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THE SITUATION ROOM
Outraged Crowds Trash Anaheim Streets; Guarding the Games; Where the U.S. is Most Vulnerable; Burying the Dead and Vowing to Fight; Romney Controversial Quote; Middle Class Tax Cuts; Child Sneaks onto Overseas Flight; North Korea's First Lady
Aired July 25, 2012 - 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: And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, the Summer Olympic Games kicking off in London with security concerns running very high.
CNN is on board a warship. The ship, along with jet fighters, helicopters and thousands of troops, all part of a major effort to keep the city safe.
Plus, a California city erupts in violence over the fatal police shootings of two people protesters -- protesters believe didn't deserve to die.
And how did an 11-year-old boy make it on an a round trip overseas flight with no passport and no I.D.?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
I'm here in Aspen, Colorado, where some of the most powerful national security leaders in the country are gathering for a major forum. We're going to get to that shortly.
But first, to the high security stakes in London going on right now. The Summer Olympic Games kicking off today, even though opening ceremonies are still two days away. Security concerns across the city are running very, very high, despite the more than 18,000 troops, jet fighters, surface to air missiles and warships deployed.
CNN's senior international correspondent, Dan Rivers, is on one of them.
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've come on board HMS Ocean, which is an amphibious assault ship. And it's going to be moored here on the River Thames throughout the Games. It will form a key part of the massive security operation that now involves more than 18,000 service personnel. Well, this is the hangar in the center of HMS Ocean where the helicopters are kept and maintained when they're not flying. There are 10 Lynx helicopters on board in total, five Royal Navy, five army. And these aircraft will be used to patrol the capital with snipers on board, if needed.
KEVIN HAYES, ROYAL ELECTRICAL MECHANICAL ENGINEERS: There's a no-fly zone over London.
And should any aircraft stray into that by accident, then the Lynx can be up within a matter of moments to intercept the aircraft and identify them.
RIVERS (on camera): And if necessary, shoot them down?
HAYES: Indeed. The aircraft will be carrying on board an RAF sniper who, should the worst happen, will be able to take their problems out.
CAPT. ANDREW BETTON, ROYAL NAVY: I hope very much the nation's presence here in -- in Greenwich provides reassurance and elements of deterrence, but fundamentally, capability to support the police.
RIVERS: The ship is operating at almost maximum capacity. And one of the big challenges is feeding the 1,086 people on board.
PAUL CONYBEER, CHIEF CATERER: Normally on a -- a ship's company of 400 is, you know, not so bad. But now, we're just feeding just over 1,000 people a day, 13 different meal times for our 24-hour period.
RIVERS: The overwhelming message from HMS Ocean is that they have the resources needed to counter a terrorist attack. They just hope they won't be called upon.
Dan Rivers, CNN, London.
BLITZER: Back here in the United States, national security is also center stage. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano briefing members of Congress today on some of the biggest threats facing the country. And she suggested Friday's deadly massacre right here in Colorado may be a teachable moment.
CNN intelligence correspondent, Suzanne Kelly, is here in Aspen at the Aspen Security Forum.
She's watching all of this unfolding -- pretty important stuff going on.
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very important. The most pressing threats against the country right now that they're guarding against include aviation, Wolf, cyber security, and, of course, as you mentioned, that homegrown terror threat.
Now, last week's shooting in Aurora, Colorado didn't exactly fit the definition of a terrorist attack. However, Secretary Napolitano did tell the committee today there are lessons to be learned from that active shooter scenario. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
KELLY (voice-over): Aurora police responding to last week's shooting, praised for their performance, one that the top Homeland Security official said her department has been helping local law enforcement prepare for.
JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: One of the scenarios we have been training across the country for is something along the lines of a Mumbai-style attack, where you have multiple shooters organized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
NAPOLITANO: And we had actually, coincidentally just...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I have a...
NAPOLITANO: -- just done that training in Colorado.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have another question, see if you can...
KELLY: The 2008 attack in Mumbai, India -- terrorists stormed hotels, shot and killed anyone in their sights. They even set fires in an effort to cause mass terror -- a wake-up call for counter-terrorism officials here in the U.S., who are concerned the same thing could happen.
NAPOLITANO: I don't want to get into...
KELLY: Both Napolitano and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matt Olsen, told the House Homeland Security Committee that homegrown extremists remain among the top terror threats facing the country, so much so that NCTC now has a group of analysts charged with getting inside their minds.
MATTHEW OLSEN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: And in terms of the pathway from -- from -- from radicalization to mobilization and to violence, helping to -- to explain what those -- what those identifiers are, so that we can then use that in training to sensitize local law enforcement and first responders to recognize those signs.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: And so much attention, Suzanne, is on the Olympics.
The U.S. security operation, they're -- they're playing some sort of role. But you've got some details.
KELLY: They're playing a really big role, which we actually also heard from Director Olsen today at this hearing.
They've actually, at the National Counterterrorism Center, which he heads, they've set up a 24-hour threat integration center. So they're working very closely with our British counterparts in intelligence and counterintelligence in London to -- to make sure that they're on top of anything that happens. And they're a little worried about it. They're concerned.
BLITZER: I'm sure they are.
We want all of the American athletes, indeed, we want all of the athletes from all of the countries, well protected. It's a nightmare, obviously, for the thousands of British troops and all the other assistant troops that are -- that are helping...
BLITZER: -- people from around the world.
KELLY: It's a huge job.
BLITZER: Suzanne Kelly, thanks very much.
By the way, tomorrow, right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, I'll have a rare interview with Admiral William McRaven. He's the head of the U.S. military Special Operations Command. He was the -- in charge of the Osama bin Laden raid in Pakistan. Tomorrow, 4:00 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN, my special interview with Admiral McRaven.
To the violence raging in Syria right now, where the United Nations is warning there will only be more bloodshed if -- if the international community doesn't unite. At least 100 people were reportedly killed once again today, including nine children. This as rebel fighters battle government forces for control of the country's largest city.
CNN's Ivan Watson is inside Syria near that battle.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A father stained with the blood of his son. "This is the blood of a martyr," he yells, "of a hero, a lion. His blood is pure."
Grief and pride from a man who just learned his son died in battle. Abdul Rasheed (ph) was only 22 years old, a defector from the Syrian military. He died Tuesday morning fighting for the rebel Free Syrian Army. Rasheed is the fourth man from this small hilltop village to be killed battling the government. A fellow fighter named Corsheed (ph) brought Rasheed home to be buried. He says Rasheed was shot in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
(on camera): A helicopter killed your friend today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WATSON: On a rooftop, on top of a building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. WATSON (voice-over): What began 17 months ago as a peaceful protest movement has morphed into a full-fledged armed insurgency, composed of defector soldiers, as well as students, shopkeepers, real estate agents and even members of President Bashar al-Assad's ruling Baath Party.
(on camera): And you were in the Baath Party before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WATSON: For a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 10 years.
WATSON (voice-over): The commander of a rebel group that calls itself the Syrian Falcons tells me he's fighting to free Syria from more than 40 years of dictatorship under the Assad family and new recruits keep coming every day.
(on camera): You want to fight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WATSON: Against the government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WATSON: That's why you came back to Syria?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, of course. Because he's killed everyone. He's killed my cousin. He's -- he's destroyed my village. He's destroyed my home.
WATSON: Twenty-three-year-old Sucrota Meyan (ph) came home from a job in Dubai to start his own brigade of rebels. He brought a bag full of radios, cameras and sniper scopes he'd bought with his own money.
(on camera): And all of this is for war?
You're going to fight with this?
SUCROTA MEYAN: Yes, I know, but I -- I -- I go to war for my family, for my country.
WATSON (voice-over): Brave talk from a young man who has yet to set foot on the battlefield.
This rebel veteran, Corsheed, chokes back tears while talking about his friend, killed in Aleppo just a few hours ago.
CORSHEED: We must fight Bashar al-Assad.
WATSON: After burying his friend, it's back to the battle.
(on camera): You will go back to fight?
WATSON: To Aleppo?
CORSHEED: To Aleppo.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: And Ivan is joining us now from inside Syria -- Ivan, what did you see when you approached some of these locations, including one of the towns that you reported on?
WATSON: Let me just interrupt, Wolf, by saying there's an awful lot of artillery rumbling in the distance right now. There are still Syrian Army outposts and they lob shells, particularly at night, and particularly if rebels are trying to attack and overrun those outposts. So we're hearing that rolling over the hills right now, that sound.
What we saw today and what we've seen over the past couple of days is a countryside that is armed and mobilized. Every village we've been to has sent some of its young men, its fighters, to the battle in Aleppo that has been raging now since last Friday.
And we've seen at least two funerals in the last two days, just driving around, for men who have been killed by helicopter gunships, rebels. That is one of the biggest threats that the rebels say they face, because they don't have the weaponry to fight back against aircraft.
As you get closer to Aleppo, the villages are increasingly depopulated. People have fled. And you see those telltale signs of conflict -- vans, trucks, cars loaded with families, with their belongings, fleeing the fighting that is raging there.
We went to one village called Injata (ph). It's about seven miles west of the city walls of Aleppo. And there we saw a city that's almost empty, that is being shelled daily, locals tell us, by a nearby Syrian Army outpost, rockets or artillery. I saw about a half dozen houses that had all been directly impacted by this indirect fire from a nearby Syrian Army base -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And you can still hear the -- the battle in the hills around you unfolding right now.
I want to make sure you're safe and our people there are safe.
How close are -- is the fighting to where you are right now, Ivan?
WATSON: Well, there's the raging battle in Aleppo and then there are countless other conflicts and clashes that are taking place, not only throughout Northern Syria, but throughout the country. This is a country that is now very much at war. And every community has organized rebel brigades and battalions to engage in this battle.
What we saw -- the reports over the course of the last 24 hours that the Syrian military had withdrawn at least 2,000 soldiers from an area in Northwestern Syria called Zepozawiya (ph), to bolster, to reinforce its government forces in that crucial city of Aleppo.
And I've asked rebel commanders about that. They know about this. They realize that the regime is -- is trying to hold onto this crucial asset and it's willing to give up territory in other areas to do that.
The rebels are trying to press offensive -- the offensive -- on many different fronts at once. They're trying to overrun some of these small outposts that the government has succeeded in holding onto, even in areas that are completely surrounded by communities that openly support and embrace the rebel movement. And you actually drive into some of these villages and at the entrance, they've painted the Syrian rebel flag at the entrance to their communities. That just shows how much support there is in stretches of this territory for the armed opposition -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Ivan Watson inside Syria for us.
Once again, be careful over there, Ivan.
Thanks for your reporting.
We appreciate it very, very much.
Other news we're following, police with pepper balls battle crowds of outraged protesters. Just ahead, the latest on what's now a fourth day of violence exploding in the streets of one California city.
Plus, the vice president, Joe Biden, slams the Romney campaign for a racially-charged anonymous quote. They deny having any part of it.
Did the vice president go too far?
What's going on here?
And a royal wedding in one of the most secretive countries in the world. North Korea's supreme leader ties the knot.
BLITZER: Let's go to Jack Cafferty. He's here with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN: Wolf, with unemployment above eight percent for the last 41 consecutive months, here's something that might surprise you about America's job market. Companies say they've had three million job openings every month since February. This according to the labor department, but employers say they're having trouble filling these jobs because they can't find skilled workers to do the jobs.
Bloomberg News reports in order to narrow the skills gap they call it, employers are teaming with philanthropies, governments, and community colleges to train their existing work force. Places like hospitals taking the lead turning to their own staff to train technicians and nurses. Also factories, construction companies are stepping up apprenticeships.
Employers say it's not just the technical skills that workers are missing. They point to so-called soft skills. Things like the ability to solve problems, think critically, and work in teams. In other words, a lot of Americans are too stupid to do the jobs that are available. And that's pretty sad. We didn't used to be this way.
CNN.com -- Money.com has another surprising example of jobs going unfilled. There are 200,000 jobs available for long-haul truckers that nobody wants. Experts say the positions are hard to fill because it's difficult and expensive to get certified. You know, like any other job, doctor, dentist, lawyer, you have to go to school, got to train.
Plus, the lifestyle of a trucker's not easy. Long days on the road often living in the back of the rig separated from family and friends and working crazy hours. Still, truckers earn an average of almost $40,000 a year, and that's $4,000 more than the median wage for all other jobs. You'd think people looking for work would jump at the chance, but they don't. That's the question.
With 8.2 percent unemployment, why does nobody want 200,000 trucking jobs? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile and post comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. You know, if we blow this deal, Wolf, you and I could get us one of those 18-wheelers and just travel the highways and byways of this great land.
BLITZER: Tough way to make a living, but you make a loving. You got to make a living to put food on the table. I didn't know there were 200,000 jobs out there if people want them. I suspect a lot of people, Jack, didn't know, but you're going to help them. Maybe some of those jobs --
BLITZER: Let's hope. Yes. You may have done a public service. Wouldn't be the first time, thank you.
BLITZER: All right. Another story we're following, the city of Anaheim, California is erupting in chaos. Outraged demonstrators are trashing the streets days after police shot and killed two people they believe didn't deserve to die. CNNs Casey Wian is on the scene for us. He's joining us with the latest. Casey, what's going on?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the Anaheim Police Department is saying this afternoon that they're hoping calm returns to their city tonight. But if it doesn't, they are prepared for more violence.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WIAN (voice-over): Protesters in Anaheim, California clashed with police for a fourth day, following two fatal shootings by police of suspected gang members, one on Saturday, one Sunday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not trying to justify what happened. I'm trying to find justice.
WIAN: One of the dead men, 25-year-old Manuel Diaz (ph) was apparently unarmed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't use our voices and we don't let these people hear our voice, nothing will be changed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the people who are supposed to be protecting us. The cops are the ones doing this.
WIAN: Police say officers saw Diaz speaking with occupants of a car in an area known for drug sales, recognizing him as a gang member, officers attempted to approach Diaz, who fled the scene. Police say he then reached into his waistband for an unidentified object and turned toward pursuing officers who opened fire and killed Diaz.
The dead man's mother who reportedly plans a lawsuit against the city disputes that saying he was first shot in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he was down, and they shot him the second time.
WIAN: Tuesday night, protests turned violent after a crowd of up to a thousand people were denied entry to a packed city council meeting.
MAYOR TOM TAIT, ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA: Some protesters, many who we believe were not from our city, chose to take advantage of this evening of dialogue to try to create chaos in our downtown neighborhoods. They chose violence and vandalism over respectful communications.
WIAN: Police responded with pepper balls and bean bags reporting 24 arrests and a handful of minor injuries.
CHIEF JOHN WELTER, ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA POLICE: We're continuing to examine various videos that were taken by many individuals in order to identify specific lawbreakers in the crowd. We'll continue to make arrests whenever possible. And those arrested will be prosecuted.
WIAN: Police say they are prepared if more protests erupt. The Orange County district attorney as well as state and federal authorities are investigating the shooting.
WIAN (on-camera): And just a few moments ago, we received a copy of the lawsuit that is going to be filed by the shooting victim, Manuel Diaz (ph), his mother. It seeks $50 million -- in excess of $50 million from the city of Anaheim. Also, his mother is calling on protesters to remain peaceful. She said that none of her relatives were at those protests that turned violent last night. And she wants the city to protest, if they must, peacefully, Wolf.
BLITZER: Casey Wian on the scene for us. Thank you, Casey.
A clip of a motorcycle weaving in and out of cars at 185 miles an hour goes viral, and police promptly issue a warrant for the driver's arrest. We have new information on the man behind this terrifying stunt.
And watching TV or using the computer is a nightly activity for so many millions and millions of people, but could it be leading to some forms of depression? Standby. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: An Olympian has kicked off the team for an offensive tweet. Kate Bolduan is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now. What happened, Kate?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Wolf. Well, a female triple jumper from Greece is barred from the Olympic games after posting an offensive comment about African immigrants. Greece's governing Olympic body made the decision to expel her calling her tweet unforgivable.
She wrote this, quote, "With so many Africans in Greece, the mosquitoes from the West Nile will at least be eating some homemade food." She has apologized for the remark.
A man in Canada has turned himself into police for driving his motorcycle way too fast. Twenty-five-year-old Randy Scott (ph) recorded himself racing down a busy highway at speeds of over 185 miles an hour. The video went viral, and police put out a warrant for his arrest. Scott is being charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle. If convicted, he could get up to five years in jail.
And if you find yourself feeling depressed, why don't you try ditching the TV and computer at night. New animal research from Ohio State University finds that hamsters with chronic exposure to dim light at night showed signs of depression, including reduced activity, less interest in treats, and changes in the brain similar to those of depressed people.
But the hamster symptoms went away once they returned to a schedule with eight full hours of total darkness a day. Yet, another thing, it seems, I am doing wrong. Darn it.
BLITZER: Yes, but even if it affects hamsters, why should we jump into conclusion it affects human beings, Kate?
BOLDUAN: I agree, Wolf.
BLITZER: Hamsters are very different.
BOLDUAN: I think the hamsters would agree.
BLITZER: Maybe one thing for hamsters -- I wouldn't jump to any conclusions on that.
BOLDUAN: Good. Then you and I can keep watching our TV at night.
BLITZER: And deal with the computer and all that other stuff as well. Thank you.
The vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, goes into attack mode over a very questionable quote from an anonymous Romney advisor. Did the vice president go too far? What's going on?
Also, he had no ID, no ticket and no parent with him. So, how in the world does an 11-year-old sneak on to an overseas flight? Yes, it occurred.
BLITZER: Mitt Romney's campaign is vehemently denying a controversial quote published in a British newspaper. "The London Telegraph" says the quote comes from an anonymous Romney adviser, but that hasn't been confirmed and it's certainly causing a bit of an uproar. Here's the quote. I'll put it up on the screen.
"We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage -- and he -- referring to Mitt Romney -- feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have." Now, the Romney campaign says that comment certainly didn't come from them, but that didn't stop the Obama campaign from immediately pouncing calling it and I'm quoting now "stunningly offensive."
And the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, released a statement personally in part saying this. "The comments reported this morning are a disturbing start to a trip designed to demonstrate Governor Romney's readiness to represent the United States on the world stage. This assertion is beneath a presidential campaign."
And Tim Roemer is joining us right now, the former U.S. ambassador to India. He served under President Obama. He was a 9/11 commissioner, also a former United States congressman, now a key Obama supporter. Ambassador Roemer, thanks very much for joining us and let me get right to the issue at hand. Is it appropriate for the vice president of the United States to issue this kind of condemnation of the Republican presidential candidate based on an anonymous source in a British newspaper without any confirmation this is actually what was said about the president of the United States?
TIMOTHY ROEMER (D), FORMER INDIANA CONGRESSMAN: Look, Wolf, nice to be with you. As a former ambassador, I am appointed overseas not to serve per se President Obama, Republican or Democrat, but hope that whether it's a CEO, a cabinet minister, a Democrat or a Republican, they're Americans. And you want them to do well overseas. Certainly the vice president, myself, the Obama team wish Governor Romney well representing America in a high fashion with good results. Hopefully it's not about fundraisers, it's not about platitudes, it's not about photo-ops, it's about policy and when he goes to Great Britain just as Barack Obama did in 2008 of July, he met with David Cameron, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown with the opposition leader and he talked about specifics. He talked about the timeline and Afghanistan and troops. He talked about supporting NATO and our troops and being effective.
He talked about sanctions with Iran, which he's been very effective in implementing. He talked about al Qaeda and getting bin Laden, which he's done. Those are substantive things that I think the American people want to hear about Governor Romney --
ROEMER: -- and this is a big question about Governor Romney's experience as he goes overseas.
BLITZER: Well, let me -- he spoke about all those things at his major speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday. He addressed all those issues. The specific question is there is this anonymous quote in a British newspaper, we don't know if it's true, there's no name attached. The campaign, the Romney campaign, issued a statement saying this.
"Today the race for the highest office in the land was diminished to a sad level when the vice president of the United States used an anonymous and false quote from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign. The president's own press secretary has repeatedly discredited anonymous sources yet his political adviser saw fit to advance a falsehood. We have very serious problems confronting our nation. And American families are hurting. Yet the Obama campaign continues to try to divert voters' attention with specious shiny objects. We have more faith in the American voters and know they will see this latest desperate ploy for what it is."
So let me repeat the question. Why would the vice president -- I can understand other campaign surrogates, if you will, but why would a sitting vice president issue this condemnation of Mitt Romney and his campaign based on a British newspaper with some anonymous quote?
ROEMER: And, again, Wolf, why would Governor Romney or his campaign spend so much time putting this statement together when they have pledged to stop criticism at the water's edge and do foreign policy and talk about how to benefit America? You know the president --
BLITZER: But, sir --
ROEMER: The president is talking --
BLITZER: They're reacting -- they were reacting -- excuse me -- they were reacting to the statement that the Obama campaign put out and the vice president signed. It was their reaction to what the vice president said. They weren't trying to make this an issue in London. They denied from the start that anybody in a position of authority in the Romney campaign made such an abusive statement about the sitting president of the United States. So the question is, why would you react -- when I say you, I mean the Obama campaign, the way you did?
ROEMER: Again, Wolf, I'm hopeful and I think Americans are hopeful that we're going to elevate this campaign. And we're going to hear about how we create jobs with our foreign policy as President Obama has done with doubling exports and increasing exports to places like India that create jobs in America. We want to hear what Mitt Romney would do to create jobs in America and not outsource them. We want to hear why Mitt Romney disagrees with David Cameron and the British people on the timeline in Afghanistan. We want to hear why Mitt Romney did not prioritize bin Laden and going after bin Laden and the president successfully brought him to justice. Let's talk about substance. Let's not get into these --
BLITZER: I agree completely. By the way, I agree --
ROEMER: -- press releases and go back and forth attacking one another. And let's not you and I --
ROEMER: -- our time on TV.
BLITZER: I agree. The issues are important. There are serious national security differences, serious domestic, economic difference, social issues. That is all obviously worthy of debate. But a sitting vice president of the United States condemning an anonymous quote in "The Telegraph", a newspaper in London which the Romney campaign says is totally, totally false. That no one in position of authority would say such a thing. That surprised me and that's why I raised it with you and the Obama campaign trying to make a big deal out of it. But I agree, let's focus in on the substantive important issues of the day.
ROEMER: And there are plenty to talk about, Wolf. Job creation, deficit reduction, getting Democrats and Republicans to work together, returning to the days when we didn't criticize sitting presidents, when we went overseas, looking for bipartisan foreign policy, strengthening America, bringing the American dream to more and more people, making sure that we see if Mitt Romney and the president disagree on an issue, you know, let's have a vigorous debate about that.
BLITZER: I agree.
ROEMER: And there's plenty they disagree with and plenty accomplishments by President Obama from bringing our troops home honorably to the way he has helped create jobs for veterans coming home to the way that he's got a timeline on Afghanistan and tight sanctions on Iran and supporting Israel. Let's talk about those issues and elevate this campaign.
BLITZER: Ambassador Roemer, thanks very much for coming in.
ROEMER: Wolf, always a pleasure. Hope to be back with you soon.
BLITZER: And this note, I'm going to be flying over to Jerusalem this weekend to sit down with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. We'll have a wide-ranging interview in Israel. He's getting ready to meet with the Israeli prime minister. My interview with Mitt Romney will air Monday right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
President Obama reaches out to African-American voters amid a new warning of low voter turnout potential among African-Americans. Could that hurt him in November? Plus, North Korea's supreme leader, he ties the knot.
BLITZER: Let's get right to Capitol Hill right now where the Democratic-led Senate just passed its plan to extend the so-called Bush tax cuts while rejecting the Republican alternative to continue the tax cuts for everyone including wealthy Americans. Our senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is up on Capitol Hill. She's got the latest. Two very different votes. Two different outcomes. Update our viewers.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right and Vice President Biden was here in the Senate presiding sensibly just in case the Democrats needed his vote to get their win on their tax cut extension, but it was really to make a point symbolically, politically, that this is very important to Democrats on the campaign trail. The Republican leader though, he used the occasion to tweak the vice president reminding the Senate that it was those two men who negotiated a full-on extension for two years of all the Bush tax cuts because at the time the economy was bad and McConnell making the point that the economy is worse today. All of this to say that Republicans lost this legislatively, but they think it's a win politically.
BASH (voice-over): Flashback, fall of 2010.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
BASH: On the campaign trail with Democrat Joe Manchin (ph) two years ago running for Senate in conservative West Virginia. Then he wanted all tax cuts extended even for the wealthiest Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tax cuts -- I would leave all tax cuts in place. All of them.
BASH: Now, Senator Manchin (ph) faces voters again this November. But this time he's changing his tune on those tax cuts for the wealthy. He now wants them to expire.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: The proposal that includes extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans carries a heavy price for this nation. Given our dire budget situation, this country just can't afford that.
BASH: Manchin shift to oppose tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 a year is the ultimate example of Democrats deciding the president's strategy, a centerpiece of his campaign, is best. His argument -- BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can provide 98 percent of Americans certainty that their taxes would not go up.
BASH: Still, Republicans are poised to pounce on Democrats in close races saying raising any taxes in a bad economy is harmful.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: The only way to force people to take a stand is to make sure that today's votes truly count.
BASH: GOP sources tell CNN that's why Senate Republicans surprised Democrats deciding not to filibuster the Democrats' bill to extend just the tax cuts aimed at the middle class.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 51 yays, 48 nays.
BASH: Allowing it to pass.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American people deserve to know where their elected representatives really stand -- truly stand on this issue.
BASH: Republican sources argue that vote makes it easier to whack Democrats up for re-election for raising taxes from Montana to Missouri to West Virginia. But several senior Democratic sources insist the public is on their side telling CNN that internal Democratic polling numbers mirror those from a CNN/ORC (ph) survey last year.
When presented with the Republican argument that taxes on the wealthy should be kept low to help the economy and create jobs, only 34 percent agree. When offered the Democratic argument that taxes on the wealthy should be kept high to use for government programs a huge majority, 62 percent agree. Democratic strategists say that's why vulnerable Democrats like Claire McCaskill are running on the tax issue not from it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, POLITICAL AD: They want more tax breaks for multi millionaires and oil companies. Claire cuts taxes for the middle class.
BASH: Now, this middle class tax extension may have passed the Senate, Wolf, but the chances of it actually passing the House where Republicans are in charge, slim to none. It won't become law.
BLITZER: Obviously. But it will be big political fodder for the election coming up on both sides. Thank you, Dana. Up next, how an 11-year-old boy got an overseas flight without a ticket.
BLITZER: An 11-year-old boy traveling with no parent, no ID, and not even an airline ticket somehow sneaks onto an overseas flight. Kate Bolduan has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It could have been a serious security breach. An 11-year-old boy managed to get onto an overseas flight, even though he had no ticket and no ID. By 2:00 Tuesday afternoon he was on a plane from Manchester), England to Rome. Only during the flight did passengers alert the crew that something was unusual. He arrived in Rome at 5:00, but two hours later he was on the same plane headed back home. Passengers told the BBC the boy was talkative and appeared unfazed and did not want to get off. But by nightfall he was back at Manchester Airport. British officials say passengers were never in danger because he did go through airport security, but they are investigating why he was never checked for an ID or a boarding pass.
RUSSELL CRAIG, MANCHESTER AIRPORT SPOKESMAN: The airline has suspended the ground staff that were involved in making the full (ph) checks at the gate before the boy boarded the aircraft.
BOLDUAN: One possible theory, he blended in with another family.
BEN MUTZABAUGH, TRAVEL WRITER, USA TODAY: I don't know if security thought like oh it was like he was with a woman or a man in front of him, it was his parent or someone behind him, but that's the million dollar question is how did this kid get through.
BOLDUAN: It's not the first time an unauthorized passenger has been discovered on a flight. Just two months ago, authorities say hours after he got out of jail, a California man on parole managed to board a plane without getting screened or having a ticket. Why did he sneak on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to get out of San Diego in an immediate fashion.
BOLDUAN: And a year ago, a Nigerian American flew to Los Angeles with just a student ID and an old ticket. He was later caught trying to board a second flight to Atlanta. The British security breach was just a child, but it comes just as London is ramping up security for the Olympic Games.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For somebody to be able to board a plane that shouldn't be on there, that's quite disgraceful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So close to the Olympics as well. Security needs to be paramount importance really.
BOLDUAN: This kind of incident is a rare exception, according to security analyst Fran Townsend, but still --
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: While this 11-year-old probably was not a threat to anyone other than probably scared the life out of his mother, this is a potential vulnerability that those who wish to do us harm could take advantage of.
(END VIDEOTAPE) BOLDUAN: Now British police tell CNN they do not believe the boy committed a crime, so it doesn't look like he is going to get into any legal trouble from this, but we may not be able to say the same when he gets home to his parents in terms of the kind of trouble he may be in back at home -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Hard to believe. What a story that is. All right thanks very much, Kate Bolduan.
Let's go right to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Question this hour with 8.2 percent unemployment, why does nobody want 200,000 trucking jobs that are available in this country?
P. writes "could it be we made the unemployed masses comfortable in their unemployment? As long as they're getting money and benefits from the federal and state governments, why give up the easy life?"
Thomson in Illinois writes "I have been driving a semi for 11 years. To drive a truck, you have to have a certain type of character. You can't be bothered spending a lot of time away from home. You have to be ready at all times because your schedule can change. You might be required to either report to work immediately or wait at the location because a load is not ready or drive at midnight when everyone is sleeping."
J. in Missouri writes "Jack, if I drove a semi, you'd want to get off the road."
John in Louisiana "For the same reason they don't want to pick vegetables, Jack. They want to sit on their butts in an air conditioned office playing with their Smart phones all day and getting paid for it."
Lou writes "middle class Americans are the new snobs. They feel they're too good to do many of the jobs our parents raised families on. A good friend of mine is a librarian who has to help the unemployed apply for jobs online. She says you would not believe the jobs unemployed people turn their noses up at. They expect high pay, great benefits and a challenging or interesting work environment."
And George in Pennsylvania writes "my 4-year-old grandson visited the Mack Museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania, says he wants to be a truck driver. If they'll hold the position for another 20 years, I will remind him if I am still around."
If you want to read more on the subject, go to the blog, CNN.com/CaffertyFile or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jack thank you.
A mystery woman starts popping up in pictures with Kim Jong Un (ph). Now all of a sudden the supreme leader of North Korea is married. We have the story. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: North Korean media reports that Kim Jong Un, the young supreme leader of the world's most reclusive country has tied the knot. CNN's Paula Hancocks has more on one of the world's most mysterious marriages.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, North Korea officially has a first lady. North Korean television made the announcement on Wednesday evening that the mystery woman we have been seeing accompanying Kim Jong Un over the past few weeks is in fact, his wife and she has been named as Resong Ju (ph), but that is where the hard facts end. We don't know when they got married.
We don't know her profession exactly. Some South Korean media is still speculating that she is a former singer, but it is significant that the announcement came -- it was fairly low key. It was a fairly subtle announcement. The news reader simply said that Kim Jong Un had attended the opening of an amusement park ceremony attended by his wife. That's how they announced it to their people and also to the world.
But as you know, Wolf, nothing is announced by accident in North Korea. Everything is very heavily choreographed, and it is a sharp departure from what we have seen from previous North Korean leaders. The wives of Kim Jong Un's father and grandfather were rarely talked about and very rarely seen in public. So what we are seeing is Kim Jong Un trying out a new kind of leadership he is -- as many experts say showing that he is his own man and also many experts are saying that this is probably trying to show that he has a more human and approachable persona. And remember, he is not yet 30, according to many reports. So it also shows that he is quite stable and secure. But as I say, the speculation in the South Korean media is likely to ratchet up now even though we do know her name. Now the media will want to know more -- Wolf.