Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Time Running Out for Edward Snowden?; Unrest in Egypt; American Woman Killed in Spanish Train Crash; Planes, Trains and Human Error; Could Weiner Scandal Impact Hillary Clinton?; Battle to Be Next Fed Chair
Aired July 26, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the NSA leaker's dad reaching out to President Obama, opening up with an angry new defense of his son.
Trayvon Martin's mother responding to the juror who says George Zimmerman, quote, "got away with murder." I'll talk to a lawyer for the Martin family.
And the only American killed in a horrific train crash in Spain. Her father now sharing her story and his heartbreak.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
An emotional appeal. A new diplomat wrangling over the fate of the NSA leaker Edward Snowden. While Snowden remains holed up in the Moscow airport, his father is asking President Obama to dismiss the criminal complaint against his son.
But the Obama administration is moving forward with its efforts to prosecute Snowden and prevent him from getting asylum in Russia.
Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is following the new developments in this international tug of war.
Barbara, Snowden's father seems to be stepping up the defense of his son. What's going on?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as the U.S. continues to pressure the Russians, now a lot of questions about whether the Kremlin is getting ready to make its move on what to do about Edward Snowden, the Russians making an extraordinary admission today, saying that their security agency, the FSB, now talking to the U.S. security personnel.
This is very interesting because it's now all out in the open. Is that one of the reasons Edward Snowden's father may be feeling the pressure, may be stepping up his campaign? Part of it, he spoke today on NBC's "Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LON SNOWDEN, FATHER OF EDWARD SNOWDEN: I'm someone who has worked in the government for years and years and years. And I want to say I am extremely disappointed and angry. I'm an angry American citizen. I have watched closely the balance of the 36 members on the two Intelligence Committees within Congress, particularly the House, and the American people have not -- at this point, they don't know the full truth. But the truth is coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: Edward Snowden's father a very angry man, by his own admission.
The administration not letting up the pressure on the Russians no matter what is going on, still holding out the possibility President Obama would cancel an upcoming meeting in September with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin -- Wolf.
BLITZER: That meeting was supposed to be in Moscow, just a day before St. Petersburg in Russia for the G20 summit.
But there was a really important development, potentially, at least. The attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, sending a letter to Russia on Snowden. Tell our viewers what was in that letter.
STARR: Right, another very critical, very public move today on the U.S. side. Attorney General Eric Holder sending a letter to his counterpart outlining the legal conditions that Snowden faces and making some very extraordinary reassurances to the Russians.
Part of that letter saying -- and I quote -- "The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden. Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States."
Snowden does not face the death penalty at this point in the United States. Not expected to. While Snowden still looks for that temporary asylum in Russia, an awful lot of heavyweight players moving around him. He may be running out of moves against them -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, we will see what happens. Barbara, thank you.
Let's go to Egypt right now, where the ousted president, Mohammed Morsy, has been ordered to do jail time, a move that is throwing more fuel on unrest across the nation. We have seen large new protests both for and against Morsy today.
Reza Sayah is covering the pro-Morsy protests. Ben Wedeman is covering the anti-Morsy demonstration.
Reza, let's go to you first. What is going on right now?
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I don't think anyone in Egypt is -- all you have to do is look at the events of today and it's clear it is not ending anytime soon. We are with the pro-Morsy camp here in East Cairo. And over the past 30 minutes, a dramatic turn of events. What we suddenly saw were scores of protesters being transported by motorcycle, by cars toward a mosque up the road from -- semi-conscious. Some of them appear to be having difficulty breathing. And some witnesses told us that a couple miles away from us, there were clashes when some of these demonstrators tried to make their way towards downtown.
That's where the anti-demonstrators are. It's not exactly clear what happened in these clashes. But some of these witnesses described tear gas being fired. Perhaps these protesters that we saw are suffering from the effects of tear gas. And then we saw a surge of demonstrators go toward those clashes. So, certainly the intensity...
BLITZER: I think we are having a little trouble right there with the -- our technical problems with Reza Sayah. We are going to fix that.
But Ben Wedeman is joining us. He is also in Cairo at a very different demonstration.
What is it like, Ben, where you are?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really seems like a celebration than a demonstration. These are the people who responded to the call by the Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the defense minister, for them to give him a public mandate to fight terrorism.
They have come out by their hundreds of thousands. We have seen them cram Tahrir Square behind me in addition to the area outside Ittihadiya Palace, Egypt's equivalent of the White House. This area of Cairo has been relatively peaceful so far. There were clashes in one northern suburb where 10 people were wounded. But the bloodiest scenes have been up in Alexandria, where supporters and opponents of the deposed president have clashed, leaving at least five or six people dead.
So, certainly, the level of tension in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt is very high at the moment. It's not quite clear what the defense minister, Sisi, will actually do now that he appears to have gotten the mandate at least from Tahrir Square to crack down on terrorism. Egypt is dealing with problems of militancy in the Sinai and, of course, many people here in Cairo complain about these demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood, which have been going on for more than three weeks.
Many people complain that they are paralyzing the city and worries are that things will only get worse -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Ben, what's been the reaction to the conflicting signals coming from the Obama administration to Egypt, on the one hand, suspending delivery of four F-16 jet fighters to the Egyptian air force, but at the same time saying they are going to go ahead with these huge joint military exercises, the U.S. military working with the Egyptian military? What has been the reaction in Cairo?
WEDEMAN: The reaction has been by and large negative to the announcement of the delay of the delivery of the four F-16s.
But there was an interesting analysis in one of the Egyptian newspapers saying that the amount of aid that the United States gives to Egypt, military aid, $1.3 billion, a year is really relatively small compared to what they are getting now from the United Arab Emirates, from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which tops $10 billion.
In a sense, what we are seeing is growing anti-American sentiment on the street. Many people continue to accuse Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador here in Cairo, and President Barack Obama of cozying up to the Muslim Brotherhood during President Morsy's year in power. And oftentimes, you see posters of Barack Obama with a beard somewhat resembling Osama bin Laden.
So, very palpable sense of anger, frustration and resentment at the Obama administration at the moment -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Ben Wedeman on the scene for us. Looks like a celebration, almost like New Year's Eve going on in Tahrir Square. Where Reza Sayah is, a very, very different picture we're getting. All right, guys, thanks very much. Lots at stake obviously in Egypt.
Up next, Trayvon Martin's mother opening up about her broken heart. I will ask the family's lawyer if Sybrina Fulton accepts the apology of a juror who acquitted George Zimmerman.
And later, the father of the only American killed in that train crash in Spain, he speaks to us about his special girl and whether he's angry.
BLITZER: We are just getting some information in on the San Francisco area Bay Bridge.
I want to show our viewers pictures of what we are seeing right now. Authorities in San Francisco tell us they have shut down the eastbound lanes of the Bay Bridge after reports of what they described as some sort of suspicious device at the Treasure Island exit. Our affiliate KGO is reporting.
Take a look at these pictures right now. These are live pictures coming in from KGO, our affiliate there. You see the San Francisco area, the Bay Bridge. There's no cars on the bridge right now because of some sort of suspicious device as it's being called. We don't know what's going on there. We don't know if it's serious, not so serious.
But out of an abundance of caution, authorities in San Francisco have shut down the eastbound lanes of the Bay Bridge. That's why you don't see any cars on that bridge right now. We will stay on top of that story and get you some more information. That will be that.
But let's move on to other news for the time being.
Trayvon Martin's mother says she was devastated to hear from an anguished juror who believes George Zimmerman -- quote -- "got away with murder." Sybrina Fulton spoke to the National Urban League in Philadelphia today a day after the juror known as B-29 delivered some bombshell comments. Fulton urged the civil rights groups to use her story and her broken heart to make sure what happened to her son doesn't happen to anyone else's child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Wrap your mind around no prom for Trayvon. No high school graduation for Trayvon. No college for Trayvon. No grandkids coming from Trayvon. All because of a law, a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We are joined now by one of the lawyers for the Martin family, Daryl Parks.
Daryl, thanks very much for coming in. I see the emotion is still very, very raw right now. Give us a little sense of what this family is going through.
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY: Well, it's very tough, Wolf.
They realize that without question George Zimmerman should have been held accountable for Trayvon's death, yet the law, as confusing as it is, allowed this jury to let him go.
BLITZER: Listen to this clip. This is from this juror who spoke to ABC News. I want to play it for you, then we will discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDY, ZIMMERMAN TRIAL JUROR: I feel that I was forcefully included in Trayvon Martin's death. I carry him on my back. I'm hurting as much as Trayvon Martin's mom is, because there's no way that any mother should feel that pain. I would like to apologize because I feel like I let him down.
We just couldn't prove anything. And I wish them the best and that God bless them through all this and peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Do the parents of Trayvon Martin, Daryl, do they accept the apology from this woman?
PARKS: Well, I think they accept it in perspective, Wolf.
They realize that this juror was put in a very, very tough situation given the jury instructions. The jury instructions were very long and somewhat confusing. Our hope is that the jurors will join the Martin family in pushing for a change in the law and convincing our legislators that we must change our self-defense laws in our state. BLITZER: When Sybrina Fulton saw this juror, Juror 29's interview, on ABC News, what was her reaction?
PARKS: Well, I think she is still hurt.
I think the juror was very well-intended. I think the jurors did a good job. I think she was somewhat confused about the instruction. There was an instruction around page 11. The juror talks about the fact that she thought that they had to find that George intended to kill Trayvon. That was not the instruction given for manslaughter in this case.
So, we are sorry the instructions were somewhat unclear. The work here that needs to be done is for our legislature to work to make the law clearer so that this juror or any other juror is never put in this situation again.
BLITZER: But as far as second-degree murder, a conviction of second-degree murder, intent would have to be there, not necessarily though for manslaughter, is that what you are saying?
PARKS: That's correct. That's correct.
If you read the instruction -- in fact, read it just as I was coming on. Around page 11, it talks about the fact that the state does not have to prove that George intended to cause Trayvon's death. It just means they have to prove he committed an act that led to the death, which would have been the manslaughter conviction.
BLITZER: Right. And going into that jury, this woman who spoke to ABC News she says she was in favor of a guilty verdict for second- degree murder and in the end she voted not guilty.
Let me read to you what Mark O'Mara, the defense lawyer for George Zimmerman -- he issued a statement today reacting to this woman, a statement he entitled, "Why Zimmerman Juror B-29 is a model juror."
This is what he says: "We don't expect jurors to be heartless people. Juror B-29 accepted a tremendous burden, set her feelings aside, and cast a verdict based on the evidence presented in court and on the law she was provided. Any juror that follows that Juror B-29's process will deliver a fair and just verdict."
Do you agree with Mark O'Mara?
PARKS: I respectfully disagree with Mark O'Mara.
I think this juror also went on in that same interview to make it very clear that she believes that George Zimmerman is guilty of Trayvon's murder. The law may not have supported in terms of the instructions that were given, but she believes very clearly that he was responsible for Trayvon's death. Unfortunately, the law that was given to them did not allow them to convict him. But she was very clear that she believes that he's guilty of something in this case.
BLITZER: Daryl Parks, thanks very much for coming in.
PARKS: Thank you for having me, Wolf. Have a great day.
BLITZER: You, too. Thank you.
And coming up, did human error play a role in this deadly train disaster? We're taking a closer look.
Plus, notorious jewelry thieves and a prison escape. We are learning new details of the so-called Pink Panther gang.
BLITZER: A bold and violent prison break is putting notorious gang of jewelry thieves back in the spotlight.
CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must find that woman.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It could have been a scene from the classic "Pink Panther" movies that gave this notorious real-life gang of international jewel thieves its name.
Police in Switzerland say 34-year-old Milan Poparic, a Bosnian national serving time for stealing jewels, escaped from jail with another inmate in a dramatic prison break. Two accomplices used a van and two ladders to help stage the escape, firing automatic weapons at prison guards, pinning them down with gunfire.
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE SAUTEREL, POLICE SPOKESMAN (through translator): When we are faced with rapid gunfire like at war, the guards and notably the security agents outside are not equipped to respond to this sort of confrontation.
CHANCE: Just like in the movies, the criminals appear to have outsmarted the police.
(on camera): But unlike the comedy films, the real life Pink Panther game originating in the former Yugoslavia is no laughing matter. Interpol describes them as a network of criminals with hundreds of members behind armed robberies targeting high-level jewelry stores in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States. It estimate that is they have stolen jewels worth nearly $400 million since 1999.
(voice-over): Earlier this year, at the Cannes Film Festival, movie stars and their jewelry were targeted by thieves. Police on the French Riviera say about a million dollars worth of jewels were snatched in one heist. In a second, a necklace valued at $2.6 million was taken. It's been reported that the Pink Panther gang was involved. Just like in the "Pink Panther" movies, the thieves in the real- life gang seem to make bungling Inspector Clouseaus out of those trying to stop them or keep them behind bars.
Matthew Chance, CNN, London.
BLITZER: Up next, an American woman who was in Spain to see her son dies in that horrific train crash. Her family and friends share her story and their grief.
And they have stood by their men. We are taking a closer look at Hillary Clinton's relationship with Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, and whether it might, might hurt her politically.
BLITZER: Happening now: The train crash investigation in Spain takes a criminal turn, the focus now on the driver. It is intensifying.
Plus, planes, trains and human error. We are looking at several recent transportation disasters. Is there a trend?
And Hillary Clinton's connection to Anthony Weiner's wife. Will Hillary Clinton's close ties to Huma Abedin be a problem if she decides to run for president of the United States?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
A local police chief says the driver of the train that derailed in Spain is now in custody and he's being investigated for a possible crime. Authorities are focusing in on whether the high-speed train was traveling too fast when it rounded a curve, hit a concrete wall and flipped on its side.
At least 78 people were killed in Wednesday's crash, including one American, a woman from Annandale, Virginia -- that's in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
Brian Todd is here.
Brian, I understand you had a chance to speak with this woman's dad.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did, Wolf. He recounted how he saw the train crash on TV. He said he was horrified, just had a terrible feeling, waited for more than a day while his daughter was still missing, then he got the news from a relative.
For a tightly-knit family who really had been living an American success story, this is devastating.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): He had moved to this house to be closer to his daughter. And Gustavo Angel is heartbroken as he recalls hearing the news that his beloved Ana-Maria was among those killed in this horrific crash.
GUSTAVO ANGEL, FATHER OF TRAIN CRASH VICTIM: Can you imagine that? It was our only daughter and very special girl. We were very proud of her. And can you imagine how we feel?
CHANCE: Ana-Maria Cordoba, an American from Annandale, Virginia, was on the train with her husband, Philippe, and 17-year-old daughter, Christina. They were both injured, reported in stable condition.
At the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, Ana-Maria is remembered as devout and unflappable. She worked here in the human resources office as a benefit specialist, helping people deal with the toughest personal issues.
(on camera): How difficult was that work and how did she handle it?
FATHER TOM FERGUSON, CHANCERY OFFICIAL: She works in part of our office where you are really dealing with people. And sometimes people can be challenging. Not everybody is patient. But she was with the people that she served.
TODD (voice-over): Father Tom Ferguson, who worked with Ana- Maria here, said she would go to noon mass every day with her mother, who also worked at the diocese.
(on camera): Family and faith meant so much to Ana-Maria Cordoba that at the time of her death, she and her husband were traveling to meet their son, Santiago, who had just completed a pilgrimage across northern Spain.
A friend says Santiago was in that town of Santiago de Compostela waiting for his parents when the accident occurred.
(voice-over): Neighbor Ellen Albert recalls the moment when Santiago called her to break the news of his mother's death.
ELLEN ALBERT, NEIGHBOR OF CRASH VICTIM: You know, his first concern, he said, "I'm calling you, because I want you to check on my grandparents." Those are Ana-Maria's folks. And I said, you know, what a brave young man.
TODD: That devotion rooted in Colombia where Ana-Maria grew up. She got a degree there in civil engineering, worked for an American shipbuilder, her father says, at one time refitting nuclear submarines. She gave that up when she had children then later got her job in H.R.
Her father beams and chokes up when he talks about Ana-Maria's sense of family.
GUSTAVO ANGEL, ANA-MARIA'S FATHER: We are very close to our sons and daughter. Then she was the same way all the time with all them together.
TODD: Given the reports that the train was traveling at excessive speed, I asked Ana-Maria's father if he was angry at all of this. No, he said. Accidents happen.
BLITZER: I understand you have some more details on the injuries suffered by her husband and daughter?
TODD: That's right. Her husband, Philippe, has a head injury, according to her family. He had to be held in the hospital for at least 72 hours. He could be getting out right about now. They say he was responsive, despite his head injury.
The daughter, Christina, broke her leg in the crash. They were both being treated at separate hospitals. Now, they, the son and the grandparents have the task of getting Ana-Maria's body back to the U.S. That should happen sometime next week.
BLITZER: What a heart-breaking story. All right, Brian. Thanks very much.
Investigators have certainly focused in on a human error as a possible cause of several recent transportation disasters. Tom Foreman is joining us tonight with a closer look at what's going on. Tom, it's all pretty disturbing.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really is, Wolf. And if you look at what happened, you can understand why they're focusing so much on this idea that maybe this has something to do with human error.
Look at this train as it's coming around the corner here and crashing here. This is not something where the investigators are looking so much at just this highly precise, very elaborate machinery of the train.
What they're looking at is not the technology of the tracks. They're looking, first of all, at look at the sheer speed of it, which means they're looking at the hand on the throttle, the man who's running this thing, the conductor.
So what do we know about that? We know that one of the reasons they're so curious about this is because he apparently bragged before about the idea that he could drive very, very quickly with these trains. That may be an issue.
We know that Spanish news agencies are reporting that this train was supposed to be doing about 50 miles an hour as it came around here. Instead, it may have been going twice that speed.
Look at this. We split this in half, and we slowed one of these down by halftime. Look at the difference of what had happened there. This train is the one that's coming around extra fast. Look, it's already crashing at this point. Whereas, if it had been traveling at half that speed, it would have been short of even reaching that point.
So this is the thing they're looking at to see if it really was fundamentally human error here in what made this happen. Could it be something wrong with the machinery? Yes, Wolf, but right now it just doesn't look that way to some of the investigators. That's why they're looking at the conductor so hard.
BLITZER: Yes. Human error. It's also being considered the possible cause of two major airplane crashes here in the United States in San Francisco and New York in recent days and weeks. Why is that?
FOREMAN: The same reason, Wolf. It's the nature of the crash. In the Asiana crash, for example, the National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that, in perfectly clear weather, broad daylight, the plane landed way short of the runway, and the tail and undercarriage struck the seawall. We've had no reports that the pilots were having equipment trouble. We know that one of them was relativity inexperienced and they called to abort the landing just seconds before impact.
All of that says look at the man more than the machine.
In the Southwest flight, which we have heard so much about, the NTSB says just about 30 feet above the ground, this plane's nose was still pointed up at that point, just a little bit. It didn't have to be a lot. It pointed up enough. It was just a couple of degrees upward. That's proper so that the heavier gear down here lands first.
But instead, right before it landed, according to the NTSB, what happened is that nose shifted from up in about four seconds to a slight downward angle. And that's what made this weaker wheel up front hit first.
Again, there is a way you can explain all of this through weird air drafts or equipment failure. But it's not conclusive. It's early on. They're looking very hard at all of the humans involved to see if that's what caused this occurrence (ph) -- Wolf.
BLITZER: The NTSB will obviously be investigating these crashes for many months to come. Tom, thanks very much.
Up next, Anthony Weiner's wife and her very close ties to Hillary Clinton. Could the sexting scandal have an impact on Hillary Clinton's political future?
But first, the actor Alec Baldwin impacting his world.
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Hi, I'm Alec Baldwin. And we can make an impact on children's cancer.
I've been involved with the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut for about 20 years now. And the reason I got involved was a friend of mine introduced me to Paul Neuman. When you come to the camp, what's interesting is you see the joy in the kids' faces. They're having an experience here that they would likely only have here. It's the parents you spend most of the time talking to, discuss what they've been going through, and they've been going through a lot. There's just nothing more vexing, I think, than to have a child who has a grave illness and you're powerless to do something about that.
All right, camp. What's the deal? Let's go.
These kids have an excess of difficult things in life, throughout their childhood. When they come to the camp, they have a chance on so many levels.
Hole in the Wall is something where we have to keep it going. And it has to expand. Probably the greatest cause I've ever seen in my life. Join the movement. Impact your world, CNN.com/impact.
BLITZER: Before Huma Abedin was dragged into her husband, Anthony Weiner's, scandal, she was best known as a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton. The Clinton connection is, of course, of interest to a lot of folks, especially given the intense speculation about a possible Hillary Clinton run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is joining us. She's got a little bit more on what's going on. What are you seeing out there, Jill?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Huma Abedin played a crucial role behind the scenes at the State Department for Hillary Clinton. But she's been out front during her husband's scandal. So is it helping or hurting?
DOUGHERTY (voice-over): Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's elegant right-hand woman, profiled in magazines like "Harper's Bazaar." President Bill Clinton officiated at her wedding to Anthony Weiner. Hillary Clinton said, "If I had a second daughter, it would be Huma."
Now, a stunning parallel: Abedin standing by her man...
HUMA ABEDIN, ANTHONY WEINER'S WIFE: But I do very strongly believe that that is between us and our marriage.
DOUGHERTY: ... just as Hillary Clinton stood by Bill Clinton 15 years ago.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette. DOUGHERTY: Could this deja-vu scandal hurt Hillary Clinton's prospects for a presidential run in 2016? Questions already are brewing about the job Huma Abedin got at the State Department after she came back from maternity leave, returning as a special government employee.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is accusing Abedin of "being paid by private investors to gather information from government employees."
The State Department says she followed government rules.
Their careers aligned, and there are now painful parallels in their personal lives. with the media replaying mirror images of Huma and Hillary.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Clearly, people around Hillary would like this to go away quickly. So if he dropped out of the race and would disappear from headlines, that would be in their interests.
But I think the -- I think the bigger question is this. One of the issues in a campaign that she launches is who is she going to be surrounded by?
DOUGHERTY: Now, Gergen does think the scandal could end up hurting Huma Abedin's chance to take a major role in any Clinton campaign. Meanwhile, a source close to Hillary Clinton and to Huma Abedin tells CNN "Our concern and caring is entirely about Huma's personal well-being, nothing else" -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Gloria [SIC], thanks very much.
Let's discuss a little bit what's going on with our chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, also seen on our "STATE OF THE UNION," and our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
What do you think, Candy? Could this Anthony Weiner affair impact Hillary Clinton's potential run for the Democratic presidential nomination?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: You know, possibly but there's so much -- there's such a body of knowledge and paper trails and everything else about Hillary Clinton that this seems to me kind of a minor thing along the trail.
Could it, as David suggests, hurt her, should Huma come on? Maybe. But I think she's much more hurt by what's surrounding her job as sort of a freelancer at the State Department than anything her husband did. I think, you know, in the end, I still think society is pretty much able to look at this and go, this isn't her fault, for heaven's sake; it's his.
BLITZER: It's not Huma's fault; it's Anthony Weiner's fault. CROWLEY: Right.
BLITZER: That's what you're saying. It's certainly not Hillary Clinton's fault.
BLITZER: You agree?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I do agree. And you know, obviously, as David points out, the pictures are out there. And nobody wants to go back decades ago to the old -- to those old pictures. But this isn't about Hillary Clinton.
BLITZER: Let's talk about a little political battle that has developed between the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky. Chris Christie, he was out in Aspen, Colorado, this week and speaking on national security. Clearly doesn't like some of the things that Rand Paul has been saying. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now, and making big headlines, I think is a very dangerous thought. I love all these esoteric debates that people are getting in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like Rand Paul, for example?
CHRISTIE: Listen, you can name any number of people. He's one of them. I mean, these esoteric intellectual debates. I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans and have that conversation, and they won't. Because that's a much tougher conversation to have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: To which an aide, top adviser to Rand Paul, said this: "If Governor Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is esoteric, he either needs a new dictionary or he needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years."
What's really going on here, Candy?
CROWLEY: This is skirmishes. You can look toward 2016.
When you have a party leader, when for instance, your guy is in the White House, President Obama has lots of folks who say lots of different things in the Democratic Party that he doesn't agree with. But he defines what the Democratic Party is right now. Right now, no one defines what the Republican Party is.
BORGER: On anything. CROWLEY: On anything. On anything. So you're going to see, it's not just about surveillance which we saw play up, by the way, on the House floor on both sides of the aisle. But we saw Republicans on that.
We're going to see it on the debt ceiling and how far to go on that. We're going to see it on the budget and how far to go on that. So this is -- this is certainly a party in search of itself. And it won't find itself until it finds a nominee.
BORGER: But I do think that Rand Paul is making a real calculation here looking towards 2016. And that is that the public is tired of two wars. They're skeptical about big government and about Big Brother, NSA surveillance and drones.
And what Chris Christie is doing is taking the more traditional, hawkish John McCain, if you will, side of the Republican ledger there. And I do believe that you're going to see a real foreign policy fight play out in the Republican Party.
We started to see it with Ron Paul in the last campaign during those debates. And I think you're going to see a continuation of it with his son.
CROWLEY: And that argument will be interesting, if Hillary Clinton should jump in the race, because what we have seen, in this century anyway, is Republicans losing their edge about who's tough on national security.
CROWLEY: Who's tough on defense. And certainly, Chris Christie is in the muscular side about wait a second. You know, we're going to do what we can to stop these guys. Get Hillary Clinton in there. She's no slouch in the Defense Department. And she is going to be sort of a force to be reckoned with on that score. So clearly, again, another split in the Republican Party. They're going to have to figure it out.
BLITZER: If Rand Paul and Chris Christie run for the Republican presidential nomination, I'm looking forward to moderating the debate between these two guys.
BORGER: I tend to say there will be one.
BLITZER: That would be lively.
Candy, I know you've got Jack Lew, the treasury secretary, on "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday morning at 9 a.m. We'll be watching.
Up next, President Obama has a big job to fill with huge importance to the economy. Is it turning, though, into a battle of the sexes?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Few people have more influence over the U.S. and global economies than the chairman of the Federal Reserve. And there appears to be a heated competition under way right now to replace the Fed chief, Ben Bernanke, when his term expires in January. Might it be the former treasury secretary, Larry Summers? Or the Fed vice chairman, Janet Yellen, who would be the first woman on the job?
President Obama has a huge choice to make. Let's bring in our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, who's been watching this story. Some say it's turning into a sort of battle of the sexes.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Some people are seeing it that way.
The choice of the next Fed chair is a very closely held secret, and for months, the vice chair, Janet Yellen, has been the presumed front-runner for the job. Now, if they chose Yellen, that pick would signal continuity, because it's believed she's likely to continue the current Fed chair's policies. But as you point out, Wolf, she would also be the first woman to run the Fed ever. And that is history it's believed the president would like to make.
Now, on the other hand, Larry Summers supporters, they have been spreading good word about him. They're arguing that he should not be passed over for the job just because he's not a woman. Really.
Now, some of their arguments for him, that he's had experience righting the ship through financial crises. He knows international finance. He's familiar to the markets and to the president.
This is, Wolf, such a powerful job that a lot of the people are trying to work the recs (ph) to get their person in the slot.
BLITZER: Are there any women's groups, though, who are coming out against Larry Summers?
YELLIN: You know, some very few people have said some critical things here and there, and that's because, as Harvard president, Larry Summers once questioned whether women lack men's skills in math and science. That came during a discussion about why more female professors aren't getting tenure. So, that really kicked up a firestorm.
But no one I've spoken with thinks that would be a confirmation killer for Larry Summers, because he's going to get endorsements of very impressive women that he's mentored, including Sheryl Sandberg. Remember, she's the author of "Lean In." That's if he gets named to the job.
But Janet Yellen, she has her fierce advocates, too, and already, more than 20 Democratic senators are sending the president a letter urging him to pick her. The senators praise Yellen, saying, quote, "Her independence, intellectual rigor and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom regarding deregulation make her perfect for the job. Larry Summers supported deregulation in the banking world." So this is an indirect dig at Larry Summers, Wolf. Let me just tell you. Big picture, senior White House officials tell me the president has not decided who the Fed chair is and has -- isn't planning to make an announcement until fall at the earliest. So we're way away head of the game.
BLITZER: Let the debate continue. Jessica Yellin, no relation to Janet Yellen.
YELLIN: Not that I know of.
BLITZER: Thanks very much for joining us.
Coming up, horsing around at the drive-through. CNN's Jeanne Moos is next.
BLITZER: It's called a drive-through, but some people prefer to ride through. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a look at people horsing around.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Golden Arches may be shaped like horse shoes...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got to get my horsey a big mac.
MOOS: But it doesn't take a talking horse like Mr. Ed to give the order at the drive-through.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I get three double cheeseburgers?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I have a Sprite and a hash brown?
MOOS: Plenty of horse riders have recorded themselves being served at drive-throughs. But not this rider, seen here outside a McDonald's in Manchester, England.
(on camera): Staff at the drive-through refused to serve mother and daughter on horseback, and told them to dismount and come inside instead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello!
MOOS: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
MOOS: The mom says she took them literally and sent her daughter inside with her pony.
(voice-over): But once inside, the pony decided to do her business, and the McDonald's staff decided to call police. On Facebook, Manchester police wrote that "the sight and smell of this caused obvious distress and upset to customers trying to eat." The horse owner was fined about $92, even though the pony is apparently a fan of McDonald's.
(on camera): Hi there. Can I please just have a McFlurry?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A what?
MOOS: A McFlurry.
The horse owner told the "Manchester Evening News" that Minnie the pony likes McFlurries.
(voice-over): We've seen a flurry of YouTube videos of horses going through drive-throughs. Some get served.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything else?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bale of hay. A bale of hay.
MOOS: Like this guy, even though he seemed to be drunk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Onto -- onto window two.
MOOS: Others are refused service.
MOOS: When the pair in this horse-drawn carriage were refused at McDonald's, they rode over to the KFC drive-through next door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheers!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bye-bye!
MOOS: Even pranksters wearing horsehead masks usually get served. Once employees get over the shock.
But the Manchester McDonald's says, "The health, safety of our customers and staff is our top priority. For this reason, we are unable to serve pedestrians, bicycle riders or customers on horseback through the drive-through."
They're probably worried about horses freaking out like this one did after being served at a Dunkin' Donuts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, whoa!
MOOS: The horse started doing doughnuts.
And though policies seem to vary...
(on camera): ... critics say it's called a drive-through, not a ride through.
(voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN...
MOOS: ... New York.
BLITZER: Minnie's owner, by the way, told the "Manchester Evening News" that she has been served on horseback at that same drive-through at least half a dozen times.
Good news: We told you earlier about the Bay Bridge in San Francisco -- look at it -- open to traffic. They've determined no serious threat from that suspicious device.
Remember, you can always follow what's going on in THE SITUATION ROOM, follow me on Twitter, @WolfBlitzer.
I'll see you in one hour. I'll be filling in for Anderson on "AC 360" later tonight.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.