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9/11 Plotters Face Military Judge; Military Shakeup After Nuclear Missile Mishap; Price of Oil Surges
Aired June 5, 2008 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Guantanamo justice for the group the U.S. government calls the worst of the worst. As the 9/11 plotters face a military judge, will the system be on trial as well. We're live in Cuba with the very latest.
BRIANNA, KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Back at the Pentagon, some unflattering fallout from a nuclear missile mishap almost nine months ago. The top two bosses at the Air Force are out and our Jamie McIntyre is in with the details.
Hi there. I'm Brianna Keilar in the CNN Center in Atlanta.
LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
New developments out of Guantanamo Bay. We told you the 9/11 plotters are facing a military judge. We told you earlier the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks told the judge he wanted to represent himself. We're now learning from Kelli Arena who is live at Guantanamo Bay, he's not the only one of the suspects that is going through this move.
Kelli, tell us more about this.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, really the drama continues to unfold in the courtroom. It just got started again about an hour ago. First we heard from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of September 11. He said he wants to represent himself. When the judge said not a good move you're facing the death penalty. He said, look, I want to be a martyr; that is my wish.
Second down following his lead, his alleged co-conspirator Walid Bin Attash said he rejected his legal team, he wanted to represent himself. Didn't talk about being a martyr, actually said he would like to keep his team around for advice, but he wants to be in charge.
Now we're up to Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh meant to be the 20th hijacker but couldn't get a visa into the United States to do that. He too says he wants to represent himself, rejects his legal team and says, look, I've been seeking to be a martyr for years. If martyrdom happens today, I would welcome it. God is great. He said he refuses that he's guilty. If I'm killed, I will be killed for the sake of God.
So far Brianna, the judge has actually said that he's satisfied these men have been answering his questions coherently, that they seem to be able to take on that challenge, if that is what they want, all three men have said they do not believe in U.S. law, they would bow only to Sharia law, more a matter of religion an belief than it is not having confidence in their legal team.
We heard a very vigorous defense from one of the private attorneys who is representing Ramzi Bin Al Shibh who says that he thinks that all of this is due to the fact that these men have not had enough time with their lawyers to get to know them, to establish any sort of bond or trust relationship. The judge refused their requests to postpone this arraignment and this is what they get. This is the debacle they're dealing with as a result of that. The military is saying we're doing our best, this is new ground, let's take it as it comes.
KEILAR: Kelli, it doesn't take a legal expert to say without a legal team the cards are stacked even more against these suspects. Let's talk about martyrdom, you've heard many of them say I want to be a martyr, you covered the trial of Zakaria Mousowi, we heard discussion about this same thing back then. What kind of inspiration might -- if these suspects were to get the death penalty might that provide to other terrorists?
ARENA: That's a matter of much debate among terrorism experts. It's no secret if the propaganda is to be believed that these men supported a jihadist cause, they were against the United States. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said he has a problem with U.S. law because George Bush is the president and he has announced a crusade against Islam. I don't think and most terrorism experts don't think these tactics actually aid the cause, but it does help fuel I guess a little bit in terms of recruitment perhaps. That's more for a terrorism expert.
Legally though, Brianna, it really has no bearing. Lawyers tried to say, look, this guy is saying he wants to kill himself. Clearly he's not in any condition to represent himself or to make coherent decisions regarding his defense. But the judge rejected that and said, look, they have answered every single question I have asked accurately. They fully understand what they're doing. I think they're making this decision knowing full well what they're doing. I'm going to let it stand.
KEILAR: All right. Kelli Arena at Guantanamo Bay, a very unique vantage point there.
Thanks for that.
LEMON: Now on to our other big story today in the CNN NEWSROOM, a dangerous day could be developing across the heartland. Let's get right to it.
Bonnie Schneider joins us from the severe weather center -- Bonnie.
BONNIE SCHNEIDER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Don and Brianna, I want to show you something very interesting. This is GR level X radar. This gives us a three dimensional view of the thunderstorms we've been talking about. This particular storm near Hayes Center in Kansas is really showing the potential for more development including tornadic developments. We're getting reports of golf ball sized hail with some of these storms.
Here is what we're looking at. I'm going to move this around so you can see the three dimensional quality. Notice the bump here in some of the higher heights up to 40 feet into the atmosphere, that actually shows the updraft. When you're talking about these severe thunderstorms, what's happening is the wind is coming up from the bottom, not just down. So that's where we're getting that rise here. This purple area you see right here, this is known as the hail core.
Hail is actually suspended in the air before it falls down to the ground. It goes up and down into the cloud. And what happens is it gets larger and larger and larger until the updraft can't suspend it any longer. When it gets heavy enough, that's when it falls. This particular storm could be producing golf ball-sized hail in Kansas. This is one of many storms we're tracking.
I'm going to walk over to the weather center. We have some tornado warnings, if we query some of these warnings, Dave is assisting me in the weather center. Let's take a look at the tornado warnings we're seeing in the and around this region. You'll find some of them are all the way across much of Nebraska and into Kansas. As we take a closer look at some of this region, the warnings we're seeing are stretching all the way across Kansas and Nebraska. Look at the impact. 13,000 people in the path of this particular storm which is in the Stafford area of Kansas. We're tracking this, and we're also watching out because we do have two tornado watches that go until 7:00 or 8:00 tonight depending on where you are. The threat for severe weather continues.
Some really interesting vantage points to show you what's happening above the earth, well into the clouds. We're watching that closely here in the weather center. Back to you.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very much for that, Bonnie.
Meantime, we don't see conditions like this every day.
Our very own Reynolds Wolf is right where the action is in Norman, Oklahoma, where they do these predictions -- Reynolds.
REYNOLDS WOLF, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right. This is going to be a historic day. It's been really a historic season seeing these storms pop up. The atmosphere continues to reload. We see more of this destructive weather. That's going to be the situation as we get to the late day hours and into the evening.
I want you to notice right up here on this map, you can see we have a lot of activity moving into the eastern half of the great lakes and of course into the north and central plains. Some of the areas that are really going to be dealing with some very rough weather, don't have a lot of action. If you happen to be in Lincoln, Nebraska, maybe even grand aisle, you can step outside and see maybe partly cloudy skies. What's going to happen later on is the possibility of extreme weather. We're talking about large hail, damaging winds. At the same time we could have the possibility of tornadoes. That could be a threat we could deal with through the midday, late day hours into the evenings and possibly into tomorrow.
Look at these fellows back here. They've been working for long hours, what they've been doing is examining every part of the atmosphere trying to unlock certain clues as to what is going to happen next. We're going to see some of this activity stretch for hundreds of miles from parts of the central plains back into Texas where we could see activity there. A lot could be just a wind event. Even with the strong winds, we're talking went gusts topping 80 miles per hour which is the equivalent of a category one hurricane. We know how destructive those hurricanes can be.
On the far side of the room you'll take a look at another forecaster, there's a team up there and they don't go home. They'll be here around the clock. They're dedicated. It's an amazing thing to watch the teamwork here. It's not just the computers doing the work. It's the interpretation that these men and women at the storm prediction center do by just trying to take a look at these little things, these little pieces of evidence and trying to put this puzzle together as to what can happen. So far, so good.
It's been just an amazing day. We're still waiting for that outbreak which appears is going to happen as we get to the late afternoon hours. If you're tuning in from Nebraska be careful. This could be a crazy day for you especially in the up her Midwest and back towards Minnesota, too.
I'll send it back to you.
LEMON: Heed Reynolds' warning, sort of the quiet before the storm. Reynolds, we appreciate that. Thank you sir. We'll be checking back with you if you get more information on this.
Meantime we want to take you to where some interesting video happened these days. Storms seem to come out of nowhere. Look at your TV screen. Take yesterday at this time, raining, lightning and thunder were pounding the Washington, D.C. area. This is from our I- reporter Daniel Wilkinson. He was at Arlington National Cemetery recording the funeral of a fallen hero. What amazed him was the honor guard. They moved not a muscle through that entire storm. Check it out.
KEILAR: Having held out for a week, Hillary Clinton is getting ready to rally behind Barack Obama. Clinton has sent an e-mail to supporters saying she will speak on Saturday on the need to unite the party behind the presumptive democratic nominee.
Obama, meanwhile, is back on the campaign trail in Virginia. He's also looking ahead to his next big decision, whom to choose for a running mate, the question everyone wants an answer to. Obama's all but certain opponent republican John McCain is campaigning in Florida, the state considered a must win for both sides. John McCain often highlighting his independent streak by talking up his differences with President Bush. In foreign policy the two have plenty of common ground.
CNN's Jill Dougherty reports McCain still has his own ideas.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rule number one in Senator John McCain's foreign policy world, despite what democrats say, he claims he is not George W. Bush.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I strongly disagree with the Bush administration's mismanagement of the war in Iraq.
DOUGHERTY: McCain may disagree with what he calls mismanagement, but he does agree with the war. U.S. troops should stay in Iraq, he argues, until they succeed.
MCCAIN: Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is the establishment of a peaceful stable, prosperous democratic states that pose no threats to neighbor and contribute to the defeat of terrorists.
DOUGHERTY: On some issues like the Guantanamo Bay detention center, McCain does differ somewhat from Bush. The president says he does want to close it eventually. McCain says he'll close it immediately. He wants a new international environmental treaty which George Bush refused to sign. He said he'd be more open to the views of the United States, a rejection of Bush's unilateralism.
Yet, McCain shares George Bush's preoccupation with democracy promotion. McCain would take it even further, a kind of United Nations but one that would exclude, among others, two of the world's biggest countries, Russia and China.
In fact, McCain wants to throw Russia out of the G-8 and prevent China from joining.
MCCAIN: We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly centralized states, becomes a club of leading democracy, that should include Brazil and India, but exclude Russia.
DOUGHERTY: McCain's approach has been called radical.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: It's sure to antagonize lots of countries that don't want to find themselves in a new cold war and will massively antagonize Russia and China and make very difficult all the cooperation on which we need them.
DOUGHERTY: John McCain says no matter who wins this election, the direction of the United States will change dramatically. If he follows through on policies like this, he's right.
Jill Dougherty, CNN Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: Will Barack Obama change the political landscape in America? We'll check that out coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: It is ironic but also true. When Barack Obama is named the democratic nominee for president at the party convention in Denver, the scope of that achievement may not be entirely appreciated by his most fervent supporters, the young.
CNN's Frank Sesno looks at a few decades of modern American history appended in a momentous campaign.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama knows he defies history and expectations.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nobody thought a 46-year-old black guy named Barack Obama was going to be the democratic nominee.
SESNO: Race has always been the wild card in American politics. Barack Obama reshuffled the deck. For African-Americans who lived through the civil rights struggles of Rosa Parks, Selma, Alabama, Martin Luther King, for most who remember this, Barack Obama is a symbol of struggle and success. Progress and change, few at the back of the bus would have predicted they'd ever see this.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Just think a few short years ago blacks and whites could not board a greyhound bus, a trailway bus in Washington, D.C. and travel together to the Deep South without the possibility of being arrested, jailed or beaten or even facing death.
SESNO: For millions of younger Americans, black and white, it's different, because in school, at work, on TV, they've experienced a different America, divided still, but genuinely diverse. Their icons may be Jordan or Woods, Powell or Angelou.
LEWIS: For younger people, white and black, this is now. This is here and now. This is real.
SESNO: Many of these young people see Obama as generation next, multi ethnic, educated, global, a politician who happens to be black, more about the future than the past. But the past is our legacy, 145 years since the emancipation proclamation. In a single lifetime, the military integrated and schools desegregated. Martin Luther King marched and gunned down. Riots in the streaks and breakthroughs in the ranks.
OBAMA: This was the moment. This was the time.
SESNO: However the politics play out, we've never been here before.
Frank Sesno, CNN Washington.
LEMON: Very interesting stuff there, Frank.
Do you have any questions about the issues facing black America? Here is your chance to get answers from some of the most influential names in black America. Go to i-report.com/thedream. Your questions will be part of the CNN "Essence" magazine event.
Join us for CNN presents, black in America, a six-hour television event that examines the complex issues, successes and struggles of black men, women and families. Black in America airs July 23 and 24. July 23 and 24 only here on CNN. See a preview at CNN.com.
KEILAR: She lost a photo finish for the democratic nomination, what is in the picture for Hillary Clinton now?
LEMON: We're keeping a close eye on severe weather across the country.
Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider joins us with the latest -- Bonnie.
SCHNEIDER: Well Don, we have new tornado warnings and I want to show you the intensity of the storms we're seeing right now. We're starting off in Kansas and we'll zoom into the tornadoes, tornado warnings and show you more information as we query them for you.
Take a look at the counties that are being affected. There's real-time lightning for you. This is Kansas. We have a couple others. That one goes until 2:15. Another one for Breelly and Hamilton. The storms are moving to the northeast, they issue the warning in advance of the one previous.
I want to show you the one we're looking at here. The machine is Titan, Titan Impact. That's a scale of one to ten. Meaning the strongest likelihood we'll see a tornado associated with the storm. Some of the storms have already registered as sixes. We've had sevens and eights. People affected in the storm path, you can see 280. Some of these storms are rolling over more rural areas. Some will come over more populated areas.
If we zoom back in, you can see some of the bow echo shape of the radar. That's because the winds are pushing the leading edge of thunderstorms and we're seeing the winds come in different directions at different levels of the atmosphere. That's where we're starting to get rotation. Also, these storms are producing heavy downpours and frequent lightning strikes.
Don, very dangerous situation that will continue straight into the evening. We'll keep you up to date with live updates. As soon as we get more warnings, wheel bring them to you live.
LEMON: Appreciate it, Bonnie. KEILAR: On Wall Street, two rallies going on. Stocks are rising, unfortunately so is oil. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange with a check of the action.
We like the first part, not the second part.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You don't often see them together, not when you see these kind of gains Brianna.
Let's start with oils. Prices surged $5.50 today. One of the biggest one-bay moves, the price is back near $128 a barrel. Oil prices fell five bucks in the last two sessions. After that record high two weeks ago.
But today oil's rally blamed on comments from the president of the European central bank. He said some of the bank's governors favor an interest rate increase due to inflation. Higher interest rates in Europe would tend to weaken the dollar. That's just what happened.
In fact, the weak dollar is one of the big culprits for the rising price of oil.
Despite the surge in oil prices we're still seeing a rally in stock prices thanks to strong retail sales numbers. Gas prices at a record high, consumer confidence at a 16-year low. Still most retailers showed signs of strength last month. Wal-Mart's numbers blew past analyst estimates. Costco and TJ Max also did well. Those stocks are up more than 2 percent overall. Not so bad with 35 minutes left in the session. Dow is up 195 points. The NASDAQ is up 1.75 percent -- Brianna.
KEILAR: We see spending stimulates the economy. I would think the sales numbers are a big relief, is that right?
LISOVICZ: A huge relief, Brianna.
It's no coincidence that spending picked up in the same month that the government sent out the stimulus checks. Retailers are under pressure, many are offering incentives. We talked a lot about them in hopes they would get a slice of the $100 billion gift from the government. The real question is, will shoppers continue to turn out after the checks are spent with those record-high gas prices. A turn around in the housing market is what's needed to give this economy a boost. For today Wall Street is pleased. Coming up in 30 minutes, we'll talk about one -- just one Persian rug which set a record, millions of dollars for rug. I'll have the details in about 30 minutes.
Brianna, back to you.
KEILAR: All right. Looking forward to that. Thanks, Susan.
LEMON: She lost a photo finish for the Democratic nomination. What's in the picture for Hillary Clinton now?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CHIEF TECHNOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT: It looks like it belongs on a plastic track, or a golf course. But you better get smart about this car, because after a decade of wowing the rest of the world, it's finally hitting the streets of America.
(on camera): All right. Here we go.
(voice-over): I took a quick spin in a Smart Car the other day.
(on camera): What are people looking at?
(voice-over): Julia Engelhardt of Daimler, road shotgun. Two seats, you can perpendicular park, and only 1,800 pounds. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
(on camera): Is it safe?
JULIA ENGELHARDT, DAIMLER: It is safe.
But you know what? We're actually on a higher level than in a regular car.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): The Smart Car is also equipped with four air bags and a race car style rollcage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it run on air?
O'BRIEN (on camera): All air, hot air.
(voice-over): It practically does run on air, the 70 horses crammed in there clock 40 miles per gallon in the city, 45 on the highway. Yes, it goes on the highway.
Top speed is 90. Ninety? So, why smart? Why here? Why now?
DAVE SCHEMBRI PRESIDENT SMART USA: Many of the same conditions that have been experienced in the 36 other countries this car has been sold in for the past 10 years are finding their way to the United States.
O'BRIEN: He's talking about high gas prices and urban congestion. Surely this is a good way to reduce your footprint -- literally.
Miles O'Brien, CNN, New York.
KEILAR: Well, leading our Political Ticker, the best month ever for John McCain -- fundraising wise, that is. McCain's campaign says he brought in $21.5 million last month. Now, keep in mind, that is still far behind Barack Obama's one month record of $55 million that was set back in February.
LEMON: Well, the all but certain general election match-up between Barack Obama and John McCain looks just about even. Our latest national poll of polls gives Obama a 2 point edge over McCain, 47 percent to 45. Obama led by 1 point earlier this week.
KEILAR: The Democratic Party is joining the Obama campaign in rejecting donations from lobbyists and political action committees. The Obama team is also sending one of its top fundraisers to help the DNC, which has lagged behind its Republican counterpart in raising campaign cash.
Hillary Clinton is promising to throw her support behind Barack Obama on Saturday.
But what, if anything, does she want in return? What does she want? And what does Hillary Clinton do next?
Even she is asking the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand that a lot of people are asking, what does Hillary want? I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. There you go.
Well, let's talk more about this with Ken Vogel, senior reporter at Politico.com.
Hey, Ken, thanks for joining us.
Anne Kornblut, national political correspondent at "The Washington Post." Anne joined us yesterday. Thanks again for joining us.
Thanks to both of you.
ANNE KORNBLUT "WASHINGTON POST": Thanks.
LEMON: Before we get started, I will tell you that I want to run through these scenario scenarios. And these are just scenarios. She's not said anything publicly about what she wants yet. But Barack Obama is saying he is open. Take a listen and then we'll go through these scenarios.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his cabinet. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So he's comparing -- saying that Lincoln pulled all those people in. So it gives you an idea of his frame of mind here.
All right, let's go through the scenarios.
Anne, can I start with you? Is that cool?
KORNBLUT: Please do.
LEMON: Let's talk about the possibility of vice president.
What are the pros, what are the cons, what are the chances?
KORNBLUT: Well, the pros, obviously, for Senator Obama would be that he would get at least a much greater crack at all the millions of people who voted for Senator Clinton. He'd get her goodwill. He'd get her support. And he would, hopefully, at least from his perspective, get some of the white, working class voters.
KORNBLUT: The cons are obvious. You know, she -- they don't -- they don't they don't really like each other at this point. Her husband was something of a liability for her in the campaign. So they're weighing that right now and trying to figure out whether it would make sense.
All right, Ken Vogel, what are the chances?
KEN VOGEL SENIOR REPORTER POLITICO.COM: I think they're pretty slim. I agree with Anne that she brings a lot of negatives with her. Additionally, she is still viewed as a very polarizing force by many of the Independents and the moderates whose support will be key to determine whether Obama or McCain wins the White House in November.
LEMON: OK. Ken, does she have a better chance of possibly secretary of state, maybe that position?
VOGEL: It's possible. I mean there's always talk about -- you heard Senator Obama -- about bringing people into the cabinet. And certainly she has tried to establish herself as a real force on foreign policy and military affairs, both in the Senate, where she's on the Armed Services Committee, and as first lady, where she talked extensively -- Anne and I heard her many times -- about how she traveled the globe doing things that were sort of beyond the first lady role.
The con on that, though, is that she's staked out a position that is much more hawkish than that which Senator Obama has, talking about how she would obliterate Iran if it, you know, made encroachments into Israel and how she criticized him for saying that he would meet with foreign leaders without preconditions. So, if he tapped her as secretary of state, it might be a real disparity there in sort of approach to foreign policy.
LEMON: OK. We're going to move on now and talk about -- this one is -- has kind of cropped up and people are going what?
Anne, we're talking about Supreme Court justice here.
What's the possibility of that?
I'm hearing people saying, you know what, she's in her 60s now. It may be older than someone Barack Obama wants to appoint at this point.
KORNBLUT: Perhaps, although she would bring with her, obviously, the liberal credentials that he would want for somebody on the bench. She could probably get confirmed, having been a senator. They tend to be deferential toward their own. She's obviously a lawyer, having gone to law school. I'm not sure it's the kind of political role she would want. It's a very behind-the-scenes job. But it would be a great honor for her to be offered that.
LEMON: OK, Anne, now what about this?
I'm sure Harry Reid might want to weigh in on this, but what about the Senate majority leader?
Now, she may have more of an influence there and be able to shape legislation and have more influence if she is in that role.
KORNBLUT: Yes, that's true. And yet she didn't get the support of many of the -- her fellow senators. So I think at this point, it would be hard for her to go back. As you mentioned, there's somebody already in that job.
What do you say to that, Ken?
VOGEL: Well, I could see her taking on a much more significant role in the Senate, maybe not as majority leader. But perhaps if Senator Obama were to agree to push her universal health care plan, give her another crack at this, obviously, something she cares deeply about, talked a lot about on the campaign but really failed spectacularly when she was first lady to -- in her efforts to pass it by. Maybe she could be Senator Obama's point person in the Senate for a substantive policy initiative like universal health care.
All right, Ken Vogel, senior reporter for Politico.
And Anne Kornblut, "The Washington Post" national correspondent.
We appreciate both of you joining us today. Have a good day, OK, guys. KORNBLUT: Thanks.
VOGEL: Thanks a lot, Don.
LEMON: Of course, these are only scenarios that we're going through and we'll see as it shapes up.
All the latest campaign news is at your fingertips. Just go to CNNPolitics.com. We also have analysis from the best political team on television or BPTOT. It's all there at CNNPolitics.com.
KEILAR: Our Candy Crowley sat down with Barack Obama just a couple hours ago. And coming up next, we're going to find out what he told her about his vice presidential choice.
KEILAR: Barack Obama now the presumptive nominee for Democrats for the -- for president of the United States. His eye now on the general election. Of course, still some loose ends to tie up about this primary -- the Democratic primary season.
And Candy Crowley is following Obama. She's in Bristow, Virginia. She sat down a short time ago for a one-on-one interview with Obama.
What did he say -- Candy?
CANDY CROWLEY CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, Brianna, when he walked in the room, I said to him, you know, Senator, I realize that the last thing you want to do is make news today.
And he laughed and he said, you know, we could maybe just take a nap.
But the fact of the matter is things are going pretty well for Barack Obama. And when it comes to one subject -- and that is the subject of whether he would put Hillary Clinton on a ticket with him -- he certainly doesn't want to make any news.
OBAMA: She has been an extraordinary candidate. She's been an extraordinary public servant for years now. She ran as tough a race as could be imagined. And I have nothing but respect for Senator Clinton and what she's going to contribute to the party. And I'm also confident we're going to be unified in November.
What I've also said is the vice presidency is the most important decision that I'll make before I'm president. And it's something that I take very seriously. I know Bill Clinton took it very seriously when he had to go through this process. Senator Clinton, I'm sure, would take it very seriously if she were going through this process.
So we've got a committee that's made up of some wonderful people. They are going to go through the procedure and vet and talk to people and get recommendations. I will meet with a range of people and I'll ultimately make a decision. Senator Clinton would be on anybody's short list. By all...
CROWLEY: But you don't feel this -- there's an enormous amount of pressure out there for you to put her on the ticket.
Do you feel that pressure?
OBAMA: You know, I am a big believer in making decisions well, not making them fast and not responding to pressure. And I think Senator Clinton right now is in the same position I am, which is we just completed 54 contests. We want to catch our breath. We need to take stock of where we are. I'm sure she has to do the same thing.
And, you know, she and I will have a conversation -- we won't be doing it through surrogates or the press -- to talk about how we move forward and join forces to make sure we are successful in November. And so there's going to be a lot of time for that.
CROWLEY: Is it the best way to win over her supporters, though, to put her on the ticket?
You've seen, I'm, sure, the polling showing that you're dropping women, sort of downscale voters, those kind of voters.
Isn't that the best way to win them over, is to put her on that ticket?
OBAMA: As I said, I think everybody just needs to settle down. We've just completed this arduous process. It's only been two days. And, you know, I think it's both not just in my interests and Senator Clinton's interests, but in the Democratic Party's interests and the country's interests to make sure that I make this decision well. And I will be deliberate and systematic about it because this will be my final counselor when I'm making decisions in the White House. And I want to make sure that I get it right.
CROWLEY: So a very wide, wide berth for Hillary Clinton from Senator Obama. They don't want to upset this apple cart at this time -- not her or her supporters. They truly want to give her some room. As we know, Brianna, Saturday Hillary Clinton expected to concede and call Barack Obama the nominee and congratulate him. So they would like to really keep things quiet and kind of tamp down this whole vice presidential talk as best he can.
KEILAR: Candy Crowley with Barack Obama in Bristow, Virginia.
And we just want to remind you that that was just a small bit of Candy's one-on-one interview with Barack Obama. The interview in its entirety is going to be coming up in "THE SITUATION ROOM." That will be in the 4:00 hour. That's 4:00 p.m. Eastern, of course.
LEMON: Meantime, a hit and run accident Caught on Camera. Police hope somebody -- somebody can identify the driver. We'll show you the pictures.
KEILAR: As shocking as this video looks, Milwaukee bus riders say it's nothing new. We'll tell you who's being blamed for this violent attack.
LEMON: OK. We have this warning for you. If graphic video disturbs you, you may want to look away from the screen right now. Fair warning for you. Police in Hartford, Connecticut released this surveillance video of a hit and run accident -- wow, look at that -- that injured a 78-year-old man. Now, the victim is in critical condition, paralyzed from the neck down.
And here's why we're showing it to you, because police are hoping someone can identify the driver of the blue or black Honda that hit the man last Friday. The driver of the Honda appeared to be chasing another vehicle, described as a tan Toyota.
KEILAR: Well, riders say that this happens all too often. Four teenagers under arrest in connection with this brutal beating on a Milwaukee bus. A fifth suspect still being sought. And authorities say the attackers and the victims are all enrolled at an alternative school for students with behavior problems. And they say the students from the school have been involved in dozens -- dozens, if you can believe it -- of similar bus fights this year. The victim, thankfully, of this attack is expected to recover.
LEMON: Oh, boy. All right, well, the Interstate becomes an inferno. Just look at these pictures coming in from Manatee County, Florida. That's south of Tampa Bay, where a fuel tanker truck exploded after plunging off I-75 and onto another highway during Wednesday's afternoon rush hour. Authorities believe rain slick roads may have contributed to the truck driver losing control of his big rig. He is still hospitalized in critical condition. Two other cars were involved, with one driver suffering only minor injuries. Authorities say they're certain the structural integrity of one bridge has been compromised.
KEILAR: Well, the closing bell and a wrap of the action on Wall Street -- that is straight ahead.
KEILAR: Time to check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. That was actually Don Sterine (ph), I'm sorry.
LEMON: Oh. That's OK. That's OK. Hey, may as well.
Take it away -- Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Guys, thanks very much.
We're going to have more of that interview with Barack Obama, the one that Candy Crowley has done today. And he speaks about what he would do in Iraq and other foreign policy issues, including the future of Jerusalem; also more on Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton, for her part, what about her future?
What she says about why she waited to endorse Barack Obama and what she's doing to figure out her own future.
And the top two people in the U.S. Air Force fired after a scathing report about the way they handled parts of America's nuclear arsenal.
We're going to have a lot more of that coming up and a lot more right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- back to you guys.
LEMON: All right, Wolf. Thank you very much.
As a matter of fact, we're going to continue on with that right now. Heads are rolling at the Pentagon today, as Wolf just mentioned. The secretary of defense wants two highly placed resignations. And that's military speak for you are fired.
It involves the highest echelons of the Air Force and some mishandled nuclear missiles.
Our Jamie McIntyre, senior Pentagon correspondent, joins us now with the very latest on that -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, Pentagon sources tell CNN that that report on the mishandling of nuclear weapons and components is so damning that it basically forced the hand of Defense Secretary Robert Gates in requesting the resignations of both the top Air Force general and his civilian boss. That would be Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and the Air Force chief of staff, General Mike Moseley. Both forced to step down -- fired, if you will.
In just a few minutes, Defense Secretary Gates will make that formal and he will summarize some unclassified findings of that investigation into the Air Force handling of nuclear weapons that really began after the embarrassing revelation last year that a B-52 bomber through from North Dakota to Louisiana with nuclear-tipped missiles on board that nobody knew was there until the plane landed, followed by the embarrassing revelation that the Air Force mistakenly shipped fuses that are used in nuclear weapons to Taiwan in 2006, mistakenly labeling them in a crate that was labeled helicopter parts. But according to sources, the problems in the safeguarding of nuclear weapons are much more deep and more disturbing than just those two incidents -- Don.
LEMON: Much more to roll out on this story. And Jamie will have more in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
Thank you, Jamie.
KEILAR: This is a story that just really makes you believe there are good people out there. Country singer George Jones is going to be reunited with an old friend -- it's this guitar that was stolen from him 46 years ago. Larry Berry says that he bought the guitar from two boys in 1962 and that he didn't know that the boys had stolen it from a Texas nightclub.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY BERRY, BOUGHT COUNTRY SINGER'S STOLEN GUITAR: They brought the guitar over one night and wanted some beer money. I had $12. I gave them $10, took this guitar, thinking my dad would play with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Well, it was only later that Berry learned the guitar belonged to Jones. And he's been trying to return it for years, but was unable to contact Jones until recently. He is scheduled to hand it over at a concert later this month. And a spokeswoman says Jones is stunned -- and, of course, pretty happy to be getting the guitar back.
Well, the closing bell is about to ring on Wall Street.
LEMON: Well, that's some good news.
Susan Lisovicz is standing by with a final look at the trading day -- Susan, he gets the guitar back. Good news.
I hope you have some good news, as well.
LISOVICZ: Well I do.
We have a huge, huge rally in stocks and in oil. But before we get to that, let's talk about a record-setting price for one piece of art at Christie's here in New York. For one rug, $4.5 million for a Persian rug from the 16th or 17th century. There it is. Christie's called it an amazing piece of art with an intricate floral design and 17 colors.
I certainly hope so for that amount.
It's seven feet by seven inches by 5'7. That translates into about $750 per square foot. It was purchased by the late tobacco heiress, Doris Duke, and she left it to a foundation.
You guys want a piece of that action?
LEMON: We'd like a piece of the money that is coming in for, but we don't want a piece of the rug. I can't afford it.
KEILAR: I need to go shopping for some new things in my house. But I'm looking for a five by seven rug. So, that's not going to work for me.
LISOVICZ: Not going to work for you? All right.
So let's go from a Persian rug to the Persian Gulf, because that was certainly a big story today. Even by oil standards, a huge jump today in the commodities market. Crude prices jumped $5.50.
Oil dropped by about that amount the last two days. Why is that?
Well, European financial figures hinting that interest rates will rise in Europe, which will put more pressure on the dollar, which will push oil higher. You saw a huge jump today.
But stocks also making a big, big jump. In fact, the rally has been accelerating late in the session. Why is that you ask?
Well, we have pretty good retail numbers for the month of May. It just so happened that May is when government stimulus checks went out. We saw a lot of discounters like Wal-Mart and Costco do better than expected. People still bargain hunting. We also saw a huge rally in airline stocks.
The bad news is Continental -- Continental cutting 3,000 jobs, getting rid of 67 planes, translates into the kind of steps that investors want to see to survive this crisis.
LEMON: Hey, Susan?
LEMON: I saw commercials for those stores that you were talking about aimed right at -- when you get your rebate check, bring it in to us. We want that rebate check. They were not --
LISOVICZ: Yes. It's a lot of money, and times are tough, and it worked for some of them.
Now, whether it works this month is a whole other story. But hey, one thing coming tomorrow which will be very important for -- on the street is the May jobs report. Now every month this year, we've lost jobs, and we're expecting another decline tomorrow. So it could be a big day.
But a big day for the markets. The Dow ends up more than 200 points on the day when oil jumped $5.50. Go figure.
We'll do it again tomorrow. See you guys.
KEILAR: We'll take it. Up 200? That's good.
LEMON: Thanks, Susan.
KEILAR: And let's head now to "THE SITUATION ROOM" and Wolf Blitzer.