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THE SITUATION ROOM

Missing Cancer Patient Found; U.N. Condemns North Korea Nuclear Test

Aired May 25, 2009 - 18:00   ET

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


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news here.

We are watching a live news conference in Minnesota about the case of a 13-year-old boy who was diagnosed with cancer. He and his mother fled authorities, so that he would not have to undergo chemotherapy. They are now back in Minnesota.

A spokesman for the Brown County Sheriff's Office is now speaking. Let's take a listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

RICH HOFFMANN, BROWN COUNTY, MINNESOTA, SHERIFF: ... no media contact at this time.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies that have assisted in the investigative efforts in this case, including the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the FBI Minneapolis division, Mankato division and Minnesota office, the FBI San Diego division, the FBI Los Angeles division, local law enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, INTERPOL, Baja California State Preventive Police, local California authorities, and the California Department of Justice, and anyone that we may have missed.

I would also like to personally thank all employees of the Brown County Sheriff's Office for their efforts. Again, a special thanks to attorney Jennifer Keller and Al (ph) and Karen Presudo (ph) of Asgard Media.

We would also like to thank all the individuals that have reported leads in this case and the media for reporting and keeping the public informed.

It is a good day, as Daniel and Colleen Hauser have been safely returned to Minnesota. The Brown County Sheriff's Office no longer has any involvement in this case, as the safe return of Daniel and Colleen Hauser has been accomplished.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office cannot comment at this time on any possible charges that may be filed against any persons related to this case. There will be no more press conferences scheduled on behalf of the Brown County Sheriff's Office in this case involving Daniel and Colleen Hauser. Thank you.

QUESTION: Sheriff, the roads are blocked by officers (INAUDIBLE) Are you doing that just to protect the family from the media or is there some investigating going on there (OFF-MIKE)

HOFFMAN: We're doing that to give them a sense of safety and just to, you know, they can be by themselves, reunite themselves. So...

QUESTION: Where is Danny right now?

HOFFMAN: I can't answer that.

QUESTION: How is he doing?

HOFFMAN: I am not a doctor, so I can't comment on his medical condition.

QUESTION: Do you know what the Hausers were doing in Southern California?

HOFFMAN: I do not know that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Have they sought any treatment while they were there?

HOFFMAN: I cannot comment on that.

QUESTION: Had they crossed the border and come back?

HOFFMAN: I cannot comment on that.

QUESTION: Who is Jennifer Keller?

HOFFMAN: It's a person that has come forward...

MALVEAUX: We have been listening to a press conference out of Brown County, the courthouse there in Minnesota, where officials say the 13-year-old boy and his mother have returned there.

This is obviously a case that a lot of people have been following.

I want to bring in our own CNN medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, who has also been closely following this story.

Tell us about the medical condition right now of that young man, Danny, the 13-year-old, and whether or not he will indeed continue with this chemotherapy treatment, as the authorities have said he must do.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, this is as much as we know.

Just before his mother took him, it appears, to California, they did an X-ray on Danny. And what they found was that a lymph node near his collarbone had grown since the last time they had done an X-ray and also that he had a mass in his chest that was growing. His doctors said he had a dramatic worsening of his cancer.

Now, I have been speaking with pediatric oncologists and I say, gosh, he was supposed to have chemotherapy March 5, and it's the end of May and he hasn't happened -- it hasn't happened. Will this impact his prognosis? And he said, yes, it could.

MALVEAUX: Do -- do we know -- it's been a single treatment so far. Obviously, this has been a very controversial case. Do we know if because they have returned, if there is any more of a sense of willingness to participate in this treatment, or is that something that's still unknown at this time; it's still too new to know?

COHEN: Suzanne, it's really too early to know, but it's very interesting that in that press conference that we just saw, the folks in Brown County, Minnesota, they thanked Border Patrol forces. They thanked FBI agents in Los Angeles and San Diego.

So, it seems like perhaps this family, as had been theorized over the course of the week, was trying to go to Mexico to get some alternative treatments. One would think perhaps they didn't come back so willingly.

MALVEAUX: OK. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much for following all the details.

COHEN: Thanks.

MESERVE: Developing story.

Just a short while ago, another developing story -- the United -- Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea for a clear violation of U.N. resolutions. The communist nation is boasting that it conducted an underground nuclear explosion today, its second test in recent years.

It's making President Obama's efforts to reach out to North Korea more dangerous and complicated.

Here's our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, President Obama said today that he is going to work with allies and friends to stand up to North Korea. Diplomacy is in high gear. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reaching out to her Japanese, South Korean, Chinese, and Russian counterparts. But they don't have a lot of new tools left to use.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY (voice-over): North Korean TV trumpets what it calls its most powerful nuclear test so far. The political shock waves reverberating at the White House. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a great threat to the peace and security of the world, and I strongly condemn their reckless action.

DOUGHERTY: As candidate, Barack Obama charged President Bush made things worse by refusing to talk with North Korea.

OBAMA: North Korea quadrupled its nuclear capability.

We've got to try to have talks, understanding that we're not taking military options off the table.

DOUGHERTY: But on Mr. Obama's watch, North Korea has launched a long-range ballistic missile, angrily pulled out of talks, kicked out international inspectors, and restarted plutonium enrichment. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks tough.

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There will be consequences.

DOUGHERTY: But not only did the administration fail to get the U.N. to condemn North Korea, experts on North Korea warned this test pushes the North closer to having a nuclear weapon that could be launched on a ballistic missile. The president's top adviser on weapons of mass destruction thinks that North Korea is rejecting talks because it now sees itself as part of the so-called nuclear club.

GARY SAMORE, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON ARMS CONTROL: I think the North Koreans would like to be recognized or accepted as a nuclear weapons state, and we're not going to do that. We've made that very clear.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOUGHERTY: Will President Obama abandon his quiet, patient diplomacy? Officials say, no, they will keep pushing for a non- nuclear North Korea. But talk diplomacy with North Korea so far is coming up empty-handed -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Jill.

We have been getting new information about how North Korea's new nuclear bomb test compares to the one that it conducted back in 2006.

CNN's Brian Todd is here to map all of that out for us.

Obviously, the big question is whether or not it's stronger, it's more dangerous, poses a greater threat to the rest of the world.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.

Well, the first comparison we're going to make, Suzanne, is in the locations, showing a Google Earth map drawn up in conjunction with data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Now, it appears the site of this test today is about five-and-a- half miles west-northwest of the site that North Korea conducted its test in, in 2006, in the same general mountain range, with a tunnel entrance in between the two sites.

Now, how far inside the mountain was this blast? Well, experts say we don't know how far in today's test or the 2006 test were. But a former U.N. weapons inspector, David Albright, says, when you test a nuclear bomb inside a mountain range like this, you only need to go in about 300 meters into the mountain, maybe a quarter-of-a-kilometer, because of the density of the mountain, the amount of rock above where you are going to conduct that test -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: So, how do you compare it to the seismic activity of this test that was conducted in 2006?

TODD: All indications are this one was much stronger than 2006. Now, again, we have compiled data from two organizations, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.

Now, according to the USGS, today's test registered a 4.7 seismic disturbance, compared to 4.3 in 2006. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization registered today's at a 4.52, compared with a 4.1 in 2006.

But experts say this does not mean that it's only gone up four- tenths-of-a-point in strength. They say you have to use logarithmic calculations, and that means it's gone up maybe 10 to 12 times in strength from 2006, Suzanne. It's alarming. That is much stronger.

MALVEAUX: Now, how are they detecting all this? How does that work?

TODD: We're going to use another animation to show you this. This is from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.

Now, it shows a radioactive cloud -- this is from 2006 -- moving eastward across the North Pacific. And for every second this spreads, that is a day that elapses. Now, it's important to note this gas, it's called xenon 133. It's a minute trace of radiation, not dangerous.

It's far less than what you're normally exposed to. But, in 2006, as it moved across the North Pacific and over North America, they could detect the xenon 133, and realize what the North Koreans had tested. So, that illustrates, it may take a few days to measure exactly what happened today, Suzanne. They may know later in the week.

MALVEAUX: All right, fascinating.

Thank you so much, Brian.

TODD: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Forgotten female heroes of World War II, they provided desperately need help, flying military missions on the home front. Now Congress is moving to recognize their accomplishments.

Plus, Michelle Obama is out and about just about, well, every day. Can a first lady accomplish more if she's in the spotlight?

And just hours from now, President Obama may name his Supreme Court pick. What's he looking for and what's going on behind the scenes? The best political team standing by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: North Korea's nuclear test, Iran's recent missile launch, are they slaps in the face for President Obama and diplomacy?

Well, joining us to talk about that and much, much more, CNN senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, Politico White House correspondent Nia-Malika Henderson, and CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian.

Let's start with what's happened just over the last 24 hours or so.

Bill, I want to start with you.

Obviously, we have heard President Obama really emphasizing that this is going to be an administration that talks with some of its enemies and those who have created a real problem for him. How much of this is a political problem for Obama, now that we have seen Iran and now North Korea's actions?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's certainly a challenge to President Obama.

But you can also argue this demonstrates the failure of the Bush administration's policies with North Korea and Iran, policies of isolation and ostracism towards those countries in order to dissuade them from their ambition to become nuclear powers. That doesn't seem to have worked.

Both countries seem to have -- be even more determined now to become nuclear powers, so President Obama is determined to try a different course.

MALVEAUX: Dan, you have been speaking to people in the White House. Do they think that is -- do they need to change course in some way here? Is this an embarrassment to the president and the administration, to see this kind of activity, provocative activity, unfold?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly not something that this White House welcomes, but no sign at all from the White House that they are planning on changing course any time soon.

The president has always talked about how he felt that diplomacy was the first course of action, before any kind of military action should be taken. And, right now, at least in the short term, it does not appear that this White House is -- is going to be shifting at all, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Nia, how much of this is a distraction to the administration and the people that you have been talking to? Is this kind of taking them off-message here? Obviously, they -- they have Memorial Day celebrations and these kind of things that are taking place. He's going to be meeting with foreign leaders later in the week. There are fund-raisers.

Is this going to be a problem for this administration?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Well, I don't know if it's necessarily going to be a problem, from the administration's point of view.

It's more just an illustration of how much this administration is dealing with on a -- on a weekly basis. As you said, you know, there's a Supreme Court nomination coming up soon. That's shaping up to be a real fight.

And, so, it's not so much a distraction, as much as an illustration. And, also, I think it's important to look at this in the context what is going on in each of those countries. With North Korea, on the one hand, you have this issue of succession. And, of course, in -- in Iran, there's talk of -- there is an election coming up June 12.

So, the president has said that, on the one hand, talk is something that -- that's definitely going to be on the table. There's this idea of the six-party talks, but also that he's going to look towards the end of the year and also that -- in a sense, that it's not going to all be talk and, at some point, the time for talk will be over.

MALVEAUX: Bill, does the president have too much on his plate right now?

SCHNEIDER: Well, he has a lot, but a lot of it is things that he put on his plate. He believes that the country's feeling an economic crisis of really unprecedented since the 1930s, that there's a sense of momentum to this administration. He's new. He's still very popular. This is the time to act.

And he has one of the biggest agendas of any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

MALVEAUX: I want you guys to take a quick listen here, President Obama talking about the role of the first lady, of his wife, Michelle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE SCULLY, POLITICAL EDITOR, C-SPAN: But you sell a lot of magazines.

OBAMA: Well, Michelle sells a lot of magazines. I don't know about how magazines with me on the cover do. I think Michelle's do very well. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: All right, well, we have seen both of them on the cover of a lot of magazines, including in bathing suits and all other kinds of things here. So, obviously, this is debatable.

I want to start off obviously with you, Nia, because you wrote the article yesterday in Politico about how her very role -- her very vocal role in the spotlight has really kind of highlighted her in a way that we didn't see with Laura Bush.

Is there a danger, if you will, of not getting done what she needs to get done? Or being in the limelight, does that actually help her in terms of getting what she wants to get done as a first lady?

HENDERSON: Well, sure, it definitely helps her. It definitely gives her a bigger platform, gives her more ears and eyes on her agenda.

I mean, the point of the first lady, there are two things that Michelle Obama obviously wants to accomplish, one of which is advance the president's agenda. So, they work closely obviously with the West Wing in coordinating whatever kind of messages that are coming out of the East Wing.

And, also, her own projects, whether that's highlighting military families or community service. So, this kind of large platform really helps her. But, even more than that, her role as a symbol, she is very conscious of her role as a symbol, as a working mom, as -- as the first African-American first lady.

So that in and of itself gives her a much larger platform than Laura Bush. And Laura Bush's work was largely overshadowed a lot by what was really kind of a creeping discontent with the Bush administration.

MALVEAUX: Dan, what do you make of this?

LOTHIAN: Well, I agree with what Nia was just saying.

And in terms of shining the spotlight on these issues, she -- she's brought up military families. That's been a very important issue for the first lady. And she's talked about it when she's been out there meeting with some of these military families in North Carolina, for example, how important it is for the country to pay attention to some of the problems that these military families are going through.

So, to that end, if the first lady can cast her spotlight on some of these important issues, then it's a positive thing.

MALVEAUX: All right, thanks, guys. Thank you so much.

LOTHIAN: Sure.

HENDERSON: Thanks, Suzanne. MALVEAUX: A wreath sent from President Obama, it's a Memorial Day tradition, so why is there controversy surrounding the tribute?

Plus, some of the biggest names in the GOP pitted against each other, but with a retired general in the fight, do the other contenders stand a chance?

And a woman goes on a winning spree in Atlantic City, calling it her own stimulus package.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

MALVEAUX: The president may be just hours away from naming his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. James Carville and Ed Rollins are standing by to share their insight into what's going on in the White House right now.

Plus, a congressman's new push to give many Americans exactly what they want, a guaranteed week of vacation with pay.

And, later, a holiday comes to a halt in silent tribute to the real message behind Memorial Day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now: a fatal crash at the Daytona Beach, Florida, Airport. The small plane had engine trouble on takeoff and crashed trying to return to the runway, killing one person.

Also, Memorial Day celebrations canceled in Middleborough, Massachusetts, after a fire at a 106-year-old church -- no word on the cause. Three firefighters were hurt.

And a possible confrontation between Iran and the United States on the soccer field -- the head of Iran's soccer federation says his American counterpart is floating the idea of an exhibition match in the fall.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party is getting more heated by the day. It is pitting some of the GOP's biggest names against one another in a struggle over whether the party should pull to the center or lean right.

Here's our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

And, Bill, tell us what the moderate Republicans are doing.

SCHNEIDER: Well, they're ready to rumble. And they have got a soldier to lead them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): It looks like moderate Republicans have some fight left. Two weeks ago, Dick Cheney read Colin Powell out of the party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FACE THE NATION")

RICHARD CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Rush Limbaugh joined in.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW")

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Colin Powell represents the stale, the old, the worn-out GOP that never won anything.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Now Powell is pushing back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FACE THE NATION")

COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Rush will not get his wish, and Mr. Cheney was misinformed. I'm still a Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Let's see how the contenders stack up.

Only 30 percent of Americans have a positive opinion of Rush Limbaugh. Dick Cheney, 37 percent. Colin Powell, higher than Limbaugh and Cheney combined. But inside the party, where the real fight is, the three men are evenly matched.

The conservative movement now claims to define the Republican Party. In a movement, you have to agree on everything. If you don't, you're not part of the movement.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW")

LIMBAUGH: He's for more spending. He's for higher taxes. He's against raising the social issues. He's for affirmative action.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Political parties in this country are coalitions. To be part of a coalition, you only have to agree on one thing -- you're for the party's candidate. No further questioned asked. But Powell was not for the party's candidate last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FACE THE NATION") CHENEY: He endorsed the Democratic candidate for president this time, Barack Obama. I assume that that's some indication of his loyalty and his interest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Powell's response? That was just one time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FACE THE NATION")

POWELL: For the previous 20 years I voted solidly for Republican candidates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: So where does that leave Republicans and Democrats? Former Republican Congressman Tom Davis described his party's problem this way in an interview with Politico -- quote -- "We are driving out the heretics, and they're looking for converts" -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: OK. Thank you, Bill Schneider.

From the power of Colin Powell to a supreme choice -- President Obama could make his Supreme Court pick as early as tomorrow. What is he looking for and what kind of deliberations are going on behind the scenes?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Joining us for today's "Strategy Session" are CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican strategist Ed Rollins, also a CNN political contributor.

Thank you for joining us here on THE SIT ROOM.

First of all, obviously, James, you were close to President Clinton, Ed, President Reagan.

What is going on now behind the scenes for President Obama in making such a critical decision in these days to come?

Ed, I will start with you.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I assume that the choice has been made. You know, usually what you do is you narrow it down to three or four people. I would argue very strenuously that Souter is the model not to -- not to use. Souter was recommended by one senator, Warren Rudman, who Souter had been his assistant attorney general.

We knew nothing about his background. And for 18 years, he had never once cast a vote sort of on the Bush side -- so, sort of a throwaway vote. So I think you want someone who shares your temperament, someone who is going to be there for a long period of time, because, obviously, the court is closely divided. And in a period of four years or eight years that the president is there, he may be able to change this court dramatically.

MALVEAUX: Ed, what makes you think the decision has already been -- been made?

Reading tea leaves here, anything that the president has said or done or his aides, do you think?

ROLLINS: No. I just -- I just think that it's been -- it's been a process they've looked at for several weeks. I think they've narrowed it down, I would imagine this weekend, some final interview that went on, particularly if they're going to make the decision tomorrow. You don't just walk in and interview someone and put them on. It's too important a decision to make at this point in time.

MALVEAUX: Maybe tomorrow; obviously, in the days ahead.

James, what do you think, in your experience, is happening during this really critical moment?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I mean, first of all, we start with he taught Constitutional law at the University of Chicago. So he has -- he has a pretty good idea of what he wants himself. And I think he's going to put someone out there that, you know, the Republicans are already geared up to oppose the person. And the country generally gives a lot of credence to the presidential appointees to the Supreme Court.

And I think they would like to put someone out there who's obviously well qualified and scholarly and everything, but also somebody that the Republicans are going to have to pay a very heavy price for a big campaign against that person. It might be for a legal reason or an ethic reason, a gender reason or who knows. But I suspect that's a political calculation, also.

MALVEAUX: Well, let's talk about that a little bit, because, obviously, there has been some pressure from groups -- from women's groups. We have Senator Barbara Boxer and others who have been weighing in, saying it should definitely be a woman; other Hispanic groups, as well.

Is he in a position where he has to go in that direction now?

Does he have to listen to those voices?

ROLLINS: I don't think he does.

CARVILLE: (INAUDIBLE)...

ROLLINS: I think he can appoint -- I'm sorry, James. I think he can appoint anybody...

CARVILLE: (INAUDIBLE).

ROLLINS: The critical thing is the person's credentials can't be challenged. I think, at this point, in time we expect big fights. But at the end of the day, this court needs people on the -- on the other side who can drive an agenda. And you've got Alito and Roberts and Scalia, who are great scholars. So you need someone on the other side who can be an equal scholar and drive -- drive the agenda.

MALVEAUX: Is it a lose/lose position here, James?

I mean, obviously, there's some...

CARVILLE: No, I think -- I think the president starts out -- and I don't say this because I'm a Democrat -- I think he starts out at a great advantage, because whoever he appoints, people are going to give a great deal of deference to that -- the public will and a lot of people will.

And so if the Republicans are the out party that has to like make a credible case against the person where it raises doubts. If it looks like they're just opposing that person on an ideological basis or something that they don't like, they're not -- they're not going to look very good in the public.

So I think this is not a lose/lose situation. The president is -- certainly, it's one that you can lose. Some of these things have gone down and it was -- it's very ugly and it doesn't look good when that happens. But by and large, the public starts out with the president, regardless of the party.

MALVEAUX: Well, let's take a listen quickly to what the president said to C-SPAN in his interview about what he is looking for in a nominee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY C-SPAN)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want somebody who has the intellectual firepower, but also a little bit of a common touch and has a practical sense of how the world works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's what empathy is?

OBAMA: Well, that's -- that's what empathy is to me. And I think that that's -- those criteria of common sense, practicality -- a sense of, you know, what ordinary Americans are going through every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Ed, when he says common touch, is that code for, perhaps, a judge who does not look at the letter of the law, but says times have changed and interprets the law?

What is your take -- your read on that expression that he's using? ROLLINS: Well, my take is that, exactly. You know, obviously, as a conservative, we want people to interpret Constitution -- not to the Constitution, just to basically make sure that the Constitution is enforced and not rewrite legislation.

To me, common sense means some events may be different and you may want to change the circumstances and take on more of a role that the legislature or the Congress should have.

MALVEAUX: James, do you agree?

CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I think there's this thing that all that these judges do is "interpret the Constitution." They do a ton of statutory interpretation, also, and how statutes come down. And I completely think that a judge should be someone who has an appreciation of what it's like to lead a life and that these decisions have enormous ramifications in people's lives. I mean, if you look at all of the -- the really great decisions of the Supreme Court, they involve human beings. And when something comes down, if you interpret a statute one way -- a sexual harassment statute or a pay equity statute or something like that, that there are human consequences to your actions. And it doesn't all revolve around a Constitutional construction. There's also statutory constructions.

MALVEAUX: I want to turn the corner, if I could, just on a little bit of a lighter note. There is an RNC video on their Web site that seems to be causing quite a bit of controversy. This is a take off a James Bond movie. There is a character who kind of plays a femme fatale, if you will, who's being compared to Nancy Pelosi.

I want you to take a listen and watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM YOUTUBE.COM/RNC)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: They mislead us all the time. The CIA -- their business is deception.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: All right, Ed, we'll start -- we'll with you here. I mean a lot of people are talking about this, obviously. They're looking at this and they're saying this is gender politics here -- that there's a ring of sexism and chauvinism in there.

ROLLINS: It's -- it's a silly commercial and obviously it's over stepping the issue. The issue is a legitimate issue. But when you sort of try and make it too cute by half -- I've known Mrs. Pelosi. We grew up in California politics together. And she could have been a Bond girl at one point in time -- a villainess or one of the superstars, because she was attractive and smart -- and still is attractive and smart.

I think you cheapen the issue here and I think it's ridiculous.

MALVEAUX: This is one is actually -- she's being portrayed as a villain instead of a Bond girl. Does -- did they cross the line here, James?

CARVILLE: Well, first of all, presumably, I'm not allowed to say who the analogy is that they're trying to draw here, so I'm not -- I'm not going to do it on CNN.

I think Ed showed a lot of courage. I think it's hideous. And the fact that the RNC put this out -- they must not want another woman's vote for the rest of the time the Republican Party exists.

I mean there's are any number of ways -- even a conservative columnist from Utah saw -- his take and (INAUDIBLE), people like Ed Rollins -- you know, look, people say things they shouldn't say. But the fact that the RNC has put this out and continues to do it is -- it's hideous. And I think they're going to pay a political price for this. This is just ugly, poor taste.

MALVEAUX: Ed, and, obviously, there is some strife within the Republican Party. We've heard a lot of very prominent Republican figures, especially over the weekend, strong voices -- Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, as well as Tom Ridge -- all of them really debating where does this party go.

And I want to show you this poll here -- the Republican Party -- the latest CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, that shows a favorable rating for Colin Powell, 70 percent; unfavorable, 17 percent. Dick Cheney, 37 percent; unfavorable, 55 percent.

Who should the Republicans be embracing?

Should Colin Powell leave the Republican Party or should the Republicans be trying to essentially gravitate toward him and move in his direction?

ROLLINS: This is one thing James and I will both agree on. We lost by 9.5 million votes in this last presidential election. We need every vote we can get. And Colin Powell, as he described himself yesterday, has been a swing voter. He's voted for some Democrats and some Republicans.

We've got to get him back supporting Republicans -- and every other person who may have gone off the reservation this time. It's all about...

MALVEAUX: James...

ROLLINS: It's all about building. And I think, to a certain extent, he's a -- he's a tremendous asset to any party.

MALVEAUX: Making a paid vacation mandatory -- why one Congressman wants to guarantee Americans time off from work and what they think about that in some popular destinations.

And forgotten female heroes of World War II -- they provided desperately needed help flying military missions on the home front. Now Congress moves to recognize their legacy. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: President Obama today sent wreaths to the Confederate War Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery and the African-American Civil War Memorial.

Our Abbi Tatton is following this -- and, Abbi, I know there seems to be some controversy around this.

Can you explain?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: That's right. There are 60 or so professors who had called upon President Obama to stop the tradition of honoring Confederate soldiers. They argued in a letter to the White House the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery is offensive to African-Americans and the president shouldn't send a wreath there.

But today, President Obama continued the tradition and started a new one. Aides sent flowers here, to the Confederate Memorial. But they also sent a wreath here, to the African-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C.'s historic U Street neighborhood. That memorial opened in 1999 and honors the more than 200,000 black troops who fought during the Civil War.

MALVEAUX: So was this considered somewhat of a compromise?

TATTON: That's definitely a suggestion that had been raised in the press in the last few days. Another historian has said in an op- ed in "The Washington Post" that maybe two wreaths would send a better message -- one of reconciliation.

MALVEAUX: OK. Abbi, thank you so much.

On this Memorial Day, Congress is moving toward recognizing one special group of women who served a key role in World War II. But their remarkable accomplishments are not widely known.

Here's our national political correspondent, Jessica Yellin.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, those women were pilots who flew key training missions. They did not serve in combat, but their supporters say their efforts were just as critical in helping America win the war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YELLIN (voice-over): From the time she was eight, Jane Tedeschi wanted to be a pilot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY C-SPAN)

JANE TEDESCHI, FORMER PILOT: But it was Lindbergh flying across the Atlantic and a lot of other people were flying air races.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YELLIN: As a young woman in her 20s, Tedeschi sought out flight lessons and got her pilot's license -- a rarity for a woman in those days. With World War II gripping the nation, male pilots were desperately need overseas for battle. Female aviator Jacqueline Cochrane came up with a radical idea -- let female pilots take over domestic missions. The military approved and WASP -- Women Air Service Pilots Program -- was born.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY C-SPAN)

TEDESCHI: I thought, well, this is something I can do and love to do and will contribute to the war effort.

YELLIN: Another of the 1,102 members was Deanie Parrish. One of her jobs was to help train gunners for combat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY KWHU)

DEANIE PARRISH, FORMER PILOT: It was not that I was going to do any more than anybody else, because there were other females who were driving ambulances, fire trucks, working on airplanes. And I was doing the one thing that I felt I could do best.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: The WASPs were civilians, but they were the first women to fly in U.S. military planes -- in all, logging over 60 million miles in all types of aircraft, from heavy bombers to attack planes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY C-SPAN)

TEDESCHI: Night flying, occasionally, was an interesting thing, because we didn't have an awful lot of training in that. And you've got to be sure you never lose your horizon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Although the work was confined on the home front, Air Force Major Nicole Malikowski, the first female Thunder Bird pilot, say these women developed key tactics and training for the war.

MAJ. NICOLE MALACHOWSKI, U.S. AIR FORCE: These women did that by training the men to fly these planes so they could go fly in combat. They did that by being instructor pilots. They were test pilots. They also did aerial gunnery.

TEDESCHI: It shows how happy we were to be flying.

YELLIN: Now, with fewer than 3:00 of the pilots still alive, Congress is moving to recognize their legacy. The Senate just last week voted to give them the Congressional Gold Medal and a bill is pending in the House.

TEDESCHI: It is an historical fact and should be recognized.

(END VIDEO TAPE) YELLIN: Their missions could be dangerous. In all, 38 WASPs died -- some in training, some in test flights. And supporters say that shows the commitment these women had -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Jessica.

Well, a week's paid vacation required by law?

One Congressman makes a compelling argument.

And a granny hits the craps table with a record roll. Details of what she calls her own stimulus package.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: For many Americans, this Memorial Day is a day to reflect and to be with family. And for a lot of people, it's paid time off.

CNN's Kate Bolduan has that story -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, you could think of it as an interesting stimulus idea -- give employees more time off, get higher returns in less sick days and a generally happier office -- that's at least what one congressman is pushing.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): As millions hit the roadways this holiday, Americans definitely have vacation on the brain. And days away from the office are something Congressman Alan Grayson says people need more.

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Study after study has shown that people with vacations not only have higher productivity the week afterward, not even the month afterward, but for the whole long here.

BOLDUAN: Grayson, a Democrat whose Florida district is home to popular tourist destinations, including Disney World, has introduced legislation that would require at least one paid vacation for all workers of companies with 100 employees or more.

GRAYSON: A hundred and forty countries around the world have paid vacation laws and we still don't.

BOLDUAN: You won't find any argument here in Orlando...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a great idea.

BOLDUAN: ... Or on Hollywood Boulevard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just good business, though. You take care of your employees, your employees take care of you.

BOLDUAN: But that would come at a cost. And some say an unfunded mandate from Congress is one businesses large and small can't afford right now.

Mike Aitken is with the Society of Human Resource Management.

MIKE AITKEN, SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: We have employers struggling to continue to provide health care to their employees. You have employers struggling to continue to provide pension benefits and other types of leave proposals. There's only so much compensation money out there to do all of those things and continue to stay in business.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a partially union-backed think tank, 28 million Americans don't get any paid vacation or paid holidays. It gives you something to think about this Memorial Day -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thanks, Kate.

Well, grandma is on a roll at the craps table. Our CNN's Jeanne Moos takes an unusual look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She may not have the dice tossing moves of, say, Frank Sinatra.

(MUSIC)

MOOS: But she had the luck.

PATRICIA DEMAURO, CRAPS WORLD RECORD HOLDER: They were chanting my name and it was like -- and I was jumping as we won.

MOOS: New Jersey grandma Pat DeMauro was on a roll -- a four hour straight roll. That's how long she held the dice at Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino -- despite the mathematical odds that say a seven is going to show up every six rolls of the dice.

DEMAURO: The whole four hours was thrilling, exciting, overwhelming.

DOMINIC LORIGGIO, GOLDENTOUCHCRAPS.COM: Unbelievable.

MOOS: That's the reaction of Dom the Dominator Loriggio.

LORIGGIO: Wham.

MOOS: Said to dominate the craps table.

LORIGGIO: That's just out of this world.

MOOS: It's a roll record -- breaking the old one set almost 20 years ago -- breaking it by more than an hour.

Dom the Dominator says it's the equivalent of, say, bowling three perfect 300 games in a row or

LORIGGIO: Shooting 500 free throws without missing one shot.

MOOS (on camera): Oh, come on, 500?

(voice-over): And to add to Pat's accomplishment, it was only the second time she'd ever shot craps. Her friend was teaching her.

That kind of luck inspires visions of Ocean's 13 dice rigging. But unlike Brad Pitt's, Pat's dice weren't electronically fixed.

(on camera): After four hours and 18 minutes of rolling, rolling, rolling, Pat finally rolled a seven -- at the wrong time. They call it sevened out. She wouldn't say how much money she actually won.

DEMAURO: Oh, I wouldn't say tens of thousands, but it was good.

MOOS: As for the rest of the table, mostly bigger betters than Pat...

DEMAURO: And they started clapping, right, and saying my -- and everybody was ecstatic.

MOOS: Five or six players tipped her with black $100 chips.

DEMAURO: And I said this is my stimulus package for everybody.

MOOS: And speaking of stimulus packages...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER," COURTESY UNITED ARTISTS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I'm plenty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But of course you are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: James Bond got rave reviews on his dice shooting and he never even came close to Pat's 154 rolls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER," COURTESY UNITED ARTISTS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You handle those cubes like a monkey handles coconuts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: And that's no crap shoot.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

MALVEAUX: Here's a look at today's Hot Shots.

In Switzerland, a baby black bear and its mother share a loving moment.

In Germany, a man soars into a swimming pool as a plane prepares to land.

In Bangladesh, boat men cross a river after a cyclone.

And in Afghanistan, a U.S. soldier pays his respects to a fallen comrade.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: An American flag hoisted over the streets of Washington, baseball fans cover their hearts, a NASCAR race comes to a halt and families at Arlington National Cemetery pause to hold hands -- moments of silence observed across the country on this Memorial Day.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, takes us inside a special area of the Arlington National Cemetery that's growing by the day -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne, people have been coming here to Section 60 at Arlington all day long to pay their respects.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AVERY: That's my daddy!

STARR (voice-over): Captain Marissa Alexander brings Avery and his twin sister Aleia here to visit the father they never knew. Staff Sergeant Leroy Alexander was killed before they were born.

This is Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. It's been called the saddest acre in America. More than 500 troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are here.

CAPT. MARISSA ALEXANDER, U.S. ARMY WIFE OF FALLEN SOLDIER: They need to know what their father was about, have that connection with him.

STARR: Marissa is trying to make Section 60 part of her children's lives.

ALEXANDER: Myself and the children came here and we released balloons to him. And we explained the story of how he passed.

STARR: Families, buddies, friends come here. They mark their visits, leaving stones, notes, pictures -- some items reminders of memories we do not know.

ANGIE CAPRA, WIFE OF FALLEN SOLDIER: Did you put the blue rock there?

STARR: Angie Capra, widowed with five children, is visiting husband, Tech Sergeant Tony Capra's, grave. CAPRA: I got the news that day. I had talked to him about 12:30 my time. And by 3:30 my time, they were knocking on my door.

STARR: Today, a drawing and Yoda has been left. Tony was a "Star Wars" fan.

With her youngest, Adriana, Angie is now part of the "Section 60 Family."

CAPRA: Other widows will come by and put something on for me. If they don't see me out there, they'll put something. It's kind of a community.

STARR: Lieutenant General Benjamin Freakley just attended a funeral for a fallen soldier. He has other men buried here.

LT. GEN. BENJAMIN FREAKLEY, U.S. ARMY: They're still standing shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters of ranks.

STARR: A place of grieving, but a place for young children to learn of parents they never knew.

ALEXANDER: Knowing that this place gives them a happy remembrance of their father, rather than something that's so tragic and so sad, that they feel very comfortable to come here and be able to have that time with him and his memory.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: We've seen friends, families and buddies stop by, generals and admirals, all here today to pay their respects.

But one of the most touching scenes, a little while ago there were some young Marines who opened a bottle of beer and toasted their friend who is here at Section 60 -- Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Barbara.

I'm Suzanne Malveaux in for Wolf Blitzer here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Up next, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT."

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