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President Obama Unveils Budget; Serial Killer on the Loose?; Chilean Mountain Goes Boom

Aired February 26, 2009 - 15:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And we welcome you to the show. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Whose taxes are actually going to be cut and whose taxes are going to be increased? Maybe yours. The White House today is doing what they're supposed to do, they're going to have somebody, one of Barack Obama's advisers, talk to us, talk to you directly during this show to answer our questions as to whose taxes will be increased. So, stick around for that.

And here's more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see very near a 54 percent rise in the number of hate groups out there.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Is the president's skin color fueling more hate? Police say they have found material for making a radioactive dirty bomb in the home of a man who hates President Obama, but loves Hitler. Stand by for details.


SANCHEZ: President Obama explains his budget. Who will be taxed more? We're talking directly to the White House with your questions.

Rush Limbaugh blasts Republicans who are critical of Bobby Jindal.

And the conservative convention begins today, CPAC, with these headliners: Ann Coulter, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Joe the plumber. Is the future of the Republican Party in their hands?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody every day, you know, is freaking out because they're finding more and more.

SANCHEZ: Who killed them, at least 11 bodies found buried in the middle of a major U.S. city? Is it the work of a serial killer? We're there. And so are you, as you join us for today's daily national conversation, which begins right now.


SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. Just to remind you, we do have somebody from the White House set to answer our questions about your taxes, one of the most important points. Barack Obama said the other night, if you make more than $250,000, expect that you are going to be taxed.

It's been a long time since we have heard a president say that, but exactly whom? How does he define that? We are going to be breaking that down with somebody from the Barack Obama administration during this hour live.

But, before we do that, what else has been going on in this country since Barack Obama took power? Well, for one thing, there are some people who are not happy with having a black president in the White House and some people who just don't get it.

Let me show you something before we do anything. Rog, go ahead and put this picture up. This is a picture of someone who is actually a mayor in California. Look at the see the -- all right, you see the watermelons in front of that? This is an e-mail postcard sent by the mayor. His name is Dean Grose of Los Alamitos, California.

He sent this as a joke to an African-American activist in his area. The caption, by the way, under this picture, this watermelon patch in front of the White House, says, "No Easter egg hunt this year."

Funny or racist? Well, let me tell you this. The mayor's now come out and said, yes, it's true, when contacted by the Associated Press, I did in fact send that. I didn't mean to offend anybody by it, though.

It's an interesting question that we have been looking into. Since the administration of Barack Obama began in this country, has there been a heightened sense of any kind of hate? We first started discovering this last night in one of the interviews we did.

But before we do that, I want to show you something now. I want you to just write down some numbers. These are hate groups in the United States, all right? Let's start with the first year. I think we're going to start with the year 2000 -- 602 hate groups at the time in the United States, as counted by the best resource on this, by the way, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Now let's go to 2007. Uh-oh. It's going up, 888. Now let's go to 2008. Uh-oh. Going up again, 926.

And now to the that we came upon last night. This is a documentary that was on Investigation Discovery Channel. This is -- what you're about to see is a police officer in Mesa, Arizona, who actually infiltrated some of these hate groups that were suddenly springing up across the border.

He answered the question directly for me yesterday. Yes, he said, the fact that Barack Obama is president means that we will have more hate groups and those that are there will be fueled. Here's a piece now of what his life was like when he was pretending to be two people, a father, a husband, a cop, and also a skinhead.


DET. MATT BROWNING, MESA POLICE, UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY: We were shopping. We had the kids with us and we had our cart full of food. And I looked toward the front door of the store and in came five of the Klansmen that I was undercover with.

You need to take the kids and go.

And so I told my wife, hey, you need to go. And she probably forgot our conversations, but she didn't want to. You know, it was a night out with the kids and so we wanted to stay as a family.

NARRATOR: But Browning has no choice. He has to get away from them.

BROWNING: So finally I gave her the cart and I just walked a different way.

Did the Klan see them?

I hope not.


SANCHEZ: It's an amazing moment.

Joining us now is Mark Potok. He and I have been talking about this kind of thing for a long time now. He is one of the directors of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Mark, thanks so much for being with us.

MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, thanks for having me, Rick.

SANCHEZ: What are you seeing? Because we're starting to hear now, if nothing else, on the periphery, that there is an incremental effect from having a president of the United States who is black with some of these hate groups that we have seen that have been in this country for many years in the past. What are you seeing directly?

POTOK: Well, as you suggested in your intro, there have been quite a growth over the last eight years.

Until about a year ago, that growth was driven almost entirely by these groups pushing the immigration issue and especially the idea that people with brown skin are kind of coming to destroy our country. In the last year, though, we have seen several other factors come into play, you know, the assent, obviously, of Barack Obama, the announcement by the Census Bureau that whites will lose their majority in this country along about the year 2042, and the crashing economy and worsening unemployment.

All of those things are very much playing into the continued growth of these groups. Frankly, I think we're in a very worrying situation. I think it could get quite a bit worse.

SANCHEZ: Well, what I'm hearing you say is, remember the movie "The Perfect Storm," when everything kind of came together? And you just outlined the three things. You have got the economy. You have got the residue of the nativist rhetoric in this country, and you have Barack Obama, a liberal African-American president, as the leader of our country.

When you put all those three things together, what do you -- what do we have to do? We do we foresee down the line?

POTOK: Well, I think, just as you suggest, it is a kind of a perfect storm of factors that at the very least favors the growth of these groups.

You know, whether they are actually able to translate all of these things into recruitment, we have yet to see. But what we know absolutely is that, immediately after Obama's election, there was a surge in interest from people looking at these groups.

We know, for instance, that the servers of two major white supremacist groups crashed on November 5 and 6, simply because they were getting so much interest.

SANCHEZ: Crashed.

POTOK: So, that's the question. Is this going to translate into a further expansion of these groups that have already grown quite a lot?

SANCHEZ: Mark, hang tight real quick. We're going to be talking to you an awful lot more about this, including this one case that we have just found out about in Maine. This is this dirty bomb scenario. We are going to take you through it, but something else.

Take a shot of two-shot, if you can, here real quick, Rog. Jim Clancy is going to be joining me in just a little bit. We have just gotten some new video turned around from the Mumbai attacks in India. That was last Thanksgiving.

Just a quick headline on what this video is going to be we're going to be looking at in just a moment.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you just see how cool, calm and collected and how well-armed these guys were as they came in.

SANCHEZ: So, this is inside the hotel?

CLANCY: Inside the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, one of the targets, very Western hotel, upper-scale clientele. This was one of the targets of the Islamists, and they ended up killing, what, more than 160 people. SANCHEZ: Jim Clancy, stand by. You're going to do play-by-play on that for us as soon as we come back. We thank you.

The story doesn't end here with the hate groups, though. Key word there, by the way, is groups. Think about that for a moment, hate groups. There's also something that Mark Potok is going to be telling you about. They're called lone wolves. What is a lone wolf? Well, I'll tell you what. They're just as dangerous.

And we have learned in fact of one lone wolf -- listen to this -- in Maine who hated Obama, and what police found in his house is frightening, materials to make a dirty bomb. By the way, he also loved Hitler, did we mention. We're getting the very latest on this from the FBI, who conducted this investigation, and also Mark Potok, who is very familiar with this case and lone wolves in general.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": Michael Steele told "The Washington Times" that was planning on launching a -- quote -- "off- the--hook" P.R. campaign by applying the party's principles to urban suburban hip-hop settings.


STEWART: Michael Steele's going to take the GOP from this...

JOHN ASHCROFT, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL (singing): Let the eagle soar.


STEWART: ... to this.

ASHCROFT (singing): Let the eagle soar.




SANCHEZ: All right, we have got some new developments in the story that we have been telling you out of Mumbai. For the very first time, we are going to see some pictures from actually inside the hotel.

Jim Clancy, as aforementioned, is joining me now to take us through this.

What are we looking at?

CLANCY: You're looking at -- see those bodies moving? See those guys walking along there?

You can see the rifles in their hands. And one of them lets go a burst -- there it is -- a burst of fire behind that desk. I have stood at that desk, Rick.


SANCHEZ: Is that the reception area at the hotel?

CLANCY: It's the ground floor of the hotel. It would appear to me...

SANCHEZ: That's concierge.

CLANCY: Yes. Well, it appears that they have already exploded a hand grenade or something. Everybody has run. There's nobody at this desk. I have looked at the long version of this that runs about three-and-a-half minutes.

You see him there just letting loose. Why do we care about this, Rick? We care about this because this is the face of the future terrorist acts by some of these groups. This is one that is believe based in Pakistan. And there's people, still more people being sought, highly military, well-prepared in all of this, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Captured the attention of the entire world during Thanksgiving week.

CLANCY: Three days, it lasted.

SANCHEZ: Killed 160 people or more.

CLANCY: More, yes, and a lot more wounded. Attacked Jewish targets, attacked affluent hotels, business targets, all in an effort to get at the Indian government.

SANCHEZ: We're going to be talking in a little bit about what's going on with Pakistan. We learned today that Pakistan gives $6 million to the Taliban, Pakistan that, by the way, we gave billions to, to help us defeat Taliban. I know it doesn't make any sense. It's too long of an explanation. But can you stick around and come back and take us through that?

CLANCY: You bet. No, there's a lot of people worried about that, including Afghanistan.

SANCHEZ: All right. Let's talk about this story I mentioned just a little while ago, this situation that is going on in Maine.

Let me take you through some of the details. First of all, let me show you the house. This is a house in a place called Belfast, Maine. It looks like a house where anybody could live, right? Who knew what was going on inside here?

A man named 29-year-old James Cummings has been killed by his wife in a domestic dispute. But, when police went in there, you're not going to believe what they found. First of all, let me tell you what others had said they had already seen in the house. He had Hitler paraphernalia and Nazi paraphernalia all over the house. Co- workers said he was extremely distraught about the fact that Barack Obama had been elected president of the United States.

Now, let me show you a picture of some of the agents who were going into this house after they were called. There you see the hazmat unit coming out. Apparently, they found material in his house to make a dirty bomb or to try and make a dirty bomb, so much so, in fact, his wife said that this is what he wanted to do. That's what she had told police.

Let me show you a graphic. We have collected some of the information. And, by the way, most of the stuff here, this is no big secret, because you can get this by Googling anything you want. Bomb- making ingredients that were found in his house, there you see some of them, hydrogen peroxide, uranium.

Keep -- remember that word uranium, though, because it's important. Thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, these are some of the things that apparently he was going to use, beryllium, boron, and black iron oxide, and magnesium ribbon.

All right, you look at this story and you can't help but shake your head and think to yourself, OK, what's going on here? How frightened, how worried should we be? So were we. So, we called the FBI and we have been doing some digging on this story.

Joining us now is Tom Fuentes, former FBI agent who has been asking a lot of questions about this for us.

First of all, what do we know about this guy?

TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, basically, we know, Rick, that he was a wannabe for a neo-Nazi group.

He had prepared an application to be mailed to join one of the Nazi-type white supremacist groups. He had not yet mailed it. So, as you mentioned earlier, we would technically call him at the moment a lone wolf at the time of his death, but obviously somebody who wanted to join with others that had the same neo-Nazi philosophy that he had.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you about some of these chemicals that we -- that I just read out. I know nothing about chemicals, obviously. I would think that some of those could be dangerous if used in the right way. How close was this guy, or was he not close to actually putting together what he had the intent of doing, which was putting together a dirty bomb?

And take our viewers through what a dirty bomb is, as opposed to a nuclear bomb, which a lot of people get confused, I understand.


First of all, Rick, the nuclear bomb, obviously, the mushroom cloud, as we saw in previous testing and deployments. A dirty bomb uses radioactive material that can kill people, that can poison a water supply, or render a specific physical area unusable due to high concentration of radioactivity. It's called dirty because conventional explosives are normally used to disperse it. So, you may attach the radioactive material to a normal bomb just for the purpose of spreading the poison...


SANCHEZ: So, he could do a lot of damage with something like that, let's say, in a dense area like New York City or Boston or one of the cities that may be very close to him, if he was right in the middle of the city, for example?

FUENTES: Well, his intent to make a dirty bomb was pretty clear by the literature that he had. But keep in mind that all of the components that were found at the residence later analyzed by the FBI were determined to not be suitable for a dirty bomb.

SANCHEZ: Enough.

FUENTES: Exactly, not enough, and not enriched. Even in larger quantities, it would be like being X-ray machined to death, as opposed to having radioactive material that would be able to kill you.

SANCHEZ: That's the key. He had uranium, but he didn't have enriched uranium.

FUENTES: Correct.

SANCHEZ: And you have to have enriched uranium, correct?

FUENTES: Correct.

Now, I spoke an hour ago to Dr. Majidi, who is the assistant director in charge of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.


FUENTES: And he made it clear that the components that he had were not even close. The literature that he had about obtaining enriched material obviously would be suitable.

But Dr. Majidi reported that this is not material that the average layperson would become -- would in any way be close to obtaining.

SANCHEZ: Yes. That's great to hear.

Tom Fuentes, former FBI, thanks for doing some of the legwork on this for us. We appreciate it, sir.

FUENTES: Thank you, Rick. Good to be here.

SANCHEZ: Mark Potok joining us once again to take us through this.

What's your take on this guy? What's your take on this situation? And is he the only lone wolf out there? POTOK: My take is, it is an extraordinary example of what we see quite a lot of out there, which is people who are influenced strongly by the propaganda of this movement, to the point where they're willing, obviously, to risk their own lives, but, more importantly, you know, to plan attacks on literally tens of thousands of people.

SANCHEZ: You have got to really hate a lot to do what this guy -- thank goodness he didn't have the wherewithal to be able to do it.


POTOK: That's true. But there are other cases.


SANCHEZ: Tell me a little bit about those, other lone wolves, not hate groups, but guys on their own who want to do a lot of damage because they just hate something.

POTOK: Well, just a short time ago, a Marine was arrested at Camp Lejeune by civilian authorities. He was arrested because he had been carrying out armed robberies of hotels.

But when they went in and they arrested this fellow, what they found in his barracks was a journal of his in which he had laid out yet another plan to assassinate Barack Obama.

And as far as lone wolves, these people are all essentially lone wolves, in that their actions are not planned in smoky rooms with large groups of people. And they are really far more dangerous than the larger conspiracies, because it is so unlikely that when you have a group of people planning something like this, that it remains secret.

SANCHEZ: Exactly.

POTOK: So, people need only think of Eric Rudolph, the abortion clinic bomber, the murderer of a cop, and the Olympics bomber, you know, Tim McVeigh, who murdered 168 people in half-a-minute.

SANCHEZ: Lone wolves.

POTOK: It's a real danger.

SANCHEZ: Mark Potok, as usual, thanks for talking to us. Keep us up to date on all of this. And we will continue to report it and bring people abreast.

POTOK: Thank you, Rick.

Not one, not two, but 11 shallow graves found in one area in Albuquerque, that's got everybody wondering whether it's the work of a serial killer that has just been accidentally revealed at a construction site where they were doing excavation.

And look at this woman doing what she says she had to do. Go ahead, Rog.


ELLEN BASINSKI, OHIO RESIDENT: And I came back like this, and I whacked him. And he came up and looked at me like, lady, why did you do that? And I hit him again.


SANCHEZ: Can you say, you go, girl? Her incredible story, we have got it all just for you.


SANCHEZ: By the way, we're getting a lot of reaction from people on that video we showed you at the beginning of the newscast, that mayor who sent out that e-mail with the watermelon patch in front of the White House.

In fact, here's one. This is on MySpace. "I just saw that picture on TV of the White House sent by the mayor in California and was appalled." Recommendation here that he should be removed.

And there's something else to take note of today, strong women, including many of the women who watch this newscast and talk to us during the newscast on Twitter, MySpace and Facebook., women you don't want to mess with, unless you want to pay the price. I have got a lot of them around me. My executive producer is a woman, my wife, obviously, my mother, two others.

And then there's this lady.

Roll it, Rog.

That's Ellen Basinski of Elyria -- Did I get that right? -- Elyria, Ohio. Who is she? Elyria Thank you, Roger. Who is she on -- why is she on TV today? Well, she took matters into her own hands this week when some teenagers broke into her home, and she was there alone. The boys were going through her purse and cabinets when Ellen grabbed the first thing that she could reach, and went full force, like Emeril-style, on them.


EMERIL LAGASSE, CHEF: You come way back over here and you just go bam!



BASINSKI: And I whacked him. And he came up and looked at me, like, lady, why did you do that? And I hit him again.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Hit him again. And that was a five-quart saucepan, by the way, that Ellen used to clean her house with. Here's what happened afterward. The teen boys finally did something smart and ran away. And officers finally caught them all and found most of them had rap sheets. Ellen says she wants that saucepan back, by the way, when police are finished with it.

And here's one that may either confuse you or make you mad or both. Why is Pakistan, who we gave billions to help us defeat the Taliban, now giving millions to the Taliban? It's crazy. And we're going to try and get to the bottom of it with Mr. Clancy over here next to me. That's coming up in just a little bit.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

I want to show you something real quick. This is on MySpace right now. It says: "I like feisty old ladies. They are awesome. This obviously is in reaction to what we were talking about just a little while ago.

And, by the way, Jim Clancy to my right agrees. We're going to be talking to Jim Clancy about something important during this segment.

But, before we do that, I want to show you what we're talking about. This is called the Swat Valley. It's a place in Pakistan where the Taliban -- yes, the Taliban -- has essentially taken over and ruled. And that's a problem.

But how is the Taliban being dealt with by Pakistan? Well, here's part of the problem. We understand that they have got a cease- fire with them. And, as perplexing as that might be, we now learned, as of last night, that they have also given them $6 million, to the Taliban.

Let me set all this up for you, before we do anything else, by letting you watch this Barbara Starr report that explains the situation in the Swat Valley as it stands right now.

Let's go to that, Rog.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the violent Swat Valley, questions about whether these Pakistani troops will stay and fight. The U.S. is worried a new cease-fire giving more power to local Taliban leaders may only lead to another militant safe haven.

In Washington, Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Kayani is saying his men will keep fighting militants. But the U.S. has its doubts.

GEN. DAVID MCKIERNAN, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: There's been a history of political agreements in some of the areas in Pakistan which have not played out real well in the past.

STARR: Pakistan's security troubles, especially in the tribal areas along the Afghan border, are only growing.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Almost all counterterrorism officials I have spoken to will tell you, if there's another attack in the U.S., it's likely to emanate out from there.

STARR: U.S. intelligence now indicates hundreds of foreign fighters in the border region, according to a senior U.S. official. This man, Baitullah Mehsud, accused of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, is believed to be orchestrating much of the violence and is believed to be in close coordination with senior al Qaeda leaders.

CNN has learned Pakistan is now asking for greater access to U.S. intelligence about the locations of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders. The U.S. has offered some details aimed at trying to secure the border with Afghanistan, but remains concerned critical secrets are being leaked inside Pakistan's security services.

(on camera): It's not just security. There's big money at stake. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars trying to help Pakistan improve its security. But a new report from the Government Accountability Office questions what the U.S. is getting for its money.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


SANCHEZ: Questions what the U.S. is getting for its money.

Riddle me this, Batman.


SANCHEZ: Jim Clancy joining us now.

We give billions of dollars -- through Musharraf and some still -- to Pakistan to help us deal with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. And now we learn that Pakistan has not only done a cease-fire with the Taliban, but given them $6 million.

What gives, Americans would ask?

JIM CLANCY, ANCHOR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Don't act surprised. Come on. This is how it works. They're paying them off. They're paying them off to do the deal. This was arranged well in advance. What you have -- it's payoff money to get them to go along.

Now the Taliban will distribute that. They'll say this is because your family member was killed fighting for us. This is because your home was destroyed. It makes the Taliban look good. If that's what they need -- if that's what they need to sign up to this cease-fire...

SANCHEZ: So here we have...

CLANCY: ...they might be able to get it.

SANCHEZ: But hold on a minute. Here we have the president of the United States saying that we're now going to have 55,000 American soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

CLANCY: Well, yes...

SANCHEZ: Well, that's what he's announcing -- $17,000 more by the last figure, right?

And now -- and now we understand that our ally in this is feeding our enemy?

CLANCY: We're very nervous about it. I can tell you, everybody's nervous about it. Afghanistan is nervous about it...


CLANCY: ...because cease-fire in Pakistan often means open fire in Afghanistan.


CLANCY: Because these guys have said, well, we're going to concentrate our fight now on the infidels that are in Afghanistan. This could -- this could mean real trouble. But let's be clear here...


CLANCY: ...the cease-fire is supposed to mean that they disarm. That's the deal.

SANCHEZ: Yes, we'll see.

CLANCY: But the problem is...

SANCHEZ: Hold your breath?

CLANCY: they -- well, I'm not holding mine, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Yes. My theory is this will be another -- another -- what Iraq was to George Bush, Afghanistan could become for Barack Obama.

Is it a legitimate fear?

CLANCY: Well, you know, you're talking about nation building still. A lot of people think it doesn't even make sense there. You're also talking about committing more troops on the ground. There's a lot of controversy about that, too, Rick. We're going to have to watch it.

He knows he's got to be careful. He's got good diplomats on this and he's got good military commanders in the field.

The question is, can anybody make it work?

At least one thing is right. You can't make it work unless you both have Pakistan and Afghanistan in this together. They're all meeting in Washington right now, this week.

SANCHEZ: As a matter of fact, today.


SANCHEZ: And we were going to be talking to some of them. Hopefully, we'll be able to get them here, maybe tomorrow.

Thanks so much, as usual, Jim.

CLANCY: All right. Great to be with you.

SANCHEZ: We certainly appreciate it.

Remains of 11 people have been found on a construction site in Albuquerque.

Is this the work of a serial killer?

We're going to be taking you there live to ask that question.

Rush Limbaugh -- he goes on a tirade against Republicans -- Republicans, you're going to hear it -- as the conservative convention begins in Washington. Among the featured speakers, by the way, Rush Limbaugh and "Joe the plumber." That's ahead.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

I'm Rick Sanchez here in the World Headquarters of CNN.

Imagine you're doing an excavation site on a construction site. This is in Albuquerque, New Mexico that I'm talking about. And suddenly, you start finding first one body and then a second body, then a third and a fourth and a fifth and a sixth and a seventh and an eighth and a ninth and a tenth -- finally 11 bodies, that may be the work of a serial killer.

Watch this report by Natalie Swaby of KOAT.


NATALIE SWABY, KOAT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not knowing has been the worst part for Daniel Valdez.

DANIEL VALDEZ: It's just hard. It's hard on everybody.

SWABY: In February, of 2005, he filled out a missing persons report for his daughter, Michelle.

VALDEZ: An empty spot at the dinner table. SWABY: For years, there were no answers. But recent news about buried bodies on the West Mesa caught his attention.

VALDEZ: I knew that the more -- the more bones that they found, the more chance that my daughter would be in that group.

SWABY: And he was right. Tuesday night, police told him his daughters remains were discovered Saturday and she had been pregnant. The three to four month old fetus was found.

VALDEZ: Love your kids. Keep track of them. Know where they're at.

SWABY: Now this father's focus is on the 100-acre crime scene.

VALDEZ: My prayers and thoughts go out to the -- to the other families that haven't been able to get closure.

SWABY (on camera): The number of families that will eventually have to deal with that kind of difficult news is growing. The police chief says an 11th body was found out here on the West Mesa Tuesday around dusk.

RAY SCHULTZ, POLICE CHIEF: Several years ago, as we noticed the increasing number of young women missing...

SWABY (voice-over): Police Chief

Ray Schultz says at that time, they established a missing persons file that is now helping in this case. Investigators are using it as they try to identify victims and figure out who buried the bodies.

VALDEZ: I'd like for them to find out who it is. Number one, for the streets to be safe and everybody else's daughters to be safe.


SANCHEZ: Wow! It sounds like there was a bunch of people who turned up missing and now they're all being found in one site.

But who killed them?

Let's go to -- let's go to producer -- or pardon me -- reporter Jeff Proctor. He's with "The Albuquerque Journal".

What a whodunit, Jeff.

What's going on?

What are you guys learning about this?

JEFF PROCTOR, STAFF WRITER: Well, Rick, this all started with somebody who was just walking their dog out in that patch of the Mesa that you guys are talking about. And you explained it pretty well. It's been kind of a one to 11 ready, set, go since the beginning.


PROCTOR: I think what we're learning is that police are looking into a number of different cases and trying to match up some of these old missing persons cases to get them started down there investigating in terms of who did it.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, any -- obviously, even, you know, a gum shoe police reporter would tell you that the most important part of any investigation is forensics. And now that that you have 11 bodies, you've got potential evidence, right?

This could be very helpful to them?

PROCTOR: Very much so. Part of what's complicating that, Rick, is that these bodies were put out there between 2000 and 2005. They're old bones. And that area was also developed. It was graded and leveled by a home builder.


PROCTOR: So a lot of the bones had been run over and they're old. So it's very difficult to determine cause and manner of death in these cases.

SANCHEZ: What an amazing story.

Thanks so much for being on it, Jeff.

If you learn anything else, we'll be checking back with you.

Appreciate it.

PROCTOR: You bet.

Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right. Let's check in with Glenda now and see what's going on at CNN Espanol.

Un volcano again?

Is that what we're dealing with, a volcano?

GLENDA UMANA, CNN EN ESPANOL: Yes. This is a threat of a different sort in South America, Rick. We've been talking about this volcano that has been erupting over the past couple of weeks. After starting in and going in May, after 9,000 years of relative tranquility -- Chaiten In Chile. About 150 people evacuated. Now, why they say -- what they are saying is we are going to relocate the entire town...


UMANA: ...which has been covered in ash flow and mud in May when this thing got going. And it doesn't seem like it wants to stop with this 3,000 feet tall and very active for those faults. SANCHEZ: That's unbelievable.

We'll keep an eye on it.

Thanks so much.

UMANA: Ciao.

Buenos tardes.

SANCHEZ: Glenda at CNN Espanol.

Yualamente (ph).

Muchos gracias.

Let's talk about this. Bobby Jindal was being defended by Rush Limbaugh and it's fellow Republicans that are getting the beat down from Mr. Limbaugh. I'm going to be talking to the president's right hand person, as well, on the economy to find out whose taxes are going to be increased.

Maybe yours?


SANCHEZ: A lot of interesting developments coming into us and a lot of interesting comments that are coming in from you, as well

Welcome back.

I'm Rick Sanchez here in the World Headquarters of CNN.

Eric Butler is watching us from Washington, D.C.: "Very disturbing, Rick," he writes, "that hate groups are spreading. But to be honest, I am not at all surprised. I hope all the people who claim that racism doesn't exist are paying attention. There is still a lot of work for us to do."

Thanks so much for the comment, Eric, and the thousands of you who've been reaching our show.

Here's something else that I want you to take note of on this day. We were among the first to tell you yesterday that after Republican Governor Bobby Jindal finished his response to President Obama's speech, those blasting Jindal the most were, in many cases, Republicans.

Well, now the majordomo of the conservative Republican movement is blasting Republicans for blasting a Republican.

Here now, Rush Limbaugh.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: The people on our side are really making a mistake if they go after Bobby Jindal on the basis of style, because if you think people on our side are talking to you -- those of you who think Jindal was horrible, do you think -- in fact, I don't want to hear from you ever again. If you think that Bobby Jindal was bad and that what he said was wrong or not said well -- because, folks, style is not going to take our country back. Solid conservatism, articulate in a way that's inspiring and understanding, is what's going to take the country back.


SANCHEZ: For the record, Rush, on this show, there was no criticism of Jindal's style, only his content -- like referencing a magnetic levitation rail line to Disneyland. Again, there is no rail to Disneyland. It doesn't exist.

Here's what does exist -- a vacuum of leadership and the potential identity crisis in the conservative movement.

Who will lead the conservative movement?

Here's the potential list -- Michelle Bachmann, John Bolton, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, "Joe the Plumber." Those are the speakers at the beginning of the CPAC convention that started today in Washington. And we are there.

That is next.



SANCHEZ (voice-over): CPAC, an annual convention of conservatives, begins today. And the gang's all here -- Ann Coulter, Michael Steele, "Joe the Plumber," Rush Limbaugh.

Can the conservative movement get its groove back in the wake of Bush-Cheney?

And who will lead the way?


SANCHEZ: Are these the GOP's solution looking forward or are they part of the problem?

Here's Mike Pence, Congressman, Indiana, today at CPAC.


REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: We keep hearing that Republicans have to come up with new ideas. We have to use new technology and take those ideas to voters who haven't been coming our way lately.

Well, I say, yes, of course. We have to offer positive alternatives. Yes, of course, we need to take our message to every community in America, regardless of race or creed or color. And more than anything else, let me be clear, we need to be willing to fight for freedom and free markets and traditional moral values.


SANCHEZ: Patricia Murphy was there today covering this for us, as is Mark Preston, who's joining us. He's the CNN political enter. Patricia Murphy, of course, with

My thanks to both of you for being with us -- Mark, let me begin with you.

They're meeting on the very day when the president of the United States essentially is announcing that he will increase the taxes on the wealthy.

What was the mood there?


Patricia, are you there?

PATRICIA MURPHY, EDITOR, CITIZENJANEPOLITICS.COM: Oh, yes, I'm sorry. I thought you were talking to Mark.

The mood there was -- I would describe it as frustration mixed with liberation. The group of conservatives, actually a very young group that they had there -- a lot of college kids -- very angry at their past leadership. They called George Bush, Karl Rove, Tom DeLay philosophically bankrupt. They think they squandered the conservative brand.

Now this group actually feels liberated by the departure of all those leaders. They think they can get back to basics, because to small government and low taxes and start over from there.

SANCHEZ: That's interesting.

Mark, who were the stars?

And, by the way, why wasn't Sarah Palin there?

I mean aren't these her people?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, Rick, you know, I just got off the phone with her spokesman. He tells me that she is very busy up in Alaska. She has a very hectic legislative session. But her supporters were there, Rick. They were really trying to drum up support for a potential bid for her to run in 2012.

Another absence, as well, was Bobby Jindal. We just heard Rush Limbaugh talking about him before the break there. He's not there, as well. And his office tells me, Rick, that, in fact, they received a lot of invitations and they can't accept all of them.

But the people we should keep an eye on that were there and will be there -- Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Jim DeMint -- these are all potential 2012 presidential candidates, as well as this one, Rick. Rush Limbaugh not a candidate in 2012, but he might be the biggest draw of the CPAC.

SANCHEZ: What about "Joe the Plumber?"

I understand -- hey, Murph, I understand you went to a panel that he was on.

MURPHY: I did, yes.

SANCHEZ: What was it like?

MURPHY: I went to the "Joe the Plumber" panel. He was extremely well-received. It was a small group. He wasn't the main attraction. And he did get a standing ovation, though.

The panel was about bias in the media. He said that he felt very worried about supporting his family after he felt like he was attacked for not having a plumber's license. But he said that he kind of went back to his roots of Christianity and put himself back up. And now he's talking -- speaking out on comments and issues, things like that.

SANCHEZ: And what about -- and what about El Rushbo?

What about Rush Limbaugh?

Is he, of late, the spiritual leader, the guru, the de facto leader of the conservative movement?

And I understand he's speaking at CPAC for the first time this year?

He's never been there.

PRESTON: Yes. He's going to be there on Saturday, Rick. And he is going to be receiving an award. And, again, he is probably considered the headliner of this three day conference. You know something, he's not necessarily the de facto leader, but he's a very influential voice. He's very powerful.

And you know something, he was very influential when it came to the stimulus. He really helped Republicans galvanize support against this huge spending bill that just passed.

SANCHEZ: Interesting stuff.

My thanks to both of you for taking us through it.

Mark, Murph, thank you.

MURPHY: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: President Obama explains his budget -- who will be taxed more?

We're talking to the head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers and she will take your questions, as well.

That is next.


SANCHEZ: Christina Romer is good enough to join us now. She chairs the Council of Economic Advisers. You might say she is one of the right hand women of President Barack Obama.

Thanks so much for being with us.


SANCHEZ: All right. Now, here's the big news that Americans want to know. I understand that things are going to change during this administration. Some people -- and the president was bold enough to admit it the other day -- are going to be taxed.

Who is going to be taxed?

Whose taxes will go up and whose taxes will go down?

And, obviously, you don't have to give them to us by name.

ROMER: The clear thing that the president has said is that he's only going to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans -- those earning more than $250,000 a year. And that...

SANCHEZ: Is that a household?

Is that a household?

ROMER: That would be a household. And he has -- I mean, a couple of things to keep in mind, right. In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we cut taxes for 95 percent of American households.

SANCHEZ: Uh-huh.

ROMER: ...that making work pay tax credit. That has been made permanent in our budget. And so that is an incredibly important change for the American people.

But, absolutely. The president ran on letting those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans go out -- expire, as they were supposed to do at the beginning of 2011. And that is in this budget.

SANCHEZ: Not only expire, but he's saying -- and you're saying now -- they will be taxed -- not just have their taxes cut, but their taxes will be increased.

Let's go to a question that we're getting from someone now. This is a two-parter. I have a two-parter coming in from MySpace. First: "Are individual states -- are individual states, Miss. Romer, going to be allowed to opt out of the recovery program? And if so, what happens to any of the money that's left over that they don't want?"

ROMER: So I think how this is all going to work and the implementation is going to be -- the first thing, it's going to be handled by the vice president, who is the most effective leader in this area. So, certainly, we're going to make sure that the money gets spent. It is budgeted and it will absolutely get out one way or another.

SANCHEZ: What -- let me ask you this. This is coming to us from Ben Porter. It's a darned good question. He asks: "What should we expect to be the leading indicators that the stimulus plans are working?"

In other words, when you guys sit around in the White House a month, two months from now, three months from now -- heck, a year from now -- hopefully not -- what will you start to be looking for to see that will tell you, Miss. Romer, hey, this thing is actually going to kick in?

ROMER: That's a great question and it's something we've actually been working on and thinking about. So, obviously, the gold standard is going to be employment. The president has made, from the beginning, the commitment that what he really cares about is putting people back to work. So we will be watching those employment numbers incredibly closely.

The unemployment -- the initial unemployment claims that we got today, that's an indicator that comes out very quickly. It gives us a sense how the economy is doing. And so that's something where -- when we see that move in the right direction we'll certainly be using that as a leading indicator.

SANCHEZ: That's...

ROMER: But the third thing I'm going to look at is sentiment. You know, one of the things that I think we may see change when people get a sense that the president has set out a plan -- a comprehensive plan to deal with not just the real economy, but our financial crisis and housing. I'm waiting for that Rooseveltian moment when people start to relax and we see that confidence come back.

SANCHEZ: Rooseveltian moment.

Christina Romer with us from the White House lawn.

Thanks so much for -- will you come back and talk to our viewers -- our people on Twitter and MySpace and Facebook again and take their questions?

ROMER: I absolutely will.

SANCHEZ: I appreciate that.

Thanks so much.

Wolf Blitzer is standing by now to bring us up to date on what's coming up in the next hour of "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf, what you got?


Much more on what you're talking about. Some are praising the president's budget, others are deriding it as a simple tax and spend plan. We'll be speaking with the White House budget director, as well as Minnesota Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty.

Also, should the media be allowed to cover America's war dead as they come home?

The Pentagon now making a controversial decision.

And you want your college coaches to win, but at any cost?

In these tough economic times, should states rethink what high paid coaches earn?

One coach tells a questioner to quote, "shut up."

That and a lot more, Rick, coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM".

SANCHEZ: That's pretty stern.

Thanks so much.

We appreciate it.

Wolf Blitzer coming up in just a little bit.

And we're coming back with a lot of your comments about the interview that we just did and a whole lot more.

Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: From Cleveland on the Twitter screen. Go to it, Robert. This is what he says: "Rick, since I got laid off and feel like I'm missing out on what I had, you give me something to be a part of each day."

He said thanks. I say thanks back.

By the way, I hope you get a job and then get a TiVo and you'll still be able to see us everyday.

Let's go over to Wolf Blitzer now standing by with what's going on.

And, by the way, I'm taking tomorrow off, but T.J. is going to be here. It will still be a fabulous show with you.

Here's Wolf.