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In the Arena

Lockdown in Tripoli; Drumbeat to Military Intervention; Guantanamo Bay Tribunals Resume; Newt Gingrich Addresses Iowa Voters; Glenn Beck Losing Audience and Women are Better Than Men; Libya's Situation on the Ground; The Civil War in Libya

Aired March 07, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ELIOT SPITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Eliot Spitzer. Welcome to the program.

IN THE ARENA tonight, will the world step in to stop the bloodshed in Libya? It's getting bad and fast. More on that in a moment.

But first, regulars E.D. Hill and Will Cain are here. What are you guys working on tonight?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, and I've got my own question about Libya. But it's a bit different than yours. You're asking when. I'm asking why.

You know the conversation across the nation and at this table has been about the logistics of a no-fly zone and the legal consequences of military action. But I want to know why. Why would we intervene militarily in Libya?

And, Eliot, I know it's a simple question but I haven't heard the answer yet.

SPITZER: All right. We'll give it to you. The voice of isolationism. Haven't heard it since the 1930s, Will. That's why I love bringing conservatives out here on the show.

All right, E.D., what are you thinking about tonight?

E.D. HILL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you're going to hear something you have heard before so strap yourselves in.

The president has just signed an executive order that is deja vu all over again as they say. It says that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay can now be tried in military tribunals and that sounds kind of familiar.

SPITZER: It is, indeed. Right back where we were with President George W. Bush but this is not what Barack Obama wanted to do. But more on that in a bit. It's going to be a great show.

Anyway, back to Libya. You know when revolution hit Tunisia and Egypt, we started to think these changes in the Middle East would happen overnight but Libya is a wake-up call. This is a civil war. And it's shaping up to be a long and bloody fight. Tonight, we hear word of a death toll somewhere in the thousands and the calls for a no-fly zone may grow as we see more pictures of what happened today. Gadhafi's forces bombed the oil town of Ras Lanuf. Witnesses described bombs dropping on rebel strongholds almost certainly resulting in heavy casualties.

Meanwhile, ground fighting continued in other areas. We go now to Tripoli where Nic Robertson has the latest on Gadhafi's push to secure areas around the Libyan capital.

Nic, what's the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the government has got pretty much a lockdown on the city which makes it even more interesting when you walk just a few hundred yards from this hotel and you talk to people.

They are angry at this government, they say that they would like to rise up but they say that and all of Gadhafi's supporters are the ones with the weapons which is what we saw on Sunday when they were out celebrating some pro victories, victories the government said they had that haven't actually occurred.

So it's very clear the fear of the opposition here in Tripoli is that the Gadhafi supporters have the weapons and we've seen that they do. People are telling us they want Gadhafi to go, that they need to overthrow him, but he's a terrorist ruining their lives. Those are the -- that's the animosity that we hear in the city.

Outside in Zawiya where the government said it took control just a few days ago we found a completely different story today when we were outside that town, when we're actually inside the town about a mile from where the rebels were. We could hear heavy anti-aircraft gunfire, small arms fire, hear the detonation of heavy artillery in the city.

And this is a place that the government said it controls. This is a place they say there were only a couple hundred or even less rebels. Yet, with the army they haven't been able to take it down yet and this gives an indication I think beyond Tripoli, through the rest of the country, just how big and sustained a long war this country seems to be edging into right now -- Eliot.

SPITZER: So Zawiya, which is a little bit to the west of Tripoli, you're saying still pitched battles and the Gadhafi government has not been able to regain control and then, of course, you go to the east you have Benghazi which -- am I right -- and still under the control of the opposition forces? That is not even in dispute anymore.

ROBERTSON: Not in dispute at all. What's happened close to there or within a couple of hundred miles, the rebels have lost one town but they've managed to hold on to two others important oil towns that they've taken control of. They typically would be fighting their way to the capital. Supply lines would essentially run along the coast.

They don't have ammo gun to pick up ammo what. They'd be exposed to the Gadhafi's air forces, to their helicopters, et cetera, those circling maneuver by his army. But what we -- what we can see is that the army is just not that strong, just not that capable of fighting in an urban environment and that's working against Gadhafi right now. It means he has no quick solution to militarily defeat his enemy here.

SPITZER: Nic, real quickly, if there's any one request that you hear of the opposition forces or the civilians in Tripoli who are desperate to get out from under the control of Gadhafi, what is it they want of the west?

ROBERTSON: In Tripoli, it would be weapons. They need weapons. That's why they can't rise up. They say the Gadhafi supporters have all the weapons and that's why they're afraid of rising up.

It would be a blood bath if that happened in the city because it is a tightly-packed urban environment of two million people. That is one- third of the country's population. But that's what would help them, they say.

SPITZER: All right, Nic. Thank you for that report and we will chat with you later on. Thanks so much.

The drum beat towards a no-fly zone over Libya is growing louder and louder tonight. Joining us from Washington now is someone who's been pushing that strategy and is urging the U.S. to arm Libyan rebels as well.

Bill Richardson, the former Democratic governor of New Mexico, also served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and energy secretary in the Clinton White House.

Governor, welcome to the show. Will Cain, E.D. Hill and I are all going to be firing questions at you so get ready and strap on those seatbelts.


SPITZER: All right. Well let me throw the first one at you. Look, I'm with you on this no-fly zone concept and everything you're supporting. Will Cain, the voice of skepticism.

Explain to the public why a no-fly zone, what's the justification, political, ethical, military. Why do you favor it?

RICHARDSON: Well, I favor it internationally recognized it should be done. U.S. leadership but through NATO. Why? To intervene and averting a huge humanitarian crisis caused by Gadhafi wanting to maintain control and making a carnage of his own people.

There's also energy supply routes. Libya is a major energy producer and there's responsibilities to western nations, to America. Gas prices. But I think the main reason is humanitarian.

This is strategic part out Mediterranean. I think we also as America need to associate ourselves with democratic protester movements that are emerging in the Middle East, in Egypt and Bahrain. All across the Middle East -- and Yemen. Happening now in Libya.

And I think it's in America's security interest to be associated with this kind of important political change, and America stands for values, for democracy, and this is the best way to express it.

CAIN: Governor Richardson, Will Cain here. I have been asking this question as Eliot suggested. Why? Why should we go in to Libya and intervene there? And you suggested the main reason would be humanitarian purposes. And I understand the visuals.

Look, body -- bodies are piling up. Mass graves are being dug. You know refugees are flooding out of the country and you've got a dictator who's not bending to the will of the people, but the situation I just described is what's going on right now in the Ivory Coast. So I'm trying to figure out what exactly is special about Libya. Why are we going to Libya?

RICHARDSON: Well, I think in the Ivory Coast you've got a situation where there's a president who is unwilling to leave. Yes, there's been violence but not the scale of Libya where there's a human carnage, where there's thousands. Where you have the United States I think in a position of exercising not just military but political and humanitarian leadership. I think we've been doing that, Will --

CAIN: Governor Richardson, is there a scale that I'm aware of? Quite honestly. Because there are hundreds of people that are dead in the Ivory Coast. And you say there's thousands in Libya. What is the threshold? When do we cross over the point of which we now need to take action?

RICHARDSON: Well, the threshold is first you try to resolve problems through diplomatic means. In the Ivory Coast, I think the issue is finding a way to get that illegitimate president out. With the organization of African Unity, with other interlocketers (ph).

Look, first, you have to proceed with diplomatic, political action. Then if all else fails, you proceed with some kind of military action. I think what we have here in Libya is unparalleled. You have a dictator who wants to stay on, who was killing his own people, who was thumbing his nose at the international community. Who is violating United Nations and all kinds of international agreements.

You have massive human rights violations and what we need to do I believe is in concert with other countries, the threshold is get the international community -- in this case NATO, this is an out of area conflict -- to provide leadership, to provide humanitarian supplies to those that are dispossessed and fleeing.

To possibly in my view arm the rebels in a way that is not direct by American ground forces. I'm not for American ground forces there. But I think in a covert fashion. And a no-fly zone that I believe can be done with international legitimacy through NATO.

They're debating it right now. Britain, France, Italy. With American support. We're already conducting a lot of those refugee air lifts, providing food, supplies. And I think eventually it's going to take providing some kind of military assistance to these rebels.

HILL: I'd like to tap into your experience as the energy secretary. And I'm one of those Americans who just try to get through the problems we've got here at home. And I've got a 17-year-old who can't afford a Big Mac at McDonald's let alone filling up his new car with gas.

And so I'm wondering what you think about this political plan to perhaps tap into our Strategic Oil Reserves? Because the gas prices are just -- are shooting up like you can't believe.

RICHARDSON: Well, E.D., I was energy secretary and 10 years ago President Clinton asked me to tap the reserve when we had a home- heating oil crisis in the northeast. Now we didn't sell barrels of oil. We put them up on the market.

I think here's a case where if you signal that you're going to tap the reserve, oil prices are going to go down. You mix up and confuse OPEC countries that many times are going to do very little to increase production so prices go down. OPEC wants prices to stay up.

And so I think it would be an important disruption of the market that would work to the advantage of consumers in Europe and Asia and in the United States. So I'm for it, E.D. I would do it right away.

SPITZER: You know, Governor, I want to come back to the no-fly zone. And unlike Will, my response to him would be, you know, there have been other situations in recent history where the argument should have been listened to. We probably should have intervened on a humanitarian basis because that is the responsibility of a superpower.

Fraught with risk, we all know that. But where there's genocide, where there's mass murder that is something that the league of nations -- not the technical league of nations, but we as a group of nations should do.

I want to ask this, though, about the no-fly zone. The only legitimate argument against it seems to be that it will give Gadhafi an argument that somehow the revolution is being run or waged by outsiders.

Is there a way to do this in a way that makes it eminently clear, this is at the request of the indigenous population, the revolution, or in concert with other Arab leaders who say, yes, we are asking for assistance of the United States, France, Italy, whomever it may be?

RICHARDSON: Well, this is where I think the United States is acting very prudently. We are trying to get NATO today to get a resolution that proceeds with a no-fly zone. In addition to that, I believe discussions are taking place with the organization of African Unity. African countries. The Arab League. The president, Amir Moussa has said this is something that the surrounding nations should join.

I think the main signal of a no-fly zone, it has to be done carefully and I agree with those cautionary notes from our military, that if you do a no-fly zone with international legitimacy, approved by NATO, possibly with a U.N. resolution, it also sends another important political signal to Gadhafi's military forces that, hey, the international community is not with you.

We're with the rebels. We want to find a way out for Gadhafi to get out and it's only going to intensify. The international community banding together and finding a way to help the rebels achieve the democracy that they deserve. The ousting of Gadhafi. The end of the humanitarian carnage. The enormous human toll that's taking place there.

CAIN: Governor, I wanted to ask you about one other thing you touched on. You've actually gone beyond the no-fly zone. You suggested we should go about arming the rebels in Libya.

Now do you know something about these rebels perhaps that I or others don't? From what I can tell, we know very little about what they want, where they want to take this government. And we do have some experience of arming rebels such as in Afghanistan, we ended arming Osama bin Laden. And that didn't exactly work out for us.

So how do we go about that prudently?

RICHARDSON: Well, first of all, you have to do this, I believe, through an authorized covert action program. I don't believe that you need to do this openly. Now secondly, there has been the suggestion by the national security adviser of former President Bush that there'd be airlifts that provide supplies and weapons to some of the rebels.

I think that is something that should take place in the days ahead. It's a day-to-day situation.

But I think eventually, Will, you want to be on the side of those that want democracy, that want human rights, that want to oust a dictator. And I'm not just saying the U.S. should do this along. This has to be done in concert with our allies, with the international community.

The more African countries -- North African countries involved the better. The organization of African Unity. The only entities that seem to be with Gadhafi today are Zimbabwe, where potentially he may go into exile, Mugabe, and possibly Venezuela. Even Saudi Arabia said they won't take him if he asks for asylum because he's tried to knock off the Saud royal family.

So this guy is really isolated and I think it's a case where it's important that the international community led by the U.S. -- and I think President Obama is doing a good job in moving very much everything in the right direction. Military assistance. Humanitarian assistance. Diplomatic assistance. Moral assistance. And hopefully it will end soon.

SPITZER: All right. Governor, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

HILL: Coming up, is this the Obama White House or, as Eliot suggested earlier, the third term of George W. Bush? It's getting harder and harder to tell the difference. We've got that story next. Stay with us.


SPITZER: E.D. and Will, what I'm about to say will make you guys happy but makes me very depressed.

We're looking at the third term of George W. Bush. Today President Obama announced that once again military commissions at Guantanamo Bay will be used to prosecute alleged terrorists. So not only is he not shutting it down, but Gitmo is about to resume business as usual.

Joining us to talk about this, senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin. Our legal maven here at CNN.

All right, Jeff, maybe, can we justify this? Did he have any other options?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think you're being a little too tough on the president. Because he promised that -- that Guantanamo would be closed by the end of the Obama administration. And that's true.

Unfortunately, it's the Sasha Obama administration that this is going to be -- I mean look. This has been a fiasco from the day one when he made this rash promise to close Guantanamo. I think the compromise --

SPITZER: Well-meaning promise.

TOOBIN: Well, I guess well-meaning.


TOOBIN: I mean, it's only well-meaning if you follow through. But the three categories of prisoners. There are some that will be tried in American criminal courts, there are some that will be tried in military commissions and this third category which is really the toughest of all which is they'll be held but there's not enough evidence to try them and so they'll have these sort of temporary trial-like proceedings but basically keep them forever.

HILL: This is like the -- you know, the Miss America thing. They all want world peace. The president came in like a lot of presidents I'm sure would do and said it would be lovely to close this, but the reality is the common sense. They didn't really have an option. Yet he went ahead with this thing, I'm going to do this, and now they have to eat their words.

CAIN: But wait, wait, wait. It's more than that because he said this is a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment. That it's harmful to national security and it's a damaging symbol for the United States and the world.

Eliot is not being too hard on the president, really, is he, Jeffrey? TOOBIN: No, he's not. I was joking. I mean I think this has been terribly mismanaged by the Obama administration. They made this announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was going to tried in Lower Manhattan without clearing it with Mike Bloomberg, the mayor, with Ray Kelly, the police commissioner. They came out against it.

Chuck Schumer who's as loyal a supporter as the president have rejected the idea of a trial in Lower Manhattan out of hand. So they were politically and legally hamstrung.

SPITZER: But let me take his defense at some point.


SPITZER: Here's what -- but when I say it was a well-meaning promise, he then encountered unbelievable local political opposition even to the very notion of taking terrorists and keeping them in the highest, most secure federal detention centers anywhere in the domestic United States.

Nobody wanted them here anywhere here in the country as though somehow their mere presence would make that prison a site of potential terrorist activity.

Look, we've got mass murderers, we've got genocidal people in these prisons. That's what prisons are more. So I think the president -- now he failed to overcome that opposition. Did not even articulate a persuasive argument against it. He run up against domestic political opposition that really lost sight of what was at stake here.

TOOBIN: I think you're right that he did. The question which we'll never know is if he had acted with a better political ear, if they had gone to the Mike Bloombergs of the world and said, look, we' are going to do the following. How can we make you comfortable so that you don't come out against it immediately?

This is what good politicians do.


TOOBIN: Barack Obama is usually a good politician. He has a lot on his plate. This really slipped through the cracks.

HILL: They've got lawyers, though, looking at all this. I thought -- and I'm no lawyer, like the rest of everybody at this table. But I thought that the problem was if you bring people into this country, then you've got to give them access to the witnesses, you've got to give them access to the documents.

You've got to give them all of these things which when push came to shove we didn't want to do because it jeopardized national security. Wasn't that the biggest problem?

TOOBIN: Well, that was one of the problems. I'm not sure that was really a flaw in the plan that would have been meaningful. I mean Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- remember, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was indicted -- Osama bin Laden was indicted before 9/11 in the southern district of New York, in Lower Manhattan but the American legal system thought it could deal with them even before this situation and I'm not sure they couldn't but politically it just became possible.

SPITZER: And one other element of this that I think has gotten lost in the mix between -- in the distinction between a military tribunal and military trial, and on our traditional criminal system, the differences are smaller than most people think.

Some of the core constitutional rights still attach in a military tribunal as they should. And it is not so clear when you look back at the record that it is easier to get a conviction in a military tribunal than in a civilian criminal context. And so I think that the record there is a little murky.

I think the legal issues are ambiguous and I think the president -- look, much as I was hard on him at the top, has been trying to do the right thing here.

CAIN: But that's such a perfect question, and Jeffrey, now tell me, sit -- pretend like it's "Sportcenter," you're our predictor. Will Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 plot, now go on a military tribunal trial?

TOOBIN: Yes. And he'll be executed at the end of it. I just don't think there's any doubt about that. The evidence is overwhelming starting with his confession on Al-Jazeera. It's not like it's a big mystery.

CAIN: How soon do you think we can see that trial?

TOOBIN: How soon? Don't hold your breath. I mean this system has moved very, very slowly. But you know he's not going anywhere. You know I'm -- we're talking five years.

SPITZER: Isn't the more probing question whether that same result would have occurred in a traditional criminal context? And I think the answer is yes.

TOOBIN: Well --

SPITZER: I think that is where the tension between the two which has caused a lot of political excitement is much smaller than people think.

TOOBIN: That's right. And remember, there was a -- one of the Guantanamo prisoners was just moved to the southern district of New York, Lower Manhattan. He was tried, he was acquitted of some charges, he was convicted of one and he has been sentenced to life. The system worked in that case.

HILL: Wait a second. If it's so similar and there are so few -- you know differences between what would happen there and what would happen here. Then why did the president issue this executive order?

TOOBIN: Because it became politically impossible for him -- SPITZER: That's right.

HILL: So just politics?

TOOBIN: Well, I think --

SPITZER: No, no. You're diminishing it a little bit. I think -- but yes. Congress acted in a way that actually legally precluded him from bringing most of these prisoners back for trial, but if you look at it as a lawyer, and say, you know, the differences are not that great. And the outcome will be justice in either context. I think that's an important point.

HILL: That's my argument to start with.

TOOBIN: Look, the third -- but the third category is really troubling.


SPITZER: The third category is the hard one.

TOOBIN: There are 172 people in Guantanamo now. We don't know how many fit into each category but this category of people that we are saying you can hold them --

SPITZER: Hold forever essentially.

TOOBIN: -- forever without any kind of trial, without a commission, without a criminal trial.


TOOBIN: That's morally, legally, ethically troubling and we have not heard the last about that category of people.

SPITZER: That's right. All right. All right, anyway, thank you, Jeff, for that always incisive analysis and this issue no doubt will continue to come back and haunt us at a certain level.

All right, coming up, believe it or not, there's a major presidential campaign event going on right now in Iowa. What do you say? It's a year and a half away? Not in Iowa. Indeed, it is. Stay tuned.


SPITZER: In Iowa tonight, the countdown to the country's first presidential caucus begins as five likely GOP candidates take the stage at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring kickoff.

Underway as we speak, the church gathering marks the first major campaign event in advance of the caucus which is scheduled for next February.

Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Buddy Roemer, the field so far, they are all there tonight and right now we go live to listen to Republican Newt Gingrich who has just begun his address.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: In my mind it'd really be a little bit later than Herman when he was describing his grandchild. I have two grandchildren, Maggie who's 11 and Robert who's 9, and I do think one of the central issues of our dialogue over the next few years is what kind of a country do we want to leave to our children and our grandchildren?

But for me, the real turning point was when the 9th Circuit Court decided in 2002 to -- that it was unconstitutional to say, "one nation under god," as part of the "Pledge of Allegiance" in a school.

And I decided -- in some ways I think it was very parallel to Lincoln responding to the Dred Scott decision about slavery, I decided that if we now have judges so fundamentally out of touch with America that they have no clue what this country was based on, we need a political change so deep and so profound that nothing we have seen in our lifetime is comparable to the level of depth we have to go to get this country back on the right track.


GINGRICH: Let me be very clear about this. Since 1952, we have won nine presidential elections for Republicans and Democrats won six. But despite the fact that Republicans were in the White House for 50 percent more time than Democrats we did not at a fundamental level change the power of the left, we didn't change the bureaucracies, we didn't change the biases of the judiciary. And over that period they have all gotten worse, moved further to the left and became more alienated from the American system.

Now --


GINGRICH: Now, that requires a fundamental conversation that begins I believe with American exceptionalism and a very simple question. Do you believe that this country because of the declaration of independence and the constitution is a fundamentally exceptional system for human liberty or do you believe we are a normal country like every place else in the world?

Now, it's a very profound question. When Calista and I movie about Pope John Paul II and the liberation of Poland and the impact of his nine-day trip out in 1979, we called it nine days that changed the world. We discovered that one of the great weapons in elections that the Poles had was a sign of solidarity put out, which I have a copy of the original sign in my office. They printed thousands of these. And it said, for Poland to remain Poland, two plus two must always equal four. And this may not seem like much to you but this may be the most important political governmental slogan in the next 25 years because it comes down to the question of truth. Lincoln said if a man can convince you that two plus two equals anything with four, then you can't possibly win the argument because facts don't matter.

Camus wrote in his novel "The Plague," there are times when a man can be killed for saying two plus two equals four because the authorities can't stand the truth. Our Declaration of Independence begins. We hold these truths to be self evident. It doesn't begin we hold this ideology, this philosophy, this theory if we hold these truths. So what are the truths? That we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.


Now, why does that matter? Because it means the power comes from God to each one of you personally. You are personally sovereign. You loan power to the government. The government does not loan power to you and that is the fundamental division between most Americans and the secular socialist people around Obama and the degree to which they do not understand America, cannot possibly represent America and cannot lead us to a successful future.


And let me just say, morality applies across the board. Morality is as important in economics where having the right to get a job so you can take care of your family, so you can donate to your voluntary religious organization, so you can have a sense of dignity and worth is important. Morality matters in economics because balancing the budget is an essentially moral not economic question about whether or not politicians ought to have to follow the same rules as the rest of us. So there should be no distinction between economic, national security and social conservatives. We should all base our principles on fundamental questions of morality.


ELIOT SPITZER, HOST: All right. I got to tell you guys, I could actually enjoy listening to him because so much of what he says is so crazy and outlandish. I mean, he's fascinating in his own way but do you see what he snuck in there. He said the secular socialist people surrounding Obama. You know --

E.D. HILL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think he snuck it in there. I think he cleared it right out here.

SPITZER: Well, it wasn't meant to be a big line. You know, much of it is his interpretation of the First Amendment. You know, you waiting on the 9th Circuit to be the reason you're running for president. OK, that's all sort of build up to his bigger point. But secular socialist people surrounding Obama. It's not just that they're godless according to Newt Gingrich, they're socialists. He is now branding the president who is trying to balance the budget and save capitalism from the sort of tell Newt Gingrich two plus two equals four. He didn't believe that one when he was, you know, in charge of the budget when he was speaker of the House. Barack Obama is doing everything to save capitalism, to save the freedom and he's calling them secular socialists. This is pretty remarkable stuff.

HILL: Newt Gingrich wrote a very good letter to the editor on Sunday talking about balancing the budget and forcing the hand of the president to do that. I think what I take away from watching this is -- we all agree that he's a very intelligent guy and he does a very good job communicating to people. What I think he's talking --

SPITZER: You're talking about Obama? Or Gingrich?


SPITZER: But Barack Obama, clearly. Newt Gingrich, smart. As a communicator, I'm not so impressed by this.

HILL: However, I think what you're seeing as he started talking there is kind of a precursor to what we're going to see in the campaign. And it's not so much, I don't think, about the social issues, you know, abortion plank, that sort of thing. I think it's going to be to the economics and even took, you know, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and started talking about why that matters so much in terms of the presidential race. The ability to pursue happiness, go after your own dreams, not the government do it for you.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think you're exactly right. This is a precursor for what we're going to see. I think what we're going to see in the Republican primary. This event, the faith and freedom event, and the things that Newt were saying is going to be that precursor and that is, there is this tension between social conservatism and fiscal conservatism. And it's actually symbolized by two guys that aren't there, Mitch Daniels and Mike Huckabee, who I expect might be there.

But look, we've got a grand debate going on in this country about what is the future of the American government and what is its relationship with its people? On the one hand, we have a president in my view that you were talking about who's moving us towards a European social welfare state. And on the other, we have people that believe in a more constitutional limited government. In the context of the importance of that debate, it doesn't matter to me if Bruce and Todd want to get married. Those issues are on the back burner. This is the debate to be having right now.

SPITZER: Well, look, what's interesting is I think Newt Gingrich cares a great deal, certainly in front of this audience about same-sex marriage.

CAIN: Exactly.

SPITZER: Look, I --

CAIN: That's why this is a window into the debate.

SPITZER: I happen to think same-sex marriage should be a right for people across this nation and, you know, you and I agree on that. You from your libertarian perspective and I, a different point on the political spectrum. Where are you on this?

HILL: I'm not talking about it right now. I'm focusing on economics.

SPITZER: Running for office?

HILL: No. SPITZER: Anyway, look --

HILL: I think that the economics is what's important, not those type of social issues. People I think are going to vote on -- for the person that they think can take the country. We're voting pocketbooks.

SPITZER: All right.

HILL: The country in the right economic direction.

SPITZER: All right, here's going to be a shocker. Coming up, a new book that offers proof that women make better spies, better investors and better gamblers than men. Read it and weep, guys. We'll be right back with the author.


SPITZER: Welcome back. I'm joined by E.D. Hill, our resident contributor, and Dan Abrams, founder of and legal analyst for ABC News.

Dan, we know you have a fascinating new book about why women are better at everything than men. I have to push back just a wee little bit on that in a moment or two. But first, we wanted to get your media expertise and your wisdom on a story that's been in the papers about Glenn Beck.

HILL: Yes. "The New York Times" did some crunching of his numbers. You know, Glenn Beck, radio show, TV program, books. You know, the whole thing.


HILL: And "The New York Times" crunched the numbers and they came up with he's losing viewers, a lot of younger viewers in particular.


HILL: What's your take on that?

ABRAMS: Look, it's clear he is. Why? I think the novelty has worn off a little bit. I think that Glenn Beck is whatever you think of him, one of the most entertaining people on television and I think that there's some people who have seen it now and there's not as much buzz. You know, Mediaite, for example, the less -- because it's sort of the same thing to some degree. How many times are you going to show the blackboard, et cetera, and the puppets. And that was really interesting at the beginning and it's not as exciting anymore. But I would say this. I think that FOX is sending him a message saying, look, sir, we'll be able to do without you and I think he's doing the same thing to them, saying, hey, guys, you don't want to play, I can do without you.

SPITZER: You're not saying there's just one big negotiation over how much they're paying him? ABRAMS: I think there is. I think it is a negotiation. I don't know if it's just about how much they're paying. But remember, Glenn Beck still starts off FOX's prime time at 5:00 with big numbers.

HILL: Yes.

ABRAMS: I mean, it is still -- he's still an important part of FOX's prime time lineup.

SPITZER: Is there a slightly deeper issue here which is you can only be apocalyptic for so long?

ABRAMS: You know --

SPITZER: People begin to grow weary of --


SPITZER: -- you know, chicken little "the sky is falling." You know, it hasn't quite fallen yet, and some of his conspiracies begin not to look so credible.

ABRAMS: Look, a lot of mainstream conservatives have come out against Beck and saying that they simply don't buy a lot of what he's saying. Has that hurt him? Probably. I think it's probably hurt him within FOX, as well.

HILL: I mean, still, the guy's getting big numbers.


HILL: He can lose numbers and he still got big numbers. The thing that I found interesting in the article was that Joel Cheatwood, who is in charge of sort of running his program, said that keeping the show upbeat is something we've got to work with Beck on a lot and I think that's the more serious issue. You know, it's just kind of gets depressing when you hear somebody telling you the world's going to end nonstop and you start looking -- I mean, you know, Wolf, and I get all the news but I still feel like there's something worth living for.

ABRAMS: Yes. I mean, look, there is something to that. I just -- and I'm not saying I'm not discounting that, but I don't know that he's become that more, much more apocalyptic now than he used to be.

SPITZER: I mean, there's only some point.

ABRAMS: That's my point.

SPITZER: All right. Can we talk to something else that's apocalyptic?

ABRAMS: I would love to.

SPITZER: I'm looking at your book here.

HILL: You're brilliant, by the way. You're brilliant. ABRAMS: Thank you.

SPITZER: I'm looking over the chapters that, you know, things women are better at.

HILL: Called "Man Down." Proof, beyond a reasonable doubt that women are better cops, drivers, gamblers, spies, world leaders, beer tasters, hedge fund managers and just about everything else.

SPITZER: Well, there are three of them I want to comment on.

ABRAMS: Go ahead.

SPITZER: Two of them -- two of them, not one, maybe so.

ABRAMS: Right.

SPITZER: Women get ready faster than men to go out at night.

ABRAMS: Right, right.

SPITZER: now, did -- is this based on what data sample?

ABRAMS: Correct.

SPITZER: I don't know how long you take.

ABRAMS: Right.

SPITZER: But, you know, I'm going to be in trouble when I go home perhaps.

ABRAMS: Right, right.

SPITZER: I don't buy this.

ABRAMS: This is why you're a good -- this is why you're a good lawyer. Because you went at the chapter that I even concede at the beginning as the least amount of evidence behind it. All right?

Now, this is a study 2,000 people surveyed in England, where they were asked how long do they take to get ready to leave the house. On average, women took 79 minutes. On average, men took 83 minutes. Do I happen --

SPITZER: Eighty-three minutes?

ABRAMS: Showering. I mean, Eliot --

SPITZER: Eighty-three minutes to get ready to go out at night? Never in my life.

ABRAMS: You take at least 20 minutes to moisturize, right?

SPITZER: This is like the words I don't even know. All right. But here's another one. ABRAMS: But that one I think is one of the -- in terms of the evidence behind it, one of the weakest.

HILL: What about better memories?

ABRAMS: That one is clear.

HILL: Because women every time you say you're going to call and you don't, we never forget.

ABRAMS: But you know what, they've done tests and research. They've done study after study that show not only do women remember words better, but they remember faces better, as well. And they're able to put faces to names better.


ABRAMS: And that translates into helping you in the working world, as well.

SPITZER: Everybody remembers what they want to remember. That's a fact of life. Women are less likely to be struck by lightning? You've got to be kidding me.

ABRAMS: Eighty-two percent of lightning strikes occurred in men. Why? Because they play that extra round of golf. They go up on the roofs and they won't leave. They want to fix that antenna before the storm comes.


ABRAMS: And the studies show, and this one is just facts that men get hit by lightning more than women.

HILL: This one I don't get. Spies. Women are better spies. Now we grew up with James Bond.


HILL: You know, he's going after the villains. He's getting the vixens. One ends up in custody. The other ends up in bed. How can women be the better spies?

ABRAMS: A guy did an undercover sort of study where he pretended to be a beautiful woman online and he went at government employees.

HILL: Online, glad you clarified that.

ABRAMS: To see, yes -- to see how much -- how much information he could get from government employees. He was able as a beautiful woman with a picture to be able to get men to give "her" so much information. And there's another study in there that shows that when men are in the presence of a beautiful women (ph), a beautiful woman, their brains sort of melts.

SPITZER: All right. ABRAMS: And so, look. Look, some of this is tongue in cheek. Some of this is fun. But some of it relates to doctors and hedge fund managers and world leaders and politicians in areas which are serious. So --

SPITZER: All right, guys, weep then. Dan, thank you so much for being here.

ABRAMS: Thank you for having me.

SPITZER: We'll be right back.


SPITZER: Back to Libya. I want to show you what the battle actually looks like as the resistance of Gadhafi fight over territory. Here's what's happening on the map of Libya.

Gadhafi controls Tripoli, the capital city in the west which is in green. The resistance is based in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city in the east marked in red. The strategy of the resistance is to advance on Tripoli, defeat Gadhafi's forces and depose what remains of his government. But Gadhafi's forces have tanks, helicopters and fighter jets while the resistance troops are poorly trained and poorly armed. Hence, their constant call for assistance from the west.

The opposition controls the eastern coast of the Oil, the port city of Ras Lanuf. They are reportedly holding the city despite heavy assaults by Gadhafi forces.

Meanwhile, Gadhafi's troops have dug into the town of Bin Jawad, just to the west using tanks and air power to block the resistance fighters. Even if resistance troops can take Bin Jawad, their next obstacle is Sirte, a city controlled by Gadhafi's own tribe. And to the west of Tripoli, some of the heaviest fighting is in the city of Zawiya. Government forces led by Gadhafi's son, Khamis (ph), and his elite militia are attacking the rebel-held city with everything they have. The resistance claims it's in control but say their people have been massacred by Khamis (ph) and his brigade. So the vicious fighting continues and we can't begin to estimate the death count.

Grim picture, folks, we'll be right back in just a moment.


SPITZER: Right after she left the State Department, my next guest joined Twitter and this was her second tweet. My not favorite verb. Anyway, she said, quote, "The international community cannot stand by and watch the massacre of Libyan protesters in Rwanda. We watched in Kosovo. We acted."

Well, these are the kinds of strong opinions that made Anne-Marie Slaughter the first woman to have one of the most senior positions at the State Department, head of policy planning. She just returned to Princeton where she is a professor of political and international affairs. So I wanted to find out what this consummate insider thinks we should be doing in Libya and elsewhere in the world.

So, Anne-Marie, welcome.


SPITZER: Now you came out clearly in favor of the no-fly zone. Why? And how do you deal with the international legal objections to our unilateral action?

SLAUGHTER: So I came out in favor of doing something. I mean, we're going to see absolutely horrific pictures when things are opened up, where the towns that are right now experiencing real battles, we don't have people there who can send us pictures but we're going to get absolutely horrific pictures. And my point was we shouldn't wait the way we waited in Rwanda. We should act.

Now how we should act, there are a number of different ways. The best option is still a negotiated solution where Gadhafi and his family leave because that minimizes the bloodshed. He offered a deal today.

SPITZER: The odds of that about one in thousand?

SLAUGHTER: No, I don't think so because --

SPITZER: Greater than that?

SLAUGHTER: Yes, definitely greater than that. Because he's being isolated, his money is being tied up, he's being told -- not just him but him and his family, he's being told they face accountability. We've got surveillance. We know who they are. They know they're not going to be able to have a decent life when this is over. So there's a lot of pressure and a lot of isolation designed to try to force him out.

SPITZER: So despite all this rhetoric of I will die a martyr, this is my homeland and all of that, you still think there's a possibility not insignificant that he leaves and we can get him out to some distant land and he will be isolated and there --

SLAUGHTER: I think there's definitely a possibility and as long as there's a possibility, that's what we have to go for.

SPITZER: OK. Come back to the no-fly zone.


SPITZER: What is the legal foundation? You're an international legal scholar. What is the legal foundation for permitting us to do that?

SLAUGHTER: All right. So there are a couple of options. One, we can go to the U.N. And there were reports today that Britain and France are preparing a resolution that gets approved by the U.N. Security Council.

SPITZER: OK. The Russians are going to -- SLAUGHTER: And the Russians, they're probably not --

SPITZER: Next, cross that off the list.

SLAUGHTER: Depends on what kind of pictures we see. I wouldn't rule that out, but I think it's unlikely. Second best, you actually recognize the transitional council that the Libyans, the opposition has set up as the de-facto Libyan government.

SPITZER: Let's stop there. That's the one that I think is easiest and I'm surprised there hasn't been a greater push to do that. They have a real government. It seems to be filled with legitimate, respected members of Libyan society, many of whom were in the Gadhafi government before. Why haven't we recognized them? What is the predicate factually, legally, to recognize an insurgent government like that?

SLAUGHTER: So then you go back to what I said is the first best option. As long as there's a chance of getting him out, that stops the fighting right now, ends the bloodshed, gives us a chance to have a negotiated government. As long as there's a possibility, you don't recognize the other government. He is still the leader of Libya. We've said we think he's lost his legitimacy. It's time for him to go. But we still have the ability diplomatically to engage in ways to try to get him out.

SPITZER: OK. I want to switch gears for a second just because you wrote an article, this goes back to the early days of the Obama administration. Actually, before he was sworn in in foreign affairs in which you said America's edge, power in the network century and you talked about interconnectedness, being the essence of power as we move forward. Now you wrote about it, the context of the United States. Did you -- could you have imagined, it's one of the few articles that talked about power this way that this would be the foundation for power for these revolutions because they've really capitalized on what you're writing about in that article.

SLAUGHTER: Well, I didn't exactly predict them but I did see that fundamentally in a -- at a world this interconnected you have to actually start taking the people, whether they're as protesters or many different guises as a huge factor, an independent factor on the world stage. And that's exactly what we're seeing here. We're seeing the ability of people to come together, supported from the outside, connected to people in this country and around the world in a way that we can't just deal with the governments. We have to deal with the governments and the people at the same time.

SPITZER: OK, we have literally one minute left so I'm going to ask you incredibly a hard question. You have to answer it.

I am stuck and every day I look at what's going on in Afghanistan. We've got 140,000 troops. We are supporting Karzai who's corrupt. I don't know why it doesn't seem to make progress. Civilians are being killed. Our troops are dying on the field of battle, and yet we can't do anything about a genuine insurgent movement, a fight for liberation in Libya. Is there a tension there that bothers and should both us? SLAUGHTER: There's actually a big --

SPITZER: In 15 seconds.

SLAUGHTER: All right, 15 seconds. Afghanistan, we went in because we were attacked. We didn't choose to go into Afghanistan.

SPITZER: That was 10 years ago now.

SLAUGHTER: Yes, but we've been there ever since. But here's the similarity. We won't win in Afghanistan unless there is a decent government that ultimately provides basic services for its citizens and that's what the Libyans want and that's what the Egyptians want and that's in the end what people around the world want.

SPITZER: OK, we're going to have to continue this. Anne-Marie Slaughter, thanks for your insight tonight.

Will, E.D., thanks again. We'll do it again tomorrow night. And indeed, "PIERS MORGAN" live starts right now.

Good night from New York.