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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  March 14, 2012 11:00am-1:00pm EDT

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it's having the debate. turner is a democrat. her party is in the minority in ohio's house and senate. but she has found a co-sponsor on the house side, and they're hoping to have hearings on the bills later this year. lisa sylvester, cnn, washington. >> now that should be some lively debate. keira phillips has the day off. let's say hello to ashleigh banfield. >> i'm sitting in for keira phillips today. it's 8:00 on the west coast, 11:00 on the east coast. it's all business today for president obama and british prime minister david cameron. mostly business, anyway. after they caught a game in the ncaa basketball tournament, president obama welcomed the british prime minister and his wife in a ceremony fit for a
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king. right now they're meeting in private on world issues tough to talk about. iran, syria, the debt crisis. stop me any time. they will be honored tonight at a state dinner as well. in a little over an hour from now, he and the president will be stepping into the rose garden for a news conference, and you'll be seeing it live here on cnn, so stay tuned. also in the news, secretary leon panetta is in the eyes of the storm. he will be visiting with troops and governors and tribal leaders in afghanistan. he won't see the rebel who went on the killing spree there. military investigators want to know if alcohol was, in fact, a factor in the cold-blooded
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shootings of those 16 afghan men, women and mostly children. toxicology tests on the suspect are not yet complete. authorities are said to have presented some probable cause, though, and that keeps the accused killer locked up pending trial in a military court. for more about that, stay tuned for my interview with a former military prosecutor. that's coming up just a little bit later on in this hour. switching gears, you just might not think of the deep south as rick santorum country, but maybe you should. the ex-pennsylvania senator is savoring his sweep of the tuesday mississippi and alabama in those primaries. you know the polls did not predict it. they didn't. and rival newt gingrich was desperately trying to prevent this. that didn't happen, though. anyway, gingrich is still saying he's staying in the race, and mitt romney, gingrich says, is, quote, not much of a front runner. mitt romney came in third in the south but he did win last
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night's caucuses in hawaii and there are some delegates there, and he still enjoys a huge lead in the only race that really matters so far, and that is the big one, the delegate count. gop delegates is really what matters. syria is said to have answered the cease fire proposals from a high-level u.n. envoy and it does not look like the answer the u.n. was hoping for. the general met with syria's president over the weekend representing not just the world body but also the league of arab nations. yet the syrian ioo onslaught ju keeps continuing. 60 people have been killed today across that country, many in the stronghold of idlib which reportedly has fallen now to government forces. investigators in switzerland want to know what caused a bus crash that killed 28 people and most of them were kids.
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11 and 12-year-old kids. the bus was on its way back to belgium with 52 people on board when it slammed into a highway tunnel. another two dozen children were hurt in that crash and rescuers spent hours trying to get everybody out of the wreckage and then, of course, tending to the injuries. after george clooney is not on a movie set but he is on capitol hill today and he's testifying about the violence in sudan and south sudan. this testimony comes today after he returned from a trip to the region. he visited the yuba mountains where villagers have fled to caves just to try to stay alive. he talks about the sudan armed forces. >> these are war crimes when you're innoceskrim na-- disch bt
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civilians. super packs are pouring millions of dollars into presidential campaigns. in fact, a majority of voters want them outlawed altogether. 69% want to do away with super pacs. 25% want to keep them. but independent voters are moreau posed to them than any other and that's right across the board. romney's view of planned parenthood is raising a few eyebro eyebrows. a reporter talked to him about balancing the federal budget and here's what he had to say about that. >> my test is pretty simple. is the program so critical that you borrow to pay for it.
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obamacare is easy. planned parenthood, we're going to get rid of it. >> an aide says he means cutting funding for planned parenthood, not shutting it down since it is not a government organization. just released 911 calls revealed the chaos aboard an american airlines flight last week when a flight attendant reportedly snapped. [ screaming ] >> harrowing for sure, but here's the story. she appeared to suffer some kind of a mental breakdown. she was screaming about 9/11 and the plane crashing. it happened as an american flight, flight number 2332, was taxiing just before takeoff in dallas. several passengers picked up their phones and made emergency calls. >> it looks like they're physically restraining a flight attendant. >> okay, they're physically restraining a flight attendant? >> yeah, she's lost it.
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>> no passengers were hurt, and that's lucky, and no charges have been filed against that flight attendant. one of her colleagues reportedly told police that she is, quote, bipolar and she did not take her medication. now for a quick check of the markets. the dow is up 11 points right now. u.s. stock market is opening higher today after a, quote, cautious optimism about the banking sector. central reserve says most of the nation's largest banks have passed what's called a government financial stress test. that's always a good notion. good sign. president obama and britain's prime minister are behind closed doors right now at the white house, so what do you suppose the chatter is all about? we're going to get answers for you after we check into the white house, and that is coming up in just a moment. hold onto your dreams. you're never too old. cheryl handelsman actually lives that mantra.
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we caught up with her story on the huffington post. at an age when most people are looking for retirement, dr. handelsman is starting her career as an obgyn in chicago. she spent her life as an instructor but always regretted not getting her medical degree. so at the ripe old age of 50, she went back to medical school. and she graduated. she went to residency and she survived it all to become dr. handelsman at the ripe old age of 58. and doc, today that makes you our rock star. ♪ you think you take off all your make-up before bed. but do you really? [ female announcer ] neutrogena® makeup remover erases 99% of your most stubborn makeup with one towelette.
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this is big news. at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. after spending last night kicking back with some manner madness, president obama and prime minister david cameron are getting down to serious business. they're meeting behind closed doors this hour. next hour we're expecting them to hold a news conference at the rose garden because it's nice outside. they moved it outside. brianna kheiler joins us from the white house. she's on the north lawn. brianna, on the south lawn just a minute ago, i was watching all
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the pomp and circumstance and thinking, wow, these are pretty fancy digs they set up for this meeting, and i'm trying to figure out how much of it is real strategic or how much of it is a message saying, wow, we really like you guys in britain. >> it is fancy. it is about building a rapport between the u.s. and britain. they went through a lot of trouble to really welcome prime minister cameron. he got a 19-gun salute. if the queen came, she would get a 21-gun salute, but this was a lot of pomp and circumstance, not too much of a difference there. what struck me is this is a campaign year, of course, and you heard that come out a little bit in president obama's comments as he was talking about americans getting a fair shot. take a listen. >> we believe that every person, if they're willing to work hard, if they play by the rules,
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deserve a fair shot. deserve a chance to succeed. so in these tough economic times, we stand united in our determination to create the jobs that put our people back to work and expanding trade that is both free and fair and in fighting for a global economy where every nation plays by the same rules. >> every nation playing by the same rules, that was sort of a veiled point to be made to china there over trade issues, ashleigh, and we also heard president obama make an illusion to iran, saying the u.s. and the u.k. stand unified in stopping actions around the globe. >> i'm looking at the schedule today. i think right now they're supposed to be probably in the cabinet room with oet fishl delegations, both the u.k. and the u.s. delegations.
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then it looks like it gets pretty fun. tonight is a big state dinner. anything to that, or are we really focusing on what's going on today with the serious talk and serious meetings? >> reporter: i think we are focusing because it's not every day you get the opportunity to hear from president obama and hear from prime minister cameron during a press conference like this. there is so much going on right now especially with the recent "new york times" report about an accelerated withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan and it's during the visit with the prime minister. we're going to be paying close attention to what they're saying in this rose garden press conference. but yes, there is this big event tonight, the state dinner. i don't have the guest list or the menu, but we do know that rory mcilroy will be one of the guests, he tweeted that, as well
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as david lewis of whom president obama is a big fan. >> i'm not going to read anything into it. i'm going to let that one ruminate for a while. both president obama and the british prime minister are set to be together in the rose garden, setting up the mics, podiums and all the rest. talking about iran and the gs and the upcoming summit, too. afghans are outraged. they're calling for an open trial against the u.s. soldier suspected of going on that awful killing spree a few days ago. but that is not going to happen, at least not the way they want it to. so what is going to happen? how is any kind of trial likely to play out? will there even be a trial? just what is it about military justice? is it the same as civilian justice? you're going to hear from a
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for a hot dog cart. my mother said, "well, maybe we ought to buy this hot dog cart and set it up someplace." so my parents went to bank of america. they met with the branch manager and they said, "look, we've got this little hot dog cart, and it's on a really good corner. let's see if we can buy the property." and the branch manager said, "all right, i will take a chance with the two of you." and we've been loyal to bank of america for the last 71 years.
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more on this week's cold-blooded rampage in southern afghanistan. as you know, a u.s. soldier is in custody over the alleged killing of 16 afghan civilians including women, and most of them actually were children. this is the criminal justice attorney that served in the corps in iraq, and he joins me live by skype from new york. i'm so glad to talk to you about this, steve, because there is so much the general public doesn't know about the military code of justice and how it applies in a circumstance like this. start me off right now with the notion that this young man may not be competent. because competency is step 1 in determining whether we're ever even going to get to a trial. what would they be doing in country that he's being held to determine his competency? >> as far as his competency, this is a similar issue to any civilian trial you're going to have. there is going to be a ton of evaluations done by psychiatric
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exper experts. we've seen this play out over years now with the major hassan trial. that trial has been going out since november of 2009. the major issue of that case why it's still pending is because of strik issues. so they're going to be psychiatric experts from the prosecution most likely saying that he is capable and able to stand trial, understanding the consequences of his action. and at the same time we're going to have the defense putting forward their psychiatric experts, getting him evaluated, and somewhere coming to common ground and making sure he is able to stand trial to assist in his own defense. >> what's the focus right now, steve? i'm sure they're trying to figure out a lot of things since we are so early in this developing story. but what's the focus in country right now of people who are actually involved with the legal process?
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are they more concerned with processing csi, the crime scene, and from getting evidence in country that they're going to need to present at trial, or are they more focused at dealing with him and determining what kind of defendant he may end up being? >> right now they're very interested -- i would say most interested in gathering all the evidence that they can in order to prove the case. i mean, that's always going to be the main issue in any criminal action, especially one like this where it's involved in a foreign country, in afghanistan, where evidenciary procedures are quite different. it's different in this environment because you're not dealing with somewhere in the states where you have all the resources at your disposal to be able to preserve evidence. the thing about this case, too, physical evidence is important and that's what i'm speaking to right now. but we also have a lot of civilian witnesses, so it doesn't look like in this
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particular case it will become an issue regarding evidence. that comes to the next point. where is this trial going to be held? most likely it will be held in afghanistan, and the reason for that is because the eyewitnesses are all in afghanistan, which also presents some other complicated factors. >> oh, you led me right to my next question, so i'll make it a twofer. you mentioned the witnesses. we all know when you're in a circumstance like a war and you're trying to deal with collecting evidence in theatre and gathering witnesses in theatre, they don't speak english. and even the best translator can make mistakes which can sometimes lend to the defense. how do you troubleshoot that and get ahead of that, and at the same time, is this going to placate the afghans who want this public trial in afghan? they may not get trial justice, but they may get american justice in their country. >> you just put the finger on
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why this trial will most likely be in afghanistan, the reason being if we were to take the soldier back to the united states, there would be a huge uproar. they want public justice, they want justice in the country in which the crime was committed. as far as translators and such, yes, that's obviously a big issue. nevertheless, the translators are going to be vetted to make sure they're highly qualified in order to translate specifically. in other words, you can't just get any local afghan to translate. these are going to have to be certified individuals who we know we can trust based on prior experience or based on their credentials. so the afghans are going to be made to feel they are involved in this process. while we understand justice must be served and will be served, we cannot forget the anger, that the public perception must be good. if it is not, it will become an
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absolute nightmare. >> i am so glad thadt i had a chance to talk with you about that. i have personally experienced the local translator and how lethal it can be if they have an agenda. there are just a whole can of worms that can be opened up at every stage. david, i hope you'll join me again. >> thank you. glad to be there. the mortgage crisis. consider this. for those of you who have not refinanced your home -- are you ready? are you sitting down? you could be overpaying nearly $500 a month. that's 5-0-0. just so i can drill it home there. so how to keep more money in your pocket? we're going to explain right after this. my wife and i have three wonderful children
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let's face it. in this economy, who wouldn't like to keep a few extra greenbacks in their pocket? there's a way to do it, you know. you can cut back on what your shelling back on your mortgage because you're probably shelling out a lot. if you thought about refinancing but don't know where to begin, we have alison kosik with a few steps to help out. i'm glad you're here to talk about this because i've been in this process and it is a nightmare. for some people it might be easier. first of all, how many people aren't taking advantage and are taking advantage of great refinancing? >> reporter: that's a great question, ashleigh, because there is a recent survey out from credit sesame who find that 30% of people tried to refinance
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and homeowners who didn't pursue a refinance wound up overpaying on their mortgage an average of $470 a month and that works out to $56,000 over ten years. right now for a 30-year fixed it's at 4.06% and one year ago, it was 4.93%. we talked to money.com and they told us if your rate is over 5%, it likely is very, very worth it for you to refinance now and ahead and lock in that lower rate, ashleigh. >> so here's the big question. it sounds like a great thing, but for all those people who lost a bunch of equity with the plummetting housing prices, they might not qualify unless they shell out a bunch of money to get their principal back up, right? >> right. you make a good point there, ashleigh. the best deals go to borrowers
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who have the best credit ratings. lenders typically use data from all three of the credit reporting companies, so lynnette recommends that you review those so there's not surprises. you can dispute any errors as well because credit reporting agencies are required by law to fix mistakes within 30 days. lynnette also recommends you check your fico scores. and many financeres make the mistake of going to their lender. do some comparison shopping. you may be anyone to save thousands of dollars. lynnette says prepare for your home appraisals. they will compare your home to nearby homes that recently sold. they use the home balance
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divided by the market value of your property. the more your home is worth, the lower your ltd. if you have an ltd over 18%, you need to apply for private mortgage insurance. it does help to clean up your home, add some curb appeal, but she says don't go overboard on it. >> it was that darn loan to value ratio that bit me. i was so mad. and when the appraiser goes around the neighborhood and finds out who else had to dump their house at a low rate, that can really bite. it's frustrating. he is the only southerner in the gop race, and despite that, just couldn't manage to pull off a win in the deep south last night. so here is the question some folks are asking, whether they're in the elite media or the regular media or the other media or whatever media is out there, is it time for newt gingrich to get out? is that fair game, even?
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two big questions facing the republican candidates in the aftermath of the bruising primary fights in the deep south with rick santorum's two victories in alabama and mississippi yesterday, is it now a two-man race between santorum and romney? and if that's the case, is it finally time for newt gingrich to pack it up and move on home? another question, take a look at our total delegate count. mitt romney is still way out front with 489 delegates, and rim santorum not even close, he has 234 delegate. you can see the numbers dwindle from there, so has anything really changed with yesterday's big results? here to talk about it, peter mcdonald and mr. mcconnell. i want you to hear what newt
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gingrich had to say last night about this stage of the race. >> i emphasize going to tampa because one of the things tonight proved is that the elite media's effort to convince the nation that mitt romney is inevitable just collapsed. >> and there you have it. it's the elite media's fault again. pete dominic, i'm going to start with you. i got a little bit confused about that one because i always thought the elite media was connected to the left but yet mitt romney is on the right. what the heck was he talking about? >> i really have never really understood that claim of elite media or mainstream media which newt gingrich has always been a part of and has made a lot of money off when he was a contributor to fox news. but newt gingrich is so full of ego. he's running on ego and almost running on hatred for mitt romney at this point. it's absolutely time for him to go out.
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the only reason he should be going to tampa is to retire. he had a showing last night in those two states, but they're overwhelmingly born again christian voters. they've got two catholics and a mo mormon to choose from, and many think president obama is a muslim. it's almost like a guy who locks his keys outside his car but he keeps pulling on the handle thinking, it's got to open, it's got to open. >> answer this question for me. i always figured that at this point, obama would prefer not to run against mitt romney. so if the elite media or leftist media were pulling for somebody, it would be somebody who would be easy for obama to beat. so what is newt talking about when he says the elite media says romney was the front runner all along. does he have his paths crossed
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somewhere? >> there is no path for mitt romney to lose 124 delegates. he's saying, i need something before i retire. >> but who is the elite media backing? >> the elite media is backing president obama. look at the campaign trail, we all know it. when we go to puerto rico, i hope many members of the media stay there, because all they're doing is in the tank for president obama. i agree, i don't know what newt gingrich is talking about. >> let's talk about delegate count, folks, because if you look at that media board, mitt romney is still way out ahead. there is a lot of arguing going on on the campaign trail about fuzzy math. they were on the air the other day saying it just isn't true that mitt romney can clinch this nomination before the convention, rick santorum has every opportunity to make that
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math happen. i was never good at math and i'm not going to say on national television that i get math, i don't. does anybody else get the math here? peter, i'll start with you. >> i'm the same way as you, i'm not great at math, that's why i look to people who are really good at math. i saw a bunch of reports this morning, one of which said mitt romney got more delegates last night in mississippi and alabama. he got 42 to 48 delegates. he's still way out in front. maybe it was 1812, rick san t-- gingrich would win. i'm shocked this guy is actually still a candidate. >> you're mean! >> come on! mitt romney has the best chance. >> but listen -- >> mitt romney has the best chance.
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rick santorum has a miniscule chance. it's not like toll happen. the only question is when will mitt romney get to 444. will it be during the primary or after? >> ford o'connell, it was good to see you. the snow, the dogs, the lonely 1,000-mile trek all part of the annual iditarod dog sled race. here's the big question. you wait every year for it. who won the race? i got a hint. it's a family affair. we'll tell you after the break.
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death penalty against a grandmother. she's accused in the death of her own granddaughter. joyce gerard forced the young girl to run laps for three hours after she lied about stealing a candy bar. she died of low sodium levels. her mother is facing charges as well. in new brunswick, new jersey, dharun ravi is accused of watching his roommate kissing another man on a webcam and tweeting it to his friends. tyler clemente jumped to his death after learning he had been spied on. dharun ravi says he's not home o -- homophobic just a confused young man. he could be sent to prison for ten years.
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payne died of colon cancer at the age of 77. he is known for his role in u.s. africa policies. former president bill clinton, chris christie and eric oholder were among those expected at today's service. after 12 years, a goldman sachs executive has some pretty tough words for his company. greg smith resigned today, but boy, did he do it publicly. he slammed the investment bank in the newspaper! said it was filled with toxic and destructive environments and that the interest of clients no longer matters. his letter was published in the op-ed pages of the "new york times" just so everybody could see it. goldman sachs' spokesman says the organization does not agree with the article. in chicago, rod blagojevich will say a final goodbye at a news conference today. that's before he heads off to
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federal prison. the former illinois governor was convicted on corruption charges last year, including trying to sell president obama's open senate seat in illinois. and for that, he is to serve 14 years in a federal facility in colorado. and in nome, alaska, a 25-year-old has been crowned prince. well, of the iditarod sled dog race, anyway. his name is dallas sevey and his furry friends made the trip in a little over nine days and four hours. his father and grandfather were also in the iditarod race, so it's a real family affair. pork barrel spending, also known as earmarks, just some of the jargon, and we may not
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particularly care for it but what you don't know is how much the government wastes every year. how about a $10 $11$10 million seat.
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so, you know, congress is constantly bickering about your tax dollars and where to spend them, where to cut. the deficit, it's all about responsible spending. but get this, prior to 2011, congress poured tens and millions of dollars into earmarked pork barrel spending. it's this kind of spending that prompted two film makers to see if they can get congress to earmark what is the most ironic pork project of all time. it's called the new zealand government of waste. >> i want to get my own earmark. i just want to get an application for an earmark.
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for the museum of government waste. >> a physical building? >> a real building. >> tea pots, waterless ur nals. >> this is a story that we think is under covered, which is why we wanted to talk to ellen hubbard, one of the film makers beyond this documentary. she joins us live from reno, nevada and she's actually listening to me. i know we had a few audio problems so we're going to let our viewers hear about this going forward. the fact that you actually embarked -- how long have you been at this film trying to figure out if you can get the actual earmark for the museum of government waste. >> hey, ashleigh, great to join you today. we've been at it for five years. it's been quite a journey for us. >> so as i get it, you hired a radio host to go michael moore
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on this whole thing with undercover cameras and all sorts of efforts to try to get the real skinny on what the process is like if you actually want to get an earmark? >> yeah. our friend who is also a radio talk show host, greg knapp, we thought he was the best front man for the job. it was going to be a tough task for us to have to get to meet some members of congress and to meet lobbyist and actually really try to pursue this earmark. >> so here's a question. i would go to the museum of government waste. i would take my kids there. do you really want to build a museum, a physical building to show this? or is this just to see if you could get this project done, just to see if you could pull it off? >> it's a great question. at first we thought it would just be something that would be fun to pull off. but as the journey progressed and we realized how much closer we were getting, you know, to actually getting government funding for an actual museum of government waste, we sat back
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and thought, this is actually a good idea. so we are pushing forward with asking the public for their help to donate to an actual museum of waste and where else, the nation's capital. so every american, taxpayer, and citizen can be educated on exactly where our funding, our government is spending our taxpayer dollars. >> ellen, what got under your skin to prompt you and your husband to tank this on? was this something thaw saw in your neighborhood, a particular story that you saw distasteful of waste and pork? or was it just the overall pork barrel spending that comes up every year? >> who among us doesn't have a story that we can recall where government spent money on something that we felt was unnecessary. by and large, i'm concerned with the federal budget but there was a specific case in which i read about a staffer who literally took his dog for a walk in a park on capitol hill, got into it with a police officer because
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he took the leash off his dog to run him and decided to do something about it and unlike the rest of us he actually had the power to do something about it. he got an earmark for a leashless dog park. it got me thinking, you know, if everybody in congress, not just the members themselves but lobbyists and staffers have this kind of a power, i wonder what a regular citizen would get trying to do the same thing. >> i want to point out, as you're outlining that particular case, it doesn't really match up to ron paul or anything else. you don't want to indite ron paul for the dog park. one last question, did you get the earmark? >> oh, ashleig, i wish i could tell you that. the film is the documentary that shows the entire process. we're asking people to be a little patient and wait until fall to see exactly what
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happened i will tell you it's not cut and dry but it was very possible to get federal funding for an actual museum of government waste. >> man, when i heard about the toilet, i thought they had a good shot of this thing. for folks who want to know more about it, go to your website and find out the timing of when it will be released, right? >> yes. and they will have the opportunity to help us open up a museum of government waste. >> i love it. you make me laugh. especially that you're doing this on a television and you didn't miss a beat. ellen, thanks so much. appreciate it. >> you bet. a lot of people are saying that mitt romney, speaking of numbers and spending, let's talk about math, delegate math, that he may have it in the bag. but apparently rick santorum did not get that memo. >> we're campaigning everywhere there are delegates because we are going to win this nomination before that convention.
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>> well, so who's got the story right? we're going to crunch those numbers with the experts coming up next. two, three. just hold the bag. we need a portable x-ray, please! [ nurse ] i'm a nurse. i believe in the power of science and medicine. but i'm also human. and i believe in stacking the deck. [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, thank you, from johnson & johnson. with determination. courage. and all the points i earned with my citi thankyou card. [ male announcer ] the citi thankyou card. redeem points for travel on any airline with no blackout dates.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ that should do it. enjoy your new shower. [ door opens, closes ] despite mitt romney's lead, rick santorum is saying that he's going to win the nomination before the convention in florida and here's what he had to say about that last night. >> we want to make sure that everybody knows, we're campaigning everywhere there are delegates because we're going to
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win this nomination before that convention. >> cnn's political director, mark preston, is joining us live from atlanta. here's the deal. mitt romney has a sizeable advantage over rick santorum by -- well, i'm not going to do the math. i'll just say, 489 delegates to 234 delegates. you can see newt gingrich and ron paul as well. what kind of math are we looking at here. does rick santorum have a math mat cal convention? >> it's wishful thinking, at best. look, the bottom line is newt gingrich says he's going to stay in the race. mitt romney probably has the best chance of getting it before the convention but that might not happen but that means that this republican race is going to go on and on and on until the end of june and perhaps the republican convention in florida. >> so here's the other question.
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i have heard a few pundits throw this out there. while rick santorum may have fuzzy math on his mind, mitt romney may have fuzzy math on his mind. as you look ahead to the big states, even mitt romney may not be able to pull off the 1144? >> no question about that. they are trying to drive the message. we don't know what is going to happen. just quickly, rick santorum did not have a chance. guess who won alabama and mississippi, rick santorum. throw it out the window. i don't know how to explain the race anymore. >> why do we do what we do? >> because it pays the mortgage. >> nice to see you tu da. >> thank you. >> thanks for watching today. it's been great to be with you. suzanne malveaux continues it from now.
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suzanne? >> welcome to cnn. i'm suzanne malveaux. i want to bring you up to speed for wednesday, march 14th. white house rose garden, that's president obama and british prime minister, david cameron. we are going to have it live here on cnn. i've got my colleagues and friends on the set. wolf blitzer, gloria borger who are speaking about gas prices. leon panetta made an unannounced troop to afghanistan. a u.s. soldier allegedly gunned down 16 civilians over the weekend. investigators now trying to find out if the suspected shooter was drunk during this killing spree. meanwhile, rage echoing throughout the country. a roadside bomb exploded and eight people died in that blast.
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rick santorum, well, he is counting his wins, mitt romney coming off a southern sweep. alabama and mississippi says it is proof that he is not the republican nominee. he's played down talk about this delegate math. he won the caucuses and says it's all about the delegates. mitt romney has twice as many delegates as santorum. so what does mitt romney mean when he says he's going to get rid of planned parenthood? he's talking about cutting off federal dollars but the democrats at planned parenthood have jumped all over the remarks. they suggest he wants to do away with the group altogether. here's what mitt romney said about balancing the budget. >> my test is pretty simple. is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from china to pay for it. on that basis, of course you get rid of obamacare but there are
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others. planned parenthood, we're going to get rid of that. tragedy on a highway in switzerland. 28 people are dead. 22 of them children. it was a bus crash and the bus was on its way back to belgian from a ski trip. it slammed into a tunnel last night. now, belgian's prime minister calling it a tragic day for belgian. actor and activist, george clooney, is on capitol hill today testifying about the crisis in sudan. clooney says that the government is attacking its only people there. he visited the region and says he saw for himself the government engaged in war crimes. clooney told my colleague, soledad o'brien, he has evidence to back up those claims. >> we have a satellite up in the air. digital globe was nice enough to keep an eye on these people. what we've been lucky enough to catch in the last few weeks are bombs being dropped on innocent
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civilians. >> and just a minute or two, president obama will appear with british prime minister david cameron in the white house rose garden. wolf blitzer and gloria borger are here to talk about what we are anticipating and expecting here. always glad to have you here on the set. >> good to see. >> you let's start off first, wolf, with afghanistan. obviously they have a lot at stake there, the british troops. the goal right now to get them out by 2014. >> 2014. >> the one thing that they are debating in the white house, however, is perhaps an earlier withdrawal, perhaps 2013. is there any daylight between these two leaders? >> i suspect there probably is. the british would like to get out more quickly presumably as well. they are going to show a commonsense right now, a common purpose. they are getting very close, these two leaders. we saw that earlier.
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the rifarrival ceremony. obviously they are the closest of allies. there is probably some distance the british would like to get out more quickly. the u.s. is beginning to catch up. as you know, suzanne, there's a lot of pressure right now. it's not looking good in afghanistan. the situation seems to be going from bad to worse. it's very, very expensive. spending a few more hundred -- billion dollars, i should say, to maintain that u.s. troop level. public support is quickly eroding. >> gloria, you've been watching the republican candidates. do they see an opening here? do they have a dramatically different position when it comes to afghanistan? >> well, it depends on which candidate you're talking about. if you're talking about ron paul, he should have been home yesterday. if you're talking about mitt romney, mitt romney says that the president in announcing some kind of a timetable is doing the wrong thing. look, we've got about 90,000 troops there. 22,000 are due to come home in september. the wiggle room between david
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cameron and president obama is what is the schedule between the remaining drawdown of american and british troops and could that potentially be speeded up to a certain degree. >> we know for these two leaders, they are buddies. they get along pretty well. the ncaa, they were both in ohio. >> we were working last night, right? >> i want to play this clip here. i want you guys to see this. >> the americans and brits speak the same language most of the time. let me just say, david, we are shoved to bits that you are here. but i'm looking forward to a great matter. i'm confident that together we'll keep the relationship between our two great nations absolutely top-notch. >> all right. he also talked about -- that was a different clip when he was trying to be all british and
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everything. but they also talk about bracology. the last go around they played table tennis. how important is it that these two leaders have a personal relationship as well? >> i just noticed -- and gloria, you watched as well, you were a former white house correspondent. you can see when american presidents have a good rapport with a visiting leader as opposed to an adequate rapport contrasted to a not so good rapport. contrast the body language of what was going on between them and the president of the united states and netanyahu. you didn't feel in their public statements any of the warmth, the friendship thaw felt today and last night with david cameron. >> that's what i like to call is working relationship. >> i think it's generational and
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also don't forget some of the people came from barack obama's campaign, too. and i think they are friends. i think they are friends and i think that's why the president seemed to be able to be relaxed and joke this morning as you showed in the rose garden about the brits as he called them. it's a good relationship. >> i understand we have jessica at white house. jessica, if you would, set the scene for us. there are going to be questions about the two leaders of israel, whether or not israel in fact would attack iran over nuclear weapons and these two leaders, their points of view on that as well as syria and afghanistan. what do you think is the going to be the first question out of the gate. >> let me tell you first that these two leaders will have come from about a two-hour meeting that began with one on one
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meeting that lasted, we're told, for at least 30 minutes, just the two of them. and shourss here tell me that the president will begin with an opening statement where he will talk about the discussions about iran, syria, and, of course, assad and of course afghanistan and the upcoming nature of the shift in mission there. we have been talking about this now for some days. and the president, i'm told, will address the fact that at the upcoming nato summit in may, they will be deciding on a future course of action where they will need to discuss the way in which the u.s. and rest of the nato allies will take a coordinated move from both training and combat there in afghanistan and that is something that he and the prime minister have discussed. we're told here today. and in addition, suzanne, expect some jokes about bracketology.
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i'm told that the president had to help the prime minister pick his final four because the original teams included manchester and united. >> that's okay. he can use a little help in that area. you know, they have a good relationship and obviously there are some serious subjects as well. what do we suspect -- this is an opportunity for the president to really difference rengs ate himself from the republican candidates. he's got the pomp and circumstance and the pageantry that we saw earlier today. how does he balance what he's doing in terms of foreign policy and getting things done and campaigning? >>. >> well, it's a plus because it's an be a tribute between the white house and his team believes that national security
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is a detriment for most historically and for this president they believe that's not the case because of his success, not just with osama lynn laden but with in general the war on terror, al qaeda operatives and other areas. so this is not something that he shies from these moments, are high moments for them, we believe. the one thing i'd point out, suzanne, is that this may be the best moment for the president right now because there are so many challenges ahead between now and election day that world tensions could evolve into very ugly national problems. he could be at the height of his power as commander in chief and could get much worse for him between now and election day. who knows. >> jessica, stay with us, if you will. jessica made a point about the
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foreign policy. he can actually get something done. i want to turn to syria. we see the carnage day in and day out. now we're talking about nearly 900,000 people killed during the course of the year. we've heard from the prime minister cameron who says he wants a peaceful transition, not hard. is there anything that they can do together as world leaders to get rid of assad? >> as it did with libya a year ago, the russians and chinese are vetoing any such are resolution. they are not going to have what they call the international support that they need even though a lot of the members of the arab league are ready to take a divisive step but they look for the u.n. authority and they are not getting it. unless they change their mind, the only thing that they can continue doing is the diplomatic
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pressure, sanctions, and rhetoric. but it looks like al assad is not backing down. if anything, he is accelerating the crackdown. >> you know, i think, again, you cannot do this unilaterally and even people who believe that we should act right now as we did and libya saying, john mccain, for example, says this is something that you need to do in concert with others. and so right now, as long as the security council has stalled, it's just tightening the noose. >> right. >> how do you handle iran? cameron is calling for stronger sanctions. will they work? >> on iran they have more support from china. >> right. >> and russia than they do as far as syria is concerned. >> we're going to take a quick break. we'll get back to you guys as well. we're waiting for president
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obama to arrive in the rose garden. we'll have a joint press conference, take a few questions from the reporters there and deal with some of the immediate issues. we'll take a quick break. seconds and freshens breath. new tums freshers. ♪ tum...tum...tum...tum... tums! ♪ [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, all in a pocket sized pack. i don't want a plunger anywhere near my coffee. not in my house. with maxwell house french roast, you let gravity do the work. [ male announcer ] maxwell house french roast. always good to the last drop. you'd use carbon fiber and machined aluminum, to make it more beautiful, and more durable. you'd use edge-to-edge gorilla glass for a stunning display in a more compact form. and you'd choose an intel® core i7™ processor for maximum processing power. everything that you could ever want in a laptop. introducing the dell xps 13 ultrabook™ everything. and more.
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all right. so last night was pretty fun. it's interesting to watch. it wasn't as late of a night as we've seen but clearly it was somewhat surprising. >> a great night for santorum. >> absolutely. the southern sweep looking forward. what do you think this means? he keeps splitting the conservative vote. where does romney go from here? >> when you add up the delegates that he got in hawaii plus the delegates he got in mississippi and alabama, he had a better night delegatewise than rick santorum did. having said that, he lost. he came in third in mississippi and alabama. as a result, that's a setback in terms of the political momentum. it's a huge, huge win for rick santorum. it's a significant loss, a major loss for newt gingrich. he really was hoping to move from south carolina, which he won, to his home state of georgia and continuing to alabama and mississippi. he says he's staying in the race but if you take a look at the
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delegate count, how poorly he's done in so many other states right now, it's only a matter of time. >> gloria, what's the strategy behind that? some people believe -- behind the scenes, they believe it's personal. it's bad blood. >> yeah, it is personal. he's very upset at some of the negative ads. >> you know, it's ironic because if he stays in the race -- >> that's the thing. >> if he leaves the race, that hurts romney. >> if i were romney, i would contribute to newt gingrich's campaign and say, continue on because he needs newt gingrich to split the vote with santorum. >> that's right. then it's really santorum, versus romney. ron paul has not won a state yet. he's way, way, way behind. he's only won a few delegates. >> and the gingrich people have won kind of an apply generals for santorum. what is it in it for santorum to have an apply generals with newt
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gingrich? >> and the longer this thing lasts, barack obama became a much stronger candidate when he time and again faced her. a lot of people don't think that is working for romney. >> it's working for santorum. >> romney is being weakened by this process. >> romney is not comfortable as a candidate and it's a problem. they may not have a message problem. they may have a candidate problem and that's kind of harder to fix and to retool. i mean, when you go in the south and you joke about grits and people feel, oh, my god, you're kind of being a little patronizing to me, it's a candidate problem. those are not lines that -- >> romney should be -- he's way ahead in the delegate count. he's doing much better. he's better positioned
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mathematically. but by all accounts he should have so much more money, so much of a better organization than santorum. he didn't even get on the ballot in virginia and illinois next tuesday, on four or five of them, he's not going to be on the ballot. he didn't get the paperwork done. what does that say about his organization? >> not much. >> romney should have put it away a long time ago. the fact that he hasn't speaks well of santorum, not necessarily his organization. he's got a lot less money but probably a better retailer campaigner. >> this is something that the white house -- white house officials, where do they go from
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here? what do in the end you know, this is going to be fought in handful of battle ground states, fighting for independent voter in the end and team obama is focused on that and are trying to figure out who the independent voters are and target them now. so they are out in those states and on the ground and online with their own messaging and a very sophisticated operation. we're going to see them roll out documentary that tries to frame their own campaign narrative that comes tomorrow. that's tomorrow. vice president biden is going to hit and vice president biden will have a very different, more pointed message tomorrow. we'll really hear them unleash a campaign message.
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i think starting tomorrow. >> no coincidence that obama was doing the ncaa in ohio, the important critical state of ohio. thanks, jessica. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. i've had surgery and yes, i have occasional constipation. that's why i take doctor recommended colace® capsules. i have hemorrhoids and yes, i have constipation. that's why i take colace®. [ male announcer ] for occasional constipation associated with certain medical conditions, there's colace® capsules. colace® softens the stool and helps eliminate the need to strain. stimulant-free, comfortable relief. no wonder more doctors recommend it.
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we are awaiting a press conference with british prime minister david cameron at the rose garden. we're going to bring that to you live as it happens. one of the things that we're focusing on is afghanistan. we do know this. investigators found alcohol near his quarters and now they are trying to find out if he was actually drunk during the killing spree. chris lawrence is joining us. it's going to be an issue with the british prime minister. all people are looking at whether british troops should get out any earlier in the timetable. we're going to go to the rose
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garden. it's a great honor to welcome my friend and partner, david cameron, back to the white house for this official visit. i know there's been a lot of focus on last night's game. some have asked how it came about. i want to set the record straight. during my visit to london last year, as they would say in britain, we got thrashed. so when it came to sports on this visit, i thought we would watch. we just finished up a very good discussion and he appreciates the alliance between the countries, not only for the security and prosperity for the two nations but for international peace and security as well.
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in a time of rapid change, the leadership of the united states and the united kingdom is more important than ever and we share the view that it's only possible if the rights and responsibilities of nations and people are up held and that's a cause that we advance today. we agree we have to focus on giving the growth and jobs of putting our people back to work and between us we have the largest investment relationship in the world and we've instructed our ways for trans atlantic trade and investment. i very much appreciate david's perspective on the eurozone, our economies and banks are deeply connected. we moved on to discuss afghanistan where we are the two largest contributors of forces
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to the international mission and where our forces continue to make extra ordinary sacrifices. the traj dick events of recent days is a reminder that this is a difficult mission and obviously we both have lost a number of extraordinary young men and women in theater. what is undeniable, though, and what we can never forget is that our forces are making very real progress. dismantling al qaeda and training afghan forces so that they can take the lead and our troops can come home. that transition is already under way and about half of all afghans currently live in areas where afghan security forces are taking responsibility. today the prime minister and i reaffirmed the transition plan that we agreed to with our coalition partners in lisbon. specifically, at my home town in chicago, we'll talk about the
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transition, shichtifting to a support role in 2013 in advance of afghans taking full responsibility in 2014. we're going to complete this mission and we're going to do it responsibly and nato will make sure that afghanistan never becomes a place for an attack on our countries. we face the continuing threat by iran. on this we are fully united. we are determined to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. we believe there is still time and space to pursue a diplomatic solution and we're going to keep coordinating closely with our p5 plus 1 partners. the european union, preparing to impose an embargo. tehran must understand it cannot escape or evade the choice
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before it. we reaffirmed our commitment in north africa. british forces played a critical role and i want to commend david personally for the leadership roles that he plays in mobilizing international support and transition in libya. the hour give rick violence that the assad regime faces, we're focussed on getting humanitarian aid and we will mobilize the international community, revenues, isolating politically, diplomatically, and economically. just as the regime and security forces continue to suffer defection, the opposition is growing stronger. i'll say it again. assad will leave power.
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it's not a question of if but when. and to prepare for that day, we'll continue to support plans to support the legitimate aspirations of the syrian people. more broadly, we've committed ourselves leadership to the goal of global development. along with our international partners, we've saved countless lives from the horn of africa. david, you've done an outstanding job in somalia, including life saving aid. in the meantime, we're preventing deaths of children and supporting the global funds for aids, tb and malaria. and let me say that it's a tribute to david's leadership that the uk will play a leading role in the global partnership to strengthen the government upon which human rights and development depend.
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finally, i'm very pleased that we're bringing our two militaries, the backbone of our lives even closer. as i've told david, we intend to implement our long trade treaty with the uk. this will put advanced technologies in the hands of our troops and mean more jobs for workers in both our countries and we're moving ahead to care for our men and women in uniform. for decades our troops have stood together on the battlefield. know we're working for them. we assist our veterans, transition back to civilian life and to support our remarkable military families. david, thank you as always for being such an outstanding ally, partner, and friend. as i said this morning because of our efforts, our apply generals is as strong as it has ever been.
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michelle and i are looking forward to hosting you and samantha at tonight's state dinner. david david, welcome and thank you. >> thank you very much for that, barack, and thank you for last night's sporting event. i thought that was a link between that and table tennis. because i know america doesn't like to be on the losing side, i'm trying to make it up with a gift of a table tennis table. >> we can can practice this afternoon. >> i said i need to practice. i will get you back by getting to you a cricket match and explaining the terminology you'll try to get straight as i tried last night. but thank you. we had excellent discussions today and it was great that our teams had time to join those talks as well.
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and, barack, thank you, because it's some countries where an alliance is a matter of convenience but ours is a matter of conviction. working together day in and day out to defend those values and advance our shared interests. we've just made important progress on four vital areas. afghanistan, syria, iran, and economic growth. and i want to take each in turn. first, afghanistan. recent days have reminded us how high this mission it and what the cost has been for britain, america, and for afghans themselves. britain has fought alongside america ever since the start. we have 9,500 soldiers still serving. today, again, we commemorate and
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afghanistan may never be a safe haven. let's be clear, making tangible progress with more markets opened, more health centers working, more children going to school, more people able to achieve a basic standard of living and security but we can help ensure that afghanistan is capable of delivering it's own security without the need for large numbers of foreign troops. we are in the final phases of our military mission. that means completing the training of the afghan forces so they can take over the task of maintaining security themselves. that transition to afghan control, as agreed in lisbon is well under way. next year, as the president said, in 2013, this including shifting to a support role as afghans take the lead. this is an advance of afghan forces taking full responsibility for security in 2014 and as we've always said,
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we won't be in a combat role after 2014. >> at the same time, we're working towards an afghan-led political settlement. second, the united securities council resolution on libya, we agree we must maintain our support as they teekseek a bett future. i'm proud of the action that britain and france took but let's be absolutely clear, none of that could have happened without the overwhelming force that the united states provided in the early stages of that campaign, exactly what you promised you would do that actually made that intervention possible and has give and then chance, that country a chance of prosperity and stability and some measure of democracy. most urgently now in syria, we are working to get humanitarian aid to those who need it and britain is pledging an additional two million pounds in
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food and medical care. we must document the evidence so that those guilty of crimes may be held responsible whatever it takes. we must maintain the highest pressure as we make the case for that transition and work for the same goal including through a new united nations security council resolution. we should be clear, what we want is the quickest way to stop the killing. that is to transition rather than revolution or civil war. but if assad continues, civil war and revolution is the critical con consequence. third, we have discussed iran's nuclear program. the president's tough reasonable approach has united the world behind unprecedented sanctions,
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pressure, on iran and itain has played a leading role in helping to develop an eu oil embargo. along with the financial sanctions, the embargo is dramatically increasing the pressure on the regime. we are serious about the talks that are set to resume but the regime has to meet its international obligations. if it refuses to do so, our international partners will increase the political and economic pressure to achieve a peaceful outcome to this crisis. nothing is off the table. that is and essential. fourth, growth. both britain and america is dealing with deficits. of course, the measures that we're taking reflect different national circumstances. but we share the same goals. delivering the same deficit destruction and stimulating
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growth. one of the keys to growth is trade. foreign and direct investment between britain and america is the largest in the world. it creates and sustains about a million jobs each side of the atlantic and provides trade worth $100 billion a year. so deepening trade is crucial and could really help to stimulate growth. barack and i have decided to investment flows. so we've had some very important discussions this morning. i'm looking forward to continuing our talks at the g-8 and nato summits and visiting camp david and your hometown of chicago. who knows what sport we'll be able to see there. the relationship is the strongest that it has ever been and i believe that's because we're working together closely as any point in our history and i'm confident that we can help secure the future of our nation
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and the generations to come. thank you. >> thank you, david. so we've got questions from each respective press corp. we're going to start with ari shapiro of npr. >> thank you, mr. president. given the extraordinarily different circumstances in afghanistan in the last few weeks, i wonder what makes you confident that in two years from now when the last troops leave it will be better than what it is today and i'm wondering whether you can peak to the rate of withdrawal. i wonder where your approach could create more jobs than president obama's approach. >> well, first of all, i think
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we understand this approach because we've met with families whose sons or daughters or husbands and wives made the ultimate sacrifice. we visited our wounded warriors and understand the sacrifices that they've made there. but as i indicated, we have made progress. we're seeing an afghan security force that is getting morrow bust and more capable of operating on its own. and our goal, as said in lisbon, is to make sure that over the next two years, the afghan security force continues to improve and enhances capabilities and so we'll be prepared to provide for that country's security when we leave. we also think it's important that there is a political aspect to this, that all of the various
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factions realize it's time to end 30 years of war and president karzai has committed to a political reconciliation process. we are doing what we can to help facilitate that. ultimately it's going to be up to the afghans to work together, to try to arrive to a path to peace and we can't be naive about the difficulties involved in getting there. but if we maintain a steady, responsible transition process which is what we've designed, put them in a position where they can deal with their own security and we're also underscoring through what we anticipate to be a strategic partnership that has been signed before we get to chicago that the united states will sustain a relationship with afghan but we
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will be working with them, both to ensure their security and to ensure that their economy and i don't anticipate at this stage that we're going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have. we have already taken out 10,000 of our troops. we're slated to draw down an additional 23,000 by this summer. there will be a robust coalition presence inside of afghanistan during this fighting season to make sure that the taliban understand that they are not going to be able to gain momentum after the fighting season in conjunction with all of our allies. we will continue to look at how do we effect ate this transition in a way that doesn't result in
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a steep cliff in 2014 but rather is a gradual pace that accommodates the developing capacities of the afghan national security forces. although you asked it to david, i want to make sure that i comment on the economic issues because this is a question that david and i have been getting for the last two years. we always give the same answer but i figure it's worth repeating. the united states and great britain are two different economies in two different positions. you know, their banking sector was much larger than ours. their capacity to sustain debt was different than ours. and so as a consequence each of us are going to take different strategies and at employing different timing but our objectives are common, which is,
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we want to make sure that we have governments that are lean, that are effective, efficient, providinging opportunity to our people, that are properly paid for so we're not leaving it to the next generation. and we want to make sure that ultimately our citizens in both our countries are able to pursue their dreams and opportunities by getting a good education and being able to start a small business, being able to find a job that allows them to retire with dignity and respect. and so this notion that somehow two different countries are going to have identical economic programs doesn't take into account or profound differences in position. but the objectives, values, goals are the same and i'm confident that because of the resilience of our people, our businesses and our workers, our
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systems of higher education, that we are both countries that are incredibly well-positioned to succeed in this knowledge-based economy of the 21st century. >> i pretty much agree with that. there are differences because we're not on a reserve currency. we have to take a different path. but i think it would be wrong to think that britain is taking measures to reduce its deficit. we are taking measures to promote growth. we took steps to unblock and get moving our housing market where we've cut corporation tax in our country to show that it's a great destination for investment. so a series of steps have been taken but there's a difference between the states of the two economy and the circumstances we face. but we're both trying to head in the same direction of low
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deficits. different starting points, different measures on occasions but the same destination and a very good understanding as we try to get there. >> mr. president, can i ask you whether you have any information about a car bombing this afternoon and on the general afghan question, why do you think that it is that people feel that you talk a good game but they don't buy it? why do you think it is that the british and the american people look at the situation that they think is frankly a mess, they see terrible sacrifice, two men unable to impose their wills and they just are not per skaded by your arguments?
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>>. >> well, object yisly we want to investigate what happened before making anything clear. security of the people of our troops, security of both our nation's forces is absolutely the priority and if there are things that need to be done in the coming hours and days to keep them safer, there is no doubt, we will do them. on the broader issue of afghanistan, at this point, if you compare where we are today with where we've been two, three years ago, the situation is considerably improved. i think the u.s. surge in the additional uk troops that we put in had had a transformative effect. the level of insurgent attacks are down and the level of security is right up. the capital of helman province is fully transitioned over to afghan-lead control. the markets are opened. you're able to do and take part
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in the economic activity which was not possible when i first visited it several year ago. so, look, it's still a very difficult situation and there are many challenges that we have to take care of but what is happening in afghanistan is quite different than the situation we had three, four, five years ago. do i think we can get to the situation by the end of 2014 where we have a large afghan army and police force both of which are on track and the government is capable of taking care of their own security in a way that doesn't allow foreign troops and it's not a threat in the way that it was in the past in terms of a base for terrorism, yes, i think we can achieve that. it's been very hard work and we have to keep reminding ourself and everybody, why we are there, what we are doing. you have to go back and remember that, you know, the vast majority of terrorist plots affecting people in the uk, in the u.s., came out of that
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country and that region. that's why we went in there. that's not why we are there today. it's not a self fish long-term reason, we just want to be safe at home. that's the key. that's the message we need to keep explaining to people. i think it's achievable and doable. >> i concur with everything that david said. you asked why it is that poll numbers indicate that people people are interested in ending watt are in afghanistan? it's because we've been there for ten years and people get weary. people know loved ones that have lost their lives as a consequence of war. nobody wants war. anybody who answers a poll question about war
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enthusiastically we want war probably hasn't been involved in a war. but as david said, i think the vast majority of the american people and british understand why we went there. there is a reason why al qaeda is on its heels and has been decimated. there is a reason why osama bin laden is not in a position to be able to execute plots against the united states or great britain. there is a reason why it's increasingly difficult for those interested in carrying out trans national operations dictated against our friends and allies and to be able to do that. it's because the space has shrunk and their ability to operate is greatly diminished. as david indicated, this is a hard slug. this is hard work. when i came into office, there had been drift in part because
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we had spent a lot of time focusing on iraq instead. over the last three years we have refocused attention on getting afghanistan right. would my preference have been that we started some of that earlier? absolutely. but that's not the cards that we're dealt. we're in a position where, given our starting point, we're making progress and we're going to be able to achieve our objectives in 2014. >> thank you, mr. president, mr. prime minister. mr. president, switching to iran -- >> can i just point out that somehow allistair gets to ask a question on behalf of the u.s. press corp but -- were you upset about that, chuck? come on, man. it's a special relationship.
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>> do you think that the concerns over nuclear program overt military action and prime minister on syria, how are you approaching the rugses to get them on board for a fresh security council resolution and do you believe that president bashar al assad will be tried as a war criminal? >> as david said, we have applied the toughest sanctions ever on iran and we've mobbized the the community with greater unity than we've ever seen. those sanctions are going to begin to bite even harder this summer. and we're seeing significant effects on the iranian economy. so they understand the seriousness with which we take this issue. they understand that there are consequences to them continuing
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to flop the international community. and i have sent a message very directly to them publicly that they need to cease this opportunity to avert even worse consequences for iran in the future. do i have a guarantee that iran will walk through this door that we're offering them? no. in the past there has been a tendency for iran in these negotiations to delay, to stall, to do a lot of talking but not actually move the ball forward. i think they should understand that because the international community has applied so many sanctions, because we have employed so many of the options
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that are available to us to persuade iran to take a different course that the window for solving this issue diplomatically is shrinking. and, you know, as i said in a speech just a couple of weeks ago, i am determined not simply to contain iran that is in possession of a nuclear weapon, i am determined to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon in part for the reasons that david mentioned. it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the most difficult part of the world. it would raise nonproliferation issues that would carry significant risks to our national security interests. it would embolden terrorists in the region who might believe that they could act with more impune tea if they were acting under iran.
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so this is not an issue that is simply in one country's interests or two country's interests. this is an issue that is important to the entire international community. we will do everything we can to resolve this diplomatically but ultimately we've got to have somebody on the other side of the table who is taking this seriously and i hope that the iranian regime understands that, that this is their best bet for resolving this in a way that allows iran to rejoin the nations and to prosper and feel secure themselves. >> on syria, when you see what is happening in homs and elsewhere, i think we need to appeal to people's humanity to stop this slaughter, to get aid and assistance to those that have been affected and ratchet up the pressure on this dreadful regime. but in russia, i think we should apeople to their own interests. it's not their interest to have this broken regime butchering
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people. the irony is that people in syria feel that the russians are their friends and people in the west are more suspicious to them. we need to make sure that russia joins with that. it's going to take a lot of hard work and i think it's in russia's interest that we deal with this problem that we achieve transition and that we get peace and stability in syria and that's the appeal that we should make. on the issue of holding people responsible, i do. they are not a signature to the icc but what is being done in homs and i've spoken personally to one of the photographers that was stuck in homs. what he witnessed, what he saw is simply appalling and wouldn't be able to stand in this world.
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that's why we've sent people there to document these crimes so that no matter how long it takes and that they have a long reach and a long memory and the people committing these crimes need to know that. tom bradley from itm. >> mr. president, it's great that you've agreed to learn about cricket. i noticed the prime minister neglected to tell thaw a test match usually takes five days. so it's going to be a long trip. on a serious subject of syria, you say that you want asad to go. he wanted gadhafi to go but he didn't for a long, long time. have you discussed time scales for those issues?
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>> our team is working incredibly closely on this issue and the focus is on trying to achieve transition, not trying to ferment revolution. we want assad to go. the way we do that is through political sanctions, pressures that can be brought to bear. of course, our team all the time, as i put it, pushed the system, asked the difficult questions. what are the other options and things that we could do and it's ril that we did that. the focus is transition and all of the things that we can do to bring that pressure to bear and that has been the focus of our discussions. >> i agree with everything that david said. our military plan is for everything. that's part of what they do. but i was very clear during the libya situation that this

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