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THE SITUATION ROOM
White House Shooting Suspect Arrested; Occupy Wall Street Protesters Return; Is Cain the Anti-Women Candidate?; "Occupy" Protesters Plan Next Move; From Tahrir Square to Wall Street; Perry Ad Slams Obama; Bachmann Ad Slams GOP Rivals; Will Gingrich Baggage Affect Campaign?; Mysterious Markings in Chinese Desert
Aired November 16, 2011 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: A suspect is arrested in the White House shooting incident after two bullets are found outside the mansion, one of them stopped by bulletproof glass.
Occupy Wall Street protesters are back on the scene a day after their eviction from a New York City park. Did the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, hand the movement a victory? I'll speak with "The New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof.
And mysterious markings in the Chinese desert. We're trying to solve the puzzle posed by these strange satellite images.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
After a widespread manhunt and urgent searches for evidence on the White House grounds, a suspect has now been arrested in the White House shooting incident. That comes five days after shots rang out and a day after bullets were found outside the presidential mansion, one stopped by bulletproof glass.
Let's get the very latest from CNN's Athena Jones. She's over at the White House.
Athena, what is the latest?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
The Secret Service says that ever since Friday there has been a national lookout for this suspect, Oscar Ortega-Hernandez. He had been known to have visited the area around Indiana, Pennsylvania, and so after distributing some fliers with his pictures on it to hotels in the area, authorities got a tip.
JONES: Pennsylvania State Police arrested Oscar Ortega-Hernandez in a Hampton Inn in the town of Indiana, about 65 miles outside Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon. The 21-year-old is suspected of firing at the White House at around 9:00 Friday night from Constitution Avenue, about 700 to 800 yards away while the president was traveling.
The Secret Service says two bullets were found on the south side of the White House Tuesday morning. The investigation continued Wednesday with agents scouring the White House grounds and the White House roof. One round penetrated a historic window, but was stopped by a second layer of bulletproof glass. Police believe Ortega- Hernandez fired shots from a semiautomatic rifle, then fled in his vehicle, which authorities found abandoned about five minutes later.
SGT. DAVID SCHLOSSER, U.S. PARK POLICE: The United States Park Service recovered a vehicle that had crashed. This vehicle was found on Constitution Avenue west of 23rd Street. After the vehicle was recovered, our detectives and crime scene investigators recovered some evidence from the vehicle and this information led to a suspect that we would like to speak with.
JONES: Police found the rifle and shell casings inside the car. A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation says authorities have made a preliminary conclusion that the rounds found at the White House came from that rifle. They are awaiting ballistics tests to confirm that. After talking with families and friends, authorities say they believe the suspect has -- quote -- "a direction of interest in the White House or the president."
JOHN TOMLINSON, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: It's a high-visibility target from anybody who would like to impact the office of the presidency or the president or his guests.
JONES: Ortega-Hernandez has a criminal history in Idaho, Texas and Utah, including drug and alcohol violations and resisting arrest. Police in Arlington, Virginia, across the river from the Capitol stopped the suspect on foot earlier on Friday, hours before the shooting, because he was acting suspiciously. They released him after snapping these photos.
JONES: Now, the suspect is being held at the state police station there in Indiana, Pennsylvania. That's about halfway between Altoona and Pittsburgh.
We're still awaiting word on when can expect to see him make a court appearance -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Athena, thanks very much.
Sort of reminded me by the way back in October of 1994, when I was covering the White House, there was a shooting incident on the north side of the White House. It was pretty frightening -- 20 or 30 rounds actually went in. No one was hurt, but it was pretty scary at that moment as well.
Let's get to the Penn State University child sex abuse investigation. One of the key figures is out trying to clarify his role. The assistant football coach Mike McQueary has been sharply criticized for his actions after witnessing the former coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly raping a young boy in the locker room shower.
CNN's Sarah Hoye is joining us now from University Park in Pennsylvania for more.
Sarah, what is Mike McQueary actually saying?
SARAH HOYE, CNN ALL PLATFORM CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
According to an e-mail obtained by the "Morning Call" newspaper, McQueary tells a former classmate, and I'm going to quote this -- he says, "I did stop it, not physically, but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room."
He then says he did report it. And also in that same e-mail, he goes on to say he had discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police.
Now, CBS caught up with him McQueary at his house and I believe we have some sound from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE MCQUEARY, ASSISTANT COACH, PENN STATE: This process has to play out. I just don't have anything else to say.
ARMEN KETEYIAN, CBS NEWS: OK. And then just one last thing. Just describe your emotions right now.
MCQUEARY: All over the place. Just kind of shaken.
MCQUEARY: Crazy. Yes.
KETEYIAN: You said what, like a?
MCQUEARY: Snow globe.
KETEYIAN: Like a snow globe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOYE: And speaking of crazy emotions, the mother of the first victim that kicked this whole investigation off against Jerry Sandusky was heard on "Good Morning America" last week. She's livid with Penn State officials and also coming on the heels behind the fact that Sandusky was on "Bob Costas" earlier this week on NBC. Now we do have sound from that mother as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He definitely shouldn't have showered with those kids. It was sickening. I mean, I don't know anybody, anybody who when somebody's like 50, would get in a shower naked with a 10-year- old. It makes me really mad that my son can't go out and have a normal life. He can't go out and hang out at the mall, because he might run into Jerry.
He gets to go to the mall and shop and do whatever he wants to do. That aggravates me. He should be in jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOYE: So, Wolf, this investigation continues. It is nowhere close to being over -- back to you.
BLITZER: What are folks on the campus, the students especially, and you have been speaking to them for days now, but what is the latest? what are they saying about these late-breaking developments?
HOYE: Well, there's a lot of conflict on campus, actually. On some sides, you have people who are adamant supporters of the decisions that were made to get rid of those Penn State officials. And on the other hand, you have folks who are upset with the fact that Joe Paterno's gone, Sandusky's being come down upon.
There's a lot of emotion here. There's a lot of people on different sides of the aisle. And the other thing, too, there's a number of students, there were two big events today run by students that really want to focus on the victims of abuse. So, there are students here that especially before they break for Thanksgiving want to make sure the focus is on the victims.
So, like any college campus, it's across the board -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're just learning, Sara, that the preliminary hearing for those two Penn State officials who have actually been charged December 6, just announced a few moments ago.
We will stay on top of this story. Sarah Hoye joining us.
There you see the pictures, Gary Schultz and Timothy Curley, their preliminary hearing will be December 6.
Jack Cafferty is joining us right now with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: It was only a matter of time, I suppose.
It always is. With Newt Gingrich suddenly rising in the polls big time, his opponents are beginning to make an issue of his personal baggage, the tabloid stuff, like the fact that the former House speaker is on his third marriage and is an admitted adulterer.
Politico reports there's a flyer circulating in Iowa from a group called Christian Leaders in Government.
Among other things, it asks -- quote -- "If Newt Gingrich can't be faithful to his wife, how can we trust him to be faithful to conservative voters?" -- unquote.
Airing a candidate's dirty laundry is nothing new, especially in the primaries in the early-voting states.
"The Christian Science Monitor" reports that while there have been several presidents who were unfaithful to their wives, Ronald Reagan is the only one who was divorced. And Gingrich has both those strikes against him, unfaithful and divorced.
Experts say Gingrich will have to address his personal past, but some think that the voters aren't likely to dwell on it. Like him or not, Gingrich is a pretty smart guy who might be the most capable of the current GOP batch when it comes to dealing with the issues we face. The bar isn't exactly high.
Plus, half the Americans get divorced these days. If every politician who has been unfaithful left office, Washington would be a ghost town.
Not everyone thinks it's not that big a deal, though. A columnist at Salon.com writes that Gingrich -- quote -- "committed so many political and ethical transgressions that his baggage has baggage" -- unquote.
Gingrich is twice divorced. He left his first wife after her cancer treatment and he left his second wife for a staffer.
Gingrich says he expects questions about his three marriages and his infidelities. He insists he's happily married though and that he has reconciled all of this with God.
Here's the question: How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment there or go to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf?
BLITZER: There's another story that we're following related to Newt Gingrich, Jack, this $1.6 million that has now been reported that he took from Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, the federal mortgage giant that's in deep financial trouble itself right now, over the years.
Brian Todd is going to working that story. I suspect you have been looking into it as well. Our own Lisa Sylvester reported on it earlier in the week, but that's probably going to be an issue in this Republican contest. So many Republicans hate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
CAFFERTY: Well, and rightfully so. What, did they just get through with saying they need about $7 billion or $8 billion of taxpayers' money? This thing is one of the big parasites on the taxpayers' wallet. And I think Gingrich worked as a consultant for them over a period of time and so no doubt was compensated handsomely, as most of the people who work for that agency seem to be.
BLITZER: Yes, $1.6 million is compensated handsomely. There's no doubt about that.
I think we're talking about more than $100 billion that Fannie and Freddie have needed from all of us taxpayers...
CAFFERTY: Over time.
BLITZER: ... over the years, that's right. And they're still losing tons and tons of money. But just the other day, they announced they're giving bonuses to some of their top executives who already make a $900,000-a-year salary. But they're going to be giving some fat bonuses.
CAFFERTY: And their argument for the bonuses was if we don't pay these millions of dollars in bonuses, we can't attract qualified people to run an agency that is arguably so far in the red that you're going to have to pipe them daylight.
I mean, what kind of qualified executives do you have to have to run something into the ground as far as they Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been run into the ground?
BLITZER: I suspect this is an issue that Newt Gingrich is going to have to deal with as well. As I said, Brian Todd's investigating. He will more in the next hour. Jack, thank you.
He's definitely anti-Washington, but is Herman Cain also anti-woman? He's made some controversial remarks about Nancy Pelosi, Michele Bachmann. We're taking a look at the possible impact all of this could have on women voters.
And kicked out of their flagship camp, Occupy Wall Street protesters are forced to regroup. We're going to talk about all the latest developments with "The New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof. He spent some time there as well.
BLITZER: After a series of some significant stumbles along the campaign trail, Herman Cain today traveled to Florida, trying to regain some momentum.
Cain may overcome recent embarrassments like his bungled answer to a question about Libya, but his biggest challenge may be an issue that doesn't seem to be going away: women.
Lisa Sylvester has the details -- Lisa.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Herman Cain has had a steep drop off in the polls. He faces allegations of sexual harassment. But there are also recent controversial comments he has made.
(voice-over): This is how Herman Cain referred to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We didn't hear about it in the previous Congress because Princess Nancy sent it to committee.
SYLVESTER: This week, when "G.Q." reporters pressed him on what kind of ice cream flavor would describe Republican contender Michele Bachmann, Cain said tutti-frutti. Cain has marketed himself as the anti Washington candidate, but some see him as the anti-women candidate.
CNN contributor Donna Brazile says he has a credibility problem with women.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Herman Cain doesn't understand that women are the majority of the electorate. They are the majority of the voters. And they will determine who the Republican nominee is, as well as the next president of the United States.
SYLVESTER: Cain walked back from the "Princess Nancy" comment saying, quote, "I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my remark. I look forward to calling her by her correct title, Minority Leader Pelosi."
On the tutti-frutti controversy, his campaign responded, saying, quote, "It was a rapid-fire lighthearted interview. He was asked to compare the candidates to ice cream flavors. He said he would be black walnut and Romney -- vanilla. America needs to get a sense of humor."
But the issue runs deeper. The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza has been accused of sexual harassment by four women dating back to when he was the president of the National Restaurant Association, allegations he denies, but are now hurting his campaign.
According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, 61 percent of women see the charges against him as a serious issue, 58 percent of women believe his accusers are telling the truth, only 24 percent side with Cain.
He took his damage control efforts to late night TV. One of Cain's accusers is being represented by famed attorney, Gloria Allred. On the Jimmy Kimmel show, Cain made an off-color joke about Allred.
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Have you considered hiring Gloria Allred as your attorney?
CAIN: You almost made me say something that my handlers say you should not say.
CAIN: Let me put it to you this way: I can't think of anything I would hire her to do, OK? I can't think of a thing.
JENNIFER LAWLESS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: It's one thing to try to relate to people and demonstrate that you're not the average politician. But it's another thing to do that by using statements that are overtly sexist.
SYLVESTER: But a spokesman for Cain said, quote, "He's a gentleman, and respects everyone -- men and women." A sentiment echoed by Cain's wife of 43 years, who was responding to the sexual harassment allegations.
GLORIA CAIN, WIFE OF HERMAN CAIN: I know Herman Cain and I know he has -- he has always had too much respect for women to treat them in any type of negative way. That wasn't a part of his being.
SYLVESTER: So, how is this being received by Republican women voters? The president of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, Maureen Olsen, had this to say: quote, "Herman Cain needs to be more careful before speaking. He is a very engaging speaker, it's easy for him to get caught in the moment and not to sensor himself" -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Lisa, thank you. Lisa Sylvester reporting.
U.S. Marines Down Under. Details of a new deal to base thousands of them in Australia.
And Google Earth reveals a mystery in the Chinese desert -- what's going on? We're investigating.
BLITZER: We're just getting this in: Penn State University and the latest developments there, a new judge has been assigned to the case. The case involving the commonwealth of Pennsylvania versus Gerald Sandusky, the assistant coach accused of child sex abuse.
The new judge, Judge Leslie Dutchcot -- excuse me, the new judge is Robert Scott, who will replace Leslie Dutchcot. There had been a motion to try to get rid of Leslie Dutchcot because of her ties to that Second Mile, which Gerald Sandusky used to be deeply involved with, one of the organizers of that charity. She is the one, the old judge who granted $100,000 bail to Sandusky. Some thought that was too low.
So, she is now being replaced by Robert Scott, appointed. He's a senior judge of Westmoreland County, the county where Penn State University is located. That's just coming in.
Other important news we're monitoring, Deb Feyerick is checking some of the top stories for us in THE SITUATION ROOM.
What else is going on, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as many as 2,500 U.S. Marines will be based in Australia in an agreement revealed today by President Obama and the Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The announcement came in a joint news conference in the capital Canberra where Mr. Obama will address the Australian parliament tomorrow.
And tornado watches are up right now in parts of the Southeast as severe weather associated with a cold front rolled across that region. It caused several suspected tornados early this morning in Louisiana and Mississippi. No one was hurt but homes in both states were damaged.
Well, Chrysler says it's pumping $1.7 billion into the Toledo, Ohio, assembly plant, some of his popular Jeep SUVs are made. The company says by 2013, it will add more than 1,100 new jobs at the facility with the addition of a second shift. Ohio Governor John Kasich was on hand for the announcement.
Take a look at this -- a wall of flames ripped across an area in southeast Ohio today after a major natural gas pipeline exploded. Three buildings reportedly caught fire. One person was hospitalized with respiratory problems. It's unclear what triggered the explosion along the Tennessee gas pipeline. Investigation is underway -- Wolf.
WOLF: Deb, thanks very much.
Evicted from their urban camp site, Occupy Wall Street protesters planning their next move, but did the New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg actually hand them a victory? We'll speak about all of that with Nick Kristof of "The New York Times."
And Rick Perry unveils a new attack ad slamming President Obama by using the president's own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's what our president thinks is wrong with America?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer.
Here are some of the stories we're working on for our next hour:
The Syrian army deserters are saying they've attacked an important government security complex. We're digging deeper into the self- proclaimed Syrian free army, as it's called.
Also, CNN now confirms reports that Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was paid well more than a million dollars to advise the troubled money-losing mortgage giant, Freddie Mac.
Plus, my interview with another Republican presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman. His rivals, like Rick Perry and Herman Cain are rising and falling. So, why can't Huntsman campaign get off the ground? Stand by for that live interview.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: A day after they were driven out of a park in Manhattan, Occupy Wall Street protesters are back on the scene today, but they are no longer able to camp out there. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is joining us from New York with a closer look at what might be next -- Deb.
FEYERICK: Well, you know, Wolf, there's no longer a central gathering place. That community that sprang up overnight is gone, and the reality is, it's going to be very tough for people to live exposed to all the elements. Today, it was very rainy and very cold. There's no protection.
But, still, ask anyone from Occupy Wall Street, they'll tell you, the fight is far from over.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Several dozen determined and resilient Occupy Wall Street demonstrators returned to Zuccotti Park, some 24 hours after police in riot gear tore down the group's encampment.
(on camera): Do you think that's going to interrupt your movement?
NICHOLAS DEMONES, OCCUPY WALL STREET: Martin Luther King didn't need a tent. Gandhi didn't need a tent. I don't see why I should have a tent.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Tents, tarps and items like sleeping bags were banned by the New York Supreme Court following the eviction. Tensions ran high between the protesters and private security guards, new on scene and tightly controlling Zuccotti Park.
One man was arrested after trying to diffuse an argument with another protester.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is there so much fear and hostility to people in a park, speaking their mind politically?
FEYERICK: Away from the park, Occupy Wall Street press officer Mark Bray said a number of working groups were busy planning what they called Thursday's national and international day of action, signalling two months since the start of the protest.
MARK BRAY, "OCCUPY WALL STREET" PRESS: Yes, we're re-grouping. We're getting our infrastructure back in order. We're getting in touch with our allies around the community for tomorrow, which is going to be our return to glory.
FEYERICK: Protesters hope to breach Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, which until now has remained a frozen zone with heavy police presence.
They then plan to walk to city hall and across the Brooklyn Bridge as they did when demonstrations first started. They'll also head to major subway hubs to build additional support.
(on camera): Are you worried that if people don't come back, then the movement will have been for nothing? STEPHEN BOYER, OCCUPY WALL STREET: No, the movement was definitely not for nothing. I don't think that it's going to suck now. I'm pretty sure that people are coming back. We've changed the national dialogue. We are elevating consciousness.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Demonstrators are now deciding where to go next, where ever they set up police will quickly follow. People like university professor, William Scott, say it's worth it.
WILLIAM SCOTT, OCCUPY WALL STREET: It's important to show, to keep a presence in the park. What this eviction will do is strengthen the resolve of people to be here, to feel stronger as a community.
FEYERICK: Now, I asked the spokesman now that everyone's gathered. Whether this might lead to more of a political movement and he told me, no, it's a social movement. It's open everyone. They are however looking for a new space preferably both indoors and outdoors -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, as it gets colder, the indoor sounds pretty good. Deb, thank you.
After their eviction from the park, some protesters tried to occupy another plaza in lower Manhattan, but police soon foiled that attempt. The "New York Times" columnist, Nicholas Kristof followed the protesters. He tweeted about yesterday's showdowns and then produced this video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES" (voice-over): Today, I found myself in Duarkay Park in downtown Manhattan. The "Occupy Wall Street" protesters had moved there after being cleared overnight from Zuccotti Park.
Now New York City has legitimate concerns about sanitation of safety of the protests, but what came next seems over the top.
(on camera): The police have come here. They've ordered everybody out. The protesters did not leave. The police have moved in a bus.
(voice-over): The police began arresting people, including a few journalists, and put them on a bus to take away. Very quickly, the park was simply empty.
(on camera): To me, this is another effort by Mayor Bloomberg at time when "Occupy Wall Street" was facing huge challenges from winter weather. He's managed to revive it and give it a good shot in the arm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And Nick Kristof is joining us now from New York. Nick, why are you so critical of the way the mayor has been handling this entire "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration? KRISTOF: Well, I think that even just from his point of view, that he was trying to undercut it and in fact, I think he ended up giving it a huge energy boost. The movement was facing huge challenges from the weather and from the fact that frankly, Zuccotti Park was alienating a lot of local people.
There were real, you know, security problems, drug problems, all the rest. I think that by going in with this huge police force, the fact is, he's a billionaire mayor and I think that tends to feed in this narrative of disenfranchisement and kind of marginalization that released a huge frustration.
I bet that tomorrow, we're going to see a lot bigger protests because of that eviction than we would have otherwise.
BLITZER: Well, how should he have handled that eviction? Because he was pointing and other city officials and the owners of the park were pointing to health problems, violence, all sorts of issues going on. How should he have handled it?
KRISTOF: Well, I think he should have waited until the weather kind of undermined the enthusiasm. Look, I mean, there are real problems with noise, with sanitation, with security.
But if you look around New York City, there are frankly a lot of places with issues of noise, and security and you don't see thousands of police officers gathered around those locations.
To me, it just seemed a -- just a handed effort that is going to be counterproductive and at every stage along the way, "Occupy Wall Street" has benefitted. I think it's going to benefit from it once more.
BLITZER: So, give us a little sense of how you think it's going to move, the entire movement over the next few weeks and months.
KRISTOF: Well, I think that tomorrow will be a real test of that. How many people can be mustered, but I think that there certainly is a feeling within the movement that to some degree, they should declare a victory and move on.
The achievement out of "Occupy Wall Street" doesn't have to be with a little bit of real estate in downtown Manhattan. It has to do with putting the issue of income and equality on the national agenda.
And that is an astonishing achievement and if they can, you know, maintain that, that is an often lot more important than the specific territory that they hold, whether in Manhattan or Oakland or anywhere else.
BLITZER: As you know, some of the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters say they were inspired by what happened in Cairo in Tahrir Square when protesters against the Mubarak government were occupying that square.
You were there. We were talking about it at that time. Do you see any length between what happened in Cairo elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East and what's happening in New York right now?
KRISTOF: You know, I think there are a couple of parallels. I don't want to overdo it because, you know, obviously in Tahrir, you had the authorities opening fire. The reaction here has been obviously infinitely more tolerant.
But in terms of what drives the protesters, I think there is a similar sense of just deep frustration, a sense of disenfranchisement with the system.
A sense that the political economic system is skewed against ordinary people and also, just a little bit of hope that maybe by going out and protesting, one can perhaps bring about a bit of change.
And I think that one lesson that the "Occupy Wall Street" people need to absorb is that those protests abroad had an impact in part because they had real demands on the political system.
One of the problems I think for "Occupy Wall Street" is that the demands have been very vague and it's a little unclear what specifically they would like to see.
BLITZER: At Nick Kristof on Twitter, you should follow him if you aren't yet. You'll get some good information. Nick, thanks very much.
KRISTOF: My pleasure.
BLITZER: Rick Perry goes after President Obama. Michele Bachmann goes after Perry and the rest of the Republican rivals. We're taking a closer look at some interesting new campaign ads. That's coming up in our "Strategy Session."
And mysterious markings in the middle of nowhere revealed by Google earth. What are these odd giant shapes in the Chinese desert?
BLITZER: Into presidential politics right now in our "Strategy Session," joining us, our CNN political contributor, the Democratic strategist, Paul Begala and the Republican strategist, Ed Rollins. He's a former Michele Bachmann campaign manager.
Don't know what your official title was, but something along those lines. Let's talk about what's going on right now. First, I want to play a new Rick Perry ad that has just come out. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We've been a little lazy over the last couple of decades.
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you believe that? That's what our president thinks wrong with America. That Americans are lazy. That's pathetic. It's time to clean house in Washington. It's time for a balanced budget amendment that forces Washington to stop overspending. Congress balks, cut their pay. Send them home. Obama's socialist policies are bankrupting America. We must stop him now. I'm Rick Perry. I approve this message
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's be fair to the president of the United States. Here's what he actually said. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture.
But you know, we've been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades. We kind of take it for granted. Well, people would want to come here and we aren't out there hungry selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, let's go to Paul first. Paul and Ed for that matter, both of you have been involved in ads. What do you think about A, the accuracy of the Rick Perry ad?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I have a very low bar frankly for political ads. It's accurate enough. You know, the president, I don't think should probably ever say America's got lazy. He didn't really say it.
It's not really fair, but as the unfairness of political ads goes, to me, it's within the ditches. My problem with it more is the strategy. It's an anti-Obama ad. Well, every Republican candidate is against Obama.
I just don't think Rick Perry or anybody else can top the others into who hates Obama more. It's silly to call the president of the United States a socialist. It's ridiculous. It's not strategic either.
Rick Perry needs to draw distinctions with his Republican opponents before he starts messing with Barack Obama. Don't forget, in my party, when Bush was seeking re-election, Howard Dean was the most anti-Bush candidate in the field. He only won Vermont and D.C. You got to have more than just saying I hate Barack Obama.
BLITZER: You know, Ed, that a lot of his supporters on the left, the liberal base of the Democratic Party, think he's been the opposite of socialist. They think he's been way to close to Wall Street.
ED ROLLINS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR REAGAN: Well, everybody has their own view, but I think the critical view here is, he's got to be out selling America. He's the president of the United States, and not calling Americans lazy. We've had some tremendous individuals, particularly our military and others over the last decade. I think that's wrong. The issue I have with that commercial is that the second part's not accurate.
Mr. Perry came out yesterday and talked about cutting the salary of Congress and sending them home. Have a part time legislature like you have in Texas and I just would say they ought to go read the constitution, the first article deals with the Congress.
They get to have their own power. They're separate entity and they get to set their own salaries. The third article is the judiciary, second is what's about him.
Go read that, try to interpret that and I think the key thing here is he's got to project himself. He's got to project more strength and what's going to do to create jobs and what have you.
BLITZER: Let's take a look at another ad. This one from Michele Bachmann and Ed used to work for Michele Bachmann's campaign. She's going of the conservative credentials of her Republican rivals. Look at this.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ultimately gets down to a choice that family or that mother has to make.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your policy towards Iran is if they want to develop a nuclear weapon, that's their right.
RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why wouldn't it be natural if they might want a weapon? What's so terribly bad about this?
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you say we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there, I don't think you have a heart.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY HOUSE LEADER: I'm Nancy Pelosi.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Newt Gingrich.
PELOSI: Together, we can do this.
CAIN: China has indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability.
ROMNEY: You did support an individual mandate?
ROMNEY: Got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation. I don't line up 100 percent with the NRA.
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Commerce, education and the -- oops.
BLITZER: Don't settle in surprises. That's Michele Bachmann's line right now. Paul, how did you like that ad?
BEGALA: It's great. It's the best Republican ad I've seen and not just because -- it's because each one of those things was fair. None of them was out of context in an unfair way. Those are the positions or the gaffes of the other candidates.
None of those attacks were about people's personal lives. Nothing about the allegations about Mr. Cain when he ran the restaurant association, nothing about, you know, maybe personal attacks on Newt Gingrich, as some tried to make.
I thought it was fair, factual and a public record that is my kind of negative ad. Go, Michele.
BLITZER: What do you think about Michele Bachmann's ad, Ed?
ROLLINS: Let me make two comments. One, I have great affection for Michele and I think she's the best retail politician out there in Iowa. Iowa's about ground game. Iowa's about retail politics and she's the best. That's her skill.
This is an internet ad. I agree with Paul. It spells the differences between the candidates all above her, but at the end of the day, it's also something about Iowa who we found out last time.
Romney absolutely bombarded Mike Huckabee's campaign I chaired and it's a backlash. Iowans don't like negative ads. Now, if you are spending millions of dollars to get this on TV, maybe it would be effective, but it's internet.
So you get all the negatives for basically going negative as opposed to really have the impact. But as far as, it's a decent ad.
BLITZER: But very quickly, Ed. If Iowa was all about retail politics going door to door if you will, why isn't Rick Santorum doing better? He's been in all 99 counties. He spent more time there I think than anyone.
ROLLINS: Well, he doesn't have an organization. He doesn't have resources. I think to a certain extent, he and Huntsman have been at the bottom of the poll. At the end of the day, Iowans want to vote for somebody who can go beyond Iowa.
What people said to me about Huckabee, if he came back and run this time. Great, he won Iowa last time. We need a candidate who can win all the way, which he might have been able to do this time. So my sense is they judge early on Santorum was not going to be a winner or finalist and ultimately, that's to his detriment.
BLITZER: Ed Rollins, Paul Begala, guys, thank you. It may not be paying off in the polls, but Republican candidate Jon Huntsman is doing things his way. He's standing by to join us live, next hour.
And mysterious markings in the Chinese desert. We're going to solve the puzzle post by these bizarre satellite images.
BLITZER: Jack Cafferty's back with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is how much will Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House? Now that he's rising in the polls, of course, they're digging around and digging up all that stuff.
Jerry in Arizona writes, "The importance of Newt Gingrich's baggage seems to be diminishing more and more with each debate. People are putting more value into his ability to find solutions to our problems better than his previous marital problems. He may have flunked marriage, but he certainly seems to have a grasp of government."
John writes, "I think all the grownups in the room understand that all candidates probably have some personal baggage. It's just that some is currently public record. None of the Republican candidates are my personal favorite.
But I would swim through shark infested waters bleeding and half dead in order to cast one vote for any of them to replace Obama. Newt's past doesn't bother me at all compared to Obama's present."
Fran in California, "Newt has more baggage than a 747. There isn't one Democrat who will vote for him and when independents and moderate Republicans learn of mean and crazy background, they will not think of voting for him either.
He won't make it to that point, so I don't think we'll have to worry about him. He will join Trump, Bachmann, Palin, Perry, Cain and Santorum in the Looney bin."
I think Fran might be a Democrat. Benjamin on Facebook, "Hell will freeze over before Gingrich wins the nomination. Gingrich's baggage goes beyond cheating on wives. He is everything Washington." Brian writes, "I don't know of anyone who doesn't have a skeleton or two in the closet, neither do I know of anyone who hasn't changed his mind over time. In short, I think that Newt has worked through all the problems and will be our best conservative presidential hopeful."
And Nell writes, "Jack, you think he would have considerable influence since he's a Republican, you know, the party of family values. But the Republicans are still looking for anyone who knows where Libya is."
If you want to read more on this, go to my blog cnn.com/caffertyfile or to our post on THE SITUATION ROOM'S Facebook page. Wolf, you know where Libya is, right? BLITZER: North Africa, some place up there.
CAFFERTY: There you go.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Satellite images show a number of mysterious markings in the middle of a vast Chinese desert. Some clearly seemed to be buildings, others are just bizarre.
CNN's Chad Myers is joining us now. He's ready to track, take a closer look at cracking or solving this mystery. What do we know about what's going on in the Chinese desert, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, we know, Wolf, that they're not ancient because we can go back on old Google earth images and see that some of these images, some of these things were built around 2005.
Zoom you right into the Gobi Desert and this is what some looking at Google earth images have found, lines, lots of lines. Now I'm going to take you back about five or six more years, you'll see that the lines aren't finished yet. So, you know that some ancient aliens civilization didn't do this.
So this was 2005. We'll zoom in. This is when they were either painting or maybe putting some limestone down, some kind of line here like a -- maybe like a baseball foul line and that's where the park and where they were using it.
There's another one off to the west. It seems a little bit older like the line is kind of gone away or the white paint has washed away. The difference being, this is another off to the east, maybe a picture of a runway or something, but no one really knows.
The issue is, we have some pretty decent opinions of what's going on, is that these are lines in the sand, literally, that satellites will look down and register whether they're taking the right picture or not. Whether they off a little bit or off one way or the other.
Kind of like a registration mark like the marks on the site of an SAT test. When they push it through the machine, push it through the computer, it knows what answers you're doing. Now, we have some of this in the United States. Not quite so, I don't know, technical, I guess.
But NASA uses this out of Texas, LUCKE, a rancher's name. They use that to register some of their NASA satellites every once in a while. So it isn't really something sinister that we think. I've heard people say that maybe it's some place for to lob their missiles.
But we haven't found any indication that anything there is blown up. And some of the other light hearted ones say it's some kind of Chinese driver's education map, but I don't that either, satellite registration.
BLITZER: How big, Chad, of an area are these lines? Are we talking about football field, a bigger area than that? Do you have any sense?
MYERS: Yes, from top to bottom, those lines in China were one mile and from side to side, 3,000 feet. So it's pretty big. Satellites are high in the sky. Satellites, spy satellites, whatever it is, they want to know where they are.
And to know where they are, they'll look down and say, OK, this is what it looks like. This is what it should look like and they line their satellite up to know what they're actually spying on.
BLITZER: I think you solved this mystery for us, Chad. Good work.
MYERS: Sure, Wolf.
BLITZER: We're digging deeper into some new baggage right now, the more than $1 million Newt Gingrich was paid to advise the troubled mortgage giant, Freddie Mac. We have new details coming up at the top of the hour.
BLITZER: More eyebrow raising comments today from Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai. Deborah Feyerick is monitoring that. Some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Deb, what's going on?
FEYERICK: Well, Wolf, Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants limits on what U.S. and NATO troops can and cannot do in his country. Karzai told a meeting of tribal elders from across Afghanistan, quote, "We want our sovereignty," end quote and he compared Afghanistan to a lion adding lions don't like strangers in their house.
Oil prices are back up, topping $100 a barrel for the first time since summer. End up 17 percent in the last month alone. One analyst says it's actually good news, saying it was fear the new U.S. recession that drove oil prices down in recent months, the rising price is a sign of confidence in the economy.
Meanwhile, prices were down last month, the government's consumer price index dropped 1/10 of a percent in October. The news should avoid Wall Street, but stocks took a nosedive late in a day after ratings agency warned U.S. banks could take a big hit if Europe's debt crisis spreads. The Dow was down 190 points -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Deb Feyerick, thank you.