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THE SITUATION ROOM
Congress Holds Hearing on Iraq Troop Withdrawal; Republican and Democratic Senator Co-Sponsor Jobs Bill; Interview With Senators Chris Coons, Marco Rubio; 'Occupy' Protesters Return to Park; Outside Efforts to Sabotage Iran's Nuclear Program?; Judge: No Protesters in New York City Park; Justice Department To Assist in Penn State Scandal; Giffords' Amazing Recovery Revealed
Aired November 15, 2011 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: First, the big question. A New York judge ruling just moments ago not to extend the temporary restraining order preventing the eviction of those Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out at Zuccotti Park. That's the home base for the movement.
Let's go straight to CNNMoney's Poppy Harlow.
She's on the scene for us for the latest -- Poppy, a setback to the Occupy Wall Street protesters. They wanted to be allowed to go back into Zuccotti Park. The judge -- a justice -- a Supreme Court justice in New York saying not so fast.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
The way that -- that we are reading this right now, as we pore through it, is that the protesters, it seems, will be allowed in the park. They're -- they're not allowed in right now. It's still barricaded. But they will be allowed in the park. They just can't camp out overnight in the park.
I want to read to you a bit of this ruling. And then we'll bring in a guest, one of the protesters.
Here's what the judge ruled: "The court is mindful of movement -- movements' First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. However, even protected speech is not equally permissible in all places at all times."
He went on to say -- and I found this very interesting -- he said: "The movements have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations, to the exclusion of the owner's reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park to the rights of public access." So if you read through this, Wolf, what he is saying, the judge is ruling here that protesters can be in the park, but they can't be there with all their structures, with their tents, camped out there 24/7. He's saying, they do not have a First Amendment right to do that.
And I want to bring in Amos Fisher.
Amos, you've been part of this movement for about a month, right?
AMOS FISHER, OCCUPY WALL STREET PROTESTER: Yes.
HARLOW: What do you make of this ruling?
FISHER: Well, it's hard to expect much else. You know, we default -- our government defaults to taking violent action against things that disrupt the normal way. And so, the same way that we, as humans, tend to default to anger when someone offends us, it's the -- it's the -- it's the natural reaction of the police to force us out and to -- to -- and I hardly think that the issue is whether it's legal, because the whole idea here is that the rules are slanted in favor of money, in favor of various kinds of privileges and ties between corporations and government that are -- that are unjust.
So the idea, the question of whether we -- it's legal for us to be in here is kind of a moot point, because Rosa Parks was certainly not allowed to sit where she sat. And that sparked a whole movement and the point was made, because the law was unjust.
HARLOW: I -- I want to get to that point in one moment. You mentioned violence.
Were you in this park overnight as it was evicted?
FISHER: No. I came about an hour later.
HARLOW: Can you clarify for our viewers what you mean by violence?
Are you speaking about any violence on the part of -- of the NYPD?
FISHER: Many -- I saw many officers poking people in the ribs very hard with batons who were doing nothing violent. And I -- I saw them wrench people's arms out from each other very -- and people -- a girl was being carried out with -- with holding her head.
HARLOW: So I -- I want to get to your point quickly here, Wolf.
Amos, you -- you likened this to the civil rights movement, to Rosa Parks.
Do you think that this is at that scale?
Do you believe that you are fighting for something as important as civil rights in this country?
FISHER: Oh, far more important, because it has nothing to do with -- it has nothing to do with any designation, class, gender, anything. It has everything to do with humanity and how -- because like, we're in, I heard it described as our form of capitalism is a corporate capitalism, which is actually sort of like -- someone referred to it as inverted totalitarianism where the power structure is actually nameless, insofar as the corporations hold sway over the government. So -- so that I -- I feel like, in the same way that a corporation has no loyalty to a nation state, this movement has no loyalty to any particular class of person.
So I think it's much grander than simply the civil rights movement.
FISHER: And I think that these days, a lot of these -- these wars between or -- or battles and prejudices that exist, human rights and such, are often served to serve as no more than a distraction from the real issue, which is keeping people with -- keeping people at the bottom by dividing them.
HARLOW: Amos, thank you.
Thank you very much for joining us.
We appreciate it.
FISHER: Thank you.
HARLOW: We want to follow what happens next to you.
I -- I think, Wolf, what we're standing by for is to see if and when this park is opened up to the many protesters you hear chanting and the drum circles behind me. They want to get back inside.
And then the question is, will try to stay overnight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. And what will happen then if they do. The judge's ruling clearly saying they can go back, but they can't put their tents up, there are reports.
BLITZER: They can't stay overnight, bring their generators back.
We'll see how this unfolds.
We'll stay in close touch with you, Poppy.
Thanks very much.
Let's get to another important story we're following here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The chilling child sex abuse scandal haunting Penn State University. We're learning now that the Justice Department here in Washington has agreed to assist in the investigation, if needed. This is a rather awkward interview, as well -- there is an awkward interview that's raising some critical new questions about the suspect at the center of all of this, the former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky is firmly denying to NBC News the charges against him and he's revealing what he says happened in some instances.
I want you to listen closely to this chunk of the interview with Bob Costas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "ROCK CENTER," COURTESY NBC)
JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER COACH AT PENN STATE: I say that I am innocent of those charges.
BOB COSTAS, NBC NEWS: Innocent?
Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?
SANDUSKY: Well, I could say that, you know, I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I -- I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I've -- I have touched their leg, without intent of sexual contact. But -- so if you look at it that way, there are things that -- that wouldn't, you know, would be accurate.
COSTAS: Are you denying that you had any inappropriate sexual contact...
SANDUSKY: Yes, I am.
COSTAS: -- with any of these underage boys?
SANDUSKY: Yes, I am.
COSTAS: Never touched their genitals?
Never engaged in oral sex?
COSTAS: How would you define the part you played?
What are you willing to concede that you've done that was wrong and you wish you had not done it?
SANDUSKY: Well, in retrospect, I, you know, I -- I shouldn't have showered with those kids. You know, so.
COSTAS: That's it?
SANDUSKY: Yes. Well, I mean that's -- that's what hits me the most.
COSTAS: Are you a pedophile?
COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?
SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?
SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted?
You know, I -- I enjoy young people. I -- I love to be around them. I -- I -- but, no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Let's talk a little bit more about this remarkable interview and what it means for the investigation.
Joining us now, our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
Give us your immediate reaction when you heard some of those answers -- Jeff.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: God, you know, the one thing that I -- I've heard it now many times. The one thing that is so haunting about that interview is when Costas asks him, "Are you sexually attracted to children?," and there's that unforgettable pause. And you just want to say -- I mean it's like how many people, when asked if they're sexually attracted to children, wouldn't scream out, "No! of course. I mean it's just -- it is so chilling and so weird.
And, of course, the larger question is, why in the world would he have agreed to do this and why would he have made these admissions, which will go directly into the case against him...
BLITZER: Why would he do it?
TOOBIN: -- if and when he comes to trial.
BLITZER: Because that was inexplicable to me when I was listening to the interview.
Why would he, his attorneys, why would they want him to go on television and say these things?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, when I -- well, I'm -- I'm not sure his attorney authorized it, to tell you the truth.
But, you know, one of the things I have learned in covering these whole -- high profile cases is that people on the -- each side, including the unpopular side, are desperate to get their story out.
They say, you know, why isn't anyone telling my side of the story?
And -- and so they really -- they -- they tell their lawyers, get out there, get out there. And they often do it before they know what to say. And I think that's what happened yesterday.
Now, if his lawyer had gone out there and said, look, you know, whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?
What about the McMartin Preschool, where people were unjustly accused of sexual abuse?
That would have been fine. That would been appropriate. But to go out there and make admissions about showering with children, which, you know, most regard as so repugnant and awful, I just think they certainly did more harm than good.
BLITZER: So from a legal standpoint, did he incriminate himself?
TOOBIN: Oh, absolutely. I mean that -- first of all, those -- that tape can be played in -- in a courtroom. That is completely admissible evidence, if the prosecutors choose to use it.
And without that tape, they would have had to prove that Sandusky showered with children. And that's not such a simple thing. I mean there are not a lot of witnesses to it. Not all the alleged victims have been identified. Some of the people, like the janitor who discovered him in the shower once, now, apparently, has dementia, so he couldn't testify.
This is critical evidence. Now, obviously, it doesn't prove sexual contact. It doesn't prove the sexual assaults that are charged. But, certainly, it takes the prosecution a pretty far way, when you have an admission that he took a shower repeatedly with children. I mean that's -- that's a big fact that the prosecution will want to -- will want to use.
BLITZER: And very likely, Jeff, when -- when he says, you know, I was just horsing around with these young guys, that's going to be the defense argument.
TOOBIN: Yes. And lots of luck with that. You know, first of all, it is not -- I mean, you know, horsing -- it's just -- I think It's going to be difficult to persuade a jury that when you have witnesses saying that there was sex in the shower and you have a defendant admitting that there was showering together between a very much grown man and -- and a very young child, it's going to be hard to persuade a jury that it was just horsing around.
All right, Jeff, thank you.
Other news we're following, including some amazing new video of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her long and challenging road to recovery. In the months after she was shot down during that deadly Tucson massacre, we've learned a great deal. The Congresswoman revealed a video and -- and spoke publicly for the first time last night in an interview with ABC News.
Giffords isn't stopping there, though. Her office now releasing an audio message she recorded for her constituents in Arizona.
Let's bring in CNN's Deborah Feyerick. She's got the latest for us -- Deb.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you know, Gabrielle Giffords is just so courageous. And that's really what comes across in these tapes. She's telling her Arizona constituents that she is ready to get back to work, that it's been an honor serving them. But she's very well aware that the road is still a very long one. She's got a lot to do and it's going to be very hard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "20/20," COURTESY ABC)
REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), ARIZONA: She is a...
FEYERICK (voice-over): Among the most powerful images recorded by Gabrielle Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, is this one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you sad?
G. GIFFORDS: Oh, I'm so sad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It -- it's going to get better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you laughing?
FEYERICK: The video aired on ABC in a Diane Sawyer exclusive interview. Asked how she felt when her husband told her about the shooting that left six dead and 13 wounded?
G. GIFFORDS: I cried. Cried.
MARK KELLY: It's sad.
G. GIFFORDS: It's sad. Oh, it's sad. A lot of people died.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It hurts your heart.
G. GIFFORDS: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Tough, tough, tough, tough, tough.
FEYERICK: She tells ABC she remembers nothing from that day.
DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: That day is gone?
G. GIFFORDS: Gone.
FEYERICK: Nor is she angry about it.
G. GIFFORDS: No. No. No.
G. GIFFORDS: Life. Life. FEYERICK: The home movies taken by Kelly in the last 11 months show how much music has helped Giffords' recovery, enabling her to find words after the shooting.
FEYERICK: Helping her remember songs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excellent.
FEYERICK: Even coaxing her with the help of a therapist to take her first steps.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beautiful.
FEYERICK: The bullet tore through the left side of her brain, which controls speech and language. Giffords spends two hours with a therapist, learning to find words, make short sentences and move her right side.
Asked by ABC if she'll go back to Congress...
G. GIFFORDS: No, better.
G. GIFFORDS: Um. I -- oh. Um...
M. GIFFORDS: She wants to get better.
G. GIFFORDS: Better.
SAWYER: You want to get better?
G. GIFFORDS: Better.
SAWYER: And so you think to yourself, I'll go back to Congress if I get better?
G. GIFFORDS: Yes. Yes. Yes.
FEYERICK: Today, in a brief recorded message on her official Facebook site, Giffords tells her constituents she's anxious to get back to work representing them.
G. GIFFORDS: I'm getting stronger. I'm getting better. I want to get back to work. Representing Arizona is my honor.
FEYERICK: The message coincides with a hearing on Capitol Hill in which a woman who witnessed the Giffords' shooting asked for more stringent gun laws, including universal background checks.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FEYERICK: Well, in the interview, Mark Kelly, her husband, says that the couple were planning to have a baby through in vitro fertilization. Giffords was shot the week before the procedure was to have taken place. Life not so much interpreted as really set on a different course.
But when you watch her, Wolf, there is just this brightness and this charisma. You can see flashes of humor. It's as if her brain, her eyes, they're processing all this information. She's just can't get it from here out to here.
BLITZER: But she's just going to get stronger and stronger every week, every month, every year. I was listening to Bob Woodruff of ABC News. He was shot in the head in Iraq, as you remember. He's getting remarkably better shortly after within a year, and now it's amazing. So I'm confident that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, she's going to be fine. It's just going to take some time and we're praying and hoping for only the best. Thanks very much for that, Deb.
A congressional showdown over the war in Iraq the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: All U.S. military forces will withdraw from the country by next month. I continue to believe that this decision represents a failure of leadership both Iraqi and American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Just ahead, why the defense secretary of the United States Leon Panetta is charging those claims by Senator McCain are simply not true.
And a deadly new blast in Iran. Could it be a sign of new attempts to derail the country's nuclear program? Lots of news happening today right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with the "Cafferty File." Jack?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Just what we need, more bleak news on the job front. A new poll shows a whopping 90 percent of Americans say that now is a bad time to find a quality job, up from less than 50 percent before the recession in January of 2007. Only eight percent think that now's a good time to find a quality job. Gallup says these perceptions of the job market were worse than a decade.
Younger Americans are slightly more optimistic about finding quality jobs. Older people and those with post graduate education, more pessimistic.
The keyword in this is "quality" jobs, and it may represent a bigger story than the actual unemployment numbers. A lack of quality jobs reduces people's current earnings and their future earnings potential since they're not getting the right experience. Companies sometimes complain they can't find employees with the right skills. Part of this is due to education, but the other part is Americans aren't getting quality jobs where they can learn those skills.
Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate dropped to nine percent in October. That's good news. It's the lowest it's been since April. And jobless claims fell again last week. The bad news is this -- more than two years after the recession ended, only one-fourth of the 8.8 million jobs that have been lost have been recovered. Last month alone nearly 14 million Americans remained unemployed and 42 percent of those have been out of work for more than six months.
Here's the question then. When do you think the job market's going to improve? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile and post a comment on my blog. Go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM Facebook page. This is a long, slow slog back to some sort of economic prosperity.
BLITZER: It certainly is very, very difficult. Jack, stick around, because later this hour, I'll be speaking with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Democratic Senator Chris Coons about their bipartisan effort to try to get some jobs created. They're actually working together. Get this, a Democrat and a Republican, they're working together to create jobs for the American people. A good story. We're going to hear from both of these freshman senators this hour.
High stakes also on Capitol Hill for the Obama administration today over its recent controversial decision to pull all troops out of Iraq by the end of this year. Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr with the latest. Barbara, fireworks up on Capitol Hill today.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, you might have thought it was the battle days of the Iraq war when you listen to this hearing, this may be one of the last hearings on Capitol Hill that we will see about the war in Iraq.
STARR: The most tension-filled Congressional showdown on the Iraq war in years. Republican Senator John McCain, he wants some troops to stay. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, he has to get the last 30,000 out by the end of the year.
MCCAIN: The truth is that this administration was commended to the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and they made it happen.
LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Senator McCain, that's just simply not true. I guess you can believe that and I respect your beliefs --
MCCAIN: And I respect your opinion and the outcome is exactly as predicted.
PANETTA: But that's not how it happened.
MCCAIN: It is how it happened. STARR: The Pentagon says it wanted to keep some troops in Iraq to help train and support Iraqi forces, but it could not reach an agreement with Prime Minister Maliki's government, so the troops have to go. Key Republicans insist the withdrawal is driven by White House presidential politics.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Secretary Panetta, you are a politician in another life. Would it be a political problem for president Obama to announce this year that we're going to keep 15,000 people in Iraq past 2012? Did that ever get considered in this administration? Did anybody ever talk about the numbers changing because the democratic base would be upset if the president broke his campaign promise?
STARR: Panetta insisted it wasn't a political decision.
MCCAIN: Can you tell the committee, General Dempsey, if there was any military commander who recommended we completely withdraw from Iraq?
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: No, senator, none of us recommended that we completely withdraw from Iraq.
STARR: And in fact, at one point, some U.S. military commanders wanted to keep up to 19,000 U.S. troops there to help the Iraqi forces, but also, to provide a critical security hedge against next door Iran. Wolf?
BLITZER: But Barbara, the key issue involved immunity for those remaining U.S. troops, the 5,000 or 10,000 U.S. troops that were going to remain at the end of this year in Iraq. The Iraqi government of Nouri al Maliki, he refused to give them immunity. No president, no commander in chief is going to send troops off to serve in Iraq without that kind of immunity and Nouri al Maliki said no way. So how did the senators react to that?
STARR: You know, there was discussion about this. It appears to be a complex legal matter inside Iraq's government. The U.S. wanted that agreement to go through the Iraqi legislative body. They wanted the sign off from Iraqi legislators. Maliki said he couldn't deliver that. Discussion is still ongoing about whether there could be some sort of deal in which a smaller number of U.S. troops might rotate in and out of Iraq, providing training, assistance, that sort of thing. We'll just have to see.
BLITZER: My own sense is that Nouri al Maliki was reacting to pressure from Iran. The Iranian didn't want any U.S. troops and he's more interested in what the view is in Tehran than Washington right now. We'll see how he gets received in Washington in a couple of weeks. That's just me offering an assessment. Thanks very much for that, Barbara.
Iraq is sure to be a major part of CNN's Republican national security debate. That's one week from today, Tuesday night, November 22nd, 8:00 p.m. eastern. I'll be the moderator. We'll be live from Constitution Hall here in Washington.
Herman Cain has labeled himself the anti-Washington candidate. Some say he's actual the anti-woman candidate. That story and a lot more news coming up.
BLITZER: Let's go to Capitol Hill and finally, finally, a good news story for all of us to enjoy. A new bipartisan jobs bill designed to attract broad Congressional support was unveiled on Capitol Hill today. Supporters say it would boost opportunities for companies to hire skilled legal immigrants, extend the tax write-off for purchases of new business equipment for three years, and provide a tax credit for veterans seeking to start franchises. It would do a whole lot more than that as well. Those are some of the specifics.
Let's talk about it with the new plans, the new bill's sponsors, Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. They're actually working together create jobs for the American people.
Senator Rubio, first to you. Why can't your colleagues do what you guys are trying to do?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, they will. We hope they're going to come on board. I mean, these ideas are borrowed from them. These are ideas that many of our colleagues have offered both in the House and here in the Senate, and so they should get on board, and I think they will. I'm optimistic about that.
BLITZER: Senator Coons, there's been so much bitterness, gridlock in Washington. Why all of a sudden are the two of you collaborating on this kind of legislation?
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: Well, what first brought us to together was a Delawarean, a friend to both of us who's encouraged us since we both became senators just about a year ago to get to know each other, to begin to work together, and to exchange ideas. Privately, the senators I've met in my first year here, both Republican and Democrat, from all across the country, really want to be working together. Sometimes it just takes being willing to take the risk, to make the first move. And I frankly think this has been a good, collaborative experience for both of us.
BLITZER: How much grief, potentially, Senator Rubio, do you think you could get from some of those Tea Party activists, conservatives, ,when they see you collaborating with a Democrat like Chris Coons?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, I don't think that's going to be the issue of our problem. People want to see jobs being created. They want government to do what it can. And most importantly, people of all persuasions look at us and say at least work together on the things you agree on.
And there's plenty to fight over. I mean, there's plenty of disagreement on other issues. I don't think there's any shortage of that. That's why we have elections. But these are the things that we agree on, that there's broad bipartisan support, and if we agree on them, we should pass them, because the people deserve us to be working for them.
BLITZER: While all of this is commendable, Senator Coons, I want you to weight in, because you're an authority on this part of the subject. I went through your proposals pretty carefully, and there's a lot of tax stuff in there. As complicated as the U.S. tax code is right now, doesn't this, for all the positive benefits, potentially, further complicate the U.S. tax system?
COONS: Well, we do need to make progress towards a simpler, clearer tax code that is easier to follow and easier to implement. But in an environment where we haven't yet done comprehensive tax reform, I think the simple, positive tax changes that this bill proposes, things that have enjoyed bipartisan support, both houses, both parties, are worth moving forward.
There are things in this bill that would encourage small business formation, small businesses going public, small business being able to grow. But there's also, Wolf, provisions of the bill that encourage American innovators to manufacture here what they invent here, that protects American intellectual property, and that encourages America's veterans to take on entrepreneurship by becoming franchise owners.
It's a broad bill. It's got pieces across a whole range of different issues. But in some ways, I think the most important thing we worked on together was a commonsense bill that has proposals that both parties, both houses ought to be able to pass.
BLITZER: Senator Rubio, your leaders, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, are they on board?
RUBIO: Well, I haven't spoken to Senator Reid. I can tell you Senator McConnell has already publicly said that he thinks it's a good idea, and I hope we can enlist his help in moving it forward. I'll let him speak more about that. But I'm optimistic.
I mean, really, these are ideas that people have come on board and supported already. There really is no excuse and no reason why this thing shouldn't pass fairly quickly.
BLITZER: Have you spoken to Harry Reid, Senator Coons?
COONS: I've spoken with folks who work for Harry Reid, with others in leadership, and many of the senators who I've approached in the weeks leading up to today, and today in my caucus, were very responsive. They're looking at it, and it's my hope, as it is Senator Rubio's, that we will see quickly see the number of cosponsors grow and that we'll also see folks in the House decide to join us in what I think is a very commonsense, passable package of job-creating reform.
BLITZER: Have you checked in, Senator Coons, with your friends over at the White House?
COONS: Not yet. BLITZER: Why not?
COONS: Well, in my view, this was the sort of thing that Congress needs to start.
Many of these proposals actually came out of either the president's jobs council or the president's Jobs Act. So I didn't expect that it would run into any opposition from the White House since many of the ideas in here were originally proposed to the jobs council, which the president performed.
In fact, Steve Case, who's one of the leaders of Startup America, the Entrepreneurship Initiative, formed by the White House, and who serves on the president's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, spoke today when Senator Rubio and I announced the introduction of the bill. He spoke very positively in favor of it.
So, it's my hope, my expectation that most of the elements of this bill will enjoy support from the administration.
BLITZER: Senator Rubio, we're out of time, but a quick political question. A Florida primary coming up not that long away, end of January. And you ready to endorse any of these Republican candidates?
RUBIO: No, and I probably won't. I'm excited about Florida's role though, and I'm excited about the issues that the candidates will have to face. And looking forward to your national security debate that's coming up soon.
BLITZER: One week from today, next Tuesday. If both of you want tickets into Constitution Hall, talk to me. I think I can help you get in.
BLITZER: Hey, guys, thanks very much. We're really hopeful that maybe this is a sign that Democrats and Republicans finally can work together and do something productive for the American people. Let's' hope it works out. Good luck.
RUBIO: Thank you.
BLITZER: Rick Perry unveils a sweeping new vision for overhauling Washington. Just ahead, the dramatic details of his plan to "tear down the monuments to bureaucratic failure."
And more huge losses for the Postal Service. We're going to tell you how far it's in the red right now.
BLITZER: Let's continue the breaking news that we reported earlier this hour. Some of those protesters getting a setback from a New York State Supreme Court judge who ruled they couldn't go back with their tents, their tarps, their generators, sleep there overnight. They are allowed to go back under restricted circumstances.
Our own Poppy Harlow is on the scene for us.
I take it some are actually being allowed to go through police lines right now and go back into Zuccotti Park. Is that right, Poppy?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Wolf.
This happened in just the last two minutes. Some of those police barricades on the periphery of Zuccotti Park were opened up. Protesters were allowed back in.
You heard cheering here as they were allowed back in. However, before the police opened the barricades to the protesters, they said over a loud speaker, you cannot bring tents in, you cannot bring large bags, any large duffel bags, no large containers that would hold prohibited items. Those prohibited items would be things like generators, et cetera. So, they're allowing them in with small personal items, but no big items.
And Wolf, this comes just about 40 minutes after the New York State Supreme Court handed down a decision reversing an earlier decision today basically saying that the early decision that prohibited the eviction of these protesters was not warranted. And when you read through this decision, and you read through all the legalese, what it is essentially saying is that protesters are allowed in this park, Wolf, but they are not allowed to camp out here and set up shop here, Wolf. So you're seeing more and more protesters coming into the park here now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So, they're coming in -- they're coming in, as you say, and we see live pictures from New York right now. This is actually video, but we see a lot of police officers on the scene there.
So, they can come in, they can't bring their tents, they can't bring their generators. They can't bring a whole lot of food supplies, for that matter.
I suspect though, given the passions involved, some of those Occupy Wall Street protesters will want to spend the night even if they don't have a tent, or whatever. What will the police do under these circumstances?
HARLOW: I think there's no question about it that you're going to see some protesters here. They've told me that they want to spend the night, and they will do what they have to in order to do that.
What the police can do, it's a big question right now, what police can do, because they're not allowing in tents and some of the bigger items. But if people want to sleep in the park, they likely could sleep in the park.
Wolf, you asked me a question in the last hour about Zuccotti Park, and it is a privately owned park, but it is a public space. So we looked into that, and here is likely why that is. There are a number of these situations across New York and big cities across America where big developers like this developer who developed this park, what they do is that they are -- they make a deal with the city. They develop large buildings like the one behind me, and they sometimes get tax breaks or incentives to build there. And then, in return, they say to the city, we will offer this open space for the public.
We don't know exactly what happened with this company, but it is likely that scenario for Zuccotti Park. So, there have been a lot of questions on Twitter, a lot of questions coming to you about why a privately-owned park in a public space, why this could happen, and that is likely the case here -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Good work.
Poppy Harlow on the scene for us over at Zuccotti Park in New York.
Some of those protesters beginning to come back in, but under new restrictions, restrictions not allowing them to camp there overnight with tents, tarps, generators, anything along those lines. We'll stay on top of this story. We'll see what happens with the Occupy Wall Street protesters returning to Zuccotti Park in New York.
We'll take a quick break. Much more news coming up right after this.
BLITZER: Joe Johns is monitoring some of the other stop stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.
What else is going on, Joe?
JOHNS: Hey, Wolf.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is unveiling a far- reaching plan to overhaul the federal government. Speaking at a campaign stop in Iowa, Perry said he would, in his words, uproot, tear down, and rebuild the three branches of government. Among his ideas, eliminate the Departments of Commerce, Education and Energy, and pose term limits of what he calls un-elected, activist judges, and create a part-time Congress.
President Obama is on his way to Australia, where he'll announce an increased U.S. military presence in that country. Marines will begin training there, while warships will increase their use of Australian naval facilities. The two-day trip also includes a meeting with the prime minister. Mr. Obama's next stop, Indonesia, where he lived as a child.
More problems for the U.S. Postal Service. The agency is reporting $5.1 billion in losses for the most recent fiscal year. Total mail volume declined about three billion pieces, or a little less than two percent over the year.
Apparently, Wolf, it's all about the economy, and people are using the Internet more.
BLITZER: Yes, they certainly are.
Thanks very much, Joe.
Let's go to Iran right now, where there are potential signs new efforts could be under way to throw the country's nuclear program off course.
Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is working the story for us.
What's the latest, Jill?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf.
You know this standoff with Iran over its nuclear program is beginning to sound like a spy movie, but it's not fiction.
DOUGHERTY (voice-over): A massive explosion at Iran's Agadir (ph) missile base southwest of Tehran and indications that a potentially crippling computer virus has struck at industrial equipment computers in the country. Two incidents the week after a U.N. report accusing Iran of continues to try to develop nuclear weapons raised the specter of sabotage by outside countries to derail Iran's nuclear program.
REVA BHALLA, STRATFOR: The cyberweapons, the assassinations, these sorts of sabotage attacks, it doesn't look like it's reached the level where it has the ability to completely cripple Iran's ambitions, but it certainly has the potential to slow down their program considerably.
DOUGHERTY: It's not the first time a spate of Iranian nuclear scientists assassinated and kidnapped the Stuxnet computer virus crippled Iran's uranium enrichment equipment. This week, Iran media reported it's been hit with spyware, the Duqu Trojan, designed to steal intelligence on industrial equipment.
The file one computer research lab found has a fake fund called Dexter Regular, a reference by its creators to Showtime's series about a cunning murderer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEXTER")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a serial killer.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "DEXTER")
DOUGHERTY: The blast at the missile base reportedly killed 17 members of the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, along with a general believed to be the architect of Iran's missile program. The base houses Iran's Shahab-3 missiles, which experts say Iran could use to deliver a nuclear warhead. Some in Iran reportedly accuse Israel. Israel's defense minister says, "I don't know the extent of the explosion, but it would be desirable if they multiplied."
Iran seems to be waging its own covert war. The Obama administration accusing Tehran of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, but the Saudis say even if they were the potential victims, military action would be catastrophic.
PRINCE TURKI AL FAISAL, FMR. SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: The retaliation by Iran will be worldwide. It's not going to be confined to one or two targets, let's say, in the Gulf, but it will include a lot of U.S. and other interests throughout the world.
DOUGHERTY: And a U.S. official tells CNN on that explosion, that it probably wasn't the safest facility, but it's still unclear exactly what did cause that explosion, and they continue to look into it -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jill. Thanks very much. An important story developing, obviously, in Iran.
We're also getting a new statement in from the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. We'll have that for you.
Jack Cafferty's asking, "When do you think the job market will improve?" His e-mail is coming up.
And what do you do when your iPhone breaks? One man called 911. That's a story for Jeanne Moos.
BLITZER: We are just getting a statement in from the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, on the reopening under certain circumstances to Zuccotti Park, the base of the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Among other things, the mayor says, "The city has the ultimate responsibility to protect public health and safety, and we will continue to ensure that everyone can express themselves in New York City. Zuccotti Park will remain open to all who want to enjoy it, as long as they abide by the park's rules."
And the mayor is making it clear, no tents, no tarps, no prolonged stays overnight, nothing along those lines, including generators.
We'll stay on top of this story, but let's go back to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
CAFFERTY: The question is: When do you think the job market is going to improve?
Cal in California writes, "We only have to look at history to answer this question. The trend of every previous recession is that each has taken longer to recover than the one before it. Middle class jobs are always the last thing to come back. If past trending holds true, we won't see a true jobs recovery until 2013."
Brad in Oregon writes, "Unfortunately, I don't think the job market's going to improve substantially. I think this is the new normal. Outsourcing, globalization has wiped out a lot of jobs in the U.S. for good. Corporations will do the work wherever it's cheapest, and we just can't compete with the a dollar-a-day third-world wages."
Richard writes in Ohio, "Things are slowly improving in northeastern Ohio. Youngstown-Girard-Warren are anticipating growth from a new steel mill and from drilling for natural gas. The spin-off jobs from these will also create jobs within one to one-and-a-half years."
Raj in Toronto writes, "As soon as the government gets out of the way. Every time the Federal Reserve chairman, the president, or somebody in Congress makes a statement, the market crashes. I suggest they let the free markets work, no more corporatism, and much more Ron Paul."
Larry in Boston writes, "When companies see some consistency from Washington, D.C., and some leadership to address the spiraling deficit spending, we'll see jobs return. When citizens see their elected leaders dealing with problems on a shared basis, we'll see jobs return. When we have term limits in Congress and publicly-financed elections, we'll see jobs return."
In other words, never.
And Lou writes, "The job market will return when the politicians and media quit scaring everybody into believing the sky is falling. It's all a cycle. People are scared, so they quit buying, which accounts for the largest chunk of our economy. Less buying scares businesses, so they stop hiring."
"To break out of the cycle, we need some long periods of good reports, and they're out there. We're all getting tired of the constant gloom and doom."
If you want to read more about this, go to my blog, CNN.com/caffertyfile, or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM'S Facebook page -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jack, see you tomorrow. Thank you.
An Illinois man may have taken drunk dialing to a new level. Jeanne Moos is next.
BLITZER: A man dials 911 for help with his iPhone, but instead of advice, he gets arrested.
Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, if your iPhone doesn't work, it's practically an i-mergency.
DISPATCHER: Do you have an emergency, sir?
MICHAEL SKOPEC, DIALED 911 WHEN IPHONE BROKE: Yes, I do. My emergency is my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) phone don't work.
MOOS: Forty-eight-year-old Michael Skopec was so upset with his iPhone, that he called 911 in Kendall County, Illinois.
SKOPEC: How about I smash this phone on the floor? OK? Why can't I dial the numbers I used to be able to dial?
DISPATCHER: I do not know that.
MOOS (on camera): Skopec didn't call 911 once, he didn't call twice. He called five times.
(voice-over): Call number one --
DISPATCHER: You're tying up a phone line.
SKOPEC: I know. I know I'm doing that, but it ain't my fault. It's (EXPLETIVE DELETED) AT&T's fault.
MOOS: And here's how call number two ended --
SKOPEC: Thank you. God (EXPLETIVE DELETED) yourself.
DISPATCHER: OK. You have a good night, sir.
MOOS (on camera): Now, Skopec did have a reason for calling 911. He said it was the only number his phone could dial.
(voice-over): By call number three, the dispatcher was still remarkably patient, considering police described Skopec as appearing intoxicated.
DISPATCHER: The best bet is to probably either go to an AT&T store or --
SKOPEC: Well, how about I just blow this phone up?
MOOS: Hey, you can't scare an iPhone with threats. They've even been blended.
By Skopec's fourth call, the dispatcher tried getting his address.
DISPATCHER: We can have an officer come out, and maybe he can help you.
SKOPEC: He can't help me.
DISPATCHER: How do you know?
SKOPEC: Because they'll shoot me with a gun.
MOOS: By call number five, the dispatcher's just about had it.
SKOPEC: You mean you're going to waste a police officer's time to come out?
DISPATCHER: Well, you're wasting my time, sir.
SKOPEC: Well, it's easier to waste your time than the police officer.
DISPATCHER: Why is it easier to waste my time?
MOOS: As for the idea of sending an officer --
SKOPEC: Well, that's pretty dumb.
DISPATCHER: On whose part?
MOOS: His final words to the dispatcher --
SKOPEC: All right. Whatever. Go to hell.
DISPATCHER: You're really a very nice person, sir.
MOOS (on camera): When police arrived, they arrested Skopec for obstructing an officer, even if Skopec probably thought the iPhone was obstructing him.
DISPATCHER: Have you been drinking tonight, sir?
SKOPEC: No. I'm just not very smart.
MOOS (voice-over): Unlike his phone.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
SKOPEC: What the hell's wrong with my phone?
MOOS: -- New York.
BLITZER: And that's it for me. Thanks for watching.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The news continues next on CNN.