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THE SITUATION ROOM
New Korea War Fears; Electing a New Pope; Longtime Friends Perished Together; A Third Bush in the White House?; Deandre Jordan's "Dunk Of The Year"; Are Doctors Running Out Of Magic Bullets?; Why Antibiotics Are Losing Their Punch; Laura Bush Talks To CNN's Erin Burnett
Aired March 11, 2013 - 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: After blood-chilling threats of war, North Korea takes action, calling off the truce that ended the last bloody conflict. The U.S. says it is ready for anything. So, here's the question. Is there a way back from the brink?
Six teens are killed when their overloaded SUV flips into a pond. We are on the scene of an Ohio county's deadliest accident ever. We're talking to survivors and grieving families.
Plus, just years from now, routine hospital visits could often be fatal -- why superbugs resistant to antibiotics could pose a catastrophic threat.
I am Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We begin with ominous new threats that are raising fears of a new war in what may be the most dangerous corner the world right now. Tensions are already high and the U.S. and South Korea are conducting military exercises. Now the nuclear North says it has scrapped -- yes, scrapped the 1953 truce that ended the last war. Stakes couldn't be higher for thousands of Americans serving as a trip wire between a million heavily armed North Koreans and more than a half million South Koreans.
Let's go to CNN's foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty. She has the very latest.
Jill, this is a very, very tense Korean Peninsula right now.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It is, Wolf.
It is not the first time North Korea has threatened to rip up the armistice with the South, but the DMZ between those two countries is the most militarized border and each side is on hair-trigger alert.
DOUGHERTY (voice-over): As thousands of American and South Korean troops carry out their yearly joint military exercises, tension on the Korean Peninsula heats up. Kim Jong-un's regime, furious over United new Nations sanctions punishing it for its nuclear test, declares null and void the armistice that halted fighting in the Korean War 60 years ago.
At the demilitarized zone between the North and South, Pyongyang cuts off emergency hot line with the South and threatens to launch preemptive nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States, drawing fire from President Barack Obama's national security adviser.
TOM DONILON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There should be no doubt, we will draw upon the full range of our capabilities to protect against and respond to threat posed to us by North Korea to us and our allies by North Korea.
DOUGHERTY: The U.S. immediately imposed sanctions and warned neighboring China about its relationship with the North.
DONILON: We believe that no country, including China, should conduct business as usual with the North that threatens its neighbors.
DOUGHERTY: South Korea, with its new conservative president, says it is considering developing is own nuclear bomb. A highly flammable mix on a peninsula with more than 28,500 U.S. troops, more than 600,000 South Korean forces and over a million North Korean forces led by an unpredictable Kim Jong-un.
VICTOR CHA, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBER: This particular combination, the intense rhetoric, also an unpredictable leader makes this a pretty tense moment.
DOUGHERTY: And the U.S. military intelligence is watching North Korea very carefully. They have increased surveillance. But so far, they say that they have not seen signs of any unusual North Korean troop movements -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They are hoping this is just verbal bluster on the part of the North Koreans, but they can't be sure, right, Jill?
DOUGHERTY: Precisely. That's the problem. Is it bluster or could it be real? Because the steps that the North has taken under this relatively new leader are really very different and very threatening.
BLITZER: Very unpredictable.
All right, thanks very much, Jill, much more on this story coming up.
Other news. They are called green on blue attacks. Once again a gunman in the uniform of Afghan security forces has killed American troops. The shooting came as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrapped up his first visit to Afghanistan as the secretary of defense and it follows another outrageous verbal assault by the Afghanistan president, Hamid Karzai.
Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us now with the latest information. I have got to tell you, it was a real slap in the face to the defense secretary, the way he was treated by Karzai on his first visit abroad as the defense secretary.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, indeed, Wolf.
And Chuck Hagel within the hour is expected to land back here in Washington after that visit that was very difficult, very tense, violent, and now tragic.
STARR (voice-over): Afghan ambulances on scene after a gunman wearing an Afghan police uniform killed two U.S. troops and wounded 10 in a Wardak Province just west of Kabul. It is one of the worst potential insider attacks by someone in an Afghan uniform killing coalition troops.
GEN. GUNTER KATZ, ISAF SPOKESMAN: We are still doing the investigation together with the Afghans.
STARR: The attacker fired with a machine gun at U.S. Army Green Berets and Afghan forces standing together outside at the base where they live and work together. The assailant was killed. It happened in the very province where just two weeks ago Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered U.S. commandos out of Wardak, claiming they had been involved in attacks on civilians. U.S. officials deny the allegations. The top NATO commander says he's still trying for a deal and vows to keep his troops safe.
GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, ISAF COMMANDER: And we agreed that we would continue to work the issue with his ministers to ensure that we had adequate protection for the force.
STARR: NATO believes Wardak remains a key route for insurgents trying to get to Kabul and attack inside the capital.
Within hours of arriving in the city on his first trip as defense secretary, Chuck Hagel was greeted with just such an attack, a suicide bombing near where he was meeting. Hagel also facing Karzai's accusations the U.S. is colluding with the Taliban. Karzai saying every day there are ongoing talks between the Taliban, the Americans, and foreigners.
CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I told the president it was not true that the United States was unilaterally working with the Taliban in trying to negotiate anything.
STARR: An irritated White House went further.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Any suggestion the United States is colluding with the Taliban is categorically false.
STARR: And the sad irony is these attacks in Wardak Province that killed and wounded so many Americans came one day after President Karzai's demand that U.S. troops get out of Wardak. The deadline would have been yesterday, Wolf.
How difficult was Chuck Hagel's visit with Karzai? Well, they were supposed to have a joint press conference in front of the Afghan and U.S. and NATO press corps. That did not happen. One official saying to me they just couldn't be sure that Karzai wouldn't show up and start ranting against the United States with the secretary of defense standing there -- Wolf.
BLITZER: You know, it is pretty insulting when you think about it. The U.S. has, what, 66,000 troops that are still in Afghanistan right now, spending about $2 billion in U.S. taxpayer money every single week, almost $100 billion a year, Barbara. And this is the way Karzai treats the defense secretary, the new defense secretary, won't even go and have that traditional news conference at the end of that visit?
STARR: Well, to be clear, Wolf, the Pentagon's official reasoning was that it was due to security, but that doesn't say much either, does it, about the state of security in the presidential palace in Kabul that they could not be sure the international press corps would be safe for a press conference. This gets a little bit murkier as time goes on.
Chuck Hagel said he understood some of the allegations of Karzai, that he was playing to his domestic audience inside Afghanistan, but the White House is getting pretty irritated with all of this.
BLITZER: Yes, I suspect this will accelerate the pressure on the White House to accelerate the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Right now, it is supposed to be another two years, by end of next year, another $100 billion or $200 billion. But I suspect pressure will grow from Congress and elsewhere to accelerate that withdrawal.
We will have more on this story coming up, Barbara. Thanks very much.
In the Vatican, meanwhile, everything is in place for election of a new pope. The Sistine Chapel is ready for the secret meeting of cardinals, including the copper chimney which will emit smoke as a clue to what's going on inside. Red curtains have been unfurled from St. Peter's, where the pope will appear.
CNN's Chris Cuomo is on the scene for us in Rome right now.
Chris, what's the mood like on the eve of the start of this conclave?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf. It is thick with anticipation. Think about it. There's nothing else like this that we ever cover, a secret process that the entire world watches.
Frustrating for us reporters, though, because the only men who know who they're really going to consider ain't talking because they're now ready for the secret process. Conclave means with a key, they are locked in. We can't really know, but the whole world is watching and waiting.
BLITZER: They certainly are. I know you had a chance to speak to some young priests about what the conclave could mean for the future of the Catholic Church. What are they saying to you?
CUOMO: It is interesting. On one level, This is such a big event, 1.2 billion Catholics. And yet, on another, for the next generation of people who take up service in the midst of all of the scandal it means something very different. We met two young men from Long Island, New York, who even though they grew up with the sex abuse scandal and everything that the church supposedly does the old way, they still decided to become priests.
JAMES HANSEN, CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN: It's a rich, rich life. You get to meet people, have experiences that you have never, never imagined having, and it is only made possible through the priesthood.
CUOMO (voice-over): James Hansen and Andrew Garret from Long Island, New York ,are in their 20s, and studying to be Catholic priests. Sure, their parents were concerned when they first heard and many questioned the sacrifices involved. But these men say priesthood is the opportunity of a lifetime.
HANSEN: You don't really know what you're getting yourself into at first. You feel the call, you enter the seminary. And it is not until a certain time after you have entered that you have come to understand the beauty that this life really offers.
CUOMO: The obvious sacrifice is celibacy. But what others may see as loss they see as a gift.
ANDREW GARRETT, CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN: The whole issue that people are really missing with celibacy is that you have to look at it as a sacrifice, but also as a gift.
CUOMO (on camera): Why is it a gift? Tell me that.
GARRETT: Oh, yes, it is a gift. It frees you. It opens you. You can give your whole heart to Christ. And really the whole idea of it is this relationship with Christ.
CUOMO (voice-over): Both grew up when the church was embroiled in a sex abuse scandal, and yet were still drawn to it because of the priests they saw work to fix the problems.
GARRETT: I got discouraged at first from that, but it was the people who followed after them and their example of we have got to return to sacrament, just getting down to business, we failed, now we're moving on, like we're getting back to what the church is supposed to do here.
HANSEN: If I can show that joy to others, to priests, religious and of course the laity, and that joy is I think what gives us credibility, that gives us -- that shows the truth that resides in the church.
CUOMO (voice-over): The purity of purpose gets a test, however, in the excitement surrounding who will be the new pope. They say they have no favorites, but as New Yorkers, you know they have Cardinal Dolan on their minds.
HANSEN: Of course, having Cardinal Dolan, that would be very interesting. And if the spirit moves it that way, then...
GARRETT: I was thinking about a billboard on the roof.
GARRETT: It will light up, you know.
BLITZER: Chris is still with us.
Chris, there are two American cardinals potentially could emerge, potentially could emerge as the next pope. How realistic do you think based on all the conversations you had on the ground, how realistic is it that an American could be elected pope?
CUOMO: Here is what we know for sure, Wolf. This is the first time that Americans have been mentioned among the people who could be able to be pope.
And the reason they have been mentioned is that it is so tight, it's so unknown which way this conclave will go that they could look for a compromise candidate, and with Cardinal O'Malley up in Boston, and Cardinal Dolan in New York, you do have two charismatic people that have good reputations as conservatives with the church. They could be.
They're seen as outsiders. But they joke around here, if you have a prayer of a chance at an election, the conclave is the place to have one because all of the cardinals believe that only God can decide who is the next pope.
BLITZER: Yes. I know you will be there reporting all week on this. Chris, thanks very much for that report.
This additional note to our viewers. Don't miss Anderson Cooper later tonight. He's also live from Rome as the Vatican chooses a new pope. That's "A.C. 360" 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Up next, six teenagers are killed and two injured when their overloaded SUV plunges into an Ohio pond. There are stunned relatives and they're asking why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYLE BEHNER, BROTHER OF VICTIM: They had to have me identify him. I went back there, and all I seen was just tubes and blood everywhere. And after I identified him, I ran out, and I couldn't -- I just lost everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Several families in Ohio are reeling after one of the worst traffic accidents in years. All they can dwell on is the terrible reality they will never see their children again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEANNA BEHNER, VICTIM'S MOTHER: And he can't come home, can't come through the door, "mom, what's for dinner?", "What did you cook, mom?" I'm not going to hear none of it any more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A tragic crash over the weekend has left families in Ohio grasping for answers. Six teens died in a high speed accident, two were lucky to survive. Police have been tight lipped as they investigate one of the worst highway accidents the state has seen.
Brian Todd is on the scene for us. He's covering this tragedy from Warren, Ohio.
What a painstaking, what a difficult tragedy it is. Brian, what happened?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, state police say this is the single largest loss of life in a single accident in the history of this county, the largest loss of life in the state in one accident in at least three years. This is where it happened, this pond here in Warren. This is where the vehicle flipped over, went in upside down right into the pond.
That four or five feet of water are in that pond, but police say that the vehicle filled up with water very quickly and six of the victims did not make it out alive. People have been throwing flowers and things here all day, this is a makeshift memorial, stuffed animals, notes, flowers for the victims.
This is all very flesh for the survivors and for victims' relatives, some of whom got very emotional when they spoke to us.
TODD (voice-over): Kyle Behner can barely bring himself to describe it, the moments at the hospital when he had to identify the body of his little brother.
KYLE BEHNER, BROTHER KILLED IN CAR CRASH: It took me an hour to find him, and by the time I found him, they had to have me identify him. I went back there and all I seen was tubes and blood everywhere.
TODD: His brother, Kirkland Behner, who would have turned 16 this month, was one of six killed when the Honda SUV they were riding in lost control, flipped over and careened into a pond in Warren, Ohio. Police have not given a specific cause and say test results for possible drug or alcohol use may not be back for weeks.
As for the vehicle's speed --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do believe the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. Speed limit was 35 miles per hour. However, at this time we're not prepared to release actual speed of the vehicle.
TODD (on camera): This is the path the vehicle took, there are the skid marks, police say the car hit the guardrail, flipped over. And these markings, these orange markings on the branches, police say that is the path they marked off, the path the vehicle took as it flew into the water.
(voice-over): Eighteen-year-old Brian Henry was one of two survivors. He tells a harrowing story.
BRIAN HENRY, SURVIVOR OF CAR CRASH: I hit my head off the dashboard, somehow I had flew to the back. I was in there, it was like being (INAUDIBLE) for like in the littlest space underwater. Like I wanted to give up, but I couldn't.
TODD: Henry and another young man punched through the back window, swam out, then ran a quarter mile to call 911.
Kirkland Behner's mother calls Brian Henry a hero, but she can't absorb what happened to her son.
D. BEHNER: He can't come through. He can't come home, "Mom, what's for dinner?", "What did you cook, mom?" I'm not going to here none of it any more.
TODD: Police say there was seat belt usage but they're not saying anything beyond that. And, of course, you have to remember, this vehicle was carrying eight people. It can only really accommodate five. So there were only five seat belts to use -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, who owns the car? And did the owner know they had this vehicle?
TODD: It's owned by a gentleman named Marquise Stephenson (ph) who lives in Youngstown, Ohio. Police say none of the occupants, neither the driver nor anybody else, had express permission from the owner to be in that vehicle. I asked the police if anybody was any relation to Mr. Stephenson, they said they were not. That's all they're saying at this point.
So it does not appear that he gave permission for anybody in that vehicle to actually have the vehicle at the time of the accident. We tried to call Mr. Stephenson, we were not able to reach him.
TODD: What a tragedy -- heartbreaking tragedy indeed.
Brian, thank you very much.
Just ahead, would Americans go for a third Bush in the White House? Jeb Bush doesn't see why not. We're going to talk about that and more. Our strategy session coming up.
BLITZER: John McCain's former campaign manager says his party doesn't give equal opportunity to women. Anything Republicans should be doing about that? Our strategy session, that's next.
BLITZER: So, are Americans ready for yet another Bush in the White House?
Let's discuss in our strategy session. Joining us are CNN contributors, Democratic strategist, Paul Begala, and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro.
Here is the Florida governor on FOX yesterday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I don't think there's any Bush package at all. I love my brother. I'm proud of his accomplishments. I love my dad. I am proud to be a Bush.
And if I run for president, it's not because of something in my DNA that compels me to do it. It would be that it's the right thing to do for my family, that the conditions are right, and that I have something to offer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Paul, what do you think? A third Bush as president?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first, you've go to give him points for family loyalty. But the truth is -- just as a political truth -- CNN did, threw George W. Bush into a poll last summer, he is the least popular living former president. He is the most unpopular leaving office in my recent memory certainly.
If Jeb really wants to run, look, he's got to change his last name to something more respectable like Kardashian, Honey Boo Boo, maybe Nixon, I don't know. The name, because of George W. The father I think is greatly admired and should be. But George W. Bush is the worst president in the last century. And when that was your brother, it's kind of tough to run with the same name.
BLITZER: I know you know him well, Ana, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor. You like him. What do you think?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think I'm ready for Jeb Bush to be president and to run for president.
Look, I think first of all, you are never going to get Jeb Bush to forsake his brother or his father. He loves them dearly. He is going to stick by them.
But second of all, I think this Bush baggage thing is highly overrated. Look, Wolf, when was the last time you heard about George W. Bush. Whenever we hear about him, he is either helping some kid with malaria in Africa or he's helping a wounded warrior. He is not involved in controversial politics. He is much less toxic than he was, and he's going to be much less so by the time this presidential primary rolls around.
Also, Jeb, Jeb is not a guy who just appeared out of nowhere. He's got his own record, his own positions, his own policy thoughts. He is going to be judged on his own positions, his own mistakes, his own successes. He has a very long record as governor of Florida and that's what people are going to judge him on.
BLITZER: He was, Paul, you must acknowledge, a very popular governor of Florida, twice elected. Florida, one of those key battleground states, as you know.
BEGALA: Oh, absolutely. He is a smart guy. He's engaging in the policy debates, sometimes on both sides of the issue, but that's OK. He's a really gifted and able person.
But let me tell you, Ana just said whistling past the graveyard, that name carries more baggage than any name except Samsonite. I mean, it's just not going to happen. I may not be fair, you know, it may be that his favorite movie is probably my idiot brother. But it's just not going to happen. This country does not want a third Bush.
BLITZER: Ana, let get your quick reaction to Steve Schmidt. He was the campaign manager for John McCain's presidential campaign back in 2008. He says the Republicans have a serious problem with women. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER MCCAIN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It is one of the problems we have structurally in the Republican Party. We don't have enough women at the table. But any company, any organization in today's day and age that doesn't give equal opportunity to women, that doesn't advance women to the table, is going to be an organization that has difficulty competing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Ana, what do you need to do -- Republicans, to get some women at the table as they say?
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We have women there, they just need to be at the table. I think we need to highlight more of the women who are involved and we need to attract more women.
We have made progress. The Republican Party has made progress. It still has a long way to go. There is no reason why there should be only one woman who's chair of a committee in Congress right now. There's one woman who's in leadership, Republican leadership, Kathy McMorris Rogers. I would like to see a lot more of her. I think she's a lot more pleasant to listen to and look at than some of the other folks on that leadership team.
So, I think we need to highlight the women that are there and have those women be the spokespeople to bring in more women and make it a palatable place. Look, for example, Wolf, in CPAC this next week, a third of the speakers are going to be women. Half of the emcees are going to be women.
So has there been progress made? Yes. Are we at the point where the glass is half full? No. We need to have a lot more women involved. And women need to run! Women need to participate. Women need to involve themselves in Republican politics. And we need to craft the difference, not wait for the men to do it for us.
BLIZTER: Ana Navarro, Paul Begala, guys, thanks very, very much. Our Strategy Session here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Coming up, a new warning that super bugs resistant to all antibiotics could soon pose a catastrophic threat. I'll speak about that with America's point man on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
BLITZER: Another record day on Wall Street as the Dow Jones Industrial average added 50 points to close unofficially at 14, 447. It's the fifth straight day with a record high. Investors' optimism partially fueled by the hope Congress could actually pass a budget before current legislation expires.
We're back in two minutes.
BLITZER: The excitement and drama certainly building right as cardinals prepare to elect the next pope. Let's go back to Rome right where our own Anderson Cooper is on the scene. Anderson, we are certainly used to political parties here in the United States. But obviously that doesn't exist within the college of cardinals. Here is the question. Is there still some divide within the cardinals?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": There certainly are divisions, no doubt about it. You know, we are some 12 hours away from the start of all of this. It starts with a special Mass tomorrow. Then the cardinals file single-file into the Sistine Chapel. As you know, Wolf, all 115 are here now, ready to vote. And they have been for the last several days talking with each other, making speeches, discussing with each other what they want to see from this Vatican moving forward. But there are some real divisions and some real questions about where the church goes from here. The role of the curia, which is the bureaucracy which controls Vatican City, which runs Vatican City. There are those cardinals who are more aligned with the inner works of the Vatican with the curia, and those cardinals who are looking more for reform.
And so, we are seeing some of those divisions. It's not something they talk about very publicly, but something that a lot of Vatican observers are watching carefully for. And neither side really has a majority. You need 77 votes out of the 15 to elect the next pope. There's a -- I don't know if it is politicking exactly, but lots of discussions and lots of meetings and a kind of subtle form of politicking going on behind closed doors, Wolf.
BLTIZER: Because I know a lot of people are wondering will an Italian be selected as usual or somebody from outside of Italy? Will it be someone that's older? Maybe they'll go with someone younger. I'm sure you have been hearing about those kinds of questions.
COOPER: There is. In fact, it is kind of interesting. A lot of allegiances are not necessarily geographic. There's actually a group which is affiliated with the curia, which is the organization that sort of runs Vatican City. A lot of observers believe that they are favoring, actually, the archbishop of San Paolo, a Cardinal Sherrer (ph) of San Paolo of German origin. But hey believe this would obviously be the first pope from Latin America.
And ironically, the sort of so-called reformers seem to be heading towards or favoring the archbishop of Milan who is actually an Italian. So, it is sort of counterintuitive that a lot of those that actually work in the Vatican or are more closely associated with the Vatican are actually favoring someone from Latin America and the reformers actually favoring an Italian.
BLITZER: Anderson, of course, will be reporting live from the Vatican later tonight on AC 360, 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We will certainly be watching then, Anderson. Thanks very much. Anderson will be in Rome through the week for this historic moment.
Opponents of New York soda ban have scored a major victory just within the past few hours. One of Mayor Mike Bloomberg's pet projects could now be in serious jeopardy.
BLITZER: A judge in New York stepped in late today to stop -- yes, stop -- a controversial ban on sugar-filled drinks at a certain level. The new law was supposed to start tomorrow. Mary Snow is joining us with the latest.
This comes as a major surprise on the eve of the start of this ban.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Wolf, and it is also a big defeat for New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who just said earlier today the rest of the country should follow New York City's lead in banning the sale of large, sugary drinks over 16 ounces as part of an effort to fight obesity. Beverage companies, restaurants, movie theaters and others went to court to block this ban, and a judge invalidated it.
In his decision, a New York state Supreme Court judge said the rule is "arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city. It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentration of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds." Now, supermarkets and convenience stores, for example, were not effected because they're regulated by the state and not the city.
Now, critics portrayed the mayor of running a nanny state. The mayor has been pressing the case of the link between obesity and the consumption of sugary drinks. And the city earlier today released data just to make the case. The legal setback, though, isn't stopping Bloomberg's fight. He says the city will appeal, and his office sent out a tweet saying, "We believe the city has the legal authority and responsibility to tackle causes of the obesity epidemic, which kills 5,000 New Yorkers a year."
And Wolf, while some businesses had geared up to make the changes that were supposed to go into effect tomorrow, others did not because there was supposed to be a three-month grace period, and they included big chains like Starbucks. They said they wanted to see the outcome of this lawsuit. And as we have been talking about it, it wasn't just soda. It was sugary drinks. Also coffee drinks. So, many businesses were to be affected by this.
BLITZER: So, pending an appeal, going to the higher court -- the New York state supreme court is not necessarily the highest. There's a court of appeals in New York. Pending appeal in New York state, what happens now? The ban does not go into effect, is that right?
SNOW: Correct. The city is going to appeal, but under this decision today, it would be halted.
BLITZER: If it is not rejected by court of appeals in New York if they take it up to that highest court in the state. All right, thanks very much, Mary. I know you'll be watching this story for us.
By the way, the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is holding a news conference on this very subject. 5:30 p.m. Eastern, we will have live coverage of that. Lots of interest what happens next in New York City with those big drinks.
Up next here in THE SITUATION ROOM, just years from now, routine hospital visits could often be fatal. Why super bugs resistant to antibiotics could pose what they are now describing as a catastrophic threat to the nation.
And I am going to show you an alley hoop in the NBA some people are calling the dunk of the year.
BLITZER: You certainly don't have to be a basketball fan to appreciate this play, Los Angeles Clippers player Deandre Jordan throwing a huge dunk against the Detroit Pistons and the reaction by the kids summing it up. The victim of the dunk was guard Brandon Knight. So is this the dunk of the year? Maybe, maybe not, but without a doubt, it is a contender.
BLITZER: Britain's top health official says that within years, super bugs resistant to antibiotics could pose a catastrophic threat and that routine surgeries could become fatal for so many patients.
Joining us now from Boston, Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of the National of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Fauci, thanks very much for coming in.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Good to be here, Wolf.
BLITZER: The chief medical officer of England is warning right now and it is pretty ominous that we may soon face a future without cures for infection. Is that true?
FAUCI: Well, for certain infections. It is the whole issue of anti-microbial resistant particularly bacteria. She gave annual report from the U.K., which really mimics very much what we've been seeing here in the United States.
And in fact, our own Center for Disease Control and Prevention just last week came out with a report, a special edition of their weekly surveillance report and they refer to it as vital signs where they reported about the upsurge in a certain type of multiple drug resistant bacteria, called CRE, which is really something that's growing in frequency, and is really quite threatening.
There are about a million to three million hospital acquired infections throughout the year in the United States, about 20 percent of them are among drug resistant microbes, and in a given year, about 90,000 people die from drug resistant microbes, almost all that had been acquired in the hospital. So it is something that we need to pay important attention to.
BLITZER: When you say drug resistant microbes, we are vulnerable potentially, how did this develop? Is it overuse of antibiotics that eventually has resulted in this?
FAUCI: It is just that. One of the major causes is that inappropriate use of antibiotics where the antibiotics that you give for an infection that you might not need or it is not given properly or for the right duration, what it does is it suppresses the sensitive bacteria, and allows the drug resistant ones to flourish.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics is the major cause of this issue. The other problem that we have, Wolf, is that there's not a lot of enthusiasm among most of the major pharmaceutical companies to develop a robust pipeline of new antibiotics.
If you look at all of the medical drugs and interventions over a period of time, antibiotic development of new drugs has lagged well behind the development of other types of drugs. So it is a combination of antibiotic misuse or inappropriate use and not having a lot of substitute drugs.
BLITZER: So what can we do? The government, private industry, what can we do to fix this because it sounds like potentially there's a disaster out there.
FAUCI: Well, the CDC is doing a very aggressive job of trying to educate against the use of antibiotics in inappropriate way. There are hospital control guidelines that they have come out with and there's now renewed interest in activity in having the federal government partner in many respects with the public, private partnership with pharmaceutical companies to help develop, get more enthusiasm and activity in developing a better pipeline of drugs.
But it is fundamentally education among physicians and patients about not inappropriately using antibiotics and when you're in a hospital, to have very good procedures such as washing hands and having good hospital control implementation during a period of a hospitalization. We see this often in situation not only in acute care hospitals, but in hospitals in which you have duration of stay that's long, like in long-term care facilities.
BLITZER: So bottom line, who is most vulnerable?
FAUCI: Well, the people that are most vulnerable are people that have been put on antibiotics, who have debilitating diseases. When you're in the hospital when you have invasive procedures, in dwelling catheters, trachea tubes, all of that, using antibiotics inappropriately, all accumulates together to put persons at risk, particularly those that are under continual health care in a hospital for a long time.
BLITZER: Dr. Fauci, as usual thanks very much for coming in.
FAUCI: You're quite welcome.
BLITZER: Mark Kelly is a vocal advocate for gun control. So why did Gabby Giffords' husband buy one of the deadliest weapons on the market. I'll ask him why that's coming up in our next hour.
BLITZER: The former first lady Laura Bush has stayed out of the spotlight since leaving the White House, but she sat down with Erin Burnett to talk about her latest passion, finding a way to empower women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, HOST, CNN'S "OUTFRONT": I'm curious, there's a new book, Sheryl Sandberg's book, I know you're on the board. I was reading your testimonial about 9/11. I was curious why you chose to join that work.
LAURA BUSH, FORMER U.S. FIRST LADY: Well, I just thought it was interesting, the whole idea of empowering women by the idea of being able to lean into an issue or a way that you can both develop your own self in a broader and deeper way, but also to be able to help other people.
You know, I have two girls who have been leaning in since the day they were born I think. They're both very interested in the outside world and in life outside of themselves.
When you go through those teenage years, teenagers are usually very self conscious and my advice to teenagers and young people is to move outside yourself by looking at other people.
By looking at ways you can use your own talents to either help other people or support other people or develop your interest. And I would say that Barbara and Jenna certainly have done that.
BURNETT: Now Jenna is having a baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You're not going to want to miss any of Erin's interview. Laura Bush opening up about what women want. That's tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right after THE SITUATION ROOM, on "ERIN BURNETT OUT FRONT."