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Afghan Runoff Election Canceled; Birds Cause Plane Emergency; Countdown to Election Day in New Jersey, Virginia; Vice President Biden Speaks Out
Aired November 2, 2009 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: something else for President Obama to worry about in Afghanistan -- this hour, deep concerns about Hamid Karzai's leadership and legitimacy, now that the presidential runoff election there has been scrapped.
Plus, the political stars come out in a special election soap opera. It's a major test for the Obama administration and for the Republican right, after one candidate's dramatic exit. And it happens just hours from now.
And my exclusive interview with three members of President Obama's exclusive inner circle -- David Axelrod, Anita Dunn, and Robert Gibbs, they open up about team Obama's biggest mistakes since the election.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in CNN's command center for breaking news, politics and extraordinary reports from around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Right now, President Obama appears to be stuck with Hamid Karzai as his partner in Afghanistan, whether he likes it or not. Mr. Karzai now is officially the winner of this -- of his country's fraud-marred election, after his chief rival dropped out of the planned runoff.
The White House is trying to put the best face on this new twist, in the midst of Mr. Obama's major review of his war strategy.
Let's go to our White House correspondent, Dan Lothian. He's working this story for us.
The president just a little while ago reacted to the drama in Kabul.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
And he said that, earlier this afternoon, he spoke to Hamid Karzai. He congratulated him for winning a second term as president of Afghanistan.
But I can tell you, you know, this is a White House that is not celebrating at all. This administration had been pushing very hard for this runoff election, believing that it would add more credibility to the process over there. That, of course, did not happen.
But at least there is a leader in place, removing one major unknown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Although the process was messy, I'm pleased to say that the final outcome was determined in accordance with Afghan law, which I think is very important not only for the international community that has so much invested in Afghan success, but most important is important for the Afghan people that the results were in accordance with an followed the rules laid down by the Afghan constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: President Obama and his comments also putting pressure on President Karzai, saying that now is a time to really start focusing on addressing -- addressing the issue of corruption, the president saying that now is not the time just for words, but for deeds -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Does the administration, Dan, think the new government -- actually, it's the same as the old government -- will...
BLITZER: ... be a credible government?
LOTHIAN: Well, Wolf, you know, that is a very important questions -- and -- and the White House saying that, really, credibility can't just happen by one election, and they never expected it to happen with just an election or a decision, that this is a process, and that now begins that hard, long process of restoring credibility.
And that begins, they say, by President Karzai addressing the issue of corruption, and also getting his own forces, his Afghan forces, ready, in order to handle their own security -- Wolf.
BLITZER: How does this all affect the president's decision- making strategy? He's got to announce whether he's going to send more troops.
LOTHIAN: That's right.
And we had heard from this administration just a short time ago that this decision was critical for the president to make that -- that announcement, that decision on sending more troops perhaps into Afghanistan, but the White House today saying that that decision is still weeks away, and that this was just one key issue that had to be addressed.
There's still other things that are going on behind closed doors that the president is still considering as he decides whether or not to send in additional troops to Afghanistan.
BLITZER: Dan Lothian is our man at the White House.
Now to those U.S. troops in the trenches in Afghanistan -- they have a lot of questions about the future of their mission and whether reinforcements are on the way.
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence. He's joining us now from near Kandahar.
Chris, you have been embedded with U.S. troops and got a -- a good sense of what they are thinking about right now. Update our viewers.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, been embedded with the 82nd Airborne, but been meeting a lot of different units as well.
And the areas that we have been traveling in, some of these troops are under almost constant threat of either Taliban attack or roadside bombs, and a lot of them are asking us, when is help on the way?
LAWRENCE (voice-over): No runoff election. It still means no rest for the soldiers in the small outposts well outside Kandahar. Now they are wondering, when will President Obama decide whether to send more troops?
CPL. JIMMY PARKER, 1ST BATTALION, 17TH INFANTRY: We need the help down here, even though we're handling our own, but we need more forces down here. This area is too big for just one company to be here.
LAWRENCE: The company is Bravo. The area is the Arghandab River Valley, part desert, part irrigated orchards, and heavily saturated with Taliban fighters.
SPC. BRIAN SCHOENBECK, 1ST BATTALION, 17TH INFANTRY: Get another battalion or brigade out here to help us out.
LAWRENCE: Specialist Brian Schoenbeck says, there's too many Afghans spread out over too much ground to know them personally, which is crucial for gathering intelligence.
SCHOENBECK: Well, if we have a smaller area as a result of having more troops here, it -- it does allow us to get to know the people better.
LAWRENCE (on camera): One of the reasons for adding more troops is to add more trainers, who could then beef up the number of Afghan national police in villages like this.
(voice-over): U.S. commanders say they can push the Taliban from town to town here, but that's all.
MAJ. SCOTT BRANNAN, TASK FORCE FURY: Right now it's hard to saturate and have boots on the ground because the battle space is so large. It's -- it's -- you know, Afghanistan is much larger than Iraq.
LAWRENCE: But some say there's nowhere near enough infrastructure for 20,000 to 40,000 more soldiers and Marines.
SPC. LUKE ADLER, 82ND AIRBORNE: Logistically, I mean, Afghanistan is not ready for all the troops.
LAWRENCE: Specialist Luke Adler says, supplies still don't flow into Afghanistan as fast as they do in Iraq. It's better now than on his first tour here, but that's not saying much.
ADLER: We had nothing last winter. We had, you know (INAUDIBLE) mounted in our trucks.
LAWRENCE: Adler has come to believe the Taliban can't be wiped out, not in their own country, even with more troops.
ADLER: All the politicians, you know, civilians, they just think, we will just send them over here.
No matter how many troops you throw at it, you can't throw a mass of people here. It's not going to work. It's not a war. You know, it's an insurgency.
LAWRENCE: To be fair, most of the troops we spoke with say they would like to see a large number of troops added to the fight.
And, Wolf, I have got to tell you, just from traveling around, it's not so much just the distance that is involved in covering these areas, but the terrain. You know, it can be steep. It can be, you know, sandy. Sometimes, we're only traveling maybe, you know, five miles an hour. So, even if it's just a shorter distance, it can take hours to go from place to place -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And, based on what you saw and heard from the troops, how is their morale?
LAWRENCE: Morale is still up.
I mean, you're always going to get a few gripes. That's just part of being in the army. But, overall, they feel like they can still succeed. They feel like the Afghan army is at a good point. The Afghan police still has quite a ways to go.
BLITZER: Chris Lawrence embedded with U.S. forces in Kandahar -- we will check back with Chris. Chris is our Pentagon correspondent.
Let's check in with Jack Cafferty right now. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: It's going real well over there, isn't it? BLITZER: It doesn't look like it's going that great.
CAFFERTY: What a -- what a sad state of affairs, the -- the -- no runoff election. These troops have been saying, we need some help.
I mean, when do you think Washington might make a decision on sending more troops over there? Any word on that?
BLITZER: No word. Weeks.
All right. Terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay will soon be offered the swine flu vaccine. While millions of Americans can't get their hands on the stuff, the 200-plus detainees at Gitmo will have the option of being vaccinated against H1N1.
The Pentagon says it's because people held in detention facilities are at higher risk for the pandemic. The soldiers at Gitmo will be offered the shots before the detainees and others on the base. Similar plans reportedly are under way to vaccinate inmates in the federal prisons.
You could make a pretty good argument that people ought to be a little outraged by this. Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak is calling on the Pentagon to reconsider its decision, saying detainees should not get preferential treatment.
Meanwhile, people in this country are waiting in line for hours to get themselves and their kids vaccinated. The CDC had hoped to have 40 million doses of swine flu vaccine available by the end of October. That was, what, two days ago. Manufacturing delays have forced them to revise that number down to 28 million doses.
And, meantime, the virus is just wreaking havoc. It's spreading all across the country, particularly hitting children, teens, pregnant women. Another 19 kids died in the last week.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned on this broadcast how one of the largest pediatrician's offices in New York City could not say when or if the swine flu vaccine would be available for a co-worker's toddler. Well, still nothing there at the doctor's office. We checked this morning.
There's such a limited supply, that they are only offering it for a few select kids who have underlying conditions. But, Gitmo detainees, they are going to get it.
Here's the question. If there's a shortage of the swine flu vaccine, should terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay get it? Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog -- Mr. Blitzer.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty, thanks very much for that.
President Obama only hours away from being tested in the elections that start tomorrow, including in one unlikely place. That would be a -- a congressional district in Upstate New York. Depending on what happens tomorrow, it could be the launchpad for a conservative revolution.
Plus: an exclusive interview with the vice president, Joe Biden, about the day he asked himself why he really needed to call the president. Stand by for details.
And another incident where a plane and its passengers are put at risk because of bird strikes.
BLITZER: Attention, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney, Vice President Joe Biden talks about your political views being -- and I'm quoting him now -- "alien" -- tough words from the vice president as he visits an area in Upstate New York where political bombshells are dropping.
More on why Joe Biden was criticizing conservatives and his challenge to some Republicans, that's coming up in a few minutes. But blunt talk is set to be among the reasons Biden enjoys such close counsel with President Obama.
Their relationship is something he talked about exclusively with our White House correspondent, Ed Henry -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one year ago this week, the Obama/Biden ticket was victorious, but these two former rivals didn't really know each other that well. They are from different generations, and some Biden gaffes got them off to a rough start.
But top White House aides now say that this partnership has grown to the point that Biden is one of the president's most influential advisers on everything from the economy to Afghanistan.
HENRY: How are you, sir? It's been a long time.
(voice-over): After nine months as vice president, Joe Biden still has the DNA of a back slapping senator, getting in your face and jabbing a finger in your chest to make his points.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The one adjustment that I needed to make, I have been my own man for 36 years as United States senator, I have never had a boss.
HENRY: Now he does and Biden confesses sometimes it's difficult to remember that he's no longer a free agent. Like when Biden called an aide with the news that Delaware's governor had decided on a replacement for his old Senate seat.
BIDEN: He said yes, did you call the president? I said, why in the hell should I call the president? It's my instincts. I said, it's my state. why should I call the president?
HENRY: The aide explained he should not blindside the president, which happened too often in the early days, such as an awkward joke about Chief Justice John Roberts.
BIDEN: My memory is not as good as Justice Roberts'.
BIDEN: Chief Justice Roberts'.
HENRY: The president publicly corrected his number two, and later poked fun about the gaffes after getting a new dog.
OBAMA: You just have to keep him on a tight leash. Every once in a while he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself in trouble -- but enough about Joe Biden.
HENRY: But top White House aides tells CNN Biden spends a minimum of two hours with the president each day, sometimes up to five hours.
BIDEN: I'm not trying to set up a separate center of power over here. It only -- it works best when there's a single center of power.
HENRY: He says that's a sharp break from Dick Cheney's approach, and has no patience for his predecessor's charge that Mr. Obama is dithering over his Afghanistan decision.
BIDEN: I like Dick Cheney personally, but I really don't care what Dick Cheney thinks. And I'm not sure a lot of Americans do.
Look at the policy they left us. Look at the policy of neglect they left us in Afghanistan.
HENRY: He is also consciously trying to catch himself before he slips up, even on a minor point about the Taliban.
BIDEN: Look, everything has changed, Ed -- not everything. Let me be precise. There's been a significant change in the last four months.
HENRY: While Biden insists the president never told him to tone it down, he's proud of his ability to dial it back on his own.
(on-camera): "Saturday Night Live" had a little fun with you about gaffes.
HENRY: Has the president ever had to say...
BIDEN: Fortunately, not lately. I'm -- listen, you know, I -- I -- I'm sort of a gaffe-free zone right now, you know? HENRY: Top White House officials tell me that while Biden's instinct of speaking bluntly in public can get him in trouble sometimes, that same quality, ironically, helps him get more influence in private because the president believes he's getting the unvarnished truth -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Ed Henry is over at the White House.
Thanks, Ed, for that report.
Several people who regularly speak to the president are exclusively speaking to us, as well. In addition to the vice president, three people from President Obama's tight-knit inner circle, they are standing by to join us, the senior adviser, David Axelrod, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, and the communications director, Anita Dunn. My interview with them later here in THE SITUATION ROOM -- part one today, part two tomorrow.
It's a heartbreaking notion for both parents. Their child is suffering, unable to breathe since just after its birth, but the question they are grappling has dramatically put the couple at odds. Should the baby be allowed to die, or should the baby be kept alive?
BLITZER: The violence in nuclear-armed Pakistan is getting bloodier. Dozens more are dead or wounded in suicide bomb attacks today. At least 17 people were injured in an explosion at a police checkpoint in the Pakistani city of Lahore. The other attack happened in the closely guarded city of Rawalpindi, home of the country's military headquarters. At least 35 people were killed outside a busy bank.
Let's go to CNN's Ivan Watson.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are some of the victims of this bombing that took place outside a small branch of Pakistan's national bank. All the men here, thankfully, survived this attack.
They are all military or members of the security forces that were lining up to receive their pensions, their monthly salaries at the beginning of the month, amounts of less than $100, when a suicide bomber rolled up to this line and self-detonated -- most of the victims, again, members of the security forces, who seem to be targets in this escalating conflict between the Pakistani military and forces of the Taliban.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Rawalpindi, in Pakistan.
BLITZER: Brooke Baldwin is monitoring some other important stories incoming to THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
Brooke, what's going on?
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, when you're a pilot, you may not think about it, but you have got to watch out for the birds. A bird strike forced a Delta plane to make an emergency landing today. Talking about Flight 1232, which was heading for Salt Lake City. It had to return safely to Phoenix with damage to the windshield and the front of the plane -- fortunately, no injuries to report there.
And not licensed to operate in the state of Georgia, that is precisely how the Georgia Public Service Commission describes a company whose bus crashed over the weekend, injuring 13 members of the Morehouse College marching band. The bus, by the way, one of three carrying members of the band to a football game, skidded off the highway some 50 feet, flipped over twice. None of those injuries was life-threatening.
And it looks like a parade -- perhaps, it felt like one as well -- for Bay Area commuters. Talking here about the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge finally reopening today. Six days after 5,000 pounds of steel crashed on to the traffic lanes during Tuesday's rush hour, bridge engineers were working on installing a patch last week, but it failed the test just over this past weekend, so a second repair was completed yesterday.
And this next story might send a chill down Conan O'Brien's spine. Why? Well, Jay Leno has told "Broadcasting & Cable" magazine that he preferred his old time slot, the 11:30 time slot, and would return to that if NBC asked him. But Leno adds hastily that decision would not be up to him. Of course, here is hoping, Wolf, that Conan O'Brien doesn't read the magazine.
BLITZER: Wow. I'm sure he does. That's a huge event.
BALDWIN: I'm sure he does.
BLITZER: For entertainment news, that's big news, potentially, right there.
BALDWIN: Big news if he's moving back to the old time slot, yes.
BLITZER: Oh, yes. That would be huge.
All right, thanks very much...
BALDWIN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: ... for that, Brooke.
What kind of Republican candidates will you see in the near future? Will they be moderates or staunchly conservative candidates? What's happening in one key race is splitting the Republican Party and could dramatically impact the party's direction. Stand by. And regarding swine flu, they are an especially high-risk group. We're talking about pregnant woman. One woman you will meet illustrates the incredible danger that H1N1 poses for expecting moms.
BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now: Across the country, polls will open in only a few hours. Voters will decide some local contests with some major national implications. Candy Crowley will be here to break it all down for us.
In Atlanta, the outcome of a six-way race for mayor could well be an historic surprise. Don Lemon is on that story.
And remember the 3:00 a.m. phone call, the ad that questioned candidate Obama's qualifications? Three of his top aides tell me exclusively how President Obama handled his first real 3:00 a.m. phone call.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Countdown to D-Day. In less than 24 hours, voters decide a few key races that the White House Republicans, virtually the entire political world, will be watching rather closely.
Let's bring in our chief national correspondent, John King, the anchor of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
A lot of people are rushing to say, this will have some significance, a referendum nationally, these local various contests. What do you think?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We tend to overhype these things sometimes, but there are some things to watch tomorrow, Wolf, that could well be sending a national message.
Let's start in the state of Virginia. We know, for starters, President Obama carried that state with 53 percent, turned it. It had not been since 1964. Let's just give the folks the lay of the land. Here are your two candidates.
The Republican, Bob McDonnell, is winning right now in all the late polls by about 11, 12 points. Creigh Deeds is the Democrat. He has struggled in this race.
Now, why is this important? Number one, the Democratic Party has been ascendant in Virginia. Five of the last seven gubernatorial elections, they have won. Two U.S. senators are Democrats for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The president of the United States has twice gone down to campaign for Creigh Deeds. He's also in a lot of the advertisements. I want to show you one of them. In the closing days, this is proof of the president's investment in this race. Let's listen for just a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CREIGH DEEDS CAMPAIGN AD)
OBAMA: ... a movement...
OBAMA: ... of Americans who believed that their voices could make a difference.
That's what we need to do in this race. That's what Creigh Deeds is committed to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: "That's what we need to do in this race."
I want to make a point here. Last time, the African-American turnout in the presidential race in the state of Virginia was 20 percent. Was that just about Barack Obama, or did he create a movement that lasts for his party?
The president won 92 percent of those African-American votes in Virginia, Wolf. That's one thing we will look at tomorrow. Are the African-Americans turning out, and are they voting in such a large margin for the Democrats?
Another big question, independents, it was about 25 percent, 28 percent of the vote in Virginia last time. And John McCain and Barack Obama split it. Do the independents roughly split, or are independent voters trying to send a message, not just to the Democrat of Virginia, but maybe to the president as well? We will watch that.
BLITZER: We will watch Virginia. We will also watch New Jersey.
KING: Now, let's go up to New Jersey, this state, even more at stake for the Democrats because of the history.
We will show you the candidates. This one could be a little interesting because of this man, Chris Daggett, 6 percent in this latest poll. In some polls, he's been in double digits. He could have an impact on the race.
The Democratic incumbent, Jon Corzine, is very unpopular. The Republican candidate, Chris Christie, probably a bit more conservative than most New Jersey Republicans. The Independent could make a difference here.
Again, Democrats have been dominating this state for some time. No Republican has won statewide since 1997, so if the Republican wins, you have a big deal there.
And again, President Obama has decided to make be a investment here. Three times campaigned for Governor Corzine, including just Sunday.
One more time back to those numbers.
African-Americans are a smaller percentage of the vote in New Jersey, about 12 percent. But again, the president got 92 percent last time. Do the African-Americans turn out, or was that just for President Obama? And can the Democrats match his numbers? That's a big challenge there.
Independent voters, the president got about 51 percent in New Jersey last time. Again, if you look at all the polling data across the country, Independents don't like the health care debate, they don't like the deficit spending. In their voting pattern, it could be a bit of a message to the president.
BLITZER: Yes, it certainly could.
What about the upstate New York election, the congressional election in the 23rd District?
KING: Isn't it funny that a congressional race is dominating a lot of the coverage. You have the big governors' races, but this race is dominating because of this drama.
This was just the other day. The Democratic candidate at 36, the Conservative Party -- New York has a Conservative Party, as you well know -- they have a candidate at 35. This Republican, Dede Scozzafava, no longer in the race. Not only did she drop out, but she endorsed the Democrat.
Why? Because conservatives said she was not a good enough Republican, because she supported abortion rights and gay rights. Sarah Palin and a lot of conservative organizations endorsed Mr. Hoffman, criticized her. She dropped out.
The big drama here is, can the Democrats win this seat? It would be the first time in more than 100 years that the Democrats won this particular congressional district.
One more set of numbers for you.
President Obama did carry that district last time. New York is a Democratic state. The president carried it with 52 percent of the vote, well below the 63 percent, though, Wolf, he received statewide.
The Democrats want to win this seat badly to send a message that moderate Republicans are being attacked by members of their own party because right now, if you're a moderate Republican and you're up in this area, a big area for the Democrats. The Democrats want to send a message saying you're not welcome in your own party. Come support us.
BLITZER: John King reporting for us.
John, thank you.
Let's go right back to Jack Cafferty for "The Cafferty File." We're going to assess all these races later this hour with the best political team on television, Jack, but you know what? There's only a few races. If you're a political news junkie like I am, I know like you are, like many of our viewers, not a whole lot of races, but we're trying to assess all of them. Maybe we will milk them a little bit to get some analysis of what's going on.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think, in light of the situation the country finds itself in, the recession, the economy, the wars, all of the problems that have been all over the news ever since even before the last election, when something like this comes up a year into the new administration's term -- the Democrats have had control of the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate -- this is a bit of a referendum.
And I think people are more interested maybe than we give them credit for being. I, for one, am fascinated. I want to know how John King draws an almost perfect circle on that thing, because, in school, they used to make us do that, and I had a lot of trouble with that.
CAFFERTY: It means nothing.
This means something. When it comes to health care reform, the rich may be in for a huge surprise. The House Democratic plan for health care reform calls for a 5.4 percent tax on singles making more than $500,000 and couples making more than $1 million.
It would only affect 0.3 percent of tax filers, but it's expected it would raise $460 billion over 10 years, or roughly half the cost of health care reform. And there's a catch. The new tax is not indexed to inflation, like other income taxes are. So, it would continue to ensnare more families and more small-business owners as time goes on.
One analysis shows that, in 2011, a family of four making $800,000 would see their federal income taxes go up more than 12 percent. A family making $5 million a year would see their taxes go up about 32 percent.
Some tax experts say it's a mistake to call on only the rich to pay for services that are used by all. One economist who advised President Bush says -- quote -- "This gives the impression that health care is only worth having if someone else is paying for it" -- unquote.
Meanwhile, this isn't the only tax President Obama has planned for the wealthy, oh no. He wants to increase the top marginal income tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent.
I guess cutting government spending is just out of the question. Socialism takes another big step forward. Add to that the fact that most Americans are already seeing their health insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays, all that other stuff go up. It's the open enrollment season. I can testify personally to what I just said in that last sentence. Here's the question: Is it fair to make the rich pay for so much of the cost of health care reform? Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and give us your thoughts. That's where you will find my blog.
How is your Twitter situation, Wolf?
BLITZER: Twitter, it's fun. I -- WolfBlitzerCNN. I tweet all the time. In the commercial breaks, I send out little updates, what's, going on behind the scenes, what to look out for, forward to.
CAFFERTY: How many folks you got now?
BLITZER: I think it's well over 120,000.
CAFFERTY: That's amazing. It's only been a couple of weeks or so, right?
BLITZER: Yes, it's not been that long. But people are interested.
CAFFERTY: You're a popular man, Mr. Blitzer.
BLITZER: I don't know about that. All right, Jack, thank you.
CAFFERTY: No, I do.
BLITZER: Every day, hour, even minute, counts. President Obama is on the clock when it comes to deciding troop levels, other decisions involving Afghanistan. Extremists continue to spark violence and death there. When might the president make his decision?
BLITZER: If there was any doubt before, Afghanistan now knows who will be the next president. So, when will President Obama decide the next U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan?
Let's discuss with our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger, our CNN political contributor the Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, and former Bush speechwriter David Frum, also with the NewMajority.com.
Does this propel the president to make a decision more quickly, now that everyone knows Hamid Karzai wins?
DAVID FRUM, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: This is another non-surprise. Everything that's happened today is something he's known for weeks, months, a year-and-a-half in some cases. So, there's no war strategy here that he's deciding.
He's grappling with a political problem. The war strategy could have been settled by Inauguration Day.
BLITZER: It's not a huge surprise, Candy, that Hamid Karzai is going to win the election. He was probably going to win even if there had been a runoff with Abdullah Abdullah.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly.
I think what we're seeing also is a president that makes decisions like this. This is something that they have repeatedly said, we're going to take our time. He's had, what -- I have last count -- seven...
BLITZER: Six or seven meetings.
CROWLEY: ... seven full-scale meetings, and then says, I need the answers to these questions.
Sooner or later, he does run out of time. I'm not sure if he's there yet, but there is going to be a point when people are going to say, OK, we know this, we know this, and like -- as David is saying now.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this is probably going to be a more complicated deployment and a more complicated decision than just whether or not to send 40,000 more troops all at once.
And I think, you know, you may have a president looking at this new government trying to figure out a way whether you can set up benchmarks and contingencies to see if Karzai behaves a certain way, then they get a certain number of troops, or whether you need troops in the provinces or troops in the more urban areas. And so I think we're not going to see -- and that's what takes a lot of time.
BLITZER: Because a lot of people, Donna, have just worked under the assumption he's going to send more troops, whether it's 20,000, 30,000, 40,000. He's going to send more troops.
But is it possible he's been so carefully reconsidering this entire strategy, he may come around, like Thomas Friedman of "The New York Times," for example, and say, you know what, it's not worth it, it's time to start getting out of Afghanistan? Is that possible?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, I would hope at the end of the day, the president will base this decision on what's right for the men and women that he plans to send and those who are already there.
It's important that the president gets it right. It doesn't matter if it's tomorrow or next month that he makes his final decision, because this is a comprehensive strategy. This is not just sending in more troops.
And, by the way, we have the largest contingent of troops there now over the last -- since 2006. So, he needs to get it right...
BLITZER: But do you think it's possible he's rethinking the entire game plan...
BLITZER: ... for Afghanistan and may decide, you know what, those troops there, they are being seen as occupiers; it's time to start getting them out?
BRAZILE: Given the chaos following the election and now with this runoff, it's important the president gets it right and also give us a mission where we can succeed and bring our troops home.
BORGER: You know, I don't think he's necessarily -- I think there's very little chance that he's going to say we're getting out of Afghanistan.
But I think there's a very high probability that when he comes up with whatever deployment he does in whatever way he does it, he's going to also have an exit strategy, and he's going to say, OK, not by a date certain, but this is our strategy to get out of Afghanistan.
BLITZER: Because if you read General McChrystal's recommendations, if you send another 40,000 troops -- and you have read that document carefully -- it was leaked to "The Washington Post" -- we all did -- he's talking about a strategy involving at least five or 10 years.
Well, it may be that the president -- what the president really doesn't have is an exit strategy out of Iraq, because that's where the idea was that the troops were going to come from. And he's still maintaining very high levels of troop deployment in Iraq for a surprisingly long time. And he may feel he's trapped. But this idea...
BLITZER: But he does keep saying that all combat forces will be out of Iraq by the end of next August and all U.S. troops will be out maybe a year later.
FRUM: Well, he also said Gitmo would be closed at the end of the year. These deadlines aren't so hard and fast.
But when Donna says that the president needs to take his time, we are having horrific casualties, a big uptick in the rate of casualties, because the Americans are engaged in a much more active role than they were before, but without the numbers that can create the massive force to make...
BLITZER: But there's one argument, Candy, that's been made the more U.S. troops are there, the more casualties will be there, because there will be greater U.S. targets for the Taliban and others to go after.
CROWLEY: Yes. And that's why I think positioning is so important, I mean, where they put them. Are we going to do the urban areas?
But I do think David is right about this. And that is that if you talk to folks at the Pentagon, they will say, it has to be 5,000 here, 10,000 the next month, because there aren't 40,000 troops sitting around that they can send there.
BORGER: Right. Right.
CROWLEY: So, we are going to see some sort of phased-in troop deployment over there.
And I agree with Gloria. I don't -- I think it's virtually impossible that he would say, I'm pulling out.
BORGER: Well, you know, and it would be -- it would be interesting if you could see a president who is deploying more troops to Afghanistan, but pulling some troops out of Iraq , and because, for domestic political consumption, particularly within the Democratic Party, that would be a formula for them that they could think they could work with.
BLITZER: All right.
BRAZILE: We need a viable government in Afghanistan in order to successfully complete our mission. And we don't have that right now.
BLITZER: We have got Hamid Karzai and his government. And the definition of viable is...
BRAZILE: We don't know what that is.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by.
The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, she steps into a storm of Arab anger, is forced to step back somewhat from earlier comments on Israeli settlements. We're taking a closer look at some of the tough diplomacy that is going on. Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is traveling with the secretary.
BLITZER: The best political team on television is standing by. We will get some more from them in a moment.
BLITZER: Some lawmakers are calling a plan to give swine flu shots to terror suspects unacceptable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: They should get way, way, way back at the end of the line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Just ahead, exactly when would detainees at Guantanamo Bay get the H1N1 vaccine? We're digging deeper on a story that is causing a lot of outrage.
BLITZER: The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is in the same difficult position as so many of her predecessors, as he tries to jump-start Israeli/Palestinian peace talks -- the latest setback, Clinton's own words.
Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is traveling with the secretary and filed this report from Morocco.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a regional conference in Morocco steps into a whirlwind of Arab anger over her weekend comments on Israeli settlements.
Saturday in Jerusalem, standing side by side with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton praised him for steps that fell short of previous demands by the Obama administration that Israel freeze construction of Jewish settlements.
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: What the prime minister has offered in specifics of a restraint on the policy of settlements, which is just described, no new starts, for example, is unprecedented in the context of prior two negotiations.
DOUGHERTY: Now in Marrakesh, meeting with foreign ministers from several Gulf state countries, she was backpedaling.
CLINTON: When I say that the Israeli government is making an unprecedented offer, even though it is not what many would hope for and even though our position remains the same, that settlement activity is not legitimate, nevertheless, it holds out the promise of moving a step closer to a two-state solution.
DOUGHERTY: The Arab League's secretary general calls the Israeli position a slap in the face that jeopardizes the peace process.
Clinton, who Saturday urged Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table with no preconditions over settlements, is seeing little progress so far. Abbas, fearful of looking weak at home if he goes along with that with says, no settlement freeze, no talks.
Meanwhile, in Morocco, Clinton is lobbying Arab states to support U.S. efforts to restart the Seoul peace talks. But the mood is angry. Amid Arab fears that the Obama administration might be reverting to what they feel was a pro-Israel stance, yet by the end of the day, the Palestinians seemed less disturbed by Clinton's comments with Netanyahu than their Arab supporters are.
(On camera): Secretary Clinton says she's simply trying to positively reinforce any steps by either side that could appear to move the peace process forward. But in this highly charged atmosphere, she risks undermining the U.S. image as an honest broker.
Jill Dougherty, CNN, Marrakesh.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary Clinton also had some tough talk for the Iranians today saying there would be no alterations to the nuclear offer currently on the table.
This offer would require Iran to send most of its known supply of enriched uranium to Russia for reprocessing. When it's returned to Iran, the processed uranium would be very difficult to use in a nuclear weapon. We'll stay on top of this story for you, our viewers.
In the meantime, well, let's get back to Election Day tomorrow here in the United States. Exactly a year after the Obama victory, do voters want more change and not necessarily the kind of change the president believes in?
Let's get back to the best political team on television.
Donna, I'll start with you. If, if the Democrats lose in Virginia and New Jersey and they also lose in that upstate New York congressional district, in other words, the Republicans or the conservatives have a clean sweep tomorrow in these elections we're watching, what will that mean?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, Wolf, history is against us. As you know, the party in power normally loses the gubernatorial races in those two states. So I wouldn't be surprised because there's a strong anti-government, anti-incumbent head wind facing...
BLITZER: You wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats lose at all?
BRAZILE: But I'm looking for a miracle. I'm always looking for miracles. But in Virginia, in particular, Wolf, you know, Mr. Deeds has not run a great campaign. I think that he understood from day one, after winning the primary, that he had to mobilize the same kind of base that President Obama did last year. There's not a lot of energy there. But he's trying. Who knows?
BLITZER: Let me ask David. If the Democrats lose everything in these three contests tomorrow, what does that mean?
DAVID FRUM, FORMER BUSH SPEECHWRITER: It means that the economic pain this country is in is so serious that people are crying for help and they have...
BLITZER: Well, why would they blame the Democrats more than the Republicans?
FRUM: The president of the United States borrowed $800 billion and said, I will make the economy better. The economy is worse. Now he can say, well, it's better than it might otherwise have been. But more people are out of work, more houses have been foreclosed.
The number of long-term unemployed people -- unemployed for six months or more is unprecedented since record-keeping began. People 16 to 24 are those in the labor market. Fifty percent of them are unemployed.
And by the way, that's one of the reasons that the Democratic base has collapsed because those young people, those African-Americans who were so crucial to the president's election, they are the people who have been hit hardest and they're very demoralized.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the other thing is that, why would they blame the Democrats instead of someone else. Jon Corzine has been in office as governor of New Jersey. So he's the point man for the economy in New Jersey.
And Democrats have been in the governorship in Virginia for the last several terms. So if you're going to blame the Democrats, it's going to be the people in your state. I think also what we're going to learn here is whether President Obama, when he put together this movement and this infrastructure that they were going to use to push issues and they were going to use for other campaigns, is it there? We'll find out whether it's there.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think the big thing we all may want to look at tomorrow night is where those independent voters are going because we've seen in poll after poll that the president is more popular than his policies.
The folks who seem to be having a great deal of question about his policies who used to agree with him on the campaign trail are those independent voters. And they're going to be the key...
BORGER: And in states like Virginia and in upstate New York.
FRUM: And the number of Republicans shrinks from 30 percent to 20 percent... BORGER: Yes.
FRUM: ... over the couple of years since it's done. But when you get a big increase of independents who are ex-Republicans and they're going to bring with them a lot of their former Republican...
BLITZER: Got it. Here's what I think could have the effect of doing if the Democrats lose all these contests tomorrow. All three of them. A lot of those moderate conservatives, so-called blue dog Democrats, in the House of Representatives and the conservative Democrats in the Senate, they'll take a look at the health care bill and say, maybe not so fast.
BRAZILE: Well, I don't think they will read the results that way, Wolf. Because if anything, I think the moderates should be put on notice like the liberals and the conservatives in the party that voters expect the Democrats to clean up the mess that they inherited from the Republicans, to bring the jobs back and to produce the kind of change that voters went to the polls for last year.
CROWLEY: And I do think that if it should happen and the Democrats should lose all three of these races that up on Capitol Hill, it increases the pressure on Nancy Pelosi to give byes to some of these blue dog Democrats.
BLITZER: Explain that. Explain that.
CROWLEY: To say to them, fine, you can vote against this. I know your district is tough so you can vote against...
BLITZER: And you know that she needs 218 votes.
CROWLEY: She can only give out so many. But I think it increases the pressure. I think they will go and say I can't do this. If you watch what's going on here, if you look at the polls. So I do think that that will tank -- that will change the pressure.
BORGER: Members of Congress are a bunch of chicken littles. And if they see -- if Democrats see that Democrats are losing, they're going to be nervous just as Candy says. Not only are they going to ask for byes out of this, but they're going to try to get more leverage to get some things into this bill, too.
And it's going to cause a great deal of problem...
BLITZER: Or the public option will be a lot less robust, is that what you're saying?
BORGER: Well, it might be a lot less robust and it might not be. OK? You might end up with something else...
BRAZILE: But (INAUDIBLE), Wolf, continue to rise. More and more Americans will continue to face discrimination when they go and try to use their health care policies. And I don't think that solves the problem. I don't think the Democrat wills go back to square one on health care.
BRAZILE: I do believe that the Democrats must make sure...
BLITZER: You want to, Donna, give us a prediction for tomorrow?
BRAZILE: Wolf, I think that we will do well in all three races. We may not get over 50 percent but we will do very well.
BLITZER: What does that mean "do well"? Win or lose?
BLITZER: I understand win or lose.
BRAZILE: Miracles, I think Corzine -- no, no. Corzine is going to do -- he's going to pull it off.
BRAZILE: He's going to pull it off. I'm still hoping against hope for Deeds. And then, of course, in New York, 23...
BLITZER: We know what you're hoping for. You want to make a prediction?
FRUM: It looks like, across the board, a Republican win -- not a Republican win because the Republicans...
BLITZER: The conservative candidate end up (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: All right, guys, you made the prediction. I'm not going to ask the others tonight.
BORGER: But I will say that there is a danger for the Republicans in over-interpreting that win in upstate New York. It could be a problem down the road.
BLITZER: We'll discuss that -- we'll discuss tomorrow, guys. Thanks very much.
Coming up, many Americans are waiting in very long lines for the H1N1 flu vaccine. Will terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay get an early chance to protect themselves from swine flu? We'll discuss after this.
BLITZER: Americans lining up by the thousands but finding the swine flu vaccine in short supply. So you can imagine the outrage at learning that terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay may -- may be inoculated against the virus before millions in this country.
CNN's Brian Todd is working the story for us. Brian, lots of outrage out there. What are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's time to clarify some of that outrage, Wolf. You know, delays in the production of the vaccine are problems that the White House does not have a lot of control over. But they've still been criticized and gotten a lot of fallout for some of those problems and now they seem to have another headache.
TODD (voice-over): A pandemic that's hit all but two states now spreads a political virus in Washington. The Obama team taking bipartisan fire for the fact that the swine flu vaccine could soon be offered to detainees at Guantanamo while American families deal with shortages.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: They should get way, way, way back at the end of the line and only get the vaccine when 150 million Americans who are thought to be in vulnerable categories get that vaccine.
TODD: Senator Joe Lieberman says he's appealing to the president and the Pentagon to reverse course. A Democratic congressman calls it unacceptable and a Republican counterpart says, "the administration tells us no longer women and children first," for the vaccine.
We contacted officials at the Pentagon, the White House and a spokesman at Guantanamo who said this.
LT. CMDR. BROOK DEWALT, DIR. OR PUBLIC AFFAIRS, JOINT TASK FORCE GUANTANAMO: People who are in institutional settings or environments such as nursing homes, detention facilities, prisons, college dorms as well as patients in hospital and people with diseases are all considered to be at a higher risk.
And detainees at Guantanamo would then fall into that general area of higher-risk individuals.
TODD: But the Centers for Disease Control does not specifically put detainees on the target list of people recommended to receive the vaccine when it becomes available. And a White House official says the administration is trying to determine if detainees should ever have any access to the vaccine.
Officials at Guantanamo and the Pentagon tell us there are no cases of H1N1 at Guantanamo yet. The vaccine has not arrived and don't know when they'll get it. They say the base commander will make sure military personnel get the vaccine first and that it will be voluntary for detainees.
One bioethicist says this is typical of the political challenge epidemics pose to presidents. ART CAPLAN, UNIV. PENN., DIR. OF BIOETHICS: It's a really tough line to walk. And I'm afraid, given all the other forces out there -- vaccine critics, economic issues, even a certain skepticism toward government -- it makes it even harder to get the right balance between wanting the public to take this seriously but not panicking people.
TODD: One senior Pentagon official calls this a forced protection issue. He says they have to protect the military personnel at Guantanamo so the detainees may have to have access to the shot. But for an administration that's already been criticized for overstating the availability of this vaccine, this is another political headache -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, what do the experts tell you about prison settings overall and the vulnerability of prisoners to get these kinds of viruses?
TODD: Professor Art Caplan at the University of Pennsylvania has a long-running project on the ethics of vaccines. He says prisons like Guantanamo are what he calls incubators for infection. Prisoners get it, then they give it to the guards, the guards could then come home and spread it to their families. So they say -- he says at least those are populations that are at risk for these viruses.
BLITZER: So it's more complicated than meets the eye.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.
A very special ship makes port in New York harbor. The slick Navy assault vessel has a history and a heart. It's built with steel from the World Trade Center.
BLITZER: Let's get back to our political ticker right now with a look at some of tomorrow's key ballot measures. Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in two states. Maine will be voting on whether to repeal a law that legalized gay marriage. And Washington state will vote on a law that gave domestic partnerships the same rights as married couples.
Medical marijuana is already legal in Maine. But passage of question 5 could greatly expand its use. In Ohio voters have turned down gambling casinos four times. The subject is back once again. Issue 3 would allow four casinos to be built with the state raking in one-third of the receipts in taxes.
Let's turn to Lou Dobbs to see what's coming up right at the top of the hour.
What are you working on, Lou? LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we're working on lots of stuff, Wolf. Thank you. Voters going to the polls tomorrow. An off-year election that this year could actually mean something. It could really be exciting.
One year after the president's historic win, Democrats struggling in states the president won handily. What does it all mean? We'll be telling you.
And election drama in Afghanistan as well. The president says it's time for a new chapter but the debate over a war strategy continues. Why is it taking so long? Should it take even longer and what does he have in mind?
Also, the massive Obama stimulus plan claims now that the spending created or saved up to a million jobs. We'll take a closer look that reveals the government has spent almost $800 billion creating more government. And we'll have all of the day's news as well of course.
All of that, a great deal more, coming up at the top of the hour. Please join us. Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: All right, Lou, we'll see you then.
A piece of ground zero came home today. Over seven tons of steel from the wreckage of the World Trade Center is built into the bow of a new U.S. Navy assault ship. Firemen, bagpipers and many of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 were there to welcome a floating memorial. The USS New York.
ENSIGN TIMOTHY GORMAN, U.S. NAVY: The steel in the bow, we're very mindful that we're representing victims of 9/11 and the victim, the people who died that day.
LEE IELPI, LOST A SON ON 9/11: What better way for our young men and women that are going to be on the USS New York to feel that spirit of our country?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With having the World Trade Center steel built into the bow of the ship, that's something that we have as part of us and we feel each and every day.
MASTER CPO TERRANCE HOIL U.S. NAVY: From this point forward, the USS New York is going to be taking the fight to the enemy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The commissioning of the ship this Saturday in New York. I'm sure it will be a memorable beautiful ceremony.
Let's go back to Jack for "The Cafferty File." If you have a chance, Jack, you might want to check it out.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's great stuff, Wolf. No question about it.
The question this hour, is it fair to make the rich pay for so much of the cost of health care reform? The House health care bill contains provisions to raise taxes on people who make more than $500,000 a year, single, $1 million a year as couples. It would generate $460 billion for the government over 10 years.
Mitch writes, "The only tax system that's fair is a flat tax. 10 to 15 percent for everybody, poor people, rich people, corporation, nonprofits, everyone. This nonsense of the rich needing to pay their fair share is actually the rich needing to pay somebody else's share. Being rich isn't easy. It's more work and sacrifice than the average person is willing to undertake."
Cheryl writes, "After so many years of the middle class shouldering the burden, I find it hard to feel sorry that the rich may no longer be able to dodge their responsibilities. I'm tired of trying to figure out how to make ends meet, while some people only worry about whether to buy Gucci or Coach."
Henry writes, "It's absolutely utterly unconscionable to compel anyone, wealthy or otherwise, to surrender their wealth to total strangers. It's simply theft. There's no possible moral or philosophical justification for it. On the pragmatic side, why in the world would the wealthy tolerate this kind of abuse? There are a lot of nice places in the world to live."
Ralph writes, "Yes, they ought to bear the brunt of the expense to make sure everyone is covered. There's no excuse for 1 percent of the population having the same amount of money as the other 95 percent."
Carter writes, "Absolutely, why shouldn't they pay more? They're willing to pay more for everything else in their lives."
Angel writes, "The ultrawealthy are rich for a reason, they're smart and savvy. You raise their taxes, they'll find a way around it, either through loopholes or relocating to a more favorable tax friendly country. It's naive to think the rich will just stand by and let the government take what they have worked so hard to make."
And Ryan writes from Wisconsin, "Where did all their money come from? By screwing the rest of us. Time to give a little back."
If you didn't see your e-mail here, go to my blog at CNN.com/caffertyfile and look around for yours there -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks, Jack, see you back here tomorrow, appreciate it.
You see someone weaving down the road at night. What do you do? A Wisconsin woman called 911. The thing is she was the one weaving.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK, so you want to call and report that you're driving drunk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Are you still driving right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Do you want to stop driving before you get in an accident?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I will stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A Wisconsin woman will no doubt think twice about her actions the next time, especially since she just might report herself to the police again. Are you confused?
CNN's Jeanne Moos listens to a most unusual 911 call.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mary Stray did not stray from doing the right thing, turning in a drunk driver.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Clark County 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody's really drunk driving down Granten Road.
MOOS: She should know.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK, are you behind them or...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I am them.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: You am them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am them.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK, so you want to call and report that you're driving drunk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MOOS: The Wisconsin woman later told police she'd had seven or eight brandy and cokes.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Are you still driving right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Do you want to stop driving before you get in an accident? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I will stop.
MOOS: And she did. With a blood alcohol level almost twice the legal limit.
(On camera): This isn't the first time that someone allegedly driving drunk has called 911. It happened just last year in Washington state.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: 911, what are you reporting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't know if I'm safe to be driving.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Why wouldn't you be safe?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm pretty drunk. I don't feel good.
MOOS (voice-over): In fact, he felt so bad he spoke to a KCPQ reporter without revealing his identity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Killing someone else is the last thing I wanted to do. And I just -- I think I started feeling really guilty about being on the road.
MOOS: Guilt isn't always the motivating factor. Remember the Michigan police officer who called 911 high on pot confiscated from suspects?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're dying.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: How much did you guys have?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. We made brownies and I think we're dead. I really do.
MOOS: He didn't die. But he did resign. And for those who prefer to recline...
DENNIS ANDERSON, OWNER OF MOTORIZED RECLINER: Just had a ball with it. I don't usually drink and drive on it.
MOOS: Dennis Anderson's motorized recliner has been up for bid on eBay. Complete with headlights, radio and of course cup holder. This is the famous recliner that Anderson crashed into a parked car last year while driving drunk.
Other people have motorized their recliners. But lacking the cachet of infamy, they don't get bids in the $43,000 range.
ANDERSON: It's ridiculous the price it's going for.
MOOS: Anderson isn't getting the money. The Proctor, Minnesota police are auctioning it off. When it comes to drinking and driving, sometimes it's not just us versus them.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: You am them? MOOS: Jeanne Moos...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am them.
MOOS: ... CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Amazing. Jeanne Moos, thank you. We have a new way for you to follow what's going on behind the scenes here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm now on Twitter, as a lot of you know, have been for at least a month. You can get my tweets at Twitter.com/WolfblitzerCNN, WolfblitzerCNN, all one word.
Remember our extensive coverage of the election returns, all will kick off in THE SITUATION ROOM tomorrow. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Up next, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT." Lou?