lots of helicopters dropping water on this lake that we now know roughly to be about two acres right now. Multiple helicopters Andrew Brown saw dropping water on this blaze trying to deal with it. Another one that we've gotten, like I said go to ireport.com and you will see several all of these coming in, all of them shot within the last hour. This one from Carl Hansen here. We know also that Mount Saint Mary's College evacuated, no classes in session right now, but 300 people on campus, the college, saying that evacuation is just a precaution right now.
BLITZER: A lot of our viewers are no doubt familiar with the Getty center just to the west of L.A. We'll stay on top of this story with you. Abbi, thank you.
Let's go to Jack Cafferty right now. He's got the Cafferty File. JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The question this hour is have your views of Sarah Palin changed since she's announced she's quitting her job as governor of Alaska in the middle of her first term?
Michelle writes, "As a democrat, I have a more positive view since her resignation speech. She's articulate, intelligent, bold, and independent. The media is hard on her and soft on Obama who has accomplished little."
Lisa in Alabama writes, "My opinion of Sarah Palin has not changed. She's half baked Alaska. She couldn't stand the heat so she got out of the kitchen. If she was vice president now, could you imagine that she and her foible prone family would be under? I dare to guess she might quit that job, too, based on her reasons for quitting the governorship."
Barbara in Florida writes, "Absolutely. Now she's free to help the Republican Party raise money and campaign for the upcoming elections. I think she saw the need to not wait until 2012 in order to change the direction that the company is going."
Paul writes, "Governor Palin's surprise announcement didn't change my opinion at all. This nut case is as dangerous to the future of the Republicans as Nancy Pelosi is to the future of the Democrats. What worries me is the stupidity of the electorate that would have voted in either of them. In the case of Sarah Palin, you just know there's a nice juicy scandal on the way."
Phil writes, "My views haven't changed. I admire her courage, willingness to stand up to the constant attacks from the media and the left. If I were living in Alaska, I wouldn't like the government to constantly be distracted with all the frivolous ethics violations. Her stepping aside shows that she cares. What is it about her that scares you people so much?"
Betty in Texas says, "Yes, my view of her has changed. Although I didn't agree with her, I thought she was a strong woman and a fighter. Her resignation reveals she's a thin skinned prima donna and a quitter. The idea so many people would vote for her for president is frightening. If elected, would she resign mid-term if the going got rough?"
And Jim writes from Willowick, Ohio, "Jack, from my view I still can't see Russia nor can I see why an entire state would have elected such a whiner to begin with. It makes me proud to be an Ohioan."
If you didn't see your email here, you can go to my blog at CNN.com/CaffertyFile. If you want to read about Sarah Palin and there's a lot of e-mail there, Wolf.
BLITZER: Speaking of reading, she's getting a seven-year contract to write a book, millions of dollars, presumably. Here's the question to you Jack Cafferty. Would you read the book that she's writing?
CAFFERTY: Well, she's not going to write it. BLITZER: Her name is going to be on the cover.
CAFFERTY: Well, I understand. I don't know. Maybe. I might. I might.
BLITZER: You want to read that.
A mother shares her grief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would make a child his age despair so much that he would take his own life? That question haunts me to this day.
BLITZER: Children killing themselves because of extreme bullying and now parents are demanding action.
And President Obama gets a firsthand look at the devastation from a deadly earthquake. We're with the president as he attends his first G-8 summit.
BLITZER: Heart wrenching testimony from a mother of a young son. She recounted her story to two U.S. lawmakers investigating the emotional and physical impact of bullying. Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow. She's been taking a closer look at the details of this very tragic case. Mary?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's such a heartbreaking story. Wolf, this is the story of a sixth grade boy was tormented in school and took his own life. His mother went to Washington today telling lawmakers that school bullying is a national a crisis demanding attention.
SNOW: With pictures of her son Carl nearby, Sirdeaner Walker told lawmakers about the day in April that she says will always haunt her.
SIRDEANER WALKER, SON COMMITTED SUICIDE: I found him hanging by an extension cord tied around his neck. He was 11 years old.
SNOW: Carl was a boy scout, liked playing sports, and went to church. But his mother says that he was bullied at his Springfield, Massachusetts school, by kids who called him gay and even threatening to kill him. She said she spoke regularly with school officials but it didn't help and she says she's not alone.
WALKER: Since my son died, I met the mother of another 11-year- old boy who was also being seriously bullied and killed himself. And now I know that there are others. This has got to stop. SNOW: Walker is calling for better training for people. And she supports the house bill requiring schools to have policies to deal with bullying, a problem that the department of justice and education say effects roughly 32 percent of students. Bullying is nothing new so why has it gotten so severe? Steve Riach, whose organization promotes character education in schools, says one factor is that families have changed dramatically.
STEVE RIACH, HEART OF A CHAMPION FOUNDATION: Learning what integrity is, what compassion and what self-control is. Kids today aren't necessarily raised in a family environment where those principles are being taught or instilled in them.
BLITZER: And with kids afraid to stand up to bullies, Sirdeaner Walker says the problem is not going to go away on its own.
WALKER: If this happened to me, this could happen to anybody in the United States. Because I was a concerned, involved, caring parent and that's why I continue to do this, so that no other parent has to go through what I'm going through right now.
SNOW: Wolf, to give you an idea of how widespread this issue is, at least 41 states have legislation addressing bullying and roughly 25 either have or are working on bills just dealing with cyber bullying. Wolf?
BLITZER: What a sad story. Thanks very much, Mary.
Happening now, earthquake ruins and economic crisis. President Obama confronts disaster at a critical summit of world leaders. This hour, the agenda and the protest.
And crying for their daddy. We saw Michael Jackson's daughter distraught and now we are learning more about the children and getting new comments from Michael Jackson's sister.
And Sarah Palin's critics keep rocking the boat. Will they find out that it's soon to be against the governor or are they on a fishing expedition?