Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Acclaimed Photojournalists Killed in Libya Had Sense of Mission to Report from War Zones; President Obama Faces Gloomy Voters; Trump: Serious or Not?; WikiLeaks Suspect Moved to New Prison; Quest for Bulletproof Underwear
Aired April 23, 2011 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Libyan rebels cheer new help from the U.S. and NATO, but they are still outgunned on the ground by Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
This hour, the shocking state of the rebel army and what the coalition can do to fill the gaps.
Plus, President Obama puts his campaign in to overdrive as polls show Americans are souring on him and the country's future. Are soaring gas prices to blame?
And our royal wedding countdown: Wait until you see what the Brits are doing to make sure every detail is perfect.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Candy Crowley and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
There is carnage in Libya every day. This week two journalists were killed while trying to expose the horrors of the war to the world. Acclaimed photojournalist Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros died in Misrata while covering shelling by Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
These photos we are showing you, were taken by Hondros just hours before he died. Hetherington was an Oscar nominee for co-directing a film about the war in Afghanistan, "Restrepo". CNN's Becky Anderson looks at his life and the dangers journalists face on the frontline.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He traveled the globe documenting some of the world's deadliest conflicts. His profession was his life. Born in Liverpool, award- winning photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent eight years in West Africa where his images of civil war in Liberia brought to the world the reality of a conflict that had until then gone unnoticed. He then turned his attention to Afghanistan where he spent five years capturing award-winning and iconic images of life on the front line. He was awarded the grand jury prize in 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival for "Restrepo", his directorial debut. A film, which also earned him an Academy award nomination.
TIM HETHERINGTON, CONFLICT PHOTOJOURNALIST: The fear is always there. Often when I'm working in a very pressure situation, I can almost flip the off switch and go into a default of filming. And later on, I come to, and it shocks me what I've done. And that's just something I've been able to do and that's perhaps why I realize that I'm good at what I do.
But it does have the other side that it is very dangerous. I remember being in the Congo and firefights. And realizing-a guy said to me, I was filming close range and he said, do you see the traces pass between our heads? And I hadn't. And later on I saw the trees behind me all shot up. I realized we were have exposed. I'm in default. That can be a funny thing later to understand.
ANDERSON: Hetherington thrived on his work. He lived with his characters and told their stories to millions around the world. That was his talent. And that was his mission. His final assignment was for "Vanity Fair" in Libya. His last Twitter post read, In besieged Libyan city of Misrata, indiscriminate shelling by Gadhafi forces. No sign of NATO.
CROWLEY: Libyan rebel fighters are welcoming news that the U.S. plans to add Predator drones to the NATO arsenal being used against Gadhafi forces. It can only help opposition forces who are outmanned, out- trained and outgunned. CNN's Brian Todd is looking at the poor state of the rebel army.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They use machine guns made decades ago for the Soviet army. Here's a rifle that is nicely decorated but a weak counter to any modern military force. Their weapons are missing parts, breaking down. They run out of ammo constantly and they often take guns that are supposed to be mounted on tanks or helicopters, and throw them on to pickup trucks. The rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi's forces are outgunned on every front. The emir of Qatar has told CNN his country will provide weapons. The rebels who do have relatively updated arms often seem to have no clue how to use them.
MATTHEW SCHROEDER, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: This individual is holding an SA7 shoulder fired surface to air missile but he's pointing it the wrong way. He's pointing at the ground.
TODD (On camera): So if and when he chose to fire it, at that particular moment, he would have taken out his buddies?
SCHROEDER: Well, no, because he doesn't have a launcher and the missile itself won't allow him to fire at ground targets.
TODD (voice over): Matt Schroeder and other analysts say one key reason it for the dysfunction, the rebels can't seem to figure out who their commander is. In some cases they've said General Abdul Fattah Unis (ph), Gadhafi's former interior minister, is leading them. But they've also pointed to Colonel Khalifa Hifter, an old war hero, who defected to the U.S. and came back to fight. SHASHANK JOSHI, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: That competition between them is causing a great deal of command difficulty. And so it's not clear, basically, who is in charge. It if that continues, you're going to see divided, ineffective leadership with no sense of strategic direction.
TODD: Analysts say that's already translated into an untrained, undisciplined fragmented army that doesn't communicate on the battlefront. And those problems have other serious side effects.
(On camera): There's evidence the rebels have at least tolerated the presence of child soldiers in their ranks. Analysts say it is not widespread, but at one point a CNN team encountered this 13-year-old boy, named Muhammad, carrying an AK-47. He said he was trained on how to use it by his uncle, and that his mother was OK with him fighting.
(Voice over): Could the U.S. and its allies see their support of these rebels comes back to bite them? The president of neighboring Chad has said that Al Qaeda operatives in North Africa have taken many of the rebels surface to air missiles, which Al Qaeda has used to target civilian aircraft in the past.
But the Chadian president offered no concrete evidence that Al Qaeda had taken those weapons. And a U.S. official tells CNN there is no indication that stockpiles of rebel weapons have fallen into Al Qaeda's hands. Still the officials said the U.S. can't rule out that some small arms from the Libyan war have been obtained by extremists. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CROWLEY: The U.S. decision to unleash armed drones in Libya has political benefits and military risks. I'll get a general's take on what could go wrong.
And your iPhone is tracking your every move. Find out how to get the information and who could use it against you.
And when you're planning a royal wedding, no detail is too small to ignore.
CROWLEY: The U.S. deploys armed drones in the Libya operation, a surprise visit to Libya from the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain.
Joining us to talk about that and more, Retired Major General James "Spider" Marks.
Thanks for joining us, General. You know, what can senator -- he's in Benghazi, which is rebel held, fairly peaceful city. What can he learn there?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, (RET.): The most important thing that Senator McCain can learn is what is the legitimacy of this transitional government that exists? What have the rebels stood up? What does it look like? Who are their leaders? Can they sustain this fight? Do they really have a, you know, a sense of perseverance? Do they know where they want to go with this? I think that's the most important thing.
Clearly the senator will visit the aggrieved. He'll go to the hospitals, that's really important. The real thing he needs to get a real take away is, what do these rebels want to try to accomplish? And can they get it done.
CROWLEY: And can he get information there, in terms of who are they? One of the things we learn, when you say to the administration, are you going arm these guys? They say we're still looking at who they are.
MARKS: Correct. He is really going to need. And I don't know how well he'll be able to do this, but he needs to get it to the root of who makes up this leadership structure. Not only do they have a political crust, but down below that, who are the leaders, who are the commanders. Is there a noncommissioned officer base? Is this a sense of sustainment? Are they looking for aid? Do they have an ability to accept that aid and do something with it, as they move down the road?
CROWLEY: And I want to move you to something that Senator McCain said during this visit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The fighting going back and forth, (INAUDIBLE) Misrata, there is at least a significant degree a stalemate and there is very little doubt that all of the assets that are needed, as far as air support is concerned, is not there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: OK. Is it a stalemate?
MARKS: It's inappropriate for me to assess that it's a stalemate, but my assessment of what I see is that the rebels are really risking what they can do down the road by trying to take on Gadhafi forces with only the NATO support that they have today. Irrespective of the drone strikes that the United States have taken on. It is still air support of ground activity. There needs to be-if in fact, this is a legitimate involvement, that the United States is taking on here-there needs to be some form of a ground presence, so you can better laze targets. You can separate forces, you can and assist with training and arming the rebels. Or you back out, and you accept the status quo, which has been designated, or at least assessed to be a stalemate.
CROWLEY: I want to give you another alternative here. I spoke with Senator Lindsey Graham this weekend about what the U.S. should do. And I want you to hear what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I like coalitions. It's good to have them. It is good to have the U.N. involved, but the goal is to get rid of Gadhafi. A military stalemate is ensuing and the only way I know to make this thing successful is to put pressure on Tripoli. The people around Gadhafi need to wake up every day wondering will this be my last. The military commanders in Tripoli supporting Gadhafi should be pounded. So I would not let the U.N. mandate stop what is the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: That's pretty bold. Basically what he said was we need to bomb Gadhafi headquarters, Gadhafi homes. We need to go after his inner circle because we need them to defect.
MARKS: Candy, we need go after Gadhafi. You can start from the inside and work your way out, or you can work your way into the middle. And what Senator Graham is suggesting is you start to attack, diplomatically, as well as kinetically, which is ongoing, all those influences that Gadhafi has around him. My view on this is that Gadhafi is not going to raise his hand and go lightly over the horizon, or he's going to subject himself to some form of an international tribunal. I think he's going to stand and be totally resistant until somebody shoots him in the face, or puts him in a box, and he's gone.
CROWLEY: And that would require his inner circle breaking up, because they are protecting him.
MARKS: It would. It would.
CROWLEY: Let me ask about these Predator drones. That now the U.S. has said, hey, let's put this in there. What do they bring to the table? Politically, we can say since they're unmanned, politically this makes it sustainable in the U.S. which isn't interested in a third war that involves U.S. combat troops. But are there draw backs?
MARKS: Well, the Predator, first let me speak a little bit about the Predator, it has great experience from combat both in the Balkans and then over the course of the last decade, certainly in Southwest Asia. So it's a proven weapon system that does exceptionally well. Both reconnaissance versions and the multi-use version, which really means the armed version. So we know how to employ those things. They are median altitude, which means they operate below 25,000 feet. They have a long endurance. They can loiter, they can hang around, it doesn't put-
CROWLEY: Better than planes.
MARKS: It doesn't put a pilot at risk. And all the infrastructure of trying to get a pilot if a pilot goes down, if an aircraft goes down. So a Predator has a great capability. The risks certainly, in my view, is if that if you lose a Predator, it can be shot down, there might be some technology exploitation. I think that's not a big deal, nor should it work into the calculation to use them. However, again it sends a signal to the rebels that we're with you, and we're still on your side. I find it a little bit cynical that we're still trying to do this exclusively from the air. There should be, as I've said, boots on the ground. They don't have to be U.S. boots, but there should be some form of a presence supporting them, if in fact we're serious about supporting them.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you one thing about the Predator drone, that I don't understand. I know they are very precision oriented. They can hit a target that it's programmed for. But don't you have to have boots on the ground to tell you what it to hit? Isn't it totally dependent on what sort of information you have?
MARKS: Well, it is dependent on information, but a Predator can employ its weapons system, a hellfire missile, for example. But that target can be lazed or at least designated by another system. And it doesn't have to be from somebody on the ground, another Predator could do it for you.
CROWLEY: So another Predator could spot something.
CROWLEY: Tanks coming this way or that way.
MARKS: Working in tandem.
CROWLEY: And then see it. So, there is not-I mean, they could use-if a Predator goes down, number one, there is a human being doesn't go with it, but number two, it doesn't seem as though we're dealing with very sophisticated-we're dealing with as massive army. I think with Moammar Gadhafi, but not necessarily one sophisticated enough to make use of what the Predator might have.
MARKS: The challenge still remains that Gadhafi in a very cynical and hideous way is tucking his forces, his targets, into the population. So if you go after those targets, there will always an collateral damage concern, an estimation that has to be made before you pull the trigger on that missile.
CROWLEY: OK. Thank you so much as always.
MARKS: Thank you.
CROWLEY: For all your vast knowledge of this, appreciate it. Happy weekend.
MARKS: Thank you.
CROWLEY: A new controversy over your privacy. How Facebook may be profiting from what you and your friends write.
Plus, a new warning. Your iPhone or iPad could be secretly tracking you. You'll see how it's done.
CROWLEY: Your smart phone is smarter than you think. Many of them keep track of where you've been and we were surprised to find out how easy it is for someone else to access that information. CNN's Ted Rowlands is in Los Angeles with details--Ted.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Candy, anybody using an iPhone or 3G enabled iPad is affected here. Basically what happens is everywhere you is tracked. And it is fairly easy to find out where you have been. This is an application that we loaded using the data from my iPhone and you can see where I have been over the past year.
ROWLANDS (voice over): You could easily see where someone has been and when they were there. The application to launch the map is available for free online. The information is also automatically transferred to any computer synced through iTunes.
PETE WARDEN, FOUNDER, DATA SCIENCE TOOLKIT: Anybody else who has access to that machine is able to look through all the locations you have been to for the past year. So if you have a jealous spouse, or a private investigator, or your machine gets stolen, you're giving people access to a lot of information that you didn't even realize was being collected.
ROWLANDS: The discovery was made public by data researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden.
ALASDAIR ALLAN, SR. RESEARCHER, UNIV. OF EXETER: I just started poking through the iPhone backup on my laptop and stumbled across a file.
ROWLANDS: The information is gathered through cell phone towers and Wi-Fi hot spots, not GPS, so you can't stop it by turning off the GPS. The data isn't transmitted anywhere. So why is it being collected?
ALLAN: I just thought it was presumably accidental. I don't think there's any maliciousness here. I don't think they are trying-there is no conspiracy. There is no government conspiracy. Just someone left it running.
ROWLANDS: Apple has made no public comment on the issue. Minnesota Senator Al Franken has sent a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs demanding answers as to why people are being tracked. You can block the information on a computer through an iTunes setting, just check the encryption box on the menu. There's no way to block it on an iPhone or 3G iPad.
ROWLANDS: Bottom line, if you're going somewhere you shouldn't, or you don't want people who have access to your iPhone to see where you've been, leave your phone at home-Candy.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Ted.
While your phone may be tracking where you go, critics say Facebook may be tracking and analyzing what you and your friends write. Is anyone else finding this scary? Our CNN's Mary Snow has details of this latest Facebook controversy. Mary, tell us about this one.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, this is about those ads that pop up on your Facebook page. You might list a hobby or things you like, and then soon see ads targeting your interests. As Facebook looks to attract more advertisers some privacy watchdog groups are raising concerns saying many people don't know how closely they're being watched.
So this is our Mother's Day contest --
SNOW (voice over): Sharing a story about your mother may not seem like it has anything to do with selling flowers, but Chris McCann, president of 1-800-Flowers.com says it's all part of a way to reach customers through Facebook.
CHRIS MCCANN, PRES., 1-800-FLOWERS.COM: So, if we can get solved in the conversation, get involved in the relationship, it builds a bigger bond with our brand, which therefore helps sales.
SNOW: What he considers pay dirt, getting customers to share with Facebook friends that they like the store, which he says helped double the number of fans around Valentine's Day and then there are targeted ads.
(On camera): Hypothetically let's say a 31-year-old woman gets engaged. What might your company do with that information?
MCCANN: If a 30-year-old woman gets engaged and she lets that be known publicly on Facebook, we might start serving her up ads about wedding flowers.
SNOW: That kind of information posted can be profitable for both Facebook and advertisers. But some privacy watchdog groups are raising a red flag. Jeff Chester is the director of the Center for Digital Democracy.
JEFF CHESTER, DIR., CENTER FOR DIGITAL DEMOCRACY: Facebook operates sort of like a digital Wizard of Oz. You really don't know that it is collecting all the data about you and your friends, who exactly is behind that curtain. I mean, is that Mark Zuckerberg colleting all that data. What are they doing with it?
SNOW: Facebook says ads are based around what people add to their profiles. And in a statement said, "Advertising on Facebook is better because it is social and based on interests you choose to share. We don't share and never sell personally identifiable information to advertisers. One long term technology writer in Silicon Valley who explored Facebook's add business for MIT's "Technology Review" says the ad part of the social networking company is only growing.
ROBERT HOF, FREELANCE TECHNOLOGY WRITER: By all estimates it did a couple billion dollars in advertising last year, and may double that this year. So it seems that the advertising machine started to take off there.
SNOW: And that technology blogger Robert Hof, you just saw there, adds that Facebook's last foray into public ads was back in 2007, and it backfired because of privacy concerns before the company changed its practices-Candy.
CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Mary Snow. Have a great rest of your weekend.
SNOW: Sure, thanks. You, too.
We all know the presidential campaign season has become longer and longer over the years, but now everyone the process of announcing a run is getting drawn out. And as royal wedding mania spreads through Britain, we'll take you behind the scenes for a look at some of the preparations. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
CROWLEY: There's a new Republican presidential hopeful, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson announced his White House run week. He's a Republican who supports gay marriage, legalizing marijuana and some abortion rights. While Johnson has actually declared his candidacy the rest of the GOP field isn't quite ready to commit. CNN's Lisa Sylvester has more on that.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Several GOP contenders have formed exploratory committees allowing them to start raising money, hiring strategists and consultants, basically putting together a campaign structure. Depending on how they set up their committee, some of them technically are already running for president. Then there are others who are truly holding back, not ready to officially throw their name in the ring.
(voice over): It used to be simple.
BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I proudly announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.
SYLVESTER: Today candidates are much more coy.
NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER: We are today establishing a Web site NewtExplorer2012.com. We'll look at this very seriously, and we will very methodically layout the framework of what we'll do next.
RICK SANTORUM, (R) FMR. U.S. SENATOR: I am going to set up a committee to test the waters committee. It is called the Rick Santorum Exploratory Committee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: True tax fighter Governor Tim Pawlenty.
SYLVESTER: When CNN's Piers Morgan asked former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who has an exploratory committee, whether he might be willing to take the number two spot on a GOP ticket, he seemed clear on what his intentions are.
TIM PAWLENTY, (R) FMR. MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: I'm running for president, I'm not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president. So I'm focused on running for president.
SYLVESTER: Moments later, though, he said he's still exploring.
PAWLENTY: We'll have a final or full announcement on that in the coming weeks. It won't be too much longer. But everything is headed in that direction.
SYLVESTER: Late night host Stephen Colbert couldn't help but weigh in.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: You want to wait for that perfect journalist to share it with, not just give it up to the first guy who asks.
SYLVESTER: Most political insiders have no doubt that Mitt Romney will be running. He has been courting fundraisers for months. Some experts even consider him the early frontrunner, but he only took his first formal step recently.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: I am announcing my exploratory committee for the presidency of the United States. It's time that we put America back on a course of greatness with a growing economy, good jobs, and fiscal discipline in Washington.
SYLVESTER: The king of exploring may be the Donald.
DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: So I am going form a presidential exploratory committee. I might as well announce it on your show. Everyone else does.
I would prefer not doing it, but I love this country and if you ask me what are the odds, I'll let you know sometime prior to June. But I will tell you. I'm giving it serious, serious thought.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SYLVESTER: Some people who tested the waters in the past decided not to run. Trump, Evan Bayh and the late Paul Wellstone formed exploratory committees, but later decided against getting in. But these days most of those who end up forming those committees do end up in the race. Candy.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Lisa.
President Obama stepped up his campaign this week with a three day western swing that was heavy on fund-raising. But he faces new hurdles to his re-election including the public's gloomy view of America's future.
Let's bring in CNN'S Joe Johns and our senior political analyst Gloria Borger. Gloomy is one way to put this, but I thought this was an astounding "New York Times," CBS poll that shows 70 percent of the country think that the country is on the wrong track.
Right track/wrong track in poll terms sets pollsters ears listening because it's a very important like I think we're headed in the wrong direction. It's a 12 point jump from February.
Pessimism is amazing. It can turn around clearly, but I wouldn't want to be out fund-raising and hear that.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think it's very difficult, 57 percent of the people in that same poll believe -- disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy.
This obviously has to do with things like gas prices, people feeling bad with that, they don't feel like there are enough jobs coming back this to the economy. They don't really feel any better.
And the discussion has been about cutting the budget and all the rest, but it hasn't really focused on the job front the way I think that a lot of Americans would like it to.
CROWLEY: And you think there's a problem because it occurred to me when I saw gas prices again this morning on the pump that gas prices, home value and jobs are three things that just -- that's what you talk about at the kitchen table and our politicians are all out there going we got bring down the debt, which is really important, but doesn't - they haven't made it germane.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Home value has stabilized, but it hasn't started improving and gas prices are gas prices. This is still a big problem. There are a lot of people over in the administration, some of which I've talked to and there are also people who are critics of the president who say the economy is looking better clearly.
But that's a big lag between the time things start look better in the economy and people out there in the country just start feeling that to the point where they reflect it in the polls.
So the question is whether when you get much closer to the election, if it's going to it catch up and people are going to start feeling a little bit better even though the economy apparently is doing better.
BORGER: Well, the rise in gas prices can affect consumer confidence, also. You may decide, OK, I don't want to take that long trip this summer. I'm worried more about spending because I'm going to have to use it for gas to get to and from work.
So I'm not going to go to the store and buy things. And so there's a worry that gas prices could in fact have a double dip recession then in - I mean, we're not there yet, but some people I talk to are really worried about that.
CROWLEY: Treasury secretary said last week, it hasn't affected the economy. But in the end, if you own a small business, florist, I don't know, something that you use gasoline for, you're not going to hire an extra guy if your gasoline is costing you five bucks a gallon.
JOHNS: Absolutely not. And you know, there are people out there who are just miserable because of the gas prices by themselves. So that in part is why the administration wants to start looking at gas prices and whether there's been price fixing or what have you to at least make it look like they're doing something.
BORGER: George Bush looked at price gauging too. They all try and say what can we do about gas prices. The truth of the matter is there's not that much a president can do, but the president will get the blame just like Barack Obama blamed his predecessor when he was running.
CROWLEY: Let me turn you to the Republican's least favorite subject, Donald Trump. Charles Krautheimer has written a column now saying that he is convinced that Trump is going to run for president because he personally called Krautheimer after Krautheimer written an article on Trump.
That was not pleasing to Trump and here's part of what Krautheimer wrote. "He, meaning Donald Trump, wanted it make me see in his view he was a serious candidate and a serious man. I give him the credit for graciousness and restraint. But it convinced me that he's running."
JOHNS: Trump has done this before first of all and a lot of people in Washington, D.C. know that. That said, I personally have really been surprised by the number of Republican insider, some pretty high up, who tell me they're convinced also that Trump is actually going jump in the race.
They say he's making all the right move, he's really looking at -- the question of course is whether he's going to do anything it if he jumps in and that's a big question because he doesn't seem to have surrounded himself with the kind of people who can get him a strategy of winning one of the first few big states and then doing something on super Tuesday. But they think he's running.
BORGER: But if you're Donald Trump, don't you want to be in a presidential debate? Of course, you do. You're Donald Trump, right? Take you a look at the field and you say I'm better than anybody else.
I think Trump is serious about it. I talked to two people who are sort of close to Donald Trump who say he's very serious about it. But I would not be surprised if this were all about the ratings on his television show.
CROWLEY: He's already number one on his network in his ratings. People have said, you know, he has thought about this before, but he's now at an age if he's going to do it. This is the time.
JOHNS: Absolutely, I mean, as many times as he's talked about this, it's been clear this has been on his to-do list, running for president.
Now one of the questions though, really is about the kind of - you know, when you talk so much about the birthers and whether you're putting yourself, you know, marginally out there that it's kind of useless.
BORGER: I think the birther issue is the problem because Republicans want someone who is electable and 75 percent of independent voters believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States.
If you're a birther, they don't really care about that. They're not interested in that. They don't believe that and Republicans want to win. And he may have helped himself with the conservative base, but not generally.
CROWLEY: Generally independence, yes. My theory is that people in the military and people in business who are used to saying jump and the reply is how high. Don't fare well in the campaign where no one listen to you. So we'll see. Thank you so much. Gloria Borger and Joe Johns, appreciate it.
The soldier suspected of passing U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks is moved to a new military prison, but controversy over his treatment is following him and CNN is investigating.
Plus, the urgent quest to give U.S. troops extra protection from roadside bombs with bullet proof briefs. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
CROWLEY: The U.S. soldier suspected of passing thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks has arrived at a new military prison, but controversy over his treatment is following him. CNN's Brian Todd has details.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For U.S. military officials, Army Private Bradley Manning has been the subject of one PR nightmare after another. Now they've moved the prime WikiLeaks suspect to a different facility at Fort Leavenworth Kansas.
Far from the political debates of Washington over his alleged leaks, and his treatment in the marine brig where he was held for months.
JEH CHARLES JOHNSON, GENERAL COUNSEL, DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: Many will be tempted to interpret today's action as a criticism of the pre-trial facility at Quantico. That is not the case.
TODD: Instead the Pentagon says the move is for Manning's own good.
LT. COL. DAWN HILTON, FORT LEAVENWORTH CORRECTIONAL FACILITY: He'll receive the mental health, physical health and emotional health that he needs to go through this judicial process.
TODD: Manning is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government files and passing them to WikiLeaks including blunt diplomatic cables. U.S. officials have said Manning has blood on his hands, but Manning has some complaints of his own.
In a recent memo to military officials, Manning claimed he was being mistreated, held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, harassed by guard, unnecessarily put on suicide watch and forced to remain naked in his cell.
(on camera): In one letter, Manning complained take after he told his handlers at Quantico sarcastically that if he wanted to harm himself, he could conceivably do so with the elastic wasteband of his underwear, they used that as an excuse to take his clothes away from him during the periods when he slept.
(voice-over): A Defense Department official tells CNN, it was only for a few nights that Manning's clothes were kept from him while he slept and that he always had a blanket. The official says he was not in solitary confinement.
The Pentagon says Manning's mental competency is still being assessed even though he's been in custody for nearly a year. P.J. Crowley who was then the State Department spokesman said the Pentagon's handling of his imprisonment was counterproductive and stupid. He resigned shortly thereafter.
P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Anytime you have to explain why a guy is standing naked in a jail cell, you have a policy that needs to be desperately reviewed and the Pentagon has done that.
TODD: I asked a former Marine Judge Gary Solis how it all might shake out now.
(on camera): The controversy over his treatment, now the movement to Leavenworth, overall, how does all of this affect his trial do you think?
PROF. GARY SOLIS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: If they had to go before a military judge and give reasons for what they did, I think that the reasons are probably there. Therefore, I think that it will not affect the outcome of his trial on the merits.
TODD (voice-over): Manning faces multiple charges in the case including providing aid to the enemy. Prosecutors say they won't recommend the death penalty, but technically it's up to the commander overseeing the case to make it that call. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CROWLEY: British troops have it and the Pentagon wants it for U.S. forces, too. Undergarments made of material that can stop bullets possibly save lives. CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence is with us now.
I guess, Chris, what I'm surprised is that something like this was available and the U.S. didn't have it.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Candy. I know when I first heard about it. I thought it sounds bit like a joke, but then when you realize how many troops are out there in Afghanistan on foot patrols and you hear about some of the horrendous things that are happening when troops are stepping on buried IEDs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ballistic designer underwear.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): You say the words antiballistic boxers or bulletproof briefs and people laugh, but look what it does to this bullet. Now slow it down, a bullet being repelled in part by new strengthened silk underwear.
British troops in Afghanistan are already wearing it. The Marine Corps put in an urgent request for protective undergarments and the Army is looking at several versions to protect American soldiers from cups to something shaped sort of like a diaper.
COL. BILL COLE, U.S. ARMY: But they all basically work to slow down the fragments or looking to prevent penetration of the genitals of the lower abdomen and all of these worked to that effect.
LAWRENCE: You hear the boom when an IED goes off. What you don't see is all the sand, grit and debris that get sucked into the explosion and shot like a rocket at the Marine who stepped on it or any soldiers nearby.
Since there are now more foot patrols in Afghanistan, that debris has been tearing in to the groin and inner legs of American troops.
COL. TODD DOMBROSKI, U.S. ARMY DOCTOR: And with that, something we don't talk about as much for several reasons is the dangers to the groin and they are up as well.
LAWRENCE: U.S. military officials already feel confident about the silk shorts because those have been used by the Brits in combat. Various companies have been testing their own versions, but the Army will need to run its own before committing millions of dollars to mass production.
COLE: I scrambled to gets a much ballistic testing done as I can and have soldiers both male and female wearing different products and giving feedback.
LAWRENCE: So some of these versions are bulletproof, some not. The version that the U.S. military is looking at, though, also contains some antibacterial qualities, which means it could help cut down on infections when soldiers are wounded.
Candy, you mentioned that the Brits already have this. The Army is going to ship some to soldiers in Afghanistan on a very limited quantity next month. The Marines hope to have some of their men and women wearing them by later in the year.
CROWLEY: Can't be too soon. Thanks so much, Chris Lawrence. Appreciate it.
Less than a week until the much anticipated royal wedding. We will take you inside Buckingham palace it for a look at preparations for the reception.
Plus he seems to be everywhere these days as he weighs a White House run. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a look at the Trump-a-thon.
CROWLEY: Count down to the much-anticipated royal wedding has begun. This Friday, the world will be watching as Prince William ties the knot with Kate Middleton.
Following the ceremony, some of the guests will be invited back to Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by the queen. CNN's Max Foster was allowed inside to see preparations underway.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the basement of Buckingham Palace, a team of 21 chefs will make nearly 10,000 bite- sized canapes for the 600 guests invited to the reception, that's about 16 canapes each.
MARK FLANAGAN, THE ROYAL CHEF: Any canape event is all about fine detail at the last minute. There's a lot of preparation, but there's lots we would like to do earlier that we really can't do until we know we see the guests coming into the room.
It will be about double checking, triple checking and checking it again and making sure that we've got everything in the right places.
FOSTER: There will be ten to 12 savory varieties, five or six sweet, some hot, some cold, and all personally approved by Kate and William. The canapes will be carried upstairs on trays and plates to the spectacular state rooms. This is home to arguably the finest private art collection in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the 19 state rooms, which are used during state functions drip with opulence. They really are intended to make people think, wow, this is an incredible palace. I think that's very much part of its history. This was a place intended to impress.
FOSTER: But this is also a working palace. A staff of 60 upstairs will attend to the guests' every need.
EDWARD GRIFFITHS, DEPUTY MASTER OF THE HOUSEHOLD: For any event we're going through every single detail that we possibly can so that it's planned in advance and we don't leave anything to chance.
FOSTER: And this is the level of detail we're talking about, using an antique measuring stick to make sure every glass sits a certain distance from the table's edge, a perfect line of perfectly-polished glasses to be handed to the guests including monarchs, prime ministers and diplomats. Around 300 close family and friends will have the added privilege of going on to a sit-down dinner hosted by Prince Charles.
FOSTER: During this most exclusive of wedding receptions, the public will get a chance to see the newlyweds, at half past 1:00 local time, we expect them to come out over the balcony for what's bound to become an iconic moment in British history when Prince William kisses his princess. Max Foster, CNN, Buckingham Palace, London.
CROWLEY: You'll want to stay tuned to CNN for a complete coverage of the royal wedding. Tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, CNN presents takes you behind the scenes with the women who would be queen.
Then Friday, be part of our royal wedding experience. We'll be bringing you every minute of the excitement that's beginning at 4:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
The traditional watering of the girls in Hungary, you and I will see why in our "Hotshots" ahead.
CROWLEY: Here's a look at today's "Hotshots."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY (voice-over): In Libya, a family of evacuated from the besiege city of Misrata is welcomed by relatives upon arriving in Benghazi.
In England, a soldier fitted by a tailor for his royal wedding uniform. In Australia, an aborigine performs an ancestral dance at an annual Blues Festival, and in Hungary girls get drenched with water as part of an Easter celebration. Hotshots, pictures from around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Now that he's considering running for president, Donald Trump is a frequent guest on TV news programs and that's giving his critics plenty to talk about. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't let the dainty wave fool you. This has become a trump-a-thon. Long and getting tougher with labor pains from belaboring the birth certificate issue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said, quote, they cannot believe what they're finding.
TRUMP: We'll see what happens, George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What have they found? TRUMP: That's none of your business right now. We're going to see what happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have they found anything?
TRUMP: We're going to see what happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When?
TRUMP: George, next question, George.
MOOS: And we're going to see what happens when Chris Matthews counts Donald Trump's other favorite phrase.
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me, Savannah, you brought this up. Excuse me. If he want born, excuse me. That's another, excuse me.
MOOS: For the record in one interview, there were --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Eighteen excuse me's.
MOOS: Excuse us for yet another Trump hair joke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald gets home at night. He sits down and the hair goes, la, la, la, la. How are we doing today? Who shall we marry next?
MOOS: Though he's riding high in Republican polls, Trump is getting pulverized by some conservatives, like radio host Mark Levin.
MARK LEVIN: Does this guy sound stupid or what?
MOOS: Critics keep comparing trump to other people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is now NBC's Charlie Sheen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is the Al Sharpton of the Republican Party, provocateur and clown.
MOOS (on camera): But there's one name Donald Trump was called that we're pretty sure he's never heard himself called before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is what's called a blatherskite.
MOOS: It's a natural real dictionary word --
GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: That was a word my grandmother was fond of. That is someone who blathers promiscuously.
MOOS (voice-over): Lately everyone is making jokes about how Trump is measuring the drapes in the White House because he offered to build a new wing to replace a tent they have to use for big events.
TRUMP: Instead of a canvas tent, we will build one of the great ballrooms of the world. MOOS: He says he called former Obama adviser, David Axelrod and offered up to $100 million to build something as ritzy as Trump's Florida easy state.
TRUMP: He said, wow. That's interesting. I never heard from him. And that's the problem with our country.
MOOS (on camera): The Donald Trump-a-thon possible presidential run reminds us of an old liberal sitcom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then there's Trump and then there's Maude.
MOOS (voice-over): Anything, but tranquilizing right on, Trump. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CROWLEY: I'm Candy Crowley. Join us weekdays in THE SITUATION ROOM from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern and every Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on CNN, and at this time every weekend on CNN International.
The news continues next on CNN.