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THE SITUATION ROOM

Politicians Abandoning Middle Class?; Karzai's Emotional Outburst

Aired September 28, 2010 - 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: We will talk about it this hour with Arianna Huffington and Ben Stein.

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

We begin with a follow-up to a very, very disturbing story about American soldiers accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport.

CNN has obtained video of these some of the interrogations and confessions of these allegedly rogue troops, but even more disturbing than their chilling descriptions of the killings is what we're learning now, that the Army may have ignored early warnings from a young soldier that something was terribly wrong inside this elite unit.

Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit is on the story for us. He's back with more information today.

Drew, what are you finding out about the soldier and what he said?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, his name is Adam Winfield. Earlier this year, he sent a warning actually back to his family, back home in the U.S. that members of his platoon were involved in the murders of civilians, and that he, too, Wolf, feared for his life.

And according to his attorney, his family made sure the Army knew it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Specialist Adam Winfield is seen in this interrogation video obtained by CNN. At the beginning of the tape, he describes a killing he did not see, only heard about, how members of his platoon bragged on how they killed a man and made it look like self-defense.

SPC. ADAM WINFIELD, U.S. ARMY: They threw the grenade. They said that the guy threw a grenade at them, and that's how the grenade went off. And then they shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And what was the story, how you understood, what really happened? WINFIELD: That was -- that's -- as soon as it happened, I was in the truck. I was at V.C. But I knew about it already. They -- Morlock and (NAME DELETED) were planning it probably for like a week or so. Sergeant Gibbs sort of, you know, put it into his head that they can get away with doing these things.

GRIFFIN: Sergeant Gibbs is described in these U.S. Army charging papers as the ringleader of a band of rogue and high-on-hash U.S. Army infantrymen.

CNN has reached out to Staff Sergeant Gibbs' attorney, but has yet to receive a return call. Gibbs, according to the statements of the men accused, liked to kill things and people. He encouraged his men to kill with him, threatening them not to tell a soul.

WINFIELD: I take that man very seriously. He is -- he likes to kill things. He is pretty much evil incarnate. Like, I have never met a man that just can go from one minute just joking around, and then mindless killing the next. He likes to kill things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what do you think would have happened if you weren't on board with this stuff?

WINFIELD: I think, one, he would not have kept me in the loop on things, and if they had thought I had ratted or something, they would have come after me. And that's -- I almost -- after the first killing, I called my parents and told them about it.

GRIFFIN (on camera): According to Winfield's attorney, when Adam Winfield's father heard about all of this in a phone call, he decided to call the Army, himself, even calling an investigative unit at the Army.

The Army's response, according to the attorney, was this: Not interested. Can't do anything. Tell your son to lay low.

When we called the Army to ask about those calls, an Army spokesman would only tell us an investigation is now under way.

(voice-over): Adam Winfield, 21 years old, is now charged with premeditated murder, accused of participating in the killing of another Afghan civilian last May. According to Winfield's attorney, Eric Montalvo, his client is not guilty of premeditated murder, despite this Army interrogation tape where Winfield describes how he and other members of his platoon, including Corporal Jeremy Morlock and the staff sergeant, Calvin Gibbs, set up an Afghan civilian.

WINFIELD: He seemed friendly. He didn't seem to have any sort of animosity towards us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

WINFIELD: Brought him out. He was sitting in a ditch,. Me and Morlock were behind the berm. And he said, this is how is going to go down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who said?

WINFIELD: Sergeant Gibbs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

WINFIELD: Sergeant Gibbs said: "This is how is it going to go down. You going to shoot your weapons, yell grenade. And then I'm going to throw this grenade. After it goes off, I'm going to drop this grenade next to him."

So, then, that's it. He had two grenades on him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

WINFIELD: Well, we're laying there, and Morlock told me to shoot. Started shooting, yelled grenade. The grenade blew up. That was that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. Who gave you the order to shoot?

WINFIELD: Morlock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

WINFIELD: And we fired once he said, shoot. Grenade blew up. Sergeant Gibbs threw -- Sergeant Gibbs threw the grenade. It blew up. Then he came over, shot the man probably about two more times in the head.

GRIFFIN: After that, Specialist Winfield says, Staff Sergeant Gibbs told him he was part of the group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he also use the fact that he acknowledged that Morlock killed a guy as well? Did he use that against you as well?

WINFIELD: No, he never used that against me. He just told me that I was a made man afterwards.

GRIFFIN: The attorney for Corporal Jeremy Morlock told CNN his client suffers from brain injuries suffered in two IED attacks and was on strong Army-prescribed drugs that impaired his judgment.

According to Winfield's attorney, had the Army just listened to the elder Winfield, it never had to get this far.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: Wolf, in addition to the five soldiers facing murder charges, seven more face charges ranging from conspiracy to cover up the killings to drug use.

The Pentagon did not respond directly to CNN's request for an interview or information on the ongoing investigation. Instead, we were sent a statement about the use of these tapes. The statement reads: "The Army does not publicly release evidence in ongoing investigations."

It went on to say that, "Disclosure of the video recordings to the public at this juncture is troubling because it could adversely affect the fair and just administration of the military justice process," that from the Pentagon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What a story, Drew. Thanks very much. Good reporting. Excellent reporting, indeed.

In neighboring Pakistan, meanwhile, four suspected militants were killed in what is believed to be a U.S. drone strike, that according to two U.S. intelligence officials in similar attacks over the last three days that killed eight suspected militants, including a top al Qaeda commander.

CNN's Tom Foreman and CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, they are here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tom, Peter, we're seeing an uptick in these drone attacks in Pakistan right now. Is that right?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.

Let's zoom in and take a look at what we're talking in terms of the area in which it is happening. As always, Peter, as you know, South Waziristan, North Waziristan, I will just click you through the years very briefly here.

Back here in 2005, 2006, we had a handful of them in this area, as you can see, then 2007, 2008, 2009, and now we're up to this level now, a whole lot more particularly in the past month. Why?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, one factor here could have been the floods in Pakistan suppressed some of the numbers of strikes in the first weeks of August.

FOREMAN: The strikes by ground troops from the Pakistani Army?

BERGEN: Right. And also might have affected -- I mean, some of these drones that are coming out of Pakistan, one of the areas where the drones are flying from may have been actually flooded. So that may have affected it.

The other factor here is most of these attacks are directed at the Haqqani Network in an area. And this is of course the most ferocious of the Taliban networks. And I think everybody is conscious of the fact that there is a limited time window for the American presence in Afghanistan. Let's try and get these guys -- let's try to -- if we are going to bring them to the negotiating table, one way is to sort of kill their leadership or try to. And so the Haqqani Network has been a big target of these attacks.

FOREMAN: There has been some notion also that this was related to the threat of an attack on Europe, the idea that there might be a need to step up the pressure here to keep that from happening.

BERGEN: Right.

Certainly, the reports of 100 to 150 Westerners still traveling to the tribal regions in the last year or so, and, of course, a number of them have been Americans, like Faisal Shahzad, the so-called Times Square bomber, but certainly the uptick in strikes may be an attempt to kind of interfere with any plans that are ongoing.

FOREMAN: What about this notion of civilian casualties, which we heard a lot about a year-and-a-half ago? There was a lot of pressure to cut back on this. We don't hear of those so much anymore. Why?

BERGEN: Well, we have done -- government officials I have spoken to say the civilian casualty rate is now 1 percent or 2 percent, so close to zero.

According to the open source information that we have assembled at the New America Foundation, where I also work, we calculate the civilian casualty rate is about 10 percent. But whether it's 2 percent or 10 percent, the point is, is that it's much, much lower than it was back in '04 when this program began. The bombs involved are smaller. The intelligence is better. The targeting is better and there is little debate that the civilian casualty rate is going down.

BLITZER: But is it just the drones or is it a more robust military activity, including U.S. helicopters, U.S. helicopters, going into Pakistan looking for militants, looking for terrorist targets?

BERGEN: Well, sometimes that happens, but the Pakistanis have been very resistant to any kind of -- very rare -- we have had a recent case of an American helicopter going in, in hot pursuit, but that is very unusual.

The Pakistanis have pushed back enormously hard when there have been American boots on the ground or American other -- unless they are in hot pursuit of an actual set of militants, the Pakistanis are not going to allow that kind of activity on that soil. So the drones are kind of the default option.

BLITZER: And it is true that the Pakistanis are not living up to U.S. expectations in doing what they said they would do?

BERGEN: I think the Pakistanis are doing what they can.

A lot of the intelligence for these attacks comes from the Pakistanis themselves, because, after all, many of the people who have been killed in these attacks are attacking the Pakistani state. The Pakistani Taliban has attacked the equivalent of the Pakistani Pentagon. They have attacked multiple Pakistani military bases, police posts.

And so there is a much closer alignment now of American and Pakistani work on the subject, even though both sides deny -- there's plausible deniability. No one is taking ownership of this, but there is in fact a lot of cooperation.

FOREMAN: If you are on ground in this sort of tribal region in the mountains here, Peter, and these drones are overhead, do you know they are there?

(CROSSTALK)

BERGEN: Well, apparently, they are referred to as wasps in the local language because they do emit a sort of distinctive sound, but they can also travel at pretty high heights, at 15,000 feet. So, they can linger over a target and not be seen, particularly if there is a little bit of cloud cover.

I think they do emit a sound. People are conscious if they are around.

FOREMAN: So that may have a suppressive effect, even if doesn't -- even if there is not an actual attack.

And you told me something very interesting about the man picked up in the Times Square suspected attack there...

BERGEN: Yes.

FOREMAN: ... and how this may have related to what happened with him.

BERGEN: This is Faisal Shahzad. Of course, he tried to blow up a bomb in Times Square in May of this year. He spent 40 days in the Waziristan, in this area, with the Pakistani Taliban. But he only got five days' training.

And my hypothesis is, is that the drones were interrupting the training program. If he had had 40 days' training, maybe he could have pulled off a successful attack. The fact is that he had limited amount of training and not enough to pull off a successful attack.

BLITZER: Peter, thanks very much.

BERGEN: Thank you.

BLITZER: Tom, as usual, thanks to you as well.

This just coming in: Obama administration and researchers have won the latest round in the battle over embryonic stem cell funding. An appeals court has lifted a ban on federal funding, which will allow scientists to continue their work temporarily.

Last month, a federal judge halted federal funding on the grounds the research involves destroying human embryos, which was specifically banned by Congress. Today's ruling allows the research to continue while the Obama administration continues its appeal.

Jack Cafferty is next with "The Cafferty File."

Then: new concerns about the Afghan President Hamid Karzai after he breaks down crying at an official event. Could he be suffering from bipolar disorder?

And President Obama's surprising remarks to "Rolling Stone" magazine about fellow Democrats and FOX News, we are going to talk about it with Arianna Huffington and Ben Stein.

And the question that moved a man to tears and got him a presidential hug at a town hall meeting today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: More bad news for the Democrats, as if they don't have enough problems these days. The Daily Beast reports that white women are now deserting the Democratic Party in droves.

Exclusive polling data from Gallup shows enthusiasm among all women is down, but white women are the least enthusiastic of all the major demographic groups.

Only 27 percent of white female registered voters say they're excited about the midterms. That compares to 36 percent of black men and black women and 40 percent of white men.

Another Gallup poll from earlier this summer showed that Republican women are the most enthusiastic of the registered female voters. It's independent women and Democratic women who aren't too psyched up about the upcoming midterms.

The Daily Beast article suggests that the so-called PUMAs may finally be leaving the Democratic party for good. You remember them. These are the white women voters whose motto was "Party Unity My Ass" during the primaries.

At the time, they were so unhappy about Hillary Clinton's loss to Barack Obama that they were supposedly going to vote for John McCain in 2008. It turns out they didn't do that, but only time will tell now what this group of women is likely to do next.

The Daily Beast article suggests Democrats still have a last- ditch chance to attract white female voters by focusing on issues that matter more to women, things like health care for children. Of course they're going to adjourn on Friday and go back and campaign, so that is probably not going to happen.

Pollsters point out that although Democrats may be losing white women, they aren't necessarily going over to the Republican column. They may just to stay home on Election Day.

Here's the question: Why would white women be deserting the Democratic Party?

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

One of the clues to this, Wolf, might be found in the way the issue of abortion was handled in that health care law. A lot of women were not happy about that.

BLITZER: Jack, thanks very much. Jack will be back shortly.

It was an unscripted moment full of emotion that President Obama was able to seize and use to make a case for his political agenda. It happened in a town hall style forum style at a private home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, today.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW CAVALIER, SON OF DISABLED VETERAN: I have got a couple questions for you. One really hits hard for me. I'm getting a little emotional here. My father, being a veteran, we appreciate everything that he's done for the country. And obviously the VA does a lot for my father.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, we love your dad. Yes, we appreciate what he's done.

CAVALIER: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Absolutely.

CAVALIER: The reason I get emotional is because --

OBAMA: Because he's your dad.

CAVALIER: Well, unfortunately at the VA sometimes he doesn't get the care and the service that he should.

OBAMA: Right.

CAVALIER: I mean he sacrificed his body -- I mean, over 17 surgeries that he's had --

OBAMA: Right.

CAVALIER: I really didn't want to do this on TV.

OBAMA: First of all, you don't have to apologize for being emotional about your dad who served our country as a Marine, man. That's -- I get emotional when I think about our young men and women and our veterans who have served this country with such bravery and courage. We have a sacred trust for people who put on the uniform of the United States. They serve us. They're willing to put their lives on the line. And that means that when they come back, we've got to serve them.

Even in the midst of this very difficult budget situation that we're in, we have increased over the last two years funding for veterans more than any time in the last 30 years, more than any time in the last 30 years. Now, we've still got a ways to go, but this is again an example of where, come November, we've got to start making some choices because if, for example, we give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires that cost us $700 billion that we don't have, that money has to come from somewhere. And we've got to be able to provide for our veterans. I would rather choose veterans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Emotional moment for the president in Albuquerque today.

A check of the day's top stories, that is coming up next.

Plus, the October 15 cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine says, "Obama Fights Back." Inside the magazine, the president has a message for Democrats: Wake up and take pride. But will he sway voters midterm election voters?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

BLITZER: A president gets emotional, and it is raising concern about his emotional stability. We are talking about the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. Is he suffering from manic depression?

Also , why President Obama is calling some Democrats irresponsible. We will talk about his intraparty scolding with Arianna Huffington and Ben Stein.

Plus, the mistake that nearly moves this top model hostess to tears. She announced the wrong winner. And CNN's Jeanne Moos will talk a "Moost Unusual" look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: President Obama scolds fellow Democrats, at least some of them, as being irresponsible, and he is slamming FOX News as -- quote -- "destructive."

It is all in a lengthy interview in the upcoming issue of "Rolling Stone" magazine.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: And joining us now, two guests. Arianna Huffington is the author of a brand-new book entitled "Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream." She is the creator of the widely popular HuffingtonPost.com as well. Also joining us, Ben Stein, who needs no introduction, former White House official, economist, lawyer, excellent guy all around.

Thanks to both of you for coming in.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CO-FOUNDER, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Thank you.

BLITZER: And, Arianna, I want to start with you.

And I want to read to you a quote from this new interview just out. The president gave an interview to "Rolling Stone" magazine.

And he says this: "The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible. People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard. That's what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we've got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place."

How big of a problem is this lack of enthusiasm among the Democrats?

HUFFINGTON: It is a big problem.

And the president is right in many ways. The anger and the frustration, the disappointment are legitimate. But he is also right that people who simply think that democracy and being a citizen in a democracy means voting every four years or every two years and then going home and complaining are getting it all wrong.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. That is really the point he is making. And people need to keep participating to bring about change. It's never easy.

So, while they are right to be disappointed and angry, especially the way that the administration and Congress bailed out Wall Street but not Main Street, they also need to do whatever they can everyday, whether it's politically or involved in the community to turn things around.

BLITZER: Why are the Republicans, Ben, so much more enthusiastic, if you believe the polls about these midterm elections, than the Democrats are?

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: Well, they really dislike Mr. Obama a great, great deal. I mea, I'm not quite sure why they dislike him quite as much as they do. I mean, the degree of the anger against him seems a little tiny bit disproportionate to what he's done. But they're really, really angry at him, and the stated reasons are that he is making government too big and he's making the deficit too big, and those are good, legitimate reasons.

The state reason is that he hasn't done much to help with the recession. I don't know whether there are other reasons involved.

I think people -- I say this with all due respect. I think many Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, are still uneasy with an African-American president. I don't think that -- that America lives in a post-racial world entirely. A lot of it does, but I don't think a lot of it does, and I think there is some -- still some undigested feelings about that.

BLITZER: Do you agree with that point, Arianna?

HUFFINGTON: I don't really. You know, there are racist elements and there have always been across the political spectrum all over our society, but I think that's the key. I think the anger is that what's happened to the middle class, what's happened to the middle class over the last 30 years. The Democrats are the ones suffering from the anger, but if they were not in control of the House, the Senate and the White House, it would be the Republicans suffering.

Wolf, I think that we are in for a series of throw the bums out. Whoever the bums in charge are. And if the Republicans win control of the House in November, they may find themselves the beneficiaries of that anger the next time out.

BLITZER: Is the irony here, the paradox potentially, Ben, that if the Republicans do take control of the House in November, that that will strengthen the president's chances of getting re-elected?

STEIN: It sure gives him a lovely, juicy target. You know, and I agree with Arianna. The middle class in this country is suffering terribly. Joan Didion had an incredibly good phrase years ago, an essay in which she said that, in certain cities in America, there was an artificial middle class, by which she meant that it could not be sustained except by borrowing to sustain a kind of ostentatious lifestyle.

Today we're finding out that that's true. The middle class of this country is having a very hard time competing, and the manufacturing base has been destroyed. The wage structure for the middle class has been largely destroyed by foreign competition. I'm not sure where the middle class goes at this point. And it's not that easy to maintain a middle-class lifestyle at this point.

BLITZER: In your new book, Arianna, "Third World America: How Our Politicians are Betraying the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream," do you include the president of the United States in that subtitle?

HUFFINGTON: I do include him, yes. Because what I say, Wolf, is that the sense of urgency that was brought to bear on saving the financial system has never been brought to bear on saving the middle class.

There was never a weekend as we had around saving Wall Street, when all the establishment, political, financial, came together and said, "We cannot afford to lose the middle class. We will try everything to create jobs. We'll try what the Republicans want, a payroll tax holiday. We'll try what the Democrats want, big infrastructure projects, but we cannot afford to have this longtime unemployment. We can't afford to have kids graduating from college who can't get a job. We cannot afford basically to lose the American dream."

And who's the woman who stood up at the CNBC town hall and told the president, "I'm exhausted. Can you please promise that the American dream is not dead" is really epitomizing that anger and that pain in the country.

BLITZER: Let me get your quick reaction. Ben, I'll start with you to what the president told "Rolling Stone" magazine about FOX News. He said this: "I think FOX is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It's a point of view that I disagree with. It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive of the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle-class and is competitive in the world."

Go ahead and react to what the president told "Rolling Stone."

STEIN: I've never heard more nonsense in my life. I am privileged to be on CNN a lot. I'm also privileged to be on FOX a lot. Their attitudes, it seems to me, are constructive. They're looking for exactly the same things that Arianna is looking for: namely saving the middle class, trying different kind of fiscal and monetary policies and regulatory policies to save the middle class. I'm sure that Arianna would not agree with a lot of their policies, but they are not in favor of doing anything but helping this country.

BLITZER: All right.

STEIN: And to say otherwise is really a shame.

BLITZER: Do you think, Arianna, that FOX News is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of the country?

HUFFINGTON: Well, what is distracting, Wolf, is demonizing sections of the population: Muslims, immigrants, and standing us against each other, which is always what happens in times of deep economic anxiety. We start here in the 1930s when we were deporting American citizens of Hispanic descent. We start in the 1908s. That's what needs to stop. That's why we need to channel the anger in constructive ways and rebuilding our communities, not in separating us and demonizing one another.

BLITZER: Arianna Huffington is the author of a brand-new book, which just made "The New York Times" best-sellers list, entitled "Third World America." Ben Stein is Ben Stein. Guys, thanks very much for coming in.

HUFFINGTON: Thank you.

BLITZER: Hamid Karzai breaks down in tears. The Afghan leader weeps for the future of his son and his country, but is the emotional outburst boosting claims Mr. Karzai is unstable? We're taking a closer look. That's ahead right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has faced accusations of ignoring rampant corruption in his own government and failing to stop the Taliban and other militants. But will the Afghan leader's teary outburst today heighten concerns about his emotional stability? Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN (through translator): I'm afraid, my countrymen. Please understand me. I'm afraid my son, my own son, would become a refugee one day. Please, I don't want my son and your son to be a foreign citizen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And he breaks down and starts crying.

Let's discuss with Ambassador Peter Galbraith. He's joining us from Springfield, Massachusetts. He's a former United Nations special representative to Afghanistan. Also joining us here in Washington is the psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren. Thanks to both of you for coming in.

Ambassador, I'll start with you. Bob Woodward, in his brand-new book, writes this: "He," referring to Hamid Karzai, "had been diagnosed as a manic-depressive, according to intelligence. Karzai was on medication and had severe mood swings. Sensitive intelligence reports on Karzai claimed he was erratic and even delusional. 'Off his meds' was a common description, while high on 'weed' was a description by others."

You've met with him. You spent a lot of time in Afghanistan. Is any of that close to your reality of Hamid Karzai?

PETER GALBRAITH, FORMER U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO AFGHANISTAN: Well, Wolf, clearly his behavior has been very erratic. Perhaps in his defense, I should say being president of Afghanistan is probably one of the world's toughest jobs.

And he, himself, is under enormous pressure. He runs what is considered the world's second most corrupt country. He's widely considered illegitimate for having massively engineered through fraud his re-election. Now there have been massively fraudulent parliamentary elections. His brother, who is a U.S. citizen, is under investigation for not having -- perhaps not having paid taxes on his lucrative business activities, so he's under a lot of pressure.

But his behavior has been strange. He's announced at one point that he might go join the Taliban. He accused the U.S., the U.N., and I might add me, personally, of carrying out the fraud -- that electoral fraud that got him re-elected. You saw the emotional outburst today.

There are different explanations of -- maybe they're right -- manic depression. There are reports from palace insiders that he has a certain -- certain fondness for hashish, and that's in Woodward's book. I don't know. But I certainly know that the behavior has been strange on top of some pretty serious mismanagement of the country.

BLITZER: Explain what that means to be bipolar or manic depressive, as some intelligence reports, at least according to Bob Woodward, are suggesting.

LISE VAN SUSTEREN, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, first of all, I have no insider knowledge about the president, but what it means to be manic depressive, it's a roller coaster of emotions, from huge highs to desperate lows. These can vary in frequency. They can vary in intensity. And they have a life of their own. Very often the setting bears no resemblance to what the emotion is.

BLITZER: But it can be controlled with medication?

VAN SUSTEREN: It can be controlled with medication? Yes, sure.

BLITZER: And what happens if you go off the medication?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if you go off the medication, two things can happen. Nothing, or it can trigger an episode. But that doesn't mean when you hear a communication that he's "off his meds," quote, that that's diagnostic of bipolar disorder. God only knows what meds he's on or off.

BLITZER: Peter, I've met with Hamid Karzai over these past nine years or so; met with him many times when he was here in Washington. I've interviewed him many times, got to speak to him. He's always impressed me, at least, in the brief encounters we've had as very stable, very serious, very patriotic so that when I hear all these reports, including from U.S. officials who say to me he's acting erratically, it's surprising.

But go ahead and talk a little bit about a specific example that might cause alarm bells in your mind.

GALBRAITH: Well, he of course -- he is charming, and he can be -- he's very good with the media. He speaks absolutely fluent English.

But let me just illustrate four days in April. On April 1, having denied that there was any fraud in his re-election, he gave an emotional speech on nationwide television, said yes, there was fraud, but Afghans didn't do it. The U.N. did it. Galbraith did it.

The next day he called Secretary of State Clinton. He apologized. The third day, he then tells parliamentarians that he might go join the Taliban. And the fourth day, having apologized to Secretary Clinton on April 2, he says no, it was the U.S. government that committed...

BLITZER: Let me ask Lise to respond to that. What does that sound like to you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it sounds like an extraordinarily stressed individual, but it doesn't necessarily sound like bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder if a person who can, at a very high, has an enormous amount of energy. Can do anything, promises everything, thinks of himself as the messiah. And then in the lowest periods of total despair, no energy. Completely pessimistic. A person who is highly stressed and anxious would present a tableau like you would see that was described.

BLITZER: There's no doubt that the United States has an enormous amount at stake in Hamid Karzai and the situation in Afghanistan. We're going to stay on top of this, obviously, for our viewers. Lise Van Susteren, thanks very much for that. Peter Galbraith, as usual, thanks to you, as well.

At least 100 people missing, possibly 1,000 trapped right now. We're following a devastating mud slide in Mexico.

And we'll update you on the condition of the former president, Jimmy Carter. He's hospitalized right now in Ohio.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Deb, what's going on?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, at least 100 people are missing in a catastrophic landslide in southern Mexico. Government officials say at least seven people were killed when a rainy-weakened hillside collapsed, sending a river of mud over hundreds of homes. It's feared that the death toll could top 1,000. Rescuers are digging frantically through the mud and rock to try to reach victims.

And former President Jimmy Carter got a get-well telephone call from President Obama today. Mr. Carter is spending the night in a Cleveland hospital for an upset stomach. He became ill while flying to Cleveland for an appearance to promote his new book, "White House Diary." The Carter Center says he will resume his book tour later this week. Mr. Carter celebrates his 86th birthday this Friday.

And huge drug busts at the San Diego border to tell you about. Customs officials say they seized more than 1,300 pounds of marijuana this past weekend alone. The drugs are worth $700,000. They were seized in 13 different smuggling attempts. Customs officials found the marijuana hidden in car engines, gas tanks, vehicle seats, spare tires and roof compartments.

And I can tell you, Wolf, I've been on the border, and those smugglers are so creative. Agents really have to stay a step ahead of them just to make sure that those drugs don't come into the country.

BLITZER: Yes, it's a pretty creative way of doing business, these guys. Thanks very much for that.

So why would white women be deserting the Democratic Party? Jack Cafferty is next with that question and your e-mail.

Plus, the mistake this hostess made on live TV that made the audience gasp. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.

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BLITZER: Let's get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Question this hour, Wolf, was: Why would white women be deserting the Democratic Party? According to some exclusive polling done by Gallup for the Daily Beast Web site, they are.

Katherine in St. Louis: "Well, I for one am so disenfranchised with the Democratic Congress and Senate, the minute the Democrats bent over for the Republicans during the health-care debate, that did it for me. Any woman who supported this health-care bill with the abortion issue butchered out of it, I was disgusted. Once the public option was so easily dismissed, I excommunicated myself as a Democrat. I'm a liberal but not a Democrat."

Rebecca writes: "Because women are the core of their households. They figure out the budgets, nutrition, health. I know what I can't spend because we don't have it. And the way they have been spending in Washington has broken our backs. The economy has to be one of the main and most important reasons for deserting the Democrats."

Brian in Louisiana: "For the same reason that everyone is leaving the Democratic Party. People are disappointed that Mr. Change has pandered to the Republicans who won't even meet him part way, and ignored his Democratic base. Even though he talks a good game, for the most part, his policies are just a continuation of Bush's."

Rene in Illinois writes: "I'm a white woman who voted for Obama. My biggest beef with the president is he didn't fight hard enough for a better health-care bill, i.e. single payer public option. But I know we won't get it from the Republicans, so I'm not ready to desert Obama. I just wish for him to follow through on his campaign promises. Is that really too much to ask?"

Diana writes: "It's the economy, stupid. We all have a husband, a son, a daughter, brother, sister, father or mother who is unemployed or under employed. Our health-insurance premiums and co-payments are skyrocketing. Not to mention increased taxes at the local, county and state levels. We're drowning. Where's the hope and change that we voted for?"

You want to read more on this, go to my blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile. I will see you tomorrow, Blitzer.

BLITZER: With pleasure. See you tomorrow, Jack. Thank you.

A model mistake on live TV. CNN's Jeanne Moos getting ready for a most unusual report.

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BLITZER: "Australia's Next Top Model" host announced the contest winner on live TV. Only, she got it wrong. CNN's Jeanne Moos has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You feel like a loser when you blow the "who's the winner" announcement, as we in the media...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We call Florida.

MOOS: ... know all too well.

DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS ANCHOR: Excuse me one second. I'm so sorry to interrupt you. Mike, you know I wouldn't do this if it weren't big. Florida goes for Al Gore.

MOOS: Oh, no, it didn't.

RATHER: Bush wins. Florida goes Bush.

MOOS: Announcing the winner of the presidency is big, but announcing...

SARAH MURDOCH, HOST, "AUSTRALIA'S NEXT TOP MODEL": And "Australia's Next Top Model" is...

MOOS: ... not so big. Until you get it wrong.

MURDOCH: It's you, Kelsey.

MOOS: The victor, Kelsey Martinovich, and a vanquished Amanda Ware hugged. And then, live on Australia's FOX 8, host Sarah Murdoch heard a voice in her ear. Uh-oh.

MURDOCH: Oh my God. I don't know what to say right now. I'm feeling a bit sick about this. This is not -- this was a complete accident. I'm so sorry. It's Amanda. I'm so sorry. It was fed to me wrong.

MOOS (on camera): The TV folks say there was a miscommunication between the broadcast truck and the stage.

(voice-over) The loser consoled the host.

MURDOCH: It's ridiculous.

KELSEY MARTINOVICH, RUNNER-UP, "AUSTRALIA'S NEXT TOP MODEL": It's fine. Don't worry. It's OK. It's an honest mistake. It's fine.

MOOS (on camera): The loser did get an apology and $25,000 as a consolation prize.

(voice-over) The new winner seemed thrilled.

AMANDA WARE, WINNER, "AUSTRALIA'S NEXT TOP MODEL": Woo!

MOOS: Talent contests seem especially vulnerable to gaffes like this. At the Eurovision song contest three years ago, it came down to a face-off between a group named Scooch and a performer named Cyndi. And the winner is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three, Cyndi! MOOS: Two announcers simultaneously declared different winners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cyndi!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scooch!

MOOS: For Cyndi, victory was fleeting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's Scooch! It is Scooch! Cyndi -- Cyndi, darling, I'm so sorry.

MOOS (on camera): You win some, you lose some. Not usually at the same time.

(voice-over) "Australia's Next Top Model" has been dubbed "Australia's Next Top Mistake."

MURDOCH: It's you, Kelsey.

MOOS: There's no mistaking how big a mistake when it attracts that Internet symbol of failure.

MURDOCH: I'm so sorry.

MOOS: The next top model got played off by the keyboard cat.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Love the keyboard cat.

Remember, you can always follow what's going on in THE SITUATION ROOM. I'm on Twitter. You can get my tweets: twitter.com/WolfBlitzerCNN, @WolfBlitzerCNN. All one word.

Thanks very much for watching. I'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.