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Troy Davis Executed; Satellite Threatens Earth; Execution Fuels Death Penalty Debate; Poll: Perry on Top in Florida; Government Faces Prospect of Shutdown Over FEMA Funding Dispute; Facebook Announces Partnership with Netflix; Satellite Plummeting to Earth; Chris Christie Gives Sixth-Grader Campaigning Advice; 'Snooki Subsidy' Controversy; Best Buds: Rick Perry & Russell Crowe; Dad, Sons Hurt in Car Bombing; Chilling Home Invasion Details

Aired September 22, 2011 - 16:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: But, for now, take a look at this.


BALDWIN: Markings in Arabic on the bellies of some Southwest jets. Who had access to vandalize these planes?

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

We know passengers are checked thoroughly. Many are outraged by the searches.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I said, find the explosives. Do you see any?

BALDWIN: But who's keeping an eye on the planes? The FBI is now investigating.

Troy Davis is dead, but the debate over the death penalty goes on, testing our system and our faith.

MARTINA CORREIA, SISTER OF TROY DAVIS: He is going to give me the strength to carry on and to continue this fight, not just for my brother, but all the Troy Davises around the world.

BALDWIN: We will explain why this is an historic case no matter what your feelings are.

And advice for running a successful campaign from a guy who knows a thing or two about it. The wisdom Governor Chris Christie shared with a sixth grader.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Have really colorful posters.


BALDWIN: If only it were that easy, right? "Political Pop."

Then, that satellite out of gas, expected to hit Earth tomorrow. Look out. Fortunately, there's a lot of ocean on that globe. What are the odds this thing hits land? The news starts now.


BALDWIN: Welcome back and we roll on, hour two. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

And as we mentioned just moments ago, an ugly day on Wall Street. U.S. markets taking a steep dive. Let's take a look at the numbers as they are starting to settle, the Dow down 390 points.


BALDWIN: Meantime, if it's interesting and happening right now, you're about to see it, rapid fire. Let's go, beginning with this.,

Many are questioning last night's execution of Troy Davis. The convicted killer was put to death last night for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. And his case drew not just national, international attention, calls for his life to be spared in those final moments. Seven of those nine witnesses had recanted or contradicted their original testimony and there was no DNA evidence presented at his trial. MacPhail's family says justice had been served, but Davis' attorney calling the execution a legal lynching of an innocent man.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says the Taliban is showing signs of weakness in Afghanistan. He and Admiral Mike Mullen testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today. Mr. Panetta saying some of the attacks we have seen lately in Afghanistan are a shift in Taliban tactics because they're being pushed back in places where the Afghan defense forces are in fact getting stronger. Mullen also said the Haqqani Network is acting there as an arm of Pakistan's intelligence agency.

The pope arriving back home in Germany today. Pope Benedict XVI spoke to crowds at Berlin's Bellevue Castle, where he said he is not pursuing political or economic goals with this trip. He just wants to meet people and speak about God while he's back in Germany.

And you have probably heard of BPA. It's a chemical with suspected links to cancer used in making some plastic bottles. Well, now a report by the Breast Cancer Fund is claiming many metal foods can contain this exact same metal. The report says the cans are marketed towards kids. The group wants companies to stop using the chemical in food cans and also support legislation to ban BPA from all food and drink containers.

Retail giant Toys 'R' Us says it will hire 40,000 workers this upcoming holiday season, so if you want to sale, you want to demonstrate or package toys, they say they are hiring through November at stores and distribution centers. And lest you think the income will only last through the merry season, alas, 10 percent of last year's holiday workers were kept on full time after the Christmas rush.

Brad Pitt, here we go. It seems Mr. Pitt is still explaining his recent comments about his previous marriage to Jennifer Aniston. In an interview with "Parade" magazine, he was quoted as saying he wasn't living an interesting life and thought his marriage had a little something to do with that. Well, Brad Pitt talked to NBC's Matt Lauer about Jennifer Aniston and also I should his current partner, Angelina Jolie.


BRAD PITT, ACTOR: I think it's a shame that I can't say something about Angie without Jen being drug in. She doesn't deserve it.


BALDWIN: He also said he hasn't spoken to Jennifer about the comments he made.

And then this:


ANNELIESE MACPHAIL, MOTHER OF MURDERED POLICE OFFICER: It sounds awful, but it is kind of relief that it is over for me now.


BALDWIN: The MacPhail family says they find peace in Troy Davis' execution, but many of Davis' supporters who believed in his innocence are still expressing outrage over his death.

Also, we know, passengers, you know this perhaps personally here, you are checked thoroughly when you go to the airport. Many people are outraged by such searches, but who's keeping an cry on the planes? The FBI now investigating a case of these odd markings found on the underbellies of planes. That's next.


BALDWIN: Have you heard about these mysterious Arabic symbols found on the underbellies of a number of Southwest Airline planes? It set off a pretty interesting discussion in our show meeting this morning about airport security, what it focuses on and what perhaps it may miss.

First, this woman, you remember Isis Brantley, the Dallas hairstylist? She was humiliated when TSA agents at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport searched her hair. They were apparently looking for explosives, weapons. None was found.

Well, now federal agents are working with Southwest Airlines to find out who is vandalizing these 737s, symbols of graffiti that appear in Arabic, seem to be written using some sort of chemical process. You can actually only see it when the plane's auxiliary power is turned on, the power heats up the outer skin of the plane, thus revealing the text. Southwest Airlines did send this internal memo to employees asking for their help. Here's what it said -- quote -- "Beginning in February, we received reports of markings on our aircraft, and recently these reports have increased. These unauthorized markings typically appear as symbols or words tagged on the exterior of the aircraft, commonly on the engine and/or landing gear."

Southwest believes this to be an internal problem and poses no threat whatsoever to passengers or air travel, but part of the crux of the issue here is, if any employer, anyone can just walk up to a plane and vandalize it, then how safe are our planes?

Want to bring in CNN contributor and former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes in Washington.

Tom, first reaction. Disgruntled employee, a joke, something more nefarious? What is it?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think maybe a joke or maybe a disgruntled employee.

I think the fact that this has only happened to Southwest Airlines planes is pretty significant. Why not other aircraft if there's some kind of a general message to aviation or a general threat to aviation? So it certainly would appear to be possibly a disgruntled employee. The fear there is of course that the person could end up doing more to a plane, but that's what they're trying to determine now.

BALDWIN: So, Tom, who is it that actually has this kind of access to planes on the tarmac?

FUENTES: There's a lot of people that have access to it and I think that is part of the reason why you would suspect an employee of the airline, because you would have mechanics working under a plane, you would have the baggage, cargo loaders, other people bringing the catering and bringing the food supplies to board the aircraft or to be loaded on the aircraft.

So there's a number of people that have access. So, if you have a Southwest Airline employee walking around under a plane that belongs there, maybe he is a mechanic or some other function, that wouldn't be that unusual.

The other interesting thing is what's actually been written on the bottoms of those aircrafts. We don't know and we also don't know exactly how it was. I have read some accounts that say basically it was written in the dirt that accumulates under an aircraft from takeoffs and landings. And so we don't know. It could be Arabic for "Wash me." We don't know.

BALDWIN: When I was reading about it this, this morning initially, I thought I saw reports of dirt, but apparently, it's some sort of chemical, and so when you flip the auxiliary power on the plane on, poof, suddenly the writings appear.

Are you to make anything of that?

FUENTES: Yes. That sounds ridiculous to me, frankly.

Because in the day, I was an FBI SWAT team member. We trained on aircraft all the time to be prepared for hijackings. And when we were working with the aircraft, that auxiliary power unit is a small jet and we were cautioned to stay away from it, don't get near it, you can get hurt. If it takes activating that jet in order to read what's under the aircraft, who's going to be under there?

I don't know who would be the intended receiver of the message if you have to have a power unit or a jet activated in order to read it. I'm not certain about the accuracy of that.


BALDWIN: But maybe, Tom Fuentes, what we do glean from this, when you look at the woman who had her Afro searched and all of us are going all these uber-screening machines, yet you have a plane and someone has that kind of access to get underneath it and write whatever it is he or she wrote, doesn't that raise questions about just security of planes on the ground?

FUENTES: Well, it may, except as I mentioned if it's an employee that actually has access and is supposed to have access --

BALDWIN: But, still, even if it is an employee.

FUENTES: Well, employees are working on that aircraft at all the time, so if someone goes up under there and takes a few seconds to write something in the dirt, that's not the same as someone that does not have authorization to be near the aircraft that gets to it.

And I think that's the concern. And the authorities have always had that concern, that the people that prepare the carts that have the food on it, that's usually done outside of the airport and brought in. Who inspects those loads? You have the cargo that's being put on the aircraft, in addition to the checked luggage.

There are a lot of people that work on an aircraft, housekeeping, other people that have access. So, if someone that does not belong on that tarmac -- you would think that one of the other employees that are working on that aircraft would recognize a stranger.

BALDWIN: You would think.

FUENTES: You would hope that they would recognize that somebody is near that aircraft that really shouldn't be there.

BALDWIN: You would think. Thank you.

FUENTES: You hope. You're welcome. Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Then there's this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOMAS RUFFIN, TROY DAVIS' DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I witnessed something that was horrible, a tragedy. This night, the state of Georgia legally lynched a brave, a good and, indeed, an innocent man.


BALDWIN: We're going to take a closer look at the Troy Davis execution and why they were so many questions as opposed to another death penalty case.

We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: The issue of the death penalty is dominating much decision after last night's execution of Troy Davis in Georgia. Witnesses say he was defiant until the very end. His final words to the family of the slain police officer he was convicted of killing were that he wasn't responsible for his death. Davis told them he didn't even have a gun at the time of the shooting.

Officer Mark MacPhail was shot and killed while working off duty as a security guard back in 1989. He left behind a wife and two children.

Last night, several hundred people gathered outside that prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Davis was put to death by lethal injection. His case drew international attention because most of the witnesses against him, seven of nine, witnesses recanted or contradicted their original testimony and Davis' attorney called his execution a legal lynching of an innocent man.


RUFFIN: What I saw tonight, what Jason, what the MacPhail family saw tonight, and what your colleagues, the journalist who spoke to you earlier saw tonight was indeed a legal lynching. And one thing I want to get clear is just because it was legal doesn't mean it was right.


BALDWIN: But Officer MacPhail's mother says she's relieved it's finally over.


REPORTER: Has justice been served?

ANNELIESE MACPHAIL, MOTHER OF MURDERED POLICE OFFICER: In my mind, yes. In my mind, it has. It took a long time to get some, but it really does in my mind.


BALDWIN: Joining me now live from Minneapolis, former federal prosecutor and St. Thomas Law School professor, Mark Osler. And, Mark, good to have you on. If you can just explain to our viewers, you know, with executions in states where the death penalty is still -- is still used, in those cases that don't make the headlines, why this one? Why is this Troy Davis case so profoundly resonate with people?

MARK OSLER, LAW PROFESSOR, UNIV. OF ST. THOMAS: This one is different for a couple of reasons. Number one is that it has had a lot of process. It's been in the news several times. There have been multiple times he's been close to execution. It established an important legal precedent in the Supreme Court that innocence on its own could be a basis for habeas corpus.

And most importantly, there were so many changes such as the recanting of testimony by witnesses.

BALDWIN: Let's look overall how Americans feel though about the death penalty. I want to pull up this poll. It's done by Lake Research in 2010. It showed American's attitudes towards the death penalty. You can see the number, 61 percent of these 1,500 registered voters say they would choose a punishment other than the death penalty for murder.

You know, this comes at a time when public support for the death penalty, I know, has been shrinking just a tad, but at a time when executions, death sentences, have gone down a lot. What is prompting, Mark, that decline?

OSLER: There have been a couple of things. Number one, I think there has been this question of innocence. The development of DNA technology has allowed us to see that some people on death row did not do the crime and before the development of DNA, we didn't have that.

Then, you have some states like Illinois that paid close attention to what was going on. That developed a commission to examine it. That discovered that 50 percent of the people on their death row shouldn't have been there. And that's changed people's mind. I think this issue of innocence has been at the core of it.

BALDWIN: So might we see other future cases, crimes committed, before the technology was as it is today where there is no DNA to use?

OSLER: You know, we may and that's one thing that is represented here in the Troy Davis case is we don't have DNA evidence. He's not able to exonerate himself through DNA. And so, we have to go to the softer sciences and that's going to be a challenge because one of the things I hope is not drawn from this outcome is that it's only DNA that can clear your name, because that would leave far too many cases with the possibility of executing an innocent person.

BALDWIN: In your op-ed, you write about these two virtues in the Constitution. One being deliberation, i.e. Troy Davis. You know, it's been one of the most exhaustive judicial reviews of really any of the prisoner in death row. But two, mercy, like the power to grant clemency.

Is today's judicial system wandering too far in one direction?

OSLER: I think that it has. I think that the -- especially since the passage of the antiterrorism and effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. What we've seen that it's very hard for a prisoner to get a hearing where everything will come out where the full story will be heard because of procedural hurdles. Now, in the Troy Davis case, they did have such a hearing. There's questions about what the defense attorneys did there, of course.

But in many, many other cases, it's become process about process. And procedure about procedure, rather than getting to the truth that's at the core of the matter. And, unfortunately, procedure can be a way to get us to truth. It also can be an enemy of truth.

And what we've seen with the opinions in a case like this where with all the ups and downs to the Supreme Court and back again, so much of what's in those opinions is about process, not about what happened in that Burger King parking lot -- and that's wrong.

BALDWIN: Mark Osler, thank you.

OSLER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Governor Perry, Texas, topping a Florida poll. But Mitt Romney appears to have a better chance of beating President Obama. Jim Acosta live in Orlando with today's political ticker.

And then that bus-sized satellite, out of gas, hurdling towards earth tomorrow. Fortunately, there's a lot of blue, a lot of ocean on that globe. What are the odds though this thing could hit land? When should you be looking up at the sky?

But before we get to that, now that we've announced the top 10 CNN heroes of 2011, you need to vote for the CNN hero of the year.

And here is how you do it. There you go. Go to and then you can read, you can get to know each of these top 10.

Each one has a fan page. You can click on them. Learn more about where they're from. Watch a video about the work they've done so far and how you can get involved.

Then what you need to do once you've done all this reading, you click on the "vote now" icon. Again, you'll choose from the top 10 heroes, each of them wins $50,000. But the winner actually gets to take home a quarter of a million dollars.

So, for instance, just walking through this with you -- if you vote for Taryn Davis, this is just an example, her photo as we click on her, will show up -- it will show up here in your selection. Then it shows you a security code. What you have to do is click on the red box to cast your vote. So, for the first time you vote, you need to enter a valid e-mail address, a valid Facebook account.

Once that is confirmed, you can return every day to vote for the person you hope will be CNN hero of the year. Vote a lot, vote often. After you vote (AUDIO BREAK).

Also on the same page, you can find more information about CNN hero, our show, our all star preview that airs live, Sunday, December 11th, 8:00 Eastern. And that is the big reveal. And that is one will tell you who is the hero of the year. So, again, this is all at And remember, as I mentioned, you can vote up to 10 times a day for your favorite CNN hero through Wednesday, December 7th --

Be right back.


BALDWIN: Time for a "CNN Equals Politics" update.

Jim Acosta is joining us now live from Orlando with the CNN Political Ticker, ahead of tonight's big debate, big GOP convention kicking off with this debate.

Jim, what should we look for? What should we watch for?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, Brooke, you know, people get really mad at us when we say that this race for the Republican nomination has come down to two men. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, but I'm sorry, there is another poll out today that basically indicates this race is down to two candidates, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. This is a Quinnipiac poll that came out just today about the race in Florida right now.

And the Florida race is important not only because this will be a critical primary here, but also because we need to know what these voters are saying in this critical state for the general election as well. So, just to give you a sense of where the race is right now, before this debate, take a look at this poll. It shows that Rick Perry is leading Mitt Romney 28 to 22 percent. That probably is not a big surprise to people given a lot of the national polls we've seen recently.

But if you look at the poll for the president, the president's approval rating in Florida right now is just abysmal. Fifty-seven percent disapproving of the job the president is doing right now, 39 percent approving. So, he's very vulnerable in a critical battleground state.

And then if you look at how Mitt Romney and Rick Perry do against Barack Obama in this poll, it shows that Mitt Romney actually does a little better against Barack Obama, actually beating the president in this poll versus Rick Perry, who's a couple of points behind the president.

So -- and we're starting to see some of that come up in the campaign trail, Brooke. Mitt Romney is starting to make the case that he is the more electable candidate. Rick Perry is the one who is saying, look, I'm the one who shares your values as Republicans, as conservatives.

I think we're going to hear some of those messages tonight as these battle lines are being drawn -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right. So maybe more fireworks on that political stage this evening. Jim Acosta, thank you.

But let's talk about fireworks of a different kind, i.e. falling space junk. Yes, we've been talking a lot about this satellite that's been tumbling towards earth. Here's the latest news we've been getting: the FAA is actually now warning pilots to look out for falling pieces of this satellite as it should be falling and hitting earth who knows where, at this point in time, but at some point tomorrow. So, the pilots officially warned now.

Now listen to this.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Listen, there's no threat of government shutdown. Let's just get this out there.


BALDWIN: Will the government pull together in time to avoid a shutdown? We'll get a live report from Capitol Hill.

And as we mentioned, more on that satellite that is falling toward the earth. Round and round it goes, where it stops no one knows exactly for sure. We'll talk about the odds of this thing, where it will hit, next.


BALDWIN: You have a bus sized satellite tumbling toward earth. More changes at Facebook and another possible government showdown. It's time to play "Reporter Roulette." And with sinking approval ratings, you'd think the last thing the president and Congress would want is another possible shutdown, but that could happen in eight days.

Kate Bolduan, you were just talking about this with me on Capitol Hill. I don't want to say this is deja vu, although it feels a little bit like it. What's the story behind this fight?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two things. I want to get to that and also give you a little bit of news. The two things this fight comes down to is FEMA funding and the Republican desire to cut back federal spending. Democrats on the house and Senate really, they think that the FEMA funding, the additional federal dollars going to federal disaster relief that was put into the short-term spending bill, think don't think it's enough. It's about half what the Senate passed.

They are also opposed to the fact that Republicans are requiring in this Bill that part of the FEMA money be paid for by cutting money from another program. This is a company that promoted the production of more fuel efficient vehicles. That's on the Democratic side, Brooke. On the Republican side there's a very big block of House conservatives that voted against this bill because they think the bill doesn't cut back spending enough. So here's the news we're just getting in the last few minutes. House Republican leaders may have found the way to thread the needle f you will, win over enough Republican votes and make Democrats happy to pass this bill through by adding another offset, another spending cut they're considering.

And this would be $100 million, not a big ticket item, by cutting back money from a department of energy program linked to none other than the Solyndra, the solar energy company that went bankrupt after receiving half a million dollars, I think, of federal loan guarantees. So this may be a way house Republicans might go about winning over enough votes from their party to push this through, at least in the house, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Quickly Kate, when is that vote?

BOLDUAN: Great question. We heard from the number two Republican in the House they will vote this evening, but it's unclear how this is going to fly in the Senate.

BALDWIN: Kate Bolduan, thank you very much.

Next here on "Reporter Roulette," Alison Kosik back at the New York Stock Exchange. And Alison, big announcement. Facebook's making all kinds of changes lately.

ALISON KOSIK, CNNMONEY.COM: Oh, yes, lots and lots of updates. People are upset, but you're going to have to get used to it. It sounds like this is going to stick.

So some of the announcements made today at this big conference that came out for Facebook, Facebook's partnering with a music streaming service and Netflix, which means you can see what your friends are watching and listening to. You get to creep on them even more.


KOSIK: Also, there's a new feature called timeline and that's actually going to roll out in a few weeks, so now, when you update your pro file and photos, all that older stuff gets replaced by new stuff, but this is going to collect everything you've shared and posted chronologically, so you get to kind of cherry pick what's featured on your timeline. It's your story right on your page. That's an improvement, right, Brooke?

BALDWIN: Don't throw anything at me, but I do like the news feed, although I haven't noticed I haven't been able to marry my tweets to my public Facebook page. So I don't know what's going on there.

KOSIK: Little practice.

BALDWIN: Yes, I'm working on it. Lot of changes at Facebook, indeed. Alison Kosik, thank you very much.

And next on "Reporter Roulette." The FAA, as we mentioned a moment ago, they are out and about warning pilots about this satellite falling to earth tomorrow. They're saying look out for it as your high in the skies. The satellite the size of bus is re-entering the atmosphere. Most is expected to burn up. But some hefty chunks could still hit the earth. John Zarrella is in Miami. John, to you.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, NASA says it may not even know and probably won't know, even up to the minutes before UARS reenters the atmosphere, exactly where it's going to come down. What NASA is saying today is that the satellite is not going to hit North America, but it will come down sometime tomorrow afternoon, U.S. time.

But that still leaves about five continents that are possible targets. Now, about a ton of the debris from UARS will make it back to earth. Remember, the entire satellite only weighs about six tons. And of the material that comes back, NASA says it should be about 26 pieces, some of those pieces anywhere from tens of pounds hundreds of pounds, so the hope is that none of that hits anywhere but in the water. Brooke?

BALDWIN: John Zarrella, we'll be watching for it. Thank you very much. That's your "Reporter Roulette" for this Thursday.

And he's been openly against the "Jersey Shore" TV show. I'm talking about Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, threatening to take back a state tax credit for the show they're actually getting for filming there.

Also, he is giving advice to a sixth grader on how to campaign for student council. Political pop, next.

But first, today's top five list is especially relevant if you are about to head into rush hour traffic. The cities with the longest commute -- at number five, Riverside, San Bernadino, Ontario, California, average commute time, 30.6 minutes, number four, Chicago, Naperville, Illinois. Number four, Newburgh, Middleton, New York. You are about a -- 32-commute. We'll show you the worst two. Let's take a quick break.


BALDWIN: Did you know that almost 77 percent of Americans drive alone to work? So who has the worst, the longest commute in the country? Washington, D.C., Arlington, Alexandria in part due to the high price of housing, people live far away from where they work. Not fun. Number one, New York, northern New Jersey, Long Island, where a third of the commuters use public transportation.

And since we were talking about New York, New Jersey area, you know Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, but did you know this? At a recent town hall, he actually put on the hat of a political consultant when a sixth grader asked him for a little advice. Joe Johns is here with Political Pop. And Joe, I loved his answer. JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: It was fantastic, wasn't it? When you were in school, did you think about running for student council?

BALDWIN: I did sometimes.

JOHNS: I actually ran, I was the president.

BALDWIN: Me, too.

JOHNS: We're do-gooders. I can tell you from personal experience, running for office, it's a big step even in high school or in this case, elementary school, and the first thing you want to know is where do you start? How do you do it?

There's a sixth grader named Zach Martini showed up at a town hall meeting in union, New Jersey, to see the governor. He decided to take the question to the real pro in the room and the governor responded with some good advice. First tip was get a group of friends to help. Second tip was ask people for their vote. And now here's Christie talking about the last two tips. Listen.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Have really colorful posters, right?


Sixth grade student council, really important to have colorful posters. Do they let you hang up posters at school, do you know? Hang them up until they tell you to take them down.



And the last thing is don't make promises you can't keep, all right?


Because if you do, they won't be voting for you in seventh grade, all right?



BALDWIN: Got a sense of humor. It is all about the posters, right, Joe?

JOHNS: It is, absolutely. But the one thing I can't figure out is what's a promise you could make on high school or whatever --

BALDWIN: No more square pizza? JOHNS: There you go, something about pizza. That's what I was thinking. Good ideas.

BALDWIN: Anyway, there's more news from Governor Christie. He actually wants to nix this legislation involving a certain New Jersey reality TV show.

JOHNS: Yes, you know, it's funny. It's seems like New Jersey has always got good political pop stuff going on.

BALDWIN: We like it.

JOHNS: Right, this is something that's being called the "Snooki Subsidy" tax credit. It's not a joke. We're talking about a $420,000 tax break for the economy that produced the first season of "Jersey Shore."

They apparently spent a lot of money making the show there and they were expecting to get this tax break. Of course, not everyone in New Jersey is crazy about the image of the program and the Garden State. They see as low-brow, disparaging to Italian-Americans and reinforcing stereotypes even Chris Christie himself has taken issue with the program.

And now, the big drama is whether the governor might actually veto this bill. The problem is, if he vetoes it, the state could get hit with a lawsuit, we hear. The producers might not be too happy about that.

BALDWIN: "Snooki subsidy" tax break that is so "Political Pop" and speaking of movies here, we're finding out that Texas Governor Rick Perry has a really good friend in the film industry. Who is that?

JOHNS: It's pretty incredible, Russell Crowe, who knew, right? The Australian star of "Gladiator," among other films, "Politico" reporting that the friendship goes all the way back to the 1990s, perhaps even before.

Perry was lieutenant governor, of course, he was also the agriculture commissioner. They share an interest apparently in farming and ranching, have stayed in touch over the years, but don't look for Russell Crowe to vote for Perry this year.

He is an Australian citizen, so he can't vote in the election or contribute to the campaign. So that's one deep pocket that's just not going to happen for Rick Perry.

BALDWIN: Who knew? Not I. Joe Johns, thanks so much. "Political Pop" for us.

Have you heard this? Dramatic 911 call after this car bombing in a Michigan neighborhood.



UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: OK, we have a bad accident. My car blew up with two kids. You've been called on already, but I'm telling you what's going on with the boys, OK?

I've got two significant leg injuries. One to the bottom left injury, his bottom left leg and then one to his left buttocks that are chewed up pretty good, OK?


UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Eight tissue wounds, they are bleeding. I need someone here now.


BALDWIN: Why was this family, father, two sons, on the case? Also, Wolf Blitzer has new details from the United Nations this afternoon. "THE SITUATION ROOM" on the road, day four. Stay with us. Wolf will join me live from New York.


BALDWIN: Designed for maximum damage, that's what police are now saying about this powerful bomb placed under a car that blew up with a Michigan lawyer and his two young sons inside. Take a look.

This is Attorney Eric Chappel's burning Volvo. Look at that big black smoke. He was just taking his 11 and 13-year-old sons to a football practice on Tuesday when the bomb exploded. Chappel had the presence of mind to pick up the phone, call 911.


911 OPERATOR: Monroe County, 911.

911 CALLER: OK, we have a bad accident. My car blew up with two kids. You've been called on already, but I'm telling you what's going on with the boys, OK?

I've got two significant leg injuries. One to the bottom left injury, his bottom left leg and then one to his left buttocks that are chewed up pretty good, OK?


911 CALLER: Eight tissue wounds, they are bleeding. I need someone here now.


BALDWIN: Neighbors heard the blast, dropped everything, ran out to the street to help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHAWN REMINGTON, WITNESS: The smells, you could just smell burning rubber and plastics, gasoline in the air. The car when I had arrived was smoldering and been burned literally to the ground.


BALDWIN: Nearly two dozen state and federal investigators are exploring every possible lead here in this case.


DONALD DAWKINS, ATF SPECIAL AGENT: We're looking at everything. We're looking at there's nothing specific leading us that we're going to stop there and say, this is what we're going to focus on because that's not the case. We're looking at everything coming in every avenue and that's what's going to take a while to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We keep hearing about a particularly nasty divorce case. Is that something you're looking at?

DAWKINS: We're looking at everything.


BALDWIN: Chappel and his sons were badly hurt. They are expected to recover, but there is a $10,000 reward for information that leads investigators to the person that placed the bomb under that car.

We are mere minutes away from "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. Again, Wolf is on the road there in New York and Wolf, you know, I guess it's which world leader did you talk to today?

And I did sort of sneak peak at your Twitter page and so you talked to the first female to hold the position of foreign minister in Pakistan.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": She's very impressive. Only 34 years old, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She's not only the youngest person ever to be the foreign minister of Pakistan. She's also the first woman to be a first foreign minister of Pakistan. We have a special interview with her.

Another woman we interviewed, it's Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations. We're talking to her about all the stuff that's going on, but here's a question for you, Brooke. Guess who I just spent some quality time with right now? Guess what world leader I got a chance to talk to over the past hour and a half or so.

BALDWIN: I have kind of a funny response. That's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

BLITZER: That is correct. I just came from a little briefing. He had a few TV reporters, print reporters in to see him, so I just came from that. It was all on the record. We have a TV camera there. We're going to play some of it.

I asked him what he thought of President Obama. You're going to be interested to hear what he had to say about that. I also asked him to follow up on that controversial comment he made at Columbia University a few years ago when he said there were no homosexuals in Iran right now.

Those are my questions that I asked and I think you'll be interested to hear what he had to say. He had some warnings for Israel if they try anything as far as Iran's nuclear program. He also predicted that this awakening that's unfolding in North Africa and the Middle East eventually will come to the United States he says as well.

So it was a fascinating time with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. I think you're going to be interested. Our viewers will be interested in hearing what he had to say.

BALDWIN: For the record, that was just a guess. I had no idea that's who you talked to, but of all world leaders, I landed on it. Wolf Blitzer, we'll be looking for it next hour. Thank you very much.

And just when you thought the Connecticut home invasion couldn't get any more horrific, chilling audio recordings of murder defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky to police, his statement to police played out in court. Jurors reacting, that's next.


BALDWIN: A man prosecutors described as a racist psycho path was executed in Texas last night. Lawrence Russel Brewer had no final statement before he was put to death by lethal injection for the infamous 1998 dragging death of James Byrd.

Byrd died after being chained by his ankles to the back of a pickup truck and drove down a country road near Jasper, Texas and was then decapitated.

The murder so savage, it led to the passage of state and federal hate crimes legislation. What was left of Byrd's body was dumped alongside the road and the suspects went to a barbecue. Three men were convicted in separate trials.

One got life, the other two sentenced to death. Brewer is the first of two to be executed. James Byrd's family witnessed the execution. This is what they said afterwards.


CLARA TAYLOR, VICTIM'S SISTER: It was sad. Thoughts go back to what happened to James at the same time, your thoughts are with Brewer's family and what they're going through. For him, it was a peaceful death, but for James, it was dragged out over a long time period, so it's much more horrible than what he had to undergo.


BALDWIN: There were no efforts in this case to stall or to stop Brewer's execution.

And just when you thought the Connecticut home invasion case couldn't get any more horrific, chilling audio recordings of murder defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky statements to police played in court today.

Helen Ubinas with the "Hartford Courant," been tweeting up a storm in there and Helen, without getting too graphic, please what was on the recording?

HELEN UBINAS, COLUMNIST, "HARTFORD COURANT" (via telephone): We finally found out exactly what Joshua Komisarjevsky did to 11-year-old Michaela and how he sexually assaulted her. And it was stunning revelation that left lots of people in the courtroom, including reporters who covered the first trial on Steven Hayes, completely stunned.

BALDWIN: We're talking about what he did to her sexually. How did he sound in that recording?

UBINAS: You know, lots of us are talking about just the tone he had in the audio statement and it was very flat. There was no affect. It didn't matter what he was talking about, whether he was spelling out his name or spelling out how he sexually assaulted 11-year-old Michaela. His tone never really changed.

BALDWIN: How as this was played in the court, how were jurors reacting?

UBINAS: After the audio statement was played yesterday, the judge abruptly stopped testimony because at least one juror was having a tough time with what they were hearing on the tape.

BALDWIN: Dr. Petit, he was there today, his reaction?

UBINAS: Dr. Petit and his whole family have been, I mean, obviously, he's often been described just being, you know, lots of dignity, very graceful. He's always talked to the media and yesterday and today, they sent word to the press and asked us to please respect their wishes to not make any comment because the testimony affected the family so much.

BALDWIN: Helen Ubinas, "Hartford Courant." You can follow her on Twitter @notesfromhel. Helen, thank you very much.

UBINAS: Thanks.

BALDWIN: And that's it for me. Thank you so much for watching. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Now to Wolf Blitzer, "THE SITUATION ROOM" in New York starts right now.