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The Situation Room

Trump Taking Spotlight from Romney?; Runway Emergency in Chicago; Romney's Billionaire Backers; Millions Infected: A Threat to U.S?; Court: Doctor's Crime Not Linked to Bin Laden; Blackberry Maker Hires Bankers, Cuts Expected; Waiter Gets $5,000 Tip; A European Economic Storm; Apple to "Double Down" on Secrecy

Aired May 30, 2012 - 16:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Mitt Romney is trying to move on. He's clinched the Republican presidential nomination. But Donald Trump keeps blocking the spotlight with yet more controversial comments today. We will update you.

And millions of people are infected. It's a leading cause of death in Latin America. Does the scary parasitic disease pose a growing threat here in the United States?

And a runway emergency in Chicago, where a giant cargo jet collides with an airliner. We are going to bring you the very latest. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

President Obama telephones Mitt Romney, congratulates him for going over the top in the Republican delegate count, but over-the-top comments from supporter Donald Trump have created quite a distraction.

You heard Trump question President Obama's birthplace right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, among a lot of other places. Now Romney is trying to move on.

Here's our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Mitt Romney has left Las Vegas, but Donald Trump is refusing to leave the campaign stage.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Americans are tired of being tired.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Now that he's crunched the number of delegates to win the GOP nomination, it's victory lap time for Mitt Romney. Forget the checkered flag. This new Romney campaign video is all about the stars and stripes.

ROMNEY: We're united by one great overwhelming passion. We love America. We believe in America.

ACOSTA: Romney even got a call from the president congratulating the unofficial GOP nominee. According to an Obama campaign spokesman, the president said he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America's future.

The chat, according to the Romney campaign, was brief and cordial, just the opposite of the race to come, as Romney put it at a fund-raiser that was closed to cameras in Las Vegas last night.

ROMNEY: And I know the road to 1,144 was long and hard, but I also know that the road to 1,106 November 6 is going to be long. It's going to be hard.

BLITZER: Donald, Donald, you're beginning to sound a little ridiculous, I have to tell you.


Let me tell you something. I think you sound ridiculous.

ACOSTA: Greeting him at the finish line was Donald Trump, who managed to steer clear of his fixation on the president's birth certificate, though he did predict Romney would be tougher than the president on China.

TRUMP: They look at us, they laugh at us. They think we're stupid. When he's president, they will no longer think we're stupid.

ACOSTA: But it was only a moment of self-restraint. Today, Trump tweeted he now wants to see the president's college records to see how he listed his place of birth in the application.

Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu says it's the media who is obsessed with the issue.

JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: Why is CNN so fixated on this? Why don't we talk about the jobs issue in this country?

ACOSTA: Adding a wrinkle to the drama, Reuters obtained a copy of Romney's birth certificate, which notes his father and former presidential candidate, George Romney, was born in Mexico, which, by the Trump standard, would have made the former Michigan governor ineligible to serve in the Oval Office.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We believe that this is an American-born, job-killing president.

ACOSTA: Also at that Romney fund-raiser, Newt Gingrich, who says he has no doubts about the president's origins or Trump's motivations.

(on camera): Is he kind of a loose cannon? Is that what it is? Is he...

GINGRICH: No. He's a loose entrepreneur.


GINGRICH: He's made his fame by being who he is. ACOSTA: But Trump wasn't the only misfire of the day. The Romney campaign released a new iPhone app which misspelled America. At least that's one bug that has since been fixed.

(on camera): As for that airplane photo that had everybody talking, the Romney campaign now says it was the airport in Las Vegas that made the decision to park Romney's plane next to Trump's jet. That Romney plane is now in California, where the GOP contender has a less controversial fund-raiser planned with Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman -- Wolf.


BLITZER: Jim Acosta in Las Vegas for us.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Donald Trump certainly helping Mitt Romney raise money, but a lot of analysts are questioning whether it's worth it.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I have spoken with a bunch of Republican strategists who are kind of scratching their heads. They're saying, OK. Maybe Donald Trump helps you a little bit with some of those small donors and maybe he helps you a little bit with the base of the Republican Party, but they're saying to me, they think that Mitt Romney's going lose much more.

This is a general election contest now, Wolf. It's about getting to voters and those swing voters over your side. They're not going to be thrilled with Mitt Romney standing next to Donald Trump, who has brought up the birth certificate issue again. So, they believe there is a real downside, kind of a not seriousness about it, and also it's too diversionary because it takes Mitt Romney off of his message about the economy.

BLITZER: Having said that, when it comes to money for the Republicans, it's a different ball game in 2012 than it was in 2008.

BORGER: That's right. And that's why these Republicans are sort of curious about Donald Trump because they're saying to me, look, Mitt Romney is going to be able to raise an awful lot of money. The Republican Party is going to raise an awful lot of money.

In 2008, the John McCain campaign was outspent by the Barack Obama campaign 2-1. This time -- there was a report in Politico this morning -- we have confirmed it -- that Republican groups are going to spend $1 billion on the Republican campaign and the House and Senate races.

And the Obama campaign wants to raise 750 million, but their outside super PACs are not doing as well as the Republican super PACs. So why does Mitt Romney -- so he raises a couple million bucks with Donald Trump. Is it worth it for him? He's going to raise the money anyway.

BLITZER: In the scheme of things.

BORGER: Absolutely.

BLITZER: And we wonder if that's money well-collected, as we say.

BORGER: Well, exactly. Or will it damage him more in the long run?

BLITZER: Yes, it's not over with yet.

You know, last week, you wrote a good column on

BORGER: Thank you.

BLITZER: ... suggesting maybe that all of the Obama campaign's attacks on Romney and Bain Capital, his tenure at Bain Capital, not necessarily that productive.

Now we see the Obama campaign beginning to focus more on his record as governor of Massachusetts.

BORGER: Right. And I spoke with somebody in the Obama campaign. They're saying, oh, both of these things are sort of part and parcel of their rollout talking about Romney economics.

But I think it's probably more productive for them to talk about his record as governor of Massachusetts. And they're coming out and saying he promised he was going reduce the state debt, he was going to lower taxes, he was going create jobs. They say he didn't do that. The Romney campaign says, we created more jobs than President Obama has created.

So game on. This is the argument they're going to be having in the campaign. And the president's people are going to say, if your record in Massachusetts is so great, why weren't you running on it?

And then the Romney people are going say to President Obama, if your record is so great, why aren't you running on it? So that's going to be our campaign.

BLITZER: And I wonder if the phone call this morning, when the president phoned Romney...

BORGER: Sounds like it was short and sweet, huh?

BLITZER: It was a congratulatory phone call. He goes over the top with 1,144-plus delegates he needs to get the nomination in Tampa. Texas did it for him.

BORGER: It took a while.

BLITZER: Don't go too far away. Thank you.

Right now, tens of thousands of jobless Americans are bracing for a financial punch in the gut. Their long-term unemployment checks are about to end sooner than many of them thought. And that's a blow that many others have already suffered.

Tom Foreman is here to tell us who is affected and why.

What's going on, Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is the trap that's sitting out there for Mr. Romney and President Obama, because this is huge.

Right now, we have about 12.5 million people unemployed in this country. And what's happening is the long-term unemployment aid they were getting, the specific category in a deal that was struck earlier this year is now being pared back substantially for two reasons, one because many politicians believe the economy is getting better, but just as importantly because they're trying to do something about the deficit.

The result is that right now, this year, more than 400,000 of these people are now out of all benefits. They're getting nothing. And this number is going to get bigger. Where's it going to get bigger? Well, look across the country. Look at all the states and how bad the unemployment is. Red means it's worse. That has nothing to do with it.

It has to do with the weird formula which some states are being bailed out and others aren't. And look at this. Every yellow state there is now out of extended benefits. It's been renewed time and again by Congress, but now all those states have been told no more extended benefits from the government.

And that, Wolf, is what's leaving a lot of people out in the lurch right now.

BLITZER: Here's the question, though, Tom. Some of those states have enormously high unemployment problems. How and why are they being cut off?

FOREMAN: Well, that's really the problem here, Wolf, because -- let's look at California out here, for example.

One of the issues is not just what your unemployment is. They're at like 12 percent, 11 percent. Look at this. This is huge compared to the rest of the company, well above average.

But this is based on movement in unemployment. Is it getting worse and by how much? So, California fell out of this program simply because their unemployment did not increase enough in a given period of time -- And this is the trick.

Right now, of all those people we mentioned before, 40 percent of that 12.5 million, 40 percent have been unemployed for more than six months, many of them more than a year. This whole system was set up on the premise that any economic problem was sort of short term. This has gone on a long time.

And it's costing a lot of money and now they're simply running out. So the result is, you have some simple math here. State and federal emergency benefits, if you add all of that up, that comes up to about 79 weeks. There's an additional 20 weeks of federal extended benefits bringing it to 99 weeks.

This is going away and by September will be gone in every single state, meaning once you get to the end of this -- and this, by the way, is also being cut back in many places -- you are out. That means whoever the next president is, is very likely to face a massive unemployment problem still, even if the economy is recovering.

And, frankly, Wolf, is this many people go out of work and without any way of supporting themselves, a lot of financial analysts say that is just going to make the recovery slow down even more.

BLITZER: Tom Foreman, good report. Thank you.

Mitt Romney upstaged by Donald Trump. Jack Cafferty is getting ready to sound off on the latest Trump controversy. You're going to want to see this. Stand by.

And there are other billionaires backing Mitt Romney. You won't believe how much money they hope to raise for the November campaign.

Plus, a scary parasitic disease that's a major killer in Latin America. Millions of people are now infected. So what kind of threat does it pose in the United States?


BLITZER: Let's go Jack Cafferty. He is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, what is wrong with Mitt Romney?

Here, he finally makes it to a nomination after a bruising primary fight against all sorts of wacky right-wing elements in the Republican Party. You have got your Rick Perry, your Rick Santorum, your Michele Bachmann, your Newt Gingrich, you name it.

After waiting for four years, after losing the race once, he finally secures the requisite number of delegates to be given his party's nomination to possibly become president of the United States. Sweet.

But what's one of the first things he does? He appears at a fund-raiser in Las Vegas with Donald Trump -- Donald Trump, he of the curious hair and even curiouser ideas about the nation's priorities, Donald Trump, who is still insisting Barack Obama's birth certificate is a phony. And in a loud annoying voice, Trump goes claiming that President Obama was not qualified to be president because he wasn't born in this country.

Nobody is listening. Nobody, Mr. Trump, except Mitt Romney. If he wants to drive voters away, all he has to do is indulge the lunatic ravings of Donald Trump about the president's birth certificate. There are real, serious problems in this country, the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate isn't one of them. And for Mitt Romney to align himself with this gas bag with the funny hair is tantamount to wanting to destroy his candidacy before it gets off the ground.

Except for contributing money, there is no way Donald Trump helps Mitt Romney become the next president. And if Mitt Romney can't see that, well, I'd say the lad has serious problems.

Here's the question, why does Mitt Romney continue to put up with Donald Trump?

Go to, post a comment on my blog. Or go to my post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page.

By the way, Wolf, the consensus I talked to is you kicked some ass on that one. You won that on points all of the way.

BLITZER: Thank you very much. I would have preferred not to have to win anything, but it was an important interview.

CAFFERTY: It was a good interview.

BLITZER: I think it was. We'll have Donald Trump back at some point to explain his side of the story once again. Thanks very much.

Two deadly shootings in Seattle. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Lisa, what's going on?


At least three people are dead and others seriously wounded from a shooting at a Seattle cafe, as well as an apparent carjacking four miles away. Police say the gunman ran away after shooting up a coffeehouse in Seattle's university district. They're trying to determine if the two are connected, but no word on that yet and more details as we get them.

And a judge in an international court has sentenced former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, to 50 years in prison. He's the first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes since World War II. Among other things, Taylor was found guilty of supporting rebels who murdered and raped children in neighboring Sierra Leone. He is appealing his conviction.

And talk about the rant for the ages. An Illinois state lawmaker is furious about a plan to overhaul the state pension system and he's not afraid to show it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, total power in one person's hand -- not the American way! These damn bills that come out here all the damn time, come out here at the last second -- I've got to try to figure out how to vote for my people! Enough! I feel like someone being released, let my people go! My God, they sent me here to vote for them!


SYLVESTER: Clearly passionate about that issue. Well, passage of the bill is considered a long shot, but we are keeping an eye on the Illinois house floor since the debate can be lively, to say the least, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let my people go. Yes, that's some passion.

SYLVESTER: Yes. That guy is very fired up on that one.

BLITZER: Thank you.

It's a scary question to ponder, but is there a new, deadly disease out there on the horizon?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to call Chagas disease obviously the most important infection you've never heard about.


BLITZER: The doctor says roughly 10 million people are infected with it and some of them are right here in the United States.


BLITZER: Let's get right to our "Strategy Session." Joining us now: our CNN contributor, the Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona, and our CNN contributor, the Republican strategist, Mary Matalin.

Did you notice that Senator Rob Portman is off to Israel to meet with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? As soon as you heard that, Mary, what went through your mind?

MARY MATALIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What a great vice president the Senator Portman would be.

BLITZER: Certainly, I said, they're getting him ready to be the vice presidential running mate for Mitt Romney, he's going to meet with the Israeli prime minister.

MATALIN: Well, the Republican Party has long supported this. Rob Portman supported Israel. Now, it's not unusual for anybody of his stature and on the committee in which he sits to be going there.

But I have a personal bias. He is my personal favorite. He's done more than anybody I know that's on the short list. He comes from a swing state and he's a really, really smart guy.

BLITZER: He's a former special trade representative during the Bush administration, former head of the Office of Management and Budget, former congressman, now senator from Ohio.


BLITZER: Ohio is very important in the Electoral College. No Republican in recent times has become president without carrying Ohio.

So, now, they send him of to Israel to have a meeting with Israelis and the Prime Minister Netanyahu. If there's going to be a debate against Joe Biden, national security, foreign policy, that will be a big issue.

CARDONA: I think it will be a big issue and it's very smart for him to be doing so. Who knows if it's a coincidence?

BLITZER: I don't think there are any coincidences.

CARDONA: There are never any coincidences. That's right.

But, you know, Mitt Romney needs somebody with good foreign policy credentials. He's very weak on foreign policy and I think the Israel issue will always be an important --

BLITZER: Why do you say Mitt Romney is weak on foreign policy?

CARDONA: He hasn't really had experience in foreign policy.

BLITZER: But he was a governor and he was head of a big company, international dealings. He's made with world leaders.

CARDONA: But in the context that you look at presidents. Now, of course, that -- the Israel issue is always an important issue in elections and it's always an important issue in the national policy debate. The Jewish vote is very important. Obama got 78 percent of that, and I still expect that the Jewish vote will be very strong to present to President Obama. Bu every lit bit helps --

BLITZER: I raise the question about experience because when Barack Obama was a U.S. senator for a couple of years, and a state legislator, he didn't have a whole lot of national security experience either.

MATALIN: He has far less than Mitt Romney has, and he picked a vice president that had foreign policy credentials.


BLITZER: Joe Biden, for 30 years, was a member of the foreign relations committee.

CARDONA: And almost every single thing that Biden supported, the president's done the opposite. He's not for partitioning Iraq. Biden was against going in to get Osama bin Laden.

So Ron Portman has a resume and a portfolio much deeper than foreign policy. Particularly, he has a good, fiscal conservative -- he knows how to balance budgets. He understands the role trade in a global economy. So I think those both skill sets, and being able to work the Hill, both sides, both chambers are very important.

BLITZER: I think Ron Portman would be a very safe running mate for Mitt Romney if, in fact, he decides to pick Portman. I think he's on the short short list, but there are few others on that list that they are vetting right now. He refuses to say, and he's submitted the income tax returns or the vetting process. He's not discussing that and we'll watch to see what happens tomorrow when he meets with the prime minister.

CARDONA: He seems to be the number one pick, not just from Mary, but for many Republicans out there, yes.

BLITZER: A lot of our viewers probably never heard of Ron Portman, but I suspect they will pretty soon.

Everyone has heard of the first lady of the United States and Ann Romney. And now, the Romney campaign -- I'm going to play a little clip -- has a new ad and it's a poignant ad. It talks about Mitt Romney obviously. But it also talks about Ann Romney and her illness with M.S. Listen to this.


ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, both of us dissolved in tears.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Probably the toughest time in my life was standing there with Ann as we hugged each other and the diagnosis came.

A. ROMNEY: My life was in, you know, in jeopardy, and I was as vulnerable as a person could be.

M. ROMNEY: As long as it's not something fatal, I'm just fine. I'm happy in life as long as I've got my soul mate with me.


BLITZER: It's a beautiful ad. You have a problem using that personal experience in a campaign commercial?

CARDONA: I don't, Wolf, actually, because I think that this is something that really connotes the humanity, not just of Mitt Romney, but of Ann Romney, too. And I've always said she is one of his biggest assets that helps humanize him, which is something he sorely needs. Ands it seems, I only would have a problem with it if it didn't seem genuine. This absolutely seems genuine. She's speaking from a life experience and I think a lot of people who have gone through that can relate to that.

BLITZER: I think she's right. Every thing about them seems genuine in this regard. I spent time with the two of them not that long in Iowa. And you can see that warm, loving relationship. I don't know how well you know them.

MATALIN: Yes. Anyone who does know them and has seen them together, that's how they are in public, is how they are in private. It also shows Mitt Romney's priorities. He says repeatedly and has been the one discussing this, that's my first priority, I don't care of anything else if I can just be with her. You know that's true, that family is his priority. They're a great couple. They're an inspiration.

BLITZER: Mitt Romney has an excellent partner and an excellent advocate in Ann Romney.

But you know what? Barack Obama has a pretty good first lady, as well. She's out there promoting a new book about gardening and better eating and health care and all that. She's going to be a pretty good asset for him out there on the campaign trail, wouldn't you agree?

MATALIN: She is a powerful voice. She tended to in the last campaign to get a little acerbic and too far out there, but as long as she stays in the garden, stays (INAUDIBLE) with military families.

She's a very powerful asset. I love gardening. I wish I had more time to do as much gardening as the first lady.

CARDONA: She's fabulously popular. She's been on Jon Stewart, as you know, last night, on the Colbert show and "The Biggest Loser," and all of these shows that Americans can relate to all of the issues that she has been front and center on. I think she's going to be a terrific asset, as well.

BLITZER: We got Ann Romney in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'd love to have Michelle Obama in THE SITUATION ROOM as well.

MATALIN: I don't have her hotline.

BLITZER: If she's watching right now, the first lady, we'd love to have you, we can talk about gardening and health. I run on a tread mill every single day.

CARDONA: You would love it, as you know. Absolutely.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

CARDONA: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Millions of people are infected right now and it's the leading cause of death in Latin America. Does this deadly parasitic disease pose a growing threat, though, right here in the United States? Stand by.


BLITZER: Donald Trump isn't the only billionaire backing Mitt Romney right now. Wealthy conservatives are putting their money where their hearts are.

And while Barack Obama set fundraising records in his first campaign four years ago, the Republicans overall fundraising goal right now is also staggering. Lisa's back. She's looking into this part of the story for us. Lisa, these numbers are going -- skyrocketing.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. We are talking some big numbers here. You know, Mitt Romney has picked up a lot of friends on Wall Street, dating back to his days at Bain Capital.

Well, now those friends are writing big checks. Romney has billionaires writing these big checks as we have seen.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): Mitt Romney has reached the magic number to clinch the Republican nomination, but his supporters are focused on another number $1 billion. That's the number outside groups hope to raise for Mitt Romney according to "Politico."

VIVECA NOVACK, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: A billion dollars just from the outside groups, the Chamber of Commerce, the Koch brothers and their groups, various "Super PACs," so that is the big new world after Citizens United after the 2010 Supreme Court decision. That is where the outer limits know no bounds at this point.

SYLVESTER: Reality TV star Donald Trump may be Romney's most wealthy famous contributor, but certain not his only. There's a list of Romney billionaires who have written big checks in support of the Republican nominee.

Bill Koch, one of the Koch brothers, has a reported fortune of $4 billion. He donated $2 million to Romney's "Super PAC." Harold Simmons owner of the chemical and hazardous waste company, Contrend.

According to "Rolling Stone" magazine, he's known to hand out $100 bills to pan handlers. Simmons donated money to Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

For Mitt Romney, he's given $800,000 to the "Super PAC." Bob Perry owner of Perry Homes poured $4.5 million into swift vote ads to defeat John Kerry in 2004. This time he has donated $4 million to "Elect Romney."

Bill Marriott, heir to the Marriot Hotel along with his brother, Richard, are tight with Mitt Romney. Romney has served on the Marriott Board. They've given $1 million to Romney's "Super PAC."

And hedge fund tycoon and multibillionaire John Paulson has also given $1 million to the cause. Romney's campaign donors draw from different industries. They share a common denominator.

BILL SCHNEIDER, POLITICAL ANALYST: What Romney is doing is following the traditional strategy of coalition building. That's how American politics has always worked. All you have to do is agree on one thing and you are part of this campaign. What is that? We want to fire Barack Obama.

SYLVESTER: Here's how the numbers stack up. Romney's campaign has raised a little more than $100 million today. Obama's campaign has done even better with $329 million, but a key difference, the "Super PAC" money, those unlimited contributions.

The leading pro-Obama "Super PAC" has only raised $10.5 million, compared to the leady pro-Romney "Super PAC" at $56 million. Romney's small street background gives him a lot of wealthy friends to call on.

The Democrats say the election will hinge on not who has the deepest pockets, but who can best help the struggling middle class.

ROBERT GIBBS, OBAMA CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Look, I will say this, I think this election is going to be about this economy, the future of our country, who will build an economy that grows and secures for the middle class and lasts. I think that's the focus.


SYLVESTER: Of course, Romney has Wall Street writing these big checks, but President Obama has a lot of heavy hitters in Hollywood. Of course, we saw the star-studded affair with George Clooney and that brought in a reported $50 million, so that's not bad.

So obviously there's going to be a big money up play. You know, President Obama hopes to surpass the $750 million mark, which is what he did in the 2008 fundraising and you saw some of those Republican supporters hoping to even top $1 billion. So lots of money here -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I suspect the "Super PAC," the regular PAC, the regular campaign, the congressional campaign, when you add it up on both sides it could be close to a billion on each side that's $2 billion and maybe another billion for all of the congressional races and House races and gubernatorial races out there.

If you own a TV station as I've been saying or radio station, probably in one of those 10 or 12 battleground states, it's going to be a good advertising season for you. You'll make a lot of ad sales.

SYLVESTER: And you know what? Nobody is talking about publicly funded campaigns anymore. That's all gone. That's not even a question at this point.

BLITZER: They were restricted to a measly couple hundred million dollars. You're not going do all that well.

SYLVESTER: That's right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. Money still talk in politics.

Millions of people are infected. It's a leading cause of death in Latin America. Does this scary parasitic disease pose a growing threat in the United States? We're getting some new information.

And a waiter gets a $5,000 tip. We're going to tell you the story for this amazing act of generosity. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Millions of people are infected. It's a leading killer in Latin America and it's very, very tough to treat. So does this scary, parasitic disease pose a growing threat here in the United States?

We asked Brian Todd to take a closer look into the story. What are you learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there's new concern about this disease because of the number of people infected. There is debate about whether it's a growing threat in the U.S. in some circles it's drawing comparisons to another disease.


TODD (voice-over): AIDS, the scourge of the post-war era killing over 25 million people over the past three decades. Is there a new AIDS on the horizon? Experts worry about a disease now affecting millions in Latin America.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: I like to call Chagas disease the most important infection you've never heard about. And you've never heard about it because it almost exclusively affects people living in extreme poverty.

TODD: Chagas, a parasitic infection prevalent in poor areas of central and south America. Dr. Peter Hotez is lead author of a recent editorial about Chagas in a respected medical journal.

Health authorities say roughly 10 million people are infected with Chagas. Hotez estimates it kills at least 20,000 people a year.

(on camera): Is this difficult or impossible to cure?

HOTEZ: There are two medicines available, which if you catch the infection very early on seem to have some beneficial effect on treating the patient.

The problem is once the heart symptoms start, which is the most dreaded complication, the chagas cardiomyopathy, the medicines no longer work very well, problem number one. Problem number two, the medicines are extremely toxic.

TODD (voice-over): Also Hotez says Chagas is like AIDS because it's contaminated the blood supply.

(on camera): This is ground zero for Chagas. Experts say the parasite for Chagas lives in its guts and it likes to hide in wall crevices and then at night it drops on to people that is sleeping.

It likes to bite you on the face. It's called the kissing bug. When it ingests your blood, it excretes the parasite at the same time. When you wake up and scratch the itch, the parasite moves into the wound and you're infected.

You can be infected with Chagas for decades before you actually get the severe symptoms of the disease, but then when you move into the severe stage, you can develop an enlarged heart or intestines that can burst.

(voice-over): Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says Hotez and others are overstating the danger of Chagas.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH (via telephone): I'm concerned that when people talk about the comparisons with HIV that that comparison would translate into thinking it's transmitted like it is with HIV, which is just not the case.

TODD: Fauci says Chagas is transmitted primarily by the bug biting you, by pregnant women infecting their children and by people living in areas where it's prevalent donating blood that's not screened.


TODD: Dr. Fauci says only about 20 percent of people who get infected will go on to get the life-threatening form of Chagas. Fauci says Chagas does not pose a significant danger to people in the U.S.

But that's where some debate creeps in. Dr. Peter Hotez disagrees with them there, saying that there's transmission of this disease in South Texas where those bugs can be found in South Texas and that many dogs in South Texas now have Chagas -- Wolf.

BLITZER: He also has information about the number of women, pregnant women who may have this disease.

TODD: That's right. Dr. Hotez says 11 percent of pregnant women in Latin America are infected with Chagas and they can transmit it to their children about 5 percent to 10 percent of the time and you break that down it may not seem like a lot, but it's certainly enough to be concerning at this point.

BLITZER: I suspect we're going to be learning a lot more about this disease in the months and years to come. Thanks, Brian. Good information.

New information also about the Pakistani doctor who helped the United States find Osama Bin Laden. Lisa Sylvester is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. What else is going on, Lisa?

SYLVESTER: Hi, there, Wolf. Well, it appears that Shaquille Afridi's crime is not what we first thought. He's a doctor who set up a fake vaccination program to help find Bin Laden and received 33 years in prison for spying.

But a court says the harsh sentence is related to his, quote, "close links to a militant group in Pakistan." Afridi's family says it's false. Afridi has been in jail for the last year.

And new signs that Blackberry is in bad shape. The company that makes the mobile device, Research in Motion has hired two big banks to help, quote, "review the company's options," which likely means big job cuts and eliminating sectors all together. Blackberry has fallen behind other smartphone makers like Samsung, Apple and Nokia.

And talks about a great day on the job, a waiter in Houston, Texas received a $5,000 tip on only a $27 tab. There's one catch, the couple that tipped him, they have set up specific instructions on what to buy with that money.


GREG RUBAR, WAITER: He said we'll come in and we're not going to tip you for a while and he said it's enough money to go buy you a nice car.


SYLVESTER: Wow, that was awfully nice. Now the waiter lost his car in a storm several weeks ago and he's been taking cabs or busses to get to work. So somebody, a couple just gave him $5,000 to get a new car. It's nice to know that there are people out there doing great things.

BLITZER: I love those stories, a very, very nice story and thank you for bringing a smile to us with that story. Thank you.

Meanwhile, a flight makes an emergency landing when parts of the plane start raining down on cars. We have new information on the frightening scene. Stand by for that.

And you could be watching this show on an Apple product some time very soon. The notoriously secretive company gives us a little hint to one of its future products.


BLITZER: Stocks nose dive today with the Dow dropping 161 points. There are fresh worries about the European debt crisis and investors have their eye on one country right now more than any other, and we're talking about Spain.

Erin Burnett is joining us. She's the anchor of "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT." Erin, there seems to be pain in Spain right now. What's going on?

ERIN BURNETT, HOST, CNN'S "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": Serious pain in Spain, Wolf. Just to give you a little taste of how bad it is. You have youth unemployment at around 50 percent. Regular unemployment in Spain just around 25 percent. It's horrific.

It's great depression like there. Retail sales just came out for the month and they were down 9.8 percent in just one month. That's more than double the month before. It's a record drop.

So Spain is in real crisis and Spain is really important, Wolf. We talked about Greece and how Greece could go be the domino that spread to countries like Spain and Italy and Portugal as they drop out of the euro, but Greece is only 2 percent, 2.5 percent of the economy in Europe.

Spain is 12.5 percent, the fourth biggest economy in the E.U. So this is a significant fear and it really does matter to the United States. We always say Europe is the biggest trading partner to the U.S., true, and that is why it matters because it means jobs right here at home.

But you see the market, 161 points to the down side, it's the worst month since September and when you look at the S&P, it's down more than 6 percent in the month of May. That's the second month in a row.

All of that wealth has been taken out of pension funds and 401(k)s has been driven by one thing and that is the European crisis. So this is significant. If they can't find a solution for Spain, this problem can become much more agonizing for us and them.

BLITZER: Yes, we'll see what happens Friday morning when they release the unemployment numbers for May, as well. People are bracing for more bad news on that front. We'll see what happens. Let's hope it's good news.

Thanks very much, Erin. You'll have a lot more at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT." Jack Cafferty is here once again with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: The question this hour is why, why does Mitt Romney continue to put up with Donald Trump?

Diallo writes from Ellenwood, Georgia, "Romney's reluctance to disown Trump is a bad, political calculation that targets the crazy, know-know far right fringe of the American voters. This is once again proof of Romney's lack of guts and leadership. The Obama folks are ordering more popcorn as the Republican circus resumes with Trump as the major clown."

Bob writes, "Mitt and Donald are best friends. They both grew up in the same poor, inner city neighborhood with similar dreams of making it big. Donald watched over Mitt like a brother even worked three jobs to help put Mitt through college."

Miguel in Texas writes, "I believe that Mr. Romney is preparing to deal with difficult people. I also believe he needs Mr. Trump as an ally. What's the saying? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Smooth and smart, perhaps a lesson for us as well."

Ed in Harrisburg writes, "After listening to Trump's interview with Wolf Blitzer yesterday, it's clear that Trump is whatever George Will called him that would a bloviating ignoramus. And that Mitt Romney is simply a poor judge of character."

"Romney has no choice, but to pander to all the extremists and crazies in the Republican Party, which will cause him to lose the election and eventually caused him to wish he never even ran for the office."

Dee writes, "Trump is Romney's Reverend Wright." Martha in Pennsylvania, "Money, money, money, plus crazy as it sounds, the Donald does have his fans. Hard to believe, I know."

And Jimbo in Chicago writes, "Romney wants to get Trump's hairdresser's secret phone number." If you want to read more of this, we only have time for five or six, check the blog out, some funny stuff there at or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thank you.

So does the Obama administration have a last-ditch strategy for dealing with the slaughter in Syria right now? I'll ask the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice, what could be done to stop all of the massacres?

And a runway emergency in Chicago where a giant cargo jet collides with an airliner. New information coming in on what happened.

Apple says it's doubling down on secrecy over what it calls some incredible new products. The tech giant offers a rare look at what it's up to.


BLITZER: Here's a look at this hour's "Hotshots." Check it out. In China, a woman uses table tops set up as a makeshift bridge to make her way across a flooded street.

In Great Britain, an Olympic torch bearer travels by barge on the 12th day of 70-day relay across the host country. In California, Baja California tourists made to look like a pirate trip set sail on an evening cruise.

And in Beijing, a young boy poses for a family photo in front of a fish tank at the aquarium. "Hotshots," pictures coming in from around the world.

Apple is offering a look at what it's up to following the death of Steve Jobs. The CEO, Tim Cook made a rare public appearance at the All Things Digital Conference saying the tech giant has what he calls some incredible products coming and will double down on secrecy.

Our Silicon Valley correspondent Dan Simon is joining us with more. Dan, let's read between the lines. What do we know?

DAN SIMON, CNN SILICON VALLEY CORRESPONDENT: First of all, Wolf, Steve Jobs died seven months ago. Since then the company's had several hit products and record revenues along the way and now we're getting a better sense of the man steering the ship. Take a look.


TIM COOK, CEO, APPLE: Steve was a genius and a visionary.

SIMON (voice-over): Apple CEO Tim Cook describing what it's been like to follow a legendary icon. Speaking in a slow, deliberate tone, he said Job's death represented the saddest days of his life.

COOK: Steve was an original and I don't think there's another one being made. I am who I am and I am focused on that.

SIMON: By all appearances, the transition has been a smooth one. Apple profits have hit record levels and criticism surrounding abuse of workers at Chinese plants is starting to wane a bit amid a series of changes.

But the episode prompted questions about why Apple products are not made in the U.S. instead they're manufactured overseas, mainly in China.

COOK: But manufacturing itself is looked at and said, you know? Somebody else can do this as good as we.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And is that still true? It changed?

COOK: I think it's still true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will there be an Apple product ever made in the United States?

COOK: I want there could be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will it ever say on a back of an Apple product designed in California, assembled in the United States?

COOK: It may. It may and even though it doesn't say that today, you could put down there several parts are from the United States.

SIMON: Those parts include the glass on iPhone screens, which are manufactured at a plant in Kentucky. As for future Apple products, Cook gave a few hints and said the company is doubling down on secrecy, which is saying something for a company notoriously secretive. Might Apple someday release its own television?

Cook's only reply, TV is an intense interest for the company. He outlined Apple's philosophy when it comes to new products.

COOK: We're not a hobby kind of company, as you know. Our tendency is to do very few things, put all of our wood behind a few arrows.


SIMON: Well, Apple is expected to release a spate of new products in a couple of weeks at its Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco. Right now, those products are created in California, but manufactured overseas. The question, Wolf, is whether or not that will change sometime in the future. Back to you.