Return to Transcripts main page


Preparing for A Nightmare Scenario; Pentagon Draws Up "Detailed Plans" for Syria; "A Journey Full of Terrors"; Interview With NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen; Three Dead In Ohio School Shooting; Republican Primary in Michigan

Aired February 28, 2012 - 17:05   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S THE SITUATION ROOM: And let's get back to the breaking news right now, major developments in that deadly Ohio shooting, where the death toll has now climbed to three. One of two students who had been hospitalized has been released.

CNN was inside the courtroom for the suspect, made -- it's his his first appearance. We're talking about T.J. Lane, a 17-year-old.

We'll go to our own Martin Savidge in just a minute with newly released 911 tapes of the incident. Stand by for that. That's coming up.

Meanwhile, many schools across the United States have tried to prepare for the worst.

CNN's Brian Todd is working this part of story for us -- Brian, an emotional outpouring on this day.

But tell us what you're finding out.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the top school security official for this county once had to lock down a school because of a similar threat back when he was a police officer. He took us through this elementary school and showed us how students, teachers and administrators can protect themselves if there's a gunman inside.


TODD (voice-over): A nightmare scenario for any school security official. But Michael Blow has some ideas on how to avoid mass casualties if a gunman is inside your school.

(on camera): How do you respond if there are kids all around?

MICHAEL BLOW, SECURITY CHIEF, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY SCHOOLS: Well, I -- I think that that's where the training comes in.

TODD: Blow is head of security for Prince George's County public schools in Maryland, a former deputy police chief who once had to lock down a school. He took us through an elementary school that officials didn't want us to name, showed us what to do if that nightmare unfolds.

(on camera): Exits are obviously key, right?

BLOW: Yes...

TODD: You've got to find...

BLOW: -- yes, they are.

TODD: -- the nearest one?

BLOW: Absolutely. Absolutely. And -- and it's important to be familiar with -- with the building. That's why, again, we encourage just little things, just a building familiarization, just walking the outside of the building so you know if you -- if you leave this particular door, if it comes to a creek or a parking lot or -- or a busy intersection.

TODD (voice-over): Adults and students, he says, have to have that exit awareness. But if you're stuck inside...

(on camera): Michael Blow says while bathrooms may be a tempting place to hide at first, not a good idea. As you can see, a very confined space and usually no way out.

(voice-over): Courtyards, he says, are equally tempting, but also not the best places because they're often enclosed.

(on camera): Michael, if this is a classroom, there's a gunman out there and we've heard shots, we don't know where he is, what do we do?

Do we lock and turn lights off, close windows?


BLOW: Well, certainly, there -- there are a host of things that we would do in an emergency. That would include locking doors to make sure that -- that we are able to fortify that -- that entranceway as -- as best as we can, again, if there are no safe alternatives for evacuating the building. And that way, if someone was to walk by the room, that they wouldn't have an easy sight picture of anyone that is in the room.

TODD (voice-over): Adults in the room, he says, should talk the kids through it as calmly as possible.

(on camera): What about large rooms like gyms?

BLOW: Well, again...

TODD: Would you go in, avoid it?

BLOW: Well, again, there's not a lot of places to conceal yourselves, as you see there. But there's a way to get to the other side of the building. (END VIDEO TAPE)

TODD: Blow didn't want to give away too many preemptive security measures. But he did tell us that some schools in his county use wanding devices to screen students on occasion, when they come in. But he says the best screening is awareness -- awareness of who's troubled, who's being bullied, always having your radar up for that potential assailant -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, what does the security chief say about the idea of confronting the assailant?

TODD: I asked him about that because of what happened in Ohio. He says, you can do that maybe as a -- as a very last measure, maybe if you know the student, if you have a sense that that's the only way that you can protect the other students.

He doesn't advise doing that in, really, any situation unless it is of last resort.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much for that report.

And remember, Martin Savidge is standing by in Ohio for us. He's going through those 911 tapes. We'll go to him live. That's coming up shortly.

But let's turn to the horrible crisis that's unfolding in Syria right now. The total death toll now exceeding a staggering 7,500 people, according to the United Nations. Others estimate that a lot more -- a much higher number already is out there. About 100 people were reportedly killed only today, including three women and two children. That's a number we've come -- come to see almost daily, every single day, in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, we're just learning about potential plans the United States has in place should it decide -- should it decide to take military action against the Syrian government.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us -- Barbara, what can you tell us?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you're exactly right. If the president decides, the Pentagon officials exclusively tell CNN, now would be ready to offer him military options to consider for use against Syria. Much more detailed planning has taken place in recent days on what officials say is a full range of options that could be ready for the president. That includes everything from re-arming the rebels -- not very likely -- humanitarian relief operations, very difficult to do, as well as outright military action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

All of these measures, all very risky politically in the region, militarily for U.S. troops. The nightmare scenario, if they have to go in and protect Syria's chemical sites, chemical weapons sites, if the regime were to fall and security simply disappears everywhere, if civil war breaks out. All of these, now, the Pentagon has what they call "concepts of operations" and a good understanding of the U.S. troops and military units, the U.S. military capabilities they would have to use if they were ordered to undertake one of these options. But, Wolf, at the end of the day, everyone at the Pentagon still hopes sanctions and economic pressure against Bashar al-Assad is what works -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thank you. Meanwhile, a renowned British photographer wounded in an attack that killed two other famous journalists is safe after being smuggled out of Syria through a secret escape route in a deadly rescue operation. It's a path many journalists, including our own CNN correspondents, know very well.

Here's CNN's Arwa Damon.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): The relentless shelling of Homs has led to an ever-growing list of causalities, people whose injuries were beyond the care of the few doctors brave enough to treat them. So activists in Baba Amr made a big and tough decision -- they would try to evacuate those most in need, as well as the four Western journalists trapped in Homs.

It was a journey full of terrors. Only the lucky ones made it to this hospital in Tripoli, Lebanon.

"There was an ambush," Ahmed Spali al-Hamid (ph) says. "All my friends were ambushed. I don't know what happened to them."

And al-Hamid (ph) needed evacuation after being shot in the ankle.

Forty-year-old Abu Maha (ph) was also trying to escape.

"When the army came, I was already in a car waiting," he says. "Suddenly, the night became day. They were firing flares. And then I heard intense gunfire."

Abu Maha says British photographer Paul Conroy was one of the last to get out.

"He was terrified," Abu Maha says. "And then the guys said, 'That's it, no one else is going to get out.'"

Twenty-four-year-old Abu Bakhtan (ph) says that a Spanish journalist, Javier Espinoza, saved his life.

"When the army started firing, I'm wounded. I can't walk. I can't grip anything with my arm," he says. "Javier helped me along, got me into a house and then the people there were able to get me out."

Abu Bakhtan (ph) also tells us that at least seven of the wounded and 13 of the activists trying to help them out were killed. Others were forced to turn around and reenter the hell that Homs has become. Details are difficult to come by, but it seems that Espinoza was unable to get out, nor was injured French journalist, Edith Bouvier, and her colleague, William Daniels.

(on camera): We're not disclosing specific details about the route that everyone is telling us about, but it was the same way that we also recently got in and out of Baba America. I don't have the words to describe just how vital of an artery it was for those still trying to survive inside that neighborhood. It was their lifeline. It was how they got meager medical supplies and food in. And more importantly, it was also how they got the wounded out.

(voice-over): Or at least got some of them out. It seems the Syrian military is ready to target the injured and anyone who would help them.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Tripoli, Lebanon.


BLITZER: So what will it take for NATO to put a stop to the bloodbath in Syria?

I'll ask the NATO chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He's standing by.

Also, dramatic new details about those two U.S. souvice -- service members killed only days ago in Afghanistan.

And we're digging through those chilling 911 tapes just released from that Ohio school shooting.

Stay with us.

Lots of news happening right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, says President Obama's apology over the burning of Korans in Afghanistan was, quote, the right thing to do, but not everybody agrees with her. The president has come under fire for apologizing to Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, for something Obama calls inadvertent and an error.

The Korans that were burned were among religious items seized from an Afghan detainee facility. Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, says the president's apology shows weakness. Santorum says the burning of Korans was a mistake and that the president of the United States should not apologize for something that was unintentional.

Mitt Romney says for many people, President Obama's apology sticks in their throat, seeing that we've lost thousands of troops there. And Newt Gingrich compares Mr. Obama's apology to surrender. Gingrich said Karzai is the one who ought to be apologizing for the deaths of U.S. troops. At least four American troops have been killed in apparent revenge attacks in the last week.

Dozens of Afghans have also been killed, hundreds more have been wounded. The ongoing violence is why Hillary Clinton believes the president's right to try to calm the situation, quote, "it's out of hand and it needs to stop." Clinton adds the ongoing criticism of our president is inflaming the situation in Afghanistan.

So, here's the question, should President Obama have apologized for inadvertent burning of Korans in Afghanistan? Go to and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Jack, thanks very much.

Other news we're watching right now, the two U.S. military officers killed by an Afghan inside, inside Afghanistan's ministry of interior were shot in the back of their heads. That according to a United States official. The bodies of air force Lt. Col. John Loftis, and Army Maj. Robert Marchanti arrived at Dover Air Force Base yesterday in Delaware.

Loftis was a career military man who died only days after his 44th birthday. Marchanti was a teacher in Baltimore County for 17 years before leaving to become a full-time active duty guardsmen. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland grilled the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, this morning about their deaths.


SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI, (D) MARYLAND: I am sorry about the inadvertent burning of the Koran. I can understand the passion about it, but passion and anger is not equivalent to assassination. So, this is really sad, because this man was a public school teacher, who was a physical Ed teacher, who was a big bulky guy.

He worked in the blue-collar schools in Baltimore County. What do I tell his family? Was it worth it? Where are they coming home? What would you say if you have to make the phone call that I'm going to make this afternoon?

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Senator, first, I would express the deep condolences and concerns that I know you will as someone who cares deeply about the people you serve. And there aren't any words that can tell a wife and four children and friends and colleagues why any kind of death in combat in service to our country is explicable.


BLITZER: The top NATO commander in Afghanistan, meanwhile, pulled troops out of all Afghan ministries until a new security series of measures is put into place. Joining us now is the NATO secretary- general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Mr. Secretary General, thanks very much for coming in.

People are outraged here in the United States, and I assume in Europe as well, including Denmark where you're from. What's the point about what NATO is doing in Afghanistan right now, because it seems the Afghan people don't want NATO there any longer?

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: First of all, let me convey my deep felt condolences to the families and loved ones of the service men who lost their lives in Kabul. Nothing can justify these killings. But I do believe that the best way to honor the memory of these brave men is to stay the course and finish our job in Afghanistan in cooperation with our Afghan partners.

BLITZER: What does that mean finish the job, because it sounds like nation building? It's been going on for more than ten years already. U.S. taxpayers are spending $100 billion a year, and it seems like it's going nowhere?

RASMUSSEN: It is going somewhere. Progress has been seen during --

BLITZER: What progress, Secretary General, because if there is progress, we don't see it? We only see deterioration.

RASMUSSEN: Last year, we saw an overall decrease in the number of enemy attacks of nine percent. In the south of Afghanistan, even more, a decrease of 30 percent in the Helmand Province. So, to finish our job means we will continue the gradual handover of elite responsibility for the security to the Afghan security forces.

This process has started. It will be completed by the end of 2014. And from that time on, the Afghans have full responsibility for the security.

BLITZER: Well, when you say progress, Mr. Secretary-General, I say this with all great respect, because I admire you. What does it say when the NATO commander on the ground says no NATO troops, no U.S. troops, European troops, can go into Afghan ministries right now, because they might be shot in the back of their heads like these two U.S. military officers. Is that progress?

RASMUSSEN: This is a temporary measure to make sure that we do all we can to secure our people. They will return as soon as the situation allows. And I would also like to stress that the very tragic incidents we have seen do not define the relationship between ISAF and Afghan security forces.

On a daily basis, 130,000 ISAF troops cooperate with more than 300,000 Afghan security forces and a cooperation based on trust and confidence.

BLITZER: Unfortunately, I see that trust and confidence going away, but let's move to Syria right now, because this is another very troubling moment for NATO and NATO's history, and you're the secretary-general. We know the role that NATO played in saving thousands of lives in Libya when people in Benghazi potentially could have been slaughtered.

NATO went ahead with a no-fly zone, began military operations, provided weapons. What are you doing in Syria? What is NATO doing in Syria right now because thousands of people are getting killed?

RASMUSSEN: It's absolutely outrageous what we are witnessing in Syria, and I strongly condemn the security forces' crackdown on demonstrators in Syria. But Syria and Libya are different societies. And I do believe that a regional solution is the way forward when it comes to Syria. So, NATO has no intention to intervene in Syria.

BLITZER: But Mr. Secretary-General, people are people. People were dying in Libya, you intervened, and you saved a lot of lives. We're talking about the NATO troops. People are dying in big numbers, 7,500 at least, some say a lot more, tens of thousands have been injured, they've been made homeless.

They've been arrested. They've simply been disappeared. What about a NATO -- at least a NATO blockade or a no-fly zone to stop -- to try to do something about what's going on? Is that at all within the realm of possibility?

RASMUSSEN: You're right that our mission in Libya was very successful. We prevented a massacre on the civilian population in Libya, but there is a clear difference. In Libya, we operated on the basis of a clear United Nations mandate, and we got active support from countries (ph) in the region, and none of these conditions are fulfilled when it comes to Syria.

BLITZER: So, doesn't that mean that NATO is impotent as far as saving lives in Syria? NATO has no role. Is that what you're saying?

RASMUSSEN: NATO has no intention to intervene in Syria. Obviously, we monitor the situation closely also because one of our allies, Turkey, is neighboring Syria and may be affected by what is going on in Syria, but I do believe that the right way forward in Syria is a regional solution. And I commend the Arab league for their efforts to find a solution, hopefully, that will bear fruit in a not- too-distant future.

BLITZER: Secretary-General Rasmussen, thanks very much for joining us. I know these are sensitive, difficult issues, very difficult issues for NATO, for, indeed, the entire world, but these questions have to be asked given the slaughter that's under way right now. Appreciate it very much.

RASMUSSEN: You're welcome.

BLITZER: Other stories we're following. Only moments ago, authorities released recordings of those 911 calls from that Ohio school shooting. Standby. We're going to Ohio. Martin Savidge is on the scene for us. You're going to hear those calls.


BLITZER: We're following the breaking news out of Ohio, new developments, important developments in that tragic school shooting yesterday outside of Cleveland. CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us now. Martin, you were in the courtroom today, first of all, walk us through for viewers who are just tuning in, walk us through what happened, what it was like. You saw the suspect in this case.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, this was essentially a juvenile detention hearing, I guess is the best way to describe it, Wolf, and the judge has really just one simple question, to determine whether he should continue to hold this, well accused suspect as a juvenile, or whether to release him to the custody of either his parents or to his guardians. In this particular case it was decided by both the prosecution and by the defense attorney that the young man for his own protection should be held.

The courtroom was packed, lots of local media, lots of national media. There were family members, two aunts and a grandfather that were there for T.J. Lane and then there was T.J. Lane himself. He came in, very sort of downcast wearing a brown shirt, black pants and very soft-spoken, very calm his demeanor as he spoke to the judge and answered the judge's questions. The issue did not come up so much about the charges. Those are going to come later.

But at one point the prosecutor got up and described what happened. The first thing he pointed out was he said that when T.J. Lane was taken into custody that he confessed to the police officer who arrested him. He said that the young man admitted to having a gun and a knife, said that he fired 10 shots, and then this was the key point he made, that he chose his victims randomly.

And now, as a result of that, the prosecutor says this clearly is not a case of say a reaction to bullying and this is not a case revolving around drugs. It is, instead about a child, a young man, who has some very serious problems -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What was his demeanor? They wouldn't let us show pictures, any video, the judge was very specific, no images of the suspect, T.J. Lane, but you saw him.

SAVIDGE: Right. And we're going to bring this point up to the judge tomorrow. Actually the media has a meeting with the judge. We'll talk about this, because well I won't get into that, but the point is the way he looked, he didn't show any emotion. His face -- his attitude remained pretty much the same throughout the whole ordeal. He didn't say a whole lot. He was very quiet and you had to lean forward to actually hear him.

Not the kind of person I guess we might have expected to see, but then do you really know who you're going to see in circumstances like that? He tried to communicate with his family members at sometimes; usually it was just a nod, a gesture, an acknowledgement of the relatives that were in the room. It looked like an aunt at one point wanted to talk further with him, but then he was led out and the proceedings came to an end -- Wolf.

BLITZER: From what I've read about T.J. Lane in various reports and what I've heard on television, he seemed to have been a rather troubled 17-year-old. Do we know if he was on any medication or he had mental issues going into this? You've been looking into this over the past 24 hours since you got there.

SAVIDGE: Right. You know, one of the issues that we have also put forward to the judge is that we would like to know if there are any previous problems he had. Does he have a juvenile record? Of course being a juvenile those reports are usually kept sealed. We've made a request that they be unsealed if they exist. The judge said he'd listen and think about it. He did not acknowledge there were such records, so it's very hard to determine if in fact he has previous problems. We don't know about medications. I did wonder that while he was in the courtroom, but I have no proof.

BLITZER: Martin, hold on for one second.


BLITZER: All right. The authorities in Ohio have now released some of the 911-calls that were made. We've just received them. I'll discuss them with Martin in just a moment, but let's listen to the tape.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Chardon High School, we had shots fired, gunshots, multiple gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Multiple gunshots?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to say over by the gym.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's where it sounded like it came from, the gym/cafeteria area.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what we're thinking.







UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Chardon High School calling. We are in lockdown. We need assistance right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a student with a gun.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what's your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the principal at Chardon again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The alleged shooter ran out the back door down the easement toward the tennis courts past the pool.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Toward the tennis court? OK.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Do you have any description of clothing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have white t-shirt, shaggy dark hair, tall, skinny.


BLITZER: Chilling, chilling phone calls. Martin Savidge is still with us. He's there on the scene. I got just obviously very, very chilled as I could hear the fear in the voices on those 911- calls. The community must be so distraught right now, Martin.

SAVIDGE: You know they are Wolf and just getting back to those calls, those very first calls, those are clearly coming in from the office of the school and what you could tell -- especially in that very first call in the background, if you listen very carefully, you hear the principal of the school on the loudspeaker system announcing we are in lockdown, we are in lockdown. This is very important, because many of the students say they heard the principal say it, of course, what they noted though, because they've done a lot of drills in this school, it was the way he said it and the emotion that was in his voice, every student pretty much said they knew this was not a drill by the way he said it.

So that's what's interesting by that first call. It's also clear that these appear to be calls coming into the Chardon police. There were also multiple calls that started coming into the Geauga County police, and then you had many parents started calling 911 of course wanting to know and that's really getting to the heart of this community. They are very badly shaken. There's a memorial service or a vigil that's going to take place tonight. It's expected to be absolutely packed. Cameras are not being allowed inside. It's at a Catholic church. This community is in very deep grief -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And this community has personal impact on you, Martin. You have family members directly affected. Just remind our viewers, how are they doing?

SAVIDGE: Well, they're doing well, thank you for asking. I have a brother-in-law who lives here, and he has two students that are in the Chardon system, including one who was in the high school. They are fine, but of course it was quite a shock tomorrow morning or yesterday morning rather when I opened the headlines and saw that there had been on the Web site a shooting in Chardon.

I immediately called them. I got a hold of my brother-in-law. He's in line waiting for one son to be released. I got a hold of my sister-in-law. She's in line waiting for the other son to be released. You could hear the edge in their voices. You could hear the commotion and the anxiousness of many other parents that were waiting. This was the story that truly personally struck home -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, well please pass along our best wishes not only of them, but to the entire community. We'll stay on top of this story. Appreciate it. Martin Savidge on the scene for us outside of Cleveland, in Chardon, Ohio.

Other news we're following including political news, Democrats, yes, Democrats they are getting involved in today's Republican primary in Michigan. You're going to find out how they might potentially at least help Rick Santorum. Stand by.


BLITZER: President Obama today defended his administration's bailout of the auto industry. In a speech to auto workers, the president included not so veil (ph) slams at his Republican rivals.


BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've got to admit, it's been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you're back on your feet.


OBAMA: The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, you can kiss the American automotive industry good- bye. Now they're saying we were right all along.


(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: Or you've got folks say well the real problem is what we really disagreed with was the workers. They all made out like bandits. That saving the auto industry was just about paying back the unions. Really? I mean, even by the standards of this town that's a load of you know what.



BLITZER: Some Michigan Democrats meanwhile, may be up to a little bit of political mischief today. You're going to find out how they actually might be helping Rick Santorum. Plus a waiter's worst nightmare comes true.


BLITZER: Some important political news just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. The moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine has just announced she will not, will not seek reelection this year. In a written statement, Senator Snowe says she finds it frustrating that what she calls my way or the highway ideologues have become pervasive in campaigns and are governing institutions. Olympia Snowe, another senator, an incumbent who will not be seeking reelection.

We're just hours away from the polls closing in Michigan. CNN's Dana Bash is with us. She has got some Democrats who are asking fellow Democrats to support Rick Santorum. Here's her report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not forget to vote today, especially if you care about your future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every single person that touched this show today, every single person said they were voting for Santorum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Tony Trupiano and I'm a radio talk show host.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A liberal, proudly a liberal radio talk show host.

BASH: You are a proud liberal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a proud liberal.

BASH: And here you are telling Democrats to go vote for somebody who is perhaps the most conservative Republican in the race.

TONY TRUPIANO, PROGRESSIVE RADIO HOST: Absolutely, unequivocally yes. Do I think Rick Santorum would be a weaker candidate? Of course he would be.

BASH: You're making a little mischief, you can admit that.

TRUPIANO: Absolutely. Love making a little mischief. Off we go. Let's go vote. Let's go play Republican for three minutes. Just checked off that Republican Party on there, yowza (ph), yowza (ph).

BASH: So how many Democrats are actually going to come to a voting place like this and vote for Rick Santorum? We're not sure, but we did run into somebody who came to do exactly that.

CRYSTAL LARSON, DEMOCRAT WHO VOTED FOR SANTORUM: My name is Crystal Larson. I'm a Democrat.

BASH: You just voted in the Republican primary.

LARSON: I sure did.

BASH: Why?

LARSON: You know, it's my way of protecting Obama.

BASH: You voted for Rick Santorum?

LARSON: I did, yes.

BASH: There's a look on your face.

LARSON: I kind of feel like I made a deal with the devil. Voting for Santorum goes against everything I believe in, everything I've ever stood for in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Joe Disano. I'm a Democratic strategist in the state of Michigan. For the past seven days we've been organizing and creating a list of Democrats who have committed to vote for Santorum in today's election. We believe we have 14,000 solid commitments that we're working to turn out today in the primary. When we're done, they're going to have to buy Pepto-Bismol by the gallon at the RNC.

BASH: This is Gary Zulinski and you are a Democrat.


BASH: And you went in there and you voted for --


BASH: Obviously not a Democrat. Why did you do it?


BASH: Why do you consider voting for Rick Santorum a protest vote?

ZULINSKI: Because it's going to throw the GOP into some turmoil. This is my way of saying, hey, I've had enough.


BASH: Now just to be clear, the state of Michigan has a history of so-called crossover voting. It's because when people come here behind me and vote, they can vote in either primary, either party's primary and it doesn't matter which party that they're affiliated with. But just for the record I did spend some time Wolf, with the party chair, the Democratic chair here in Michigan this morning, and he insisted that this is not their official policy, that Democrats vote for Democrats, Republicans for Republicans, but to be clear, he is also not actively discouraging Democrats from trying to get out the vote for Rick Santorum to hurt Mitt Romney.

BLITZER: All right, Dana thanks very much. Dana is in Bloomfield Hills (ph) outside of Detroit. Appreciate it.

We're just getting our hands here in THE SITUATION ROOM on the exit polls from both Michigan and Arizona. We're going to have them for you. That's coming up at the top of the hour.

And should President Obama have apologized for the inadvertent burning of Korans in Afghanistan last week? Stay with us.


BLITZER: Get right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: The question this hour is should President Obama have apologized for the inadvertent burning of the Korans in Afghanistan? Mark in Pennsylvania writes "I'm still waiting for an apology for 9/11. Anybody from the Middle East ready to apologize for that? Anyone?"

Bob writes "If you visit someone's house, accidentally destroy something that has value to them, I was taught that an apology is always in order. The notion that they should be thankful we're there in an effort to ensure their democracy and therefore should be held harmless in this situation is absurd."

Richard also in Pennsylvania, Malvern (ph), "There's no way that Obama should apologize once again to our enemies. What happened was unfortunate and an accident. The only apology should have come from the base commander because it happened under his direct command. Every time Obama gives into our enemies I get acid reflux."

Jonathan writes "As a proud member of the armed forces who served my country in this area, I believe an apology is the right thing to do. This isn't an issue to take lightly. And in situations like this we need to deescalate hostility and not increase it. We've just seen a tragic response to this issue that was mild compared to what it could potentially have been."

Mark in Oklahoma City writes "President Obama doesn't have a foreign policy. He has an apology policy. I'm sure when Israel and Iran start fighting, Mr. Obama already has his apology ready to issue to Iran. General Patton is turning over in his grave."

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, thank you. An unexpected shower for a world leader and it involved lots of beer, an embarrassed waiter, and a really wet German chancellor. And our special primary coverage only minutes away.


BLITZER: This reminder, stay with CNN for special coverage of the Michigan and Arizona primaries. It all starts right at the top of the hour.

A waiter's good deed turned into his worst nightmare when he accidentally dumped a tray of full beer glasses on the leader of Germany. And he did it all on camera. CNN's Jeanne Moos has the pictures.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's one thing when you spill a drink on yourself.


MOOS: Or when a basketball star collides with a fan --


MOOS: -- Who ends up wearing his coffee. But what are the chances of a waiter dumping beer on the chancellor of Germany? Not one glass or two but five glasses of beer.


MOOS: Germany's leader, Angela Merkel, flinched but barely. In fact, her flinch from five beers seemed less pronounced than her cringe, that time that President Bush gave her a surprise back rub. The German paper "Das Bild" (ph) interviewed the 21-year-old waiter who dumped beer on the chancellor and he said someone behind him shoved him.


MOOS: One aide clapped her hands to her face, another passed a dry jacket down the table. But Chancellor Merkel stayed cool and the next thing you know she was toasting.

(on camera): At the moment he dropped the beer, the waiter says he also dropped a curse word.

(voice-over): Dropped it loudly, but the chancellor just grinned at him. At least he didn't try to clean her up like the guy in the movie "Old School".








MOOS: But what's a few glasses when winning football coaches routinely get doused with entire coolers of Gatorade? The waiter who showered Germany's chancellor told "Das Bild" (ph) he was still reliving the incident in slow motion, like that Carlton beer commercial.


MOOS (on camera): But Chancellor Merkel, there are worse things than beer that you could suddenly find dripping down your back.

(voice-over): At least when your kid does this to you, it isn't cold.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.