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THE SITUATION ROOM

Tropical Depression Forms; Oil Drilling Legal Battle; Getting Things Done; U.S. Team Faces Big Test at World Cup; ; President Obama Scores Victory on Wall Street Reform

Aired June 25, 2010 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, some growing concerns that a tropical weather system could quickly strengthen and pose a threat to the oil spill disaster zone. We are tracking it all of the way, and looking at the trouble that it could cause.

Undeterred by the catastrophe in the gulf, BP is pursuing an ambitious drilling plan in the far reaches of Alaska, but some environmentalists fear that BP is reaching too far at great risk.

And on the first anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, we are going to visit the king of pop's grave site, and talk with his brother and sister, Jermaine and Janet Jackson.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Suzanne Malveaux, and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

There is an encouraging new development in the effort to plug the oil leak at the bottom of the Gulf, but it is overshadowed by concern about rough weather over the horizon. Now, BP says a ranging signal shows its relief drilling is approaching the leaking well 16,000 feet below the surface.

Now, in the weeks ahead, it's going to try to close in and kill that target. But attention now is focused on a weather system in the western Caribbean. The fear is that it could strengthen and close in on the Gulf, with serious consequences for the oil containment effort.

Our Chris Lawrence is on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis is at the CNN Weather Center.

But we first want to start with you, Chris. Tell us what the situation is there on the ground.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, normally, people here would not bat an eye at a tropical depression, but this year is very, very unique.

We just got off of the phone talking to some of to emergency management officials down here. They are this year very, very concerned about storm surge, A, because they have so many new people working in this area on cleanup and containment, and these people do not know the ins and outs of the area or how quickly some areas will flood. On a big level, when it comes to the oil spill, obviously, if they got bad weather in the area, you are talking about the cleanup crews would have to get off the water. The relief wells would cause a delay. They would have to stop drilling those.

And probably most importantly, they would have to disconnect that containment cap. And when that is gone, that means anywhere, you know, two million gallons a day could be just flowing freely back into the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, there is a new system that they are currently constructing right now, in which it would use a flexible hose, it would connect to a free-floating riser that would be about 300 feet underwater. But that is not going to be done until July. When it is, it is going to be much, much easier to handle things like hurricanes. It is not going to help if this round of bad weather gets into the area -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Chris, do you think that people are prepared for this?

LAWRENCE: When you talk to people, I think the people who live here feel they are prepared. It is just no one knows what a storm will do to the oil.

There was a similar storm 30 years ago. It definitely hurt efforts to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but the storm also diluted the oil, so that it was not as concentrated and did not do as much damage in any one place.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thank you, Chris.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

MALVEAUX: We have a report of a tropical depression, one that is hitting the area.

Want to go straight to our meteorologist Karen Maginnis, who is the phone now.

Karen, what are we talking about here? What does this mean?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: This has just broken just in the last couple of minutes from the National Hurricane Center. It is Tropical Depression 1. Now, we have got a long way to go before this evolves into anything more serious.

We are looking at several days out as it moves across the Yucatan. If it does remain organized, if the influences in the Gulf of Mexico all come together, then we could see something perhaps even stronger as we go into the next 72 to 96 hours.

But it has got to make that transition across the Yucatan. And this is the first recon information that we have gotten that suggests that it is strengthening as it moves toward the west/northwest, so they will continue to send flights out. This is a critical situation, Suzanne, because we have never seen anything like this before, with a spill of this magnitude in such a critical area. And as it makes its way possibly into the Gulf of Mexico, I think that we will see in the next several days just what we have to worry about as we go into the next five to seven days or so.

MALVEAUX: Karen, earlier, we had heard from Admiral Thad Allen, who was saying that about 120 hours or so before these gale-force winds, they would start moving these vessels, moving these boats, getting them out of the water to safety.

How much time do you think the people on the Gulf Coast have here? Are we talking about less than 120 hours now? Do you think that that is the window?

MAGINNIS: Well, Suzanne, it becomes a little complex even after the next several days, because once it moves over the Yucatan and interacts with a land mass, we don't know how organized, how large a system this is going to be. Does it go from tropical storm status to hurricane status?

So, really, we will have to watch it as it crosses the Yucatan, but to more specifically answer your question, our spaghetti models, our computer models, one of the models has it moving towards the Panhandle of Florida. Another one moves it into the central Gulf of Mexico. Several others keep it sort of in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

And, so, at this point, this early, it is very difficult to say, but, yes, I can imagine that the folks along the Gulf Coast are casting a very wary eye now that this is now Tropical Depression No. 1 in the Northwestern Caribbean.

MALVEAUX: OK. Karen, stay with us.

I want to go back the Chris.

And, Chris, obviously, people take a look at this, and they are worried, they are scared, but are they prepared? Do you see anybody trying to get ready for this possibility?

LAWRENCE: Well, you know, Suzanne, when we spoke to BP about the approaching bad weather, they indicated to us that it would take a minimum of several days to disconnect the containment cap and move all those personnel into a safe area, and then to move a lot of that equipment out of the area of danger, minimum of several days.

And the last that we had talked to them earlier today, they had not started that process yet. Obviously, they did not have the information that Karen just talked about. But it looks like it is fast becoming decision time for BP. And that will be a very difficult decision to make,, because, as I mentioned, once that cap is off, the oil just starts flowing freely again. On the other hand, you definitely don't want to risk people's lives out there on the open water.

MALVEAUX: OK. Chris, thank you so much. If you see anything changing where you are, please get back to us. And, obviously, we're going to keep our eye on Karen's forecast as well. Well, their outspoken comments helped their commander lose his command. Well, now those aides to ousted General Stanley McChrystal are keeping quiet.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is joining us.

And, Barbara, the military is still feeling this fallout from the stunning magazine piece on the Afghanistan war. What are they talking about today?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, this is far from over. I obtained an e-mail earlier today from someone quite close to General McChrystal who is laying out much more detail of what the military people around him believed happened, that "Rolling Stone," they say, did not obey the agreement for access to the general and his staff.

"Rolling Stone" disputes that. What is clear, however, is General McChrystal's aides betrayed some of the trust.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice-over): (AUDIO GAP) ... says of the aides who surround him -- quote -- "I die for them, and they would die for me."

But the military men around McChrystal are now silent. Not one of those anonymously quoted has come forward, according to a source close to the general. No one has acknowledged they told "Rolling Stone" McChrystal thought President Obama looked uncomfortable and intimidated in his first meeting with military brass or that the general was personally disappointed after meeting with the commander in chief.

Several who personally know McChrystal say it's no surprise he never claimed he was misquoted and that he took sole responsibility for the inappropriate statements and atmosphere. But now days later, facts are disputed.

Since the beginning, "Rolling Stone" insists it obeyed the military rules for how everyone could be quoted.

Did you get any -- or did Michael Hastings get any pushback from McChrystal's staff that some of this was supposed to be off the record, never to be reported, or was this really openly very much done in front of Michael Hastings?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, all of this, everything we published was on the record. We were very clear about the boundaries for not for attribution or off the record.

STARR: Friday, a military press officer who worked for McChrystal in Afghanistan, told CNN "The salacious political quotes all appear to have been in settings that were off the record." The source never said the quotes were wrong.

Reached by telephone, Bates told CNN, "In every instance, we abided by the ground rules."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: Now, this e-mail goes through a list of questions that "Rolling Stone"'s fact-checker, the person who makes sure everything is accurate before it is published, sent to McChrystal's press staff, saying, is this accurate? Is this accurate?

None of it included the salacious quotes, but one was very interesting, Suzanne. The fact-checker asked if it was true that McChrystal voted for Obama for office, for President Obama, because they said McChrystal told the reporter that.

The military person, the person who handled his press relations, did not dispute that General McChrystal said that, but asked that it not be published, because of course it is not appropriate for a general to speak publicly about who he politically may support in office. So, still, this controversy goes on -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: I anticipate it's going to go on a little bit longer.

Thank you, Barbara.

Jack Cafferty is next.

And then: A BP drilling project in Alaska is haunted by the Gulf oil disaster, growing concern about this project that is thousands of miles away.

Also, President Obama marks another victory. First, it was health care reform. Now it is financial reform. Will he go three for three?

Plus, the Jackson family speaking out to CNN on the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File."

Hey, Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Suzanne.

While Sarah Palin has been busy helping rack up primary wins for Republican candidates, it looks like she might be the kiss of death come a election. A new "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News poll shows a majority of Americans would respond negatively if they knew Sarah Palin backed a candidate -- 37 percent of those surveyed say they would be very uncomfortable about a candidate endorsed by the former Alaska governor who quit in the middle of her first term, while 15 percent say they would have some reservations. Only 25 percent said they would be comfortable or enthusiastic about Palin's support.

What's more, the poll finds there are only two attributes that a candidate could have that would be worse than a Sarah Palin endorsement. They are support for Bush's economic policies and support for getting rid of things like Social Security.

In other words, the poll seems to confirm the conventional wisdom about Palin: She's a hugely divisive politician. The base loves her. The rest of the country? Not so much.

Republicans seemingly can't get enough of her. Almost every candidate that Palin supported in the Republican primaries has won this season. She's especially credited with helping long shot Nikki Haley win the Republican primary for South Carolina governor.

But the rest of Americans aren't buying what she's selling. And, of course, if you look closely, what she's selling is Sarah Palin.

A recent CNN poll shows nearly 70 percent of Americans say Sarah Palin is unqualified to be president. What's wrong with the other 30 percent? And while Palin is popular in the South and rural areas, her unfavorable rating about 60 percent among women, suburbanites, independents in the West and Northeast.

So, here's the question: Would you vote for or against a candidate who was endorsed by Sarah Palin?

Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog.

What about you, Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Oh, I can't say either way, Jack. You know better than that.

(LAUGHTER)

CAFFERTY: I know. This is a trick question. I was trying to trap you.

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: Oh, you can't trap me.

CAFFERTY: No.

(LAUGHTER)

MALVEAUX: All right. But I am sure that a lot of people are going to respond to that. Thanks, Jack.

One year ago today at this hour, the world was shocked by the news that Michael Jackson had died. Today, his family gathered for a memorial service.

CNN's Don Lemon is in Glendale, California, and he caught up with some of the Jackson family.

Don, obviously, everybody remembers where they were one year ago and how the news hit them. How are people doing today there, where you are, and what are they saying? DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, right. I was just looking at my -- because I'm Pacific time -- looking at my watch, and it was about this time that I started to find out and get information and get on a plane getting word that Michael Jackson has died.

So, you're right, at about this time, all the networks really going strong with that.

I'm going to tell you, Suzanne, about this memorial that is here at Forest Lawn in just a little bit, but about noon Pacific time, 3:00 Eastern time, the Jackson family came to this mausoleum to pay their respects to their brother one year later.

And we caught up with Jermaine, Janet, and Randy Jackson. And here is what they had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Jermaine, so good to see you. How you doing today?

JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: It's -- it's I can't believe it has been a year. We are hanging in there. We are hanging in there. But it's -- I am doing OK.

LEMON: Yes.

Can you take us inside, because the fans, the world -- we are on live internationally, 210 countries around the world. Take us inside, please.

JERMAINE JACKSON: What happened, it was just very brief, close friends. And we spoke about memories of things that we remember.

LEMON: Janet -- can you come over and say a few words, Janet? Will you? The world -- we are live on CNN, and the world wants to know. Come on over, please.

JANET JACKSON, SISTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Maybe at another time, not right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is hard today. It is hard today.

LEMON: How are you doing today?

JANET JACKSON: I'm OK. Thank you.

LEMON: And your family?

JANET JACKSON: They are well. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Of course, understandably, Suzanne, the family a little bit apprehensive. They had just come out of the mausoleum where their brother is entombed. So, they were a little bit sad about the day and actually caught up in the moment, but came over for just a bit and spoke to us.

And you're going to hear more from the family tonight in my documentary.

And before -- I'm going to talk to this young lady. Believe it or not, she's from Siberia. But let me show you. This is a long jaunt up this hill, about three-quarters of a mile up a hill that these people have to travel up, walk up. And it is really -- it is a muggy day here in California, in Southern California.

We have been seeing people from Asia, from Africa, from, of course, the United States, from the U.K. And she is from Siberia. And she showed up.

Your name is Mary (ph). Why did you come? You came here just for this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, well, you know, Michael Jackson is a person who changed -- he changed all of my life. And we have a lot of fans from in (INAUDIBLE) there in Siberia.

We really love him. And he is just not a singer and performer and entertainer for us. He is just like a part of our big family. And as for me, he's like father. He is like my second father. And I remember I was just 3 years old when I watched "Thriller." And...

LEMON: You know what? We have been talking about where people -- do you remember where you were when Michael Jackson died, when you got the...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was there in Siberia, actually. And I was so disappointed that I had not gotten tickets at that moment for his last concert. And I was crying all day, like, oh, my God, how world is going to see him, his last concert, and I am going to stay here.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Yes, you are talking about the concert in London.

A lot of people -- and you know what, Suzanne?

Thank you very much, Mary. We appreciate it.

A lot of people who are showing up here had tickets to the concert in London. And instead of going there, they decided to come here on the one-year anniversary, because they figured that this is the way to pay their respects.

So, one year later, here you go. And, by the way, we are still waiting for a civil suit to be filed in court here by Michael Jackson's father, Brian Oxman, the attorney, saying that Dr. Conrad Murray is responsible for Michael Jackson's death. It is a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed by close of business today -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK, Don, thank you so much. Excellent reporting.

Well, tonight, CNN reveals details of Michael Jackson's death. We will talk to brothers Jermaine and Tito about their unanswered questions, who they think is responsible. Plus, hear from some of his closest associates. "Michael Jackson: The Final Days" -- tonight at 8:00 Eastern on CNN.

Well, it may have been a critical factor in the oil spill and it could plague another BP drilling project in Alaska. We are following a newly formed tropical depression heading for Gulf of Mexico. What impact will it have on the oil disaster?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

MALVEAUX: Want to go straight to our Jeanne Meserve, who is at the G20 summit out of Toronto, Canada. I understand that there are some violent protests that are taking place.

Jeanne, what can you tell us?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) As you can see, we are in the middle of a demonstration here on the streets of Toronto. (INAUDIBLE)

MALVEAUX: OK. We can see that people are behind Jeanne. Obviously...

MESERVE: (INAUDIBLE)

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Jeanne. We're going to try to get back to you when we can get a better sound from you.

But I understand some of what you were saying. Obviously, we saw those pictures of you in the middle of those protesters. And having covered a lot of the G8 and G20 summits myself, we know that it can be somewhat violent. It can be chaotic. There are also -- just, generally speaking, there can be a lot of peaceful protests.

But it gets very animated. And, generally speaking, in these type of world summits, there are all kinds of people that come out, some protesting capitalism, some protesting big government, some protesting their own leaders. It can become very colorful. And, sometimes, it can become violent. And when Jeanne has more, we're going to go back to that G20 summit that is taking place there in Toronto, Canada.

Struggling with the disaster in the Gulf, BP is pursuing a far- reaching drilling plan in the frozen reaches of Alaska. Now, critics say that the project is too risky.

And a couple of powerhouses are already out of the World Cup. Could that make things easier for the U.S. team? I'm going to ask the goalie, Tim Howard. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: This is CNN breaking news.

A weather system in the Western Caribbean has turned into the season's first tropical depression, and there are growing concerns now that it could pose a serious threat to the oil disaster zone in the Gulf.

Our meteorologist Karen Maginnis, she is at the cn Weather Center in Atlanta.

Karen, I want to start with you. Tell us, exactly what is this and where is it going?

MAGINNIS: Initially, we are in the beginning formations of what could become a tropical storm.

This is the first tropical depression of the season, and it could make tropical storm strength before it moving onshore the Yucatan peninsula. Once it moves over land and typically they weaken. That is the trend and historically what happened. That's what always happens. It should move into the south central Gulf of Mexico and from there, Suzanne, once again, we take it out to the middle of the work week, and once again, computer models are suggesting, and now, there is a large margin of error suspected here, but by the middle of the work week, we could see at tropical storm formation once again. That poses big problems at that point, so we are two to three possibly four days away from really sort of pinpointing where we anticipate this tropical depression, possibly storm, possibly hurricane will move over the next three to five days.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: And Karen, what would it look like? What are we talking about in terms of the force of the winds? In terms of rain and how this would turn up the water? Can you describe for what would actually occur?

MAGINNIS: Well, a couple of factors play into that, just how large the system may become, and how intense. However, generally speaking, should it get on the western edge of the spill, we are looking at a much more serious situation. That is going to throw the moisture on shore. It is going to throw the oil or move the oil more towards those areas that maybe have not experienced some of these oil or tar ball situations over the last 60-however many days. However, if it moves to the east of this system, of the oil slick rather, then we are looking at something that is going to more trend towards pulling that oil away from shore. Maybe not completely, but it would have the better chance of doing that.

Right now, what you are looking at is at the sort of upper edge to the left of the screen, that is where we are watching that tropical storm intensity going into Wednesday. It could move it any point in time, any direction. What we are looking at water temperatures here of, Suzanne, 86, 87 degrees and extraordinarily warm. We point that out because it just fuels the tropical systems, and yes, the water temperature is extraordinarily warm for this time of year. And we will have to see what the prevailing winds do, and which direction this is expected to move.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Karen.

I want to bring in those with us here to talk a little bit about the area already devastated by the oil spill and just how the gulf coast is going to cope with this possible storm. Joining me is our CNN's John King and CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend. First of all to you, John, you've been out there. You were in the region. Are they ready for something like this?

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Well, they have anticipated this, so they have a plan in place, but the problem is that if it takes a path anywhere near the spill site, and then to the coastline, it will cause significant setbacks. Number one, if it goes anywhere near the spill site, there are dozens of ships there. That is where the oil is coming up from the containment cap. The plan is, if they are planning for a hurricane or anything close to a hurricane, most of those ships have to get out of there, Suzanne. They simply can't stay. It is not safe to operate. That would be a setback in the recovery operation and in the skimming that is done where that oil that doesn't go into that containment cap, that is where most of the thick murky oil comes right up at ground zero. There are giant skimming ships out there. They would have to leave that scene. You see some of the pictures right there. That is where the "Enterprise" is, where the Q4000 is, where the other containment ships are. When you come closer to the shore like this, barrier islands like this, marshlands like that, there are flimsy boons set up around most of this area. Some of them you could literally pick up. I was in the water wading in the marshes of the Pensacola area where some people say this might be headed, and you could pick the booms up with your hand. They are heavy and they are awkward, but a heavy wind, a strong storm, rolls them around, moves them around and so a significant setback if that happens.

MALVEAUX: And Fran we heard from Thad Allen earlier this morning on CNN. He said about 120 hours or so is the window they need for the gail force winds to get everything out and when they start to move. What is on the ground now, what kind of resources do the folks need in the gulf region to be able to survive something like this, and not have the situation just be catastrophic?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, and the key here now is that the repositioning of assets, and what John is talking about requires them to move from their oil spill mission into their disaster weather situation. That means that they have to have communication with the state and locals now on an entirely different subject. They will have to make decisions depending on how severe the storm gets. As it goes from a tropical depression, we are now hearing it's going to a tropical storm, they will watch it closely, because as the window is tighter, they will have less time to make decisions like evacuation. In addition to moving the boats off of the water, what do they have to do with the people onshore and what will be the impact of moving the people around on the recovery operations and the spill response?

KING: If you look, Suzanne, I don't know how closely the cameras can get to these pictures but some the booms are big on top and then they stretch down. There's a curtain that stretches down two or three feet underwater. But some of them there is absorbent material. You see it right here. They are putting it in off these boats there in these pictures we have up on the screen. They are about this thick in diameter. All they are is simply an oil-absorbent material that goes in and it soaks up oil but not water. It is chemically treated for that reason. Those things are light. They are very light. You seem them on boats in these giant swirls of the boats that coil them up, and the boats are going out and dropping them to essentially block the passageway into the interior waterways and the marshes and the streams where the oysters and the shrimp live. Those things will blow. A hard wind, a heavy wind, even when boats go by, a tide of a boat comes in, they move out. So, that's the biggest concern. Even if it is sort of a hurricane, if it gets close to those, it will set them back quite a bit.

MALVEAUX: OK. We will get back to you guys very shortly. Obviously this is a developing story.

There is also more movement in the court about the drilling moratorium. We're going to have details about that as well after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: We are just getting new information here. The Obama administration just filed asking for a stay until the appeals process plays out and is over. Essentially what that means in the gulf region that there will be no drilling until all of this has been resolved. It is a legal back and forth and this is what the administration is now asking for, so they are pursuing, asking for a stay until the appeals process is done, and we will see how all of this plays out. As of now, there is no additional drilling that is taking place in the gulf region. That six-month temporary moratorium still in place, and it will obviously take some time to move and get in place any type of workers for that to actually move forward, but right now the administration says let's put this on hold, and stop this for now, and we will see how it all plays out in the courts.

President Obama might be feeling pretty proud of himself about now. He has managed to achieve at least two of his major domestic policy initiatives and he sounded this message before heading off to the G-20 summit.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Over the last 17 months, we have passed an economic recovery act, health care reform, education reform, and we are now on the brink of passing Wall Street reform.

MALVEAUX: Joining me is our CNN's Candy Crowley and CNN's Gloria Borger. Thank you. Obviously, a lot going on here today, a busy afternoon.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is when it is fun.

MALVEAUX: Yes, it is. What do you think about this, the president has two major domestic items on the agenda he can check off and maybe even energy legislation for later this year. Can he take credit for that?

BORGER: Yes, he can.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He takes credit, and then he will also take the blame depending upon which side you are on and whether you are Democrat or Republican. I think financial reform is a big win. You look at the polling and everybody hates Wall Street and everybody is glad there is financial reform, but health care is a different thing and so is the stimulus plan.

BORGER: And as he checks these things off of his list, he does get credit for getting things done. I think that the problem is that the economy is still bad. That the jobs are not there. And that the people don't feel this. They are a little nervous about change, and they voted for change, but this is a lot of change all at once. They are nervous about the health care reform and not sure they like it as Candy said, and financial reform is very popular, so it is a mixed bag for him and the Democrats.

MALVEAUX: For the midterm elections, does this make --

CROWLEY: Well, it is the hand they have got and they have to play it. They would say without the stimulus, we would be worse off without this money and health care is going to be great up here and the numbers are tipping upward, but a 50-50 split nationwide, and they don't know what it is, and they haven't seen sort of the results of it, so they don't have much to judge by, but there is half of the nation that likes it, and the other half doesn't. And energy policy if he gets it that will also be sell. You have to do what politicians do everywhere. You - if you're from the party that did it, you take the good parts and you go sell them and that's what they'll do.

MALVEAUX: How are strong are the folks who are looking, who are saying - are looking not at what the president has done but what he hasn't done like those who want immigration reform and who are frustrated perhaps on the right or those who wanted Guantanamo Bay closed and it didn't happen the first year on the left?

BORGER: Well, the liberals have the days and the base have certainly been complaining about President Obama, but right now, their major concern is all getting re-elected. I think as you look at these 2010 elections, there is going to be hand-to-hand combat in here. In certain districts, certain things will play well, and in certain districts health care will play well. If you are a moderate Democrat who won in a Republican district last time, you may have some more trouble, because the Republican narrative against you is that you are part of a big spending deficit-loving Democratic party, and that is a problem for those Democrats.

MALVEAUX: How do the Republicans counter the argument what have you done? What have you done lately?

CROWLEY: Well, they look and say, we are in the minority and we can't do anything. Our hands are tied. They set the agenda and they won the election, what we need now is fiscal conservativism. What we need now is to stop spending all the money. We stood in the way of bad policy. Healthcare is going to bankrupt us. You know we stood in the way of expensive programs, but there's only so many of us. So you have to fight -- it is true they can't be the party of no, and they are going to have to put out things saying, well, we suggested this or we suggested that, but in the end, they have to argue that they are not in control, and they fought against the excesses.

MALVEAUX: All right. Candy and Gloria, thank you so much for this busy, busy Friday.

Jack Cafferty is going to have more of the Cafferty file in a moment. And a couple of powerhouses already out in the world cup, and could that make it easier for the U.S. team? I will ask goalie Tim Howard.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Time now to check back in with Jack Cafferty. Jack?

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, the question this hour is would you vote for or against a candidate who was endorsed by Sarah Palin?

Bob writes, "There's no way I'd vote for a candidate who had been endorsed by Sarah Palin and in fact, she is the reason I voted for Barack Obama. I was all set to vote for McCain and then he picked her."

Matthew writes, "The fact that Palin is still mentioned in politics in 2010 is scary and the fact that some people I know want her to be president is downright horrifying."

Jay writes, "It depends upon the candidate's position. Sarah Palin is irrelevant."

Michael in Washington, "Actually I like Sarah. She has greatly simplified my life and saved me time. How? Well, I don't have to think so more because 99.9% of what she says the opposite is true. So if she endorses someone, it is easy to cast the vote for other candidate."

Stewart says, "I'm a Republican and her endorsement would not win any bonus points for me with any candidate, though I would not know if she endorsed someone, because I earnestly avoid all news with anything Palin. The aide who recommended Palin to John McCain in the last election should be deported."

Andy writes, "If I were a candidate and Sarah Palin endorsed me, I would consider dropping out."

Lori writes, "Would I vote for a candidate Palin, the half term half wit half queen of quit endorsed? Not only no, but hell no. You bet you."

Tom says, "Never. I would oppose anyone this fool would endorse. She's not qualified to recommend a hairdresser or an optician."

If you want to read more of these love notes to Sarah Palin, you'll find them on my blog, CNN.com/CaffretyFile. Have a good weekend Suzanne. You and I will spend the week together starting Monday.

MALVEAUX: You're absolutely right. Have a great weekend Jack. Get ready. Be strong.

CAFFERTY: I'm ready.

MALVEAUX: On the eve of the big world cup match against Ghana, I will talk to team USA goalie Tim Howard. Is he nervous? Are they ready? I am going to ask him.

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MALVEAUX: Here's a look at some of this week's Hot Shots. In Honduras, the health minister takes part in a fumigation against mosquitoes. Dengue fever has lead to 12 deaths there. In Monaco, Prince Albert unveils a giant Buddha for the opening of a new bar. In Gaza, a boy at the beach learns how to surf. In Germany, two baby tigers take a bath at the zoo. This is some of the hot shots, pictures worth 1,000 words.

They've already proven to be plenty of excitement, and now the U.S. soccer team has a chance to do really something special at the world cup. They are getting ready for a big match against the team that sent them home from the tournament four years ago.

Joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM is Tim Howard. Tim, we are so excited to have you here with us today. Obviously this is a huge game tomorrow against Ghana. How are you feeling? How is the team doing? How are you getting ready for this big game?

TIM HOWARD, TEAM USA GOALIE: I feel good. We're preparing, as we always do. Starting to look at a lot of video about our opponent and hope that we can figure out a few clues how to beat them. At the moment, physically and mentally, everybody is pretty excited and sharp and ready to go.

MALVEAUX: What do you think your chances are against Ghana?

HOWARD: I think we have as good a chance as any. We took a lot of confidence from the first three games. I think we match up well against Ghana. They might think the same thing. Hopefully it will be an intense, well-fought game and at the end, we'll come out on top.

MALVEAUX: We'll either go forward or this will be the end of this. Did you ever imagine that team USA would get this far, after England and Slovenia?

HOWARD: Yeah. I mean we certainly expected to get out of the first round and hopefully do good things going forward. It was made a little more difficult after the first two games, but we still always knew we could do it and accomplish it. And we made it a little harder on ourselves.

MALVEAUX: How are you doing? I understand you got a pretty bad injury against the Brits. They stomped on your rib cage. How are you feeling now? Are you back to 100%? HOWARD: I think so. Certainly if not, I'm close to it. I feel healthy and we've, actually, as a team, been lucky. We haven't taken too many bad injuries. Fingers crossed it will stay that way.

MALVEAUX: We got those powerhouses out of the way, France and Italy. Do you feel more confident, do you feel more anxious going forward that you have those teams eliminated?

HOWARD: A little bit. I think a lot of teams will feel -- take some kind of heart from that, some of the bigger teams got knocked out or certainly haven't played to their peak level. So we have this in front of us, tough to think about anything else. Certainly it would be great to go forward.

MALVEAUX: You have said before that you've admitted sometimes you get a little nervous, butterflies, there is a lot of anxiety before that big game and that big moment, how are you feeling today?

HOWARD: The same. I'm pretty calm, but I always think for me personally, nerves and anxiety are very good before a game, because it allows me to focus and know I'm involved in something big and something special, so I am very special, I like it. I'm used to it by now. It's starting to flow.

MALVEAUX: Some things that you never get used to. For all of us watching and listening, all we hear is that really buzzing sound that sounds so annoying, the vuvuzelas. I can't even say it. What's it like to play in that kind of noise?

HOWARD: You know what? A lot of people don't like them. It just happens to be part of the South Africa culture. We as players don't mind them too much on the field. We're focused. The only thing I would say is from the noise level standpoint, it's very hard to project your voice over them and communicate just because it is a deep, loud murmur.

MALVEAUX: What is it like to have all of those fans gathered around and to hear and to get that support that you've been getting?

HOWARD: It's been great. We feel a lot of love since we've been down here, not only from back home, and from our own fans, but from the South African people. Tomorrow I think they'll rally around us, but I also think they'll rally around Ghana the only African team I believe still left in the tournament. It should be an intense atmosphere.

MALVEAUX: Tim on a personal note, I know you've overcome various challenges including tourette's syndrome. You've talked to young children about that. What do you want kids to say who look at you and realize how much you have accomplished?

HOWARD: Just that. It shouldn't be a hindrance in your life. It's something you can overcome and be successful and, you know, it's just another challenge. We all have challenges in life. It's not something you should look upon and feel like you can't do anything. You know, you can accomplish all of your dreams and goals no matter what you face. MALVEAUX: We're certainly rooting for you and you all of the guys tomorrow. Best of luck to you. We'll be cheering you on.

HOWARD: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

MALVEAUX: I'm Suzanne Malveaux in THE SITUATION ROOM. A depression has formed in the Caribbean. "JOHN KING USA" will have the very latest on what that means for the oil-stricken gulf, right after the break.

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